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44th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • No. 271

CONTENTS

Tuesday, January 30, 2024




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

Volume 151
No. 271
1st SESSION
44th PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Speaker: The Honourable Greg Fergus

    The House met at 10 a.m.

Prayer


[Speaker's Ruling]

  (1000)  

[English]

Points of Order

Bill C-59—Proposal to Apply Standing Order 69.1—Speaker's Ruling 

    I am now prepared to rule on the point of order raised on December 12, 2023, by the House leader of the official opposition, concerning the application of Standing Order 69.1 to Bill C-59, 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.

[Translation]

    According to the House leader of the official opposition, Bill C‑59 is an omnibus bill and therefore he asked the Chair to apply Standing Order 69.1(1), which provides as follows:
    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.

[English]

    The member relied on Speaker Regan's decision of November 8, 2017, to argue that Bill C-59 should not benefit from the exception provided by Standing Order 69.1(2). This exception stipulates that section 1 does not apply if a 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.”

[Translation]

    The House leader of the official opposition contended that the implementation of measures announced in the economic statement of November 21, 2023, is not enough of a common element to justify grouping them for voting purposes. He also asserted that an economic statement is not, properly speaking, a budget. The member said that Bill C-59 should be divided in 16 for the purpose of voting. He further stated that two of the 16 pieces, which are similar to bills C‑318 and C‑323, should simply not be put to a vote at all, given that the House has already passed those bills at second reading.

[English]

    In response, the parliamentary secretary to the government House leader pointed out that Bill C-59 mainly contains provisions implementing measures announced in the 2023 budget, along with some measures announced in the fall economic statement, whose common theme is addressing the affordability challenges facing Canadians. Consequently, he concluded that the measures included in the budget and those announced in the fall economic statement should be voted on together.
    The Chair must first determine whether the main purpose of Bill C-59 is to implement the budget and whether it therefore falls within the exception provided by Standing Order 69.1(2).
    The Standing Orders place very specific conditions on the consideration of budgets. For instance, a particular order of the day must be designated. Debate lasts a certain number of days, and votes take place at certain points in time. From start to finish, budgets are an integral part of the business of ways and means.

[Translation]

    House of Commons Procedure and Practice, third edition, defines financial statements as follows on pages 901 and 902:
    On occasion, the Minister of Finance makes an economic statement to the House, generally referred to as a ‘mini‑budget’, that provides basic economic and fiscal information that will be the subject of policy review and public debate leading up to the next budget. Unlike a budget presentation, these statements are delivered without notice and do not precipitate a budget debate. Notices of ways and means motions are also tabled on these occasions.
    Budget presentations and economic statements are therefore related concepts, but each has its own unique characteristics.

[English]

    Both the economic statement of fall 2023 and the budget of spring 2023 are very long and complex documents. As indicated in its title, “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”, Bill C-59 indeed contains many measures; some stem from the budget documents, others from the economic statement.

  (1005)  

    However, some measures are not to be found in either. The Chair takes the view that the main purpose of the bill is not the implementation of a budget, and the exception provided in Standing Order 69.1(2) does not apply in this case.
    The Chair must now determine whether a common element connects the various provisions of Bill C-59 and, if not, to what extent all or some of the provisions are closely related. A broad common theme is not sufficient. As explained on November 7, 2017, at page 15095 of the Debates, the Chair must decide “whether the matters are so unrelated as to warrant a separate vote at second and third reading.”

[Translation]

    In deciding whether a link exists, the Chair may consider several factors. Different measures may have a single objective or common elements, as the Chair found in its decision on Bill C‑4 on September 29, 2020, whose common element was a public health crisis. Cross-references between parts of a bill, or a lack thereof, may also be an indicator.
    After completing this analysis, the Chair believes that Bill C‑59 should indeed be divided for the purpose of voting. As my predecessor noted on November 28, 2022, on page 10087 of the Debates, “[t]he objective here is not to divide the bill for consideration purposes, but to enable the House to decide questions that are not closely related separately.”

[English]

    First, the measures in clauses 1 to 136, 138 to 143, 168 to 196, 209 to 216, and 278 to 317 appear in the 2023 budget. Since their purpose is to implement certain budget proposals, they would be grouped based on this unifying theme and voted on together.
    Second, the measures that can be grouped under the theme of affordability, clauses 137, 144, and 231 to 272, will be subject to a different vote. Clauses 197 to 208 and 342 to 365 will also be grouped for voting because they amend the Canada Labour Code. Clauses 145 to 167, 217 and 218 will be subject to a separate vote because they relate to vaping products, cannabis and tobacco.
    The remaining divisions of Bill C-59, consisting of clauses 219 to 230, 273 to 277, 318 and 319, 320 to 322, and 323 to 341, will each be voted on separately because they are not linked to any of the common themes mentioned earlier. In all, nine votes will be held. The Chair will remind members of this division when the bill comes to a vote at second reading.
    Finally, I would like to remind members of the Chair's ruling on December 12, 2023, which also dealt with Bill C-59. The Chair found that Bill C-318 and Bill C-323 can continue through the legislative process.
    I thank all members for their attention.

  (1010)  

Alleged Breach of Standing Order 18—Speaker's Ruling  

    While I am on my feet, I am also ready to rule on the point of order raised on December 12, 2023, by the parliamentary secretary to the government House leader concerning the application of Standing Order 18 in reference to votes of this House.

[Translation]

     Earlier in the debate that day, several members argued that it was a violation of this standing order to comment on how certain members or parties had voted on a particular issue. The parliamentary secretary sought clarification from the Chair, contending that members on all sides of the House routinely made such comments and this had always been viewed as acceptable.

[English]

    While the Chair pointed to the wording of Standing Order 18 and to House of Commons Procedure and Practice, which both emphasize that “No member may reflect upon any vote of the House,” there was some dispute as to the actual interpretation and application of the practice. The Chair took it under advisement and committed to return to the House.
    On the issue of reflecting on a vote, Standing Order 18 states, “No member may reflect upon any vote of the House, except for the purpose of moving that such vote be rescinded.” The second part of that Standing Order is of particular interest.

[Translation]

    I appreciate that the wording of the standing order can leave members with the impression that the rule prevents other members from commenting on or critiquing how particular members voted on a bill or motion. In the past, there have been occasions where the Chair, relying on this very strict interpretation of the standing order, may have provided guidance that, in my view, is inconsistent with the original purpose of the standing order.

[English]

    The intent of the provision was to prevent members from putting into question a decision already made by the House except by way of a formal motion to rescind that decision.
    Parliamentary Procedure and Practice in the Dominion of Canada, fourth edition, refers to the prohibition against reflecting on a vote in the section on “Renewal of a Question during a Session”. The section describes a prohibition, stating the following at pages 328 and 329: “That a question being once made and carried in the affirmative or negative cannot be questioned again, but must stand as a judgment of the House”.
    This suggests to me that the section of Standing Order 18 should be interpreted as being linked to the fundamental principle of not questioning a decision once made.

[Translation]

    This is consistent with Beauchesne’s Parliamentary Rules and Forms, sixth edition, at page 141, which states that:
    A Member may not speak against or reflect upon any determination of the House, unless intending to conclude with a motion for rescinding it.
    Finally, I would also refer members to the Annotated Standing Orders of the House of Commons, second edition. Footnote 20 under Standing Order 18, at page 484, lends credence to the contention that members can in fact comment on the voting record of other members. It states:
    This Standing Order refers specifically to the votes of the House, and not the votes of individual Members.

  (1015)  

[English]

    I do not believe the purpose of the Standing Order is to forestall comment on the positions taken by particular members, or even parties, on a given vote. Indeed, even a cursory review of the Debates will show members of all parties regularly making such comments. In my view, this falls into the realm of acceptable debate. Members are accountable for the votes they cast in the House and should be able to justify their positions.
    Nevertheless, I appreciate that some members may still have concerns about this practice. I would therefore suggest that the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs is well placed to undertake a review of the application of Standing Order 18 and, if it sees fit, return to the House with any appropriate recommendations.
    I thank all members for their attention.

Routine Proceedings

[Routine Proceedings]

[Translation]

Petitions

Champlain Bridge  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to table a petition signed by 514 of my constituents, who are calling for a reduction in the noise associated with the construction of the Champlain Bridge in my riding. This is for the Minister of Infrastructure.

[English]

Telecommunications Industry  

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians pay some of the highest cellphone rates in the world, but service is increasingly deteriorating. Complaints to the Commission for Complaints for Telecom-television Services are up 12%, and 36 breaches of the code of conduct have occurred.
    The petitioners are petitioning this House to call for the Government of Canada to direct the CRTC to immediately review the integrity of Canada's cellphone infrastructure and provide a quality of service report to this House by the end of February 2024. They also call for the Standing Committee on Industry and Technology to undertake a study comprising telecom service providers and the industry, etc., and report back to this House on the integrity of our oversubscribed cellphone infrastructure.

Air Transportation  

    Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to table a petition today in regard to the relationship between Canada and India, and the desire and demand, as the community has grown exponentially over the last number of years, to have more direct flights between Canada and India.
    This is something that is very important to my constituents and to the constituents of many members of Parliament. I hope that the air industry and different ministries would at least pay attention to what our consumers would like to see happen.

Firearms  

    Mr. Speaker, as always, it is an honour to stand in this place and present petitions. I am presenting a unique petition today, because this particular petition was offered to the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley, but he refused to present it in this place.
    Therefore, I stand on behalf of the people of Skeena—Bulkley Valley and present this petition that calls for a number of things, highlights the absurdity of Liberal gun rules and calls upon the Government of Canada to stop any and all current and future bans on hunting and sport shooting firearms.
    It is an honour to stand in this place on behalf of the people of Skeena—Bulkley Valley and represent them, because their MP certainly is not.
    Mr. Speaker, I have a point of order.
     I know it is the second day back, but the Speaker is well aware that people cannot use petitions to make political speeches. Members are supposed to present the petitions. I would ask the Speaker to review the rules on petitions.

  (1020)  

    I would like to remind members that the tradition is for members to present petitions and not to comment on them. I would ask all members to do that.

Electoral Representation  

    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise to present one of many petitions sought to be presented by MPs over the last few weeks.
    It notes that the need for electoral reform continues to be an issue for citizens of all political persuasions. The petitioners note that politicians cannot agree on the best way forward, and they call for a new approach for developing a citizens' consensus on electoral reform.
    The petitioners call on the House of Commons, first of all, to give citizens a voice on the subject of electoral reform and a right to make recommendations. More specifically, the petitioners would like to see a representative, non-partisan citizens' assembly that has the resources, the expert support and the sufficient time required to come to a citizens' consensus on recommendations to be delivered to the government.
    The petitioners call on MPs of all parties to vote in support of Motion No. 86, citizens' assembly on electoral reform, which will be debated by this House and voted on in due course.

Women's Shelters  

    Mr. Speaker, I have a number of petitions to present to the House today on behalf of my constituents, people from Skeena—Bulkley Valley and various other places across the country.
    The first petition is in regard to the Liberal government's decision to cut funding for women's shelters. The petitioners note that women's shelters are sadly seeing increased demand, that the high cost of living and the housing crisis have made it harder on women and children fleeing violent situations and that we are living through a time when the Liberal government is dramatically increasing spending on bureaucracy and consultants while it is cutting $145 million of funding for women's shelters.
    The petitioners therefore call on the Government of Canada to restore funding for women's shelters.

