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44th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • No. 092

CONTENTS

Monday, June 20, 2022




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

Volume 151
No. 092
1st SESSION
44th PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Monday, June 20, 2022

Speaker: The Honourable Anthony Rota

    The House met at 11 a.m.

Prayer



Private Members' Business

[Private Members' Business]

  (1105)  

[English]

Canada Infrastructure Bank Act

    The House resumed from April 6 consideration of the motion that Bill C-245, An Act to amend the Canada Infrastructure Bank Act, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    Mr. Speaker, after two years hampered by a global pandemic, Canadians are starting to rebuild. Communities large and small across the country are looking to a brighter, sustainable and inclusive future.
    The Government of Canada is committed to bolstering that rebuild. The Canada Infrastructure Bank is playing an important role in that effort. The bank's innovative approach is empowering the work by provinces, municipalities and indigenous communities to bring key projects to fruition. It is doing so, from planning to design to delivery, with the added benefit of a reduced reliance on public dollars.
    By leveraging the expertise and capital of private and institutional investors, the Canada Infrastructure Bank brings its investment, advisory and know-how to all orders of government, including indigenous investment partners. This is a partnership that is transforming how infrastructure is planned, funded and delivered to Canadians.
    That means bringing innovative financing tools to the table. It means getting more projects built. It means advancing Canada's demonstrated success in leveraging public-private partnership, or P3, models to bring better trade and transportation, public transit and green infrastructure to Canadians, and to further broadband connectivity, develop clean power and support indigenous projects.
    The G20 and OECD have for several years encouraged countries to promote more long-term private investment in infrastructure. Moreover, there are large pools of private and institutional capital available for investment, including our pension funds, that are looking to support long-term public policy priorities. The Canada Infrastructure Bank works to attract this capital to help address public policy objectives in the infrastructure space, particularly in projects that generate revenue, such as transit fares, electricity rates and other forms of revenues that support service delivery and provide the underpinning of the new innovative financing structures.
    These influential organizations are now looking to Canada as a global leader in advancing the P3 model and the next generation of innovative financing and partnerships with the private sector. Stakeholders are watching and learning as the Canada Infrastructure Bank moves to deliver on its important mandate.
    To date, the Canada Infrastructure Bank is actively involved in 33 projects, including the commitment of over $6.8 billion in capital, while attracting over $7.2 billion in private and institutional investment. This investment is making a real difference for projects such as rural broadband in Manitoba, zero-emission buses in communities across the country and energy retrofits in Quebec with the Société de financement et d’accompagnement en performance énergétique.
    The Canada Infrastructure Bank is also supporting the advancement of key projects such as high frequency rail, helping to find innovative ways to transition Atlantic Canada off coal through clean power transmission with the Atlantic Loop, and supporting Manitoba fibre's plan to provide broadband access to tens of thousands of additional households and businesses. Realizing these vital projects will mean connecting Canadians, creating good jobs and helping us to reach our climate goals as we navigate a path to net-zero emissions by 2050.
    To advance the government's commitment to close the indigenous infrastructure gap and support the prosperity of indigenous communities, the government has set a target for the Canada Infrastructure Bank to invest at least $1 billion in total across its five priority sectors for revenue-generating projects that benefit indigenous people. The Canada Infrastructure Bank has developed and implemented its indigenous community infrastructure initiative, which provides low-cost and long-term debt for indigenous community-based projects.
    This initiative is designed to bring results to indigenous communities through projects that can bring greater renewable, sustainable and reliable hydro power to Canada's north and projects that support connections, such as through the maintenance and modernization of Tshiuetin Rail Transportation, the first indigenous-owned and operated railway company in Canada. The Canada Infrastructure Bank is a key resource for driving Canada's recovery and a key partner to investors banking on Canada.
    Moreover, since its introduction in 2017, the Canada Infrastructure Bank has succeeded at adapting its role and priorities to respond to evolving circumstances and opportunities, enabling the bank to better support Canada's response to the pandemic and the transition to a low-carbon economy. The Canada Infrastructure Bank has done so under the stewardship of a board of directors that is skilled, bilingual and diverse, a board that benefits from indigenous representation, gender parity and representation from across Canada. Members of the board of directors are appointed through a transparent, merit-based and competitive process.
    The Canada Infrastructure Bank represents a crucial conduit for communities, provinces, territories and indigenous partners seeking to get things done for Canadians. It is making a difference by enabling a number of projects to be planned, financed and constructed.
    It is an innovative and effective way to spur investment in key projects, to build confidence in our economy after two years of unprecedented challenges and to work with Canadians to ensure a strong, inclusive recovery that works for everyone. It is a crucial resource to promote improved infrastructure, with a reduced need for public dollars, through collaborative efforts that leverage the expertise of each partner to meet clearly defined public needs through the appropriate allocation of resources, risks and rewards.
    For Canadians this is a win-win. It is an arm's-length Crown corporation working co-operatively with all levels of government and indigenous communities to facilitate and accelerate the delivery of high-quality infrastructure through new and innovative investment models. Also, through the Canada Infrastructure Bank's innovative financial tools, it is a means to reduce the burden on taxpayers and constrained government budgets, while expanding private sector investment and promoting innovation.
    It is working for investors, workers and communities. It is working for Canadians.

  (1110)  

    Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to rise on Bill C-245, especially after about three hours of sleep due to a late flight. Thanks Air Canada. I wish we were debating something about Air Canada. I am in the mood for that right now.
    Bill C-245 would nominally change Canada's failed Infrastructure Bank from a colossal, failed boondoggle that is wasting taxpayers' money to a potentially massive failure that is also wasting taxpayers' money but in a different way and under different leadership.
    Bill C-245 wants to change infrastructure investment to something that is in the public interest and relates to climate change mitigation or adaptation, except we already basically have a department for that. It is called Infrastructure Canada. The idea is that we are going to take $35 billion from the failed Infrastructure Bank, move it from one failed institution and hand it over to another poorly led institution.
    It reminds me a bit of the even-steven Seinfeld episode where Jerry Seinfeld always ends up even at the end of the day. He gains a friend and loses a friend. He takes $20 out of his pocket and throws it out the window, then grabs a jacket and finds $20. That is all this is. We are shuffling things from one failed department to another failed department.
    We have immense problems at Infrastructure Canada. The old PBO, Jean-Denis Fréchette, who is retired now and beekeeping, and I wish him well, noted often that billions could not be found from infrastructure spending. The 2018 PBO report showed the federal government was able to reduce its deficit in 2018, which is shocking, I know. It is almost heresy for the government. However, that was only because it did not spend the infrastructure money that was set aside.
    I want to read a quote from the PBO report:
    The PBO has published 4 reports regarding [Infrastructure Canada]. Our previous findings indicated that data gaps existed in the tracking of federal money; planned spending lagged; job creation and economic growth was lower than anticipated; and, increases in federal spending were partly offset by decreases in provincial money.
    There is limited evidence that increased federal money resulted in increased provincial spending (while federal...transfers increased by $1 billion...overall provincial [transfers] decreased by $733 million).
    The Senate did a report on infrastructure spending, and it said that the only measurement for success for all this spending on infrastructure was not actual results. It was not whether it actually helped the economy. Was it whether it helped the environment? No. Was it about productivity improvements? No. The only measurement of success the Senate was able to find for Infrastructure Canada was whether dollars were spent. This bill wants another $35 billion spent by the same people, who just want to spend the money, and the only metric of success is spending the money, not achieving results.
     This is right from GC InfoBase on the Treasury Board's website on results: In 2021, Infrastructure Canada only achieved 25% of its goals for 2020-21. If we think about that, this bill wants to add $35 billion more to Infrastructure Canada to not achieve targets.
    I have some of the missed targets for Infrastructure Canada. Again, this is right from the government's website, GC InfoBase. It missed out on the value of infrastructure spending. It failed to achieve its goal on projects that it was committed to. Here is a good one: It failed in its goal on changes in GDP, or increases in GDP attributed to spending. Again, what is the point of spending all this money when it is failing on its goals? Now it wants to add another $35 billion.
    There is another good one, and the NDP should be interested, especially given where the riding of the member for Churchill—Keewatinook Aski is. The Liberals failed on the percentage spent toward clean drinking water and percentage spent on improving transit. Again, these failures from the government and failures on infrastructure are certainly telling us we should not be moving money from this failed boondoggle to another group that shows it can fail quite spectacularly. There is another good one: The Liberals actually failed on their projects for reducing GHG emissions.
    That is Infrastructure Canada. Let us move on to the other half of our Laurel and Hardy pairing, the Infrastructure Bank. The Infrastructure Bank, when we look at it, is certainly in the competition for the most inept government department.

  (1115)  

    The Canada Infrastructure Bank has a lot of competition for this top ranking, including of course PSPC, Public Services and Procurement Canada, which has managed to bungle the jet fighter procurement and the ship procurement. We found out about its buying 100 million dollars' worth of vaccines that went to waste.
    Another runner-up is, again, Public Services and Procurement Canada, on Phoenix. It has been six and a half years since the Liberals pushed the start button on Phoenix and we are still dealing with that.
    The Canada Infrastructure Bank is in a tight race for the most incompetent with the CRA. Of course, this was before it started taking people three hours to finally get through to a CRA agent only to have the agent hang up on them. During the pandemic, the CRA managed to send CERB cheques to dead people and send cheques overseas.
    Of course, recently, number one or number two would be Global Affairs. Despite Russia committing genocide, murdering children and women and targeting civilians, Global Affairs sent a top official to the Russian embassy tea party last week.
     Service Canada, of course, wants to be recognized for its incompetence with respect to passports. We gave it months of notice. I rose in this same seat several months ago with respect to the complaints. The health minister got up and commented on how hard the staff were working. We found out that two-thirds of them are still sitting at home. They may be working from home, but probably not as efficiently as is needed to get passports to Canadians.
    Rounding that out with another competitor, we have CATSA through Transport Canada, which ironically oversees the Canada Infrastructure Bank. With respect to the results of its departmental plan, through the public accounts we found out that one-quarter of CATSA funding for screeners had lapsed. It kept all the bureaucrats working, but not the screeners, the ones who are hired on contract to take a look at and screen the luggage that goes through, a vitally important cog in the scheme of airports. Twenty-five per cent of that lapsed, even though in January, February and March, the final three months of the fiscal year, the department produced numbers that very clearly showed that the number of Canadians being screened was growing exponentially. I think at one point it was within 70% of prepandemic numbers, but the department let the money lapse and let the screeners stay at home. Then we found out, just last week, that the department was unprepared for the increase. It had actually released its own numbers showing exponential growth in air travel, but it was caught unawares.
    Apparently, the government was also caught unawares with respect to Service Canada and passports. Who would have known 10 years ago that a 10-year passport would be expiring at this time? I certainly would not have expected a 10-year passport to expire in 10 years. Who would have possibly known that we would see an increase in travel with the pandemic? The government said it was caught off guard.
    The Canada Infrastructure Bank, knowing it had tough competition, doubled down for the goal of most incompetent government department. It has been over five years and it does not have a single project built. One more year, and the Canada Infrastructure Bank will be eligible for an MP pension. Like most MPs, it also has not done much in five years. There has been $35 billion into the Canada Infrastructure Bank, and nothing has been completed. One year it actually spent more money on termination benefits for executives than on salaries in its own department. The Canada Infrastructure Bank was set up to guarantee decent returns for large for-profit companies and investment firms, not to look after Canadian taxpayers. Those companies would be guaranteed profits, while the taxpayers would be guaranteed any risks or losses.
    The main project the Canada Infrastructure Bank is so proud of, the urban rail project in Montreal, has been a disaster, which is no surprise. People do not want it. The actual construction does not look at all like the design. The cost has been $7 billion and growing, and this is its best product.

  (1120)  

    I understand the intent of the bill, but I have to say it is rather silly to take money from one failed government department to give it to another failed government department. Therefore, I will not be supporting it.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to see you today, as always, and it is very interesting to debate Bill C-245 and the Canada Infrastructure Bank.
    The bank is a newly designed institution. It has only been around for a few years and, even though it is still in its infancy, there is already talk about a lack of transparency and changes to the management approach and the board of directors. This institution has hardly been around for any time at all and we are already talking about the many problems with it.
    The Bloc Québécois's position has always been clear. This bank never should never have existed, for the very simple reason that we did not need it. To date, the bank has basically been a failure, not because it did not fund any projects, but because it failed to do its job properly and to ensure that projects were carried out. To understand why the bank makes no sense, we need to look back at the past.
    Let us go back to 2015. The current Prime Minister was on the campaign trail. He said that there was an economic slowdown and that we had to invest, in particular in infrastructure, since it was urgent that we help Quebec, the provinces and municipalities.
    When things are urgent, the thing to do is to sit down with partners and finance projects. However, the government’s Liberal reflexes took over. It decided that, instead of taking action, it would waste time: It would create a new institution with various layers of public servants and invest in a big machine in Ottawa instead of delivering for Canadians.
    That was what it announced in the 2015 electoral campaign and again in 2016. In 2017, the bank was legislated into being. However, it was still not in operation, and it was finally up and running when the economy was no longer in a slowdown.
    So far, they have not learned from their mistakes. Since then, we have had a pandemic and another slowdown. The bank has not changed since then, and has not met its objectives. The government is once again behind in its projects. This is an example of poor service delivery and an inappropriate investment vehicle.
    With his banker’s mentality, the finance minister at the time, Mr. Morneau, said that taxpayers would benefit. He said that the bank would drive job creation and economic development and that, for every dollar invested by taxpayers, it would draw four, five or six dollars in investments from the private sector. It was supposed to be a windfall.
    Finally, nothing much happened, except for a few small projects that could very well have been financed more quickly using other methods, such as bilateral agreements.
    If we look at the three-year growth plan of the Canada Infrastructure Bank, we can see that, by 2028, $2.5 billion will be invested in clean energy. We have a list of emergencies. At the same time, the Liberals tabled a budget in which they plan to invest—surprise, surprise—$2.5 billion a year, and not by 2028, in dirty energy. They are investing $2.5 billion in clean energy through the Canada Infrastructure Bank with their right hand and doing five times worse with their left.
    That is what we call an inconsistent government. The Liberals are investing $1 in clean energy and $5 in dirty energy, and then they will tour the country this summer saying that oil is green. That is our federal government for you. They are investing $2.5 billion in broadband connectivity projects. The digital transition should have accelerated during the pandemic but, because we were wasting time with the Canada Infrastructure Bank, we were unable to speed up the process.
    They are also investing $2 billion in building upgrades. These projects are closest to those on the ground, closest to the people, while the federal government is the level of government farthest from the people. The government thinks it is smart to invest like that.
    There were a few good projects. I know that the hon. member for Winnipeg North will be talking about zero-emission vehicles. There were also good projects in Ontario, but that is not enough.
    Here is what the Liberals did: They made a list of emergencies and created a huge bank. After years of wasting time, the projects were not carried out in time. However, the Liberals told us that they were urgent. Today, when we look at the institution’s performance, we can see that all of this was so urgent that they did not meet their commitments. That is exactly what happened with the bank.
    No one can ask us to like the Canada Infrastructure Bank, because we like our people, we like Quebec, we like our infrastructure projects and we like our economy. That is why we do not like the Canada Infrastructure Bank.

  (1125)  

    Today, we are in a situation where they will try to meet their targets. They have money to spend and they have to meet their targets. They are looking for projects, because there are not enough of them.
    I will give the same example as the Liberal member just gave, namely the famed high-frequency rail line between Quebec City and Windsor. This is not a high-speed train. It is a bad project. Everyone wants a high-speed train, but everyone is resigned to never getting anything from the federal government. We will therefore get a tortoise that passes by twice as often and we will be told that it is a great project.
    The project, which is supported by the Canada Infrastructure Bank, will prove to be a bad risk for taxpayers and a good risk for the private sector. The project’s sponsor, VIA Rail, has decided that we should privatize the public infrastructure in the profitable corridor. However, the key mission of the government, that is to say, projects that provide a public return, will be paid for by taxpayers. They will privatize the good part and leave the bad part for the taxpayers.
    Things are so bad that, in the last budget, the Liberals had to set aside $400 million in public funding for the project. We asked public servants what was going to happen with the $400 million and they said it would be used to find partners for the train project. I do not know of any functioning bank that has so few projects or friends, or that operates so poorly that it has to invest that kind of money to find partners. When you have to spend $400 million to find friends, maybe you need to change the way you do things.
    The same is true for the REM light rail project. It did not need the Canada Infrastructure Bank. Normally, this would have been a Quebec government project. Investissement Québec would have bought shares, and the federal government would have helped. It would have been done quickly and properly, in a bilateral manner. We have a loan for the REM here, but this could have been done more efficiently without the new layer of administration in the federal government.
    That is quite the bank we have. It is slow and does not meet its objectives. The Parliamentary Budget Officer said that the Bank of Canada would likely never be able to disburse the $35 billion it has to spend by 2028. There is now a $19-billion discrepancy. This is $19 billion for emergencies, according to the Liberals, that will never be used to meet the needs on the ground for the people who really need infrastructure. The bank does not work.
    Now, if we are going to have a bad bank, we might as well improve the way it operates. That is why Bill C-245 is interesting. There is a lack of transparency in the management of these funds and in the reporting to the House. Even the Parliamentary Budget Officer said that the Canada Infrastructure Bank did not provide information or respond when his office tried to evaluate its performance, on the grounds that it was keeping trade secrets confidential. The bank is becoming like Export Development Canada, which is one of the major funders of oil projects in Canada and which also hides behind supposed trade secrets.
    Another positive aspect of the bill is that it requires that the board of directors include indigenous and Inuit members. The idea behind this is that we are our own best advocates. This proves that the Canada Infrastructure Bank is not listening to people on the ground, and that is the least of it. I would be surprised if the Liberals did not support this bill for that reason.
    The Canada Infrastructure Bank was supposed to be a miracle. My grandfather, and I am sure many others, used to say that if something looks too good to be true, it likely is neither good nor true.
    The federal government is capable of meddling in Quebec's affairs. It has been no better at delivering infrastructure through its Canada Infrastructure Bank than at managing passports, airport services, unconditional health transfers or the temporary foreign worker program, as Quebec and the provinces have been calling for.
    This is a reminder that Quebec must be in charge of its infrastructure projects, that the federal government needs to be smaller and that it needs to provide the money to Quebec and the provinces.
    As Quebec's national holiday approaches, I want to take this opportunity to remind members how important it is for Quebec to have all of its revenue and resources and that it be the master of its own destiny. This bank serves as a reminder that Quebec must be free. Vive le Québec libre.

  (1130)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I am here today to speak to Bill C-245, an act to amend the Canada Infrastructure Bank Act. I want to thank the member for Churchill—Keewatinook Aski for bringing this bill forward. I am very proud to stand in the House to speak in support of it.
    The bill looks at something that is fundamentally important. It would take the Canada Infrastructure Bank Act and change it to focus on things that matter. The thing that matters most right now in this country is addressing the realities of climate change.
     It is on the record since 2016 that I am not in support of the Infrastructure Bank. I am tired of seeing public money going to support private infrastructure and making the wealth of those few grow while the rest of us struggle. To me, it just makes sense that we have profound support and input into public ownership of public infrastructure, especially as we take on the crisis of climate change. If we are going to be serious about addressing this issue, we need to look at how we are going to adapt and respond in local communities, and make sure that those areas are recognized. We do not see that happening in this country right now under the leadership of the Liberals.
    I come from a large rural riding, and one of the biggest challenges is transportation. A lot of people in my communities have to take one or two ferries and drive a long distance to get to the health care supports they need. There is very little support for bus services or for looking at how we are going to get people from one place to another in a safe and affordable way. This continues to be a massive concern and one that this bill addresses. This bill looks at the reality that more needs to be done, and it looks at taking the priorities of the Infrastructure Bank and supporting communities.
     In the last Parliament, I put forward Motion No. 53. That motion talked about the fact that we are not seeing enough sustainable funding and resources going to smaller communities across the country to respond to the changes that we are seeing in the climate.
     We are also not seeing funding to support adaptation to, and mitigation of, what is happening in the climate, or to address the issue of making sure there is sustainable employment in our areas. We need to have the climate addressed by local solutions. The people in communities and regions know what they know, and what they know often works. My motion, similar to this bill, also brought forward the idea of making sure that at every step, we acknowledge and recognize UNDRIP and look at following the leadership of indigenous communities across the country. We need the voices of rural and remote communities, and of indigenous communities, to actually be heard because they are on the front lines. As we look at what is happening in our country, we see that they are on the front lines of climate change and its impacts.
    I live in B.C. Our region is seeing the impacts of climate change significantly. Last year, we saw heat domes that killed so many because we were not prepared for that level of heat in our region. We saw excessive and extreme flooding that wiped out whole highways and made areas inaccessible. We actually had to have the military fly in and take out people who were stranded in their vehicles. They could not get out because those areas were completely destroyed. We have seen forest fires eliminate a whole community and threaten so many more. This is the new reality that we are living in today, and it concerns me greatly because it is expensive and it is threatening our way of life.
     What is frustrating to me as well is the fact that we are not seeing the level of action that we need to see from the current government. For the past six years, the Prime Minister has pretended to care about the climate crisis, but at the same time his government has looked at raising subsidies for oil companies. They are higher now than they were under former Prime Minister Harper. Over $4.5 billion in public money was used to buy a pipeline, and we do not even know where that is going to end.

  (1135)  

     Canada has the most GHG emissions per capita in the G7. Greenhouse gases emitted by the government have increased by 11%, and Canada is the only G7 country where GHG emissions have increased since the Paris Agreement: so much for our Prime Minister standing in that place saying that Canada is back. We are not back. We are not doing what we need to do to invest in a future that is safer for our children, and we are not investing in a future that leads us to opportunity for business and growth, because the future will be dealing with the climate. We have already pushed things that far.
    It is time for action. It is time for a vision, and this bill addresses these very important issues. We need solutions that focus on growing and sustaining the wealth of everyday Canadians and not just the top 1%. One part I spoke of earlier that is so pivotal to this bill is following the leadership of indigenous communities in this country.
    The first people of this country need to be at every single table, and this bill would assure that this is the reality. We need to listen to those voices, we need to listen to traditional knowledge and we need to accept that there is a long history of awareness in regions all over Canada that only indigenous voices can bring to the table.
    We also have to acknowledge that, when it comes to adapting to climate change, indigenous communities are largely underfunded for basic infrastructure. I think of the Dzawada'enuxw in my riding up in Kingcome. It is a very remote community. They have been facing immense flooding from the river for multiple years, and they have been very clear that they need an access road so they can get to the ocean in case the community floods, as it has. I want members to understand that they have been building their houses up every year to address the fact that their whole community is being flooded, and all they need is a road so that a boat can come to get them. Right now, their only solution is to stand and wait for a helicopter to land on a pad, which means only a few people can be taken out at a time. This leads to higher risk, and we do not see any support in that. Exactly what this bill would say is that we need to address these issues.
    I live in, work in and serve communities that are small, rural and indigenous, and I will tell members that the leaders of those communities are often working very hard with their staff to write the proposals and do the work that needs to be done so they can get the support they need. Often, when they are trying to find the resources to do those key things they do not have them, and the complex processes do not acknowledge the different sizes of communities.
    This bill really would open the door for these communities to have a voice. We know there is $35 billion in the Canada Infrastructure Bank. This is so important, because we need to start addressing these really important issues.
    I think I will end there. All I can say is that this bill would make a difference for communities trying their best to adapt to a climate that is going to win. If we do not take action soon, we are going to see devastation, and all of us will have to take a part of that responsibility.

