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44th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • No. 033

CONTENTS

Thursday, February 17, 2022




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

Volume 151
No. 033
1st SESSION
44th PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Speaker: The Honourable Anthony Rota

    The House met at 10 a.m.

Prayer


  (1000)  

[English]

Points of Order

Terms of Debate pursuant to the Emergencies Act—Speaker's Ruling 

[Speaker's Ruling]
    I am now ready to rule on the point of order raised yesterday by the House leader of the official opposition concerning today's statutory debate being held pursuant to the Emergencies Act.
    In his intervention, the member asked for the Chair's interpretation of the provisions found in subsection 58(6) of the act, which state that the motion is to be debated “without interruption”. He argued that the plain meaning of these words is that once the debate begins, it cannot be interrupted for any other business and the House is required to sit continuously until it is concluded. He also cited past examples of statutory debates that had similar provisions, but noted that those statutes contained explicit wording allowing for such interruptions, provisions that are absent in the Emergencies Act.

[Translation]

     The role of the Chair in arriving at a decision is to draw on procedural information and precedents. When it comes to statutes, my predecessors have consistently explained that it is not up to the Chair to rule on matters of either a constitutional or of a legal nature. In a past ruling, one of my predecessors stated on October 24, 2011, at page 2405 of the Debates:
…it is important to delineate clearly between interpreting legal provisions of statutes—which is not within the purview of the Chair—and ensuring the soundness of the procedures and practices of the House…— which, of course, is the role of the Chair.”
    As pointed out by the Opposition House Leader, in many past statutory debates, the House decided on how to interpret a statutory provision in the parliamentary context by adopting a motion regarding the parameters that would govern a statutory debate. This is, of course, part of the House’s undoubted privilege to control its own proceedings. But absent such a motion, he contended that the House is bound to follow the plain meaning of the law.

[English]

    The member cited a number of principles to follow in interpreting statutes. I would suggest that a critical one often cited by the courts is the principle of contextual construction. It is described by Driedger in Construction of Statutes, second edition, at page 87: “the words of an Act are to be read in their entire context in their grammatical and ordinary sense harmoniously with the scheme of the Act, the object of the Act and the intention of Parliament”.
    Following Sullivan in Statutory Interpretation, second edition, one reads this at pages 58 and 59:
    There are problems with the plain meaning rule. In the first place, the distinction it draws between reading and interpretation is illusory.... Second, the plain meaning rule expressly requires courts to distinguish between clear or plain meaning on the one hand and ambiguous or doubtful meaning on the other. This distinction has no solid basis.
    To understand how the wording “without interruption” came to be, the Chair has reviewed the evidence given at the legislative committee on Bill C-77 in the second session of the 33rd Parliament. Originally, this section of the bill provided that the motion be debated for three days without interruption. A member moved an amendment to strike the three-day limit, arguing that he did not want to see a mechanism for time allocation built into the act. He instead suggested that it be subjected to the normal rules of the House. Another member explicitly asked if the provision as drafted meant that the House would need to sit for 72 hours straight to consider the motion. The response given, both by the parliamentary secretary and by the official present, was that the provisions of the act had to be interpreted within the context of the House’s rules. Therefore, any extension to the House’s sitting hours would have to occur pursuant to the normal procedures. This was clearly the understanding of the members of the committee when they removed the three-day limit on debate. I refer members to the evidence of the committee from April 12, 1988, especially pages 945 and 946.

  (1005)  

    The amendment was adopted and the provision was further amended at report stage to arrive at the current wording of the act.

[Translation]

     Given the clear intention of the legislators who adopted these provisions, the Chair has difficulty accepting the argument that this motion must be debated non-stop until the House is ready to come to a decision.
    Instead, I propose to treat the matter as an order of the day having priority over all other current orders of the day and to continue to apply the schedule of the House as laid out in our Standing Orders. This means that the House will consider items such as Routine Proceedings, Statements by Members, Oral Questions, Adjournment Proceedings, etc. at their usual time, and will adjourn at its usual time.

[English]

    The Chair recognizes that this is an important debate on an urgent matter and that many members will wish to express their views. If parties feel the current rule should be adapted to this context, I strongly encourage the parties to follow the practice used in past statutory debates and arrive at an agreement.

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

[Routine Proceedings]

[Translation]

Interparliamentary Delegations

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, two reports of the Canadian Section of ParlAmericas.
    The first report concerns its participation in the 13th Gathering of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality, which was held virtually on September 13, 22 and October 4, 2021.
    The second report concerns its participation in the 5th Gathering of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network, which was held virtually on March 15, 19, and 26, 2021.

[English]

Post-Secondary Education Financial Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Act

     He said: Mr. Speaker, I rise today to introduce an important bill to Parliament, the post-secondary education financial assistance for persons with disabilities act, with thanks to the hon. member for Edmonton Griesbach for seconding it and his tireless advocacy for diversity and inclusion.
    This legislation would provide tuition-free post-secondary education for all Canadians with disabilities. This is not only fundamentally just; it is an investment in our citizens that will unleash potential and benefit our society. While there has been progress in broadening inclusion for students in Canadian colleges, universities and trade schools, there is still much more to be done.
    I call on all parliamentarians to support this vital initiative to help Canadians with disabilities reach their potential and share their talents, skills and energy with us all, because when people with diverse abilities succeed, we all succeed.

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

  (1010)  

Business of the House

    Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties, and if you seek it, I believe you will find unanimous consent to adopt the following motion. I move:
    That, in relation to the motion for confirmation of the declaration of emergency, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House, the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, the Minister moving the motion and the member speaking immediately afterwards shall be allowed to speak for no more than 20 minutes with 10 minutes for questions and comments and that they be allowed to split their time with another member, and that the Prime Minister be allowed to speak before the Minister moving the motion.

[Translation]

    All those opposed to the hon. member moving the motion will please say nay.
    I hear none.
    The House has heard the terms of the motion. All those opposed to the motion will please say nay.

     (Motion agreed to)

[English]

Petitions

Air Transportation  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise to present a petition on behalf of numerous residents in my riding. For some time, they have been impacted by increased air traffic over their neighbourhoods. These are not people who live next to an airport. Rather, they live between designated training areas many miles away from an airport. Their quality of life has been diminished, and attempts at finding reasonable solutions have not been successful. They are calling on the government to legally implement changes to resolve the matter so they can regain a normal, peaceful life.

The Environment  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present a petition signed by several Prince Edward Islanders who were inspired by Seth Klein's book and are very concerned about the climate emergency. They are calling on the Government of Canada to enact just transition legislation that would reduce emissions by at least 60% below 2005 levels, that would create good, green jobs and drive an inclusive workforce, and that would protect and strengthen human rights and expand the social safety net.

Queen Juliana Park  

    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise in this place to present a petition primarily from residents of Ottawa who are very concerned about what might seem at first to my colleagues in this place to be a local issue, but it is not. It is the destruction of Queen Juliana Park, which was established to honour the Canadian soldiers who fought for the liberation of the Netherlands, 7,600 of whom died in that conflict. The establishment of Queen Juliana Park was in honour of the sacrifices of Canadian soldiers and of the close relationship that exists between the people of the Netherlands and Canada.
    The decision to remove 750 mature canopy trees flies in the face of everything we hear about trying to create urban places with green spaces. Being able to escape to a green space restores our souls, especially in a time of pandemic. Those trees will be cut down to make room for a new hospital expansion, even though the National Capital Commission, which is federal, had already told the City of Ottawa the better location was Tunney's Pasture.
    These citizens of Ottawa call for the National Capital Commission's original recommendation to be reinstated to preserve Queen Juliana Park and indeed the entire Central Experimental Farm as green spaces, and they support the request for a public inquiry at the federal level.

  (1015)  

The Environment  

    Mr. Speaker, I have a petition from folks in Kitchener Centre who agree with the member for Charlottetown and residents of his community. They are similarly calling for just transition legislation. They call on the government to ensure that the targets included align with climate science and doing our fair share, at least 60% below 2005 levels by 2030, and that we phase out fossil fuel subsidies and move that toward creating the good, green jobs of tomorrow, while protecting human rights and indigenous rights.

Questions on the Order Paper

    Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

Orders of the Day

[Statutory Order]

[English]

Emergencies Act

    That, pursuant to section 58 of the Emergencies Act, this House confirms the declaration of a public order emergency proclaimed on February 14, 2022.
    Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the Minister of Public Safety.
    On Monday, as we entered the third week of illegal blockades and occupations, the federal government invoked the Emergencies Act. We did it to protect families and small businesses, to protect jobs and the economy. We did it because the situation could not be dealt with under any other law in Canada. We did it because that is what responsible leadership required us to do.
    For the good of all Canadians, the illegal blockades and occupations have to stop and the borders have to remain open. We have made progress since Monday. On Tuesday, the border was reopened in southern Alberta after the Coutts blockade was dismantled. The RCMP arrested a small group of people within the larger blockade and seized firearms, ammunition and body armour. It is believed that this group was willing to use force against police officers.
    On Wednesday, the blockade in Emerson, Manitoba had been cleared without arrests or charges. Traffic and trade at this border crossing have now resumed.
    In Windsor, Mayor Dilkens said that law enforcement was able to successfully intercept a new convoy suspected of heading to the Ambassador Bridge.
    Here in Ottawa, law enforcement now has more tools and resources in order to give the people of this city their jobs, neighbourhoods and freedoms back.

[Translation]

    In Windsor, Coutts and Emerson, illegal blockades have been lifted and border crossings have resumed or are resuming. I want to thank law enforcement officers, including RCMP members, for their work on the ground.
    For the sake of the economy, families and workers, it is high time that these illegal and dangerous activities ended, including here in Ottawa.
    Invoking the Emergencies Act is not something we do lightly. This is not the first, second or third option. It is the last resort.
    When I consulted the provincial and territorial premiers on Monday morning I was very clear. By obstructing the supply chains, the illegal blockades are causing considerable harm to our economy and to Canadians.

[English]

    It is consistent with the requirements of the Emergencies Act that the views of the premiers of all provinces and territories be carefully considered, and that is what we did. The consultation and collaboration with the premiers will continue until the situation is resolved.
    As I said on Monday, the scope of the Emergencies Act is time-limited and targeted, as well as reasonable and proportionate. It strengthens and supports law enforcement agencies so they have more tools to restore order and protect critical infrastructure.
    These illegal blockades are being heavily supported by individuals in the United States and from elsewhere around the world. We see that roughly half of the funding that is flowing to the barricaders here is coming from the United States.
    The goal of all measures, including financial measures, in the Emergencies Act is to deal with the current threat only, and to get the situation fully under control.
    I want to reassure Canadians that when the Emergencies Act is invoked, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms continues to protect their individual rights. We are not using the Emergencies Act to call in the military. We are not limiting people's freedom of expression. We are not limiting freedom of peaceful assembly. We are not preventing people from exercising their right to protest legally. We are, in fact, reinforcing the principles, values and institutions that keep all Canadians free.

  (1020)  

    The blockades and occupations are illegal. They are a threat to our economy and to our relationship with trading partners. They are a threat to supply chains and the availability of essential goods, such as food and medicine, and they are a threat to public safety.

[Translation]

    The Emergencies Act will be time limited and targeted to respond to the threats of occupations and illegal blockades only.
    The measures are reasonable and proportionate. I want it to be clear to Canadians that when the Emergencies Act is invoked, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms continues to protect individual rights.
    We are not using the Emergencies Act to send in the army. We are not taking away fundamental rights. We are not limiting freedom of expression or the right to peaceful protest. What we want to do is ensure the safety of Canadians, protect workers' jobs and restore trust in our institutions.

[English]

    We understand that everyone is tired of this pandemic. We understand that Canadians are frustrated with COVID. Some protesters came to Ottawa to express their frustration and fatigue with public health measures, and that is their right. As I said, it is a right that we will defend in this free and democratic country. However, illegal blockades and occupations are not peaceful protests. They have to stop.

[Translation]

    We all want the pandemic to be over. Public health measures are constantly being re-evaluated. We will continue to modify them based on the science and the situation, and we will continue to encourage people to get vaccinated.

[English]

    This week, based on advice from public health experts, our health minister, Mr. Duclos, announced that we will soon start easing border measures for travellers. Our government—
    If I can, I will interrupt the Prime Minister for a second to say we need to make sure we are not using proper names here. We want to stick to the riding names.
    The Right Hon. Prime Minister.
    Mr. Speaker, this week, based on advice from public health experts, the health minister announced that we will soon start easing border measures for travellers. Our government will continue to follow the best scientific advice to keep Canadians safe and to support health care workers.
    People are making sacrifices, and have been for two years. It is never time to hurt our communities or our fellow Canadians with illegal blockades, but especially not now that we are reopening and beginning to get back to the things we love. That is why it is so important for us to be having this debate today and in the days to come, and for Parliament to play its role in this process.
    Today, I ask all members of the House to take action against illegal blockades that are harmful to Canadians. I ask all members of the House to stand up for families and workers, to stand up for jobs and our economy, and to stand up for the freedom of Canadians and for public safety.

  (1025)  

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister, the Minister of Public Safety and the Minister of Emergency Preparedness have repeatedly stated that there is evidence of foreign extremist financing behind this convoy.
     Last week at the public safety committee, the deputy director of intelligence for FINTRAC, Barry MacKillop, stated that there was no evidence that this funding in Ottawa was tied to ideologically motivated extremism. Under further questioning, he stated that there had been no spike in suspicious transactions.
    On what basis is the government freezing the bank accounts of Canadians? It is in violation of section 8 of the charter, which is against unreasonable search and seizure.
    Mr. Speaker, I think it is going to be extremely important. In this House, over the coming days there will be important and robust debate on many such issues. I can highlight, once again, that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms continues to apply. The Emergencies Act is subject to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and the measures that we have brought forward are proportional, measured and responsible. They are designed to get Canadians their lives and communities back, and to restore their freedoms.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I believe that just about everyone agrees with the intention of putting an end to the siege of Ottawa. It is just about the only hostile protest still going on in Canada. Although the intention is a good one, the means being used may not be.
    Quebec dealt with protests in Quebec City without the Emergencies Act. In Coutts, not only did the border reopen without the Emergencies Act, but weapons were seized without it. The Ambassador Bridge was reopened without the Emergencies Act. The situation in Manitoba was resolved without the Emergencies Act, and there are other examples.
    How can the Prime Minister claim from the beginning of his speech that there was no other way to intervene? Why did he not exclude the provinces and Quebec, which do not want to be subject to or use the powers of this law?
    Mr. Speaker, police forces across the country now have more tools to deal with these illegal blockades and occupations, if and when they occur.
    We will continue to ensure that the measures are proportionate, reasonable and time-limited. However, it was and is important to give more tools to the police who need them.
    We understand that the police were able to keep the situation under control in many parts of the country, but the Emergencies Act applies from one end of the country to the other. However, it will be used only when necessary.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, for weeks this occupation has been allowed to continue. People have lost wages, citizens have been harassed and the potential for violence has grown. Instead of acting, the federal government argued over jurisdiction.
    What responsibility does the Prime Minister take for the inaction that has made invoking the Emergencies Act necessary?
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to reiterate that from day one of these barricades, blockages and occupations, the federal government has been supplying resources and working closely with local police officers of jurisdiction to ensure they had the tools they needed. Obviously, the situation has evolved. The situation has escalated, but every step of the way the federal government has been there to support the law enforcement of jurisdiction. Here in Ottawa it is the Ottawa Police Service and the OPP, and we will continue to be there with the RCMP as necessary.

  (1030)  

    Mr. Speaker, as members are very much aware, my riding includes Parliament Hill, which has been under siege for over three weeks now. My community has been held hostage, and I can assure the House these protests have not been peaceful or lawful.
    My question for the Prime Minister is this. How is the Emergencies Act going to help my constituents in Ottawa Centre?
    Mr. Speaker, Canadians continue to have the right to free expression and to protest peacefully, but occupying the downtown cores of our major cities, protesting and blocking border crossings, is unacceptable. That is why we have given more tools, in a proportional way, to police officers.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by thanking the Prime Minister for commencing this important debate on the invocation of the Emergencies Act for the first time.
    I want to begin with a number of expressions of gratitude, both to my colleagues on this side of the House and to the opposition for the informed debate we are about to have. Finally, I would like to thank Canadians. I know this has been a very difficult time, a period of great frustration, anxiety and uncertainty. It is not lost on me, and I hope it is not lost on any member of the chamber, that the confluence of events of the pandemic and now these illegal blockades does create for an emotionally charged atmosphere. Sometimes we let that get the better of us here in this chamber.
    My sincere hope is that we will be able to have a principled debate about why it is that the government has chosen to invoke the Emergencies Act, the paramount reason being the health and safety of all Canadians.
    We have heard the Prime Minister set out what the test for the invocation of the Emergencies Act is, and I know my colleague, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and other members will elaborate on that. However, I want to focus my comments on what I believe are the perceived and real risks to public safety we have seen over the last number of weeks that have emanated from the so-called “freedom convoy”.
    This convoy has taken to the streets, and other critical infrastructure, right across the country, including our borders, national symbols, communities and neighbourhoods. It has had a profound impact. I would submit to members of this chamber that it has been a very negative and detrimental impact to public safety.
    I want to touch on the number of ports of entry that have been significantly interrupted as a result of participation in the illegal blockades, including at Coutts, Alberta; Emerson, Manitoba; Surrey, British Columbia; Windsor, Ontario; Sarnia, Ontario; Fort Erie, Ontario; as well as those here in Ottawa.
    I hope that all members recognize that the kind of conduct we have seen at our borders puts the integrity and the security of this country into serious question. The impact at Coutts, for example, has cost the economy approximately $48 million per day. In Emerson it has been $73 million day, and in Windsor,where we conduct roughly a quarter of all of our daily trade with our most important trading partner, the United States, it has been roughly $390 million. Those are just numerical figures, but I think about the translation of those dollar figures into the impact on Canadian jobs, families and those who are just trying to get by right now.
    Whatever the motivation of some individuals who have commingled with those organizers and agitators of these illegal blockades, whatever their concerns are with regard to the government's strategy to get out of the pandemic, which is of course to get vaccinated, this has become something much more concerning.
    I do want to say we have made some progress at these ports of entry, and that is in large part thanks to the very important work that has been undertaken by the members of our law enforcement.

  (1035)  

[Translation]

    I want to thank the RCMP for its efforts and energy. I also want to thank all the police forces who are doing great work on the ground. We are seeing a lot of progress. Most of the borders are now open. That is good for the economy, good for business and good for Canadians. However, this progress is no guarantee.

[English]

    It is very important that we continue to guarantee the progress that we have made. I want to speak for a moment about the situation here in Ottawa. I know that many of my colleagues in the NCR caucus have spoken very articulately and very passionately about the damage that has been caused in our communities and neighbourhoods. I have also heard some members of the opposition try to somehow cast a minimization, in an effort to generalize what is going on outside of this chamber as being legitimate. It is not. It is illegal, and it causes great harm.
    We have seen people intimidated, harassed and threatened. We have seen apartment buildings chained up. We have seen fires set in corridors. Residents are being terrorized, and it is absolutely gut-wrenching to see the sense of abandonment and helplessness they have felt for weeks now. I want to assure them that since day one, the federal government has done everything it could do to provide additional resources. The RCMP has sent three sets of reinforcements to the Ottawa Police Service, and we will continue to do whatever we can to help.
    However, it is also important for members of this chamber that we write the laws and we set the policies, but we trust our police, our law enforcement, to enforce them. That is why it is so important that we use every tool in our tool box, especially now, when we find ourselves in a predicament, a dilemma, a situation that has perhaps never been seen before.
    I ask myself, and I hope others are reflecting as well, what this is all about. I try to step back and look at what is occurring. I am concerned. I have heard some people say, and they are still saying, that this is a protest about vaccines. It is not. They say that it is protest about mandates. It is not.
    I have heard some people still say that this is a protest about freedom. What is going on outside, on the streets of Canada and at our borders, is most certainly not about freedom. It is about a very small, organized and targeted group of individuals that is trying to strip away the very freedoms that we here, and the generations of those who preceded us, have sworn to uphold.
    I have seen many striking similarities in the way that these blockades have manifested across the country, including the tactics that they are using, the timing they are occurring, and the targets, whether they are national symbols, such as Parliament here, or provincial legislatures. There was also the war monument outside, where we hear members speak passionately about their forebears who made sacrifices for the freedoms that we now enjoy. The individuals outside are tearing down the barriers to attack those monuments. What does that say? Those are—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Hon. Marco Mendicino: I know members are heckling, but I am encouraging them to reflect on this and on the rhetoric. Notwithstanding the efforts of my colleagues to shout me down, I am speaking on behalf of constituents and Canadians. Yes, there is an ideologically motivated operation that we see here in the rhetoric that is meant to incite.
    That is indeed one of the reasons why we have had to invoke the Emergencies Act. I want to assure members that these are very targeted measures. They are time limited, and they are protected by the charter. For those who want to ask questions as to how those powers are going to be enforced, part of the debate is going to ensure that there are sufficient guardrails and safeguards in place. There will be transparency on how those measures are implemented.
    There will also be an inquiry to ensure that we can learn from these lessons and make sure that this is an instrument that has been used responsibly and in a manner that is consistent with the charter to uphold the health and safety of all Canadians.
    At the end of the day, we are all here, I would hope, to do one thing, and that is to protect the health and safety of Canadians. We find ourselves at a crossroads of the pandemic, but we have made progress. We have made progress with the pandemic, and we are making progress in restoring public order, but it is absolutely imperative that we have these debates in a principled and reasonable manner that is respectful of our constituents and respectful of Canadians. That is certainly something that I hope we will see over the next number of days.

  (1040)  

    Mr. Speaker, the minister today, and in a news conference yesterday, has repeatedly stated that there are ideologically motivated, violent extremists and there is a small group of extremists who are willing to use violence. He says that there are ties between extremists who were apprehended in Coutts and extremists here in Ottawa.
    However, when asked repeatedly by the media to back up that assertion with evidence, the minister fails to provide any evidence. We are talking about invoking a once-in-34-year Emergencies Act. Parliamentarians deserve real evidence, not conjecture from the minister, before we could ever contemplate suspending the rights of Canadians. In what basis does the minister make the claim that there are violent extremists in Ottawa?
    Mr. Speaker, I am afraid my colleague operates from the false premise that the Emergencies Act is a kind of suspension of charter rights. It is not.
    As I have said throughout the course of the debate, and as the act itself says, all of the powers that need to be exercised in the Emergencies Act must be done in accordance with the charter. That means ensuring that section 8 is respected, which guarantees people the right to be protected from any unreasonable search and seizure, and the same for section 7 as well.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, at the beginning of his speech, the minister said that he was proud to move this motion, that he was proud to be the first Minister of Public Safety to invoke the Emergencies Act since it came into force in 1988. I am wondering how he can be proud to enforce a law that limits the fundamental rights of Quebeckers and Canadians.
    We heard the Prime Minister say that this was the last resort. Unfortunately, I do not think he used all of the tools at his disposal before we got to this point. I would like to know what other approaches he could have taken before invoking the Emergencies Act.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question. The Emergencies Act is a last resort. This was not the first option and is certainly not the option we prefer.
    In response to this convoy and illegal blockade, we had to add a lot of resources to help the police restore public order on the ground. However, we have gotten to a very difficult point right now with a lot of challenges, which is why we invoked this measure.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, in his speech, the hon. member spoke of the people who are being impacted by the blockades. He spoke about the harassment and the assaults. I know I have spoken to a lot of workers in this downtown about that as well. It is truly heartbreaking. I think of the workers and businesses who have been impacted negatively. I think about the people at the Rideau Centre. I think about people within my own region in southwestern Ontario and those businesses who have been impacted.
    What is the government's plan to help those workers and those business owners after this debate is done, after we have seen the protesters go home? We have been asking for the government to come up with a plan. What is the plan for those people?
    Mr. Speaker, I share my colleague's concerns about public safety. Certainly, the impact of these illegal blockades across the country has undermined not only public safety but also families' and individuals' ability to provide for themselves. I want to assure my colleague that we will work with her and all members, so once we clean up these illegal blockades and we have public safety restored on the streets here in Ottawa, the Government of Canada will continue to be there to support Canadians, as we have been throughout the pandemic.

