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44th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • No. 067

CONTENTS

Monday, May 9, 2022




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

Volume 151
No. 067
1st SESSION
44th PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Monday, May 9, 2022

Speaker: The Honourable Anthony Rota

    The House met at 11 a.m.

Prayer



PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS

[Private Members' Business]

  (1100)  

[Translation]

An Act respecting the French language

     moved that BillC-238, An Act respecting the French language, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    She said: Mr. Speaker, I would like to start by saying that I am challenging myself. On Friday, I participated in a Mental Health Week activity. I went to the open house event at Ancres et Ailes in Ormstown.
    An anglophone participant come up to say hello, to thank me and to thank the Bloc Québécois for everything it is fighting for in Ottawa. He was aware of my bill on the French language; he even spoke to me about the bill we are discussing today, Bill C-238. I was very touched by his remarks and the fact that he clearly understands the fight for French in Quebec. He understands our assertiveness, which is accompanied by a real respect for anglophone communities. He also understands that French is threatened and that when French is protected, it is never at the expense of English.
    I know he is not the only anglophone who supports protecting French in Quebec. I am grateful to this individual who also told me that he enjoys listening to my speeches and gently pointed out that I gesticulate and move around too much while delivering them. He challenged me to dial it down a little, so today, for his sake, I am making an effort to restrain the way I express myself.
    I would like to challenge my colleagues from other parties. I know that a language bill can elicit a lot of passionate debate. Nevertheless, I know that, here in the House, we are capable of speaking to and understanding one another, so I am reaching out to all my colleagues. I hope this debate will give us all an opportunity for reflection. I hope we will be able to move beyond the usual arguments.
    I would hope that, if my colleagues are genuinely curious and open-minded about the language situation in Quebec, they will come to the same conclusion as the Bloc Québécois, the Government of Quebec and all members of the National Assembly: Bill 101 must apply to federally regulated businesses. That is why Quebec must have the authority to choose its host language. That is the purpose of Bill C‑238.
    When I ask around, it is a given. The language of work in Quebec is French. It is not particularly revolutionary or controversial to say that, in Quebec, people work in French. The language of work is one of the cornerstones of Quebec's language policy. French in the workplace is the result of an intense struggle by the generation that came before me.
    The first thing I want to point out to members of all parties is that not all workers in Quebec have the same rights. I have never heard anyone complain that too much French is spoken in their workplace. Still, Bill 101 and its language of work provisions apply in all workplaces: in hospitals, in the service industry, in factories, in small convenience stores, in grocery stores, in technology companies, in retail and so on. Life in the Quebec workplace happens in French.
    The beauty of Bill 101 is that it requires all workplaces to use French, yes, but it does even more. Perhaps my colleagues are learning this for the first time, and I do hope they are listening, but Bill 101 does not prohibit the use of another language, as long as all the information is available in French. A business can operate in any language, as long as the equivalent information exists in French. That is the beauty of Quebec's language policy. It respects other languages. Everyone agrees that we can come together around French. To reiterate, as the law stipulates, we can work in any language, provided that the equivalent information exists in French. However, the common language is French.

  (1105)  

    Bill 101 has been in force since 1977. This summer we are celebrating its 45th anniversary. The fact remains that even though every workplace has adapted to the provisions of Bill 101 with respect to the language of work, only one sector is dragging its feet. All sectors have done their part. All sectors have done what needed to be done. There is just one sector missing: federally regulated businesses. I humbly submit to my colleagues that this fact should come as a surprise to them.
    All of my colleagues should wonder how it is possible that a SME or a restaurant is able to comply with Bill 101, but federally regulated businesses are resisting. How is it okay for these major businesses to fail to respect Quebeckers' right to work in French?
    For 45 years a worker who repairs the tracks in Les Coteaux, in my riding, has not had the same linguistic rights as his colleagues who work on the municipal roads, and that has been tolerated. For 45 years a financial officer at a bank in Salaberry‑de‑Valleyfield has not had the same linguistic rights as her colleague at a credit union, and that has been tolerated. For 45 years a technician at a telecommunications company has not had the same linguistic rights as the people he provides high‑speed Internet to, and that has been tolerated.
    I will say it again, and I am certain this is my colleagues' experience as well: I have never heard anyone tell me that the workforce in Quebec is becoming overly French. I wonder then what could possibly explain why we have tolerated for so long that there are two classes of workers in Quebec: those who have the right to work in French and the others, the federally regulated employees.
    With its Bill 96, Quebec is going ahead with the reform of its Charter of the French Language. As I stated, Quebec already has a law that provides for the right to work in French for all Quebec workers. However, it has never been applied from the outset to federally regulated businesses.
    To be very clear, the Government of Quebec moved an amendment to section 89 of the Charter of the French Language to clarify its intent to apply Bill 101 to federally regulated businesses. The amendment was adopted unanimously. All parties in the National Assembly of Quebec voted in favour of this amendment. Therefore, it is the clear will of Quebec's parliament. In my view, the federal government should accept Quebeckers' invitation to apply Bill 101 to federally regulated businesses.
    My colleagues will be pleased to hear that the Office québécois de la langue française is already prepared to apply the Charter of the French Language to federally regulated businesses. It will provide professional services to help businesses with the francization process. There are some very interesting initiatives being worked on right now, and these initiatives will continue to be implemented.
    I am sure that major corporations, like Air Canada or CN, will appreciate the helpful advice from the team at the Office québécois de la langue française and will be able to gradually introduce respect for and promotion of the French fact at all levels within their company.
    After all, the effective use of French ultimately benefits their employees and their French-speaking customers. In other words, Quebec has the political will to right a historical wrong, namely that federally regulated businesses have not been consistently subjected to Bill 101, and Quebec has professionals who are available and ready to help.
    I know that the Minister of Official Languages has introduced a bill to reform the Official Languages Act.
    I will briefly summarize our position on that: We believe that this bill has some merit for francophone communities outside Quebec. These communities will determine whether the bill does enough. However, Bill C‑13 would create two overlapping language regimes in Quebec.
    Bill C-13 offers businesses a choice to apply either federal provisions or the Charter of the French Language.

  (1110)  

    Our analysis indicates that even a modernized federal regime is not the best tool for ensuring that Quebec workers have the right to work in French. It is actually not surprising that Air Canada told the Standing Committee on Official Languages that it wanted to remain subject to the federal language regime rather than be subject to Bill 101.
    One has to wonder about Ottawa's sudden desire to legislate on the French language at a time when Quebec is specifically stating its intention to apply Bill 101 to federally regulated businesses.
    Let us not create legislative confusion between the Official Languages Act and Quebec's Charter of the French Language. Let us give every worker in Quebec the same rights. That is what Bill C-238 does.
    My bill's second objective echoes the Bloc Québécois motion to recognize Quebec as a francophone nation. I want to reiterate that that motion was adopted by a strong majority in the House. The motion could have a number of practical implications. Given that language is central to the way Quebec thinks about immigration, I believe that Quebec has the right to make its own decisions regarding host language and integration.
    Bill C-238 states that all permanent residents must have an adequate knowledge of French in order to obtain citizenship in Quebec. When I hear my colleagues in the House say that requiring knowledge of French as a criterion for permanent residents in Quebec is discriminatory, I am astounded, since Canada chose to recognize either French or English as a host language. This criterion reflects a legitimate societal choice.
    However, when Quebec chooses its host language and language of integration and the Quebec government does everything in its power to help immigrants learn that language, all of a sudden it is an illegitimate choice. That is discriminatory, and, in my opinion, an entirely obsolete concept. Every nation in the world makes linguistic choices; that is normal. I am eager to see the Quebec nation have the right to what is normal.
    I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the work done by L’Insulaire, a French learning centre, La magie des mots and the Centre du Nouvel-Envol, which offer French and francization courses in my riding, much like the ones offered throughout Quebec. These francization courses are often paid for by the government, in other words, with Quebeckers’ tax dollars, or by employers.
    In one factory in my riding, I met with Victor, a young welder from Mexico who works full time and then some. He was proud to speak with me in French about his plans for a life and a future in Quebec. Thanks to his work and his francization courses, Victor has French-speaking friends and works in French; his children have access to quality education in French.
    I am truly touched when I see and meet with immigrant Quebeckers who are learning French and love the language. In my opinion, Victor is a Quebec welder who is an asset for our community.
    Bill C-238 will have no impact on the lives of people like Victor, who discovered the charm and beauty of the French language and immediately understood that learning French was key to actively participating in community life in Quebec. Bill C-238, with its provisions regarding the host language in Quebec, is simply intended to celebrate the French fact in North America.
    Today, my goal was to create an opening and to share a little of my love for the French language with my colleagues, who, I am certain, will prove to be open.
    I truly hope that this first hour of debate will give everyone an opportunity to reflect on the language issue in Quebec, and to become curious and inspired by Quebec’s struggle to protect its national language, a struggle we must support. Who better than the Government of Quebec, the only francophone state in north America, to actively champion this cause?
    Passing Bill C-238 will give Quebec more tools to give new life to the French fact. Let us not stand in the way of the Quebec government or the Quebec nation. Let us love French enough to protect it. Let us pass Bill C-238.

  (1115)  

    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Salaberry—Suroît for her speech.
    I agree with many of the things she said in her speech, in particular the fact that the two official languages do not have equal status and that French is in decline in Quebec. However, we need to concern ourselves with minority languages across Canada and not just in Quebec.
    I would like her to clarify a few points. She said that asking immigrants to take a French test would not have an impact on immigration. She gave the example of Victor, a young man in her riding.
    I wonder whether taking a French test will not hold back some immigrants. Afterwards, I would obviously like for these people to learn French.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Sherbrooke, a Quebec MP, for her question. Sherbrooke is a predominantly francophone city.
    Personally, I do not see the French test as an obstacle, but rather as support we must provide for new immigrants. Sometimes people confuse the concepts of permanent resident and political refugee.
    Let us be clear: For someone who is already in Canada and wants to become a Canadian citizen, it takes at least two or three years of effort and integration. In my opinion, if we welcome and support immigrants before they obtain their citizenship, francization is possible.
    I see evidence of this every day, since my riding is home to several factories that employ immigrants. These newcomers are currently learning French, and the community supports them in their efforts to learn and integrate.
    Madam Speaker, I would like my colleague from Salaberry—Suroît to know that we, Conservatives, will not argue with the Bloc Québécois.
    I, too, love the French language. Several elements of Bill C-238 lead me to believe in a future for French in Canada.
    In my colleague’s opinion, is this the most effective way to stop the decline of French in Quebec and across Canada?

  (1120)  

    Madam Speaker, we are members of the House here in Ottawa.
    As members, the best decision we can make to protect the French language and, especially, to respect the Quebec nation—Quebec has full jurisdiction over its language of integration—is to apply Bill 101 to federally regulated businesses and to accept that Quebec will soon pass Bill 96, which also requires that Bill 101 apply to federally regulated businesses.
    Since my Conservative colleague is also from Quebec, he is well aware that we want the federal government to respect the powers of Quebec’s National Assembly. Given the statistics on the decline of the French language, especially in the greater Montreal area, The National Assembly decided that we needed stricter measures. This involves the federal government’s agreement not to intervene and not to create two classes of workers in Quebec: those who are protected by the Official Languages Act and those who are protected by the application of Bill 101 to federally regulated businesses.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for Salaberry—Suroît for her speech, and for having introduced Bill C-238.
    Does she have any suggestions about how to improve access to French courses for new Quebeckers who would like to learn or improve their French?
    Madam Speaker, as I mentioned in my speech, there are many community organizations dedicated to integrating newcomers into French society. In fact, I would like to acknowledge the work of Centre de français L'Insulaire and Centre du Nouvel-Envol, organizations in my riding. The school board also offers a complete range of francization classes.
    My riding, which is 85% Francophone, welcomes immigrants from the Philippines, Mexico and pretty much everywhere, and they learn French thanks to these community groups and the school board.
    If the bill passes, it will provide those who want to become Quebeckers with a great opportunity to learn to speak French well. Our system is a good system.
    Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to discuss Bill C-238 on the French language, sponsored by the hon. member for Salaberry—Suroît.
    This bill is similar to bills tabled in previous sittings of Parliament. In the 43rd Parliament, we had Bill C-223, which would have required that immigrants living in Quebec have an adequate knowledge of Quebec, as well as Bill C-254, which sought to apply Quebec's Charter of the French Language to federally regulated companies by amending the Official Languages Act, the Canada Labour Code and the Canada Business Corporations Act.
    Bill C‑238 essentially combines those two bills into one. We understand the Bloc's concern about the future of the French language, and we share that concern. As we acknowledged in the throne speech, the use of French is in decline throughout Quebec and across Canada. We have a responsibility to protect and promote French across Canada, including in Quebec.
    Where we differ from the Bloc is in our response to this problem. In the last Parliament, the former minister of official languages tabled a document entitled “English and French: Towards a substantive equality of official languages in Canada”, which laid out our government's vision for official languages reform, and Bill C-32, our modernization of the Official Languages Act.
    Together, these two documents represented the most ambitious reform of the Official Languages Act since its passage more than 50 years ago. They acknowledged the challenges faced by the French language from coast to coast to coast, including in Quebec, and they recognized for the first time that our government has a duty to protect and promote the French language. However, during our consultations with stakeholders across Canada over the summer, during the election campaign and after the election, we kept hearing that we needed to do more.
    That is why, on March 1, in Grand-Pré, Nova Scotia, which is an important historical site for our Acadian community, the current Minister of Official Languages, a proud Acadian herself, tabled Bill C-13, an act to amend the Official Languages Act, to enact the Use of French in Federally Regulated Private Businesses Act and to make related amendments to other acts. This bill is noteworthy because it shares similar objectives with Bill C‑238, namely protecting and promoting the French language. However, it goes much further.
    Bill C‑13 broadens the historical scope of the former Bill C‑32 by introducing even more protections for the French language. It ensures that francophones can work and receive services in their language, not only in Quebec, but in other regions of Canada with a strong Francophone presence.
    That is why our government will not support Bill C‑238, because it does not protect and, by its very nature, cannot protect the French language and francophones from coast to coast to coast.
    Let us compare the immigration provisions of Bill C‑238 with those in our bill. In the preamble to Bill C‑13, our government recognizes the importance of the contribution of francophone immigration to enhancing the vitality of French linguistic minority communities and that immigration is one of the factors that contributes to maintaining or increasing the demographic weight of those communities.
    Moreover, our bill requires that the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship adopt a policy on francophone immigration in order to enhance the vitality of French linguistic minority communities in Canada. This policy is to include objectives, targets and indicators, as well as a statement that the federal government recognizes that immigration is one of the factors that contributes to maintaining or increasing the demographic weight of French linguistic minority communities in Canada.

  (1125)  

     This is in addition to the administrative measures set out in the reform paper, which instruct the Minister of Immigration to set up a new francophone immigration corridor, recognize the importance of recruiting and retaining French-speaking and French-language teachers and increase opportunities for newcomers to learn French. There is a shortage of French-language teachers in Canada, particularly outside Quebec, and we need these measures in order to meet our francophone immigration objectives and to nurture the next generation of French-speaking Canadians.
     As for the other part of Bill C-238, the section dealing with federally regulated businesses such as banks and airlines, here again, Bill C‑13 offers a more comprehensive solution.
    Bill C-13 recognizes that Quebec has adopted the Charter of the French Language. In fact, it even creates a new law, the Use of French in Federally Regulated Private Businesses Act, which states that, in relation to communications with or services provided to consumers in Quebec or in relation to workplaces in Quebec, Quebec's Charter of the French Language applies instead of this bill if a federally regulated private business must be subject to the charter.
    However, the Charter of the French Language does not protect francophones outside Quebec. As our government recognized in last year's reform paper, we have a duty to encourage federally regulated private businesses to promote the equal status of our two official languages in order to increase the use of French as a language of service and a language of work across the country.
    That is what Bill C-13 does. We are making sure that Canadians have the right to work and be served in French in federally regulated private businesses in Quebec and other regions of Canada with a strong francophone presence. We require employers to communicate with their employees in French and prohibit discrimination against an employee solely because they speak only French or do not have adequate knowledge of a language other than French. We are also enacting legislation to ensure that consumers of goods and services have the right to be served in French.
    These tools are necessary to support francophones across the country. That is what we are doing with Bill C-13, and Bill C-238 simply cannot do the same.
    Once again, I would like to thank the member for Salaberry—Suroît for raising this extremely important issue. Like her, our government recognizes that the use of French is in decline across the country and that urgent action is needed not only to stop this decline, but also to reverse it and move toward a future where French grows stronger.
    However, Bill C-238 does not and cannot do that. I hope that all members of the House will join us in passing Bill C-13 as quickly as possible so that we can meet the objective of protecting and promoting French from coast to coast to coast, including Quebec, for francophones across the country.

  (1130)  

    Madam Speaker, today I am speaking to Bill C-238, an act respecting the French language, which was introduced by the member for Salaberry—Suroît. I thank her for her work on this important piece of legislation.
    Bill C‑238 does several things. It amends the Canada Labour Code and certain provisions of the Official Languages Act and the Citizenship Act. It also makes a change to the Canada Business Corporations Act.
    As I said in a recent speech in this place, the experts tell us that French is becoming increasingly precarious, even across government and this very government's ministerial offices. Action must be taken immediately and judiciously to achieve the desired effects. In deciding which legislative measures to adopt to protect French, we need to build on existing rights and official language modernization statutes and listen to what official language minority community leaders tell us.
    As we know, recognizing official languages tops the list of our most fundamental rights in this country. According to subsection 16(1) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, “English and French are the official languages of Canada and have equality of status and equal rights and privileges as to their use in all institutions of the Parliament and government of Canada”. The charter guarantees that members of the public can communicate with and receive services from the federal government in the official language of their choice. There is no obligation to become bilingual under the charter.
    We also need to bear in mind that Quebec has decided to modernize its own legislation to better protect the French language. We must salute the hard work of the members of the Quebec National Assembly who are about vote on and pass Bill 96, an act respecting French, the official and common language of Quebec.
    Bill C‑238 has been introduced in a context that has not occurred in Canada for decades. Right now, provincial and federal language laws are being reviewed from top to bottom, including in Canada's only bilingual province, New Brunswick.
    As I was saying earlier, Bill C‑238 amends the Citizenship Act in order to ensure, among other things, that permanent residents who ordinarily reside in Quebec must have an adequate knowledge of French in order to obtain citizenship. I would remind the House that these changes to the Citizenship Act are the same as the ones proposed in another bill, Bill C‑223, which the Conservatives supported at second reading before the last election.
    In addition to the citizenship aspect, Bill C‑238 also proposes amending the Canada Business Corporations Act so that “the name of a corporation that carries on business in the Province of Quebec shall meet the requirements of the Charter of the French Language”. This proposal needs to be analyzed in relation to what the Charter of the French Language already does in Quebec and especially in relation to the scope it will have once Bill 96 is passed.
    Bill C‑238 also proposes amending the Canada Labour Code by adding a new provision just after section 4, which stipulates that “any federal work, undertaking or business operating in Quebec is subject to the requirements of the Charter of the French Language”.
    If this amendment is applied, will it be consistent with the rest of the federal legislation, including the new Charter of the French Language? That is the question. It is clear to me that federally regulated businesses in Quebec should not aim for the lowest common denominator. We do not want more of what is happening with Air Canada, CN and so on.

  (1135)  

    Bill C-238 also proposes amendments to the Official Languages Act to add an undertaking that the Official Languages Act will not obstruct the Charter of the French Language. Is the term “obstruct” sufficiently clear and precise? We certainly must ask ourselves how the new version of the Official Languages Act, which could be passed in a few weeks, will work with the Charter of the French Language in Quebec.
    I also note that the measures in section 43 must be implemented in a manner that is consistent with the objectives of the Charter of the French Language. How will the courts rule if this provision is adopted?
    I agree with several of the underlying principles of this bill, in particular the vital importance of preserving the French language and stopping its decline. I believe that we all share legitimate and common concerns about making the Official Languages Act a modern, effective act that will achieve its objective of ensuring respect for French and English as the official languages of Canada.
    Setting aside the objectives themselves, I believe it is important to point out that, as legislators, we must ascertain the optimal way of implementing these objectives to protect the French language and ensure respect for the official languages. I believe that it is important to keep in mind the progress of the work of the House. Bill C‑238 is being introduced while Bill C-13, which seeks to amend many provisions of the Official Languages Act, is in the process of being passed.
    Before I vote on this bill that was introduced not long ago, I plan to carefully go through all of the underlying details regarding the proposed measures. There are a number of angles to consider and I encourage all of my colleagues to do the same. Nicolas Poussin, a 17th-century French painter, once said that anything worth doing is worth doing well. As legislators, we must determine the best way to achieve our objectives. To better protect the French language, we need the best bills and therefore the best possible amendments, all working together as one to create an effective body of law that addresses the problems.
    After studying Bill C‑238, we will have to determine whether this bill provides all of the tools required to achieve the objectives that I described. I want my colleagues to have enough time to study this bill in depth. I will keep repeating that if we want our country's bilingualism to remain a unique and appealing feature, with English and French as our two official languages, we must act now to stop the decline of French. We must protect and promote French so that it can continue to develop.

  (1140)  

    Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today in the House to talk about something that is so important for Quebeckers, as well as for all francophones in Canada and North America.
    I would like to thank my colleague from Salaberry—Suroît for introducing Bill C-238 and giving us the opportunity to have this vital discussion in the House of Commons.
    From what I hear from my colleagues, I think that we are all concerned about the status of French, its place in Canada, the respect it receives, and making sure it is defended and promoted in Quebec and in the rest of Canada.
    It is in this context that, during the last Parliament, the House unanimously adopted a motion recognizing the decline of French in Canada and Quebec. I remember it well, because I am the one who tabled the motion. I am very pleased to have personally contributed to this discussion so that, together, we can make an effort to ensure that French remains the common language in Quebec and that francophone minority communities are better protected and have access to cultural activities and the right to work in French.
    The first part of Bill C‑238, which we are debating today, is extremely important. The NDP has agreed with this principle for years. Ever since the Sherbrooke declaration, we have wanted the principles enshrined in the Charter of the French Language to apply to federally regulated companies. It is a matter of equal rights for workers. It is also a matter of defending the French language. The right of these employees to work and communicate in French within their company is fundamental. That is why, for years now, under the leadership of Jack Layton, then Thomas Mulcair and now the hon. member for Burnaby South, the NDP has been advocating for employees working in federally regulated companies in Quebec, whether it be in air transportation, marine shipping or telecommunications, to have the same rights as other workers.
    The current situation is completely absurd. If someone works for a credit union, they have the right to demand that their employment contract and communications with their employer be in French. That has always been the case, and there has never been a problem. However, someone who works for Royal Bank or the Bank of Montreal does not have the same right. This is a double standard, since all of these institutions are banks. The employees do not have the same rights or recourse, so we really need to find a solution.
    That is why, for years now, the NDP has wholeheartedly agreed with the proposal set out in the first part of the member for Salaberry—Suroît's Bill C‑238. In our opinion, it is very important. We support this goal and we want to see it achieved. We must avoid the fiascoes we saw with Air Canada and Canadian National, as well as the attacks on French-language universities like Campus Saint-Jean in Alberta and Laurentian University in Ontario.
    Whether through laws enacted by Quebec’s National Assembly such as Bill 96, which our Conservative colleague mentioned earlier, a bill like the one presented in the House, or the proposal to modernize the Official Languages Act, we need to work together to fight the decline of the French language and ensure French is promoted and remains strong in Quebec and across the country.
    Since we are talking about the situation of the French language, I will take this opportunity to express my concern about the use of certain indicators and send a message to my colleague, the hon. member for La Pointe-de-l’Île. I cannot raise this issue in the Standing Committee on Official Languages because we do not have enough time. I will therefore take the time now to say that I am very concerned about what I see as the abusive use of criteria and indicators of the first language and main language used at home. I do not find these indicators and criteria particularly revealing or even appropriate to describe the situation of the French language. Let me explain.

  (1145)  

     I find that the whole idea of Bill 96 is precisely to reduce the importance of the first-language indicator. Since we want children of immigrants to go to French school, their first language should not count and will count less and less. The more immigrants we host who are not francophone, the less valid this indicator is, since they must learn French in school and will then become francophone.
    With respect to the language used at home, in the Quebec nation, which is a nation of immigrants, children may continue to speak their parents’ first language at home. That is okay, and it is normal. What is important is that French be the language used in the public arena and at work. That is my opinion and we can debate it, but I think that these criteria are much more important in a modern Quebec and an immigrant society.
    I will give an example that my spouse will not like. My spouse is anglophone. Her second language is Armenian. Her third language is French. She works in French. She prepares communications. She writes in French. Therefore, based on the first-language criterion, she is not francophone, even if she works in French 99% of the time and interacts in the community with neighbours and in stores in French. If we look at the primary language used at home, when I am not at home, she speaks with the children in English so that they can learn English. Therefore, when I am not at home, she is not francophone, either. On the other hand, when I am at home, she is francophone because we speak French.
    Is this an exceptional case? No. I have four employees, two of whom are in exactly the same situation. One is Colombian, and the other Italian. Their first language is not French, the primary language they use at home is not French, but they work and function in Quebec society in French. We need to be careful with these indicators. I think that we should choose them carefully to get an accurate picture.
    The problem with the bill before us today is in the second part, which states that all immigrants must take a French test to obtain citizenship. It is important to note that Quebec already controls economic immigration and that the number of points granted for knowledge of French significantly favours francophones. That is great for people who want to come work and settle in Quebec and build Quebec society with the rest of us. For economic immigration, we essentially have all the tools we need. The National Assembly and successive Quebec governments have found ways to prioritize francophones who already speak French.
    Where federal jurisdiction over immigration comes into play is with family reunification and refugees. As a progressive party, the NDP considers the French test requirement for people arriving here under family reunification and refugee provisions to be unreasonable. Their personal situations are so different that their access to citizenship should not be delayed just because they do not speak French. Delaying access to citizenship also means delaying access to voting rights and participation in our society's democratic life. That worries me, and I do not think this is the best available tool. There are many other things that could be done rather than imposing this on refugees who come here because they are fleeing war and trying to save their lives.
    The second problem with requiring knowledge of French for citizenship is that this bill does not take interprovincial migration into account. Someone who does not speak French and does not want to do the French test in Quebec to obtain citizenship can just go to New Brunswick or Ontario, do their test there, get their citizenship and then move to Quebec, so this idea will not really work. I think the idea is fine, but not very practical.

  (1150)  

    Madam Speaker, Bill C-238, which was introduced by a member of the Bloc Québécois, includes two proposals on which there is broad consensus in Quebec.
    The first part of the bill seeks to amend the Citizenship Act to ensure that permanent residents who reside in Quebec have an adequate knowledge of French in order to obtain citizenship. Under the current legislation, Canada requires knowledge of English or French. Accordingly, a person can get their citizenship and settle in Quebec without knowing how to speak French. Quebec thinks it is only reasonable for people to have a knowledge of its only official language before being granted citizenship.
    What my colleague fails to grasp is that people who arrive under the family reunification program will be here for several years before they apply for citizenship. I therefore do not see why we would not encourage them to learn French. That is what the current Quebec government wanted to do in another way by requiring people to pass a French test in order obtain permanent resident status.
    A survey showed that three-quarters of Quebeckers believe that the francization of immigrants is vital to the future of Quebec and that a basic knowledge of French should be mandatory in order to live in Quebec.
    The first time the Bloc introduced a bill to this effect, it was simply rejected. It was deemed unconstitutional and therefore non-votable, even though the parliamentary law clerks disagreed. We were more or less told that taking measures to integrate immigrants into francophone Quebec was unconstitutional.
    We introduced the bill a second time in 2021. This time, it was not declared unconstitutional, but it was defeated because it did not receive the support of the Liberals or the NDP. The only NDP member from Quebec told us that it was a divisive measure that excluded new immigrants. The odd thing is that no one ever says that requiring English is a divisive measure that excludes new immigrants. Our measure is actually the opposite of divisive. The best way to include new immigrants and form a cohesive society is to make sure that they know Quebec's official and common language.
    The second part of our bill seeks to apply the Charter of the French Language to federally regulated businesses. This measure has widespread support in Quebec, having been endorsed by all the former premiers, the big city mayors and the major unions. It was the subject of a unanimous motion in Quebec's National Assembly.
    The Bloc Québécois has introduced multiple bills to this effect since 2009. The most recent attempt was my colleague from Beauport—Limoilou's bill during the last Parliament. That is the time we came closest to success. The bill passed second reading after receiving the support of all parties except the Liberals. It then died on the Order Paper, because the Liberal Prime Minister called an election. There is still a legal vacuum, meaning federally regulated private businesses are not subject to any regulations.
    Through its reform of Bill 101, the Quebec government intends to apply the Charter of the French Language to all companies in Quebec, including federally regulated businesses. However, the Liberal government wants to stop it by making Bill 101 optional, so that companies get to choose between Bill 101 and the federal Official Languages Act.
    The Quebec minister responsible for Canadian relations and the Canadian francophonie, who is usually very discreet, even told the federal government to keep its hands off when it comes to Quebec.
    When Air Canada representatives appeared before the Standing Committee on Official Languages, they were asked this question and were quick to say that they prefer to be subject to the Official Languages Act.
    The Liberals tell us that their new bill modernizing the federal law uses Bill 101 as a model for the Official Languages Act in terms of federally regulated businesses. This is not true. Canada's language law and Bill 101 are based on very different and contrary approaches. Canada's language law, the Official Languages Act, is based on an approach that does not aim to strengthen French in Quebec, but rather to strengthen English-language services and the anglophone community in Quebec.

