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44th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • No. 062

CONTENTS

Monday, May 2, 2022




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

Volume 151
No. 062
1st SESSION
44th PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Monday, May 2, 2022

Speaker: The Honourable Anthony Rota

    The House met at 11 a.m.

Prayer



Private Members' Business

[Private Members' Business]

  (1105)  

[English]

Hindu Heritage Month

     That, in the opinion of the House, the government should recognize the contributions that Hindu Canadians have made to the socio-economic development of Canada, and their services to the Canadian society, the richness of Hindu Heritage and its vast contribution to the world of arts and science, astronomy to medicine, and its culture and traditions and the importance of educating and reflecting upon it for our future generations in Canada by declaring November, every year, Hindu Heritage Month.
     He said: Mr. Speaker, namaste. Namaskar. This is the Hindu greeting with palms held together and centred in front of the chest while bowing the head down slightly. It means “the divine in me bows to the divine in you”. It shows respect and humility.
    Our wonderful country Canada is an ongoing successful story of a nation with extraordinary cultural, ethnic, linguistic and religious diversity among its residents. Hindus started arriving in Canada more than 100 years back. There are about 600,000 Hindu Canadians, and they arrived here from India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, other South Asian and Southeast Asian countries, African countries, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, other Caribbean countries and many other places.
    Hindu Canadians have made and continue to make significant contributions to Canada’s socio-economic, political and cultural heritage as doctors, scientists, engineers, lawyers, business leaders, artists, academics, government officials, elected officials, etc. From building institutions to being philanthropists, Hindu Canadians have excelled in all services and sectors and in all walks of life.
    This month, the Angus Reid Institute, in partnership with Cardus, published the results of a survey that offers a comprehensive and first-of-its-kind look at the faith journeys of Canadians across the religious spectrum. According to this survey, Canadians raised in the Hindu faith tend to be more privately faithful. They do not necessarily gather as formally and frequently, but nonetheless profess a strong personal connection to their religion. While for many Canadians of Hindu faith attending a temple is a less frequent activity, many have a shrine within their home. Finally, among the seven religious groups, Hinduism is one of only two that had positive views from Canadians in every religious faith group.
    For over thousands of years, Hindus have contributed to mankind's deep knowledge of mathematics, including the invention of zero, architecture, medicine, astronomy, chemistry, navigation, metallurgy and engineering, just to name a few fields. Yoga and meditation are also Hindus' important contributions to world civilization.
     On Hindu heritage, Hindus have an ancient, magnificent and robust inheritance, which they have received from numerous sources: our wisdom traditions, our religious rites and rituals, our literature, our many arts and crafts, our elders, our fairs and festivals and, above all, our many samskaras, or sacraments in our home. That heritage not only gives us a drishti, or world view, but defines our purusharthas, or aims of life, and equally defines our sanskriti, or culture. In short, Hindu heritage defines our dharma.
    In a civilization that is so ancient, what strikes me is that it has not only an unbroken tradition of 5,000 years of recorded history, but also the plurality or diversity of our tradition. Even in the absence of a monolithic religious dispensation, we Hindus, whether in Canada or anywhere in the world, are connected by an invisible thread that binds us together. That is the strength of our Hindu heritage.
     Our wisdom traditions, which start from the Vedas, flow into the Upanishads, or forest discourses, and are followed by our Puranas, or our songs and stories, are philosophically rich and form the foundation of our temple traditions. It is the same vast heritage that informs our costume and cuisine, our habits and behaviour and our arts and crafts.
    Hindu heritage does not restrict itself to religious matters. We have a strong aesthetic foundation that leads to a celebration of saundarya, or what is beautiful. We celebrate beauty in our lives through stories and paintings, song and dance, colour and cuisine, festivals and many family events.
    Though ancient, our heritage is alive and growing. It is open to influences from other civilizations and freely adapts and gives to whomever we come into contact with. Thus it is that, for us Hindus, Canada is a comforting and embracing home away from home.
    Let me now very briefly touch on the Hinduism that is the oldest and one of the largest world religions. Hinduism is also known as sanatana dharma, or eternal natural law. Hindus believe in vasudhaiva kutumbakam: The world is one family. Hindus believe in the oneness of all living beings, everything in creation and the universe. Om is the most sacred sound and symbol of Hinduism. It is chanted aloud and is known as the sound of the universe, and it means universal consciousness.
    The swastika is one of the most sacred symbols for Hindus. In Sanskrit, the word swastika means “that which brings good luck and well-being”. One of the oldest languages in the world, Sanskrit is the language of Hindu sacred texts.
     While Hindus do not have one holy book, the vedas and Upanishads penned thousands of years ago teach core spiritual knowledge and philosophy. In addition, the Bhagavad Gita and Ramayana are the most loved sacred texts. The Bhagavad Gita teaches us that true knowledge is to see God in each soul. Hindus introduced the concept of ahimsa, non-violence, to the world.
    I now go back to Hindu heritage. For many people in the world, cultural heritage refers primarily to tangible or material cultural heritage, such as archaeological sites, historical buildings and precious objects like sculptures, pottery and ornaments in museums. For them, they are what matter the most. There has always been an intangible or living cultural heritage underlying material manifestations that has not been promoted to the extent it deserves. This cultural knowledge is typically oral and is transmitted from elders to younger generations.
     UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, describes cultural awareness or cultural knowledge as what individuals, groups, communities or nations consider as an element of their identity that guides people to respect special values, attend special places, produce and utilize certain objects and manifest certain behaviours.
    The intangible, or living, cultural heritage elements related to Hindu heritage that we need to preserve, celebrate and promote are, number one, oral traditions such as songs, proverbs, tales, legends, myths, epic poetry, dramatic performances, storytelling, etc. Katha is Hindu storytelling, performances of which are ritual events that involve storytellers who recite sacred texts, such as the Puranas or Ramayana, followed by comments.
     Number two is performing arts, which cover theatre, vocal and instrumental music such as Carnatic and Hindustani music, as well as dances like Bharatanatyam, Kathak, Kathakali, Kuchipudi, Manipuri, Odissi and Mohiniattam.
    Number three is social practices, rituals and festive events such as Diwali, Ugadi, Holi, Navratri and Vaisakhi, new year celebrations and traditional games, etc.
     Number four is traditional knowledge, traditional cuisine and traditional medicines, etc.
    Number five is traditional craftsmanship, which brings together numerous traditional arts in the fields of pottery, woodwork, metalwork, jewellery, textiles and leather work.
    It also makes business sense to promote culture and heritage. The arts, culture and heritage sectors of the Canadian economy generate more than $57 billion and provide close to 673,000 jobs in sectors such as music, performing arts, heritage institutions, festivals and celebrations. The activities related to safeguarding Hindu heritage, as per the UNESCO definition, cover awareness-raising, capacity-building and education, inventory-taking, documentation, research, promotion, protection, preservation, revitalization and inscription. This cultural knowledge is typically oral and is transmitted from elders to the younger generations. It is very mobile, as it transcends borders and is adopted by other nations. While it keeps its core, it allows its peripheries to be modified according to the tastes of the time and following the surrounding communities' creativity.

  (1110)  

    The Hindu-Canadian community has talented individuals, experienced practitioners and creative artists, researchers, teachers and entrepreneurs who can help with these aspects of safeguarding Hindu heritage in Canada. We can have promotional activities such as organizing storytelling events, holding photo and video exhibitions, planning competitions, organizing performing arts events and releasing promotional material through media and online platforms. There are excellent capacities among us that need to be identified and employed.
    With the recent census expected to be published next October, the population of Hindu-Canadians is expected to rise much beyond 600,000. Currently, there are more than 220,000 international students from India here in Canada and a majority of them are Hindus. With many of these students expected to become permanent residents and eventually citizens following their education, the number of Hindu-Canadians is expected to go higher.
    According to the Pew Research Center, in the U.S. 77% of Hindu-American adults have a college degree and nearly 50% have a postgraduate degree. While this info is not available for Canada, the numbers are probably better here.
    Hindu-Canadians are a peaceful and productive community and have contributed to the socio-economic development of Canada. They have also added to the richness of the multicultural fabric of our country. Many organizations and hundreds of individuals have expressed support for this motion. I will just name two or three: the Hindu Federation, the Coalition of Hindus of North America and the Canada India Foundation.
    I conclude my speech by stating that making November Hindu heritage month across Canada would allow us to recognize, preserve, celebrate and promote Hindu heritage as defined by UNESCO's intangible or living cultural heritage. Proclaiming Hindu heritage month would also provide an opportunity to remember, celebrate and educate both current and future generations about Hindu-Canadians and the important role they have played, and continue to play, in communities across Canada.

  (1115)  

    Madam Speaker, I would like to congratulate the hon. member for bringing this bill before the House.
    As he is a prominent member of the Hindu community in Canada, could he tell us how the community has integrated into Canadian society in the last decades?
    Madam Speaker, Hindu heritage is adaptable. Wherever it goes, it adapts to the communities in which it resides. In the same way, Hindu Canadians, who have been coming to this wonderful country for more than 100 years, have adapted to the culture and heritage of Canada and Canadians. Just to give one example, it is very common to see Hindu-Canadian families lighting Christmas trees during Christmastime in Canada, and that is the beauty of Hindu Canadians.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I congratulate my colleague on his clarification.
    In Quebec there are no less than 24,000 members of the Hindu community in Montreal. The Bloc Québécois is obviously in favour of occasions to promote culture and heritage.
    My question for my colleague is the following: What is the reason behind my colleague moving this motion at this time to declare November Hindu heritage month?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, Quebec has always shown welcome to Hindu Canadians. In fact, less than two weeks ago, I was in Montreal celebrating a Hindu-Canadian festive event.
    November is a holy month. Mid-October to mid-November is the time when major Hindu festivals, such as Diwali and Navratri, are celebrated, so we thought November would be an appropriate month for Hindu heritage to be celebrated in Canada.
    Madam Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague for his motion and his intervention today. I have an incredible Hindu community in my riding as well. This weekend we celebrated Holi. I was covered in so many colours and it was wonderful to celebrate that joyous festival filled with love and forgiveness. I want to thank the Srishti Foundation and the Hindu Cultural Centre that is in my riding.
    I want to know specifically how the member's motion would financially help organizations like those in my community to have more of these festivals and to grow these festivals, because they teach us more about ourselves and the incredible diversity in our communities.

  (1120)  

    Madam Speaker, there are several federal government programs that allow multicultural communities to celebrate various events. At Canadian Heritage, for example, I know there are funds for The Great India Festival, a three-day festival that is organized every year in Ottawa. Like many other kinds of heritage, the Indo-Canadian or Hindu heritage is also promoted. In addition, there is one specific program that every not-for-profit organization can use, which is the Canada summer jobs program, where students from the community can be employed to help organize the various events that are happening in their communities.
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague from Nepean for his excellent private member's bill. My riding of Winnipeg South has the largest and fastest-growing Hindu community in Manitoba. As the hon. member has mentioned, the Hindu community is making incredible contributions to science, the arts and business.
    During these last two difficult years, I have made the observation that the Hindu heritage is one of service and our Hindu community stepped up mightily. I wonder if the hon. member could reflect on the past two difficult years and how the Hindu community stepped up, not only for Canada but for India.
    Madam Speaker, Hindu Canadians, like all other Canadians, stepped forward and helped. Hindu charitable institutions organized vaccination drives, organized food for the needy, and helped those in need who were struck by this pandemic.
    Madam Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to second this motion, and I commend the hon. member for Nepean for bringing this matter before the House.
     Canada, as is so often observed in this place, is a community of communities. We may not all be immigrants, but all of us, even our first nations, can trace our roots to another place. With such diversity, it is important to celebrate our heritage and to remember our roots as we come together to forge this still young nation.
    Our neighbour to the south, the United States, has for years proclaimed itself to be a melting pot. Those who go there are expected, to a certain degree, to forget their former culture, to melt together to form one America, with a homogenous culture and vision. That was especially apparent when it came to language. How well that has worked in recent years is a matter of debate. The American dream may not be as accessible as it once was, though the ideal remains strong. Different communities are making their voices heard in a way that did not happen in the past.
     In Canada, we have never been a melting pot, never a place where immigrants were expected to become something completely new. Sociologists refer to the Canadian experiment not as a melting pot but as a mosaic, a place where each cultural group retains its distinct identity while contributing to the nation as a whole. In Canada, we celebrate our differences and try to learn from them, to better our cultural understanding of what makes our nation a great nation.
    Hindu heritage month would celebrate Hindu Canadians and the contributions they have made to the socio-economic development of Canada. It would highlight their service to Canadian society, the richness of Hindu heritage and the contributions Hindus have made to the arts and sciences, both in Canada and around the world.
    Hindu heritage month would bring to the forefront the Hindu religion, something many Canadians know little about. As a religion, Hinduism is one of the oldest in the world, with almost a billion adherents worldwide, dating back beyond recorded history. Today, there are nearly 900 million practising Hindus worldwide, about 9% of the world's population. It is the world's third-largest religion, after Christianity and Islam. While most Hindus call India home, there are more than half a million living in Canada. They follow a rich religious tradition, one with high ethical standards and practices designed for both individual and cultural enlightenment.
    The first Hindus came to Canada more than a century ago. They are found in every province and territory. Each one has a different story of how they or their ancestors came to this country, and I do believe the hon. member for Nepean has his own story, too. What they have in common is their desire to become part of Canadian society and to contribute to its well-being.
     When I think about the contributions of Hindus to Canadian society, the first name that comes to mind is that of the late Deepak Obhrai, who served this House and all Canadians as the member of Parliament for Calgary Forest Lawn from 1997 until his death in 2019. Deepak was a proud Canadian, an air traffic controller who retrained as an accountant when he came to Canada and opened his own small business. Before becoming an MP, he served the community as president of the India-Canada Association of Calgary, the Monterey Park Community Association, and the Hindu Society of Calgary. He also served as a vice-president of the National Indo-Canadian Council.

  (1125)  

    When first elected, Deepak served as an opposition MP. Then, when the Conservatives formed government, he became parliamentary secretary to the minister of foreign affairs and to the minister of international co-operation. In those roles, he was able to visit other countries as a representative of his adopted country. His official visits took him to more than 100 different lands. He could tell stories about his adventures in practically every country in the world.
    Deepak was known for his support of immigrants in general and the Hindu community in particular. He may have lived in Calgary, but he was known to every Canadian of Hindu or Indian descent. He was proud of his roots and proud of his adopted country and the opportunities it offered to immigrants like him. He understood that there are no limits to what may be accomplished by those who make Canada their home.
    In 2017, he ran for the leadership of the federal Conservative Party. His goal was to become the first Hindu prime minister of Canada. He dared to dream big, even knowing the odds were against him. That is the Hindu spirit. His presence enriched the campaign and the Conservative Party at that time.
     Deepak Obhrai's story, as I have said, is but one of so many success stories that can be told of Hindus in Canada. All too often, though, these stories are not well known outside a limited community. Setting aside November every year as Hindu heritage month would allow the Hindu community a platform to present their history, their culture and the stories of their people to a wider audience. As Canadians, we like to celebrate our diversity. We are a nation of stories and storytellers, painting a rich tapestry of cultures that is envied by nations the world over.
    That tapestry has been made stronger by the contributions of Hindu Canadians. Whether their origins are in India, Fiji, Mauritius, South Africa, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Eastern Africa, like my friend Deepak Obhrai, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan or Sri Lanka, their presence has enriched Canadian society. They have become an important part of the Canadian mosaic, and it is only fitting that we recognize that fact.
    I am confident that all the members in this House will support the member for Nepean in his desire to see the establishment of Hindu heritage month. I congratulate the hon. member for Nepean for bringing this bill before the House and thank him for his service to Canadians.

  (1130)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, namaste.
    I am very pleased to rise in the House as the my party's critic on living together to speak to Motion No. 42, which would declare November Hindu heritage month.
    The motion, for the benefit of my colleagues, reads as follows:
    That, in the opinion of the House, the government should recognize the contributions that Hindu Canadians [and Quebeckers] have made to the socio-economic development of Canada [and Quebec], and their services to the Canadian society, the richness of Hindu Heritage and its vast contribution to the world of arts and science, astronomy to medicine, and its culture and traditions and the importance of educating [this is very important, I will come back to it] and reflecting upon it for our future generations in Canada [and Quebec] by declaring November, every year, Hindu Heritage Month.
    First, I want to say hello to my colleague from Nepean who moved this motion. It has the support of 14 other members, so it must be relevant. I will state right away that, for many reasons, and I will not go into them all today, we will be voting in favour of this motion. I would nevertheless like to explain why we, in the Bloc Québécois, are the sort of people who appreciate this kind of initiative.
    The reason is that this is an era of extremes. These days, people are so afraid of offending anyone that they are constantly walking on eggshells. Victimhood activists everywhere are monopolizing the public debate to the extent that many people hesitate to speak up out of fear of inadvertently making a faux pas. This silences voices that would be more worth listening to than the ones we hear nowadays, which yell but, of course, do not listen.
    I recently learned that I, a white man in my fifties—by the way, I am turning 54 tomorrow, for those who would like to know—am not allowed to talk about racism or social injustice, or even express an opinion on certain situations, not even to defend the oppressed. The simple reason is that as a white man in my fifties, turning 54 tomorrow, I am privileged, which means I do not know what I am talking about. My opinion is immediately considered to be patronizing for the individuals or groups who define themselves as victims of oppression, injustice or inequality.
    However, I call myself a progressive. I consider myself to be someone who has actively worked on opening doors and removing barriers so that immigrants can join our society as smoothly as possible, with respect for our respective values, both their values as new Quebeckers and ours as Quebeckers of all origins who have been in Quebec for one generation or many.
    My generation played a role in making progress for groups that have been oppressed and discriminated against. My generation recognizes that there is still a lot of work to be done before every person is included and respected. However, the pendulum is swinging so far the other way that it seems people in my generation would no longer be included in these efforts.
    I object to how people like me and many of my colleagues are being shut out of the discussion. It upsets me because this is a divisive, not to say polarizing, debate that serves as a distraction from what I feel is the most obvious point when we are talking about cultural diversity and the integration of immigrants in Quebec and Canada.
    The only reason that intolerance and racism are still an issue in 2022 is ignorance. The only way to combat ignorance is through education, which is precisely what Motion No. 42, which we are debating today, would allow for, and that is why I support it, as I said. Activism is not what will help swing that pendulum back to the other end of the spectrum. As I said earlier and as we can see, when the pendulum moves so swiftly, there is no time for any nuance, for discussion or for education. If people are to learn, they need education. They need to be taught. People need to be able to speak up, talk to each other and explain things without having others constantly take offence. As members know, everyone has a thin skin these days, but it has not always been this way.
    I would like to take a moment to look back on the past, my past. Let us imagine that it is 1971 in Quebec City. I am a little boy. My brother and I are excited because we are about to welcome our little sister, who my parents just adopted. This baby, who was born in Jamaica, is going to become part of our family, and our lives are about to take a rather unexpected turn as a result. It is important to understand that there were not a lot of Black people in Quebec City in 1971. I always joke that, besides my sister, the only Black people in Quebec City in 1971 were one or two African professors at Laval University and a guy who got lost trying to find his way back to Montreal and ended up staying.

  (1135)  

    I was lucky. I had a sister who opened our minds and helped us become aware of the issue of difference at a very young age. I am not yet talking about racism. As we grew up, we felt the disconcerting sidelong glances that people gave not only my sister, but us as well, her family members. Although we did not feel as hurt by this as she did, we were still targeted.
    I heard every kind of comment imaginable, from derogatory remarks to things that were less hurtful but that clearly showed that ignorance and fear of the unknown were the cause of the resulting intolerance and racism. Ignorance does not always manifest itself in a disparaging or mean way. Sometimes, it can even be a bit funny.
    Here is one example. My sister was probably about two years old when a woman approached my mother to ask, intrigued, how she would understand my sister when she started talking. Had my mother learned the language of my sister's native country? My mother gave me a little wink and told the woman that she was completely fluent in the language of my sister's country.
    All through my childhood, I answered questions about my sister. How long was her hair when she straightened it? Could she get a sunburn? It was naive ignorance. Unless it is addressed head-on with education and discussion, that kind of ignorance can grow and morph into intolerance, racism and fear of the other.
    I feel that I did a pretty good job of educating people around me about my sister at the time because, a little later, when we were teenagers, my friends' questions about my sister changed. Was she single, and would she mind if they called her?
    I just wanted to share that story to illustrate how important it is to be open-minded and to educate each other. That is the secret to a diverse society in which people of all different backgrounds must and can live together and integrate while upholding the host society's basic values and still honouring their own culture. In my ideal world, all these diverse cultures actually help strengthen Quebec society's guiding principles with their customs, flavours, music, poetry and traditions.
    I am not talking here about Canadian‑style multiculturalism, which I think is more like a Tower of Babel than an integration model. I am talking about my dream society, where all cultures converge and become part of a strong tree whose roots serve as a foundation for each one to thrive in a context of mutual respect. It is about opening up, and learning from and about each other.
    Just talking about Hindu heritage month made me learn 100 times more than all I knew or thought I knew about the culture and Hinduism. One of the things I learned is that we have architectural treasures. In Dollard-des-Ormeaux, for example, there is an absolutely majestic temple that is worth a visit for its architecture, as well as the history of its design and construction.
    I also learned a lot about certain rituals that had to be adapted because events cannot always be celebrated outside, as they are in India or in other places in the world where the weather allows it. The dates of celebrations and events have even been moved during the year to adapt to the weather in Quebec.
    I was fascinated to learn so much in so little time while doing a bit of quick research for my speech this morning. If I could learn so much in the little time I had, imagine what an entire month could do if used properly.
    What will we do that month?
    We are often asked to devote months to different cultures or different themes. I am certainly open to declaring November Hindu heritage month, but my one hope is that the month will be used for communicating, sharing and promoting the culture, because that is how these months become relevant, in my opinion.
    I will quickly close by congratulating Sunil Chandary, a constituent in my riding who made a lot of sacrifices to come here. I know that he is watching today. I want to tell him how glad I am to have him here and how much I appreciate the advice he gave me for my presentation this morning. I want to assure him that we will help him and be there for him throughout the process to get his wife and son here from India so they can join him in Drummondville and enrich our society, just as people from all backgrounds do.

