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44th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • No. 276

CONTENTS

Tuesday, February 6, 2024




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

Volume 151
No. 276
1st SESSION
44th PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Speaker: The Honourable Greg Fergus

    The House met at 10 a.m.

Prayer



ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

[Routine Proceedings]

  (1000)  

[English]

Petitions

Ukraine 

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, a petition that comes from the members of the Holy Protection of the Mother of God Ukrainian Catholic Church in Guelph. It states that, whereas Bill C-57 is an important update to the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement that would assist Ukrainians in rebuilding after they defeat the illegal invasion of Vladimir Putin; that the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian Canadian Congress has called on the Parliament of Canada to swiftly adopt this legislation; and that misinformation regarding Canada's carbon pricing scheme having an effect on this agreement has widely been debunked, the members undersigned have asked for the House of Commons and all parliamentarians to reaffirm our unwavering commitment to Ukraine by swiftly adopting the updated Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement.

Charitable Organizations  

    Mr. Speaker, as always, it is an honour to stand in this place and to present petitions brought forward by Canadians. Today, I have a petition that brings forward a number of issues, but specifically it is signed by Canadians who are opposed to the bringing back, like the Liberals promised in their 2021 election platform, of a values test for charitable organizations. To summarize, the undersigned citizens and residents of Canada call upon the House of Commons to protect and preserve the application of charitable status rules on a politically and ideologically neutral basis.
    It is an honour to present this petition in the House here today.

Wellness and Recreation Facilities  

    Mr. Speaker, it is a huge honour to rise today to table petition e-4568, which was signed by over 677 constituents from Vancouver Island. They cite that recreation and wellness centres provide opportunities for communities to gather, to connect and to stay healthy through physical activity. The research shows that recreation and wellness centres promote personal health and well-being among users, that recreation facilities play a critical role in the rehabilitation of workers recovering from injuries in the workplace and that communities without adequate recreational facilities find it challenging to retain seniors, youth and families in the community, which limits the retention of highly qualified professionals and volunteerism and is a loss to communities. The benefits of recreation and wellness centres to individuals and communities have been well-researched and documented.
    Petitioners cite that their communities need more facilities, such as the West Coast Multiplex, which has been in planning for over 20 years, to offer diverse programs, which would be accessible by all populations and that the investing in Canada infrastructure program's previous partnership with federal and British Columbia governments provided funds need to be replenished with significant sustained increase in the capital to meet recreational needs of their communities. There is a need for expanding, creating or replacing recreational facilities on the west coast, in Port Alberni and Oceanside.
    The petitioners are calling on the federal government to invest heavily in infrastructure and recreational facilities to help keep people in communities and to keep them healthy.

  (1005)  

Electoral Reform  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition on behalf of a substantial number of Yukoners. The petitioners and signatories call on the House of Commons to support Motion No. 86, calling for a citizens' assembly on electoral reform. The petition also states that the Yukon signatories would also like to draw the House's attention to the following: The need for electoral reform continues to be a fundamental issue for citizens of all political persuasions. Therefore, they call for a new approach to developing a citizens' consensus on electoral reform where citizens would be given a voice on the subject of electoral reform and a right to make recommendations.

Needle Exchange Program  

    Mr. Speaker, at the direction of the Liberal government, the Correctional Service of Canada is offering the prison needle exchange program, or PNEP, in federal correctional institutions, effectively encouraging illicit drug use in prisons.
    Illicit drugs in federal institutions are contraband. Equally, any item used for injecting drugs is also contraband. The presence of needles for illicit drug use in correctional institutions presents a severe safety risk to both inmates and correctional officers. The already hazardous workplace of the correctional officer is made more dangerous by the presence of the PNEP, and the Canadian drugs and substances strategy should focus on helping Canadians recover from addiction and on receiving treatment, not on supporting these addictions.
    Therefore, petitioners in Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon and surrounding ridings, who are Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to cancel the prison needle exchange program operations, to stop permitting the use of illicit drugs in Canadian prisons and to focus the efforts on helping inmates recover from their addictions through new treatment policies.

Health Care Professionals  

    Mr. Speaker, today I table a petition in regards to health care.
    Health care professionals, in particular, our nurses, are often undervalued, whether it is by the provinces or other stakeholders not recognizing the potential and the harm we do by not properly supporting them. That would include everything from not recognizing credentials to retention-related issues, as well as the anxiety and stress put into the profession.
    The petitioners are calling on all members of Parliament to ultimately recognize the reality of our health care professionals and to do what we can to support and to work with the other jurisdictions to make life better for our health care workers.

Electoral Reform  

    Madam Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise today to give a voice to a significant number of constituents in Simcoe North who care about the issue of electoral reform.
    The petitioners believe that the need for electoral reform continues to be a priority and that we need a non-partisan approach to this, including a citizens' assembly. They are therefore calling on the House to give a voice to the subject of electoral reform by supporting Motion No. 86.

Questions on the Order Paper

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

Government Orders

[Business of Supply]

  (1010)  

[English]

Business of Supply

Opposition Motion—Auto Theft  

    That, given that,
(i) after eight years of soft on crime policies, this Prime Minister has created the auto theft crisis,
(ii) according to the Liberal government’s own news release, auto theft in Toronto is up 300% since 2015, and Statistics Canada data shows auto-theft is up 190% in Moncton, 122% in Ottawa-Gatineau, 106% in Montréal, 62% in Winnipeg, since 2015,
(iii) the Port of Montreal, a major hub for stolen vehicles to be shipped out of Canada, only has five Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) agents to inspect the 580,000 containers that leave the port each year, according to the Le Journal de Montréal, with one law enforcement agent saying, “CBSA has no resources to check the containers, they check less than one per cent of containers”,
(iv) it is the responsibility of the federal government to reduce auto theft as the primary prevention tools, including the Criminal Code, the RCMP, the CBSA and our port systems, which are the federal government’s jurisdiction,
(v) the increase in auto theft is costing Canadian drivers as insurance premiums are increasing, and in Ontario, insurance companies are able to increase premiums by 25% this year,
(vi) a report by Équité estimates $1 billion in vehicle theft claims were paid out in 2022, and these costs are being passed down to drivers,
in order to stop the crime and reduce auto theft to lower insurance premiums, the House call on the government to:
(a) immediately reverse changes the Liberal government made in their soft on crime Bill C-5 that allows for car stealing criminals to be on house arrest instead of jail;
(b) strengthen Criminal Code provisions to ensure repeat car stealing criminals remain in jail; and
(c) provide the CBSA and our ports with the resources they need to prevent stolen cars from leaving the country.
     He said: Madam Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Mégantic—L'Érable.
    After eight years of the Prime Minister, Canada is becoming less and less safe. Violent crime, car theft and gun crime have unleashed chaos and disorder in our communities. Crime, chaos, drugs and disorder are common in our streets now, and the Liberal government is responsible for making this situation even worse.
    Since the Liberal government was elected in 2015, there has been a 34% surge in car thefts across Canada. The Insurance Bureau of Canada says that auto theft has become a national crisis, with more than 200 vehicles stolen, on average, every day.
    The explosion of car thefts is making life even more unaffordable for Canadians. In 2022, car thefts cost the insurance industry over $1 billion, resulting in higher insurance costs for every Canadian on their insurance premiums. In Toronto alone, auto theft crime is up by 300% and in other Canadian cities, it is over 100%.
    While the NDP-Liberals say that they care about the safety of Canadians, they have had no real solutions to the rising auto theft crime across the country. In fact, their only real solution we have heard so far is to host another fancy meeting in Ottawa. They are calling it the auto summit. That means more meetings and no solutions.
    The Prime Minister let this auto theft crisis happen under his watch. His reckless policies have allowed car thefts to explode in our communities and right across the country. His only action to fix this is to hold another summit. Last week, in his own press release, the Prime Minister admitted it was not like this before the Liberal government took office in 2015. We can all agree on that one.
    Canadians do not feel safe in their communities and on the streets, but the Liberal justice minister and Attorney General told Canadians that this is just in Canadians' heads and that the increasing crime is empirically likely. Here are the facts. Violent crime is up 39%. Gang-related homicides are up over 100%. Violent gun crime has steadily increased every year and now, it is over 100% since 2015. Murders are up 43%, the highest in 30 years. The crime wave that the Liberal government has caused is not imaginary. It is real, and Canadians are experiencing it in every way.
    We continue to see news stories of violent crimes committed by repeat offenders who are out on bail. According to a report published last week by the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, violent crime is only getting worse and “Canada's violent crime severity index”, which tracks changes in the severity of violent crime, is “at its highest [level] since 2007.” During the last Conservative government, the violent crime severity index, decreased by 24.66%. Under the Liberal government, it has increased by basically 30%. A recent Statistics Canada report shows that the rate of firearm-related violent crime in 2022 was at the highest level ever recorded, a nearly 10% increase from 2021 alone. According to Edmonton police, the number of shootings in 2023 went up by 34%.
     After eight years of the Prime Minister, Canadian businesses across the country are now being extorted by international gangsters. In January, the Toronto Sun reported that the mayors of Brampton, Ontario and Surrey, British Columbia sent a letter to the Minister of Public Safety saying that they are “deeply concerned for their communities due to [these] threats” and that “recent reports from their provinces have confirmed links between...extortion attempts and violent acts, including shootings” and arson.
    The Edmonton Police Service now reports it is “investigating 27 events related to an ongoing extortion series that has affected [a number of members of] the...community in the Edmonton region since October, including...extortions, 15 arson cases and seven firearms offences.” Businesses and family homes are being shot at in Edmonton. Over a dozen houses that were under construction by different home builders were burned to the ground just since November. While the police are doing their job and are catching these criminals, the Prime Minister's soft-on-crime legislation, such as Bill C-75, allows them to be released within hours of their arrest.

  (1015)  

    These reckless soft-on-crime policies benefit only the thieves, the criminals. In fact, only criminals are getting rich under the Liberal government. The Liberals' Bill C-5 eliminates mandatory prison time for serious crimes such as this. It allows them to serve their sentence in the comfort of their own home. The government has shown more concern for the criminals than for defending our communities. It has eliminated mandatory prison time for criminals who commit robbery with a firearm, weapons trafficking and drive-by shootings.
     The reckless policies have made police powerless in stopping career car thieves and other criminals. In today's Canada, a convicted criminal can just walk out the front door and be on the streets again, stealing cars and terrorizing neighbourhoods soon after they have been arrested. It is no wonder that more and more Canadians are losing faith in our justice system. In fact, only 46% of Canadians still have confidence that their government will protect them. To make matters worse, the Liberal justice minister is failing to appoint enough judges to handle the cases, resulting in an increased number of cases that are being stayed or withdrawn. The Liberals are just not worth the cost.
    The Liberals' mismanagement has allowed organized crime to turn our federal ports into parking lots for stolen vehicles that are then shipped overseas. The port of Montreal has become a major hub for stolen vehicles to be shipped out of Canada. Despite that, it has only five CBSA agents, who inspect 580,000 containers that leave the port each year. In a recent article out of Montreal, a law enforcement agent said that CBSA has no resources to check containers and that they check fewer than 1% of them. This is completely unacceptable given the current car theft crisis happening in Canada. I want to remind the Prime Minister and the government that the RCMP, the Criminal Code, the Canada Border Services Agency are all federal responsibilities. It is their responsibility to reduce auto theft as the primary prevention tool.
    Conservatives have a common-sense plan to bring back safe streets and protect our communities. We must hit the brakes on car theft with common-sense Conservative tough-on-crime policies. Our Conservative plan would make prison time mandatory for repeat car thieves. Repeat offenders should not be allowed to serve their sentence in their living room, watching Netflix. We would put a stop to house arrest for convicted car thieves, toughen sentences for gang-related car thieves and eliminate the Liberal soft-on-crime bail policies for repeat violent offenders.
    Conservatives will go after the real criminals by restoring jail, not bail. The NDP-Liberals have allowed career car thieves back on our streets to continue spreading chaos and disorder. Common-sense Conservatives will ensure that repeat criminals are where they belong: behind bars. A Conservative government will not go easy on organized crime thieves. It would designate a new, specific aggravating factor where the offence of motor vehicle theft is committed for the benefit of organized crime. We would increase mandatory prison time from six months to three years for a third auto theft offence. Conservatives will not stand silently by as our communities are terrorized by criminals who should be in jail, not on bail.
    A common-sense Conservative government will ensure that repeat violent offenders remain behind bars while awaiting trial and will bring back mandatory jail time for serious violent crimes, which was repealed by the Liberal government. Common-sense Conservatives will put a stop to auto theft, protect Canadians' property and bring home safer streets. That is just common sense.

  (1020)  

    Madam Speaker, I will quote a Manitoba statistic from 2007 since the member referred to that year: “the province's 2007 rate remained the highest in the country...for the 11th straight year and was 24% higher than a decade ago”. I remember talking about the issue when I was an MLA. I will remind the member that Stephen Harper was prime minister then. Unfortunately for the people of Winnipeg, there are far too many victims. The member needs to recognize that in order to deal with an issue such as this, as we did then, there is an obligation to work with other jurisdictions such as provinces, and with law enforcement agencies, and to provide support where we can.
    Can the member indicate why Stephen Harper was such a disaster during 2007-08 on the issue of automobile thefts in the province of Manitoba?
    Madam Speaker, the member wants to talk about stats. Here are some stats: Violent crime is up by 39% since the Liberals have been in government for the last eight years. Gang-related homicides are up 108% since they have been in government, and violent gun crime has increased. Murders are up, and yes, car thefts are also up. It is not just about the cars; it is also about the fact that the insurance industry is saying auto theft is costing over a billion dollars a year, which makes everybody's premiums more expensive.
    The current government is just not worth the cost.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I am pleased to see that the Conservatives have finally realized that there is an auto theft crisis in Canada. I for one have been talking about it since October 2023. I moved a motion at the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security to study—

[English]

    If the hon. member for Cumberland—Colchester has anything to add, he can wait until it is time for questions and comments. In the meantime, he may want to respect the individual who currently has the floor.

[Translation]

    The hon. member for Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia.
    Madam Speaker, I will start again. Unfortunately, I do not think anyone heard me. If the member would put his earpiece in, I think that would work even better.
    I am pleased to see that the Conservatives have finally realized that there is an auto theft crisis in Canada. I for one have been talking about it since October. I moved a motion at the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security to study this issue. The Conservatives agreed to it. They thought it was a good idea, but all they have done since then is hold up the committee's work. That is what they did with Bill C-20 and Bill C-26.
    Why are they doing that? The reason is that they do not think that the auto theft crisis is all that important after all.
    Why do they want to talk about it today? Is it because it makes for a good campaign slogan? Is it because they want to crack down on crime? Why has this become a priority for the Conservative Party today?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, Conservatives have been steadfast in supporting communities and calling for safer communities. We brought forward legislation in the past, when we were in government, to have mandatory minimums. These were actually repealed by the Liberal government, which has made it easier for criminals to get bail and to serve their sentence at home. We have opposed those measures all along the way, and we will continue to do that because Canadians want and need safer streets.

  (1025)  

    Madam Speaker, I like the member, but he neglected to say a whole bunch of things around the issue of car theft that concern a lot of Canadians. First, when the Harper government was in power, it actually slashed $600 million from RCMP funding. It also cut over 1,000 border officers and gutted the crime prevention programs that were so effective in stopping car theft. The House will recall that under the Harper government, the highest rates of car theft in our country's history were found. Five of the worst years for car theft over the last 15 years were under the Harper government.
    In December, with vote 3, we saw Conservatives vote again to cut CBSA funding. In vote 76, they voted to cut FINTRAC funding, and in votes 103, 104 and 105, proposed by Conservatives, they voted to cut over $100 billion in RCMP funding. Why are Conservatives so contradictory on issues like crime?
    Madam Speaker, we have already proposed ideas for legislation that would bring in mandatory minimums for those who have committed car theft for a third time. Currently under the Liberals, the minimum sentence is only six months. Our proposal would bring it up to three years. We are going to get tough on criminals and make streets safer for Canadians.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, after eight years of Justin Trudeau, one word keeps coming up over and over: trust. After eight years of Liberal governance, people no longer trust this government or this Prime Minister. The latest example could not be clearer. The Globe and Mail is reporting that the Nazi who was invited here and honoured in the House was also invited—
    The hon. member for Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia on a point of order.
    Madam Speaker, you may not have noticed, but at the beginning of his speech, the member called another colleague in the House by name. I believe we are supposed to call our colleagues by their titles. Perhaps he should be reminded of that.
    Thank you. I did not hear it. I want to remind members not to use the names of members who sit in the House when making a speech. I also want to ask the Sergeant-at-Arms something. I notice it is getting a little noisy in the lobby. Someone really should go and see what is happening and ask people to lower their voices.
    The hon. member for Mégantic—L'Érable.
    Madam Speaker, after eight years of this Prime Minister whose name we cannot say anymore, the trust is gone. Unfortunately, the trust is broken. We saw this in the most recent incident. The Globe and Mail is reporting that the Prime Minister provided disinformation, at the very least, to the House concerning his office's knowledge of the presence of a Nazi who was honoured here. Each of my colleagues was asked to applaud this Nazi on the recommendation of the former Speaker of the House of Commons.
     For weeks, the Prime Minister denied any knowledge of this situation. He denied his office had been involved. However, we learned this week that not only did the Prime Minister's Office know, but that the PMO itself invited this Nazi to a reception. This was a personal invitation from the PMO. For this reason, when the time comes to talk about crime, to stop the crime and find solutions, every word from this Prime Minister must now be taken with a grain of salt, unfortunately.
     It is unfortunate because, after eight years of this Prime Minister, Canadians no longer trust him or his announcements, like the summit on auto theft he announced. For the eight years this Prime Minister has been in power, he had the tools at his disposal. For eight years, he has had the power to act, yet the only solution he can think of is to call everyone together so he can share the blame with them instead of taking responsibility for his actions, just as he refused to do when he himself invited a former Nazi to a reception hosted by the Prime Minister and attended by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
     A Conservative government will axe the tax, build the homes, fix the budget and, above all, stop the crime. That brings us to today's motion. Auto theft is a serious issue across the country, mainly in big cities, but also in rural areas. I will talk about this in my speech.
     In Quebec alone, 10,595 auto thefts were reported in 2022. This figure comes from the Groupement des assureurs automobiles, an auto insurance group that represents virtually all Quebec insurance companies.
    That is a 37% increase between 2021 and 2022 and a 138% increase since 2016, or since this Liberal government came to power. It amounts to an average of 29 vehicles stolen per day. In 2022, auto theft cost insurers $372 million, up $130 million in one year alone.
    People are going to wonder why their car insurance costs are going up. It is simple: Insurance companies have to pay for all these stolen vehicles. Why are more of them not being recovered? Why can the police not stop auto theft?
    I will share a couple of quick stories. I have friends in the Quebec City area whose vehicle was stolen. They have cameras set up at home. There was a nice vehicle on the property. This happened in broad daylight. The footage clearly shows the thief going up to the vehicle with a forged key, getting in and just driving off. Minutes later, my friend called the police. The police told him that his vehicle was probably already on its way to the port of Montreal and that, if it was already there, unfortunately, they would not be able to get into the port of Montreal to seize it. The police suggested he call his insurer.
    No search is launched and no investigation is opened to find the guilty party. The police tell the owner to call their insurance company, and the thieves get off scot-free. The same thing happened in the Sherbrooke region, and I think similar accounts are cropping up across the country. The port of Montreal has become a hub for exporting stolen vehicles to other countries, wherever they can be sold. I saw a news report on that very topic this week. It was so odd. It reported that vehicles are turning up in a country not far from Saudi Arabia, I forget which one, and they still have Quebec flag stickers on their windows or other Quebec-related markings.

  (1030)  

    No one even bothers to clean them. Why should they? All this happens in broad daylight. This Prime Minister's federal government is doing absolutely nothing to stop auto theft. Vehicles are being stolen with impunity, considering that the federal government, which could and should have acted, is responsible for 95% of all the laws and procedures needed to stop these thefts. The Prime Minister has chosen to do nothing, other than holding a summit to talk about the problem instead of taking action.
    Why is this happening? It is happening because of the government's choices. The government amended certain laws. One particular example is Bill C‑5, which permits house arrest instead of jail time for car thieves. Because of these bills, repeat offenders do not go to jail. They can serve their sentences at home, watching Netflix, which is why we call them “Netflix sentences”.
    What is happening, as a result? There are no longer any consequences for thieves. Apparently, based on the information being provided and shared by police officers, thieves are simply no longer afraid of facing justice. It is so lucrative to sell these luxury vehicles abroad and the risk of getting caught is so low compared to the potential gains that they would rather carry on. Organized crime is involved. Meanwhile, people are watching as their vehicles are shipped off to countries all over the world, and the government does nothing.
    After eight years of inaction by this Prime Minister, it is time to act. That is why a Conservative government will take action. It will immediately reverse the changes made by the Liberal government in its soft-on-crime Bill C‑5, which allows car thieves to be placed under house arrest rather than going to jail. That bill was supported by the Bloc Québécois.
    A Conservative government will strengthen Criminal Code provisions to ensure that repeat car thieves are kept behind bars. We will provide the CBSA and port officials with the resources they need to stop stolen cars from leaving the country.
    Specifically, we will increase mandatory sentences from six months to three years for a third car theft offence. Three car thefts will mean three years in prison. There will be far fewer thieves on the street if we do things right. We will get rid of the Netflix sentences and create a new specific aggravating factor when the offence is committed for the benefit of organized crime.
     Furthermore, just this morning, the leader of the Conservative Party was at the port of Montreal to announce other very important measures that the government could have implemented. Instead of holding a summit, it could have taken action. However, once again it chose to give car thieves free rein and keep car owners in Montreal and in the regions living in fear of having their cars stolen at any time.
     Today we announced we are going to fire the useless management consultants at the CBSA and use that money to fix our federal ports. We are going to invest in state-of-the-art X-ray scanners that can be used to quickly scan containers at the four federal ports of Montreal, Vancouver, Prince Rupert and Halifax. We are going to hire a special team of customs officers to use the scanners and intercept stolen cars so they do not leave the country. We are going to hire 75 CBSA officers to secure our federal ports.
     We will do all that while adhering to our policy of saving one dollar for every dollar spent, particularly by saving money on the infamous ArriveCAN app, which cost $54 million. If they had invested that $54 million in customs rather than in an app that does not work, we would not be in this situation today. That sums up this Prime Minister's record over the past eight years.

  (1035)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, could my colleague explain why, when I was in the Manitoba legislature and Stephen Harper was the prime minister, the province of Manitoba hit record highs in terms of automobile theft?
    We are talking significant numbers. In fact, they were the highest in Canada for something like 10 consecutive years. They continued to be high well after 2007. It was not until the province actually started to take tangible actions in working with Ottawa that we saw the numbers go down.
    Would the member not agree that, like for Stephen Harper, there is an obligation to work with provincial jurisdictions and other stakeholders to ensure that we minimize the number of victims and deal with the issue? Would he not acknowledge that?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, is there anyone in this government who will ever take responsibility for their actions and decisions?
     The Liberals have been in power for eight years. In those eight years, the rate of violent gun crime has surged. In Canada, in 2022 alone, the rate jumped by 9%. Approximately 14,000 violent crimes were committed with the aid of a firearm in this country in 2022, which breaks down to 36.7 crimes of this type per 100,000 inhabitants. That is 8.9% higher than in 2021.
     In Gatineau, just on the other side of the river, the number of violent crimes rose by 76% in one year. That is unacceptable.
     Meanwhile, all the Liberals are doing is once again trying to find other people to blame for their inaction.
     We, the Conservatives, have a plan. We will take action to fight auto theft and stop the crime.
    Madam Speaker, obviously, the Bloc Québécois agrees there is a serious auto theft problem. However, this is not the only problem right now.
     There is an argument behind the Conservative motion, but it lacks a certain intellectual rigour. For example, it says the law arising from Bill C-5 is largely responsible for the surge in auto thefts, yet Bill C‑5 only received royal assent on November 17, 2022.
     I would like my colleague to explain how Bill C‑5 can be the reason auto thefts have surged since 2015 when Bill C‑5 was not even in force at the time.

  (1040)  

    Madam Speaker, the Bloc Québécois just has a tendency to support the Liberal Prime Minister.
     The Bloc Québécois voted for the Liberal law arising from Bill C-75, which allows car thieves to be released on bail the same day they are arrested. The thieves are arrested, but the next day, they are free to start stealing again.
     The Bloc Québécois also voted for Bill C-5, which allows car thieves to serve their sentence at home, watching Netflix in the comfort of their living room.
     The Bloc Québécois does not want a solution that will stop criminals and stop auto theft. They proved it when they voted with the government for Bill C‑75 and Bill C‑5.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, one thing at issue here is the fact that Conservatives have historically cut CBSA infrastructure. Detector dogs were reduced under their administration. The teams that worked with the United States, in terms of being proactive, were reduced by Conservatives. They implemented a new training program that did not hire workers until they had spent 18 weeks away from their families, getting $125 a week just to be trained for a potential job. Therefore, we are short thousands of workers.
    They mention five workers in the port of Montreal in their motion. Why do they not specifically outline what they will do for the CBSA officers they refer to as “agents”, who do not get the respect they deserve and do not have the infrastructure to stop the vehicles from being stolen?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I can see the NDP is confused, because, during the Harper years, it was indeed less costly and there was less crime. Crime did not pay during the time of Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
     I can see the NDP has trouble understanding this, but we Conservatives have decided to act. We will continue. We will stop the crime and take steps to reduce auto theft in this country.
     Car owners will be able to sleep easy. The first thing they do in the morning will no longer be to look outside to see if their car is still where they parked it.

[English]

Points of Order

Oral Questions  

[Points of Order]
    Madam Speaker, I rise to bring the attention of the Speaker to a very unfortunate incident that happened in Oral Questions yesterday in response to the Leader of the Opposition's very measured policy-oriented question, which I will read right now to provide some context:
    Mr. Speaker, the advice is to axe the tax, build the homes, fix the budget and stop the crime.
    The Prime Minister is not worth the cost and not worth the crime. We now are paying a billion dollars more in insurance premiums because he has led to a quadrupling of car thefts in Toronto.
     I have a common-sense plan, which I rolled out today, to end house arrest and catch and release for career criminals, and bring in three years of jail for three stolen cars.
     Will the government accept the common-sense plan?
    It was very focused on actual policy. No personal attack or insult at all was contained in that question.
    The Minister of Justice, though, used an extremely unparliamentary word in his response. It was not captured in Hansard, but it was captured on the audio. At the end of his response, the Minister of Justice called the Leader of the Opposition “an effing tool”.
    This comes from a government that loves to lecture everybody else about raising the level of debate, decorum and civility. Once again, we see Liberal hypocrisy on full display. The Minister of Justice completely lost his cool, lost his temper and hurled that offensive insult in this place, in the House of Commons.
    The Speaker has issued several rulings in the last few weeks where he has indicated that he is going to try to address these types of comments made in the House. I ask the Speaker to examine the audio. It is clearly audible for all to hear. This offensive, unparliamentary remark needs to be withdrawn, and the minister needs to apologize.
    I want to thank the hon. official opposition House leader for his intervention. We will certainly look into this and, if need be, come back to the House with the appropriate remedy.