Freedom of Political Expression  

    Mr. Speaker, the next petition I am tabling is in favour of an excellent private member's bill put forward by the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan.
    This is a bill that would add political belief and activity as prohibited grounds of discrimination to the Canadian Human Rights Act, and it would protect the ability of people with diverse political opinions to be able to express those opinions and to speak out about their ideas without fear of reprisal in an employment or other context if they work in the federally regulated sector.
    The petitioners are asking the House to support Bill C-257. The petitioners want the government to defend the rights of Canadians to peacefully express their political opinions.

Human Rights  

    Mr. Speaker, the next petition I am tabling is calling for the release of an important democracy and human rights activist in Hong Kong. Ms. Chow Hang-tung, vice-chairwoman of Hong Kong Alliance, has been involved for many years in advocacy on human rights issues in China and Hong Kong. She has fought diligently for democracy and has encouraged Hong Kongers to participate in the pro-democracy social movement. She was arrested, charged under the national security law and sentenced to 22 months in prison as part of an effort to crush freedom and diversity of opinion in Hong Kong. She has also been awarded the outstanding democracy award by the Chinese Democracy Education Foundation.
    Petitioners want to see the Government of Canada advocate for her release and to see all charges dropped, as well as advocate for the Hong Kong democracy movement and for the release of other unjustly detained political prisoners.

Falun Gong  

    Mr. Speaker, the next petition I am tabling deals with another human rights issue in the same region. It deals with the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China. Petitioners identify the history of the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners, including, but not limited to, the horrific practice of organ harvesting. The petitioners want to see the House take additional action to raise the plight of Falun Gong practitioners and to seek to hold those responsible for this persecution accountable through sanctions and other means and to continue the work on combatting forced organ harvesting, which the House began with the passage of a private member's bill on that issue.

  (1025)  

Children and Families  

    Mr. Speaker, next, I am tabling a petition regarding parental rights regarding the role of parents in the lives of their children. Petitioners highlight the fact that the Prime Minister has tried to interfere with New Brunswick's decisions with respect to parents' rights. Whereas the Leader of the Opposition has told the Prime Minister to butt out of those decisions, petitioners note that, in the vast majority of cases, parents care about the well-being of their children and love them much more than any state-run institutions, and the role of government is to support families and to respect parents and not to dictate how they should make decisions for their children. The undersigned call on the Government of Canada to butt out and let parents raise their own children.

Health  

    Next, Mr. Speaker, I am tabling a petition about changes the government has made to natural health product regulations. The petitioners note that the government is threatening access to natural health products through rules that would mean higher costs and fewer products available on store shelves. The petitioners note that so-called cost-recovery provisions could impose massive costs on all consumers of natural health products and undermine access for Canadians who rely on these products; and further, that provisions in the last Liberal omnibus budget have given the government substantial new arbitrary powers around regulation.
     Of course, there is a private member's bill from a Conservative member that seeks to reverse these changes. Petitioners call on the Government of Canada to implement the proposals in that excellent Conservative private member's bill that is to reverse the changes made in the last Liberal budget regarding natural health products.

Medical Assistance In Dying  

    Mr. Speaker, the next petition that I will table highlights the issue of euthanasia, or medical assistance in dying, and a particular proposal to extend this to children. In a context where we see continuous radical proposals for the expansion of an already deeply troubled system, petitioners are concerned about a proposal from one witness before a committee to expand euthanasia to include babies from birth to one year of age who come into the world with severe deformities and very serious syndromes.
    Petitioners underline their view that infanticide is always wrong, and they call on the Government of Canada to block any attempt to legalize the killing of children in any situation for any reason.

Points of Order

Decorum  

[Points of Order]
     Mr. Speaker, I am rising on a point of order. I want to come back to the unparliamentary comments made by the member for Battle River—Crowfoot. My colleague from Timmins—James Bay addressed that a few minutes ago.
    I want to cite a ruling from December 12. As you know, Mr. Speaker, the member for Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies also attempted to do the same thing and, in an unparliamentary way, tried to mislead the House and mislead Canadians. At the time, Mr. Speaker, you will recall the ruling was that the attempt by the member for Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies was not permissible and that the member should rise and apologize. Therefore, I believe you should ask the member for Battle River—Crowfoot to apologize for his unparliamentary use of the Petitions sector and for misleading the House.
    I would like to thank the hon. member for New Westminster—Burnaby for raising this point and reminding the Chair of a similar ruling in the past. It is a new year and it is the second day we are back, so it is a little rusty in terms of the application and use. However, I do understand, agree with and affirm the statement, which was the decision made by the Chair. I see that the member for Battle River—Crowfoot is on his feet, and I hope he will be able to put this issue to rest.

  (1030)  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I appreciate the opportunity to highlight that, very specifically, the statement I made during petitions did not politicize—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Before I go to the point of order, I am just going to take a minute.
    I am going to ask the hon. member for Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies for order.
    Mr. Kurek is rising on a point of order. I am going to go to the point of order raised by the member for New Westminster—Burnaby, but I am hoping that Mr. Kurek—
    I have been named before.
     I apologize. I should not mention a member's name. There is no intention to name him at this point, and I hope there will never be an opportunity to do so. The member is an hon. member, and I am hoping that he can help us restore order to the House, so I will ask the hon. member to please continue with his statement, but very briefly.
    Mr. Speaker, I intentionally did not politicize the content of the statement, but rather highlighted the fact that there was a particular member of this place who did refuse to present that petition when given the opportunity in the past. I ask that my word be allowed to stand, because it simply is the truth, and I intentionally did not politicize what those petitioners from—
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The rules of this House are quite clear. You have asked the member to apologize. He has refused. He should not be recognized in this House until he apologizes.
    I am just a little rusty. I did not ask the member to apologize. I did ask him to stand up to express, and I was hoping he would do so voluntarily. There was a ruling on December 12 of last year.

[Translation]

    To ensure consistency with that decision, I would ask the hon. member to withdraw comments he made that could upset the House and apologize at all costs.
    The hon. member for Battle River—Crowfoot.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I would ask for clarification on the ruling before I stand and apologize for something. I believe I did nothing wrong.
    I am going to ask once again for the member for Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies, who was asked to apologize, to be consistent with the ruling of this Chair, because when members present petitions there should be no comment aside from the substance of the petition. To mention whether another hon. member presented it or did not, for whatever reason, it should stand as it is. Before we go to points of order, I will ask the hon. member for Battle River—Crowfoot to be consistent with this, to start the new year right and, please, to briefly apologize and withdraw those comments. In presenting petitions in the future, all members should just focus on the substance of the petitions and not make comments as to other issues.
    I will ask the hon. member for Battle River—Crowfoot to please stand.
    Mr. Speaker, I will not apologize for standing up for the people of this country. They are not being—

  (1035)  

    Until the member does rise to apologize, the Chair will not be recognizing the member.
    The hon. member for Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies is rising on a point of order.
     Mr. Speaker, just for clarity, this precedent was supposedly set because of what I apologized for. I said at the time that if I did something wrong, then I will apologize, I guess. It still was not clear whether I had broken any rules. However, I said I will never apologize for representing the people of Skeena—Bulkley Valley. That is exactly what I said.
    There is no clear ruling on this saying that we even broke any rule by doing so, and so please—
    I thank the hon. member for that. We will certainly take a look to make sure everything is consistent. However, from the advice I received from the officers at the table, it is.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I think that the advice you are getting from the table officers has to be explained to the House. It is an honour to stand in the House—
    We are getting into debate.
    The Chair did explain what was brought forward by the table officers. I ask members to continue to be patient, and we will be able to bring it forward. I ask members to please take their seats for the moment while I go through the point of order. I will be getting back to the House.
    Continuing with petitions, the hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands.

Petitions

Climate Change  

    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise and present my first petition of calendar year 2024. It is perhaps not too late to wish all members in this collegial and loving environment a happy new year.
    I would like to present a petition from constituents who are concerned that we move towards a just transition, and that in phasing out fossil fuels and winding down the fossil fuel industry, there be a centring of workers in the process; good, green jobs and inclusive workforce development that proceed expeditiously; expansion of the social safety net to new income supports; decarbonization of public housing; and operational funding for affordable and accessible public transit.
    There are a number of other points in the petition, but I think these are the salient ones that the petitioners hope the government will take on board and implement.

Points of Order

Decorum  

[Points of Order]
    On the issue that was raised by the member for Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies, we did look at Hansard and find that the member did apologize for breaking the rules. I would invite members to look at it and see that the member did apologize for breaking the rules. I thank the member for doing so.
    Mr. Bob Zimmer: I said, “if I broke the rules”.
    The Speaker: There is no debate on this issue; there is just the presentation. The record has stood in the House of Commons as to what happened in December.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I would like to bring to your attention your lack of consistency on this issue. The member from the NDP raised a point or order, and you immediately followed, saying that when presenting petitions, it should be the matter of the petition only that is addressed. Immediately following, another member made a quite extensive presentation regarding the petition he was presenting. You did not intervene then, so why would you intervene in the issue with the member for Battle River—Crowfoot?
    Mr. Glen Motz: It's not because you're partisan or anything, is it?

  (1040)  

     That is not considered parliamentary. I invite the member to immediately stand up to apologize, or he will not be recognized by this Chair.
    Mr. Speaker, I withdraw the comment, but these are comments that I hear from my constituents on a daily—
    I thank the hon. member for withdrawing the comment.
    The hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan is rising on a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to draw the attention of the House to an incident on December 15, 2023. The member for Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques presented a petition in the House. At the end of the petition, he said, “I hope that as a result of petition e‑4604, the Liberal government will finally understand that it needs to meet the expectations and needs of our students and researchers.” I note that at that time, the Assistant Deputy Speaker objected to the member's statement and highlighted this rule: “The hon. member may present only the content of the petition. He cannot present his point of view on the petition to the House. I just want to make this point, because a member was about to raise a point of order on this subject.”
    However, the Assistant Deputy Speaker at the time did not request an apology. That was one incident. I think there are many instances where members have been accused of going over the line in their commentary on petitions. When that has happened, other members have raised points of order. The Chair has sometimes chastened the member, encouraged the member to speed up or encouraged the member to stop.
    It is without precedent that the Chair would demand an apology from a member who engages in this fairly minor and somewhat subjective transgression of the standing order. There are many examples. I have cited one of them from December 15, 2023, which I found after about 10 seconds of searching. I could find dozens of such examples where, yes, members may have gone over the line a little bit; yes, points of order may have been raised and the Speaker may even have said that the member should not have done that and should remember for the next time. However, it is not reasonable to simply make up a new standard, apply it to a particular member and require that member to apologize for such a minor infraction.
    I hope, Mr. Speaker, that you will take all of that precedent into consideration and provide some clarification.