  (1140)  

    Madam Speaker, I thank my friend for North Island—Powell River for that excellent speech. I also want to recognize my colleague for Churchill—Keewatinook Aski for bringing forward this important bill that we are debating today.
    There are a couple of things I want to do in the next 10 minutes. First of all, I want to take us down memory lane to talk a bit about the infrastructure bank and what it has achieved, and more importantly what it has failed to achieve, over the past five years. I also want to talk about the infrastructure context and the needs of communities.
    We are debating this bill in the context of an infrastructure crisis in our country. The infrastructure deficit in Canada is estimated at $150 billion. The AFN estimates that the infrastructure deficit in indigenous communities alone is at least $30 billion, and we have this deficit in the face of a global climate crisis that is pounding our country. Communities are feeling the effects more and more every year, and the damage and the implications for our infrastructure are only going to get more severe as time goes on, so this is a very important topic to be discussing.
    I would also note that the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities just recently tabled a report in the House with a single recommendation: to abolish the Canada Infrastructure Bank altogether. The bill we are talking about today proposes a different route. It proposes to reform the enabling legislation so that the Canada Infrastructure Bank can recover from its many failings and troubled track record, and meet the infrastructure needs of Canadian communities.
    I thought perhaps we could go back to the origins of the Canada Infrastructure Bank, because I think it is very illustrative and speaks to the strategy that the Liberal government has tried to employ in addressing infrastructure. Of course, this all started with a meeting at the glitzy Shangri-La Hotel in Toronto, where the Prime Minister invited the who's who of private capital. I believe Blackrock even wrote the PowerPoint presentation for the government at that meeting. The promise was a simple one: that public infrastructure could be used as an opportunity to deliver private returns of 6% to 7% for these investors. Of course, that was a promise that this government has not been able to deliver on, I would say thankfully.
    Early in the bank's five-year history, it tried to get a pilot project going in the small community of Mapleton, Ontario, to prove that its vision of public-private partnerships and using public infrastructure as a private-profit opportunity could work for communities of all sizes. Mapleton had a very important waste-water and drinking-water project that it needed funding for. The bank came in. It put $20 million on the table, and promoted the approach of bringing in a private investor to deliver these critical public amenities at a profit.
    I come from a community not dissimilar in size to Mapleton, so I know how important those conversations are. Members of that municipality engaged in good faith with the bank. They spent a whole bunch of time and a whole bunch of money assessing the risk and value of the approach that the bank was proposing. In the end, they came away and said, “The risk is too great, the value is not there, and it is going to cost our taxpayers more”, so they chose to go with a more conventional financing model for that important project. Of course, they were left with legal fees of over $300,000, and at the end of the year ended up posting a significant deficit to which that contributed significantly. The private-public approach that the Infrastructure Bank was touting certainly was not a Shangri-La for the community of Mapleton, Ontario.
    At the transport and infrastructure committee, we did a detailed report on the bank's track record to date. We heard from expert witness after expert witness. We heard from academics, unions and communities. Many of them were telling us that this public-private approach to infrastructure results in two things: higher costs for Canadians and longer project timelines and delays.
     The PBO, in a recent report, had some very critical words about the track record of the Canada Infrastructure Bank. His report said that, “funding delays are pervasive for public-private infrastructure investors.” This should give us all pause because, of course, we know that we need infrastructure to be delivered in a timely way. Communities are depending on it.

  (1145)  

    Now the next project, of course, that we are talking about when it comes to the Canada Infrastructure Bank is high-frequency rail. My colleague here from the Bloc spoke a little bit about that project. It is incredibly concerning. The Canada Infrastructure Bank has been a part of the design of that project since the very beginning through the joint project office, so we are talking about high-frequency rail on Canada's busiest passenger rail corridor from Toronto to Quebec City.
    This is a very important infrastructure project. Canada is way behind the rest of the world when it comes to rail transportation. The Liberal government insists that it has to be a part of this model, this failed model of bringing in private investors. Back in March, it put out an expression of interest for a private partner to design, construct and operate passenger rail on that critical passenger corridor between Toronto and Quebec City. Going back to the expression of interest documents, there is a very telling statement saying, “the Private Partner is expected to receive income from the farebox and other ancillary income.... These combined revenues will be used to pay for operating expenses, to service debt and to provide equity returns”.
    This passenger rail corridor contributes a huge amount of revenue to Via Rail, Canada's public passenger rail provider. What is going to happen to Via Rail when the Liberal government hands over this busy passenger corridor to a private investor? We can look to the U.K. In the U.K., the House of Commons Library just tabled a report on rail privatization in that country. They found that, since rail was privatized in 1995, the cost to passengers has gone up 20% in real dollars.
    Again, we are seeing evidence that this approach of trying to deliver private profits using public infrastructure has to be paid for somewhere. It is going to come out of someone's pocket, and the pockets it will come out of are those of the users of that infrastructure, the people who need to use the train to get to where they need to go, the people who need to use the infrastructure every day. We are very concerned that that project is not going to deliver what Canadians need. It is an important opportunity. We cannot take that risk.
    I talked a little bit about the failings of the bank. I do not want to belabour that. I could easily use up 10 minutes just going through all of the many critiques in the media and the evidence that we heard at committee. However, the reality is that we have to get this right. We have to get the infrastructure right. That is why this bill is so important.
    This bill goes into the enabling legislation for the Canada Infrastructure Bank and it does four key things. The first would be to replace the mandate of leveraging private capital and delivering private profits. It would replace that mandate with a focus on rural, remote and indigenous communities because we know that their infrastructure needs are so huge right across this country. The second would be to explicitly set out the mandate of the bank to focus on responding and tackling the climate emergency, which is probably the biggest threat to Canadian infrastructure that we face. The third would be to reform the governance of the bank so there would be indigenous representation. That is important, I think, for any of our institutions, but particularly for one that is going to focus on the needs of indigenous communities. The fourth would require the bank to report regularly to this place, so we can have accountability and ensure that the bank does not suffer from the many failings and shortcomings that we have seen over the past five years.
    I represent northwest B.C. It is entirely a rural and remote part of this country. There are so many communities that have critical infrastructure needs, from the village of Klemtu, which needs to replace its power lines, to the Heiltsuk, where they need to build a governance building. They also have an ambitious climate action plan. Smithers has waste water and drinking water projects that need to be built. In Takla and so many other indigenous communities, they are struggling to build housing. There is shoreline erosion in communities such as Old Massett. Skidegate has waste water needs, and Prince Rupert, one of the biggest cities in the part of the world that I represent, has an infrastructure deficit in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
    Communities need this bill. They need the Infrastructure Bank to succeed. I appreciate having had the time to speak to how that might be done.

  (1150)  

    Madam Speaker, it is an honour to stand this morning in support of Bill C-245, an act to amend the Canada Infrastructure Bank Act.
    It is important to note that it was just over three years ago when parliamentarians in the chamber admitted that we are in a climate emergency. If it is an emergency, then we should probably act like it is one. In fact, that is what international climate scientists called for in their most recent report from April. The co-chair of an IPCC working group said, “It's now or never, if we want to limit warming to 1.5°C”. That is the internationally agreed upon maximum to ensure that we are taking action at the pace that science tells us is required.
    One way to do that is to take existing Crown corporations and direct their resources toward solving the climate crisis we are in. That is why I support Bill C-245, along with the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands, and that is why I really appreciate the member for Churchill—Keewatinook Aski bringing this legislation forward as her private member's bill. The bill recognizes that communities are at the forefront of the climate crisis and, as such, it would shift the priorities of the Canada Infrastructure Bank to be explicit about supporting climate adaption and mitigation efforts. The bill would do this in three ways: one would be to remove the parts of the Infrastructure Bank's mandate that allow it to seek out private investments; two would be to increase the transparency of the bank by requiring regular reporting to Parliament; and three would be to ensure that first nations, Inuit and Métis communities have a seat at the table on the board.
    As it stands today, the Canada Infrastructure Bank was established back in 2017 as arm's length from government, with a budget of $35 billion. What an opportunity that is. Last year, the Parliamentary Budget Officer reported that it would not even spend half of that amount over the next 11 years. What a wonderful way to activate those funds if we are going to follow through.
    As other speakers have mentioned, communities across the country are calling out for more. Municipalities are taking a leadership role, and Waterloo region is one example of that, but if communities across the country are going to follow through at the pace that science requires, they are going to need the federal government to step up. I recognize that the Canada Infrastructure Bank, as it stands today, requires projects to generate revenue, meaning they have to charge public user fees or tolls, directly or indirectly, to meet the needs of private investors. Instead, if approved, this bill would redirect those tens of billions of dollars toward the infrastructure projects we need, whether it is helping communities move off of diesel or moving to high-speech rail, the list goes on and on.
    One person I respect on this topic is Seth Klein. He has said that we should think about urgency of the climate crisis the same way that we might have thought in the past about wartime efforts. I would like to share a quote from Mr. Klein, who said, “But in response to the climate emergency, we have seen nothing of this sort. In contrast to C.D. Howe’s wartime creations, the [Liberal] government has established two new Crown corporations during its time in office — the Canada Infrastructure Bank (a vehicle for privatizing infrastructure that has thus far accomplished very little), and the Trans Mountain Corporation (an ill-advised decision that makes all Canadians the owners of a 60-year-old oil pipeline). If our government really saw the climate emergency as an emergency, it would quickly conduct an inventory of our conversion needs to determine how many heat pumps, solar arrays, wind farms, electric buses, etc. we will need to electrify virtually everything and end our reliance on fossil fuels. Then, it would establish a new generation of Crown corporations to ensure those items are manufactured and deployed at the requisite scale.”
    I invite members to think of the jobs we could create in this transition, and they would be good, unionized, well-paying jobs to transition our economy to that of the future. When I reflect on Mr. Klein's words and look at what is in this bill, that is what excites me about this.

  (1155)  

    Bill C-245 would be one step along a long journey, not only aligned with Mr. Klein's vision, but also with that of climate scientists, who are telling us that this is required and that action is not in eight years. It is certainly not thinking about net zero by 2050. The action is required now, and there are bills before the House, such as Bill C-245, which would equip us to do it.
    That is the most important thing. It is not what one party or another is bickering about with each other. It is not about partisanship at all. Future generations will judge us and what we did in this chamber, and whether we collectively acted at the pace scientists tell us is required, rather than giving billions of dollars in new subsidies to fossil fuels, and invested it in the infrastructure we needed.
    The bill is one we should all embrace, and I am proud to support it.
    The hon. member for Churchill—Keewatinook Aski for has the floor for her right of reply.
    Madam Speaker, I rise today for the second time to proudly speak to my bill, Bill C-245, an act to amend Canada's Infrastructure Bank, with a plea.
    Time is running out, and our communities need help. It is clear the climate emergency is here. Our region is already being hit hard. Yesterday, in Winnipeg, we saw record high temperatures. Over the last month, Peguis first nation has seen unprecedented flooding. First nations such as Tadoule Lake had winter storm warnings in June, and we are already experiencing extreme forest fires, which have caused extensive damage. In parts of Ontario and Quebec, tornados and severe storms have been wreaking havoc the last number of weeks.
    The bill is rooted in this reality, the reality that communities on the front lines, particularly indigenous and northern communities, need action to survive climate change now. Since I tabled this legislation, I have heard from many indigenous and northern leaders across the country who have advocated tirelessly for federal support, support they have yet to receive. I have also heard from many who have reached out to the Canada Infrastructure Bank only to be rejected.
    I have heard stories of first nations that were refused funding to upgrade a community hall in desperate need of fixing because they could not show the Canada Infrastructure Bank how it would be profitable, and of a northern community that was trying to switch off from diesel and were told to apply for solar panel funding without any recognition of the infrastructure needed to transition the community.
    Communities do not need band-aids. They want to work with government to build infrastructure that mitigates and adapts to the increased precarious realities they face. Two first nations in our region, Poplar River and York Factory, have been left stranded in the last few weeks. It is clear they need all weather roads.
    The government might show up to put a on band-aid for a short-term solution, but that is it, and we continue slowly and surely down a path, and we know where it ends. This is not how the federal government should be governing. Canadians deserve better. Communities at the forefront of the climate crisis deserve better. Time is running out and communities need our help.
    Instead of getting that help, indigenous and northern leaders, and advocates can tune into this debate and hear the Liberals tell us that the Infrastructure Bank is doing great and that nothing needs to change. It is business as usual.
    What we heard from the Liberals today on the bank is pure fiction. Communities know it. Canadians know it. The bank is a corporate welfare scheme. It is not doing the job the Liberals promised it would. Ironically, this week marks five years since the bank was founded. Five years later, the bank does not have a single success story to point to. It has given plenty of ammunition to those that were critical from the beginning, and it reinforces what many of us believe, which is that Liberals are more concerned with helping their wealthy friends than standing with Canadians.
    In committees, in the House and in private meeting with Liberal MPs, I have consistently heard an acknowledgement that the bank is not what the government hoped for. We in the NDP have made serious propositions to fix it so it is there for the communities that need it most. We believe that public ownership is a critical tool in taking on the climate crisis. We believe that reconciliation ought to mean investing in critical infrastructure in indigenous and northern communities.
    We cannot afford to miss this opportunity. When this historic agreement between the NDP and the Liberals was signed, there was talk about our shared principles on the environment and reconciliation. The Liberal opposition to our bill flies in the face of the spirit of that agreement. It used to be that the Liberals would steal good ideas from the CCF and the NDP. Now they cannot even see the value of a good idea in front of them.
    The bill has unprecedented support, and for that I am thankful, from indigenous and northern leaders, climate activists, labour leaders, economists and Canadians from coast to coast to coast. We need to wake up. The world is burning. Indigenous and northern communities are fighting to survive. We do not need the Liberal greenwashing.
    Indigenous and northern leaders are fighting for a better future. We cannot miss the opportunity to create a livable future for the communities that are already on the front lines. I hope that members of Parliament will read the hundreds of letters they have received from constituents and communities on the front lines. Time is running out. Our communities need help. Bill C-245 is a step in that direction.

  (1200)  

[Translation]

    The question is on the motion.

[English]

     If a member of a recognized party present in the House wishes to request a recorded division or that the motion be adopted on division, I would invite them to rise and indicate it to the Chair.
    Madam Speaker, we request a recorded division.
    Pursuant to an order made on Thursday, November 25, 2021, the division stands deferred until Wednesday, June 22, at the expiry of the time provided for Oral Questions.

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

[Government Orders]

[English]

Criminal Code

    The House resumed from June 9 consideration of the motion that Bill C-21, An Act to amend certain Acts and to make certain consequential amendments (firearms), be read the second time and referred to a committee, and of the amendment to the amendment.
    Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Yellowhead.
    This is a real opportunity to speak against Bill C-21. The premise of my whole talk today will be that Bill C-21 would actually make Canadians less safe, as it spends sparse resources in ways that are ineffective and targets law-abiding firearms owners instead of the real problem, which is gangs and guns in our inner cities.
    In 2018, Public Safety Canada put forward a paper, “Reducing Violent Crime: A Dialogue on Handguns and Assault Weapons - Engagement Paper”. It starts off by explaining what I am trying to explain today:
    The vast majority of owners of handguns and of other firearms in Canada lawfully abide by requirements, and most gun crimes are not committed with legally-owned firearms.
    It goes on:
    Recent estimates indicate that there are about 900,000 handguns registered to individuals in Canada. In most cases, individuals own handguns either in the context of sport shooting activities or because those handguns form a part of a collection.
    Later it states:
    Any ban of handguns or assault weapons would primarily affect legal firearms owners....
    It is not just Conservatives who are saying this; the former public safety minister himself actually said that he knows that handgun bans would not work. In a 2019 interview with The Globe and Mail, he said that months of consultation have led him to the conclusion that banning handguns would be costly and ineffective. Again, that is from the Liberal former public safety minister across the way:
     I believe that would be potentially a very expensive proposition but just as importantly, it would not in my opinion be perhaps the most effective measure in restricting the access that criminals would have to such weapons, because we'd still have a problem with them being smuggled across the border.
    I could not agree more. That is why I find it strange that the government has not imposed a handgun ban previously and has admitted that it is going to be ineffective and very expensive. Again, the premise is very expensive, and I do not even necessarily want to speak to that, because how can we quantify the life of one of our children? We cannot. They are priceless. Instead, let us actually deal with the problem in a way that would actually save lives on our streets instead of prolonging the problem.
    This is a quote from a police officer. Staff Superintendent Sean McKenna of Peel Regional Police recently tweeted:
     Another illegally owned firearm seized by Peel Police. This is becoming a far too common occurrence in our community. A municipal, provincial or federal ban on firearms will not stop criminals from carrying them. Root cause issues need to be addressed.
    Exactly. Here is somebody who sees the problems on the streets daily and knows where the real problem lies.
    Another police officer, Ron Chhinzer, tweeted, “In my time in the integrated gun and gang task force, I don't recall ever seizing a legally owned firearm from any of the investigations that I was involved in.
    “The law-abiding population should never suffer or pay because of the unlawful criminal.”
    Again, here is someone who is actually on the streets, seeing this first-hand. What I am going to talk about later is how we should give those police officers better resources to deal with the root problems, like recidivism. Criminals get to walk free and commit crimes all over again. We are also not dealing with some of the root causes that cause violence in the first place.
    Here is another quote from another police officer, Steve Ryan, who tweeted, “I investigated 150 homicides—never seized one legally owned gun as a murder weapon. In my opinion, it makes more sense to ban legally owned kitchen knives and scissors! Those I have seized as murder weapons. Banning legally owned guns won't decrease violence. Root cause will!”
    There is a consistent message coming from our police officers today: The focus should be on the problem instead of on the diversion, the law-abiding firearms community.

  (1205)  

    Chris Lewis, a former OPP commissioner who works for CTV, is a crime specialist who has been a very vocal opponent of wasting resources on gun bans. Here is a quote from Mr. Lewis: “They aren’t legally owned handguns, nor are they shotguns and hunting rifles. Taking more guns from lawful owners and putting a toothless municipal handgun ban in place will do the square root of sweet”...nothing, I will say, because he uses another word, “to impact violent crime.”
    There it is. Even the former commissioner is saying the same thing.
    I will go on. I have a few more quotes, and then we will get into more discussion. I am sure there will be questions.
    The deputy chief of the Toronto Police Service, Myron Demkiw, stated, “The City of Toronto's experience is that guns are not from law-abiding citizens that are being used in crime. They're guns being smuggled from the United States. Those engaged in handling those firearms are not law-abiding, licensed gun owners; they are criminals with no firearms licence.”
    I am a firearms owner. I have my RPAL. I know that it is a very rigorous process to purchase a firearm in Canada, whether it is a non-restricted firearm or restricted. It is very difficult. There is training that is involved and there is a vetting process that is involved, and every day they look at our records to make sure that we can still legally and safely own our firearms.
    I will go on to a quote from somebody who is very important. This was part of the recent public safety study. It is from Marcell Wilson. He is the founder and president of the One By One Movement, an organization founded by former gang members, extremists and organized crime members to help identify, address and research strategies on effective social programming for youth outreach.
    He explained:
...when speaking on gun control, when we hear the phrase, it should always be synonymous with illegal gun crime and illegal gun trafficking as over 80% of the gun violence we [witness is] committed with illegal firearms smuggled in from the USA.
    It has not just been me. I always like to quote other individuals with expertise a lot of better than my own, such as actual police officers on the streets. This is from Marcell Wilson, former gang member, who is really trying to fix the root problem of the issue of kids dying on our streets as the result of illegal firearms.
    I think that as Conservatives, this is where we take quite a different position from the Liberals across the way. We Conservatives actually support dealing with the real problem. We saw a Liberal long-gun registry that cost $2 billion the last time. We have another bill, Bill C-21, that is part of resurrecting another long-gun registry and a confiscation regime too. It is going to be in the billions.
    My argument is always to just take even a fraction of that money and put it into places where it is going to be effective, such as giving border agents better resources to inspect containers as they cross the border. I do not even want to say the percentage of the containers that are actually inspected, but how about we triple that, or even increase it times 10 to an exponential number of inspections to actually deal with these firearms and stop them right at the border? How about we give inner city police the tools to crack down on illegal firearms and gang activity? How about we give resources to help these police officers deal with these young gang members and try to get them out of those gangs and into productive lives?
    We support stopping the revolving door. We even saw recently, with Bill C-5, that the Liberals want to let people who are convicted of firearm crimes out the door sooner than they should be, just to recommit those crimes. Why do we not deal with all of those situations? That will actually cause a real effect, a real, positive change in safety in our inner cities and on our streets.
    At the end of the day, I started off by saying that the bill actually makes our country less safe. What the Prime Minister is touting is a bait and switch. Just because he is talking about guns and getting rid of them does not mean he is talking about the right guns to get rid of. He needs to get rid of the illegal firearms on our streets. Once he starts tackling that and stops misleading Canadians about what really will make a change, my hope is that he will finally realize what that is, but I think he uses this issue to divide Canadians. I would rather see us tackle the real problem with illegal firearms on our streets.

  (1210)  

    Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for mentioning the excellent study that the public safety committee did on guns and gangs. I wonder if the hon. member is aware that the government is actually investing $250 million into community groups exactly like the One By One Movement that the hon. member mentioned. By no means is the bill intended to be the one solution for gun violence; it is meant to be comprehensive.
    In Saskatchewan, the people who are dying by firearms are actually white, rural, older men who are dying by suicide. I am wondering if the hon. member supports the red flag provisions that are in Bill C-21.
    Madam Speaker, the member across the way highlights the problem. She said there was $250 million to basically deal with the issues in inner cities and to support folks like Marcell Wilson, but it is a fraction of what is necessary.
    She is talking about spending probably upwards of $5 billion on tackling the wrong problem, a problem that really does not exist, because lawful firearms owners are not the problem. She is saying that we should keep spending that $5 billion and only spend $250 million on this other problem. How about we spend all that money on what the real problem is? We would be in agreement and would probably support the bill. When the Liberals constantly say they are going to protect Canadians by making laws more difficult for law-abiding firearms owners, it is just ill-focused.
    Madam Speaker, because I know the member is very knowledgeable as a gun owner, is there any part of Bill C-21 he finds useful as a reform and that would be beneficial? If the bill would go to committee, where would we want to look for making amendments?
    Madam Speaker, I will answer the question by answering the previous member's question on red flag laws. We already have a very robust system for checks and balances in our firearms owners community. Again, I am a firearms owner. Every day, my name gets sifted through a database to see that I am still capable and safe to own firearms. That already happens. To have more applied to that just to make it more robust is not necessary. We already have that.
    What I am saying, and this is maybe what the member is alluding to, is she might believe it is necessary to have Bill C-21, but I do not. I do not see anything that is really of value in Bill C-21 to make Canada more safe. Again, it is misleading the country to say the Prime Minister is doing something positive about firearms. He is not. He could, and I wish he would.

  (1215)  

    Madam Speaker, the member's speech was an evidence-based speech from investigators who have been investigating criminal activity, especially with firearms.
    How or why did the government start using evidence from, maybe, politicians to start looking at seizing legal firearms from legal firearms owners when that is not the problem, as he clearly stated?
    Madam Speaker, again, that is the mystery, is it not?
    I do not see what the rationale is. The following is from the Prime Minister himself, who said, “The long-gun registry, as it was, was a failure and I'm not going to resuscitate that”. The current Prime Minister also said, “There are better ways of keeping us safe than that registry which has been removed.”
    Here is a person who is in our House today and is bringing forward other rules to probably, I believe, divide Canadians, which is what he does and how he wins. If he really wants to actually crack down on illegal firearms crime and make our streets safer in this country, he needs to look at what the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security has looked at, what some police officers are saying and what some of the anti-gang task force are saying to do, and to follow what they are saying to do. He should not spend those scarce and much-needed resources on the law-abiding firearms community. We are not the problem.
    Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to speak on Bill C-21, an act to amend certain acts and to make certain consequential amendments with a particular focus on Canadian firearms legislation. It is yet another bill that proves this NDP-Liberal government's incompetence and vendetta against Canadians by being too soft on crime, particularly gun crime, while being punitive towards law-abiding Canadians.
    The main premise of the bill is generally to ban the future legal sale of handguns in Canada and increase the allowable penalties for gun smuggling and trafficking. Bill C-21 also outlines an untested buyback program based on a similar approach attempted by New Zealand. The program proved to have numerous substantial issues that the NDP-Liberals conveniently omitted from the contents of the bill. Ultimately, the government claims to advance laws to protect Canadians. However, upon closer inspection, Bill C-21 is riddled with contradictions and faulty premises that are simply an attack on Canadians' safety and security. How can the government claim that it is keeping guns off our streets when the bill itself is grounded in unfounded statistics and a faulty premise from a country that implemented a similar approach, and claim that the increase of maximum penalties will deter crime?
    It is incredibly contradictory that the government is introducing Bill C-21 to pair with the equally problematic Bill C-5, further proving that the government prioritizes political gain over the protection and security of innocent, hard-working Canadians already being subjected to the government's ineffective draconian rule.
    For the sake of brevity, I will focus my speech on the following: one, the flawed statistics that the government based its argument on in the first place; two, the equally faulty premise riddled with issues from New Zealand's Arms Amendment Bill; three, the government's focus on protecting offenders while punishing law-abiding, licensed Canadians; and four, the NDP-Liberal government's critically misdirected approach to address gun crime and firearms legislation through Bill C-21.
    Going back to numerous statistics, gun crime has climbed steadily since the government has been in power and, unsurprisingly, even more so with its “spend-DP” allies. Together, they managed to spend more to achieve less, and Bill C-21 is no different. The foundation of the bill is in reference to a series of records from Statistics Canada. Statistics Canada highlighted that firearm-related violent crime only represents a small proportion of police-reported crimes in Canada, accounting for 2.8% of all victims of violent crime reported by police in 2020.
    Furthermore, Statistics Canada states that the numbers upon which the bill is founded are lacking in numerous areas. It quotes gaps in its records such as, but not limited to: one, the types of firearms used in these crimes; two, whether or not the owner of the firearm was licensed to bear arms in the first place; three, where the firearm was procured from to commit the offence; and four, whether or not the firearm was properly or improperly stored. With these piecemeal statistics, I want to know how the government has the gall to insist that it is getting tougher on crime by relying on punitive approaches to licensed gun owners over addressing the real issues of gun-related violence from gangs and their members in our communities.
    Bill C-21 did introduce increasing maximum sentencing for certain offences, but increasing maximum penalties will give no reprieve when the minimum penalty would be Bill C-5's option for house arrest under conditional sentencing. Furthering the theme of faulty premises, the government introduced a buyback program that was loosely based on a similar approach adopted by New Zealand in 2019. It was called the Arms Amendment Bill. The recommendation highlighted that handguns would be sold off to authorized parties so long as they were accepted, and then the previous owner would be adequately compensated. This approach should have also highlighted the issues found by New Zealand in adopting such a program: issues the government conveniently omitted from discussions.