Business of Supply

Opposition Motion—Auto Theft  

[Business of Supply]
    The House resumed consideration of the motion.
    Madam Speaker, I want to begin by thanking the opposition and my colleague, the member for Edmonton Mill Woods, for presenting a motion with respect to auto theft, because it will give the government yet another opportunity to demonstrate our leadership on this important matter.
    Obviously, we share the concerns raised by members in the debate so far today about vehicle theft in Canada. In fact, it is nice to see colleagues on all sides of the aisle agreeing on something for once.
     As the Minister of Public Safety, protecting Canadians and their safety is at the very heart of my work every day. In pursuit of that goal, we have, as a government, passed historic gun control legislation to keep communities safe from deadly weapons. We have invested in policing and border services to crack down on crime across the country. We have bolstered our borders themselves to go after illegal smuggling, and further investments in both the Border Services Agency and the RCMP will be forthcoming.
    This effort is about tackling the threat of organized crime to keep people safe and do so in a way that will actually solve problems like auto theft. It is this government that takes a thoughtful and effective approach to protecting Canadians, their families, our neighbourhoods and our businesses. We pursue solutions that work, ones that are grounded in evidence and collaboration, solutions that do not just sound tough on crime but actually are. We are taking that approach to the issue of auto theft.
    Unlike the Conservative leader, who thinks he can score political points by playing into the fears of Canadians, we want to work with all colleagues and industry, police forces and the insurance industry on solutions that will be effective. We are working with police, car manufacturers, the insurance industry and provinces to solve this increasingly worrisome problem.
    Preventing and cracking down on auto theft starts by helping police enforce the laws to keep people safe. To that end, we are also working with border services, law enforcement communities in municipalities and provinces, the RCMP and stakeholders across the country to ensure that Canadians feel secure in their communities and are not subject to what is an increasingly violent incidence of automobile theft.
    Last week, along with my colleague, the Minister of Justice, and my colleagues from the Ontario caucus and Premier Doug Ford of Ontario, we announced another $121 million to prevent gang and gun violence and combat auto theft in the province of Ontario. These investments will support, in a concrete way, efforts to address gun and gang violence and deal with the linkages to serious organized crime.
     Later this week, as colleagues know, we are continuing to show leadership by bringing together federal ministers; our provincial counterparts; members of territorial and municipal governments; insurance providers; automobile manufacturers; port, rail and industry stakeholders; and leaders in law enforcement, which is important, including police leaders from some of Canada's biggest cities and provincial police forces, at a national summit on combatting auto theft to address this growing challenge in a collaborative and effective way.

  (1045)  

[Translation]

    We know that there is no one solution to such a complex problem. It is only through co-operation and joint efforts between governments, law enforcement and the industry, of course, that we will get the results that Canadians expect from us.

[English]

    Participants at this important summit will discuss the scope and scale of auto theft in Canada and how best to collaborate on concrete solutions and actions that will address, in a real way, this increasing challenge. Solid, clear plans will emerge from the meeting on Thursday, and we will continue to work collaboratively with our partners across the country.

  (1050)  

    We will work on a wide range of solutions, from prevention to detection, enforcement and vehicle recovery. As my colleague, the Minister of Justice, said in Toronto last week, we are open to legislative and regulatory changes as well.
    Auto theft is a complex challenge that increasingly involves links to organized crime, including transnational organized crime. For solutions to be effective, they need to focus on preventing crime before it starts, cracking down on bad actors by ensuring law enforcement has all the resources it needs and developing better means of tracking and recovering stolen vehicles. These efforts start from a federal perspective with the RCMP and the Canada Border Services Agency, or CBSA.

[Translation]

    These federal agencies are looking at every possible solution, in collaboration with the Department of Justice, the Department of Innovation and Transport Canada and, of course, with the local and provincial police forces, car manufacturers and the insurance sector, to see how we all can work together on quickly reducing car thefts, which are causing so much grief and concern among Canadians.
    The fight against auto theft also calls for deterrence and intervention at every step of the process.

[English]

    From the factories that manufacture vehicles to insurance and security system upgrades, to the moment the crime occurs, we are pursuing effective solutions to prevent crime but also to hold accountable those who perpetrate these crimes. We are addressing the life cycle itself of that stolen car: fraudulent car ownership transfers; the movement of that stolen vehicle on roads or railways; and ultimately, in many cases, the export of that vehicle abroad from our ports.
    Although criminal investigations for auto theft are led by the police of jurisdiction in the community where the theft takes place, we are actively supporting these important partners in their efforts to combat these crimes. The RCMP is working with the Ontario Provincial Police and the Sûreté du Québec in supporting provincial strategies that tackle this challenge, and is also supporting other local and municipal police forces in their efforts.
    The RCMP plays a number of roles in helping to combat auto theft across the country. The RCMP works as the police of jurisdiction, and coming from New Brunswick I know this very well, in hundreds of communities as well. This means that it is responsible for investigating reports of crime, including auto theft.
     Under contract to provincial and municipal authorities, the RCMP members who work in these communities across the country do exceptional work.
    Second, the RCMP is responsible for federal policing. This is a core responsibility that is carried out in every province and territory across the country, and internationally as well. Under its federal policing mandate, the RCMP combats threats to Canada from transnational and organized criminal groups. These groups are increasingly benefiting from auto theft, and the RCMP is going after them in a very significant way.
    As part of these crucial efforts, the RCMP works with international and domestic partners to dismantle criminal groups and disrupt illegal markets, leveraging operational partnerships it has with small municipal police forces, larger regional police forces and, in the case of Ontario and Quebec, the important provincial police forces.

  (1055)  

    Last, the RCMP is responsible for information sharing so that law enforcement officers across the country have the tools they need to go after criminals. Through the National Police Services, tools and databases essential for law enforcement agencies are available across the country to deter and investigate criminal activity, including automobile theft.
    For example, the RCMP hosts the Canadian Police Information Centre. This is a key national information sharing system, one that is used by police every minute of the day.

[Translation]

    The RCMP also heads the Criminal Intelligence Service Canada Central Bureau and supports the efforts to reduce the damage caused by organized crime by providing criminal intelligence products and services, including on auto theft. The bureau informs its partners, the government and other stakeholders about the criminal markets in Canada and helps those in charge of law enforcement to make decisions regarding the priorities for fighting organized crime.

[English]

    At the border, the Canadian Border Services Agency is working closely with domestic and international partners to ensure we are disrupting criminal activity, including the export of stolen vehicles as well. This includes working in partnership with local police, provincial police, responding to intelligence reports and intelligence sources that the CBSA receives from these police forces, to intercept and interrupt shipments that may contain stolen vehicles.
    I visited the Port of Montreal a couple of weeks ago to see first-hand the important work being done by the men and women who work for CBSA in this essential work to protect Canadians.

[Translation]

    Through a variety of partnerships, we are actively contributing to joint efforts in the areas hardest hit by auto theft. We will continue to work across party lines to ensure we stay on top of this growing problem in communities across Canada and, of course, to combat the damaging impact it is having on Canadians.

[English]

    We look forward to the discussions later this week and to the identification of concrete and effective actions that all governments can take to ensure that everything is being done and brought to bear to deal with what is understandably a source of concern to Canadians across the country, the rising level of automobile theft.

[Translation]

    In closing, auto theft is a complex problem with no simple or single solution. We must all work together to address this challenge. I look forward to hearing from my colleagues in the House of Commons throughout the day, as well as the comments we will all hear later this week.
    We will continue to do whatever it takes to protect Canadians and prevent these auto thefts that are causing so many headaches. I can assure my colleagues that I am very pleased to have the opportunity to discuss this important issue in the House of Commons today.
    Madam Speaker, it is always interesting to listen to the minister's speeches.
    He is a well-known parliamentarian and well established here in the House, as well as in his riding and his province. Speaking of his province, New Brunswick, we know it is one of the places where, unfortunately, this auto theft scourge is the most glaring and devastating. We are talking about an increase of more than 120% in New Brunswick since this government was elected. Moncton has seen an increase in auto theft of over 190%.
    Let us come a bit closer to home, in the province of Quebec. The minister said that a few days ago he went to visit the people working at the port of Montreal. That is great. He was impressed by the quality of the work. We too have been there. The problem is that there is quite a shortage of workers.
    Could the minister tell us whether having five people work at the port of Montreal to analyze the content of the cargo is enough?
    Madam Speaker, obviously, I commend my colleague for his parliamentary service in the House of Commons and previously in the Quebec National Assembly. I am fully aware of the statistics that my colleague gave about the number of cars stolen in my province of New Brunswick and in Moncton. I do not disagree at all with the numbers that my colleague provided. That is why we are working to get those numbers down, since they are obviously alarming.
    However, I do want to correct my colleague on something. I know that it has often been said that there are five border officers at the port of Montreal who are working to stop the export of stolen vehicles. That is not at all the case. As I said, I went there myself and I saw that there are a lot more than five assigned to that task. We are working with the Montreal city police and the Sûreté du Québec, and we will continue to deploy the personnel needed to do this work.

  (1100)  

    Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to know that my colleague has convened a national summit to take place later this week to address this important topic.
    Still, I would really like to know what the government, what the Minister of Public Safety did before that. Auto theft has always existed. However, since 2021 and 2022 it has skyrocketed. Police services themselves have created a special squad, an initiative led by the Montreal police service, or SPVM, with the Longueuil police service, the Sûreté du Québec and the RCMP.
     Did the government participate in these efforts? Did it fund these initiatives? What has it done in the past few years to combat this scourge? What does it want to see come out of its summit? I have a specific question. Last week, I heard on the radio that the chief of the SPVM was not invited to this summit. Let us keep in mind that Montreal is a major hub. Has the government rectified the situation?
    Madam Speaker, I believe that on Thursday my colleague will take part in the summit with us. I will be very happy to work with her.
     One of the things we did when we came to power was restore the jobs that were lost as a result of the major cuts inflicted by Mr. Harper’s previous government, for instance at the Canada Border Services Agency, where 1,000 jobs were eliminated. Half the jobs of officers who worked in criminal intelligence at border services were cut by the Conservative Government. That is why it is ironic that today the Conservatives are talking about investing in our law enforcement services.
     I spoke to Minister Bonnardel from Quebec, who will also be with us on Thursday, and I will continue to work with him. The chiefs of police in the major cities are of course invited on Thursday. I am eager to hear their suggestions. We are going to invest more in border services and the RCMP so that they can be the best partners possible.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, the history of the culture and how we treat our workers at CBSA is terrible. The government has not improved it very much. In fact, there has been a constant problem with getting proper collective agreements on time. They are done just as the window of the agreement is done and they have to go back to negotiations.
    We are short thousands of workers; some during COVID and even before. On top of that, the government would not even give vaccinations to our frontline workers, despite them being on the front line every single day. I think it comes from a culture. I would like to offer the minister an opportunity to apologize. The member Derek Lee from Scarborough—Rouge River got up in this chamber and called our CBSA officers “wimps”. The Liberals have never apologized for that.
    I would like the minister to apologize for that or have we gotten past that point from the minister? Are they wimps or not?
    Madam Speaker, I was not aware of that comment by our former colleague in this place.
    I can tell the member that my interactions with frontline CBSA officers have been extraordinarily positive. I have had an opportunity, with senior officials in Ottawa, to visit a number of CBSA facilities in the short time I have been Minister of Public Safety, including at the Port of Montreal as recently as a few weeks ago.
    They are men and women who dedicate themselves to doing difficult work to keep Canadians safe, and intercept the importation of drugs and guns that have done so much damage in our cities and right across the country. Obviously, they are turning their attention to the export of stolen vehicles because one of the best ways we can work with local and regional police is to also bring a choke point at the end, as 60% of the vehicles stolen are, in fact, exported from Canada.

  (1105)  

    Madam Speaker, I thought it was somewhat interesting. To the best of my knowledge, it was not until the minister actually announced that we were going to be having this automobile theft summit that the leader of the Conservative Party started to ask questions about the issue of auto theft in Canada.
    I know it has been a concern for the government for a while now and we are addressing it through the summit. There is a lot of emphasis on border controls and theft that leads to the export of vehicles, but there is also a lot of local joyriding around automobile theft.
    Can he provide the House a better sense of what they will be looking at during the summit?
    Madam Speaker, I thank the parliamentary secretary for the work he has done in his home province of Manitoba and the city of Winnipeg to collaborate with local law enforcement, police and border services to bring every attention to bear on what, as he noted in an earlier intervention, has been a problem there for a long time.
    The Canada Border Services Agency intercepted over 1,800 stolen vehicles in 2023 alone. Our government has invested to restore the more than thousand jobs that were cut from border services by the previous Conservative government. We have added 800 more officers above those who had been cut, whose jobs we restored, under that Conservative government.
    We will continue to invest in the RCMP and border services so they can partner with local and provincial police forces to really do what is necessary to reduce the number of vehicles stolen in a significant way. Concrete outcomes and action plans are are going to come from the meeting in a few days in Ottawa.
    Madam Speaker, as we are debating this issue that has hit so many Canadians and has been a source of real concern across the country, and mentioning who should get credit for raising it first, it occurs to me that the hon. minister might have a comment.
    It seems to me that where we began to see some traction on the issue was not from a political party, but the investigative journalism of the CBC in finding that these car rings were taking vehicles from driveways in Canada and putting them on container ships. That is where I first saw this. Therefore, I thank the CBSA agents and the police, but I also want to thank the CBC for shining the light on this.
    Madam Speaker, obviously we share the view of my friend from Saanich—Gulf Islands on the importance of investigative journalism. It is a public broadcaster that is well financed and has the resources necessary to do the work in a democracy, which is essential for all of us.

[Translation]

     We saw that with programs such as Enquête, for example, Radio-Canada has done a really good job of drawing the attention of all Canadians to the problems associated with organized crime in Canada. I agree with my colleague on how important it is that Canadians understand the magnitude of the problem. Our job, of course, is to put all the essential resources and effort required into fighting organized crime.
    Madam Speaker, I am delighted to have the opportunity to elaborate on this subject. As I was saying earlier, the Conservatives are finally paying attention. They now realize that this is an important topic and that it might be a good idea to add it to their arsenal of election slogans.
    As my colleague from Saanich—Gulf Islands was saying a little earlier, it is true that investigative journalism brought this problem to our attention a few months ago. There are also organizations that come to Ottawa to tell us about certain issues and raise awareness about them.
    Last April, I met with people from the Corporation des concessionnaires automobiles du Québec and the Canadian Automobile Dealers Association and they talked to me about this. It is wrong to say that they do not care about this phenomenon because they make money and they will be able to sell a car if a customer has theirs stolen, since they are reimbursed by the insurance company. It is not true that they do not care, because they are here in Ottawa to talk to us about it. They want the government to do something about this problem.
     I first became interested in the subject a few months ago. I met with global car manufacturers, who also spoke to me about it. In October, following the feature story aired in J.E, a television program on TVA, and after the numerous news reports of the Journal de Montréal’s investigations bureau, I announced that I was going to move a motion at the public safety and national security committee. I talked to my colleagues about it, because we often see members of certain parties come totally out of left field with a motion on any given subject, thinking everyone is going to accept it as is. It is important to discuss these things with colleagues first and to make them aware of the issue. That is how I came to talk to my Conservative colleagues about the auto theft problem. They seemed to be very interested. When I moved the motion, all parties voted in favour of it. Everyone had a story to tell, everyone had a friend or colleague who had their vehicle stolen. A Conservative colleague even told me that he personally had his car stolen. There was definitely a consensus that this was something we should look into as soon as possible.
     At the public safety and national security committee, we were looking at Bill C-20. That was significantly delayed by the Conservative Party for reasons we may or may not be aware of. The same thing is happening now with Bill C-26. The process has been delayed, and our committee agenda has us looking at the bill on auto theft after that. I do not really understand why the Conservatives are trying to delay this study as much as possible, when they are making it a priority today by talking about it. If it were that important to them, they would be working hard on the public safety and national security committee to finally get it done.
     With today’s motion, they may be trying to get material for pre-election, or even election, slogans, because we get the impression that the Conservative Party may already be on the campaign trail. The Bloc Québécois did not get the memo. The Conservatives’ new slogan is in today’s motion, which states, “after eight years of soft on crime policies, this Prime Minister has created the auto theft crisis”. Who knew? The Prime Minister himself created the auto theft crisis. He sure has broad shoulders. I am not saying this to defend him. It is true that the Liberals have not done much in recent years to combat this problem. However, that the Prime Minister single-handedly created the crisis is something we cannot take very seriously.
     I would even go so far as to say that the entire argument laid out in the Conservatives’ motion is completely disconnected from reality, despite the fact that the problem is all too real. If one looks at the problem with a minimum of seriousness, it is immediately clear that the COVID 19 pandemic in 2020 caused significant disruptions in the logistics chain around the world. One of the most hard-hit sectors was the industry producing the semiconductors needed for all microprocessors. The microprocessor shortage led to a worldwide reduction in auto manufacturing, which made demand go up. This increased the cost of used vehicles. Crime gangs jumped on the opportunity and quickly specialized in car theft and shipment to other markets. This was already happening on a smaller scale, but the pandemic and the impact it had on supply chains accelerated the phenomenon. Because of its geographical location, Montreal became an auto theft hub.
     Why was that? Because Montreal is home to the largest port in eastern Canada that provides access to the rest of the world. Of course other ports are involved as well, such as those in Halifax and Vancouver. However, these ports have not been as affected as the port of Montreal. It is truly a gateway, a hub. As I was saying, the pandemic exacerbated the situation but, on top of that, new technological developments have made auto theft more appealing.

  (1110)  

     For example, consider the increasingly frequent use of smart keys, which make it easier to steal vehicles. Several news reports have shown how thieves go about it. All they have to do is use a relay to amplify the signal of a smart key inside a house by standing next to the front door. With an accomplice, the thief can then open the car door and start the engine.
     They can also connect a computer to the onboard diagnostic port in the car, which enables them to use another key. All they have to do then is force open the door.
     It is child’s play for people who know what they are doing.
     In Montreal, as in the rest of the country, we have seen people using Denver boots or steering wheel locks to make it harder for thieves to steal their car. I say harder, because thieves have found other ways to remove these devices and leave with a car in no time at all.
    This phenomenon is truly becoming a scourge, especially in Quebec and in Montreal. Auto theft has increased over the years. According to Équité Association, roughly 70,000 vehicles were stolen in Canada in 2022. That is huge. Between 2021 and 2022, the number of thefts increased by 50%, or half, in Quebec, by nearly half in Ontario, or 48%, by 34% in Atlantic Canada, and by 18% in Alberta. 2022 was a record year for auto theft. The numbers are not yet known for 2023, but by all indications auto theft has increased yet again.
    The reported losses are in the billions of dollars for insurers, and we have seen premiums go up for ordinary people. Le Journal de Montréal reported that between 2012 and 2022, the average car insurance premium increased by 50% as well. This increase is in part tied to auto theft.
    Given these facts, one of the questions we need to ask ourselves is why there is this growing interest in auto theft.
    It must be said that auto theft is one of the easiest and least risky sources of revenue for gangs, which then use part of the proceeds to finance other criminal activities, such as gun trafficking and human trafficking. Those are the two reasons. It is easy and low-risk.
    I explained earlier why it is easy. One reason it is so low-risk is that sentences are so light. In an article in La Presse, Jacques Lamontagne, director of investigations for Quebec and the Atlantic region at Équité Association and a retired Montreal police force criminal investigator, explained—

  (1115)  

[English]

    There are a couple of conversations going on in the House and the sound levels are rising. I would just ask members, if they want to have those conversations, to maybe step outside. Otherwise, they may want to listen because they may want to ask questions of or make comments to the hon. member who is delivering a speech right now.
    The hon. member for Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia.

[Translation]

    Thank you, Madam Speaker.
    I was just saying that this man, Jacques Lamontagne, is a seasoned professional and he said the following:
    There are more legal consequences to crossing the border with four kilos of cocaine than with stolen vehicles. Both crimes pay big dividends [to criminal groups and] the criminal underworld. Young thugs run less of a risk if they steal a Jeep Wrangler than if they sell narcotics on the street....There's not much of a deterrent if people know that they'll probably be let off for a first [offence] or, at worst, serve four to six months for car theft compared to a sentence lasting years for selling illicit substances.
    I will return to Mr. Lamontagne's use of the term “young thugs”. The phenomenon is fairly widespread. Crime gangs often use young people who often have no criminal record and are sometimes minors. They are asked to steal cars or transport illegal guns because the punishment for first offences is rarely harsh. It is a kind of strategy that these people use. I am not saying that the thieves should not go to prison, but I think that we need to focus primarily on going after these criminal gangs and their leaders.
    Where the Conservative Party goes wrong is in assuming that this entire crisis was created by the Prime Minister himself and by lax policies, like Bill C-5, as the Conservatives are claiming.
    The motion specifically calls on the government to "immediately reverse changes the Liberal government made in their soft on crime Bill C-5 that allows for car stealing criminals to be on house arrest instead of jail.” Reading the motion, it is clear that the Conservatives are trying to link the increase in auto theft since 2015 to Bill C-5. As my colleague mentioned earlier, Bill C-5 received royal assent at the very end of 2022. I have no idea how the Conservatives came to the conclusion that Bill C-5 is to blame, since auto theft has been increasing since 2015. I do not think there is one simple explanation. The Conservatives are trying to find simple solutions to complicated problems. They say that this Prime Minister has been in office since 2015, so he is responsible for all of society's problems. Again, I am not defending the Prime Minister, but at some point, members have to put forward serious arguments.
    Contrary to Conservative claims, Bill C‑5 did not do away with minimum sentences for auto theft. Subsection 333.1(1) of the Criminal Code provides for a minimum sentence of six months in the case of a third offence. The Conservatives may well say that is not enough, but there is one major problem with their assertion. Are they aware that subsection 333.1(1) was added to the Criminal Code by the Conservatives themselves in 2010 via Bill S‑9? If they now find that that is not enough, they have only themselves to blame.
    In this motion, the Conservatives also say that Bill C‑5 allowed for conditional sentences for auto theft. These are also known as house arrest, or what the Conservative leader likes to call Netflix sentences. It is true that the Liberals repealed subparagraph 742.1(f)(vii), which prevented conditional sentencing for auto theft. However, the other paragraphs in section 742.1 set out conditions for conditional sentencing: The court must be convinced that there is no risk to society, and the term of imprisonment must be less than two years. The judge may also impose any conditions they deem necessary. In other words, there is nothing preventing a judge from saying no to a conditional sentence. A judge should be able to exercise judgment. The Conservatives are assuming judges are not capable of doing that.
    A conditional sentence cannot be imposed for a sentence of two years or more, so it is not an option in the most serious cases, because the maximum sentence is actually 10 years.
    The Conservatives are also forgetting that there is always a bail hearing to determine whether an offender can be released while awaiting trial. Unless there are aggravating factors, it is rare for a person to remain in jail while awaiting trial for auto theft. In other words, the Conservatives' claim that criminals are being caught and and then immediately released because of Bill C‑5 is unfounded, because that was happening long before Bill C‑5 came into force.
    Once again, it is up to the judge to decide whether an offender should be kept in jail while awaiting trial and what conditions the offender must meet, especially since, as I mentioned earlier, criminals often use minors because they are handed lesser sentences.
    I agree with the Conservatives about one thing in every case. Part of the problem is that Ottawa has done absolutely nothing to control auto theft. Under the current conditions, even life in prison will not act as a deterrent, because the federal government is doing absolutely nothing to monitor the port of Montreal, where criminals can easily ship stolen vehicles overseas. I will come back to that later.
    However, I want to close by talking about the second part of the Conservative motion, which seeks to “strengthen Criminal Code provisions to ensure repeat car stealing criminals remain in jail”.

  (1120)  

    Once again, it was the Conservatives who created a specific offence for auto theft, with their Bill S‑9 and section 333.1 in 2010. If they believe that sentences are not long enough, they have only themselves to blame.
    The Conservative leader proposed that a third offence be punishable by three years in prison instead of the six months set out in the Criminal Code. The current six-month sentence in the Criminal Code was a Conservative initiative. What the Conservative Party is proposing today are changes to measures it put in place when it was in power.
    The Conservative leader is also talking about eliminating house arrest, or conditional sentences, for thieves. As I said, a sentence of two years or more already cannot be served at home. That said, Bill C-5 did allow judges to impose house arrest if they deemed it appropriate, but not automatically, as the Conservatives like to claim. However, the bill did not make any changes to release pending trial.
     Let us make one thing clear: The Bloc Québécois is entirely open to revising the Criminal Code to deal with auto theft. That is what the Montreal police department wants as well. This time, they believe that new sections should be added concerning the export of stolen vehicles and that there should be stricter penalties for ring leaders. I think that might be a good solution. I imagine that will come out in the discussions at the national summit on Thursday.
     The last proposal in the Conservative motion concerns the Canada Border Services Agency, or CBSA, and the export of stolen vehicles. It asks that the CBSA be provided with the resources it needs to prevent auto theft in Canada. I could not agree more with this proposal.
     I spoke about this a few months ago. I think that the CBSA, which is under federal jurisdiction, needs to do more. Some people say that it does not have the resources it needs to do more right now, that it is short on labour and funds. They need to figure out what the problem is. Clearly, the CBSA is not doing enough right now.
     I spoke about auto theft and how thieves steal vehicles; that is the first step. The second step is exporting the vehicles. Like auto theft, shipping the vehicles out of the country is practically risk free. Clearly, for criminal gangs, it means higher costs and more organization, but it seems to be going well when you look at what is happening at the port of Montreal. That is because it is a sieve.
     Around 700,000 containers leave the port of Montreal every year. According to the Customs and Immigration Union, only 1% of all containers are searched. According to the Montreal Port Authority, or MPA, the law does not allow employees or the port authority to open a container unless a person's life is in danger or there is a serious environmental hazard. According to the port's director of communications, when the containers arrive at the port, it is already too late to do anything. The containers remain sealed unless law enforcement intervenes for a specific reason. They need a warrant to open them, so they need reasonable grounds.
    Police forces have access to the port and can intervene. However, they do not patrol there because the MPA already has its own security guards. The MPA does not intervene because the police can do it and the police do not intervene because the MPA has its own security guards, so that is just great.
    As for customs, the CBSA is responsible for controlling goods for export. CBSA agents can open containers. However, in October, we learned from the Journal de Montréal that there are only five border agents to inspect the containers in Montreal, which makes the task practically impossible. Yes, the CBSA is responsible for overseeing exports, but its mandate is more focused on imports. It also needs to look at what is coming into the country. That is understandable. Do changes need to be made to the CBSA's mandate to ensure that exports are better monitored? I think that is something we need to think about.
    Another reason why it is easy to export stolen cars is that anyone can rent a container by filling out a simple online declaration form for the shipping company. We could do it without any problem, just as a small business could. Anyone can change their form up to 48 hours after shipping, so that obviously makes it possible for thieves to cover their tracks once the goods are already on their way to Europe, the Middle East or Africa.
    Finally, criminals use numbered companies to fill out those forms. They often use the same or similar serial numbers to defraud the CBSA on their export declaration form.

  (1125)  

    It should be easy for the Canada Border Services Agency to spot, easy to see that a vehicle serial number comes up repeatedly. At least, Le Journal de Montréal was able to do just that and identify the issue using a simple Excel document. However, for some unknown reason, it seems too difficult for the CBSA.
    As early as the fall of 2015, an Auditor General's report stated that export control at the border is ineffective and that only one in five high-risk containers was inspected. Now, we are being told that there are almost no inspections and that, even when there is a concern that there may be high-risk contents, only one container in five is searched and checked. It is easy to understand why there are a huge number of stolen vehicles passing through the port of Montreal without anyone noticing.
    I asked the customs union to come testify before the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security on Bill C‑21. The union told us that a lot of illegal or stolen material is shipped in containers that travel in and out of Canada not only by water, but also by train, and that the agency performs almost no inspections. At the time, the government dismissed the criticism out of hand, saying that it did not consider this information important.
    What Le Journal de Montréal's investigative bureau reported, in a nutshell, is that only five officers at the Port of Montreal conduct searches. They rely on a temperamental cargo scanner that is constantly breaking down. The agency refuses to second an investigator to a special stolen vehicle export squad. The same serial numbers come up again and again. Critical information is not being forwarded to port services or police in a timely manner, and the agency apparently omits to report high-risk containers to its partners.
    We see that many organizations are involved, but, despite that, nothing is getting done.
    I would be very pleased to answer my colleagues' questions and I hope the summit being held next week will contribute to finding solutions to address this scourge.
    Madam Speaker, Canada was known as a safe country, but after eight years of Liberals and other parties that support them, such as the NDP and the Bloc, we are seeing an incredible increase in all sorts of crime, including auto theft. In Montreal, we have seen an increase of 100%. Everyone is paying the price. We are paying more for our automobile insurance.
    Will the Bloc Québécois vote in favour of our common-sense motion to protect Canadians, including Quebeckers?

