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44th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • No. 254

CONTENTS

Thursday, November 23, 2023




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

Volume 151
No. 254
1st SESSION
44th PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Speaker: The Honourable Greg Fergus

    The House met at 10 a.m.

Prayer



Routine Proceedings

[Routine Proceedings]

  (1000)  

[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.
    While I am on my feet, I move:
    That the House do now proceed to orders of the day.

[Translation]

    The question is on the motion.
    If a member participating in person wishes that the motion be carried or carried on division, or if a member of a recognized party participating in person wishes to request a recorded division, I would invite them to rise and indicate it to the Chair.

[English]

    An hon. member: Recorded vote.

[Translation]

    Call in the members.
    Before the Clerk announced the results of the vote:

  (1045)  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. We cannot see the member for Papineau's picture.
    The picture is not showing up in the system either.
    It is fixed now.

[English]

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

(Division No. 452)

YEAS

Members

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

Total: -- 169


NAYS

Members

Aboultaif
Aitchison
Albas
Allison
Arnold
Baldinelli
Barlow
Barrett
Barsalou-Duval
Beaulieu
Bergeron
Berthold
Bérubé
Bezan
Blanchet
Blanchette-Joncas
Block
Bragdon
Brassard
Brock
Brunelle-Duceppe
Calkins
Carrie
Chambers
Champoux
Chong
Cooper
Dalton
Davidson
DeBellefeuille
Deltell
Desilets
Doherty
Dowdall
Dreeshen
Duncan (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Ellis
Epp
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Fast
Ferreri
Findlay
Fortin
Gallant
Garon
Gaudreau
Généreux
Genuis
Gill
Gladu
Goodridge
Gourde
Gray
Hallan
Hoback
Jeneroux
Kelly
Khanna
Kitchen
Kmiec
Kram
Kramp-Neuman
Kurek
Kusie
Lake
Larouche
Lawrence
Lehoux
Lemire
Leslie
Lewis (Essex)
Lewis (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Liepert
Lloyd
Lobb
Maguire
Majumdar
Martel
May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
Mazier
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McLean
Melillo
Michaud
Moore
Motz
Muys
Nater
Normandin
Patzer
Paul-Hus
Pauzé
Perkins
Plamondon
Poilievre
Rayes
Redekopp
Richards
Roberts
Rood
Ruff
Savard-Tremblay
Scheer
Schmale
Seeback
Shields
Shipley
Simard
Sinclair-Desgagné
Small
Soroka
Steinley
Ste-Marie
Stewart
Strahl
Stubbs
Therrien
Thomas
Tochor
Tolmie
Trudel
Uppal
Van Popta
Vecchio
Vidal
Vien
Viersen
Vignola
Villemure
Vis
Vuong
Wagantall
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Williams
Williamson
Zimmer

Total: -- 139


PAIRED

Members

Chabot
Fry
Housefather
Khalid
Lantsman
Mendicino
Morantz
Morrison
Perron
Rempel Garner
Sarai
Sheehan

Total: -- 12


    I declare the motion carried.

Government Orders

[S. O. 57]

[English]

Government Business No. 30—Proceedings on Bill C-56

Motion That Debate Be Not Further Adjourned 

    Mr. Speaker, in relation to the consideration of Government Business No. 30, I move:
    That the debate be not further adjourned.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 67.1, there will now be a 30-minute question period. I invite all members who wish to ask questions to rise or use the “raise hand” function so the Chair has some idea of the members who wish to participate in this question period.
    The hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan.
    Mr. Speaker, lately the government likes to claim it has had a conversion to being concerned about affordability. Meanwhile, for years it has been running a horrifying economic experiment. It has massively increased spending and more than doubled our national debt. We know now that it is spending more on debt servicing than it is sending to the provinces for health care.
    Outrageous amounts of money in debt servicing costs are making life less affordable for Canadians. Fundamentally, since the Liberals claim to have had this conversion to being concerned about affordability, will they tell the House when the budget will be balanced?
    Mr. Speaker, I hope all Canadians watching at home are looking at this debate. They would agree that there is a time to consider and a time to debate, but also a time to act. I have been saying that to Canadians and even to the Leader of the Opposition. There is only one thing he can do for Canadians, which is to vote for Bill C-56. Why? The Conservatives would be well advised to listen to Canadians.
    Canadians have told us that the two things they are concerned about are housing and affordability. That is why we have already had 20 hours of debate over five days. Imagine that. Canadians at home need the help contained in this bill and are wondering why members of Parliament have been talking about 20 days. I think Canadians watching today want action and that is what we are going to deliver.

  (1050)  

    Mr. Speaker, I have said many times that there are two bloc parties in the House of Commons, the Bloc Québécois and the “block everything” party, the Conservative Party, which has blocked dental care and provisions for doubling the GST credit so that Canadians can put more food on the table. It has blocked every piece of legislation coming forward, except of course the Canada-Ukraine trade bill, which it voted against on the Day of Dignity and Freedom, when Ukrainians were commemorating their democracy. That is when the Conservatives, one by one, voted down the Canada-Ukraine trade bill. Aside from that, they have blocked every other piece of legislation.
    We know their history. Under the Conservatives in the Harper regime, housing prices doubled, and they lost or destroyed 800,000 affordable housing units. Is that why the Conservatives are yet again blocking legislation provoked by the NDP that would help Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, that is music to my ears when I hear that from the party blocking everything.
    We can imagine that folks at home are watching, and they are saying that the Conservative Party of Canada voted against the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement. I am sure people at home are asking what is going on in Ottawa these days. They want to know what kind of Conservatives would vote against a nation that is fighting for democracy on behalf of all of us.
    My hon. colleague is right; he brings words of wisdom to this House. Bill C-56 is about helping Canadians with housing and affordability. Will the Conservatives ever vote in favour of Canadians? We are going to be watching them.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry is very proactive on many files.
    However, as the saying goes, the longer we wait, the worse things get. That is what happened with the Competition Act. The government could have taken action years ago. If it had, we would not be stuck with these huge monopolies, especially in the grocery sector, that have pushed prices up with margins that benefit them, rather than producers or processors, and that have doubled prices for consumers.
    The same goes for telecommunications, gasoline and banks. Costs have gone up because this government did not act in time. It waited too long to introduce Bill C-27. It also waited too long to introduce the bill to amend the Copyright Act.
    When will the government take action? Can the minister assert his legislative power to ensure that these files actually get debated? Right now, it seems to me that there is no movement on his side.
    Mr. Speaker, with all due respect for the member for Abitibi—Témiscamingue, that is exactly what we are doing. There have been five days of debate, which adds up to 20 hours. I am listening to the member, and I hear him. He says we must act, and that is exactly what we are trying to do. I hope the Bloc Québécois will be with us.
    My colleagues need to remember that there were 120 days of consultations on competition, including five round tables and 400 submissions. Nearly 120 organizations filed submissions. We consulted all the stakeholders. Today, we are asking the House to move forward.
    Canadians also agree with the member. They want us to forge ahead. We expect the Bloc Québécois to vote in favour of Bill C-56. That way, we will be able to push forward and reform the Competition Act, which has not been updated in 37 years.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it is true, the Conservative Party is the “block everything” party.
    However, the Conservatives are not even consistent. They delayed with respect to the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement, and suddenly, in the 11th hour, with about a week left, they came up with this red herring that it had something to do with a price on pollution.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Mr. Mark Gerretsen: I hear the heckling from my Conservative colleagues.
    Mr. Speaker, Ukraine has had a price on pollution since 2011. As a matter of fact, the only way it could get into the European market was to commit to that. This is nothing more than a red herring.
    Is the minister concerned that the delay of this bill is, once again, just another red herring being put out there by Conservatives?
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!

  (1055)  

    Order, order. Maybe the members should have a talk later or send an email to each other to figure this out.
    The hon. Minister of Innovation.
    Mr. Speaker, in the meantime, I am going to respond to that, because I know Canadians are watching.
    My colleague is right. Yesterday must have been a shock to Canadians from coast to coast to coast, seeing the Conservatives voting against Ukraine in a time of war. Did they really vote against the Canada Ukraine free trade agreement? They tried to find excuse after excuse for it.
    Now we are going to see if the Conservatives find another excuse to not help Canadians. Bill C-56 is simple: It would help people with housing and affordability. I am sure Canadians are asking whether the Conservatives will ever do something for them.
    Conservatives have the opportunity of a lifetime. It is just before Christmas. They should give a gift to Canadians by voting for Bill C-56 and letting us move forward in this country.
    Mr. Speaker, it is good that we can actually bring it back to the debate on the motion at hand.
    This motion contains a promise that the Liberal government made in 2015. I find it a little difficult to take that the minister waxes incredulous when members may want to debate the bill. It took the Liberals eight years, kicking and screaming, to do this, after the opposition leader actually tabled a private member's bill that presented the exact thing that the Liberals promised to do in 2015.
    After eight years of the Liberals not keeping that particular promise on housing, how on earth are Canadians to think that it is somehow the Conservatives' fault that this legislation has not been enacted? How are they to accuse Conservatives of blocking the Liberals from doing what they promised to do eight years ago?
    Mr. Speaker, I have enormous respect for the member, but let me repeat in English what I said in French. Do they know how much we consulted on that when it came to competition? There were 120 days of consultation. Five round tables were held across the country. Four hundred submissions were received in 120 stakeholder organizations.
     On the one hand, the Conservatives say they want more debate, consultation and time. On the other, they are trying to blame us for delaying. We are saying no. Canadians are saying no to them. They said no to them in the last election.
    There is a time for consideration and debate, but there is also a time for action. Canadians want action on housing and affordability. Can they help Canadians for once? Bill C-56 is very simple; it is a bill for helping Canadians. I am sure people at home will look at the Conservatives and wonder whether they will do the right thing for Canadians once and for all.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the minister is getting all worked up talking about competition, saying it is important to promote it.
    I have a proposal for him to promote competition. In Quebec, a lot of small businesses need help. We asked that the deadline for small businesses to pay back the emergency business account be extended by one year. Due to inflation and what they lived through with the pandemic, they are not able to reimburse the loan so quickly.
    The government said it would grant them 18 days. What are they going to do in 18 days? They cannot do much. We proposed that the government extend the deadline for small businesses to reimburse the loan. We also offered to help in expediting passage of Bill C‑56. The government refused.
    Is it telling us it has decided to abandon small businesses in Quebec?
    Mr. Speaker, I am glad that my colleague is talking about competition because we know all about competition in Quebec. Consumer protection is a value that Quebeckers hold dear. Right now, Quebeckers who are looking at my colleague must be thinking that the Bloc Québécois will certainly support a bill that promotes competition.
    One of the problems we have seen recently involved the food sector. Bill C‑56 would give more power to the Competition Bureau to investigate, to undertake a comprehensive study. I am sure that Quebeckers at home are thinking that the Bloc Québécois will certainly vote in favour of Quebeckers because, if it believes in competition, it believes in Bill C‑56.
    Bill C‑56 will create new tools to help Quebeckers. I am sure that people at home listening to us today are convinced the Bloc Québécois will do the right thing and support Bill C‑56.

  (1100)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, as Greens, we believe we are sent here not to play partisan games but to focus on the priorities of our communities. Right now, we are not even debating Bill C-56 or the programming motion to move more quickly on Bill C-56. We are debating another motion to limit debate on the programming motion. This has happened dozens of times in this Parliament alone. I believe it is 29 or so. One day, the minister might be in opposition. Is he at all concerned with the precedent that this sets of bringing forward allocation to limit time on debate again?
    Mr. Speaker, I would not bet on that. However, I would say that I know the member; he is a man of good heart. I have had a number of discussions with him, and he is someone who wants to do what is right for Canadians.
     However, like me and I hope all members, when they get groceries, when they walk in their ridings on the weekend and when they talk to people in the street, they hear that there are two things that Canadians are facing today. They are facing the cost of housing and affordability. Those are the things Canadians want us to take action on, not only as government but also as parliamentarians.
    Christmas is approaching. Canadians are watching, and they ask whether Parliament will finally do something to help them. They want help on affordability and on housing. This bill would do that. We can imagine: It would enhance the GST rebate on new rental housing; it would give more tools to the Competition Bureau to go after uncompetitive practices in this country.
     If the Greens want to help Canadians, as I am sure they do, I have no doubt that when the vote comes up on Bill C-56, they will vote in favour of it and in favour of Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to give the minister a chance to highlight the importance of passing this bill again. The reason I ask is that, a couple of weeks ago at church, a senior slid over behind me, tapped me on the shoulder and thanked me for the way that I voted on the carbon tax on home heating oil. She also told me that she was at Sobeys grocery store that week, picking up a few items. When she got to the lineup for the checkout, she said she added up in her head what those items were going to cost and had to walk away and leave them in the cart. She left the store and went home; she could not afford to buy those groceries or buy those items.
    Can the minister explain how this bill will help that person be able to afford to buy groceries?
    Mr. Speaker, this is the reality for many Canadians. One thing we have seen across many nations is that the best way to bring affordability and stabilize prices is through competition. Bill C-56 would do something that has not been done in about 37 years in our country. It would reform the Competition Act in ways that are very clear.
    The bill would give more power to the competition authority, for example, when it does a market study. The last market study was done on groceries. Can we imagine having an authority with no subpoena power? That has not been seen in any other G7 country. Now we are going to fix that. Another thing it would do is ensure that anti-competitive mergers can be blocked. We have seen, time and time again, that we have restricted competition. Lastly, Bill C-56 would remove restrictive covenants that we can currently find in leases. We have seen in the member's riding, as in my own, a grocer in one shopping centre. Today, there are some restrictive clauses in leases that would prevent an independent grocer from going and competing with them. We need to put a stop to that.
    Canadians watching at home are trusting us to do the right thing for them. The only reason we are here is to serve the people at home. They sent us here to do something. We are committed to doing that.
    Mr. Speaker, we already heard earlier that there are elements in this bill that belong to Conservative private members' bills. The fall economic update also took in four more Conservative private members' bills, including portions of my own.
    How many more Conservative ideas will the government have to steal to try to help Canadians? When will the government call an election so that we can actually take Conservative ideas and implement them as a Conservative government instead?

  (1105)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am glad to take that question from the member because, as we said, Parliament is the place where we should debate ideas. This is the place where the best ideas should come from and actually be implemented. That is what we are seeing with Bill C-56 and this motion. There is a time for consideration and debate, but there is also a time for voting and acting.
    If the member believes what he said, he should be in favour of the bill and running to his caucus to tell them that Christmas is approaching, Canadians are going to be watching and they need to do the right thing for Canadians. The two things that matter to Canadians are housing and affordability. Bill C-56 is going to help Canadians. If he is true to his word, he is going to convince his colleagues to vote for Bill C-56.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I can hardly believe this.
    Today, my colleague tells us it is urgent, that we must quickly pass Bill C-56 for its housing initiatives. The GST credit is a marginal measure to fight the housing crisis. Still, in the economic update, two days ago, we had a unique opportunity to invest in housing. However, most measures will only come into effect in 2025-2026.
    We need billions of dollars in investments now. We need to build 150,000 new units a year in Quebec. In the agreement with Quebec, 8,000 units will be built in the next five years. There are 10,000 homeless people in Quebec. We asked for an emergency fund to prevent deaths in Granby, in Rimouski and in Saint-Jérôme. Not a cent was allocated. The crisis is here now. I can hardly believe we were told this morning it is urgent to vote on the bill, while the government put nothing in its economic update two days ago.
    Mr. Speaker, it is so urgent that we have to move a motion to force members to vote.
    I understand why my colleague says this is urgent, I feel the same way. That is why the government believes it must move this kind of motion this morning. After 20 hours of debating, after five days of debate, it is time to act.
    I have listened to my colleague and I share his views. That is exactly right. What we are facing as a government is that on the other side of the House people want to slow down the process. Ultimately, they are preventing us from moving forward for Quebec, for Quebeckers, for the entire country.
    I know the member for Longueuil—Saint-Hubert. He is someone who wants to get things done and move forward. He will convince his colleagues to vote for Bill C-56. He will help Quebeckers when it comes to housing. He will certainly help Quebeckers when it comes to affordability. That is what people are asking us to do. That is what we are trying to do today.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, my colleague talks the big talk. He wants to help Canadians with affordability, yet the bill would not do that. The government is quadrupling the carbon tax on farmers. The Senate is stalling Bill C-234, which could give $1 billion of relief to farmers to help bring down our food prices, and the government is also trying to take away the ability of free enterprises to make their own business decisions. The reality is that the bill would not do anything to bring down grocery prices for Canadians. The government is living in a fantasyland if it thinks that retailers are not going to pass along to consumers any new taxes or protocols that the government puts in place.
    Why will the government not do something concrete, like axe the carbon tax and push its senators to get Bill C-234 passed in order to give farmers immediately relief from the carbon tax?
    Mr. Speaker, I am sure the member would agree that there is one way to help everyone in Canada. If we look at countries around the world, the best way to stabilize prices, reduce consolidation and have lower prices is through competition. Everyone would agree that this is the best way to make sure we help Canadians, and the bill would do exactly that.
    The last time anyone touched the legislation was 37 years ago. We are presenting the most important reform in competition. Why are we doing that? It is because we want to have more tools in the tool box so we can act. We want to help Canadians from coast to coast to coast. Those at home understand, as they have seen time and time again, that the best way for us as parliamentarians, collectively, to do something meaningful and concrete is to increase competition in this country.
    I am sure my colleague would agree with that, because I know her and I know she cares about the people in her riding and about Canadians. They are watching today. I am sure they would say she will do the right thing, that she will convince the Conservative caucus and say, “Yes, we are going to do something for Canada; yes, we are going to do something for consumers; and yes, we are going to do something for competition.” They will be watching.

  (1110)  

    Uqaqtittiji , this is such an important bill, especially for Nunavut, given that the price of housing and the price of groceries are so high and that it is so difficult in Nunavut. I would love to have seen more conversations about how we could make improvements, and I think the bill would do just that.
    It is unfortunate that we are discussing closure. If I understand it correctly, and maybe the member could help me understand it better, it is because there has been a lot of filibustering in the House, not just during debates in the House of Commons but also in committees. I had the unfortunate experience of replacing a colleague of mine at one of the committees yesterday, and all I sat through was Conservative filibustering.
    I wonder whether the minister could explain the cost of filibustering and why we needed closure.
    Mr. Speaker, the member's question was very thoughtful, and she pointed out what is going on in this place. I hope Canadians are watching.
    There is a party in front of us that will do anything to block any progress. Yesterday, we saw something egregious. The Conservatives blocked the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement. What the member is saying is that we see it time and time again. If I look into my own heart, I would think there should be unanimous consent. This is a bill that would improve housing and affordability. Everyone was sent here by families and other members of their communities. I know that these people expect us to do the right thing when it is about helping them. Like the member said, she would not expect people at home to say they sent members here to block and filibuster. They sent people here, on all sides of the House, to make sure we work for Canadians.
    The bill is about more housing and more competition for Canadians. I hope that every member of the House will vote in favour of Bill C-56. Let us give a gift to Canadians at a time when they need it most.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the minister is talking to us about competition. I am glad he is, because right now there is a problem with competition.
    People are paying more than ever for their groceries. Not so long ago, after speaking with grocery executives, the minister told the House that the problem had been solved because, looking at the flyers, he saw good discounts.
    However, the reality is that, shortly after that, we saw grocers make even more profits, record profits. We were told people had found a solution for inflation by changing their buying habits. Instead of buying fresh vegetables, they were buying frozen vegetables. Instead of buying a big steak, they were buying ground beef. We were told that, in fact, there was no problem because people had changed their buying habits. This is what grocery executives told us.
    The minister told us the problem was solved by flyers. How can we take these people seriously? Honestly, I think something is broken here. Is the minister proud of his work? Does he really believe the grocery inflation problem has been solved?
    Mr. Speaker, I agree with my colleague that we have to do more. This is why we introduced Bill C-56. We said the meeting with grocers was a first step. We asked them to do what was necessary to help Canadians, but we are not fools; we know more has to be done.
    I know my colleague will vote in favour of the bill. I can see it in his eyes. He is thinking that Bill C-56 gives more power to the Competition Bureau specifically to investigate big grocers across the country. If what he says is true—and I know he thinks what he says—he will vote in favour of Bill C-56. This bill will give more power to the Competition Bureau so it can conduct inquiries, and we know that the best way to help consumers across the country is to strengthen competition.
    Quebeckers will be watching the member when he votes on Bill C-56. I am convinced he will vote the right way.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it has been eight years of the government's failing Canadians over and over again. The reason we are in the circumstances we are in today in this country is the economic decisions of the government, along with increased taxes at a time when Canadians are earning less and the cost of everything is more. The question the government is not answering and that Canadians are asking, which is more important to them even than this, is why it chooses not to take responsibility for the fact that Canadians are in the urgent scenarios they are in today because of decisions made by the government.
    When will the government do what the Conservative Party has said from the very beginning? Our leader recognized a long time ago that this was going to be an issue. The government refused to respond to it in any way, so when will the government do the things that will get the long-term and fast responses this country needs and remove the carbon tax so Canadians can afford to live and inflation will go down? Those are the things Canadians need from the government.

  (1115)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would not have talked about the leader of the Conservatives, but since my colleague raised it, let us remember, for those watching at home, that this is the leader who advised Canadians to invest in cryptocurrency. In terms of economic advice, I am sure Canadians would probably agree with me to not follow anything he says.
    When the member talks about our record, I am so happy. She will have seen, because I know her and she looks at stats, that the OECD ranked Canada third in foreign investments that have come into this country, just after the United States and Brazil. This is a record. We are attracting investments like we have never seen before. We think of Volkswagen, Stellantis, GM, Ford and Volta.
    The world is realizing Canada has what it needs for the economy of the 21st century, a decarbonized economy, an economy that bets on the talent of people, renewable energy and open markets. I know that the member is looking at that and saying, “Wow, what a record.” I wish the Conservatives would join us to make sure Canada is the place everyone around the world looks to for investing.
    Mr. Speaker, as the leader of the Conservative Party has courted membership of the People's Party, we have seen the far right actually take over the Conservative Party. To amplify that fact, one only needs to take a look at how the Conservatives collectively voted against Ukraine and the trade agreement the other day. The reckless behaviour we are witnessing on a daily basis coming from the Conservative Party is demonstrated on the floor, as it is determined to filibuster and do whatever it can to prevent legislation from passing. I am wondering whether my colleague can provide his thoughts on how the far right has reached into the House of Commons today through the Conservative Party of Canada.
    Mr. Speaker, it would take me more than an hour to try to explain that to Canadians, but I do not think I could find any answers. On what Canadians witnessed yesterday, I am sure they are still at home wondering whether what they saw really happened, that in 2023 the Conservative Party of Canada would vote against the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement. Did it really? A time when a nation is fighting for democracy, and when it is fighting a war, is the time when one needs to help it.
    I know that maybe there is still a glimmer of hope, because Christmas is approaching. I know my colleagues are eager to go home, but Canadians are asking them to do one thing: to please vote for Bill C-56. They should give something to Canadians before they go on vacation and make sure we have more affordable housing and more affordability across this country.

[Translation]

    It is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith the question necessary to dispose of the motion now before the House.
    The question is on the motion.

[English]

     If a member participating in person wishes that the motion be carried or carried on division, or if a member of a recognized party participating in person wishes to request a recorded division, I would invite them to rise and indicate it to the Chair.
    Mr. Speaker, we request a recorded vote, please.
    Call in the members.