  (1045)  

     Before we move on to a plethora of points of order, I will address the issue made by the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan.
    It is, indeed, true that the member can point to many examples where members have made comments on petitions that have been presented to the House. That does happen from time to time and usually gets a rebuke or reminder by the Chair for members to focus on the subject of the petition.
    However, there have been instances when the Chair, in this case the The Assistant Deputy Speaker, on December 15, 2023, when a member accused another member of lacking courage to present a petition or made a comment about the member's character. The member was asked to apologize. He did apologize for having broken any rules of the House if he had, which the Chair had determined he had done. That is the reason this is being asked for here today.
    This is a matter that the Chair would be pleased to come back to members about with more detailed observations as to what should and should not be done. Suffice it to say that it makes sense that members' impugning the character of other members would be considered unparliamentary and usually would require an apology. This matter is now closed on this issue.
    I am going to hear the member for Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies, who will rise on a point of order and cite some rules of procedure. After we hear him, I am going to be pretty satisfied that the matter is closed until the Chair comes back to the House.
    Mr. Speaker, just for clarity, in my previous statement, I said that if I had said something wrong, I apologize. It was never made to clear to me by the Table after that point that I had made an error.
    Bosc and Gagnon say, “The Member may then give a brief statement to inform the House of the petition’s content”, which is exactly what the member did. It does not say that a member cannot be mentioned, which is the NDP's whole point of order in the first place. It does not say in Bosc and Gagnon that I am not allowed to do that. It does say, “The Member may not make a speech or enter into debate on or in relation to the petition”, which I was not doing. I was making a brief statement about the petition then went into the petition. I broke no rules; therefore, I will rescind my apology because I did not make a mistake.
    I would also challenge you with respect to the member for Battle River—Crowfoot. He did not make a mistake either and should not be prevented from speaking in the House.
    The Chair will come back to the House on this matter. I thank the hon. member for Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies for quoting from the rules, but as he had also quoted as a preliminary to what he had raised, there is indication as to why the member was asked to apologize and what the Chair considered at the time for the rules.
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I request a clarification because you said the issue was closed, and then said you will come back to the House.
    This is the same matter that I heard from informal comments as from the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan.
    Discussion on this issue is closed. I will come back to the House with a fuller explanation so members can conduct themselves with greater clarity in the future.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order that is not on this issue, as you will be coming back to the House.
    The chamber is the place for members to voice their concerns with respect to—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order.
    The hon. member for New Brunswick Southwest is an experienced member. I am going to ask him to get to the point very quickly because it is sounding a lot like debate on the current issue. Otherwise, we will move on.

  (1050)  

    Mr. Speaker, some parliaments ago there was a debate in the chamber over the rights of members to express themselves vis-à-vis their whips. The Speaker at the time ruled clearly that debates from both sides of the chamber had to be made in this room and not in the corridor behind us, so members came to this chamber and made their best arguments to inform the Speaker so the Speaker could make a better ruling.
    My concern is the practice of the Speaker cutting off concerned points of order on an issue before the House. He is cutting the members out of the process and leaving it up to the Speaker to make a ruling behind closed doors. We would be well served to have a debate over the rules around petitions, and I regret the Speaker's decision.
    He is going to come back here to say the matter is closed without having heard from members, in good faith, who want to represent their constituents when it comes to petitions. The Speaker would be well advised to hear from MPs who are here trying to work in a good faith effort to advance this House in a way that we—
    I thank the hon. member for New Brunswick Southwest for raising this issue. It is a valid point, but the Chair feels they have heard enough from around the table to be able to consider this matter and come back to the House.
    Mr. Speaker, the Chair needs to clarify whether the hon. member for Battle River—Crowfoot will be able to speak prior to your further ruling. I appreciate you would like to take the time to—
    That is very much on the subject matter that is before the House at this time. The Chair's decision stands that the member would have to apologize before coming back.
    The hon. member for North Okanagan—Shuswap has been very patient. I ask him to rise on his point of order if it is a new point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, I have been very patient. I asked you a direct question that I did not receive an answer to. I hope that will also be included in your response to the House.
    I thank the hon. member.

Questions on the Order Paper

    Mr. Speaker, I would ask that all questions be allowed to stand today.
    Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

Request for Emergency Debate

Housing  

[S. O. 52]
    The Chair has notice of a request for an emergency debate from the hon. member for Edmonton Griesbach.
    Mr. Speaker, it is with utmost urgency I call to the House's attention the housing and houselessness emergency facing all Canadians. Just recently, the City of Edmonton declared a housing emergency, joining cities across the country that are grappling with the outcomes of poverty, displacement and addiction without the power and money necessary to truly end the crisis.
    First nations, Métis settlements and Inuit communities are struggling to ensure financial sustainability for housing growth and infrastructure maintenance, forcing many indigenous people into urban centres without the important community and cultural supports they need.
    In addition, this emergency has Canadians scared they will never afford a home, while rent just keeps going up, and the housing market is only making the rich richer.
    I want to ground my concern in recent experience. During my time back in my riding I joined neighbours such as Linda, a retired teacher, and Tabatha and Blake from the Edmonton Public Library; leaders such as Janis Irwin, Brooks Arcand-Paul and Brad Lafortune; community organizations such as Boyle Street Community Services, Tawaw Outreach Collective, Water Warriors, Public Interest Alberta, 4B Harm Reduction Society and Bear Claw; indigenous activists such as Kokum Kathy, Will Cardinal, Rachelle Gladue and Judith Gale; and so many more in witnessing the worst outcomes of this housing crisis. We watched as encampments were torn down in the brutal cold only to be resurrected a few blocks away. This is a death sentence for some and a horrid reality unfolding across our country.
    We must break these cycles of violence while building safe, affordable and supportive housing for all. As well, we need to support and enact solutions brought forward by leading community organizations, which I know are found in every riding in our country. They are organizations like those in my community, such as the Edmonton Coalition on Housing and Homelessness, Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society, NiGiNan Housing Ventures, the Right at Home Housing Society and Radius Community Health & Healing.
    We have the solutions. We just need the will. It is for these reasons I so hope the Speaker grants hon. members the important opportunity to engage in this emergency debate as soon as possible.

  (1055)  

Speaker's Ruling  

[Speaker's Ruling]
    I thank the hon. member for Edmonton Griesbach for his intervention and request for an emergency debate. However, the Speaker is not satisfied that this request meets the requirement of the Standing Orders at this time.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[English]

Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2023

    The House resumed from January 29 consideration of the motion that Bill C-59, 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, be read the second time and referred to a committee, and of the amendment.
    Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise to speak to Bill C-59 this morning. I waited very patiently for my turn as many in the House were unfortunately challenging the Speaker's decision. We have been here a long time. I think the rules are quite clear.
    I would like to speak—
    I have to interrupt the hon. parliamentary secretary.
    The hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan is rising on a point of order.
    Madam Speaker, the member across the way just claimed that members were challenging the Speaker's authority. We were trying to inform the Speaker, prior to what he said—
    We are not going to debate that now. Everyone has the right to express themselves in a respectful manner. It is a debate that we are not going to start again.
    Madam Speaker, members have been told they cannot participate in the House.
    That is not what the Speaker ruled. The Speaker ruled that he had heard from enough members to be able to come back to the House with a ruling.
    Right now, we are into the debate of a bill. The hon. parliamentary secretary made a comment that is not necessarily nice, but it is perfectly legitimate and is not unparliamentary. I would like to give the floor back to the parliamentary secretary.
    Madam Speaker, respectfully, your description of the events is distinct from what happened. The Speaker has said that a member of this House, prior to him making his final ruling, will be prevented from speaking.
    The problem with the Speaker is that he is continually inventing new rules and applying ideas that are completely outside of the precedents of the House. If he is coming back to the House with a ruling, then the member for Battle River—Crowfoot should be able to be present prior to that final ruling, but—
    That has been dealt with by the Speaker. There is—
    Mr. Garnett Genuis: He is also going to come back—
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès): The hon. member is challenging the Chair.
    There is another point of order from the hon. parliamentary secretary.
    Madam Speaker, I am growing more and more concerned about the confrontation with Speakers when they are occupying the chair. Even when you were standing up, Madam Speaker, the member did not sit down. Rather, he continued to chirp from his seat toward you. I think there—
    I appreciate the hon. member's comments and they are duly noted, but we are not going to start a debate on this. There is no point of order.
    We are resuming debate with the parliamentary secretary for northern affairs.
    Madam Speaker, members have challenged the Chair, and we just bore witness to it right here in the House again. I am not raising a point of order. I am giving a speech on Bill C-59. It goes without saying that in the House there is a lot of tension. Members are really not very restful in their seats, and every single little word motivates them to jump to their feet and challenge someone else who is in the chair.
    I want to speak today about Bill C-59, a wonderful piece of legislation crafted by the Government of Canada in response to the people of Canada, who have continuously raised with us, in very eloquent and fundamental ways, the issues confronting them every single day in their lives and their communities, how that impacts them, and suggestions on how we can make life easier. That is what we have been doing. While the opposition has been playing political games in the House and outside the House, we have been attentive to what Canadians are saying.
    Even in my home riding in rural Canada, we know that the issues around affordability have become much more challenging for people. We know that families are working harder to meet the demands of continuing with the quality of life they have enjoyed and want to have, and we are helping them along the way.
    However, it is unfortunate that, every time we have proposed good legislation, good, creative ideas in listening to the people of Canada, we have had Conservatives vote it down. In the fall economic statement, under Bill C-59, the supports for Canadians under affordability are very important. They are very important because they come at a time when Canadians need them.
    We have talked a lot about the Canada child benefit here. I visit families every day, and I know that, without that Canada child benefit going into their accounts every month, they could not provide the quality of life they want for their children. That is why I am proud of what we are doing under the Canada child benefit, a benefit Conservatives want to get rid, have voted against, and have campaigned on saying that it is not adequate for Canadians. What we know is that, without this benefit, without that monthly income going to families all across Canada, there would be so many children still left in poverty. This benefit alone has lifted children and families out of poverty, and I can cite case by case, community by community, family name by family name, how it has benefited them over the time we have implemented that benefit.
    I also want to talk about what we have done around affordability today because the key pillar of our fall economic statement is really built around boosting the economy, as well as making life more affordable for Canadians. We have seen the inflation rate in 2022 go from over 8% down to 3.2%, which I think were the last numbers. We know that, while the inflation rate has fallen, the cost of living has not really shifted downward. The price of goods is still higher than people would like it to be. There are many reasons for that. Conservatives will tell us that it is because of the Liberal government, but the world will tell us a very different narrative. That narrative is really about supply chains, wars that are ongoing in countries, the self-sufficiency of countries around the world and how they are trying to meet their needs at a very challenging time.
    The other thing we have noticed is what has been happening with competitors. Canadians have been very strong about this. We need to make changes to the Competition Act. We are doing that in the fall economic statement. As members know, ministers have called together leading competitors in the grocery chains to talk about affordable groceries for Canadians and how, with the co-operation of the business community, they would be able to make better, more affordable choices.

