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44th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • No. 268

CONTENTS

Thursday, December 14, 2023




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

Volume 151
No. 268
1st SESSION
44th PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Speaker: The Honourable Greg Fergus

    The House met at 10 a.m.

Prayer



Routine Proceedings

[Routine Proceedings]

  (1000)  

[English]

Government Response to Petitions

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8)(a), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 10 petitions. These returns will be tabled in an electronic format.

Committees of the House

Procedure and House Affairs 

    Mr. Speaker, before I present the 55th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, entitled “Speaker's Public Participation at an Ontario Liberal Party Event”, I want to take a moment to thank our clerk Mike. I appreciate the hours put in and the speed at which our analysts Andre, Sarah and Isabelle moved. I also appreciate members from all parties, including the Liberals, the Conservatives, the Bloc and the NDP. I would like to thank the witnesses who arrived in short order and the behind-the-scenes crew, including for IT, food and maintenance. The list goes on. I thank especially interpretation and translation services, which worked around the clock to return this report to the House in the time the House gave us.
    I also have to give a shout-out to team members from all teams. They were there with us every single minute of the way, not necessarily by choice but because they had to be. We appreciate everything they have done.
    When committees move at the pace at which we were moving, it is often our constituents who are left behind. I know constituents in the riding of Waterloo were not able to have meetings with me because I had to cancel them. I want them to know that I appreciate them.

[Translation]

    I want to wish everyone happy holidays. We will see each other next year.

[English]

    Hopefully it is not before then. I would really appreciate not seeing anyone in this place until 2024 because I would like to be in my riding of Waterloo.
    With that, I have the honour to present this report in both official languages. I am sure everybody will be reading it profusely.
    Mr. Speaker, Merry Christmas and happy new year.

  (1005)  

    Merry Christmas and happy new year to you as well.
    We have a dissenting opinion from the Conservatives.
    The hon. member for St. Albert—Edmonton.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise to present a dissenting report from the Conservative members on the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.
    There is a long-standing tradition and expectation that the Speaker be impartial and non-partisan. That expectation was shattered by the current Speaker when he engaged in partisan commentary no less than on three occasions in the span of a week. This demonstrated not only a lack of judgment but a betrayal of the trust of all hon. members in this House.
    I would note that both the official opposition and the third party, comprising nearly half of the members in this House, have called on the Speaker to resign. I would submit that it is untenable in the circumstances that he continue in his high office. In order to restore the trust and confidence of all hon. members in the speakership, it is with regret that Conservatives call on the current Speaker to resign.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, it was with great sadness and a sense of regret that we prepared a dissenting opinion—
    The hon. member needs unanimous consent to speak.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to seek unanimous consent.
    Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Mr. Speaker, I will not talk for long because we have important work to do.
    It is with regret and some sadness that the Bloc Québécois is presenting a dissenting opinion, but the impartiality of a Speaker is really very important to us. There must be zero tolerance for bias.
    We are of the opinion that the Speaker's mistake is unforgivable and that he must resign. In our dissenting opinion, we provided a detailed explanation as to why we asked him to make the right choice and step down, because he failed in his duties.
    We want the House to run smoothly, and the best way to make that happen is to have a Speaker who has the full confidence of all the elected members of the House.

[English]

Citizenship and Immigration  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 18th report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and and Immigration, entitled “In Demand Yet Unprocessed: Endemic Immigration Backlog”.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.
    Mr. Speaker, as vice-chair of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, I have the honour to table today a Conservative supplementary opinion to the report on backlogs and delays.
    Eight years of Liberal-NDP leadership in the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship were described by one witness as “nothing short of a dumpster fire”. The main report includes many Conservative contributions and recommendations that we proposed to the committee. That said, some common-sense recommendations were rejected by the NDP-Liberal majority while other recommendations could not be accepted by the Conservatives. For example, the Liberals are moving toward a “click for your citizenship” system, while Conservatives believe that taking the oath of citizenship should be treated with gravity and respect and be done in person, unless there are exceptional circumstances.
    After eight years, we know the Prime Minister is not worth the cost, and his Liberal-made immigration backlog is causing more chaos in the department, as well as destroying the faith of Canadians in our immigration system. However, they should have no fear because soon a common-sense Conservative government will be here to restore faith and clean up these backlogs. Let us bring it home.

  (1010)  

Canadian Women's Contributions to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Day Act

     moved for leave to introduce an Act to establish a national day to honour Canadian women's contributions to science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
    He said: Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to introduce a private member's bill entitled “An Act to establish a national day to honour Canadian women's contributions to science, technology, engineering and mathematics”.
    While I am on my feet, I move:
    That the House do now proceed to orders of the day.
    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, I would request a recorded vote.
    Call in the members.

  (1055)  

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

(Division No. 611)

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

Total: -- 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
Duncan (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Ellis
Epp
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Ferreri
Fortin
Gallant
Garon
Gaudreau
Généreux
Genuis
Gill
Gladu
Godin
Goodridge
Gourde
Gray
Hallan
Hoback
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
Martel
May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
Mazier
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McLean
Melillo
Michaud
Moore
Morantz
Morrison
Motz
Muys
Nater
Normandin
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
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: -- 146


PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion carried.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I regretfully have to inform the House that there is evidence of another partisan activity that the Speaker was engaged with. I have, in my hands, a picture of the Speaker at an event with the hon. member for Pontiac, which was labelled and advertised by the Liberal Party as un cocktail militant.
    The Instagram post for the hon. member reads, “This week, I had the privilege of participating in a remarkable event in the company of my colleague [the Speaker]. In this time when the political sphere is in full swing, supporting our colleagues is crucial. I want to express my gratitude to my provincial counterpart and friend André Fortin, as well as his liberal team, for organizing a stimulating evening focused on political discussions, both provincial and regional.”
    This is not even the Speaker's riding. This is a neighbouring riding. It is billed as a cocktail, with activists and volunteers.
    I would like to seek unanimous consent to table these documents. If any member of Parliament has ever said anything about the importance of the independence and integrity of the Speaker, they should allow me to table these documents and they should have allowed the debate on the Speaker to continue today.
    Is it agreed?
    Some hon. members: No.
    Mr. Speaker, on the same point of order, we certainly did listen to what the House leader from the Conservatives had to say. If you would perhaps provide us with an opportunity to review, reflect and provide comments on that before making a ruling, we would really appreciate it.
    Mr. Speaker, the whole point of tabling the documents is so that you can read them.
    We are not going to have a debate on this. The information is apparently public now. People can go and have a look at it.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[English]

Canada Labour Code

     (Bill C-58. On the Order: Resumption of debate:)

    November 27, 2023 — Resuming consideration of the motion of Mr. O'Regan (Minister of Labour and Seniors), seconded by Ms. Ng (Minister of Export Promotion, International Trade and Economic Development), — That Bill C-58, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code and the Canada Industrial Relations Board Regulations, 2012, be now read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities.
    Mr. Speaker, it is clear, for those who are following the parliamentary calendar, that the government is making last-minute changes to the projected order of business, but I am nonetheless very happy to speak today to Bill C-58 and address the government's profound failures when it comes to workers, and talk about the excellent work that the Conservative Party has been doing and will continue to do to support workers here in Canada.
    Our priority is creating powerful paycheques for Canadian workers, supporting jobs and opportunity for Canadian workers. In that process, our leader, the member for Carleton, has been travelling across the country meeting with workers, and hearing about their priorities and their concerns. I can tell members that the number one priority for the workers he meets with, and all of us on this side of the House are meeting with, is around jobs and opportunity. It is to have an economy that works for working people, an economy that puts the interests of working people ahead of those of the well-connected insiders the government has so persistently tried to prioritize.
    We see this profound disconnect in so many different ways. We see the way that the Liberal government is focused on the interests of well-connected insiders and how it loves shovelling money out to consultants who specialize in encouraging companies to fire more people. These are the kinds of relationships the government is cultivating. These are the kinds of people the government is trying to serve, whereas Conservatives are focused on jobs and opportunity for workers, and creating the kind of economy where more people can work, prosper and succeed.
    There are many different aspects in the government's agenda in this regard. We see the context, for instance, of its unjust transition plan. The government, in fact, is now admitting that its so-called just transition rhetoric is unpopular with workers. I was very struck by the fact that the labour minister got up in the House fairly recently and said they do not use the terminology of just transition anymore because workers do not like it. It is true that workers do not like it, but it was not the name that they had a problem with. It was the substance of the government's agenda.
    The government talks about so-called transitioning workers as if what workers wanted was to be able to not work. A big part of the reason people work, yes, is for the paycheque, as that is a critical piece of it, but it also comes from the satisfaction they get from being able to accomplish something significant. This is what is so important about work for workers. They appreciate the ability to both earn a paycheque for their family and be able to participate in the creation of value. Both of those things together are important.
    The government says to workers that it wants to transition them out of their jobs, but it will have social programs for them on the other end of it. First of all, I think members are rightly skeptical about whether those promises will be delivered on. Second, the people in my riding who work in the energy sector and other sectors are not looking for easy money. They are looking for the opportunity to be able to work hard and build themselves up, along with their families and their communities in the process.
    This is the dignity inherent in work. The paycheque is critically important, but it is not just about the paycheque. It is about the satisfaction that comes from work, and this is something that the government just does not understand. This is an essential piece of why the government's unjust transition agenda is so unpopular with workers and calling it something else is not going to change the picture.
    In the midst of this larger discussion about workers and the failure of the government to support or respond to the needs and concerns of working people, we have it bringing forward this legislation on replacement workers. I would say what is quite curious about the government's approach to this is that at the same time as it is championing its legislation allegedly dealing with the issue of replacement workers, the government is signing massive corporate subsidies to companies that are, in fact, bringing in foreign replacement workers. That is another example of the duplicity that we see from the other side.

  (1100)  

    We have been working on this issue at the government operations committee and wearing down a Liberal filibuster.
    Conservatives came to the committee saying that we had evidence that over $40 billion in corporate subsidies was being used, not to hire Canadian workers, not to create jobs and opportunities for workers in Canada, but to subsidize companies that are bringing in foreign replacement workers. By the way, over $40 billion is a massive amount of money. It is a big number overall, but if we break it down it is $3,000 per family. That means that all the Canadians who as we speak are at home glued to CPAC, and I salute them for their dedication, and watching this are on the hook for $3,000 because of these subsidies.

  (1105)  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. When the member is taking into consideration his calculation, does that include Premier Doug Ford's contribution also?
    That is not a point of order, but a point of debate. As we get to questions and comments, I am sure the hon. member can ask it at that time.
    The hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan.
    Mr. Speaker, that obviously was not a point of order, but, in a way, it was revealing the way the member spoke about it. He thinks when different levels of government spend money it comes from the individual, that when the Government of Ontario spends money that it is Doug Ford's money or when the current government spends money that it is its money somehow. There is only one taxpayer: the people of Canada. Whether it is through provincial, local or national governments, the people of Canada are paying for this. We are talking about very large sums of money individually, so Canadians have a right to ask what value they are getting for this spending. If they were to find that a very large portion of those subsidies was going to subsidize foreign replacement workers, I think they would have a right to be concerned.
    Conservatives have taken a very moderate and reasonable approach on this. We just want to get the information, so we asked the government to show us its work. We think Canadians should be able to see the contracts. It is interesting that every time we bring this up, that Canadians should be able to see the contracts, members of the government say that these are great deals, the best that members have ever seen for workers. I would not say that these are the best deals we have ever seen because we have not seen them. We do not know if they are the best deals we have ever seen because we cannot see them, so let us see them.
    If the government is so proud of what it is doing it should show us its work. Maybe we will be surprised, but I doubt it. Maybe we will be pleased and say that these contracts are fantastic. Maybe once they are submitted to the committees we will look at them and say that the government has done a great job. We probably will not, but maybe we will be shocked and they will be good. Maybe we will find that the government did not include any protections for Canadian workers. Either way, we want it to show us its work, not to say that it was the best essay it ever wrote but the dog ate it before it could hand it in to the teacher, or that it cleaned it up so well, but somehow the dog got in and no one can see it. What absurdity from the government. If it did the work well, if the workers are protected, then it should show us the contracts. If the government is proud of its approach, if it thinks it has done good work for workers, then it should show us the work.
    I believe that in questions and comments we are going to hear members stand up and say that these are the best deals we have ever seen. Enough of the best deals we have never seen. Let us see the deals. Let us see what $40 billion got Canadian workers. Did it get workers anything?
    Mr. Irek Kusmierczyk: Come to Windsor and see the battery plant getting built.
    Mr. Garnett Genuis: Mr. Speaker, the member across the way said that I should come to Windsor. I would love to come to Windsor. I will come and door-knock vigorously in Windsor in the next election. We will be there. When we door-knock in Windsor we will tell workers that they have the right to a member of Parliament who wants to show them the work. We will tell them to vote for a member of Parliament who is not going to hide that work, that they deserve a member who is not going to go to committee to filibuster and fight to cover up the work the government is doing. They deserve a member of Parliament who is going to show them what it accomplished, not someone who does not want to show them the work.
    Therefore, I challenge the members across the way, if they care about Canadian workers, to let them see the work and release the contracts.
    Mr. Speaker, I have to say that my hon. colleague should come to Windsor and see the hundreds and thousands of workers who are building the battery plant right now. I would love to introduce him to every single one of them. There is a sense of tremendous optimism in my community, because we know we are going to have 2,500 great-paying jobs in Windsor. They will be for local, Canadian, unionized workers to build batteries, and not just for years but for generations.
     Eight years ago, I remember, in Windsor, under the Conservative government, we had 11.2% unemployment. The Conservatives lost 300,000 manufacturing jobs. Windsor was ground zero for that. The Leader of the Opposition would remember that as well, because he was the minister of employment, or as I would like to call it, the minister of unemployment. A big part of that optimism is what the unions bargained for at the bargaining table: huge pay increases for workers.
    When will Conservatives support unions? When will they support workers? When will they support Windsor? When will they support the bargaining table and Bill C-58?

  (1110)  

    Mr. Speaker, it would seem that I correctly foresaw exactly what the member's question and comment would be.
    He got up and said that this is the best deal we have never seen. He said that it is unbelievable how good a deal this is for workers. However, he did not address the fact that he is going to the government operations committee and filibustering to cover up the release of these contracts. Actually, it is worse than that, because the NDP flip-flopped. There was a little filibustering from the Liberals, and the NDP said, “Okay, we will fold to the pressure from our colleagues in the costly, corrupt, cover-up coalition, and we will agree to hide the contracts.”
    I agree with the member on one point. He said there was an incredible sense of optimism in Windsor. I have seen the rallies and the number of people who have come out to hear the member for Carleton speak in Windsor. It is incredible. People in Windsor know that, after eight years of NDP-Liberal rule and of this corrupt government, hope is on the horizon with the member for Carleton.
    I just want to remind hon. members that, if we keep our questions and our answers concise, everybody can participate in this debate.

[Translation]

    The hon. member for Thérèse‑De Blainville.
    Mr. Speaker, it was wonderful to hear all the arguments that were in no way connected to Bill C-58. It was a thing of beauty.
    I am going to ask the member a clear question. Bill C-58 is intended to prevent the use of scabs in the workplace so that proper negotiations can take place in the event of strikes and lockouts.
    We must prevent the use of scabs. This still happens. At the Port of Québec, longshore workers have been locked out for over a year, and there are scabs coming in to do their work. That is unacceptable. We have failed to correct that situation here for over 50 years. I would like my colleague to tell me whether the Conservative Party is for or against Bill C-58.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I think what I was talking about in my speech was very clear. That is the reality of how the government, in the midst of talking about the issue of replacement workers, is actually bringing in foreign replacement workers.
    The member for Windsor—Tecumseh said I should visit and meet with the people who are going to be working on these projects. Actually, I would love to be able to go to Korea and do that.
    The Liberal government is bringing in foreign replacement workers. It is trying to bury and hide the contracts. The NDP is now complicit. To their credit, the Bloc has been working with the Conservatives to try to expose these contracts. It is the costly cover-up coalition that wants to hide the contracts from workers.
    Mr. Speaker, the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan mentioned the fact that there is a single taxpayer, and the Conservatives often like to bring that up. I just wonder whether the member and his party will be supporting the NDP's pharmacare proposal. If we made it a federal program, it would save the single taxpayer across this country billions of dollars a year. It would save money for provinces, corporations and individuals. Will he support us?

  (1115)  

    Mr. Speaker, this is a good opportunity to talk about how we are getting to the end of the year, and we are well over the NDP's red line. Do members remember the NDP convention, where the New Democrats said that they would ensure their plan is supported by the government? Then they said, “Oh, it is actually flexible.” The New Democrats continually cave to their coalition partners, the Liberals. I would say that the member should first focus on trying to get his coalition partners onside for whatever the New Democrats are proposing. There is a long history of the NDP putting forward things that would allegedly save us money; to be charitable, I will say that it does not always—
    Continuing debate, the hon. member for Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke.
    Mr. Speaker, I am particularly pleased and proud to be able to rise in this debate on Bill C-58.
    It should go without saying in this country that workers deserve respect, fair wages and safe working conditions. However, success in achieving those things has depended largely on the free collective bargaining process. The success of every business, every enterprise and every government program depends on all the workers involved: Those who clean, those who provide security, those who drive and those who provide child care. None of our economy functions without all of us working together. In fact, I would speculate that if the top CEOs and directors stayed home for a day, their businesses would continue to function, because workers would carry on providing those services to the economy and to the public.
    However, we should also recognize today that increasing inequality will eventually undermine social stability in this country. We have had the spectacle of Galen Weston, a CEO, appearing before a House of Commons committee and saying it is “reasonable” that he earns, in one year, 431 times his average worker's salary. I would say to Mr. Weston that it is reasonable only in some other universe than the one the rest of us live in. In fact, it is actually even out of scale for the top 100 CEOs, who only, on average, earn 243 times what their average worker does.
    A study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives demonstrated to us that, in a typical year, and we have a new year coming up, before the end of the second day, the top 100 CEOs will earn more than their average worker in the entire year. By my own calculations, by the end of that year, the CEOs will have earned more than their average worker will earn in a lifetime. Therefore, we have a serious problem with growing inequality in this country, and one of the only ways that we can, on a practical basis, see progress is through free collective bargaining.
    We face huge challenges in our society, and I could spend time talking about the challenge of climate change. We face huge challenges, as I said, in inequality. We face all kinds of challenges in our workforce, with labour shortages. How do we address them? We certainly are a wealthy and well-educated country. We have a dedicated workforce, and if we all work together, and everyone pays their fair share, we can meet those challenges. We know what we need to do.
    I would cite the NDP dental care plan as an example of how we can meet the challenges we face. This is a health challenge, in particular, for many seniors I hear from in my riding. They worked very hard all their lives but did not necessarily have a job in which their health benefits continued into retirement, if they had them at all. I have had many people approach my office to say that the quality of their life is really impaired by their inability to afford dental care. How is this relevant? If everybody pays their fair share, we can afford dental care for all Canadians.
    Some of my Conservative friends have said, “Well, you always support spending. Why is that? You will just support deficits.” I try to correct them by saying that, as a New Democrat, I do not support deficits; I support fair taxation. If we apply the principles of fair taxation, including a wealth tax in this country, we can afford to take care of each other, which is an important principle.
     However, where did that principle of taking care of each other come from? It came from trade unions and collective bargaining, where workers joined together and said, “Let us not have some of us succeed at the cost of the rest of us in the workplace.” They negotiated contracts that provided fair benefits, fair wages and better working conditions for everybody in the bargaining unit, and the employers could not just reward those they favoured in the workplace.
    I will tell members a door knocking story from an election campaign. I went out one Saturday morning, too early for me and obviously too early for some of my constituents. A gentleman came to the door and said, “Oh, you're the New Democrat. I can't support you.” I said, “Why can't you?” He said, “You're way too close to the unions.” I said, “What day is it?” He said, “What do you mean, what day is it?” I asked again, “What day is it?” He said, “It's Saturday”, and then he looked at me and said, “I see where you're going with this.” I said, “Yes, you're home on the weekend because collective bargaining got people weekends off, which made it a standard in our society.” He said, “Oh, next you're going to talk to me about health care and all kinds of other things unions got.” I said, “That's absolutely what I'm going to talk to you about.” He said, “I still can't vote for you”, and shut the door. I did not succeed in convincing him that day, but even he understood that a lot of the benefits he enjoyed as a non-union worker came from the work of trade unions.

  (1120)  

    Why am I giving all these examples when we are talking about anti-scab legislation? We know the importance of collective bargaining. We also know, if we stop to think for a minute, that most collective bargaining processes do not lead to strikes or lockouts; the vast majority of them do not. I have seen various statistics. In some sectors, up to 90% of contracts are completed successfully without any work stoppage at all.
    What happens when replacement workers get involved? Again, the studies will tell us quite clearly that if replacement workers are hired by an employer, two things happen. One is that the strike, on average, will last six times longer than if replacement workers were not involved. The second thing the use of replacement workers does is to introduce an element of hostility and division in the community, because workers who are on strike see replacement workers as a threat to their livelihood. Quite often, replacement workers are hired through employment agencies or other ways in which they have no idea that they are being sent into such a position of conflict as a replacement worker.
    What I think is really good about the legislation is that it would bank this practice. British Columbia and Quebec have already had this kind of legislation for years. Of course, the NDP has been trying to get it introduced at the federal level. We have introduced a bill eight times in the last 15 years. The last time we introduced it, in 2016, both the Liberals and the Conservatives voted against anti-scab legislation.
    The Conservative Party leader likes to talk about working people and how he is a friend of working people. I would say that the bill gives him a chance to demonstrate that concretely. His previous record does not show that. His party voted against minimum wages. His party, I guess I would say, has never seen back-to-work legislation it did not like. The record is clear on one side. If the Conservatives want to change that record, the legislation before us gives them an opportunity to demonstrate that they really are friends of workers and friends of progress, in terms of our economy.
    Who are the workers most affected by the use of replacement workers? I am going to make a strange argument here, but quite often it is actually the non-union workers, because it is unionized companies and unionized sectors that set the standard that employers have to meet, even if those standards are not legislated. When we talk about the people who work in the lowest-paid, non-union jobs, they would actually be protected by the legislation as well, because it would allow unions to have shorter work stoppages and to negotiate better conditions, which would eventually spread through our economy.
    Once again, I am back to the point I want to make. We hear a lot about how society and Parliament in Canada are suddenly dysfunctional. I do not believe that is true. I believe what we have are the choices that we are making. We make choices in the economy. It is not inevitable that we have great inequality. It is not inevitable that we have homelessness in our society. We make policy choices that have real outcomes that disadvantage many Canadians. We can make better choices and we can make different choices.
    When we are talking about whether the House of Commons can do that, if the House of Commons appears dysfunctional to people, I believe that it is currently the result of choices being made by one party in the House to make the House of Commons appear dysfunctional and to make sure, as the party's leader declared, that we cannot get anything done anything in the House. He said he is going to grind the House to a halt, and we have seen him trying to do that. What is the impact of that on workers? It means we cannot get to legislation like the bill before us. It means we cannot get to a fair bargaining process for workers in the federal sector across the country. I represent a riding where there are lots of workers in the federally regulated sector. I know that this is important to them because they know it would shorten labour disputes and result in less hostility around the picket lines.
    One last thing I want to talk about is that the improvement this legislation would make over what exists in B.C. and Quebec is that it considers the issue of remote work. One of the challenges we have now is that, in many industries, if there is a picket line, there is no need for employers to get someone to actually cross a physical line; they can hire people to work remotely. The federal legislation would actually be an improvement over what exists in British Columbia and Quebec, and I look forward to being able to vote in favour of it.