  (1200)  

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

(Division No. 453)

YEAS

Members

Aldag
Alghabra
Ali
Anand
Anandasangaree
Angus
Ashton
Atwin
Bachrach
Badawey
Bains
Baker
Barron
Battiste
Beech
Bendayan
Bennett
Bibeau
Bittle
Blaikie
Blair
Blaney
Blois
Boissonnault
Boulerice
Bradford
Brière
Cannings
Carr
Casey
Chagger
Chahal
Champagne
Chatel
Chen
Chiang
Collins (Hamilton East—Stoney Creek)
Cormier
Coteau
Dabrusin
Davies
Desjarlais
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Diab
Drouin
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
Dzerowicz
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Erskine-Smith
Fillmore
Fisher
Fonseca
Fortier
Fragiskatos
Fraser
Freeland
Fry
Gaheer
Gainey
Garrison
Gazan
Gerretsen
Gould
Green
Guilbeault
Hajdu
Hanley
Hardie
Hepfner
Holland
Housefather
Hughes
Hussen
Hutchings
Iacono
Idlout
Ien
Jaczek
Johns
Jowhari
Julian
Kayabaga
Kelloway
Khera
Koutrakis
Kusmierczyk
Kwan
Lalonde
Lambropoulos
Lametti
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Lattanzio
Lauzon
LeBlanc
Lebouthillier
Lightbound
Long
Longfield
Louis (Kitchener—Conestoga)
MacAulay (Cardigan)
MacDonald (Malpeque)
MacGregor
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
Maloney
Martinez Ferrada
Masse
Mathyssen
May (Cambridge)
McDonald (Avalon)
McGuinty
McKay
McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)
McLeod
McPherson
Mendès
Miao
Miller
Morrissey
Murray
Naqvi
Ng
Noormohamed
O'Connell
Oliphant
O'Regan
Petitpas Taylor
Powlowski
Qualtrough
Robillard
Rodriguez
Rogers
Romanado
Rota
Sahota
Sajjan
Saks
Samson
Sarai
Scarpaleggia
Schiefke
Serré
Sgro
Shanahan
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
Zarrillo
Zuberi

Total: -- 171


NAYS

Members

Aboultaif
Aitchison
Albas
Allison
Arnold
Baldinelli
Barlow
Barrett
Barsalou-Duval
Beaulieu
Bergeron
Berthold
Bérubé
Bezan
Blanchet
Blanchette-Joncas
Block
Bragdon
Brassard
Brock
Brunelle-Duceppe
Calkins
Caputo
Carrie
Chambers
Champoux
Chong
Cooper
Dalton
Davidson
DeBellefeuille
Deltell
Desbiens
Desilets
Doherty
Dowdall
Dreeshen
Duncan (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Ellis
Epp
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Fast
Ferreri
Findlay
Fortin
Gallant
Garon
Gaudreau
Généreux
Genuis
Gill
Gladu
Goodridge
Gourde
Gray
Hallan
Hoback
Jeneroux
Kelly
Khanna
Kitchen
Kmiec
Kram
Kramp-Neuman
Kurek
Kusie
Lake
Larouche
Lawrence
Lehoux
Lemire
Leslie
Lewis (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Liepert
Lloyd
Lobb
Maguire
Majumdar
Martel
May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
Mazier
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McLean
Melillo
Michaud
Moore
Morrice
Motz
Muys
Nater
Normandin
Patzer
Paul-Hus
Pauzé
Perkins
Plamondon
Poilievre
Rayes
Redekopp
Richards
Roberts
Rood
Ruff
Savard-Tremblay
Scheer
Schmale
Seeback
Shields
Shipley
Simard
Sinclair-Desgagné
Small
Soroka
Steinley
Ste-Marie
Stewart
Strahl
Stubbs
Therrien
Thomas
Tochor
Tolmie
Trudel
Uppal
Van Popta
Vecchio
Vidal
Vien
Viersen
Vignola
Villemure
Vis
Vuong
Wagantall
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Williams
Williamson
Zimmer

Total: -- 141


PAIRED

Members

Chabot
Fry
Housefather
Khalid
Lantsman
Mendicino
Morantz
Morrison
Perron
Rempel Garner
Sarai
Sheehan

Total: -- 12


    I declare the motion carried.

Consideration of Government Business No. 30  

[Government Orders]
    The House resumed from November 20 consideration of the motion, and of the amendment.
    Mr. Speaker, the legislation we are debating today would have a profoundly positive impact on Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
    I would like to bring to this debate the Conservative Party's attitude towards legislation in general. I put it in the form of a question earlier about the Conservative Party today, the leader of the Conservative Party, his attraction to the People's Party and the membership of that particular party. As a result, the Conservative Party has moved far to the right. I would ultimately argue that the far right has taken over the leadership of the Conservative Party today.
    I do not say that lightly. I truly believe that to be the case, and we have seen a good demonstration of that. Talking about the legislation we have today, one would think the Conservative Party would recognize the value and the good within this legislation and have a desire to see it passed. However, that is not the case of the far right Conservative Party today.
    We saw that amplified just the other day when the Conservative Party voted against a trade agreement. Conservatives actually voted against the Canada-Ukraine trade agreement. It is unbelievable. Then they try to rationalize why.
    It is rooted in the leadership of the Conservative Party. We see that far right element has virtually taken over. That has started to filter down into what we see across the way today. That is why, whether it is the Conservative Party voting against the trade agreement between Canada and Ukraine, or against the legislation we are debating today, there is a desire on the part of the Conservative Party to play that destructive force on the floor of the House of Commons.
    Then they look surprised that we would bring in time allocation for the debate on Bill C-56. The bottom line is that time allocation was brought in because the Conservatives do not want to see this legislation passed—

  (1205)  

    Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. In light of the member's comments saying that he apparently wants to do more for Ukraine, I wonder if there would be unanimous consent for the adoption of a motion put on notice by the member for Dufferin—Caledon, which is that there be an instruction to the Standing Committee on International Trade that, during its consideration of Bill C-57, an act to implement the 2023 free trade agreement between Canada and Ukraine, the committee be granted the power to expand the scope of the bill in order to support expanded munitions production in Canada and increasing munitions exports to Ukraine, and support the development of weapons and munitions manufacturing capabilities in Ukraine by Canadian industry.
    I hope there would be unanimous consent for the adoption of that motion so that we could move forward.

[Translation]

    All those opposed to the hon. member's moving the motion will please say nay.
    An hon. member: Nay.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, on a point of order. I have a very quick procedural question. Will the Hansard reflect that it was the Liberal member for Winnipeg North who said no, or—
    This is not a point of order; this is a point of debate. I would remind members that they are well aware, especially the opposition House leader, what points of order are. I would ask members to please respect the rules of the House.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary.
    Madam Speaker, the Conservatives just demonstrated just how dumb they can be.
    Let us remember that they tried to move a unanimous motion to, in essence, kill the free trade agreement completely. What do they think would have happened if that motion had actually passed? There is an agreement that is in place. The Conservatives remember that President Zelenskyy came to Canada to sign that agreement, and now they just want to throw it out the window. It is irresponsible. That is what I mean when I speak about the far right extremists in the Conservative caucus today. Shame on them.
    I want to remind the hon. member that a point of order was raised yesterday when a member raised the fact that someone had used a word, and I am not going to repeat that word here, but I do want to remind members to please be very careful with the words they use in the House. We should not be using these derogatory words as that shows a lack of respect.
    I have a point of order from the hon. member for Kelowna—Lake Country.
    Madam Speaker, my point of order was going to be to ask you to address the issue of the Liberal member calling someone dumb—
    Yes, and so I have.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to apologize for calling them dumdums.
    That is not a proper way of apologizing. I would like to remind members to please be careful with the words they use in the House. It does cause a lot of problems, and it really stops the flow of the House to be able to proceed.
    Questions and comments, the hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan.
    Madam Speaker, the member asked what would have happened if the Conservative motion to expand the scope had passed. It is quite simple what would have happened. The amendments I drafted to expand the scope of the bill to make specific legislative changes to expedite weapons transfers to Ukraine could be proposed, and if adopted, those amendments would then become part of this legislation. It would not in any way undermine the existing agreement. It would simply be a matter of Canada's adding additional legislative measures that would expedite the sale of weapons to Ukraine.
     It would be things such as, for instance, putting Ukraine on the list of open policy countries, which would reduce the time and review standard required to get these weapons to Ukraine. It would be things such as having EDC and BDC play a greater role in supporting the manufacturing of weapons in Ukraine through Canadian business investments. These are concrete measures that would make an actual difference to Ukraine as it fights the war. Why does the member not support those measures?

  (1210)  

    Madam Speaker, each and every one of the Conservative members needs to take ownership and responsibility for their behaviour and their unanimous decision to vote against the Canada-Ukraine agreement. The Conservatives can come up with all the red herrings that they want.
    The bottom line is that President Zelenskyy came to Canada and signed a trade agreement with Canada, even during a time of war, recognizing the value of that trade agreement. Only the Conservative Party, in its wisdom and its far right extremism, made the decision to vote against him. Shame on them. If the member has remorse already, then he could apologize and ask for unanimous consent to reverse his vote.
    An hon. member: Oh, oh!
    Order. I want to remind the hon. member that he had an opportunity to ask a question. If he has other questions, he should wait for the appropriate time.
    Questions and comments, the hon. member for Edmonton Strathcona.
    Madam Speaker, I would just like to reiterate the comments that my colleague made about the Conservatives voting against supporting a trade agreement with Ukraine. In fact, they did it on the Day of Dignity and Freedom for Ukraine, just to make it that much more appalling and inexplicable.
    The bill we are trying to get through today and the work we are trying to get done would provide some support for Canadians with housing. I know that the government has admitted that it has not done nearly enough to address the situation of housing. I listened today to my colleague from Nunavut when she spoke about how dire the situation is for housing in the north. I am just wondering how this piece of legislation, which we would like to be able to talk about and be able to pass, would help with to nutrition, food prices, grocery prices and housing in northern communities, such as that of my colleague from Nunavut.
    Madam Speaker, to give a very specific example, the legislation would establish getting rid of the GST for purpose-built rental homes. This would have a profoundly positive impact. We have now seen provinces do likewise with respect to the PST. I hope to see more provincial jurisdictions continue to do that.
    The member made reference to a special day. This is Holodomor week, a week to recognize what took place in Ukraine when Russia starved millions of Ukrainians. This is in the same week that the Conservative Party voted against the Ukraine-Canada free trade deal. It is very hard to imagine why the Conservatives voted that way, with the exception of the far-right element that I referenced.
    Madam Speaker, we are talking about Bill C-56, and it is important to bring us back to what this bill could offer to Canadians.
    I am particularly interested in the piece around strengthening the Competition Act. We know that Canadians are deeply concerned about the rising costs of living. Christmas is coming. Ideally, not moving toward closure is what we want to see in the House, but we need to unfortunately because of the games that are played.
    Could the member speak to some of the things we are seeing in the House that unfortunately prevent us from passing critical legislation like this?
    Madam Speaker, the legislation would enable us to strengthen the Competition Bureau, which is very important. It would also take away the efficiency argument in regard to when a large company acquires another one. A tangible example of that would be to go back to the days when Stephen Harper was the prime minister. We used to have Shoppers, a stand-alone company that provided all sorts of groceries. It was consumed by Loblaws in a multibillion dollar deal.
    We all recognize that competition is healthy. It helps us keep prices fair for consumers. This legislation would make competition better in Canada, whether it is that aspect or the rental supports to ensure we have more homes into the future. This is good, sound legislation. One would think the Conservatives would be eager to see its passage.

  (1215)  

    Madam Speaker, I am really glad to see the governing party so keen to move forward with this measure to address the housing crisis. At the same time, we just had a fall economic statement with no new funds for the rapid housing initiative and no new action to address the financialization of housing.
    For example, the Liberals could have removed the tax exemption that real estate investment trusts are benefiting from every day and put those funds toward building the affordable housing we need.
    Why are the Liberals so selectively keen to move ahead on housing policy?
    Madam Speaker, never before in the history of Canada, at least for the last 50 or 60 years, has a government been more focused on dealing with the issue of housing. The member made reference to the fall economic statement that was released yesterday. I know the member is a big fan of housing co-ops. Within that statement was a serious commitment of somewhere in the neighbourhood of over $300 million toward supporting and seeing the realization of more housing co-ops.
    I have always argued, and will continue to argue, that a housing co-op is a wonderful form of housing. People are not tenants; they are residents. That is a big difference. If I had more time, I would love to talk about all the things this government is doing on housing.
    Madam Speaker, in her previous comments attacking the Conservatives, the member for Edmonton Strathcona tried to pretend that she supports Ukraine. Here is what she told the committee in February 2022, the same month as the invasion. She said the following:
    Some people in this committee and some members of our Parliament have been calling on the government to provide lethal weapons to Ukraine. I have some concerns about that, obviously.
    Do you believe there are risks to providing those lethal weapons to Ukraine? This applies in terms of keeping track of those weapons, but more importantly, I'd like some information on how Russia would perceive that. Would they perceive that as an escalation instead of a de-escalation?
    That is an unbelievable statement by the member for Edmonton Strathcona, the foreign affairs critic for the NDP. She was expressing an unwillingness to transfer lethal weapons to Ukraine because of fear of how Russia would perceive it. That is what the NDP was saying in February 2022.
    Does the member think the NDP should apologize for those pro-Russia statements?
    Madam Speaker, from that question, I take it that there is a lot of remorse, at least from some of the Conservative members, for the manner in which they voted the other day. It is incredibly difficult for Canadians to believe that the Conservative Party would vote against a trade agreement that would have a profoundly positive impact for both Canada and Ukraine. It will make a positive difference.
    What we have heard from the Conservative Party today, from the far right wing element, is a policy that is so reckless that it just does not make sense. People should think about the Conservative leader. It is a risky business nowadays being a Conservative. Those members really need to consider how they voted. I would highly recommend they make a major flip-flop and support the Canada-Ukraine agreement.
    Madam Speaker, we need to get this work done. This morning I was at a anti-poverty event. I can tell members that people do not have time to wait for housing, for food and for medication, pharmacare. We have a lot of work to do.
    I wonder if the member across the aisle could tell us how quickly we can get to the Canada disability benefit, because that legislation needs to get passed very quickly or come into force. Could he give us some updates on that, please?
     Madam Speaker, the government has a very proactive and progressive legislative agenda. We would like to get a lot of legislation through. We just brought in the anti-scab legislation. Whether it is budgetary measures or legislative measures, we have a full agenda. We know that it is in the best interests of Canadians for them to be passed.
    The frustration is when the Conservatives stand on concurrence motions to filibuster debates or try to adjourn the House to prevent debates from occurring in the first place.
    I want to remind members again that when someone has the floor, it is respectful to wait until they are recognized during the appropriate time if they wish to say something.
    Resuming debate, the hon. member for Kelowna—Lake Country.

  (1220)  

    Madam Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner.
    It is always a pleasure to rise on behalf of the constituents in my riding of Kelowna—Lake Country.
    We are debating Bill C-56. The NDP-Liberal government continually fails to address the real issues that it has caused for all Canadians. It says the bill will somehow bring down the cost of living and grocery prices.
     People in my community are struggling to pay their bills and put food on the table. Food bank usage is the highest it has ever been, with over 30% more clients year over year. This is consistent across the country and also in my community. People with disabilities and seniors on fixed incomes are hit particularly hard.
     Instead of cutting the carbon tax and government spending, which is driving up inflation, the Liberal-NDP government believes that implementing Bill C-56 would somehow solve the inflated cost of living and grocery price issue.
    There is a lack of competition in Canada's grocery industry, an industry held mostly by Loblaws, Sobeys and Metro, and this is a problem the bill would not solve. We have already seen the Prime Minister and the government fail at keeping their promises, like having cheaper groceries before Thanksgiving. That date has long come and gone.
    Canadians are faced with higher costs than many other developed countries due to a lack of competition, whether in industries like grocery, airline, banking or telecommunications. High taxes, bureaucracy and red tape make Canada unproductive and uncompetitive. The Liberals added a second carbon fee, basically a second carbon tax. Saying the legislation takes some kind of stand against grocery stores is nothing short of performative with a nice title.
    The policies of the NDP-Liberal coalition, with its inflationary deficit spending and high-tax agenda, has caused our inflation rate to be as high as it has been, and continues to be, which has caused the highest interest rates in a generation. The legislation is trying to deal with problems created by the government without addressing any of the causes. It is as if we are walking along and someone trips us and while we are lying on the ground looking up, that individual puts his or her hand out and asks to help us up. Meanwhile we would be thinking that if that person had not tripped us in the first place we would not be on the ground.
    The NDP-Liberal coalition thinks that taxing farmers who grow our food, taxing transport trucks that move our food and then taxing grocery stores that sell our food has nothing to do with inflation. We have to remember that it was the Liberal finance minister who had declared victory on inflation only to see it go higher.
    We also have to remember that inflation is compounding. Most people are familiar with compounding interest on their investments. However, this is the harmful kind of compounding, because it means things cost more.
     For a 3% inflation, for example, that is 3% on top of last year, where during the same month it could have been 8%, as we were seeing in 2022. Therefore, the inflation rate this year is 3% plus 8%, which is 11%, but is even more because it is compounded compared to two years ago.
     The Governor of the Bank of Canada said that inflation was homegrown and that it was costing the average Canadian $3,500 a year. That is not per family; it is per person. No wonder people are having trouble heating their homes. They were last winter and we are seeing them have a tough time again this year.
    I send multiple surveys each year to every home in my community of Kelowna—Lake Country, and it is amazing the huge amount of people who respond to them. A recent one was this past summer. Here are the results: 70% say they are buying fewer groceries; 81% say they are taking fewer trips; 78% say they are donating less to charity; and 89% say they are putting less into savings. Many people also put detailed notes, sharing their ideas, solutions and heartbreaking stories with me.
    The John Howard Society of Okanagan and Kootenay has stated that it is now having clients come to its organization saying that they have just lost their homes and do not know what to do. Now the organization does not know how to support these people because it was not built for the capacity it is now seeing.
    It is no surprise that people cannot afford a home when the price of homes and rent in Canada has doubled over the last eight years of the NDP-Liberal government. It used to take 25 years to pay off a mortgage. Now it takes 25 years to save for a mortgage.

  (1225)  

    Saving for the average mortgage for the average home used to take five and a half years before the Liberal government. A recent C.D. Howe Institute study determined that in Vancouver, nearly $1.3 million of the cost of an average home is government gatekeepers adding unnecessary red tape. That means that over 60% of the price of a home in Vancouver is due to delays, fees, regulations, taxes and high-priced consultants.
    The NDP-Liberal government has poured billions of dollars into housing programs and there is little to show for it. Removing the GST from home construction was proposed in a private member's bill by the leader of the official opposition. The difference between what he was proposing and what this bill would do is that this bill would help, but it is not focused on affordability like the official opposition member's bill is.
    When I am home in my community at many different activities and events, a top issue many people bring to me is the increasing cost of their mortgage payments and how it is affecting their families and families they know. I was talking to a dad who said his mortgage just increased by over $1,000 a month. Another person, who has three kids, reached out. He is the sole income-earner for the family as his wife stays home to look after the kids. He was looking for any tax credits for kids' fitness and other activities, something I had to tell him the Liberals cancelled.
    The latest MNP consumer debt index shows 51% of Canadians are $200 or less away from not being able to complete their financial obligations. It said, “Facing a combination of rising debt carrying costs, living expenses and concern over the potential for continued interest rate and price hikes, many Canadians are stretched uncomfortably close to broke. There is no mystery as to what is causing Canadians’ bleak debt outlook: it’s getting increasingly difficult to make ends meet.”
    A recent survey released by financial firm Edward Jones Canada said, “Canadians are stuck in a chaotic whirlwind of personal financial stress,” and, “The poll clearly shows that Canadians are so preoccupied with just getting through the day, that the idea of paying debt feels like a distant dream.” It also found that 88% of Canadians say their personal financial situation is impacting their well-being.
    In addition, 65% of Canadians now say they are concerned about saving for retirement, and 63% are concerned about how to prepare for an unexpected financial event. There are less savings, more concern and more risk. Forced sales events are up 10%, with mortgage defaults climbing, as just reported by the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board. It is not just me talking about the financial situation in my riding of Kelowna—Lake Country. The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada said that Canadians are now facing the biggest financial challenges of their lives.
    The Prime Minister and the NDP-Liberal coalition have really lost touch with Canadians. This bill would assist with one small sliver of an issue with building homes, but it is not a housing affordability bill. As we see now with the fall economic statement and the Liberals being supported by its partner, the NDP, this spending will continue on a path of deficits and keeping inflation and interest rates high. This bill would not address the causes of high food costs, inflation or high interest rates. The Prime Minister is just not worth the cost.
    We can send this bill to committee to be studied, and hopefully, some amendments can be made at committee and brought back to the House.
    Madam Speaker, the member referred to Loblaws and the importance of competition. I would be interested in her thoughts regarding when Stephen Harper allowed Loblaws to acquire Shoppers, thereby decreasing competition in Canada's grocery industry. He is the one who brought it down ultimately to five companies.
    This legislation would take away the efficiency argument. It seems to me, like the trade agreement between Canada and Ukraine, this is good legislation. I do not know what the Conservative Party is going to do on this legislation. Can the member indicate whether she will be voting in favour of this legislation or will she be doing like she did on the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement and voting against it?

  (1230)  

    Madam Speaker, I am not sure if the member was listening to my speech, because I actually said I would be supporting it going to committee and that I was hopeful there would be some amendments at committee. That is what I said at the very end of my speech.
    Regarding an organization like Loblaws, we have to remember how the government treats an organization like that. It gave refrigerators to Loblaws. During that time, I was getting phone calls from small businesses in my community, such as floral shops and a very small cheese shop, asking if they would also be given fridges. Of course, that was not the case. They were only given to one of the largest companies in Canada.
    Madam Speaker, I am glad the member said she is going to be voting in favour of the legislation. What she did not answer is if the Conservative Party would be. I would hope the Conservative Party would be supportive of the legislation. Maybe the member could give some sort of indication why the Conservative Party tends to want to prevent government legislation from passing, even legislation that the Conservatives support. The member says she supports this legislation. I am going to believe her on her word that the Conservative Party will be supporting the legislation.
    When would she like to ultimately see this legislation pass through Parliament, including the Senate? Would she like to have it done before Christmas? Is that not a reasonable expectation?
    Madam Speaker, first of all, referring to how there are debates and debates are shut down, it is the government that does the calendar. The government chooses what is brought forward every day. The Liberals continually shut down debate in this House.
     I am really glad I was able to bring forth the comments from people in my community on this particular piece of legislation. I can think of three times over the last very recent weeks where I had prepared a speech, was prepared to debate and bring the voice of my community here, and the government moved closure and shut down debate. The reason we are here is to bring the voices of our community into this place, and the government continues to shut down debate on legislation and stifles us from bringing the voices of our community here.
    Madam Speaker, can the member share with this place recommendations we have tried over and over again to extend to the government to use that would do far more to meet the needs of Canadians at this point in time?
    Madam Speaker, we have made a number of recommendations. As I mentioned in my intervention, the government does nothing to address the causes of why inflation is high and why interest rates are high. We have made recommendations to cancel the carbon tax. We have also made recommendations to be reasonable and accommodating and to look at removing the carbon tax for farmers. That is sitting in the Senate right now and is being stalled. We have made suggestions to take the carbon tax off all forms of home heating across the country, because the government, due to its panic over Liberal members who might lose their seats, decided to only make the carbon tax unavailable to one type of home heating. We have made that suggestion. The carbon tax alone we know has been analyzed, and removing it would bring down inflation. That is just one thing we would do.
    Madam Speaker, it is always an honour to rise in this place and represent the amazing people of Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, as well as all Canadians.
    It is said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but it is breathtaking just how desperate the Liberals have become. In the House of Commons, we are witnessing a curious trend: imitation disguised as Liberal innovation.
    The recent flurry of activity from our Liberal counterparts presents a spectacle. It is desperation masquerading as originality.
    It is really fascinating. The Liberals have hastily adopted common-sense Conservative strategies to cloak their actions as a remedy for affordability, all the while seeking recognition for ideas that were not theirs to begin with.
    Unfortunately, their replica has flaws, and the Liberals know that they need to ram this legislation through before Canadians realize that it is nothing more than a cheap knock-off.
    If the government is looking for another idea to steal from Conservatives, maybe it could finally decide to repeal the carbon taxes, which are the real reason Canadians are facing the soaring cost of living.
    First, let us dissect the fabric of the Liberals' imitation. The Liberals’ newfound fascination with affordable living appears more as a last-ditch effort to mirror our common-sense Conservative initiatives, although it lacks the authenticity and the understanding required to genuinely address the woes of everyday Canadians.
    This sudden adoption reeks of desperation. Maybe they have seen the polls. Maybe they are hearing in their ridings that the Conservatives are the only party putting forward common-sense ideas.
    Maybe the Conservative message of common sense sounds good to them too, but their leadership comes down heavy-handedly when they vote in favour of our legislation, like the Liberal member for Avalon, who tried to do the right thing for his constituents initially, although he eventually betrayed them and caved to his master like a typical Liberal always does.
    The government's thievery of Conservative ideas seems relentless. Were members aware that the fall economic statement contained no less than four Conservative private members’ bills?
    For example, there is Bill C-323, an act to amend the Excise Tax Act with respect to mental health services, from the good doctor from Cumberland—Colchester. There is Bill C-318, an act to amend the Employment Insurance Act and the Canada Labour Code for adoptive and intended parents, from my friend, the member for Battlefords—Lloydminster. There is Bill C-294, an act to amend the Copyright Act, on interoperability, from my riding neighbour to the east, the member for Cypress Hills—Grasslands. There is Bill C-365, an act respecting the implementation of a consumer-led banking system for Canadians by the amazing member for Bay of Quinte.
    While the Liberals eagerly snatch concepts from our playbook, they turn a blind eye to the actual root cause of the economic pains faced by Canadians: their out-of-control debt and deficits, out-of-control spending, a carbon tax that does not do anything for the environment, a rapid housing initiative that cannot build homes and inflation that results from all of their financial mismanagement.
    These are the real culprits behind the soaring cost of living, behind escalating interest rates and the burdensome grocery store bills and fuel prices that burden the citizens of this country every day. Our Conservative blueprint for affordable living, particularly our Conservative leader’s building homes not bureaucracy act, stands as a testament to our commitment to the welfare of Canadians.
    Our messaging, like the “bring it home” initiative, encapsulates not just slogans but a genuine drive to resolve the housing crisis plaguing our nation.
    In contrast, the Liberals’ response to this crisis they partly crafted lacks the depth and innovation required for a lasting solution. Their plan, often confined within the boundaries of existing programs and reannouncements, fails to project a path forward. It is a patchwork of recycled notions rather than a blueprint for real, sustainable change, and they have no problem announcing the same promises over and over again with the same pompous Liberal attitude that most Canadians have grown tired of.