  (1100)  

    Many in the opposition mock that idea. They did not see it as a generational change that could occur within the competition laws in Canada, that could make it more affordable for people across the country. They just mocked the idea of even having the conversation, because that is what happens when there is a far right-wing government agenda. It is about getting rid of laws, regulations and fairness. It is about the competitors and businesses reaching a higher model and greater profits.
    That is not the direction the Liberal government is going in. We are going in a direction that is bringing costs down and making life more affordable and sustainable for Canadians. We are not looking at a far-right agenda that caters only to the wealthy, the business communities and large-scale businesses, and where profit is the driving feature of the day. We have seen it. We have seen it here in Canada, and we continue to see it today.
    My colleague opposite can shout all he likes, but it is not going to stop me from saying what I have to say today. The truth hurts. We all know how much the truth hurts. He is over there squirming in his seat right now, because he knows that what I am saying is 100% factual, and—

  (1105)  

    I have to interrupt the hon. parliamentary secretary again for a point of order from the hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan.
    Madam Speaker, there was no squirming whatsoever. The member needs to understand that when the Speaker ignores the rules and when the Speaker invents new norms, it undermines the ability of the House to function. The Speaker—
    I appreciate the hon. member's comments. I am not the one who has to address them, but they will be addressed by the Speaker.
    The hon. member for Timmins—James Bay on the same point.
    Madam Speaker, I have been trying to listen to my hon. colleague, and all I have been hearing is this juvenile intimidation from the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan—
    We are in a debate. Some things are going to provoke some reactions, and it is perfectly normal in this chamber.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès): May I continue? This is perfectly normal behaviour, apparently, in this chamber.
    I am going to allow the hon. parliamentary secretary to continue.
    Madam Speaker, I really appreciate the opportunity. I guess my definition of squirming and the member opposite's definition are a little different. When I see someone trying to shift around in their seat, and their arms are moving, their legs are moving, their head is moving and their mouth is moving, I think they are squirming in their seat.
    Let us get back to this very important speech that I am making on Bill C-59. What we are doing, in terms of competitiveness, is taking a historic step. We are cracking down on the abuses and the dominance of bigger companies and on predatory pricing. This is going to help so many families.
    In the meantime, while we are introducing that legislation and making that crackdown to save money on grocery bills for Canadians, we are giving them an affordability allowance. A family with two children, for example, would have received about $430. That allowance can go up to $640 per family. While we are dealing with the Competition Act and making historic changes to regulate and ensure that there is fairer pricing and competition on groceries in Canada, we are paying out an affordability allowance to families to help them through this difficult time.
    This is another incentive that the Conservatives voted down, yet they talk every single day about families that are out there struggling. We talk every single day about the same families that are out there struggling, but we are doing something about it. That is the difference. What they are doing is voting down every concrete initiative that we are bringing forward, whether it is the Canada child benefit, dental care for families who cannot afford it, an affordability allowance being paid out, or a rural rebate on carbon pollution to help people who are going through a difficult time to heat their homes in parts of Canada.
     It does not matter how much the benefits are that are going to Canadians. The Conservatives vote them down because they have one strategy in mind: catering to the far right, catering to the wealthy and making sure that they slash good programs and good benefits, like the ones we are bringing to seniors and what we are doing under the Canada pension plan. These are concrete, fundamental programs for Canadians.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I do believe we are talking about the Liberal government's economic statement. However, the speech I heard was more about criticizing the opposition, even though the topic is actually the government's economic statement.
    They say they are taking care of people. It is shocking that, in their economic statement, they once again abandoned seniors by refusing to equitably index the OAS by 10%.
    They are also abandoning workers. For the past eight years now, since 2015, then in 2017, 2019, 2021 and again now, the government has opted not to listen to workers or look at ways to strengthen the social safety net that is EI. These are urgent matters.
    Can my colleague tell me how her government plans to sincerely address seniors' and workers' need for enhanced social programs?

  (1110)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, that is a very sensible question. I agree with my hon. colleague. Seniors deserve the very best quality of life that we can give them. That is why our party has upheld the ability for seniors to retire at 65 and not at the Conservatives' suggested age of 67.
    There are other things we have done. We have increased the old age security. We have reformed the Canada pension plan. We have increased the guaranteed income supplement. We have also done things like bring in the workers benefit, which has helped so many workers across Canada who work in low-income jobs and has allowed them to have that additional $2000-plus per month in benefits to support their families.
    Madam Speaker, the member opposite, in her speech, spoke a little about following rules, the rule of law and so forth.
    I think that it has been interesting over the last few months. We have seen the incredible disregard that this government has for our institutions and for adherence to rules. We had the court rule, for example, that the government's imposition of the Emergencies Act was unlawful. We have seen, even today, how institutions are undermined when we have people in positions of authority, such as the Speaker, making outrageous rulings without any basis or precedent.
    Can the member explain why her government and its partners in various positions consistently ignore precedent, ignore rules, ignore the law and think that they are somehow above the rules?
    Madam Speaker, I appreciate the question, because it gives me an opportunity to really talk about who is in favour of the rule of law. This is the same party that wants to withdraw from the United Nations and that wants to fire the head of the Bank of Canada. These are the kinds of things that we hear from the other side.
    Let us talk about the Emergencies Act. Let us talk about the convoy on the streets of Ottawa in the absence of anyone dealing with that convoy. What would we have seen if the members opposite were in government? They would have walked away, ignored it and left the whole city in chaos, to implode. When there were people, radicals, camped out on the lawns of people's houses, when they had streets blocked and they were overtaking businesses, shutting down shopping centres, sending thousands of people in the city of Ottawa home and taking away their ability—
    Madam Speaker, I think the hon. member will agree that she and I have been in some good scraps over the years, but we come to this place for the betterment of Canada, so when I see the opportunity to create good-paying jobs in Newfoundland and Labrador being attacked by the Conservatives, and the Conservatives say they are going to stop jobs in Newfoundland and Labrador, I ask why. It is because they want to burn the planet.
    What does it say to people in Newfoundland and Labrador that there are Conservative members who want to burn the planet and deny jobs and good, clean energy, while we see in America, on the Atlantic coast, that the Americans are getting thousands and thousands of jobs, clean jobs?
    What does that say to the people in Newfoundland and Labrador?
    Madam Speaker, that is a good question. The Conservatives are voting against Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. They are voting against Nova Scotians. They are voting against the Atlantic accord. They are voting against 30,000 clean energy jobs in Newfoundland and Labrador. It is not only that, but the Conservatives do not have confidence in the governments to do the job that needs to be done. My colleague from Newfoundland and Labrador yesterday insinuated in committee that the premiers in Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia were being hoodwinked by the federal government: hoodwinked into creating 30,000 new jobs in their province. They should give themselves some thought around that—

  (1115)  

    We have to resume debate.
    The hon. member for Calgary Forest Lawn.
    Madam Speaker, before I get started I would like to say that I am splitting my time with the hon. member from the soup-and-salad bowl of Canada, Mr. Lake Simcoe himself, the hon. member for York—Simcoe.
    Thomas Jefferson reportedly said that democracy would cease to exist when you took away from those who were willing and able to work and gave to those who were not.
    Speaking from my own experience, coming as an immigrant to this country, my family, like many, came here looking for that Canadian dream that so many are coming to Canada for still. However, after eight years of the Liberal-NDP government, we know it is not worth the cost. We see now, more than ever, that it is harder, whether for a Canadian or for a newcomer, to survive in this country. It is so much so that more than 400,000 people left Canada just last year. That is not a good sign for any country to think that it can prosper when 400,000-plus people are leaving. I look at the reasons that people are leaving or wanting to leave, and the number one cause is the cost of living. Number two is that their credentials are not being recognized. Both are issues that Conservatives have plans for.
    I do not believe that anyone moves to this country thinking that their government will work against them, but when they get here they are proven wrong, time and time again, by the Liberal-NDP government. Their paycheques are attacked; their civil liberties are attacked; their freedom is attacked, and their freedom of speech is attacked over and over again by the Liberal-NDP government. It makes them rethink why they came to this country in the first place.
     This is because everything does feel like it is broken here. People are getting taxed more. Their paycheques do not go as far as they used to. They are working harder. They are working so much that many people I have talked to are working two or three jobs. If I talk to anyone in any riding, one thing I am seeing as being more and more of a trend is that more people are picking up Uber jobs or Uber Eats jobs or Skip the Dishes jobs on top of the jobs they are already working. I remember, when growing up, that people would pick up taxi jobs or a job on the side just to make extra money above and beyond whatever their savings were. However, it is sad to see that after eight years of the current Liberal-NDP government, that is a must now, even to pay for the basic necessities just to live here in Canada.
    The inflation that was caused by all the spending by the Liberal-NDP government, which continues to spend, made interest rates go up in the last 19 months at the most rapid pace seen in the last 20 years. In fact, the intensity of those rate changes is actually the highest in Canadian history. Because the government spent and wasted so much money, the Governor of the Bank of Canada had to tackle that inflation by raising interest rates.
    The government's own housing department officials say that they have no faith in the current government to build the homes that are needed today. In fact, CMHC said in a recent study that homebuilding was actually down 7%. When we look at some of the factors, we see that builders are not building and buyers are not buying, because of those high interest rates. They went up once again, because of the overspending of the Liberal-NDP government.
    When we look at Bill C-59, we see that the only thing the government has included with respect to housing is that it changed the housing department's name and increased the funding for more photo ops. There is no concrete action that would be taken to help with housing affordability. After eight years, we have seen rents double and mortgages double, and even the down payment needed for a house has doubled in just eight years.
    Canadians pay today over one-third of their income in taxes, and the rest goes to housing, with little or nothing left for groceries, gas and home heating. This is very concerning. People are making their shelter payments, but all the other payments are starting to go more and more onto Canadians' credit cards. Utilities and groceries are going up. Even though people are paying more for groceries, they are getting a lot less in groceries than they used to.

  (1120)  

    This is because of high taxes, like the carbon tax that made the cost of gas, groceries and home heating go up, which the Liberals plan on quadrupling this year. The household debt in Canada, in totality, is more than the Canadian economy. This is not a good sign for a country where we want people to come and be successful and prosper. We are missing out on a lot of talent that could come here, with new energy and new investment, because Canada is not affordable anymore. It is not a place where people can come and be successful.
    Canadians have record credit card debt, and over half are only $200 or less away from going bankrupt. The fact is that more and more people are putting more onto their credit cards. We are hearing horrific stories where students are living under bridges. Working people are living in their cars because they cannot afford housing. Mothers are putting water in their children's milk and parents have to choose less nutritious food because they cannot afford groceries. We are hearing about seniors who are having to wear blankets inside their houses because they cannot afford heat them and have to turn down their heat. That is how they have to get by because of this punitive carbon tax the government continues to raise.
    Bankruptcy and insolvency are up. All the increases for small businesses are crippling owners, who are the backbone of our country. The IMF also warns, because of the interest rate hikes, that Canada is most at risk in the G7 for a mortgage default crisis. More than 70,000 mortgages a month are now being renewed, sometimes at double the rate. That could mean anything from a $400 increase to a $1,200 increase. This is not sustainable. With the recent inflation numbers, where inflation is above the target rate, the Governor of the Bank of Canada has been clear that there is a fear of these rates staying higher for longer, which means the pain will be higher for longer. There is no hope in sight. There is no light at the end of this inflationary crisis tunnel we see right now.
    When we look at the economy today, after eight years we are in a worse position than we have ever been before. In fact, Canada's economy has contracted, whereas our U.S. partner's has grown. This is because of the bad restrictive policies of the Liberal-NDP government, which have stifled any type of economic growth in our country, let alone productivity or any type of investment that should be made in Canada. Canada is a lot less competitive because of its tax regime, which has held back the country.
    The GDP per person is a determining factor for how successful each person is in Canada, and it has been declining since September 2022. Canada is last in the OECD for GDP per capita. GDP per capita today is lower than it was in the last half of 2018, which means five years of the wealth of Canadians has been completely wiped out.
    Taxes are high. The tax code is too complicated. Taxes have been taken from working Canadians and their families for Liberals to give to their insider friends, consultants, bankers, bondholders, Liberal Bay Street buddies, bureaucrats and woke multinational corporations to advance the Liberal virtue signalling and its unjust job-killing transition.
    Canadians are being forced to go to food banks more than ever because of the productivity gap and more taxes. While the Liberal-NDP government thinks the government is the solution, we believe people are the solution, and we need to give them the freedom to spend and to earn the way they want to, not restrict them.
    Once we have a strong Conservative government under our Conservative leader, we are going to bring home those powerful paycheques again and an economy that is strong like it once was before, where the GDP per capita works for more and more people and where powerful paycheques will become a reality, because what people earn, they will be able to keep more of it in their pockets. We are going to keep it simple by doing four things to bring it home. We are going to axe the tax, we are going to build the homes, we are going to fix the budget and we are going to stop the crime.