  (1220)  

    Considering that the government is introducing a similar approach, it could be reasonably inferred that Canada would be plagued by similar obstacles. Under New Zealand's Arms Amendment Bill, the program lacked fair and reasonable compensation for gun owners who had legally obtained their firearms from a reputable source, thus leaving some licensed owners scrambling to sell their firearms to select establishments that would accept them.
    Inevitably, the limited market of firearms purchasing would leave it oversaturated, with firearms circulating through the buyback program, leaving gun owners undercompensated and frustrated. Ultimately, this would result in significantly more egregious gaps in the already spotty records outlined from Statistics Canada. Without an accurate track of handguns in circulation and sold or procured through the program, how can we accurately account for firearms in Canada?
    This program would not account for illegally obtained or smuggled firearms. It would not contribute to the accuracy of statistics we have on firearms-related offences in Canada, and it certainly would not protect and preserve the safety and security of vulnerable and innocent Canadians comprising our communities. Instead of investing in an untested firearms program in Canada, the government should invest in improving support systems and resources for anti-gun violence.
    Why is the government pampering actual offenders who are wreaking havoc in our streets with illegally obtained firearms? It should scrap the program, as outlined in Bill C-21, and reinvest the funds into anti-gun-violence resources, provide rehabilitation for demographics prone to gang involvement, and strengthen our border security to avoid the infiltration of firearms in our neighbourhoods. The lack of these common-sense solutions in Bill C-21 only proves that the government is not serious about keeping firearms off our streets. It only knows how to mismanage taxpayers' money to advance its ineffective NDP-Liberal agenda.
    The lack of a grandfathering clause in Bill C-21 would force firearms owners to either surrender their firearms to the limited dealers allowed to store firearms, as noted through Bill C-21, or retain their ownership. Either way, this would do nothing to solve the issue of firearms-related crimes in Canada.
    If anything, the lack of a grandfathering clause would only contribute to more backlogs and waiting times that plague the country. Canadians do not need another NDP-Liberal manufactured disservice. Regardless of all the other questionable aspects outlined in Bill C-21, the lack of a grandfathering clause would be punitive toward law-abiding folks who have done their due diligence in their licence acquisition to bear arms.
    This would only punish the wrong people and enable the criminals who illegally procure firearms in the first place. Where is the government's dedication to offenders' rehabilitation, support for victims and survivors, and conviction to take corrective actions to guarantee the integrity of our judicial system?
    Conservatives believe that minimum sentencing should be sustained for heinous crimes, including crimes involving firearms, not only through the enactment of maximum penalties of 10 to 14 years in a correctional facility, but also by shunning the proposal of conditional sentencing, such as house arrest, for offenders. Moreover, Bill C-21 would establish no systems to deliver support or resources to survivors or potential victims of gun violence.
    This is not a right-to-bear-arms speech. We Conservatives simply advocate for putting Canadians first and enforcing pragmatic, common-sense solutions to get guns off our streets and limit gun violence in Canada, while protecting the safety and security of our communities.
    I now welcome questions or comments from my colleagues.

  (1225)  

    Madam Speaker, I notice that Conservatives, when they speak about gun control, always neglect to mention suicides, which account for 75% of people who die by firearms, and gender-based violence, because we know that access to a firearm increases the risk of femicide by 500 times.
    I am wondering this. Could the hon. member speak to the provisions of Bill C-21 that would deal with gender-based violence when it comes to restraining orders?
    Madam Speaker, once again, there is the problem. The issue is actually the mental state of our society, and instead of addressing the mental state of our society, what are the Liberals doing? They are trying to ban legal handguns, which is going to do nothing to help society.
    In order to make a better society, we need to make sure we improve the quality of people's lives, and mental health is a big issue. The government did promise during its own election a few months ago that it was going to invest more in mental health. Unfortunately, it did not follow through on its own commitments, as is usual with the Liberal government.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, we are all trying to reduce crime. We have repeatedly proposed a registry of criminal organizations.
    I would simply like to know what my colleague thinks about the Bloc's proposal.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, that is what we have been talking about. We know for a fact that the biggest issue is illegal guns and the criminal activities of gangs. If we are not going to address the main problem of the crime- and gang-related issues, how are we ever going to tackle the issue of murders or anything of that sort? We need to make sure that these criminal organizations are documented and that we have enough resources for police officers financially and enough officers in order to make sure we are able to address this. If we do not, it is just going to keep escalating, as it continually has under the Liberal government.
    Madam Speaker, I am a registered gun owner and all my neighbours are gun owners, but I do not know very many people who have AR-15s or handguns or are interested in getting them. For the people in my region this is not that kind of issue. We want to make sure that the strong rules for licensing stay in place and the safety provisions that we have stay in place.
    I want to ask the hon. colleague about the grandfather clause. It seemed to us that in the previous Parliament, having the grandfather clause for people who legally bought those weapons was a reasonable position, as it allows them to be grandfathered if we are going to say no more AR-15s on the market.
    The cost we are looking at is enormous. Would the Conservatives consider supporting legislation that had a grandfather clause allowing legal gun owners to maintain their weapons, or have them bought back if they so choose?

  (1230)  

    Madam Speaker, the big problem is that by banning these guns we are also banning a lot of opportunities for our youth to become Olympians and sport shooters. If we do not have these opportunities for them, how can they compete professionally across the world? A lot of things in this bill are quite restrictive and would actually penalize law-abiding, hard-working, honest Canadians who are trying to do the sports and programs they enjoy doing. That is why we need to look at other opportunities throughout this bill.
    Madam Speaker, we have had atrocious gun crimes in this country and horrific tragedies where neighbours tried to warn law enforcement. I remind the hon. member of what happened in his colleague's riding of Parry Sound—Muskoka, where Mark Jones in Burk's Falls killed many members of his family before killing himself. In 2020, of course, there were the Portapique killings. Some neighbours even moved away out of fear of the man who later killed 22 people. There is also the tragic case of PTSD that took the life of Lionel Desmond and members of his family.
    What do the Conservatives recommend we do about gun crimes in rural and remote areas of this country against family members and random strangers in a neighbourhood?
    Madam Speaker, as I said throughout my speech and even in some of the answers, we are not addressing the real problem, which is the mental state of our society, and making sure that law enforcement agencies have enough officers or the financial means to get programs in place. What we really need to start working on is solving the problems, not creating more.
    Madam Speaker, it is an honour for me to rise in the House today. I will be sharing my time with the member for Oakville North—Burlington, the parliamentary secretary. I am looking forward to her comments.
    Bill C-21 really represents a momentous step for Canada. We are looking at using this piece of legislation, among others, to eliminate gun violence in Canada. If it is passed, it will be the most significant reform to Canada's gun laws in a generation.
    I would like to start by first of all thanking the stakeholders who have contributed to this bill, but more specifically the stakeholders in my constituency of Guelph who have provided feedback that has informed the measures in this bill. Our conversations with them continue.
    While much of these consultations were conducted in relation to previous pieces of legislation, I am very pleased to see that this feedback has been incorporated since March 2021, when the former minister of public safety heard from the Guelph area police services, local municipal politicians and the Guelph organizations dedicated to the fight against gun violence. They were concerned that previous proposals allowing municipalities to opt in or opt out of gun control measures would have created a patchwork of regulations across the country that would not have been as effective as what we have in front of us this morning. This bill solves that, and indeed if it is passed, the bill would make it illegal to purchase or sell handguns anywhere in Canada.
    This is incredibly important to my constituents and to me in the current context, because for years Guelph was considered the safest place in Canada. While it is still among the safest, Guelph has had an increase in gun violence that is concerning for all people living in Guelph. The gun-related crimes we are seeing in our community, according to public data from the Guelph Police Service, have more than doubled since 2020. There were eight charges of using a firearm in the commission of a crime, which is up from three the prior year.
     This is not the direction we want to be heading in, and while the Canada Border Services Agency and other bodies have been provided with more resources by our government to help prevent gun crimes, the reality is that we need to stop handguns from being sold in the first place. Even one crime involving a firearm that could have been prevented is one crime too many. I have heard members across the way say that the illegal trafficking of guns is a concern. It is a concern, but the legal transmission of guns is something we can do today to address the movement of guns in our community.
    This is important, especially when we consider the data we are getting from researchers at the Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability, at the University of Guelph. It shows that nearly six out of 10 women killed are murdered by their current or former partner, while only 6% of these women are killed by a stranger. Just over one-third of the total number of femicides are committed by a perpetrator armed with a gun, more than any other method of killing, while the likelihood of a woman being killed by a gun goes up to 42% for women living in rural areas.
    This bill looks to address this alarming reality. It would permit authorities to revoke a firearms licence in cases of domestic violence or criminal harassment when a protection order has been issued against a current licence-holder or when a red flag order is issued. I am encouraged to see that the advice of organizations representing women and survivors has been included in the amendments to protect the identity of the person who is asking the court to apply for this mechanism of using red flag or yellow flag laws. This is just one example of how feedback from communities affected by gun violence has been integrated into this bill.
    Similarly, this bill also seeks to better protect Canadians experiencing mental health crises. Over 80% of gun-related deaths are suicides, which is a heartbreaking reality. The impact of this is felt not only by the individuals, but by their families and entire communities. In fact, last week I spoke to a veteran of the Afghanistan war, and one of his comments was about how many of his comrades have died since the war to suicide. Guns are being used in those cases.

  (1235)  

    One of the most heartbreaking elements of this is speaking to families of individuals who have dealt with this loss. They tell me that it is possible it could have been prevented if guns had been removed from the situation in the first place. These are legally purchased firearms.
    Through this bill, a yellow flag or red flag would make it more likely that such a tragedy could be prevented. As in other appropriate cases, a chief firearms officer could suspend an individual's licence for up to 30 days if a member of the public, such as a family member or neighbour, contacts the chief firearms officer with information about a licence-holder being at risk. This would allow someone to recover or seek treatment without having the ability to purchase guns or acquire them.
    The urgency of this bill is clear, but unfortunately since the government has stated its intention to pass Bill C-21 into law, we have seen a spike in the number of handgun sales across the country. By introducing additional regulations, the government is preventing a surge in handgun purchases in the period between now and when it is passed, which is the right approach to ensure that the bill is not aiming at a moving target.
    The premise and rationale of this bill are sound. It recognizes the reality that handguns are the preferred weapon of criminals and that banning their sale inherently makes other people safer. Not only is the prevalence of gun crimes increasing in Guelph, as I mentioned, but since 2009, violent offences involving guns have increased by 81%, and 47% of Canadians say that gun violence poses a serious threat in their communities.
    We only need to look across the border to see that if we continue down the path we are on now, it is only going to get worse until it is many times harder to correct the situation. We need to learn from what we see in Canada and the scale of gun crimes in other countries, and not dismiss mass shootings as something that cannot happen or does not usually happen in Canada. We need to act now, and this bill takes a common-sense approach to achieve the ambitious action of reducing gun violence while respecting law-abiding owners of guns, such as farmers.
    It is truly unfortunate there have been several unsuccessful attempts by some of the people here to mischaracterize this bill as something that could target law-abiding gun owners. That is simply not the case. The legislation is in no way about targeting legal gun owners. In fact, its sole purpose is to create safer communities for every single Canadian. Gun owners who adhere to the law will not face any undue hardship as a result of this bill. Clearly, handguns are not used for pest control or to shoot deer.
    I would like to take a moment to address the concern that some have raised regarding the source of handguns used in gun crimes in Canada. While some have said that handguns are not legally obtained anyway, the reality is that the majority of gun crimes in 2020 involved originally legally obtained and domestically sourced guns. Over 50% of these guns can be traced.
    To combat crimes committed with handguns that are obtained outside Canada, our government has invested $350 million to strengthen the RCMP and CBSA's capacity to intercept guns coming across our borders. We know that this has been effective. In fact, last year the RCMP and border services intercepted nearly double the number of firearms than the year before.
    We are heading in the right direction. We are making it tougher on people who smuggle guns by going from a 10-year to a 14-year penalty. We are looking at introducing further money to help with guns and gangs through the building safer communities fund for our communities. The provisions that we have in Bill C-21 are complementary to the other work we are doing in mental health and in controlling access to things that can hurt Canadians.
    I look forward to questions.

  (1240)  

    Madam Speaker, I do not know if there is any evidence you have that says that handguns—
    Madam Speaker, I do not know whether the member has any evidence that supports legal handguns being used in the commission of an offence. In fact, I would say it is zero, as one member already talked about.
    Does the member agree that to get to the root problem here, there has to be crime prevention to prevent people from being involved in illegal gun crimes? Doing that is going to cost billions, so rather than a buyback program, would those billions of dollars not be better suited going toward the actual root cause of the problem and prevention?
    Madam Speaker, the reason we are consulting with police chiefs, as well as people involved in the enforcement of laws in Canada to prevent crime, to come up with legislation like this, is also why we get their endorsement. We are working locally with our chief of police in Guelph, but we are also working across Canada with chiefs of police to make sure that this legislation gets it right. We are getting great feedback from chiefs of police on this legislation.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I want to congratulate my colleague on his detailed speech.
    I have a simple question. They say that they want to take action on illegal arms trafficking, yet it has been documented that Bill C-21 will do nothing to prevent illegal arms trafficking. Is my colleague aware of that?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, what we are working on through this legislation is specifically handguns that are being sold and purchased in Canada. The smuggling that the member across the way is referring to is being dealt with in other ways, such as putting $350 million of additional resources into CBSA, and through other legislation that is specifically targeting the importation of guns and the banning of AR-15s and 1,500 other assault-type rifles from coming into our country in the first place.
    Madam Speaker, the member comes from the general GTA area, as do I. He and I have been through a number of elections. As chair of the public safety committee, I listened to endless testimony about guns. I have yet to hear a coherent reason why anyone in Guelph or anyone in Scarborough—Guildwood needs to own a handgun or an assault rifle. If he could elucidate that core point, maybe we could get somewhere with this legislation.

  (1245)  

    Madam Speaker, from conversations I have had with gun owners in Guelph, I know they go to the shooting range and to businesses that provide opportunities for them to use handguns in target-shooting activities. Those facilities will still be able to have guns available for people to use, but to actually purchase a gun and use it in some way to protect oneself from the public is really what we are trying to address here. Guns are used in ways that endanger the public, rather than protect the public.
    Madam Speaker, we had discussions in the session this morning about the New Zealand example. As I recall, we saw this legislation right before the election. It initially had a voluntary buyback program. Having said that, we have seen flaws in how New Zealand handled this. That was a point made by some Conservative members.
    I know there was push-back from groups concerned with gun violence, that a voluntary buyback program was not as good as a mandatory program. Can the hon. member for Guelph bring any information forward as to why the government changed its position on voluntary versus mandatory?
    Madam Speaker, unfortunately, I cannot provide that information to the hon. member. I was not part of the discussion that was going on around buybacks. What we are dealing with is to say that as many guns as we have in Canada right now is the most that we will ever have. This legislation will freeze the growth of handguns in our communities, which is resulting in the growth of crime in our communities.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to begin by acknowledging that we are gathered on the traditional, unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe people.
    Working in this place as an MP is a privilege that I do not take lightly. I have had the opportunity to work on many issues since I was elected, and one that I am most proud of is the actions we have taken to prevent gun violence.
    Today, we are debating Bill C-21, a milestone achievement, built in large part on the voices and advocacy of so many survivors of gun violence, their families and loved ones, and doctors who see the burden of injury of gun violence.
     I would like to express my deepest thanks to PolySeSouvient, the Centre culturel islamique de Québec, the Danforth families and the Dawson families, Doctors for Protection from Guns, the Coalition for Gun Control, Dr. Alan Drummond and the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians, Alison Irons, and every single individual and organization advocating for better gun laws in our country. They have shaped the bill that is before the House of Commons today. Their unrelenting advocacy has led to a piece of generational legislation, which, as part of a broader strategy to tackle gun violence in this country, will make Canada a safer place for all of us to call home. A sad truth about those who are called to this kind of advocacy work is that it is often inspired by indescribable pain, which comes from surviving gun violence or losing a loved one to it.
    Combined with the measures the government has already put in place, as well as our investments in communities and at the border, Bill C-21 marks the next significant step in our fight to eliminate gun violence. Bill C-21 is good news for the public safety of our communities, our institutions and our most vulnerable citizens. It would add new tools that will be used to reduce needless deaths from domestic violence and suicide.
    We know that gun control is a women's issue. The Canadian Women's Foundation notes that the presence of firearms in Canadian households is the single greatest risk factor for the lethality of intimate partner violence. Access to a firearm increases the likelihood of femicide by 500%. I have heard from groups like the Lethbridge YWCA, which told me that every single woman who came to its shelter had been threatened by a partner with a firearm. They are among the nearly 2,500 women victimized in this way over the past five years. Intimate partner violence accounts for nearly 30% of all police-reported violent crime in Canada. That number has risen during the pandemic. In my riding, and across the country, local organizations like Halton Women's Place are helping to shine a brighter light on the dangers of gun violence.
     Lindsay Wilson was a bright 26-year-old about to graduate from university, with the world in front of her, when her ex-boyfriend stalked her and, using his legally obtained firearm, shot and killed her. I met her mom, Alison Irons, during the study on Bill C-71. I was proud to be involved in passing that bill, which requires enhanced background checks to prevent those who have a history of violence from owning a firearm. Regulations found in that bill, which have now come into force, will help police trace illegal guns and ensure that firearms licences are verified. It makes sure that those who should not own a firearm cannot own a firearm.
    Just last month, the minister asked the RCMP to do more. In the recently updated mandate letter for the commissioner of the RCMP, the RCMP has been asked to work with chief firearms officers across Canada to ensure that they can respond to calls without delay from Canadians who have safety concerns about an individual who has access to firearms, and to work with police of jurisdiction to remove firearms quickly. This change responds to concerns from physicians, survivors of intimate partner violence and victims' families.
    I recently talked to Alison Irons, Lindsay's mom. She told me that the actions we have already taken, as well as those included in this bill and the RCMP commissioner's mandate letter, might very well have saved her daughter's life.
    Let us talk about what those potentially life-saving changes included in Bill C-21 would do. The bill aims to prevent individuals with a prior or current restraining order from obtaining a firearms licence and would empower authorities to automatically revoke the licences of those with a new restraining order. The bill also introduces new red flag laws allowing courts to remove guns from and suspend the licences of people who pose a danger to themselves or anyone else.

  (1250)  

    Over 75% of those who die by firearms in this country die by suicide. The proposed red flag laws are one tool to stop deaths by suicide and domestic violence, adding another layer of protection that those supporting them, such as doctors, shelters and family, can use to prevent violence. Bill C-21 marks an important next step in removing guns from the hands of abusive partners.
    We cannot forget that Bill C-21 is following the ban on AR-15s and other military-style assault weapons. This important decision prohibited over 1,500 models of these weapons. Since then, over 300 more have been prevented from entering the market. Our government is also committed to a mandatory buyback program to get these weapons out of our communities once and for all.
    There is no one fix to ending gun violence. That is why we are undertaking the significant work to stop gun violence in all its forms.
    Earlier this spring, the Minister of Public Safety officially launched the $250-million building safer communities fund, which will see an accelerated rollout over the summer. In partnership with community leaders, we are helping youth make good choices to set themselves up for lifelong success.
    Investments in gang diversion and gang exiting strategies are so important because the underlying causes of gun violence are varied, complex and interrelated. We will not be able to solve gun crime through this one piece of legislation or one action. We need to take an intersectional approach that addresses poverty, inequality, systemic racism, mental illness, social isolation, substance abuse, extremist ideologies and access to affordable housing, education and health care. To confront gun violence, we must confront systemic challenges within our institutions, including within the criminal justice system. That is why I am so proud to be part of a government that is willing and eager to take on these challenges.
    Taking action on gun violence means taking a number of important steps: banning military-style assault weapons, taking action at our borders, building safer communities and passing this new bill. Bill C-21 represents a milestone. It introduces a national freeze on the sale, purchase or import of handguns by individuals into Canada. We have made clear that action on handguns cannot wait.
    Regulatory amendments to advance the national freeze on handguns have been tabled in both the House of Commons and in the other place. In fact, recently, at the public safety committee, with the support of the NDP and the Bloc, we attempted to fast-track those regulations, but the Conservatives said no to urgently getting handguns off our streets.
    The bill recognizes the role organized crime plays in gun violence. If people are in the business of trafficking guns, they will face stiffer sentences under the Criminal Code. If people alter the magazine or the cartridge of a gun to exceed its lawful capacity, they will face new criminal charges. If people are involved in organized crime, they will face new police authorities, such as wiretapping, to stop gun crime before it happens. Furthermore, this spring's budget dedicated additional funds to the RCMP and CBSA so they can build on the record number of illegal guns seized at the border just last year. These are responsible, common-sense measures that all Canadians can get behind and in fact have gotten behind since the bill was introduced.
    Cumulatively, these efforts mark the most significant efforts in a generation to end the burden of injury from gun violence. We are committed to moving forward on a strategy to prevent gun violence across our country. Bill C-21 is an important part of that strategy, and I am calling on all colleagues in the House to pass the bill quickly.

  (1255)  

    Madam Speaker, I want to note that it seems that Bill C-21 was brought in on the back of American politics. I am wondering what the member has to say about importing American politics into Canada.
    Madam Speaker, that could not be further from the truth. As the hon. member knows, gun control was a big issue during the last election campaign. In fact, the gun lobby chose to come to my riding twice to distribute pamphlets to try to make sure that I was not re-elected to be able to take action like that contained in Bill C-21.
     To say that we are following events in the United States is simply not true. Having said that, I think it is irresponsible for any of us to think that we are immune from that kind of gun violence here in Canada.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I congratulate the parliamentary secretary on this step forward. Obviously, the Bloc Québécois will vote in favour of the bill. That said, as we have made clear for the past few weeks, we would really like to see improvements to Bill C-21 in committee.
    As I said earlier, finding a solution to curb organized crime is nearly impossible. That has been documented. According to the Montreal police service, 95% of handguns used in violent crimes come from the black market.
    How is it possible that with all this information we cannot improve a bill to address the whole problem instead of just part of it?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I look forward to working with my colleague and any amendments that may be put forward by the Bloc.
    It is important, as I mentioned in my speech, to recognize one bill will not fix everything when it comes to gun crime. Certainly, we heard testimony at the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security about issues at Akwesasne, the ability to patrol that border and the need for financial investments in the police service at Akwesasne.
    The investments we have already made with the RCMP and with the border are important, but certainly there is more we can be doing. I look forward to working with the Bloc to ensure that we do.
    Madam Speaker, I have a great amount of respect for my colleague. As she knows, the NDP supports the goal of getting military-style assault weapons off the street with a mandatory buyback of prohibited firearms. We also welcome the announcement that the government is getting serious about cracking down on gun crime.
    However, we received letters and calls from hundreds of concerned airsoft owners and businesses who simply do not understand why there is to be a prohibition on the importation, exportation and sale of airsoft guns under this legislation. Maybe my colleague can share who the government, when it prepared the bill, consulted with from the airsoft industry, those who are directly impacted by this bill, and if it is going to consult with the airsoft industry?
    Madam Speaker, I would invite the hon. member to speak to the police service in his riding. When police officers are responding to a call, they have only seconds to be able to know whether they are dealing with a real gun or whether it is an airsoft rifle. Unfortunately, the rifles used at airsoft ranges look so much like the real thing that police do not have the opportunity to check to see and people have lost their lives.
    Police officers are put in a very difficult position. I look forward to hearing from the airsoft industry. I am sure its members will be speaking to us at committee when we study the bill, but I would invite the hon. member to speak to the police in his area about the challenges it has with airsoft rifles.

