Skip to main content
Start of content

House Publications

The Debates are the report—transcribed, edited, and corrected—of what is said in the House. The Journals are the official record of the decisions and other transactions of the House. The Order Paper and Notice Paper contains the listing of all items that may be brought forward on a particular sitting day, and notices for upcoming items.

For an advanced search, use Publication Search tool.

If you have any questions or comments regarding the accessibility of this publication, please contact us at accessible@parl.gc.ca.

Previous day publication Next day publication
Skip to Document Navigation Skip to Document Content

44th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • No. 203

CONTENTS

Wednesday, May 31, 2023




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

Volume 151
No. 203
1st SESSION
44th PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Speaker: The Honourable Anthony Rota

    The House met at 2 p.m.

Prayer


[Statements by Members]

  (1400)  

[English]

    I understand the hon. member for Timmins—James Bay will be leading us in the singing of the national anthem.
    [Members sang the national anthem]

Statements by Members

[Statements by Members]

[Translation]

De Rochebelle High School

    Mr. Speaker, last Thursday evening, I had the pleasure of once again attending the traditional SOPAR committee dinner at De Rochebelle high school.
    The SOPAR committee is made up of dozens of young people who, year after year, without fail, dedicate themselves to raising funds to build wells in southern India. Through good times and bad, they have managed to build over 100 wells in the past 13 years.
     I want to congratulate all of the young people, past and present, who helped achieve this feat. Their commitment does them credit. I congratulate them. I also want to underscore the inspired and inspiring work of the staff members who spent countless hours making this involvement possible. My thanks go out to Denys Parent, Nicole Lagacé, Manon Lapolice, Nicolas Blanchet and Marina Gonzalez.
    Finally, I would like to say a special word about principal Daniel Lemelin, whose well-deserved retirement is fast approaching. Rochebelle has always had a special place in Daniel's heart, and he always managed to bring people together, whether they were students, teachers or parents.
    Daniel reminded me last Thursday that once, in the long-distant past, when I was running for school council president, my campaign slogan was: “Rochebelle can do better”. I would have a hard time campaigning on that slogan all these years later, considering how Rochebelle has thrived under his caring leadership. I thank Daniel for everything and wish him a very happy retirement.

[English]

MS Awareness Month

    Mr. Speaker, May is MS Awareness Month. I want to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to all the different communities and individuals who have participated in events like the MS walk.
    This past weekend, in the town of Eastend, over $11,000 was raised for MS awareness and research. This great event was organized by Donovan Henrion, who has MS himself.
    Since my wife was diagnosed a couple years ago, we have both seen first-hand how important this campaign to create awareness really is. Through continued research and development, we will not only continue to help people live with MS, but find a way to repair and cure it. For now, the advancements in treatments have enabled my wife to not just live with MS, but continue to work full time and be the amazing mother, wife and rock for our family that she has always been. She refuses to let this disease define her.
    My message to people who have been diagnosed recently is that they are not alone and their diagnosis is not the end of their life as they know it. They will soon learn there is a great community alongside them that is willing to help every step of the way.

[Translation]

World No Tobacco Day

    Mr. Speaker, World No Tobacco Day is a good opportunity to remember that, despite decades of efforts, tobacco use is still the leading preventable cause of premature death and disease in Canada. Sadly, tobacco still kills about 48,000 Canadians every year.
    Our government recognized the need to do more to protect Canadians' health and inform them of the health risks of tobacco use. That is why, today, our government updated the health-related messages and images printed on cigarette and other tobacco product packaging. This will help prevent the preventable by providing more information on the risks of tobacco use to the health of millions of people in Canada every day. These updated health warning messages will help more Canadians live healthier and avoid tobacco use.
    Together, let us continue to promote healthy, tobacco-free living.

  (1405)  

11th Gala Edis

    Mr. Speaker, the Jeune Chambre de la Mauricie held the 11th edition of its Gala Edis on May 5 at the Complexe Laviolette in Trois-Rivières.
    The gala recognizes young entrepreneurs in the region who have excelled over the past year. Muraluxe, a company in Trois-Rivières, won the ultimate award of business of the year, in addition to an award for innovative business practices.
    Marilyne Desaulniers, a media solutions adviser with the company icimédias Mauricie, received the community involvement award in the business people category and was also named volunteer of the year.
    I would like to personally thank the Jeune Chambre's executive director, Catherine Lessard, and its president, Célia de Montigny, for their warm welcome and their outstanding work.
    Finally, I would like to congratulate all the businesses that were nominated and express my support for the next generation of entrepreneurs in Trois-Rivières.

[English]

Indspire Lifetime Achievement Award

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize a Mi'kmaq elder, whose wisdom, knowledge and persistence will be rightfully recognized during Indigenous History Month.
    Albert Marshall, Sr., of Eskasoni, is this year's recipient of the lndspire lifetime achievement award for his life's work to preserve and foster Mi'kmaq teachings and language. Elder Albert Marshall is the innovator of the emerging indigenous knowledge system known as etuaptmumk, or two-eyed seeing, a perspective that speaks to the need for both indigenous knowledge and western ways of knowing in all that we do.
     Albert teaches that every action we take should be in balance and harmony with our earth. We call this netukulimk.
    In closing, I could not mention Albert's achievements without also honouring the contributions of his late wife Murdena. Together, they created a wealth of knowledge that continues to inspire future generations.
     Wela'lioq, Albert. I congratulate him.

Al Horning

    Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to pay tribute to a pillar of Kelowna—Lake Country, Al Horning. It was not too long ago that I did the same for his powerhouse wife, Donna Horning.
     Al was known for getting things done and was a fierce advocate of our community, in particular, Rutland, while he served on all three levels of government. He served several terms on Kelowna City Council, as an MLA and as a Progressive Conservative MP from 1988 to 1993.
     Al was a mentor and friend. I met him one time at one of his coffee spots, the McDonald's on Highway 33, where he said, “Why don’t you come to Rutland?” I said, “Al, what are you talking about? I’ve been to Rutland many times this past week alone” and let him know the activities, and that there were pictures on my social media. He said, “I don’t look at that” in Al’s matter-of-fact, to-the-point way.
     He contributed so many ways locally within agriculture, the Black Mountain Irrigation District, and sports and recreation organizations. Al was inducted into the Central Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame. The City of Kelowna recently presented Al with the naming of a future roadway, “Al Horning Way”.
     My heart goes out to the Horning family. Al will always be remembered for setting the bar for community service.
    I want to remind the hon. members that S. O. 31s are taking place, and we all want to hear what individual members are telling us about in their riding and what is important to them. I am going to ask everyone to just keep their talking low or whisper to each other rather than talking loudly.

Tibetan Community in Canada

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to celebrate the Tibetan community in Canada, as we mark the end of Asian Heritage Month.
     In the 1970s and 1980s, Canada opened its doors to Tibetan refugees, offering them a chance to rebuild their lives. They were trailblazers. Many were the first non-European refugees to be permanently resettled in Canada as part of a government-sponsored refugee program.
     Since that time, Tibetan organizations have been established across the country, with five in Toronto. I think of the Canada Tibet Committee, the Tibetan Women's Association of Ontario and of course, the Tibetan Canadian Cultural Centre, which is located in my riding of Etobicoke-Lakeshore.
     Their vibrancy, deeply rooted values of peace, community and caring for others, and rich cuisine and culture greatly enrich our lives. Tibetan humility and modesty are legendary. In Canada we gained with their arrival and we are much stronger because of them.

  (1410)  

[Translation]

Opioid Crisis

    Mr. Speaker, it is shameful that the Conservative leader is relying on fear and moral arguments in his attack on the overdose crisis. He was part of a government that fuelled that crisis and added to the stigma faced by people who needed more compassion. Today, he is trying to continue his party's dogmatic tradition at the expense of Canadians, who deserve better than contempt. He is ignoring the fact that decisions concerning the overdose crisis must be carefully considered and evidence-based. That is hardly surprising, given that his party does not believe in science.
    Our government put harm reduction back into the Canadian drugs and substances strategy, when the Conservatives had taken it out in favour of an outdated ideological view of drug policies. Thanks to our government, safe consumption sites have helped prevent over 46,000 overdoses. We must have the courage to abandon repressive policies. We must have the courage to implement an approach based on human rights and dignity.

[English]

    Once again, I just want to remind everyone that we are trying to hear what the individual members have to say. If members are going to talk to each other, please whisper to each other. Do not talk out loud.

Liberal Party of Canada

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years of the Prime Minister, inflationary Liberal deficits have caused a world of hurt.
    After their latest carbon tax increases and their $43-billion deficit-busting budget, the inflationary pain Canadians are feeling continues to rise. Rent and mortgages have doubled. Food inflation stands at 8.3%. Our ability to spend is not infinite. What Canadians want is for inflation to come down now. While millions visit food banks, the Liberals choose to pour fuel on the inflationary fire. The Prime Minister wants Canadians to believe that they have never had it so good.
    However, a new day is dawning. A new Conservative prime minister would turn that hurt into hope by ending inflationary deficits, by scrapping the carbon tax on heat, gas and groceries, by cutting taxes and making paycheques powerful again, and by building homes that workers can afford.
    It is the common sense of the common people. For their home, my home, our home, let us bring it home.

Ontario Dump Truck Association

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize and to welcome to Parliament Hill the Ontario Dump Truck Association.
    The members of this organization play a vital role in coming together to help build essential infrastructure that keeps our communities connected. In my riding of Brampton East, it is always a pleasure to connect with its members to hear about the amazing work this association and its members do. In conversations with my constituent Mr. Jarnail Mand, I got to hear first-hand about the important advocacy this association does on behalf of the industry and hard-working drivers who are always giving back. Seva Food Bank, the Salvation Army and GTA women's shelters are just some of the charities its members generously support. I would like to thank Bob, Sarbjit, Mandy and hundreds of members of this association for their commitment to the betterment of the industry.
     I ask everyone in the House to please join me in thanking our hard-working truck drivers for their tremendous contributions to our economy and to building our beautiful country.

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, I remind the government that Atlantic Canada exists east of the Laurentians, and Atlantic Canadians are between a rock and a hard place.
    Last year, Newfoundland and Labrador's Liberal premier, Andrew Furey, stated, “Further cost increases at this point will only provide diminishing returns in terms of decarbonization while placing undue economic burdens on the people of this province.” All Atlantic premiers agreed, but the Prime Minister did not listen, so here we are in 2023, and Atlantic premiers are demanding that carbon tax 2.0 not be placed on fuel. They know it will have a devastating effect on fuel prices, which, in turn, will increase the cost of goods imported into the region. Carbon tax versions 1 and 2 will cost households in my province, when fully implemented, an extra $2,166 a year. Carbon tax 2 will be placed even on fuel that fishermen use to land their catch.
    It is time for the Prime Minister and his Minister of Environment to listen to the Atlantic premiers and scrap the carbon tax. Atlantic Canadians are not picking up what the government is laying down.

New Democratic Party of Canada

    Mr. Speaker, we know that Beijing interfered in the last two federal elections. The Liberals' response was to use their Trudeau Foundation friends to cover it up. The NDP's appearance of standing up to foreign interference is like a bad group-work partner: They arrive late, do nothing, copy others and then boast that the best ideas were their own. I guess the NDP is just an empty “bewoke” suit.
    Just yesterday, after the bark and bluster of an NDP motion calling for the resignation of the special rapporteur, the NDP leader walked out of the House right into a media scrum, and dismissed calls to end this Canadian coalition nightmare.
    If the New Democrats were serious about wanting to restore confidence in our electoral system, they would do what Canadians are asking: get out of the way and let Conservatives fix what the Liberals have broken.

  (1415)  

[Translation]

Festa della Repubblica

    Mr. Speaker, on June 2, Italians celebrate Festa della Repubblica. This festival marks the victory of democracy and the will of the people over autocracy and oppression.
    With peace in Europe undermined by the invasion of Ukraine, we must cherish and remember to commemorate these types of victories. For the Italian diaspora and friends of Italy, this day is also an opportunity to celebrate Italy's rich history and culture. Italians have chosen Canada as their home, bringing with them a spirit of resilience, hard work and commitment to family values. They have contributed to Canada's growth and prosperity.
    I invite all MPs to join the Festa della Repubblica celebrations in the Speaker's dining room tomorrow, from noon to 1:30 p.m., for a little taste of Italy.
    Viva l'Italia! Viva Canada!

[English]

Gender-Based Violence

    Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability recently released a report on gender-based violence and murder in Canada. The “#CallItFemicide” report, 2018 to 2022, shows gender-based violence and murder are on the rise, and the numbers are chilling.

[Translation]

    The report notes a 27% increase in the number of women and girls killed by a male accused compared to 2019. Young women aged 25 to 34 are more likely to be victims. The report also states that one in five female victims killed by a male accused was an indigenous woman or girl.

[English]

    The “#CallItFemicide” report shows exactly why Parliament needs to take the national action plan to end gender-based violence seriously. There is also a dire need to ensure that the funding for the indigenous shelter and transitional housing initiative is allocated, which would go a long way to protecting indigenous women from dangerous situations.
    Let us immediately do all that we can to end gender-based violence.

[Translation]

25th Anniversary of Maison des familles de Mercier-Est

    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour for me to recognize the 25th anniversary of the Maison des familles de Mercier-Est.
    The family unit is the foundation of society and the future of Quebec. The Maison des familles de Mercier-Est has been anchored in La Pointe-de-l'Île since 1998. It is a vital organization.
    I would like to thank its director, Véronique Coulombe, as well as the entire team and the participating families. The Maison des familles de Mercier-Est is an essential resource and the only organization for families in that neighbourhood.
    Through workshops, one-off interventions, support and referrals, the staff members work tirelessly to combat isolation. They create communities and support networks by fostering the enrichment—
    I will ask the member to start his speech again, and I am going to ask everyone else to whisper and speak much more quietly.

[English]

    We are trying to hear what hon. members have to say, but we are really having a hard time.

[Translation]

    The hon. member for La Pointe-de-l'Île.
    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour for me to recognize the 25th anniversary of the Maison des familles de Mercier‑Est.
    The family unit is the foundation of society and the future of Quebec. The Maison des familles de Mercier‑Est is a vital organization that was established in La Pointe-de-l'Île in 1998.
    I would like to thank its director, Véronique Coulombe, as well as the entire team and the participating families. The Maison des familles de Mercier-Est is an essential resource and the only organization for families in that neighbourhood.
    Through workshops, one-off interventions, support and referrals, the staff members work tirelessly to combat isolation. They create communities and support networks by fostering the enrichment of the parenting experience. They have helped hundreds of families develop their potential where they live. They help give the children of Mercier‑Est equal opportunities.
    I want to thank the whole team at the Maison des familles de Mercier-Est, and I wish them a happy 25th anniversary.

  (1420)  

[English]

Asian Heritage Month

    Mr. Speaker, this May, Canadians celebrated Asian Heritage Month.
    One in five Canadians, including my family and many members of the House, traces their roots back to Asia. Asian Canadians have made significant contributions going back to Confederation. In fact, Confederation would not have happened if it were not for the back-breaking labour of Chinese railway workers, who built the railway that laid the constitutional foundations of this federation. Today, the Asian community is a cherished part of our Canadian family. From business to politics, the academy, arts and charity, Asian Canadians play leading roles in Canadian society.
    Let us remember the sacrifices Asian Canadians have made. Let us stand in solidarity with Asian Canadians against racism and discrimination, and let us celebrate Asian Canadians for the contributions they have made and continue to make to our home and native land.

[Translation]

Michel Denault

    Mr. Speaker, it is with great appreciation that I rise today before you and the entire House to pay tribute to a good, kind and gentle man from Gatineau, Quebec, who has dedicated 38 years of his life to serving his country. He spent 10 of those years in the Royal Canadian Air Force, while the last 28 years were spent protecting us, the MPs, and all those who come to the House.
    I am talking about the man who is sitting in the Sergeant-at-Arms' chair today, Deputy Sergeant-at-Arms Michel Denault.
    We all know this man, but what many may not know is that on that terrible day in October 2014, he faced the danger unarmed, ready to give his life to back up his colleague and keep us safe. He disobeyed a direct order to stay back, because that is just who he is. He put our well-being above his own, not just on that day, but every time he entered this place.
    Michel Denault's dedication and altruism are not often mentioned, but today I want to recognize just how hard he has worked during his career in the House of Commons. More importantly, I want to thank him.
    On behalf of all parliamentarians, I sincerely thank Deputy Sergeant-at-Arms Michel Denault. We wish him a happy retirement. I want him to know that he will be sorely missed.

Oral Questions

[Oral Questions]

[Translation]

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, how many police stations is Beijing operating here in Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, as you well know, it is completely unacceptable for a foreign government, especially the government of China or others, to interfere in the lives and concerns of Canadians, whether in relation to our citizens, our democracy, our educational establishments or our government institutions. We will continue to ensure that protecting Canadians is a priority. The RCMP is currently following up on all of these police stations.

  (1425)  

    Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition knows full well that the RCMP is conducting investigations and taking action against these illegal acts in Canada.
    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister admitted that there were police stations. His government said that all these stations had been shut down. We found out that is not true, that at least two were still operating and that his government had given taxpayer money for those police stations. I will ask my question for the third time: How many police stations is Beijing operating here in Canada? How many?
    Mr. Speaker, as I said, the RCMP has been tasked with conducting the necessary investigations and laying charges in due course against those attempting to interfere in our democracy. If the Leader of the Opposition is so curious about the details of foreign interference, then he should accept the briefing that has been offered to him by the intelligence services. Then he would no longer not know the details and he could learn about the serious issue of foreign interference. I encourage the Leader of the Opposition to get informed.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, first of all, the number of police stations controlled by a foreign dictatorship in Canada is not a detail. It would not be a detail if any government had foreign police stations operating on our soil.
    Second of all, all Canadians deserve to know the answer. The government claimed that it had shut down all these police stations. Now we know that there are two in operation and that the Prime Minister's government has given taxpayer money to help fund them.
    My simple question is this: How many of Beijing's police stations are operating on Canadian soil today?
    Mr. Speaker, as Canadians well know, the government takes extremely seriously the issue of foreign interference and has done so since 2015, when we brought in significant measures to counter foreign interference. We continue to do so. The RCMP is quite rightly charged with the responsibility for investigating and following up on these reports of Beijing-funded police stations but, indeed, if the Leader of the Opposition is so—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I must interrupt the right hon. Prime Minister.
    I just want to remind everyone of this: The way it works is that you ask a question and then you listen to the answer, whether you like it or not. You cannot keep asking the question over and over again while the person is speaking. I wanted to point that out.
    The right hon. Prime Minister.
    Mr. Speaker, if the Leader of the Opposition continues to have questions on foreign interference, as many Canadians do, I would suggest that he actually take our security agencies up on the offer they have made to him of being briefed on all the intelligence related to foreign interference. That way, he does not have to hide behind, to quote the report on this, “a veil of ignorance”, and he can actually work from the facts.
    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister can brief all Canadians right now. These are police stations that exist to harass and intimidate Canadian citizens on Canadian soil. No real country would allow a foreign dictatorship to run police stations on its soil. The Americans are arresting Beijing's agents in their country.
    I will give the Prime Minister the chance to answer the question one last time. How many police stations are being operated by Beijing on Canadian soil?
    Mr. Speaker, if the Leader of the Opposition were to take this issue of foreign interference seriously as an issue facing diaspora communities and Chinese Canadians, he would be interested in actually understanding the facts around foreign interference. Instead, he chooses to play partisan games. He chooses to make personal attacks against a former governor general instead of actually accepting the need to take this issue seriously. He knows full well that the RCMP's responsibility is to do these investigations and make arrests, and they are actually following up on that.

[Translation]

Democratic Institutions

    Mr. Speaker, Canada no longer has a government worthy of being called democratic.
    This Prime Minister refuses to clear up any doubts about his desire to protect secrets that we are only just starting to uncover.
    Let us ask the people of Xinjiang how China's dictatorship operates. Let us ask the people of Hong Kong how China operates. Let us ask the Tibetans how the Chinese Communist Party operates. Let us ask the bullied MPs how Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, operates.
    Should the Prime Minister not get his act together before going down in history as pandering to a hostile foreign power?

  (1430)  

    Mr. Speaker, like the leader of the Conservative Party, the leader of the Bloc Québécois is choosing not to look at the facts. He is choosing not to consult the information at his disposal.
    We may not agree on the best way to defend our democracy, but we cannot disagree on facts. He is entitled to his own opinions, but not his own facts.
    That is why we offered him a briefing on confidential information, but he refused. He prefers to make uninformed attacks rather than understanding the real facts in order to take this issue seriously.
    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is encouraging an insidious culture of secrecy; China is too.
    David Johnston is making a game out of hiding secrets from Canadians and Quebeckers, like China would. The Liberals' entire strategy is now obvious: to divert attention from the close ties between Liberal power brokers and China, possibly even to protect the interests of investor friends in China by devising a strategy for accessing secret documents that keeps them secret.
    It is not up to David Johnston to determine what I can or cannot see. It is not about me. An independent judge will set the terms of reference of a public inquiry.
    Mr. Speaker, we just heard directly from the Bloc Québécois leader that he is choosing not to learn the facts.
    He complains about a culture of secrecy. He feels frustrated at the confidential information that our security agencies—

[English]

    I am sorry to interrupt. I am going to ask the hon. member for Red Deer—Lacombe to keep it down, and many others as well.
    I will ask the hon. Prime Minister to start over again.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois leader is complaining in an extremely partisan manner about a culture of secrecy. As he is well aware, the fact is that our security intelligence agencies must operate in different ways to protect Canadians, especially when it comes to a foreign force like China.
    He is choosing to remain in the dark. He refuses to accept the confidential information we are prepared to share with him so that he can contribute to this debate in a sensible and responsible way in the House—
    I am sorry, but there is a discussion going on in the background. If members want to have a conversation, I invite them to go into the lobby or anywhere else. All I ask is that members not shout back and forth, as this should not happen in a Parliament.
    The right hon. Prime Minister.
    Mr. Speaker, like the Conservative Party leader, the leader of the Bloc Québécois would rather hide behind a veil of ignorance than understand the impact of the situation.
    Obviously, he is just playing partisan games. We take the matter of foreign interference seriously and we hope that others will too.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, Dan Stanton, a former CSIS counter-intelligence officer, testified in committee. He said that a public inquiry into foreign interference is necessary. He, like many Canadians, is wondering what is going on. He said very clearly that there are safeguards that can be put in place to protect sensitive information. I agree with Mr. Stanton.
    Will the Prime Minister do the right thing? Will he listen to Canadians, listen to this House and listen to a former CSIS counter-intelligence officer and vote in favour of our motion calling for a public inquiry?
    Mr. Speaker, I will do one better than a former CSIS agent. Current leadership across our intelligence agencies and across the public service continues to say that the best way to move forward is not with a public inquiry, which would have to happen behind closed doors. Many who testified at committees expressed that perspective. To remove it from the political realm, we asked an unimpeachable man of integrity, a former governor general selected by Stephen Harper, to look into these matters deeply and to make a determination as to whether a public inquiry was the right mechanism. He said—

  (1435)  

    The hon. member for Burnaby South.
    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is not restoring confidence with the decisions he is making. We need confidence restored.

[Translation]

    What will it take for the government to see reason? Last week, we learned that the special rapporteur's key legal adviser is a long-time Liberal donor. Is that this government's definition of ethics?
    This afternoon, the Prime Minister can do the right thing and put the country's interests before his own personal interests. He can vote in favour of our motion to launch a public inquiry. Will he do that?
    Mr. Speaker, foreign interference is an extremely serious, fundamental issue for our democracy and our institutions.
    That is why we implemented a number of measures, including committees of parliamentarians, expert committees, such as the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency, a process during the election campaign and an independent expert responsible for assessing everything that we are doing and making recommendations. He found that the 2019 and 2021 elections were not compromised and he will continue his work.