  (1045)  

    Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Mégantic—L'Érable today.
    This week, for the first time since its passage, the Emergencies Act has been invoked by the Prime Minister. This is historic, and it is extremely disappointing. The Prime Minister has invoked the act, he says, to deal with the protests that have gathered here in downtown Ottawa and blockades that were happening at the Coutts border in Alberta, the Emerson border in Manitoba, the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor and the border at Surrey, all of which, by the way, are now open. There are no more blockades at any borders. What are left are the trucks parked outside here in Ottawa that need to move or be moved.
    However, throughout the last three weeks the Prime Minister has failed to take meaningful action to de-escalate the protests here or to use any tools he may have available. Instead, he has jumped straight to the most extreme measure, and as he has invoked the act, he has failed to meet the high threshold set out by the Emergencies Act to justify it, that being when a situation “seriously threatens the ability of the Government of Canada to preserve the sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of Canada,” and when the situation “cannot be effectively dealt with under any other law of [the country].”
    Conservatives do not believe the government has shown that threshold has been met, and thus we will be voting against it. Members should keep in mind this act is already invoked and is the new law of the land. Our debate and the vote on Monday can only stop it if the NDP vote with Conservatives and the Bloc to stop it. Supporting the use of the Emergencies Act is one of the most serious decisions a parliamentarian can make. I want to remind especially the New Democrats of this, who are supporting the Liberals in this sledgehammer approach. History will not be kind to the leader of the NDP or his members on this particular question.
    The Emergencies Act's predecessor, the War Measures Act, was only used three times: World War I, World War II and the FLQ crisis. We should keep these precedents in mind. The weight of those events should caution us against making this decision lightly. These protests have caused disruptions for many Canadians, especially local businesses and residents of Ottawa. As I have said, Conservatives are the party of law and order. We believe the trucks should move or be moved, but we want to lower the temperature across the country. The Prime Minister clearly wants to raise it.
     Let us be very clear how this all started. The Prime Minister decided to impose a vaccine mandate on truckers with no scientific evidence that it was the right thing to do. Many Canadians opposed it, but he went ahead anyway. Truckers and millions of Canadians felt they had no recourse with the Prime Minister, and who can blame them? After all, this was the Prime Minister who called them racist and misogynist. He said their views were unacceptable and that they were on the fringe. When truckers and their supporters arrived in Ottawa, what did the Prime Minister do first? He hid for a week and then he continued his insults, calling them and anyone who supported them or even talked with them things like Nazi supporters. We saw that name-calling and unfair and mean-spirited characterization happen just yesterday by the Prime Minister of Canada in the House. That is all he has done to rectify the problem: call names and insult.
    Many of the people who are protesting and are upset are our neighbours. They are our constituents. They are Canadians. They want to be heard and given just a little respect by their Prime Minister, but he has decided that, because he disagrees with them and does not like their opinions, he will not hear them. At every turn the Prime Minister has stigmatized, wedged, divided and traumatized Canadians, and now, without even a single meeting with a trucker, without talking through one of their concerns, without apologizing for his insults, without listening to what people have to say and without using any other tool at his disposal, he has used this overreach, the Emergencies Act, and it is wrong.

  (1050)  

    The Prime Minister's leadership in this situation has, frankly, been abysmal. He said this week, “Invoking the Emergencies Act is never the first thing a government should do, nor even the second. The act is to be used sparingly and as a last resort”, but his actions have shown the opposite approach.
    The so-called measure of last resort has come before taking any action to address the frustrations at the root of the protest. How did the Prime Minister go directly from ignoring the truckers to turning to the Emergencies Act? Why has the government jumped straight to this without doing anything to lower the temperature first? Conservatives put forward a reasonable approach that could help bring the temperature down and address the concerns. We asked the government to commit publicly to a specific plan and timeline to roll back federal mandates and restrictions, but the Liberals and NDP refused to support our plan. Instead, the Prime Minister reached for more power. This comes as provincial governments are announcing plans to end COVID-19 restrictions.
    The Prime Minister is an exception to this trend and he refuses to come forward with a plan. Even the provinces are unhappy with the Prime Minister for doing this: Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec and Nova Scotia. They are all opposed to the use of the Emergencies Act. This is not a good look for the Prime Minister.
    We all want the trucks here in Ottawa to move. We want a peaceful and quick end to the trucks blocking the streets in Ottawa. Our message to those protesting is still this: Conservatives have heard them. We will keep standing up for them, but it is time to move the trucks.
    At the same time, no government should resort to the kinds of extreme measures that we are seeing. Unfortunately, the Prime Minister has a track record of serious disregard for the law and that raises a lot of red flags. This is the Prime Minister who interfered with an ongoing criminal trial in the SNC-Lavalin scandal. This is the Prime Minister who took the Speaker to court instead of fulfilling his legal obligation to provide documents to this Parliament on two separate occasions. This is the Prime Minister who has been found guilty by the Ethics Commissioner.
    This Prime Minister admitted his admiration for basic dictatorships. We have seen red flag after red flag after red flag. He may not like it, but in Canada civil liberties must be defended at every turn. Section 2 guarantees our freedom of association and assembly. Section 7 guarantees our right to life, liberty and security of the person. Section 8 guarantees our protection against unreasonable search and seizure.
    Canadians cannot be expected to simply take the Prime Minister at his word. His plans are not consistent with fundamental freedoms. The government should not have the power to close the bank accounts of Canadians on a whim. The Prime Minister is doing this to save his own political skin, but this is not a game. It comes at a cost to Canadians' rights and freedoms. Parliament should not allow the Prime Minister to avoid responsibility in this way.
    I urge all members of the House to proceed with extreme caution. Now is the time to stand up for their constituents, to show real leadership, to help heal our divisions, to listen to those we disagree with, to not shut them down, to not tell them that they are irrelevant and to not speak insults to them. That is the job of each one of us as members of Parliament, no matter who we represent. We have to represent them with integrity, with hope, with honour.
    What the Prime Minister is doing, and has done for the last two years, is to disregard those Canadians, call them names and insult them. It is time for every one of us to show leadership and say no to this Emergencies Act.
    Mr. Speaker, now I will speak on behalf of my constituents, which all of us are sworn to do.
    I ask the members opposite: If this kind of occupation was happening in their neighbourhoods in their ridings for four weeks in a row—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!

  (1055)  

    Order.
    The longer I stand here, the fewer options people will have to actually present their feelings and represent their constituents later.
    The hon. member for Ottawa Centre.
    Mr. Speaker, it has been four weeks in a row. The members opposite talk about listening to the protesters but they will not even listen to a member of this House to understand what my constituents, the members of my community, are going through.
    When did the line cross between this being a lawful protest, which we welcome in my riding and happen all the time, to an illegal protest? Members opposite were out there taking photos, encouraging those protesters to keep honking in the middle of the night.
    Would the member now denounce those actions?
    Mr. Speaker, that is a very good question for his leader, the Prime Minister. When these protests started, the first thing the Prime Minister did was call these people names. He insulted them. I do not think anyone in that member's constituency thinks that the response of a Prime Minister is to hide and then hurl huge insults, not just saying he disagrees with them but calling them misogynist, racist, having fringe views and that they should not be tolerated.
    That is a very good question, and he should ask his own Prime Minister why he did not take action, why he did not show leadership and why he did not take the high road and try to at least listen to these folks so that they felt they were respected. That is a good question for the boss.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the problems in Coutts, Alberta, were resolved without the Emergencies Act. The same goes for Emerson, where things were resolved without the Emergencies Act. With the Ambassador Bridge, once the Americans called the situation unacceptable, it was resolved without the Emergencies Act. There were protests in Quebec City, and it was all resolved without the Emergencies Act.
    Here, in the federal capital, in the Prime Minister's backyard, there is an occupation. What did the Prime Minister do? First, he called them whiners, then he blamed the police, and then he brought out the atomic bomb, also known as the Emergencies Act.
    My question is simple. Between playing Pontius Pilate and dropping the atomic bomb, there was a point at which the government could have shown some leadership and made use of tools.
    What does the leader of the official opposition think about that?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the member may recall that I sent a letter very early on to the Prime Minister asking that he meet with the opposition leaders to talk about solutions like the ones he just spoke about.
    It is clear that the borders were cleared by police action, and that is a good thing. We believe that these protestors here in Ottawa, these blockades could have been moved quickly had the Prime Minister shown some leadership and said, “Hey, I'm hearing you. I disagree with you, but I hear your concerns. We're going to look at removing these mandates. We're going to do it because it's actually scientific to remove them.”
    I would guarantee that these folks would have moved on had the Prime Minister decided he wanted to actually listen. What I promise is that we would not be here today invoking an Emergencies Act, which is a sledgehammer on all Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, it is no secret that the convoy stated its mission was to overthrow the government. It sounds ludicrous, but it brazenly posted that on its website and it reiterated it—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order, order. I cannot hear the question, and I am sure the Leader of the Opposition cannot hear the question.
    The hon. member for Burnaby South.
    Mr. Speaker, it is no secret that the goal of this convoy, posted brazenly on its website, reiterated as recently as earlier this week in a press conference, was to overthrow a democratically elected government. That was its goal.
    The interim leader of the Conservative Party says, “We have heard you and we will keep standing up for you.” Do you regret endorsing a convoy that is attacking the fundamental democracy of our country? Do you regret endorsing and supporting an occupation that is harassing citizens? Do you regret endorsing a movement that has lost—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order, order. I know the questions have to come through the Chair, and I cannot speak on behalf of the Leader of the Opposition.
    I will let the Leader of the Opposition answer the question.
    Mr. Speaker, obviously nobody in this House believes that a government should be overthrown, although I have seen that member's colleagues at a number of pro-communist marches, so I am not sure if that means he endorses communism.
    In fact, I will tell the House what I know. When history looks back on this, Conservatives will have stood up with Canadians, millions of Canadians, vaccinated Canadians, Canadians who are blue-collar workers, Canadians who are white-collar workers, Canadians who have had enough of a Prime Minister who has divided, wedged, stigmatized and traumatized them, and the party that will have stood with the Prime Minister is that member and his NDP colleagues. It is shameful.

  (1100)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would prefer to stand in the House today and talk about inflation. I would prefer to stand in the House today to defend the mothers, fathers and seniors who have suffered so much since the beginning of the pandemic and who are facing all sorts of really difficult situations. However, because of this Prime Minister's inaction, because he chose to protect his career rather than listen to Canadians, we are here today discussing a law that is being invoked by Parliament and the Prime Minister for the very first time since its enactment in 1988: the Emergencies Act.
    This day will go down in history, but not for the right reasons. It is very disappointing. The Prime Minister says he is invoking the act to manage the blockades and protests happening in downtown Ottawa, at the border crossings in Coutts, Alberta, and Emerson, Manitoba, and at the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor. He said it again this morning.
    I would like to point out to my colleagues that we must take these precedents into account. The weight of these events calls for prudence on our part. However, only the blockades in Ottawa remain. All of the other blockades ended or were ended without the need for the Emergencies Act. For 15 days, the Prime Minister took no real action to defuse the protests. He did not listen to the discontent, fatigue and demands being expressed by the protesters and Canadians. He preferred to take extreme measures as a first resort.
    In short, the Prime Minister failed to meet the high threshold provided for in the Emergencies Act to justify its invocation and application. For that reason, the Conservatives will be voting against his decision. Invoking the Emergencies Act is one of the most important decisions a member of Parliament can make. Its predecessor, the War Measures Act, was invoked only three times: World War I, World War II and the October Crisis, which Quebeckers remember all too well.
    It is our prime responsibility as parliamentarians to protect our democracy. This includes Canadians' right to elect their representatives, the right to disagree with the government, and the right to express that disagreement publicly.
    We know that these protests are causing problems for many Canadians, especially residents of Ottawa and local businesses. It is extremely hard for them. They are the collateral damage of a situation that extends far beyond the streets and people of Ottawa. We acknowledge that. As we have often said, the Conservative Party is the party of law and order. The illegal blockades must end quickly and peacefully. It is time to de-escalate the situation, not only in Ottawa, but across the country. Unfortunately, as many experts and analysts have said, the Prime Minister's actions could have the complete opposite effect.
    Let us start at the beginning. How did these events start?
    They started when the Prime Minister decided to politicize an election, to trigger an election in the middle of a pandemic, and then decided to force truckers to get vaccinated when there is no scientific proof that it was the right thing to do. We put the question to the government. We asked the Minister of Health on what expert testimony he was basing his decision to force truckers to get vaccinated. The government consistently avoided the question. It never answered, but it did not back down. It kept the rqeuirement in place, despite all the problems it was causing for our economy and supply chains, and despite the size of the movement it created.
    When the protesters arrived in Ottawa, the Prime Minister went into hiding for a week and, when he came out, he did not attempt to de-escalate the situation. Instead, he insulted the protesters and Canadians who did not agree with him. That is what happened.

  (1105)  

    The Prime Minister called them racists and misogynists. He even said that their point of view was unacceptable. That happens often in the House. Every time somebody says something the Prime Minister does not entirely agree with, it is instantly clear that he finds it unacceptable.
    As far as I know, more than half of Canadians did not vote for him in the last election. However, they are still Canadians, and they are entitled to their opinion. They are Canadians who expressed their views and still have the right to do so. Voting against the Prime Minister is acceptable.
    I have heard opinions from everywhere, in my riding, on social media, over the phone and in emails. We received a lot of emails this week. The people expressing their views are our neighbours, our constituents. They are Canadians who want to make their voices heard and who should be able to do so. However, since the Prime Minister does not agree with them and does not like their opinion, he simply decided not to listen to them.
    The Prime Minister stigmatizes and divides Canadians every chance he gets. We know that he refused to meet with any of the truckers or their representatives. He did not discuss their concerns with them. He did not even apologize for the insults he hurled at all the protesters outside and right here in the House.
    Apologies are not for people who do not agree with him. He ignored what people have to say and waited for the crisis to get worse and worse and worse. He could have done something. He had plenty of tools at his disposal.
    The first tool is himself. As Prime Minister and head of state, he could have listened to Canadians. The first tool he could have used is himself as head of state. He chose to act like a petty politician. Instead of listening, he chose to give himself more power, to expand the government's powers. That was a bad decision. The Prime Minister's leadership in this case has been deplorable.
    This week, he even said, and I quote: “Invoking the act is never the first thing a government should do, nor the second. The act is to be used sparingly and as a last resort.”
    No one thinks that the Prime Minister used even the first, second, third or fourth options. He has not convinced anyone of the need to invoke the Emergencies Act when almost every expert, analyst and police chief said that they had all the tools they needed.
    The provincial premiers said the same thing more than once. They said that they were able to manage the situation and asked the federal government not to throw fuel on the fire by invoking the Emergencies Act. That is what happened.
    How did the Prime Minister go from totally ignoring the protesters directly to invoking the Emergencies Act?
    We hope that history will tell, because the Prime Minister and his ministers will not, and, unfortunately, the current crisis was the direct result of the Prime Minister’s lack of leadership.
    The Conservatives proposed an option, a reasonable approach. We asked the Prime Minister to present a plan to announce the lifting of the vaccine mandates, a plan to end the health measures. That was not unreasonable. All of the provinces, all of the other governments in Canada are doing that.
    Unfortunately, the Prime Minister dug in and chose to do nothing, to ignore his experts. He should not be surprised to learn today that the protesters and Canadians are fed up with his lack of leadership. That is the reality we find ourselves in today. The Prime Minister prefers to do whatever he wants and continues to refuse to present a plan.
    The government should not have the power to close Canadians’ bank accounts. The government should not have to invoke the Emergencies Act when there are other tools to resolve situations like the one that exists in Ottawa right now.

  (1110)  

    The Prime Minister failed. Unfortunately, the Prime Minister will be judged, not by us, but by generations of Canadians to come.
    Mr. Speaker, the member opposite likes to talk about leadership. However, his party is trying to both support and condemn the illegal blockades.
    The hon. member for Lambton—Kent—Middlesex suggested that the Prime Minister should show leadership and give the illegal protesters everything they want. What measures should the government have taken? Should the government simply give in to the demands of the illegal protesters?
    Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, to the best of my knowledge, the official opposition is the official opposition.
    This Prime Minister had the tools to work with the provinces and send additional police officers in response to the City of Ottawa's request when the City of Ottawa made that request. Ministers could have intervened, but they did not.
    The question the member is asking the official opposition would perhaps best be put to his own Prime Minister. Why did he do absolutely nothing at the beginning of this crisis? Why did he let things get this bad? That is the question. The lack of leadership is not on our side, it is on that side.
    Mr. Speaker, there is one thing that makes me really mad. When the Prime Minister said he was going to invoke the Emergencies Act, he said it would be geographically targeted and the government would intervene only where justified.
    The Premier of Quebec made it clear that his government does not want the Emergencies Act applied on its territory. The National Assembly unanimously stated the same.
    According to the text of the order, however, it applies across Canada. This is not the first time the Prime Minister has said one thing and done the opposite. Earlier, he said the scope of the act is reasonable and proportionate. Does my colleague agree that it is actually unjustified and unjustifiable?
    Mr. Speaker, the Premier of Quebec has said that invoking the Emergencies Act could add fuel to the fire by further polarizing the population. He made it clear to the Prime Minister that the act should not apply to Quebec. He does not think we need it. He does not see how it would improve the social climate at this time.
    I can also reference the premiers of Manitoba, Prince Edward Island and Alberta. The premiers sent a clear message to the Prime Minister that they do not want his Emergencies Act and are capable of managing their own affairs in their provinces. Why is the Prime Minister not capable of doing the same?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I am raising a point that I have heard the hon. member's leader, the official leader of the opposition, raise as a hypothetical, and I want to address it now. It is the notion that the Prime Minister “hid”.
     I am not going to defend all of the Prime Minister's actions by any means, but at the moment this convoy started, the Prime Minister had been diagnosed positive with COVID. I think we forget that if the Prime Minister had gone to meet with people who were unvaccinated and had any of them sickened and died, he could have been charged with manslaughter.
    Does that occur to people on the other side as—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order. I would like to hear the member's question. Has the member completed her question?
    I just want to make sure everybody listens to the question so that we can get a good answer.

  (1115)  

    Mr. Speaker, I know that this is a difficult time for everyone, but I think that this hypothetical and the use of the word "hid" is, again, inflaming divisions that we should not have in this place.
    If someone tests positive for COVID, they should not be meeting with anyone and they certainly should not be threatening the health and safety of people who have chosen not to get vaccinated.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, since the pandemic began, I have had the opportunity on countless occasions to listen to speeches and presentations from my hon. colleague using a little tool called Zoom, on a little computer. I have heard the member defend the Liberal government several times on this little screen.
    Hiding means not answering questions. It means refusing to take a stand. That is what the Prime Minister did by hiding. He hid from his responsibilities. He did not hide at home; he hid from his responsibilities. He could have spoken out. He had every opportunity to do so.
    Mr. Speaker, I would begin by reminding our friends across the aisle that we are in the middle of a pandemic and our friends to our right that I would like to hear myself speak.
    The pandemic has claimed victims. Some have died, while others are struggling with very serious health problems. Some people are living in a state of anxiety. Some people saw their purchasing power markedly decline because of the inflationary impact of the pandemic, whether it be permanent or temporary, structural or cyclical. Seniors were hit hard by the pandemic, as were the health care systems in Quebec and the provinces.
    Of course, handling unusual and unprecedented situations sometimes involves trial and error. We try things that do not immediately work, and sometimes this approach, these trials and errors, can sow doubt. I understand. That is the case for the health restrictions, for the health measures around vaccination and the regulations that required, as well as for the travel restrictions. That is reasonable and understandable.
    The answer to all this is, and should always be, information, even if that does not always work and the dissemination of good information remains relative. Unfortunately, the management of the pandemic was undermined by the federal government’s obsession with taking over Quebec’s and the provinces’ powers, imposing conditions outside its jurisdiction, and even subjecting the pandemic to multicultural values.
    All of this does make things more difficult to understand. It creates confusion among Quebeckers and Canadians when what we need is quality information. It is also what led to the opposition that emerged in the forms we have been seeing in recent weeks. Fear, doubt and opposition to a government’s ideas and policies are legitimate. Protesting to express them is legitimate. Sedition and insurrection are not legitimate.
    Is refusing treatment legitimate?
    Is endangering other people’s lives by refusing treatment or vaccination legitimate?
    Yesterday, I voluntarily went for my third shot. I was free to do so, and in so doing I was protecting and helping bring back freedom for other, more fragile, people, especially those in seniors residences, who are awaiting the day when they can feel safe enough to leave the house.
    Freedom requires striking a balance between individual and collective freedoms. Doing this requires judgment, and that is not currently on display in all parties. Freedom is a test of leadership, the test of freedom. The Prime Minister failed this test because of ideology. He sought to subjugate collective and individual freedoms, to crush the identity of a nation under that of all nations, to deny the nation and talk of a postnational state. He is continuing the work of his father. He is denying Quebec, he is completing the transformative work of trivializing the Quebec nation.
    Speaking of freedom, that was the purpose of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the charter of individual rights, the charter that denies French, secularism and the freedom of education, the one that seeks to censor social networks. Though they are an alarming cesspool of profanity these days, they remain a place of free expression, except for hate propaganda. The charter denies collective rights, the collective identity and the nation. Naturally, the Prime Minister stands up for individuals and then he drops the ball.

  (1120)  

    Freedom is becoming “freedumb”. Driven by fear, doubt and insufficient information, freedom is taking on the appearance of right-wing extremism, which condones anything in excess, encourages civil disobedience, flirts with violence and pollutes social media—and yet the Prime Minister continues to drag his feet. It is in his nature to actively do nothing in times of crisis. It is part of his ideology to show contempt for differences and fan the flames of division. He just does not get it.
    Ottawa is under siege. The flag of Prime Minister's country is now being associated with the worst of the worst. He needs to take action, but, as usual, he does not know how, so he pretends to take action. He puts on a show. He deflects people's attention, covers up his failures, and moves a motion that is as heavy-handed as it is useless, a thinly disguised version of the War Measures Act. Thank heavens, it is a watered-down version of the original.
    The Prime Minister keeps repeating that the charter freedoms are not being infringed upon. If the Emergencies Act did not infringe on any freedoms, it would not exist. By its very nature, it infringes on freedoms. The Prime Minister's role is not to deny that the act infringes on freedoms but to justify it and explain why it is being used.
    The Emergencies Act was not needed for the Ambassador Bridge, not needed for the border in Coutts, not needed for the seizure of weapons in Coutts, and not needed in Quebec. Ironically, Quebec does not want the Emergencies Act enforced on its territory, but the Sûreté du Québec has been called in for backup in Ottawa. They should put that in their pipe and smoke it.
    The Prime Minister is saying that the act will be enforced geographically, but that is not how it works. He can say it as much as he wants, but that is not how it works. This is a Canadian act, in keeping with Canadian tradition. As with other traditions, the copy is always a poor imitation of the original.
    The Quebec National Assembly wants nothing to do with this act, nor does the Government of Quebec. Obviously, the Bloc Québécois is not in favour. Conservatives in Quebec are not in favour, either. I am meeting with the NDP leader this afternoon to discuss. Could there be some way for us to come to an understanding?
    Only the Ottawa Liberals want it, because the ones from Quebec do not. If Ontario wants this act, that does not make it useful. This could all have been done differently, but that falls on them. Quebec obviously wants nothing to do with it.
    The Prime Minister has failed the test of collective freedom. On this, he has a sorry record. He often fails the test of freedom. He abandoned Raif Badawi. He has ignored the Uighurs. He is complicit with Spain against Catalonia. He sneers at Quebec's linguistic aspirations. He sneers at Quebec's secular aspirations. He sneers at freedom of expression and education if it is not in line with what he thinks and says. He starves provinces that do not meet his conditions with respect to health care. Even in security matters, the Prime Minister acts first and foremost by interfering, by grabbing powers that do not belong to him and by intervening in ways that, despite what he says, are not warranted as things now stand. All of Canada, except for the crisis in Ottawa that he himself engineered, sees this.
    He has failed the test of freedom of expression, because he has yielded the word “freedom” to his worst enemies: the far right and, more importantly, ignorance. Freedom is a progressive value; freedom is a national value; freedom is a Quebec value; freedom thrives on truth.

  (1125)  

    Vaccination is a tool of freedom. It is imperfect, of course, but it remains the least bad solution. The sooner we accept it, the sooner all the health measures can be lifted.
    Worse, by his failure, he has abandoned the sick to manage a crisis that is completely of his own making.
    As for me, I will always defend freedom, especially the freedom of my nation. Quebec is free to make its own choices.
    Mr. Speaker, the leader of the Bloc Québécois compared a public emergency order to the War Measures Act, which is not the case. His public safety critic suggested that this measure takes away the rights guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which is not the case.
    This order merely gives police and provincial authorities additional powers to do their jobs, which includes tracking financial contributions to illegal activities, including in Quebec, that cause economic damage.
    Normally, the Bloc likes the idea of provincial discretion. Why is it now against a reasonable and proportional measure for its province?
    Mr. Speaker, there is a big difference between offering additional powers to other police forces and taking powers away from other levels of government so they can be handed over to one's own police force. Once again, the government is performing some gymnastic manoeuvres with a few extra twists, which would outdo any figure skating routine in Beijing.
    When measures are necessary, are appropriate, and restrict freedoms, the government should explain and justify them, rather than claim that they do not restrict those freedoms. Whether these actions are justified or not, the government is claiming that seizing someone's bank account or preventing someone from walking down a particular street does not restrict their freedoms.
    There are things that are obvious, but this government is a master of claiming the opposite of what is obvious and repeating it among its members.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the leader of the Bloc Québécois what he thinks about the differences between what the act allows and the capacity and resources on the ground. We can see that the major problem in Ottawa right now is the ability to remove tractor trailers from the streets.
    Is my colleague aware that section 129 of the Criminal Code compels transportation companies to provide resources to the police when requested? Again, are there too many differences between what the act allows and the available resources and capacity?

