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44th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • No. 261

CONTENTS

Monday, December 4, 2023




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

Volume 151
No. 261
1st SESSION
44th PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Monday, December 4, 2023

Speaker: The Honourable Greg Fergus

    The House met at 11 a.m.

Prayer


  (1105)  

[English]

Video Message Apology

    The Chair would like to make a brief statement in light of a video message that was played this past weekend at a provincial party convention.

[Translation]

     I was asked to record a video to be played at an intimate gathering for a long-standing friend who was leaving his position, and I agreed to do it. I regret that this video was used for purposes other than for what it was intended. Hon. colleagues, it was played at a convention for a party that I am not a member of, in a province where I do not live in and where I have been unable to vote for nearly three decades.

[English]

    It was a non-political message to a personal friend of more than 34 years. He and his wife played an important role in my and my wife's early lives as a new couple, eventually newlyweds and later young parents.

[Translation]

    In a region where we did not have any relatives, they were our family.

[English]

    Before we all became politicians, we were just people. After we leave politics, we will be just people. More important, while we serve here as parliamentarians, we are people. Like all members, I have deep and abiding relationships with people from all political backgrounds. It should not be seen as partisan to recognize a colleague's departure. It is an act of friendship and respect.

[Translation]

    Nonetheless, I recognize how this could have been interpreted. I want to apologize and to reassure members. An incident like this will not happen again.

[English]

    I would like to reassure members that the principles of respect, impartiality and decorum are values I continue to prioritize for my tenure as Speaker.

[Translation]

    If members would like to raise questions about the subject of my statement, then I will recuse myself from that debate.

[English]

    I thank hon. members for their attention.

Private Members' Business

[Private Members' Business]

[English]

Criminal Code

    The House resumed from September 27 consideration of the motion that Bill C-295, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (neglect of vulnerable adults), be read the third time and passed.
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to give some of my thoughts on Bill C-295, which was introduced by the member for Vancouver Centre. It is an act that would amend the Criminal Code on the subject of neglect of vulnerable adults.
    I am very pleased to be speaking to this subject, especially on behalf of all vulnerable seniors in my riding, but also their families. Families, as we have seen over the last three years, also suffered through the subject matter we will be discussing as part of the bill.
    It is a fact the chronic neglect and abuse of older adults living in long-term care facilities is a long-standing problem. This is something that slipped under the radar for many years before COVID so frighteningly put it to light and exposed what was there all along.
    Bill C-295 would specifically amend the Criminal Code to create a specific offence for long-term care facilities, their owners and officers when they fail to provide necessaries of life to residents of facilities. We would finally, this Parliament, be putting into the Criminal Code a specific offence when the people who run these facilities fail to uphold their part of the bargain.
    It would also allow the court to make an order prohibiting any owner or officer of such a facility from being, through employment or volunteering, in charge or in a position of trust or authority toward vulnerable adults. Again, there will be consequences for people who are in those trust positions, but it will also allow courts to consider as an aggravating factor for the purpose of sentencing the fact that an organization failed to perform the legal duty it owed to a vulnerable adult.
    We could rightly question why it has taken so long to even consider putting these things into the Criminal Code, but here we are, and it is about time we moved forward with the bill.
    I want to also recognize that the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights did its due consideration of the bill. During its review of the bill, 15 witnesses appeared before the committee, including the research chair on the mistreatment of older adults, from the University of Sherbrooke, the Canadian Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, Elder Abuse Prevention Ontario and the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions. There were 15 witnesses in total over four meetings at that committee. The committee also had 26 briefs submitted to it as a part of its study.
    Going to the committee report, I will direct members of the House to the fact that one of the big changes that was made was replacing the word “manager” with the word “officer” and specifically putting a new definition, so now the people who are covered by the word “officer” include the chair person of the board of directors, the president, vice-president, the secretary, the treasury, the comptroller, the general counsel and the general manager or managing director of a long-term care facility. Again, it goes after that top echelon of people who are responsible not only for the overall budget of a place but for how it directs its care levels, its staffing standards and the level of service that residents can expect at those facilities.
    It is no secret that there has been a long history of neglect, and what the pandemic did was shine a very important light on that. However, it has often been called “hidden neglect” because many people who worked in the industry, worked at long-term care homes or even those who were responsible for reviewing their actions have known that unfortunately this has existed for quite some time.
    It is also a fact that during the pandemic especially, there was a huge difference between the for-profit long-term care homes and the public or non-profit facilities. The for-profit facilities had a much worse patient outcome overall than not-for-profit homes in general.
    In my home province of British Columbia, the Seniors Advocate recently reviewed the situation with for-profit long-term care homes. It has been noted that in British Columbia the cost of a publicly subsidized long-term care bed through a private operator has jumped 35% in the last five years. The Seniors Advocate found that not-for-profit facilities spent about 25% more per resident on direct care when compared with for-profit care.

  (1110)  

    When a review was conducted on the financial records from 2021 and 2022, it showed that long-term care facilities operated by for-profit companies delivered 500,000 fewer care hours than they were funded for by the province.
    Again, it speaks to the larger theme, that when profit is introduced into the health care system, other considerations seem to make their way to the forefront rather than looking after the people for which the facility was designed.
    I also want to point out that we are all very familiar with the time when the Canadian Armed Forces were deployed to some of the hardest hit long-term care homes, where they documented horrific accounts of inhumane treatment, abuse and substandard care.
    According to the Canadian Armed Forces' reports, dozens of residents in two Ontario nursing homes died, not from COVID-19 but from dehydration and neglect.
    I have looked at some of the short Coles Notes from those reports. I will read them out for the record: “conditions in two of the seniors homes...appeared to be nothing short of horrid and inhumane as ill-trained, burned-out and, in some cases, neglectful staff coped with the growing care needs of elderly residents”, residents faced “inadequate nutrition” because most of them were not getting three meals a day — and when they did, “underfeeding was reported.”; “Respecting the dignity of patients is not always a priority.”; Other patients were “left in beds soiled, in diapers, rather than being ambulated to the toilets.”; and “troops had to send a senior to hospital after the resident fractured a hip and was not cared for by staff.”
    These are just some of the alarming things that came out from the Canadian Armed Forces that were deployed to those homes. Again, for the people who are familiar with long-term care homes in Canada, this was nothing new. All COVID-19 did was to serve to shed a light on that.
    On October 23, 2020, CBC posted a story to its website. I will quote from a part of its investigation:
    CBC Marketplace reviewed 10,000 inspection reports and found over 30,000 "written notices," or violations of the Long-Term Care Homes Act and Regulations (LTCHA), between 2015 and 2019 inclusive. The LTCHA sets out minimum safety standards that every care home in Ontario must meet.
    Marketplace isolated 21 violation codes for some of the most serious or dangerous offences, including abuse, inadequate infection control, unsafe medication storage, inadequate hydration, and poor skin and wound care, among others. The analysis found that of the 632 homes in the Ontario database, 538 — or 85 per cent — were repeat offenders.
     I also want to recognize that women represent 65% of patients in Canadian residential continuing care facilities. This is absolutely a gendered issue to which we need to pay close attention.
    In addition, the vast majority of care providers in supportive care are women, with a significant portion of these individuals being newcomers or immigrants, especially among personal support workers. Women account for the majority of the workers among both immigrants, which was 86%, and non-immigrants, 87%.
    My NDP caucus believes that the victims of negligence in Canada's long-term care facilities deserve justice. Part of the confidence and supply agreement that we have with the Liberal government is the tabling of a safe long-term care act to ensure that seniors are guaranteed the care they deserve, no matter where they live.
    Although Bill C-295 is a step in the right direction, I do not believe it goes far enough in this regard. Rather than addressing this issue solely through a private members' bill, we expect that the government will follow through on this requirement and table legislation that puts these standards into more encompassing law, so that all Canadians, from coast to coast to coast, can not only ensure that their loved ones are getting the care that they deserve, but that our vulnerable seniors have the full force of law to ensure they are living with the dignity they deserve.

  (1115)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, this morning, I am rising to speak to Bill C-295, an enactment that amends the Criminal Code to create an offence for long-term care facilities, their owners and their officers to fail to ensure necessaries of life are provided to residents of the facilities.
    I have had a few opportunities to replace my colleague on the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights to study this bill a little more in my capacity as a former project manager responsible for raising awareness of elder abuse and intimidation.
    To come back to the bill, it also “allows the court to make an order prohibiting the owners and the officers of such facilities from being, through employment or volunteering, in charge of or in a position of trust or authority towards vulnerable adults and to consider as an aggravating factor for the purpose of sentencing the fact that an organization failed to perform the legal duty that it owed to a vulnerable adult.”
    The bill is perhaps a little opportunistic. It follows the abuse that occurred in seniors' residences during the pandemic. That is what it seeks to address, but the bill creates criminal offences in these cases. Liberal logic dictates that filling the Criminal Code with offences is a way of helping people.
    I will explain the bill in a little more detail, along with progress made in Quebec and what remains to be done.
    Bill C‑295 adds two definitions to the Criminal Code, long-term care facility and officer, with the goal of building criminal offences around them. I could list them. We seriously examined the bill. In particular my colleague from Rivière-du-Nord studied it in depth in committee. Upon reflection, the Bloc Québécois will vote in favour of the bill at third reading, because the Bloc proposed two amendments that were adopted.
    The first sought to replace the definition of “manager” by that of “officer”. We discussed this a great deal in committee. The notion of “manager” that previously appeared in the bill was much too broad. In the previous definition, an official responsible for purchasing or a nursing team leader would have been affected by the bill. Many witnesses said this went much too far. As for the notion of “officer”, it is well defined in the bill. It covers directors and senior members of the board such as the president and the vice-president. In short, the amendment places the responsibility on people in charge of the centres and not on the workers, who are already struggling to keep the health care system going.
    The other amendment ensures that the judge will take into consideration penalties under the legislation of Quebec and of the provinces. Some provinces, like Quebec, have laws against abuse that force health care facilities to have policies and a complaint process. The judge will take that into account in imposing a prohibition order.
    The Bloc Québécois believes that it is relevant to determine whether including criminal negligence of seniors in long-term accommodation in the Criminal Code will help them get the care and services to which they are entitled.
     Seniors have been the biggest victims of the COVID-19 pandemic. We recognize that. They were overrepresented in the number of deaths. They are also the ones who suffered and continue to suffer the most from the aftershocks of the virus through isolation, anxiety and financial hardship.
    I want to point out that Quebec already has legislation on elder abuse and the abuse of any vulnerable adult. This legislation provides for fines and protects informants who report mistreatment. That is what I was working on at the time. Community organizations and the health care network worked together on this new law.
    The Bloc Québécois believes that the federal government is acting within its purview with this bill, which would add tools for investigators. We therefore took the time to study the bill in committee to assess its usefulness. Beyond prosecuting managers who commit crimes or who could do so, it is important to ensure that seniors receive services that improve their quality of life. In this regard, the Bloc Québécois would like to emphasize the other important role the federal government should play in health care, and that is to increase transfers so as to cover 35% of system costs. The Bloc Québécois also wishes to reiterate that the sad events that happened in residential and long-term care facilities, or CHSLDs, are no excuse for the federal government to impose national standards on these facilities.
    Of course, we saw the critical situation in CHSLDs, which ultimately forced the government of Quebec to ask for military assistance on April 22, 2020, following a failed call to mobilize citizens to help with staff shortages in care facilities. In May 2020, negotiations between the Legault and Liberal governments were particularly tense because the federal government refused to extend the military assistance in Quebec. In a way, the federal government used Quebec’s need for military assistance in the throne speech to announce its intention to impose Canadian standards in CHSLDs.

  (1120)  

    This was a way for the federal government to impose its requirements when faced with the provinces and Quebec joining forces and calling for a 35% increase in health care transfers. Quebec reiterates that demand. The government is back on the attack, supported by the NDP, trying to impose its standards. The Liberals are still clinging to this idea. In the 2021 electoral campaign, they promised $6 billion for long-term care in exchange for imposing their standards.
    I could list many events in Quebec politics that show how concerned Quebec is with what is happening in residential and long-term care facilities. I will remind members that sections 91 and 92 of the Constitutional Act, 1867, define the division of powers between the federal government and the provinces. They specify that health is the exclusive jurisdiction of Quebec, except when it comes to the health of indigenous peoples, military hospitals, drug certification and quarantine. Let us keep this in mind, because it is important.
    The Liberal Party of Canada and the NDP keep stubbornly trying to interfere in areas of provincial jurisdiction, especially health care, because it is so obviously important to people. The federalism they stand for, however, requires each level of government to operate within its areas of exclusive jurisdiction. We had this debate before the election. In 2021, the NDP introduced a motion to impose national standards on long-term care facilities. We had already spoken out against that back then. What we want is for the federal government to do its part, because of the staff shortage and, obviously, because we have to find ways to work on solving the many problems facing the health care system.
    Thirdly, the Quebec government had to answer to the opposition in regard to its ministers’ decisions. As we know, the Quebec minister who was responsible for seniors and caregivers at the time moved a motion on December 2, 2020 denouncing the Liberals’ desire to impose Canadian standards on long-term care facilities, or CHSLDs. It was adopted in Quebec’s National Assembly. The Bloc Québécois supports the National Assembly of Quebec’s unanimous position and denounces the Liberals’ centralizing vision.
    Since then, the Quebec ombudsman has released a report making recommendations to the government. A provincial plan for deploying emergency personnel, a protocol for deploying extra staff in exceptional circumstances, and a Quebec strategy to combat staff shortages are also in place, and our computer systems have been updated. In addition, Quebec’s department of health and social services presented a Quebec action plan to recognize the complexity of care and service provision in long-term care facilities. We also adopted legislative measures to define the guiding principles that must be followed regarding living environment quality and organization and established the procedure for applying them through regulatory means. In short, Quebec is taking action and already has ideas for fixing the situation. The federal government will not be able to any better, since it knows nothing about the situation on the ground in these particular hospitals.
    We know that the Quebec government has presented its plan to reform the health care system. This plan includes a range of measures, including large-scale recruitment of workers, better access to data, the construction of new hospitals and more accountability for executives. In addition, the coroner is still investigating, and some people are calling for a public inquiry. In short, in every case, it is up to Quebeckers to take stock of the situation and fix their system; the federal government cannot just jump in and start doing the work Quebec is already doing.
    As we know, these regulations are part of the Quebec Act respecting health services and social services. Most long-term care facilities, some 86%, are public, compared with only 46% in the rest of Canada. We said all this before, when we were debating national standards for long-term care facilities. Let us be clear, Quebec and the provinces have the expertise and experience needed to manage long-term care facilities. The federal government does not. For all of these reasons, Quebec opposed every one of these national standards.
     If the federal government truly wants to help the provinces and Quebec emerge from the pandemic and provide better care to our seniors, it should stop being so paternalistic. It should forget about imposing federal nationwide standards that are not a good fit for a range of different social and institutional contexts. It should actually increase health transfers, which would enable Quebec and the provinces to attract and retain more health care workers.
    At least, there have been some amendments to this bill that the Bloc Québécois agreed with. We heard the testimony and followed the committee's work very closely and rigorously. That is why we will be voting in favour of the bill, with a view to focusing on the Criminal Code, which is under federal jurisdiction.

  (1125)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak to Bill C-295, an act to amend the Criminal Code on neglect of vulnerable adults.
    COVID-19 brought to light issues in the long-term care industry. Canadians did not, and will not, accept the conditions that were on display during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in long-term care facilities. This bill was initiated in that global atmosphere, with the primary objective of better protecting vulnerable people living in these facilities. Seniors and persons with disabilities in long-term care deserve safe, quality health care.
    Bill C-295 is one method of delivering this care. My colleague, the member for Vancouver Centre, who sponsored this bill, is proposing changes to the Criminal Code in three ways. First, this bill proposes to amend section 215 of the Criminal Code, which criminalizes the failure to provide the necessities of life for a dependent. The bill would give owners and officers of long-term care facilities a duty to residents that is similar to parents' duty to their children; it would criminalize failure to ensure that the necessities of life, such as food, lodging and care, are provided to residents.
    Second, this amendment would be supplemented by a prohibition order against persons convicted of this new offence. This order is an accessory to the sentence that may be imposed. It is discretionary and would allow the court to prohibit, for a period of time that it determines, the convicted person from seeking, obtaining or continuing any employment, even voluntary employment, that would place that person in a position of authority towards a vulnerable adult.
    The third and final change proposed by this bill is the addition of an aggravating factor at the sentencing stage, requiring the court to consider a heavier sentence for organizations that fail to meet their legal obligations to a vulnerable adult.
    This bill was studied last spring by the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. I would like to focus my remarks on the work done by this committee and the results obtained.
    Various witnesses were heard, several briefs were submitted and the majority shared the same concern, that the term “manager”, which was initially proposed in the bill, could result in the inclusion of frontline workers in this new offence. Given the critical shortage of staff in care facilities, according to the Canadian Association for Long Term Care, the proposed measure could “have a devastating impact on recruitment and retention by unintentionally creating undue risk and hardship for front-line staff. This will exacerbate an already emergency situation in many [group] homes” and facilities. LTC providers across the country provide an invaluable service to seniors and persons with disabilities.
    Justice committee members from all parties welcomed amendments to this bill to carefully identify owners and officers as the responsible decision-makers, who are accountable for mismanagement. They are the ones holding senior management positions, such as those of CEO or chairperson.
    The objective of the bill is laudable, but it should not interfere with the already precarious operation of LTC facilities. Officers are the individuals who make the key decisions on the care offered, the staff in place and the budget allocated to equipment, to name a few examples.
    For vulnerable persons, their inability to care for themselves makes them completely dependent on the care provided by these people, who have committed to helping them by making these decisions with their best interests in mind. However, neither owners nor officers provide direct care to their residents; rather, they oversee the facility's operations, make key management decisions and ensure that the staff under their direction have all the tools they need to carry out their duties. Owners and officers who take all reasonable precautions and care in the performance of their duties would not be affected by this change in federal law.
    With this amendment, the bill would specifically place responsibility on owners and officers of long-term care facilities who fail to ensure the necessities of life are provided to residents of the facility they manage, if this would result in causing or risking permanent harm to the health of the residents in their care.

  (1130)  

    Vulnerable adults in long-term care facilities depend on the good care of frontline workers and also on the thoughtful decisions of the management team. Frontline workers such as personal support workers, who provide direct care to LTC residents, would not be affected by this change in federal law. Sufficient staffing levels and adequate functional equipment, to name a few examples, come down to management decisions that can have an impact on the health of long-term care facility residents. Owners and officers therefore have a central role to play in the health of the adults entrusted to their care.
    I am grateful for the work of the committee members who adopted the amendment to make the maximum sentence four years in this case, similar to the offence under section 161 of the Criminal Code, which deals with orders prohibiting persons convicted of offences against minors from working around them. The committee worked collaboratively to advance the cause of vulnerable people in long-term care facilities, and I remain convinced that we can continue to work in the same direction. Our seniors deserve better.
    The current state of the bill is, in my opinion, improved and more in line with the principles of criminal law. We have all heard the difficult stories of people trapped in long-term care facilities at the very start of the COVID-19 pandemic, in many cases without food or water. The individuals at the helm of these facilities must be dissuaded from making decisions that risk jeopardizing the health of their residents. The bill would send a clear message: Vulnerable adults in long-term care facilities can rely on third parties to provide them with a decent life, and there is no justification for compromising their health and dignity. We remain committed to working with the provinces, the territories and the long-term care sector to ensure that seniors and persons with disabilities live and thrive with the highest standard of care.
    I would like to conclude by saying that I am confident that Bill C-295 will be passed quickly by this chamber so it can be studied by the other place. The revised version would more specifically place the responsibility on the people whom, as a society, we trust to make sound decisions with respect to the care of our seniors so they can live out their final years in peace. Canadians should have access to safe and quality health care at all stages of their life.

  (1135)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to stand and to speak to Bill C-295, an act to amend the Criminal Code with respect to neglect of vulnerable adults.
    The reason I want to speak to the bill is that my grandmother passed away in September. In fact, December 9, this Saturday, would have been her 96th birthday. I call my grandmother “Oma” because we are of Dutch heritage. In 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic, I remember my oma being pretty lively. She still had her wits about her; she could sing songs in Dutch and English, and she really participated in our family life. We very much enjoyed and cherished her, like many other families do across Canada with their elders.
    However, when the pandemic came, I, along with my cousins, aunts and uncles, had to make some hard decisions regarding the treatment of my grandmother in our family home, where she resided. For a period of time, to protect her, she was isolated from the broader community that had sustained her life in such a positive way since she immigrated to Canada in the 1950s. To make a long story short, like with members of many families across Canada, my grandmother's dementia accelerated at a very quick rate once she was isolated from those she loved. When I first got elected to Parliament, we heard at the HUMA committee from experts in geriatric care that one of the biggest mistakes we might have made during the pandemic was separating seniors from those they loved. My grandmother was isolated in her home, and her mental health deteriorated very quickly. My aunts and uncles and my mother, who was her primary caregiver, had to make the difficult choice to put her into an assisted living facility, one that would have been covered under Bill C-295.
     I have to say that I was very pleased with the quality of care my grandmother received at the Chartwell facility in Mission. Staff were loving and conscientious, and they did everything to protect my grandmother. That was positive. However, while she was there, her dementia continued to accelerate; it got worse and worse, and she could no longer stay in an independent living facility with her meals provided. Family members had to make the very difficult decision to put her into a long-term care facility. What I am about to say now is a little brash, but it is a fact. When children make a decision to put their parents into a long-term care facility, it is almost like a death sentence. They know that it is the last place they are going to go. For children to make that decision for their parents is one of the hardest things they are going to have to do throughout their life.
    Canadians believe in the health care workers at our long-term health care facilities. They believe that those people have the best interests of vulnerable Canadians at heart. They believe and trust that our systems are going to work, to make sure that the quality of life for those they are responsible for is upheld in a dignified way, one that respects the human dignity of the individual. Unfortunately, that is not the case at all long-term care facilities across Canada. All of us read, heard and experienced the horror stories that people talked about during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially when loved ones were separated from their seniors. I will be very clear that this was not the case with my family, but like many other MPs across this country, I heard from families who had negative experiences. For that reason, I am supporting the intention of the bill before us because it gets to the essence of a very big fear that many children have for their parents: Will they be protected? Will their human dignity be upheld when they cannot be with them and they have to entrust the care of their parent to a stranger at a medical facility?
    The amendment to the bill, made to paragraph 215(2)(b), reads, “with respect to a duty imposed by paragraph (1)(b.1) or (c), the failure to perform the duty endangers the life of the person to whom the duty is owed or causes or is likely to cause the health of that person to be injured permanently.” It goes on under the prohibition order to outline, as the member of Parliament referred to before, that an owner or officer would be responsible in those conditions. The bill would send out a signal to long-term care facilities that maybe have not got it right, that not getting it right is not good enough. We always need to ensure that our most vulnerable citizens, our seniors who have devoted their lives to this country, receive the type of care they need.

  (1140)  

    For me and my children, it was a daunting experience when we went into some of those facilities. Many seniors, unlike my grandmother, unfortunately, do not have a large support system to protect them. They do not come from a large family like mine, where there are 20 grandchildren, another 20 great-grandchildren and six siblings to spread out the work and make sure someone is there every day to watch out. Not every family has that. Not every senior is blessed with a large family like that. That is why the bill is important. Sometimes seniors may have only one advocate, and that person may still be working a full-time job or have other responsibilities and cannot be there every day. When they do show up and see that something is wrong, they would know that laws in Canada are there both federally and provincially, as outlined in the legislation, to ensure that, in the case of abuse or neglect, there would be a mechanism to protect the senior, and laws to safeguard them if a horrible situation does occur.
    We have so much to do, mostly at the provincial level, in this country to uphold the dignity of seniors at the vulnerable stages of their life that they encounter upon entering an assisted-living facility or a long-term care facility that the bill before us would address. I do acknowledge certain apprehensions that came forward in witness testimony. I believe in the essence of the bill and its use of a collaborative approach, which I have heard about from my colleagues. The bill is worth supporting in order to send a signal that we need to do more to protect our vulnerable seniors to ensure their quality of life at the end.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, speaking of Bill C-295, I assume I am not the only one here today to be overcome by sad memories of the COVID-19 pandemic.
    My thoughts go out to everyone who lost friends and family during the pandemic, one of the most difficult times we ever experienced as a society. There were 14,000 deaths in Quebec. It would be an understatement to say that the pandemic has had a lasting impact.
    On that note, I will now address Bill C-295 in greater detail and share what the Bloc Québécois thinks of it.
    The Liberal Party of Canada is suffering from a worrying bout of amnesia, since, in March 2021, the NDP moved a motion to nationalize and impose standards on long-term care facilities. All of the other parties voted against the motion. Why then are the Liberals introducing this bill today? Have they forgotten that that is an NDP position and not a Liberal one? Who knows? I must say, since the emergence of the NDP-Liberal government, the two parties seem to share some of the same positions. At least the bill introduced today is slightly different from the motion moved by the NDP in March 2021.
    The Bloc Québécois proposed two amendments to Bill C-295 that were accepted. The first aimed to replace the concept of manager with that of officer. In an earlier version of the bill, the concept of manager was far too broad. As my colleague from Shefford so eloquently put it, if the concept of manager had been retained, the bill could have applied to a public servant responsible for procurement or to a nurse team leader. This is absurd, considering that the bill seeks to amend the Criminal Code to make it an offence for long-term care facilities, their owners and their officers to fail to provide the necessaries of life to the residents of facilities. The concept of officer is well established, since, in the bill, it applies to directors and senior administrators, including the president, vice-president, and so on. In short, the amendment puts the responsibility squarely on the people who run the homes, and not the workers who are already doing all the work.
    The second amendment proposed by the Bloc Québécois requires judges to take the laws of Quebec and the provinces into account. It seems to me that members here in the House of Commons often need to be reminded that health care falls under the exclusive jurisdiction of Quebec and the other provinces. While successive Liberal and Conservative governments have repeatedly tried to interfere in this provincial jurisdiction, nothing will magically change that fact.
    Several provinces, including Quebec, already have legislation in place to tackle elder abuse and require care facilities to have policies and processes for handling complaints. It is therefore important that judges take these laws into account before imposing any prohibition orders.
    Lucien Bouchard, one of the founders of the Bloc Québécois, said the following:
    The government has neither the intent nor the mandate to abandon any part of Québec's constitutional jurisdictions...
    Successive governments in Québec, regardless of their political option [as to the status of Quebec], have always worked to reaffirm its jurisdiction in order to foster its people's [Quebeckers'] control over its economic, social and cultural development....
    This quotation is timeless, as enduring as Canada's resolve to make decisions for Quebec.
    I campaigned for the “yes” side during the referendums of 1980 and 1995. I distinctly remember the federalists' fear campaign. They still make similar arguments today.