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, a real prime minister would never allow a foreign dictatorship to have police stations on our soil. The Prime Minister has known for at least six months that Beijing has these police stations here. I will ask him the following question.
    How many agents of Beijing have been arrested here in Canada because of these active police stations here in Canada? In the United States, several such agents have already been arrested.
    Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition knows full well that it is not up to the police officers to direct the police in their operations. However, we have ensured that the RCMP is following up and investigating this foreign interference and these Chinese police stations.
    In the meantime, the leader of the Conservative Party chooses to remain ignorant and refuses to accept briefings on the facts in the matter of Chinese interference. He made that choice because he wants to continue to make unfounded partisan attacks.
    Mr. Speaker, what is not serious is that we do not have the laws to have the RCMP arrest these Beijing agents who created these police stations.
    Why is it that the Americans have been able to arrest the Beijing agents who created the police stations in the United States? It is because they have laws. The Conservative Party has been calling for this for years, especially for the creation of a foreign agent registry.
    Why is the Prime Minister protecting Beijing police stations instead of putting in place laws to arrest them?
    Mr. Speaker, we are in fact creating this foreign agent registry because it is the responsible thing to do.
    However, the reality is that the opposition leader's decision to refuse access to the intelligence and briefings needed to get to the bottom of foreign interference demonstrates that he does not want to fix this problem. He does not want to defend the interests of the Chinese communities exploited and attacked by Beijing. The only thing he is interested in is making partisan attacks and continuing his personal attacks.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it is all an act with this guy. He would have us believe that if he committed me to secrecy and forced me to take an oath of silence, that would somehow close the Beijing police stations here in Canada. Of course, it would not. What we need is a strong law that will allow our police to arrest them.
    The question is very simple. Why is it that the Americans have been able to shut down the Beijing police stations in their country and arrest the agents involved with them, while in this country, the Prime Minister has been able to do neither?

  (1440)  

    Mr. Speaker, any serious politician in this place should understand how the Security of Information Act actually works, particularly someone who has sat in cabinet and who was Canada's minister of elections.
    The reality is that if the member opposite does not understand how the Security of Information Act works, we would be happy to provide a briefing to him from officials to explain the Security of Information Act, so he can understand that it would be okay for him to take a briefing on the facts of foreign interference and so he can be better informed in his questions and his challenges to government.
    The reality—
    The hon. Leader of the Opposition.
    Mr. Speaker, they do not have to brief me on the laws. I have actually read them. Subsection 12(1) of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians Act says that not only would I be silenced from speaking about matters broadly, but I would be prevented from debating them on the floor of the House of Commons, which is exactly what the Prime Minister wants.
    He is not going to get it. I will not be gagged. I will not be silenced. I will continue to seek the truth.
    Here is the truth that I want him to finally speak to. We have known that there are foreign police stations operating on Canadian soil. We know the Prime Minister's government has given them tax dollars. How much did he give them?
    Mr. Speaker, hiding behind “a veil of ignorance” is very characteristic for a leader who has no interest—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I am going to interrupt the right hon. Prime Minister. I got some complaints because there were some people shouting from this side when the opposition leader was asking a question. I am going to ask the same courtesy from both sides. I do not think it is that hard. It is not that complicated. When somebody is speaking, we do not speak.
    The right hon. Prime Minister.
    Mr. Speaker, hiding behind “a veil of ignorance” is very characteristic for a leader who has no interest in actual facts. There is nothing stopping him right now from getting cleared, briefed, and disagreeing with the former governor general's conclusions if he so chooses, regardless of his opinions. He is entitled to those. He is not entitled to his own facts.
    Please, I really encourage the Leader of the Opposition to get briefed—
    The hon. Leader of the Opposition.

Democratic Institutions

    Mr. Speaker, all Canadians are entitled to the facts. That is why we want a public inquiry.
    We know that Beijing gave $140,000 to the Trudeau Foundation. We know that when the scandal broke, he named Mr. Rosenberg to look into it. Rosenberg is with the Trudeau Foundation. When the scandal exploded further, he named Mr. Johnston, also a member of the Trudeau Foundation. What did he do? He named another judge from the Trudeau Foundation to look into the conflict of interest.
    Is the Prime Minister afraid of a public inquiry because he has run out of members of the Trudeau Foundation to run it?
    Mr. Speaker, while the Leader of the Opposition continues with his personal and partisan attacks, we are going to continue to—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I am sorry. I have a question for all members to reflect on. I do not want anybody to shout the answer out. This is not a question I want answered. What part of “while somebody is speaking, we sit quietly and listen” do we not understand? Write me an email if you want once we are done, and you can explain it to me, because I do not understand it.
    The right hon. Prime Minister, from the top, please.
    Mr. Speaker, once again, we see that the Leader of the Opposition, on this very serious issue, has not nothing to offer other than partisan attacks and personal attacks, rather than actually dealing with the substance of this serious issue.
    To deal with the substance of this serious issue, we have directed intelligence agencies to offer him secure briefings so that he can understand the facts underlying both the former governor general's report and the issue of foreign interference. He has simply refused because he does not want anything, like facts in particular, to get in the way of a good partisan argument.

[Translation]

     Mr. Speaker, Canadians are entitled to the facts. When Beijing gave $140,000 to the Trudeau Foundation, a scandal broke. To investigate, the Prime Minister appointed Mr. Rosenberg, a member of the Trudeau Foundation. The scandal exploded further. He then appointed Mr. Johnston, who is a member of the Trudeau Foundation. To ensure that there was no conflict of interest, Mr. Johnston appointed Mr. Iacobucci, who is a member of the Trudeau Foundation.
    Does the Prime Minister not want a public inquiry because he has run out of members of the Trudeau Foundation to run it?

  (1445)  

    Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition has made several comments about how Canadians are entitled to all the facts. However, he understands very well, or he should understand, that members of the armed forces and the intelligence services are working in incredibly complex and difficult situations that make them vulnerable in foreign countries in order to keep Canadians safe. They conduct investigations to uncover the secrets of countries that would do us harm.
    The idea that he does not understand how much we, as members of the House and as Canadians, need to protect those who serve Canada in this regard is—
    The hon. member for Beloeil—Chambly.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to use another example. The Quebec National Assembly is unanimously asking for information about Ottawa's interference in the democratic process during the 1995 referendum. The Prime Minister is choosing secrecy. This Parliament is asking to have the information from David Johnston's secret briefings entrusted to an independent commissioner. Again, the Prime Minister is choosing to keep his buddy's secrets.
     Either the Prime Minister is weak, or he is being used by a foreign power. Is this Prime Minister working for his country, or for the financial interests of his Liberal friends?
    Mr. Speaker, the member started off by talking about the 1995 referendum and ended by talking about money and the ethnic vote. Let us take a look at what the member just said. The Bloc is caught up in old arguments, and that is just what it is banking on. It always wants to attack—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    In the history of Parliament, there has been one instance when the Speaker decided he was fed up with question period and walked out. The sitting was suspended for about 30 minutes. Today, I am sorely tempted to do the same.
    I invite the Prime Minister to begin again from the start.
    Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois leader is bringing us back to the 1995 referendum, even though it is now 2023, and at the end of his question, he alluded to money and the ethnic vote. The Bloc Québécois has truly become a laughing stock for how little they care about foreign interference. They only care about picking a fight here in Ottawa.
    We take these issues seriously. We will continue to work with the necessary seriousness on these issues that are important to Canadians, while continuing to create a strong and growing economy, and continuing to fight climate change.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to suggest a hypothesis that explains why we are seeing what we are seeing. Has there ever been a Prime Minister less serious than this one, or one so unworthy of the office he holds?
    We are talking about the intimidation of elected officials, illegal election financing, industrial espionage, research funded by Huawei, the Trudeau Foundation and contempt for intelligence officers. We already know more than enough to demand a truly independent and public inquiry, not just this nonsense from his buddy.
    Will the Prime Minister scrap his policy, which is damaging to Canada and Quebec, and is good for China?
    Mr. Speaker, the leader of the Bloc Québécois just said, “we already know more than enough”, but the reality is that he does not know because he refused to receive briefings on confidential intelligence that has been gathered by our security intelligence services. He refuses to hear the facts at the heart of the matter of Chinese interference so that he can continue his personal and partisan attacks and his bickering.
    All Canadians, including Quebeckers, deserve representatives that take the issue of foreign interference seriously. That is what we are doing.

[English]

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control revealed today that it now costs over $1,200 a month for a basket of nutritious food for the average family in that province. It is an explosion of costs that have taken place under the Prime Minister.
    Those numbers come from a year ago, and the same report says that prices are higher now. Now the Prime Minister's solution for that is a 61¢-a-litre carbon tax that will push gas prices well over two dollars a litre and increase the cost to farmers and truckers who bring us our food.
    How much will that increase the cost of food for Canadians?

  (1450)  

    Mr. Speaker, we have seen the extent to which, not just for the past seven and a half years but for the decade before that, the Conservatives refuse to take the fight against climate change seriously and refuse to accept that the cost to Canadians from coast to coast to coast will get increasingly larger as the years go on.
    Over the past seven years, we have stepped up on the fight against climate change, including with a price on pollution that puts more money back in the pockets of eight out of 10 Canadians. We are going to continue to step up with the grocery rebate to help Canadians with the high cost of food. We are going to continue to create good jobs. We are going to continue—
    The hon. Leader of the Opposition.
    Mr. Speaker, the carbon tax is not an environmental plan; it is a tax plan. It has done nothing to meet any targets, and it has done nothing to reduce the cost of climate change. What it has done is increase the cost of food, because when we tax the farmers who make the food and the truckers who ship the food, then we tax the food itself.
    Now, the Prime Minister's plan is not to triple the carbon tax but to quadruple the carbon tax, while he adds more and more. It is 61¢ a litre.
    My question is this. How much will his 61¢-a-litre carbon tax add to the monthly basket of food for Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, once again we see that the leader of the official opposition is not willing to let the facts get in the way of a great political argument. Even then it is not that great an argument; it is just a bumper sticker that he can stick on to scare Canadians with.
    The reality is that we are delivering with dental benefits, with a grocery rebate and with a carbon price that is putting more money back in the pockets of eight out of 10 Canadians. While he continues to cross his arms and vote against things like the dental benefit, we have delivered to 1,100 kids in his riding dental benefits that have made a real difference.
    Mr. Speaker, if the facts that I have just quoted from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control are false, then maybe the Prime Minister can tell me what the real numbers are. I have asked him that.
    Given that he wants to bring in a 61¢-a-litre carbon tax and increase gas and diesel prices by 61¢ a litre on the farmers who produce the food and the truckers who bring it to the grocery store, how much will that tax increase add to the monthly cost of groceries for the average Canadian family?
    Mr. Speaker, what Canadians know clearly is that the inaction by a decade of Conservative governments and the continued resistance of Conservatives to taking action on fighting climate change are costing them incredible amounts. How many homes have been lost in Nova Scotia? How many people have been affected and evacuated across Alberta? How many people in the Northwest Territories are affected and in New Brunswick? People in central Canada are worried about forest fires coming there in the coming weeks and months.
    The reality is that extreme weather events are getting more and more expensive for Canadians, which is why we need to continue to lean on climate change while supporting Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, all of those things have happened with this carbon tax in place. This carbon tax has done nothing to reduce emissions, let alone stop storms and other weather events. That is nothing more than another act from the Prime Minister.
    Let us get back to the question. My question was very specific. We know that a British Columbia family has to spend $1,200 a month on groceries just to feed their kids. He wants to raise the tax up to 61¢ a litre on the farmers and truckers who bring us our food. How much will that add to the grocery bill of an average family?
    Mr. Speaker, here is the problem with the Leader of the Opposition. He is in love with the sound of his own voice and his own attacks, but he does not actually check the facts.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    The right hon. Prime Minister, from the top, please.

  (1455)  

    Mr. Speaker, here is the issue with the Leader of the Opposition. He is so in love with the sound of his own voice that he does not actually check the facts.
    He is talking about our price on pollution, when the reality is that B.C. has its own price on pollution. The federal backstop does not even apply in B.C. He is mixing everything for political arguments and partisan attacks to try to scare Canadians and cover for the fact that he has no plan to fight climate change and, therefore, no plan for the future of the Canadian economy.

Indigenous Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, Wahpeton Dakota Nation has not had a proper school in a long time.
    I have been to the school. Students are forced to learn in portables. They do not have proper running water. They do not have heating in the winter or cooling in the summer. The school itself has a roof that is caving in. There is black mould everywhere.
    This is often the reality for first nations and indigenous kids—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I am going to ask everyone, one last time, to calm down and be quiet while we listen to whoever is asking or answering the question.
    The hon. member for Burnaby South can begin from the top, please.
    Mr. Speaker, Wahpeton Dakota Nation has not had a properly functioning school in a long time.
    I visited the first nation and saw the school. They have to operate in portables. The portables do not have proper heating and cooling. These portables do not have running water in the winter. I went to the school itself, and the main structure has a roof that is caving in. There is also black mould.
    This is often the reality for indigenous children in our country. When will the Prime Minister take this matter seriously and ensure that this first nation has a proper school so indigenous kids could learn in a safe and secure surrounding?
    Mr. Speaker, I agree with my hon. colleague. We need to do more.
    We have built hundreds of new schools across this country in indigenous communities over the past seven and a half years, but there is much more to do. We will continue to work hand in hand with indigenous peoples on record investments and partnerships to build schools, health centres and senior centres. We will continue to work to solve outstanding land claim issues and to install wastewater and water treatment plants to ensure drinking water across the country.
    These are things that we are doing and continue to do. I appreciate the member opposite's hard work on bringing them forward as well.
    Mr. Speaker, there is a priest accused of, and arrested for, abuse and forcible confinement of an eight-year-old girl. More victims are coming forward. Families are in shock. A first nation is in shock.
     This is not history. This is happening now in Little Grand Rapids first nation in 2023. What is the government doing to support the community? What will the government do to work with the community to support its clear calls for accountability?
    Mr. Speaker, this is a horrific situation that never should have happened, at any time. We know it happened decades ago, and it never should have happened. This one is just recent, and it never should have happened.
    We have obviously reached out to the community, and we are working closely with them on what is needed for healing and moving forward. We are also serious about accountability and ensuring that these kinds of abuses never happen again.

  (1500)  

Climate Change

    Mr. Speaker, we know all too well there are tragic consequences and costs to the climate crisis.
    Just this week, we are seeing unprecedented wildfires back home in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, and my heart goes out to the people facing these incredibly difficult circumstances. We know that the cost of inaction is far too high. We must work towards rapidly decarbonizing our society and ensuring Atlantic Canada protects our precious ecosystems and builds a resilient economy.
    Could the Prime Minister please tell us what the government is doing to address the climate crisis while positioning Atlantic Canada as a hub for renewable energy and clean tech for the future?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Fredericton for her leadership on climate change and her hard work on the file.
    Canadians are thinking about our friends on the east coast and across the country who are impacted by wildfires right now. It is a reminder that climate change is real, and that its devastating impacts cannot be ignored.
    Unfortunately, the Conservative Party still does not have a climate plan, which means Conservatives do not have a plan for the future of the Canadian economy. On this side, we are investing in and leveraging technologies that are cutting emissions and creating good jobs in, for example, Come By Chance, Newfoundland and Labrador, and we are making sure that it is no longer free to pollute, while giving Canadians money back.

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, the high school drama teacher over here accuses others of liking the sound of their own voices. This is from a guy who, if he were made of chocolate, would eat himself. However, we do not want him to do that until he answers the question I keep asking.
    It is about the cost of groceries in B.C. and everywhere else. He is right. The NDP has already put in a carbon tax there, but he wants to force them to increase it by almost 40¢ to 61¢ a litre. It would be a federally imposed tax by the costly coalition of the Liberals and the NDP. How much will that add to the cost of groceries for the average family?
    Mr. Speaker, yes, I was a high school teacher before getting into politics, and I am having a little trouble remembering what exact job the Leader of the Opposition had before getting into politics.
    We have a plan to fight climate change. We have a plan to continue to move forward on supporting Canadians with a grocery rebate, with a growing economy and with great middle-class jobs. We are delivering health care supports for Canadians from coast to coast to coast and delivering dental care, which has helped 300,000 kids access dental care over the past number of months, including 1,100 in the member's own riding. We will continue to be there for Canadians.

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister left right in the middle of a semester, and I am having trouble remembering why.
    However, he certainly was not a math teacher. His own finance minister said that deficits pour fuel on the inflationary fire, right before she introduced $60 billion more in deficit spending measures. How much will that add to the inflation rate Canadians have to pay?
    Mr. Speaker, while the Leader of the Opposition continues to talk down the Canadian economy, we have the lowest deficit in the G7, and we have the best debt-to-GDP ratio of the G7.
    The fact is that Canadians can expect arguments back and forth about fiscal responsibility, but if they check the international bond rating agencies, the people whose job it is to evaluate the fiscal responsibility of a given government, they continue to give us a AAA rating for fiscal responsibility. Canadians know we are on the right track.
    Mr. Speaker, it is not just me who acknowledges that deficits pour fuel on the inflationary fire. It is his own finance minister. In fact, she said that two weeks before she introduced her budget. What followed her budget was a spike in the inflation rate the Prime Minister had promised would only ever go down. What do you know? Dumping $60 billion of fuel on the inflationary fire actually makes prices go up.
    Did the finance department calculate how much this extra $60 billion of inflationary spending would add to the consumer price index? How much?

  (1505)  

    Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition likes to talk about being in disagreement with the investments we have made in the Canadian economy, but perhaps he would be open with Canadians and share how he would not have funded child care at $10 a day right across the country for Canadians. He would not be delivering dental care benefits, including to 1,100 kids in his riding, and he would not be stepping up with targeted supports, with a doubling of the GST rebate for 11 million Canadians. He is not saying where he would be cutting, what programs he would be slashing and how he would be hurting Canadians while—
    The hon. Leader of the Opposition.
    Mr. Speaker, I have been very clear that I would get rid of the $35-billion incompetent infrastructure bank. I would get rid of the $54-million ArriveCAN app, which did not work and was not necessary. I would not blow billions of dollars buying back hunting rifles from lawful and licensed Canadians instead of going after serious criminals. The list of waste and corruption goes on and on.
     My question, though, is this: How much is all of this spending adding to inflation? John Manley, the former Liberal finance minister, said that, just as the current finance minister has said, when we add deficits, we add inflation. The question again is this: How much extra inflation will the $60 billion in budget deficits cause?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the Leader of the Opposition for trying to clear things up, but the fact is that no Canadians doubted he would pull back on measures to fight gun crime.
    We are moving forward on increasing gun control. We have banned assault-style weapons. We put a freeze on the market for handguns, and the Conservative Party, in the pocket of the gun lobby, has continued to insist that they will roll back those measures. They will continue to not protect Canadians in communities across the country. That is their approach. Our approach is to continue to invest in Canadians to lift millions of people out of poverty and create millions of great jobs.

[Translation]

Democratic Institutions

    Mr. Speaker, Canada is dragging Quebec into a crisis that will literally undermine democracy with all the secrecy. The Prime Minister responds by grandstanding.
    We are going to get to the bottom of this matter. How will he explain to Canadians and Quebeckers that he will treat with contempt the vote of an elected majority of the House, with each one being an elected member of Parliament just as he is?
    Mr. Speaker, we will continue to work with all colleagues in the House to fight foreign interference and to take it seriously.
    To take it seriously, the leader of the Bloc Québécois need only demonstrate that he is open to understanding the impact of the issue, to see the intelligence that was collected about what happened. He has refused. He prefers to hide from the truth to continue his bickering and partisan attacks.
    That is not a responsible approach worthy of our democracy. I encourage him to take part in the necessary briefings.
    Mr. Speaker, he just needs to come out with the facts, but as someone once said, he would not know what to do with the facts.
    The Prime Minister is protecting someone or something. Who? What? What skeletons are hiding in the Trudeau Foundation's closet? Just how low will he go to protect his secrets? What is China doing and to whom? How has China managed to intimidate the entire Liberal government?
    Mr. Speaker, the leader of the Bloc Québécois wants to know who I am protecting.
    First and foremost, I am protecting Canadians by fighting Chinese interference. I am protecting Chinese Canadians who are more often the target of Chinese interference. I am protecting our institutions and our democracy by creating mechanisms to fight Chinese interference. I am continuing to protect the men and women who put their lives at risk to find out and expose the secrets of China and other countries that want to do us harm by keeping their secrets and protecting our national security.

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance admitted that deficits throw gas on the inflationary fire. Two weeks later, she threw another $60-billion-worth of gas on the same fire.
    How much does the Prime Minister think that the $60-billion inflationary deficit she added in a single budget will increase the inflation rate on the backs of Canadians?

  (1510)  

    Mr. Speaker, while the Conservatives continue to argue in favour of austerity, we will continue to be there to invest in Canadians.
    While they are proposing cuts, cuts to programs and cuts to services for Canadians, we will continue to lift Canadians out of poverty, as we have done for 2.7 million people in recent years. We will continue to be there for our seniors by lowering the retirement age to 65 after his government raised it to 67. We will continue to be there for our young people, for our families, with child care services. We will continue—
    The Leader of the Opposition.
    Mr. Speaker, one in five Canadians is skipping meals because they cannot afford groceries and are already living in austerity. The 1.5 million Canadians who are forced to rely on food banks are already living in austerity. The nine out of 10 young Canadians who believe they will never be able to buy a home are already living in austerity.
    The only person not living in austerity is the Prime Minister, because he is forcing austerity on all other Canadians.
    How much will the $60 billion in additional spending add to the inflation rate?
    Mr. Speaker, let me see if I understand the Conservative Party's austerity plan correctly. They are saying that Canadians are already facing hard times, so it is okay to make matters worse by spending less, investing less and providing less help for families in need.
    Perhaps that is why the member voted against the dental care assistance we are providing to children. Thanks to our initiative, 300,000 children across this country have been able to access dental care services they could not access in the past, including 1,100 children in his riding of Carleton. He voted against it because, for him, it is all about austerity. That is irresponsible.

[English]

Finance

    Mr. Speaker, he has been Prime Minister for eight years. The half-trillion dollars in inflationary deficits he has enacted is causing the inflation that Canadians are paying; it is not the solution to the inflation. After eight years of the Prime Minister, one in five Canadians skips meals because they cannot eat, and 1.5 million people go to food banks, some of them asking for help with medical assistance in dying, not because they are sick but because they are hungry. He has driven people out of their homes and into tent cities, as nine in 10 young people believe they will never be able to own a home.
    How much is he going to make them pay before the suffering ends?
    Mr. Speaker, we hear the Leader of the Opposition continue to spread his message that Canadian is broken right across the country and that we should, therefore, just throw up our hands, give up and stop spending to invest in Canadians, stop supporting low-income Canadians, stop creating great jobs, stop drawing in great factories like Volkswagen and stop working to secure Stellantis investments. This is what the Conservatives' plan is: to throw up their hands and say, “Everything is broken, so let us just burn it down.”
    Canadians do not feel that. Canadians roll up their sleeves and solve the challenges we are facing. That is what Canadians are doing every day across the country, and that is what they are going to continue to do.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, after weeks of study, but mostly obstruction, by the Conservative Party, we have finally reached the clause-by-clause study of the budget implementation bill. This is one more step towards being able to provide the support that the people in my riding and across Canada need.
    Could the Prime Minister tell us more about the importance of passing the budget implementation bill as quickly as possible?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Laval—Les Îles for his important question and hard work.
    Like him, I am disappointed to see the Conservatives trying to block the essential support measures contained in the budget, especially a tax to fight residential property flipping, the doubling of the deduction for tradespeople's tool expenses and the Canada workers benefit advance payments.
    Their political games in committee are blocking the passage of our budget. I hope that all members of the House, including the Conservative members, will come together to give Canadians what they need.

  (1515)  

[English]

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister tells Canadians to stop complaining, because they have never had it so good. Well, nine in 10 young people cannot afford a home because housing costs have doubled under the Prime Minister. Rent has doubled, the average mortgage payment has doubled and the needed down payment for an average house has doubled. The inflation rate has hit the highest level in 40 years and now is back on the rise. They might beg to differ.
    Will the Prime Minister stop trying to silence Canadians' voices and start reversing the policies that have caused the damage in the first place?
    Mr. Speaker, we are going to continue to grow the economy. We are going to continue to create great, well-paying jobs for Canadians right across the country, because that is what Canadians continue to need. That is what we have been doing over these past years. The fact that the Leader of the Opposition suggests we should be growing less, that we should be seeing less wage growth across the country, maybe reveals a little more about his economic thinking than about anyone else's.
    At the same time as we do that, we are going to continue to invest in programs and supports for first-time homebuyers, for low-income renters and for construction of new rental homes by working in partnership with municipalities. We are going to continue to deliver for Canadians.