  (1140)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, today I am proud to rise in support of what I believe to be another crucial and important opportunity for us and all Canadians to reflect on what this place, this land and this territory really mean.
    When I was young growing up in the Fishing Lake Métis Settlement, one of eight Métis settlements in Canada, one of the things my kokum would always mention is that people come here from all walks of life seeking refuge, peace and safety. When our ancestors welcomed people into our community onto these territories, we did so with open arms. We did so wanting to understand one another. We did so wanting to cherish one another. We did so knowing that we could do that in peace. However, today, we have to go much further than that. We have to recommit ourselves to understanding the impact that Hindu Canadians have had on our society and redouble our efforts in making sure that they are recognized, they are seen and their achievements are truly noted.
    I want to give a special thanks to my hon. colleague, the member for Nepean, for ensuring that we recognize each November as Hindu heritage month and that we continue on this very important and, I would say, sacred obligation to recognize each and every member of our community here in Canada and their unique contributions to building this place.
    As we recognize and celebrate the achievements of various diaspora communities in Canada, the New Democrats are proud to stand in support of the motion to do the same for Hindu Canadians, which is truly what is right. They have built a better Canada for us. They have contributed to a Canada that we enjoy today, and we must ensure that their recognition stands the test of time.
    As one of the oldest living religions in the world, Hindus' teachings of love, equality and peace resonate here in Canada. In many ways, they are the very same values of my people, the Métis and the Cree: the values of love, the values of equality and the values of Canada.
    I feel it is extremely important to remember the contributions of the nearly half a million Hindus who came to Canada from all parts of the world and now call this great place home. From advancing science and technology to making their mark in our academia, politics and overall Canadian society, it is truly something worth recognizing.
    Canadian Hindu communities deserve complete recognition, because often, through recognition, we also have to recognize pain. Many communities have come to Canada after fleeing and finding a way to escape this pain. We have to ensure that the next generation not only recognizes the hardships of their ancestors and maybe even the current generation, but projects that into strength for the community.
    I want to take a moment to highlight and condemn the many attacks on places of worship that we have seen in large Hindu communities. It is truly troubling in Canada. Burglaries and hate attacks are on the rise, and we must have the courage to stand and defend our fellow Canadians and our Hindu Canadians.
    As the member for Nepean highlighted, Hindus possess a great cultural knowledge base that has scientific roots and deep intellectual roots. There have been immense contributions, particularly to astronomy. We have seen, for example, the formation of the number zero, which has laid the foundation of advanced mathematics, the same mathematics we use here today. It is a contribution we must recognize. It is something that our children right now in schools across the country continue to learn.
    We are truly blessed in the way that our country has the ability to bring these teachings to one place, to one foundation, for the betterment of all people. I believe that is the spirit of Canada. That is the spirit of my ancestors. When we welcomed Europeans here for the first time, it was our intent to create peace, mutual prosperity and, moreover, a place where each and every one of us can truly be ourselves.

  (1145)  

    Canada has been a refuge and home to various communities, particularly now, for example, with welcoming many Ukrainians and Afghans. We must not forget our existing commitments to the world, but this is an example of what happens when we invite people into our community and our homes. We are truly all the better for it, just as we welcome many more today.
    I want to call on the federal government, in relation to this motion, to contribute funds and resources to the Hindu community so that we can continue to see the impact in each and every one of our communities. Everyone of us in every single one of our districts has been impacted by members of the Hindu community. They have contributed so much, and it is the very least we can do to ensure that their recognition, their visibility and their safety are paramount.
    Creating a Canada that is safe for culturally diverse immigrants and the many families that are still here today is a job that is ongoing. We know, people of colour know and immigrant families know that in Canada today, we are still facing the ugly truth of racism and its long-lasting barriers. The fear of not being able to pronounce something correctly is a real barrier to people succeeding in this country. Hindu heritage month seeks to remedy that by demonstrating to all Canadians, businesses, not-for-profits and even the government that Hindus, much like all communities seeking peace, deserve a place here and deserve recognition for their contributions.
    This means that we must take a principled position to support these communities and have a unique attention on the fact that hate crimes are affecting them. This must be a motivation for us. This must be a stepping place for us to ensure that we eliminate hate in all places.
    It also means providing unique support for languages. The Hindu community has a diverse language and dialect that requires Canadians to adapt to ensure that we create space and opportunity for those folks who would rather speak their mother tongue. In the House, we have spoken about mother tongue recognition. We have spoken about the importance of our cultures and our languages to this country. Recognizing the contributions along with the language is part of that. We cannot fully have the recognition of language without fully having the recognition of culture, peoplehood, nationhood and religion.
    I am positive that this motion will celebrate diversity. That is its intent. I believe that in celebrating our place here in Canada and celebrating the fact that we are neighbours, we have the opportunity to learn from one another. Canada is a place in the world where we can do that in a way that many other countries cannot. I see that as a strength for us. It is a strength to be able to see our Hindu Canadians succeed. It is a strength to see Hindu Canadians succeed in our academics, politics and cultural institutions. I know Hindu Canadians will contribute greatly to our cultural mosaic and the future of our country.
    The New Democrats want to congratulate the member for Nepean for ensuring that this work is done and that Hindu Canadians see themselves this November. We have had a tough year. We have had a tough few years. All Canadians, including Hindu Canadians, have taken a leadership role throughout this time. We want to recognize them for their contributions and sacrifice in making sure that the Hindu Canadian community continues to be resilient and prosperous. When we get to a point when we can celebrate together again, I look forward to this November when we can celebrate the very first Hindu heritage month.

  (1150)  

    Madam Speaker, namaste. It is such a pleasure to rise and speak to my colleague and friend's motion recognizing the significant contributions that Hinduism has offered not only to Canada but to the world. I was very impressed as I listened to his opening remarks. We get a sense of pride in Canada's diversity when a member of the House of Commons stands in this place with a great deal of pride to talk about the importance of Hinduism to every Canadian, no matter where they live, and about the many contributions that people of the Hindu faith have made over a hundred years here in Canada. There are contributions in virtually every political, economic and social sector of our society today. Ultimately, I suggest that it is a part of our Canadian identity. One only needs to listen to what the member for Nepean had to say to get an appreciation of just how important it is to our society.
    Members might recall the issue of the swastika. When it is being debated inside the chamber, it is often debated in a very negative sense, but it was our friend who brought its meaning to our attention in a very real and passionate way. He even sent me a YouTube link on the importance of that symbol to Hinduism, and that has not been lost on me, nor, I suspect, on many others.
    I say that because in a good way, education is the best way for us to combat issues like racism and intolerance. I genuinely believe to my core that the way to evolve into a better society is though education. Motions like the one the member has presented today are opportunities for all of us to continue along that line. Declaring the month of November as Hindu heritage month would provide each and every one of us the opportunity, if we choose, to ultimately promote and encourage educational opportunities.
    As passionate as the member for Nepean is on this particular motion, I have seen the member participate in other types of heritage month celebrations. For example, I can recall him standing on the lawns of the House of Commons talking about and participating in Filipino Heritage Month. I say that because when we have a heritage month, it offers a broader opportunity for all of us to become better acquainted with and have a better understanding of faiths and ethnicities.
    Hinduism is the third-largest religion and way of life in the world today. It has well over a billion people. As my colleague pointed out, there are just over 600,000 here in Canada. What an amazing community, as the member referenced. I suspect that if we looked at this per capita based on communities, we would be very impressed with the level of education and expertise and the sense of professionalism that can be found among our people of Hindu faith.
    While I was an MLA, I had a little more time to go into a number of different communities. I am very grateful for Manitoba Hindu Seniors Inc. It would invite me quite often to its centre, which is located on Ellice Avenue in Winnipeg. Just recently, it was the recipient of a grant from Ottawa to assist in the modernization of its accessibility.

  (1155)  

    I can tell members that, when I attended events, every one of them provided some sort of educational opportunity, whether it was a celebration of the country of India's independence or providing a better understanding of what Hinduism is really all about. My colleague made reference to a thread of life that unites Hinduism around the world, and Hindus can be united through that thread. The first time I heard something of that nature was at the Manitoba Hindu Seniors centre.
    Would one want an appreciation of brilliant colours and to know the importance of colours to the world? We already had one member make reference to the celebration of Holi and the many different colours one can experience. If someone wants a good sense of that, they could attend a Holi celebration sponsored by members of our Hindu communities, and they would see the joy, happiness and love in the hearts of people in a real and tangible way.
    Thousands of Winnipeggers, non-Hindus, see that every year, with the exception of the last couple of years because of the pandemic, when they attend a traditional summer festival known as Folklorama. At Folklorama, people can go to the India pavilion where they will see many religious symbols of the Hindu community and see many of the different dances that originate from the Hindu faith or followers of the Hindu faith. It is very inspiring.
    I remember one of the dance instructors I got to know and knew for many years. She once talked to those in attendance, these young ladies, about how it is an impressive art that the dance provides to the community. She was very much boastful of her students. She talked about how, at the time, somewhere around 80 students had graduated from her school, and 67 of them had gone on to become doctors. I suspect the discipline in learning the dance, the understandings and the meanings of the dance, contributed to that.
    The member made reference to the importance of the preservation and encouragement of the many aspects of the Hinduism faith. It is so critically important. We see that the contributions go far beyond the faith alone. It is rooted in the faith, a faith that has been in existence for a while. I have heard it called the oldest religion. I think it gets that because of a script that was written thousands of years ago. In fact, it might be the first script written of a religious nature. Do not quote me on that, but I believe that is where it comes from. We are talking about thousands of years ago. Around 4,000 years would be my best guesstimate.
    It is a religion that has a great deal of tolerance. I have had the opportunity to participate in special engagements, be at the temples, see the shrines come to life and see the manner in which that is conducted. There is an understanding and appreciation of other faiths. There is a lot to be learned by that. That is why I think having a heritage month for Hinduism in November would be of great benefit to all Canadians. It would not be just for the Hindu community, but for all Canadians. I look forward to future months of November when we will see extra celebrations because of this motion ultimately passing through the House of Commons.

  (1200)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is rare moment indeed when I find myself agreeing with the member for Winnipeg North, but from what I see of what is on the agenda today, I will have plenty of opportunity to disagree with him for many hours to come.
    Today, we are debating Motion No. 42, which is a motion to establish Hindu heritage month in Canada. Canada's Parliament has by now an established tradition of discussing and generally unanimously passing bills or motions to designate a particular month for the purpose of recognizing and celebrating the contributions of a particular community. I think this practice originated with the recognition of February as Black History Month.
    Canada now has recognized many months to celebrate a number of communities, including the Tamil community, the Jewish community, the Dutch community, the Mennonite community, the Irish community, the Asian community, the Italian community, the Filipino community, the Portuguese community, the German community and the Sikh community. I may have missed some. I know there are lots, and I did my best to find them all. I also believe there are some other months recognized at the provincial level, which may be different from the ones that are recognized federally.
    There are lots of opportunities to celebrate in this country. These initiatives might not reflect the number one priority of the community in question, but they do constitute a valuable opportunity for us to recognize and appreciate the substantive contribution of people of different ethnic and religious backgrounds, and that practice contributes to a sense of national inclusion and pluralism.
    It is noteworthy that we have shifted recently from previously only recognizing ethnocultural communities to now also recognizing religious communities with these months. It is important to reflect on this because religious traditions and religious diversity by their nature bring something different to our national life than ethnocultural traditions and ethnocultural diversity do.
    One's membership in a particular ethnic group may be very important to one's identity and can be associated with a broad range of cultural practices, but religious identity reflects an individual's voluntary choice. It is a choice to believe in and associate oneself with a community that believes in a particular system of thought that seeks to answer fundamental questions about the ends to which life should be directed.
    Many people embrace a religious identity as part of membership in a community and see a close tie to their cultural identity, but these things are conceptually very different. I see great value in recognizing the contribution of religious traditions, specifically, as well as ethnocultural traditions.
    We cannot pass the first hour of debate on this without recognizing the contributions of the great Deepak Obhrai, the first member of Parliament of Hindu origin elected to this House and a former Conservative leadership candidate. I believe, if he were still alive today, he would be running again, and no doubt would have been a juggernaut in this one. It is therefore important to recognize Deepak Obhrai, and I will have much more to say on the subject of Hinduism and its contribution to Canada at a subsequent time.
    I thank members for their interventions. The time provided for the consideration of Private Members' Business has now expired, and the order is dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence on the Order Paper.

Points of Order

Motion No. 11—Speaker's Ruling 

[Speaker's Ruling]
    I am now ready to rule on the points of order raised on April 28, 2022, by the chief opposition whip and the House leader of the official opposition concerning, respectively, the admissibility and division of Government Business No. 11.
    The chief opposition whip challenged the admissibility of subparagraph (b)(ii) of the motion which will prohibit quorum calls after 6:30 p.m. on extended sitting days. The member argued that a 20-member quorum is a constitutional requirement, explicitly stated in section 48 of the Constitution Act, 1867. To this I would add that this quorum obligation is also found in Standing Order 29. The member alleged that the motion would render this requirement meaningless, as there would be no means of enforcing it. He also suggested that the House cannot, by motion alone, alter a constitutional requirement in regard to the minimum presence of members.
    For his part, the House leader of the official opposition maintained that Government Business No. 11 is an omnibus motion, consisting of several parts, each capable of standing on its own. In his view, the motion could be divided into seven separate questions, each debated and voted on individually, while noting that some parts could be grouped together for debate. Citing instances when this had happened, he asked the Chair to exercise its authority and divide the motion as per his suggestion.
     The Parliamentary Secretary to the government House leader countered that the motion does not require any division since the unifying theme is to organize the business of the House for the remaining weeks before the summer adjournment. He submitted that similar motions containing many provisions relating to the business of the House have been adopted in the past, without being divided.

  (1205)  

[Translation]

     The Chair will begin by addressing the elements brought forward by the chief opposition whip. While he is correct in stating that certain elements of our procedure are provided for in the Constitution and are not subject to amendment or suspension by motion alone, the Chair does not believe that this is what the motion does. It instead prevents members from drawing the Chair’s attention to the absence of a quorum during a particular part of the sitting. As the chief opposition whip readily concedes, there is ample precedent for such motions, as they are regularly adopted by unanimous consent in relation to debates taking place in the evenings. I find it difficult to conclude that such motions are constitutional when adopted by unanimous consent, but unconstitutional if proposed in a debatable government motion.

[English]

    Secondly, members will recognize that there are already circumstances during which quorum calls are not permitted. For example, Standing Order 29(5) authorizes the Speaker to take the chair when the Usher of the Black Rod is at the door whether quorum is present or not.
    Moreover, it is a well-established practice that a quorum call is not permitted during Oral Questions, Statements by Members, Adjournment Proceedings or the taking of a recorded division. Therefore, in the Chair's view, this provision alone does not render Government Business No. 11 inadmissible.

[Translation]

    As for the second matter concerning the division of the said motion, I would like to reiterate the ruling of one of my predecessors, cited by the House leader of the official opposition which can be found at page 65 of the Debates of October 17, 2013:
    In adjudicating cases of this kind, the Chair must always be mindful to approach each new case with a fresh eye, taking into account the particular circumstances of the situation at hand. Often, there is little in the way of guidance for the speaker and a strict compliance with precedent is not always appropriate.
    I would suggest, like my predecessors, that the Chair should exercise caution before intervening in the business of the House and, more precisely, before dividing a motion.

[English]

    With this in mind, the Chair has considered the arguments put forward and reviewed the provisions of Government Business No. 11. There is indeed an overall theme to the motion, relating to the management of the House’s schedule and its business, and therefore the Chair does not believe it meets the threshold required to be divided for the purpose of individual debates. However, the Chair does agree that some provisions of the motion are sufficiently distinct to be the subject of a separate vote.
    Therefore, I rule that the motion will be divided in three parts for the purpose of voting, which are as follows: part I, consisting of paragraphs (a), (b), (c) and (d), relating to the business of the House for the remaining sitting weeks until June 23; part II, consisting of paragraph (e), which relates to deadlines set for the Special Joint Committee on Medical Assistance in Dying; and part III, consisting of the last paragraph that seeks to permanently amend Standing Order 28(1), listing the days on which the House shall not meet.

[Translation]

     I thank all members for their attention.

Government Orders

[S. O. 57]

  (1210)  

[Translation]

Extension of Sitting Hours and Conduct of Extended Proceedings

Motion That Debate Be Not Further Adjourned  

     Mr. Speaker, in relation to the consideration of Government Business No. 11, I move:
    That the debate be not further adjourned.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, obviously I stand with profound disappointment, for two reasons. The first is that we are even in a position where Motion No. 11 is needed by the government. The second is the fact that the Liberals have invoked closure after just two hours of debate. This is an admission by the government. What makes it worse is the fact that I suspect that the NDP is complicit in the government's action. This is a mismanagement of the government's House time on the part of the government House leader and the government.
    There has been a decline in democracy in this country, and it is a pattern that has existed with the current government. We saw it with Motion No. 6 in previous Parliaments. In fact, when COVID first hit, there was an introduction of a bill that would have given the government complete taxing power and power over Parliament. This pattern of disdain and contempt for this Parliament is consistent with the current government. Now that the Liberals have the NDP in their hip pocket, while this is outside the scope of the supply and confidence agreement, I suspect that we are going to see this pass.
    Given the circumstances and the confidence that Canadians have with respect to their public institutions and with respect to the way this place operates, how can the minister expect that this is going to create any greater confidence in the face of the decline in our democracy, when the Liberals are pulling stunts like this?
    Madam Speaker, I, too, am disappointed. However, I am disappointed in the behaviour that is being shown by the Conservative Party in this House, obstructing, at every single turn, every single piece of legislation. We are doing this in order to facilitate debate, in order to allow the hon. members the time in which to speak.
    We spent 12 days debating Bill C-8. Among the things the bill would do is to help farmers get their tax credit on the carbon tax, the price on pollution. There would be billions of dollars for rapid tests. There would be ventilation for our schools. We all know a lot of parents who are concerned because their kids are going to school in the pandemic context and they want better ventilation for their schools. We had 12 days of debating a fall economic statement that includes measures to aid the lives of human beings. Can they imagine what will happen when we get to the budget? We are doing this to facilitate debate because of the obstructionist tacts by the Conservative Party.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, time and time again, this government has obstructed democracy with the help of its NDP pals. That has to be getting a little embarrassing.
    They have moved an omnibus motion to run roughshod over democracy, and now here they are with a closure motion that does the same thing.
    The Liberals are brazenly running roughshod over democracy, which is a big deal, and it is all because they cannot for the life of them manage the legislative calendar. They are amateurs.
    During question period, we always point out how amateurish the Liberals are, and when we look at debate in the House, that is abundantly clear.
    My question is simple. Are they not tired of being such amateurs?

  (1215)  

    Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague from La Prairie for his question.
    I am surprised that he is aligning himself with the Conservatives, who are blocking the work of the House. What we are doing here is giving members time to debate issues as they are presented. That is all. We are here to organize the legislative calendar. Canadians and Quebeckers elected us to get things done.
    We have an ambitious agenda, and we want to implement it. We want to work with the members of the House, but the obstructionist tactics of the Conservative Party, supported by the Bloc Québécois, are creating obstacles. That is why we want to put an end to the procedural gridlock to bring more democracy and respect to the House.
    As I said, I am surprised to see that the hon. member for La Prairie does not support us.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I am surprised at the Conservatives' attitude. They have been blocking bills that would actually provide supports, talking about Bill C-8, to teachers and farmers, and around COVID. The Conservatives have been blocking these bills for months without any explanation, except that they want to block everything that comes through the House.
    The solution that is being offered is that we extend debate and sit until midnight. Past Conservative governments did the same thing, with one notable exception: The Conservatives never showed up. We remember that during the dismal decade of the Harper government, we saw these kinds of motions brought forward, and over 200 times, Conservatives who were scheduled to speak did not show up to work. It is unbelievable that they would let down Canadians in the way that they have.
    For the life of me, I cannot understand why Conservatives object so strenuously to sitting until midnight, because that is the solution. Let us sit longer. Let us work harder. Let us get bills passed to help Canadians.
    My question for my colleague is simply this: Why do Conservatives object so strenuously to sitting until midnight?
    Madam Speaker, I share that frustration. I saw it with Bill C-5 in the previous Parliament, which is now being slowed down in this Parliament, again by the Conservative Party, for ideological reasons that actually have nothing to do with the empirical evidence behind the bill.
    The hon. member for New Westminster—Burnaby, like all Canadians, wants to get things done in this House. He wants to see us accomplish measures that better the lives of Canadians, and that is what we are doing. That is what we are doing with this bill. As the hon. member pointed out, we are here to extend hours. We are here to give every issue adequate time to be ventilated and for adequate discussion to be had in order to move forward with a progressive, substantive agenda.
    That is why we are here. We are here to organize that. These are measures that have been taken in the past in this House. We are doing it again, and we are doing it to facilitate and prolong debate. I, too, share the surprise at the Conservative Party's not wanting to stay for fulsome debate.
    Madam Speaker, there is an example of the Liberal-NDP marriage, the NDP in the corner, carrying the water for the government, when it should be debating and acting as the opposition, fighting the government.
    We are prepared to work, and we have been working. What the minister has set up as holding up debate on this is actually debating, doing our job as a democracy, speaking against bills when we think we should be against bills. Canadians are expecting us to be against this terrible budget, yet the government says that is obstructing Parliament. It is called debate. That is our job. This is from the Minister of Justice. It just baffles me that he would come with that as the foundation of his argument.
    I would ask him one simple question. This is going to have major effects on committees. How many committee meetings is he planning to stop with Motion No. 11?

  (1220)  

    Madam Speaker, I know that our House leadership has been careful to make sure, in proposing this motion and moving forward with this plan, that the various kinds of work being done in Parliament outside of this chamber are also done in a safe, secure and healthy fashion. I am not worried about working harder. I know that members opposite like to repeat the same arguments over and over again. That is what they call debate, but they do not add anything new. We are going to give them a chance to do that for as long as they want without impeding the work of this place.
    It is critically important that we get legislation through. We have seen, as I have said, 12 days on the fall economic statement, which contains real measures to aid the lives of Canadians, including people they claim to want to represent, like farmers and parents. It is baffling to see the way they block and block. We are taking measures to make this place work better.
    Madam Speaker, what is baffling is having the justice minister actually stand in this place and talk in the way he is. Bill C-8 was not introduced until December 16, so he is playing around a bit with the facts here. It went to committee February 1 and came back from committee on March 1. After December 16, the House was not sitting for six weeks, so there was no obstruction going on.
     Nobody on this side of the House is afraid to work. These are multi-billion dollar bills that the government for some reason expects the official opposition and the third party just to simply rubber-stamp without questioning, without proposing and without amending.
     How can the Liberals contribute to the further decline in our democracy? People in this country are looking at this place as its symbol, yet the government continues to contribute to the decline in democracy. I do not understand how the justice minister can stand here and defend this action by his government.
    Madam Speaker, I dispute the hon. member's narrative of events. I have been here since 2015, and I have watched the Conservatives' systematic obstruction time and time again. I have seen it on my own bills as minister, and now we are seeing it again. I welcome the day when cameras show all the members of the House of Commons at the same time, so that Canadians can actually see the kinds of things that are happening when there is somebody speaking.
    It is critically important that we get our legislative agenda through. It is what the vast majority of Canadians elected us to do, and it is what we are going to do. We are using measures that have been used in the past by governments of all political stripes. The measures are going to allow for debate to happen. They will incentivize members of Parliament to use their time better, and we will get our progressive agenda through, working with other members of Parliament in good faith.
    Madam Speaker, we just had the opposition House leader admit to the Conservatives' blocking these bills for two months. He just stood up, went through the timeline and admitted to everybody that for two months, Conservatives blocked the bills, despite the fact that Canadian teachers have been writing to them wanting to get the tax credit that is in Bill C-8 and Canadian farmers have been writing to them.
    The Conservatives have thrown aside any kind of public input. They are just running rogue. They are renegades, yet they reference democracy. This is the same party that had members of its caucus endorsing the so-called “freedom convoy”, whose vowed objective was the overthrow of constitutional government. We then have Conservatives standing up in this House and trying to say that somehow they actually support democracy, with that as their track record. What a joke.
    What happened to the Conservative Party that in December endorsed the ban on conversion therapy, that was productive and working well in this minority Parliament? What has happened to the Conservatives over the last few months that they will even refuse to sit late and refuse to pass legislation that Canadians are asking for? What is it about the Conservative Party that has turned?