  (1235)  

    The question remains: Are the Liberals truly addressing the housing crisis or merely engaging in performative arts to mitigate the damage that their policies have caused and the fact that the vast majority of Canadians desire to see them removed from office? Their sudden attempt to provide solutions and then force them on Canadians seems more reactive than proactive, a calculated response to evade accountability rather than an earnest effort to rectify the havoc they created. I can only hope it means they are getting ready for an election.
    Liberals may tout their actions as responsive and comprehensive, but in reality, they bear the marks of limited vision and failure of leadership.
    The building homes not bureaucracy act, as presented by our Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre, is not just a set of words—

  (1240)  

    I think the hon. member recognized that he mentioned the official opposition leader by name. I want to remind him that he is not to mention the names of parliamentarians who sit in this House.
    The hon. member for Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner.
    Madam Speaker, the building homes not bureaucracy act, as presented by the Conservative leader, is not just a set of words or an ostentatious announcement. It is a clarion call for genuine reform, which that act is all about. It embodies the Conservative commitment to forge a future where affordable living is not a privilege but a right for all Canadians. Its depth, its foresight and its genuine intent to alleviate the housing crisis differentiates it starkly from the borrowed and incomplete solutions offered by the Liberal government.
    We, as Conservatives, are not satisfied with token Liberal gestures, and Canadians are not either. We need substantive change and substantive solutions that do not create just photo ops and news clippings. Canadians cannot live in a photo op, a press release or an initiative. They need affordable housing and a Conservative government that is going to bring it home.
    The choice is very clear. It is between either a Conservative vision anchored in genuine innovation and a desire to provide common-sense solutions to Canadians, or a Liberal stance marred by imitation, which lacks depth, and is not worth the cost. Canadians deserve more than rehashed plans; they deserve visionary initiatives that ensure a brighter, more affordable future and a leader with the common sense of the common people who is united for our common home. Let us bring it home.
    Madam Speaker, the member just implied that they deserve a leader with a visionary nature. We had that in the last federal election when 338 Conservatives and their leader said that a price on pollution was actually a good thing. Yes, Conservatives have ideas, but we find that they often flip-flop, and this is one of those ideas they actually flip-flopped on. We saw it today in the debate when Conservatives said that they wanted to get rid of the price on pollution.
    We cannot trust the Conservatives and their policies, which are very reckless. We cannot tell what they are really going to do on this legislation, or if they even want it to pass, because they are so preoccupied with the far right.
    My question to the member is this: Recognizing the issues of the flip-flops within the Conservative Party, can we acknowledge today that the Conservative Party will in fact stay in touch with Canadians and support this legislation?
    It looks like other people want to try to answer. I would let them know that it is not their opportunity to do that, and they may want to wait.
    The hon. member for Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner.
    Madam Speaker, I think it is important to understand that, first of all, Canadians are speaking very loudly. They are tired of the government. They are tired of policies that damage their futures, and that impact the ability of their children to afford homes and themselves to afford homes.
    As far as his suggestion, for example, that the Conservatives supported the carbon tax is concerned, he will not hear one word out of my mouth, ever, that I supported the carbon tax, as I do not, and I never will, because it does not work, end of story.

  (1245)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I am always surprised to hear the Conservatives harp on the carbon tax day after day when they talk about inflation. When serious studies—
    I will ask the member to start over again. There seems to be some discussion on both sides of the House.

[English]

    I would ask members, if they want to have a conversation, to please take it out in the lobby. That would be much more respectful.

[Translation]

    The hon. member for Jonquière.
    Madam Speaker, I am pleased to do so.
    I was saying that I am always surprised to hear the Conservatives harp on the carbon tax day after day, when we know that it does not have a major impact on inflation. Serious economic studies tell us that the carbon tax causes inflation to rise by 0.1%.
    The Conservatives keep harping on this. Not only that, but their leader recently said that the carbon tax would be the issue at the ballot box. We know very well that this tax does not apply to Quebec, which means that the Conservative leader does not care one iota about what is happening in Quebec.
    I wonder what is really driving the Conservatives to talk about the carbon tax. Are they perhaps doing this to give their friends in the big oil and gas companies some overt, explicit support? Are they not ultimately oil and gas lobbyists?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I have just a couple of things.
    The clean fuel standard, which applies in Quebec, is actually a carbon tax. While there may not be a carbon tax as such, there is a clean fuel standard. That is a carbon tax.
    When I talk to my constituents, they want me, as their representative in the House, to ensure they have the ability to move forward and to make a living. I see farmers who have hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of carbon tax on irrigation operations, on grain drying, on heat for their barns and those sorts of things. It affects their bottom lines, and their prices are fixed.
    It is about Canadians' well-being. If the carbon tax actually had a positive impact on the environment, then it would be worth looking at, but it does not. It has not, and it will not because it is a tax. It is only a tax, and it has no impact on improving the environment whatsoever.
    Madam Speaker, my colleague from Alberta spoke a lot about housing. Obviously, we hope that we could get through to the bill so that we could actually get some supports in place for people who are fighting for housing.
    However, my concern is around how he expects that Canadians could trust his leader on housing when, really, he has only come to this in the last two years, while New Democrats have been calling for more action on housing for over 30 years. We know that the party executives are lobbyists for oil, for pharma, for real estate and for non-unionizing companies. The Conservative leader has actually blamed municipalities and, in fact, has called Canadians' homes “shacks”.
    How could we trust the leader on housing?
    Madam Speaker, I agree that the current leader of the government is not to be trusted. The Prime Minister is a sham, and he has achieved nothing but failures for our country.
    If we want to look at an act that would help Canadians with housing, then we need to look at the Conservative leader's and the Conservative Party's plan in the housing and not bureaucracy act, which would actually make a difference for Canadians and would get them into homes that are sustainable moving forward.
    Madam Speaker, I am pleased to participate in today's debate on Bill C-56, the affordable housing and groceries act. Our government understands that many Canadians are struggling to make ends meet in these times of high inflation. It is committed to continue to make targeted and responsible investments to build a stronger future for all Canadians.
    We all know the rising costs of groceries and the lack of affordable housing are affecting families across the country. I am pleased to discuss some of the ways we are addressing those important issues through the measures outlined in Bill C-56. We know that for far too many Canadians, including young people, the dream of owning a home is becoming increasingly—

  (1250)  

    I will just stop the hon. member here.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader has a point of order.
    Madam Speaker, my apologies to my colleague, but I believe that he was going to share his time with the member for Avalon.
    I am not sure that is quite a point of order, but I appreciate that the hon. member mentioned it for the hon. member for Newmarket—Aurora. Generally, messages are sent to them, and they would try to acknowledge that then, but it is up to the members to remember if they want to share their time.
    The hon. member for Newmarket—Aurora.
    Madam Speaker, I appreciate the intervention of my colleague.
    We know the rising cost of groceries and the lack of affordable housing are affecting families across the country, and I am pleased to discuss some of the ways we are addressing those important issues through the measures outlined in Bill C-56.
    We know that for too many Canadians, including young people and new Canadians, the dream of owning a home is increasingly out of reach, and paying rent is becoming more expensive across the country. The housing crisis is having an impact on our economy. Without more homes in our communities, it is difficult for business owners to attract the workers they need in order to grow their businesses and to succeed. When people spend more of their income on housing, it means they spend less of their money in their communities for necessities like groceries.
    Bill C-56 would enhance the goods and services tax rebate on new purpose-built rental housing to encourage the construction of more rental homes, including apartment buildings, student housing and seniors' residences across Canada. The enhanced rebate would apply to projects that begin construction after September 14 and on or before December 31, 2030. For a two-bedroom rental unit valued at $500,000, the enhanced GST rebate would deliver $25,000 in tax relief. This is another tool to help create the necessary conditions to build the types of housing that we need and that families want to live in.
    The measure would also remove the restriction on the existing GST rules so that public service bodies, such as universities, public colleges, hospitals, charities and qualifying not-for-profit organizations that build or purchase purpose-built rental housing, would be permitted to claim the GST new residential rental property rebate. The government is also calling on provinces to join it by matching its rebate for new rental housing. It is also requesting that local governments put an end to exclusionary zoning and encourage apartments to be built near public transit.
    Launched in March, the housing accelerator fund is a $4-billion initiative designed to help cities, towns and indigenous governments unlock new housing supply, which is about 100,000 units in total, by speeding up development and approvals, like fixing out-of-date permitting systems, introducing zoning reforms to build more density and incentivizing development to choose public transit. It represents one of the ways we are encouraging initiatives aimed at increasing the housing supply. It also would support the development of complete, low-carbon, climate-resilient communities that are affordable, inclusive, equitable and diverse. Every community across Canada needs to build more homes faster, so we need to reduce the cost of housing for everyone.
    We also need to stabilize the cost of groceries in Canada. Through the one-time grocery—
    I am sorry. There is another point of order.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader.
    Madam Speaker, I understand the rules indicate that if a member wants to split their time, they have to affirm that they would like to split their time. Is that not correct? Do they have to say it?
    That is correct. I appreciate the hon. member's intervention. Again, as I indicated, points of order should not be used to remind members to split their time. However, the member is correct that the member does have to say that he wants to split his time.
    The hon. member for Newmarket—Aurora.
    Madam Speaker, I thought that when I thanked the member for his intervention, I confirmed that. However, for the record, yes, I do wish to split my time.
    We also need to stabilize the cost of groceries in Canada. Through the one-time grocery rebate in July, we delivered targeted inflation relief for 11 million low- and modest-income Canadians and families who needed it the most, with up to an extra $467 for eligible couples with two children and an extra up to $234 for single Canadians without children, including single seniors. This support was welcomed by Canadians, but we knew we needed to do more to address the rising cost of groceries.
    Through Bill C-56, the government is introducing the first set of legislative amendments to the Competition Act to, one, provide the Competition Bureau with the powers to compel the production of information to conduct effective and complete market studies; two, remove the efficiencies defence, which includes allowing anti-competitive mergers to survive challenges if corporate efficiencies offset the harm to competition, even when Canadian consumers would pay higher prices and have fewer choices; and three, empower the bureau to take action against collaborations that stifle competition and consumer choice, in particular in situations where large grocers prevent smaller grocers from establishing operations nearby.
    Bill C-56 builds on other measures that have been introduced to make life more affordable for Canadians: delivering automatic advance payments for the Canada workers benefits, starting in July 2023; supporting up to 3.5 million families annually through the tax-free Canada child benefit, with families this year receiving up to $7,400 per child under the age of six and up to $6,200 per child aged six through 17; increasing old age security benefits for seniors aged 75 and older by 10% as of July 2022, which is providing more than $800 of additional support for pensioners; and reducing fees for regulated child care by 50% on average, delivering regulated child care that costs an average of just $10 a day by 2026, with six provinces and territories reducing child care fees to $10 a day or less by April 2, 2023, and strengthening the child care system in Quebec with more child care spaces.
    The new proposed housing and grocery support I outlined today would make it easier to build more of the homes Canadians need and want, to help them thrive. It would also help families with the growing cost of putting food on the table. The passage of Bill C-56 would help us to provide a brighter future for Canadians. We want to ensure that Canada remains the best place in the world to live, work, go to school and raise a family, and making life more affordable is a key part of that.
    I urge hon. members here today to conduct their review of this bill expeditiously and support its speedy passage so that we can conclude this important work.

  (1255)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, as usual, the Liberal members are awfully pleased with themselves. They are bragging about their government's achievements.
    My colleague had a lot to say about housing. Unfortunately, the GST rebate in Bill C‑56 is not going to make much of a dent in the housing crisis in Quebec and Canada. It is a marginal measure, especially in Quebec.
    The government tabled its economic update two days ago. Unfortunately, many of the measures in it will not take effect until 2025 or 2026. Quebec has 10,000 homeless people. I have seen them in Longueuil, Saint‑Jérôme and Rimouski. There are people on riverbanks. This is going to be very hard.
    We asked the government to put an emergency fund in the economic update. Winter is coming, and it is going to be cold. We know that. It is going to be hard. I know people will die in Quebec, on those riverbanks, in small towns, all over the province. That is unacceptable.
    We asked for an emergency fund to help address the problem, but we got nothing. Most of the economic measures will not take effect until 2025 or 2026, but we need to build 150,000 housing units a year starting right now. If we do not build them this year, there will be a backlog, and they will have to be built sooner or later.
    When will the Liberal government get serious about this problem and come up with measures that will make a real difference?
    I must interrupt the hon. member to give other members time for questions and comments.
    The hon. member for Newmarket—Aurora.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I would save that debate for when the fall economic statement comes forward. Today we are discussing Bill C-56.
    While I cannot speak to the impact of the GST, I can say that in my community of Newmarket—Aurora, there is one project that will provide us with 568 new units. These were ready to go, but the business model was not effective until the GST was implemented. In a community of 24,000 housing units, that number is quite significant, so we cannot take away from the fact that this is a progressive measure that will help many communities like Newmarket—Aurora.

  (1300)  

    Uqaqtittiji, this bill is particularly important for Nunavut because it addresses housing and affordability, two major issues in my riding. To give an example of current grocery prices, a one-litre bottle of orange juice is $17 and one case of bottled water is $28. Even programs like nutrition north are not working. I wonder if the member can share with us how this act would help to reduce grocery prices in places like my riding.
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for raising the concerns of her riding. Frankly, my heart breaks to hear that this type of inequity is going on. Our government is committed very much to prioritizing relief for remote areas, and hopefully there will be further discussion on that when we get to the fall economic statement.
    Madam Speaker, in the member opposite's past life, like me, he was a mayor. I know he is familiar with the county of Simcoe, and I represent a portion of it. There is huge disappointment with the government among many of the politicians in the area, and there are two parts to that. One is certainly the bureaucracy and the timelines to build, but there are places in my area, such a New Tecumseth, Collingwood and Clearview, where there is no infrastructure money available. It takes time.
    Has he not heard before from his constituents about the dire need for housing and that perhaps it is the government that has been taking up the timelines? Houses have been built that will not have water until 2028, and people have purchased them. Would the member like to comment on those two parts, the bureaucracy and the fact that there are a lot of announcements about funding but it does not seem to hit any of the local municipalities?
    Madam Speaker, it is important that we work closely with municipalities to move these projects forward. I heard a reference earlier today that the build homes, not bureaucracy legislation was going to move things along, but it reminds me of a phrase my father used to say, which is ironic: The beatings will continue until morale improves. The approach the opposition is providing when it comes to improving relationships and making municipalities more efficient is dead wrong.
    Madam Speaker, I am thankful for the opportunity to discuss Government Business No. 30 and the affordable housing and groceries act. It stands as a cornerstone of our commitment to building more homes faster and stabilizing prices.
    Regrettably, the urgency and significance of this bill have been overshadowed by the repeated filibustering and delay tactics employed by the Conservative opposition, resulting in over 20 hours of debate across five days. It is evident that despite garnering support from within its own ranks, including commitments made by the Conservative member for Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon over a month ago to vote in favour of this bill, the Conservative opposition remains committed in its attempts to hinder the bill's progress.
    Bill C-56 is designed to address the challenges faced by Canadians, specifically in relation to the cost of groceries and the need for affordable housing—
    I am sorry to interrupt. I believe the hon. member's phone is on the desk, and it is causing problems for the interpreters.
    I want to remind all members that when they are doing their speeches, they should make sure their phone is not on their desk, because it is a health and safety concern.
    The hon. member for Avalon.
    Madam Speaker, regarding housing affordability, the ability to own a home or secure reasonable rental accommodations has become increasingly unattainable for many, especially for young people and newcomers. Bill C-56 proposes substantive enhancements to the goods and services tax, GST, rental rebate for newly constructed purpose-built rental housing. This initiative serves as a catalyst for fostering the development of rental properties encompassing apartments, student residences and homes for seniors. The proposed rebate system, offering significant tax relief, exemplifies our commitment to facilitating the creation of the much-needed housing inventory suitable for diverse family needs.
    We urge provinces and local governments to work in tandem with this bill on rebate initiatives and actively support housing developments situated in close proximity to public transit systems, enhancing accessibility and promoting sustainable communities.
    Concurrently, the government has taken concrete measures to mitigate the costs associated with groceries. The introduction of targeted inflation relief through the one-time grocery rebate in July represented a proactive step. Bill C-56 supplements these efforts by proposing legislative amendments to the Competition Act, augmenting the authority of the Competition Bureau to conduct comprehensive market studies. These amendments seek to eliminate the efficiencies defence for anti-competitive mergers and address collaborations that impede competition, specifically those disadvantaging smaller competitors in contrast to larger grocery entities.
    The significance of Bill C-56 extends beyond its immediate implications. It complements a suite of measures aimed at enhancing the quality of life for Canadians. Since the beginning, our government's commitment to delivering meaningful benefits to Canadians has remained unwavering. The 2023 fall economic statement, delivered by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance earlier this week, is a testament to our dedication toward creating an inclusive and thriving economy that supports the middle class while striving to build more homes faster.
    This year's fall economic statement serves as a blueprint to tackle the prevailing challenges of high prices and impending mortgage renewals. Our government stands resolute in taking targeted measures to stabilize prices, support Canadians with mortgages and enhance affordability. The comprehensive plan outlined in this statement introduces substantial funding for housing initiatives, cracking down on illegal short-term rentals and making significant advancements in making housing more affordable across Canada.
    Continuing our legacy of delivering tangible benefits to Canadians, the economic statement reinforces our commitment to supporting Canadians. The government has taken proactive steps by introducing measures aimed at making groceries more affordable, cracking down on junk fees and removing GST from psychotherapy and counselling services. These initiatives underscore our dedication to fostering an economy that offers equitable opportunities for all Canadians.
    Moreover, our economic plan is not merely in response to immediate challenges. It is also strategically positioned to propel Canada toward a cleaner and more sustainable future. Investments in Canada's clean economy, the introduction of the Canada growth fund and advancements in the indigenous loan guarantee program signify our unwavering commitment to fostering a robust economy that is sustainable and inclusive.
    The robustness of our economic plan is underscored by the federal government's unwavering commitment to making housing more affordable across Canada. Federal investments in housing have witnessed a substantial increase, surpassing previous benchmarks. This year, the federal investment in housing is $9 billion higher than it was in 2013-14. Since 2015, the average annual federal housing investment has more than doubled compared to the previous government. The comprehensive strategy outlined in our economic plan allocates billions in new loan funding to support the creation of more than 30,000 additional new homes and dedicates a substantial portion to affordable housing projects, all aimed at enhancing the accessibility and affordability of housing options for Canadians.

  (1305)  

    Our government's responsible economic stewardship has yielded commendable results, reflected in the employment of over a million more Canadians compared to prepandemic levels. Canada's unemployment rate has remained consistently lower than in previous records, while inflation rates are on a downward trajectory. Moreover, our commitment to fiscal responsibility is reflected in maintaining the lowest deficit and net debt-to-GDP ratio among G7 nations.
    In conclusion, Bill C-56 is a testament to our government's unwavering commitment to addressing the critical issues faced by Canadians today. It symbolizes our dedication to fostering an inclusive and prosperous Canada for all. As members of Parliament, it is our collective responsibility to prioritize the well-being of Canadians, ensuring equitable access to housing and essential goods. I would encourage all members to support the measures included in Bill C-56.
    I am thankful for the opportunity to advocate for the passage of this crucial legislation.

  (1310)  

    Madam Speaker, the Liberal-NDP coalition's so-called free trade bill with Ukraine aims to quadruple the carbon tax on Ukrainians, as it is doing in Canada, and increase their suffering. While the coalition virtue signals about Conservatives' lack of support for this, it has failed in its promise to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to lobby Japan and South Korea to stop the importation of Russian crab. After it made this promise, exports of Russian seafood to South Asia in the last half of the year increased by 63%.
    The Prime Minister, the Minister of International Trade and the Minister of Foreign Affairs promised the people of his riding, my riding and all the ridings in Newfoundland and Labrador to hammer those countries to stop supporting the Russian war effort and let Newfoundland and Labrador fishermen keep their homes and enterprises. How does the member for Avalon feel about this broken promise?
    Madam Speaker, I know the member opposite from Newfoundland fights hard for the fishery, which is very important to our province.
    I believe the Minister of International Trade is doing everything she can to make sure more markets are opened and established. It is no different than the bill we voted on this week, the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement. The Conservative Party hangs its hat on being the party in favour of trade, but all members stood and voted against it. They do not want trade with Ukraine for some reason. It is a bit rich that the member on the other side talks about what we are doing about trade initiatives across the world.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech, but once again it was little more than an infomercial for the Liberal government's action on housing.
    That is rather unfortunate, because the housing crisis is a major problem, and the further along we get in the debate, the more we see that the government is not facing the facts when it comes to this crisis. According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, we need to build 3.5 million housing units by 2030. That is a huge task. In a report published two weeks ago, the federal housing advocate even indicated that we need to build nine million housing units in Canada in the next 10 years. That is a huge task.
    In the economic statement, the government announced the construction of approximately 30,000 housing units in 2025-26. That is just the tip of the iceberg. Any housing needs that are not met now are just going to accumulate. The government is not going to get off that easy. In Quebec alone, 500,000 households are in dire need of housing.
    I look forward to hearing from a government that will stand up and say that we are on the verge of a serious humanitarian crisis in Quebec and Canada and that it is going to take strong action to deal with it. I look forward to hearing that.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, nobody is going to build houses overnight. It takes time. I have spoken to developers in my area in Newfoundland and Labrador. They are anxious for this bill to get passed, so they can take advantage of the incentives to build affordable rental units and affordable housing for seniors, low-income families and the whole gamut.
    Will it be completed in a year or six months? No, it will not. This is a long-term initiative that we want to make sure gets rolled out the right way, gets done the right way and delivers the right results.
    Madam Speaker, the member talked about there being more funding this year than there was last year and how the current government and previous governments did not invest in housing.
    We know that housing is a human right. I very much appreciated the question today from my colleague from the Bloc, who talked about the urgency of this crisis. Why has it taken the government this long to get serious about investing in affordable housing?