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, he delivers only for himself. We are not growing. Under the Prime Minister, we have the slowest per capita GDP growth of any government since the Great Depression. Under eight years of the Prime Minister, housing costs have doubled, 1.5 million people are eating from food banks and one in five is skipping meals because they cannot afford food. Now, interest rates, which his government said would stay low for long, are skyrocketing because of his deficits.
    How much have interest rates had to go up to accommodate his $60 billion in new deficits?
    Mr. Speaker, here is a thought experiment for Canadians: Imagine how much worse off we would be if the Conservatives' plan on not encouraging vaccinations had led during the pandemic, if their reliance on ideology and conspiracy theories instead of science and experts had governed our pandemic response. The Canadian economy—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I am sorry. I am going to have to ask the hon. Prime Minister to stop for a second.
    We had started getting better, and now, all of sudden, everybody is getting excited again. Maybe it is because the end of question period is coming, and maybe I will just skip to the last question and then work my way back. That might work out better. I am going to let the Prime Minister continue, and we will see if I have to resort to that.
    The right hon. Prime Minister has the floor.
    Mr. Speaker, we are a government grounded in facts and evidence, and that is part of why we got through the pandemic better than most other countries around the world that we are comparable to. The fact is that the Conservatives' reliance on conspiracy theories, their unwillingness to promote vaccination, would have harmed Canadians significantly over these past years of the recovery.
    We have seen significant job growth and economic growth postpandemic, and we will continue to be there to support Canadians who need it, by investing in food banks, investing in countering homelessness and investing in supporting families from coast to coast to coast.

Government Priorities

    Mr. Speaker, he says he is investing in food banks. He has definitely increased the business at food banks; we have 1.5 million people eating from there. Instead of reversing the policies that cause that hunger, he divides. He divides to distract. He reaches back and uses the pandemic as a point of division to tear this country apart, just like he did then, and he did it only because, under eight years of him, life costs more; work does not pay; housing costs have doubled; drugs, disorder, crime and chaos have reigned in the street; and the country is more divided than ever.
    Why does he not reverse those damaging actions rather than trying to divide Canadians some more?
    Mr. Speaker, we have all heard the Leader of the Opposition, and according to him—
    The Prime Minister is getting a standing ovation, and he has not even started yet.
    Please continue.

  (1520)  

    Mr. Speaker, we have heard the Leader of the Opposition again and again. He believes that everything is broken in Canada and that we should all just throw up our hands. Well, he is wrong about that, and when he talks about the economic record of the past few years and seems to ignore the pandemic because it was inconvenient for him, his own behaviour during the pandemic, his own mistrust of science and evidence, his own encouragement of disorder and—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order, please.
    The right hon. Prime Minister, please.
    Mr. Speaker, it is inconvenient for the Leader of the Opposition for us to talk about what happened during the pandemic, even though it had a deep and serious impact on Canadians, on families and on our economy. We were there to support them. We were there, grounded in science, ensuring that everyone was kept safe with vaccination programs, with science, evidence and supports. The reality is that we will continue to be there for Canadians. We will continue to not believe Canada is broken but to know we are building together a—
    The hon. member for Vaughan—Woodbridge.

Dental Care

    Mr. Speaker, parents across my riding of Vaughan—Woodbridge and the city of Vaughan are again telling me how their children now have better access to dental care, clean teeth and bright smiles.
    Would the Prime Minister provide an update on Canada's—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I need to interrupt the hon. member for Vaughan—Woodbridge. I can hardly hear his question.
    The hon. member for Vaughan—Woodbridge from the top, please.
    Mr. Speaker, parents across my riding of Vaughan—Woodbridge and the city of Vaughan are again telling me how their children now have better access to dental care, clean teeth and bright smiles.
    Would the Prime Minister provide an update on Canada's dental care plan and how it is impacting Canadian families from coast to coast to coast?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Vaughan—Woodbridge for his dedication to his constituents.
    We introduced the Canada dental benefit because we believe that no parent should have to choose between the health of their children and putting food on the table. Today, I can announce that the Canada dental benefit has now helped 300,000 kids across the country go to the dentist, including 1,100 kids in the riding of Carleton. It is all part of our plan to make life more affordable for families, and it is a real shame the Conservatives continue to stand against a dental benefit for low-income Canadians.

Health

    Mr. Speaker, a year ago tomorrow, most of the Liberal caucus and all Conservatives teamed up to defeat Bill C-216 for a health-based approach to substance use. If it had passed, today we would have a multi-faceted plan to fight the toxic drug crisis, based on the recommendations of the government's own expert task force. Instead, thousands more families have lost loved ones because of poisoned drugs purchased on the street.
    When will the government deliver a comprehensive plan to keep people who use drugs alive and provide no-fee, on-demand treatment for those who need help now?
    Mr. Speaker, we know how devastating the opioid epidemic is for families right across the country. That is why we have continued to step up, while being grounded in science and evidence and working in partnership with others.
    I salute the intention of the member opposite to contribute to this debate, but, as we have worked concretely on the ground with partners, including with the government of B.C., for example, to move forward on decriminalization in a way that is showing positive impacts across B.C., we will continue to be grounded in evidence as we take action to save lives and keep Canadians safe.

[Translation]

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, we learned from an article by journalist Daniel Leblanc that the RCMP is preparing to provide additional protection services to a dozen senior officials and maybe even some ministers.
    We are all aware that in-person and online threats and aggressive language are on the rise. The risks are real, and we cannot wait for something bad to happen to realize that we should have done something.
    It is therefore high time that the government and Parliament showed some political courage and gave all ministers and party leaders a bodyguard, as is already the case in the Quebec National Assembly.
    Can the Prime Minister tell us whether he intends to put such a measure in place here in Ottawa?

  (1525)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his question and his concern, which is one we all share.
    Unfortunately, over the past few years, we have seen a rise in polarization, in toxicity, and in hatred toward Canadians and parliamentarians. We need to do whatever it takes to keep those who serve our democracy safe because protecting them means protecting the very foundation of our democracy.
    We are looking at tangible measures to increase the safety of our ministers, and we also are working with the Sergeant-at-Arms to ensure the safety of all parliamentarians.

Government Orders

[Business of Supply]

[Translation]

Business of Supply

Opposition Motion—Public Inquiry into Allegations of Foreign Interference 

    The House resumed from May 30 consideration of the motion.
    It being 3:25 p.m., pursuant to order made on Thursday, June 23, 2022, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion of the member for Vancouver East relating to the business of supply.
    Call in the members.

[English]

    The question is on the motion. May I dispense?
    Some hon. members: No.
    [Chair read text of motion to House]

  (1540)  

[Translation]

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

(Division No. 339)

YEAS

Members

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

Total: -- 174


NAYS

Members

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

Total: -- 150


PAIRED

Nil

     I declare the motion carried.

Private Members' Business

[Private Members' Business]

[English]

International Human Rights Act

    Pursuant to order made on Thursday, June 23, 2022, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at report stage of Bill C-281 under Private Members' Business.
    The question is on Motion No. 1. A vote on this motion also applies to Motions Nos. 2 and 3.

  (1550)  

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

(Division No. 340)

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
Bergeron
Berthold
Bérubé
Bezan
Bibeau
Bittle
Blaikie
Blair
Blanchet
Blanchette-Joncas
Blaney
Block
Blois
Boissonnault
Boulerice
Bradford
Bragdon
Brassard
Brière
Brock
Brunelle-Duceppe
Calkins
Cannings
Caputo
Carrie
Casey
Chabot
Chagger
Chahal
Chambers
Champagne
Champoux
Chatel
Chen
Chiang
Chong
Collins (Hamilton East—Stoney Creek)
Collins (Victoria)
Cooper
Cormier
Coteau
Dabrusin
Dalton
Damoff
Dancho
Davidson
Davies
DeBellefeuille
Deltell
Desbiens
Desilets
Desjarlais
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Diab
Doherty
Dowdall
Dreeshen
Drouin
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
Duncan (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Dzerowicz
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Ellis
Epp
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Fast
Fergus
Ferreri
Fillmore
Findlay
Fisher
Fonseca
Fortier
Fortin
Fragiskatos
Fraser
Freeland
Fry
Gaheer
Gallant
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
Hutchings
Iacono
Idlout
Ien
Jaczek
Jeneroux
Johns
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
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
Roberts
Robillard
Rodriguez
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
Sorbara
Soroka
Sousa
Steinley
Ste-Marie
Stewart
St-Onge
Strahl
Stubbs
Sudds
Tassi
Taylor Roy
Thériault
Therrien
Thomas
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: -- 325


NAYS

Nil

PAIRED

Nil

    I declare Motion No. 1 carried. I therefore declare Motions Nos. 2 and 3 carried.
     moved that the bill, as amended, be concurred in at report stage with further amendments.
     If a member of a recognized party present in the House wishes that the motion be carried or carried on division or wishes to request a recorded division, I would invite them to rise and indicate it to the Chair.
    Mr. Speaker, I request a recorded division.

  (1605)  

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

(Division No. 341)

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
Bergeron
Berthold
Bérubé
Bezan
Bibeau
Bittle
Blaikie
Blair
Blanchet
Blanchette-Joncas
Blaney
Block
Blois
Boissonnault
Boulerice
Bradford
Bragdon
Brassard
Brière
Brock
Brunelle-Duceppe
Calkins
Cannings
Caputo
Carrie
Casey
Chabot
Chagger
Chahal
Chambers
Champagne
Champoux
Chatel
Chen
Chiang
Chong
Collins (Hamilton East—Stoney Creek)
Collins (Victoria)
Cooper
Cormier
Coteau
Dabrusin
Dalton
Damoff
Dancho
Davidson
Davies
DeBellefeuille
Deltell
Desbiens
Desilets
Desjarlais
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Diab
Doherty
Dong
Dowdall
Dreeshen
Drouin
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
Duncan (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Dzerowicz
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Ellis
Epp
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Fast
Fergus
Ferreri
Fillmore
Findlay
Fisher
Fonseca
Fortier
Fortin
Fragiskatos
Fraser
Freeland
Fry
Gaheer
Gallant
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
Hutchings
Iacono
Idlout
Ien
Jaczek
Jeneroux
Johns
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
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
O'Regan
O'Toole
Patzer
Paul-Hus
Pauzé
Perkins
Perron
Petitpas Taylor
Plamondon
Poilievre
Powlowski
Qualtrough
Rayes
Redekopp
Reid
Rempel Garner
Richards
Roberts
Robillard
Rodriguez
Rogers
Romanado
Rood
Ruff
Sahota
Sajjan
Saks
Samson
Sarai
Savard-Tremblay
Scarpaleggia
Scheer
Schiefke
Schmale
Seeback
Serré
Sgro
Shanahan
Sheehan
Shields
Shipley
Sidhu (Brampton East)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Simard
Sinclair-Desgagné
Singh
Small
Sorbara
Soroka
Sousa
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: -- 324


NAYS

Nil

PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion carried.

Copyright Act

    The House resumed from May 30 consideration of the motion that Bill C-244, An Act to amend the Copyright Act (diagnosis, maintenance and repair), as reported (with amendment) from the committee, be concurred in.
    Pursuant to order made Thursday, June 23, 2022, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion to concur in Bill C-244 at report stage.

  (1615)  

    Mr. Speaker, it has come to my attention that my second vote on Bill C-281 did not go through correctly. Therefore, I seek the permission of the House to apply my vote as a yea for the previous vote.
    We are going to finish this round of votes. Then, if you do not mind coming back afterward with a point of order, we will see if the chamber will allow you to do that.

  (1620)  

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

(Division No. 342)

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
Bergeron
Berthold
Bérubé
Bezan
Bibeau
Bittle
Blaikie
Blair
Blanchet
Blanchette-Joncas
Blaney
Block
Blois
Boissonnault
Boulerice
Bradford
Bragdon
Brassard
Brière
Brock
Brunelle-Duceppe
Calkins
Cannings
Caputo
Carrie
Casey
Chabot
Chagger
Chahal
Chambers
Champagne
Champoux
Chatel
Chen
Chiang
Chong
Collins (Hamilton East—Stoney Creek)
Collins (Victoria)
Cooper
Cormier
Coteau
Dabrusin
Dalton
Damoff
Dancho
Davidson
Davies
DeBellefeuille
Deltell
d'Entremont
Desbiens
Desilets
Desjarlais
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Diab
Doherty
Dowdall
Dreeshen
Drouin
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
Duncan (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Dzerowicz
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Ellis
Epp
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Fast
Fergus
Ferreri
Fillmore
Findlay
Fisher
Fonseca
Fortier
Fortin
Fragiskatos
Fraser
Freeland
Fry
Gaheer
Gallant
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
Hutchings
Iacono
Idlout
Ien
Jaczek
Jeneroux
Johns
Jowhari
Julian
Kayabaga
Kelloway
Kelly
Khalid
Khera
Kitchen
Kmiec
Koutrakis
Kram
Kramp-Neuman
Kurek
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
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
Roberts
Robillard
Rodriguez
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
Sorbara
Soroka
Sousa
Steinley
Ste-Marie
Stewart
St-Onge
Strahl
Stubbs
Sudds
Tassi
Taylor Roy
Thériault
Therrien
Thomas
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
Zuberi

Total: -- 324


NAYS

Nil

PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion carried.
    The hon. member for Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon is rising on a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, as I previously mentioned, my second vote on Bill C-281 did not go through accordingly on the app. I did not inform you at the appropriate time, but I am seeking permission to apply my vote as a yea.
    Does the hon. member have unanimous consent to change his vote?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

Privilege

Alleged Inadequacy of Government Response to Foreign Interference—Speaker's Ruling  

[Speaker's Ruling]
    I am now prepared to rule on the question of privilege raised yesterday by the member for Durham. I would like to thank the member for having raised this matter.
    In his intervention, the member alleged having been a victim of an ongoing campaign of foreign interference, orchestrated by officials and agents of the People's Republic of China and dating as far back as the previous Parliament. He added that this campaign was not related to the one single event, which made his question of privilege distinct from the one raised by the member for Wellington—Halton Hills. He also indicated that interference of this scale had violated not only his privileges, but also those of many more members of the House.
    I am hearing some noise, I am not sure if it is coming from the outside or inside. I am going to ask the Sergeant-at-Arms to maybe just take a walk around the hall. I am sure there is nothing intentional there, but we just want to make people aware that if they are speaking on the outside, it echoes into the chamber.

[Translation]

    The member for Rosemont—La Petite Patrie, supporting the member for Durham's assertions, suggested that the matter either be found prima facie or be integrated into the current study of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.
    The House has the right to the services of its members free from intimidation, obstruction and interference. The Chair takes any claim of foreign interference in the work of members, as well as its impacts on their families, very seriously.

[English]

    This is why I ruled on May 8, 2023, that a similar matter raised by the member for Wellington—Halton Hills constituted a prima facie question of privilege. At that time, the Chair agreed that the matter of a foreign entity trying to intervene in the conduct of our proceedings, targeting members and their relatives, touches upon the privileges and immunities that underpin our collective ability to carry out our parliamentary duties unimpeded.

[Translation]

    The member for Wellington—Halton Hills subsequently moved a motion to refer the matter of the intimidation campaign orchestrated by Wei Zhao against him and other members to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. The motion was adopted by the House on May 10, 2023. Though the motion related to the actions of one specific individual, the Chair's ruling referred more broadly to a foreign entity.

[English]

    The points raised by the member for Durham are extremely serious. While I agree they must properly be addressed, in considering a question of privilege, the Chair must determine whether it should take precedence over the business of the House. Given that the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs has already been instructed to investigate the matter of foreign interference, the Chair believes that it is the appropriate forum for further discussion of this issue.
    As such, I invite the member, and any other member impacted, to make representations to the committee over the course of its study.
    I thank members for their attention.

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

[Routine Proceedings]

[English]

Government Response to Petitions

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

  (1625)  

[Translation]

Committees of the House

Health  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 14th report of the Standing Committee on Health, in relation to Bill C-293, an act respecting pandemic prevention and preparedness.

[English]

    The committee has studied the bill and, pursuant to Standing Order 97.1(1), humbly requests a 30-day extension to consider it.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 97.1(3)(a), a motion to concur in the report is deemed moved, the question deemed put and a recorded division deemed demanded and deferred.
    Pursuant to order made on Thursday, June 23, 2022, the recorded division stands deferred until Wednesday, June 7, at the expiry of the time provided for Oral Questions.

Finance  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 11th report of the Standing Committee on Finance in relation to Bill C-47, an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 28, 2023.
    The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report the bill back to the House with amendments.
    I would like to thank our legislative clerk, Philippe Méla; the finance committee clerks, Alexandre Roger and Alexandre Sacha Vassiliev; committee assistant Lynda Gaudreault; the whole team of 16 additional clerks who came in to help during the long hours into the night; the whole team of interpreters, technologists and staff of the committee; and, of course, the hard-working members of the committee, our witnesses and department officials for all of their hard work in getting this report completed. I thank them all.

Foreign Affairs and International Development  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 18th report of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development in relation to Bill S-8, an act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, to make consequential amendments to other acts and to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.
    The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report the bill back to the House with amendments.

[Translation]

Agriculture and Agri-Food  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the ninth report of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food, entitled “Main Estimates 2023-24: Vote 1 under Canadian Dairy Commission, Vote 1 under Canadian Grain Commission and Votes 1, 5 and 10 under Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food”.

Canadian Heritage  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the sixth report of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, entitled “Main Estimates 2023-24”.

Public Accounts  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 28th report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts entitled “Main Estimates 2023-24”.

[English]

    I wish to thank the Auditor General of Canada for appearing, as well as her team, and thank as well all committee members, the clerk, our analysts and all the other support we had to get this done.

Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 10th report of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, entitled “Main Estimates 2023-2024”.

Procedure and House Affairs  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the report from the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. We are excited to send you the 42nd report, entitled “Report on the Report of the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for the Province of British Columbia, 2022”.

  (1630)  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise on behalf of the Conservative members of the procedure and House affairs committee to table a dissenting report to the main report of the committee with respect to redistribution for the Province of British Columbia.
    Conservative members on the committee respect the work of the electoral boundaries commission, which consulted broadly, and therefore we oppose many of the objections; however, we do ask the commission to respectfully consider in a favourable light the objection of the member for South Surrey—White Rock to move Lantzville into Nanaimo—Ladysmith as well as to favourably consider the name changes proposed by the member for Kelowna—Lake Country and the member for Langley—Aldergrove
    Mr. Speaker, the procedure and House affairs committee has been very busy, so I also have the honour to present, in both official languages, three other reports from the—
    The hon. member for Mégantic—L'Érable is rising on a point of order.

[Translation]

Points of Order

Decorum  

[Points of Order]
    Mr. Speaker, I think you noticed that the member is wearing a T-shirt with very obvious connotations. Promoting any cause at all in the House is inappropriate. It is not a scarf, or something minor. I would ask for your opinion on this situation.

[English]

    What I will say on this one is that we are not supposed to be wearing things that say something on them, that have writing on them. I know the hon. member is wearing something from Easter Seals; I will let her complete her report, but I will remind all members to be more judicious in what they are wearing in the chamber.
    The hon. member for Waterloo.
    Mr. Speaker, I am not surprised it would be a Conservative member who would be concerned with people living with disabilities or telling a woman what to wear.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the problem is not the slogan on the T-shirt, but the T-shirt itself. Just as a man cannot rise without wearing a tie, it is inappropriate for a member to be wearing a T-shirt when rising to speak in the House. A certain level of respect is necessary in the House. I really do not appreciate the comment that the member just made about a simple dress-related rule in the House and the rules that we all have to follow to maintain decorum in the House.
    A number of members wish to speak to this, so I will give the floor to the House leaders of each party.
    The hon. member for La Prairie.
    Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois follows the rules to the letter. I think we are grown-up enough to abide by the rules. I would ask the Speaker to enforce the rules that are clear in this case.

[English]

    The hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader is rising on the same point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, I think you made the right call when you indicated some discretion. This is much like what was done earlier today. The Speaker called for a vote, and a member stood up who was not wearing a tie; the member was still allowed to have his vote counted. I support what you have implied, which is that the member should be able to finish what she had to say, and you made a very clear statement on the issue.
    The hon. member for New Westminster—Burnaby.
    Mr. Speaker, your ruling was clear. There is discretion in this House; all members abide by it. I do not see how anyone could object to accessibility and inclusion in the House of Commons.

  (1635)  

    The hon. member for New Brunswick Southwest.
    Mr. Speaker, I think your ruling was judicious; unfortunately, the member could not leave well enough alone and decided to take a shot on this side. That is the problem. Because of that, I actually think you should now enforce the rules of this place, which is that one does not make statements in this House when one is not appropriately dressed. There would be problems from that side if I came in wearing an “I love Alberta oil” or “I support agriculture” shirt. Therefore, I think this member should not be permitted to finish because she did not respect your ruling, which was to continue. She had to take a gratuitous shot at the opposition for trying to work with the system and uphold the rules of this place, which we should all be trying to do.
    The hon. member for Timmins—James Bay.
    Mr. Speaker, I was wondering whether you would have raised a question about a T-shirt, but you did not, and the opposition did not, so it was understood that this was going to happen. I am not sure whether we are dealing with our colleagues on the Conservatives' side being special snowflakes and feeling hurt and now wanting to shut down a voice. My question is about the colour red. I was actually very concerned; I thought that might be a Liberal colour. Since some of the Conservatives are wearing red too, should we rule on colour today? Is it the fact that it is a positive message of inclusion, or are we concerned that the Conservatives are feeling hurt once again?
    Again, the rule is more about slogans and props. They all fit in the same group of rules. If everyone would like to indulge me, I would be more than happy to read some of the rules, and then we will go back to the order.
    Chapter 13, the “Rules of Order and Decorum”, on page 611, reads:
    While the Standing Orders do not prescribe a dress code for Members participating in debate, Speakers have ruled that all Members desiring to be recognized to speak at any point during the proceedings of the House must be wearing contemporary business attire. Current practice requires that male Members wear jackets, shirts and ties. Clerical collars have been allowed, although ascots and turtlenecks have been ruled inappropriate for male Members participating in debate. The Chair has stated that wearing a kilt is permissible on certain occasions (for example, Robert Burns Day). Members of the House who are in the armed forces have been permitted to wear their uniforms in the House. Although there is no notation to this effect in the Journals or in the Debates, a newly elected Member introduced in the House in 2005 wore traditional Métis dress...on that occasion without objection from the Chair.
    In certain circumstances, usually for medical reasons, the Chair has allowed a relaxation of the dress standards permitting, for example, a Member whose arm was in a cast to wear a sweater in the House instead of a jacket.
    The other point I want to make is on what I said about slogans and/or props. It goes on to say:
    Speakers have consistently ruled that visual displays or demonstrations of any kind used by Members to illustrate their remarks or emphasize their positions are out of order. Similarly, props of any kind have always been found to be unacceptable in the Chamber. Members may hold notes in their hands, but they will be interrupted and reprimanded by the Speaker if they use papers, documents or other objects to illustrate their remarks.
    The point I am trying to make here is simply that we need to be judicious in what we are wearing. I am going to allow it, but I would caution the member on the retort back. That is what caused this to happen this afternoon.
    I will recognize the hon. member for Waterloo. Let us get reports from committees done, and let us just be judicious in the future on the wearing of T-shirts with slogans in the House.
    The hon. member for Waterloo has the floor.

Committees of the House

Procedure and House Affairs  

[Routine Proceedings]
    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the following reports from the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs: the 43rd report, in relation to its study of the main estimates for the fiscal year 2023-24; the 44th report, in relation to the motion adopted by the committee on Thursday, May 25, regarding the study on foreign election interference; and the 45th report, requesting a further extension of eight sitting days to consider the 2022 report of the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for Ontario.
    If the House gives its consent, I intend to move concurrence in the 45th report later this day.