  (1130)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is illegal to stop a heavy truck on the white line in the middle of the street, except for about a minute and a half when the light is red.
    These protesters gave notice in advance that this was their intention, and they were allowed to come anyway. The Ottawa police got a little worried and requested assistance, which they were not given. They were told that 275 RCMP officers were going to be sent in, but that they would be reserved for Parliament and the Prime Minister, who was beginning to find it difficult to get around and was less inclined to come to Parliament. The Prime Minister himself said that the Ottawa police had all the necessary powers to intervene, until he realized that what he was saying did not make sense.
    In every province, each level of government has police forces and state of emergency legislation that provide all the necessary tools. We need to stop saying that the current situation cannot be resolved without the use of the Emergencies Act. This scares people into calling for the act to be invoked. The provinces could, and can, intervene, as has been seen everywhere except here around Parliament.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. leader of the Bloc Québécois.
    I would like to ask him a question because I am worried about the enforcement of emergency measures and the related geographic issues. In the order before us, there is no clear mention of a geographic region. Yesterday, the Prime Minister and the other ministers stated that the use of the Emergencies Act would have a geographic limit, but I do not see it here.
    If the government changed the order to include geographic limits that did not comprise the Province of Quebec, might the leader of the Bloc Québécois think that it is needed to resolve the situation here in Ottawa?
    Mr. Speaker, what has happened in the past few years has taught us one thing: What is said in general terms is less likely to be implemented than what is written. Based on recent experience, I am not really interested in what the Prime Minister says. I am looking at what is written. The texts says it applies across Canada. There is no nuance or restriction.
    The Prime Minister said that he would consult the provinces. That is odd because earlier he said in English that the government would consult and perhaps collaborate with them but that if he intended to go in somewhere, he would do it. He could change the text and acknowledge provincial jurisdiction, since seven premiers said that they do not want this measure to be implemented. However, he should do the opposite, that is withdraw the text and replace it with one that states what he can do and what he is prepared to do to help Ottawa now, so he can put an end to this farce, this political cover-up of his own mistakes.
    Mr. Speaker, without question, today is a dark day for Canadian democracy.
    In Quebec, the use of the War Measures Act in 1970 was an extremely traumatic experience. Some 500 people were arbitrarily arrested, people who were held for weeks without being told their rights. This brings back some truly painful memories.
    Obviously in politics there is the law, the letter of the law, the punctuation of the law and the text of the law, but there is also the spirit of the law. People can say that the Emergencies Act is not the same as the War Measures Act, but it triggers memories of a trauma for Quebec.
    I would like my leader to talk about the trauma Quebec experienced with the application of the War Measures Act in 1970.

  (1135)  

    Mr. Speaker, there is nothing more traumatizing than rising to speak after the member for Longueuil—Saint-Hubert.
    Yesterday I asked government members to show some sensitivity. I understand that does not come easily to them, because when we asked them to apologize for the Canadian abuses a few months ago, they practically laughed in our faces and denied our history. We were the last, along with the Acadian people, to wait for an apology.
    I do not expect any miracles, but I am asking them to be sensitive to the fact that Quebeckers have an uneasy relationship, not with the humanitarian role of the army—we were happy to welcome them because many Quebeckers are members of the forces—but with legislation that takes away freedoms and is the spawn of the War Measures Act, albeit a watered-down version in scope and nature. We do not like that. It worries us. We have been through this, so we are asking for a bit of understanding.
    Mr. Speaker, we agree that the act should not apply in Quebec because there is no way to do that, and we were prepared to support the motion moved by the Bloc Québécois yesterday in that regard, before the Liberals blocked it.
    What made me uncomfortable about the Bloc Québécois leader's speech was when he made some questionable historical associations involving us by bringing up some painful memories and the trauma caused by the use of the War Measures Act in Quebec. There is no comparison between the Emergencies Act and what happened some 50 years ago. Even columnist Hélène Buzzetti, who could never be accused of being insensitive to Quebec's views, has said that the two are not at all comparable.
    I therefore invite the leader of the Bloc Québécois to look at the provisions of the act in an intellectually honest way and to make the necessary distinctions.
    Mr. Speaker, there is certainly no lack of humility in Rosemont.
    I would invite the member for Rosemont—La Petite‑Patrie to look at the views of the Quebec National Assembly, which should matter to him at least a little.
    His Québec Solidaire friends are against this, as are the Liberals, the Parti Québécois and the CAQ.
    The only person in Quebec who is right is the member for Rosemont—La Petite‑Patrie. I am rather concerned, but I would remind him that, in 1970, the NDP leader voted against the War Measures Act.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, this is a critical moment in our history. In a few weeks, we will enter the third year of this pandemic. Canadians are tired, tired of a pandemic that has created so much loss and such sacrifice for so many. Canadians are frustrated, frustrated that so many have found themselves worse off, while those at the very top have only increased their wealth and power. Many are afraid, afraid of the next wave, of the next variant. They are also afraid of the other crises we face: fires and floods caused by the climate change destroying their homes and livelihoods, losing those they love to a toxic drug supply and not being able to get the care they need or their loved ones need when they need it. However, neither fear, nor frustration nor fatigue has won over Canadians' fundamental desire to take care of one another.
    We are here today, at this moment, because of a failure of leadership. People were abandoned by governments that argued over jurisdiction rather than helping people. People were abandoned because governments did not take this convoy and its impact on people seriously. They were abandoned by the police, some of whom stood with the occupiers and the occupation.
     It should never have come to this. It should never have come to a point in time where thousands of workers lost their wages because of blockades at bridges and because of blockades of one of the busiest shopping centres in Ottawa, affecting retail workers, people who were already precariously employed. It should never have come to the point where residents, families and children were harassed, intimidated and terrorized by the convoy. It should never have come to this.
    Many people are rightly concerned right now about the impact of the Emergencies Act and that it might crack down on protests in the future. What we are dealing with is not a protest. It is not peaceful. The organizers of this illegal occupation have been clear from the beginning. They have not shied away from this; they have been brazen about it. They came here to overthrow a democratically elected government. It is a movement funded by foreign influence and it feeds on disinformation. Its goal is to disrupt our democracy.
    We share the concern of many Canadians that the government may misuse the powers in the Emergencies Act, so I want to be very clear: We will be watching. We will withdraw our support if at any point we feel these powers ae being misused. I have been at many protests and strikes, and I have witnessed the full and brutal power of the police being used against peaceful protesters. I therefore want to make this clear as well: Indigenous land defenders, climate-change activists, workers fighting for fairness and any Canadian using their voice to peacefully demand justice should never be subject to the Emergencies Act. The New Democrats will never support that.

  (1140)  

    What has become very clear in this crisis is that there also needs to be a serious examination of policing in Canada. Occupiers get hugs from the police while indigenous and racialized protesters are met with the barrel of a gun. There are several very troubling accounts of current and former law enforcement and military members involved in these occupations. One of the requirements of the Emergencies Act is that after its invocation, there is a public inquiry into its use. This must include a full public inquiry into the role of law enforcement in these occupations, both in their support of the occupiers and, in many case, in their refusal to enforce the law.

[Translation]

    The use of the Emergencies Act is tantamount to an admission of defeat on the government's part. It should never have come to this. The crisis situation in Ottawa now calls for further action to prevent grave outcomes. We take the invocation of the Emergencies Act very seriously. Nobody wants to see the kind of thing that happened in 1970.
    Many people remember the War Measures Act in 1970, the random arrests and the army being deployed in the streets of Montreal. Many people are worried the same thing could happen again. I understand that. That is why the Emergencies Act must be used judiciously and prudently.
    We have been assured that there is no plan to call in the army and that the rights set out in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms will be upheld. That means arbitrary arrest and seizure will not be justified under the act.
    The NDP believes there is currently no justification for the use of emergency measures in Quebec. We want the Prime Minister to guarantee that emergency measures will be used only where they are truly necessary. The NDP is prepared to use the mechanisms at its disposal to revoke the government's powers at a moment's notice. We are not giving the government carte blanche, and we will be keeping a close eye on it to make sure it does not overstep.

  (1145)  

[English]

    In the last few weeks, we have heard a lot about divisions in our country. That division, sadly, has been fed and amplified by members of the House. That has to end. Using a pandemic as a political wedge to score points off opponents to try to win a leadership race or an election is wrong and, frankly, dangerous. This virus does not care who we voted for. Wearing a mask is not a partisan activity. Vaccines save lives, and the vast majority of Canadians and members of Parliament know this and have supported vaccination efforts. We cannot let Canadians' trust in science and public health be eroded by political opportunism.
     The pandemic is changing, and our response has to change as well. Restrictions are being lifted. We need a plan to get out of the pandemic, to get to the end of the pandemic, a plan based on science and our fundamental responsibility to take care of one another. Canadians who have done everything asked of them now want to know what to do next. Canadians have followed the rules, but they need to believe that restrictions are fair and make sense. We know that things can change quickly. New variants may appear and evidence may change. However, without a clear plan, confusion, disinformation and resentment grow.
    We believe that a plan to get to the end of the pandemic, to get us out of this pandemic, has to include the urgent repair of our health care system so that people can get care when they need it. It has to include finishing the job of vaccination, especially of our children. We have to make sure there is global access to vaccines so we avoid future variants and waves of infection, and we have to move forward on solving the problems this pandemic has only made worse.
    The reality is that working people have paid the price of this pandemic. While big companies took government money and gave out shareholder dividends and CEO bonuses, frontline workers got sick because they had to work without sick leave. Parents struggled to keep their kids at home while schools were closed, and big box stores stayed open.
    People are right to be angry that life has only gotten harder over these past two years, and that it is almost impossible to buy a home to keep a roof over one's head or to rent a decent place to live because wealthy speculators are driving up the cost of housing. People are right to be angry that the cost of groceries goes up to feed the profits of wealthy corporate grocery stores. People are right to be angry that they work hard and pay their taxes, but that the superwealthy and big businesses do not pay their fair share. People are right to be angry that their lives have become harder, while the superwealthy and powerful have only added to their wealth and power.
    I am angry too, and when I get angry, I fight. I learned long ago that my anger and my fight are not with the powerless. People's anger and their fight are not with Canadians. They are with those at the very top: the powerful who have built a system rigged against working people.
    We can change this, but only if we come together to fight for a Canada that does not leave people behind while others profit. The story of this pandemic is not one of division. It is one of solidarity. It is a story of frontline health care workers showing up day after day in impossible situations. It is a story of grocery workers, farmers and truckers keeping us fed. It is of teachers doing their best to connect with children through screens. Our story is of neighbours helping each other get vaccinated, and helping each other when they are in need.
    We will not let the past few weeks define the pandemic for us. Canadians have sacrificed too much, lost too many loved ones and missed out on too many moments to allow our country to become divided by hate and violence. People should not let their anger turn into hatred. We know hatred is like a fire. When it is allowed to grow, it will consume everything.
    As I hold my daughter, I often think about the world I want for her. I want her to walk through the world without fear. I want her to always feel like she belongs. I do not want her to face the same struggles I have. I believe this is what we all want for our children. My hope is that our decisions in the coming days are guided by this desire to build a better, safer and more just world where all of our children believe they belong.

  (1150)  

    Mr. Speaker, I want to take this opportunity to congratulate my colleague for Burnaby South on his baby.
    I have seen the member engage on many occasions with protesters over the many years I have known him. This particular time he has not. The opposition has advised the Prime Minister to engage with people at the illegal blockades that are here.
    What are his reflections on engagement with those who are here for the illegal protests and blockades, and what message would it send if the Prime Minister or he were to engage with these folks?
    Mr. Speaker, we have been very clear that the convoy wants to undermine our democracy, and that this is not a group that we can negotiate or work with. We need to acknowledge that there is real frustration among Canadians who have done everything they can to get vaccinated and follow public health guidelines.
    Canadians are frustrated. They want to know what the plan is to get out of this pandemic. That plan has to include making sure we invest in our health care system so it is no longer pushed to the brink of collapse. That plan has to include responding to the frustrations of Canadians who cannot find homes they can afford, who are worried about the cost of living going up, and who cannot find jobs that pay the bills. We have to respond to those real frustrations that Canadians are feeling. That real anger has to be responded to by us working together to find real solutions to solve those problems.
    Mr. Speaker, I was disappointed to see the stand that the leader of the NDP and the party have taken on an issue that deals with the fundamental civil liberties of Canadians. What has happened to the party of Tommy Douglas? What has happened to the party of Jack Layton that fought against Bill C-51 and the War Measures Act? What has changed?
    The NDP is trying to split hairs. Why has it abandoned one of its fundamental principles?

  (1155)  

    Mr. Speaker, let me be really clear. We are in this national crisis because of the failure to respond to how serious this crisis is. All levels of government failed to take this convoy seriously. They failed in their leadership, and that is why this crisis became so bad.
    In order to fix this crisis, it has to be taken seriously now. I believe that to take it seriously, enacting limited and specific powers to deal with this crisis is appropriate. We do so reluctantly, and will closely monitor to ensure there is no overreach. We know that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms continues to apply and that legitimate, peaceful protests demanding justice should continue and will be protected.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I am thoroughly convinced that the NDP leader was not happy about announcing his support at the outset, unlike the Minister of Public Safety, who said he was proud to support the Emergencies Act.
    The NDP's current position is inconsistent with the history of the party and the legacy of Tommy Douglas, which they claimed to represent when marking the anniversary of the Emergencies Act.
    We will be debating this over the next few days before voting on it later this week. The situation we are discussing could also evolve and change.
    I would like to know whether there is anything that might make the NDP leader change his mind and withdraw his support for the Emergencies Act.
    Mr. Speaker, let me be clear. We are not proud to support these measures. We do so reluctantly. The fact that we are now in this situation is a glaring example of the government's failure. We are very reluctant to support it.
    We will remain vigilant to ensure that these measures are not applied where they are not needed. However, we are in a national crisis and we must act. The fact that all levels of government failed to take action shows a failure of leadership.
    We want to resolve this crisis immediately, but we reserve the right to use every available tool to withdraw our support should the powers be used where they are not needed.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we had the lowest death rate in the western world and the highest level of vaccination. The solidarity of Canadians was incredible, yet there was an absolute failure and exploitation of fear by members in the House. The Leader of the Opposition said they wanted to exploit this. There was a failure of the Prime Minister to stand up and show vision, and a failure of police to defend people in the streets. We should never have been at this moment. We are looking like a failed state.
    What steps will the leader of the New Democratic Party take to hold the government accountable? It has failed us at every step of the way in this crisis. How can we trust it at this point? How can we say to Canadians that we will make their streets safe and return the rule of law, but we will make sure the Liberals are accountable? How will we do that?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to be clear to Canadians that we take this step with a lot of reluctance. We are not in any way proud that we are at a point in our country's history where the Emergencies Act has to be implemented. We think a failure of leadership got us to this point. It was a failure of taking the convoy seriously. People were abandoned. Workers were abandoned and residents of Ottawa were abandoned. As a result, we are in this crisis.
    We are going to support this measure, but we are going to do so with a lot of vigilance. We are going to pay close attention to the implementation of the Emergencies Act, and we are prepared to withdraw our support at any moment that it becomes clear that there is an abuse of power. We have the power to do so. There are a number of tools at our disposal, and we will be paying very close attention to the way the Emergencies Act is used. We want to make sure it is used only for the goal of dealing with the convoy and the national crisis, so that Canadians can have restored confidence in the ability of this country to function properly, to protect them and to keep them safe.

  (1200)  

    Mr. Speaker, I want to go back to the leader of the NDP's comments about the real story. Over the last couple of years, there have been so many heroic moments that we have witnessed where people from all regions of the country have stepped up. That really needs to be acknowledged right up front.
    It is an unfortunate situation that we find ourselves in. Not that long ago, a week ago, we had literally half a billion dollars' worth of trade between Canada and the U.S. being held hostage by convoy blockades. This had a very negative impact on issues such as jobs. We had some opposition parties being inconsistent with their messaging, which also caused some issues.
    Could my friend provide his thoughts on how important it is? Yes, we recognize how Canadians have contributed, but at this point in time we have to do things to protect our families, businesses and economic trade lines.
    Mr. Speaker, the question gives me an opportunity to talk about the incredible sacrifices of so many people. I think of all the frontline workers who kept us going through the most difficult parts of this pandemic, the retail workers, logistics workers, truck drivers and frontline health care workers, and how it has been so difficult for these frontline workers. In a lot of ways, these frontline health care workers and frontline workers were abandoned as well. They were the most important workers, and in some cases they were paid the least. We fought to make sure that they were recognized not just for their hard work and sacrifice, but with fair compensation. That has to continue. Health care workers right now are struggling. They are on the brink. Nurses have told us about the crisis in health care, so we have to make sure we are supporting them with real investments.
     We are in a real crisis. The fact that one of the busiest borders in North America could be shut down, causing thousands of workers to lose their wages, is unacceptable. It is wrong. We need to make sure workers are protected. That is why we reluctantly support this measure to make sure the convoy is ended, that workers and people are protected, and the residents of Ottawa are supported. We stand with them.
    Mr. Speaker, it is always a pleasure to rise on behalf of the people of Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo. It is interesting that the hon. leader of the NDP has spoken about the division of the government, yet he has consistently propped up the government that has chosen to divide.
    He spoke about the fact that the Emergencies Act should not touch on Quebec, yet he is supporting legislation that theoretically could freeze bank accounts in Quebec. Will he support that aspect of the act, yes or no? It cannot be separated from the remainder.
    Mr. Speaker, we want to make sure that the act is used in a way that stops the convoys and is not used where it is not necessary. I want to be very clear about division. I certainly have said that, in the House, divisions have inflamed issues, and the story of this pandemic is one of solidarity. I want to be clear. Conservatives have purposely tried to use this convoy as an opportunity to score points and cause problems for the Liberals. The Liberals have also looked at this as an opportunity to divide and wedge. I am saying it is wrong to do that. We cannot be wedging people on a thing that is not partisan. This is a crisis that we have to come together on. The pandemic is one we all have to tackle together. It should not be something to score points on.
    I am pleased and honoured to rise today to speak to the invocation of the Emergencies Act by our government and to the motion in this House to affirm the government's decision, but I also do so with a deep sense of obligation.
    Canada is a rule-of-law country. By declaring a public order emergency under the Emergencies Act, we followed the law and we are acting within it. There are clear conditions set out in the Emergencies Act in order for a public order emergency to be declared. Our government believes those conditions have been met and that those same conditions required the Government of Canada to act.

  (1205)  

[Translation]

    The Emergencies Act was enacted in 1988 to replace the War Measures Act. There are two significant differences between the two acts. One, the Emergencies Act contains a number of limits and safeguards, including a parliamentary review. Two, the measures taken under the act are subject to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

[English]

    I want to reiterate this point. The preamble to the Emergencies Act states, “And whereas the Governor in Council, in taking such special temporary measures, would be subject to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Canadian Bill of Rights and must have regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, particularly with respect to those fundamental rights that are not to be limited or abridged even in a national emergency”. Any and all of our government actions will be subject to the charter, and it is my job as Attorney General to ensure this. I take that responsibility incredibly seriously. There is, therefore, a further check in the parliamentary oversight process as well.
    The Emergencies Act can only be invoked in specific serious circumstances that amount to a national emergency. In order to meet the threshold for a national emergency, three conditions must be met: First, we must be in a situation that either “seriously endangers the lives, health or safety of Canadians... [and exceeds] the capacity or authority of a province to deal with it, or seriously threatens the ability of the Government of Canada to preserve the sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of Canada”. Second, the provinces' and territories' capacity to handle the situation must be considered insufficient or show gaps. Third, we must conclude that the situation cannot be handled adequately under any other Canadian law, including provincial or territorial laws.
    Our government believes these conditions were met, and yesterday we tabled an explanation of the reasons for issuing the declaration, as required by the act. We also tabled yesterday, as required, a report on any consultation with the provinces with respect to the declaration. I would especially like to highlight the support of British Columbia, Ontario, and Newfoundland and Labrador, as noted in the document invoking the act to respond to this national emergency.

[Translation]

    Once an emergency is declared, the Emergencies Act allows the federal government to make the necessary orders and regulations to intervene.
    Our government respects Canadians' rights and freedoms, which are protected by the charter. We intend to use only necessary, reasonable and measured powers to resolve this crisis quickly and safely, in accordance with section 1 of the charter.

[English]

    As members have seen, our government has introduced targeted orders under the act. While the act technically applies to all of Canada, we have been very careful to tailor orders to be as focused as possible, and only in those places affected by blockades and illegal occupations will we see any change at all.
    We have introduced measures to bring the situation under control. They include temporary regulation and prohibition of public assemblies that lead to a breach of the peace and go beyond lawful protest; the situation in Ottawa and blockades at certain border crossings have gone far beyond lawful protest.
    They also include temporarily designating and securing places where blockades are to be prohibited. These places could include borders, approaches to borders, critical infrastructure, hospitals and democratic institutions.
    These measures also include temporarily directing persons to render essential services to relieve impacts of blockades on Canada's economy. These persons could include tow trucks and their drivers—for compensation, of course.
    The measures include temporarily authorizing or directing financial institutions to render essential services to relieve the impact of blockades, including regulating and prohibiting the use of property to fund or support the blockades.
    They include temporarily enabling the RCMP to enforce municipal bylaws and provincial offences where required, and finally, temporary imposition of fines or imprisonment for contravention of any order or regulation made under section 19 of the Emergencies Act.

  (1210)  

[Translation]

    These are extraordinary times. The Government of Canada is committed to respecting and protecting individual rights while maintaining public order. This includes all of the measures taken by the Government of Canada in accordance with the Emergencies Act, including any orders, regulations or actions of government representatives.

[English]

    I want to repeat what I previously stated: It is my responsibility and my commitment as Attorney General of Canada to ensure that all steps taken by our government are consistent with the charter, as required by the act.
    The Emergencies Act also contains a number of significant limits, checks and safeguards. As required by the act, on several occasions over the past week, the Prime Minister and members of cabinet consulted with the premiers and members of their respective governments. Having now declared a public order emergency, we tabled the declaration in Parliament, as required, within seven days. In fact, we did so as quickly as possible, well before the seven days, tabling the declaration yesterday for discussion today so that Parliament could perform its important oversight role.
    In the coming days, a parliamentary committee will be struck to provide oversight while the emergency is in effect. This declaration only lasts for 30 days, unless renewed. However, we can revoke the emergency much sooner, and we sincerely hope to do so.

[Translation]

    Parliament has the power to revoke an order, which ensures that any measures taken will be responsible and measured and will comply with the established limits.

[English]

    Orders must be tabled in Parliament within two days for review by parliamentarians, as was done yesterday, and Parliament has the power to amend or revoke any order made under the act.
    In closing, I want to address two critiques of the official opposition. They say this declaration is unnecessary, that the illegal blockades and occupations are ending. I say to look outside. They are not. I say look at the streets of Winnipeg. The ones that have ended did so after the Prime Minister announced we were moving to declare a public order emergency. We are achieving what we intended to achieve with these measures and we are doing it in a most measured and responsible way.
    We have seen, further, how fluid the situation is. Since we declared this emergency, we have seen other potential blockades stopped. We want law enforcement to have the necessary tools for a limited time to ensure we do not have a repeat of any of the blockades.
    The official opposition is talking about rights. On this side of the House, we take rights seriously, and so did the Progressive Conservative government that introduced the Emergencies Act and ensured it was charter compliant. That was the right thing to do.
    We are invoking this act to end illegal blockades and occupations. We are invoking it to restore the rights of those who cannot walk safely on the streets of downtown Ottawa. We are invoking it to protect the rights of workers to earn a living, of businesses to serve the public, of people to move freely across international borders.
    Let us not confuse illegal blockades and occupations with lawful protests. We know what a lawful protest looks like. It does not look like what is happening on Wellington Street, or what transpired in Coutts or in Emerson. We have declared a public order emergency to help law enforcement deal with these issues quickly and to protect us from having them happen again.
    Our goal is to see order restored and to see this emergency declaration lifted as soon as possible.
    Madam Speaker, the act expressly prohibits violation of charter rights. The declaration put forward by the government assumes power to regulate or prohibit private transfers of funds to protesters, including the ability to mandate the reporting of such transfers and the freezing of accounts, all without judicial oversight.
    How is this measure compliant with section 8 of the charter rights to be free from unreasonable search and seizure?
    Madam Speaker, indeed this act is compliant with section 8 of the charter with regard to unreasonable search and seizure. It is an extension of procedures and practices that already exist with respect to anti-terrorism financing and money laundering. We are extending these practices and procedures that already exist and are already charter compliant to this other situation—that is, funding illegal blockades and protests—and we are going to do it in a reasonable manner. It will be charter compliant.