  (1315)  

    Madam Speaker, I cannot answer for why it took so long. I do not sit around the cabinet table for discussions on which policies come forward and which do not.
    However, I am delighted, and I know the people in my riding are delighted, that we are actually moving this envelope forward. We are going to make more houses and rental units available and have more people living in homes that they deserve. It should be a right, not an option, for people to have homes.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to inform you that I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Saskatoon West.
    I rise today to address Bill C-56, an act to amend the Excise Tax Act and the Competition Act. This debate is crucial, as it concerns not only the legislative process but also the fundamental issues of housing affordability and market competition that affect Canadians nationwide. This bill, introduced by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, demands our careful consideration and thorough analysis to ensure it meets the needs of the people we represent.
    In discussing Bill C-56, it is imperative to address the manner in which it is being ushered through the House, specifically through Motion No. 30. This motion, a procedural manoeuvre by the government, significantly limits the time allocated for thorough debate and consideration of this substantial piece of legislation. By limiting parliamentary discussion and expediting the bill’s passage, Motion No. 30 undermines the democratic process that is fundamental to our legislative system.
    Such a hastened approach is particularly concerning given the bill’s wide-ranging implications for housing affordability and market competition. These are complex issues that warrant detailed scrutiny and thoughtful debate, ensuring that every aspect of the bill is examined for its potential impact on Canadian society.
    The use of Motion No. 30, in this context, suggests a Liberal government preference for achieving catchy headlines on affordability instead of democratic thoroughness. Such a stance risks overlooking critical nuances and potential shortcomings of the bill. As representatives of the Canadian people, we have a duty to ensure that legislation, such as Bill C-56, receives the comprehensive attention it deserves.
    Turning our focus to the housing affordability aspect of Bill C-56, it is essential to analyze its proposed measures and compare them with the initiatives outlined in our Conservative leader's building homes not bureaucracy act. While Bill C-56 suggests removing the GST on new purpose-built rental housing, this approach is merely a fragment of what is needed to genuinely address Canada's housing crisis.
    Our Conservative vision, as set forth in the building homes not bureaucracy act, offers a more comprehensive and robust plan. It aims not only to reduce the financial burden on housing construction but also to tackle the systemic barriers that hinder the development of affordable housing. This includes removing the gatekeepers who delay the building of homes, as well as all the other red tape and bureaucratic hurdles that are adding to the housing crisis. These aspects are notably absent in the government’s current proposal.
    Our plan mandates significant yearly increases in housing construction, ensuring a steady growth in supply, and it proposes punitive measures for cities that fail to meet these targets. This strategy recognizes that the housing crisis is not just a matter of fiscal policy; rather, it also requires structural changes in the way housing projects are approved and developed.
    Moreover, our proposal goes beyond the mere construction of housing. It includes incentives for municipalities that exceed their housing targets, promoting not only the quality but also the quantity and expedience of housing developments. In contrast, that Bill C-56 has a singular focus on GST removal, but does not address the broader regulatory and procedural challenges, demonstrates a lack of understanding of the complex nature of the housing crisis. Our approach also recognizes the importance of building communities, not just houses.
    By tying transit and infrastructure funding to the construction of high-density housing around transit stations, we ensure that new housing developments contribute to the creation of sustainable, well-connected urban environments. This is crucial for improving the overall quality of life for residents and fostering community development. While Bill C-56 makes an attempt to address housing affordability, it falls short of offering a holistic solution.

  (1320)  

     The Conservative Party's building homes not bureaucracy act, in contrast, presents a detailed, actionable plan that addresses the root causes of the housing crisis and proposes viable, long-term solutions. It is a plan that not only addresses the immediate need for more affordable housing but also lays the groundwork for sustainable urban development and community growth.
    In addressing the amendments to the Competition Act within Bill C-56, it is crucial to recognize their inadequacy in effectively tackling the real issues plaguing our market competition. The proposed measures, though seemingly progressive, fail to address the root causes of the problems they aim to solve.
    The government’s approach to amending the Competition Act, as stipulated in Bill C-56, primarily focuses on empowering the Competition Bureau with greater investigative powers and addressing collaborations that limit competition. However, this approach overlooks the broader, more systemic issues within our market structures. For instance, the highly concentrated nature of certain sectors, such as the grocery industry, remains unaddressed. This concentration is a critical factor contributing to the lack of competition and the resulting high prices that Canadian consumers are forced to endure.
     Moreover, the bill's omission of the efficiencies defence repeal is a significant shortcoming. The efficiencies defence, which allows certain anti-competitive mergers under specific conditions, has been a point of contention, undermining fair market competition and consumer interests. The Conservative Party has long advocated for the repeal of this defence, recognizing its role in facilitating monopolistic practices. By neglecting to address this defence, Bill C-56 misses an opportunity to make substantial, meaningful reforms to our competition laws.
    In addition, the amendments proposed in Bill C-56 lack clarity regarding the specific entities they cover and the concrete standards for service. This vagueness creates uncertainty about the legislation's effectiveness in tackling market challenges. Effective competition law reform requires precise, targeted measures that directly address the issues at hand. Generalized amendments, without clear direction or focus, risk being ineffective in bringing about the necessary change.
    While the amendments to the Competition Act in Bill C-56 represent a step towards addressing market competition issues, they fall short of offering a comprehensive solution. The Conservative Party's stance on this matter is clear: We need more than just surface-level changes. We need a thorough overhaul of our competition laws, one that addresses the deep-rooted issues within our market systems and ensures a fair competition environment for all Canadians.
    It is important to emphasize that while Bill C-56 makes an attempt to address housing affordability and market competition, it falls short of the comprehensive, proactive strategy that Canadians desperately need in these challenging times. As Conservatives, we are unwavering in our commitment to implement solutions that tackle the fundamental issues affecting our nation's housing supply and the integrity of our market systems.
     The Conservative leader's building homes not bureaucracy act offers a road map for real, tangible change, in stark contrast to the limited scope of Bill C-56. Our approach is about addressing the root causes of these critical issues with a long-term perspective. We believe in creating legislation that not only meets the immediate needs of Canadians but also sets the stage for sustainable growth and prosperity for future generations.
    Conservatives call upon the government to look beyond short-term fixes and consider more holistic, impactful measures. It is time to move away from reactive legislation and towards forward-thinking policies that genuinely reflect the challenges of Canadians. We must acknowledge these challenges and address them rather than pursuing this legislation.

  (1325)  

    Madam Speaker, the member made reference to more of a holistic approach in dealing with the issue of housing, and I will use that as an example.
    I have said in the past that no government in the history of Canada, at least not in the last 50 to 60 years, has actually invested more in housing than the current government has. We can talk about the national housing strategy of billions of dollars, as well as a litany of different types of programs to encourage the development of housing and working with provinces. We can go to the fall economic statement, where we are seeing an expansion being proposed under the housing co-ops for alternative forms of housing.
    Would the member not recognize that this legislation is just one aspect of that? Does he not support the holistic approach that the government is actually proposing?
    Madam Speaker, I really appreciate the hon. member's talking about the failures of the government. He is correct. It has spent the most amount of money on housing to get the least number of returns, so good on you that the Liberal government is doing such a horrible job and admitting it to the House. Thank you very much for that.
    I do want to remind the hon. member that he is to address his comments through the Chair and not directly to the members.
    The hon. member for Longueuil—Saint-Hubert.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, there was one part of my colleague's speech that I really liked. When he talked about the housing crisis, he said it is a complex issue. He is right.
    At some point, the government is going to need to wake up and face the facts. Those 3.5 million housing units will require hundreds of billions of dollars in investments. I am not even convinced we are going to get there.
    However, there is one issue the government could work on, and that is the financialization of housing. That is a significant issue. We are talking about the fact that a growing share of rental housing is being bought up by large private investors, often international ones. It is estimated that, in Montreal, less than 1% of owners own 32% of the rental housing stock. They could not care less about the right to housing. All they want to do is make money. They buy buildings with 60, 80 or 100 units. They demolish or renovate them. They renovate and double the price of the units. They have a major impact on the rise in housing prices. We absolutely have to tackle this issue.
    Could my colleague suggest some measures today to deal with this?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I think that is what we have always talked about, which is making sure we have affordable housing. There is a big difference between having housing at a high price and having actually affordable housing.
    The majority of Canadians do not have six-figure salaries. There are way too many Canadians who have lower incomes, and we need to do exactly what the member is recommending: build affordable housing for all Canadians. That is something that the Conservative plan would definitely address.
    Uqaqtittiji, I am glad that the member was talking about prosperity. In my region, retail grocery stores outside my riding are allowed to prosper by being subsidized by the nutrition north program. I think that the bill before us is particularly important so we could ensure that nutrition north becomes a social program that would change that system so it is not subsidizing for-profit grocery stores, so my constituents can also prosper.
    Does the member agree that the nutrition north program needs to tax the rich grocery stores better and become a social program so my constituents can also prosper?
    Madam Speaker, I really do not think we need more social programs. What I really think we need to start doing, especially for the north, is to start a program where people can grow their own food in the north through greenhouses, making sure they can produce top-quality food and do it on their own terms, with the kinds of food they want to produce, not being brought in from different levels of government or different corporations.
    That is what we need to start looking at: more self-sufficiency in the north as opposed to reliance on government.

  (1330)  

    Madam Speaker:
    Tuesday is a day where if you thought there was something wrong in this country you would have more evidence you are right.
     If you sense the system and those in charge, the high-and-mighties thought to be smarter than the rest of us, have let us down big-time and without apology, you would be right again.
    If you feel a general sense of unease, dissatisfaction, your gut telling you there should be a shake-up you would be far from alone.
    I just quoted a passage from Rick Bell's column in the Edmonton Sun newspaper yesterday. Mr. Bell was commenting on Tuesday's fall economic statement by the finance minister, a speech she delivered that ties directly into the legislation we are discussing today, Bill C-56. I want my friends in Saskatoon West to hear what else Mr. Bell had to say:
    Sunny ways have turned into darkening storm clouds....
    If this was supposed to be a Hail Mary pass in the direction of [the Prime Minister's] political redemption, the pass was incomplete, under-thrown, hopelessly off-target.
    The high cost of living. Groceries, mortgages, rents, the price of so many things. Up. Federal government spending. Up.
    The ever-increasing carbon tax. Up.
    It is true. After eight years of the costly NDP-Liberal coalition, Canadians are facing the worst affordability crisis in decades. Spending on the bureaucracy in Ottawa is out of control. The money supply has been severely increased to the detriment of consumers and wage earners. The Bank of Canada is strangling our economy with massive interest rate hikes. The NDP-Liberals keep turning the screws on Canadians with every increase of the carbon tax and with the introduction of a second carbon tax. This has led to massive inflation and grocery bills that families cannot afford. The fact is that everybody is spending more money. The uber-rich are the only ones who will be able to afford a house in the future. This needs to change.
    The NDP-Liberals tell us not to worry, that they have legislation, Bill C-56 which we are supposedly debating today. I say “supposedly” because what we are actually debating today in the chamber is not Bill C-56 but an NDP-Liberal programming motion. I think it is important that the folks in Saskatoon watching this understand that while I want to be debating the legislation on its merits, the NDP-Liberal government is actually forcing us to debate what we colloquially refer to as a programming motion.
    Motion No. 30 is almost 900 words long, and it would take me half of my time here to recite the whole thing, but here are the highlights. First, it would limit the amount of debate MPs are allowed on Bill C-56. Second, it would limit the amount of time the finance committee has to hear from witnesses on the legislation. Third, it would limit the amount of time and the capacity to make and then debate amendments to clauses in the legislation. Fourth, it would instruct the committee to accept amendments beyond the scope of the bill, which, under our regular procedures, would be out of order. Fifth, it would limit the amount of time for debate of Bill C-56 for report stage amendments and third reading to one day when it returns to the House.
    This may sound complicated, but it is not. Each of these would override long-standing rules or procedures of the chamber that guarantee the rights of members of Parliament to represent their electors and to speak to legislation. In what is supposed to be, by design, a lengthy process of debate and a cautious and thoughtful examination by MPs, this motion would cut the committee process down to three days, and the remaining time in the House, between second and third reading, to a day and a half.
    I know that defenders of the NDP-Liberals in the mainstream media will scream from the rooftops that we are approaching Christmas and that Bill C-56 was introduced in September, so Conservatives should just let it roll through. Is it really the job of Conservative MPs to roll over for a government that has so badly mismanaged its work calendar that it is in a panic to take its Christmas holidays? Does the average Canadian get the ability to ram their work through without any scrutiny just because Christmas is approaching, or does it wait there until they come back after their two or three days off?
    Of course the Prime Minister does not know how regular people live. The National Post reported earlier this week that since he became Prime Minister in 2015, he has taken one-quarter of his days off. Would it not be nice if every Canadian could get one-quarter of their days off? That is the ridiculous nature of the programming motion. The NDP-Liberals are so inefficient and hopeless at getting anything done in the House that when faced with the upcoming Christmas break, they panic and go to extreme measures to get anything done.
    Let me get into the legislation. Would the legislation work? Would it actually solve anything? The stated purpose of the legislation is to eliminate GST on rental builds and make changes to the competition laws that govern retail stores like grocers. It is meant to be a solution for Canadians who are stretched to their limits, but does it actually solve these problems? The answer is no. That is not my answer; that is the answer the Minister of Finance stated in her own fall fiscal update just two days ago in the chamber. She said, “The apartments that renters need are not getting built fast enough, in part because the builders who would like to build more currently don’t have access to enough of the financing needed to make rental projects financially viable.”

  (1335)  

    Whose fault is it that builders do not have access to the capital and the financing they need? It is the current government that has put in place economic conditions so dire that the Bank of Canada has increased interest rates to their highest level in 40 years. The central bank, in direct response to government actions, is cutting off the lifeblood of our economy: the ability to borrow and finance the building and buying of new homes.
    John Ivison, in the National Post, succinctly put it this way: “[The finance minister]'s fall economic statement was bulging with statements that, if not outright whoppers, were certainly distortions....Growth is expected to be muted....Unemployment is forecast to rise to 6.5 per cent by the middle of next year, from 5.7 per cent now.” Conservatives agree with these damning indictments of the government’s economic policy, the fall economic statement and its failure to get housing built. It is a pattern of failure that the costly coalition repeats over and over again. The costly coalition claims that the legislation is the solution that Canadians are looking for.
    Do members remember this time last year? The NDP-Liberals were singing the praises of their one-time GST rebate, which nobody even remembers now. Then, earlier this spring, the Liberals cooked up another scheme with the NDP, a one-time rent rebate for low-income wage earners that nobody remembers now. Now, they think this latest idea will take a bite out of inflation. Did they not say that of their toothless dental program last year? It was another failure, because all of these ideas are temporary and do not get to the root of the problem. Instead, the Liberals are always scheming to stay in power, never delivering tangible, real results for Canadians. It has been failure after failure.
    Why is there this overwhelming record of failure? It is because with the current government, the underlying economic landscape is set to fail. It is no wonder. We only need to look back at what the finance minister passed off a couple days ago as an update to the government’s budgetary policy, the costly coalition’s fall economic plan. With $20 billion of costly new spending, the mini-budget can be summed up very simply: prices up, rent up, debt up and taxes up. Time is up.
    The finance minister announced more than $20 billion in new inflationary spending that will keep inflation and interest rates higher than Canadians can afford. It is an NDP-Liberal mini-budget that proposes to increase taxes on the backs of middle-class people. It is an NDP-Liberal mini-budget that will spend more money on servicing the debt than on health care. The signature policy in this mini-budget was to pour $15 billion into a fund to build barely 1,500 homes a year, while we need 5.8 million new homes built by 2030.
    Do members remember when the finance minister told Canadians that the budget would be balanced by the year 2028? Since then, the costly coalition of the NDP and Liberals has announced $100 billion dollars of additional debt. After eight years, it is clearer than ever that the costly coalition is not worth the cost, and this mini-budget does nothing to help everyday Canadians. The only way to undo the damage the Liberals have done is by reversing course and doing the opposite. The common-sense Conservative plan would axe the tax, balance the budget, and build homes and not bureaucracy to bring home lower prices for Canadians.
    Despite warnings from the Bank of Canada and the Canadian financial sector that government spending is contributing to Canada’s high inflation, the Prime Minister ignored their calls for moderation and yet again decided to spend on the backs of Canadians, keeping inflation and interest rates high. These interest rates risk a mortgage meltdown on the $900 billion of mortgages that will renew in the next three years. High inflation means the government is getting richer while Canadians are getting poorer.
    Under the costly NDP-Liberal coalition, here are the facts. There are a record two million food bank visits in a single month. Housing costs have doubled, and mortgage payments are 150% higher than they were before the Liberals took power. Canadians renewing their mortgages at today's rates will see an increase from 2% to 6% or even higher. The International Monetary Fund warns that Canada is the most at risk in the G7 for a mortgage default crisis. Over 50% of Canadians are $200 or less away from going broke. Business insolvencies have increased by 37% this year. Tent cities exist in every major city, including in Fairhaven in my community of Saskatoon. Violent crime is up 39%, and drugs are everywhere.
     Instead of listening to common-sense Conservative proposals to reverse the damage, the NDP-Liberal government has introduced more half measures and photo-op funds that will do nothing to solve the problems that Canadians have. It is time for common sense to return to the Canadian government's decision-making process. It is time for Canadians to say to this costly coalition that enough is enough. It is time for a Conservative government. Let us bring it home.

  (1340)  

    Madam Speaker, it is interesting when Conservative members talk about the government not allocating enough time. It was not that long ago when the Conservatives were trying to adjourn the House and filibuster debate. In fact, they bring in concurrence motions. I said during the debate on one concurrence motion that the Conservatives liked to waste time, that they were filibustering, preventing debate from occurring. I also said that there would be a time in the future when they would stand and criticize the government for bringing in time allocation.
    If we do not bring in time allocation, we can never get anything passed. This is what the member just demonstrated at beginning of his speech. He is criticizing the government because the government is not allotting enough time for debate, yet the Conservative Party continues to filibuster and be a very destructive force on the floor of the chamber. I suspect it has a lot to do with the extreme right of the Conservative Party today to try to be disruptive in the chamber.
    Maybe the member can explain why the Conservatives continue to do things like adjourn debates and bring in concurrence motions to prevent debate from occurring in the chamber.
    Madam Speaker, the one member in the House who has spoken more than anybody, and I guess we could call that filibustering, is the member who just spoke. He loves to speak all the time.
    The Conservatives have a job to do in the House. Our job is to defend the Canadians who we represent. Our job is to prevent foolish policies from being implemented by the government. We do our jobs. I am sorry to say that the member is admitting, I guess, that he is not very good at his job, being the secretary to the House leader, and that we can do a better job of it.
    Our job here is to hold the government to account and to do everything we can to ensure good laws and good legislation are passed by the House.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I am always happy to talk about housing.
    Earlier, I asked my Conservative colleague a question about the financialization of housing and the growing number of large investment funds buying up housing in Canada. This is a huge problem. We know that, for every affordable housing unit built in Canada, we lose 10 to the private market because those units are being bought up by big investors.
    The Bloc Québécois wanted the economic update to include an acquisition fund to take affordable housing off the private market and keep it affordable for the long term. That is what non-profit housing organizations across Canada want, too. The goal would be to shelter the $600, $800 and $850 units that are still on the market. The government could buy them and take them off the market. Everyone agrees that this would be a solution.
    Does my colleague agree?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I am very hesitant to say that the solution to the housing problem is to get the government more involved, to have it owning and producing houses. The current government especially has proven it is unable to get that done. I was a home builder before I became a member of Parliament. I probably built more houses than the government has ever built.
    The fact is that we cannot rely on governments, especially the NDP-Liberal government, to have any hope of building more houses. We have to engage all different parties. The more the government gets out of the way, the better it will be for our future in housing and the economy in general.
    Madam Speaker, we are supposed to be discussing the Competition Act this morning, but we are discussing the delay tactics of the Liberals.
    Some have said that the reason we have high grocery prices is the lack of competition in the grocery industry. Could the member think of any other reasons why there are high grocery prices?
    Madam Speaker, Canadians are certainly suffering from high prices. At the root cause of almost everything is the carbon tax.
     The carbon tax adds costs, first of all, to the growers who grow and produce food. Then the tax is added to the companies that truck the food to the places that process the food. Then there is the grocers who pay carbon tax on their facilities and everything else. There is carbon tax throughout the system. We are not talking a little, we are talking tens of thousands, and, in some cases, hundreds of thousands, of dollars for a farmer, for example.
    Those costs have to go somewhere and they do not get those costs back. Those costs end up in the price of food Canadians need to buy every day, and it is one of the big drivers in why things are getting more expensive, whether we are talking about bread, meat or whatever it might be.
     For that reason, two million people a month are going to food banks. People I have talked to tell me they cannot afford to buy meat anymore and are feeding their children cereal. This has to stop. We have to get rid of this terrible, destructive carbon tax.

  (1345)  

    Madam Speaker, it is always a pleasure to rise in the House of Commons to speak on behalf of the wonderful constituents of Calgary Midnapore. I will be splitting my time with a fellow Albertan, the member for St. Albert—Edmonton.
    I am going to tell members something that they know, that their constituents know, that my constituents know and that all of Canada knows. Without question, Canada is in an economic crisis. We see record inflation rates. We have certainly seen this across all consumers products, most specifically food where we saw a 40% hike across Canada. All families need to put food on their tables. As well, the cost of clothing, home heating, all these things have increased.
    We have seen horrific interest rates as a result of the government's out-of-control spending. Every single opportunity it has, it throws more fuel on the inflationary fire, as we saw this week with the fall economic statement. People who are currently trying to renew their mortgage, as was brilliantly pointed out by my leader, the member for Carleton, are now in a crisis as they attempt to get the best rate possible, as they attempt to hold onto their homes since mortgage rates have doubled, as have rental rates.
    We are in a housing crisis. The government has a failed housing accelerator plan, which I believe built, at the last count, 15 homes in the last fiscal year. It is an absolutely shameful number. What did the Liberals do? They brought forward this bill, Bill C-56. We have hope when we hear there is a fiscal bill on the horizon. We hope that somehow the Liberals will get the message, that they will do something sweeping for Canadians, something that will move the dial, that will make even a small change in the lives of Canadians.
    What did the Liberals do in the bill? They put forward two measures. We have inflation, interest and a housing crisis, and they put forward a bill with two small measures. The theme here is the same as it always is. The government could be doing so much more to help Canadians, but it consistently does the minimum. It consistently makes the choices that harm Canadians. This bill is another example of that, where it did the tiniest thing possible in the face of the economic crisis across the country.
    I am sure members are aware that the most recent deficit this year was at $46.5 billion. The President of the Treasury Board and the finance minister were off by over $6 billion. Certainly, $6 billion is an absolutely incredible amount, but this shows the lack of respect they have for Canadian taxpayer money. Canadians work hard to bring home this money and the government cannot even get it right in a single year.
    In fact, the deficit will be going up an average of $4 billion a year through fiscal year 2028-29. To put this into context, that is the year my son, who is now 12, will graduate from high school. He can only hope for the possibility that the government might balance the budget and get out of deficit by 2028. As we have seen, the government is incapable of that by putting forward Bill C-56 with two small measures.
    Recently, the Parliamentary Budget Officer was at the government operations committee, and will be returning today to discuss the supplementary estimates. I am sure he will give us a lot of good information. Last time he came to the government operations committee, he did not have very positive things to say about the government and its fiscal management in this time of an economic crisis. I asked the Parliamentary Budget Officer if the government reduced spending, would it have to rely less on nominal GDP, which is another area that is suffering, the productivity of Canada. In addition to having a spending problem, the government has a productivity problem. As my leader said, Canadians just want to get to work. His answer was yes, if I was asking if the government spent less could it reduce taxation.

  (1350)  

     It is not surprising as we see the government's obsession with taxation, including the carbon tax, which has now quadrupled. It will go to any extent in an effort to support this carbon tax. We heard the Minister of Rural Economic Development admit that if other Canadians had just supported the governing party, they too might get this carve-out, the exemption from the carbon tax. This is the way the government operates. It cannot manage its finances and it cannot increase productivity for Canadians. There is this level of corruption, as is evidenced by the comment from the Minister of Rural Economic Development. The government could be doing so much more.
    On August 15, the President of the Treasury Board, my counterpart, said that she would find $15 billion, which is a tiny drop in the bucket, by October 2. As we have seen, $15 billion is not even a quarter of the current deficit. October 2 came and went, and what was announced? Nothing. There was one thing. One billion dollars was removed from our defence budget, at a time when we have significant instability in the world, with the war in Ukraine, with what we see currently in the Middle East and with Taiwan continuously under threat from its aggressor, China. Even she was not able to keep her promise of finding $15 billion by her imposed date of October 2.
     If the deficit is going up an average of $4 billion a year, that does not even negate the increase in the deficit. As I said, the President of the Treasury Board did not even meet her own target. Again, the government, with Bill C-56, had the opportunity to do something significant for Canadians and chose not to. It could be doing so much more.
    We will have the Parliamentary Budget Officer at the government operations committee today. The government is seeking approval for another $20.7 billion of spending in the supplementary estimates, which is more than a significant amount. It is a horrific amount.
     What has the government spent a huge sum of money on? Not surprisingly, and unfortunately, it was on consultants and consulting services. My Conservative colleagues and I tried to raise the alarm last year about McKinsey, not only with respect to the amount being spent on consultants but how the Liberals did not take their instructions from their constituents, as we do on this side of the House, but from their Liberal insider friends. The spending on professional and special services continues to increase and will be a record $21.6 billion in this fiscal year, in addition to the significant deficit I mentioned. Again, it will probably only increase based upon the spending request in the supplementary estimates.
    We have seen a failure with the Liberal-NDP government over the last eight years and a failure with the supplementary estimates. Then, when we are looking for hope in the fall economic statement, it is not there. It is more disappointment, as we see another $20 billion worth of fuel poured on the inflationary fire. We have seen this time and again. The government has a spending problem. It has a productivity growth problem. It has no leadership in Canada or in the world.
    The government could be doing so much more with Bill C-56, but it again chose to do nothing.

