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Thursday, June 16, 2022

Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

Volume 151
No. 090


Thursday, June 16, 2022

Speaker: The Honourable Anthony Rota

    The House met at 10 a.m.



[Routine Proceedings]



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 will be tabled in an electronic format.


Digital Charter Implementation Act, 2022

Committees of the House

Industry and Technology 

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the following two reports from the Standing Committee on Industry and Technology: the fourth report, entitled “Positioning Canada as a Leader in the Supply and Processing of Critical Minerals”, and the fifth report, entitled “Development and Support of the Aerospace Industry”.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to each of these two reports.


National Defence  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the first report of the Standing Committee on National Defence, entitled “An Interim Report on the Defence of Canada in a Rapidly Changing Threat Environment”.
    This is the first report of the defence committee, and it certainly will not be the last report on the rapidly changing threat environment. We started the report prior to February 24 and, of course, finished it off. However, this is an ongoing thing that the committee will maintain in its mandate and be seized with.
    I want to comment as well that the members of the committee worked extremely hard to put this together. There was a lot of frustration about cancellations and votes, etc., to the point where it became very difficult to conduct proper committee hearings and all the work that goes into them. I just want to make that point because it is getting extremely frustrating, to the point of dysfunctionality of committees.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.


Veterans Affairs  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the sixth report of the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs, entitled “Incorporating Service Dogs into the Rehabilitation Program of Veterans Affairs Canada”.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.

Pest Control Products Act

     She said: Madam Speaker, I rise today to reintroduce my private member's bill that aims to impose a complete ban on the use of glyphosate. My commitment to this issue remains the same.


    I want to thank my colleague from Madawaska—Restigouche for supporting this important bill, which will be beneficial for New Brunswickers.


    The widespread use of glyphosate in New Brunswick forests and across Canada is a menace to plant and wildlife biodiversity. There is a growing consensus that glyphosate is not safe to use and that there are more effective and safer alternatives. Rather than allowing toxic chemicals to be sprayed in Canada until they are proven harmful, we should be exercising greater precautions and banning products until they can be deemed safe. Canadians have the right to breathe clean air, drink safe water and harvest healthy food from the land. We have a duty to protect our ecosystems, habitats and wildlife.
    I want to thank the leadership of the tens of thousands of New Brunswickers who have fought for years for this ban to be implemented in the hope of ensuring safer communities and healthier forests for generations to come.

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

Telecommunications Act

     He said: Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to table this legislation to improve access to transparent and accurate broadband service information. This legislation is a near copy of my private member's bill in the 43rd Parliament. Unfortunately, due to an unexpected election, Bill C-299 never had the opportunity to make it to second reading, despite a broad and ever-growing level of support from Canadians.
    Canadians know how important access to high-quality Internet service is, but they also know that this essential service is out of reach for too many Canadians. For years, Canadians have been purchasing Internet services at sky-high prices, only to realize that the quality and speed they expected to receive are nowhere near what they actually receive. Rural Canadians, in particular, feel that they are not receiving the Internet service they are paying for. This bill would provide Canadians with more accurate and transparent information so they will have a better understanding of the Internet quality they will receive.
    I sincerely look forward to working with all members of this House to advance this non-partisan legislation.

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

Criminal Code

     He said: Madam Speaker, Canada has a money-laundering problem. Experts say it is a $100-billion-a-year industry. This money is fuelling crime across this country and contributing to the increasing cost of real estate by increasing the demand for houses across Canada. International criminals have flocked to Canada because of our weak laws. The Cullen commission report, released just yesterday, is an indictment of Canada’s anti-money laundering regime.
    This bill proposes to amend the Criminal Code to give authorities more tools to catch and convict criminals and deter money-laundering activity. This legislation has support from third parties, including Transparency International Canada, Publish What You Pay and the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, and it also addresses a problem identified by the C.D. Howe Institute in a recent memo.
    We need to make life more difficult for money launderers and change Canada’s reputation. I am open to amendments and look forward to working with members of all parties and the Senate to pass this bill and other legislation to fight money laundering.

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



Public Sector Integrity Act

    He said: Madam Speaker, today it is with great pride that I introduce the public sector integrity act, which puts some teeth into the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act.
    Public servants who witness wrongdoing must be able to speak out without fear, in the knowledge that their anonymity will be protected and that they will not be thrown under the bus. They need to know that they deserve thanks, not reprisal. They need to know that there will be an independent investigation into the wrongdoing reported, not just an internal review by people who may have an interest in covering it up.
    The Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates identified these issues five years ago, but the government has never addressed them. Last year, the International Bar Association found that Canada provides very little protection to its whistle-blowers. Canada ranks dead last in this regard, behind countries like the Cayman Islands, Bangladesh, Rwanda, and Pakistan. That is the situation in the best country in the world.
    This is what my bill addresses. It protects more people, including former public servants and contractors, and covers more cases, including political interference in the work of government professionals. It can trigger a real investigation by the Auditor General or law enforcement, because wrongdoing must be exposed, not covered up.
    Public servants who expose fraud, mismanagement and undue political interference are heroes. Let us protect them.

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


Privacy Commissioner

Hon. Mélanie Joly (for the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons)  
    That, in accordance with subsection 53(1) of the Privacy Act, R.S.C., 1985, c. P-21, and pursuant to Standing Order 111.1(2), the House approve the appointment of Philippe Dufresne as Privacy Commissioner, for a term of seven years.


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


    Madam Speaker, I request a recorded division.
    Madam Speaker, I ask that the vote be deferred to immediately after the time provided for Oral Questions today, in accordance with Standing Order 45(7).
    Some hon. members: Agreed.




    Madam Speaker, single seniors are getting left behind in our current income tax system. I am honoured to present a petition on behalf of Single Seniors for Tax Fairness, and supported by many Canadians, who raise the glaring point that single seniors do not have the same benefits as senior couples. For instance, single seniors often forfeit the age amount tax credit, and many of their savings are declared as income upon death.
    Petitioners are calling on the Government of Canada to level the playing field by implementing solutions such as offering a 30% reduction in income tax to single seniors.

Indigenous Affairs  

    Madam Speaker, I have a second petition to present.
    The Kawenní:io/Gawęní:yo immersion school plays a vital role in keeping the Haudenosaunee culture and languages alive at Six Nations of the Grand River, situated in my riding. This school does not have its own building and has had to move five times since 1985. It needs a permanent home. Unfortunately, the current situation makes it challenging to accommodate the demand, due to space limitations and health and safety regulations.
    Being a strong advocate for this important cause, I am proud to present a petition that was originally signed by more than 1,500 residents, who call on the government to fund this shovel-ready project.


Climate Emergency  

    Madam Speaker, I am honoured to rise today to present a petition on the climate emergency.
    It states:
    The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C clearly communicates that the future of humanity is at risk without “rapid and far-reaching” changes...


    We are almost exactly three years from the point when this place passed the motion, on June 18, 2019, that we were in a climate emergency.
    The petitioners point out that any actions to suggest we understand this is an emergency cannot be detected from the current government response. In fact, the petitioners point out, Canada is on course to significantly overshoot the targets and to miss any chance of holding to 1.5°C. They call on all of us in Parliament and the Government of Canada to prioritize the elimination of fossil fuel emissions and to preserve a healthy environment. They call on us to eliminate single-use plastics and to commit to a rapid elimination of fossil fuels from our economy.

Electoral Reform  

    Madam Speaker, the second petition deals with the subject of our electoral system.


    Canada's electoral system has been unfair and difficult from its very inception. It is a first-past-the-post system. Under this system, our democracy is under threat.


    The petitioners ask us to consider immediately putting in place a proportional representation system so Canadians will have a reason to know they can vote because every vote will count.

Copyright Law  

    Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today to present a petition signed by a number of constituents in my riding of Perth—Wellington, namely from the city of Stratford, on the important issue of the right to repair.


    Madam Speaker, I am presenting a petition today on behalf of several thousand Canadians who add their voices to the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who have already expressed themselves through various means asking us to take into consideration here in Parliament that there are millions of Canadians who have no access to affordable medication and hundreds of Canadians die each year because they do not have the wherewithal to pay for that medication.
    As we know, these petitioners are also saying that a universal public pharmacare system would make a tremendous difference in providing medication, which is prescribed by their doctors, to Canadians right across the country. At the same time, it would save money compared to the existing system, which is full of holes and leaves millions of Canadians out. These petitioners are calling on the Government of Canada to support the Canada pharmacare act, legislation that would create a universal, comprehensive and public pharmacare program for all Canadians, and to follow the recommendations set out by the Hoskins advisory council.
    As we know, last year, Canada pharmacare was defeated in the House, but I am pleased to say that, with the confidence and supply agreement, the government is now obliged to present a new Canada pharmacare act next year. We believe, and these petitioners believe, that this is in the best interest of all Canadians.


Climate Change  

    Madam Speaker, I am rising today to present a petition on behalf of my constituents in Dartmouth—Cole Harbour. They are calling on the government to enact just transition legislation that would continue to reduce emissions while creating more green jobs and strengthening workers' rights.
    I want to take a moment, publicly, to thank my constituents for their advocacy.

Charitable Organizations  

    Madam Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition on behalf of Canadians who are concerned about the government's use of values tests on programs and the potential that the charitable status of hospitals, houses of worship, schools, homeless shelters and other charitable organizations may be jeopardized for reasons of conscience.
    They are calling upon the House of Commons to protect and preserve the application of charitable status rules on a politically and ideologically neutral basis, without discrimination on the basis of political or religious values and without the imposition of another values test. They are calling on the House of Commons to affirm the rights of all Canadians to freedom of expression.

Human Rights  

    Madam Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to table some petitions.
    The first petition I want to table is on a very serious human rights issue. It is on the situation in Pakistan, particularly Pakistan's blasphemy law. The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom notes that the blasphemy law has “contributed to egregious human rights abuses and fostered an overall atmosphere of intolerance for religious minorities that often leads to violence and discrimination.”
    Petitioners particularly highlight the case of Notan Lal, the owner and principal of a private school in Ghotki, Pakistan, who was detained and charged under the blasphemy law after a student made a false accusation. Petitioners note that a very high percentage of accusations of blasphemy target minorities, such as Ahmadiyya Muslims, Hindus and Christians, and that the arrest of Notan Lal was followed by riots and a violent attack on the school, as well as on a local Hindu temple.
    Petitioners also note the abduction and forced marriage of women and girls from minority communities, in particular Hindu girls from the Sindh region of Pakistan, as being an element of the human rights abuses that we are seeing.
    Petitioners therefore call upon the government of Pakistan to combat the abduction and forced marriage of women and girls from minority communities, to condemn the imprisonment of Notan Lal and to condemn Pakistan's blasphemy law.

Charitable Organizations  

    Madam Speaker, the second petition is about a 2021 commitment in the Liberal election platform to politicize charitable status determinations and to strip charitable status from organizations that take positions on abortion that the Liberals do not agree with. This is similar to the values test the Liberals previously imposed on the Canada summer jobs program, which would deny funding to worthy organizations that would not check a box with respect to agreeing with the government's position on that issue.
    Petitioners also note that all Canadians have a right under the charter to freedom of expression without discrimination. They therefore call on the House of Commons to protect and preserve the application of charitable status rules on a politically and ideologically neutral basis without discrimination on the basis of political and religious values or the imposition of a values test and to affirm Canadians' rights to freedom of expression.

The Environment  

    Madam Speaker, the next petition that I am tabling speaks to the carbon tax, particularly the cost that the carbon tax imposes on farmers and ranchers. This is particularly evident in light of increasing fuel prices. The cost is impinging very significantly on farmers.
    There are a number of asks that are highlighted in this petition, such as immediately exempting all direct and indirect input costs incurred by farmers as a result of the carbon tax and also immediately cancelling the implementation of the clean fuel standard, which will have a devastating impact on the Canadian economy, including the agricultural sector.


    Madam Speaker, the next petition is returning to the subject of international human rights. This petition is about the situation in Afghanistan. This petition came in prior to the Taliban takeover, at a time when there were significant concerns about human rights challenges facing the Hazara community in Afghanistan, and sadly, the situation has gotten so much worse following the Taliban takeover.
    Petitioners note the significant Canadian contribution to Afghanistan in development assistance, as well as men and women in uniform who paid the ultimate price. Therefore, petitioners want to see the government do more to support the Hazara minority, including formally recognize past genocides and designate September 25 as Hazara genocide memorial day.


    Madam Speaker, the next petition that I am tabling highlights ongoing concerns about human rights abuses taking place in Ethiopia. Some of the particular asks are dated, but there continue to be concerns about humanitarian conditions, as well as political violence, in the Tigray region of Ethiopia.
    Petitioners want to see the government increase its engagement with the country of Ethiopia to support an end to any violence, support justice and human rights there, and support our consistent engagement within Ethiopia to combat violence. They also want the government to be noting the role of the Eritrean government and engage there as well to promote the advancement of human rights.


Human Organ Trafficking  

    Madam Speaker, the next petition I am tabling is in support of a private member's bill on organ harvesting and trafficking. It is a bill that has passed in the Senate and is currently before the foreign affairs committee. The bill would make it a criminal offence for a person to go abroad and receive an organ taken without the consent of the person who the organ is coming from. The petitioners want to see the bill passed. They note that a form of this bill has passed in the Senate unanimously three times and has passed in the House unanimously in the same form before. They hope this will be the Parliament that finally gets it done.
    In closing, the petitioners also note that the bill amends the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to create a mechanism whereby people could be deemed inadmissible to Canada if they were involved in the heinous practice of forced organ harvesting and trafficking. I commend that to the consideration of colleagues.


Human Rights 

    Madam Speaker, the next petition I am tabling highlights the human rights abuses targeting Uighurs and calls for a stronger response from Parliament and government. The petitioners note a past Associated Press article reporting information on forced sterilization and abortion, coordinated campaigns of birth suppression, and mounting evidence that Uighurs are being subjected to political and anti-religious indoctrination, arbitrary detention, separation of children from families, invasive surveillance, destruction of cultural sites, forced labour and even forced organ harvesting.
    It is estimated that up to three million Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in China have been detained in what are clearly concentration camps. This evidence is in alignment with the criteria in the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide for the international definition of “genocide”.
    The petitioners want to see Canada step up on this and formally recognize that Uighurs in China have been and are being subjected to genocide and to use the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act, the Magnitsky act, to sanction those who are responsible for the heinous crimes being committed against the Uighur people.
    Madam Speaker, by popular demand, the final petition I am tabling today is on the particular situation of a Canadian of Uighur origin, Huseyin Celil, who continues to be unjustly detained in China. The petitioners note that Canadians were very pleased to see the release of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor after 1,000 days of unjust detention, but note that there are at least 115 Canadians still being detained in China, including Huseyin Celil, who has been detained for over 5,000 days.
    Mr. Celil is a Canadian Uighur human rights activist. He is being detained in China for supporting the political and religious rights of Uighurs. He is a Canadian citizen who was taken and sent to China while travelling on a Canadian passport to Uzbekistan. The Chinese government has refused to accept Mr. Celil's Canadian citizenship, and he has been denied access to lawyers, family and Canadian officials. He was coerced into signing a confession and underwent an unlawful and unfair trial.
    The evidence makes it clear that the Chinese government's treatment of Uighurs meets most if not all of the criteria for genocide outlined in the UN convention and Canada must not remain silent. The particular ask of the petitioners in this case are that the Government of Canada demand that the Chinese government recognize Huseyin Celil's Canadian citizenship and provide him with consular and legal services in accordance with international law, formerly state that the release of Mr. Celil from Chinese detainment and his return to Canada is a priority of the Canadian government, of equal concern as the unjust detention of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, and appoint a special envoy to work on securing Mr. Celil's release.
    Finally, the petitioners want to us to seek the assistance of the—
    Questions on the Order Paper.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader.

Questions on the Order Paper

     Some hon. members: Agreed.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]


Judges Act

Hon. Joyce Murray (for the Minister of Justice)  
     moved that Bill C-9, An Act to amend the Judges Act, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise to Bill C-9, an act to amend the Judges Act. I want to acknowledge that I am speaking today on the traditional unceded lands of the Algonquin people.
    As lawmakers, it is our cherished responsibility to see to the good stewardship of our justice system. It is also our responsibility to ensure that traditional independence, a principle that lies at the heart of that system, is safeguarded and preserved. These responsibilities go hand in hand. An independent court system, in which every Canadian has confidence that their rights will be protected and that the laws of our country will be enforced with honour and integrity, is the lifeblood of our constitutional democracy. Public confidence in the courts is essential to public confidence in the rule of law, and public confidence depends not only on the status and strength of our courts as institutions but on the integrity of the judges who occupy them.
    I rise today to address a matter that engages this responsibility directly: the reform of Canada's system for investigating allegations of misconduct against federally appointed judges. It is tempting to take these observations for granted, but the reality is that they are the product of sustained vigilance and effort. Our institutions are strong because we take care to respect and nourish them. Our judiciary is strong because its members strive continuously to better serve Canadians and hold themselves to the most stringent standards of integrity, impartiality and professionalism.
    Canada's superior court judiciary, which includes the judges of the Federal Court and Supreme Court of Canada as well the judges of all provincial and territorial superior courts, enjoys an unparalleled reputation for excellence. Allegations of misconduct against members of the federal judiciary are rare, and allegations so serious that removal from judicial office may be warranted are rarer still. Nevertheless, an effective process for reviewing those few allegations that arise constitutes an integral part of our justice system and helps to secure a cornerstone of the rule of law, which is public confidence in the integrity of justice.
    According to our constitutional separation of powers, the judiciary itself must play a leading role in safeguarding the integrity of its members. Since 1971, the Judges Act has empowered its members, the chief justices and associate chief justices of Canada's superior courts, acting through the Canadian Judicial Council, or CJC, to receive and investigate complaints regarding the conduct of superior court judges and to report their findings and recommendations to the Minister of Justice. Only then does it fall to the minister to decide whether to seek removal of a judge. It is a decision that requires ratification by Parliament and an address to the Governor General under section 99(1) of the Constitution Act, 1867.
    This power is tempered by the constitutional principle of judicial independence, and the security of tenure it affords to every superior court judge in the absence of their proven incapacity or misconduct.
     Recently, the gap between these broader changes and the conduct process prescribed under the Judges Act has grown acute, bringing into jeopardy the public confidence that this process is meant to secure. Allowing the judiciary to regulate the conduct of their own members in this manner is entirely appropriate. It rightly safeguards the courts against interference by the political branches, ensuring that judges can protect the Constitution and the rights of Canadians without fear of reprisal.
    While Canadians can thus have confidence in judicial leadership and control over investigations into judicial conduct, the legislative framework that enables this leadership has remained unchanged since 1971. This is despite vast changes to the legal and social landscapes in which the framework must operate.
    The most serious judicial conduct cases, and those that attract the greatest public attention through the inquiry committee process, are notoriously long and costly, and are beset with parallel court challenges that take years to resolve. One of these is the length and cost of judicial conduct proceedings. As federal administrative tribunals, inquiry committees constituted by the CJC are reviewable first in the Federal Court, then by the Federal Court of Appeal and then possibly the Supreme Court of Canada.


    This gives a judge who is subject to the process an opportunity to initiate as many as three stages of judicial review. This was seen recently in the case of former Justice Girouard.
    Because the Judges Act lacks alternatives to full-scale divisional inquiries, all cases that raise valid concerns regardless of their gravity are forced into a procedurally complex, public and adversarial inquiry mechanism. At the conclusion of that mechanism, rather than allowing an inquiry committee to report directly to the minister, the Judges Act requires that a report and recommendation be submitted by the CJC as a whole.
    The fact that judicial independence warrants the provision of publicly funded counsel to a judge has meant that in some cases, lawyers have collected millions of dollars in fees for launching exhaustive legal challenges that are ultimately proven to be without merit. The public is rightly outraged by this lack of efficiency and accountability in a process carried out in its name. The situation demands correction.
    In other words, a body of at least 17 chief justices and associate chief justices from across Canada who have not had any direct involvement in the scrutiny of a given case must review the work of an inquiry committee and decide whether or not to recommend a judge's removal to the minister. This process is burdensome, inefficient and costly. Rather than having confidence that concerns about judicial conduct will receive a fair and effective resolution, Canadians see this process as duplicating features of procedural complexity and the adversarial model that can be so alienating in the justice system at large.
    Another shortcoming of the current process is that the Judges Act empowers the CJC only to recommend for or against the removal of a judge. There are no lesser sanctions available. As a result, instances of misconduct may fail to be sanctioned because they do not warrant removal. There is also a risk that judges may be exposed to full-scale inquiry proceedings and to the stigma of having their removal publicly considered for conduct that is more sensibly addressed by alternative procedures and lesser sanctions.
    The bill before us would thus comprehensively reform and modernize the judicial conduct process while honouring a fundamental commitment to fairness, independence and procedural rigour. Allow me to offer a brief summary emphasizing the objectives that the bill is intended to achieve.
    First and foremost, the bill would streamline the judicial conduct process. It would replace the current availability of judicial review with an efficient internal appeal mechanism for judges whose conduct has been found lacking by a hearing or a review panel. In other words, rather than allowing judges to step outside the process and launch multiple court challenges that can interrupt and delay proceedings for years, the reformed process would include its own internal system of review to ensure the fairness and integrity of any findings made against a judge.
    At the conclusion of the hearings process and before the report on removal is issued to the minister, both the judge whose conduct is being examined and the lawyer responsible for presenting the case against them would be entitled to appeal the outcome to an appeal panel. Rather than making CJC hearings subject to external review by multiple levels of court with the resulting costs and delays, the new process would include a fair, efficient and coherent appeal mechanism internal to the process itself.
    A five-judge appeal panel would hold public hearings akin to those of an appellate court and have all the powers it needs to effectively address any shortcomings in the hearing panel's process. Once it has reached a decision, the only remaining recourse available to the judge and to presenting counsel would be to seek leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. Entrusting process oversight to the Supreme Court would reinforce public confidence and avoid lengthy judicial review proceedings through several levels of court.
    These steps on appeal would be governed by strict deadlines, and any outcomes reached would form part of the report and the recommendations ultimately made to the Minister of Justice. In addition to giving confidence in the integrity of judicial conduct proceedings, these reforms are expected to reduce the length of proceedings by a matter of years.
    This would avoid situations we have seen in the past where repeated appeals to the Federal Court have drawn the process out to obscene lengths.


    The new process would also provide opportunities for early resolution of conduct complaints, avoiding the need in many instances to resort to adversarial public hearings. Rather than treating all cases as though they might warrant judicial removal, the CJC would be empowered to impose alternate remedies that were proportionate to the conduct at issue and better tailored to the public interest. The public at large would be better represented in these proceedings with the bill codifying a place for public representatives in the review of complaint processes.


    For example, it may require a judge to take a continuing education course or apologize for the harm caused by their misconduct.
    As far as conduct that warrants judicial removal is concerned, the bill requires that robust public hearings be held. The bill includes a role that will allow the presenting counsel to act as a public prosecutor in presenting a case against a judge. What is more, the judge will have ample opportunity to provide responses and present a defence with the assistance of their own lawyer.
    If the hearing panel recommends the judge's removal, those recommendations will be sent to the Minister of Justice subject only to the disposition of the appeal. It will not be necessary for the entire Canadian Judicial Council to take part in the process.


    These steps alone would render the judicial conduct process more flexible, timely and efficient without compromising fairness or investigative rigour. In doing so, it would also render the process less costly, more accessible and more accountable to Canadians.
    Beyond mere process reforms, the bill would introduce a stable funding mechanism to support the CJC's role in investigating judicial conduct and one appropriate to the constitutionally imperative nature of this duty. It would also add safeguards requiring that the responsible officials establish guidelines consistent with government-wide standards for the administration of public funds, that the administration of those funds be subject to regular audits, and that the results of those audits be made available in public reports. This combination of financial accountability and transparency is critical in ensuring public confidence in the judicial conduct process, and it is overdue.
    The provisions established in the appropriation clearly limit the categories of expenses it captures to those required to hold public hearings. Moreover, these would be subject to regulations made by the Governor in Council. Planned regulations include limiting how much lawyers involved in the process can bill, and limiting judges who are subject to proceedings to one principal lawyer. The bill also would require that the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs make guidelines affixing or providing for the determination of any fees, allowances and expenses that may be reimbursed and that are not specifically addressed by the regulations. These guidelines must be consistent with any Treasury Board directives pertaining to similar costs, and any difference must be publicly justified.
    Finally, the bill would require that a mandatory independent review be completed every five years into all costs paid through the statutory appropriation. The independent reviewer would report to the Minister of Justice, the Commissioner and the chair of the CJC. The report would assess the efficacy of all applicable policies establishing financial controls and would be made public. Taken together, these measures would bring a new level of fiscal accountability to judicial conduct costs, while replacing the cumbersome and ad hoc funding approach currently in place.
    All of these reforms were informed by an extensive process of public consultation. In addition to hearing from Canadians, academic experts and members of the legal profession, the government has had a sustained engagement with two judicial organizations in particular: the CJC and the Canadian Superior Courts Judges Association.


    The government is deeply grateful for the commitment of these organizations to supporting reform and sharing their perspectives and expertise in a spirit of respectful collaboration with officials from the Department of Justice Canada. I know that passage of these reforms is of the highest priority to judicial leaders, and the government is committed to answering their rightful requests for legislation that would support them in fulfilling their critical role.
    I will conclude simply by recommending to my colleagues that we seize the opportunity to renew an institution that is vital to the trust that Canadians place in their justice system. I am convinced that Canada has the strongest justice system in the world, in no small part because we have the most exceptional and committed judiciary in the world. That reality is not inevitable, but it is the result of our sustained commitment and effort to keeping our institutions healthy and keeping our judiciary independent and strong.
    Let us renew these commitments again with the passage of this legislation. I look forward to our deliberation and debate.
    Madam Speaker, I listened intently to the parliamentary secretary's speech, but I am concerned with the timing. This bill has sat dormant for so long and is now being brought forward just before we go into summer. It brings me to another issue. We cannot talk about the judicial process or the justice system without speaking about victims and the unique place they have. They are often overlooked, I am afraid.
    I would like the parliamentary secretary to comment on the fact that the position of victims ombudsman has remained vacant for far too long. It was supposed to be filled back in October. I wonder if he could comment on the process for that and why it has not been filled to date.
    Madam Speaker, I appreciate my colleague. I work with him at the justice committee and always appreciate his interventions, but I am a little perplexed as to why we are not talking about the bill itself and are speaking about issues that are ancillary to the bill.
    With respect to the bill itself, there is a process allowing different parties to be involved in the process. Ours is an outdated way of reviewing judges' conduct. It is 51 years old, to be exact. We look forward to a proper debate on this. We introduced this bill back in December of last year, and obviously our legislative calendar has been extensive. It has included the passage of Bill C-5, which we were able to get through yesterday. We are very much committed to moving this bill forward.


    Madam Speaker, everyone has heard about the case of Justice Girouard, who committed wrongdoing two weeks before his appointment in 2010. After all the appeals, his sanctions process took 10 years. I am wondering if the timeline could be tightened up drastically through the changes proposed by the Bill C-9. That would improve public confidence in the justice system.
    I would also like to know whether my hon. colleague believes that the federal government will be able to make significant savings in this process, which is often too long and complex and, at times, undermines the confidence of Quebeckers and Canadians in the justice system.


    Madam Speaker, I fully agree with my colleague. We have heard from the Canadian Judicial Council about the delays, and we have heard the frustration from the public about the delays. One of the things this bill tries to do is streamline the process, make it more efficient and make it more cost-effective to ensure justice is served in a timely manner.
    We have an incredible justice system and incredible judiciary, but for the odd time when there is a lapse, it is important to have continued public confidence in our system. We are grateful for the support of my friend opposite.


    Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. parliamentary secretary for setting out so clearly the legislation before us. It has obviously been delayed, and we obviously need to update the Canadian Judicial Council. I hope he will not mind if I stray from what the bill would do and ask if the government would be prepared to expand it to what judges do after they retire.
    I am personally very concerned that Supreme Court of Canada judges, upon retirement, are available for hire to private sector lobby interests, and that the advice they provide is bought and paid for. I think of those who have worked for SNC-Lavalin, as an example. They really should be precluded from taking private sector work after leaving the bench.
    I wonder if the hon. parliamentary secretary has heard of any current discussions of whether that might be a good idea.
    Madam Speaker, I look forward to speaking to my colleague about this issue further. However, what she has cited is not the subject of this particular bill. This bill is focused on the reform of the complaints process to make sure that it is fair, it is efficient, it is expedient and it is cost-effective. Of course, for any other issues relating to judges, I look forward to talking to any member about their concerns, and I will take them back to the minister.
    Madam Speaker, I thank the parliamentary secretary for once again laying out what the bill intends to do.
    I found it quite interesting that the first question he got from the Conservatives was about timing and why it is taking so long, as though the Conservatives have not been here to witness the antics they have been up to for the last five or six months. Our fall economic statement did not get voted on until late spring because of Conservative shenanigans. I am pretty certain that even if the Conservatives completely agreed with every part of this bill, they would still not let is pass through the House for no reason other than just to be obstructive.
    The member is the parliamentary secretary for a ministry that has introduced a lot of legislation in the last few months. I wonder if he can comment a bit on the frustration that he sees with respect to moving legislation through the House.
    Madam Speaker, I ran on a platform of hope and hard work, and we have been working very hard with a great deal of optimism to bring forward legislation.
     While I concur with my friend on the many obstructionist tactics of the opposition, I do want to say that there were moments when we came together. The motion on amendments to the Saskatchewan Act is an example of that, and I congratulate my friend opposite.
    I believe this is a bill that we can all come together on and get passed right away.
    Madam Speaker, I notice that the two Liberals who have gotten up in the House to speak about the bill and ask questions have resiled from a discussion about victims. My colleague for Fundy Royal specifically asked a question on how victims are implicated by the bill and how they would benefit from an improved complaints process. However, all they did, both the parliamentary secretary and my colleague from Kingston and the Islands, was deflect. They do not want to talk about victims; they want to talk about something else.
    Could the hon. member please explain to the House how victims will benefit from this legislation? At the end of the day, we are talking about judges, the ones who render judgment in many criminal cases across this country, and it is the victims of crime who are often left hanging and fall through the cracks.
    Madam Speaker, I appreciate my friend's question, and I want to remind him that the Conservative Party does not have exclusivity on protecting victims. I think all of us in the House absolutely have a responsibility there, and we are very much committed to ensuring that the voices of those who are particularly impacted are heard.
    Bill C-9 would allow for complaints to come forward, including from victims and other actors within the overall justice system. The bill would make it easier for these complaints to go through the process so they will not have to wait seven, eight or 10 years. They would be dealt with expeditiously. The levels of appeal that are available currently would be curtailed so that the process is more efficient.
     I fundamentally believe that this would enhance the confidence that Canadians have, including victims, in coming forward with complaints. What we want to do is establish the space for people to come forward and have confidence that they can complain and still get a fair hearing in a timely manner.