  (1215)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank the minister for his speech.
    I think that everyone on this side of the House agrees that this is a measure of last resort. However, I do not think we are there yet. There are many other tools that could have been used first. It seems to me that this trivializes the Emergencies Act. I am not a legal expert, but it does not take a lot of research to find tools in Canada's Criminal Code that the government could have used before resorting to the Emergencies Act. Why not press criminal charges against the people who were blocking the bridges? Here, people are no longer participating in a legal protest; they have Ottawa under siege. Why were criminal charges not laid?
    I would like the minister to explain to me why he did not use the other tools at his disposal under the Criminal Code before invoking the Emergencies Act.
    Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for her question.
    From the start of the crisis, we worked with other governments across Canada and with the RCMP. The RCMP worked with other police forces. We saw that there were gaps and that we needed to work together. By bringing in measures that did not exist before, we gave Canada's police forces additional tools to better address and manage their respective situations. We are filling in the gaps.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I have been here for much of the last three weeks, and what I have seen in Ottawa is a complete failure of civic officials and a complete failure of the police. This should never have been allowed to spiral. In Quebec City and Toronto, we saw that the police did their job. At the Ambassador Bridge, we saw the ridiculous situation of our bridge being shut down for eight days without action.
     Now we are having to take these measures. The minister is talking about anti-terrorism measures. Is the government able to tell the House that it has evidence that there is terrorism and extremism that can justify this measure, or do we just have to clean up the mess from the failure of what happened here in Ottawa?
    Madam Speaker, I thank the member for his question, delivered with his usual passion in this important circumstance.
    I mentioned terrorism as part of the financing. This is not a terrorism act. We took measures that had been applied to terrorism and applied them to other illegal activity, but I am not equating this to terrorism. What we have done is declare a public order emergency based on the reasons we gave in the declaration that we have made. They include the very deleterious economic impact to the kinds of workers that the hon. member has tried to protect throughout his whole career. We could think of auto workers in southwestern Ontario or Niagara or beef farmers or pork farmers out west whose supply chains were blocked in trading with our largest trading partner.
    We have declared a public order emergency based on those very serious grounds. We needed to act. We had been there from the beginning and we saw gaps. We filled them. Now we have given better tools to the police.
    Madam Speaker, it is a privilege to have the opportunity to rise today as the Minister of Emergency Preparedness to speak to the importance and necessity of the motion before the House.
    Let me also acknowledge that the fact we are all in this House, that elected representatives from across Canada have come to debate this important measure, is evidence of the strength and resiliency of our democratic institutions. Although the subject of today's debate is a solemn one, I think it is also evidence that should give us strength, resolve and hope.
    Let me begin my remarks by acknowledging the impact that these blockades and demonstrations have had on Canadian citizens, particularly the people of Ottawa who have been subject to intimidation and threats. The disruption of the course of their lives is, frankly, unacceptable.
    Among the most important freedoms that we covet and protect in this country are freedom of opinion, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, lawful peaceful protest. It has also been said that one's freedom to swing their fists ends at the end of another's nose. What we have seen, unfortunately, over the past three weeks is that those rights have been exceeded and abused to the point that it has put Canadians in harm's way.
    I also want to speak briefly about the impact of the blockades that were taking place at vital trade corridors in this country, our international borders. When the protesters decided to go to our borders, we need to recognize and acknowledge they were going for the throat. They were going to cut off the supply of goods and services that our country relies on.
    When they stopped parts from coming across that border at the Ambassador Bridge, they shuttered factories and they idled workers. They damaged the reputation of Canada as a safe and stable place to invest. They hurt Canadians. It was clearly their intent. It is clearly what they were doing, and it had to stop.
    We saw the same targeted approach to hurt Canadian interests and to harm their fellow citizens in Coutts, Alberta; in South Surrey, British Columbia; in Emerson; at the Ambassador Bridge; and a number of fakes at other border points. This was not by accident. They did not just wander into those spaces. They went for the throat of this country. They created an emergency, an emergency that we had to respond to.
    For the first time, we have come to the difficult decision to invoke the authorities of the Emergencies Act. I want to assure the House from the very outset that our government recognizes the significance of this decision, and the heavy responsibility that would come with pursuing it, not just the responsibility of the government but of the House.
    We approached the process with caution and with care. It was essential that we explored all options available to us. We looked at everything very closely. We looked at our existing legislation. We looked at the regulations with the support of our Department of Justice officials to see what additional federal supports would be required. We examined existing municipal, provincial and federal authorities.
    I think it is rather evident the threat of parking tickets did not deter those trucks in Ottawa. The threat of the enforcement of Ontario's Highway Traffic Act did not deter those commercial carriers from coming down our highways and using their vehicles, which are licensed under that legislation, to cause harm to Canadians. It has also become clear that with the limitations, even of the authorities enshrined within federal law and the Criminal Code, our law enforcement officials were struggling.
    I will give two examples that I hope will be helpful to Parliament in consideration of the necessity for these measures.
    One of the challenges that our law enforcement officials had was this, and it was not just our law enforcement officials but those who are tasked with gathering and analyzing financial intelligence through FINTRAC. Unfortunately, the funding associated with these actions, which in many cases have been clearly criminal and harmful to Canadians, was opaque. It became very clear when our officials came to us that they did not have the tools they needed to provide the necessary and appropriate scrutiny of the source of that funding, and that they did not have the tools to bring the accountability and even the consequences that were required in doing their jobs. We listened to what they needed. Ontario, for example, declared an emergency and brought forward really important and useful regulations, but they could not do that because it was our responsibility. We considered that and we listened.

  (1220)  

    Another example that may sound trivial, but was significant, relates to jurisdictions right across the country. I heard from my counterpart and colleague, the minister responsible in Alberta, who for weeks had been asking for help to get tow trucks down to Coutts, Alberta, to haul those trucks away. However, the tow truck industry in Alberta, like in Ontario, like right across the country, as a result of threats and intimidation were afraid to do their jobs. We needed that equipment. We needed those drivers. We needed their ability to remove those vehicles, but they were intimidated and afraid, so we have brought forward in these measures the authority not to compel them but to really authorize them to do what we all need to be done.
    I submit to all those here that these measures work. People who knew the gaps in our laws and our law enforcement's response were exploiting them. When we closed those gaps, they went to school. We saw evidence of that in Coutts.
    I do not want to minimize the importance of the RCMP investigation. By the way, I am not going to comment on any of the aspects of their investigation or the prosecution that will follow. It is totally inappropriate for a minister to do so. However, I want to thank them for doing their job. I want to thank God that they were able to do it safely.
     That eliminated part of the threat at Coutts, but when we announced on Monday that we were coming for the source of their funding and that there were going to be real consequences, financial consequences for their actions, they scurried away. That is exactly what we needed them to do. They did exactly the same thing in Emerson, Manitoba. Even though we saw yesterday in Windsor that some of them were going back because that is the way they can most effectively attack this country, they were stopped. They were stopped by effective law enforcement.
    We have brought forward these measures, but let me also assure all my colleagues in this House that these measures must always be charter-compliant. Our expectation is that our law enforcement officials will do their job, the job we all need them to do, but they will always do it mindful of their responsibility to uphold the rule of law, to effect their lawful purpose with a minimum of force and to do the work right.
    I also want to assure this House that we will be there to support them. When they say they need tools, we will give them the tools to do the job. When they say they need resources, we will provide those resources to do the job.
    Every order of government and every person in this House has a responsibility to stand up with resolve and determination and to do what is necessary to protect Canada's interests.

  (1225)  

    Madam Speaker, I note that the deputy director of intelligence for FINTRAC, Barry MacKillop, would disagree with the minister's suggestion that there is extremist financing of the convoy, but I will move on to my question.
    Back in January through March 2020, as the minister said, those people came for the throat. What happened to the throat of our country when our railways were being blockaded and when our pipelines were being blockaded? We could not even get propane to Quebec in the middle of the winter, risking the lives of so many seniors. The port of metro Vancouver was blockaded. The government said we needed to initiate dialogue, and we needed to work with those people to come to a peaceful resolution.
    What is the difference with the current situation that we are facing? Why is the Emergencies Act needed?
    Madam Speaker, let me just speak to the member's first point because I have heard him ask the question before. Perhaps he has not been satisfied with the answer. I understand, because I also speak to FINTRAC often and I have worked with them for decades. They did not have the evidence because they did not have the tools to collect the evidence. We listened to them. They said it was opaque. They did not have the tools to examine cryptocurrency laws, for example. We told them we heard them. If they do not have the evidence, we will give them the tools to collect the evidence because it is necessary to protect Canadians.
    The member's argument against these measures is clearly a little bit shallow. He needs to recognize that. He is right that we did not have that information. Now we are getting that information. It is what our law enforcement officials need to protect the country.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, we agree the situation is serious. The problem is, for over two weeks, only the opposition parties recognized it as an emergency.
    The Prime Minister failed in his duty to use tools that were available to him before. Quebeckers and Canadians deserve better.
    I would like to know if the hon. minister is proud to be seated next to a last-resort Prime Minister.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I want to assure the member that, not only am I proud but it is the honour of my life to be a member of this government serving Canadians. I also want to be very clear that we have been seized from the very first moment with supporting law enforcement efforts and also the efforts of our municipal and provincial partners. We have been working closely with provincial governments right across the country, including Quebec.
    I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge that we very much respect the jurisdiction of provinces and territories over policing in their jurisdiction, as I am sure they recognize and respect our responsibility to maintain the integrity and security of our borders. All orders of government have a responsibility to protect Canadians, and we will all work together to do it.
    Madam Speaker, I understand and share the concerns that people have about the potential long-term impacts of the use of emergency measures legislation, in particular, as it relates to the expansion of the institution of policing, given the past abuses and overreach against legitimate political actions by indigenous, racial and climate-justice activists and workers. However, with the capital and country in crisis, Canadians are feeling abandoned by their local police services who have repeatedly been caught on video compromised and at times seeming to be working in collusion with the insurrectionist occupation.
    The last royal commission on policing was in 1962. Will the Minister of Public Safety commit to establishing a national commission on policing that would review the duties assigned to the police and their corresponding budgets, and will the minister commit to a secretariat or some other office to report on the radicalization and use of public resources and security forces for undemocratic ends?

  (1230)  

    Madam Speaker, one of the things that has become quite apparent, and I have heard concern across the country as well, is an overwhelming desire that the police in this country do their job and that they do it right, that they do it in a way that is compliant with all of our laws, with our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and that their response is measured, thoughtful, proportional and effective. We are working hard to make sure they have the tools and support they need.
    I spent 40 years in policing. Policing must always be accountable to the people it serves, because the most important tool that the police have is the trust and confidence of the people they serve. We will always work to maintain that trust and confidence.
    Madam Speaker, I appreciate the Minister of Emergency Preparedness sharing the care and caution with which this is being applied. The Prime Minister shared a more targeted approach, but I need to reconcile that with what I am reading in the regulations that we have been provided, which mention critical infrastructure quite broadly. I share the concerns of the member for Burnaby South, for example, with respect to how this could be applied in the future to indigenous land defenders and climate activists.
    Could the minister clarify the difference between the more targeted approach we are hearing and the words we are seeing written here?
    Madam Speaker, I understand the member's concern. I want to provide him with reassurance.
    These measures are time-limited. They are subject to parliamentary and judicial scrutiny, and we will only use these measures as long as they are required. We recognize their extraordinary nature. They have to be subject to the scrutiny of this House; it is in the law. We will only use them as long as they are required, and we will always ensure that they are compliant with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
    Madam Speaker, unlike the Prime Minister and ministers across the aisle, it actually gives me no pleasure to rise to speak to the matter at hand. The invocation of the Emergencies Act earlier this week, for the first time in Canadian history, is a significant moment and it is not a moment to be pleased about. It is a solemn moment. It is a moment when we have to ask ourselves, how did we get to this situation in the first place? When we examine the evidence of how we got to this situation, I do not think there is much for the government to be proud of.
    The Conservatives thoughtfully considered the justifications, written in law and given by the government, for the enacting of the Emergencies Act. The government has based its justification on one provision: that a public order emergency exists throughout Canada. This claim is not supported by the evidence. Yes, we have seen border blockades in at least four provinces and we have seen a persistent protest in Ottawa that has now been declared illegal. However, before the Emergencies Act was invoked, the blockades at the borders and across Canada were lifted or were well into the process of being lifted, so the government trying to claim credit after the fact is completely absurd. The Emergencies Act is now being used solely for the purpose of addressing the situation in Ottawa, not throughout Canada as defined by the act.
    A key part of the threshold for enacting these measures is that existing laws and capabilities have proven insufficient for dealing with the problem. Existing laws are well equipped to deal with these situations. They were well equipped to deal with the situation at Coutts, Emerson and the Ambassador Bridge, and I submit they are well equipped to be used here in Ottawa.
    The Minister of Justice and the Minister of Emergency Preparedness said earlier that they were required to pass this so they could requisition essential services like tow trucks. However, it has been noted by many that under the Criminal Code, police already have the authority to requisition such services, under pain of criminal sanction. That was before the Emergencies Act was brought in, so this argument that the Emergencies is necessary is completely absurd.
    I note that I will be splitting my time with my hon. colleague from Regina—Qu'Appelle.
    The police already had the power to compel many of these services. The police already had the power to be coordinated with the RCMP, the OPP and the various police forces and national security forces throughout Canada. They have measures existing under the Criminal Code, such as mischief and intimidation, to be used against illegal protesters and blockades.
    The government has used an argument where it is citing potential acts and threats of violence against Canadians and critical infrastructure. This is not just any violence, the Liberals are saying; this is violence intended for the furtherance of an ideological and political objective. I am very concerned with the language that the government is beginning to use, because that language is very similar to the language under terrorism laws. The definition of terrorism is the use of violence to advance a political or ideological agenda. The government is using terrorism legislation against Canadian protesters.
    There is very little evidence that there was a serious threat to persons and critical infrastructure from these protests. There was a short-term risk, but it was dealt with by law enforcement.
    An hon. member: What about those assaults outside?
    Mr. Dane Lloyd: I will address the member's heckle.
    I am very concerned about the situation that occurred around Coutts, Alberta, where a small group of militants was arrested with firearms and with the intent to do harm. I am so thankful for law enforcement's efforts in taking down this very real threat, and I am so confident in our law enforcement because I know they had been planning this operation for weeks. They had likely infiltrated this group. They had a plan in place and had the appropriate tools and expertise to deal with this dangerous situation and defuse it before it became a very real and dangerous situation. The fact is that they did this before the imposition of the Emergencies Act.

  (1235)  

    Clearly, they have the tools. This completely undermines the government's argument that it is justified because the tools were insufficient to deal with the problems. The tools have been sufficient. The threshold has not been met.
    I want to address some comments that have been made by the government. At a press conference, the Minister of Public Safety stated very clearly and definitively that there is a connection between the militant faction at Coutts and protesters here in Ottawa. He declined to provide any evidence to back up that assertion. He was asked repeatedly by the media to back up that claim and he failed. His only evidence was to cite social media posts and a general tone that has been seen in protests across Canada.
    The government has been very quick to label protesters and anyone who would oppose its political agenda. In 2021, even before the protests began, the Prime Minister called people who opposed mandatory vaccinations racists and misogynists, among other epithets. Since the beginning of the protests, the government has sought to brand and label all protesters as fringe extremists with “unacceptable views”. Despite this unrelenting scrutiny and rhetoric, there has still been no evidence of violent extremists in Ottawa. If there were, I do not know how the government could believe it is being responsible in allowing us all to be here today, walking the streets of Ottawa. It undermines the whole claim.
    There is no evidence of a plot to violently overthrow the Canadian government, despite constant repetition in saying so. I remember a quote by a previous Liberal minister, who said that if we tell a lie big enough and loudly enough, people will totally believe it. The government is constantly saying things that it does not have the evidence to back up. I would like to see that evidence if it is there. We deserve to see that evidence.
    This act was not designed or intended to crack down on peaceful protesters, even if they are protesting illegally. We have other laws to deal with that. The government is citing a so-called terrorist threat. However, although having protesters in Ottawa is very inconvenient and terrible for the people of downtown Ottawa, honking horns does not meet the threshold of a terrorist organization. The government knows that.
    Without further evidence of a violent threat, I cannot in good conscience support the invocation of the Emergencies Act. Even if I were to accept that the government has met the threshold for calling on emergency powers, I would still have serious reservations about the powers the government has said it needs for dealing with this situation. If it believes there is a threat to critical infrastructure and persons, which it has said, and it shows evidence, I could support declaring Parliament Hill and certain sensitive areas as no-go zones. I could accept that we need better coordination between the RCMP and local police. However, what I cannot accept is the government's need to undermine section 8 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees Canadians a right against unreasonable search and seizure and having their bank accounts frozen.
    The Minister of Justice, while on a panel last night, said that anyone who is part of a so-called pro-Trump organization should be worried. I think all Canadians should be worried when a Minister of Justice threatens people because of their political views. That is not the Canada that any of us want to see and it is unacceptable.
    Throughout this debate, which we are going to be having over the next number of days, Canadians will know that their official opposition is alive and well. We are prepared to stand up for Canadians' rights. We are prepared to hold the government accountable. We are going to keep fighting. We are not going to stop standing up for the rights and freedoms of Canadians.

  (1240)  

    Madam Speaker, I listened to the member's speech on CPAC as I was walking over here. I want to try to reduce the tone of this debate, so I will respectfully point out a couple of things.
    First, what happened in Coutts, Alberta, is extremely concerning for any Canadian, and I presume all parliamentarians who are concerned about violence.
    Second, people, including some outside of this very building, have openly called for the overthrow of a duly elected government, including an entity that is calling itself Canada Unity. I think that is direct evidence of an ideological imperative or agenda that is being pursued.
    Last, I will gently point out one thing to the member opposite, and I appreciated his submissions, with all sincerity. All that is being extended here with respect to laws that are already compliant with section 8 of the charter, which relate to unreasonable search and seizure and FINTRAC, is ensuring that FINTRAC can be applied to cryptocurrency and crowdfunding sources. Is that not a necessary initiative given the foreign funding that is streaming into this country right now? If the member could—
    The hon. member for Sturgeon River—Parkland.
    Madam Speaker, I was at the public safety committee when the deputy director of intelligence, Barry MacKillop, answered a question from one of his colleagues: Why are we not covering these crowdfunding sources? It is obviously a big loophole. The deputy director stated that the payment processors moving the money from individuals to the crowdsourcing pages report to FINTRAC, and the Canadian banks that receive the money from the crowdsourcing efforts report to the Canadian government. He stated there is no such thing as anonymous donations because everyone must provide their name and credit card. There are no anonymous donations. FINTRAC knows exactly who is donating and exacting where the money is going, and it has the tools it needs. We do not need this further infringement on Canadians' rights and freedoms.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, it is clear that the Bloc Québécois and the Conservative Party intend to oppose the use of the Emergencies Act, but our reasons for doing so are very different.
    The Bloc is against it because both the National Assembly of Quebec and the current Government of Quebec have unanimously stated they do not want the feds to interfere in their business yet again by imposing the Emergencies Act. Lest we forget, pretty much every Quebecker has not-so-fond memories of what happened in 1970.
    My colleague talked about there being no proof that the group of demonstrators, or rather, occupiers currently in Ottawa includes more radical elements who could pose a threat to people's safety or to national security. Is that what my colleague was saying? Is he saying that he really does not believe that some of the people participating in the illegal demonstrations could pose a threat to public safety? Does he believe what he sees on social media and what we have seen with weapons seizures in other places where protests are happening?

  (1245)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, we could go on Twitter right now and find some of the most outrageous, offensive and criminal statements across Canada. What we do not do in this country is base the passage of laws and the invocation of emergency acts upon the possibility of a threat. We must base it on a real threat. We must base it on evidence that there is a threat to Canadians. The fact that we are allowed to walk freely through this parliamentary precinct with protesters less than 100 metres from us right now undermines the claim that there is a serious threat to Canadian democracy.
    Madam Speaker, I find this very difficult. My hon. colleague across the way said that people were just honking their horns. He seemed to suggest that this convoy is a simple annoyance for the people in Ottawa. I have spoken to quite a few people who are working downtown. A lovely young woman served me lunch at a restaurant and I asked her how she was doing. She talked about the harassment and specific assaults. She talked about assaults on friends of hers who are working in the ByWard Market. That is what we need to address.
    Could the member explain why he seems to think this is just a simple annoyance and why he would want to take away the safety of the people who are working and living downtown?
    Madam Speaker, the member is putting words in my mouth. I am not saying this is a simple inconvenience for the people of downtown Ottawa. I am not downplaying the experiences she mentioned. I believe they are true experiences and unacceptable experiences. However, they are experiences that can be dealt with through existing laws. Harassment is a crime. Intimidation is a crime. It is up to police to enforce these measures. We do not need emergency powers to enforce existing laws.
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for agreeing to share his time with me.
    It is very important for Canadians to understand that the government's proposal to invoke the Emergencies Act is in no way connected to public safety, restoring order or upholding the rule of law. We know this because we know what it has done with previous protests and blockades. When the Prime Minister agrees with the aims of protesters, he does nothing. Actually, it would be unfair to say he does nothing. He does nothing to end the blockades, but he will send negotiators, who send government delegations to meet with protesters and even propose settlements and compromises when he agrees with the political aims of those protesting.
    We know this because in 2020, anti-energy protesters, and anti-oil and gas protesters held up vital transportation links for weeks. At the time, the Prime Minister had a much different tone. Let us look at what he said when vital transportation links and rail lines were blockaded, crippling the Canadian economy for weeks at a time. He said, “Therefore, we are creating a space for peaceful, honest dialogue with willing partners.” Compare that to the rhetoric and inflammatory language that he has used over the past several weeks in 2022.
    Make no mistake, the protests that are happening in Ottawa and have taken place across the country are a direct result of the Prime Minister's actions and rhetoric, and the demonization of people who are fighting to get their rights back. Canadians have had two years of incredible hardship, of politicians and government agencies telling them they were not allowed to have family members visit them inside their own homes, of governments telling business owners that they had to keep their doors shut and their employees laid off, of people not being able to use the various support systems they have had in their lives, such as relying on friends and family. Gyms were closed and activities for children were cancelled.
    After two years of this, just as there is hope on the horizon, as other jurisdictions around the world and even here in Canada were lifting restrictions and easing mandates, the Prime Minister added a new one. He added a new restriction after two years of telling truck drivers that they were essential services and that they would be allowed to travel across the border to bring vital goods to our markets. After two years of deeming them an essential service, just as there was hope and reasons to lift restrictions and mandates, the Prime Minister added a new one without any data or evidence to back it up.
    Then people started objecting to this. They were finally saying that enough is enough, they want their freedoms back, and it is time for the government to retreat back to the normal boundaries of government interference in their lives. When people started doing that, gathering to peacefully protest against government overreach, what did the Prime Minister do? He called them names and tried to smear them with broad brushes. He called them racists and misogynists. He asked the rhetorical question of whether or not we should tolerate these people. I would like to ask the Prime Minister this question: What does not tolerating these people look like? What he has done over the past few weeks has been shameful.
    The Prime Minister has lowered the office in which he serves to unprecedented depths. In my 17 years of being a member of Parliament, I have never seen a prime minister or, for that matter, any other politician so debase the office that they hold, hurling insults at people and referring to a Jewish member of this House as standing with people waving swastikas. It is outrageous.
    My hon. colleagues on the Liberal benches have often admonished their political opponents for even sharing the same postal code as someone who may be holding an offensive flag or a placard with unacceptable language on it. When Conservatives denounced that, it was not good enough for members of the Liberal Party. They say we are supposed to paint the entire group protesting with that broad brush, but they do not hold themselves to that same standard.

  (1250)  

    I see many hon. members across the way, some of whom I have served with. I know them to be honourable people. I do not assume that they are all racist because their leader has performed racist acts by putting on blackface so often in his life that he cannot remember how many times he has done it. We do not paint every single Liberal member of Parliament with that brush. They have no problem being photographed with the Prime Minister, despite his history of racist acts, neither should members of Parliament paint the entire group of people who are protesting for their freedoms with that same broad brush.
    Let us look at the lengths to which the government goes, and indeed not just the government, but many of its friends in the corporate media, to paint every single person who is protesting and demanding an end to the restrictions and the mandates with that broad brush. They go to great lengths to discredit and dehumanize those people, who are just fighting for their traditional civil liberties.
    We could look at this in two different groups. On the one hand, we have people who are saying that after two years of hardship, sacrifice, and being forced to comply with unprecedented government intrusion in their lives, with government telling them where to go and who they can have in their house, which is a level of government interference of the like we have not seen in recent Canadian history, after two years of that, they just do not believe they should be fired for making a health care decision.
    On the other hand, there is a group of people who are saying that anybody who holds that view is a racist, a misogynist or an insurrectionist. There is a group of people who are saying that government should have the ability to tell people who they can have in their house, and whether or not their business is allowed to stay open.
    Which group seems more unreasonable? I would say that after two years, those who are fighting against the government intrusion in their lives have a legitimate case to make. Whether or not we agree with them, we must respect their right to advocate for their views. The Prime Minister has not provided any legitimate justification for bringing in the Emergencies Act. He asks us to trust him. He says we should not worry, that the government is going to make sure everything is fine with the courts and that everything is compliant with the charter.
    This is the same guy who fired his attorney general because she would not go along with his plans to interfere in a criminal court case. Pardon the members of the Conservative Party if we are not going to take the Prime Minister's word that he is not going to abuse the power that he is granting himself.
    He points to specific instances that the Conservatives denounced. We denounced the rail blockades in 2020 and we denounced the border blockades in 2022. We do not believe that the right to peacefully protest should mean the right to infringe on the freedoms and rights of other people. We raised that point in 2020, calling on the government to do something about the rail blockades when it was the anti-energy workers. By the way, there have been a lot of radical left-wing protests across the country where we could see all kinds of placards, including anti-Semitic placards and banners advocating violence against police officers, and we do not see the government rushing to crack down on those.
     The government is talking about foreign funding. What about the foreign funding that is pouring into Canada by the hundreds of millions of dollars to help groups fight against energy projects and natural resource projects across the country? That did not seem to bother the government then. Now, all of a sudden, it says it has to do something about it.
    It is a little like the scene in Casablanca when the inspector comes to Rick and says that he has to close the place down because there is illegal gambling going on, and then the croupier comes over and puts his winnings in his pocket. That is what the government is doing. For years, it has relied on foreign funding coming to help its allies in the political spectrum fight for its goals and fight against Canadians and their interests.
    This is the exact same playbook that we have seen dictatorial governments use across the world. They dehumanize their opponents. They invoke threats of foreign influence. Let us remember, the Berlin Wall was ostensibly built to keep others out. Governments always talk about their good intentions when they take away rights and liberties. I am asking Canadians not be fooled by this.