  (1145)  

    When Quebec stands up to Canada and stands up for its interests, threats to freeze funding that Quebec is entitled to usually follow. It is funny. Ottawa pulls out this argument as though it were pulling a rabbit out of a hat. Just two weeks ago, here in the House, Ottawa threatened Quebec with lower health transfers if we refused to exchange our francophone workers for unilingual anglophone doctors.
    During the pandemic, in May 2020, the negotiations between the Premier of Quebec, François Legault, and the federal government were particularly tense, including about the need to call in the army to help with the long-term care facilities. In his Speech from the Throne, the Prime Minister of Canada used Quebec's need for military assistance to announce his intention to impose Canadian standards in long-term care facilities. It was also a Liberal campaign promise in 2021. The Liberals promised a hefty $6 billion for long-term care facilities provided their standards were imposed.
    This bill raises a question. If the federal government is now going to be interfering in Quebec's long-term care facilities and private seniors' residences, will the government threaten to freeze or reduce Quebec's health transfers? That is an issue that needs to be considered. Do we also need to reiterate that, in December 2020, the Quebec National Assembly unanimously adopted a motion denouncing the implementation of pan-Canadians standards for long-term care and demanding an increase in health transfers?
    This paternalism must stop. Not only does Quebec already have standards to prevent neglect and abuse, but it also has solutions on how it can improve in this area. Earlier, my colleague from Shefford listed a set of standards that Quebec is implementing to try to ensure that what happened during the pandemic never happens again. We are talking here about prevention, rather than criminalization, in order to protect the most vulnerable members of our society.
    In closing, the Bloc Québécois will vote in favour of Bill C‑295, so that it can be improved in committee. We need to ensure that, with this bill, we are actually helping the provinces and Quebec to protect their seniors, rather than just quickly adding criminal offences to the Criminal Code without thinking about the long-term consequences.
    I will end my speech on a more personal note. My mother lived in a long-term care facility from January 2020 to November 2020 and passed away there. She did not die from COVID‑19 necessarily, but she did experience it. She received remarkable care. When talking about this bill, I want members to keep in mind that there are people in our health care system who do an amazing job. It is not the workers themselves who are targeted by this bill, but the officers.

  (1150)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today to speak to Bill C-295, an act to amend the Criminal Code, to make sure it is a criminal offence when owners and managers of long-term care facilities fail to provide the necessities of life to residents within them.
    We have an aging population. One is six in Canada will be one in four in just a couple of years. We all have members in our families, such as mothers and fathers, who are aging. I am aging. We are all going to need long-term care. The Conservative Party absolutely agrees that we have to protect the most vulnerable, and this bill is a good start. It would make sure the necessities of life are provided. However, the bill does not necessarily go far enough.
    I am going to take up the theme of the pyramid of needs. We know that in the pyramid of needs, food, shelter, clothing and security are at the bottom, and this bill would address those necessities. We all heard stories of people who were left in their own excrement, did not have enough water or were dehydrated and of the lack of food during the pandemic, but what about their emotional and mental well-being? More needs to be done there.
    My mother died in long-term care, and the children had to choose who would go in. That is not fair or compassionate, so there is more to be done with the bill. We also saw, even after science showed that those who were vaccinated could get and transmit COVID the same as the unvaccinated, that people were discriminated against and not allowed to visit their loved ones, even with reasonable accommodation.
    Let us think about what happened during the pandemic. I received so many calls at my office from people who were trapped on one side of the border and could not visit their loved ones who were dying in long-term care facilities. There was no compassionate exemption made. I applied many times, but usually the length of time it took to get approval meant the person had already died. It is tragic when somebody is alone and vulnerable without even one family member there.
    I can remember that when my mother died in long-term care, I had to hold up an iPad so that my brother, sister and all the people who were not able to see her could say goodbye. After 95 years of a well-lived life, it was very sad. Then there was the whole issue of funerals. The number of people was limited and people were not allowed to go to them. That was also very sad. The bill takes a good first step to address some of these things.
    At committee, I was pleased to see that some amendments were accepted, one being that the definition of “managers” was not specific enough. We want to make sure that all facilities, whether private or public, have standards of care. That is another issue that was not addressed. There are differences in the standards of care across provinces and types of facilities. I was lucky that my mother was at Albany Retirement Village in Petrolia. It did a wonderful job of taking care of her, although many times I had to stand at the window to say hello to her during the pandemic.
    The other thing this bill would allow is for judges to consider this an aggravating factor in offences involving volunteer activities or somebody in a position of trust or authority. That is a good thing.
    I thank the member for Vancouver Centre, who is a doctor herself. We are all aging, and she has brought these concerns before the House. It sounds to me like this is the moment when all parties are agreeing that, yes, we need to do something and it needs to be an enforceable criminal offence. We have a lot of laws in the country, but we do not necessarily spend a lot of time enforcing those laws. In this case, it is so important. These are vulnerable people who, in many cases, like if they have dementia, do not have the acumen to fight for themselves. We need to be the ones to put measures in place so those looking out for them are dealt with.

  (1155)  

    I would say, as a woman, this is also a gendered issue. We know that 85% of the people who are in long-term care facilities are women. We also know that 86% of the workers and volunteers in these facilities are women. We need to provide protections for those who give care and for those who are being cared for. We need to make sure that we are not just meeting the base level of the pyramid when it comes to their emotional and mental health needs.
    We know that isolation caused huge issues during the pandemic not just among people in long-term care facilities, but even in the general populace. One in five people ended up with mental health issues coming out of the pandemic. The suicide rate was up immensely. Violence was up immensely, at 32% for the people in this age demographic of long-term care. Of course, we have seen a huge rise in crime across the country, a 39% increase. Therefore, addressing all levels of people's well-being will be important and this bill does not go that far.
    I would argue that, in the future, people need to remember the lessons learned from the pandemic. It did not really help when we kept individuals away from seeing their loved ones and let others in because, at the end of the day, we let 90% of the people do what they wanted and the 10% who were unvaccinated could not, yet the science showed that both could transmit COVID. I think the reasonable accommodations of masking and personal protective equipment would have really addressed a lot of the loneliness, the agony of watching loved ones die, or not being able to get to loved ones who were dying, which was very serious.
    The other thing I would say is that long-term care facilities have been studied over and again. There was a report at the health committee in 2018, when I was there, that talked about standards of care and the number of individuals needed per resident, which is not the same for all residents, for example, those who have dementia compared to those who are at a high-functioning level. Therefore, we certainly need to look at best practices in the country and adopt some kind of minimum standard of care with respect to the number of caregivers and the amount of time provided. We hear a lot about how many minutes of care residents will get a day. Clearly, we cannot tell human beings that they have had their seven minutes for the day and that is it, that is all; we need to be more compassionate than that.
    While I am happy to see this bill and think it is a great first step, I would like to see us go further. I think the government has a huge opportunity, as it reflects on what happened during the pandemic with the violation of people's rights and freedoms, not just for those in long-term care facilities, but also the seven million Canadians who were prevented from leaving their country for three years, to do a thorough review and come back with policies that will address not only the basic needs of people, but their mental health needs and the emotional supports they need. Obviously, it is one step at a time.
     I am happy to say that we will support this legislation and look forward to doing more things to protect our seniors, who are the most vulnerable in society.

  (1200)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today. I very enjoyed my talks with the member for Vancouver Centre. We have had a number of great conversations about various issues, including seniors issues. I have found her to be an outspoken supporter and critic when it comes to seniors issues. It is an absolute privilege to be standing here on legislation she has no doubt proudly brought forward.
    This is an act that would amend the Criminal Code to create an offence for long-term care facilities, their owners or their managers who fail to provide necessities of life to residents of the facilities.
    I believe it was Rawls who said that if we could go back to what he called the “original position”, meaning if we knew we were entering society but did not know how we were going to enter society, it would make sense that, if we knew one of the outcomes was to be in one of the more difficult positions in our society, we would want to do everything we could for such individuals.
    For example, one could be sitting outside the world, and one could come into this world not knowing where one was going to come in, whether one was going to come in as Bill Gates, a billionaire, or whether one was going to come in as someone at the other end of the economic spectrum. If coming in as Bill Gates, one would probably be fine. One's concern would probably be if one came into a more challenging place in our society. For example, on the challenges an individual who faces a disability may have, one would want to make sure society was innately fair to persons with disabilities.
    I believe this is a little analogous here. If in fact we knew we might have the lottery and might end up as an individual without any sort of control over our life whatsoever, with perhaps reduced faculties going forward, we would want to make sure this society, this country, was fair to those individuals. Unfortunately, that is not always the case today.
    I, of course, as everyone else in here, will be in that situation hopefully at some point in my life. That is a little different than the original position, in that most of us will be in the position where we will be coming toward the winter of life, and perhaps facing reduced faculties and having our complete life, from food to recreation or even just to seeing daylight, completely at the control of someone else. What a difficult position to be in.
    I revel in the wisdom of folks who are a couple of years my senior, and so I have often had conversations with individuals. It can be a very challenging time for individuals who have had very high-functioning lives or have been in charge of the destiny of many others in life. These are people who have been surgeons and doctors, or people who have had other lives under their control and who had control over everything in their life and have been successful in life. They find themselves now in a state where they are completely reliant on others. What a sacrosanct responsibility for those individuals who are now in charge of these individuals who have given so much to society and who have built the greatest country in the world.

  (1205)  

    We have such an incredible responsibility to make sure those people who built our country are taken care of. Unfortunately, we heard through the pandemic and before the pandemic that oftentimes people just did not get fair treatment in their life. That is why this legislation is a step in the right direction. We, as a society, have to make sure those individuals who have given their entire lives to building this country, building the best country in the world, are protected. If others are in fact letting them down, there must be consequences for not providing these people the care when they need it most. Individuals in some cases are completely and utterly reliant on those individuals, so if there is neglect or, worse, willful neglect or even purposeful harm, these individuals must be held accountable.
    That is why I will be proudly voting for Bill C-295. I thank the sponsors of this bill for bringing it forward.
    It being 12:07, the time provided for debate has expired. Accordingly, 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.
    Mr. Speaker, we request a recorded vote.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 98, the division stands deferred until Wednesday, December 6, at the expiry of the time provided for Oral Questions.
    The hon. House leader for the opposition is rising on a question of privilege.

Privilege

Alleged Breach of Speaker's Impartiality 

[Privilege]
    Mr. Speaker, I am rising on a very serious matter today. As you know, I have provided notice of a question of privilege concerning the Speaker's public participation in partisan events over this past weekend.
    I do note that, in his statement earlier today, the Speaker indicated that he has recused himself from this matter, which clearly touches upon him and his conduct. He has also indicated that he will follow the practices laid down in the October 19 ruling concerning recusals by the Speaker found at page 17635 of the Debates.
    I recognize that, in some instances, complaints about the Speaker, and more particularly those concerning rulings, should proceed by way of a motion placed on notice, but I believe the current circumstances amount to such a breach of the impartiality of the Chair that it warrants immediate and priority consideration by the House.
     Saturday morning's Globe and Mail article entitled “John Fraser finishes his time as interim Ontario Liberal leader as party elects permanent replacement”, written by Laura Stone, rather remarkably quotes the Speaker. I will read the relevant paragraph:
     'He’s demonstrated so much calm, and conviction and resolve and determination, and he’s held it all together at a very challenging time [for] our party'...the Speaker of the House of Commons...first met Mr. Fraser in 1989 while working in Ottawa. He said Mr. Fraser will be remembered for 'experience, good judgment and a real passion, and authenticity.'”
    In any event, the partisan engagement did not stop there. That afternoon, he appeared via video at the leadership election for the Ontario Liberal Party. Here is a sample of what he had to say in his two-minute video greeting as part of the tribute to Mr. Fraser. He said, “And boy, did we have fun. We had a lot of fun together...through the Ottawa South Liberal Association, through Liberal Party politics, by helping Dalton McGuinty get elected. This was really a seminal part of my life. And when I think of the opportunities that I have now as being Speaker of the House of Commons, it's because of people like John”.
    These remarks were introduced to the Liberal convention as, “A message from the Speaker of the House of Commons of Canada.”
    He made these remarks from the Speaker's office in the West Block while dressed in his Speaker's robes. As bad as it would have been to appear at a party convention at all, it might have at least been a little different if he had been introduced as the member for Hull—Aylmer, and worn a suit or a sweater, while standing in front of a scenic backdrop in his riding, but he was not. He was standing there in the full, non-partisan trappings of his non-partisan office, paying a partisan tribute to a partisan friend at a partisan event.
    I recognize that Mr. Fraser tweeted yesterday that there could have been some confusion about what the Speaker's office was told about where the remarks were to be shown, but it does not change one iota the fact that he was dressed in his Speaker's gowns standing in the Speaker's office making a partisan tribute video to be viewed somewhere.
    Similarly, Mr. Fraser's tweet does not address the Globe and Mail interview I just read where he offered partisan praise for Mr. Fraser. If you do an interview with the Globe, quite frankly, you should expect to see your comments printed and posted for all to see. This conduct is simply unacceptable. It defies all long-standing traditions and expectations attached to the high office of the Speaker.
    Late yesterday afternoon, the Speaker's office released a statement in his defence claiming, “the Speaker acknowledges how this message could have been perceived”. This is it exactly. Perception is everything.
    House of Commons Procedure and Practice, 3rd edition, explains at page 323, “the Speaker embodies the power and authority of the office, strengthened by rule and precedent. He or she must at all times show, and be seen to show, the impartiality required to sustain the trust and goodwill of the House.”
    Continuing on the next page, it states, “In order to protect the impartiality of the office, the Speaker abstains from all partisan political activity (for example, by not attending caucus meetings), does not participate in debate and votes only in the event of an equality of voices, normally referred to as the 'casting vote' of the Chair.”

  (1210)  

    Beauchesne's Parliamentary Rules and Forms, 6th edition, adds, at citation 168(1):
     The chief characteristics attached to the office of the Speaker in the House of Commons are authority and impartiality.... Confidence in the impartiality of the Speaker is an indispensable condition of the successful working of procedure, and many conventions exist which have, as their object, not only to ensure the impartiality of the Speaker but also, to ensure that there is a general recognition of the Speaker's impartiality.
    That passage originates from the United Kingdom's parliamentary bible, Erskine May, and can be found virtually word for word in its 25th edition at paragraph 4.23. Beauchesne's continues at citation 168(2):
     In order to ensure complete impartiality the Speaker has usually relinquish all affiliation with any parliamentary party. The Speaker does not attend any party caucus nor take part in any outside partisan political activity.
    As a former Speaker myself, I understand completely what this means because I lived it for four and a half years. That is why I was absolutely flabbergasted when a photo of his participation at the Liberal convention was first drawn to my attention. I am still, 48 hours later, deeply appalled and, frankly, deeply offended.
    Having served in the chair, I wholeheartedly appreciate that Speakers do not arrive there through some form of immaculate conception. Speakers have all been politicians before being elected to the chair, and some of us have even gone on to further partisan service after our tenure in the chair. Bosc and Gagnon acknowledge this point at page 314:
    The Speaker has almost always been elected from among the Members of the governing party, and although the Speaker eschews partisan political activity, he or she does not make a complete break. When running for re-election, incumbent Speakers are usually careful to avoid partisan statements that might prejudice their perceived impartiality in the future.
    The impartiality of the Speaker is not unique to our federal Parliament. Indeed, it is a common sentiment throughout the Commonwealth. In addition to the authority I already referenced from the U.K., where the Speaker leaves partisan politics for the rest of his or her life, let me cite a few others for the Chair's consideration.
    Parliamentary Practice in New Zealand, 4th edition, which is also known as McGee, advises at page 78:
     The member who is elected Speaker does not thereby become a non-party member of Parliament. However, the Speaker does not play a politically partisan role, and exercises restraint in the speeches or comments he or she makes outside the House. The Speaker must be prepared to assert an independence from the Government to ensure that the rights of all sides of the House are protected in the course of the parliamentary process.
    The Indian Lok Sabha's Practice and Procedure of Parliament, 7th edition, adds, at page 107:
    While the Speaker stands on party ticket for his election to the House, he may or may not continue to be the member of his party after his election as Speaker. Even when he does not sever connections with his party, he has refrained from attending any party meeting. However, a convention has, more or less, developed at the Union for the Speaker to dissociate himself from his party.
    The same text observes, at page 306, that:
    Office of the Speaker, Lok Sabha, is a constitutional office and enjoys exalted status in our democratic set up. Though it is not necessary for the Speaker under the Constitution or the Rules of Procedure to sever his connections with the political party to which he belongs, once he is elected to the Office, he, while conducting the House nevertheless acts in totally impartial manner. Impartiality is, therefore, an integral attribute vis-á-vis the Office of the Speaker.
    Turning back closer to Ottawa, Parliamentary Procedure in Quebec, 3rd edition, makes this astute point at page 132:
    While the legitimacy of the Chair stems primarily from the rules that govern the selection process, the impartiality of the Chair is essentially determined by the attitude adopted by the President in the exercise of the functions of office. Of course, the rules of parliamentary procedure state that the President does not belong to any parliamentary group, does not participate in any of the Assembly’s debates and votes only to break a tie, but it is the manner in which the incumbent oversees the proceedings and follows those rules that determines whether actual impartiality and the appearance of impartiality are maintained.
    The universally expressed point here is that, while the Speaker is vested with the responsibilities of being the Speaker, he is expected to check his partisanship at the door. It can be difficult, but it must be done.

  (1215)  

    In a recent interview on CTV Question Period, the Speaker claimed it took “all of 60 seconds” to shed his decades of Liberal sensibilities and political bias upon becoming Speaker. This weekend's events call that into doubt.
    Yesterday, the Speaker's office said he would be more “diligent going forward”. The House needed his total and complete diligence since day one. This is not the first communications challenge during his brief tenure as Speaker in which his diligence would have been helpful. I am recalling how a teenaged blogger noticed, 10 days before the House, a procedural decision he had taken.
    About 35 years ago, he was one of the pages, upon whom this House truly relies to function smoothly. Back when he was a page, had he participated at openly partisan events, he likely would have been fired. What message does this send to today's pages, that the Speaker of the House, the one who is supposed to embody impartiality and devotion to the whole House, can be involved in political party conventions?
    This conduct, in my view, should be treated as a prima facie contempt of the House.
    Bosc and Gagnon explain, at page 60:
    Any conduct which offends the authority or dignity of the House, even though no breach of any specific privilege may have been committed, is referred to as a contempt of the House. Contempt may be an act or an omission; it does not have to actually obstruct or impede the House or a Member, it merely has to have the tendency to produce such results.
    At page 81, they continue:
    Thus, the House also claims the right to punish, as a contempt, any action which, though not a breach of a specific privilege: tends to obstruct or impede the House in the performance of its functions; obstructs or impedes any Member or officer of the House in the discharge of their duties; or is an offence against the authority or dignity of the House....
    The House of Commons enjoys very wide latitude in maintaining its dignity and authority through the exercise of its contempt power. In other words, the House may consider any misconduct to be contempt and may deal with it accordingly.... This area of parliamentary law is therefore extremely fluid and most valuable for the Commons to be able to meet novel situations.
    There are no precedents in our House nor are there any obvious precedents from our sister parliaments, which are directly on point for the issue I raise today, possibly because no Speaker in the major Commonwealth parliaments has been so bold as to participate openly at partisan events and certainly not doing so as distinctly and visibly as the Speaker. That is, as I have just explained, not a barrier.
    There is, however, one ruling from Speaker Fraser, in front of whose chair the Speaker once stood as a page, that is strongly persuasive in these circumstances. In 1993, the then deputy speaker Andrée Champagne had agreed to act as the co-chair of her party's convention. A question of privilege was raised arguing that her decision amounted to a contempt of the House because it affected the appearance of impartiality attached to her office, as she was the deputy speaker.
    Speaker Fraser ruled on March 9, 1993, at page 16685 of the Debates, that this situation did not amount to a prima facie case of privilege because: “I have some difficulty in agreeing with the hon. member for Cape Breton—East Richmond that the Deputy Speaker is cloaked with the same exigencies that are expected of the Speaker himself or herself, and I am deliberately careful in not extending such a responsibility by way of ex cathedra comments in this decision.”
    This ruling, I believe, stands for the proposition that the Speaker's participation at a partisan convention would, on the other hand, have amounted to prima facie contempt in Speaker Fraser's view.
    He is clearly saying, in that ruling, that the expectations and the very high bar set upon the Speaker did not apply to the Deputy Speaker but, in making that explanation, he acknowledges and reinforces the idea that it would be wholly inappropriate for the Speaker to do what the former deputy speaker did in that situation.
    Many of our rules and practices here operate on a binary basis. For example, I cannot call a colleague a liar because everyone is presumed to speak the truth. Therefore, every member has a corresponding obligation to tell the truth in the House. Similarly, the rulings of the Speaker and any comments on the partisan implications they may carry would be impermissible. That is because the House is entitled to assume that the Speaker would be wholly non-partisan while holding that office.
    McGee sums up the point well at page 79:
    The Speaker's exalted position and the consequent constraints it imposes require members to treat the Speaker or any other temporary occupant of the Speaker's Chair with respect and deference.
    If the Speaker openly engages in partisan conduct, it opens the door to public analysis of any partisan motivations underlying his rulings. I can assure members that, despite a mere two months in the chair, that would not be a difficult feat.

  (1220)  

    Australia's House of Representatives Practice, seventh edition, at page 168, articulates the point well. It reads:
    The Speaker must show impartiality in the Chamber above all else. A Speaker should give a completely objective interpretation of standing orders and precedents, and should give the same reprimand for the same offence whether the Member is of the Government or the Opposition....
     Members are entitled to expect that, even though politically affiliated, the Speaker will carry out his or her functions impartially. Likewise a Speaker is entitled to expect support from all Members regardless of their party.
    After this weekend's events, the implied contract between the Speaker and the House, which relies on mutual trust, has been broken. It would be very difficult for members to retain trust in a Speaker who engages in partisan activities.
    As Bosc and Gagnon wrote, in the very first citation I offered:
    He or she must at all times show, and be seen to show, the impartiality required to sustain the trust and goodwill of the House.
    Should I be permitted to present my privilege motion, I will propose that the House denounce the Speaker's public participation in partisan events and, accordingly, ask the procedure and House affairs committee to recommend an appropriate remedy for this utterly unprecedented and completely avoidable problem.
    I just want to address a few other points, in light of the Speaker's statement earlier today. First of all, many members of Parliament find themselves in the Speaker's chair after they have demonstrated their impartiality or non-partisanship for some time. Often, someone has served as the assistant deputy or deputy speaker and shed some of the partisanship that we often come to this place with as newly elected MPs.
     In the case of the current Speaker, after being the former president of the Liberal Party and the Prime Minister's own parliamentary secretary, he entered the chair with a great deal of partisanship still surrounding him. Therefore, it would be incumbent upon him to go the extra mile, go beyond what a speaker elected under normal circumstances would do. He would have to set the bar even higher for himself, knowing that he has come so quickly from hyperpartisan activities. To be the president of a party is not just normal partisanship. To be the Prime Minister's parliamentary secretary obviously establishes a very close relationship with the leader of the Liberal Party, the Prime Minister of Canada. He has taken on a role now in which he is called upon to defend the rights and privileges of each individual MP, and it would take a conscious effort for members to set aside his recent partisanship.
    In one of his first interventions in the House upon being elected as Speaker, the Speaker accused a female member of Parliament from the NDP of exaggerating her injuries when she was elbowed in the chest by the Prime Minister. Right there, we can see an immediate reaction to defend the Prime Minister. Now we are being asked to accept his rulings without any doubts about partisanship or bias.
    Just recently, we had a situation that was very difficult for many members to understand. The Speaker ordered the Conservative member for Miramichi—Grand Lake not just to withdraw comments but also to actually apologize in the chamber for making an association between a political party and an odious entity abroad that is conducting horrible activities, namely, Hamas. A few days later, the government House leader made a very similar accusation against Conservative MPs; in that situation, the Speaker did not order an apology, saying that he considered the matter settled. In the moment, we were asked to accept that it was the Speaker's ruling based on precedent, convention and an unbiased understanding of the rules. Then we see him, just a few days later, giving remarks to the Liberal convention.
    I have more points based on the Speaker's statements today. He said he did not know where it was going to be broadcast. As we pointed out, he gave an interview to the Globe. Obviously, that was going to be printed in The Globe and Mail. I have already covered the fact that he was wearing his robes in his office, but I will also point out that John Fraser is not retiring. He is just leaving his role as interim leader and going back into partisan activities.
    An hon. member: Really?
    Hon. Andrew Scheer: Yes, he is still going to be an MPP.
    Mr. Speaker, despite the fact that the Speaker and Mr. Fraser might be close acquaintances and may think fondly of each other, it is not as though John Fraser was filling a non-partisan role. He was playing a very partisan role in partisan politics at the provincial level in Ontario.

  (1225)  

    The House might decide that it would like to see any correspondence between the Speaker's office, the Speaker himself, Mr. John Fraser, the Liberal Party of Ontario and the convention organizers. We might decide collectively, as a House, in the procedure and House affairs committee, that we would like to see correspondence to determine if that is, in fact, accurate.
    To conclude, because of the seriousness of this issue, I would urge the Chair to rule immediately. I invite you, Mr. Speaker, if necessary, to suspend the sitting to take counsel from the clerks and to prepare your ruling.
    I thank you for listening, Mr. Speaker. I believe there are other members who would like to intervene. I would like to reserve the right, if there are comments from other parties, to seek the floor again to offer my reflections on those commentaries.
    I thank the member for that.
    There are a number of people interested in talking about this, and I will give the other parties an opportunity to speak to it.
    I would remind members of the House to keep it to the particulars of the Standing Orders as closely as possible. We can relitigate this on a number of occasions, but we want to keep it as concise as we can.
    The hon. member for La Prairie.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the current Speaker of the House took office after the previous Speaker resigned following a serious error in judgment. His succession was a very sensitive issue, at least, more sensitive than usual.
    Everyone, or almost everyone, here knows and would agree that the current Speaker was a highly partisan member. At the time, the Bloc Québécois decided it would give the member in question the benefit of the doubt. Regardless of what kind of member we are, I think that any member who wants to be Speaker has the right to hold the office and prove to everyone that he or she is impartial. I applauded him in my speech to the House a few minutes after he was elected, and told him that I was looking forward to seeing him perform his duties with the impartiality that is essential, necessary and indispensable to any Speaker worthy of the title.
    What are the facts here? The House leader of the official opposition clearly explained them. I will very quickly go back to a few things, if I may. First, the Speaker was in his position as Speaker of the House of Commons. He was wearing the robes of the Speaker of the House of Commons. He was in the offices of the Speaker of the House of Commons. He used the resources of the Speaker of the House of Commons for an event that was undeniably partisan.
    I am going to quote from the House of Commons Procedure and Practice, third edition, 2017: “In order to protect the impartiality of the office, the Speaker abstains from all partisan political activity”. It is very simple.
    Therefore, we have a major problem. We have heard from the Speaker of the House that we were not supposed to see this. That is troubling, because we did see it. Are there other events that we did not see? Did we see the tip of the iceberg? We have these questions in mind, and I do not think it is appropriate to have these questions come up when we think about the actions and responsibility of the Speaker, an office of critical importance for our institutions.
    We want to have confidence in the interventions the Speaker makes in the House. We do not want to be left wondering whether it was for the good of the House, the good of democracy or the good of the government. We do not want to ask ourselves those types of questions.
    On November 29, our leader asked the Prime Minister a question and the Speaker deemed it irrelevant because, according to him, it had nothing to do with the management of government operations or public administration. We raised a point of order on the issue. We want to believe that this was simply a mistake. That is what we wish and that is what we believe. He even admitted it.
    What do we do now? This needs to be above partisanship. We must ensure that Parliament functions. That is what people expect. We have to work for the greater good of the public. We must not allow things to fester or trust in the Chair will be lost and the work of the House might become less effective than it should be.
    Things in the House are rather tense right now. We can all agree. Doing the work of the Chair requires two essential qualities: impartiality and impeccable judgment. Unfortunately, after what he did this weekend, the Speaker has shown us that he has neither of these qualities. That is why the Bloc Québécois is urging the Speaker to step down without delay.