    Madam Speaker, on the question of timing, I have to note that one thing that helps governments accomplish their legislative priorities is time. In the last Parliament, the Prime Minister chose to call an election needlessly when all the opposition parties pledged not to cause an election. I wonder how these priorities factor into the decision-making of the government, and how the Liberals can call it a priority when they showed that they were so clearly willing to put what they thought were their partisan interests ahead of the priorities in the bill.
    Madam Speaker, the Minister of Justice has brought forward a number of pieces of legislation, including Bill C-5, which passed yesterday. A motion on the Saskatchewan Act was passed several months ago. We have Bill C-9 too, which is currently in the works.
    We will continue to bring forward all of our priorities. We believe this bill is a priority and we want to get it passed.
    Madam Speaker, as we approach the final sitting days of the House before it rises, this is likely my last opportunity to speak before we all return to our ridings for the summer months. In light of this, I would like to start off my remarks today by acknowledging the great people of my riding of Fundy Royal, whom I am honoured to represent here in this 44th Parliament.
    On the topic at hand, we are here today to discuss Bill C-9, an act to amend the Judges Act. I will begin by going over a bit of a summary of the bill.
    The legislation would amend the Judges Act to replace the process through which the conduct of federally appointed judges is reviewed by the Canadian Judicial Council. It would establish a new process for reviewing allegations of misconduct that are not serious enough to warrant a judge’s removal from office and would make changes to the process by which recommendations regarding removal from office can be made to the Minister of Justice. As with the provisions it replaces, this new process would also apply to persons, other than judges, who are appointed under an act of Parliament to hold office during good behaviour.
    In short, the objective of the legislation is to update the Judges Act to strengthen the judicial complaints process. The existing process was established in 1971, so it is due for a refresh. We can all agree that strengthening and increasing confidence in the judicial system, and taking action to better respond to complaints that it may receive from Canadians, are good things. Canadians are really depending on this Parliament to strengthen our judicial system.
    As it stands, the judicial system in Canada has been weakened by COVID delays and a lack of resources for victims in particular, like, as I have mentioned, the vacant victims ombudsman position. There really is no excuse today for that when we see so many stories ripped from the headlines that impact Canadian victims. We also see legislation like the bill the parliamentary secretary just mentioned, Bill C-5. The victims we have talked to, whom we have seen and heard from at committee, are concerned about that bill and its predecessor bill, Bill C-22. The victims ombudsman had a lot to say about it.
    I would love the benefit of hearing from a victims ombudsman, except we do not have one. We were supposed to have that position filled back in October, so for many, many months it has been vacant. That is completely unacceptable, not only for victims and their families but also for all Canadians. I should note that when the position of the federal ombudsman for federal offenders in our federal prison system became vacant, it was filled the next day. We can see where the government's priorities are.
    Bill C-9 was originally introduced in the Senate as Bill S-5 on May 25, 2021. The previous version of the bill did not complete second reading. We heard commentary across the way about delays, with some asking why we are talking about delays. Why was that bill not passed? Well, the Prime Minister called his snap pandemic election in August 2021. That is what happened with that version of the bill.
    The bill was reintroduced in the Senate last year as Bill S-3, but the government had an apparent change of heart, dropping Bill S-3 from the Senate Order Paper in December of 2021 and introducing that bill in the House of Commons as Bill C-9. That is where it has languished for months until today, just days before we go into our summer recess.
    The bill would modify the existing judicial review process by establishing a process for complaints serious enough to warrant removal from office, and another process for offences that would warrant sanctions other than removal, such as counselling, continuing education and reprimands. Currently, if misconduct is less serious, a single member of the Canadian Judicial Council who conducts the initial review may negotiate with a judge for an appropriate remedy.
    It may be helpful at this point to provide a bit of background on the Canadian Judicial Council, what it does and who its members are.
    Established by Parliament in 1971, the Canadian Judicial Council is mandated to “promote the efficiency, uniformity, and to improve the quality of judicial services in all superior courts in Canada.” Through this mandate, the Canadian Judicial Council presides over the judicial complaints process.


    The Canadian Judicial Council is made up of 41 members and is led by the current Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, the Right Hon. Richard Wagner, who is chairperson of the council. The membership is made up of chief justices and associate chief justices of the Canadian provincial and federal superior courts. The goal of the members is to improve consistency in the administration of justice before the courts and the quality of services in Canada's superior courts.
    Returning back to the bill itself, the reasons a judge could be removed from office are laid out. These include infirmity, misconduct, failure in the due execution of judicial office and “the judge [being] in a position that a reasonable, fair-minded and informed observer would consider to be incompatible with the due execution of judicial office.” A screening officer can dismiss complaints should they seem frivolous or improper, rather than referring to them to the review panel. A complaint that alleges sexual harassment or discrimination may not be dismissed. The full screening criteria will be published by the Canadian Judicial Council.
    The minister or Attorney General may themselves request the Canadian Judicial Council establish a full hearing panel to determine whether the removal from the office of a superior court judge is justified. The Canadian Judicial Council is to submit a report within three months after the end of each calendar year with respect to the number of complaints received and the actions taken. The intention of this bill, as stated by the government, is to streamline the process for more serious complaints for which removal from the bench could be an outcome.
    As I mentioned earlier, these amendments would also address the current shortcomings of the process by imposing mandatory sanctions on a judge when a complaint of misconduct is found to be justified but not to be serious enough to warrant removal from office. Again, such sanctions could include counselling, continuing education and reprimands. In the name of transparency, this legislation would require that the Canadian Judicial Council include the number of complaints received and how they were resolved in its annual public report.
    To clarify, the Canadian Judicial Council’s process applies only to federally appointed judges, which are the judges of the Supreme Court of Canada and the federal courts, the provincial and territorial superior trial courts and the provincial and territorial courts of appeal. The provinces and territories are responsible for reviewing the conduct of the judges at the provincial-territorial trial court level, who are also provincially appointed.
    Since its inception in 1971, the Canadian Judicial Council has completed inquiries into eight complaints considered serious enough that they could warrant a judge's removal from the bench. Four of them, in fact, did result in recommendations for removal. A ninth inquiry is under way, but has faced delays due to public health restrictions imposed by the Province of Quebec, such as curfew and indoor capacity limits.
    Under the proposed new process laid out in Bill C-9, the Canadian Judicial Council would continue to preside over the judicial complaints process, which would start with a three-person review panel deciding to either investigate a complaint of misconduct or, if the complaint is serious enough that it might warrant removal from the bench, refer it to a separate five-person hearing panel. If appropriate, a three-person review panel made up of a Canadian Judicial Council member, a judge and a layperson could impose such sanctions as public apologies or courses of continuing education. If warranted, a five-person hearing panel made up of two Canadian Judicial Council members, a judge, a lawyer and a layperson could, after holding a public hearing, recommend removal from the bench to the Minister of Justice.
    Judges who face removal from the bench would have access to an appeal panel made up of three Canadian Judicial Council members and two judges and finally to the Supreme Court of Canada, should the court agree to hear the appeal.
    I know that sounded very convoluted and lengthy, but believe it or not, this would actually streamline the current process for court review of council decisions, which currently involves judicial review by two additional levels of court, those being the Federal Court and the Federal Court of Appeal, before a judge can ask the Supreme Court to hear the case.
    The amendments would provide for a funding mechanism for the new process. The financial impact of the review process has been raised by a number of stakeholders. I want to encourage the Liberal government to take its fiscal responsibility to taxpayers into consideration with all government policies, but this bill is as good a start as any.


     I would like to take a moment to point out that we have the former leader of the Conservative Party to thank for paving the way to having this bill before the House of Commons today. The Hon. Rona Ambrose introduced her private member's bill, Bill C-337, in 2017. This legislation would require the Canadian judiciary to produce a report every year that detailed how many judges had completed training in sexual assault law and how many cases were heard by judges who had not been trained, as well as a description of the courses that were taken. It would also require any lawyer applying for a position in the judiciary to have first completed sexual assault case training and education. Last, it would result in a greater number of written decisions from judges presiding over sexual assault trials, thus providing improved transparency for Canadians seeking justice.
    The original premise of Bill C-337 was in response to a complaint about the behaviour a federal judge who was presiding over a case of sexual assault in 2014. The Canadian Judicial Council of which we speak today launched an investigation into the behaviour of that judge. Ultimately, in March 2017, the Canadian Judicial Council sent a letter to the federal Minister of Justice recommending that this judge be removed from the bench, and the minister accepted the recommendation.
    The bill before us today works to expedite and facilitate the complaints process so that extreme cases like the one I just referenced can be fully and properly reviewed without causing too much disruption in terms of time, costs and delays in processing smaller but still important complaints.
    Earlier this year, the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights received correspondence from the Canadian Bar Association stating its support for the legislation as written in Bill C-9. In part, its letter reads as follows:
    The CBA commented on the state of the judicial discipline process in its 2014 submission to the Canadian Judicial Council (CJC). On the subject of judicial discipline proceedings, our 16 recommendations were to ensure that the objectives of balancing the independence of the judiciary and the public’s confidence in the administration of justice were respected in the process. The CJC and Justice Canada responded with its own reports, which culminated in the present amendments to the Judges Act proposed by the Minister of Justice.
     The letter from the Canadian Bar Association goes on to say:
    In the view of the CBA Subcommittee, Bill C-9 strikes a fair balance between the right to procedural fairness and public confidence in the integrity of the justice system with the discipline of judges who form the core of that system. The proposed amendments enhance the accountability of judges, builds transparency, and creates cost-efficiencies in the process for handling complaints against members of the Bench.
    I would like to pause here briefly just to say that at a moment like this, looking at a bill like this, it seems to me that it would be a very good time to have a federal ombudsman for victims of crime to hear the perspective on how the judicial complaints process is or is not currently working and how this bill would or would not be able to meet those challenges or rectify those concerns.
    In testimony given to the justice committee on June 3, 2021, the federal ombudsman for victims of crime at that time raised what she described as a “most critical” issue, which was the legal recourse or remedy that victims have if their rights are violated.
    She stated:
    Currently, victims do not have a way to enforce the rights given to them in law; they only have a right to make a complaint to various agencies. This means that victims have to rely on the goodwill of criminal justice officials and corrections officials to give effect to or implement their statutory rights under the bill. This means victims count on police, Crown prosecutors, courts, review boards, corrections officials and parole boards to deliver, uphold and respect their rights.
    But my office continues to receive complaints from victims that are common across all jurisdictions in Canada. Victims report to us that they are not consistently provided information about their rights or how to exercise them, they feel overlooked in all of the processes, and they have no recourse when officials don't respect their rights.
    While the bill we are discussing today is, as I said earlier, a step in the right direction, there is certainly more work that needs to be done to make sure our justice system in Canada works for everyone who comes into contact with it, and I will add especially victims. One way this can be achieved is by immediately filling the position of federal ombudsman for victims of crime, which has now been vacant for nine months. There is absolutely no excuse for this position to have remained vacant for nine months when other positions are filled immediately, including, as I mentioned earlier, the position of ombudsman for those who are in our federal prisons.


    By contrast, as I was mentioning, when the offenders ombudsman position became vacant, the Liberal government filled it the very next day, as it should have been. It should be filled right away, but so should the position of the ombudsman for victims of crime.
    In 2021, the Canadian Judicial Council published “Ethical Principles for Judges”. I would like to reference excerpts from this publication to add some context into the role and duty of the judiciary.
    They read as follows:
    An independent and impartial judiciary is the right of all and constitutes a fundamental pillar of democratic governance, the rule of law and justice in Canada....
    Today, judges’ work includes case management, settlement conferences, judicial mediation, and frequent interaction with self-represented litigants. These responsibilities invite further consideration with respect to ethical guidance. In the same manner, the digital age, the phenomenon of social media, the importance of professional development for judges and the transition to post-judicial roles all raise ethical issues that were not fully considered twenty years ago. Judges are expected to be alert to the history, experience and circumstances of Canada’s Indigenous peoples, and to the diversity of cultures and communities that make up this country. In this spirit, the judiciary is now more actively involved with the wider public, both to enhance public confidence and to expand its own knowledge of the diversity of human experiences in Canada today.
    As was just referenced, social context and society overall change over time, and critical institutions like the justice system must grow to reflect these changes. Much of the time, this simply requires education on emerging issues or a more updated perspective on older issues.
    In order to grow, there is a crucial partnership that must be respected between the judiciary and Parliament. While the Parliament and the courts are separate entities, there is a back-and-forth conversation between the two that is essential to our democracy and our judiciary. We have recently seen examples in which that conversation, unfortunately, was desperately lacking. On Friday, May 27, of this year, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the punishment of life without parole in cases concerning mass murderers.
    When confronted on the impact of the Supreme Court’s ruling, the Liberal government is determined to stick to their talking points by telling Parliament and concerned Canadians that we should not worry about mass killers actually receiving parole, because that possible outcome is extremely rare. What that actually means is that this government is comfortable putting these families through a revictimizing, retraumatizing parole process, even though, at the end of the day, it is essentially all for show because, according to the government, we just need to trust that a mass killer will not receive parole anyway.
    In the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling, the decision stated, “A life sentence without a realistic possibility of parole presupposes the offender is beyond redemption and cannot be rehabilitated. This is degrading in nature and incompatible with human dignity. It amounts to cruel and unusual punishment.”
    What the court is saying here is that keeping mass killers behind bars for the number of years that a judge has already decided would adequately reflect the gravity of their crimes amounts to “cruel and unusual punishment”. Personally, I and many others feel and believe that having the victims' families endure a parole hearing every two years for the rest of their lives is the real cruel and unusual punishment, and the federal government has a duty and a responsibility to respond to the court’s decision, something that it has not done and has shown no inclination to do.
    Essentially, the Supreme Court also ruled on May 13 that one can drink one’s way out of a serious crime. We have called on the government to respond to that as well, and we look forward to debate on the response that needs to be coming. Just because the Supreme Court has made these rulings does not mean that this is the end of the road. What it means is that there is a discussion and a dialogue that has to take place, and now the ball is in our court. It is for us to deal with these decisions in Parliament. The Liberals can now create legislation that responds to the Supreme Court’s decisions, and this legislation can be used to make sure that victims, survivors and their families can live in a country where they are equally protected and respected by our justice system.
    Bill C-9, an act to amend the Judges Act, is a step in the right direction. I will note that there is much, much more to be done to make sure that the justice system is fair and balanced for all.


    Madam Speaker, I appreciated my colleague's review of what he sees in Bill C-9, but I want to take this opportunity to ask him more about victims' rights. I was very much honoured to work with our former ombudsman for victims' rights, Sue O'Sullivan. We worked together in this place to try to improve the victims' rights bill. It fell short then. Not only do I think we need to appoint a new ombudsman for victims' rights, but we need to look at what we can do to make our own victims' rights code more robust.
     I wonder if the hon. member for Fundy Royal has studied what they did in California with what is called Marsy's Law, which includes the kind of provisions we need here in Canada to protect victims.
    Madam Speaker, I agree with the hon. member wholeheartedly that we need to put more emphasis on victims. What is really troubling is that in past versions of this bill and past versions of Bill C-5, we had commentary from the office of the victims ombudsman. It is important for us to have someone who speaks for victims. It should not be up to victims only to speak for themselves.
    Unfortunately, in the last nine months that voice, which is so important, has not been there to speak to this, other legislation, or Supreme Court of Canada decisions, all of which greatly impact victims and their families, and the position remains vacant. I am urgently calling, and have been for months now, on the government to fill the position of ombudsman for victims of crime.


    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague from Fundy Royal for his speech. My question also addresses victims, because he talked a lot about victims in his speech. I want to talk about the new provisions that allow the review panel to impose certain sanctions for less serious offences—continuing education and therapy, for example—which is an improvement over the previous bill. However, there is no opportunity for the victim to participate in the choice of sanctions. The bill indicates that the judge involved has consent over certain sanctions, but there is no mention of the victims.
    Could this be an improvement to the bill?



    Madam Speaker, I think any time we can incorporate more views of victims and the impact of offences or misconduct on the victim, we absolutely should. That was the commentary of the ombudsman for victims of crime, where she said that, too often, no one is looking out for victims and their voice is not heard during the process. We understand there are many issues that are paramount for victims right now. Ironically, I am citing someone whose position remains vacant, and that is the ombudsman for victims of crime.
    I am pleased to work with my hon. colleague on strengthening this bill and others, and the role that victims play in our processes.
    Madam Speaker, I want to profoundly thank the hon. member for Fundy Royal for placing victims at the heart of his intervention. I listened very carefully to the speech that the parliamentary secretary to the Liberal Minister of Justice gave, and I do not believe the word “victim” was ever mentioned. My colleague here on the Conservative side, of course, made victims the linchpin of his comments.
    I would ask him to expand on the practical impact that this legislation, if it is improved at committee, could have on the plight of future victims.
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his steadfast support for victims.
    It is always concerning to me. I currently sit on the justice committee and when we discuss a bill, for example Bill C-5, which we voted on this week, often the word “victim” does not come up in the conversation whatsoever. It is often said that justice delayed is justice denied, so one avenue of improvement with this bill is streamlining the process for offences that do not warrant removal from the bench so that we would have an outcome and have an impact on the judge who is the subject of the complaint sooner rather than later, as is currently the case with a too protracted process.
    Madam Speaker, I have already agreed with my colleague from Fundy Royal that we need to deal more expeditiously with the vacancy for the ombudsman for victims' rights. However, in looking at this legislation, one must remember that of course judges in this country do not solely judge criminal cases. Obviously, the areas of law that end up before a judiciary are everything from contract law, environmental law and crimes that involve actual violence to property law, intellectual property rights and trade law. We could go on forever. These disputes go into many different areas of the life of a country.
    Therefore, I would ask the member how he feels about these improvements and modernization of the Canadian Judicial Council.
    Madam Speaker, my hon. colleague is quite right. There are many different judges and many different types of law in the cases that they are presiding over. However, the fact is that there needs to be a robust complaints process in place. Misconduct could take place both inside and outside of the courtroom and is not necessarily confined, as the member mentioned, to criminal cases.
    We look to this bill as an improvement on the existing process, particularly for offences that do not warrant removal but warrant some type of sanction that could include training or otherwise. As I mentioned, justice delayed is justice denied, so we look at having a streamlined process as an improvement, but by no means is this the end of the conversation. As has come up many times now in questions and answers, victims have to play a more prominent role, both in this and throughout our criminal justice system.
    Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for bringing this forward. As a former Canadian Bar Association president and long-time lawyer before I came to this place, I know that one of the things we always fought for and spoke up for was independence of the judiciary. That is something that is integral to confidence in our justice system. However, in today's world, when all judgments that are made public are scrutinized by the public and sometimes hard to explain, it seems to me that a process for looking at the conduct of judges that would not necessarily meet the threshold of Judicial Council review makes some sense.
    I am interested in my colleague's thoughts on how this bill interacts with our common support for independence of the judiciary.


    Madam Speaker, it was a pleasure to serve with my hon. colleague for some time on the justice committee. She brings a wealth of experience in this and other areas.
     It is important. This legislation came in back in the 1970s. There are always improvements that can be made to the process, particularly when dealing with situations that do not warrant removal. As my hon. colleague has rightly said, the independence of the judiciary is so important. It underpins the process. Without an independent judiciary, we do not have proper rule of law in our country. Therefore, we respect that judicial independence, but we also know that there have to be robust provisions in place when there are actual cases of misconduct, rare as they may be.
    This bill would streamline that process, particularly dealing with situations that do not warrant removal from the bench. Obviously, removal from the bench, for a judge, is the ultimate sanction. As I mentioned in my speech, it has been applied very rarely, but there are other instances where there needs to be a sanction for misconduct, and this bill would streamline that process. It is why we are supporting the bill, but we are also open to making amendments that would improve it and improve the role of victims in the process.


    Madam Speaker, with your permission and permission from my colleagues, I would like to share my time with my colleague, the member for Saint-Jean.
    Does the hon. member for Rivière-du-Nord have the consent of the House?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Madam Speaker, for years, people have been calling for reforms of the process for reviewing allegations of judicial misconduct, whether the review results in a removal or not. This is not the first time that such a bill has been introduced in the House. The Judicial Council itself has called for this. If we can pass this legislation, it will benefit all stakeholders in the judicial system and all Quebeckers and Canadians. The judicial system is the backbone of any society that wants to live, thrive and evolve in peace. Without a judicial system, it would be total anarchy, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.
    No one wants to abolish the courts. Everyone wants to be able to have faith that the courts will resolve our disputes. Ideally, it would resolve all of them, and for that to happen, we must appoint judges with spotless records in terms of credibility and professionalism. The first step is to ensure that the appointment process is effective and non-partisan. I will come back to this.
    We must also ensure that once a judge is appointed, they are consistently subject to ethical conduct rules that are acceptable to everyone involved. Finally, we must ensure that, in cases of misconduct, there is a reliable and effective process for reviewing and, where appropriate, fairly sanctioning the conduct of the party at fault.
    We have to admit that the review process in place is among the best in the world. We are not starting from scratch, and that is a good thing. Having myself participated in discussions with bar associations in other jurisdictions in Europe and elsewhere, I can say that what we have here in Quebec and Canada is the envy of many other democratic societies.
    That being said, recent examples have shown that we need to think about a new and improved process that would prevent abuses. Having a process that takes years before all reviews and appeals have been exhausted, while the principal continues to receive a salary and benefits—often including a generous pension fund—and these costs are assumed by the public, certainly does not help boost confidence in the judicial system.
    Of course, it is just as important that judges who are the subject of a complaint can express their point of view, defend themselves and exercise their rights just like any other citizen. The process needs to be fair and should not unduly favour the person who is guilty of misconduct and seeks to abuse the system. In this respect, Bill C-9 meets our expectations and should receive our support, as well as that of all Canadians. I am happy about this and even hopeful that we will now tackle the other key process, judicial appointments.
    It would be nice to see the government finally set partisan politics aside when appointing new judges.
    Does the Liberalist the government is so fond of still have a place in the selection process? We have talked about this many times in the House. We will have to talk more.
    Could the final selection from the short list be done by a committee made up of a representative from each of the recognized parties? Could representatives of the public or professional bodies also take part? That is certainly something to think about.
    In my opinion, we are ready for this review process. The Bloc Québécois has been calling for it for a long time, and we will continue to do so. Bill C-9 may set the stage for us to seriously consider it. Will the Minister of Justice be bold enough to propose it? I hope so. If he does, I can assure him right now of our full co-operation.
    Until then, let us hope that the reform of the complaints review process proposed in Bill C-9 can build public trust in our judicial system.


    I said “our judicial system” because we must never forget that the judicial system belongs to the people and must be accountable to the people. We are merely the ones responsible for ensuring the system is effective.
    I will not rehash here the process that led to the relatively recent resignation of a Superior Court justice for whom the review process, given the many appeals and challenges against him, apparently had no hope of ending before he was assured the monetary benefits of his office. However, we must recognize that we cannot allow this heinous impression of non-accountability and dishonesty persist, whether it is well-founded or not. We need to assume our responsibilities and make sure that the public never doubts the credibility, goodwill and effectiveness of our courts.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Rivière-du-Nord for his speech.
    I would like to comment on the second part of his speech on the appointment process. As we discuss Bill C-9 today, what our colleagues have often pointed out is both the importance of maintaining the separation between the judiciary, the executive and the legislative powers and the importance of having a system the public can trust. It seems to me that these two principles are especially pertinent to the appointment of judges.
    Does my colleague not think that this is the cornerstone of the more than necessary review of the appointment process?
    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her question. I totally agree with her.
    Indeed, it takes both. We need effective rules of conduct that inspire confidence, a process for reviewing these rules that is just as effective, and an appointment process. All of this must be completely independent of the executive and legislative branches.
    In fact, our work is limited to implementing the process, the selection committees and the review panels. That is our job, but once that is done, the system must remain entirely non-partisan. Political partisanship must never influence the appointment of a judge or the sanctions for a judge’s misconduct.
    In addition, the review process is also important in ensuring that no unfounded complaints prevent a judge from sitting. This process is essential, and must be absolutely non-partisan.


    Madam Speaker, I congratulate my colleague on his excellent speech. I hope he agrees that we need to pass this bill so that we can spend more time resolving other problems in our judicial system, particularly systemic racism and the appointment of judges.
    What does he think are the biggest problems in our judicial system?
    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her question. Before answering, I would like to congratulate her for making the effort to ask the question in French. I know that it was not easy, and I want her to know that I am very thankful for the effort. It is a mark of respect, and I sincerely thank her.
    I was so focused on her language efforts that I forgot her question. Ha, ha!
    I do agree that we need to vote in favour of Bill C-9. The appointment process must also be impartial, and it needs a review. That is our job, and we owe it to voters and the entire population to make sure our justice system is non-partisan, effective, professional and reliable.


    Madam Speaker, the seat for the office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime has been vacant since last October. Does the member have any thoughts on that?
    When we consider legislation such as this, and on the overall topic, it is really important that we consider victims. Could the member comment on that?


    Madam Speaker, thanks to my colleague, I remember the previous question now. I would say that the biggest challenge is non-partisanship.
    Anyway, to answer the question from my colleague from Kelowna—Lake Country, I would say that we do need to appoint an ombudsman. An ombudsman is the guardian and representative of the people. He or she monitors the work of various organizations. It is therefore important. The position is vacant and should be filled. I hope it will be filled soon.
    Once again, I must say that, fortunately or unfortunately, I am an eternal optimist, and I always tend to trust people. Sometimes I am disappointed, but until then, I will place my trust in the current government. I will, however, say that it needs to hurry up, because this is urgent. We need to appoint an ombudsman, review the appointment process and respond to what the public is asking for so that we can finally say “mission accomplished”.
    Madam Speaker, I am pleased to stand this morning to discuss Bill C-9.
    While I was reading the bill, I had a bit of déjà vu. I remember driving on the 417 in the spring while listening to the speeches in the House on Bill S-5, which was sponsored by Senator Dalphond, for whom I have tremendous respect. I still call him “Your Honour”.
    I know that Bill S‑5 died on the Order Paper because of the election. The fact that I was supposed to discuss Bill C‑9 in the spring but did not get a chance to shows that we may be a bit behind on the legislative agenda. That is the only criticism I will offer today. As for the rest, I am highly satisfied at least with the spirit of the bill we are studying, as is the Canadian Judicial Council, which strongly supports it.
    We are talking about it today. One of the pillars or cornerstones of the bill is the importance of the separation of powers between the legislative, judicial and executive branches. This has been the case since 1971, when the Canadian Judicial Council was created and made responsible for reviewing complaints. This is maintained in Bill C-9.
    To ensure the separation of powers, the ability to remove judges is also maintained, as originally provided for in section 99(1) of the Constitution Act, 1867, which states that “the judges of the superior courts shall hold office during good behaviour, but shall be removable by the Governor General on address of the Senate and House of Commons”.
    If we relied specifically on this principle, it might appear as though the legislative branch and the executive branch, meaning us here in Parliament, had power over the removal of judges. However, since 1971, the complaint review process has been the responsibility of the Canadian Judicial Council, which must issue recommendations to the Minister of Justice in order for the removal to take place. This complaint review process has been around for over 50 years.
    With respect to what has been done since 1971, the improvements in Bill C‑9 meet certain needs. In this case, better is not the enemy of good. We tend to think that if something is working reasonably well, we should not necessarily seek perfection. I think that this used to apply in this case.
    There are three essential issues that the bill resolves. The first is that the current process is extremely long. Given the numerous opportunities to file for appeals and judicial reviews during the process, it can take a very long time to review a complaint. My colleagues mentioned that. Unfortunately, we saw proof of this with a Superior Court judge whose name I will not mention, but whose review process lasted from 2012 to 2021. If I remember correctly, the decision was handed down in 2021.
    As my colleague from Rivière-du-Nord mentioned, the problem is that, during that whole time, the judge continues to receive their salary and benefits and contribute to their pension. That in itself can be an incentive to come up with endless stalling tactics and draw the process out in order to keep the financial benefits.
    This bill makes certain changes. In particular, it modifies the process to include the creation of an appeal panel, the final body before the Supreme Court to which a judge who is at fault can apply. This eliminates the need to go through the Superior Court and the Court of Appeal to reach the Supreme Court, assuming it even agrees to hear the appeal. The bill streamlines the process.
    As my colleagues mentioned, under the current version of the act, judges still receive their salary and benefits. Clause 126(1) of the new act remedies that situation. It states, and I quote:
    For the purposes of calculating an annuity under Part I, if a full hearing panel decides that the removal from office of a judge who is the subject of a complaint is justified, the day after the day on which the judge is given notice of the full hearing panel’s decision is the day to be used to determine the number of years the judge has been in judicial office and the salary annexed to the office held by the judge at the time of his or her resignation, removal or attaining the age of retirement unless (a) the decision is set aside by a decision of the Supreme Court of Canada, or by the decision of an appeal panel if the appeal panel’s decision is final; (b) the Minister’s response under subsection 140(1) provides that no action is to be taken to remove the judge from office; or (c) the matter of removal of the judge from office is put to one or both Houses of Parliament and is rejected by either of them.