  (1125)  

Business of Supply

Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2023

    The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-59, 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, be read the second time and referred to a committee, and of the amendment.
    Madam Speaker, I always marvel when I hear speeches from the opposite side. The Conservatives paint themselves as these magnificent fiscal stewards. Pre-2015, the Conservative government ran nine out of 10 straight deficits.
    I ask the member opposite to come clean with Canadians. What programs would he cut? Is he going to cut the Canada child benefit, the dental care program or the child care program? Is he going to raise the age of seniors from 65 back to 67?
    He should come clean with Canadians and tell us what Liberal programs, which you did vote against, you will cut.
    The member has to speak through me. I did not vote against anything.
    The hon. member for Calgary Forest Lawn.
    Madam Speaker, first, we are going to cut the number of Liberal seats and replace them with Conservative seats so we will have a strong Conservative government. We are also going to cut waste, waste like the $35-billion Infrastructure Bank that has built zero projects. The government have padded the pockets of Liberal cronies and insiders with that.
    We are going to cut things like the arrive scam app that cost $45 million, which went to, once again, Liberal insiders, and the $1-billion slush fund that is under investigation for the same reasons. We are going to cut the woke policies. We are going to axe the carbon tax to bring down the cost of gas, groceries and home heating. The $20 billion that has gone to Liberal consultants to cover up the cabinet's incompetence will be cut as well. That is just the beginning.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, my colleague talked a lot about the economy in his speech.
    I think he will agree with me that small and medium-sized businesses are a key component of the Quebec and Canadian economies, and that they are extremely important. The pandemic has been hard on them. The government offered them a loan, which was coupled with a subsidy if they were able to repay the loan. It was called the Canada emergency business account, or CEBA. The repayment date was a few days ago, in early January.
    I have been talking to entrepreneurs back home. Some of them are wondering whether they should close their businesses because they have not been able to reach a payment agreement with the government. The post-pandemic economic recovery we had hoped for has not materialized. In my mind, it is logical to think that the government would help these people, who contribute to the Canadian economy.
    I would like to hear more from the member. Does he think this would have been a good measure for entrepreneurs, who are also facing the rising cost of living?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I agree with the member that the recovery after the pandemic was harder than what people thought. The Conservatives have been saying all along that when there are too many dollars chasing too few goods that is exactly why a lot of the businesses are suffering today, let alone everyday Canadians. The government continues to spend.
    Let us remind everyone that 40% of the pandemic spending had nothing to do with the pandemic in the first place. Money went to organized crime through the government. Money went to people who literally were dead, to people who did not live in Canada and to public servants. The government is spending more and more money, yet it is not helping small businesses. It is raising their taxes. It slammed on a second carbon tax that applies without any rebate whatsoever. These types of things are stifling the economy.
    Madam Speaker, I am very concerned. We are into the second year of Putin's brutal attack on Ukraine. We see that Trump has undermined Ukraine. We see that the far right, and we know the Conservatives have been meeting with the far right in Europe, is undermining Ukraine.
    I want to ask why that member, his leader, his defence critic and his foreign affairs critic stood up to vote against funding to support the people of Ukraine in their time of need. That sends a very message that the Conservatives are on the Putin troll machine.

  (1130)  

    Madam Speaker, what we voted against, what will continue to vote against and what we always have voted against is a punitive carbon tax that the NDP-Liberal government is more than happy to put on Canadians. It is so ideologically obsessed with the carbon tax and ensuring people pay more for carbon that it wants to do that to the war-torn country of Ukraine. It does not want to help anybody. The fact that those parties have helped to try to cripple our energy sector is only empowering Putin to use the money from his energy sector to fund his war. Shame on them.
    Madam Speaker, when I look at the economic situation impacting Canadians right across the country, I cannot help but wonder this. Had the Prime Minister never entered politics, and had a more regular upbringing typical of most Canadians, he would very likely be cutting it on a drama teacher's salary. If he were, could he afford to live under the very same policies and economic conditions he is imposing on Canadians today?
     Under these circumstances, I cannot help but wonder how the Prime Minister, if he were not the Prime Minister, could stretch his budget to cover feeding his family, clothing, mortgage payments, car expenses, cellphone bills and all the other obligations facing ordinary, but truly extraordinary, Canadians.
    However, we know that the actual circumstances of the Prime Minister are far different than those facing most people across the country. He does not know what it is like to struggle to put food on the table or gas in the car, but Canadians are doing this, all the while going about their daily lives.
    Increasingly, more Canadians are paying attention to what is taking place in Ottawa and what the government is doing, because they must. They can no longer go about their lives without being directly confronted and negatively affected by the actions and failures of the Liberal government. This is because everything is broken in Canada under the Prime Minister.
    There has been a record two million food bank visits in a single month. Housing costs have doubled. Mortgages payments are 150% higher than they were before the Liberals formed government. Canada has been warned that it is the most at-risk country in the G7 for a mortgage default crisis. Violent crime is up 39%. Tent encampments can be found in most major cities. Over 50% of Canadians are $200 or less away from going broke. Average household debt makes up 100% of the income of Canadians. Business insolvencies have increased by 37% this year. Despite our growth in population, there are fewer entrepreneurs and fewer new businesses than ever.
    This is the day-to-day reality facing Canadians because of the generational high inflation and the fastest rise in interest rates in Canadian monetary history, an issue the Prime Minister says, if members recall, he does not think about. However, regular people do. Every single person living in our country has been impacted by rising costs; homelessness amid an unaffordable home ownership and rental market; not to mention rampant crime; and a destabilized society where basic government services, travel, medical care and so much more have become inaccessible, unreliable or non-existent.
    Canadians know that the Liberal government has caused this misery with the rampant overspending, a record $600 billion of inflationary debt and countless tax hikes that increase the price of the goods we buy and drives up the interest we pay.
    Now, when Canadians are looking to the federal government and the Prime Minister responsible for everything being broken to see what is being done to tackle these issues, they see this, the 2023 Liberal fall economic statement. Talk about a day late and a dollar short.
     The government did not implement any of the common-sense proposals the Conservatives called for to address the problem facing our country's citizens. Instead, the Liberals are forcing $20 billion of new spending on Canadians that will further drive up taxes, inflation and interest rates.
    Never before has a federal government spent so much with so little to show for it. Now Canadians are paying the price. In fact, the Liberal policies in the economic statement only make the problems piling up in our country so much worse.

  (1135)  

    The Liberals are now spending more on interest on the debt than they are on health care. Let us think about that. It is no wonder York—Simcoe still does not have a hospital. When justifying the failure of the economic statement, the Deputy Prime Minister said, “Canada is not and never has been broken.” Can people believe that?
    Canadians are paying attention and they are being told by the Deputy Prime Minister, who is tasked with tackling these issues, that actually there are not any. She says everything is fine and Canadians have never had it so good. We should not be surprised. This is the same Deputy Prime Minister who spends thousands on limos while bragging she does not need to own a car. She can just walk out the door and get on a subway.
    This is the same finance minister who is holding back the rural top-up fund from the carbon tax from the first nations in my riding of York—Simcoe, forcing them to pay more in carbon taxes simply because of where they live. That is dividing based on geography. She will pretend that a AAA credit rating matters, as if that will fill the stomachs of Canadians lined up at food banks. It does not matter to her that this rating is only maintained on the backs of Canadians through higher taxes and interest rates.
    She will also brag that Canada supposedly has the lowest debt and deficit in the G7, but she ignores the fact that when we account for general government debt, federal, provincial and territorial, Canada has the 10th highest debt-to-GDP burden in the OECD. With this economic statement, the Liberals would have people believe that, because the federal debt is only 42% of our GDP, it is all good. However, the truth is the government debt is 113% of our GDP when we account for all of it.
    The Liberals’ refusal to admit that Canada is broken, that people in this country are suffering and that a change of course is necessary, proves to Canadians without a shadow of a doubt that the government is out of touch and incapable of responding to the crises it has made. There are crises. Let us look at the headlines from the past few months: “Canada's worst fiscal crisis in generations is brewing”, “Federal efforts to solve Canada’s housing crisis” are failing and “Surgery backlogs...no family doctor: ...Canada's health-care crisis”. There are so many more covering affordability, opioids, foreign interference, food insecurity and mental health. There is crisis after crisis after crisis.
    After eight years, Canadians have never been more unhappy, more uncomfortable and more unsafe. This economic statement proves that the biggest crisis facing this country, and the root of all others, is a crisis of leadership. The approach of the Prime Minister and his NDP-Liberal government is not working. Prices are up, rent is up, debt is up and taxes are up. Time is up. Canada is broken and the only people who will not admit that are the very same people who caused it: the tired, corrupt and out-of-touch Liberal government.
    There is a better way. Conservatives will axe the tax, balance the budget to bring down inflation and interest rates to bring home lower prices for Canadians in a Canada no longer defined by crisis. We can only speculate what could have been if the Prime Minister was never Prime Minister. I am confident that we will not need to wait much longer before the Prime Minister is not the Prime Minister anymore. With the many issues facing our country, and the repeated failures by the government to address them, what will his legacy be?