  (1355)  

    Madam Speaker, speaking of problems, the Conservative Party has a problem with the truth. People who listened to what the member was saying would wonder what the heck she was talking about, because that was about the fall economic statement from yesterday.
     Today's legislation is substantial legislation that would support Canadians from coast to coast to coast. It is substantial and would ensure that they would see thousands and thousands and thousands of new purpose-built rental homes constructed. It would ensure a fairer sense of competition by ensuring there would be more choice in the future. These are the types of substantive measures the Government of Canada is taking in order to support Canadians, and yet we get the Conservative Party, in that reckless fashion, going all over the place, listening to the far right and not listening to what Canadians have to say.
    When is the Conservative Party, and particularly the leadership of the Conservative Party, going to get out of the right wing and start listening to what Canadians are saying coast to coast to coast?
     Let us get behind and support this legislation. Will the member vote for the legislation, yes or no?
    Madam Speaker, what I really do not appreciate in this House is being lumped into a group. This is absolutely an effort to scapegoat and divert from the Liberals' horrific record in every single area of society and in every single area of the economy. I do not appreciate that at all.
    We are here today talking about these two little pieces which are supposed to help housing. We know that the housing accelerator fund has been a complete failure. As my leader said yesterday, one year, okay, we will give them that, maybe two years and maybe even three years. However, it has been eight years and housing is a failure. These two little pieces would not help Canadians.
    Again, I do not appreciate their diverting with name-calling at a time when Canadians are facing the greatest economic crisis we have had in decades.
    Madam Speaker, I thank the member for doing the important work in the House of sharing opinions.
     I read a report from Oxfam the other day, which said that the top 1% earners across the planet are sending out as much emissions as the lowest 66%. Obviously, if we do not have things in place to support people, we see that they are really not getting the benefit.
     I really appreciate this bill, because it talks about getting resources to people who desperately need them right now. It does not go as far as I would go. I have a lot of other ideas that I would love to see. We have mentioned them in the House.
     I wonder if the member could talk about why a windfall tax is so important. We know there are businesses that are making a huge amount of profit while so many are suffering.
    Madam Speaker, there is an important point here. We both agree that the government has failed on the environment. Everyone in this House knows the government has not met a single target to which it ascribed.
    However, on our side of the House, we believe that we can have a plan for the environment as well as have industry functioning. We can fire on all cylinders. As I said, the Liberals failed on spending as well as on productivity in Canada; whereas, the member, unfortunately, given her hand-in-hand work with her coalition partner, the Liberal government, believes that we need more taxation. That is just not our position on this side of the House.
    Madam Speaker, my colleague talked about housing and she mentioned the accelerator fund. I wonder if she is aware that the fund has been closed since August 18 of this year, so there is no further money coming forward and no further money announced until 2025-26.
    Madam Speaker, this is what we have seen time and time again. My colleague from Sarnia—Lambton knows this well, since she is the only member of Parliament to have gotten two private members' bills through the House to royal assent. One of them was the palliative care bill.
    My point is that she and I and everyone in this House see bill after bill with structures, ideas and ideologies, but they never deliver any results. They never put any meat on the bones. I am sick of it. We are sick of it. Canadians are sick of it.

Statements by Members

[Statements by Members]

  (1400)  

[English]

Incident on Rainbow Bridge

    Madam Speaker, it was only 24 hours ago that we gathered in this place shaken by the news that an explosion on the Rainbow Bridge sounded like it might have been about terrorism. We were worried. The Prime Minister told us that it was time to ask questions to find out what had happened.
    The word “terrorism” was in the air, and some sought to achieve partisan advantage by jumping on the word and trying to achieve goals for their Republican presidential nomination—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order. I want to remind members that this is Statements by Members and there is no opportunity for questions and comments. I would ask members to please give respect to the person who has the floor. Members may not be in agreement with what is being said, but, again, there is no time for questions and comments.
    I will ask the hon. member to start her statement over.
    Madam Speaker, it was exactly 24 hours ago that we came into this chamber, shaken by the news we were hearing on the television and radio that there had been an explosion on the Rainbow Bridge. There were words and accusations of terrorism in the air. We did not know much, but as we gathered here, I was grateful that the Prime Minister told us that he was seeking answers, that authorities were trying to find out what had happened.
     In those moments when terrorism was a rumour, some chose to seek partisan advantage by jumping on those words. I refer, of course, to the presidential nomination candidate in the United States for the Republican Party, Mr. Ramaswamy, who once again fanned flames in the United States to blame Canada with an accusation of terrorism that was false.
    Today as we gather here, let us remember the importance and the wisdom of leaders who wait for the answers, who sow the seeds, which we must all do, for calm, for peace, for compassion and for justice.

Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement

    Mr. Speaker, the far right is alive and well today in the Conservative Party here in Canada. It is somewhat of a sad state to say it, but that is the truth.
    Imagine, if members will, President Zelenskyy comes to Canada and signs a trade agreement with Canada. After signing that agreement, the government brings it into the legislature. The Conservative Party does what it can to filibuster and prevent the vote. Now we know why. The far right within the Conservative Party spearheaded the Conservative Party to vote against a trade agreement between Canada and Ukraine. That is absolutely and totally shameful.
    The Conservative Party needs to apologize to Canadians and apologize to Canada's Ukrainian heritage community for behaving in such a manner. They need to have a flip-flop and vote for Canada and for Ukraine.

Hunters

    Mr. Speaker, last week marked the beginning of deer season for thousands of hunters across Manitoba. After many enjoyed a successful fall season, hunters are now in tree stands and in the woods working to harvest a deer for their family.
    Hunting is part of our Canadian heritage and it is part of our rural way of life. The responsible harvest of wild meat is something that cannot be replaced. It provides a connection to nature that extends beyond mere sustenance.
    For generations, hunters have been stewards of Canada's natural landscape, successfully protecting and managing this land for future generations. Hunters are responsible for the recovery of many species through conservation practices and financial contributions. Members will find few Canadians who are more dedicated to preserving our natural environment than Canadian hunters.
    This season, I wish all hunters a safe, responsible and successful harvest. I thank them for all they do for conserving and preserving Canada's environment.

  (1405)  

Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement

    Mr. Speaker, over the past weekend while in Halifax, I visited Pier 21. I wanted to look up the records of my grandparents, my dad and my uncles who came to Canada on a boat called the Beaverbrae II after World War II.
    Proud Ukrainians, they came to Canada because they were looking for a safe place to call home and raise their family. My grandparents, if they were alive today, would have been proud of the $9 billion in funding that Canada has contributed to Ukraine. Everything from military equipment to humanitarian and economic support was given to Ukraine as its people bravely fight for their democracy against Russia’s brutal unprovoked invasion.
    They would have also been proud of the modernized Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement that was passed in this House this week and with Canada’s unconditional stand with Ukraine and its people. Previously, we were united in our support for Ukraine. It is incomprehensible that the federal Conservatives voted against the updated Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement this week.
    Let us never stop supporting Ukraine’s courage and bravery and let us never stop fighting for its freedom and for ours.

[Translation]

Ève Bilodeau

    Mr. Speaker, I am very proud to rise in the House and highlight an outstanding accomplishment by a young girl from my riding in Saint-Denis-sur-Richelieu.
    On October 26, Ève Bilodeau won not one, but two gold medals in the extreme and kempo categories for girls 10 and under at the World Karate championships in Orlando, Florida.
    Despite her tender age, she is already the pride of her family and her town. Moreover, she is literally shining an international spotlight on Quebec and proving that our homegrown talent can make it all the way to the top. Who knows, we might even see her at the Olympic Games one day.
    Ève Bilodeau's athletic career is an inspiration. She encourages us to dream, and she has all our admiration.

Ukraine

    Mr. Speaker, 10 years ago, the Ukrainian people rose up with virtually one voice to defend the democratic path they had chosen in 1991. Ukraine envisions its future within a free, prosperous and inclusive Europe. Vladimir Putin's Russian Federation refuses to respect that choice, let alone accept it.
    The Russian invasion, which began in 2022, is reviving decades of oppression and repression by the Stalinist regime. Canada will always stand with Ukraine in refusing to erase Ukrainian identity.
    November is a solemn month for the Ukrainian people. This November 25 marks the 90th anniversary of the Holodomor, the brutal genocide of millions of Ukrainians in 1933.
    I join my colleagues in reaffirming our full and unwavering solidarity with Ukraine.
    Slava Ukraini.

Caserne de jouets Saguenay

    Mr. Speaker, on Saturday, I attended the 36th annual toy drive organized by Caserne de jouets Saguenay. This organization is run entirely by volunteers, and some have been there since 1988.
    On the weekend, I saw generous donors line up to bring toys that will be handed out for free to families who are struggling financially. I do not have to tell members that this outpouring of generosity moves me every year. The state of the economy means that there is growing demand. To date, roughly 400,000 toys have been donated.
    Today, I want to pay tribute to the co-founder and head, Mario Gagnon, and to all the volunteers, including Robert Dufour, Martine Aubé and Gina Gagnon, for their charity and dedication. They are helping to ease the financial woes of some parents as the holiday season approaches.
    I thank Mario and his entire team for their generous efforts that will again this year make a difference to several households.
    Now it is our turn to be generous.

[English]

Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to express disappointment over the recent decision by the Conservative Party to vote against the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement. Its objection to a reference of carbon pricing in the deal, something Ukraine already embraces, appears to be a diversion from the broader and more critical issue at hand, and that is to support Ukraine in its fight against tyranny.
    It is regrettable that on a matter of international urgency, the Conservatives have chosen to prioritize populist politics over standing in solidarity with our ally, Ukraine, as it is under siege. It is perplexing that the Conservatives have chosen to be the only party in this House voting against something that Ukraine has asked Canada to support as it fights for its very existence.
    The revised Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement is an opportunity for solidarity in the face of adversity. Let us not allow narrow political interests to overshadow the broader principles of unity, support and shared values.

  (1410)  

Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement

    Mr. Speaker, this week, the Conservative Party voted against the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement, supposedly because it imposes a carbon tax on Ukraine. What is this?
    There is, in the agreement, a tangential reference to carbon pricing. However, Ukraine has had carbon pricing since 2011, so what is the real reason the Conservative Party voted against this agreement? Perhaps it is because opposing further assistance to Ukraine has become a litmus test for the American far right politically. It may also be for the far right in Canada as well.
    At a time when thousands of Ukrainians are risking their lives fighting this war, including some of my relatives, fighting in the best interests of their children, to have one of the main political parties in Canada take a position that seems to be paid out to the interests of the American far right, rather than—
    The hon. member for Cumberland—Colchester.

Birthday Congratulations

    Mr. Speaker, today, I wish to honour a Canadian hero. Lloyd Coady was born in Sheet Harbour, Nova Scotia, and he came from a family of eight children. In 1942, at the age of 18, he was finally able to enlist for World War II, having been sent home previously for being too young.
    He did his basic training in Peterborough and Petawawa and arrived in Halifax shortly thereafter. Next, he was sent to Windsor, Nova Scotia, and was trained as a medical orderly.
    He served aboard the Queen Mary, the Aquitania and the Samaria, bringing wounded soldiers home from the front. He also served at the Cogswell hospital in Halifax and the Debert hospital. He moved to Truro in 1951 after studying entomology and forestry. He spent the next 35 years chasing bugs throughout the forests of Nova Scotia.
    Lloyd was married to Kay for 57 years. He was very active in the community for many service organizations, and he continues to be fit and agile. Many years ago, he actually challenged me to a running race and a push-up contest. I politely declined.
    Today, let us all wish Lloyd a happy 99th birthday.

Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement

    Mr. Speaker, I am profoundly disappointed that the Leader of the Opposition has forced his Conservative caucus to betray the people of Ukraine in voting against Bill C-57, the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement.
    This agreement represents a commitment to shared values and democratic principles and is a crucial step toward strengthening prosperity for both Canada and Ukraine.
    It is a bill that should have been supported unanimously, to show our solidarity with Ukraine and our commitment to help them rebuild as they fight a brutal and illegal invasion by Russia. Our government will always prioritize the best interests of all Canadians and recognize that trade agreements are not obstacles but bridges to a more prosperous and interconnected future.
    The vote on Bill C-57 is the clearest demonstration yet that, when it comes to standing in solidarity with the people of Ukraine, the Conservative Party cannot be trusted. It is not worth the risk.
    Slava Ukraini.

Ukraine

    Mr. Speaker, this year marks the 90th anniversary of the Holodomor, the Ukrainian famine and genocide of 1932-33.
    This genocide was deliberately planned and executed by the communist Soviet regime under Joseph Stalin to systemically destroy the culture, language and, indeed, the very ethnicity of the people of Ukraine. Sadly, several million innocent men, women and children were starved and slowly murdered by Stalin for one reason. They were patriotic Ukrainians.
    Fifteen years ago, Canada became the first western nation to officially recognize the Holodomor as a genocide. As we commemorate the Holodomor this Saturday, let us not forget that Vladimir Putin is repeating history by illegally invading Ukraine, destroying Ukrainian lives and threatening their freedom, all in an attempt to repeat Stalin's Russification of Ukraine.
    We stand with the brave people of Ukraine in their fight for sovereignty, democracy and liberty. We remember the victims and honour the survivors of the Holodomor, as well as the Maidan, and pray for those fighting against Russia's barbaric invasion today.
    May their memories be eternal. Vichnaya pamyat.

  (1415)  

Carbon Tax

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years of the Prime Minister, the NDP-Liberal government has finally admitted that it not worth the cost and that the carbon tax is hurting Canadians.
     A farmer in southern Saskatchewan shared his carbon tax costs with me. He goes through 150,000 litres of diesel on his farm every year. At over 15¢ per litre, he is paying $24,000 in carbon tax on diesel fuel alone. There is more. The GST gets added on top of that, bringing the total to just under $25,000, but there is still more. The NDP-Liberals will quadruple that number for him, and he will be paying $100,000 a year just on the carbon tax for diesel fuel, thanks to the radical Prime Minister.
    Canadian families will pay more for groceries as well, yet the Liberals do not seem to care. They broke ranks with their NDP coalition to vote against common-sense Conservatives who would remove the carbon tax from farm fuels. Now, there are senators, appointed by the Prime Minister, who are trying to shut it down at the last minute. The Prime Minister needs to stand with Canadian families and producers, and tell his senators to stop blocking Bill C-234.

Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement

    Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition talks about fighting for freedom in Canada when we live in the freest country in the world. He has hijacked the word for partisan political purposes. He had a chance to stand up for Ukraine, which is truly fighting for freedom, two days ago, and he said no. It is appalling.
    The opposition lets domestic petty politics interfere with issues that should be issues on which we are unified, as Canada always has been. It is appalling.
    If we want to see Conservative MPs squirm in their seats, we can watch them when their leader tries to explain why. He needs to apologize to Canadians. He needs to apologize to Ukrainians, and he needs to apologize to his caucus. This free trade agreement would help Ukraine rebuild, and we should all be standing with them.
    Slava Ukraini.

Recognition of Service

    Mr. Speaker, today I rise in the House to extend my heartfelt congratulations to three remarkable public servants who have dedicated their careers to the residents of Hamilton Centre.
    I congratulate my legislative assistant, Tyler “Coach” Crosby, who, from day one, has provided me with the sage advice and wisdom he has attained through his 16 years of policy and parliamentary support here on the Hill.
    I congratulate Trudy Morris, who, having come off of the factory floor as a proud USW trade unionist, has given us 19 years of improving the material conditions of our constituents through her remarkable tax-filing program and her ability to track down the benefits that have been cut off from our most vulnerable families, seniors and residents.
    I congratulate Rose Marie McAleer, who also has an impressive 19 years of service. Her expertise in immigration, family reunification and her general case work is an embodiment of the spirit of our community and the perseverance that we in Hamilton Centre hold dear.
    On behalf of the residents of Hamilton Centre and the New Democratic Party of Canada, I extend my deepest gratitude to Tyler, Trudy, and Rose Marie for their years of service. Their contributions have truly made a difference. I am thankful for their service.

[Translation]

Cégep de Jonquière Gaillards

    Mr. Speaker, do you know who took home the coveted Bol d'Or at the college football championship this past Saturday? You guessed it: It was the Cégep de Jonquière Gaillards.
     For a diehard football fan like me, it was something to be very proud of. I want to acknowledge the incredible determination of the players, who had a perfect season this year, winning not six or seven of their games, but all 11. They did not lose a single game in 2023. The Gaillards are undefeated. They are the world champions.
    At the championship game on Saturday, the Gaillards made a spectacular comeback in the final quarter against a formidable opponent that was ultimately outdone by our team's passion. It was the seventh championship game in a row for Jonquière, and the third championship win for the team.
    I would like to give a special shout-out to number 17, Émile Duceppe, the grandson of former Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe. I would like to congratulate the Gaillards, and I will see them next year.

  (1420)  

[English]

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, earlier this week, the NDP-Liberal government tabled a fall economic statement with $46.5 billion of interest on the public debt this year and $52.4 billion next year. That is more than the entire Canada health transfer. That is double the budget for national defence.
    The Prime Minister has run up more debt than all previous prime ministers combined, and this week, he piled on another $20 billion in inflationary spending. There is no end in sight, and no plan to balance the budget and tackle inflation.
    Prices are up. Rent is up. Interest rates are up. Debts are up. Taxes are up, and time is up. After eight years of the Prime Minister, he is not worth the cost. Rents have doubled. Mortgage payments are up 150%, and minimum down payments have doubled. Two million Canadians a month are at food banks, and people with good jobs are homeless.
    It is time for a common-sense Conservative government to clean up the Prime Minister's mess, just like Conservatives have had to do after every Liberal government before this one.

Ukraine

    Mr. Speaker, it has become clear that far right American politics have fully taken over the Conservative Party of Canada.
    Last June, five Conservative MPs travelled on a lavish trip to London, England, and dined on thousands of dollars' worth of oysters and champagne. We also know that at least one of those Conservative MPs had his expenses paid for by the Danube Institute, a right-wing Hungarian think tank that has said, “the stakes of the Russia-Ukraine war are not Ukraine's sovereignty, but the victory of NATO, the expansion of the US 'deep state', [and] 'wokeism'”.
    Coincidentally, right around the same time, Conservative MPs started shifting their support away from Ukraine in favour of Russian propaganda aimed at turning the world against Ukraine.
    I want Ukrainian-Canadians to know that, while Conservative MPs flirt with Vladimir Putin and his attempts to persuade their support, Liberals are unwavering in our commitment and will be there every step of the way until Ukraine wins this war.

Oral Questions

[Oral Questions]

[English]

Finance

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's mini-budget was full of bad news for Canadians. Rent is up, taxes are up, prices are up and interest rates are up to fight the inflation his deficits caused. In fact, Scotiabank said that its mortgage rates would be two full percentage points lower if the government could just control its spending. That would be the difference, for hundreds of thousands of Canadians, between losing their homes and being able to renew their mortgages.
    Does the government realize that time is running out? Will it end its deficit spending so that Canadians can keep their homes?
    Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition and his MPs are simply not worth the risk. He and his MPs voted against the Canada-Ukraine free trade deal. Why? They made a brutal political calculation that they would have more support from their far right base here in Canada and in Russia and from their friends in the United States if they abandoned Ukrainians. It is cold, calculated, cruel. Behold, the new Conservative Party and its MPs. What a disgrace.
    Mr. Speaker, what is disgraceful and cruel is using Ukraine's vulnerability, while Russian tanks are on its soil, to shove a carbon tax permanently down our throats.
    Canadians should not be fooled by the Liberals' phony outrage. They are desperate to talk about anything except for their terrible budget. That is because not only are workers' paycheques going to pay for higher prices and interest rates, but now their tax dollars are going to pay for higher interest payments on the national debt. In fact, next year the government will spend more on the national debt than on health care and the armed forces.
    When will the government stop its deficits so we can pay doctors, nurses and soldiers instead of bankers and bondholders?

  (1425)  

    Before the hon. government House leader gets up, I just want to encourage members to please not extend their voices, so the Chair can hear the questions from the hon. leader. I can hear members at the far end of the House.
    The hon. government House leader.
    Mr. Speaker, twice this week, the Leader of the Opposition has demonstrated that he is not worth the risk to Canadians.
    He has been untruthful about why the Conservatives did not vote for the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement, because there is no price on pollution in that agreement. We need to ask what the real reason is behind why they are abandoning support for Ukraine and for freedom and democracy.
    Also, yesterday, instead of waiting for information on what happened in Niagara Falls, the Leader of the Opposition jumped straight to the conclusion that it was a terrorist attack. That is irresponsible and it is not respectful to Canadians.

Automotive Industry

    Mr. Speaker, if the government truly wanted to help Ukraine, it would support the Conservative motion to export our energy and military equipment, instead of the failed carbon tax. If the government wanted to be honest with Canadians, it would unveil the details of the $15-billion subsidy to a single battery plant that will allow up to 1,600 workers coming from Korea to replace qualified Canadians.
    Will the Liberals do the right thing and at least publish the agreement so that Canadian workers can find out how many jobs are being filled by taxpayer-funded foreign replacement workers?
    Mr. Speaker, unlike with the member opposite, who did not, when it came time to find resolve, stand up to his leader when it was time to stand with Ukraine, Canada's support for Ukraine is unwavering.
    We have committed over $2.4 billion in military aid, from tanks to armoured vehicles to ammunition. We have trained 37,000 Ukrainian troops. The Prime Minister recently announced an additional $500 million in new funding for military assistance. Yesterday, I spoke to Defence Minister Umerov and told him that 10 million additional rounds of ammunition are on the way.
    Our government stands with Ukraine.

[Translation]

Finance

    Mr. Speaker, one thing is certain. After eight years in power, this Liberal government is not doing right by Canadian families. It is not worth the cost. The economic update very clearly shows this government's pathetic administration.
    I heard what the Minister of National Defence just said. Is he aware that this government is set to spend twice as much on the debt than on the army? It is going to spend more on servicing the debt than it is going to invest in health. That is completely unacceptable for a G7 country.
    When will this government realize that it has been mismanaging everything for eight years?
    Mr. Speaker, what Canadians know is that the Conservatives voted against Ukraine. They decided to vote against a free trade agreement with Ukraine.
    What we decided to do in the economic statement is what Canadians want. We will continue to build a stronger economy. We will overhaul competition in Canada. We will continue to invest in housing. We have a plan for prosperity. We have a plan for growth. We have a plan for Canadians.
    The Conservatives should continue to watch what we are doing so that they can learn from a serious government.
    Mr. Speaker, the two million Canadians going to food banks every month see what this government has done. Those who want to own a home are seeing that rent has doubled in the past eight years. They see that mortgage costs are twice as high. They also see that down payments cost twice as much.
    What is the Minister of Finance's solution? Believe it or not, it is to be able to borrow for up to 100 years. That is proof that our great-great-great-grandchildren are the ones who will pay.
    Does the aspiring prime minister agree with the current Deputy Prime Minister? Does he feel that what is happening in Canada right now really does not make sense?
    Mr. Speaker, I have enormous respect for my colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent; he is an honourable man.
    If he wants to convince his colleagues to do one thing for Canadians before Christmas, he must convince them to vote for Bill C-56. This is a bill that will help with affordability, reform the Competition Act after 36 years and allow us to stabilize prices in Canada.
    I know my colleague is a man of influence. Will he be strong enough to influence his colleagues to do one thing for Canadians before Christmas?

