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44th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • No. 079

CONTENTS

Wednesday, June 1, 2022




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

Volume 151
No. 079
1st SESSION
44th PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Speaker: The Honourable Anthony Rota

    The House met at 2 p.m.

Prayer


[Statements by Members]

  (1400)  

[English]

    Before we begin, we have some angelic voices up in the Speaker's Gallery today. With the summer adjournment approaching, I would like to thank the pages for their extraordinary work this year.
    Voices: Hear, hear!

[Translation]

    The Speaker: Normally, on the first Wednesday in June, the House of Commons pages sing the national anthem at the beginning of the sitting. However, these past two years have been exceptional for everyone, including this year's group of pages.

[English]

    Although they are not able to sing grouped together on the floor of the House this year, the pages will lead the anthem from the Speaker's Gallery to safely maintain tradition.
     [Pages sang the national anthem]

Statements by Members

[Statements by Members]

[English]

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, last week I was in Warsaw. While there I spoke with an Afghan refugee couple, he a journalist and she a teacher, as well as a female former supreme court justice. They are all priority targets for the Taliban. They were rescued from certain death and evacuated from Kabul by the Polish Air Forces.
    Since August of 2021, Poland has provided them with money and housing. However, after 10 months of waiting for them to be resettled in Canada, Poland has done all it can. That country needs to focus on the 3.6 million Ukrainians who have crossed its borders.
    Repeated efforts to obtain assistance from Canada's embassy in Poland, GAC and IRCC have proven useless. What good are Canada's special immigration measures for Afghans if they do not work and only amount to “Hey, here's a bunch of websites. Don't expect any help.”
    What a disgrace. People's lives are at stake. Canada made a commitment. I call upon the government to honour our nation's word.

  (1405)  

Ukraine

    Mr. Speaker, I recently joined the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Northern Affairs, my Manitoba colleagues and Premier Heather Stefanson to greet 350 Ukrainian adults and children and their pets as they arrived in Winnipeg.
    We greeted them like family, which is not an exaggeration. More than 120,000 Manitobans are of Ukrainian descent, including members of my own family. Each of them received a warm Manitoba welcome.
    However, those moments of warm embrace were bittersweet. Thoughts of beloved family, friends and homeland left behind were ever-present. Vladimir Putin is solely to blame for the chaos, for displacing millions of people and taking thousands of lives. He has waged an illegal war on a democratic nation and is terrorizing civilians and razing cities.
    Ukraine is a significant ally to NATO, and as a member of the alliance, Canada will continue to support its defence through humanitarian aid and military equipment for as long as necessary. Canada will always be a steadfast supporter of Ukraine and host its people with warmth, dignity and respect.

Leadership in Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte

    Mr. Speaker, today I am especially proud to rise in recognition of two outstanding leaders in Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte who will be starting their much-deserved retirement soon.
    Janice Skot led the Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre for 17 years as president and CEO. She had an oversized role in making the RVH a regional leader in health care in Simcoe County and led an exceptional team that guided our health care community throughout many challenging times.
    Dr. MaryLynn West-Moynes served as the president and CEO of Georgian College for the better part of 10 years. In her time there, she led the growth of an educational institute that attracts talented students and staff from across Ontario and the world. Students who settle in Barrie stimulate our economy and enrich our community.
    I want to wish Ms. Skot and Ms. West-Moynes the very best in their much deserved retirement. I would also like to welcome the new CEO and presidents: Gail Hunt for RVH and Kevin Weaver for Georgian College.
    I know Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte's future is bright with such talented and competent people in important leadership roles.

Maulana Naseem Mahdi Sahid

    Mr. Speaker, it is with a heavy heart that I rise today in memory of a great man, Maulana Naseem Mahdi Sahid, a dear friend of mine for over 30 years. He left this world last week.
    Naseem was a loyal and trusting friend that I, my husband Sam and the rest of our family are honoured to have known. He was born in Pakistan, arriving in Canada in May of 1985 as head of the Canada Jamaat, and served as well in many other countries.
    I first met him in Toronto, where he was already a well-respecting and loving mubaligh. He impacted thousands of families and left quite the footprint through things such as the Baitul Islam Mosque, Peace Village and the Ahmadiyya Abode of Peace. He was a champion of interfaith harmony.
    Naseem believed that at the core of everything was love and peace and that by working together we could achieve this for the world. He did not believe in just co-existing; he believed in existing as one. I will never forget the work he has done, the love he has shown and the many things he has done for all of us as Canadians.
    Naseem's legacy of love and community remains, and I thank him for sharing it with me and every other person who was blessed enough to have encountered him. Rest in peace, dear friend, until we meet again.

[Translation]

350th Anniversary of Verchères

    Mr. Speaker, in 1672, Intendant Talon granted the seigneury of Verchères to François Jarret, an officer with the Carignan‑Salières regiment.
    This little village along the St. Lawrence River saw history being made when 14-year-old Madeleine heroically protected the village from Iroquois attacks. Some even say she saved New France.
    Years later, patriot Ludger Duvernay, who was also born in Verchères, founded the Société Saint‑Jean‑Baptiste and organized the first celebration of Quebec's national holiday. We also have another son of Verchères, former premier Bernard Landry, to thank for National Patriots Day.
    When we think of Verchères, we also think of its famous rowboats and its dedicated artisans who work hard to keep the knowledge of their predecessors alive.
    In 2002, Verchères became a wonderful, idyllic village that people could not help falling in love with. That is why I want to wish everyone from Verchères a happy 350th anniversary.

  (1410)  

World Milk Day

    Mr. Speaker, today is World Milk Day. It is an opportunity to thank our dairy farmers, processors and producers who work hard to supply our country with delicious milk.
    Our farmers give their all every day to provide us with healthy, quality dairy products. The products are made with care, safely and in an increasingly eco-friendly way.
    The Canadian dairy industry is known the world over for its superior quality. Dairy products are an important part of our food experience and a mainstay of our economy. The industry is an economic driver in rural municipalities, including mine, and contributes to our dynamic land use.
    We are proud not only of the calibre of our dairy industry, but also of its environmental innovation. Our dairy sector is a world leader, and the hard work of our farmers, producers and processors should be celebrated. I wish them all a happy World Milk Day.

World Milk Day

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today in honour of World Milk Day, which is celebrated every year on June 1.
    I want to thank all of our 10,000 dairy farms and our 500-plus processing plants in Canada.
    These men and women wake up at dawn every day, put on their work boots and do an incredible job to feed Canadians by providing quality products that make us proud.
    There are several such businesses in my riding that consistently provide products that are among the best, the healthiest and the most nutritious in the world. Not only do these farmers produce the best products in the world, but they also play an important role in helping Canada meet its environmental objectives.
    On behalf of all of my colleagues in Parliament, I thank them for their hard work. We will continue to support our agricultural sector, which is the economic engine that will put our economy back on its feet.
    On this World Milk Day, I encourage all my colleagues to raise a glass of milk in honour of the Canadians in our dairy industry, who work very hard for all of us.

[English]

Filipino Heritage Month

    Mr. Speaker, mabuhay, and welcome back.
    I am excited to rise in the House today to kick off Filipino Heritage Month for the month of June. I would like to thank my colleague from Scarborough Centre and every MP in the House who supported Motion No. 155 to make this happen.
    From coast to coast, Filipino Canadians will be celebrating in June by having flag-raising ceremonies, Independence Day festivals and celebrations throughout the month.
    From the original settlers in New Westminster, B.C., 130 years ago to the now one million Filipinos across Canada today, I want to acknowledge the tremendous contributions of Filipino Canadians in making their mark in Canada.
     I would like to give special thanks to my husband Chris, my kids Kyle and Cassidy, my mother- and father-in-law and the Filipino interns for joining us in Ottawa today.
     Maraming salamat! Maligayang Buwan ng Pamanang Pilipino. Thanks very much, and happy Filipino Heritage Month.

National Indigenous History Month

    Mr. Speaker, June marks National Indigenous History Month. My constituents, including Anne Hines, the minister of Roncesvalles United Church, care deeply about understanding indigenous contributions to our community. When Anne considered what her congregation could do to support indigenous reconciliation, she looked no further than Phil Cote.
    Phil belongs to the Moose Deer Point first nation and is a celebrated Anishinabe artist. Anne commissioned him to create a soaring indigenous mural, some 60 feet high and 70 feet wide, that now adorns an entire wall of the church.
    The mural is the first of its kind in a church in Canada. The significance is clear, given the historical role of the church in administering the residential school system. Now all those who enter Toronto's Roncesvalles United Church are struck by this towering work of art and the creation story it depicts.
    As opposed to working to take the Indian out of the child, Roncevalles United is now celebrating the indigenous presence that surrounds all of us.
    The path toward reconciliation is a shared one. Thanks, Phil Cote and Anne Hines, for demonstrating that for all of us.
    Chi-meegwetch.

  (1415)  

Pitt Meadows

    Mr. Speaker, Pitt Meadows is one of the prettiest spots on our planet and is a wonderful place to raise a family. It is on the traditional land of the Katzie, and is nestled between the coast mountains and the Pitt River and Fraser River. It has a small-town feel even though it is in metro Vancouver.
    Residents enjoy chatting or strolling along the dikes, perhaps after grabbing a coffee at the Stomping Grounds Café and Bistro or an ice cream from the Sweet Tooth Creamery. If people are looking for a wonderful place to golf or to get married, there is nowhere better than Swaneset, which is not far from Pitt Lake, the largest freshwater tidal lake in the world, where people can view eagles, swans, herons and seals.
    Business is booming. This month, a new airport terminal is opening, as well as a Vancouver aviation school. This Saturday, residents will line up by the thousands for Pitt Meadows' 81st annual parade. It is a great time to connect and it will be a blast.

Italian Heritage Month

    Mr. Speaker, happy Italian Heritage Month, a time to recognize, celebrate and honour the immeasurable contributions of Italian Canadians while showcasing the rich Italian culture, heritage and gastronomy.
    [Member spoke in Italian]
[English]
    The Quiet Immigrant project, titled le femmine forti, is a tribute to the brave Italian women who immigrated to Canada after World War II. Through sheer strength of character, with neither fanfare nor complaint, they wove their way into Canada's social fabric. These are our nonnas, our mothers, wives and our daughters, including mine—Eliana, Natalia and Leia—who will carry the rich Italian Canadian legacy for years to come.
    [Member spoke in Italian]
[English]
    This Italian Heritage Month, join me in sharing and celebrating the stories of these brave Italian women.
    [Member spoke in Italian]
[English]

Jury Service

    Mr. Speaker, jury service often comes at a considerable sacrifice. Many jurors go through difficult trials and are exposed to horrific evidence, yet they are unable to talk about what is often the most stressful aspect of jury service, the deliberation process, due to the jury secrecy rule.
    Yesterday, the justice committee voted unanimously to send Bill S-206, of which I am the House of Commons sponsor, back to the House for third reading. The bill carves out a narrow exception to the jury secrecy rule so that former jurors can disclose all aspects of their jury service to a medical professional bound by confidentiality so that former jurors can get the help that they deserve.
    Jurors play an indispensable role in the administration of justice. We owe it to them to see that this bill finally crosses the finish line and is passed into law.

Canadian Heritage

    Mr. Speaker, despite the many flaws in Bill C-11, the Liberals continue to force this legislation through Parliament.
    Last week, the CEO of Canada's most successful YouTube channel told the heritage committee that Bill C-11 is not an ill-intentioned piece of legislation, but it is a bad piece of legislation. It has been written by those who do not understand the industry that they are attempting to regulate.
    Artists and creators who work in digital media have been clear: Modernization does not mean taking an outdated, 30-year-old regulatory system and simply applying it to today's technology. While the Liberals claim there is now an exemption for user-generated content, this legislation clearly allows the CRTC to regulate any content that generates revenue, directly or indirectly. That means that virtually all content can be regulated by the CRTC.
    It is clear: Bill C-11 is flawed, and it must be scrapped.

[Translation]

Maritza Ferrada‑Videla

     Mr. Speaker, this being National AccessAbility Week, I would like to highlight one woman's exceptional contribution.
    This immigrant woman dedicated over 35 years of her life to developing respite services for families with children with intellectual disabilities. She mobilized parents and built a community support network, and she enlisted the support of funding organizations and elected officials at all levels of government. The woman I am talking about is Maritza Ferrada-Videla. She is my mother.
    She played an exemplary leadership role in ensuring the inclusion of families with children with disabilities. I am deeply moved and very proud to salute her courage, her determination and her resiliency in fighting for human dignity, and today I wish her a well-deserved retirement.
    My mother is and will continue to be a source of inspiration and quiet strength that sustains my presence here in the House every day.
    In closing, I would like to thank everyone who, like her, is working to build a more equitable and inclusive society.

  (1420)  

[English]

International Sex Workers' Day

    Mr. Speaker, June 2 is International Sex Workers' Day: a day to celebrate sex workers, to honour their work and to push for better working conditions.
    Women, men, queer, trans and non-binary sex workers are workers. They are members of our communities and deserve dignity and respect, and not stigma. Stigma leads to barriers in accessing health care, to isolation and to dangerous working conditions.
    Our laws, while claiming to protect sex workers, actually cause more harm by making it harder to report violence and screen potential clients.
    We need to end the stigma and listen to the voices of sex workers, who are calling for decriminalization and calling on MPs to stop conflating sex work with human trafficking, because it makes it harder to keep people safe.
     Instead, let us support the sex work community. One amazing organization doing just that is Peers Victoria Resources Society. It is an organization by sex workers, for sex workers.
     On June 2, let us celebrate sex workers and end the stigma. Sex work is work.

[Translation]

World Milk Day

    Mr. Speaker, today, June 1, we are celebrating World Milk Day. This year, again, I want to acknowledge the contribution of dairy farmers who take care of their herds and put high-quality milk on our tables, as well as precious milk products such as butter, yoghurt and cheese.
    Today, milk was delivered to the lobby. It was a good opportunity to raise a glass to the health of our local farmers, which we did with pleasure, because milk and milk products are healthy and nutritious food.
    Dairy farmers and farmers of other supply-managed products fared better than others during the pandemic. That is just more proof that they have an effective system. We need to quickly pass version 2.0 of our bill that seeks to protect supply management from any further breaches in future free trade negotiations.
    Long live our dairy production here at home.

[English]

Vaccine Mandates

    Mr. Speaker, I recently travelled to Israel on a parliamentary mission to learn about the conflict, but something else that really stood out to me was how the country has moved on from COVID. It was immediately noticeable when we got off the plane: no masks, no public health warnings and no distancing or divisive vaccine mandates. In Israel, people are living joyously in a post-COVID world.
    As soon as we boarded the flight home to Canada, all COVID restrictions and mandates returned, and I felt the anxiety and stress of the past two years. I realized the terrible impact Canadian restrictions continue to have on our psyches and how desperately people need a return to normal. The current Liberal government will not allow it. The Liberals voted against our motions on travel restrictions and mandates, even though other highly advanced vaccinated countries, with leading scientific and medical experts, have done so.
    It does not have to be this way. All Canadians can live freely once again. I have seen it with my own eyes. It is time for Canada to move on too.

Bird Friendly City

    Mr. Speaker, the City of Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue in my riding of Lac-Saint-Louis is for the birds. Sainte-Anne's is the proud recipient of Nature Canada's Bird Friendly City designation. It is only the 13th city in Canada to qualify.
    This designation is the result of the city's long-standing commitment to conserving and enhancing its natural environment with our feathered friends top of mind.

[Translation]

    The bird-friendly measures implemented by the City and its partners over the years include eliminating the use of harmful pesticides, promoting organic gardening and mobilizing citizens through education and awareness.

[English]

    Congratulations to Mayor Paola Hawa; Councillor Ryan Young, who has long spearheaded bird-friendly initiatives; the McGill Bird Observatory; and Morgan Arboretum on making it possible for Sainte-Anne's to obtain this well-deserved honour and recognition.

ORAL QUESTIONS

[Oral Questions]

  (1425)  

[English]

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals have failed when it comes to making life more affordable for Canadians.
    Canadians are worse off today than they were six years ago with out-of-control gas, grocery, rent and housing costs. What does the Prime Minister do? He does nothing except blame everyone else. Inflation is the fault of COVID and for high gas prices, he blames Putin. That is a cop-out.
    What is the Liberal government going to do to reduce the prices of things like fuel and groceries, and when is it finally going to do it?
    Mr. Speaker, the member opposite talks about six years ago. One of the very first things we did when we got into office was lower taxes for the middle class by raising them on the wealthiest 1%.
    We then moved forward with a Canada child benefit that delivers hundreds of dollars a month to Canadians, tax free, while not sending cheques to millionaire families as the Conservatives did before us.
    We have now indexed to inflation the Canada child benefit, so as of next month that will rise for families across the country to help them keep up with the cost of living, as we continue to invest in supports for families—
    The hon. Leader of the Opposition.
    Mr. Speaker, I have a news flash for the Prime Minister. Canadians cannot keep up with the cost of living. They desperately need a break on these high costs.
     While some provinces are taking action to relieve the pressure on Canadians, the Liberals are actually cheering on high gas prices and raking in the extra cash. On top of tax increases that came on April 1, we are now seeing interest rates rise, which will cost Canadians more, but the Prime Minister continues to deny the reality.
    Why will he not take some responsibility and do something to reduce the cost of food, gas and housing?
    Mr. Speaker, every step of the way the government has had Canadians' backs, and we will continue to have their backs through these difficult times.
    We know we are continuing to lower Canadians' cellphone bills. We did that by 25%, as promised. We committed to working with provinces and territories to cut child care fees in half this year. Families are already seeing real savings as a result. We committed to raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, and it increased again on April 1. Also, by delivering an enhanced Canada worker benefit, more families will benefit from that support.
    We will continue to be there to support families across the country.

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, the reality is that the cost of everything is going up, and the Prime Minister seems to be in denial about it.
    Do members know what else is going up under these Liberals? It is violent crime, and that is because the Liberals are soft on crime. Their soft-on-crime approach means that places such as Winnipeg, Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal are becoming more dangerous with violent crimes increasing under their watch. Criminals who terrorize vulnerable communities should not get just a slap on the wrist and house arrest or bail. They should be behind bars.
    Why will the Prime Minister not start standing up for victims, do something to protect the innocent and make sure that violent criminals are put in jail and stay in jail?
    Mr. Speaker, what our communities need is a justice system that punishes criminals. What we do not need is a system that targets racialized people because of systemic discrimination.
    Our reforms turned the page on failed Conservative Party policies that contributed to the overrepresentation of Black and indigenous people in our criminal justice system. At the same time, through our new legislation, we are increasing maximum penalties from 10 to 14 years for firearms-related offences, including smuggling and trafficking. We are there to support Canadians and to keep Canadians safe.

[Translation]

Taxation

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister keeps repeating talking points that border on misinformation and that definitely show a lack of compassion, both for victims of crime and for Canadians who are paying more and more for everything.
    To satisfy his insatiable appetite for spending, the Prime Minister is happy to let Canadians pay millions of dollars more every day in taxes because everything costs more. Why will the Prime Minister not stand up, take responsibility, and cut taxes for Canadians to give them a bit of a break?
    Mr. Speaker, comments like that from the Conservatives would have a bit more credibility if they had not voted against our very first measure to cut taxes for the middle class and raise them for the wealthy.
    We continued our work by creating a Canada child benefit that helps families who need it most with hundreds of dollars per month and is indexed to inflation and the cost of living. We are there to support people, and we will continue to be there to invest in meaningful ways to help the middle class, while the Conservatives do nothing but criticize and engage in partisan attacks.

  (1430)  

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, how is it partisan to ask the government to spend a little time thinking about how difficult it is for Canadian families to stretch their budget to get to the end of the month? Canadians need help now, not in six months or a year. The Prime Minister must act now.
    However, he never even saw it coming, and there was nothing in the last budget to help Canadian families get through the impending recession. Once again, today we learned of a third increase in the rate of inflation. What will the Prime Minister do instead of just spouting rhetoric?
    Mr. Speaker, in concrete terms, the investments made by this government will ensure that families will save thousands of dollars in child care costs, and, in Quebec, the number of day care spaces increased as a result of federal investments.
    We will continue to be there to invest and to help families. The Canada child benefit is indexed, which means that there will be more money in the pockets of families that need it every month. We continue to be there to support families facing hardship because of the war in Ukraine and the pandemic recovery.

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister said that he wanted to challenge Quebec's legislation on the secularization of the state “given the vast implications for all Canadians across the country”. However, there are no implications for Canada. That is pure nonsense.
    This concerns Quebeckers and Quebeckers alone. Quebec's state secularism law is the will of Quebeckers, was passed by Quebec members of Quebec's National Assembly and applies only in Quebec. I think it is quite clear. Canadians have nothing to do with it. It is none of their business. What does the Prime Minister not understand about that?
    Mr. Speaker, I am certain I must have misheard. Surely the hon. member did not mean to suggest that all those who disagree and who are challenging this law before the courts in Quebec are not true Quebeckers.
    We will always stand alongside anyone in Canada who wants to defend their fundamental rights, those rights protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. If this does end up before the Supreme Court, the government will be there to defend minority rights, as it always has.
    Mr. Speaker, Quebeckers want to reinforce state secularism where we live, in Quebec. That is for us to decide.
    Quebeckers are not telling Canadians what to do in Canada. If the people of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, want the state and religion to go hand in hand, that is not our problem. They can go ahead and tattoo “In God We Trust” on their faces if they want. We could not care less. It is none of our business.
    Quebeckers want state secularism. That is what we voted for. Why would Quebeckers allow Canadians to force religion back into our state affairs?
    Mr. Speaker, I just want to point out to the hon. member that his “where we live” is also where I live. I am a Quebecker, and I have every right to make sure that the rights of all Quebeckers get the same respect as those of people elsewhere in the country.
    The federal government's job is to make sure that the rights of Canadians across the country are upheld and protected. If this law ends up in the Supreme Court, we will be there to defend and protect the fundamental rights of all Quebeckers and all Canadians.

[English]

Health

    Mr. Speaker, since 2016, 27,000 Canadians have lost their life to a toxic drug supply. Experts agree that a criminal approach will not save lives and we need a health care-based approach. Now, the Prime Minister has agreed to take a health care-based approach by decriminalizing personal possession in B.C., but if that approach is good in B.C., why will the Prime Minister not support our bill to bring a health care approach for the rest of Canada to save lives across our country?
    Mr. Speaker, to take a health care approach across the country, which is exactly the approach one needs to take, one needs to work with the people who actually direct the health care in every different province. That means working with provinces. It means working with municipalities. It means working with frontline workers, and that is exactly what we have done in moving forward with B.C. responsibly to make sure there is a framework around it. Unfortunately, it is not a simple solution like that proposed by the NDP. It is a complex solution that actually goes at the heart of the problem that we are moving forward on, and that is the right way to keep Canadians safe.

  (1435)  

[Translation]

     Mr. Speaker, since 2016, we have lost 25,000 people in this country to a toxic drug supply.
    As we know, we cannot continue to take the same approach and expect different results. We need to do something to help people. The Prime Minister has agreed to take a different approach in British Columbia.
    If that approach is good for British Columbia, why is that not the case for the rest of Canada? Why is that not good for Montreal, for example? Why will the Prime Minister not support our bill, which will save lives?
    Mr. Speaker, we did indeed decide to work with the Province of British Columbia and the municipalities to move forward with a science-based approach.
    However, the Parliament of Canada cannot simply issue an order to do the same thing in other parts of the country without partnerships and without the co-operation of local jurisdictions.
    The approach proposed by the NDP would be irresponsible. Responsible leadership means working with partners to move forward, as we are doing in British Columbia. Yes, we are open to doing the same elsewhere, but partnerships are needed to make this happen.

[English]

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, three RCMP officers were killed in Moncton. Six worshippers were killed inside a Quebec City mosque. Two grandparents and their grandson were murdered in Calgary in 2017. Their killers were given jail sentences of 40 years or more, but the Supreme Court has now capped sentences for mass murderers at 25 years. The Prime Minister likes to say that he has Canadians' backs. Will he stand up for the families of these victims?
    Mr. Speaker, our thoughts are with the families and survivors of the hate-filled Islamophobic attacks at the Quebec City mosque and the other killings across the country. At the Supreme Court, we argued in support of a sentencing judge's discretion to impose a longer period of parole ineligibility where appropriate. We know this court decision was painful for many.
     We want to be clear: Nothing in the decision changes the fact that all people convicted of murder receive a mandatory life sentence. Just as we did in January 2017, we will stand with the families, survivors and communities and everyone impacted by such violence.
    Mr. Speaker, thoughts are not enough. This decision means that the person who killed three RCMP officers in Moncton will now be eligible for full parole at age 49. The Supreme Court ruling hands this issue back to Parliament for this Parliament and the current government to do something about it. Will the government and the Prime Minister act to ensure that families will not have to go through the retraumatization every two years of parole hearings to ensure that their loved one's killer remains behind bars?
    Mr. Speaker, allow me to be clear once again: Nothing in the Supreme Court decision changes the fact that all people convicted of murder receive a mandatory life sentence.
    At the Supreme Court, we argued in support of a sentencing judge's discretion to impose a longer period of parole ineligibility where appropriate, but we will continue to stand with Canadians. We will continue to stand with the victims and survivors of these terrible killings.
    Mr. Speaker, the Supreme Court of Canada's ruling on consecutive parole sentences takes the side of serial killers and mass murderers instead of victims. What is cruel and unusual punishment is individuals losing their innocent loved ones to heinous crimes and then having to sit through years of detailed parole hearings, only adding to the trauma. Why is the Prime Minister not taking the necessary steps to ensure victims are put first?
    Mr. Speaker, what we are also doing is taking the necessary steps to make sure there are fewer victims of mass killings by, for example, banning military-style assault weapons in this country, something Conservative politicians continue to stand against. They want to make those guns used at École Polytechnique and those guns used in other mass killings legal again, which we will continue to stand against. Not only that, but we are now moving forward on an initiative that will make it illegal to buy, sell, transfer or import handguns anywhere in Canada.