  (1155)  

    It is based on what language planning experts around the world call the personality principle, that is, a policy of institutional bilingualism based on individual rights, on the right to choose one official language or the other, that is, English in Quebec.
    Throughout the world, it has been noted that this model of language policy allows the stronger language to develop to the detriment of the more vulnerable one. This can be seen in the assimilation rates of francophones outside Quebec, which increase with each census.
    The other major approach to language planning is based on collective and territorial rights. It aims to establish an official and common language in a given territory. This is the approach of territorial bilingualism or multilingualism used in Belgium or Switzerland, for example. These are the models that André Laurendeau, who first suggested the Laurendeau-Dunton commission, referred to. Guillaume Rousseau, a lawyer from Quebec who specializes in language law, said that “virtually all language policy experts around the world believe that only a territoriality-based approach can guarantee the survival and development of a minority language”.
    The Charter of the French Language is based mainly on this approach, although it has been considerably weakened by legal challenges funded by the federal government and decisions handed down by the federal courts under the Constitution Act, 1982, which imposed the principles of the federal law despite the fact that no Quebec government has ever ratified them.
    Bill 101 sought to make French the common language in the workplace, whereas the Official Languages Act gives people the right to work in French or in English. It strengthens bilingualism rather than the French language. For example, Bill 101 protects Quebec workers from reprisals or sanctions if they speak only French. The new federal law includes similar measures with fewer remedies and less effectiveness, but it also protects anglophones who wish to continue working in English in Quebec at federally regulated businesses.
    Bill 101 imposes the predominance of French in signage. It seeks to generalize the use of French at every level of the business. There is nothing of the sort in the new Official Languages Act proposed by the Liberals. Their bill does not give French predominance as the language of work, the language of communication with consumers, or the language of signage.
    The decline of French in Canada and Quebec is increasingly worrisome. For example, language transfers for allophones are typically toward English. For years, my NDP colleague has been advancing the wrong-headed argument that indicators such as mother tongue and language used at home are unimportant, when every demographer agrees that they are in fact extremely important. They do not exclude anyone; they are linguistic indicators. When used properly, the linguistic indicators, even those relating to language of work and the common language, all point in the same direction. It is a false argument.
    As I said, the decline of French in Canada and Quebec is increasingly worrisome. According to Statistics Canada, by 2036, the relative weight of Quebec's French-mother-tongue population could have dropped to 69%, and the weight of Quebeckers who speak French most often at home could have dropped to 73.6%. This means that there will also be a decline in French as the language of work. Quebec has its back to the wall. We cannot go back any farther. What happens to our bill will say a lot about the future of French in Quebec and Canada.
    For 52 years, or since always, actually, the biggest adversary of French as the common and official language of Quebec has been the Canadian government. For the first time, the federal government has admitted the obvious: that French is in decline and that the government has a responsibility to promote French across Canada, including in Quebec. Is this just more smoke and mirrors from the Liberals to try to win a few more francophone votes in Quebec?
    That seems to be the explanation, because, as we saw, they are not changing their position. They are still against applying Bill 101 to federally regulated businesses. The two measures in our bill will certainly not solve everything, but they will respond to what Quebec is looking for.

  (1200)  

    In conclusion, if no changes are made to the Official Languages Act, Quebeckers will have to once again ask themselves a critical question that is becoming more and more real: Is the choice between assimilation and an independent Quebec?

[English]

    Before we resume debate, I will advise the hon. member that, unfortunately, I will have to interrupt him at one point.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader.
    Madam Speaker, I listened attentively to members talk about what is no doubt a very important issue.
     I think of Canada and our great diversity. No matter where I have been in the world, I often boast about Canada's diversity, and a part of that diversity, the founding of our nation, is the fact that we are a bilingual nation. We are a nation that supports, from a federal perspective, English and French.
    When I reflect on the province of Manitoba today, and compare it to the early 1970s, before Pierre Trudeau brought in such a heavy emphasis on learning French in our school system, Manitoba has benefited by having a national government that wants to recognize the importance of the French language and ensure that Canadians from coast to coast learn more French.

Privilege

Conduct of the Member for Brampton Centre 

[Privilege]
    Madam Speaker, it does not give me any pleasure, but I am a rising on a question of privilege concerning an occurrence of misconduct that happened in the House of Commons late Friday afternoon by a member of the Liberal Party.
    As it would happen, I had just left the chamber about 10 minutes prior, as I had to hit the road to make an important engagement in Barrie—Innisfil on Friday evening, so I am raising this at my earliest opportunity.
    The facts are these: The hon. member for Fort McMurray—Cold Lake rose on a point of order to inquire whether the Liberal member for Brampton Centre was participating virtually from an inappropriate location. A brief discussion arose, and at its conclusion, the The Assistant Deputy Speaker confirmed this to the House, which is documented at page 4931 of the Debates, when she said, “I have confirmation from the Table that a page has confirmed that there was a member who appeared to be in the washroom.”
    I have subsequently been informed that those who witnessed the events saw quite clearly the Liberal MP enter what appeared to be a toilet stall in one of the mens' washrooms located on this very floor of this building. The visible stonework, the wooden door, the stainless steel door hinges and the coat hook on the back of the door, which is part of the long side of the stall, looked quite familiar to all, I am told. Based on the angle, I am informed that it appeared that the camera was mounted on the ledge or ridge on the wall just above the back of the toilet. The member of Parliament was literally using the washroom while participating in a sitting of the House of Commons, the cathedral of Canadian democracy. I cannot believe I actually just said those words.
    You might think that this is an unprecedented situation, but sadly and unbelievably, it is not. In fact, there is a recent precedent that is practically identical. The former member for Pontiac Will Amos also used the washroom on camera during a sitting of the House just last May. In his case, he urinated into a coffee cup for all to see.
    The Chair ruled on June 7, 2021, at page 8034 of the Debates, that this was a prima facie contempt and invited my colleague, the hon. member for Elgin—Middlesex—London, to move a motion to refer the matter to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. The committee did not have the opportunity to take up the matter and report its reflections on what was then an unprecedented situation during the two sitting weeks between the ruling and the dissolution of Parliament. In light of Mr. Amos's subsequent retirement, the matter was not pursued further in the current Parliament.
    The Chair's words in making last spring's ruling are, I think, equally pertinent today. He said:
    The Chair has on many occasions reminded members that virtual sessions are an extension of the proceedings of the House and that their conduct must respect our rules and practices, even if they are participating remotely. I want to reiterate, yet again, the importance of everyone adjusting to the temporary measures put in place in response to the pandemic and exercising continued vigilance to prevent such incidents from recurring. As soon as a member connects to a virtual sitting and opens their camera, they are considered to be, for all intents and purposes, in the House.
    There is no dispute about the facts in question, and they constitute a serious breach of the rules of decorum and an affront against the dignity of the House. House of Commons Procedure and Practice, third edition, states, at page 60, “Any conduct which offends the authority or dignity of the House...is referred to as a contempt of the House.”
    Frankly, we have now had two years of Zoom meetings in a hybrid Parliament. Surely to God we have figured out when and where to turn our cameras on and off. It is the Liberal Party, the party that keeps shoving hybrid procedures down our throats, that cannot seem to get its act together.
    On Friday, the parliamentary secretary to the government House leader did not react with the shock and contrition that one might naturally expect in this situation. Instead, he tried to present this as a positive thing when he said:
    When people are in their offices, working virtually, sometimes it can be very easy to shy away from the camera to do something else, much like we might shift over a couple of seats. I believe the most important thing is that members have the camera on and are in the room.
    I cannot believe that. The most important thing is that the member for Brampton Centre's camera was on and he was in the shot. The room in question was a toilet stall, for crying out loud. The Liberals simply do not get it.

  (1205)  

    If you ask me, given the blatant disrespect the Liberals have shown Parliament over the past couple of years, from playing games with the resources available for committees to posing grave health risks for our dwindling ranks of simultaneous interpreters, to quite literally urinating in the House, the answer here is to shut down the hybrid parliament and end this remote participation. It is time we all get back here, in our places in this chamber. On top of the disrespect shown to the House, there is also the matter of the potential consequential effects here on Parliament Hill.
    Under the Canada Labour Code, each of us is required to have an occupational health and safety officer. My health and safety officer has impressed upon me some very legitimate concerns that, when entering any given washroom in the West Block, parliamentary staff now have to wonder whether any of the MPs they may encounter, Liberal in this case, are carrying an active video camera connected to a live, televised broadcast.
    Government Motion No. 11 has already put enough burdens and strain on all the staff of this place, who support the functions of the House. The last thing we need is now to add the stress that their privacy might be compromised by some Liberal MP desperate not to incur the wrath of the chief government whip by not contributing to quorum, at least until 6:30 when Motion No. 11 lets them go have patio drinks down on Sparks Street with their coalition partners in the NDP, while the rest of us are here carrying on the nation's business.
    In conclusion, just like last year, there is no dispute about the facts in question. They were, as I said, confirmed by the chair occupant, the Assistant Deputy Speaker, on Friday afternoon. A clearly relevant, precisely on point and well-remembered precedent is on our books. This case, I believe, is open and shut.
    Therefore, if you agree that this incident amounts to a prima facie contempt, I am prepared to move the following motion, “That the prima facie contempt concerning the misconduct of the member for Brampton Centre committed in the presence of the House be referred to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.”
     That motion is, in fact, identical to the one the Speaker allowed on June 7, 2021, with, of course, the substitution of the riding name for the offending Liberal member of Parliament.
    On the strength of undisputed facts and a clear precedent, I invite you to rule now from the chair, so that the House may pronounce itself on the disappointing and contemptuous conduct of yet another Liberal MP.

  (1210)  

    I appreciate the additional information that was provided on this particular matter. I, as Assistant Deputy Speaker, was not in the chair on Friday and, therefore, am not prepared to rule immediately. What I will do, though, is to take the additional information the hon. member has provided into consideration along with the info to the point that was raised on Friday.
    In addition, I would like to remind all members that, when they join virtually, they are, in fact, always considered to be in the room. When I am, in particular, sitting in this chair, there is always someone who is probably unaware that their screen is right in front of me. I want to remind members to be extremely respectful of Parliament. As well, members should ensure that, if they need to leave their screens for whatever reason or have an interruption that they need to tend to, they should make sure they log off or ensure that their screens are completely off.
    I am deeply concerned by this matter, given the fact that there have been other incidents in the past. It is certainly something that the chair occupants and the Speaker himself will take into consideration and come back to the House with a ruling on.

[Translation]

Alleged Interference of the Government in the Work of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration  

    Madam Speaker, I want to respond to the question of privilege raised by the member for Simcoe—Grey on May 5, 2022. In our view, it is deeply concerning.
     The email discussions referred to by the member do indeed amount to interference by the executive in parliamentary work that is the sole responsibility of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. There was an email chain concerning the preparation of drafting instructions for a report on a study the committee has been conducting on differential outcomes in Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada decisions.
    In our view, it is deeply concerning that the chair communicated with employees of the executive branch to receive guidance on how the committee report should be drafted by non-partisan analysts, who must be impartial and independent in their professional duties.
    However, contrary to what the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons alleged last Friday on the matter, the Department of Citizenship and Immigration and the Privy Council Office could in fact be trying to interfere with the work of the committee in this situation.
    The Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government said that the emails chains make it clear that the advice from the minister's office was to suggest an approach to the drafting of the report to ensure that the government's position was understood by the Liberal members on the committee. The very fact that ministers are suggesting how parliamentary committee reports should be drafted is what is troubling and disturbing.
    I remind members that the committee is required to be completely independent from the government and that it is meant to monitor what the department and the government are doing. It is rather ironic that the department and the Privy Council Office can give opinions on certain findings and recommendations that could cause embarrassment for the government. The House recognizes that the government must not see a draft committee report before it is approved by the committee members. That said, the committee and committee staff cannot be instructed by the federal public service, cabinet or the government. We understand how this might not be viewed as a breach of a specific privilege.
    However, according to Bosc and Gagnon in House of Commons Procedure and Practice, beginning at page 81, “any action which...tends to obstruct or impede the House in the performance of its functions...or is an offence against the authority or dignity of the House” may be found as a contempt of Parliament.
    It is up to the House itself to consider any misconduct as contempt and to deal with the situation as it sees fit.
    In this case, the email chains informing the immigration minister's office of the committee's work and the replies from his staff giving instructions raise concerns about the independence of the House in managing its own business.
    We must not forget that, initially, as the member for Simcoe—Grey mentioned in referring to Bosc and Gagnon at page 62, parliamentary privileges were considered and established “to protect the House and its Members...from the power and interference of the King and the House of Lords”.
    It is important to remember that the House must oppose any attempt or action by the government suggesting interference in the work of parliamentary committees, which must remain independent in accordance with their mandate.
    The Bloc Québécois believes that the facts raised require the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs to be mandated by the House to conduct a broader study on the real or potential issues of government interference in the reports of parliamentary committees.

  (1215)  

    I thank the hon. member for Salaberry—Suroît for elaborating on the question of privilege. This issue has been raised before. We will examine the additional information provided by the member today and get back to the House with a ruling.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[English]

Budget Implementation Act, 2022, No. 1

Bill C-19—Time Allocation Motion  

    That, in relation to Bill C-19, an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 7, 2022 and other measures, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the bill; and that, 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders on the day allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the said bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this order, and, in turn, every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 67.1, there will now be a 30-minute question period.

[Translation]

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

[English]

    Questions and comments, the hon. opposition House leader.

  (1220)  

    Madam Speaker, I am not quite surprised by this. The only thing surprising me is that the motion was not seconded by the NDP House leader.
    This is just amazing to me. This is a government that argued with its coalition partners in the NDP about Motion No. 11. What Motion No. 11 was going to do was expand the time, give more opportunities for members to speak by expanding the hours, and yet, with just two and a half days of debate, the government moved time allocation on an important piece of legislation, doing the exact opposite of what it argued Motion No. 11 was going to do.
    Before the Liberals spare us the false indignation of obstruction, in fact what the government is doing is utilizing this motion to obstruct members of Parliament from doing their job, which is providing oversight and scrutiny on important pieces of legislation. Therefore, it is not surprising to me that we are at this point. I know the opposition House leader is going to go on about Friday and about the movement of a motion to committee, splitting up a bill. We called a vote. There was no reason for Bill C-19 not to be debated, except the filibuster by the government.
    My question is a simple one. Is it not true that the government House leader and the Prime Minister, in fact, because of this tag-team partnership with the NDP, actually have exactly what they want and need in this Parliament, and that is an audience, not an opposition?
    Madam Speaker, I do not know what forces drove the member opposite to come to office and to be in this chamber. I know him well enough to know that he is a good and honourable individual who has good intentions for this place. However, I cannot imagine that his desire when he came here was to basically, day after day, obstruct the business of the House. If the member opposite and his party really wanted more debate, I would think they would not move concurrence motions every day.
    The fact of the matter is that we tried, with Bill C-8, to engage the party opposite over more than four months, every day over four months asking how many more speakers the Conservatives wanted. What we ended up seeing was that they had no interest in debate. What they had interest in was obstruction.
     In fact, if we take a look at what we are dealing with in front of us here today, in only two days of debate the Conservatives have proposed an amendment that would not even allow the budget implementation act to be scrutinized, which is an integral role of the parliamentary process. They used motions of concurrence for two House reports to delay and obstruct debate in the House. They put forward subamendments to create further delays. What they have done all through this process is show that they have no interest. They basically want to hijack, as one party, the entire Parliament and not allow it to function, and then they are surprised that we would object to this.
    An hon. member: Oh, oh!
    I want to remind the official opposition House leader that he had an opportunity to ask a question, and if he has more, there will be an opportunity to ask more. It is not polite to interrupt the government House leader while he is responding.

[Translation]

    The hon. member for Salaberry—Suroît.
    Madam Speaker, I knew that this time allocation motion was coming, but I did not think it would be moved so soon. It is important for people to know that we have not yet even had five hours of debate on Bill C-19, which is a big bill with numerous measures. Many sectors have been calling us after seeing the budget. We need to debate this big, important bill, and five hours is not enough time.
    I am surprised because I think this demonstrates carelessness and contempt on the part of the government. The Liberals are saying that we have debated this long enough, and they are eager for the bill to be passed. We, too, are eager for it to pass, but debating bills is part of our job. I am therefore very surprised, and even appalled, that this motion was moved today when I was not expecting it until later.
    I think that is an exaggeration. I think the government is counting on its tacit agreement with the NDP to prevent meaningful and thorough debate, especially in the case of Bill C-19. This is not a small bill; it is 452 pages long and the Standing Committee on Finance has already begun its study.
    This is not a question, but I will say to my colleague that it is a bit discouraging to see that the leader continues to be contemptuous of the legislative work that we have to do here in the House.

  (1225)  

    Madam Speaker, it is very important to have debate in the House. At every stage of a bill, it is important to have time to ask questions and seek information.
    In the case of Bill C-19, time is allocated in the House, but also during the committee stage. Then the bill will come back to the House. Therefore there will be many opportunities to talk about this bill and ask questions, and I encourage members on the other side to participate at every stage.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, over the last couple of months we have seen a total blocking of important legislation by the Conservatives.
     Teachers and farmers were basically being stopped from getting the important measures that were in Bill C-8, and that continued on for months. Now we have the budget implementation bill, which does a number of things that the NDP has pushed the government to put into place, including the first stage of national dental care. Thousands of people in the official opposition House leader's riding, Barrie—Innisfil, would benefit from that, and yet the Conservatives do not want to let it go through.
     We have not seen any real, substantive action by the federal government on affordable housing for decades, and now, finally, in the budget implementation bill and in the budget this year, because of the confidence and supply agreement with the NDP, we are seeing tens of thousands of affordable housing units that could be built, including in Barrie—Innisfil. Right across the country people could benefit.
    Why does my colleague, the government House leader, feel the Conservatives have been blocking everything? Why have the Conservatives disrupted every single Routine Proceedings now for almost two weeks, and why are they being so stubborn about refusing to allow important legislation to get through the House, legislation that would help people?
    Madam Speaker, my colleague opposite enumerates a number of things that are exceptionally important within this bill, things that we need to make progress on and that Canadians expect us to make progress on.
    Frankly, I am confused. I have tried with the official opposition on numerous occasions to find opportunities, to find out how many speakers they want and to work with them, and it has just come back with no level of co-operation whatsoever. I look at this bill as a case in point. Conservatives say they want to have more debate, and yet they move concurrence motions that kill debate. It means that less debate occurs.
    At some point, I would say that obstruction could be a temporary tool and on that basis could be called strategy, but if the only gear they have is obstruction, that is not really a strategy; it is just obstinance. I am really confused as to its aim.
    Madam Speaker, I want to start by noting that I have supported time allocation motions in the past and we had a sufficient number of speakers. I will also mention, on the point by the government House leader, that I have been similarly concerned by some of the motions for concurrence we have seen here over the past week. That being said, my understanding is that we have had 11 speakers so far on Bill C-19 at second reading, out of 338 members in this place. This is a substantial piece of legislation. As we have heard from the Bloc, there are 452 pages.
    How can we ensure that sufficient debate is provided? If the government House leader is concerned with some tactics from opposition parties, why is the response to those tactics to further erode the quality of debate that we can have in this place?
    Madam Speaker, the reality is that there is lots of opportunity. We are talking about five days. Unfortunately, all of the obstruction and concurrence motions by the Conservatives have vastly reduced the amount of debate that is available, and I recognize that.
    I am sure the member would be sympathetic to the fact that as we are trying to take action on climate change, increase our economic outcomes and take action on housing, there are a lot of bills, and all of this obstruction means that there is an enormous backlog. Canadians would rightfully expect that this Parliament, in its majority representation from many different parts of the country and certainly different parties, would take action on those items. It would not sit idly by, allowing one party to hijack the House and stick it in mud period after period.
    I am hopeful that the Conservatives will rethink this strategy. I do not think it would resonate with Canadians. I cannot imagine Conservatives going to the doors and saying they had great news: that, day after day, they had stuck everything in the mud and not let Parliament do anything. I do not think that is a very effective message for them to take to the doors.
    Instead, I would say members should work creatively with us. The committee stage is coming up after this, and the bill has to return to the House. There are multiple phases where they could participate. Hopefully they will do so constructively, but that has not been the case so far.

  (1230)  

    Here are the facts, Madam Speaker. Two concurrence motions have been moved: one on fisheries and one on ethics. There was an important issue with respect to fisheries coming out of committee and, of course, important issues as they relate to the scandalous behaviour of the government on ethics.
    Bill C-8 was introduced December 16, and we had 10 weeks when the House was not sitting. What did the Liberals expect for the fall economic statement, when we are not going to have debate on this?
    The other thing we are seeing is that before the coalition agreement with the NDP, the NDP sided with the government 89% of the time on votes. Since that coalition agreement, it has sided with the government 95% of the time. It is not surprising to me that I am hearing the NDP House leader parroting the talking points of the government.
    The fact is that we are seeing a decline in democracy. This is the government's attempt to seize complete control over this place on important legislation, such as Bill C-19, when members have the right to speak and members have the right to move motions. We have those rights because these are important issues to Canadians.
    Will the government House leader just admit that he is contributing to a further decline in democracy in this country, and that Canadians did not vote for a coalition agreement between the NDP and the Liberals? They actually voted for an effective opposition, including the Conservative Party, which, by the way, is the official opposition: Her Majesty's loyal opposition. We will continue to do our job, despite the fact that the government does not want us to do it.
    Madam Speaker, I can only reflect that, unfortunately, in all of the conversations I have had with the opposition House leader, there just has not been any interest in engaging to talk about the calendar or moving things forward. Every time we talk, it is more obfuscation. That is disappointing to me, because I have to say that I was hoping for more and I continue to hope for more.
    It is important to reflect on two things. One, I was here in opposition. It is a little difficult for me to listen to the Conservative Party, which used time allocation not as a tool, but as a hammer to hammer the opposition every day that it was there. It literally created a playbook 200 pages long talking about how to control committees and shut them down, and telling its members exactly how to puppeteer all of these committees: to object now, after four months of blocking any government legislation from moving forward; to object now, when we have all of these important issues for Canadians that are expected to be dealt with; and to object now, when we are utilizing these tools so that this place can get its business done.
    The Conservatives represent only a small fraction of the members in the House. They do not have the right to hijack all of Parliament. If they were to win a majority government, they could go back to using a cudgel to hammer the opposition and ram things through and not allow debate, as they did before. They could do that.
    They do not have a majority. We do not have a majority. We are attempting to work with other parties. I would say to the party members opposite that if they want to be constructive, and if they want to get things done and if they do not want to spend the next three years simply blocking everything that moves, they should talk to us. We want to work with them to move things forward.
    Madam Speaker, I am wondering if the government House leader could provide his thoughts on the fact that we have a legislative agenda, which incorporates the changing of laws, and we have budgetary measures. It is a government agenda that does ultimately need to get through. There is nothing wrong with opposition parties critiquing it and offering amendments: changes and so forth. I am not in opposition to that. It is the official opposition's attempt to frustrate all things in all ways; for example, on Bill C-8.
    Could he provide his thoughts on Bill C-8, which was the fall economic statement? It ultimately passed the House after the budget was released, a couple of weeks back. The Conservatives did that through frustrating, filibustering and concurrence reports. They even attempted to adjourn the House. They had different ways to prevent the bill from being debated. I am referring to Bill C-8.
    Can he provide his thoughts in regard to Bill C-8?

  (1235)  

    Madam Speaker, after more than four months of dealing with Bill C-8, which was dealing with the previous fall, it became apparent that we would be lucky to get to the coming fall if we had not used measures to move it forward.
    There were critical supports there for teachers and for workers. Similarly, regarding the budget implementation act, it is not just that there are important measures in it to be taken on everything from housing, to banning foreign investment, to labour mobility and reducing, by half, corporate and small business tax breaks. There are so many things that are essential here. It is everything that also flows behind it. We have a responsibility to that.
    I would say that at the onset of my time as House leader, going back to December, the Conservatives came forward with good proposals on Bill C-3, and we were able to work together. We had an opportunity when they came forward on Bill C-4 to move it forward because we recognized it.
    We are in a minority government, and how we comport ourselves is a choice for each of us. As the government House leader, I recognize the minority status that we are in and that we are going to be in the House for a period of time. I would imagine that Conservative MPs want to do some things here and want to get some things done.
    I can imagine that standing up every day on dilatory motions and obfuscating has to get pretty old for you guys at some point. You want to take some things back to your constituencies, and I am willing to work with you on that. Come forward with stuff.
    The hon. government House leader needs to address all questions and comments through the Chair and not directly to the members or their party.
    The hon. member for New Westminster—Burnaby.
    Madam Speaker, I want to ask the government House leader about the complete lack of self-awareness in the Conservative MPs. They blocked, for months, important legislative changes that would help teachers and would help farmers. I certainly heard from teachers in my riding and people saying, “Let us get this done.” Conservatives said, “No, we are not going to let anything through.”
    Now we have the budget implementation act, which, for the first time, would put in place national dental care. Thanks to the NDP and the member for Burnaby South, we actually would see thousands of people in every Conservative constituency, but also in the constituencies of every one of us in the House of Commons, have access to dental care. This is a significant shift. With respect to affordable housing, as well for the first time, we would have in place an affordable housing program that would create tens of thousands of affordable housing units right across the country to address the housing crisis. These are all things that benefit everybody: every constituent of not just Conservative MPs, but all MPs in the House.
     This is what we should be working on. For five days in a row, the budget implementation act was supposed to be brought forward, and for five days in a row, the Conservatives blocked any sort of discussion. They just refused to let this move forward in any way and they would not debate it either. The official opposition House leader neglects the fact that, every single day for two weeks, Routine Proceedings has been disrupted by the Conservatives.
    Why is there no self-awareness, among Conservative MPs, that what they are doing is harming Canadians?
    Madam Speaker, I agree. Sometimes in the thrust and parry in this place, we can lose the purpose for which we come here. Again, I would go back to what we did with the Conservatives on Bill C-3. That was a great opportunity to work together. We absolutely have a supply and confidence agreement with the NDP. We are working on a lot of important issues, from affordable housing to the environment to the dental care plan that the member referenced, but I would suggest to the members opposite that, just as we did in Bill C-3, there remain opportunities for every member in the House.
     This is the fifth minority government that I have had the privilege to serve in. I have seen it done all ways, and I can say that when I was in opposition I spent my fair time both criticizing the government and trying to obstruct at different moments. However, when I lost, which I did in 2011, the reflections that I had were the opportunities that I had to get things done.
     We are going to be here for a while, is my guess, and, instead of moving things to obstruct every day, I would invite Conservative members to come and have a conversation with us about the things they are hearing from their constituents that they want movement on. It is totally fair that they are going to vote against some bills and totally fair that every once in a while, to make a point, they might want to obstruct, but I hope they will also reflect that when we were trying to deal with a bill like Bill C-8, after it being dragged out for more than four months, this is where we wind up. It is not healthy. There is a better way to work together, and I extend that bridge. I thought that we had a really good start and I would like to get back to it.