  (1640)  

Criminal Code

    She said: Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to table my private member's bill on publication bans this afternoon. This bill is an act to amend the Criminal Code, the Judges Act and the Director of Public Prosecutions Act to better support survivors of sexualized violence.
    Tabling this bill was made possible by the phenomenal work of My Voice, My Choice, a group of women who courageously advocated to make sure that other survivors have a choice when it comes to publication bans. Currently, there is no obligation to get consent from victim complainants when a ban has been placed on their name, and if they choose to speak out about their own experiences, they can face criminal charges. This is appalling, and I strongly believe that, as MPs, we have a responsibility to reform these systems.
    I know that Bill S-12 was recently introduced in the Senate, which I was very happy to see. However, there are gaps in this government bill. I look forward to working with MPs from all parties when it comes to the House to make it better. I hope that my bill can act as an example of how Bill S-12 can and must be strengthened, to ensure that all survivors are given a choice.

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

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order.
    I would just like some clarification about your decision earlier on wearing a T-shirt. I know that you cited the Standing Orders, but I would like it to be clear. This is how I interpret your decision. If a member decides to come to the House wearing a T-shirt with a slogan, speaks on a topic and the Chair or another member intervenes to raise the matter, the Chair will tell the member that they can finish their comments, but must dress in the future in accordance with the Standing Orders.
    Tomorrow morning, if I arrive in the House in a T-shirt that reads “Vive le Québec libre”, I would be able to finish my comments, but my dress must be in accordance with the Standing Orders for my next intervention. I would just like to clarify that that is how things will work in the future. In the Bloc Québécois, we have always wanted the Standing Orders to be enforced and for things to be clear. We have always wanted the government to respect the Canadian Constitution, even though we do not like it.
    I think I made that clear. I allowed the rules to be bent this one time in the interest of getting through Routine Proceedings, but let us just say it will not happen again.

[English]

    I believe that if we want to talk about what we are wearing in the chamber, I would invite the caucuses to maybe put a motion on the floor so that the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs can look at it. It is not something we can be deciding on the floor.
    In the future, I would suggest that we do not wear T-shirts with slogans on them in the House.
    Mr. Speaker, if the House gives its consent, I move that the 45th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs—
    The hon. member for La Prairie is rising on a point of order.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the last time, you allowed the member to complete her speech even though she was in breach of the Standing Orders of the House. That was clearly explained in the remarks you read. Now, she is rising wearing the same T-shirt and you have just told my colleague that you would not allow that in the future. This is the future. Now, she is rising wearing the same T-shirt. I am sorry, but at some point, there are limits. Could you enforce the standing order that you read and that is extremely clear? She is obviously in breach of the Standing Orders. It was fine earlier, but this is not earlier, this is now.

  (1645)  

[English]

    The hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader is rising on a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, again, because I know there are certain members who are listening this time around, I will just repeat what I had indicated earlier. We saw the Speaker make a ruling, inadvertently, by allowing a member to stand for the introduction of a vote on a bill not wearing a tie and then, in your ruling, you used discretion in this situation.
    My understanding was that it was just so that we can get through the rubric. It is a one-time issue where we saw something earlier in a vote, and it is not something that is going to be accepted going forward because you are giving a detailed explanation.
    That was my understanding, so I would suggest that we just continue to get through the rubric. Members on all sides of the House have taken note of what you have said, and I am sure that the respective whips will make sure that it is reinforced in caucuses.

Petitions

Hazaras  

    Mr. Speaker, it is truly a great honour for me to present a petition today on behalf of the Canadian Hazara advocacy group. This is a group with members from across the country, from coast to coast, and they are particularly concerned about the persecution that the Taliban is subjecting members of the Hazara community in Afghanistan to. It is well recorded that there are many atrocities going on. Members of the Hazara community in Canada have come together and put their shoulders to the wheel to make sure that we are fully aware of this and that we do everything we can possibly do.
    It is important to point out that other Parliaments and municipalities have taken note of this and recognize full well that we should stand up and stand with all members of the Hazara community. In this particular case, the petitioners are rightly asking us to support an investigation by the Human Rights Council of the UN into the serial atrocities that are going on against the Hazaras. In addition, they request that we substantially increase visas for Hazaras seeking asylum in Canada through special immigration programs.
    It is a great honour to present this petition, and I would remind all members how incredibly important it is that we continue to pay attention and continue to stand up for members of the Hazara community.

Justice  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise for the fifth time on behalf of the people of Swan River, Manitoba, to present a petition on the rising rate of crime. The people of Swan River are demanding that the Liberal government repeal its soft-on-crime policies, which have fuelled the surge in crime throughout the rural community.
    The crime severity index in the rural town of 4,000 has increased by over 50% from just five years ago. What was once a safe community has now turned into a place where people fear for their lives; this is because the government's catch-and-release policies have allowed violent repeat offenders to be out on bail instead of in jail. The people of Swan River demand that the Liberal government repeal its soft-on-crime policies, which directly threaten their livelihoods and community.
    I fully support the good people of Swan River.

Questions on the Order Paper

    Mr. Speaker, the following questions will be answered today: Nos. 1387 to 1391, 1394 and 1398.

[Text]

Question No. 1387—
Mr. Blake Desjarlais:
    With regard to notifications for environmental emergencies in the province of Alberta, broken down by calendar year since 2020: (a) what is the number of environmental occurrences that took place as defined in the Canada-Alberta Environmental Occurrences Notification Agreement; (b) what is the total number of occurrences that were officially reported; and (c) what are the details of all environmental occurrences in (a), including the (i) location, (ii) deleterious substances involved, (iii) date of the first notification?
Hon. Steven Guilbeault (Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to part (a), Environment and Climate Change Canada, ECCC, can only report on the number of environmental occurrences that were reported to the National Environmental Emergencies Centre by Alberta. For the calendar years 2020, 2021 and 2022, Alberta notified ECCC of a total of 4175 environmental occurrences.
    With regard to part (b), for the calendar years 2020, 2021 and 2022, Alberta notified ECCC of 4175 environmental occurrences.
    With regard to part (c), for details on the notifications of environmental occurrences reported to ECCC by Alberta, ECCC would need a significant amount of time to extract a report that would organize all of the calls, exclude sensitive and personal information and provide the details of all notifications by location. ECCC concluded that producing and validating a comprehensive response to this question is not possible in the time allotted and could lead to the disclosure of incomplete and misleading information.
    Further information can be found at: www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/environmental-emergencies-program.html
Question No. 1388—
Ms. Christine Normandin:
    With regard to BGRS, which is handling the Canadian Armed Forces’ (CAF) relocation program: (a) on what date was the contract awarded to BGRS; (b) what firm was responsible for the relocation program prior to BGRS; (c) was the contract awarded to BGRS as a result of the expiry of the previous contract with that firm; (d) if the answer in (c) is negative, why was there a change in the firm responsible for the program; (e) was the contract awarded by mutual agreement or through a competitive bidding process; (f) how many compensation awards to CAF members in connection with their relocation have been subsequently claimed retroactively or cancelled (i) since the start of the contract with BGRS, (ii) for the duration of the contract with the firm that preceded BGRS, broken down by year; (g) how many complaints have been received regarding file management (i) since the start of the contract with BGRS, (ii) by the firm that preceded BGRS, broken down by year; and (h) what is the ratio of the number of complaints per number of files handled (i) since the contract was awarded to BGRS, (ii) by the firm that preceded BGRS, broken down by year?
Mr. Bryan May (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to part (a), the current contract for the Canadian Armed Forces, CAF, relocation program was awarded to Brookfield Global Relocation Services, BGRS, on August 25, 2016.
    With regard to part (b), BGRS was previously awarded the contract for the relocation program on August 14, 2009.
    With regard to parts (c) to (e), the contract was retendered on expiry in a competitive bidding process.
    With regard to part (f), National Defence, and not BGRS, approves reimbursement or recovery of all or part of the expenses reasonably incurred that are directly related to the member’s relocation.
    Since the start of the current contract on August 25, 2016, there were 3285 instances where funds were recovered by National Defence from CAF members. This total includes recoveries from CAF members who requested and received advances in excess of what they claimed, as well as those who received benefits and then upon additional review had the benefit adjusted or cancelled. Further details on funds recovered prior to this time period would require an extensive manual search of paper records, which could not be completed in the allotted time.
    With regard to parts (g) and (h), CAF members typically submit complaints to National Defence when they feel they were denied a financial benefit resulting from a decision or omission within the policy itself and not regarding the process or the file management, i.e., with BGRS. Further information on relevant policies can be found in the Canadian Armed Forces relocation directive at the following link: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-national-defence/corporate/policies-standards/relocation-directive/cafrd.html.
    Since August 25, 2016 there have been 73,978 files, i.e., individual moves initiated. Isolating the requested data would require an extensive manual search, which cannot be completed in the allotted time.
    Ultimately, National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces recognize the challenges that members and their families face when relocating, and seek to address any grievances in a timely manner.
Question No. 1389—
Mr. Michael D. Chong:
    With regard to planned defence spending by the government: what will Canada's level of defence spending be as a percentage of gross domestic product, broken down by year for each of the next five fiscal years?
Mr. Bryan May (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, National Defence remains committed to maintaining the defence budget increases set out in Canada’s defence policy, “Strong, Secure, Engaged”. These investments will increase the total National Defence budget from $18.9 billion in 2016-17 to $32.7 billion by 2026-27, an increase of more than 70%.
    This is an ongoing process and figures on planned spending continue to be refined. Indeed, at any given time, projected calculations can fluctuate based on changes in defence investments, capabilities and needs. Further, Canada’s defence spending and procurement will be based on threat analyses and assessments of needs.
    Annual reports on defence expenditures of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, NATO, countries, including Canada, are published in March of each year, and can be found at the following link: NATO - News: Defence expenditure of NATO countries (2014-2022), 21-Mar.-2023.
    Finally, as announced in budget 2022, National Defence is undertaking a review of its defence policy, which will include considerations for defence spending.
Question No. 1390—
Ms. Michelle Rempel Garner:
    With regard to sexual assault, physical assault or harassment complaints filed by those abiding by the government’s hotel quarantine measures since March 1, 2020: (a) how many sexual assaults, physical assaults or harassment complaints have been filed, broken down by type of complaint; (b) how many of the complaints in (a) resulted in criminal charges; (c) how many sexual assaults, physical assaults or harassment complaints have been filed against quarantine screening and enforcement officers during regular visits, broken down by type of complaint; (d) how many of the complaints in (c) resulted in criminal charges; (e) has the government made any payments related to legal or settlement fees related to harassment or assaults related to government quarantine measures, and, if so, how many payments have been made and how much has been paid out; (f) how many complaints have been filed related to quarantine officers inappropriately demanding cash payments from those under restrictions; (g) for any complaints filed in (f), was any disciplinary action taken against the quarantine officers, and, if so, how many officers were disciplined, broken down by type of disciplinary measure; and (h) did the government conduct a gender-based analysis of its quarantine measures and programs before implementation, and, if so, what were the findings and details of the analysis, including whether (i) vulnerability due to confinement and authority of the officer was assessed, (ii) evaluations of any private security firms hired were conducted with respect to safety, (iii) other measures were considered, in order to ensure the safety of those under government restrictions?
Mr. Adam van Koeverden (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health and to the Minister of Sport, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to part (a), the Public Health Agency of Canada, PHAC, is aware of two sexual assault complaints filed by travellers while abiding by the government’s hotel quarantine measures since March 1, 2020. Further information is provided below in the response to part (b).
    With regard to part (b), the following two complaints resulted in criminal charges. In February 2021, an individual was charged by local police with sexual assault, break and enter, and harassment at the Sheraton Montreal designated quarantine facility, DQF. The victim was a quarantined traveller.
    In May 2021, a hotel employee within the housekeeping department at a Toronto government authorized accommodation, GAA, was arrested and received one charge of sexual assault. The victim was a traveller staying at the hotel. The hotel is no longer using the services of this employee.
    With regard to parts (c) and (d), there are no sexual assault, physical assault or harassment complaints filed against quarantine screening and enforcement officers in relation to travellers who have stayed at a DQF or GAA.
    With regard to part (e), the government has not made any payments related to legal or settlement fees related to harassment or assaults related to government quarantine measures.
    With regard to parts (f) and (g), there have been no complaints filed related to quarantine officers inappropriately demanding cash payments from those under restrictions.
    With regard to part (h), notwithstanding the fact that emergency orders issued under section 58 of the Quarantine Act are not subject to the cabinet directive on regulations or the requirement to conduct a gender-based analysis plus, GBA+, analysis, PHAC did conduct a GBA+ analysis to inform the development of border measures, including DQFs, and continued to make necessary adjustments to these programs throughout the pandemic response.
    To ensure the health and safety of all personnel and travellers, contracts were established to provide security services 24 hours per day, seven days a week at the DQFs. Security service providers were required to have a reliability security clearance or equivalent. In addition, all personnel were required to complete mandatory specialized training to support the provision of quarantine services. The enhanced training provided them with skills, including how to de-escalate critical situations, improve communication between travellers and hotel personnel, and improve the capacity to respond to the needs of diverse populations.
    GBA+ factors were considered during the development of the programs. Unforeseen impacts on diverse and vulnerable groups were continually addressed throughout operations, including by quarantine officers who, as nurses, have professional training and follow duty of care standards when interacting with vulnerable populations under their professional designation.
    These considerations were factored into programming, including accommodating different religious dietary needs, e.g., halal and kosher; ensuring that materials were available in a variety of languages; and instructing quarantine officers to consider a broad range of factors, e.g., medical requirements, families travelling together, unaccompanied minors, etc., at the border, as well as the need for alternative quarantine options.
Question No. 1391—
Mr. Michael Kram:
    With regard to the budget 2022 announcement of $539.3 million for the National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence, broken down by province and territory, and by organization: what is the amount of funds (i) committed, (ii) allocated but not distributed?
Ms. Jenna Sudds (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, the amount of $539.3 million over five years, starting in 2022-23, is to enable provinces and territories to supplement and enhance services and supports within their jurisdictions to prevent gender-based violence and support survivors.
    With regard to parts (i) and (ii), budget 2022 funding is being provided directly to provinces and territories through negotiated bilateral funding agreements. Once the bilateral funding agreements are established with the provinces and territories, the funding amounts will be made publicly available.
Question No. 1394—
Ms. Niki Ashton:
    With regard to the government's commitment to close the infrastructure gap on First Nations by 2030: (a) what metrics is the government using to measure the progress on meeting this commitment; (b) has the government made any assessments on whether it is on track to reach this commitment; and (c) what year does Indigenous Services Canada expect the infrastructure gap will be closed, and what is the current level of progress based on the metrics in (a)?
Mr. Vance Badawey (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indigenous Services, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to part (a), infrastructure investments are a key element of the government's commitment to foster the growth of safe, healthy and prosperous indigenous communities and support indigenous economic participation. Infrastructure needs of first nations communities are always evolving, whether due to changing population and demographics, adapting to climate change, or changes in technology. ISC is committed to working with first nations partners to determine the scope and scale of the infrastructure gap, and identify ways to close this gap, based on first nations needs and priorities.
    In 2022, on-reserve first nations communities were asked to identify and prioritize their housing and infrastructure needs in comprehensive fashion though a community infrastructure needs engagement. In British Columbia, the First Nations Health Authority was engaged on health-related infrastructure assets. A total of 405 communities, representing 72% of on-reserve first nations communities across Canada, provided these surveys to ISC, as of April 24, 2023. ISC has committed to provide additional capacity support in 2023 to the Chiefs of Ontario, to work directly with Ontario first nations that have not yet provided input to this survey. As such, ISC cannot yet provide a final report on this exercise; however, it expects that a comprehensive estimate of the first nations infrastructure gap will be available in 2023.
    In 2023-24, in order to better respond to fire suppression needs and to measure progress, ISC began collecting annual data from first nations communities on fire incidents, what type, or types, of fire suppression services are available in the community, and what education and prevention programs are being delivered.
    Through its departmental results framework, ISC has identified a number of indicators to measure progress made to close infrastructure gaps in first nations. For example, in 2023-24, the departmental result “Indigenous communities have sustainable land management and infrastructure” will be measured, in part, by the following indicators: percentage of first nations housing that is adequate as assessed and reported by first nations; percentage of on-reserve public water systems financially supported by ISC that have low risk ratings; percentage of on-reserve public wastewater systems financially supported by ISC that have low risk ratings; percentage of on-reserve ISC funded other community infrastructure assets with a condition rating of "good" or "new"; percentage of on-reserve education facilities with a condition rating of "good" or "new"; and percentage of on-reserve health facilities with a condition rating of "good" or "new".
    ISC will report publicly on progress made against these indicators in its Departmental Results Report.
    The department is also exploring alternative approaches to reform how it funds and delivers infrastructure programming, to provide first nations with a more fulsome suite of financing options, comparable to non-indigenous communities, to better support first nations in prioritizing, building and maintaining infrastructure assets in their communities. To that end, the department continues to engage with first nations communities to seek their views, including on results reporting.
    With regard to part (b), as noted in part (a), ISC continues to work with first nations to determine the scope and scale of the infrastructure gap, and therefore, reporting against it is not yet feasible. While more work needs to be done, since 2016 and as of December 31, 2022, $8.49 billion, excluding operating expenses, of ISC targeted infrastructure funding for first nations on reserve has been invested toward 8,206 projects, and 4,996 of them are complete. A further $8.43 billion will be invested before 2031-32.
    With regard to part (c), closing the infrastructure gap on reserve is a whole-of-government commitment. Once the initial needs-based infrastructure and housing surveys are completed, ISC will continue to work directly with first nations and other federal organizations that invest in first nations infrastructure, e.g., Infrastructure Canada and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, to identify what further measures and investments may be required to close the infrastructure gap by 2030.
Question No. 1398—
Mr. Garnett Genuis:
    With regard to gender parity amongst ministerial exempt staff, as of April 13, 2023: (a) how many chiefs of staff for ministers are identified as (i) male, (ii) female, (iii) neither; (b) how many directors of policy for ministers are identified as (i) male, (ii) female, (iii) neither; (c) how many directors of communications for ministers are identified as (i) male, (ii) female, (iii) neither, and (d) how many political exempt staff in general are identified as (i) male, (ii) female, (iii) neither?
Hon. Greg Fergus (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the President of the Treasury Board), Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, this government is steadfast in its commitment to gender equality. Since 2015, the Prime Minister has led a cabinet with gender parity. While a comprehensive response cannot be completed in the time allotted, across government, ministerial exempt staff reflect the diversity of Canada. Currently, across ministers’ offices, the gender balance for chiefs of staff, directors of policy and directors of communication is between 40% and 50%. Further information on ministerial exempt staff can also be found through the GC directory.

[English]

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns

    Mr. Speaker, if the government's responses to Questions Nos. 1386, 1392, 1393 and 1395 to 1397 could be made orders for return, these returns would be tabled immediately.
    Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

[Text]

Question No. 1386—
Mr. Blake Desjarlais:
    With regard to individuals removed from Canada by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, broken down by province or territory and fiscal year since 2015-16: (a) what is the total number of removal orders issued as (i) departure, (ii) exclusion, (iii) deportation, orders; (b) what are the total expenses paid by the CBSA for the removal of individuals from Canada that were expected to be repaid by the individuals; and (c) of the expenses in (b), what is the total amount that has been recuperated, reflected as a dollar amount and a percentage?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1392—
Mr. Philip Lawrence:
    With regard to tax revenues collected by the Government of Canada: (a) how much does the government collect in tobacco taxes annually; (b) what is the amount of federal tax revenue that is lost annually from the sale of illegal, untaxed tobacco; (c) how does the government track and monitor the sale of illegal, untaxed tobacco in Canada; (d) what resources are presently committed by the government to eliminate contraband tobacco from the market and recoup lost tax revenues resulting from the sale of these products; and (e) are there any plans for the federal government to refresh or re-assess the RCMP’s Contraband Tobacco Enforcement Strategy, which was created 15 years ago?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1393—
Ms. Michelle Rempel Garner:
    With regard to the government’s commitment to provide free menstrual products in federally regulated workplaces, since January 1, 2019: (a) how many consultations has the government held on this policy; (b) how many stakeholders has the government consulted with on this policy; (c) what are the details of the consultations, including, for each consultation, the (i) names of organizations consulted, (ii) date, (iii) outcome, recommendation, or feedback; (d) what is the total cost of all consultations which have occurred to date; (e) what is the breakdown of (d) by date and line item; (f) have any outside consultants or service providers been involved in the development of this policy and any related consultations, and, if so, what are the details of each consultant or service provider's involvement, including the (i) name of the individual or firm, (ii) contract value, (iii) date of the contract, (iv) description of the goods or services provided; (g) what are all specific concerns that have been raised to date in the consultations; (h) how many government employees or full-time equivalents have worked on the consultations; (i) what are the travel costs associated with the consultations incurred to date (i) in total, (ii) broken down by year and type of expense; (j) what costs associated with the development of the government report “What We Heard: Proposal on the Provision of Menstrual Products in Federally Regulated Workplaces” have been incurred to date, (i) in total, (ii) broken down by type of expense; and (k) what is the current status of this policy proposal?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1395—
Ms. Niki Ashton:
    With regard to government settlements on class action suits involving First Nations, since 2015: (a) how many have been administered or monitored (i) by private firms like Deloitte, (ii) through the federal public service; (b) how is the decision made on whether a settlement is administered by the federal public service or a private firm; (c) what is the process for an individual to file and seek resolution to a complaint that a recipient did not receive the appropriate amount from a settlement; (d) how many complaints have been made relating to a recipient of a class action lawsuit not receiving the appropriate amount, broken down by year; (e) how many of the complaints in (d) have resulted in a change in the amount the recipient received; (f) what is the total dollar amount of the changes in amounts received in (e); (g) what is the dollar amount of these settlements, broken down by year and organization responsible for administering the settlement; and (h) what is the dollar value paid to each firm in (a)(i) for the purpose of administering or monitoring each settlement?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1396—
Ms. Niki Ashton:
    With regard to government contracts with nursing agencies to serve rural and remote Indigenous communities, broken down by fiscal year, since 2011-12: (a) what is the total number of contracts signed; (b) what are the details of all contracts signed, including the (i) nursing agency contracted, (ii) value of the contract, (iii) number of nurses provided, (iv) duration of the contract; and (c) what is the total amount of extra costs incurred as a result of relying on nursing agencies instead of employing nurses directly?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1397—
Ms. Niki Ashton:
    With regard to funding of flood mitigation activities: (a) in Northern Manitoba, what is the current amount of money dedicated to flood mitigation efforts by the federal government; (b) in Northern Manitoba, how much money was dedicated to preventative flooding measures, since September 1, 2021; (c) in Northern Manitoba, how much money was dispensed since September 2021; (d) in Northern Manitoba, what companies or organizations are tasked with managing the implementation of flood lines; (e) what are the expected areas to be flooded if 100 mm and 150 mm of rain were to fall around the Northern Red River area; (f) how much money is currently dedicated to Northern Indigenous Communities and First Nations for flood preventions across Canada; (g) how much money is dedicated to reactive versus preventive funds in (i) all of Canada, broken down by province, (ii) Northern Manitoba; and (h) broken down by year, how many people were displaced or have permanently moved away due to flooding in Northern Manitoba in the past five years?
    (Return tabled)

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I would ask that the remaining questions be allowed to stand at this time.
    Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

Motions for Papers

    Mr. Speaker, I would ask that all notices of motions for the production of papers also be allowed to stand.
    The Deputy Speaker: Agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

  (1650)  

[Translation]

    The hon. member for Shefford on a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind members about the interpreters' hearing. They mentioned that there were cellphones near the microphones, creating a risk of interference. Out of respect for those who are interpreting, I would like for the members to be reminded to please be careful.
    That is a good recommendation, and something I mention quite often.
    I would remind hon. members to put their cellphones on their chairs or in their pockets, away from the microphones on the desks.