  (1230)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, certainly the New Democrats appreciate the official opposition House leader's raising this important question of privilege. I just want to state that our House leader, the member for New Westminster—Burnaby, will be addressing this very serious issue after question period.
    Mr. Speaker, in terms of your deliberations on this matter, it is very important to put on the record the entirety of what was contained in the Speaker's video. He said this:
    “You were the Steinberg's manager out in the West End. I was this young little kid, well you were young too, who was working for John Manley, and we struck up a great friendship: you, me, Linda, your kids, Julie; we all just hung out. You guys were a real inspiration to Julie and me. When we were just getting together, getting married, you and Linda gave us some great advice, great hope and a lot of love. When we started having children, we turned to looking at your family and how active you and Linda were in terms of getting things done. And boy, did we have fun. We had a lot of fun together through the Ottawa South Liberal association, through Liberal Party politics, by helping Dalton McGuinty get elected.
    “This was really a seminal part of my life, and when I think of the opportunities that I have now as being the Speaker of the House of Commons, it is because of people like John and Linda, especially you, John, as to why I'm the person I am today. Of course, that could be, you know, a scary thing, and I am sorry to put that burden on you, but only the good parts. Only the good parts are really due to you.
    “John, you know, anybody can ask you to do something once, and that's fine. But when they ask you to do something twice, it's because they really like you, they really respect you and they really think you're a great person. I know that, and I've known that for well over 30 years. So thank you, John, for all the work that you've done for the people of Ontario and the people of Canada.”
    In light of the Speaker's statement this morning, which had the tone of downplaying the severity of this action, I would like to put on the record the ways that the Speaker shattered the impartiality he has sworn to uphold in what I believe, in tone and in content, is an endorsement video for a sitting Liberal parliamentarian. As the Conservative House leader said earlier, the Speaker made this video and statement in Speaker's robes in the Speaker's office for a video to be played at the Ontario Liberal Party convention. It was recorded for a partisan political convention in its tone and content, heaping effusive praise on a sitting partisan legislator at a political convention. It amounted to being an endorsement video.
    Mr. Fraser is a sitting Liberal member of the Ontario provincial legislature, and he is planning to run again. The Speaker talked about how much fun the Liberal political activities were, while in his robe in the Speaker's office. He referenced how much fun the Ottawa South Liberal association is. He referenced helping get former Liberal premier, Dalton McGuinty, elected. He talked about participating in Liberal Party politics.
    There are a couple of other things that my colleague did not mention that I think you, Mr. Speaker, should take into consideration in your ruling. For the Speaker to say this morning or in the media that he did not know what this was for is utterly preposterous. That, in and of itself, is an affront to the House. It shows the same bad judgment as the previous Speaker had in allowing a Nazi to be feted in this place. There is no way that three layers of staff, in the Speaker's office and at the Ontario Liberal convention, did not know what this was for. It is actually preposterous to suggest otherwise.
    The other thing is that this is a pattern of behaviour. He actually made the argument that he did not know in this Parliament, when he was the parliamentary secretary to the Prime Minister. I want to read it into the record, because this is important to the point that the argument that he needs to exercise better diligence has been used twice before. My colleague mentioned one; I want to mention the other. It is from a CBC article subtitled “Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion calls for ethics training in wake of latest breach”. It states:
    The conflict of interest and ethics commissioner is recommending that all federal ministers and parliamentary secretaries report to his office for training after [the current Speaker] became the latest high-profile Liberal to violate the Conflict of Interest Act.
    The article talks about the ethics violation in which the current Speaker found himself when in that role. I encourage you to read it, Mr. Speaker. The former conflict of interest commissioner said this: “Being dual-hatted does not mean [the Speaker] can circumvent the rules of the Act by simply wearing his MP hat”.
    The article goes on to state that it is preposterous to say that a seasoned parliamentarian did not know. The article states that the Speaker “apologized for his ‘unintentional error’” and said, “I will redouble my efforts to be more diligent in the future”. Where have we heard this before? He said he would be more diligent when he gave information that should have gone to the House to a teenage blogger; this is now twice. I encourage you, Mr. Speaker, to look at the statement this morning through this lens. It is a pattern of behaviour.

  (1235)  

    I have to close with this. The speech was broadcasted on TVO, so it is not just we who were affected. Anybody who was watching the broadcast would have seen the Speaker of the House of Commons, in his office and dressed in his robe, giving a partisan speech. That is an affront not just to the people of the House but also to every person we represent. Why is it? I want to echo what the Bloc House leader said, which is that we need to make this place work. If we are, rightly I think, questioning the Speaker's impartiality every single time because of a pattern of behaviour of “I did not know” or “I will be more diligent in the future”, democracy is eroded. This place is eroded. This place has to work, and now we have a very serious question.
    In closing, I want to read the terms of employment for the pages in this place. It is posted on the parliamentary website:
    The House of Commons administration is a non-partisan workforce where respect, support and promotion of the democratic process are an organizational value. Pages may not participate in any activities, including on social media, that are politically partisan or that could give rise to the perception that they could not perform their duties impartially.
    What kind of example is the Speaker setting for our pages if he is wearing his robe outside the House? What would happen if they wore their robes out to some sort of political convention? This is also about setting an example for our youth.
    This is such a serious issue that the House of Commons proceedings, as my colleague said, should not be proceeding without a ruling on the matter. This is very, very serious and very disappointing, and I cannot believe we are here again, two months after a Nazi was feted in the House.

  (1240)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to comment on this very serious question. I wish to do so so that the people watching us in Quebec and all francophone communities across the country understand what we are talking about right now in the House of Commons.
    Today, we provided notice of a question of privilege concerning the Speaker's public participation in partisan events over this past weekend.
    As the Speaker himself indicated this morning in his statement, I hope that he will recuse himself from the deliberations concerning this question of privilege. This is an extremely sensitive issue, especially since the question of privilege has been compounded by a number of other issues.
    The Conservative Party asked that the question of privilege be referred to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs to study the event and recommend any appropriate remedies. Today, another political party asked that the Speaker simply resign. This is an extremely serious matter that deserves to be looked at very seriously.
    Words and deeds matter. I am going to quote the member for Hull—Aylmer, before he took the role of Speaker, from the speech he made in the House to all his colleagues and to all Canadians. Let us not forget that before the vote, all those running to become Speaker were given the opportunity to make a speech in the hope of winning the support of their peers, their fellow MPs. The member for Hull—Aylmer took advantage of his speaking time to call for respect, saying, and I quote:
     The words we use matter. Symbols matter. I know this all too well.
    These are weighty words in relation to the events reported to us by The Globe and Mail this weekend. Subsequently, we have had the opportunity to see them on social networks and, today, they are being repeated just about everywhere on all platforms and in all media.
    Let me remind members what happened. The Globe and Mail published an article on Saturday under the following headline, “John Fraser finishes his time as interim Ontario Liberal leader as party elects permanent replacement”. The article was written by Laura Stone. She quotes the Speaker of the House quite remarkably. Here is how the member for Hull—Aylmer referred to Mr. Fraser: “He's demonstrated so much calm, and conviction and resolve and determination, and he's held it all together at a very challenging time in the history of our party.”
    Let me repeat that last part because it is very important for what happened next: “He's held it all together at a very challenging time in the history of our party.”
    I will now quote an excerpt from the statement made by the Speaker of the House this morning, at the opening of the House, speaking about that video.
    Hon. colleagues, it was played at a convention for a party that I am not a member of, in a province where I do not live in and where I have been unable to vote for nearly three decades.
    I can remember the Speaker's exact words in the video, which was viewed by a number of Canadians. The Speaker of the House, wearing his robes and standing in his office, said of Mr. Fraser that he “demonstrated so much calm, and conviction and resolve and determination”, and “held it all together at a very challenging time in the history of our party”.
    That is the opposite of the statement the Speaker of the House and member for Hull—Aylmer made this morning. What does he mean by “our party”?
    Regardless, the video went even further. The Speaker of the House took part by video in the election of the leader of the Ontario Liberal Party. This is an excerpt of what he said in the two-minute video produced as part of a tribute to Mr. Fraser, and I quote: “We had a lot of fun together through the Ottawa South Liberal Association, through Liberal Party politics, by helping Dalton McGuinty get elected. This was really a seminal part of my life. When I think of the opportunities that I have now as being Speaker of the House of Commons, it's because of people like John and Linda, and especially you, John, that I am the person I am today.”

  (1245)  

    In that same video, once again, the Speaker himself mentioned his affiliation with the Liberal brand. He was wearing the Speaker's robes and standing in the Speaker's office, and the video was probably filmed using House of Commons resources. For the benefit of the people tuning in, I will just remind them that the video was played at the Ontario Liberal leadership convention as a message from the Speaker of the House of Commons of Canada. As I mentioned earlier, he made these remarks while standing in the Speaker's office in West Block and wearing the Speaker's robes.
    The decision to take part in a political convention is in and of itself very ill advised for someone who must be seen to be non-partisan. Some people may say that the situation would have been different if the member for Hull—Aylmer had done this wearing jeans in his backyard and using a personal computer rather than House of Commons resources, but that is not true. The Speaker of the House is the Speaker of the House, regardless of the circumstances and regardless of what he is wearing. When he does something like this while deliberately dressed in the full regalia of his non-partisan position in the offices of the Speaker of the House of Commons, that is what we would call a partisan gesture on the part of someone we would expect to show absolute non-partisanship.
    I thought it was important, and I still think it is important, that we inform all of the francophones across the country who watch our proceedings of what is going on. It is important to remember that the House of Commons Procedure and Practice is very clear on the non-partisan nature of the position of Speaker of the House of Commons.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I want to reiterate that this is a really important question of privilege being raised. However, there is live translation of all House proceedings, and I believe that we have heard from several members of the Conservative Party on the point. To your point earlier, I understand that we are looking to get new information on this question of privilege, and I wonder whether you could speak to that.
    When hearing members, the Chair is interested in hearing the facts and explanatory arguments on an issue. Pertinent and new information is welcome, but it should be understood that it is not intended to allow members to continuously take on interventions. I am getting close to the point where I can make a determination as to how to proceed on this particular issue.
    As I said before, when I took on the job as Deputy Speaker, I asked my predecessor, Bruce Stanton, whether it is a tough job and whether I would be making any decisions. He said, “No, it is the easiest thing I will ever have to do.” This is the second time I am having to make a decision in this respect. I want to hear the facts as they come forward, but I would ask members to try to stick to the facts as much as they possibly can.

  (1250)  

[Translation]

    I know that there are two other people who want to present some facts, but I think that I am soon going to wrap up this debate, because I have heard enough to be able to make a decision shortly.
    Mr. Speaker, I understand. However, I think it is very important that all of the French speakers are able to hear about the facts that were reported and the articles that were published in the English newspapers directly from a member.
    I will continue by quoting a few things from House of Commons Procedure and Practice, third edition. Chapter 7 very clearly states the following:
...the Speaker embodies the power and authority of the office, strengthened by rule and precedent. He or she must at all times show, and be seen to show, the impartiality required to sustain the trust and goodwill of the House.
    A new fact has come to light. Today, in the House, a political party asked the Speaker to step down. That is a new development that occurred after my colleague from Regina—Qu'Appelle raised the question of privilege.
    Chapter 7 of House of Commons Procedure and Practice also states the following: “In order to protect the impartiality of the office, the Speaker abstains from all partisan political activity”.
    To show how much I respect the fact that the Speaker asked me to be brief, I will end with this. The participation of the Speaker of the House of Commons in a partisan Liberal activity, whether at the federal, provincial or even municipal level—if there were municipal Liberal activities—is simply unacceptable. The Speaker must be the arbiter of House debates and deliberations.
    Mr. Speaker, for all these reasons, I ask that you rule in favour of the question of privilege put by the House leader for the opposition and member for Regina—Qu'Appelle.

[English]

    I thank the member for his intervention.
     We are down to the last couple of interventions. Let us make sure we stick to the points being put forward and that they are new points. If they are repetitive, I will shut them off and go to the next person so we can move on. I believe there are another couple of points of order to come after, and I want to make sure we are as judicious as possible with the time of this House.
    The hon. member for Saskatoon—University.
    Mr. Speaker, December 4, 2023, is a date that will be quoted in future rulings and references to the House, unfortunately.
    I do not enter this point of privilege debate willingly, but obviously, for all members of the House, this is a significant shot to our democracy. I will not go over the other points members have raised about the ethics violation and the conflict of interest decisions that have been ruled against this individual, but I will talk about my experience.
    As members may know, which might be new to some members of this chamber, I was honoured to be the 25th Speaker of the Saskatchewan legislature before coming here. I will speak a bit about my experience as Speaker of the Saskatchewan legislature and then how I found myself out here. I think it is important to really break down the role of Speaker.
    We all speak to different school groups, and when people come for tours of the legislatures or the House of Commons, they obviously have some of the same questions. If they sit in on question period, they all have questions afterwards, such as, “Why didn't the government answer this?” and “Why did this happen?” I think back to when I was Speaker—
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. This is all fascinating, but you did rule about staying focused. We do not need a history of people visiting the legislature. We need to know whether this was or was not a breach of the House.

  (1255)  

    I thank the hon. member for that intervention.
    Knowing that there are a number of speakers on this question, I will ask the hon. member to shorten up the history lesson. I know he was a great Speaker of the House in Saskatchewan, but I would ask him to get to his point.
    The member for Saskatoon—University.
    Mr. Speaker, I will make my remarks as short as possible, but they are important, because they boil down to what the issue is here today.
    When we explain what we do here and how Westminster democracy is supposed to work, we say it is through vigorous debate that we arrive at a conclusion and answer questions that face our country. How that debate is administered is through the impartial position of the Speaker. That is why Speakers have a distinctive look, a look that is different from that of other members. They have a uniform that identifies them as something different in this place. That is why pages have a uniform. That is why the officers at the table are wearing their robes, which signify how differently they need to act.
    The Speakers need to be the impartial rulers of our proceedings. That is one of the reasons they wear robes, the uniform. When school groups come here, we explain that in the process of debate, when the Speaker rises everyone should zip it because of the respect we have for whoever is in that position.
    After what we witnessed over the weekend, I do not know how we would explain to a school group on its next visit to this place how a Speaker can be impartial if they have taken part in a political partisan event. It is wrong. Everyone knows it is wrong.
    We talked about how this individual was a page at one time. There is a parliamentary tradition of trying to encourage the pages to take a side or give an opinion. I have been elected for two terms provincially and two terms federally and have not been able to get one partisan answer from any clerk or any page in both the legislature and the House of Commons because they take this seriously. When they go through training, they know they are not to partake in partisan activities because of the importance of their roles. For our Speaker to have this lapse in judgment and throw away hundreds of years of tradition to take part in a political event blows my mind.
    I will get into some new remarks on how I got to this location. As I was serving as the 25th Speaker of Saskatchewan, my country was hurting. Canada's direction was obviously taking us down a dark path. We could see this as early as 2018, and this is where—
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. We are hearing about the member's personal political journey, which is a filibuster. Could we just stay on point?
    Mr. Speaker, I know the NDP does not like anything to get in the way of the Liberal agenda, but this is not a filibuster; we are discussing and debating the actions of the Speaker.
    Nobody went home to their ridings Friday expecting this to happen. The Speaker chose to do this and has put the House in this situation. This is such a big deal that when the House does not have a Speaker, through a resignation or any other—
    The hon. member for Kitchener Centre is rising on a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, the fact is that the remarks we just heard were the history of the member's time getting to this House of Commons, which has nothing to do with what is meant to be spoken about on the floor of the House. I share the concern of other members and would like to see how we can get to closure on this and continue the business of the House.
    We are really getting into the weeds, I believe. I want to make sure we get to the issue of the question of privilege before us.
    Just to give the House a heads-up, there are a couple of other questions of privilege to be raised today, so I want to move through the next couple of stages to make sure I have the information available to render a decision.
    The hon. House leader for the opposition.

  (1300)  

    Mr. Speaker, very briefly in response to the Green Party's latest intervention, we are talking about judgment. It is not that we are debating a specific line in the Standing Orders. It is incredibly important that we hear the context of other members' experiences from other parliaments, because it is in that context that we can determine as a House whether or not a grave error in judgment was made by the Speaker.
    Mr. Speaker, maybe there are more I am not aware of, but my understanding is that we have three former Speakers in this chamber: the member for Regina—Qu'Appelle, the member for Nipissing—Timiskaming and the member who is speaking.
    I think it is important to hear from members with specific expertise on the role of the Speaker who have been Speakers. They understand the pressures on them far more than I do, as I have fortunately never had to take off my partisan colours for any reason.
    I want to hear what the member's experience is and what he has to say.
    Mr. Speaker, it is incredibly disappointing that other parties would suggest a Speaker's history, the understanding of the rules of this place and the essential elements that allow us to do our jobs—
    Let us not get into that.
    I need to remind members that the focus should be on demonstrating if there is sufficient evidence of a prima facie case and to stick to those particular points. If we have no further points to make in this particular case, we can move on to the next speaker.
    I will ask the member for Saskatoon—University to finish up for us, because there are a couple other people interested in speaking to this as well.
    Mr. Speaker, this is the context my colleagues were talking about.
    I was the 25th Speaker of the Saskatchewan legislature and I resigned. Why did I resign? It was to take part in a partisan event, a partisan meeting I could not attend because I was Speaker. That is the point. We should all be asking ourselves why the Speaker, knowing the rules, being the referee and being the subject expert on the rules, did not see the conflict in attending a partisan event.
    I was relatively new, as I had only served one term before becoming Speaker. The tradition of this place is that we elect someone who has served many terms or has shown a great grasp of the procedures and traditions of this place so that we do not find ourselves in the situation we find ourselves in today.
    December 4, 2023, is a date that will be repeated in this place. I feel that it is so important to have the respect of an impartial Speaker. All else does not matter in this place unless the Speaker is impartial.
    Mr. Speaker, I will be very brief. I just want to again reference the statement the Speaker made today. He said, “I would like to reassure members that the principles of respect, impartiality and decorum are values I continue to prioritize for my tenure as Speaker.” Those are not things one just says; those are things one actually has to do.
    I ask the Speaker to consider this: Should you not agree that this rises to the level of requiring a privilege motion, you will be saying that it is okay for Speakers to engage in these types of partisan activities. I do not want to see the special way the Speaker conducts himself or herself start to be eroded because of the actions that happened this weekend if the House does not take a decision on this.
    I believe I have enough to bring this back. I know the hon. House leader of the NDP is reserving some time to come back, so I want to make sure I have the opportunity to hear from the hon. member.
    I am going to urge the next two speakers to make sure they are trying to add to the point that this is a prima facie case and stick to the information, not to all the other points that members have been making.
    The hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan.

  (1305)  

    Mr. Speaker, I do want to address this question of privilege and speak to the international role of the Speaker, which I do not think has been raised by other members.
    The primary role of the Speaker, of course, is to preside over this chamber, and impartiality is crucial in his work in that regard. However, the Speaker also represents this chamber in various fora with respect to international work, with respect to Canadian diplomacy around the world.
     The parliamentary website specifically identifies the role of the Speaker in terms of international work and diplomatic functions. Just this year, a previous Speaker made numerous international trips: at the end of June, a trip to Italy and the Holy See; in April, a trip to Denmark and Sweden; and in March, a trip to Argentina and Chile, for example.
    The Speaker's impartiality is crucial for their role in international diplomacy and in their work around education and modelling democracy, in some cases, in countries where there are struggles with democracy, where institutions are more vulnerable to capture and to other kinds of pressures and problems.
    The reality and the presentation of impartiality are critical for a Speaker's work, representing this chamber diplomatically, seeking to promote democracy. I hope that is taken into consideration as well, as the question of privilege is evaluated; that is the Speaker's role internally as well as the Speaker's role externally, speaking on behalf of members and on behalf of the House.
    Frankly, it is a grave scandal that we would have a Speaker giving the appearance of active partisanship while in his or her position, because that member, subsequently, will be expected to travel to other countries, to speak about our institutions and, in fact, to make the case, in more troubled context, for the importance of impartial institutions, the importance of having independent election authorities, officers of Parliament, etcetera.
    If the Speaker is compromised with respect to perception of his or her authentic impartiality, if compromised in that perception domestically, it becomes very challenging for that Speaker to fulfill his or her function internationally. It is a critical issue for Canadian democracy, for our own ability to represent our constituents in Canada, but it is also a pressing and important issue in the projection and promotion of our values around the world.
    Again, I would just encourage you, Mr. Speaker, to take this element of the question into consideration as you prepare for your ruling.
    Mr. Speaker, for clarification, I was rushed by the NDP-Liberal coalition cover-up guys on my last statement about—
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. What we are hearing is a serious question. The member is just throwing out partisan junk. He was not talking about the question at hand. As Speaker, you have an obligation to ensure that this is not descending into partisanship, but that we are actually dealing with something very serious, which is the contempt of the House potentially by the Speaker.
    I would ask that this be kept on focus, rather than allowing the Conservatives to play games.
    I am trying my best to stick to the facts so this can come forward.
    Will the member for Saskatoon—University just give the clarification that he wants to give, please.
    Mr. Speaker, when I resigned as Speaker, that was before taking part in a partisan meeting, not after. It was not that I got caught being on the video screen at a national event for a partisan party; it was to take part in a federal nomination to be here. I could not take part in that partisan activity with that hat on—
    I thank the member for the clarification.
    The hon. member for Battle River—Crowfoot.
    Mr. Speaker, it is troubling that we are forced to have this discussion in this place. I will reference another privilege discussion that I observed a number of years ago under a previous Speaker, under a previous government. The reason I reference it will become very apparent shortly.
    It happened to be an NDP member at the time, who was on the opposition bench in the official opposition under former prime minister Stephen Harper and the then Conservative government. There was a discussion about the privileges of a member being violated because the security guards did not allow ease of access to the chamber in the old Centre Block, which, of course, is a little different circumstance than now. An extended discussion took place about the particular NDP member's ability to access the House of Commons and that in the likelihood that ability was hindered in any way, it would have been a violation of the member's privilege, a privilege that is guarded so dearly.
    Most people watching would hear of the idea of a question of privilege and probably have many questions about what the big deal is. When it comes to the privileges we have in this place, they are so carefully guarded, because that is the mechanism for which we are able to represent the people who send us here to perform our sacred duties.
    When it comes to the discussion that took place on that question of privilege on the few moments that an NDP member was unable to enter this place in a timely manner, which could have led to her not being able to perform her duties, there is a direct correlation to the discussion we are having here today because—

  (1310)  

    I rise on a point of order. I think you know what I am going to say, Mr. Speaker. You have already ruled on this. You have asked for this debate to end and for us to continue with the business of the House. Therefore, I would ask that happen now.
    I will caution the hon. member to get to the point because there are a number of things I want to get moving on. We are already a little over an hour into this question of privilege. I want to give it its due time, but I also want to take it back and then render a decision in the House as soon as possible as Deputy Speaker.
    The hon. member for Battle River—Crowfoot.
    Mr. Speaker, not very often will I defend the NDP whatsoever, but I find it interesting that the NDP would be opposed to an example that gets to the very heart of what we are discussing. In that case, it was the physical—
    The hon. member for Timmins—James Bay is rising on a point of order. I know what he is going to say, and it is about making the point. I did ask the hon. member to make that point.
    The hon. member for Timmins—James Bay.
    Mr. Speaker, we want to hear a ruling. This is a serious issue. What I am seeing, though, is like allowing a free pass to take partisan shots that are needless. If we are going to have a chamber that does the job of dealing with something as serious as this, I want to hear a ruling. I do not need to see this descend into this kind of partisan gamesmanship. I am asking you to bring the proper focus to this.
    Mr. Speaker, on that point of order, NDP members have stood multiple times now, giving cover to the government. At this point, we do not know what the NDP position is. We know what the positions of two of the parties are on this serious issue. Perhaps the next time the member stands, he can shed some light on whether the NDP is going to continue to cover for the Liberal government.
    I am going to go to the next individual. We are down to the last speakers on this question of privilege. I do want to cut this off because I am fully aware that time is going by.
    The hon. member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman.
    Mr. Speaker, on this question of privilege, I wanted to provide some extra information, because, like everyone else, I was shocked when I saw the Speaker in his robes addressing a leadership convention. I wanted to look at the use of the House of Commons resources as described under the bylaws of the Board of Internal Economy.
    Under “Parliamentary functions”, section 4(1), it says:
    The funds, goods, services and premises provided by the House of Commons to a Member under the Parliament of Canada Act, this By-law or any other by-law made under that Act may be used only for carrying out the Member’s parliamentary functions.
    It goes on to say, under “Partisan activities”, section 4(2):
    The funds, goods, services and premises provided by the House of Commons to a Member may be used by the Member for partisan activities only if those activities fall within the parliamentary functions of the Member.
    It goes on to say, “Not parliamentary functions”, under section 4(3), “For greater certainty, the following activities, when performed by a Member, are not parliamentary functions.” Clause (b) goes on to say:
activities related to the administration, organization and internal communications of a political party, including participation in a party leadership campaign or convention, solicitations of contributions and solicitations of membership to a political party;
    It further says under “Precision”:
    For greater certainty, a Member’s parliamentary or constituency office shall not be used as a meeting or organizational location in relation to any of the activities referred to in subsection (3).
    This is very clear, that all of us are prohibited from using our House of Commons resources, including our staff, our premises, being our offices, for any partisan activity.
    Here we have the Speaker himself using his office, dressed in his House of Commons Speaker robes, addressing a Liberal provincial leadership election.
    I lose complete faith and trust in the Speaker for violating the rules that he is supposed to enforce himself.

  (1315)  

    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the intervention by my colleague from Manitoba. I would simply say this. When it comes to the role that partisanship does play in the House, I, among many others, are known for their partisanship.
    I do find it troubling that there would be members of this place who would use a debate that is about defending the rights and privileges of members to represent their constituents, including when that partisanship takes place, which is why I very carefully selected the example I did about an NDP opposition member's ability to access the chamber. I make that quick connection to the debate that we are having here today.
    If members look at the back of their IDs, they will see the very clear rules of privileges and what parliamentary privilege means with respect to accessing the parliamentary precinct. A member's ability to access this place goes beyond simply the physical ability for us to walk into this chamber. It needs to ensure that members are able to, in an uninhibited fashion, trust the institutions and infrastructure of this place, including the role of the Speaker as the arbiter and a non-partisan voice that does not take preference over another.
    To sum this up very quickly, the actions of the Speaker have called into question whether myself or any other member of this place can truly trust the actions of the Chair to ensure that the role of the Speaker and the sacred obligation that this has within our parliamentary system is maintained. Without that, it devolves into something that truly does abuse our privileges.
    Mr. Speaker, just to add to my comments on the bylaws, I should also draw your attention to section 7, which says:
    Except as may be approved by the Board and subject to subsection (2), a Member may not use funds, goods, services and premises provided by the House of Commons for the benefit of any person, association or organization, or for the promotion of a product, service or event of any person, association or organization.
    This is very clear, that when the Speaker addressed the Liberal convention this past weekend, it was to the benefit of a third party. There needs to be actions taken to prevent that from ever happening again.
    I thank the hon. members for their interventions. I believe I have enough to take back. I am going to come back to the House on this one. There is a fair amount of information to look at, and it is incumbent on me to come back as quickly as possible on this.
    On a new question of privilege, the hon. House leader for the opposition is rising.
     Mr. Speaker, yes, this is a new issue.
    I am rising on a point of order, pursuant to Standing Order 69.1, to ask that you treat Bill C-59, an act to implement certain provisions of the fall economic—
    I am going to cut the member off because we have two other questions of privilege and I would like to get those out of the way before I go to a point of order. I apologize.
    On a question of personal privilege, we have the hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan.