  (1130)  

    Madam Speaker, one thing I really like about the Conservative motion is that it says we need to provide the Canada Border Services Agency with the resources it needs to operate. Something in the earlier discussions caught my attention. Liberal Party members said the Conservatives cut CBSA's budget when they were in power.
    Why is there one single officer stationed at the Port of Montreal to conduct searches? Is it because of the Conservatives' budget cuts, I wonder?
    Anyway, today they have changed their minds and they want to do more, but maybe they should not blame one government for this whole crisis when the previous government essentially did nothing or actually helped worsen the crisis.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, the member opposite spoke a bit about the Conservative approach to finding solutions to this challenge and referred to those solutions as simplistic. Does she believe that the Conservatives' position on how to go forward in finding solutions actually would result in some real solutions in the long term to take on this issue?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I am concerned, and I do not think I am the only one. Most of my colleagues and the people in our ridings are concerned to see the Conservatives proposing such simple solutions to problems that are always a bit more complex. We need to take the time to analyze the situation. As my colleague said so well earlier, the argument behind the Conservatives' motion lacks intellectual rigour.
     Auto theft is obviously a big problem, and we want to do more to stop it. The Bloc Québécois has been talking about it for months and has been asking the government to do more. It is baffling that the police themselves have joined forces to do more, which in itself is a good thing, but that the federal government, which is responsible for the Canada Border Services Agency and the country's ports, is doing absolutely nothing.
     We need to examine the issue properly. There is going to be a summit, and that is good. As I was telling the minister earlier, I hope that the chiefs of Canada's major police forces will be invited, especially the Montreal police chief, because their organizations are already getting results when it comes to tracking down stolen vehicles.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, it is interesting that the Conservatives are now saying “Oh, get tough on crime,” yet when the Harper administration was in government, between 2010 and 2015, it cut close to $600 million from the RCMP budget and laid off 1,100 CBSA officers. To boot, on crime prevention, it underspent $28 million that had already been allocated. The Conservative leader now continues to call for cuts to the RCMP's budget, as well as to the CBSA's.
    The member talked about the port, and I absolutely agree. The federal government disbanded the port police in my riding back in 1997, and we have seen the fallout as a result of that.
    Would the member support what the NDP has been calling for all along, which is that the government should in fact ensure that the port police is restored?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, that is an interesting question. If we had been able to study the subject at the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, I think that my colleague from the NDP would have had a chance to tell me about that proposal.
     For months now, however, the Conservatives have been holding up our work so that we cannot get to it. I invited officials from the Port of Montreal. I invited police chiefs from the Montreal police force, the Sûreté du Québec and the RCMP to come talk to us about the situation and explain what they are doing. What should be restored at the ports? Why is there not enough surveillance?
     All of these questions are important, but the Conservatives refuse to let us discuss them. If not for their stalling tactics, we would already be having these discussions at the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security. It is unfortunate that they tell the media that they want to be tough on crime and stop auto theft but that, when it comes time to get to work here in the House of Commons, they balk.

  (1135)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, one of the things that are really interesting is the lack of training that is being provided for CBSA officers. Right now, people have to go through a recruitment process before they even get a job, and that is hard for women, who actually have to travel to one of two locations, away from their family members, including their children, for up to 18 weeks to get training to get into the service.
    I would ask the member if she would support reforming this process to make it more friendly for families and for workers who have children to actually get the training necessary, because we are short thousands of officers.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, what I can say is that some housecleaning is definitely in order at the Canada Border Services Agency.
    The Customs and Immigration Union has appeared before us a number of times and in a number of fora to underscore things that are happening that maybe should not be happening. Mr. Sabourin was recently in the gallery when the bill introduced by my colleague from Mirabel to protect whistle-blowers was passed. He had taken a stand and complained about what was going on at the Canada Border Services Agency, but no one believed him until a few months ago. While this may not be today's topic, I think it is important that we review what is going on at the Canada Border Services Agency, simply so that the people he mentioned are treated well.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, there has been a lot of discussion in the House on this important issue today. We have heard many comments about the Conservatives in past governments making cuts to mitigate the effectiveness of fighting auto crime, but we have also heard about the tactics they have used in the House and in the committee structure to stop the process of finding long-term solutions.
    The member hinted at some of the committee processes that have been taking place and how the Conservatives have delayed finding real solutions to this issue. Can she comment a bit more on what was really behind the delay tactics by the Conservatives?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, one of my Conservative colleagues was honest enough to tell me how he felt about this. These are tactics.
    The Bloc Québécois is an opposition party. As everyone knows, the Bloc Québécois will never come to power in Ottawa. We are here to represent the interests of Quebeckers. Even though the current government is not our favourite and we do not always agree with it, we try to study and improve each bill as much as possible and make gains for Quebeckers.
    My Conservative colleague told me that his party, as the official opposition, would oppose any bill introduced by the Liberal government to stop it from passing.
    The Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security is studying Bill C‑26 on cybersecurity, which is extremely important, and the Conservative Party is doing everything it can to delay it. The Conservatives always have an issue or a concern that is more urgent, or a motion to move. They are always filibustering, which is unfortunate. People elected us to do important work here in Ottawa, and we are being prevented from doing it because of these tactics. I want people who may be watching at home to realize this, but it is extremely difficult to get the message across.
    In any case, we in the Bloc Québécois continue to do our job, and we are very proud of that.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I am honoured to split my time with the member for New Westminster—Burnaby, which is a beautiful place in Canada. I appreciate the member's work on this file, along with that of several others. He has had a long tenure in the House, so I will be looking forward to his comments after mine.
    With regard to the Conservative motion in front of us, I come from Windsor, Ontario, which is the automotive capital of Canada. It is also a border crossing in Canada with a maximum volume of trade taking place. We have grown up with this as a part of our DNA in our area.
    In this debate today, I want to tackle not only a little about the auto industry, but also some of the CBSA elements that are being put forward in this motion. It is a bit emotional for me because, in my community, we have seen the struggle of, as well as the lack of support for, the workers, the men and women who are on the front line of protecting our country from the United States. The longest, undefended border in the world is between Canada and the United States. At the same time, there are some very bad people who have tried to cross over with some bad intentions. Some of them are our own citizens, while others are American citizens. These instances have significant consequences, as any border MP would know, from Hamilton to Fort Erie and Niagara Falls, to other parts of Canada, even out to the west coast. I want to refer to that a bit later.
    However, I want to point out one thing that we have not talked a lot about. We should not let the auto industry off for its lack of innovation in stopping auto theft. Billions of dollars have gone into the auto sector for innovations, and I have supported that because they are very important. At the same time, with the lack of a Canadian national auto policy, there is little we can do. There has been a carrot-and-stick approach to the issue.
    Looking at this historically, my father was an executive for Chrysler for much of his career. I remember the days when we heard debates on a number of different issues that were brought to the auto sector, and it refused to put in innovations. One of the most obvious ones from the history books was the issue of seat belts. Those in the auto sector actually resisted having them for many years. There were also auto makers who did not want to stop having smoking devices and smoking elements in their cars. There were others who had innovations in their vehicles that turned out to be bad for the public, such as headlights that would pop up and recess at different times.
    There have been a lot of great innovations and good things that have taken place within the auto sector, but the personal vehicle manufacturing industry does bear some responsibility. When there is massive public support to help transition this industry into a modern, safer place for all of us, then there is an expectation that public policy should be a part of that, and stopping auto thefts should also be a part of it. They have moved to automatic start devices as a competitive practice in the industry. At the same time, they have not kept up with the fact that someone can hack into these systems. There is a dual obligation in these matters.
    I have worked with the auto industry over a number of years. I am sure that, if we put proper pressure on it and responsibility afterward if it does not do that, then we would get some achievements to help Canadians. We have to remember that losing a vehicle is not just a financial crime. The vehicles can often be used for a theft during that moment, with other victims, along with other types of crime that take place. We have focused on this a lot.
     I am going to transition to the exportation issue because Canada has basically become a cottage industry for many of the organized crime elements that want to steal our vehicles to sell abroad. The reality is that auto theft in general has significant consequences, not for its individual crime, but for the subsequent crimes that take place once the vehicle is lifted.
     I mentioned the history of the men and women who serve on our border. I want people to picture what it is like to be at the border. I have a busy community where there are tens of thousands of people who cross every single day. When I was growing up, many times there would be a summer student, rather than a border officer, in the PIL booth that we pull up to. Sometimes, people had to borrow bulletproof vests because they did not have enough vests at the border for our workers. I remember those days.
    If one were to go to where they are right now, one would see that they are finally armed and have some support. In the past, they would have to rely on municipal, provincial or federal police forces when there were problems with Americans and others showing up with arms or other types of illegal weaponry, drugs and other things. We have to remember that, even under the best of circumstances, they could have somebody pulling up who is their friend, neighbour, family member, or somebody they know from their community who they are coaching soccer or hockey for. They have a job that is really hard in making sure that they do the proper scrutiny of every single person that crosses. They are making sure our country is safe.

  (1140)  

    That job is very much a strained job in many respects, and it does not get the support or understanding that it should. I believe this is what led to a famous quote in the House, for which I have yet to hear the Liberals officially apologize for, when Derek Lee called our border officers “wimps” because they walked off the job when armed Americans were coming. They had been identified as having criminal backgrounds, and border officers had to walk off because there were not proper supports at that time, even from law enforcement. This brought a lot of clarity to me on how far away this place is from the job that needs to be done at our borders to keep us safe.
    We have seen successive Liberal and Conservative governments not even finish out the terms of collective agreements before they have to start bargaining again. That is just one thing. What I am trying to impress upon this debate is that this is a cultural thing. We can talk about finally restoring some of the cuts that took place under the Conservative regime, such as when it cut the detector dogs or when it cut back on officers, or under the Liberals right now and the poor training program that has left us thousands of workers short. We are short 2,000 to 3,000 border service officers right now.
    We also have to change the culture of that organization itself, and it will be beneficial to hold a round table on that, but I wonder how much the union is being included in this.
    I was included in a town hall meeting in Montreal on gun violence when Ralph Goodale was public safety minister, and sadly, all those efforts went nowhere because the government never followed up on the meeting. The subsequent government did not either.
    When we talk about the specifics of what is taking place in Montreal, there are some very specific issues that can be resolved. It has limited space and a current team that consists of eight officers who look at the exportation of vehicles and whether vehicles are stolen or not. There are vehicles properly being exported and others that are not, and there is a limited number of officers looking at this. There is a fixation right now on making sure the imports are prioritized over the exports. Again, if we are putting the strain on the officers to get the vehicles out into our supply chain, we then need to reprioritize how we are doing it.
    The Conservative motion does not really give us a whole lot on that. We also know the Port of Montreal is short on space. That area is short on space, so the vehicles get stacked up, even the ones that have been found to be illegal. The workers then need to call in the Montreal police force to help get rid of them because they do not have the right equipment. I talked about the bulletproof vests needing to be shared among workers back in the day. In this situation, they do not even have a tow truck or the capability to clear out the space. Management has not done anything to increase the space available, so they have rented space to look at these exports. On top of that, there has been no solution to increase that space or for them to get their own space. People are left with very practical problems that create problems for the inspections.
    It is important to talk about the fact we have a management-heavy industry right in the CBSA culture and with hiring at the CBSA. In some areas, there are seven managers to six officers. There should be a better ratio of boots on the ground. The government has focused on the worst things it could focus on, such as the ArriveCAN app, where it focused on developing an app versus training officers. This is one of the worst things it could do.
    We need to stop looking at technology as being the only silver bullet in dealing with this situation. The problem is that the technology we do bring in is so often broken. Right now, there is screening and other types of equipment in Montreal that had to be brought in from Windsor, Ontario, because the equipment in Montreal could not be fixed. If we are going to rely on technology, we need to have the proper and sustainable environment for it and we need to train the workers.
    I want to complete with a very important point, which is about the training of officers. Currently, one has to come in as a recruit who does not get paid. We need to start hiring, training and supporting those people. We need to be giving better opportunities for the training to take place so we can make getting boots on the ground a reality.

  (1145)  

    Madam Speaker, I want to talk about facts. In York region, car theft is up 200%. In 2023, there was 4,294 vehicles stolen. Violent crime is up 39%.
    I was out last weekend in my constituency visiting a couple of farms, and people are worried about creeping crime in my riding. They said to me that this country is just not the same anymore and that there is crime and chaos everywhere.
    I am going to cite the latest, which comes from an article in BradfordToday, which states that a suspect who was arrested twice in less than six hours faces multiple charges. Within six hours, he went from stealing one vehicle to stealing another vehicle. I wonder if my colleague can comment on that.
    Madam Speaker, I do not know about the validity of the statistics that were put before me, but the question, to me, is why the Conservatives voted against the RCMP and CBSA funding, and other initiatives, in the last budgetary moment. They created a special process in Parliament, where they itemized all of the votes. They specifically made us vote on those allocations that they now complain about, including those for prisons.
    That is a unique thing that I have not seen in my 20 years here. When we have done this before, one selects the things one supports and then one votes against the things one does not support. They voted against prison supports. They voted against RCMP supports. They voted against public safety supports. Why did they specifically create a parliamentary process to prove that they do not support those initiatives?

  (1150)  

    Madam Speaker, I have noticed that, over my last two years in the House, Conservatives use crime as a mechanism to anger Canadians.
    The simple fact is that, yes, crime has shifted in the last few years, but there is no question that Canada remains among the safest countries on the entire planet. In fact, there was a report that just came out for travellers in Canada, and it said that Canada was the safest country on the planet to travel to as a traveller.
    I wanted to maybe get a comment from the member. Does he believe that Conservatives are using crime as a way to create anger among Canadians to divide Canadians and pull more support to Conservatives?
    Madam Speaker, here is what we have: We have either aggressive behaviour with Conservatives using it as a hot-button issue, or we have what I would argue is passive aggressive behaviour with the Liberals, where they can create a summit and have all these meetings, just like the one I participated in that was related to gun violence and youth gangs, and then they not do anything about it.
    The reality is that we need action at the end of the day. Whether it is aggressive or passive aggressive, I do not really care. I just want to see action because Canadians deserve that.

[Translation]

    We have time for a brief question from the member for Longueuil—Saint-Hubert.
    Madam Speaker, I cannot make any promises.
    As the member mentioned, there is also a technology factor involved. I have never had my car stolen, but I have had things stolen out of my car three times in the past two years in my riding. My key hangs two feet behind the door, and thieves hack the signal.
    It seems to me that these technologies are quite advanced. They can be hacked. I cannot believe that no one can develop a system to block this signal, to prevent the system from being hacked. It is inconceivable to me that this is impossible. The member touched on this in his discussions with auto manufacturers. I wonder if he could tell us more about that.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, it would be really good to go back to the auto sector on this. They are launching vehicles with poorer technology for stopping auto theft.
    As for the member's experience, I am sorry to hear of that. I can tell members that, at different times, I have found my car broken into. I am just happy that they were just instances of people basically taking what they wanted and not vandalizing the rest.
    I have had other times where the windows have been smashed because they saw something. These things are not new. They have been happening for a long period of time, but the reality is that, with changing technology, and with the automation of vehicles starting remotely, we have not kept up with security, in how this is used to sell vehicles, maintain them and keep them in our driveways.
    Madam Speaker, in reality, as members know, we take the issue of auto theft very seriously. I want to start by saying that the NDP, unlike the two other parties, essentially has a five-point plan. I will be moving that amendment at the end of my speech, so that the Conservatives could incorporate elements that would actually make a difference in combatting auto theft. It is something that has impacted many Canadians across the country; my neighbourhood is no exception to that. The reality is that we see those numbers rising, and the Liberals have not done anything to combat auto theft.
    I note that the most current figures show an auto theft rate of 271 per 100,000 Canadians. That is 271 thefts for a population of 100,000 people. We do not want to go back to the days of the Harper regime, when the numbers were almost twice that. There were 487 thefts per 100,000, or 443 in some years. The five worst years, in terms of auto thefts over the last 15 years, were under the Harper regime. Therefore, the Conservatives need to learn a lesson from their very bad record in terms of the rate of auto theft that existed under the Harper Conservatives. How the Conservatives responded is illustrative of how important it is for the NDP voice in the House, as adults in the room, to actually bring forward very thoughtful policy.
    The reality is that the Harper regime cut $600 million from RCMP funding. Why would that even make sense when, as I mentioned, there was a high crime rate? Why would the Conservatives cut and slash to that extent? It does not make sense. However, it is not just that; it is that over 1,000 CBSA border officers were cut as well. Therefore, the Conservatives gutted the CBSA services at a time when, as we know, the crime syndicates were increasingly international in nature.
     There were cuts to the RCMP and cuts to the CBSA, but the most egregious cuts were to a program that ran across the country. It had a remarkable impact in British Columbia, and I worked very closely with it; that is the B.C. crime prevention centre, which invests in and works with local law enforcement to cut crime. We know that a dollar spent on crime prevention actually saves six dollars in policing costs, in court costs and in prison costs. Therefore, it is a remarkably effective investment. If the government invests in crime prevention in the country, it ends up achieving a lower crime rate, having fewer victims and, ultimately, saving money on policing, on prisons and on court costs.
     What did the Harper regime do? Conservatives have never stood in this House and explained why they did this, but they slashed crime prevention funding to the point where centres such as the B.C. crime prevention centre had to close. None of this makes any sense at all.
    If we go back to how Conservatives act now as opposed to how they acted when the Harper regime was in place, we see that we have to take action. For most of the years under Harper, the auto theft rate was higher than it is now. The Liberals have not taken action, and the NDP is pressing in this House of Commons that we adopt the five points we have raised. I hope to add them to the motion, if the Conservatives agree to act.
    The Conservatives had an opportunity to provide additional supports for the RCMP, for CBSA and for FINTRAC, and I am going to come back to that in a moment. The reality is that FINTRAC plays a role in cutting down the financial transactions that, internationally, allow the crime syndicates to prosper. What did Conservatives do? In December 2023, they proposed and voted to cut the CBSA by $23 million. CBSA is already underfunded. As I mentioned earlier, the Conservatives cut 1,100 positions when they were in government. What possible reason could Conservatives give for slashing the budget for CBSA?

  (1155)  

    There is more. In vote 76, they also voted to gut FINTRAC, which has the primary responsibility to actually track and catch those who are using the flow of money internationally to foster crime. Conservatives voted to cut that.
    Perhaps the most egregious votes were votes 103, 104 and 105. Conservatives voted to cut over $100 million from the RCMP. Conservatives would say that is a lot less than when we were in government and slashed $600 million.
     However, the reality is that, given their actions in December, their motion today shows huge hypocrisy, a contradiction that is difficult for any Conservative to defend. That is why they are choosing not to debate this in the House today. They are choosing not to respond to why they gutted the RCMP, CBSA and crime prevention programs, as well as why, over the last 15 years, they had the five worst years for auto theft. The Conservatives have not explained that or why they voted to cut FINTRAC, CBSA and the RCMP.

  (1200)  

[Translation]

     Let us see what the Conservatives do in the House on the issue of crimes that affect all Canadians, from New Westminster—Burnaby to Montreal and Saguenay. We know that there is an international crime ring that makes money by stealing vehicles. The Conservatives' answer at the time, when they were in power, was to make significant cuts to the RCMP's budget, reduce the services of the Canada Border Services Agency and apply budget cuts to every program intended to prevent crime. That is what the Conservatives do. Right now, they are talking about common sense, but their actions in the past made no sense at all. There is very clear evidence that we cannot rely on the Conservatives. They do exactly the opposite of what they themselves are proposing in this motion.
     To conclude, this is serious business. The Liberals have not acted as they should have. The Conservatives are contradicting themselves because they made budget cuts to all essential services aimed at preventing auto theft across Canada.

[English]

    As is our practice in the NDP caucus, as adults in the room, we are actually going to propose something that would mean real action to counter auto theft and take out the parts of the Conservative motion that are disinformation. I hope they agree to the following amendment.
    I move that the motion be amended by replacing the words “changes the Liberal government made in their soft on crime Bill C-5 that allows for car stealing criminals to be on house arrest instead of jail” with the words “cuts made to crime-prevention programs and to frontline border officers made by the previous Conservative government”, and adding the following after paragraph (c): “(d) require auto manufacturers to improve security features in the cars they sell”, and “(e) put in place tough new measures to crack down on organized crime and money laundering linked to auto thefts.”
    This is actually a five-point plan that would make a difference in auto thefts. We certainly hope that the Conservatives accept this amendment, which would fight auto theft in Canada.
    It is my duty to inform hon. members that an amendment to an opposition motion may be moved only with the consent of the sponsor of the motion, or in the case that he or she is not present, consent may be given or denied by the House leader, the deputy House leader, the whip or the deputy whip of the sponsored party.
    Since the sponsor is not present in the Chamber, I ask the acting whip if he consents to the amendment being moved.
    The hon. member for Calgary Centre.
    Mr. Speaker, I have read the amendment the NDP is trying to put forward to a motion to make sure we address crime in this country. It seems to be putting the onus of the crimes onto the car companies and their workers. We reject that wholeheartedly.
    We ask the NDP to stop hiding behind the government and stop supporting it in everything it does. It is a preposterous amendment. We ask that—
    Order. The hon. House leader for the NDP.
    Mr. Speaker, it says, “put in place tough new measures to crack down on organized crime and money laundering linked to auto thefts.” The member has obviously not read it, so I do not believe he should comment on it. Conservatives should just accept the amendment.
    This is not the place to actually have a debate. There is a lot of opportunity for people to have debate in the House. Therefore, I will ask the hon. acting whip whether he consents or does not consent to the amendment.

  (1205)  

    Mr. Speaker, I think it is pretty clear that the words the New Democrats are putting in here are a deflection to try to continue to cover up what the government is doing here, as they have finally become aware of it. We reject the amendment.
    There is no consent. Therefore, pursuant to Standing Order 85, the amendment cannot be moved at this time.
    Questions and comments, the hon. member for Don Valley East.
    Mr. Speaker, I have been an elected member for 20 years, whether on the school board, provincial government or here. Fighting crime has always been connected to what I have worked on in my life, and there has always been a correlation between good investments in programming and preventative measures.
    Crime cannot be dealt with entirely through policing. The Conservatives seem to have a very narrow perspective on crime, which is to throw people in prison and throw away the key. I have always looked at preventative measures as one of the solutions to fight crime. How does the member think Conservatives would approach preventative measures for crime mitigation in this country?
    Mr. Speaker, they do not. Conservatives are absolutely appalling when it comes to crime. We have talked about how high the auto theft rate was under the Harper Conservatives. They just said no to putting in place crime prevention programs, reinforcing frontline border officers, requiring auto manufacturers to ensure that there are security features in the cars they sell and putting in place tough new measures to crack down on organized crime and money laundering linked to auto thefts.
     We know that Conservatives are soft on money laundering and organized crime. They will not take on corporate CEOs who are spending $10 on a car door for a $100,000 automobile. They are not putting in place any of the measures that would address the issue.
    Of course, when we look across the country at which provinces have the highest crime rates, they are the Conservative provinces. In every single case, they have policies that are designed to fuel crime, not cut it. Therefore, for Conservatives to say no to this common-sense amendment just shows complete and utter hypocrisy.
    Mr. Speaker, the fact of the matter is that, under the Liberals, supported by the New Democrats, auto thefts and crime have skyrocketed. The New Democrats need to bear some responsibility.
    New Democrats have pointed to the government confidence motions on funding that we have voted against. That is because we have no confidence in the government, unlike the New Democratic Party, which is supporting the incompetency of the Liberals. Canadians are paying the price.
    Under our plan, we will see some major investments and changes in ports regarding security. Will the New Democratic Party support our motion?
    Mr. Speaker, we have seen the Conservative plan, and the Conservatives voted in front of the entire country. Every Canadian saw they wanted to cut over $100 million from the RCMP budget. Every Canadian saw they wanted to gut CBSA; they did it when they were in power and they are doing it again. Every Canadian saw they wanted to gut FINTRAC, which is supposed to be ensuring that criminal financial transactions are caught at source.
    I think every Canadian saw in December how a Conservative government would act. We lived through the Harper regime. We know that, when it comes to crime, Conservatives simply do not have any smart-on-crime policies at all. The NDP offered a way to fix their motion, and they rejected it. They do not want to tackle organized crime. They do not want to crack down on money laundering. They do not want to install the crime prevention programs that save so much money and make sure that Canadians are not victims of crime. The Conservatives do not want to restore what they gutted when they were in power. They do not want to compel automobile CEOs to put in place security measures to ensure that cars cannot be stolen easily.
     They said no to all of those things, and it is on the record.

  (1210)  

    Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with my colleague and good friend, the member for Oxford.
    Since 2015, the Liberals have pursued a systematic agenda of dismantling Canada’s judicial system and undermining the rule of law in this country. They have not only done so with their repeated ethics violations and blatant disrespect for the charter but have also done so through more legitimate means, like through acts of Parliament. Thanks to Liberal bills that passed under a former justice minister, committing crimes has become easier and more common than before.
    It seems that under the current minister, the streak will continue, given the responses we have heard in the House already, along with some colourful language of course. At every step of the way, Liberals have placed the rights of offenders over the rights of victims, and their woke, out-of-touch ideology over common sense and safety.
    With respect to deterring crimes, the Liberals' Bill C-5 eliminates mandatory minimum sentences for dangerous crimes such as robbery with a firearm, sexual assault and drug trafficking. There are others. Not only that, but it also allows hardened criminals to serve their reduced sentence in the comfort of their own home, to serve time while watching TV in their living room, sleeping in their own bed and enjoying the privileges that all those who have not committed crimes enjoy.
    With respect to arresting criminals, the catch-and-release practices now mean that it is nearly impossible to keep dangerous offenders in jail for more than a few hours. They are then released back into the world, free to commit crimes, sometimes even the same crimes and on the same day, over and over again. The revolving door spins, cycling through a rotation of hardened, merciless lawbreakers who face no accountability. They are free to break the law over and over again, putting the public at risk and propagating unnecessary harm on communities, innocent victims, families and neighbourhoods.
    Finally, with respect to prosecuting criminals, after eight years of the Liberal-NDP incompetence, the government has decayed our justice system and made it just a shell of its former self. It takes months to get a court date. Resources have been stretched to the limit, which makes it harder to catch criminals, and it is harder to keep them accountable. Therefore it is no surprise that our streets are more dangerous and that Canadians are worried that their once-safe neighbourhoods are subject to crime, chaos, drugs and disorder. Every single day we see new, outrageous headlines about individuals who are putting communities in danger and about a system that is failing Canadians.
    Just last week, a 43-year-old man stabbed a total stranger with a syringe in broad daylight in downtown Toronto. The man was out on bail for previous assaults and has had more than 40 convictions in his lifetime, including failure to comply with the court and failure to attend court dates. The incident was in the middle of the day in Toronto. However, thanks to the Liberal policies, we know he will get bail one more time and that the cycle will continue again and again.
     Stories like these add up; that is what makes Canadians feel unsafe. It is not just a feeling; it is based on empirical data and evidence. The stories not only add up to broken communities, broken victims and broken families; they also a story about the state of our country. Since 2015, gang crimes have doubled and violent crime is up 37%. Canada’s murder rate is the highest it has been in 30 years, since the last time there was a Liberal government in power, and nowhere is the story more out of control and more apparent than when it comes to auto theft.
    Too many people wake up, look out the window and see that their car that was sitting in their driveway the night before is no longer there. It is gone. It was taken while they were sleeping in safe communities like mine, where, at one time, nobody locked their front door. Since 2015, car thefts have tripled in Canada. More than 100,000 vehicles are being stolen every year, including nearly 10,000 in Toronto alone. That means that every six minutes in Canada, a car is stolen. Gangs and criminals profit from the criminal activity and use it to finance even more criminal activities, like more car theft, arms trafficking, human trafficking and drug trafficking.