    As a result, a judge who is found to be at fault will not receive a salary during that period.
    Another problem with the previous version of the bill was that there were no half-measures for lesser offences, so to speak. It was all black or white. The panel's only options were to issue a recommendation for removal or to not issue one. The only middle ground involved negotiating some sort of disciplinary action with the judge on a case-by-case basis. However, judges were quite free to say that they did not want any part in that process because it was not mandatory.
    This bill remedies that situation. As soon as a complaint, which can be based on written submissions to the panel, has been examined, the panel can impose redress measures in cases where the reason for the complaint does not constitute grounds for removal.
    The review panel can order the judge, for example, to take professional development courses or require him to apologize. In some cases, this can help more effectively remedy a situation when the judge is open to having certain sanctions apply. This may be sufficient, in certain cases, to avoid continuing with a full complaint process and public hearing, which could be long and expensive.
    One of the options in the new bill is for the council to issue a private or public expression of concern. There is a certain transparency in the process. The council can issue a private or public warning, a private or public reprimand or order the judge to apologize. As I mentioned in my question to the member for Fundy Royal, the only thing that is a little unusual is one of the measures in clause 102, as follows:
(g) with the consent of the judge, take any other action that the panel considers appropriate in the circumstances.
    Perhaps there are questions that should be asked when the bill is referred to a committee for study after second reading, if it gets to that stage, which should not be a problem. For example, why is the judge's consent required? Why do the victims have no say in choosing the sanction to be applied for an offence that is less serious than one that might lead to removal from office?
    Another thing the bill deals with is how onerous the process is. Previously, the Canadian Judicial Council itself had to make a recommendation to the minister to have a judge removed. The way it was set up, there was one panel that reviewed the case and another panel that, if it received the complaint, had to pass it on to the Canadian Judicial Council itself. The whole thing involved about 17 chief justices or associate chief justices from courts that were not already part of the process. It diverted energy from solving other problems in the courts, and the process did not necessarily help ensure procedural fairness for judges. This bill fixes that. The review panel itself will now be able to make a recommendation to the minister to relieve a judge of her or his duties. This kind of short-circuits a process that was not necessary and did not guarantee procedural fairness.
    All these factors significantly improve the process. However, as my colleague from Rivière-du-Nord explained, this is not the only way to improve people's perception that the justice system is impartial and create a clear separation between the legislative, executive and judicial branches.
    I think we also need to look at updating the judicial appointment process. The Bloc Québécois has called for this numerous times by suggesting things like creating a special all-party committee tasked with recommending a new selection process. I have not lost hope. Like my colleague, I believe that human nature is fundamentally good and is capable of doing good things, although I too am sometimes disappointed. Still, I am always willing to work with anyone who is equally willing, and I encourage the government to introduce a bill to review the appointment process.


    Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for her great speech.
    I think we all agree on this bill. It is a good bill, and it is important.
    In the spirit of co-operation, I would like to ask my colleague how she would improve this bill.
    Madam Speaker, as the previous speaker did, I too want to thank my colleague for his question, which he asked in French. We really do appreciate it and see it as a sign of respect. We know that it is not always easy.
    I have already mentioned one possible way to impose sanctions for offences that do not necessarily call for the judge to be removed from office. I talked about including victims more in the process. This could be deliberated by the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. Unfortunately, I am not a member of that committee, so of course someone else will have to suggest ways to improve the legislation, but that could be a good starting point.
    With regard to the fees involved in representing the judge, the committee work could also include ensuring that there is no financial incentive to carry on and drag out the proceedings.


    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her fine speech.
    I would like to ask her a question about the federal ombudsman for victims of crime. This position has been vacant for nine months, yet the ombudsman for federal offenders position was filled one day later. Could my colleague tell me about this government's priorities when it comes to victims?
    Madam Speaker, whether the role of an ombudsman is to protect victims or offenders, there is always a certain obligation to appoint someone quickly. When a position remains vacant for a long time, there will be a backlog of cases. Unfortunately, that has become this government's specialty. I am thinking in particular about the immigration file, which I carried for two years.
    I also think there should be more transparency with respect to certain appointments. For example, take the defence file, which is one of my files. We think the ombudsman should be accountable to the House, not the minister. That might have avoided some conflicts in the past, as in the Jonathan Vance case.
     Madam Speaker, I too will ask my colleague a question in French.
    I understand that my colleague agrees with me about reviewing the appointment process. We have said it before: The “Liberalist” is appalling. I am not the one who came up with the name, by the way—it was the government. When even the government refers to this list of conditions by that name, we can imagine what impact this can have on the public. This really needs to be addressed quickly.
    I would like to know what my colleague thinks about the example from Quebec, the Bastarache commission, during which former justice Bastarache reviewed the appointment process and proposed conditions that are better than those in place at the federal level.
    Madam Speaker, I will not miss any opportunity to say that Quebec is forward-thinking and is doing great things that we should emulate more often.
    We need to have a much more transparent, non-partisan and depoliticized process. I will say it again, because this is key to having confidence in the justice system: The legislative, the executive, and the judicial branches must be kept separate, which is not the case with the “Liberalist”. This example is painfully obvious.
    Since most of the judges who sit in Quebec are federally appointed superior court judges, efforts to ensure a non-partisan appointment process will have a particular impact on the routine workings of the courts.


    Madam Speaker, I will turn to the substance of Bill C-9 in a moment, but first I want to talk about how we got here, a process that for me illustrates disarray on the government's side in this 44th Parliament. Some days it still seems almost as if the Liberals really did not expect to have to govern after the last election.
    Certainly, the bill was essentially ready to go well before the pandemic hit. For unknown reasons, the government decided to have it introduced in the Senate on May 25, 2020, as Bill S-5, and it died there when the unnecessary 2021 election was called. Then it was reintroduced by the government leader in the Senate as Bill S-3 on December 1, 2021. After a dispute over whether the bill could actually be introduced in the Senate as it would require a royal recommendation to allow expenditures by the Judicial Council under the bill, the bill was withdrawn from the Senate on December 15, 2021, and reintroduced as a government bill, Bill C-9, in the House on December 16, 2021, if members can follow that bouncing ball.
    Despite the disarray on the government side, the bill still seemed to be a priority for the Liberal government as it was included in the December 2021 mandate letter for the Minister of Justice. There, the Prime Minister directed that the Minister of Justice, “Secure support for the swift passage of reforms to the judicial conduct process in the Judges Act to ensure the process is fair, effective and efficient so as to foster greater confidence in the judicial system.”
    That's fair enough, and no doubt there is important work for us to do on improving the process by which complaints against federal judges are handled. However, here we come to the question of priorities of the Liberals and their effectiveness when it comes to addressing, in a timely manner, the pressing crises in our justice system and, of course, the question of the persistent obstructionism of the Conservatives, as the official opposition, in this sitting of Parliament.
    While I remain disappointed that the government chose to ensure the defeat of private member's Bill C-216 from the member for Courtenay—Alberni, which would have decriminalized personal possession of small amounts of drugs, we have made some progress on the opioid crisis. Pushed into action by the impending vote on the private member's bill, the Liberals, after months of delay, finally granted an interim exemption to the provisions of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act for British Columbia, in effect decriminalizing personal possession for small amounts of drugs for the next three years.
    That's a good thing, yes, but it only raises the question of why wait another six months. This delay seems likely to ensure that 2022 will eclipse the appalling record set in 2021 in British Columbia for the greatest number of overdose deaths in B.C. Also, why only British Columbia? The epidemic of deaths from toxic drug supply continues unabated across the country and in all corners of the country, both urban and rural. Passing Bill C-216 would have allowed us to begin to apply the tools we know that work right now: decriminalizing the personal possession of small amounts of drugs and guaranteeing a safe supply of drugs for those suffering from addictions. Bill C-216 would have brought a permanent change to the law to guarantee that addiction is dealt with as a health matter and not a criminal matter.
    The crisis that demands urgent action is, of course, systemic racism in our criminal justice system. The most prominent evidence of the reality of this crisis is the over-incarceration of indigenous and Black Canadians in this country. All members by now are familiar with the shocking facts that indigenous people are more than six times as likely as other Canadians to end up incarcerated and that Black Canadians are more than twice as likely. Most shocking I think to all of us is the fact that indigenous women make up 50% of women incarcerated in federal institutions when they are less than 5% of the population.
    Of course, injustice does not end with incarceration, as there is the legacy of the resulting criminal record. Not only have indigenous and racialized Canadians been disproportionately targeted for investigation, prosecution, fining or imprisonment, the most marginalized among us then end up stuck with criminal records. These are criminal records that make getting a job almost impossible, criminal records that often restrict access to affordable housing or even ordinary rental housing because of criminal record checks, criminal records that make volunteering with kids and seniors impossible, criminal records that restrict travel and criminal records that even make it difficult to get a bank loan or a mortgage.
    The good news is that we have taken some steps to address the systemic racism in our court system with the passage of Bill C-5 yesterday. As soon as the Senate acts, we will see the elimination of 20 mandatory minimum penalties, most importantly those in the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, which fell very heavily on indigenous and racialized Canadians and have been a major contributor to over-incarceration.


    Again, we would have liked to see bolder action here with the expansion of the existing Gladue principles to give judges discretion to waive all remaining mandatory minimums when it would be unjust to impose them on indigenous or racialized Canadians due to their circumstances. Unfortunately, this was not in the bill. One may ask why I am going on so long about this. It is judges' discretion that will make a big difference, so people have to have confidence in the judiciary.
    Despite the public image that we never co-operate in Parliament, we had good co-operation in the justice committee. That co-operation allowed the passage of my amendment to Bill C-5, which will see the elimination of criminal records for personal possession of drugs within two years through a process called sequestration. What this means in practice is that these records will no longer show up in criminal record checks.
    Today, we are moving on to debate Bill C-9 and finally, some members may say, I am coming to the substance of this bill. This is a bill to reform the process for handling complaints against federal judges. As I said, it is important in our system to maintain public confidence in those judges. Is this a crisis? Clearly it is not. Is it as urgent as decriminalizing drugs or removing systemic racism in our justice system? Clearly it is not. Is this as important? I would argue that in fact it is, because trust in the integrity of our justice system is integral to the fate of our democracy, especially in these trying times. We have to have faith in the integrity of the justice system and that means in the judges themselves, so we have to do better when it comes to holding the judiciary accountable, but we have to do so in ways that respect their fundamental independence and protect the system against government and political interference.
    Bill C-9 suggests ways in which we can do this and, as I mentioned at the outset, measures have been ready to go on this for a very long time. Can we do better on holding judges accountable? Yes, we can, but it took well over two years for the government to get this bill before the House today and many of the ideas in it were first proposed in Canadian Bar Association reports as early as 2014. Some appeared in private members' bills tabled in the House as early as 2017, so it is past time to get to work on this bill.
    Let me distinguish just for a moment what we are actually talking about. We are not talking about mistakes in law that occur from time to time in the federal courts. There is a clear remedy for these kinds of mistakes, and it is the appeal process. Instead, we are talking about the failure of federally appointed judges to meet the high standards that have been set for them and that we naturally should demand of them. That is either when it comes to personal conduct or to maintaining impartiality on the bench.
    I should say from the outset that the Canadian record is remarkably good when it comes to cases of serious misconduct warranting removal from the bench. In the history of Canada, the Canadian Judicial Council has recommended removal for only five federally appointed judges. Four of those resigned before Parliament could deal with their cases, and the fifth before Parliament could act on the case. Whether these judges resigned before being removed solely to protect their pensions, which has been alleged, or simply to avoid the stigma of being the first federal judge ever removed by Parliament, I leave for others to judge.
    Leaving the process in the hands of judges themselves is probably necessary, as this is both a key and crucial feature of our current system. It is the one that guarantees governments cannot influence the decisions of judges by threatening to remove them from office. Complaints about federally appointed judges are handled by the Canadian Judicial Council, which is made up of the 41 chief justices and associate chief justices of federally appointed courts.
    The Canadian Judicial Council is chaired by the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, who appoints a committee to examine complaints. If a complaint is initially found to have merit, a three-judge panel examines the complaint and either decides to dismiss it, to recommend no further action because the misconduct does not warrant removal from the bench, or to hold a public inquiry. Again, this is relatively rare, with only 14 inquiries held over the past 40 years.
    If there was an inquiry, the committee would then forward its findings to the full Judicial Council, along with a recommendation on the possible removal. If removal is recommended, the judge has the right to appeal to an appeals panel and, if needed, further appeal beyond that. The Supreme Court of Canada can choose to hear the appeal directly, but the current process is that the case would be heard at the Federal Court and the Federal Court of Appeal before the Supreme Court of Canada could hear the case. This seems unnecessarily complicated and provoking of unnecessary delay. Bill C-9 would address the problem, but while the current system does work in the most serious cases of judicial behaviour, the process is long and drawn out.


    Bill C-9 would also address the major gap in the current process, which is that it has proved largely ineffective in dealing with cases of misbehaviour that would not be serious enough to warrant removal from the bench. This is the fact: There is only one possible remedy in the current process, which is removal from the bench. Serious misbehaviour, though rare, is not hard to spot as it always involves law-breaking by the judge concerned or outright corruption.
    Less serious complaints about misbehaviour are almost always about the question of impartiality. What would an example be of this less serious misbehaviour? A case in Saskatchewan in 2021 is a case in point. Five complaints were received about a judge who appeared in pictures with a group indirectly connected to a case on which, though he had finished hearings, he had not yet delivered judgment.
    The judge in this case agreed this was a serious error on his part and that it could reflect negatively on perceptions about his impartiality in the case before him. The complaints did not proceed, as almost no one thought the judge should be removed and he had promised it would never happen again. Under the current provisions, no action could have been taken, if the judge had disputed the allegations, other than to recommend his removal from the bench for appearing in a photograph.
    Bill C-9 would allow for additional remedial options other than the current sole option of recommending removal. The bill proposes the referral of complaints to a three-judge review panel, which might find removal to be warranted, and then the review panel could refer the complaint to a larger five-judge hearing panel. At the review stage, however, the review panel could still dismiss the complaint or impose remedies other than removal.
    What would Canadians get out of these changes? Most importantly, they would get confidence in the judiciary that would be better maintained by having a process that was more timely and could deal more effectively with less serious complaints. This should help prevent the judicial system from falling into disrepute and help preserve the very important trust in the impartiality of the judiciary.
    Bill C-9 might actually save some taxpayer money on cases involving allegations of misconduct by federal judges, as the current process can stretch out for years. Cases involving serious misconduct now often take up to four years to resolve. Bill C-9 would expedite that process by removing the two levels of court appeals that I mentioned.
    At the same time, there also may be an increase in costs for dealing with less serious allegations as there would be more options available that are currently dismissed early in the process. The benefit here is that less serious cases would no longer simply be dismissed, and instead sanctions for remedies would be possible.
    In the end, and after hearing debate today, I believe Bill C-9 should prove to be relatively uncontentious. The Canadian Bar Association was part of the consultations that were held by the judicial council when Senate Bill S-5 was being drafted in the previous Parliament. There was a broader consultation that dealt with measures to clarify expectations on what constitutes “good behaviour” for federal judges that are largely set in regulations. Bill C-9 simply reforms the process for dealing with judges who fail to meet those standards.
    Bill C-9 would also require more transparency with regard to how complaints are handled. The Canadian Judicial Council is responsible for administering this process, and Bill C-9 would require the council to include the number of complaints it received and how they were resolved in its annual public report.
    In conclusion, New Democrats support modernizing the process for complaints against federally appointed judges, and we support adding alternative remedial options behind the current sole option of removal from the bench. The bill would allow for varied sanctions such as counselling, continuing education and other reprimands. New Democrats are supportive of streamlining and updating the process to handle complaints against federally appointed judges. This process has not been updated for 50 years. It is time for a modern complaint system for a modernized judiciary, and one that will help increase public confidence in federal judges.
    The bill provides an opportunity for parties to work together to get an important reform in place, as it is yet another example of things that did not get done earlier because of the unnecessary 2021 election. We should get this done so that we can then turn our attention back to tackling the serious issues in our justice system that remain, and to confronting the opioid crisis that is better dealt with as a health matter than a judicial matter. I hope to see Bill C-9 advance quickly through the House and in the other place.


    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member did a great job of outlining some of the gaps in justice reform. I know that he spoke at length about this bill, but I want to give him the opportunity, given his vast experience as a critic in justice, to talk about ways in which the government needs to move, going forward, to help close some of those gaps in some very serious needs for justice reform.
    Mr. Speaker, I know the member for Hamilton Centre's dedication to ensuring that we reform the justice system to try to remove the systemic racism that exists.
    As I said in my speech, Bill C-9 is important in that the public, from diverse backgrounds, has to have confidence in this system. The other things that we have talked about here, which are getting the opioid crisis out of the justice system and directly tackling the systemic racism that results in the over-incarceration of indigenous and racialized Canadians, are in crisis. We need to move further and we need to move faster in addressing those matters in our justice system than we have been able to do in this Parliament. We are making progress, but not enough and not fast enough.
    Mr. Speaker, I listened to my hon. colleague's speech. He is a member of the justice committee, so there are occasional times that we agree on things at the justice committee. This is one of those times. There is agreement on this bill and that we need to update the process for judicial complaints after it being relatively unchanged for the past half-century.
    One of the things that has come up in debate that I would like his comments on is this. During the last version of this bill, we were able to get input from the ombudsman for victims of crime. He will know that position has remained vacant since October of last year. In my view, it should have been filled immediately. There is an important role that the ombudsman plays when we are dealing with legislation as well as other situations that arise.
    I wonder this. Could my hon. colleague comment on this vacancy, and whether he feels it is urgent that it be filled?


    Mr. Speaker, I will state, as the member for Fundy Royal did, that although sometimes we disagree, we have worked very effectively together at the justice committee for some time. I expect that we will continue to do so.
    He is well aware that both he and I have raised with the minister, on numerous occasions, the issue of the vacancy in the office of the ombudsman for federal victims of crime. I do think it is urgent that this spot be filled. It is a very important role in amplifying the voices of victims, and a very important role in letting us know in Parliament what the true state of affairs is when it comes to victims and our justice system. The previous federal ombudsman for victims of crime provided very useful testimony at committee many times, and I think we could have used that kind of testimony on some of the issues we are dealing with this time.
    I would certainly agree with the member that this vacancy needs to be filled as soon as possible.


    Mr. Speaker, one thing that Bill C‑9 will do is provide for a review panel made up of three people. This panel will be able to conduct the inquiry itself or refer it to a larger five-person panel.
    Is the member satisfied by this panel? Does he think that it will be able to adequately address any complaints that are made against judges?
    Does he have any other mechanisms to suggest?


    Mr. Speaker, I think the proof is in the pudding. I think this is a good proposal. It will allow the judicial council, as I said, to deal with less serious cases of misconduct that obviously do not warrant removal from the bench, but right now we see those complaints dismissed out of hand. I do not think that serves the public well, and I do not think it serves judges well. By having a new review committee to take a look at these less serious complaints, complaints that do not necessarily involve law-breaking or corruption, we can get some other sanctions applied to help influence judges to maintain the high standards that are expected of them.
    Mr. Speaker, I also want to recognize my colleague for his work on the justice committee, particularly the recent amendments that would see the sequestration of records for those charged and convicted of simple possession. It is going to make a difference for thousands of Canadians.
    My question is around this bill and the process moving forward. I have been listening to the debate, and there seems to be remarkable consensus that this a much-needed change and that we should move forward in a timely way. In the past, when we have had that kind of agreement and when bills before us have a history in the House of debate and deliberation, there have been ways for us to move them forward in an expeditious manner.
    I would like my colleague's thoughts on what a path forward might look like for this bill that would see it passed into law as quickly as possible.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley for his kind words on my role on the committee.
    I just want to say, before I answer the question specifically, that the removal of criminal records for personal possession potentially affects 250,000 Canadians, so this would have a big impact. If we are worried about public safety, we need to make sure that those who have come in conflict with the law have every opportunity to reintegrate themselves into society, to support their families and to get things back on track. Bill C-5 would help do that.
    With respect to Bill C-9, I have been frustrated, I would say, for almost five years now because we have not simply gotten this done. I think there is agreement, and like the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley, I would recommend to House leaders that we find a way to move this bill forward very quickly.


    Mr. Speaker, I am very grateful to my hon. colleague and neighbour, the hon. member for Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke, for giving us the full background and history on how long it has taken for this bill to come before us. I also agree with him that there are urgent priorities in other areas of criminal justice.
    There is one area of judicial conduct that I would love to know his opinion on, and it is a growing concern. Retired Supreme Court of Canada judges and other judges from high levels carry with them an enormous amount of clout. If they say something it must be true. After all, they are former Supreme Court of Canada judges.
    I am sure my hon. friend will recall that two former Supreme Court judges were hired by SNC-Lavalin and were used to undermine the opinions and work of the very hon. Jody Wilson-Raybould when she was our attorney general and minister of justice. There has been some discussion, including from Wayne MacKay, a professor emeritus at Dalhousie law school, which I was privileged to attend, that we should consider ensuring that when judges retire they remain constrained by the same ethical rules of conduct that applied when they were practising judges. I wonder if he has any views on that.
    Mr. Speaker, I share the hon. member's concerns about activities undertaken by former members of the judiciary, but we have a thorny problem there in that when former judges resume their private lives, it is hard to imagine how we can impose standards upon them that are different from what we expect of others. I think it is a matter worthy of investigation and worthy of consultation broadly in society and in the legal and judicial community to find a solution to this problem.
    Mr. Speaker, as we approach the end of the parliamentary session, I want to take a moment to give thanks to my family, my staff, all of the people of Halifax West and all who have supported me and continue to support me in order to do my best in service.


    I will be sharing my time today with the member for Mount Royal.


    I am pleased to join my hon. colleagues today to speak in favour of Bill C-9, which proposes reforms to the current process for reviewing allegations of misconduct against federally appointed judges.
    The role occupied by the judiciary in our system of government is unique. While one judge in the performance of their duties will interact with countless members of the public, the reverse is not true. Most individuals outside of the legal profession will have little direct exposure to judges in courtrooms in the course of their lives, yet for those individuals who do appear in court, that process is likely to be a major event in their lives. The behaviour of the judge handling their case will shape that person's impression of the justice system as a whole. For individuals who arrive in our courts seeking justice or facing serious jeopardy to their liberty, it is not an overstatement to say that the judge represents the personal embodiment of the values of integrity and impartiality that our justice system is trusted to uphold.


    In addition, many people only ever see judges at a distance, in the context of significant or controversial issues. Canada has a high degree of respect for its judiciary and for the administration of justice overall, but it will require constant attention and effort to keep it that way.


    Just as the impact of a judge’s behaviour on a particular individual can have great significance, so too can allegations of judicial misconduct have significant effects on public confidence and trust. Complaints against Canadian judges are rare, especially those severe enough to implicate potential removal from office. However, when they do occur, they capture public attention precisely because they diverge so radically from the norm. The public is entitled to see those allegations taken seriously and addressed through a process that itself reflects the best ideals of our justice system. Canadians need to know that the judicial system is fair to all, including the judiciary, and it is on this theme I wish to speak to members today.
    Appropriate mechanisms for reviewing judicial conduct must be grounded in the constitutional realities of the judicial role. Judicial independence protects judges from outside influence of any kind, actual or perceived, in the exercise of their functions. This is absolutely critical to ensuring that the adjudication of cases is impartial and fair and is seen as such.
    One form of influence against which judges are protected is the threat of personal reprimand or removal from their offices for conduct or decisions that may be contrary to the preferences of those in political power. For this reason, the Supreme Court of Canada has specified that the review of allegations related to judicial conduct, while vital to preserving public confidence in its own right, must be controlled and led by the judiciary itself. Moreover, the mechanisms for this review must allow opportunities for the judge in question to be fully and fairly heard.
    Once a fair, judge-led process culminates in a recommendation on whether a judge should be removed from office, our great Constitution shifts the responsibility to us as parliamentarians to determine whether we will indeed remove the judge via an address to the Governor General. It is a testament to both the strength of our judiciary and the respect of this chamber for the sanctity of judicial independence that, to date, this power has never been exercised. It is a power that indeed must be reserved for circumstances of true necessity, when a judge refuses to leave office after it has been credibly established that their conduct threatens public confidence in the administration of justice.



    To be sure that this power is exercised appropriately, Parliament must know that a judge-led review of the conduct of another judge was effective, impartial and thorough. This means ensuring the judge in question was treated with absolute fairness. This notion is at the very heart of the amendments we are debating today.


    The current judicial conduct process, as set out in the Judges Act and operationalized by the Canadian Judicial Council, is in dire need of modernization and reform. The council has done what it can do to overhaul the process by making changes to its procedures, but much more is still needed, and that requires legislative amendments. As my colleagues have shared, a primary concern with the existing mechanism is its lack of efficiency, stemming from a rigid structure that is not easily adaptable to reviewing different types of judicial conduct. Associated with this are high costs in terms of money, time and detriment to the public trust.
    Despite the intention of providing fairness to an impugned judge, the current regime can instead foster near endless litigation, as every facet of the inquiry process is susceptible to challenge through judicial review, compounded by appeals to multiple levels of court, often on grounds that have little merit or that bear on the public interest. My colleagues have referred to some of these examples, and I will not repeat them. It suffices to note that as matters linger unresolved for extended periods and at great cost, confidence in the administration of justice and the judiciary is undermined.
    Procedural fairness, as accorded to judges, is necessary. Indeed, it is as equally important as the fairness that must be accorded to individuals in judges’ own courtrooms. However, procedural fairness can be satisfied in a way that does not enable adversarial zeal, calculated delay and resulting negative repercussions for Canadians. The Canadian Judicial Council itself has acknowledged that the status quo is at odds with the public interest. It is now for us as lawmakers to act.
    Bill C-9 proposes a suite of reforms designed to overhaul the process for handling judicial conduct complaints. All have been carefully crafted to ensure that public confidence is enhanced, recognizing that this requires independence and efficiency, as well as a high degree of procedural fairness. Satisfying those complementary objectives will in turn foster greater trust in the administration of justice more broadly.
    Bill C-9 would enhance the versatility of the judicial conduct process by providing a review panel to deal with less severe cases, that is, allegations of misconduct that are not so serious as to potentially warrant removal from office. This introduces responsiveness and nuance through options other than a full-scale hearing, sparing both judges and complainants from the strain of adversarial public hearings and the possible stigma of publicizing unverified allegations. A judge would nevertheless retain the right to be aware of all allegations, respond to them comprehensively and benefit from the advice and advocacy of skilled counsel.
    Given the scrutiny and profile that public hearings necessarily entail, the need for fairness is especially important whenever it is required. Under the new process, allegations of misconduct so serious that removal from office may be warranted would be handled by a hearing panel comprising five members. It would include representatives of the judiciary, the legal profession and the public, and hearings would function in a manner akin to a trial. Prosecuting counsel would also be appointed, with the responsibility to present the case against the judge, much as a criminal prosecutor would do. The judge would be entitled to rigorous opportunities to call evidence and examine counsel. The process would ensure that the full rigour of an adversarial hearing, with the same clear court procedure, applies to all hearings.
    I doubt anyone could reasonably claim that the processes I have described would fail to provide procedural fairness to a judge whose conduct has been called into question. They are not only fair but exhaustive and rigorous, designed to apply the rigour of our justice system to serious allegations while also allowing more humane and effective alternatives when allegations do not rise to a serious level. Most importantly, we as parliamentarians can be assured that should the day ever come when we need to consider a recommendation for judicial removal, we can have confidence that the recommendation stems from a scrupulous, fair and effective process.
    With that, I look forward to questions from my colleagues.


    Mr. Speaker, in addition to being able to remove a judge, should that be the conclusion of the trial, are there other consequences that can be applied to judges who are found not to have executed their duties well?
    Mr. Speaker, I served with the hon. member on the science and research committee, and she is very capable and very experienced in that field and in questioning witnesses.
    What we are trying to do today has been well researched and well studied and has been recommended by judges, the public and the Canadian Bar Association. In the most egregious cases where the removal of a judge is necessary, this is where we as parliamentarians must act. That is exactly what we are doing today by moving forward with this new legislation.