  (1125)  

    Mr. Speaker, I really enjoyed my colleague's intervention, particularly when he was talking about how a lot of the established practices in the workplace have come through negotiations with unions over the years. I would agree with him completely.
    Toward the end of his speech, he was talking about the obstructionary practices of Conservatives in the House. We did some calculations this morning, and, in fact, in the fall session alone that is wrapping up, in one out of every three days in the House, there was some obstructionary practice by the Conservatives. Conservatives will say that is their job, and I would say that it is not; their job is to hold the government to account, but not to grind the place to a halt, which is what they are trying to do. One can hold the government accountable without having to turn this place into a road show.
    Would the member not agree with me that the Conservatives have failed in their responsibility?
    Mr. Speaker, I do think that all of us come here with the idea that we are going to do what is right for Canadians. It is unfortunate when we head to the ditch of obstructionism. An example is that right now, the justice committee is working on a bill called the miscarriage of justice act, which attempts to deal with the fact that many indigenous and Black Canadians have been wrongfully convicted and have spent long times in jail unnecessarily. Because of the carbon tax, the Conservatives are filibustering the miscarriage of justice act. This just makes no sense to me.
    In the four terms I have been here, I have seen some bitter disputes over something that was actually before the House, but it is the first time I have seen disputes flowing into all the committees about something that is absolutely irrelevant to the work those committees are trying to do for Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the NDP a question specifically on the issue of replacement workers.
    Originally, the Conservatives, the NDP and the Bloc were working together to try to bring to light contracts signed by the government that seemed to allow foreign replacement workers to be brought in on publicly subsidized projects. In fact, the NDP leader asked a question in the House in which he expressed the view that these contracts should be made public. However, since then, the NDP has flip-flopped, voted with the Liberals to bury the contracts and suggested that we just do an ATIP request instead. We all know the problems associated with the ATIP system. Parliamentary committees have a right to request unfettered access to documents.
    Why did the NDP flip-flop, abandon workers, give in to the Liberal filibuster and agree to support the government's efforts to bury the contracts?
    Mr. Speaker, the member has just given a perfect example of what I am talking about: the Conservatives' attempting to make the House dysfunctional. The question he is asking has nothing to do with the topic of the bill before us; it has nothing to do with the work we are trying to do in the House today, so it is a perfect example of the Conservatives' trying to make the House look dysfunctional.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech and his work.
    I know that the NDP has wanted this bill for a long time, and the same goes for the Bloc Québécois. We introduced anti-scab legislation at least 11 times over the years. We have been waiting for this for a long time. We think it is essential that this legislation come into force quickly. In my opinion, the government has had a lot of time to work on this and come up with a very good version of the bill.
    One of the things that bothers me is the 18-month delay for the coming into force after royal assent. If, much like us, the New Democrats think that enough time has been spent on developing a near-perfect version of the bill, I wonder how they can agree to this 18-month delay. I am wondering whether they will work with us in committee to ensure that the bill comes into force immediately after receiving royal assent.

  (1130)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I always enjoy working with the member, and her questions are always as they are today: to the point.
    One of the concerns I have about the bill is the 18-month delay before its implementation. New Democrats are supporting the bill at second reading so it can go to committee, where there would be a fulsome debate. I too am hoping we can convince the government that the 18-month delay is too long.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I rise to this morning to speak of workers, the labour context, industrial relations and replacement workers. One of the main factors to consider in today's debates is the Liberals' mismanagement over the past eight years. Liberal mismanagement has raised the cost of living for all Canadian workers.
    The Liberals' disastrous mismanagement and astronomical deficits sent inflation and interest rates soaring to levels not seen in 40 years. All these factors combine to put pressure on Canadian workers. People have their working conditions and their wages to count on, but when everything is going up, when the price of rent and housing doubles, when people go to the supermarket to feed their family and are forced to spend $150 more each week for the same groceries but their pay stays the same, they can no longer make ends meet. The math is simple.
    The Liberals constantly preach at us. My colleagues will no doubt remember how, just after it was elected, this government said it was there for the middle class and those working hard to join it. We even had the joy, the pleasure, of witnessing the creation of a new minister of middle-class prosperity. What a joke. That position no longer exists. As we can see, the government's actions yielded the opposite effect, making the middle class poorer. This is what is happening today.
    Furthermore, during the past eight years of Liberal mismanagement, labour disputes in Canada have surged. In recent years, Canada has experienced over 300 labour disputes. This is unprecedented. All this was caused by current conditions. People are struggling to stay afloat. They are at their wits' end. Food banks are overwhelmed with record demand. Two million people are visiting food banks every month. I even see it in my region near Quebec City, where everything usually hums along and people have a good standard of living. Now, queues of people line up for food boxes every Thursday. This is unheard of.
    There is so much pressure on workers, and that is causing tension and unrest. That is what we are seeing in Quebec nowadays, but that is a different debate. That is for the Government of Quebec to deal with. Public sector workers are striking, people like nurses and teachers. The same thing is happening at the federal level. The federal government created negative economic conditions in Canada that have led to unrest. Workers are struggling. They are anxious and worried, and for good reason.
    I have no choice but to blame the government, because those are the facts. The facts are the facts. Certain actions were taken. The insane spending that has been going on in recent years has doubled the country's debt. As we know, we are going to have to pay $50 billion a year in interest on the debt, the equivalent of 10% of all federal funds. Ten percent of all federal revenues will go toward paying interest to banks in New York and London. This creates a situation where workers can no longer make ends meet. That is untenable, so workers ask for more. Employers are also experiencing inflation. They, too, have to cope with rising costs. The entire market, every industry, is affected by the decisions made in recent years by the Liberal government, decisions that have had a negative impact on everyone.
    Other decisions that are entirely inconsistent with the current intention are those relating to Stellantis, Northvolt and Volkswagen. We have learned that Stellantis, which will receive $15 billion in public funds, will be using foreign replacement workers, most of them from South Korea. At first, there were supposed to be 1,600 of them. We now know that about 900 foreign workers are coming to work in Canada.

  (1135)  

    They are bringing in replacement workers from abroad to take Canadians' jobs. Some will say that these are specialized jobs. I understand that new technologies sometimes require workers with special knowledge to come explain how they work, but not 900 of them. The proof is that, when we first started asking questions, the Prime Minister said there would be no foreign workers. Then one of the Liberal ministers said that there would be a few, and then the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry said that there would only be one. At some point, they changed their minds. They realized that 900 Koreans would indeed be coming to Canada to take jobs away from Canadian workers.
    Let us not forget that this is an investment of $15 billion in public funds. If a private company sets up shop in Canada and pays for staff from outside the country with its own money, that is its prerogative. However, this is taxpayer money that the Government of Canada is investing in a business with an unproven track record. The Parliamentary Budget Officer said that it was going to cost far more than anticipated. They are not even sure that it will be profitable and that they will get their money's worth. Regardless, foreign workers are being brought in to work in Canada.
    It is the same thing with Northvolt, the company that is setting up in Quebec, halfway to the leader of the Bloc Québécois's riding. This company is also going to bring in foreign workers. The situation is not clear and we are trying to find out more. We asked to see the contracts. We understand that contracts for services with governments contain business-related clauses and they have to be careful, but we are entitled to find out some basic information about the number of foreign workers and their conditions.
    Let us not forget that it is taxpayers who are paying for this. We are investing tens of billions of dollars in these projects. These are not small investments. We should have access to this information. The government must find a way to give this information to the opposition parties so they can determine whether it is a good agreement or not. The government does not want to be transparent. This once again creates conditions that make Canadian workers turn around and ask for protection.
    What is going on? On the one hand, the government says it wants to protect its workers. On the other hand, it brings in foreign workers, even paying companies to do so. It is being inconsistent. This creates conditions that make people suspicious about what is going on and the way the federal government operates in Canada. They are right to be suspicious.
    That has repercussions on the Canadian economy. The COVID-19 pandemic caused severe supply chain disruptions, and the recovery has been difficult. Canada lacks synergy and efficiency in terms of rail, marine and air transportation. We need more consistency, efficiency and predictability. That is what is lacking now in Canada. Other countries are worried. Companies and marine carriers are wondering whether they should be going through Canada to reach the United States because they never know how the trip will unfold.
    These worries were created by the government. We saw it during the strike at the Port of Vancouver. The government knew months in advance that there were issues to address. The minister was not able to foresee the situation and find solutions to avoid a conflict. The conflict caused half a billion dollars in losses. It could have been settled ahead of time, and all that could have been avoided.
    There are several factors that must be taken into account when it comes to workers. Right now, the main problem is inflation and interest rates, which put pressure on workers, who are worried. Another problem is that the government does not appear to understand that it must ensure effective management and orchestrate public investments. In the case of companies like Stellantis and Northvolt, the government should avoid bringing in foreign replacement workers and give preference to Canadians who are willing to take on the work.

  (1140)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, this is another example of the pattern I talked about the other day. We are seeing the MAGA Conservatives, led by the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, taking this approach. What they want to talk about is Stellantis and the Volkswagen deal. I get it. MAGA Conservatives do not like it when the government invests in industrial expansion in areas that mean a great deal, with literally thousands of direct jobs, not to mention the indirect jobs.
    Why have the Conservatives fallen so dogmatically to the idea of MAGA conservatism that they are bringing it almost on a daily basis into the chamber? What is wrong with the Government of Canada recognizing the potential of an industry? Batteries and the electrification of vehicles are things of the future and they are happening today. We have an opportunity to see that industry grow in Canada. Why does the Conservative Party today not support the growth of that industry?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, first, I am sick and tired up of hearing my colleague ask questions based on the premise that we work the same way as in the U.S.
    We do not work the same way as in the U.S. As I mentioned in my speech, our concern is clear. We want a coherent policy and to take coherent measures to ensure that Canada is more effective when it comes to transport and energy. As for development, the future in the environmental sector is obviously batteries and the electrification of transportation. We agree on that.
    The fact remains that the federal government is making investments and spending tens of billions of taxpayer dollars. We have legitimate questions about the foreign workers coming in, but the government does not want to talk about that. I do not see how that is akin to American politics. We are talking about Canadian workers. I am in Canada. I am not in the U.S. I ask questions on behalf of Canadian citizens.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Quebec for his speech, but I do not understand what his actual position will be when we vote on Bill C‑58, which aims to protect striking and locked-out workers by preventing employers from using scabs during labour disputes. We have had anti-scab legislation in Quebec since 1977. Federal governments of all stripes have dragged their feet when it comes to adopting such legislation.
    Bill C‑58 will protect workers' strike and lockout rights and, during labour disputes, prevent employers from hiring scabs. Is my colleague's party for or against Bill C-58? That is what I want to know.
    Mr. Speaker, right now I am voting to protect Canadian jobs. Right now, we have a problem with foreign replacement workers and we are not getting any answers. I am more than happy to talk about Bill C‑58, but we want answers. We are taking advantage of this debate to ask the government why companies will be hiring foreign replacement workers. In our opinion, that is the same thing as bringing in scabs. We are bringing in people from outside Canada to fill Canadian jobs. That is what we want to know today.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, right now across Canada we are seeing a cost of living crisis, and this bill would do something important. It would ensure a level playing field, giving workers the power to negotiate as equals with their employers.
    We know the Conservatives have supported back-to-work legislation repeatedly, so I am wondering on which side the Conservatives are. Are they on the side of the workers or the side of the CEOs, who make so much when workers make so little?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I think my speech was clear. The current situation in Canada is unprecedented. This government has put our public finances in a very bad state, and has caused unprecedented inflation and interest rate hikes. Workers can no longer make ends meet. They do not have enough money to pay their rent and their other bills at the end of the month. That is the problem. All of the opposition parties need to work together to stop the government from continuing to spend recklessly.

  (1145)  

[English]

Points of Order

Bill C-59—Proposal to Apply Standing Order 69.1  

[Points of Order]
    Mr. Speaker, with the patience of the House, I have a point of order. It is in response to the application of Standing Order 69.1 to Bill C-59, better known as the fall economic statement.
    I am rising to respond to the point of order raised on December 12, 2023, respecting the application of Standing Order 69.1 to the provisions in Bill C-59 that were announced in the fall economic statement but not referenced in the 2023 budget.
    Let me quote the standing order in question, which reads:
    (1) In the case where a government bill seeks to repeal, amend or enact more than one act, and where there is not a common element connecting the various provisions or where unrelated matters are linked, the Speaker shall have the power to divide the questions, for the purposes of voting, on the motion for second reading and reference to a committee and the motion for third reading and passage of the bill. The Speaker shall have the power to combine clauses of the bill thematically and to put the aforementioned questions on each of these groups of clauses separately, provided that there will be a single debate at each stage.
    (2) The present standing order shall not apply if the bill has as its main purpose the implementation of a budget and contains only provisions that were announced in the budget presentation or in the documents tabled during the budget presentation.
    The legal title of the bill reads, “An Act to implement certain provisions of the fall economic statement tabled in Parliament on November 21, 2023 and certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 28, 2023”. I can confirm to the House that the significant majority of provisions in Bill C-59 would implement measures announced and articulated in the 2023 budget. The fall economic statement was designed to respond to affordability challenges facing Canadians, and these measures reflect a minority of provisions in the bill.
    The key to the standing order is the ability for the government to provide a compelling rationale as to why there is a common element or theme that connects the various provisions. In my intervention on that matter last week, I stated that the provisions to implement the legislative measures announced in the fall economic statement were linked to a common theme of affordability for Canadians. This intervention therefore allows me to provide in greater detail how these measures demonstrate a clear link to addressing the affordability concerns of Canadians.
    Before I review the measures that were only referenced in the fall economic statement, I would like to point out that many of the measures identified by the member for Regina—Qu'Appelle were referenced in the 2023 budget.
    Clauses 1 through 95 relate to proposed amendments to the Income Tax Act that in principle would ensure the robustness of Canada's tax system to provide benefits to Canadians, to create good-quality jobs and to build an economy that works for everyone. There is only one measure in these clauses that was not announced in the budget, that is, the information-sharing provision between departments to facilitate the provision of the government's dental benefit program. I would note that the dental benefit was a budget 2023 measure, and this provision was a technical fix to ensure the smooth operationalization of the benefit. This measure, along with the corresponding technical fix, is clearly a measure to address affordability challenges faced by Canadians who are eligible for the benefit.
    Clauses 96 through 128 would establish a digital services tax, which was announced in the 2023 budget and articulated in budget documents. Therefore, it should not be subject to separate votes at the second and third reading stages.
    Clauses 129 to 136 relate to proposed amendments to the Excise Tax Act that are designed to ensure that businesses in Canada and Canadians are fairly and properly affected by the excise tax, to enhance Canada's reputation as an investment destination and a great place to do business, and to support Canadians' participation in the labour market. All measures contained in clauses 129 to 136 were announced in the 2023 budget and articulated in budget documents, so they should not be subject to separate votes at the second and third reading stages.

  (1150)  

    Clauses 136 to 144 also relate to proposed amendments to the Excise Tax Act, which would ensure that businesses in Canada and Canadians are fairly treated by the excise tax. These measures would enhance Canada's reputation as an investment destination, which not only creates excellent job opportunities for Canadians, but also contributes to the revenues to strengthen Canada's social safety net. A significant majority of these measures were announced in the 2023 budget and articulated in the budget documents, so they should not be subject to a separate vote at the second and third reading stages.
    There are three measures that were not announced in the 2023 budget, but their purpose is clearly designed to address affordability challenges for Canadians. These include a measure that would exempt psychotherapy from federal tax, which would not only reduce the cost of therapy for Canadians, but also contribute to their well-being so they can productively contribute to the labour market. The second measure involves provisions to ensure that co-operative housing units are eligible for the 100% GST rebate on purpose-built housing, which is a real and significant investment to help build homes for Canadians and address affordability challenges for Canadians to find a place to call home.
    Clauses 145 to 167 concern the taxation of vaping products and cannabis products in Canada. These revenues provide investments for Canada to strengthen our social supports, and provide a price signal to Canadians of the health effects of the abuse of these products, while also providing for a fair and stable taxation of vaping and cannabis products.
    Clauses 168 to 196 would amend the laws governing financial institutions, which are designed to strengthen the governance of Canadian financial institutions. They are important to keeping Canadians' money and investments, as well as our financial institutions, safe and secure. All of these measures were announced in the 2023 budget and articulated in the budget documents, so they should not be subject to separate votes at the second and third reading stages.
    Clauses 197 to 208 relate to proposed leave entitlements related to pregnancy loss and bereavement leave, which are designed to support workers. Canadian workers are the backbone of the economy, and anyone who faces the tragedy of pregnancy loss deserves rightful access to bereavement leave. Ultimately, this measure would ensure that Canadians who are dealing with this tragedy are not also burdened by the loss of income. Again, all of these measures were announced in the 2023 budget and articulated in the budget documents, so they should not be subject to separate votes at the second and third reading stages.
    Clauses 209 to 216 relate to the establishment of a Canada water agency, which would create good jobs for Canadians and protect Canadians' access to fresh, clean water. It would also restore, protect and manage bodies of water of national significance. Canadians should be able to count on access to clean water. In an era of increasing climate disruption, an independent Canadian water agency, which would be located in Winnipeg, would help to protect our bodies of water. This measure was announced in the 2023 budget and articulated in the budget documents, so should not be subject to a separate vote at the second and third reading stages.
    Clauses 217 and 218 relate to the proposed amendments to the Tobacco and Vaping Products Act, which would provide the government with the authority to develop and implement tobacco and vaping cost recovery frameworks. It would also limit the cost burden on taxpayers for the funding of federal tobacco and vaping activities. In essence, these measures would ensure that Canadians are not on the hook for paying for the development or regulatory frameworks related to vaping, which would not only free up funds that could otherwise be spent on the investments and supports Canadians rely on, but also provide Canadians who use such products with additional disposable income to spend on the essentials of life.

  (1155)  

    Clauses 219 to 230 propose amendments to the Canadian Payments Act to make the Canadian banking system safer and more secure while delivering more innovative services for Canadians. The purpose of these amendments is to ensure that Canadians hard-earned money is safe in the financial institutions they rely upon.
     Clauses 231 to 272 would amend the Competition Act to help increase competition, most notably in the grocery sector where Canadians have experienced rising prices that have impacted their ability to feed their families with healthy and nutritious foods. These amendments are designed to make life more affordable for Canadians by lowering prices and providing more choice, which in turn stimulates competition to compete on pricing and encourage the development of more innovative products and services for Canadians.
     Clauses 273 to 277 would exempt post-secondary education institutions from the laws governing bankruptcy and insolvency. By educating our young people and conducting world-leading research, post-secondary educational institutions play a critical role in Canada's social, scientific, and economic development. These amendments would help protect the solvency of Canadian post-secondary institutions.
    Clauses 278 to 317 relate to amendments to address—
    The NDP House leader is rising on a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, I would ask for your indulgence. I know the member can speak with some passion. If he could liven this up, it would be to the benefit of everybody in the House. We have been working very hard, and we need some motivation. Reading in a monotone does not provide that.
    Mr. Speaker, on the same point of order, my question is quite simple. I am wondering if this will be included in the member for Kingston and the Islands's calculation on obstruction of the business of this place. He seemed to be finding out how to do some math on the subject earlier. I am wondering if this would be included in that—
    That is getting into debate, and I was just wondering if there was some filibustering going on.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader can continue. I know there are a few more pages to go.
    Mr. Speaker, in fairness, there was a point when I talked about the water agency, and I did go a little off-script. I said that was something that was happening in Winnipeg, which was somewhat spontaneous on my part, to try to liven it up a little. I will stick to my script so I can get right to the point. I am very close to being done.
    Clauses 278 to 317 relate to amendments to address anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism, and the threats they pose to the safety of Canadians and the integrity of our financial system. These threats have real costs for the Canadian economy and for Canadians. Not only will these amendments help keep Canadians hard-earned money safe, but also keep our financial system sound. These measures were announced in the 2023 budget and articulated in the budget documents, so they should not be subject to separate votes at the second and third reading stages.
     Clauses 318 and 319 would require the publication of information relating to the transfer of payments to the provinces. The federal government provides transfers to the provinces and territories that help deliver the services Canadians rely on, such as child care, which is a key measure to ease Canadians affordability concerns with respect to the care of their young children, and importantly to help deliver the health care that Canadians need when they are at their most vulnerable state.
     Clauses 320 to 322 would amend the Public Sector Pension Investment Board Act to ensure that workers are represented in the governance of the public sector pension investments by giving a voice to labour representatives in making investment decision for workers' retirement benefits. These amendments would contribute to stronger investments that would support jobs for middle-class Canadians.
     The final clauses referenced by my colleague are clauses 323 to 341, which would clarify the department mandate of Infrastructure Canada to include powers, duties and functions of the department to take a lead role for improving housing outcomes, and to enhance its activities and powers in relation to public infrastructure. These proposed amendments will assist the department in helping to deliver on Canadians' desire and need for housing in a more efficient and effective manner.
     In conclusion, I submit that a significant majority of the provisions in Bill C-59 were announced in the 2023 budget and, as such, these measures should not be subject to separate votes at the second and third reading stages. The minority of amendments in Bill C-59 that were announced in the fall economic statement were designed to ease Canadians' concerns about affordability. These provisions, which seek to advance measures that address affordability concerns, represent a common theme and should be grouped as such. as provided for under Standing Order 69.1.
    I thank the Speaker and all members for their patience in getting through that.

  (1200)  

    The hon. member was adding to the point of order that was raised earlier. I appreciate the additional information, and certainly we will take it under consideration.

Canada Labour Code

[Government Orders]
    The House resumed consideration of the motion that C-58, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code and the Canada Industrial Relations Board Regulations, 2012, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    Madam Speaker, as always, it is a pleasure to rise in the House to speak to things that matter to my constituents and to myself.
    I did want to take this opportunity first of all to congratulate Tchadas Leo. He is not in my constituency now, but he grew up there. He actually used to be my sons' French tutor. He was just named on Amazon's 2023 best Canadian podcasts of the year list, so that is very exciting. He does tremendous work and talks about the indigenous realities. I really appreciate his work and wanted to acknowledge him today.
    We are in this place, so close to the end, talking about a bill I am particularly passionate about, Bill C-58. This is about prohibiting the use of replacement workers and modifying the business continuity process. The reason this is so important to me and to the riding I represent is that we all appreciate the amazing work unions do.
    In the House, I talk a lot about there being a bar of dignity in Canada. I feel the bar of dignity is sinking. We need to raise it up so all Canadians have a level of dignity that is acceptable, which means one just has enough to exist and get by without being afraid every day about one's future.
    I really need to thank unions. Part of the reason we have all the social programs in this country is the hard work of labour unions. They remind us again and again to work for one another, to care about one another and to make sure that, when people work, they are treated with the dignity they deserve.
    This bill is so important because it really is about looking at the system we have in Canada and understanding that, all too often, workers lose their power because replacement workers are able to go in and fill those positions when they are doing their important work of standing up against employers on issues that really matter.
    The reality is that we know workers across this country deserve a lot more respect. They are working hard every day doing what is best, and they are still falling behind. This is an epidemic we are seeing in this country that needs to be dealt with. We need to see better wages, and we need to see better working conditions. The NDP has a long documented history of always working on the side of workers and listening to those voices.
    In fact, when it comes to this legislation, the NDP is in an agreement that forced the Liberal government to move forward with this meaningful piece of legislation. We know this because the NDP introduced anti-scab legislation in this place eight times in the last 15 years. In fact, the last time it came up for a vote, the Liberals and the Conservatives voted against it. This just tells us that there is a long history of the NDP being here, and we took what power we had with 25 members to make sure workers are better represented in this country and have more power in this country, and it is about time.
    Like unions, and like workers across Canada, we did not give up. We kept working diligently. We know the fight is hard and significant. We know that because right now, across this country, people cannot afford the food they desperately need to exist. As that is happening, grocery stores are making some of the biggest profits, especially those big box ones. It is not those local ones in our communities, which often do so much for the community, such as pay for sports clubs and help out. An example of this is Quality Foods in Campbell River ans what it does with the fireworks every Canada Day. It is those big box stores that are taking home huge profits at the expense of workers.
    We know, for example, that Galen Weston makes 431 times the average of the workers who work for him. Those folks who work every day on the front lines are interacting constantly with people. They are seeing people who cannot afford the groceries they have in their carts and need to put items back on the shelves. Often, workers in those grocery stores cannot afford to shop at the grocery store they work at. They have to go to food banks to make ends meet, and Galen Weston is making over 400 times the amount those workers are. That just tells us one of the things we need to address in this country is that growing inequity. It is happening. We can see it.