  (1240)  

    Madam Speaker, it is interesting to hear the government House leader ask for Conservative MPs to come and actually tell him what they are hearing from their constituents, when all the Liberals have done is shut down debate once again. The Liberals do not really want to hear how rural and remote Canadians feel about their policies.
    Also interesting is that the lapdog from New Westminster—Burnaby comes to the defence of the government. It is challenging to be one of the 338 members of Parliament elected to bring the voice of Canadians here and then, once again, the government is shutting down debate. Madam Speaker—
    Order. The hon. member for Vancouver East.
    Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. We are all hon. members here. I know that debates get heated from time to time, but it is entirely inappropriate for that member to refer to my colleague, the member for New Westminster—Burnaby, as a “lapdog”. It is entirely inappropriate to use that kind of language in the House and to refer to any hon. member in the House in that manner.
    Madam Speaker, I seek your advice on how to proceed with the outrageous point of view offered by that member.
    I appreciate the hon. member's interruption. It is something that I was going to raise as soon as the hon. member had finished. I would ask members not to attack individual members in the House in that way.
    I trust that the member will offer an apology before he continues his remarks, which I am going to ask him to wrap up soon.
    Madam Speaker, I apologize if perhaps my comments struck a nerve with our colleagues. With all due respect, I know our colleagues to be honourable. I do, but it is frustrating—
    I just want to ask the member whether he is going to apologize to the member.
    Madam Speaker, I was just getting to it.
    I would ask the member to respond to that and finish his question, so that I can get to the hon. member, because we are running out of time and I am going to have to start cutting questions on that side of the House.
    Madam Speaker, with all due respect, I do apologize for saying the comments, but I do not apologize for the feelings that this side of the House has, when the government has essentially given itself a majority with its colleagues from the NDP.
    I want to ask what happened to the “sunny ways” of 2015, when the Liberals were not going to start with dilatory motions; they were going be the most open and responsive government, and they were not going to force closure on debates. This, they have done time and time again, not only in this session, but any time the heat is turned up on them. What happened to that government?
    I just want to remind members that name calling is really not a very professional thing to do, especially in this House.
    The hon. government House leader.
    Madam Speaker, I spent a lot of time in opposition, and one of the things that I think is really not becoming of this place is to use that kind of language toward any other member. The reality is that the NDP House leader and I have our differences, but we both recognize that we were elected in a minority government to find ways to get things done for Canadians.
    I would reflect back to the member that we had a really great start. I mentioned Bill C-3 and Bill C-4, but there were a lot of things that were put forward by the Conservatives that were reasonable and that we were able to work with. What I am experiencing now is nothing but obstruction. I do not have anything to work with, and after four months of this place being bottlenecked with obstruction, we had to recognize there was no interest in actually having more debate; there was just an interest in unilaterally shutting this place down and sticking it in the mud.
    No party should try to do that from the position of having a minority of elected seats. The Conservatives talk about the elected will of Canadians. The elected will of Canadians is for this chamber to work, and to work together.

  (1245)  

    Madam Speaker, in the last election, the electorate sent a clear message to all of us, which is that we need to come back to this House and to work for the people. New Democrats took that seriously, and one of the things we are working on is to advance the needs of the community and to fight for them. What we have done is to use the power of 25 New Democrats to negotiate a supply and confidence agreement with the government, and what we have in this bill is a proposal to bring forward, for people in our communities, a dental care program. A national dental care program is needed, certainly, for my constituents. There are seniors who have not been able to get their teeth fixed, because they cannot afford to see a dentist. There are seniors who are blending up their food to eat.
    The obstructions that are being put forward by the Conservatives obstruct not only this House, but also the work of committees—
    I am sorry; the hon. member for Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies is rising on a point of order.
    Madam Speaker, I guess it is just a question to you. Is this a statement by a government member, or a question from the opposition?
    That is debate, and I have been hearing a lot of heckling on that side of the House. I would ask members to respect the fact that other members have the floor.
    The hon. member can ask her question, because I have other parliamentarians who want to ask questions as well.
    The hon. member for Vancouver East.
    Madam Speaker, to that end, my question to all members of the House is this: Do they not want to see a national dental program in place for their constituents? Do they not want to see and ensure that teachers are not being impeded by their inability to get the tax credits that have been promised in this bill? Why are we trying to obstruct—
    Again, the hon. member for Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies is rising on a point of order.
    Madam Speaker, we just heard the member ask a question of another opposition party. I do not know if she does not know the role of the NDP in this place—
    Again, that is a point of debate.
    The hon. government House leader has the floor.
    Madam Speaker, what we are seeing at the crux of this is a different view of what Canadians sent us here to do and what the role of official opposition is, or of opposition generally.
    It is my view that Canadians sent us here in a minority government with an expectation that we are going to work together. Yes, we are going to disagree, and will do so respectfully. We are going to be voting either for or against different things, but we will be putting ideas on the table and moving them respectfully through this place. That is what Canadians' expectations are.
    We could knock on doors this week and have Canadians ask us what we are doing here. If we told people that dental care, the environment and housing were extremely important, what they would want to hear is that we are making sure we get to those issues, that we get to the legislation and to the debate that is going to inform the policies that are going to drive forward an agenda that is going to serve and help Canadians.
    I would reflect back to the members, particularly as they draw the weeks on and on and do the same thing again and again, that it is not a great message to go back to those same constituents and say, “I tried to block the House from doing its work. I stood up every day and moved concurrence motions. I limited debate. I tried to make sure other elected members did not have an opportunity to engage in debate, and I tried to stop legislation from coming forward.” I cannot imagine that is a very compelling narrative to give to constituents.
    Madam Speaker, I share concerns with how long it took to get Bill C-8 through this place. I also recognize and appreciate that the government House leader is a reasonable person.
    However, let us be honest about what is in Bill C-19. Climate is mentioned only with respect to the climate action incentive's being delivered once a quarter as opposed to once a year. I do not see a section in here that implements dental care.
    If this does move through time allocation, does it mean we will see more substantial climate legislation? Does it mean we will see legislation for the Canada disability benefit? Over 100 MPs from all parties in this place have made clear they want to see the government move forward fast on that.

  (1250)  

    Madam Speaker, the quick answer is absolutely. By moving forward after this, we have a raft of things that are going to be helping Canadians and improving their lives: taking action on climate and housing, making sure we are helping workers and businesses as we start returning to normal, and building on the remarkable economic success.
    Canada has recovered 115% of the jobs lost in the pandemic, which compares to 93% in the United States. We have a leading plan, and I would say one of the best, if not the best, to tackle climate change and to take appropriate climate action. There are so many things following behind this. It is why we cannot accept that the Conservatives scuttle the agenda of the government or the House. We have to get to these things.
    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.
    Shall I dispense?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
    [Chair read text of motion to House]
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): 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.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, we would ask that the motion be passed on division.
    Madam Speaker, we request a recorded division.

  (1335)  

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

(Division No. 79)

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
Chatel
Chen
Chiang
Collins (Hamilton East—Stoney Creek)
Collins (Victoria)
Cormier
Coteau
Dabrusin
Damoff
Davies
Desjarlais
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Diab
Dong
Drouin
Dubourg
Duguid
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Dzerowicz
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Erskine-Smith
Fergus
Fillmore
Fisher
Fonseca
Fortier
Fragiskatos
Fraser
Freeland
Fry
Gaheer
Garneau
Garrison
Gazan
Gerretsen
Gould
Green
Guilbeault
Hajdu
Hanley
Hardie
Hepfner
Holland
Housefather
Hughes
Hussen
Hutchings
Iacono
Idlout
Ien
Jaczek
Johns
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
Morrissey
Murray
Naqvi
Ng
Noormohamed
O'Connell
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
Vuong
Weiler
Wilkinson
Yip
Zahid
Zarrillo
Zuberi

Total: -- 178


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
Dancho
Davidson
DeBellefeuille
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
Hallan
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
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: -- 149


PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion carried.

Budget Implementation Act, 2022, No. 1

    The House resumed from May 6 consideration of the motion that Bill C-19, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 7, 2022 and other measures, be read the second time and referred to a committee, of the amendment and of the amendment to the amendment.
    I wish to inform the House that because of the proceedings on the time allocation motion, Government Orders will be extended by 30 minutes.
    Resuming debate, the hon. member for Terrebonne.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I want to inform the House that I will be sharing my time with my esteemed colleague, the member for Longueuil—Saint-Hubert.
    Today we are debating Bill C‑19, a massive, 500-page bill that contains a little of everything. This bill could be considered an omnibus bill. However, it does not contain all of the measures from the budget statement. We expect to see another bill introduced in the coming weeks.
    The Bloc Québécois supports the principle of the bill, although a number of measures could have been, and would benefit, from being studied more carefully. Allow me to explain.
    Although we agree on the principle of the bill, we will nevertheless wait to study all of its measures carefully in committee. We certainly will not agree to pass this bill so that we can finish far too early after debating it for just a few hours.
    The hon. member for Terrebonne is making a speech. I would ask the members who are talking to their colleagues to leave the chamber or wait until later to chat with colleagues.
    The hon. member for Terrebonne may continue.
    Madam Speaker, I was saying that, even though the Bloc is in favour of the principle of the bill, many of the measures described in Bill C‑19 could do with being fleshed out.
    That is what we will do in committee. My colleague, the member for Joliette, will make sure that every measure in the bill is examined and scrutinized so it can be passed with due diligence. Even though we support the bill in principle, we will still take the time to improve it in committee.
    This bill includes several measures we feel are reasonable, emergency measures that, in all sincerity, I think are pretty good. Let us start with the extension of pandemic-related measures. We are in favour of this idea and always have been. Even now, many businesses need economic support to weather the pandemic. I want to make it clear that the Bloc Québécois has always supported targeted assistance.
    We want businesses to be supported. As we know, the pandemic disrupted the various sectors of the economy in different ways. While some sectors are coping well, other sectors, such as tourism and hospitality, are still struggling. People have changed their habits and are not going back to the theatre, the movies or restaurants. It is great to be able to help certain sectors that have been especially hard hit by the pandemic.
    The second urgent measure is the extension, by five weeks, of employment insurance for seasonal workers. Again, we commend this measure. The third urgent measure is the one‑time immediate payment of $2 billion through the Canada health transfer, in addition to $750 million for public transit.
    Let us come back to the extension of pandemic-related financial supports. We are in favour of well targeted assistance. We agree in principle with this measure. I just want to point out that businesses have been approaching us for months. We contacted the government and wrote letters to the minister, but there is nothing in the short term to help the businesses affected by the semiconductor shortage. It is bad.
    Businesses are being forced to lay off workers or shut down completely because they are missing an essential component needed for their products to function properly. I am talking about semiconductors. Even though I have asked the question several times in the House, there is still nothing to help these businesses in the short and medium terms. There may be a line or two in the budget about plans to potentially have this technology in Quebec or Canada some day. However, for now, there is nothing tangible; in fact, there is nothing at all for these businesses that are losing employees, losing jobs, losing expertise and even facing the risk of bankruptcy. This is unacceptable at this point in time.
    The five-week extension of EI benefits for seasonal workers is all well and good, but I think many of my colleagues would agree that employment insurance needs to be completely overhauled. We would not have needed financial assistance measures during the pandemic if our employment insurance system were working properly. This is still not the case, and it is a real problem. One of my colleagues is working very hard on this issue and has made all kinds of proposals, but we all agree that the EI system is completely broken. The system is designed to ensure that people get the least amount of benefits possible, despite having paid into the system. It is just wrong that the system is managed by the federal government, when it is our money. It is unacceptable that it is so dysfunctional, when we have needed additional financial supports for nearly two and a half years. EI reform is critical, and it must be done now.
    Lastly, the third measure that is urgent and warrants discussion today is the immediate one-time payment of $2 billion in Canada health transfers. We have been waiting and asking for this for quite some time now. Our health care system is suffocating. We have the know-how, but we need the money and the Canada health transfers with no strings attached right now.

  (1340)  

    We obtained $2 billion through the Canada health transfer with Bill C-19. However, that is our money. Why must we always beg for our own money?
    Not only that, but it is also tied to $750 million to support public transportation. That is a good thing because public transportation took a big hit during the pandemic. Ridership on most public transit systems is very low. As I mentioned, low ridership is due to the fact that people have changed their habits and are still afraid of the virus, which continues to spread.
    We need to upgrade this infrastructure and provide new options. More money is needed to support public transportation. I repeat that this money belongs to us and there should be absolutely no strings attached to it. It is not right that our money has strings attached to it.
    We will ensure that the money that will be put to good use by the various provinces and Quebec will not have strings attached.
    I will now digress for a moment to talk about the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, on which I have the pleasure of serving.
    As we have been examining the public accounts in recent months, we discovered that there was information on how different departments provide funding or make expenditures. We know who they fund, where that funding goes and how much is being given. Departments are subject to certain accounting standards. The average person can see how any amount over $100,000 has been spent, where it was spent and how much was spent.
    We recently discovered something that is quite significant. Crown corporations, such as Export Development Canada and the Business Development Bank of Canada, are not subject to these same accounting rules. That means that citizens will not be able to see how their money is being spent, for expenditures over $100,000, by Crown corporations, because these corporations are subject to IFRS. IFRS are internationally recognized standards, but they are used by the private sector and should not apply to the government. The public must have the information they need to see how expenditures over $100,000 are spent, who received the money, in what province and what it was used for.
    Between 20% and 30% of all government spending goes through Crown corporations. That means it is impossible to know how much money is being handed over. However, we hear a lot about equalization. In the case of equalization, it is easier to have an approximate idea of how much is given and how much is received. There is a lot of emphasis on that, yet we do not know how much we receive in total in terms of government spending because the Crown corporations make it impossible know how much each province in Canada receives, which is unacceptable.
    Until we know how much we are receiving, we demand that the transfers, our money, be given to us without conditions.

  (1345)  

[English]

Privilege

Conduct of the Member for Brampton Centre  

[Privilege]
    Mr. Speaker, I rise to address the question of privilege that was raised by the member for Barrie—Innisfil earlier today. I want to take this opportunity to apologize sincerely and unreservedly to all members of Parliament for the unfortunate event that transpired last Friday. I ask the House and its members to forgive me for my lapse in judgment. I take this matter extremely seriously and I promise never to repeat this ever again.
    I thank the member for his intervention.

Budget Implementation Act, 2022, No. 1

[Government Orders]
    The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-19, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 7, 2022 and other measures, be read the second time and referred to a committee, of the amendment and of the amendment to the amendment.
    Mr. Speaker, one thing that is really important to recognize is that when we talk about the budget implementation bill, it is part of the bigger picture of the national budget, a budget that delivers, in many ways, for Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
    One issue is dealing with child care. We can take the example of what has taken place in the province of Quebec. Quebec has clearly demonstrated how successful a national child care plan could be, because of the success of the child care plan in the province of Quebec.
    I wonder if my colleague could provide her thoughts on the benefits of having a $10-a-day child care program for all provinces, in particular for parents from a perspective of affordability, but also for the economy in terms of the possible engagement of literally thousands of future workers.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his excellent question, which allows me to mention that, unfortunately, there are not enough child care spaces.
    This system is fundamental. It was introduced by the Parti Québécois, which is a sovereignist party. Everyone knows that all the positive measures in Quebec are driven by sovereignist parties.
    Not only are there not enough child care spaces, but it is a provincial system. The federal government should not interfere. We are tired of seeing the federal government interfere in everything that falls under provincial jurisdiction, particularly in Quebec.

  (1350)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like my friend to speak a little more about the theme of paternalism that we saw in this budget. The Prime Minister seems to be adding strings attached with funding that is supposed to be going to provinces for what is within provincial jurisdiction. I have said in this House before that we could sometimes mistake the Prime Minister for wanting to become a premier instead of a prime minister, given all the meddling in provincial jurisdiction that he has been doing over the last number of years.
    I would like the hon. member to comment on that.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I always enjoy conversing with my hon. colleague. His question really ties in to my previous answer.
    The federal government always has to impose conditions, even for a system Quebec already has. It is extremely paternalistic, as the member just said. When we want our money back for what we consider to be our needs, the federal government imposes conditions.
    The federal government should not be constantly meddling in what the provinces decide to do. Provinces have the right to make their own decisions about certain programs and where their money should be spent. Provinces are different, and their priorities are different.
    Why not give the provinces, especially Quebec, a little more decision-making power? As we all know, Quebec is another country and one of the two solitudes.
    Mr. Speaker, I am deeply grateful to my colleague for her excellent speech. I have a question for her as an economics expert.
    Last year, the president of CMHC told the Standing Committee on Finance that the way to deal with the crisis is to increase supply.
    We know the budget contains plenty of housing measures, such as the tax-free first home savings account. These measures will actually boost demand, and many economists say this is counterproductive. What are my colleague's thoughts on that?
    Mr. Speaker, the overheated housing market does differ from one city to the next. We can all agree that Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and the regions of Quebec do not all have the same problems.
    Using a single pan-Canadian measure to address all of the country's challenges is therefore a bad idea. Additionally, the housing problem is caused by a lack of supply, since the occupancy rate is very high. Providing support measures to a segment of the population that is already able to save for a home, which is what the proposed TFSA does, will ultimately stimulate even more demand. It is counterproductive.
    Mr. Speaker, I am so pleased to rise to speak to this issue and to Bill C-19. There is a lot to discuss, of course, and we have already talked about some of it.
    It is really too bad that our debate time has been cut short, as we saw earlier. To say that we deplore it would be a massive understatement. The Liberals across the aisle do not like to debate. We saw this during the election campaign. Important bills were scheduled to be voted on, but the Liberals called an election and wiped the slate clean, killing bills like the one on the Official Languages Act. This means we have to start over on a number of important bills. They also prorogued the House two years ago. Now we have this important, mammoth bill before us, which does not even contain all the measures in the budget. Only some of them are included.
    However, I am going to focus on the part that interests and concerns me the most. I think everyone in the House knows that I have risen here about a billion times to talk about the housing crisis.
    In fact, there are four major crises in Canada at this time. We spoke about the language crisis earlier. My colleague from Salaberry—Suroît introduced a bill on that issue. It is an important issue for my colleague from La Pointe-de-l'Île, who is a staunch advocate for the French language in Quebec, as I and all members of the Bloc Québécois are. There is a major language crisis in Canada. The federal government does not want to acknowledge that French and English do not have equal status. That is a major problem.
    Obviously, there is the health crisis, from which we are emerging. We are pleased and we are hopeful. Once again, the repercussions of the health crisis will be difficult to deal with. There are major problems in the area of mental health. Once again, even though it says it sent money during the crisis and one-time transfers to help the health care system in Quebec and across the country, the federal government is rejecting all the provinces' ongoing request to increase health transfers from 22% to 35%. This could help them deal with the next crisis. We are talking with organizations across the province, and another crisis is looming, the mental health crisis. It will be costly, and the federal government needs to get it through its head that this is a provincial jurisdiction. It is not up to the federal government to establish standards. It just has to sign the cheques. The provinces run the hospitals, pay the doctors and manage the system, and they need money because they know what they require. However, the money is in Ottawa.
    The climate crisis is another crisis, and it is connected to the housing crisis, which is the main topic I want to talk about today and one of the topics I talk most often about in the House. The government has taken some small steps to address the housing crisis, as it has for the climate crisis. A year ago, in the span of about a month, the government increased its targets, which were around 30% before the latest budget. With its latest budget, the government wondered why it should stop there. Since the government was not going to meet this target anyway, it might as well increase it to 36%. The government increased the target to 36% but still had no way to reach it. The government did not know how it would meet its targets, but at 36%, it was not afraid of anything. On Earth Day, the government increased the targets to between 40% and 45%, still without backing them up with any measures. There are still no details about how we will reach those targets. The Liberals are not afraid of anything, so they are throwing out percentages and hoping to meet them. In the meantime, along came the Bay du Nord project, which will extract one billion barrels over 30 years. I remind members that Canada has never met a single one of its greenhouse gas reduction targets. Now, the government expects to reach a 40% to 45% target, but that is nonsense.
    This brings me to the topic I wanted to talk about: housing.
    On housing, the government is taking the same kind of gamble. In other words, it is offering up figures, any figures, and then crossing its fingers, closing its eyes, bracing itself and hoping everything works out. That is how the federal government is acting.
    The budget says that Canada needs 3.5 million housing units to address the current crisis. We are not entirely sure how the Liberals came up with that number.

  (1355)  

    In a study published a few months ago, Scotiabank said that we would need 1.7 million housing units. I think the bank was talking about current needs, but the budget is talking about the government's projected needs to 2031 based on higher expected immigration numbers for the coming years. The government added 1.7 million housing units to the 200,000 to 300,000 people who would arrive each year and somehow came up with 3.5 million housing units, which is a significant target.
    The budget actually contains an admission of failure, since it recognizes that Canada needs 3.5 million housing units in order to solve the crisis, but it does not say how the government is going to get there, just like the climate change targets. There are a few programs, figures and dollar amounts for dealing with the crisis.
    The example of the rapid housing initiative is already a major problem and a scandal. The municipalities are creations of the provinces. When the federal government says again that it is going to send money directly to Matane, Rimouski, Quebec City, Longueuil or Valleyfield, it is bypassing Quebec.
    At some point, the federal government is going to have to come to an agreement with Quebec on this. The last time it tried to negotiate with Quebec, it took three years, during which money was spent in Toronto, Vancouver, and Winnipeg, but nothing in Quebec—

  (1400)  

    I am sorry to have to interrupt the member, but we have to proceed to Statements by Members. He will have three minutes and twenty-five seconds remaining when debate resumes after question period.

Statements by Members

[Statements by Members]

[English]

Sikh Studies Program

    Mr. Speaker, for the past few years, the University of Calgary has been collaborating with the Sikh sangat in the city to raise money for a Sikh Studies program. Many of the residents from my riding of Calgary Skyview have contributed to this initiative. The Sikh Studies program consists of an instructorship in Sikh studies, additional courses, a post-doctoral research fellowship, a Sikh Studies community advisory group and a library fund for Sikh literature.
    The university and stakeholders are still collecting donations for the program's endowment. I thank the Sikh sangat, which has and will donate. I want to thank the gurdwaras, including the Dashmesh Culture Centre, the Sikh Society of Calgary, Guru Ram Das Darbar and Darbar Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji for their leadership. I thank the University of Calgary for providing a home to Canada's first Sikh Studies program, and finally, I give special thanks to the MP for Surrey—Newton for joining me to raise money for the program.

Bev Ewen and Rae Fleming

    Mr. Speaker, earlier this month, residents at Kawartha Lakes felt the loss of two prominent historians and authors.
    Bev Ewen grew up working at his family's convenience store in Kirkfield, delivering milk to try to get himself through university to complete his teaching degree. After retiring from the Durham District School Board, Bev volunteered with the Kirkfield and District Historical Society, acting as the editor and publisher of its regular newsletter, as well as managing the society’s website and other newsletters. Bev was a regular speaker at local events and will be remembered by generations of children as Santa Claus at the Kirkfield Museum's Christmas concert each year.
    In an interesting parallel, Dr. Rae Fleming also grew up in a general store, in Argyle. In fact, after completing his Ph.D. in Canadian history, Dr. Fleming went on to write many books, including one entitled General Stores of Canada.
    Throughout his career, Dr. Fleming was a lecturer at various universities and was a research associate at Trent University’s Frost Centre for Canadian Studies and Indigenous Studies.
    Both men were pillars in the community and will be greatly missed by many.

Jeopardy! Champion

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to celebrate a now-iconic Canadian from my riding of Halifax West: Mattea Roach. Mattea first appeared on Jeopardy! back on April 5 and, for more than a month, she dazzled viewers with her knowledge about everything from Belgian kings to Nova Scotian duck tolling retrievers. Through her 23 winning performances, she became the first Canadian Jeopardy! super champion, but what shone through most about Mattea was her warmth and kindness. She is a role model for women, youth, members of the LGBTQ community and, indeed, everyone who knows the value of knowledge, no matter how obscure it may be.
    I know my community, and all Canadians, will be cheering her on in the Tournament of Champions in November, and none as loudly as her proud parents Patti and Phil.
    Join me in congratulating Mattea and wishing her success in her Jeopardy! journey and in law school.

[Translation]

Michel Désy

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased today to commend Michel Désy for the 35 years he has devoted to the farm union movement.
    This farmer in Berthier has been involved with the Fédération de l'Union des producteurs agricoles since 1984 and the Producteurs de bovins de Lanaudière since 1986. He has held various roles, such as administrator, vice-president of UPA Lanaudière and president of UPA Autray.
    Among his numerous other accomplishments, he was part of the steering committee for Autray RCM's development plan for an agricultural zone. Charity work is also important to him, and he has served as grand knight of the Berthier Knights of Columbus.
    His colleagues and I all tip our hats to him for the work he has accomplished. I wish him all the best in his retirement and thank him for his contribution and passion.

  (1405)  

Mother's Day

    Mr. Speaker, on the occasion of Mother's Day, I want to wish all the best to all women.
    In particular, I want to acknowledge the resilience of seniors in Bourassa, who are paying a heavy price because of the COVID‑19 pandemic. Health-wise, seniors are suffering the most due to isolation from their loved ones.
    I am pleased to say that my team and I held Mother's Day celebrations in person for the first time. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the organizers and the members of the seniors' clubs and seniors' residences, as well as the organizations working in my riding to bring our seniors out of isolation and contribute to their well-being.
    I thank them, and I want to send Mother's Day wishes to the mothers in the diverse communities that shape our beautiful country.

[English]

Mother's Day

    Mr. Speaker, Mother's Day is a day to be celebrated. I spent this last weekend in gratitude for, and celebration of, the women in my life. I am blessed to have my incredible grandmother, Audrey, with us. She has always been a pillar of strength for my family. My wonderful mother Heather and my wife Allyson make sure our children know they are always loved and supported unconditionally.
    Mother's Day is a celebration, but for some it often comes with mixed emotions, including grief from a mother passing, from a relationship being estranged, from infertility and longing for the opportunity to be a mom, or from the heaviness of losing a child of one's own. I think the hardest job in the world is mothering a child one can no longer hold.
    I want to thank all the moms for everything they do. I want them to know that if grief or mixed feelings accompanied them this Mother's Day, they are not alone and we see them. Let us celebrate these amazing women this whole week and this whole year, and let them truly know that they deserve more than just one day.

Asian Heritage Month

    Mr. Speaker, Asian Heritage Month is an opportunity to recognize the contributions Canadians of Asian heritage have made and continue to make to the social, economic, political and cultural heritage of Canada.
     I organized Asian Heritage Month celebrations on Parliament Hill yesterday, with about 500 people attending and performances from 10 diaspora groups. I would like to thank the volunteer team, led by my friend Karunakar Reddy Papala, fondly known as KK. The team included Bangladeshi-Canadian Shah Bahauddin, Cambodian-Canadian Vuthy Lay, Chinese-Canadian Alex He, Iranian-Canadian Alma Rahmani, Pakistani-Canadian Dr. Syed Aziz, Sri Lankan-Canadian Anura Ferdinand, Taiwanese-Canadian Tony Fan, Tamil-Canadian Sivaruban Sivalingam, Vietnamese-Canadian Can Le and also, Jessie Xue, Monica Gupta, Puneet Aggarwal, Reaz Zaman and Subir Paul Chowdhury.

Sports Hall of Fame Inductee

    Mr. Speaker, at the age of five, my daughter signed up to play hockey. She was able to do that because of the leadership of great Canadian athlete Abby Hoffman.
    In 1956, when she was nine years old, Abby Hoffman wanted to play hockey. She cut her hair short, registered as “Ab Hoffman” and excelled. When it was discovered that she was a girl, her hockey career ended. Later, Abby discovered her love for running. She represented Canada at the Olympics and Pan American Games and won medals for Canada as a runner, but to do that she also, once again, had to break through barriers. She actually opened up Hart House, which was only open to men until that time, to women so that they could run and play sports as well.
    She continues to fight to this day for women in sports. Next week, she is going to be inducted into the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame. I thank Abby for her leadership and congratulate her, from all Canadian girls. I wish her a happy Canadian Jewish Heritage Month. She is a big part of our wonderful heritage.