  (1225)  

    Madam Speaker, the hon. member indeed reminds me that Conservatives, whether inside or outside the House, seem to have fallen in love with blocking and blockades.
    We are here because we have many other pieces of legislation, including a budget. There is not just Bill C-8, which, as we have mentioned, has had 12 days of debate and obstruction and concurrence motions and everything else that the Conservatives can throw up in order to delay it, but also Bill C-7, which we have not debated yet, and Bill C-9, which we have not debated yet. There is Bill C-18 and there is Bill C-19.
    There are all kinds of things that we have yet to debate, as well as the budget, and that is because the official opposition simply wants to run out the clock; delay, delay, delay; and use every tactic at its disposal to throw this government off its agenda. Canadians do not want that. They want us to work together.
    Madam Speaker, I was here from 2011 to 2015. The most shocking thing I have seen today is the member for New Westminster—Burnaby swallow himself whole. He routinely raged against any motion for closure and routinely raged against any motion for time allocation. It was as if the sky were falling. Now he is in the Liberals' back pocket, saying this is a great thing.
    Growing up, my parents always told me that when someone shows us who they are, we should believe them. Let us look at some things. Who would bring forward this kind of a time allocation on this motion? Perhaps it would be someone whose leader said he admired China's basic dictatorship and a justice minister who said that debate is obstruction. We see where these people are going.
    If this is all about debate and we want more time for debate, why does the motion include the ability for a cabinet minister to move to adjourn the House for the summer? If it is about debate, why do the Liberals not take that out and prove it is about debate? I can tell members that they will not.
    Madam Speaker, I found the hon. member's intervention quite amusing, and I am sure he meant it that way.
    The House leadership, and our government House leader, have made it clear that particular provision is a common motion that is used at the end of every parliamentary session. We have put it in now with the engagement to not use it until the very last week when it is commonly used. It is there as part of this package in order to get more pieces of legislation through, and get us through to the end of June. It is there to be used at the end of the session, when it is traditionally used, on consent by all the parties, working together. That is how it will be used again.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, this debate is an embarrassment.
    I have listened to the debate on Motion No. 11. I listened to the very lengthy speech my colleague from Winnipeg North gave on this motion last week.
    Everything in the rhetoric we hear from the Liberals and NDP seems to suggest that there are good democrats, in other words, those who support Motion No. 11, on one side of the House, and then there are bad democrats, basically the Conservative and Bloc Québécois members who oppose the motion, on the other side.
    Motion No. 11 is not just about extending our sitting time. It also contains a number of measures to muzzle the opposition.
    The funny thing is, when I think about the Liberals and democracy, I remember the Prime Minister, with his hand on his heart during the election campaign, talking about electoral reform, saying he was going to do this and that. Is that what democracy is? When are those things going to happen?
    Who prorogued Parliament in the summer of 2020? Who sent the country into an election when there were lots of bills close to being voted on that were important to Canada?
    The Liberals called an election and wiped the slate clean, killing bills like the one on the Official Languages Act, which is an important piece of legislation. There was also the bill to reform the CRTC, which was very important, but it too was killed.
    Are those folks over there really the democrats they claim to be?
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his presentation.
    Obviously we must never forget that the Bloc Québécois is the master of obstruction. That is their whole purpose.
    We know that we must work together to advance legislation and reforms that are supported throughout Canada.
    We want to ensure that we have enough time to hold real debates on real issues without obstruction. We are here precisely to set out a process on how to proceed until the end of the session in June, one that will give all parliamentarians the opportunity to have their say and help to pass good bills.

  (1230)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I want to give the justice minister an opportunity, because I believe he did misspeak. Perhaps he did not understand that there is a constitutional obligation for quorum to be held in this place.
    He said that this has happened before, but it only happens in take-note debates. It also happens in emergency debates when no vote on government legislation is held. In fact, this has never been held before. I would give the justice minister an opportunity to correct himself and not mislead the House.
    If I may, hon. member for Barrie—Innisfil, it was the ruling of the Speaker. It was not the Minister of Justice who made the case.
    Madam Speaker, the Minister of Justice just said that this has happened before when in fact it has not happened before, with the exception of emergency debates and take-note debates. That is what I am seeking clarification on.
    Madam Speaker, in responding to the hon. member's point of order and the question, to the extent that that is what it was, the Speaker has just made a ruling on this. These kinds of proceedings happen routinely at the ends of sessions.
    Madam Speaker, I have not been in the House for that long, since January 2019—
    An hon. member: Or that often.
    Mr. Warren Steinley: Or that often, madam Speaker, because of the rules put forward by the Liberal government. I would say that one thing here is very different from where I grew up: When I had a job to do, generally it was my priority to get that job done. I did not have to blame someone else for not getting my work done. Right now, we are having this debate on Motion No. 11 because the Liberals cannot get their work done, and they are trying to blame Conservatives for standing up for people and debating on what the House puts forward. It is interesting that we are talking about billions of dollars going forward that would be going out to the people of Canada, and they do not want to debate it. Where I grew up, if I had to get a job done, it was my responsibility to do that job. How can this government be blaming the opposition for doing our job because it cannot get its legislative agenda forward? It does not make any sense.
    I would ask the minister this. When he does extend sitting hours, will he let the people who are doing the fine work in interpretation know so that they have time to do their schedules and have forewarning if the Liberals are going to extend the schedule until midnight? That would be the proper thing to do, because we know that the staff here is overworked, and they should have some notice if they are going to have to be here until 12 o'clock or not.
    Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his two questions. I will answer the second one first, as it is a critically important question, and I am glad he asked it.
    The leadership in this place is going to make sure that interpreters and others have advance warning of when sessions will be extended. We are very mindful of their rights, their health and safety, and their working environment. It is an engagement that I know my House leader in this place has made. I thank the hon. member for that question.
    We are here to work, and we are proposing this motion precisely because obstruction is not work. I worked on construction sites, and my friend has probably worked a fair bit in his day too and is proud of it, as am I. However, it is working together. It is rolling up our sleeves and getting the job done. If one person on that job site is obstructing, we have to help that person to move somewhere else, and this is what we are doing here. Obstruction is not work. Obstruction is not debate. Debate is about the exchange of ideas, and that is what we are facilitating here.
    Madam Speaker, I came to this House to get something done for my constituents and to help them in any way, shape or form that I could, and I am proud to be able to do that work here in the House.
    Before I was elected to the House, I worked for many members of Parliament. During a Conservative majority government, I watched the then hon. House leader, Peter Van Loan, argue that the government needed those long hours to sit until midnight. Those extended hours were not just on an as-needed basis: It was constant, night after night, that I had to send my member in to get that work done. That was under a majority Conservative government.
     I would like to hear from the hon. minister why it is important to note, in the debate on this motion, that it is on an as-needed basis.

  (1235)  

    Madam Speaker, I send my regards to the members for whom the hon. member worked.
    It is a critical point that the member raised. This is “as necessary”. It is going to happen when we need it and only when we need it, as necessary. It is not meant to be every night. It is only meant to be there for the amount of debate that is necessary for any particular bill. Again, it is there precisely to eliminate the ability to simply obstruct for no good, substantive reason.
    Madam Speaker, it is really interesting to hear members from both the NDP and the government side talk about how this is all about debate, and that it is all about making sure that we get all the time that we need to discuss these bills so that we can have extended hours. We can work harder and we can work longer, yet they put a provision in there that they do not actually have to show up after 6:30 p.m. They have made sure that they can do whatever they can to be away from here and not be here to participate.
    Based on the assertions that we are hearing from the justice minister and the member for New Westminster—Burnaby, my question is to make sure that they are going to be true to their word: Will they be here until midnight, in person, every single time they use this measure to have debate until midnight? That way they will not be seen as not being true to their word.
    Madam Speaker, we are proposing this piece of legislation to facilitate debate, not to give other opportunities for the silly kinds of obstructionist motions that we have seen in spades over the last number of weeks and months. We are here to give members on all sides the ability to say what they feel they need to say in the context of the House. That is precisely why we are here, and that is precisely why we are proposing the motion we are proposing.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, there is something illogical about my colleague's argument. He is being asked why the Liberals included in this motion the possibility for the minister to adjourn for the summer without agreement from the other parties. He is telling us that this is done routinely at the end of every season and that is why they included this measure in the motion.
    If this measure is preventing people from being in favour of the motion, why not simply remove it since, in any event, adjournment is usually done with no problem, with the agreement of all parties? Why not proceed as usual?
    Madam Speaker, we added the possibility of adjourning the House because this is very common and is typically done in cases like this. We are being efficient.
    In any way, this motion will have to be put to the House for a vote before it will apply, and some safeguards have already been included in the motion.
    We are all here to advance the debate. This does not prevent opposition members from having their say during their speaking time.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I find the Conservatives' comments on this unbelievable, because I can remember back in 2014 when the Harper government, during its dismal decade in power, put in place similar measures without any agreement from any other party, and Conservatives systematically, night after night, did not show up when it was their turn to speak. We had a chalkboard in the lobby. There were 200 times when Conservatives did not show up to work. There were 200 times when Conservative MPs were out doing I do not know what, but they were not in the House standing up as members of Parliament for their constituents. It was 200 times, so when a Conservative MP asks if New Democrats are going to show up to work, of course the answer is yes, because we always do.
    We have the track record to prove it; the Conservatives do not. They have failed their constituents so many times in the past, and now they are objecting to having us work harder, having us work longer and having us move around their systematic blocking of the House of Commons, so that teachers can get their tax credits, farmers can get the supports they need and all Canadians can get the supports that are in Bill C-8. The Conservatives say they support it, but are blocking it now, as the official opposition House leader has admitted, for two months and running.
    Why are the Conservatives doing this, and why do they not recognize the hypocrisy of trying to condemn the behaviour they participated in so willingly in the past?

  (1240)  

    Madam Speaker, I thank the member for New Westminster—Burnaby for his long view of these various kinds of questions. I would add that, as he has mentioned, there are 24,000 farmers potentially waiting for a credit on the price on pollution they have had to pay, and there are 45,000 teachers waiting for that improvement of the supply credit they are going to get, as well as other very proactive measures that are contained in Bill C-8 and other pieces of legislation that are meant—
    The member for Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies is rising on a point of order.
    Madam Speaker, I am sorry to interrupt this important debate, but for clarity, are we to be asking our questions to the member from the Liberal Party or the member from the NDP?
    I think that is a question.
    The hon. minister.
    Madam Speaker, that question just demonstrates exactly why we are here. We are here to help Canadians and we are here to work for Canadians, because that is what we are here to do. We are not here just to throw up every single objection and participate in every single blockade anywhere it exists in Canada. We are here to work for Canadians proactively, positively and in good faith. These provisions are here because one party has failed to do that. We are here in order to give all parties an opportunity to do better.
    It is my duty to interrupt the proceedings at this time and put forthwith the question on the motion now before the House.

[Translation]

    The question is on the motion.

[English]

     If a member of a recognized party present in the House wishes to request a recorded division or that the motion be adopted on division, I would invite them to rise and indicate it to the Chair.
    The hon. member for Barrie—Innisfil.
    Madam Speaker, I request a recorded division.

  (1325)  

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

(Division No. 63)

YEAS

Members

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

Total: -- 182


NAYS

Members

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

Total: -- 151


PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion carried.

Extension of Sitting Hours and Conduct of Extended Proceedings

[Government Orders]
    The House resumed from April 28 consideration of the motion.
    Mr. Speaker, once again, it gives me pleasure to rise and speak to government Motion No. 11.
    However, before I get into the specifics of it, let me just address a couple of issues that came up during the closure debate earlier. It was a very vigorous debate. I want to address one issue. There were several claims, both from the government side and the NDP side, which is the same side, about members of the opposition not wanting or being willing to work. Let me state unequivocally that Conservatives are here to do the business of the nation. We want to work. I have no problem with extending the hours. I really do not.
    My profound concern, and I stated this in my interaction on Friday, is about the staff. We have seen, over the course of the last couple of years, that staff have been tested. The measure of the staff has been certainly tested around this place. We have heard about the interpreters, about the health challenges that have gone on. We have seen an increase in occupational injury risk for the interpreters. We are concerned about that work-life balance.
    For two parties that espouse and say they are for the working class, they are not showing any empathy or compassion for what families are going to have to deal with, with respect to this motion, specifically the timeline for the extension of those sitting hours. It is causing me, as I said the other day, tremendous concern that with just one minute's notice, the government can come, with the NDP's help, and say they want to extend the hours. What is that going to mean for the staffing around this place? What is that going to mean to committees, when we start transferring resources to deal with some of these late-night sittings?
    My staff in the House leader's office just informed me before I got up to speak that two committees already today are going to be cancelled: the Afghanistan committee and the medical assistance in dying committee. The meetings that were scheduled for today are going to be cancelled because they are going to have to allocate or transfer resources from those committees to the extension of the House sitting hours.
    The government has said, and I heard the justice minister say, that this happens all the time. This happens, actually, once the agreed schedule is applied. All of the House leaders get together and we discuss. In fact, we are in the process of discussing the schedule for next year. Within the last two weeks, there are asterisks in the schedule. Those asterisks indicate there will be an extension of hours. It is agreed to. It is understood. However, what this does is basically give the government last-minute appeal. It can impose late sittings when it wants to.
    We saw some news coverage over the weekend of the government saying that this was not what it was going to do and that it was going to give enough notice. If it is going to give enough notice, why would it put it specifically in this motion that it could do it up until 6:30 p.m. of any given day? I would suggest that this is the intent of what the government is going to do.
    Cynically, I can think of only one reason this would happen: to keep the opposition parties, both the Conservatives and the Bloc, on their toes. This means that every day and every night, we are going to have to carry debate. We are prepared to do that. This is not a rubber stamp factory where multiple billions of dollars and pieces of legislation are debated and proposed, and where amendments are proposed at committee. We are already seeing the committee work being affected, but this is not a rubber stamp factory. There is a constitutional obligation on the part of the opposition to hold the government to account. That is our constitutional obligation.
    With this motion, the Liberal Party and its Prime Minister are getting exactly what they have always wanted, with the help of the NDP. I will talk about the NDP in a second. With the help of the NDP, the government and the Prime Minister are going to get an audience, not an opposition. That is what he has been hoping for over the past six and a half years, and now with the NDP in the government's hip pocket, they have it.

  (1330)  

    Going back to the debate before, I just cannot believe the hypocrisy of the House leader of the NDP. For six and a half years, I have sat in this place and we have all sat in this place, those members who were elected in 2015, and how many times did the opposition House leader of the NDP talk about the fact that the Prime Minister was worse than Stephen Harper when it came to time allocation? He said it many times, and yet, the hypocrisy is that he stands here today and blames Conservatives for obstructing. Nothing could be further from the truth.
    They talk about Bill C-8 as their benchmark piece of legislation that they look at. Bill C-8 was introduced on December 16. The House rose shortly thereafter. We sat in our constituencies and worked there for six weeks. We did not come back until January 29. It received second reading on March 1, went to committee and came back on April 1. There was a time allocation motion that was put in on April 4, and the NDP refused to support the government on time allocation. For them to sit here and blame Conservatives for obstructing that bill is disingenuous and, I would suggest, misleading the House, because maybe someone should hold the NDP House leader to account as to why he did not agree to that.
    Here is the problem. When we look at the motion and we look at all the things that are in the motion, as I said earlier, it gives the Prime Minister exactly what he wants: an audience, not an opposition.
     I appreciate the ruling of the Speaker this morning, but the reality is that, in previous circumstances, the issue of quorum was let go for non-votable matters. It was agreed to by the House leaders. Anything to do with take-note debates or emergency debates, we would allow quorum not to be called as part of an agreement. What the government is doing with this is basically imposing a sledgehammer to say that the Liberals are not even required to show up. The NDP is not even required to show up. In theory, what we could have is opposition-side members debating themselves on pieces of legislation that the government is proposing, asking ourselves questions and comments when the Liberals are not even required to be here.
    As I said the other day in question period, they can effectively be sitting at home in their PJs and their fuzzy slippers watching reruns of This Is Us and those socialist documentaries that they covet so much. That is what they could effectively be doing without the constitutional obligation of having a quorum call in the House.
    Who does not want to show up to work? Why are they putting that in this motion? Conservatives will be here; I can guarantee that. With this motion and no quorum call, it means that the government and the NDP do not even have to show up to debate their own legislation. How ridiculous is that?
    I talked about the “without notice...to adjourn the House”. This is egregious, in the sense that what the government is proposing with this particular part of this motion is that it can prorogue Parliament without proroguing.
    I will take us back, as I said earlier, to the WE Charity scandal. When the heat got really hot on the Prime Minister, he did the very thing he said he was not going to do in 2015, and that was to prorogue Parliament.
    Let us picture this scenario. There is a situation where we have a scandal brewing. We have the RCMP potentially deciding to investigate the Prime Minister on whether he granted himself permission for that vacation to that luxurious island that cost over $200,000. What if, with regard to the Winnipeg lab document scandal, we were able, through committee or some other means, to have those documents produced and they show that the government did something? What if we had another SNC-Lavalin scandal or any other scandal that gets too hot for the Prime Minister to handle? One minister of the Crown, just one, can decide to shut this place down. Can members imagine that?
     It is stunts like these that cause further erosion in Canadians' respect for our democratic institutions and the faith they have in our democratic institutions.

  (1335)  

    When a government of the day, with a fourth party in its hip pocket, can decide that it is going to seize control of this place and do whatever it wants, how can Canadians not be cynical of the institution? How can they not be cynical of our Parliament? How can they not be cynical when they are witnessing right in front of them, as we all are, a decline in our democracy? There are measurements used that determine that decline. We have seen that over the course of the last six and a half years, and we are further seeing an erosion in the decline of our democracy as a result of stunts like this by the government. It can shut it down with one minister of the Crown proposing it. Yes, it will come to a vote. Surprise, surprise: I wonder what that vote will be when it has the NDP in its hip pocket. There is a lot to be concerned about in this.
    What we are seeing, and perhaps Motion No. 11 is further evidence of this, is the shady, backroom deals that are going on here. The government House leader does not even give me the courtesy, nor does he give the Bloc Québécois House leader the courtesy, of saying what is going on. What do the Liberals do now? They do not go to the official opposition or the third party in this place. They do an end-around to the fourth party, say what they are going to do and ask if it will support them. There are shady, backroom deals: exactly the thing that further diminishes the confidence that Canadians have in our democracy.
    As far as the standing order changes, I am really appreciative of the ruling that the Speaker made earlier in having a separate vote for that. What the government was doing, with the help of its NDP partner, again led to this cynicism and further erosion. The Liberals were putting a poison pill in the motion to force the opposition to vote against it. I stood here the other day and said very clearly that Conservatives unequivocally supported call to action 80 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, to make sure that we had a stand-alone day for truth and reconciliation. I was very glad for the Speaker's wisdom in that decision. The Speaker saw right through what the government was trying to do: putting in this poison pill, probably under the suggestion of its partner in the NDP, to force the Conservative Party to vote against it as an omnibus procedural motion. I am glad the Speaker did that, because we will be supporting that particular part of the motion when it is carved out of this omnibus motion and will vote in favour of national day for truth and reconciliation.
    Of course we all know the history of the Prime Minister on this one. Last year, what did he do? He did not get involved. He went surfing in Tofino. The schedule for the Prime Minister even said he was having private meetings. It did not give a true indication of what was happening. What was happening was that, on the most important day in this nation, he went surfing in Tofino. How dare the Liberals use this poison pill for political purposes to further wedge, further stigmatize and further divide Canadians, especially those who supported the Conservative Party in the last election and who understand the importance of truth and reconciliation, because it was Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper who started that commission from which those recommendations came.
    I am obviously profoundly disappointed. I am really concerned about where this place goes from here. I really am. The government was elected with a minority. The NDP was the fourth party in the last election and now, between the two of them, they are going to be able to control every aspect of this place. What about those voices who elected a minority government? What about those people who said they wanted the government to be held in check? They wanted the government to be held to account, they wanted transparency from the government, they wanted to make sure that multi-billion dollar bills that the government proposes, these big-money appropriation bills, deserve the level of scrutiny that they should. What about those voices? That is not going to happen anymore because of this alliance, this coalition, between the NDP and the Liberals.
    I said earlier the impact this was going to have on committees. What about the finance committee? What about the ethics committee?

  (1340)  

    What about other committees, such as important committees on Afghanistan and the invocation of the Emergency Measures Act? How are they going to be impacted? The resources of the House will now go towards evening sessions, further putting in jeopardy the ability not just of those committees but of parliamentarians on the opposition side and Canadians in general to get to the bottom of what they are looking for. When I go back to the invocation of the Emergencies Act, we have already seen that the government is not going to allow cabinet confidentiality. What other documents are not going to be available to the committee because the committee is not going to be able to sit?
    This is a government that ran in 2015 on the principle of being accountable and transparent by default. How times have fallen. The hypocrisy of those words is being shown by the government. This is a government that is anything but transparent and accountable. This is a government that has undermined the very role of this institution of Parliament: the constitutional obligation of the opposition parties to hold the government to account, not to basically ram legislation through when it sees fit.
     This is not a rubber stamp factory. This is a place for vigorous debate. It is a place where the government is held to account. It is not a place where, as much as the Prime Minister wants it to be, he gets an audience. This is a place where he gets an opposition. Conservatives will work as long and as tirelessly as we need to in order to hold the government to account. We are going to expose this coalition unholy alliance, and these backroom shady deals that are being made by the NDP-Liberal government.
    We are going to work as hard as we can to make sure it is held to account, that there is transparency and there is accountability on behalf of every single Canadian who did not vote for them, but voted for a minority government in this Parliament.
    With the little time I have left, the opposition party is proposing what we consider to be reasonable amendments. Again, I thank you, Mr. Speaker for your judicious, intelligent ruling this morning to carve out those pieces that are poison pills meant to obstruct the opposition and in fact make the opposition vote against something that none of us would ever consider voting for. I do appreciate that. I am going to move the following amendments.
    I move:
    That the motion be amended
(a) in paragraph (a),
(i) by replacing the words “a minister of the Crown may, with the agreement of the House leader of another recognized party” with the words “a House leader of a recognized party may, with the agreement of the House leaders of two other recognized parties”,
(ii) by replacing the words “but no later than 6:30 p.m., and request that the ordinary hour of daily adjournment for the current sitting or” with the words “request, with at least two sitting days' notice, that the ordinary hour of daily adjournment for”,
(iii) by adding, after the words “a subsequent sitting”, the words “, other than a Friday,”, and
(iv) by adding, after the words “a day when a debate pursuant to Standing Order 52 or 53.1 is to take place”, the words “or a day appointed for the consideration of business under Standing Order 81(4)(a)”;
(b) in paragraph (b),
(i) by deleting subparagraph (i),
(ii) by deleting, in subparagraph (ii), the words “quorum calls or”, and
(iii) by deleting, in subparagraph (iii), all the words after the word “Crown”; and
(c) in paragraph (c),
(i) by replacing, in subparagraph (ii), the word “35th” with the word “15th”, and
(ii) by deleting subparagraph (iv).
     He said: Mr. Speaker, I am hopeful for these reasonable amendments I am proposing, which take into account not just how this place functions and how properly it should function but also take into account, as I said at the onset, the concern that we have for the lives of the people who work here, and how they are going to be impacted.