  (1205)  

    There is a lot of research showing that the top 1% continue to make more money and pay less in taxes while everyday workers work hard, get paid about the same and, knowing that inflation is impacting their income, keep working hard and paying their fair share in taxes. I hope that we, as a place that understands the bar of dignity for all Canadians, start considering that. Even though Galen Weston makes that much, the average these top CEOs are making is 235 times what their workers are making. I think that is totally unacceptable. It is something that all of us in this place should be addressing, and this is one step toward doing that.
    What is a scab? A scab is a person hired after the notice to bargain has gone out. These people are coming from other employers to work in a facility as contractors not already hired by the employer until a strike action happens. As a member who represents a more rural riding, I can say that right now the impact this has on community is profound. We see people we grocery shop with out on the line every day standing up for their rights as workers and see others walking past that line to work somewhere. Some have to keep fighting and are not getting paid or getting the supports they need and it decimates communities. It is really profound. That is why we are fighting for this.
    We also know that corporations are getting more tricky. They may have people out on the picket lines while getting people to work remotely. This legislation matters because it is for all of Canada. I recognize that both Quebec and B.C. have anti-scab legislation. We know where that came from in B.C.; it was definitely the New Democrats. However, it has to be across the country and it needs to be more fulsome so we can protect workers.
    Is it not time we started to protect workers in a more meaningful and profound way? We know that workers have waited long enough. How many more years do they have to wait? How many times has this promise been made and not followed through with? We are going to make it happen and we are really happy to do this.
    What this means for people is protection against replacement workers, which gives workers more power in negotiations and helps to have a more balanced bargaining table. That is incredibly important. We know that using scabs again and again creates unforeseen things. We have heard stories of the violence that often lingers in communities much longer than the labour dispute. We know that workers have even been injured or killed as a result of these tensions. When people are doing their very best to survive and see other people limiting their ability to do that, it raises a lot of concerns, and we do not want to see violence increase.
    Of course, whenever workers are replaced, it means employers get to continue on like nothing is wrong, not acknowledging safety issues and issues around how much people are compensated. These things become difficult and this legislation is going to make all the difference.
    I want to thank the president of the Canadian Labour Congress, Bea Bruske, who said, “We have seen years of record corporate profits while workers’ pay lagged far behind. Workers are rightly demanding fairer wages, better safety standards and respect from their employers.” She went on to say, “If we ban the use of scabs once and for all, we can take a real step towards less labour disruptions, avoiding work stoppages and building a more balanced economy—while increasing the benefits and respect workers deserve.”
    We need to see a country that focuses much more on workers and looks at the power they need and rightfully should have. What we want to see in this place is more cohesion so we can support those workers. We know that often disputes last six times longer when employers use scabs than when there are no scabs. That, for me, is enough. We need to make this right.
    Again and again in this place we have seen back-to-work legislation come forward and both the Liberals and the Conservatives have supported it. It is absolutely time to stop that. Let us get it done by having this in place.

  (1210)  

    Madam Speaker, I have been listening quite carefully to the speeches coming from members of the NDP. I notice they keep using the term “fair share” of tax.
     I wonder if the member could articulate for the House what exactly they mean by “fair share”? Is there a percentage? We know that high-income earners in Canada pay between 50% and 55% of their income toward income tax depending on which province they live in, so what percentage is the right percentage? What do they call fair?
    Madam Speaker, I am so sad to hear that lack of understanding and awareness in this place, and I really encourage the member to do research. We know that people who have the—
    An hon. member: Oh, oh!
    Order. There are opportunities for questions and comments. If members have questions and comments, they need to wait until the appropriate time. A member has already been recognized, and I would ask others to wait to ask a question at a different time.
    The hon. member for North Island—Powell River.
    Madam Speaker, thank you for that. It is unfortunate that members feel so defensive that the only result is to yell while I am giving a simple answer.
    Fairness is not a reality in this country. We know that the top 1% earners are getting so much more. They are paying less tax because they are using every tax loophole. In fact, some are hiding their money overseas. These are policies that the Liberals and the Conservatives have continuously supported. That is unfortunate but it is the reality.
    I encourage all members to talk to everyday working people, who pay their fair share of tax, about how it feels when other people do not pay theirs. I also want to remind the Conservative Party that the Conservatives in the U.K. acknowledged this by having a windfall tax and making sure that money went back into communities to support them during very trying times.
    We know this is a reality. There are a lot of graphs out there. I encourage them to do their research.
    Madam Speaker, anti-scab legislation has been an important personal issue for me for many years, dating all the way back to 1988 and 1989 in my first few years as a parliamentarian. I was really glad when the Prime Minister incorporated that into our last election platform, and I am really glad that three political entities in the chamber are committed to getting anti-scab legislation through.
    What I find interesting is that the Conservatives have yet to say how they are going to vote on the legislation, yet out in the communities, they are telling people that they are for the workers.
    Madam Speaker, we honestly do not know where the Conservatives are on this very important bill, which would bring more balance to workers. This bill focuses solely on workers and it is an opportunity. We know that the corporate-controlled Conservatives have a hard time working for people. They like to say things, but when it comes to workers, they do not do them. We have seen that in how they vote for back-to-work legislation repeatedly.

  (1215)  

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her clear message today that we need anti-scab legislation and for her reminder of how critical this legislation is for workers' rights and for fairness for workers and all of us. It is a historic moment, as we are seeing the NDP once again standing up for workers, standing up for Canadians and fighting back. However, we have the Conservatives, in a party that has revamped itself recently and is pretending to defend Canadians who are struggling, who are refusing to get behind anti-scab legislation.
    Can my colleague share her views on why the Conservatives are refusing to stand up for Canadian workers?
    Madam Speaker, that is a really important question. My grandma used to always say the proof is in the pudding. We know that actions speak louder than words, and what we have seen again and again with the corporate-controlled Conservatives is that they choose their corporate friends over hard-working Canadians. They can say they are about the working class, but again and again their actions show that that is not their focus and it is not what they do. It is one thing to say something; it is a completely different thing to do it. The NDP will continue to do the work that matters so much to workers across this country.
    Madam Speaker, it has been interesting to observe the debate that has been taking place in the chamber here today on Bill C-58. I would note a couple of observations, if I could, because I believe they provide important context to the conversation we are having.
    One observation that I note to members and to the many Canadians who I am sure are watching is the flip-flops we are seeing in this regard. We have the Liberals desperate to keep the NDP onside, yet it seems like the New Democrats are quick to sell out when it comes to holding on to the thread of power they feel they have. We hear the New Democrats talk tough against the Liberals in one sentence; then they walk down the street to committee.
    The leader of the NDP said in the beginning that committees would not be affected by the confidence and supply coalition agreement, yet we see the New Democrats capitulating to the—
    We have a point of order from the hon. member for New Westminster—Burnaby.
    Madam Speaker, this is completely irrelevant. We are talking about anti-replacement worker legislation, and a member cannot get up and just talk. If he has not read the bill, I would suggest he read the bill and get the information, but he has to speak on topic.
    I just want to remind members that there is some flexibility during speeches. However, hon. members do need to ensure that their speech is related to the bill and should mention the bill from time to time during their speech, if possible, or aspects within the bill.
    The hon. member for Battle River—Crowfoot.
    Madam Speaker, I am always glad that the New Democrats are paying such close attention. If they would pay such close attention to Canadians, they would see how far off base they are with average workers, who I am speaking to from coast to coast to coast and who are attending the rallies of the Leader of the Opposition, the member for Carleton.
    This is an interesting observation and it does connect closely to Bill C-58, and I am glad that the NDP member is paying attention. What we are hearing increasingly is that workers across this country feel abandoned by left-leaning parties in this country. They feel abandoned by an ideological focus on things that are shifting the conversation away from Canadians being able to prosper.
    When it comes to the bill we have before us, the New Democrats are taking credit for it, yet I have seen them time and time again stand up and declare all the problems that exist within it. For example, they have stated that they do not agree with the 18-month window for its coming into force. We have heard from the minister who introduced the bill that there is some ambiguity as to who it would apply to. We see that it affects federally regulated sectors but does not affect the public service.
    There are many holes in this legislation, and it is unfortunate the New Democrats seem to be so quick to sell themselves out for this slight grip on power they seem to have. We saw that obviously, which relates directly to the conversation we are having, when the leader of the NDP, only a number months ago when facing a confidence vote at his convention, drew a red line. The members of that party said that if they did not have pharmacare by the end of the year, the deal was done.
    We see once again that we simply cannot trust what the New Democrats promise. We simply cannot trust what they say they are endeavouring to accomplish. The Liberals, in this coalition agreement, either have had some of the worst negotiations we have ever seen or are simply playing along with this tenuous idea of power or security, as they may be afraid to face the electorate in this country.
    The member proved my point about how angry the New Democrats are about this. They seem angry about everything the Liberals are doing, yet they are the ones who continue to prop them up. That is no more true than in the situation we find ourselves in. We are debating a bill on replacement workers, yet we see the New Democrats supporting the government in bringing in thousands of foreign replacement workers on government-subsidized projects. Tens of billions of dollars are being spent to subsidize battery production facilities.
    I will take a brief detour, if I could. I believe fully that a huge economic opportunity exists when it comes to energy in Canada, whether it is in traditional forms of energy or new clean tech. What I find absolutely tragic is that the ideological Liberals are so blinded by the idea that they have to be in control that they refuse to allow our economy to prosper. They refuse that of my constituents.
    I am proud to be in the beating heart of Canada's energy industry. In fact, 87% of Canada's crude oil transits through a little town called Hardisty in my constituency. That may be an embarrassment to the left-learning parties in this House. The reality is that when it comes to the energy that powers our nation, that can power the world and that provides not only good-paying jobs to the folks I represent but the revenue and taxation to so much of what we have come to depend on in our country, it is an absolute embarrassment that the Liberals and the NDP have abandoned these hard-working Canadians for this ideological fantasy that is simply not worth the cost.
    Let us get back to the foreign replacement workers. The situation we have before us is that the Liberals are quick to brag about the deals they have signed. However, what is very troubling is that while they brag publicly about the deals, they refuse to tell us what those deals are.

  (1220)  

    They talk about the number of jobs they are creating, but the misinformation, the disinformation and the competing information we get from the Liberals makes the Prime Minister's math that budgets balance themselves seem to be of top quality when compared to the scope of differences that exists between the different estimates we have seen on the number of individuals who will be brought into Canada, subsidized by Canadian taxpayers, and the dollars being sent to workers who are not from this country.
    What is tragic about this conversation is that, in the beginning, it was a leader of the opposition who stood up in his place to share his outrage. He was outraged about the revelation of these foreign replacement workers and said that he was going to get to the bottom of it, that his MPs were going to fight for that every step of the way, yet it only took a couple of short weeks—
    Madam Speaker, I hate to call a point of order because it only prolongs how much longer I have to listen to this, but do you think you could ask the member to at least return to the subject? You have already asked him once and stressed the importance of that. Perhaps he could return to the subject of the bill that we are debating today.
    Although there is some leeway, I also was wondering when the hon. member would actually get to the bill itself. I would remind the member that he is to speak to the content of the bill. Yes, he can add some other content, but he should be focused on the bill that is before the House.
    I have another point of order from the hon. member for Provencher.

  (1225)  

    Madam Speaker, on that point of order, I was listening very closely to the member giving his speech. He was talking about the replacement workers coming to the Stellantis battery factory from South Korea. This is a piece of legislation about replacement workers, and he was directly referring to the replacement workers that the Liberals authorized to come—
    I appreciate the hon. member adding to the conversation. The hon. member added a very minimal quality, but I want to make sure that the debate is on the bill itself.
    I do want to allow the hon. member to finish his speech. He has almost three minutes.
    I have another point of order from the hon. member for Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke.
    Madam Speaker, if we are going to talk about the topic of this bill and use the term “replacement workers”, I would just like to point out that they are temporary foreign workers, however people feel about them. I happen to think that temporary foreign workers are a good addition to our economy. However we feel about them, they are not replacement workers under this legislation. Either the members are confused or they are deliberately—
    I apologize. I had to turn up the volume on my speaker because I could not hear the hon. member that well, but I did get the gist of it. That would actually be a point of debate.
    The hon. member for Battle River—Crowfoot.
    Madam Speaker, it is certainly always interesting, when I speak the truth in this place, the level to which it triggers the left in this country. The response is certainly astounding. While we debate the concept of a bill that would supposedly ban replacement workers, although there are some clauses that we could drive an electric vehicle through, it is quite fascinating to listen to other parties here, in particular the NDP. This emphasizes the point I was making. I think it has to do with the credibility the NDP is claiming on this legislation. While the NDP's leader and its members stood strong, demanding answers, it took only a couple of weeks for them to back down.
    I wish I were kidding here, but instead of demanding that a parliamentary committee get the answers, get the contracts in this case and see the contracts, so that Canadians could know for themselves exactly what we were talking about, such as the number of replacement workers and what was negotiated on behalf of taxpayers, what did the NDP do?
    This is not just a private company or private individuals. This is a minister of the Crown and a government department negotiating to the tune of tens of billions of dollars in tax dollars. That is not the government's money. That is Canadians' money. Instead of demanding accountability, although they feigned outrage in this place, what did the NDP do at committee? The NDP backed down and said it would just file an ATIP. Instead of demanding answers, the NDP would just file an access to information request. The government has repeatedly refused to abide by the most basic measures of accountability to provide the answers that Canadians deserve.
    When it comes to the subject matter we are debating today, it comes down to the idea of trust. For the NDP, I do not know how its members can continue to trust the Liberals. For Canadians, it is increasingly clear that they cannot trust the left-leaning coalition that governs this country. When it comes to the best interests of workers, it is crystal clear, whether unionized or not, whether a new sector in the economy or a traditional one, the left-leaning coalition in this country does not have workers' backs. The good news is that Conservatives do. We are going to bring it home for Canadians.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, this is the third time that my Conservative colleagues have mentioned the use of replacement workers, or foreign workers, in factories in Windsor or in battery factories.
    Bill C‑58 deals with something else entirely. That is crystal clear. Although the bill refers to “replacement workers”, I think that the Conservatives know that it is intended to prevent the hiring of scabs in the event of a labour dispute. Its aim is to finally prevent employers from using scabs during a strike or lockout and allowing the dispute to go on forever. That is unfair. We have had anti-scab legislation in Quebec since 1977. The question is clear. We are talking about scabs.
    Will my colleague vote for or against Bill C‑58?

  (1230)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I appreciate that the Bloc has been willing to partner with the official opposition in the sense that we are demanding answers, unlike the New Democrats who have abandoned their principles and sold out their ideology to simply attain some tenuous grip on power—
    An hon. member: Oh, oh!
    I would remind the hon. deputy House leader that I just reminded others a while ago that, when someone else has the floor, they should please wait until the next turn for questions and comments if they wish to contribute.
    The hon. member for Battle River—Crowfoot.
    Madam Speaker, I appreciate that they are demanding answers on this. It bears a close connection and comes down to the very fundamental idea of trust. We need to look closely at the legislation before us, but can we trust those who have proposed it?
    When it comes to workers, whether it is farmers in my constituency or energy workers or manufacturing in Ontario or coastal port workers, it is time for a party that supports workers and prosperity in this country. Unfortunately, they have been abandoned by Canada's left. However, they should not worry because Conservatives are here to bring it home for all Canadians.
    Madam Speaker, it is my first opportunity to speak on Bill C-58, so I will first put on the record that the Green Party supports this very important legislation. It is time for Parliament to act to protect workers' rights.
    I used to practise in the area of labour law with a firm in Halifax back in the day that represented trade unions, specializing in labour law. I would ask the hon. member for Battle River—Crowfoot to clarify why we are spending so much time on this debate.
    I know he and other Conservatives have been told by the member for Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke and the hon. member for Thérèse-De Blainville that there is no connection in this bill whatsoever to having foreign workers come to any plant in Canada or any workplace in Canada. This bill is specifically to protect the right of collective bargaining and the rights of workers who have gone out on strike to not have what are called scab workers. That is a replacement worker. The workers at the Stellantis battery plant are not scab workers. Does the member agree?
    Madam Speaker, I wish the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands well. I know she has had some health challenges. In the midst of a heated debate, although she and I would probably disagree on many things, I wish her well. I wish her a very merry Christmas and hope that her health continues to improve.
    My response is simple. If we had the answers to these very basic questions by being able to see the contracts and understand what labour negotiations were included in the contracts with Stellantis or the number of other major contracts that the government has signed but refuses to provide details on, we could definitely say exactly what the member is suggesting. The problem is that because the government refuses to give us the details, we cannot definitely say that is not the case and it is unfortunate that the NDP, especially, will not join us in demanding that accountability.
    On a point of order, the hon. member for New Westminster—Burnaby.
    Madam Speaker, I am following up on the point of order from the member for Regina—Qu'Appelle this morning.
    I have images of fundraisers that were conducted by a Speaker. I would like unanimous consent to table the images of these fundraisers involving a Speaker. It is the former Speaker, the member for Regina—Qu'Appelle, and three partisan fundraisers that he was involved in as Speaker. I would ask for permission to table those documents.

  (1235)  

    I am hearing “no”, so there is not unanimous consent.
    On another point of order, the hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader.
    Madam Speaker, earlier, the Conservative House leader was asking to table documents of a Speaker and what he classifies as inappropriate behaviour. Now the Conservatives are saying no to tabling a document that shows inappropriate—
    I am sorry, but I have already asked and we have gotten a “no”. This is now going into debate.
    On a separate point of order, the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities.

Business of the House

    Madam Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties, and I believe if you seek it you will find unanimous consent for the following motion:
    That, notwithstanding any standing order or usual practice of the House, during the debate pursuant to Standing Order 66 on Motion No. 44 to concur in the first report of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food, no quorum calls, dilatory motions or requests for unanimous consent shall be received by the Chair and at the conclusion of the time provided for debate or when no member rises to speak, whichever is earlier, all questions necessary to dispose of the motion be deemed put and a recorded division deemed requested and deferred pursuant to Standing Order 66.

[Translation]

    All those opposed to the hon. parliamentary secretary moving the motion will please say nay.
    It is agreed.
    The House has heard the terms of the motion. All those opposed to the motion will please say nay.

    (Motion agreed to)

[English]

Canada Labour Code

    The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-58, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code and the Canada Industrial Relations Board Regulations, 2012, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    Madam Speaker, today we are speaking to Bill C-58, an act to amend the Canada Labour Code and the Canada Industrial Relations Board Regulations, 2012, otherwise known as the anti-scab legislation that workers from across the country have been calling for since time immemorial.
    The NDP has put forward this legislation eight times in the last 15 years, and it has been defeated by Liberals and Conservatives alike. We are very happy and proud that we have forced the Liberal government to table the legislation this year; we look forward to seeing it become law as soon as possible.
    Workers around the world have only one power to balance the relationship with employers. That is their work, the labour they provide to make the products or provide the services that give their employers their profits. The withdrawal of that labour or even the threat of withdrawal is the only thing that levels the playing field in labour negotiations. When negotiations break down and workers feel that a strike is the only option left to them to obtain a fair collective agreement, if the employer brings in replacement workers to break that strike, the playing field is tilted steeply in favour of the employer. Employers have no real reason to bargain in good faith, or at all, with the workers.
    Labour relations in Canada have a long and deep history, and some of the most important moments in that history happened in my riding of South Okanagan—West Kootenay, in the Rossland mines. In the late 1800s, there was a mining boom across my riding, with gold mines in the South Okanagan and silver in the Slocan. Some of the richest mines were in Rossland.
     In 1895, the Rossland miners formed the first Canadian local of the Western Federation of Miners. That local went on to advance many of the first labour laws in British Columbia and Canada, laws that brought in the five-day work week and the eight-hour workday, as well as laws enforcing safe workplaces, the first workers' compensation act.
     Unrest in the mining camps resulted in the Canadian government sending Roger Clute, a prominent Toronto lawyer, to Rossland in 1899. He reported back that compulsory arbitration would be less effective than conciliatory measures, and after another trip to Rossland, his reports led to the federal Conciliation Act of 1900. That helped create the Department of Labour and the Canadian system of industrial relations. Rossland, and the miners of Rossland, helped build our system of labour relations across the country.
    When everyone in this place goes home for the weekend; when everyone in the country goes home at five o'clock, after an eight-hour workday; and when every worker in Canada knows they have the right to a safe workplace, they can thank the members of the Rossland local of the Western Federation of Miners.
     That is the benefit of having a healthy and fair system of labour relations. At the centre of that system is the right of workers to withdraw their work. Replacement workers, or scabs, destroy that system. Not only does hiring scabs take away any power that workers have to undertake fair negotiations, but it also often tears communities apart, especially small communities that have few other opportunities for good work. If workers go on strike in that situation and the company hires scabs, those replacement workers are taking away jobs from their neighbours and relatives. This increases tensions within the community, sometimes escalating into violence.
     Using replacement workers was common during early strikes, including in the mines of British Columbia, and there are too many stories of violence from those days. One of the worst stories, though, comes from relatively recent times, when the workers at the Giant Mine in Yellowknife went on strike in 1992. That gold mine had been the mainstay of the Yellowknife economy for many years, but a new owner demanded cuts from the union, then locked the unionized workers out.
     The company then hired replacement workers to keep the mine going and to keep the profits rolling in. Hostilities quickly rose, pitting neighbours against neighbours; this culminated in a bombing within the mine that killed nine miners, nine replacement workers. It is one of the worst mass murders in Canadian history.

  (1240)  

    This is why we need anti-scab legislation. This is why British Columbia and Quebec introduced anti-scab legislation and have had it for decades. Critics say that this legislation may allow strikes and lockouts to drag on; in fact, it usually has quite the opposite effect.
    What impetus does the employer have to end a strike if they can use workers to keep things going, to keep those profits rolling in? If anything, outlawing replacement workers speeds negotiations up because both sides are on an even footing. The employer is losing profits, and the unions are losing pay. They both want to end the dispute as soon as possible. Many of the longest labour disputes in Canadian history have been those involving scabs, because the employer has no reason to bargain with the unions.
    This law would take effect in federally regulated industries, such as ports, railways, airports, telecommunications and banks.
    We recently had a dispute at the Port of Vancouver, and we are studying that issue in the international trade committee right now. Some witnesses have tried to paint a picture that labour is the cause of a declining reputation in Canadian supply chain reliability, that the unions dragged out negotiations and caused this strike. What we have heard at committee is exactly the opposite.
    First, this is the first strike at the Port of Vancouver since 1969. Most people in this chamber were not even alive then. The collective bargaining system has been working very well there.
    Second, delays in bargaining were clearly the fault of the employers or, rather, their association, the BC Maritime Employers Association. The BCMEA represents the employers at the bargaining table, but it had no mandate to make decisions. The union would respond with a counter-offer to the employers' offer within a day, but the BCMEA would take a week or 10 days to come back with its counter-offer.
    Negotiations dragged on. The strike began, and it took 13 more days to come to an agreement. If it were not for the delays and intransigence of the employers, we could have easily reached that agreement before strike action was necessary.
    We must remember that there are two sides to every labour dispute. The best, fairest and often shortest negotiations are those in which both sides have an equal balance of power. That is what Bill C-58 brings to the federal labour scene.
    The NDP is, of course, very much in favour of this legislation. We have worked hard and long to improve it and will continue to do that when it goes to committee.
    Our big concern now is the provision, within this bill, of a delay of 18 months before the legislation comes into force after passing through Parliament. We have heard no good reasons for this delay, and we will be making the case in committee to amend that part of the bill.
    If the use of replacement workers is illegal, that provision should come into force immediately. I can see no reason that corporations or unions need 18 months, a year and a half, to get their heads around this change to Canadian labour law.
    I remember one of the first debates I took part in in this place, a debate on an NDP private member's bill, in 2016, that was essentially the same bill we are debating today. I was so encouraged that we could be making such a big difference for workers, but I was profoundly surprised and disappointed when the Liberals and Conservatives defeated that bill.
    I have since, unfortunately, gotten used to disappointments in this place. However, with this bill, we have the opportunity to take a step toward hope. I hope we can pass this bill at second reading quickly, have the committee debate it in detail and pass it so that all Canadians can enjoy better labour relations across the country.
    With that, I would like to wish everyone here and everyone in the wonderful riding of South Okanagan—West Kootenay a very happy Christmas and a peaceful holiday season full of love and good cheer.

  (1245)  

    Madam Speaker, I would like to just pick up on the member's last comment, in regard to the importance of the legislation and how wonderful it would be to actually pass it through to the committee stage. The Conservatives like to go around the country telling Canadians that they are pro-worker, that they are there to support workers. I think it would be a very strong, powerful message, collectively, from the House and all political parties, if we could see this legislation ultimately collapse the debate. Then, we could allow for it to actually go to committee before Christmas.
    Would the member not concur with the thought that sending this, in a unanimous way, to a standing committee before Christmas would be a wonderful gift for the workers in Canada?
    Madam Speaker, I often say this, but in this case, I am very happy to agree with the member for Winnipeg North that we should move this forward. This may mean including it in one of our famous omnibus unanimous consent motions that happen at the end of sessions, but we should be passing this soon, for all the reasons I outlined.
    I hope the Conservatives will join us in that effort. They try to make it sound like they are on side with the workers of Canada, but every time we have debate and a vote in this place on workers' rights, they vote against it. I cannot remember any single instance of them voting against back-to-work legislation.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I appreciated my colleague's speech. As everyone knows, the Bloc Québécois is in favour of this bill.
    Quebec has had anti-scab legislation since 1977. It is not a new thing. Sometimes we say that we are wasting our time here, constantly waiting for the federal government to take action. Here is another good example of that. Quebec has progressive measures and protects workers' rights, but the federal government is once again dragging its feet and slowing us down.
    Earlier, my colleague from Winnipeg North said we should send this bill to committee right away and get it passed fast. I would like to remind my colleague that, in 2021, special legislation was invoked to end the Port of Montreal strike. The Liberal Party introduced that bill with the Conservative Party's support. So much for today's little shenanigans. The Liberals think they are standing with workers and defending workers' rights.
    Here is my question: Should we get rid of the 18-month delay as soon as possible once this bill goes to committee?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I agree with my colleague. There has been anti-scab legislation in Quebec for decades. We have had anti-scab legislation in British Columbia for decades, and it has proven very useful and positive.
    It has been a disappointment, as I said at the end of my speech, that the federal government has not done the same until now. It looks as though we have a chance to move this forward. I hope we can get it to committee, where we can make some important changes such as getting rid of that 18-month delay, which I know the Bloc Québécois supports as well. I fully support what he had to say.