  (1255)  

    I am asking members of the Liberal Party who actually believe in civil liberties, who actually do believe in the natural limits of government, to do—
    It is time for questions and comments.
    The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Sport.
    Madam Speaker, I just rushed back into the House. I was sitting in the lobby, listening to that speech, and I could not believe how willing the member for Regina—Qu'Appelle was to justify all these behaviours we are seeing. I saw a video of him crossing the road this morning giving a thumbs up and shaking hands with the people who have been occupying this capital city for the last three weeks.
    If this were happening in Regina, if his neighbours were being occupied and harassed downtown and were afraid to leave their homes, would your position be exactly the same as it is here? Would you be giving them a thumbs up every single day?
    I will remind the hon. member to speak through the Chair.
    The hon. member for Regina—Qu'Appelle.
    Madam Speaker, the member comes from a caucus whose leader sent a delegation to protesters. He is saying that I should not have waved back to people who waved to me. His government actually sent a minister with a mandate to negotiate.
    I am Canadian. I will wave to people when they wave to me. I will say hello to people who say hello to me. When I have constituents who have left their homes to come and fight for their freedoms, I will listen to them. I will be civil because, if the government had not started off this whole thing with that type of attitude, we might not even be having this debate today.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, as you know, the Conservatives and the Bloc are voting the same way, in other words against the Emergencies Act.
    That being said, I would like to understand something. In 2012, 10 years ago, the student crisis took hold in Quebec. Of course, that crisis did not concern the federal government, but Conservative Party supporters said on the radio that it was time to get out the batons. They took a hard line.
    During the Wet'suwet'en protests, the Conservatives said that they had gone on long enough, that it was time for forceful intervention. Once again, they took a hard line.
    In 2020, the Bloc Québécois moved a motion calling on the Prime Minister to apologize to the victims of the War Measures Act in October 1970. Again, the Conservatives took a hard line and voted against our motion.
    Now, we are facing the trucker crisis. As soon as the Conservative base is affected, suddenly the hard line is not so hard. It melted away as quickly as the polar ice cap is melting as a result of climate change, which, according to the Conservatives, does not exist. Why is that?

  (1300)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I will start my remarks by thanking the member from the Bloc Québécois because we disagree on many things philosophically, but it is nice to know that, even if we disagree on policy, that there is still some common ground on our principles about using the sledgehammer the government has brought in.
    The member is invoking a series of events that happened in 2012. The Conservative Party did not bring in the Emergencies Act in 2012. It is legitimate. There are going to be protests across the country, across time, where various parties are going to agree with the aims of the protests or disagree. We can all express our opinion about whether or not those protests should be happening, but the government should not be bringing in this massive sledgehammer to crack down on dissent when there are existing laws.
    The Prime Minister talked about the Coutts border crossing. It was resolved with existing laws and tools that law enforcement have. There is no need for this act.
    Madam Speaker, I found the hon. member for Regina—Qu'Appelle's speech disturbing at many levels. There were more dog whistles to a rabid base of Trump supporters in one short speech than I have ever heard in this place.
    I would like to correct the record and ask the hon. member to consider that when the Government of Canada sent a delegation, it was because the Wet'suwet'en heredity chiefs have the Supreme Court of Canada on their side in that they have a continuity of leadership and territorial responsibility that goes back to our Constitution. From the Supreme Court of Canada, for the Wet'suwet'en heredity chiefs, it was required that both British Columbia and the Government of Canada, in the honour of the Crown, sent representatives to discuss the situation with them. They were not protesters. They were chiefs.
    Madam Speaker, I believe the hon. member may be the only member of the House who was actually arrested for participating in an illegal protest. She is now somehow justifying the Emergencies Act. Would she have appreciated, while she was breaking laws and getting arrested, if the government had the power to freeze her bank account? Would she have appreciated anybody who made a donation to the Green Party at that time having their bank accounts frozen for supporting her illegal activities? I doubt it.
    Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Outremont.
    Today I rise to deliver what may be the most important speech I have given since having the privilege to serve the people of Kings—Hants in the House. Today, we as parliamentarians are debating whether the government's decision to invoke the Emergencies Act on Monday was justified. I submit, for my colleagues in the House and indeed all Canadians watching, that the threshold required to trigger the Emergencies Act has been objectively met and perhaps exceeded.
    As the Prime Minister has said in the House, a decision of this nature is not taken lightly. However, the situation we have seen across the country is serious and warrants a response that is proportionate to the impact we have seen on all Canadians. Let me be very clear: I am in full support of legal protests in this country. It is a constitutionally protected right and, indeed, I have spoken with some of my own constituents who, in their own way, have demonstrated their displeasure with the government's protocols to date. However, we have to delineate between lawful protest and individuals who refuse to abide by the rule of law, who have occupied Ottawa and who have blockaded our key border crossings.
     I believe it is incumbent on all of us to look at the facts and to try to be objective. We have seen a group of individuals in Ottawa occupy the city for three weeks now. This is despite orders from law authorities to disperse and to go home. The key organizers of the Ottawa occupation have openly espoused their goal of overthrowing the government, and of meeting with the Governor General to form a coalition.
     We have had blockades across the country at key border crossings that have targeted the country's trade relationship, including at Windsor, Coutts and Emerson. At Coutts, the RCMP found weapons and body armour. How can one conclude that this was simply a peaceful protest?
    The Minister of Public Safety outlined to the House this morning what impact these were having across the country economically. There have been hundreds of millions of dollars a day in economic harm. Blocking of critical infrastructure and critical trade routes hurts everyday Canadians, and impacts our food security and our supply chain. There has been a targeted impact on the Ottawa International Airport, and the organizers of the “freedom convoy” have expressed their desire to re-establish blockades and occupations elsewhere, even if they are taken down by police.
    We also know that these activities are being financed by international sources. I ask this, for members of the House: Do we, as parliamentarians, have a responsibility to take action on internationally financed assistance to organizers of activity that is not only illegal, but represents a threat to Canadian security and the rule of law? I, for one, believe we do. I want to be crystal clear. This is being done to target activities that are illegal and threatening the economic health of the country and the rule of law and order.
    For those whose intent is to raise issues about government policy, I have no issue. For those who continue to be a part of illegal blockades here in Ottawa or elsewhere, they do not have the ability to do so. These measures are being implemented because of their unwillingness to abide by the law.
    What is the public emergency order being invoked under the Emergencies Act? What does it actually mean? The Conservatives would have people believe that this government is limiting all freedoms. These measures do not take away freedoms. The Bloc members would suggest that this is akin to the War Measures Act, and are seeking to drum up memories of the FLQ crisis. This is not the War Measures Act. It is not taking away the rights of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and it is not calling in the army. This is a specific measure to give additional powers to police and provincial authorities to maintain law and order, to monitor financing, including from foreign sources, that is being used to block and undermine critical infrastructure, and to ultimately remove the blockades and occupations that exist across the country.
    Let us examine the actual measures in the order. They include the regulation and prohibition of public assemblies that lead to a breach of the peace and go beyond lawful protest. I want to be clear: Lawful protest can continue. Designating and securing places for blockades are to be prohibited.
    The measures also include directing persons to render essential services to relieve impacts of blockades on Canada's economy. This could include such things as tow trucks that could be requisitioned, of course for compensation, by government authorities to help with removing trucks and vehicles that are blockading key infrastructure.

  (1305)  

    They include authorizing or directing financial institutions to render essential services that relieve the impact of blockades, including regulating and prohibiting the use of property to fund and support the blockades that are undermining economic security in the country.
     There are also measures enabling the RCMP to enforce municipal bylaw and provincial offences where required, and the imposition of fines under section 19 of the Emergencies Act.
    I submit to the House that these measures are specific, time-limited and geographically focused. The measures will be overseen by a joint parliamentary committee and, of course, must be supported by a majority in the House to remain in force.
    I previously mentioned that policing is in the domain of municipalities and the provincial government. Since day one, our government has worked, and continues to work, directly with municipal and provincial authorities and their law enforcement. We have answered calls for additional resources. We helped create integrated operations, and provided additional RCMP officers to try and deal with blockades.
    Leading into Monday's decision, it was clear that the provincial and municipal authorities had been unable to address the situation. Ironically, members of the House were calling on us to show federal leadership. Some Conservatives, after openly encouraging illegal activity to continue, were asking the government to stop the blockades. These measures are designed to do exactly that.
    My question to members in the House who are criticizing the government for making available time-limited tools under the Emergencies Act to support law enforcement is this. What intermediate step would they suggest the government should have undertaken? Beyond asking the Prime Minister to meet with individuals who fly flags that say, “F.U.C.K. Trudeau”, who want to overthrow a democratically elected government, and who have stated that they will not leave until their demands are met, what security measures would they have suggested this government should have undertaken? That is the key question. As my constituents have rightfully pointed out, it is easy to be an armchair critic, but I have yet to hear many constructive measures from the other side of the House on how to deal with the current situation.
    I support the government's measures. They are reasonable, they are balanced and they are proportionate to the circumstances we have seen. They are focused on giving tools to police in jurisdictions across the country to resolve illegal blockades that are hurting everyday Canadians.
    It is extremely important for all of us to remember that these are tools that are available. This order is in effect for 30 days. This is to make sure that we have the ability to address the circumstances that we have seen. I would hope that all members of the House believe that this is an important measure so that we can make sure that the blockades, the economic harm and, frankly, the lack of law and order that we have seen in certain elements in this country do not continue.

  (1310)  

    Madam Speaker, earlier, we heard from one of the member's colleagues that the government said that it knows what a lawful protest looks like. I wonder why, then, the government did not act when we had protesters blockading VIA Rail and CN Rail, blocking the Port of Vancouver, crippling our economy, and crippling pipelines and oil and gas trains to the point that Alberta companies were offering to truck propane to Quebec.
    Why was that considered a lawful protest not to be subject to such extreme, draconian acts as the government is bringing in, compared with what is going on now?
    Madam Speaker, I was anticipating the question, because I have noticed that members on the opposite side of the House are trying to create that narrative. I find that they have been inconsistent in their own way, in that they were very quick to call for government action back in 2020, but were silent for nearly two weeks with what we have seen in Ottawa and elsewhere in the country.
    The difference for me as to why this situation rises to the level of the Emergencies Act is the fact that it has been an open, stated goal of those who have been involved in the protest to actually overthrow government and to cause disruption and harm to Canadians. I will go on the record and say that it is absolutely unacceptable, regardless of the notion and desire of protesters, to block critical infrastructure. I support measures that do this, including in this way here today.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I would like to say that I profoundly and completely disagree with the Emergencies Act, the topic of debate today.
    Unlike the member who just spoke and the Prime Minister, who said this morning that this legislation is proportionate and reasonable, I find it completely disproportionate and unreasonable.
    My colleague talked about intermediate steps that should have been taken. My question for him is this: Why did the government not take measures, both political and for the sake of public safety, from the very start instead of allowing the blockade we are seeing now to set up in front of Parliament Hill?

[English]

     Madam Speaker, “in the absence of federal government leadership, ordinary people, brave as they may be, put themselves in harm's way because of this government. Protecting the people is the cornerstone of the contract between citizens and the government. Does the government understand the consequences of its lack of leadership?”
     That was from the critic from the Bloc Québécois four days ago. What does the Bloc Québécois expect federal government leadership to look like? Does it suggest that it looks like what the Conservatives are calling for: for the government to simply do as those outside on Wellington Street are asking, and eliminate any public health measures related to COVID?
    What we are doing is very simple. We are giving tools to local authorities, including in Quebec, to use at their discretion and to avoid what we have seen across the country.
    Would the member opposite think it is a good idea to have those tools available, such that if there was a blockade at Lacolle, we could address that situation? It is ironic, because they ask why this did not happen at the time. The reality is that it had to work its way to a federal level, which it has over the past three weeks. Had we intervened the first time, the Bloc Québécois would have been the same party saying that it was an overstep and to respect provincial jurisdictions. It is hypocrisy.

  (1315)  

    Madam Speaker, having been in Ottawa for most of this blockade, what I have seen is a complete lack of willingness by the police to do their job. This should never have spiralled. It was allowed to metastasize and create a crisis at our borders, cutting off hundred of millions of dollars of trade. I remember when the Conservatives were saying that if 10 unvaccinated truckers did not get to cross the border, we would have all our supply lines and our stores shut down. When that did not happen, their supporters actually shut the border.
    I would like to ask the hon. member to consider this. Now that we are at this point, it does speak to the absolute failure of the government to have shown leadership throughout. We should never have been in a situation where we had to use the Emergencies Act against people who were setting up hot tubs on Wellington Street because of the lack of rule of law.
    Madam Speaker, the member talks about leadership. What type of leadership would he have liked to see? Would he have liked to see federal overreach in the first few days, and the imposing of federal powers? Would the member suggest that leadership looks like acquiescing to what the Conservatives have said? No. What we have done is wait until the situation warranted a federal response. Here we are. We are putting tools in place to be able to address the situation. It is a bit of a nothing question, in my mind.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, today's debate is crucial. I would like to address my remarks to all members of the House, of course, but also to Canadians right across the country.
    The Canadian government declared a state of emergency this week. This decision was not made lightly, and for good reason. Invoking the Emergencies Act is not the first thing the Government of Canada should do, or even the second. It must be used as a last resort. However, it is clear that this tool is now necessary.
    Illegal blockades set up across the country over the past three weeks have disrupted the lives of far too many Canadians. These blockades have caused significant damage to our economy and our democratic institutions. Canadian jobs and prosperity are at stake. The illegal actions that have been taken have shaken international confidence in Canada as good place to invest. We cannot stand by while the livelihoods of Canadians and workers are threatened, while businesses large and small are affected by these blockades across the country.

[English]

     We cannot and we will not let Canada's reputation on the international stage be tarnished. That is why we are taking action. The emergency economic measures order will allow the government to take concrete steps and actions to stop the financing of the illegal blockades. The main objective of these measures is to limit the flow of money that is used to finance this unlawful activity and to prevent additional financial support. As the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance has said before, this is about following the money.
    Two broad categories of financial measures are being enacted. The first are aimed at crowdfunding platforms and payment service providers, while the second will apply to Canadian financial service providers.
    Let us look at the first one. Crowdfunding platforms and some payment service providers are not currently subject to the anti-money-laundering and anti-terrorist-financing laws in this country. It therefore stands to reason that they could be used to finance unlawful activities, such as the blockades we are seeing. To address this, the order extends the scope of Canada's anti-money-laundering and anti-terrorist-financing rules to cover crowdfunding platforms and the payment processors they use. Specifically, the entities that are in possession of any funds associated with the illegal blockades are now required to register with FINTRAC, the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, and to report suspicious and large-value transactions of persons involved in the blockades. This will mitigate the risks that these platforms could be used to receive funds from illicit sources or to finance illicit activity.
    The second group of measures directs our financial service providers to intervene when they suspect that an account belongs to someone participating in the illegal blockades. This means that banks, insurance companies and other financial service providers must now temporarily cease providing financial services and freeze accounts when they believe an account holder or client is engaged in illegal blockades. The order applies to all funds held in a deposit account, a chequing account or a savings account, and to any other type of property. This also includes digital assets, such as cryptocurrencies.
    As a result, Canadian financial service providers are now able to immediately freeze or suspend an account of an individual or business affiliated with these illegal blockades and to do so without a court order. Financial service providers are also protected against civil liability for the actions they take to comply with the order.
    Of course, these service providers are required to unfreeze accounts when the account holder stops assisting or participating in the illegal blockades.

  (1320)  

[Translation]

    With the emergency economic measures order, the government is also directing Canadian financial institutions to review their relationships with anyone involved in the illegal blockades. The order also gives federal, provincial and territorial government institutions new powers to share any relevant information with banks and other financial service providers if that information helps stop the funding of the illegal blockades and unlawful activities occurring here in Canada.
    The vast majority of Canadians, those who are law-abiding and not involved in these illegal blockades, will see absolutely no difference. This order changes nothing for them. These measures are designed to stop the funding that enables illegal blockades. They are targeted and temporary. They will apply for 30 days and are aimed at individuals and businesses that are directly or indirectly involved in illegal activities that are hurting our economy and our people. These measures are necessary.
    It is true that blockades are only happening in certain parts of the country, and we know that, but they are hurting the entire Canadian economy. It is also true that most areas of the country have not been where these unlawful activities have been occurring. However, the funding for these illegal acts is not just coming from the areas where the semi-trailers are parked; it is coming from everywhere.
    Moreover, some individuals have crossed interprovincial borders to participate in these activities, which, I stress, are illegal. Our democratic institutions are under threat. The Canadian economy is under threat; peace, order and good government are under threat in Canada. This is unacceptable. We must end it, and we will end it.

[English]

     The message is clear. From the finance perspective, if people are funding blockades that harm the Canadian economy, their bank account will be frozen. If people who fund blockades think they can get around the law by using cryptocurrencies, it will not work. If a company's truck is used in an illegal activity, the vehicle's insurance will be suspended and the company's bank accounts will be frozen.
    Semi-trailers should be on our roads, not parked for weeks on end in front of Parliament. They should be delivering the goods and services that will grow our economy, not holding up traffic at border crossings or paralyzing our city centres.

  (1325)  

[Translation]

    That said, I remain optimistic. I remain optimistic knowing that the law will soon be restored and the blockades dismantled; that we will put this pandemic behind us while being there for each other; and that we can strengthen our economy not by honking horns, but through the hard work of our entrepreneurs, our small and large businesses, and through thoughtful and responsible economic policies.

[English]

    Before we go to questions and comments, I believe the member for Regina—Qu'Appelle has a point of order.
    Madam Speaker, I want to clarify the record. I misspoke during my questions and comments in regard to the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands. I indicated she was the only member of the House to have been arrested for protesting illegally. I completely forgot the image of the Minister of Environment in his orange jumpsuit. He too was arrested for illegal protests and I—
    The hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands has a point of order.
    Madam Speaker, to the hon. member for Regina—Qu'Appelle, I would like to retain the honour of being the only member of Parliament currently serving as a member of Parliament when I faced arrest non-violently, surrendering immediately and accepting the consequences, unlike our friends outside.
    Questions and comments, the hon. member for Yorkton—Melville.
    Madam Speaker, the individual who just spoke indicated that one of the problems here is that Canada's reputation is being tarnished. Whose reputation is truly being tarnished, Canadians' reputations or the government's reputation?
    The stands that everyday Canadians have taken have gained international support and have drawn disdain directly toward the Liberal government, and especially toward the language and actions of the Prime Minister.
    Madam Speaker, I am sure it will come as no surprise that I entirely disagree. Canadians have lost confidence in many different institutions as a result of what has been happening over the course of the last three weeks. Top of mind are the police. I believe many Canadians across the country question whether law enforcement was there, and this Emergencies Act provides more tools to our police force to maintain confidence in law and order in this country.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, my colleague did say that her government would not let these events tarnish Canada's reputation.
    The flag that she holds so dear has now become a global symbol of the far right movement and chaos.
    I would like to know, given that her speech seems to have been written three weeks ago, if my hon. colleague is getting help with her agenda.
    Madam Speaker, the Canadian flag is the flag of all Canadians, including all Quebeckers, and I wear it proudly every day.
    In reply to my colleague, because I did not really understand his very bizarre question, I would like to point out that I have just seen that Quebeckers agree with the use of the Emergencies Act.
    More than 70% of Quebeckers approve of the invocation of this act, and I am proud to represent them.
    Madam Speaker, I would first like to say that I hold the Liberal government responsible for letting convoys organized by the far right take over Parliament and illegally occupy downtown.
    I would like to look at this from another angle. The War Measures Act is a painful and traumatizing event stamped in the collective memory of Quebeckers. However, it cannot be compared to the Emergencies Act, which was drafted by Mulroney's Conservative government.
    There are huge differences: fundamental rights and freedoms are protected, its application is time-limited, and members can call for a vote at any time to put an end to the application of the act.
    Do these guarantees as to the authority given to all parliamentarians to exercise vigilance reassure my colleague?
    Madam Speaker, I completely agree with my colleague from Rosemont—La Petite‑Patrie. This is a completely different act. The Emergencies Act is not the same as the act invoked in 1970. Soldiers are not being deployed on Canadian soil or Quebec soil.
    I agree that there is transparency and that parliamentarians in this House all have the power to revoke the application of the Emergencies Act at any time.

  (1330)  

[English]

     Madam Speaker, today I noticed some very interesting public opinion polling coming out of Quebec. As a matter of fact, it says that 72% of Quebeckers support the use of the Emergencies Act. More importantly, in polling from Abacus Data that was released recently, 63% of Bloc supporters in the last election indicated that they would never vote for an MP who supports the occupation going on outside. However, the Bloc seems to be showing its support for the occupation.
    Can the parliamentary secretary provide some insight on that?
    Madam Speaker, I think I will address this question in French, with the permission of my colleague.

[Translation]

    I agree, as I mentioned earlier, that the vast majority of Quebeckers support the use of this act. I will also point out that the approval rating is even higher in Quebec than in the rest of Canada. I think that the members of the Bloc Québécois should be careful when they speak on behalf of Quebeckers.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I will be splitting my time for remarks with the hon. member for South Surrey—White Rock.
     It is an honour to rise on behalf of the citizens of Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, not only in this House generally but in such important times. Sometimes we do forget what a tremendous honour it is. I am sad, though, to be here discussing emergency measures today. This has been a time, with respect, where the Prime Minister has inflamed, has incited and has divided.
    The Prime Minister took that same inflammatory approach yesterday when he spoke in response to a question from the member for Thornhill. I was dismayed that he did not apologize for that today. Instead, he came into this House this morning and doubled down on years of division, so let us recap. The predecessor legislation was invoked three times: World War I, World War II and the FLQ crisis.
    The Prime Minister invites and likes Canadians to think that he is the common person. I am not sure if he has walked through downtown Ottawa of late, but I did yesterday and today. I saw trucks in streets. There were a few streets that were plugged and those trucks need to go, period. The question then becomes how that should be done.
    I took an oath when I was sworn in. It was the greatest day of my life to take that oath on behalf of all Canadians and particularly on behalf of the residents of Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo. I took my oath to do my job to the best of my ability. I have to be satisfied as a legislator that the preconditions for this act have been met. That is my job. That is the oath I took and that is something that I take very seriously.
    I read the act and I considered it. I actually had to read it twice. I have practised law for 14 years. I previously taught at a law school for a number of years, so when it came to my analysis of the act, I did what I taught my students to do. I went back to first legal principles, first statutory principles. We apply legal principles and statutory principles not because it is popular, not because we want the trucks to be cleared in any way possible, but because we here, the 338 of us, must apply the law.
    After all, the Prime Minister has made the same remarks about the rule of law. He would not strip Canadians of citizenship just because it was popular, just because people may like it, but instead we must accede to the rule of law.
    Let us apply the rule of law. Let us apply the legislation here. This legislation is clear. It says that its application must be the last resort. Members of the House have repeatedly asked what step one was. We hear crickets. What was step two? We hear crickets. The police were not even stopping people carrying jerry cans in. What was step three? We hear more crickets and a word salad. The official leader of the opposition asked the Prime Minister to attend a meeting with all party leaders, with a view to bringing this matter to an end. By my count that was about 10 days ago. Again, we hear crickets.
    Even without the Emergencies Act application, which is alive right now, protesters could be arrested under the current regime. There are laws about causing a disturbance, mischief and participation in these sorts of illegal activities. The Criminal Code is very clear on that and I am not even touching on the Ontario Highway Traffic Act. The trucks could be seized, incidental to arrest, as evidence. They could be seized with a warrant, all things that the police have at their disposal right here, right now, to address the very situation that the Emergencies Act says it will deal with as a last resort. These first resorts have not been addressed.

  (1335)  

     Let us next look at what was resolved without the use of the Emergencies Act: Coutts and the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor. Why? It is because the police had the powers to do so and used those powers. My point is this. The legislation says that we do not resort to its use unless it is absolutely necessary. What we have seen in these three instances I just mentioned is that it is not absolutely necessary and, as a legislator, I need to be convinced that the threshold has been met or I will not vote for such legislation.
    I wish we could simply invoke legislation to make our problems go away. That is just not the case. It cannot be done as a measure of convenience. Let us not forget. This was not done during 9/11. This was not done during COVID. This was not done during railway blockades that had a crippling impact on our economy and economic consequences. This was not done throughout many protests throughout the country. This was not done when B.C. highways and rail were washed out due to recent flooding.
    I recently received an inquiry from a constituent in the north Thompson area near Blue River in my riding. There have been protests in that area for years. Blue River is a small community. There has been violence, threats and blockades. I told that constituent what I am telling the House. The legislation is a last resort to be used in extraordinary circumstances of national emergency when nothing else will do.
    As one of the members for Ottawa said earlier today, this has been going on for four weeks and I echo that sentiment. I understand that it has been going on for four weeks and those committing illegal activities need to stop. It has been going on for much longer in my riding and those people are asking the same questions.
    In closing, I do agree with the Prime Minister on one point. He did say that he is trying to save jobs. Unfortunately, I would eliminate the plural. He is trying to save one job, his own, and that is not right.
    Madam Speaker, I welcome the hon. member to the House as a new member and a fellow member of the bar. I would politely point out that an emergency—
    I would ask that the people who are outside of the chamber please stop speaking so loudly. We can barely hear ourselves.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary.
    Madam Speaker, the member indicated he read the statute. He knows full well that, in terms of COVID, enacting a public welfare emergency requires the provinces to initiate such a request. No request was forthcoming.
    Second, he asked what steps have been taken. The first step was actually the City of Ottawa declaring an emergency, which did not render the results. The next step was the Province of Ontario declaring an emergency, which has not rendered results. The final step is this very important debate that we are having today.
    I want to put to the member an issue about the capability of the province under its authority to deal with this, which is clearly an issue because the provincial order that has been made by Premier Ford fails in two important respects. It does not compel essential workers like tow trucks to actually tow vehicles away. Second, it cannot compel a vehicle's licence to be suspended when that vehicle originates in another province such as one of the western provinces.
    Are those not instances of a lack of provincial authority that necessitate the usage of the Emergencies Act in this case?