  (1440)  

    Mr. Speaker, that is disinformation, and the Prime Minister knows that they were already banned in the seventies.
    Those with consecutive sentences have only committed the most horrifying of crimes, yet the Supreme Court wants these criminals to have the opportunity to be in society again. Canada's worst criminals should be locked behind bars and not free to walk the streets, so when will the Prime Minister start standing with victims and commit to ensuring that criminals serve sentences that reflect the severity of their crimes?
    Mr. Speaker, perhaps a more appropriate question is, when will the Conservative Party stop standing with the NRA and start standing with Canadians, so there are fewer victims of violent crimes and fewer victims of mass murders?
    That is why we moved forward with a ban on military-style assault weapons in this country, and it is now illegal to buy, sell or use a military-style assault weapon in this country. On top of that, we are moving forward to make it illegal to buy, sell or import handguns anywhere in this country. The Conservative Party stands against that. Canadians should ask them why.
    Mr. Speaker, section 33.1 of the Criminal Code states that the defence of extreme intoxication is not available when an act includes an assault, but just recently the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that section 33.1 of the Criminal Code violates sections 7 and 11 of the Charter of Rights.
    What part of this protects victims?
    Mr. Speaker, this government is unwavering in our commitment to ensuring that our criminal justice system keeps communities safe, respects victims and holds offenders to account, all while upholding charter rights. We are carefully reviewing the decision to determine its effect on victims, as well as the criminal law. We have taken action to strengthen sexual assault laws to ensure that victims are treated with the utmost respect and are protected. This is critical to fostering greater confidence of survivors of sexual assault and gender-based violence, as well as the broader Canadian public, in our justice system.
    Mr. Speaker, time is not on the victims' side right now, so hopefully we hurry up.
    Because of the Supreme Court ruling allowing the defence of extreme intoxication, women have shared their fears about coming forward to local agencies and advocates. We are hearing from young women who are concerned about this decision and asking if this is really possible. It is. There needs to be action. There need to be resolutions. Victims' voices have been lost.
    When will the Prime Minister do something about it and fix this?
    Mr. Speaker, we have been acting on strengthening our criminal system's response to sexual assault for years now. We passed legislation that requires judges to obtain the necessary training to understand the complex nature of sexual assault and the myths that all too often surround it—
    I am going to have to interrupt the Right Hon. Prime Minister.
    I am trying to hear the answer, and I am sure the hon. member for Elgin—Middlesex—London wants to hear the answer as well, so I am going to ask everyone to tone it down a bit. There are a couple of members out there who have very strong voices, and I admire them, but please try to restrain them while somebody else is speaking.
    The Right Hon. Prime Minister, right from the top, please.
    Mr. Speaker, we have been acting and will consistently act to support survivors of sexual assault and make sure the justice system responds to them better. We passed legislation that requires judges to obtain the necessary training to understand the complex nature of sexual assault and the myths that too often surround it. Budget 2021 included $85.3 million over five years to ensure access to free legal advice and legal representation for survivors of sexual assault and intimate partner violence. We have also made over $12 million in funding available through the victims fund for projects designed to improve the criminal justice system's response to sexual assault against adults, and there is more to do.

  (1445)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, not only does the Prime Minister want to challenge Quebec's Bill 21, but the Liberals are even planning to use the case to put Quebec under federal control.
    On Friday, his colleague from Mount Royal said that the notwithstanding clause should be completely abolished and that this article has no place in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and should never be used. He wants to take away the only constitutional recourse Quebec has to protect our societal choices from the dictates of the federal government or federally appointed judges.
    Will the Prime Minister correct him and reiterate that the notwithstanding clause is important?
    Mr. Speaker, I think that it is important that everyone remember that. when a legislative assembly or parliament chooses to suspend the basic rights of some of its citizens, we need to give that consideration and special attention.
    We know that every Quebecker and Canadian wants their fundamental protections under the charter to be upheld. When a government chooses to set aside those fundamental protections, we have to give that some serious consideration, and that is exactly what we are pointing out.
    Mr. Speaker, cases like Bill 21 are the very reason why the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms includes a notwithstanding clause.
    It is there specifically to prevent Canadian institutions from unilaterally overturning the democratic rights of Quebec and the provinces. It is there specifically to prevent the Prime Minister from blocking Bill 21 and imposing his own vision of state secularism, the vision of a guy who believes that members should pray in Parliament every day.
    Will the Prime Minister leave the notwithstanding clause alone or will he place Quebec under federal control?
    Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois may be ready to attack one of our country's fundamental freedoms, freedom of conscience, but I know that the federal government will be there to defend fundamental freedoms such as gender equality and the protection of minorities, including official language minorities across the country.
    We will always ensure that the fundamental rights of all Canadians, whether they live in Quebec or elsewhere in Canada, are protected. That is what Canadians expect from this government.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, gun violence has gone up significantly over the past seven years of the Liberal government. That is a fact. It is also fact that most guns used in violent crime are smuggled in from the United States. Gun smugglers and gun traffickers are responsible for the murder of innocent Canadians in our cities, such as Toronto, Montreal, Regina and Edmonton.
    Why is the Liberal Prime Minister removing mandatory jail time for people who smuggle guns into Canada under Bill C-5? Why is he letting them off the hook?
    Mr. Speaker, we are actually increasing the penalty from 10 years to 14 years for the illegal smuggling of guns. The concern that the Conservative Party seems to have around guns gives me hope that perhaps, finally, they will agree to support our ban on military-style assault weapons. Perhaps they will actually support putting a freeze on the importation, transfer, sale or purchase of handguns in this country.
    It is great to hear the Conservatives concerned about gun violence. Now maybe they will step up and strengthen gun control instead of weakening it.

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, the reality is that the Prime Minister's Bill C-5 will severely threaten the safety of families, children, mothers and vulnerable communities, because Bill C-5 would allow criminals who commit serious and deadly gun crimes to serve house arrest rather than go to jail, meaning these dangerous criminals will be kept in the communities they have terrorized, which will disproportionately impact Black and indigenous communities. It is sick.
    Why is the Prime Minister prioritizing dangerous criminals with guns over the safety of our communities?
    Mr. Speaker, of course we are doing no such thing. We are looking at the systemic discrimination and racism that exist in our justice system, which unfairly, particularly under the previous Conservative government's tough-on-crime approach, penalizes Black and indigenous Canadians.
    This is why we will continue to move forward in a responsible way to make sure that criminals are punished, that penalties are brought in and that our communities are kept safe, including by preventing more Canadians from becoming victims of gun violence by strengthening gun control. Why will the Conservatives not stand with us on that?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, Anie Samson, the former vice-chair of the City of Montreal's executive committee and now the head of public safety, said, “There is concern about the fate of our criminals in prison, when at the same time there are hundreds of families mourning the loss of a loved one.”
    If the Liberals continue with their reckless strategy, even massive injections of money from the provinces to crack down on guns will be ineffective. If Bill C‑5 is passed, Canadian communities will no doubt see an increase in violence.
    Will the Prime Minister take responsibility for that?

  (1450)  

    Mr. Speaker, we are improving our justice systems to ensure there is less systemic discrimination and racism against indigenous communities and Black Canadians.
    We will continue instituting better gun controls to ensure there are fewer victims of violence. I cannot believe that Conservative members from Quebec are still rising in support of relaxing gun control and blocking our attempts to restrict handguns or even military-style assault weapons.
    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is trying to play both sides.
    We are talking about Bill C-5 and he is talking about Bill C-21, but what is clear is that Quebecker Anie Samson told the committee that “a criminal who uses an illegal firearm, regardless of their [ethnic] origin, is still a criminal. It would be incomprehensible to let criminals use firearms to kill, rob or threaten people without worrying about having to face the same consequences as other criminals”.
    The Prime Minister, with the complicity of the NDP and the Bloc Québécois, would rather play petty politics than keep Canadian communities safe.
    Does the Prime Minister realize the negative impact that Bill C-5 will have?
    Mr. Speaker, the legislative measures set out in Bill C-5 do nothing to stop police from charging people or prosecutors from pursuing convictions. What these measures do is ensure that criminals face serious penalties while addressing the overrepresentation of Black Canadians and indigenous peoples in the criminal justice system.
    I know Anie Samson, the former mayor of my borough, very well, and I can safely say that she is also concerned about the plight of Black and indigenous youth who find themselves unfairly caught up in our criminal justice system.
    Before we continue, I want to remind members in the front row that, when they talk, the Prime Minister's microphone picks up what they are saying. I know they are not doing it on purpose, but I just want to tell them that they are disrupting the proceedings.

[English]

    The hon. member for London—Fanshawe.

National Defence

    Mr. Speaker, two days ago the Justice Arbour report came out and the Liberals are already failing to take it seriously. Today's news that the government will bring back Canada's top military police officer, despite his being asked to apologize for his mishandling of a sexual assault case, is appalling. We have heard over and over again that there needs to be a culture change in Canada's armed forces. This is not it.
    For seven years, the Prime Minister has protected toxic men in positions of power. When will the “feminist” Prime Minister finally do what is right for women?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to begin by thanking Madam Justice Louise Arbour for her extraordinary work and for her excellent report, which we accept. We know that transformational change is necessary for our defence institutions and we are taking steps to build a military and defence team where everyone feels safe, protected and respected.
    We have accepted the report, and work is already under way on a number of her recommendations. We are committed to completing this important work for the sake of all the women and men who choose to serve in the Canadian Armed Forces. They deserve forces that are up to the level they demand.

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, I have to say that a culture change is going to take much better answers coming from the top than that.
    Canadians certainly did not cause inflation, but they are paying for it. They are paying for it at the grocery store and now they are paying for it with another interest rate hike by the Bank of Canada. While there are things outside the government's control, there are things that it can do. Even Boris Johnson has seen fit to bring in a windfall tax on oil and gas companies making a ton of money on the backs of people during this period of inflation. That is money the government could use to double the GST credit and raise the Canada child benefit by $500.
    Will the Prime Minister get up and commit to these things, instead of talking about what he did in 2016?
    Mr. Speaker, we continue to move forward on supports for families and supports for Canadians, including during this difficult time. The war in Ukraine and the supply chain disruptions caused by this pandemic are contributing to global inflation, which Canadians are feeling. People are struggling with the cost of groceries and people are struggling with the cost of gas. I spoke with a number of families in Saskatoon just last week that thanked me for the fact that the amounts they are paying for child care have significantly dropped already, more than enough to compensate for some of the extra charges.
    We are delivering supports for families across the country. We will continue to be there for Canadians every step of the way.

  (1455)  

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, we know that a dangerous situation can quickly turn deadly when a firearm is present. Canadians deserve to feel safe from gun violence. Unfortunately, Conservative politicians are more focused on fulfilling their promises to the gun lobby than actually keeping our communities safe.
    On our side, I know we are taking real action to tackle this issue. Can the Prime Minister update the House on the concrete steps this government is taking to protect Canadians from gun violence?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for Brampton South for her hard work and for her advocacy in her community.
    This week, we presented the most ambitious move to strengthen gun control in a generation and introduced many provisions to protect our society's most vulnerable, such as allowing judges to protect the identity of those who raise a flag and giving law enforcement more tools to intercept guns coming over our borders and to get them off our streets. While Conservative politicians want to allow dangerous weapons back into our communities, we are capping handgun ownership and moving Canada forward.

Taxation

    Mr. Speaker, with today's interest rate hike, more and more households will have less to pay for rising fuel and grocery costs. Other G7 countries are trying to help with skyrocketing gas prices, but the Prime Minister is making things worse. His big spending has been called inflationary by the Parliamentary Budget Officer and his carbon tax has been called inflationary by the Governor of the Bank of Canada.
    The Conservatives have proposed a temporary cut to GST at the pumps to help Canadians. Will the Prime Minister finally quit his worn out talking points and finally give the middle class and those striving to join it a break?
    Mr. Speaker, as the member opposite well knows but will not share with his constituents or any Canadians, the price on pollution actually returns more money to the average Canadian family than it costs in many places where it has been brought in. We are talking about over $1,000 a year for families in Saskatchewan and Alberta and $800 or so in Manitoba.
    We will continue to make sure we are supporting Canadians, even as we move beyond our reliance on fossil fuels. This is something we know the world is asking for and Canadians are asking for, and we are leading on it despite Conservative—
    The hon. member for Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola.
    Mr. Speaker, inflation is always some else's problem to solve, not the Prime Minister's, and leadership is everything. Germany has given a $16-billion break on fuel taxes. The United States has opened up the strategic reserve. The Prime Minister has asked Canadians to forgive him for not thinking about monetary policy, but inflation is hitting them hard and we are seeing zero leadership from him.
    The Conservatives are not asking the Prime Minister to pay for his own meals, to pay for his own gas and to pay for his own housing. Will he act today and give Canadians a break at the pumps so they can pay for theirs?
    Mr. Speaker, we know the current challenges around the cost of living are hitting Canadian families hard, which is why we are continuing to step up on supports for them, whether it is supports for seniors, supports for families through the Canada child benefit, with increases linked to inflation, or moving forward on historic child care deals that are saving Canadian families across the country thousands of dollars this year because of reduced costs.
    We are going to continue to support Canadians during this difficult time because we know they need it.

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's goal to make everything more expensive is punishing Canadians at the grocery store. My constituency survey on inflationary grocery prices had this response from a resident: “When is it going to stop? How much more do you think people can afford to spend on set incomes!” Another said that with the cost of food now so high, they cannot afford medicine anymore.
    When is the Prime Minister going to wake up to how his made-in-Canada inflation is putting basic necessities out of reach for so many people?
    Mr. Speaker, we know the global inflation caused first by the pandemic and second by Vladimir Putin's illegal war in Ukraine is putting pressure on families, including with high gas prices. Canadians deserve support, which is what we are giving, but the Conservatives have opposed policies that put money back into Canadians' pockets. They voted against cutting taxes for the middle class, they voted against cutting child care fees in half this year and they voted against more support for families, seniors and students. They are also opposing our price on pollution, which means they are opposing giving more money to eight out of 10 Canadian families. We will be—

  (1500)  

    The hon. member for Kelowna—Lake Country.
    Mr. Speaker, it is incredibly sad that the Prime Minister is so out of touch with what people are going through. However, it is not only individuals; it is small businesses as well. The total number of insolvencies in Canada in March 2022 compared with March 2021 was 33.1%. The Liberals' comments that business is back to prepandemic levels and that it is all sunny ways for everyone are false.
    When will the Prime Minister just acknowledge that everything is more expensive, that people are struggling, that he blames everything on everyone else and that he really has no solutions?
    Mr. Speaker, during the past two years of the pandemic, we have been there for small businesses, with help in the way of CEBA loans, the Canada emergency wage subsidy and direct support for families. We were able to continue to ensure that small businesses would be able to hold through the darkest times of this pandemic.
    Unfortunately, this pandemic continues, and with it we see record inflation around the world. We see a rise in the cost of fuel and groceries. That is why we continue to be there to support families that are squeezed by this, by investing in them and making sure we are making the kinds of investments that support them without adding further inflationary pressures. That is what we will continue to do.

[Translation]

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, once again, yesterday, the Prime Minister refused to give Quebec the immigration powers it is asking for. He justified it by saying that it was “because protecting French and francophone immigration is very important”. Of course it is important. That is exactly why Quebec wants to be responsible for all its immigration. Quebec's future as a nation, where French is the common and official language, hinges on protecting French and francophone immigration.
    Does anyone here seriously believe that the federal government is in a better position than Quebec to provide this protection?
    Mr. Speaker, as a Quebecker, I know that the federal government has an important role to play in protecting French, not only in Quebec, but also throughout the country. It is precisely for the sake of those French-speaking communities across the country that we must continue to work to ensure francophone immigrants settle everywhere in the country.
    As far as Quebec is concerned, we are very happy to work hand in hand with the Quebec government to increase francophone immigration. If that is what the Quebec government wants, we are there to work in partnership with it. Our government is there as a partner to protect the French language and increase Quebec's population.
    Mr. Speaker, let us recap. The Prime Minister says that he will challenge Bill 21 and that Canada must be able to dictate Quebec's vision on state secularism. He then says that he wants to limit the scope of the notwithstanding clause to ensure that Quebeckers will never again have the right to adopt legislation that upsets Canada. He is saying that Quebec will never get the immigration powers it is calling for so that it can better integrate newcomers.
    At this point, what does the Prime Minister have to say to the Quebeckers who want to make their own democratic choices? Is the only option independence?
    Mr. Speaker, I think my esteemed colleague in the Bloc Québécois skipped a step. All Quebeckers are also Canadians, and as Prime Minister of all Canadians, I have a responsibility to protect every individual's fundamental rights. This is something that I will always do, knowing that protecting my beautiful French language is a central priority for our government and for myself, as a Quebecker.
    Therefore, yes, we will assume our responsibility of protecting the fundamental rights of Quebeckers, who are also Canadians.

[English]

Canadian Heritage

    Mr. Speaker, the heritage minister was not able to answer any of my questions on Monday, so I am hoping that perhaps the Prime Minister might be able to assist me today.
    The heritage minister has claimed repeatedly that Bill C-11 does not capture user-generated content, but the chair of the CRTC, Mr. Scott, has said that, in fact, user-generated content is captured within Bill C-11.
    Both of these men cannot be correct. I am wondering if the Prime Minister could clarify this for the sake of Canadians watching today: Should they believe his minister, or should they believe the chair of the CRTC?

  (1505)  

    Mr. Speaker, we have been very clear that Bill C-11 applies to platforms, not to users.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, my riding is home to two great online content creators. Julia Westlin and David Michaud get millions of views on YouTube and are known throughout the world. They make a living from their art.
    Under Bill C-11, as it now stands, the CRTC could regulate their content, which would have a major impact on their livelihoods.
    Can the Prime Minister categorically assure us that the content that is generated by all social media users, including Julia and David, will be exempt from this bill, yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to acknowledge the work of Julia and David and say that their content will be protected. We are here to ensure that platforms protect Canadian content and that our content generators, our creators, are supported. That is what the Conservatives still do not understand. We, on this side of the House, will always stand with creators and artists. As for the Conservatives, we are all too familiar with their track record.
    Mr. Speaker, just because the Prime Minister says something does necessarily make it true. The bill states in black and white that the CRTC can regulate any content that directly or indirectly generates revenues, which includes content created by artists who do not ask for any subsidies and who want to live off their art. It is not the Conservatives but rather experts in the field who have raised red flags.
    I repeat my simple question for the Prime Minister. Will he exempt all creators who post online and on social media from this act, yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, yes, individual creators are protected under this legislation. It is the platforms that we are targeting.
    Let us not forget that we have been able to protect Quebec and Canadian culture by making Canadian creators more discoverable on platforms, including radio, TV and now the Internet.
    We want to ensure that Canadian creators are seen, heard and appreciated. That is exactly what Bill C-11 does, and that is what the Conservatives still do not seem to understand.

Tourism Industry

    Mr. Speaker, with summer just around the corner, people around the world are starting to plan their summer vacation.
    As we know, measures at the borders are being eased and Canada is getting ready to welcome the world.
    Can the Prime Minister tell us what the government is doing to promote Canada on the world stage so as to encourage people to come enjoy our country from coast to coast to coast?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Alfred‑Pellan for his question and his hard work.
    The past two years were extremely difficult for the tourism industry. On this national tourism week, I would like to thank the tourism industry for its resilience and for promoting Canada around the world.
    Whether it is about dancing to the music at the Montreal International Jazz Festival or watching Belugas in Churchill, let us showcase Canada and make it the top tourist destination for people around the world.

[English]

Health

    Mr. Speaker, nothing says, “Happy Tourism Week” like the arbitrary, unjustified extension of the restrictions and mandates in Canada's airports. Airports, airlines, chambers of commerce and health experts have all called for an end to mandates, and, this week, even members of the Prime Minister's own caucus said that these restrictions do not make sense anymore.
    What was his response? He doubled down. What more will it take for him to finally do the right thing, do his job, clear the backlogs in our airports and give Canadians their rights back?
    Mr. Speaker, once again, I wish we were able, like the Conservatives think we are, to simply wish away a pandemic, wish away the thousands of deaths, and wish away the people dying every day, who continue to do so, in this pandemic. Yes, we all want it to be over, but the best way to make sure that it is over—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order. Are we ready?
    The right hon. Prime Minister can begin from the top, please.

  (1510)  

    Mr. Speaker, once again, we see the Conservatives in denial about the reality of this pandemic. We continue to have a pandemic in this country. We continue to need to take measures to keep Canadians safe, and we will continue to be informed by the best public health advice and the advice of experts to get us through this.
    We know that Canada was able to do the right things across the country to minimize the impacts of the pandemic both on Canadians and on our economy. We will continue to make sure we are putting the health of Canadians and the health of our economy first and foremost because nobody wants another wave of this COVID-19.
    Mr. Speaker, nearly 38,000 people participated in a Twitter poll posted by the government, but PHAC says 33,000 of them got the answer wrong. It seems like the government has done a terrible job of keeping Canadians informed.
    The Prime Minister has extended his punishing mandates for another month, so let us give him a chance to provide Canadians with some information and some facts. For how many more months will the Prime Minister extend his unscientific mandates?
    Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, no one knows how long this pandemic is going to last, but I can tell members that, even though the Conservatives seem to think it is over already, it is not. We will continue to make sure we are putting first and foremost the protection of Canadians, their safety, their well-being, the safety and the reliability of their jobs, and their futures.
    We have done that every step of the way, and we will continue to be informed by science, not by the barking of the Conservative opposition.
    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has changed his story so many times and moved the goalpost so many times. He refuses to answer a simple question. Millions of Canadians have lost their jobs and cannot travel across the country because the Prime Minister chooses to divide, wedge and stigmatize. Canadians deserve leadership, not ideology.
    When will the Prime Minister finally drop the divisive politics and end the mandates?
    Mr. Speaker, once again, we see the Conservatives refusing to remember that we actually had a very important election last year on the question of mandates and on the question of protections for Canadians, and they lost that election.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Right Hon. Justin Trudeau: Mr. Speaker, overwhelmingly, Canadians supported moving forward with vaccination mandates to keep Canadians safe. Unfortunately, they are stuck on the wrong side of things, but we continue to know putting science first and putting vaccinations first actually matters most to keep Canadians safe and to keep our economy going well. That is what we will continue to do.
    We are getting close to the end, and I know everybody is getting excited, but I would just like to remind members, especially the ones with loud voices that carry well, that I can hear them. As well, some of them do not have masks on, so I can see their lips moving. I know who they are.
    The hon. member for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country.
    Mr. Speaker, British Columbia has been the epicentre for the overdose crisis for the past several years, and the increasingly toxic drug supply has exacerbated an already heartbreaking loss of life. In B.C. alone, there were an average of five deaths per day in the month of March alone, sending shock waves of grief that ripple through families and communities.
    Can the Prime Minister please update the House on what our government is doing to turn the tide on the overdose and toxic drug supply crisis to save lives and to create a brighter future for communities in my province and right across the country?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country for his incredibly hard work on this file and others.
    We are taking concrete action to tackle the opioid epidemic, including the announcement of the approval of B.C.'s proposal to decriminalize personal possession of certain small amounts. We will work in partnership with B.C. through its comprehensive monitoring and evaluation strategy to address both public health and public safety. Our approach is supporting community-led solutions to reduce harm, treat addiction and prevent overdoses.

  (1515)  

Persons with Disabilities

    Mr. Speaker, it is so nice to see you back in the chair.
    Last week, the Liberals said they would move ahead with a disability benefit bill. People with disabilities deserve meaningful support from the government, and they have made it clear that the last bill was not good enough. Any new legislation must spell out comprehensive support. It cannot leave people behind. People living with disabilities have been waiting over a year for better.
    Will the Prime Minister promise that any new legislation will actually lift Canadians with disabilities out of poverty?
    Mr. Speaker, I am always pleased to see members of the NDP asking about this file. It is one that we take extraordinarily seriously and have continued to lead on every step of the way, including through the difficult times of the pandemic, by being there for Canadians living with disabilities. That is why we are very pleased to be moving forward to reintroduce the Canada disabilities legislation.
    We know that support for people with disabilities is extremely important, but we also know that getting it right really matters. We do nothing about people with disabilities without Canadians with disabilities' input, and that is why we will be working with the community to make sure we are getting it right.

Health

    Mr. Speaker, this is it. The Prime Minister has one last opportunity before we vote on Bill C-216. A national crisis requires federal leadership. There are moms, such as Irene and Angela, who are with us today, and the tens of thousands more across the country, who have lost loved ones to a poisoned drug supply.
    The Prime Minister can put people's lives ahead of politics. He can turn around right now and give his caucus permission to support having expert input at committee. Will he do it?
    Mr. Speaker, we are acting to keep Canadians safe. We have moved forward with a proposal, working hand in hand with the provincial government in British Columbia to make sure that, as we move forward, people have the supports in their community and in the local health system. We need a wraparound approach, which B.C. is leading on, and we are very pleased to work with them. We also look forward to working with any other jurisdiction that wants to take on this responsible approach, which British Columbia and its NDP government has led with. We stand with them, and we thank them for their leadership as we move forward.
    That is all the time we have for questions today.

Points of Order

Oral Questions 

[Points of Order]
    Mr. Speaker, I am rising on a point of order.
    During question period, I and a number of members on this side of the House heard the member for Kildonan—St. Paul make an intemperate if not incendiary remark in response to an answer the Prime Minister was making with regard to the over-incarceration of indigenous peoples and Black Canadians.
    I am confident that this member will not want those remarks to stand in the Hansard. I ask that you, Mr. Speaker, offer her the opportunity to withdraw those remarks or to significantly clarify them to the House.
    Mr. Speaker, I am not sure if the member is referring to my question, so maybe he can clarify it.
    Mr. Speaker, I am very reluctant to repeat those comments because they were so incendiary and intemperate. If I may, I might ask you, Mr. Speaker, to review Hansard and to review the comments that I am certain our reporters heard.
     To answer the member's question, it was not a question that she posed to the Prime Minister. Rather, it was a statement that she made while the Prime Minister was answering.
    If it is okay with the House, what we will do is we will revise the language and then come back to the House, should something arise from that.

Private Members' Business

[Private Members' Business]

  (1520)  

[English]

Fighting Against Forced Labour and Child Labour in Supply Chains Act

    The House resumed from May 18, consideration of the motion that Bill S-211, An Act to enact the Fighting Against Forced Labour and Child Labour in Supply Chains Act and to amend the Customs Tariff, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    It being 3:18 p.m., pursuant to order made on Thursday, November 25, 2021, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at second reading stage of the bill.
    Call in the members.