  (1250)  

    Madam Speaker, with the labour shortage right now, having a stable workforce is seen as one of the best assets going forward. This would help provide some more strength to having a stable working environment and strong conditions to attract investment. In fact, that is one of the cases we are hearing significantly from areas of labour shortages, so I would like my colleague to reflect on that. Reducing labour shortages and actually having less turnover and more stability in the workplace is a competitive edge for all of Canada. Could my colleague provide a sense of how important this is for the economy?
    Madam Speaker, I totally agree with my colleague from Windsor West. I tried to make the point in my speech that this legislation, getting rid of replacement workers, would speed up labour negotiations, shorten strikes when they happen and really balance the system, so we have labour peace in this country. That is what we need.
    I was very disappointed when the Canadian Chamber of Commerce came before our committee and asked us to vote against this. It did not seem to understand it was voting for more and longer labour disputes, which is something it does not want. We do not want that either, nor do workers or corporations. Therefore, let us get this bill passed.
    Madam Speaker, it is always an honour to rise in this place and talk about the issues of the day. I understand that Bill C-58 was not originally on the agenda, but it is still a great opportunity to speak about it.
    Prior to becoming the critic for the Conservative Party on housing, I had the honour of being its critic on labour. I worked directly with our current critic, the member for Essex, who, I think, is doing an amazing job. I was reflecting on the comments he made about this particular bill. Of course, in his riding of Essex, there is a lot of organized labour and skilled trades, and he talks to a lot of people in his constituency. Talking to real people is a great way to learn what is really going on, and I am not sure enough of that has gone on with the current government.
     I think about the importance of workers. Any great business owner will tell us that it is the people who make their business work. The best businesses take care of their workers. Of course, Conservatives believe in the right to collectively bargain, which is an important part of the process, but what I am more concerned about than anything is the need for this legislation right now. One of the situations we are seeing in this country is that there is an awful lot more labour disruption and more strikes, whether at the Port of Montreal or in Vancouver, and one has to ask why that is happening. I know, from talking to leaders of the labour movement, skilled trades and business, that a big part of the problem facing workers in this country is the cost of living, which is getting out of control. Inflation is driving up the cost of food and the cost of heating our homes, or even of getting a home.
    We know that the labour situation affects the housing situation as well. This is one of the things we have been focusing a lot on. CMHC has told us that we need to build 3.5 million more homes in the next 10 years than we would normally build. That is a total of almost six million homes, which works out to 750,000 units a year. The most we have ever built in a year is about 260,000, which was in the seventies, when it was very easy to get things like permits and approvals. Today, the most difficult part of building a home is getting permission to build it. One of the major barriers to getting homes built is labour, the skilled trades. We need more electricians, plumbers and other labour. We have a government that, I guess, did not understand the demographic shift that was going on in our country and did not really prepare for it, but we have a situation today where there is a desperate need for more people to help us build the homes people need.
    The inflationary spending of the government is a big part of the reason why we are behind the eight ball on the housing issue. It is why people cannot afford to pay rent. Rents have doubled. In the eight years of the photo-op-happy, talking-points government, home prices have doubled and rents have doubled. With respect to mortgage rates, over this last year, we have seen the fastest increase in interest rates that we have seen in 40 years. Of course, the impact of this is that the people who were hoping to get into the market are now that much farther behind and are never going to have a chance.
     What the people who own a home are struggling with, and I can see the member is going to rise on a point of order, because—

  (1255)  

    Madam Speaker, the member predicted that I was rising on a point of order.
    He is talking about the budget, while the bill before us is about anti-scab legislation. This is an ongoing theme with Conservatives; they are not staying on topic. Perhaps you could ask the member to get back on topic as you did with the previous—
    As I have indicated, there is some leeway. I want to remind members who are speaking to bills to make sure they reference the bill from time to time and relate their speech to it.
    The hon. member for Parry Sound—Muskoka.
    Madam Speaker, I will explain to the member, because he clearly does not quite get it. Part of the reason we have more labour strife in this country is, in fact, the inflationary spending of the current government. The excessive borrowing is causing everything to go up in price, and people in organized labour, like everybody else, are struggling to put food on the table. That is why I am referring to these issues. It is why I am referring it back to an issue that is completely connected to organized labour, and that is housing, which is the foundation of society: a warm, safe bed to sleep in at night. There are people working all across this country, whether they are in a union or not, who are struggling to make ends meet. That is causing labour strife.
    My point about Bill C-58 is that it is the government's attempt, along with its coalition partners, to deflect from the real issues and from its failures as a government, including the massive borrowing and spending it has done for the last eight years, that is causing everything to go up in price and causing labour strife. If the Liberals understood the impact of their inflationary policies, things like Bill C-58 really should not be the top priority. It is an important discussion to have, but what we really need to do is get the cost of living down in this country. We need to make life more affordable for Canadians. Whether or not it is their inflationary borrowing and excessive spending, I know that the Liberals believe that the best way to solve any problem is to hire more bureaucrats and make the government bigger. However, in fact, the best way to make life more affordable for Canadians is to get out of their pockets and give them a break.
    Bill C-58 is—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I want to remind members that there is no opportunity for cross-debate at this point. There is just an opportunity for questions and comments after the speech.
    The hon. member for Parry Sound—Muskoka.
    Madam Speaker, I am not sure whether the two members are familiar with The Muppet Show, but they remind me a bit of Waldorf and Statler right now. That is okay.
    Bill C-58
    I do want to remind members that when they are describing members of the House, they should be respectful.
    The hon. member for Parry Sound—Muskoka.
    Honestly, Madam Speaker, that was respectful. It was meant in jest, and I think it was a very positive thing. Only one of them is offended, so they are actually playing the role very well, which is great.
    If the hon. member for Parry Sound—Muskoka could get back to his speech and the debate that is before the House, that would be great.
    Madam Speaker, absolutely I will.
    I would like to point out that the cost of living issue that I have been talking about is directly related to Bill C-58 and the fact that there is more labour strife in this country. We have seen a lot more of it. Obviously, I am just trying to make the point, tie in the point and help them understand, across the aisle, that, in fact, the Liberals' inflationary borrowing and spending and their big-government solutions to everything are part of the reason we are having more labour strife in this country. If the Liberals understood the implications of their disastrous policies, they would understand why it is important to point that out when discussing things like Bill C-58.
    It is also interesting to note that Bill C-58 would ban the use of replacement workers in federally regulated workspaces, such as banks, airlines and rail, which are all very important. Of course, the government is making sure that this would not apply to federal workers, just federally regulated workspaces, so it is one of the classic double standards of the Liberal Party where it wants to make sure that it looks to be doing the right thing, but we are not sure that it really is. It is just one more example of a government that is good on talking points and long on photo ops, but not really great at delivering results.
     I am sure there will be some really insightful questions from across the aisle.
    I would just say, in reference to the cost of living and the issues that Canadians are facing today, that, as this will be the last time I speak in the House before the Christmas break, I would like to wish everyone a happy Christmas and a happy holiday, and remind them to be thinking about their neighbour this holiday season. Lots of people are struggling. If people can support their local food bank, I ask them to please do that. Our neighbours need our help, this year more than ever.

  (1300)  

    Madam Speaker, I actually feel sorry for the member. I genuinely believe that he is one of the more progressive ones in his party, yet somehow he seems to have been sucked down the rabbit hole of the member for Carleton and his talking points.
    I genuinely do not believe that the member thinks that the inflationary impact has to do with government spending. He must know that it has more to do with global issues such as the war in Ukraine and the fact that every other country in the developed world is also experiencing inflation. Can he not, perhaps, at least agree that there are other factors that contribute to inflation?
    Madam Speaker, I would note that my Liberal friends like me a lot more when I agree with them, but the member is patently wrong in this particular circumstance. We have heard from the Governor of the Bank of Canada that inflationary borrowing and spending are exacerbating inflation. They are not the only reason; I will grant the member that. We have also heard from a former Liberal finance minister on the same topic, that excessive borrowing and inflationary spending are making things more expensive. We have heard from Scotiabank economists.
    I am not making it up. I know that the member despises the member for Carleton, but the member for Carleton is absolutely correct, and he is not quoting his own numbers; he is quoting numbers we are hearing from the experts. I do not know why the Liberals do not agree with the experts, but the facts are there. I wish they would listen to them as opposed to their own Liberal talking points from the PMO.
    Madam Speaker, I have great respect for my colleague, who is almost from the north, but not quite.
    The problem is that the Conservatives pretend that inflation just happened. I am looking at inflationary jumps that have happened for some time. For example, when the member for Regina—Qu'Appelle was Speaker, he held fundraisers for $125 a plate, including cigars, but four years on, it was $175 a plate with cigars. This is a huge inflationary jump—
    Madam Speaker, on a point of order, the member's comments are neither on the member's speech nor on the bill. I question the relevance.
    I would again remind members that speeches and comments should be related to the matter before the House. If the hon. member for Timmins—James Bay could make the link, that would be great.
    Madam Speaker, I am trying to raise questions about the Conservatives' use of inflation to jump up prices for tickets when the member for Regina—Qu'Appelle was Speaker and holding fundraisers. There was a dramatic increase, and that needs to be explained. Were those global figures? Was it the Liberals, or was it the member for Regina—Qu'Appelle who—

  (1305)  

    I do not see the relationship to the bill before the House.
    I do not know whether the hon. member for Parry Sound—Muskoka wishes to weigh in on this, and whether he is able to relate it to the bill.
    The hon. member for Parry Sound—Muskoka.
    Madam Speaker, it was a little jumbled; I will grant you that, and I think you are quite justified in being confused by what the member was talking about.
    The fact of the matter is that inflation has definitely been far worse over the last few years of the government. It has spiked because of exactly what I have been talking about. While inflation has always existed, it is certainly a lot worse now and has been exacerbated by the government.
    Madam Speaker, I would ask the member to talk a little more about inflation and how it is affecting people, particularly working men and women right across this country, unionized or not. Maybe there is a message that he would like to share, especially in relation to the message from the member for Carleton, to let working people know there is some hope around the corner.
    Madam Speaker, the labour strife that exists in this country is, in large part, because life is too expensive. While the rights of workers to bargain collectively are important, it is also important for workers to be able to afford to put food on the table, heat their homes and drive to work if they need to do that, and the government is making these things more expensive with its inflationary spending and its carbon tax on everything.
    Madam Speaker, it is always an honour to rise in the House. I am certainly very proud to rise on Bill C-58, an act to amend the Canada Labour Code and the Canada Industrial Relations Board Regulations, to end the practice in federally regulated workplaces of being able to bring in scab labour. This is something that New Democrats and the labour movement have fought many years for, and we are determined to make this a reality.
    At the outset, I want to thank the member for South Okanagan—West Kootenay who spoke about the history, because history is important. He mentioned the history of the Rossland miners and the Western Federation of Miners, and the transformation they brought across this country.
    I am proud to be from Cobalt where the 17th district of the Western Federation of Miners was formed under Big Jim McGuire. The fact that the fight for the eight-hour day began in the mines of Cobalt on April 28, the international day of mourning for workers killed on the job, relates directly to the Cobalt Miners Union winning the right to workers' compensation in 1914.
    My grandfather, Charlie Angus, died at the Hollinger Mine, and my other grandfather, Joe MacNeil, broke his back underground at the McIntyre Mine. Both were members of Mine Mill and then the Steelworkers. When I was growing up, anybody who came from a mining town had a relative who had been injured or killed on the job. However, organized labour fundamentally changed that.
     The right of labour to organize, the right of labour to fight for a better future, is the history of our country and of the United States. They talk about the birth of the middle class in the United States as being the 1938 sit-down strike in Flint, Michigan where the auto workers were not going to put up with precarious work—
    Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The member is mentioning the United States. We are dealing with Canadian legislation here. Why is he bringing up U.S. situations?
    I would remind hon. members, and I have mentioned this on a number of occasions, there is some leeway. As long as members bring it back to the bill and relate to the bill somehow, there is some leeway in the speeches.
    On another point of order, the hon. member for Cowichan—Malahat—Langford.
    Madam Speaker, I think you are going to see a pattern during the speech of the member for Timmins—James Bay. He is going to give a speech that is on topic, and we are going to see Conservatives stand up on bogus points of order. I would like the Chair to pay attention to this pattern.
    That was more a point of debate. I want to remind members that, when they rise on points of order, it would be best for them to point out the standing order they are bringing a point of order on.
    The hon. member for Timmins—James Bay.
    Madam Speaker, I am not surprised that they are trying to shut down a discussion on labour rights. We know the deep, anti-labour history of the Conservatives. If they do not want to know history, they can go have a walk around the block.
    We know that the modern middle class was formed in Canada in 1945 at the Ford Windsor strike. That was a follow-up to what happened in 1938 in Flint, Michigan. What happened in Flint, Michigan, matters to Canada. Conservatives do not understand that, but it matters because it was the piece of Detroit that established the post-war consensus of labour, capital and government that started the biggest transformation of wealth and success in the history of the world. The movement of the working class from precarious crap jobs to stable housing, proper wages and pensions, came out of out those strikes.
    In my region in 1941, the Kirkland Lake gold miners' strike was a brutal strike that won the right to collective bargaining. In 1973, it was the steelworkers going on strike again and again, and the wildcat strikes. Those were illegal strikes in Elliot Lake that forced fundamental changes to the workers' compensation acts everywhere. Health and safety became a fundamental issue because workers were dying on the job and they were not going to take it anymore.
    This is our history. This is the history of New Democrats. This is the history of my family. The other history is a dark history and it begins in 1980 when we saw the planned destruction of the modern working class, middle class that was put in place by the gurus of the Conservative movement, like Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek. Friedrich Hayek was so opposed to the growth of wealth of the North American working class that he wrote an essay calling for a planned depression. He wanted to force a depression on North America in order to break the backs of the working class. That was picked up by Ronald Reagan. That was picked up by Paul Volcker of the Federal Reserve. It began in January 1980 with massive increases in interest rates that led to millions of jobs lost across the United States, and that spilled over into Canada.
    What we saw then was that Ronald Reagan targeted the union movement and from then on, we started to see the loss of rights of workers, the loss of wages and the loss of security. In Canada, that effort was undertaken, but thankfully, we had the solid backing of some very strong labour leaders. At the time, Bob White and United Auto Workers, before it became Canadian Auto Workers, came out with a no-concessions policy. Under no circumstances were they going to give concessions. They stood up to Chrysler. They stood up to GM. They stood up at factory after factory to defend the rights of workers. We know that modern Conservatives would not support that. Bill Davis, who was an old-style Conservative, actually sided on a number of occasions, with the auto workers along the 401 belt to say that they did have rights, even at a time of massive job losses.
    We saw the damage that was done from the 1980s on. We can count it in the lost wages and lost security. The neo-liberal attack on worker rights was so overwhelming. Let us talk about the RAND Corporation. Under the present Conservative leader, one might think the RAND Corporation is a rabid lefty, but it actually usually works for the U.S. military. The RAND Corporation did a study of economic inequality to deal with the issue of democratic instability in the United States.
    Certainly, we have seen what is happening with MAGA, and the issue of economic precarity, the loss of the North American working class, and the creation of economic instability and political instability. From the period around 1980, when the attack on organized labour in the United States began, to what followed in Canada, we have, in the United States today, a Black worker making $26,000 less than they would if the 1980 wages remained constant. A college-educated worker is earning between $48,000 and $63,000 less a year. All that wealth, according to the RAND Corporation, was plundered directly for the benefit of the 1%.
    What we are seeing is that it identified the loss of wages, pension security and benefits to be in the order of $50 trillion of lost money that belonged to the working and middle class. It was then was hoovered up and put in the pockets of the 1%. That is what created the political and economic instability of our age. In the United States, that loss of income means that for every worker, it lost $1,114 a month, for every single month for the last 40 years. That is what created MAGA.

  (1310)  

    Although we hear the Conservatives talking about inflation and how hard it is, we have seen no efforts by the Conservatives, ever, to stand with workers, ever to stand up on these issues, but this is the issue that has to be dealt with. This is why workers came to us again and again, to talk about anti-scab legislation so that we could restore the balance of negotiations with labour and management, the right of workers to have a seat at the table.
    I want to quote Paul Mason from his book, Postcapitalism. This is a really instructive statement that:
the destruction of labour's bargaining power - was the essence of the entire [right-wing] project; it was a means to all the other ends. Neoliberalism’s guiding principle is not free markets, nor fiscal discipline, nor sound money, nor privatization and offshoring – not even globalization. All these things were byproducts or weapons of its main endeavour: to remove organized labour from the equation.
    That was the whole Milton Friedman, Stephen Harper, Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan agenda for the last 40 years. Guess what? Those days are over, because what we have seen in this past year is unprecedented victory for workers' rights.
    Remember, just a few years ago, Bill Morneau, the privatized pension king in Canada, “bill no more”, told young workers to get used to it and that they should suck it up as precarious, crappy, gig jobs are the new normal. That was the new normal for Bill Morneau. Then what happened? We got COVID. We had to break up supply chains and we had a young generation of workers who said they were not going to put up with crappy work. They started to walk off the job, to refuse to take the job or to organize.
    In this past year, the UAW, in their strikes against the big three, ended the tiered wages that were forced on them in the eighties and the nineties. Unifor won the biggest wage increase in their history of negotiations with Ford. When the Hollywood writers went on strike, everyone they thought they would cave. They did not. They won three times the original offer that was put on the table.
    We are seeing young people organizing at Tesla, Amazon and Starbucks. They know they cannot count on right-wing governments to protect their interests. They are going to organize; they have a right to be at the table.
    The worst thing that we can do is to allow scab labour to come into our workplaces to try and undermine their rights to restore balance and to have proper wages, proper pensions and proper housing. That is going to be fought by organized labour. This bill has to pass. We support it as New Democrats.

  (1315)  

    Madam Speaker, I believe that anti-scab legislation will promote more harmony in our labour force, which will help out in terms of issues like inflation. I know the member is concerned about inflation because earlier today he posed a question in regard to inflation. I did not quite catch the reference he was making. Could he expand on the reference when he was talking about the member for Regina—Qu'Appelle and the issue of inflation?
    Madam Speaker, it was a question that was raised as my colleague from Burnaby had attempted unanimous consent to bring forward documents about fundraisers done by the member for Regina—Qu'Appelle. I had noticed a pattern of increasing prices for what he was charging, such as $175 for a dinner and shooting and, back by popular demand, cigar and scotch tasting, a great chance to chat with fellow Conservatives while sampling fine scotches and cigars, and of course shooting guns. That was our former Speaker, being very partisan.
    I am concerned about the inflationary aspects because the price of his fundraising dinners as a former Speaker certainly jumped up to be pretty high in price.
    I am not quite sure how that relates to the bill before the House. I know there was a reference to being inflationary, but I do want to remind members to try to stay on topic.
    Madam Speaker, neither the question nor the answer was relevant to what we are discussing, but I was listening carefully to the member's speech and I appreciate his historical narrative. He rightly said that the things that affect workers are inflation and high interest rates.
    Why has he, as a member along with the NDP, supported the Liberals' inflationary policies of spending; increasing our debt; creating an excess of cash in our economy to make the things that money buys cost more? Why has he not stood up against what the Liberals are doing in creating inflation, resulting in high interest rates?

  (1320)  

    Again, I am not quite sure how that relates to the bill before the House, but I will allow the hon. member for Timmins—James Bay to respond to that, if he wants to.
    Madam Speaker, I want to wish my colleague and his family a very merry Christmas.
    He does ask a legitimate question. How can we trust the Liberals? I do not know how many times, on anti-scab legislation, it has been like Lucy and the football. The Liberals would come out and tell everybody in the labour movement to not worry and that they had their backs, and then my God, as soon as the vote came, they would all sneak out by the backbench and leave.
    That is a really important question. How can we trust Liberals? We cannot, but the great thing is that, as we are in a minority government, they are going to have to work with us if they want to keep their jobs, so we got dental care. I know the Conservatives do not want dental care, but we got that. We got anti-scab. We are going to get pharmacare. It is a good point that one cannot turn one's back on them for a minute. If one falls asleep in the boat with the Liberals, one will be waking up swimming with the fishes. However, we are going to hold them to account.
    Madam Speaker, I noticed during the debate today that there has been a certain amount of avoidance from the Conservatives to talk about Bill C-58.
    Going back to the Stephen Harper days, I can remember those two private members' bills. One made it harder for unions to certify and one subjected unions to more stringent financial controls than businesses ever had to deal with, as well as all of the back-to-work legislation. I am just wondering if my hon. colleague could talk about his time during those dark days and how the Stephen Harper government went after unions, went after workers with a vengeance, and how we still see some of the same crowd here today.
    Madam Speaker, history is important. It tells us how we got here, and I certainly we remember Stephen Harper and his continual attack on workers.
    What worries me today is that, when we see investments such as those in the Stellantis plant, the Conservatives are always speaking up about it as though it is scab labour. Investments at Stellantis are not scab labour. We need to invest in a new battery economy or it is all going stateside to the United States. If we do not invest in this new economy, we are going to be left behind, so I am always shocked the Conservatives are undermining the new EV technology, which is going to have a big transformative effect, and the Conservatives are using it in speeches on scab labour. Someone is going to have to give them some basic lessons in labour.
    Madam Speaker, it is certainly a great honour to join in this debate in the chamber. Before I get into the meat of the issue with Bill C-58, I would like to extend, to all the people who work in this chamber and also those who will be working in the other place after, a very merry Christmas. It is that time of year. While there does not seem to be a lot of charity in this room right now towards one another, I do hope that, when we are back in our ridings and have had a moment to acclimatize ourselves to our communities, we have that spirit.
    A previous member talked about the need to help support people who are experiencing massive inflation and how difficult it is for many of our residents, whether they be pensioners on fixed incomes, families that have work or families that do not. This is a very tough economy. Right now, as we see with the food banks, this is a very tough time. I would encourage all Canadians to do what they can, if they are in a position to help.
    Prior to writing down a few comments from my notes on this debate, I took some time to review some of the other comments in Hansard on this particular topic. It was very interesting to note that, when the Liberals had a majority, from 2015 to 2019, they had very little enthusiasm for a bill of this nature. More so, recently, since the Liberals have had a sudden interest in this bill, I have noticed a pattern. Often, when a Liberal member speaks to this bill on the topic of replacement workers, that conversation quickly shifts to what the leader of the official opposition, the Conservatives, has to think or say about this bill.
    In reading the comments from various Liberal members, it is almost as if the bill is more about what the Leader of the Opposition would do then it is about banning replacement workers. Never before has the Liberal government appeared more obsessed with wondering how the opposition leader will respond. Further to that, I could almost hear some tears from the Prime Minister's office when they learned the opposition's view on this bill. We keep getting questions from people on the other side about it. We have been taking our time to study the legislation because this applies to every single category under federal workers.
    I have not seen, in my time as a member of Parliament, a massive strike at a federally regulated bank. Nor have I seen it in some of the other sectors. Let us just bear in mind that, of the total workforce, this legislation would only apply to roughly 10%, or less. We might lament that there are not more federally regulated workers, but each one of those workers is important. Many of them might ask if the legislation would materially affect their situation.
    We might have different views or perspectives from different industries, including the nuclear industry. I have not done that outreach with those folks who are federally regulated and who would be expected to work under this. It is probably because it has not been number one on their minds.
    However, what I have heard in my own riding, and I am sure many are federally regulated workers, particularly those who are, we would say, middle class and those who are working hard to join it, is they find themselves in a precarious situation. Why is that? Interest rates have gone up. Those who are fortunate enough to have a home are asking if they can maintain that home as their mortgage comes due for renewal. That is a difficult decision because, even if someone has to sell their home, where do they go? Right now, rents have doubled under the Liberal government. Regardless of whether people work where the applications of Bill C-58 would apply to them or not, that is not going to help them materially with that decision.
    There are other people who are working and who do not have a home. They are either subject to precarious situations, where they are renting, oftentimes putting themselves there just so they can put a roof over their head, not knowing when that will come due. Many of them are young and have dreams of home ownership. That has been washed away by this economy under this particular government. They see and hear articles, and little snippets oftentimes online, where the Governor of the Bank of Canada says that inflation could be better if there was not contrary monetary policy to fiscal policy.