National Range Day

    Mr. Speaker, on June 4, we will celebrate National Range Day. There are over 2.3 million licensed firearms owners in Canada. We enjoy our property, our culture and our passion safely without issue. That deserves to celebrated.
     National Range Day is an opportunity for all Canadians to learn and participate in any of the hundreds of events happening in almost every community across the country. Sport shooters, collectors, recreational shooters and hunters alike will host the country by opening their doors and their communities to all Canadians. People can find an event near them at nationalrangeday.ca.
    As co-chair of the Parliamentary Outdoor Caucus, I am proud to support the millions of Canadians who responsibly, legally and safely own and use firearms. I hope more will get to know the positives of Canada's firearms culture, and I am excited for more Canadians to get to know the sport. Let us remember that this June 4 is National Range Day. I hope to see people there.

  (1410)  

Windsor Auto Sector

    Mr. Speaker, I am proud to rise in the House and declare we are bringing back the third shift at the Windsor Assembly Plant. Last week, I had the privilege of hosting the Prime Minister in my community to announce a historic $3.7-billion investment with Stellantis to restore all three shifts in Windsor and Brampton. This is a great thing for auto workers. Auto workers are the heartbeat of our community, and when auto thrives our community thrives. From working families to restaurants and small businesses, young people now have thousands of good-paying jobs and a bright future here at home.
    This investment, plus last month's record battery plant announcement, mean thousands of new jobs in Windsor—Tecumseh. Our government has invested more in Windsor auto workers than any government in Canada's history. Together, we are building not just batteries and electric vehicles, but we are also building a strong, prosperous and zero-emission Canada.

Orville John Zerbin

    Mr. Speaker, Pastor Orville John Zerbin, lovingly known as Pastor OJ, was one of the great pillars of our Edmonton Mill Woods community. Sadly, he lost his battle with cancer on Good Friday, at the age of 66. He is survived by his loving wife Barb, six children, eight grandchildren, many relatives and friends, and a large congregation he helped to build.
    Pastor OJ joined the Calvary Community Church in 1977, where he faithfully served for over 44 years. During that time, he spent 12 years with the Edmonton Police Service, followed by many years as a business owner and 21 years as lead pastor.
    Under his leadership, Calvary Community Church has become an integral part of Edmonton, providing care and supporting families through Millwoods Christian School, the child care program, Mill Woods Care Closet and other community initiatives.
    Pastor OJ's loving and welcoming spirit drew people together, making his congregation a very diverse and loving one. I will miss our conversations about faith, family and community. He will be missed.

[Translation]

André Arthur

    Mr. Speaker, back when I was studying communications, I had the privilege of interviewing the king of radio, André Arthur, for a school assignment. He was very generous in answering my questions.
    His popularity was impressive, and people had strong feelings about him. He portrayed himself as a defender of widows and orphans. Steeped in culture, he was a master of the French language and excelled at wordplay.
    After criticizing politicians, he decided to try his own hand at the job and was elected as the member for Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier. For almost six years, he represented the people of the wonderful riding I currently represent. He left his mark on the world of communications with his outspokenness. One expression he enjoyed using and that I quite like as well was, “If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen”.
     I would like to extend my condolences to his children, René and Pascale; his three grandchildren; his partner, Lucy; his brother, Louis; and all his loved ones.
    I thank André Arthur for serving, and may he rest in peace.

Brain Tumour Awareness Month

    Mr. Speaker, let us turn May grey.
    May is Brain Tumour Awareness Month. Every day, 27 Canadians hear the words “you have a brain tumour”. These tumours are unpredictable and complex, and can affect anyone at any time.
    Malignant or benign, they leave a physical, psychological and financial mark on the lives of patients and their loved ones, who will be left shaken by waves of emotion and a desire to do something, anything, to help.
     This year, the Brain Tumour Walk is celebrating 40 years of hope. I invite everyone to sign up for the weekend of the walk, June 17 to 19, to say goodbye to brain tumours, to support patients and their families and to give hope.
    I will be walking in memory of my mother. To those participating, for whom will you walk?

  (1415)  

[English]

National Nursing Week

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize National Nursing Week. This is our opportunity to thank Canada's nurses for their outstanding leadership delivering health care to all Canadians. During this pandemic, nurses made tremendous sacrifices to answer the call when we needed them most. They provided care with skill, compassion and courage in the face of unrelenting waves of COVID-19.
    We know Canada's nurses provide critical services to patients at all times in all health care environments. Nurses take care of us at our most vulnerable, and we must take care of them in return. This National Nursing Week, let us turn our words of gratitude into action by addressing important issues such as staffing shortages, workplace violence and unacceptable working conditions.
    Canadian nurses are the backbone of our health care system. This week, take a moment to thank them for their professionalism, skill and dedication. I will be doing exactly that for my sister, Cheryl Davies, and her partner, Bob Jasperson, who have been superb nurses for over 30 years.

[Translation]

Financial Support for Ukraine

    Mr. Speaker, many Bloc Québécois supporters contributed to our party's fundraiser in support of Ukraine.
    On behalf of all our members, I warmly thank everyone who made a donation. We collected $35,000, which was donated to the Red Cross. This amount will be boosted to $70,000 because the federal government is matching donations. It will obviously take more to overcome the horror we are seeing and are powerless to address in Ukraine, but I salute the people who chose to donate despite the discouraging situation.
    I invite the other parties to do their part. The Bloc Québécois is only active in Quebec, but the other parties have networks across the country: in the Maritimes, Ontario, the Prairies and the west. They could easily raise more than the Bloc Québécois. I hope they will do so. After 75 days of war, all efforts are needed.

[English]

Bill C-5

    Mr. Speaker, recently the justice committee heard the testimony from Robert Davis, Chief of the Brantford Police Service. During his testimony, and I am quoting from the blues, Chief Davis said, “With Bill C-5 and the proposed changes now we are going to see sentencing become a joke”. He then continued, “with...turning sentences into conditional sentences...the justice system...is being brought into disrepute. People will operate with impunity, the victims' rights are going to be given away for the rights of the criminal.” He also said, “Victims of communities will live in fear of gun violence, fearful of retaliation by armed criminals and people will continue to overdose”.
    Chief Davis is a proud Mohawk from the Six Nations of the Grand River territory in my riding of Brantford—Brant. He has been policing since 1990 and is the only indigenous leader on a municipal police service in Ontario. His first-hand experience debunks the ideologically driven narrative the Liberal members are selling.
    Despite this, sadly and dangerously, the NDP-Liberal government does not want to listen to the warnings of Chief Davis. My message is simple: The Minister of Justice must withdraw this soft-on-crime bill now.

National Mining Week

    Mr. Speaker, today marks the beginning of National Mining Week. The focus of Mining Week is to highlight the innovations and accomplishments made by the mining industry and showcase the idea of advancing the industry to become more sustainable and environmentally sound. Canada's mining industry is essential to the products that we rely on as an economic driver and major employer in communities all across the country. In Northern Ontario alone, over 23,000 are employed, generating $5.5 billion in annual revenue.
    I want to recognize and thank the mining industry in Canada, which continues to make large strides to ensure safety is at the forefront of its operations, while also working hard to enable a low-carbon future. Specifically, I would like to recognize the incredible efforts made by the Mining Association of Canada and its commitment to advocating for the mining and mining supply sectors across the country.

Oral Questions

[Oral Questions]

  (1420)  

[English]

Emergency Preparedness

    Mr. Speaker, flooding has been affecting communities across Manitoba, particularly in my riding of Portage—Lisgar, and although there was warm weather and wind this past weekend, which helped, we are hearing that there is more heavy rain in the forecast today. Resources are quickly being used up, and people are exhausted. Communities are tired of being isolated and cut off from the rest of the province.
    Can the Minister of Emergency Preparedness tell us what, if anything, the federal government is doing to help those affected by flooding in Manitoba?
    Mr. Speaker, we are very much engaged with the Province of Manitoba and the impacted communities. Flooding continues to affect multiple communities across the province due to high water levels on the Red River and its tributaries. We have been working very closely through our Government Operations Centre and Indigenous Services Canada with the Manitoba Emergency Coordination Centre.
    I have reached out a number of times to my counterpart, Minister Piwniuk. We are in regular contact, and we have offered every assistance that Manitoba may require. At this point, Manitoba advises that the flood response remains within provincial capabilities, but we have also engaged with the Red Cross to assist with evacuations, and we are working with the municipalities, 26 of which have declared states of local emergency.
    We will continue to be there for the people of Manitoba.

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals invoked the Emergencies Act without just cause, and they are now trying to cover it up. The government used extraordinary power on innocent Canadians, restricting their movement and freezing their bank accounts, and now they are trying to cover up the fact that they did not need to use the act.
    As Perrin Beatty, the author of the Emergencies Act, said, “wherever you have extraordinary powers, there must be extraordinary accountability.” Where is the “extraordinary accountability” that Canadians deserve? What are the Liberals trying to hide when it comes to the Emergencies Act?
    Mr. Speaker, the accountability comes in the professionalism and the way the police undertook their work to restore public safety. There is accountability is the ongoing way in which we are being fully transparent with the events that led to the invocation of the Emergencies Act, including testimony before the committee and our planned co-operation with Judge Rouleau.
    We invoked the act because it was necessary. It worked, and we will continue to be transparent about this.
    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals' “just trust us” is not enough. This is the same Prime Minister who covered up his involvement in the SNC-Lavalin scandal. He covered up his involvement in the WE scandal, and he is hiding documents right now about the Winnipeg microbiology lab. He covers up every single scandal that he is a part of, and now he is trying to cover up the fact that he was abusing his power when he invoked the Emergencies Act.
    Why do the Liberals think Canadians should just trust them on the Emergencies Act when they continually hide, cover up and deflect?
    Mr. Speaker, with respect, it continues to be astounding how the hon. leader for the opposition continues to deflect her responsibility for her conduct during the Emergencies Act and for the posture of the Conservative Party, which continued to encourage illegal blockaders to stay. If they do not want to take it from the government, they can listen to what the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, which said that the Emergencies Act “is critical to assisting law enforcement in addressing the mass national and international organization of the [so-called] Freedom Convoy”. These are the words of law enforcement, non-partisan, professional law enforcement.

[Translation]

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, he must waive cabinet confidence.
    Gas is at $2.04 a litre in Montreal, $2.04 in Newfoundland and $2.23 in British Columbia, and I am just talking about regular gas. It costs more than $100 for 50 litres of gas. Putting in $20 will not even get your gas gauge above empty. The Liberals are not even hiding the fact that they are happy the price of gas is so high.
    When will the NDP‑Liberal government give Canadians some relief to help them make ends meet?

  (1425)  

    Mr. Speaker, at a time when all members of the House should stand united in response to Putin's illegal invasion of Ukraine, the Conservatives are just playing politics.
    They know that the recent rise in gas prices is the result of this illegal war, but they continue to ignore these facts in an attempt to score political points. While the Conservatives remain focused on politics, we are focused on implementing real measures to improve the lives of Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, I would be interested in knowing how much extra revenue the government is getting from the carbon tax. It would be nice if it provided those figures instead of all kinds of excuses.
    The rising cost of living is expensive for everyone. It costs more to go to work. It costs more to grow our fruits and vegetables. It costs more to transport goods.
    As the Prime Minister himself said in 2018, he likes to tax everyone to cover his endless spending. In 2018, on the subject of rising gas prices, he said that is exactly what he wants. Is that really what he wants, to impoverish all Canadian families?
    Mr. Speaker, that is a serious issue and Canadians deserve a discussion rooted in facts, not partisan speaking points. The fact is that this is a global phenomenon caused, in large part, by Putin's illegal invasion of Ukraine.
    We continue to propose concrete measures to make life more affordable for Canadians. The Conservatives continue to vote against them.

Government Programs

    Mr. Speaker, in a democracy, one of the most fundamental principles is no taxation without representation. In other words, no elected officials, no taxes. This is at the heart of modern democracy.
    The budget and the budget implementation bill are therefore essential moments in democratic life and in its exercise.
    Does anyone in the government realize the damage that is being done to democracy by stifling the voices of the opposition on the budget implementation bill?
    Mr. Speaker, debate is essential, but the problem on the other side of the House is the Conservative Party's obstructionist tactics, which continue day after day. It took four months to pass Bill C-8, and that is completely unacceptable.
    Unfortunately, we need to work as quickly as possible. There will be several opportunities for debate in committee and at third reading.
    Mr. Speaker, the bill that just went under time allocation is 500 pages long. It contains 60 measures and amends 37 acts. Just reading it takes longer than the time we have to debate it.
    It covers issues such as COVID‑19 support measures, employment insurance, fighting anti-Semitism, the Social Security Tribunal, aerospace and more.
    Every one of these topics deserves its own fulsome debate, but, no, they are using time allocation to shove it down our throats. Why deny democracy like this?
    Mr. Speaker, we have spent five days trying to get this bill passed, but the problem with the Conservative Party is that it gets in the way of our work at every turn. That is what happened for four months with Bill C‑8.
    That is also what is happening here at a time when Canadians are in dire need of these supports. We know beyond a doubt that the bill needs to be passed, and the committee and the House will have plenty of opportunities to keep debating the legislation.

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, while people are paying more and more for necessities, there is a bunch of bad apples lining their pockets.
    In the seven years that this government has been in power, becoming a first-time homeowner has become an impossible dream, and it is getting harder and harder to find decent housing at an affordable price.
    In the meantime, the housing market is overheating and there is a growing number of renovictions. Just yesterday, the federal housing advocate, Marie-Josée Houle, told us that Ottawa could address the crisis by combatting the financialization of housing. Will the Liberals listen?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I want to take this opportunity to agree with the hon. member that we need to support renters throughout Canada. We are the government that introduced the Canada housing benefit, and in budget 2022, we are adding more investments in that program, with a top-up of $500 on average to vulnerable renters. This adds to the over $2,500 on average that we provide to the most vulnerable members of our community who need help with rent.

  (1430)  

    Mr. Speaker, Canada's housing crisis has been escalated by those using the housing market to make huge profits. The largest 25 financial landlords hold nearly 20% of the country's private rentals. For every one affordable housing unit built, 15 are taken up by investors making money on the backs of Canadians.
    It is time to stop treating housing as a stock market. Will the government stop corporate landlords from buying up affordable housing and help non-profits purchase them for Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, I agree with the hon. member that we need to build more rental housing in Canada. That is why, as part of the national housing strategy, we have the rental construction financing initiative, a program that has increased so many times over the last number of budgets because we recognize that as a government we have a responsibility to build the next generation of affordable rental units across the country. In addition to that, while we were building more rentals, we introduced the Canada housing benefit, which we are topping up in budget 2022.
    We agree that we need to tackle speculation and agree that we need to build more rental housing, and that is exactly what we are doing.
    Mr. Speaker, millennials were told that if they got a bunch of degrees, a skilled trade and a good job, they would have no problem owning a home, yet they still live in their parents' basements. The government’s signature housing promise to solve this is a new savings account, but people need $8,000 a year in savings to use it. To add insult to injury, the government said that it will put $500 toward a house that people cannot afford, and that is not a typo.
    The more the government does, the worse it gets. When will the minister actually help anybody in this country buy a home?
    Mr. Speaker, it is really difficult to take the member seriously on this issue because she claimed in the House that we will not build a single affordable home in her region this year. We know that the national housing strategy's rapid housing initiative alone has built 10,250 permanent affordable homes, including in her region. It is really difficult to deal with the misinformation, disinformation and talking down of our housing market every single day from that side of the House.
    Mr. Speaker, it used to be thought here in Canada that if people worked hard, made good choices and saved, they could be homeowners, but under the Liberal government housing prices have increased by 100%. Millennials and working Canadians have watched the dream of home ownership slip through their fingers. Never has a government spent so much and congratulated itself more while doing so much damage to the dreams of Canadians.
     When will the Liberals climb down from their ivory tower, admit their policies have failed and fix the broken housing system they have created?
    Mr. Speaker, I wish the hon. member would save that energy, enthusiasm and advocacy for his own caucus. One day they ask us to move away from investments in housing and leave that money to the provinces. Another time they say that we should not help first-time homebuyers. In another instance they are against the ban on foreign ownership of Canadian residential real estate.
     They talk down investments in affordable housing. They do not give any credit to the Canada housing benefit, a program that is helping tens of thousands of Canadians pay their rent.
    Mr. Speaker, in 2015, the government was elected on a promise to make housing affordable, but since then the average Canadian house price has increased by 100%. In Orillia, it is up 300%. The government's solution is to throw a few more billion dollars at the wall and see what sticks, but the shiny new tax-free home savings account will not be available for at least one year. Then people will have five years to deposit enough money to max out the program.
    Help is six years away, not today. The government is abandoning young people on housing. Why?
    Mr. Speaker, that is absolutely not true. In one instance, through the housing accelerator fund, we are putting on the table $4 billion to work with the municipalities to increase housing supply. We know that supply is a big part of the challenge facing Canada. Canada has one of the fastest-growing populations among G7 countries, but our housing supply has not kept up with that.
     We are also helping first-time homebuyers, and we are making sure that we crack down on speculation and unfair practices in the real estate sector. On top of that, we are doubling down and investing more in affordable housing.

  (1435)  

    Mr. Speaker, the dream of home ownership is being stolen from my generation, as now 80% of young Canadians do not believe they will ever be able to afford a home. They do not need a few hundred bucks from the government and they do not need a new savings account. They need a plan to address the real issues, like the lack of housing supply.
    Over the last seven years, the government has failed to incentivize enough development, creating this housing crisis, so why should Canadians believe that the minister is going to get the job done this time?
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member talks about housing supply, yet that party, including him, voted against the first stage of investments in the housing accelerator fund, a program that single-handedly will deliver 100,000 units in new housing supply across the country. They vote against investments in co-ops, in the rapid housing initiative and to make sure that we reinvest more money in the Canada housing benefit. We are bringing forward money for the national housing co-investment fund to build 22,000 permanent affordable homes, for the housing accelerator fund and for the innovation fund.
    Mr. Speaker, despite all of the government's rhetoric, the reality is that the price of a home continues to be unattainable for many young families. You just have to admit you failed. Now the Liberals say they are going to address housing supply, yet they excluded any measure in the budget implementation act to address housing supply.
    When will the government realize that promises and empty rhetoric do not build houses?
    I remind members to address the Chair and not members directly.
    The hon. Minister of Housing.
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon is on record as saying that we should walk away from our leadership role and investments in affordable housing and just leave it to the provinces. That is the leadership he is suggesting.
    He talks about housing supply. We are dedicated to housing supply through the housing accelerator fund for 100,000 new homes and making permanent, sustainable changes in permitting, zoning, intensification and infrastructure to make sure we build more housing for the future.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, this government seems to think that everything is going well.
    Inflation has not been this high in 30 years, the deficit is huge, immigration is in a terrible state and every young Canadian's dream of owning property is shattered.
    What is this government going to do so that our young people can believe in the future and own property? What is it going to do now, not in 10 years or five years?
    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives continue to talk down the Canadian economy with their false economic rhetoric.
    However, the latest data from Statistics Canada shows that our GDP grew by 5.6% in the first quarter, exceeding market expectations, and the International Monetary Fund recently forecast that Canada will have the highest growth rate in the G7.
    We are here to make life more affordable for Canadians. The economy is growing. Canadians should be proud.

Official Languages

    Mr. Speaker, Camille Laurin, father of the Charter of the French Language, would have turned 100 last Friday. To mark the occasion, every minister responsible for the French language over the past 30 years, across party lines, indicated how important it is to be constantly taking action to promote French. That proves that French is in danger.
     Bill C-13 will reinforce institutional bilingualism and enable federally regulated businesses to use English instead of French. That is not what Quebeckers want.
    Why is Ottawa continuing to undermine Quebec and the protection of French?
    As a woman from New Brunswick who lives in an official language minority community, I know how important it is to protect and promote French across the country, including in Quebec, because French is in decline. That is why we are moving forward with a new version of Bill C-13.
    This will ensure that we can do more to protect and strengthen our rights as francophones across Canada.

  (1440)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is French that is in decline in Quebec, not English. It is French that must be protected, not bilingualism.
    Bill C-13 prevents Quebec from imposing the Charter of the French Language and instead lets federally regulated businesses choose between French and the Canada-wide bilingual model. That is the very model followed by Air Canada and CN, two federal businesses located in Quebec that are required to provide services in French, but that, despite everything, could not care less about francophones.
    Is this really the model that must apply throughout Quebec? If it is, that is unacceptable.
    Mr. Speaker, first, I am not here to play politics. I am here to protect and promote French across the country, including in Quebec.
    We have been very clear: French is declining in Canada, including Quebec. That is why we are moving forward with a new version of Bill C‑13, which seeks to protect and promote the rights of francophones across the country.
    I hope that the Bloc Québécois will work with us to ensure that this bill is passed as quickly as possible, because it will make a real difference in the lives of all Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, if they want to work with us, then they need to listen to us a little.
    With their new Bill C-13, the Liberals are denying French's uniqueness in a sea of hundreds of millions of anglophones. They are preventing Quebec from applying the Charter of the French Language to all federally regulated businesses. They are not protecting French. They are protecting bilingualism, which is not at all at risk in Quebec, any more than English is. Bilingualism is doing so well that it is undermining French as the common language.
    Does the minister realize that her bill does not protect French but instead encourages anglicization?
    Mr. Speaker, what I see is that the opposition member did not read Bill C-13 in its entirety. The exact opposite is true. We are moving forward to ensure that we do everything we can to protect and promote French across Canada, including in Quebec.
    As a francophone who lives in an official language minority community in New Brunswick, I object to the question the member opposite asked because I protect and promote French every day.

[English]

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, we know that our special forces King Air intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platform was monitoring the truckers convoy protest on Parliament Hill. The Prime Minister has called it a “training flight”. If the government was prepared to send up ISR aircraft over the protest, what was it doing to gather intelligence on the ground? One does not engage one without the other.
    My question is this. What was the coordination between Public Safety, National Defence, the Canadian Forces, the Privy Council and the Prime Minister's Office during the protest?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to reiterate what the Prime Minister said last week a number of times, for the benefit of my hon. colleague. He stated:
    The flight in question was part of a Canadian Armed Forces training exercise that was planned prior to and was unrelated to the convoy protest.
    The training had nothing to do with the convoy blockade, and we will continue to reiterate that fact.
    Mr. Speaker, we know a special forces surveillance flight took place. We know the government even let the health agency spy on Canadians' liquor habits during COVID.
    The Prime Minister has called it a “training exercise”. What does the government think an ISR does for training, just fly around in circles? It gathers intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance over a target, and that target clearly was the protest.
    I have two questions: Who was that reconnaissance platform reporting to when it was gathering intelligence on Canadians, and what special policing authorities were granted to the Canadian Armed Forces at that time?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to reiterate that the assumptions underlying that question are misguided. Again, the Canadian Armed Forces flight was part of a training exercise. The exercise was planned prior to and was unrelated to the presence of the protesters and the convoy. The opposition does not seem to appreciate or like this point, but it is the truth.

  (1445)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence told my colleague that the special forces had planned the King Air flight over Ottawa long before the convoy. However, the operations, which lasted four days, were conducted while people were using cellular communications and moving around.
    My question is simple. Was the intelligence gathered by the King Air during training used by the government, or was it destroyed?
    Mr. Speaker, as I said in English, the flight in question was part of a training exercise. The Canadian Armed Forces also conducted this exercise. The training had nothing to do with the convoy. Those are the facts.

[English]

Women and Gender Equality

    Mr. Speaker, abortion and reproductive health services are not accessible across the country. Women, particularly in northern and rural communities, are forced to drive for hours to access essential health care services. Last year, the government promised $45 million for a sexual and reproductive health fund, but providers have not seen a single dollar for these essential services. It is not good enough for the government to say the right things; it must increase accessibility now. When will it actually deliver the promised funding for abortion and health services in Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, I am very glad to hear this question, because defending the rights of women here and across Canada is absolutely essential.
    We will be there every step of the way to do that. I look forward to making further announcements. I ask my colleague to be watching closely for what is soon to be news on that particular front.
    Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, when it comes to delivering help to oil and gas companies, the government is far better at that than it is at delivering help for women who are looking for health services.
    While the price of gas soars, Imperial Oil is making its highest profit in 30 years, and Cenovus saw its profits increase sevenfold. This is not just about companies passing along higher costs to consumers; it is about them taking home more profit on every litre sold.
    Not only are the Liberals not doing anything to stop that price gouging, but they are also continuing to throw public money at companies like these that are already taking advantage of Canadians. When are they going to end public subsidies to oil and gas companies that are already making record profits?
    Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows very well, the government has committed to phasing out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies. We are in the process of working through that now.
    We have been working, though, with all sectors of the economy, including the oil and gas sector, but also including the steel sector, the aluminum sector and others, to ensure that they are able to reduce their emissions in line with what is required to achieve our targets and achieve the commitments we have made to the international community while growing a strong and healthy economy that creates jobs and economic opportunity for Canadians going forward.
    That is exactly what we are doing.

Indigenous Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, today is National Indigenous Nurses Day.
    Indigenous nurses play an integral role in society for indigenous people in Canada and for Canadians nationwide. Having nurses from first nations and with Inuit and Métis ancestry helps ensure that communities have someone who understands the importance of culture in healing and who is familiar with the health care system.
    Could the Minister of Indigenous Services please comment on the significant role that indigenous nurses serve in Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Northwest Territories for his unwavering advocacy for the health of people in Northwest Territories.
    Nurses have always been the backbone of our health care system. I think we can all say a huge thanks for the efforts of nurses, especially through the pandemic. They have put up such an effort to protect us all, and they have been unwavering in their commitment.
    For over 47 years, the Canadian Indigenous Nurses Association has been a leader in supporting indigenous nurses and improving indigenous health. We are supporting their efforts by investing in programs to recruit and support indigenous students in health care across Canada.
    I am thrilled to welcome the Canadian Indigenous Nurses Association today and applaud them for their work.

  (1450)  

[Translation]

Passport Canada

    Mr. Speaker, the delays in processing passport applications are completely unacceptable.
    People are saying that it is chaos at Service Canada. People are getting abominable service, and some have had to cancel their travel plans.
    However, this government has a ready-made solution: allow employees to return to work in person at the Service Canada passport offices. When does it plan to recall government employees?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for the question.
    I understand Canadians' frustration. It is truly frustrating. We are seeing an unbelievable increase in the number of passport applications.
    However, this week, every passport office will be open. Employees are returning to the office and are working overtime on evenings and weekends to ensure that we can serve Canadians.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, a report from October 2021 states that the government was bracing for a surge of passport applications. Fast forward to seven months later and clearly it did not brace well enough.
    Wait times have become so outrageous that people are offering a service to wait in line for passport renewals. One of my constituents was recommended by Service Canada to line up at 1:00 a.m. Constituents are also being charged extra processing fees, meaning that a $160 10-year passport is now costing Canadians $315.
    If the Liberals knew, why are Canadians paying the price for the Liberals' inability to prepare?
    Mr. Speaker, as I have mentioned many times in the House, we are experiencing an unprecedented increase in the demand for passports. After two years, Canadians understandably would like to travel again, but that means that when everyone is applying at the same time, it is a lot for the system to handle.
    That being said, we have ensured that we have hired additional people. We have opened on evenings and weekends. In fact, this past weekend, 12 centres were open to service folks, and we have ensured that every wicket will now be open in passport offices to make sure that we are serving Canadians as well as possible.
    Mr. Speaker, the passport process has become a nightmare to thousands of Canadians. Tyler and Ira from Dawson Creek, through no fault of their own, had to travel 14 hours and spend hundreds of dollars to get their passports, just hours before their trip. What used to be a simple task of completing a passport form is now causing sleepless nights, unnecessary stress and huge expense to those who just want a break from the past two years of this Prime Minister's lockdowns.
    When will the minister end the nightmare?
    Mr. Speaker, I certainly understand that this is very frustrating for Canadians, but when we have people who are all asking to renew a passport at the same time, it is unprecedented. We did ensure that we had hired 500 additional passport officers ahead of time. We changed it so that 303 Service Canada—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order. The hon. minister might want to restart her answer.
    The hon. Minister of Families, Children and Social Development.
    Mr. Speaker, as I said, I understand that this is frustrating for Canadians and that after two years of staying home, Canadians want to travel. However, when everyone is applying at the same time, there is unprecedented volume that is happening. To accommodate this, we have hired 500 additional passport officers and enabled Canadians to apply not just to passport offices but at the 303 Service Canada offices across the country. We have also opened passport offices through the evenings and into the weekends. We opened 12 centres over the weekend.
    People are working overtime and doing everything they can, because at the end of the day, Service Canada employees want to service Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, last week the minister bragged about her visit to the Saskatoon “out-of-Service Canada” office, yet, after her visit, the daughter of my constituent, Viktoriia, still cannot get a passport, because they lost her birth certificate. By contrast, the Bangladesh High Commission sent six people to Saskatoon on the weekend, and they processed 800 passports in two days.
    How is it that a foreign government can get more done in two days than this minister can in two months?