  (1530)  

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

(Division No. 113)

YEAS

Members

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

Total: -- 327


NAYS

Nil

PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion carried. Accordingly, the bill stands referred to the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development.

    (Bill read the second time and referred to a committee)

  (1535)  

[Translation]

Health-based Approach to Substance Use Act

    The House resumed from May 20 consideration of the motion that Bill C-216, An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and to enact the Expungement of Certain Drug-related Convictions Act and the National Strategy on Substance Use Act, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    Pursuant to order made on Thursday, November 25, 2021, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at second reading stage of Bill C‑216 under Private Members' Business.
    The question is on the motion.

[English]

    May I dispense?
    Some hon. members: No.
    [Chair read text of motion to House]

  (1545)  

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

(Division No. 114)

YEAS

Members

Angus
Ashton
Atwin
Bachrach
Barron
Barsalou-Duval
Beaulieu
Bergeron
Bérubé
Blaikie
Blanchet
Blanchette-Joncas
Blaney
Boulerice
Brunelle-Duceppe
Cannings
Chabot
Champoux
Collins (Victoria)
Coteau
Dabrusin
Davies
DeBellefeuille
Desbiens
Desilets
Desjarlais
Dzerowicz
Erskine-Smith
Fillmore
Fortin
Garneau
Garon
Garrison
Gaudreau
Gazan
Gill
Green
Hanley
Hughes
Idlout
Johns
Julian
Kwan
Larouche
Lemire
Lightbound
Long
MacDonald (Malpeque)
MacGregor
Martinez Ferrada
Masse
Mathyssen
May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)
McLeod
McPherson
Michaud
Morrice
Normandin
Perron
Plamondon
Savard-Tremblay
Simard
Singh
Ste-Marie
Thériault
Therrien
Vignola
Villemure
Vuong
Zarrillo

Total: -- 71


NAYS

Members

Aboultaif
Aitchison
Albas
Aldag
Ali
Allison
Anand
Anandasangaree
Arnold
Arseneault
Arya
Badawey
Bains
Baker
Baldinelli
Barlow
Barrett
Beech
Bennett
Benzen
Bergen
Berthold
Bezan
Bibeau
Bittle
Blair
Block
Blois
Boissonnault
Bradford
Bragdon
Brassard
Brière
Brock
Calkins
Caputo
Carr
Carrie
Casey
Chagger
Chahal
Chambers
Champagne
Chatel
Chen
Chiang
Chong
Collins (Hamilton East—Stoney Creek)
Cooper
Cormier
Dalton
Damoff
Dancho
Davidson
Deltell
d'Entremont
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Diab
Doherty
Dong
Dowdall
Dreeshen
Drouin
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
Duncan (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Ellis
Epp
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Fast
Fergus
Ferreri
Findlay
Fisher
Fonseca
Fortier
Fragiskatos
Fraser
Freeland
Gaheer
Gallant
Généreux
Genuis
Gerretsen
Gladu
Godin
Goodridge
Gould
Gourde
Gray
Hajdu
Hallan
Hepfner
Hoback
Holland
Housefather
Hussen
Hutchings
Iacono
Ien
Jaczek
Jeneroux
Joly
Jones
Jowhari
Kelloway
Kelly
Khera
Kitchen
Kmiec
Koutrakis
Kram
Kramp-Neuman
Kurek
Kusie
Kusmierczyk
Lake
Lalonde
Lambropoulos
Lametti
Lamoureux
Lantsman
Lapointe
Lattanzio
Lauzon
Lawrence
LeBlanc
Lebouthillier
Lehoux
Lewis (Essex)
Lewis (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Liepert
Lloyd
Lobb
Longfield
Louis (Kitchener—Conestoga)
MacAulay (Cardigan)
MacKenzie
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
Maguire
Maloney
Martel
May (Cambridge)
Mazier
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McDonald (Avalon)
McGuinty
McKay
McLean
Melillo
Mendès
Mendicino
Miao
Miller
Moore
Morantz
Morrison
Morrissey
Motz
Murray
Muys
Naqvi
Nater
Ng
Noormohamed
O'Connell
O'Regan
O'Toole
Patzer
Paul-Hus
Perkins
Petitpas Taylor
Poilievre
Powlowski
Qualtrough
Rayes
Redekopp
Rempel Garner
Richards
Roberts
Robillard
Rodriguez
Rogers
Romanado
Rood
Ruff
Sahota
Sajjan
Saks
Samson
Sarai
Scarpaleggia
Scheer
Schiefke
Schmale
Serré
Sgro
Shanahan
Sheehan
Shields
Shipley
Sidhu (Brampton East)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Small
Sorbara
Soroka
Steinley
Stewart
St-Onge
Strahl
Stubbs
Sudds
Tassi
Taylor Roy
Thomas
Thompson
Tochor
Tolmie
Trudeau
Turnbull
Uppal
Valdez
Van Popta
Vandal
Vandenbeld
Vecchio
Vidal
Vien
Viersen
Virani
Vis
Wagantall
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Weiler
Wilkinson
Williams
Williamson
Yip
Zahid
Zimmer
Zuberi

Total: -- 248


PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion defeated.
    An hon. member: Oh, oh!
    The Speaker: Order.
    I want to remind hon. members that reacting to what is going on in the galleries is not permitted, in case anyone forgot.

  (1550)  

[Translation]

Criminal Code

    The House resumed from May 30 consideration of the motion that Bill C-233, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Judges Act (violence against an intimate partner) be read the third time and passed.
    Pursuant to order made on Thursday, November 25, 2021, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at third reading stage of Bill C‑233 under Private Members' Business.
    The question is on the motion.

  (1600)  

[English]

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

(Division No. 115)

YEAS

Members

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

Total: -- 326


NAYS

Nil

PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion carried.

    (Bill read the third time and passed)


Government Orders

[Business of Supply]

[English]

Business of Supply

Opposition Motion—Canada Research Chairs Program  

    The House resumed from May 31 consideration of the motion.
    Pursuant to order made on Thursday, November 25, 2021, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion of the member for Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques related to the business of supply.
    The question is on the motion.

  (1615)  

[Translation]

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

(Division No. 116)

YEAS

Members

Aboultaif
Aitchison
Albas
Allison
Arnold
Baldinelli
Barlow
Barrett
Barsalou-Duval
Beaulieu
Benzen
Bergen
Bergeron
Berthold
Bérubé
Bezan
Blanchet
Blanchette-Joncas
Block
Bragdon
Brassard
Brock
Brunelle-Duceppe
Calkins
Caputo
Carrie
Chabot
Chambers
Champoux
Chong
Cooper
Dalton
Dancho
Davidson
DeBellefeuille
Deltell
d'Entremont
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
Mazier
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McLean
Melillo
Michaud
Moore
Morantz
Morrison
Motz
Muys
Nater
Normandin
O'Toole
Patzer
Paul-Hus
Perkins
Perron
Plamondon
Poilievre
Rayes
Redekopp
Reid
Rempel Garner
Richards
Roberts
Rood
Ruff
Savard-Tremblay
Scheer
Schmale
Shields
Shipley
Simard
Small
Soroka
Steinley
Ste-Marie
Stewart
Strahl
Stubbs
Thériault
Therrien
Thomas
Tochor
Tolmie
Uppal
Van Popta
Vecchio
Vidal
Vien
Viersen
Vignola
Villemure
Vis
Vuong
Wagantall
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Williams
Williamson
Zimmer

Total: -- 148


NAYS

Members

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

Total: -- 178


PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion defeated.

Private Members' Business

[Private Members' Business]

[Translation]

Building a Green Prairie Economy Act

    The House resumed from May 31 consideration of the motion that Bill C-235, An Act respecting the building of a green economy in the Prairies, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    Pursuant to order made on Thursday, November 25, 2021, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at second reading of Bill C-235 under Private Members' Business.

  (1625)  

[English]

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

(Division No. 117)

YEAS

Members

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

Total: -- 206


NAYS

Members

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

Total: -- 117


PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion carried. Accordingly, the bill stands referred to the Standing Committee on Industry and Technology.

    (Bill read the second time and referred to a committee)

    I wish to inform the House that because of the deferred recorded divisions, Government Orders will be extended by 67 minutes.
    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 Peace River—Westlock, Health; the hon. member for St. Albert—Edmonton, Justice; the hon. member for Edmonton—Wetaskiwin, Health.

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

[Translation]

Committees of the House

Procedure and House Affairs  

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Orders 104 and 114, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the ninth report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, regarding the membership of committees of the House.

  (1630)  

[English]

    If the House gives its consent, I intend to move concurrence in the ninth report later this day.

Finance  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fourth report of the Standing Committee on Finance 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.
    I would like to take this opportunity to thank our legislative clerks Jacques Maziade and Émilie Thivierge, finance committee clerk Alexandre Roger, and all our committee staff, interpreters, services, members of the committee, witnesses and department officials for their hard work in getting this report completed.
     The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report the bill back to the House with amendments.
    While I am on my feet, I move:
    That the House do now proceed to Orders of the Day.
    The question is on the motion. 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.
    Mr. Speaker, we request a recorded division.
    Call in the members.

  (1715)  

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

(Division No. 118)

YEAS

Members

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

Total: -- 173


NAYS

Members

Aboultaif
Aitchison
Albas
Allison
Arnold
Baldinelli
Barlow
Barrett
Barsalou-Duval
Beaulieu
Bergen
Bergeron
Berthold
Bérubé
Bezan
Blanchette-Joncas
Block
Bragdon
Brassard
Brock
Brunelle-Duceppe
Calkins
Caputo
Carrie
Chabot
Chambers
Champoux
Chong
Cooper
Dalton
Dancho
Davidson
DeBellefeuille
Deltell
d'Entremont
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
Morrison
Motz
Muys
Nater
Normandin
O'Toole
Patzer
Paul-Hus
Perkins
Perron
Plamondon
Poilievre
Rayes
Redekopp
Reid
Rempel Garner
Richards
Roberts
Rood
Ruff
Savard-Tremblay
Scheer
Schmale
Shields
Shipley
Simard
Small
Soroka
Steinley
Ste-Marie
Stewart
Strahl
Stubbs
Thériault
Therrien
Thomas
Tochor
Tolmie
Uppal
Van Popta
Vecchio
Vidal
Vien
Viersen
Vignola
Villemure
Vis
Vuong
Wagantall
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Williams
Williamson
Zimmer

Total: -- 147


PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion carried.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

Criminal Code

    The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill C-5, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, as reported (with amendment) from the committee.

[English]

Speaker's Ruling  

    There are five motions in amendment standing on the Notice Paper for the report stage of Bill C-5.
     Motions Nos. 1 to 5 will be grouped for debate and voted upon according to the voting pattern available at the table.

[Translation]

    The mover of the motion as well as the two members who had submitted an identical notice have indicated to the Chair that they do not wish to proceed with Motion No. 1.

[English]

Motions in Amendment  

Motion No. 2
     That Bill C-5 be amended by deleting Clause 5.
Motion No. 3
     That Bill C-5 be amended by deleting Clause 6.
Motion No. 4
     That Bill C-5 be amended by deleting Clause 7.
Motion No. 5
    That Bill C-5 be amended by deleting Clause 8.

Routine Proceedings

[Routine Proceedings]

[English]

Committees of the House

Procedure and House Affairs  

    Madam Speaker, I understand there have been discussions amongst the parties, and if you seek it you should find unanimous consent that the ninth report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, presented to the House earlier this day, be concurred in.

[Translation]

    All those opposed to the hon. member moving the motion will please say nay.
    It is agreed.
    The House has heard the terms of the motion. All those opposed to the motion will please say nay.

    (Motion agreed to)


Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[English]

Criminal Code

    The House resumed consideration of Bill C-5, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, as reported (with amendments) from the committee, and of the motions in Group No. 1.
    Madam Speaker, today we are debating Bill C-5 at report stage. It is actually hard to believe that a bill this reckless with the safety and security of Canadians has even gotten this far in the legislative process.
    This bill seeks to make changes to the Criminal Code in order to make life easier for criminals charged with violent firearm offences and criminals who are fuelling the opioid crisis in Canada. The Liberals have made themselves dizzy by the amount of spin they put on Bill C-5, but today I want Canadians to hear just the facts about this dangerous piece of legislation.
    Most of the offences we are discussing today, for which the Liberals want to get rid of mandatory jail time, are crimes that involve firearms. However, the Liberal government has chosen to leave in the Criminal Code many of the mandatory minimum penalties, particularly some escalating ones around gun violence that came in under the previous Conservative government.
     I want to make another point before I get too far into my speech. The charges for which the government is removing mandatory jail time are not for an otherwise innocent individual who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. This bill specifically allows repeat offenders to avoid mandatory jail sentences. These are hardened criminals who have already made the choice to live outside the law and have not made an effort to change their behaviour. These are the people the Liberals are helping with Bill C-5.
    In the government press release announcing Bill C-5, there was not a single mention of guns or gun violence. How, then, would the average Canadian know that this bill would eliminate mandatory jail time for criminals charged with robbery with a firearm; extortion with a firearm; weapons trafficking; importing or exporting knowing that a firearm is unauthorized; discharging a firearm with intent; using a firearm in the commission of an offence; possession of a prohibited or restricted firearm with ammunition; possession of a weapon obtained by the commission of an offence; and possession for the purpose of weapons trafficking, just to name a few? These are the very offences that are ripped from the headlines today, the stories that we are hearing in many of our large cities of gang crimes and drive-by shootings. These are the types of offences for which mandatory jail time would be removed in Bill C-5.
    Why would the Liberals keep Canadians in the dark about getting rid of mandatory jail time for these serious offences? I am sure they are familiar with these mandatory prison sentences, as most of them were actually introduced by previous Liberal governments. The Liberal Party used to recognize that public safety should be a key factor.
    In 2007, Roy Cullen, the former parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Public Safety, said that the Liberals “support mandatory minimums for gun related crimes because the research shows they work.” It was Marlene Jennings, the former parliamentary secretary to the Solicitor General of Canada, who correctly stated, “It was a Liberal government that recognized minimum mandatory penalties in very targeted areas could send a clear message and could be effective in the sense of removing the offender from the community and ensuring that the victim and the community were not re-victimized.” In the 2006 election campaign, the Liberal Party of Canada, under the Right Hon. Paul Martin, ran on a promise to increase mandatory minimum sentences.
    The version of the Liberal Party that we see today is not using Bill C-5 to reverse Conservative policies. The Liberals are using Bill C-5 to turn away from their own party's long-established values.
    Unfortunately, Canadians are seeing the same disregard for foundational beliefs among the members of the NDP as well. It was not so long ago that the former NDP leader, the late Jack Layton, ran on a platform that promised to increase the mandatory minimum penalty for the possession, sale and importation of illegal arms such as handguns, assault rifles and automatic weapons. He also promised to add mandatory minimum sentences to other weapons offences. It is hard to believe how in such a short time, the Liberals and the NDP have turned their backs on the principles and values that were deeply held by their predecessors.
     I want to be very clear: The changes to the Criminal Code imposed by Bill C-5 are a radical shift away from long-standing and bipartisan values and principles held by members of this House when it comes to public safety.

  (1720)  

    The Liberal members and the government across the way cannot pretend that they have not recognized the rising rate of violence in Canadian communities. They have seen it first-hand in their own ridings. While support for this bill would indicate otherwise, I am sure many of the Liberal members are aware of the tragic firearms incidents that are happening weekly in their own ridings. We are talking about gun violence on the streets of Canada's big cities every day.
    The member for Mississauga—Streetsville would be aware of the increasingly bold behaviour of violent firearm offenders. In April, a young person was rushed to a hospital in life-threatening condition following a shooting at a townhouse complex in her riding in the middle of the afternoon. The member for Laval—Les Îles is well aware that in his riding, less than a month ago, a young man was shot just after 1 o'clock in the afternoon. Just a few weeks ago, on May 11, the Montreal police announced that the city's ninth homicide this year had taken place shortly after 4 o'clock in the afternoon. That shooting occurred in the riding of Papineau.
    Criminals carrying firearms are become more brazen, and it is happening right in the Liberal members' own backyards. Instead of coming down hard on these violent offenders, the Liberals are rewarding their behaviour by giving them changes to the Criminal Code as proposed in Bill C-5.
     André Gélinas is a retired detective sergeant with the Montreal police service with years of experience, particularly with gang violence in Montreal. We have all seen the headlines out of big urban centres like Montreal and the rising gun and gang violence terrorizing communities within Canadian cities. The retired sergeant told the justice committee, in no uncertain terms, that “anything remotely related to firearms trafficking must continue to be subject to mandatory minimum sentences.” He called Bill C-5 “a race to the bottom.”
     Anie Samson is a former municipal councillor and mayor whose jurisdiction included the most multicultural neighbourhood in Montreal. Unfortunately, this neighbourhood had a very high crime rate. It was also in the top 10 of the poorest neighbourhoods in Canada. Ms. Samson has shared heartbreaking stories about youth and even young children being victimized and targeted by organized crime in her community.
    When Ms. Samson spoke to our committee last month, she told us that not only would Bill C-5 fail to protect the young people in her community from getting involved in criminal activity, but abolishing certain mandatory minimum penalties would actually increase the feeling of impunity for criminal behaviour that we are seeing every day in the headlines.
    She went on to say that criminal organizations are becoming more bold in our communities and have less regard for the law and for the implications of getting caught and facing some kind of consequence. Bill C-5 makes that stark reality even worse. In other words, Bill C-5 gives gang members licence to continue to terrorize her community, a community that already faces a multitude of hardships.
    I should also mention that the borough of Montreal that Ms. Samson represented as mayor also happens to be in the home riding of the Prime Minister. Over the past seven years, it has become increasingly obvious that the Prime Minister does not prioritize the safety and security of Canadians in general, but it is particularly disappointing and even cruel that he would disregard the safety and security of his own constituents.
    In contrast, justice committee members were privileged to hear from individuals and organizations who care very deeply about the safety and security of all Canadians, in particular those who have been victimized by violent crime or have lost a loved one due to some of the offences where punishment will be reduced by Bill C-5.
    In this bill, the Liberals are making more criminal charges eligible to receive conditional sentences, also known as house arrest. There may be cases where house arrest is acceptable, but house arrest should never be made available to dangerous offenders and criminals whose actions have victimized an innocent person or family.
    The fact of the matter is this: The crimes that would become eligible for house arrest under the Liberals' Bill C-5 are not victimless crimes and are, in fact, dangerous. Should a criminal who abducted a child under the age of 14 be eligible for house arrest? The Liberal government says yes. Should a criminal who benefits financially from the scourge of human trafficking be eligible for house arrest? The Liberal government says yes. Should someone convicted of kidnapping get house arrest? The Liberal government says yes. Should criminals charged with sexual assault be able to serve their time back in the same community of their victims? I would argue absolutely not, but the Liberal government says that it is absolutely appropriate.

  (1725)  

    The Liberals are trying to expand house arrest for those charged with prison breach. In what world does one reward people for trying to break out of jail by offering them a sentence of house arrest? This is just one example of how the Liberal government is trying to make a complete mockery of the Canadian justice system.
    I will wrap up my remarks. I will be very strongly voting against Bill C-5, and I encourage all members of this House to do the same.
    Madam Speaker, one thing I did not hear from my colleague during his 10-minute speech is the term “systemic racism”. We know from the Auditor General's report yesterday, in which she talks about correctional institutions and the need to address issues of systemic racism, that indigenous and Black Canadians who go into prisons stay longer because of systemic racism within the system. Therefore, it is important that we ensure there are off-ramps and possibilities for people who do not pose a threat to be able to serve their sentence in the community.
    I wonder if my friend opposite could say why, in the 10 minutes he had, he could not even utter the words “systemic racism” in his speech.
    Madam Speaker, I am shocked that the member opposite raised this issue because, for a number of the offences within Bill C-5, such as weapons trafficking, discharging a firearm with intent, and possession of a weapon obtained in the commission of an offence, the government said last week that people would not go to jail at all, and this week, in Bill C-21, for those very same offences, it has increased the maximum penalties. It cannot have it both ways.

  (1730)  

    Madam Speaker, I know there is a lot of shared ground here in the House of Commons on wanting to make communities safer. That is a goal we all share, but we share a difference of opinion on how best to do that. I am always disappointed when I hear the Conservatives implying that somehow mandatory minimums create safer communities, when all the research and all the evidence show that this is simply not true. I guess I am hoping the member could acknowledge that we have a difference of opinion about how best to protect communities. It is not that some of us care about communities more than others.
    Madam Speaker, I will absolutely acknowledge that we have a difference of opinion. I, for one, believe that criminals who are putting Canadians at risk and engaging in activities in our communities such as using a firearm in the commission of an offence, weapons trafficking, robbery with a firearm, extortion with a firearm, and discharging a firearm with intent should get jail time. I think most Canadians would agree with that, whether they live in an urban or a rural area.
    Madam Speaker, I am so grateful to be acknowledged at this moment, because it allows me to follow up on the question from the hon. member for Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke and clarify for the hon. member for Fundy Royal that no one voting for Bill C-5 thinks that guilty parties should have no jail time.
    What we are arguing for, based on the evidence, is that we do not put an additional cost burden on the provinces by putting more people in jail. The provinces have to pay the costs of what was an omnibus crime bill in a previous Parliament, Bill C-10. We do not want to see people who are innocent get so worried about a mandatory minimum that they take their lawyer's advice and take a plea deal because they do not really want to take the chance of letting the judge use his or her discretion, having heard all the evidence, and we do not want people to get lesser sentences because they did not go through the process where a judge had the discretion to decide how they should go to jail.
    The punishment must fit the crime, and the cookie-cutter approach of mandatory minimums is a failure.
    Madam Speaker, I wish all Canadians could have been watching when we saw the Green Party move amendments at our committee to remove every single mandatory penalty from the Criminal Code, including sexual offences against children. It was appalling. They moved the amendments, but then they did not want to speak about them.
    I am happy to speak about them. We, the Conservatives, believe that Parliament needs to send a message that individuals who victimize young people and Canadians, cause fear in our communities and engage in drive-by shootings, weapons trafficking, the importing and exporting of firearms illegally, robberies with a firearm, extortion with a firearm and the discharging of a firearm with intent, as in a drive-by shooting, need to be off the streets and there need to be serious consequences for those types of crimes.
     Madam Speaker, I am pleased to participate in the third reading debate of Bill C-5, an act to amend the Criminal Code and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Let me begin by acknowledging that I am speaking from the traditional unceded lands of the Algonquin peoples.
    At the outset, I would like to thank my colleagues at the justice committee for their diligent work in improving this bill and moving it forward and the many witnesses who came forward to speak about their lived experiences.
    Bill C-5 addresses systemic racism and discrimination in the criminal justice system by promoting a fairer and more effective justice system that, among other things, would provide courts with increased judicial discretion at sentencing through the elimination of some mandatory minimum penalties of imprisonments and of restrictions on the imposition of conditional sentences of imprisonment. Further, the bill promotes alternatives to charging and prosecuting individuals in cases involving simple possession of drugs.
    We see again here the opposition attempting to reinstate mandatory minimum penalties in the legislation when we have clearly seen that MMPs do not work. I am proud of the announcement our government made Monday to crack down on illegal and dangerous firearms in Canada, including raising maximum penalties for many firearm offences. Together with this bill, we would be restoring discretion to judges, ensuring that their fair sentences can be applied and that serious crimes would still receive serious sentences.

  (1735)  

[Translation]

    The Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights has now concluded its study of the bill and has decided to report the bill back to the House of Commons with four amendments, which I believe strengthen the bill.