  (1325)  

    Fiscal policy is the direct area of the government. People wonder if their government is really on their side. The Liberals can put up things like Bill C-58 to say that, but that still does not materially help people deal with it.
    Again, there is the issue of gas prices and the issue of groceries, and we all know that the carbon tax affects that greatly. We have all heard about that Ottawa mushroom farm and the $100,000 carbon tax bill. The Prime Minister has been asked five times about how that bill gets paid, and he cannot answer. The rest of us all know that the bill simply gets handed to customers. Many of them are those very same workers that the government—
    The hon. member for Timmins—James Bay is rising on a point of order.
    Madam Speaker, I have not seen any news that says that there is a strike at that mushroom farm, so I am not sure what the member is talking about. We are dealing with anti-scab legislation and not mushroom farms.
    That is a point of debate and not a point of order. I would remind members that, when they rise on points of order, they should indicate which standing order they are rising on.
    The hon. member for Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola.
    Madam Speaker, when it comes to the mushroom farm, we know that the bill simply gets handed down to customers and makes those Ontario-grown mushrooms that much more expensive, which is causing the issue that we see today in Canada's labour market where, right now, when there are open negotiations, unions are rightfully saying that the cost of living has gone up. Of course, there is pressure for those workers to receive more. That is the reason we are here today. It is because the current government ultimately has created an environment where it does not work.
     Instead of actually addressing the issue by reducing its inflationary deficits, and instead of getting rid of its plan to quadruple the carbon tax, essentially raising it by 62¢ a litre, which are things that would tangibly affect every single Canadian, including those who are federally regulated under this particular piece of legislation, Bill C-58, the Liberals just decided to throw this out. It is something that they opposed long before. That is why we cannot let workers and Canadians and families fall behind. We know that the always-spending Liberal-NDP costly coalition will continue to be part of the problem and not the solution.
    Getting back to the bill, this legislation would potentially impact some of Canada's largest airports and ports far more severely in big cities like Montreal than it would in any city in my riding. That is not to say that labour disruptions in federally regulated sectors do not have an impact across our country, as they most certainly do. However, I am just recognizing that some of Canada's largest cities, most often represented by MPs from the government side, will typically deal with a federal labour disruption first-hand far more than those of us who have rural communities in our ridings.
     Therefore, as a B.C.-based MP who represents some federally regulated workers, I do ask these questions about the government's approach. Instead of addressing the main concerns about the inflation that we are suffering, why are the Liberals not addressing the root causes instead of just finding these small bills that affect only a very small amount of our population? Increasingly, with the Liberal government, we see that it is totally out of touch with where Canadians are struggling. When I see Canadians, particularly the citizens in my riding, in coffee shops, they will often simply say, “Where are my tax dollars going now? Are you getting good value for money?” The answer is that we just do not know.
    For example, in Ontario, there are two different electric vehicle plants. I, as a Conservative, love to see different competing technologies fight to see who has the best mousetrap to serve the population. However, when we suddenly add the extra element where the taxpayer and the government are writing big cheques to subsidize certain activities, we start to come to the place where people resent that they do not know the business case, do not know what the contract is for these large deals and that we are bringing in people from outside of Canada. In my province, when B.C. LNG was proposed, I met with union representatives who said their members were prepared to work and have the expertise, even though they had not done one before. They included boilermakers, etc. They all wanted those jobs, yet we are not in the position for that today.
    Rather than working for Canadian jobs and Canadian know-how, putting it to work and using tax dollars for a better outcome, what do we get? We get a government that is focused on the wrong things and not giving those opportunities to Canadians. Instead, its members are hiding at committee with the help of other parties, such as the NDP, to block those contracts from being presented. I lament that. I do hope that we have another chance to debate this bill so we can get into the meat of it.

  (1330)  

    Madam Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 30(6), it is only the government that can bring bills for debate.
     In her statement on Thursday last week, the government House leader stated that the government would give priority to bills in the House “in their final stages of debate” including Bill—
    An hon. member: Oh, oh!
    Is this another point of order?
    I am going to see where the hon. member is going with this. I will come back to the parliamentary secretary as soon as the hon. member is done.
    The hon. member for Dufferin—Caledon.
    Madam Speaker, the government House leader said that they would give “priority to the bills that are now in their final stages of debate in the House, including Bill C-57”, so you can imagine my surprise—
    Can the hon. member again indicate which standing order he is speaking on? Is this a unanimous consent motion? Is this a point of order on something that arose in the House?
    Madam Speaker, it is Standing Order 30(6), which sets out that the government is the only one that can call bills for debate. I have a point of order on that.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I am sorry. I need to hear the point of order. The hon. member has not told me if he is looking for unanimous consent yet. Is the hon. member asking for unanimous consent?

  (1335)  

    Madam Speaker, I have a point of order and then I am going to move a motion.
    I want to get an understanding of what the hon. member is asking. If he is tabling a motion and asking for unanimous consent, he needs to be careful not to go into a lot of detail.
     I will go to the hon. member so I can have an understanding of what he is asking, because I am not quite sure yet.
    The hon. member for Dufferin—Caledon.
    Madam Speaker, I am trying to get there, but I keep getting interrupted by members of the Liberal Party.
    I was saying that only the government can choose bills to come forward for debate. It has stated that Bill C-57 is a bill it urgently wants to be concluded in the House. It has not called it for debate today, so—
    The hon. member can bring a unanimous consent motion.
    Madam Speaker, I am now going to, assuming that I have the unanimous support of the House, move that, notwithstanding any—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I am sorry. Hold on.
    The hon. member is able to move a unanimous consent motion if he wishes to. I will allow him to ask for unanimous consent. If there is none, then we will move forward and continue with the debate.
    I would ask the hon. member for Dufferin—Caledon for the unanimous consent motion.
    Madam Speaker, I move that, notwithstanding any standing order or usual practice of the House—
    Some hon. members: No.
    There is already no unanimous consent. It is obvious that somewhere along the line something went wrong. I would ask members who are looking for unanimous consent to make sure they have it from all parties before they come to the House.
    Questions and comments, the hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader.
    Madam Speaker, the member made reference to patterns. One of the patterns that I have seen is with respect to the Conservative Party having adopted the MAGA politics, which are coming from the south into the office of the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada.
    Conservatives say one thing, for example, that they support workers, yet none of them stood up to say how they were going to—
    Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The member opposite is bringing U.S. politics into something that does not even relate to what we are discussing here today, so—
    That is a point of debate.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary.
    Madam Speaker, we all know the degree to which there is a lack of respect for organized labour from the MAGA right. This is something on which we have been challenging the Conservative opposition party.
     What will Conservatives do with respect to Bill C-58? Will they or will they not support the legislation? They have not been able to answer that question. I suspect, if it has anything to do with their pattern, it is because of the MAGA movement from the States that is coming to Canada via the Conservative Party.
    Can the member say whether or not he is voting in favour of the bill?
    Madam Speaker, when I start talking about the very real concerns of federally regulated, provincially regulated and average, non-unionized workers, the member somehow tries to make it some sort of conspiracy theory. When the member starts spouting what seem to be conspiracy theories about how this is connected to this group and this group is connected to this group in the south, it sounds a little crazy to me.
    If we cannot clearly express what our constituents are going through, the challenges they have and whether the government legislation is meeting the real needs of the people I mentioned, what else do we have to talk about here?
    The member can keep asking those kinds of questions in disrespectful ways, or he can start to listen and not name-call.

  (1340)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, the question as to whether our Conservative colleagues are in favour of this bill to prevent the use of scabs in the event of a labour dispute, strike or lockout is certainly relevant. It is a simple question.
    The reason this bill is under consideration now is that, for decades, the Bloc Québécois has been lobbying for governments to pass anti-scab legislation. This is also happening because thousands of workers are pressuring the government.
    We have had similar legislation in Quebec since 1977. In Canada, however, it took significant pressure for this bill to see the light of day.
    Will you tell workers that you support the anti-scab legislation proposed by Bill C-58, yes or no?
    I would remind the hon. member that she must address her questions and comments through the Chair, and not directly to the hon. member.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I would like the record to show that the member for Dufferin—Caledon tried to have the House pass Bill C-57, the Canada-Ukraine free trade deal, and the Liberals refused to pass it. That is what Conservatives were putting forward.
    Number one, Madam Speaker, that is not a point of order. No such question was put to the House. I would suggest the ruling on the member's point of order is that it is not a point of order.
    This is becoming debate.
    If hon. members want to continue having a conversation about this, they should take it into the lobby, please.
    The hon. member for Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, my command of the French language is not the best, but I will try to answer the Bloc Québécois member's question.
    With regard to Bill C-58, what is important for me, as a western MP, is to fully understand how this works in Quebec. That is a question I will be asking Conservative Party members from Quebec. I hope I will have a clear answer for the member.

[English]

    I would remind members that when someone else has the floor, it is nice to give him the attention he deserves, especially when he made such an effort to respond in French. Members on both sides of the House were having conversations, and I would remind them to respect those who have the floor. It is good to hear what they have to say because members may have other questions for them.
    The hon. member for Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke.
    Madam Speaker, once again, I find it very hard to connect the member's speech to the subject in front of us. I suspect that is because the Conservatives do not really want to take a position on the anti-scab legislation because they are busy posing as friends of labour.
    By talking about inflation, is the member actually saying that it is workers' wages that are driving inflation? The Conservatives have been arguing all the time that it is the carbon tax. When we look at what is driving inflation, we find it is the war in Ukraine and the increasing greed of corporate profits in the gas and oil industry.
    Is the member, by focusing on inflation, saying it is the workers' fault inflation is happening?
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I am sure the hon. member for Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola has been in the House long enough to be able to answer without having anybody else try to do that for him.
    The hon. member for Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola has the floor.
    Madam Speaker, I like how you think.
    I would simply say to my fellow member from British Columbia, first of all, I understand he is not going to be running for re-election. I have always respected his contributions to this place, and I just want to put that on the record and wish him a merry Christmas when we go.
    On the inflationary deficits, the carbon tax, the addition of things where we have plastic bans that are now being looked at for the packaging of foods, we have a government that seems to always have one dial, which is to spend, spend, spend. As we know from listening to macroeconomists, adding more fuel to the inflationary fire is not going to help deal with inflation. In fact, the government seems intent on doing that, which is why we have continued to press the government to address those core issues.
    If I am not considered a friend of labour, I want to be. I try to listen to all views, whether they come from my riding or not, and I want to put all Canadians to work in meaningful and safe work.

  (1345)  

    Madam Speaker, I am honoured to rise in the House of Commons today to speak about Bill C-58, the bill that would ban the use of replacement workers.
    What this legislation would really do is strengthen workers and unions by strengthening one of the pillars of people power, the bargaining table. I come from a proud union town, a proud union town that knows how to build things. For over 100 years, we have been building cars and machines and tools for Canada, and we are darn good at it. What our unionized workers, brothers and sisters, have also built is a strong community of resilient and caring people who look after each other, and not only look after each other but fight for one another.
    One of the ways we have been able to build this caring and generous community is through the bargaining table, with hard-won victories that improved wages, working conditions, health and safety and workers' rights and that provided time off to be with families.
    In 1945, 14,000 Windsor auto workers at Ford went on strike. For 99 days they protested layoffs, unfair wages and working conditions, and after 99 days, they prevailed. Those Windsor workers stabilized the labour movement in Canada and provided the labour movement in Canada with a gift. It is called the Rand formula, which establishes and protects a union's right to collect union dues.
    Every September, thousands of residents march in the Labour Day parade to celebrate all of the hard wins of the past and all of the hard wins of the present, while also recommitting to the next fight on the horizon to improve the lives of workers. I was proud to walk with Unifor, LiUNA, IBEW, the millwrights, teachers, nurses and so many others who work hard to provide for their families but also work hard to build their communities.
    I want to take a moment to thank the Unifor bargaining committee that entered tough negotiations with Ford, Stellantis and General Motors just this October. Those were tough negotiations, tough bargaining, and our unions came away with the largest wage and pension increases in generations. Those hard-fought and hard-won improvements not only lift our auto workers but they lift our entire community.
    That is the power of the bargaining table, and that is the power we are protecting here today with Bill C-58. It is the power of the bargaining table that we are strengthening.
    In the last two years, our Liberal government has worked hand in hand with unions and workers to deliver some of the biggest wins in the history of our community of Windsor—Tecumseh. It is true solidarity. Together, we delivered the EV battery plant, which is just one example, the single-largest auto investment in the history of our community of Windsor—Tecumseh.
    To understand the significance of the battery plant investment and to understand the importance of labour and the bargaining table and working together in that partnership, one has to understand the road my community has travelled—
    The hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan is rising on a point of order.
    Madam Speaker, I am sorry to interrupt the member, but I have an important UC request for a motion on Bill C-57 that I think the House will want to hear: That, notwithstanding any standing order—
    Some hon. members: No.

  (1350)  

    I would again ask members that if they want to table unanimous consent motions, they should be conferring with all other parties ahead of time to ensure that, when they bring a motion for unanimous consent, they are getting unanimous consent.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary.
    Madam Speaker, as I was saying, to understand the significance of the battery plant investment and to understand the importance of the partnership with labour and the importance of the bargaining table, we have to understand the road that my community has travelled these last 10 years. It was a hard road.
    Eight years ago, when the Conservatives were in power, Windsor had an unemployment rate of 11.2%. Unemployment for young people was in the high twenties. Families were leaving Windsor for Alberta to find work in the oil sands. Under the Conservatives, Canada lost 300,000 manufacturing jobs. Of course, our community was ground zero for that devastation.
    I remember those days. I remember the shuttered storefronts, the empty downtown, the “for sale” signs everywhere and the not-for-profits and charitable organizations struggling because they could not find volunteers because the donations had dried up. The Leader of the Opposition also remembers because he was the employment minister at the time, or as I like to call him, the minister of unemployment.
    The battery plant that our Liberal government delivered, together with unions, workers and industry, is the single most important investment in the history of our community, with 2,500 full-time jobs for workers, 2,500 Canadian, local, unionized workers. It is our future. It is our hope. It is powered by strong unions. It is powered by strong workers. It is powered by—
    The hon. member for King—Vaughan has a point of order.
    Madam Speaker, the member referred to our leader as “the minister of unemployment”. That is false. There is no such title. What is he talking about?
    That is a point of debate. It is an interpretation. I understand what the hon. member is raising, and I want to remind members that it causes disorder in the House.
    I would ask the hon. member to not use that framing again. It does cause disorder in the House.
    Madam Speaker, I will rephrase that by saying there are members in my community who refer to the Leader of the Opposition as “the minister of unemployment”. That is what members of my community—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I understand what the member is saying, but it is causing disorder in the House.
    This happens on both sides of the House, and I would ask members to please be respectful and judicious when they are speaking about other members. There is a standing order that specifically says we should not be speaking disrespectfully about members in the House.
    The hon. member for Northumberland—Peterborough South is rising on a point of order.
    Madam Speaker, with respect to those comments, first, if you check Hansard, you will find that the Speaker did rule, in accordance with Standing Order 18, that there would be no false titles in this House. That is clear. Second, the member did directly what you told him not to do. That is grounds for being expelled.
    We are at the end of the session. I know it has been a long session and I know that everyone wants to go home and be cheerful. Let us finish this on a really good note.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary.

  (1355)  

    Madam Speaker, investment in the battery plant in Windsor is just the start. There are international companies right on our doorstep right now looking to invest $3 billion and to create thousands of more jobs. They want to supply the battery plant here.
    This is why we are partnering with local unions to do everything we can to fight the Conservative campaign of disinformation. That campaign has one goal and one goal only, which is to erode public support for these investments and ultimately to pull the plug on the battery plant and pull the plug on the electric vehicle industry. The Conservatives do not believe in climate change. They do not believe in the transition to electric vehicles. They see electric vehicles as an existential threat. What is more, they call this federal Liberal investment “corporate welfare”.
    Dave Cassidy, the president of Unifor Local 444, was on Parliament Hill two weeks ago. He represents thousands of auto workers, and he will represent the 2,500 workers who will be building the batteries at our EV battery plant, these Canadian, local, unionized workers. He said on Parliament Hill that if it were up to the Conservatives, the battery plant would never have been built in the first place. Thank God it was not up to them.
    Liberals believe in climate change. We believe in the transition to electric vehicles. We believe in investing in workers and battery plants like ours. We believe in investing in manufacturing communities like mine. Most importantly, we believe in a true partnership with labour, with workers and with industry to attract game-changing investments that are creating a future for manufacturing communities like ours in Windsor—Tecumseh. However, it all begins by listening to workers, by making sure that workers are not just at the bargaining table but at every table to provide input on the policies that impact them.
    Our Liberal government listens to workers. It is why the first thing we did when we were elected was to scrap two Harper Conservative pieces of legislation whose sole purpose was to weaken unions: Bill C-377 and Bill C-575.
    We listened to workers when we introduced $10-a-day child care and 10 days of paid sick leave, and when we invested $1 billion in apprentices to train the next generation of skilled workers. We doubled the union training and innovation program, and we committed to the first-ever labour provisions for clean-tech tax credits, which will make federal investments conditional on companies paying a prevailing union wage, and to making sure that at least 10% of the work goes to apprentices.
    We listened to unions when we introduced the labour mobility tax credit for up to $4,000 in travel expenses for workers having to travel to a job site away from home. It is why last week we established the union-led advisory table to inform government decisions on all issues impacting workers. It is also why we introduced Bill C-58, something that workers in Canada and in my hometown of Windsor—Tecumseh have been asking for, have been fighting for, for generations.
    This is the right thing to do. Strong workers and strong unions are powering our prosperity. A strong government that is a strong partner stands with our unions, with our workers and with labour every step of the way.
    We have a point of order from the hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan.
    Madam Speaker, there were consultations among the parties about a motion to expedite the vote on Bill C-57 so that the House can pronounce—
    That was ruled on already. This is the third or fourth time.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): Order. It is obvious that those who have been trying to move unanimous consent motions have not followed the proper procedure, which is going from party to party to gather unanimous consent. I would ask members to do that prior to bringing their unanimous consent motion to the House.

Statements by Members

[Statements by Members]

  (1400)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, the Government of Canada is investing in Volkswagen. The Government of Canada is investing in Stellantis. These two companies are going to literally create tens of thousands of jobs, both directly and indirectly.
    It is setting a new industry standard—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I know the hon. member has a good voice, but I am not able to hear what he is saying. When members are doing statements, there is no opportunity for questions and comments. I would ask members to please be respectful.
    The hon. member for Winnipeg North.

Electric Vehicle Industry

    Madam Speaker, the Government of Canada is supporting Stellantis. The Government of Canada is supporting Volkswagen and the battery plant. Think about that. This is going to be one of the largest manufacturing plants in North America. We are talking about the creation of tens of thousands of direct and indirect jobs.
    We know that the MAGA Conservatives across the way do not support government investment in industries, and this is a very important industry for all Canadians. It is going to provide good, solid middle-class jobs.
    My question for the Conservative Party is this: When are the Conservatives going to get behind Canadians and support good, solid middle-class jobs?
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    The hon. member can ask questions, but there is no opportunity for questions and comments. I want to remind members that during statements, it is not time for debate. I would ask members to please be respectful and quiet while others have the floor.
    The hon. member for Lethbridge.

Carbon Pricing

    Madam Speaker, after eight years of the Liberal-NDP government, Canadians are arguably worse off than they have ever been before. In fact, the government would rather penalize a single mother for commuting to work to earn for her family than face the fact that its carbon tax is not working, not for the environment and certainly not for Canadians.
    The consequence of the Liberals failing to work with the facts is that the cost of everything is skyrocketing: the cost of gas, home heating and groceries. Everything is going through the roof. Farmers are being punished just for growing crops and feeding Canadians. Meanwhile, indigenous folks are taking the government to court, suing them because the carbon tax is incredibly punitive and discriminatory in nature.
    Our ask is simple. It is that we pass Bill C-234, unamended. This would serve Canadian families best. It would be for the sake of families, for the sake of first nations and for the sake of farmers. At the end of the day, we are asking that Bill C-234 be passed and that we axe the tax to get Canadians back on track.

Situation in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank

    Mr. Speaker, I rise to voice the concerns of constituents of Halifax West who have written to me about the heartbreaking humanitarian situation in the Middle East. Some of them have close family members, like parents, brothers, sisters and grandparents, who are trapped in Gaza.
    I have spoken about this with the Minister of Immigration, and I want to echo the voices of my constituents who say that we should expand the definition of immediate family in IRPA to give them eligibility for emergency evacuation so that family members with close ties to Canadian citizens can get out safely. Many of them are highly educated, financially independent and blessed to have familial support here, and to welcome them would be entirely consistent with our commitment to humanitarianism.
    This is the holiday season, a time we share with the families we love. I want to wish everyone here, in Halifax West, in Canada and in the entire world peace and love.

  (1405)  

[Translation]

Acknowledgements and Holiday Wishes

    Mr. Speaker, 2023 was not at all restful at Parliament. However, we made it to the end thanks to the dedicated staff; our own, of course, in other words each of our own teams to whom we owe so much, but also the exceptional House of Commons staff.
    On behalf of the Bloc Québécois, I want to thank each of these individuals from the bottom of my heart. We thank the clerks, the law clerks, the analysts and the pages. We thank the interpreters, who put their health at risk to give francophones the representation they deserve in this Parliament. We thank the essential and quietly effective maintenance team. We thank the food services staff for their warm hospitality. We thank the computer technicians for their support, both here and on telework. We thank the Parliamentary Protective Service officers, who ensure our safety, in addition to being the first to greet us every time we come to work.
    All these people work day and night to serve democracy in their own way. We wish them all a Merry Christmas and a happy 2024.

Agribusiness Success Story

    Mr. Speaker, the agriculture and agri-food sector is a powerful economic force in Canada. It is a growing industry that employs 2.3 million people and single-handedly generates approximately 7% of our GDP.
    Aliments Ouimet-Cordon Bleu is a Montreal-based company celebrating its 99th year in operation this year. The company uses its investments to support product development. Cordon Bleu's success hit new heights last spring when it was honoured as Quebec's SME of the year at the Les Mercuriades awards ceremony, sponsored by the Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec.
    I congratulate and salute the Cordon Bleu executives who are here in Ottawa today, and I encourage all Canadians to keep supporting the vitality of our agri-food businesses.

[English]

Indigenous Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, the PM said he values indigenous people most, but that is only true when they agree with him. After eight years, indigenous leaders fight the NDP-Liberals' anti-private sector, anti-resource, anti-energy agenda.
    There are 130 Ontario first nations that will take the NDP-Liberals to court over their colonialist carbon tax. It does what Conservatives warned. Everything is more expensive. Those who can least afford it are hurting the most. Rural, remote and northern indigenous, and all, Canadians can hardly survive. They are forced to choose between heating, eating and housing.
    B.C.'s Lax Kw'alaams sued over the NDP-Liberals' export ban, Bill C-48, to make its own decisions about jobs, energy and fish. Alberta's Woodland Cree sued over the unconstitutional “never build anything” bill, Bill C-69. Five years ago, Conservatives warned both bills would hurt indigenous people. The Liberals ignored that; it is death by delay.
    Indigenous leaders oppose the emissions cap to cut production and the central plan of the just transition bill, Bill C-50, to kill the Canadian jobs and businesses where indigenous people work the most. The Liberals block indigenous-backed pipelines, the oil sands, LNG and roads to the Ring of Fire. They stop all the deals for education, recreation, health and wellness.
    It is no wonder that the NDP-Liberals censor and cover up their costly anti-Canada collusion. Common-sense Conservatives will turn hurt into hope for indigenous and all Canadians.

Barrhaven Food Cupboard

    Mr. Speaker, 2023 has been tough for many families in the Nepean riding, with the higher cost of living. Thanks to the team led by Ken McCarthy, George Macdonald, Dawn Lilly, Brian Double and John Falkingham, Barrhaven Food Cupboard addressed food insecurity faced by about 400 families.
    About 160 volunteers, including board members Matt Triemstra, Bill Halstead, Mara Watson, Gordon Crumpler, Cyril Tiwari, Glenn Schumacher and Aaron Lemieux, reached out to individuals, families, schools and local businesses in Barrhaven, raising over $180,000.
    For over 30 years, Barrhaven Food Cupboard's mission has been “neighbours helping neighbours”. I would like to recognize the volunteer team at Barrhaven Food Cupboard for their dedicated service. They are a source of inspiration and positive role models for all of us in Nepean.