  (1300)  

    Madam Speaker, I am sure the hon. parliamentary secretary heard the question I asked earlier to the member for Guelph. The first version of this bill, before it died on the Order Paper, was a voluntary buyback program. We have now moved to it being mandatory. I would appreciate any light she can shed on the government's change of heart.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for her work on this issue. It has been a pleasure to work with her on this. The executive director of the National Firearms Association said that we would have to rip his two AR-15s from his cold, dead hands. That is the reason we had to go to a mandatory buyback program.
    Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Peace River—Westlock.
    It is always a pleasure to rise in this House to speak to legislation, even bad legislation.
    I will be frank. I think Bill C-21 has about as much chance of stopping gun violence as there is of me crossing the floor to join the Liberals. It is just not going to happen. The bill will not work because it is the wrong approach, and the sad thing is that the government knows it is the wrong approach. It knows it will not work, but it is doing it anyway.
    I will talk about why it is doing that in just a minute, but let us be clear. Gun control is an important issue. Everyone in the House has agreed that we need sensible gun control, but in this legislation there is the same problem we have come up against every time with the government, and that is that, when it decides it wants to tackle gun crime, it completely ignores the problem. It goes after law-abiding citizens rather than doing the hard work of going after the bad guys. This is because it is easier to control the behaviour of those who already obey the law than it is to deal with those who do not.
    Conservatives are eager to tackle this issue. We want to have common sense laws. There are even things in this bill we can get behind, but instead of a serious and honest conversation, we get virtue signalling. We get a Prime Minister who is so eager to import U.S. culture wars into Canada that he politicizes tragedy for his own political benefit rather than taking concrete steps to protect the lives of Canadians. Why is that?
    I need to remind the Prime Minister that we do not live in the United States. He is the Prime Minister of Canada, not a pundit for MSNBC. I am not so naive as to think that what happens in the U.S. does not affect us, particularly with the saturation effect of U.S. media, but every time some controversial issue or potential wedge issue pops up south of the border, it would seem that the Prime Minister rubs his hands with glee and wonders how he can weaponize it and use it to divide and control Canadians, whether it is abortion, race, gender, immigration or, what we are talking about now, guns. He seeks to take U.S. issues, import them to Canada and weaponize them to stigmatize and divide Canadians. These are serious issues, and we need to address them, but we need to address them as Canada's Parliament. They are uniquely Canadian issues, but the Prime Minister does not want to do that because it is easier to control people through fear, anger and division than it is to convince Canadians based on the merits of a particular argument.
    I spoke in the House last week on the subject of control and how the government wants to pick winners and losers. We see it in the economy. We see it in the media. We see it in society. One group gets federal funding because it agrees with the ideologically of the government and another group does not. One media outlet gets federal funding and the next one does not. Certain people can have their charter rights to travel because they have agreed with the ideology of getting the shot or the second, the third or the fourth. Those who question the government based largely on consistently inconsistent and conflicting information from government sources, not to mention the principle that personal medical choices are private, lost their jobs. They were stigmatized and demonized again and again, and it is still happening.
    When certain folks had enough and drove to Ottawa to express their opposition to his overreach, the Prime Minister would not meet with them. He ran away and hid. He and his ministers spun a narrative about these individuals. They said things in the media that have been proven to be false again and again. Where is the accountability for that misinformation? He enacted the Emergencies Act, not, as we now know, on the advice of law enforcement, which is another untruth, but because he had to control. He crushed those people with the full weight of his powers. Why did he do that? It was not because of science or any credible threat, but because of control. He wants to control what we do, what we think, what we can see online.
    It was the Prime Minister's father who stated that the government has no business in the bedrooms of Canadians. The government not only wants to be in the bedroom, but also in every other room. It wants to be on every device, and every speech and every thought, and I am not so sure if the government is doing this out of a sense of insecurity. A relationship where one side refuses to listen to the other and always needs to be in control is not a healthy relationship. A relationship where one side belittles and demeans the other is not a healthy relationship. A relationship where one side uses a power differential to force submission is not a healthy relationship. It is an abusive relationship, and right now the relationship between the government and Canadians is not a healthy relationship.

  (1305)  

    The government has abused power and continues to abuse power, aided and abetted by the New Democrats, who, for a lack of fortitude and courage, are willing to compromise their convictions and sell out to Canadians for just a whiff of power. This is not about public safety. It is about the government controlling the little people, the law-abiding people. Every time government adds to its power to exercise control, individual Canadians lose some of theirs. It only exacerbates and perpetuates the problem.
    I look at this bill. I look at how the government went about that process and how it has conducted itself in the past two years, and all I see is another attempt to control law-abiding Canadians. Now, with my remaining minutes, I would like to shift gears a bit because I do want to talk about violence.
    There is no greater evil than to perpetuate violence. It is why our criminal justice system reserves the most serious sentences for those who inflict harm on others. However, violence is not a political issue. It is not an issue of hate, but it is an issue of the heart. In my faith we call it sin, which is the corruption of the image of God in humanity. It is a moral defect, the natural expression of which is to inflict harm on ourselves and others. It is a condition and a state of being from which we must be healed if we are ever to find wholeness and peace.
    It is a heart issue, and the interesting thing about a heart is issue is that we cannot legislate it. We cannot legislate against what is in a person's heart. We can try, and the government has and will continue to try, and fail, because laws do not fix hearts. Laws cannot eliminate the anger, loneliness or hopelessness that individuals who commit heinous crimes feel, but what laws can do is attempt to control the external factors that contribute to the anger, loneliness and hopelessness that lead to an individual committing such heinous acts. To that end, I would like to offer a few brief suggestions.
    We are never going to be able to fully eradicate violent crime, but if we want to get serious about curtailing it, we need to start with our kids. As parents and grandparents, we need to know what they are watching in the media and on social media. We need to know what they are consuming in their minds, which eventually finds its way into their hearts, and the video games and entertainment many of our children and grandchildren are accessing.
    We know kids are impressionable and that, even as young adults, people are still developing until their mid-twenties. We know what habitual consumption can do and about neural pathways that habits and patterns create in the brain.
     “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks”, and we can naturally extrapolate that the body acts. To put it in simple terms, what we put in is likely what will come out. There is an expression that was quite familiar when computers first became very prevalent: “Garbage in; garbage out.” Studies have shown, consistently, the direct correlation between violent video games and being not only desensitized, but predisposed, to violence. As early as the year 2000, which was 22 years ago, a study by the American Psychological Association revealed “that even brief exposure to violent video games can temporarily increase aggressive behavior in all types of participants.”
    We see similar patterns when it comes to sexual violence. There is no limit to the depths of depravity and dehumanizing behaviour individuals, including children, can view with just the click of a mouse. That is why in the House we have continually called on the government to take action against Quebec-based MindGeek, which owns Pornhub, one of the largest producers of pornography in the world, including illegal content that is racist, misogynistic and violent, as we have shown in the House in the past.
    We recognize that pornography not only isolates individuals, but also creates unhealthy and unrealistic depictions and expectations of sexual behaviour, which leads to violence against women. We know this, but when a young person, or for that matter an older person, is routinely exposed to violence and pornography, they will develop radical and racist views, and that is what many people are consuming for hours a day, day in and day out. We should not be surprised when violence follows.
    There is the story in the Bible of the very first murder. It is recorded in the Bible, and it is the story of Cain killing his brother Abel with a rock. The problem was not the rock. We do not read the story and say, “If only God had tougher rock control policies.” The rock was a tool. Jealousy, anger, feeling sorry for himself and feeling hard done by were what motivated the irrational rage that brought on the inability to get past himself and his own desires.

  (1310)  

    Cain lost control and acted out of his emotions. The problem was not the rock; the problem was the heart.
    Madam Speaker, the hon. member said during his speech that “personal medical choices are private”. He spoke a great deal about control.
    Does a woman have control over her own body and are a woman's medical choices of sexual and reproductive health and abortion private and a choice between a woman and her doctor?
    Madam Speaker, if the hon. member was listening carefully, she knows that I was actually trying to talk about Bill C-21. That is the gun control issue, the control that the government is seeking to have over law-abiding Canadians who enjoy the sport of sport shooting, who are hunters or farmers who need firearms to conduct their business.
    This bill directly attacks individuals like that and makes their lives miserable. Why does the government do it? The government does it because they are easy targets. They are not really criminals.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I am going to change my question, actually.
    As I was listening to my colleague, I thought he was absolutely right about how humans should be filled with love, not hate. If that were the case, we would not be here debating what the government can do to make people's lives miserable or just for kicks or whatever.
    That being said, it seems to me that until such time as everyone is filled with love and goodwill, prevention is obviously in order. By that, I mean that, when something is amiss, situations should be monitored closely and there should be a list of gangs so that preventive action can be taken and people can be shown a little more love to help them feel even more at ease in their heart and soul. I would like my colleague to comment on that.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, the hon. member from the Bloc actually goes to the root of the whole issue here, which is what the Liberals and the NDP are failing to do. She is addressing the actual problem that is the heart of the issue.
    Certainly, as I said in my speech, there need to be proper controls but reasonable controls, controls that will actually be effective and that will actually work—not controls that target law-abiding gun owners and farmers and hunters, but controls that go after gangs and seek to address the illegal importation of firearms into the country.
    Those are the things that this legislation should address, and it does not address them.
    Madam Speaker, my question is really around the importance of a healthy CBSA.
    We know that we need to have enough people on the ground watching for the guns that are coming over the border. I represent a region with a lot of people who have guns for shooting at the range and of course for hunting. I also represent 19 Wing and I want to acknowledge the work that it has done to address some of the serious realities of drugs and guns being transported across the border.
    The Conservative Party, in the last government that it formed, cut over 1,000 CBSA workers' jobs. This was a major concern then. I just do not understand how they can talk about wanting to take this challenge of getting illegal guns off the streets if they are not willing to make sure that the people are there to staff that effort.

  (1315)  

    Madam Speaker, the hon. member was doing so well with that question to start with, until she started criticizing and spouting off information about cuts to the CBSA. The public accounts show that this is actually not the case and that those cuts were not made.
    I do share the member's concern with properly funding the CBSA. It does a tremendous job. We expect a lot from it and we want to make sure that it is properly funded and that there are adequate resources for it to do the job of stopping the illegal importation of guns and weapons into Canada from the United States.
    The member for North Island—Powell River is rising on a point of order.
    Madam Speaker, perhaps many would think that this is a point of debate, but I do think that when a member is referring to a woman parliamentarian and indicates that she is “spouting off” instead of stating her position, maybe we should look at more respectful behaviour in the House.
    Well, it is not a question of debate. It is actually a question of how we address colleagues in the chamber, and it would be very helpful if members are respectful to one another when speaking in the chamber.
    Madam Speaker, I found the hon. member for Provencher's discussion of issues of the heart and issues of the law compelling.
    This quote from the Reverend Martin Luther King is relevant:
    It may be true that morality cannot be legislated, but behaviour can be regulated. It may be true that the law cannot change the heart, but it can restrain the heartless. It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can restrain him from lynching me.
    I wonder if, in that regard, the hon. member thinks there is a role for the state in regulating gun ownership.
    Madam Speaker, I think I said something very similar to what the member quoted from Martin Luther King in my speech. I thank her for reiterating that laws cannot regulate the heart, but certainly the actions that proceed from what is in an individual's heart can be regulated.
    Madam Speaker, I want to add my voice as well to the debate around Bill C-21, which is a very sinister bill that comes out of the evil intentions of the Liberal government.
    Why do I say that? It is because the bill before us will do nothing to end the crime sprees that we are seeing happen across the country. The bill will do nothing to end the violence that is happening in our streets. The bill will do nothing to support law enforcement in bringing these people to justice and holding them to account.
    I hear over and over from community members that criminals are operating with impunity in broad daylight. They do not seem to fear the police whatsoever, or authorities of any sort, and that is the hard work that needs to be done. However, the Liberals are not interested in doing that hard work, because they know that this hard work will not score them political points. Therefore, I lay at their feet that the bill before us is a feeble attempt and that the Liberals should reconsider what they are doing.
    Bill C-21 will not reduce gun crime and it will not reduce crime that is happening in our streets across the country. Why? It is because it would not give the authorities new tools; it would not provide new funding for law enforcement; and it would not allow for law enforcement to make quick interventions in these kinds of situations.
     In Calgary, not a month ago, people in two cars racing down the street were shooting at one another. One car collided with a minivan and killed a mother of six children. Community members were asking, “How does this happen in broad daylight? Why did these criminals think that they could operate with impunity?” Well, that is because they did not see that there would be any consequence to what they were doing, and that is the challenge. That is the challenge of governing and it is what is required of government, which is to ensure a reward to those who do good and punish those who do evil.
    This government is not doing that. For that, it gets a failing mark on Bill C-21.
    This particular bill, although it takes the easy way out, would go after law-abiding firearms owners. The people who are already obeying the law and jumping through all of the hoops to own a firearm would only have another hoop placed in front of them. They would not be able to purchase new handguns or be able to transfer those handguns to their offspring and those kinds of things. Under this particular bill, they would be the last generation of handgun owners.
    Many of these firearms are heirlooms handed down from generation to generation. Many of my constituents speak with pride about the firearm that their great-grandfather used to own, and they have it in their collection. It is something they will no longer be able to pass down if Bill C-21 comes into force. How will that prevent criminals from operating with impunity in broad daylight? It will not.
    That is a punitive, lazy and evil outcome of this particular bill. It would take away a freedom that Canadians have to pass on their heritage to their children, but it would not equip law enforcement or communities in order to prevent criminals from acting in broad daylight, making our communities less safe and a place where the gangsters rule, rather than law and order.
    The Liberals claim law and order is their goal, but in reality we know that it is not. If they were actually focused on tackling some of these tough issues around restoring law and order, making criminals fear authorities, putting power behind the authorities and providing political support for law enforcement to do their job, we would see a restoration of peace and security in these communities. However, we have seen the Liberals tacitly support the “Defund the Police" movement; we have seen them radically reduce the length of sentencing that comes from participating in gun crime with Bill C-5; and we have seen their failure to adequately call out the firebombing of churches across the country.

  (1320)  

    All of these things have allowed gangsters and communities to feel like there is no law and order being upheld in particular communities. Where I come from, rural crime is a large and growing issue. People do not even phone the police anymore, because they are quite convinced that nothing will be done. The police will do the investigation and make the arrests, and the perpetrator will be out again the next evening. Then, when it does eventually go to trial, the whole case will be thrown out on some technicality. This does not bring justice for the victims, but it also does not put the perpetrators on a path to restoration to the community or a path of rehabilitation so that they can operate in the community.
    These are some of the things that Conservatives have been calling for. We have been calling for the government to work to back up the police. My dad is a World War II history buff and he has a poster on his wall of a soldier going off to war. It says, “Buy Victory Bonds. Back him up!” That is essentially what we are calling on the government to do, to back up the law and order of this country and to provide the political support to ensure that law and order can be enforced in our communities. That is one of the major things we are seeing, whether it is in downtown Toronto, whether it is in Surrey, British Columbia, whether it is in Calgary, whether it is in northern Alberta or whether it is in Fairview, Alberta. That is something we are calling for.
    Another thing I want to bring up as well is about some of the sports that involve firearms, particularly the handgun-shooting sports. I have a good friend up in Slave Lake who participates in a particular type of competition around this. He is of elite skill. I do not have any concern that he will not be able to get the elite skill exemption that is placed in this bill, but his question is, how does one become elite? One becomes elite by starting out as an amateur. One becomes elite by beginning at the bottom of the totem pole: buying one's first handgun when one is 18 years old, going to the range, learning how to shoot, getting a mentor, all those kinds of things.
    In hockey, we have thousands of people who play hockey who want to make it to the NHL. The same thing happens with elite handgun-shooting competitions at the Olympics. Typically, there are thousands of people who are participating at the amateur level so that we can have one or two make it to the Olympics to represent Canada on the world stage. How are we going to ensure that we have a strong and growing base of people to draw from for those things?
    The other area of competition I want to talk about is paintball and airsoft. These two particular sports are going to be extremely penalized by this particular bill, because many of the paintball markers or airsoft tools look like a replica of a firearm. How does that help anybody in Canada? Many times these are replicas that are used for training purposes. They are used for simulation purposes. Again, the point is that if we want to have Canadians competing at the Olympic level, we need to ensure that we can use these particular tools.
    I find that Bill C-21 is a sinister bill. Bill C-21 does not do the things that it is purported to do. I look forward to the defeat of this bill and the government providing support to law enforcement to restore law and order in our communities.

  (1325)  

    Madam Speaker, my hon. colleague during his speech spoke about trying to stop “gangsters”, trying to stop the wrong people from getting access to guns, and he made reference to the fact that we are doing nothing as a government to ensure that that is the case. However, I myself, as a former parliamentary secretary, was at two announcements held in my riding of Vaudreuil—Soulanges, at the CBSA training facility, where we announced $30 million to provide more funding to train more canine units, whose purpose it is to sniff out contraband from entering our country, including guns, and more money for CBSA officers so that we can have more boots on the ground to stop these guns from coming into our country.
    Why is it that my hon. colleague comes into this House and speaks about how we need to be doing more to stop these guns from coming in, to help ensure that we stop the “gangsters”, yet he himself and his party voted against both of those proven and effective initiatives?
    Madam Speaker, the thrust of my speech was around providing the political support to restore law and order in our communities. The Liberals fundamentally do not support our law enforcement and fundamentally do not support our justice system to ensure that criminals can be brought to justice. The Liberals reduce the sentencing whenever they can. They tacitly support the “defund the police” movement. They do not call out criminals when there are major crimes across the country. That is emboldening criminals and eliminating Canadians' trust in our institutions, namely our police forces and our justice system.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.
    I recently met with the Canadian Airsoft Association, which wanted to make sure we understood that Bill C‑21 targets air guns, toys and paintball guns because of how they look, not what they do. The association thinks that is wrong. I would like to hear my colleague's thoughts on that.
    How will the Conservative Party be working with the government and the other opposition parties during the committee's study?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I could not agree with my colleague more. This bill is a sinister bill that goes after law-abiding Canadians, rather than doing the hard work of going after criminals and gangsters, who are operating in broad daylight in our country. We need to ensure that our justice system and our police forces have the trust of Canadians and that Canadians, when they look out in their communities, say that our institutions are more powerful, stronger and capable of dealing with criminals who are operating in broad daylight.
     Rather, under the current government, we see a deteriorating trust in institutions and a deteriorating acknowledgement that we should call the police when there is a problem because they will do something. Rather, we see that people will not call the police when a crime is committed in their community, because they do not think the police can do anything about it.

  (1330)  

    Madam Speaker, this is an issue that should be of concern for all of us in this House, and that is the use of firearms in the case of intimate partner violence. In fact, in 2018, over 500 cases involved firearms in the case of intimate partner violence. What do the Conservatives think should be done to address the use of firearms in the case of intimate partner violence? I do believe this bill is also attempting to address that as one of the issues.
    Madam Speaker, I would just note that for a very long time already, in order to get a firearms licence in this country, people have to have it signed off by their conjugal partner. That is a fair analysis. I also believe they can revoke that consent at any time. The law was good on that. The Liberals are tinkering around the edges once again.
    Again, this is a distraction from the hard work that needs to be done around getting criminals who are operating in broad daylight off the street and empowering our law enforcement and our justice system to hold these people to account and ensure that our communities are safe.
    I want to recognize that I am speaking to the House of Commons from traditionally unceded Algonquin territory.
    I am speaking today on a very important bill, Bill C-21, an incredibly important bill that addresses the proliferation of handguns in Canada and the need for greater measures to protect community safety.
    Just by way of a refresh, our work on gun control, as a government, started much earlier. Since 2015, we have banned AR-15s and listed 1,500 models of assault-style firearms as prohibited. We have cracked down on illegal trafficking by investing in law enforcement and enhancing border security. We have invested $250 million to address the root causes of gang violence.
    Bill C-21 is part of the evolution of this approach and it is targeting specifically handguns. The question is why. We know that gun violence in Canada is on the rise. Since 2009, violent offences involving guns have increased by 81%, and handguns are the number one type of gun used in shooting homicides in this country.
    Around 47% of Canadians have reported feeling that gun violence poses a serious threat to their communities. My community of Parkdale—High Park is no exception. My city of Toronto is no exception. We know that handguns are the preferred weapon of criminals in Canada, and that criminals obtain their guns through different means: smuggling, theft or what is known as straw purchases.
    For example, the horrific Danforth shooting a few years back in Toronto involved a gun that was originally a legal firearm that was stolen in the province of Saskatchewan. We are trying to address part of the problem, which is the supply of handguns that are circulating in Canadian society.
    How will we do that? This bill would freeze the market. Individuals will no longer be able to buy, sell, transfer or import handguns, subject to some very narrow exceptions. This means that there will never be more handguns in Canada than there are at the moment this bill passes. I just want that to sink in for members of Parliament, because that underscores the need to ensure community safety by passing this legislation as quickly as possible.
    That begs the question, what about other sources, such as the borders? We are addressing borders and smuggling as well. While Bill C-21 limits the domestic supply of handguns, what we have done at the borders, and we have heard this injected into the debate by people like the member for Vaudreuil—Soulanges, is that we have made a $350-million investment into the RCMP and the CBSA, in their capacity to intercept weapons coming across the U.S. border. While we venerate our relationship with our strongest ally and our largest trading partner, that trading partner also happens to be the world's single largest manufacturer of firearms on the planet.
    When we made that investment, and I will note this for the people watching on CPAC, the Conservative Party of Canada voted against that investment, betraying its perspective when the rubber hit the road, in terms of voting patterns.
    What happened after that historic investment? Let us look at the evidence. In 2021, the RCMP and the CBSA intercepted nearly double the number of firearms at the border than they had in 2020. The investments in border safety are working to keep our communities safe.
    Both in this debate and in the context of other debates about firearms and gun control in this legislature, at least in the time I have been here, since 2015, we have heard a lot about the narrative about victims, that the focus needs to be on the victims. Let me talk about three victim groups that I feel are strongly served by a bill like Bill C-21.
    The first is women. The member for Vancouver East just asked a very poignant question of the member who just spoke from the official opposition, about victims of intimate partner violent and things like gender-based violence. We have heard, and it is fairly common-sense, that if there is violence in the home, the presence of weapons in the home would accentuate the propensity of that violence to end up being lethal. That is exactly what has happened. A stat was just provided that 500 instances of intimate partner violence involved firearms. That is almost two per day in terms of how frequent that is. That is an alarming statistic for all of us who are concerned about violence, and I am sure there is no debate that all of us in this chamber are concerned about intimate partner violence.
    What does this bill do? This bill would provide, among other things, regulatory authority that will allow for an individual who is the subject of a restraining order to be prevented from having either a firearm or a firearms licence. We know that the number of women who are killed at home because of intimate partner violence and gender-based violence is far too large. That is why we are working to address this.
    The next area I would like to address, in terms of whom we are supporting, is those who are dealing with mental illness. We know that we have a concern about mental illness, particularly in the aftermath of the COVID pandemic.