    Mr. Speaker, I congratulate my colleague on her speech, but I would like to come back to what my colleague from Saint-Jean and my colleague from Rivière-du-Nord said earlier.
    One thing that is missing from Bill C‑9 is the judicial appointment process. Members will recall the uproar caused by the Liberal government's use of the infamous “Liberalist” database. I would like to know if my colleague agrees that it is time for a review of the judicial appointment process.
    Mr. Speaker, it is important to know that our judicial system has to be effective and professional and that the executive branch and legislative branch have to be complementary yet separate. The selection of judges is very important in our society, for all the examples I mentioned in my speech.


    Mr. Speaker, I sense there is both broad agreement that this is an important bill and some frustration at the process to date, particularly the fact that this bill came forward in the 43rd Parliament and was interrupted by the unnecessary election call.
    I wonder if the member could speculate on how quickly this bill could become law. I wonder whether there might be opportunities for this House to act expeditiously to fast-forward the process and ensure it becomes law as quickly as possible. If so, the changes that this bill promises could become a reality and this House could spend its time working on the many other priorities that we all need time to debate.


    Mr. Speaker, I absolutely love the question from my colleague. I wish I could expedite this and others. I wish I had that power in me, but I am only one of 300-some parliamentarians in this wonderful House of Commons.
    For my part, I will do whatever it takes to ensure that we have a speedier resolution to this. From hearing members from different caucuses, it appears there is substantial agreement on this bill. I do look forward to it proceeding.
    Should unanimous consent be something that all members want, I am sure the whips could work on that very quickly.
    Mr. Speaker, the last member asked the question that was on my mind.
     In the course of the debate this morning, I certainly heard the hon. member for Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke say out loud that we should get this bill passed quickly.
    As we approach the end of a session, I do not know why we hold the whip over ourselves as though we do not get summer vacation and it would be so bad if we stayed and worked. That is something we are supposed to do, stay and work. Let us use the end of June momentum to suggest that Bill C-9 should get unanimous consent to pass it expeditiously this week.
    Mr. Speaker, I definitely agree with the hon. member. Whatever I could do as one parliamentarian in this House, I would be happy to do to get unanimous consent to move this forward.


    Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today to support Bill C-9, an act to amend the Judges Act.
    This bill proposes to overhaul a process that is essential to maintaining public confidence in our justice system, namely the mechanisms used for examining allegations of judicial misconduct.
    If there is one class of legislation that everyone in the House should be able to agree on unanimously, it is laws having to do with our justice system.


    In the time I have been in the House, I have been really pleased to see the non-partisan ways that members have been able to work together on justice-related issues on many occasions. I am going to outline one that just happened last week.
    My hon. colleague from St. Albert—Edmonton proposed a private member's bill to carve out an exception to allow jurors to speak to mental health professionals about what happened during the time they were in deliberations. Up until now, the Criminal Code has prohibited jurors from doing so, thus creating a problem where a juror who is profoundly affected by what happens in deliberations is unable to speak about it to somebody who can counsel them on their mental health.
    At the justice committee, we heard from jurors. We put forward a package of recommendations in the 42nd Parliament related to how we should improve the lives of jurors. My colleague from St. Albert—Edmonton worked with a colleague in the Senate. They put this forward in both Houses and were able to secure the unanimous adoption of a bill that will profoundly change the life of jurors. That is the way we should do things in this House more frequently.
    This bill is another excellent example of where there has been profound collegiality. There has been a lot of consultation and there is a general consensus that we should move forward. I echo the comments of my dear friend from Saanich—Gulf Islands that we should find a way to pass this before we have any type of summer break.
    That being said, one of the things that I think is really important in this country is the respect for our institutions. We have wonderful federal judges who have been appointed in this country, people of great distinction in their field. When people go before the courts, they need to have confidence that the judges are impartial and fair and that judges have the ability to fairly adjudicate their case. This means we need a process that the public can trust for judges who are accused of misconduct.
    There are things in this country we should not question. We should not be questioning the central bank. We should not be questioning the justice system. We should have profound confidence in these national institutions no matter our party or our political leanings. Therefore, it is up to us as parliamentarians to create laws that provide that confidence. This bill does that in three essential ways.
     On the first point, I am going to use the example my friend from Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke used earlier, of when a judge is photographed between the time the judge finishes judging a case and the opinion is published and there is a picture of the judge with a group of people who are a party to the case. That does not necessarily warrant that judge's removal from office for life and an act of both Houses of Parliament to remove the judge. Right now, there are no sanctions below removal that are available to the Canadian Judicial Council. This bill offers us alternatives such as training, an apology in public and other things a judge can do to excuse behaviour that does not rise to the level of warranting removal.
    Second, we have seen a misuse of the system. There are judges who have been accused, but there have been very few because our judges are a very distinguished, excellent group of people. I do not want anything I say in this speech to be considered a slap in the face to the federal judiciary which is made up of excellent people. There are always some people who are alleged to have committed and do commit some misconduct. The idea that people can tie this up in knots for years and years with appeal after appeal until they are able to get their pension does not make any sense.



    I am very pleased that we now have a process with a panel of three to five people to start, if the relationship is extremely troubling, and that its decision can be appealed directly to the Supreme Court of Canada. There will be no appeals to the Federal Court or the Federal Court of Appeal. The process will be much faster, and I believe that this is very important.
    There is something else that is important, and that is transparency. At present, the Canadian Judicial Council is not required to prepare an annual report of all complaints submitted. It will now be required to disclose annually that it has received such complaints and to explain how they were addressed. That is also important for transparency.


    I would also like to mention that there has been a lot of discussion in the House about the importance of the rights of victims. Let me say that when it comes to all parties and every parliamentarian, there is a profound respect for the rights of victims and the need for victims to feel they were fairly served by the justice system. It is very important to respect the rights of the criminal defendant, but it is also important to make sure victims are considered throughout the process.
    This process that would be in place would be a faster process. This means people who were alleged to be victims of misconduct would have their final decision much faster than they would otherwise have had it. That also is important.
    I am going to sort of make a clarion call. Especially at the end of the session, there is often a lot of partisanship and anger shown, but as a group, we can do so much good. I know this from experience, having worked with Conservative colleagues, like my friend from Sarnia—Lambton, and my colleagues in the NDP. I have worked often with the member for Edmonton Strathcona, as well as my friend from Saanich—Gulf Islands and members of the Bloc.


    We all worked together to do constructive things. If we use the next week to pass bills we agree are constructive, I believe that we will accomplish a lot. I am therefore asking my colleagues in the House to work together to find a way to pass this bill before the end of June. I believe that it would be a great thing for Canadians.


    This would allow us to show Canadians, who are discouraged when they see the acrimony floating around, that parliamentarians really can work together and accomplish things. I think that confidence in our national institutions is so important to restore.


    Mr. Speaker, I was glad to hear the member talk about victims. Of course, that is some of the premise of this bill.
    I want to ask him a question on the topic of victims. The position of Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime is still vacant. That position has been vacant now for approximately nine months, so someone to speak up for victims and hear their voices is not at the table.
    I am wondering if the member has any thoughts on that and if he can provide us any information today as to when that position might be filled.
    Mr. Speaker, I cannot provide any information as to when the position will be filled, as I am not involved in that process. I can say that I share the view of my colleague that it is very important to protect the rights of victims of crime, and I am certainly hoping the position will be filled at the nearest possible opportunity.


    Mr. Speaker, as my hon. colleague likely knows, we agree on the principle of the bill. I completely agree that it is crucial that people be able to trust their justice system.
    We have heard all kinds of allegations, especially regarding the judicial appointment process. We have heard about the Liberalist database and the possibility of political interference in appointing judges.
    Does my colleague think the government should review the judicial appointment process sometime soon?
    Mr. Speaker, that is an excellent question from my friend from La Pointe-de-l'Île.
    We made some great changes to the process following the 2015 election. We created regional committees made up of Canadian Bar Association members and people who know the community and can tell the Department of Justice whether or not a person is qualified before their name is put on the judicial appointment list.
    I followed the process launched in western Quebec, and I am very pleased that the Minister of Justice can now only appoint people who are on the lists approved by these committees. That said, the process can always be improved.


    Mr. Speaker, I always learn a great deal listening to my colleague and have enjoyed working in this place with him.
    I agree with him that, when we stand here and listen to speeches from all members in this place, we hear the total agreement on moving this piece of legislation forward. What other things would he suggest we could do to encourage this bill to go forward as quickly as possible? Would he be willing, as a member of the government, to bring forward a unanimous consent motion so we could push this bill forward and give people the confidence that this Parliament can get things done?
    Mr. Speaker, I would certainly support a unanimous consent motion. Right now, it is up to all of us to speak to our House leaders and make sure they can agree to that. Maybe after question period, we will all be delighted to see one.


    Again, we should all go and speak with our respective House leaders in the next few hours.


    Mr. Speaker, the member opposite always does a great job on his speeches and, with his experience in the past, he always gives good detail.
    I did like hearing that there are measures in this bill, other than just getting rid of a judge, that would address issues at a lower level. There are things like training and apologies in public. I wonder if the member could elaborate on the whole suite of options that are available there.
    Mr. Speaker, as the first female engineer elected to Parliament, my hon. colleague comes from private industry, as I do. Therefore, she knows that it would be ludicrous for the human resources department to be limited to firing an employee for any type of misconduct they happen to engage in at work. There is a whole gradation of potential sanctions ranging from a verbal warning to a written warning to suspension to an apology to training, which is obviously very important training. Now, instead of having to just remove a judge, there would be a three-member panel that would be able to recommend multiple options for a judge who has committed a lesser offence.


    Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Peace River—Westlock.
    It is a pleasure to rise to speak to Bill C-9, which is an act that would create a complaint mechanism for judges. We have certainly heard from all sides today that everyone thinks this is a great idea. This is not to say judges do not do a good job, because we know we have great judges in this country who work hard, but as with any career discipline, there is always the odd thing going on that is not good.
    I remember when I was the chair of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women we talked about some of the things that were happening. In one sexual assault case, a judge actually asked the complainant, “Why couldn’t you just keep your knees together?” In another sexual assault case, another judge said, “she was drunk” in the taxi.
    Rona Ambrose brought forward Bill C-337 to try to get at this issue of judges who do not have experience in sexual assault presiding over those cases. Although that bill unfortunately did not make it through under her private member's bill, the government brought it back, and we passed it earlier in the session. This would offer judges training, and in fact, it would offer lawyers who want to be judges training as well. That is the kind of remedy we want to see.
    I was very pleased to hear the member for Mount Royal, who just spoke, talk about what this bill would allow. Other than just the extreme option of getting rid of a judge for whatever behaviour was complained about, there is a whole realm of possibilities, including verbal warnings, letter warnings, public apologies, training and multiple other options. This is something very good about this bill.
    I do have a concern about the state of judges in our country since the Liberal government was elected. I started in 2015, and at that time we were missing I think 60 judges who needed to be appointed. Because of that, and because the Jordan decision, there were numerous examples of murderers and rapists who went free because there were not enough judges to handle the workload in a timely fashion.
    There was an attempt made to put in a process. The government wanted to increase the diversity of the judges being selected, which is great, because one of the things that will make for a healthier democracy and rule of law is to have diverse thought and diverse representation of the population.
    Unfortunately, what happened is the government used the Liberal fundraising database to figure out which judges should be picked from the lawyer pool. There were also fundraisers going on with the minister of justice at the time, which caused a big scandal because lawyers were paying $500 to meet her, and they all wanted to become judges. We know that is certainly not in keeping with conflict of interest rules in the House. The scandal went on for quite a while.
    It is important to have diversity of thought with judges so they can check one another. If people are all in a group and they think together, it can be a bad thing. We have seen some of the Supreme Court decisions that came out recently that have caused concern across the country, such as the one that says, if a person is intoxicated, it could be a defence for murder, sexual assault, etc. Canadians in general would reject that and say no. The person is the one who chose to keep drinking or doing drugs until they became that intoxicated, and there needs to be an ownership of the behaviour. Those judges all together did not have enough diversity of thought for somebody to say that decision might not be a good thing.
    I would suggest, from a Conservative perspective, that when somebody has killed multiple people, consecutive sentencing gave a lot of comfort to victims. The Supreme Court decision on that is another example. Parliament has a duty to review those decisions and have the discussions about whether that is really where we want to go on those topics. The whole purpose of having judges is that they are the executors of the rule of law in our nation.


    I am very concerned that, in the last seven years, we are not seeing more rule of law. We are seeing more people committing crimes. The crime rates are increasing, including gun crime and violent crime. However, when I look at the response from the government, it looks like we are seeing a continual erosion of the rule of law.
    The member who spoke previously mentioned that I am the first female engineer in the House, and we have an expression in the engineering world about a frog in a pot. Gradually the temperature in the pot increases until eventually we boil the frog, but the frog is not able to sense that the temperature is going up because it is so incremental. I would argue, with respect to the rule of law in Canada, the temperature is going up.
    We had Bill C-75, which reduced the sentencing to fines or less than two years of time in jail for crimes such as abduction of a person under the age of 16, abduction of a person under the age of 14, arson for fraudulent purposes, marriage under 16 and participation in the activity of a terrorist group. There are a number of offences there, and I did not see the justification for that. We have heard from police chiefs that, although in some cases they agreed, in many cases there are serious crimes happening that now have only a slap on the wrist, which is not sending the right message about the rule of law and the importance of it.
    In this parliamentary session, we now have Bill C-5 coming forward, which would remove mandatory minimums on robbery with a firearm; extortion with a firearm; discharging a firearm with intent; using a firearm in the commission of offences; trafficking or possession for the purpose of trafficking; importing, exporting, or possession of serious drugs; and production of these serious drugs, which are killing thousands of Canadians. Also, Bill C-5 would allow some of these sentences to be put down to house arrest, including that of sexual assault.
    Somebody could victimize someone in their community and then serve the time there. I do not think that is something that we should leave to the discretion of judges, when we have seen in the past a judge ask, “couldn't you just keep your knees together?” There is a naivete if we think we can leave it to chance. Yes, in the majority of cases, judges will judge with wisdom, but it is the every now and again that we want to prevent and what our laws should prevent.
    Abduction of a person under 14 could become a house arrest sentence. This is unbelievable. We have a huge human trafficking issue in this country, and this not only sends the wrong message, but it is also not going to fix things because, when people are left with a potential house arrest, those who are committing crimes can commit them out of their house. It is the same thing for someone trafficking drugs who gets house arrest. How convenient is that for people to stop by and pick up drugs?
    These things make no sense to me, and so I am very concerned when I look at the erosion of our rule of law. At the same time, there is an erosion of protection for victims. We had Bill C-28 in the previous Parliament on victim surcharge. It used to be that there was some recompense made for victims who had suffered and had to travel distances to go to parole hearings and that kind of thing, but that was taken away.
    This is a soft-on-crime government, and while I support Bill C-9 because when judges do not get it right we need to fix that, but I am very concerned that we are having this continual erosion of the rule of law. We have heard many speeches in the House that have said that there is a high rate of reoffending. People are committing crimes, getting out, committing them again and being put back in, and there really is no rehabilitation happening. That is not to say that there should not be, but the situation today is that there is not. If we know that people are going to reoffend and go out on the street, we have to protect the public, and we have a duty to do that.
    The mechanism in the bill is to make sure that judges are doing their due diligence. We would have mechanisms, not just an extreme one, but progressions, that would allow us to take corrective action and manage the judicial system to ensure its integrity. This will preserve the rule of law, although the concerns I have expressed do remain.


    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague, and I want to go back to some of the comments she made at the beginning of her speech.
    We have seen some horrific judgements that women who suffered sexual assault have faced in the courts, with judges who have had some horrific opinions, not judgements but opinions, on the women. However, Rona Ambrose did come forward about the need to have judges properly trained so they actually understood these files in reference to sexual assault and abuse against women.
    I would ask my hon. colleague if she feels that the mechanisms within the bill would allow us to address some of the serious problems we have with judges who just do not understand the sexual assault culture facing women.
    Mr. Speaker, the reality is that the bill that Rona Ambrose brought forward had training as the main measure, training so that judges would understand sexual assault.
    With Bill C-9, we actually have a plethora of things that can be done to match the severity of the situation, whether it was an idle comment or a photograph that was taken prior to the sentence being made public. I think there is enough flexibility in this bill, and that is always going to be better. We do not want someone to be fired on a first offence, but we want to make sure there are a suite of actions that can be taken so that the punishment essentially fits the crime.
    Mr. Speaker, one of the things my colleague talked about was the erosion of the rule of law at the same time as the erosion of the protection of victims. We have seen, time and again, a real soft-on-crime approach by the Liberal government.
    I want to bring this to her attention. In my community of Kelowna—Lake Country, the City of Kelowna just released a report, a couple of weeks ago, called “Community Confidence in Justice: Advocacy Paper”. It talks about the increase in crime in our community, and it has a number of different suggestions and advocacy on protecting the public and moving forward with different policy ideas and guidelines.
    Is the member seeing a similar increase in crime where she is from, such that we really need to look at both the rule of law and the protection of victims in her community as well?
    Mr. Speaker, I am very sad to report that Sarnia—Lambton has the same homicide rate as Toronto. This is something that has escalated. When I first moved there, it was rare to hear of a murder in Sarnia—Lambton. We have had multiple murders already this year, and it is related to the drug trade.
    That is why I am specifically concerned that we are bringing forward bills in this House that would allow drug traffickers and people who produce drugs to maybe get a house arrest. We already have a revolving door and police officers are tearing their hair out. They risk their lives and these people are arrested, and then they are out on the streets, sometimes the same day, in my community.
    We do not understand why the judges are making those calls. Obviously, the Criminal Code does give them sway to put these people away. I understand that in many cases it is about mental health or addiction, but we do not have any long-term recovery beds. We do not have enough treatment. I do not know when we are going to start putting the treatment in place, so that we can start treating the addictions and the root cause of the trauma, instead of having these revolving doors that result in violence in our communities.
    Mr. Speaker, the member made reference at the beginning of her comments to appointments and the fact that she did not feel we were appointing judges fast enough and it was causing murderers to go free. I am wondering if she could cite any individuals who committed murder and actually went free because of not having a judge in place.
    Mr. Speaker, that was at the time when Jody Wilson-Raybould was the justice minister. I remember one member specifically, and there are records in Hansard. I would encourage people to go back and look at Hansard because there were specific cases cited, rape cases and murder cases, where people did go free due to Jordan's principle at that time.


    Mr. Speaker, I join with my colleagues in discussing Bill C-9 today. I am appreciative of the bill and the fact that it would grant the premise that we have been advocating for a very long time, and that Liberals have been arguing against for a very long time, that judges need to be held accountable. There needs to be a remedy for egregious actions on the part of judges.
    I believe in the fallen nature of man and that the dividing line between good and evil runs through the heart of a person. I do not think anybody is above doing wrong or evil things, and we must all fight against that all the time. That stands for everybody, including judges. Judges can get it wrong and sometimes do evil things. Those things happen in the fallen world we live in. For that reason, there need to be accountability mechanisms for all individuals.
    Accountability is baked into many of the things we do. It is baked into democracy and there are the checks and balances of democracy. In this place, we have one of the most obvious checks and balances, which is the vote when it comes to getting re-elected or being elected. We run on our record and on what we plan to do, and that is an accountability mechanism. That is being accountable to the people back home.
    There are other checks and balances in our system. We have the Constitution, and all the laws we bring in this place must be checked against our Constitution, making sure that individual freedoms and liberties are maintained. We have provincial jurisdiction and federal jurisdiction, and both of those are guarded jealously. That is one of the checks and balances in our system. Then we have a thing called judicial independence, where politicians and the political sphere are not supposed to influence judges, so to speak. However, every now and then judges will have personal failures, where whatever they have done is beyond the pale of public activity and they would be deemed unfit to be judges any longer. This bill puts out a mechanism in order to deal with that.
    I will read some of the reasons for removal that this bill lays out: “(a) infirmity; (b) misconduct; (c) failure in the due execution of judicial office; (d) the judge is in a position that a reasonable, fair-minded and informed observer would consider to be incompatible with the due execution of judicial office.” I think this is a fair bill, and it would put in place a due process for the removal of judges from their position.
    As I said earlier, I am appreciative of this bill because it grants the premise that judges need to be held accountable. I do not know about others, but where I come from there is a growing dissatisfaction or mistrust, or “lack of confidence” is probably the best term, for folks back home around the judicial system and holding criminals to account. We are starting to see this spill over into urban areas, where criminals operate with impunity. They steal things in broad daylight and commit acts of violence in broad daylight, disobeying the law in general and violating local communities. In rural Canada, theft is a real challenge, and it is somewhat a crime of opportunity. Where I live, the police getting to my door is a matter of perhaps hours, so criminals can do their criminal activity and be long gone before the police show up.


    While I think this bill is an important starting piece, there is an entire sentiment that the current Liberal government drives, which starts perhaps with its tacit support of the “Defund the Police” movement, but also this general idea that the justice system will allow people to get out of jail more easily and will not penalize people. These kinds of things, which we often hear from the government, have led to the police not being able to make arrests, and when they do make arrests they are not able to get convictions, which becomes a major challenge. It demoralizes the police, the lack of political support from movements like “Defund the Police”. It undermines the political support police think they have.
    They know that if they are going to pursue criminals, they need to have public support for their actions, and we are seeing more and more the police telling folks that they probably will not get a conviction or that they will have to go through all that effort and the criminal would be back out in six months. If what is missing from the victim's place is a small thing, they are not going to put the resources toward that, because they have a major case they are working on and they are diverting the resources to that, as they are likely to get a conviction there. Individuals' lives are devastated. When people come home to find that their fridge, washing machine and dishwasher are missing, that basically all of the appliances in their house have been stolen, it is a violating thing. To have somebody come into their house and steal things like that is unnerving. Perhaps it is not a great monetary loss, but it is extremely disconcerting for the folks who are missing those things.
    Pollsters will track this kind of thing, the trust in our institutions, and generally Canadians' trust has been going down over the last seven years. We saw that under Conservative governments, trust in institutions, trust that institutions were doing what people expected them to do, was going up. Now we have seen a dramatic decrease in the trust in institutions, which bears itself out in two ways. One is that now people do not even call the police when their stuff goes missing. I hear that over and over again. People say that the police cannot do anything about it and therefore they do not even call. The other side of the coin is that criminals operate with increasingly brazen activity. We saw it in Calgary recently: two cars blazing down the road, shooting at each other while driving down the road, with no apparent fear that the police would show up, apprehend them and put an end to this firefight. It ended in the tragic death of a mother of five. That was in Calgary, just recently.
    Folks will now come into rural yards and start stealing things. When the homeowner shows up and asks what they are doing, they say they are stealing things. He says, “I am standing right here”, and they just say, “What are you going to do about it?” We have that increasingly. We have just brazen activity by criminals because they see the lack of the system's ability to hold them to account, and therefore operate with complete impunity and brazenness that we have never seen before.
    I would say that in my own life, I have witnessed the deterioration of trust in the community, trust in general. When I was growing up in my community, no one had a chain-link fence, no one had a gate at the end of the driveway, but these sorts of things are more and more common.
     I lay this at the feet of the current government and the fact that it does not take this seriously. It does not provide the political support and tacitly supports movements like “Defund the Police”, which undermines our way of life, our quality of life and our ability to live peacefully in this country, and has led to a deterioration of the interactions we have as a society.
    I look forward to questions on this.


    Mr. Speaker, I want to continue with the theme of what we have been hearing about this piece of legislation, Bill C-9. There seems to be broad support for it. It seems to be something that would be a good step forward at least. Everybody agrees on that.
    It has had a tortured history. I would say the government has been rather inept at bringing this measure forward, but now that it is here before us and we are facing the end of the parliamentary session at the end of the month, I am wondering if the member would comment on the possibility of moving this bill forward quickly, perhaps even with unanimous consent, so that we could get on to some of the more important issues facing us here.
    Mr. Speaker, I am in favour of moving this bill along quickly, although I am not in favour of shortcutting the process.
    I have experienced that in this place. I have seen bills moved forward very quickly, only to have groups come forward later on, saying they never had the opportunity to present at committee and that they had an amendment they thought was needed for that particular bill, but because the system was short-circuited, they never got to present the amendment. Those amendments never did come forward, and then we had to put forward a private member's bill, new legislation, in order to amend that piece of legislation.
    While I am hopeful that this bill will pass and pass soon, we should not be pushing it too fast, because Canadians will want to weigh in. We need to have the ability for the bill in front of us to be brought up in Canadian awareness and get feedback from civil society and all Canadians.
    I look forward to having this bill at committee and to hearing from Canadians on what they have to say about it.
    Mr. Speaker, I normally do not want to see bills rushed through this place. The hon. member for Peace River—Westlock may know that I supported the Conservative vote on not rushing Bill C-11 through in the way that it was rushed through earlier this week.
    However, in this case, this bill has had an unusual course. In the last Parliament, it actually started on the Senate side, so it has already been studied in the Senate. On top of that, of course, there were deep consultations with the Canadian Bar Association and others in developing the legislation. On many issues, Canadians are inadequately consulted, but maybe if it does come forward, I would hope that we do find a way to move it quickly, because it should have been passed probably about five years ago, if not 15 years ago.
    Mr. Speaker, I would note that we are still waiting on a Canadian Bar Association response to this particular legislation. I know that I am looking forward to their response in particular. In that regard, I would say I think we have to bring this bill to committee.
    However, I want to reiterate I am very appreciative that this bill grants the premise that there needs to be judge accountability in this country. I would say that the bill is a very good start in keeping judges accountable for their conduct. I also look forward to having discussions with colleagues around bringing forward some other level of judicial accountability for judgments that do take place. I know we have the notwithstanding clause, and that has been and continues to be a decent check on judgments that we get from judges. I look forward to continuing those discussions with my colleagues in this place.
    Mr. Speaker, the member had spoken about Canadians losing trust in their institutions. One example we could look at is the CMHC, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Canada's national housing agency. It has one single reason for existence, and that is to make housing more affordable for everyone in Canada. Of course, it has failed miserably in that regard.
    We also know that through the justice system, we have a revolving door. Legislation like this that we see here today, and also the private member's bill that I tabled this week dealing with addiction treatment in penitentiaries, could help with the revolving door. Could the member comment on those types of initiatives, and whether they could help with restoring confidence in our justice system?


    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Kelowna—Lake Country for her advocacy around addictions. I know that is likely where a lot of the issues that we face in this country come from, so we have to work to ensure that we have a society that can treat addiction and does not just put addicted people on palliative care and basically say we will provide them with the drugs they need rather than trying to end those addictions and bring forward a country that is positive and hopeful.
    Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to be able to address the House virtually today.
    There are a number of thoughts that I would like to share with respect to this piece of legislation. It is legislation that has been in the works for a considerable amount of time. As much as I have been enjoying some of the questions and answers, especially when the Conservatives are being pushed as to when they are going to look at it or whether they would consider the passage of the legislation. Just given the context of what the official opposition members are saying, I do not anticipate that the bill will be passing before summer. I think the Conservatives have some spin notes that they want to try to leave on this particular legislation.
    The biggest one that comes to my mind is the issue of “soft on crime”. It is especially members of the Conservative hard-right element who like to say that they are much harder on crime, that government needs to be tough on crime and that if it is not a Conservative government, it is soft on crime. Whether it makes sense or not, that is the line that the Conservatives like to give because of public perception.
    That said, the bill will pass when it will pass, ultimately. I am hopeful that, as we can sense, the majority of the House see the value in Bill C-9, because it is something that is needed.
    I want to start by making a couple of observations from some of the stakeholders. I want to do that this time around because I really do respect our judicial system as one of the fundamental pillars of our democracy. Our rule of law, our judicial system and the idea of independence are held dear by, I would like to think, all members of the House.
     For that reason, I thought it was important to start off with a quote. It is from the Right Hon. Richard Wagner, Chief Justice of Canada and chairperson of the Canadian Judicial Council. He stated:
     Over the past few years, the Council has consistently called for new legislation to be tabled in order to improve the process by which concerns about judicial conduct are reviewed. The efforts of members of Council to develop proposals in this regard have been fruitful, and we appreciate the openness with which the Minister of Justice has engaged the Council in his consultations.
    I will go to another quote from the Canadian Judicial Council. It states:
     While the Council will take some time to carefully review the proposed amendments, we are confident that these reforms will bring about much needed efficiency and transparency to the judicial conduct review process.
    I wanted to start with those opening quotes because of the respect that I have for judicial independence. I also recognize that there has been a great deal of work, whether by the minister or by administration or by civil servants. They have worked very closely with the many different stakeholders while at the same time respecting the importance of judicial independence. That is why, when I look at the legislation—and I concur with some of the comments being made by my New Democratic Party colleagues and Green Party members, who seem to support the legislation and its speedy passage—I would like to think that the bill itself should not be controversial. It is actually fairly straightforward. There will be other opportunities for the opposition members to try to score their political points, if I could put it that way.
     I do think there would have been a great deal of value in seeing Bill C-9 at least pass through second reading so that it could go to committee stage, possibly during the summer, when feedback could be heard from the public and experts, with the idea of coming back in the fall for report stage and third reading.