Let's Talk Science

    Mr. Speaker, Canada's future prosperity depends on embracing science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM. The problem is that young people tend to lose interest in STEM by the time they finish high school.
    Since 1993, London-based organization Let's Talk Science has tried to address that challenge by providing vital programming and resource support for teachers who bring science to life, making it interesting, fun and, most importantly, relevant to daily life.
    The organization also works with early years centres, community organizations and parents. With the help of volunteers, almost always drawn from post-secondary institutions, it has been able to reach no fewer than 1,500 communities right across the country.
    I would be remiss if I did not mention the donors whose support makes all this work possible, as it is free of charge, and the work of founder and president, Bonnie Schmidt, along with the staff and board. Bonnie is a testament to learning in Canada, to education and to giving back.

  (1410)  

Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada

    Mr. Speaker, back in 2015, it was the Liberal Prime Minister who told Canadians that better was always possible. However, after eight years, when it comes to housing, literally everything is worse. Many cannot find homes they can afford. Worse, there are now many in homes they can no longer afford.
    It is small wonder that millions of Canadians have tuned in to watch the Conservative leader's “housing hell” video. People are increasingly desperate for housing solutions, and only our Conservative common-sense plan offers them a clear plan to fund results instead of promises.
    The NDP-Liberal government wants to talk about spending, but it is not getting results or being accountable for that spending. This is why, all too often, the NDP votes in committees to cover up Liberal corruption. That misspending is part of the problem.
    I am proud to stand behind a Conservative leader who supports common-sense solutions, and many Canadians are now joining in as well. Why? It is because they know the Prime Minister is not worth the cost.

Ian Laing

    Mr. Speaker, on November 29, Chief Ian Laing of the Central York Fire Services passed away. I truly treasured my relationship with the chief, which dated back to the time when I was mayor and continued to this day.
    Chief Laing served our community with dedication, pride and an unwavering commitment to excellence. He dedicated 48 years to firefighting, 14 of those as the chief of the firefighting service in New Market. The chief took immense pride in the people of CFYS, the community they served and the building of station 4-5, the first under his leadership. Chief Laing was a consummate firefighter; he was dedicated, proud of his chosen career and absolute in his resolve to provide his community with the best service.
    I will miss the sparkle in his eyes and the stories told by a gentleman I was proud to call a friend.

[Translation]

Carbon Tax

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years of this government, Canadians cannot pay their bills. Everything costs more.
    The Bloc Québécois is no longer a party of the regions. Bloc members support the Prime Minister in imposing the second carbon tax, which applies to Quebec and adds 20¢ per litre of gas. They really do not understand the reality of the people in my region who need their cars and trucks to get to work. There is a reason why the Bloc members are shouting loud and clear that they want to drastically increase the carbon tax on Quebeckers.
    Voting for the Bloc is costly. The Bloc-Liberal coalition must stop putting pressure on Canadians and picking their pockets. According to a published report, a family of four will pay $700 more next year for food. What is more, some food banks can no longer provide food, but there is hope. A Conservative government will restore common sense by abolishing the carbon tax so that Canadians can have full bellies and a full fridge.

[English]

Carbon Tax

    Mr. Speaker, farmers work tirelessly to feed Canada and the world with some of the highest quality produce available, yet the NDP-Liberal government continues to punish them at every turn.
    Instead of giving them a much-needed break on the carbon tax through common-sense measures like Bill C-234, the Prime Minister is quadrupling the carbon tax, hurting the livelihoods of the very farmers who are putting food on the tables of Canadians. One farmer in the regional municipality of Estevan is paying over $150,000 in carbon taxes a year. Once quadrupled, this will go up to over $600,000 annually for his 15,000-acre farm. How does the Prime Minister expect him to cover this cost: by raising prices on Canadians, cutting back his acreage or bringing in more costly food from polluting foreign farms?
    Conservatives know that if we tax the farmer who grows the food and tax the trucker who ships the food, Canadians have to pay more to buy the food. After eight years of the NDP-Liberal government, Canadians know that the Prime Minister is simply not worth the cost.

  (1415)  

[Translation]

Conservative Party of Canada

    Mr. Speaker, last week, the Conservatives showed that they oppose funding the Economic Development Agency for the Regions of Quebec. They oppose the aerospace regional recovery initiative. They oppose providing assistance to help communities rebuild after hurricane Fiona. They oppose support for festivals and for tourism businesses.
    The Conservatives will always put big polluters ahead of Quebec's economic well-being. Our government knows that, to support job creation in Quebec, we have to invest in Quebec businesses.

[English]

New Democratic Party of Canada

    Mr. Speaker, national dental care is finally becoming a reality. This is the biggest investment in public health care in 60 years, and New Democrats made it happen.
    In 2019 and 2021, we went door to door to ask people what they wanted from their politicians. Again and again, I heard from young mothers who could not pay to get their kids' teeth fixed. I talked to senior citizens who could not pay their dental bills. They gave us this mandate in Parliament, and we delivered. This year, children and senior citizens will be able to apply; by the end of next year, over nine million people will be eligible.
    Let us compare this record of success with the Conservatives' record. This past week, the Conservatives tried to block a national suicide hotline and funding for clean water on reserves. They did their best to block badly needed support for the people of Ukraine. They would cut dental care in a second if they could, but that is not going to happen on our watch. New Democrats are in Parliament to fight for the people of Canada.

[Translation]

Christmas Angels

    Mr. Speaker, members of Parliament and all of the staff of the House are preparing to finally leave Parliament Hill for the holidays. However, for many Quebeckers, this will not be a time to rest and celebrate. Instead, they will be working hard, far from their families, just because their employer cannot do without them.
    In addition to these nurses, truckers and service workers, there are also essential volunteers. I am talking about hundreds of designated drivers for Operation Red Nose, people who volunteer at our food banks and soup kitchens, and all those who give of their time so that seniors will have a nice Christmas or so that the most disadvantaged members of our society can at least have a Christmas. It is the dedication of all of these Christmas angels that enables all of us to have a happy holiday season.
    On behalf of the Bloc Québécois, I want to sincerely thank them. I hope that they all have the merriest Christmas possible under the circumstances and a very happy new year filled with good health and prosperity.

[English]

Carbon Tax

    Mr. Speaker, sadly, the Prime Minister wants to punish farmers for being incredible optimists and doing the fantastic work they do every day on our behalf. After eight years of the NDP-Liberal government, farm input costs are ballooning out of control. Bill C-234, a common-sense Conservative bill, would reduce the cost of food for Canadians by removing the carbon tax on farmers. I spoke to farmers in my backyard, who said that any of those major inputs have just been skyrocketing in price, with almost double the fuel bills, as well as fertilizer that has doubled, if not tripled, in price.
    On annual expenses of $2 million, almost 20% or $400,000 is due to the punishing carbon tax. That will mean $1.6 million when the Prime Minister quadruples the tax. The other concern is that the tax is so hidden that this estimate is probably low.
    Does the Prime Minister think that farmers need to raise prices on Canadians, or should Alex cut back production so that Canadians are forced to import food from polluting foreign farms?

Ukraine

    Mr. Speaker, Ukraine is running out of ammunition. President Zelenskyy was in the United States this past week, pleading for more military assistance. However, he was blocked by politicians on the American far right. It is important to realize that Russia did not just attack another country; it launched a full-scale assault on the international legal order. That is because the heart of that order and the UN Charter is the principle of non-intervention. One country cannot just attack another country.
    Russia must not and will not win anything, as any such victory moves us dangerously closer to the world as it was prior to World War II: a world where, basically, “might is right”. Voting against assistance for Ukraine, as a certain party in the House has done repeatedly over the last week, shows not only a lack of empathy for the suffering of the Ukrainian people but also a disregard for the principles that have basically kept our world safe since 1945.
    This Christmas, let us unite in support of Ukraine. Merry Christmas.
    Slava Ukraini.

ORAL QUESTIONS

[Oral Questions]

  (1420)  

[Translation]

Finance

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister told us he doubled the national debt so that Canadians would not need to increase their debt. Now we find out that after eight years of this Prime Minister, Canadian families are spending a bigger portion of their budget on servicing their personal debt. It is at a record high in Canada. In fact, Canadians are spending more on their household debt than Americans did before the 2008 financial crisis.
    Will the Prime Minister finally put a stop to his inflationary taxes and spending so that Canadians can buy food and housing instead of paying for their debt?
    Mr. Speaker, while the Conservatives continue to denigrate the Canadian economy, I would like to take this opportunity to remind them of some of the results of our economic plan. For example, our GDP is currently at 4.1%, exceeding prepandemic levels. More than 1.1 million jobs have been created since the beginning of the pandemic.
    These results cannot be achieved with slogans, not at all. Our economic plan is working and the results prove it.

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, the economy has been shrinking per capita for five quarters now. Our economy is smaller per capita than it was five years ago. What is more, after eight years, this Prime Minister is not worth the cost of housing. According to the Bank of Canada, housing costs are now the highest they have been in 41 years, and rents are rising faster than ever. It is an all-time record.
    When will the Prime Minister stop driving up inflation and creating bloated bureaucracy to allow affordable housing to be built?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the Leader of the Opposition. However, for Canadians watching at home, one number the Leader of the Opposition forgot to mention is that, in 2023, Canada ranked third in the world for attracting foreign investment, behind the U.S. and Brazil. We are talking about record investments such as Northvolt in Quebec, Volkswagen in St. Thomas, Stellantis in Windsor, BHP in Saskatchewan and Dow in Fort Saskatchewan.
    We have a plan for the green economy of the 21st century, and that is how we are going to create jobs for generations to come in this country.

[English]

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, we already knew that the Prime Minister is not worth the price of food after eight years of inflation, but yesterday he could not answer how a mushroom farm in my riding is supposed to pay its $100,000 carbon tax bill.
    He did send the farm a Christmas present: a new bill. This is the November 9 to December 6 bill: federal carbon tax, $16,050. That is for one month, and it is not even winter yet.
    How would the Prime Minister like this farm to pay this $16,000 monthly bill? Should it raise food prices?
    I have to warn people about using props in the House.
    The hon. Minister of Environment.
    Mr. Speaker, I am very happy to be—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I am going to allow the hon. minister to start from scratch.
    Mr. Speaker, I was in Dubai at COP28, in good company with the Premier of Alberta, Danielle Smith; with the Premier of Saskatchewan, Scott Moe; with representatives from almost all the Canadian provinces; and with business leaders from all across the country, working to ensure that our kids and grandkids have a future, which is something that, unfortunately, the Conservatives fail to understand.
    Mr. Speaker, this is more high-flying, high-cost, high-tax hypocrisy from the minister of carbon taxes.
    We learned that he spent $150,000 on one weekend of travel and charged it to taxpayers. Is it not interesting that it is exactly how much the government is charging the Carleton Mushroom Farms in carbon taxes for a year?
    Can the minister please tell us this: The Carleton Mushroom Farms is going to spend this year, now, about $150,000 on carbon taxes; will that just pay for one of his junkets?

  (1425)  

    I remind members to use the proper names of ministers.
    The hon. minister has the floor.
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to hypocrisy, I refer back to Neville Chamberlain when he referred to Czechoslovakia's invasion by Nazi Germany. He referred to Czechoslovakia as a “faraway” land. In reply to that, Sir Winston Churchill gave one of his greatest speeches, a speech of impunity that Roy Jenkins said was one of his greatest, in which he called Chamberlain an absolute coward, a capitulator. We should learn from such great men, not just about hypocrisy but also about keeping our solemn oaths to freedom and democracy in this world.
    Mr. Speaker, for the Prime Minister to pass himself off as Winston Churchill after he gave detonators for mines to the Russian military so it could use them against Ukrainians, and after he allowed the Iranian-linked IRGC to operate legally in Canada, 700 of its agents, by the way, who are also linked to Russia, operating in our country and terrorizing our people, is not Churchillian.
    This is hypocritical, political grandstanding by a Prime Minister trying to distract from his failed carbon tax.
    Mr. Speaker, there is another great Englishman who would say to the Leader of the Opposition, “Thou dost protest too much, I believe.” I would ask whether any of the Conservative members have the courage of their conviction to stand up to the bullying the Leader of the Opposition is imposing on them.
    In fact, there is one. The member for Lethbridge is the only Conservative MP who voted in favour of the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement on Tuesday. I would ask whether there any other Conservative members who have the courage of their conviction to stand up for freedom and democracy, and against the bullying of the Conservative—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!

[Translation]

Health

    Mr. Speaker, Quebec has made its stance on dental insurance very clear.
    Quebec's minister responsible for Canadian relations said, “Quebec is prepared to negotiate an agreement with the federal government to improve the plan in a way that respects jurisdictional considerations”.
    In other words, Ottawa can transfer the money, and Quebec will use it pay for its dental care priorities. Unfortunately, Ottawa would rather give the money to a private company than to Quebec's public health care plan, the RAMQ, which has the expertise.
    Why choose Sun Life over Quebec? Why go private in health care at the expense of the public system?
    Mr. Speaker, our choice is clear. Our choice is to provide dental care for everyone everywhere in Canada, in every province and in every territory.
    We have nine million people without access to dental care. Our dental care system will give every person in every part of our country access to dental care. That is the important thing here.
    Mr. Speaker, we expect this government to improve employment insurance, yet it twiddles its thumbs. We expect it to fix the Phoenix fiasco once and for all, but once again, paying or insuring its own workers is asking too much. We expect this government to foot the bill for asylum seekers, but no, they will not budge.
    However, when it comes to interfering in Quebec's jurisdictions, it is always first in line.
    Instead of creating a private dental care plan, is the government going to reach an agreement with Quebec and transfer the funds that Quebec needs to enhance its own public plan?

  (1430)  

    Mr. Speaker, of course we are going to work with Quebec. We are going to work with each province and territory to ensure that everyone gets the dental care they need to stay healthy. That is our goal, and we are going to work with every province across the country to achieve it.

[English]

Grocery Industry

    Mr. Speaker, families are having to take turkey off their Christmas dinner menu because of sky-high food costs. What are the Liberals doing? They are letting their grocery CEO friends off the hook, while the corporate Conservatives just want to block a national school food program to feed our kids. Both have lost the holiday spirit.
    What does the minister have to say to Canadians who are cutting back this Christmas because he will not stand up to CEOs?
    Mr. Speaker, I wish the member had been in the meeting. She would have said that we were the first government in history to stand up to the CEOs of the grocery sector in this country.
    For the first time in history—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Hon. François-Philippe Champagne: Mr. Speaker, they can yell as much as they want.
    One thing we have done is that we called them to Ottawa and expressed the frustration of millions of Canadians. We asked them to do their part. We talked to the large manufacturers. With the reform of competition, with the grocery code of conduct and with more information for the consumer, we are going to help stabilize prices in this country.
    Mr. Speaker, the minister would have a starring role in Oliver Twist: “Please, sir, I want some more.”
    With holidays around the corner, parents are being forced to choose between family dinner and gifts for their kids. Do people know who is not worried? Canada's grocery CEOs, who are gifting themselves Christmas bonuses, are not. The Liberals continue to let corporate greed go unchecked. Meanwhile, the Conservatives play the part of Scrooge, as they just voted against a national school food program.
    Will the minister start cracking down on corporate price gouging, or will he let the CEOs continue going unchecked?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for suggesting another career I could pursue.
    One thing I will do is always fight for Canadians. It is always a good day to fight for Canadians. That is what I have done with the CEOs. That is what we will continue.
    If the member wants to do something to help Canadians, he could help us to apply pressure to have a grocery code of conduct in this country. In talking to the independent grocers in this country, we know that this is one of the best ways to stabilize prices, have more transparency and make sure the small and medium-sized producers would have more equity in the negotiations with the larger grocers.

[Translation]

Finance

    Mr. Speaker, the media is reporting that requests for food at a Quebec City food bank, La Bouchée généreuse, have doubled in the past two years. After eight years in power, this Liberal government's legacy is going to be a Canada where people go hungry.
    The leader of the Bloc Québécois calls himself the adult in the room, but he likes to insult the other party leaders. On top of that, he is calling for a radical tax increase. This adds insult to injury. Will the Prime Minister follow our common-sense plan and eliminate the inflationary taxes and deficits so that Quebeckers can put food on the table?
    Mr. Speaker, Canadians are well aware that it is our Liberal government that is taking action to support Canadians.
    I think Canadians can see right through the Conservatives' empty rhetoric. Just a few days ago, the Conservatives voted against the national food policy. If they really had the interests of Canadians at heart, they would not have voted against them.
    Mr. Speaker, what Canadians and Quebeckers know is that Christmas is coming next week. They also know that they do not have enough money to buy groceries, so does the government really think that they have enough money to buy their children presents? That is what Canadians and Quebeckers have come to realize after eight years under this Liberal government.
    What is more, on the other side of the House, our Bloc Québécois friends are asking the government to drastically increase the tax on groceries. Is there anyone in the House who can see clearly and who understands that there comes a time when enough is enough with the taxes? Will the government commit to cancelling its inflationary taxes so that people can put food on the table and have a good Christmas?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it is shocking, coming from that member, who was himself a member of the armed forces, that last week, he and his party voted against military aid to Ukraine and compensation to the Canadian Armed Forces.
    On the subject of Ukraine, let me clarify all of the $1 billion in aid that we have provided to Ukraine: Carl-Gustaf anti-tank weapon systems, 155-millimetre ammunition and armoured vehicles, and we have trained over 40,000 members of the Ukrainian armed forces. We will stand on the side of democracy every single time.

  (1435)  

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, Quattro Farms near Bow Island grows spearmint, peppermint and dill, then distills those crops into essential oils. The 10-week harvest and distillation process, this fall alone, cost them $107,000 in carbon taxes. That carbon tax will rise to well over $400,000 when this government quadruples it.
    How does the Prime Minister suggest Quattro Farms pay this $400,000?
    Will it be by raising prices on Canadians or should Quattro Farms cut back on its production so that Canadians are forced to import their food from polluting foreign farms?
    Mr. Speaker, when it came to action, my hon. colleague and the Conservative Party of Canada voted against every program that would support agriculture. It is a shame. I have talked to agricultural producers right across the country; they cannot understand why an opposition would vote against the on-farm climate action fund to help farmers adapt to climate change, which adds to the price of groceries.
    Mr. Speaker, the reason we voted against them is that we voted non-confidence in this government.
    Medicine Hat and the area is home to numerous greenhouse operations like Big Marble Farms, which grows fresh vegetables like cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes. This year alone, Big Marble Farms will pay over $500,000 in carbon taxes. That will rise to over $2 million when this government quadruples it.
    How does the Prime Minister suggest Big Marble pay this extra $2 million?
    Will they raise the prices on Canadians or should Big Marble cut back on their production so that Canadians are forced to import their food from polluting foreign farms?
    Mr. Speaker, I am a farmer and I talk to farmers across the country. They cannot understand why the opposition party would vote against so many programs that assist agriculture across the country.
    Also, farmers find it very disappointing and cannot believe that one would vote against support for Ukraine and for democracy. They were ashamed.
    Mr. Speaker, unlike that minister, I actually spoke to farmers from Dufferin today. One farmer, from Burnett Farms, is going to pay $40,000 in carbon taxes this year alone. After this incompetent Liberal-NDP government quadruples the tax, it will be $160,000.
    They do not need another government program. They need the carbon tax cut.
    How is this farmer supposed to pay for it? Should farmers cut production or will they have to import food from polluting foreign farms?
    Mr. Speaker, what many Canadians are puzzled by is the fact that, in the age of climate change, where the impacts of climate change are costing our farmers hundreds of millions of dollar every year, the Conservatives have nothing to say to them, no plans to support them in the transition that will be necessary in the 21st century, to continue being a provider of food for Canada and the world.
    The Conservatives have no plan to help our farmers, no plan to fight climate change and no plan to support the future of our kids and grandkids.
    Mr. Speaker, with that statement, this radical carbon tax-loving environment minister has basically proven the point. His carbon tax has not stopped any of the effects on farms. Instead, farmers are left paying this punishing carbon tax.
    A chicken farm pays $15,000 for one barn this year in carbon tax. After this ideologically obsessed minister quadruples the carbon tax, it will be $60,000 for one chicken barn.
    What is this farmer supposed to do to pay it, raise prices or force Canadians to import their food from polluting foreign farms?

  (1440)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is ironic, coming from the party that voted against supporting chicken farms just last week.
    Is it radical to be in favour of fighting for the future of our kids and grandkids? I do not think so.
    Is it radical to ensure that we invest in jobs of the 21st century and our communities across the country? I do not think so.
    What is radical is to ignore one of the world's most defining issues of our time and have nothing to say about climate change. This is unacceptable. This is immoral.

[Translation]

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, the federal government owes Quebeckers $460 million for welcoming asylum seekers. They are the federal government's responsibility. The federal government does not want to pay, and it even has the arrogance to keep bluntly stating that it is not an ATM. However, it is our money inside that ATM, not the federal government's. It is taxpayers' money, much of it from Quebeckers. We are entitled to it. That means we have a big problem. The ATM is not working and we cannot access our money.
    Will the Minister of Finance thank Quebeckers for their generosity and reimburse Quebec?
    Mr. Speaker, with over 100 million people displaced around the world, there are refugees everywhere. The migration crisis is global, and Canada is no exception. I can assure you that this is on our Minister of Immigration's radar, and I am quite certain that he will reach an agreement with Quebec's immigration minister. Yes, we recognize that Quebec has done more than its share, but we are here to contribute too. In recent years, we have transferred up to $450 million to Quebec just to house asylum seekers. I am absolutely certain that we will make this happen.
    Mr. Speaker, we know that the minister is talking to Quebec about the $460‑million reimbursement for asylum seekers. We would remind her that the money available to the government does not belong to the government. It is the taxpayers' money, including Quebec taxpayers. The difference is that when the federal government is paying, Quebeckers pay their fair share. However, when Quebec is paying, Quebeckers pay the whole bill. We provide 100% of the services and we pay 100% of the bill. The federal government does not provide services and does not pay a cent. Everyone understands that is not fair.
    Will the Minister of Finance reimburse Quebec?
    Mr. Speaker, again, the Minister of Immigration is in talks with Quebec's minister and I am confident an agreement will be reached. We contribute quite significantly, to the tune of $700 million every year for welcoming immigrants in Quebec. We have transferred $450 million over the past few years to house refugees. For the refugees and asylum seekers, we also provide temporary medical coverage, we are processing files more quickly, we are resettling asylum seekers and we are making it easier to apply for work permits. Yes, we are doing our part.
    Mr. Speaker, we have here a difference of opinion. Quebeckers are welcoming half of all the asylum seekers who come to Canada. That is a lot more than our share. Quebeckers are paying 100% of that bill. That is also a lot more than our fair share. It is basically five times too much. We will continue to do our part and be welcoming, but we are not going to go along with being the only ones doing their part, the only ones being welcoming.
    Will the Minister of Finance pay back the $460 million she owes Quebeckers?
    Mr. Speaker, I repeat that I am quite confident that our government and the Government of Quebec will reach an agreement. It is true that Quebeckers have been very welcoming. We have worked together. To date, we have transferred $450 million to house asylum seekers. We are covering the cost of temporary health coverage. We are expediting the processing of files. We are ensuring that work permits are issued quickly so that these people can support themselves. I am very confident that we will reach an agreement.

[English]

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years of this Liberal-NDP government, farmers are struggling under the weight of this punishing carbon tax.
     Karen, a chicken farmer from Norfolk, pays $350 every month in carbon taxes. When the Liberals quadruple the carbon taxes, she will be paying $1,400 a month. Will the Prime Minister tell farmers like Karen how she is going to pay for the carbon tax hike? Should she charge Canadians more for food or should she produce less so that Canadians will be forced to import food from polluting foreign farms?