  (1335)  

    We know that rates of suicidality are going up. We know that when people are contemplating suicide, or having what is called suicidal ideation, the presence of a weapon can, again, be lethal. We know that guns in homes lead to greater numbers of suicides in this country. There are members of the official opposition who have called for various measures, and they are right to call for them, to address suicidality and to address getting people support.
    One way of ensuring that suicidal ideation does not result in death is by restricting the numbers of firearms in homes. This bill would do that. I found it a bit perplexing, to be candid, to hear, in the debate just prior to my intervention, about the notion of background checks. It was raised by the Conservative member who just spoke. When the issue of background checks was moved in the House of Commons in the previous Parliament, the Conservative Party again voted against that aspect of the legislation. That is really troubling for a party, when all parliamentarians need to be addressing the need to ensure that lawful firearms are only put into the hands of people who should have firearms, not people who may perhaps be suffering from mental illness.
    Let me address a third group, and this one is really important to me in the work that I have been doing for the past seven years. What this legislation would do through the red flag provisions is address people who could be targeted by hatred. I am talking about people who might be racial minorities and religious minorities. I am talking about people who could be targeted online, and the women I spoke of earlier. If such people have a legitimate basis or reasonable grounds to believe that a firearm should be removed from the home of a potential assailant, or someone who was stalking or threatening them, etc., they could apply for a court order to do just that. The court order raising a red flag could be for a limited period as short as up to 30 days. A long-term prohibition order could be all the way up to five years, if there continued to be a reasonable basis to believe the individual posed a public health risk.
    The removal of the weapons could be done immediately, via a court order that they be surrendered immediately to law enforcement. This is important because we heard from, and listened to, women and minority groups who are targeted by violence. They are targeted by hatred and are threatened. They told us that their fears are real and that there are fears of reprisal.
     I am going to get to an aspect that we have improved in this legislation. What they have said is that they were not going to come forward because if they did so, it would put them in even greater vulnerability. They would have a greater sense of jeopardy, with a higher likelihood of potentially fatal consequences. What we have done with this iteration of Bill C-21 is we have improved it. We have listened to those stakeholders, and we have cured what we feel is an aspect of the old Bill C-21 that needed curing. This is in terms of protecting the identity of those persons who would apply for such a court order.
    Under the current version of the legislation that we are now debating, a court could close the court hearing to the public and the media. A court could seal the documents in the record for up to 30 days and remove identifying information for any period of time, even permanently, if the judge felt that was necessary. That is important because it gets to the heart of this issue: that people who are facing threats and have very legitimate fears need to be emboldened to come forward and not be afraid to come forward. This is what this legislation would do. It would allow for such people to be protected.
    I want to point out the types of people who have been calling for the red flags. One amazing group is a group of physicians called Canadian Doctors for Protection from Guns, and I salute their incredible work. I had the occasion to meet with some of them, including Dr. Najma Ahmed and Dr. Julie Maggi. Many of their colleagues were doing incredible work from a medical perspective about this being a public health crisis that we are dealing with, in terms of firearms violence.
    I also want to salute the lifetime work of my constituent, Ms. Wendy Cukier, a professor at TMU in Toronto and also the president of the Canadian Coalition for Gun Control. I first met Wendy when I was a parliamentary intern in this chamber in 1995. She was doing work back then, 27 years ago, to promote better gun control. She has never wavered in those 27 years. I salute her for the success that this legislation has achieved.
    The last piece I want to address in closing is the idea of having municipalities deal with this on a one-off basis. Having bylaws in individual municipalities would create a checkerboard. It would not serve the constituents of Toronto if guns were banned in Toronto but available in Markham or Mississauga. The same would apply across the country.
     We are taking a national approach because this is a national issue and a national crisis. It is important for victims. It is important for women. It is important for people who are suffering with mental illness. It is important for racial and religious minorities. I firmly support this bill, and I hope my colleagues will, as well.

  (1340)  

    Madam Speaker, the parliamentary secretary made his speech and said that ending the sale of legal handguns, handguns that are bought by individuals who have already gone through the clearance of getting a restricted possession and acquisition licence, is somehow going to take illegal guns off the street. He made the outrageous statement that this would hypothetically put a stop on how many handguns are in circulation in Canada today.
    We know that handguns are being used on the streets by gangs, thugs and people involved in the illicit trade of drugs and other contraband. They are the ones who are actually trading in illegal and smuggled handguns that have come from the United States and other ports of entry. How are they going to stop that and instead go after the actual criminals committing the crime rather than the legal, law-abiding firearms owners in Canada?
    Madam Speaker, obviously we have a very strong philosophical and principle difference on this issue. As a basic proposition, I would put to him that Canadians' safety is improved when we restrict the number of firearms in circulation. Any efforts in that regard, of which this bill is one, will benefit Canadians' safety. That is my first point.
    The second point is that I do not dispute that there are concerns with the border. That is what I identified in my opening intervention. When issues come up about supporting the CBSA and RCMP at the border, in terms of their ability to intercept weapons, I hope this time the member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman and his colleagues on the Conservative benches will vote in favour of those investments instead of opposing them.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, my colleague spoke at length about what is in Bill C-21. I would like hear his thoughts on what is missing from Bill C‑21, starting with a ban on assault weapons.
    The government has decided to proceed through regulatory changes. Some 1,800 models of assault weapons are currently banned. The government has proposed a mandatory buyback program, but it is still not in place. Public consultations have yet to begin.
    If the government takes a model-by-model approach, there is a risk that some will be forgotten or that new ones will appear on the market. We proposed amending the Criminal Code instead, in order to clearly define what a prohibited weapon is. That way, they can all be dealt with at once.
    The Liberal Party seemed happy with that proposal, and I would like to hear my colleague's thoughts on it.
    Madam Speaker, I appreciate my Bloc Québécois colleague's question and her work on public safety.
    Among the possible options, we decided to proceed through regulations rather than a bill, because this approach is sometimes faster.
    I understand my colleague's impatience and why she is eager to see regulations on assault weapons. Let me assure the member that several of my Liberal colleagues and I will fight to have these regulations made as soon as possible.

  (1345)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, the hon. member spoke about the doctors who have spoken out in favour of gun control. I have heard doctors talk about gun violence being a public health issue and the burden of injury from gun violence being too high. That includes not only people who die from guns used in crime but from suicide and gender-based violence.
    I wonder this. Could the hon. member comment on the fact that our colleagues across the aisle in the Conservative Party never seem to mention that burden of injury from gender-based violence and suicide, and completely ignore all the women and men who die by suicide or as a result of gender-based violence?
    Madam Speaker, it is lamentable. What I recall is actually being with that member at the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights in the last Parliament and doing a study on acts of coercion and acts of aggression. Witnesses came from all parts of the country, including witnesses invited by the Conservative Party. When we put to those witnesses whether the presence of a firearm in the home increased jeopardy and vulnerability or decreased it, the answer was very straightforward. It obviously increases jeopardy. This is not something that should be partisan. This is not something that should be politicized. We all have a stake in addressing domestic violence. This is one way to do it.
    Madam Speaker, thank you for the opportunity today to join this important debate.
    Let me begin by saying two words: Resolute and realistic. I think the Minister of Public Safety said it best. Resolute and realistic is what this government has strived to be since we began tackling gun violence as soon as we were elected to lead this country almost seven years ago, and these adjectives have been our true North Star. We know that no single bill or initiative has the power to single-handedly end gun violence. That is being realistic.
    We also know that morally, ethically and humanely we are bound to do all we can, using all resources at our disposal, to stop senseless deaths and injuries from firearms. That is exactly what we are determined to do. In other words, we are resolute. We believe it is the only appropriate response to the tragedies we have seen in our communities, from the École Polytechnique in 1989 to Portapique in 2020 and all the deadly incidents in between that did not receive widespread media coverage precisely because they were all too common. Let us not have any doubt about it: These are preventable deaths. The grief of the victims' loved ones will never be fully soothed, and those who survived will always carry with them the trauma of what they experienced. We must resolve ourselves to do anything and everything that we can to ensure no one else has to live through these horrors. That is why we have introduced decisive actions such as implementing a national freeze on handguns so that no new handguns can be brought into Canada or bought, sold or transferred within the country, and implementing red flag laws to protect those who are most vulnerable from gun violence at the hands of intimate partners. These are the strongest gun control measures this country has seen in over 40 years. These measures will save lives.
    I would like to share a few important statistics with my colleagues. We know that the more available guns are, the higher the risk of homicides and suicides. Handguns are the most commonly used firearms in homicides. Suicide by firearm accounted for 75% of all firearms deaths in Canada between 2008 and 2018. Victims of intimate partner violence are about five times more likely to be killed if a firearm is present in the home. Members should think about that. Of guns used in crimes, 58% are traced to domestic sources that are predominantly from straw purchasing and theft. This means that, contrary to what the Conservatives keep telling us, these guns are legally obtained initially. Making handguns unavailable to buy, transfer or sell and prohibiting new handguns from being brought into Canada just makes sense. Reducing the number of guns in our communities means reducing the number of victims of gun violence.
    Let us be clear. We are realistic. We know that a national freeze on handguns, however strong and effective a measure it will be, cannot end all forms of gun violence, of course. That is why this bill contains numerous other measures to complement and strengthen Canada's gun laws. A priority for this government is protecting women who are disproportionately victimized by intimate partner violence that often involves guns. Bill C-21 contains legislation to revoke or deny firearms licences for people who have a protection order against them or have been involved in domestic violence, criminal harassment or stalking.
    The red flag provisions of this bill are also designed to protect women and other vulnerable persons. Under these provisions, anyone could apply to a court to remove firearms from someone who may be a danger to themselves or others. We can imagine the utility of a law like this. We can imagine the lives saved in situations where people were experiencing abuse and feared for their lives at the hands of their partners who owned a firearm, or for firearms owners who tell their friends they have suicidal thoughts or ideation. Bill C-21 also contains yellow flag provisions, where anyone can ask a chief firearms officer to suspend and examine a licence if there are grounds to suspect that person is no longer eligible to hold a firearms licence.

  (1350)  

    These are all strong measures, and we know there are those who, as responsible firearms owners, may worry that these new laws would affect them. Canadian gun regulations and requirements are already robust, and we know that the majority of firearms owners take great care to own and operate their firearms safely in accordance with these rules. We have taken care to ensure that the privileges of lawful gun owners would not change. Current handgun owners would continue to be able to possess and use firearms for as long as they own them.
    Bill C-21 is targeting handguns, not firearms used for hunting or sport shooting. However, as the Prime Minister has said, there is no reason other than these activities that the general public should need guns in their everyday lives. Let us think about it. All it takes to take a life is the pulling of a trigger. Do Canadians really need to own lethal force to be used at any moment? I do not think so.
    Firearms owners can rest assured that, as always, we will consult with Canadians before finalizing and implementing regulations. The bottom line is that Canadians know that this government is serious about gun control and has been since we were elected. Since 2016, we have invested more than $920 million to address gun violence and keep guns out of the hands of gangs and criminals.
     Budget 2021 committed $312 million over five years for the CBSA and RCMP to increase intelligence and investigative capacity at the border and increase the RCMP's ability to trace gun crimes and detect straw purchasing. We have made significant strides in combatting gang violence as well, with $250 million committed to support municipalities and indigenous communities with anti-gang programs through the building safer communities fund. This builds on the $358.8 million under the 2018 initiative to take action against gun and gang violence for provinces and territories. This is not to mention that under the leadership of the previous minister of public safety two years ago, we took the bold step of banning assault-style weapons, prohibiting over 1,500 models of such firearms.
    This is how we are combatting gun violence and how we will end it. We have a suite of comprehensive measures that prevent it from taking root in the first place, that protect vulnerable individuals when there is reason to believe violence is imminent and that remove guns from the hands of those who have malicious intentions. We cannot wait to take action.
    I speak for all my colleagues when I say that we have already seen too much violence in each of our home constituencies. I know I have. There have been too many tears with too much grief, because even one person lost to gun violence is too many. I implore my colleagues to pass Bill C-21 as quickly as possible. Let us end gun violence in Canada now.
    Madam Speaker, I read a number of days ago with great interest a story about an Ottawa-area lifelong hunter who had his firearms taken away because of a tip from a local community mental health area that said the man was not taking his medication. Police moved immediately and seized this man's firearms. It was only after petitioning a judge and demonstrating to a judge that he did not have any mental issues that he got his firearms back.
     I found it curious that the member said we currently do not have the capacity to take firearms away from people who are going through mental distress, when we see quite clearly here in the Ottawa area that it is already happening. Would the member not agree that the government and the police already have these tools?

  (1355)  

    Madam Speaker, I do not know the specific example the member speaks of, but embedding red flag and yellow flag laws within legislation would only give additional tools to law enforcement and individuals who suspect that someone has suicidal ideation or may harm others. That is a good thing. We can all probably agree that the fewer the number of individuals who commit suicide via a firearm and the fewer the number of people who are in firearms shootings, the safer Canada will be.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I would like to know why my colleague's government decided to go with a freeze rather than a ban. As members will recall, the May 2020 assault weapons ban and regulations came into effect immediately. Now, the government is proposing a freeze on handguns but has realized that it will not take effect for 30 business days.
    Why did the government not take a different approach to ensure that this could be implemented quickly? If the government were really serious about getting handguns off our streets, it would have taken a different approach.
    I would like my colleague to explain to me why his government decided to go with a freeze rather than a ban.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, the hon. member's question is a good-faith question, and I appreciate it.
    The freeze on handguns definitely limits the market. It starts to regulate the market so that there will be no more handguns in circulation in Canada from the moment this bill reaches royal assent. That allows us to start to understand and work on the issue of getting guns off the streets in a way that respects the lawful possession and acquisition of the firearms that many legal, law-abiding gun owners have. It is a compromise and a good step forward.
    Madam Speaker, one thing my colleague's party promised in 2019 was to make sure that the CBSA had the resources it needs to detect and stop the flow of weapons at our borders. Just like the Conservatives did with Veterans Affairs when they cut a third of the staff, which has led to a backlog of over 40,000 disability applications for veterans, they cut 1,000 positions at the CBSA, which are required to stop the flow of weapons at the Canada-U.S. border.
    My colleague touched on some of the improvements the government is going to make at the CBSA, but when will it fully restore all of the positions that were cut by the Conservatives, and in fact bolster them, given the increase in gun violence and the illegal importation of weapons coming into Canada?
    Madam Speaker, our government knows that illegal gun smuggling is important, as is increasing the investigative capacity of the CBSA and the RCMP to investigate purported gun smuggling and crack down on it. We have increased the penalties for those who are caught, from 10 to 14 years. To my knowledge, we are increasing capacity at our borders and ensuring that our law enforcement agencies can share data and information to have better intelligence on these matters.
    Madam Speaker, very few recent mass shooters in this country had criminal records of any kind. Consider shootings in Fredericton, Danforth, Quebec City and Moncton. Could the member comment on how Bill C-21 would help reduce and even eliminate mass shootings across the country?
    Madam Speaker, this goes to show that just because people are law-abiding gun owners when they purchase a gun does not mean they are not capable of committing an act in a heated moment. It is important for us to realize that limiting gun ownership and restricting guns are going to help reduce gun crime.

Statements by Members

[Statements by Members]

  (1400)  

[English]

Freedom in Canada

    Madam Speaker, Canada Day is coming up a week from Friday, and it is a good moment to think about freedom in an age of COVID.
    Most Canadians exercise their freedom to contribute toward the common good by getting vaccinated, wearing masks and understanding that vaccine and mask mandates were about short-term restrictions in the interests of long-term health and safety. Others exercise their freedom to oppose those measures, some on principle and others with agendas exposed as exceedingly dark. In our parliamentary precinct, some gave themselves the freedom to exercise their lungs, their rhetoric and their truck horns. Some of them, we are told, are planning to return.
    To them, here is some free advice. Canada is a strong, free nation, thanks very much, where we get to yell “freedom” and blast truck horns. They can fill their boots, but the sound of votes slipping into a ballot box will drown out the noise, because that is how we do things here. That is how we preserve and protect real freedom.

Community Events

    Madam Speaker, the summertime is upon us once again, and with it comes some great opportunities to get out into the community and take part in some of the outstanding events happening in Souris—Moose Mountain and across this great country.
    After over two years of living in a pandemic, I am looking forward to being able to meet with people face to face as I travel throughout my riding to hear what my constituents have to say. While the rising cost of living, combined with high gas prices, might make longer trips a bit more difficult, I encourage everyone to support local events and the local economy by participating in things such as fairs, rodeos, powwows, festivals, jamborees, barbecues and more. This is also a great opportunity to take the staycation we might have been thinking of while also helping local businesses, which would certainly benefit from a visit.
    I know that I will be going to as many community events as I can this summer, and I invite all Canadians to do the same. Let us get out and enjoy. I hope to see everyone there.

Bluedrop ISM

    Madam Speaker, there was a time when no one thought it was possible to launch a global tech company from Newfoundland and Labrador, but Emad Rizkalla is a true innovator and launched our province's very first tech start-up, now known as Bluedrop ISM, 30 years ago.
    Bluedrop is a global learning tech leader with customers and users in over 30 countries and on all seven continents. It is part of our province's now thriving tech industry, which contributes over $1.6 billion to our economy and employs over 4,000 people.
    Emad immigrated to Canada from Egypt when he was seven years old, co-founded Bluedrop as a student of Memorial University and is considered one of North America's pioneers in e-learning. To Bluedrop, Emad and the entire team on their 30th anniversary, I say congratulations as they continue to blaze new trails.

[Translation]

Marcel Jobin

    Madam Speaker, I am pleased to pay tribute to an incredible athlete in my riding, Marcel Jobin, an 80-year-old Olympic race walker from Saint‑Boniface.
    Mr. Jobin's career highlights include competing in the summer games in Montreal in 1976 and in Los Angeles in 1984, in the 20-kilometre and 50‑kilometre events. He also founded the Académie Marcel‑Jobin, a not‑for‑profit organization that promotes physical activity, organizes sporting events and supports athletes. It has organized no fewer than 25 half marathons. As if that were not enough, he is getting ready for this summer's world championships in Finland, where he is going for gold in the 80 to 84 age group.
    Mr. Jobin, keep on impressing us. You are the pride of Berthier—Maskinongé and Quebec as a whole.
    Before we move on, I would like to know if it is possible to reduce the noise coming from the lobbies.

[English]

    It is very bothersome, and it is interfering with the way we hear speeches in the House.

  (1405)  

[Translation]

    The hon. member for Bourassa.

Medal Awarded by MP for Bourassa

    Madam Speaker, yesterday, on Father's Day, the fourth edition of the “eminent men in Bourassa” ceremony was held to recognize five men who have made an outstanding contribution to the community.
    I had the honour of presenting each of them with the Bourassa MP's medal. The recipients were Pierre Blondin, chair of the Beaulieu-Blondin Foundation; Carmine Gallo, a police officer at station 39; Dib Khanafer, co-owner of Miracle 110; Sonel Merjuste, co-owner of Tempehine; and Sam Watts, director of Mission Bon Accueil.
    I am proud to rise in the House of Commons to celebrate their dedication and contribution to the riding of Bourassa.
    I ask my fellow members of Parliament to join me in congratulating them.

[English]

Agriculture in Canada

    Madam Speaker, Canadian farmers have been feeding us for generations. They deserve our thanks, but instead they keep getting attacked by the Liberal government. The carbon tax was the first blow, punishing farmers and lining government pockets while doing nothing to reduce carbon emissions.
    Then came the 35% tariff on Russian fertilizer applied to products purchased well before the war in Ukraine began. Now the government wants to force misleading warning labels on all Canadian ground beef and pork. There is a perfect storm brewing of record high costs, supply chain disruptions, labour shortages and poor planting conditions.
    The government needs to wake up, cancel the taxes and secure our food supply before we plunge into a national food shortage crisis. Time is running out.

Sothymalar Paramsothy

    Madam Speaker, today I would like to honour the memory of a passionate teacher, a dedicated volunteer and a great community leader, Ms. Sothymalar Paramsothy. Ms. Paramsothy arrived in Canada, along with her two sons, as a refugee.
    Like most Tamils, she balanced several jobs to make ends meet as she integrated into a new place. A teacher by profession, she worked part time in Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board while teaching Tamil in various boards under the international languages program. Apart from work, she was passionately involved with fundraising for humanitarian relief efforts to the internally displaced in Sri Lanka's north and east. Following her retirement in the early 2000s, she returned to Sri Lanka to continue her humanitarian work on the ground.
    I remember the day of awarding Ms. Paramsothy with the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal for service. I will always remember her for her strong spirt, big heart and visionary mind. Until her last breath, she continued to encourage work on improving Sri Lanka's social and economic conditions. It is a painful loss for all of us and for Canada. We are forever grateful for the legacy she has left behind.

Dragons Abreast

    Mr. Speaker, Dragons Abreast is an exercise and rehabilitation program for breast cancer survivors in the form of a dragon boat team, and it is celebrating its 25th year. Through a 125-kilometre paddle on the Trent-Severn, they are raising funds for the Canadian Breast Cancer Support Fund and honouring the 55 members of the team who have died since 1997.
     This remarkable journey began on June 16 with a water ceremony at Curve Lake First Nation and finishes on June 21 with a water ceremony at Hiawatha First Nation. Eleanor Nielsen is a Beaches—East York constituent, one of the most wonderful people one could ever meet, and she is a member of Dragons Abreast. She has co-authored a book called Internationally Abreast: Exercise As Medicine about the Vancouver origins of the breast cancer dragon boat movement, which now has 51 teams in Canada and 260 worldwide.
    I ask my colleagues to join me in recognizing the Dragons Abreast team for the important work they do to emphasize physical exercise, raise funds for an important cause and build a strong community of support. I wish them the best of luck in their paddling journey.

Bill C-291

    Mr. Speaker, I hearken back to my maiden speech today to discuss something I am passionate about. It is time we stop using the phrase “child pornography”. Words matter, and the term child pornography sanitizes the extreme harm caused to children. Pornography describes media between consenting adults. Children can never consent to sexual activity with adults.
    This is why any sexual depiction of a child must be called what it is: sexual abuse. Last week, my hon. colleague from North Okanagan—Shuswap tabled Bill C-291 to change all references of “child pornography” in the criminal code to “child sexual abuse material”.
     I am deeply grateful to him for tabling this bill, which I authored, and using his slot in the order of precedence so the bill can be passed without delay. This is a change that victims and advocates have been seeking for far too long. The time to make this simple yet meaningful change is now, and I exhort the House to do so as quickly as possible.

  (1410)  

Turning the Tide Awards

    Mr. Speaker, I wish to congratulate the recipients of the Turning the Tide Awards for honouring excellence and innovation in Newfoundland and Labrador's marine industry. I especially want to highlight the Labrador Fishermen's Union Shrimp Company, which earned the industry leadership and excellence award. The company grew from humble beginnings, started by fisher people, into an industry leader. It operates five processing facilities in Labrador's south coast and boasts an impressive harvesting fleet.
    I also want to recognize Richard Cashin, who received the industry lifetime achievement award for advancing the rights of inshore fish harvesters; Virtual Marine, which earned the innovation leadership award; the Crow's Nest, which was presented with the award of historical marine significance; and Jasmine Saunders, who was given the next wave leadership award. She is an indigenous woman who has played an integral role in developing relationships with indigenous partners and high school students.
    I ask my colleagues to join me in congratulating all those who are turning the tide in the marine industry sector in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Arctic Sovereignty

    Mr. Speaker, I was in Inuvik last week, and what I saw was alarming. Instead of strengthening sovereignty and security in our Arctic, I saw the government putting up a for sale sign on a crucial NORAD facility and getting rid of other essential equipment. For decades, the International Logistics Support hangar has been the only facility above the Arctic Circle able to house Canada's refuelling tankers that support our CF-18s.
    Deemed no longer necessary by the government in 2021, the hangar is now up for sale. Without this hangar, the refuelling tankers are being pushed outside and now take hours to prep in minus 40 and worse winter conditions. Any quick response is now off the table. To make matters worse, fuel tanks that used to stand in front of CF-18 hangars have been noticeably removed, which is impeding our ability to repeatedly respond to Arctic threats.
    Despite the minister's lofty words, we are more at risk in the Arctic than ever before. Will the minister visit Inuvik herself to see first-hand the sad state of our Arctic sovereignty and security, instead of relying on her senior level bureaucrats in Ottawa?

Bill C-11

    Mr. Speaker, we are down to the last week for the government to attempt to ram through legislation through the final session since the last unnecessary election in the fall.
    There remain more questions than answers about Bill C-11. Is user-generated content covered under the act or not? Does the wording of the bill allow for platforms to censor or not? With the government bulldozing through fulsome debate on this legislation, it appears that these questions will remain unanswered.
    The irony of stifling the freedom to speak in the House on the very bill that has the greatest consequences of freedom of speech in our country's history cannot be understated. Whether it is of the heritage minister, the public safety minister, the emergency preparedness minister or the Prime Minister, this bill is another example of the government's disdain for the rights and freedoms of all Canadians.