  (1340)  

    Madam Speaker, the Criminal Code actually deals with all of those issues. When the hon. member speaks about the invocation of a state of emergency, I did not see a single thing change. He is right. I did not see a single thing change. I did not see any enforcement change. What was step one? What was step two?
    We cannot simply do this because we do not like how something is being enforced. It should be a matter of last resort and those steps are available in the Criminal Code whether it comes to seizure, to search, or to seizure and arrest with warrant.
    With respect, I disagree.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.
    I agree with him on a number of points. This morning, the Prime Minister said that there were several options and that the Emergencies Act was the last resort, but we did not hear about the first, second or third options.
    I have a question for my colleague. Does a government that is unable to keep the public safe in the context of these protests and the presence of truckers deserve a seat on the United Nations Security Council?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, the Prime Minister declared “Canada is back” when he was first elected. The problem is this: One can say anything they want, but at the end of the day it is their actions that people will judge.
    People look at actions and they look at integrity. We have a Prime Minister that, with respect, has not displayed a great deal of integrity, whether it comes to ethical breaches or it comes to a deliberate desire to divide both in this House and with respect to Canadians.
    Madam Speaker, we are seeing growing escalations. This situation is clearly out of control due to a lack of leadership from all levels of government.
     In addition to the firearms and arrests for conspiracy to commit murder in Coutts and attempted arson of a residential building in the occupation area, convoy members have been deputizing themselves and now claim they have the lawful authority to detain and arrest others. I do not recall the hon. member mentioning the seriousness of the violent terrorist cell apprehended at Coutts on conspiracy to commit murder. No one wants to see someone get hurt here, yet this is a recipe for disaster.
    Does the hon. member, and the Conservatives, not view the situation as an emergency?
    Madam Speaker, I will be very clear. When we talk about the legislation, has the threshold been met? Simply saying, “Do you view it this way colloquially?” is not the question that is before the House.
    The question that is before the House is whether the threshold has been met. With respect, I do not believe it has been because I do not view this as the act of last resort.
    Madam Speaker, it is a sombre time to be speaking in this House. It is a seminal time in Canadian history, in my view.
    It is apparent to me that we seem to be living in two Canadas. There is the Canada of fear and division promoted by the current Prime Minister and the leader of the NDP, confirmed by their caucuses, but there is another Canada out there, a united and proud nation that has sacrificed and done without and suffered economically, physically and in their mental health condition. This is a Canada that is a bit worn out, plainly speaking, but still firmly patriotic and ready to take on whatever the future brings. These Canadians do not share the Prime Minister's post-national narrative. They embrace the essence of Canada that they see themselves a part of, as the true north strong and free.
    In our national anthem, we call out to God and we pray that he keep our land glorious and free. The truth is that Canada can only be glorious if it is free, meaning its people are free—free from tyranny, free from government abusing its awesome powers, with the government mindful of the responsibility and trust given to it in a representative democracy. Because the Prime Minister wants to dwell in the extreme, in the fringe and false narratives of what is happening during peaceful protests, I am choosing to address those other Canadians.
    I remember the historical term “the two solitudes” in reference to impasses between anglophone and francophone people in Canada. Its meaning was meant to refer to a perceived lack of communication and, moreover, a lack of will to communicate. Here today we see history repeating itself with a lack of communication, but, more significantly, a lack of will to communicate between the present federal government and anglophone and francophone citizens alike.
    The Emergencies Act is extraordinary legislation. “Extraordinary” means remarkable, exceptional, unusual and uncommon. The measures in this act are to be entered into reservedly, advisedly and with extreme caution. Through all the trials and tribulations of a newly created and burgeoning nation trying to unite coast to coast to coast, through other public health emergencies and through other civil unrest, the federal government saw fit to invoke the Emergencies Act and its precursor, the War Measures Act, only four times in our history. These extraordinary measures were used in World War I, in World War II, by a previous prime minister in the 1970s and by the current Prime Minister.
    It was not invoked during the fears and protests around the Spanish flu. It was not invoked during the workers' strikes in the 1930s; during the crises in Oka, Ipperwash or Caledonia; during the aftermath of 9/11; during crippling national strikes affecting our supply chains or during the rail blockades or pipeline protests that negatively affected the Canadian economy. The list is long. The point is that when other methods and authorities exist to deal with serious disagreement, governments should use those methods and authorities. Government should not subjugate free people to abusive, wide-ranging, freedom-altering overreach.
    A Liberal member earlier in this debate asked the Leader of the Opposition how she would feel if this happened in her neighbourhood, in her riding. Well, it did happen in my neighbourhood and in my riding. It happened at one of the border crossings in South Surrey—White Rock. I received many reports on the ground about the activities there. I did get three complaints through social media calling the people involved the same outrageous, inflammatory names that the Liberal Party and the Prime Minister have been using. There were no complaints to my office.

  (1345)  

    On the other side, I have had overwhelming outpourings of support from my constituents because the supporting protests were meaningful to those in attendance, and even joyful in the hope for change. What kind of change? It was not necessarily a change in government, although that might happen in the next federal election, but most definitely a change in the federal government's approach.
    In support of the right to protest the government's policies, actions and inactions, on two previous weekends vehicle after vehicle drove in a rolling loop around those border crossings and highways in South Surrey, with not hundreds but thousands of Canadians cheering them on from the sides of the roads and on highway overpasses. Those involved were vocal but peaceful, holding Canadian flags high, singing the national anthem, saying prayers and greeting others cheerfully, including the police. The result is that the border has been cleared, goods are flowing and police officers, using tools already at their disposal, were able to both show respect for the protesters and clear any impasses.
    Why is the Emergencies Act needed now in my riding? It is not. The only distress being expressed right now from my riding is that the Prime Minister and his cabinet, having inflamed the situation, are showing disdain, are not even attempting to engage in dialogue and feel the only tool in their tool box is to take more power unto themselves.
     I have heard from many civil enforcement officers, civil liberties scholars and lawyers on this subject. Collectively, they want me to remind the House that a public order event is not necessarily an emergency. We are down to a protest in a few blocks of downtown Ottawa. That is all. With some proper policing, the situation in Ottawa can be brought to a conclusion, as it has been elsewhere. Unlike some of the other events, in downtown Ottawa, our nation's capital, we are not at a U.S. border, so the protest does not affect imports and exports.
    I am not sure who the leader of the NDP was referring to when he said, “Don't let your anger turn into hatred.” The Prime Minister has literally turned his back on a large segment of Canadian citizens, showing them nothing but derision and disdain, which only escalates and never de-escalates tension and disagreement.
    I had occasion, early in my career, to attend advanced negotiation classes at Harvard Law School under the supervision of Professor Roger Fisher, the author of the acclaimed book Getting to Yes. There are necessary steps that should be taken in any conflict resolution, such as some form of engagement, de-escalation, respectful dialogue and looking to best alternatives to resolve the conflict. The only one the PM has employed has been described as the “nuclear option”.
     I agree that we should never have arrived at this moment of looking like a failed nation state. We are looking this way due to weak and ineffective leadership. It is that simple. Why invoke this act now when it was not invoked all those times before? The federal government should be talking to and engaging with citizens to resolve this conflict by introducing a plan to get back to normal. Instead, we have seen the federal government demonize and insult our fellow Canadians. The Prime Minister must remember that they are all Canadians out there on Wellington Street, and a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian. I am pretty sure I heard that somewhere before.
    Instead of creating a plan, engaging in dialogue and looking for a peaceful solution, the Prime Minister is looking to invoke and stoke more fear and division. Countries around the world, and Canadians themselves at home, are looking at this situation and wondering if this is the Canada they have believed in patriotically, firmly and with a full heart for so long. The truth is that the Prime Minister and the government initiated these protests by Canadians by calling them down in the first place and then not dealing with the situation as it unfolded.
    I think back to a former leader of the Progressive Conservative Party who went along with a former prime minister who invoked the War Measures Act for just the third time in Canadian history, and not during wartime. He voted for that War Measures Act. His name was Robert Stanfield. He later said that it was the greatest regret of his life that he voted with the government that day.

  (1350)  

    Edmund Burke is often quoted as saying that “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Well, I stand against this measure with every fibre of my being. I will vote no. This is a free country. Its people should be free to protest and free to exercise their human rights, and we need to respect and engage them.
    Madam Speaker, I respect the member opposite a great deal and served with her on the justice committee in the last Parliament.
    I have heard the narrative throughout the debate thus far that the tools are no longer necessary, because the blockades at the border have been cleared. I would also put to her a few simple facts, simply from one lawyer to another.
    We know that there was an attempted resurrection of the blockade in Windsor just yesterday, and the Windsor police used the tools under the Emergencies Act to their benefit in preventing and thwarting that quickly. We also know that protesters who have threatened to take up arms have openly declared that they will be returning to Quebec City on February 19 in front of the Assemblée nationale, and we know the type of arms that were seized at Coutts.
     Do these threats and ongoing threats not merit the necessity of using a federal power, including the Emergencies Act, to deal with what is an ongoing, current and future situation in this country?

  (1355)  

    Madam Speaker, I thank my friend opposite. I also have great respect for his intellect and abilities. Yes, I apologize to all Canadians: We are both lawyers. That said, we are now members of Parliament as well.
    With great respect, I do not think it should have ever come to this. I believe the Prime Minister and the government should have engaged in respectful dialogue, should have at least signalled an understanding that we can have differences of opinion in a free country and that those differences are being listened to. If the government had acted on our opposition motion to table a plan of action, all of this would have calmed down immeasurably.
    Madam Speaker, I certainly agree that it should never have come to this. The fact that a protest was allowed to become an occupation speaks to failures at every level.
    The problem I have with my hon. colleague and her party is that they are saying that if the Prime Minister had just gone out and talked to the nice protesters, everything would have been settled. However, when Pat King, an organizer for the protest and the spokesperson, said that this was going to be settled with bullets, a line was crossed.
    I know that talking about shooting the Prime Minister may not seem like a problem, but it should be a problem, and it should be a problem to every parliamentarian. I will not negotiate with anyone who talks about shooting a prime minister in this country. They need to start addressing these issues.
    Madam Speaker, with all due respect, the police and law enforcement authorities in this country deal with threats and deal with violence every single day. They deal with it effectively, they deal with it forcefully, and they deal with it definitively. Our Crown prosecutors make sure that those people come to justice.
    The expression that is coming to my mind is, “Oh ye of little faith”. Why do you have such little faith in the people who are tasked with keeping us safe? We do not need these extraordinary measures.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I never thought I would do this, but I am going to pick up on what the member for Timmins—James Bay just said.
    When will the Conservatives acknowledge that there is an actual threat that the police clearly do not have the means to contain?
    When will they admit that the evidence is right in front of them, what with the weapons seizure in Coutts and the threats made right out in the open on social media?
    What more proof does my colleague need to be convinced that the police are failing to contain the ongoing occupation here in Ottawa?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question.
    It would be really refreshing to actually have real evidence connecting these dots. The Minister of Emergency Preparedness, at a press conference in the last couple of days, asserted that what happened at Coutts, the arrests at Coutts, were directly related to the leadership here in Ottawa, and under questioning by the media, backed down, backed down further, backed down further again, and basically said, “Well, I'm just sort of figuring that out myself.”
    That is not real evidence, that is not a real connection and that is not a national security threat.

Statements by Members

[Statements by Members]

  (1400)  

[English]

A Better Tent City

     Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to recognize A Better Tent City, an innovative and successful housing solution serving previously unsheltered neighbours of mine in the Waterloo region. Consisting of 42 insulated cabins and an indoor warming space, kitchen, showers and laundry, A Better Tent City is a safe and caring place born from the leadership of the late Ron Doyle, Jeff Willmer and Nadine Green, among others. Nadine, the site coordinator, whose compassion brings calm in times of crisis, feels particularly fitting to celebrate during Black History Month, as her leadership is one example of Black excellence in the Waterloo region.
    A Better Tent City is supported by so many, including the volunteers, staff and board at St. Mary's Church and the Social Development Centre. In light of this incredible grassroots work, A Better Tent City recently received our community's highest honour, the Barnraiser award, for showing us what is possible when a group of people rally—
    The hon. member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour.

Justice

    Madam Speaker, throughout this pandemic, the people of Dartmouth—Cole Harbour have shown the very best that Canada has to offer. From embracing public health measures like staying the blazes home to mourning incredible tragedies together, we have been there for each other while keeping six feet apart.
    Like all Canadians, this pandemic has worn us down. We are so tired. However, just as public health measures are easing, those who seek to harm our country and our democracy through conspiracy theories and misinformation are using this opportunity to sow discord. I always see the best in people, but the rise in hate is so high. Folks in our community, our neighbours and friends, are finding themselves caught up in this. I know that this hate and hostility are not at the heart of who we are. I ask that all Canadians be there for each other by speaking out against misinformation and standing up against hate.

Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada

    Madam Speaker, I think I speak for most Canadians when I say that the last two years have been extremely difficult. At times like this, one would think the leader of our country, the Prime Minister, would be there to unite Canadians. Unfortunately, that has not been the case. He has done the opposite. Do not take my word for it; his own Liberal MPs have said so.
    The Prime Minister chose to divide Canadians as a political strategy to win an election. He pitted one Canadian against another for his own political gain. He called Canadians who are tired of mandates and restrictions a “fringe minority” with “unacceptable views”. He said they are extremists, misogynists and racists, and asked if these Canadians should be tolerated.
    The Prime Minister has fanned the flames of division to a point of a national crisis. His solution is to divide Canadians further to implement unprecedented and extreme government measures through the Emergencies Act. This is a crisis that he, himself, created.
    Where does the Prime Minister’s recklessness stop?

Black History Month

    Madam Speaker, I rise today to speak about Black History Month. I know I am not the only one to do that this month, but it should be spoken about often, which is why this year’s theme is “February and Forever: Celebrating Black History today and every day”. We need to remember that Black history is Canadian history, which at times has been for the worse, but over the years has become significantly for the better. Our communities are enriched by our Black neighbours and friends, who take on many important roles.
    The honourable Jean Augustine, who proposed the motion that we recognize February as Black History Month, was the first Black woman elected to the House. Her election showed us the House could truly be a House for all Canadians.
     I want to take this time to recognize and thank a community leader in Aurora. Phiona Durrant came to Canada as a young woman and established a small, successful local business. She also founded the Aurora Black Community Association. This is a dynamic, change-making group focused on uniting all the—
    The hon. member for Longueuil—Saint-Hubert.

[Translation]

Black History Month

    Madam Speaker, February is Black History Month.
    Longueuil's city council has broken down age-old barriers and now welcomes young people, women and people from diverse backgrounds.
     Today I am proud to celebrate three extraordinary women recently elected to Longueuil's city council: Reine Bombo-Allara, the first Black woman to chair the city council; Affine Lwalalika, the first Black woman on the executive council; and Rolande Balma, who, at 23, is the youngest woman ever elected in Longueuil.
    The fact that these three Black women are now decision-makers on Longueuil's city council represents huge progress and reflects modern-day Quebec. To young people of diverse backgrounds, their election signals that participation in politics—

  (1405)  

    The hon. member for Alfred-Pellan.

Hooked on School Days

    Madam Speaker, during Hooked on School Days, let us take the time to recognize and encourage the efforts of our young people, who remain eager to learn, despite the difficulties of the past two years.
    Teachers, support staff, stakeholders and social workers have also demonstrated perseverance and are making tremendous efforts to help our young people succeed. The work of community organizations significantly enhances the lives of disadvantaged youth. They help these young people make sense of their educational path and encourage them to stay in school.
    Finally and above all, let us acknowledge the important role of parents, who stand by their children every day to support and encourage them. Thank you to all these people who are dedicated to motivating our young people. To children of all ages, I hope you enjoy Hooked on School Days.

[English]

Black History Month

    Mr. Speaker, February is Black History Month, and I want to take this opportunity to recognize the work being undertaken by the Niagara Military Museum, which is located in my riding. In partnership with the Canadian War Museum, the volunteers of the Niagara Military Museum worked to develop an incredible Black military history collection, which was publicly unveiled in Niagara last February. The Canadian War Museum is now showcasing these educational panels here in Ottawa so that more Canadians can learn about the important contributions that Black Canadians made to the defence of Canada and our freedoms.
    Entitled “A Community at War: The Military Service of Black Canadians of the Niagara Region”, the exhibition highlights the experiences of 22 Black men and women from the Niagara region and southwestern Ontario who served their country in uniform, from the American Revolution to present day. Their experiences offer insight into the broader experiences of Black Canadians and this country's military history, and I invite all Canadians to visit the War Museum to see this marvellous exhibit.

Vaccine Community Innovation Challenge

    Mr. Speaker, I recently had the pleasure of meeting with family doctors from the Fraser Northwest Division of Family Practice Society who won the $100,000 grand prize for Canada’s vaccine community innovation challenge. Their “Physician on a Mission” campaign amplified the voices of family doctors in Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam and beyond as trusted community members to encourage vaccinations by using physicians’ personal stories and expertise. Videos were produced in English, Cantonese, Korean, Farsi and Arabic, with family doctors addressing common questions about COVID-19 vaccines, helping new mothers and reminding us to get our second shot. This initiative has empowered Canadians to make informed decisions about their health and to protect each other.
    Congratulations to Dr. Yun and the Fraser Northwest Division of Family Practice Society. I thank them for their innovative and impactful work in keeping our communities healthy.

Gurdwara Guru Nanak Darbar

    Mr. Speaker, one year ago, the Gurdwara Guru Nanak Darbar opened its doors for the first time in the historic and beautiful town of Hudson. Since doing so, it has served as a sacred place of worship for those of the Sikh faith in my community of Vaudreuil—Soulanges. It has also served as so much more. In keeping with the guiding principles of kindness, generosity and community, it has served as a place for those in need of all faiths to enjoy a free, warm and healthy meal prepared by dedicated volunteers. It is also a rallying point for business owners and families to come together to help one another by donating truckloads of food and supplies to neighbouring churches and community groups during this incredibly difficult time.
    For this and so much more, I rise in the House on behalf of my entire community to congratulate Harjeet Singh Bajwa, Sarvdeep Singh Bath, Lakha Singh Dhindsa, Gurinder Singh Johal and the entire team at the Gurdwara Guru Nanak Darbar in Hudson for their hard work and generosity over the last year. May the years and decades ahead continue to bring peace, joy and fulfillment.

  (1410)  

Emergencies Act

    Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House to address the government's egregious overstep in invoking the Emergencies Act. I have had hundreds of constituents contact me, sincerely alarmed by the implications of the Prime Minister's draconian overstep. This is the same Prime Minister who stated that he admired China's dictatorship. Even Chinese state media stated that, while “Hong Kong cannot invoke National Security Law against violent petrol-bomb-throwing mobs”, it is shocked to see the Canadian Prime Minister “crack down on peaceful pro-freedom protesters”.
    The people of the world are watching this critical moment in our nation's capital, and they are rightly alarmed to see the leader of a G7 country that has long been a beacon of freedom come down on peaceful protesters with a sledgehammer. It is absolutely shameful, and I am calling on the Prime Minister to lay aside his pride, listen to the very real concerns of the Canadian people, follow the science and drop the mandates. That is the clearest path forward to resolving these tensions and healing our divided and wounded nation.

[Translation]

Hooked on School Days

    Mr. Speaker, no one has been spared the negative effects of the pandemic we have been experiencing since 2020, least of all young people. For many young Quebeckers and Canadians, pursuing their studies is a huge challenge, and the current situation does not help.
    Whether they need supports related to learning difficulties, their family situation or their physical or mental health, the success of our young people must be the focus of our responsibilities as a government and as a society. We owe it to them to think about their success, to remain committed and engaged on their behalf all year long of course, but especially this week.
    I would like to thank all the parents, teachers, educators, advocates and support staff who, day after day, help guide young people in their academic journeys.
    As part of Hooked on School Days, my team and I sent some love to the teachers and support staff in my constituency, offering them gift baskets of cookies thoughtfully prepared by the Cuisine collective d'Hochelaga-Maisonneuve.
    I thank all teachers for the amazing work they do every day.

[English]

Emergencies Act

    Mr. Speaker, the illegal blockades must come to an end, and law enforcement has the resources it needs to do that without the government's invoking the Emergencies Act. The Prime Minister has said that this should not be the first, second or third response, but he has been unable to tell us what his first, second and third responses were.
    After taking no action, the Prime Minister is now moving to the most extreme action. We have seen crises in this country before, many times and in many different situations, where the Emergencies Act in its current form was not utilized. This is an unprecedented overreach and it is a result of a failure in leadership on the part of the Prime Minister.
    Parliament must reverse this decision immediately.

[Translation]

Celebrations in Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today. With 58 different municipalities in my riding, there are plenty of opportunities to celebrate, especially since many of those municipalities have reached a very venerable age.
    Over the years, generations of people have pulled together to make their community their own. In the current health crisis, many committees have gone the extra mile to find different ways of celebrating.
    I want to formally pay tribute to them. First, the seigneury of Rivière‑du‑Sud in Montmagny is celebrating 375 years. Berthier‑sur‑Mer, Rivière‑Ouelle and Cap‑Saint‑Ignace are celebrating 350 years. Sainte‑Hélène de Kamouraska and Sainte‑Anne‑de‑la‑Pocatière are celebrating 175 years. Saint‑Pamphile is celebrating 150 years and Saint‑Joseph de Kamouraska is celebrating 100 years.
    I will take some time in the coming weeks to visit them and offer a commemorative gift. I wish all the residents of these municipalities a happy anniversary.

Outaouais Peewee AAA Hockey Team

    Mr. Speaker, earlier today, the Canadian women's hockey team won the gold medal, but I would like to talk about the next generation of players here in the Outaouais.
    The Intrépide, a peewee AAA team, is made up of 17 of the best players from my beautiful region. The team has qualified for the Quebec international peewee hockey tournament. To be invited to this prestigious tournament, the Intrépide de l'Outaouais had to rank among the 14 best teams in the Quebec hockey league of excellence.
    The Intrépide peewees met the challenge, and every player is very proud to represent the Outaouais region at the tournament being held in May. The excellence of Canada's Olympic team is a beacon for all Canadians, but nothing happens by accident. The team's victory represents years of hard work. The Intrépide de l'Outaouais is already on the right path.
    Congratulations and much success to the team.
    Go Intrépide, go!

  (1415)  

[English]

Emergencies Act

    Mr. Speaker, for three weeks, the city of Ottawa and border crossings across the country have been under siege by blockades and occupations. People in Ottawa have been criminally harassed and assaulted, and are afraid to leave their homes. The declaration of a public order emergency is a result of a failure of all levels of government to keep the public safe.
     Canadians are rightly concerned about these unprecedented measures being enacted and about the precedent it will set. I am too. It will be critical over the course of the debate over these next few days for the members of the government to clearly explain why they believe the conditions to enact this emergency order have been met. There is no time for talking points, spin or partisan attacks. Canadians deserve honest answers, accurate information and clear reasoning.
    Conversely, the opposition has an important role: to hold the government to account, to ask serious questions and to refrain from overheated rhetoric.
     Today marks an important moment in our history and there will be much work to do in the weeks, months and years to come. We must work to rebuild trust in our institutions, and that work must begin now.

[Translation]

Manicouagan

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to recognize Anticosti Island, which has officially become a candidate to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.
    Anticosti Island is a magnificent and unique place, abundant in natural wealth and home to friendly people, making it a treasure of the North Shore, Quebec and the world. Many people came together and a lot of hard work went into making this historic announcement possible, and the project has been heralded by residents.
    I have worked with elected officials, organizations and residents from the early stages right up until this announcement. I responded to every request for support from residents, and I will continue to support them until Anticosti Island gets the global recognition it deserves. Together, we are making progress and we will succeed.
    Congratulations to all residents of Anticosti Island. This just goes to show that goals and hard work lead to big achievements, and that when we work together we can be recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

[English]

Inflation

    Mr. Speaker, we are debating the Emergencies Act because of a political crisis of the Prime Minister’s own making, a political crisis here in Ottawa because of his failure to act sooner.
    There is another crisis building across our country that he and his government have failed to act on. Canadians are seeing the rising cost of living impacting them in their homes and in their backyards, in my riding of North Okanagan—Shuswap and across the country. Groceries will cost families $1,000 more this year. Energy prices have reached record levels, and rent rates are skyrocketing.
     Constituents have contacted me about house prices going up by 35% to 45%, concerned that young families cannot afford their own homes. Seniors on fixed incomes cannot keep up with inflation, which is now pegged at 5.1%, the highest rate in 30 years.
    The Prime Minister and his government have failed to act on the cost of living crisis and have now created another crisis as a diversion. This is shameful. Canadians deserve better.