  (1455)  

    Mr. Speaker, I just want to say to the people working at Service Canada who have been working overtime and weekends and doing everything they can to service Canadians, “Thank you.” They are under extreme stress because of the overwhelming volume of passports that they are working really hard to process. I know, as I visited the folks at Service Canada in Saskatoon and they spoke about the good working relationship they have with that member of Parliament. At no point would I ever want to disparage the incredibly hard-working public servants who are working around the clock to serve Canadians.

[Translation]

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, the epidemic of gun violence continued Saturday night. Two shootings left one man dead and five injured in Laval and Montreal. In the meantime, in Montérégie, the biker gangs were having a grand old time. Four hundred Hells Angels were partying and laughing about the federal government's failure to deal with arms trafficking and to take action against criminal groups.
    People are fed up. Is it not time to create a registry of criminal organizations and to crack down on them?
    Mr. Speaker, I would first like to express my sympathies for the victims of this tragedy. We are investing more than $300 million over five years, including $40 million for the RCMP to fight smuggling, $15 million for tracing and more than $21 million to equip the CBSA to stop all illegal firearms. I was in Montreal almost a month ago discussing more concrete measures with the mayor of Montreal.
    On this side of the House, we have a good understanding of the firearms problem and we want to work with the Bloc Québécois to fix it.
    Mr. Speaker, that money is being spent on ways to do nothing or to justify doing nothing.
    Quite simply, what we need is a registry of criminal organizations. If it can be proven that someone belongs to an organization that is on the registry, then it would be an offence. Gone would be the 400-person Hells Angels parties, the intimidation and the shows of force. If someone boasts about belonging to a criminal organization, they will end up in the back of a police car. It is as simple as that.
     Montreal is flooded with illegal guns that are creating victims week after week. Are government members not sick of watching criminals having parties on TV?
    Mr. Speaker, I completely agree with my colleague, and that is why we are taking concrete measures and have banned AR‑15s and two other military-style weapons.
    That is why we are making investments in Montreal, in Quebec, with the mayor of Montreal, to protect young people and vulnerable populations. We will do more with the Bloc Québécois and all members of the House.

[English]

Health

    Mr. Speaker, when I say “ArriveCAN”, what words come to mind? “Unreliable”, “frustrating”, “ageist”, “broken” and “painful” are just some of the words constituents of mine have used. The app is so difficult that some seniors are having to cancel trips to funerals, weddings and the birth of grandchildren. They are facing massive fines and mandatory quarantine, all because of a government app.
    After two long years, seniors in this country deserve a lot better from the government. It is time to end the mandatory use of the loathsome ArriveCAN app and allow Canadians to travel freely once again.
    What are the Liberals waiting for?
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate my colleague's concerns with regard to ArriveCAN, and of course we work with the CBSA to ensure that as an application it is smooth and efficient, but there are also other words to attribute to ArriveCAN, which are that it is an important tool to protect Canadians.
    We will continue to ensure we work with my hon. colleague, along with all other communities, to ensure that trade and travel continue to increase and make sure our economy is going again. That is what our goal is, and that is what we will continue to do.
    Mr. Speaker, Gail and John from the South Shore of Nova Scotia were refused entry into Canada upon their return from Florida, in spite of having vaccine proof and their passports. These Canadians were denied entry because they had not filled out the “no ArriveCAN” app. Like many Canadians, they do not have smart phones. Canadians are being hoisted on the government's phone petard.
    Why is the government not allowing Canadians to come home if they do not have a smart phone?

  (1500)  

    Mr. Speaker, as I said to my hon. colleague last week during question period, we are prepared to work with him and other members of the chamber to ensure that ArriveCAN is smooth and efficient. We are open to receiving feedback. We are not only working with members opposite; we are working with members on this side of the House. The reason we introduced the app was to protect Canadians, and of course now that trade and travel are going again, we will see more individuals come at the border and we will see to it that their experience is consistent with best practices of the CBSA.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, for once, could the government acknowledge the issues affecting all Canadians, not just those who have an iPhone or those who have access to a lot of information, but all Canadians?
    There are issues with the ArriveCAN app. There are issues for those who fill it out correctly as well as for those who do not have access to an iPhone or the Internet.
    Could the government consider the fact that, as the member for Louis-Hébert said, not everyone have access to a computer all the time? Could the government have a project, a program, that works for all Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, as I have said multiple times already, we are working with the Canada Border Services Agency to strengthen border access and address the difficulties with this program.
    Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, our government has focused on Canadians' health and safety by relying on the most recent scientific data. As we have said, since the start of the pandemic, Canada's border measures will remain flexible and adaptable, guided by science and prudence.

[English]

International Development

    Mr. Speaker, we know that the pandemic has disproportionately affected women, especially the millennial women and girls. This is much more true for women and girls in the global south, for whom the pandemic has reversed decades of hard work in the development gains. Could the Minister of International Development tell us how Canada is going to ensure that all women, adolescents and children not only survive this pandemic but thrive?
    Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to women's health as a long-standing priority. That is why I recently announced $40 million in additional funding to support the Global Financing Facility's “Reclaim the Gains” campaign, bringing Canada's total contribution to $190 million. The funds will help lower-income countries improve the resilience of their health systems and reverse the impact of COVID-19. Canada sees the GFF as a critical part of strengthening country-led health systems and reinforcing sexual and reproductive health rights as core components of the health care system.

Agriculture and Agri‑Food

    Mr. Speaker, Canadian farmers feed the world, but the Liberals are crippling our ag sector. From increasing the regulatory burden to the carbon tax, opposition to much-needed tax reform, pushing for the displacement of meat and the talk of mandated reductions in things like fertilizer, Canadian farmers are facing the full brunt of a leftist ideological crusade.
    Why is the government sandbagging the family farms and ranches in Canada? Will the minister today commit to scrapping her proposed nitrogen fertilizer mandated reductions?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, once again, I want to assure the House that we are working closely with various representatives from across agricultural sectors to see how we can help them deal with these input costs, which are particularly high this year. In fact, that is why we have improved the advance payments program.

[English]

Rail Transportation

    Mr. Speaker, regardless of the language, there was no answer there.
    On January 24, 2022, the Minister of Transport affirmed that Via would be back to full operations. However, it appears that this promise is broken, as the Via route 651 is not being put back to restoration and the Liberals will not even tell us when. When will route 651 be fully restored?
    Mr. Speaker, let me share with the hon. colleague and all Canadians the excellent news. We are investing in Via to increase public transportation for Canadians. One of the largest investments in Canada's history is the high-frequency rail that is going to connect Quebec and Ontario. We are also investing in other routes in the country. We are committed to supporting rail across the country, either through Infrastructure Canada or through Transport Canada. We look forward to working with our colleagues on delivering on that.

  (1505)  

Fisheries and Oceans

    Mr. Speaker, salmon anglers throughout Newfoundland and Labrador are expressing their concerns about inadequate enforcement on our rivers. The minister has had this brought to her attention, and it is now decision time. She knows what is in her mandate letter, and it is about protecting Atlantic salmon. Will she commit to adding extra weeks to the river guardian program, or will she continue to neglect Atlantic salmon stocks?
    Mr. Speaker, our goal is the conservation of stocks of all kinds, on both the east coast and the west coast. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans works with guardian programs and their conservation and protection officers to be available and to ensure the rules are followed. We will continue to do that, as well as work with indigenous guardians more and more to do this very important work.

[Translation]

Regional Economic Development

    Mr. Speaker, the past two years have shown us that businesses need to adapt to the digital economy if they want to grow. Post-secondary educational institutions have a key role to play in that transformation because they are doing innovative research and training students for the jobs of the future.
    Would the minister responsible for ACOA tell the House how this government is preparing workers for the jobs of tomorrow, supporting the growth of these businesses and attracting investment to New Brunswick?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Acadie—Bathurst for recognizing the important role that New Brunswick can play in the digital transformation.
     Last week, our government announced almost $4 million for the Université de Moncton and the University of New Brunswick. These investments will help students from across New Brunswick enhance their skills, make connections and acquire valuable experience in industry.
    Our government is helping to stimulate economic growth in New Brunswick and across Atlantic Canada and the rest of the country so that everyone can benefit from the digital economy.

[English]

Emergency Preparedness

    Mr. Speaker, this past weekend, the ice and river rose dangerously high against the dike wall at Kashechewan. People in Kashechewan and Fort Albany were scrambling to get planes in order to get families to safety.
    The government knows that the dike wall is at risk of catastrophic failure and yet, every spring, it gambles with people's lives. An agreement was signed to move the people to higher ground, and yet they are still on the flood plain.
    When will the people of Kashechewan be moved off that flood plain and moved to a safe and secure future?
    Mr. Speaker, as the member knows, because we have spoken a number of times and communicated over the weekend, we have, in fact, made arrangements to evacuate the people of Kashechewan from the impacted area, and we are arranging for accommodation in a number of communities across northern Ontario.
    The planes are being made available to move people in a timely way. We will continue with that work. We are also very ably supported by Emergency Management Ontario and people on the ground, and the hard work of the people at Indigenous Services Canada in support of that community.

Diversity and Inclusion

    Mr. Speaker, it is not just gas prices that are out of control. According to a report released by the Chinese Canadian National Council, there were nearly 1,000 incidents of anti-Asian hate in Canada last year. That is a 47% increase from 2020 and, sadly, the upward trend will likely grow in 2022.
    In January, the government announced that it will create a special representative on combatting Islamophobia. Muslim Canadians are still waiting.
    In November 2021, the government reappointed a special envoy on combatting anti-Semitism.
    As we celebrate Asian Heritage Month, will the government create a special representative to help fight Asian hate, or do Asian Canadians not matter?
    Mr. Speaker, of course, we condemn all forms of hate, racism and discrimination against all Canadians from coast to coast to coast. We have recently seen a disturbing rise in anti-Asian hate and discrimination, and we stand strongly in solidarity, shoulder to shoulder, with Asian Canadians. We have invested and we will continue to invest in community programs and organizations that are fighting hate and discrimination on the ground, including against Asian Canadians.
    Today marks 20 years since the introduction of Asian Heritage Month, so I wish a happy Asian Heritage Month to all my colleagues.

  (1510)  

    That is all the time we have for question period.

Presence in Gallery

    I'd like to draw the attention of the hon. members to some visitors we have in the gallery today. We have a parliamentary delegation from the Kingdom of Sweden. Accompanying them is His Excellency Dr. Andreas Norlén, Speaker of the Parliament of the Kingdom of Sweden.
    Some hon. members: Hear, hear!

Privilege

Conduct of the Member for Brampton Centre—Speaker's Ruling  

[Speaker's Ruling]
    I would like to return to the question of privilege raised earlier today by the House leader of the official opposition.

[Translation]

     I thank the member for raising this matter. All members, individually and collectively, are responsible for maintaining the dignity of the House.

[English]

    In light of the, I believe, sincere apology from the member for Brampton Centre, I consider the matter closed.
    With that said, as the Assistant Deputy Speaker stated earlier in response to the question of privilege, I too take this opportunity to again encourage all members to always be vigilant when participating remotely in proceedings of the House. If members do not have to have the camera on, turn it off. If they do not have to be in voting, turn it off.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Today in question period, I asked a very specific question of the Minister of Agriculture, to which the response was wholly unrelated to the question that was asked.
    I believe it is standard practice of the House that responses to members' questions have to be related, and there have been opportunities when members have been able to re-ask questions. I would ask for the Speaker's indulgence as this is an incredibly important issue that my constituents certainly deserve an answer to.
    A question has to be in order, but unfortunately the Chair is not the arbiter of whether it is a good question or bad question, nor whether it is a good answer or a bad answer. I appreciate the frustration, and I encourage the member to take it up with the minister in person.

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

Petitions

Charitable Organizations  

    Mr. Speaker, I have a number of petitions to present today. I am not sure of the exact number.
    The first petition deals with a commitment that was in the Liberals' 2021 election platform. It was a commitment to essentially politicize the application of charitable status. The petitioners, including a broad range of stakeholders, are opposed to the politicization of charitable status, the adding of another values test to the charitable status test. The petitioners express concern that a similar effort was made with respect to the Canada summer jobs program. They do not want to see that happen again.
    The petitioners call on the government to protect and preserve the application of charitable status rules on a politically and ideologically neutral basis without discrimination on the basis of political or religious values and without being in possession of another values test and to affirm the rights of Canadians to protection in terms of their freedom of expression.

  (1515)  

Human Organ Trafficking  

    Mr. Speaker, the next petition I am tabling is in support of Bill S-223, a bill that will be debated on Friday. It is a bill that would make it a criminal offence for a person to go abroad and receive an organ taken without consent. It would also create a mechanism by which someone could be deemed inadmissible to Canada if they were involved in forced organ harvesting and trafficking.
    Bills on this issue have been before the House for about 15 years and have always had broad support, but never made it all the way. The petitioners are hopeful that this Parliament will be the one that finally gets it done.

Falun Gong  

    Mr. Speaker, in a similar vein, this is a petition that highlights the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners, in particular, in China. They note that it has been decades since the Chinese Communist regime began its campaign, attempting to eradicate Falun Gong as a spiritual practice that simply centres on advancing the ideas of truthfulness, compassion and forbearance. Many resolutions have been adopted in parliaments around the world and it is relevant to the previous petition because we know that Falun Gong practitioners, as well as Uighurs and others in China, have been victims of forced organ harvesting and trafficking.
    The petitioners urge the government and Parliament to establish measures to stop the murder of Falun Gong practitioners, including organ harvesting and trafficking, to take every opportunity to call for an end to the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners and also to bring former leader Jiang Zemin and his cohorts to justice for their involvement in what took place.

Ethiopia  

    Mr. Speaker, the next petition I am tabling highlights the human rights situation in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. The petitioners are very concerned about the ongoing conflict, as well as the humanitarian challenges that have been unfolding, and they call for greater engagement by the Government of Canada in the context of this situation. They want to see the government engaging with the Government of Ethiopia, as well as the neighbouring Government of Eritrea, and encourage them to not be—
    I know there is a lot of pent-up demand today, so I am just reminding the member that there are even members of his own caucus who would like to present some petitions.
    The hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan.

Human Rights  

    Mr. Speaker, they normally call me last, so I thought I was the only one when I was called. I will table one more for now, and if members agree I will return at the end of other members' presentations.
    For now, I will table one more petition respecting Bill C-257: a private member's bill I have also put forward in the House. The petition recognizes concerns about increasing political discrimination against Canadians based on their political views. This bill would seek to add political belief and activity as prohibited grounds for discrimination in the Canadian Human Rights Act. Petitioners are calling on the House to support Bill C-257, which would ban this discrimination and defend the rights of Canadians to peacefully express their political opinions.
    Mr. Speaker, I am rising today to table this petition on behalf of constituents in my riding of Nanaimo—Ladysmith. They recently signed a petition calling on the federal government to take concrete action to ensure Canadian companies operating abroad adopt stronger human rights and environmental standards. They are calling on the federal government to implement stronger legislation to prevent human rights abuses through global supply chains and ensure Canadian companies are held fully accountable for their actions around the world in Canadian courts.
    I want to thank the members of the All Saints Catholic Parish for bringing this petition forward and for its work to bring light to human rights and sustainable development.

Indigenous Affairs  

    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today to present a petition initiated by a constituent and friend of mine, Zoe. Zoe initiated this petition calling on the government to follow through on the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, specifically focusing on those with respect to health: calls to action 18 through to 21. Petitioners, of which there are 713, call on the government to put calls to action 18 to 21 at the forefront of its agenda.
    Mr. Speaker, I am presenting a petition on behalf of my constituent, the chief of the Sts'ailes first nation.
    In 2006, Ralph Leon Jr. and 12 other individuals were charged after a 15-month investigation into alleged eagle poaching. This legal action languished in the courts for nine years and included a mistrial, a fraud conviction against a senior conservation officer in charge of the investigation, calls from local Sts'ailes to drop the case and accusations of highly unethical and disrespectful behaviour on the part of the B.C. Conservation Officer Service. After charges were laid, 3,422 days later, Ralph Leon Jr. and other individuals were acquitted after Crown council directed a stay in proceedings.
    Those wrongfully charged have gathered sufficient evidence showcasing conspiracy to prosecute innocent people, a defamatory media release vilifying indigenous peoples and cultures, fabrication of evidence and concealment of evidence including perjury, commission of fraud against the federal and provincial governments, counselling and aiding indigenous people to commit offences, trespassing on indigenous reserve lands, conferring of a corrupt benefit on a foreign official, and violation of the privacy of indigenous people on and off reserve lands. The continued denial of what happened to these indigenous Canadians taints Canadian history and leads to mistrust in our institution and justice system.
    Therefore, these citizens of Canada call upon the Minister of Justice to conduct a public inquiry into the injustices committed by the B.C. Conservation Officer Service and the BC Prosecution Service against Chief Ralph Leon Jr. and the 12 other individuals, because of their race and culture, with the express purpose of reconciling these injustices through a reversal of all convictions, return of property seized and appropriate compensation.

  (1520)  

Climate Change  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to present a petition signed by many people in Winnipeg calling on the government to enact “just transition” legislation. Among other things, it calls for far more ambitious emissions reduction targets, getting rid of fossil fuel subsidies, creating new public economic institutions to assist in the transition toward the decarbonized economy, ensuring we are creating good jobs for workers in the context of that transition, protecting and strengthening human rights and indigenous rights in that effort while expanding our social safety net with new income supports and decarbonizing public housing, and paying for this transition by increasing taxes on the wealthiest and corporations and financing through a public national bank.

National Defence  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present petition e-3821, titled “National Defence and Military Operations”. The initiator of this petition and a few supporters from the riding of Waterloo shared concerns directly with me. They also shared the importance of the emissions reduction plan, fighting climate change and their hope for transition toward a green care economy and future.

Health  

    Mr. Speaker, I am presenting this petition from my constituents and Canadians across the country who want an end to the vaccine mandates, especially for domestic travel, which is federally regulated. The petitioners note that several reviews and studies have revealed nearly non-existent transmission rates on airplanes. WestJet's chief medical officer said that there were no known records of transmission. Also, the petitioners note that countries around the world have removed their vaccine mandates and restrictions.
    Finally, petitioners state that the vaccine mandate imposed on Canadians taking domestic flights, trains and ferries is an unreasonable infringement on their rights and freedoms. The petitioners ask the government to abolish the domestic vaccine passport requirement for Canadian citizens and permanent residents taking domestic flights, and they ask for an end to all federally regulated COVID-19 vaccine mandates and restrictions.

Charitable Organizations  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present a petition signed by a host of Canadians who have expressed grave concern about how the Liberals are willing to politicize things like charitable status within this country. These petitioners from across Canada call upon the House of Commons to, one, protect and preserve the application of charitable status rules on a politically and ideologically neutral basis without discrimination on the basis of political or religious values without the imposition of another values test; and two, affirm the right of Canadians to freedom of expression in Canada. It is an honour to stand with these Canadians and present this petition in the House today.

  (1525)  

Age Verification Software  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present a number of petitions from hundreds of Canadians across Canada, including my own constituents.
    In the first petition, the petitioners are concerned about the accessibility and impact of violent and degrading sexually explicit material online and the impacts on public health, especially on the well-being of women and girls. The petitioners recognize that we cannot say that we believe in preventing sexual violence toward women while allowing pornography companies to freely expose our children to violent sexually explicit imagery day after day, which is a form of child abuse.
    They note that the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child requires Canada to develop the means to protect children from forms of media that are injurious to their well-being. As such, the petitioners are calling on the House of Commons to require meaningful age verification on all adult websites.

Northern Residents Tax Deduction  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition is from folks in my riding who live in the towns of Fox Creek and Swan Hills. These two towns are in northern Alberta.
    The petitioners state that the rise in heating costs and other expenses of life has made life more expensive in these communities. They also have to travel great distances to access groceries and shopping centres. The petitioners state that there is an arbitrary line that runs across Alberta preventing Fox Creek and Swan Hills residents from accessing the northern residents living allowance.
    The petitioners are asking that the government include Fox Creek and Swan Hills as communities within the prescribed intermediate zone and allow these people to receive the northern living allowance for living in northern Alberta.

Charitable Organizations  

    Mr. Speaker, the next petition I am presenting today is from folks across Canada who are concerned that certain charities could be targeted based on their views and forced into a values test. The petitioners note that the Liberals have promised to deny charitable status to groups that they view as being dishonest. This could jeopardize the charitable status of hospitals, houses of worship, schools, homeless shelters and other organizations. We have seen a similar values test applied to the Canada summer jobs grant.
    The petitioners are asking the House of Commons to protect and preserve the application of charitable status rules on a politically and ideologically neutral basis, without discrimination on the basis of political or religious views and without the imposition of another values test. They also ask for an affirmation of the freedom of expression for all Canadians.

Age Verification Software  

    Mr. Speaker, the next petition I am presenting today is from Canadians across the country who are concerned about the impact of sexually explicit material, including demeaning and violent material on the Internet. These folks are worried about the consumption of sexually explicit material by young persons and a range of harms, including the development of gender stereotypes and the development of harassment and violence, including sexual harassment and sexual violence particularly against women.
    The petitioners are calling on the Government of Canada to enact meaningful age verification. Also, a recommendation was brought forward by the health committee in 2017, so they call for the House to adopt Bill S-210, the protecting young persons from exposure to pornography act.

Vaccine Mandates  

    Mr. Speaker, my final petition today is from petitioners across the country who want an end to the vaccine mandates, especially for domestic travel, which is federally regulated. The petitioners note that several reviews and studies have revealed that there are non-existent transmission rates on airplanes.
    The petitioners state that the vaccine mandates imposed on Canadians taking domestic flights, trains and ferries are an unreasonable infringement on their rights and freedoms. They are asking for an end to all federally regulated COVID-19 vaccine mandates and restrictions.

Questions on the Order Paper

    Madam Speaker, the following questions will be answered today: Nos. 399, 400, 403, 408, 411, 413 to 416, 421 to 423 and 425.

[Text]