[Translation]

Sherbrooke Station Market

    Mr. Speaker, today I am happy to mark the start of the summer season for the Sherbrooke Station Market. Located on the shores of Lac des Nations, this public market is steeped in history and showcases Sherbrooke's natural and built heritage. Five permanent merchants occupy the interior space year round and, with the beginning of the summer this weekend, many market gardeners and artisans have set up booths outside and stocked them with the best products the region has to offer.
    The market also serves as a gathering place and festival site for the community. I would like to invite the entire population of Sherbrooke, as well as tourists, to come spend some quality family time at the market, which runs every weekend until the end of October, and to stock up on fresh, local products.
    Buying local stimulates the economy and supports Sherbrooke's entrepreneurs. We should all keep buying delicious products made close to home.

  (1415)  

[English]

Alberta Billy

    Mr. Speaker, Alberta Billy was an influential leader and elder from the Laich-Kwil-Tach speaking people.
    Her passing fills me with a deep sadness, and it will have a profound impact on our riding. The gentleness of her spirit called everyone around her to be their very best self. She was a significant leader who educated Canadians about the deep and painful impacts of residential school. In the eighties, with friends Thelma Davis and Stan McKay, she worked years to inspire the United Church of Canada to take ownership of the part it played, which it did, becoming the first religious institution to apologize to indigenous peoples.
    She did not stop there. She worked with Kathi and Meredith to educate people on the impacts of residential schools with an experiential training through The Village workshop series. She would say to me, “We do it because we must.” Her words give me strength in challenging times. The world a much sadder place without Alberta. I am so honoured to have known and loved her. I wish her husband, Daniel, and her family much love in this profound time of grief.

[Translation]

Ann‑Renée Desbiens

    Mr. Speaker, one of the greatest assets of my riding are the high-performance athletes who bring joy to our community. One of those athletes is here today on Parliament Hill. It is Ann-Renée Desbiens, who brought Olympic gold home to Charlevoix.
    A native of Clermont who now lives in beautiful Saint‑Aimé‑des‑Lacs, the woman who is known as “the Great Wall of Charlevoix” has collected so many national and international titles that she has basically rewritten the U.S. college circuit record book. In 2017, she received the Patty Kazmaier Award for the top women's college ice hockey player.
    Supported by a wonderful family, my distant cousin is a brilliant, generous and inspiring woman. She shares her medals, dreams and techniques with fans both young and old, and her famous jersey with her humble member of Parliament. Everyone loves Ann-Renée, an articulate and dynamic woman who is also down to earth.
    On behalf of myself and the Bloc Québécois, I would like to salute and honour this incredibly talented athlete. My best wishes for a long and successful career to Ann-Renée Desbiens, “the Great Wall of Charlevoix”.

[English]

Energy Industry in Canada

    Mr. Speaker, in a shocking display of hypocrisy this past weekend in Montreal, German Formula One driver, Sebastian Vettel, had the audacity to call the production of Alberta’s oil sands a “crime”. The Aston Martin driver is also sponsored by Saudi Aramco, the largest oil producer on the planet. Clearly, he does not have a problem taking money from oil companies. Meanwhile, millions of barrels of Russian blood oil continue to flood into Germany, helping to fund Putin’s barbaric war in Ukraine. If Mr. Vettel wants to talk about a crime, he should look closer to home.
    There is no country where the energy industry is doing more to bring down emissions and produce resources with the highest ethical standards than Canada. In fact, it is Alberta’s freedom fuel that will provide the energy that the world needs to kick Putin’s gas. Albertans will never apologize for our oil. My only regret is that we do not have more pipelines to supply the world when it needs it most. We will not take any lessons from high-carbon hypocrites such as Sebastian Vettel.

World Refugee Day

    Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to commemorate World Refugee Day. Seeking safety is a human right, no matter who one is or where one comes from—
    I am going to interrupt the hon. member for a moment.
    This is a message that I think we all want to hear, but the noise level is getting too high. I am going to ask everyone to tone it down so we can hear. The hon. member can start from the beginning so we can all hear it.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to commemorate World Refugee Day. Seeking safety is a human right, no matter who one is or where one comes from. Whenever one has been forced to flee, everyone has the right to seek safety.
    Let us acknowledge the 100 million displaced people across our planet as the precariousness of peace and climate change continue to be growing concerns. Canada must work hard to retain its long-standing reputation as an international leader in resettlement and integration. In 2021, Canada welcomed more refugees than any other country. As we know, refugees make significant contributions and are a driving force behind our society and economy.
    We must show compassion and respect for refugees, and acknowledge every day the courage it takes to build a new life in a new country, not just today. We have a collective responsibility to support those fleeing war and persecution and to make sure that no one is left behind. As a country, Canada can be proud of the work that we have accomplished so far, but we cannot lose our sense of urgency to keep helping the world's most vulnerable.

Oral Questions

[Oral Questions]

  (1420)  

[English]

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians are suffering with record-high inflation, and it is clear the Liberals have no plan to deal with it responsibly, except with more of the same mismanagement that got us here in the first place: out-of-control spending. Even financial institutions like Scotiabank have warned that their continued spending drives higher inflation.
     We cannot spend inflation away. Is it not true that life is continuing to get worse not better for Canadians under the Liberals and they have no idea how to deal with it?
    Mr. Speaker, that side ran on a platform to do even more deficit spending than we did. On this side, we have an affordability plan. We created the Canada child benefit, which is right now putting $13,666 into the pockets of a single mother with two kids. We have indexed OAS and are increasing it. We are making sure that there is a $500 home credit for people struggling with housing.
    There is no plan for affordability on that side, but there is a clear plan on this side.
    Mr. Speaker, well, one idea is to reduce federal taxes at the pump to help ease the high cost of gas. The provinces are doing it. Other countries are doing it. Even the U.S. is considering doing it. What did the Liberals say when we made this suggestion? They said no.
    Whether it is lowering taxes on gas or things like removing restrictions and mandates, the Liberals always say no to good ideas. Why are the Liberals always so slow and reluctant to do the right thing when it comes to helping Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, we are, of course, doing the right thing. That means working to address the supply constraints that have evolved since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
    Canada has committed to increasing its production of oil and gas by 300,000 barrels by the end of the year. We are working in partnership with our friends in the United States, Brazil and a number of other countries to stabilize global energy prices and to ensure that we are actually addressing affordability on a go-forward basis.

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, under the Liberals, murders are at a 30-year high. We are seeing shootings and deaths increase. This weekend in Toronto is another sad example. However, we should not be surprised. The same minister who is busy misleading Canadians on the Emergencies Act is the one in charge of public safety.
    The Liberals implementing gun bans while at the same time letting violent criminals into our communities is illogical and dangerous. Why will the soft-on-crime Liberals not do something to protect our streets and start by making sure that gangsters and drug dealers stay behind bars?
    Mr. Speaker, if the member had actually read Bill C-21, she would see that we are taking on organized crime head-on by raising maximum sentences for illegal gun smugglers. She would see that we are addressing the alarming concerns around handgun violence by introducing a national handgun freeze. She would see that we are also addressing the alarming trend around the connection between intimate partner violence and guns by the introduction of red flag protocols.
     The only thing the Conservatives can offer is making AR-15 assault-style rifles legal again. They should come to this chamber with more ideas.

Government Policies

    Mr. Speaker, under the Liberals, those who commit a crime with a gun get to do their time at home. How is that protecting communities?
    However, everything the Liberals touch is a disaster, whether it is the soft-on-crime and often misunderstood public safety minister, the heritage minister, who is taking away Canadians' online freedoms, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, who invites her delegates to a party with the Russians, or a finance minister trying to spend her way out of inflation. It is all a disaster.
    Is it not true that Canadians are much worse off today than they were seven years ago and that it is all because of terrible Liberal policies?

  (1425)  

    Mr. Speaker, as we near the end of this session, I understand that the party opposite is continuing to try to obstruct and cast aspersions in a number of different places.
    The reality is that over the last seven years, we have seen our economy grow. We have seen the investments that have been made across the board to help lift Canadians up. We have seen a record number of Canadians be lifted out of poverty, and we are way ahead of our poverty-reduction targets.
     This government continues to be focused on delivering results for Canadians. I understand that the opposition is searching for attack lines. As they troll from subject to subject, we stay focused on getting things done for Canadians.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, we are still waiting for those results. Let me summarize the Liberal response to the cost of living.
    Last week, the Minister of Finance announced with great fanfare that she would do nothing. Everything is more expensive because of the cost of gas. The Minister of Environment and Climate Change is happy.
    Canadians are camping out in front of passport offices. The minister failed to anticipate that Canadians would want to travel after two years of a pandemic.
    The list is never-ending. The time has come to end the spiralling incompetence of the Liberals.
     Who will have the courage to get up and bring the Prime Minister back in line?
    Mr. Speaker, let us be clear on the issue of affordability for Canadians.
    On this side of the House, the government created the Canada child benefit, but the Conservatives voted against it. We delivered support for the tourism sector, but the Conservatives voted against it. We were here to support seniors, workers and single mothers, but the Conservatives voted against it.
    The economy is growing and we are here for Canadians, but the Conservatives are just here to get sound bites for Twitter.

Passports

    Mr. Speaker, the federal passport fiasco is becoming dangerous. It has gotten to the point where the police have to intervene in lineups. The police are doing more than just anger management, though; they are also answering questions meant for federal employees.
    Enough is enough. A crisis cannot be managed from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Friday. Why are these offices still not open seven days a week with extended hours?
    This is a crisis. When will this government wake up?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, as we are all aware, after two years of travel restrictions Canadians are travelling again and there is increased demand and volume for passports. That is why the focus of the minister and officials has been to make sure that Canadian do receive their passports. It is why we are triaging lines at every Service Canada location in urban and metropolitan areas. It is why we have increased our staff by over 600 to serve Canadians. It is also why we have added additional resources to our NP lines and other call-in lines to ensure that we reach Canadians and that they get the documents they need.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, because the government is not doing its job at the passport office, members of Parliament are being inundated with calls for help from citizens.
    On Friday, all MPs' offices received an email notifying them that the federal government was cutting services to elected officials who help their constituents obtain passports. Imagine that. The government is not doing anything to help people, and now it is preventing us from helping them instead.
    In the end, we learned this morning that this email was a mistake. This is amateur hour. The minister's incompetence is reaching new lows.
    When will they stop ad libbing and keep the offices open in the evenings and on weekends until the crisis is finally resolved?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member and all colleagues of the House who are advocating for constituents with urgent travel needs.
    Employees at Service Canada have worked tirelessly throughout this pandemic to serve Canadians, and they have been performing their services overtime and every weekend. As a matter of fact, on the June 24 and July 1 long weekends, employees will be working to make sure that Canadians receive their documents. In addition to that, with regard to the NP line, an additional 50 resources have been added, with another 40 being trained, to make sure that we can address the increased demand and volume to assist constituents.
    We are here to serve Canadians together in the House.

[Translation]

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, that is not reassuring.
    Life is getting more and more expensive. Families are on the verge of losing their homes, and children are going to school hungry. The crisis is hitting hard, and people are paying the price.
    The Liberals' response is a $7 tax credit. They could not be more out of touch. It is a slap in the face to workers, seniors and children. People need help, and the NDP has proposed solutions.
    Will the Liberals double the GST tax credit and increase the child benefit to help families that are struggling right now?

  (1430)  

    Mr. Speaker, what the NDP is putting forward is insincere and rings hollow.
    Just look at the Canada child benefit. In my city, Edmonton, a single mother with two children will receive $13,660. That is not $7, it is over $13,000.
    In Edmonton, a mother and father will get $10,000 from our child care program. That is not $7, it is $10,000.
    The NDP needs to get its facts straight and not tell tall tales in the House.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals keep talking about things they were doing or should have been doing before inflation struck. The fact is that Canadians are worried about losing their homes and are worried about feeding their families, and the Liberal plan is another seven dollars on the GST rebate. That is not a plan. That is a talking point for a government that is more concerned about inflation as a public relations problem than it is about an economic problem. A real plan would provide some debt relief, double the GST rebate and increase the Canada child benefit.
    When is the Deputy Prime Minister going to kindly announce that plan?
    Mr. Speaker, it is disappointing that the NDP continues to push this cynical and disingenuous narrative that somehow Canadians are only getting seven dollars more in affordability supports. It knows very well that in my own city of Edmonton, child care benefits are up to $10,000 this year. As to the Canada child benefit, in Vancouver, a mother with two children gets $13,666. That is a lot more than seven dollars. The NDP needs to stop playing for political points and tell the whole story.
    Mr. Speaker, the finance minister must be wearing industrial-grade noise-cancelling earphones to avoid hearing the calls from economists to cut her government's over-the-top spending. She knows that it is only adding gas to the inflationary fire. The Prime Minister has said that anything that has a hint of fiscal restraint is austerity. He axed Bill Morneau for wanting to get post-COVID spending under control.
    Is she worried that if she presents anything to the Prime Minister that remotely resembles a cut, she might suffer the same fate as her predecessor, who went from Finance Minister Morneau to finance minister no more?
    Mr. Speaker, let us take a look at the facts. The Conservatives ran on a platform to spend $168 billion. I am glad they did not get elected. That would have been irresponsible.
    Let us look at the economy. Let us look at the fact that we have a GDP that grew 5.6% in Q1. This fall, S&P and Moody's again affirmed our AAA credit rating, and 3.5 million jobs have been recovered since the worst part of the pandemic, which is ahead of the United States. Also, we have the lowest unemployment rate, at 5.1%, since 1976.
    The economy is doing well. The Conservatives do not like it, but we sure do.
    Mr. Speaker, they keep trying to change the channel, but these speNDP-Liberals do not, will not or cannot understand that their obsession with spending is fuelling inflation and hurting Canadians. Doug Porter, chief economist at BMO, said, “Fiscal policy has every bit as much a role to play in dampening inflation as does monetary policy...and fiscal policy should definitely not get a pass in the inflation fight.”
    The Conservatives have been saying to cut discretionary spending and give Canadians a break at the pumps. Those are good starting points. The question is, when will the Minister of Finance stop fuelling inflation and instead start fighting it?
    Mr. Speaker, I invite members of the opposition and that member in particular to vote with us the next time we have a piece of legislation in the House that is designed to improve the lives of Canadians and make their lives more affordable. The Conservatives have voted against every single measure we put on the floor of the House to make life more affordable, including Bill C-2, the Canada child benefit and making sure that OAS payments are indexed.
    They are all talk, no action. On this side, we are focused on affordability for Canadians.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the number one issue on every Canadian's mind is inflation.
    This Liberal government is responsible for rising inflation. Conservatives are not alone in saying so. Yesterday, Scotiabank's chief economist, Jean‑François Perrault, said that “high levels of fiscal spending will necessitate an unnecessarily large crowding out of private spending”.
    In other words, the government does not know how to manage things, and that is driving inflation up.
    Will this government do the responsible thing, the right thing in an inflationary context, and control spending?

  (1435)  

    Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the hon. member of the House voted for the Conservatives' plan to run a $168‑billion deficit in their campaign platform.
    On this side of the House, we made a point of indexing the Canada child benefit to inflation and cutting income tax for the middle class not once, but twice. We increased old age security and included a tax cut in Bill C‑8.
    The Conservatives voted against Canadians. We are voting for Canadians.

Passports

    Mr. Speaker, all of our constituency offices are getting calls all day long from desperate Canadians about the passport problem, and I am sure this is true in all 338 ridings.
    Once again this weekend, a nurse had to take time off work instead of treating patients. She had to stand in line today to get her passport. In Laval, police officers had to be sent out to calm the unrest among the people in line. I am proud to be Canadian, but when I see this, it tells me that my country is suffering. Canada is a G7 nation, not a third world country.
    Why did the government drag its heels and create this passport crisis?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, as the member is aware, as travel restrictions are being lifted, Canadians are beginning to travel again.
    The department did plan for it. As of September of last year, over 600 new employees were added to Passport Canada services. In addition to that, every Service Canada office is receiving applications at this time. Every passport counter in this country is open to serve Canadians. Of the people who have their applications processed in person, over 96% are receiving their passports within 10 days. That is better than the international standards out there. We will continue to do everything we can to make sure Canadians receive their documents.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, people have to bring a tent and camp out on the sidewalk overnight just to get a passport. This is happening in Canada, a G7 country. That department is in chaos. Passport Canada is processing 75,000 applications per week, down from more than 90,000 before COVID.
    Employees need to be allowed back to work in person, so the business hours can be extended at all offices. Can the minister put away the talking points and give us some real answers?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the hon. member that our public servants have been working weekdays, overtime and weekends since travel restrictions have been lifted to ensure that Canadians receive their passports.
    Over 360,000 passports have been issued since April of this year. Just last week, nearly 48,000 passports were issued to Canadians. We are continuing to make sure that service lines are triaged and that we are reaching seniors and people with disabilities, unique employment needs and humanitarian and compassionate issues that require emergency documents.

[Translation]

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, the cost of groceries increased by almost 10% in April. It was the fifth month in a row that food prices had increased by more than 5%. The cost of gas was more than $2 per litre. In the greater Quebec City area, house prices have increased by 21% over the past year.
    With wage increases averaging about 3%, people are struggling to get by. Can the Minister of Finance offer Canadians some real answers?
    Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is asking questions about affordability when her party has done nothing and has no plan to make life affordable for Canadians. In addition, her party obstructs the government every time we try to do something to make life more affordable for Canadians.
    On this side of the House, we created the Canada child benefit and indexed it to inflation. We increased old age security. We also ensured that child care payments are indexed. We are focusing on affordability. On the other side, there is no plan.

Passports

    Mr. Speaker, people camped out in front of Service Canada offices all weekend to get their passports. They braved the wind and rain and stayed outside all weekend in the hopes of getting service. The worst part is that they were camped out in front of empty offices that closed for the weekend on Friday at 4 o'clock.
    This weekend, people saw with their own eyes that no federal public servants were at work to help them. Does the minister realize how insulting that is?

  (1440)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, Service Canada and passport centres throughout the country have been open overtime during the weekdays and on weekends. There are long lines, but Service Canada members are going into those lines and triaging emergency situations, and we are also encouraging those who do not have immediate travel to plan for their travel documents.
    Nevertheless, as a matter of fact, today our minister is in a processing centre in Mississauga to see how we could increase efficiencies, manage workloads and address the increased demand and volume.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, this week is Quebec's national holiday. Next week is July 1. That is two weeks in a row of statutory holidays that mark the beginning of summer every year. That means more people will be travelling and will need their passports.
    In the midst of a crisis, what is the minister planning to do to deal with the spike in demand? Above all else, is she at least planning to keep the offices open on weekends?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's question gives me the opportunity to let Canadians know that on the June 24 weekend and the July 1 weekend, passport centres will be open to serve Canadians. Public servants are working hard, working overtime and on weekends to make sure that Canadians can travel this summer. We know they want to be out and about.
    I want to thank our public servants who are working so tirelessly during this significant increase in demand. We owe them a debt a gratitude.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, this government is incapable of planning and it is incapable of learning from its mistakes.
    This is not the first time Service Canada has been in hot water. Its employees were unable to reassure worried citizens at the beginning of the pandemic. They were unable to help victims of CERB fraud last year. They were unable to process EI claims this winter. Now, they are unable to process passport applications.
    For two years, nothing has been working, and yet nothing has changed. Does the minister understand that she is the one responsible for this?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we owe tremendous gratitude to our public servants in this country, who, throughout the pandemic, had Canadians' backs. They were able to distribute CERB quickly when it was needed. They were able to address the EI concerns of Canadians when they were laid off during the pandemic, and public servants worked night and day with new technologies and new methods to make sure that we reached Canadians when they needed it most.
     Since September 2021, we have hired over 600 new employees, and we are hiring 600 more. Every passport counter in this office is open, and Service Canada offices are open to service Canadians.

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, children and seniors are going hungry and people cannot go to work because they do not have enough money to put gas in their vehicle. Any MP who spends time in their riding or reads any of their emails knows how dire the cost-of-living crisis is, yet inflation continues to rise under the current Liberal government. Are the Liberals just not listening to Canadians, or do they just not care?
    Mr. Speaker, our government and I empathize with Canadians on the rising price of inflation, which is caused by Russian's illegal war in Ukraine, supply chain snarls and the zero-COVID policy in China.
    However, let us look at the facts. I hope my colleagues will help me keep the other side accountable when we pass the—
    I know everybody wants to hear the answer, so I will let the minister start from the top. I am sure everybody will be quiet so they can hear it all.
    Mr. Speaker, we empathize with Canadians on the rising costs of gas and groceries. That is why we have an affordability plan.
    However, let us look at the record. When this side cut taxes on the middle class and raised them on the wealthiest two times, how did the Conservatives vote? They voted against. What did they do when we had the Canada child benefit? They voted against. What did they do when we put money in for teachers? The Conservatives voted against. What did they do when we increased the money for seniors? The Conservatives voted against.
    We vote for; they vote against. We are here for affordability.

  (1445)  

    Mr. Speaker, too many Canadians are unable to afford basic essentials like gas and groceries, and the Liberal government keeps passing the buck. The Liberals refuse to admit that it is their own policies that are creating higher prices and exacerbating the situation.
    Will the government finally do the right thing, suspend the GST on fuels and help lower the cost of groceries for Canadian families?
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate my hon. colleague's perspective on the matter, but let us actually take a look at the economic fundamentals of this country.
    Our GDP grew 6% in Q1, making us the second-fastest-growing economy in the G7 and on track to be the fastest-growing economy in the G7. We have a AAA credit rating in place. We have recovered 115% of three million jobs lost, which is a faster recovery than our colleagues in the United States have achieved, and we have a trade surplus of over $6 billion.
    The Conservatives do not like it that the economy is doing well. Canadians do, and that is why we will focus on affordability.

Health

    Mr. Speaker, recent studies suggest that one in five Canadians does not have access to primary care. In Nova Scotia, there are 95,000 people without primary care. The president of the Canadian Medical Association has stated that what is clearly coming is the collapse of the current health care system.
    The Prime Minister continues to talk about 7,500 health care providers. None have materialized. When is the government of inaction going to give Canadians the health care system they so deserve?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his collaboration on the health committee.
     Our government recognizes the importance of high-quality primary care and we also acknowledge that many Canadians are still struggling to access the care they need in a timely manner.
    Going forward, as outlined in budget 2022, our government will remain focused on advancing the priorities of Canadians in health, including accessing the readily available, high-quality primary care services we all deserve.
    I appreciate the question and look forward to continuing to work on this with my colleague.

Airline Industry

    Mr. Speaker, airport delays continue to cause stress for so many travellers. There are not enough airport workers, and the existing ones are overstretched and underpaid. Instead of simply paying airport workers fairly, the current government is offering a bonus for workers who do not take vacation or sick time this summer. Seriously, in the midst of a pandemic, the minister is incentivizing workers to come to work sick.
    If he wants to get travellers moving again, he needs to scrap this program immediately and start paying workers fairly. Will he?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to stress how urgent the situation is and that our government is working toward easing the delays at our airports. We have added more than 900 CATSA workers over the last few weeks. We have increased the number of CBSA agents. We have adjusted many of our measures, in collaboration with airports and airlines, to ease airport delays. We are working with workers, who have been working very hard over the last weeks, to address this issue. There is a lot of work to be done, but we are committed to it.

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, the current government has a serious problem with transparency and accountability.
    I have asked in the House and through access to information for a full and comprehensive list of the sanctions that have been imposed, when they were imposed and what assets have been seized. It has refused to provide any meaningful information. I need this information for my constituents and for Canadians who are horrified by the illegal invasion of Ukraine, so I will ask again. Will the minister today guarantee that she will provide a detailed description of who has been sanctioned, when, and the assets that have been seized?
    Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. member raises a very important issue. With respect to Canada's unprecedented sanctioning of Russia, it started when Russia invaded Crimea illegally. It has continued. Those sanctions have been strengthened at an unprecedented level as Russia illegally invaded Ukraine again.
    We continue to sanction a banking system, Mr. Putin and his inner circle, members of the Russian security council and countless numbers of industries and individuals in Russia. We will continue to do that until we draw them down to the point of no return.