[English]

    Bill C-5's amendments would provide space to treat the simple possession of drugs as a health issue rather than a criminal one, as it should be, and is consistent with the announcement made by the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions for British Columbia yesterday. The bill requires police and prosecutors to consider alternative measures, including diverting individuals to treatment programs, giving a warning or taking no further action, instead of laying charges or prosecuting individuals for simple possession of an illegal drug. Further, it would provide a declaration of principles to guide police and Crown prosecutors in the exercise of their discretion.
    Among other principles, the bill would recognize that scarce judicial resources should be reserved for offences that pose a risk to public safety and that criminal sanctions imposed in respect of the possession of drugs for personal use are not consistent with established public health evidence.
    The principles enacted under Bill C-5 do not condone the sale of drugs, as that may result in the death of the purchasers, including purchasers who may be youths and first-time users and who are at greater health risks from consuming highly concentrated drugs. Condoning the sale of drugs would be contrary to the government's ongoing efforts to combat the opioid crisis and deaths. Further, such an approach would also be contrary to the harm reduction and prevention pillar of the Canadian drugs and substances strategy.
    Let me be clear that Bill C-5 is only one part of a larger government strategy to fight the ongoing opioid crisis. On May 31, 2022, the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health announced the granting of a time-limited exemption, under subsection 56(1) of the CDSA, to exempt the application of the simple possession offence to the personal possession of small amounts of controlled substances, which is commonly involved in overdose deaths by adults 18 years or older in the province of British Columbia. The exemption is part of the province's comprehensive approach to address the overdose crisis and is intended to reduce harm for people who use drugs and promote better access to life-saving health services in the territory.
    Before I go into the other parts of the amendment, I do want to highlight the report by the Auditor General of Canada to Parliament from yesterday. When I speak about the need to avoid prison sentences for those who pose virtually no threat to the public, particularly from racialized communities, and indigenous and Black communities, it is because we know that systemic racism is prevalent within many parts of the criminal justice system.
    The report by the Auditor General from yesterday makes it crystal clear that there is a disparity in the manner in which we treat indigenous and Black offenders. For example, and I would like to read parts of the report, it says, “Indigenous and Black offenders...faced greater barriers to a safe and gradual reintegration into society” than other incarcerated groups.
    The report goes on to say, “Indigenous and Black offenders remained in custody longer and at higher levels of security before release.” Essentially, Correctional Services categorizes offenders based on low, medium and high risk, and it is clear that there is a disparity in the manner in which it classifies indigenous and Black offenders. For example, the report continues, “We found that Indigenous and Black offenders were placed at higher security levels on admission into custody at twice the average rate of other offenders.”
    The report then says:
     We found that, although the majority of offenders were released on parole before the end of their sentences, fewer Indigenous offenders were released when first eligible. In fact, more Indigenous offenders remained in custody until their statutory release and were released directly into the community from higher levels of security.
    This means that they did not obtain the right level of support for them to go into the community and integrate. The report continues, “Indigenous offenders served longer portions of their sentences in custody than the average, placing them at a disadvantage to access early release or parole.”
    I believe this report is important to the discussion today because, when we speak about ensuring that we minimize those going into the criminal justice system, we are not saying that we treat everyone the same. We are saying that, if a person poses no risk and is a low-risk offender who does not belong in jail, then they have other alternatives. As a government bill, Bill C-5 would address some of the root causes of both mandatory minimum penalties and avoiding jail sentences, which we know from the Auditor General's report does have adverse impacts on indigenous and Black Canadians, particularly indigenous women and young Black men.
    I will now talk about the amendments that Bill C-5 would make.
    The first amendment would be to clarify the kind of information to be kept in the police record on warnings or referrals, the use of such records and to whom they may be disclosed. For instance, once amended, any information contained in the record of warning or referral may be made available to a judge or a court for any purpose relating to offence proceedings for the preparation of a pre-sentence report but limited to circumstances to which the record relates. These changes address the concerns raised by several witnesses that records could be improperly applied, which would frustrate the objectives of the bill to promote diversion while recognizing that police officers are legally and ethically bound to keep notes to facilitate various operational requirements of the criminal justice system.
    To address these concerns, a second amendment would provide a mechanism to reduce the stigma associated with convictions for simple possession of drugs by specifying that past and future convictions must be kept separate and apart from other criminal convictions after a certain period of time. These new measures would need to be implemented two years after the coming into force of the bill in the case of convictions that occurred before the bill came into force, two years after the conviction or completion of an offender's sentence, or in the case of conviction after Bill C-5 is enforced.
    The third amendment would provide an express provision to clarify that no social worker, medical professional or service provider would be committing the offence of simple possession when they come into possession of a controlled substance in the course of their duties when they have the intent to, within a reasonable period, lawfully dispose of it. We believe that this particular amendment is covered in the “innocent possession” common law defence, and we were able to work with the opposition in order to strengthen the bill to have a bit more clarity, which is incorporated herein.
    The last amendment from Bill C-5 would require a comprehensive review of the provisions and operations of the bill to be undertaken by the House on the fourth anniversary of the bill coming into force.
    In conclusion, Bill C-5 is a very important step forward in addressing common sense criminal law reform. Mandatory minimum penalties, in many cases, have not had a positive impact on communities, particularly indigenous, Black and other racialized communities, and this bill is a very important step forward in addressing the systemic racism that we have within the criminal justice system.

  (1740)  

    Mr. Speaker, I listened intently to my colleague's speech. The problem is that a number of times I heard the words “simple possession”. The issue is that this is not what Bill C-5 deals with.
    The mandatory minimum penalties being repealed in the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act have to do with trafficking, importing or exporting controlled substances, or the production of schedule I or schedule II drugs, that is, cocaine, heroine, fentanyl and crystal meth.
    Would the hon. member maintain that production, trafficking and importing are “simple possession”?
    Mr. Speaker, it is clear that, when we have criminal law, it is intended to serve a particular purpose. What we are doing today is bringing forward smart criminal justice reform that is intended to address the root cause of the issue and ensure that we have enough off-ramps for people, who may have substance addiction issues, to be able to get the right treatment and the right supports to enable them to move on in society.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, mandatory minimum sentences have their pros and cons.
    In any case, I am not against abolishing them. However, there are problems associated with them that must be resolved. They include problems with education, illegal arms trafficking, social issues, and the need for hospitalization and diagnosis.
    It is time that the government provided health transfers, if only to address the health aspect, so that youth could be monitored from early childhood to prevent them from ending up in jail or other bad situations. This would also ensure better social support.
    When will this happen?

  (1745)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I think the question here is that, as a society, we need to ensure that there are enough off-ramps for people who somehow got into the criminal justice system to rehabilitate, be able to move on and get the right levels of support, whether it is through addiction counselling, rehab or community engagement work, or, in some cases, serving sentences.
    That is really the purpose of this bill, to advance smart criminal justice policy that goes toward ensuring that our communities are safe.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to reflect on what happened just before we started this debate on Bill C-5 because there are some modest measures in Bill C-5 that would help address the opioid crisis, but the government just defeated Bill C-216, which would have decriminalized personal possession of drugs.
    The Prime Minister said earlier today that, in reference to the section 56 exemption for British Columbia, he would be prepared to work with communities who are interested in such an exemption. Is the government really telling us today that, instead of just eliminating penalties for possessions, it will work positively with communities to grant exemptions in addition to those in British Columbia?
    Mr. Speaker, I think the answer to that question is obvious. The Prime Minister, from the outset, has said he is willing to engage communities and the result is what we saw in British Columbia yesterday with the section 56 exemption. Of course, when parties come together, when provinces and municipalities come together, there is always room for us to discuss. I am absolutely certain that the Prime Minister, as indicated today, will live up to that, as we have with British Columbia.
    Mr. Speaker, I am wondering if the member could provide his thoughts on the impact on systemic racism and bringing forward this legislation.
    Mr. Speaker, on the eve during which Bill C-5 is coming to third debate, I do want my friends opposite to reflect on the notion of systemic racism. It is something that has been central to this bill. I really do invite members, especially the opposition, to read the report by the Auditor General from yesterday that talks about systemic barriers within Correctional Service Canada.
    It is a very profound report. I know that the Office of the Correctional Investigator, for many years, has been putting forward reports after reports after reports. However, this is coming from the Auditor General who has, I think for the first time, empirically demonstrated that systemic racism does, in fact, exist within our criminal justice system. It is something that I take very personally.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak to Bill C-5. I find this bill important but disheartening at the same time. The way in which the bill was presented is deplorable, and that is very sad. Bill C‑5 is really two bills in one. The first decriminalizes certain offences, and the second establishes diversion measures while also abolishing minimum sentences. These are two very different issues.
    We are comfortable with the elimination of certain minimum sentences. Generally speaking, the Bloc Québécois believes that minimum sentences are not a cure-all. We think that they can actually be harmful in many cases and that we should trust the judges overseeing criminal trials. However, we believe that minimum sentences can be useful in some circumstances.
    It would be especially unfortunate to eliminate them at the wrong time. Right now, gun violence is on the rise in Montreal and many other Canadian cities, and people want the government to do something. The government proposed Bill C-21 in an effort to control the circulation of legal weapons. However, the bill does nothing about the illegal weapons being used by street gangs to commit crimes and shoot people in the streets.
    The Bloc says that this problem needs to be addressed, and we have some suggestions. For months now, we have been standing up in the House and talking about the need to identify organized criminal gangs and include targeted measures against members of criminal gangs in the Criminal Code. We have proposed a joint task force to stem the trafficking of illegal guns through indigenous reserves. People on the reserves have agreed to work with us on this plan. We have proposed more funding for border controls, to no avail. All of these measures would help curtail shootings, but the government has done nothing in this respect.
    Now we have Bill C-5, which not only does nothing to fight gun violence committed with illegal weapons, but which also eliminates mandatory minimum sentences for crimes that I believe are pretty serious. I hardly consider armed robbery to be a trivial matter. Armed extortion is not a trivial matter either, nor is discharging a firearm with intent to wound, maim or disfigure. The government wants to eliminate the minimum sentences for these crimes just as the public is expressing concern. People want the government to do something to reassure them. Not only is the government responding by doing nothing, but it is eliminating the minimum sentences for these crimes. I am appalled.
    At the same time, the government is establishing diversion measures for certain offences involving illicit substances. It is offering diversion for possession of substances for personal use. Rather than sending a person with drug addiction to prison, we will provide treatment. We will help the person regain control of their life and become a useful member of society again. That is a good thing.
    However, these are two completely different subjects. The government is taking Parliament hostage by saying this is a package deal. Members are being forced to decide whether they are totally for it or totally against it. I find that appalling. In my opinion, that is a way of muzzling democracy.
    I would have liked to hear my colleague from the governing party speak to this aspect of the issue. Why did his party refuse to split the bill from the beginning, as we requested? That would have made it a lot easier to work on. In any case, we have to live with it now. It is what it is.
    Getting back to what I was saying about minimum sentences, there is a major problem with some of the offences. We tried to find solutions. The Bloc Québécois is against many things, but we are also in favour of certain things. Above all, we try to improve the bills that come through the House. Whenever we can make them acceptable and make sure they reflect the values and interests of the people we represent, we are happy to do so.
     In this spirit, we made a suggestion. Now is not the time to abolish minimum sentences, because this would send the wrong message. Not only would it not reassure the public, but it would worry them even more. We therefore suggested maintaining the minimum sentences and adding clauses stating that the court could override them under exceptional circumstances.

  (1750)  

    That is the system used in other jurisdictions, and it works, as an expert told the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. We proposed adding a clause requiring judges to state, if applicable, that the case they are trying is an exceptional case and that, under the circumstances, they will override the mandatory minimum sentence for such and such a reason. The clause would provide guidelines and ensure that justice is taken seriously.
    Our proposal was so good that the Liberals changed two or three words and proposed it themselves. I was very happy about that, since I feel no need to take credit for the amendments to Bill C-5. However, when the time came to put the Liberals' amendment to a vote, none of them rose to present it, so I did it for them. I am dismayed by these sorts of games, because I think they are anti-democratic. They do not serve the interest of voters, either in Quebec or elsewhere in Canada. I am appalled by these tactics, and I would like to hear what my colleague across the aisle has to say about this.
    That being said, there is also the whole diversion component, which is important to us, as I mentioned earlier. That is why I feel torn today. I do not know what to do. We will have to live with our decision, and it feels a bit like choosing between the plague and cholera. Whichever way we vote, we will be partly disappointed and partly happy.
    However, we could have been completely happy if everyone here could have come to an agreement, because we basically want the same thing. I do not think that the members across the aisle, or my Conservative and NDP colleagues, are acting in bad faith. I simply think that we have different ways of looking at things and that, if we work together, we can find solutions that will satisfy our interests, our prerogatives and our respective voters. Unfortunately, we were unable to find common ground.
    The opioid crisis is affecting Rivière‑du‑Nord, and it is a major problem. We have a great many other problems that we would like to solve using rehabilitation.
    The Quebec government has already adopted diversion measures for criminal offences. It tries to rehabilitate people rather than make them stand trial and send them to prison. We try to help them reintegrate into society and become active contributors again, as most of them used to be. For whatever reason, these people had experiences that set them on a path they would not otherwise have chosen, any more than we would have. In Quebec, we believe that we can help them and rehabilitate them.
    I applaud diversion efforts, and so does the Bloc. I think that it is the right solution, for the same reason that we previously voted in favour of the NDP's Bill C-216 along the same lines. We need to work with these people and help them. They do not need jail time, they need help. Drug addiction is a health issue, not a criminal justice issue. We therefore applaud this measure.
    However, we are torn over the idea of abolishing minimum sentences. This would send a message that I dare not describe in the House. I will say just that it is completely out of touch with reality because, day after day, people are shooting up day cares and apartment buildings. Just this morning, I read in the news that a stray bullet found its way into a senior's apartment. Fortunately, she was not hit.
    Members will recall that someone shot up a day care last week. That is not even organized crime. It is just delinquency. I am not a criminologist, and I cannot say any more on this subject, but we need to address this problem. Gun control falls under the federal Criminal Code, but the federal government is not doing anything. On top of that inaction, it wants to abolish the minimum sentences for these offences. I think that is just terrible.
    We will see how we vote on the bill, but I will admit that we are torn. This is not a good day for democracy.

  (1755)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I enjoy working with my colleague opposite, and I believe he comes from a really good space when he talks about this bill, but I want to highlight a couple of things.
    First and foremost is Bill C-21. A lot of the challenges the member addressed in his speech are addressed in Bill C-21. We have heard from him about them a number of times and we have delivered. It was tabled on Monday.
    The issue that I want to probe with the member is the notion of systemic racism, because it is an area where we have had some conversations and I do not believe he is quite there yet in acknowledging that systemic racism exists.
    After the report from the Office of the Correctional Investigator yesterday and after the testimony of people like the president of the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers and many others, does my friend opposite acknowledge that systemic racism exists and that we need to ensure our system of justice is fair and equitable to all who are part of it?

  (1800)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his question. I am happy to address this aspect, which I did not have time to talk about in my initial presentation.
    First, with respect to Bill C-21, let us forget that. We need to fix this quickly, since there is not a single street gang that buys their guns at Canadian Tire. That does not happen.
    With respect to systemic racism, what kind of twisted idea is it to claim that if there are indigenous or racialized people in our prisons, it is because the penalties are too harsh? What kind of an argument is that?
    This population needs help, that is what we heard in committee. Yes, there are more people in prison; those are the statistics, and I will not change them. It is true that there are more indigenous and Black people in prison, but we need money, we need to work with these people and help their communities. It takes more than social workers, health care, education and all that to help them not commit crimes. To argue that society will lower its standards, that people from the Black or indigenous communities commit crimes and therefore we will reduce penalties so they do not go to prison, is just mind-blowing. I could not believe it when I read that.
    When I saw my colleagues defend that in committee, I was happy I was not in their shoes. I imagine that the caucus forces them to defend these views, but if I were in their shoes I think I would have left the caucus.
    Mr. Speaker, although I do not agree with absolutely everything my colleague just said, I do agree with almost all of it, especially the part about the current government's reasoning for wanting to, as the member so aptly put it, lower its standards when it comes to crime and sentencing.
    I have the privilege of representing the riding of Louis-Saint-Laurent. As members know, Wendake is located in the heart of my riding. Some people who are close to me are outraged about the government's approach and desire to lower the standards. As the member said so well, we should be helping the least fortunate and the most vulnerable among us to prevent these crimes.
     The government should be taking a positive and constructive approach to the challenges we face with respect to the first nations and racialized peoples who are unfortunately in our prisons. It should be helping them, but instead, it is lowering standards in a race to the bottom. What are my colleague's thoughts on the government's approach?
    Mr. Speaker, I completely agree with my colleague.
    We did not hear a single person or witness in committee say that they wanted to be allowed to commit criminal acts. No one said that. These people are saying they have a problem, they need help, and we need to help them. It is our job as members of Parliament to help them.
    Once again, it makes no sense to say that we are going to reduce sentences for crimes that are committed. It is unjustifiable, and it is insulting to these people.
    It is true that they need help for all kinds of historical reasons. They have not been treated fairly in the past. This needs to be addressed, and we need to offer support and assistance to these communities. However, allowing them to commit crimes with a lesser penalty is not going to help them. That will not help anyone, on the contrary.
    I encourage members to ask their questions quickly and answer them briefly so that everyone can participate in the discussion.

[English]

    Resuming debate, the hon. member for Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke.
    Mr. Speaker, I am really pleased to rise to speak on Bill C-5 today.
    Sometimes the debate strays away from what is actually in the bill and goes into a lot of other things. I would just like to remind everybody what the bill is doing.
    It is attempting to attack systemic racism in our criminal justice system by eliminating 20 mandatory minimum penalties, all of those in the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and a few relating to firearms and tobacco offences. It also expands access to conditional sentences through things like house arrest and serving time on weekends, which is important in rehabilitating people who, for whatever reason, became involved with the criminal justice system. The third thing it does is provide more discretion for police to provide warnings and diversion instead of charging people, who then end up in jail. All of these three things are key steps in reducing the impact of systemic racism.
    In our corrections system, nearly 35% of those who are imprisoned are indigenous, but indigenous people make up less than 5% of our population. We know that about 7.5% of those in prison are Black Canadians, but they only represent 3.5% of the population. Something is clearly going on here in a systematic manner that produces these much worse outcomes for racialized and indigenous people.
    Who is in favour of this bill? This is something nobody else has really been talking about here. I know why some people do not raise this point. Most important to me is that the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police is in favour of this legislation, because they know that mandatory minimums do nothing to make communities safer.
    Two other organizations I want to mention that are very much in favour are the John Howard Society and the Elizabeth Fry Society. These are two very valuable non-profits that work with those who have served time to help re-integrate them back into the community. They gave very powerful testimony at committee about the impacts of mandatory minimums.
    Who is opposed to them? The Conservatives and the Bloc are clearly opposed to this bill that would reduce mandatory minimums. They often fly off into what I would call a fantasy world, where the idea is that if we take away mandatory minimums, somehow people would not get prison sentences and somehow serious criminals would not end up in jail. That is not what would happen with mandatory minimums or their removal. Judges would still assign serious time for serious crime. That is not what we are talking about here.
    The fact is that mandatory minimums—and most of those that would be removed are of less than two years—would result in people going into provincial corrections systems, which have very limited rehabilitation programs. It also means, when we take into time served for good behaviour and other facets of our criminal justice system, that people would serve only a few months. Even if there was an addiction treatment program, even if there was a skills training program, the time is too short for those to be successful.
    However, the time is not too short to make sure that people lose their housing. The time is not too short to make sure that people lose their job. The time is not too short to make sure that people's families are put at risk. Often the people who go under mandatory minimums are the sole providers for their families, so their kids are at risk of apprehension while they are in prison. All of this contributes to huge social problems that are not necessary.
    If we do not have a mandatory minimum, we could use conditional sentences. Someone could stay in their own home, maintain their job, serve their time on weekends, and actually become a productive member of society again, rather than having their whole life turned upside down, which would put them on a path that only leads to further addiction and further crime.
     We know that is the record of mandatory minimums. The academic studies all show the same thing: Mandatory minimums, if they do anything at all, actually make recidivism worse, because people have fewer options as a result of serving those mandatory minimums. The evidence is quite clear: They do not work.
    Should the government have done more? Yes; as a New Democrat, I agree it should have done more. The government should have done more earlier today when it had the chance to vote on our bill, Bill C-216, which would have decriminalized personal possession of drugs. That would have helped to address systemic racism, because we know that Black Canadians and indigenous Canadians are overcharged and charged at much higher rates for personal possession of drugs when their rates of drug use are not in fact higher. It would have helped tackle that.
    I do not think it is enough to say that we are going to reduce mandatory minimums; the government should have voted for Bill C-216. We should have made better progress.

  (1805)  

    I am happy to see the government grant an exemption to British Columbia under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and I think it will lead to great success in tackling the opioid crisis, but I just do not understand why the government was not prepared to do that for the more than 70% of Canadians who live outside of British Columbia. I was glad to hear the Prime Minister say, in answer to a question, that the Liberals are prepared to consider other exemptions, and certainly New Democrats will be asking them to step up when that time comes.
    What was in Bill C-5, as I said, was modest, and so I wish the Liberals had done more on Bill C-216, but I also wish they had done more on the bill, and that is why I proposed two amendments at committee, which I thank the government for accepting.
    The first of those, to me, is the most important. It is an amendment that says not only do mandatory minimums cause problems in racial injustice, but the resulting criminal records make things much worse.
    There are 250,000 Canadians who have a record for personal possession of drugs. What does this mean? It means that sometimes this record affects someone's hiring. Very often it affects their housing, whether it is social housing, which does not allow people with criminal records, or whether it is landlords who refuse to rent to them. It prevents people from getting bank loans and mortgages. It forces them into the hands of what I call loan sharks, otherwise called payday lenders. It prevents people from travelling.
    However, the one I have heard the most in my community is that a criminal record prevents someone from volunteering with kids or seniors, even though it may have been a personal possession charge from 20 years ago and has nothing to do with the way the person has turned their life around. In fact, some of those people might be the perfect people to volunteer with youth and show them a positive way forward.
    I thank the government for agreeing. What we agreed on is what it calls a sequestration of records, meaning they will be held separate and apart and will not show up in criminal records. Within two years, we will be wiping out the records of 250,000 people, and I think that is enormously important for rehabilitation and building safer communities.
    The second amendment I moved had to do with the expanded discretion for police. Here, New Democrats had a worry that was shared by many in the community, because discretion by the police is often subject to that very same systemic racism. The bill originally did not require record-keeping at all for the use of discretion; my amendment suggests that the police have to keep records on who they grant diversion to and who they warn. Then we will be able to see if this discretion happens just to privileged white folks or is being used fairly among all Canadians.
    The second part of that amendment says we will keep records, but those records cannot be used in future proceedings against individuals. Why say that? It may seem counterintuitive. If it is really a warning, then it is a warning, not a conviction, and so it should not be used in future criminal processes. It will make warnings much more powerful for people who get them and diversions much more powerful for people who get them.
    If someone successfully stays out of trouble with a warning or they successfully complete drug and alcohol counselling as part of their diversion, then this will never come back to haunt them again. It will encourage success in those programs. I thank the government for supporting those two measures. I fail to understand why the Conservatives and Bloc oppose those two amendments, but I also fail to understand why they are opposing this bill altogether.
    I know time is running short, but I want to go back to what I think is most important here.
    I have to say that I know people like to put forward their records as prosecutors and as police when they are talking about these things. I taught criminal justice for 20 years and I worked very closely with the John Howard Society and the Elizabeth Fry Society on the question of rehabilitation of people, and we know what works.
    We know that when people can stay with their family and when people can have a job and maintain their employment, all of those things push them out of the criminal lifestyle and into the community. This is an important initiative in making all communities safer.
    Despite people saying that the bill removes mandatory minimums on serious crimes, I say no, the judges will still give out serious time for serious crime. What it does is take away the injustice of those mandatory minimums falling most heavily on indigenous people and racialized Canadians.

  (1810)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to acknowledge the work of my friend opposite in supporting and strengthening Bill C-5.
    I do want to pose a question for him with respect to the issue of sequestration of simple possession. I know it is an issue that he fought very hard for.
    As he knows, the Minister of Public Safety is also mandated to ensure that there are reforms to the pardon system. Could the member opposite reflect on how important it is to make sure that issues such as simple possession and the records surrounding it are addressed within this bill?
    Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary and I worked very co-operatively during the hearings on this bill to try to find some serious improvements, and the government has certainly stepped forward to accept them.
    I am going to use an example that is maybe a little counterintuitive to show why I think this is so important. The government has an existing program to expunge criminal records. In two years, of those 250,000 records, the government's program expunged 484 records. That is why I was insisting that this process has to be automatic, with no application and no fee. These records simply disappear. Both the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Public Safety met with me personally to discuss this, and I thank them for their support.

  (1815)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his work on the justice committee.
    He and I obviously do not agree on Bill C-5, but one thing I hope he would agree with me on is the mandatory minimums being repealed in the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
    The Liberal government likes to speak about simple possession. Mandatory minimums would be eliminated for the offences of trafficking, importing or exporting controlled drugs and substances or the production of schedule I or schedule II drugs, which are cocaine, heroin, fentanyl and crystal meth. Would he categorize those offences as “simple possession”?
    Mr. Speaker, that may sound like a tough question, but for me, as someone who has been a public advocate of decriminalizing all drugs for more than a decade, that is an easy question. I think all drugs should be decriminalized, and that is what we put forward in Bill C-216 today.
    If we actually look at the statistics on the mandatory minimums that are applied by judges, we see that most of them are for things like simple possession or trafficking to support people's own drug habit. I am sorry that I do not have the statistic in front of me, but something like 61% are for those offences. They are not for the offences that the Conservatives have combed through the code to find and fearmonger on by saying that eliminating those mandatory minimums means that those serious crimes would not be punished by jail time. They would be.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I completely agree with my colleague with regard to diversion measures. We really are on the same wavelength, as I was saying earlier.
    That being said, I think we disagree about minimum sentences. I would like to know what my colleague thinks about doing away with the minimum sentences the government is proposing in response to the spike in shootings in Montreal.
    Does he think that doing away with minimum sentences will send a reassuring message to the public? If not, what does my colleague propose? The Bloc Québécois is proposing creating a registry of criminal organizations, setting up a joint task force to combat firearms trafficking, and increasing security at the border. What does he think about those suggestions and what does he propose?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I enjoy working with the member on the justice committee.
    Of course I support all those measures he is talking about. The law on mandatory minimums is not the solution to everything, but it is a solution to systemic racism and it is a partial solution to the opioid crisis.
    Do we need more measures to interdict the illegal importation of guns into our communities? Absolutely, I support those kinds of things, but the reason that this does not create public confidence is that some people are putting forward the myth that somehow eliminating mandatory minimum sentences makes our communities more dangerous. It does precisely the opposite.
    We got a lot closer to getting people in, but we are now out of time again. If there are quick questions and quick answers, we will get everybody to participate in the process.
    Resuming debate, the hon. member for Calgary Rocky Ridge.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise to join the debate on Bill C-5, an act to amend the Criminal Code and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. I will spare members the suspense and say from the outset that I do not support the bill.
    The bill sends exactly the wrong message from this Parliament to the judiciary. It sends the wrong message from the government to criminals. It sends the wrong message to Canada's victims of serious and violent crimes. It also represents a missed opportunity to send a message that might help address a serious and growing problem, which is fraud, a crime that the current government has taken no meaningful action to address since it was first elected nearly seven years ago, but I will not have time to talk about that today.
    Thankfully, in recent decades there has been a steep reduction in most violent offences and property crimes. Experts and pundits have theories to explain this, but the most recent years show that this overall trend may now be in reverse. It is against this backdrop that the government has chosen to undo a series of minimum sentences for offences that successive Liberal and Conservative governments have passed over a very long time.
     Offences for which the government wishes to reduce minimum sentences include some of the most grievous offences on the books. One is left to wonder why.
     Who are the Canadians crying out for lighter sentences on, for example, firearms offences? Are there Canadians who think that the Criminal Code is too harsh on gun traffickers or those who smuggle guns illegally from the United States into Canada? Do Canadians think that the judicial system is too harsh on people convicted of robbery with a firearm? Is there really anyone in Canada who thinks that robbery with a firearm should result in anything other than a custodial sentence? Does any Canadian think that if a person uses a firearm to rob someone, they should not do so with full knowledge that if caught they will go to prison? Is there anyone in Canada who thinks extortion with a firearm or discharging a firearm with intent is not a serious criminal offence?
    I listened to the justice minister's speech when this bill was first tabled and debated at second reading. He spoke of the need for greater flexibility in sentencing and he used a hypothetical example. He spoke of a 19-year-old man residing in a remote northern community who, after having too much to drink and maybe on a dare from his buddies, discharged a firearm. He fired a gun into a building.
    The minister suggested in this example that the current Criminal Code would force this young man into the prison system and into the company of other criminals, destroying his potential for life-long employment and setting him on a life-long trajectory of career criminality. The justice minister's hypothetical critique of a mandatory sentence for this hypothetical crime is riddled with a series of false premises.
     First, the minister falsely assumed that in this hypothetical case the police, the prosecutor and the judge would have no other choice but to charge, prosecute and convict this young man of discharging a firearm with intent and sending him to a mandatory sentence.
    Second, the minister, in choosing this example, deliberately chose to characterize drunkenly shooting up a building as a minor offence. There was a certain amount of arrogance in assuming that a drunken late-night shooting was somehow more acceptable in a northern community than perhaps in his Montreal riding.
    I disagree with the minister. Discharging a firearm is a serious crime with potentially life-altering consequences for victims that ought to carry life-altering consequences for the shooter, such as a custodial sentence should their actions actually meet the high bar for conviction that firing with intent would carry.
    Gun crimes are not the only offence for which this bill would reduce floor sentences. Bill C-5 would reduce the penalties for kidnapping and human trafficking, and it would allow for conditional sentences of house arrest instead of prison for those who abduct vulnerable Canadians and force them into unpaid labour or into the sex trade.
    I ask again, who wants lighter sentences for human trafficking? Do we live in a country where normal people, even legal experts, would say that the Criminal Code is too strong and inflexible in the way that it robs judges of the flexibility to allow human traffickers and rapists to serve their sentences in their own homes?