  (1430)  

Health

    Mr. Speaker, in its economic statement, the federal government seeks to encroach upon Quebec's jurisdiction over labour.
    It wants to force interprovincial mobility on workers, especially health care workers. Otherwise, it is cutting health care funding. It forgot one thing, though: Things are done in French in Quebec.
    For us, the plan means that bilingual workers from Quebec will be able to work elsewhere in Canada, but the workers who come to Quebec from unilingual anglophone provinces will be unilingual English doctors. In Quebec, things are done in French. This cannot work.
    Instead of undermining quality of care in Quebec, could the federal government just mind its own business?
    Mr. Speaker, I have a great deal of respect for my Bloc Québécois colleague, but he is completely wrong on this.
    We transfer more than $700 million a year for immigration to Quebec. Most of that money is used to teach French to those arriving in Quebec. That includes anglophones who want to learn French.
    We are there for labour mobility. We are there to train people in the language of their choice. We are there in partnership with Quebec every day.
    Mr. Speaker, it is right there in black and white: The government is threatening to cut health transfers if we refuse to swap our francophone workers for unilingual English doctors. Quebec does not need unilingual English doctors. We need doctors who can speak French and provide care in French. We need doctors that Quebeckers can explain their health problems to in their own language.
    If the federal government wants to be useful, all it has to do is increase health transfers, and we will hire doctors.
    Will the government stop taking Quebeckers' money and blackmailing them?
    Enough is enough.
    Mr. Speaker, how very like the Bloc Québécois. It says that Ontarians should stay in Ontario, British Columbians should stay in British Columbia, and Quebeckers should stay in Quebec and talk only to each other.
    We can work together. We can exchange workers. We can exchange doctors and collaborate. The Bloc Québécois always wants it to be one against the other. It does not have to be like that. Canada is much stronger than the sum of its provinces. We can work together.
    The Bloc Québécois does not like that, but that is the truth.

Grocery Industry

    Mr. Speaker, a few weeks ago, the Minister of Industry was begging grocery store owners to lower their prices. First he asked them to be nice and then he loudly declared victory. He said to check the flyers because there were specials on.
    In an interview with TVA, Metro's CEO said, “We didn't change our prices.... Nothing has changed since the meeting”. It is unbelievable. The only price that has dropped is the price of turkey, and that is because of Thanksgiving.
    Who is the real turkey here? Is it the consumer, for paying too much, or is it the Minister of Industry?
    Mr. Speaker, I am not going to resort to rhetoric like my colleague. One thing is clear, however: I will always stand up for the millions of Canadians out there. That is exactly what I did.
    For the first time in history, a minister called industry giants to a meeting, told them that 40 million Canadians were outraged and asked them to help us stabilize prices.
    If my colleague wants to do something for Canadians between now and Christmas, if he wants to give them a Christmas gift, he should convince his colleagues to vote for Bill C‑56. We are going to reform competition and stabilize prices in Canada, and we are going to keep fighting for Canadians.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I almost feel a little sorry for the minister. He made such a big deal out of his meeting with the grocery CEOs, and now Metro has admitted that it had zero impact on food prices. Any Canadian who has been watching food prices soar could have told the Liberal government that. Instead of standing up to CEOs, the minister has danced around price gouging for two years. The Liberal plan is not working.
    With the holidays coming, prices are only going to get worse, so will the government support the NDP's bill to lower food prices and end the gouging?
    Mr. Speaker, I find it shocking that the hon. member would not stand with the government when we are standing up for Canadians. I remember an NDP that would stand for consumers, stand for Canadians and stand for our country.
    I enjoy the member. Instead of criticizing, he should join us and fight for Canadians and express the outrage of millions of Canadians. That is what we did. That is what we will continue to do.
    Mr. Larry Brock: Oh, oh!
    Hon. François-Philippe Champagne: Mr. Speaker, I hope he is going to vote for Bill C-56 to make sure we have more competition in this country.

  (1435)  

    Before I proceed to the member for Calgary Forest Lawn, I want to ask the member for Brantford—Brant to please only use his voice when it is his time to.
    The hon. member for Calgary Forest Lawn has the floor.

Finance

    Mr. Speaker, this week's Liberal-NDP inflation-fuelling false hopes update is not worth the cost. Prices are up, rents are up, debt is up and taxes are up, and after eight years, time is up for the Prime Minister. The $20 billion of new inflationary spending is ballooning the debt. Next year, the Prime Minister will spend more tax dollars on the interest to his debt than on health transfers.
    Why is the Prime Minister giving more money to bankers and bondholders while Canadians go broke and hungry?
    Mr. Speaker, the member opposite's question gives me an opportunity to let him know what is up. What is up in this country is home construction. Our fall economic statement has indicated that we are building more homes from coast to coast to coast, right across this great country, because that is what Canadians need right now. It also contains important measures that will strengthen competition in this country and help stabilize prices. What is down is inflation in Canada.

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, she wants to talk about housing. The only thing they did for housing was change the name of the housing department. Canadians want results; they do not want more photo ops. Rents are up and mortgages are up. The needed down payment for a house has doubled. After eight years, the Liberal-NDP government is not worth the cost.
    When will they stop the photo ops and build more homes, not more bureaucracy?
    Mr. Speaker, it is fascinating and clear that the hon. member has not read the document. He seems to have missed $15 billion in low-cost loans, which is going to get Canada building. He missed a $1-billion investment to keep affordable housing going. He missed the fact that we are cracking down on short-term rentals to release tens of thousands of homes to increase supply.
    When I look at their plan, they want to raise taxes on home builders by putting the GST back on, they want to cut funding for cities that build homes with the housing accelerator fund and they want to add layers of bureaucracy to do it. We are going to do what it takes to get more homes built. I invite the Conservatives to join us.

Finance

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years of the Liberal government, everything is up. Mortgages are up, rent payments are up, inflation is up, groceries are up and taxes are up, yet the Bank of Canada has asked for help keeping inflation down. It has asked for governments to limit their spending growth to 2.5% each year, except guess what the government just announced: An increase in growth of spending of over 5% for next year.
    Is the minister trying to make misery go up for Canadians too?
    Mr. Speaker, I can hardly believe that the Conservatives are talking about taxes. We reduced taxes for middle-class Canadians on two occasions, and the entire Conservative caucus, every single Conservative member, voted against lowering taxes for the Canadians who needed it most.
    The fall economic statement we put forward this week shows the strong fundamentals of our fiscal frame. We have the lowest deficit among all G7 countries and we will have the highest growth in 2024 among all G7 countries. We are proud of our record. We are continuing to be there for Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, the government's record is inflationary deficits driving up the cost of living. In fact, one year ago, the finance minister stood in the House and presented a plan that would balance the budget in 2027. When asked whether that was by mistake or by design, the minister took great boastfulness in saying that it was deliberate and by design. Except now we learn that the budget will be balanced in the year never.
    Does the government actually have a plan to ever balance the budget and bring down inflationary deficits so Canadians can keep their homes?
    Mr. Speaker, what is up is our ranking in the world. What is up are the number of jobs that we have created in the country. What is up is the prosperity in the country.
     We rank third in the world now for foreign direct investment. We have seen landmark investments in the auto sector, in the mining sector, in biomanufacturing, in steel and in aluminum.
    Canada is winning on the world stage, while the Conservatives want to bring us back to the Stone Age.

  (1440)  

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years of the Liberal government, we know that prices are up, rent is up, mortgage rates, taxes are up, and we know Canadians are fed up with the current government.
     Just this week, the government chose to spend an additional $20 billion, which go toward our overall national debt load. This means that now just the interest will cost Canadians $51 billion per year. That is enough to build 25 new hospitals and hire a whole host of new doctors. Imagine the difference that would make for Canadians.
    Why is the Prime Minister choosing to support wealthy bankers instead of the health care needs of Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, when we unveiled our plan to build more homes across the country faster, the Conservative leader called that disgusting. When the Conservatives talk about the spending that they would cut, they are talking about removing supports that Canadians need. They are talking about taking away the benefits that Canadians rely on, benefits for seniors, for families and for people who need them most.
    The plan of austerity that the Conservatives are proposing is not worth the risk.
    Mr. Speaker, the member did not respond to my question, so perhaps she did not understand it. I will ask it again.
    There are $51 billion spent every single year just on interest toward our national debt. That is enough to build more than 25 brand new hospitals and hire a whole host of new doctors. It is twice as much as what the government is willing to spend on our national defence.
     Are the men and women who wear a uniform and protect our front line not worth more than the out-of-control spending spree that the government selfishly takes upon itself?
    Here is the inconvenient truth, Mr. Speaker. In order for the party opposite to do what it is talking about, it would have to cut massively into every aspect of the federal government.
    The member talked about health care. We are making historic investments right now to ensure that the health care system is public and there for Canadians. When we heard about common-sense Conservatives in Ontario, we saw a direct attack against public health care.
     Will those members cut dental care? Will they cut the transfers? Will they cut the critical supports that are there in health care and promotion? Exactly what kinds of cuts are they going to do?

[Translation]

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, asylum seekers are the responsibility of the federal government. That is why Quebec wants to be reimbursed for the services we provide, including housing and social services.
    The federal government refuses to reimburse Quebec. The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship said, and I quote, “I don't have $400 million just lying around”.
    First of all, it is not $400 million; it is $460 million. Second, when the time came to help asylum seekers, Quebec managed to come up with the $460 million, so the minister will just have to come up with it, as well.
    Will he reimburse Quebec?
    Mr. Speaker, a relationship is a two-way street. Yes, we received the letter, but responsibility for asylum seekers is shared with Quebec. It is shared with all the provinces and territories.
    I could also send a bill for $450 million to Quebec. We have sent Quebec $600 million. There is also a $700-million fund under the Quebec-Canada accord that grows every year. Whatever Quebec's immigration levels are, Quebec must assume its responsibility. We are prepared to sit down and discuss this with our respective finance ministers.
    Mr. Speaker, if we look at the Constitution, we see that asylum seekers fall under federal jurisdiction. The federal government not only is not providing the services, but it is refusing to pay.
    It is always the same thing with the Liberals when it comes to immigration and refugees. They say that they defend asylum seekers, but only when it comes time to make fine speeches. When it is time to truly welcome these people, the Liberals are not there. There is no service or reimbursement.
    Quebec provides asylum seekers the services they need. Now, will the federal government do the one job that it is paid to do and reimburse Quebec?
    Mr. Speaker, a lesson on the Constitution from the Bloc Québécois, I will leave it at that. What I can say is that, last year, we gave $700 million to Quebec under the Canada-Quebec accord. We gave it more this year. We even gave it too much without asking for any of it back.
    All I am saying is let us have a reasonable discussion with our respective finance ministers. Let us sit down and lay our cards on the table and have a mature discussion.

  (1445)  

    Mr. Speaker, I can tell him about discussions. The Quebec minister for Canadian relations said, and I quote:
    The current policy of the federal government is: “We decide. You pay.” Ottawa prides itself on being the most generous country, one that welcomes all those who are suffering, but Quebeckers are the ones who have to pay. It makes no sense. This is definitely not a responsible policy.
    That is what the Quebec minister for Canadian relations said. Quebec is welcoming and generous to asylum seekers. All it is asking for is the resources to continue to be that way.
    When will the government reimburse Quebec?
    Mr. Speaker, I will give the same answer to the same question. Let us not forget that, in addition to the lump sum social transfer that is sent to all of the provinces, we are sending more and more money to Quebec every year under the Canada-Quebec accord, regardless of the levels in Quebec.
    Quebec has a role to play in welcoming asylum seekers and all immigrants. We are prepared to sit down with Quebec to have a mature discussion between two responsible governments.

[English]

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years of the Prime Minister, life has never been so unaffordable. While Canadians struggle, he is quadrupling his carbon tax, which will raise the price of everything. He is just not worth the cost.
    The Liberal-NDP government can pass Conservative Bill C-234, create another carbon tax carve-out for farmers and make food cheaper. The Prime Minister's environment minister has threatened to resign if it passes.
     Will the Prime Minister accept his resignation and pass C-234 so Canadians can put food on their tables?
    Mr. Speaker, in the House, Conservatives had a choice. They had a choice to vote in favour of the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement. Instead, they are the only party in the House that did not do that. In fact, they have made the issue of the environment a red herring.
     Even Ukraine today clarified that there is no price on pollution in this free trade agreement. The Conservatives are misleading Canadians. On this side of the House, we are standing and supporting Ukraine. We will continue to do that. The Conservatives cannot say the same.
    Mr. Speaker, after eight years of their failed carbon tax, food bank lineups are longer than they have ever been and Canadians are going hungry. Now they want to impose this Liberal carbon tax on Ukraine. The Prime Minister is not worth the cost.
     Conservative Bill C-234 would deliver lower food prices for Canadians by removing the carbon tax on our farmers. Ministers are panicking and begging senators to block it.
     Will the Prime Minister tell his ministers to back off, put Canadians first and let his appointed senators pass Bill C-234 so Canadian families can feed themselves?
    Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate because I do not think the member opposite was listening to the previous response. In fact, today, Ukraine said that there is no price on pollution in the agreement. Therefore, it continues to be an absolute red herring and mistruth from the members opposite as to why they are not supporting the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement.
     It is another demonstration of how irresponsible, how reckless and how risky it would be for the Conservatives to be in power, because they simply cannot share the true reasoning behind their decisions with Canadians. They just cannot be trusted.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years, this Prime Minister still does not understand that he can quickly cut food prices. The Conservatives, on the other hand, get it.
    We introduced a common-sense bill, namely Bill C‑234, which would exempt farmers from the carbon tax. However, the costly Bloc-Liberal coalition wants to drastically increase the carbon tax. It is costly to vote for the Bloc Québécois.
    Liberal ministers, meanwhile, are upset and begging senators to delay the bill's passage in the Senate. When will the Prime Minister tell his senators to pass Bill C‑234 so farmers can feed our people?
    Mr. Speaker, do you know what is contributing to higher food prices? Climate change, droughts and floods. The Conservatives would not dare mention climate change, and they would not even be able to spell those words if they had to. They want to set us back on climate change, which would have a direct impact on food prices.
    We will not listen to them, and we will not go back to the Stone Age.

  (1450)  

[English]

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians from coast to coast need affordable homes today. People are living in tent encampments, being evicted from their homes or trapped paying sky-high rents.
    The Liberals continue to delay and disappoint. In their fall economic statement, by delaying funding until 2025 means that affordable homes will not be built for at least another seven years. This is absurd and completely out of touch.
    Will the Prime Minister commit to roll out the money now so that shovels can get into the ground to build the homes that Canadians desperately need?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for her concern and her continued support for people in need of housing urgently.
    I am pleased to share with her that there are existing programs that have money that continue to support the construction of new homes both in the market and for affordable housing for low-income families. What we have done in the fall economic statement is demonstrate our long-term commitment so that people who are making decisions to go ahead with projects will apply for their building permits now and will get their designs done now.
     I am pleased to share that the Co-operative Housing Federation indicated that the statement “shows action from the federal government to support more non-market and affordable housing.” It was pleased with the new investments, including $1 billion in affordable housing for co-op, non-profit and social housing.

Indigenous Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, Parliament unanimously supported my motion recognizing missing and murdered indigenous women and girls and two-spirit people as a Canada-wide emergency. However, how many times is MMIWG mentioned in the Liberals' fall economic statement? Zero. Earlier this year, the government slashed $150 million from women's shelters.
    Major municipalities have called gender-based violence an epidemic. Therefore, can the government explain why it is ignoring MMIWG and slashing money from women's shelters?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her ongoing advocacy on this issue.
    Addressing the ongoing violence against indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQI+ people is a whole-of-government approach that requires living up to our moral obligations as a country and the calls for justice. That is why in budget 2023 we have invested $125 million to implement the national action plan for MMIWG to ensure accountability by establishing an oversight mechanism and support the National Family and Survivors Circle.
    We will continue to work with families to ensure we address the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls.

International Trade

    Mr. Speaker, it is clear that the Conservative Party, under its leader, does not support Ukraine. He has not advocated for more military, financial or humanitarian support for Ukraine. He has not called out the vicious acts of genocide. This week, that leader and every MP in his caucus voted against the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement.
    The Conservatives are trying to blame their decision on a mention of carbon—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order, please. The hon. member has about 12 seconds left on the clock. I am hoping he can get to the issue of business of the government.
    Mr. Speaker, Conservative members are trying to blame their vote against the agreement on language about carbon pricing, which is a red herring, because Ukraine has had carbon pricing since 2011 and it needs it to get into the EU.
    Could the Minister of International Trade share with Canadians why this agreement is so important to Canada—
    Once again, members know that the speakership issued a ruling in terms of having questions that are relevant either to the business of the government or to business of committees that can be posed to committee chairs or to members of the Board of Internal Economy.
    The hon. member for South Shore—St. Margarets.

Automotive Industry

    Mr. Speaker, the NDP-Liberals are desperately trying to claim that they had no choice but to allow 1,600, taxpayer-funded foreign replacement workers come to Canada to work at the new battery plant in Windsor. The $15-billion taxpayer subsidy means that each family in Canada is paying $1,000 to subsidize these foreign replacement workers. After eight years, the Prime Minister is not worth the cost.
    Will the Prime Minister release the contract to prove taxpayer-funded foreign replacement workers are banned?

  (1455)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am grateful for the question by the hon. member for Etobicoke Centre. I thank him for his advocacy. I was proud to join with him to vote in favour of the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement. President Zelenskyy wanted this agreement. This is an important agreement—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order. The question was posed by the member for South Shore—St. Margarets. I am certain the hon. minister is going to respond to the question at hand.
    The hon. minister.
    Mr. Speaker, I am proud, on this side of the House, that we voted in favour of the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement. Canadian businesses have asked for it. They want to be a part of rebuilding Ukraine. On this side of the House, we are supporting Ukraine. I am disappointed—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order. It is impossible, as members raise their voices directly into the Speaker's ear, to hear the response to judge whether it is related to the question.
    I am going to ask the hon. minister to answer. I am going to ask hon. members to listen closely to the answer to the question that was posed by the member for South Shore—St. Margarets.
    The hon. minister.
    Mr. Speaker, on this side of the House, we are supporting Ukraine. Canadian businesses have asked for this agreement because they want to be a part of rebuilding Ukraine. I am disappointed, but I am not surprised, that the Conservatives have decided to abandon Ukraine. When someone shows who they are—
    The hon. member for South Shore—St. Margarets for his second question.
    Mr. Speaker, they did not answer my first question. Apparently, the Liberals are afraid of the fact that they have decided to bring in foreign replacement workers to Stellantis, while the ministers are ignoring it.
    Why are they ignoring it? It is because, on the government's own website, they are advertising for Stellantis jobs that say someone does not need to be a Canadian citizen and they do not even need a work permit. The ambassador for South Korea informed everyone in Windsor that 1,600 replacement workers from South Korea are coming.
    I will ask again, since the Prime Minister is not worth the cost. If the Prime Minister and the government dispute those facts, will they release the contract and prove us wrong?
    An hon. member: Oh, oh!
    Mr. Speaker, it is obvious for Canadians watching at home how much the Conservatives do not want to talk about Ukraine. One thing I can say is that it is amazing to see to what extent the Conservatives will go to spread misinformation. Do members know what? Sometimes they get caught.
     I will quote Brendan Sweeney of the Trillium Network for Advanced Manufacturing: “I think those making the noise are hypocritical”. He also says, “What they’re saying is erroneous and factually incorrect. They don’t have the faintest knowledge of the industry”.
    We will keep on fighting for Windsor, we will keep on fighting for the auto sector and we will keep on fighting for workers.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, this Liberal government awarded a contract worth $15 billion in taxpayer money to finance a battery plant in Windsor. There is just one problem: The plant will be staffed by 1,600 temporary foreign workers, not by Canadian workers.
    Quebeckers are wondering whether local jobs will be protected at the Northvolt plant in Quebec, which taxpayers funded to the tune of $5 billion. Did the Prime Minister ensure that jobs would go to Quebeckers, or does he plan to bring in even more taxpayer-funded foreign replacement workers?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for giving me another opportunity to point out that Canada now ranks third in the world when it comes to attracting foreign investment. Not only are we securing record investments in the automotive industry, we also have investments in mining, biomanufacturing, aluminum and steel.
    One thing should be perfectly clear: We have a plan for prosperity. We have a plan for Canada. We have a plan for growth.

  (1500)  

    Mr. Speaker, if we are spreading misinformation as the Liberals claim, they should explain why the government is posting positions for candidates who are bilingual in English and Korean. My information comes directly from the Windsor police, which the South Korean ambassador visited to prepare for the arrival of 1,600 Korean workers. After eight years of this government, can they finally be transparent and make the contracts public?
    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives have mastered the art of never letting the facts get in the way of their pretty stories.
    As for Stellantis, the Conservatives are trying to undermine the 2,500 jobs that will be filled to operate the plant and the 2,300 jobs that will be created to build the plant. How many labour market impact assessments have been approved for Stellantis? The answer is a single agreement, a single position. Those are the facts.

Oil and Gas Industry

    Mr. Speaker, COP28 begins next Thursday, and Canada is about to show up empty-handed. It is about to show up without a regulatory framework for capping emissions in the oil and gas sector, the biggest culprit when it comes to climate change. We have been waiting two years for this and have heard nothing but empty rhetoric for two years.
    Climate Action Network was on the Hill today. All of the environment minister's old friends, people from Greenpeace and Equiterre, are calling on him to present a costed regulatory framework before going to COP. Obviously, the Bloc Québécois agrees. Will the minister do that?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague for her question and reassure her. Indeed, my former colleagues, who are still my friends, from the environmental community were on the Hill. I speak with them regularly.
    Over the past few years, we have taken a number of steps to tackle pollution from the oil and gas sector, such as pollution pricing and methane emissions regulations. Furthermore, as the Prime Minister pledged to do in New York a few months ago, we will present a framework for capping greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas sector by the end of the year.
    Mr. Speaker, this morning, the International Energy Agency issued its report on emissions in the oil and gas sector. If we want to meet the Paris targets then emissions in the fossil fuel sector need to be reduced by 60% by 2030. That is tomorrow.
    They need to be reduced by 60% and Canada does not even have a plan to simply cap them. Canada, the fifth-largest oil producer in the world, will be one of the biggest culprits if the world misses these targets. Before heading off to COP28, will the minister present a regulatory framework to at least cap emissions from oil companies?
    Mr. Speaker, in addition to everything I said earlier, I would like to remind my hon. colleague that we have a plan to fight climate change that has been praised by Equiterre, Greenpeace, Environmental Defence and the David Suzuki Foundation, and we are the only country in the G20 that has ended fossil fuel subsidies, two years ahead of schedule no less. We are the only country in the G20 that is committed to ending its public support of fossil fuels. As I said, we are going to present our framework for capping greenhouse gas emissions in the oil and gas sector by the end of the year.

[English]

Public Services and Procurement

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the NDP-Liberal cover-up coalition blocked a Conservative motion to have a whistle-blower testify at the ethics committee. After eight years under the Prime Minister, it is hard not to feel disappointed in the government when every day there is a new scandal. It is easy to see that the Prime Minister is not worth the price.
    The latest scandal is the billion-dollar green slush fund. Facing an Auditor General investigation and an Ethics Commissioner investigation, the CEO and the Liberal hand-picked board chair resigned in disgrace. Now they are blocking a whistle-blower from testifying. What are they trying to hide?
    Mr. Speaker, in fact, nothing, because we are the ones who want to get to the bottom of this. That is the reality.
    Let me bring some facts to this story. The fact is that, the moment there was an allegation, I called for an investigation. I called for an independent report. I demanded from management a plan to restore good governance. The CEO has resigned. I have accepted the resignation of the chair.
     We are going to get to the bottom of this, restore governance and make sure that we can support Canadian businesses.

  (1505)  

    Mr. Speaker, the minister is a bystander in this billion-dollar slush fund scandal.
    Let us lay out the facts: He did absolutely nothing. Conservatives called for an investigation at committee. We wrote a letter to the Auditor General; she started an investigation. We wrote a letter to the Ethics Commissioner; he launched an investigation. We had the CEO and the board chair come to committee; they both resigned in disgrace following their appearances at committee. Now, we want a whistle-blower to come before committee, and what are they doing? Silencing whistle-blowers as a part of the cover-up coalition with the NDP.
    What are they trying to hide?
    Mr. Speaker, unlike my colleague, who is behind the game, I am the one who started the investigation. Once we had the allegations, that is what we did. The record speaks for itself, but I know that my Conservative friends want nothing to do with the facts. They like to have their story, but they are not entitled to their own facts.
    We are going to get to the bottom of this. We are going to restore governance, and we are going to keep helping Canadian SMEs.
    Mr. Speaker, while Conservatives are working overtime to expose Liberal corruption, Liberal and NDP backbenchers, and even a former minister, are doing everything they can at committee to cover up scandals, silence whistle-blowers and shut down investigations.
    Can the Prime Minister tell us whether the coalition deal he signed behind closed doors, with the socialist NDP, includes requiring the NDP member for Hamilton Centre to vote to cover up the corruption we are seeing with the Prime Minister's billion-dollar green slush fund?
    Mr. Speaker, what we are seeing is a pattern of very concerning behaviour and desperate behaviour from the Conservative Party of Canada.
     Conservatives are hiding from Canadians why they are really not supporting the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement. In fact, Ukraine came out and said there is no price on pollution. They are also hiding why the Leader of the Opposition will not tell the truth as to why he jumped to conclusions yesterday when we learned about what happened in Niagara Falls. Now, what we are hearing from them is false allegations. They know that committees are independent.
    What are they trying to hide?