    The Conservative members who spoke before me were interesting. I picked up on two comments; one was the issue of “soft on crime”, which I have already referenced and maybe will go into a little more later, but they also brought up the issue of appointments of judges. I was somewhat taken aback by some of the comments that were put on the record.
    We were being criticized because we did not make appointments shortly after being elected into government, as we were reviewing and establishing a more independent, apolitical, transparent appointment process to ensure that our judicial system would be that much more transparent. Yes, there might have been some delays in those appointments, but they were taking the extreme position that murderers went free because of some delays in appointments. I would welcome and challenge the Conservative members to cite specific examples of someone who not only allegedly murdered but did murder an individual and ultimately, because they could not get a day in court, were let go without any charges being laid in that situation. I would be very much interested in a name. If they could provide me with one, they can always send it to my P9 email or raise it inside the House.
    The member went on to talk about Jody Wilson-Raybould, being very critical of her for not making appointments and implying in the comments that she would only make an appointment if the person donated to the party. Again, those were very extreme statements being made by the Conservative Party. It is not fair. It is interesting how they seem to have forgiven the past—at least, most of the Conservative caucus has—in regard to Jody Wilson-Raybould, but I remember the allegations a number of years ago on that front.
    It is important to look at the appointments that have actually been made. The government has made somewhere in the neighbourhood of 400 appointments since 2016. If we do the comparison, I would love to hear the numbers from the previous administration. When it comes to this administration, out of the hundreds of appointments to our judicial system, 55% have been women. I would love to hear a comparison with the previous 10 years under Stephen Harper.
    About 3% of our appointments, or marginally just above that, were indigenous. That is important to recognize. Over 10% are visible minorities. The LGBTQ2 appointments are over 5%. Not only are we identifying ideal, competent, incredible individuals, but as a result of a more transparent, depoliticized appointment process, I believe that overall the appointments are more effective in better reflecting what our society looks like today.


    On both of those points, whether it is judges and the appointment of judges or the issue of the Conservatives being soft on crime and saying the government is not tough enough on crime, I would challenge the Conservatives to prove their points, not necessarily on this legislation, but on other pieces of legislation so we can ultimately see Bill C-9 pass.
    It is important to recognize that we do need to see a balance. We have the fundamental pillar of our judicial independence and it is important there be a high level of confidence held by the public in the administration of justice. I believe the legislation we are looking at deals with that in a very fair fashion.
    The amendments will ultimately allow for the Canadian Judicial Council to continue to preside over the process proposed in the legislation. This would start with a three-person review panel ultimately deciding to investigate a complaint of misconduct. In some situations, if the complaint is serious enough, it might even warrant dismissal or removal from the bench. In situations like that, it could be referred to a separate five-person panel.
    In the first case, it would be strictly a three-person review panel made up of CJC members. A judge and a layperson could impose sanctions such as public apologies and continuing education.
    The current process has turned out, in many ways, to be exceptionally costly at times, and equally as important, it is not very timely. We have seen situations where it could take years before anything is actually concluded.
    That is the reason our judicial system is saying that we need to make changes. Today, judges facing possible removal from office because of serious allegations of misconduct have several opportunities throughout the process to launch these judicial reviews. However, as I indicated, the process in some cases can be too long and can be at a fairly significant cost.
    Replacing the process through which the Canadian Judicial Council reviews the conduct of a federally appointed judge is the essence of what the legislation is proposing to do. It establishes a new process for reviewing allegations of misconduct that are not serious enough to warrant a judge's removal from office and makes changes to the process by which recommendations regarding removal from office can be made by the Minister of Justice.
    The new process would allow for the imposition of sanctions for misconduct which, while not serious enough to warrant removal, may warrant sanctions that are quite different. The current process does not allow for such sanctions. The member for Mount Royal highlighted some examples. Where a judge's actions have been deemed to have offended something and there needs to be a consequence for the actions, there are more opportunities for different types of consequences.


    We could see anything ranging from verbal warnings to written warnings, to suspensions or public apologies. We could even see additional training being required, and ultimately, of course, judges being released. This legislation enables a suite of actions that could be imposed on a judge, given a certain behaviour or comment that is made publicly.
    Not only have we heard today, but we have also heard it in the past. We have had private members' bills. I think of Rona Ambrose. She talked about educating judges, particularly in the area of rape victims. Her piece of legislation ultimately received support from all areas of the House. Parliamentarians from all political stripes recognized the need to have some form of educational programming for newly appointed judges to take things into consideration. In fact, my daughter, who is a local representative in the province of Manitoba, had also taken that particular initiative after hearing about what Rona Ambrose had done.
    Ultimately, the government pushed that legislation through in the years that followed after Ms. Ambrose left the House of Commons, but we attribute it to Rona and we attribute it to the fact that there is a universal desire for that training.
    It was not that long ago when we had another private member's bill, one from one of my colleagues from Montreal. There was a great deal of effort by members on all sides of the House to see that legislation, Bill C-233, which is still before the House today, pass second reading and go to committee. It came out of third reading because of that desire.
    For those who are not familiar, Ms. Ambrose's piece of legislation is recognized as Keira's law for good reason. I will quote from an article, “When I brought forward the evidence about abuse of Mr. Brown, we had a judge, for example, who said that domestic violence is not relevant to parenting and, 'I'm going to ignore it.'”
    Periodically statements come out of our judicial system that call into question the public confidence. That is one of the reasons it is so important that we pass this legislation. It recognizes that our independent judicial system and our judges, who we do need to respect, can make mistakes. Obviously, a vast majority of judgments are done in a way in which they meet the expectations of Canadians, but on occasion, when that does not happen, there needs to be a more effective mechanism to ensure there is an appropriate consequence. This legislation would enable some variation of consequences for judges, at times, who cross the line.
    I have appreciated the opportunity to share a few thoughts and will be more than happy to answer any questions.


    Mr. Speaker, one of the important changes in the legislation is the inclusion of the review and hearing panel system. I was wondering if the member could tell everyone what the difference between a review and a hearing panel is.
    Mr. Speaker, I would emphasize that one of the aspects of the legislation that I do like is that we are finally going to be seeing a layperson as part of the process. Having that put into place is quite important and is an important aspect of the legislation.
    I am not as confident in giving the type of detailed answer the member is specifically looking for.


    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Winnipeg North for his speech. His ability to speak in depth on so many diverse topics will never cease to amaze me. I have sincere respect for his work and the way he carries it out.
    That said, why is it so urgent for the government to act on Bill C‑9 at this time?
    Given all the other urgent issues that the government should feel are priorities, particularly inflation, why is Bill C‑9 being dealt with at this time?


    Mr. Speaker, the problem with the House of Commons is there is never enough time to have the types of debates that we would like to have on everything that comes before us. That is why we often have to sit beyond our normal sitting hours.
    The Government of Canada has a legislative agenda. It also has budgetary measures. When we put them together and look at the priorities of the government, whether it is the pandemic or inflation, as we are all concerned about, all of these public policy issues continue to move forward, led by the Prime Minister and the cabinet.
    At the end of the day, a well-functioning government has the ability to deal with a wide variety of issues, always keeping our focus on the issues that are most important to Canadians. It does not necessarily mean that we just let Bill C-9 go nowhere. It is an important piece of legislation. We have been provided this opportunity to bring in Bill C-9 because of a collapse in debate last night.
     We have not lost any focus on what the important issues are for Canadians in particular, whether it is the pandemic, the war in Europe or inflation, which are all matters of great concern.
    Mr. Speaker, I have heard it said that the most valuable commodity in this place is time, and here we are debating a bill for several hours. I have been here for most of it and heard a fair bit of repetition, but also some strong agreement that we want to move this forward. I wonder whether my colleague knows if there have been conversations about moving this bill forward by unanimous consent. We have seen that done before. Even on contentious issues, such as conversion therapy, we have managed to expedite the process.
    In the interest of moving on to issues that really require more debate than something that was debated in the previous Parliament, I would ask my colleague if he has made an effort within his party to expedite this process.


    Mr. Speaker, as much as I do enjoy being engaged in debate on the floor of the House of Commons, I would have been more than happy to surrender my time to debate if I had a sense that we could actually pass the legislation at second reading so that it could go before a committee.
    However, over the last number of months, I have seen the behaviour of members of the official opposition in particular. It seems they have taken the position that unless a bill is under time allocation, we can anticipate a long debate on virtually all pieces of legislation.
    Maybe I am being a little unfair to my Conservative colleagues, but I firmly believe that if the Conservatives wanted this bill to pass, we would be very much open to having it pass second reading, at the very least, so that it could begin committee stage.
    Mr. Speaker, the member for Winnipeg North mentioned a few times the disconnect between what we see the Conservatives do and what we hear the Conservatives talk about. These are things like being soft on crime, when the Conservatives are supporting illegal blockades and the Liberal Party is working to bring in better law enforcement.
    We have gone a long way since the patronage appointments of Stephen Harper. I am thinking of Vic Toews: Less than a year out of cabinet, he was appointed to the Court of Queen's Bench in Manitoba by Stephen Harper. Now, we are doing an independent review of appointments of judges.
    Could the member comment on how far we have moved things along to restore the public trust in our judicial system, and how Bill C-9 will help us to go even further?
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question, but I am reflecting more on some of the other comments the member made reference to. He talked about Liberals being soft on crime. Not that long ago, on Wellington Street, which was open at the time and has not opened since, a rally took place that shut down downtown Ottawa due to all the activities that were taking place. The Conservative Party of Canada members, like the member for Carleton, were doing very little, if anything, and maybe even encouraging the occupation to continue. On the other hand, they say we are the ones who are soft on crime. That is a side issue that I wanted to throw in.
    Bill C-9 is the reason I started by quoting the chief justice, who recognizes that there is a need for us to change the system. They are very much following the legislation. This is not something that was done overnight. It has taken a while. We believe we got it right, and that is why I say we should send it to committee if there need to be some changes. It would reinforce public confidence, which is what the member is getting at in his question. We want to reinforce public confidence in our judicial system because unfortunately, at times and in a limited number of cases, a judge will say the wrong thing and it is likely because something inside needs to be changed, maybe through an educational program or something of that nature.
    We have recognized it in the past. Let us recognize it today and see if we can get the legislation passed.


    Mr. Speaker, throughout the discussion, I have heard from the other side the importance of moving through this legislation with due dispatch. However, it is also important to have due diligence. The last time I asked a substantive question, I did not get an answer, so I am going to attempt another substantive question just to prove once again that even the government does not know what it is passing.
    Can the member comment on the difference between the executive director screening it versus a designated officer?
    Mr. Speaker, the member went into the legislation and picked something out. What we are debating at second reading is the principle of the legislation. If we agree on the principle of the legislation, then we send it to committee. In committee, there will be all sorts of opportunities to get the detailed answers that the member is specifically looking for. If he wants an answer before it goes to committee, the minister is right across the aisle from him. He can drop him a note or raise it with the parliamentary secretary, who has already spoken on the issue.
    The principle of the legislation is good, solid, sound and necessary, and it will help put more public confidence in our judicial system. Why would the member not recognize it for what it is and allow the legislation to pass, at the very least, so we can get it to committee?
    I will have to cut off the next speaker about five minutes into his speech for Statements by Members.
    Resuming debate, the hon. member for Northumberland—Peterborough South.
    Mr. Speaker, I am actually going to go through the substance of this bill. I agree with many parts of it. I would say this is one of the least contentious pieces of legislation that we will go through and that we have discussed. However, I do believe that our job, for which we are very well compensated by Canadian taxpayers, is to make sure we understand any legislation that goes through the chamber as it will all have an impact our country. After all, that is why we were sent here by our constituents and that is why we are paid by the taxpayers.
    Some members of the government party do not seem to have a substantive grasp of this, as my last two questions pointed out. They were unable to answer even simple questions over the substance of this legislation.
    Let us start out on our journey of what happens in a disciplinary procedure. I actually had the privilege of sitting on another body's disciplinary committee and found it to be very important and critical. Just to put this into context before we walk through the process, it is by weeding out those poor actors who are not living up to the expectations of the community that we improve the profession. I must say that, by and large, our justices are amazing people doing great work. They are keeping our cities and our streets safe. They are working to rehabilitate those who have gone off course, and I truly applaud their work. It is not many jobs that place the fate of individuals in one's hands and have that type of stress, so I would like to start by giving my thanks to the justices.
    There are those justices who go off course, for whatever reason. They are unable or incapable of performing the duties that they are required to by law. It is incredibly important that when we have those folks off course we either bring them back on course or, in very severe circumstances when their careers simply cannot be salvaged, take them off the bench. For the most part, our justices are great, but it is incredibly important that we keep everyone accountable, from the House to the judges across our country and to the highest offices of the land.
    The first step is the issuance of a complaint. Under the old system, the executive director of the Canadian Judicial Council would screen them. Now, they are putting in place a screening officer. It would be a lawyer's job to have those complaints come in and to initially screen them. Having sat on a professional disciplinary board myself, often complaints are just vexatious. They might be from litigants who got a decision they did not happen to like, but the judge did nothing wrong. When someone is in a decision-making capacity, they cannot make all the people happy all the time. Unfortunately, some of that bubbles up into complaints.
    I believe that having a professional at the screening desk whose full-time job, as I understand it, is to review these complaints is a great step. I am sure the executive director was doing a good job, but they have multiple other tasks as well. Having a professional screening individual, who is a lawyer, review complaints is, I believe, a great step.
    The next step is a very important one. After the initial complaint has been issued, the judge who is the subject of the complaint will get a notification of that complaint. I assume it will be a written notification. They then get the ability to respond with written submissions. At that point, that could be reviewed to see whether it is a legitimate claim or not. That claim could be dismissed on the grounds of the written submissions of the justice.
    Once again, this is important. I like this part of the process. As I said, it is incredibly important that we hold everyone accountable so that if there are justices who are behaving inappropriately, we pull them off the bench.


    Also very important is that we make this as painless as possible for justices who have done nothing wrong, but are the subject of vexatious or unnecessary complaints. This is obviously a very stressful job to begin with, so if there are vexatious claims it is incredibly important we get them voided and annulled as soon as possible. Throughout this new process, there would be multiple off-ramps where multiple individuals could review a claim and say whether something was a real claim or whether it should be dismissed.
    One critical point in the initial review of the complaint by the screening officer is that discrimination and sexual harassment complaints could not be dismissed. I really like that, too. If we look at the numbers, the math and the history of our country, unfortunately sexual harassment claims have been way too often dismissed out of hand as “she said, he said” or otherwise. This would put an absolute right for those complaints to continue on, ensure they are not dismissed out of hand and that they do get a hearing, which is novel.
    I have not seen this in other professional disciplinary boards. It may exist, but I have not seen it and it is a great step. One of the lowest prosecution rates we have is for sexual assault and for discriminatory crimes. Putting that in place would put in another safeguard to make sure that where there is discrimination and sexual harassment going on, that claim, if submitted, would always get a hearing. Other claims that may be lesser in nature could be dismissed out of hand, and I support that. This makes a lot of sense.
    I also want to bring up that Conservatives agree this legislation needs to be reviewed.
    After we get to the screening officer and the reviewing member, the next step would be the review panel. After there has been a complaint, the screening officer has said they believe something is legitimate and the justice has written their submissions back that they still believe this deserves to be heard, it would go to a review panel that would include a member, a judge and a layperson. It is nice that a layperson has been included in a number of these bills. Sometimes it should not always be the profession judging the profession, especially when it comes to judges, because the impact of a judge is well beyond the legal profession.
    When it gets in front of the review panel, the review panel would consider the substance of the complaint, any related documents, observations provided by the viewing member, written submissions provided by the judge at issue and those of the chief justice. This would be a new addition in proposed section 99.
    The review panel would have the ability to do one of three things. The panel could refer the case to a full hearing, which should be done if it believes the removal of the justice is a potential outcome of the offence: The offence is serious enough that it could warrant the removal of the justice. Another option, or another off-ramp, if the review panel does not believe this is a legitimate concern is to dismiss the complaint. Once again, if a person is innocent, it is another opportunity for them to have their innocence expressed and to have an off-ramp.
    The next is to impose alternative sanctions short of removal. At this stage and level, the review panel could put in sanctions and penalties. This does not happen under the current system. It actually needs to be kicked back to the Canadian Judicial Council, which would then decide. This step would be taken away, which would expedite the process and make it that much more efficient.


    I will quickly go through the list of possible sanctions that the review panel could put in.
    It could issue a public or private expression of concern, a warning or a reprimand. From my experience working with a professional disciplinary committee, I know that oftentimes, if we can get to someone early, someone who may not be a bad person but may have made a mistake, then the opportunity to counsel them, educate them and put them in the right direction is far more productive. They may go on to be a fabulous justice, and this was just one indiscretion, one mistake along the way that they learned from. I think we need to give people, including justices, a second chance where it is merited.
    The review panel could order a judge to privately or public apologize or take specific measures, including attending counselling or continuing education. We are in a mental health crisis, and I do not believe that justices are completely immune to it, particularly given the stress of their job. Perhaps counselling is a solution. We may have an extremely talented person who has been going through a difficult time. As a community, we want to do everything we can to help them with whatever issues they may have. Also, they are an extremely valuable part of our community, being a justice, so we want to see the investment rewarded with a great, long career.
    The review panel could take any action that it considers equivalent to the above options. With a judge's consent, it could also make an agreement, which is great too because not everything is one size fits all. Overly prescriptive legislation, in my opinion, can often be challenging, so this would give judges the ability to sit with members of the review panel and decide and agree on some steps going forward so that we can get their career back on a path that makes sure they are dispensing justice in a way that the community would be proud of.
    With regard to the review panel, if one of the sanctions I talked about was put in place, there would be a review process or an appeal process, which is a little confusing in the legislation, called a “reduced hearing panel”. I would have named it the “appeal panel” for the sanctions or put the word “appeal” in there somewhere, but that is effectively what this is. The justice would have the ability to call for a review of the sanctions that are less important than removal.
    I will leave the step about a full removal for the second part of my speech because I do not want to continue with that, but I will note that the reduced hearing panel has an interesting part to it. Judges could go from getting sanctions to being put in a full panel hearing, which could actually lead to a worse circumstance. I have some questions about that and will raise them later on in my speech.

Statements by Members

[Statements by Members]




    Mr. Speaker, gun violence is a reality in every community. My riding of Parkdale—High Park is no exception. As my staff have heard repeatedly from my constituents, we must do everything in our power to combat gun violence.
    To date, we have banned assault-style weapons. We have cracked down on illegal trafficking. We have committed $250 million to address gang violence.
    With Bill C-21 we are going further. We are implementing a national freeze on the sale, purchase, transfer and importation of handguns. We are responding to the pleas of women who are victims of intimate partner violence, which often turns lethal simply because of the presence of handguns in the home. We are responding to pleas of racialized and religious minorities, who have asked that red flag laws, which enable firearms to be removed by court order, protect the anonymity of those targeted by hate. We are responding to the pleas of mental health advocates, who contend, rightly, that handguns in Canadian homes result in increased deaths by suicide.
    The only pleas we are ignoring are those of the gun lobby, who would criticize us for working to keep Canadians safe.

Italian Heritage Month

    Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise today in the House to recognize Italian Heritage Month. Over 40,000 Italian Canadians live in King—Vaughan, and I am a proud ancestor of an Italian Canadian.
    In the 1950s, my grandfather immigrated to Canada and worked as a bricklayer for many years to support his family. He came to this nation with nothing but the clothing on his back and a few dollars in his pocket. My grandfather and numerous other Italian Canadians became entrepreneurs, business owners and community leaders, and as a result of their hard work and devotion, they had a desire to achieve.
    Italian Canadians make an important contribution to this country, and they continue to make the riding of King—Vaughan and our entire country better every day.
    [Member spoke in Italian]

Health Care Workers

    Mr. Speaker, I want to take this opportunity to recognize and show my immense gratitude to health care workers. With the summer days among us and the possibility to finally rejoice together, the echo of the sounds of pots and pans showing support for health care workers may have dissipated, but in our hearts we must continue to be thankful and recognize the essential importance of their work.
    Consider the nurses who are working in indigenous communities and remote communities, the family physicians who are accompanying us at every stage of our lives and those in long-term care who have faced the tragedy of the pandemic head-on. I thank them for their sacrifice and dedication.
    Words will never be enough. Much work needs to be done, and we must commit to improving working conditions and solidifying our system. We can only achieve that by making sure that every decision focuses on the well-being of health care workers themselves.
    I encourage all members in the House to join me in celebrating their heroic efforts. I thank them. Woliwon.


World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

    Mr. Speaker, June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. It is a time to remember the importance of paying attention to the suffering that some seniors are experiencing.
     Elder abuse is insidious and unacceptable, but it is unfortunately still all too common, whether it is a slap on the face, belittling comments, or financial fraud. We need to raise awareness of this social problem, and encourage people to recognize it and prevent all types of abuse.
    However, beyond abuse, more and more organizations want us to focus on caring. In order to have a more caring community, incomes need to be higher. While COVID‑19 has amplified the isolation and financial stress felt by seniors, rising inflation is hardest for those on fixed incomes, many of them seniors.
     To help them stay in their own homes, old age security needs to be increased without creating age discrimination. Health transfers also need to be increased, with no strings attached.
    Seniors have the same rights as everyone else, and we need to allow them to age with care, kindness and dignity.

Orleans Plasma Donor Centre

    Mr. Speaker, on June 6, I had the great pleasure of visiting the brand new plasma donor centre in my community of Orleans.


    The state-of-the-art donation centre is located in Place d'Orléans Shopping Centre. Donated plasma can be given to those in need of a plasma transfusion or to create plasma protein products such as immunoglobulins, which can be used to help Canadians in need. Currently, there is an increased need for plasma, as more and more conditions are being treated with immunoglobulins.


    Anyone who is eligible can donate plasma as often as every two weeks. I would like to thank all the residents of Orleans who have already used this facility. I encourage all eligible individuals to consider making an appointment to donate plasma by visiting the Canadian Blood Services website.



Mariposa Folk Festival

    Mr. Speaker, we have a back-row special for members today.
    The Mariposa Folk Festival in Orillia has been an iconic cultural event since its first edition in 1961 and has grown into a cultural highlight of summer in Simcoe North. This year's festival will be a celebration of the return of the festival, of live music and, yes, of the community.
    In the last 60-plus years, a who's who of folk legends have graced Mariposa's stages: Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Gordon Lightfoot, Buffy Sainte-Marie and many more. The Mariposa Folk Festival will take place from July 8 to 10 in beautiful Tudhope Park on the shores of Lake Couchiching in Orillia. It celebrates the past while bringing in diverse, contemporary folk music to new generations.
     I would like to thank the Mariposa Folk Foundation and all of the volunteers for their continued work in the promotion and preservation of folk art in Canada through song, story and craft.
    I invite all who see this message to come to visit us in Orillia this summer.

Calgary Arab Festival

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to acknowledge a very special event that I had the honour of attending in Calgary. The seventh Calgary Arab Festival was an extraordinary event showcasing live performances, folk shows, cultural tents and delicious foods from across the globe. The celebration was especially meaningful this year because of the recent recognition of Arab Heritage Month. I thank my hon. colleagues for supporting Bill C-232 and providing over a million Arab Canadians with another opportunity to showcase their cultures.
    I would like to say a special thanks to Mirna Khaled, Mohamad Awada, Alaa Hamadan, Mohammed Hamden, Bridges for Newcomers and all the volunteers who put this festival together.

Bike the Creek

    Mr. Speaker, summer is right around the corner and so is Brampton's annual Bike the Creek event, coming up on June 18. Bramptonians of all ages have a chance to bike through the beautiful valleys, trails and landmarks in Peel. This year marks the eighth annual ride.
     I want to thank all BikeBrampton board members, volunteers and organizers, and I send a big shout-out to David and Dayle Laing and Kevin Montgomery for their leadership.
     Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is so important, and it is amazing to see how biking can help us reduce our carbon footprint and stay active. Cycling can improve our heart, lungs, circulation and mental health, and it is a great way to explore our communities. Let us all get pedalling this weekend and discover the joy of cycling.

Beef Labelling

    Mr. Speaker, I once asked my youngest daughter what her favourite colour was. Do members know what she said? It was “bacon”. We cannot get more Canadian than that.
    I love bacon too. What does bacon go great on? It is the iconic bacon cheeseburger. Every part of that sandwich represents a different part of Saskatchewan agriculture, and agriculture is under attack.
    Now the government wants to slap a warning label on Canadian ground beef. Be it the Liberals' carbon tax, rampant inflation or now warning labels, the government wants to starve Canadians. Adding a warning label on beef is yet another attack on Saskatchewan. It will hurt our beef industry and raise costs for already-struggling families.
    Why will the government not stop interfering and let us eat our bacon cheeseburgers in peace?

Retirement Congratulations

    Mr. Speaker, a warm smile is the universal language of kindness. Have members ever met someone whose smile just pulled them in, whose smile radiated kindness?
    I rise today to recognize my constituent and team member Joanne Sass-Williams, as she begins her retirement next week. Joanne has one of those smiles, instantly earning trust and comforting those around her. Her quiet confidence, giant heart and dedication to the constituents of Kanata—Carleton over the last seven years have been incredible. A void will be left in our office as she leaves us next week. However, I know her husband Lloyd, kids Laura and Kurtis and especially her grandbabies Addie and Melody will be overjoyed to have more of her time.
    Joanne reminds me that kindness is a silent smile, a friendly word, a nod of encouragement. Kindness is the single most powerful thing we can give to each other, and Joanne has given it in spades. I thank her.


Foreign Affairs

     Madam Speaker, on Sunday, the Minister of Foreign Affairs said it was unacceptable for a high-level Canadian official to attend a Russia Day celebration. “The buck stops with me,” she claimed.
    As a former Canadian foreign services officer, I can personally attest that at Global Affairs, we only do what we are told to do. Orders are given and we are expected to execute them without question. Nowhere is this more clear than with the top diplomat, the minister herself.
    If the direction came from the minister, it is a continued reflection of the Liberal government's approach to foreign policy. It is careless, thoughtless and reactive, and it starts with our foreign minister.
    The minister owes it to Canadians and to our ally, Ukraine, to explain why a Canadian official attended this celebration. It is an affront not only to democracy, but also to diplomacy.

Flood Protection

     Mr. Speaker, last November, B.C.’s Fraser Valley experienced a massive flood. Thousands were evacuated as the Nooksack River in Washington state sent floodwaters pouring into Canada. Sumas prairie, the heart of Abbotsford's agricultural industry, suffered catastrophic losses of livestock, crops and buildings.
    This week, city council approved a plan for long-term flood protection at a price of close to $3 billion. The goal is not just to rebuild old dikes, but to construct new flood-resilient infrastructure to 21st century standards. Modern engineering will not only keep us safe; it will avert billions of dollars in future economic losses.
    In fact, hundreds of constituents have written to me asking the Liberal government to fund this infrastructure. Today, I will personally deliver those letters to the Deputy Prime Minister. I plead with her to listen to our cries for help and deliver the support we have asked for.

Ontario Hockey League Championship

     Mr. Speaker, yesterday, two of the hardest-working hockey teams from two of the hardest-working communities faced off in game seven of the OHL championship. The Hamilton Bulldogs and our own Windsor Spitfires gave hockey fans one of the most thrilling championship series in memory.
    Although we came up short, I rise today to say congratulations to the western conference champions, the Windsor Spitfires, on a great season and thank them for giving our community and our fans an unbelievable and electric playoff run.
    I would also like to say congratulations to the Bulldogs, the city of Hamilton and their incredible fans that showed class and grit throughout the series. I wish them good luck in Saint John. Let us bring the Memorial Cup back to Ontario.
    I say to Spitfires coach Marc Savard and the Spitfires players that today we stand Windsor proud. We will be there when the season starts to cheer the boys on all the way. Go, Spits, go.


Summer Festivities in Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians are looking forward to summer activities and seeing everything this wonderful country has to offer.
     If anyone is looking for a top-tier tourist destination, look no further than Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing. Kapuskasing will be throwing its biggest party of the year as it hosts a Saint-Jean festival this weekend.


    The Iron Bridge Music Fest has a great line-up of musicians. Everyone should be sure to add Manitoulin Country Fest and St. Joseph Island’s Go North Music Festival to their schedule.
    People can learn about indigenous culture by attending National Indigenous Peoples Day events or the many powwows, including the Wiikwemkoong 60th Annual Cultural Festival.
    There is also a host of Canada Day and Pride festivities. People should not forget White River's Winnie the Pooh Festival.
    Are engines music to people's ears? They can get revved up at the North Shore Challenge Drag Race or the Smooth Truck Fest.
    People who love the outdoors can put their line down at the 40th annual Wawa Salmon Fishing Derby.
    People who love food can drop by the Espanola Poutine Feast or Little Current’s ribfest.
    We can see that Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing has something for everyone. Come join us.



Governor General

    Mr. Speaker, no matter what anyone says, representing the monarchy must make for a rough life.
    Consider the 100,000 bucks for in-flight catering. This does not include hotel or restaurant expenses during the trip. The in-flight catering alone cost $100,000 for nine days. I do not know what they ate, but I hope it was good. One must have no shame and no sense of responsibility to use people's money like that, to use taxpayer money to treat oneself and one's entourage to such a feast.
    One thing is certain. While the Governor General's role is largely symbolic, the expenses involved are anything but. Not only do we want to hear the Governor General's ridiculous excuses, but we want our colleagues from the other parties to explain why they care about the monarchy, because, for us, it is clear that the monarchy is an antiquated, undemocratic institution that serves no purpose and costs way too much money.