  (1820)  

    Allowing offenders convicted of sexual assault, kidnapping or human trafficking to serve sentences in their homes in their communities would be the ultimate insult to their victims. We all know that the majority of these crimes go unreported, and that is exactly why. Most victims of sexual assault have no confidence, as it is now, that justice will be done if they come forward. The very knowledge that the perpetrators of sexual assault could receive a community sentence is a disincentive to victims of sexual assault to report the crime.
    Bill C-5 would also weaken sentencing for criminals at the very top of criminal enterprises: the deadly opioid epidemic. This bill would reduce minimum penalties for the production and trafficking of schedule 1 drugs. We are not talking about simple possession, and we are not talking about street-level addicts who are selling drugs to finance their habit. We are talking about producers and importers of fentanyl and heroin. Every day, these drugs kill Canadians, and every day these drugs create misery and deprivation that rip families apart, yet this bill would reduce the minimum penalties for criminals who illegally manufacture these drugs to be sold to the most desperate and vulnerable members of our society.
    If someone manufactures the illegal opioids that are killing Canadians, they belong in prison.
    As we have heard, this bill would eliminate the necessity of a custodial sentence for those convicted of crimes that include armed robbery, kidnapping, sexual assault, gun trafficking, opioid production and a bunch of others. What about the administration of justice? The minister has argued that the existence of mandatory prison sentences clogs up the system. Setting aside the question of whether mandatory penalties cause delays within the courts, let us instead ask whether this is relevant in the context of serious violent crime.
    The reason for floor sentences for criminals who commit serious and violent crimes is to protect the public from dangerous offenders, to allow communities time to recover from victimization, to address issues such as witness intimidation and, most importantly, to ensure that punishment is proportionate to crime.
    If the argument against floor sentences for these crimes is simply to relieve congestion in the courts and reduce the number of people in prison, then I must disagree with proponents of this bill. If our courts are congested, and delay is denying the public, the accused and the victims of justice, the minister should get serious about timely judicial appointments, instead of trying to blame those who disagree with him on the necessity of floor sentence requirements for serious, violent offences.
    The member for Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River raised an important point when he pointed out that peace officers, prosecutors and judges already do what they can to divert non-violent offenders away from prison into other programs. I agree that prison is not the only, nor even the most suitable, option for non-violent offenders when other programs can adequately punish their crimes, contribute to public safety and increase the chances of successful reintegration. One can recognize this fact and still object to this bill.
    The point of floor sentences is not to railroad the judiciary into certain decisions or to unduly diminish judges' discretion. It is to ensure that justice is done and the public is protected from violent offenders.
    Finally, legislating effective sentencing would not pit the legislature against the judiciary, as the minister would frame it. It is an example of Parliament exercising its legitimate authority over defining criminal offences and setting floors and ceilings on penalties. Setting reasonable parameters for sentencing is part of Parliament's job.
    In conclusion, Bill C-5 sends the wrong signals to criminals and society at large about the severity of certain crimes. It risks increasing crime rates and victimization, it continues to miss the mark on addressing gun crime and the opioid crisis, and it goes soft on sexual assault, kidnapping and modern-day slavery.
    As such, I cannot support the bill.

  (1825)  

    Mr. Speaker, I note that within his speech, my hon. colleague did not acknowledge or discuss the notion of systemic racism. I cited the report of the Auditor General a number of times yesterday and highlighted the issue of systemic racism within the correctional system, which is one of the reasons we need to ensure we do not put people in jail when there are alternatives, especially for those who are not deemed to be harmful.
    I am wondering if my friend could highlight why he did not use the term “systemic racism”. Does he believe it exists and, if it does, what are his suggestions to address that?
    Mr. Speaker, I have no doubt that racism exists in our systems, and in our justice system. It is indeed a serious problem, but I will also point out that the victims of many of the crimes for which this bill reduces floor sentences are often the same Canadians, and members of the same communities, who face racism. I do not see that repealing these sentences will adequately address the issue of racism, and it certainly will not help the victims of these serious crimes, who are often among the most vulnerable populations in Canada.

  (1830)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to my colleague's speech. I thank him for it and I would like to ask him a simple question.
    He mentioned the possibility of stepping in proactively to prevent certain groups of individuals from committing crimes or to better support certain communities so that fewer crimes are committed by certain people.
    I would like my colleague to explain how it would be possible to act proactively and limit the crimes committed by certain individuals, rather than handing down reduced sentences.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, indeed, one can acknowledge the vast issues that contribute to offences and acknowledge that there are different ways to deal with the problems of crime and criminal justice without the prison system. The prison system is certainly the last resort in these matters. I do not really have time to get too far beyond the bill itself, which is where we are dealing with a repeal of floor sentences for grievous offences. I do not think that the Canadian public is served by that.
    Mr. Speaker, I am thankful to my colleagues in the NDP for not standing up in this round.
    I want to make this clear again. I was in this place when, under Stephen Harper, the omnibus crime bill, Bill C-10, was passed. At that time, we already knew that there was no evidence that mandatory minimums would reduce the crime rate. We were watching in the United States as they were being removed in Texas. We saw at the time that these would probably be struck down as unconstitutional, as they are being struck down. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms is being found to be violated by a number of these laws. What they do, at their essence, is not deter criminals. They do not make communities safer. There is no evidence that they make communities safer.
    I would ask my hon. friend for Calgary Rocky Ridge if he is able to produce at this time, or cite for us, any study by reputable criminologists or any group that works with criminal defence, or anything from the Elizabeth Fry Society or the John Howard Society that would suggest that mandatory minimums make communities safer, because there is no evidence for that proposition.
    Mr. Speaker, the member launches straight into an attack on the previous Conservative government while ignoring that almost all of the mandatory floor sentences being repealed in this bill were not passed under the Harper government. They came from earlier governments. Successive governments, Conservative and Liberal, with different prime ministers, have, over a very long period of time, created these minimums. Most of them predate the Harper government. It was disappointing to hear her use this as an opportunity just to make a dig at the previous government, when this is something that has been ongoing for many years.
    The hon. member disagrees that there should be mandatory minimum sentences. I can agree with her. I can agree with many people who have spoken about the futility, and the blunt instrument that prison can be, but for the most serious crimes there needs to be a floor.
    Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to speak to this bill today. One thing I find most interesting is that when Liberal members are talking about guns, we hear they are always trying to crack down and ban guns that have already been banned for 45 years. We hear this every day. They blame every problem that happens on guns.
    I want to note to the Canadian public what Bill C-5 is doing. It eliminates a number of mandatory minimums relating to gun crimes: robbery with a firearm; extortion with a firearm; weapons trafficking, including firearms and ammunition; importing or exporting knowing it is unauthorized; discharging a firearm with intent; using a firearm in the commission of offences; possession of a firearm knowing its possession is unauthorized; possession of a prohibited or restricted firearm with ammunition; possession for the purpose of weapons trafficking; and discharging a firearm with recklessness.
    The bill would eliminate the mandatory prison times for these firearm offences. It is very simple. There is a great hypocrisy in what is happening here in this country. We have a government fixated on guns, but now it is letting off criminals who bring illegal guns into this country, the illegal guns that are killing children and innocent people in their homes and on their properties. It is letting them off without mandatory prison time.
    Now explain to me how Liberals can be bleeding hearts and against guns when they are allowing them to be trafficked into this country and are allowing people to get away with no mandatory prison sentences based on the very guns they are trying to convince the public they are banning and that were already banned 45 years ago. This is a clear example of the government firmly believing that Canadian citizens do not know anything about guns and that Canadian citizens want people who committed crimes with weapons to have lesser sentences. Imagine the hypocrisy in our country in this very bill.
    A majority of the above mandatory minimums were introduced under previous Liberal governments, most notably the government of the Prime Minister's own father, contrary to the narrative from the Liberals that they are undoing Conservative legislation. This is yet another hypocrisy. To be clear, the Liberals would eliminate mandatory prison time for criminals who commit robbery with a firearm, weapons trafficking and drive-by shootings. That is shameful.

  (1835)  

    That is all the time we have for this matter this evening. When the member comes back, he will have about seven minutes.

[Translation]

    It being 6:37 p.m., the House will now proceed to the consideration of Private Members' Business as listed on today's Order Paper.

Private Members' Business

[Private Members' Business]

[English]

Canada National Parks Act

    The House resumed from March 21 consideration of the motion that Bill C-248, An Act to amend the Canada National Parks Act (Ojibway National Urban Park of Canada), be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    Mr. Speaker, thank you for all the fantastic work you have done in the House in the absence of our Speaker. It is certainly wonderful to see him back here this week. I am incredibly proud of you, sir, and incredibly proud of how you have helped the decorum of the House, so thank you.
    Today I am lucky enough to stand for another private member's bill. It just happens to be from the member for Windsor West, who is in this chamber this evening.
    Before I get started on speaking in favour of Bill C-248, I have to tell a quick story. I was elected in 2019, and shortly after the election, the member for Chatham-Kent—Leamington, the member for Windsor West and I ended up in the Pearson airport in Toronto. We were stuck in a snowstorm. Previous to that, I had never had an opportunity to meet the member for Windsor West.
    We decided, because the airplanes were not flying and we could not get on a train, that we would take an Uber through one of the ugliest snowstorms that I have seen in recent history. We never know where life is going to take us, and it was a fantastic six-and-a-half-hour drive. I got to know the member for Windsor West quite well.
    On top of that story, I also want to tell another story, perhaps one for the history books or the Guinness Book of World Records for Canada. I am speaking to the private member's bill by the member for Windsor West this evening and, ironically, he is speaking to my private member's bill on Friday. I do not know the last time that two neighbouring MPs had a private member's bill in the same week. If we can get the support of the House, hopefully they will both be voted on next Wednesday at committee.
    With no further ado, I want to address Bill C-248. However, before I address it, I will suggest that I have done my due diligence. When I say that, I note the bill is for a green space, which is already there. It is an act to amend the Canada National Parks Act specifically to create the Ojibway national urban park of Canada.
    For those who do not know the riding of Essex and the ridings of Windsor West and Windsor—Tecumseh, we are somewhat landlocked in that our only way out is across the Ambassador Bridge, which, apparently by 2025, will be the Gordie Howe International Bridge, or through the riding of my other neighbour from Chatham-Kent—Leamington. Other than that, we are surrounded by three bodies of water.
    Land is expensive, to say the least. It is prime real estate, and opportunities for our constituents to get out and appreciate Mother Nature at her finest come at a very premium cost.
    I am supporting the bill to send it to committee because I have done my due diligence. I have spoken to the mayor of LaSalle, Mayor Bondy. I have met him in his office. Mayor Bondy said that at the end of the day, there is really no development around this area that can happen anyway, and if it could happen, the cost of permitting and the cost of red tape would be so incredibly high that it would not happen anyway.
    Ironically, I then ran into Mayor Dilkens last Thursday up in the city of Windsor. Mayor Dilkens is the mayor for the city of Windsor. I told him that I would be speaking to Bill C-248 this week. I asked him to tell me one more time whether he was in favour of it and he said, “Absolutely, I am in favour of the bill.”
    Why was I so happy to speak to it tonight? It is because it goes back to the conversation on green spaces. It also goes back to the conversation on mental health.

  (1840)  

    We need to get people outdoors. We need to get families away from the television. We need to get people active. Through that activeness, we would have healthy, happy people who just might see a white-tailed deer. They might see one of the endangered eastern fox snakes, which does not necessarily excite me because I am not a snake lover, but we are certainly going to respect and protect them.
    Something else the bill would do is create tourism, tourism for Essex, tourism for Windsor West and tourism for Windsor—Tecumseh, because there would be an opportunity for our friends in Michigan, Ohio, upstate New York and Wisconsin to come over for a unique, neat national park. The opportunities are endless.
    I have said it before and I will say it again: Essex is truly a microcosm of Canada. It always has been. Whatever we can find throughout Canada, we can find in Essex. The only fly in that ointment is the vast beautiful land. This bill would give an opportunity specifically to the residents of LaSalle to get out and enjoy the outdoors.
    The only concern with Bill C-248 that I see today is that we need to ensure we keep the arteries open. When I say “arteries”, I am referring to a map. I really hope that when the bill is studied at committee, Malden Road and Matchett Road both remain open corridors for the folks who need to get into the cities, who need to get to the Stellantis plant or who need to get to the new $5-billion battery plants that are now being built, as we speak, in Windsor. We need to make sure that we save them time and save them money so that after they have a hard day's work, they can get home to be with their family.
    This information has been, quite frankly, exhaustive. I am so proud to stand here today, because a previous member for Essex, Mr. Watson, worked incredibly hard on this bill as well. I thank Mr. Watson for that and I hope he gets an opportunity to see this.
    I could go on about all the paperwork. I have a letter from the City of Windsor, with the council of Windsor unanimously saying to please do this. I am not speaking on behalf of Windsor; what I am saying is that we have done our due diligence.
    I have a letter from the Wildlands League, which I could read but I do not have time. It is asking us to please send this to committee. It is really neat.
    I also have a letter from the Caldwell First Nation, by Chief Mary Duckworth. It is from April 11, 2022. She said, “Caldwell First Nation has been involved with the Ojibway urban national park project since 2019, and we would like to ensure these lands are protected for future generations.”
    It is amazing how fast 10 minutes goes by in the House of Commons. It blows my mind.
    The last thing I will say is this. I visited a home in LaSalle two and a half weeks ago. I stood in the backyard, a beautiful place, and asked the homeowner what he thought about this. He said that it cannot be developed anyway. He said it is a great opportunity for the residents of LaSalle, and a great opportunity for folks to get out, get active, maybe smile once again and get away from the negativity.
    I will leave the House with one final thought. Usually, but not always, all we hear in the House is the negative side of things, but here is a Conservative incredibly excited to help out a member of the New Democratic Party because it is the right thing to do. It is the right thing for our region. I would ask that this bill get sent to committee to be studied.

  (1845)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise this evening to speak to Bill C-248. I would ask my colleagues to bear with me a little, since they often hear me talk about Quebec, but I am much less familiar with Ontario and the Windsor community. However, I have read a bit about the bill introduced by my colleague from Windsor West and I will gladly support it.
    I want to give a little background on the subject and explain why the Bloc Québécois would have taken a different approach if this bill were to apply in Quebec. However, after speaking with my colleague, I understand why he took this approach.
    I also want to commend our colleague for his tenacity in championing this project. If I understand correctly, it all began in 2013 when he attended a public meeting organized by local residents. That is when he learned of the importance of preserving Ojibway Shores.
    It is not hard to understand why the member for Windsor West is fighting to preserve this 33-acre site, which is home to some very rare plant and wildlife species, including species at risk.
    I would say that if there were a parcel of land in need of protection like that in my riding, it is highly likely that I would fight for its preservation. As I was saying, I might not go about it in the same way, but I will come back to that.
    For now, let us talk a bit about the Windsor community and its fight over the past few years to protect the Ojibway Shores site. We cannot forget it and we must tell it like it is: The Windsor port authority never really had any intention of protecting and preserving the site. Its goal from the start was to turn it into an industrial development site. For that to happen, the entire natural forest along the banks had to be clear-cut.
    Such a project is antithetical to the environmental concerns of the people of Windsor, who even organized a petition to have the development that was planned for 2015 suspended. Our colleague will certainly remember that, having lobbied local, provincial and national environmental advocacy organizations to call on the Department of Transport to take this issue seriously and proceed with the transfer of lands.
    In October 2017, a few months later, the Windsor Essex County Environment Committee passed a resolution inviting the municipality of Windsor to ask the federal government to conserve the natural condition, biodiversity and biological function of the Ojibway Shores property as a protected area. The federal government's involvement in this issue is now clearer.
    The member for Windsor West even organized a public meeting the following month to call for the transfer of the Ojibway Shores area and to talk about its benefits to the community, as well as the protection of Sandwich Towne.
    I can understand why the member was rather disappointed in December 2017 when the minister of transport at the time, our colleague from Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount, wrote to inform him that the port authority was in discussions with the municipality of Windsor on this matter, and that he would not intervene at that point in time.
    My colleague did not give up. He made it an election issue in 2019. The votes he received in his riding sent a clear message. He had the support of his constituents on this issue. A few months after the election campaign, my colleague reminded the House that Canada was a signatory to the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, under which Canada, the United States and Mexico committed to protect wetlands and waterfowl. To fund this plan, the United States passed the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, which makes it possible to invest in the protection of wetlands and their wildlife in the three countries.
    In September 2020, in the throne speech, the Government of Canada allocated funding to create urban parks across the country. Residents of Windsor felt renewed hope. However, they would have to wait until June 2021, when Windsor's city council voted unanimously in favour of the member for Windsor West's proposal to ask the federal government for help in making the Ojibway Shores area a national urban park.
    That part was done, and now we are gathered here to talk about this initiative. This is one more step toward the creation of this urban park and I am really starting to see how important it is. I wanted to give a little bit of background, even though there is a lot more to tell. We would be here for a long time if we had to go over everything. I just wanted us to take the time, as parliamentarians, to consider how long, hard and unnecessarily drawn out it can be to take action to protect the environment. This shows that we will have to continue fighting for a long time to protect the natural areas we care about.

  (1850)  

    Also, the obstacles faced in these fights are often surprising. As I understand it, the Windsor Port Authority tried to extract $12 million from the Sandwich Towne community benefit fund, which is meant to offset border impacts in challenged neighbourhoods, in exchange for a 30-year lease for the Ojibway Shores site. This proposal was soundly rejected. This simple obstacle is preventing Windsor residents from enjoying an urban park that would protect local ecosystems, and it is a good example of what environmental advocates face in Canada.
    My colleagues will have gathered that the Bloc Québécois is in favour of Bill C-248 in principle. According to our information, there is no question about the ecological value of the site or even the importance of creating such a park. In fact, the government has already committed to working with cities to expand urban parks. That should advance the objective of protecting 25% of Canada's land and, in our opinion, this type of project is perfectly aligned with that commitment.
     That said, I mentioned earlier that I would have taken a different approach to protecting Ojibway Shores and that I would come back to that later, so that is what I want to talk about now. Some questions come to mind in that regard. Why has the fight to protect this site gone on for so long? Why should Canada, the federal government, own this park? Why should the federal government own as many urban parks as it can?
    Why not give the provinces adequate funding to support their urban conservation efforts? That could be one approach. The federal government's role is to provide unconditional funding to the provinces so that they can protect fragile lands.
    I am not saying we have anything against the federal government creating this park and taking care of it. That is fine, but I think that if this had been done in Quebec, we might have done things differently. Here is an example. The Lachine Canal in Montreal is an integral part of the city's history, especially for neighbourhoods such as Saint‑Henri, Griffintown and Pointe‑Saint‑Charles, so it would be appropriate, from our perspective, for the City of Montreal and the boroughs involved to manage the Lachine Canal park. They could figure out how to run it, develop it and integrate it with neighbouring urban developments. The vision would be informed by the people who live there, the people in and of that place, the ones who understand why this particular location holds such significance for the area from a cultural and environmental point of view.
    I think there is one thing my colleagues will agree with me on. People do not see the federal government as being all that close to them. The federal government deals with major issues, such as monetary policy, borders, international relations and defence, but is it really its role to make sure that the plants in an urban park represent the flora of that neighbourhood? Is it really up to us as parliamentarians and federal public servants to be responsible for managing an urban park?
    That is an important question. Still, I think my colleague from Windsor West did a fine job of explaining why this is the way it is being done in this case. Even so, this is an issue worth talking about because, as I said, there may have been other ways to handle this.
    I want to reiterate that the Bloc Québécois generally supports this bill. I commend my colleague's tenacity. Having introduced my first bill in the House, I remember how overwhelming it can be. There is something exciting about seeing a project through to the end and being the one to lead it. As I said, my colleague has been championing this project for several years now, so it is nice to hear the different opinions from each party and see people come together for the Windsor community.
    I will conclude by saying that I wish my colleague the best of luck in getting his bill passed. He can count on the support of the Bloc Québécois.

  (1855)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I am proud to rise to speak to Bill C-248, a bill that would create Ojibway national urban park near Windsor, Ontario, put forward by the member for Windsor West. This initiative would combine lands owned by the federal government, the provincial government and the City of Windsor to form a priceless package that would protect an endangered ecosystem unique to Canada.
    To answer the question put forward by the member for Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia as to why the federal government should be involved, it is because it is a national treasure. This is an area that is unique in Canada, not just in Windsor, not just in Ontario, but in Canada.
    I would like to thank the member for Windsor West for the tireless work he has put in on this file. The previous speaker mentioned that the work he has done has been going on for almost 10 years to get to this point. I have to thank him also for inviting me to Windsor a few years ago to visit the site. He gave me the full tour.
    It was a beautiful weekend in September, so we walked the trails of several properties, through fields of big bluestem grass, which is also called turkey-foot because of the way seed pods grow. We also walked through groves of oak trees, late summer flowers and, of course, a diverse array of birds and other wildlife.
    The member for Essex mentioned how valuable this would also be for the local residents and visitors. Since the pandemic, I have a seen a huge increase, as I am sure every other member here has, in people going into the outdoors in their ridings and visiting parks. We need these spaces for people to get out and go to.
    Some might ask why a relatively small collection of properties deserve the status of a national park, when they are only about 900 acres in all, adjacent to the urban industrial areas of Windsor and just across the river from the urban industrial sprawl of Detroit. Ojibway national urban park would preserve some of the last and best remnants of once much larger ecosystems: the tall grass prairie, oak savannas and the Carolinian forest.
    In my previous life, I was a biologist. Much of the work I did in that career was centred around endangered ecosystems and species at risk. There are four ecosystems in this country that are consistently listed as the most endangered ecosystems in Canada. They are the Garry oak savannas of southeastern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands in British Columbia; the desert grasslands of the southern interior of British Columbia, which is my home habitat; the Carolinian forest of southern Ontario; and the tall grass prairie of southeastern Manitoba and southwestern Ontario.
    An Ojibway national urban park would protect two of these critically endangered ecosystems. We do not often think of Ontario as a prairie province, but it once had extensive tall grass prairies throughout southern Ontario. Over the past three centuries, those prairies have almost been completely wiped out by agriculture and development. Only 1% of those habitats now remain in scattered remnants from Essex county north to the Rice Lake plains. There are only three relatively large protected prairie remnants in Ontario, and when I say “large”, I am talking about more than just a few acres. There is the Alderville Black Oak Savanna near Rice Lake, Bronte Creek Provincial Park and the Ojibway Prairie Complex. The Ojibway Prairie is a significant part of the national park this bill would create.
    Endangered ecosystems are almost, by definition, home to long lists of species at risk, and I would like to talk about some of them now. There are 160 provincially rare species in the Ojibway Prairie area. No other area in Ontario has such a concentration of rare species, and only one or two areas in Canada can match this concentration of rarity. One of those areas, I have to add, is the desert grasslands in my riding.
    One hundred and nineteen of these rare species are plants at Ojibway Prairie and 19 of those species are federally listed. They are listed in the Species at Risk Act. That includes the American chestnut and the Kentucky coffee tree. Another endangered plant is the scarlet ammannia, which I have to point out is only found in two places in Canada. One is in Ojibway Prairie and the other is at Osoyoos, British Columbia, in my riding.