[Translation]

International Trade

    Mr. Speaker, my question has to do with Bill C‑57. Russia's invasion of Ukraine has cost thousands of people their lives, and it continues to jeopardize the stability of the entire region and the world.
    Unfortunately, this week, the leader of the official opposition and the Conservative members voted against the free trade agreement between Canada and Ukraine. We are talking about an agreement that the President of Ukraine clearly indicated would serve as a basis for rebuilding Ukraine. The Conservatives have turned their backs on Ukraine and democracy; they have embraced Russian propaganda.
    I would ask the Minister of Finance to reaffirm Canada's strong support for Ukraine.
    Mr. Speaker, Ukrainians are currently fighting for their freedom and ours on the battlefields of Ukraine. We have all seen them. I saw them in Ukraine. They were strong, courageous and ready to make the ultimate sacrifice. They approached us and asked us to negotiate a free trade agreement. We are the first G7 country to sign such an agreement with them. Voting against that free trade agreement, as the Conservatives did, means failing Ukrainians and supporting Russia.

[English]

Public Services and Procurement

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years, the Prime Minister has done nothing but recklessly spend. Not only was $54 million rushed into the poorly functioning arrive scam app, but 11 million taxpayer dollars were given to a so-called consulting company, employing two people working out of their basement, who were doing absolutely no work. Talk about hitting the taxpayer lottery. It is beyond clear that the NDP-Liberal government is simply not worth the cost.
    The question is simple: Which minister was responsible for this costly hiring?

  (1510)  

    Mr. Speaker, I do not want to disappoint my colleague across the aisle, but no minister was responsible for those contracting practices. Those contracting practices were done by public servants.
    We have said if committees want to look into these issues, we welcome that examination. When the Canada Border Services Agency uncovered irregularities, it called for an independent audit and referred the files to the appropriate authorities. That is what a responsible government does in spite of some of the silly questions from the other side.
    Mr. Speaker, Canadians want these questions asked of the ethically and morally challenged government. Public officials were caught lying and insiders who became millionaires through the arrive scam app were caught lying. It is time for honesty and clarity in this House. For weeks, we have heard the same talking points from the minister and no action. No one has been charged and no one has been fired.
    Once again, will the minister responsible for this fiasco that the RCMP is investigating please stand up?
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. friend knows very well that when any irregularity with respect to contracting practices comes to light, the responsible thing for senior public servants who administer these rules to do is to refer it to the appropriate authorities and to establish the facts from external audits. That is exactly what the Canada Border Services Agency did. If committees want to look into this matter, we welcome that exercise as well.
    My hon. friend should know very well that it is not elected ministers who decide who faces criminal charges. It is the police and prosecutors, and I have every confidence they will do their job.

Health

    Mr. Speaker, a couple of years ago, this House unanimously passed my private member's bill that allowed for the annual tax form to be used to ask a simple question on organ and tissue donation. Both Ontario and Nunavut opted to have this question included in their tax forms last year, and I am hoping that other provinces will participate in the future.
    Can the minister tell us how many taxpayers in Ontario and Nunavut indicated through their tax returns their intent to become life-saving organ and tissue donors?
    Mr. Speaker, the member for Calgary Confederation has worked hard to help Canadians waiting for transplants. I was happy, along with members from all parties, to support his bill. It shows we can do great things when we work together.
    The impact of this change is significant, and I am pleased to say it has been very successful already. The most recent numbers we have indicate that 2.45 million people used their tax returns to indicate they want to be donors. This is very promising.

International Trade

    Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of International Trade and is regarding the important Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement and Conservatives' concerns of our government's unequivocal support for Ukraine. They were right about one thing, that support for Ukraine on this side of the House is unequivocal. Clearly, the same cannot be said for the Conservative Party of Canada as the Conservatives made the shameful decision to appease their far-right, anti-Ukraine extreme base.
    Can the minister tell us what the Ukrainians, our friends, have said about this agreement?
    Mr. Speaker, President Zelenskyy himself asked for Canada to negotiate a progressive, strong, excellent free trade agreement. We have modernized it, and we have done that. The only party in this House that voted against Ukraine is the Conservative Party of Canada.
    On this side of the House, we stand with Ukraine in what we say, in what we do and certainly in how we vote. This side has voted for Ukraine.

  (1515)  

Indigenous Affairs

     Mr. Speaker, we now have an accurate picture of the infrastructure gap facing first nations, and the numbers are truly vile: $350 billion.
    This is first nations like Shamattawa facing a housing crisis. It is the long-term boil water advisory in Pukatawagan and 27 other first nations. It is crumbling schools, like the one in Tataskweyak Cree Nation. It is the forced isolation of communities, like Wasagamack and Pauingassi, that desperately need an airport.
    It is unacceptable, but what is the government's solution? It is cuts to Indigenous Services. Why are the Liberals punishing first nations for Liberal failures?
    Mr. Speaker, I really appreciate my hon. colleague's passion in this matter.
     I am proud to be part of a government that has done more than any other to close the infrastructure gap. We are investing in and working with first nations, Métis and Inuit to build healthy, resilient and prosperous communities for the long term. That is why we are supporting over 9,000 infrastructure projects, including indigenous-led Watay Power, which is connecting 17 diesel-dependent first nations communities to the Ontario power grid.
    We are going to continue following indigenous leadership to address the infrastructure priorities from coast to coast to coast. We know there is more work that needs to be done. We are committed to building this work with first nations, Inuit and Métis partners.

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, while a four-day pause is delayed by a day, Israel has only intensified its bombing of the Gaza Strip. For six weeks now, the government has been unequivocal in demanding hostages be returned, as the government should be, and yet the government cannot even seem to bring itself to say the word “ceasefire”.
    An estimated 5,500 children have now died in the Gaza Strip alone in recent weeks. Therefore, I ask again: How many children need to die before the government calls for a ceasefire?
    Mr. Speaker, of course, we condemn the October 7 terrorist attack by Hamas. We are extremely preoccupied with what is happening in Gaza. I have said it many times. It is one of the worst places, if not the worst place, to live in the world, and too many women and children have died. That is why we welcome the humanitarian pause that will be happening, starting tomorrow, that has been agreed to between Israel and Hamas and brokered by Qatar.
    We will continue to support the fact that Canadians need to get out of Gaza. Civilians must be protected. Humanitarian aid must go. Hostages need to be released.

Presence in Gallery

    I would like draw to members' attention the presence in the gallery of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada 2023 Impact Awards winners.
    Some hon. members: Hear, hear!

Points of Order

Oral Questions 

[Points of Order]
    I see a number of points of order on the floor.
    I will recognize the hon. member for Edmonton Strathcona.
    Mr. Speaker, today during question period, the member for Miramichi—Grand Lake used extraordinarily unparliamentary language. It was slanderous. I bring this to your attention, because it is not the first time the member has spoken in that manner. The member used hateful language throughout question period multiple times this week.
    Today, he said a very slanderous thing, which I can say with all certainty is a slander because it was directed at me. The idea that the New Democratic Party and I would not condemn in the strongest possible terms the terrorist attack by Hamas is absolutely slanderous. The fact that we have called for a ceasefire and the Conservatives refused to call for that is something very—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I see the member for St. Catharines rising on the same point of order. I would ask the member to be very brief and to the point.
    The hon. member.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to confirm that I did hear that from the member for Miramichi—Grand Lake. When questioned on it by a member on that side, he said he was here for the facts.
    I think in this place we can be parliamentary. However, accusing another member of supporting a terrorist organization in this country is way out of line, and I hope, Mr. Speaker, that you will look into this.

  (1520)  

    I thank the hon. member for St. Catharines for his comments.
    I see that the member for Miramichi—Grand Lake would like to get up. I do hope the member will be brief and succinct.
    The hon. member for Miramichi—Grand Lake.
    Mr. Speaker, can I ask what the exact thing is that I am being accused of? It is unclear to me. I need to know the exact words, and then I will talk.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I will ask members for their patience for a second.
    Colleagues, I am not inclined to repeat unparliamentary language in this House. I will review the tapes.
     If the hon. member for Miramichi—Grand Lake would like to get up, I would be happy to recognize him.
    The hon. member for Miramichi—Grand Lake.
    Mr. Speaker, I will gladly rise. I still have not been told completely what—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order. I ask all members to please allow the hon. member for Miramichi—Grand Lake to respond.
    The hon. member for Miramichi—Grand Lake.
    Mr. Speaker, number one, I directed nothing at the member who is over here in the corner. My exact words, and I know the NDP is not going to like it, are I said that they were Hamas supporters, and they are.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Colleagues, we are not doing ourselves any favours as members of Parliament in terms of the use of unparliamentary language. Especially if it is directed to an individual, it is clearly unparliamentary. To make statements which create disorder in the House is also unparliamentary.
    The Speaker is going to review the tapes and return to the House on this matter.
    On another point of order, I recognize the member of Parliament for Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes.
    Mr. Speaker, during question period, while the member for South Shore—St. Margarets was asking a question, the Minister of International Development called him a liar. Sitting so close to the good folks from Hansard, I can tell that they captured it in Hansard.
    There is an opportunity for the minister to apologize to an hon. member of the House for calling someone a liar. It is, of course, unparliamentary. It is, of course, unbecoming of a member of the King's Privy Council, a member of the government. He should not be recognized until he apologizes to the hon. member for South Shore—St. Margarets.
    The hon. minister is rising.
    Mr. Speaker, I apologize and I withdraw the remark.

  (1525)  

    I would like to thank the hon. minister for doing the appropriate thing.
    The hon. member for New Westminster—Burnaby is rising on a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, the minister has done the right thing.
    I would like to come back to your commitment to review the tapes with respect to the member for Miramichi—Grand Lake. What he said was clearly unparliamentary. You have called upon him to apologize. I believe that if he has not apologized, he should not be recognized in the House.
    I have already made my intentions clear about that, and I will come back to members.
    The hon. member for Yorkton—Melville is rising on a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, my understanding is that we cannot say indirectly in the House what we cannot say directly. I am of Canadian Ukrainian heritage. My grandfather came here just before the Holodomor, and every statement today that was said against me on that side of the House, in regard to my decision on my vote, is—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order.
    I thank the hon. member for Yorkton—Melville. I am afraid that this is moving into a matter of debate.
    The hon. member for Kelowna—Lake Country is rising on a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, during question period, I heard the member of Parliament for Cambridge yell across the way, “Let's take it outside.”
    This is physically threatening and unparliamentary, and he should apologize.
    I thank the hon. member for Kelowna—Lake Country. It is not considered unparliamentary language, but I will review Hansard to see what I can detect from that.

[Translation]

    We have now come to my favourite question of the week, the Thursday question.
    The hon. member for Mégantic—L'Érable.

Business of the House

[Business of the House]
    Mr. Speaker, today is dark day. Although I have made several attempts to have Bill C-56 debated in the House, considering that it has not been on the agenda since October 5, we are currently witnessing a government manoeuvre to muzzle the House and limit debate on this bill.
    Given that we will be sitting until midnight tonight and voting on Bill C-56, can the government House leader tell us what is in store for us tomorrow and next week in terms of business?
    Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his question. As the Chair said, it is the most anticipated question of the week.
    We are of course expecting unanimity on Bill C-56 tonight. Perhaps we can count on Conservative votes to help Canadians at this time. That is our hope.

[English]

    This afternoon, we will continue with debate on the government business motion relating to Bill C-56, the affordable housing and groceries act. Tomorrow, we will resume second reading debate of Bill C-58, relating to replacement workers. We will return to Bill C-58 debate on Monday. Tuesday will be an opposition day. On Wednesday, we will call second reading of Bill S-9, concerning chemical weapons.
    I would also like to note that it is the intention of the government to commence debate next week concerning the bill relating to the fall economic statement that was tabled earlier this week by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

  (1530)  

[English]

Government Business No. 30—Proceedings on Bill C-56

    The House resumed consideration of the motion, and of the amendment.
    Madam Speaker, I rise to speak to Bill C-56, the Liberals' so-called affordable housing and groceries bill. I say “so-called” because nothing in the bill would make housing affordable or reduce grocery prices.
    After eight long years of the Liberals, Canadians are facing an unprecedented affordability crisis. Let us look at the facts. After eight years of the Liberals, housing costs have doubled; rent has doubled and mortgage payments have more than doubled, up 150% compared to eight years ago. After eight years of the Liberals, Canadians have seen 40-year-high inflation. Meanwhile, interest rates are rising at the fastest rate in Canadian history and have reached a 22-year high. Interest rates are projected to be hiked even further. When it comes to essentials like groceries, prices have gone up a staggering 70%, resulting in nearly two million Canadians a month going to the food bank. What Canadians are facing after eight years of the Liberals is a dire situation in which Canadians are struggling to put food on the table and to keep a roof over their head.
    This begs the question “Why is it that Canada faces an affordability crisis?” There is one person who bears primary responsibility, and that is the Prime Minister. It is the Prime Minister who has created an affordability crisis as a result of eight years of reckless spending. This is the Prime Minister who, in eight years, has run up the largest deficits and has managed to double the national debt. So reckless and so out of control is the spending on the part of the Prime Minister that he has managed to do the seemingly impossible: rack up more debt in eight years than all of his predecessors over the previous 150 years combined. This is the Prime Minister who thought it was a good idea to pay for his out-of-control reckless spending by printing, through the Bank of Canada, $600 billion. As a result, the money supply has increased eight times faster than economic growth. Is it any wonder that, in the face of that, Canadians have seen 40-year-high inflation and interest rates rising faster than ever before?
    That is the record of the Liberals after eight years. That is what they have to show. They have manufactured a cost of living crisis, and everyday Canadians are hurting. In the face of that, what have the Liberals done and what are they doing to address the issue of affordability, the mess they have created? Earlier this week, Canadians got the answer, and that is based upon the finance minister's presenting the government's fall economic statement. What did we get from the finance minister? We got $20 billion in new deficit spending on top of the more than $100 billion of deficit spending that the finance minister has racked up in the three years that she has held the portfolio. There is $20 billion in new deficit spending that pours fuel on the inflationary fire and is sure to keep interest rates high. There is $20 billion in new deficit spending, notwithstanding the fact that even the Bank of Canada is calling on the Liberals to rein in their spending, and has made clear to the Liberal government that its reckless spending and money printing are contributing to inflation.

  (1535)  

    There is $20 billion in new deficit spending, notwithstanding Scotiabank's issuing a report recently that confirmed that a full 2% of interest rates is directly attributable to the government's inflationary spending. Canadians have been hit, after eight years of the Liberals, with a double whammy: high inflation and high interest rates. They are now also being hit with a third whammy by way of the Liberals' punitive carbon tax. It is a tax that the Liberals falsely sold as a means to reduce GHGs, but we know, after eight years of the Liberals, that GHGs have gone up and not down. I would remind Liberals across the way, who talk so much about climate action, that the COP27 rankings ranked Canada, after eight years of the Liberals, at 58 out of 63 countries.
    However, I digress. The carbon tax is nothing more than another tax, but I qualify that because it is not quite that. It is, after all, a tax that disproportionately impacts lower- and middle-income Canadians. It is a tax that increases the cost of everything, including essentials such as food, fuel and heating. It is a tax that, according to both the Bank of Canada and the Parliamentary Budget Officer, is exacerbating inflation. Despite that and despite the fact that Canadians are facing an affordability crisis, with nearly half of Canadians $200 away from insolvency, the Liberal government's plan is to quadruple its punitive carbon tax for hard-working, everyday Canadians.
    I say to the Liberals across the way that I would be keenly interested to see whether one of them can stand up in their place and explain to Canadians how the policies of the government, namely money printing, massive deficits and the quadrupling of the carbon tax, all of which are exacerbating inflation and increasing interest rates, are a policy prescription that is going to make life more affordable for Canadians. Very simply, those policies are making life less affordable. Canadians are paying a very dear price after eight years of the costly policies of the Liberal Prime Minister.
    After eight long years of the Liberals, costs are up. Rent is up, taxes are up and debt is up. The government's time is up.
    Madam Speaker, the legislation the member is debating is very substantial. I know he wanted to talk a lot about the fall economic statement, but the legislation is good legislation that would support Canadians in many different ways, especially when it comes to the issue of giving more authority and power to the Competition Bureau. It would also provide literally thousands of new homes into the future.
    People are concerned about the reckless behaviour of the Conservative Party today. We listen to some speeches in which the Conservatives seem to be in support of the legislation. In other speeches, they seem to be against the legislation. Look what happened with the Ukraine legislation. At the end of the day, every one of them voted against Ukraine. That is fine; it was their prerogative, and hopefully some of them will make a flip-flop and support the Ukraine-Canada trade deal going forward. I will not hold my breath.
    What is the Conservative Party collectively going to do with the legislation before us? Does it support it or not?

  (1540)  

    Madam Speaker, I am glad the hon. parliamentary secretary referred to changes that are being made to the Competition Act, because the amendments put forward in the bill pertaining to the Competition Act are copied and pasted from the private member's bill introduced by the member for Bay of Quinte. Very simply, it would remove the efficiencies defence with respect to mergers. That could, in the long term, have an impact, an increase in competition in the groceries sector, and therefore have some long-term impact upon prices, but Canadians cannot wait for five years or seven years down the road. They need relief today, and all the government has offered them is the quadrupling of the carbon tax.
    Madam Speaker, it is good to stand in the House today to talk about a very important bill. It is the idea that we are going to get some purpose-built rental housing built. To the member's point, it is not going to be as fast as we need, and that is why we need other measures outside of this bill. However, on this bill, there are people in my community waiting for purpose-built rentals, so I would like to see this go through, but I would like to see more than what is in this bill.
    Can the member share some of the solutions they have? I believe that the Conservatives can support this bill and improve it. Let us see what they have.
    Madam Speaker, with respect to the GST measure on rental housing, that is something the Liberals promised six years ago and are only now acting on it. It was provided for by the bill put forward by the leader of His Majesty's loyal opposition, the building homes not bureaucracy act. That bill is a common-sense piece of legislation aimed at getting gatekeepers out of the way by tying infrastructure dollars to the number of homes actually built.
    The Liberal government has thrown around billions of dollars, yet there were fewer houses built in the past year than were built in 1972 when Canada's population was half of what it is today. The record of the Liberals is to build up bureaucracy and not houses. The plan of the Leader of the Opposition is to get homes built for Canadians.
    Madam Speaker, the member for St. Albert—Edmonton spent a lot of his time talking about the quadrupling of the carbon tax, but absent from the conversation was the quadrupling of the rebates that go with it. I mention this because we all get emails in our inboxes from constituents who have been misled by those kinds of statements. Can the member make clear whether he believes that rebates also go back to Canadians?
    Secondly, can he speak to any concern he might have with the fact that the carbon tax went up 2¢ a litre last year, and the profits of the oil and gas industry went up 18¢ a litre as it gouged Canadians at the pumps. That is what is truly driving affordability. Does he care about that at all?
    Madam Speaker, with respect, the member should get his facts straight. A good place to start would be to review the report of the Parliamentary Budget Officer. It established that more than 60% of Canadians lose out with the carbon tax. In other words, they pay more than they get back from the rebate.
    What needs to happen, and what Canadians are asking for, is that we axe the tax, and that is something Conservatives are going to do to keep—
    Resuming debate, the hon. member for Red Deer—Mountain View.
    Madam Speaker, I will first say that I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge.
    I am honoured to speak to this programming motion, Government Business No. 30, and its amendment today.
    Before I start, I would like to pay tribute to a great constituent by the name of Dot Thompson, the spouse of the late member of Parliament Myron Thompson, whose funeral I attended this past weekend. The two were inseparable and always had the community of Sundre in their hearts. Myron was an unforgettable MP who served on town council, was the high school principal and, through his athletic prowess, taught many youth how to play ball. Sundre was lucky to get him as his New York Yankees professional ball career was put on hold as he played backup to Hall of Famer Yogi Berra.
    I am sure that Myron Thompson would have seen many pieces of legislation over his time with bills like Bill C-56, an act to amend the Excise Tax Act and the Competition Act, as well as motions that would have found their way to the floor of Centre Block for discussion. During his 1993 to 2005 era, there were many “suggestions” that the official opposition had lifted by the Chrétien and Martin Liberals in order to minimize the economic damage that had occurred from the era of stagflation caused by Trudeau, the elder.
    Sadly, that Liberal government chose to drastically cut the transfers of health funding to provinces, which has haunted our provincial health care services for decades. Handcuffing the provinces was an easy fix to change the federal government's bottom line, but downloading the costs onto other levels of government simply took the heat off the feds and pushed it onto the provinces and their local authorities.
    I am well aware of how federal neglect and financial shell games work because I was a hospital board chairman during those dark days. The federal Liberals of the 1990s artfully joined with the Friends of Medicare to back provinces into a corner when they were forced to rationalize services. There is no better example than the daily attacks on former premier Ralph Klein when he was faced with the economic reality of federal cuts to health transfers. The effects of that federal action are still evident, but, thankfully, no government has returned to the era of cuts to health care transfers since the Chrétien era.
    The reason that I give this historical reference is that there are different paths governments can follow when trying to work their way through, or out of, a crisis. They can download the problems onto other levels of government; they can analyze policies of other parties in the House and, as is usually the case, claim them as their own; or they can at least acknowledge that the official opposition takes its responsibilities to Canadians seriously and that by usurping the learned advice, the government is ignoring the views of a large number of Canadians.
    I will get to some of the specifics in the legislation in a minute, but, as many have stated, it is the heavy-handedness of the government and its inability and unwillingness to work with other partners, unless they are willing to rubber-stamp initiatives in exchange for propping up a minority government, that are at issue here.
    What we are seized with today is the government's programming motion, Government Business No. 30. Programming motions have the effect of not only limiting debate in the House, which to many is an affront to democracy in itself, but also dictating instructions to the committee as to how it will deal with this legislation once it gets to committee. Issues related to Government Business No. 30 have to do with the expanded scope that the committee must consider. I will read from Government Business No. 30, which says:
(c) if the bill has been read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Finance,
(i) it be an instruction to the committee, that during its consideration of the bill, it be granted the power to expand its scope to,
(A) increase the maximum fixed penalty amounts for abuse...,
(B) allow the Competition Bureau to conduct market study inquiries...,
(C) revise the legal test for abuse of a dominant position prohibition order to be sufficiently met if the Tribunal finds that a dominant player has engaged in either a practice of anti-competitive acts or conduct....
    If those points were important, perhaps they could have been in the bill in the first place.