[English]

    The hon. member for Waterloo is rising on a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, the procedure and House affairs committee tabled a series of reports today. We had requested an extension to June 9, and we are getting through that work. However, I am requesting that the 45th report, which was provided earlier this day, be concurred in.
    All those opposed to the hon. member's moving the motion will please say nay.
    An hon. member: Nay.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[English]

Canada Business Corporations Act

    The House resumed from April 28 consideration of the motion that Bill C-42, An Act to amend the Canada Business Corporations Act and to make consequential and related amendments to other Acts, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    Mr. Speaker, I am here today to talk about Bill C-42, an act to amend the Canada Business Corporations Act, to create a beneficial ownership registry to combat money laundering.
    I have the honour today of sharing my time with my friend and colleague, the member for North Okanagan—Shuswap.
    Canada has a big problem with money laundering, and nowhere is that more evident than in metro Vancouver where my community of Langley—Aldergrove is located. Now, this is well known around the world. People have given Canada's very accessible money laundering streams a special name. They call it “snow washing”.
    Generally speaking, Canada is known to have a stable government and economy, and to be a safe place to invest, so honest people make assumptions that money coming from or going to Canadian-registered corporations must be legitimate, but sadly that is not always the case. We need to work hard to maintain that favourable impression that the world has of us. It is easy to ruin one's reputation. That is sadly what is happening.
     According to a 2017 analysis by Transparency International, Canada is tied with South Korea for the weakest corporate transparency rules among G20 nations. That is why I welcome this legislation, Bill C-42, which is going to create a beneficial shareholder register so that crooks cannot hide behind a veil of secrecy, complexity and confusion. We want things to be transparent. We want to know who owns what.
    B.C. has been taking the lead in building transparency rules to combat money laundering. In March 2019, in a report entitled “Combatting Money Laundering in BC Real Estate”, an expert panel appointed by the B.C. government had this to say about the problem of money laundering. It focuses on British Columbia, but of course it applies right across the country. It reads:
    Money laundering significantly damages our society and causes ongoing harm, not limited to the real estate sector or other economic sectors. Money laundering is a contagious, corrupting influence on society...It facilitates other criminal activities, contributing in particular to drug trafficking and the violent crime and opioid deaths that result, as is sadly so evident in [British Columbia].
    The report goes on to say that, given the secret nature of money laundering, it is very difficult to estimate how much damage it is doing to our economy, but they do estimate that somewhere around $50 billion in dirty money is pumped into our national economy every year. This activity is estimated at 5% of real estate prices in British Columbia, feeding into the housing unaffordability crisis.
    The expert panel recommended several anti-money laundering tools, starting with implementing a land ownership transparency register, which is in effect at the moment in British Columbia. They were of the opinion that transparency in real estate would be the single most effective tool in the anti-money laundering arsenal, but they also acknowledge that money laundering touches on more than just real estate transactions.
    I think it is informative to understand what money laundering is. It is effectively the process of making illegally gained proceeds appear to be legitimate. These proceeds can come from monstrous activities like fentanyl trafficking, for example, but sometimes it is much less nefarious than that. For example, it could be legally earned and obtained money which has been brought illegally into Canada by evading the originating country's arbitrary capital controls.
    All of this activity is illegal. Actors become very creative in hiding their trails by creating layers of complexity, but it all follows the same basic process. It is usually done in three phases: first of all, placement; second, layering and third, integration.

  (1655)  

    Placement is the introduction of cash into the legitimate payment system. Layering is conducting multiple levels of complexity for no purpose other than to hide the paper trail. Integration is working the money back into the legal system. Money properly laundered, and I use the term loosely, can be very difficult to trace.
    One of the layering tools that professionals like to use is secret trusts. This is where somebody owns something, but that is the front person. They are the registered owner, but they are not the real owner. They are holding it in trust for somebody who is working in the shadows. The real owner is invisible to law enforcement agencies.
    Today we are talking about amendments to the Canada Business Corporations Act to create a share ownership transparency register to eliminate this layering tool that professionals like to use. How can this be beneficial? Let us take a look at what some provinces have done.
    British Columbia is really taking the lead. It bears to note that every province in Canada has its own corporate registry, as there is a federal registry, so it is very important that the provinces and the federal government work together. There needs to be a pan-Canadian approach. Otherwise, we would be encouraging forum shopping among professional crooks. They are going to go to the province with the most relaxed and most permissive laws. I am happy to say that Bill C-42 at least attempts to tackle that.
    British Columbia has implemented a requirement that all British Columbia-registered companies keep a beneficial owners register at their corporate records office. This is an early version of a beneficial shareholder register and it is a good start, but it is not enough, and that is recognized. It is not a very useful tool for law enforcement because it does not allow law enforcement agencies to work undercover. The register is not free. It is not publicly accessible. It is not centralized, and it is too bureaucratic. It is also too difficult for law enforcement agencies to use and therefore it needs to be amended.
     I am happy to say that is in the works. By 2025, there should be a centralized register in British Columbia that is readily searchable by law enforcement agents without the police coming to the registered office and saying they want to see their corporate records, which gives too much notice to the crooks. Quebec and Ontario are following a trajectory similar to British Columbia's.
     The United Kingdom is really taking the lead with its people with significant control register for all registered companies in that country. It is free, and it is publicly accessible, but so far it is presenting only mixed results in being an effective tool for law enforcement. Bill C-42 needs to go past second reading to go to committee, where it needs to be studied in detail. I hope that we would have witnesses coming from United Kingdom to tell us what is good about their system and what is lacking so we can learn from their successes and their mistakes.
    Bill C-42 is the federal government's attempt to tackle money laundering, tax evasion and other illegal activity. The minister, in his speech when he introduced this legislation, said, “Simply put, increasing beneficial ownership transparency will enhance Canada's good international reputation as a safe, fair and competitive place to do business and provide even greater legitimacy to law-abiding Canadian businesses.” Those are all very laudable objectives, which I support.
     This bill should go to committee where it could be studied in detail. I will be looking there for efficiencies and effectiveness, and how adaptable it would be so that provinces can adopt it as well. As I said, the solution needs to be pan-Canadian.

  (1700)  

    It is my duty, pursuant to Standing Order 38, to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, Democratic Institutions; the hon. member for North Okanagan—Shuswap, Carbon Pricing; and the hon. member for Spadina—Fort York, Democratic Institutions.
    Mr. Speaker, I concur with the member in that there are a number of issues related to money laundering and the impact it has on Canadian society, in many different ways. One could talk about that very strong criminal element and how it gets into our communities. Therefore, it is an issue that needs to be dealt with. I am glad to hear that the member is anxious to see the bill go to committee.
    Does the member or the Conservative Party already have a sense at this time of some amendments they would be proposing, or are they going to wait until committee stage?
    Mr. Speaker, ultimately, we will be waiting to see what comes up at committee and what the study will be, but a couple of things come to mind.
    One is that this system has to be efficient. It cannot be overly bureaucratic. Before I was elected to Parliament, I was practising corporate law. I was talking to my law partners the other day, and they were saying that the rules are just too complicated, making it time-consuming and expensive, as the costs are passed on to their clients, so I will be looking for efficiency.
    Also, my understanding is that the threshold for having to register someone as a beneficial owner is 25%. I suspect that is too high. It probably has to be a lower number, like 10%.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, Bill C‑42 is unquestionably an important step forward in terms of greater transparency and in knowing who really owns businesses registered in Canada. However, there are limits to that. Perhaps my colleague could speak about that.
    For instance, if a company registered in Barbados, in a tax haven or in any other country in which the laws do not require the same transparency around the beneficial ownership of businesses, transparency ends when there is no transparency. If the business is held in a location where there is no transparency, that ultimately limits the possibility of obtaining all the information.
    Does my colleague have any ideas about what could be done to resolve this problem in the future?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the member's question underlines how complicated it can be to tackle the problem of money laundering.
    If I understand the question correctly, it relates to money coming into Canada from a foreign corporation that is registered, let us say, in Barbados, which maybe does not have the same transparency rules that we have. However, we have FINTRAC rules, so the money coming in would have to go into a bank, and if it were over a certain amount, the bank would be required to report it according to the FINTRAC rules. It is probably not enough, but we do have something, and this bill is another step in the right direction.

  (1705)  

    Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to my colleague. The issue with money laundering is severe in Canada. There is an international expression called “snow washing” because Canada is known as a jurisdiction to dump dirty money from the drug cartels, terror gangs, and all kinds of illicit activity. It can be moved through casinos to be cleaned. It is also being used to purchase real estate.
    This issue is concerning. We know that, in 2018, there was $47 billion of illicit money snow washed in Canada, and it could have been as high as $100 billion, which has an impact on affordability. People cannot afford to buy in the real estate markets of Vancouver, Toronto or Montreal because they are being used as safe zones to hold money.
     Does my hon. colleague think we should look at the impact of snow washing and using Canadian real estate as a zone to clean money that should actually be exposed as dirty money, given the fact that people cannot even afford to live in the cities they love?
    Mr. Speaker, that is a good question. It goes right to the very heart of what the problem is and what this bill is trying to tackle and remedy.
    I agree with the member's analysis that snow washing and pumping money into the Canadian economy is forcing up real estate prices for the people who want to get into a home. We already have a housing affordability crisis. This is making it so much worse, and it needs to be tackled. It is a complex problem, and the solution will be multi-faceted. Bill C-42 is a step in the right direction. We need to deliver this for Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today as the member for North Okanagan—Shuswap, one of the most beautiful areas in the world at any time of year, and especially as we turn from spring to summer.
    I rise today to speak to Bill C-42, an act to amend the Canada Business Corporations Act and to make consequential and related amendments to other acts. I would like to thank the member for Langley—Aldergrove for splitting his time with me and for his thoughtful intervention.
     The government has stated that the objective of Bill C-42 is to protect Canadians against money laundering and terrorist financing, deter tax evasion and tax avoidance, and make sure Canada is an attractive place to conduct business. One has to ask why the Liberal-NDP coalition has taken so long to act, when it has been evident for years that change is needed.
    While I believe there is support for the concept of a national public registry of beneficial owners of companies, I also believe we may need to look at extending the transparency of beneficial ownership of other assets. For example, at the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, or FOPO as it is known around Parliament Hill, we have been hearing testimony from witnesses who are extremely concerned about the purchase and control of fishing licences and quotas by foreign entities, and even unknown entities. That is right: unknown entities. Let me take us back in time to explain what I am referring to. In 2019, the FOPO committee tabled a report titled “West Coast Fisheries: Sharing Risks and Benefits”. This report was the result of a study initiated partly out of concern at that time, over four years ago, over the situation of local fish harvesters unable to compete with unknown entities bidding higher prices for access to Canada’s fisheries resources, a common property resource for the benefit of Canadians. Now, over four years later, can members guess what is being studied at FOPO, the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans? It is foreign ownership and corporate concentration of fishing licences and quotas.
    I will go back to my earlier question about why the Liberal-NDP coalition taken so long to act. Here we are; it is four years after that report, and even longer into the government’s mandate, since the concerns were first raised by stakeholders. Here we are, restudying almost the same issue, hearing that the same issues and concerns still exist, and the government has failed to take steps to ascertain that Canadians are the primary beneficiaries to access to Canada’s common property resource, Canada’s fisheries. It was somewhat shocking to hear testimony over four years ago, and now to hear similar testimony over recent weeks, that there is no real method of tracking beneficial ownership of fishing licenses, quotas and possibly vessels on Canada’s west coast. Although some have tried to track beneficial ownership, in some cases the web becomes so tangled that no one can clearly identify who owns what.
    The 2019 report I referred to contained a number of recommendations to the government. In fact, there were 20. However, there were a few key recommendations related to foreign ownership that the government should have acted on, but it has been slowly dragging its feet, with almost no response. I will refer to some of the recommendations quickly, and talk about what should have been done and what has not been done.
     Recommendation 2 from the report stated, “That based on the principle that fish in Canadian waters are a resource for Canadians (i.e. common property), no future sales of fishing quota and/or licences be to non-Canadian beneficial owners based on the consideration of issues of legal authority, and international agreement/trade impacts.” What has been done on this? Little to nothing has been done. There is nothing that the committee has been made aware of.

  (1710)  

    Recommendation 4 is somewhat similar. It states, “That, to increase the transparency of quota licence ownership and transactions, Fisheries and Oceans Canada determine and publish, in an easily accessible and readable format, a public online database that includes the following”. Has that been achieved? Certainly not.
    Recommendation 5 states, “That Fisheries and Oceans Canada prioritize the collection of socio-economic data for past and future regulatory changes and make this information publicly available.” Again, there has been no action that the committee is aware of.
    Recommendation 14 states, “That Fisheries and Oceans Canada develop a new policy framework through a process of authentic and transparent engagement with all key stakeholders". For example, some of the key stakeholders are:
    Active fish harvesters (or where they exist, organizations that represent them) in all fisheries and fleets including owner-operators, non-owner-operators, and crew;
    First Nations commercial fish harvesters (or where they exist, organizations that represent them);
    Organizations representing licence and quota holders that are not active fish harvesters, including fish processing companies.
    The last recommendation was a key one, and there has been very little action by the government that the committee restudying the same issue has been made aware of.
    I am going to cut my time a little shorter today to make sure there are opportunities for other members to speak, but I will repeat what I said earlier. We have heard from some who are most impacted by the potential of foreign investment and foreign ownership of our common property resources here in Canada, yet there has been little or no action with respect to who the beneficial buyers and owners are.
    I will close by saying that there is merit in a registry of individuals with significant control of corporations in Canada. If this is done, it must be done in ways that protect personal privacy and also protect the common resources for the benefit of Canadians.
    I look forward to following the debate on Bill C-42 as it goes through the process, to see if it accomplishes the stated objectives without unintended consequences.
    Mr. Speaker, the member, in his concluding remarks, talked about unintended consequences, and at the beginning of his speech, he said it has taken a number of years to get the bill to this stage. One of the reasons it has taken the time it has is so we could do the proper consultation necessary. We need to allow civil servants to do what they do best in terms of ensuring that we have something of substance, in good form, so it can go to a standing committee to see if there are ways we can improve upon it there. Issues such as individual privacy are of great concern; there is no doubt about that.
    My question, as I posed to his colleague, is this: Does the member, having looked at the legislation, have any specifics about where he, personally, would like to see some changes?

  (1715)  

    Mr. Speaker, as this bill works its way through the process, we may see amendments at committee stage. I look forward to possibly being able to participate.
    The issue I raised is that it has taken over four years, and the government is eight years into its mandate. The issues I raised within the fisheries sector have been very clear, but there was little to no action until stakeholders really started pressing the government. We are finally starting to see some very slow, initial steps being taken, steps that should have been taken years ago.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I commend my Conservative colleague. We sit on the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans together. We work very well together. It is a pleasure to work with him. He is thorough, skilled and always diligent. I want to take this opportunity to thank him for his work.
    Time is money. Everyone knows that. My colleague mentioned the time it takes to get a reaction from the government. We are studying foreign investments in fisheries, and we hear that there are even people who are asking to testify in camera, which is very troubling.
    I would like my colleague to talk about how effectively and quickly we need to act if we do not want to essentially lose ownership of our fishery resources.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for the kind mention of my work at FOPO. We have heard from witnesses. Some have asked to appear in camera, with their names not divulged, because they were afraid of repercussions. We have heard of other harvesters who are concerned, but, out of fear of repercussions, simply will not testify. It is very concerning to us as members, and to me as a parliamentarian, to hear that there are those kinds of threats and concerns being brought. Sometimes, the only way people and their families feel safe is through back doors. I think it is a bigger issue that we as parliamentarians owe a duty to Canadians to fully investigate, to fully make sure we retain beneficial ownership of Canada's resources for Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, there is one thing I want to ask my colleague about. The bill would put the threshold for significant control at 25% or more of the company shares. For it to be truly effective, I think, and a lot of my Conservative colleagues would agree with me, the threshold would need to be lower, like, for example, what is used by the Ontario Securities Commission, which is 10%.
    I wonder if the member could comment on that.
    Mr. Speaker, certainly, the threshold of 25% seems to be quite high, especially when tracking of that foreign ownership may not be all that clear in other countries. That 25% threshold, I believe, should be lowered, and we may see that amendment at the committee stage.

  (1720)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am thankful for the opportunity to engage in this debate.
    The reason I find this so important is that I am from the beautiful province of British Columbia and from the city of Abbotsford, which is nestled between majestic Mount Baker, at 10,500 feet high, and, on the other side, the mighty Fraser River. We live in a wonderful community in a wonderful region of the country. However, one of the challenges we have had over the years is that Canada, and more specifically British Columbia, has become the locus, the very heart, of money laundering in our country.
    Just so Canadians understand what money laundering is, I will note that it is not benign activity engaged in by Canadians who want to avoid taxes or something like that. Money laundering is about taking the proceeds of crime, channelling them into what appears to be a legitimate business or a legitimate asset and trying to make those proceeds seem legitimate. It is a great way for criminals to hide the proceeds of crime. The last thing I believe Canadians want to do is aid and abet criminals to commit their crimes in our country, yet that is what has been happening for many years.
    This legislation is not the be-all and end-all. Bill C-42 is simply a part of the solution. What it would do is establish a beneficial registry, an ownership registry, that would allow Canadians to see who actually owns the companies into which money might be directed from the proceeds of crime. This is not going to solve the whole problem of money laundering. Our police have their hands full in trying to track these criminals down, trying to identify the proceeds of crime and trying to get convictions.
    Here is another problem. Money laundering has contributed significantly to the inflationary impacts on prices of land, real estate and homes that Canadians want to buy. These criminals know that if they can get money channelled into a house, it will be less likely for the police to identify that asset as being a proceed of crime. They also channel these proceeds of crime into legitimate businesses, like small and medium-sized enterprises. They channel this money into hard assets. They may be boats or expensive cars. At the end of the day, this costs Canadians big time.
    There is another reason this is important to British Columbians. It was in British Columbia that the Cullen commission was established to investigate this very challenging problem to our criminal justice laws and to the broader issue of how much money laundering costs the average Canadian.
    The Cullen commission made a long list of recommendations, most of which implicated the provincial government. It called upon the provincial government to act. However, there was one recommendation that stood out, which was that the federal government establish a pan-Canadian beneficial ownership registry for corporations. I believe Justice Cullen really intended for this to cover all companies in Canada. The problem is that the criminal justice law is federal law, so we as a Parliament have jurisdiction over it. Here is the problem: The large majority of Canadian companies are incorporated not at the federal level but at the provincial level, implicating every one of our 10 provinces and our territories.

  (1725)  

    How do we cobble together a pan-Canadian foreign ownership registry program with all of these different players at the table? The bill would, at least in the immediate term, establish a corporate beneficial ownership registry for federally incorporated companies, which is a good start. However, I believe the Cullen commission's intent was for the Liberal government to engage the provinces and territories to expand this to include the provincial regimes in federal legislation so that we can go after the money launderers in every corner of our country.
    There is a reason this has come to our attention as lawmakers. Back in 2016, the Panama papers exposed how vulnerable Canada was to money laundering. Those papers made it clear that Canada was a laggard on the international stage when it came to addressing money laundering and interdicting the criminals who were taking proceeds of crime, filtering that money through legitimate enterprises and assets and then getting away with their crimes.
    In 2017, it was the Liberal government's finance minister, Bill Morneau, who said we needed a beneficial registry to help combat money laundering in our market to determine the true source of funds and ownership in the acquisition of firms. He was right at that time, and that was 2017.
    What happened in the intervening years? Nothing. From 2016 to 2023, we had eight years of inaction on the part of the Liberal government. This is pretty shocking, since the government, through its finance minister, at the very least had become aware that this was a very important issue for Canadians and nothing was done.
    I will say that I am pleased that at least this has now come before us as Bill C-42, and it looks like we will see a beneficial ownership registry passed and implemented in our country. However, as the bill goes through committee review and comes back to the House, we are going to be asking a lot of questions. For example, how will this registry protect Canadians' privacy rights? We want to interdict criminals as they try to undertake their criminal enterprises, but we also want to make sure that the privacy of Canadians is protected.
    I do not have great confidence that the government will actually protect our privacy, and here is why. We recently debated Bill C-27 in the House, which is all about privacy rights. We have been asking the government to actually include privacy as a fundamental right in Canada that Canadians can depend on. Sadly, Bill C-27 did not include that, so we have a right to be concerned.
    We also want to ask who will have access to the information in the beneficial registry. Is it the police? Is it the ordinary citizen? It is business people? None of that is clarified in this legislation. We need to know that. Will the bill give law enforcement the necessary tools to combat money laundering and terrorist financing?
    To conclude, I believe there is all-party agreement, so I am asking for unanimous consent to request a recorded vote on Bill C-42.
    Does the hon. member have unanimous consent?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): Pursuant to order made on Thursday, June 23, 2022, the division stands deferred until Thursday, June 1, at the expiry of the time provided for Oral Questions.

Private Members' Business

[Private Members' Business]

  (1730)  

[Translation]

National Strategy for Eye Care Act

    The House resumed from April 28 consideration of the motion that Bill C‑284, An Act to establish a national strategy for eye care, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise to speak to Bill C‑284. As members know, this enactment provides for the development of a national strategy to support the prevention and treatment of eye disease to ensure better health outcomes for Canadians. It also designates the month of February as age-related macular degeneration month.
    The preamble of Bill C‑284 reads as follows, and I quote:
    Whereas vision loss in Canada is associated with a number of causes, including macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy;
    Whereas millions of [Quebeckers and] Canadians live with eye disease that could lead to vision loss or blindness if not treated;
    Whereas it is estimated that vision loss costs [Quebeckers and] Canadians billions of dollars every year, both in financial costs and in loss of well-being;
    Whereas the loss of central vision can severely impact a person's independence and quality of life;
    Whereas coordination and information sharing between the federal and provincial governments is needed to ensure new treatments are made available, to prevent and treat eye disease and to prevent health inequities among people with vision loss;
    It also states, and I quote:
    And whereas Parliament considers that it is desirable to be proactive in the fight against vision loss and to implement a national strategy on eye care
    In the same vein as many bills introduced over the past few Parliaments calling for autism, cancer or diabetes strategies, this bill calls for a strategy in the form of a report on eye health. Not surprisingly, the bill has the support of the Canadian Ophthalmological Society and the Canadian Association of Optometrists. In the wake of the introduction of the bill and World Sight Day on October 13, these groups published a survey that highlights the lack of understanding among Canadians about this important aspect of our health.
    As we know, the strategy proposed in Bill C‑284 is built on four pillars:
identify the training, education and guidance needs of health care practitioners and other professionals related to the prevention and treatment of eye disease, including clinical practice guidelines;
promote research and improve data collection on eye disease prevention and treatment;
promote information and knowledge sharing between the federal and provincial governments in relation to eye disease prevention and treatment; and
ensure that Health Canada is able to rapidly consider new applications for treatments and devices used for macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy.
    The Bloc Québécois will vote in favour of the principle of the bill, because eye health is important for people's quality of life.
    All in all, the bill itself does nothing. It only forces the government to produce a report that will establish a national strategy for eye care. Furthermore, designating the month of February as age-related macular degeneration month is a symbolic measure.
    Although health services, including eye care services, are the jurisdiction of Quebec and the provinces, this bill gives the federal government a role by funding research and approving medications or devices.
    The bill overall respects Quebec's and the provinces' jurisdictions. That is why the Bloc Québécois supports it. However, the Bloc will take the time to study the bill to ensure that the federal strategy is complete and complements the actions of the Quebec government.
    In Quebec, optometry services are available to people under 18 or over 65, and emergency services are covered for everyone. There is also a visual aid program, which allows any individual with a permanent visual impairment who is covered under Quebec's health insurance plan to obtain visual aids such as magnifiers, an optical system, a calculator, a Braille typewriter, a white cane, an electronic obstacle detector, night vision goggles, and the list goes on.
    The program also offers financial help to get a guide dog, as well as resources for students. Speaking of guide dogs, I am going to talk about a fantastic Quebec organization that does remarkable and indispensable work. I am talking about Mira.