  (1345)  

    I am not specifically referring to members of Parliament, but to the work-life balance of the staff who make this place operate, whether it is the clerks, the administration, the bus drivers, the security officers, the food services branch or any others, and not least the translators, who have seen tremendous injury and impact. I do not understand why the government would want to expose them to that.

  (1350)  

    The amendment is in order.
    Questions and comments, the hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to start by thanking the House leader of the opposition for bringing forward this amendment because by doing so he is giving the member for Winnipeg North another opportunity to speak to this. I did not have an opportunity to hear what the member for Winnipeg North said on Thursday, so I am looking forward to hearing his thoughts on this one. He speaks again for the second time to this.
    My question for the opposition House leader is quite simple. He seems to be quite concerned about staff members right now and the impact that asking them to stay until midnight will have on them. I wonder where his empathy was a couple of years ago, when the Conservatives literally made this house vote for 30 hours straight, or a couple of years after that, when they made this house vote for 22 hours straight. They knew full well it would produce absolutely nothing with respect to a tangible result of improving this country; rather, it was just for the purpose of being destructive.
    Can the member justify for me the hypocrisy I am hearing from him when he talks about being so overly concerned about staff and the impacts on them? That party will force staff to stay here for 30 hours straight just to appease its own desire to see this place move as slowly as possible.
    Mr. Speaker, that is an important question. Those were appropriation bills. If members recall, at one point we were very close to seeing the government fall. It was 4:30 in the morning and it was very close to actually falling.
     These are legislative bills and a failure on the part of the government to propose its legislative agenda. It is actually a massive failure on the Liberals' part. We have only had 19 pieces of legislation, and within that time only eight have passed. The government's inability or failure to push through its legislative agenda is not our fault, nor is it the fault of the people who work here. There is no need to expand beyond the normal course of business. That is already addressed in the Standing Orders for the last two weeks of June. It was agreed to by all parties.
    Most importantly, what this motion does is it creates a trap: It gives the government the ability to basically shut down this place if there is a scandal or if and when it decides to do that. We are here to work on behalf of Canadians and will continue to work despite the assertions from the other side.

  (1355)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.
    I would like to hear his thoughts about how this government is rushing through things and failing to allow for in-depth studies into topics such as medical assistance in dying.
    There is a lack of seriousness in committee. I do not want to make accusations, but I am asking my Conservative colleague because, in this case, his party seems to be the one that is obstructing.
    Members can be for or against a given topic. However, I think that those who are against always benefit from studying it properly. Now the government has issued a gag order that, of course, puts off the final report until October. We will not have enough time to study this issue.
    I would like to hear my colleague's thoughts on this.
    Mr. Speaker, I agree with my colleague. The four House leaders jointly proposed extending the committee until June 23.

[English]

    We actually did that. As I hope the hon. member understands, this is another example of a failure of the legislative agenda. That committee was supposed to legislatively report back in May. It was not until the end of March that we actually started talking about it. We agreed with the May deadline, but we proposed to extend it until June 23, which we did. Now the government is going to put that off until October 17, and I understand there are very important issues around that.
    We just heard, in advance of my taking the floor today, that the medical assistance in dying committee is going to be cancelled today because of the government's plans to prolong or extend hours of debate. The Liberals cannot manage anything, and that is why we are in this situation we are in. We now have to deal with the government's failure to push forward a legislative agenda to manage the time of the House, and it is Canadians and all of us who are going to be paying the price for the mismanagement of their legislative agenda.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for bringing our attention to the incredible work that is done by the staff in the House. They are with us through all of this, and I am always so grateful for their support, their professionalism and their work.
    They do need additional resources, and I agree with the member that this is required. I know this will take conversations and agreements among the parties, so I am asking if he would support that move. Will he push on the government to ensure that additional resources are provided to interpretation, security and the staff in this place so that we can get the work done that we are elected to do?
    Mr. Speaker, time and time again, as we have heard, the problem specifically with regard to the interpreters, which I suspect affects other parts of the operation of the House of Commons, is the issue of hybrid Parliament. Let us stop this. Let us stop hybrid Parliament and let us get back to normal. Let us do what other legislatures around the country are doing and return to being here in person. The interpreters have paid a dear price for this hybrid Parliament, and anybody who has read the reports understands that. We cannot just manufacture interpreters. There is a shortage, and a pool of resources is unavailable to us.
    My suggestion is that we get rid of hybrid Parliament, come back, deal with this and make it easier on the interpreters. We can make it easy on all the staff who work so hard to support this place. Let us do what other legislatures are doing. Let us get back to normal and not hide behind masks like the other parties are doing.
    Mr. Speaker, I have to ask the hon. House leader of the official opposition to reflect on this: that the dysfunctionality of this place cannot be blamed on one recognized party. When the House does not work well, it is because we have brought the partisanship of election campaigning into the daily work of the House, which is not how it should be. It is not how it always was in the past. I think it would go away if we changed to proportional representation as our voting system to increase co-operation in this place.
    Since the Conservatives had more votes in the last two elections, are they ready to consider perhaps changing our voting system?

  (1400)  

    Mr. Speaker, we can respectfully disagree on that.

Statements by Members

[Statements by Members]

[English]

Ukraine

    Mr. Speaker, when Vladimir Putin senselessly invaded Ukraine, he attacked not only the people of Ukraine but Ukrainians everywhere, including those here in Canada. I was recently joined by the Minister of Public Safety to meet with the Durham Ukrainian Canadian Congress. We heard truly inspiring stories from people with family and friends on the ground fleeing violence or staying to fight and defend their country. We heard stories of the members of the Ukrainian community in the Durham region who wake up each day focused on helping those who have been affected.
     The Durham chapter of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress is coordinating an extensive support system and has even set up separate committees to help with housing, food, clothing and much more as it prepares to support over 2,000 refugees, including the hundreds that it is already helping. I would encourage everyone who wants to provide support to visit supportukrainians.ca/durham to find out how they can assist. The dedication, level of organization and perseverance exhibited by the Durham UCC is nothing short of amazing.

[Translation]

Play by Local Theatre Troupe

    Mr. Speaker, many projects of all sorts in our ridings had to be shelved because of the pandemic.
    For over two years now, town celebrations, festivals, dances and many other events have had to be postponed or, in most cases, cancelled.
    Today, I am happy to say that, just as we are now seeing signs of spring, we are also beginning to see signs of a return to normal life. I am also pleased to announce that the Théâtre populaire régional theatre troupe will be putting on a play at the Salle André‑Gagnon in La Pocatière on May 27 and 28. Amateur actors and friends have been waiting for nearly three years to present George Dandin ou le mari confondu, a comedy by Molière.
    I know many of the actors and so I know that this play will make people smile.
    I invite everyone to attend to cheer themselves up as the pandemic draws to a close.
    Let us encourage our artist friends and celebrate our culture.

[English]

Honorary Consul of Lebanon

    I rise today to recognize a pillar of the community, His Excellency Wadih M. Fares. Mr. Fares is an engineer, entrepreneur, innovator and community builder who has put his time, talent and treasure into a multitude of local, national and international boards and committees. His unwavering support of and commitment to society have earned him numerous awards, accolades and honours, including the Order of Canada.
    For the past 26 years, he has served as the honorary consul of Lebanon for the maritime provinces. At the end of May, under the patronage of Ambassador Fadi Ziadeh, the community will gather at the silver jubilee celebration, where the Order of Merit, Lebanon's highest order for civilians, will be bestowed upon him as a token of gratitude for his service to Lebanon and the Lebanese community in the Atlantic provinces. I ask all parliamentarians to join me in thanking and congratulating His Excellency Wadih Fares.

[Translation]

International Workers' Day

    Mr. Speaker, May 1 is International Workers' Day. It is an opportunity to recognize the many battles workers have waged to improve working and living conditions in our societies.
    The reason we have eight-hour work days and labour standards today is because there were workers who made a lot of sacrifices and stood up for their rights and those of future generations. When faced with repression and injustice, they chose to stand in solidarity and push the limits of what is possible.
    The theme yesterday was about ensuring health and safety as we come out of the crisis, and thousands of workers from Quebec marched in the streets to remind us of that.
    I salute all those men and women who fought and are still fighting. Happy May 1.

Abdelghani Dades

    Mr. Speaker, I want to wish Eid Mubarak to the entire Muslim community back home in my neighbourhood in Montreal and across the country.
    As we mark the end of the sacred month of Ramadan, I am thinking of our Moroccan community, and in particular its patriarch, Abdelghani Dades.
    My friend, Mr. Dades, is the driving force of the Moroccan-Canadian community. He and I share the mission of bringing the Jewish and Muslim communities together, both here and around the world.
    Mr. Dades is most certainly wondering why I am paying tribute to him today. This year, we are celebrating the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Canada and Morocco.
    I would like him to hear his name in the House of Commons, and I would like him to know how much our government appreciates everything he has done and will continue to do to ensure this friendship lasts forever.

  (1405)  

[English]

Amherst Little League Baseball

    Mr. Speaker, “If you build it, [they] will come.” I am certain that many, if not all, Parliamentarians recognize this quote from Field of Dreams.
    For almost 75 years, Amherst, Nova Scotia, has been the home of many incredible baseball players and volunteers, which has allowed this community to enjoy many championships and banners. Given its residents' incredible community spirit and desire to move to evening programming, the enrolment for little league baseball has soared.
    The community needed another T-ball field. The Amherst Little League Baseball association applied to the Jays Care Foundation's Field of Dreams program, and this year they are the recipients of a much-needed grant of $70,000. This is, of course, a testimony to the strength of their volunteers and players, and to the history of baseball in the community over the past 75 years.
    I send my congratulations to the Amherst Little League Baseball association and to the many young people who will benefit from their involvement in little league baseball over the many seasons to come. Let us play ball.

Pakistani-Canadian Community Leaders

    Mr. Speaker, to all my Muslim brothers and sisters, Eid Mubarak.
     I would like to congratulate Senator Salma Ataullahjan on her being honoured by the president of Pakistan with one of the highest civilian honours, the Sitara-e-Pakistan, in recognition of her humanitarian work. She is the chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights and is working hard to help Afghan families desperately trying to come to Canada.
    I would also like to recognize Dr. Anis Ur Rahman, Sadaf Ebrahim, Dr. Syed Aziz and Syed Kashif Alamdar of the Canada Pakistan Association. I also appreciate Faheem Affan, Iftkhar Mirza, Mashooda-Lubna Syed, Mobeen Khaja, Moinuddin Siddiqui, Muhammad Zulfiqar Bangash, Qamar Masood, Tawahar Rana and Uzma Khan. All these community leaders are working hard for the Pakistani-Canadian community and beyond in Ottawa. I would also like to recognize the important contributions the Pakistani community has made to the socio-economic development of Canada.

Canada Summer Jobs Program

    Mr. Speaker, the Canada summer jobs program provides youths with great opportunities to develop their skills and gain valuable experience. This year, the CSJ program has over 140,000 federally funded summer jobs across Canada. In Brampton East, there will be more than 400 summer jobs available with organizations such as the City of Brampton, TRCA, Wet ’n’ Wild Toronto water park and many other organizations.
    During the early days of COVID-19, youth were hard hit by pandemic related job losses, and our government has stepped up with more support through increased investments across our youth programs, which will provide young Canadians with additional opportunities. Youth will be able to build upon their confidence and leadership skills and gain from positive work experiences through the CSJ program. Our government understands young people are the future of tomorrow. If someone is between the ages of 15 and 30, they can check out the Government of Canada job website. There are thousands of amazing opportunities for young Canadians now posted at www.jobbank.gc.ca/youth.

Douro Minor Hockey

    Mr. Speaker, can members imagine a place where everyone is included, regardless of gender, religion, political or socio-economic status. Can they imagine a place where children learn the value of teamwork and hopefully learn that tough losses are often the best lessons. Can they imagine a place where communities are strengthened, relationships are built, fundraisers happen and important stories are shared. If members have not guessed yet, this place does exist. It is called a community centre.
    I grew up in Douro, Ontario, home to one of the best community centres in this country. It was recently named as one of the four finalists for Kraft Hockeyville, where $250,000 is up for grabs. Douro Minor Hockey is hoping to use the money to meet the needs of its growing and diverse community.
    This is how inclusion and empathy start, at the grassroots level, with a community centre saying it invites and includes everyone. I am very proud of my progressive community of Douro-Dummer. Voting happens on only one day, May 6, so I encourage everyone to log on to krafthockeyville.ca and vote as many times as they can.

  (1410)  

Gaelic Awareness Month

    [Member spoke in Scottish Gaelic and provided the following translation:]
    May is Gaelic Awareness Month in Nova Scotia. This is a good time to celebrate Gaelic language and culture. Since the 18th century, thousands of Gaels from the Highlands and Islands of Scotland came to North America. The early settlers did not come with much, but they built many communities in Canada.
    When I was young, I heard Gaelic in Cape Breton, Glengarry and at the Gaelic Society of Toronto. Children learned Gaelic from their parents. They learned stories, songs, piping and Highland dancing. Today, Canadians are learning Gaelic in Nova Scotia, Toronto and across Canada, joining a million learners from around the world. Up with the Gaelic.
    [English]

Mental Health

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to acknowledge and recognize my constituent Angela, who lives in my riding. Angela's son Luka was diagnosed with autism at the age of four. The mental health stress on Angela's family, as well as on many other families across our country, is compounded by many challenges. They are navigating the many disconnected services and long wait-lists for much-needed care for their children, as well as very expensive therapy treatments. This is taking a toll on Canadian families. Parents of children with special needs often have to work a second job in order to pay for the services and care their children require.
    Families in Canada are struggling and, with the increased inflationary pressures, the federal government needs to acknowledge the challenges they face. It is our responsibility to assist Canadians who are struggling to balance family obligations with personal mental health difficulties.

Grace McSweeney

    Mr. Speaker, today I rise to mourn the tragic loss of Grace McSweeney, a 12-year-old girl from my riding who passed away last month by suicide after a long battle with depression. While her mother, Lauren, and her stepfather, Jeremy, were well aware of her struggles, yet they felt helpless. Her age and the price tag for services were persistent barriers when it came to accessing professional help. They have also raised concern over the devastating effects over-the-counter medication can have. They are now fighting for stronger label warnings and child-proof caps on all acetaminophen products.
    I commend Grace’s parents for channelling their grief into advocacy, and I am honoured to bring their voices to the House today. As today marks the first day of Mental Health Week, I encourage all members of the House to do more in providing mental health resources to kids who are struggling. We must work together to prevent tragedies such as the passing of Grace.
    May she rest in peace.

Royal Military College Motor Vehicle Incident

    Mr. Speaker, as the mother of two serving members of the Canadian Armed Forces, I stand today heartbroken at the news of last Friday’s tragic deaths of four officer cadets at the Royal Military College in Kingston. This senseless accident has shaken our community to the core with the deaths of Officer Cadet Jack Hogarth, Officer Cadet Andrei Honciu, Officer Cadet Broden Murphy and Officer Cadet Andrés Salek.

[Translation]

    These fourth-year Royal Military College cadets were going to graduate in just three weeks and then start their official military careers. They served their country with dignity and pride. I invite their classmates to continue their legacies.

[English]

    I would like the families of officer cadets Hogarth, Honciu, Murphy and Salek to know that their military family and all Canadians mourn the loss of their sons. I ask my fellow members of Parliament to join me in honouring their service to Canada.

  (1415)  

Mental Health Week

    Mr. Speaker, today Canadians mark the start of national Mental Health Week. In recognition of this important week, the Canadian Mental Health Association acknowledges the importance of empathy, saying, “It’s the capacity we share as human beings to step into each other’s shoes. To understand where they’re coming from and what they’re feeling. To listen hard and refuse to judge.” I could not agree more.
    Through these challenging times, we need to walk together with empathy and kindness. Today and every day, we need to recommit to destigmatizing mental illness and to do all that is required to make sure mental health supports are accessible to all so that no one is left to suffer in silence. New Democrats will continue to fight for barrier-free, culturally appropriate and accessible mental health supports.
    To the countless heroes who have been working tirelessly across the country and in my riding of Nanaimo—Ladysmith to provide mental health supports at a time when we need it most, I thank them.

[Translation]

Ginette Reno

    Mr. Speaker, last Thursday, our great lady of Quebec song, Ginette Reno, was named a Knight of the Legion of Honour, the highest national honour of the Republic of France.
     This singer, with a distinctive voice that is both tender and powerful, can sing that she is qu'une chanson, only a song, but everyone in Quebec knows that she is much more than that. She knew how to take her craft Un peu plus haut, un peu plus loin, a little higher, a little further, by showing that L'essentiel, the main thing, is Quand on se donne, when you give yourself, completely.
     To give you an idea of the depth of her talent, when Ginette sings O Canada before a Canadien's game, she even gives separatists goosebumps.
    A warm and authentic person known for both her engaging personality and her talent, she is an incomparable ambassador for Quebec and a living treasure of French culture. We salute this touching initiative by our French cousins who also offered her Des croissants de soleil pour déjeuner, croissants made of sunshine for breakfast.
    Thank you to France, and congratulations to Ginette.

[English]

Royal Military College Motor Vehicle Incident

    Mr. Speaker, early Friday morning, four cadets at the Royal Military College died in a tragic accident when the vehicle they were in entered the water off Point Frederick. Fourth-year officer cadets Jack Hogarth, Andrei Honciu, Broden Murphy and Andrés Salek all voluntarily joined the Canadian Armed Forces understanding that they may be required to make the ultimate sacrifice in service to Canada.
    Losing a member of the Canadian Armed Forces is never easy to accept for family and friends, but losing someone in an accident just a few short weeks before graduation is that much harder. I do not know the personal details of all the families, although Officer Cadet Broden Murphy was the son of a fellow class of 1997 classmate of mine, Major Dave Murphy, and his wife, Stephanie. I cannot imagine the pain and loss they and all the families are currently feeling.
     On behalf of all members of the House, I offer Dave, Stephanie, and all the families and friends of Jack, Andrei, Broden and Andrés, my deepest condolences and sympathy. I ask all members and all Canadians to keep them all in their thoughts and prayers.
    “Truth. Duty. Valour.” Lest we forget.

Asian Heritage Month

    Mr. Speaker, this year marks the 20th anniversary of Asian Heritage Month in Canada. It is a time to recognize the achievements and contributions of Asian Canadians.
    This weekend, I attended an event honouring Dr. Vivian Poy, the first Canadian of Asian descent appointed to the Senate. Dr. Poy's story is one of passion, creativity and achievement, and it was she who originally moved to designate May as Asian Heritage Month. This year's theme, continuing the legacy of greatness, reminds us of the generations of Asian Canadians who helped build this country in the face of adversity and discrimination.
    Anti-Asian racism has seen a sharp rise recently. To help combat it, I encourage Canadians from coast to coast to coast to learn about multi-Asian diversity, which includes Canadians who trace their roots to over 40 countries; challenge stereotypes; call out acts of racism and unconscious bias; and support local Asian businesses and organizations.

ORAL QUESTIONS

[Oral Questions]

  (1420)  

[Translation]

House of Commons

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government bought itself a majority to protect its leader until 2025. The NDP sold its soul to ensure the Liberal government's survival.
    Today, the NDP is preparing to compromise its very principles by officially renouncing its opposition role. There is still time for the members of the NDP to save a little of their dignity by saying no to the Liberal whip and voting against Motion No. 11.
    Will the Liberal whip at least let the NDP members vote freely?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, Motion No. 11 is all about extending the hours to enable members of Parliament to debate more. That is an open invitation for all members, whether New Democrat, Conservative, members of the Bloc or even of the government. It provides each member an opportunity to speak past 6:30 in the evening. Millions of other Canadians work past 6:30 p.m., too.

[Translation]

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister was the first federal leader in office to be found guilty of breaking the law.
    The Prime Minister fired his justice minister, Jody Wilson-Raybould, because she did not follow his instructions with respect to SNC-Lavalin. He bought off NDP members so that he would not have to answer for his actions in the Winnipeg lab scandal. RCMP documents now show that he just narrowly avoided being accused of fraud in the matter of the illegal gift worth $215,000.
    Who in this government will stand up and say that enough is enough?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, nothing has changed in the past six years. We have seen the Conservative Party, the official opposition, make personal attacks against the Prime Minister or other ministers. While the Conservative Party remains focused on personal attacks, I can assure the House that the ministries of this government will continue to work day in and day out for the betterment of all Canadians.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, that is a pathetic excuse that does not hold water. This is a specific situation where the Prime Minister has admitted that neither he nor anyone else authorized him to accept an illegal gift.
    Time does not erase the horrors of the past. We only have to ask the victims of crime who wait years to report their attacker.
    Is this MP leader actually telling victims to keep quiet and not report these crimes? Why does the Minister of Justice not initiate an investigation into the matter currently involving the Prime Minister and ask the RCMP to reopen its investigation?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I think it is important that the government remains focused on the job at hand. As the Conservatives want to continue to have personal attacks against different ministers of the government, as I said, we will continue to remain focused on the economy and on making life better for all Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary can sit here and be part of a government cover-up. That is why, this morning, I again wrote to the RCMP commissioner regarding the RCMP's criminal brief on the investigation into the Prime Minister's $215,000 private island vacation. The criminal brief says that the RCMP deferred to the Ethics Commissioner's interpretation that the Prime Minister's actions were not criminal in nature. However, we now know, from the news, that former commissioner Mary Dawson was unfamiliar with the Criminal Code offence of fraud against the government. She had no interpretation to give.
    Has the Prime Minister spoken to the RCMP in the past week about his criminal behaviour?
    Mr. Speaker, I think it is important to recognize that, even before the Prime Minister was the Prime Minister, even before he was the leader of the Liberal Party, Conservative members always had personal attacks against the Prime Minister. Ever since we have been in the government, their focus has been on character assassination.
    While they want to focus on that, we will continue to focus on programs that matter, and an excellent example of that is the national child care program. It is a program that is serving Canadians in every region of our nation today.

  (1425)  

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister should really answer his questions. He can run, but he cannot hide from the law. The RCMP's deference to the retired commissioner Dawson was asserted as one of the justifications for why it was not in the public interest to pursue a criminal investigation, but all the public interest arguments by the RCMP for not pursuing charges have been undone in the past week. It is in the public interest for Canadians to know that the Prime Minister is not above the law.
    Will the Prime Minister and his staff co-operate with the RCMP in this investigation of fraud on the government by the Prime Minister?
    Mr. Speaker, what we are witnessing is an ongoing continuation of political theatrics from the Conservative Party.
    Three leaders ago, the Conservatives were talking about this. At the end of the day, as I have pointed out in previous questions, they can continue. They can do what they want with their focus. I can assure Canadians that this government, whether it is the Prime Minister, other cabinet ministers or the Liberal caucus as a whole, will continue to focus our attention on making life better for all Canadians in every region of this nation.