  (1545)  

    Also, we will then start with a marathon sitting of two days, after the motion's adoption, to gather witness testimony, with amendments to be submitted within 12 hours at the end of the marathon sitting. Then, at the next meeting, once that time is up, no further debate or amendments will be entertained. Finally, after a few other points, we will have closure after the bill is reported, which will once again be guaranteed.
    The Conservative amendment tries to infuse some credibility by at least ensuring that the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry and the Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities will be ordered to appear as witnesses for no less than two hours each. At least some level of accountability will be salvaged if this amendment is adopted.
    By forcing Motion No. 30 to the committees through the House process, the Liberals avoid the other option, which is to force a programming motion through the committee. They always say that committees are masters of their own fate, which is true, until, as we see with Motion No. 30, it is not. Programming motions are usually enacted when the government knows it has messed things up royally.
    Our responsibility as legislators is manyfold. First, we must thoroughly analyze legislation to minimize potential unintended consequences. As a country that boasts six time zones, the need to have regional voices heard is paramount in order to head off such negative consequences.
    Second, it is important that Canadians get an opportunity to have input as well. Those who live in the real world understand how legislation will, good or bad, affect them.
    Third, and this is so evident presently at our natural resources committee, once federal legislation has been challenged, once the regions take on their responsibilities to protect their citizens through such initiatives and once such legislation has been deemed unconstitutional, the government must stop using the challenged parts of legislation in its development of new legislation. This procedural motion, Motion No. 30, is to be determined through a vote in the House. Since the Liberal government has found various willing dance partners, that has been virtually assured.
    The only time I saw this process sidetracked, ironically, was when the Liberals had a majority government. It became quite evident at the time that the Liberals never really showed up for duty on Monday mornings. The Mulcair NDP managed to create a second reading vote on a prized Liberal bill. It was quite the scramble, but the vote ended in a tie. Because it was at second reading, the Speaker voted with the government so it would live to fight another day, and, oh my, it did fight. It produced a motion that would have stripped the opposition of all tools to do its job of holding the government to account. That motion dictated how things would transpire in the House and would have been one of the most egregious motions ever moved in our Westminster system of government.
    When the vote on that motion was to take place, once again, the members of the NDP were milling around and were in the path of our whip Gord Brown. There is a tradition we see all the time where the whips walk toward the mace, acknowledge each other and then, once their members are settled, take their seats to start the vote. The confusion in the aisle caused one of the most unhinged actions I have seen anywhere. The Prime Minister rushed through the crowd, grabbed our whip by the arm and told him to get the “f” in his place. As he did that, he swung around and hit a female NDP member in the chest, which forced her to leave the chamber. That bizarre action caused a question of privilege that continued for days, whereby the juvenile actions of the PM were constantly on trial by his peers. In order to prevent the continued series of questions of privilege, the government relented and withdrew the egregious motion.
    Now, with voting apps being used, perhaps the Prime Minister can avoid such a conflict in the future. Of course, maybe by now the government is also aware that there is a time-out provision whereby the vote would take place whether the whips walk down the aisle or not. Hopefully this motion can be defeated without the theatrics.

  (1550)  

    Madam Speaker, truly, we cannot make this stuff up. At the end of the day, the Conservatives will whine and cry about wanting to have more debate time, but in reality, what do they do? They behave like a bunch of juveniles.
    At some point, the members will stand up and move, seconded by so and so, that a person be heard, which will cause the bells to ring for half an hour, instead of voting. Sometimes they will adjourn debate in an attempt to prevent debate from taking place. Most common more recently, it is concurrence motion after concurrence motion.
    Why all these games? It is because they do not want to debate legislation. They want to filibuster. They want to prevent. This is the far right wing of the Conservative Party pushing the Conservative Party to be destructive, and the members are very successful.
    We are looking at a very extreme right-wing Conservative Party today. Why is the Conservative Party neglecting the vast majority of Canadians in favour of the far right?

  (1555)  

    Madam Speaker, the member can continue to insult. Nothing in what I said indicates in any way, shape or form that I approve of any of his far right allegations. It is something the Liberals chose to talk about today, as they felt this was one of the good things they could do during question period. We have heard it all day. It is just as ridiculous now as it was earlier in the day. Quite frankly, perhaps the member should consider the role and actions of his Prime Minister, because, believe me, everything I said was accurate.
    Madam Speaker, I want to ask a serious question of the member. I was here in the House when, under the Harper regime, we saw housing prices double over nine years. They doubled again under the Liberals, but the Conservatives were just as bad.
    They have been worse. The Conservative record is far worse when it comes to affordable housing units. Between the two parties, the corporate coalition of Liberals and Conservatives, over a million affordable housing units have been lost over the past 17 years. Some 800,000 of them, or 80%, were lost under the Conservatives' watch.
    Conservatives say that finally the Liberals are interested in housing, so I do not understand why they would block a bill to create more housing units and why they would block it so ferociously, in the same way they blocked dental care and the same way they blocked all of the NDP efforts, including to ensure a doubling of the GST credit to put more food on the table. Every single affordability measure the NDP fights for and succeeds in getting, Conservatives block.
    Has the member spoken to the constituents in his riding who want to see these measures, including dental care?
    Madam Speaker, have I spoken to them? Yes, I absolutely have. As a matter of fact, this morning people from FCM, from my riding, were visiting with me and we were talking about all of these issues. We were talking about homelessness issues. We were talking about affordability in housing. We were talking about all of the different initiatives that have been part of governments for years. I speak to constituents constantly about the issues of affordability. I am not sure exactly where the member was going, but, believe me, that is always uppermost in our minds.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague for his speech. He has identified himself as an MP who is not on the far right like his leader.
    He talked a lot about inflation. In Canada, the drop in inflation over the record high of 8.1% in June 2022 must be good news for him. However, more needs to be done, without filibustering committees, to get bills passed. Having more affordable housing would be good for his riding. We were able to meet the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. He met different people.
    How is the member for Red Deer—Mountain View going to face these organizations that are going to receive the GST rebate and tell them that he is voting against the measure?

  (1600)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, that was one of the discussions I had when a number of members of the FCM were with me this morning, and I know how important it is. Communities have some very good initiatives that they are already incorporating. It is more a case of how we take the good ideas we see from our municipalities and help incorporate them into major ideas that help the provinces and then help the federal government. Believe me, thinking that—
    I have been very generous with the time.
    Resuming debate, the hon. member for Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge.
    Madam Speaker, after eight long years of the Liberal Prime Minister, costs have shot up and millions of Canadians are struggling to make ends meet. Housing costs have doubled, rent has doubled, mortgage rates have doubled, grocery prices are soaring and the lineups for food banks are shocking.
    I received an email from Tyler, who bought a home a couple of years ago. His mortgage has gone up from $1,600 to $4,000 a month. He says he has no other choice but to sell his home and downgrade to make his life livable.
    Candis is from Maple Ridge, and she has seen her payments double also. She can no longer afford new clothes for her children and needs to take them out of sports to try to make ends meet.
    Then there is Shaffy. I met him at Seaspan Shipyards in North Vancouver. He is a welder. He showed me on an app that his mortgage is $7,528 a month. He told me that he is not living in a palace. It is a 40-year-old four-bedroom home in one of Vancouver's suburbs. He is being forced to work 10-hour shifts seven days a week and has no freedom. He said he cannot give his body a rest or he is going to lose his home.
    These are not just stories. These are real lives, and the same thing is happening across Canada.
    The blame rests fully on the members of the Liberal-NDP coalition for their incompetence and ultimately, I would say, their lack of concern for Canadians. They have shown they lack a basic understanding of economics or how to run a country. I will take that back. They are good at running a country into the ground.
    It was not that long ago that our nation was one of the richest in the world, but under the Prime Minister, our rankings have been dropping. Country after country is passing us in GDP and per capita ranking.
    I met a tourist on the way to Vancouver Island about a month or so ago. He has come to Canada numerous times over the past 40 years. He asked me what has happened to Canada. From his perspective, it just seems to be in decline. Unfortunately, he is right. What has happened to Canada is eight years of being run by an incompetent Liberal government that is joined at the hip with the socialist NDP and Bloc.
    Why has everything become so unaffordable? The Liberals went on a crazy spending orgy, doling out hundreds of billions of dollars. The definition of that word is “excessive and indiscriminate indulgence in a specified activity”. We will call that spending.
    The Prime Minister has added more debt to Canada than all the prime ministers before him, for 150 years. The Liberals have been absolutely careless with finances and have been racking up, for all intents and purposes, the credit card debt. This has caused great problems and chaos, but they have made sure that their friends, buddies and insiders have gotten their share.
    I think of the ArriveCAN app scam, where millions of dollars were spent, essentially given to a two-person company in the basement of a house for no work, other than sending a few emails out. Something that should have cost a few thousand dollars has cost millions of dollars. There has been scandal after scandal. It has almost become part of the narrative.
    Last week, we heard about the billion-dollar green slush fund. The chair of Sustainable Development Technology Canada had to resign and is under investigation by the RCMP because money was going directly to her company and to her.

  (1605)  

    These are some of the buddies we are seeing. This is happening, and I do not have time to talk about all the different situations and the people who have become rich off the Liberals. The Conservatives will turn over these stones. That is our objective here in Parliament, as it will be if we are elected to government.
    The message from the Liberals for a long time was essentially that interest rates were low so what was the danger of borrowing. With this borrow and borrow and spend and spend, what has happened? For one thing, interest costs have escalated. We are now spending $51 billion on interest payments alone this year. That is more than we spend in health transfers. It is twice as much as we are spending on the Canadian military. One of the very few things the Liberals decided to cut back on is the Canadian military, at a time of great danger. Look at what happened with Russia attacking Ukraine and the situation with China. With all sorts of threats, the Liberals decided to cut the one important piece they should be increasing, but that is typical for them.
    Canadians are suffering by the Liberals' indulgence in spending, their addiction. We keep hearing the word “investing” and that the Liberals are investing in this and that. It is not their money; it is taxpayers' money. Their actions have led not just to increased interest charges but to a significant rise in inflation. Anybody who goes to the grocery store can attest to that. People are not eating as nutritiously as before because of this.
    I met with a number of university students last week, and they said they are having a hard time making ends meet. They are using food banks. I talked to the president of a university, who said there are lineups and that the use of food banks has gone up dramatically. Two million Canadians a month are going to food banks. This is not good, and the Liberals and the NDP need to be accountable for this. They can try to blame Harper from eight years ago, but it rests fully square on their shoulders.
    What is happening here? The Liberal brain trust, as we see in the bill, has begun to panic. To the Liberals, this is about politics, power and money. As inflation has gone up and costs have gone up, guess what has gone down. It is their poll numbers, and that is causing a bit of panic on the government benches.
    What have they been forced to do? They have raised interest rates, which is a time-tested way to lower inflation. However, what they have succeeded in doing is escalating the cost of carrying a mortgage. Half of mortgage owners will be renewing their mortgages in the next two years, 70,000 per month, and it is hitting them hard. This is happening everywhere in Canada, especially in areas with the biggest mortgages, such as metropolitan Vancouver, Toronto, Victoria and other large centres. People are losing their homes and losing their quality of life. This is real and it is painful.
    One of the Liberals' solutions is to extend mortgages to 90 years or 100 years so their great-great-great-grandchildren can pay off the mortgage and people can keep their homes. That is not a solution.
    The Liberals have realized the big mess they have created and the political urgency, and what they have done is taken a piece of Conservative Party policy, put on their superhero outfits and told people not to fear because they are here to help with solutions. They took one of our solutions, which was to take away the GST from purpose-built rental housing, but there is a lot more they need to do.

  (1610)  

    Madam Speaker, the one thing I did not hear the member talk about was a carbon tax. I know he is a really big fan of the carbon tax, because when he was in the provincial legislature in B.C., he not only voted in favour of it, but he also spoke very highly of it. He said:
     It means that every dollar collected from B.C. carbon tax is given back to the taxpayers in the form of tax credits or tax cuts. Our carbon tax appears to be working.
    He said:
     We view this tax as a tool to change behaviour and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
    If a Liberal had said that, he would have been heckling.
    An hon. member: Maybe he was a Liberal back then.
    Mr. Mark Gerretsen: Madam Speaker, maybe he was a Liberal back then. I do not know. Maybe he could inform me why he is against the carbon tax. Why is he hypocritical?
    Madam Speaker, I am proof that there can be redemption. If I can see the light, there is hope for the Liberal Party. It is absolutely clear from one end of Canada to the other that it is a disaster. I totally endorse the removal of the carbon tax from coast to coast to coast.
    Madam Speaker, the member for Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge and his Conservative colleagues are asking Canadians to believe in a fairy tale. They want people to believe that all these problems with housing magically started over the last several years or at least since 2015. In fact, it goes on a lot longer, with the current government, the Harper government before it, the Chrétien government and the Mulroney government. What we are seeing today is the natural conclusion of 40 years of neo-liberal economic policy. This did not happen overnight.
    Similarly, when the Conservatives go after the carbon tax but completely ignore the fact that corporate profits are at the highest level ever, which is a key driver of inflation, it is a shame to their constituents and a shame to the political discourse in this chamber.
    I have a question on Bill C-56. Does the member at least agree that these measures strengthen the Competition Act and remove the GST? Will he support them? Will he agree that the motion today is thanks to the hard work of the NDP driving the Liberal government to do better, and in fact that the Conservatives have been, again, sitting on the sidelines doing nothing?
    Madam Speaker, one of our Conservative members introduced a private member's bill on competition, because we need to have competition in the airline industry, in the banking industry, in telecommunications, in every industry.
    Canadians are suffering. We support competition. We need to have competition.
    Madam Speaker, the hon. member is a colleague from British Columbia, and we know that in British Columbia we have some of the highest housing prices in the country. We know that rent has doubled, and housing costs have doubled.
    In this legislation that we are debating today, two of the biggest issues that we are dealing with are inflation and the cost of housing. Inflation has caused interest rates to increase which has then caused interest rate payments to be higher for people.
    Could the member tell us if this legislation would address inflation or interest rates?
    Madam Speaker, no. This is just a bill of part measures.
    It has a couple of pieces that are good, but it does not really address inflation. One of the causes of inflation is that the Liberals have not changed their reckless spending. They have a $15-billion plant that is costing every Canadian family $1,000 to employ 1,600 temporary foreign workers.
    The Liberals are still out of control with their spending, and things are only going to get worse, even if they take little pieces here and there. Rather than Canadians having little pieces of what the Liberals are bringing out of Conservative bills, what they need to do is actually vote for the real deal, and see lives positively changed.

  (1615)  

    Madam Speaker, before I get started, I really want to thank the member for Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge for answering my question. He could have tried to skate around it, but he hit it right on. I question the sincerity in his answer, but at least he answered my question. He did not skate around it. I appreciate that, and I just wanted to put that on the record.
    Here we are talking about this very important piece of legislation that has to do with affordable housing and the groceries act and how we can amend other acts in order to improve those two challenges that Canadians are facing right now. However, I have heard at least two Conservatives in this debate. Just moments ago, the member for Red Deer—Mountain View was talking about time allocation and concerned about limiting debate on this, but then he never even talked about the bill. The member for Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge never even talked about the bill. My original question for him, had I not been waiting to ask him this question on the carbon tax in B.C., was going to be whether he had actually read the bill because what he was talking about had nothing to do with the bill. He did not even reference all the measures that are in the bill. An NDP member asked him a question, and he still did not answer it.
    I find it very fascinating that here we have the Conservatives with their full outrage jumping up and saying, “You're not letting us debate” and “You're allocating time.” Meanwhile, with the time that is allocated to discuss this bill, they are not even talking about it. I can only imagine it is not all that important to them if they are not even using the allocated time to actually discuss it.
    I am noticing a trend. When we introduced the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement a few weeks ago, the Conservatives were taking a very similar approach. They talked nothing about the bill and did not seem to have a position on it. However, after it had been tabled for quite a while and there had been a prestudy in committee and it had been going on for quite a while, all of a sudden they decided, “Oh, I think we found something that we could use to justify why we are going to vote against this. It mentions a carbon tax in the preamble. Yes, this is exactly how we will vote against this.” Suddenly, the next week, they focused on this narrative and then they voted against it, but they did not mention it once before that.
    I wonder who the award goes to in the Conservative Party for finding that red herring for them. It is absolutely shameful. I say this in the context that this is what is happening with the bill before us. I would love to know if they are going to vote in favour of it or if they are still in the process in the backrooms over there trying to figure out what words they can find in it to justify voting against it.
    In this debate, I will try to focus a little bit on what I have heard. I have heard the member for Red Deer—Mountain View and a couple of members earlier talk about the price on pollution, or the carbon tax, and I will take the opportunity to set the record straight on some of that stuff.
    Eight out of 10 Canadians are better off with the rebate they get back after the price on pollution. Now, I should clarify, in all honesty, that the two out of 10 Canadians who do not are probably the most well off and probably the base that the Conservatives are banking on and so they spread this misinformation to try to suggest that this is not the case. However, I will give members the facts. This has just recently been published.
     The average family of four in Alberta gets $1,544 back per year. The average family of four in Manitoba gets $1,056 back. In Saskatchewan, it is $1,360. In Nova Scotia, it is $992. In P.E.I., it is $960. In Newfoundland, it is $1,312. In New Brunswick, it is $368. In Ontario, my home province, it is $976. As a matter of fact, when we look at the four provinces that are fully under the federal backstop because they have not implemented their own program, the average family spends about $500 on the price on pollution and gets back $804. Eight out of 10 Canadians are better off as a result of what they are getting back.

  (1620)  

    The parliamentary secretary to the government House leader raised this in a question earlier. Why do they never talk about the rebate? The rebate is such a fundamental core part of this.
    Conservatives are more interested in spreading misinformation by suggesting that this is a tax, by suggesting that it contributes to inflation, which we know it does not, and then, most recently, by suggesting that it somehow impacts the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement.
    That was probably the biggest mistake they made. What they did was make a concerted effort to obviously find this little bit in the agreement and say, “Aha, we found it. In the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement, we found it. It says 'carbon tax' in the preamble. Let us use it.”
    The genius who discovered that probably did not take the time to look. Had they done that, they would have discovered that Ukraine has had a price on pollution, a carbon tax, since 2011. Ukraine needed to do that because as part of its efforts—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    This is not a conversation. When the hon. member finishes speaking, hon. members can ask questions.
    The hon. member for Kingston and the Islands.
    Madam Speaker, the reason Ukraine has had that price on pollution since 2011 is that in order to get into the European market, which it had been trying to do for so long, the European market required that it have a price on pollution in order to stay competitive. That is why Ukraine had it. This incredible red herring that we are hearing recently from the Conservatives is nothing more than just that, a red herring.
    The reality is that there is a faction within the Conservative Party of Canada. Some of the MPs over there have gone down the rabbit hole of alt-right-wing American politics. Now we are seeing that come out. I kind of always suspected it, because we have been seeing it happen over the last number of years, but I did not realize that this faction actually had a stranglehold on the party.
    It is very likely that the Leader of the Opposition is part of that, given everything that he has done. Let us go back to the YouTube meta tags.
    If members want to understand the Leader of the Opposition's support for Ukraine, they should just look at his social media posts from when President Zelenskyy visited us in September. He did not tweet about it. He did not put anything on Facebook about it. He did not put anything on Instagram about it. He was completely silent. He never said a word about Zelenskyy's visit.
    The irony is that he did say a word about Zelenskyy appearing before this Parliament when he came a year earlier, when he came by video conference. He actually tweeted, at that time, in 2022, how proud he was to see President Zelenskyy appear before Parliament.
    Do members know what the member for Calgary Nose Hill did? I do not know if a lot of people caught this, but it was almost a little subtle act of defiance. Do members know what she did? When he came this year in 2023, she quote tweeted his tweet from a year ago, congratulating him on coming. That was clearly a dig at the Leader of the Opposition because she recognized how silent he was on it.
    The member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman and all Conservatives can stand up and preach to me all they want about how much they support Ukraine, but their actions speak louder than words. They are silent when the president comes here. They are silent when it came to determining what they were going to say on the Ukraine free trade deal, and then they voted against it.
    This is a deal that President Zelenskyy asked us to vote in favour of—

  (1625)  

    The hon. member for Cypress Hills—Grasslands is rising on a point of order.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to ask you to remind the member of the bill we are talking about today. It is Bill C-56. I believe he is talking about Bill C-57, which was passed—
    We are actually talking about Motion No. 30, but I would like to remind the hon. member of that being the subject we are discussing.
    Madam Speaker, I do not know if the member was sitting in the chamber when his two colleagues just spoke, but neither of them spoke about the bill at all.
    The reality is that the Conservative Party of Canada does not support Ukraine. The Conservatives can say all they want about what they do, but their actions speak louder than words. We have seen that, and Canadians have seen that. It is coming to light now, and everybody is becoming aware of it.
    It is not supporting Ukraine for the same reason that Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene are not supporting Ukraine, which is that far right influence, and it is in the Conservative Party of Canada. They know it. For those who are still wondering, the real reason the Leader of the Opposition is so petrified to show support for Ukraine is that he would lose votes to Maxime Bernier. It is that simple. He is trying to hold on to a base.
    When it comes to this particular piece of legislation, we are talking about increasing competition and, by default, increasing trade. We know that, to ensure we put the right measures in place when we are looking internally within our own country, we have to recognize that there are anti-competitive practices going on. When Loblaw has nearly 40% of the market share of groceries between Loblaw's and Shoppers Drug Mart and every other entity it owns, we quickly start to see that it would be extremely difficult for competition to exist.
    In comparison, Walmart in the United States, which is the retailer with the largest grocery share, has about 18% of the marketplace. We know that, in Canada, there is a problem with this. That is why this bill seeks to strengthen the rules around competition. It seeks to empower the Competition Bureau further, providing it with more resources and the money it would need to effectively operate and giving it the tools to make advances and make moves, when it needs to, to ensure that competition exists.
    Competition is great, and we need to encourage competition, but sometimes government, or government-charged agencies, have to get involved because we do run into situations where that competition starts to get limited, and then we see price-fixing, as we saw with the Canada Bread Company and its bread price-fixing. That is why this is so incredibly important.
    Conservatives are going to tell people that inflation is driven by a price on pollution, when it has virtually no effect on it. They are going to tell people that a price on pollution is why the price of gas and oil has skyrocketed over the last year, and it is simply not true. The reality is that, in the oil and gas sector specifically, the carbon tax added two cents per litre. It is two cents and people get more than that back.
    Meanwhile, wholesale profit margins for the large oil distributors rose by 18¢ per litre. I do not hear the outrage about the profits. The profits of Loblaw were announced just yesterday for its third quarter, and it was, again, a double-digit increase in profits over the previous quarter. It is extremely important that we put the right measures in place to assist with this.
    I can understand why Conservatives are reluctant to do this. They never seem to fall on the side of those who are struggling, of those who need these supports and tools in place, or of those who need the benefit of healthy competition. This government will do that. I have said this many times in the House before, and I will say it again: I am very glad there is another party in the room who are acting like adults, which is the NDP. It sees this need as well, and it sees the need to push this legislation through for the betterment of all Canadians.

  (1630)  

    We all know that, if we had not put closure on this today, the bill would be here forever. That is what Conservatives have done with so many other pieces of legislation.
    Madam Speaker, the member got to the point towards the end, under your guidance.
    I would like to stay on the topic of the bill and talk about one of the main things this bill would do, which is that it would take the GST off of purpose-built rentals to promote the building of new rental accommodations. In my riding of South Okanagan—West Kootenay, it is almost impossible to find rental accommodation. When I talk to the city planners, they say that every day they are building more housing units than they have ever built before, but every day there are fewer affordable housing units because they are being lost to Airbnbs, people buying holiday homes, etc. The people buying the new housing units are the people who can afford them, and they already have houses.
    What is the member's government doing to actually build affordable, non-market housing that would really make a difference for Canadians? Getting out of the way and taking the tax off will build more units, but it will not help people who need affordable housing.
    Madam Speaker, it is the government's job to incentivize various parts of the marketplace from time to time when it sees the need for the betterment for society. Sometimes we do that with respect to encouraging the growth of a particular manufacturing sector, such as we have seen with electric batteries and the car revolution that is coming along with EVs, and sometimes it is about incentivizing through removing the GST on building new rental units.
    On the topic of affordable housing specifically, this is just one tool of many. I have made various announcements that are based on different levels of government support. We may see the rents in a particular building being required at 80% of CMHC market rents and sometimes as low as 50% or 60% based on the supports that have been received. We also have supports for rent that is geared to one's income. The member would know that the ministry responsible deals with that as well.
    This is one program he mentioned, but there is a whole host of programs. We have to approach housing from a holistic perspective. If we were just doing the one measure he mentioned, it certainly would not be enough, but we are doing a lot more than that.
    Madam Speaker, the bill we are debating today contains parts of two different Conservative private members' bills buried within it. I am wondering if the member opposite could enlighten us as to how many other great Conservative ideas it will take for his government to get to the point where it can finally look at balancing the budget.
    Madam Speaker, does the member really think that Canadians care whose idea it was? It is an amazing idea. I thank him very much for it. Let us celebrate it together. Now I hope the member will vote for it. That was such a ridiculous comment.
    I know this better than most people. I brought forward a private member's bill in 2016, and before it got voted on, the government put it in a piece of legislation it had brought forward. I rejoiced in that, knowing that Canadians would be better off as a result. Only a petty politician would spend time talking about it being a certain person's idea, not someone else's, and why the other person is getting the credit for it. Who cares? This is for the betterment of our country.

  (1635)