  (1215)  

    Do not listen to me; the Prime Minister actually admitted it in his own press release. It costs every Canadian who drives almost everywhere more to pay for this. It cost the insurance industry a billion dollars in 2022. Everyone in the province is now paying more to drive. In Ontario, car theft claims, just in the first half of last year, were up 329%. That accounts for $700 million in losses. It means $130 more for every Ontario driver on insurance.
     Why is this happening? Let us lead ourselves back to the dangerous catch-and-release policies that unleashed crime and chaos in communities. Bill C-75 allows repeat violent offenders to be released on bail within hours of arrest. They then often re-offend. Last year, even Mayor Steven Del Duca, who is the mayor of Vaughan and probably a familiar name to many on the other side, wrote to the Prime Minister, calling on the federal government to urgently modernize Canada’s bail system to ensure that dangerous offenders are kept off our streets for committing crimes ranging from gun violence to home break-ins and auto thefts.
    The mayor wrote to Canada’s then public safety minister, asking about auto theft specifically and asking that CBSA protocols be tightened for screening and inspection of exports leaving our country. It fell on deaf ears. There was nothing until last week from the government's member of Parliament who represents a riding in Vaughan. The letter was written in January, after the problem got so out of control that the council had to step in to demand action for something it had been asking for.
    For what happens after offenders have been convicted, the government did not let it stop at Bill C-75. Bill C-5 gives convicts house arrest, even those with long, storied histories of stealing multiple cars. This means that they can just walk out their front door, be on the streets again and start stealing cars and terrorizing neighbourhoods when they are done doing whatever they do in the comforts of their own homes.
    One last thing is that the federal government controls our ports, the places where organized crime is taking place: en route to federal ports and at federal ports. Stolen cars are waiting at federal ports to be shipped overseas.
    It is time for a new approach. It is time to start increasing mandatory jail time to deter the actual crime and not to have people keep doing it over and over again. We propose three years for three thefts, and of course ending house arrest for car thieves while also increasing sentences for gang-associated car thieves.
    Police, insurance associations, community groups and business organizations have been sounding the alarm bell about this for years. Our own constituents send us videos of it happening right in their front driveway, but their concerns have fallen on the deaf ears of the Liberal government, which in the meantime still continues to stand with lawbreakers instead of with law enforcement.
    Now the calls have reached a breaking point, and the Liberals are finally going to do something about it. What is that something? Are they going to increase the punishments? No, they will not. Are they going to end catch-and-release policies that turn repeat violent offenders back onto our streets? Are they going to crack down on the incompetence at Canadian ports that allows thousands of cars? Nope, they will not.
    They are going to have a summit. They are going to sit around a table. They are going to have a meeting. They are going to come out with a press release. They are going to take some photos. They are going to talk about it, after eight years, this problem that has gotten out of control.
    They had a summit on food prices; food prices went up. They had a summit on housing; housing prices have doubled. I can hardly wait to see the results from this summer. In fact, I think Canadians would beg them not to have a summit. Instead, they should start cracking down on the violent offenders, keep them behind bars when they re-commit, stop the house arrests and actually get serious about fighting crime in every single neighbourhood across the country.
    Mr. Speaker, the member started her speech by talking about woke policies. She used the word “woke”. I have always been a person who has invested into preventative measures, like acknowledging things like systemic racism and acknowledging that we need to invest into communities where there may be some disaggregated race-based data that would contribute to making those decisions.
    Does the member opposite acknowledge that systemic racism is real in this country? Should we be making investments based on data collection?

  (1220)  

    Mr. Speaker, violent crime in this country has gone up by 32%. Gang-related crime has gone up by over 90% in this country. There needs to be something done about it, and that is exactly what we are talking about right here. We are talking about the solutions that we are going to put in place to keep repeat violent offenders in jail.
    The member can talk about whatever he wants, but this motion today is about, frankly, keeping our cars in our driveway and putting the bad guys in jail. I do not know why that is such a novel concept in this country.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, of course, we could impose harsher sentences, but in order to be able to do so, we have to be able to bring down the organizations and catch the people who are committing these crimes.
    Will the member do the honourable thing today and recognize that, by making cuts to the CBSA, the RCMP and ports, the Conservative government made a mistake that is having an impact on what is happening today?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, this is a constant refrain that has been coming up in the House. The Conservatives actually spent less money, and the rate of crime was lower than it is today. We have had a 300% increase in car theft in Toronto since the Liberals took power. Yes, we probably did spend less money as a Conservative government, but does the member know what is worse than failure? It is expensive failure, and that is exactly what we see from this government.
    Mr. Speaker, my colleague did not answer the question.
    The Conservatives, when they were in government, cut $600 million to the RCMP. They got rid of the RCMP recruitment fund. They cut over 1,100 jobs at the CBSA, and we are still feeling the effects of that today. In fact, the NDP brought forward amendments today, common-sense proposals, which I would think the Conservatives would support, including getting CEOs to make sure car manufacturers change the way they are designing vehicles to make them harder to steal, but they did not do that. Also, we heard testimony from the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police. Again, the Conservatives, the law-and-order party, failed to listen to the experts.
    The worst provinces for car theft are Conservative-governed provinces, so maybe my colleague can explain why that is happening in Conservative-led provinces, why the Conservatives cut so seriously and so deeply on the RCMP and the CBSA, and whether they regret those cuts.
    Mr. Speaker, the member does have one thing right. We are the tough-on-crime party. We are the only tough-on-crime party in the entire House.
    The truth is that I am not the one who needs to explain to my constituents why I am propping up a government, at every single opportunity and in every single confidence motion, that has let the rate of crime rise in this country to 32% higher on violent crime, to 100% higher on gang-related crime and to 300% higher on auto theft.
    Hundreds of thousands of cars are being stolen in this country, and the member who just asked me the question is supporting a meeting and supporting tougher measures by car companies, placing the blame on car companies instead of the government that he supports at every single measure, no matter how hard it has failed in this country.
    Mr. Speaker, I was listening to the debate from the lobby, and I heard the member start by talking about “woke” policy. I wondered what she thought about when she used that word, and if “woke” to her means caring for vulnerable people, advocating for the rights of the LGBTQ communities, working on reconciliation, and making sure that people have a fair chance to succeed and young people do not find themselves in a life of crime or worse. I would like to know what she means when she talks about “woke”.

  (1225)  

    Mr. Speaker, we are talking about repeat offenders doing the same thing over and over again. What is woke is allowing this to continue to happen in this country with absolutely no recourse, no punishment and no jail time, and I do not think Canadians will stand for it.
    Mr. Speaker, that was a passionate speech by the member for Thornhill about this issue, the common-sense motion we have brought forward. Axe the tax, build the homes, fix the budget and stop the crime: These are the common-sense priorities needed to get our country back on track. That is why it is an honour today to rise in the House on behalf of the good people of Oxford to speak to our fourth priority, stopping the crime.
    After eight years of the Prime Minister, everything costs more. Work does not pay, and housing costs have doubled. Rent has doubled. Mortgages have doubled. The amount needed for a down payment has doubled. For the first time, the government has priced an entire generation out of owning a home.
    Even if people are able to get a home, there is now crime in our neighbourhoods. Our families do not feel safe any more. Eight years of the Prime Minister’s soft-on-crime and dangerous catch-and-release bail policies have unleashed a wave of violent crime across our country, which has led to a massive increase in car thefts.
    Looking at violent crime at large, homicides are up 43%, up for the fourth year in a row. Gang-related homicides are up 108%. Violent gun crimes are up 101%, up for the eighth time in a row. Aggravated assaults are up 24%. Assault with a weapon is up 61%. Total sexual assaults are up 71%. Sex crimes against our children are up 126%. Kidnapping is up 36%, and car thefts are up 34% across our country.
    Every morning, Canadians are waking up and looking out of their windows, not to check the weather but to make sure their cars are still in their driveways. This may sound like we are being a bit dramatic about this issue, but the numbers do not lie. One in four Canadians either have had their car stolen or know someone who has. We as members all know somebody just down the aisle from here. The former justice minister had two of his government cars stolen. If that does not speak to how much of an epidemic this is, I do not know what will.
    For the sake of clarity, let us review the data. According to the Liberal government’s own admission and press release, which came out a few days ago, since 2015 car theft is up 34% nationwide. It is up by 300% in Toronto, 100% in Montreal, 100% in Ottawa-Gatineau, 120% in New Brunswick, 122% in Ontario and 59% in Quebec. However, this is no longer just an urban issue. After eight years of the Prime Minister’s soft-on-crime policies, even rural communities like Oxford are not immune to the rising crimes we are seeing. Crime and car thefts are trickling into our small, peaceful communities. While I was preparing for this speech I was in the habit of reading our local morning newspapers, and I could see that there are even pickup trucks being stolen in Beachville, Tillsonburg and Woodstock.
    It was not like this eight years ago. Back in the day, a person could leave their car unlocked and leave their doors unlocked, and that was enough for them to stay safe, but the hard-working people of rural Ontario are now directly impacted by the Prime Minister's reckless policies.
    I recently spoke with someone who had two cars stolen from their driveway within a single hour. Local police detachments cannot respond once a stolen vehicle reaches a federal port, so Canadians are now forced to take these thefts into their own hands. Many are using air tags to track their stolen cars, which are now being shipped to the ports and, from there, out of the country. Recently I heard from a man who tracked his car from Ontario to Montreal and all the way to Dubai, and he was completely powerless to stop it.
    It is at these ports that the Prime Minister's absolute mismanagement of the RCMP and CBSA is highlighted. The port of Montreal, a major hub for stolen vehicles being shipped out of Canada, has only five CBSA officers to inspect the containers. They have 580,000 containers to inspect every year, according to media reports. One agent said that the CBSA has no resources to check the containers, so they check less than 1% of containers. They apparently have only one X-ray scanner, which constantly breaks down.

  (1230)  

    How on earth can we expect them to inspect 580,000 containers that will be leaving our country, with one scanner? Federal ports in Prince Rupert, Halifax and Vancouver all report the same thing. Is the Prime Minister working with CBSA to fix the problem? No; he has done the exact opposite. Despite rates of car theft skyrocketing, CBSA is seizing about the same number of cars today at the federal Port of Montreal as it was doing years ago, and it is frequently ignoring suspicious containers even when they are reported or even if there is somebody standing in front of the container, looking at their phone and saying that the tag is showing their car to be in that container.
    Just last year, the Prime Minister spent $15 million on useless management consultants at the CBSA. Let us not forget the $54 million the Liberals spent on the arrive scam app, which not only did not work but also is now being investigated by the RCMP for corruption. Common-sense Conservatives would use these dollars to put boots on the ground and support our CBSA officers. We would not pump more money into bureaucracy.
    The CBSA has failed to spend $117 million that had already been approved by Parliament. This is yet another example of Liberal mismanagement and the inability to deliver desperately needed results for Canadians. The failure of the current government and the CBSA allows stolen cars to be shipped abroad to Africa, the Middle East and parts of Europe. They are resold and used to fund organized crime and terror networks to profit evil globally. This is simply unacceptable. With federal ports, the federal CBSA, the federal Criminal Code and the federal Prime Minister, this is a federal responsibility, and we need to respond immediately. Car theft has become a get-rich-quick scheme for violent criminals and gangs, and hard-working Canadians are paying the price.
     This rise in car theft has made Canadians less safe at a time when many are already struggling as a result of the Prime Minister's reckless debt and costly carbon tax. Car theft is an additional burden on Canadians. In 2022, car insurance payouts totalled more than $1 billion. In Ontario, car theft claims were up 329% in the first half of 2023 alone, adding up to more than $700 million in losses. The Insurance Bureau of Canada has estimated that auto theft will cost every single driver an extra $130 a year.
    The failure of the government is to respond to the violent crime crisis, costing more and more at a time when Canadians are hurting and life is unaffordable. Only a Conservative government would stand up for Canadians and bring home safe streets. We have a common-sense solution for the real problem.
     A Conservative government would go after real criminals by restoring jail and not bail, increasing mandatory jail time and ending house arrest for car thieves, while also increasing sentences for gang-associated crimes. We would increase the mandatory prison time from six months to three years for a third offence of a motor vehicle theft. We would remove eligibility for house arrest for anyone convicted of a motor vehicle theft by way of indictment. We would create a new specific aggravating factor where the offence of a motor vehicle theft is committed for the benefit of organized crime. We would repeal the catch-and-release rules in the Prime Minister's Bill C-75 to ensure that repeat offenders would get jail and not bail. We would fire useless management consultants at CBSA and use that money to fix our federal ports. We would invest in state-of-the-art X-ray equipment to allow for rapid scanning of containers at our four major ports in Vancouver, Montreal, Prince Rupert and Halifax. We would purchase a total of 24 new scanners, and we would hire more CBSA officers.
    After eight years of this Prime Minister, crime, chaos, drugs and disorder run rampant in our communities. People's homes are where they are supposed to feel the safest, and all Canadians deserve to feel safe in their homes. We need to do more to ensure our communities are safe places for our children to grow and for people to raise their families.
     It is very simple: The Prime Minister's reckless policies have allowed car thefts to explode in our communities, and his only action to fix this is to hold summits. Canadians do not need more summits; they need a common-sense plan to stop theft and end the crime. Stop the photo ops, stop the talk and let us have more action. Let us put a stop to auto theft, protect our property and bring home safer streets for all Canadians. That is just common sense.

  (1235)  

    Mr. Speaker, sometimes it is hard to believe some of the things the Conservatives will say. He said they were going to increase supports and have more CBSA officers. It was the Conservative government that cut over 1,000 Canada border control service officers back in 2000. Then the member says that they will increase the penalty from six months to three years. Who do they think put in the six-month minimum? It was Stephen Harper.
    Does the member not know what the Conservative Party has actually done? How can he stand and say what he has when the Conservative Party in the past did the absolute opposite?
    Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is obviously entitled to his opinions, but not to his own facts. The government has been in power for the last eight years. It has had eight years to fix this crisis. They are federal courts, federal CBSA, federal RCMP, federal Criminal Code and it is a federal Prime Minister.
    The Liberals have been sitting on the sidelines watching this crisis unfold. Now that it has blown up, they are holding summits, they want amazing photo ops and they want a pat on the back. They have caused the chaos in our housing, in our judicial system and in our communities. We are going to stop that with our common-sense plan to get car theft under control.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois is obviously concerned about the situation. My colleague from Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia wants to ensure that the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security conducts a study. Strangely enough, the Conservatives do not seem to want that study to happen. They would rather have an opposition day about it, which, by the way, will not do much to change what is happening in the country.
    We are having an opposition day today and we will vote on a motion. Not much will change once we have voted on the motion, whether it is adopted or not. However, a study by the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security could get results by making serious recommendations and hearing expert testimony.
    Speaking of expert testimony, I would like to ask a simple question. The Conservatives are proposing a three-year prison sentence for a third auto theft offence. What expert proposed a three-year sentence? Why are the Conservatives proposing a three-year sentence as opposed to a three-and-a-half-, two-and-a-half-, four- or five-year sentence? What is the rationale behind the three-year duration? I am not for or against that. I just want to understand why. What expert recommended that? Why are they proposing a three-year sentence?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, that is very rich coming from the Bloc when its members supported these catch-and-release, soft-on-crime bills, like Bill C-75 and Bill C-5.
    Quebec alone has seen a 50% increase of auto thefts in the last few years. Instead of standing up, joining the common-sense Conservatives and supporting our motion to help those in Quebec, he is not. It is time that the Québécois stand with our party, stand with Canadians, and start putting the rights of victims first, not the criminals.
    Mr. Speaker, one of the most effective programs Canada used to have was our detector dog program. We still have some of it today, but the Conservatives cut it. In fact, this was brought in under the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act, working with our border officers
    Why would the Conservatives oppose detector dogs and have they changed their position? They were very effective, not only to anti-terrorism but for smuggling as well. They were very effective in ensuring Canada would be well-known for its security.
    Do he and his party regret this and will they change their position on detector dogs? Why do they not like detector dogs when they are effective against terrorists and smugglers?
    Mr. Speaker, we have seen time and time again that the New Democrats continue to prop up the Liberal government. They are part of the problem. They talk a big game of standing up for Canadians, but when they have the chance to do that, they are in lock arms with the Liberal government. They are part of the same problem.
    Will they join us in voting for this common-sense Conservative motion to put the rights of victims ahead of our criminals?

  (1240)  

    I am pleased to rise to speak to this motion and to illustrate our action in taking up the fight against organized crime and auto theft. It goes without saying that Canadians must be able to live free from fear of crime in their neighbourhoods. Not only can auto theft cause financial devastation, but it also makes people feel unsafe in their own homes.
    I know that auto theft is a top of mind issue for many. In fact, I expect most of us here know someone who has had their car stolen recently. In fact, one of my colleagues had his car stolen recently.
    As a resident of the GTA, I understand the toll these crimes can take on individuals and communities. It disrupts our lives and it undermines our feelings of safety. It also costs Canadians significantly. According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, auto theft claims totalled $1.2 billion in 2022. This is unacceptable. It puts on us an onus to work together to find ways to denounce this conduct.
     This is why our government is throwing its weight behind the solving of this issue. We have been working on measures to tackle auto theft for months now. Most recently, we announced $121 million in funding for Ontario to combat gun crime, gangs and organized crime, including auto theft.
    Auto theft is a timely topic for discussion this week, as the Minister of Public Safety and the Minister of Justice have invited key players from across the country to come together and identify solutions to auto theft.
    Political leaders, police, border agents, auto and industry executives will be among the attendees. I am confident that these productive conversations will lead to concrete suggestions for how we can better stop auto theft from occurring in Canada.
    It is ironic that members opposite are highlighting the problems of auto theft when they refuse to support our solutions. The Conservatives have promised to vote against the fall economic statement and are delaying its passage. This critical legislation contains anti-money laundering provisions that will crack down on organized crime networks and contribute to fighting auto theft.
    The vast majority of auto thefts are not spontaneous crimes committed by one or two individuals. Highly organized networks of criminals are involved at various stages, from targeting a vehicle to the theft itself to its trafficking through major ports destined for resale markets in Africa or the Middle East.
    Criminals may use the proceeds of crime from stolen vehicles to facilitate other forms of serious crime like trafficking drugs, people and firearms. This is why I am sad to see my colleagues across the way opposed to the important changes with which we are trying to fight organized crime.
    The Leader of the Opposition announced his so-called plan to combat auto theft the day before yesterday. We know it would not actually accomplish anything. He proposed measures that are either ineffective or already exist.
    We have real solutions.
     The Criminal Code has a comprehensive framework that addresses motor vehicle theft along the spectrum of the crime. This includes preparatory offences, offences for the actual theft, trafficking and possession of stolen property offences, and proceeds of crime offences.
    The Criminal Code also includes specific offences to address organized crime activities. It includes many offences that address the situation when violence is involved during a theft, such as the use of a firearm.
    Many of us are aware of devices that thieves use to acquire a key fob signal and relay that signal to unlock or start a vehicle. These devices are illegal under the Criminal Code. It is also illegal to knowingly possess any instrument that can be used to break into a motor vehicle for that purpose. Both of these offences carry a maximum penalty of 10 years if proceeded by way of indictment.
    The Criminal Code also has general provisions that address auto theft. For example, theft of property over $5,000 is punishable on indictment by a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment or two years less a day imprisonment on summary conviction. Theft under $5,000 is punishable on indictment by a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment or two years less a day on summary conviction.
    The Criminal Code also has a specific motor vehicle theft offence, which is punishable by a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment on indictment and two years less a day on summary conviction. In the case of a third, or subsequent conviction, a mandatory minimum penalty of imprisonment of six months applies.
    In fact, our government took action to crack down on auto theft in Bill C-75, by raising the maximum penalty for motor vehicle theft from 18 months to two years less a day. This is another example of our sustained focus on eradicating auto theft from our communities. This is the very legislation that the Leader of the Opposition wants to repeal. He would lower maximum sentences for auto theft. As always, the leader of the Conservatives would rather spread disinformation and spark fear across the country than focus on facts.

  (1245)  

    The Criminal Code also contains a comprehensive legal framework that targets criminal organizations, offences relating to criminal organizations, including participating in criminal organization activities; recruitment to a criminal organization; the commission of an indictable offence for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with a criminal organization; and instructing the commission of an offence for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with a criminal organization.
    The organized crime provisions have specific sentencing outcomes. First, sentences imposed for any of the organized crime offences must be served consecutively with sentences imposed for other offences arising from the same transaction. Second, courts are required to consider, as an aggravating factor at sentencing, that an offence is committed for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with a criminal organization. This is one of the measures the Leader of the Opposition has committed to enacting to solve the problem of auto theft. It is already in place; he is catching up. Again, he is not proposing real solutions.
    There are also Criminal Code measures that aim to prevent offenders from benefiting from the proceeds of their crimes. This includes pretrial seizure or restraint of proceeds of crime and the possibility of forfeiture of proceeds of crime following conviction or a fine in lieu of forfeiture in certain circumstances when the proceeds are no longer available.
     These are just a few of the offences that currently can be leveraged by law enforcement and prosecutors to address auto theft.
    The Criminal Code is a helpful tool to penalize auto thieves, but we are also working on comprehensive solutions to prevent auto theft from occurring. On Thursday, key players will gather in Ottawa to discuss more solutions. The meeting will feature law enforcement, industry leaders and all levels of government coming together to identify short, medium and long-term actions to combat auto theft to continue to strengthen our initiatives that are already under way.
    There are many ways we can address the problem of auto theft, and everyone has to be part of the solution. The Leader of the Opposition wants to boil things down to empty slogans that do not solve anything. We will be looking at regulatory change, what industry can do to help, how provinces and municipalities can help and how to improve enforcement. I look forward to working with everyone who is serious to solve this problem.
    I am grateful for the efforts that are already under way to combat auto theft and I look forward to a productive day of discussion on Thursday for the next steps.
    Mr. Speaker, since York—Simcoe is now considered part of Toronto under the government's goofy carbon tax regime, I feel I can comment on Toronto and York Region. The facts are what they are. Auto theft is up 200% in York Region. There were 4,290 vehicles stolen in 2023.
    I guess my hon. colleague from Etobicoke—Lakeshore hears different things. His speech makes it look like it is all good. When I travel through York—Simcoe, people tell me that our country is not the same. A recent newspaper article reported that a car was stolen and in less than six hours, the gentleman was stealing another car. He was charged with impaired driving and he was out on bail again. These violent crimes have to stop.
    God help the people of Toronto with their property tax increase, but the NDP mayor of Toronto is cutting the Toronto Police Service budget.
    Could my colleague comment on that?
    Mr. Speaker, I think the member already knows where I stand on cutting police budgets. I disagree with any effort taken by a municipal government that will somehow limit or curtail the ability of the police forces to do their job.
    This is a serious problem, and we do not deny it is a serious problem, but serious problems require serious solutions, not slogans. The Leader of the Opposition held a press conference in front of the Port of Montreal and said that he would impose mandatory minimum sentences. There already is a mandatory minimum sentence.
    I have sat in rooms with people from the law enforcement community. I have met at other times with automakers and other levels of government. Each of them point fingers in other directions. This needs to be a collaborative effort where everybody gets together in one room and asks what each can do. That is going to happen on Thursday.

  (1250)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I think we all agree that auto theft is a scourge and needs to be addressed.
    I would like my colleague to comment on the rhetoric, the reasoning behind today's Conservative motion. They claim that the explosion in auto theft is because of the Liberal government. They say it is because of Bill C‑5, even though that bill did not receive royal assent until late 2022. They also say it is because sentences are too lenient, but these sentences, which were added to the Criminal Code in 2010, were the result of Bill S‑9. That bill was introduced by the Conservative Party, the government at the time. If the penalties are too lenient, the Conservative Party only has itself to blame.
    I wonder what exactly my colleague is proposing. We know there will be a national summit this Thursday. There was talk of giving more resources to the Canada Border Services Agency and giving existing police forces the means they need to take action. In his opinion, what more should the government be doing to counter this scourge?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the reason behind the motion is simple: It is politics. The Leader of the Opposition read something in the paper and thought, “Oh, here's something I can talk about and score a few political points”. Let us be honest.
    However, what more can be done is why we are convening this meeting on Thursday. As I said earlier, it has to be a collaborative effort by all parties involved. Auto manufacturers have to be at the table, and they have to be able to say, “This is what we can do to make our cars more safe and protect them against auto theft.” We need law enforcement communities. My friend from Lake Simcoe said that they should stand up and tell us what they can do and what resources they need. The federal government needs to step up and correct some of the problems created by the previous Conservative government, including enhancing the level of resources that are available to CBSA. It is a group effort that has to be done with everybody at the table.
    Mr. Speaker, the issue of gang crime is serious, but we see that the Conservatives have voted against CBSA. Under Stephen Harper, all the tough-on-crime bills they brought proved unconstitutional. They had more recalls than the Ford Pinto, which shows that this is not a party that is serious about dealing with crime. It was all about stunts, it was all about fundraising and it was all about giving their no-name members on the back bench a reason to get up and holler and shout. Once again, what we see with these Conservatives is that they are doing it from the front bench, not the back bench, but it is the same old shenanigans.
    Mr. Speaker, I would just say that there is no such thing as a no-name member in this House. However, anybody who stands in this House or outside this House and accuses any other member of being soft on crime is being disingenuous and it is disrespectful to the people who live in this country, because everybody in this House, regardless of political stripe, believes in law and order.

Points of Order

Oral Questions  

[Points of Order]
    Mr. Speaker, on the point of order raised earlier, I withdraw my comments and apologize.
    I thank the hon. minister for his comments. We will consider the issue closed.

Business of Supply

Opposition Motion—Auto Theft  

[Business of Supply]
    The House resumed consideration of the motion.
    Mr. Speaker, I will start off by providing a thought in regards to the seriousness of the issue. I would like to think—
    I believe we have a point of order from the hon. member for New Brunswick Southwest.

Points of Order

Dress Code  

[Points of Order]
    Mr. Speaker, it is not about the current speaker, but I wanted to catch it early so that I did not cut him off and I hope he will be given the chance to begin anew.
    I missed the debate earlier, but I have been in this chamber before when the question of T-shirt wearing was raised and I want to press that again. I understand that you said there was an agreement that had been struck that if a member came in here wearing a T-shirt under a jacket, it is permissible. I have not heard of this before, and I would ask you to report back to this chamber when in fact that agreement was made or perhaps you can do it now. I find that a breach of the chamber's rules.

Dress Code—Speaker's Ruling  

[Speaker's Ruling]
    I will read this again, because this has happened on a number of occasions. I think I erred this last time when I allowed the hon. minister to speak.
    We either are going to allow T-shirts or not allow T-shirts. I would say that they are not allowed, and so I am going to make a bit of a ruling on the fly here.
    There is no rule for women's attire, except we might say that the Standing Orders do not prescribe a dress code for members participating in debate. However, Speakers have ruled that all members desiring to be recognized to speak at any point during the proceedings of the House must be wearing contemporary business attire. The added point to that is when people speak to S.O. 31s especially and want to wear their team's shirts, that has been permissible on a number of occasions in this chamber.
    I just want folks to be more judicious in their attire in the House. Falling short of prescribing what that attire should be, slogans on T-shirts should not be acceptable in the House of Commons.

  (1255)  

    Mr. Speaker, on the point of order, I appreciate that and I appreciate the intervention by my Conservative colleague.
    I just want to be clear, because we have rules. A male who is not wearing tie should not be recognized. We have had rules where, let us say there was a hockey tournament and a team wins, members wear their jersey. However, we do not have a rule where someone, just because they are supporting a team or an issue, gets to come in and wear it. We have a very narrow window.
    I just want to make sure that those are terms under which someone could wear something that is not business attire. It is in that specific instance that perhaps Regina has won or, God help us, the Toronto Argonauts finally win, on that day we give them that one moment. Other than that, we have to have respect for the Chamber.
    Maybe it would be permissible or a good idea for PROC to look at attire in the House, just to make sure that we are all being judicious in following the rules as set forth within our Standing Orders.
    I will let the parliamentary secretary restart after the hon. member stands on a question of privilege.
    The hon. House leader for the official opposition.