  (1445)  

    Mr. Speaker, again, it is a bit rich to hear Conservatives talk about support for farmers when they voted against support for farmers just last week.
    As we support farmers in the transition so that they can reduce their dependency on fossil fuels, they can become more competitive in Canada and around the world. What are the Conservatives doing? They are voting against it. They say they are in favour of farmers but, unfortunately, their record speaks the opposite.
    Mr. Speaker, the carbon taxes have very serious consequences. Karen deserves answers about how she is going to pay that $1,400 a month in carbon taxes. The Prime Minister said that farmers are working hard to protect the environment, but instead of rewarding them, the Liberal-NDP government is taxing them into the ground.
    Does the Prime Minister expect farmers like Karen to charge more or should she produce less so that Canadians will be forced to import food from polluting foreign farms?
     Mr. Speaker, of course, we know that the Conservatives voted against farmers. They voted against taking action on climate change. They also voted against dental care. That means nine million people who they do not want to have access to dental care. We are talking about hundreds of thousands of seniors who they are saying are not going to be able to get dentures replaced if they were in government. They are talking about more than a million kids who they would say no to, that those kids cannot get critical dental care because they want to vote against it.
    Their real agenda is cuts. When one looks through their slogans, that is all that is there.
    Mr. Speaker, what we did was vote non-confidence in the government as it needs to be replaced.
    After eight years of the NDP-Liberal government, Canadians from coast to coast are desperate for relief. A potato farming couple from Grand-Sault have seen their freight costs of oil rise over $300,000 a year, due to the implementation of the carbon tax. Now, these Liberals plan to quadruple it, which would cost them $1.2 million more in freight charges alone a year. How will the Prime Minister advise them to pay for this additional $1.2 million? Will it be by raising prices on Canadians or should this farmer cut back on production so that Canadians are forced to import food from polluting foreign nations?
    Mr. Speaker, I think the rest of us, at least on this side of the House, can see what is happening here. Those were not votes against government programs. Those were all just non-confidence votes. “We did not mean any of that.”
    They think that what they just did there is all they have to do. What we do here is vote on the things. They voted against all the things. We have taped them all and we will be using them in ads, in answers to questions, talking to our constituents on each and every one of them. We will—
    The hon. member for New Westminster—Burnaby.

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, thanks to the NDP, a public inquiry has been called by the government into serious allegations of foreign interference. The inquiry needs to investigate the Indian government, which allegedly ran a global assassination program that targeted and murdered a Canadian on Canadian soil. Other deeply concerning allegations have come up as well.
    Does the minister agree with the NDP that the public inquiry should also investigate interference from the Modi government, including in the recent Conservative leadership campaign?
    Mr. Speaker, as the Prime Minister told this House, this is an extremely serious matter. The safety of Canadians and the integrity of our rule of law is of fundamental importance. Law enforcement, including the RCMP and intelligence agencies, continue to investigate, in close collaboration with their U.S. counterparts. We expect the Government of India to cooperate fully with this investigation.
    As it is an active investigation, we will not comment further.

  (1450)  

Climate Change

    Mr. Speaker, this morning, the environment minister told our committee that “we need to pick up the pace” when it comes to fighting climate change. Notably, this is from the minister who is responsible for the pace in fighting climate change.
    At COP28, the world called for a rapid move away from fossil fuels, yet, here at home, fossil fuel emissions are rising, the industry is expanding and this minister's key policy of the emissions cap will not come into effect until 2026. That is far too slow. Everyone knows it.
     What will the minister do to pick up the pace?
    Mr. Speaker, it is refreshing to have a question on the reality and the importance of climate change in this House. In fact, we are picking up the pace. When we came into power, in 2015, emissions were going through the roof and now we have been able to reduce emissions levels by 7% below the 2005 level. That is like removing more than 20 million cars, in terms of climate change pollution, from our roads. We know we have more to do and that is why, in the last year alone, we have introduced six new pieces of regulation to ensure that Canada reaches its target in 2030.

Indigenous Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, indigenous people living in urban, rural and northern areas face unique challenges accessing adequate housing and do not qualify for support that is provided to indigenous people living on reserve. Through budgets 2022 and 2023, the government has committed to the codevelopment of a dedicated urban, rural and northern indigenous housing strategy to address these gaps.
    Just last week, the House considered funding for this strategy. That is something that the Conservative leader voted to cut. Can the Minister of Indigenous Services tell us how this funding will be used to address the housing challenges facing indigenous people in urban, rural and northern areas?
    Mr. Speaker, last week, it was shameful to see the Conservative Party members get up, all night long, to vote against all of the things that indigenous people need, such as health care, education and housing. While the Conservatives play games with people's lives, on this side we are hard at work. That is why it was so exciting to announce the next steps toward rolling out a historic $4.3 billion toward “by indigenous, for indigenous” housing. That is what working for Canadians looks like.

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, Haass Acres has been operating as a family farm since 1930. The family farms about 2,000 acres, and this year they will pay $10,000 in carbon tax, which will quadruple to $40,000. That may not seem like a lot to the Prime Minister and his trust fund, but it is a lot to the Haass family.
     Will the Prime Minister call Brian Haass? Will he explain to him how he expects him to pay this extra $40,000? Should he raise prices on Canadians, or should he cut production so that Canadians are forced to import food from foreign polluting farms?
    Mr. Speaker, just a few days ago, Conservative members voted against the interests of farmers. Just a few days ago, they also voted against measures to promote women's participation in the economy, against free menstrual products, against funding for sexual misconduct investigations and against subsidizing child care. What do the Conservatives have against measures that support women?
    Mr. Speaker, that is classic Liberal deflection. When the Liberals are down, they will deflect at every fact they can.
     These are the facts: Under the Prime Minister, housing prices have doubled. Under the Prime Minister, food bank usage is the highest in history. On the OECD, we rank 35 out of 38 in teen mental health. There is suicide.
    Who feeds families? Farmers do. Who are the Liberals cutting? They are cutting out farmers. Will the Liberals axe the tax and make life affordable? The jig is up. Everybody knows the Liberals are not telling the truth.
    We cannot say whether someone has been telling the truth or not telling the truth. Members are to be careful on that stuff.
    The hon. government House leader.
    Mr. Speaker, if the Conservatives want to talk about deflection, it is because they do not want to talk about the vote they took against the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement. There is only one member on the other side who has had the courage of her convictions to stand up to the bullying MAGA style of their leader, and that is the member for Lethbridge.
     I heard a lot of members try to say that they support Ukraine over the past couple of days, but actions speak louder than words. Just a couple of days ago, the Conservatives voted against Canada's NATO mission in Ukraine. They need to stop deflecting. They should be honest with Canadians about why they are not supporting Ukraine. Is it because there are several members who are MAGA-style Conservatives? It is a question Canadians need to ask.

  (1455)  

    Mr. Speaker, that is embarrassing deflection from the party that sent back to Russia a gas turbine that is funding Putin's war. It is absolutely embarrassing for those Liberals. They have so much to answer for in how they have abandoned Ukraine where it counts.
     Darren is a turkey farmer I spoke to today. He paid $30,000 in the last year in carbon tax. By the time it is quadrupled, it will be almost $120,000. My questions to those Liberals is simple. Do they expect him to raise costs, or to cut back production so that Canadians are forced to import food from polluting foreign jurisdictions?
    Mr. Speaker, when it comes to food security, we always have to remember that the breadbasket of the world is a country called Ukraine. I am going to use the name of that country deliberately because, when one cannot—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order, please.

[Translation]

    The hon. member for Salaberry—Suroît on a point of order. There seems to be an issue with the interpretation.
    Mr. Speaker, this is too much. When interpreters tell us three times that it is too noisy to interpret and they are getting hurt, it is time to stop.
    It is our last day. Let us be adults.
    I would remind the members that we are almost done.

[English]

    Let us try to keep the temperature down so we can get through this. Interpretation is a challenge on occasions when there is a lot of noise in the chamber.
    The hon. Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada.
    Mr. Speaker, I use the term “Ukraine” deliberately because, when somebody who aspires to lead this nation is incapable of saying the term “Ukraine” and is calling that nation, which is fighting for its very existence, a faraway foreign land, I find that not just disrespectful to our ally, but immoral.
    We, on this side of the House, will stand by Ukraine.
    Mr. Speaker, how embarrassing. This week, Liberals abandoned Israel at the United Nations, and the member should know that it is Canadian detonators that are ending up in the fields of Ukrainian farmers. They should be absolutely embarrassed and ashamed of themselves for abandoning the farmers of Ukraine.
    When it comes to the cost that Canadian farmers are paying for the carbon tax, here is the reality. For Darren, he has to recoup $120,000 somehow. This is an uncomfortable question because high prices are a feature, not a flaw, of the carbon tax. How do Liberals expect Darren to pay the bills?
    Mr. Speaker, the member mentioned Ukraine. It was shameful to see Conservative MPs attempt, not once, but five times, to silence the MP for Etobicoke Centre when he pointed out the Conservative voting record against supporting Ukraine.
    Former Conservative cabinet minister Peter Kent—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order. We are almost at three o'clock, and the more we attack one another, the louder it is going to get in here. I would suggest that everybody bring it down a notch. Christmas is coming.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary.
    Mr. Speaker, former Conservative cabinet minister Peter Kent put it this way, “When partisan politics trumps principled unity and support for a valiant democracy.” He was referring to the Conservative record of voting against Ukraine and free trade. No amount of doublespeak or MP talking points will change that.

  (1500)  

[Translation]

Agriculture and Agri-Food

    Mr. Speaker, 2023 has been an extremely difficult year for farmers: rising interest rates, rising input prices, floods, droughts. It is one thing after another.
    Meanwhile, the federal government is abandoning them. Ottawa's investments in agriculture do not even amount to 5% of agricultural production value. That is four times less than in Europe.
    The government must immediately set up an emergency fund for struggling farmers. We have been saying this for months. Canada also needs to claw its way up from the bottom of the world's agricultural investment rankings.
    When is this government going to support our farmers?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I did meet with my hon. colleague yesterday, and I fully understand the concern he has. The program is under what we call the business risk management program, which is put together by the federal government, the provincial government and the territories. The guidelines have been put in place.
    As I said yesterday to my hon. colleague, anything I can do to help the farmers in Quebec, I will do, but there are guidelines to follow.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, 2023 was a terrible year for our farmers. Fortunately, there is an easy way to make sure that 2024 is better.
    The federal government can push back the January 18 loan forgiveness repayment deadline for the emergency account. That is an easy way to prevent farms from going bankrupt. It is an easy measure that will provide much relief to farmers who are working like mad, but are still walking a tightrope.
    Could we please get some good news before the holidays? Will the government push back the January 18 deadline?
    Mr. Speaker, as far as the emergency business account is concerned, I would remind members that during COVID‑19, our government was there to support businesses with the wage subsidy, the rent subsidy and the emergency account.
    There are plans available for repaying the emergency account. Plan A, the business owner has the money, repays the government loan and qualifies for loan forgiveness. Plan B, the business owner takes out a commercial loan, repays the CEBA and qualifies for loan forgiveness. Plan C, the business owner stays with us for another three years and pays 5% interest.

[English]

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years of the NDP-Liberal government, the cost of food production is at an all-time high. The truckers who transport our grain, deliver the fertilizer and the fuel farmers need, and haul our groceries to the stores for Canadians to buy, pay the carbon tax, but pass it along to the farmer and the consumer.
    A trucking company in Swift Current pays $20,000 per truck, per year, in carbon tax. Once the Prime Minister quadruples its cost to $80,000, how does he expect it to pay for this? Will it be through raising prices on Canadians, or should our farmers cut back on production so we are forced to import food from polluting foreign farms?
    Mr. Speaker, the part that is quite incredible about the position taken by Conservatives under their leader's guidance is that, when they abandoned Ukraine, they were not just abandoning over one million Ukrainian Canadians here in Canada, but countless other east Europeans, thousands if not millions, who are also concerned with pushing back against Russian authoritarianism. Who am I talking about?
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order. I want to make sure people keep it down so the interpreters can hear what they are translating.
    The hon. Minister of Justice.
    Mr. Speaker, they are abandoning east European Canadians, Polish Canadians, Baltic Canadians, all of whom have a vested interest in pushing up against Russian authoritarianism under Putin. I wish Conservatives would show some support for that—
    The hon. member for Lévis—Lotbinière.

[Translation]

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, we have been tricked. After eight years of Liberal incompetence, Canadians are drowning in debt. They have been hit hard by eight interest rate hikes over a period of 18 months. Canadians spend more than 9% of their disposable income on interest payments alone. Some gift.
    With debt payments rising faster than disposable income, will the costly Liberal-Bloc-NDP coalition take some pressure off interest rates by eliminating the carbon tax so as to stop ruining Canadians' lives?

  (1505)  

    Mr. Speaker, we will take no lessons from the Conservatives.
    With Christmas just around the corner, what a gift they have given Canadians. They voted against support for the aerospace sector. They voted against support for tourism businesses. Worse still, they voted against the Plains of Abraham. How on earth are Conservative MPs from Quebec going to explain to Quebeckers why they voted against the Plains of Abraham? It is crazy.
    Here on this side of the House, we are going to fight for Canadians. We are going to fight for jobs. We are going to fight for growth.
    Mr. Speaker, the best gift that Canadians could get in 2024 is a Conservative government.
    Canadians are falling further and further behind every day under the costly Liberal-Bloc-NDP coalition. Quebeckers are also spending more than 9% of their disposable income on interest. That is where voting for the Bloc Québécois in Quebec got them.
    When will this government let Canadians choose their future? The options are clear. They can choose a coalition that wants to drastically increase taxes, or a good Conservative government that will put more money in the pockets of all Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, the gift came from the Conservatives last week when they put their ideology of budget cuts and austerity on full display. Cuts like those hamper Quebec's economic growth, especially in the tourism industry.
    Why are Quebec Conservatives unwilling to make cuts to the tourism growth program on the Prairies, but happy to do so in Quebec, the north or Ontario? The Saguenay Fjord is less important than the Prairies. The Plains of Abraham are less important than the Prairies. The St-Tite western festival is less important than the Calgary Stampede. On this side of the House, we are there for all Quebeckers. The Conservatives should be ashamed of themselves.

[English]

Diversity and Inclusion

    Mr. Speaker, racism has no place in Canada and never will.
    This week, our government launched the renewed multiculturalism and anti-racism program and called for proposals to help organizations build capacity. This funding aims to help organizations have capacity to support their communities and foster inclusion.
    Can the minister explain what actions the government has taken to address systemic racism and discrimination and celebrate our diversity?
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is absolutely right, this week we launched the call for proposals for the renewed multiculturalism and anti-racism program to help organizations build capacity.
    This is yet another example of our government's unwavering commitment to addressing racism and promoting a more inclusive Canada. I wish I could say the same thing about the Conservative Party of Canada, which voted against Canada's anti-racism strategy and, just last week, voted against funding for the new Montreal Holocaust Museum and the redevelopment of the Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver. It is shameful.

Innovation, Science and Industry

    Mr. Speaker, the NDP-Liberal government's billion-dollar green, or greed, slush fund is in a crisis of corruption.
    The CEO resigned in disgrace. The Liberal-appointed board chair resigned in disgrace. The Auditor General is investigating. The Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner is investigating two Liberal appointees. This week we heard from whistle-blowers that $150 million was embezzled by Liberal insiders.
    Canadians want to know: Where did the missing millions go, and who got rich?
    Mr. Speaker, Canadians watching at home are seeing the Conservative ideology on full display.
    These folks are so against climate change that they will go after anyone and any organization that wants to fight climate change, even an organization that was created 20 years ago by Parliament. Now they want to attack the integrity of one of the most respected audit firms in this country.
    On this side of the House, we will get to the bottom of this, but we will keep investing in clean technology. We will keep investing to fight climate change. We will keep investing in Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, only Liberals would think shovelling hundreds of millions of dollars into the pockets of their friends is doing anything to fight climate change.
    They are under multiple investigations. It is Liberal appointees who are being investigated. It is absolutely despicable. Canadians are lined up at food banks in record numbers, and Liberal grifters and embezzlers are jamming their pockets full of Canadian tax dollars. Canadians want to know who got rich. Where did the missing millions go?
    With an Auditor General investigation and two Ethics Commissioner investigations, is the RCMP next?

  (1510)  

    Mr. Speaker, I know it is Christmas. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but not their own facts.
    It is very clear and Canadians understand that what we are seeing on full display in the House is the Conservative ideology against anyone and any organization, even those created by Parliament. What we are seeing is on full display.
    We launched an investigation. We suspended funding. The leadership has resigned. We will get to the bottom of this. We will restore confidence. We will keep investing to fight climate change in this country.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years, friends of the Liberal Party keep getting richer at the expense of Canadians. Shocking whistle-blower testimony has revealed that $150 million of taxpayers' money was diverted from the Liberal green fund. The Ethics Commissioner has launched two investigations. The Auditor General is also investigating. It does not take an ethicist to see the ethical breach here. Surprisingly, however, the Bloc Québécois voted against an investigation by the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics to shed light on the green fund corruption.
    Canadians want to know which Liberal friends got rich off their money.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question because it gives me an opportunity, just before Christmas, to remind Canadians who may be watching of the Conservative ideology that has just been revealed. The Conservative ideology is to attack any person or organization that wants to fight climate change.
    Today, the Conservatives are attacking an institution that was created by Parliament 20 years ago, and they are attacking the integrity of one of the country's leading accounting firms.
    On this side of the House, we will continue to invest in climate action. We will continue to invest in green technologies. We will continue to invest in Canadians.

[English]

Sport

    Mr. Speaker, our children and all Canadians deserve a safe and responsible sport system that reflects our Canadian values of equality, fairness and inclusion. In other words, we need a system grounded in human rights, accountability, integrity and safety.
    On Monday, the Minister of Sport and Physical Activity announced important measures that prioritize keeping our kids safe and keeping safe sport at the centre of sport governance and operations. Among other things, she announced the future of sport in Canada commission.
    Can the minister share with the House details on the mandate of this commission?
    Mr. Speaker, in the past two years, athlete survivors have bravely come forward to share their stories so that we can learn, so that we can make our processes more safe for our kids, and so that we could get to the point we have. Thanks to them, on Monday, we announced the future of sport commission, a trauma-informed, victims rights and human rights based process. We are going to dig into safe sport and make the entire system better.

Taxation

    Mr. Speaker, big tech companies, like Amazon, Twitter and Uber, make billions of dollars a year and do not pay what they owe to Canadians. The Liberals said they would put a plan in place for a digital services tax by the end of this year, but they are delaying it. Canadians do not trust the Liberals and Conservatives to make big tech corporations pay their fair share, and this at a time when so many Canadians are struggling.
    Will the government stand up for Canadians and implement a digital services tax, or will it bow down to American lobbyists?
    Mr. Speaker, Canada is supportive of international efforts to end the corporate tax race to the bottom and ensure that the world's largest corporations do pay their fair share. Our priority, of course, has always been a multilateral approach, but we must defend our national interests. We will not accept a delay to the implementation of our own digital services tax without a clear timeline for an implementation with our global partners.

International Development

    Mr. Speaker, despite evidence on the misuse of international aid by Hamas, Canada recently pledged $16.2 million to non-profit organizations in the region, including $10 million to the UN Relief and Works Agency, UNRWA, for its Palestinian programs.
    How can Canada fund UNRWA when one of its own employees held an Israeli citizen hostage in Gaza? Hamas uses UNRWA buildings to launch rocket attacks. Over 100 Hamas terrorists attended UNRWA schools that teach anti-Semitism and Israel's elimination.
    Will Canada review its UNRWA funding and suspend it if the agency is found to be in non-compliance with UN operational standards?

  (1515)  

    Mr. Speaker, I have had numerous meetings with the head of UNRWA, Mr. Lazzarini. The decision to cut funds during an unfolding humanitarian catastrophe is actually counterproductive and jeopardizes the delivery of essential food, medicine and other life-saving materials to those who need it the most. In these crucial times, trusted agencies, like UNRWA, must receive more support, not less.
    It is great to see the hon. member use political points against vulnerable people in their time of need. I wish we had more compassion from members of the House like the hon. member.

[Translation]

Service Preservation at Radio-Canada

    Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties and if you seek it, I believe you will find unanimous consent to adopt the following motion:
     That the House:
(a) affirm that Radio-Canada plays a crucial role in Francophone information and cultural vitality in Quebec and in Canada's Francophone and Acadian communities;
(b) recognize that the announced cuts could be detrimental to the promotion of French-language culture, at a time when the federal government recognizes that the French language is under threat in Canada;
(c) express its strong reservations of planned cuts at Radio-Canada and that it reiterates that the preservation of the public broadcaster's services in the various regions of Quebec and in Canada's Francophone and Acadian communities must be a priority.
    All those opposed to the hon. member's moving the motion will please say nay.
    It is agreed.
    The House has heard the terms of the motion. All those opposed to the motion will please say nay.

    (Motion agreed to)

    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Twice this week, I tried to table a document that the parliamentary secretary on environment quoted this morning in committee. I am convinced that, now—
    I apologize for interrupting the member but I am already hearing “nays”.

[English]

Business of the House

[Business of the House]
    Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the official opposition, I want to start by thanking everyone in this chamber for their hard work over the last year and share merry Christmas wishes with colleagues and all staff who work on and around the Hill. I also want to wish a special merry Christmas to those in uniform who are serving our country, especially those overseas who will be sacrificing time with family and their usual Christmas traditions in order to serve our country and advance freedom and justice in a troubled world.
    I wonder if the government House leader could update the House about the planned calendar of business for the rest of this week and the work when we return. In particular, Liberals have claimed that they want to pass Bill C-57 on Canada-Ukraine free trade as soon as possible. If they are serious, I will propose a motion following the Thursday question to bring the deal to an immediate and final vote.
     The motion will be that, notwithstanding any standing order or usual practice of the House, all questions necessary for the disposal of the third reading stage of Bill C-57, an act to implement the 2023 free trade agreement between Canada and Ukraine, be deemed put and recorded divisions deemed requested and be not deferred.
    I wonder if the government House leader could clarify whether the government intends to allow its bill to come to a vote or whether it intends to delay it for political reasons.

  (1520)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to see that the hon. colleague wants to discuss Ukraine, because Conservatives have blocked and filibustered on several occasions when it comes to Bill C-57. They have moved concurrence motions several times.
     I would also remind the member that I actually think it is really important that the Conservatives reflect over the holidays and perhaps consider changing their position, because it would be really nice to be able to show Ukraine that solidarity and unanimity that the House has always shown Ukraine. I am going to give them the time and space to reflect, to speak to the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, to speak to Canadians of Ukrainian origin and to hear from them why this matters and why this is important, so that we can show the solidarity and unanimity that Canada has long been known for, which unfortunately the Conservatives, for reasons that I cannot understand but perhaps because of the right-wing American influence that we are seeing and the MAGA intentions of their leader, have decided not to support, based on falsehoods. Let us let them take the Christmas holidays to do that reflection.
    This afternoon, we will continue with the second reading debate of Bill C-58 on replacement workers. Tomorrow, we will proceed with second reading debate of Bill S-9, which would amend the Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act, again, another bill that we have not actually been able to debate because the Conservatives continue to move concurrence motions.
    I want to take this opportunity to extend my best wishes for the season to everybody who works here on Parliament Hill and to all of my colleagues. I want to express a special gratitude to the employees here in the House of Commons who have done an absolutely tremendous job, even when they were forced to stay here for 30 hours during a marathon vote, which was difficult not just for members of Parliament but particularly for the staff who were forced to work overtime and stay up all night.
    With that, I wish everybody in this chamber, and indeed all Canadians, a very merry Christmas and a very happy holiday season.
    There is a point of order from the hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan.
    Mr. Speaker, I am not that optimistic, but in the spirit of hope and the season, I want to once again seek the unanimous consent of the House for the following motion—
    Some hon. members: No.
    I appreciate the hon. member trying to run that, but obviously there is no unanimous consent on it.
    Because of the “merry Christmas” that just came from the hon. House leader, I want to wish everyone a very merry Christmas and happy holidays. I look forward, believe that or not, to seeing members again when we come back in January.
    The hon. member for North Island—Powell River has a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, if you will indulge me, I thought I would share this gracious moment of kindness to express the NDP's wishes to everyone. I wish a very joyful and healthy holiday to all the people who work in this place.
    We always owe a special thanks to the interpreters and translators, who work so hard to make sure we understand one another. I want to thank the PPS, which is always there to protect us and let us in the front way. I also want to thank the amazing Sergeant-at-Arms and their team for the tremendous work they do to keep all parliamentarians safe.
    Of course, we cannot help but thank the dedicated maintenance, food services and IT staff, as well as the clerks at the table, who do tremendous work both here and in the committees. They do a stellar job every day.
    I thank the analysts and the law clerk, who make sense out of a lot of things we sometimes find confusing, and the tremendous pages and their supervisors, who do great work around this place. I also thank all of the political teams who work in this place. They serve our caucuses and look after all of us in the best way.
    I want to wish every Canadian a very safe and healthy holiday.
    Merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah and happy holidays to everyone.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, when my colleague from Manicouagan rose in the House, she eloquently commended all House staff and all staff responsible for procedure.
    Now it is my turn to wish a happy holiday, a merry Christmas and a happy 2024 to everyone who helped simplify our work and who gave us their support along the way. There is no denying that the past parliamentary period has been difficult. I primarily want to thank my fellow whips, the government whip, the official opposition whip and the NDP whip. Despite everything, as my colleague said so well, we all work together to make Parliament run smoothly.
    We hope that 2024 will be another positive year. I wish everyone health and happiness as they gather with their loved ones.
    I wish the same to you, Mr. Speaker.