  (1900)  

    These rare plant communities are obviously home to thousands of species of insects, many of which we know little about. For many, we do not even have good, basic survey information, let alone know how important they are to broader ecosystem function.
    Since we do not talk very often in this place about beautiful insects, I have to take a moment to talk about at least one species found in the area in question, and that is the giant spreadwing.
    As I am sure everyone knows, dragonflies come in two groups: the big dragonflies that rest with their wings open and the smaller damselflies that rest with their wings closed. There is another group in the middle, the spreadwings, that rest with their wings open as well. The biggest of that group is the giant spreadwing. The only place in Canada it is found is Ojibway Prairie.
    There are endangered reptiles. The member for Essex mentioned the eastern foxsnake. There are also Blanding's turtle, Butler's gartersnake and the massasauga rattlesnake. I am not sure what he would think if he came across one of those, but it is a rattlesnake population that is isolated from other Canadian populations by over 300 kilometres, and it is on the brink of local extinction.
    Some endangered species, such as the northern bobwhite and the five-lined skink, have disappeared from the Ojibway Prairie area. That is what happens when we let endangered ecosystems become too fractured and too small for populations to maintain themselves.
    The bobwhite is an iconic quail species that was once common throughout much of eastern North America. It became rarer in Canada during the 20th century as prairie and savanna habitats were developed for intensive agriculture and housing and altered by afforestation. Its Canadian population collapsed in the 1990s and it is no longer found even on the Ojibway Prairie. The only existing population in Canada is on Walpole Island, northwest of Windsor.
    A natural area need not be as large, as spectacular or as pristine as Banff, Jasper or Kluane to deserve protection as a national park. Ojibway Shores and surrounding areas are clearly deserving of this protection. The biodiversity and rare ecosystems there are a national treasure. The fact that the remaining areas of intact habitat are small, dissected by roads and surrounded by farmland, industrial sites and suburban neighbourhoods is no reason to abandon them to further development.
    That is almost what happened to Ojibway Shores. In 2013, the Windsor Port Authority planned to clear-cut the forest and fill the Ojibway Shores property for development. The member for Windsor West fought to stop this action, and over the course of several years led a successful battle to convince the federal government to preserve the property.
    I would like to stress one other thing that makes this such an important proposal. This national urban park would bring together properties that would provide connectivity from the Detroit River and its shoreline habitats through woodlands and savannas, to upland woodlands and prairies.
    Connectivity is a critical part of maintaining the integrity of rare habitats, especially as they become fragmented into smaller pieces. If any one of the parcels that is a part of this proposal is lost to development, it would negatively impact the rest of the parcels. It is critical that they be protected together.
    I would be remiss if I did not mention that there is a national park proposal in my riding: in the South Okanagan area of British Columbia. Like Ojibway, this is an ecosystem unique in Canada in a fragmented landscape. It is a mosaic of Crown land, first nations land, municipalities and private land.
    This initiative has been debated in my riding for over 20 years, and is now in the negotiation stage among first nations and federal and provincial governments. Because of the diversity of the land ownership in this landscape, those negotiations represent a delicate balance between the need for strong protection of nationally significant ecosystems and respecting the concerns of the broader community and the livelihoods of those who depend on the grasslands, such as ranchers.
    Like Ojibway, this would not be a park like Jasper or Banff, but a park designed for the unique circumstances of the South Okanagan. The Ojibway national urban park proposal has the full backing of the Caldwell First Nation and the City of Windsor, as the member for Essex mentioned. It would be a jewel in the crown of our national park system and I fully support this bill.

  (1905)  

    In closing, I would simply like to thank the member for Windsor West once again, and thank all of those who have worked so hard, often against all odds, to make this happen.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise to join my colleagues as we resume debate on Bill C-248 this evening. As members are well aware, this is in act to amend the Canada National Parks Act or the Ojibway national urban park of Canada. It is a great honour to join all of my colleagues here this evening.
    Allow me to begin by acknowledging that I am joining this discussion from the traditional and unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe.
    In earlier contributions we saw in the debate with respect to this park, as well as what we have heard this evening, what has certainly emerged is that there is consensus in this chamber that it is imperative that we move forward with this specific park. I must say that it is great, on an evening like this, to see that there is consensus in this chamber.
    It is important to emphasize that Windsor is one of seven cities where work is currently under way to create national urban parks. In fact, it falls under a new $130-million program that has the aim of designating up to six new national urban parks across Canada by the year 2026. Canadians expect us to be bold, and that is why we are fully committed to moving in the right direction with a time frame in place by 2026.
    The national urban parks program is being led by Parks Canada and I should emphasize that it cannot be short-circuited. At the heart of the process led by Parks Canada, in this particular case and in others, is the premise that we should not forget that there needs to be partnership and collaboration between stakeholders and communities. Every one of us is committed to partnering and working hand in hand to explore opportunities and define boundaries and governance structures, as well as to achieve a shared vision. The process must be grassroots and bottom-up as well.
    Since this process began, Parks Canada has been actively collaborating with key partners in the Windsor area, including, as was alluded to, the City of Windsor, Caldwell First Nation and Walpole Island First Nation. Engagement with key stakeholders has also begun, including with conservation and heritage groups, as well as universities, tourism stakeholders and economic development shareholders. I emphasize engagement and collaboration because I want to highlight one of the obvious weaknesses of the bill before us.
    Though I think we can all agree the bill has very good, laudable intentions, the process is top-down and totally bypasses grassroots and bottom-up engagement. The failure to undertake appropriate engagement with indigenous peoples specifically on whose traditional lands the proposed park will occur violates the very spirit of reconciliation and risks undermining new relationships and the requisite trust that must always underpin such developments. Creating a national urban park without proper engagement with indigenous partners from the very start would be an unfortunate setback and would get in the way of achieving an important objective.
    Bringing together communities and stakeholders to develop a shared vision would ensure that a national urban park is created that endures as a special place that would allow all of us to come together for generations. At this preliminary stage, key decisions require careful consideration and engagement, particularly with respect to the extent of lands to be included within the boundaries. The bill before us prematurely presupposes the precise limits of the park. Furthermore, the bill's identification of these lands, which includes lands currently owned by the provincial government, amounts to a taking of lands without consent and without consultation.

  (1910)  

    I re-emphasize that a robust, consultative process is being short-circuited. Imagine supporting a bill, for example, in which Ottawa automatically takes control of a park in Quebec or in one of our western provinces without a single conversation or negotiation with the relevant provincial authorities. This is not the spirit with which to launch an enduring national urban park, and it lacks respect for key partners who have ensured the conservation of the subject lands in the face of significant urban development pressures.
    Although the lands identified in the bill may be those that should be included in the park, we must take the time and work collaboratively with our local partners to properly assess this question and to explore whether there are other lands that might be considered. This needs to happen before the boundaries of a proposed park are finalized. The bill before us defines the boundaries prematurely. It also closes the door on the possibility that private landowners or adjacent municipalities may identify lands that could be added to the Ojibway footprint. The bill would close the door to that.
    We are already building an Ojibway national urban park. Last summer, over 50 local partners stood in Ojibway with my colleagues, the member for Windsor—Tecumseh and the Minister of Families, to declare our ironclad commitment to establish an Ojibway national urban park. A few months later, we announced over $580,000 in Parks Canada funding for the City of Windsor to begin pre-consultations. Just two weeks ago, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change announced to the House of Commons that we have an MOU in place between Parks Canada and Transport Canada to work together on transferring the Ojibway Shores lands from the Windsor Port Authority to Parks Canada for inclusion in the eventual Ojibway national urban park.
    Ojibway Shores is the last remaining underdeveloped shoreline and natural habitat along the Detroit River, and it would connect the Ojibway Prairie Complex to the Detroit River. It has significant environmental value. It is an essential ecological gem and concentrates in its 33 acres some of the most diverse plants, as was alluded to earlier this evening, insects and animal species in North America. Many of them are rare and at risk.
     The Windsor community has been fighting for 20 years to preserve Ojibway Shores. Our government got it done. Ojibway Shores will be preserved forever, and it will be part of a national urban park for generations of residents and visitors to enjoy.
    This MOU that I refer to is a major step forward. It underscores the importance and the value of collaboration and consultation in setting the ground work for the national urban park. We are on the cusp of achieving something that everyone wants: A national urban park that will benefit the people of Windsor and all Canadians, contribute to our ongoing efforts to protect the environment and advance reconciliation with indigenous peoples.
    Bill C-248 is well-meaning, but it is contemplating the wrong approach, and it sends the wrong message. That is why the House should not support this piece of legislation.

  (1915)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise this evening to speak with respect to Bill C-248, the private member's bill put forward by the member for Windsor West to create a national urban park, Ojibway urban park in particular.
    I want to start by highlighting that this park would not involve any private property whatsoever. It would connect several pieces of publicly owned lands that, if connected, would create one larger 900-acre national urban park. It is important to pause to share more about why national urban parks are so important.
    As we have heard, not only are they home in this case to hundreds of endangered species, but they also provide mitigation of flooding due to climate change, providing a natural heritage area that the community can enjoy, appreciate and use with respect to healthy living and ecotourism. It is also worth pausing to reflect on nature deficit disorder, a term that refers to what happens when people are disconnected from their natural surroundings.
    If we had more national urban parks, I wonder how this might affect the thinking even in this very place. Given the larger systemic challenges we face, such as the climate crisis, if we had more urban green space that Canadians across the country and parliamentarians were enjoying, I wonder how that might affect some of the thinking that goes into decisions we are making with respect to the climate crisis, for example, or decisions we are not making.
    It is also important to point out how this aligns with what Parks Canada has already put forward with respect to their interests in establishing at least one new national park in every province or territory across the country and how it aligns with existing plans from the governing party and commitments it has made to protect up to 25% of land by 2025 and up to 30% by 2030. It strikes me that we ought to be making the most of every opportunity we have to go more quickly in protecting biodiversity across the country.
    I also want to pause to give kudos to the member for Windsor West for bringing forward legislation like this. In my view, this is actually how democracy is supposed to function. The member has been advocating with respect to this national urban park since 2013, when he made the first request of the federal government, listening to the interests of those across his community and collaborating with others to find consensus to move forward. I will point out that he has received the support of Caldwell First Nation and of Chief Duckworth in particular in a letter shared on April 11 that encourages all parliamentarians to support Bill C-248.
    I will point out it has also been unanimously supported by Windsor City Council. In my view, these are exactly the kinds of indications for why a parliamentarian should look to choose a topic such as this, knowing that work has been put in, that consultations have been had, that members here should be listening to their communities first and foremost. It should also be community ahead of party, and that members, based on what they hear, should then be advocating in support of those interests. In my view, that is exactly what the member for Windsor West has done, and doing the same would allow us to move more quickly toward ensuring we have more nationally protected areas and a new national urban park.
    I am less interested in who gets the credit for it and more in ensuring we support whoever is bringing forward ideas to this place to ensure that we move more quickly to protect urban areas. It is for this reason that the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands and I will both be supporting this legislation. I was encouraged to hear the member for Essex supporting it as well, and I am encouraged to hear a biologist among us, the member for South Okanagan—West Kootenay, also voicing his support.
    I will point out that in some ways this has been a difficult day, that there were some votes in which there was not as much alignment as I would have liked, but at least consensus can be achieved on this debate, and I am hopeful that the bill will go to committee as quickly as possible.

  (1920)  

     Seeing that there are no other intervenors, I will recognize the hon. member for Windsor West for his right of reply.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleagues and you for being part of this. Bill C-248 is really from the community. It is not my idea. It is something that we have been fighting for, and for a long period of time.
     As a member who has been here for 20-plus years now, it is exciting to me when we can actually bring unity to the House and work on projects that can help define our country and our communities.
     I have a list of people to thank, and some of them I am going to have to abandon because I do not have enough time.
    First and foremost, I want to start by thanking Janet and Dave from the Wildlands League. They were part of this process from the beginning and helped give inspiration. They understand the park system's green spaces connectivity and have been very special and very positive going through this. On top of that, I want to also thank Chief Mary Duckworth. Chief Duckworth was here in the House of Commons, outside this chamber with me, to push this issue before.
     For this to be made up as some type of thing that is circumventing first nations is unbelievable to hear. It is terribly disrespectful. I brought Caldwell First Nation people down to this site as they were deciding about where they were setting up their reserve. Now it is actually closer to Point Pelee, which ironically is the place that they should have had historically. It is one of the most beautiful stories that we have of reconciliation taking place, and it is amazing.
    Chief Duckworth and all of the energy there are supporting this, and they explicitly asked to go to committee to tell the story of why they support this. This is part of their heritage, and they want to share it through the vision of a national urban park for all. It is a terrific story in itself because of the tragedy of the way it started, but also it is where they are going in the future.
    It has been interesting, because Mayor Dilkens and the city council have been working on trying to get this land on the Ojibway shoreline protected for a number of years. It was going to be bulldozed and cut down. Finally, during this process, after seven years, I was told that they could not transfer it to Environment Canada. A few weeks ago, they finally transferred it to Environment Canada.
    We are happy for that. They wanted the city of Windsor residents, at one point, to pay millions of dollars and then give it back to the federal government. How absurd is that? How absurd is what the Liberals wanted to do with that? I am thankful that they finally reversed their position on that.
    The reason this bill is necessary is that every national park has its own legislation. Every national park is secured in that way. What we have done is put the pieces of property together, and there has been consultation constantly. Most importantly, there has been consultation with the children, the youth, the advocates, the environmental people, the unions and the companies, all in Windsor for several different years. That is why we actually have the defined geography in the bill to start with.
    I do not understand the Liberals who are opposing this. Why not send it to committee? Why is there resentment from some, maybe not all, members of the Liberal government over actually sending this bill to committee to bring up concerns?
    The Conservatives had some concerns about private property being involved; we did not include that. In the case of the Bloc, we want to make sure this is a special thing because the Bloc members have some very legitimate questions about the province. Those things have been taken care of as well.
    The province right now is going through an election, but provincial officials have been talking about this and supporting it. The local member of the provincial parliament, Lisa Gretzky, is in favour of it, and of course the City of Windsor. We are looking now at getting this to committee to define those areas and have a chance to speak and to showcase why this is so important.
     I do not understand. I have been here for a while. I have been trying to work, especially when we were sent back to Parliament, in a constructive way, and that is why I chose this bill. I chose it because it should survive the test of mettle to get to committee at least. How could they want to shut down this beautiful process, which has been grassroots every single step along the way, without even allowing people from Windsor and Essex to have their voice?
    I will conclude with this. There have been so many people. Some of them even passed away during this process. It is going to be right next to the Gordie Howe international bridge.
    I had my first public meeting for a new border crossing back in 1998 at Marlborough Public School as a city councillor. We are finally getting a bill. We do not need another 20 years to do the obvious. This should be done. It is grassroots and, most importantly, it defines us on the doorstep of America.

  (1925)  

    I thank everyone for their interventions. The question is on the motion.
    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 ask them to rise and indicate it to the Chair.
    The hon. deputy House leader.
    I request a recorded division.
    Pursuant to order made on Thursday, November 25, 2021, the division stands deferred until Wednesday, June 8, at the expiry of the time provided for Oral Questions.

Routine Proceedings

[Routine Proceedings]

[English]

Committees of the House

Public Safety and National Security  

    Pursuant to order made on Tuesday, May 31, the House will now proceed to the consideration of a motion to concur in the fourth report of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, presented on Monday, May 30.
    The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank all members of this House for taking the time to hold a debate on what our government sees as a critical priority for Canada's foreign policy: our strong support for Finland and Sweden's accession to NATO.
    However, I want to begin by speaking to the gravest threat to international peace today: Russia's invasion of Ukraine. It has been months since President Putin unleashed his war of choice on Ukraine. With every day that passes, the number of civilians, including children, killed and wounded continues to climb. We have witnessed Russian attacks on apartment buildings, public squares, theatres and maternity hospitals. In addition, the reports and images of what Russian forces carried out in Bucha are horrifying and deeply shameful.
    Let me be clear: We believe that this amounts to war crimes and crimes against humanity, and we are committed to holding President Putin and those supporting him accountable for their actions. Canada and our NATO allies are responding to Putin's aggression with unprecedented coordination, as we continue to support the men and women of Ukraine as they defend themselves and fight for their country, communities and families. We have announced round after round of sanctions and will continue working across our alliance and with international partners to suffocate the Putin regime. This reality provides even greater urgency to the debate we are having tonight.
    I forgot to mention that I will be sharing my time with the member for Cambridge.
    Since its foundation in 1949, NATO has been a cornerstone of Canada's international security policy. Along with 11 other founding nations, we established the alliance to promote the collective defence of its members, maintain peace and security in the North Atlantic area, and safeguard the freedom of its people based on the principles of democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law.
    Since then, the alliance has increased from 12 to 30 allies. NATO's door is open to any European country in a position to undertake the commitments and obligations of membership and contribute to Euro-Atlantic security. Canada has a long tradition of fully supporting NATO's “open door policy”, based on article 10 of the Washington treaty. This is why we strongly support Finland and Sweden's decision to pursue NATO membership, and we wholeheartedly endorse their application without reservation. We also believe that every country has the sovereign right to chose its own path and its own security arrangements, and we stand with the people of Finland and Sweden, who have made their choice clear.
    We have always welcomed Finland and Sweden's close partnership with NATO and their contributions to Euro-Atlantic security. We enjoy a long history of excellent bilateral relations with both countries, as demonstrated by our extensive co-operation and our shared values and priorities. The Canadian Armed Forces has worked extensively with their armed forces on training exercises, as well as in NATO's training mission in Iraq. Our troops have also fought alongside one another on operations from Bosnia and Herzegovina to Kosovo, Afghanistan and Libya.
    Canada also has a strong presence in Europe, and we are currently deploying 1,375 Canadian Armed Forces members across NATO's eastern flank, along with two frigates and accompanying patrol aircraft, in support of the alliance's strengthened deterrence and defence posture. These deployments fall under Canada's Operation Reassurance, which includes NATO's enhanced forward presence, the standing NATO maritime groups and NATO air policing.
    Canada has full confidence in Finland and Sweden's ability to integrate immediately into NATO and make meaningful contributions to our collective security. Both their militaries are strong and, in areas such as whole-of-society engagement on security, allies have much to learn from them. Finland and Sweden are some of the alliance's closest and most active security and defence partners. They share the alliance's commitment to upholding the rules-based international order. They are committed to the principles of state sovereignty and territorial integrity, and their militaries are highly qualified and very capable.
    Sweden and Finland are also strong proponents of advancing the women, peace and security agenda. Gender equality and inclusive peace processes build more stable societies and are critical preconditions for a peaceful world for people of all genders. The full, equal, and meaningful participation of all women and girls in preventing, ending and recovering from conflict benefits us all and is essential in achieving sustainable peace.

  (1930)  

    As a close friend and security partner, Canada will support Finland and Sweden through the accession process, including against threats to their security. We are working to expedite our domestic processes in order to facilitate the accession of both countries without delay. We encourage all allies to do the same and approve their application for NATO membership as quickly as possible. Finland and Sweden are strong champions of the principles of democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law that the alliance was founded upon. Their accession will strengthen our collective defence.
    The consequences of President Putin's reckless war of aggression extend far beyond Ukraine's borders. His unprovoked and unjustifiable invasion of Ukraine constitutes a significant threat to Euro-Atlantic security and the rules-based international order as a whole. Putin's brazen attack on a neighbour, on a sovereign country, supported by a campaign of lies and disinformation and carried out with devastating impact on civilians, has shattered peace in Europe. This is not just an attack on Ukraine. This does not only impact Europe. This is an attack on the UN charter and the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity, and it impacts democracy, freedom and human rights for the foreseeable future.
     However, in the face of this war, NATO's resolve is as strong as ever. NATO allies and partners, including Finland and Sweden, are increasing their support for Ukraine as it continues to defend itself against Russia's full-scale invasion. Thousands of anti-tank weapons, hundreds of air defence missiles and thousands of small arms and ammunition stocks are being sent to Ukraine bilaterally by Canada, our allies and our partners. Sweden has provided anti-tank weapons, demining equipment, personal protective equipment and financial aid to Ukraine. Finland has sent small arms, ammunition, anti-tank weapons and personal protective equipment.
    NATO has also increased efforts to reinforce the alliance's eastern flank to deter and defend against Russia's aggression. The alliance strengthened NATO's enhanced forward presence with additional battle groups in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia. Canada remains steadfast in its commitment to bolster NATO's eastern flank and support our eastern allies.
    It is the sovereign right of Finland and Sweden to choose their own security arrangements. They have made the decision to join NATO with the strong and unprecedented support of the Finnish and Swedish people. The Minister of Foreign Affairs has been in close contact with her Swedish and Finnish counterparts, as has the Prime Minister, and we have assured them of Canada's complete support through this process.
    We also continue to underscore, in the face of Russian disinformation and threats, that NATO is a defensive alliance and does not seek confrontation, nor pose any threat to Russia. NATO and transatlantic security are more important than ever, and Finland's and Sweden's accession will increase our shared security, including in the Baltic Sea. Their decision to join NATO has been warmly welcomed by neighbouring allies, such as Denmark, Norway, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia.
    Canada will continue to support the principles that have kept the countries on both sides of the Atlantic safe, free and prosperous for over 70 years. We look forward to welcoming Finland and Sweden to the alliance and our continued close co-operation and friendship.
    I will end simply by stating the facts. Time is of the essence. We encourage all NATO allies to work to support their membership rapidly. There is no time to waste.

  (1935)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, we in the Bloc Québécois support this motion and, of course, we support Finland and Sweden in their bids to join NATO.
    There is one problem, however, that everyone will need to work on collaboratively. That problem is Turkey. Turkey is opposed to Finland and especially Sweden joining NATO because of diplomatic frictions related to certain Kurdish groups.
    I would like to know how the government plans to address this issue. Will it show leadership in relation to Turkey and its opposition to Sweden and Finland joining NATO?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, the Minister of Foreign Affairs has discussed this matter with her Turkish counterparts. Sweden and Finland will undoubtedly be assets to the alliance. We encourage our allies to promptly support their membership. As I said, there is no time to waste. It is very important that we support our allies in this application.
    Madam Speaker, my colleague from the Bloc touched on one of my questions. I am just wondering if the member might be able to expand a little bit more on that aspect. We see what is going on here with the great nations of Sweden and Finland. We would love to see them as part of NATO. We want them to be together. Those steps need to be done.
    The member indicated that we are going to act on this as quickly as possible. I wonder if there is any way that he can possibly give us a timeline or some information about how quickly that might be.

  (1940)  

    Madam Speaker, the Minister of Foreign Affairs has been dealing with and speaking to her counterparts for the NATO accession. We know that in Canada here, we are fully in support of their application. We all know that both countries are strong champions of democracy and, of course, the rule of law. Their addition to NATO would be a huge benefit to many of our alliances.
    Madam Speaker, the member talked about gender equality. We know, for sure, that Sweden is a very strong proponent of gender equality and actually has some of the strongest percentages of women in Parliament.
    I wonder if the member could speak a little bit about how the inclusion of Sweden and Finland will affect NATO in the gender equity equation.
    Madam Speaker, we have a lot to learn from our allies, and the member rightly mentioned their processes and their firm commitment to gender equality and empowering women. Even when a delegation came from Sweden recently, they spoke about these things.
     There is a lot we can do together, collectively, as two like-minded countries. That is why it is important that we continue to support their application.
    Madam Speaker, I do not have a question, as much as just a comment for the parliamentary secretary to get on the record here.
    Having served and been with the members of the armed forces of both Sweden and Finland, I can attest to their competency and professionalism and the asset they will be when they join NATO. It is just something that I warmly welcome. I know they will be a great addition to the NATO alliance, and it is something that I think is so vital, considering Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine.
    I just wanted to get that on the record. I think this is the right thing for us to be doing as a Parliament and as the House of Commons. I appreciate having the opportunity to speak to it tonight.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound for his service to our country. I really do appreciate his comments and his support in terms of supporting our allies in their NATO application.
    It is important that we continue having these conversations so that we can ensure that Sweden and Finland are supported.
    Madam Speaker, Canada has long held the position that, in times of uncertainty, discord and doubt, our international relationships are more important than ever.
    For over 70 years, the NATO alliance has afforded member states the opportunity to work together on our largest shared defence and security challenges, both on the battlefield and in the boardroom. Its impact and influence can be felt here in North America, across Europe and beyond.
    We know how important this alliance is to our safety and global stability, so we, of course, welcome any changes that will make it stronger and safer, including the admission of Sweden and Finland into the alliance. As the Prime Minister recently noted, both countries have long-standing ties to NATO, making important contributions to NATO exercises and operations. We also closely align in our values, on the importance of peace, territorial integrity and upholding the rules-based international order.
    It is clear that Europe and the entire world is under threat from Vladimir Putin's reckless and unprovoked war in Ukraine. This war is not just an attack on a smaller democratic neighbour. It is a very real threat to our rules-based international order, and the biggest threat since the end of the Cold War. It is also symptomatic of the resurgence of a great power competition, and the return of authoritarian states vying for influence and control through military might. These geopolitical shifts have reinforced just how important it is for all of us to work together to stand united against those who seek to redraw maps and rewrite history to suit their own needs.
    In the face of these threats, the work we do as part of the NATO alliance is more important than ever. This includes the military support that Canada provides on land, sea and in the air to NATO missions in Europe and around the world. Our largest contribution is through Operation Reassurance, supporting assurance and deterrence measures in central and eastern Europe, letting our allies know that we will be there for them in good times and bad, and standing together against those who would seek to undermine our alliance or member states' security and sovereignty.
    As part of this mission, we have almost 700 Canadian soldiers leading NATO's enhanced forward presence battle group in Latvia. Canadian military personnel stand shoulder-to-shoulder with soldiers from 10 NATO countries, demonstrating the strength of our alliance and protecting stability in the region.
    Canada has played an important role in Latvia for five years, and we have recently expanded our efforts by deploying a battery of M777 artillery guns with forward observers and an electronic warfare troop. As part of our sea component of Operation Reassurance, we also have HMCS Montreal and HMCS Halifax deployed to Standing NATO Maritime Group One. In the air, we have a CP-140 Aurora long range patrol aircraft, and two CC-130 transport aircraft operating in the Euro-Atlantic area, and we look forward to resuming our enhanced air policing mission in Romania later this year. We also have 3,400 CAF members standing by for the NATO Response Force, should their support be required.
    Our support for global peace and stability does not stop at NATO's borders. Since February 2022, we have committed hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine, including anti-tank weapons, rockets, M777 howitzers, drone cameras, 155 millimetre ammunition, rifles, armoured utility vehicles, satellite imagery and communications equipment. Some of this aid has already been delivered, and we are working hard to provide the rest as quickly as possible.
    I am pleased to say that some of the military aid delivered comes from the $500 million that our government announced in the last federal budget. This is the case for the 20,000 rounds of 155 millimetre artillery that the Minister of National Defence recently announced, at the cost of $98 million, which will be crucial in Ukraine's fight to defend its eastern territory.