Alleged Limiting of Members' Ability to Speak at Committee  

    Mr. Speaker, I am grateful for the opportunity, although grieved by the necessity of raising this.
    I am rising to draw the attention of the House to a violation of my privileges and the privileges of other members that relates to the provisions of Standing Order 116, which I will briefly read. It pertains to the work of committees:
     In a standing, special or legislative committee, the Standing Orders shall apply so far as may be applicable, except the standing orders as to the election of a Speaker, seconding of motions, limiting the number of times of speaking and the length of speeches.
    At the end of debate, which is the crucial point under (2)(a) and (b), it states:
(a) Unless a time limit has been adopted by the committee or by the House, the Chair of a standing, special or legislative committee may not bring a debate to an end while there are members present who still wish to participate. A [notice of the] decision of the Chair in this regard may not be subject to an appeal to the committee.
(b) A violation of paragraph (a) of this section may be brought to the attention of the Speaker by any member and the Speaker shall have the power to rule on the matter. If, in the opinion of the Speaker, such violation has occurred, the Speaker may order that all subsequent proceedings in relation to the said violation be nullified.
    I am taking advantage of the new opportunity that the provision offers members, which is to bring to the attention of the Speaker violations of privilege that have occurred in committee, in this case, at the natural resources committee.
    Of course, historically, it was not the case that such violations could be brought to the attention of the Chair, but there are new rules that, fortunately, in this context at least, provide us with an opportunity to bring the absolutely egregious behaviour of the member for Calgary Skyview, the Chair of the natural resources committee, to the attention of the Speaker and seek an appropriate remedy.
    On multiple occasions, the member for Calgary Skyview, who is the Chair of the natural resources committee, showed flagrant disregard for the rules and the rights of members in limiting the ability of members to speak, in arbitrarily imposing time limits, in depriving members of the floor when they had the floor, and in reassigning the floor. One member had the floor; he took the floor away from them and reassigned it to another member. These all had the effect—

  (1320)  

    Mr. Speaker, we know that the Conservatives are trying to talk the clock out, but if there is a question of privilege from a committee, it has to be brought from the committee. The member did not have that support, so he is trying to overrule the Chair of the committee, who made a ruling.
    It is up to you to, then, decide whether you are going to overrule the Chair of a committee to whom this was brought forward and who had the support of the majority of the committee. It would set a very bad precedent for the Speaker to allow the member to override a committee Chair. I do not think that is within our rules.
     Mr. Speaker, first of all, the member said it was a point of order. He was actually making arguments regarding the question of privilege, which he will have an opportunity to do. He is intimately involved in these proceedings and, I am sure, will have a great deal to say about it.
    I did begin my remarks, which maybe the member for Timmins—James Bay was not listening to, by mentioning that I am speaking in the context of the provisions of Standing Order 116(2)(a) and (b), provisions that, by the way, I mentioned in the discussion at the committee. The member may or may not recall that during some of the back and forth at the natural resources committee, I informed the Chair and the member for Timmins—James Bay, as well as other members, that they should be careful about whether or not they respect the rules, rights and privileges of members because, unlike what was the case in the past, there is now a provision of the Standing Orders whereby members can seek a remedy in the House.
    The member would be right most of the time, but he should have heeded my warnings in this case because I read Standing Order 116(2)a) and (b) to him and to other members in committee, and I have read them in the House again. They do speak to my right to highlight violations of privilege. If the member wants to speak to the issue later, he can. I, of course, think this is an extremely important issue of privilege.
     We see the complicity of the NDP; in fact, in some cases, the NDP is worse than the government in trying to shut down members of Parliament and deprive them of their right to speak. I think workers in the member's riding and across the country will take note of that.
     I would like to provide you with the evidence that I am speaking of in terms of how Standing Order 116(2)a) and (b) was violated in the proceedings of the natural resources committee. It was violated in a number of ways. The first instance was when the member for Peace River—Westlock was seeking to be added to the list of speakers and was in fact arbitrarily prevented from doing so. Committee rules allow any member who is present, even if they are not a regular member of the committee or a substitute, to be able to participate in the proceedings of the committee, with certain limited exceptions. They cannot vote, but they can participate by speaking, etc.
    I will draw the attention to the House of when the incident happened. It was 3:50 p.m. on October 31. This was a continuation of the meeting of the natural resources committee that began on October 1. Mr. Viersen had been seeking to have himself added to the list. I apologize. This will be challenging because I need to cite some evidence from the transcript. I know that in committees it is our convention to use surnames; of course, in the House, we do not use surnames. I will do my best to switch it over in every case, but I apologize for my error previously and I apologize in advance if I err again. I will do my best.
    Mr. Charlie Angus: Oh, oh!
    Mr. Garnett Genuis: Mr. Speaker, the member for Timmins—James Bay is very keen to get into this conversation. Frankly, I am sure he is embarrassed right now because his conduct at committee was—

  (1325)  

    Let us try not to take partisan shots at parties as we roll along. I am hearing a lot of chatter, but I am also hearing attacks happening as well. Let us just stick to the questions of privilege that we are trying to raise and try to use the time of the House as judiciously as possible.
    The hon. member for Timmins—James Bay is rising on a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, I just wanted to be clear. We know that if the Conservatives talked the clock to 1:30, the House would not be able to proceed with the business at hand. I was just asking to see the clock at 1:30 so we would not have to waste any more time, and—
    The member for Sarnia—Lambton is rising on a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, we have had continual interruptions and harassment from the member for Timmins—James Bay while we are trying to talk about a serious question of privilege.
    I am beginning to think that my privilege to listen to the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan is being infringed.
     I will once again remind members of the House of Commons to keep their comments to themselves if they possibly can so we can judiciously get through the questions of personal privilege that have been brought to the attention of the Speaker's Office in accordance with the rules.
    I urge the hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan to continue to make his point.
    Mr. Speaker, I certainly will, hopefully without interruptions.
    I share the outrage of the member for Sarnia—Lambton, although she should review some of the transcripts of the natural resources committee to realize how bad it can sometimes get with the member for Timmins—James Bay.
    In any event, I was sharing the evidence from October 31. This was at 3:50 p.m., and the Chair said, “I'd like to remind members that [the member for Peace River—Westlock] is not a substituting member of the committee, so I cannot acknowledge [he can sit at the table]”. The Chair then said, “When he does we will once that sub happens. Right now we will give the floor to [the member for Cypress Hills—Grasslands].” The member for Cypress Hills—Grasslands pointed out, “If [the member for Peace River—Westlock] wants to join this debate, even as not one of the four voting Conservatives members on this committee, he can do that. He's fully within his right to do that. If one of the independent members or a member from the Green—
    We have a point of order from the hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader.
    Mr. Speaker, I believe that the member is out of order in terms of bringing forward his question of privilege. There is no committee report before the House to be able to raise the issue that he is, in fact, raising. Some might believe that the member is trying to filibuster.
    Again, I urge everyone to stick to the points in order to make the prima facie case they are trying to make that it is a question of privilege.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. To ensure that we are following the rules in this place, which is the reason there are so many issues here today, I would refer the House to the 2017, the third, edition of Bosc and Gagnon. Regarding questions of privilege, it says, “Whenever any matter of privilege arises, it shall be taken into consideration immediately.” I therefore find it very troubling that the Liberals, and specifically their coalition partners in the NDP—

  (1330)  

    I will use my line here, and I need to make people aware that when they bring a question of privilege to the floor, the role of the Chair is to decide whether the matter merits priority over all other business. In making their preliminary arguments, members should briefly explain the background and the main facts that give rise to the question of privilege. The focus should be to demonstrate that there is sufficient evidence of a prima facie case.
    I would ask the hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan to make the case that this is actually a question of privilege, or we will have to move on.
    Mr. Speaker, I do appreciate the point that privilege has priority in this House. The Standing Orders do provide that when there is an issue at committee that involves the rights of members to speak, the ability of members to not be interrupted, the imposition of time limits and contravention of the rules or the orders adopted by that committee, that it is an issue that can be brought to the House. This is a new standing order: Standing Order 116(2)(a) and Standing Order 116(2)(b). It is new material in the Standing Orders, so the member for Winnipeg North and other members may not be familiar with it. It does not have, of course, the same history as other provisions because it is new.
    However, this clearly violated the privileges of members. It is being brought to the House because Standing Order 116 specifically invites members to bring such matters to the House. There were multiple instances, in fact, where the member for Calgary Skyview limited the ability of members to speak, interrupted them and stopped them from being able to move forward. I will go through those examples for your consideration, Mr. Speaker, and then look forward to your ruling after that.
    The member for Cypress Hills—Grasslands highlighted that in his view, the member for Peace River—Westlock should be able to join the debate. This was on October 31 at 3:30 p.m. He said, “ If one of the independent members or a member from the Green Party were to walk in and sit down at this table, they'd be able to join in this debate. This is a debate on a motion. It's not a substantive part of committee policy. Right now we're debating a motion, and they'd be able to join into the debate.” There was various back-and-forth among members about whether a member who is not subbed in can still participate in the debate on the motion. As members know, it is long established and consistent with Standing Order 116 on the application of the general rules of the House to committees that a member should be able to speak as part of a motion, regardless of whether they are subbed in.
    The chair ruled against the ability of members to do that and, as such, I raised a question of privilege on this matter in committee. I draw members' attention to about the 4:20 p.m. to 4:25 p.m. mark on October 31. This speaks to the second issue of limiting time. I was given the floor to speak by the chair, following a request from the member for Lakeland about the speaking order. It was at that time that I sought to move a question of privilege with respect to the operations of the committee.
    The member for Lakeland said, “Chair, just so we can all have confidence, can you review the speaking list again?” Subsequently, the chair said that the speaking list was me and then the member for Timmins—James Bay. Therefore, at 4:25 p.m. on October 31, I was able to take the—
     There is a point of order from the hon. member for Kitchener Centre.
    Mr. Speaker, I am here in the House of Commons today to try to make progress on the priorities of my constituents. I understand this is a very serious question of privilege. I have attempted for the last five minutes to listen to what the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan is saying and tried to understand how it relates to the original question of privilege being raised, and I cannot see it. Mr. Speaker, can you help me understand the connection between what is being shared right now and the original question of privilege, which was raised an hour and 35 minutes ago?

  (1335)  

    Yes, this is on a committee question of privilege. I am looking at the hon. member and hoping that he can make his point quickly enough because we do have a couple of other things that we would like to do before question period.
    The hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan.
    Mr. Speaker, there have been a number of matters that happened at the natural resources committee. I am going through them, but it is important to say that there were multiple instances and multiple ways the chair violated the privileges of members, in violation of Standing Order 116. Just to clarify for my esteemed colleague—
    We have a point of order from the hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader.
    Mr. Speaker, the House of Commons has 20-some standing committees and there are all sorts of things that take place in the standing committees. My concern is that the member is trying to set a precedent here by bringing something when there is no report that has come from the standing committee. Therefore, this could be used as a potential tool going forward, which would be very destructive to the discussions and the debates that should be taking place in the chamber.
    I would ask, Mr. Speaker, that you have the member get right to the point. It should not be taking 15 or 20 minutes. Maybe he could try to curtail it to two or three minutes so that we can get on to what I understand is yet another question of privilege and then another point of order from the Conservative Party.
    Mr. Speaker, I am very concerned that the member opposite who just spoke is not taking seriously that members were not allowed to speak at committee, and that the committee chair ignored the whole situation. That is why it had to be brought here to the House.
    Hopefully we can come to a quick resolution. Perhaps the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan could table all the different examples for your review, sir.
    I would appreciate maybe having a conversation with the hon. member afterwards, to get the specific points. I would hope that the hon. member would get specifically to the accusations that he has, and what the remedy might be, knowing full well that we have a couple of other questions of privilege that we would like to get to as well.
    The hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, please get to the point.
    Mr. Speaker, I am doing my best but I am constantly interrupted.
    Standing Order 116 directs us to bring these matters to the attention of the House. I believe the member for Winnipeg North supported the addition of Standing Order 116(2)(a) and (b). This was a proposal from the previous government House leader, I believe. He could propose further changes to the Standing Orders, if he does not believe that members should be able to bring these matters to the House.
    Here is what happened at 4:25 p.m. on October 31, at the natural resources committee. I began to speak. I was given the floor. The chair said that he was going to ask all members; there was myself and then the member for Timmins—James Bay. I began to speak. At the time I said that I would seek to move a privilege motion at committee regarding the breach of privilege for the member for Peace River—Westlock. I said that the chair had breached his privileges by refusing to allow him to speak on Bill C-69.
    I would ask the Speaker to review the record regarding the breach of privilege as it pertains to the member for Peace River—Westlock.
    This is not the only instance. At 4:25 on October 31, I took the floor and spoke to the matter of privilege. There were various repeated interruptions as I sought to make the argument. I, nonetheless, continued to make the argument in the midst of those various efforts to silence those arguments regarding the privilege.
    The chair did not, at the time, issue a specific ruling about whether or not this was, in his view, a matter pertaining to privilege. As members know, if a question of privilege is raised at committee, the chair then makes a determination, if he sees it as being a matter relating to privilege. If he deems it to be so, then a debate ensues on privilege.
    The chair did not specifically say that he considered it a matter pertaining to privilege, although my understanding at the time was that it was a matter pertaining to privilege and he had deemed it so, because he allowed the debate to continue.
    Again, I go to, at 5:05, the chair, the member for Calgary Skyview saying that I had the floor, where I left off. At that point I continued and the debate continued. Actually, it continued through until the end of the meeting on October 31, and then it resumed, the same meeting of the natural resources committee resumed on November 1. I still had the floor.
    The chair said that when we concluded the last meeting, I had the floor and he wanted to provide me the opportunity, and asked whether I would like to cede the floor or continue. I said that upon serious reflection of the matter, I had decided I would like to keep the floor because I had more to say and would do so.
    Thus, I continued on the point. This was on November 1. Subsequently, the chair, I gather having maybe learned some rules that he had not previously been aware of, and of which there are a good many, said much later—

  (1340)  

    I know the committee has been in this debate since, I believe, October 30, the day before my birthday, including my birthday and a whole bunch of days after it. I just want to say that if we are going to read the account of what is happening in there, I think it would be best if I go back and read through the Hansard.
    I wonder if the hon. member could get to what the remedy could be and what his request is for this question of privilege.
    Mr. Speaker, I will skip forward to give the highlights.
    The chair then retroactively ruled that the matter that we had been discussing for more than a day was in fact no longer a question of privilege. He said that given that committees are empowered to limit the participation of non-members, it was his opinion that the objections raised by the member constituted a point of order and did not touch on parliamentary privilege.
    Therefore, the chair prevented me from moving the privilege motion. I did not agree with—
    The hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader on a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, this is becoming somewhat laughable and very serious at the same time. The Speaker just asked the member to point out a remedy. Everything he is quoting is already in Hansard; the Speaker can reference it. I would ask that he listen to his last instruction from the Speaker and get to the point of the matter as opposed to continuing with a filibuster on the floor of the House.
    I agree with the hon. member in this particular case. There are a couple of other things we need to hit: the hon. member for St. Albert—Edmonton has a point that we would like to address and the hon. member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman has a comment on a previous point.
    I am going to ask the hon. member to get to the remedy.
    The hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan has the floor.
    Mr. Speaker, if this is the wish of the House, then I would simply commend to the Speaker the reading of all of the blues that came from the natural resources committee. I will not cite the evidence then if the Speaker is not interested in hearing the evidence, but I thought it might in fact save time—
    It is not that I am not interested in hearing the evidence. It is that I know there is a lot of evidence there, so if the hon. member was going to quote all of the evidence, we would be here until next Thursday. I really do not want that. I am responsible to the hon. members and the order we have and the agenda we are trying to keep.
    The hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan may continue.
    Mr. Speaker, the point is that the floor was taken away from me. I had the floor, I tried to raise a question of privilege and the Chair said I could not, which I did not agree with. That is one issue in terms of privilege. Secondarily, the Chair then said that he would go to the member for Timmins—James Bay and give him the floor.
    In the middle of a member speaking who has not moved any motion, which I tried to do but was not able to, when the member has the floor through proper means and the Chair has recognized the member on multiple occasions as having the floor, the Chair cannot simply take the floor away and decide to give it to the next member on the list. That is very clearly imposing a time limit, contrary to Standing Order 116.
    In this instance, we saw multiple violations of privileges of members through the limiting of their ability to speak, in one case involving the member for Peace River—Westlock not being able to put his name on the list. The Chair, at that time, did not consider it a matter pertaining to privilege, even though it clearly did. Second, when I had the floor, the Chair took the floor away from me. The Chair can review the evidence and see all that.
    I will raise a final issue, which is that the member for Timmins—James Bay used clearly unparliamentary language in committee, accusing members of lying. This was brought to the attention of the Chair, and the Chair ruled that it was perfectly fine for the member for Timmins—James Bay to use that kind of unparliamentary language under those circumstances. It was really unprecedented that the member for Calgary Skyview, as Chair, would hear members who are part of his own coalition using clearly unparliamentary language in committee and that he would allow those members to persist in using that language. It is quite horrifying and also violates the privileges of members, although maybe it is not as clear whether that is a matter that can be raised in the House and relates to standing orders 116(2)(a) and 116(2)(b), though the first two points very clearly do.
    Mr. Speaker, you had asked about the appropriate remedy for these violations of privilege. I think there is some clear direction in standing orders 116(2)(a) and 116(2)(b) regarding the remedy that would be appropriate under the circumstances. The Standing Orders again say:
    (2)(a) Unless a time limit has been adopted by the committee or by the House, the Chair of a standing, special or legislative committee may not bring a debate to an end while there are members present who still wish to participate. A decision of the Chair in this regard may not be subject to an appeal to the committee.
(b) A violation of paragraph (a) of this section may be brought to the attention of the Speaker by any member and the Speaker shall have the power to rule on the matter. If, in the opinion of the Speaker, such violation has occurred, the Speaker may order that all subsequent proceedings in relation to the said violation be nullified.
    Various violations of privilege have occurred in the course of debate on the motion at the natural resources committee. At a minimum, the first remedy I would suggest would be that you nullify subsequent proceedings that took place at the natural resources committee and restore the floor to me, so I can continue with the remarks that I was planning to make at the time.
    Secondarily, it is a grave problem when we have chairs of committees who show such flagrant disregard for the rules as we have seen by the member for Calgary Skyview. I suggest you call to order chairs of committees who allow unparliamentary language to be used, violate rules and take the floor away from some members. In addition to the remedy specifically prescribed in Standing Order 116(2)(b)—

  (1345)  

    We have enough information to review this. We will try to come back as soon as possible on this. When we specifically look at nullifying, “If...such violation has occurred, the Speaker may order that all subsequent proceedings in relation to the said violation be nullified”, we need to look closely at what has happened and Standing Order 116. I thank the hon. member for his intervention.
    I will go to the hon. member for St. Albert—Edmonton for his question of privilege.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege, having given the appropriate notice pursuant to Standing Order 48(2). It pertains to a breach of a committee order of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs for the production of documents regarding the incident in the galleries on September 22, during the address by the Ukrainian president. That incident, of course, involved the recognition by the Speaker of a former soldier of the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS.
    It is an incident that brought enormous shame on this House. It caused significant international embarrassment and enormous hurt to Jewish Canadians and, indeed, Jews around the world. It showed a total lack of respect for the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces, who fought valiantly in World War II, including 45,000 Canadians who gave their lives to secure freedom and to defeat the evil Nazis. It demonstrated disrespect to the memory of six million Jews who were murdered at the hands of the Nazis during the Holocaust.
    This incident in the galleries constituted perhaps the greatest in a long list of international embarrassments caused by the Prime Minister, who is himself an international embarrassment.
    In order to get to the bottom of this egregious incident that happened under the watch of the Prime Minister on September 22, I moved a motion at the procedure and House affairs committee. For some context, I will read the relevant parts of the motion.
    It called for the production of documents. More specifically, at paragraph (B), it provided as follows:
...an order do issue for all e-mails, memoranda or other documents transmitted between the Speaker’s Office or the House of Commons Administration, on the one part, and any government department or agency, including the Prime Minister’s Office or any other minister’s office, as well as the House Leaders of all recognized parties and their offices, on the other part, in relation to the Address of the President of Ukraine, including but not limited to reference to the name “Yaroslav Hunka”, and the arrangements concerning it, provided that these shall be deposited with the clerk of the committee, in both official languages and without redaction, within ten days....
    That motion was adopted after considerable obstruction by the Liberals on the procedure and House affairs committee, no doubt to shield the Prime Minister from accountability for this embarrassing incident. It was adopted nonetheless, at the end of November. I do not have the date, but I can assure the Speaker that the deadline, the 10-day period for documents to be produced, including from the Privy Council Office and the Prime Minister's Office, came and went as of December 1.
    Conservatives complied with the motion—

  (1350)  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I think it is really important to recognize that there is no report from the standing committee. Therefore, it is questionable that the member would stand up and have a privilege issue when there does not seem to be any issue that he can raise.
    Yes, I would ask the member to report that. Speakers have consistently ruled that, except in the most extreme situations, they will hear questions of privilege arising from committee proceedings only upon presentation of a report from the committee that deals directly with the matter.
    I would ask the hon. member for St. Albert—Edmonton to get to that particular point, so I can rule one way or another.
    Mr. Speaker, to your point about exceptional circumstances, that is consistent with a ruling of Speaker Fraser on March 26, 1990. I would submit that if there ever were an instance in which there are exceptional circumstances, it is in regard to this matter.
    This, after all, goes to the heart of the administration of the House and protocols that were breached, causing enormous embarrassment to all members.
    On that basis, I would submit that the failure of the Prime Minister's Office and the PCO and other relevant departments controlled by the Prime Minister to turn over documents within the 10 days is a matter that is quite appropriately raised in the House in the absence of a committee report. An extraordinary set of circumstances led to the commencement of this study in the first place. Moreover, I would remind you, Mr. Speaker, that this resulted in the resignation of the former speaker, indeed, underscoring the degree to which this matter is extraordinary.
    Before I was interrupted by the parliamentary secretary to the government House leader, I would note that the power—

  (1355)  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The member has still not justified this. The member is talking about something in order to try to amplify it as if it justified this, but that is somewhat debatable at the very best. There is no report. Therefore, the member should not be rising to make his case at this point. Once the report is actually tabled, then he would be in a much better position to do so.
    Letting the member continue encourages the abuse of our tradition inside the House. Even given a quote from 30-plus years ago, it is not justified.
    I am going to give a 20-year-old quote. In 2003, Speaker Milliken said:
    In the absence of a report from the committee on such an issue, it is virtually impossible for the Chair to make any judgement as to the prima facie occurrence of a breach of privilege with regard to such charges.
    I would say to the hon. member that I would wait for the report to be tabled in this chamber and to bring the point of privilege back to the floor at that time.
    The hon. member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman had a comment on a previous report.

Awarding of Contract to Boeing  

    Mr. Speaker, I am rising today to add to the question of privilege raised by the member for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot on Friday, December 1. This is the first opportunity for the official opposition to address it.
    The member for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot was talking in quite a bit of detail about the potential misleading of the House by the Minister of National Defence and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence as it related to answers in question period. Intentionally misleading the House is always a grave matter, and countless Speakers have ruled that it is essential to our democracy that information provided to Parliament be accurate and complete.
    I think it is important to put on the record other examples that were found to be prima facie questions of privilege.
    On February 1, 2002, the Speaker ruled on a matter in regard to the former minister of national defence. The former hon. member for Portage—Lisgar alleged that the former minister of national defence deliberately misled the House as to when he knew that prisoners who were taken by Canadian JTF 2 troops in Afghanistan had been handed over to the Americans.
    In support of that allegation, he cited the minister's responses in question period on two successive dates. The Speaker considered the matter and found that there was a prima facie case of privilege. He said, “The authorities are consistent about the need for clarity in our proceedings and about the need to ensure the integrity of the information provided by the government to the House.”
    The authorities to which Speaker Milliken was referring included, but were not limited to, House of Commons Procedure and Practice, second edition, which states on page 115, “Misleading a Minister or a Member has also been considered a form of obstruction and thus a prima facie breach of privilege.”
    The Speaker in 2002 accepted the minister's assertion that he had no intention to mislead the House and made the following statement: “Nevertheless this remains a very difficult situation.” The Speaker went on to say, “ On the basis of the arguments presented by hon. members and in view of the gravity of the matter”—

  (1400)  

    We will continue this after question period.

Statements by Members

[Statements by Members]

[English]

African Development Network

    Mr. Speaker, from November 17 to 19, the Africa Development Network, which aims to foster socio-economic development and collaboration between Canada and Africa, organized the impact diaspora forum. It brought together the Afro-descendant diaspora, global business delegates, Canadian and African policy-makers, diplomats and Canadian entrepreneurs keen on African ventures. Focusing on Canada-Africa trade, the summit aimed to boost economic ties.
    I was happy to host the conference on Parliament Hill. Participants included experts and professionals, including Dr. Michel Hamala Sidibé, who is the African Union special envoy for the African Medicines Agency and the former under-secretary-general of the United Nations.
    I would like to recognize the hard work of André Azambou and Franklin Epape, who promoted the African Development Network. I am glad that our federal government has provided funding to this organization.

Gender-Based Violence

    Mr. Speaker, everyone has the right to feel safe in their communities. Today, I rise to bring awareness to the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence.
    I know families in my riding that depend on transitional housing and that have endured the cycle of violence. I also know too many who have lost their lives to gender-based violence. Their stories inform my work and advocacy while also supporting crisis groups in my community, such as Armagh House, Nisa Homes and Safe Centre of Peel, which recently expanded to Mississauga.
    I am proud to be part of a government that cares deeply about this issue. We have built a national action plan to end gender-based violence, invested billions to address homelessness, dedicated housing funds for families fleeing violence and much more.
    It is not enough. We must act every day across our society until gender-based violence is no more.

Terry Summach

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today, along with the member for Prince Albert, to pay tribute to one of Canada's agricultural leaders, who passed away recently. Terry Summach took over the family business, Flexi-Coil, at the age of 21 due to his father's passing. Terry's business skill and ingenuity helped him grow this manufacturing business into a major Saskatoon company, employing thousands of people over the years. Flexi-Coil was so successful that Case New Holland acquired it and continues to manufacture planting and seeding equipment in Saskatoon to this day.
    My colleague and I both had the privilege of working for Terry at Flexi-Coil and owe much of our work ethic, creativity and risk-taking to Terry's training and leadership. More than anything, Terry cared about people and investing all he could into them. His impact lives on in the lives of his direct family and the massive indirect family that he mentored and helped along the way. His impact has also been felt in Canada and around the world through his many charitable endeavours.
    Terry's unwavering faith in Jesus Christ was his rock. He lived his entire life with God at the centre.
    Well done to Terry. He will be missed.