  (1140)  

    It is increasingly looking like he will forever be remembered as the Prime Minister who broke Canada. Instead of our out-of-touch policies, we need a vision for the country and a prime minister who believes in Canadians the way Canadians believe in their country. The Leader of the Opposition will be that prime minister, and Conservatives will axe the tax and fix the budget.
    Madam Speaker, the member puts out the bumper sticker of “broken Canada”, and nothing could be further from the truth. If that was anywhere near the truth, one would have to say that we have a broken world.
    When we look at how Canada has performed in comparison to others in the G20, such as the United States, England, France or Germany, Canada comes out quite well, whether it is the creation of jobs, interest rates, inflation or on the issue of affordability, and it continues on.
    Maybe the member could step away from the Conservative spin and take a dip into reality. Can the member at least acknowledge one fact, that investment from abroad coming into Canada on a per capita, dollar amount is the best in the world? Would the member not acknowledge that that is a good thing?
    Madam Speaker, we see that the hon. member for Winnipeg North is obviously not out in his riding talking to Canadians.
    The people of York—Simcoe are on the outside looking in. I know the member for Winnipeg North quite well. We have talked about the Lake Simcoe clean-up fund for example. The Liberal government is all promises and all press releases. Since 2019, the government has promised the Lake Simcoe clean-up fund. We are in 2024 now, and there has been zero on it. That does not surprise me.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, every Conservative MP is claiming that their party will be forming the next government. Sooner or later, they are going to have to take a position and offer up some clear proposals.
    Considering all the shouting back and forth lately, the Bloc Québécois is pretty much only the adult in the room. We therefore intend to keep our feet on the ground.
    The Government of Quebec is asking the Liberal government for $470 million to pay the costs associated with taking in asylum seekers. The Government of Quebec requested this $470 million quite a while ago now. No one on the Conservative side has told me what they would do in the Liberals' place.
    If Conservative MPs are a government-in-waiting, they should have an opinion on the matter. What is it? Would they give the Government of Quebec $470 million to cover this cost?
    I want to know what they would do, because, so far, they have not put any proposals on the table. All they do is engage in partisan attacks.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I have to take this opportunity to talk about what I would do. I have to stand up for my riding.
    We know the carbon tax disproportionately affects rural Canadians. We do not even get the rural top-up now in York—Simcoe. We cannot even see the CN Tower. If we google the distance from the Chippewas of Georgina Island to the Finch subway station, it would take 14 hours to walk there, and yet we are not entitled to the rural top-up.
    We see the Liberal government dividing, based on geography. It has rolled back the CMA data for other ridings in Atlantic Canada but not for York—Simcoe. The Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation is an island. Let us think about this, any time the federal government has any interaction with them, they are classified—

  (1145)  

    There is another question.
    Madam Speaker, it is almost 12 noon; it is 11:45 a.m. I have been here since we started sitting this morning at 10 a.m., and the Conservatives have been playing games all day today, trying to delay this important work to get support to people.
    I am thinking specifically about the Canada disability benefit and all of those people who are waiting for that money to come to them. Too many seniors are being ejected from their homes right now. There are encampments and people living in tents. The Conservatives have nothing to offer other than complaining about the fact that they are offended about something and asking the Speaker if they can get apologies. I am over it.
     We need to get the Canada disability benefit to people now. Why are the Conservatives continuing to play games with people's lives?
    Madam Speaker, the member alludes to the urgency and the crisis, which I spoke about in my speech; crisis after crisis after crisis. This government has done nothing. There is an old saying: One can only hold a beach ball under water for so long. We have seen that thing come shooting out now, and this is what Canadians are facing.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, today, I am stepping down. This is my last speech in the House. I would like to begin by thanking the voters in LaSalle—Émard—Verdun for entrusting me, three times, with the responsibility of representing them in the House.
    I am also leaving my academic home, the Faculty of Law at McGill University. Leaving both institutions makes this a very emotional day for me.
    Serving as a member, as parliamentary secretary and as Minister of Justice was the pinnacle of my professional career and I loved every minute of it.

[English]

    That is what I want to talk about with friends today in this place. It is a series of moments that are indelibly etched in my brain and my heart, ranging from laughter to tears and everything in between, from Vancouver to St. John's, from Inuvik to Iqaluit to Nain and around the world in Europe, Asia and South America.

[Translation]

    I would like to begin in my riding, LaSalle—Émard—Verdun, with Les Bons Débarras bookstore, where I buy my vinyls, on Wellington street.

[English]

    Then to St. John's where twice I have managed to get to Fred's Records and fill my bags with many good vinyls, which I would then spin in my office. Everybody knows that Justice 306, as Brian Tobin and Anne McLellan have told us, is the best office on the Hill.
     At impromptu gatherings with my team, many of whom are here, such as when we passed the MMP's bill, we would spin some vinyl, have some fun and honour and thank each other for the work that we had done to make those moments special.
    There are many humorous moments. I sat for two years as the benchmate to Rodger Cuzner, who is now in the other place, including two Christmas speeches. I will not attribute my sense of humour to Cuzner, because his is quite unique, but it was certainly a wonderful experience.

[Translation]

    As a member, I learned rather quickly to remove my earpiece when the member for Rosemont—La Petite‑Patrie had the floor.

[English]

    I will not forget the first Press Gallery dinner sitting at a table with Rona Ambrose and hearing her speech, and those who were there would remember it well; or driving through Rome with our ambassador and watched the havoc being wreaked by the police escort that we had, I do not have hair but I would not have had after that anyway, and then later that evening going to V.I.P. Pizza, not the finest culinary experience in Rome, but still a good one; or throwing my suitcase in the back of a rented Ford F-150 when we were travelling in north.
    There were serious moments too, such as the swearing in at Rideau Hall as a cabinet minister and the swearing in as an MP on three occasions. There was signing a proclamation at Rideau Hall proclaiming Charles the King of Canada, a one-time experience.
     I listened to the stories of Italian Canadian families whose grandfathers or great-grandfathers were interned during World War II, realizing that I was the minister of justice and that a previous minister of justice had signed the decree to intern those people. There was working with my Italian Canadian colleagues in the House to get that apology done and attending the memorial unveiling in the riding of the former Speaker in North Bay with the indefatigable Joyce Pillarella.
    I met David Milgaard in my office with James Lockyer and promised him that we would create an independent commission to review wrongful convictions. David Milgaard signed my album by the Tragically Hip, Fully Completely, which contains the song Wheat Kings that they wrote about him. Also, his sister Susan was present to announce the tabling of Bill C-40, and I will not be smiling fully until that bill receives royal assent.

  (1150)  

    This summer, at the G7 in Japan, I realized I was the senior justice minister around the table. I had my first conversation with Attorney General Merrick Garland of the United States. We had finished our agenda, and I had a chance to ask him whether the HBO series on the Unabomber was accurate. Attorney General Garland's voice lit up as he went on for 10 minutes about the accuracy and inaccuracy of the portrayal of the Unabomber case, but his view was generally favourable, and he said it was an important moment in his career.

[Translation]

    When I was parliamentary secretary to the Minister of International Trade, I went to Namur, in Wallonia, to sell the Canada-Europe free trade agreement.
    I was prepared to be the bad cop, as they say. It was fun. The minister was able to arrive a few weeks later to reach an agreement. In the same vein, I was the bad cop with Boeing at the Farnborough International Airshow in England. That was during the time when we had disputes with Boeing. There too, other ministers showed up afterward to make peace.

[English]

    I had many wonderful moments on the hockey rink. This is Canada, after all, and I still try to lace up my skates, notwithstanding my advanced age. I had a wonderful moment in Gananoque, when a number of us in this House were celebrating the life and memory of our former colleague, the late Gord Brown. I will not forget that, because it was a wonderful non-partisan moment, and I was proud to be part of it.
    I took part in a Métis-ITK hockey game, in which my defence partner was 45 years younger than me and one of the best players on the ice. She was fantastic. Another game was our first game in the Ottawa Senators arena against the Conservative Party, when the Liberals got their backsides kicked. There was a game on the ice rink on the Hill for the 150th anniversary celebration against a group of very young and impressive Mohawks from Kahnawake. The result was never in doubt. The only thing I would say that ties those last number of games together was the near complete incompetence of our goaltender, the current Minister of Immigration.
    I exchanged puns on Jeopardy and Jeopardy metaphors with Chief Justice Ritu Khullar of Alberta, as well as a previous chief justice, Justice Mary Moreau of Alberta, in our speeches in Edmonton at Chief Justice Khullar's swearing in.
    I have a number of memories of walking, such as with the member for Prince Albert and talking about trade, but talking more about our families. I walked with Alex Steinhouse in Yellowknife on a hike. It was absolutely stunning. I walked with Aluki Kotierk and Natan Obed in the hills above Nain. I walked to the Hill every morning from my Ottawa apartment.
    I walked across the floor when I first became minister of justice to tell the member for St. Albert—Edmonton that I was going to support his private member's bill on supporting juries. I was proud of that moment, and I still am.
    I am proud of some historic moments in this House. For example, we voted unanimously on a bill to outlaw conversion therapy. I will be forever grateful not only to the members of my caucus but also to the member for Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke, as well as the member for Calgary Nose Hill, the member for Parry Sound—Muskoka and Erin O'Toole for the work they did to make that unanimous vote a reality. We saved lives that day.
    I remember when the then minister of public safety, the member for Eglinton—Lawrence, and I sat down with provincial and territorial ministers of justice and public safety ministers to get to a unanimous agreement on bail reform. Not only did we commit to agree on our federal legislation, which is now law, but the provinces also committed to work at their end to make the bail system work better.
    There were moments with Black community leadership across Canada on the Black justice strategy. In particular, in Nova Scotia, there was a very real pride in the room from that community because of their leadership on creating the movement toward pre-sentencing reports.

  (1155)  

    There were many moments with indigenous leaders across Canada, many of whom I now count as close friends. A moment in Williams Lake, at the site of a former residential school, is not something I will ever forget. There, I went into a barn where a number of the children would go, back in the day, and carve their names in the wood.
    On the positive side, there is the pride of the Tŝilhqot'in leadership in having established their indigenous title; they used the courts and succeeded. I would meet them annually here in Ottawa and in their offices in the B.C. interior, and I saw the pride.
    In Iqaluit, as a guest of President Obed of ITK, I was in the room when Pope Francis heard the stories of sexual abuse directly from survivors or the children of survivors. I saw the reaction of the pope and also, in particular, the reaction of the archbishop who was translating. At a certain point, the pope put his hand on the translator's shoulder because of the difficulty he was having in relaying the words.
    There were other momentous moments, such as the House rising for what we thought would be two weeks at the beginning of the pandemic, all the urgent committee work we did during the pandemic, and the occupation and the understanding of the gravity of the Emergencies Act.
    These were balanced by lighter moments, such as trying to buy a white suit online so I could represent Canada at the swearing-in of the president of the Dominican Republic. I had to buy two suits and then keep the one that fit. I got on a plane to the Dominican Republic and sat down beside Moises Alou; we talked baseball the whole way down. Another time, I bicycled along the Lachine Canal; I saw the work that we had done as a government on rebuilding the walls of that canal and knew that they were going to be there for my children and my grandchildren. In another moment, I was stopped on Wellington by an older gentleman.

[Translation]

    He said to me, “Mr. Lametti, I often see you at Verdun Beach.”

[English]

    Verdun Beach, in the middle of Wellington Street, is my favourite restaurant with an oyster bar. I had just been outed.

[Translation]

    I think of places like Aj's, Shooters, Riccia, Station W, and now Monk Café; of the conversations with my constituents, particularly on Saturday mornings, when I go buy my bread and sandwiches at Bossa; of the statue of Saint Anthony and the time I stood next to it, during the saint's feast day in Ville-Émard with the Italian community.

  (1200)  

[English]

    These are times of a life, and I will cherish them. I thank those people who were involved in making those moments a reality, many of whom are in this room and in the gallery.
     I want to underscore that UNDRIP is the future. It will allow us to reset our relationship with indigenous peoples. It is a true road map, a co-developed road map, to reconciliation.
    It is a singular moment. Indigenous leaders want to participate in nation building. I have heard this time and time again, that they want to be part of this project Canada and they want their children to have the same opportunities as other non-indigenous kids have had, as I have had.
    I am the son of Italian immigrants, who came to this country with no formal education. Because they chose to come to this country, I got to have an outstanding education at Canadian universities and at international universities. Because they made this decision, I got to be a professor at an outstanding law faculty in Canada. I could run to be a member of Parliament and even aspire to be minister of justice.
    Indigenous peoples want a share in that dream. UNDRIP is a way for us to make it happen together.
    We are many nations in this country. That is a source of strength and understanding as we move forward in the future. This recognition allows us to work on what unites us and to develop and protect languages and culture. This is true for indigenous peoples, as well as for Quebec.