  (1945)  

    Prior to the war, we also helped train over 33,000 members of the Ukrainian security force through Operation Unifier, learning valuable skills from one another and supporting Ukrainian efforts to become stronger and better prepared to respond to Russia's aggression.
    While Ukraine's success in holding back Russia is entirely its own, I know many CAF members are proud to have worked alongside those who are now on the front lines fighting for their freedom. We are all inspired by their bravery and their dedication. As I mentioned earlier, Finland and Sweden have long-standing ties to NATO and are among the alliance's most active partners. They are two of the six countries under the partnership interoperability initiative, which includes Ukraine and which makes particularly significant contributions to NATO.
    Both countries field strong and capable militaries, whose soldiers have fought alongside ours in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, and Libya. Other armed forces have worked extensively together on training, including NATO missions in Iraq. Our ties run even deeper. As Arctic nations, our long-standing co-operation has contributed to peace and stability in the Arctic. For these reasons and more, Canada unreservedly and enthusiastically supports Finland and Sweden's decision to pursue NATO membership.
    In Ukraine, across Europe and around the globe, Canada supports our allies and partners, both on and off the battlefield. As we move forward, we will continue standing with them in the name of global peace and stability.
    We know, as our biggest defence and security threats evolve, so too must the alliance evolve. To support these efforts and to keep peace with our allies, Canada is making new investments in defence, here at home, in North America and across the globe. In budget 2022, we announced a new investment package for defence worth $8 billion, as well as our plans to update Canada's defence policy, to become more responsive to the current defence and security environment.
    Through these efforts, we will ensure that our people have the modern fit-for-purpose equipment they need when they deploy. We will also keep supporting NATO's diplomatic efforts, including welcoming Sweden and Finland into the alliance. We know we are stronger and more capable of tackling our biggest defence and security challenges when we work together with our like-minded allies and partners. Canada was one of the original founding members of NATO when the organization came into existence in 1949, and we remain just as dedicated to its success and to global peace and stability today.
    In missions across the globe, including in central and eastern Europe, we work alongside NATO allies and partner countries to safeguard the alliance against external threats, including those stemming from Russia's aggressive actions in Ukraine.
    While we live in a defensive and security environment defined by uncertainty, I remain optimistic that the values like peace, freedom, and adherence to the rules-based international order will win out against authoritarianism, doubt and division. The addition of two like-minded countries to our alliance makes this outcome all the more likely, and we are looking forward to supporting Finland and Sweden through the accession process.

  (1950)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his speech. We have heard two speeches from the government and we have been told twice that we must act as quickly as possible. I agree with that, but we have not yet heard how the government is going to deal with Turkey, apart from mentions of talking to people.
    The member tells me that we need to act as quickly as possible. We know that it took the government three months to charter three planes to help Ukrainian refugees get out of the countries bordering Ukraine. If that is what the government calls acting quickly, is it going to take that long in this case, or is there actually a plan in terms of the timeline for Sweden and Finland to join NATO?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, Sweden and Finland will undoubtedly be assets to this alliance. We know this. We encourage our allies, all of our allies, including Turkey, to promptly support their membership. We are moving quickly. I would point out that the fact we are speaking here today on this to move the process through as quickly as possible is proof of that. There is no time to waste. We know that this is usually a very lengthy process. Speeding up this process as much as we possibly can, as quickly as we can, is what we want to do here today.
    Madam Speaker, the member talked a little about Latvia, about our military and their great military. My father was a major general in the Canadian Forces. My brother was a colonel. My sister was a nurse. My brother-in-law was a full a colonel. My nephews are presently serving in the Canadian Forces, and they do tremendous work. They do tremendous work with our allies in Finland and Sweden.
    We have talked about how unreservedly we are here to try to support that. However, as my colleague from the Bloc has indicated, and as I think people have heard, there are concerns about how quickly this could be expedited and how quickly we can step forward with these moves that we need to do.
     I am wondering if the member could indicate if there is strong support, at least within his caucus, to push this forward as quickly as possible.

  (1955)  

    Madam Speaker, the short answer is absolutely. There is support throughout not just our caucus but I imagine throughout the House to move forward on this as quickly as possible.
    If I could just take a moment here, I want to thank the member opposite and ask him to thank his family for their service. The commitment in that family sounds quite impressive.
     It is that commitment that we are talking about here today. It is about recognizing the need to focus on getting this done, getting it done right and getting it done quickly.
    Madam Speaker, I listened with interest to my colleague's remarks.
    Could the member provide his thoughts on what he hopes tonight's debate will result in, and what bearing it would have on the course of events over the coming weeks and months?
    Madam Speaker, I hope I speak for all of us in the House when I say that this concurrence debate sends a very strong message to Vladimir Putin. It also sends a message to our NATO allies that they need to continue to have conversations in their houses and their parliaments that recognize the importance of getting this done.
    I will go back to the fact that in the face of Russian aggression we stand united with our allies, our partners, in the defence of freedom for democracy and the right of people to determine their own futures. If not now, when would we try to band together like this? I recognize there has been criticism of NATO in the past, maybe of it being divided, but if we think of ourselves as an open hand, Vladimir Putin has accomplished making us into a fist.
    We are committed. We are together. We need to move forward as quickly as possible.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles.

[English]

    I am in support of concurring in the fourth report of the Standing Committee of the Public Safety and National Security, which expresses its strong support for Finland's accession and Sweden's accession to the NATO alliance, and which calls on all NATO members to approve their application for NATO membership as soon as possible.
    Russia's invasion of Ukraine on February 24 was an illegal act of war. It was an unprovoked attack on a European democracy. It marks the first war between European states since 1945. It shattered the relative peace and security that we in the western alliance have enjoyed for the last eight decades, since the end of the Second World War.
    Russia's war on Ukraine has actualized something that was once only theoretical. An authoritarian state led by an autocrat directly attacked—
    Could I ask for silence, please? We had silence for the previous speeches. Could I ask that conversations be taken outside, please?
    The hon. member for Wellington—Halton Hills.
    Madam Speaker, Russia's war in Ukraine has actualized something that was once only theoretical. An authoritarian state led by an autocrat has attacked a democracy: It has demonstrated that it is willing and able to attack a democracy. It has made clear that democracies that stand alone and are not part of military alliances are most vulnerable. That is why it has become necessary to bring both Sweden and Finland into the NATO alliance.
    This is an urgent matter. It is urgent because Sweden and Finland are now very vulnerable. They sit in between a period when they were neutral states and full NATO membership, which would guarantee their security and protection by other NATO members under article 5. That is why this debate is so important and why I hope the House will add its political support to the Government of Canada's decision to support Finland and Sweden's accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
    It is also an urgent matter because now that Sweden and Finland have indicated that they wish to join the NATO alliance, Russian disinformation will no doubt accelerate through media sympathetic to Russian disinformation and through political actors sympathetic to Russian disinformation. That is why it is important that we here in the House speak clearly and categorically about our support for both Finland and Sweden's entry into the NATO alliance.
    It is also important that the Government of Canada puts pressure on NATO members that are resistant to Finland and Sweden joining the NATO alliance. Both Turkey and Croatia have indicated concerns, if not outright opposition, to Finland and Sweden joining NATO. The Government of Canada must make clear, through its ambassadors as well as through discussions between foreign ministers and heads of government, Canada's position.
    Canada supported Turkey's accession to NATO in 1952, and Canada should now ask Turkey to clearly support Finland and Sweden's accession to NATO in 2022. Canada should note that it supplies military equipment to Turkey, particularly key technology for Bayraktar drones. Canada supported Croatia's entry to NATO in 2009, and now Canada should ask Croatia's President Milanovic for his support for Finland and Sweden's accession into the NATO alliance in 2022. The government should note that continued opposition could have negative repercussions for Canada-Croatia relations, which could impact everything from youth mobility arrangements to the promotion of two-way trade and investment.
    The Government of Canada also needs to make clear to Finland and Sweden that both Canada and Turkey work together to combat terrorism, and it should indicate that there are groups that both Canada and Turkey consider terrorist entities as listed under the Canadian Criminal Code.
    The Canadian government should do as the United Kingdom government recently did, and provide interim security guarantees to both Finland and Sweden in the interim period where they are the most vulnerable before their accession to the NATO alliance to counter any plans that Moscow may have to try to block and intimidate these two countries.
    I had the pleasure of meeting Ann Linde, Sweden's foreign minister, on May 5. We discussed Sweden's application to join NATO, Russia's war in Ukraine and its implications for defence, energy and Arctic sovereignty. It was clear during our discussion that it was in Canada's interests as well for Finland and Sweden to join the NATO alliance. Their membership would help bolster Arctic defence and security in a region that Russia considers its most strategically important. It is a region in which Russia has invested considerable resources in recent years.
    Finland and Sweden also have robust militaries that could bolster Canada's contributions to the military alliance. Finland demonstrated its fighting spirit during the Winter War of 1939 and 1940, when brave Finns fought back advancing Soviet tanks by running up to the tanks with tar-coated bombs and slapping those bombs onto the track treads of those Soviet tanks, disabling them.

  (2000)  

    They used nothing more than their bodies and simple, homemade, handmade bombs to stop the Soviet army in its tracks and they eventually repelled the invaders.
    The Swedes have a robust domestic military industry. They produce the Gripen fighter jet. Therefore, it is in Canada's interests that both Sweden and Finland join the alliance, helping us to bolster our military capabilities both here and abroad.
    Finland and Sweden and their desire to join NATO have demonstrated how much the world has changed since Russia's invasion of Ukraine on February 24. For some 200 years, Sweden has had a policy of neutrality. This is longer than the confederation of Swiss cantons. It is longer than Switzerland's policy. Its position of neutrality dates back to 1812, when it lost territory to Russia as a result of the Napoleonic wars.
    The fact that after two centuries of neutrality Sweden has formally applied to join a military alliance reveals how much the world has changed in the past three months, and that should be a wake-up call for the government. The world has changed, but the government has been slow to react to that change. Russia's invasion of Ukraine makes it urgent that the Canadian government meet its commitment to spend 2% of Canada's gross domestic product on our military. This is something it committed to before the most recent budget. It is something the most recent budget fails to deliver on, and our allies are increasingly making note of our failure to uphold our defence spending commitments.
    Just this past week, U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Cohen said, “In the public discourse leading up to the release of the budget, the rhetoric from senior Canadian government officials implied that there would be a significant increase in defence spending.” He added, “It’s fair to say that although $8 billion is more money, it was a little disappointing as matched against the rhetoric that we heard leading into the release of the budget.”
    Finland and Sweden understand that the world has changed, and that is why they are urgently seeking to join NATO. Germany understands that the world has changed, which is why Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who heads a centre-left coalition, announced on February 27 a dramatic U-turn in decades of German foreign and defence policy by immediately committing to increase German defence spending to well beyond 2% of gross domestic product, with an immediate commitment to spend $140 billion Canadian on German defence spending. Other NATO allies understand that the world has changed, but the government has not and it has been slow to react.
    Let me finish by stating clearly and categorically that we as Conservatives support Sweden and Finland’s accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. I encourage all members of the House to do the same to ensure that the Parliament of Canada adds its clear voice of support to the Government of Canada's decision to support Finland and Sweden's accession into the NATO alliance.

  (2005)  

    Madam Speaker, the hon. member across the way is also my geographic neighbour, with Guelph and Wellington—Halton Hills being so close together.
    I was listening with interest to his discussion of the neutrality of Sweden and Finland. They have had a formal neutrality for many years, but in 1995 they joined the EU and I think in 1995 they clearly indicated that they were becoming part of an economic alliance that we already have. In fact, our government has signed a trade agreement with Europe: the CETA agreement. We have a formal economic tie with the EU members.
    Could the hon. member comment on how having that economic tie can also benefit the alliance through NATO that we are looking at now?
    Madam Speaker, I think that democracies need to work more closely together not just on diplomacy or the military, but also on economic issues. An example of that is precisely in Sweden and Finland. Finland is a global leader in telecommunications technologies.
    The Scandinavian countries have long produced telecommunications giants, such as Nokia and others, that could help us develop 5G and 6G technologies that would help us build a secure national communications infrastructure to ensure that we were no longer threatened by authoritarian states, such as China, that have their own 5G systems through companies like Huawei, which the government has recently banned. I note that Sweden has a robust domestic defence industry. It produces the Gripen fighter jet.
    There are many other economic strengths that Canada could take advantage of by working more closely with those two countries.

  (2010)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, my colleague from Wellington—Halton Hills has once again demonstrated his thorough understanding of international geopolitical matters. It is a pleasure to hear him speak.
    He talked about how Turkey is a problem in the context of the motion we are debating. Today, he said the government should take the lead on resolving this issue. My colleague from Wellington—Halton Hills knows more about the government's leadership on international matters than most members of the House. In February 2021, when he moved his motion to denounce and condemn the Uighur genocide, all the ministers and the Prime Minister abstained from voting. That is not what I call leadership.
    How confident is my colleague that the government will show leadership and deal with the problem with Turkey?
    Madam Speaker, I think the government needs to manage Canada's relationship with Turkey better than it has been. This government has made a lot of mistakes in managing our relationship with Turkey. It made mistakes with export permits for drone technology, for example. I think it needs to improve its relationship with Turkey. It needs to make it clear to Turkey that we are interested in bringing Finland and Sweden into NATO.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, we know that NATO is in fact a security alliance of some countries. The member talks a lot about the investment in NATO, but what about investment in other multilateral institutions that would work toward a more peaceful future and not just peacekeeping but peace-building? Would he be as supportive of investment in those institutions as he is of NATO?
    Madam Speaker, I would point out that I have been quite critical in recent years of the government's spending on official development assistance. I noted that in the period from 2016 to 2021, the Government of Canada actually reduced official development assistance by 10% compared with the previous government. Ambassador Bob Rae noted that in the report he did for the government that was posted in August 2020 on the Government of Canada's website. We are supportive of the government doing a better job in the areas of official development assistance, peacemaking and climate change, but we also believe the government needs to do a much better job in the area of military and defence commitments.

[Translation]

    Madam Chair, by happy coincidence, I recently returned from a four-day stay in Vilnius, Lithuania, where I attended a meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization that included discussions about whether or not to bring Finland and Sweden into NATO. My speech this evening could therefore not be more timely for me.
    The Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security has tabled its fourth report. We are debating concurrence in that report and, specifically, two important points, the two recommendations in the report: expressing our strong support for Finland and Sweden's NATO membership, as Finland and Sweden are among NATO's closest partners; and calling on all NATO members to approve their application for NATO membership as quickly as possible.
    I am happy to speak to this topic in the House today and to express my support for the committee's recommendations. I will also talk about comments on the subject that were made during the meetings in Lithuania.
    The admittance of Finland and Sweden to NATO has long been debated. We heard arguments from Matti Vanhanen, Speaker of the Eduskunta Riksdag, Finland's parliament, and Andreas Norlén, Speaker of the Riksdag, Sweden's parliament. First of all, it is important to note that Finland and Sweden formally submitted their application for NATO membership on May 18, 2022. During the speeches from the Speakers of the Finnish and Swedish parliaments, the message was very clear: Both countries are formally asking to become NATO members. In recent decades, they have not wanted to be militarily involved and have always chosen to maintain their independence. However, with Russia's sudden violent aggression towards Ukraine, both countries see that they really have no choice. They felt an urgent need to ask to join NATO.
    As my colleagues know, Canada has been a member of NATO for 73 years. Canada is a founding member. The most important article of the North Atlantic Treaty is article 5. That article deals with collective defence and states that an attack against one NATO member is an attack against them all. Considering what is going on right now, Sweden and Finland realize this. They really understand the importance for their respective countries to be part of a group like NATO.
    I feel compelled to point out that there have been times over the past few years when some have questioned NATO's relevance. The former U.S. president questioned it. In the end, what the former U.S. president was doing was more about rattling the organization. I know this from experience, having attended several NATO meetings over the past few years. It was a way of rattling the organization, telling everyone to wake up, to invest more in defence and to be prepared. Indeed, one never knows what might happen. This was proven on February 24 with Russia.
    That is why Finland and Sweden are applying for membership. Finland is especially anxious to join, because it borders directly on Russia for just over 1,000 kilometres. The two countries could not be any closer together. Finland is a country that has always managed to preserve its sovereignty through military means by maintaining a strong military posture. However, having seen what is happening in Ukraine, the Finns realized that NATO membership would give their country a major strategic advantage. It would give them additional security guarantees.
    It is sad for Ukraine, but this explains why we are here today: For many years, Ukraine has been asking to join NATO, but it has never been admitted. The decision has always been put off. The same goes for joining the European Union, although that is a European issue. When it comes to NATO, Ukraine never managed to get in, despite what happened with Crimea in 2014 and then what followed this year, despite Russia's microaggressions and the fact that Ukrainians were scared. NATO did not accept their application.
    Everyone knows that it is impossible to admit Ukraine now because it is at war. This would automatically become a war for NATO. This is a complicated issue, but unfortunately, that is how things stand for Ukraine. That is why Finland and Sweden quickly held a vote in their respective parliaments. They demonstrated that they had the necessary capabilities, and they provided proof. That is why they are calling on NATO and the member countries to admit them.

  (2015)  

    The other advantage for NATO, and for Canada in particular, is the geographical location of Finland and Sweden. Norway is already a NATO member, but having Sweden and Finland as NATO partners in the Arctic region is extremely appealing and important to Canada. These two large Arctic countries could work with Canada, the United States and Norway for NATO-style mutual protection.
    When it comes to admitting new members, consensus among the 30 existing members is a problem. Turkey has already expressed significant concerns about allowing Sweden and Finland to join. When I was in Vilnius on the weekend, I spoke to three colleagues who agreed that this was a problem. Allow me to explain why.
    Al Jazeera reported that Turkey's foreign minister is demanding that Finland and Sweden amend their laws, if needed, to win Ankara's backing in their historic bid to join NATO, threatening to veto an expansion of the alliance. Echoing recent comments by President Erdogan, minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Tuesday that Turkey, which has been a NATO member for seven decades, would not lift its opposition to the two Nordic countries' accession unless its demands were met.
    The reason is that Ankara, Turkey's capital, is accusing both countries of harbouring people linked to groups it deems to be terrorists, including the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK for short, and takes issue with their decision to halt arms exports to Turkey in 2019. Turkey is demanding that Finland and Sweden end their support for the PKK and other groups, bar them from organizing events on their territory, extradite individuals sought by Turkey on terrorism charges, support Turkey's counterterrorism military operations and resume arms exports.
    Clearly, geopolitics has always been complex, and the current NATO situation is no exception. The vast majority of NATO members want to bring Finland and Sweden into the fold, but for its own reasons, which are largely related to domestic terrorism, one member has issues with that.
    That is why the Conservatives are very much in favour of these two countries joining NATO, but we also have to understand where Turkey is coming from, so the government needs to make an effort to find a diplomatic solution that will satisfy the Turks and expedite the process of bringing these two countries into our great organization.
    It is complicated. At the end of the day, I would not like what is currently happening in Ukraine to happen in Finland, for example, because there is no telling what Vladimir Putin might do. He might suddenly decide to send some tanks into Finland for fun because that country is not a member of NATO. It would be easy because the two countries share a 1,000‑kilometre border.
    What happened in Ukraine must not happen anywhere else. We must work on getting the Turks to soften their stance and find a way to get along. That is a role our government can play.
    Based on my experience at the meetings with my colleagues, I realize that it is easy for us, as Canadians, to form an opinion on what is happening in Europe and to tell other countries that they should do this or that. However, while I was over there, colleagues from every European country told me that the dynamics are different and that we need to understand that.
    The role Canada can play is the one it has always played: using diplomacy to find a way to help the different European countries get along in a Canadian way.

  (2020)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I was picturing the Nordic alliance that Sweden tried to form after the Second World War. Denmark and Norway instead went into NATO. There was an economic isolation with Finland and Sweden.
    Now, with their economic ties with the EU and the EU's economic ties with Canada, could the hon. member comment on the coverage that we are giving for this economically so that militarily they can join the military alliance?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, as I mentioned in my speech, this membership will strengthen our collective ability to address threats, for example in the Arctic. By having Finland and Sweden as NATO partners, we will be politically and militarily united under the NATO umbrella. They are two major partners. In addition, Sweden and Finland are countries with very efficient and well-equipped armies. These partners will also be able to participate in NATO missions, as we are currently doing in Latvia or as our other partners are doing in Lithuania. The Swedes and the Finns will be able to participate with us as members of NATO.
    Madam Speaker, for Sweden and Finland to join NATO there must be consensus among the current 30 members, and their membership must be ratified. I think that Canada has been quite proactive so far. As soon as Sweden and Finland raised their hands, the Minister of Foreign Affairs said that she wanted quick support for this decision. A motion was tabled in the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security. Everyone here also seems to be acting in good faith and in agreement. I do not know about the other member countries. What is the status of the process?
    We are talking about Canada's leadership role. What should that role be?
    We know that Turkey has expressed its opposition to Sweden and Finland joining NATO. I think Canada has a role to play in this. The member mentioned this in his speech, but I would like to know how this diplomacy should take shape.
    Should we get together with the European countries to discuss this? Do we have any idea what positions other member countries are taking at this time? Is the same process taking place within their democratic institutions? What is Canada's role in facilitating this process and what should that role look like?

  (2025)  

    Madam Speaker, I thank my excellent colleague for her good and long question.
    As I mentioned in my speech, from what I and my other NATO colleagues can tell, at present, there is virtually unanimous support for the principle of admitting Finland and Sweden. The only exception is Turkey, for the reasons that I mentioned.
    What is Canada's role? Given the war in Ukraine and the supply of gas, which could become problematic for those cutting ties with Russia, I noticed that several European countries have their own problems. Countries are nervous about the issue of supply. For example, Hungary told the European Union yesterday that it did not agree with imposing new sanctions because it wants to protect itself. I believe that Europe is currently under stress.
    As Canada is somewhat removed, it has a diplomatic role to play. It is up to our government to intervene with the best possible diplomacy, which I hope it can do, by talking with Turkey and finding ways to calm the waters and ensure the consensus of NATO countries.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I want to follow up on a question that I asked earlier this evening of the member's colleague. He talked about how the spending on ODA is lower now under the current administration than it had been under the previous administration. In fact, under the previous administration, it was 0.26% of GNI. Now, with COVID, we are still at the disgustingly low number of about 0.31%.
    Why are the Conservatives so eager to invest 2% in NATO and defence spending but are so unwilling to invest in international development, humanitarian aid and peace-building? Would the member agree that it would be useful to tie international development spending, ODA spending, to defence spending? It would be 2% on one side and 2% on the other side. Would he agree with that?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I was not in government then, but to my knowledge, the Conservative government at the time spent more on international aid.
    That 2% target is part of what NATO expects of its members. Of that 2%, 20% is used to purchase military equipment. I think we can make a pretty good case right now for why we need to be ready. With guys like Putin invading Ukraine, we need to make sure our armed forces are ready and supplied with state-of-the-art equipment. At the moment, Ukraine is able to fight Putin and the Russian army because it has been supplied with cutting-edge equipment, which is taking a toll on the Russian invaders.
    If we want peace, we must prepare for war.
    Madam Speaker, I, too, am pleased to rise this evening to speak to Sweden's and Finland's membership in NATO. I will share my time with the hon. member for Lac-Saint-Jean.
    Like my colleague from Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, I recently got back from the NATO Parliamentary Assembly session in Lithuania, where this issue got a lot of airtime. In addition to what my colleague shared about what we learned, certain remarks and comments really made an impression.
    Something that Viktorija Cmilyte-Nielsen, the speaker of the Seimas, Lithuania's parliament, said really stuck with me. She asked us if, given their proximity to Russia, the Baltic countries would have the resilient democracy and flourishing economy they enjoy today if they were not members of NATO.
    Lithuania, where the meeting took place, is sandwiched between Belarus and the increasingly militarized enclave of Kaliningrad. We have to wonder if it would be as secure as it currently is without its NATO membership. Similarly, granting NATO membership to Finland and Sweden really would afford them additional security in light of Russia's recent aggression in Ukraine.
    We know that Finland and Sweden already meet the basic criteria for NATO membership. They have healthy democracies, the ability to make a military contribution to the alliance and viable economies. These two countries would also bring a strategic military contribution in the Baltic Sea region, which we would not want to see fall into Russian hands for all intents and purposes, jeopardizing the Baltic states.
     These countries had decreased military investments in the past, but for obvious reasons they are starting to make renewed efforts in that area.
    Although Finland has only 12,000 professional soldiers, it trains 20,000 conscripts a year, giving it additional strike force and the ability to quickly build up an army of 280,000 people, plus 600,000 reservists. The country wants to increase its defence budget by 40% by 2026. Finland already has a fleet of 55 F-18 aircraft, which are supposed to be replaced by American F-35s soon, and it has 200 tanks and 1,700 artillery pieces.
    Sweden has an army of about 50,000 soldiers. Compulsory military service, which had been abolished in 2010, was brought back in 2017. Sweden had decreased its investments in defence in recent years but has reversed this trend, with defence spending now at 2.6% of its GDP.
    When we were in Vilnius, we also had the pleasure of meeting with Ukrainian parliamentarians. We asked them a few times how they felt knowing that Finland and Sweden's application to join would probably be dealt with quickly, while Ukraine, for its part, still has not managed to finalize its membership, despite the promise made to the country in 2008 at the Bucharest summit. They said that it obviously bothered them to be somewhat sidelined, but they hoped that Finland and Sweden could quickly join the alliance.
     Ukraine knows that eventually it will have to become a member too. It knows that membership is currently not within reach, since it is at war. The Ukrainian parliamentarians told us that time has always been a factor at any point in history, especially recently.
    In 2008, Ukraine was not admitted into the alliance. If the process had been quicker, things might not be where they are today. The same is true when it comes to the military equipment being sent to Ukraine: Every day that goes by is another day that costs a lot of money. Ukraine has a monthly budgetary deficit of $35 billion and the war could cost at least $100 billion. The longer it goes on, the worse it will be.