[Translation]

50th Anniversary of the Rimouski Conservatory of Music

    Mr. Speaker, this year the Rimouski Conservatory of Music is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Since 1973, the conservatory has been kindling and cultivating the spark of music in talented people in the Lower St. Lawrence region. Many of its students have gone on to become locally, nationally and internationally renowned musicians, which speaks to the quality of the instruction that is provided.
    Above all, our conservatory is a music school on a human scale, deeply rooted in the artistic and creative vitality of the Lower St. Lawrence. “Anchored in the community” is the theme of the festivities showcasing this fruitful relationship between the conservatory and the region's cultural community.
    I want to thank the visionary community builders who gave life to this wonderful venture. I thank the teachers and staff who earnestly carry on this vision. I thank the former and current students who are showing Quebec and the world what the Lower St. Lawrence is made of. Long live the Rimouski Conservatory of Music.

[English]

Myles Goodwyn

    Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotia lost one of its own yesterday. Myles Goodwyn of Canada's legendary band April Wine has passed away. For decades, Myles and April Wine have ruled the airwaves in Canada. Not a day goes by that Canadian radio does not play their classics.
    A proud Nova Scotian and Waverley boy, Myles and his band regularly crossed Canada coast to coast to coast, playing high schools, rinks, arenas and all the way up to stadiums at their peak, leaving behind a catalogue of Canadiana. From Say Hello and Rock N' Roll is a Vicious Game to Roller and Just Between You and Me, they have had dozens and dozens of hits that members probably know all the words to.
    One of the honours of my life was introducing the band in front of thousands of Nova Scotians at Alderney Landing in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, last year. Oh, what a night.
    I thank Myles for being an amazing ambassador for Nova Scotia, for all the music and for the stacks of vinyl records that I still play and enjoy to this day.

  (1405)  

Speaker of the House of Commons

    Mr. Speaker, one of the greatest honours of my careers was when my colleagues trusted me to be the 25th Speaker of the Saskatchewan legislature.
    The role of Speaker of the House is one of the most important roles in Westminster democracy. Without the Speaker, this place could not function, and without the trust and support of his colleagues on both sides of the chamber, the Speaker cannot perform his duties. That is why, when I looked at what was going on in Ottawa, decided I had to do my part to stop it and entered federal politics, I first resigned my post as Speaker of the Saskatchewan legislature so there would be no hint of partiality and no hint of partisanship, which could damage the office of the Speaker.
    The decision the Speaker of the House Commons made to speak at a partisan event dishonours and damages this chamber. The conduct is simply inexcusable. It defies all long-standing traditions and expectations attached to the high office of Speaker. The Speaker cannot be allowed to set a precedent, and he will have to take real, concrete steps to mend the trust he has broken.

Fundraiser in Whitehorse

    Mr. Speaker, we are watching with horror the tragedies of the ongoing war in the Middle East. Many Yukoners have expressed to me how helpless they feel in such a dire situation, and everyone wants the daily violence to stop.
    With this sentiment and in the spirit of peace, leaders of our territory's Muslim, Jewish and Christian communities took action. In true Yukon fashion, compassionate and kind, they organized a fundraiser for Gaza, which was held at the local United Church. Hundreds turned up. Yukoners of many faiths, ethnicities and backgrounds gathered to share food, to talk and to listen to local musician Andrea McColeman. Over $13,000 was raised and donated to humanitarian relief efforts in Gaza. In the words of one of the organizers, “The warmth of Whitehorse was on display in its full splendor on that frigid day.”
    I am so very proud of the organizers' efforts and thank every Yukoner who attended and showed their support. In this terrible time of violence, it was a beautiful reminder that unity is our greatest tool for peace.

Lupus Canada

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to welcome representatives of Lupus Canada here today. Over one in a thousand Canadians is impacted by lupus, but because of its varied symptoms, diagnosis is a time-consuming and challenging process, currently taking seven years on average. Many patients face challenges in accessing proper care and getting timely and effective treatment plans.
    Lupus Canada’s mission is dedicated to advancing research, championing advocacy, fostering public awareness and providing lupus-related education. This mission enables it to effect meaningful change and make a tangible impact for those living with lupus and their families, caregivers and loved ones.
    I am proud that through the community services recovery fund, this government has provided over $100,000 to support Lupus Canada to adapt its operations so that it can continue its important mission. I thank Lupus Canada for all that it does.

Religious Symbols in Public Spaces

    Mr. Speaker, faith is an important part in the lives of millions of Canadians. The presence of religious symbols and ceremonies in public spaces, particularly during occasions like Hanukkah, Christmas and many others, has long been a way for Canadians to celebrate the values of our communities.
    For two decades, the menorah has been proudly displayed at Moncton City Hall in partnership with its Jewish community, yet the mayor of Moncton announced on Friday that it would not happen this year. I urge Mayor Dawn Arnold to reconsider her decision. There is still time to do the right thing.
    We are seeing a rise in anti-Semitism and hate toward Jews in Canadian streets. This is utterly unacceptable. Now is the time to stand in solidarity with the Jewish people. The spirit of Hanukkah, a festival that celebrates freedom and the triumph of light over darkness, is a reminder of the values that all Canadians share across this country.

  (1410)  

Persons with Disabilities

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday marked the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, a time to recognize their pivotal contribution to Canada and recommit to removing barriers and enhancing inclusion.
    The Canada disability benefit serves as the cornerstone of our government's disability inclusion action plan, which will support financial security for those living with disabilities. In our commitment to inclusivity, we have taken the next step in implementing this benefit with the launch of the CDB regulations online engagement tool, which will give all Canadians the opportunity to have their say in the development of the benefit's regulations. My office has actively invited community members and local organizations that serve persons with disabilities in Richmond Hill, such as CAYR, OpenMind Alliance and L'Arche Daybreak, to take part in this consultation to help inform the development and design of the benefit's regulations.
    As we commemorate this important day, we must remember that the prosperity of our community is reliant on the social and economic inclusion of people with disabilities and that we must continue to work together to create a Canada that includes everyone.

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is just not worth the cost. Under the Liberal-NDP costly coalition, Canadians are paying, on average, 66% of their income just to keep a roof over their head, and in a lot of instances that is all it is.
    With the other 34% going to pay taxes for the Prime Minister's reckless and out-of-control spending, Canadians have nothing left for food and other needs and many are at risk of losing their homes.
    It was not that long ago that it took 25 years to pay off a mortgage. Under the current Prime Minister, it takes 25 years to save up for a down payment. Under the Prime Minister, the cost of housing has gone up more in the past eight years than the previous 148 years. That is not surprising given that he has racked up more than every other single government previous to him combined.
    Thankfully, the Conservatives have a solution. Rather than Canadians losing their houses, why not have an election so Canadians can throw the Liberal government out of this House? A Conservative government will fix what the Prime Minister has broken.

Automotive Industry

    Mr. Speaker, have members ever known people who have said they would have their backs and then immediately folded under pressure, or who said they would be there for them and never were?
     Canadian workers are discovering that the federal NDP are exactly that. The NDP has the consistency of Alcibiades. The NDP has the strength and steadfastness of a broken felt hat.
    We have learned that the Stellantis EV battery manufacturing plant in Windsor plans to hire hundreds of foreign replacement workers. EV battery plants will receive more than $40 billion in subsidies. Rather than creating powerful paycheques for Canadians, the Liberals are funding foreign replacement workers with hard-earned Canadian taxpayer dollars.
    The leader of the NDP initially joined Conservatives in calling for the contracts to be released, but the member for Windsor West has now done a complete 180 and proposed allowing EV companies and unions to redact the contracts. Just a little Liberal filibustering and the NDP is quickly looking for the exits.
    The Conservatives will stand our ground, defend workers and demand the public release of these contracts. What will the NDP do?

[Translation]

Arthur J. LeBlanc

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate the Hon. Arthur J. LeBlanc on his successful term as the 33rd Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia.
    Appointed to the post in 2017, he is the first Acadian to represent the Crown in the province, and the first francophone since 1713.
    His Honour practised law for more than 30 years, specializing in civil matters.
    Among his many notable distinctions, I would like to highlight the appointment of His Honour as Queen's Counsel in 1983 and as a Nova Scotia Supreme Court justice in 1998.
    I would like to thank His Honour for his dedication to the people of Nova Scotia and for the cultural impact he has made by proudly showcasing his Acadian heritage. I would also like to thank his wonderful wife, Patsy.

  (1415)  

[English]

Housing

    [Member spoke in Inuktitut, interpreted as follows:]
    Mr. Speaker, indigenous peoples are still experiencing genocide. We are told this by the government, the investments made to Inuit, first nations and Métis.
    The Government of Nunavut needs $250 million just to catch up to the urgent housing needs. To date, there is no response from the government. The Chiefs of Ontario have said they need $58.9 billion in operation and maintenance costs.
    There are Métis nations seeking their right to self-government be recognized.
    Indigenous peoples' rights must be respected. These investments are well below what is needed to address the needs.
    I remind all indigenous peoples to stand up, to speak up and to show their strength.

[Translation]

Ginette Faucher

    Mr. Speaker, when it comes to recreation and the community, social and cultural life of Beauport, Le Pivot has been a veritable institution in our area for more than 40 years. The beating heart and most faithful employee of this essential organization is its executive director, Ginette Faucher.
    Ginette is well rounded, resourceful, cheerful, honest and resilient. She is unstoppable and undaunted by any challenge. After 41 years of selfless dedication to Le Pivot, my friend Ginette will be stepping down, while the organization carries on meeting the growing needs of our community.
    She can leave with pride in a job well done, after sparing no effort for the good of our community and its residents. On behalf of the thousands of people she helped, I thank her. I wish her all the best in the years to come, which I am sure will be filled with activity.

[English]

Carbon Tax

    Mr. Speaker, we all know those downtown Liberals would get a nosebleed if they went north of Davis Drive, but it is still ridiculous that they think York—Simcoe is Toronto.
     Because the Liberals are so out of touch, rural small-town communities like Georgina, the ice-fishing capital of Canada; Bradford West Gwillimbury; East Gwillimbury; the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation; and even farmers in the soup and salad bowl of Canada must pay more in carbon taxes than Canadians elsewhere in the country.
     While the Liberals have carved out a few rural communities from paying more, others are being left behind. The government is once again picking and choosing who suffers from the carbon tax the most, based on its own political considerations. Now, it is quadrupling it.
     Will the Prime Minister stop punishing rural Canadians and finally get rid of the carbon tax on farmers, families and first nations?

Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs

    Mr. Speaker, tomorrow and Wednesday, the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs will be in Ottawa for their annual “Chiefs on the Hill” days.

[Translation]

     Representing approximately 3,200 fire departments from across Canada, the fire chiefs will be here to raise awareness about fire safety issues that are of vital importance to our communities, and to update us on the state of fire and emergency preparedness in Canada.

[English]

    After the record wildfire season we have just had, I encourage all of my colleagues to take the time to meet with the chiefs to learn about the challenges our fire services are facing and hear their recommendations on how we can address these, including by increasing the volunteer firefighter tax credit, which is a measure I strongly support and have been advocating for.

[Translation]

    The fire chiefs will also take the opportunity to present the results of the Great Canadian Fire Census 2023.

  (1420)  

[English]

    I hope members will all join me at the CAFC reception tomorrow night to welcome our Canadian fire chiefs to the Hill.

Oral Questions

[Oral Questions]

[Translation]

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, for the first time in 60 years, rents are rising faster than wages, according to the Bank of Montreal. That is the reality after eight years of this Prime Minister, who has doubled rents, doubled mortgage payments and doubled down payment requirements.
    Will the Prime Minister finally watch my groundbreaking, hard-hitting documentary to see a common-sense plan to get rid of the red tape and taxes and build homes people can afford?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it is a shame that the hon. member does not put as much energy into generating housing policies as he does to generating housing videos.
    The reality is that when I actually look at the measures he is putting forward, including in the video, they will result in fewer homes being constructed than we are already on pace to build. He plans to put the GST back on some home construction. He plans to cut funding for cities that are trying to build more housing. He plans for Canada to get out of the homebuilding game altogether.
    We will make the investments necessary to build more homes, not a strategy to cut home funding like the Conservatives would.
    Mr. Speaker, he clearly did not watch my common-sense documentary, which is being widely acclaimed by all. If he had, he would know the facts.
     Our common-sense plan would take the GST off for apartments that are affordable, below-average cost. He wants to take it off just for $10 million penthouses. We want to take the bureaucracy out of the picture so home builders can build. He has a $4 billion fund that, according to the City of Halifax, is funding more bureaucratic gatekeepers.
    Why will he not watch the documentary, follow the common-sense plan to get rid of the taxes and bureaucracy, and build more homes?
    Mr. Speaker, it is fascinating. For him, it is about how many people are going to watch his Twitter videos. For me, it is about how many people are going to have a roof over their head.
    The right path forward is going to have Canada make investments in home building, not cuts to home builders. The right investment will reduce taxes on the construction of homes, not put taxes on them.
    The right path forward will not repeat the mistakes of the past by cutting funding for affordable housing for 30 years, as that hon. member pledges to do. We will make the investments. We will not accept that cuts are the right approach.
    Mr. Speaker, here is the reality. People do not have roofs over their heads. After eight years of the Prime Minister and his housing minister of photo ops and media puff pieces, the rent has doubled, mortgage payments have doubled and down payments have doubled.
    In his own home province, in Halifax, they now have 30 homeless encampments. Nine out of 10 young people say that they will never be able to afford a home. What have the Liberals done? They have created a $4 billion housing accelerator that two years later has not completed a single, solitary house.
    Why will the Liberals not get rid of the bureaucracy and the taxes so we can bring homes Canadians can afford?
    Mr. Speaker, the irony, when I take criticism about photo ops from that member, is shocking, because he continues to use his opportunities to travel around the country on the government's dime to take pictures in front of projects that our government funded.
    The reality is that the fund he is talking about has secured agreements that will change the way cities are built, not just in Halifax but in Moncton, Kitchener, Kelowna, Calgary, Vaughan, Brampton, Richmond Hill, London, Hamilton, the province of Quebec, and I will continue the more time he gives me.
    Mr. Speaker, all those homes in all those cities that he is talking about are all open concept. They have no walls, no windows, no roofs, no basements, no kitchens, no bathrooms. Other than that, they are the best homes we could imagine, and we will have to imagine them, because after eight years, they still do not exist.
    Instead of pouring billions of dollars into local government gatekeepers who block construction, why will he not follow my common-sense plan to require cities to boost housing construction by 15% a year or lose their money, unless they beat the target and get a building bonus? That is common sense.

  (1425)  

    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's argument falls apart when we come to understand that he ignores the good work that has been done since the national housing strategy was adopted in 2017. There are hundreds of thousands of homes that exist today that have been built or retrofitted as a direct result of government supports that have put them in place.
     When we actually look at what the hon. member's policy would do, it would raise taxes on middle-class home construction. It would cut funding to cities that desperately need the infrastructure so they can build more homes. He would remove support for affordable housing altogether, which is a cardinal sin we cannot repeat after a 30-year history when we should have learned those lessons.
    Mr. Speaker, the member says it is a cardinal sin.
    It is time for that member to make a confession. Since 2017, when they brought in this program, housing costs have doubled. Rent has doubled. Mortgage payments have doubled. The needed down payments have all doubled.
    My common-sense plan, which is in a 15-minute documentary he can watch between photo ops while he is being chauffeured around, would ensure that cities have to permit 15% more homes to keep their funding. It would take taxes off construction, including carbon taxes off of building materials. It would require CMHC bureaucrats to quickly approve financing or lose their bonuses and get fired.
    This is a common-sense plan. Why will he not get working to implement it?
    Mr. Speaker, I am fond of the hon. member's soliloquies on biblical passages. I read scripture in church growing up, and if there is one lesson I took, it is that we all have a responsibility to help the vulnerable members of our community.
    The reality is that we have been investing since 2017 to put money in place for supporting people who do not have a roof over their head and for building more affordable housing after 30 years of Liberal and Conservative governments not taking the issue of housing seriously. The hon. member plans to make cuts when we will make investments. I know which path will put a roof over more of my neighbours' heads.

[Translation]

CBC/Radio-Canada

    Mr. Speaker, CBC/Radio-Canada management met with the Crown corporation's employees at 2 p.m. to give them some very bad news.
    Things are not going well for the media these days. More than 600 jobs are going to be cut. This announcement is almost a repetition of the Quebecor announcement in early November. It means that our culture, our sense of regional belonging and the quality of the news we receive are going to suffer.
    Here is my first question: How long has the Minister of Canadian Heritage known that these job cuts were coming?
    Mr. Speaker, let me begin by saying that my thoughts are with all CBC/Radio Canada employees who are currently meeting with management. We are aware of the major crisis in the media sector caused by the dominance of digital platforms in the advertising market and rising production costs.
    We cancelled the Harper government's budget cuts when we took office, reinvesting $115 million in the public broadcaster. The Conservatives want to take away Canadians' access to a public broadcaster, but we will continue to be there for CBC/Radio‑Canada.
    Mr. Speaker, in June, Catherine Tait, the CEO of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, had her contract extended by 18 months. It will end in January 2025. She said that gave her 18 months to combat disinformation. Cutting hundreds of jobs over the next few months really means cutting news.
    Basically, Ms. Tait is not there to combat disinformation. The government extended her contract so she could cut those jobs. At least, that is the impression we are getting.
    Was that the real plan when her contract was extended?
    Mr. Speaker, I would remind the House that CBC/Radio-Canada is an independent corporation that operates at arm's length from the government and must manage its administration internally. However, our government has always been there to support journalists at CBC/Radio-Canada and at all media outlets across the country.
    That is why we have introduced programs to better support them. That is why we insisted that the digital giants pay their fair share here in Canada. I was pleased last week to announce that Google would contribute $100 million a year, indexed to inflation.
    Now, we still need to do more to support news organizations and our public broadcaster. We will continue to do so.

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, in any case, the Liberals do not seem to be there for Radio‑Canada. The holidays are fast approaching and people are wondering what they are going to do.
    The charity Opération Père Noël reports that underprivileged children are not even asking for Christmas presents anymore; they are asking for food. The organizers say that they have never seen this before. That is what happens when CEOs are so greedy and profit-hungry that they stuff their pockets at the expense of parents who are struggling to make ends meet.
    The Liberals are doing nothing about this predatory behaviour, and the Conservatives would rather protect corporate profits.
    During these difficult times, why are the Liberals turning their backs on families to help big bosses?

  (1430)  

    Mr. Speaker, our government understands that times are tough for many families in Canada. That is why our government is there to support them. Our government is there with the Canada child benefit, which helps less fortunate families and many children in the country.
    As far as taxes are concerned, our government implemented taxes on financial institutions to pay for investments made during COVID‑19.

[English]

Grocery Industry

    Mr. Speaker, the holidays are coming up, and parents are stressed about covering presents for the kids and managing the costs of a turkey dinner. Meanwhile, Canada's biggest grocery chains are making bucketloads of excess profit. While families struggle this holiday season, the Liberals are offering families a lump of coal with no solutions and just words, but the NDP is getting results. We have summoned the grocery CEOs back to testify on food prices, and Sobeys is here today.
    Will the minister take this opportunity to put his foot down on unchecked price gouging that is driving up food prices?
    Mr. Speaker, our government understands that this is a challenging time for too many families across the country, and that is why we are there to support families. We are there to support them with the Canada child benefit. We are there to support them with a historic investment in early learning and child care. There are 2.3 million Canadians who have been lifted out of poverty thanks to support from our government.
    We believe it is important for the biggest companies to pay their fair share. We think we need to introduce more competition into the grocery sector, and we are doing that with a historic transformation of competition law.

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years of the Liberal-NDP government, it plans on quadrupling its carbon tax scam to crush families, farmers and first nations further. The Prime Minister is not worth the cost. He refuses to tell the senators to stand down and pass the common-sense Conservative bill, Bill C-234, which would take the tax off our farmers. Even first nations communities, more than 100, are fed up and taking the government to court over the carbon tax, saying it is disproportionate and an unfair burden to them.
    When will the Prime Minister finally take the carbon tax off families, farmers and first nations?
    Mr. Speaker, for the fourth or fifth time, I would like to remind the Conservatives that the only senators who sit in a caucus sit in their Conservative caucus, and that the Senate is independent.
    I would like to raise the fact that the Conservatives have had a really troubling trend of bullying, particularly of female senators, whenever they are not getting what they want out of the Senate. That is a real problem. That is a problem for democracy, and they should reconsider how they manage their affairs on Twitter when accusing senators of not advancing legislation at their whim and whimsy.
     Mr. Speaker, this is coming from the guy who swore at a girl in her DMs.
    After eight years, the Liberal-NDP government's empty acts of reconciliation are not worth the cost. A recent Auditor General report proved the carbon tax is an unfair burden on indigenous communities, something the Chiefs of Ontario reiterated just last week. The Liberal-NDP government still plans on quadrupling this carbon tax scam.
    When will the Prime Minister finally take the carbon tax off families, farmers and first nations?
    Mr. Speaker, a price on pollution is an important part of addressing the climate issue in a manner that actually promotes innovation and incentives.
    I will read a couple of quotes: “We recognize that the most efficient way to reduce our emissions is to use price mechanisms.” Also, “We will work with the provinces and territories...at both the national and state levels, to develop...a trade system for greenhouse gases”. Those are from the Conservative Party platforms of 2008 and 2021. My god, it is the height of hypocrisy in this chamber.
    Mr. Speaker, a common-sense Conservative bill, Bill C-234, would save farmers close to a billion dollars, but the Prime Minister, who is demanding his senators block this bill, is not worth the cost. The Kielstra farm in Okotoks paid $180,000 in carbon taxes this year. When the Prime Minister quadruples that tax, it will be $480,000, just in carbon taxes. There is no way, when two million Canadians are relying on food banks, that we can afford to not have affordable, nutritious Canadian-grown food.
    Will the Prime Minister finally remove the carbon tax from families, farmers and first nations?

  (1435)  

    Mr. Speaker, being a farmer, I fully understand how important it is to take care of the soil and the environment. Our party has a plan for the environment. My hon. colleague's party does not have a plan for the environment. Quite simply, with our plan, we are able to make millions of dollars in British Columbia to help farmers innovate, increase their production and make sure farmers remain on the cutting edge. We have done, and we will continue to do, just that.
    Mr. Speaker, I agree with the agriculture minister. Our plan is definitely not to bankrupt farmers and continue to make food unaffordable. Canadian farmers are struggling under punishing input costs such as the carbon tax. In fact, often the carbon tax costs them more than the natural gas they use. Bill C-234, a common-sense Conservative bill, is the solution, but the Prime Minister is blocking his senators from passing this bill in the Senate.
    Will the Prime Minister follow his 2001 campaign promise to pass it forward, and let this bill pass the Senate to finally take the carbon tax off farmers, families and first nations?
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate my hon. colleague's concern, but I think he is fully aware that the only party in the House that has any control over senators is the Conservative Party of Canada. We do not have senators in our caucus. There was some talk of harassment in the Senate. We are not involved in harassment.
    What we want to do as a government is make sure farmers innovate, produce more product and be more profitable. We have done, and will continue to do, just that.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years of this Prime Minister, young Quebeckers between the ages of 18 and 45 are losing hope about their future. A poll cited in the Journal de Montréal found that they had not experienced inflation before the Liberals. Quebeckers aged 18 to 45 have been thrown into the deep end. In fact, 75% of them have postponed or cancelled major life events, such as building a house or having a child.
    Instead of taking action now, the Liberals and Bloc Québécois voted against our motion to reduce the taxes that are increasing prices across the board.
    Will the Prime Minister tell the senators he appointed to stop delaying the passage of Bill C-234 so we can reduce the cost of groceries for all Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, as my colleagues have already said, there is only one party in the House that controls its senators, and that is the Conservative Party.
    If the Conservatives wanted to lower prices for Canadians so they would have better access to food, they would have supported the free trade agreement with Ukraine.
    We can only hope that the leader of the Conservative Party lets his MPs vote independently so that prices can come down and we can support Ukraine in its fight for freedom.
    Mr. Speaker, while this government is trying to divert everyone's attention, here is the reality. Santa Claus received a list from a young Quebecker who was asking for a gift card so he could have a good meal this Christmas. Fifty-four per cent of young people aged 18 to 45 have seen their standard of living fall after eight years of this government's inflationary policies.
    The costly Bloc-Liberal coalition does not understand that. They do not understand how desperate young Quebeckers feel. It is costly to vote for the Bloc. The Bloc Québécois wants to drastically increase the carbon tax that raises the price of everything.
    Will the Prime Minister finally scrap his plan to drastically increase the carbon tax on farmers and families?
    Mr. Speaker, I have a tremendous amount of respect for my colleague opposite, but I am confused, because as a Quebecker, he knows very well that Quebec is not part of the federal pollution pricing system. I do not understand why he continues to mislead Quebeckers and Canadians.
    What we can say is that, at every opportunity, the Conservatives have voted against support for Canadians. It is nice that they are now showing an interest in Canadians, but it is new for them.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, asylum seekers are a federal responsibility. The federal government must reimburse Quebec for the $460 million it has spent taking in asylum seekers.
    If the minister thinks that is too expensive, it is precisely because Quebec is providing more than its share. Even though our public services and community organizations are swamped, we are finding a way to open new integration classes every week. We are finding a way to help with housing. We are finding a way to help with social services. The more we find ways to help people, the more reluctant the federal government is to pay.
    Will the minister finally thank Quebeckers and pay them back?

  (1440)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank all Quebeckers and all Canadians who are contributing their fair share. As the member opposite knows, we have a special agreement with Quebec whereby we allocate more than $700 million to Quebec for integrating newcomers into French-speaking society.
    I have a meeting with Minister Fréchette this Friday, and I would be happy to update her on it.
    Mr. Speaker, in order for it to be a shared jurisdiction, the minister would first have to do something.
    He is not just refusing to pay, he is also refusing to ensure that asylum seekers do not have to wait ages for work permits. He is refusing to ensure that the Immigration and Refugee Board reviews refugee claims in a timely manner. Basically, the federal government's involvement boils down to pushing asylum seekers into hardship and then penalizing the people who help them by providing them with services.
    When will the minister reimburse Quebec and do his damn job?
    Mr. Speaker, it is not a damn job; it is a job that I love.
    It is true that there are challenges associated with the migration flows that are affecting the entire world. Roughly 100 million people have been displaced around the world. That is a record number. Canada is also dealing with a record number of migrants.
    In the past year, we have made progress and reduced the backlogs and delays. Some challenges still remain, but I think that Canada and Quebec are capable of overcoming them.
    Mr. Speaker, Quebec is doing everything and the federal government is doing nothing. That is no way to share responsibility.
    Quebeckers take in half of all asylum seekers in Canada, yet they pay 100% of the costs, instead of Canadians. The minister tells us that the government is not an ATM. I have news for him: Quebeckers are not money-printing machines either. Quebeckers will keep doing their part and more to take in asylum seekers, as long as they are not doing it alone.
    The minister keeps saying that he is going to meet with his counterpart in Quebec City. May I suggest that he bring along his cheque book this week?
    Mr. Speaker, when the Bloc Québécois is in power, it can make all the suggestions it wants. In the meantime, it will have to rely on the federal government.
    Obviously, we can be a Canadian and Quebecker at the same time. I am a proud example. We already give more than $700 billion to Quebec, including for integration and francization. Yes, Quebec is doing its fair share and we have a great partnership. I think we can succeed as a country.