Question No. 399—
Mr. Blaine Calkins:
    With regard to the government’s proposal to buy-back firearms from Canadians: (a) which department or agency will be responsible for (i) collecting the firearms, (ii) storing the firearms, (iii) destroying or deactivating the firearms; (b) which department or agency will be responsible for financially reimbursing Canadians; (c) how will Canadians receive the funds for their firearms; (d) how long will Canadians have to wait from surrendering their firearm until they are reimbursed; (e) which law enforcement agencies will be involved in the program; (f) what amount will be paid for each firearm, broken down by type and model; and (g) how was the amount being paid for each type and model of firearm determined?
Ms. Pam Damoff (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, the government is committed to bringing forward a buyback program in early 2023 that offers fair compensation to affected owners and businesses while making sure implementation and management are done in a safe and cost-effective manner. This commitment was reaffirmed in the November 2021 Speech from the Throne and the most recent mandate letter for the Minister of Public Safety. Government officials are currently in the process of refining requirements and developing program and implementation options for cabinet consideration.
    The government is equally committed to providing parliamentarians and Canadians with information on the design of the buyback program, including collection and transportation, processing facility, compensation, and destruction or deactivation, as it becomes available.
Question No. 400—
Mr. Clifford Small:
    With regard to funding applications received by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency since October 1, 2021: what are the details of each application, including the (i) name of the applicant, (ii) program under which the funding application was made, (iii) type of funding requested (loan, grant, etc.), (iv) date the application was received, (v) current status of the application, (vi) amount of funding approved, if applicable, (vii) location of the applicant, (viii) project description or the purpose of the funding?
Hon. Ginette Petitpas Taylor (Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, insofar as the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency is concerned, with regard to funding applications received from October 1, 2021 to March 17, 2022, the requested information is available on the Government of Canada’s Open Government portal at the following link: https://search.open.canada.ca/en/gc/.
Question No. 403—
Mr. Pat Kelly:
    With regard to Access to Information requests received by federal departments and agencies: (a) for each department and agency, how many requests were received in (i) 2018, (ii) 2019, (iii) 2020, (iv) 2021; (b) for each department and agency in (a), how many requests were resolved in each year; (c) for each department and agency in (a), what was the median processing time for requests resolved in those years; (d) for each department and agency in (a), by how much has the median processing time for requests increased since 2019; and (e) for each department and agency in (a), by how much has the backlog of outstanding requests increased since 2019?
Hon. Greg Fergus (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the President of the Treasury Board), Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, each fiscal year, the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, TBS, collects data on the number of requests received, completed, closed, outstanding, carried over and responded to according to legislative timelines (30 days), and extensions taken, broken down by length of time taken (30 days or less, 31 to 60 days, 61 to 120 days, 121 to 180 days, 181 to 365 days or more than 365 days), as well as the amount of time required to close requests (0 to 30 days, 31 to 60 days, 61 to 120 days, or 121 days or more).
    TBS publishes a summary of this information annually in the Access to Information and Privacy Statistical Report, as well as datasets that contain all the statistical data reported by all institutions, broken down by institution, at https://www.canada.ca/en/treasury-board-secretariat/services/access-information-privacy/statistics-atip.html. The information requested can be calculated and compared from year to year based on the published datasets.
    Institutions also individually report this information to Parliament in their annual reports on the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act, which institutions table in Parliament and publish online each fall. The latest available data is for fiscal year 2020-21 (April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021). Data for fiscal year 2021-22 is expected to be collected by the end of September 2022 and published by December 31, 2022.
Question No. 408—
Mr. Stéphane Bergeron:
    With regard to Canada’s representation abroad: (a) why are there no Canadian embassies in Nepal and Armenia, and are there any plans to open one in the near future; (b) why is there currently no Canadian ambassador to France, and are there any plans to appoint one in the near future; and (c) why is there no Canadian ambassador to China since the resignation of the previous one, and are there any plans to appoint one?
Hon. Robert Oliphant (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, in response to part (a) of the question, Canada’s bilateral relations with Nepal are supported through the High Commission of Canada in New Delhi and the Consulate of Canada in Nepal. Canada’s high commissioner to India is also accredited as Canada’s ambassador to Nepal and regularly visits Nepal to advance a range of issues in the bilateral relationship, including diplomatic, trade and development issues. The Consulate of Canada in Nepal, with the support of Canada’s honorary consul to Nepal, provides emergency consular services to Canadians in Nepal. Canadian funding to Nepal through both bilateral and multilateral channels averaged $39.7 million per year between 2014 and 2020. During the pandemic, Canada has also provided significant COVID-19 assistance to Nepal through multilateral channels and through the direct delivery of critical medical supplies from Canada’s national emergency strategic stockpile to Kathmandu in June 2021.
    The Government of Canada manages its bilateral relations with Armenia through its embassy in Moscow, with Alison LeClaire serving as Canada’s ambassador to Armenia. The embassy has continued to foster strong ties with Armenia, including through regular visits to Yerevan, which have continued despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Canada continues to strengthen its ties with Armenia through a variety of ways, such as the mission undertaken by Special Envoy to the European Union and Europe Stéphane Dion to explore options for Canada to better support Armenian democracy. Building on the joint work of recent years and long-standing people-to-people ties, Special Envoy Dion recently conducted a visit in Armenia and examined options as to how Canada can encourage the ongoing efforts of Armenian civil society, strengthen democratic institutions, grow Armenia’s engagement with multilateral institutions, and promote inclusive economic growth. The Government of Canada is also in the process of appointing a new honorary consul in Armenia.
    In response to parts (b) and (c) of the question, announcements regarding the appointment of ambassadors to France and China will be made in due course.
Question No. 411—
Mrs. Cheryl Gallant:
    With regard to the National Emergency Strategic Stockpile and potassium iodide pills: (a) what is the number of potassium iodide pills that Canada possesses; (b) how many of the pills are reserved or designated for (i) military personnel, (ii) medical personnel, (iii) public office holders, (iv) emergency services; (c) how many pills are expired; (d) when was the last time the pills were purchased and how many were purchased at that time; (e) on what date do the most recently purchased pills expire; (f) how many pills have been distributed to each warehouse, broken down by location; and (g) what is the government’s plan for how the pills are to be distributed in the event of an emergency?
Mr. Adam van Koeverden (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health and to the Minister of Sport, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, the national emergency strategic Stockpile, or NESS, is a part of the national emergency management critical infrastructure. As such, information on NESS warehouse locations and details on holdings are not released due to security implications.
    With regard to the NESS and potassium iodide pills, in response to parts (a) and (e) of the question, the NESS does not disclose specific details of its medical countermeasures for security reasons. In response to part (b), the NESS does not reserve or designate potassium iodide pills by category of user. In response to part (c), the NESS does not hold any expired potassium iodide pills. In response to part (d), potassium iodide was most recently purchased in 2022, and the NESS does not disclose specific details of its medical countermeasures for security reasons. In response to part (f), the NESS does not disclose locations of its warehouses for security reasons. In response to part (g), the provision of medical care, including the medical response to a nuclear emergency, primarily falls under provincial/territorial, or P/T jurisdiction. If local and P/T supplies are exhausted, potassium iodide can be made available to P/T authorities for use in their response to a nuclear emergency upon request by the appropriate medical or public health authorities.
Question No. 413—
Mrs. Cheryl Gallant:
    With regard to emergency preparedness for Canadians living within 100 km of a nuclear facility: (a) what are the government's instructions for (i) individual homeowners, (ii) apartment dwellers, (iii) schools, (iv) businesses, (v) hospitals, (vi) seniors' residences, (vii) long-term care facilities, (viii) military installations; and (b) where are each of the instructions mentioned in (a) published?
Mr. Adam van Koeverden (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health and to the Minister of Sport, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, provincial and territorial governments have the primary responsibility for managing emergencies within their respective jurisdictions. Any instructions given to Canadians within 100 kilometres of a nuclear power plant would be based on the relevant province’s emergency plans and the particular situation. Provincial responsibilities include public alerting and providing instructions to homeowners, apartment dwellers, schools, businesses, hospitals, seniors’ residences and long-term care facilities on protective action, which may include evacuation, sheltering and/or the use of potassium iodide, KI, for iodine thyroid blocking, or ITB, and ingestion controls. While military installations and indigenous lands fall within federal jurisdiction, individuals would be instructed to follow the instructions provided by provincial health authorities in an emergency.
    Provinces with nuclear power plants have provincial nuclear emergency plans, which detail the preparedness and response actions of the province in the event of a nuclear emergency. New Brunswick’s provincial health nuclear emergency plan for the Point Lepreau nuclear generating station can be consulted at https://www2.gnb.ca/content/dam/gnb/Departments/h-s/pdf/en/Publications/ProvincialHealthNuclearEmergencyPlan.pdf, and its Point Lepreau nuclear off-site emergency plan is found at https://www2.gnb.ca/content/dam/gnb/Departments/ps-sp/pdf/emo/Nuclear/PointLepreau-NOEM.pdf, while the provincial nuclear emergency response plan, PNERP, for the nuclear power plants in Ontario is found at https://www.ontario.ca/document/provincial-nuclear-emergency-response-plan-pnerp-master-plan.
    At the federal level, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, CNSC, is responsible, among other things, for maintaining regulatory oversight of nuclear power plants. Regulatory requirements placed on the licensee include robust emergency plans for the plant, a public education program for the local population about the plant and what to do in an emergency, and a requirement for the pre-distribution of KI for the population around a nuclear power plant.
    Public Safety Canada maintains the federal emergency response plan, FERP, and is responsible for overall federal coordination on behalf of the Government of Canada in the event of a nuclear emergency requiring a coordinated Government of Canada response. The plan is found at https://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/pblctns/mrgnc-rspns-pln/index-en.aspx
    Health Canada leads the federal nuclear emergency plan, FNEP, which is an annex to the FERP and coordinates scientific and technical support from 18 federal departments for a whole-of-government response to a nuclear emergency. It can be consulted at https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/publications/health-risks-safety/federal-nuclear-emergency-master-plan-part-1.html
    In addition to the FNEP, Health Canada has published guidance documents to assist provincial authorities in developing protection strategies for nuclear emergencies, to help inform the instructions referenced above. Guidance documents include “Generic Criteria and Operational Intervention Levels for Nuclear Emergency Planning and Response”, found online at https://publications.gc.ca/site/eng/9.855963/publication.html, and “Guidance on Planning for Recovery Following a Nuclear or Radiological Emergency”, at https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/publications/health-risks-safety/planning-recovery-nuclear-emergency.html.
    Health Canada is committed to protecting the health and safety of Canadians by strengthening nuclear emergency preparedness in Canada and providing guidance, support and recommendations based on the scientific and technical resources of the Government of Canada.
    Health Canada works closely with partners across all jurisdictions to test nuclear emergency plans through regular exercises and other reviews as part of an ongoing effort to ensure readiness for a nuclear emergency in Canada or abroad.
    Recent exercises in Ontario, with Exercise Unified Command, and New Brunswick, with Synergy Challenge, have shown that all jurisdictions and the nuclear operators are prepared to respond to a nuclear emergency in Canada. More details on Synergy Challenge can be found at https://www.nbpower.com/en/safety/nuclear-safety/synergy-challenge-2021
    In 2019, Canada hosted an international peer review of its nuclear emergency preparedness. The review report concluded that Canada had a well-developed and mature nuclear emergency preparedness and response system in place across all levels of government. The report is available at https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/health-risks-safety/radiation/radiological-nuclear-emergencies/how-canada-prepares/international-atomic-energy-agency-emergency-preparedness-review-mission-canada-june-2019.html
Question No. 414—
Mrs. Cheryl Gallant:
    With regard to the Canadian Armed Forces' (CAF) exercises for assistance to civilian protection of Canada's nuclear sites: (a) what is the date of the last exercise, broken down by each regiment or base; and (b) what number of currently active CAF personnel are available or can be made available to protect Canada's nuclear sites?
Mr. Bryan May (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, Public Safety is the lead coordinating body for the Government of Canada’s overall response to chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear incidents. The Canadian Armed Forces is responsible for providing support to domestic operations, including chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear incidents, with military expertise, intelligence, and scientific support.
    In response to parts (a) and (b), the Canadian Armed Forces remains prepared to respond to requests from the government, and to assist other government departments and law enforcement agencies. This includes supporting and participating in exercises initiated by other government departments and external nuclear industry stakeholders, as well as under the auspices of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, NORAD.
    Under the auspices of NORAD, the Canadian Armed Forces participates in Operation Noble Eagle, which is an ongoing operation designed to monitor and protect continental airspace. Under this NORAD operation, the Royal Canadian Air Force stands ready to deter and defend against air attacks on critical infrastructure, including nuclear power plants. Operation Noble Eagle processes are exercised, typically on a monthly basis, with Canadian civil authorities.
    Additionally, the Canadian Armed Forces participates in the annual NORAD-sponsored exercise Vigilant Shield, which enhances readiness to protect critical infrastructure against air threats, including nuclear facilities.
    In terms of civilian-led exercises, the Canadian Armed Forces participated in the exercise Synergy Challenge 2021. The exercise was hosted by New Brunswick Power on October 6-7, 2021. The exercise focused on responding to a hypothetical incident at the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station. The Canadian Joint Operations Command, Joint Task Force Atlantic area, and 403 Squadron from Canadian Forces Base Gagetown provided support to this exercise.
    Ultimately, the Canadian Armed Forces stands ready to support the protection of Canada’s nuclear sites at the request of the federal government.
Question No. 415—
Mrs. Laila Goodridge:
    With regard to action by the current Minister of Environment and Climate Change to prevent eco-terrorism in Canada, since being sworn in as minister: (a) what specific measures, if any, has the minister done to prevent eco-terrorism in Canada; (b) has the minister publicly called for individuals and organizations to refrain from participating in such activity, and, (i) if not, why not, (ii) if so, what are the details; and (c) has the minister been provided with any documents showing the dangers or economic damage caused by eco-terrorism or the threat of eco-terrorism, and, if so, what are the details of all such documents, including the (i) date they were provided to the minister, (ii) sender, (iii) title, (iv) summary of the contents, (v) file number, (vi) type of document?
Hon. Steven Guilbeault (Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change denounces the use or threat of violence to achieve personal or societal goals. Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms grants everyone the freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly, and association. The Government of Canada supports the peaceful and lawful expression of these rights.
    Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness is the lead for overall counter-terrorism planning, preparedness and response within the Government of Canada.
Question No. 416—
Mr. Gerald Soroka:
    With regard to legal costs incurred by the government in relation to the invocation of the Emergencies Act in 2022, as well as any subsequent legal action: what is the total amount (i) paid out to date, (ii) scheduled to be paid out, on outside legal counsel, broken down by department, agency or other government entity which encountered the expense?
Mr. Gary Anandasangaree (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, no legal expenses were incurred by the government for outside legal counsel on work related to the invocation of the Emergencies Act in 2022, as well as any subsequent legal action.
    There have been no costs paid, or scheduled to be paid, to outside legal counsel.
    All advisory and litigation services provided in relation to the invocation of the Emergencies Act in 2022, as well as any subsequent legal action, have been provided internally.
Question No. 421—
Mr. Tony Baldinelli:
    With regard to hospitality events hosted by Canadian embassies, consulates or missions abroad, since January 1, 2019: (a) how many events were hosted by each embassy, consulate, or mission, broken down by location, and by month; (b) what was the total amount spent on hospitality each month, broken down by location; and (c) what are the details of all events which were attended by more than 20 people, including, for each, the (i) date, (ii) location, (iii) number of attendees, (iv) event description or the purpose of the event, (v) total expenditures related to the event?
Hon. Robert Oliphant (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, the following reflects a consolidated response approved on behalf of Global Affairs Canada ministers. The department manages an extensive network of 178 missions in 110 countries, which host hospitality events that are necessary for the effective conduct of government business and for courtesy, diplomacy or protocol purposes.
    In response to the questions, the department undertook an extensive preliminary search in order to determine the amount of information that would fall within the scope of the question and the amount of time that would be required to prepare a comprehensive response. The information requested is not systematically tracked in a centralized database. The department concluded that producing and validating a comprehensive response to this question would require a manual collection of information that is not possible in the time allotted and could lead to the disclosure of incomplete and misleading information.
Question No. 422—
Mr. Warren Steinley:
    With regard to the agreement made between the Prime Minister and the leader of the New Democratic Party which was announced on March 22, 2022: what is the estimated cost to implement the items contained in the agreement, broken down by each item?
Hon. Greg Fergus (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the President of the Treasury Board), Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, Canadians expect their politicians to come together and get to work to help make their lives better. The Liberal Party of Canada and the New Democratic Party have agreed to improve the way we approach politics over the next three years for the benefit of Canadians. The parties have identified key policy areas where there is a desire for a similar medium-term outcome.
    This work will be focused on growing our economy by creating green jobs that fight the climate crisis, making people’s lives more affordable with housing and childcare, and expanding and protecting our healthcare. As the basis for this work, it is fundamental for the parties to advance reconciliation with indigenous peoples. Both parties hope that by approaching this Parliament more collaboratively, we will be able to deliver on these shared policy objectives before the next election.
    Both parties believe strongly in Parliament’s role to hold the government to account. Nothing in this agreement will undermine that critical function. The parties will not always agree, and they will continue to seek to work with other parties in Parliament on the priorities that are the subject of this agreement and for other objectives. This agreement is about ensuring those differences do not stand in the way of delivering on shared goals for the benefit of each and every Canadian.
Question No. 423—
Mr. Warren Steinley:
    With regard to the government's response to question Q-302 concerning the timeline for when a decision on whether or not to ban Huawei from Canada's 5G infrastructure will take place and the reference in the response to "appropriate deliberations": (a) why has it taken more than five years for the government to conclude the "appropriate deliberations" related to Huawei; (b) how many times, if any, has the government deliberated about Huawei over the past five years; (c) on what days did the deliberations in (b) take place, and who participated in each deliberation; and (d) why did the government not fulfill its commitment from May 1, 2019, that a decision on Huawei would take place before the 2019 general election?
Hon. François-Philippe Champagne (Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, the government takes the security of Canada’s telecommunications infrastructure very seriously. In order to protect the integrity of the process and to enable decision-makers to have frank discussions, the answers to these questions are subject to cabinet confidence.
Question No. 425—
Mr. John Barlow:
    With regard to the Federal Ministerial Coordinating Committee on PEI Potatoes: (a) what are the (i) dates, (ii) locations, (iii) ministers in attendance, for each meeting of the committee which have occurred since January 26, 2022; and (b) what was accomplished, if anything, at each meeting in (a)?
Hon. Marie-Claude Bibeau (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, in response to part (a) of the question, since January 26, 2022, the committee has met once, on February 2, 2022, via video conference. The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities, the Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development, and the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence were in attendance.
    In response to part (b) of the question, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, and Ambassador Hillman provided a debrief of their visit to Washington and next steps, and that was followed by a discussion on communications and stakeholder management. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Deputy Minister Forbes provided an update on producer support and assistance and the implications of the ministerial order for Canadian processors.

[English]

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns

    Madam Speaker, if the government's responses to Questions Nos. 394 to 398, 401, 402, 404 to 407, 409, 410, 412, 417 to 420 and 424 could me made orders for return, these returns would be tabled immediately.

[Translation]

    Some hon. members: Agreed.

[Text]

Question No. 394—
Mr. Randy Hoback:
    With regard to firearms statistics held by the government, and broken down by year since January 1, 2018: (a) how many (i) firearms, (ii) handguns, (iii) long-guns were seized by all police jurisdictions in relation to a gang or organized crime activity; (b) how many (i) firearms, (ii) handguns, (iii) long-guns were seized by the RCMP in relation to a gang or organized crime activity; (c) how many domestically sourced (i) firearms, (ii) handguns, (iii) long-guns were sourced by all police jurisdictions, broken down by type of offense (theft, illegal manufacture) and province of seizure; (d) how many domestically sourced (i) firearms, (ii) handguns, (iii) long-guns were sourced by the RCMP, broken down by type of offense (theft, illegal manufacture) and province of seizure; (e) how many domestically sourced (i) firearms, (ii) handguns, (iii) long-guns were seized and sourced by all police jurisdictions, broken down by type of offense (theft, illegal manufacture) and province of seizure; and (f) how many (i) firearms, (ii) handguns, (iii) long-guns were seized and sourced by the RCMP, broken down by type of offense (theft, illegal manufacture) and province of seizure?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 395—
Mr. Randy Hoback:
    With regard to firearms statistics held by the government, and broken down by year since January 1, 2018: (a) how many firearms were seized by (i) the RCMP, (ii) the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), (iii) other police forces, broken down by source (domestic or foreign); (b) how many firearms were seized and traced by (i) the RCMP, (ii) the CBSA, (iii) other police forces; (c) how many firearms seized by other police jurisdictions were traced by a police jurisdiction other than the RCMP; (d) how many (i) long-guns, (ii) handguns, (iii) restricted firearms, (iv) prohibited firearms were traced by all police services, broken down by source (domestic or foreign); (e) how many (i) long-guns, (ii) handguns, (iii) restricted firearms, (iv) prohibited firearms were traced by the RCMP, broken down by source (domestic or foreign); (f) how many (i) long-guns (ii) handguns, (iii) restricted firearms, (iv) prohibited firearms' source (domestic or foreign) could not be traced across all police services; and (g) how many of the (i) long-guns, (ii) handguns, (iii) restricted firearms, (iv) prohibited firearms' source could not be traced by the RCMP?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 396—
Ms. Rachel Blaney:
    With regard to the Federal Ministerial Coordinating Committee on PEI Potatoes and the ongoing trade disruption with the United States: (a) what are the (i) dates, (ii) specific topics, (iii) deliverables discussed at each of the committee meetings; (b) what is the total amount of federal government funding allocated to the operations of the committee; (c) what is the total amount of federal funding allocated to the Prince Edward Island farmers since the trade disruption and is the federal government planning to provide additional funding to ensure that farmers are compensated for the total yield of their crops; (d) what are the (i) dates, (ii) specific topics, (iii) deliverables discussed at each meeting between the Minister of Agriculture and the United States Secretary of Agriculture since the beginning of the trade disruption; and (e) does the Government of Canada continue to allow Idaho table potatoes in Canada despite a recent detection of a quarantine pest (Potato Cyst Nematode) in Idaho?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 397—
Mr. Alexandre Boulerice:
    With regard to the $15 federal minimum wage, since coming into effect on December 29, 2021, broken down by economic sector, size of business, province and territory: (a) how many workers benefitted from a wage adjustment following the coming into effect of the federal minimum wage; (b) how many workers in the federally-regulated private sector are currently paid the federal minimum wage; (c) among the workers in (a), how many work (i) full-time, (ii) part-time; and (d) what is the actual federal minimum wage adjusted for the increase in the consumer price index?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 398—
Mr. Blaine Calkins:
    With regard to the government’s current advertising campaign to reduce gun violence: (a) how much is the campaign spending on (i) radio, (ii) television, (iii) online, including social media, (iv) other forms of advertising; (b) how much was spent developing the ads for each part of (a); (c) what is the (i) start, (ii) end dates of each part of the advertising campaign, broken down by platform; and (d) what are the details of all contracts related to the campaign, including, for each, (i) the vendor, (ii) the amount or value, (iii) the description of goods or services provided, (iv) whether the contract was sole-sourced?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 401—
Mr. Clifford Small:
    With regard to funding applications received by the government under the Small Craft Harbours program since October 1, 2021: what are the details of each application, including the (i) name of the applicant, (ii) location, (iii) type of funding requested (loan, grant, etc.), (iv) date the application was received, (v) current status of the application, (vi) amount of funding approved, if applicable, (vii) project description or the purpose of the funding?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 402—
Mr. Pat Kelly:
    With regard to applications by federal employees for exemptions to the COVID-19 vaccine mandate on religious or medical grounds: (a) for each federal department or agency, how many exemption applications on medical grounds were received; (b) for each federal department or agency, how many exemption applications on religious grounds were received; (c) how many applications in (a) and (b) were approved; (d) how many of the rejected applications in (a) and (b) have prompted grievances by the respective employees’ unions; (e) of the grievances in (d), how many have been resolved to date; (f) of the grievances in (e), how many were resolved by accepting or confirming rejection of the application respectively; (g) what guidance did the government provide to management in federal departments and agencies with respect to evaluating applications in (a) and (b); (h) what criteria did management use in evaluating applications in (a) and (b); and (i) how were discussions between management and employees applying the exemptions in (a) or (b) documented?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 404—
Mr. Pat Kelly:
    With regard to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and the commitments in the 2016 and 2017 federal budgets to spend, respectively, $444.4 and $523.9 million (combined total of $968.3 million over five years) to combat tax evasion, as well as the claim by the CRA that “The CRA remains on track to spend the budget investments over the 5-year period for which they have been outlined”: (a) as of the end of the fiscal year 2016-17, how much of the $41.8 million budgeted for cracking down on tax evasion and combatting tax avoidance in budget 2016 had actually been (i) spent, (ii) used, to fund employee benefit plans; (b) as of the end of the fiscal year 2017-18, how much of the $62.8 million budgeted for cracking down on tax evasion and combatting tax avoidance in budget 2016 had actually been (i) spent, (ii) used, to fund employee benefit plans; (c) as of the end of the fiscal year 2017-18, how much of the $54.9 million budgeted for cracking down on tax evasion and combatting tax avoidance in budget 2017 had actually been (i) spent, (ii) used, to fund employee benefit plans; (d) as of the end of the fiscal year 2018-19, how much of the $85.7 million budgeted for cracking down on tax evasion and combatting tax avoidance in budget 2016 had actually been (i) spent, (ii) used, to fund employee benefit plans; (e) as of the end of the fiscal year 2018-19, how much of the $78.1 million budgeted for cracking down on tax evasion and combatting tax avoidance in budget 2017 had actually been (i) spent, (ii) used, to fund employee benefit plans; (f) as of the end of the fiscal year 2019-20, how much of the $98.6 million budgeted for cracking down on tax evasion and combatting tax avoidance in budget 2016 had actually been (i) spent, (ii) used, to fund employee benefit plans; (g) as of the end of the fiscal year 2019-20, how much of the $77.6 million budgeted for cracking down on tax evasion and combatting tax avoidance in budget 2017 had actually been (i) spent, (ii) used, to fund employee benefit plans; (h) as of the end of the fiscal year 2020-21, how much of the $155.5 million budgeted for cracking down on tax evasion and combatting tax avoidance in budget 2016 had actually been (i) spent, (ii) used, to fund employee benefit plans; and (i) as of the end of the fiscal year 2020-21, how much of the $127.6 million budgeted for cracking down on tax evasion and combatting tax avoidance in budget 2017 had actually been (i) spent, (ii) used, to fund employee benefit plans?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 405—
Mr. Brad Redekopp:
    With regard to the response to question Q-143, tabled in the House of Commons on January 31, 2022, on which, on page six of the English version the fourth line from the bottom reads “3236.0-Massage Therapists 672”, and broken down by fiscal year starting in 2015-16: (a) how many temporary foreign workers in this employment sector (i) applied for work permits, (ii) received work permits, (iii) came to Canada and were employed in this sector; (b) what is the numerical breakdown of permits sponsored by individual companies and organizations; (c) what steps were taken to ensure that these individuals were not forced into sexual human trafficking when in Canada; (d) how many of these individuals were alleged or found to have been trafficked into sex work; and (e) what enforcement action was taken by (i) Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada, (ii) Employment and Social Development Canada, (iii) the Canada Border Services Agency, (iv) the RCMP, (v) provincial police, (vi) municipal police, (vii) any other government department or agency, to protect individuals that were alleged or found to have been trafficked into sex work?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 406—
Mr. Brad Redekopp:
    With regard to the Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP), human trafficking and sexual slavery: (a) since the use of the TFWP to actively recruit and sell individuals into sexual slavery in the early 2000s, what internal policy safeguards does (i) Employment and Social Development Canada, (ii) Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, (iii) the Canada Border Services Agency, (iv) the RCMP, have in place to prevent the program from being exploited as a human trafficking route as it once was; (b) what protections are in place for vulnerable individuals in job categories that are used as sex work in Canada such as, but not limited to, massage therapists; (c) how many complaints has each department or agency received, broken down by fiscal year, starting in 2015-16 to present, and job category for unwanted sexual harassment, sexual assault and sexual trafficking; (d) of the complaints in (c), how many were (i) investigated, (ii) founded, (iii) unfounded, and what enforcement actions were taken; and (e) are Canadian companies still eligible to receive temporary foreign workers if complaints against them were founded, and, if so, why?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 407—
Mr. Don Davies:
    With regard to the mandate letter of the Minister of Health and the direction in the letter to invest in the study of the long-term health impacts of COVID-19, including the effects of long COVID on different groups, notably vulnerable populations and children: what is the total funding allocated for this purpose, broken down by (i) fiscal year, (ii) department or agency, (iii) initiative, (iv) amount?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 409—
Mr. Dan Mazier:
    With regard to the Climate Action Incentive Fund (CAIF) in Manitoba, broken down by year since 2019: (a) how much revenue was collected through the government’s carbon tax, broken down by how much was collected in each (i) municipality, (ii) university, (iii) hospital; and (b) how much of that collected revenue was returned through the CAIF’s Municipalities, Universities, Schools and Hospitals Retrofit stream, broken down by (i) municipality, (ii) university, (iii) hospital?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 410—
Mr. Dan Mazier:
    With regard to the Lake Audy Campground in Riding Mountain National Park, broken down by year since 2017: (a) how much revenue was collected by Parks Canada from camping fees, broken down by type of campsite, including (i) regular campsite, (ii) group camping, (iii) oTENTik camping; and (b) how many registered campers visited the Lake Audy Campground, broken down by type of campsite, including (i) regular campsite, (ii) group camping, (iii) oTENTik camping?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 412—
Mrs. Cheryl Gallant:
    With regard to the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF): (a) what is the total inventory by number for (i) radiation protective HazMat suits with breathing gear, (ii) filled oxygen tanks, (iii) robotic, handheld, vehicle mounted, personal dosimeter and radiation detection devices, (iv) decontamination stations, (v) positive pressure safety shelters; and (b) for each item mentioned in (a), (i) where are the items stored, (ii) what are the expiration dates, (iii) on what day were they most recently inspected, (iv) what number passed inspection, (v) what number is currently assigned to CAF personnel deployed in Eastern Europe?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 417—
Mr. Blake Desjarlais:
    With regard to the government’s use of Microsoft Teams, broken down by department: (a) how many employees use Microsoft Teams, reflected as a number and total percentage; and (b) what is the chat-retention policy of the department for one-to-one, group and meeting chat messages?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 418—
Mr. Dave MacKenzie:
    With regard to the Prime Minister's trip to Europe from March 6 to 11, 2022: (a) excluding security personnel, what are the names and titles of the passengers on the Prime Minister's flights to and from Europe; (b) what are the (i) dates, (ii) times, (iii) location of each meeting attended by either the Prime Minister, other ministers, or any other government representative during the trip; and (c) for each meeting in (b), who were the attendees, including what organization each attendee was representing?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 419—
Mr. Matt Jeneroux:
    With regard to the government's Black Entrepreneurship Program: (a) how much of the $265 million allocated to the program has been distributed to date; and (b) what are the details of all projects which have been funded through the program, including, for each, the (i) recipient, (ii) amount of federal contribution, (iii) project description, (iv) date of the announcement, (v) date the recipient actually received the federal funding, (vi) project location, (vii) file number?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 420—
Mr. Robert Kitchen:
    With regard to electric vehicle charging stations located on property owned by the government, including Parliament Hill, or by government agencies such as Parks Canada: what was the daily average number of cars that used each charging station, broken down by month, since January 1, 2020, and by location of the charging station?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 424—
Mrs. Shelby Kramp-Neuman:
    With regard to bonuses paid out to government officials in the 2020-21 fiscal year, broken down by department or agency: (a) what was the total amount paid out in bonuses; and (b) how many and what percentage of officials (i) at or above the executive (EX) level (or equivalent), (ii) below the EX level (or equivalent), received bonuses?
    (Return tabled)

  (1530)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I ask that all remaining questions be allowed to stand.
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[Translation]

Budget Implementation Act, 2022, No. 1

    The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-19, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 7, 2022 and other measures, be read the second time and referred to a committee, of the amendment and of the amendment to the amendment.
    The hon. member for Longueuil—Saint-Hubert had three minutes and 25 seconds remaining when his speech was interrupted.
    Madam Speaker, I was saying that we are experiencing four major crises in Canada, and I was talking about the housing crisis. I was explaining that there are some measures in the budget that we find a bit dangerous, particularly with regard to speeding up the construction of housing with the municipalities.
    In my riding, La Halte du Coin is an organization for the homeless with high acceptance rates. It was set up during the pandemic when there was an outbreak in downtown Longueuil. I want to recognize Nicolas Gildersleeve, the director, and the entire team at La Halte du Coin for the incredible job they do.
    All of Longueuil pitched in to make this organization a reality. The homelessness and housing sector in Longueuil is extremely good. Some people have been working in that field for 25 or 30 years. They are experts, very committed and empathetic individuals. I love them and I learn something new from them every time I see them.
    Last Thursday, I left here to participate in a fundraiser for La Halte du Coin. Longueuil's entire housing sector was there already. It was remarkable. I wrote down a list of everyone who participated and I thought I would have a chance to name them all, but I really do not have enough time left.
    The last time I went to La Halte du Coin, at the beginning of April, the organization was in need of volunteers. Like many such organizations, they need more people. I went by and spent two hours around suppertime serving meals.
    That is unique and it is what I wanted to talk about. La Halte du Coin is located in a church on Sainte-Foy Boulevard in Longueuil. The organization serves meals during the day and has 30 beds at night. Around 6 p.m., they ask everyone to leave so that they can get the beds ready. About 50 people had a meal and then went outside to smoke while they waited. That evening in early April was cold and rainy.
    After helping to serve supper and set up the beds with the people who were there, I went outside. There were 50 people waiting. It was very upsetting to see because there was not going to be enough room for everyone. Fifty meals were served but there were only 30 beds inside. Those who were unable to get a bed slept on the ground outside the building, in the parking lot or in the ATM vestibule not far from there.
    It is terrible. We are unable to house all those who need it in this country. There are many causes for homelessness, including mental health issues and addiction. Homelessness is a complex issue.
    I was talking to the people who were there, the homeless. I had the opportunity to talk to them at suppertime. I got the feeling that these are very proud people and that they are not happy about having to rely on a resource for homeless people. They wanted to tell me that soon, in one or two months, they would be able to find a place to live, that they were happy, that they had a job lined up and that things were going to work out. Sometimes that does not happen, but I got the feeling that—
    I have to interrupt the member because his time was up a little while ago. I am sure he will have an opportunity to say more during questions and comments.