[Translation]

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, this weekend saw the return of the convoy protesting health measures. This time, the Ottawa police, the Ontario Provincial Police and the Parliamentary Protective Service worked together, from the get‑go.
     When people tried to get their vehicles into the security perimeter to again block the downtown core, they were immediately stopped. There were no blunders, businesses stayed open. In short, three days later, it was already over, because everyone had done their job well.
    Miraculously, the Emergencies Act was not needed. Here is the thousand-dollar question: In the end, what was the purpose of invoking the Emergencies Act this winter?
    Mr. Speaker, first of all, we are relieved because of the good work of the police forces on the ground, including the RCMP, which added resources to assure everyone that public safety would be maintained.
    In response to my colleague, we invoked the Emergencies Act at the time because we needed it.
    Mr. Speaker, that is the proof that the Emergencies Act was not needed in the first place. There just needed to be some coordination of the work being done by each level of government and the police, the same fine work that put an end to the siege this winter.
    That is exactly what this government refused to do during the blockade. Do not forget that the government spent days blaming the City of Ottawa and called the occupiers a bunch of complainers. It took many long weeks before there was any coordination. Much like Pontius Pilate, the government first washed its hands of the situation and then made the whole thing worse. All we needed was for the government to do its job.
    Why was the Emergencies Act invoked?
    Mr. Speaker, with all due respect for my colleague, there was a lot of disruption in January and February with people gathering at the borders in British Columbia, Manitoba and Ontario and on the Ambassador Bridge. It was a public safety threat.
    At the recommendation of police, we invoked the Emergencies Act to protect Canadians, because keeping Canadians safe will always be this government's priority.

COVID-19 Economic Measures

    Mr. Speaker, two important benefits that make it possible for parents to stay home with their young children and for workers to stay home when they are sick expire next Saturday, May 7.
    Meanwhile, we are still waiting for employment insurance reform and paid sick leave, which are long overdue. Canada is going through the sixth wave of the pandemic.
    Can the Minister of Finance explain why her government is once again leaving workers out in the cold? Will she renew these extremely important matters?

  (1430)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians expect and deserve an EI system that is responsive to their needs. EI sickness benefits are an important support for Canadians who need to leave work because of illness or injury.
    Workers receiving important treatments, or requiring a longer period to recover from an illness or injury, face a stressful income gap between the time they exhaust their benefits and when they are healthy enough to return to work. That is why we extended EI sickness benefits from 15 to 26 weeks, providing approximately 169,000 Canadians every year with additional time and flexibility to recover and return to work.
    There is more to do, to be sure, and we will keep working so that EI is there for Canadians when they need it most.
    Mr. Speaker, the minister is right: Canadians do deserve an employment insurance system that is there for them and that works. In fact, they should have had that in place before the Liberals ended pandemic benefits that allowed them to stay home with their children when they were sick, and that allowed them to stay home from work when they were sick to not put their colleagues in danger.
     Instead, what we have is a situation where the government is allowing these benefits to end without having put the 10 paid sick days in place and without having put the employment insurance reforms in place.
    Will the government either present these reforms immediately or extend the benefits until it reforms EI and puts the 10 paid sick days in place?
    Mr. Speaker, as my hon. colleague knows, we have brought forward legislation that has passed through this place with regard to 10 paid sick days. We have also worked hard to modernize the EI program so that it responds to the needs of all Canadians and is fair and equal. That includes giving parents the choice of taking either 12 or 18 months for parental leave and introducing the new parental sharing benefit so they can share the joy and work of raising their children more equally.
    We are following through on our promise to modernize the system with targeted consultations with Canadians. That will bring forward a vision for a new and modern EI system. We know there is more work to do and we are getting to it.

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, throughout my prosecutorial career, I worked on hundreds of cases that took years to complete. Notwithstanding many unknowns, procedural delays and complicated evidence, the truth always prevailed. Criminals must always be punished. Now Canadians demand answers from our Attorney General.
    If new evidence comes to light in relation to the member for Papineau's illegal vacation, even after six years, will the minister follow his oath of office and ensure that the member for Papineau will not be let off the hook?
    Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows from his long experience as a prosecutor, both the police and the prosecution services are independent in our Canadian system.
    Mr. Speaker, as a former Crown prosecutor and somebody who taught at a law school, I note that an investigation can be reopened years after if new evidence surfaces. In the case of a fraud in hundreds of thousands of dollars, this may result in a penitentiary sentence on conviction.
    My question for the Attorney General is this. Would he support the reopening of an investigation into a serious criminal fraud if new evidence surfaced six years later?
    Mr. Speaker, as I indicated earlier, as the Conservatives want to be able to continue to get into personal attacks, we will continue to focus our attention on what is important to Canadians. That is one of the reasons why we have seen the type of response and different types of pandemic support programs, whether it was packages such as the CERB or the wage loss program. There are so many things that as a government we have done in order to support Canadians because we remain focused on them as opposed to what the Conservatives are remaining focused on, which is personal character assassination.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, when asked about his very luxurious and illegal trip, the Prime Minister says that it happened six years ago and that there is no point talking about it anymore. However, any other Canadian would have had to face due process. Apparently the Prime Minister thinks he is above the law.
    Is the Minister of Justice okay with this? Does he not think the case should be reopened in light of this new information?

  (1435)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, if you ask the question four times, five times, or whatever number of times, the answer is really not going to change. Not you, Mr. Speaker, but—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order, order.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary.
    Mr. Speaker, I am trying to give some advice to the Conservative opposition. No matter how many times they might, as the opposition party, want to rephrase a particular question, I understand that their focus is more on character assassination, whether it is of the Prime Minister's or other ministers'. My suggestion is that no matter how persistent they are at that, we will be equally if not more persistent in serving Canadians by developing good legislation and good budgetary measures that are going to help Canadians every day of their lives.

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, for three weeks, MPs, staff and members of the public all walked through the protest in downtown Ottawa. Meanwhile, the government is claiming that the national security threat was so serious and so dangerous that it could not be addressed using any other law.
    If that is the case, how were we all permitted to walk through that protest every day? Either there was not a real threat and the Liberals were just overcompensating for their incompetent management of the protest, or they were knowingly putting us all in danger.
    Which one was it?
    Mr. Speaker, with great respect to my colleague, she knows full well that the Rideau Centre was completely shut down and that small businesses were shut down. She knows full well that Ottawa residents were unable to get to work and unable to drop off their children at day care. If she does not take my word for it, she can listen to the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, which said that the Emergencies Act was “critical to assisting law enforcement in addressing the mass national and international organization of the Freedom Convoy 2022.”
    We invoked the act because it was necessary, and it worked.
    Mr. Speaker, to adequately justify the use of the Emergencies Act, the government must demonstrate that there is not an already existing law in place that could deal with this so-called emergency. Since the Prime Minister invoked the act on February 14 in response to the Ottawa protesters, I have to assume that there is in fact good evidence that procedure was followed. However, to know for certain, we need access to certain documents that are held by cabinet right now. The Prime Minister is hiding behind secrecy. This is strange for a Prime Minister who has committed to openness and transparency.
    Therefore, the question really is this: Why the cover-up?
    Mr. Speaker, we have been transparent all along about the reasons why we needed to invoke the Emergencies Act. We debated that motion right here in this chamber. It is very discouraging to hear the members of the Conservative Party continue to diminish and downplay the severity of the national emergency that beset this community and multiple ports of entry.
    Again, if the Conservatives do not want to take it from the government, let them listen to what the president and CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade said in British Columbia, calling it “an unacceptable sabotage of the economy”. She said, “The impact of these blockades is choking already impacted supply chains”. I would encourage and urge my Conservative colleagues to speak to Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, I certainly hope this is not the evidence the government is hoping to rely on.
     During the appointment process for the Emergencies Act inquiry, which led to the selection of Justice Rouleau, can the Minister of Public Safety confirm whether any ministers or members of their political staff spoke with the judge before his appointment? If so, did they discuss what kind of evidence the inquiry would or would not seek, including documents covered by cabinet confidentiality or solicitor-client privilege?
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to my colleague's original comment about his not wanting the commissioner and the parliamentary committee to consider the testimonials and lived experiences of Canadians, including the president of the Ottawa Coalition of Business Improvement Areas, small business leaders and ordinary Ottawans who live outside of this chamber, I would encourage him to revisit his position. We are listening to Canadians about the impacts of the illegal blockades.
     Of course, Judge Rouleau will carry out his inquiry independently and transparently to ensure there is accountability on his decision.

[Translation]

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, last Friday the Prime Minister refused to grant any immigration powers to the Premier of Quebec.
    It would be less insulting if the federal government were the least bit competent, but everything it touches is a disaster. The wait time is now 31 months for Quebeckers applying for permanent residence. There is a backlog of 29,000 case files. The government is being sued by people who have been waiting for 13 years.
    Does the Prime Minister realize that not only should he give Quebec the powers it is asking for, but he should be grateful to do so?

  (1440)  

    As the member opposite knows, Quebec sets its own immigration targets. Last year the province welcomed over 50,000 new permanent residents. This year Quebec has increased its immigration targets significantly, which will help reduce wait times.
    We will always work very closely with the Quebec government to ensure that the immigration system continues to work for Quebeckers and Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, they cannot even name the problem, so it will be really difficult to solve it.
    There is a backlog of 29,000 files, and there are court cases that have been dragging on for 13 years. These are people. They are not files; they are people. That is what the Prime Minister is forgetting in his quarrel with Quebec.
    The federal government has proven, year after year, that it is either incapable of taking care of these people or does not consider this issue important enough to do better.
    Why not simply give Quebec the power to manage its own immigration?
    Mr. Speaker, I would again like to thank the member for the question, but he is well aware that Quebec sets the selection criteria for immigrants coming to Quebec, and that includes language skills.
    Immigration is crucial and, as I have already told the member, we have welcomed more than 50,000 new permanent residents to the province. Quebec and Canada are working together to welcome more immigrants here, in Canada.
    Mr. Speaker, Ottawa must also give Quebec the power to manage temporary foreign workers.
    Each year, the federal government creates delays by forcing every business to produce labour market studies that already exist. Quebec already produces them for all of its economic sectors. Quebec could simply apply them to temporary foreign workers by integrating them into its labour strategy. It is as easy as that.
    When will the federal government stop burdening our businesses and transfer the management of temporary foreign workers to Quebec?
    Mr. Speaker, Quebec reaps significant benefits from the Canada—Quebec accord on immigration.
    In fact, Quebec selects 74% of permanent immigrants. It sets the criteria, including knowledge of French. Quebec also determines the profiles for temporary foreign workers and foreign students, including their knowledge of the French language. In 2020-2021 alone, we sent nearly $700 million to Quebec to help integrate immigrants, which includes French-language learning.
    We are working together despite the fact that the Bloc would like to stir up trouble where there is none. We are working well together.

[English]

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, we cannot trust these Liberals. They tell hopeful millennials who make good wages and are stuck in their parents' basement, time after time, that they will act on housing affordability.
    Let us take blind bidding. These Liberals promised that they would ban it. Outside of making it a criminal offence, it is clearly an area that is under the exclusive jurisdiction of the provinces. Will the minister admit today that their election promise to ban blind bidding in the last election was false right from the start, or are they planning to start criminalizing real estate agents who take blind bids on behalf of their clients?

[Translation]

    We on this side of the House are well aware that the dream that Canadians have of owning a home is becoming increasingly difficult to achieve. One of the many measures in our budget is about working on a home buyers' bill of rights in collaboration with the provinces and territories, because on this side of the House, we believe that housing is a right, and that is what we want to work on.
    I would encourage the member and all his colleagues to vote for the measures in budget 2022. That is leadership.

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, Canada now has the third highest inflation rate in the G7 at 6.7%.
    What this means for Canadians, in concrete terms, is that if they did not get a 6.7% wage increase in the past year, they became poorer. On top of that, the cost of groceries has gone up 8.7% over the past year, and that is the second highest rate in the G7. It seems as though the minister is wearing rose-coloured glasses while making her budget forecasts. Obviously, it is not working.
    When will she change her approach and start acting for Canadians?

  (1445)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question.
    I am glad the Conservatives are finally admitting that inflation is really a global phenomenon. Canadians understand that very well. The latest inflation rate reported for Canada was 6.7%. In the United States, it is 8.5%. For the OECD, it is 7.7% and for the eurozone, it is 7.3%.
    Putin and COVID-19 caused inflation.

[English]

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, housing affordability in Canada is so bad that it is now affecting our military families. It is so bad in CFB Trenton, Canada’s largest air force base, in my riding, that currently 360 families are on a waiting list for housing on the base. Military families that cannot afford homes in the community now do not have anywhere to live, and this is affecting our ability to retain and attract military personnel.
    My question for the Minister of Defence is this: How much of the $15 billion in the budget for the military is going to create housing for our Canadian military families?
    Mr. Speaker, we are making critical, major investments in personnel, equipment and infrastructure that will support continental defence, will support military families, and will support equipment and resources for the Canadian Armed Forces. We agree that the lives of military families, as well as CAF personnel themselves, are of the utmost importance. That is why budget 2022 committed $8 billion toward increased defence spending, and that is on top of a 70% increase under “Strong, Secure, Engaged”.

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, a scathing report from the environment commissioner showed that Infrastructure Canada is no longer accurately tracking emissions for the projects it funds. Local communities depend on this data. They are on the front lines of climate change and are committed to meeting climate targets. They need the federal government to provide reliable information, as well as the stable funding they have been requesting.
    How can the Liberal government claim to support local communities when it is not even tracking the climate impacts of the infrastructure it funds?
    Mr. Speaker, we welcome the findings of the commissioner's report. We believe, like him, that Canada should always do better when it comes to fighting climate change.
    Specifically on infrastructure, we are doing things that have never been seen before in Canada, such as using infrastructure dollars to invest in nature-based solutions. All across the country, this is one of the best ways not only to fight climate change but to mitigate the impacts of climate change and adapt to those impacts.

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, Peguis First Nation is once again facing devastating flooding and unprecedented water levels, with 900 people evacuated and over 600 homes impacted.
    In 2009 and 2011, the Manitoba NDP government and the federal government supported Peguis. Today, the situation is worse. This is a climate emergency. Peguis needs support now, including from the military, which has stepped up for first nations during emergencies.
    Will the federal government work with Peguis and the province to ensure they get all the help they need, including urgent military support now?
    Mr. Speaker, I am very concerned that Peguis First Nation is experiencing flooding events again this year.
    They have been impacted significantly by previous flooding, and their communities have been working to rebuild their homes and their community. The Canadian Red Cross and Indigenous Services Canada are working with Chief Hudson to evacuate residents as required. We will continue to work with the community to ensure that they have the resources and supports they need, as this is an active event.

  (1450)  

[Translation]

Official Languages

    Mr. Speaker, francophones outside Quebec need strong institutions to help their communities grow and prosper. Francophones in Sudbury and northern Ontario would like to see the University of Sudbury return to its francophone roots as an autonomous French-language university under the principle of governance by and for the francophone community.
    Can the Minister of Official Languages tell the House how this government is turning that dream into reality?
     Our government understands that we need to invest in the institutions that support our official language minority communities, in particular the French-language education system. Last Friday, I had the privilege of joining my colleagues from Nickel Belt and Sudbury in announcing that our government will contribute over $2 million to the University of Sudbury. This money will strengthen the university's capacity and ensure it has the right tools to train the next generation of francophone leaders.

[English]

Health

    Mr. Speaker, around the world there is consensus that we are moving into the endemic phase of COVID-19. Unfortunately, federal employees continue to be left behind. In Canada, federal mandates persist and many employees are losing their jobs because of their personal choice. This would include approximately 1,000 members of the Canadian Armed Forces, who we now know cannot find housing, at a time when recruitment and retention are already at an alarmingly low rate.
    On which date is the government going to give Canadians a federal plan to lift these mandates?
    Mr. Speaker, having a vaccinated workforce makes our workforce and our communities safer. We asked employees of the federal public service to attest to their vaccination status and they stepped up: 99% of public servants have attested to being fully vaccinated. We are currently reviewing this policy and will be back to Parliament to share our decision.
    Mr. Speaker, at the health committee, Dr. Isaac Bogoch stated that this complicated science the Minister of Health keeps referring to with respect to mandates could be summarized in one page. We also heard again that there is going to be a regular review of these mandates. Where is it?
    When is the Prime Minister going to be transparent and make us all aware of the scientific benchmarks and government reviews, and release Canadians who have disagreed with him from these vindictive and overly punitive mandates?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his collaboration on the health committee. I would like to acknowledge that he has served for many years not only in the Canadian Armed Forces, but also as a family doctor. He knows that today we know more about COVID‑19 than ever before and are in a very different place than we were two years ago. We have safe and effective vaccines and a highly vaccinated population. We also have new treatments that can help patients from getting seriously ill.
    Our government will keep making decisions, as we have been over the past couple of weeks. It would be nice if the Conservatives would acknowledge that things have been changing over these last couple of weeks. We will continue to adjust our advice and public health measures based on the evolution of this virus.
    Mr. Speaker, we are in a different place, but there are nearly four million Canadians whose charter rights are still being violated. They cannot leave or enter the country and cannot even travel domestically, even though all of the provinces have lifted their vaccine mandates. They are being prevented from visiting relatives, who in some cases are dying.
    Will the transport minister admit that vaccinated and unvaccinated people can both get and transmit COVID and that there is no longer any justification for violating the charter rights of Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, the last two years have been very difficult on Canadians. We have had lockdowns. We have had public health measures. People lost their jobs because of the uncertainty of the pandemic. Governments around the world, provincial governments and municipal governments were all grappling with doing the right things to protect the health and safety of Canadians. Many decisions included vaccination mandates and other public health measures. We are seeing that our government and other governments are slowly adjusting these measures. We will continue to consult our experts as we review those decisions.

  (1455)  

    Mr. Speaker, we are two years in and the testing of incoming international travellers is creating significant bottlenecks at Canadian airports. Many Canadians still cannot travel. The public servants who could be working from home to clear the current government's backlog on just about every single service it offers have been cast aside.
    The ideological crusade of the government is having an impact on our reputation. When will it admit that it got it wrong and lift the ineffective and now obviously vindictive federal mandates?
    Mr. Speaker, I understand that the Conservative Party does not agree with our government's decisions when it comes to public health measures. However, talking down vaccines and public health measures is not a wise thing to do to bring Canadians along. We can debate the need for those measures, but calling them vindictive is unwise. I call on my hon. colleague to realize that we are doing everything we can to protect the health and safety of Canadians. If the Conservatives disagree with us, they can argue that with the health experts.

[Translation]

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, it is the same thing every spring.
    Just as predictable as the return of warm weather is the return of federal delays in processing temporary foreign workers. Once again, the same farmers must pay for the same market studies. Once again, the arrival of workers is delayed and farmers are afraid they will miss their chance to harvest their crops.
    As Albert Einstein said, insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. When will Ottawa finally put an end to this tradition of failure and transfer the program to Quebec?
    Mr. Speaker, we know that immigration is vital to fighting the labour shortage. IRCC is prioritizing work permit processing for in-demand occupations in industries such as health, agriculture, food and seafood production.
    In the first quarter of 2022, we processed more than 100,000 applications for work permits. That is nearly double the number of work permits processed in the same period last year.
    We will continue to ensure that Canadian employers have access to the workers they need to ensure the economic recovery of Canada and Quebec.
    Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois has proposed plenty of possible solutions.
    At the very least, the federal government could eliminate the requirement for the same market impact assessments every year when everyone knows there is a labour shortage. It could speed up foreign workers' arrival in Canada by collecting their biometrics here. It could deal with their work permits once they arrive in the country.
    There are plenty of things that the government could do, but it refuses to do better. Since it is refusing to take care of temporary foreign workers, why not let Quebec take on that responsibility?
    Mr. Speaker, we know that the temporary foreign worker program is vital to the Canadian economy.
    Employers should be able to get decisions regarding workers' contracts. That is why we are taking additional measures to address the labour shortage.

[English]

    We are moving the cap on low-wage positions for employers in seasonal industries. We are extending LMIA validity from nine to 18 months, and we are expanding flexibility for LMIA applications in low-wage occupations. We are also increasing the maximum employment duration for high-wage and global talent streams from two to three years. We will continue collaborating with employers to ensure—
    The hon. member for Beauce.

[Translation]

Passport Canada

    Mr. Speaker, this government has pulled off a hat trick, managing to destroy a trifecta of services: immigration, employment insurance and passports. Everything is a complete disaster.
    My constituents are sick of sitting on hold or waiting weeks, or even months, to get answers from the officers handling their files.
    Did the government not anticipate a surge in passport renewal applications after two full years of no travel? This government is always in reaction mode. When will it take action and reduce wait times for passport renewals?

  (1500)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his question. As I told the House, we are seeing an incredible increase in demand for passports.
     That being said, Service Canada is working very hard to ensure that Canadians get their passports before their travel date. Just this past weekend, we opened 12 Passport Canada and Service Canada centres on Saturday to help process passport applications.
    Our employees are working at night and on the weekends to make sure that Canadians get their passports on time.
    Mr. Speaker, I am not looking to stir up trouble, given that I am not a member of the Bloc, but the majority of Canadians are starting to return to in-person work after two years of a pandemic.
    However, certain federal workplaces are still largely shuttered, and Passport Canada is no exception. Visits are by appointment only, but if anyone wants to make an appointment, they had better be ready to spend hours on the phone.
    Canadians deserve better service. How is it possible that we members can work on site, when that is not the case at a Passport Canada office?
    Mr. Speaker, I have good news. Passport Canada and Service Canada will be opening nearly all of their service centres this week.
    We have spoken with unions and the employees, who are already working long hours, even at home, for the specific purpose of serving Canadians. We know that it is important because there are many people who want to travel right now. Services will be available in offices across the country.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, poor planning has resulted in unacceptable wait times for Canadians to get a passport. The Liberal government is profiting from Canadians' desire to travel yet offering less service. It knew this need was coming yet clearly was not prepared, and now Canadians are paying the price. Passport Canada is charging a $45 transfer fee, plus an additional $110 fast processing fee. All these unnecessary processing fees are making a 10-year adult passport $315 instead of $160.
    Why are Canadians paying for the Liberals' inability to plan?
    Mr. Speaker, as I have said numerous times in the House, we are experiencing an incredible increase in demand. For the past two years, many Canadians followed the advice of government and did not travel. Now they are looking forward to travelling again, and therefore there is a big increase in demand.
    That being said, Service Canada and Passport Canada are doing everything they can to meet this unprecedented surge in demand. Just this past weekend, we opened 12 centres on Saturday to assist. Passport officers are working day, night and on the weekends to meet the demand. We will continue to provide the best service possible that we can to Canadians, understanding the—
    The hon. member for Fredericton.

Indigenous Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, eliminating all remaining long-term drinking water advisories on reserve is a priority for the government. To accomplish this long-awaited aspiration, it is indispensable that first nations communities need to access reliable funding for their water and waste-water services over long periods of time.
    Can the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indigenous Services inform the House on how the government is working in partnership with first nations at every step of the way to ensure sustainable access to clean drinking water in first nations communities, specifically in Atlantic Canada, a territory governed by the peace and friendship treaties?
    Mr. Speaker, access to clean drinking water is fundamental. That is why budget 2022 will provide $173.2 million to support the transfer of services in 17 communities to the Atlantic First Nations Water Authority. Recently, Chief Ross Perley stated, “It gives us self-determination on drinking water”.
    We will continue to work with all communities to find and support indigenous-led solutions to strengthen water management on reserve.