[English]

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years of the NDP-Liberal government's punishing policies, Canadians are hungrier than ever.
    First, Canada's premiers asked for a carve-out. The Prime Minister said no. Then, farmers asked for a carve-out, and the Prime Minister said no. Now Ontario's first nation leaders are asking the federal court to exempt their communities from the federal carbon tax. Canada is unified, and one thing is clear: The Prime Minister is not worth the cost.
    Will the Prime Minister finally cut the carbon tax for farmers, families and first nations?
    Mr. Speaker, just like every member of the House, I share the goal of ensuring the success of our Canadian farmers, and that is why the government has exempted gas and diesel for farm use from pollution pricing. We have created a rural top-up for rebates; we have doubled it. We have directly returned the proceeds collected in proportion to the amount collected. We have also returned $120 million to farmers in the last year. In addition to that, there is half a billion dollars in R and D for new technologies to make sure that grain drying is less and less emitting.
    Mr. Speaker, it is almost like the Liberals think that farmers have not had it so good and that Canadians have not had it so good, but they are struggling to put food on their tables and to afford food.
    Brian, a farmer in my riding, told me he has paid over $16,000 in carbon taxes to heat his two chicken barns this year. The Prime Minister wants to quadruple the carbon tax. It is really not that difficult to understand. If it costs farmers more to grow food, it costs more to buy food. Clearly, the Prime Minister is not worth the cost.
    Will the Prime Minister finally remove the carbon tax for farmers, families and first nations?
    Mr. Speaker, what farmers and ranchers cannot understand is why the member's party does not have a plan for the environment.
    I can tell my hon. colleague that we do have a plan for the environment. We are working with farmers and ranchers. That is why we are able to make announcements like we did in Manitoba a couple weeks ago to announce living labs. This gives an opportunity for scientists, farmers and industry itself to work together to make sure we keep farmers on the cutting edge. We have made sure and will continue to make sure that farmers remain on the cutting edge.

  (1445)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years of this Liberal government, we have reached the point where Canadian children are asking for food for Christmas, not a Tonka truck. That is what is happening in Canada after eight years of this Liberal government.
    One cannot talk about food without talking about farming. As everyone knows, Bill C-234 is currently being blocked by senators appointed by this Prime Minister. Now the Bloc Québécois, which voted in favour of the bill, is happy to see the senators delaying its passage in the Senate. Voting for the Bloc Québécois is very costly.
    Will the Prime Minister finally scrap his plan to radically increase the Liberal carbon tax on farmers and families?
    Mr. Speaker, like many countries around the world, Canada is feeling the effects of inflation, and Canadians are feeling the pressure.
    Since taking office, we have introduced measures that have helped Canadians, such as the Canada child benefit, which has lifted hundreds of thousands of children out of poverty. We intend to stay the course.

[English]

Grocery Industry

    Mr. Speaker, major grocery CEOs raked in billions in profits as they jacked up prices for Canadians just trying to put food on the table. What did the Prime Minister do? Nothing.
    Now, Sobeys workers in Halifax are on the streets demanding fair wages so they can afford to buy the food they sell. The Sobeys CEO, who makes $6.8 million a year, has insulted its workers with a five-cent raise per hour, a nickel.
    What is the government doing to tackle the corporate greed that is exploiting workers from coast to coast?
    Mr. Speaker, the government absolutely believes that everyone in Canada needs to pay their fair share. That is why we have permanently increased corporate income tax on financial institutions by 1.5%. That is why we implemented a COVID recovery dividend of 15%. That is why we are introducing historic changes to competition law in Canada; these would increase competition, particularly in the grocery sector.
    That is going to help Canadian families from coast to coast to coast.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians with loved ones in Gaza have spent many sleepless nights worrying about their families as the humanitarian crisis worsens. UNICEF now calls Gaza the most dangerous place for children in the world. Today, the NDP joined with the coalition of Palestinian families and community groups to call for special immigration measures so people in Canada can reunite with their loved ones. The Australian government is already doing it. Canada must do the same.
    Will the Liberals immediately enact special immigration measures to include extended family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents from Gaza?
    Mr. Speaker, I agree that Gaza is one of the worst places to live in the world right now. We are very preoccupied by the fact that too many children and too many women have lost their lives. I met with many humanitarian groups earlier today to share my concern and to hear their thoughts on how we can make sure that Palestinian civilians are protected.
    Meanwhile, I must say that we are extremely happy that 130 Canadians were able to cross Rafah last night and are now back in Egypt, heading toward Canada.

Indigenous Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, on this 10th day of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence, it is crucial to highlight that the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls and 2SLGBTQ+ people is ongoing.
    With the magnitude of this national tragedy, we must continue to work together on a comprehensive response and to addressing its root causes and the need for accountability.
    Can the hon. Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations shed light on the specific actions the government is currently undertaking to address the ongoing crisis?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for her hard work and advocacy. The ongoing national crisis of violence against indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQI+ people must come to an end.
    Last week, we met with families, survivors and indigenous leaders to work toward a red dress alert system, so that when indigenous women go missing, they can be found.
    Today, I announced funding for 31 indigenous-led projects to implement our action plan. This includes funding to enable the Ontario Native Women's Association to better support families.
    We are working in partnership right across Canada to address the crisis.

  (1450)  

Finance

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years of NDP-Liberal borrowing and spending, the Prime Minister is just not worth the cost. Ninety per cent of Canadian mortgages up for renewal in the next two years are at fixed interest rates of about 3%. Today, there are three million Canadians about to renew their mortgages, and they are facing rates of up to 7%. The Bank of Canada governor has confirmed that excessive government borrowing and spending is driving these rate hikes.
    When will the Prime Minister end the inflationary spending and balance the budget to lower rates so Canadians can afford to eat, and to heat and keep their homes?
    Mr. Speaker, I am glad that the member opposite has asked a question about mortgage renewals, because it gives me an opportunity to be sure that all Canadians know about the Canadian mortgage charter, which we published in the fall economic statement a couple of weeks ago.
    The Canadian mortgage charter gives Canadians who are facing a mortgage renewal a clear sense of what they have the right to ask their bank to do in terms of tailored support. It is providing Canadians with relief right now, and I urge everyone to take a look.
    Mr. Speaker, I can bet that the Liberals' mortgage charter and any other photo ops and PR stunts they do are about as useful as Monopoly money, but more Liberal vanity projects and PR campaigns clearly are not going to fix the fiscal mess that the Liberal-NDP government has caused over the last eight years.
    Canadians headed to renew their mortgages are facing double the payments. They are about to find out that the Prime Minister is just not worth the cost.
    When will the NPD-Liberal government stop the inflationary spending, balance the budget and lower rates so Canadians can afford to keep their homes?
    Mr. Speaker, as I think every member of the House knows, Canada has a AAA rating and the lowest debt and deficit in the G7.
    It is also true that the government invested in Canadians during COVID, and we were proud to do so. We supported nine million Canadians with CERB. We supported more than five million Canadian jobs with the wage subsidy, and we supported 900,000 Canadian businesses with CEBA loans. The leader of the official opposition called those “big, fat government programs”. I call them life rafts for Canadians when they needed them the most.

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years of the NDP-backed Liberal Prime Minister, the cost of homes and rent has doubled. It is so bad in St. John's that one man ignored his bail hearing so he could be sent to jail instead of spending a cold, wet homeless winter on the streets. When petty criminals choose dilapidated jail cells like those at Her Majesty's Penitentiary over homelessness, it is clear that the Prime Minister is just not worth the cost.
    Will the Prime Minister commit to ending the homelessness crisis, or does he take pleasure in seeing people choose jail over homelessness?
    Mr. Speaker, I do not think any member of the House, of any party, takes any pleasure in seeing anyone in this country live on the street. It would be a shame if the hon. member were suggesting that is the case.
    When it comes to the supports that we are actually putting in place in the city of St. John's, which the member referenced in his question, I would point him to the recent exchange we had with the mayor of St. John's, in which we encouraged the city to increase their housing ambition so they could actually provide homes for more people and reduce the cost of rent. The funding that we hope to provide to the City of St. John's, should it meet the moment, comes through a program that the member is personally committing to oppose. The Conservatives believe the solution to the housing crisis is to spend less money on housing. I fundamentally disagree.

Finance

    Mr. Speaker, inflation is caused by the Prime Minister's deficit spending. The Bank of Montreal's chief economist explained that inflation is the new villain, fuelling the fires of Canada's housing hell. Rents have skyrocketed 8.2% year over year, the fastest pace since 1983. Rents are up and mortgages are up. Inflation is up and interest rates are up. The Prime Minister is just not worth the cost.
    After eight years, when will the NDP-Liberal government stop its deficit spending so people can keep a roof over their head?

  (1455)  

    Mr. Speaker, let us talk about some facts and reality. The reality is that Canada has the lowest deficit and the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio in the entire G7. The reality is that when we listen to the objective economists whose job it is to judge our fiscal position, the ratings agencies, we have a AAA rating. We made the necessary investments to support Canadians. That is why there are 1.1 million more jobs in Canada than before COVID and why our economy is more than 104% bigger than it was before COVID.

[Translation]

Veterans Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, for months now, we have been asking who interfered in the competition for the National Monument to Canada's Mission in Afghanistan. Who overturned the jury's selection to cast aside Team Daoust for the benefit of a Toronto team?
    Documents obtained by the Bloc Québécois confirm that the Prime Minister's Office was involved. In May 2022, he organized a meeting with the ministers to discuss the competition. Then, in July, he pressured public servants who were reluctant to override the jury.
    Why did the Prime Minister's Office interfere in the competition to make the Daoust team lose?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his important question.
    The creation of a national monument to Canada's mission in Afghanistan will at last recognize the commitment of the Canadians who served in that mission.
    The Department of Veterans Affairs conducted a survey or questionnaire. More than 12,000 Canadians, most of whom were veterans, responded to the survey.
    The Stimson concept was chosen because we were told that it better reflected the sacrifice, bravery and loss of our veterans.
    Mr. Speaker, the survey the minister is talking about is a sham. It was demolished by Léger. In any case, the jury had already taken it into consideration before ruling.
    Here is what really happened. The Prime Minister's Office interfered in the decision at least twice. The Department of Justice provided legal opinions on the consequences of overturning the jury's decision. In committee, expert Jean‑Pierre Chupin confirmed that this had never been seen before in the 500 competitions that have been held in Canada.
    Why did the Prime Minister once again interfere in the competition to make the Daoust team lose?
    Mr. Speaker, here is what really happened. The government chose to listen to veterans. The Department of Veterans Affairs conducted a survey using a questionnaire to hear what Canadians had to say. Over 12,000 Canadians responded. Most of them were veterans or their family members.
    The message was clear. For them, the Stimson concept better represented the courage, sacrifice and loss of veterans. That is why we went with that concept.

[English]

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians depend on affordable proteins like chicken, yet over the last eight years, families are forced to cut back on these essentials. Canadian farms lead the world in environmental best practices, but the Liberals choose only to punish them with higher costs, red tape and a quadrupling of the carbon tax. A chicken farmer near Redwater, Alberta, is already paying nearly two grand a month in the carbon tax. Come the middle of winter, that cost will double. Those costs are passed on to Canadians who are already struggling to put food on the table.
    Will these Liberals take the tax off families, farmers and first nations, finally?
    Mr. Speaker, I speak with farmers across the country. One of the biggest concerns they have is why the opposition party does not have a policy or a plan to deal with the environment. Chicken farmers understand very well, like every other farmer, that we need to have a plan. We have to deal with the environment. Because we do have a plan for our environment, we are able to assist chicken farmers. We are able to make sure the supply management system remains in place.
    My hon. colleague can tell chicken farmers that we will make sure that supply management remains strong.
    Mr. Speaker, it is unbelievable how out of touch that ag minister is. Jake from Vermeer's Dairy near Camrose saw a bill of $1,700 in carbon tax charges alone last month. It is going to be more as winter settles in on the Canadian Prairies. It is clear that these Liberals do not have an environmental plan but, rather, a tax plan that punishes those who are best equipped to lower the price of food in this country.
    My question is simple. Will those Liberals tell their Liberal-appointed senators to pass common-sense Conservative Bill C-234 to axe the tax so farmers can feed our people?

  (1500)  

    Mr. Speaker, my office has been in regular contact with the farm of which he spoke about. The operation has benefited from seven of our government programs, including the BRM program and funding through the climate action incentive fund.
    We will continue to support large operations in the country and we will continue to work with small agricultural operations in this country to make sure both operations succeed and expand.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, can this government listen to common sense? It has been in power for eight years. Can the Liberals get out of their bubble and worry about real people?
    Voting for the Bloc Québécois is costly. Here is another example: Aided and abetted by the Bloc Québécois, the Liberals are blocking Bill C‑234, which would give breathing room to our farmers and our Canadians families.
    Will the Prime Minister finally drop his plan to drastically increase the carbon tax on the backs of farmers and Canadian families?
    Mr. Speaker, it is important for me to say once again that there is no federal tax on carbon for farmers in Quebec.
    Just like everyone in this House, I share the goal of ensuring the success of our Canadian farmers. That is why our government has created a rural top-up for rebates to directly return the proceeds of the price on pollution. Our government has already returned $120 million to farmers in the past year.

[English]

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, housing is top of mind for my community of Richmond Centre and all Canadians. For many, the rising cost of rent is causing stress and for others, they feel like they will never be able to own a home.
    On this side of the House, we have a plan to address those concerns and get more homes built.
    Can the hon. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance tell Canadians what our government has been doing to build more homes faster for British Columbians?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to start by thanking the member for his hard work for the people of Richmond Centre and all the people of B.C.
    Our government is stepping up to lead the national effort to build more homes faster. Just last week, I was at an affordable housing project in downtown Vancouver. That project next May will begin welcoming its first residents into 231 beautiful, new, affordable rental homes, and that is less than three years after shovels first went into the ground.
    We are going to keep on working to build more homes faster for Canadians.

Automotive Industry

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years, the NDP-Liberal government has turned its back on Canadian labour. The government is bringing in 1,600 taxpayer-funded foreign replacement workers for the battery assembly plant in Windsor. That is $40 billion or $3,000 in taxes per household. Conservatives have been consistently demanding the release of these contracts publicly, but the NDP has flip-flopped and is working with the Liberals to keep the contracts secret, to hide these bad contracts.
    When will the Liberals and the NDP stand up for Canadian auto workers and release the contracts?
    Mr. Speaker, either the Conservative leader takes us all for fools or he thinks the Canadian public was in a coma for the last 20 years. Either way, no one could take his claim to be protecting local jobs seriously. Not only is his track record as part of the previous Conservative government abysmal, consisting of the loss of over 300,000 manufacturing jobs, he has also proven to be one of the most anti-worker MPs, a legacy that he continues today by opposing legislation that would create good jobs for Canadian workers.
    While Conservatives pretend to care about workers, we will continue to create thousands of—

  (1505)  

    The hon. member for Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes.
    Mr. Speaker, the NDP has turned its back on Canadian workers to back the Prime Minister and his secret deal to bring in overseas replacement workers. It is clear that after eight years, the Prime Minister is not worth the cost to Canadians workers. The NDP member for Windsor West voted to keep secret the contracts from Canadian taxpayers. If the NDP-Liberal government has nothing to hide, then why not show Canadians the details that are going to cost them $3,000 per family?
    Will the Prime Minister finally release the contract details so Canadians can see how many replacement workers $40 billion buys?
    Mr. Speaker, contrary to what the Conservatives claim, our government has always been clear regarding jobs created by investments like LG and Stellantis. In a recent article, Yakabuski writes, “These workers will only be here for a matter of months. The plant could not be built without them, or at least not in time for battery production to be up and running by 2025. They will not 'steal' jobs from Canadian construction workers nor occupy any of the 2,500 permanent jobs”.
    I know the opposition leader has a hard time showing respect to journalists, but maybe the Conservatives should stop fearmongering and read The Globe and Mail.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years of this government, cover-ups have become the Liberal trademark.
    At the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates, the Liberals filibustered for hours to avoid having to publicly disclose the battery factory contracts. It is easy to see why they are afraid. This Prime Minister has spent billions of dollars on temporary foreign workers for both Stellantis in Ontario and Northvolt in Quebec. He is absolutely not worth the cost.
    Is he finally going to tell Canadians the truth and make the contracts public?
    Mr. Speaker, as my hon. colleague is well aware, the committees are independent. They make their own decisions.
    When it comes to the Stellantis investments, the Conservatives have their heads in the sand. We are talking about 2,500 Canadian jobs in Windsor. What the president of the union local is saying is that the Conservatives' proposal is putting future investments at risk. They should be more responsible when it comes to Canadian jobs.

[English]

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, last week, Dow Chemical announced a multi-billion dollar investment in Alberta. While the Conservative members from Alberta voted against the policies that helped us land this job-creating deal, Liberals still made it happen. If the Conservatives were in power—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order. There is a lot of yelling there. Let us keep the volume down so that the hon. member can ask the question.
    The member for Calgary Skyview.
    Mr. Speaker, if they were in power, the climate science-denying Conservatives would squander these investments with their alternative-facts-based agenda.
    Can the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources update this House on how my home province of Alberta—
    The hon. minister.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his consistent advocacy for Alberta and Albertans.
    Any relevant and credible plan—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
     Order. I thought we were doing really well. We went quickly through these questions and it has been awesome up until now.
    The hon. minister of natural resources from the top.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to once again thank my hon. colleague for his consistent advocacy for Alberta.
    Any relevant, credible plan must take climate change seriously and look to seize the economic opportunities that can come through a transition to a low-carbon future. Last week, Dow announced it was taking advantage of Canada's carbon capture hydrogen investment tax credit to build the world's first net-zero petrochemical facility. It is an $11-billion investment and will create 8,000 jobs in construction and hundreds thereafter for Fort Saskatchewan, but it is not just the credits that motivated Dow. The Dow CEO said that they invested here because Canada has a price on carbon pollution.
    While Conservatives have no plan, they do not have a plan for the environment, they do not have a plan for the economy, our plan is working.

  (1510)  

Persons with Disabilities

    Mr. Speaker, people with disabilities are being renovicted and priced out of their homes. Disproportionately, it is women, who are also at risk of gender violence.
     Over half of women with disabilities are living on less than $10,000 a year. This is not sustainable or safe. The skyrocketing costs of housing and food is hurting persons with disabilities. They need the Canada disability benefit yesterday. Will this Liberal government end its unnecessary delay and release the Canada disability benefit immediately?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member opposite for her advocacy and for raising the issue of disability.
    This is a very important concern. Our government is seized by this issue. Thankfully, this Parliament passed the disability benefit and made it into law. We are working on the regulations, we are consulting the community fully, and this will happen.

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, it is only two months until the long-awaited inquiry into foreign interference. Sadly, foreign operatives even remotely involved are retired and back in Beijing or Tehran. The Hogue inquiry faces serious time constraints in issuing an interim report in February and a final report by the end of 2024.
    It took two months to create a website, which is harder to find than the interference itself. It strains credulity that the inquiry will be in full force with Santa and the new year. Aside from its desire for this thorny issue to disappear, does the government find it odd that Canadians can get more information on foreign interference in Canada simply by reading The New York Times?
    Mr. Speaker, as I have said before in this place, we take the issue of foreign interference extremely seriously. We have moved forward with consultations on a foreign agent registry. We have implemented several measures in this place to strengthen our democratic institutions. We look forward to the Hogue recommendations, which we will also be looking at very seriously.
    This is not a partisan issue, but an issue that every single parliamentarian should be taking seriously. We look forward to working with everyone in this place.

Privilege

Awarding of Contract to Boeing  

[Privilege]
    Mr. Speaker, I will just continue addressing the question of privilege that was raised on Friday by the member for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot.
    I had gotten to the point in my dissertation as to the ruling that Speaker Milliken made in 2002 about the minister of national defence at that time. He is quoted as saying that misleading a minister or a member has been considered a form of obstruction and, thus, a prima facie breach of privilege. The Speaker accepted the minister's assertion that he had no intention to mislead the House and made the following statement: “Nevertheless this remains a very difficult situation.”
    The Speaker went on to say:
    On the basis of the arguments presented by hon. members and in view of the gravity of the matter, I have concluded that the situation before us where the House is left with two versions of events is one that merits further consideration by an appropriate committee, if only to clear the air. I therefore invite the hon. member for Portage--Lisgar to move his motion.
    On November 4, 2003, the member at the time for Scarborough—Rouge River presented to the House the ninth report of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates, which documented how the former privacy commissioner had deliberately misled the committee and provided false and misleading information to it. The member for Scarborough—Rouge River rose later in the sitting on a question of privilege to charge the former commissioner with contempt of Parliament based on the contents of the report. On November 6, the Speaker delivered his ruling and found the matter to be a prima facie question of privilege.
    On April 10, 2008, the member for Charlottetown at the time raised a question of privilege alleging that the RCMP deputy commissioner provided false and misleading testimony to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts at a meeting on February 21, 2007. The Standing Committee on Public Accounts reported the matter to the House. and the Speaker found that a prima facie case of contempt had been established.
    On February 17, 2011, the member for Scarborough—Guildwood and other members argued that a minister had made statements in a committee that were different from those made in the House or provided to the House in written form. These members argued that the material available showed that contradictory information had been provided. As a result, they argued that this demonstrated that the minister deliberately misled the House and that, as such, a prima facie case of privilege existed.
    In a ruling of March 9, the Speaker said:
     The crux of the matter, it seems to me, is this: as the committee has reported, when asked who inserted the word “not” in the assessment of the KAIROS funding application, in testimony the minister twice replied that she did not know. In a February 14 statement to the House, while she did not indicate that she knew who inserted the word “not”, the minister addressed this matter by stating that the “not” was inserted at her direction. At the very least, it can be said that this has caused confusion. The minister has acknowledged this, and has characterized her own handling of the matter as “unfortunate”. Yet as is evident from hearing the various interventions that have been made since then, the confusion persists. As the member for Scarborough—Rouge River told the House, this “has confused me. It has confused Parliament. It has confused us in our exercise of holding the government to account, whether it is the Privy Council, whether it is the minister, whether it is public officials; we cannot do our job when there is that type of confusion”.
    On February 25, 2014, the then House leader of the official opposition raised a question of privilege regarding statements made in the House by the member for Mississauga—Streetsville. He claimed that:
...the hon. member for Mississauga—Streetsville had deliberately misled the House on February 6, 2014, during debate on Bill C-23, the fair elections act, when he stated that he had witnessed evidence of voter fraud firsthand. He further argued that the matter was not resolved by the statements made by the member for Mississauga—Streetsville on February 24 and 25, where he admitted that, contrary to his original claim, he had not actually witnessed what he had originally claimed to have witnessed. In his view, this was not a simple case of someone misspeaking; he argued rather that it was a case where the member deliberately chose to take something he knew not to be true and present it as eyewitness evidence—something so egregious, it constituted contempt.
    In delivering his ruling, on March 3, the speaker at the time cited that:
    Speaker Milliken was faced with [this] in February 2002 when the then Minister of National Defence, Art Eggleton, provided contradictory information to the House. In ruling on a question of privilege raised about the contradiction, Speaker Milliken stated on February 1, at page 8581 of Debates:
     I am prepared, as I must be, to accept the minister’s assertion that he had no intention to mislead the House.
    The same Speaker went on to conclude:
     In keeping with that precedent, I am prepared to accord the same courtesy to the member for Mississauga—Streetsville.

  (1515)  

    At the same time, the fact remains that the House continues to be seized of completely contradictory statements. This is a difficult position in which to leave members, who must be able to depend on the integrity of the information with which they are provided to perform their parliamentary duties.
    Accordingly, in keeping with the precedent cited earlier in which Speaker Milliken indicated that the matter merited “...further consideration by an appropriate committee, if only to clear the air”, I am prepared in this case for the same reason to allow the matter to be put to the House.
    On November 3, 1978, the member for Northumberland—Durham raised a question of privilege and charged that he had been deliberately misled by a former solicitor general. The member had written in 1973 to the solicitor general, who assured him that, as a matter of policy, the RCMP did not intercept the private mail of Canadians. On November 1, 1978, during testimony before the McDonald commission, the former commissioner of the RCMP stated that they did intercept mail on a very restricted basis and that the practice was not one that had been concealed from ministers. The Speaker ruled on December 6 that there was indeed a prima facie case of contempt.
    I will go back to the original question raised by the member for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot. He said on November 4 that he had been told by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence that a decision had not yet been made in answer to a question that he had here on November 21 about the replacement of our CP-140 Aurora aircraft.
    The parliamentary secretary stated:
    Mr. Speaker, I agree with the hon. member. We need to replace the CP-140 Aurora patrol aircraft. However, we need to replace them with something that will serve the operational capability of the armed forces. No decision has been made yet.
    The parliamentary secretary's second answer was even more specific. She said, “Mr. Speaker, I want to be very clear today. No decision has been made.”
    A few days later, on November 28, in an answer to questions from the member, the Minister of Public Services and Procurement said:
    Mr. Speaker, I thank our colleague for acknowledging the expertise of aerospace workers not only in Quebec, but also in Canada. That is why the decision we will soon be making is an important one....
    We know that the next day, November 29, there were multiple media reports that the government was going to be buying the Boeing Poseidon P-8A patrol aircraft.
    Global News stated, “sources, who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter, said that last week”, which was November 23, “cabinet green-lit the purchase of 16 P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft to replace the half-century-old CP-140 Auroras.”
    It went on to say:
     Two of the sources, including a senior government official, said the Treasury Board held a special meeting Tuesday night [November 28] and approved the contract, which a U.S. agency has listed at US$5.9 billion (C$8 billion).
    Therefore, the announcement did finally get made officially on November 30 to sole-source the P-8 from Boeing.
    This question of privilege does not call into question the replacement of the CP-140 Aurora patrol aircraft or the process of awarding that contract to Boeing. To be clear, Conservatives want to procure equipment for the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Canadian Armed Forces; we just want to do it faster, and we want to make sure we are procuring the kit and equipment our armed forces are asking for.
    This question of privilege is with respect to whether the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence and the Minister of Public Services and Procurement intentionally misled the House.
     Based on the timing of events I just laid out, I support the member for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot's question of privilege. The answers from both the Minister of Procurement and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence were misleading to the House and the defence industry, and I would suggest that this constitutes a prima facie breach of privilege.

  (1520)  

    I thank the hon. member for the arguments brought forward. They will be taken under advisement.
    Is the hon. member for New Westminster—Burnaby rising on the same question of privilege?

Alleged Breach of Speaker's Impartiality  

    Madam Speaker, I am rising to intervene on the question of privilege raised this morning by the member for Regina—Qu'Appelle.
    We were all dismayed over the weekend after seeing the Speaker in a video tribute to the outgoing interim provincial Liberal leader at the Ontario Liberal convention. Furthermore, the video was shot from the Speaker's chamber and in the traditional speaker's robes.

[Translation]

    As mentioned earlier today, the third edition of the House of Commons Procedure and Practice, under the direction of Marc Bosc and André Gagnon, states the following on page 324: “In order to protect the impartiality of the office, the Speaker abstains from all partisan political activity”.
    The rules surrounding the impartiality of the Speaker could not be clearer. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it, and there are no exceptions to abstaining from partisan activity.
    This morning's apology by the Speaker partly explains why this unfortunate situation occurred. Although we understand that the video was intended for an intimate gathering for a personal friend, it was the duty of the Speaker and his office to ensure that the message was not used in a partisan context.
    In his statement, the Speaker also indicated that he was recusing himself from this matter directly involving him, and that he would follow the practices established in the ruling of October 19, 2023, concerning the recusal of the Speaker. We believe that it was necessary in this case for the Speaker to recuse himself.