Richard Patten

    Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House to honour my late friend, Richard Patten, who dutifully served our community of Ottawa Centre as the member of provincial Parliament from 1987 to 1990 and from 1995 to 2007. During this time, he also served as minister of government services and minister of correctional services in Ontario.
    After he retired from politics and as I succeeded him as the MPP, Richard gave me a note that read, “Remember, all of this belongs to the people.” This sentiment captures the essence of Richard's brand of public service. He was one's neighbour who was also one's elected representative.
    Whether it was helping to save Ottawa's Aberdeen Pavilion, successfully fighting to keep the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario's heart surgery unit in Ottawa or championing legislation to help people with severe mental illness, Richard Patten's legacy in Ottawa Centre will be felt forever.
    As Richard bravely fought cancer, he never missed a day at the legislature or stepped away from many of his community building activities. He died on December 30 of last year. I thank his wife Penny for sharing Richard with our community. Ottawa Centre will forever be a better place because of him.

ORAL QUESTIONS

[Oral Questions]

  (1420)  

[Translation]

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, as a Canadian, I am disappointed today.
    This morning, the Prime Minister finally deigned to speak in the House of Commons, this sacred place of Canadian democracy, following his decision to invoke the Emergencies Act throughout Canada. He had a unique opportunity to justify his decision to use this extreme legislation in order to bring an end to the crisis that he himself created. He failed. He failed to demonstrate that existing laws were insufficient to stop the illegal acts.
    My question is clear: Why is this government using such radical legislation with the sole purpose of protecting the Prime Minister’s leadership?
    Mr. Speaker, this siege and these blockades are causing major damage to our economy. International confidence in Canada as a place to invest and do business has been shaken. The blockade of the Ambassador Bridge disrupted $390 million in trade per day. These costs are real. They threaten businesses large and small and, for that reason, we must act.
    Mr. Speaker, I think the Minister of Finance should update her talking points. The Windsor blockade is gone. It is done. The Emergencies Act was not required.
    The Prime Minister has repeatedly stated that foreign groups were supporting the demonstrations here in Ottawa. Last week at the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, the deputy director of intelligence for the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada stated there was no evidence to back up those claims or even any indication of suspicious transactions.
    Why is the Prime Minister justifying his decision on the basis of facts that, according to his own experts, do not even exist?
    Mr. Speaker, Canadian business leaders know these illegal blockades cannot go on, and they support our government taking necessary action.
     Goldy Hyder, president of the Business Council of Canada, said this week that the council welcomed the decision as a step toward ending illegal blockades across the country and upholding the rule of law. That is exactly what we are doing.
    Mr. Speaker, let me say it again: There are no longer any blockades at the border. The issue was resolved without the Emergencies Act. That is the reality.
    This is the first time in Canadian history that the Emergencies Act is being invoked. This legislation's predecessor, the War Measures Act, was used only three times: during World War I, World War II and the October crisis.
    The Prime Minister said just last Friday that no additional measures were needed, and then all of a sudden on Monday, boom, he invokes the Emergencies Act.
    Can anyone in this government tell us what happened between Friday and Monday to make the Prime Minister do such a 180 in just a few hours?
    Mr. Speaker, as we did during the NAFTA negotiations, our government will always do whatever it takes to protect our workers and the national interest. We stood up for Canada during the NAFTA negotiations, and now we are standing up for Canadians against these illegal blockades and occupations. We must and we will continue to do so.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister and the emergency preparedness minister have repeatedly stated that foreign extremist financing is behind Canadian protests. At public safety committee last week, deputy director of intelligence for FINTRAC, Barry MacKillop, stated that there is no evidence to back up these claims. In fact, he stated that they “have not seen a spike in suspicious transaction...related to [the protests].”
    Why is the Prime Minister offside with Canada's national security experts?

  (1425)  

    Mr. Speaker, I spoke yesterday with the head of FINTRAC and we are in close touch with that very important organization. The reality is that FINTRAC lacked the necessary authorities to oversee the new world of cryptocurrency, crowdsourcing and payment platforms. With these measures, we have enhanced the authorities of FINTRAC and that is allowing us to stop the illegal funding of these illegal blockades.
    Mr. Speaker, this morning the Prime Minister contradicted two of his ministers who had stated that the application of the Emergencies Act would be geographically limited. The PM said it would apply to all of Canada. All the border crossings in B.C., Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario have been cleared. The majority of premiers are clearly saying that Liberal government overreach is interfering in their jurisdictions.
    When will the Prime Minister revoke this reckless decision and begin rebuilding the trust of Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, once upon a time the Conservative Party was a responsible party that believed in defending the national economic interest.
    I know one former Conservative minister who served in such a government, Perrin Beatty, who created the Emergencies Act. Mr. Beatty said this week that when he brought in the Emergencies Act he knew that there would inevitably be future crises. I spoke to Mr. Beatty today, and I told him about the work our government is doing to defend the Canadian economy.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, we do not need the Emergencies Act to arrest those participating in an illegal protest, cut off crowdfunding of illegal activities, hand out fines or protect strategic infrastructure.
    For the past 21 days, the tools to address the crisis have been there, but for 21 days this government just did not use them. Does the government realize that the only thing missing for 21 days was not the Emergencies Act, but rather his leadership?
    Mr. Speaker, Quebec's business leaders know that the illegal blockades cannot continue, and they have supported our government's action.
    Véronique Proulx, president and CEO of Manufacturiers et Exportateurs du Québec, said this week that manufacturers applauded any action that would restore order at the borders and Canada's reputation as a reliable trading partner.
    Mr. Speaker, this is not a joke. The Sureté du Québec has come to Ottawa to save the government's skin.
    The Emergencies Act was not needed to resolve the situations in Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia or to clear the Ambassador Bridge. This is not necessary. The problem is that this crisis is happening right in front of Parliament. Why is that? It is because the federal government has been in hiding for three weeks.
    Does the government realize that the situation would have been less dangerous if it had taken responsibility?
    Mr. Speaker, we did take responsibility and we are doing so now.
    I am calling on all members of Parliament to be accountable to the Canadians who elected them and to take responsibility for Canada's democracy and economy and for protecting the national interest. That is what we are doing and what we will continue to do.

  (1430)  

[English]

Health

    Mr. Speaker, the story of this pandemic has been a story of solidarity, of Canadians taking care of one another. However, Canadians are now wondering what the plan is to get out of this pandemic. We know that the plan to get out of this pandemic has to include a science-based approach. We also know it has to include an approach to invest in our health care system.
    Will the Prime Minister commit to making sure our health care system is never again in fear of collapsing, and that we have an evidence-based plan to move past this pandemic?
    Mr. Speaker, our country is moving past this pandemic. This is thanks to the hard work and common sense of Canadians, thanks to the fact that 90% of Canadians are vaccinated, and thanks to the heroism of our health care workers and our essential workers.
    For that reason, Canada has one of the best outcomes in the western world when it comes to mortality rates. Had we had the U.S. level of mortality, an additional 66,000 Canadians would have died. We are getting past the pandemic thanks to Canadians.

[Translation]

     Mr. Speaker, the story of this pandemic has been a story of solidarity. People across the country took care of one another.
    However, people are getting frustrated because the pandemic made their problems worse. Folks are having a harder and harder time finding affordable housing and making ends meet.
    Will the Prime Minister commit to working together to solve these problems people are facing?
    Mr. Speaker, yes, absolutely. Our government is working hand in hand with municipalities, the provinces and all Canadians to bring about a strong recovery after the COVID‑19 recession.
    The good news is that Canada's GDP is now back to where it was before COVID‑19, and we have recovered all the lost jobs. We have work to do, and we will do it together.

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister cannot justify the invocation of the Emergencies Act. He cannot tell us what tools he used and what steps he took before deciding to use this extraordinary piece of legislation.
    He can hardly criticize us for seeing this as a ploy to cover up his failure to act, his lack of leadership and his negligence.
    I want to give him another chance to enlighten us. What steps and measures has he taken over the past three weeks that have failed so badly that they warrant invoking the Emergencies Act?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for her question.
    The government is learning a lot from concrete actions that have been taken since the illegal blockades began. For instance, the government has offered additional resources to police forces, which is making a difference. However, at the same time, the blockades have caused the police a great deal of frustration.
    That is one of the reasons why we invoked the Emergencies Act. We will continue to provide police services with all the tools they need.
    Mr. Speaker, Quebec and other provinces have the situation under control without using the Emergencies Act. In fact, they do not want it. The Prime Minister has been warned.
    Will this Prime Minister, who listens only to himself and is introducing emergency legislation without consulting anyone, respect the wishes of the provinces not to have this legislation enforced in their jurisdiction, as is the case for Quebec?
    Mr. Speaker, the short answer is yes.
    We have consulted with all the provinces and territories. The Emergencies Act is being enforced in co-operation with all the provinces. That is how it works.
    Our duty is to continue working with the provinces and territories, as well as with municipalities and police forces, to end this blockade. It is time to leave now.
    Mr. Speaker, for three weeks, the Prime Minister did nothing. He added fuel to the fire by provoking the protesters. He even hid in his cottage during this crisis.
    Now he is invoking the Emergencies Act to improve his image. Unlike the Liberals, the provinces have acted and are managing the situation in a responsible and peaceful manner.
    Will the Prime Minister confirm that he will not use the emergency powers against Quebec and other provinces in Canada that are opposed to them?

  (1435)  

    Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, police services have been working hard and spending a lot of energy to de-escalate the situation on the ground. For example, today there is a dialogue between the police and the blockaders to encourage them to leave now.
    This is the most effective solution, and the government will continue to provide all the resources and tools that the police need.
    Mr. Speaker, the reality is that the provinces demonstrated leadership in managing the situation. That is what the Liberals lack.
    The Prime Minister has invoked the Emergencies Act to offload his responsibility for a crisis that he himself fuelled by stigmatizing the protesters who are here in Ottawa.
    This Prime Minister wants to manage the border between Ukraine and Russia, but he is not even capable of managing the street in front of Parliament. That is the reality.
    Mr. Speaker, with all due respect for my colleague, there is no justification for these illegal blockades.
    The debates in the House on the pandemic are very important, but the way these blockades are being held in Ottawa or at the border is unacceptable. That is why we invoked the Emergencies Act: to help police end these blockades.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the lack of action from the government has resulted in the reaction to end the protests and blockades by invoking the Emergencies Act. It is the most reactive step taken to date.
    Canadians are looking for hope and for a plan. The government decided to vote against having a plan. What proactive steps did the Prime Minister actually take prior to putting in these restrictions?
    Mr. Speaker, of course we have been clear about being there every step of the way to support law enforcement as this situation has continued.
    It is important to reflect on the steps the Conservative Party has taken during this process, starting with the interim leader, who said, “I don’t think we should be asking [these people] to go home”, inferring that the Conservatives should take this as a political opportunity. There is the member for Carleton, who is a leadership aspirant, saying that he stands with the illegal activity occurring outside and that we should “Keep the momentum going.” Of course, this continues with the members for Yorkton—Melville, Saskatoon—Grasswood and Cypress Hills—Grasslands.
    Again and again and again, they encourage the—
    The hon. member for Elgin—Middlesex—London.
    Mr. Speaker, perhaps the House leader did not understand. What I am looking for is an answer to the question about the plans and what this Prime Minister has actually done.
    Step one, he stigmatized, traumatized and divided Canadians, just as the House leader is doing today.
     Step two, he hid in a cottage. He did not react. When things were going on, we did not hear from the Prime Minister.
    Step three, he whipped his caucus, where every single member, with the exception of one, voted against a plan.
    This leadership has failed. It has failed. What actions did the Prime Minister actually take prior to putting in these restrictions?
    Mr. Speaker, every one of us walks through what is going on outside every day. We see the residents of Ottawa being terrorized by this illegal occupation that is occurring.
    Will the members opposite stand today, every single one of them, and clearly say that it is time to go home? Will they stand, every single one of them, and stop tweeting, stop encouraging and stop saying things like “Keep the momentum going”? Instead, will they ask those folks outside to go home, to make sure that this illegal activity is not something that their party, a party that is supposed to stand for law and order, stands with?

  (1440)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the National Assembly is unanimous: Quebec does not want the Emergencies Act.
    Even though the Prime Minister said that his order would be geographically targeted, we see that it covers all of Canada. It applies not only to Quebec, but also to Quebec infrastructure such as hospitals, dams and vaccination centres.
    There is no crisis in Quebec, as evidenced by the fact that the SQ is helping in Ontario. On what basis does the Prime Minister believe it is necessary to suspend fundamental freedoms in Quebec just because he has lost control of the siege in Ottawa?
    Mr. Speaker, that is not how the act works.
    The Emergencies Act was introduced with all the protections in the charter. All the powers, all the authorities and all the measures included in the declaration will apply in a manner that is consistent with the charter.
    Mr. Speaker, the situation at the Ambassador Bridge was resolved, as were the situations in Coutts and in Manitoba. The situation in Quebec was always under control.
    The only place where this situation is still ongoing is Ottawa, the Prime Minister's own back yard. The national crisis is over. There is no reason to use the Emergencies Act or limit fundamental rights across Canada.
    The Prime Minister's opponents are calling him a dictator, which is clearly not true, but does he realize that he is validating their claim? That is irresponsible.
    Mr. Speaker, facts are facts.
    The Bloc Québécois cannot just make things up or invent facts. The act does not take away any of the provinces' powers. We will not use the act to suspend the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
    We are talking about concrete measures to help Quebec, if Quebec needs them. If it does not need them, then nothing will happen, and the Bloc knows that. The Bloc should at least be honest about it and stop making things up.
    Mr. Speaker, Quebec does not need it and does not want it.
    Why is the Emergencies Act being used? According to the act, it is for “the protection of the values of the body politic and the preservation of the sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of the state”, but none of that is under threat. According to the act, there must be a national emergency. This is not the case.
    The act provides the authority “to take special temporary measures that may not be appropriate in normal times”. Canada’s territorial integrity is not under threat. There is no national emergency. Why, then, use the Emergencies Act?
    Mr. Speaker, the circumstances require it.
    We have been very clear that we will not use these measures where they are not necessary. I would not want to deprive Quebeckers of these important tools to ensure their security and the integrity of their territory.
    There is talk of possible demonstrations and blockades at the Lacolle border crossing this weekend. All the measures in the declaration are temporary, targeted, and exercised in accordance with the charter.

[English]

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, earlier this week I asked the finance minister what she was doing to control the skyrocketing cost of living. All she did was shift blame. She avoided the question. Yesterday, we received the news we were all dreading. Statistics Canada says that the consumer price index rose 5.1% in January. It is the worst it has been in over 30 years.
    Paycheques no longer go as far as they used to, and Canadians are getting left far behind. I will ask again. What specifically is the minister doing to get inflation under control?
    Mr. Speaker, unlike the Conservatives, Canadians understand that inflation is a global phenomenon, and here are some numbers to back that up. The latest inflation number in Canada was 5.1%. In the U.S. it was 7.5%, and in the U.K. it was 5.5%. Our inflation is lower than the G7 average, which is 5.5%, the G20 average, which is 6.1%, and the OECD average of 6.5%.
    Canadians understand. It is time for the Conservatives to understand as well.
    Mr. Speaker, for months now, the Liberal minister has been claiming that inflation is “transitory”. There is nothing to see here, folks. This week, Statistics Canada proved the minister wrong. Inflation is up again to 5.1%, the highest it has been in over 30 years. Prices are up 8% for fish, 12% for beef and 19% for bacon.
     How does the minister expect Canadians to put food on the table? When is the government going to realize that it has lost complete control over inflation?

  (1445)  

    Mr. Speaker, I think it was actually the chairman of the federal reserve who used the term “transitory” to characterize inflation. Let me just point out, yet again, that the Conservatives continue to push a false narrative, frankly, about everything that is happening in Canada, and very much including the economy. The fact is that the Canadian recovery is strong. Our GDP grew by 5.4% in the third quarter. That beat the U.S., Japan, the U.K. and Australia.
    I also want to point out that S&P and Moody's both reaffirmed our AAA credit rating this fall.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, three weeks ago, we were talking about inflation, and the Minister of Finance told me that there was no problem because it was a global problem and that the IMF said that Canada was fine and that the GDP was going up. How convincing.
    What are we seeing now? Inflation continues to rise and is at 5.1%. Beef is up 12%; gas is up 30%; housing is up 6%. Those are things Canadians know for sure. Another thing we know is that the government is doing absolutely nothing.
    Can the Minister of Finance leave the IMF out of it and talk about what Canadians are actually going through?
    Mr. Speaker, we do not need lectures from Conservatives about helping the most vulnerable Canadians deal with the cost of living.
    We introduced the Canada child benefit, which is indexed to inflation and has lifted almost 300,000 children out of poverty.
    Our government increased the guaranteed income supplement, which is also indexed to inflation and has helped over 900,000 seniors.
    That is what we have done.

[English]

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, Canada is one of the biggest funders of oil and gas in the G20. A new study showed that last year alone, the government, through Export Development Canada, handed out $4.4 billion, earning Canada the worst possible climate score. That is despite repeated Liberal promises to phase out fossil fuel subsidies.
    We are in a climate emergency and EDC is fuelling the crisis. Why will the government not make EDC clean up its act, stop giving billions to big oil and gas and start standing up for Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, in fact, G20 countries have committed to eliminating fossil fuel subsidies by 2025. We in Canada have committed to doing that by 2023, which is two years earlier than our G20 colleagues. On top of that, EDC has reduced its fossil fuel subsidies by more than $3 billion per year since 2018.
    Mr. Speaker, earlier this week, I made an accusation against the environment minister that his government had held 370 backroom meetings with big oil in just two years. I withdraw those comments, because it turns out that it actually rolled out the red carpet for 1,224 meetings with big oil. That, my friends, is the definition of carbon captured, so it is no wonder that under the Prime Minister Canada has fallen to the bottom of the G7, in terms of climate action.
    When is the environment minister going to stop acting as the head butler for the oil lobby and start standing up for Canadians?

  (1450)  

    Mr. Speaker, one of the highest carbon prices in the world is here in Canada. There are regulations on methane pollution, and a 40% reduction by 2025. There is a cap on oil and gas emissions. These are all things our government has done to fight climate change and ensure we create good jobs and a prosperous future for all Canadians.

Indigenous Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, this Tuesday, 54 potential unmarked graves were found at Keeseekoose First Nation. Three weeks ago, Williams Lake First Nation announced that a survey had identified 93 potential unmarked graves on the site of the former St. Joseph's Mission residential school. Nearly a year ago, Canada was rocked by the discovery of 200 probable unmarked graves on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. Despite all of this evidence, some still deny the actual legacy of residential schools and claim the number of unmarked graves is exaggerated. I find this very troubling and unacceptable.
    Could the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations comment on what our government is doing to support the survivors of these residential schools?

[Translation]

    Ms. Sylvie Bérubé: A point of order, Mr. Speaker.
    Points of orders are not allowed, except on technical matters.
    I would like to remind members that interpretation services are provided in the House.

[English]

     There is accommodation that takes place in the chamber. Sometimes, technically, it does not always work. We had everything tested and it worked out fairly well. I believe the translation took place.

[Translation]

    If you cannot hear the interpretation, please let me know. Has the interpretation stopped?
     Some hon. members: No.

[English]

    The Speaker: I would ask for a bit of understanding and compassion so we can all work together in the House.
    Mr. Speaker, last summer, in light of the devastating findings in Kamloops and Cowessess, our government announced an additional $329 million to support indigenous communities in their search for loved ones robbed from them at such a young age, in their efforts to memorialize their loss, and in their quest for closure.
    Residential schools were a reality in this country for well over 150 years, and the effects are still felt painfully today. To the survivors who are speaking out, including my friend, the member who spoke, as well as those who continue to suffer in silence, we believe them. Canada believes them.

Health

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is out of step with Canadians. Canadians want and deserve open dialogue after two years of uncertainty. This should be about science, not political science, yet the Prime Minister would rather divide and stigmatize than give people the certainty and hope they need.
    When will the Prime Minister stop doubling down on divisive rhetoric and commit publicly to a specific plan and timeline to end federal mandates and restrictions?
    Mr. Speaker, since day one of this pandemic, our government's focus has been the health and safety of our neighbours, by following the latest science. The most recent data indicates that the omicron wave has passed its peak in Canada, which allows us to move toward a more long-term approach to managing COVID-19. We intend to follow the science, and we are working closely with experts, such as Dr. Tam and other public health officials, to ensure that we continue to get through this pandemic together as best we possibly can, and that has been through vaccinations.
    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister’s petulance led to the firing of Ottawa’s first Black police chief during Black History Month. It is yet another example of the divisiveness fostered by the government. The Prime Minister's own finance minister stood on the Maidan during Ukraine’s revolution. Canadians want foreign interference from the Prime Minister's jet-setting resetters to stop.
    When will the Prime Minister listen to the majority of freedom-loving Canadians and end the mandates?

  (1455)  

    Mr. Speaker, I have had, and I am sure all members have had, the opportunity to talk to people who come from countries that are not free, and who know what it means to have their freedoms restricted in ways so they are not able to live, share their thoughts or protest in peaceful ways.
    I am sure, and I would hope the member opposite would agree, that what we are seeing outside, such as the terrorizing of residents, the harassment at homeless shelters and the inability for Ottawa citizens to continue their lives, has gone way too far. Please stop supporting these illegal activities and join with us so our lives can begin to return to normal here.
    Mr. Speaker, the science has changed. Canada's top officials, including Dr. Tam, have recommended a review of COVID policies. We are seeing countries around the world with lower vaccination rates dropping their restrictions. We are seeing provinces in our own country dropping restrictions.
    Is the government going to stick to its word and follow the science? When will the mandates for Canadian travellers who are fully vaccinated be dropped, and when will the mandates be totally dropped for testing Canadian travellers upon return?
    Mr. Speaker, this transition, including this week's announcement, is possible because of a number of factors, which include our high vaccination rates and the increasing availability of rapid tests and treatments. As we have said all along, Canada's border measures will remain flexible and adaptable, guided by science and prudence.
    I have a quote for my colleague opposite. It states, “Everyone entering Canada (by land as well as by air), irrespective of their vaccination status will be required to take a rapid test or possibly a PCR test.” Where is that from? It is from page 19 of the Conservatives' election platform. Do members remember this magazine? It is that one.
    Mr. Speaker, life moves on, and the government needs to move on with it.
    In December, the Liberals again imposed rigid COVID-19 testing on Canadians living in border communities who travel to the United States and return home, often within a day or within a few hours. The Liberals announced they would replace 72-hour PCR testing with a 24-hour rapid test. This does not help our border communities. The new 24-hour testing will continue to separate families and people in Canada's border towns.
    When will the Liberals allow Canadians to drive to the United States and come home in a single day without testing?
    Mr. Speaker, I would remind the member again that he campaigned on testing as well, just like we did. While we are in a better position today than we were previously, this pandemic is not over yet. We all want this pandemic to be over but it is not over yet. The Government of Canada will continue to assess the evolving situation here at home and globally.
    While the members opposite continue to shout me down, it does not change the reality that the pandemic is not yet over.

[Translation]

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, the government has given itself the extraordinary power to freeze the bank accounts of individuals and businesses whose trucks are blocking downtown Ottawa. That is part of the Emergencies Act, which has been in effect since February 14. Today is February 17.
    My question is simple. How many bank accounts of the occupiers in Ottawa have been frozen in the last three days?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his question.
    I confirmed at a press conference today that we have started to use the tools provided in the emergency measures, and that some accounts are now frozen. However, for the safety of the security forces' operations, we cannot give the figures today. We will provide them as soon as possible.
    Mr. Speaker, the truth is that the government had the power to freeze the bank accounts of those participating in an illegal protest from day one. There was no need to invoke the Emergencies Act. It could already do this under the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act. The federal government has had the power to freeze funds belonging to those who have been occupying Ottawa for the past 21 days.
    I will repeat my question because we in the House want the numbers.
    How many bank accounts were frozen to try to resolve the situation before it turned confrontational?
    Mr. Speaker, before the use of the Emergencies Act, it was impossible for all the information to be shared between the national, local and municipal security forces and the banks. Before the use of the Emergencies Act, we also could not require the banks to do these things. These financial tools are important—

  (1500)  

    Order. The hon. member for Calgary Forest Lawn.

[English]

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, 23 Liberal MPs' requests to help Afghan refugees were ignored. Liberal ministers were briefed months before Kabul fell. These warnings were ignored. My letters to the Prime Minister and the minister continue to be ignored. Afghan refugees write to the government every day pleading for help. They continue to be ignored. The Afghan crisis is another pattern of inaction and failure in leadership by the Liberal government.
    Why was an election plan and abandoning those that served Canada more important than the pleas of Afghan refugees?
    Mr. Speaker, when that member first asked me a question about the success of our resettlement efforts in Afghanistan, there were 3,800 Afghan refugees in Canada. Today, there are more than 7,700. In the past few weeks, we have seen more than 460 arrive on 20 commercial flights. There are more flights arriving every week.
    We have made one of the most substantial commitments of any country in the world, not just on a per capita basis but in terms of the raw number of human beings that we are going to welcome and give a second lease on life. Canadians should be proud of the effort we are making and we will not waver until we are successful in resettling all 40,000 Afghan refugees who will call Canada home.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, that does not explain why in December 2020, 23 Liberal members begged the Prime Minister to take action to save Afghan nationals who had helped Canadians during the conflict in Afghanistan. It took eight months, and after that, the embassy closed its doors, everyone left and nothing happened.
    Today, they are throwing a number at us: 40,000 Afghans are coming here. However, they have never specifically mentioned helping the Afghans who helped us on the ground during the conflict in Afghanistan when we were there.
    Why were these people not taken care of when the Liberal members asked the Prime Minister to do so?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. member will appreciate that, during the evacuation, there was an emergency situation and we responded as quickly as was humanly possible. One of the reasons, which I think the hon. member will appreciate, is that we no longer had a military presence with the logistics capability of moving thousands and thousands of people on our own because we had not had a military presence there since 2014.
    We worked with international partners to rescue thousands of people in the moments of the evacuation. I want to thank my predecessor, now the Minister of Public Safety, for his efforts to resettle thousands of Afghan refugees. I am going to finish the job.
    Mr. Speaker, here is some of the damning testimony this week from retired generals about the Liberal government's failure during the fall of Kabul and the government's continued lack of leadership. One said, “we were the first embassy to depart. That was very embarrassing”. Another said, “When this crisis was unfolding right in front of our eyes, we then urged the government, as we do now, to create an interdepartmental task force with one leader.”
    I will ask the same question I asked last week. Will the Prime Minister assign one lead minister to solve this ongoing humanitarian aid crisis?
    Mr. Speaker, I am the minister who has been appointed by the Prime Minister to lead this effort. We will collaborate with other ministers, including the Minister of Foreign Affairs, to help ensure we are successful in partnership with the global community to see this mission succeed.
    I heard members opposite heckling about the timing of the election when it came to the Afghan refugee resettlement effort, and I would point out how important that election was because we campaigned on a commitment to increase our level of ambition from 20,000 to 40,000. Their commitment on the other side, while they heckle, was to welcome precisely zero Afghan refugees. More than that, they campaigned to end the government-assisted refugee program altogether, which has been responsible for saving thousands of lives.