  (2030)  

    Every time we want to help Ukraine, we must also consider the fact that we must train the people who will be using the military equipment provided. A bit of predictability will help them.
    For Ukraine to eventually join NATO, there also needs to be a long-term vision. Ukraine is telling us that it may need the equivalent of a Marshall Plan to rebuild and get its infrastructure up and running again. It will need psychological support for the women and children assaulted by Russian soldiers. It will need a great deal of help to clear mines, because the Russians unfortunately left behind what they call “gifts”, booby-trapped toys and cars, and mines buried in fields. We know that Ukraine is a major grain producer.
    Ukraine will need our help quickly. In a way, what I hope will result from this evening's debate, is that we think about the urgency of the situation.
    In 2008, we collectively missed an opportunity. We promised Ukraine that it could join NATO, but it was not even offered a road map for joining, in other words, the action plan that must be put in place.
    Ukraine has unfortunately been forced to take a step back because of the war. It will have to rebuild in order to be able to meet the criteria of a vibrant democracy with the potential for military support. Unfortunately, it will have served as a practice ground of sorts for war for the west. Ukraine now has a great deal of knowledge about how Russia wages war. It will therefore need support to rebuild and then join NATO, and when it does, it will become an invaluable resource for that organization.
    The Ukrainian parliamentarians also told us that the end of this war, a war that hopefully Ukraine will have won, might not be the end of aggressions. We can expect another incursion from Russia, another attempt at aggression. Where will that happen? No one knows. However, it will be important to have as many actors as possible involved at that time.
    As I said earlier, the Speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament wondered what would have happened to the Baltic states if they had not joined NATO. That is something we have to keep in mind if we want a strong west and resilient democracies. Part of NATO's mission is to ensure that democracy is healthy everywhere. This includes better protection of the Baltic Sea and NATO membership for Sweden and Finland.
    I hope that the message we all take away this evening is that there is absolutely no time to lose, generally speaking, whether we are talking about the military support that we are currently giving to Ukraine, support for future rebuilding efforts, or support for its future membership in NATO, as is now the case with Sweden and Finland.
    In that context, we must remember that this is also important for the entire western world and democracy. During one of the summit's video conferences, the chair of the Canadian NATO Parliamentary Association reminded the Ukrainian defence minister that the war currently being fought in Ukraine is everyone's war. This is a war on democracy, and I think we need all the allies we can get. I hope that is the message we will retain tonight.

  (2035)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, this evening I have been asking questions relating to economic alliances versus military and other types of alliances. The member from the Bloc has given us a good intervention tonight. There were questions from the Bloc about Turkey's involvement in all of this, so maybe I could ask her about this.
    The trade between Russia and Turkey is significant. I think Turkey is the fourth-largest export market for Russia. Turkey also does a lot of work with Russia.
    Could the member comment on the need for economic ties between Turkey and western democracies to increase in order to bring Turkey back into the alliance militarily?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I would need a good 10 minutes to answer that question, but I will give it a shot.
    The situation with Turkey is unique. It is wavering for reasons that are understandable, in a way. Turkey may have lost some trust in its NATO allies.
    The United States, for example, used Kurdish soldiers in their war in Syria, which was an affront to Turkey. Since Turkey purchased weapons from Russia in 2019, the U.S. removed Turkey from the F-35 program. In response to Turkey's intervention in Syria, Finland and Sweden stopped selling it weapons. Turkey is therefore generally distrustful. It is also heading into an election soon, with inflation rates exceeding 70%, according to official figures, and the actual figures are likely much higher than that.
    Turkey is extremely distrustful. We probably need to take a hard line and threaten it with sanctions, while also providing motivation by rebuilding economic ties to help Turkey regain confidence and to secure its support for Finland and Sweden to join NATO. This needs to be done quickly.
    With respect to the ratification, we cannot forget that each country individually—

  (2040)  

    I am sorry to interrupt the hon. member. I would like to give her five minutes, but that would not be very fair.
    The hon. member for Edmonton Strathcona.
    Madam Speaker, I am sorry. I will not be speaking French because it is too difficult to talk about NATO in French.

[English]

    The member spoke about the initial invasion in 2008 and how we need to act to ensure that the escalation we have been seeing since February 24 does not continue. In the member's opinion, what are some of the other steps we can take to ensure that what we do now does not result in a further invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation in another six years?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, unfortunately, I get the impression that there is absolutely nothing we can do to guard against a Russian invasion. These invasions are often irrational and are becoming increasingly illogical. Apparently some close to President Putin are starting to very much question the strategy.
    In a context where prevention is not possible, we must nevertheless be prepared for attacks, hence my point on the resilience we must restore in Ukraine when it comes to its infrastructure. That requires funding, but also support for countries that want to join NATO, such as Finland and Sweden, which could contribute to defence on the front lines with Russia.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I appreciate the hon. member's quite forthright talk about the challenge that Ukraine had in joining NATO so many years ago.
    Our colleague asked a question on Turkey, and we now see challenges for Finland and Sweden and the steps that need to be taken along those lines.
    I am wondering if the member could talk a little more about that, because both of these countries are basically Arctic countries and are very much affiliated with and close to Canada. What steps can we as Canadians take to further encourage that and encourage Turkey to further support them?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I think that the debate we are having this evening is in some small way part of the solution. We have a consensus on the membership of Finland and Sweden.
    Given that Finland and Sweden meet NATO's admission criteria, I believe that we are sending Turkey the message that it will be accountable for its actions if it votes “no”. There is no reason to do so other than purely personal reasons.
    Turkey is trying to successfully navigate a situation that is difficult for the country, but it is not doing so for the right reasons. It is not doing so for reasons related to article 10 of the Washington Treaty on accession to NATO. It may have to answer for that.
    Madam Speaker, it is difficult to speak after my colleague from Saint-Jean. We can see how knowledgeable she is about this file. Although it would be impossible for me to match her presentation, I will try my best.
    I just want to say that having this debate tonight is a good thing. It has been quite some time since we have had a debate where the five parties in the House, and I imagine that this is also the case for the Greens, all agree. We can really feel it. Yes, there are some details that will have to be worked out, but I believe that everyone here is ready to work together on that. It is fantastic, because this has not happened for a long time.
    Unfortunately, it took a war to get everyone to agree. That is not as pleasant, but I will get back to my speech.
    I think that the debate over allowing a new country to join NATO will be the hot topic of 2022. There was the west's dithering over Ukraine's future in NATO. Vladimir Putin may have used that as an excuse, but we are learning. I join all of my hon. colleagues in welcoming Sweden and Finland to our alliance. Based on what I have heard tonight, it is pretty clear that everyone agrees on this.
    A number of people expressed doubts about this alliance recently. Now it is hard to question why it exists. It is more relevant than ever, especially in the face of a rogue state that is disrupting the world order we have been working to build for the past 30 years. NATO now serves as an umbrella organization for our allies to guarantee the safety of Europe, the Atlantic and, as my Conservative colleague mentioned, soon enough the Arctic.
    The two membership applications that were submitted come from allies to Quebec and Canada. These countries are objective allies of NATO and of our interests in the Far North. Their application also serves as a powerful message against Putin's authoritarianism and the warmongering policies of his Kremlin. I say that it is his Kremlin, because it certainly does not reflect the people of Russia.
    Traditionally, Finland and Sweden have been non-aligned countries. For more than 75 years, they have held fast to their neutrality—all through the Cold War, the fall of the USSR and the realignment of world powers. Setting aside this policy of neutrality is not insignificant. It is evidence of how serious the situation is and how important it is for countries bordering the Russian behemoth to ensure their security and safety. Considering the recent history and geopolitics of the region, it is clear that this is a legitimate and well-founded concern.
    Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin said it better than I can. She says that everything changed when Russia attacked Ukraine. She personally thinks that no one can assume a peaceful future on Russia's borders. In her opinion, joining NATO is an act of peace so that there will never be another war in Finland.
    The Swedish Prime Minister also sums it up well. To paraphrase her words, the best way to ensure the security and safety of the Swedish people is to join NATO with Finland.
    When I hear these women say they want to join us, to join NATO, I have no choice but to listen. We all have to listen. To the south of us, the U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, also said that the United States supports Sweden's and Finland's applications. This is a strong endorsement that reaffirms my position and that of my political party. We must allow Sweden and Finland into our alliance.
    The truth is, they already have a foot in the door. There is no reason to oppose this, because it is what they want and they meet the conditions. More importantly, their troops have already been participating in NATO exercises for decades. If these two allies join, it would certainly be a historic event that will define the political dynamics of the region. Hopefully, this will be the case for a long time to come. Let us also hope that it will curb Vladimir Putin's madness.
    The strategy of accommodating Russia and pandering to its interests is well and truly over, and of course must never be repeated. Pressure on Russia is turning the tide in the war. The entire mobilization of the west for an independent, whole and sovereign Ukraine is our most powerful weapon. Dictators cannot imagine the power of unity. It is our duty to show them.

  (2045)  

    Bringing more countries into NATO signals unity. Let us be a parliament that shows leadership on this front.
    There is a reason why I am talking about leadership. Too often, this government follows in other countries' footsteps. Consider my Conservative friends' 2021 motion on the Uighur genocide, which the Prime Minister and his cabinet abstained from voting on. I would actually like to thank the member for Wellington—Halton Hills once again for kindly allowing me to amend his motion in a gesture of solidarity with the Uighur people. Unfortunately, those on the other side of the House did not do likewise.
    When we requested an airlift for Ukrainian refugees, we were told it would happen soon, but it was not until April, a month after the war started, that an announcement was made. A month later, there were still no flights. The war has been going on for three months now, and there have been only three charter flights. This government has an international leadership problem.
    However, I have hope, because the government was quickly on board when Finland and Sweden asked to join NATO. We are here this evening because a motion was quickly moved by a government member. There is hope, then.
    Let us look at what was done in the past. It is not often that a sovereignist boasts about this country's former federalist prime ministers. There was Lester B. Pearson, a Liberal, who established peacekeeping. That is a fine example of leadership. I want to be fair towards my Conservative friends and so I will mention Brian Mulroney, who seized the opportunity after Montreal's mayor, Jean Doré, spoke out against the apartheid regime in South Africa. The mayor was the first person to declare that his city would boycott South Africa. Brian Mulroney followed suit as head of government and declared that Canadians would join the boycott. At first, Brian Mulroney had few allies, but he spoke to Great Britain and the United States. That is an example of international leadership.
    Now I am pleased to see that my friends in the government want to show leadership in the debate we are having this evening. I hope that this will continue, and I hope that it is not just lip service. I think that Canada does have a role to play in convincing Turkey not to stand in the way of Finland and Sweden joining NATO.
    It is vitally important for these two countries to become members of the alliance. Earlier, my colleague from Saint-Jean demonstrated the geopolitical importance of letting them join, given the message this would send to the rest of the planet, especially Russia.
    What goes for Russia goes for China as well. That too is important to note. By acting quickly, we are sending a message to Russia, China and the other dictatorships in the world that are currently violating the human rights of their own people.
    This would be a good way to show leadership, and I think that we are on the right track. That is why we are here in the House this evening and seeing some cohesion between all the parties.
    As I often say, when I get up in the morning, I see a little note on my bedside table that says, “Who do you work for?” I work for Quebeckers and for the people of Lac-Saint-Jean.
    I know that my constituents value human rights, democracy and freedom. I will continue to work in support of these values for them, and I am pleased to see that everyone in the House is doing the same.

  (2050)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, my colleague's comments on leadership had me reflecting on the notion of collaborative leadership and how Canada plays a role and has always played a role by collaborating and bringing countries together. I thought it might be interesting to have the Bloc's perspective on how leaders do not go it alone. Leaders do work with others and build on the strengths of the people around them in order to combine goals, such as we are doing in this discussion on NATO.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I agree with my colleague. Leaders cannot go it alone. What we need is multilateral action, which involves several countries working together at the same time. Leaders set an example, take the lead and inspire others to join in multilateral action.
    Based on what we are seeing this evening, I think Canada can be a leader and inspire others to join in. I only wish it had reacted the same way to the Uighur genocide that the current Chinese regime is committing.

  (2055)  

    Madam Speaker, I would like to both thank and congratulate the member for Lac-Saint-Jean once again for the quality of his speech. He talked a lot about leadership. I would be remiss if I did not point out the leadership he showed some time ago in pushing for an airlift to bring refugees here. I say that with all the pride and honesty that comes with being a member of Parliament. We are all very pleased that three planes have arrived. As the saying goes, this is just the tip of the iceberg. We hope it is just the beginning.
    The member highlighted the fact that Canada has distinguished itself over the years by always being on the right side of history and in fact by leading the charge on the right side. One example that comes to mind is Mr. Pearson and the Right Hon. Brian Mulroney's efforts to fight apartheid, even though it upset our main allies, namely England and the U.S.
    The member spoke about leadership. What urgent action does he think the government should be taking to help the Ukrainian people?
    Madam Speaker, I have a great deal of respect for my colleague, and I sincerely thank him for his question. I am sad that he is not a member of my party, but perhaps that will happen one day.
    It is an important question. What should the government do for Ukraine? We must be realistic. Canada is not a military power.
    What can we do to get things moving, play a role and influence what is currently going on in Ukraine? First, we must help the refugees. Canada is a welcoming country, so we must make every effort to help them. At present, 200,000 Ukrainian refugees have applied for authorization to come to Canada. To date, about 100,000 applications have been approved, but the people are not arriving. Ukrainian mothers and their children have been authorized to come here. Unfortunately, these women have been living on their meagre savings for the past three months. They cannot afford the airfare. It is one thing to authorize people to come, but now they must get here one way or another. That is one thing we could do.
    In addition, through diplomacy, Canada should obviously gather as many allies as possible to ensure that Sweden and Finland join the NATO alliance.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I know my colleague cares deeply about people around the world. We have worked together on many files looking at human rights around the world. In fact, today we were on a panel looking at the atrocious war crimes that are being committed in Ethiopia in the Tigray region, and I am delighted to hear at least the words of the government, if not the actions, in support of Ukraine.
    However, I wonder if the member could comment on how he feels the government has sent a message, and what that message is, to other places around the world where dire humanitarian crises are happening and the government has not responded at all.

[Translation]

    Madam Chair, that is such an important question. Why was our response to the present conflict in Ukraine so rapid compared to other natural disasters and armed conflicts around the world? Right now, people are experiencing actual genocide. As a signatory to the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, there are two things we must do when we know that genocide is occurring. We must either prevent it or punish those perpetrating it. What is happening right now in the Tigray is genocide. What is happening with the Uighurs is genocide.
    Many of us here voted in favour of the motion moved by my colleague from Edmonton Strathcona on the genocide in Ukraine, but when I wanted to move a motion barely three weeks ago calling on the House to unanimously condemn the Uighur genocide, the party in power rejected my motion. I am still upset about that.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time this evening with the member for North Island—Powell River.
    I want to begin my remarks tonight by stating unequivocally that the New Democratic Party supports Sweden and Finland in their bid for membership in NATO, and that New Democrats call on all NATO members to approve the application as quickly as possible to address the urgent situation that is facing both countries, including the very real threats made against both Sweden and Finland by the Russian Federation.
    New Democrats strongly believe in the legal right of self-determination and the right that all people must have to decide their own destiny within the international order. Self-determination is a core principle of international law. It is enshrined in the United Nations charter and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
    All countries must have the opportunity and independence to determine their own fates, and all democratically elected governments must decide what is in the best interests of their citizens. Clearly, the people of Sweden and Finland have decided that, as a result of the illegal war of aggression by the Russian Federation in Ukraine and the very clear indication that Vladimir Putin has no respect for national sovereignty, for multilateral institutions or for international law and order, the people of Sweden and Finland must do what they can to prevent their countries from being threatened further by the Russian Federation. Everyone in the House agrees that Sweden and Finland should be allowed to join NATO and that we should do what we can as parliamentarians to expedite that accession.
    I want to take some time today because, of course, since we all agree on this basic principle, we really have an obligation to look at how we got to this position. The illegal invasion and criminal war of aggression that Vladimir Putin and the Russian Federation have inflicted upon the people of Ukraine since 2014, with obvious massive escalation of aggression since February 24 of this year, is why we are here today. Prior to the further invasion of Ukraine, support for NATO membership was around 20% to 30% in Sweden and Finland. Now, 76% of Finnish people support joining NATO. Very simply, Vladimir Putin and the aggression of the Russian Federation are responsible for escalating tensions in the region and leading Sweden and Finland to seek NATO membership.
    The war in Ukraine is horrifying and will have massive implications for all countries. The reports of Putin's war crimes against Ukrainians are appalling. We are hearing stories of children's toys being mined. We are hearing stories of such gross and horrific crimes against women and children that it makes my skin crawl.
     I welcomed yesterday's announcement by the government to inflict further sanctions on the Russian Federation. However, currently, we do not know how these decisions are being made, if these sanctions are being enforced or why they are taking so long to implement. I asked an Order Paper question recently on this exact issue, and the government response from the parliamentary secretary on foreign affairs was to say that the government could not share any information because it could not confirm that the information would be correct. As a parliamentarian, I cannot get the information I need to do my job because the current government cannot guarantee that it will be correct, so it will not give us any information.
    While properties, business assets and yachts are being seized by other countries, we have almost no information about what is happening in Canada. We know that the sanctions have been too slow and we know that they have been implemented too late. For example, why was Igor Makarov permitted to move $120 million out of Canada before he was added to the sanctions list? That $120 million was money that should have gone back to Ukraine to help build Ukraine. That was $120 million that should have gone to Ukrainians in Canada to help them settle in this country.
    We need a full review of Canada's sanctions regime. The last time the Parliament of Canada reviewed Canada's sanctions regime was five years ago, when the foreign affairs committee found it lacking in transparency and accountability. Why is it that Canadians do not know how sanctions are decided, how they are enforced or why the enforcement of the sanctions is so poor?

  (2100)  

    I will be calling on the foreign affairs committee to review the government's implementation of the recommendations in the 2017 report on Canadian sanctions and assess the need for changes since then. We need this review. The government must do better when it comes to sanctions.
    I want to make another point about NATO. I want to reiterate that I support Sweden and Finland's bid to join NATO, but I want to talk about the bigger picture of how the global community must work together and how we must increase support for our multilateral institutions. Multilateralism is the most effective way we have to ensure peaceful global order.
    Ultimately, what is NATO? NATO is a defence and security alliance, and its purpose is to guarantee the freedom and security of its members through political and military means. As we have seen since February 24, there is a role for NATO to play. In fact, as Canada's Arctic becomes more accessible, we need greater protection in the north and we need to be a part of NATO, but we need to do more than invest in just security. We need to invest in peace.
    I have learned a great deal from my mentor, the honourable Douglas Roche. If he has taught me anything, it is that war is a failure to build peace in this world. War is never a solution that we can depend on. We always have to be pushing for peace. I have spoken to Doug about the need to develop a declaration on the right to peace.
    In 2012, the UN Human Rights Council began a study to draft a human right to peace. This is vital work that we need to be doing. As a species, we should be promoting peace as a basic human right, and I will continue to work with any member in the House who is interested in working towards that goal.
     What we need right now is dialogue, diplomacy and pluralism that puts the common global good at the forefront. Climate change, global health pandemics, food shortages and nuclear war are global challenges that will require global solutions. We need multilateralism to solve the biggest challenges facing humanity right now.
    We need United Nations reform. I know many people are working very hard on United Nations reform. We need to make sure the UN has a strong set of institutions that can protect all people and all countries.
    We need to look at the Security Council. The Russian Federation invaded Ukraine while they were chairing a Security Council meeting. What is the obligation of the United Nations General Assembly when the Security Council is no longer able to meet its mandate? What is the obligation of all the other countries in the world to stand up and say that it is not okay?
    We need to work to reform our multilateral institutions. We need to work to make sure that the investment we put into foreign security and into defence is echoed in our investment into diplomacy, our investment into peace and our investment into making sure that the world is fair and equitable for all people, regardless of which country they come from.
    We want to see stronger support from Canada for the International Criminal Court. We were glad to see Canada's decision to refer the situation in Ukraine to the International Criminal Court. We support the government's decision to send resources. I was proud to see the support going to prove that what is happening in Ukraine is genocide. Every member in the House supported my resolution on that.
    However, I have to say that Canada has a long history of picking and choosing when human rights matter, and a long history of deciding when the International Criminal Court is applicable and when it is not. I am shocked that Canada does not support the investigation into Israel and Palestine and what is happening there. This would look at crimes being committed by Israelis and Palestinians.
    Canada has to start playing a better role by being universal in its approach to human rights. This is a great place to start.

  (2105)  

    Madam Speaker, when I think of Canadians, there is no doubt in my mind that the concept of world peace is a wonderful thing. There is no doubt that anything we can do to move in that direction is a positive thing.
    When we think of the NATO alliance and its important role, which has really been amplified because of what is taking place in Europe today, one of the greatest demands that came from Ukraine was getting lethal weapons. Over the years, Canada has been challenged to say that we need to increase our contribution to things such as lethal weapons by, it was suggested, 2%. I am very much interested in the member's thoughts regarding Canada's potential leadership role in investing that 2% of GDP.

  (2110)  

    Madam Speaker, I have many thoughts and I will not have time to get to them all, but here are a couple of them.
    Let us tie our defence spending to our humanitarian spending. As soon as the government is ready to spend 2% on humanitarian diplomacy and overseas development, I would be happy to see that spending go into our defence budget. The other thing we could do, at the very low bar, is send a delegation to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in Vienna, which is happening in June and which we still have not heard from the government on. There is so much we could be doing on peace.
    Trying to get a gotcha on the NDP on the 2% is a little gross, to be honest.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her excellent speech.
    I want to correct the record. I think I said that Ukraine had a $35‑billion deficit, but what I should have said was that 35% of the country's economy is shut down, resulting in $5 billion in losses every month.
    My colleague spoke about sanctions. Many people are calling for the money that was seized from oligarchs to be used to help Ukraine. Canada announced that it had put several oligarchs on the list, but no one knows where the money is. The RCMP claimed not to know whether it was supposed to follow up and said it was relying on the banks to check whether the money had been frozen.
    Did someone drop the ball here, costing us a golden opportunity to help Ukraine?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I would say that we have not lost track of where those sanctions have gone. We have never been told. Parliamentarians have never been given that information, and the opaqueness of our sanctions regime has been called out many times. The government is not interested in sharing it.
    I have an interesting fact. If we need to know what was shipped to Canada from Russia, we can check with Russia, but we cannot check with Canada. We do not have those records available. The U.S. does, the U.K. does and Russia does, but Canada does not.
    Madam Speaker, Canada is part of a coalition. We are in NATO, we support each other and we have a commitment to live up to. I am sure my hon. colleague understands what it is like to be committed in a coalition as her party supports the minority Liberal government.
    If we do not support our NATO partners and if the NDP does not support the Liberals, what does she think would happen to it all?
    Madam Speaker, I have to think about that question, but I will say one thing. Today in the House there was a coalition of parties that voted against supporting people trying to get access to a safe drug supply. The Liberals voted with the Conservatives to stop life-saving legislation from going forward. I do not really know if he understands what “coalition” means, if he understands the coalition that he is part of or if he is proud of that coalition. If there is anything else he wants to say about coalitions, it is up to him.
    Madam Speaker, I want to recognize the amazing work of the member for Edmonton Strathcona this evening. I really appreciate her thoughts on this issue and certainly hope that all people in this House listen to what she has to say.
    I want to start this speech today by talking a bit about the fact that while growing up, I lived part of the time at my grandfather's house. He owned a large piece of property, and in the whole community, which spanned many acres, there were 25 people who lived there.
    The reason that is so important to me is that as a young person I would go and visit Mary and Dobbie. They lived about a 45-minute walk from my house, and I would visit them regularly and help them out with things. As I got older, I started to understand that their accents were from where they grew up, which was in Europe, and the reason they were there was that during the Second World War, they fled Nazi Germany. I remember Mary telling me stories about her family being taken when she was young and how she had to hide in a suitcase to get through parts of Europe to eventually get to safety in Canada. She talked about the reason she lived in such a small house on such a big piece of land. It was because she always wanted an exit so that if anybody came for her again, she would be able to hide and get away, and there was enough space for her to do that.
    I remember as a young person really being impacted by what that meant, understanding that for this person and her husband every day was a precious gift, yet every day they were slightly afraid of what they had lived through and afraid that it could happen again. I think of every Remembrance Day in my riding, when I go to multiple communities to stand and be with them to remember the history of the Second World War and understand how important it is that we create as much peace as we can.
    I remember Mary saying to me one time, “I no longer believe in a god. I cannot believe in a god when I saw what happened in my community, when I saw people that I thought were friends tell on our family and get some of those people taken away.” She said, “Even though I do not believe in God, I pray for peace unceasingly.” Often when I think of her legacy for me personally, I think about peace unceasingly and I am really grateful for that lesson.
    I too am one of the members who spent time in Lithuania just a few days ago with the Canadian NATO Parliamentary Association. I think it is really important that as we sit in those rooms and listen to the interesting debates, discussions, education and papers that are presented to us, we always remember that even in those places where we are talking about security and how to stay safe, we also remember peace. I think about that space and about how many of us listened to ministers who were being televised from Ukraine, their images projected on the wall, and I think every single one of us who was there will never forget how exhausted those faces looked—how determined they looked, and how exhausted they looked.
    I think of the deputy prime minister for European and Euro-Atlantic integration of Ukraine and government coordination of humanitarian aid, who spoke very passionately about the huge violations that were happening across her country and how she had to wake up every day, when she could actually sleep, and deal with those issues again and again and try to find solutions, in a situation in which I think most of us cannot even imagine trying to think of solutions, knowing that her communities and people were not safe and that children and women in particular were being attacked.
    I also think of the work that was done and presented to us on NATO's approach to women, peace and security. I think we need to keep talking about these things. We know that when there is an investment in women in all of these situations, whether it is an act of warfare or international aid while people are rebuilding, if women are not lifted up, given supports and given power, things do not get better. In fact, they get worse. We heard very clearly that women play such a large part in communities, in leadership and in resources, and that when there are limited resources, they are better at negotiating so that everybody can be okay. I think about that a lot.

  (2115)  

    I also think of a presentation from Konstantin von Eggert, who is an independent journalist recognized in many countries for the profound work he has done, especially in relation to Russia. He talked about how one of the biggest challenges that we have in building up understanding and knowledge of Russia is people's indifference, because their focus is so much on survival and getting through day to day that they really do not have the energy to even think about what is happening outside of those borders. They are dealing with a lot of propaganda that is very concerning, and we need to fight that misinformation, which is hard to do in trying to educate people behind Putin's walls.
    He also talked a lot about continuing to expand sanctions and that this needs to keep happening. We have to build that unease. He talked so much about how much power Putin has within his own country and with the oligarchs, and how hard it is to build up that pressure. I think it is incredibly important that we remember that our process in terms of sanctions is still very weak in this country. We need to do much, much better so that we can have better accountability and of course make sure that resources that are coming in are going back home to Ukraine, which desperately needs them right now.
    As we look at all of these things, one of the deep honours that I had on the trip was having a meal with some Ukrainian members of parliament, sitting down with them and again seeing h