Privilege

Alleged Misleading Comments by the Prime Minister  

[Privilege]
    Mr. Speaker, I am rising on a question of privilege about a very serious matter: the misleading comments of the Prime Minister concerning the invitation of Yaroslav Hunka, a former soldier of the Waffen-SS military unit in World War II, to attend events with the President of Ukraine during his recent visit to Canada.
    As we all recall, last September this chamber was the epicentre of a grave international embarrassment for Canada when this individual, a former SS soldier, was recognized and given a standing ovation during President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's address to our Parliament. This gave Vladimir Putin a major propaganda coup and caused significant pain for Jewish Canadians and all victims persecuted in World War II.
    The government, and the Prime Minister in particular, were at great pains to distance themselves from any connection to this individual, claiming that they had absolutely nothing to do with his invitation and subsequent recognition. Lo and behold, Global Affairs Canada recently released, through access to information, a copy of an email sent to Yaroslav Hunka inviting him to a reception with President Zelenskyy, which was reported on yesterday afternoon by The Globe and Mail and, subsequently, other media outlets.
    Here is the kicker: It was the Prime Minister's invitation.
    On Monday, September 19, 2023, some four days before the President's address to Parliament, an email account called "RSVP Official Events/Événements officiels RSVP" sent an email with the subject line, “INVITATION FROM THE PRIME MINISTER OF CANADA — SEPTEMBER 22, 2023”. The body of the email begins, “Dear Yaroslav Hunka, The Right Honourable...Prime Minister of Canada, is pleased to invite you to a special event.”
    As members may recall, until the visit was formally announced a few days later, there was a lot of coded language being used, like in the case of this "special event", but the point remains, that the Prime Minister invited this former SS soldier to attend an event honouring the President of Ukraine. Of course, members will recall that the Prime Minister and his government were under sustained questioning in the House in the week following the visit about just how such a colossal mistake, with international reverberations, could take place.
    There were questions like those asked by the Leader of the Opposition on the first occasion the Prime Minister appeared in the House after the scandalous events, such as, “did the Prime Minister's national security, intelligence or diplomatic officials vet the names of the people the Prime Minister allowed within mere feet of President Zelenskyy?”; and “the Prime Minister has just said that he allowed the president of a war-torn country, who is perhaps the biggest target of false propaganda and potential assassinations, to be surrounded by hundreds of people who had not been vetted for their security background, the potential risks they present or, in this case, the massive diplomatic disasters they could have brought to the event. Is the Prime Minister really saying he did absolutely nothing to protect the Ukrainian president from all those many risks?”
    Repeatedly, we were assured that the blame lay exclusively at the then-Speaker's feet, as if the address to Parliament was the only opportunity for this former SS soldier to come near President Zelenskyy. For example, the Prime Minister told the House on September 27, 2023, “The Leader of the Opposition knows that not one parliamentarian was aware”, and, later, “no parliamentarian knew the name or the identity of the person he welcomed to this House and recognized”.
    Now we know, that this is just not so. The Prime Minister invited this individual, by name, to an event with President Zelenskyy. The Prime Minister also said that day, “the Speaker of this House of Commons invited an individual without apparently doing that Google search, but it is not up to the government of the day to oversee or to have a veto power over those who the Speaker or, indeed, members of official parties choose to invite into this House.”
    Who does the Prime Minister blame for not doing “that Google search” for his own personal invitation?
    Before the Liberals jump up and claim that these are two separate events, two separate guest lists and whatnot, let me quote an interview the former Speaker, the honourable member for Nipissing—Timiskaming, gave to CTV Northern Ontario two weeks ago, explaining the central role the Prime Minister's Office plays in guest invitations for major international events held on Parliament Hill, like President Zelenskyy's wartime address, stating, “normally it goes to the Prime Minister's Office and they go through it with a fine-tooth comb” and then the invitation goes out from protocol. “So who invited him? That's up for grabs....”
    Besides the fact that there was no sign of a comb, fine-tooth or otherwise, to be found, yesterday afternoon's revelations add new context to the last words in that quotation: "who invited him? That's up for grabs".

  (1300)  

    According to news reports at the time, it is understood that this individual's son approached the then Speaker's constituency office about securing an invitation to the Ottawa address. Knowing on the Monday of the week of the visit that there was a personal invitation from the Prime Minister to attend the Toronto event, it is not hard to picture this invitation becoming part of the discussion in the North Bay constituency office.
    One can put themselves in the shoes of the hon. member for Nipissing—Timiskaming. One is told about the individual's connection to Ukraine and is shown an invitation in the Prime Minister's name, the name of the leader of the party whose label one is elected under. Is one really going to sit there and think they better second-guess the judgment of the PMO, the PCO and the diplomatic protocol office? I sincerely doubt it.
    As the member for Nipissing—Timiskaming said, “So who invited him? That's up for grabs”. That statement makes a whole lot more sense in light of yesterday's Globe report.
    I would respectfully submit it is now obvious that the Prime Minister invited Yaroslav Hunka to meet the President of Ukraine, and the then Speaker took it on good faith and, in turn, authorized his own invitation. At the very least, it shows us that the protocol office itself, in the Prime Minister's Office, had the name of this individual on its guest list.
    Whatever happened between the Speaker's office and the Prime Minister's Office in terms of the invitation, we now know that this individual, this former SS member, was already on the protocol list. He was already on the list of people to be invited.
    On September 27, the Prime Minister told the House, “we apologized today on behalf of all parliamentarians. For the past few days, we have been saying how sorry we are about the mistake made by the Speaker of the House of Commons.” The only mistake, Mr. Speaker, was that your predecessor put blind trust in the fact that an invitation was issued by the Prime Minister.
    I am aware the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs has agreed to conduct some form of a study on the matter; although, the Liberal-NDP coalition does not seem to consider the matter important given that no hearings have yet to take place some five months later.
    However, these revelations and the obvious concern that the Prime Minister appears to have misled the House are of a whole new dimension, one which engages the privileges of the House and rises, in my respectful submission, to a contempt of Parliament.
    Page 85 of House of Commons Procedure and Practice, third edition, notes that cases of privilege have involved “the provision of deliberately misleading information to the House or one of its committees by a Minister or by a Member”.
    It is a well-established principle that to make out a prima facie case of privilege in relation to a claim of misleading the House, three elements must be established.
    Firstly, it must be proven that the statement was misleading. Knowing what we know now from the Global Affairs Canada access to information release, we can see it was misleading. There is no doubt that members of Parliament, of all opposition parties, were trying to find out exactly what interaction, what role, was under the purview of the PMO or the Prime Minister for inviting this individual.
    There were multiple questions coming from many different angles, and the government always gave the same explanation that it had absolutely no knowledge of this individual's background and that it had nothing to do with his invitation. We now know, through this access to information release, that is false and, therefore, misleading.
    Secondly, it must be established that the member making the statement knew it to be misleading. The invitation that was released is in the name of the Prime Minister. To claim he had no knowledge of this individual is now absurd.
    Thirdly, the misleading statement must have been offered with the intention to mislead the House. The House was engulfed in a massive international scandal, one which saw our own Speaker resign, falling on his sword for the Prime Minister, so there is little doubt that the Prime Minister was eager to deflect his own role and responsibility and to lay the blame elsewhere.
    Of course, before the Prime Minister might stand up and assert that he was blindsided by his own officials' denials, let me quote Bosc and Gagnon at page 116:
    Misleading a Minister or a Member has also been considered a form of obstruction and, thus, a prima facie breach of privilege. For example, on December 6, 1978, in finding that a prima facie contempt of the House existed, Speaker Jerome ruled that a government official, by deliberately misleading a Minister, had impeded the Member in the performance of his duties and consequently obstructed the House itself.
    No matter how one cuts it, the House was misled. Its privileges were breached, and action should be taken immediately.
    Should the Speaker agree with me that the Prime Minister's words amount to a prima facie contempt, I am prepared to move the appropriate motion.

  (1305)  

    I want to thank the hon. member for the information. We will take that under advisement and come back to the House as soon as is practical.

Business of Supply

Opposition Motion—Auto theft  

[Business of Supply]
    The House resumed consideration of the motion.
    Mr. Speaker, I started by acknowledging that crimes of the nature we have been talking about today affect all our communities. As much as we banter back and forth, I would not want to take anything away from the impact it has on victims. I wanted to amplify that point because I truly believe that all of us have a right to feel safe and comfortable in the communities where we live.
     As the justice critic, when I served in the Manitoba legislature, as well as during a number of years here in Ottawa, I have always recognized the importance of the issue of safety and crime. As legislators, we need to do what we can to keep our communities safe. Quite frankly, I am very proud of initiatives the Liberal government has taken over the last number of years to do just that: to keep the communities we live in safe. That does not mean the issues are resolved. I am not saying that at all. I think we have work to do. We will continue to look at ways to make our communities healthier and safer.
    Looking at today's opposition day motion, I see that it is very much a politically motivated issue brought forward by the Conservative Party. The message it is trying to give Canadians is that it is collectively tough on crime.
    I want to deal with that, because that is not the reality we have seen. Specifically, we are talking about automobile theft. The discussions, thus far, from the Conservative benches have been focused on Canada's border control, car theft and how vehicles are exported outside of Canada. It is interesting that one member who stood up actually criticized the government. That really stuck with me. The member said something to the effect that we need to support and to provide more money to the CBSA, Canada's border control agency.
    It is amazing that while the Conservatives were in government, they actually cut Canada's border control agents. At one time, we had close to 15,000 border controls. I have the actual number of full-time equivalents: 14,833. They were cut to 13,774 full-time equivalents. Those were well over 1,000 jobs cut by the former government and the former prime minister. The current leader of the Conservative Party sat in the cabinet of that former prime minister. That was a substantial cut, and now they are saying we need to have more. That was one comment.
    The Conservatives talk about it being in the motion. We talk about increasing sentences from six months to three years. That six months is in regard to someone getting caught stealing a car on a third occasion. The current law states that it is a minimum of six months. The Conservatives say that it is not tough enough and that they believe it should be three years. Again, who do members think put in the six months? It was Stephen Harper.

  (1310)  

    Are Conservatives saying today that Stephen Harper messed up on that policy directive, and that Stephen Harper messed up on the cutbacks on the border controls? What the member did not reference, but I will, are the hundreds of millions of dollars cut also by Stephen Harper.
    Is the Conservative Party now saying that, too, was a mistake? Let us keep in mind that it is easy for the Conservatives to concede that Stephen Harper made a mess of things and made problems a lot worse with cutbacks, and that might have contributed to the increases we are seeing. I would remind Conservatives that they might want to throw Stephen Harper under the bus, but their current leader was a minister in Stephen Harper's government, and they need to be reminded of that.
    Let us think about it. This issue has been taking place for quite a while. The so-called “tough on crime” Leader of the Conservative Party, tougher than Stephen Harper was on crime, is tougher than when he was in cabinet. To the best of my knowledge, it was the first time, last week, where we actually have the Leader of the Conservative Party giving it attention. Why is that?
    We announced that we are going to have a summit on the auto theft issue. The Liberal government has been working on it for a while now, unlike the Conservatives; it was not even on their radar screen until we announced the summit. Then, the Conservatives started saying that it would fit in nicely with their “tough on crime” bumper stickers, so they brought up the issue. Did they not study it? Did they not realize they are likely part of the problem?
    I was the justice critic in the Province of Manitoba, and this is a quote from a StatsCan report dealing with car theft in Manitoba then, which states:
    However, the province's 2007 rate remained the highest in the country...for the 11th straight year and was 24% higher than a decade ago.
    In 2007, Stephen Harper was prime minister, and it continued to be a problem for years after that. If we look at it 10 years prior, there was not a Conservative government.
    The point is that this issue takes more than one level of government to address it. That is the reason we have the minister responsible for public safety saying that we are going to have a summit. The Conservatives are howling, “just a summit”. They just discovered the issue, and we already said we are going to have a summit. We are bringing experts in. There is going to be dialogue, and things are going to be brought to the table. We are not only taking budgetary measures in the amount of tens of millions to look into how we can get at organized crime and organized gangs but also looking at legislative measures and possibly regulations that could be changed.
    We want to take a holistic approach in dealing with this issue. Unlike the Conservatives, who like to talk tough on crime, we believe that actions speak louder than words. We will continue to work with different stakeholders and to get the level of expertise to the table so that we will be in a better position to work with provinces and law enforcement agencies. As a national government, we would be in a position to see if we could do something legislatively or could do something through regulations, and perhaps there are other pockets where we could invest more to support this issue.
    That is ultimately what the Liberal government is doing. We are taking a progressive, holistic approach to make sure that the issue is dealt with, unlike Stephen Harper and the born-again Conservative right wing.

  (1315)  

    Mr. Speaker, I really think the member for Winnipeg North will have lots of time to practise his Stephen Harper lines when he is in opposition.
    We should not be fooled by the member's speech; the facts are what they are. Car theft is up 300%. Over 4,200 vehicles have been stolen in York Region. Canadians will not be fooled either. The NDP-Liberal government has spent 40% more on the federal public service for worse outcomes. If he went out and spoke with Canadians, he would tell them that their outcomes are worse. Mr. Speaker, is your life 40% better in terms of outcomes than it was?
    Could the member comment on the spending for worse results for Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, because of time restrictions, I was not able to continue to give my explanation about the Manitoba case. I can tell the member opposite that, at this point in time, Manitoba had the highest number of cars being stolen in any given year, more than the province of Ontario. I am not talking about per capita but the raw number of cars being stolen.
    Ultimately, what had the most positive impact was when law enforcement, the Province of Manitoba and Ottawa, to a certain degree, came together and tried to deal with the issue. At least today, Ottawa is recognizing that we need to bring people together in order to deal with this issue.
    Organized crime is more than just automobile theft. We recognize the importance of the issue. We are doing something, as opposed to the Conservatives, who heard we were having a summit and then decided it was an important issue.

  (1320)  

    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives come forward today saying that one car stolen should equal a year in jail. That is not a policy. That is straight out of the books from a Texas governor, who failed in their policies in Texas.
    We know the Conservatives cut 1,100 jobs at the Canada Border Services Agency, in terms of officers on the front line. According to Mark Weber, the president of the Customs and Immigration Union, “We estimate that we need between 2,000 and 3,000 additional officers on the front line.” He also cited that, with the amount of money they spent on the ArriveCAN app, the scandal taking place right now, they could have hired 500 border agents.
    When is the government going to step it up when it comes to hiring officers at the border? Will it listen to the NDP proposal to require auto manufacturers to improve security features in the cars they sell? A memo we put forward today was shot down by the Conservatives, but this seems to be a common-sense solution to help stop car theft.
    Mr. Speaker, it is interesting. The member referred to the well over 1,000 cuts in terms of Canada border control service officers. Not only have we, as a government, restored every one of those cuts, but we can add on another 800.
    As a government, we have provided supports from a budget perspective; we continue to look at ways to enhance and try to improve the system, whether through the budgetary measures that we just cited or legislative measures, in terms of working with provinces on the bail reform legislation we ultimately passed.
    The Government of Canada is committed to making our communities healthier and safer. We are taking the measures that are necessary and are prepared to work with other levels of government and stakeholders to do just that.
    Mr. Speaker, I wanted to ask the hon. parliamentary secretary about the logic behind mandatory minimums, which have been proven, on empirical evidence, not to hold the logic one would hope. They actually tend to work against reducing crime.
    One reason for this is that increasing the mandatory minimum would drive people toward cutting deals and plea bargains, instead of actually dealing with matters or giving judges the discretion to increase the sentencing where they think it is appropriate.
    Mr. Speaker, given the complexities of the pros and cons of minimum sentencing, in certain situations, I believe that having minimal sentences can be an effective tool for our judicial system.
    Mr. Speaker, at the outset, I would like to say that I will be splitting my time with my hon. colleague from Flamborough—Glanbrook.
    I am pleased to rise today on this very important debate. Canadians may wonder what Canada's top exports and fastest-growing exports are. They might think about oil and gas, minerals or aerospace parts. However, they would be surprised to learn that one of Canada's fastest-growing exports over the past few years has been stolen vehicles. Actually, this has been over the past eight years, under the Liberal government. This ongoing surge in auto thefts is a direct consequence of a weak justice system, the absence of proper law enforcement and a border so porous that the number of vehicles getting through reached over 100,000 vehicles in 2022 alone. In other words, it is a legacy of the current Liberal government.
    I am proud to rise to speak to this issue and to put forward a common-sense Conservative plan to deal with these auto thefts, because that is what the hard-working people in Sturgeon River—Parkland and across this country deserve. They deserve a real plan that would provide tangible results, put these repeat offenders behind bars, and keep our vehicles in our driveways and off container ships going abroad.
    This is not just an issue of young kids taking a vehicle out for a joyride or stealing a vehicle just to make a few bucks. Our country is facing an industrial-level organized crime problem. Let us go over some of the key facts. As we speak, on average, a vehicle is stolen every six minutes in Canada; therefore, in the time that we have been debating here today, dozens of Canadians have had their vehicles stolen from their driveways and places of work.
    The trend is clear: In 2018, the insurance industry paid out $400 million in stolen vehicle claims, and since then, this number has grown drastically. In 2021, it reached $700 million in claims; in 2022, which is the latest year we have the insurance statistics for, the insurance industry paid out an unprecedented $1.2 billion in claims on stolen vehicles. After eight years of the current government's soft-on-crime agenda, car thefts have tripled in Toronto and doubled in Montreal. While big cities have seen the largest increases in recent years, this wave of crime is affecting all Canadians across the country, including those living in western Canada and rural Canada, where vehicles being stolen from farms is a common story that I hear.
    F-350s are vehicles that are often stolen. In fact, over the Christmas break, I woke up at seven o'clock in the morning, when people were getting up, getting dressed and getting ready to go to work. I looked out the window, and I saw an F-350 parked outside my house. There were people in hoodies trying to steal it. Kids were getting up and getting ready to go to school at that time in some of our rural communities, and there were people still out and trying to steal those cars. It is shocking and unacceptable.
    This is not just a temporary crime wave. This is a sophisticated, industrial-level organized crime operation that requires our immediate attention. This is not a new issue; we faced it before, in the early 1990s. Car thefts inspired many Hollywood-level movies, such as The Fast and the Furious and Gone in 60 Seconds. However, with better technologies, better law enforcement and tougher sentences, we saw a significant decline in the number of auto thefts.
    I was actually pulling up the statistics on this, and it is very interesting. From 2004 to 2015, the number of auto thefts reported to police in Canada went down by 61%. What happened between 2004 and 2015? We had a tough-on-crime Conservative government that put forward tangible measures to get tough on repeat offenders who were stealing vehicles, with mandatory minimum sentences and with investments in law enforcement to crack down on crime. That is a record I am very proud of.
    It is not a record that the current government can say it replicates; during the time that it has been in power, we have seen a tripling of stolen vehicles from Toronto, a doubling from Montreal and an overall 34% increase in the country. The trend was broken by the Liberal government, and this is directly due to its policies.
    It has become relatively easy to smuggle a vehicle out of the country after it has been stolen. The dedicated men and women of the CBSA are doing their very best, but they are facing a capacity problem, with an estimated five CBSA agents at the port of Montreal.

  (1325)  

    About a year ago, CBSA union officials came to the public safety committee. They talked about some of the measures they have in place so that people can report auto thefts and suspicious activities at the port. It is the 21st century. Do members know what measures the government has at the ports so that people can report when they see suspicious threats? It has a hotline telephone on the wall, so if people see something, they can call somebody to deal with it. It is 2024. We need new and better technologies to ensure that we have the tools we need to stop these containers with our vehicles from leaving our ports.
    Once these stolen vehicles leave Canada, they are destined for markets far away, in Africa and the Middle East. As a result of our weak enforcement, Canada is becoming what some industry experts are calling a “donor country” for stolen vehicles. Usually, it is a good thing to be a donor, but not when we are talking about stolen vehicles. The revenue generated from this trade is being used to finance drug trafficking, illegal arms trafficking, human trafficking and even terrorism.
    Just a couple of weeks ago, Italian authorities intercepted a vessel with 251 stolen Canadian vehicles on it; they were bound for sale in the Middle East. Cars with Canadian licence plates have been a common sight on the streets of Accra, the capital of Ghana. In fact, the flood of Canadians' stolen vehicles entering that country has led the Ghanaian government to beg the Canadian government to do more to prevent our vehicles from leaving our country, because this is affecting its domestic market. This is not just a Canadian issue; it is becoming an international issue. It is an embarrassment for our country.
    It is not only a crime problem but also an economic problem, with $1.2 billion in insurance payouts made. Do members think the insurance companies are just going to eat that cost? That means Canadian families are paying an estimated $500 in increased premiums. The reports coming out of MNP talk about how many Canadians are living paycheque to paycheque or are less than $200 away from insolvency. Who can afford $500 more for insurance premiums just to pay for the vehicle people are taking to work? It is not just the case for the people who are driving a Toyota Highlander, a Lexus or the other vehicles that are often being stolen; everyone is paying for it. The costs are being distributed to everyone, no matter what vehicle they have. This is unacceptable.
    We know what the problem is. The government talks about having a summit, but the problem has been clear for years: We have a government with soft-on-crime policies that have unleashed a torrent of repeat violent offenders on our streets. Members might ask why I am calling them violent offenders. I saw a left-wing commentator online on what is now X, formerly known as Twitter, asking why we are putting people in jail for victimless crimes. This is not a victimless crime. In the few stories that I have seen where people have been stopped in stolen vehicles, do members know what charges most often accompanied the stolen vehicle charge? They were weapons, firearms and drug possession charges.
    There was a heroic job done by RCMP officers just west of Stony Plain a few days ago. A stolen vehicle went through town with five people in it. They deployed a tire device to pop the tires. When they stopped the vehicle, they found methamphetamine, cocaine and loaded weapons. Two of the five people charged were released the very same day. This is unacceptable. These people do not carry guns because they are going out hunting or carry drugs just because; they are carrying these things because they intend to sell them or because they intend to commit violence if they are confronted.
    Since 2015, the crisis has come to a point where Canadians will no longer accept inaction from the Liberal government. They will no longer accept bills such as Bill C-5, allowing house arrest for the people who are committing these crimes. Canadians will no longer accept a government that lets repeat offenders back on the streets over and over again, with bail, not jail, to victimize our families.
     I know that, under our Conservative government, we will bring in mandatory minimum sentences. We will provide the resources to law enforcement to get these criminals behind bars and disrupt organized crime. This will keep the criminals from sending our stolen vehicles abroad and using that money to finance the terrorism and firearms trafficking being used to commit violence on our streets or the drugs that are victimizing families and addicts who need treatment. We will not accept this. That is our common-sense plan, and we are going to do it.

  (1330)  

    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the issue of auto theft, having worked for the public auto insurer in B.C., but there are statistics that show, in fact, that auto thefts in B.C. are down quite substantially from where they were five years ago. I wonder whether the member could reflect on what might be the cause, because the same laws are in effect. If one believes it is “catch and release”, that has been in effect there too for quite a long time, even in the Stephen Harper days.
    What is different in B.C. and maybe in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, and in fact worse, than in all other jurisdictions?
    Mr. Speaker, looking at the statistics, there are increases or decreases in different jurisdictions. One can cherry-pick certain jurisdictions and say, “This jurisdiction is seeing a lower rate; therefore our government's policies must be successful.”
    However, when we look at the aggregate across the country, there has been a 34% increase. This increase has been most stark in provinces like Ontario and Quebec. Why is that? It is because the port of Montreal has become such a conduit for getting stolen vehicles abroad. It is because of the current government, which has a responsibility for the ports and a responsibility to protect our borders, that we have seen the port of Montreal become such a conduit for stolen vehicles. That is why we are seeing a commensurate increase in Ontario and Quebec.
    However, it is not just an Ontario and Quebec issue. In Alberta, vehicles have been stolen for many years. F-350s are being re-vinned and sent down to the United States. They are being sent to chop shops. This is a cross-Canada issue, and we cannot neglect any part of the country with our response.

  (1335)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I know that my colleague is very familiar with this file. He said that criminal groups are using this money to fund other criminal activities, including terrorism. Earlier I was talking about human trafficking and illegal arms trafficking.
    He says that the Conservative Party has a plan for auto theft and that it involves harsher sentences. However, what is his party's plan to go after the heads of these big criminal networks?
    Obviously we think of the car thieves, those who commit the crime in the here and now. Often they are people who do not have a criminal record. Some are even minors. We have seen people under 18 committing these crimes in Toronto and bringing the cars to Montreal.
    Yes, I think it is important to increase certain sentences, but it is also important to go after the heads of these criminal groups. What is his party's plan for that?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I much appreciate being with my hon. colleague on the public safety committee on this issue. I found, actually, quite the opposite: oftentimes the people caught with stolen vehicles do have very lengthy criminal records. In fact some of them are even out on bail and are supposed to be on house arrest when they are conducting these crimes. They are repeat offenders.
    I do appreciate what the member is talking about. How do we go after the big guys? These criminal organizations are very sophisticated. They use multiple middlemen to prevent the big players from being hit. We obviously have to go after some of the big players, but we also have to remove their frontline soldiers from the streets, which makes it harder for them to recruit new people to come out to commit the crimes.
    We also have to stop the vehicles from leaving the ports in the first place. If we make it more difficult, because it is very easy today to get these vehicles out of Canada, it is going to discourage criminals from engaging in this activity. It is is going to discourage them from bringing their immense resources to bear on getting vehicles out of Canada. We need to be tough on the border. We need to get the people who are committing the crimes off the street so we can protect our communities.
    Mr. Speaker, I would ask specifically whether the hon. member could comment on what seems to be the rapid increase in not being able to effectively catch vehicles in the process of being stolen. I know there have been high-profile cases. I have heard that it has been the case in Alberta as well that somebody will put an air tag in the vehicle and be able to follow it, yet law enforcement does not seem to either have the resources or be able to get the vehicle before it is shipped overseas.
    Mr. Speaker, I actually did have a positive interaction, as much as it could be positive, when a vehicle of mine was stolen. I had a subscription for technology that allowed me to track the vehicle. I called the police, and they were able to locate the vehicle fairly quickly. The vehicle was in a neighbourhood to cool off so the thieves could check to see whether it was being tracked or not.
    Obviously, criminals know this technology is being used. They rip the electronics out of vehicles to prevent them from being used, but there is a technological solution that could really help. We need to not only get tough on the criminals but also to make it clear that we need to use all the technological tools we have available to tackle this very difficult issue.
    Mr. Speaker, I will start with a couple of headlines that dominated the radio and the online and social media news in my home community this past weekend. They really underscore the debate we are having today. The first is “Gun-wielding men forcefully entered Dundas home, stole two luxury cars: Hamilton police”. The second is “High-end vehicles stolen in ‘targeted’ home invasion in Hamilton, Ont.”. Those are just a couple. Twenty years ago, I lived on the street where this particular crime took place on Friday night. It is a few houses down from where I used to live. It was shocking to hear that this was taking place. My grandparents lived on that same street when I grew up.
    I talked to one of the neighbours yesterday, and people on Hopkins Court now live in fear. There were other vehicles at the targeted residence that the thieves did not get on Friday night, and the residents are now fearful the thieves will be back because they were a target. This is, as my colleagues have mentioned, a sophisticated gang operation that is taking place; it is an organized crime operation. That is the crux of the problem. They will be back because federal enforcement and federal prevention actions are woefully inadequate.
    Less than 24 hours later, I received a text from my neighbour on an unrelated incident, but one of similar concern. There was a vehicle prowling around his workshop building and garage. It had to go around a steel barrier, through the grass and across a hill in order to get there. Alarmed by what he was seeing take place in the early hours of Sunday morning, my neighbour followed the vehicle and was able to get part of the licence plate number and report it to Hamilton Police Service.
    These are just two recent incidents that are not isolated at all but are part of an epidemic.
    I have talked to a number of constituents who have been victims of vehicle theft. One couple was able to trace their vehicle that was stolen from their driveway in Waterdown to Montreal. This was the second vehicle stolen from the couple's driveway. Waterdown is a bedroom community in the greater Toronto and Hamilton area. The couple actually walked by the person they believe was the criminal responsible on the street of Montreal near the port. Eerily, the individual gave them a knowing glance. These are incidents we are hearing about. The couple also heard that as part of this organized crime network, groups are paid thousands of dollars per night just to scope out vehicles in driveways and locations that will be targeted in the coming nights. Just to spot vehicles, they are getting thousands of dollars. We are talking about millions of dollars in criminal activity.
    Truck and auto thefts are in not just my community; they are across the GTA. There have been a number of local headlines about this across Niagara, Waterloo Region, southern Ontario and, in fact, across the country. We know that local law enforcement is hamstrung because it needs the federal government to act. The Criminal Code, the RCMP, CBSA and certainly federal ports are all matters of federation jurisdiction. In order to puts the brakes on auto theft by organized crime, we need the federal government to act.
    At the transport committee, which I am privileged to sit on, there was a Conservative motion put forward today to look specifically at what is going on at the port of Montreal. Unfortunately, it was voted down by the Liberals and the NDP, the cover-up coalition working together. They do not have any interest in getting to the bottom of this.
    It is costing all of us, even those people fortunate enough not to have had a vehicle stolen, because we know there has been $1.2 billion in insurance payouts for stolen vehicles; this is causing an increase in insurance premiums, up 25% in some cases in Ontario. These are brazen acts of theft and violence, and they are affecting people in our communities. In 2022 alone there were a staggering 9,600 motor vehicles stolen from the GTA. This leaves families traumatized and financially burdened. The impact goes far beyond the immediate victims; it undermines the fabric of our society. It is eroding the trust and confidence in our institutions and is contributing to a pervasive sense of insecurity.