[Translation]

    We need to work together. We all understand that protecting and nurturing the French language and culture in North America is very important. We need to work together to ensure they live on and flourish in the future.

[English]

    That means we need to stop scapegoating the English community in Quebec. People in this community are very bilingual and committed to Quebec; in many cases, they have been there for 300 years.

[Translation]

    I have to say that the Charter is not optional, and the preventive use of the Charter suggests that the Charter is optional.

[English]

    At some point, with everything we have said, we need to understand that constitutional change will be necessary, and we need to prepare for that. We need to be able to disagree with respect, and recent weeks have underscored that. I tried to be only as partisan as I had to be and only as partisan as necessary; I tried not to get personal. I did not always succeed, but I did my best. I think we all need to do our best, especially on social media and in this world where we are moving toward artificial intelligence.
    Artificial intelligence does not exempt us from being human. Our human intellect, our emotions and our empathy will become even more important as AI supplements the more routine forms of intelligence. We cannot let it replace those other human qualities. Our survival as a country and as a species depends on nothing less.
    It remains to thank people. I want to thank the Prime Minister for naming me parliamentary secretary and minister of justice.

[Translation]

    I thank my colleagues here in the House and, especially, my critics, the members for Fundy Royal, Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke, Rivière-du-Nord, and, for medical assistance in dying, the member for Montcalm.

[English]

    My chiefs of staff, Rachel Doran and Alex Steinhouse, have been fantastic, and my political teams have been outstanding. None of what we achieved could have been done without them, and I thank them.
    I thank my constituency teams for their dedication, hard work and service, oftentimes when I was not around much as a minister. In particular, I want to thank Nicole Picher, who has been with me for eight years.
    I want to thank other elected officials in my riding at all political levels, and of all political parties, with whom I worked. I want to thank my political association, my volunteers and my donors, who helped me get elected.
    My friends kept me grounded. Here in Ottawa, Mélanie Vadeboncoeur and the La Roma gang made sure I stayed humble. I thank my many friends in this place, such as the member for Eglinton—Lawrence, the current Minister of Immigration, the member for Thunder Bay—Superior North, the member for Oakville, Catherine McKenna and everybody else who has come through this place and with whom I hope to stay friends.
    I thank my friends at McGill and the McGill deans for their support. I thank my ex-wife, Geneviève Saumier, who began this journey with me and with whom I share three wonderful kids; she continues to give me good advice. I thank my children. Perhaps the years away have been hardest on them.

[Translation]

     I want to tell André, Gabrielle and Dominique that I love them. I thank them for their patience and devotion to their father.

[English]

    Last, I have two points: First, kindness is not overrated, especially in a world of AI. We could all stand to be kinder, and we would all be better for it.
    Second, this place is not overrated. The Right Hon. Paul Martin has said that you can get more done in five minutes in this place than you can in five years anywhere else. Paul has been a mentor to me. I am a successor in his riding, and he is a friend.

[Translation]

    I would like us to prove him right every day.

  (1205)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, this is a difficult moment for me, not because I had to find a new seat near the exit, not because it took me two tries to get to Ottawa because of the fog and not because I come from an Irish family of criers, but because it is really a moving moment for me.
     I want to thank the member for LaSalle—Émard—Verdun for the friendship we have developed in the House. He has a great record of accomplishment, about which he spoke, but I want to point out something someone asked me on the plane last night, and that was how I could go to work in such a negative place. My response was that, unfortunately, all people see is question period, which is theatre, where people have other agendas they are pursuing, but they do not see the hard work that goes on behind the scenes, the co-operation and the friendships that are built. I really meant that, and the member for LaSalle—Émard—Verdun is a great example of this.
     I made a quick list, because I had 15-minutes notice that I had this opportunity, on the number of things he and I worked on together and his willingness to take action to ensure we improved the justice system in Canada, in particular for indigenous people and the work he did on Bill C-5 to reduce mandatory minimums, which fall very hard on the most marginalized in our society.
     He mentioned the conversion therapy ban. His work with the leader of the Conservatives and all parties meant we were able to pass that ban unanimously, something which I remain very proud of the House for doing.
    He worked on Bill C-40, with which we are not quite finished, on the miscarriages of justice commission. Again, miscarriages of justice fall very hard on the most marginalized, particularly indigenous women. My pledge to him is that I will work as hard as I can to get that done, hopefully by the end of this month. We only have a couple of days, but I think we can get that done.
    He also helped shepherd medical assistance in dying legislation through the House when I was initially the NDP critic. This was the most difficult issue in my 13 years here because of the very strong feelings on all sides of the issue. The minister always demonstrated his ability to listen, to be empathetic and to try to find solutions that would keep us all together on this very important issue about reducing suffering at the end of life, not just for the person but for the families of people who need that assistance at the end.
    One last one is that I approached the minister about the publication ban on survivors of sexual assault and how many of them felt stifled by the publication ban. He asked what we could do to fix it. Eventually he agreed to add the ability to lift the publication ban in Bill S-12, and it came to the House. This was an example of how, when I approached him with an idea and a problem, he always looked for solutions and a way to bring us all together.
     I know he will continue to contribute to Canada once he leaves the House, though I am not sure in exactly what way or if he is sure in exactly what way. He is one of the finest members of Parliament I have ever had the privilege to work with, and I thank him for his contributions here.

  (1210)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, it is with some emotion that I rise to pay homage to the hon. member for LaSalle—Émard—Verdun, for whom we have tremendous respect and esteem.
    I vividly remember when he was appointed minister. I had to make a few comments at the time. In fact I was reviewing the appointments that had been made. A journalist asked me what I thought about Mr. Lametti’s appointment as justice minister. I think I can use his name. I am a member of the official opposition, and I have to be loyal to my position, so I was trying to find something a bit harsh to say. However, I began reading the minister’s resumé and I saw that he was a renowned jurist, a university professor cited by others across the country, and someone who was extensively involved in the justice system in Canada. I really had to say something negative, so I asked why the Prime Minister had not appointed him sooner. I said he should have been appointed sooner.
    During question period, the parties have 30 to 35 seconds to argue their point of view. This certainly can be a rough and even brutal experience. However, I always had intelligent, articulate, reasonable and reasoned conversations with the justice minister. We know that we are worlds apart on many issues, but we have always had tremendous respect for one another. I would like to thank him for his attention when I was consulted about certain appointments. He always acted with honour and dignity.
    Regarding what he said about his family, I would like to point out that such is the case for millions of Canadians. I, too, am the son of immigrants. My mother was born in Italy. I, too, have felt the personal responsibility to continue what my parents started by choosing this country and being chosen by this country. The minister, whose family did not have much education, arrived here and had a brilliant academic career. He served the university and he served Canada in the highest possible positions for a jurist. He has honoured his family.
    In closing, I will tell members what I often tell my friend the member for Québec, who is himself a seasoned academic with executive experience. I hope that he will continue his teaching career to share his experience as an academic and executive with hundreds and thousands of students.
    I wish Mr. Lametti all the best in his future endeavours.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to speak to my friend, amico mio, over there.
    There are so many things I would like to say to a colleague who has served with such distinction. I heard the minister thank us all, but on behalf of my colleagues here today, I think it is our turn to express our gratitude.
    I am going to make a prediction: He will go down in history as a great minister of justice and attorney general of Canada—not necessarily because of all his achievements in the House, but because he is, above all, a caring man, a man of conviction, a strong leader. I think all Canadians will end up admiring him. The country already appreciates him, but, as the years go by, people will see how much he has marked the history of Canada as minister of justice. He will be one of the ministers who paved the way toward reconciliation.
    Without revealing any secrets, I can say I have seen him in action.

  (1215)  

[English]

    When he was talking about moments, I was thinking about how many moments I would say that he had been crucial for the future of this nation. When we talk about dreams, I can imagine the young students around the country looking to someone like him with his great intellect. All of my colleagues have recognized that. However, I am sure that today, and also in the future, he will make our young generation dream of public service, dream of what is possible, dream of following their convictions, dream of being who they are and dream of making changes. That is who the former minister of justice is.
    We will remember him for kindness. I have known a lot of people in this place, and I think all my colleagues would agree, but kindness is something that, although he attributes that kindness and says we need more kindness, he has embodied since the day I met my friend.
    I think about getting things done. I do not know if there will be many ministers of justice in the history of the country who will have a record of having so many bills approved in the House, bills that have changed the nature of our country, for which we should all be proud.
    One thing I will say is that I have yet to meet someone who has the same type of deep respect for the institution that we serve. He has achieved a lot of things in his life and he will achieve much more in the future. We have talked about his future career. Trust me, the opportunities and possibilities are endless; he just has to pick one.
    He will be remembered for his respect for the institution and his service to the nation. This country owes a lot to my dear friend. I think future generations will look up to him as a leader, and I think we all will miss him very much. Grazie, amico mio.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to join my voice to that of my colleagues who have thanked our colleague from LaSalle—Émard—Verdun for his exceptional work in the House of Commons since he arrived eight years ago. We were both elected to the House at the same time, in 2015.
    At the time, I thought I would be the one appointed minister of justice. Unfortunately, that did not happen. I engaged many times with the ministers of justice who followed. I too must say that the member from LaSalle—Émard—Verdun did excellent work as minister of justice. Of course, we did not always agree.
    There was some talk about dreams earlier. I tried to convince the member that Canada would be much happier with a respectful neighbour, a wonderful, independent Quebec that would work with him on many fronts, but the member from LaSalle—Émard—Verdun never conceded on that point—and he certainly did not agree with me when I spoke to him about judicial appointments that I felt were overdue. These were not disputes, just minor differences of opinion.
    What struck me most about the member for LaSalle—Émard—Verdun is that his respectfulness never faltered, despite any differences of opinion we may have had. His words were always measured and kind. The member for LaSalle—Émard—Verdun is someone I consider a “gentleman”; there are a few of them here. I truly enjoyed my discussions with him about all aspects of our work, whether about matters we agreed on—and there were many—or the few issues where our opinions diverged.
    I can only congratulate the Fasken law firm for persuading the member for LaSalle—Émard—Verdun to join them. It is a distinguished firm.
    I was listening to my colleague just now who asked why the Prime Minister had not appointed him Minister of Justice sooner. Personally, I wonder why the Prime Minister was unable to hold on to him.
    The hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands also wishes to speak.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank all my colleagues and acknowledge their comments.

  (1220)  

[English]

    It really says a lot about the hon. member for LaSalle—Émard—Verdun, as a former minister of justice and a member of a cabinet, when so many of his colleagues from the opposition benches who worked with him closely rise to praise his work and thank him for his collegiality, particularly my neighbour from Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke, who shared in so many of those victories in abolishing the horrible practices, and we have spoken of it, unanimously.
    I was very moved by the words from the hon. member for Louis-Saint-Laurent, who spoke so clearly and eloquently of his appreciation for the work of a Liberal cabinet member. We could hear more of that sort of thing in this place. Maybe people should not have to resign or die before we say nice things. I am thinking of our tributes to Ed Broadbent the other day. Sorry about that; no one has died recently.
    I want to say a few words from my point of view as a member of the Green Party.