[English]

    Questions and comments, the hon. parliamentary secretary.
     Madam Speaker, the member is talking about housing. It is important for us to recognize that there is a need for strong leadership on the housing file because it is not only Ottawa that plays a role. The provincial governments, municipal governments and different stakeholders all have a role to play.
     I think what we have seen from Ottawa over the last number of years is very strong leadership, whether through the first-ever national housing strategy, the historic amount of public dollars being invested in housing or the support of programs such as housing co-ops.
    I am wondering if the member would reflect on the importance of the role that the three levels of government in particular need to play to increase the housing stock in Canada.

  (1535)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, let me begin by apologizing for contradicting my colleague, but when he says the federal government has led by example, that is not true.
    According to a report published two or three months ago, the government has built only 35,000 units since 2017. In the budget, the government promised to build 100,000 units. We do not even know how that is going to work.
     In a newspaper interview a few days ago, the director of the National Housing Council, the organization that was created as part of the National Housing Strategy, said that the strategy had met the needs of only 4.8% of households with urgent housing needs. The point of the strategy is to help the most vulnerable, but right now, it just is not cutting it.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, with respect to the budget implementation act, I know one issue that I have been following very closely is the issue of direction and control. Unreasonable regulations exist in the context of charities law. The budget finally recognized there was a problem with this, but at the same time there are some concerns about whether the solution offered is adequate.
    We need to fix these regulations. We need to work across party lines to get this done, because right now they are piling millions of dollars' worth of red tape every year onto charitable organizations. I wonder if my colleague has a comment about the need to reform these regulations and remove red tape so that charities can do their work unencumbered.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I am not really sure I understood the question. In any case, one thing is certain: When I speak with representatives from community and housing organizations, especially those in my riding, the issue of red tape comes up often.
    It is important to understand that the housing sector, much like all community sectors in Quebec, has limited means and is short on employees. Moreover, the labour shortage affects them dramatically. There is a reason why Halte du Coin was asking for volunteers. It is because they do not have enough employees and they cannot pay $150 an hour. The salaries they offer are lower than public service salaries, so they have trouble retaining people with specific expertise. They all mention the red tape and paperwork, especially for grant applications.
    I think there must be a way to harmonize all levels of government so that the criteria are more straightforward and the focus is on helping people, as it should be.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I thank the member so much for the advocacy he is doing here, but also for the advocacy he has mentioned in the past that he does in his riding.
    I want to ask the member about government loans for municipalities and cities. What are you hearing in Quebec about access to operating funds from the government for housing in cities?
    I will not tell her what I am hearing, but I am sure the hon. member for Longueuil—Saint-Hubert is able to do that.
    I want to remind the member to address her questions through the Chair and not directly to the member.

[Translation]

    The hon. member for Longueuil—Saint‑Hubert has one minute to respond.
    Madam Speaker, there are indeed programs in Quebec. One of them was created after the federal government pulled out in 1993. It is called AccèsLogis Québec, and it is a very good program. Unfortunately, there is some uncertainty right now as to whether it will survive. Like everything else, it lacks funding.
    At the federal level, we should focus on programs that really work, such as the rapid housing initiative, the RHI. There are some interesting programs that work but that do not have a big impact on affordability. The RHI is a very good program. The problem is that there is not enough money in it.
    It is an honour to rise in the House to speak to a bill to implement certain provisions of our 2022 budget.
    Before I get into my speech, I want to acknowledge my family and express my gratitude to them, to my husband and best friend, and to my daughter Ellie, who, although she might not know it, motivates me to speak to the issues important to me, such as gun control, affordability, the environment or our fight against climate change.
    My family has not seen me much since the House resumed in January. I was in Ottawa, either in the House of Commons or in my office, fulfilling a long-time dream of mine to work on drafting a federal budget.
    We set ourselves an objective to draft a budget focused on affordability and that was also fiscally responsible and would enable Canada to maintain its favourable fiscal position, with the lowest net debt in the G7 and the smallest deficit among G7 countries.

  (1540)  

[English]

    I would like to take a moment to pause and note that the statistics I just mentioned mean that we, as a federal government, went from spending very much in an emergency context to support small businesses and Canadians through the pandemic to very quickly adjusting once that period of emergency was behind us in order to be fiscally responsible and to ensure that our spending would go down as global inflation was rising.
    What is also interesting is that this pivot was not only done successfully, but it is also causing experts, including experts at the IMF, to predict that our growth here in Canada will be the highest among the G7 countries this year, as well as next year.

[Translation]

    This is first and foremost a budget that addresses today's specific needs in the areas of housing, the environment, reconciliation, inclusion and equity. It also had to address needs arising from the current geopolitical context.
    I am someone who believes that one of the federal government's roles is to ensure the sovereignty of its territory and its national defence. It must ensure that the country is prepared for any eventuality.
     That is why our budget includes historic investments in defence, to support Ukraine in its fight for freedom and democracy, including our own.

[English]

    The war in Ukraine is also causing ripple effects in economies throughout the world. Energy prices in particular have soared as a result of the war, and food prices as well. Canadians are feeling this at the pump and the supermarket. This is a period of global inflation. That is why our government has taken unprecedented steps to ensure we were putting money back into the pockets of Canadians. I think often of the Canada child benefit because it is not only a cheque that is received every month by families, but also a program that has lifted over a million Canadians out of poverty, including 300,000 children.
    There are many other programs, and this budget provides many other proposals, including a one-time payment for Canadians having difficulty finding access to affordable housing and subsidizing dental care. These are programs that are going to help Canadians meet the rising cost of living.
    It is also why this budget proposes the creation of a historic number of new homes, and we are making it easier for people to buy their first home through a tax-free first home savings account, as well as through doubling the first-time homebuyers' tax credit, and many other measures as part of this historic housing program we have put in place.

[Translation]

    This budget also tackles the climate crisis by implementing our ambitious plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030 and get to net-zero by 2050.
    To achieve this, we will establish a national network of charging stations and ensure that 100% of vehicles sold will be zero emission by 2035.
    We are investing more to protect more of our land and oceans, and providing funding to Environment and Climate Change Canada to fight plastic pollution.

  (1545)  

[English]

    There are so many aspects of this budget that I would like to discuss. I touched on housing and the environment. I could speak at length about the importance of ensuring that more and growing small businesses would have access to our 9% small business tax rate, a measure in this budget that I care so deeply about. There are also incredible measures in this budget in order to ensure a bold and successful immigration plan, which would help us bring newcomers to Canada and also deal with the labour shortage we are experiencing.
    In the short amount of time I have left, I would like to reflect on our history. During the First World War, Canadians fought bravely and played an instrumental role in the Allies' victory. We have all heard the stories of the Battle of Vimy Ridge and the Hundred Days campaign. Canadians showed their strength, time and time again, in the face of the enemy. Just 21 years later, we found ourselves in the Second World War, and Canada once again played a vital role in ensuring victory against the fascist Axis Powers.
     Yesterday was Victory in Europe Day, which celebrates the surrender of Nazi Germany and the liberation of Europe. As I walked to Parliament today, I saw beautiful tulip bulbs everywhere. I saw those red tulips on every corner of our capital city. I thought of the role Canada played in liberating Europe, and this beautiful yearly offering from the Netherlands to honour the role played there by our Canadian men and women in uniform. As we all know, following the Second World War, Canada played a leading role in the establishment of the United Nations and its all-important peacekeeping force.
    If we do not know our past, we cannot know our future. Canada has always played an outsized role in setting the world aright again. We do so today with the provision of support, particularly the provision of weapons, for Ukraine, and Canada was among the first, ensuring our initial deliveries of weapons arrived before the invasion.
    The current war also makes clear that we must continue to strengthen NATO. I believe that Canada must and will continue to be a leader among nations, and I am encouraged and look forward to welcoming Sweden, Finland and, yes, hopefully and ultimately, Ukraine into NATO.
    We know that this decision rests with the entire membership of NATO, and that consent to join NATO has to be unanimous. However, I feel it is important, considering that I have personally been sanctioned by Russia, to continue to make my view known publicly, both here in this chamber and elsewhere.
    As a member of the foreign affairs committee, I have been deeply engaged in Canada's response to the illegal war begun by President Putin. As the ambassador-designate of Ukraine, my new friend recently arrived in Canada, told us just a few days ago in response to my questions in committee, what Ukraine needs now, first and foremost, is weapons. This is not to diminish the crucial and important role that humanitarian aid plays and the diplomatic support that Canada has been providing.
     However, when Ukrainians are staring down a tank that is poised to hit a school, a shelter or a residential area, what they need are anti-tank missiles. When Ukrainians are fighting by night, what they need are night-vision goggles. When they fight by day, what they need are weapons. Our budget includes $500 million to continue to support their fight.
    I hope that all members in this House will support our budget.
    Madam Speaker, I agree with many of the things my friend and colleague said, at least with respect to our needed engagement in the world.
    Respectfully, the government was a little behind. I recall the first throne speech the government came out with in 2015 talked about the need for “a leaner military.” We have been pushing the government, prior to this invasion, to do more in terms of sanctions and weapons supplies.
    I hope the member will continue to urge her government to do even more, because I think she put her finger on the right point in terms of the critical importance of supplying weapons.
    The member spoke about the issue of debt at the beginning of her speech. Sometimes we make the mistake of comparing Canadian federal debt to other countries' federal debt, when actually in Canada we need to take into consideration the total level of government debt. Canada has very high total government debt when we consider the fact that many of the services that are provided in our country are actually provided by other levels of government.
    Federal debt has more than doubled in the time the Prime Minister has been in office. I would submit that, if we are so far in debt that we would not be able to afford to lead anymore, is the member concerned about the debt levels and the impact as interest rates rise?

  (1550)  

    Madam Speaker, there was much in that question. I would like to thank my colleague for recognizing the work that Canada has done to continue to support Ukraine. I would also like to thank my colleague for his work at our foreign affairs committee. However, I do believe that it was former prime minister Harper who cut the most from our national defence investments. I believe that we need to continue investing in our defensive capabilities, and this budget goes a long way in order to do just that.
    With respect to the economic aspect of his question, I would point him to the consistently falling net debt-to-GDP ratio in our budget. I would point him to the statistics I mentioned on having the lowest deficit in the G7. This is ensuring that our economy continues to function well and to grow, and that we continue to attract foreign direct investment at unprecedented rates, which we are.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her speech.
    I would like to hear her thoughts about immigration and resources, particularly when it comes to temporary foreign workers.
    I am a bit disappointed that there is not much about that in Bill C-19. There are a few general measures on economic targets, but they will not really affect Quebec, because Quebec makes its own selections in the economic classes. What we need is significant resources to process applications.
    Again this morning, I spoke to an asparagus farmer in my riding who had asked to have his workers by April 23. He was so worried he would not get any workers at all that he was prepared to pay them to sit around and do nothing until May 10. Tomorrow is May 10 and he is still short six workers. That is a loss of $100,000.
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.
    I completely agree that we need to invest more resources in our immigration system. Members from across the country and I are also getting calls. I know that there are major delays, but there is also work to do in partnership with the Government of Quebec.
    We set federal immigration levels, and Quebec set other immigration levels, which unfortunately are lower.
    I think that everyone here in the House is capable of working together to ensure that we have enough workers in the country so that our small businesses and farmers can be as successful as we all know they can be.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I note that in the budget speech there was no mention of health care workers and no mention of the very important care economy. With this week being National Nursing Week, I wanted to ask the member about this. There is a top-up in the budget for health care, but the health care workforce is at a crisis point. Will there be additional investments made by the government to make sure that the labour shortages in the nursing profession are addressed?
    Madam Speaker, I sincerely appreciate this question. I would point the member to the fact that we, as the federal government, must respect the jurisdictions of different layers of government, and health care is provincial jurisdiction. We are absolutely interested in sitting down with provinces and territories to come to an agreement, but, as I am sure she is aware, we would need the provinces to take the lead on such a matter.
    Madam Speaker, I am happy to rise here to speak to Bill C-19, the budget implementation act.
    This pandemic has been incredibly difficult for many Canadians, and now we have a housing crisis, rising inflation and a labour shortage, which are all adding to these difficulties. Our health care system has come close to a breaking point on several occasions. Thousands have died. Millions have been seriously ill. Doctors, nurses and all health care workers have been under unbelievable stress and physical exhaustion. I want to say a personal thanks to all of those who cared for us and our loved ones over the past two years and more.
     Businesses and workers suffered through a series of lockdowns. Nine million Canadians found themselves out of work, without income and with no way to pay their rent, their mortgage and their grocery bills. Companies were in similar dire straits. Fortunately, this House came together to pass measures that kept people financially afloat and measures that allowed businesses to keep employees on the payroll. However, last year, we learned that still over half of Canadians were only $200 from insolvency at the end of every month, and that was before the housing crisis reached another level of unbelievable house prices, monthly rents and rental availability.
    The NDP is focused on helping Canadians, making sure they get the health care they need no matter where they live or their level of income, making sure they can find a home they can afford, making sure they have the means to live out their senior years in dignity, and making sure that those Canadians who did well through the pandemic, some of whom made billions of dollars in profits, pay their fair share.
    This is the first budget after the Liberals and the NDP announced their confidence and supply agreement, so I would like to highlight some of the gains that we achieved in this agreement by using our power here in the House of Commons to help Canadians.
     It is fair to say that the big gains have come in creating a stronger health care system here in Canada. When we created the universal health care system that we are so proud of, several aspects of health care were left out. At the top of that list is dental care, so I am proud that we will be bringing dental care coverage to all Canadians who need it, through this agreement. It would start with free dental care for all children without coverage this year, and by the third year we would have dental care for everyone with a household income of less than $90,000 who does not have coverage now.
    I have already spoken in this House about the impact this would have. It would be literally life-changing for so many lower-income Canadians, who would have access to dental care for the first time, access that so many other Canadians just take for granted. It would not only change people's lives, but it would save our broader health care system millions of dollars. Alex Munter, the CEO of the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, has told us that dental restoration is the most common surgery carried out in that hospital, restoration that is needed because of the lack of preventive care. This program would keep kids out of hospital. I have to remind Canadians that both the Liberals and the Conservatives voted down this exact initiative less than a year ago, so the NDP is very proud that it would move ahead to change lives for the better.
    Similarly, the confidence and supply agreement ensures that universal pharmacare would be added to our health care coverage. Canada is the only country with comprehensive health care coverage that does not include prescribed medications in that coverage. This program would not only save lives, as 10% of Canadians simply cannot afford to fill their prescriptions, but it would save the Canadian economy more than $4 billion a year through the power of a single buyer when we purchase medications. More savings, over $10 billion per year according to some estimates, would accrue by simply keeping people out of hospital and keeping them healthier through proper medication.
    I recently spoke here about the crisis in long-term care, so I will not go into detail, other than to say that one of the other points in our agreement was to bring a safe long-term care act, which would go a long way toward ensuring that our seniors can live in dignity.
    The issue that is critical for many Canadians, certainly in my riding, is housing: the impossible cost of buying a house, the ridiculous rental rates and the extreme difficulty in even finding rental accommodation. My riding has an unenviable combination of high housing prices, with the average house price in my riding running at about $1 million, and low incomes. The average single income in my riding is around $30,000.

  (1555)  

    In our agreement with the Liberals, the NDP won an extension of the rapid housing initiative, which would add $1.5 billion in funding to build more than 4,500 affordable housing units.
    We have also made the government's rental construction financing initiative actually work for renters across the country. Previously, this program, which is the biggest CMHC program for rental housing, was doing little or nothing to provide affordable housing. It was giving money to developers to build rental units that were then being rented at an average of 50% above the average market value, so we were giving out taxpayers' money to help developers charge excessive rent. The NDP has fixed this, to ensure that 40% of these units will be rented out at below 80% of average market rent. In my riding, that means the production of units that will be offered at $900 per month, compared to the former Liberal rates of $2,000 per month.
    We still have more to do. The NDP has pledged to build half a million units of affordable housing over 10 years, to make up the effort lost over the past 30 years, after successive Liberal and Conservative governments got out of the affordable housing game. We will continue pressing the government to make these necessary investments so that all Canadians can have a roof over their head.
    I will briefly mention that I am disappointed that this budget seems to do little for the fight against climate change. In particular, I have real concerns that billions of dollars will be given to highly profitable oil and gas companies to try to implement carbon capture technologies that will likely delay rather than hasten our shift to a cleaner energy future.
    When balancing budgets, governments too often forget the revenue side of the equation. During the pandemic, most Canadians have suffered financially, while a few in the 1% have made extraordinary profits. The NDP had called for an excessive profits tax, as well as a wealth tax of 1% for those Canadians who have assets over $10 million, to make sure the costs of the pandemic are borne more by those who can afford it rather than have the burden fall on the majority of Canadians who have suffered.
    While the Liberals did not agree to our reasonable request, they have agreed to levy a one-time excess profit tax of 15% for banks and a permanent 1.5% tax increase for banks. These two measures will recoup over $6 billion in taxes over the next five years. The NDP would have preferred that the excess profit tax be extended to big corporations such as big oil companies and big box retailers such as Walmart, which made a $3.5-billion profit in the fourth quarter of 2021 alone. We are also disappointed that these taxes are not included in this budget implementation act.
    I will finish by mentioning one small victory in excise tax reform that stems from my private member's bill, Bill C-267, which would remove the alcohol excise tax from low-alcohol beer. Low-alcohol wine and spirits do not face this tax. None of Canada's trading partners charge this tax. My bill was meant to make a common sense change to the excise tax to level the playing field. The beer industry was paying more than $1 million every year in excise tax on low-alcohol beer. The beer industry and millions of Canadians who drink low-alcohol beer, and myself, are all happy to see this bill incorporated into this budget implementation act.
    I was disappointed to see that other issues stemming from the changes to the Excise Act were not dealt with in this budget. Many wineries in my riding will be paying excise tax for the first time, since their exemption was eliminated after a challenge at the World Trade Organization. Wine Growers Canada has been calling for permanent trade legal support for the industry to match the supports provided by other major wine-producing countries. The government has offered temporary 18-month support, but I was hoping for a more long-lasting measure that would really make a difference in this important industry.
    The NDP will continue working to make life better for Canadians. I believe this bill is a step in the right direction, but we have a long journey to go.

  (1600)  

    Madam Speaker, I look at the budget from a holistic approach. There are many things within the budget one can talk about. When I reflect on the last federal election, Canadians did send a message that whether one was in government or in opposition, the expectation was that people would take their roles in a very responsible fashion.
    Part of what we have witnessed over the last number of weeks and months is that there seems to be a higher sense of co-operation and recognition that by working together we can be more effective at getting things done for Canadians in all regions of the country. That does not limit an opposition party to work with the government and at the same time be a critic of the government. Could my friend provide his thoughts on that?

  (1605)  

    Madam Speaker, I would agree with the member for Winnipeg North. Most Canadians and constituents I talk to want politicians to collaborate and act collegially to create the best for Canadians and to make sure we are working here to make lives better for Canadians.
    That is what the NDP has been concentrating on. We were very happy to work on this agreement with the Liberals because they agreed to put forward several pieces of legislation that we have been putting forward and they have been voting against. However, they have agreed to do that because we know it will make life better for Canadians.
    Yes, we still have plenty to criticize the Liberals for, and we will continue doing that, but I think this is what Canadians want to see.
    Madam Speaker, NDP members keep referring to carbon capture and storage. Carbon capture and storage is happening right now. It is happening in my constituency and in other places. There is an existing project that received a substantial amount of public funds, but there is a new project that is being developed, the Polaris project, built entirely with private funds, taking advantage of carbon credits. This is the private sector investing in carbon capture technology, benefiting from carbon credits and doing so in a way that reduces emissions while creating jobs and opportunities.
    It is really hard for me to understand politicians in this place who say they care about the environment attacking technology that works, that reduces emissions, and seemingly attacking it only on the basis that the private sector is involved. It is as if the NDP is not so much motivated by concern for the environment as it is by just a general antipathy toward any kind of private sector development or companies involved in the oil and gas sector trying to be part of the solution.
    Will NDP members recognize the reality that carbon capture and storage works, that it is working now, and take the opportunity to at least see it in action—
    We will have to allow the hon. member to answer.
    The hon. member for South Okanagan—West Kootenay.
    Madam Speaker, I am not so much concerned about carbon capture and storage because the private sector is involved. What I am concerned about is that the oil and gas sector is involved and is using that carbon capture and storage technique to basically pump more oil and gas out of the ground. It is enhanced oil recovery.
    It has been going on for years in the United States. There is a lot of data to show that it does not work in terms of reducing the amount of emissions into the atmosphere overall. It is really designed to get more oil and gas out of the ground, which will be burned and create more emissions. That is why we are concerned about this kind of carbon capture and storage.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I listened carefully to my colleague's speech.
    At the beginning of his speech, he spoke a lot about the need for new housing. However, the housing announced in the budget will not be available for another two or three years, because housing cannot be built instantaneously. Still, there may be a way to help people find housing.
    For example, in some regions, Airbnb has taken over 20, 25 or 30 housing units so that it can profit off of renting them out by the day or the week.
    Would this not be a way to control these companies, to ensure that these units remain permanent rental units for residents?

  (1610)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the member for that important question. Certainly in my riding, short-term rentals such as Airbnb are a huge part of the housing problem, because everybody wants to come to my riding for a holiday. I would comment that most of the laws regarding Airbnb are municipal and provincial, but I would certainly be happy to enter into that debate here if it were put forward.
    Madam Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Niagara West.
    I would like to quote a fiscal Conservative, who stated:
    Canadians want to know that the principles guiding government are ones that they share.
     Here are our principles.
    First, governments created the deficit burden. And so governments must resolve it—by focusing first in their own backyards—by getting spending down, not by putting taxes up.
    Second, our fiscal strategy will be worth nothing if at the end of the day we have not provided hope for jobs and for growth. We must focus on getting growth up at the same time as we strive to get spending down.
     Third, we must be frugal in everything we do. Waste in government is simply not tolerable.
    Fourth, we must forever put aside the old notion that new government programs require additional spending. They don’t. What they do require is the will to shut down what doesn’t work and focus on what can. That is why a central thrust of our effort is reallocation. Whether on the spending side or on the revenue side, every initiative in this budget reflects a shift from lower to higher priority areas.
...finally, we must always be fair and compassionate. It is the most vulnerable whose voices are often the least strong. We must never let the need to be frugal become an excuse to stop being fair.
    That was former finance minister Paul Martin in his 1996 budget speech. He understood how to create jobs and growth: It was to focus on growth at the same time as getting spending down and not putting taxes up. It was to forever put aside the old notion that new government programs required additional spending.
    This budget in front of the House today does the opposite. It increases taxes. It increases spending, and spends on consumption rather than on investment. This is an approach the current government has taken since it came to office in 2015, and it is not working. In fact, the government admits to this in its own budget.
    On page 25 of the budget document, there is a chart entitled, “Average Potential Annual Growth in Real GDP per capita, Selected OECD Countries, 2020-2060”. In this chart, Canada is dead last. It is an indictment of the economic policies of the government over the past six years. While the budget pays lip service to jobs and growth, it does not have a credible plan to create them.
    Here is what the CEO of RBC, David McKay, said recently about the government’s economic policies. RBC is one of the largest private-sector employers in Canada. He stated:
    Tax and spend to me is like eating Sugar Pops for breakfast. You feel really good for an hour and you feel crappy by noon, at the end of the day. And that’s what tax-and-spend gives you. It doesn’t give you sustainable prosperity.
    The budget increases taxes. In fact, it levies a new tax on significant financial institutions, which have been one of the few sectors of growth in the Canadian economy in recent years.
    The budget increases government spending. It calls for more than $56 billion in new spending over the next six years. That comes on top of the additional spending that was announced in last fall’s economic update. That, in turn, comes on top of the additional spending announced in last year's budget. In fact, the government is now spending $70 billion a year more than it did before the pandemic hit. That is more than 3% of GDP, which is an incredible increase in government spending.

  (1615)  

    Despite all this new spending, the government is not allocating spending in the right places. For example, the spending does not reflect the need to strengthen Canada’s defence and security and the need to uphold our international commitments.
    All of this new spending announced in the budget in last fall's economic update, and in last year’s budget, is not going to the Canadian military. First off, a big problem with the budget documents, in terms of transparency to Parliament, is that the government is proposing two very different and contradictory figures for military spending in the budget documents. One number it proposes is an additional $8 billion over the next five years, but elsewhere in the budget it proposes an additional $23 billion over the next three years. These numbers are not fully accounted for.
    If we set aside the two different figures in the budget for military spending, even if we take the most optimistic scenario that the government has laid out in the budget, it still doesn't meet Canada’s international NATO commitments.
    The world changed on February 24. Russia attacked Ukraine, beginning the first war between states in Europe since 1945. In doing so, autocratic states such as Russia have made it clear that they are prepared to attack democracies abroad and here at home.
    Other governments have realized that the world has changed. That is why, on February 27, Germany did a U-turn on decades of foreign and military policy. Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who heads a centre-left coalition, announced that Germany would immediately begin increasing defence spending to meet and exceed the 2% NATO commitment, beginning with an immediate infusion of $140 billion Canadian in new military spending.
    The German government understands that the world has changed. The Liberal government does not.
    NATO members have had a long-standing commitment to spend 2% of gross domestic product on the military. As I've just mentioned, Germany will be meeting that commitment. Canada’s closest allies already exceed that commitment, including the United States, the United Kingdom and France. Canada does not, and the budget contains no measures for us to meet that NATO commitment. In fact, in the latest NATO data, Canada ranks 25th out of 29 member states of NATO, in terms of our contribution to our defence and security.
    That was not always the case. Canada was once a leading contributor to the alliance. More than 1.1 million Canadians served in the Second World War, and over 40,000 paid the ultimate sacrifice and gave their lives in defence of this country. For decades, throughout the 1980s and well into the early 1990s, Canada exceeded the 2% commitment. Canada spent more than 2% of its gross domestic product on defence.
    Here is why that lack of defence spending should concern us all. There is no greater guarantee of peace and security in this world than military strength.
    In fact, before 1945, in North America, both Canada and the United States had no standing militaries of any scale to deter aggression. In the century before 1945, our histories were replete with bloody and costly wars that led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of our citizens in defence of democracy, freedom and the rule of law.
    That is why, since 1945, we have pledged to never again go through that horrific period in history, as we agreed to establish standing militaries of sufficient size to deter the aggression we are seeing around the world and, potentially, the aggression we might see in the Indo-Pacific region.
    The greatest guarantor of peace and security is a strong and robust military. Because the government is not allocating enough spending to Canada’s military, it is leaving Canada exposed and vulnerable in a violent and unstable world.
    As Mr. Martin understood almost three decades ago, the budget should create jobs and growth by getting spending down and not by getting taxes up, and by forever putting aside the old notion that new government programs require additional spending. What spending does take place should take the form of investment, rather than consumption.
    The government, though, has forgotten the lessons of the 1990s. Taxes and spending are up. New programs have not come from reallocation but from additional spending, and this spending comes in the form of consumption, rather than investment.