  (1735)  

     In his childhood, founder Éric St-Pierre developed a passion for raising dogs. He trained dogs on the family farm, following his father's advice. His ease and natural talent with the animals led him to undergo professional training in order to have a career training guard dogs and sniffer dogs.
    In 1975, Mr. St‑Pierre built a kennel in Sainte‑Madeleine. He spent most of his time training dogs. One day, a friend who worked as an orientation and mobility teacher at the Nazareth and Louis Braille Institute asked Mr. St‑Pierre for advice about the behaviour of a guide dog from the United States. Back then, there were no francophone guide dog schools in Canada. Éric St-Pierre quickly realized that these dogs were not raised or trained in conditions that worked in Quebec. He realized that there was also a language barrier limiting many people's access to the services of these dogs. He therefore promised the institute that he would train dogs for them, and that is how Mira came to be. It was the first francophone centre for guide dogs in Canada.
    Mira was founded in 1981. It is a non-profit organization that provides free guide dogs and service dogs to people with visual or mobility impairments, as well as to young people with autism spectrum disorder.
     All of Mira's services and activities are based on the principle of body equality, meaning that what is accessible to everyone must also be accessible to people with disabilities. Within this framework, the organization's mission has the following objectives: increase the autonomy and promote the social integration of people with disabilities through the use of guide dogs and service dogs; provide services freely to all beneficiaries, regardless of their income; improve the mobility and orientation of people with disabilities so that they can move about freely in their daily lives; create an individual intervention plan adapted for each beneficiary that takes into account the beneficiary's level of autonomy, social and professional context, and mobility needs; and promote the benefits of service dogs in public places, in schools and on public transport.
    Mira is known for its innovative programs, dog training techniques and fundraising activities. Since it was created, Mira has provided more than 3,700 dogs free of charge to people living with one or more disabilities. Much of this success is due to public support and concern. Without this help, Mira would not be what it is today.
    I am now going to talk about two people I knew well and who lost their sight because of macular degeneration and diabetes. When I was finishing high school, a friend of mine found out that in a few years she would lose her sight to a genetic disease, early-onset macular degeneration. Diane Lamarche had a bright future ahead of her. She was a serious student who got good grades in high school. She enjoyed walking, basketball and tennis. She was also an avid reader.
    We got to know each other better when we worked together as playground monitors in Lebel‑sur‑Quévillon. In our senior year of high school, she told us that she was losing her sight and that she was already learning Braille. The news left us gutted. She was so young, and had such a promising life ahead of her as an adult.
    Our eyes and vision are indispensable for acquiring information from our external environment. They make it possible to coordinate all our movements, in particular those of our hands. Vision has three roles: perceptual, sensory and cognitive.
    Another person who was even closer to me, my uncle Germain Boyer, lost his vision in his 70th year because of his diabetes. I remember that he enjoyed Yule logs so much that he would stock up every year. He has since passed away, but I will always remember his kindness and cheerfulness. I want to send my love to my aunt Denise and my cousins Sylvain and Mélanie in memory of him.
    Ultimately, prevention remains an effective way to avoid vision loss, unless it is caused by macular degeneration, poor health or genetics.
    If passed, this bill will help ensure better eye health and better vision for Quebeckers and Canadians.

  (1740)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, it is a great honour to stand in this House today and speak in support of Bill C-284, an act to establish a national strategy for eye care. I am proud to say that New Democrats will be supporting this bill and, in fact, as I will point out in my remarks, this is something we have been championing since the 1960s.
    This legislation, in general, would provide for “the development of a national strategy to support the prevention and treatment of eye disease to ensure better health outcomes for Canadians.” The bill states:
     The national strategy must describe the various forms of eye disease and include measures to
(a) identify the training, education and guidance needs of health care practitioners and other professionals related to the prevention and treatment of eye disease, including clinical practice guidelines;
(b) promote research and improve data collection on eye disease prevention and treatment;
(c) promote information and knowledge sharing between the federal and provincial governments in relation to eye disease prevention and treatment; and
(d) ensure that Health Canada is able to rapidly consider new applications for treatments and devices used for macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy.
    This legislation would also designate the month of February as age-related macular degeneration awareness month.
    I want to pause and thank my hon. colleague from Humber River—Black Creek, who has been an energetic, spirited and passionate sponsor of this bill. It would not be right to proceed any further without noting her energy and great work in promoting this overdue policy.
    Eye health has been underfunded and deprioritized in Canada for too long. As a result, millions of Canadians are being put at unnecessary risk of vision loss because they lack access to eye care. A national strategy on eye care would ensure better access, better outcomes and quality of life for Canadians. It would also support Canadian leadership in vision research that can be exportable to the world.
    Canada's New Democrats believe that our public health care system should cover us from head to toe, and that includes comprehensive eye care. Currently, access to eye care varies widely from province to province, resulting in variable health outcomes and exacerbating inequalities in our health care system. Over eight million Canadians are living with an eye condition that puts them at significant risk of blindness. An estimated 1.2 million Canadians are currently living with vision loss, with many facing a lack of investment in services and supports that impacts their living life to its fullest potential. That number is expected to grow to two million people by 2050. It underscores the need and the appropriateness of acting now so that we can arrest that alarming development.
    The leading causes of vision loss in Canada are the following: Cataracts affect some 3.5 million people; age-related macular degeneration, 1.5 million people; glaucoma, about 300,000 people; and diabetic retinopathy, almost a million people or some 800,000.
    Routine eye exams play a crucial role in the prevention of vision loss. If certain eye diseases are diagnosed early enough, they can be effectively managed through different invasive measures and before expensive and more invasive procedures are required. According to a recent report by Deloitte, the cost of vision loss to our economy, both directly and indirectly, was some $33 billion in 2019. That is projected to grow to some $56 billion by 2050.
    If diagnosed early and if people have access to regular screening and treatment, most vision loss can be prevented: in fact, in about 75% of cases. Seventy per cent of existing vision impairment in Canada is estimated to be correctable with prescription glasses. The sizable proportion of correctable vision impairment is related to the barriers to access to vision care in Canada. Most guidelines recommend having an eye exam once a year for people aged six to 18 or 65 and older, as well as for those with diabetes or with an existing eye disease. For healthy people aged 19 to 64, one visit per two years is considered sufficient. However, this very basic diagnostic health need is not being met.

  (1745)  

    I will give a few examples. Starting September 1, free annual eye exams paid for through the Ontario health insurance plan will no longer be available to seniors. Manitoba and Nova Scotia currently only insure eye exams every 24 months for every senior, which is twice as long as is recommended. Millions of Canadians without extended health benefits do not have their eyes checked or cared for, due to cost.
    As I said, the NDP has been advocating for universal public optical treatment since its founding convention in 1961. I am going to quote from that convention, which reads, “Believing that a country's most precious possession is the health of its citizens, the New Party will introduce a National Health Plan, providing benefits to those who need them without regard to their ability to pay. The plan will cover a full range of services: medical, surgical, dental and optical treatment, as well as prescribed drugs and appliances.”
    It is a little over 60 years since that statement was made, and here we are in a G7 country and we are not making sure every citizen can get their eyes checked every year, never mind have the relatively inexpensive correction done that would prevent them, in many cases, from getting vision loss and even blindness. That is a national shame and it is time it was rectified.
    More recently, the NPD's 2019 election platform committed to achieving head-to-toe public health care for all Canadians, and we specifically included eye care. In the 2021 platform, we committed to a long-term path to providing public coverage for eye care, along with other health services. In May 2021, the New Democrat member of Parliament for Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, who I note is in the chair today, introduced Motion No. 86. That motion called on the federal government to work toward the creation of a national strategy for action on eye health and vision care. One can see not only that our support for this bill is there because of the need and the overdue nature of this, but that New Democrats have been playing a key role in placing this issue on the national agenda for decades.
    I have to point out where the Government of Canada has simply failed to meet its commitments in this regard. In 2003, the Government of Canada made a commitment to the World Health Organization to develop a vision health plan for Canada by 2007 and to implement that plan by 2009. To date, no plan has been developed.
    As recently as July 2021, the Government of Canada voted in the UN General Assembly for the first agreement to be adopted at the United Nations designed to tackle preventable sight loss and ensure that eye health is part of the United Nations sustainable development goals. In this resolution, the establishment of a national vision health plan was endorsed again by Canada.
    As much as I credit the hon. member for taking this overdue measure, one has to wonder why this had to take the form a private member's bill, why the government is not meeting its own obligations and why it is not actually introducing government legislation using the full force of its control of the Order Paper to meet its own commitments, which it has made not only to Canadians but on the world stage.
    It is important to note as well that this legislation has the support of stakeholders across this country. Several organizations, including Fighting Blindness Canada, the Canadian Council of the Blind, the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, Vision Loss Rehabilitation Canada, Diabetes Canada, the Canadian Association of Optometrists, the Canadian Ophthalmological Society and the Canadian Association of Retired Persons, have all advocated for a national eye care strategy for many years.
    I want to pause for a moment to talk about the particular impacts this has on marginalized groups, including its gender impacts. When gender differences limit access to proper eye care services, women are at greater risk of developing eye diseases that are otherwise treatable and preventable. Recent studies published in The Lancet Global Health in 2020 revealed that women carry the greater burden of visual impairment globally. More women than men have impaired vision due to cataracts, age-related macular degeneration and dry eye disease. One in four women is at risk of vision impairment, compared to just one in eight men.

  (1750)  

    I will conclude by thanking the hon. member again for introducing this bill and let her know that the NDP will enthusiastically support it at all stages.
    Madam Speaker, I am happy to rise today to speak in support of Bill C-284, an act to establish a national strategy for eye care, presented by my friend and colleague, the hon. member for Humber River—Black Creek. I know this is something the member has been working on for quite some time and I would like to recognize her extensive work on this issue.
    This piece of legislation would not only ensure better health outcomes for Canadians, but also recognize the month of February as Age-Related Macular Degeneration Awareness Month, bringing awareness to the leading cause of vision loss in people 50 years or older.
    More than eight million Canadians are presently living with one of the four common eye diseases and more than one in 10 older adults have some degree of vision loss, which places them at serious risk of losing their vision. Vision loss can be harmful to many elements of daily life, impacting the way a person works, participates in activities and interacts with the world around them. That is why it is our duty to take proactive measures to prevent and treat these diseases effectively.
    Routine vision care can help to reduce the risks of blindness and vision loss later in life and improve the outcomes associated with eye diseases like cataracts and glaucoma. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic worsened the issue of vision loss in Canada as eye surgeries were cancelled or delayed and wait times to see vision care providers also increased over the course of the pandemic. That is why a national strategy—

[Translation]

    The hon. member for Shefford on a point of order.
    Madam Speaker, I have a little reminder. The member's notes are touching the microphone, which is making a noise that interferes with the work of the interpreters. Members just need to be careful.

[English]

     I would ask the hon. member to ensure that when she is moving her pages, she keeps them away from the microphone because it creates a problem for the interpreters.
    The hon. member for Brampton South.
    Madam Speaker, I will be careful of that.
    Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic worsened the issue of vision loss in Canada, as eye surgeries were cancelled or delayed. Wait times to see vision care providers also increased over the course of the pandemic. That is why a national strategy for eye care is essential. It would provide a comprehensive road map, laying out a common direction and shared leadership. It would build collaboration among researchers, medical professionals and community organizations to develop innovative approaches to combat eye diseases and preserve sight.
    In 2021, the CNIB opened a new centre in Brampton South, providing access to innovative technology and training for Bramptonians with sight loss. It is doing incredible work, and I am confident that Bill C-284 would bring us one step closer to empowering Canadians impacted by blindness with an integrated approach.
    As members in this House know, Bill C-237, the National Framework for Diabetes Act, passed unanimously in 2021. I want to touch on how blindness can be a serious complication because of diabetes retinopathy, and I also want to recognize Diabetes Canada's work on this issue as well.
    Earlier this year, I met an advocate named Ryan and his dog named Joe. Ryan lives with diabetic retinopathy. He told me about the challenges Canadians with vision impairments face using their insulin pumps. He and many other Canadians are experiencing these hardships, so we need to work together to remove those barriers.
    Living with blindness, especially as a result of chronic disease, is an experience that is difficult for people without visual impairment to truly understand. This further underscores the need to have a coordinated strategy so that we can work together with provinces and territories, indigenous peoples and other partners to improve health outcomes. Through this approach, we can proactively identify and intervene in cases of diabetic retinopathy, mitigating the risk of vision loss.
    We know that with early intervention and coordinated care, vision loss can be preserved. Of vision loss cases, 75% can be prevented if patients are diagnosed early and have access to treatment. We know that providing hope and better health outcomes for individuals affected by eye diseases is transformational. Already, the Government of Canada is leading and supporting a range of activities related to eye disease prevention and treatment.
    I would like to talk about the investments announced in budget 2023 to strengthen our public health care system.
    Budget 2023 commits $196 billion in funding to support our health work force; reduce backlogs; expand access to family health, mental health and substance use services; and modernize our health system. This is to ensure provinces and territories can provide the high quality and timely health care Canadians expect and deserve.
    We see the surgical backlogs and the impacts on our systems, and we are addressing that need. Surgical backlogs, including vision-related surgeries, are a key part of this plan and are a health system priority of this government. Budget 2023 includes a $2-billion one-time top-up to provinces and territories to address urgent pressures in emergency rooms, operating rooms and pediatric hospitals. In addition, Indigenous Services Canada’s non-insured health benefits program also provides vision care to eligible first nations and Inuit beneficiaries where they are not otherwise covered by other plans or programs.
    The government has also made significant investments in vision loss prevention and research. Over the last five years, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research has invested approximately $61 million in vision-related research. This research spans the spectrum of prevention, diagnosis, treatment and management of various vision-related conditions.

  (1755)  

    These investments contribute to the evidence base needed to improve health systems and health outcomes for Canadians experiencing vision loss.
    Finally, I wish to highlight that medically necessary vision care services are covered by provincial and territorial health insurance plans. Any vision care service that must be performed in a hospital is covered and supported under Canada’s public health care system. The federal government is committed to continue working with provinces and territories on our shared health priorities, including those related to vision care.
    In conclusion, Bill C-284 would allow the Minister of Health to develop a national strategy to support the prevention and treatment of eye disease. It would facilitate engagement with provinces, territories, key stakeholders and partners to ensure that we are all pursuing common objectives in the vision care space, along with sharing best practices. This bill would complement existing work and research efforts, supported by provincial and territorial governments, and the Canadian Institutes for Health Research.
    Once again, I wish to thank the hon. member for Humber River—Black Creek for putting forward this important bill. I know that my residents in Brampton South and, indeed, all Canadians are counting on us to act quickly to prevent and treat eye diseases. I encourage members to vote in favour, as we continue to strengthen our efforts on vision care in Canada.

  (1800)  

    Madam Speaker, it is an honour to rise today and speak to Bill C-284, put forward by my colleague from Humber River—Black Creek. The question before us today is fundamentally about ensuring that Canadians receive a coordinated response regarding their health care needs, particularly eye care.
    The proposed national eye care framework intends to promote information sharing and knowledge sharing between the federal and provincial governments in relation to eye care disease prevention and treatment, all the while ensuring that both levels of government respect their roles within our national health care system. To quote the bill directly, a key component intends to “promote research and improve data collection on eye disease prevention and treatment”. Doing so would enable eye care health providers a centralized resource to access the status of their own patient base and make sure that they share their expertise across the country, all the while ensuring that only the best and newest technologies are used going forward.
    According to the Canadian Council of the Blind, due to an increase in surgery wait times caused by the lockdowns during the pandemic, there has been a $1.3-billion increase in the cost of vision health over the past two years. All of this is compounded by the fact that 75% of vision loss cases in Canada can be prevented if patients are diagnosed early and have access to treatment. Furthermore, 70% of existing vision impairment in Canada is estimated to be correctable with prescription glasses.
    This proposal from my colleague is not only very commendable, but is being put forward at a very timely moment. A national framework would allow all provinces and the federal government, as well as health care practitioners and researchers, to sit down at one table and jointly develop and implement the measures necessary to make sure that all Canadians from coast to coast have access to eye care and the best practices available in a timely manner.
    Developing an effective framework is now more critical for the future of our children due to the prevalence of electronic devices. They release blue light, which can reach the retina, the inner lining of our eyes. Studies have shown that this light can damage cells in the retina, leading in some cases to early age-related macular degeneration, a unique concern of the modern age that is far more likely to impact our children. Children may not even know that their phones could be permanently damaging their eyes due to a lack of educational awareness.
    Some might resist getting an eye care exam due to the belief that glasses are not “cool”. I will admit that it was hard for me, some 10-plus years ago, to admit that I needed glasses. This is a pressing challenge, as a long list of diseases and health care problems can only be discovered through a regular eye examination. Many eye diseases do not have any preceding symptoms and cannot be treated without a professional assessment.
    The concern of vision loss in Canada requires a coordinated response, in both education and organization, between the provinces and the federal government, especially since there is a high percentage of seniors and school-aged children who have undiagnosed eye care issues. Very few children had their eyes tested during the pandemic, and as previously mentioned, many spend a great deal of time in front of a computer screen.
    Referring to Canada as a whole and for a better understanding of the gravity of the situation, here are some of the numbers. Over eight million Canadians, or one in five, have some form of eye disease. Some 1.2 million Canadians live with vision loss or blindness. It is estimated by the Canadian Council of the Blind that vision loss and blindness were likely associated with 1,292 deaths in Canada in 2019. These deaths would have occurred due to factors such as increased risk of falls for the elderly and isolation experienced by those with vision loss.
    Vision loss has a profound impact on our society and economy, costing an estimated $32.9 billion a year, $4.2 billion of which is attributed to reduced productivity in the workplace. Over half of the cost, $17.4 billion, is attributed to reduced quality of life, which is primarily due to a loss of independence, especially among seniors.
    Many of us have a personal connection to someone experiencing vision loss. My own mother struggles with age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, which is one of the top five causes of blindness. The other four are cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and uncorrected refractive errors. Of these, all but two, AMD and glaucoma, can be prevented through proper care if caught at an early stage, or treated with modern tools such as laser eye surgery and/or prescription glasses.

  (1805)  

    While glaucoma has no present cure, there are treatment options that, if begun early enough, can prevent an individual’s loss of vision. Even in the case of AMD, a healthy lifestyle and regular eye exams can help delay the loss of vision as one grows older. Also, new recent accredited medical devices provide the hope to even reverse AMD, at least temporarily. In the case of cataracts, we have been able to treat this condition, I am told, as far back as the time of ancient Egypt.
    There should be no excuse in the modern world to fail to provide Canadians with the knowledge about what treatments they can access in our provincial health care systems. Losing one's vision increases mental, financial and social hardships on an individual. It can lead to a loss of mobility and an inability to live independently, to drive, to read or to participate in physical activity. It can result in a loss of social interaction or even lead to social isolation, which can often lead to depression and other mental illnesses.
    Through being proactive and taking preventative measures now, we can not only save individuals and families from a great deal of grief, but also help maintain the solvency of our health care system by helping provinces avoid spending even greater resources down the road in both treatment time and costs. Through proper education and awareness campaigns, Canadians can potentially save themselves from great heartache and financial costs by reducing smoking, having a healthy diet, getting regular eye exams and being informed of family genetics.
    It must be stressed, however, that a health care strategy and delivery remain in provincial jurisdiction. The intent behind this national framework is for the federal government to serve as a centralized communication hub between eye health care providers in different provinces and federal regulators, allowing them to share their expertise and knowledge with each other. The requirement of regular reporting should also spur faster responses from Health Canada in reviewing and approving new technologies for the benefit of all.
    This program must be a team effort led by professionals, in conjunction with the provinces, with the federal government keeping its involvement in proper scope, namely participating in this national framework. As long as these concerns are respected and decisions on strategies and spending priorities remain within provincial jurisdiction, as stipulated in the Canada Health Act, I can support this bill and look forward to doing so.
    By passing Bill C-284, not only can we help millions of Canadians struggling with vision loss, but we can also be proactive and reduce the number of children who could face vision loss in the future. Eye care is but one part of our comprehensive health care strategy in Canada.
     In my remaining time, I wish to speak more personally. At some point, I believe we will need a larger discussion on how health care is funded and how accountability in that funding is measured. Both levels of government provide dollars to health care, and it is clear that, while partially federally funded, health care is delivered provincially. The topic of health care funding and delivery comes up often when I hold round tables and town halls in Chatham-Kent—Leamington, where constituents often blame one or the other or both levels of government for the inadequacies in the system they experience.
    I am reminded of Saturday mornings two decades ago in my own household. During the week, we had four daughters, but on Saturday mornings, when it came time to take out the garbage, we had five: Alyssa, Carina, Brenna, Kiana and “Not Me”. It was always Not Me's turn to take out the garbage. Health care accountability often reminds me of those Saturday morning discussions when people point at two levels of government and both levels of government point at each other.
    Former provincial treasurer Darcy McKeough, who is in his nineties and still lives in my riding, mused in a biography that the level of government that does the spending should do the taxing so as to be held accountable. That will be an interesting discussion one day, but it is not for today.
    Today, I encourage all members of this House to support this legislation put before us by my hon. colleague.

  (1810)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise to speak to Bill C-284. As my colleague from Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou said so brilliantly earlier, the Bloc Québécois will be voting in favour of this bill.
    I see no reason why we would oppose a national strategy to support the prevention and treatment of eye diseases, just as I see no reason why we would oppose an age-related macular degeneration awareness month.
    The Bloc Québécois will be voting in favour of this bill because, and I mean no offence, it is, in my view, an apple pie bill. Indeed, no one could oppose such a strategy, especially since the health services outlined in the bill—as we will perhaps see when it is studied in committee—are more the responsibility of the federal government. Research funding and the approval of certain drugs and medical devices fall under federal jurisdiction. I do not see any problems with jurisdiction either, but we do reserve the right to take a closer look at the ins and outs of this bill in committee.
    What concerns me a bit more about having a better strategy to support the prevention and treatment of eye disease is how to do it. A strategy is fine, but it needs to be accompanied by action. That is what I want to focus on as I discuss this topic.
    The essential point here is that there is still a lot of work to be done. The work to improve the eye health of Quebecers and Canadians will require more services. For me, first and foremost, the best solution for more services is to have coverage under the Régie de l’assurance-maladie du Québec, which means an increase in health transfers. If we want better services, we need more resources.
    Let us look, for example, at new treatments like the Luxturna gene therapy, a treatment that makes it possible to treat Leber congenital amaurosis. That is a significant and very costly illness, with just one treatment costing $1 million. That is an enormous cost.
    In that regard, on March 23, the federal government announced $1.3 billion over three years to help the provinces cover those treatment costs. We know that gene therapies are treatments that herald small revolutions in medicine and health, but they are very costly treatments. If the past is any indication, we know that the federal government is not always there for health funding.
    Now it is clear where I am going. The best way to have the best health care and to fight against eye disease is to combat one of the problems that plague the Canadian federation: I am talking about the fiscal imbalance. I would note that, last week, the mischievous member for Mirabel held a symposium here in Ottawa on the fiscal imbalance to study the phenomenon in depth. It was a non-partisan symposium attended by the Parliamentary Budget Officer—I do not think the Parliamentary Budget Officer is partisan—and Mr. Benoît Pelletier, a former Liberal minister from Quebec, who is not a Bloc supporter, but who came to speak to us about the fiscal imbalance.
    Why am I talking about the fiscal imbalance? It is to remind members of the demands made by Quebec and the provinces on health care funding. Quebec and the provinces estimated their health funding shortfall at $28 billion per year. The goal was to increase Ottawa’s health transfers from 22% to 35%.
    What did the federal government offer? Members will recall that it was far less than $28 billion. What the federal government offered was $4.16 billion. The difference between the provinces' demand for $28 billion and the federal offer of $4.6 billion is not just about money. The difference between the two means that vision care will never be provided for lack of resources. There is no doubt about that.

  (1815)  

    For example, in Quebec, year after year, health resources generally represent approximately 42% of Quebec's total budget. That means that there is 58% left for all of the government's other responsibilities such as education, fighting poverty, child care—Quebec was a pioneer in this field, as it created the child care model—infrastructure, roads, public transportation and bridges. There is 58% left for that, for funding municipalities and also for supporting Quebec businesses. If we wait for the federal government to support Quebec businesses, we will be waiting a long time, as we saw again with the announcement that Volkswagen is building in Ontario. Therefore, 42% of the Quebec government's budget goes directly to health care. That considerably reduces its budgetary margin. That is known as the fiscal imbalance.
    I can give a very simple definition. It is a definition that everyone agrees on, the definition from the Séguin report. I am talking here about Yves Séguin, the former Liberal minister, not the guy who had a goat. Yves Séguin said that the provinces' spending structure is such that expenditures grow faster than the economy, while those of the federal government grow at roughly the same pace. Furthermore, when the federal government wants to adjust its spending, it can just unilaterally cut transfers to the provinces, without any political fallout.
    That is the fiscal imbalance rule.
    That means that the federal government can make promises like it did in March when it said that it was going to inject $1.3 billion over three years to help the provinces with new gene therapy treatments. However, nothing prevents the government from eliminating that funding down the road. In so doing, the government strangles the provinces and the provinces are then stuck having to deliver services that they do not necessarily have the funding for. That is completely objective, ideologically neutral information. Take, for example, the Conference Board, which published a report showing that the Canadian federation is not viable in the long term and that the provincial economies are not viable in the Canadian federation, given the fiscal imbalance. That is also a recurring theme in the Parliamentary Budget Officer's reports, which document how the fiscal imbalance is wreaking havoc, particularly when it comes to health care.
    I am saying all of this because, if we want a strategy that will really give us a robust health care system that can provide treatment for eye disease, then we need more funding for health care.
    I want to make my colleagues aware of something that happened this week.
    On Tuesday, Liberal and NDP members once again joined forces to remove an additional $2 billion for health care from Bill C-47, an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 28, 2023. The NDP and Liberals got together to ensure that $2 billion was cut from health care funding. The Liberal-NDP coalition had an opportunity to partially correct the federal government's lack of investment in health care and to take concrete action, which is what people are calling for, to relieve the overburdened and exhausted health care system. They also had an opportunity to offer treatments for eye diseases that met Quebeckers' expectations, but they decided otherwise. All they have managed to do is disappoint people.
    Liberal and NDP members voted in favour of an amendment to remove $2 billion in additional health provisions for Quebec and the provinces when Bill C-47 was studied in committee. The amendment was proposed by the Liberal Party and removes additional support for health care in Quebec.
    I think we should forget all the fine words and promises made by Liberal and NDP members who claim to be concerned about the state of our health care system. Indeed, when it comes time to invest more, they are nowhere to be found. Worse, they are actually cutting billions of dollars from health care, even when those billions were invested unintentionally.