Taxation

    Mr. Speaker, this year's budget raises more questions for Canada's wine industry than it answers. Last year's budget dedicated $101 million over two years in support of a trade legal excise exemption replacement program, an amount the industry says falls way short of what it needs. This year's budget now forecasts the government generating $135 million over that same two-year period.
    Where is that extra $34 million in forecasted revenue going? Will it be given back to the wine industry to support its needs? Which is it? You promised to make them whole. Will you do so?

  (1505)  

    I will remind the member about the usage of “you”.
    The hon. minister.
    Mr. Speaker, as we announced in last year's budget, we will be providing more than $100 million to support wineries in adapting to ongoing and emerging challenges. The program is expected to open for application intake this summer.
    As I am sure the hon. member knows, Canada had a WTO dispute with Australia. We settled that dispute in July 2020, and our settlement required the repeal of our exemption by June 30, 2022.

Health

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians have followed public health measures and have made tremendous sacrifices during the COVID-19 pandemic. Canada has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world. Provincial health officials have followed the science to remove vaccine and mask mandates.
    With all the provinces and most countries moving on from pandemic restrictions, why will the Prime Minister not follow the science and immediately end all federal vaccine mandates and restrictions on Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, as my hon. colleague is well aware, Canada is a really big country and public health advice can vary across the country due to local epidemiological situations in various provinces and territories. I would also like to say that out of all the other countries named in the House lately, we have the lowest death rate. We should acknowledge that our very low death rate is due to the very high vaccination rate and the strict adherence to public health guidelines throughout the ongoing pandemic that we are all experiencing. We all want this pandemic to be over, and by following the public health restrictions, we will make sure that it is over soon.

Seniors

    Mr. Speaker, record inflation under the government affects not only Canadian seniors but their children too. With two children in university, an all-too-familiar Alzheimer's diagnosis forced a family in my riding to dip into their meagre retirement savings to support their loving father in his time of need. This is a reality that far too many Canadian families are experiencing.
    Informal caregivers are the backbone of this care economy. What specific measures will the government be introducing to help young families care for their aging parents?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. colleague for the question.
    When it comes to supporting Canada's seniors, budget 2022 provided great news, including $5.3 billion over five years for dental care; engaging with experts on creating a career extension tax credit; creating an expert panel to study the idea of an aging at home benefit; doubling the qualifying expense limit of the home accessibility tax credit; $1.5 billion to extend the rapid housing initiative, creating at least 6,000 new affordable housing units; and, finally, $475 million to provide a one-time $500 payment to those, including seniors, who are facing housing affordability challenges.

[Translation]

Diversity and Inclusion

    Mr. Speaker, prejudice, barriers and discrimination are a daily reality for too many Canadians, including Black, racialized and indigenous people.
    As Canada's largest employer, the federal government has a responsibility to lead by example in addressing these challenges.
    Can the President of the Treasury Board tell us what concrete measures have been taken to strengthen diversity and inclusion in the public service?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his question and for the hard work he does in his riding of Vaudreuil—Soulanges.
    We will continue to take concrete measures to eliminate discrimination within our institutions. We created the Centre on Diversity and Inclusion, launched programs to remove barriers to recruitment and promotion, released disaggregated data and amended the Public Service Employment Act.
    Discrimination has always been entrenched in society. Eradicating it will require a constant and unrelenting effort.

[English]

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, Mohamedou Ould Slahi spent 14 years in prison in Guantanamo Bay despite being innocent. During his wrongful detention, he faced extreme conditions, including torture. He has filed a lawsuit with the Federal Court alleging that, while living in Canada, Canadian authorities shared false information that led to his unjust arrest. CSIS monitored him and passed along incorrect information about Mr. Slahi.
     Will the public safety minister admit that, once again, our national security agencies were complicit in the detention and torture of an innocent person?

  (1510)  

    Mr. Speaker, in line with our values, which are enshrined in the charter, Canada, of course, condemns all forms of torture. Canada has a duty to uphold fundamental rights and freedoms in all instances, and, of course, it would be inappropriate for the government or any member of this chamber to comment on matters that are before the courts.

Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, my question is this: How is the government ensuring that with new publicly-funded plutonium technologies and so-called SMR reactors, we are not increasing the risk of proliferation of nuclear weapons undermining global treaties?
    The experimental Moltex salt reactor in New Brunswick is being built by a company that has never done it before, of course, because no one has. However, the British company, Moltex, has admitted through its CEO that there is a risk. He said the company had to ensure that it has “got the risk of weapons proliferation managed and sufficiently low”.
    What on earth is “sufficiently low”, in an era in which Putin is sabre-rattling nuclear weapons?
    Mr. Speaker, small, modular reactors are under development in several countries around the world, not simply Canada. We can look to the United States and to the United Kingdom.
     As the hon. member knows, nuclear energy plays an important role in Canada's current energy mix. In the recent budget, we provided resources for the independent Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to focus on readiness to regulate SMRs. Going forward, Canada is committed to ensuring its nuclear industry continues to comply with all existing international obligations.

Royal Military College Officer Cadets

    Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties and I believe if you seek it, you will find the unanimous consent of the House for the following. I move:
     That this House mourn the tragic loss of four officer cadets on Friday, April 29, 2022, and express its deepest condolences to their families, their friends and the Royal Military College community during this very difficult time.
    All those opposed to the hon. member moving the motion will please say nay.
    The House has heard the terms of the motion. All those opposed to the motion will please say nay.
    Hearing none, the motion is carried.

    (Motion agreed to)

    The Deputy Speaker: Following discussions among representatives of all parties of the House, I understand that there is an agreement to observe a moment of silence in memory of the four officer cadets who lost their lives in Kingston. I will now invite hon. members to please rise.
    [A moment of silenced observed]

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

  (1515)  

[English]

Economic and Fiscal Update Implementation Act, 2021

     The House resumed from April 29 consideration of Bill C-8, An Act to implement certain provisions of the economic and fiscal update tabled in Parliament on December 14, 2021 and other measures, as reported (with amendment) from the committee, and of the motions in Group No. 1.
    It being 3:14 p.m., pursuant to order made Thursday, November 25, 2021, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motions at report stage of Bill C-8.
    Call in the members.
    And the bells having rung:
    The Deputy Speaker: The question is on Motion No. 1.

[Translation]

    A vote on this motion also applies to Motions Nos. 2 to 10.

  (1525)  

[English]

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

(Division No. 64)

YEAS

Members

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

Total: -- 118


NAYS

Members

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

Total: -- 210


PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion defeated.
Hon. David Lametti (for the Minister of Finance)  
     moved that the bill, as amended, be concurred in.
    If a member of a recognized party present in the House wishes to request a recorded division or that the motion be adopted on division, I would invite them to please rise and indicate it to the Chair.
    Mr. Speaker, I would request a recorded vote please.

  (1540)  

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

(Division No. 65)

YEAS

Members

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

Total: -- 183


NAYS

Members

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

Total: -- 148


PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion carried.

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

[Routine Proceedings]

[English]

Government Response to Petitions

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

Committees of the House

Transport, Infrastructure and Communities  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the third report of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, entitled “The Canada Infrastructure Bank”.

Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fourth report of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, entitled “Collection and Use of Mobility Data by the Government of Canada and Related Issues”.

Indigenous and Northern Affairs  

    Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties and, if you seek it, I believe you will find unanimous consent for the following motion. I move:
     That the Second Report of the Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs presented on Monday, April 25, 2022, be modified to substitute the name of the organization “First Nations Finance Authority” with “First Nations Financial Management Board” on page 16 of the report in English, and page 20 in French.
     All those opposed to the hon. member's moving the motion will please say nay.
    The House has heard the terms of the motion. All those opposed to the motion will please say nay.
     I declare the motion carried.

    (Motion agreed to)

Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics 

    moved that the third report of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, presented on Thursday, March 31, 2022, be concurred in.
    He said: Mr. Speaker, as always, it is an honour to be able to stand in this place and enter into debate on such important subjects.
    Let me first state that I will be splitting my time with the member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman.
    Once again, we find ourselves in this place, debating what has become the trend of the Liberal government, the trend of corruption, lack of ethics and failure on the front of integrity time and time again.
    I rise today not to talk about ancient history, as the Liberals would often like to suggest the Conservatives want to talk about. I rise today not to talk about something that does not have direct impact on Canadians. I rise not to simply have character assassinations as in question period we heard the Liberals suggest is all Conservatives were worried about. I rise today to talk about the integrity and the trust that Canadians need to be able to have in their institutions.
    When it comes to the report and the amendment that has been brought forward by my hon. colleague, we have an opportunity as parliamentarians to once again discuss the fact that there has been a significant erosion of trust in our public institutions within the country. I would suggest, and the reason I make this suggestion is that I hear it each and every day from constituents, that there has been a significant erosion of trust in our democracy within the country.
    I rise today to speak to what is known as the question of conflict of interest and lobbying in relation to pandemic spending, something that most Canadians would know as the WE Charity scandal, where the Prime Minister awarded a massive contract to his friends.
    I had the honour during the first session of the last Parliament to sit on the ethics committee in the midst of what was an unprecedented time in Canadian history, certainly, and in the world, facing a pandemic, and the fact that supports were needed. Conservatives did support, contrary to what the Liberals would like to suggest, some of those supports that Canadians needed so much.
    What we saw transpire over the year 2020 was that there was an unprecedented level of, obviously, lobbying that resulted in a massive contract being awarded to an organization with very close ties to the Prime Minister and his family and other central members of the government.
    What was supposed to be $800 million to go toward students finding summer employment during what was a very challenging year for all Canadians ended up being bogged down in scandal. Not only is there the question of ethics and integrity, but certainly, I would suggest, the government met the definition of corruption. I would suggest today in this place that it did show itself to have an unprecedented level of corruption, whether in this program or the many other scandals that we have seen from it.
    We saw that Canadians suffered. We saw students not getting the supports and resources that they need. We saw the fact that, as I mentioned before, questions were being asked, with more Canadians questioning each and every day the fact that they do not know if they can trust our institutions. They do not know if they can trust our democracy. On and on it went.
    There was a prorogation, even though the Liberal Prime Minister promised to never prorogue Parliament. Well, he broke that promise. We all know what that means. He broke that promise. The timeline for breaking that promise, I might add, and I know this authoritatively because I was on the committee, was within a number of days of when documents that very well may have been very revealing of the Prime Minister's relationship with this organization were supposed to have been submitted.

  (1545)  

    The Prime Minister participated in a hundreds of millions of dollars coverup. The Liberals' defence quite often was that it was not $800 million, that it would have only been about a $400-million scandal. Well, $400 million is beyond the imagination of most people, the number of dollars that have been wasted by the government in terms of corruption.
    Let me first thank the committee. It did get back to work. I was involved in the first session of that Parliament. Something the Liberal government certainly does not like is the fact that it does not have a majority, although it seems to have bought one here more recently. It was faced with the fact that the committee did decide to do good work. The Liberals filibustered that committee for countless hours. I know because I participated in many of those hours of filibuster. They tried to teach committee members Latin. They had a whole litany of excuses. It will go down as one of the most unprecedented coverups in Canadian history.
    We saw that the committee did good work. It brought forward 23 recommendations. A number of months ago, I moved the motion in the ethics committee, which I now have the honour of sitting in again in this Parliament, to retable the report, the good work that the committee did, along with those 23 recommendations, the significant research and testimony and even the admissions of contempt. In a parliamentary democracy, contempt is a significant allegation, but there were admissions of contempt on the part of the Prime Minister.
    Last year, at the end of the summer of 2021, we saw something which unfortunately is not that uncommon. We saw the Prime Minister flip-flop. He misled Canadians on a whole host of issues. He stood in this place, with his integrity being shown and then a few months later called an election. He promised not to do that. The definition of the word for that is not allowed to be said in this place, but Canadians know what it is.
     It is an absolute shame that we find ourselves in this situation once again. Now we have seen over the past couple of weeks that once again the integrity of our Prime Minister is showing. This time it is not simply a contract being given to friends of the Prime Minister, but the possibility of criminal charges.
    I do not know if the Prime Minister simply goofed up when he admitted to the fact that he did not give himself permission to absolve himself of criminal charges, but that is a big deal. The fact is that we have a Prime Minister in this place that seems to have admitted to criminality.
    In the last couple of minutes of my speech, I'll mention that I hear from Canadians often. They ask questions. They ask how he can get away with this. They ask how we can have a government with the litany of scandals that litter the path of our Prime Minister as he jet-sets from coast to coast to coast. It could be for surfing vacations or for friends to get lucrative government contracts or the fact that during a pandemic there was significant evidence of sole-source contracts for ventilators, as one example, that were never delivered. There are serious questions that Canadians need answers to.
     Canadians need answers to these questions because there has been a significant erosion of trust, not to mention all of the political and policy differences. Coming from a rural east central Alberta riding, I can say there are a lot of policy differences. I could go on and on about those things.
    At the heart of it, it should not be about politics when it comes to the integrity of our democracy. Over the course of the next number of hours, I hope we get to once again seek clarity for Canadians, but not for political interests or so-called character assassinations as the Liberals simply like to pivot to when they are afraid to answer questions.

  (1550)  

    All of us have the responsibility to ask the questions when it comes to ensuring that tough questions are asked of our elected officials, in this case the government and the Prime Minister as the leader of that government, that the answers are given and that accountability can be brought back to this country, because I am fearful that the damage that is being done to our democracy is putting it in great peril.
    Madam Speaker, to say that I am disappointed, I would say yes. To say I am surprised, I would say no. It is unfortunate that the Conservative Party continues to demonstrate to Canadians its willingness to play games. We are actually supposed to be debating Motion No. 11 to ultimately see parliamentarians be able to sit longer for a debate, in order to accommodate more debate. Now the Conservatives take yet another tactical report, something that focuses on their interests, not the interests of Canadians, and that is what they want to debate, as opposed to debating other, more substantive issues, such as Motion No. 11, Bill C-8 and so forth.
    Does the member not see the hypocrisy that is oozing from the Conservative caucus on the whole issue of credibility in standing and addressing the issues that Canadians are facing today? It is shameful.

  (1555)  

    Madam Speaker, what is shameful is the fact that the member is complicit in a government that is so corrupt that it refused to even allow the conversation of accountability within this place.
    Specifically when it comes to the government's legislative agenda, it is nothing short of incompetence to the extreme that the Liberals cannot seem to manage anything: government, their ethical conduct, let alone their legislative agenda. I look forward to debating Motion No. 11. Unfortunately, the government, in what is the height of hypocrisy, moved closure to limit debate on what is a motion that would limit the ability of MPs in this place to have their say.
    This is incredible. Motion No. 11, which the member just referred to, would give the Prime Minister unilateral ability to shut this place down on his whim. That is not democracy. That is tyranny and certainly lands pretty close to the allegations I hear often from constituents who suggest that this is not a Prime Minister but rather a dictator.
    Madam Speaker, those are huge words that are being hurled around in the House by the Conservatives yet again. Many Conservative MPs, not all, fortunately, were very supportive of the so-called “freedom convoy”, which sought the overthrow of democratic government in this country. It sought the ripping away of all democratic values and traditions that we know in Canada.
    The member says this is an important issue, but he has to answer a very simple question. The Conservatives are now presenting the same concurrence report this week that they presented last week. The House dealt with it last week. They are coming right back and presenting the same motion this week. They talk about the time that needs to be spent in the House to ensure that we actually get in place legislation that would help teachers, that would help farmers. I know the member, like everyone else in the House, has been hearing from teachers in his riding because of the delays that the Conservatives have caused around Bill C-8. I know that he has heard from farmers in his riding who have said the same thing, that the Conservatives are blocking all pieces of legislation. Now they are doing it by running a rerun, running a redebate of what was already debated last week and will be debated in an evening session once all parties come to an agreement.
    Why is the member presenting exactly the same thing, exactly the same debate, when the House already considered that last week?
    Madam Speaker, that is a little revisionist history from the member, so let me correct the record. We had indeed endeavoured to move this last week, but the government simply moved to orders of the day, which restricted the ability for members of this place to actually enter into discussions on this incredibly important matter.
    When it comes to the coalition or confidence and supply or the fact that the Prime Minister bought his majority, my simple response is this. I encourage all NDP members of this place to go to their constituents and be honest with them when they try to explain and justify the fact that they are involved in a cover-up of unbelievable proportions each and every day, that they are enabling the incompetence of a government that cannot manage not only its legislative agenda, but government itself. The fact that they seem more than happy to play games—
    Resuming debate, the hon. member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman.
    Madam Speaker, I want to thank the member for Battle River—Crowfoot for splitting his time with me and for his great intervention.
    We brought forward this concurrence motion last week, but because the government does not want to discuss the WE scandal in any more detail, it moved a motion to go to orders of the day, which essentially shut down the debate on the concurrence motion.
    I want to thank the ethics committee from the 43rd Parliament, second session, which tabled the report “Questions of Conflict of Interest and Lobbying in Relation to Pandemic Spending” in June 2021. I also want to thank the current ethics committee, in this Parliament, which has now tabled it on March 31.
    It is important that we have a chance to revisit what happened in the WE Charity scandal, why this is important and why we need to continue to look at how we can improve upon our officers of Parliament, like the Commissioner of Lobbying, the Ethics Commissioner and the Privacy Commissioner, and ensure we have better oversight of government officials who are being lobbied and entering into certain contracts that oftentimes put ministers of the current Liberal government into a conflict of interest. We have now seen multiple reports done by the Ethics Commissioner, both the previous Ethics Commissioner, Mary Dawson, and the current Ethics Commissioner, Mr. Dion.
    I do not think we need to spend a lot of time reminding everybody of the unethical behaviour of the current Prime Minister. Again, during question period I asked him about the criminal investigation the RCMP had started with respect to the luxury vacation gift he got on a tropical island. Not only was he found in violation of the Conflict of Interest Act by the former Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson, contravening sections 5, 11, 12 and 21 of the Conflict of Interest Act, but we also know that the RCMP investigated him under paragraph 121(1)(c) of the Criminal Code for fraud in relation to the government.
    We also know the Prime Minister was found guilty of contravening section 9 of the Conflict of Interest Act over the issue of SNC-Lavalin and the prosecution going on there with respect to influence. He essentially had a concerted campaign against Jody Wilson-Raybould, our former Attorney General, who refused to offer a plea deal to SNC-Lavalin, what we call a deferred prosecution agreement, and stood on her principles as the Attorney General of Canada to ensure that it faced the music. However, she lost her job because she stood up to the Prime Minister and stood up for the principles of justice. We know that the Treasury Board president of the day, Jane Philpott, who sided with Jody Wilson-Raybould, was also fired from cabinet, and ultimately the two of them were kicked out of the Liberal caucus. That scandal in itself had huge overarching impacts on the Liberal Party of Canada. The principal secretary to the Prime Minister at the time, Gerald Butts, had to resign. The Clerk of the Privy Council at the time, Michael Wernick, also resigned. They both resigned in disgrace.
     The Prime Minister is not the only person who has acted unethically. I want to get to former finance minister Bill Morneau right away, but when the current Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities, who is the MP for Beauséjour, was Minister of Fisheries in the last Parliament, he was caught up in a lucrative clam scam because he practised nepotism and made sure that family members received lucrative $24-million contracts for clams.
    Then we come to Mr. Bill Morneau, our former finance minister, who was found guilty of violating the Conflict of Interest Act when he failed to disclose to the Ethics Commissioner that he had a luxurious villa in the French Riviera. It took him two years to disclose his property, when all members of Parliament, and especially public office holders, whether members of cabinet or parliamentary secretaries, are required to submit all of their financial information to the Ethics Commissioner for review and public disclosure so that people will know if there is any way members of this House, and public office holders in particular, can be influenced.

  (1600)  

    As I mentioned already, the Prime Minister was found guilty on four different charges for the luxurious vacation that he took on the private island and he has been investigated for fraud, but it is important to point out that both the Prime Minister and Bill Morneau failed to recuse themselves from discussions around WE Charity. We know that We Charity was offered a chance to develop a program for summer students and to support students during the pandemic. That was over half a billion dollars.
    Both Bill Morneau and the Prime Minister had relations with the Kielburger family, as well as with WE Charity. Bill Morneau's daughter worked for it. Bill Morneau and the Prime Minister had received benefits directly from WE Charity. They were both close personal friends of the Kielburgers. Because they failed to recuse themselves from the discussions at the cabinet table, awarding a sole-sourced contract to WE Charity, that is what was found to be in contravention under the Conflict of Interest Act. We know that because of it, Mr. Morneau was removed from cabinet and resigned as a member of Parliament.
    We also know that WE Charity produced 10 videos of the Prime Minister, which were essentially campaign-style videos. They were valued at over $217,000. To make the point, in one of the videos, the Prime Minister said he pledged to work hard for all Canadians, something that we hear from him in question period. Then he went on to say that he is going to invest in our youngest leaders: the students. This is a campaign-style promise by the Prime Minister to these future voters. It clearly was a political message.
    We also know that the Prime Minister's wife had received a $20,000 getaway vacation to speak at a WE Charity event in London, England, and that was just a week or two after the Liberal government awarded the Kielburgers and WE Charity the half-billion-dollar sole-sourced contract.
    As we dive into this report, we find out that there were multiple people in Morneau's office and the Prime Minister's Office, as well as the member for Waterloo, who were working directly with the Kielburgers on how to design the program. Why did they have to work with WE Charity to design the program? It was because WE Charity had never done a program like this, ever. It did not have the capabilities to offer this program and it was designed specifically for it to orchestrate this program. Because of the hand-holding that took place, we know, as the member for Battle River—Crowfoot just said, that public trust in our democratic institutions was eroded.
    On Thursday, March 25, 2021, some of those staffers who worked in the Prime Minister's Office and Minister Morneau's office were asked to appear at committee by a House order. Ben Chin, Rick Theis and Amitpal Singh were all ordered to appear. Ben Chin was senior adviser to the Prime Minister and directly messaged with Craig Kielburger of WE. We know that Rick Theis, who worked in the Prime Minister's Office as director of policy and cabinet affairs, met with the Kielburger brothers from WE as well, and then Amitpal Singh, who worked for Bill Morneau, also worked directly to make the tailor-made program for WE Charity. All these people failed to comply with the order from the House and are in contempt of Parliament. Because we had an election and we are in a new Parliament, that does not purge them of their contempt of Parliament. We also need to dive more into the role of the MP for Waterloo.

  (1605)  

     I wish to move an amendment to the motion. I move:
    That, the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following: the Third Report of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, presented on Thursday, March 31, 2022, be not now concurred in, but that it be recommitted to the Committee for further consideration, provided that (a) the committee be instructed (i) to make every effort possible to receive evidence from Ben Chin, Rick Theis and Amitpal Singh, the witnesses who did not comply with this House's Order of Thursday, March 25, 2021, to appear before the Committee, (ii) to consider further the concerns expressed in the Report about the Member for Waterloo's failure “in her obligation to be accurate with a committee”, and (iii) to report back by Monday, October 17, 2022; and (b) the committee be empowered to order the attendance of the Member for Waterloo, from time to time, as it sees fit.