  (1620)  

    Despite all this additional spending, the government's budget does not uphold our NATO defence spending commitment, as outlined in the Wales Summit Declaration of 2014.
    For all those reasons, I cannot support this budget.
    Madam Speaker, I listened with interest to the hon. member's speech, and with not just a little puzzlement.
    He quoted rather fondly former prime minister Martin, yet he was part of the government that took what was record debt reimbursement and turned it into new, and structural, deficits over the life of the government he was a part of. He quotes NATO spending. NATO spending, as a percentage of GDP, went under 1% under his watch and that of the government he was part of.
    I am just wondering this. Now that he has run and knocked on doors and asked people to support a bigger spending platform than that which the Liberal Party proposed in last year's election, how does he reconcile the views he states today with all of these very puzzling seeming contradictions?
    Madam Speaker, there are no contradictions at all. In fact, when the current government took office on November 5, 2015, it inherited a budget surplus. The previous government had balanced the budget by the time the current government took office. In fact, it then spent an inordinate amount of money until the fiscal year end of March 31, 2016, that actually pushed the country back into deficit. It was under the Liberals' watch that the country went into deficit in early 2016.
    With respect to our NATO defence spending commitments, it is true that defence spending did not meet that commitment during much of the aughts, nor did it during much of the 1990s, but that was in the context of the fall of the Berlin Wall, when we assumed that autocratic states such as Russia and China would improve their records on human rights, democracy and rule of law and would be good partners in the international order. That changed on February 24 with Russia's invasion of Ukraine: the first attack on a European democracy by another European state. That is why we now need to do what Germany has done, and increase defence spending to 2% of gross domestic product.
    Madam Speaker, one of the issues that is very concerning to me, and that was not addressed in this budget at all, is marriage after 60. We know that if veterans, military folks, RCMP and our federal civil servants get married after 60, their partners get no survivor benefits after those members pass. Right now, we are working with an amazing human being who put away $153,000 out of his own pension to look after his partner when he passed. Now, she is very ill, and it does not look like she is going to make it. I think it is very concerning that the $153,000 is not going to be returned to that person.
    Could the member speak about how important it is to recognize the people who served us so well, and their partners?
    Madam Speaker, my hon. colleague's question highlights an important debt of gratitude and an important debt we all owe, as Canadians, to the veterans who have served this country, both in current and past conflicts.
    I know that my wife has many members of her family who have contributed to Canada's armed forces and served in uniform in both of the great wars of the 20th century. I would not be here today were it not for Canadian soldiers who defended Hong Kongers during the vicious battle of Hong Kong in the early days of the Second World War, and my mother with her family was liberated by Canadian soldiers during the liberation of the Netherlands. We must do better to ensure that today's generation of veterans has the supports necessary to ensure they can live out their years in peace, and with the sufficient supports we all owe to them.

  (1625)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, in his speech, my colleague expressed his disappointment with the government's investments in the armed forces. I would have liked to hear more on this topic.
    As members know, a lot of the equipment available to our armed forces is positively ancient, and the Canadian Armed Forces are chronically under-funded. For example, our soldiers are using handguns from around the time of the Second World War, and they cannot even get boots.
    I would like to hear my colleague share his thoughts on the Canadian army's procurement system and the difficult financial position it is in now.

[English]

    Before I go to the hon. member, I want to remind members who want to have side conversations that it is best to take them elsewhere.
    I would like a brief answer from the member for Wellington—Halton Hills.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his question.
    I think we need to invest more in equipment for the Canadian Armed Forces. It is clear that we have a problem because, after sending only $100 million worth of equipment to Ukraine, the government said it could not give any more, because we have no more equipment to give.
    It is therefore clear that spending on the Canadian Forces must be increased to ensure our safety and security here in Canada.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, in the more than six years since the Liberal government was elected, it has proven itself to be good at two things. First, it is excellent at spending massive amounts of money on debt, with limited results. Second, it is phenomenal at wedging, dividing and stigmatizing people, and ridiculing Canadians who disagree with it. That is the sum total of the Prime Minister and his government's record over the last six years.
    They are not good stewards of the economy and they certainly—
    I have to interrupt the member. From what I can see, there is a problem with interpretation. I think it is because the hon. member's mike is probably not picking him up.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, the interpretation service is indicating that the member's headset is not working properly. Perhaps it is something technical that should be checked.

[English]

    Could the hon. member check his mike? I do not know if he has the new headset. It is working.
    I want to remind members who are participating virtually to make sure that the correct mike and headphones are being used.
    The hon. member for Niagara West can continue.
    Madam Speaker, the Liberals are not good stewards of the economy and they certainly were not able to unify the country. However, they have managed to divide Canadians just enough so they can squeak in a minority, although they continue to lose the popular vote election after election. I would not say that it is a strong mandate at all, yet they pretend like it is.
    They have also managed to plunge us into inflation so bad that they have had to scramble to explain why. They would have us believe that it is not their fault. We have heard virtually all members deflect and blame everything and everyone else for it, but ultimately it is their fiscal management and astronomical spending and debt that got us into this problem at this point.
    What is this point? Well, for the first time in 31 years, prices are up over 6.7% compared with the previous year. This means higher grocery prices for Canadian families every time they go into the store. As a matter of fact, food prices are up 8.7% since last year.
    Families are certainly aware of gas prices every time they fill up their tanks on their way to work or to drop kids off at school. Dan McTeague, president of Canadians for Affordable Energy, is warning that gas prices could reach $2.20 a litre this summer, with diesel going even higher. That is over a 32% increase in gas prices since last year.
    In addition to gas, home heating prices are up. We live in a cold country. Canadian families have no choice but to turn up the thermostat in winter, and they have certainly seen the difference in their gas bills this past winter. Electrical bills have also gone up. Ultimately, everything Canadians purchase and pay for, or what economists call the cost of living, is going up and is going up fast.
    As the Canadian Press notes:
    A report by RBC Economics says inflation and rising borrowing costs will affect all Canadian households, but low income Canadians will feel the sharpest sting.... RBC estimates the lowest income Canadians will also be more affected as they spend a much larger share of their earnings on consumer purchases.
    It follows that “low income households have a smaller cash cushion to deal with the rise in prices and borrowing costs.”
    I am sure members of the NDP-Liberal government will stand up after my speech and try to deflect and blame others for their failures, as they usually do. Perhaps they will even invoke Stephen Harper's name again, which is a common theme. Let us remind them that it is 2022. They have been in power for more than six years, and these dismal results are entirely of their own doing.
    However, they have started to understand that their tired, old tactic of blaming previous governments is no longer effective. Canadians see that and they no longer believe them. I am sure the Liberals see it in the polls. They have realized it quickly and are trying to pivot to what would be another failed tactic. Political games are what the NDP-Liberal government is good at, not managing the economy and not managing our country's finances. It is only about playing politics. What is the plan? I ask because it certainly does not seem like there is one.
    Franco Terrazzano, federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, said:
    [The finance minister] is giving taxpayers another credit card budget with no plan to pay the bills on time and chip away at the $1-trillion debt.... [The finance minister] is taking the wait-and-see approach to the government’s credit card bills and hoping the economy can grow faster than its borrowing, but that’s not a good bet with its track record of runaway spending.
    The latest statistics bear repeating because we are in a fairly dire situation. Statistics Canada recently reported that inflation has reached its highest point since January 1991. We have all seen the news. Millions of Canadians are barely hanging on. Canadian families are spending thousands of dollars more in groceries this year compared with last, food prices are up across Canada by more than 7% and housing is a huge problem the government has done almost nothing about. In fact, since the Prime Minister and his Liberals were elected in 2015, prices for homes have doubled. The average price was over $800,000 in February, a record, and this is more than nine times the average household income.
    In fact, according to Fortune magazine, the standard home in Canada costs almost twice as much as the U.S. equivalent. Robert Hogue, RBC assistant chief economist, said that increases are “nothing short of stunning”. That is incredibly discouraging for Canadian families to hear when they are looking to purchase a home.
    The Conservatives have raised the alarm bells for many years on this specific issue, but the calls have fallen on deaf ears. Some of the most vulnerable Canadians, such as seniors, are also falling even further behind. Let us put it this way, just so everyone, hopefully including members of the NDP-Liberal government, will understand: More than half of Canadians are $200 or less away from not being able to pay their bills or rent, and 31% are unable to cover their bills because they do not earn enough income. Three in 10 Canadians are already falling behind at the end of the month.

  (1630)  

    What is worse is that this budget does nothing to address any of this. It does not do anything to address our deep economic challenges and make the lives of Canadians easier. It only makes them harder.
    Even on one of the Liberals' supposed strong suits, the environment, we recently learned from the Parliamentary Budget Officer that the carbon tax is not revenue-neutral. I hope everyone in the chamber remembers the number of times the Prime Minister and the Liberals repeated that the carbon tax was going to be revenue-neutral. I would venture to say it was hundreds of times, if not thousands, in the House, in the media and in their announcements throughout the country. In the end, was it true? Of course it was not. The Parliamentary Budget Officer said that middle-class Canadians should expect to pay hundreds of dollars, if not thousands, because of the carbon tax. That is not revenue-neutral.
    The difficult thing for me is that the Prime Minister and the Liberals already knew this. They knew that this would not be revenue-neutral, yet they still went around repeating what they knew not to be true. They repeated it so often that it convinced many Canadians.
    Where are the Liberal MPs and the Prime Minister now? We now have evidence that the carbon tax is not what they told us it would be. In fact, it is pretty much the opposite. Will they take ownership? Will they admit they were not telling the truth? On this side of the House, we will not hold our breath.
    Once again, the Liberals will skate around the question, skirt the issue and move on to their next failed attempt to implement another ill-advised policy, perhaps like a digital ID, which Canadians are rejecting because they do not trust the government. Who could blame them? There was the WE Charity scandal, the Prime Minister's trip to Paradise Island, the numerous ethics violations and the constant apologies for misdoings, yet the Liberals do the same thing over and over again.
     The digital idea is just another example by a ballooning government to introduce further and unnecessary government restrictions on Canadians. The Liberals will attempt to hurl insults for even bringing this up. On page 74 of budget 2021, they proposed to “provide $105.3 million over five years...to Transport Canada to collaborate with international partners to further advance the Known Traveller Digital Identity pilot project”, a project pushed by the now notorious and controversial World Economic Forum. The government claims that this project will be used to “test advanced technologies to facilitate touchless and secure air travel”. However, the concerns around it are already pouring in. Civil liberties groups and governments are sounding off and opposing any form of digital ID. In fact, the Government of Saskatchewan realized the ill-advised nature of the digital ID program and announced a few weeks ago that it was nixing the planned rollout.
    Many Canadians are not even aware of the digital ID programs that are now at various phases of rollout in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario. Now the federal government is planning one of its own. I am not sure why governments, including the current one, are so bent and steadfast on having such a tight, restrictive and intrusive grip on Canadians. Why do the Liberals not trust Canadians? Why are they attempting to track them as if they are livestock? In a recent interview, Ann Cavoukian, Ontario's former privacy commissioner, said, “I would never want to get a digital ID.” That is what Ontario's former privacy commissioner said about digital IDs.
    There is something very wrong when a government is obsessed with controlling its own citizens and subjecting them to such divisive and invasive technological tools. It is wrong, it must stop and it must stop now. The now infamous vaccine passports were one of the most intrusive tools to ever be put in place, in addition to being incredibly exclusionary. This trajectory cannot continue with yet another divisive tool like a digital ID.
    I understand this is being pushed on the government from external and foreign sources of influence, but submitting to this kind of insidious meddling and perpetual surveillance of Canadians' lives is troublesome, to say the least. Having this sort of government control over citizens is plain wrong in a free and democratic society like ours.
     Having said that, the government is not just reluctant to accept or support some of our most basic civil liberties. It is also hurting many industries, including a very important one in my own riding, the wine industry. The Liberals failed to freeze the automatic escalator tax increase on alcohol excise duties on April 1, once again putting our winemakers at a competitive disadvantage. This tax increase hurts not only winemakers, but breweries, cideries and distilleries. Let us not forget that over 95% of these producers are small businesses, many of which have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the inflation crisis, payroll tax increases, labour shortages and ongoing supply chain issues. An increase in the tax on alcohol hurts the industry, from growers and producers to restaurants and consumers. It is time to end this and give this incredible world-renowned sector a break from the never-ending increase on government.
    In sum, Canadians cannot afford more—

  (1635)  

    I am sorry, but I have been trying to give the hon. member a signal. His time is up. I did allow him to wrap up a bit, but I thought he was ending. I see he still has a bit more.
    Questions and comments, the hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader.
    Madam Speaker, what comes to my mind in listening to the member is that he sure put a lot of words in that speech, much of which, I must say, I disagree with. Canadians can have more hope. They do not have to be as depressed as the member is trying to imply. Whether it is Canada's job sector or many of the different social programs being put into place, there is good reason for Canadians to support the budget, which they have already, for the most part, seen and are receiving quite well.
    Does the member recognize anything good in this budget, or is it completely and universally a bad thing, from his perspective? I think there is a lot of good that he is not talking about at all.
    Madam Speaker, I would encourage my friend to come down to Niagara some time to see the crippling effect the passport problem is having on tourism in the Niagara area. If he looks at the ArriveCAN app, that is another issue. If the member were to see what is going on with hotels and the whole tourism industry, he would see how people and travel are down in a significant way.
    I look around my riding, and I look at the businesses that are struggling right now, and a lot of that comes from the policies of the government. I would encourage the member to not just spend all kinds of money on programs, but to come to see what some of the other things are doing to affect travel and tourism.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his speech. I know he lives in the Niagara region, whose wines I really enjoy, by the way.
    He heard what I said earlier about temporary foreign workers, about the lack of resources and about the ridiculous chaos we are experiencing, which is jeopardizing not only our agricultural production, but also the survival of our businesses. Could my colleague comment on that?

  (1640)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his love of Niagara wines. I too have a love of Niagara wines. We see a number of challenges in farming. The temporary foreign worker program is definitely an issue. I previously also heard some of my other colleagues talking about fertilizer and tariffs.
    A farmer called me the other day and told me they are going to pay almost more money in tariffs than they had to pay for fertilizer. I ask members to think about that. A tariff is a tax. It is a tax on everyone. This is fertilizer that farmers prepaid for last fall. I understand there is a war going on. I understand a number of things are being levied. When we put a tariff on fertilizer, we are putting a tax on Canadians, and that is a huge issue that will cost us more. To make matters worse, we have issues with getting the kind of temporary foreign workers we need so we can get the food in the ground, and once it is there, we also need help getting that food harvested.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I am pleased to learn that the NDP is in government, because I was not aware of that.
    The Liberal government is incapable of providing services to Canadians. The immigration delays are a catastrophe. The unemployed find it impossible to talk to someone about employment insurance. Now there is a crisis with passports, even though everyone knew that people would want to travel when the pandemic ended.
    Is my colleague seeing the same thing in his riding? People may well have to give up their plane tickets and their travel plans because government offices cannot meet the demand for passports.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, we are seeing lineup after lineup of people not being able to get their passports. I have a number of constituents, just as all my colleagues in the House do. There are people who applied in January and February. It is now May, and they are still not able to get their passports. This is causing great consternation. They are wondering if they are going to be able to get their flights, be able to get them on time, or are actually going to be able to travel.
    After two years, we realize there are going to be a number of people who want to travel, so it would have been prudent to increase the number of staff to handle the workload that was going to happen as a result of the passports expiring over the last couple of years.

[Translation]

    It is my duty pursuant to Standing Order 38 to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, Natural Resources; the hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands, Natural Resources; the hon. member for Brantford—Brant, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.

[English]

    It is always an honour to stand in the House and speak to a number of measures, in this case it is one of the most important measures that a government could introduce, the budget implementation act, or the BIA. I remember when I was on the finance committee for a number of years, this was a very important time of year, when the BIA was sent to the committee for deep analysis and study. I know this year will be no different at the finance committee.
    I want to take an opportunity to address Bill C-19 in the House, and to speak to it from, I suppose, a different point of view. I want to speak on economic matters but economic matters that are proposed in the bill that would impact Canada's foreign relations. I think it would be appropriate to begin, arguably at least, with one of Canada's most important voices on the international scene, and that is former prime minister Lester Pearson.
    Long before he was a prime minister, in 1957, while accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, Lester Pearson said:
    Of all our dreams today there is none more important — or so hard to realise — than that of peace in the world. May we never lose our faith in it or our resolve to do everything that can be done to convert it one day into reality.
    This is a tremendous insight, obviously, one that Pearson believed in very strongly when he was speaking in 1957, and one that has occupied the attention of statesmen and even members of Parliament in democracies throughout the world. Canada is no different.
    The question, the challenge, is how to best achieve this, particularly from the vantage point of a middle power such as Canada, a middle power that has tried to find its way, particularly in the post-World War Two order, surrounded as we are by superpowers, such as the United States, China and Russia. How exactly is it possible for a middle power to exert influence on the international scene so this goal of world peace could be possible?
    The dilemma is a real one and one that could be achieved by looking at what Canada has done. I speak here not only in terms of the Pearsonian legacy of foreign policy, which is a strong and very proud tradition in the Liberal Party, but also of the real important voices from the Conservative Party through Canada's history who have sought to find a place for Canada in middle power terms.
    One possible path forward that has worked is diplomacy. I think of Pearson, and I think of diplomats such as George Ignatieff and Saul Rae, and there are others I could point to as well. They, in their work as diplomats, found a way. They carved a way for Canada so we could exert influence on the international scene. That would involve, of course, peacekeeping. That is a great example of what Canada has done in the past to pursue this goal of international peace.
    Another example would be working with international development organizations, specifically those non-governmental organizations that are on the ground, carrying out vital work in lesser developed countries, in countries where poverty is the experience of so many, or is the experience of the vast majority.
    When we look at governments of the past, when we look at the government, we see governments that have funded, have helped to fund and worked with NGOs, which are pursuing those very laudable aims of economic growth and development, encouraging entrepreneurship, encouraging peace and bringing people together at the same time.
    Since 2015, I have had the opportunity to visit a number of countries in my tenure as a member of Parliament, including Ukraine, and I wonder if there will be an opportunity later in questions where I could speak to that. Ukraine was one example, and there is also Colombia, Nicaragua, Kazakhstan, Poland and Latvia. I have had the opportunity to see NGOs, supported by the Canadian government, carry out that vital work. Through that, the goals of a middle power could be achieved, with that goal of ultimately coming back to peace.
    Contributing to multilateral institutions is another key way that a middle power such as Canada could make a contribution to this outcome. Especially now, how relevant it is that we see Canada highly engaged in NATO.

  (1645)  

    I know there are voices out there that want us to do more, and yes, of course, we can do more. I think if we were to canvass the opinion of NATO allies and NATO leaders, we would find that Canada's contributions, specifically with respect to what is happening now, vis-à-vis Russia and Ukraine, is not just applauded, it is admired. We need to continue that work, and of course there are policy innovations that can help us move toward the path of peace and human rights, which ultimately underpin peace.
    That brings me to the budget implementation act, or the BIA, Bill C-19. I am thinking of the Special Economic Measures Act, the SEMA, and the Magnitsky law, which takes its name from the great champion of human rights, Sergei Magnitsky, who lost his life for his advocacy at the hands of Vladimir Putin and his regime. Under those existing laws, property held in Canada by individuals involved in the undermining of international peace and security, or the gross and systematic violation of international human rights norms, can be seized. That property can, in fact, be seized by the Canadian government. There is a challenge, though, which is where the BIA comes in. What is exactly meant in the SEMA and in the Magnitsky act by the term “property”? How is that defined conceptually?
    Under SEMA, for example, property is defined as any real or personal property. That is one way forward. Again, I go back to criticisms that have been raised before that this needs greater clarity and greater precision in the legislative language. Bill C-19 rectifies that and would add an extended definition if it is agreed to by the House, which I think and hope it will be. Should Bill C-19 pass, property would be defined as any type of property immovable or movable, tangible or intangible.
    What does that mean in concrete terms? It means that property includes not just physical assets, such as a building, for example, or planes, homes, helicopters or jets, all the things that certain individuals, such as tycoons around the Russian regime, for example, are known to keep, but also money and, very importantly, virtual currency. Cryptocurrency would fall under this new definition and something called non-fungible tokens, which are, for example, digital art or audio recordings that can be found and purchased online. This is important because it is crucial that legislation along these lines keeps up with modern developments. I am glad to see the government recognizing that and moving in the right direction.
    Most importantly, though, is the change that allows for seized assets to be sold by the Canadian government. Those assets that would be seized from individuals who have been found to be going against or somehow undermining international peace and diplomacy, or who are involved in the violation of international human rights, could be not only seized under this proposed change but also redistributed as compensation. They could be sold, to be simple about it, with the proceeds going to victims to advance goals of international peace and security in some way, or to assist the rebuilding of a foreign state after war. The post-war rebuilding process always proves to be very important. It is complex, to be sure, but very important.
    Should this pass, I know that the government has said that certainly the aim would be to assist the Ukrainian people, the victims of Putin's war and, after the carnage that it has brought about for Ukraine, to assist the government in a massive rebuilding. Canada needs to be there and must be there as part of what some have called a “Marshall Plan”, envisioning what Ukraine could look like in terms of a project for the future. I say “project” in the sense that allies would come together and assist another vital ally, which is obviously going through a very difficult time.
     Others have raised a point of checks and balances, so I am heartened to see that only a superior court justice would be able to give the order allowing for seized assets to be sold. I think that is quite crucial when it comes to ensuring that there are checks and balances on the decision to seize and sell an asset in the way I have described, the way the bill proposes.
    Finally, I will conclude on this point: There has been a lot of commentary in the media and other circles that points to the fact that this amendment to the SEMA and the Magnitsky act comes in the context of the crisis in Ukraine. I would say that it sends an example for the world, and I am glad to see that Canada is the first G7 country to lead the effort. Hopefully, the other democracies pick it up and employ it as well.

  (1650)  

    Madam Speaker, I want to say to my colleague that I appreciated his speech. I serve with him on the public accounts committee.
    One thing that I would like him to address is the cost of living crisis that is going on. Right now in my riding we see farmers seeding and planting their crops in the ground. Obviously, the price of gas is extremely high, and although there are some exemptions there, it makes it very expensive not only for farmers to buy fuel, but also for the supporting services out there for farmers. I wonder if the member could comment on the lack of mention of that in the BIA.
    Madam Speaker, the member and I have the opportunity to work together on the public accounts committee, and I have enjoyed the experience with him so far.
    I take it that he agrees with everything I said with respect to the amendments that have been proposed to the SEMA and the Magnitsky act, so we can at least agree on that point.
    On the cost of living, I certainly sympathize. I hear it in my community. I think all members in this House recognize that inflation is a real phenomenon, but we ought to recognize that it is driven completely by events that have transpired at the international level, beginning with the pandemic and the way it has upended supply chains, as well as the irregular weather patterns and the way they have impacted supply chains. The way we can respond is to do what government is able to do. For example, the national child care program that has been proposed will help. The continued impact of the Canada child benefit will help.
    There are other examples of areas in which we can work together collaboratively to make life more affordable for Canadians, and I look forward to working with the member to that end on the public accounts committee.

  (1655)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, listening to my colleague's speech, which was essentially on foreign affairs, led me to ask myself a personal question that my colleague across the way may be able to answer.
    Currently, when we talk about foreign affairs, we talk about ties to other countries, but also about travel. In our offices, we are completely overwhelmed with calls from tearful constituents saying they submitted their passport applications weeks ago. Some applied months ago and still have not received their passport. They are at a loss as to what to do and say they will cancel their trip and lose their reservations.
    Since my colleague is passionate about foreign affairs, what does he think about the way the government is handling this situation? Personally, I find it really deplorable.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, it is true. I hear it in my own community. Certainly, the staff at the constituency office are helping individuals as best they can with respect to passports. That is something that has been raised in this House, and I expect it will continue to be raised. We are seeing across the country a huge increase in the demand for travel. I believe there has been a 40% increase, to be specific. Naturally, when we have that kind of an increase, we will have quite a lot of people pushing for a passport renewal. I think the government needs to continue to ensure that individuals have timely access to that, as much as possible, through Service Canada. The minister responsible has been very clear that extra hours have been made available. More staff have been brought in on weekends, for instance, and are working overtime. I know it is a difficult thing for people to go through, but it really does reflect the fact that we are seeing an increase in demand all at once, and this is the outcome, unfortunately.
    Madam Speaker, I listened to the member's speech with interest as he connected Bill C-19 to international events.
    I want to ask him something that relates to his role as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue. There were some moves against banks to tax their excess profits. Why is the government so reluctant to extend that tax on excess profits to the big box stores and gas companies that are profiteering while other Canadians are struggling to make ends meet?
    Madam Speaker, I would be very happy to speak to the member and then have a lengthier conversation and get his thoughts, but certainly, tax fairness is at the very heart of this government's agenda. We have seen taxes go down for the middle class. We have seen taxes rise for the wealthiest 1% in recent years. We have seen the government make sure that corporations are paying their fair share, and that will continue. The NDP will have ideas on this, but I think the government's record speaks for itself, and it is a strong record.
    Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to Bill C-19, the budget implementation act. This bill proposes to officially implement many of the important measures contained in budget 2022, tabled just a few weeks ago, measures that would impact people from all walks of life in my riding of Mississauga—Erin Mills.
    Budget 2022 contains targeted and responsible investments to create jobs and prosperity today and build a stronger economic future for all Canadians tomorrow. Its proposed measures set out to make investments in Canadians and to make life more affordable for them, in economic growth and innovation and in promoting a clean economy. In particular, budget 2022 takes significant steps to help build more homes and make housing more affordable across the country, and it is housing that I would like to talk about today.
    As we know, everyone should have a safe and affordable home, but this goal, which was taken for granted by previous generations, is no longer within the reach of a growing number of Canadians, including young people in my riding of Mississauga—Erin Mills. Increasing the supply of housing would make housing more affordable, but it is not the only solution; there have to be more measures taken.
    For example, in budget 2022 there is an issue that is addressed, and that is the concern that foreign investment and speculation will increase the cost of housing in Canada. The government has an important role to play in addressing these issues. The 2022 budget proposes new measures that would prohibit foreign investment in residential real estate and ensure that speculators and homeowners who quickly sell their properties pay their fair share of taxes. I know that Vancouver and Toronto have received most of the attention in this regard, but those impacts can also be felt in other parts of the country, including in Mississauga—Erin Mills.
    Bill C-19 would enact the prohibition on the purchase of residential property by non-Canadians act. It is a new statute that implements a ban on foreign investment in Canadian housing. The ban on foreign investment in Canadian housing is aimed at curtailing foreign demand in light of concerns that foreign buyers may be contributing to pricing some Canadians out of the housing market. The proposed legislation would prohibit people who are neither Canadian citizens nor permanent residents from acquiring residential property in Canada, whether directly or indirectly, for a period of two years.
    The government's intention in this regard is that refugees and persons who have been authorized to come to Canada on emergency travel to flee international crises would be exempt. Foreign students who are in the process of obtaining permanent residence would also be exempt in certain circumstances, as would work permit holders who are residents of Canada.
    As well, speculative trading in the Canadian housing market contributes to higher prices for Canadians. These transactions can include the resale of homes before they are built or before they are lived in, such as the assignment of a contract of sale. This creates an opportunity for speculators to be dishonest about their original intentions and creates uncertainty for everyone involved in an assignment sale as to whether GST or HST apply. The current rules also result in the uneven application of GST or HST to the full and final prices of these new homes that have not been lived in before.
    Therefore, as proposed in budget 2022, Bill C-19 would amend the Excise Tax Act to make assignment sales in respect of newly constructed or substantially renovated residential housing taxable for GST or HST purposes. The amendment also excludes from t