[Translation]

Canadian Heritage

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the House began debate on second reading of the online streaming act.
    During the debate, certain opposition colleagues raised interesting questions, even though others practised their leadership race speeches.
    Can the Minister of Canadian Heritage tell us what Bill C-11 proposes to do?

  (1505)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her absolutely outstanding work and her truly excellent question.
    The objective of the bill is to ensure that broadcasting companies continue to invest in Canadian culture, in our culture. That is all. In real terms, that means more Canadian artists, more Canadian movies, shows and music. With this bill, we are laying a foundation and building the next generations of Canadian creators, the next Weeknd, the next Denis Villeneuve, the next District 31. We introduced this bill because we are proud of our culture, proud of who we are and proud of our identity.

[English]

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals' made-in-Canada housing crisis has gotten out of control. It is the same situation across the country, including in my community of York—Simcoe.
    Working Canadians have been priced out of the housing market with no hope in sight. Home builders are stopping the construction of new homes. Liberal inflation has caused prices for materials to skyrocket. There is no way for builders to know the fair market value of a home that would not be ready for at least two years.
    Why is the Liberal government making it even harder for Canadians to own a home?
    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are not really serious about housing affordability because every single time we have brought a measure here to enable Canadians to be able to afford a home, they have voted against it, including the first-time homebuyers incentive and all the measures that we have brought in. They even voted against imposing a vacancy tax on foreign-owned non-resident properties.
    The Conservatives are not serious. They are full of rhetoric, and Canadians see through them. We will take additional measures to improve the first-time homebuyers incentive and turn more Canadian renters into homeowners. Let us see if they vote against that.

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, $400 billion in newly created cash has driven up consumer prices, and constituents in my riding, especially seniors, cannot afford their basic necessities. In addition to rising consumer prices, electricity and heating bills are increasing due to the carbon tax, which will increase again on April 1.
    When will the Liberal government finally quit making false promises and create a real economic plan for all Canadians, especially those who are struggling to meet their basic needs?
    Mr. Speaker, the Conservative MP began his question talking about government spending, which he seems to deem excessive.
    I would like to remind him that he, together with every single Conservative member, actually ran on an election platform proposing higher spending in 2021-22 than the Liberals did. They proposed a $168-billion deficit. We proposed a $156-billion deficit.
    Could the party of flip-flops tell Canadians what they stand for today?
    Mr. Speaker, with more than 1.3 million unemployed Canadians, 200,000 jobs were lost in January alone. At the same time, our businesses are struggling to fill almost one million jobs. Canada's economic recovery is in jeopardy. Canada has the fifth-worst job recovery in the G7.
    Hard-working people of Brantford—Brant are asking this: When will the Prime Minister stop putting his ideological agenda above prudent economic decisions?
    Mr. Speaker, it is a bit rich to hear the Conservatives talk about their support for Canadian workers and Canadian jobs. Let me just point out one moment of abject Conservative failure. It was before Christmas when we knew omicron was coming and we knew Canadian workers and businesses needed support, but the Conservatives voted against that measure.
     When it comes to jobs, Canada recovered 101% of the jobs lost to COVID. In the U.S., it is just 87%.

Seniors

    Mr. Speaker, some working low-income seniors in this country have had a challenging time making ends meet during this pandemic, which is why they turned to what most Canadians did, the CERB and other pandemic benefits. While we are going to be supporting people who suffered drops in their GIS and allowance compensation payments, the Minister of Seniors' mandate letter also called on us to look forward. It called on us to assure seniors that we have their backs even more.
    Can the minister tell this House how she has done that?

  (1510)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for London West for her advocacy for seniors in her riding.
    The member is right. We committed to ensuring seniors' eligibility for the GIS and allowances would not be impacted by receiving pandemic benefits. The House yesterday unanimously passed Bill C-12. I want to take this opportunity to thank every member in the House for making that happen. I look forward to seeing it make its way through the other place. It is clear for seniors with the greatest needs that we will always have their backs.

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, 1.5 million Ukrainians have been displaced from their homes since Russia invaded in 2014. Now, as Russia amasses troops and armaments and threatens further invasion, the Ukrainian people need Canada more than ever. There is a looming humanitarian disaster in Ukraine, and thousands of Ukrainians are seeking refuge in Canada.
    We saw this government fail to protect Afghans. We cannot let this happen again. Will the minister uphold Canada's responsibility to Ukrainians? Will the minister ensure humanitarian aid and better support for those Ukrainians who are fleeing violence?
    Mr. Speaker, there is no situation that we are more seized with right now than Ukraine, our solidarity with the Ukrainian government and the people of Ukraine. We have also been very clear that we are standing with Canadian citizens who are in Ukraine regarding any possible humanitarian crisis that could extend following a possible incursion.
    Right now, however, our mission is to de-escalate Russia's total disrespect for the territorial integrity of Ukraine. We will stand with the people of Ukraine, whether it is militarily, through humanitarian assistance or by helping every Ukrainian who is in trouble.

Post-Secondary Education

    Mr. Speaker, I recently met with representatives from the Undergraduates of Canadian Research-Intensive Universities, which represents over a quarter of a million students from U15 universities that annually conduct $8.5 billion of research and contribute more than $36 billion to our economy. Like most students I meet with in Spadina—Fort York, there is a shared concern: crippling student debt. The average lifetime interest on a Canada student loan is $3,000. Due to the pandemic, the government waived the interest for two years. More must be done.
     Can the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion inform the House when the government will permanently eliminate interest on Canada student loans?
    Mr. Speaker, young Canadians and students must be at the centre of our recovery, and we are proud that our response during the pandemic was one of the largest youth support packages in the world. During the pandemic, our government waived the interest on Canada student loans and Canada apprentice loans for two years, because we knew young people were among the hardest hit by job losses. That is why we are committed to permanently eliminating the federal interest on CSL and Canada apprentice loans, supporting over one million students.
    We are also committed to increasing the repayment assistance threshold to $50,000 for Canada student loan borrowers. We will continue to be there to help Canadians transition into the workforce.
    I am afraid that is all time we have for today. I know this week has been very difficult, very emotional and very heated, and I want to thank members for today because it was very nice to see everyone being respectful.

[Translation]

Point of Order

Use of Appropriate Technological Equipment 

[Point of Order]
    Mr. Speaker, I have a great deal of respect for the member for Northwest Territories, but I have even greater respect for our employees, the interpreters. Today, the Board of Internal Economy ruled on the issue of members who speak in the House without using a microphone that is appropriate for the interpreters. We know that injuries are occurring when members, either in committee or in the House, are not equipped with a good microphone.
    We are prohibited from speaking when naked. Similarly, we should not ask a question without using equipment that protects our employees, the interpreters.

  (1515)  

    The hon. member for New Westminster—Burnaby is absolutely right. When members rise to speak in the House or from their homes, they must use the equipment approved by the House.
    The member for Northwest Territories worked with our technicians to get a microphone that works for him. It is important to give members who are not wearing a headset some consideration and hope that they have worked with our technicians to ensure that their microphone is working, which is what the member for Northwest Territories did. If the interpretation is not working or if there are any sound issues, that is something to be dealt with immediately.
    I do not know if we need to release the name of everyone who has worked with our technicians. All members who speak virtually must ensure that the equipment they use is approved by the House.
    The hon. member for Lac-Saint-Jean.
    Mr. Speaker, there have been consultations among the parties, and I think you will find unanimous consent for the following motion: Whereas there is an urgent humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, that this House call on the government to proceed with due diligence for the Canadian non-governmental organizations operating in Afghanistan and assure them that they will not be prosecuted even though a terrorist organization is leading the Afghan government, and that the NGOs' operations will not jeopardize their charitable status, and to allow the humanitarian and civil society organizations to conduct their co-operative and humanitarian assistance work in the areas most at risk.
    All those opposed to the hon. member moving the motion will please say nay.
    Some hon. members: Nay.

[English]

Business of the House

[Business of the House]
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague from the NDP rose on a point of order, and we are certainly sympathetic to the member for Yukon. However, the easiest way we can resolve the situation with interpreters is to get back to normal Parliament so that we are all here.
    The debate we are having in this place, whether we agree or not with the invocation of the Emergencies Act, is probably and arguably one of the most important debates we are going to have in a generation, or at least my generation. As the eyes of the nation are upon us, I ask the government House leader what the business of the House will be.
    Mr. Speaker, I will start by saying that Tuesday, March 1, will be an allotted day.
    To what the hon. House leader for the Conservatives said, I completely agree with him. This is an exceptionally important debate, and all House leaders from all parties have had an incredibly productive discussion. I want to thank them for their collaboration and for working together to get on the same page, because while we may disagree in the final vote, it is essential that we agree on the process that we utilize and it is essential that Parliament have a fulsome debate.
    It is why I am pleased that we have reached an agreement for this debate to occur over the next five days, with debate continuing today until midnight. I will move a motion to put this into action in a moment with unanimous consent. It would see us going tonight until midnight, Friday from 7 a.m. to midnight, Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to midnight, and Monday from 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., with a vote at 8 p.m.
    I will now seek unanimous consent to adopt the following motion. I move:
    That, notwithstanding any Standing Order, special order or usual practice of the House:
(a) on Thursday, February 17, 2022, Orders of the Day shall be extended beyond the ordinary hour of daily adjournment for the purpose of considering the motion for confirmation of the declaration of emergency standing on the Order Paper in the name of the Minister of Public Safety, and when no Member rises to speak or at 11:59 p.m., whichever is earlier, the House shall stand adjourned until the next day;
(b) on Friday, February 18, 2022, the House shall proceed with the ordinary daily program, provided that it meet at 7 a.m. and sit beyond the ordinary hour of daily adjournment for the purpose of considering the aforementioned motion, and when no Member rises to speak or at 11:59 p.m., whichever is earlier, it shall stand adjourned until the next day;
(c) on Saturday, February 19, 2022, and Sunday February 20, 2022, the House shall convene at 7 a.m. for the sole purpose of considering the aforementioned motion and when no Member rises to speak or at 11:59 p.m., whichever is earlier, it shall stand adjourned until the next day;
(d) on Monday, February 21, 2022,
(i) the House shall proceed with the ordinary daily program, provided that it meet at 7 a.m. and that it sit beyond the ordinary hour of daily adjournment for the purpose of considering the aforementioned motion,
(ii) if no Member rises to speak on the motion at any time before Statements by Members, all questions necessary to dispose of the motion be put and if a recorded division is requested it be deferred to 7:30 p.m. that day and the sitting then be suspended until the time provided for Statements by Members and be suspended again after routine proceedings until 7:30 p.m.,
(iii) if no Member rises to speak on the motion at any time after routine proceedings, all questions necessary to dispose of the motion be put and if a recorded division is requested it be deferred to 7:30 p.m. that day and the sitting then be suspended until 7:30 p.m.,
(iv) at 7:30 p.m., if not previously disposed of, all questions necessary to dispose of the motion be put and if a recorded division is requested it shall not be deferred;
(e) if, during the sittings of February 18, 19 and 20, the Speaker receives notice from the House leaders or whips of all recognized parties that they are satisfied no further member wishes to speak on the motion, all questions necessary to dispose of the motion be put and if a recorded division is requested it be deferred to Monday, February 21, 2022, at 7:30 p.m., and that the House stand adjourned until this time;
(f) during the sittings of February 17, 18, 19, 20 and 21,
(i) the Speaker shall not receive any dilatory motions, and shall only accept a request for unanimous consent after receiving a notice from the House leaders or whips of all recognized parties stating that they are in agreement with such a request,
(ii) the House may be adjourned before the aforementioned times pursuant to a motion to adjourn proposed by a Minister of the Crown,

  (1520)  

(iii) the application of Standing Orders 26, 38 and 52 be suspended, the sittings of February 19, 20 and 21 not be counted for the purposes of Standing Orders 34(1), 36(8)(b), 39(5)(b), 51(1), 81(10)(c), 92 and 91.1, Private Members' Business shall not be taken up, and provided that any response to petitions and questions on Order Paper otherwise due on those days shall be tabled at the sitting of the house on February 28, 2022.
(iv) no motion be allowed to be moved during routine proceedings, except by unanimous consent;
(g) notices laid on the table, or filed with the clerk for publication between the hours of 6 p.m. on Thursday, February 17, 2022, and 6 p.m. on Thursday, February 24, 2022, only be printed for the Notice Paper of Monday, February 28, 2022;
(h) when proceedings are completed on the motion for confirmation of the declaration of emergency, the House stand adjourned until Monday, February 28, 2022, at 11 a.m., pursuant to Standing Orders 28(2) and 24(1).

  (1525)  

    All those opposed to the hon. minister's moving the motion will please say nay.
    It is agreed to.

[Translation]

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

    (Motion agreed to)


Orders of the Day

[Statutory Order]

[English]

Emergencies Act

    The House resumed consideration of the motion.
    I rise today with some humility. I rise to speak not on behalf of a political party, because I firmly belief this issue cannot be partisan today. I rise not as a representative of a particular community, because I do not think it is a regional issue that we are discussing today. I rise today, in all sincerity, as a member of Parliament, as a member of this chamber, the House of Commons, committed to serving the public, to serving all Canadians in a genuine effort to do what is best for our country.
    At this stage, I firmly believe that the only way to resolve the present threat that is facing this country is to declare a public order emergency under the Emergencies Act.
    I want to start by talking about the charter. Let me state at the outset that the right to freedom of expression is sacrosanct in this country. It is entrenched in section 2(b) of the charter for a reason: because it is the hallmark of our democracy, and indeed of any democracy. It is the ability for citizens to voice their discontent, to challenge authority and to seek change. I do not deny any of this. To the contrary, I vigorously defend it. I also do not deny that the people gathered outside this very chamber right now, who have been on the streets of Ottawa for what is now 21 days, have legitimate grievances; criticisms of my government, of my party; perhaps even of me personally, which they have every right to air.
    However, in our democracy, freedom of expression, while sacrosanct, is not absolute. This charter protection under section 2(b) extends toward lawful, peaceful protest; the charter does not protect illegal, violent blockades. It is the latter, unfortunately, that this protest has devolved into.
    I want to reference Ottawa. How do I substantiate this assertion I just made? I substantiate it with the evidence I gathered with my own eyes and from the accounts of other parliamentarians that have been shared with me.
    Far from seeing people exercising their constitutional rights to disagree vigorously with the government, we have instead seen intimidation, threats and harassment. We have seen deliberate nuisances being created by truck horns blowing at all hours of the day and night, rendering the city effectively uninhabitable for local residents. We have seen open displays of hatred, such as swastikas and Confederate flags, and acts of direct hatred when windows are smashed on coffee shops that dare to fly the pride flag. We have seen the desecration of national monuments, including our national war memorial. We have seen deliberate efforts to block the movement of people and goods by people intentionally disabling large vehicles and trucks by activating their air brakes or actually removing the tires from their vehicles. We have seen death threats follow toward an Ottawa tow trucking company accused of being complicit with police efforts to remove such disabled vehicles.
    We have seen the shuttering of businesses in the entire downtown core, impeding residents' ability to work. It is puzzling, to say the least, to see protesters who claim to eschew lockdowns themselves causing Ottawa's downtown to enter into a lockdown for a period of now three weeks. We have seen intimidation and threats toward the media, again ironic for those who would be more ardent defenders of freedom of expression than even I am, in terms of what I have articulated. We have seen the active sabotage of 9-1-1 emergency call lines and even an attempted arson.
    The protest ostensibly began over vaccine mandates. It has morphed into what resembles an occupation of the city by people who have openly declared on the public record that they are seeking to overthrow the government. That constitutes a complete breakdown of public order in Ottawa. Despite efforts from the Ottawa Police Service, law and order in the nation's capital have been impossible to maintain.
    The evidence that I am outlining here extends beyond the nation's capital. Members have heard references to the borders. I want to address this now. What commenced as a protest targeting this city and this Parliament has emerged as a concerted effort to block our national border crossings and impede the flow of people and goods. In Texas and Florida and in other parts of the United States and indeed in other nations, foreign entities openly and publicly have declared their sympathy with the blockades and admitted to sending money and resources to help the blockades continue. Today the Anti-Defamation League showed a result of their analysis of the GiveSendGo website; it found 1,100 people in the United States who supported the January 6 insurrection last year actually donated money under GiveSendGo to these blockades. Just let that settle in for a moment, in terms of what the motivations are for such types of people.

  (1530)  

    The blockades that have emerged around the country are deliberately targeting critical infrastructure. We know about what happened at the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor and Detroit. The multi-day siege on Canada's busiest border crossing alone, and I am now wearing my hat as the parliamentary secretary for international trade, resulted in the suspension of nearly $400 million in daily trade between Canada and the United States, the cancellation of shifts at multiple auto plants in southern Ontario and an intervention by President Biden and the Governor of Michigan showing that confidence in Canada as a safe place to invest, do business and trade with is starting to erode.
    Blockades have occurred in Surrey, Emerson and Coutts, Alberta. What should be startlingly alarming for every person in this chamber and every Canadian watching right now is that when members of the RCMP went to clear the Coutts border crossing, they made 13 arrests, including laying charges for conspiracy to commit murder. They found firearms, ammunition and body armour. That bore out certainly my worst fears, and I think all of our worst fears, that blockade protesters were armed and preparing for violent confrontation with law enforcement. The violence is continuing to ratchet up. We have had bomb threats at a Vancouver hospital as well as suspicious packages and language about hanging members of Parliament being sent to colleagues of mine from Nova Scotia.
    I am laying this all out in such excruciating detail because there is a legal test that must be met when we are doing something that has not ever been done under this legislation or even in this country under antecedent legislation in 52 years. The test is high, as it should be, when we are considering a statute that temporarily permits the suspension of civil liberties.
    What is the test? It is entrenched in section 3 of the Emergencies Act, which states:
a national emergency is an urgent and critical situation of a temporary nature that
(a) seriously endangers the lives, health or safety of Canadians and is of such proportions or nature as to exceed the capacity or authority of a province to deal with it, or
(b) seriously threatens the ability of the Government of Canada to preserve the sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of Canada.
    It is my fundamental belief that this high legal threshold has been met in this case. When we have a blockade laying siege to an entire city for 21 days and counting, intimidating, harassing and threatening locals and rendering a city uninhabitable, it is endangering the safety of Canadians. When those blockades limit the ability of medical first responders to respond quickly to emergencies, they are endangering the lives of those on the other end of those 911 calls. When factions armed with weapons and ammunition are blockading borders, they are directly endangering the lives of Canadians. When groups are deliberately blocking trade corridors with our single largest trading partner, grinding our border traffic to a halt, they are threatening the ability of the federal government to preserve our sovereignty and economic security. These are important.
     In the last two minutes, I want to address some of the general objections we have heard, not just today but prior to this.
     To those who say there is an overreach here, I say there are five checks that are important.
    First, everything done by a government under the Emergencies Act must be done in accordance with the charter. That is entrenched in the preamble.
    Second, all declarations are time-limited to 30 days and no more. In fact, it may be less, and hopefully it will be less in this context.
    Third, the very act of declaring an emergency under the declaration must be reviewed by a committee of all members of Parliament and senators from all parties.
    Fourth, the exercise of powers under the declaration must be reviewed by that committee.
    Fifth, following the end of an emergency, a full inquiry must be held.
    What we are doing is not a power grab and it is not the invocation of the War Measures Act; we are simply giving the RCMP the power to enforce local laws and work quickly with local law enforcement. We are not calling in the armed forces. We are not putting the RCMP or any other police force under the control of the government. Policing operational decisions remain independent, as they must in any democracy.
    I am going to end with the right to protest, because people have asked about their children's rights to protest. I take this very seriously, because I myself have taken my children to protests. This law talks about the right to lawful protest. It is in entrenched in black and white. The measures we are contemplating would address or prohibit public assembly that is a threat leading to a breach of the peace; we are specifically carving out the right of lawful advocacy, protest and dissent.
    I would say this to those who say the threats have been addressed: Windsor had an attempted blockade yesterday, and we know the protesters are returning to the Quebec National Assembly on February 19.
    I will conclude with this sincere undertaking to the members of this chamber and all Canadians: I will do everything in my power to ensure that this act lasts for only as long as is absolutely necessary; I will do everything in my power to ensure that there is no overbreadth; I will do everything in my power to ensure that charter rights are always fundamentally protected. All members of Parliament should strive for nothing less.

  (1535)  

    Mr. Speaker, I remain unconvinced by the member's argument, and I recognize the fact that he was a lawyer by profession before he came to this place. I was not a lawyer, thankfully, in my previous life, but the member, during his speech, said that there must be a very high threshold to suspend civil liberties. I would say let us not use American language, and call them charter liberties or charter freedoms. Let us Canadianize it.
     He said there should be an explicitly high threshold before we suspend charter liberties, but that is the opposite of what the Prime Minister said. The Prime Minister said that is actually not going on, and this has happened repeatedly in the last 72 hours. Cabinet ministers say one thing, and then they are contradicted by the Prime Minister. People in my riding, back in Calgary, have very little faith in the government's handling of the situation.
    Can the member clarify what he just said? We are not suspending charter liberties. We are not going after people without some type of recourse to the law. Is he going to ensure the Prime Minister stays on message and stops jacking up and ratcheting up the rhetoric, as people are trying to clear protesters outside this building?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to make clear, as the member for Calgary Shepard has read the material, as I hope everyone who is participating in this debate has read the material, that it talks about certain regulations, certain powers and certain prohibitions. One of the prohibitions is on assemblies that would lead to a breach of the peace, but what is important, and what the Prime Minister and every cabinet minister has said, is that everything that is undertaken under this emergency declaration must be done in compliance with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
    The Charter of Rights and Freedoms talks about charter liberties. It also talks about limitations on such liberties that are saved under section 1. That is the important facet all Canadians must recognize, and that is the important facet under which we will operate as a government. That is what all parliamentarians must operate under, because the charter and those fundamental rights are sacrosanct in our democracy.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, on February 7, the City of Ottawa asked for help. It asked for 1,800 extra police officers.
    The department sent 275 police officers, most of whom are deployed around Parliament, mainly around ministers and the Prime Minister. It appears that there are only 20 extra police officers on the street right now, out of the 1,800 who were requested.
    My question is, if the request from the Ottawa police had been met, is it possible that we would be in a different situation?
    Mr. Speaker, I do not want to get into hypothetical situations or backtrack. However, what I do want to point out is that the City of Ottawa and the Government of Ontario have declared a state of emergency. Both levels of government were unable to resolve the situation here, in Windsor or anywhere else.
    The third and final step is to use the Emergencies Act, if it would help, to resolve the situation. This is a serious situation, and it requires serious action.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I think the member for Parkdale—High Park was effective in talking about the impacts on people's lives from what has happened over the last few weeks. Many people, thousands of Canadians, have lost their jobs, at least temporarily. We have seen businesses closed.
    In Ottawa, they have been going through hell. There is no other way to put it. As members know, there are impacts of the toxic fumes; the impacts of the extraordinarily loud industrial levels of noise, which have caused permanent hearing loss; and the assaults and disrespect that so many of the residents of Ottawa have experienced first-hand. There is no doubt there is a compelling reason. The reality is that we could have well avoided all of this, if the government had acted more promptly.
    I would like to direct the member for Parkdale—High Park specifically to the issues around the proceeds of crime and terrorist financing regulations that were put into place with huge loopholes, which the NDP, for years, has called upon the government to fix. Canada is known as the snow-washing capital of the world, because of money laundering and all these problems.
    Why did the government not move years ago to fix those loopholes, so this financing of what transpires in Ottawa could not have occurred in the first place?

  (1540)  

    Mr. Speaker, what I am trying to do is address the situation that has really seized the city and seized this nation. As opposed to turning back the clock and engaging in what-ifs or hypotheticals about what could have been done previously, we are quite directly, and the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance addressed this in question period, addressing lacunae in financial tracking legislation right now, as that is one of the economic measures contained in this declaration. It allows us to address who is funding, including foreign sources, this particular illegal blockade and make sure it is brought to an end.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to say that I am disheartened to have to give these remarks today. I am saddened by the events that cont