    Mr. Speaker, six years ago, in 2016, the government conducted consultations on reforming the judicial complaints process. After inexcusable delays, we are finally starting to debate Bill C-9, which has the potential to increase confidence in the judicial system. This is long overdue.
    This bill would replace the process through which the conduct of federally appointed judges is reviewed by the Canadian Judicial Council and would enable a judge to be removed from office for reasons including infirmity, misconduct or failure in the due execution of judicial office. By modifying the existing judicial review process, a straightforward process for complaints serious enough to warrant removal from office would be established.
    Our justice system needed this piece of legislation to be implemented years ago. Canadians must be assured that our judges need to be held accountable and perform their duty in the best interests of our society and our country. I urge all members in the House to support this bill.

Italian Heritage Month

    Mr. Speaker, it is Italian Heritage Month and my riding of Hamilton Mountain is home to a vibrant Italian community 12,000 strong.
    One of my constituents, Alfredo De Luca, learned the art of cooking from his mom back when he was a child in Calabria, Italy. There he learned how to perfect his sauce, make the handmade pasta he uses to craft his lasagna, and find the perfect spice for his meatballs. Today, Alfredo, his wife Tania and son Alfredo bring those traditional recipes to the people of Hamilton Mountain at Alfredo’s Place on Fennell Avenue East. He opened the restaurant after an accomplished career at Stelco, and his mouth-watering fresh dishes now draw crowds. Family-run traditional businesses like Alfredo’s are at the heart of what makes Hamilton, well, Hamilton. I am thankful to Alfredo and his family for sharing their traditions with all of us.
    Happy Italian Heritage Month to all who are celebrating.

Oral Questions

[Oral Questions]


Government Policies

    Mr. Speaker, never in the history of this country have the people been so poorly served by a government.
    Everything the Liberals touch goes wrong, and Canadians are paying the price. If they want a passport, they have to stand in line. If they want to travel by plane, they have to stand in line. If they travel to the United States without a smart phone, they still have to have ArriveCAN. If they have a problem with employment insurance, they have to wait months to get a cheque. Now it is their turn to stand in line.
    Which minister will stand up and take responsibility for this chaos?
    Mr. Speaker, we know that Canadians are frustrated.
    For the past two years, they have followed the rules and stayed home. They want to travel and go on vacation. We are doing everything we can. Demand is incredible right now. The government is working on it, changing the process and adding more people to serve Canadians. We will keep working on it until we fix it.
    Mr. Speaker, the problem is the government's chaotic management.
    Regarding COVID‑19, the Minister of Health was slow at every step. Regarding passports, the minister did not know that Canadians would want to travel after COVID‑19. Regarding immigration, the minister asked Ukrainians to make an appointment online. Regarding international affairs, the minister has no problem with people attending a party at the Russian embassy. Regarding the military, the previous minister was unable to protect women. Regarding the government, it is total chaos.
    Why is the Prime Minister abandoning Canadians?


    Mr. Speaker, of course Canadians want to get back to normal after two years of a pandemic. We understand that.
    However, we have to kick-start all parts of the Government of Canada. We are adding more staff and extending working hours to ensure that we are meeting this increased demand.
    We understand that Canadians are frustrated. We will be there for them and make the changes required to ensure that they receive the services they need.

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, another example of Liberal incompetence is the mismanagement of the Pinocchio affair.
    Two senior ministers contradicted the Minister of Public Safety in committee by testifying that no police force specifically asked for the Emergencies Act to be invoked. The President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness said, and I quote, “I'm not aware of any recommendation from law enforcement.” There is squabbling in the Liberal ranks. The Minister of Public Safety has lost the confidence of his own colleagues.
    When will the Prime Minister demand his resignation?
    I want to remind members that we try to have intelligent discourse in the House. Name calling is not something I like to hear in this place.
    The hon. Minister of Canadian Heritage.
    Mr. Speaker, if my colleague wants to see squabbling, he should just look at the official opposition benches. They are having a hard time getting along.
    The more serious issue is what they are doing while the government is working to solve the problems and challenges that Canadians are facing. The Conservatives are spending their time filibustering. Filibustering is the first thing they think about when they wake up in the morning and the last think they think about when they go to bed at night. How do they spend their time in between? They filibuster.


The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, $3,100 in food and alcohol costs for a flight to Dubai may seem normal to these "speNDP-Liberals”, but it is beyond the reach of a vast majority of Canadians, who struggle every day to pay their bills, let alone imagine taking a flight. However, that did not stop the finance minister from lecturing to Canadians how good they have it from her podium in Toronto, where they charged $1,000 a table to hear her “hurry up and wait” approach to helping Canadians struggle with record high inflation.
    Does the minister not understand that Canadians need help, not lectures, today, and will she start listening to Conservative proposals to fight inflation?
    Mr. Speaker, unlike this side of the House, the opposition has no affordability plan. What it proposes is that Canadians put their money into Bitcoin.
    There is a movie about that, and it is called Risky Business. Had one listened to the Conservatives, one would have lost their shirt in the last year.
    We are going to put $8.9 billion into the pockets of Canadians this year. The Conservatives bluff, bluster and blame. We double down and deliver.
    Mr. Speaker, $3,100 for in-flight catering, for food costs, is no joke to Canadians.
    These Liberals will not listen to pragmatic suggestions to help fight inflation. They will not stop their inflationary deficit spending. They will not give Canadians a break at the pumps. They think it hurts us, but instead, when they reject our ideas, it hurts Canadians.
    Hope springs eternal, so I will try again. Here is an idea: In 2017, Bill Morneau added an inflationary clause to every user fee charged by the Canadian government, from national parks to port fees. They go up automatically. Will the minister get serious on inflation and say no more to the Morneau user fee escalator?
    Mr. Speaker, the government has been working on affordability and making sure Canadians can not just make ends meet but prosper. We taxed the 1% and put more money in the pockets of Canadians.
    The Canada worker benefit is going to benefit three million Canadians. A couple will make $2,500 more and a single person $1,200. There will be $500 if one is struggling for housing.
    The other side thinks it has a plan, but I know one thing from Alberta, which is that that side is all hat and no cattle.




    Mr. Speaker, people are having to line up for two days to get a passport because this government did not anticipate that Quebeckers and Canadians would be eager to travel this summer. When these people manage to get their passports, they head to the airport. The government also failed to anticipate that. The Liberals did not make the connection that more passports mean more people at the airport.
    These ministers do not anticipate anything. They spend their time telling Quebec how to manage its health care system, its infrastructure and its language planning.
    Why do they not mind their own business instead of interfering in Quebec's business? They already have a hard enough time looking after their own affairs.
    Mr. Speaker, we appreciate the Bloc Québécois's interest in Canadian passports.
    I understand that Canadians across the country are frustrated about the wait times for getting their passports. We understand that Canadians want to travel again, after following guidelines and staying home for two years.
    Demand is very high, and we are responding. We have already hired 600 additional people and are hiring another 600. The offices are open, but demand is extremely high right now. We are doing everything we can to meet the needs of Canadians all across the country.

Access to Information

    Mr. Speaker, the only thing this government sees coming are requests for access to information. When it comes to hiding information from the media and the public, the Liberals are officially the best of all time. Last year, 7,000 complaints were sent to the Information Commissioner, which represents an increase of 70%. The Liberals are the Wayne Gretzky of secrecy.
    When we look at the most opaque departments, it becomes obvious. We are talking about the Prime Minister's Office itself, since leadership comes from the top, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, the Canada Revenue Agency, and the Canada Border Services Agency.
    If the federal government has so many skeletons then why does it not just clean out its closet instead of always interfering in Quebec's jurisdictions?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the commissioner for her work on these issues. Openness, transparency and accountability are the guiding principles of our government.
    We have invested more than $50 million in additional funding to improve access to information and we are currently proceeding with a regulatory review of the access to information process. We will continue to explore options for improving it, enhancing proactive publication and reducing delays.


The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians are going hungry. Canadians are going to lose their homes because the cost of living is going up. The Minister of Finance made an announcement today that does not include anything new to help Canadians now. In fact, what a lot of Canadians will receive from this announcement is $7. Seven dollars extra does not even pay for a litre of milk and a loaf of bread.
    Will the government finally realize people need immediate help and increase the financial support to families, everyday families who need help, by $500 to $1,000, as we are calling for?
    Mr. Speaker, we understand the challenges Canadians are facing at the pump and at the grocery store. As the hon. member knows, inflation is rising around the world. Here in Canada, we have the lowest inflation, yet it is still rising. That is why, in our budget, we were very clear. We have been working on affordability for a long time, and in our budget we have dental care for Canadian families and a doubling of the support provided through the first-time homebuyer's tax.
    There is the Canada workers benefit, which is $2,400 for a couple and $1,200 for a single worker, as well as a $500 payment for those who are facing housing affordability challenges. Once again, this year, the basic income amount for everybody's taxes goes up in Canada, so more money will be in the pockets of Canadians.


    Mr. Speaker, these are tough times, and Canadians are struggling to make ends meet. The Minister of Finance announced more help for a lot of Canadians: an extra $7. Seven dollars will not make much of a difference to all the people who do not have enough to buy groceries.
    When will the government adopt our plan to increase financial support for people by $500 to $1,000, which would really help families in these tough times?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his question. We know inflation is rising around the world. Here in Canada, it has not risen as much, but we know it is still an issue for Canadians at the grocery store and at the pump.
    That is why we introduced a dental care plan for Canadians in our budget. The Canada workers benefit will give couples an extra $2,400 and single workers an extra $1,200. We have an affordability plan, and we will follow it.



    Mr. Speaker, Canadians are struggling to make ends meet. They are seeing the price of everything skyrocket, from gasoline to groceries. All the while, Liberal officials jet-set around the world in decadence, drinking champagne and, if we can believe it, eating caviar. The $93,000 cost of catering on one of these flights would feed a Canadian family for years. Canadians are looking to catch a break, not catch a slap in the face.
    When will the Liberals set their entitlements aside and finally put Canadians first?
    Mr. Speaker, obviously, we know inflation is having an impact on Canadian lives, but I would like to take my colleague down memory lane. He referred to the expenses linked to alcohol. Stephen Harper's delegation took 348 bottles when it went to South Africa in 2013. I just wanted to state the facts. Of course, I hope—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I will ask the hon. minister to please continue.
    Mr. Speaker, clearly, the members opposite need to take back their fake outrage.
    Mr. Speaker, well, the minister wants to talk about what happened a decade ago or more. We are talking about what has been happening while they have been in office. We are reading stories in the newspaper about Canadians who cannot afford a full tank of gas. They are running out of gas on their way to work in record numbers across the country. They are not able to afford groceries, prescriptions or even to turn on the air conditioning during a heat wave because of inflationary pressures.
    We are asking the government to take a reality check, not take a luxurious flight and spend $93,000 on catering when they could do with a little less. When will they put their entitlements aside and put Canadians first?
    Mr. Speaker, I would love to have known where that rhetoric was in support of Canadians when we were in the House trying to pass Bill C-2, Bill C-8 and the budget implementation act, which include billions of dollars to go into the hands of Canadians. Instead, we took the reins to make sure we could get legislation passed, so we could get $8.9 billion into the hands of Canadians.
    For child care, which the people on the other side just want to shred, in Toronto alone, a family will save $19,790 a year. That will help families afford groceries and gas. We are doing this across the country because this government puts Canada first.


Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Public Safety has repeatedly said that he invoked the Emergencies Act, a historic law that had never been used before in this country, at the request of the police. The problem is that every single police force has told the committee that they never asked for it.
    I am asking the minister to do the only honourable thing left to him and resign.
    Mr. Speaker, on this side of the House, it is clear that we will always protect Canadians' needs and safety. That is exactly why we invoked the Emergencies Act. In the process, we sought the advice of the police and used that advice to make our decisions.
    On the other side, there are the Conservatives, who encouraged the illegal blockade. They must apologize.
    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Emergency Preparedness, himself a former chief of police, said the following in committee, referring to the Emergencies Act: “I do not believe that would have been an appropriate thing for law enforcement to ask, and they did not ask”.
    The reality is that we have a Minister of Public Safety who has totally lost Canadians' confidence. There is only one course open to him now, and that is to do the honourable thing and resign. What is he waiting for?


    Mr. Speaker, the government will always defend its decision to invoke the Emergencies Act, because it was a necessary decision.
     The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police supports the decision. The Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police supports the decision. The Canadian Police Association supports the decision. Why? Because it was necessary.
     We on this side understand that. The Conservatives have never understood that. They need to apologize for their role in the illegal blockade.


    Mr. Speaker, the public safety minister continues to hide the truth from Canadians on the use of the Emergencies Act. The minister cannot just tell Canadians that the act was necessary. He must show them. That is his job. I will quote the emergency preparedness minister, who said, “I do not believe that would have been an appropriate thing for law enforcement to ask, and they did not ask.”
    The public safety minister has misled Canadians and Parliament. Will he resign today?
    Mr. Speaker, we have been consistent and clear on this side of the House that the decision to invoke the Emergencies Act was necessary because it was needed to restore public safety. Past president of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, Chief Gary Conn, said that, in their view, the Emergencies Act provided the appropriate authorities and powers for police services to ensure the rule of law and the safety of citizens. He said that had been their experience, particularly during the “freedom convoy” of 2022.
    That is law enforcement right there, and it was the Conservatives who exacerbated the situation with their reckless behaviour.
    Mr. Speaker, these are more diversion tactics to avoid answering one simple question. The public safety minister has misled Canadians and Parliament. Law enforcement did not ask to have the use of the Emergencies Act. It is just that simple. I will quote the emergency preparedness minister: “I am not aware of any recommendation of law enforcement.”
    Will the minister do the honourable thing and resign today, right now?
    Mr. Speaker, doing the honourable thing means protecting Canadians. That is why we invoked the Emergencies Act. Doing the honourable thing means not taking that decision in a vacuum, which means consulting with police, searching for their advice and using that advice to inform the decision of the Emergencies Act, which is why police associations across the country supported the decision.
    It was the Conservatives who knew all to well that, by making reckless statements asking the blockades to double down and entrench, they were undermining public safety, and they should apologize for that role. They undermined public safety, but on this side of the House, we protect it


Climate Change

    Mr. Speaker, there is a flaw in how Canada's greenhouse gas emissions are calculated. Canada is the fourth-largest oil exporter in the world, but it is not responsible for what it sells.
    Between 2016 and 2020, Canada as a whole emitted 3.6 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases, yet Ecojustice calculated that fossil fuel exports caused 4.4 billion tonnes of emissions elsewhere in the world.
    Canadian exports pollute 29% more than Canada in its entirety. Does the minister find it acceptable to wash his hands of that pollution?
    Mr. Speaker, let me give a quick lesson on the greenhouse gas emissions inventory. Canada uses the same methodology as every country in the world, which is the one used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC. Simply put, emissions are calculated at the point of combustion. If the oil is burned here, it goes into our emissions balance, and if the oil is burned in the United States or Europe, it goes into their balance. That is how it works for everyone on the planet, including Canada.
    Mr. Speaker, even if the Bay du Nord project pumps the minimum estimated volume of oil, which would be an additional 500 million barrels, the minister keeps saying that this project will achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. I am inclined to say that he is washing his hands of it. However, if oil pollutes while it is being extracted, it also pollutes while it is being used. This oil will never be zero-emission once it is burned in a vehicle in Canada or elsewhere.
    Climate change does not care whether it is Canada or another country that is responsible for accounting for the pollution.
    In the middle of a climate crisis, how can the Minister of the Environment really claim that Bay du Nord is going to reach net-zero emissions?


    Mr. Speaker, first of all, that is not a claim, but rather a condition for the project to go ahead. This is the first time in this country's history that the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency has imposed a net-zero condition on a project.
    Second, I would invite my colleague to read the International Energy Agency report, which states that in 2050, we will still be using fossil fuel products, not as fuels, but instead as solvents or to build roads, for example. We will no longer be burning that fuel in 2050, but we will be using it for other purposes.
    Mr. Speaker, it is absurd to hear the Minister of Environment boast about having the support of environmental groups when none other than Équiterre is taking him to court over Bay du Nord.
    It is also absurd to hear him say that the number of additional barrels has no impact, as though more means less. It is utterly absurd to hear him speak about zero-emission oil as though it were green oil. It is even more absurd to hear him defending Canada's responsibility for pollution as a mere accounting exercise, while turning a blind eye to the impact of these oil exports.
    The minister is speaking, but what we are hearing is the voice of the oil companies. Does he realize this?
    Mr. Speaker, as I said and will repeat, we are putting a cap on greenhouse gas emissions. This cap will be in line with current levels and will decline over time so we can achieve our 2030 and 2050 targets.
    No matter how much oil is produced, companies will have to respect this greenhouse gas emissions cap to ensure that Canada can reach its 2030 and 2050 targets. That is what we are going to do.


Tourism Industry

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government continues to be reactive rather than prepared. The vice-president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce said that if the Government of Canada has a plan for tourism, it has never shown it to us. Mark Webber of the Customs and Immigration Union said that his border agents are no longer agents but instead have become “IT consultants”, and wait times have skyrocketed because of the inefficient ArriveCAN app. He went on to say that they were never consulted on the app. No wonder our airports and land borders are a disaster and an embarrassment.
    Why would the government create a system without consulting the frontline workers who must implement it?
    Mr. Speaker, not only do we have a plan for tourism, but this side of the aisle put in $23 billion to make sure that the tourism sector would recover. Who voted against it? It was that side. They are not there for workers, not there for entrepreneurs, not there for tourism operators.
    This side of the aisle has the backs of tourism operators. A federal tourism growth strategy is coming. We are going to boost tourism, we are going to boost this sector and we are going to show the world what Canada has to offer.
    Mr. Speaker, backlogs and delays at the border and points of entry are crippling our tourism industry. Whether it is a major event like the Toronto International Film Festival or a small rural event like the Tweed Stampede and Jamboree in Hastings-Lennox and Addington, our tourism industry is hurting. The government needs to take action to alleviate the absolutely unnecessary chaos.
    When will the government stop slacking and start acting?
    Mr. Speaker, perhaps the colleagues on the other side of the aisle have not caught up with the news, but this government has taken off random mandatory testing at the airports. It will be moved outside of airports July 1. We have no more PCR tests and no more rapid tests and billions of dollars have gone into the tourism sector. Even the Greater Toronto Airports Authority has sent a letter to us, thanking us for doubling down and working to make sure that the airports are functioning.
    We are going to get this right. Those on the other side can yell and scream all they want. We are going to boost tourism and welcome the world once again.

Government Policies

     Mr. Speaker, airports are in chaos. Global affairs is partying with Russian diplomats instead of expelling them. Immigration files are backlogged for years. Violent crime is up. Fraud is endemic. Inflation is out of control. The government does not even pretend to care about its deficits. People are lining up all night just for a chance at a passport appointment.
    Will the minister stand up and take ownership for this disastrous delivery of basic services?


    Mr. Speaker, we understand that there is an unprecedented demand to travel after these two years of the pandemic. We are retooling and redoing processes so that we can absolutely serve Canadians as necessary. However, what we are not doing on this side of the House is pretending that there was no pandemic, pretending that it did not have an impact on a whole wide range of industries.
    We are taking action. We have been there throughout the pandemic to support Canadians. We have taken responsible decisions and we are going to continue to do that to serve Canadians.


    Uqaqtittiji, imagine a family member needs urgent medical attention. In Nunavut, this means spending thousands of dollars to travel great distances just to access basic health care. If elders need long-term care, there are too few options. Families are forced to send their loved ones across the country, afraid that they will never seem them again.
    Nunavut residents deserve to have the care they need at home. Why is the government still failing to provide basic health care services to Nunavut?
    Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to the Arctic and northern policy framework, an Inuit Nunangat new policy that puts the emphasis on providing better services to the residents of Nunavut and Inuit Nunangat. Health care is one of the priorities that is first on our schedule. We are investing millions in health care in the north and a better partnership with Nunavummiut.


    Mr. Speaker, people in northern Ontario often drive an hour to get to work, yet rising gas prices is putting serious pressure in working-class families. Big oil made $100 billion in profits in the first quarter. That is triple what they made last year.
    As the finance minister is hanging with the über-rich at the Empire Club, the Liberal government does nothing as working-class Canadians are held hostage at the pumps.
    When is the government going to tax these obscene oil profits and put the money back in the pockets of working-class Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, as my colleague knows, our budget takes serious measures to address affordability. The example that I will cite today is that the budget proposes to introduce a temporary Canada recovery dividend so that big banks and insurance companies, which have turned a big profit during the pandemic, pay a one-time 15% tax on their above-average taxable income over $1 billion for 2021.
    The banks made money. We have asked them to pay more. That is how we are going to make sure that we have affordability for all Canadians.

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, Scarborough—Agincourt is home to a large, vibrant Armenian community. Canada and Armenia have deep and long-standing people-to-people ties, and Canada must support Armenians' efforts to improve their democracy.
    Recently, special envoy Stéphane Dion submitted his report to the Minister of Foreign Affairs on how Canada can support Armenians in their efforts advance democratic progress and build on our relationship. Could the foreign affairs minister share with this House the findings of this report on how Canada can best support Armenia?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my great colleague and friend from Scarborough—Agincourt for her fantastic work.
    Canada is a friend to the Armenian community, and we know also that Armenia needs support for its democracy.
    I would like to thank special envoy Stéphane Dion for his important report. We welcome his recommendations and look forward to putting these recommendations in place as concrete steps.


    Mr. Speaker, today is the day that the government finally releases its secret plan to fight inflation. It is so secret that there are no new measures in the plan, just a re-listing of programs that are already indexed to inflation. Curiously absent is any relief from one of the key drivers of inflation: gasoline and fuel prices.
    Why does the government continually ignore calls to provide immediate relief to Canadians by lowering the taxes on fuel and gasoline?
    Mr. Speaker, our government has made sure that we index programs to inflation, particularly because we know that in this inflationary cycle in the world economy, it is an important policy to make sure that Canadians have the money they need to pay their bills, buy their groceries and afford their gas.
    When it comes to gas, the Conservatives have not fully studied their own policy, because we know from evidence that when we take tax off at the pumps, the prices actually do not change.
    We are going to put money in the pockets of Canadians so that they can afford the goods they need, and we are not listening to half-baked policies from the Conservative opposition.


    Mr. Speaker, I am not sure if the hon. member believes that there is collusion in the gasoline price market, but that would be a very serious accusation.
    I get that this government does not want to listen to ideas from this side of the House, but perhaps it might be persuaded by the former Bank of Canada governor, who said that in order to tame inflation, we need to get oil prices down.
    Various taxes account for almost 60¢ per litre of gasoline. How much higher does gasoline need to go before this government realizes there is a problem?
    Mr. Speaker, we understand that inflation is on the rise. It is a global phenomenon caused by the illegal war by Russia on Ukraine, by supply chains opening up after the pandemic and by China's zero-COVID policy. That is why our government is taking this whole-of-government approach and that is why our budget includes a dental plan for Canadians making less than $90,000 a year and a doubling of the support provided through the first-time homebuyer's tax credit. We are increasing the basic tax amount once again this year, and with the Canada worker benefits of $2,400 per couple and $1,200 for a single worker, three million Canadians will have more money in their pockets, and that does not even include the Canada job benefit, which the other side voted against.

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, my constituents cannot afford to fill their gas tanks. They are concerned that rising interest rates are going to push them out of their own homes. Inflation is skyrocketing, and this government has no plan to address it.
    Conservatives have proposed to suspend the carbon tax and the GST paid on fuel, and we are calling for the government to rein in spending to control inflation.
     Given the fact that we are in an affordability crisis, why is the government so opposed to these pragmatic measures that would support Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question, and we too are preoccupied by inflation, which we know is on the rise around the world. It is on the rise to a lesser degree here in Canada, but we understand that the price at the pump is going up and we understand the pressures at the grocery store, which is why, with our price on pollution, eight out of 10 Canadians receive more money. Let us talk about Ontario, the hon. member's province, where people there will get $745 more in their pockets than they paid. In my own province, it is almost $1,100.
    We are focused on affordability and we will continue to be focused on it throughout this inflationary cycle.
    Mr. Speaker, while Canadians find themselves having to choose between putting gas in their cars and food on the table, and while this government is stoking inflation with continued deficit spending, the Prime Minister says, “Let them eat cake”, while the wine flows liberally aboard Can Force One on the taxpayer's dime.
    When will the government finally sober up and start putting Canadians first?
    Mr. Speaker, this government is putting Canadians first, and we are always putting Canadians first. In fact, in that member's province of Manitoba, we signed an early learning and child care agreement whereby families, on average, are going to save $2,600 a year. That is real money in the pockets of families, and that is in addition to the Canada child benefit, which could provide families with children under six with up to $7,000 a year.
    This government is there for Canadians, Canadian families and Canadian children. That is real money in their pockets that is helping every single day with the high cost of living.


Official Languages

    Mr. Speaker, the Institute for Research on Public Policy is an independent, bilingual, pan-Canadian organization that nobody could suspect of harbouring separatist sympathies.
    However, in a recently released study, the organization says that the new Official Languages Act will not slow the decline of French. To slow the decline of French, Bill C‑13 must be compatible with Quebec's Charter of the French Language.
    Does the minister understand that the only way to protect French in Quebec is to make it so that only Quebec's language laws apply in Quebec?


    We recognize that French is in decline in North America and, yes, we recognize that French is in decline in Canada. That is why we went ahead with a new, more robust version of the bill. We will ensure that the federal government does its fair share of the work and that we are doing everything we can to address this situation.
    I hope my Bloc Québécois colleague will work with us so we can get this bill passed as quickly as possible.
    Mr. Speaker, regurgitated talking points are not an answer.
     The author of the study, economist Mario Polèse, said that equality between the two languages is no longer sufficient because the two languages are not equal in their ability to attract newcomers or in their importance, period. This means that French needs to be prioritized.
    The problem with Bill C-13 is that the minister continues to put English and French on an equal footing in Quebec, when in fact, only French is under threat.
    Putting both languages on an equal footing means stomping on my language with both feet.
    Mr. Speaker, either my hon. colleague is trying to mislead Canadians or he has not read Bill C-13.
    If we look at the new version of Bill C-13, what we have is special legislation for federally regulated private businesses to ensure that employees can work in French, and people can be served in French and live in French.
    I really hope that my colleagues from all opposition parties will work with us, because this bill is very important. It is currently before a parliamentary committee, and I hope that the opposition members will stop playing politics.


Service Canada

    Mr. Speaker, after more than two years, the pandemic is no longer an acceptable excuse for poor service. Canadians are being forced to line up for hours outside Service Canada centres in order to simply get a passport on time. Meanwhile, it has been reported that 70% of Service Canada employees are working from home.
    When will the minister show leadership and bring these employees back to work?
    Mr. Speaker, first of all, I take issue with the member's question, because let us be clear that when people are working from home they are still working.
    The first point is that the numbers she is quoting are for the entire 29,000-person Service Canada workforce. When it comes to people who are in-person and in-office Service Canada passport officers, almost 90% of them are back in the office. Those who are working from home are doing so for medical reasons, but they are still able to support the delivery of services.
    It is important to get the facts right here.
    Mr. Speaker, clearly the number of Service Canada personnel working from home is not working, and the fishermen in my riding cannot work from home.
    People living in rural Canada cannot get food like pizza delivered from our favourite restaurants. We must pick it up. No business charges for pickup, yet Immigration Canada demands that Service Canada charge a $20 fee to pick up a passport, which is causing a lot of complaints. This is nothing more than a Liberal tax grab.
    Why is the Liberal government making Canadians pay for its failures?
    Mr. Speaker, I feel the Conservatives need to understand that throughout the pandemic people in the private sector and the public sector worked from home, and they were working. The vast majority of Canadians who were working from home were working very hard, and Conservatives owe those employees an apology.
    When it comes to the fees, those should be waived. That has been the directive. I will reinforce that with my department. However, people who work from home are still hard-working.


    Mr. Speaker, up until last week, people had to bring a lawn chair with them to the passport office. Now they have to bring along a tent, because they have to camp out all night just to get a passport. That is outrageous.
    When we ask the minister questions, she tells us that there are far more applications now than there were last year. That is not true. There are currently fewer applications than there were before the pandemic. The minister is telling people to call our offices, but even our staff have to wait five or six hours to get answers from the government.
    Why does the government not resolve this problem by asking or ordering employees to go back to work instead of staying home?
    Mr. Speaker, I understand Canadians' frustration, but the Conservatives misunderstand. They are not talking about the same people. Service Canada has nearly 30,000 employees nationwide and provides various services. The people meeting the needs with respect to passports, including the need for in‑person service at Service Canada, are already back at work.
    It is a question of volume. We can process 2.5 million to five million passport applications in a year. We normally receive them over a period of 12 months. We are currently receiving that amount all at once. It is a question of volume, but we are responding and ensuring that Canadians receive their documents.



    Mr. Speaker, we need to ensure that Canadians have confidence in our country's privacy and data protection measures if they are going to take full advantage of the digital economy and prosper. Canadians have never been so reliant on the digital economy, but the existing privacy legislation was last updated before the advent of technologies like social media and smart phones.
    Could the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry update us on how the modernization of these laws will benefit Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question, for her excellent work and for her leadership.
    As my colleagues will attest, there is a lot of enthusiasm for what we did today. Earlier, I introduced the Digital Charter Implementation Act, 2022, which will give people more power to protect their personal information and their children. This is how we are ensuring that Canadians can take advantage of the latest technologies and be confident that their personal information is protected and secure and that companies are acting responsibly. Security and trust are key words in the digital age.