  (1820)  

    I repeat, the best way to have better eye care is to have a robust health care system and health care funding that lives up to the expectations of Quebeckers and Canadians.

[English]

    The hon. member for Humber River—Black Creek has five minutes for her right of reply.
    Madam Speaker, I want to sincerely thank all of my colleagues in the House. All of their comments were so sincerely delivered and so accurate on all of the issues that matter to us in this particular issue that we are trying to move forward.
    My colleagues mentioned that our colleague from Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing introduced Motion No. 86 some years back, trying to move this issue, trying to get vision onto the radar screen here at the federal level. Countless times, whether it was 2007 and 2009, we have talked about it, but nothing has been done about it. I can say that I think the closest we have come to it is where we are tonight.
    We have reached this point here tonight because of all of the members who are here. From last June, when I introduced the bill, the Conservatives, the Bloc and the NDP were right there, standing together with Liberal colleagues to support something that we knew was important.
    One of the things that we heard about tonight was the number of organizations and the number of people who were anxiously waiting for this to happen. Some of them have said that they have been waiting since 2003 for the federal government to take some sort of leadership on this issue. I am glad to have had the opportunity to be able to get it this far.
    There are so many organizations that are watching this discussion tonight, including the Canadian Council of the Blind, the Canadian Association of Retired Persons, the Canadian Association of Optometrists, the Canadian Ophthalmological Society and Waterloo University, which is doing outstanding work in the area of eye care.
    There is a lot of emphasis on what we are doing, and there is a lot of hope. The millions of people who are suffering from various categories of vision loss are counting on us tonight to send this bill off to committee so that the health committee can have a look at it. They are counting on us to ensure that it is not going to end up as just a whole lot of talk by elected officials, as happened before, with nothing delivered.
    I think it is imperative that we move the bill over to the committee so that we can truly get some serious work done on something that is way overdue. We all know someone who is suffering from macular degeneration or blindness or various other eye diseases. I, for one, do not want to see them disappointed, and I know none of the members want to see them disappointed either.
    The earlier we get the bill to committee and move it along there, the better. Listening to the excellent comments that were made tonight and the speeches from members, who all spoke so well, there is no need for me to reiterate anything. It has all been said.
    The question becomes, what do we do with it? Do we waste another two weeks or so? I do not think we need to do that. Time is too valuable in the House. We only have three weeks left. If we could get the bill moved to committee this evening, we could get started doing that work. It would be a sign of hope and of sincerity from all of the members in this House.
    I hope members will appreciate the urgency of the need to move the bill along. We do not have six months ahead of us; we have three weeks. It would really be a great bonus to all of those in the vision loss community if we could simply move it over with a voice vote and not have to waste another two weeks of House time, which is very valuable, especially at this particular time.
    I thank all of my colleagues who spoke so very well. I appreciate their support. More importantly, the vision community appreciates their support immensely.
     I look forward to our finishing off this discussion this evening.
    Madam Speaker, I thank you for being the one who introduced this initially, and I thank you for all of your assistance in moving it forward, along with my other colleagues.

  (1825)  

    The question is on the motion.

[Translation]

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

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I look forward to every member having the opportunity to support this bill and would request a recorded division.
    Pursuant to order made on Thursday, June 23, 2022, the division stands deferred until Wednesday, June 7, at the expiry of the time provided for Oral Questions.
     The hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader.
    Madam Speaker, I suspect if you were to canvass the House, you would find unanimous consent at this time to see the clock at 6:30 p.m. so that we can begin Government Orders with Bill C-35 at report stage.
    Do we have unanimous consent to see the clock at 6:30 p.m.?
    It is agreed.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

Canada Early Learning and Child Care Act

     The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill C-35, An Act respecting early learning and child care in Canada, as reported (with amendments) from the committee, and of the motions in Group No. 1.

[English]

Speaker's Ruling  

    There is one motion in amendment standing on the Notice Paper for the report stage of Bill C-35. Motion No. 1 will be debated and voted upon.

[Translation]

Motion in Amendment  

    That Bill C-35 be amended by deleting the short title.

[English]

    She said: Madam Speaker, I am going to start by reading what Melissa wrote to me: “I'm a healthcare worker who works long hours, currently have been trying to find childcare since I found out I was pregnant with no such luck. My son is 12 months July 1st, and I am set to return work July 4th, but no luck with childcare so not sure if I'm going to be able to return.” This is the reality of thousands of emails and messages I have read about Canadians struggling to access child care.
    Tonight, we are here to discuss Bill C-35, or the universal child care plan, as the Liberals love to call it. In particular, we are speaking to the report put forth by the HUMA committee that studied this legislation. Conservatives are here, in particular, to ensure the voices of parents are heard.
    This Liberal-NDP government loves to tell Canadians that it is feminist. In fact, the preamble of the bill specifically says, “gender equality, on the rights of women and their economic participation and prosperity”. How does that help Melissa, the health care worker, in improving her rights, economic participation and prosperity when the choice to go to work is taken from her?
    Erin Cullen, who speaks on behalf of ECEs and ABCs in Newfoundland and Labrador, said that there is no choice for families when it comes to child care because there is none available. Erin compared the $10-a-day child care slogan to the government telling people that they get free groceries, but when they go to the grocery store, there is nothing on the shelves.
    The numbers tell the story. A report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, or CCPA, highlights the child care crisis. Of nearly two million kids under the age of six eligible for the program, 950,000 are living in child care deserts. That means that there are at least three children competing for one spot. Ninety-two per cent of families in Saskatchewan are living in a child care desert. Seventy-nine per cent in Newfoundland and Labrador are living in a child care desert. Seventy-six per cent in Manitoba do not have access to child care. It is 64% in British Columbia. The numbers do not lie, and the reality is that these numbers are, in fact, real people, real families and real children who are being left behind.
    There is nothing more stressful for a parent than finding quality, reliable, safe child care for their child. Affordability is important, but the reality is that this Liberal-NDP government is failing in all areas to deliver.
    I will read some of the testimony we heard in committee about the outrageous wait lists. I asked Sheila Olan-MacLean:
    Sheila, could you clarify those numbers you said earlier? I asked about wait-lists. You said that there were 300 per program, but there are 40 programs. That's 12,000. That seems outrageous when you only have 3,300 spaces.
    Am I doing the math wrong?
    Ms. Olan-MacLean replied, “When you think of a program that may have possibly 100 spaces, or less than 100 spaces, and it has 300 to 400 people—some have 600 people—on the wait-list, yes, that's probably pretty accurate.”
    This is the reality of what families are experiencing, and it is destroying their mental health. The reality is that parents can expect years on wait-lists, and there is nothing in the bill to correct it.
    The Conservatives put forth multiple amendments calling for choice, inclusivity, access, data and accountability, and members of the Liberal-NDP coalition voted them down. They say they care about access and inclusivity, but their actions speak louder on what they really care about, which is pushing an ideology that will decide what is best for people's children. They believe that the government should decide how people's children are cared for.
    Members can listen to this story from Alberta, which was shared by Krystal Churcher, chair of the Association of Alberta Childcare Entrepreneurs, in committee. She said:
    I have one child care operator in a rural, under-serviced area of Alberta who has proudly operated a high-quality day care centre for 17 years. She has invested in creating 194 child care spaces for her community. When [she was] asked how she felt [about the program, which is called] CWELCC...she said that she was excited for families to finally have access to more affordable child care and optimistic that it would bring relief to families sitting on wait-lists.

  (1830)  

    Yesterday she sent a letter to all of her 194 families in her centre, plus 563 families on her wait-list, to notify them that she was closing her centre. After 17 years of successful operation, the viability of her business is gone. With high inflation, fee caps and expansion restrictions on private centres, her centre is financially [blocked]. She has had to make the heartbreaking decision to close a business that she built, because she can't take the financial risk of signing a new lease or investing further into expanding her centre with the unknown of a cost control framework looming. She writes that she is worried that the $10-a-day goal will be at the cost of quality care for children.
     These are the decisions facing operators on the ground right now, who are deciding to walk away from something they have proudly created because they can no longer carry the financial burden or because they simply can't agree with the reduced quality of care to bring the costs down.
    Where is the gender parity in this story?
    Krystal went on to say:
    The bill was introduced without adequate consultation with all industry stakeholders and without respecting how the child care sector has evolved in provincial jurisdictions across the country. What we're seeing is a program that has created a demand without the infrastructure to support it, which is causing wait-lists, a two-tiered system and undue stress to families and operators. Women entrepreneurs are facing bankruptcy and closure of businesses that have now lost all their value. The system is, frankly, not equitably accessible and is failing to meet the promises to parents and families. Operators are asking what the real cost is of meeting this $10-a-day goal. Parents are losing choice; the quality of programming is at risk; educators are burned out; and women are losing their businesses.
    The Liberal government is the first to tell us that it does not support two-tiered systems, yet this bill would do exactly that.
    Ms. Maureen Farris, director of Strath-MacLean Child Care Centre, testified in committee and said:
    As I've mentioned, there are so many children who sit on the wait-list and do not have a space, and there are operators who have chosen not to opt into CWELCC and can therefore provide or offer spaces to those families. Yes, that would absolutely create a two-tiered system. Families who could afford to pay for more expensive care would be able to do so, and families who can't may get substandard care, unfortunately.
    Nothing addresses the labour shortage, frontline staff burnout and mass exodus from this profession. Again the Conservatives put forth an amendment to fix this, which stated that annual reporting must include “a national labour strategy to recruit and retain a qualified early childhood education workforce”, but, surprise, surprise, it was turned down by the coalition.
    This bill is supposed to be composed of five pillars: quality, availability, affordability, accessibility and inclusiveness. However, yet again we have proof that the Liberals want to score political points and are more concerned with marketing a sellable plan than actually offering what it is they are selling. The Liberals moved a subamendment in committee that removed the words “availability” and “accessibility”, which are the biggest issues in child care in this country. Why? Why would they do this? The reality is that Bill C-35 is about as likely to help the child care crisis as it is to win the lottery, because that is exactly what the child care system in Canada is like. Getting a spot is like winning the lottery.
    The heartbreaking messages shared in Facebook groups, in the media and to us as parliamentarians need to be heard and they need to be addressed. The Liberal government needs to stop promising what it cannot deliver. It has put the cart before the horse, and the reality is it has failed at affordability, the highest use of food banks. It has failed in accessing housing. Nobody can afford a house. It has also failed in public safety. Therefore, why would Canadians trust it with their children?
     Conservatives will continue to fight for those left behind and will not stop fighting for freedom and choice for families to choose what is best for their children.

  (1835)  

    Madam Speaker, what my hon. colleague said is really important because it is for all of those reasons that we brought Bill C-35 forward. It is because there was a lack of accessibility. It is because child care was extraordinarily unaffordable. It is because we wanted to ensure high quality care, and we wanted to make sure that it was inclusive for all Canadian children. For all of the reasons that the member outlined, we brought forward Bill C-35. We brought forward the $30-billion commitment over five years to bring forward child care.
     I wonder what the member opposite proposes to do without the Government of Canada's involvement and how she would solve any of those issues that existed before Bill C-35, and would be exacerbated and worse without it.
    Madam Speaker, I think the best answer is to, of course, listen to the people who are on the front lines. They are the ones who are sharing the truth here.
    Jennifer Ratcliffe, the director of Pebble Lane Early Learning, said:
    The pressure to implement this program so quickly has resulted in overpayments to providers, families double-dipping, and funding methods being overlapped. Parents are stressed and providers feel like they have no help. It is clear that the provinces are scrambling as they try to prove they can do this, but they are ultimately failing. You cannot simply throw money at a problem and expect it to change.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her speech.
    My question will be fairly short and simple. The Bloc Québécois is known to be a staunch defender of Quebec independence, including its areas of jurisdiction. I get the impression that Bill C‑35 has been tabled in the wrong Parliament. Nothing related to family policies comes under the federal government's jurisdiction. Once again, the Liberal Party is trying to bulldoze its way into the jurisdictions of Quebec and the provinces. This bill shows no respect for Quebec's demands that the federal government stop interfering in its jurisdictions.
    Furthermore, the requests of Quebec and the Bloc Québécois were not listened to or respected. When the time came to include Quebec's expertise in the bill, based on its 25 years of experience in child care, all of the other parties, including the Conservative Party, rejected amendments aimed at upholding exclusive jurisdiction and the right to opt out with full compensation.
    Does my colleague respect Quebec's autonomy and jurisdictions?

  (1840)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I think the hon. member has hit the nail on the head. We have seen this repeatedly. I touched on this in my speech. There is no respect for anyone who offers any other idea or any other solution than what the Liberal ideology puts forward. They think they know best. They do not believe in choice for families. They do not respect provincial jurisdiction. They do not respect Canadians, period. That is evident by the crisis that our country is in.
    Madam Speaker, my hon. colleague brought up the study from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. She is absolutely right. It is called “Child Care Deserts in Canada”. I agree with her. We have a child care crisis.
    One of its key recommendations in the report to address this kind of child care desert was to guarantee decent wages and benefits for child care workers. It did not recommend creating a child care system that was privatized. That was not part of its recommendations. However, it did say that one of the factors that is resulting in child care deserts is the fact that early childhood educators continue to not be afforded decent wages and benefits.
    Does my colleague agree that we need to have a very clear workers strategy put in place that ensures all child care workers are paid decent wages and benefits?
    Madam Speaker, I really enjoy working with my hon. colleague. I know she is fighting for autonomy for indigenous peoples as well, which we support.
    I think what is important here is to say that we absolutely put forward that amendment. When we are looking at recruitment and retention of a labour strategy, there is nothing in this bill. We put it forth in committee, and it was turned down.
    Madam Speaker, I am absolutely thrilled to be back in the House talking about Bill C-35, an act respecting early learning and child care in Canada.
    This is another important step on the journey to providing early learning and child care that is affordable, accessible, high quality and inclusive for Canadian children right across the country.
    I do want to begin by thanking all of the members of the HUMA, who worked so diligently and so hard to get us where we are today, one step closer to making it the law of the land that the Government of Canada will be involved in early learning and child care from now on. Unfortunately, listening to my hon. colleague from the Conservatives, I really do not know where they stand on this. They seem to be quite opposed to affordable child care and to making sure that Canadians have access to it. I hope that is not the case—
    There is some noise coming from the outside. Maybe the Sergeant-at-Arms can check it out, see what is going on and ask them to be a little bit quiet so we can really hear what is going on here in the House.
    The hon. minister, sorry.
    Thank you, Madam Speaker.
    I really hope it is not the case that the Conservative Party of Canada has decided not to support affordable child care for Canadians, because I know that, for the hundreds of thousands of Canadian families for which this has been life changing, it would be so disappointing to know that the Conservative Party of Canada, once again, is voting against and not supporting affordable child care.
     We know that, in 2006, one of the very first things the Conservative Party of Canada did when it formed government was to rip up the child care agreements with the provinces and territories. This legislation is particularly important, to make it harder for Conservatives to do that and to make it harder for Conservatives to hurt Canadian families and Canadian children. I am very pleased to say that we have the support of the NDP. I think we also have the support of the Bloc Québécois. We are just not really sure where the Conservatives are.
    I will talk about what Canadian families are saying when it comes to affordable child care. They are calling it life changing. I have been across this country, to every province and almost every territory, and what I have heard from Canadian families is that this is a game changer for them. When I was in Nova Scotia, I was talking to a mom in Halifax who said that the 50% reduction in child care fees meant that, when she went to the grocery store, she was not deciding whether or not she could buy chicken. When I was talking to a mom in Toronto, she said that, because of the child care fee reduction, her family was deciding to have a second child. When I was in Vancouver, British Columbia, I was talking to a mom of three who has two kids in child care. She said that she has now put two of her three children into child care, and, because of those fee reductions, she has now gone back to work full time, which is a huge, meaningful change for her family and her family income. When we talk about child care, we are talking about choice. Despite what the Conservatives say, there is no choice if people cannot afford to go to work and to have someone to care for their child in safety and security.

  (1845)  

[Translation]

    This means, of course, that we are going to make sure there are enough child care spaces, so that every child in Canada who wants a space can get one. That is precisely why we have committed to creating 250,000 more spaces by 2025-26. We have already created 50,000 spaces across the country. That means there are now 50,000 additional spots.
    If we had not funded this $30-billion initiative, those spaces would not have been created. Conservatives talk about families who need a space, and that is exactly why we created this initiative. Without the Government of Canada's intervention, these spaces would not have been created because the current child care market does not meet the real needs of Canadians.
    As for Quebec, we signed an asymmetrical agreement because we recognize Quebec's leadership in child care. For 25 years now, Quebec has had affordable early childhood centres and day cares for families in Quebec. This has had an impact on the participation rate of women in the workforce. In Quebec, more women participate in the workforce than anywhere else in Canada. We recognize Quebec's leadership, and we have based our initiative on Quebec's efforts and leadership.
    Our bill respects provincial and territorial jurisdictions, and we signed agreements with each one of the 10 provinces and each one of the three territories in this country to ensure that they can establish these child care services. We have common goals and Quebec promised to create 37,000 additional spaces with that money. We are here to support Quebec and to work together.

[English]

    I will just say that, as of December, every province and territory had reduced its fees by 50% across this country, and several jurisdictions, including Newfoundland and Labrador, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Nunavut, have already reached the $10-a-day objective, three years ahead of schedule, which is making a huge and meaningful difference for families in those provinces and territories. Quebec and Yukon had already met that objective, and every other province and territory has been at 50% since December.
    When it comes to quality, we know that quality cannot be achieved without a well-paid, well-respected and well-treated workforce. That is why every single bilateral agreement we have ensures that we are working with provinces and territories to bring forward a wage grid to make sure they are working on a workforce strategy. In fact, this summer, I will be meeting with my provincial and territorial counterparts, and the number one thing on the agenda is a national workforce strategy. Absolutely, our ECEs care for our children. They care for our most precious resource, and we need to be there to make sure they have the supports they need. That is all factored into Bill C-35, which would commit the federal government to making sure that we have that accessible, affordable, high-quality and inclusive child care system right across the country.
    I will talk about the final pillar. When we talk about inclusion, one of the things that, as a parent, is very challenging is having a child with special needs or special requirements. Not only is it difficult to find a centre that will take their child; it is also difficult to find a child care space that has the requisite supports they need to thrive. One of the key pillars of our child care initiative, and it is here in Bill C-35, is making sure we are building inclusive child care spaces. I have had the opportunity to visit the GRIT program in Edmonton and a program here in Ottawa that have built and created space that is ensuring that children of all abilities and all neurodivergences can be there, can be safe and, most importantly, can thrive.
    That is what is exciting about Bill C-35 and its complementarity to the work we are doing in early learning and child care.

  (1850)  

[Translation]

    I would like to say one more thing. We are a feminist government. Our government is committed to everything we have done for gender equality. We are seeing the results.
    This year, we have the highest female participation rate in the workforce in Canada's history. That is due in part to our day care and early childhood centre program. We are seeing the results.
    Yes, there is a lot more work to be done. Of course a system cannot be created overnight. However, we are working on it, and I hope to be able to count on the support of every member of the House. It is one of the most important and transformative socio-economic initiatives to be undertaken by a government, by Canadians.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I think real leadership is not choosing to see what one wants to see, but seeing the truth and acknowledging all of that, and this is so insulting to the families. I am going to look to Saskatchewan right now, where 10% of families have access to child care. That is 90% that do not, so it is not true that it is wonderful, great and life changing for everyone. I guess what we are looking for is what the plan is, because this is not working. So many families are being left out, and the data says that.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I will remind members that I am sure the minister can answer the questions; I do not think she needs any assistance.
    The hon. minister.
    Madam Speaker, that is so typical from the Conservatives. They are saying, “Things are not perfect, so let us just do absolutely nothing.” On this side of the House, the Liberals say that, if we see a challenge, we should go forward and fix it. We should work with Canadians and their energy, and we should make sure we can do all of those things. If the member wants to see the plan, it is all public on the website. The Government of Canada has published its bilateral agreements with the provinces and territories. Saskatchewan, for example, has a great action plan. It is looking to expand child care across the country. Instead of saying we are not going to do anything and it is a problem, we are saying we are going to invest, bring forward legislation and fix it.
    Madam Speaker, it was a pleasure working with the minister on the bill, and with other members of the House trying to improve the bill. One of the concerns I brought forward, and continue to bring forward, is about workers. I was an early childhood educator, as I have indicated in the past. Workers are fighting the same fight. We are not going to have a national child care strategy unless we have a worker strategy. Unions representing child care workers have called for the government to develop a workforce strategy to address staffing shortages in the sector. We know this is something the CCPA commented on: the child care deserts. It is not about creating spaces; it is actually about having people who will work in these spaces.
    Does the minister agree we need to develop a child care workforce strategy now if we are ever going to achieve a functioning national child care strategy in this country?
    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her collaboration on this. I am absolutely thrilled we are here, continuing to advance early learning and child care and putting it into legislation, so I thank her for that collaboration.
    Yes, we do need to address the workforce challenges. In each of the bilateral agreements we have, we encourage and work with provinces and territories for them to bring forward recruitment and retention strategies, and some provinces have done great work in that regard. B.C., for example, has done a $4-an-hour wage top-up for all workers within child care. Manitoba has brought forward a pension and benefits plan. The Yukon has put forward a minimum wage for ECEs, starting at $30 an hour. There is good work going on, but yes, we need something much more national in scope. That is why at the FPT meeting I am hosting this summer with my provincial and territorial counterparts, the number one item on the agenda is workforce, because we are not going to be able to maintain or create those spaces without that workforce.