[English]

    It is imperative to protect the impartiality of the Office of the Speaker. The citations and the quotes clearly show that the Speaker should not be taking part in any partisan activities. That he took part while wearing his robes in a video shot in this building makes the situation all the more clear.
    We believe that the proper way to deal with this at this point, as the member for Regina—Qu'Appelle made clear this morning, is to refer the matter to committee. More specifically, the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs can study it and recommend any appropriate remedies so that this never happens again.

  (1525)  

    I thank the hon. member for his input. I think that probably finishes it for that particular issue.
    I know the hon. opposition House leader has a point.
    Mr. Speaker, I just want to thank the hon. NDP House leader for his contribution to the question.
     I want to take this opportunity to inform the House that I have gone through and looked at some of the remarks that were made today, the Speaker's statement this morning and what happened on the weekend.
     Just to compare this with what would happen in a similar circumstance in another area, where a group or an entity depends on the impartiality of a certain position, we could think of what would happen if an NHL referee appeared in a locker room for one of the teams, wearing his referee's uniform and giving a pep talk or positive messages to the team that is about to go out and play on the ice. How long do we think that NHL referee would continue in the post?
    It is a difficult thing to say, especially as a former speaker, but I believe that this has undermined the position of the Speaker so greatly that I must add my voice and the voice of the official opposition to those who have asked for the Speaker to resign.
    We have a number of very important rulings in front of the House. There is one on the ways and means motion, which we believe should be disallowed. The Speaker decided to allow the motion to proceed and allowed the government to bring in a subsequent bill. The Speaker's decision to participate in a partisan event now calls that decision into question.
    I mentioned other rulings in my earlier remarks, and I will not repeat them. However, I just wanted to inform you, Mr. Speaker, and the House of the position of the official opposition.

Routine Proceedings

[Routine Proceedings]

[English]

Government Response to Petitions

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8)(a), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 19 petitions. These returns 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.
    The question is on the motion.

[Translation]

    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]

    Mr. Speaker, I think you will find that it can pass on division.
    Some hon. members: No.
    Mr. Speaker, we request a recorded division.
    Call in the members.

  (1610)  

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

(Division No. 466)

YEAS

Members

Aldag
Alghabra
Ali
Anand
Anandasangaree
Angus
Arseneault
Arya
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
Chatel
Chen
Chiang
Collins (Hamilton East—Stoney Creek)
Collins (Victoria)
Cormier
Coteau
Dabrusin
Davies
Desjarlais
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Diab
Dong
Drouin
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Erskine-Smith
Fillmore
Fisher
Fonseca
Fortier
Fragiskatos
Fraser
Freeland
Fry
Gaheer
Gainey
Garrison
Gazan
Gerretsen
Gould
Green
Hajdu
Hanley
Hardie
Hepfner
Holland
Housefather
Hughes
Hussen
Hutchings
Iacono
Idlout
Ien
Jaczek
Johns
Joly
Jones
Jowhari
Julian
Kayabaga
Kelloway
Khalid
Khera
Koutrakis
Kusmierczyk
Kwan
Lalonde
Lambropoulos
Lametti
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Lattanzio
Lauzon
LeBlanc
Lebouthillier
Lightbound
Long
Longfield
Louis (Kitchener—Conestoga)
MacAulay (Cardigan)
MacDonald (Malpeque)
MacGregor
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
Maloney
Martinez Ferrada
Masse
Mathyssen
May (Cambridge)
McDonald (Avalon)
McGuinty
McKay
McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)
McLeod
McPherson
Mendès
Mendicino
Miao
Miller
Morrice
Morrissey
Murray
Naqvi
Ng
Noormohamed
O'Connell
Oliphant
O'Regan
Petitpas Taylor
Robillard
Rodriguez
Rogers
Romanado
Rota
Sahota
Sajjan
Saks
Samson
Sarai
Scarpaleggia
Schiefke
Serré
Sgro
Shanahan
Sheehan
Sidhu (Brampton East)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Sorbara
Sousa
Sudds
Tassi
Taylor Roy
Thompson
Trudeau
Turnbull
Valdez
Van Bynen
van Koeverden
Vandal
Vandenbeld
Virani
Weiler
Wilkinson
Yip
Zahid
Zarrillo
Zuberi

Total: -- 175


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
Chabot
Chambers
Champoux
Chong
Cooper
Dalton
Davidson
DeBellefeuille
Deltell
Desbiens
Desilets
Doherty
Dowdall
Dreeshen
Ellis
Epp
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Fast
Ferreri
Findlay
Fortin
Gallant
Garon
Généreux
Genuis
Gill
Gladu
Godin
Goodridge
Gourde
Gray
Hallan
Hoback
Jeneroux
Kelly
Khanna
Kitchen
Kmiec
Kram
Kramp-Neuman
Kurek
Kusie
Lake
Lantsman
Larouche
Lawrence
Lehoux
Lemire
Leslie
Lewis (Essex)
Lewis (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Liepert
Lloyd
Lobb
Maguire
Majumdar
Martel
Mazier
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McLean
Melillo
Moore
Morantz
Morrison
Motz
Muys
Nater
Patzer
Paul-Hus
Pauzé
Perkins
Perron
Plamondon
Rayes
Redekopp
Reid
Rempel Garner
Richards
Roberts
Rood
Ruff
Savard-Tremblay
Scheer
Schmale
Seeback
Shields
Shipley
Simard
Sinclair-Desgagné
Small
Soroka
Steinley
Ste-Marie
Stewart
Strahl
Stubbs
Thériault
Therrien
Thomas
Tochor
Tolmie
Trudel
Uppal
Van Popta
Vecchio
Vidal
Vien
Viersen
Vignola
Villemure
Vis
Vuong
Wagantall
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Williams
Williamson
Zimmer

Total: -- 144


PAIRED

Members

Champagne
Chong
Damoff
Deltell
Duncan (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Dzerowicz
Gaudreau
Guilbeault
Michaud
Normandin
Qualtrough

Total: -- 12


    I declare the motion carried.

Government Orders

[S. O. 57]

[English]

Government Business No. 31—Proceedings on Bill C-50

Motion That Debate Be Not Further Adjourned  

    Mr. Speaker, in relation to the consideration of Government Business No. 31, 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 hon. members who wish to ask questions to rise or use the “raise hand” function so the Chair has some idea of the number of members who wish to participate in this question period.
    The hon. member for Lakeland.
    Mr. Speaker, I am sure that many Conservative colleagues who represent oil and gas workers and rural or remote northern Canadians and who will be hurt by the culmination of the anti-energy agenda, represented by Bill C-50 and the just transition's top-down, central-planning Soviet aim to restructure the Canadian economy and redistribute wealth, will have many questions today. However, I just wonder, off the top, how the minister can possibly justify such a significant, fundamental, never-seen-before piece of legislation and agenda for our country and for the fundamentals of our Canadian economy, and justify ramming it through with fewer than eight hours total of debate for all members of Parliament from every region of this country, who are just trying to do our jobs on behalf of the people who sent us here.
    Madam Speaker, I would say, just listening to what my hon. colleague said, that she clearly has not read what the bill says. Perhaps that is because—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Members will not interrupt the hon. minister, as we want to hear the minister answer the question.
    Madam Speaker, perhaps that is because the Conservative Party has been filibustering the committee for 11 different meetings, with six weeks of filibuster, not allowing discussion and not allowing witnesses to have a conversation, which is what committees are supposed to do. It is a shameful waste of taxpayers' resources and the Conservatives should be ashamed of themselves.
    Madam Speaker, we have had over 133 witnesses and 120 hours of hearings on the issue of the energy transition. The Conservatives had nothing to say to any energy worker.
    When we brought the Canadian Labour Congress, the Conservatives shut them down. When the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers came, the Conservatives shut them down. When the carpenters union came to speak, they shut them down. When the International Trade Union Confederation came, they shut them down. When the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs came, they shut them down. It was New Democrats who brought representatives from the coal transition. The Conservatives had no interest at all in hearing from workers.
    This legislation is about workers having a seat at the table, and the Conservatives have turned to gong-show gibberish politics to stop workers from having a seat at the table. I want to ask my hon. colleague why he thinks the Conservatives have fallen down the rabbit hole of conspiracy in their attempts to stop workers from having a seat in a discussion about their future.

  (1615)  

    Madam Speaker, it is also shameful that they have looked to exclude workers across the country from a conversation that is very much about the future of their jobs and the future of their industries. It is about building a strong economy for the future, one that will create jobs and economic prosperity in every part of the country. It is shameful that the Conservatives have worked very actively to ensure that workers have no voice in this conversation.
    Madam Speaker, this has been on the floor of the House of Commons and in front of committee, but there has been a moving target on this, particularly with the Supreme Court's reading on the Impact Assessment Act, which has reopened whether there is any validity to this law whatsoever or if we are going to just end up putting the country into another couple of years of legal morass where nothing gets done. Nothing will get done for any workers in Canada. Nothing will get done for any projects in Canada. Nothing will get done for any provinces in Canada. Nothing will get done in Canada.
    The government is happy with that. The government is used to that. The government has created that atmosphere across this country. That is what needs to stop in this country. The fact is we need to get things done here again. This is one more laden bill that basically says that we do not want anything to happen in Canada, but not to worry, workers, they are on their side, even though workers will not have any jobs at the end of their agenda. It is a ridiculous scenario. We need to have it examined clearly in the House of Commons, particularly with the interpretations from the Supreme Court of Canada, to see if this is legitimate legislation in the first place.
    Could the minister stand up and tell us if he has anything resembling an advanced ruling on this?
    Madam Speaker, once again, my hon. colleague has clearly not read the bill. The bill is a transparency mechanism that would establish a partnership council of labour, industry, indigenous peoples and youth to provide advice to the government on how we work together to build an economy that is going to create jobs and economic prosperity. There is nothing across jurisdictions in the bill, and I would invite my hon. colleague to read it.
    I would also say, “The Sustainable Jobs Act represents an important opportunity for Canada: to shape our future and create jobs by providing the resources the world needs—including energy, food, and minerals.” That is from the president of the Business Council of Alberta.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I will take this opportunity to ask the minister a question. I agree with him that what we have seen in recent weeks on the Standing Committee on Natural Resources is rather disgraceful.
    However, one thing still has to be looked at. In Bill C‑50, the government unfortunately did not take into account the fact that there is a labour agreement between Quebec and Ottawa. I think that needs to be corrected.
    I would like the minister to tell me whether he agrees with me that we must consider the workforce training agreements Quebec and Ottawa have previously signed.
    Madam Speaker, the purpose of the bill is to better position the government to take more effective measures in areas of federal jurisdiction. It will not interfere in areas under provincial jurisdiction.
    We will continue to work in partnership with the provinces and territories and that, of course, includes Quebec.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, throughout the time we have been in committee, and we are, in fact, still on the same meeting that began on October 30, we have heard all sorts of conversations about strawberry milkshakes being drunk through straws and about muscle cars, but we have not had an opportunity to hear from workers about what their perspectives are on the sustainable jobs act.
    I was wondering if perhaps the minister could help us to have a better perspective, from his conversations with organized labour over the past six weeks, about how they are feeling with the delays we have been seeing in committee and what they are hoping to see.

  (1620)  

    Madam Speaker, labour and workers across the country are incredibly frustrated with the circus-type antics of the Conservative Party, which are holding up discussion and debate and preventing witnesses from appearing before the committee.
    The president of the Canadian Labour Congress recently said, “By holding up this bill continuously, the Conservatives are not speaking for workers on this issue. They are not making sure workers have a choice or ability to have robust debate as they are holding up this bill. It is incredibly frustrating, it is disrespectful to workers who are worried about their futures and it is disrespectful to communities. We need it to stop.”
    Madam Speaker, it is absolutely disrespectful that the government has decided, instead of actually taking the time to have a conversation, it is just going to ram this bill through. This is not a just transition, but it has just decided to repurpose and change the names around.
    I represent thousands of energy workers in this strong province, and I often say that, when Fort McMurray works, Alberta works, and when Alberta works, Canada works. This piece of legislation would severely impact this ability. For the government to now try to ram this piece of legislation through without having a fulsome conversation and debate is absolutely disrespectful to the thousands of energy workers I represent and the thousands of energy workers throughout Canada.
    I wonder why the minister is so afraid to have this conversation go forward. We could actually have some conversation and debate, so why are they deciding to instead ram closure through and shut down any form of debate on the bill?
    Madam Speaker, there is a lot of revisionist history in there. The committee has been blocked by the Conservative filibuster for six weeks, which is 11 meetings and about 25 hours. The committee has been stuck on the same meeting since October 30. The committee could have heard from witnesses on both bills, Bill C-49 and Bill C-50, which were in front of the committee, but the Conservatives blocked it.
    In terms of the work that we are doing to ensure that there is a prosperous future for every province and territory in this country, I would point the hon. member to the announcement of the $11.5-billion plant with Dow Chemicals in Fort Saskatchewan, where we worked collaboratively with the Government of Alberta; the Air Products hydrogen facility near Edmonton, where we worked collaboratively with the Government of Alberta; and the CCUS tax credit, where we have worked collaboratively with the Government of Alberta, which will create thousands of jobs going forward in that member's riding.
    Madam Speaker, there are two bloc parties in the House of Commons, the Bloc Québécois and the “block everything” party. The Conservatives have blocked every piece of legislation. Last Friday, they blocked the Canada-Ukraine trade deal. We now see them blocking investments that would make a real difference in clean energy and in providing workers with more of a voice. We have seen them block, as well, dental care. We saw them block the grocery rebate. Everything that helps Canadians, Conservatives are there to block.
    It is simply untenable that, over a six-week period, Conservatives were blocking workers' representatives from testifying, refusing to let them speak, refusing to let them have that conversation about the bill. Now, with obviously not a single Conservative even having read the bill, we get all these outlandish conspiracy theories rather than any sort of criticism about the bill itself.
    Why do the Conservatives block everything that comes before the House? Why have they gone rogue? Why have they become so extremist under the member for Carleton?
    Madam Speaker, I think it is true that, under the current leader of the Conservative Party, it has become a party of tearing everything down. There is not one constructive suggestion coming forward from the Conservative Party of Canada.
    Certainly, Conservatives have worked to ensure that there is no conversation about this bill. They have done the same thing with respect to the development of offshore wind. They would cancel the development of offshore wind in Atlantic Canada, which will creates thousands and thousands of jobs and economic prosperity. They would cancel the Darlington small modular reactor project with the Government of Ontario. They would actually cancel the Volkswagen battery plant, which will create thousands of jobs. They would cancel many of the investment tax credits, so they would be cancelling Dow and Air Products and a whole range of other things.
    At the end of the day, they need to find a pathway to having a constructive conversation about the environment and the economy, not simply complaining with no constructive suggestions whatsoever.

  (1625)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, earlier I heard my colleague say that there are two bloc parties here: the Bloc Québécois and the “block everything” party. I am not prepared to credit this claim, because I see two very well-defined camps in this Parliament. On the one side, we have the Bloc Québécois. On the other, we have three parties that are staunchly defending the oil companies.
    I say this because this bill was originally supposed to be about a just transition, but that term appears to have been little too difficult for the government. It opted for “sustainable jobs” instead. Canada is the only western country that will be using the term “sustainable jobs” rather than “just transition”.
    Why? It is because Canada is afraid of how Alberta will react, and I think that if it is afraid of how Alberta will react, it will not be bold enough to do what needs to be done to fight climate change.
    Madam Speaker, it is very important that we have a conversation about the future, about an active and prosperous economy in a low-carbon world.
    This conversation about sustainable jobs is very important everywhere in Canada, and we are working with the provinces and territories to build a strong and prosperous economy for the future.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, it is indeed an honour and a privilege to rise in this place to speak on behalf of the constituents of the riding of Waterloo.
    Just today, I was meeting with Faith Climate Justice, a group that is really concerned about the future of the environment and the earth, as well as the economy.
    Its members often ask about the work that we do in this place, and I shared with them that I was at the natural resources committee. Rather than debating and discussing important topics, including the future of Canadians, where they will work and how we will take care of our environment, we got to see a show of Conservative after Conservative filibustering. Today, we are hearing that they want to talk about it.
    Why are we having to use closure to get this legislation passed so we can actually debate it? What does this legislation mean for the future of the environment, as well as the economy, for Canadians?
    Madam Speaker, we are having to move closure because the committee has been blocked by a Conservative filibuster, behaviour that Parliament has never seen. For six weeks, 11 meetings, the committee has been stuck on the same meeting. It has been since October 30. Multiple witnesses could have been called to have a robust conversation about this bill. The committee could have focused on trying to ensure it was understanding the bill and looking for ways to strengthen it, but instead, the committee ends up not being able to have a conversation.
    This is a really important bill. Yes, it is important for us to take climate change seriously and not deny the science of climate change, which some of my hon. colleagues in the House seem to do, but at the end of the day, it is critically important for us to move forward to build an economy that will be prosperous and create thousands of good jobs in every province and territory in Canada.
    Madam Speaker, oil and gas workers such as Luke and Steve in Coast of Bays—Central—Notre Dame put their faith in me in the last election. Luke and Steve are two of the 5,500 who have been displaced in Newfoundland and Labrador's offshore oil and gas industry since the Liberal government turned on it and destroyed it. Now this piece of legislation is more of the same to destroy the livelihoods of these people in my province, and I am not going to take it. I am here to represent them.
    Guys like Luke and Steve would have testified at committee and given their points of view. After 20-odd years in the oil and gas industry, they would have spoken up for their peers and let the minister know exactly what this piece of legislation would do to them and of the suffering they have endured after becoming rotational workers and having to leave their families. It is unbelievable. Now they are facing more uncertainty.
    Will the minister have the guts to let this piece of legislation go before committee so stakeholders like Luke and Steve can give their points of view heard?

  (1630)  

    Madam Speaker, I would have welcomed having Luke and Steve come to the committee if the Conservatives had let any witnesses speak at committee. That would have been very valuable. It would also have been valuable to have stakeholders from across the country having a conversation with MPs at committee, as committees are supposed to do. However, the committee was prevented from having any conversations because of a ridiculous filibuster by the Conservatives, who have not allowed people in the House to do their jobs. Taxpayers should be very angry at them for the waste of taxpayer money that we have seen.
    With respect to the oil and gas sector in Newfoundland and Labrador, that remains and will continue to be an important part of the Newfoundland and Labrador economy. They have focused very much on decarbonization. It is some of the lowest carbon content oil that is produced anywhere in North America. It is certainly an important element, but there are others, such as the development of offshore wind, which the member is opposing through opposing Bill C-49. I would invite him to have a conversation with his premier when he is here tomorrow about his opposition to Bill C-49.
    Madam Speaker, as a member of the natural resources committee, I am one of the members who has been waiting since October 30 to hear from witnesses and to call the minister to speak to the importance of the legislation before us. I chaired the committee for two years and many witnesses spoke to the committee about the sustainable jobs study that went on. Now, the Conservatives, as my colleague from Timmins—James Bay mentioned, are filibustering so we cannot hear testimony from witnesses and members of the labour force. We heard a Conservative colleague—
    An hon. member: Oh, oh!
    I will have to interrupt to remind the hon. member for Calgary Signal Hill that we would like to hear the questions being asked and the answers being given. When someone is speaking, I would really appreciate if members would keep quiet.
    The hon. member for Cloverdale—Langley City.
    Madam Speaker, as I was saying, as a former chair of the natural resources committee, I know we have seen three iterations of Conservatives cycle through the committee to make sure that no work gets done. That included when the committee had the hearings on the sustainable jobs work. The point is that, the previous Conservative member asked a question about disrespect. I would like the minister to flip that to demonstrate that this is a very respectful piece of legislation for labour. We know that the Conservatives stand up for big oil executives.
    Could the minister explain to the House and the residents of Cloverdale—Langley City why Bill C-50 is so important and so needed?
    Madam Speaker, it is incredibly important and needed because we are moving toward a low-carbon future. That is happening around the world. Even if the Conservatives want to deny the reality of climate change, everybody else around the world recognizes that we can have a plan for the economy that does acknowledge moving toward a lower-carbon future.
    At the end of the day, it is important that voices from various governments and the proposed partnership council that is part of the bill will have labour representatives, industry representatives, indigenous leadership and youth to have a conversation and help inform government policy about how we grow an economy that will be strong and prosperous going forward.
    The president of the Business Council of Alberta said, “The Sustainable Jobs Act represents an important opportunity for Canada: to shape our future and create jobs by providing the resources that the world needs—including energy, food, and minerals.”
    Madam Speaker, I want to apologize to Luke and Steve. For a year and a half, there was nobody from the Conservatives speaking for workers. They were not interested in hearing workers. Now, we are hearing about Luke—
    The hon. member for Mégantic—L'Érable.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I would ask for relevance.
    The member is answering the question that was asked.
    The hon. member for Timmins-James Bay may continue.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, now, Luke and Steve are being conjured up by the Conservative member who is blocking offshore wind projects for Newfoundland and Labrador. What were his colleagues talking about instead of talking about Luke and Steve? They were talking about their seventies muscle cars—
    I have to interrupt the hon. member.
    We have a point of order from the hon. member for Coast of Bays—Central—Notre Dame.
    Madam Speaker, my hon. colleague is insinuating that I am lying, that I am conjuring up these names. The people are Luke Jarvis and Steve D'Entremont, who are actually—
    That is debate. I am going to let the hon. member finish his question.
    Madam Speaker, I am apologizing to Luke and Steve for the fact that their Conservatives were bragging about seventies muscle cars; talk about entitlement. Poor Luke and Steve are asking how come the member they voted for will not support offshore wind.
    No, the Conservatives do not want to. They want to talk about seventies muscle cars. Let us talk about boomer entitlement. While we were talking about workers and offshore wind, they were talking about muscle cars. No wonder Luke and Steve are so upset and fed up with the Conservative lot.

  (1635)  

    Madam Speaker, members will not be surprised to know that I actually agree with the comments my hon. colleague made.
    The bill before us is a very important one. It is an important bill for building an economy that would create jobs and economic opportunity in every province and territory in this country, certainly in Newfoundland and Labrador. That includes the offshore wind industry that the member's premier is very keen to move forward on. Certainly, it is an area we have focused on.
     It is also across the country. It is the battery manufacturing plant that we announced in British Columbia a few weeks ago. It is the Dow chemical facility and the Air Products facility in Alberta. It is the Jansen potash mine in Saskatchewan. It is the Volkswagen battery plant. It is the Northvolt plant in Quebec. We are building an economy that will be strong and prosperous, and we are involving and engaging Canadians in that process, something that, clearly, the Conservatives are not interested in doing.
    Madam Speaker, it seems to be that the Liberal and NDP members really care only about theatrics. I know they are very disingenuous in the things they say; they actually do not care about energy workers.
    The labour minister was at committee in the spring. Do members want to know what he said? He said that Canada will definitely need more oil and gas workers going forward. It is ironic that the Liberals are putting forward legislation that would hurt Canadians working in the energy sector. It is not just in the energy sector; it is also in manufacturing, agriculture and construction. There are indirect jobs that would be affected by this.
    Why is it that the NDP-Liberals care only about an activist agenda instead of about real Canadian workers?
    Madam Speaker, my goodness, how should I begin? At the end of the day, this is about creating an economy that would be strong and create jobs going forward. It is not about burying our head in the sand and trying to imagine a future that actually existed 30 years ago.
    In order to have a relevant plan for the economy, we have to have a relevant plan for the environment, and our plan is working. At Air Products, it is 230 jobs. At the Dow facility, it is 8,000 jobs during construction. At the Volkswagen plant, it is 3,000 jobs and 30,000 indirect jobs. The World Energy hydrogen facility in Newfoundland will have 4,200 indirect jobs and 2,200 jobs during construction. The Northvolt battery facility will have 3,000 people. The CCUS facilities that are going to be built in the oil sands will have thousands and thousands of jobs.
    RBC says that by the end of the decade, we will add 400,000 clean energy jobs on a path to net zero. That is because of the investments we are making and because of the plan. We are engaging Canadians in the conversation in a thoughtful way. Shame on the Conservatives for trying to exclude Canadians from that conversation.
    Madam Speaker, this is about labour. The minister keeps saying it is about the labour that is going into Canadian manufacturing and the labour that he can try to move, with Canadian taxpayer dollars, out of productive industries and into unproductive industries that are not making any money. It is a shift into provincial jurisdiction. He knows that. He knows that the federal government has no expertise here, no reason to be here because it is already being done by every one of the provinces way more effectively than the federal government could ever do.
    I will cite an example. We talked about the coal transition, Canadian coal workers and communities. There was a whole bunch, $185 million, in funding until 2025. Where did it go? It went into consultants only. It did nothing for the coal workers. It did nothing for the communities. It got put in the pockets of Liberal insiders, and that is what the government is all about; it is about paying its own friends and not paying Canadians who are going to be displaced in this—
    The hon. Minister of Natural Resources has the floor.
    Madam Speaker, this is about two things. It is about ensuring that we actually have a plan to build an economy that can be strong and prosperous in a low-carbon future, and it is about ensuring that we have workers who are available and equipped to succeed, to actually ensure that we are able to build the economy of the future.
    I would say to the hon. member that he just needs to look around him at all of the different projects that are ongoing, whether it is the various electric vehicle manufacturing facilities in Ontario, the battery manufacturing facilities in Quebec, the offshore wind development in Atlantic Canada, the potash mines and the nuclear development in Saskatchewan, the Dow chemical facility and the Air Products facility, the carbon capture and sequestration work that will be going on in the oil sands, or the battery facility and the renewable diesel facility in British Columbia.
    It is amazing how fast this is moving, but it is moving because of deliberate public policy to encourage and incent the development of an economy that will be strong in a world that must, from a scientific perspective, be a lower-carbon future. That is something we are looking to engage Canadians in. We are engaging labour. We are engaging industry. We are engaging indigenous people. Perhaps most importantly, we are engaging young people in a conversation that is so relevant to their future.

  (1640)  

    Madam Speaker, my understanding is that we are not actually debating the bill at this point; we are debating closure on a motion that is going to move particularly quickly on the bill.
    I do not debate the fact that there are various tactics being used by various parties in this place to slow down the business of the House. That being said, this is a bill whose action plan for sustainable jobs would still be two years out, should it get passed. Yet the motion that is being put forward with closure would give only two hours for debate at clause-by-clause consideration.
    Can the minister tell us why the response from the government, every time it has delay tactics from the other side, is to go to the exact extreme to limit debate and improvements from other parties on bills as important as this one?
    Madam Speaker, I would correct a couple of things my hon. colleague said.
    There is actually an interim action plan that has already been released for the period 2023-25. What the bill would do is put into law the requirement that we actually have the action plans going forward, every five years. That is for the purpose of transparency and accountability. It is a very important mechanism, just like was done in the Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act a couple of years ago.
    The reason we are moving forward is that this is urgent. The world is moving. Countries around the world are moving. To build an economy that is going to create jobs and economic prosperity in a low-carbon future, they are working with labour and industry to ensure that is done.
    We have just gone through five weeks when nothing occurred at the natural resources committee, because the Conservatives refused to allow anything to happen. That is a shame. It is a waste of taxpayers' money. It is something that should not happen in the Parliament of Canada.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, in his answers, the minister spoke a lot about a low-carbon economy. That is good. That is something everyone wants to advance. I have a lot of respect for the minister.
    The problem is that the solutions he is proposing are stuck in the oil and gas sector. When he talks about hydrogen, he is talking about blue hydrogen, which relies on carbon capture strategies. No one agrees with that. He is talking about carbon capture for the oil and gas sector, but we know full well that that is not economically viable. Unless big oil companies, the greedy corporations who rake in billions every year, are paid by Canadian taxpayers, then that oil will not be profitable.
    Does my colleague agree that the best solution is simply to get out of oil and gas?
    Madam Speaker, it is very important that we reduce greenhouse gas emissions everywhere, in all sectors of the economy. We need a plan to accelerate economic development in all the provinces and territories. It is very important.
    One hydrogen company in Quebec used the tax credit set up by the government. It is a tool that speeds up—

[English]

     It is my duty to interrupt the proceedings at this time and put forthwith the question on the motion now before the House.