Canadian Heritage

    Mr. Speaker, Canada's Conservatives will always stand up for our arts and culture sector, but in the dead of night, the Liberals rammed through dozens of amendments to Bill C-11 without debate or explanation. In fact, the Liberal chair of the committee would not even allow Canadians to know what was being voted on. Not one amendment to clearly exclude user-generated content was approved. Canadian—
    I am just going to interrupt. The noise is getting to such a level that I am having a hard time hearing the question. I am going to ask the hon. member to take it from the top and we will see if we can hear it.
    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals do not want to hear the truth, but the truth is that Conservatives are the ones standing up for digital-first creators. It is Conservatives who are standing up for free expression online so that new technology and new experiences can be used and explored, not only here in Canada but can find success around the globe.
    In the dead of night, the Liberals pushed through amendments and rammed through amendments, without a single amendment that would support excluding user-generated content. Why was there all the secrecy? Why was there the disrespect to Parliament? What is the government hiding?
    Mr. Speaker, everyone knows that the Conservatives, when they wake up in the morning, think about filibustering. When they go bed at night, they think about filibustering. What do they do in between? They filibuster. That is what they do.
     The Conservatives have abandoned the creators. They have abandoned our artists. They have abandoned our culture.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Are we okay to go again? Order.
    The hon. member for Edmonton Mill Woods.
    Mr. Speaker, as we just heard, the Liberals have shut down debate on Bill C-11. In fact, MPs voted on over 100 amendments without any debate at all.
    The Liberals are actually changing what Canadians see online without debate and behind closed doors. It is clear from expert testimony that this bill would allow the CRTC to regulate user-generated content. That is why, through a series of vital amendments, the Conservatives tried to fix this bill. Our common-sense amendments were shot down by the Liberals and the NDP without any debate.
    When will the government listen to some reason and fix this disastrous bill?


    Mr. Speaker, I think the Conservatives should support this bill because this bill is about creators, and it is going to help them because Conservatives are very creative with the truth.
    If Conservatives read the bill, they would know it is about online platforms contributing to our culture. If they have a problem with that, it is a shame.
    Mr. Speaker, it is a matter of fact that on Tuesday, the government, under a cloak of secrecy, did in fact thwart democracy. At the committee, the NDP and Liberal government took Bill C-11 and forced it through without adequate debate or adequate testimony from witnesses.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order. I am having a hard time hearing the questions as well as the answers. We really ought to calm things down.
    To the hon. member for Lethbridge, if I could ask you start over so we can hear the whole question.
    Mr. Speaker, it is a fact that on Tuesday we saw democracy thwarted. We saw a cloak of secrecy used. At the command of the NDP-Liberal government, Bill C-11 was forced through committee without adequate consultation with witnesses and adequate debate on amendments. There was no listening and no discussion. It was just rammed through. That was their mode of operation. It was censorship upon censorship.
    Canadians are rightly frustrated and very concerned by the assault of the House on their online freedom. My question is very simple to the minister and the Prime Minister; either or both could answer. Do they truly believe that this is transparency, according to what they promised Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, one of the benefits of the conversation with the Conservatives is that we heard one of the best jokes of the year when they said that they cared about culture. It was really funny. That was a hell of a secret meeting, when the room was full of Conservatives and staff and others. That was very, very secret. The problem is that they kept filibustering. My colleague who just spoke filibustered for four hours. When I was sitting there ready to answer questions, she spoke for four hours. I had to go and could not speak. Luckily, I could come back and explain our position, but the position is clear. We are there for Canadians, for our artists and for our culture and we are not abandoning them.

Canadian Coast Guard

    Mr. Speaker, this is the Canadian Coast Guard's 60th anniversary of serving Canadians by helping mariners in need, protecting our marine ecosystem and ensuring safe passage through Canada's waterways. I was thrilled to hear that the Canadian Coast Guard College held its first in-person graduation ceremony since 2019, welcoming 51 graduates from its officer training program into the Canadian Coast Guard.
    Canadians owe these graduates an enormous debt of gratitude for the future challenges they will face. Would the minister kindly inform the House of the important work done at the college and the importance of the Canadian Coast Guard College in Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for Bonavista—Burin—Trinity for his excellent work on behalf of his constituents. The Canadian Coast Guard College meets the highest international standards of training in navigation and engineering, and in training Coast Guard members to keep our citizens and waterways safe on all three coasts and many waters in between.
    I want to thank every member of the Canadian Coast Guard for their service on this special anniversary and to congratulate recent graduates who persevered in their studies throughout the pandemic and are now joining one of Canada's most trusted institutions.

Indigenous Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, York Factory First Nation has lost its lifeline, its ferry, for longer than expected. The community is now isolated and needs immediate assistance. It also needs an all-weather road. Climate change is already wreaking havoc here, as the ground-breaking report from the Canadian Climate Institute indicates. Urgent federal action is needed now across our north, including by building all-weather roads.
    My bill, Bill C-245, supports this work. Will the Liberals invest in all-weather road access for York Factory and support my bill to invest in our communities that are on the front lines of climate change?
    Mr. Speaker, it is an all-too-sad reality that in fact climate change disproportionately affects indigenous communities. Of course, I will continue to work with all indigenous communities, including York Factory, on making sure their infrastructure is resilient and, as we rebuild and replace infrastructure, that it meets the climate challenges we are all facing together.


Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, regarding government financing of the TMX pipeline, in written answers to Questions on the Order Paper, the government is claiming that BMO and TD reviews make this project financially viable, but due to commercial confidentiality it will not release them. Previous TD reports on TMX were public. Why hide them now? It is entirely likely that the government plans to write off financial risks and debt and leave us financially exposed. If it is so commercially viable, why can we not see the reports?
    Mr. Speaker, Canadians know how important it is to get our product to market and to tidewater. The government does not intend to be the long-term owner of the Trans Mountain pipeline. This is a project that has led to 12,700 jobs, and once completed, Canadians will enjoy full price for our oil on the world market. A divestment process will be undertaken once this project is essentially de-risked and once consultations with indigenous people conclude.


Presence in Gallery

     Canadian Forces Day is an opportunity for Canadians across the country to recognize the sacrifices that our men and women in uniform make on our behalf.


    It is my pleasure to draw the attention of members to the presence in the gallery of five members of the Canadian Forces who are taking part in Canadian Armed Forces Day today: Master Warrant Officer Guillaume Durand, Chief Petty Officer 1st Class Pascal Gilles Harel, Master Corporal Michael Lee Moore, Master Bombardier Steeven Phillipe Ricard and Warrant Officer Éric Arthur White.
    Some hon. members: Hear, hear!

Routine Proceedings

[Routine Proceedings]


Privacy Commissioner

    The House resumed consideration of the motion.
    It being 3:12 p.m., the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion regarding the appointment of Philippe Dufresne as Privacy Commissioner.
    Call in the members.



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

(Division No. 157)



Collins (Hamilton East—Stoney Creek)
Collins (Victoria)
Duncan (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Lewis (Essex)
Lewis (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Louis (Kitchener—Conestoga)
MacAulay (Cardigan)
MacDonald (Malpeque)
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
Martinez Ferrada
May (Cambridge)
May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McDonald (Avalon)
McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)
Petitpas Taylor
Rempel Garner
Sidhu (Brampton East)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Taylor Roy
Van Bynen
van Koeverden
Van Popta

Total: -- 327






Total: -- 6

     I declare the motion carried.
    The House just adopted a motion to approve the appointment of Philippe Dufresne as Privacy Commissioner of Canada.


    I would like to take a moment to congratulate Philippe on his appointment and thank him for his seven years of excellent service to the House as Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel.


     I always knew I could count on his expert opinion and tremendous professionalism. Philippe has given wise counsel and support to me, my predecessors, members, committees and the Board of Internal Economy. Over the years, he has made an invaluable contribution to the key legal and legislative issues of our day.


    Philippe's dedication to members, to the House of Commons and to Parliament is evident to all who meet him. His unwavering commitment to our parliamentary system is one of Philippe's core values and something that will serve him well in his new role.


    Philippe is also very committed to ensuring a safe and inclusive environment where everyone can fully contribute to society. That is something he clearly demonstrated during the years he served as the House of Commons' diversity champion.


    Please join me in congratulating Philippe. Although we will miss him at the House, we can take satisfaction in knowing that he will continue to serve Parliament and Canadians in his new capacity.


    We are grateful to Philippe.


    Mr. Speaker, I rise to add a few words to the well-deserved tribute to Mr. Dufresne.
    Some members may not be aware that Philippe's association with this place goes back well before his appointment as a law clerk. A few years ago, and I will not say how many, as he was known then, little Philippe or petit Philippe worked around here as one of our tour guides. His subsequent career has been one intertwined with this place ever since. After showing folks around, he showed up some of the folks here when he was counsel on the winning side of the unanimous 2005 Supreme Court of Canada decision which set the benchmark for parliamentary privilege in our country.
    We, of course, have had the real benefit of his wisdom and support since his appointment in 2015 in both the small issues, which never really come to light, as well as the large monumental issues, which can grip Parliament during a minority government. Had we not had that snap election last year, Philippe might well have added yet another landmark court case on parliamentary privilege to his record. His deep respect for this institution of the House of Commons and his ability to navigate diplomatically the very different political currents which motivate what happens around here showed in all of his work, and that alone deserves our respect and appreciation in these times.
    Now he will go on to be an officer of Parliament where he knows and we know that he will serve with distinction. As the Privacy Commissioner in an ever-increasingly digital world, his task will be a very busy one, but one where Canadians will be well served.
    We thank Philippe, wish him luck and we will see him at committee.


    Mr. Speaker, I want to extend, on behalf of the government, our deep and sincere gratitude to Mr. Dufresne for his extraordinary work and counsel over the last seven years, as he has acted as the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel for the House of Commons, whether it was serving members or you, Mr. Speaker, or committees and certainly the Board of Internal Economy, where I had a phenomenal opportunity to see Mr. Dufresne in action and how he supported the administration in the House so powerfully. It has been a tremendous honour. I know that he will serve with incredible distinction as Privacy Commissioner.
    I wish Philippe all the very best in that new role and, on behalf of the government and the House, I thank him for his extraordinary work.


    Mr. Speaker, on behalf of all of my Bloc Québécois colleagues, I, too, wish to salute Mr. Dufresne and congratulate him on his appointment.
    In the House, in committee and elsewhere, Mr. Dufresne was the epitome of diligence, honesty and integrity. Whenever we had a question or an interaction with him, we could be sure that he had done his homework, knew his files, and would tell the truth.
    I will not speak for very long, but I do want to extend my heartfelt thanks to him for all of the years that he has given to the House and for all of the work that he has done. Like the entire team of legislative clerks, he has worked tremendously hard.
     I will end with an anecdote. Shortly before the last election was called, if I am not mistaken, the Standing Committee on Finance was sitting during the weeks of the construction holidays at the initiative of the Hon. Wayne Easter. The government had chosen not to proceed with a bill that had originated with the opposition, but that had received royal assent.
     Mr. Dufresne appeared before the committee as an expert witness, and as soon as he finished explaining the role of legislators, the House and the government, that settled the matter and the government went ahead. That is another example of the profound rigour that we know he will certainly continue to bring to his new role as Privacy Commissioner of Canada.
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise on behalf of the NDP caucus and our leader, the member for Burnaby South, to congratulate Philippe Dufresne on his many years of service to Parliament.
    Mr. Dufresne has always measured up to Parliament's high standards. In his role as a servant of Parliament, he is hard-working and has always shown respect towards members. He keeps us up to date on the various procedures. He is detail-oriented and is always willing to answer our questions. He is always working to safeguard the rights of parliamentarians and the importance of Parliament. He is also a very open person, with an informal style, but he brings an extensive knowledge of parliamentary procedures and legal issues.
    There can be no doubt that Mr. Dufresne will make an excellent officer of Parliament. The vote held a few moments ago demonstrates the confidence that all parliamentarians have in him in his new role as an officer of Parliament. We are very grateful for his years of service to our democratic life and to our Canadian Parliament, and we congratulate him.



    Mr. Speaker, I want to add our thanks to Mr. Dufresne and also say that I share all the sentiments of the other members of this place in thanking Mr. Dufresne for his extraordinary service as our law clerk.
    I also want to say that in the future, we know he will face enormous challenges. The new technologies pose such threats to our privacy. This is not a retirement but the beginning of a new and challenging future and we wish him all the best. Privacy rights are precious and we trust in him to protect them for us.

Business of the House

[Business of the House]
    Mr. Speaker, I was going to heap more praise on Mr. Dufresne, but somehow I do not think he wants any more. I know he is a very humble man.
    We are rounding the corner on this session of Parliament, and before I get to the Thursday question, I want to thank a few people.
    I certainly want to thank the clerks, our deputy speakers, the administrative staff who support this place, the pages, and particularly the Translation Bureau, which has been through a lot over the course of the last couple of years with the hybrid Parliament. I sincerely believe that we have moved beyond the hybrid Parliament system and that we are going to return to this place in a normal fashion with a return to normalcy, and I look forward to that.
    I also want to thank the Parliamentary Protective Service, PPS, the Sergeant-at-Arms and everybody in charge of protecting Parliament. They have had a busy time as well.
    I thank everyone who supports this place, the cooks, the cleaners, the drivers and the maintenance staff. I thank everyone who works to ensure that this place functions properly and safely.
    This is all done with the greatest of respect in our symbol of democracy. I want to thank them all. I think they deserve a hand.
    As we approach the final days of this session, I ask the government House leader what the calendar of the House is expected to be as we get into next week.
    Mr. Speaker, I will start by echoing the comments of thanks by the opposition House leader. To all those who serve the House and for everything they have done, particularly over the last year, I offer our deep and sincere thanks. The opposition House leader rightly named all those we rely on to do the jobs on a day-to-day basis that we do in serving Canadians.
    We will continue with the second reading debate of Bill C-9 concerning the Judges Act this afternoon. Tomorrow, it is our intention to call Bill C-11 on online streaming at report stage.
    On Monday, we will be returning to the second reading debate of Bill C-21 respecting firearms. In the afternoon, we will go back to Bill C-11 for debate at third reading. We will also focus on finding a way to expedite the bill currently on notice concerning the self-induced extreme intoxication defence standing in the name of the Minister of Justice.
    Finally, we have had discussions among the parties, and if you seek it, I believe you will find unanimous consent to adopt the following motion:
    That, notwithstanding the order adopted by the House on Thursday, November 25, 2021, with regard to the participation in the proceedings of the House and its committees, the provisions related to the COVID-19 vaccination be suspended beginning on Monday, June 20, 2022.
    All those opposed to the hon. minister's 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)



Message from the Senate

     I have the honour to inform the House that a message has been received from the Senate informing this House that the Senate has passed the following bill, to which the concurrence of the House is desired: Bill S-10, an act to give effect to the Anishinabek Nation Governance Agreement, to amend the Sechelt Indian Band Self-Government Act and the Yukon First Nations Self-Government Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other acts.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]


Judges Act

    The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-9, An Act to amend the Judges Act, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    I wish to inform the House that because of the deferred recorded division, Government Orders will be extended by 13 minutes.
    Resuming debate, the hon. member for Northumberland—Peterborough South, who has seven minutes remaining.
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to where I left off on speaking to Bill C-9, this provision has many things that the Conservatives will support.
     I was just outlining the substance of the changes to the judicial review process. Of course, if this bill passes, there will be a screening officer and then there will be a series of panels. We had gotten to the hearing panel, which would be the first review of the misconduct. The panel can direct it in one of three ways: One would be an outright dismissal; the second would be putting into place sanctions, which I outlined; the third would be sending it to a full hearing panel.
     One of the unique features of this particular process is that if a sanction less than full removal is done, there is a secondary appeal process, which is called the reduced hearing panel. This panel actually brings in all new evidence, so in many ways it acts like an appeal process to the sanctions from the original review panel, but it is all new evidence and all new process. It does not even rely on the work, so even though it is an appeal process, it is a new judicial process as well.
    What I find interesting, and I plan to ask about it at committee if I get the opportunity, is that what could actually happen is that, at the initial panel, the individual justice could be sanctioned, as I outlined earlier, to an apology or a public rebuke from the panel. The justice could appeal that and then be sent to a full hearing for the potential removal. Therefore, the appeal to get less of a sanction could actually go back and have more of an impact, and in fact eventual removal, which could have a chilling effect on justices who want to appeal the process. Perhaps I am misunderstanding that section. As I said, I look forward to potentially exploring that at committee.
    At the initial review panel, if the charges are serious enough to justify a potential full removal, it would go to what is called a full hearing panel. That full hearing panel would have full evidence and there would be a presentation of the evidence by what is called the presenting lawyer or presenting counsel, in many ways a prosecutor, and they will conduct that.
     From there, the process stems out and then it actually funnels all back in. Both the reduced hearing panel and the full hearing panel would then go back into one process, which would be a traditional appeal process, and the actual discussions and reasons are reviewed at that appeal process. If, in fact, that appeal process is unsatisfactory to either the presenting counsel or the justice subject to the complaint, there would be at that point a right to appeal to the Supreme Court. Once all of those rights to appeal are exhausted or expired or waived, it would then go to the Minister of Justice, who can bring it in front of Parliament to potentially have that justice removed.
    There are a couple of key elements to this, and I find this part quite well done. There is a move in here to increase the transparency. Much more of the hearings, the decisions, the reasoning, the discussions and the lawyers' debate would be public. Of course, sunlight is the greatest disinfectant. On that as well, there would also be annual reports. Obviously, justices have an incredibly important function in our society and in our legal system. What is nice is that there would be a publishing of reports saying how many complaints there are, how successful they are and what the eventual outcome of those complaints is.


    This is nice. This is a piece of legislation that is clearly designed. We will discuss it, hopefully pull it apart and make it even better at committee, but it is clear that it intends to improve government efficiency. When I look at the global landscape, I have to say that we are not winning when it comes to our government's effectiveness or efficiency. It takes us months to get passports. We have seen the SNC-Lavalin affair and the WE scandal. This continuous corruption and tiredness, this poor, antiquated system, the uncompetitive WE system, is holding Canadian business back and holding Canadian jobs back.
    Perhaps this is the beginning of a new leaf for the government. Maybe it will move on from being a tired, corrupt, inefficient government and actually go forward and try to be better for Canadians. Quite frankly, we are in a global race and we are losing when it comes to government effectiveness and efficiency.
    I always appreciate members on the other side trying to give me a helping hand. I look forward to having greater discussion. I would encourage all members to read Bill C-9. It is certainly not the most contentious piece of legislation we will read, but it is important.
    As final words, I would like to thank all the justices who are out there working hard trying to protect victims, trying to keep our cities and streets safe, and trying to make Canada a better place.
    Mr. Speaker, I am very happy to see that this is one of those days and one of those debates where we seem to unanimously be supporting a piece of legislation. The next logical step here is to send it to committee and to let the committee start to do its work so we can keep the process moving.
    Will Conservatives let us have a vote on this? Will they let the debate collapse so we can vote on it and let it go to committee to do that work?
    If the member does not have an answer to that, would he be willing to commit, once he has finished his speech, to go into his whip's lobby and talk to the whip about doing that so we can see this piece of legislation move forward, or will this be another one of those pieces of legislation that we all agree on but the Conservatives will just not let pass?
    Mr. Speaker, I will certainly go to our whip's office and tell him that we need important, diligent debate on this issue, as we need it on everything. I appreciate that.
    I thought I was fairly persuasive in the fact that I asked his colleagues two substantive questions about the bill, and they had no idea what was there. It is sad that the government does not know its own legislation. The speech I made was about 95% substance. I went through the procedure. It was not filibustering. It was meant to be a meaningful conversation to bring up issues for debate and discussion. I was hoping the questions might reflect that.


    Mr. Speaker, I do not think there will be much debate on Bill C-9. It appears to have unanimous support.
    However, my question for my Conservative colleague is about what comes next after this bill. Does he think that the next issue in line for amendments should be the process for appointing judges, so that we can improve the process?
    Mr. Speaker, that is a very good question and I intend to work with my colleague on judicial appointments.


    I have been troubled, as I think a lot of Canadians have been, by some of the news stories. It appears there is some connection or correlation between donating to the Liberal Party and being appointed as a justice. I appreciate this question.


    Mr. Speaker, I greatly appreciate the member's thoughts. As my colleague from the Liberal Party suggested, this is a time when we are in this House and we all agree on something, which is nice. I would like to see the bill fast-tracked so we can focus on really important issues.
    I have been talking a lot about the toxic drug crisis. I know my colleague cares deeply about this as well. The expert task force on substance use made it unequivocally clear that criminalizing people who use substances causes more harm. BIPOC Canadians are impacted more than other Canadians. Reforms to the justice system would help eliminate systemic racism.
    Does my colleague agree that we need to fast-track this bill and get on to these really difficult challenges that we can address by working together?
    Mr. Speaker, I share my colleague's deep concern, empathy and sympathy for all Canadians who are unfortunately addicted to substances across the country. I have certainly seen it in our towns of Port Hope and Cobourg, the havoc it can wreak, not just on the individuals who are addicted to these substances but on their family members. It would give me no greater joy in life than if we could get good people off this terrible stuff.
    Getting back to the bill, although it is not contentious, there are several issues. As I said, I brought this up for debate, such as the reduced hearing review panel, which would have a bit of an unusual impact, the way it happens. Our justices receiving rebukes or dismissal is a serious issue. Although it is not contentious, I do want to build this collaboratively and I do believe it merits discussion.
    Mr. Speaker, I think we are enjoying today, in this debate on Bill C-9, a remarkable degree of unanimity. To the extent that there is hesitation, it is not unreasonable, obviously. This is a piece of legislation that many of us have not studied before, but it is not contentious. It is updating a system that has been overdue for an update, to streamline it and make it more effective. I think my hon. colleague will agree that there are many areas that we want to see streamlined in this country. Let us get at one of them.
    My question is more of a comment. If we do get the opportunity for unanimous consent to get Bill C-9 out of here and done, we know how much that will help us get on to other issues, like the urgent opioid crisis, the urgent climate crisis and many other issues. Let us get Bill C-9 passed, if we possibly can. If it comes forward for unanimous consent, I urge the hon. member to consider just saying “okay”.
    Mr. Speaker, I know the hon. member has a long track record of speaking in this House about the importance of debate. I would call upon those comments. I know her comments are made with the best of intentions, but I still believe this bill deserves additional study and conversations.
    Whether it be the appointment of an individual screening officer versus the executive director, or whether it be the exact prescription of the sanctions that are potentially put on justices, including a public rebuke, I think having some parliamentary conversation about that could be important and I think it could improve it. Although not contentious, it is still very important. How we resolve judicial misconduct is an important issue. We saw that in Rona Ambrose's bill and everything she brought to light.
    Mr. Speaker, my question to the member who spoke previously was slightly tongue-in-cheek. We all know what is going on here. The same question that I asked was asked by the NDP and then it was asked by the Greens. The question was, why will the Conservatives not just let this go? Why will they not just let it collapse?
    For those who are at home and wondering what this madness is, I will explain it to them. What is going on right now is that we have a bill that everybody in this House agrees on, more or less, I should say. It will definitely pass when it comes to a vote, but the reality is that the Conservatives will just not let that happen. They do not want to see a vote on it. Why? It is not because they are against it or they do not want to see the work happen. They want something in return. Their whip's desk is saying that they do not want to let this pass, because if they let this pass, they are giving something to the government without getting something in return. Unfortunately, that is how petty this place has become. On an issue that we are all passionate about and want to see move forward and go to committee so that it can be studied and come back to this House, an issue we know is long-standing and outstanding, we are now literally seeing it deadlocked here because the Conservatives will not let this debate collapse.
    In that vein, I have a speech here, but I am not going to bother reading it, because I do not think it is important at this point. I think what is important is that we move on and get this to committee.
    I will be sharing my time with the member for Vaughan—Woodbridge.
    That is all I have to say.


    Mr. Speaker, I am sad my colleague did not take up some time to actually explain his position on this bill because that is what the floor of the House of Commons is for. I will ask him about the pettiness he referred to. We are attentive, and we want to hear what he has to say about this bill. That is not petty at all. It is about understanding what the legislation is for.
    If he is going to rise above his pettiness, can he please address his concerns about the bill? A lot of people think there is some good stuff in this bill, and we would like to hear about it.
    Mr. Speaker, I do think this is a good bill. I want to see this bill move forward. My reference with respect to pettiness had nothing to do with the bill or the content of this bill, but indeed with the actions of the Conservative Party right now. I am trying to be as respectful as I can about this, but the reality is the Conservatives will just not let this go forward because they want something in return. They are holding this hostage right now, even though everybody wants it, just so they can use it as a bargaining chip to get something in return.
    This bill is a very important bill, and it is important it moves forward. It needs to go to committee. Am I an expert on the content of this bill as the previous speaker is? Of course not. However, I do know this is in the best interest of Canadians. I take great comfort in knowing it is unanimously supported in the House. Therefore, it is, at the very least, worthy of going to the next stage, which is for the committee to study it.


    Mr. Speaker, I can understand my colleague's eagerness to finally get this bill to committee. It makes sense because that is where amendments can be made, and amendments are improvements.
    In fact, speaking of improvements, a lot of people say there are no separatist judges because a separatist judge would not promote Canada. I understand that too. The problem is that any separatist who goes to court could say that they do not want a particular judge to hear their case because the judge would be biased.
    How can we make sure judges are unbiased?


    Mr. Speaker, the member obviously has a greater perspective on it than I do. Just the fact she is asking the questions means that it means something to her. I interpret this to mean she wants to work on finding a solution to ensuring that independence still occurs, even if it is a judge who fits the description she had.
    That is exactly what the committee can do, and that is the place where those kind of questions are going to be properly addressed. If indeed an amendment is required, the Bloc Québécois can put forward that amendment at committee. That is the perfect place for that to occur.
    Mr. Speaker, I agree with the member who just spoke. It is very rare there is a bill that comes to the House for which everybody largely has consensus. We want to see the work get done, so hopefully we can do that. It is unfortunate he feels there is a power struggle between his party and the Conservatives.
    I am just wondering if the member could talk about what might be more important to talk about. In my riding, I can think of people who are desperately looking for housing. The cost of housing is exploding in ways we could have never predicted just a few years. There are so many people who are experiencing life without a home because of the realities we are facing.
    Is that not something we should be talking about in the House, rather than what we are talking about right now?


    Mr. Speaker, we could be talking about housing, pharmacare and climate change. The list could go on and on. I am not suggesting for a second this is not very important. What I am suggesting is we already know the will of the House with respect to this. It is very clear, if one has been sitting here since 10 a.m., as I have, what the will of the House is on this.
    I am just suggesting that it is time for the House to move on to talk about housing. I would like to talk more about housing. The irony is that, while the member was asking that question, a heckle came from across the way telling me to thank her for her hard work, as if somehow the member for North Island—Powell River and I both believing that housing is an important issue means we are somehow in collusion. That is how the Conservatives interpret it. Yes, I am willing to collude with this member as it relates to working on housing issues and making housing more affordable for Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, I have a few remarks on Bill C-9, an act to amend the Judges Act. I am not a lawyer or a full subject matter expert on this bill, but having read the bill kit, I have put together a few words. It seems there is some unanimity and some good work has been done by our government. Hopefully this bill can be sent to committee for study by the learned members that have the honour and privilege of sitting on the justice committee here in Parliament.
    It is, as always, great to see everyone this afternoon. I hope everyone is doing well, and that their loved ones at home are doing likewise.


    I am here today to discuss a matter of crucial importance to our judicial system. The Canadian judiciary has a solid reputation and has long been respected here at home and abroad, which is one reason it enjoys the confidence of Canadians and the admiration of societies the world over.
    There is a reason for that. Our judicial system is strong. It has been reinforced and improved continually over time thanks to the decisions rendered and measures taken by the people who make the system tick. Our system gets better and better because of the skill and hard work Canadian judges bring to every case, along with their unimpeachable character and exemplary conduct.


    This is why allegations of misconduct against a judge can have such a corrosive effect on the bright enamel of our justice system. While these allegations are rare, they are highly significant for the judges and the individuals concerned, and they have deeper importance for public trust in the integrity of justice. It is critical that the public have confidence in a system for investigating judicial misconduct allegations that is scrupulously fair, effective and, most important of all, guided by the public interest at its heart.
    The minister and the parliamentary secretary have eloquently provided context for Bill C-9, as well as presented its key features. To complement this, I wish to focus on the theme of accountability. In the context of judicial conduct reform, this concept has three important dimensions: First, there is accountability as applied the public. Second, there is the accountability of judges. Third, there is financial accountability. I will briefly touch on each.


    As I have already said, public confidence in the justice system is critical. The law and the administration of justice exist to serve the public. The bill before us today is intended to strengthen that trust through a more robust mechanism for dealing with complaints against members of the judiciary. This mechanism will also ensure greater transparency and greater public participation.
    Furthermore, the reforms in question were developed following extensive consultations. This inclusive approach, involving members of the Canadian public as well as academic experts, legal professionals, the Canadian Judicial Council and the Canadian Superior Court Judges Association, underscores the government's commitment to strengthening public trust.
    The consultations also revealed a strong public interest in a more transparent and accessible judicial disciplinary process, with increased participation from representatives of the general public who are not legal professionals.