  (1610)  

     The amendment is in order.
    Questions and comments, the hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader.
    Madam Speaker, I am wondering if the member sees any hypocrisy when the official opposition members say that they would like to be able to have more debate on issues, and then they filibuster concurrence reports to prevent debate from happening and are voting against the government's Motion No. 11 to extend debate time so that members would have more time to debate. On the one hand, the government is providing the opportunity to debate and, on the other hand, the opposition members are saying that they want to be able to debate but are denying any opportunity for yourself. It is almost as if you want the chamber to self-destruct in terms of debate.
    Just as a reminder, I do not want to self-destruct.
    The hon. member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman.
    Madam Speaker, I think we all sit here and witness every day the member for Winnipeg North self-destruct on an ongoing basis.
     When we really want to get down to it, the member for Winnipeg North stands in here every day to help with the cover-up of government corruption and unethical behaviour. We know that we just voted on a closure motion to ensure that there was a vote on Motion No. 11. Motion No. 11 is going to be coming into force whether we like it or not. The government, with its unholy alliance with the NDP, will get its Motion No. 11 through, and we do not feel like it is necessary to sit here and debate this in a long, drawn-out process.
    What is important is that we have committees that have been doing important work here on the ethical behaviour of the current government. We need to refer this back to the committee so that we can dig in deeper and the committee can do its work and report back to the House on those who actually held this place in contempt by refusing to appear before committee. The member for Waterloo perjured herself in committee by refusing to share information with the committee and lying about it, or misleading us. We have this opportunity to bring those people back and get down to the bottom of what actually happened in the WE scandal.

  (1615)  

    Madam Speaker, I like the member. He is very experienced in the House, and I get along with him well, but I do not understand the Conservatives' strategy.
    The official opposition House leader, just a few hours ago, was saying that the Conservatives do not want to delay things. They said that they understood the fact that teachers and farmers are trying desperately to get access to the tax credits, which the Conservatives have held up by refusing, in any way, to allow consideration of Bill C-8.
    It is also the disinformation from Conservatives that concerns me. I mean, our Standing Orders are very clear. Standing Order 66 means that the concurrence debate that the Conservatives brought up last week, as the member well knows, is subject to a debate next week. That is in the Standing Orders. It is obligatory. The fact that they are doing their summer reruns by reintroducing a motion, reintroducing the same amendment that they did last week, does not allow the House time to actually get the legislation through that teachers and farmers and so many others are looking for.
    I just do not understand the Conservatives' strategy. They seem to be blocking all legislation of all types at all times, and then they introduce a rerun when they know, and the member knows, that next week all of this will be considered, because the Standing Orders require it.
    Why are they taking time from the House now when they know very well that this debate will be held next week and they can reintroduce, for a third time, the same amendment?
    Madam Speaker, I note the hypocrisy of that member. He used to stand in here and rail against the government on the WE scandal itself, because the Prime Minister and the former minister of finance, Bill Morneau, refused to recuse themselves from the decision process.
    This is the member who always wanted to make sure that we did not do closure on debate, and now since he has become, I guess, deputy leader of the NDP-Liberal coalition or deputy House leader, NDP members are now standing here defending the government on moving things like closure on debate and trying to limit the ability of committees to do their work on things. He wants to kick the can down the road another week or two before we actually do it, but we have a chance to get this done today: to put it to a vote and let the committee get to work immediately on making sure that those who committed contempt on this Parliament are actually held to account.
    Madam Speaker, I think it is clear, from the answer to the last question, that the Conservatives have absolutely no response to the great question that the member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman was just asked, because had he actually conjured up an answer to the question, he would have been able to provide some substance to the member's question.
     I think it is in the best interests of Canadians that we get back to the business of this House rather than the political games that the Conservatives are continuing to play. Therefore, I move, seconded by the member for Winnipeg North:
    That the House do now proceed to orders of the day.

[Translation]

    If a member of a recognized party present in the House wishes to request a recorded division or that the motion be adopted on division, I would invite them to rise and indicate it to the Chair.
    The hon. member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I request a recorded division.

  (1700)  

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

(Division No. 66)

YEAS

Members

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

Total: -- 176


NAYS

Members

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

Total: -- 145


PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion carried.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[English]

Extension of Sitting Hours and Conduct of Extended Proceedings

    The House resumed from April 28 consideration of the motion.
    I believe when we left this last, the member for Barrie—Innisfil, the House leader for the official opposition, had two minutes remaining in his question and comment period.
    Mr. Speaker, my question to the member is actually very straightforward. When we look at the essence of Motion No. 11, all it wants to do is allow for more debate time so members of the Conservative Party, and others, would be able to talk about legislation more.
    Why does the Conservative Party oppose additional debate time?
    Madam Speaker, I have said this numerous times. The government has failed miserably in dealing with its legislative agenda. It is going to make everybody around this place pay a price. Conservatives are prepared to work 24 hours a day if we have to, and we will.
    Madam Speaker, to the hon. House leader of the official opposition, I am torn about the debate. This happens to be, by the way, for everybody else who was elected May 2, 2011, our 11th anniversary. We have had a lot of late nights in June. This is the first time we have faced the prospect of staying until midnight in May and in June. We do good work that way, but it is not the best.
    Does my hon. colleague from the Conservative Party agree with me that it would be far preferable if we adopted the rules we have that prohibit members from reading speeches? Then we would have fewer people prepared to keep debating forever and ever on a point—

  (1705)  

    We have to give the hon. member for Barrie—Innisfil time to answer.
    Madam Speaker, we have already agreed to a schedule, which all of the parties agreed to last year. The last two weeks of June were proposed for extended sittings. The hon. member is quite right. This has never happened before.
    What Canadians need to ask themselves, and certainly what the NDP members need to ask themselves, is why. Why are we doing this at the beginning of May? It is because the government has failed in its legislative agenda? The second reason is that it has the NDP in its hip pocket, so it can do whatever it wants now.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, since I do not have the endless time allotted to the official opposition and have only 20 minutes for my speech, I will read it.
     I rise in the House—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Madam Speaker, I would request a modicum of decorum because I cannot hear myself speak.

[English]

    May I ask hon. members to take their conversations outside of the chamber, please.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, as I was saying, I rise in the House feeling extremely disappointed. I am disappointed with the government's vision of parliamentary democracy. What a waste of time and energy.
    Since securing the support of the NDP, the government has been acting with the arrogance of a majority government. Some will ask whether I am truly surprised. I will answer that I entered politics because, first and foremost, I refuse to be cynical.
    Last Thursday, I heard the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government brazenly state that this type of motion was nothing out of the ordinary. A brief review showed me that, indeed, this happens too often in the House.
    The Liberals said that it was not uncommon and that it was not a big deal, because the Conservatives did it before. Just because the Conservatives did something once, that does not mean that another party is justified in doing the same thing once in power. There is no reason to normalize parliamentary mediocrity and an inability to manage the parliamentary agenda.
    The government has been lax, not to say lackadaisical, in administering its legislative agenda, especially when it comes to medical assistance in dying. There was an election, there were three sessions before the election, and a committee was created, but the committee was not recalled until late March, and its first meeting was held on April 8. That is totally unacceptable.
    In my view, this motion is unworthy of a democratic Parliament. It is despicable. Either this motion is malicious, deceptive and twisted, or it is astoundingly insensitive toward people who are suffering. Today, with this motion, not only is the government limiting the powers of the opposition parties, but it is doing so for partisan reasons. This is end-of-session quibbling over matters of life and death. The government is exploiting the issue of end-of-life care and capitalizing on the suffering of people who are dying, who are experiencing intolerable suffering, who would like to have access to support in dying with dignity and who would like the proper respect to be shown for their right to make a free, informed choice.
    These people trusted us last year when we passed Bill C-7. They assumed we would spend the next year conducting a rigorous, thorough cross-party analysis and produce a credible report on the revision of the act.
    In our opinion, the Liberals’ strategy is the epitome of cynicism. They are preparing to trample on the powers of the opposition parties with the NDP’s complicity, while in 2017, 2018 and 2019 the NDP voted against this type of motion. The Liberals are muzzling the opposition parties, something we have always voted against. They are imposing closure, but they are careful to add in the same motion what the Bloc Québécois wants, namely to extend the mandate of the joint committee until October 17. On the one hand, they are giving us less time. On the other hand, they are extending the deadline.
    Fortunately, knowing that we could not divide the motion, the Speaker allowed us to divide the vote.
    By tabling the motion last Thursday, however, the government placed the Bloc Québécois in a position where it had to vote against its desire to implement a rigorous and credible process to review the act respecting medical assistance in dying in order to allow the joint committee to submit a report worthy of expectations or alternatively compromise its principles of parliamentary democracy. This is the Liberals’ twisted way of governing.

  (1710)  

    Since the last election, the government has dragged its feet when it came to reconstituting the special joint committee. It did so not in a separate motion, but—nice going—in a motion adopted under a gag order, which muzzled the opposition.
    Since the beginning of the 44th Parliament, the Bloc, represented by myself and my excellent House leader, has told the government that we were short on time and that we should proceed by consensus to extend the deadline for the joint committee’s report. A first compromise was made, and the deadline was extended until June 23. Unfortunately, to succeed, we would have had to sit continuously, and intensively, more than once a week, starting with the first meeting.
    The way we conduct this process is important for ensuring the credibility of the findings. This part of Motion No. 11 should at least have been moved separately. Discussions could have continued with the Conservative party; so far, the Conservatives are claiming that the June 23 deadline is reasonable and sufficient.
    Obviously, the schedule can be reorganized at the end of the session. Obviously, with this hybrid parliament, resources cannot be optimized to accommodate more work, even until midnight. Obviously, this limits the organization of business. Claiming that we can call witnesses and ensure—

[English]

    I ask the hon. members to please take their conversations to the lobbies.
    The hon. member for Montcalm.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, how can someone claim to be able to call witnesses and have them submit briefs of no more than 1,000 words and talk to us for five scant minutes, when in Quebec we called experts who were given an hour for questions and answers and 15 minutes to explain their research? How can someone believe that the process would be credible with such a short deadline and a 10-page report? It is appalling.
    Let us take a brief look at the main reports produced on medical assistance in dying to show why October 17 was an entirely appropriate and realistic deadline.
    In 2012, in the National Assembly, the report of the Select Committee on Dying with Dignity entitled “Dying with Dignity” was 178 pages long.
    In 2016, the report of the Special Joint Committee on Physician-Assisted Dying entitled “Medical Assistance in Dying: A Patient-Centred Approach,” was 60 pages long.
    In December 2018, the first report of the Council of Canadian Academies’ Expert Panel on Medical Assistance in Dying entitled “The State of Knowledge on Medical Assistance in Dying for Mature Minors” was 193 pages long. The second report, entitled “The State of Knowledge on Advance Requests for Medical Assistance in Dying” was 219 pages long. The third report, entitled “The State of Knowledge on Medical Assistance in Dying Where Mental Disorder is the Sole Underlying Medical Condition”, was 247 pages long.
    In 2019, Filion and Maclure’s report entitled “L’aide médicale à mourir pour les personnes en situation d’inaptitude: le juste équilibre entre le droit à l’autodétermination, la compassion et la prudence”, or medical assistance in dying for incapacitated persons: balancing the right to self-determination, compassion and prudence, was 157 pages long. This report was prepared following 17 eight-hour sessions.
    In December 2021, the report of the Select Committee on the Evolution of the Act respecting end-of-life care, submitted to the Quebec National Assembly, was 90 pages long. This report was prepared following 39 meetings with witnesses and 46 steering committee meetings.
    However, on our side, we would have to do the same thing in eight weeks, at a pace of one meeting a week, with witnesses who are not allowed to submit reports over 1,000 words long, so we could produce a report of no more than 10 pages. That is ridiculous. They put that in a closure motion and they think we are going to be happy about it.
    I have no problem with the Conservatives completely disagreeing with what I stand for on this file, but I will not go along with the work being done poorly or in a partisan manner or with a debate as important as this one being reduced to legal quibbling at the end of the session. That is how this government is behaving.
    The motion we are debating today is a prime example of how the Liberals have decided to act a like an arrogant majority government with support from the NDP. The message Canadians and Quebeckers sent during the election in September has gone by the wayside once again. This minority government, emphasis on minority, can go back to strongarming and cutting debate short when it feels like it. It is deplorable.
    The main purpose of today's motion, although meant to extend debate until midnight from Monday to Friday, is to muzzle the opposition parties, and I will prove it. I would like to add another consideration, which stems from a certain deference to House of Commons employees. We need to think about the repercussions that extending sittings until midnight will have on the interpreters' ability to do their work safely, both in the House of Commons and in committee.

  (1715)  

    During the pandemic, we saw that virtual meetings created extra work for interpreters. In light of that, the Liberals should have shown greater consideration for them. Should we be surprised that they did not? We are concerned that, with all the extra work required of the interpreters, there will be fewer time slots available for committee meetings.
    Let us look at the first part of this motion, paragraph (a). It begins by stating that “on the day of the adoption of this order, the ordinary hour of daily adjournment shall be 12:00 a.m.”. That is not a problem because the Bloc Québécois wants to sit, debate and work. On the issue of medical assistance in dying, we wanted to work on it before last April 8.
    Paragraph (a) continues, “that until Thursday, June 23, 2022, a minister of the Crown may, with the agreement of the House leader of another recognized party, rise from his or her seat at any time during a sitting, but no later than 6:30 p.m., and request that the ordinary hour of daily adjournment for the current sitting or a subsequent sitting be 12:00 a.m., provided that it be 10:00 p.m. on a day when a debate pursuant to Standing Order 52 or 53.1 is to take place, and that such a request shall be deemed adopted”.
    To me, the words “with the agreement of the House leader of another recognized party” are clearly referring to the NDP. The government is talking about the NDP, but this is completely out of character for that party. This is not the first time a government has moved a motion like this one.
    Let us think back to the period from 2015 to 2019 and the democratic position of the so-called democratic party. At that time, the Liberals had a majoirity government. Earlier I spoke about how the Conservatives and the Liberals pass the buck back and forth, normalizing what is happening and accusing one another of the very thing that they themselves are doing. Then, they are shocked when people no longer have faith in democracy and go protest in the streets.
    On May 30, 2017, the opposition, including 34 NDP members, voted against Motion No. 14 on the extension of sitting hours and conduct of extended proceedings. On May 29, 2018, the opposition, including 30 NDP members, voted against Motion No. 22 on the extension of sitting hours and conduct of extended proceedings. On May 28, 2019, the opposition, including 30 NDP members, voted against Motion No. 30 on the extension of sitting hours and conduct of extended proceedings.
    Between 2011 and 2015, the Conservatives had a majority government.
    On June 11, 2012, 96 NDP members voted against Motion No. 15 on the extension of sitting hours from June 11 to 22, except on Fridays, pursuant to Standing Order 27. On May 22, 2013, the opposition, including 82 NDP members, voted against Motion No. 17 on the extension of sitting hours and the conduct of extended proceedings. On May 29, 2014, 28 NDP members voted against Motion No. 10 on the extension of sitting hours and the conduct of extended proceedings.
    The last time a minority government tabled such a motion, in 2009, it was defeated by the opposition. If a minority government tries to take away parliamentarians' privileges and their ability to debate, the opposition usually votes against it, as long as the opposition members are willing to stand up and respect the people who voted for them to oppose an arrogant majority government that governs like an absolute monarch.
    On June 9, 2009, the minority government was Conservative.
    On June 9, 2002, 138 opposition MPs, including 27 NDP members, voted against Motion No. 5 on extending the hours in June, and 134 members voted for the motion.
    We know that the Liberals and New Democrats have an agreement on Motion No. 11. The NDP always opposed such a move over the years, but this time, it decided to give in.
    This means that debate hours will be extended to midnight, Monday to Friday, provided that the government leader obtains the agreement of the NDP leader and makes the announcement before 6:30 p.m. If an emergency or take‑note debate is scheduled, the debate will be extended until 10:00 p.m.

  (1720)  

    The minority government has complete control over the evening program without allowing the opposition to have any say on what happens in the House. That is the first problem.
    It is paragraph (c) that really limits the opposition's powers. The House leader of the official opposition spoke at length about this and did a brilliant job illustrating it, citing all the examples where the rights of the opposition could be flouted, so I do not need to repeat all of them.
    The most abhorrent part of this motion is paragraph (e), which extends the deadline for the final report on medical assistance in dying. As I said earlier, even though the Bloc agrees, it nevertheless took an appeal to the Chair to have the vote split, which, fortunately, we obtained.
    In closing, I implore all parties to take an approach that crosses partisan divides on this issue. I hope the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, who said at one point that he did not agree with the October 17 date, can convince his colleagues to vote in favour of that part of the motion.
    That said, I would like to table an amendment to the amendment:
    That the amendment be amended, in subparagraph (a)(ii), by replacing the words “two sitting days’ notice” with the words “one sitting day’s notice”.

  (1725)  

    The amendment to the amendment is in order.

[English]

    Questions and comments, the hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader.
    Madam Speaker, I heard the member speak at length about his accusations that the government is unable to fulfill its responsibilities in delivering on its agenda, but I am wondering if the member has ever taken the opportunity to talk to some of the folks in the Conservative Party. They share a lobby together. Did he perhaps go to them and say that maybe they are going a little overboard with respect to the way they are trying to stall pieces of legislation, such as Bill C-8? The Conservatives have had 51 members speak to it at report stage alone.
    I am wondering if the member could comment on whether or not he has taken his criticism to members of the party that he shares a lobby with to share his frustration over how slow things are moving given their tactics.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, once again, my colleague is unable of rising above partisanship.
    That being said, my criticism of the government is that it introduced in a closure motion a file that it has mismanaged and has been very lax in addressing. Had it not been for the separate vote we were able to obtain concerning medical assistance in dying, we would have been forced to vote against it, when all we want is for that file to move forward.
    I will stop there because the member in question is always very partisan. He thinks that, by pointing a finger at the official opposition and saying that it would have done worse than his government, his government’s current actions are justified. However, it is the Liberals who are in power now.
    Madam Speaker, the hon. member for Montcalm addressed several issues and problems he had with the various paragraphs in the motion.
    I would like to hear what he thinks about subparagraph (c)(B)(iv), under which “a minister of the Crown may move, without notice, a motion to adjourn the House until Monday, September 19, 2022...and that the said motion shall be decided immediately without debate or amendment”.
    In my opinion, this looks like prorogation on demand: At any time, if things are not going well for the government, it can prorogue Parliament. However, in 2015, this government promised that it would not do that, and the NDP also promised that it would never support it.

  (1730)  

    Madam Speaker, that is a good question. My colleague is perfectly correct.
    When I said that it limited the powers of the opposition parties and that it restricted debates in Parliament, this is an example of how a government can become arrogant and, with the complicity of another party, give itself the powers of a majority government. The voters elected a minority government. As such, I think that the government will have to pay a price for what it is doing now.
    Madam Speaker, I have been working with my colleague for several years and I respect him, but I must say that he has shown only one side of the coin.
    He forgot all the times the NDP voted to move files forward. We are here to advance the cause of ordinary Canadians. My colleague knows that. Right now, the Conservatives systematically want to block everything. They do not want anything to happen in the House of Commons. Even when Quebec’s farmers or teachers want us to pass bills, the Conservatives refuse. They absolutely do not want it to happen.
    The NDP pushed to have the government implement a dental care program and, for the first time, an affordable housing program. My question is very simple.
    Why does the Bloc simply stand by when it has seen the Conservatives’ systematic obstruction in the past months?
    Madam Speaker, if I understand the NDP House leader correctly, I have to conclude that if one day the NDP came to power, it would do the same thing the Liberals are doing now. This is a good example of what a member of Parliament worthy of the title should condemn in Parliament.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his speech.
    His speech was very powerful, and he used some very harsh words. He used words like “unworthy”, “mediocre”, “lax”, “incapable”, and I would say that he forgot to add “contemptible”. Throughout his speech, I was left wondering whether my colleague was talking about the Liberals or the NDP.
    Madam Speaker, I think that I was quite specific. I think the onus is on NDP members to tell us why they have suddenly reversed course.
    I listed how they voted since 2011. How is it that they have always voted against these kinds of measures that restrict the powers of parliamentarians?
    Now, they have a little deal with the government and they are drawn in by the taste and smell of power. All of a sudden, they decide that it is okay to trample on the rights of parliamentarians. That is what the NDP stands for.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, the member made reference to the fact that this is a minority government and it is what Canadians elected. Part of being under an elected minority government means there is an onus of responsibility on opposition parties. At times, they have to work with the governing party to get things through the House of Commons.
    I understand the Conservatives. They just want to frustrate the legislative process. They do not want things to pass. The Bloc, on the other hand, seems to have bought into the Conservative Party.
    As much as the Bloc and the Conservatives come together and criticize us for working with the NDP, what about the unholy alliance between the double blue, the Bloc and the Conservatives, who want to prevent things from going through the House? Is that not a reality also?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, that is another example of just how low my colleague will go. It is more partisan thinking.
    I thought my speech was very clear. I said it was despicable to include medical assistance in dying in the closure motion when we have been asking the government to give the committee more time, to recall the committee and reconstitute it as soon as possible for weeks, months even. I did so the day after the election. They dragged their feet and now, with the clock ticking, they have decided to include it in a closure motion.
    It is clear now that they did not understand what I said. They did not understand the speech. Some things are just not done. If they had left that out, if they had decided to talk about it, and if the Conservatives had said “no”, we could've had this same debate on one issue. Maybe the cat would be out of the bag, which is not currently the case. Some people can vote against this motion for reasons other than the ones I am talking about.

  (1735)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I want to ask my hon. colleague about the part of the motion that prevents us from making quorum calls. This is not just a matter of suspending a standing rule. This is a constitutionally entrenched right. The rules of the House call for the ability of members to make a quorum call. In other words, we could have literally one or two members in the House introducing motions or bills.
    I wonder if the member could comment on why the government would think this is important to do.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, my colleague is absolutely right.
    In the House, it is even harder to make sure we have quorum because some people are attending virtually. I know I cannot talk about who is here. At times over the past few days, I have wanted to do a quorum call, but I was told that some people might be attending virtually.
    That said, this is definitely something we need to pay attention to. At some point, we will have to stop sitting virtually because we have work to do and we have to find way to get it done without closure motions.
    Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the excellent and eloquent member for Elmwood—Transcona.
    I am truly saddened by what I just heard from the Bloc Québécois. For months, the Bloc Québécois have watched the Conservatives block everything. Instead of intervening to help the people of Quebec, who need these bills to be passed, the Bloc decided to just stay on the sidelines and let things slide. The Bloc wants to let things keep sliding for the next few months. That saddens me because the Bloc was not elected in Quebec simply to let Parliament go around in circles and to allow one party to block everything. I think the Bloc is really here to make things happens, but it decided not to. That is sad, but I am happy to hear that it will be voting in favour of some aspects of Motion No. 11. That is a positive thing.
    Personally, I will be voting in favour of the motion. I will explain why I am voting in favour of the motion by recapping the history of this Parliament.