[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.
    Madam Speaker, I request a recorded division.

  (1725)  

[English]

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

(Division No. 467)

YEAS

Members

Aldag
Alghabra
Ali
Anand
Anandasangaree
Angus
Arseneault
Arya
Atwin
Badawey
Bains
Baker
Barron
Battiste
Beech
Bennett
Bibeau
Bittle
Blaikie
Blaney
Blois
Boissonnault
Boulerice
Bradford
Brière
Cannings
Carr
Casey
Chagger
Chahal
Chatel
Chen
Chiang
Collins (Hamilton East—Stoney Creek)
Collins (Victoria)
Cormier
Coteau
Dabrusin
Davies
Desjarlais
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Diab
Dong
Drouin
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Erskine-Smith
Fillmore
Fisher
Fonseca
Fortier
Fragiskatos
Fraser
Freeland
Fry
Gaheer
Gainey
Garrison
Gazan
Gerretsen
Gould
Green
Hajdu
Hardie
Holland
Housefather
Hughes
Hussen
Hutchings
Iacono
Idlout
Ien
Jaczek
Johns
Joly
Jones
Jowhari
Julian
Kayabaga
Kelloway
Khalid
Khera
Koutrakis
Kusmierczyk
Kwan
Lalonde
Lambropoulos
Lametti
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Lattanzio
Lauzon
LeBlanc
Lebouthillier
Lightbound
Long
Longfield
Louis (Kitchener—Conestoga)
MacAulay (Cardigan)
MacDonald (Malpeque)
MacGregor
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
Maloney
Martinez Ferrada
Masse
Mathyssen
May (Cambridge)
McDonald (Avalon)
McGuinty
McKay
McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)
McLeod
McPherson
Mendès
Mendicino
Miao
Miller
Morrissey
Murray
Naqvi
Ng
Noormohamed
O'Connell
Oliphant
O'Regan
Petitpas Taylor
Powlowski
Robillard
Rodriguez
Rogers
Romanado
Rota
Sahota
Sajjan
Saks
Samson
Sarai
Scarpaleggia
Schiefke
Serré
Sgro
Shanahan
Sheehan
Sidhu (Brampton East)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Singh
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
Blanchette-Joncas
Bragdon
Brassard
Brunelle-Duceppe
Calkins
Caputo
Carrie
Chabot
Chambers
Chong
Cooper
Dalton
Davidson
DeBellefeuille
Deltell
Doherty
Dowdall
Dreeshen
Ellis
Epp
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Fast
Ferreri
Findlay
Fortin
Gallant
Garon
Généreux
Genuis
Gill
Gladu
Godin
Goodridge
Gourde
Gray
Hallan
Hoback
Jeneroux
Kelly
Khanna
Kitchen
Kmiec
Kramp-Neuman
Kurek
Kusie
Lake
Lantsman
Larouche
Lawrence
Lehoux
Lemire
Leslie
Lewis (Essex)
Lewis (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Liepert
Lloyd
Lobb
Maguire
Majumdar
Martel
Mazier
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McLean
Melillo
Moore
Morantz
Morrice
Morrison
Motz
Muys
Nater
Patzer
Paul-Hus
Pauzé
Perkins
Perron
Plamondon
Poilievre
Rayes
Redekopp
Reid
Rempel Garner
Richards
Roberts
Rood
Ruff
Savard-Tremblay
Scheer
Schmale
Seeback
Shields
Shipley
Simard
Sinclair-Desgagné
Small
Soroka
Steinley
Ste-Marie
Strahl
Stubbs
Thériault
Therrien
Thomas
Tochor
Tolmie
Trudel
Uppal
Van Popta
Vecchio
Vidal
Vien
Viersen
Vignola
Villemure
Vis
Vuong
Wagantall
Warkentin
Waugh
Williams
Williamson
Zimmer

Total: -- 137


PAIRED

Members

Champagne
Chong
Damoff
Deltell
Duncan (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Dzerowicz
Gaudreau
Guilbeault
Michaud
Normandin
Qualtrough

Total: -- 12


    I declare the motion carried.

Consideration of Government Business No. 31 

[Government Orders]
    The House resumed from December 1 consideration of the motion.
    Mr. Speaker, what a thing to witness this coalition collude to cover-up and take a top-down action to force through a top-down bill. The Conservatives will not stop the fight for the people we represent and for the best interests of all Canadians.
    To review, the Liberals rammed through first the Atlantic offshore bill, Bill C-49, which includes 33 references to the five-year-old unconstitutional law, Bill C-69, that the Liberals have not fixed yet. By the way, Bill C-49 would triple the timeline for offshore renewables in the Atlantic provinces. Then was the just transition bill, Bill C-50. This was after fewer than nine hours and eight hours of total debate from all MPs on each.
    On October 30, the NDP-Liberals tried to dictate every aspect of how the committee would deal with those bills. They reversed their own order to hold back Bill C-49 and spent a month preoccupied with censorship and exclusion of Conservatives like the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan and the member for Peace River—Westlock.
    The extraordinary motion being debated and the debate shutdown today mean the committee will be limited to less than two hours of scrutiny on Bill C-50. We will hear from no witnesses, no impacted workers or businesses, no experts, no provincial or regional representatives, no economists, no indigenous communities, no ministers and no officials, and MPs will only have one partial day each to review and debate this bill at the next two stages.
    I never thought I would spend so much of the last eight years having to count on senators to really do the full scrutiny that the NPD-Liberals' bills require after the fact because the coalition circumvents elected MPs on the front end so many times. One would think after the Supreme Court absolutely skewered them all on Bill C-69, which both the NDPs and the Liberals supported, that we would see a change of behaviour and attitude, but no, not these guys. They are reckless and ever undaunted in their top-down authority.
    The NDP-Liberals will say that the government has been working on it for years, that it has engaged unions all the time and ask what the hold up is. We heard that from the member for Timmins—James Bay earlier, even though what he did not admit was that at the time the committee was studying the concept of the just transition and the NDP-Liberals moved forward with announcing their legislation before it reported anyway. They will say that we should just get this done so Bill C-50 can give the reskilling, upskilling and job training workers need and want when they all lose their jobs because of government mandates.
    I have a couple of points to make. First, it sure is clear the NDP-Liberals have been working together on something for a while since they were all together to announce the bill. Second, everybody needs to know there is not actually a single skills or job program anywhere in this bill at all. Third, cooking up something behind closed doors then being outraged and cracking down on the official opposition when we suggest we should all actually do our jobs, speak to represent our constituents, and most importantly, let Canadians speak so we can actually hear from them on the actual bill, and then analyze it comprehensively and propose changes and improvements, is a top-down central planning approach that sounds an awful lot like the way we have characterized Bill C-50, the just transition itself that has caused some outrage in the last few days.
    Bill C-50, the just transition, aims to centrally plan the top-down restructuring of the fundamentals and the foundations of Canada's economy. It aims to redistribute wealth. It is a globally conceived, planned and imposed agenda. It is, in fact, a major focus of a globalist gathering going on right now, the same kind of gathering where it started years ago.
    I confess, I do not really get all the consternation about stating that fact since the definition of globalism is “the operation or planning of economic informed policy on a global basis.” That is of course what is happening with the just transition and the many international bodies that bring together politicians, policy advocates and wealthy elites from around the world to plan economic and foreign policy globally. That is while they all contribute significantly to increasing global emissions to get there and back, while they dream up more schemes to tell the folks back home that they cannot drive; live in a house, on any land or farm; or, for those who can afford it, fly. We will all have to eat insects while they all do the exact opposite, even while they bring home agendas that will make essentials and daily life so expensive for all the rest of us that we will have no choice.
    Globalism is literally the function of numerous organizations all explicitly heavily focused on imposing the just transition for years. Today, it is linked to the concept of the global citizen and of postnational states with no independent identities, just like the current Prime Minister said of Canada when he was elected.

  (1730)  

    That is what is happening at COP28 right now. It is in the UN 2030 plan. It is the top priority of lots of many well-known and respected gatherings, such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation organization and others. It is bizarre that the NDP-Liberals deny and attack all this now, when globalism is obviously implicit in its ideology. I thought they were proud of that. They have all been outraged about this, but the truth hurts. Anger is often a cover for hurt, so maybe that is what all their rage is about.
    Maybe their issue is that I call it Soviet-style central planning, except for this: Bill C-50 really would create a government-appointed committee to advise the minister. The minister would then appoint another committee to plan the economy. This bill would not mandate that any of that would happen through openness and transparency. Neither of the committees would report either to Parliament or directly to Canadians along the way. I guess the coalition members want to say that it is a win that the reports would be tabled in the House of Commons, but that would not guarantee any kind of debate or accountability. The members are proving their true colours through how they are handling the bill now, especially since it is clear that they want to impose it all with little challenge and almost no scrutiny from beginning to end.
    Oh right, it is there in the summary, in black and white for all the world to see. When would those plans from the government committees for Canada's economy be imposed? It would be every five years. That is literally the time frame for central planning that Soviets preferred. However, the NDP-Liberals are somehow shocked and outraged, even though the lead NDP-Liberal minister is a guy who is a self-declared “proud socialist”, as came out of his own mouth in this very chamber. Right now, he is at a conference about the progress of the global just transition.
    There are no costs outlined in this bill either, even though it would obviously cost taxpayers, just as the NDP-Liberals' mega sole-source contracts for their buddies; infrastructure banks and housing funds that cost billions of tax dollars and build neither infrastructure nor houses, only bureaucracy; and hundreds of thousands of dollars on consultants to tell the government to use fewer consultants. There would be a cost to create and maintain the just transition partnership council, on pages six to 10, that would advise the minister and then the secretariat that the minister would have to create. However, this bill does not tell Canadians about any of the cost that taxpayers would have to pay for all that, up front and after.
    It is quite something to see the inclusion of the words “accountability” and “transparency” in the long title of Bill C-50, since it is all actually about government-appointed committees meeting behind closed doors and a minister who would cook up central plan after central plan. It would mandate neither transparency nor accountability at all, whether directly to Canadians or through their MPs, and it would not include an actual outline for one or any kind of skills- or job-training program.
    That is how this whole thing was baked in the first place. Their rushed, top-down schedule today is to ram it through with as little analysis from MPs and input from Canadians as possible. It is a little silly for all the NDP-Liberals to be mad now that the official opposition actually wants MPs to do our jobs to debate, consult, amend and improve legislation, especially with such a wide-ranging and significant one such as Bill C-50 and the economic transition it would impose.
    What about the tens of thousands of Canadians whose jobs were devastated by the NDP-Liberals' fast-tracked coal transition? The environment commissioner said this was a total failure. It left 3,400 Canadian workers in about a dozen communities completely behind. However, the government members say to just trust them to engineer an economic transition for 2.7 million Canadians and the entire country.
    What about the nearly 40,000 people in Newfoundland and Labrador who were all put out of work completely when they were promised that the government would help them transition from cod? It was the largest industrial shutdown in Canadian history at the time. It was a disaster for all of them: their loved ones, their communities and their province. I hope they see Bill C-50 as the end of oil and gas in Canada bill that it is, because the impact of the oil and gas sector in Newfoundland and Labrador is a quarter of the province's total GDP. It is higher than that in Alberta. It is 40% of Newfoundland and Labrador's exports, and 6,000 people in Newfoundland and Labrador in the oil and gas service and supply sector have lost their jobs already, just in the last three years, because of the uncertainty and the NDP-Liberals' anti-energy policies.
    The government's intent now, through Bill C-50, is like nothing Canada has ever seen before. Canadians could be forgiven for knowing that this would not go well.

  (1735)  

    A truly bizarre point about all this that should be noted, though, is as follows: Despite the collusion between the NDP and Liberals on the bill for about two years, other opposition MPs such as Conservatives do not actually get to see the bills until the government tables them. Despite what I hear really were some round tables and consultation meetings, there is not actually any tangible delivery of what the bill's own proponents say that it does for skills and job training.
    It is not in here anywhere, which is one of the many reasons Conservatives say that the natural resources committee must actually do its job and, most importantly, must hear from all the Canadians it would impact. Both union and non-union workers, as well as union leaders, should be outraged about it.
    What really did happen with all the time, effort and money that was apparently sunk into developing it behind closed doors between 2021 and 2023? Since the bill sets up committees to plan to set up committees to plan from on high, why the heck did all this require a law in the first place?
    Government, unions and businesses consult, develop plans and report. Okay, what is holding this up from going ahead? Why is Bill C-50 even required for that work to happen if they all want it to? How is this actually all the Liberal-NDP government has come up with?
    How is any Canadian supposed to trust these guys to deliver on anything, when it took all this time and all these meetings and tax dollars, but there is not even an actual plan or program? They would not even get a recommendation for two years. It is sort of like the ITCs that the NDP-Liberals keep talking and bragging about, as if they are doing anything in our economy right now. Actually, they do not even exist at all in Canada yet.
    Of course, Conservatives and more and more Canadians know that Bill C-50 really is all about the just transition and ending oil and gas in Canada as fast as they possibly can. The NDP-Liberals have shown this repeatedly after eight years. A government, of course, that did not want to kill the sector and all the livelihoods it sustains really would not do anything differently from what these guys have done and continue to do.
    Everyone can read it. In the 11 pages and 21 clauses of Bill C-50, there is not one single instance of a skills- or job-training program. That is the truth.
    Now, because of the NDP-Liberals, neither union nor non-union workers will be able to speak or be heard by MPs at any remaining stage of the top-down agenda for this bill. In fact, nobody will: no workers, contractors, business owners, investors or indigenous owners, partners, workers or contractors. Therefore, I will talk about some of those workers now. I have a few points.
    First, the reality is that the biggest growth of well-paying union jobs in Canada right now is actually created by the big multinational oil and gas companies expanding and ramping up new oil, gas and petrochemical projects in Alberta. These are the same companies that made Alberta, by far and away, Canada’s leader in clean tech, renewable and alternative energy for at least 30 years.
    For the record, today, Alberta is again Canada’s leader in renewable energy. In fact, the investment commitments for renewables and future fuel development in Alberta have doubled to nearly $50 billion of private sector money planned and ready to invest, since the premier paused to set the conditions, to guarantee consultation, certainty and confidence for all Albertans, while the regulator keeps taking applications. However, the NDP-Liberals will not admit that to us either.
    Second, where we are at is that the major oil and gas companies are leading the creation of new union jobs in Canada. However, this is actually the very sector that the just transition agenda would shut down first. The main thing every union worker needs is a job. That is what is at risk.
    Third, the anti-energy coalition also refuses to admit the fact that, in Canada, traditional oil and gas, oil sands and pipeline companies have been, far and away, the top investors in the private sector for decades and, today, in clean tech, environmental innovation and renewables among all the private sectors in Canada, excluding governments and utilities. Likewise, oil and gas is still, right now, the top private sector investor and top export in Canada’s economy. The truth is that nothing is poised to match or beat it any time soon. Nothing comes close. The stakes of the anti-energy agenda imposed by the costly coalition for Canada are exceptionally grave.
    Here are some facts about the businesses and workers that would be hurt the most by the just transition agenda, Bill C-50. In Canada’s oil and gas sector, 93% of companies only have up to 99 employees. They are small businesses, and 63% of those businesses are considered micro-businesses, with fewer than five employees.
    That is the truth about workers and businesses in Canada’s oil and gas sector, especially the homegrown, Canadian-based ones. They are not union businesses, although their jobs are also sustainable; they are also higher paying, with reliable long-term benefits, than jobs in most sectors.

  (1740)  

    Large employers, with over 500 people on payroll, account for just over 1%, not 2%, of the total oil and gas extraction businesses in Canada; that is it. Those businesses are mostly union workplaces and support more union jobs than the rest of the sector. However, they are also among the first businesses that Bill C-50’s agenda would kill and that, after eight years, the NDP-Liberals have been incrementally damaging. Again, there would be no oil and gas sector, no businesses and no jobs, union or otherwise. That is the truth. It also means higher costs and less reliable power, especially where most Canadians have no affordable options, as in rural, remote, northern, prairie, Atlantic and indigenous communities, with fewer businesses and jobs. There would be less money for government programs, since the oil and gas sector currently pays the most to all three levels of government, and less private sector money for clean tech and innovation.
    Which workers do the NDP-Liberals already know that their unfair, unjust transition in Bill C-50 would hurt the most? If colleagues can believe this, it would be visible minority and indigenous Canadians. Both ethnically diverse and indigenous Canadians are more highly represented in the energy sector than they are in any other sector in Canada’s economy, but the internal government-leaked memo that I am assuming colleagues have seen says they are expected to face higher job disruptions than any other workers. They would also have more trouble finding new opportunities. They would end up in lower-paying, more precarious jobs, as would be the case for all workers who lose their livelihoods to this radical, anti-energy global agenda.
    Canadians will know instantly, of course, from these numbers that the top targets to be crushed by Bill C-50 are the 93% and 63% of Canadian businesses, the small- and micro-businesses, their workers and all their contractors. Bill C-50 does not contemplate them at all. There is no consideration about all the non-union workers who will lose their jobs in the just transition agenda. These are the homegrown, Canadian-based and owned businesses with Canadian workers who have been doing their part for environmental stewardship, innovation, clean tech, actual emissions reductions and indigenous partnerships to the highest standards in Canada and, therefore, in the entire world, just like the big guys here.
     Since the NDP-Liberals refused to allow this, my office spoke with one of those union workers last week, a worker from Saskatchewan. He said, “I am not happy with the fact that I will be displaced out of a job from a federal mandate.” No matter what the NDP-Liberals try to call this or say about it now, he had it right. That is exactly what would happen to that union worker.
    There is nothing, not a single thing, about all the non-union workers, who would obviously lose their jobs first, nor is there any space for union workers who do not want the transition accelerated by the anti-energy, anti-private sector NDP-Liberals. There is nothing about the communities and the people who would be damaged the most, nothing about what sector actually can and will replace the jobs and economic contributions of the oil and gas sector. Of course, right now, there is no such sector. There is nothing about all those hundreds of thousands of oil and gas union workers whose employers would also be put out of work quickly, as is the actual aim of Bill C-50. It is no wonder that the NDP-Liberals want to silence Canadians, so they can do this quickly and behind closed doors. They too must know that common-sense Canadians can see right through them, and they are running out of time.
    I have a last point about the chair of the natural resources committee, the member for Calgary Skyview. When I congratulated him on his recent appointment, I told him the Liberals have done him no favours by putting him there to help impose their agenda. The people of Calgary Skyview will render their decision in the next election, as is their right, like it is for all Canadians.
    I warned a former natural resources minister from Alberta that his constituents would see his betrayal. I said this in our last emergency committee meeting about the TMX, which has still not been built, in the summer heading into the 2019 election. Colleagues will notice that this member was not sent back here. I suspect that the people of Calgary Skyview will feel the same in this instance. In hindsight, I suspect this will not be worth it for the member for Calgary Skyview, but we all make choices and face the consequences.

  (1745)  

    I move:
    That the motion be amended by:
(a) replacing paragraph (a) with the following:
“(a) during the consideration of the bill by the Standing Committee on Natural Resources;
(i) the Minister of Natural Resources and its officials be ordered to appear as witnesses for no less than two hours;
(ii) members of the committee submit their lists of suggested witnesses concerning the bill, to the clerk, and that the Chair and clerk create witness panels which reflect the representation of the parties on the committee, and, once complete, that the Chair begin scheduling those meetings;
(iii) a press release be issued for the study of the bill inviting written submissions from the public and establishing a deadline for those submissions,”; and
(b) deleting paragraphs (b) and (c).
     Every member of the chamber has an ability to prove that they actually support democracy by supporting our amendment.
    The amendment is in order.
    Questions and comments, the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety, Democratic Institutions and Intergovernmental Affairs.
    Madam Speaker, the member opposite ended her speech by speaking about consequences for actions and local voters' having the final say. In that vein, I am curious about how the member opposite thinks voters in her riding feel about her voting against the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement. She spoke about Canadians needing jobs, about supporting small businesses and about the importance of the energy sector. I would argue that means also ensuring that the world does not have to rely on Russian oil. All of that in the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement would help support Ukrainians' fight and win for democracy.
    Does the member think the voters in her riding are going to hold her accountable for her actions?

  (1750)  

    Madam Speaker, after eight years of the Liberal government, out of four major oil pipeline proposals, zero have gone forward. One is ballooning and ballooning because the government chose to buy it instead of giving it certainty, and it is still not built. There have been 18 proposals for LNG projects in this country, and not a single one has been built. Only one is being constructed, and it was approved by the former government. To be clear, Conservatives believe that what Ukraine needs is energy and weapons, which is what we proposed. It is because of the NDP-Liberals that we cannot get energy out the door to reduce dependency on Russian gas.
     I appreciate that the member asked me the question, because I am married to a Ukrainian, grew up in the cradle of the Ukrainian settlement in Lakeland, and represent a very Ukrainian community. I wonder what the member's government think about the fact that it really did not give a rip about any of the Ukrainian workers and families it put out of work with no cost analysis when it shut down the best-performing immigration centre in the entire country.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I have a question that has been bugging me for some time now. I often see my colleague at the Standing Committee on Natural Resources. I have heard a number of speeches. I cannot help but wonder if, in some way, she recognizes that, from a climate perspective, we currently have a major problem, namely global warming.
    I would like to know whether she recognizes we have a problem known as global warming and whether she also recognizes that the fossil fuel sector, as a major emitter of greenhouse gas emissions, is responsible for global warming. If she recognizes that, it seems to me that the only solution is to reduce our dependence on the oil and gas sector.
    I would like my colleague to comment on that. Does she recognize climate change? Does she recognize that the oil and gas sector is contributing to climate change? Does she recognize that we need to phase out oil and gas?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I enjoy working with the member on committee and listening to him here in the House of Commons.
    I think there are some related issues. First of all, Conservatives want to green-light green projects, and we are going to do that by reducing timelines, reducing costs and reducing taxes to set the conditions for the private sector to be able to propose major projects, create jobs and fund their big projects. We also, at the same time, want to expand and accelerate traditional oil and gas in Canada, and exports, particularly to provide energy security, which is our moral obligation, I think, to free democracies around the world.
    What the Liberals are proposing is not a gradual shutdown of oil and gas in Canada; it is an ever-escalating agenda that they impose through a constant changing of the goal posts and constant new, unachievable targets.
     However, the other thing about the oil and gas sector is that it is far and away the leading private sector investor in clean tech, innovation, actual emissions reduction, habitat stewardship, wildlife preservation and reclamation. It is the sector that puts in the most private sector dollars that go into innovation in Canada right now. It is also the major sector that contributes the highest level of all for government revenue for anything it may be doing on that end and on programs and services that all Canadians depend on.
    Madam Speaker, certainly over the last six weeks, we watched a toxic gong show from the Conservatives, who did not allow witnesses to come forward. The minister was going to come, but they did not want him. Instead, it was like watching European soccer players rolling around on the pitch. I mean no offence to European soccer players; at least they get a goal in once in a while.
    I would ask the member about the way she has misrepresented all of these issues. Last year, there were 133 witnesses and 120 hours of hearings on clean energy. At no point did any of those witnesses allege some kind of conspiracy, yet the member is going public and using very loaded language about a globalist agenda. I would like to know whether the language for a “globalist agenda” came from her or whether it came from her leader's office? That needs to be explained—

  (1755)  

    I will let the hon. member finish in a second. There is a point of order from the hon. official opposition House leader.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to call the hon. member on relevance. He is going down some rabbit holes and verging on unparliamentary language. I would just ask him to keep to the merit of the actual legislation without the loaded language that—
    I believe that is a point of debate.
    I would ask the hon. member for Timmins—James Bay to wrap it up.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to know about the language for “globalist agenda”. Did she make that up? There is not a single witness who used such outrageous language.
    Madam Speaker, first of all, I actually already addressed the point in the previous 20 minutes, so I guess the member missed that.
    However, to talk about misrepresentation, of course, the study in committee that he is referring to had many witnesses. None of them called it “sustainable jobs”; they all called it “just transition”, which is why the Bloc is quite rightly asking why the Liberals have abandoned that language. The study in committee, of course, was not about the bill before us at all. Regardless, they introduced the bill before the committee was done its report and recommendations, so the entire thing is a charade by the member.
    I explained the concept of “globalist” and “globalism”. This is a very normal division in political philosophy. Globalism is the belief that economic and foreign policy should be planned globally and internationally—
    There is a point of order from the hon. member for Timmins—James Bay.
    Madam Speaker, the American Jewish Committee has identified “globalist agenda” as an anti-Semitic conspiracy. It is not normal, only with extremists.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    That is a point of debate.
    I do want to remind members that they need to wait until I call for questions and comments if they wish to continue to contribute to the discussion.
    The hon. member for Lakeland may wrap up.
    Madam Speaker, perhaps this goes back to my more than 20 years of academic background in political philosophy. The word is not new; it is an absolutely normal ideological divide depending on perspectives of how policy, economic and foreign, decisions are to be made.
    What COP28 is doing right now is—
    An hon. member: Oh, oh!
    Mrs. Shannon Stubbs: Madam Speaker, can I just finish? He asked me the question and keeps interrupting.
    Could the hon. member wrap it up right now?
    Mr. Charlie Angus: Oh, oh!
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): I would ask the hon. member to please wait until I go to questions and comments if he wishes to try to be recognized again.
    The hon. member for Lakeland, very briefly.
    Madam Speaker, maybe I will just summarize by saying that at COP28, they are globally discussing and planning for an economic policy, including, and chief among them, the just transition. Maybe the member should be a little more worried about the fact that the host of COP28 says, “There is no science out there, or no scenario out there, that says the phase-out of fossil fuel is what's going to achieve 1.5ºC.” He says, when people are asking for a phase-out of fossil fuels, “ Please help me. Show me...for a phase-out of fossil fuel that will allow for sustainable socioeconomic development, unless you want to take the world back into caves.”
    I hear them laughing, because they probably have a claim to make about green-washing, but they cannot stand up and justify all of their decisions based on COP28 on the one hand but then litigate it on the other.
    Madam Speaker, I have been listening to the hon. member for 20 minutes, and in questions and answers. I have the honour of sitting on the natural resources committee. It was filibustered by the Conservative members on that committee for the last 10 meetings. We have had no witnesses—

[Translation]

    The hon. member for Rivière-des-Mille-Îles has indicated that there is a problem with the interpretation.
    An hon. member: It has been fixed.
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): The issue has been fixed.
    The hon. member for Vaughan—Woodbridge.

  (1800)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, as I said, the Conservatives on the opposite side filibustered all 10 meetings we have had on Bill C-50. Constituents back home know this. Residents know this. Canadians know this. They send us here. We are paid by the taxpayers, and all the opposite side has done is waste time and resources. We could have had witnesses.
    The MP has used language that I am befuddled by, such as “globalist”. The MP says, in the video that they put out a few days ago, that it is the final solution. It is language that is purely, I would say, anti-Semitic and, second, purely wrong.
    Madam Speaker, through you—