  (1525)  

    I want to thank everyone.
    I think we forgot to thank all the staff in our offices, who work so hard every day.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[Translation]

Canada Labour Code

    The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C‑58, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code and the Canada Industrial Relations Board Regulations, 2012, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today on behalf of the Bloc Québécois to applaud Bill C‑58, the anti-scab legislation. People have been waiting decades for this bill.
    I am a Quebecker, and our anti-scab legislation was already in place when I was born. Now, a bill has been introduced. I would not go so far as to say that I was hoping for this back when I was two, but I will say that I have been waiting for it for decades.
    The Bloc Québécois has been waiting for it, too. The Bloc Québécois has introduced several bills in the decades since 1990. My colleague from Bécancour—Nicolet—Saurel, who is still in the House, introduced the first bill on this subject. He was actually my MP at the time. Since then, 11 bills have been placed on the Order Paper, evidence that the Bloc Québécois is determined to protect workers and protect the right to negotiate.
    I want to thank all the Bloc Québécois MPs and teams before us who strove to advance the issue of justice and workers' rights. I would also like to thank my colleague from Thérèse-De Blainville, who introduced Bill C-276 at the start of this Parliament. Her bill also seeks to ban the use of strikebreakers. My colleague worked tirelessly, just like the others I mentioned earlier. I commend her. She is persevering and willing to collaborate, someone who believes in social justice and who has a lot to teach the members of my caucus and, I hope, the other members of the House and all the people she meets and talks to about labour issues in particular.
    There is an expression that I like a lot, and I use it whenever I can, although it is not mine, of course. It is the idea that, whenever we do something great, we were often building on the work of those who came before us. We are often dwarves standing on the shoulders of giants, if I may use a mythological or fairy tale image. We owe a lot to our predecessors. There are also other people who worked to pave the way for what we have achieved at this moment in history.
    There are other political parties. I would like to acknowledge the work of the NDP on this matter, as well as the unions. When I say unions, I also mean workers. They are the giants. They are the ones who came to us and showed us the value, the necessity, of passing laws to protect the right to negotiate. I would like to thank all the people who got us here today. I hope that this will move faster through the House than it has in recent decades. It is urgent.
    At the start of my speech, I mentioned that Quebec has had a law on the books since 1976. I am sure we can come up with something equivalent for areas under federal jurisdiction. Time is of the essence.
    A bill has been introduced. We were waiting for it. In the current context, we are theoretically two years away from an election. We would like the work to move forward, for things to happen quickly. Of course, there is filibustering in the House, but we hope that within the next two years, the bill will be passed, will receive royal assent and will come into force immediately. However, the bill has `an 18-month time frame. Why 18 months? We have been waiting for a bill for 50 years. Why can it not be implemented immediately? That is the first question. I think it is an essential question that we are asking.

  (1530)  

    We are also concerned about the part of the bill that sets out exceptions. We are still wary of the exceptions. Of course, it is relevant, but we still have to define what a “threat to the life, health or safety of any person” means. At first glance, it looks like it is intended to provide protection. We are not against virtue, but we also do not want this clause to become a kind of catch-all clause that allows employers to circumvent the bill and get out of having to uphold workers' right to freely negotiate.
    Those are two elements I wanted to mention. The Bloc Québécois sees them as red flags. We would like to get answers very quickly. I presume that could be done in committee. If we can deal with these two elements that we have concerns about, we think the bill could be passed very quickly. I repeat, we want it to be passed and to receive royal assent, but we also want it to come into force as soon as it receives royal assent so we can protect as many workers as possible by defending their rights.
    I spoke about equity and rights, and I would like to touch on that again. Reduced to its simplest expression, the bill simply aims to level the playing field. If one of the parties to the negotiations has all the power, it is difficult for the other party to assert their needs, desires and rights. I think it is almost a truism, it is so obvious. What we want to do is to restore the balance of power so that workers can also participate in the negotiations. This will allow them to reach a compromise solution quickly and effectively at the bargaining table, which would be a win-win. It is good for workers, but also for employers, which, in my opinion, have everything to gain from a law that will allow the parties to sit at the table and settle disputes quickly.
    I have managed to address only three of the 10 points I wanted to get to, so I will pick up the pace.
    I would remind members that the holidays are approaching and that the Bloc Québécois has always been a workers' party. We have always tried to defend workers. Manicouagan is a riding where there are a lot of workers under federal jurisdiction, in particular in the air and rail transport sectors. There are also a lot of people who work for the post office. There are workers under federal jurisdiction everywhere in Quebec and Canada, but there are a lot in my riding. I think about them, about the people in Quebec City and the dock workers at the Port of Québec, for example, who have been in a labour dispute for more than a year now. This dispute has been going on for a long time and it cannot be settled, precisely because there is an unfair power relationship. The employer has more power than the employees.
    I would also like to remind my colleagues in the opposition of the following. I do not want to put words in the mouth of my colleague from Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, but I think he said earlier that he was worried that workers would cause inflation as a result of their demands in the negotiations for a new collective agreement. I find that kind of talk dangerous. I would like him to discuss the matter with his Conservative colleagues from the Quebec City region, who are likely, if I am not mistaken, to join him in voting against this bill. They would be voting against the people in the ridings adjacent to the Quebec City region, who have already been paying the price for more than a year because MPs do not want to vote for a bill that would level the playing field in labour negotiations.
    I will conclude with this. I hope that the Conservatives will get around to telling us their position on the bill soon. That being said, the Bloc Québécois will give the bill its full support, because we care about workers.

  (1535)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, the issue of anti-scab legislation has been important to me and I know to many of my colleagues for many years. It is encouraging to have the legislation before us. It was an election platform issue for the Liberal Party, and inside the chamber we have substantial support for it from the Bloc and the NDP. Even the Conservatives, when they go around the country, often say they are there for the working person. I think we have a wonderful opportunity here to see this debate collapse and send the bill to committee.
    I wonder if the member could share her thoughts on my perspective. How nice would it be to see the debate collapse today so the bill will at least have a chance to go to committee sooner as opposed to later? I think that would be a wonderful gift at Christmas for the labour movement in Canada. Would she agree?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I have a few things to say to the member for Winnipeg North about his comment.
    First, there is a difference between words and actions. Yes, that was part of the Liberal Party's election platform. However, it is important to consider the number of years that the Liberals were in power over the past 40 years and the number of years that they formed a majority government, when they could have implemented such a bill but did not.
    I understand that it can be a long process, but results have to be achieved at some point. That is often what happens with minority governments. It is a bit like being at the bargaining table. When one person does not have all the power, then we can negotiate and make compromises and find solutions for people.
    Of course, I agree with my colleague that this would be a nice Christmas gift. I, too, would like to be able to say that the Liberal Party kept its election promises regarding employment insurance reform. I know a lot of people in my riding of Manicouagan are going to be facing the spring gap this year. I am sure that is also true for other people across Canada. For 40 years, since Lloyd Axworthy's time, the government has been promising reforms to help people who have to face the spring gap.
    That would be an excellent Christmas gift, and so I am waiting for that reform.
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague from Manicouagan for her speech. Of course, I recognize that she and her political party have long supported legislation to prevent replacement workers. We in the NDP are very proud to have forced the Liberals to make that happen. It was an essential condition of the agreement we negotiated with them. Let us not forget that the Liberals have always voted against such bills in the past.
    While there are things my colleague and I agree on, such as the benefits of this bill, there are Quebeckers who are currently suffering from the absence of such a bill. I am thinking of the dock workers at the Port of Quebec, as well the Videotron employees in western Quebec, in Gatineau, who are in a labour dispute.
    Is my colleague prepared, before the law is enacted, to speak out against employers who use replacement workers, like the Port of Québec or Pierre Karl Péladeau?
    Madam Speaker, allow me to repeat it for my colleague from Rosemont—La Petite‑Patrie: We want it to be fair, we want there to be a balance of power.
    In my mind, there are no exceptions. We are talking about a bill. In the end, it is really what we want. I am focusing on the principle: We want a balance of power, fairness. That is what the Bloc Québécois wants, and we will be prepared to support the bill.

  (1540)  

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague from Manicouagan for the hard work she does for workers in her riding and the bills she has introduced for them over the years.
    I would like her thoughts on Bill C‑58, on its urgency and the good news it offers. In the meantime, there are flaws in this bill, including the 18-month requirement. Is that really necessary? Is there no way for this to come into force immediately?
    My colleague told us that her notes list 10 points, but she only got to the third one. I would like to know what her eighth point was.
    The hon. member has 45 seconds remaining to answer the question.
    Madam Speaker, I have to go through my notes. I always have a plethora of ideas. Of course, I agree with my colleague from Abitibi—Témiscamingue on the timeline. It does not hold water.
    We are ready. We have been for 50 years, likely. We are voting for the bill and then we are off to the races. Any questions on that 18‑month delay can be asked when the bill is in committee. This could come into force quickly. I do not think this is complicated. We have seen the government act very quickly when it wants to. I think it is a matter of will and not a matter of whether it is possible.
    I cannot say what my eighth point was. We can talk about it later since I am out of time. We are ready to vote.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, it is great to stand here today with a great piece of legislation that is going to help out Canadian workers and help our economy get to the next level. We believe that Canadian workers have the right to fair, honest and balanced negotiations, where replacement workers are not waiting in the wings to take their jobs.
    That is why we have introduced this legislation, to ban the use of replacement workers in federally regulated workplaces. I have negotiated on both sides of the table, for the employer and for the union. I know for a fact that the best deals are always at the table. I know for sure that banning replacement workers puts that focus on the table to get the best deals possible.
    This is where workers get those powerful paycheques that our Conservatives like to talk about. It is where Canadian workers secure reliable benefits and job security. The bargaining table is where Canadian workers secure changes and investments that make their workplaces much safer.
    The threat of replacement workers tips the balance in the employers' favour. It is unfair and contrary to the spirit of true collective bargaining. Ultimately, replacement workers give employers an incentive to avoid the bargaining table. It is a distraction that can prolong disputes and can poison workplaces for years after. We have seen it throughout our history, both locally in my riding and across Canada.
    Conservatives like to perpetuate the myth that workers want to strike. They pretend that workers have some devious plan to halt our economy. This could not be further from the truth. Workers drive our economy. Positive labour relations make Canada a great place to invest, which we have seen so much of recently.
    Striking is a last resort for workers. Nobody wants to lose their benefits and live off strike pay. It is an anxious, uncertain state for anyone. It can hurt a family's financial and psychological well-being. Our government believes that it is in everybody's best interest to ensure that workers, employers and the government work together to build a strong, stable and fair economy that we all rely on.
    Unlike the Conservatives, we will not feel threatened when workers use their bargaining power to demand better wages and better working conditions. As the Minister of Labour has said, bargaining is hard work. It is tense and messy, but it works really well.
    I met regularly with my constituents about labour issues, including the Sault Ste Marie and District Labour Council and the United Steelworkers, just to name a few. They are thrilled that we are doing this at a federal level. They want to see the same kind of leadership to benefit provincial workers in Ontario as well.
    Just last week, I was at the Standing Committee on International Trade, where Robert Ashton, president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada, said the following: “If Bill C-58 had actually been in use for the last couple of years, all these lockouts and these strikes, where the employers have been using scabs and have drawn it out, would have been a lot shorter.”
    He joined a chorus of union leaders who supported this legislation. This includes the United Steelworkers Union, which reported, “Federal anti-scab legislation will help 80,000 USW members and approximately one million workers across Canada.”
    Lana Payne, the national president of Unifor, said, “This legislation is a step toward levelling the playing field. It will be good for the economy and good for labour relations”.
    I know the opposition does not listen to workers, but maybe the Conservatives might listen to the 70 labour experts who signed an open letter calling on Canadian policy-makers to support Bill C-58. The letter states, “By adopting Bill C-58, Parliament has a historic opportunity to advance workers' rights and improve labour relations in federally-regulated workplaces by:
    “Strengthening the collective bargaining process and levelling the playing field in contract disputes;
    “Banning the use of strikebreakers that inflame tensions and poison workplaces [for very long periods of time];
    “Reducing instances of picket violence and vandalism;
    “Incentivizing employers to focus on reaching negotiated settlements at the bargaining table rather than strategizing over how to best undermine union members exercising their right to strike.
    “Bill C-58 offers practical and meaningful measures that would help to address longstanding imbalances in the labour relations regime.”

  (1545)  

    We have heard from experts, from labour leaders and from Canadian workers. We have also heard from members of the NDP, the Bloc and the Green Party, who have expressed their support for this legislation. However, we have not heard from the Conservatives. In fact, today, the CLC continues to issue statements calling on the Conservatives to tell us what their position is.
    It is no surprise that the Conservative leader, who has spent his entire career standing against working people, has not shown his hand. He proclaimed himself dedicated to bringing the right-to-work laws to Canada. These notorious U.S. laws are aimed at undermining unions; ultimately, they are about worse conditions and smaller paycheques. The Leader of the Opposition has enthusiastically served wealthy interests most of his life. Under the previous government, he championed two of the most anti-union, anti-worker bills that the House has ever seen: Bill C-525 and Bill C-377. We repealed them right away. In 2005, he even opposed child care, because the workers would be unionized.
    Actions speak louder than words. Recently, the Conservatives have been opposing Bill C-50, the sustainable jobs act, which would bring workers to the table so that workers decide how we meet our economic opportunities. Instead, the Conservatives submitted 20,000 amendments at committee and then tried to submit another couple of hundred frivolous amendments to put the brakes on it. The race is on to seize the greatest opportunity of our time, which is to unlock the potential of renewables, to create thousands of jobs and to drive sustainable economic growth. Right now, companies are deciding where to invest and build. The Liberal government is meeting this momentum, but the Conservatives are throwing temper tantrums.
     Now Conservatives, again, have not told us where they stand with respect to Bill C-58. In fact, in 2016, the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan opposed similar legislation, arguing that replacement workers offered opportunities for the unemployed to gain temporary work and valuable experience. Think about being so out of touch with working Canadians that one thinks temporary jobs to replace working Canadians are somehow a solution. More recently, the member for Battlefords—Lloydminster complained that similar legislation would result in a higher share of company profits going to unionized workers. In a time of record corporate profits, it is hard to imagine being upset that working Canadians might get a greater share of the profits that they are responsible for producing.
    We know how important this legislation is to Canada's labour unions and the workers they represent. We know that experts support this bill. The bill has the support of the NDP, the Bloc Québécois and the Green Party. I urge my Conservative colleagues to reconsider their efforts to oppose working Canadians and consider, just this once, actually supporting workers.

  (1550)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order to seek the unanimous consent of the House to revert to presenting reports from interparliamentary delegations to allow me to table a report from the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.
    Some hon. members: No.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, we know, from information from various sources, that thousands of employees from Korea and other places will be coming in to take jobs that are subsidized by Canadian taxpayers. If my colleague had had an opportunity to be at the drafting table for this piece of legislation, would he have put in something to ensure that foreign workers would not be getting the largesse from the publicly funded investments into electric vehicle battery plants here in Canada? Why are we not actually protecting Canadians with an investment using Canadian tax dollars?
    Madam Speaker, this legislation is long overdue. It has been called for by Canadian workers since before Canada was even a country. It would absolutely strengthen this economy and continue to grow our country, the greatest place to work, live and play. I can say that we did a lot of consulting. We consulted with workers, with labour representatives, with employers and with indigenous communities, who helped us craft this very important legislation. It is long overdue, and I would ask that member to support Bill C-58.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, to begin, I would like to take this opportunity to wish a happy holiday and a good vacation to everyone in the House, but mostly to the people of Berthier—Maskinongé, who have worked so hard over the past year. I hope they get time with their loved ones. I wish the same for my colleague who just made his speech, because I know him well enough to wish him a merry Christmas.
    If we know each other well enough to wish each other a merry Christmas, I imagine we know each other well enough to provide really good, accurate answers. That is the gift I want this holiday season. I would like for him to explain, in all honesty and frankness, the rationale behind this 18-month delay. Quebec has had equivalent legislation for 47 years, which means that workers' rights are not equal. It works very well in Quebec.
    How is it that the government ends up introducing this bill after years of promises and then imposes an 18-month delay before it comes into force? I would like a real answer.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague and wish him a merry Christmas as well.

[English]

    The period of 18 months is there because we have a proud history of tripartism in this country, bringing employers, workers and the government together to make sure we get the balance right. It is in that spirit that we are giving all the parties time to prepare and because there are the most significant changes that Canada has ever seen and that we all agree on in federal collective bargaining, it cannot be rushed.
    In particular, the Canada Industrial Relations Board needs time to build capacity and work closely with employers and unions on the implementation of these changes. When the bill comes into force, the following 18 months, as the member knows, will give the parties the time to adapt to the new requirements and obligations that this country has not seen before.
    Madam Speaker, in my friend's comments, he referred to other pieces of legislation the Liberals overturned that Stephen Harper had put in place. When I look at this anti-scab legislation, it was part of the election platform that the member and I ran on. I am quite happy with the legislation.
    I posed this question to other opposition members. We know the Bloc and the NDP are supporting it. We are not sure what the Conservatives are going to do as of yet, though they say they are for workers. Would it not be wonderful thing for the debate to collapse so that the bill could go to committee before Christmas and a wonderful gesture for the union movement in Canada?

  (1555)  

    I wish a merry Christmas to all my constituents.
    Those two pieces of legislation made it very difficult for unions to operate. It made it difficult to certify their members, easy to decertify them and tried to bury them in red tape. I was pleased to run under that banner and run again when we put pro-union and pro-worker legislation in our platform. This is a promise made and a promise kept.
    Madam Speaker, I am so pleased to be able to rise in the House today to speak to this important bill, Bill C-58, which I do want to note is a part of the confidence-and-supply agreement that we have with the government. I want to quote from a section of that agreement under the heading, “A better deal for workers”. It reads:
    Introducing legislation by the end of 2023 to prohibit the use of replacement workers, “scabs,” when a union employer in a federally regulated industry has locked out employees or is in a strike.
    That was an important part of the agreement. That is why I am so happy to see this bill. We need to stand in this place every single day as representatives of our constituents and show that we are here to fight for workers. They deserve our respect, better wages and better working conditions. When we look at the history of collective bargaining in this country, it is the union movement that has done that.
    I think of my own riding of Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, going back to the 1920s and the 1930s. I come from a part of Canada where the forestry industry was dominant. If members ever go out to British Columbia, to the beautiful forests of Vancouver Island, they will see trees that they would have thought could only exist in their imagination. There was a massive timber industry. It was back then during the labour unrest of the 1920s and the 1930s from the absolutely brutal working conditions that workers were subjected to, with low pay, dangerous working conditions and everything else, when the worker militancy in the forests of British Columbia was born. Those workers used their power to fight for rights. That is a small part of the history of Canada. I am so proud of that heritage from the part of the world that I come from.
    I am so proud to be a member of a party that is of the workers and for the workers. Everyone knows, of course, that our party, the NDP, was formed in 1961 as an alliance between the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation and the Canadian Labour Congress. We carry that heritage proudly with us to this day.
    This bill is particularly important because, in the last 15 years, the NDP has introduced eight anti-scab bills. The last time they came up for a vote in 2016, it was the Liberals and the Conservatives that teamed up together to defeat it. We often are accused of having a short memory in this place, so I will say that into the record. In 2016, it was the Liberals and the Conservatives that teamed up together to defeat our last attempt to bring in anti-scab legislation.
    I do not know where the Conservatives are going to stand on this bill. They have tried so desperately and spent millions of dollars to try and recast themselves as a party for the workers. They like to make their YouTube videos. I have yet to see the Leader of the Opposition out on a picket line. I still do not know where they are going to stand on this bill. Every time it has come to actual action to stand up for workers, they are more interested in their words. This is a moment to stand in this place through a vote to show that they are in favour of actual legislative change that is going to help the working movement.
    I am proud that we have not given up on this issue. That is why we can stand here proudly, offer our support to Bill C-58 and show the workers of Canada that we are committed to moving this forward, to making sure that the Canada Labour Code is there for workers and that it has that important change. We know that this bill would not be moving forward if it had not been spelled out in the agreement and we know that this bill will require multiple party support to advance to the next stage.
    I have a few theories as to why the Conservatives have been so absent in this debate. The few times that they have gotten up and put speakers on this bill, they have talked about anything but the bill. In fact, we have often had to raise points of order in the House to try and bring them back on topic. One of my theories is that the Conservatives, under the previous prime minister Stephen Harper, have a long and brutal legislative track record against workers, particularly ones who work under federal jurisdiction.
    We can go back to 2007, when the Conservatives introduced Bill C-46, the Railway Continuation Act. That was back-to-work legislation against railway workers. It forced 2,800 members of the United Transportation Workers Union at CN Rail back to work: the drivers, yard-masters and trainmen. It forced them back to complying with pretty brutal demands from the employer. Fast-forward to 2011 and Bill C-6, the Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act, which forced 48,000 locked-out postal workers back to work and imposed wage raises lower than what the employer had agreed to earlier. Fast-forward to 2012 and Bill C-33, when again the Conservatives intervened, this time between Air Canada and its employees—

  (1600)  

    Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I have yet to hear about what is good or bad about the bill, so if he could get on with the point.
    The hon. member knows there is a lot of latitude in how members present their speeches on a bill.
    I will let the hon. member pursue.
    Madam Speaker, I understand why he is uncomfortable with my speech right now. I am talking about a history of the Conservative government intervening and forcing workers back to work when we are talking about a bill, Bill C-58, which is designed to protect those collective bargaining rights. That is the context of my speech. I understand if he is uncomfortable taking a little walk down memory lane as we talk about Bill C-58.
    We can also talk about 2012, when again the Conservative government intervened in a railway strike, demonstrating again it has no problem using a legislative sledgehammer against unions and workers. I hope on Bill C-58 its members stand up one day to vote in favour of this bill.
    It was not just the government, because in the previous Harper government we had two private members' bill, Bill C-525 and Bill C-377
    Madam Speaker, on the same point of order, I already asked politely. Can he please get to the point and talk about the bill?
    The hon. member started off his speech by talking to the bill, so I am not going to limit his latitude in discussing the bill within the framework of what we are talking about.
    The hon. member may continue.
    Madam Speaker, I am talking about Bill C-58, but in talking about that bill, we need to put it in a historical context of why the Conservatives have been so anti-worker and so anti-union and have been repeatedly unafraid to use a legislative sledgehammer against workers and their unions in federally regulated sectors. That is what Bill C-58 is designed to protect, and Canadians need to understand they have a long history of being anti-worker and anti-union. This is a chance for them to try to redeem themselves from that shameful history.
    Before the Liberals think they are going to get off the hook in my speech, let us turn to the Liberals and back-to-work legislation because both of these parties are equally guilty when it comes to that.
    In 2018, the Liberals brought in Bill C-89, which ended the postal strikes and forced the Canadian Union of Postal Workers back to work.
    In 2021, there was Bill C-29, which ended the strike of CUPE local 375 and its fight against the Port of Montreal.
    Before my Conservative colleagues get a little too high on their horse, I would like to point out for both of those bills the Conservatives supported the Liberals, showing that when it comes to controlling workers and fighting against their interests, these parties more often than not have been voting in lockstep.
    This is important, because if we look at the different lines of work that are covered by the Canada Labour Code we are talking about federally regulated workers in air transportation, banks, grain elevators, feed and seed mills, most federal Crown corporations, ports, marine shipping and ferries, canals, bridges and pipelines, postal and courier service, radio and television broadcasting, railways and many more. This legislation would impact thousands of workers, and it is important we show a united front and demonstrate that as members of Parliament we have their backs and are putting in legislative safeguards.
    The history of Canada is one of labour fighting for its rights against corporations. There has been too much corporate deference over the last number of decades, and I am proud to see how that pendulum is starting to swing back into workers' favour these days. They are becoming more militant, more assured of their rights and more ready to use their collective bargaining to achieve those more powerful working conditions and better paycheques for themselves. I am proud to be able to stand in this place and offer them support.
    Seeing as I am in the closing minute of my speech, I want to take this final opportunity I have in the House to wish all of my colleagues from all political parties a very merry Christmas and a very happy new year. We have had strong and principled debates and arguments in this place, but I hope everyone in this place has the opportunity over Christmas to spend some much needed time with their families and their friends and to reconnect with their constituents. I look forward to seeing everyone back here in 2024 as we continue the hard work of governing this country.

  (1605)  

[Translation]

Interparliamentary Delegations

    Madam Speaker, I seek the unanimous consent of the House to present the report of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.