[English]

    When we came out of the unnecessary election last fall that Canadians did not want, Canadians rightfully said they were going to have the same Parliament that they had in 2019. They basically adopted the same numbers, but the message that they were sending to all of us was to work together.
    We had a shining moment in Parliamentary history when every single member working together unanimously adopted the ban on conversion therapy. That point is worth applauding. That was a shining moment in this Parliament. Conservatives actually proposed the adoption unanimously of that important bill, and members from all parties voted together.
    We know what happened after that. The leader of the Conservatives at the time was deposed. The Conservatives broke into various factions. Subsequent to that, we have seen a rogue element within the Conservative Party decide that it was going to block every piece of legislation coming forward: every single piece. “Nothing will pass” is the motto of the Conservative Party today.
    I know that there are Conservative members who are uncomfortable and in fact do not believe that this is appropriate, particularly in a time of pandemic and particularly at a time when we need to get legislation through the House, but that is not where the interim leadership has decided to go. They have decided to block absolutely everything, and that is why we have this motion before us.
    Bill C-8 was put forward last year and has provisions that every single member of Parliament is aware have a profound impact on teachers and farmers. It has an impact on how we, as Canadians, can respond to the continuing pandemic. For no other reason than this radicalization of the Conservative leadership, Bill C-8 has been blocked systematically now for months. I am saddened by this.
    There are good members of Parliament in the Conservative Party who understand that this is the wrong thing to do, but the leadership that is in place in the Conservative Party wants to block everything, come hell or high water. It does not matter if teachers or farmers, or Canadians generally, are suffering as a result. Conservatives simply refuse any legislation, and that is why we have to take extraordinary measures. What the NDP has proposed and pushed the government on, and what the government has accepted, is the condition that we now increase our working time in order to get legislation through. We will be sitting until midnight when it is appropriate to do so. That is extremely important because it allows us to move legislation through the House.

  (1740)  

    The official opposition House leader has raised the point, and so has the House leader for the Bloc Québécois, that we need to ensure and enhance our translation services over this period. I certainly agree, and the NDP agrees. We have been pushing for more resources to be provided to translation. Our interpreters have not had the resources allocated to them that need to be allocated. I sincerely hope that we will have all parties coming together in order to achieve that.
    We sit longer. We will be sitting evenings, and that is important. The question then is what the results of that are, if we can eliminate this impasse and start getting legislation through the House.
    Immediately, of course, there is Bill C-8 and those provisions. I know that will make a difference to the teachers, farmers and health care professionals I have mentioned who have been waiting now for months to get a simple bill through that comes out of the fall economic update.
    I know that my colleague for Elmwood—Transcona is going to speak to the issue of what many people are calling the NDP budget. The budget implementation act would put in place, for the first time in Canadian history, national dental care. It would start first for children and would move, over the course of the next year, to people with disabilities, seniors and teenagers. Canadians right across this country who have never had access to dental care would finally have access to it.
    Also, there is the most significant investment in housing that we have seen in decades. The NDP has been very critical of the former Liberal government under Paul Martin that destroyed, gutted and ended the national housing program, and we have seen how housing has been in a crisis ever since. We need supply. We need to have affordable housing built, and that is co-operative housing, social housing and indigenous-led housing projects.
    These components of what is coming forward need to be adopted swiftly, with the appropriate scrutiny, of course, and not held up, as we have seen with the legislation coming out of the fall economic statement, for months and months purely at the whim of a Conservative Party that is fractured now into so many different factions that none of them knows which way they are going. Their only reaction is: “Well, let us hold up everything”. That is simply not appropriate in a time of pandemic when so many Canadians are suffering.
    We need to have these extended hours so that we can get through the important components of what the NDP, and the member for Burnaby South, our national leader, pushed the government to put into place for this budget. It is the first time under this Liberal government that I can actually see a budget that Canadians can have some hope for, with national dental care and a national housing investment that seeks to meet the gravity of the affordable housing crisis that we are seeing right across the length and breadth of this country, including in my communities of New Westminster and Burnaby.
    To do the scrutiny, it means that all parties should be working together, but that has not been the case. We have seen, over the past few months, that the Conservatives have blocked everything they can at all times without explanation, and without really trying to even justify their actions. We saw it today when they presented the same motion that they presented last week, even though the Standing Orders require that discussion next week. They just wanted to hold up the House for the purpose of holding up the House.
    Who suffers? It is Canadian families who suffer. It is Canadians who are waiting for those affordable housing investments that the NDP has pushed for who will suffer. It is Canadians who cannot afford dental care for their children who will suffer if we continue to allow the Conservatives to block everything in the House at all times.
    What this is, is a common-sense approach when it is obviously not working, and when everything is being blocked by the Conservative opposition for internal reasons, I guess, that only they can explain. They have not really attempted to explain it either. We need to put in place extended hours, work harder and longer, but make sure that we get those tax credits in the hands of teachers and in the hands of farmers immediately. We need to make sure that we actually provide the health care professionals with those COVID supports. We need to make sure that we start to put in place that national dental program that the member for Burnaby South has been such a strong advocate for, and put in place that national housing strategy that will finally produce affordable housing from coast to to coast to coast. That is why I am voting yes.

  (1745)  

    Madam Speaker, the member spoke earlier on in his speech about Bill C-8 in particular. We know there are a lot of measures in Bill C-8 that were literally stalled on getting out to people. I can think of teachers specifically. There are various measures related to the supports that we are delivering for Canadians right now. We really want to get those out to Canadians because, quite frankly, they have been waiting long enough.
    Can he comment on how important this is for constituents in his riding?
    Madam Speaker, I have had constituents raise this with me and ask why this is being blocked, in the same way that all members of Parliament have had these issues raised. Why is this being blocked? The Conservatives have never explained why it is they are systematically blocking everything.
    In a minority Parliament, of course there are negotiations and discussions. We would think the Conservatives would say there was some benefit for teachers, but they want the benefit extended for somebody else. There has never been any explanation. There has never been anything in the House to justify what has been a systematic blocking of everything. We simply have to ask, when it comes to blocking everything that would help Canadians, why they would do that when we know that Canadians need those supports.
    Madam Speaker, I know there has been a lot of discussion on Bill C-8 and the accusations of obstruction and obfuscation of the bill.
    On April 4, the government put a notice of time allocation on Bill C-8. When I asked the government House leader why he did not move that notice of time allocation, he said it was because the NDP House leader said no and that they were waiting to see what was in the budget. The budget, of course, happened April 7, and then we all went home two weeks later.
    Can the NDP House leader explain to Canadians why he decided not to use time allocation, or agree with the government at the time when they wanted to use it, when they could have moved this bill much further and much faster down the line? Maybe he can explain to Canadians why he said no to the government House leader in a telephone conversation, and maybe he can explain to teachers and farmers why they delayed this bill.

  (1750)  

    Madam Speaker, it is a valid question and I appreciate the House leader of the official opposition raising it. The answer is that I have faith in this institution, as New Democrats do. We have faith in this institution. We believed in giving a last chance to the Conservatives. We believed that they would understand the importance. As the teachers contacted them and as the farmers contacted them, they would understand the dramatic impact of their refusal to adopt anything.
    In faith that all members of Parliament are motivated by that higher calling, I really believed the Conservatives would come along and they have not. They have done the opposite. They have hardened their positions. They have refused passing anything that would actually help Canadians, and that is why this motion is before us today.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I am going to say three things: I am a full-fledged adult, I have been here long enough, and I am not gullible.
    While listening to my colleague, I asked myself who exactly was speaking. Was it the minority Liberal government or the new majority government formed by the Liberal Party and the New Democratic Party? This is unbelievable. How can they repudiate everything a party should and could be, namely the NDP? How can they, through a motion, deny fundamental and democratic rights and then blame the opposition for it?
    Please explain it to us, Madam Speaker.
    I cannot explain it, but I will give someone else the opportunity to do so.
    The hon. member for New Westminster—Burnaby for a brief response.
    Madam Speaker, I would be happy to explain.
    I find it unbelievable that the Bloc Québécois is not helping Quebeckers and that it refuses to say that Quebec's teachers and farmers are affected by the fact that Bill C‑8 has not been passed. Dental care and affordable housing are issues that also affect Quebeckers. I find it unbelievable that the Bloc refuses to do whatever it can to get this bill adopted and ensure that these people—
    The hon. member for Elmwood—Transcona.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise and to have the occasion to address this motion.
    I have always taken an interest, and do today, in parliamentary procedure. Whenever we are talking about the rules of debate, I think that members rightly have an interest on what exactly is going on and what those details are and there is a legitimate tension. That is why in parliaments these kinds of debates tend to happen frequently between a government that needs to get its business done, not just for its own sake, but presumably for the sake of the nation and the people who elected them, and those in opposition who have a job to do in terms of scrutinizing the government's work in trying to make it better where they can and oppose it when they can. I have often said that.
    I think there are reasons for supporting the rights of the opposition within Parliament that have to do with the rights of parliamentarians. However, there are also reasons for supporting the rights of the opposition within Parliament that have to do with the time it takes for word to get out about what government intends to do, to have a civil society response and to organize around initiatives by the government that they may not like. I think one of our responsibilities as parliamentarians always is to look at the need for things to get done in the nation's capital, in Parliament and in government, as well as the obligations that we have to foster a healthy culture of opposition.
    These are certainly the issues that are at stake. I think sometimes in this place it is hard to get at the particular circumstances, because we often tend to address these issues with a hyperbolic tone. Sometimes that is warranted. I have seen occasions in this House where I felt that it was warranted and have participated in that spirit. I think that is especially true when we have majority governments that are not forced to negotiate with other parties in Parliament in order to advance their agenda.
    When we see members of all the same party getting up and dictating the rules of debate and there has been no meaningful interplay between parties in the House, that is one thing. I do think it is another thing when the government has to negotiate with another party in order to get its business done. What we are seeing is a government that has undertaken a number of initiatives in order to get support from the NDP to move a budget forward, for instance. That is okay. That is actually how this place is supposed to work, and I think that is how it works when it is working at its best. Then the question is this. In order to be able to get some of those things done, how do we conduct the business of the chamber?
     I want to use Bill C-8 as an example of a case of opposition that does bleed into obstructionism.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Mr. Daniel Blaikie: Madam Speaker, I am trying to both speak and listen to the conversation that is happening at the same time.

  (1755)  

[Translation]

    I remind members that they should take discussions to the lobbies when one of their colleagues is speaking.

[English]

    The hon. member for Elmwood—Transcona.
    Madam Speaker, when we look at Bill C-8, what I will say is that it is disappointing in some regards, and I am on the record in terms of the ways in which I think it is disappointing. Despite it being disappointing, however, there are some things. For instance, there is the foreign homebuyers tax, but it has a lot of loopholes. I can say it is a step in the right direction, but it is certainly not going to solve the housing crisis that we see in Canada. We actually need to take some action on domestic investors who are helping pump up prices in the housing market. Unless we do that, a lot of the other things the government has been contemplating simply are not going to be effective. I certainly have my criticisms of the bill. I am happy to talk about those and I have talked about those in other places.
    What I would say is that we have not seen a burgeoning kind of civil movement against Bill C-8. I do not think anyone is particularly animated about it outside of this place, but we would not know that by looking at the proportion of time that this place has spent on that bill. We have people calling for real climate action who are really upset at a government that has not done enough and is not doing enough and is not even planning to do enough in order to fight the climate crisis.
     We are hearing from people about health funding and the state of health care in Canada and the need for more money to be transferred from the federal government to the provinces for health funding. We are also hearing about the absurdly high cost of prescription drugs and the ways in which a national pharmacare plan could help with that. We have heard from people who have never, in their family, been able to access dental services. They want to be able to access dental services and are excited at the prospect of finally having a mechanism to be able to go to the dentist and have that visit paid for.
    These are the issues we are hearing about. However, in this place, despite none of those issues really being addressed in Bill C-8, we have spent already over 28 hours on debate on the bill. When we compare that to other bills and other business, that is a lot of time on a particular bill that does not seem to be at the centre of what Canadians are worried about and what they are thinking about. I do not get a lot of mail on Bill C-8. I get mail on many issues, but not on Bill C-8.
    I do think there is a legitimate question as to why it is that certain opposition parties are spending that much time on that particular bill and that we cannot seem to find a way to move it along. Even those who do not particularly like it would say, and I would certainly say, that the issue is it just does not have the right solutions for the problems, but it is not that any of those solutions are particularly offensive.
     It is true that time allocation is a tool that can be used and has been used. Many parties in this place have supported time allocation at one time or another.
    People have asked why we are talking about extended sittings in May as opposed to June, as is the custom. Part of that is because we do not have a majority government that can just use time allocation on its own. We have a government that has to work with an opposition party that has said that if other opposition parties want more time to debate things, we endorse that. Therefore, let us create more opportunities to speak to bills while recognizing that we still have an obligation to pass bills in this place or, at the very least, to vote on them. Maybe they will not pass, but by literally calling the question, we will only get the answer to the question if members in this place allow us to proceed to the vote. Therefore, yes, we are supporting a motion that involves more midnight sittings than ever.
     It also has a mechanism where we do not necessarily have to sit until midnight, partly to try to introduce some discretion to recognize that we normally go to midnight only in June. However, because we do not have a majority government that is just going to time allocate and time allocate, we are going to try to create more time for debate in the hopes that opposition politicians who say they want more time to debate government bills are being sincere and that it is a desire that could be satisfied. We may know in advance that the desire cannot be satisfied because opposition parties are committed in principle simply to talking out bills and creating dysfunction so that they can accuse the government of being incompetent when it comes to its legislative agenda. There may be some independent reasons for making that accusation that I am very sympathetic with, but it conflates the issue when we see opposition parties systematically trying to obstruct government business and it gets harder to tell where the blame lies.
    Here we are trying to propose a path forward that allows for more opportunity for debate and discussion. That is exactly in the spirit of taking other opposition members at their word in saying that what they want is more time to debate these things, but we need to get to some decisions.

  (1800)  

    The situation of teachers in respect of Bill C-8 is an excellent example as to why in this place we cannot just talk and talk, but we do need to decide matters. There are teachers who have filed their tax returns and are being told that the reason those tax returns are not being processed is that there is a pending change to their tax entitlements in Bill C-8. It is a bill the CRA expected would have been decided upon one way or the other well in advance of the tax year, because Bill C-8 is the bill to implement the announcements that came in the fall economic statement some time ago, as implied by its name.
    As such, here we are. We have not begun debate on the budget implementation act, which is the budget that was tabled about four weeks ago. We have done over 28 hours of debate on the act to implement the fall economic statement. We have teachers who are waiting on the CRA, which is waiting on this place to make a decision so that it knows what teachers are actually entitled to. If Bill C-8 passes, then those teachers who have spent money to buy supplies for the children in their class would get more back on their taxes than they otherwise would. We need to reach a decision.
    This actually is a motion unlike other motions we have seen for June, when we have had majority governments that have unilaterally extended midnight sittings in June only and otherwise used the hammer of time allocation on its own. There is an attempt at compromise here. I think it would be more helpful to get some good-faith input from opposition parties about how we find that right balance between advancing government business and doing the proper job of an opposition party.
    Madam Speaker, we know in particular when it comes to bills like Bill C-8 that members of the Conservative Party want to talk a lot, that they have a lot to say.
    Can the member possibly understand why the Conservative Party would be against this, when this would just give those members even more opportunity to speak to very important pieces of legislation? Would he not think, given the number of speeches the Conservatives have given and the interest and passion they have in debating in this place, that they would not welcome with open arms the opportunity to debate even longer?
    Madam Speaker, one of the things that really impressed me when I had the opportunity to tour the Scottish Parliament was that they said they could speak any language that they want in the Scottish Parliament. It does not have to be a language of Scotland. They can speak any language from anywhere in the world in the Parliament of Scotland. Part of the reason they are able to do that is they decide as a parliament months in advance what bill they are going to be debating and on what day. They get together and the parties talk about how many people from their respective caucuses want to address a bill, and then they develop a schedule that allows members to speak to the things they want to speak to and it allows for decisions to happen.
    We are so far away from a culture where we can sit down in good faith with parties that disagree on things and come up with a professional way of doing business on the floor of the House of Commons that we are going to continue to be in these kinds of debates again and again. What we need to see is a little more goodwill on all sides, so that we can develop an appropriate and professional culture of decision-making in this place.

  (1805)  

    Madam Speaker, my colleague from Winnipeg is an excellent public speaker.
     I have a number of concerns with Motion No. 11. First and foremost is that this is a scandal-prone government. We have seen the WE Charity scandal and SNC, and the Aga Khan's island has re-emerged. We have also seen a government that avoids accountability. In the two and a half years since I have been elected, the Liberals prorogued Parliament and a year later they called a snap election.
    My major concern with Motion No. 11 is the part that would allow the provision for a minister to move adjournment of the House until September without notice at any time. In essence, they could shut down Parliament any time there is any reason they think they should, such as to avoid a scandal or if there is another ethical lapse by the Prime Minister.
    Is my hon. colleague at all concerned that in voting in favour of Motion No. 11, he would be providing the government this kind of power to avoid accountability? He said the opposition has a job to do to hold the government accountable. Is he not concerned he is giving away that power?
    Madam Speaker, I think the member will know that particular provision would allow a minister to call for a vote to have an adjournment. We are in a minority Parliament, and that allows every member to weigh in on whether the House ought to adjourn, so I think the fact is that it would precipitate a vote. We do this at committee. Sometimes people call for adjournment of a committee and we proceed immediately to a vote on whether that will happen. In a minority context, on committee, I have seen proposals by the government to adjourn refused by the opposition parties together. I can imagine that happening in an instance where the government makes an egregious move to adjourn Parliament early. That is why the vote is a really important component of the motion.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, my question will be short and more of a comment. The NDP has sold its soul. It sold its soul last June when it made an agreement with the Liberals to water down the net-zero bill as much as possible. It has just sold its soul a second time to water down democracy as much as possible.
     Madam Speaker, I remember back in December when the Bloc Québécois decided to support Bill C-2 and fast-track it to committee. It negotiated with the government. We could have said that the Bloc had sold its soul, but we understood that even if we did not agree with its position on Bill C‑2, the Bloc had negotiated for something it felt was important.
    We did the same. We negotiated for our priorities. We were unable to have all of our priorities adopted by the government because it is a negotiation, not something that we could do unilaterally. I therefore do not see how the expression “sell one's soul” applies in our case, given that the Bloc is prepared to do the same thing when the opportunity presents itself.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I will start by picking up where the member for Elmwood—Transcona left off with respect to answering this question about the NDP selling its soul. I have heard this talk on a number of occasions from the Bloc and the Conservatives, as though they are jealous they were not the parties chosen to work with the government. We hear this kind of language coming from across the way repeatedly. They say the NDP has sold itself out and this is not what Canadians voted for.
    We operate under the Westminster parliamentary system. The entire system is built on political parties working together. Look around the world. We can open our eyes to other Westminster parliamentary systems to see that what we see here with regard to working together with another political party is exactly what our system is designed to do. This notion that it is somehow wrong for parties to be working together only underscores, if anything, the disdain the Conservative Party, and now apparently the Bloc, have for this place and the very institution that we use to exercise our democracy.
    In any event, let us talk about government Motion No. 11, because that is what we are here to talk about today. I think it is clear from the outset exactly what this motion is about. The core of this motion, at least in terms of what is being debated today, is with respect to extending sitting hours. This motion sets out our government's proposal for the proceedings of the House of Commons until June 23 of this year. It specifically will allow for extended sitting hours to debate bills into the evenings when the government and one party, which represents a majority in the House, request it.
    What we are trying to do here is empower the House to be more democratic and give members more opportunity to speak. I heard the member for Montcalm not that long ago talk about how this motion is restricting Parliament. He should explain to me how extending sitting hours to give people more opportunity to speak is somehow restricting Parliament. It is the exact opposite. It is increasing the opportunity for members to get up and speak.
    I heard what members of the Conservative Party said earlier today, which they said on Thursday as well when they raised a point of order on it specifically, about putting into this motion that no quorum calls can be made. Suddenly, this is a constitutional issue for the Conservatives. It is absolutely remarkable. We pass unanimous consent motions waiving the requirement for quorum calls routinely. Consider the number of times that I have stood up and moved unanimous consent motions to waive the requirement for quorum calls when we have evening debates. I have done it at least 15 to 20 times and everybody always votes in favour of it. It is something that has been negotiated in advance.
    To somehow suggest that it is unconstitutional to move this goes against a practice of the House that is so incredibly well established and entrenched into the daily operations of this place. It is ludicrous to suggest that it is somehow unconstitutional, and the Conservatives are bringing up that point.
    This makes me think: Why are the Conservatives bringing this up? Is this the best they have, saying that it is unconstitutional to waive the requirement for quorum calls? That is how it appears, because they are scraping, literally, at the bottom of the barrel by trying to suggest that this is somehow a constitutional issue.
    Nonetheless, why is it so important? Let me talk about this for a second.
    There are a number of very important pieces of legislation, and something has become very clear regarding the Conservatives, and now the Bloc for some reason. I am not going to lie: Ever since the member for Durham was removed as the leader of the official opposition, the Bloc Québécois has had this cozy relationship with the Conservatives, and I just cannot wrap my head around it. It is a complete change in their posture. They used to be a progressive party that fought for Quebec, primarily, pushed forward ideas and saw past the games the Conservatives played, but suddenly they have taken a completely different approach.

  (1810)  

     I cannot help but think it is all based on the fact that they see the cluster of activity going on in the Conservative Party right now. They see the implosion literally happening before our eyes with these far-right candidates and the progressives. They might see an opportunity to pick up a couple of members. Who knows what might happen after the leadership vote in September? Who knows—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order. I am hearing a lot of noise on this side. It is not time for questions and comments yet, but the members will be very happy to know that there will be 10 minutes for questions and comments. To make sure they do not forget anything, maybe they should jot things down so that when it is time, they will be able to ask their questions.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary.
    Madam Speaker, I think I hit a nerve. The truth hurts; I know it does. I guess they can call me out on it come September, after the results of their leadership race. We will see what happens if Jean Charest wins or if the member for Carleton wins. We will see what happens.
    To get back to my point, I think the Bloc is banking on it. Bloc members are hedging their bets right now on who they could pick off from the Conservatives when that time comes. That is just my hypothesis. Perhaps I can be accused of being a conspiracy theorist, but that is what I think is happening.
    I will get back to the core issue here.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Mr. Mark Gerretsen: Madam Speaker, they keep heckling me. I think I really hit a nerve. The member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan literally will not stop heckling me right now. I have a feeling I hit a nerve there. I understand. I think we all know which side of the Conservative spectrum he is on. In any event, I think I hit a nerve. He is clapping. He likes being part of the alt-right side. That is fine, but there are also some progressives. This is my concern—

  (1815)  

    The hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan has a point of order.
    Madam Speaker, I do not mind a bit of friendly teasing, but for the member to call someone whose grandmother was a Holocaust survivor a member of the alt-right is deeply offensive and insulting. He should apologize for that. He should at least know the difference between alt-right and conservative. If he does not, he should do some reading. He should apologize to the House for that comment.
    Does the hon. parliamentary secretary wish to respond?
    No. I am going to continue with my speech.
    In hindsight, given what is going on right now, I would ask the member to continue with his speech, as opposed to always focusing on a specific party, and at this point focus on the motion before the House. It is becoming a little—
    Am I not allowed to do that?
    Well, I would just ask members to tone it down a bit because it is getting a bit rowdy in here. I would also again ask the official opposition to hold on to their thoughts until they can ask questions and make comments. Just be mindful of the words you are using in order to ensure that no one takes something out of context.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary.
    Madam Speaker, if I am saying something that is unparliamentary or inappropriate, I would expect the Speaker to call me out on that and tell me to discontinue. I did not hear that in what you said. I understood that you are personally concerned about some of the things I was saying, but I do not think I did that.
    Nonetheless, I think I am only feeding back what I get. This is the Conservative Party, whose members have called the Prime Minister a trust fund baby in the House. It causes me to be cri