  (1450)  

[Translation]

Sport

    Mr. Speaker, an investment in recreational and sports infrastructure is an investment in the health and well-being of our constituents.
    Could the minister update us on what he is doing to give Quebeckers access to safe, sustainable facilities that promote recreational and sports activities in our communities?
     Mr. Speaker, on Friday, we announced over $29 million in joint funding with Quebec for five sports and recreation projects in the Nord-du-Québec region.
    Five indigenous communities in Nord-du-Québec will soon have access to high-quality, modern, accessible facilities where residents can come together and enjoy their favourite activities. We are always happy to invest in these types of projects across Canada.

[English]

Health

    Mr. Speaker, a couple in my riding recently returned from a trip to Greece. When they tried to register for the ArriveCAN app, they were sent the wrong verification code eight times. When they tried to contact the CBSA to fix the issue, the CBSA told them it did not offer support in relation to re-entering Canada.
    I hear stories like this from my constituents all the time. The ArriveCAN app is increasingly unnecessary and is hopelessly broken, so when will the government commit to ending the chaos at our borders and our airports?
    Mr. Speaker, as my colleague knows, the ArriveCAN app technology has helped to facilitate the measures we have taken at the border to protect the health and safety of Canadians throughout the pandemic. We continue to improve that technology by streamlining our processes and by making sure that Canadians have the smoothest experience at the border.
    I am pleased to report to my colleague and all members in this chamber that compliance with the ArriveCAN app is over 95% at the border. That is a signal that we have made progress. I am happy to work with my colleague on the individual case that was brought to his attention in his riding.

Passports

    Mr. Speaker, it is another week and there is more chaos in our airports. Even if one wanted to go anywhere, getting a passport is turning into a Canadian-made nightmare. The minister is claiming there is a surge in applications, but that is just not true. Over the past 10 weeks, the surge the government is talking about has been only half of what it was before COVID.
    If no one was laid off and no one at Passport Canada is working from home, will the minister responsible for the chaos tell us why anyone is still waiting for a passport they applied for in March?
    Mr. Speaker, as we have discussed, there has been an increased surge in the demand for passports with the ease of travel restrictions. In preparation for that, the minister and officials arranged for 600 new employees to be hired in September 2021, with an additional 600 being hired at this time. In addition to that, all Service Canada employees are back at work. Whether they are teleworking or in an office, they are at work. To disparage that is really questionable.
    I really want to thank our public servants for everything that they have been doing for Canadians and continuing to work during this time.
    Mr. Speaker, perhaps the parliamentary secretary can tell us what she thinks the word “surge” actually means. Passport Canada is at 48,000 passports this week. She just said that. They used to do more than 90,000 before COVID.
    I have a few simple questions: How many passports are in the queue? Can she explain why she is telling Canadians about a magical surge that is not happening? When can she give the House a straight answer so that Canadians do not have to line up at 3 a.m. for a basic government service?
    Mr. Speaker, as the member well knows, during the pandemic many Canadians did not renew their passports and many Canadians did not bother to check what the updated times on their passports would be. Nevertheless, the minister has been working closely with officials. As a matter of fact, she is at a processing centre in Mississauga today to see how we can increase capacity and efficiency.
    May I mention that the 48,000 from this week is a 10% increase from last week, so that week over week we are working with Service Canada and passport teams to increase efficiencies.

  (1455)  

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians are being told to go in person to a passport office if they have to travel within 45 days. Tia took time off work and made a five-hour drive to get to Service Canada’s passport office in Edmonton. She lined up at 4:30 in the morning with proof of imminent travel, but was triaged out of the line because she was not deemed urgent enough. In total, after 10 hours of driving, a hotel bill and time off work, she had no passport.
    Folks living in my riding and in rural areas across Canada cannot just whip into a passport office on a whim. When will the minister fix this passport chaos?
    Mr. Speaker, Service Canada and Passport Canada employees are working closely in teams to ensure that measures are taken to serve Canadians who ask for passport services. Those who are going to Passport Canada and service centres within 45 days of travel are encouraged to put in their applications in person and are assured that their passports will be processed efficiently. The member knows, as we have worked with her and many other members in the House, that those who have imminent travel do have the ability to work closely with the minister to ensure that their documents are received on time.

[Translation]

Official Languages

    Mr. Speaker, on Friday, the head of FrancoFolies de Montréal tried to justify the anglicization of his organization's workplace by saying that this promotes diversity and inclusion. That is absurd, but it is a shift we see all the time at the federal level. The official languages commissioner described this as backsliding. He explains that, on the contrary, the official languages and diversity are complementary, in that they are both ways of being more inclusive.
    Does the minister agree that it is backsliding to claim that French can be set aside to be more inclusive?
    Again, let us be very clear: we have the same goals, but our visions for achieving those goals may differ slightly.
    We recognize that French is in decline in North America, including in Canada. That is why we are moving forward with an ambitious bill to do our part to protect our beautiful language, French. I hope that the opposition members will work with us—
    Order. I must interrupt. It is very hard to hear the response from here, so I can only imagine how difficult it is to hear it in the back corner.
    I will ask the minister to start over. I am sure that the hon. member for La Pointe-de-l'Île wants to hear the response.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. As I have said many times, we have the same goal.
    We want to do everything we can to protect and promote the beautiful French language all across Canada, including here. We recognize that French is in decline in North America, including in Canada. That is why we are moving forward with an ambitious bill. We want to do our part to protect our beautiful language, French, across the country.
    I hope the opposition members will work with us to ensure that we can move forward with Bill C‑13 as quickly as possible.
    Mr. Speaker, we need only look to the people at the top to see how French is presented as a barrier to diversity. The Prime Minister himself appointed a Governor General who does not speak French, and his government has gone to court to try to force New Brunswick to accept a Lieutenant Governor who does not speak French. He is the first to drop the French language in the name of diversity, as though French could not also be diverse.
    Does the minister support this shift to considering all forms of diversity to be more important than the French language?
    Mr. Speaker, let us be clear. We are the first government to recognize that French is declining in Canada, including here.
    I once again call on the opposition members, especially the Bloc Québécois, to work closely with us to get this bill passed as quickly as possible. If we are going to do everything we can to protect and promote the French language, we must work together to ensure that this ambitious bill is passed sooner rather than later.

[English]

Health

    Mr. Speaker, thanks to the Liberals, Canada will be the first jurisdiction in the world to put warning labels on ground beef and pork. Imposing these warning labels means a single ingredient, wholesome protein, that most Canadian families rely on will be unaffordable. How nonsensical is this? They are putting on a warning label despite the fact that once this food is cooked, it does not exceed the Liberals' self-imposed limit on saturated fats.
    How many doctors raised concerns with Health Canada that too many Canadians were eating raw beef and pork that warranted these ridiculous and unwarranted warning labels that are punishing Canadian farmers and consumers?

  (1500)  

    Mr. Speaker, unlike my colleague opposite, we are concerned about the rising rates of chronic diseases in Canada. With last week being Men's Health Week, we talked in the House about how a disproportionately high number of men are dying from chronic diseases. I think we can all agree that more information at the grocery store is a good thing. Two in five adults currently report having at least one of the 10 most common chronic diseases, and that is unacceptable. These labels are widely recognized by health organizations in the scientific community as an effective tool to help counteract the rising rates of diet-related chronic illness.
    On this side of the House, we agree that more information is always a good thing.
    Mr. Speaker, many of my constituents are aghast and angry that Health Canada chose to attack healthy, nutritious protein- and iron-rich food products such as ground beef and pork with a warning label. An added labelling cost to the industry will be passed down to consumers, but Health Canada does not seem to care about increased costs. Health Canada should be concerned with keeping Canadians healthy, not adding to their grocery bills.
    Will the minister ensure that Health Canada drops this damaging, expensive, unnecessary, ideologically driven warning label?
    Mr. Speaker, on this side of the House, we will always prioritize Canadians' health based on scientific evidence. These labels are widely recognized to be a good tool to support Canadians as they make good decisions at the grocery store.
     Let me be clear. Canadians will still produce and purchase ground meat. However, they now have a choice to make and an informed decision to limit their saturated fat consumption. Our government is committed to protecting the health of Canadians, and to continuing our work in the food industry to further reduce sodium and fats in the foods Canadians purchase.

Northern Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, I was in Inuvik, Northwest Territories, last week where two litres of orange juice is $21.20. A box of Kraft Dinner is $3.09, ground beef is almost $20 a kilogram, a two-pack of ketchup is $24, regular fuel is $2.60 a litre, and residents' gas bills are over $1,000 a month.
    When will the government wake up and see that its high inflation and high taxation is making living in the north almost impossible?
    Mr. Speaker, all Canadians, regardless of where they live, should have access to affordable and nutritious food. That is why, in budget 2021, we expanded nutrition north with $170 million in funding, in collaboration with indigenous partners to address food insecurity in the north. To offset the financial burden caused by COVID, we also announced $25 million in support for nutrition north.
     We realize there is a lot of work that we have to do, but we feel we are going in the right direction.

[Translation]

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, since the Supreme Court decisions on the use of extreme intoxication as a defence, I have noticed that many people around me, especially women and girls, are worried. They are seeing a number of contradictory messages on social media.
    Can the Minister of Justice reassure Canadians about the use of extreme intoxication as a defence?
    Mr. Speaker, I would first like to thank my colleague from Saint-Laurent for her question and for her dedication to this issue.
    I want to clarify one very important point: Being intoxicated is not a defence for criminal acts such as sexual assault. That was the law before the Supreme Court decisions and it is still the law today.
    Bill C-28 amends the Criminal Code so that in the rare case of extreme intoxication, someone in a state of negligent self-induced extreme intoxication can be criminally responsible.
    We will continue to build a justice system that is more effective, fairer, and worthy of victims' trust.

Sport

    Mr. Speaker, Hockey Canada got $14 million in federal funding during the pandemic. In 2018, the Minister of Sport at the time said that organizations were required to disclose allegations of abuse and harassment or they would lose their federal funding. Such behaviours should never be kept quiet.
    Will the minister be taking Hockey Canada's funding back?

  (1505)  

    Mr. Speaker, let me begin by saying that, as a woman and a former athlete, I was horrified and disgusted by what I read in the media about allegations against Hockey Canada players.
    A financial audit of Hockey Canada's expenses and the use of public funds is under way. Regardless of the amount Hockey Canada received, we will not tolerate funds being used for purposes other than those set out in the contribution agreement between Sport Canada and Hockey Canada. If the agreement was violated, we will take appropriate measures.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians have been shaken by reports of Hockey Canada's involvement in alleged sexual assaults and cover-ups.
    Hockey Canada is an organization that received $8.3 million from the federal government last year and paid no income tax, despite having a surplus of $13.2 million. What action has the government taken to ensure sports organizations receiving federal funds, grants and contributions are taking real action to prevent sexual assaults, harassment and cover-ups?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to start by saying that I was absolutely horrified and disgusted when I read the stories in the newspapers.
    As a woman and an ex-athlete, I want Hockey Canada to answer all legitimate questions around its actions. A financial audit is currently under way to shed light on Hockey Canada's funding and use of public money. We will not tolerate any amount of money being spent on anything other than what was agreed upon in the contribution agreement between Sport Canada and Hockey Canada. If the agreement has not been respected, we will then take the appropriate actions.

[Translation]

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, there was a landslide last week in La Baie, a community in my riding. One home was destroyed. Fortunately, there were no fatalities. We remain on alert and could face additional landslides at any time. Eighty families have been evacuated so far. The situation is critical, and residents need to feel supported.
    Will the minister be there for those residents and is he prepared to co-operate if the Quebec government requests his assistance?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my friend from Chicoutimi—Le Fjord for his question and the conversation we had about making sure that the Government of Canada is there to serve the people affected by the landslides in Saguenay. I want to assure him and this House that our officials are engaged with our provincial counterparts. As the situation evolves, we stand ready to provide federal assistance when it is required by the people of Saguenay and the people of Quebec.

Tourism Industry

    Mr. Speaker, today marks another step in easing restrictions at the border, including dropping the vaccine mandate for outbound and domestic flights. This is certainly welcome news for the tourism industry, both in the Yukon, Canada's greatest tourism destination, and around the country, as we see the tourism sector begin to recover after two years of struggle. Tourists are on the move once more.
    Can the Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance tell this House how our government is supporting the tourism sector?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague from Yukon for his exceptional work on the file.
    Unlike the side opposite in this House, our government has supported the tourism sector right from the beginning. We invested $23 billion to make sure the tourism sector could come roaring back after the pandemic. The Conservatives opposed us at every single step. We are sitting down with stakeholders and people across the sector—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I happen to be sitting next to someone who has a very loud voice, and I am sure he does not want me to identify him. I am going to ask him to keep it down so we can hear the answer, and so that I can hear the answer as well.
    The hon. minister.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to again thank my hon. colleague from Yukon for his exceptional work on the file.
    Unlike the other side of this House, our government has supported the tourism sector through the pandemic, with $23 billion in investments so that the sector could come roaring back. The Conservatives opposed us every step of the way. We are now meeting with stakeholders across the country to build a federal tourism growth strategy. We are going to make sure that the tourism sector comes roaring back and that we welcome the world to Canada. The Conservatives do not like it, but we do and so does the tourism sector.

  (1510)  

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians are worried about plastic pollution. They want progress on banning single-use items to keep our coastlines clear and to protect human health. The Liberals broke their promise to ban single-use items by 2021, and now the proposed ban would cover less than 1% of plastics. It does not even include items like coffee cups, lids, cigarette butts and other harmful plastics. Plastic pollution is threatening our oceans, our wildlife and our health.
    Will the minister start showing some environmental leadership and expand the ban on single-use plastics?
    Mr. Speaker, we promised Canadians we would deliver a ban on single-use plastics, and today that is exactly what we have done. By the end of the year, we will not be able to manufacture or import these harmful plastics. After that, businesses will begin offering the sustainable solutions Canadians want. We are taking a historic step forward, and with these new regulations we are reducing plastic pollution and keeping our communities, and the places we love, clean for now and for future generations.
    Mr. Speaker, the latest IPCC report advanced the clock on “too late”. To have any hope of holding to 1.5°C or even 2°C, global emissions must peak before 2025 and drop rapidly from there to roughly half by 2030. Net zero by 2050 will not make any difference without deep cuts before 2025. We are 30 months from too late. When we get back here in September, we will have 28 months, yet the government continues to approve fossil fuel expansion.
    Who would care, in this place, to explain this madness?
    Mr. Speaker, we tabled an emissions reductions plan that is ambitious and achievable. It goes sector by sector to create a path for Canadians to reach our 2030 climate projections. It is a detailed plan that goes through each economic sector, and it has been supported by environmental groups right across our country. We are working very hard and take this issue very seriously. We will continue to do what is needed to reach our emissions projections.
    I am afraid that is all the time we have for today.

Presence in Gallery

    I wish to draw the attention of members to the presence in the gallery of the Honourable John Hogan, Minister of Justice and Public Safety and Attorney General for the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.
    Some hon. members: Hear, hear!

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[Translation]

Online Streaming Act

    The House resumed from June 17 consideration of Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts, as reported (with amendments) from the committee, and of the motions in Group No. 1.
    It being 3:12 p.m., pursuant to order made on Thursday, November 25, 2021, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded divisions on the motions at the report stage of Bill C-11.

[English]

    Call in the members.
    The question is on Motion No. 1.

[Translation]

    A vote on this motion also applies to Motion No. 3.

  (1525)  

[English]

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

(Division No. 158)

YEAS

Members

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

Total: -- 117


NAYS

Members

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

Total: -- 209


PAIRED

Nil

    I declare Motion No. 1 defeated. I therefore declare Motion No. 3 defeated as well.
    The question is on Motion No. 2. Shall I dispense?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
    [Chair read text of motion to House]

  (1540)  

    (The House divided on Motion No. 2, which was agreed to on the following division:)
 

(Division No. 159)

YEAS

Members

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

Total: -- 326


NAYS

Nil

PAIRED

Nil

    I declare Motion No. 2 carried.
Hon. Bill Blair (for the Minister of Canadian Heritage)  
    moved
    that Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts, as amended, be concurred in at report stage with a further amendment.

[Translation]

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

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we request a recorded division.

  (1550)  

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

(Division No. 160)

YEAS

Members

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

Total: -- 210


NAYS

Members

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

Total: -- 118


PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion carried. When shall the bill be read a third time? Later today?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

[Routine Proceedings]

[English]

House of Commons

    I have the honour to lay upon the table the House of Commons' “Report to Canadians 2022”.

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

  (1555)  

Committees of the House

Natural Resources 

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Natural Resources, entitled “A Study of Methane Reduction Plans: Emissions Reduction Fund Onshore Program Review”.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.

[Translation]

Public Accounts  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the following four reports of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts. First, I present the 16th report, entitled “Enforcement of COVID-19 Quarantine and Testing Orders”.

[English]

    I also present the 17th report, entitled “Regional Relief and Recovery Fund”, and the 18th report, entitled “Natural Health Products”.

[Translation]

    Finally, I present the 19th report, entitled “Health and Safety of Agricultural Temporary Foreign Workers in Canada During the COVID-19 Pandemic”.

[English]

Public Safety and National Security  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the sixth report of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, in relation to the motion adopted on Thursday, February 10, 2022, entitled “Rise of Ideologically Motivated Violent Extremism in Canada”.

[Translation]

Transport, Infrastructure and Communities  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the sixth report of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, entitled “Targeted Infrastructure Investments to Influence Social, Economic and Environmental Outcomes”.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.

[English]

Criminal Code

    She said: Mr. Speaker, I rise to introduce my private member's bill, an act to amend the Criminal Code regarding neglect of vulnerable adults, and I want to thank the member for Alfred-Pellan for seconding the bill.
    The COVID-19 pandemic exposed clear evidence of abuse of seniors in care facilities across the country. With the lack of appropriate care and protection, as well as negligence and failure to follow accepted protocols, this situation resulted in appallingly high rates of COVID transmission in many long-term care facilities and led to increased mortality rates.
     This bill aims to prevent a recurrence of those tragic outcomes by creating an offence for owners and managers of adult care facilities who fail to provide due care in accordance with accepted protocols and who are negligent in their duty to provide the necessities for a good quality of life. It would also allow courts to make an order prohibiting the owners and managers of such facilities from being in charge of or in a position of trust or authority toward vulnerable adults and to consider, as an aggravating factor for the purpose of sentencing, the fact that an organization failed to perform the legal duty that it owed to a vulnerable adult.
    As Mahatma Gandhi said, “The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members.”

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

  (1600)  

Respecting Families of Murdered and Brutalized Persons Act

     He said: Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for Lakeland for seconding this private member's bill. This is the third Parliament that I have introduced this legislation in, and I hope to see it make it through all stages this time. I have been lucky to get it to committee and through committee in the past.
    This bill, called the respecting families of murdered and brutalized persons act, would amend the Criminal Code and empower our courts so that they would have the judicial discretion to increase parole ineligibility when sentencing those criminals, the most depraved individuals in our society, who commit three crimes on one victim: kidnapping, sexual assault and murder. Those individuals, the Clifford Olsons and Paul Bernardos of the world, never, ever receive parole, but they use parole, and Clifford Olson was a perfect case of this, to revictimize and traumatize the families by going into gruesome details of how they murdered children. We want to save those families from having to live through that. This bill aims to limit victims' families from having to go through these unnecessary and traumatic Parole Board hearings and hearing more about how their children and loved ones were killed.
    When I thought of this bill back in 2013, it was because of cases that came out at that time. We can all remember Tori Stafford and Noelle Paquette, and how they were brutally killed. Unfortunately, they were innocent bystanders who were captured, sexually assaulted and murdered by the perpetrators. These perpetrators are psychopaths who will never see the light of day, and that is why we need to bring forward legislation to give the courts the ability to extend parole ineligibility. This bill is not about mandatory minimums.
    I also want to thank Senator Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu. Senator Boisvenu is going to sponsor a similar bill in the Senate, and he has always championed this cause. Last week was the 20th anniversary of a similar grotesque murder that happened to his own daughter.

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

Business of the House

    Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties and if you seek it, I suspect you will find unanimous consent to adopt the following motion:
     That, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House, following Oral Questions on Tuesday, June 21, 2022, a member from each recognized party, a member from the Green Party, as well as the Leader of the Official Opposition, may make a brief statement.
    All those opposed to the hon. member'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.
    I declare the motion carried.

Petitions

Statue of Emily Murphy  

    Mr. Speaker, I present a petition signed by 26 constituents in my riding of Wellington—Halton Hills. My presentation of this petition is no reflection of my support or opposition to the petition, but it simply reflects the ancient duty of members of the House to present petitions on behalf of constituents. The petitioners call on Parliament to take action with respect to a statue on Parliament Hill.

Air Transportation  

    Mr. Speaker, today I am presenting a petition on behalf of constituents in Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon who are calling on the Government of Canada in good faith to negotiate a new air transport agreement with the Government of India to allow for direct flights from Abbotsford, Toronto or Vancouver directly to the Amritsar region of the Punjab. My constituents believe we need to get direct flights in order to improve travel times and support all the people-to-people ties we have between these two regions.

  (1605)  

Climate Change  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition where the signatories call upon the Prime Minister and the Government of Canada to enact just transition legislation.
    They want this legislation to produce a plan that reduces emissions by at least 60% below 2005 levels by 2030. They want it to create new public economic institutions that expand public ownership of services and utilities across the economy to implement the transition. They want it to create good, green jobs and drive inclusive workforce development. They want it to protect and strengthen human rights and worker rights, and respect indigenous rights, sovereignty and knowledge. Finally, they want it to pay for the transition by increasing taxes on the wealthiest and corporations, and financing through a public national bank.

Falun Gong  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to present a petition on behalf of 535 Canadians who are petitioning the House of Commons to remind us that we passed the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act, the Sergei Magnitsky Law, which I sponsored in 2018 in this chamber. It has been 21 years since Falun Gong practitioners started to get targeted by the communist regime in Beijing, and unfortunately they have been subjected to organ harvesting. Through that organ harvesting enterprise, an illegal activity that is taking place in mainland China, we know that people have gotten rich off this through persecuting Falun Gong practitioners and selling their organs on the black market.
    The petitioners are calling upon the Government of Canada to sanction the perpetrators by using the Sergei Magnitsky Law and other measures to ensure that they cannot come to Canada and that their assets are frozen. There are 14 individuals in the petition and the petitioners want them to be named and shamed, so I will do that now quickly: Jiang Zemin, Luo Gan, Liu Jing, Zhou Yongkang, Bo Xilai, Li Lanqing, Wu Guanzheng, Li Dongsheng, Qiang Wei, Huang Jiefu, Zheng Shusen, Wang Lijun, Zhang Chaoying, and Jia Chunwang.

Racial Profiling  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to present three petitions.
    The first, e-petition 3668, initiated by Joel DeBellefeuille and supported by Canadians from across the country, addresses the critically important need to end racial profiling. Racial profiling is a degrading and racist practice affecting too many people in Canada, and even the Supreme Court has acknowledged that systemic racial profiling by police occurs as a day-to-day reality for Black and indigenous Canadians.
    This petition calls upon the Minister of Public Safety to enact legislation that would prohibit racial profiling by police and make federal funding to law enforcement agencies dependent on those agencies having policies and procedures in place to end racial profiling.

  (1610)  

Climate Change  

    Mr. Speaker, my second petition calls on the government to take immediate and concrete action to address the climate emergency in Canada.
    Since the Liberal government declared a climate emergency in 2019, we have endured heat domes and record heat waves in B.C., drought across the Prairies, flooding throughout the country, and massive storms in Ontario and Quebec that have left thousands of people without power for days on end.
    It is clear that we must act immediately to address the effects of catastrophic climate change.
    This petition calls for a broad spectrum of action, including reducing emissions levels by at least 60% of 2005 levels.

Foreign Enlistment  

    Mr. Speaker, finally, I would like to present e-petition 3810, initiated by David Mivasair from my riding of Hamilton Centre, which seeks to bring attention to the recruiting of Canadian citizens to serve in the armed forces of foreign countries, with a particular concern for the potential foreign recruitment being undertaken by the Israeli consulate in Toronto.
    As members may be aware, the Foreign Enlistment Act states:
    Any person who, within Canada, recruits or otherwise induces any person or body of persons to enlist or to accept any commission or engagement in the armed forces of [a] foreign state or other armed forces operating in that state is guilty of an offence.
    This petition has had the support of more than 1,200 people, and a similar e-petition in the previous Parliament received close to 8,000 signatures. We were unable to table it due to the dissolution of Parliament.
    This petition calls on the Minister of Justice to undertake a thorough investigation of those who have recruited or facilitated recruitment for the Israel Defense Forces, and, if warranted, lay charges against those involved in recruitment and encouraging recruitment in the IDF.