  (1340)  

    The repercussions are felt not only in the emotional toll exacted on individuals and families but also in the economic consequences borne by our communities as a whole. One of the most concerning aspects of this crisis is the failure of federal ports to stem the tide of stolen vehicles leaving our shores. These cars and trucks, pilfered from the streets of the GTHA, are effortlessly smuggled into containers, loaded onto trains and illegally shipped out of the country, primarily via the port of Montreal. Ironically, that port is in the backyard of the Minister of Transport.
    In December I asked the CBSA, via an Order Paper question, how many vehicles it had intercepted at the port of Montreal. Despite the exponential rise in auto thefts that we have seen, over 300% in the GTA since the Liberal government took office in 2015, the number of vehicles intercepted at the port of Montreal remains stagnant, year over year, at somewhere between 1,000 and 1,100. We know that 105,000 vehicles were stolen in Canada in a year. We are talking about fewer than 1% being retrieved.
    We know that the technology exists, through X-ray scanners, to scan more of the containers and actually track the vehicles down. However, there is just one scanner right now at the port of Montreal, and it does not work half of the time. That is insufficient.
    As my colleague mentioned, there are African countries begging the Government of Canada to take action on this issue. The action is not being taken, and that is cause for concern. Like so many things in Canada, this is something that should not be happening. It should not be this way.
    Even when Canadians resort to practical measures like putting Apple AirTags in their vehicles, recovery is far from guaranteed. Railway agents often refuse to inspect cargo already en route to the ports, and there are inadequate resources at the ports for inspection; therefore there is a highway facilitating this.
    The root cause is the soft-on-crime approach by the Liberal-NDP government, with bills like Bill C-75 and BIll C-5 that have emboldened criminals to be repeat offenders. They are often released on bail within hours of arrest and go on to commit further crimes. Even after being convicted, these individuals are often granted house arrest, which is really insufficient.
    We say, “Enough is enough.” Common-sense Conservatives are committed to really hitting the brakes on car theft and restoring the sense of security to our communities. The Leader of the Opposition has put forward a common-sense plan that includes a number of measures, such as mandatory prison sentences, ending house arrest for convicted car thieves, tougher sentencing for those crimes that are gang-related and have an organized crime element, and, of course, jail, not bail for repeat offenders and repeat violent offenders, as we saw in the examples I brought up from my community this past weekend.
    In addition to that, we need to address what is happening at the ports. We need more CBSA officers. Right now there are only five at the port of Montreal. We need to cut the waste on consultants at CBSA and invest in enforcement at the ports. We also need to have more scanners that could actually address the issue.
    There is some urgency now. Violent crime is up across the country. What the Liberal government has proposed is a summit: more convening and fewer results.
     Common-sense Conservatives have a plan to axe the tax, build the homes, fix the budget and stop the crime. Indeed, we are going to stop crime. We are going to slam the brakes on auto theft. We will restore law and order. We will bring home safer streets to Canadians from coast to coast.

  (1345)  

    Mr. Speaker, I wonder whether my colleague across the way would agree with me that the Leader of the Conservative Party made a big mistake when Conservatives slashed the funding to law enforcement agencies while he sat around the cabinet table. Would the member indicate whether the Leader of the Conservative Party made a mistake by cutting real jobs from the Canada Border Services Agency? We are talking about well over 1,000 jobs. Would the member not agree that supporting additional funds and making sure that there were more people working in that area would have been better then? Some people might suggest he was part of the problem.

  (1350)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Winnipeg North for his revisionist history. Crime was actually down during the previous Conservative government. We have seen an exponential rise in the auto thefts in particular, but violent crime is up 39%. We have the highest murder rates in 30 years under the soft-on-crime policies of the government.
     We have seen this exponential rise in auto thefts impacting people in our communities. Cars are stolen at gunpoint, and that is alarming in every sense. We are putting forward a very practical plan to actually get this issue resolved, not just words, talks and summits among bureaucrats.
    Mr. Speaker, I was really surprised to see the Liberals issue a press announcement that talked about the huge increase in car theft since they were elected in 2015. It is interesting that they did nothing about the problem, other than make it worse with Bill C-75 and Bill C-5, until we started raising the issue. Now the Liberals' answer is a meeting.
    Would the member agree that this is simply not enough?
    Mr. Speaker, Sarnia—Lambton is also a border community that sees a lot of this criminal activity that is happening across the border. The member is exactly right. It was actually hilarious. The government press release announced the increase that we have seen, 300% in the greater Toronto area and over 100% in Ottawa and Montreal, and talked about this for some time.
     I have certainly been hearing about it from constituents the entire two years I have been a member of this place. We have been raising this. As I mentioned, I put forward an Order Paper question to ask for specific numbers of what was being checked at the Port of Montreal, and clearly that was insufficient. We raised this as a motion at the transportation committee today and it was voted down by the cover-up coalition. More talk by politicians and bureaucrats and more hot air are not going to solve this problem; action is.
    Mr. Speaker, I understand that our leader is visiting the Port of Montreal. Apparently, when it comes to cars that have trackers on them, owners can tell that their cars have gone to the Port of Montreal overnight and are shipped away to foreign countries. Clearly we need more resources there to detect and to retrieve these cars.
    Would the member like to elaborate?
    Mr. Speaker, I will admit that I was not aware of what Apple tracking devices were until my wife introduced them to me. We have used them in our luggage to track down luggage lost at airports in Canada, which is another federal transport issue.
     I have spoken to constituents who have used those trackers and seen the movement of their stolen vehicle from their driveway to Montreal and out of the Port of Montreal. We know that this is the source of the problem, which is why our leader is there. He has made some very specific recommendations about enforcement through the CBSA, cutting consultants and waste, so we can put more resources into that.
    There is the use of the scanners and technology. The one scanner that exists right now at the Port of Montreal does not work half the time. We need dozens of scanners, not just one.
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to speak on this very important issue. Auto theft is a critical one that impacts Canadians.
    As a GTA resident, and as a GTA member of Parliament, I have heard from my constituents, friends and neighbours about fear of theft and increased risk in their communities. I can assure each and every one of those individuals right across the country that I take these concerns very seriously and I am determined to address this problem alongside the Minister of Public Safety, the Minister of Transport and other colleagues.
    What is not helpful is spreading disinformation and stoking fear even in this very chamber. It is disappointing, but unsurprising, that the Leader of the Opposition and his colleagues across the way have taken this very tactic.
     To start, let us discuss what we have done to address the issue of auto theft.

  (1355)  

[Translation]

    In December, we increased funding to fight organized crime. Last week, we redoubled our efforts by announcing $121 million for the Ontario police forces to combat guns, gangs and organized crime.

[English]

    Let me open a parentheses here; that is guns and gangs funding. On the night of a marathon vote initiated by the opposition, the Leader of the Opposition, in his infinite wisdom, returned to cast a direct vote against guns and gangs funding. Let the record be clear about which side of the House actually supports guns and gangs funding to keep our communities safe.

[Translation]

    I was delighted to attend the announcement a week ago in York region in the GTA alongside the Minister of Public Safety, Premier Doug Ford, and other key players who will help prevent auto theft by organized crime.
    We are also holding a meeting in Ottawa this Thursday that will bring together the provinces and representatives of cities, ports, insurers, automakers and other key stakeholders to discuss and develop a coordinated approach to combatting auto theft.

[English]

    While Conservatives are busy tweeting out videos, as a result of a news release by our government that they decided to read, and repeating childish slogans, we have a plan to keep communities safe.
     I want to point out the very bill the Leader of the Opposition has weaponized on this issue, a bill I was pleased to work on as the parliamentary secretary at the time to the then minister of justice, Bill C-75. It raised the maximum penalty on summary conviction for motor vehicle theft from 18 months to two years. For everyone who is watching right now, let that sink in. Either the Leader of the Opposition does not understand the Criminal Code or he is purposely misleading Canadians. Either way, his objective is to repeal Bill C-75 and therefore lower the maximum penalty for motor vehicle theft. If it sounds a bit illogical, it is.
    Additionally, a pillar of his so-called plan is to add an aggravating factor on sentencing to this issue. As I said yesterday in the House, and as I will repeat today, the Criminal Code already includes this provision. Section 718.2(a)(iv) specifies as an aggravating factor, allowing for a more increased sentence, involvement with organized crime.
    I will be sharing my time with the member for Vaughan—Woodbridge, Mr. Speaker.
    This is a critical measure. We know that the majority of auto thefts are not one-off crimes committed by first-time offenders. Auto theft is most often coordinated through an operation of organized crime networks. What are we doing with respect to those organized crime networks? We are cracking down, as the police agencies have asked us to do, on organized crime and the financing of it.
    How are we doing that? We have the fall economic statement being debated in this very House, Bill C-59. That bill contains provisions to crack down on money laundering to stop the organized criminals who are making our communities unsafe.
    What has the Leader of the Opposition done in his infinite wisdom? He has directed every one of his Conservative colleagues to vote against this measure, to vote against measures that would keep our communities safe and to basically empower organized criminals. Is this illogical? Yes, very illogical.
    In a video posted just this morning, the Leader of the Opposition threw the CBSA under the bus for failing to solve the issue of auto theft. What he conveniently failed to mention, in a very polished video that was very professionally done, is that under his watch, when he was part of the Conservative government at the cabinet table, the Conservatives cut 1,000 jobs from the CBSA.
    If one of the problems with this, which we will be discussing at the auto summit, is border security, I am not sure how we keep the borders safe when we are cutting employees working at the border. Is it illogical? Indeed, very illogical.
    In addition, the Conservatives routinely vote against bolstering CBSA funding. They talk out of both sides of their mouths on this issue. Canadians watching right now deserve a heck of a lot better.

[Translation]

    I am always open to good-faith suggestions for improving the Criminal Code. I take my mandate to keep our streets and communities safe very seriously. I look forward to working with the leaders on Thursday.

[English]

    What I do not see from members of the official opposition is any sort of leadership on this issue. Instead, I see trifling slogans and redundant suggestions about how to amend the Criminal Code with provisions that are already there. Canadians deserve a lot better from that opposition.

Statements by Members

[Statements by Members]

  (1400)  

[English]

First Minister of Northern Ireland

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to offer my congratulations to Michelle O'Neill of Sinn Fein who became the First Minister of Northern Ireland last Saturday. This historic first and a groundbreaking milestone was once thought to be beyond the realm of possibility.
    Sinn Fein's evolution from the political wing of the Irish Republican Army to becoming the leading political party in Northern Ireland's 2022 elections underscores the dynamic shift in the political landscape. It is a testament to the enduring impact of the 1998 Good Friday agreement. This also brings Sinn Fein's long-cherished vision of a united Ireland closer to reality.
    This showcases the potential for unity and positive change within a historically divided community.

Medical Assistance in Dying

    Mr. Speaker, with an ever-increasing number of Canadians struggling with mental illness, we need a government that will listen to mental health advocates and professionals.
    Common-sense Conservatives believe that those who are struggling with mental health deserve support and treatment, not despair and death. We know that recovery is possible.
     If the government moves forward with legislation that allows MAID for mental health illness as the only underlying condition, the result will be the deaths of people who could have gotten better.
    Assisted death is not health care. Far too many Canadians are falling prey to MAID because of the growing poverty and homelessness in our country. Every day, we hear of more Canadians caught in this cycle who feel their only escape is assisted death. Canada must do better.
    Canadians deserve a government that will offer solutions instead of assisted death. The Conservatives stand on the side of the most vulnerable Canadians and their loved ones.

[Translation]

David Mulder

    Mr. Speaker, today, I would like to congratulate Dr. David Mulder, who retired after a career of over 60 years.

[English]

    Dr. Mulder moved to Montreal from Saskatchewan in 1963 to complete his medical training. He joined the Montreal Canadiens organization, earning $10 a game. He went on to become the team physician, treating countless players, from Jean Béliveau to Saku Koivu, even my own dad. He served in many capacities, including surgeon and chief of the Montreal General Hospital and chair of the Department of Surgery at the McGill University Health Centre.

[Translation]

    The trauma centre at the McGill University Health Centre, or MUHC, has been named in honour of Dr. Mulder for his outstanding leadership in trauma care, both as a surgeon and an educator.

[English]

    Gentle, humble and gracious, endlessly generous with his time, our city, our health care institutions and, of course, our beloved Habs benefited from his renowned skill and devotion to his patients.

[Translation]

    Dr. Mulder holds an important place in the history of the MUHC and the Montreal Canadiens.
    I thank him for everything he has done.

Black History Month Celebrations in Longueuil

    Mr. Speaker, as we kicked off our Black History Month celebrations on Friday, the community of Longueuil showed just how vibrant it is by immersing us in African and Caribbean culture in the middle of a Quebec winter.
    I have to say that it was quite the party. There was a tasting of bissap, the iconic drink of West Africa, which was prepared by Michèle Kaugbouh, a native of the Ivory Coast. Then, there was a musical performance by Tamara Suffren, a singer of Haitian origin. Muna Mingole, a proud member of the Longueuil community who is originally from Cameroon, did a fabulous job as MC for the evening. We were also able to admire the original creations of Paola Trénou, a fashion designer of Togolese origin, one of whose creations I am wearing right now, as well as those of Espérance Koumabeng, who is originally from Tchad, and Ghislain Ounguedou and members of the Nouvelle Famille association who are originally from Cameroon. We were also able to enjoy delicious chicken, cakes and desserts made by Alvine Yossa, Marguerite Ngoula and Jolande Petipa from Cameroon. I thank Joseph de Tassot for his amazing griot. This is Quebec in all its glory.
    I wish them all a happy Black History Month.

Dairy Producers

    Mr. Speaker, it is critical that we recognize the importance of supporting our valued dairy farmers. This is not just about the economy; it is also about preserving our cultural heritage and our nation's food security. Their hard work not only ensures the availability of a quality product, but also helps maintain our traditions and our identity.
    In this era of globalization and rapid change, it is our duty to protect and uplift our dairy farmers and their associations, because they are the stewards of our agricultural heritage and our food future. By investing in their well-being and promoting sustainability, we are not only preserving a vital industry, but also strengthening the ties that bind our communities across the country.

  (1405)  

[English]

Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada

    Mr. Speaker, last September, shamefully, a former SS soldier was honoured in this House during the address of the President of Ukraine.
    The Prime Minister claimed he had no idea that this individual had been invited, even though it happened at his event, organized by his office. Instead of taking responsibility, he threw the now former Speaker under the bus, but we now know that the same SS soldier was invited by the Prime Minister to his exclusive reception with the President of Ukraine. This completely shatters the Prime Minister's claim that he had no idea and that his office was not involved.
    The Prime Minister knew all along, and he hid the truth from Canadians. The Prime Minister is responsible, and he must be held accountable for this shameful affair.

Ukraine

    Mr. Speaker, I stand in the House today to emphasize the crucial importance of Canada's unwavering support for Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression.
    This month, we approach the second anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. It has been two years in which the values that we hold dear, freedom and democracy, continue to be threatened.
    The people of Ukraine have a right to their sovereignty and territorial integrity and to live free and without fear. Canada's continued commitment and support goes beyond politics. It is about being there for people in their most challenging moments.
    The House will be voting on the modernized free trade agreement with Ukraine today, and I am urging hon. members to put politics aside and support Bill C-57. Let us renew our pledge to stand united in supporting Ukraine's resilience and championing the principles that bind us all together as a global community.

Rick Howe

    Mr. Speaker, “If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.”
     Rick Howe, Nova Scotian broadcasting legend, the voice of Nova Scotia, has passed away at the age of 69. Rick was funny, energetic, outspoken, entertaining, kind and brutally honest. It was clear that he loved the medium of radio so much. In turn, Nova Scotians loved him, tuning in for almost 50 years: same bat time, same bat channel.
     Rick got his radio start in rural New Brunswick, but it was his gig with CJCH in Halifax that truly launched his career. This is where he became the host of “The Hotline” and the most recognizable voice in Nova Scotian radio. Before his retirement, he ended his career hosting “The Rick Howe Show” on 95.7, now known as CityNews. Rick was also an author of several books. His search for truths and for good, local stories shaped his career.
    I thank Yvonne and family for sharing him with us. Rick Howe leaves a legacy in Nova Scotia that we could never forget.

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years of the costly Liberal-NDP coalition, Canadians are struggling to pay their rent, buy groceries and heat their homes. On April 1, the Liberal-NDP government will quadruple the carbon tax, further driving up the cost of living and making the lives of all Canadians more expensive.
    New data shows that after eight years, violent crime has increased by 39% and homicides by 43%; gang murders have more than doubled, and violent gun crime has increased year over year. A common-sense Conservative government would ensure that repeat violent offenders remain behind bars while awaiting trial, and we would bring back mandatory jail time for serious violent crimes.
    On this side of the House, we want to axe the carbon tax, build homes, fix the budget and stop the crime with jail, not bail. Let us bring it home.

Black History Month

    Mr. Speaker, happy Black History Month. Storytelling is one of the tools used by Black communities to pass down our ancestors' experiences, struggles and successes, and the values that are important and worth keeping.
     Allow me, then, to share the story of 800 Black families who lived in Strathcona, B.C., in the 1900s, the centre of Black families that was later displaced by the City of Vancouver through patterns of segregation. Today, they have secured a land trust agreement that allows them to rebuild on what was lost.
     There is also Africville, Nova Scotia, where members of the Black community were displaced in the same manner. The last home was destroyed in 1970, but today this story is shared in the Africville Museum, so visitors from around the world can learn about Black history in Nova Scotia.
    Africville and the Black community in Strathcona are some of the examples of the long history of racism and discrimination in Canada, so, when we celebrate the strides of Black Canadians, it is important to remember why.
    We should take pride in celebrating the barriers that we are breaking as a government. Martin Luther King said, “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” Black history is Canadian history.

  (1410)  

Small Business

    Mr. Speaker, the NDP-Liberal government is just not worth the cost. After eight years, Canadian businesses are struggling to survive. Alarmingly, the latest report from the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy revealed that business insolvencies increased by 41.4% in 2023 compared to 2022. It is no surprise: Liberal policies have attacked small businesses since the Liberals entered office.
     Small businesses are drowning in debt, red tape, high taxes and high rent, and they are struggling to stay afloat. Statistics Canada continues to report that more businesses are closing their doors than are opening. While the Liberals' negligence has made life more expensive, Conservatives will continue to propose common-sense solutions that would provide relief to small businesses without driving excessive inflation. Let us bring it home.

Carbon Tax

    Mr. Speaker, the NDP-Liberal government is in denial. We are in a cost-of-living crisis, yet the Liberals have no shame, once again hiking the carbon tax on April 1. The Liberals do not care about the two million Canadians who regularly use food banks; they do not care about the 50% of families who are $200 away from insolvency, and they really do not care about forcing farmers who feed us to pay thousands of dollars in carbon taxes. After eight years of the Prime Minister, it has never been more expensive to eat, heat and put a roof over one's head.
     The worst part is that even the Liberals now acknowledge that their costly carbon tax serves little purpose. By their own admission, they do not track the amount that emissions are reduced by the carbon tax, which is proving once again that this is a tax plan, not an environmental plan.
    It is time for the costly coalition to rediscover reality. People are hurting; people are struggling, and they cannot afford more tax grabs. Conservatives will keep fighting to axe the tax on everything, for everyone, and for good.

[Translation]

Suicide Prevention Week

    Mr. Speaker, this week is Suicide Prevention Week in Quebec. It is a time to remember those who have sadly taken their own lives, but, most of all, to remember the importance of fast access to crisis lines.
    This year's theme, “Prevention is Better Than Death”, encourages people to speak up about suicide, despite any fear or discomfort they may feel.
    Canadians need timely access to suicide prevention services. They need to know that they are not alone and that help is available. In Sherbrooke, the JEVI team is always on hand to understand and respond to callers' needs.
    If someone is contemplating suicide, or has concerns about a loved one struggling with suicidal thoughts, they can now call or text 988 to obtain bilingual support 24-7.

[English]

Abandoned Vessels

    Mr. Speaker, my riding of Nanaimo—Ladysmith on Vancouver Island is surrounded by marine-sensitive ecosystems, including ancient clam beds, southern resident killer whales and wild Pacific salmon. As waters continue to warm, our oceans and coastal communities need all the help they can get.
    Despite this, consecutive Conservative and Liberal governments have left derelict and abandoned vessels to sink, polluting oil, fuel, plastics and more into our waters. The impacts are detrimental to food security, wildlife, public safety, navigation and local economies. Still, these vessel graveyards are increasing at a rapid pace.
    We know that local organizations, first nations and more are eager to do the work; they just need a federal partner. It is time that we see the government move forward with a real plan to prevent this, remove these vessels from our waters and support my bill, Bill C-344, to finally clean up this mess.

  (1415)  

[Translation]

Dairy Farmers

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to highlight the presence of dairy farmers from across Canada, and especially those from Quebec. They are on the Hill for the day to attend meetings with parliamentarians.
    Our entrepreneurs are proud to offer the public their product at a stable and reasonable price that allows them to earn a decent living from their trade. That is why they are asking parliamentarians to support Bill C-282 to ensure the sustainability of supply management, and they hope the Senate will pass the legislation quickly.
    Defending this system will help guarantee our national food security while protecting our model of regional agriculture on a human scale. This predictability allows farmers to invest in research and development, thereby constantly improving their productivity, the quality of their products and their environmental footprint.
    I thank dairy farmers for getting up every morning to supply us with high-quality milk. We always enjoy their delicious products.

[English]

Auto Theft

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years of the NDP-Liberal government, car thefts are up 34% across Canada, and a vehicle is stolen every six minutes. According to the Liberal government's own news release, auto thefts in Toronto are up 300% since 2015, and Statistics Canada data shows auto theft is up 216% across the entire GTA since 2015.
    What happened in 2015? The Prime Minister happened. After eight years in power, the government has not done a single thing to crack down on car theft. In fact, it has made life easier for the criminals who steal the cars from hard-working Canadians and for the overseas organized crime syndicates that profit from their actions. Thanks to the Liberal government's catch-and-release policies, these career car thieves face zero repercussions.
    The Prime Minister has caused this auto theft crisis to happen under his watch. Ports are federal, the RCMP is federal, the CBSA is federal and the Criminal Code is federal. The Prime Minister is responsible for this crisis, and he is just not worth the cost.
    Only a Conservative government would stop the crime, protect people's property and bring home safe streets. It is just common sense.

Royal Military College

    Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure today to rise to acknowledge 30 naval and officer cadets from the world-renowned Royal Military College of Canada, who have come to Ottawa today. The delegation is led by one of my best friends, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan and a professor at the RMC, Dr. Donald McFarling. Throughout the day, these fine cadets have met with government and official members. They have met with the Minister of National Defence; they have met with astronauts, and I believe they have also met with you, sir.
    They came to the capital today to gain a deeper appreciation of the role of their representatives and the government they have sworn to protect. These cadets have made a commitment to serve their country and live by the Royal Military College motto: truth, duty and valour. They rise early, study hard and train even harder, because, in a few short years, many will be sent to foreign shores to represent Canada and enact the decisions that we make in this very House.
    We will owe them all a debt of gratitude. Today, I ask my colleagues to acknowledge these great—
    I remind the member for Sault Ste. Marie, who is an experienced member, that there is no recognition from the floor of the House of Commons, as it comes through the Chair. The member must make sure to follow the procedures that have been clearly established in this place.

Oral Questions

[Oral Questions]

[Translation]

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, the previous Conservative common-sense government managed to cut the number of auto thefts in half while reducing the cost of bureaucracy. However, this Prime Minister is not worth the cost, not worth the crime, and not worth the cost of the crime after eight years, because he has caused the bureaucracy to explode, but border services are inspecting only 1% of containers.
    Will he follow my common-sense plan to reduce the bureaucracy and the consultants and add officers and container scanners?

  (1420)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is a fact that organized crime is involved in auto theft in Canada. That is why we gave $121 million to the Province of Ontario, for example, to fight organized crime and car theft, but the Conservative Party voted against granting that money. We are in the process of fighting money laundering. The Conservatives are going to vote against that. Canadians are wondering why the Conservative leader is defending organized crime instead of dealing with auto theft.
    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has made Canada the capital of organized crime and money laundering, and yes, it is true, he is spending a lot more money to add more bureaucracy and hire management consultants for managers who cannot manage things themselves.
    My common-sense plan will fire consultants and put that money toward border agents and scanners to scan all outgoing containers to stop auto theft.
    Will he follow my common-sense plan?
    Mr. Speaker, the reality is that when we came to power in 2015, we had to rehire the thousands of border agents who had been laid off when the Harper government, with this Leader of the Opposition as minister, eliminated their jobs. He is constantly proposing cuts, whereas we are investing in the fight against money laundering and organized crime. The Conservative Party also votes against these measures.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, what we cut was auto theft. We cut auto theft by 50% under the previous common-sense Conservative government.
    He is right. We did it at a lower cost to taxpayers. He is also right that he reversed our reduction in auto theft because it has exploded by 32% since he took office, just as the bureaucracy has exploded. He has not put it into frontline officers. In fact, at the port of Montreal, there are only five of them to inspect half a million containers, of which only 1% get inspected.
    Why will he not cut the high-priced consultants and bureaucrats and get boots on the—
    The hon. Prime Minister.
    Mr. Speaker, what the Leader of the Opposition is saying would be more credible if he had not voted against sending $121 million to the Province of Ontario to fight against organized crime and car theft, and if he had not announced that he is voting against our fight against money laundering. He still has time to change his perspective and get behind our initiatives to fight organized crime, fight auto theft and stand up for Canadians.
    He cut thousands of jobs, under his previous government, from border services. We have invested in them, and we will continue to do so.
    Mr. Speaker, I will say it softly and slowly so the Prime Minister can understand. We cut auto theft by 50% while reducing the cost of the bureaucracy. Yes, we are voting against his putting hundreds of millions of dollars more into high-priced consultants and back-office bureaucrats who do not stop crime.
    My common-sense plan would scan every container going out of the four biggest ports and put 75 border agents on the ground to do the inspections. Why can we not have more boots on the ground and fewer bureaucrats in offices?
    Mr. Speaker, he talks about boots on the ground, but the government he was part of, that he is taking credit for now, actually cut thousands of jobs, of boots on the ground, at the Canada Border Services Agency. We have continued to step up to support Canadians.
    They like to mention Bill C-5. It is a bill that kept mandatory minimum penalties for car thefts on the books. They mention Bill C-75, which is a bill that raised maximum penalties on car theft. We are going to continue to invest in fighting money laundering and organized crime, and we hope that the Conservatives change their mind and vote with us to crack down on organized crime.

Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada

    Mr. Speaker, he has hiked the cost, and he has hiked the crime. He is not worth the cost, and he is not worth the crime. After eight years, the Prime Minister is also not worth the hypocrisy.
    The Prime Minister has been claiming for months that he had no involvement in or knowledge of the invitation sent to a former Nazi soldier to the visit of the Ukrainian President. Now we know that he personally invited that same individual. He said the opposite. He said that the former Speaker had to resign over doing the exact same thing.
    Will the Prime Minister hold himself to the very same standard and admit that he is not fit for office?

  (1425)  

    Mr. Speaker, the attack that the Leader of the Opposition is choosing to make against the Ukrainian Canadian Congress demonstrates the extent to which this Conservative Party no longer stands with Ukraine.
    They will have an opportunity in just a few minutes to stand and vote in favour of a free trade deal that Volodymyr Zelenskyy, himself, is asking this House to pass. The Leader of the Opposition is choosing to not stand with Ukraine, not stand with Ukrainians and not stand with Ukrainian Canadians.
    Why are the Conservatives abandoning Ukraine?
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!

[Translation]

    Order.
    The hon. member for Beloeil—Chambly.

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Bloc Québécois reintroduced a bill to eliminate the religious exemption that allows hate and violence to be incited in the guise of religion.
    We saw people hide behind the religious exemption recently to justify their support for a terrorist organization.
    This time, will the Prime Minister vote in favour of eliminating the religious exemption with respect to hate speech and inciting violence?
    Mr. Speaker, I completely agree with my hon. colleague that any form of hatred or glorification of violence is completely unacceptable.
    The Minister of Public Safety is in constant communication with the RCMP, and local police will not hesitate to act if necessary.
    Canada is a country governed by the rule of law and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. As Canadians, we must stand together against hate, regardless of when or where it is expressed.
    Mr. Speaker, in order for police to take action, the law must allow them to do so.
    Last time, the Prime Minister chose denial and swept the issue under the rug. Discussion ended then and there. He spoke of freedom of expression, freedom in general, as he did just now. This religious exemption is found in a bill that criminalizes hate speech yet allows people to take the cowardly way out and hide behind that exemption.
    Will he condone hate speech, or will he eliminate hate speech spread under the guise of the religious exemption?
    Mr. Speaker, in Canada, any form of hatred or glorification of violence is unacceptable.
    Our police forces are working very hard to eliminate hate speech and the glorification of violence. We recognize how important it is, in our legal system, to defend the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the rights of all Canadians, but glorification of violence and hate speech are always unacceptable.