    Bill C-9 codifies a space for public representatives as part of the judicial conduct complaint review process. Whereas the existing model can be rigid and opaque, the proposed reform would inject responsiveness and transparency. Following the reforms contained in this bill, a panel made up of both public and judicial representatives would review all allegations of judicial misconduct that are deemed worthy of investigation. These panels would consider complaints through written submissions and be authorized to prescribe remedies short of removal from office where this is appropriate. Remedies could take the form of mandatory education or training, formal reprimands or the issuance of an apology. In this way, representatives of the public would be directly involved in ensuring the fairness and integrity of judicial conduct investigations.
    The new regime would also require that a representative of the public serve on panels holding the most serious hearings, those that may culminate in a recommendation of removal from office. This properly reflects the fact that the public's wisdom, as well as its best interests, should feature centrally in addressing the most serious allegations against a judge. I have no doubt that this measure would enrich the quality and integrity of those hearings, just as it would provide an appropriate mechanism of transparency and public participation.
    I will now turn to the issue of judicial accountability. Judges are the faces of the justice system. Their decisions and conduct make the law tangible, not only to those who appear in proceedings before them but also to the broader public as well. The extent to which the administration of justice is determined by the degree of confidence in those who make it work, judges included. Consequently, the conduct of judges is rightly scrutinized more closely and more critically than that of perhaps any other professionals.
    Upholding this high standard relies on the integrity of the individual judges, as well as on the effectiveness of the system designed to address complaints. As I alluded to previously, in the context of public participation, a key indicator of the trustworthiness of a mechanism is its responsiveness. Currently, the Judges Act only empowers an inquiry by the Canadian Judicial Council to consider removal of a judge from office. This blunt approach is both too restrictive and too broad. Where the conduct at issue fails to meet the high threshold for judicial removal, public confidence is undermined by the absence of appropriate remedies for conduct that may nonetheless raise reasonable concerns.
    Conversely, there is the risk that a lack of remedial alternatives causes lesser misconduct to be addressed through the full force of a public inquiry.


    A more nuanced approach will help to meaningfully address a greater variety of allegations of misconduct in a way that will be both more efficient and cost-effective. The bill includes new opportunities for early resolution and for adapting procedures based on the seriousness of the allegations in question. This capacity to adapt strengthens the trust in the process and supports the integrity of the judiciary. We guarantee that every case of misconduct can be properly sanctioned and that no judge will fall through the cracks or be subject to procedures that seem disproportionate in the circumstances.
    The responsibilities introduced by the bill are complemented by the accountability with respect to the funding of the process. More specifically, the legislation sets out a more stable funding mechanism, as well as protection measures and additional controls that will guide the use of public funds.
    As such, the Canadian Judicial Council will be able to carry out its mandate to investigate allegations of judicial misconduct, a mandate that stems from the constitutional principle of judicial independence. Currently, the efficacy of the funding is compromised by the fact that the usual mechanism for obtaining funding simply does not meet the unusual needs related to the process.
    Bill C-9 proposes a new funding mechanism that would actually separate the cost of the process into two components. The investigations will be paid for out of non-discretionary funds and the amounts required for fair and robust hearings will be paid directly out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
    Expenses paid out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund will now be more transparent and stable thanks to three main measures. First, a regulation will be adopted under clause 144 of the bill to limit the number of lawyers participating in the process who can charge for their services. Second, under clause 145, the policies for the regulation of other process-related expenses will be developed by the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs, whose office provides key operational support to the Canadian Judicial Council and is ultimately responsible for all the costs of the process.



    Judicial conduct review mechanisms generally receive broad attention only on those rare occasions when high profile allegations of judicial misconduct focus the public's mind on them.
    Mr. Speaker, I was actually up in my office and I came down, because I was listening to the member for Kingston and the Islands speak as though there were some dirty little secret around here as to the way things operate. In fact, last night, through a unanimous consent motion, we actually moved Bill C-14 through the process.
     It is the government that actually sets the legislative agenda in this place, and it is the government that put Bill C-9 on the Order Paper today as a matter of business in this House. This bill was introduced in October. These are the first hours of debate, and there are 338 members in this House, who represent millions of voices of Canadians across this country, who have things to say on this bill, maybe to make it a little better.
     I am sorry if this taxes the patience of the member for Kingston and the Islands. Perhaps if he does not want to be a member of Parliament, he could go be the president of the local soccer association in his riding. We debate things in this place. This is Parliament.
    Does the hon. member believe that the voices of Canadians are important in this place and that debate matters?
    Mr. Speaker, it is always important for all pieces of legislation to go through the scrutiny of being debated in the House and then looked at in committee, to go through the rigorous process where we call witnesses in and there is a good debate of ideas. We can always strengthen and improve legislation that obviously impacts the 38-odd million Canadians who are blessed to live in this country.
    Mr. Speaker, the process of how we handle complaints against federally appointed judges has not been updated in 50 years, so I am happy to see that we are all on the same page of finally doing this work.
    Does the member not agree that we need to move forward on this and turn our attention to tackling issues like systemic racism in the judicial system or finally addressing the toxic drug supply emergency where people are dying daily?
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member comes from a beautiful part of British Columbia.
    I wholeheartedly agree with the member that we need to tackle Bill C-9, get it through and get it done. At the same time, there is the death toll that opioids have cast on this country, and how many thousands of people have died from opioids. Our government is seized with it. All Canadians are seized with it. All parliamentarians need to be seized with it. I agree we need to tackle those issues.
     On systemic racism, obviously I was very disappointed to see the story come out from the Toronto Police Service on systemic racism against the Black community in Toronto, but I was also happy to see that an apology was issued. We need to work on that issue as well. Much work remains to be done to break down barriers, walls, whatever stands in the way of beating back systemic racism against any Canadian from any group in this country that we live in today.



    Mr. Speaker, we know very well that there are currently problems with the process for appointing judges and that some judges have abused their power. There was a case in my riding. A judge who was appointed used all the provisions until the end of his so-called process, then retired without facing any consequences.
    Will Bill C‑9 give more power to the Canadian Judicial Council to take action against a judge guilty of a serious or less serious offence?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou for her question. It is very important for the system that Bill C‑9 be very effective.


    It has to be very efficient. It has to be timely. It cannot land in a very long, bureaucratic standpoint. That is why I am so happy to see that in the 50 years this system has been in place, there is a revamp going on that takes it in that direction.
    Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for South Surrey—White Rock.
    It is an honour for me to be here today to engage in the debate on a very important topic, the reform of the Judges Act.
    Bill C-9 introduces comprehensive reforms to the Judges Act. It introduces comprehensive reforms to the process through which judicial conduct is reviewed and sanctioned. The proposed reforms to the Judges Act aim to enhance the Canadian Judicial Council's capacity to effectively respond to all allegations of judicial misconduct. It is not necessarily highly contentious instances, but also instances of lower measure.
    The proposed measures seek to promote procedural fairness in an independent, effective and efficient judicial conduct review process designed to minimize delays and to contain costs. The Canadian Judicial Council, under this new set of rules, this new legislation, will be able to respond to all allegations of misconduct. The process of the investigation and review will be streamlined. There will be new tools for procedural fairness. There will be fewer delays. Importantly, there will be funding to make sure that all of this is done in a cost-effective and efficient way.
    Importantly, there is also procedural fairness for judges in their pensions in the event they are dismissed for misconduct, if that is ultimately what the finding is. Of course, we all want to be fair to our judges.
    There will be new powers for the Canadian Judicial Council to make orders such as ordering a judge to make an apology publicly, or require that a judge undergo counselling, if that is the right response.
    There will also be a capability for the Canadian Judicial Council to order that the judge undergo continuing professional development, something that we all agree with, something that judges and all professionals should engage in, as we all have to do. There are a number of members of the bar here. They have to undergo continuing professional development every year.
    There will also importantly be a right of appeal for judges. My colleague, the member for Northumberland—Peterborough South, went into some detail as to what all the new processes and procedures are. I will not read them into the record.
    What is important here is that we want to be fair to judges, but we also want to be fair to complainants, people who feel they have been wronged by the conduct of a judge.
    Very importantly also is that Canadian society wants judicial independence. This is so important to help Canada operate as a country. Judicial independence is a cornerstone of our judicial system and indeed of our whole democratic system. We are a society that believes in the rule of law. Everybody is subject to the law. Everybody is equal before the law, including the judges who make the law and including politicians who make laws.
    It is important that judges be free from political interference, that the whole justice system be free from political interference. Unfortunately, we have seen some bad situations, for example, with the SNC-Lavalin scandal a couple of years ago, where politicians tried to interfere with the judicial process, rather than allow it to operate the way it is supposed to under judicial independence rules. It is inappropriate for politicians to get involved in that.
    It is also important to understand that judges must be free from political pressures. The superior courts are masters of their own scheduling, of their own operations. That is fundamental to the way we operate.


    Courts are self-governing when it comes to judges' professionalism, competence, ability and conduct. This came up in the previous Parliament under Bill C-3. This was new legislation that was brought in requiring judges to undergo sexual assault training. At that time it was a deep concern to many members in this Parliament and previous Parliaments and to many Canadian citizens that not all judges were properly trained for sexual assault cases. We deemed it important that judges understand how sexual assault cases are different from other kinds of criminal cases.
    The reason I raise that here is that judicial independence became an issue then. That was another bill where everybody was in agreement. We deemed it important that it be debated because the issues surrounding that were so important to Canadian citizens. There were, at that time, academics and jurists who said that Bill C-3 was going in the wrong direction and undermining judicial independence. Here again, it was Parliament telling judges what they had to do and saying that they needed to take a course in this and they needed upgrading in that.
    After a lengthy debate, Parliament came to the conclusion that there is a balance to be found between integrity of the judicial system and allowing judicial independence. That bill, I submit, found that right balance. After a lot of debate, it went to committee. We heard from experts and we deemed that to be the right way to go with the right balance between judicial independence and ensuring that judges have proper training. The same is true here. It is so important for us to find that right balance.
     I said earlier that one of the key cornerstones for judicial independence is that judges be free from political pressures and from outside pressures as well. Sometimes it is difficult for citizens who are not trained in the law to understand how judges operate and how they make decisions that are perhaps controversial.
    One example comes to mind. It is going back a lot of years, but it is the O. J. Simpson trial in the United States. Mr. Simpson was charged criminally, but the jury found him to be not guilty, yet he was sued on the same set of facts in a civil court and was found to be liable. People did not understand how that worked and why one court could find him not guilty and the other one could find him civilly liable. That is the difference between the criminal benchmark for finding somebody guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and the civil courts where a judge or jury find that someone is liable on the balance of probabilities. That is just one of the important points of judicial independence.
    That said, judges are also human beings. They are Canadian citizens. They know what is going on in the world, so we require them to be sensitive to community standards. Sadly, that is not always the case, as we saw recently in the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in R. v. Bissonnette, where the Supreme Court of Canada found that consecutive sentences were unconstitutional. Many Canadians are having a hard time understanding that. This Parliament needs to look into that to ensure there is fairness according to common-law conditions, and also so that the citizens of this country know that the courts are operating in a way that values and understands community values.
    In another case, R. v. Brown, just very recently, a person was found to be not guilty by reason of extreme intoxication and therefore he could not form mens rea, as we call it, which is the guilty intention to commit a crime. Again, Canadian citizens have a hard time understanding that. It needs to be reviewed as well by this Parliament, and I hope that happens soon.


    Mr. Speaker, just circling back to the comment made by the House leader of the official opposition, I want to say that he made my week. I am flattered that the House leader of the opposition was sitting on the third floor of this building in his office, caught word of what I said in the House and came running down here to ask me a question. I had no idea that he hung on every word that came out of my mouth like that, so I thank him.
    To this member, does he not agree that it is probably in the best interests of the House, Canadians and those who would be affected by this legislation to let this get to committee so that the committee can do its work and report back to the House, and we can move along with it?
    We all agree on it. The question from every member of the House to the Conservatives—at least from the Liberals, NDP and Greens—has been, why are we talking about this? Can we not talk about other more important things? It is not because this is not important, but because we know we are unanimous and want to move it forward.
    Mr. Speaker, this is very important legislation. This goes to one of the cornerstones of our democratic society, and that is judicial independence and whether Canadians have confidence in their court system. This is one of the most important things that we are going to debate in this parliamentary session.
    Even though we are all in agreement, it does not mean that we do not debate the issues. These issues have to be brought to the attention of people who are interested enough in this to be watching this or to be reading about this in the papers. Canadians want to know that these issues are being debated thoroughly in the House of Commons.


    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Langley—Aldergrove for his speech. He was one of the first people to say hello and welcome me here when I was first elected back in 2019.
    I listened carefully and, from what I understand, Bill C‑9 is important to him and to everyone here, and we are debating it now because it is so important.
    What will it take to finally get this bill sent to committee so it can be studied and amended if necessary?


    Mr. Speaker, I would just underline that this is important legislation. This goes to the very foundation of what Canadian society is. We are a nation that is built on the rule of law. For us to feel that we need to hurry this very important piece of legislation through Parliament just because we are all in agreement is something I disagree with.
    I was ready to speak to Bill C-14 today. I did not realize that this was so important to the Liberal government that it wanted to have it on the agenda today. It was introduced months ago. Why was it not here earlier? Why are the Liberals now suggesting that we are the ones who are stalling things? This is important legislation. I want it to be fully debated.


    Uqaqtittiji, the Canadian Judicial Council, which is comprised of chief and assistant chief justices, was doing consultations on this process as early as 2016. The Canadian Bar Association, responding to the council's consultations, in 2019 also talked about the importance of these processes being implemented.
    In a sense, this is not necessarily new legislation that is being considered. There was a previous bill that was already discussed. In effect, this is not brand new and it does not sound like it is a new initiative. I read in the mandate letter given to the minister that this needs to be a priority.
    Has the member read the mandate letter that initiates this process and that says having it completed is a priority?
    Mr. Speaker, I agree that this is a priority and I would like to thank the member for Nunavut for pointing that out. The Conservative caucus fully agrees that this is an urgent matter that needs to be discussed. I wish the government had put it on the legislative agenda earlier so that we would not be rushing it just before the summer break.
    Mr. Speaker, like some others in the House and like my colleague who was just speaking, I am a lawyer, and the practice of law has been a large part of my life. My son and two of my daughters followed me into the legal profession, and it is a source of pride to me as they pursue their professional careers.
    I continue to be grateful to have been appointed a Queen’s Counsel some 23 years ago, and to have been elected president of the B.C. branch of the Canadian Bar Association the year previous. I have a deep appreciation and passion for the law and its unbiased application.
    In the plainest of terms, Bill C-9 amends the Judges Act to replace the process through which the conduct of federally appointed judges is reviewed by the Canadian Judicial Council. It establishes a new streamlined process for reviewing allegations of misconduct that do not reach the threshold for a judge’s removal from office, and the process by which recommendations regarding removal from office can be made to the Minister of Justice.
    These provisions also apply to persons other than judges who are appointed under an act of Parliament to hold office during good behaviour. This bill was previously tabled in the Senate as Bill S-5 on May 25, 2021. The legislation before us is the result of consultations conducted by the federal government in 2016 on reforming this process. That is six years ago.
    It is incredibly important that the judicial system be just and fair, holding accountable those who are both behind and in front of the bench. Increasing public confidence in the judicial system, while ensuring the independence of the judiciary, is necessary for the foundations of our justice system to continue to function as intended.
    Many will recall that in response to comments from Justice Robin Camp at a sexual assault trial in 2014, former interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose introduced a bill to require seminars on sexual assault be taken by federally appointed justices
     At the time, the Alberta Court of Appeal panel ruled that Justice Camp seemed not to understand laws on consent and an alleged rape victim’s sexual activity, and that his acquittal of the man may have been coloured by “sexual stereotypes and stereotypical myths, which have long since been discredited.” Justice Camp’s ruling was thrown out and a new trial date set. Justice Camp went on to resign from the bench in 2017, after the Canadian Judicial Council ruled he should be removed from office.
    Before this case, there were volumes of case law and newspaper columns about jurists who misapprehended sexual consent or post-assault behaviour, who then went on to preside in court and rule again on other such cases.
    An earlier version of the bill received royal assent on May 6, 2021. This bill can be viewed as an attempt to increase confidence in the judicial system, which had been shaken by the words and actions of Justice Camp and others.
    Fairly representing victims' rights is an integral aspect of the proper functioning of the judicial system. One important aspect of the court process is the submission of victim impact statements: written statements from a victim or victims that describe the physical or emotional harm, property damage or economic loss that the victim of an offence has suffered. Our courts take these statements into account when an offender is sentenced. This gives victims of crime a voice in the criminal justice system.
    The government has not been prioritizing victims' rights, and it is failing Canadians and the integrity of our judicial system as a result. Inexcusably, the role of the federal ombudsman for victims of crime has been vacant since October 1, 2021, with the justice minister’s office saying it will be filled “in due course.”
    The ombudsperson has a critical role in highlighting and reviewing systemic issues that negatively affect victims and emerging issues. This vacancy is simply unacceptable, and sends a message to survivors and Canadians alike that they will not necessarily be represented fairly in the justice system. Adding to concerns that victims of crime are not being heard is Parliament’s failure to complete a review of the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights. The review was supposed to happen in 2020.
    Canadians’ perspective of the judicial system reflects, in part, these failures. According to the Justice Canada studies, regardless of whether their cases did or did not go to trial, participants were asked to rate their level of confidence in the police, the court process and the criminal justice system in general.


    Few stated that they were very confident. Indeed, approximately two-thirds of the responders stated that they were not confident in the administration of justice in general. This data is not coincidental. It is imperative that our judiciary system continues to adapt to effectively represent Canadians fairly.
    A Department of Justice report stated that:
    For the 2016/2017 fiscal year, 42% of all sexual assault case decisions (levels 1, 2, and 3) in adult criminal court resulted in a finding of guilt.
     According to StatsCan, statistical evidence classified 14% of level 1 sexual assault incidents as unfounded in 2017. In comparison, the more serious levels of sexual and physical assault were classified as unfounded in only 9% of level 3 sexual assaults, 7% of level 2 sexual assaults, 3% of level 2 physical assaults and 1% of level 3 physical assaults. Why is there a difference?
    This bill would modify the existing judicial review process and allow for sanctions such as counselling, continuing education and reprimands. Improvements in the administration of justice will result.
    The bill states that the reasons a judge could be removed from office include:
(a) infirmity; (b) misconduct; (c) failure in the due execution of judicial office; (d) the judge is in a position that a reasonable, fair-minded and informed observer would consider to be incompatible with the due execution of judicial office.
    In the case of a complaint that alleges sexual harassment or discrimination, it would not be dismissed. The full screening criteria would be published by the Canadian Judicial Council. The minister and Attorney General may request that the Canadian Judicial Council establish a full hearing panel to determine whether the removal of a judge from the office of a superior court is justified.
    The council would submit a report within three months after the end of each calendar year with respect to the number of complaints received and actions taken. This is a prudent measure that would ensure transparency and accountability from a senior group of jurists exercising quasi-constitutional duties.
    Such provisions in this bill would enhance and strengthen the Canadian legal system as a whole. As a former parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Justice, I welcome this legislation. Bill C-9 is a move in the right direction. It is not the end of the journey, but the start of the journey.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for her contribution to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, when I served there with her. She certainly brings a wealth of experience to the House, and I appreciate her perspective on this bill.
    One of the things that has come up in the course of debate is why we are debating this bill today. I would like my hon. colleague's comment on two things. One, this bill was last introduced in October of last year, and my understanding is that the government controls the legislative agenda, so it was just brought forward for debate today. The other is whether she could comment on something I am concerned about, which is that the position for the ombudsman for victims of crime has been vacant for nine months. Does she think that should be addressed immediately?


    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his vast contributions on the justice file in this place. He is very knowledgeable, and I certainly always appreciate our collaborations.
    The vacancy of the ombudsperson for victims of crime is actually appalling. This is such a crucial aspect of our judicial system and of confidence in that system being fair and just. I am sure there are many worthy candidates, and I am sure there have been many worthy applicants, which means the government simply has chosen not to move forward with that appointment. It should be done. It should be done quickly. It should have been done a long time ago, but I would love to see it done quickly for all victims in Canada.
    Mr. Speaker, I agree with much of what the member said in her intervention. Does the member agree we should be proceeding quickly with this relatively uncontroversial bill and getting it to committee to get the work going on this so the House can spend more time dealing with many other issues, such as the toxic drug supply that is seeing too many people dying every day, or the reforms to the justice system that would help eliminate systemic racism?
    Mr. Speaker, I always love getting a question from someone representing Nanaimo—Ladysmith because I was born in Ladysmith and raised in Nanaimo. I love hearing from people from Vancouver Island, and I thank the member for standing today in the House.
    I agree that this bill seems to have widespread support, for which I am grateful. However, the management of the legislative calendar lies squarely with the government, and if the government felt this was as important a bill as I do, it should have been brought forward earlier for full debate and comment. Obviously, there are many people in the House who want to comment on this bill, give interventions and get the message out to the people they represent in Canada regarding why this bill and its passage will be beneficial to our administration of justice.
    Here we are shortly before the summer recess debating a bill that I support, but I would like to see a whole debate on it. Then we can move forward in due course.
    Mr. Speaker, going back to the question that was just asked and answered, the member suggested, and she is absolutely right, that the government sets the agenda. However, the opposition has tools that it should and can use from time to time to slow down legislation and the legislative process in here.
    My question to the member is very simple. Does she not think we would have been able to table this bill and start debating it sooner had the Conservatives not held bills up, such as Bill C-8, the fall economic statement, which they held up for five or six months in the House? If we had seen fewer partisan games to slow the process down, would we not have been able to deal with items like this sooner?
    Mr. Speaker, I certainly do not feel the Conservatives need to take any lessons on partisanship in the House from that member in particular. The government seems to have fallen in love with closure and shortening debate. We do not agree with that. If it is something worth talking about, we want to talk about it.


    Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands, a place I am hoping to visit sometime soon.
    It is always an absolute privilege for me to stand in this place and work for the people of Canada. That is certainly true today. I will also say that it is absolutely an honour for me to rise on behalf of the residents of my riding of Davenport to speak to Bill C-9, an act to amend the Judges Act and the Criminal Code.
    I always like beginning my speeches with a quick summary of what a bill proposes to do and some of the key changes that are being proposed. Then I go into a bit more detail in my main speech.
    Bill C-9 proposes amendments to the Judges Act to replace the process through which the Canadian Judicial Council reviews the conduct of federally appointed judges. It would establish a new process for reviewing allegations of misconduct that are not serious enough to warrant a judge's removal from office, and it would make changes to the process by which recommendations regarding removal from office can be made to the Minister of Justice. This new process would also apply to persons, other than judges, who are appointed under an act of Parliament to hold their office during good behaviour.
    The proposed amendments to the Judges Act would do the following. First, they would amend and streamline the process for more serious complaints, where removal from the bench could be an outcome. Second, they would address the current process' shortcomings by imposing mandatory sanctions on a judge when a complaint of misconduct is found to be justified but not serious enough to warrant removal from office. Such sanctions would include counselling, continuing education and reprimands. Third, they would require the Canadian Judicial Council to include in its annual public report the number of complaints received and how they were resolved.
    Indeed, Bill C-9 is unique. Let me provide a few more details about why, and at the same time elaborate on what Bill C-9 proposes to do.
    Canadian judges are rightly held in high regard not just in Canada, but around the world. Their decisions carry great weight for individuals appearing before them, whose lives are so directly and meaningfully affected, and for society as a whole. Canadians rightly expect much of judges: to make decisions that apply the law correctly and fairly, and to do so in a way that embodies unimpeachable character and meets the lofty standards to which judges are held. The confidence of the Canadian public in individual judges and the judiciary as a whole depends on it.
    We know that public confidence is well placed, but neither we as lawmakers nor Canadian society as a whole can become complacent. We all have a role to play to ensure that confidence in the judiciary continues to be merited. Part of that is making sure Canadians know there are avenues open to them to make complaints about a judge's conduct and that appropriate recourses are available. For this reason, processes have been established that allow for such complaints about the conduct of individual judges.
    At the same time, judges must be able to respond to complaints and be assured that they will be treated fairly and in a way that is in keeping with their judicial independence. For this reason, the Canadian Judicial Council, comprising the most senior judges in Canada, was created and has the authority to manage the processes by which complaints about judges are investigated.
    Parliament also has a role to play. In 1971, Parliament established the Canadian Judicial Council and charged it with establishing and managing the process for investigating complaints against federally appointed judges. The legislative framework that Parliament set out for the judicial conduct process remains with us, largely unchanged, several decades later.
    Today, we have reached a unique point in history. We have before us the opportunity to build on Parliament's past work by modernizing the judicial conduct process, ensuring that it continues to reinforce public confidence. I urge every member of the House to seize this opportunity.
    The existing mechanisms used to review allegations of judicial misconduct are in urgent need of renewal. The current process was established more than 40 years ago. Since then, the administrative law landscape surrounding the process has changed. The values and standards that help shape expectations of judicial conduct have evolved too. The judicial conduct process, however, is largely the same. We know that it is out of date and that it demands reform.


    The Canadian Judicial Council, with its decades of experience running the judicial conduct process, has called for such reform. The council's chair, Chief Justice Wagner, had identified this as a priority from the beginning of his time in his role. At his welcome ceremony as a new chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada in 2018, Chief Justice Wagner noted the need to modernize the mechanisms for addressing complaints regarding judicial conduct.
    Several recent judicial conduct cases have highlighted the importance of reform. They have shown us that under the current system, cases can be marked by exorbitant legal fees, lengthy delays and multiple inefficiencies. This is not a process that inspires abiding public confidence, but today, by supporting Bill C-9, we have a chance to fix this.
    Bill C-9 addresses the shortcomings of the current process and launches the long-awaited renewal of the judicial conduct process. The reforms proposed in Bill C-9 would make the process more efficient by, in part, preventing parties from seeking judicial review of decisions that are made during the judicial conduct process. This would reduce costs and prevent delays. The bill would also increase accountability by establishing a more robust role for the public in the process.
    The bill before us today proposes a set of carefully considered, well-informed and broadly supported reforms. These reforms come out of robust consultations and substantial engagement with the Canadian Judicial Council, which would remain responsible for carrying out the judicial conduct process, and with the Canadian Superior Courts Judges Association, which represents many of the federally appointed judges to whom the new regime may be applied.
    In June 2016, our federal government launched public consultations on modernizing the judicial conduct process. Over the following months, we were pleased to receive multiple submissions reflecting the importance that this process holds for the legal community and for Canadians as a whole. We heard from individuals and organizations who provided thoughtful comments on the existing process and suggested meaningful reforms. The Canadian Judicial Council and the Canadian Superior Courts Judges Association participated in these consultations, as did the Canadian Bar Association and the Federation of Law Societies of Canada and members of the general public.
    These consultations sent a clear message that there is broad support for the reform and modernization of many aspects of the judicial conduct process. The process should be more efficient and more transparent and should provide for greater public accountability. The reforms set out in Bill C-9 embrace this message, responding to the concerns expressed in the consultation process.
    Following the consultations, our government engaged closely with the council and the association on multiple occasions to develop and refine proposed reforms to the judicial conduct process. This close collaboration ensured that the reforms before us today are informed by the experiences of the people who work with the process directly, and the experiences and perspectives of Canadian judges themselves.
    In conclusion, Bill C-9 sets out the changes that are required to modernize and renew a process that is key to public confidence in the justice system. The proposed reforms before us today address a long-standing problem. They were carefully developed. They are widely supported. They reflect the experience, wisdom and knowledge of the judiciary itself. More importantly, they advance the best interests of Canadians who interact with our justice system.
     Fellow members, let us work together to strengthen and modernize the mechanisms for addressing complaints about the conduct of federally appointed judges, and reinforce and foster public confidence in our judiciary and our justice system. Let this bill and its passage mark an important point in the history of the judicial conduct process in Canada. I urge all members to join me today in supporting Bill C-9 and passing these long-awaited changes to the judicial conduct process.
    Mr. Speaker, it is my understanding that Bill C-9 was first introduced and had its first reading on December 16, 2021, more than six months ago. Now here it is, just a couple of days before the summer break, and we the opposition are being urged to pass it without further debate.
    If the issues are so important, why was it not brought forward to the House of Commons earlier so that we could have a full debate without feeling rushed?


    Mr. Speaker, I think there are always competing demands for the time in this House. All of the legislation that is introduced at whatever point in time, whether it is two days before the summer break or two months before the summer break, is extraordinarily important.
    I do not think that any Canadian or anybody listening should consider this bill as less important because it was introduced just before summer break. It is something that has been studied for over seven years. It has been discussed widely. I think there is wide agreement with the changes that are being proposed. I hope the member will consider supporting this bill.


    Mr. Speaker, I have a very simple question for my colleague from Davenport. How does she think we could speed up the process and get the bill passed? Everyone supports it.


    Mr. Speaker, I think that if the House were to ask for unanimous consent to pass this bill, we would be able to pass it very quickly.
    Uqaqtittiji, does the member agree that there have already been a lot of consultations and there has already been a lot of public engagement warranting the quick passage of this bill?
    Mr. Speaker, I think there have been a lot of consultations. I listed a number of associations from the legal perspective, from the broader perspective and also from the general public that were invited to comment on the proposed legislation. I mentioned that this legislation, or the deliberations about updating or modernizing this approach, has been talked about for about seven years now. There has been a lot of opportunity for a lot of input. It was widespread. I have all the confidence that there has been a lot of opportunity for anybody who has wanted to provide input to have done so. I think it has been honourably encapsulated in the legislation we have proposed before the House.