  (1855)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank the minister for her speech. I also thank my colleagues who participated in the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities.
    However, it is apparent that our requests were completely disregarded. In fact, Quebec's expertise was not even recognized.
    I would like the minister to explain why her government did not rely on the expertise and the model that we have in Quebec when it comes to child care.
    Madam Speaker, on the contrary, we recognize Quebec's leadership. We used Quebec's experience as a foundation for our child care and early learning program.
    I worked hand in hand with my Quebec counterpart on getting this bill through. We respect provincial jurisdictions.
    Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to rise to speak to Bill C‑35.
    The minister began by commending the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities for its work. I want to commend the member for Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou for the excellent work that she did on the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, which took many hours. I also want to commend the other committee members for their work. My colleague did a great job, and she asked a very insightful question.
    I will digress from the subject of Bill C‑35 for a moment to talk about the most recent budget. In its latest budget, the federal government decided to make the child care program a federal project that would encompass all of the provinces except Quebec. I will come back to that.
    At that point, there was already talk about Quebec's leadership, our model and our early childhood education services. I want to specify that we are not just talking about basic child care services but about educational services. It seems as though the other provinces rely on Canada to ensure their social progress, whereas, in Quebec, these are societal choices that we made 25 years ago or more. Quebec made this societal choice to give all children an equal opportunity and to incorporate the early childhood education services policy into an ambitious family policy.
    I am hearing talk of how it does not work that way in Saskatchewan and Alberta, and that we need a national strategy for workers. I can see why we are proud of our Quebec model. It has been recognized by the OECD. I myself went on a mission to the OECD regarding child care services and, at the time, Quebec attended with the minister. Indeed, Quebec as a society has chosen social progress. In our opinion, this bill meddles in provincial jurisdictions, and it is the provinces that should be responsible for implementing these social programs. It is not up to the federal government to tell them what to do and come to their rescue.
    That said, we can only hope that all children will be offered truly equal opportunities. Education and learning are the responsibility of Quebec and the provinces. The government cannot regulate all the social choices made in other provinces. We have taken care of ourselves.
    I am especially proud of the early childhood education services. The minister talked about leadership. The Quebec model has been recognized, but my colleague is right: If that model was used then why not include it in the bill? I was a witness in some respects at the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities. Several witnesses in committee witnessed the implementation of the program in Quebec. That is the case for Pierre Fortin, a brilliant economist who worked on this to demonstrate to us that working on equality of opportunity for our children was not an expense, but an investment.
    I do not understand why this was not indicated in Bill C‑35 even though there has been verbal recognition of Quebec's work on child care services, as the international community did in 2003. I am talking about the OECD. In the study it did on child care services in Canada, it mentioned that it is “important to underline...the extraordinary advance made by Quebec, which has launched one of the most ambitious and interesting early education and care policies in North America.”
    As many people know, Quebec is already investing $3 billion in early childhood education services. There are over 200,000 reduced contribution spaces. This is a public service. It is not a blend of public and private services. Early childhood education services are public services, and parents' contributions are reduced. The cost is even lower than the $10 that will be charged under the federal program. Currently, the contribution in Quebec is $8.85.

  (1900)  

    When early childhood education services were first introduced, the parental contribution was $5. More than 25 years later, the contribution is a symbolic $8.85. The contribution is the same, whatever the parents' income, because the condition of these services for the zero to five age group is to enable all children, whatever the parents' social status, whatever their socio-economic conditions, to have access to educational services. This is an important difference. Children are not simply being warehoused while their parents work. Children are learning in these environments.
    This was definitely helpful in the context of a family policy that saw an increase in the number of women returning to the workforce. It was astounding.
    It is all well and good if the provinces or other territories can benefit from this agreement. Everyone agrees on that, and the bill simply confirms it.
    The bill should have mentioned Quebec's leadership and its model and followed that model more carefully, not just haphazardly. The government also should have recognized that this bill will not apply in Quebec, not just for the next five years, but for always, because Quebec is the model. Quebec has a no-strings-attached agreement for the next five years. There were not a lot of Bloc Québécois amendments in this model.
    The government also should have recognized Quebec's leadership and the fact that the agreement provided for transfers with no strings attached. How can the government impose conditions on Quebec when it is using Quebec's program as a model for its own? That is a big deal for us.
    There has also been talk about a national strategy for workers. With all due respect, I can understand. If we want to provide quality early childhood education services, then training for staff, pay and working conditions are all very important, but those are not things that fall under Ottawa's jurisdiction. They are provincial responsibilities. I do not see how the federal government can include training and qualification requirements in salary policies. I understand that the government is making agreements so that the provinces are able to provide as many child care spaces as possible at 50% of the cost in the first year and then eventually at $10 a day. That is the goal. I think that the number of child care spaces that the government is looking at in the rest of Canada is the same as or less than the number we already have in Quebec. I think that the government should have recognized that Quebec inspired the federal program. That must be recognized and it should be recognized in the bill.
    We understand that the bill is there to ensure that this is not undone by another government, but it will be up to each Parliament to decide. As soon as the model is put in place, I think this will indeed contribute to reinforcing these services elsewhere. If the government's financial contribution can help provinces define or develop child care policies, so much the better. However, what I can say is that in Quebec, even though we have been using this model for 25 years, the federal transfers or the federal policies on family benefits or allowances have never offset Quebec's fair share of child care costs.
    Before entering politics, I was a union leader. I was proud to be there 25 years ago when the education services were implemented. This was done in the spirit of a social dialogue in Quebec. The employers, the departments, the government, the social milieu and civil society were all involved in this big project. I am proud to say that it was the work of the first woman premier of Quebec, Pauline Marois, as minister at the time. This accomplishment is a source of great pride for us.

  (1905)  

    That is what it takes in social policy.
    However, a fundamental question remains. While the federal government has social programs—
    I am sorry to interrupt the member. I tried in vain to signal the member several times.
    Questions and comments.
    The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development.
    Madam Speaker, I thank my Bloc Québécois colleague for her speech.

[English]

    I have enjoyed working with her and also other colleagues in committee as we go through this process. I could not agree with my colleague more. Quebec is the model that we looked to in being able to create a system that would include all the provinces and territories, and that is why we embarked on this with so much consultation with Quebec. As a matter of fact, I enjoyed really fruitful conversations with the centre of excellence for early childhood development in Sainte-Justine.
    We know that a public system is the right system. It is a high-quality system, yet my colleagues in the CPC keep insisting on private care. I would like to know the member's thoughts on why a public system is the right system for our children.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, it is because we put children first and we based this family policy around them. I remind members that this policy had two objectives: equal opportunity for children and work-life balance for parents.
    If we want to have a quality system, we need quality training for all educators working with our children. To achieve excellence, we must consider training conditions and teacher-educator ratios.
    Many elements were taken into account so that it would be a public system. The private child care system does not meet those objectives. A private system is there to make a profit. We know that early childhood day care services help children with their education and learning for their entire lives. When we think of children's rights, we need to invest in quality services. That is the choice we made.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I think there is a lot to unpack. In Quebec, there are still 70,000 kids on a wait-list. I think it is great to look to Quebec because, as I say, it is the DeLorean. We can go back to the future and learn from it.
    In terms of the private sector turning a profit, I find it interesting. If we have women entrepreneurs who are just putting money back into the system, is that not what the public system is doing?
    How is Quebec closing this gap of 70,000 without accessing that? How is it addressing the labour shortage?

  (1910)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I would say that Quebec has always been a victim of its own success. The number of spaces has always been an issue. There are more than 200,000 spots, yet we still come up short.
    There are also certain concerns. For parents, it is important to have a space in a public child care centre precisely so they do not have to go to the private sector, where the regulations and objectives are completely different. We need to strengthen the public network by creating spaces. I think it is a decent challenge, and the model is a success.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, one of the benefits of the Quebec child care system is that more women are able to participate in the workforce.
    Does the member agree that access to affordable, quality child care is a gender equity issue?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I would say that it is first and foremost a question of equal opportunities for children. Of course, it contributes to women's participation in the workforce. If quality child care is not an option, women are likely to leave the workforce in order to care for their children, but it will not be by choice.
    Public child care has offered vibrant and stimulating environments for children and has allowed women to return to the workforce or not lose their careers. Some may see it as an expense, but it is an investment because it is a win-win situation.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I rise today to speak about Bill C-35, the Canada Early Learning and Child Care Act.
     Let me take this opportunity to first of all thank all of the advocates, experts, parents, child care providers, workers, unions and others who took the time to make presentations or write submissions to the committee. Their passion and their knowledge about quality, affordable and accessible child care shone through and helped us make the bill better. There are too many people and organizations to name, but I am so grateful for their advocacy and guidance.
     I am proud that we have emerged from the committee process with an improved piece of legislation. As a result of amendments put forward by the NDP, the bill includes stronger reporting requirements for greater accountability and transparency; more inclusive language that reflects the needs of children with disabilities and those from official language minority communities; recognition that the conditions of work affect the conditions of care; and an amendment to uphold the right of indigenous peoples to free, prior and informed consent on matters pertaining to their children. This acknowledgement is historic, and it is the first time since the passage of Bill C-15 that it has been enshrined in federal legislation.
    This builds on other important provisions included in the original bill, including an explicit prioritization of non-profit and public child care for federal funding, something the NDP fought for and won. Witness after witness made it clear that the research overwhelmingly agrees that non-profit and public child care delivers the best outcomes and the highest quality of care for children.
    I hope that after Bill C-35 becomes law, we no longer see federal money being used to expand for-profit child care in Canada, as we saw several months ago in Alberta with the federal government announcing support for 22,500 new for-profit spaces. Public money should be used to expand public and non-profit child care. Public monies need to be invested in public institutions. It is better for workers and it is better for children.
     The NDP supports this bill, and I urge my colleagues from all parties to pass it unanimously to show our commitment to supporting children, families, workers and child care providers. This is an important step towards building a permanent national system of $10-a-day child care.
     I want to focus my remarks today on a theme that emerged time and time again in committee: We have a child care workforce crisis in this country. Child care workers receive wages that are not livable and benefits that are not adequate. They often endure difficult working conditions. Unless we address these issues, we are putting the success of a national child care system at risk.
     Who are these workers? Well, more than 98% of them are women; one-third are immigrants or non-permanent residents; and child care workers are more likely than workers in all other occupations to be racialized. They perform some of the most critical work in our society, providing education during the years most crucial to a child’s development, and yet they are treated as disposable.
    The wage floor for early childhood educators in Ontario, for example, is just $19 an hour. It is just $19 an hour for providing essential work. Do members know the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Toronto? It is $2,500 a month. This is outrageous. We are asking people to take on the work of looking after and educating our kids, and then we are not paying them enough to provide for their own kids. It is no wonder that people who trained as early childhood educators are leaving the profession to take better-paying jobs in other fields, or that many people are discouraged from entering the profession in the first place. More than any other factor, this is why we have a shortage of child care spaces across the country.
     I know that the fee reductions we have been seeing as a result of the bilateral agreements with the provinces are having a huge and positive impact for thousands of families. I want to acknowledge that; I want to acknowledge that it is making their lives more affordable, but far too many others are stuck on wait-lists and cannot access the benefits of more affordable child care.

  (1915)  

    We can build all of the new spaces we want, but that means little unless well-trained, well-paid workers are put in place to staff these new centres.
    I have often heard the situation in the child care sector described as a worker shortage, but let us be clear: This is not, in fact, a worker shortage; it is a wage shortage. It is a respect shortage. It is a dignity shortage. This shortage of dignity and respect is contributing to the shortage of affordable spaces.
    Last week the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives released a report showing that almost half of younger children, which means those not yet attending kindergarten, live in “child care deserts”, where there are more than three children for every licensed child care space. In Saskatchewan, the number is 92%, and in my own province of Manitoba, it is 76%.
    One of the key recommendations the report offers to address this situation is to guarantee decent wages and benefits for child care workers. We need immediate federal investments to provinces and territories to improve the wage grids of their child care staff. We also need this government to put in place a workforce strategy that ensures livable wages, better benefits, retirement security, adequate working conditions, and education and training opportunities.
    I want to address the argument I often hear from my colleagues, which is that this is provincial jurisdiction.
    We are building a national child care system. Without federal leadership to address this workforce crisis and improve pay, benefits and working conditions, this system will not be sustainable. It is not just workers who suffer from poor compensation; their working conditions are kids’ learning conditions. They are directly tied to the quality of care
     The federal government can and must use its spending powers to raise the bar for workers. The Liberals know that they can do this. In fact, in 2021, during the 2021 election, they promised a wage floor of $25 an hour for personal support workers, an area that is also within provincial jurisdiction. Why can they not make the same promise of livable wages for child care staff, who perform different but equally essential roles in society?
    We do not have to choose between $10-a-day child care and raising wages for child care workers. We can and must have both if we are going to have a successful national child care strategy. We can and must have both to ensure that kids get the best quality of care and that we are recruiting and retaining the workers we need to create more spaces so that parents can access affordable child care in the communities where they live.
    I do not want this generation and the future generations of early childhood educators to have to make the same choice that I made: leaving a profession that I loved because I wanted to pay my bills. I want to live in a country where the work of early childhood educators is valued just as highly as the work of doctors, lawyers, engineers and all other professions.
    The government cannot wash its hands of this responsibility. It has a leadership role to play in ensuring that every child care worker in Canada is treated with respect and dignity.
    I ask this today of all of us in the House: Let us pass this bill. Let us ensure that the people who are at the heart of the national child care system that we are trying to build, without whose labour there would not be any system at all, are no longer an afterthought.

  (1920)  

    Madam Speaker, the member has accurately captured the essence of what this legislation is doing. It is in essence establishing a national program. It does not matter, ultimately, where one lives in Canada; individuals will have access to, or potential access to, $10-a-day day care. It speaks volumes in terms of how legislation can change the future of Canadians, in particular for families that have young children, in such a positive way.
    I am wondering if the member could provide further comment on the significance and the benefits of a program that is national.
    Madam Speaker, I am happy we have a $10-a-day national child care strategy being put into place, but it will not be a successful program. It will not be rolled out properly without a comprehensive workforce strategy, which includes ensuring that early childhood educators are paid livable wages and benefits and have some sort of income security in retirement. If we do not respect the workers who are looking after children, how do we expect the national child care strategy to ever get off the ground properly?
    Madam Speaker, I thank the member for her intervention. I enjoy working with her at committee and in the process of listening to witness testimony.
    An amendment was put forward by the member to add “free, prior and informed consent” with respect to indigenous peoples. This amendment is very similar to what Conservatives believe, which is that parents should be able to choose what is right for their children and family. The Liberals voted against that motion.
     My question for the member is this: How can she trust the Liberals when they voted against that very amendment that allows indigenous peoples to choose what is it right for their children?
    Madam Speaker, it goes back to legislation. We need to negotiate a piece of legislation to enshrine it into law.
    This is about law. I was very happy to see support from the Conservatives, the Bloc and members of the Liberal Party, in fact, for my amendment to include “free, prior and informed consent” on all matters relating to the children of indigenous peoples, something we know historically has not been done. It is fundamental to self-determination, and in fact it is in the framework agreement.
    That is why we are pushing for legislation. That is why we need to vote for this legislation and put it in place. We need to make sure that it is enshrined in law going forward.

  (1925)  

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her endless important work in this area.
    I wonder if my colleague can clarify this. We all know of the dismal pay that child care workers are receiving, despite a lengthy education and working so tirelessly to support our children and future generations. I wonder if the member can share with us today what her thoughts are around what needs to be done to ensure that qualified individuals will be placed in these vital positions for our children as we move forward.
    Madam Speaker, I think it is very simple. It is very clear. Certainly the sector leaders like Child Care Now and all the major child care organizations have been very clear that if we want a successful national child care strategy, we need to ensure that we have a strategy for workers. That includes ensuring that early childhood educators are provided with livable wages and benefits and have income security in their retirement.
    We also need a strategy to train new workers entering the field, one that provides education to become qualified early childhood educators.
    The solutions are there. The government just needs to listen.
    Madam Speaker, what a pleasure it is to rise and speak to such important legislation. I suggest that what we are talking about this evening is historical legislation. If we take a look at it from the perspective of the Canada Health Act, the Canada Health Act has ensured that we have the health care system we have today. That is the way I look at Bill C-35.
    Bill C-35 is a very powerful statement. It is a statement to all Canadians, no matter where they live from coast to coast to coast, that says the government recognizes child care is of the utmost importance. Having a national program will make a difference in a very real and tangible way.
    Bill C-35 would put into place an act to ensure early learning and child care is there not only today but for future generations. It ensures that the federal government recognizes that it has a very important role to play. Not only will it be providing money, but there will be a higher sense of public accountability and transparency. It will ensure there is an affordability element to child care, no matter where one happens to live in Canada.
    This is something that I believe will make a positive difference, and we have already seen some early results. When the minister talked about the bill an hour or so ago, she talked about the number and percentage of women in the workforce today. There are record numbers in North America. We have more women entering into the workforce than we ever have. That is going to continue to grow. We know that, because we can look at the province of Quebec to see how successful its program has been. We have taken what has happened in the province of Quebec and amplified it to apply across the country. Everyone wins.
    I do not quite understand the Conservative Party's position. It was long ago when we attempted to do this before. That would have been 20 years ago. Unfortunately, the first thing the Harper government did was rip up the idea, the agreements and the thoughts on this. As a result, it set back a generation or two of people who would have received good-quality child care, not to mention what I suspect would have been better wages and resources for child care workers. Because there was no legislative component to this, Stephen Harper had a very easy time destroying it.
    Let us flash back to just a couple of years ago, when there were 338 Conservative candidates running around in the federal election. What was the Conservative Party saying then? We did not have full agreement from all the provinces at that time, but even at that point, less than two years ago, the federal Conservative Party was saying that it did not support this and that it would also rip it up. If we contrast the Conservatives with us, it is night and day. They do not support affordable, quality child care.
    What we have done since the election is accomplish an agreement with all of the provinces and territories, along with indigenous communities. That means provincial and territorial parties that are not only Liberal. They are Conservative and NDP. When I say “Conservative” I mean Progressive Conservative. I should qualify that because the current Conservative Party is a very far right Conservative Party.
    An hon. member: Oh, oh!
    Mr. Kevin Lamoureux: Madam Speaker, the member who is laughing understands exactly what I am saying. One only needs to read her comments.

  (1930)  

    I think it is a positive thing that we have been encouraged by the Conservative Party to bring in this legislation. However, from my personal perspective, even if the Conservative Party was supporting the concept of affordable, quality child care, I would still be advocating for legislation of this nature because it is good legislation.
    If the Conservative Party was not so far to the right, I would be advocating for it, but with today's Conservative Party, it even becomes more important to have this legislation. I listened to the shadow minister. We do not call them critics; we call them shadow ministers. It is kind of scary when we stop to think about how the Conservatives are going to vote on this legislation. If we listen to the critic, we would think they are going to be voting against it.
    I look at that, as I know many of my colleagues do, and ask who they are actually listening to. Obviously it is not their constituents. Instead, they try to give a false impression that this is broken. They then go on to talk about all the day care and child care problems, being very critical of the provinces, which have the responsibility of providing child care systems. I wonder if they have the support of the provinces to rip up things of this nature that we are proposing. I wonder if the provinces are aware of just how critical the Conservative Party of Canada is in regard to the performance of provincial governments across this country and those in the territories, because that is who its members are criticizing. We finally have a federal government, a national government, that has a vision of progress, of moving Canada forward on child care, yet we have a Conservative Party that has an attitude of “No, not here in Canada”. It does not want money being spent, which we hear constantly coming from the Conservative Party.
    Yes, there is a cost to this. I recognize there is a cost going into the billions of dollars, and I think that is what offends Conservative Party members at the national level. However, let me suggest that if they open their eyes and try to get a better understanding of both the social and economic impact of a progressive policy of this nature, maybe they will do one of their traditional flip-flops, support the legislation and go against what they campaigned about on this issue. We all know the flip-flop they have taken on the price on pollution. Here is another good flip-flop for them, but a flip-flop in a positive way, where they would be supporting a national child care program. That would be encouraging to see the Conservative Party do.
    Let us think of the economic advantage. We would have more people in the workforce. We would be making a more equal playing field. Many more women would be able to plan a career and not need to worry about the cost of day care, child care or early learning. These are the advantages. When they get into the workforce, they will be paying taxes, taxes that in all likelihood they might not have been paying because they did not have affordable child care. It is healthier for the economy.
    There are parents who have their children in $10-a-day child care. We talk about other issues in Canada, things like inflation. This is helping families today in a very real and tangible way by putting thousands of dollars in their pockets, yet the Conservatives do not like the idea. They need to really start thinking about how society would benefit. It is not just the family who would benefit; it is everyone. All of us benefit when we have programs of this nature.
    Bill C-35, in essence, ensures we will continue to have a national child care program and a national commitment to financing and contributing to the care of children. That is a good thing. I hope the Conservatives will flip-flop on this issue and support it.

  (1935)  

    I see the member is already standing to ask a question. I hope she will give a commitment to support the legislation. That is the question I would pose to her.
    An hon. member: Bring it home.
    Mr. Speaker, I love to hear the Liberals say the Conservative slogan “Bring it home”. It is great to hear them say it.
    I received a message this morning from Melissa. Melissa wrote to me and said that she has not been able to find child care since she moved to Peterborough in August. She is looking for before-and-after care for her two kids. The wait-list is crazy. There are 75 kids on the wait-list. She was lucky enough to find a job that allows her to work during the hours her children are in school, but she had to cut down on working full time due to a lack of availability of child care.
    I am curious what the member opposite would say to Melissa.
    Mr. Speaker, I would say to Melissa that the Conservative Party has no ideas. It does not even want to contribute. It does not understand and appreciate what a national program is.
    For the very first time, we have a national government demonstrating that it wants to contribute to addressing the issue of child care. That has been a long time coming, and part of the fear is that the Conservatives might try to get rid of that step forward.
    I would suggest to Melissa that she might want to consider voting for any other political party but Conservative. Otherwise, child care would be going backward, and that would not be a good thing.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech. However, he was very critical of the Conservatives.
    The Liberal government also deserves some criticism for not taking into account the fact that Quebec is a model.
    On top of that, the contract is for a period of five years. What is the government going to do after that? I think it is looking for a fight between Quebec and Ottawa.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the member will recall from the comments I made that we looked at how successful the program in Quebec was and saw Quebec is leading the country on the issue. We knew if we took the idea from Quebec and applied it universally from coast to coast to coast, we would see some very positive results, like affordable, quality child care and more women being engaged in the workforce. We are already witnessing that. A number of provinces are already at $10-a-day day care, and we have the highest percentage in North America of women engaged in the workforce. This is just the beginning, recognizing that Quebec has led the way.
    One of the nice things about being in a federal system is that when one province does something and excels at it, Ottawa has the opportunity to promote, encourage and, in this case, take specific action so that future generations will benefit, as with the program that was introduced by the Province of Quebec. I love the fact that the Province of Quebec brought in the program.

  (1940)  

    Mr. Speaker, I have sat in the chamber listening, and the Conservatives have put up speaker after speaker claiming they care about child care and talking about the urgent need for child care. They also stand in this House and talk about the very real crisis that most Canadians are finding themselves in economically. However, what are we debating in the House tonight? Anybody watching this should know that we are debating a Conservative motion to delete the short title of the bill on child care. They have 15 Conservative members speaking to their motion to delete the short title of a bill on child care. If that does not speak to a disingenuousness in getting to the real issues facing Canadians, I do not know what does. Talk about a waste of this House's time.
    I am wondering if my hon. colleague can comment on that. What does it tell him? The Conservatives say they really care about child care and want to deal with the real economic issues facing Canadians, but does he think the Conservatives putting up 15 speakers to talk about deleting the short title of the bill is consistent with that?
    Mr. Speaker, I recognize right up front that in a minority situation it has been good to see progressive policies where the NDP and the Liberals have been able to work together so that we can ensure that this important legislation ultimately will be able to pass. The member highlights a situation that is very obvious. The Conservatives are putting up this number of speakers, because ultimately they like to delay legislation and prevent it from passing.
    Mr. Speaker, it is funny, because I have this speech that I wrote, which I am very passionate about, even though I am Conservative. I am a mom who needed child care, and I do not even know where to begin on this, because I am listening to the men across the room telling us what it is like to be a mom and how difficult it is to seek child care. I am listening to men across there.
    I am looking at a member from Saskatchewan. I have great respect for her. She is a mom who has come here and had children while on the job, but not in the chamber. She has been able to raise her children as a member of Parliament, and I just want to start by correcting the record by saying to please delete the last 15 minutes of what has happened in the House of Commons, because if we want to look at absolute mistruths, we can maybe look at the speech from the member for Winnipeg North. I am sorry about that.
    I think that comes, because I just listened to him talk about a woman from Peterborough who he advised.
    Maybe they can stop having their conversations over there and listen to women speak.
    I was trying to talk about the fact that the member talked about a women from Peterborough and went against my colleague, who is one of the strongest members of Parliament I have seen here. He told her that her constituent should maybe vote for somebody else if they really want to care about women and everything else. I would like to say to the members I am looking across at to please recognize the work we have done and to recognize the women who are sitting in this House and the work we have done. The only reason we are here is that we are strong women. The member will please stop trying to deflate us and stop trying to mansplain to us. We get it. We are leaders who have been voted for by our communities, and not just by women.
    That is why I want to share with everybody that when we are bringing these things forward, it is because our constituents do not agree with what the Liberals have brought forward. In my case, 128,000 people elected me. That is about 50%, which is happy, joyful and great for me. I am listening to them. Not everybody voted for me, but I do try my best to repres