[English]

Grocery Industry

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government and the Prime Minister promised to tax the excess profits of corporate grocery stores if they failed to stabilize grocery prices. They failed to stabilize prices, and the Liberals again broke their promise.
    The Liberals announced, instead, another study on food prices. Canadians do not need another study to know that they are being gouged by corporate greed. We have learned that the Liberal housing minister received thousands of dollars in donations from none other than the Sobeys family. Is that why the Liberals are protecting their wealthy friends?
    Mr. Speaker, more competition means lower prices, more choice and more innovative products and services for Canadians.
    Our government has just passed new legislation that empowers the Competition Bureau to hold grocers accountable and prioritize consumers' interests. The fall economic statement also cracks down on predatory pricing. I urge all parties to vote in favour of that.
    Canadians are watching and counting on each and every single one of us in the House of Commons to keep supporting them.

  (1430)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, today, the Liberals boasted about announcing more studies on the price of groceries. People do not need more studies, they need the prices to come down. The minister promised to tax excess profits and he broke his promise. The Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities received thousands of dollars in donations from the Sobey family.
    Is the minister breaking his promises to please the CEO of IGA?
    Mr. Speaker, more competition means lower prices, more choice and more innovative goods and services for Canadians.
    Our government just adopted legislation that allows the Competition Bureau to require grocery chains to be accountable to it and promote consumer interests. The fall economic statement also addresses predatory pricing. I strongly encourage all parties to vote in favour of it. Canadians are watching us. They are counting on the support of each and every member here in the House of Commons.

[English]

Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada

    Mr. Speaker, after months of feigned outrage and apologies on behalf of everyone else, a new report from The Globe and Mail shows that the Prime Minister's Office invited a Nazi to his diplomatic reception in Toronto. The Prime Minister blamed the Speaker, saying that he acted alone. The Prime Minister is saying he had no idea about any of it. He called for the Speaker to take responsibility. He watched him resign, and yesterday he tried to blame the Ukrainian Canadian Congress.
    After all of the embarrassment all over the world, why is the Prime Minister above the rules he applies to everyone else?
    Mr. Speaker, what we are talking about is a name that came from a community organization. Obviously, the Prime Minister had no knowledge of this, but we know what is happening over here. We are voting today at third reading on the Canada-Ukraine free trade arrangements. Mr. Zelenskyy stood here and asked us to pass this. The Conservatives' opposition to this bill is a moral failing of historic proportions in response to an effort to support our friends in Ukraine and repel the Russian invaders.
    Mr. Speaker, what an embarrassment it must be for the House leader to have to clean up the Prime Minister's mess every day. The invitation had the Prime Minister's name on it. It came from him, and for months he said only the Speaker invited Hunka. That turned out to not be true. The Prime Minister's own House leader said that the invitation merited a Speaker's resignation. The Speaker resigned because of him, and all of the Liberals watched him do it.
    Will the Prime Minister be subject to the rules he imposes on everyone else?
    Mr. Speaker, this is another small conflagration to mask the Conservatives' larger historical moral failing of not supporting the people, the armed forces and the President of Ukraine, who stood in this very chamber not months ago and asked us to support the Canada-Ukraine free trade arrangements. Then, the Conservatives voted against Operation Unifier and support for our troops, which once again supports Ukraine.
    What is next? Why will they not stop trying to hide their moral failings?
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    There are several experienced members of the House who know that their time to speak will be recognized by the Chair when they are supposed to speak. Otherwise, I ask members to please allow questions to be asked and answers to be given so the Speaker can hear them, along with anybody else who is participating here.
    The hon. member for Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia—Headingley has the floor.
    Mr. Speaker, that was a shameful answer from the member. It is another day with another international embarrassment.
    After months of denials and throwing the former Speaker under the bus, we have learned that it was the Prime Minister who invited a Nazi to a reception with President Zelenskyy. He forced the Speaker to resign and to take the fall so he could avoid responsibility and cling to power.
    After eight years of the Prime Minister, he is not worth the cost to Canada's reputation. Why did the Prime Minister invite a Nazi to a reception with the Ukrainian President?
    Mr. Speaker, a community event was held with the President of Ukraine to which over 1,000 people were invited. In fact, some Conservatives were invited to that, but we are not talking about any of that today because the Conservatives care about this. They are pretending to care about this. This is fake outrage.
    Why are they doing this? It is because today we are voting on trade arrangements with one of our closest allies, the people in the country of Ukraine, who are repelling, as we speak, Russian invaders and dying. This is a moral failing of historic proportions.

  (1435)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister keeps misleading the House.
    On September 27, the Prime Minister said in this House that he had no idea that a former Nazi was going to be involved in the events surrounding President Zelenskyy's visit. We now know that the Prime Minister personally invited the Nazi to his private reception in Toronto. He said that the Speaker of the House should resign for inviting a Nazi into the House of Commons. After eight years, it is safe to say his relationship with the truth is pretty questionable.
    Will the Prime Minister apply the same standard to himself and resign?
    Mr. Speaker, apparently the Conservatives want to talk about their moral failings in French, too.
    I will come right out and say it: Why are we talking about this in the House today? We are talking about it because they are about to vote against an historic agreement between Canada and Ukraine at a time when the two countries want to support each other in terms of trade and we want to strengthen Ukraine so it can drive the Russians out of its homeland.
    This is a moral failing that the Conservatives are trying to mask by raising this issue today. I would invite them to draw back from this moral failing and vote in favour of the bill.

[English]

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, there has been a breakdown in law and order in this country. Over the last eight years, auto thefts are up 34% and violent crimes 39%. Canada has become a foreign interference playground for the PRC, Iran and Russia. Behind all of this is organized crime, money laundering and terrorist financing. In fact, in a U.S. indictment unsealed last week, Iran hired two Hell's Angels' members in British Columbia as assassins.
    When is the government going to get serious about crime in this country and start protecting Canadian citizens?
    Mr. Speaker, I have a lot of respect for the member for Wellington—Halton Hills, but I would ask him to reflect seriously on the vote he is going to cast on the fall economic statement.
    The fall economic statement deals directly with the money laundering that is fuelling organized crime. We know that auto theft and so many other crimes right now are being committed and orchestrated by organized criminals. We have the ability to get tough on their financing structures and break down those organizations.
    The member hopefully has the rectitude to address that issue, vote against his leader's instructions and vote in favour of the fall economic statement.
    Mr. Speaker, Bill C-59 will do little to combat the problem of organized crime and money laundering in this country, which by the government's own estimate is $133 billion a year, equal to 5% of GDP. The government has ignored numerous reports and protected lawyers from money laundering and terrorist financing law and failed to crack down on Canada's big banks and their funnelling of money laundering and terrorist financing through our financial system.
    When is the government going to subject lawyers to federal law and start cracking down on our big banks and the gobs of money laundering going through our financial system?
    Mr. Speaker, I again would ask the member to use reason, for which he is known in this chamber, and to think about the vote he is being asked to cast and the votes he has already cast.
    What am I talking about? We know that police forces around this country are asking for resources. We dedicated resources of $121 million last week to combat guns and gangs, yet the member, under the guidance of his leader, was instructed to vote in an all-night voting session against that funding. That is not becoming of that member or of that caucus.

[Translation]

Official Languages

    Mr. Speaker, all three federalist parties voted against a bilingualism requirement for miscarriage of justice review commissioners. The Liberal parliamentary secretary and the NDP justified dropping the bilingualism requirement by saying it would stand in the way of hiring unilingual French-speaking commissioners. Frankly, unilingual francophones have never benefited from bilingualism taking a backseat, believe me.
    Are these parties really saying that it is impossible to find nine competent bilingual jurists out of 40 million Canadians?

  (1440)  

    Mr. Speaker, judges in Canada are extremely important. Their role is extraordinarily important. The need to be bilingual is a very important priority and not just for judges in Quebec, but for judges across Canada. When we took office in 2015, we revised the process for appointing judges. This includes the fact that bilingualism is a priority for us when it comes to assessing applications.
    Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary is not following his minister's instructions.
    Another excuse for giving up on bilingualism is that apparently it is too expensive. Yesterday, Radio‑Canada reported that it obtained a copy of a letter from the Privy Council announcing that it would take years and it would be very expensive to translate the documents produced for the Rouleau commission. It seems that the production of a simple index would cost too much too.
    This raises three questions for us. How much is bilingualism worth? How much is Canada prepared to pay for bilingualism? Most of all, have we ever heard anyone here complain about the cost of translation from French to English?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for the question. I acknowledge the frustration of francophones in the country on this.
    As my colleague knows full well, the commission produced a final report of 2,000 pages in both official languages. The challenge of this situation should also be noted, specifically that the commission received 200,000 documents.
    That does not mean this situation is acceptable. There is a lesson to be learned here and we will do better in future.
    Mr. Speaker, what we are seeing is a marked tendency to extinguish the francophone presence in Canada. It is happening in the justice system, as my colleague demonstrated. It is also happening with appointments, such as that of Governor General Mary Simon, and in major events, such as the all-star hockey game and the Grey Cup.
    I am appealing to my colleagues in the national parties. If they choose to do nothing to stop the extinction of francophones, if they tolerate it or come up with excuses to abandon the French language, what choice are Quebeckers left with?
    Our only choice is independence.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order, please.
    The hon. Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages.
    Mr. Speaker, it is obvious that, on this Tuesday in the House of Commons, the Bloc Québécois is trying to pick a fight over language.
    I want everyone to know that I am a redeemed francophone. When I first landed at Campus Saint-Jean in Alberta in 1998, I could not speak French, but I learned French and now I am the Minister of Official Languages. I am proof that bilingualism is working in Canada.

[English]

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years of soft-on-crime policies, this Prime Minister has created the auto theft crisis. According to the Liberal government's own news release in New Brunswick, car theft has spiked by 120%.
     It is time to stop the crime. Will the Prime Minister reverse his soft-on-crime, catch-and-release policies that have caused the auto theft crisis?
    Mr. Speaker, our government obviously takes the increase in auto theft extremely seriously, which is why we have invested in a very significant way in the Border Services Agency and the RCMP to work on organized crime.
    When we formed government, we found out that Conservatives had cut 1,000 officers from border services and half of the border services officers who work on criminal intelligence to interdict the export of, for example, stolen vehicles. Good news, we reversed those cuts, we have invested more and we are going to continue to do more to deal with this issue.

  (1445)  

    Mr. Speaker, the results are in after eight years. There were five agents working at one port; five people.
     This Liberal government has let organized crime run rampant in Canada. The Prime Minister is not worth the cost or the crime. His reckless policies have caused an explosion in car thefts. He is responsible for the ports. He is responsible for the RCMP and the Criminal Code. These are federal responsibilities.
    Car thefts have spiked 190% in Moncton and 93% in Saint John. Will this Prime Minister finally reverse his soft-on-crime, catch-and-release policies?
    Madam Speaker, I can assure my colleague from Miramichi that this government will continue to crack down on auto theft and organized crime. They like fancy slogans where they make up things like “catch and-release”. He is from Miramichi, New Brunswick, and he knows that applies to salmon angling and not serious criminals, so just because he repeats the silly phrase does not make it true. Our government will do what is necessary with provincial partners and local police to crack down on this. We have invested in the CBSA and the RCMP and will continue to do more.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years under this Prime Minister and this government, auto theft has doubled in Montreal.
    Furthermore, the Canada Border Services Agency is responsible for controlling our borders, including ports. The Port of Montreal, however, has only five Canada Border Services Agency officers on duty to inspect the huge volume of containers transiting through the port on their way to foreign destinations. This morning, our leader proposed to significantly increase that number to 75 officers.
    Will the Prime Minister take the Conservative leader's proposals into account during discussions at his summit on Thursday?
    Mr. Speaker, what are we going to do at Thursday's discussion?
    For one thing, we are going to discuss exactly what we can do to combat auto theft with the chief of the Montreal police service and other partners.
    I was also at the port of Montreal two weeks ago with my colleague, the Minister of Transport. The good news is that we saw a lot more than five border services officers working on this troubling situation.
    We will continue to increase the number of Canada Border Services Agency staff, which the Conservatives drastically reduced.
    Mr. Speaker, yesterday our leader proposed other measures to fix this government's mistakes, like fixing the Criminal Code by bringing back tougher sentences. Three auto thefts would get a minimum of three years in prison. It is pretty simple.
    Also, by finding savings elsewhere—yes, we can save money; our leader has found savings—we can purchase 24 scanners that would be installed at the ports to check containers.
    Will the government listen to the Leader of the Opposition's proposals and bring them to the summit on Thursday so that we can finally solve the problem of auto theft in Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to see my colleague's interest in our summit on Thursday. His leader had downplayed the meeting, describing it as a bunch of bigwigs nattering at a meeting in Ottawa.
    Personally, I would never say such a thing about the chiefs of municipal and provincial police forces and provincial ministers who want to partner with the federal government in the fight against auto theft.
    On Thursday, we will be discussing concrete ideas to help reduce this major scourge facing Canadians. We will continue to increase investments.

[English]

Persons with Disabilities

    Mr. Speaker, everyone should be treated with dignity and respect, yet Canadians living with a disability have been deplaned on a catering cart or forced to get on their hands and knees to crawl off a plane. Some of these dehumanizing experiences happened under the watch of Air Canada's CEO, and the Liberal government is doing nothing about it. It continues to give CEOs a free ride, even handing them billions of taxpayers' dollars.
    Will the Liberals stop protecting rich CEOs and start protecting people with disabilities?
    Mr. Speaker, airlines can do better and have to do better. That is why I convened the team from Air Canada, the CEO and others, to come here and meet me and my colleague a couple of weeks ago. That is fundamental. What we have seen in the papers and through media is totally unacceptable, and not only with Air Canada but other companies also. Once again, they have to do better and they will do better.

  (1450)  

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, Palestinian Canadian families are desperate to bring their loved ones to safety in Canada. The rollout of the special immigration measure for Gaza is riddled with problems. People have been rejected without any explanation. Some are rejected then later approved with exactly the same application. Now officials are saying the 1,000 cap has almost been reached, yet many have not received the code from IRCC to move on to the next stage.
    What action is the minister taking to clean up this mess, and will he remove the arbitrary cap without further delay to save lives?
    Mr. Speaker, that is precisely what this measure is about. It is about saving lives in the face of a humanitarian catastrophe. We have said time and time again that we will be flexible about the 1,000-person cap. Right now, the challenge is actually getting an initial list of people out who are pre-approved to cross Rafah gates. I am extremely disappointed with local authorities that we have not been able to get this through, but that will not prevent us from trying.
     It is very difficult to extend these programs when we cannot even get people out. I am frustrated by it. We are in the House and I would use stronger words outside it, but we need to get those people out and into safety.

Indigenous Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday, we started debate on the first nations clean water act, an important piece of legislation that I look forward to studying at committee in due course. However, it seems like every time we want to move forward on reconciliation, the Conservatives want to keep us in our colonial past. The very first time a Conservative MP rose on this bill, the member accused first nations of burning down their own water systems.
    For the Minister of Indigenous Services, how would this legislation make long-term drinking water advisories in first nations communities a thing of the past?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Cloverdale—Langley City for caring so much about access to clean water for first nations, something about which we should all care.
     It was very disappointing yesterday, on the first day of the second reading of the bill, that the Conservative member blamed first nations for their lack of drinking water. I guess it is easier to do that than to look in the mirror. In 2015, when we took office, there were 105 long-term boil-water advisories. Now, 96% of first nations communities have access to clean water. We will not rest until we get it done, and this bill would help.

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years of the Liberal-NDP government, auto theft is up over 200% in the GTA. Canadians are waking up to their cars being stolen from their driveway, and they are watching them being shipped out to Africa and Dubai. Even the former Liberal justice minister had his own government cars stolen. The Prime Minister is not worth the cost, the crime or the chaos.
     Will the Prime Minister reverse his soft-on-crime, catch-and-release bail policies that have caused this auto theft crisis?
    Mr. Speaker, it is very strange that the party opposite only started talking about auto theft after we announced the fact that we were having a national summit to study auto theft, to bring together all affected parties, and after we realized that it was actually under Prime Minister Harper that boots on the ground were cut. We added 1,000 more to CBSA to staff the border. We are bringing together auto insurers, local law enforcement and industry, and we will reach—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I want to encourage all members to only take the microphone when they are recognized by the Speaker. I know some members will even be asking questions later on and I am certain they will want to have that same respect returned to them.
    The hon. member for Oxford.
    Mr. Speaker, let me remind the Prime Minister that he is responsible for the ports, the RCMP, the CBSA and our Criminal Code.
     Canadians are paying $1 billion more in insurance premiums because of skyrocketing auto theft claims. The Prime Minister has caused this auto theft crisis with bills like Bill C-75 and Bill C-5, which allow criminals to be on the streets the same day.
     Will the government reverse its policies and replace them with our common-sense plan of jail and not bail for repeat violent offenders?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to stress that slogans and videos are not going to fix this very complex problem. Our approach to addressing complex problems is to develop a complex solution.
     In Bill C-75, the very piece of legislation that the Leader of the Opposition is asking us to repeal, our government raised the maximum penalty on summary conviction for motor vehicle theft from 18 months to two years. Why does the Leader of the Opposition want to—

  (1455)  

    The hon. member for Edmonton—Mill Woods.
    Mr. Speaker, after eight years of the Prime Minister, car thefts have skyrocketed across the country. They are up 300% in Toronto and up over 100% in other Canadian cities. Car theft now costs the insurance industry over $1 billion a year. That means that every Canadian is spending more every month for their insurance premiums.
     The Prime Minister has caused this auto theft crisis. His catch-and-release policies have allowed organized crime to thrive in our country. It is time to stop the crime.
     When will the Prime Minister reverse his catch-and-release policies?
    Mr. Speaker, the good news is that on Thursday representatives of the insurance industry will participate with auto manufacturers, people responsible for rail transportation, the ports, federal border services agents, the RCMP and provincial ministers responsible. Their police chiefs will be here. We think that if we are going to do the work that Canadians expect us to do on this important issue our government is committed to doing, we need to do it in partnership with all the people to whom my colleague referred. The good news is that is exactly what we are doing.
    Mr. Speaker, while the Liberals continue to hold meetings, criminals are going to continue to steal cars. After eight years of the NDP-Liberal soft-on-crime policies, our police forces are powerless to stop car thieves. Liberal Bill C-5 allows house arrest for these criminals and Bill C-75 allows repeat offenders to be released on bail just hours after they were arrested.
    The Prime Minister has caused this crisis and he is not worth the cost. When will he reverse the soft-on-crime policies that have caused this auto theft crisis?
    Mr. Speaker, he is entitled to his own opinions, but he is not entitled to his own facts. Bill C-5, which he just mentioned, maintained a mandatory minimum penalty for auto theft. That is what the Conservatives apparently want to repeal. Bill C-75, which he just mentioned, actually enhanced the maximum penalty for auto theft, moving it from 18 months to two years less a day. That apparently is what they want to repeal.
    This problem cannot be fixed by suggesting redundant changes that already exist in the Criminal Code. We fix this problem by being the adults in the room, convening people and coming up with a complex solution to a complex problem.

[Translation]

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, Quebeckers have spent $470 million welcoming asylum seekers who are the federal government's responsibility. The federal government may feel that is a lot of money to have to pay back, but that is because we took in far more than our fair share of people. Now it is the Liberals' turn to do their bit. So far, all they have offered is an inadequate amount for accommodation, one that seems more about improving the mayor of Toronto's mood and far less about relieving pressure on public services in Quebec.
    Yesterday, the Minister of Finance was scheduled to speak to her Quebec counterpart. Did she tell him that she was finally reimbursing Quebeckers?
    Mr. Speaker, I think it would be useful to point out that, since 2015, Quebec has received $4.4 billion under the Canada-Quebec accord. That is not an insignificant amount of money. It is earmarked for welcoming immigrants and is put towards the services Quebec uses to welcome immigrants and help them integrate under the Canada-Quebec accord. The amount was $300 million in 2015 and it is now $700 million, regardless of immigration levels. The Bloc is being intellectually dishonest when it claims that we are not paying up. They are constantly picking fights.
    Mr. Speaker, they claim we are picking fights whenever they do not feel like debating. We have the member for Honoré-Mercier to thank for that.
    The federal government also needs to make it so that every province welcomes asylum seekers. Every time we raise the issue, the Minister of Immigration accuses Quebec of wanting to treat immigrants like cattle. That kind of rhetoric does not help anyone, especially when a year ago, the government made efforts to settle asylum seekers in various provinces. It sent people to Ontario. If the Liberals were not treating people like cattle when they did it, then things are no different today.
    When will the minister make it so that asylum seekers are spread out among the provinces?

  (1500)  

    Mr. Speaker, we see with this type of question that the Bloc Québécois is still trying to pick a fight. Obviously, as a responsible government we are at the negotiating table with the Government of Quebec. Do members know who is not? It is the Bloc Québécois. The Government of Quebec could invite Bloc members, but they are not welcome. Let them be the armchair quarterbacks that they are and let them listen to the two responsible governments that are in the process of fixing the problem.

[English]

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, last week, the environment minister revealed the truth about the carbon tax. I asked how many emissions were directly reduced from the carbon tax in an Order Paper question. The minister's response was “the government does not measure the annual amount of emissions that are directly reduced by federal carbon pricing.” Those are his words, not mine.
    Why is the minister forcing Canadians to pay his carbon tax if he does not measure the emissions he pretends to reduce?
    Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, what the member is saying is simply not true. Just before Christmas, we put out a study by Environment and Climate Change Canada that shows that carbon pricing will be responsible for between 20% and 30% of our greenhouse gas emissions between 2019 and 2030.
    On the issue of carbon pricing and climate change, we have no lessons to take from the Conservative Party, whose official position today, as Alberta is suffering from droughts, as there are unforeseen storms in eastern Canada and atmospheric rivers in B.C., is still that climate change simply does not exist.
    Mr. Speaker, shame on the Liberals for telling Canadians that their costly carbon tax is reducing emissions. It is a complete scam.
     The minister pretends that his carbon tax reduces emissions, but now we know that the Liberals do not measure the results of their carbon tax. With no measurement, there are no results. No wonder emissions went up after eight years of the NDP-Liberal government.
    Why did the environment minister mislead Canadians about his carbon tax scam?
    Mr. Speaker, the falsehoods that we hear from the Conservative Party on the issue of climate change and carbon pricing has not been seen before in the history of our country. First, the Conservatives believe that climate change does not exist. That is simply not true. They say that our plan is not working. Our plan has allowed us to reduce—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I am having difficulty hearing the minister respond to the question. I will ask him to start from the top. Could members please withhold their comments so the Speaker can hear?
    Mr. Speaker, do members want to know the truth? Climate change is real. That is the truth. Do they want to know the truth? Climate change is impacting Canadians all over the country, including farmers from coast to coast. Do they want to know the truth about climate change? It is costing Canadians billions of dollars. That is the truth about climate change.
    Our party is working. We are reducing emissions. We are helping Canadians with affordability. That is the truth.
    Mr. Speaker, if the Liberals do not measure the results of the carbon tax, there are no results. The Liberals have no shame in punishing Canadians without anything to show for it.
     Here is something we can measure, though. After eight years of the Liberal government, gas is up, groceries are up, home heating is up because of its failed carbon tax.
    Now that the environment minister has exposed his own carbon tax scam, will he finally axe the tax?

  (1505)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is pretty hard to take the Conservatives seriously on the cost of groceries when the senior adviser to their leader is actually a lobbyist for Loblaws. Now it turns out that the deputy leader used to work for Walmart.
    The Conservatives are opposing our historic reforms to the Competition Act, which will bring down the cost of groceries. Is that because they are taking dictation from Walmart and Loblaws and not working for Canadians?

[Translation]

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, as parents, the safety of our children is essential. Too often, children are affected by war. Russia's invasion of Ukraine cost thousands of people their lives and continues to jeopardize children's safety.
    As the second anniversary of Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine approaches, can the Minister of Foreign Affairs tell us what Canada is doing for the children of Ukraine?
    Mr. Speaker, I just got back from Ukraine, where thousands of Ukrainian children have been abducted and brought to Russia, far from their families. This is terribly sad. That is why Canada and Ukraine have launched the international coalition for the return of Ukrainian children.
    We are going to work through our diplomatic network to exert pressure on various countries and on the Kremlin. Every child that is returned will be a victory.
    Today, there is going to be an important vote in the House. The Conservatives are facing a historic failure. We all need to support Ukraine.

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years of the Liberal government, one thing is for sure: Canadians are paying more taxes.
    The other thing we know for sure is that Liberal carbon taxes are the cornerstone of the Liberal approach to fighting climate change. Do they actually work, though?
    That is why my colleague from Manitoba tabled a written question. The minister wrote back and said, “the government does not measure the annual amount of emissions that are directly reduced by federal carbon pricing.”
    Why tax when there is no way to assess?
    Mr. Speaker, I said this in English, and I am pleased to say it in French. We put out figures on carbon pricing just before the holidays.
    Carbon pricing will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% to 30% by 2030. We have already reduced greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of 30 million tonnes. There is still a lot of work to be done because the Conservatives spent 10 years doing nothing to fight pollution and climate change.
    Thanks to our programs, our actions and the actions of Canadians, we are starting to tackle this problem. The last thing we need is for the Conservatives to come back and wreck everything.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to know who is answering my questions. Is it the environment minister who claims that things are in the works, or the environment minister who signs off on things we cannot assess? Which one is speaking today? Is it the environment minister under whose watch Canada went from ranking 58th to 62nd on climate performance?
    That is the Liberal's track record.
    Why do you keep imposing taxes? You have no way to assess their effectiveness.
    I would like to remind all hon. members to address their questions through the Chair.
    The hon. Minister of Environment and Climate Change.
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague is wrong. We publish an annual report on greenhouse gas emissions in April. It happens every year, just like Christmas or tax time.
    I would be pleased to arrange a personalized briefing for all Conservative members interested in the climate change issue—I know there are only a few of them—on Canada's progress in the fight against climate change and on the support we provide to help Canadians transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.
     Some hon. members: Oh, oh!

  (1510)  

    Order.
    I would invite all members to listen to their whip, who is advising them to show some restraint.

[English]

    The hon. member for Souris Moose Mountain.
    Mr. Speaker, it is Brandon—Souris.
    After eight long years of the Liberal Prime Minister, many—
    I would like to apologize to the member for Brandon—Souris. I will invite the member to please start again, from the top.
    Mr. Speaker, after eight long years of the Liberal Prime Minister, many West End families are struggling to make ends meet as the price of gas, groceries and heat continue to rise because of the Prime Minister's carbon tax.
    In Brandon, the Samaritan House food bank gave out nearly 36,000 hampers last year, a dramatic increase of 12,000, which was 50% above their normal annual average.
    For Canadian families facing hardship, the Prime Minister is just not worth the cost. Will the Liberals give people a break and stop their April 1 carbon tax hike?
    Mr. Speaker, this fall we put forward a comprehensive economic plan that included generational changes to Canada's competition law that will bring down grocery prices.
    The Conservative leader described that plan as a “disgusting scheme”. His actions make a lot more sense now that we have learned that he is advised by a Loblaws lobbyist and that his deputy leader used to work for Walmart.
     The Conservative leader talks a lot about powerful paycheques. Who is paying his advisers?

International Trade

    Mr. Speaker, today, members of the chamber will have the opportunity, yet again, to advance the modernized Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement. February 24 will mark two years since Russia's brutal, inhumane and cruel invasion of Ukraine. Ukrainians both at home and across the Canadian diaspora have demonstrated an unwavering and inspiring will to persevere. I have seen this tenacity first-hand in my home riding of Winnipeg South Centre.
    Can the Minister of International Trade expand on the critical importance of this legislation, a piece of legislation that President Zelenskyy himself has urged us to enact?
    Mr. Speaker, I was with the member for Winnipeg South Centre meeting with those very excellent and wonderful Ukrainian Canadians. To those Ukrainian Canadians in Manitoba, in Saskatchewan, in British Columbia, in Alberta, here in Ontario and, indeed, across the country, I want to say to them that I hear them and that we hear them. The Liberal government is going to vote, today, in favour of the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement.
    Most of the House is going to do that. I want to ask my Conservative colleagues, I appeal to them, to support Ukraine today. Vote for this Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement today.