Repatriation of Canadian Citizens in Syria  

    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today to present this petition on behalf of 534 Canadians who express their outrage that 26 Canadian citizens, including 14 children, have been abandoned by our government in conditions that can only be described as “hell on Earth” in detention facilities in northeast Syria. They have been denied consular services. They have had no assistance from government. They have not been charged with any crimes, nor have they been convicted. Again, they are 14 children, eight women and four men who are currently held in northeast Syria.
    Attempts to ask the government to repatriate them have fallen on deaf ears. The Canadian government has shown the ability to repatriate citizens from Syria, as was the case of the child called Amira, who was repatriated last year.
    The undersigned 534 Canadians seek the Government of Canada's assistance to immediately begin the process to repatriate the 26 Canadian citizens, 14 children, eight women and four men, charged with nothing and convicted of nothing, who are in jail in northeast Syria. It is a matter of life and death.

Won Alexander Cumyow  

    Mr. Speaker, I put forward this petition on behalf of Canadians who signed in support of selecting Won Alexander Cumyow as the next face of the $5 bill.
    Mr. Won was the first Chinese Canadian to be born in present-day Canada. Despite being a trained lawyer, he was denied the opportunity to write the bar and practise law, because he was ethnically Chinese. A root cause of anti-Asian racism in Canada is a lack of understanding and appreciation for the contributions of Asian Canadians throughout our country's history.
    The petitioners are calling upon the Minister of Finance to select Won Alexander Cumyow as the face of the redesigned $5 bill.

Single-Use Plastics  

    Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to present.
    First, I rise to present a petition on behalf of over 700 Canadians who are concerned about plastic pollution from balloons. This is particularly timely, given the government's announcement today on its limited single-use plastics ban.
    The petitioners note that balloons are a major source of plastic pollution and marine debris. They are capable of travelling vast distances and persist in the environment for many years.
     The petitioners note that more public education is needed to raise awareness about the harms of balloons and the fact that alternatives to plastic balloons for celebrations are widely available. They are calling on the government to ban the release of latex, mylar, nylon, rubber, helium and other party balloons and sky lanterns into the environment and to consider adding balloons to the list of harmful single-use plastics to be banned.

Corporate Social and Environmental Responsibility  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition I am presenting is on behalf of Canadians concerned that Canadian companies are contributing to human rights abuses and environmental damage around the world. The petitioners note that indigenous people, women and marginalized groups are disproportionately affected. They call on the House to adopt human rights and environmental due diligence legislation that would require Canadian companies to prevent human rights abuses and environmental damage throughout their global operations and supply chains.

Rural and Suburban Mail Carriers  

    Mr. Speaker, I stand today to present a petition on behalf of Canadian rural and suburban mail carriers. Eleven thousand rural and suburban mail carriers employed by Canada Post are required to use their own vehicles to deliver mail. As the cost of fuel continues to increase, the rates covered, as set by the Canada Revenue Agency, are not coinciding. As a result, workers are increasingly forced to use their own wages just to do their jobs.
    This petition calls upon the federal government to temporarily increase the per-kilometre allowance rates by a minimum of 15% until gas prices see a drop below $1.75 per litre, so that these workers are not forced to pay out of their own pockets to do their jobs.
    I thank Fiona Gunn and her fellow rural and suburban mail carriers, as well as the 4,729 signatories, for their work to draw attention to this important issue.

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Climate Change  

    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise this afternoon to present a petition on behalf of petitioners joining others across the country who are recognizing that we are in the midst of a climate emergency. The petitioners call on the government to enact just transition legislation that includes a number of items, such as the following: ensuring that we have reduced emissions at least 60% below 2005 levels by 2030; ending subsidies to fossil fuels; creating good, green jobs; expanding the social safety net with new income supports; decarbonizing public housing; providing accessible and affordable public transit across the country; and ensuring we can pay for this important transition by increasing taxes on the wealthiest corporations across the country.

Human Organ Trafficking  

    Mr. Speaker, I want to present a petition today. Petitioners from across the country, and in this case particularly from Scarborough, are calling on the government to enact legislation that would prevent Canadians from going abroad and participating in the illegal organ harvesting that happens around the world.
    The petitioners are calling on the quick passage of two bills: Bill C-350 and Bill S-240. Those bills are exactly the same, but one is in the Senate and one is in this place.
    The petitioners are calling for it to be made a crime for Canadians to go abroad or for them to be inadmissible to Canada if they have been participating in the illegal organ harvesting that is happening. This particularly has been raised by members of the Falun Gong community here in Canada, and I want to thank them for their advocacy in this area.

Questions on the Order Paper

    Mr. Speaker, the following questions will be answered today: Nos. 539, 541, 542, 545 to 548, 550, 553, 557 and 559.

[Text]

Question No. 539—
Mr. Kelly McCauley:
    With regard to the contract initially awarded by Shared Services Canada to BMC Software Incorporated (BMC) worth approximately $32.4 million for IT service management: (a) why did the contract increase in value to over $50 million in February 2020; (b) which departments and agencies have migrated all of their IT service management to the BMC software; (c) of the departments that have not yet migrated their IT service management to the BMC software, what percentage of migration has been completed and what is the projected date as to when the migration will be complete; (d) what is the government's estimated total cost to complete the migration; and (e) will it be mandatory for departments and agencies to use the BMC software, and, if not, what alternatives will be made available?
Mr. Anthony Housefather (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, SSC invests in technology that supports a whole-of-government or “enterprise” approach by enabling organizations to shift toward the use of common information technology systems. SSC’s contract with BMC reflects this approach to IT transformation, in that it provides for a modern information technology service management, or ITSM, tool available for use across the Government of Canada, the GC.
    The enterprise tool enables SSC, as the GC’s IT infrastructure service provider, to collaborate effectively and efficiently with departments by providing a single self-service entry point for customer and end-user access to SSC services. The tool enables SSC to receive and respond to requests for services and to address IT incidents that affect those services. For the benefit of both SSC and departments, the tool standardizes ITSM processes; automates key tasks; enhances the flow of shared, real-time information; and improves analytics and reporting capabilities.
    The decision to adopt the new ITSM tool is department-specific. It is not mandatory for departments and agencies to migrate to the new enterprise ITSM tool.
    In regard to part (a), the contract value was increased by an additional $20 million on February 21, 2020, to reflect anticipated expenditures. This additional value has been consumed over time, and included expenditures to support early planning and deployment of the ITSM tool by several departments. The amendment to the contract value was published on the proactive disclosure database at the following link: https://search. open.canada .ca/en/ct/id/ ssc-spc, C-2019-2020 -Q2-00552
    As contract amendments are issued, they will appear through updates to the proactive disclosure database.
    In regard to part (b), SSC is not implementing an overall project to migrate all departments to the enterprise tool procured from BMC Software Inc. That being said, the following departments have completed the work to migrate to the enterprise ITSM tool procured by SSC from BMC Software Inc.: Justice Canada, Transport Canada, Canadian Heritage, Indigenous Services Canada and Prairies Economic Development Canada.
    In regard to part (c), as of May 16, 2022, the following departments are in the process of implementing the new enterprise ITSM tool or upgrading their existing BMC ITSM software: Shared Services Canada; Employment and Social Development Canada; Global Affairs Canada; Canada Revenue Agency; Canada Border Services Agency; Royal Canadian Mounted Police West; Innovation, Science and Economic Development; Statistics Canada; and Public Safety.
    As SSC is not implementing an overall project to migrate all departments to the enterprise tool procured from BMC Software Inc., it is not possible to calculate the percentage of migrations that have occurred or remain, nor is possible to forecast a date by which migrations would be complete. The decision to adopt the enterprise ITSM tool lies with each department.
    Regarding SSC’s own migration to the enterprise tool from SSC’s main legacy ITSM tool, the migration of users is at 40% and the configuration of the tool is at 70%. SSC’s migration is estimated to be completed by March 2023.
    In regard to part (d), the cost to the GC will depend on the eventual extent of adoption of the tool by departments. SSC is not implementing an overall project to migrate all departments to the tool, so there is no estimated total cost for such a project. The decision adopt the tool lies with each department, and each migration will give rise to some costs for SSC and for the department electing to migrate.
    In regard to part (e), the decision to adopt the new ITSM tool, and in what form, is department-specific. While the enterprise ITSM tool provides numerous benefits, including greater efficiencies and improvements to service delivery, it is not mandatory for departments and agencies to migrate to the enterprise tool. However, if a department proposes to adopt another tool, there is a requirement to gain approval from the Government of Canada enterprise architecture review board, or GC EARB. There are multiple ITSM tools across the Government of Canada that departments have invested in over the years to meet their requirements.
Question No. 541—
Mr. Kyle Seeback:
    With regard to the government's use of single-use plastics: (a) does the government know how many single-use plastics it purchases, and, if so, what is the total amount of single-use plastics purchases made since January 1, 2020, broken down by (i) department, (ii) agency (iii) other government entity; and (b) what are the details of each purchase, including the (i) date, (ii) amount, (iii) description of goods, including the volume, (iv) vendor?
Hon. Greg Fergus (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the President of the Treasury Board), Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, while the Government of Canada does not track single-use plastic purchases, it is reducing plastic waste by reducing the unnecessary use of single-use plastics, including straws, utensils, bags and bottles in government operations. They are, however, sometimes necessary for accessibility, health, safety or security reasons.
    The government is also committed to the reuse and recycling of plastic in its operations, buying more products made from recycled plastics and reducing packaging waste by prioritizing reusable or recyclable packaging. The government will track and report its waste diversion starting in fiscal year 2022-23, including progress towards diverting at least 75% by weight of plastic waste from landfills by 2030.
Question No. 542—
Mrs. Cathay Wagantall:
    With regard to Veterans Affairs Canada’s (VAC) online Benefits Navigator: (a) on what date was it established; (b) due to what circumstances was it established; (c) from the date of its creation to May 3, 2022, on what dates was it taken offline, and why; (d) on the date of its last modification, April 27, 2022, what changes were made to it and why; (e) since its creation to May 3, 2022, (i) what features or questions have been added to the questionnaire, (ii) what features or questions have been removed from the questionnaire, and why; (f) in what ways has VAC promoted its existence to veterans; (g) how many individual veterans have (i) applied for, (ii) received, VAC benefits by way of the Benefits Navigator since its creation; and (h) is or was it ever a standard component of VAC’s intake process for benefit applicants, and, if not, what are VAC’s plans to integrate it as a mandatory first point of entry for all applicants?
Hon. Lawrence MacAulay (Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), the benefits navigator was established in 2014.
    With regard to (b), the benefits navigator was created as a result of Veterans Affairs Canada’s, VAC’s, ongoing efforts to improve veteran access to information about VAC’s benefits and services. The tool provides veterans, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, still serving Canadian Armed Forces members, spouses and survivors with information about the VAC benefits and services that they may qualify for, given their specific situation.
    With regard to (c), the benefits navigator would be inaccessible through My VAC Account any time that the system was offline. This includes instances of My VAC Account being offline for maintenance, upgrades or the addition of new features. My VAC Account outages are regularly scheduled, with one maintenance outage each month and one system outage every six weeks. While unscheduled outages do occur, they are infrequent.
    With regard to (d), VAC regularly enhances My VAC Account to improve its service to veterans, Canadian Armed Forces and Royal Canadian Mounted Police members, and their families. In April 2022, as part of VAC’s regular schedule of enhancements, updates were made to the benefits navigator to correct broken web page links on various results pages. Updates to the wording of various sections of the navigator were made to replace the word “Eligibility” with “Qualify” to ensure VAC’s messages to its clientele are consistent across products.
    With regard to (e)(i), since the questionnaire’s inception in 2014, VAC’s programs and services have evolved, with many programs and services being introduced, retired, or changed. These updates have been reflected in the benefits navigator. As an example, in 2019, significant changes were made to the content of the navigator to reflect the program changes brought forward with the implementation of the pension for life. The features offered by the benefits navigator have remained consistent since its inception.
    With regard to (e)(ii), once a program, benefit or service is no longer offered at VAC, the information is removed from the benefits navigator. For instance, with the implementation of the pension for life, any VAC programs that were retired were removed from the benefits navigator. The features offered by the benefits navigator have remained consistent since its inception.
    With regard to (f), VAC has used a number of methods to engage the veteran population in using the benefits navigator. This includes, but is not limited to, promoting it at outreach events, through social media posts, using notifications through My VAC Account and embedding hyperlinks to the tool within VAC’s electronic guided application forms such as VAC2501.
    With regard to (g), the benefits navigator was created to provide reference information only. It does not provide eligibility decisions, nor does it track whether a veteran who accesses the benefits navigator follows through with an application for a specific program.
    With regard to (h), as noted, the benefits navigator was created for the purpose of quickly informing veterans of which VAC programs they should consider applying for, based on their situation. As an information tool, the navigator does not collect sufficient information to make a full decision on eligibility; it has never been used as a standard component for the intake process for benefits applications, and currently there are no plans to do so.
Question No. 545—
Mr. Dave Epp:
    With regard to the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA) and the design failure related to the Hydro One Conduit Project: (a) does the WDBA accept the independent engineering and geotechnical evidence that the failure was a design-related one, and, if not, why; (b) did the WDBA refuse the industry standard of accessing the professional performance insurance they were required to have, and, if so, why; (c) was the WDBA's contract provided to Amico to correct the design failure awarded through a sole source process, and, if so, why was a competitive bid process not used; (d) did the WDBA or CIMA+ amend the specifications for the remedial work to eliminate the long runs if the failures were due to construction practice and not a design error, and, if so, why was such a decision made; and (e) were the original failures caused by a construction practice involving pumping pressure, and, if so, what is the WDBA's explanation for why the remedial work, which used the same pumping pressures, did not fail in the same manner as the original design?
Ms. Jennifer O’Connell (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority, or WDBA, and the Hydro One conduit project, this question is related to a dispute that has not yet been resolved and is scheduled for mediation in May 2022. It is also subject to ongoing contractual confidentiality obligations.
    The WDBA is not able to prepare a response to this question without violating the confidentiality requirements. Doing so could also potentially impact the economic interests of Canada.
Question No. 546—
Mr. Dave Epp:
    With regard to the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA) and the Hydro One Conduit Project: (a) did the WDBA consider Farhad Ganji to be in a conflict of interest by managing the CIMA+ review of the WDBA Hydro One Conduit Project as a WDBA employee and former CIMA+ employee; (b) who made the determination to have Farhad Ganji be a lead in the review; (c) to whom did Farhad Ganji report, and to whom did that person report to at WDBA for the WDBA Hydro One Conduit Project; (d) what is the position of the WDBA regarding the independent engineering findings of Kinectrics, Geotherm and Brierly that the Schedule 40 pipe was the wrong pipe to be specified for this project; (e) if the WDBA disagrees with the findings, what evidence is the disagreement based on; and (f) what differences are there between the original work specifications and the second specifications to address the need to conform to the required specifications of Hydro One?
Ms. Jennifer O’Connell (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority, or WDBA, and the Hydro One conduit project, this question is related to a dispute that has not yet been resolved and is scheduled for mediation in May 2022. It is also subject to ongoing contractual confidentiality obligations.
    The WDBA is not able to prepare a response to this question without violating the confidentiality requirements. Doing so could also potentially impact the economic interests of Canada.
Question No. 547—
Mr. Dave Epp:
    With regard to the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA) and the Hydro One Conduit Project: (a) did WDBA sole source a contract with AMICO for the WDBA Hydro One Conduit Project with an entirely different design criteria that involved the conduit fill specifications changing from 200 metres to 70 metres, and, if so, why; (b) how many days in April of 2022 was the project at a standstill, and why did the standstill occur; (c) what were the total costs incurred by the WDBA associated with the delay, including an itemized breakdown of the costs; (d) did WDBA procure their own independent engineering review of the project in addition to the Kinectric, Geotherm and Brierly reports, and, if not, why; (e) if the answer to (d) is affirmative, what are the details, including the findings of the review; (f) did the WDBA seek recourse against CIMA+ related to the project failures and, if not, why; (g) if the answer to (f) is affirmative, what are the details of the recourse; (h) for the failures on the WDBA Hydro One Conduit Project, what were the terms; and (i) what are the details of all changes in executive leadership at the WDBA that have occurred since January 1, 2022, including any change in either personnel or in the leadership structure?
Ms. Jennifer O’Connell (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority, or WDBA, and the Hydro One conduit project, this question is related to a dispute that has not yet been resolved and is scheduled for mediation in May 2022. It is also subject to ongoing contractual confidentiality obligations.
    The WDBA is not able to prepare a response to this question without violating the confidentiality requirements. Doing so could also potentially impact the economic interests of Canada.
Question No. 548—
Mr. Dave Epp:
    With regard to the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA) and the Hydro One Conduit Project: (a) on what date did the current WDBA CEO, Bryce Phillips, become aware of the Kinectrics report on the Hydro One Conduit Project; (b) what was the project's injection failure; (c) did WDBA grant CIMA+ full authority over the role of designer and of contract administrator on the WDBA Hydro One Conduit Project, and, if so, (i) who made that decision, (ii) why was that decision made; (d) did the WDBA grant CIMA+ the permission to participate in the discussions with the insurer on the WDBA Hydro One Conduit Project, and, if so, (i) who made that decision, (ii) why was that decision made; (e) if the answer to (d) is affirmative, how does the WDBA address concerns that such discussions could jeopardize the availability of insurer proceeds; and (f) was CIMA+ allowed to compromise on the scope of the insurance on the WDBA Hydro One Conduit Project, and, if so, why?
Ms. Jennifer O’Connell (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority, or WDBA, and the Hydro One conduit project, this question is related to a dispute that has not yet been resolved and is scheduled for mediation in May 2022. It is also subject to ongoing contractual confidentiality obligations.
    The WDBA is not able to prepare a response to this question without violating the confidentiality requirements. Doing so could also potentially impact the economic interests of Canada.
Question No. 550—
Ms. Melissa Lantsman:
    With regard to the current processing delays of immigration applications: (a) what is the average processing time of a permanent residence application; (b) what is the average time between a candidate's initial application and the receipt of an interview for the purpose of obtaining permanent residency; and (c) how many applicants have had to undergo two or more medical exams due to the expiration of the 12 month period for a valid medical exam for the purpose of receiving permanent residency?
Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a) and (b), Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, IRCC, understands the importance of the decisions on visa applications. IRCC recognizes that timely decisions are essential. Every case is assessed based on the information provided by the applicant and in accordance with Canada's immigration laws.
    The time it takes to process an application varies according to a number of factors, such as the type of application being submitted, how well and how quickly applicants respond to requests from IRCC to provide biometrics, if applicable, and additional information, including medical examinations; how easily IRCC can verify the information provided; the complexity of an application; and resources within the integrated processing network. Processing times are regularly updated on the IRCC website at https://www.canada .ca/en/immigration -refugees-citizenship /services/application /check-processing-times.html.
    With regard to (c), approximately 48,900 applicants, or 11%, who were admitted as permanent residents between April 1, 2021, and March 31, 2022, had two or more immigration medical examinations associated to their permanent resident application. The results of an initial medical examination may have expired for a variety of reasons, which include, but are not limited to, public health measures, travel restrictions and office closures related to COVID, pending receipt of other information on a file such as background or security results from partners or supplementary information required from a client.
Question No. 553—
Mr. Fraser Tolmie:
    With regard to the current processing delays of immigration applications: (a) what are the current standards for processing times of applications for the Federal Skilled Worker Program; (b) what is the government's target date for when service standards will return to normal; (c) what are the current standards for processing times for applications for Canadian Experience Class permanent residency; (d) what is the government's target date for when service standards will return to normal; (e) how much did the government pay out in overtime to employees working on permanent residence applications between March 1, 2022, and May 4, 2022; and (f) how many employees are or were working at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada on permanent residence files as of (i) January 1, 2016, (ii) January 1, 2020, (iii) May 4, 2022?
Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), the current service standard for applications received electronically in the federal skilled worker, or FSW, program is six months.
    With regard to (b), processing times for applications received in the FSW program have increased beyond the established service standard over the past couple of years, as applicants in this category are typically located overseas, and were therefore affected by pandemic-related service disruptions and travel restrictions.
    As a strategy to begin reducing the portion of the inventory represented by FSW applications, IRCC implemented a pause in new invitations through express entry under this category in January 2021. Canadian experience class, or CEC, applications have been on pause since September 2021. The pause for FSW remains in effect until July 2022.
    This pause, combined with a gradual increase in processing once travel restrictions are eased, has allowed IRCC to begin significantly reducing the existing inventory. Following these strategies, IRCC anticipates clients will again be invited to apply to the program beginning in July 2022. The majority of these new applicants could then expect to be processed within the established service standard of six months.
    With regard to (c), the current service standard for applications received electronically in the Canadian experience class, CEC, is six months.
    With regard to (d), the vast majority of applicants in the Canadian experience class, CEC, have had their applications processed within the service standard of six months for applications received electronically. To maximize admissions from Canada in 2021 and to keep inventories aligned with the levels plan, a large round of CEC invitations through express entry was initiated. This service standard has generally been maintained, because most applicants were already located in Canada and therefore less affected by pandemic-related service disruptions and travel restrictions.
    IRCC put in place a pause in new invitations through express entry under this category in September 2021. The pause for CEC remains in effect until July 2022. This strategy was implemented to begin reducing the existing federal high-skilled inventory.
    IRCC anticipates clients will again be invited to apply to the program beginning in July 2022. The majority of these new applicants could then expect to be processed within the established service standard of six months.
    With regard to (e), IRCC undertook an extensive search in order to determine the amount of information that would fall within the scope of this question and the amount of time that would be required to prepare a comprehensive response. The information requested is not systematically tracked in a centralized database. IRCC accordingly concluded that producing and validating a comprehensive response to this question would require a manual collection of information that is not possible in the time allotted and could lead to the disclosure of incomplete and misleading information. However, IRCC will continue to explore how and if this information could be captured and reported on accurately in the future.
    With regard to (f), IRCC undertook an extensive search in order to determine the amount of information that would fall within the scope of this question and the amount of time that would be required to prepare a comprehensive response. The information requested is not systematically tracked in a centralized database, and more often than not, IRCC’s employees work on many lines of business and not just one. IRCC accordingly concluded that producing and validating a comprehensive response to this question would require a manual collection of information that is not possible in the time allotted and could lead to the disclosure of incomplete and misleading information. IRCC will, however, continue to explore how and if this information could be captured and reported on accurately in the future.
Question No. 557—
Ms. Lianne Rood:
    With regard to expenditures on legal costs by the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA) in relation to the Hydro One Conduit Project, including those concerning any contract related to the project: (a) what is the total amount spent on legal costs; and (b) what are the details of each case or legal action, including the (i) name of the case, (ii) parties involved, (iii) total expenditures to date, (iv) description or summary of legal action, (v) status of the case, (vi) outcome, including the amount awarded or paid out, if applicable?
Ms. Jennifer O’Connell (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority, or WDBA, and the Hydro One conduit project, this question is related to a dispute that has not yet been resolved and is scheduled for mediation in May 2022. It is also subject to ongoing contractual confidentiality obligations.
    WDBA is not able to prepare a response to this question without violating the confidentiality requirements. Doing so could also potentially impact the economic interests of Canada.
Question No. 559—
Mr. Alex Ruff:
    With regard to the government’s evacuation of Afghans during the fall of Kabul in August 2021 and the testimony at the Special Committee on Afghanistan on May 2, 2022, by Global Affairs Canada (GAC) officials that GAC is the lead department for international consular situations and similar evacuation emergencies as established under Canadian law, and that they always do lessons learned exercises in these situations: (a) were these lessons learned exercises interdepartmental with GAC, as well as the Department of Citizenship and Immigration, and the Department of National Defence, and, if not, why not; (b) on what dates were the lessons learned exercises conducted; (c) when were the associated reports (i) produced, (ii) published; and (d) how can the (i) public, (ii) parliamentarians, view the reports?
Hon. Robert Oliphant (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), Globa