Indigenous Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, Jared Guerard was a beautiful young Cree artist. He died this past weekend in a horrific house fire in Peawanuck. A young woman is also dead, and three others are in hospital fighting for their lives. This government knew that Peawanuck was at risk, yet the minister nickel-and-dimed the community over funding for a fire hall.
    A fire hall: that is basic stuff. People in Treaty 9 are tired of the trauma and the broken promises. We need a full comprehensive plan for fire safety in the north and no more fire deaths.
    Is the minister up to the job, yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, I have been working with Weenusk First Nation since last year when there was yet another tragic death in that community due to a house fire. In fact, last march, we airlifted in the fire truck that would help them respond. I agree that they do need a fire hall as well. Our department is working with the community to make sure that we can accelerate the work of the design and make it possible to get the equipment and the supplies there quickly.
     I look forward to meeting with this member this afternoon to talk more about this.
    Mr. Speaker, the Haida have stewarded the lands and waters of Haida Gwaii for millennia. Today, their leaders continue the long journey toward restoring their inherent right of self-government. Last year, they secured legislation in British Columbia that officially recognized the Council of the Haida Nation as their government, at long last.
    This is a significant step away from the colonial binds of the Indian Act, consistent with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.
    Will Canada also recognize the Council of the Haida Nation as the government of the Haida?

  (1515)  

    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley for his advocacy for the Council of the Haida Nation.
    For 50 years, the Haida Nation has been on a journey toward self-governance. This recognition is long overdue and rightfully owed. Later today, I will have the opportunity to meet with the president of the Haida Nation, Gaagwiis Jason Alsop, to further his important work.
    We will continue working to advance shared priorities and to strengthen our nation-to-nation relationship.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[Translation]

Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, 2023

    The House resumed from February 5 consideration of the motion that Bill C‑57, An Act to implement the 2023 Free Trade Agreement between Canada and Ukraine, be read the third time and passed.
    It being 3:16 p.m., the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at third reading stage of Bill C‑57.
    Call in the members.

  (1525)  

[English]

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

(Division No. 627)

YEAS

Members

Aldag
Alghabra
Ali
Anand
Anandasangaree
Angus
Arseneault
Arya
Ashton
Atwin
Bachrach
Badawey
Bains
Baker
Barron
Barsalou-Duval
Battiste
Beaulieu
Beech
Bergeron
Bérubé
Bibeau
Bittle
Blaikie
Blair
Blanchet
Blanchette-Joncas
Blaney
Blois
Boissonnault
Boulerice
Bradford
Brière
Brunelle-Duceppe
Cannings
Carr
Casey
Chabot
Chagger
Chahal
Champagne
Champoux
Chatel
Chen
Chiang
Collins (Hamilton East—Stoney Creek)
Collins (Victoria)
Cormier
Coteau
Dabrusin
Damoff
Davies
DeBellefeuille
Desbiens
Desilets
Desjarlais
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Diab
Dong
Drouin
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
Dzerowicz
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Erskine-Smith
Fillmore
Fisher
Fonseca
Fortier
Fortin
Fragiskatos
Fraser
Freeland
Fry
Gaheer
Gainey
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
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
Rota
Sahota
Sajjan
Saks
Samson
Sarai
Savard-Tremblay
Scarpaleggia
Schiefke
Serré
Sgro
Shanahan
Sheehan
Sidhu (Brampton East)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Simard
Sinclair-Desgagné
Singh
Sorbara
Sousa
Ste-Marie
St-Onge
Sudds
Tassi
Taylor Roy
Thériault
Therrien
Thompson
Trudeau
Trudel
Turnbull
Valdez
Van Bynen
van Koeverden
Vandal
Vandenbeld
Vignola
Villemure
Virani
Weiler
Wilkinson
Yip
Zahid
Zarrillo
Zuberi

Total: -- 214


NAYS

Members

Aboultaif
Aitchison
Albas
Allison
Arnold
Baldinelli
Barlow
Barrett
Berthold
Bezan
Block
Bragdon
Brassard
Brock
Calkins
Caputo
Carrie
Chambers
Chong
Cooper
Dalton
Dancho
Davidson
Deltell
d'Entremont
Doherty
Dowdall
Dreeshen
Duncan (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Ellis
Epp
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Ferreri
Findlay
Gallant
Généreux
Genuis
Gladu
Godin
Goodridge
Gourde
Gray
Hallan
Hoback
Jeneroux
Kelly
Khanna
Kitchen
Kmiec
Kram
Kramp-Neuman
Kurek
Kusie
Lake
Lantsman
Lawrence
Lehoux
Leslie
Lewis (Essex)
Lewis (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Liepert
Lloyd
Lobb
Maguire
Majumdar
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
Shipley
Small
Soroka
Steinley
Stewart
Strahl
Stubbs
Thomas
Tochor
Tolmie
Uppal
Van Popta
Vecchio
Vidal
Vien
Viersen
Vis
Vuong
Wagantall
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Williams
Williamson

Total: -- 116


PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion carried.

    (Bill read the third time and passed)

    I wish to inform the House that, because of the deferred recorded division, Government Orders will be extended by 12 minutes.

  (1530)  

Business of Supply

Opposition Motion—Auto Theft  

[Business of Supply]
    The House resumed consideration of the motion.
    Mr. Speaker, it is great to rise in this House after question period and see so many of my colleagues.
    I would like to start my remarks by acknowledging the vote that just took place in the House of Commons in support of our friends and allies in Ukraine, the Ukrainian people and the Ukrainian government. I am very proud to have voted yes on the free trade agreement. We should all be proud, as members of Parliament who voted yes and supported it. We will continue to support the brave men and women fighting against the unjustified, tyrannical Russian government that invaded Ukraine. We will continue to be there, much as the European Union was there for them this week in its €54-billion aid package. We will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with Ukrainian people in Ukraine and the over 1.5 million Ukrainian Canadians who call Canada home. God bless them all.
    I take the floor to discuss the important issue of auto theft, something the Government of Canada is deeply concerned about. Our government is addressing the issue, with over $120 million in additional funding announced last week in the region of York; it is cracking down on repeat violent offenders through Bill C-48 and attacking organized crime through anti-money-laundering measures.
    In addition, the government is playing a key role—
     I ask for order, so we can actually hear what the hon. member for Vaughan—Woodbridge is saying.
    Madam Speaker, I think it applies to our side of the House on that one.
    The government is playing a key role in bringing together partners and stakeholders from across Canada to consider new and meaningful solutions. No one level of government can expect to effectively address this issue on its own, nor can one agency or organization.
    Later this week, on Thursday, the Minister of Public Safety will host a national summit on auto theft. He will be joined by the Minister of Justice; the Minister of Transport; the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry; and the President of the Treasury Board, along with numerous provincial counterparts, law enforcement officials and leaders of industry. They will discuss and ensure a coordinated response to this issue. We need all levels of government, including federal, provincial, regional and municipal, as well as partners in industry, auto manufacturers and policing to work together in a coordinated and focused way.
    I was at York Regional Police headquarters last week with the Premier of Ontario; Chief MacSween, the police chief of York Region and the presiding president of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police; the Minister of Justice; and the Minister of Public Safety to announce the investment of $121 million targeting guns, gangs and auto theft. It is very important that we continue the work and support our frontline officers, which our government has done since day one, instead of and versus the cuts the prior administration brought in across the board, whether it was to border security or directed funding.
    This is exactly the approach the federal government is leading on. I am very confident that it will result in meaningful and effective action to address this pernicious activity.
    The motion before us proposes we change the law. I expect that this work will comprehensively examine our existing laws, from the investigative tools that police use to the scope of the existing offences and whether they clearly denounce the many ways in which auto theft occurs, including through the use of violence and carjackings, as well as the links between auto theft and organized crime. It is important to remember that our criminal laws in this space are quite broad and far-reaching.
    We can take organized crime as an example. We know that the face of auto theft today in Canada involves organized crime. In the GTA, 251 vehicles were taken, put on containers on a ship and brought to the port of Calabria, in southern Italy, with the vehicles destined for the Middle East and Africa. That only happens through transnational organized crime working to do so. We will stamp this activity out. The game is over for these folks. The easy money is done, and we are coming after them.
    We see repeated stories of cars being stolen in places such as Ontario, Quebec and my city of Vaughan. Within a matter of days, they are placed on cargo containers and shipped overseas, where they are received and sold. They are then found in destinations in Africa and the Middle East.
    Canada's organized crime offences operate independently of underlying criminal conduct, as well as working in tandem with it. This means, for example, that a person is charged with our criminal organization offences independently of being charged with any other underlying offence. To illustrate, a person may be charged with participating in the activities of a criminal organization for scoping out potential cars to steal or committing an indictable offence for the benefit of, at the direction of or in association with a criminal organization. In other words, they can be charged for stealing the car for the benefit of the criminal organization.
    As I mentioned, our organized crime laws work in tandem with other criminal offences. This means that, in addition to being charged with an organized crime offence, the person can be charged with the underlying criminal conduct: the actual theft. In cases where convictions are secured for both, the Criminal Code requires that the sentences imposed be served consecutively, back to back. The Criminal Code also makes clear that a conditional sentence is not possible in cases where an auto theft is prosecuted on indictment and linked to organized crime.
    It is important for all parliamentarians to recognize that we have a rich legal framework in place that already provides our police forces with strong tools. If more is to be done, I am confident that the work led by the Minister of Justice and his department will identify it.
    I started my remarks by talking about the leadership the federal government is showing in this space. This is leadership in pursuing a strategy that will lead to success and meaningful action to prevent and respond to the rise in auto theft. I strongly support this approach, as it is far more likely to produce the results Canadians expect. In fact, through the first part of 2024, auto thefts in the GTA, and specifically in York Region, are down by over 20%. We are seeing a decline in auto thefts, going in the right direction. Ours is a comprehensive approach that starts with prevention and focuses on industry-specific enhancements, on operational improvements and, of course, on our legal responses.

  (1535)  

    None of these actions can work on its own to address the complex reality of auto theft; it seems to me that the focus of the motion fails to appreciate this. It is not about just throwing away the key and locking people up for years and years and determining laws to be unconstitutional; rather, it is about providing a holistic all-of-government approach working with industry and insurance to come up with the proper solutions, which they are doing. Currently, when a vehicle such as a Range Rover is purchased, insurance companies will require that a tracker be placed in the vehicle before it can be insured, which leads to a 75% reduction in auto thefts.
    Leadership is about taking action and working collaboratively. Just last week, I joined the federal Minister of Public Safety, the federal Minister of Justice, the Premier of Ontario and provincial counterparts to announce a new investment of $121 million to prevent gun and gang violence, including as it relates to auto theft. This is exactly what Canadians, including the residents of York Region and of my riding, expect: governments working together to implement real solutions to address these important issues. We are already seeing a double-digit decline in auto theft in the region of York.
    Conservatives are offering nothing but unserious slogans that reduce complex criminal issues to childish political games. Their so-called plan includes measures that already exist in the Criminal Code, such as a mandatory minimum penalty for repeat auto thefts. Their suggestions are not rooted in evidence or research but are classic tough-on-crime Conservative scare tactics that do not keep communities safe.
    We will continue to focus on solutions while they continue to try to scare Canadians. The government will continue to work with its partners to ensure that all necessary actions can be taken to better address auto theft. I call on all parliamentarians to similarly work in the spirit of collaboration to identify real solutions for the benefit of us all. It is imperative that, as parliamentarians, our number one responsibility be to keep our communities safe and to make sure our residents feel safe in our communities, including the residents of Vaughan—Woodbridge, whom I am proud to represent.
    We know that in 2022-23, criminals understood they could make a lot money by stealing fancy vehicles and shipping them overseas post-COVID. We will put a stop to that. We are putting a stop to that. How do we do that? We do it by working with the insurance companies and the auto manufacturers. I am proud to lead the Liberal auto caucus in dealing with the auto manufacturers. I invite all Canadians, especially all the people of Ontario, to visit the auto show in the coming days to see the new vehicles and the new technology there.
    We are working with our provincial counterparts and the Premier of Ontario to make key announcements and key investments in our justice system. The Minister of Public Safety and the Minister of Justice will be overseeing where the laws are, where we need improved actions, where to add resources to our ports and so forth.
    Finally, in the existing laws, there are mandatory minimums for auto theft that have been there for years, prior to our government. Of course we need to ensure that our residents are kept safe and that they feel safe in their communities, and we have taken action. For the first part of this year so far, car thefts are down over 20% in the region of York. We will see a further decline as the years go by.
    I would say to the criminals out there that we know who they are and that we are going to come to get them. Our police resources will be able to do so.

  (1540)  

    Madam Speaker, it is always a pleasure to rise on behalf of the people of Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo.
    After eight years of the Liberal government, we are continually left with the same rhetoric; it is all talk, no results. Here is the problem: Car thefts are rising, and now the government says it is going to have a summit. Then it tries to connect the dots with organized crime. With respect, I will inform my colleague that, as the Crown must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that organized crime is involved, there is an incredible hurdle to achieving that. The Liberals make it sound like it is no big deal, just like house arrest is no big deal.
    There is a vehicle theft epidemic caused by the Liberals. When will they wake up and finally deal with the problem rather than having more meetings?
    Madam Speaker, my family and that of the hon. member for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo have known each other for over six decades now in this beautiful country.
    Auto theft is a very important and severe issue for Canadians, including the residents of my riding. We are undertaking action. We have invested the resources. We will host a national auto summit this Thursday. I have spoken to many of the participants. I look forward to welcoming the chief of police of York Region, Chief MacSween, who is coming up. I have had many conversations with the deputy chiefs of York Region over the last several months, not just several weeks. We were there last week with the Premier of Ontario investing funds.
    As for organized crime, the learned member knows very well that Canada has tough laws on organized crime—
    There needs to be an opportunity for other questions.

[Translation]

    The hon. member for Drummond.
    Madam Speaker, I congratulate my colleague on his speech. His ability to focus was amazing. It was incredible to hear the heckling in the House of Commons while my colleague was giving his speech. This is a Conservative motion. Perhaps the least the Conservatives could do to show a modicum of respect is listen to what other members have to say.
    That being said, the Conservative motion is not completely meaningless. On the contrary, we agree with the principle, overall. However, some of the facts have been somewhat distorted.
    There is something that has always bothered me a bit. It is the fact that things move around a lot at the border and at ports, in particular. There has always been an assumption that shipping goods through Canada's ports is pretty smooth and easy. It seems that the percentage of containers checked on their way in and out of ports, particularly in Montreal, is minimal.
    I wonder if my colleague agrees with what the Conservatives are proposing, for example, the issue of checking containers leaving the port of Montreal. Does he think that this could be a useful tool to help combat auto theft, specifically?

  (1545)  

    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his question. It is a very important one. I agree with what he said about the ports of Montreal and Vancouver.

[English]

    Historically, under any government administration in Canada, we have done a really good job of checking inbound cargo to Canada. We need to do a better job of checking outbound cargo. That has traditionally been the mainstay and the way the CBSA has operated. We also need to provide more resources to CBSA officers to ensure that they have the tools, while we balance the efficiency of our ports to get containers in and out. That is the economic argument.
    There is also a security provision; we need to ensure that we are checking enough containers and that we maintain the checking. Also, if individuals put tags in their vehicles, we will know where those vehicles are and we could get them.
    Madam Speaker, I was wondering whether my colleague across the way could put today's Conservative motion in the context of two things: first of all, the massive cuts to the Canada Border Services Agency in 2012 by the previous Harper government and, second, the December votes of the supplementary estimates, in which the Conservatives voted against important line item spending for both the RCMP and the Canada Border Services Agency.
    Madam Speaker, it points to a certain level of hypocrisy. When the Conservatives were in power, they did cut over $400 to $500 million for CBSA frontline officers. Recently, on the supplementary estimates, they voted against funding for law enforcement agencies and the brave men and women who keep our communities safe. Whether it is in my hometown of Prince Rupert, where there is an RCMP detachment, or across this country, we hear again and again that the Conservatives are saying no to helping our frontline officers do their job day in and day out.
    Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. It is really hard to be listening to the debate right now with the level of noise from the Conservative bench. It is like a coffee chat over there while we are trying to do some important work.
    I would ask them to please listen.
    I take notice. I called the House to order twice during the hon. member's speech. I remind members to be respectful of one another when someone is speaking.
    The hon. Leader of the Opposition.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles.
    After eight years in power, this Prime Minister is not worth the cost, he is not worth the crime and he is not worth the cost of crime. After eight years with this Prime Minister in power, everything costs more, work no longer pays, housing costs have doubled, and crime, chaos, drugs and disorder are out of control.
    I want to give an example from a CTV article. A 26-year-old man is facing a slew of charges filed by police officers in Bradford. Police say the suspect was arrested for stealing a vehicle at around 11 p.m. but was more or less automatically released on bail. That morning, he was arrested again at 4:30 a.m. for another theft. There will be a bail hearing. He will likely be released a second time to commit a third theft in less than 24 hours.
    We are hearing these sorts of stories after eight years of this Prime Minister because Bill C-75 gives automatic parole to chronic auto thieves. Even the bail reform the government presented under pressure from the Conservatives did not address auto theft. As a result, these same criminals can continue to commit hundreds of crimes, even if they are caught. It is no big deal if they are found guilty, because, under Bill C-5, they can serve their sentence in their living room, meaning they can watch Netflix or play a game while they wait to go out and steal another vehicle. That is why, after eight years of this Prime Minister, auto theft is up 300% in Toronto, 100% in Ottawa and Montreal and 100% in New Brunswick.
    The government is releasing recidivists who terrorize our streets and then it helps them send stolen goods around the world to fund terrorism and organized crime. The ports are wide open to criminals. Even though the Prime Minister has spent billions of dollars on bureaucracy, we see that the Port of Montreal has only five border officers to inspect more than 500,000 containers. Less than 1% of the containers are inspected. They have a scanner that barely works. It is easy to see why theft has massively increased. Even after all of these increases, we see that the number of containers being intercepted is the same as it was eight years ago. There is more theft, more illegal exports, but more containers are not being intercepted. That does not make sense.
    We did exactly the opposite when we formed the government: We cut the number of car thefts in half. That is a massive reduction that makes me proud. The Prime Minister likes to point out the fact that we did that by cutting costs. It is true, we cut costs and reduced crime at the same time. That is a good thing, a win-win, as the member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles would say.
    Today, I continued to present our common-sense plan. First, we will bring in three years of jail for three stolen cars. Second, we will end house arrest. Third, we will bring in harsher penalties for theft tied to organized crime. Finally, we will strengthen our ports.

  (1550)  

    We will do this by hiring 75 border officers to carry out inspections at Canada's four largest ports, namely, Vancouver, Halifax, Prince Rupert and, of course, Montreal. They will be able to use new scanners that can look into the boxes to see if they contain stolen goods. Each of those 24 scanners will be able to scan one million containers a year.
    How are we going to pay for that? With a common-sense approach, dollar for dollar. We are going to cut $165 million from the budget for external management consultants. We are going to get rid of consultants and put the money into boots on the ground and box scanners.
    It is really very simple. We have a common-sense plan to stop auto theft by strengthening our ports and keeping thieves behind bars. That is just common sense.

[English]

    After eight years, the Prime Minister is not worth the cost. After eight years, he is not worth the crime. After eight years, he is not worth the cost of crime. Crime is costly, because after eight years of the Prime Minister, we are paying $1 billion in higher insurance premiums to pay for the stolen cars. In Ontario, that adds $120 to the insurance bill of every family that has a car.
    Let me tell the story that was on CTV News on December 27:
    A 26-year-old man faces a slew of charges after police arrested him twice less than six hours apart for alleged crimes in Bradford and Innisfil.
    Police said he was caught stealing a car at 11:00 p.m. on Sunday. They arrested and released him, and then he was arrested at 4:30 a.m. the very next morning. That was five hours after his last crime.
     This is the new normal after eight years of the Prime Minister and his catch-and-release Bill C-75, which forced police to arrest the same 40 offenders 6,000 times in Vancouver and contributed to a 300% increase in auto theft in Toronto, 100% in Ottawa and Montreal, and over 100% in New Brunswick. It is crime, chaos, drugs and disorder.
    If these repeat career car thieves are actually convicted, they do not have to worry about that either, because under the Prime Minister's Bill C-5, which has the full support of the NDP, they will have house arrest, meaning they can watch Netflix or play a game of Grand Theft Auto in their living room. Then they can get up whenever they say they need a few more bucks to fill their pockets, open the front door, walk out onto the street and steal another car. That car then goes to the port and is gone.
    Our common-sense plan is very straightforward. We are going to get rid of house arrest for career car thieves. We are going bring in jail and not bail for people who have long rap sheets. We are going to bring in a mandatory three years' jail for three cars stolen. We are going to increase penalties if the stolen car was related to organized crime.
    Then, we are going to reinforce our ports. I am going to cut $165 million that we are now giving to management consultants, because if the managers over at CBSA cannot manage, they should not be managing; they should be fired. We will fire the management consultants, and we will put that money, $135 million of it, into hiring 75 border agents who will use 24 new scanners that are able to scan a million shipping containers every year at our four biggest ports. If a stolen car is in there and there is a phony claim on the manifest, the scanner will show it. If someone calls saying, “Look out for my stolen car,” the scanner will catch it. The box can be put aside. The car can be put back in the hands of the rightful owner.
    In other words, our common-sense plan is to put boots on the ground, to scan the boxes and to put the career car thieves in jail. Our common-sense plan is to stop the crime and bring home safe streets. It is the common sense of the common people, united for our common home.

  (1555)  

    Madam Speaker, a few days ago this was not even an issue for the leader of the Conservative Party, but less than an hour ago, what we witnessed was the Conservative Party of Canada vote against speaking as one voice in favour of the Canada-Ukraine trade agreement.
    I believe that the Conservative Party has done a great disservice to Ukraine and the whole idea of solidarity with Ukraine that has taken form around the world. I and so many other Canadians would like to understand the real reason the Conservative leader today voted against the Canada-Ukraine trade agreement.
    How does he justify his actions today?
    I have to remind the hon. member to be relevant to the speech the hon. Leader of the Opposition made.
    The hon. Leader of the Opposition.
    Madam Speaker, he knows it is not relevant and he does not care, because he does not care about Ukraine. He cares about using Ukrainians to distract from the car-theft crisis that his boss, the Prime Minister, has caused. The Prime Minister could not care less about Ukraine or any of the other distractions he brings up. He does it because he knows he cannot run on his miserable track record of doubling the cost of housing, sending a record-smashing two million people to food banks, quadrupling the carbon tax, leading to a 300% car-theft increase in just eight years in Toronto, and giving Halifax 30 homeless encampments. This kind of chaos and misery is a record no one wants.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, as I said earlier, the Bloc Québécois agrees with quite a few aspects of this motion. I also find it very interesting because it appears to address an issue of mutual concern today to the Liberals and the Conservatives. I like that.
    The Liberals are organizing a summit on auto theft. These thefts are a scourge, especially given the figures released in recent weeks. It is appalling, and we must take action. I could not agree more.
    The Conservatives have made it the topic of their opposition day today. I think it is wonderful to finally see some agreement on the issues we are called on to debate in this place.
    Since the Conservatives are proposing solutions and the Liberals are organizing a summit on Thursday, I would like to ask the Leader of the Opposition whether he intends to raise these representations at the Thursday summit to gain support for them. Will he attend?
    Madam Speaker, yes, I am going. I was not invited, but I will go anyway and share my common-sense ideas. I hope that, after eight years, they will learn, because I was part of the government that managed to reduce auto theft by 50% while reducing the cost of bureaucracy at the Canada Border Services Agency.
    The Bloc voted in favour of Bill C-5, which allows sentences to be served at home, thereby enabling more crime. They voted in favour of Bill C-75, which allows for the automatic release of repeat car thieves. The Bloc also supports wasting money going after sport shooters and hunters, which takes money away from our border forces.
    The Bloc supports all public safety policies. It makes no sense. Only the Conservative Party makes sense for Quebeckers.

  (1600)  

[English]

    Uqaqtittiji, the NDP, I think, are quite well-known for trying to work with all parties to get things done, and we did try to work with the Conservative Party on this motion.
    Why did the Conservatives vote against our amendments, for example, requiring auto manufacturers to improve security features in the cars they sell, and secondly, to put in place tough, new measures to crack down on organized crime and money laundering linked to auto thefts?
    Madam Speaker, the member voted against her constituents by supporting the Prime Minister's ban on law-abiding, licensed, trained and tested firearms owners. She voted with her party to attack first nations hunters and other legitimate, law-abiding firearms owners, instead of going after the real criminals. She, like the Prime Minister, would take money away from border security and use it to harass licensed, law-abiding firearms owners in her own riding.
    That is the shameful record of the NDP. Only the common-sense Conservatives will respect and honour our hunters, our anglers and our sport shooters and go after real criminals.

Business of the House

    There have been discussions among the parties and, if you seek it, I think you will find unanimous consent to adopt the following motion. I move:
    That, notwithstanding any standing order or usual practice of the House, during the debate pursuant to Standing Order 66 on Motion No. 49 to concur in the 10th report of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food, no quorum calls, dilatory motions or requests for unanimous consent shall be received by the Chair and at the conclusion of the time provided for debate or when no member rises to speak, whichever is earlier, all questions necessary to dispose of the motions be deemed put and a recorded division deemed requested and deferred pursuant to Standing Order 66.
    All those opposed to the hon. member's moving the motion will please say nay.
    It is agreed.

[Translation]

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

    (Motion agreed to)

Business of Supply

Opposition Motion—Auto Theft  

[Business of Supply]
    The House resumed consideration of the motion.
    Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to our opposition motion and a very serious subject. Auto theft is a problem that is happening right now, and I do not know whether my colleagues are aware of this, but Canada has the highest rate of auto theft in the world. We are the number one exporter of stolen vehicles. Is that something we want to see? No, not at all.
    It is important to understand that auto theft is a big deal. It has gone up by 34% in Canada since this Prime Minister and his government came to power. Even worse, it has gone up by 300% in Toronto. In Montreal and the Ottawa-Gatineau region, it has gone up by more than 100%. It is up by 120% in New Brunswick and 122% overall in Ontario. One of the reasons we are seeing these numbers is that inflation has driven up the price of cars. Compared to last year, cars are worth 20% more. They are very attractive items. Nowadays, we are no longer talking about cars that were worth $15,000 or $20,000 back in the day. They now cost $45,000 on average. The most desirable cars are in the $60,000 to $70,000 range. This means someone can steal a car and resell it for more than $100,000, even as much as $120,000, abroad. It is a very attractive market for organized crime and thieves.
    This is causing stress. People are stressed right now. When they wake up in the morning or go to the grocery store, they wonder whether their car will be where they left it. Things cannot go on like this. Theft has a financial impact too. Last year, insurance companies paid out $1 billion to settle claims by the owners of stolen cars. What comes next? All car owners end up paying more for insurance. Insurance companies have to cover their losses, so they raise premiums. Once again, in addition to inflation and rising rates everywhere, insurance premiums go up because auto theft is out of control.
    The solutions for controlling auto theft are not limitless. Some things are easy to do. The government is not being called out for nothing. Before I rose to speak, we heard from the Leader of the Opposition. For the past two days, he has been proposing concrete solutions to the problem. I would like to talk about the first two. First, there was Bill C‑5, which was enacted. We criticized it from the start. We made every possible and impossible representation to say that it does not work. Here is a concrete example: People are convicted, but instead of going to prison like they should, they get to stay at home. What do we think these people are doing? They think nothing of it; they are criminals. They unapologetically go out and commit more crimes.
    The other issue with Bill C-5 was minimum sentences. The government stood up and the justice minister said that the Conservatives were wrong. No, we are not wrong. Auto theft currently carries a six-month sentence. What we are saying, and we are not going too far, is that if the same person has stolen three cars and has been charged with three thefts, they should get a minimum of three years in jail. I think this is just common sense. When we talk about common sense, this is a perfect example. People are looking at this and wondering whether it is normal for a criminal to continue stealing with impunity, with no penalty other than to be sent home to watch Netflix. We said before that there was a problem with Bill C-5, and we are seeing it now. We are calling on the government to fix it and rework what was done with Bill C-5.
    Then there is Bill C-75, which was implemented by the Liberals and has led to people being arrested and released in the same day. At times, it happens that someone is arrested in the morning, their case is processed and, after a few hours, they are released and continue to