[Translation]

    I also thank the Bloc Québécois for the comments given by our colleague from Rivière-du-Nord.

[English]

    I have been really touched so many times by my friend's willingness to share things in moments that were very stressful. I am not pointing out anything the rest of the members do not know. I do not represent a big caucus here. I am not my caucus's critic on justice. I have half the files. Ministers who have time to share confidential information, trusting that I can be trusted and that we can share difficult conversations, particularly during the occupation, I will always be grateful for the friendship and for the enormous privilege of sharing even a little in those conversations, those votes and those very tough decisions.
    I will be clear that I wish you were not leaving. I know I have just broken a rule by speaking directly to the member. I know you, Mr. Speaker, are not leaving, but I needed to speak personally for just one nanosecond.
    Be well and have a wonderful next phase of a very long career and a very long life. God bless.
    I would also add my little story to this. The opportunity that I had one night at the airport in Halifax was to be late for that airplane, or the airplane was late for us.
    The hon. member was on the same flight as I was, and we were going to miss our connection in Montreal. I thought that, as he was from Montreal, he would be staying at his house that night, but no, because of his perseverance, because of his hard work ethic, he was on his way to Ottawa that evening as well.
    I was lucky enough that my wife and I were able to jump into his ministerial car, to fit into the third row and to not listen to any of the discussions that were happening inside the car because they were still working that evening. He did get my wife and I here to Ottawa. It is something he did not have to do. He could easily have said, “Enjoy your night staying in Montreal and getting to Ottawa in the morning.” However, being the gentleman that he always is, he found the opportunity to put us in there. There might have been an exchange of a certain liquid. In this case, I think it was a moonshine that we were going to share.
     On behalf of the 338 members who sit in the House of Commons, I just want to thank the hon. member for his service to Canada. We are going to miss him. Like we would say in French, “tu nous manqueras”.
    He will be missing from us, and I think that is important. He has done something for Canada and for this chamber. We will always be reconnaissants for that work.
     I thank hon. members and everyone who participated in the discussion this afternoon for this opportunity.

[Translation]

    Good luck.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I would first like to congratulate my colleague from across the floor who represents LaSalle—Émard—Verdun, and I wish him all the best in his future endeavours and all the best to his family.
    Further, I will be splitting my time with the member for Fort McMurray—Cold Lake.
    It is an honour to speak to Bill C-59, the government's fall economic update, 2023.
    In my time as a member of Parliament, I have focused on priorities that matter to the constituents of Moose Jaw—Lake Centre—Lanigan. Sadly, those priorities are not in the government's update.
    People in Saskatchewan will be disappointed but not surprised that Saskatchewan is not even mentioned in the finance minister's fiscal update, outside of a few tables in the annex, but this is something we should all expect in Saskatchewan and in the west in general. We have never been a priority for the government.
    Agriculture is one of the industries, if not the largest, in my riding. Again, it is a topic that is ignored altogether in this update. Farmers are struggling. Conservatives have put forward Bill C-234 that would axe the punitive carbon tax on fuel used on farms. I have heard from farmers in my riding who are paying thousands of dollars a month on that tax. Instead of supporting this common-sense idea, the government is quadrupling that tax in April, which puts the burden of a punitive policy directly on the shoulders of the people who feed our country.
    If the minister cared about lowering grocery prices for Canadians, that would be a tremendous first step. The adage, if one does not want to be questioned about what one is doing, one should look busy by walking around with a clipboard, looking important and pretending to do something, is being replaced by the minister having weekly photo ops to pretend to Canadians that he is doing something. That does not impress or fool the constituents of Moose Jaw—Lake Centre—Lanigan, where we have seen a rise in food bank usage by a whopping 39%.
    If agriculture is not the largest employer in Moose Jaw—Lake Centre—Lanigan, then mining and its related industries are a close second. Potash has become one of Saskatchewan's prime exports. I am privileged to represent a riding that has several of the largest potash mines in the world, if not in Canada. As we all know, Canada is the world's largest producer of potash, an important fertilizer that is in huge demand globally. At a time when other large producers, mainly Russia and Belarus, are waging an illegal war in Ukraine, Canadian potash is even more important. While it is already a massive Canadian success story, it is sadly another key industry ignored by the government's fiscal update.
    During this period of global instability, the world is looking to Canada for help. Time and time again, we are turning our backs on good trading opportunities with other nations in need, whether it is LNG or potash. During unstable global times, Canada has always been a nation the world can rely on to come to those in need. Time and time again, we have, as a nation, called upon our Canadian Armed Forces to answer the call. It is important work and a priority to support our armed forces and veterans.
    As I hope everyone here knows, 15 Wing Moose Jaw is home to Canada's iconic Snowbirds, so the air force is an issue close to my heart. As we look around the world and see conflicts erupting everywhere, we should be investing in the Canadian Armed Forces. Instead, we are hearing top commanders say that they cannot meet basic requirements. Recently, the Department of National Defence's own report stated that the military's operational readiness is strained. It said that the military is not ready to conduct concurrent operations and is not meeting the requirements of Canada's defence policy from 2017.

  (1225)  

    I quote:
    Readiness of [Canadian Armed Forces] force elements have continued to decrease over the course of the last year aggravated by decreasing number of personnel and issues with equipment and vehicles.
    Adding to this, Vice-Admiral Angus Topshee, commander of the Royal Canadian Navy, has said that “the RCN faces some very serious challenges right now that could mean we fail to meet our force posture and readiness commitments in 2024 and beyond”. He added that the Harry DeWolf class, the navy’s new offshore patrol vessels, can currently only be deployed “one at a time” due to personnel shortages. Clearly, the Canadian Armed Forces is in a crisis and needs urgent investment, not vague commitments that government budgets will not affect the Canadian Armed Forces.
    I have had the pleasure to serve on the veterans affairs committee since I was elected in 2021. I found it to be a tremendous committee that does some very important work that is, sadly, generally ignored by the current government. The fiscal update's sole mention of Canada's brave veterans is the statement that their benefits are indexed to inflation. Veterans on a fixed income are dependent on those benefits and, as we know, with all government payments, they are slow to reflect the inflation we are seeing now. Even if they do, the cost of many of life's necessities, namely groceries and housing, is easily outpacing the official inflation rate.
    We are seeing more and more veterans turn to charities and not-for-profits to help feed themselves. It is heartwarming to see these organizations do this important work. Many are created by veterans for veterans; however, they should not be needed. Canadian heroes should never have to go to a charity to feed or house themselves because Veterans Affairs is not providing them with sufficient benefits.
    The government's fall economic update falls short of the mark, and it has a negative trickle-down effect on other levels of government. There is only one taxpayer. School boards are realizing the effects of inflation. I recently received a text that the local school board is over-budget by $1 million because of the current government's inflationary spending and punitive carbon tax, which directly impact its operational and capital budgets. Next year, this school board will be another half a million dollars short, totalling $1 million in funds that local taxpayers will have to pay or find cost savings and measures.

  (1230)  

    Municipalities and police services are also being impacted. In Saskatchewan, the impact of inflation and the carbon tax is directly affecting its budgets, which are now increasing in double digits in communities in my riding, in my province and in this country.
    The impacts will be negative. School budgets will be cut. Ten-dollar day care cannot help. Water, roads and other important infrastructure required to keep communities thriving will be cut, and that single taxpayer will receive less service for more dollars, which is a familiar theme with the current government. The future of our country is bleak if we continue to be held hostage by a coalition NDP-Liberal government. That is right. We are being held hostage by the government.
    However, I have faith in the people of Canada to elect a Conservative government that is listening to our people. My faith in the next generation is being restored. I met Ashton, an 18-year-old university student studying accounting, and he is working at a local grocery store. His parents have traditionally been Liberal supporters, which is a rare thing in Saskatchewan. Ashton shared with me that he has overheard customers in the grocery store where he works say that this will be the first time they will need to visit the food bank in order to feed their families.
    Ashton told me these stories are breaking his heart. He is a critical thinker and has made the choice to not vote Liberal in his first election and to break the family tradition. He sees that the current Liberal government is doing nothing concrete to help families struggling to feed themselves. Ashton knows that a Conservative government would axe the tax, build the homes, fix the budget and stop the crime. Let us hope, for everyone's sake, including Ashton's, that it comes sooner rather than later.

  (1235)  

    Mr. Speaker, when the Conservatives talk about government expenditure, what they are talking about is where they are going to be making cuts, but they do not necessarily want to tell Canadians.
    Today, the Conservative finance critic said they would cut the Canada Infrastructure Bank, as an example of what the Conservative Party would cut. The Infrastructure Bank does many projects in all the different regions of Canada. I am wondering if the member could explain why the Conservative Party has made the decision to cut the Infrastructure Bank.
    While he is at it, if he does not want to give the details of that, maybe he could give us a sense of some of the other things that the Conservatives would be cutting in their hidden agenda.
    Mr. Speaker, this is right up my alley as a former mayor of the City of Moose Jaw, where we attracted over $1.3 billion, going aggressively to the open market to attract business, to build a school where there would be a community surrounding it. We had no help from the Canada Infrastructure Bank. That was money that was just sitting in a bank that we could not access.
    Municipalities spend thousands upon thousands of dollars on bureaucracy and red tape to try to access money that should be going directly to them.
    Mr. Speaker, similar to the member's riding, I have one of Canada's military bases in mine. I frequently hear about the impact of the carbon tax and how it is having a real impact on the lives of the people who put their lives on the line each and every day for us.
    Could the member explain a little more about what he is hearing in Moose Jaw?
    Mr. Speaker, that is a very interesting question.
    The negative impacts of bad policy from the Liberal government are affecting the training hours for preparation for our pilots. That really puts us on our back foot. Our preparedness and readiness to defend our country is diminishing. This needs to be reversed, so I really appreciate my colleague for actually recognizing that. Obviously 15 Wing is very closely related with Cold Lake; a lot of our pilots go up there to finish their training and often stay there.
    Uqaqtittiji, happy new year to everyone. It is my first time speaking since 2024 arrived.
    I would like to thank the member for his intervention. Thanks to the supply and confidence agreement between the Liberals and the NDP, we have been able to secure a great dental care program for children. I wonder what the member will be saying to his constituents about why he voted against dental care for children in his riding.
    Mr. Speaker, the challenges that are facing my riding include an increase in food bank usage. People are absolutely shocked. They do not know where their spending power is going. They do not know where their money is going.
    It is insidious. The carbon tax and the inflation that the Liberal government has imposed on people are a train coming at us. People are going to be renewing their mortgages and going from 2.55% up to 6%. It is going to be a big shock, and it is impacting a lot of constituents in my riding.
    Mr. Speaker, it is wonderful to be here today and to be able to speak to the amendment to this bill, an amendment I was very proud to second from our leader of the Conservative Party.
    In fact, the Conservative leader, the hon. member for Carleton and Canada's next prime minister, delivered a really clear message to Canadians on Sunday: Axe the tax, build the homes, fix the budget, stop the crime.
    I hear from Canadians regularly, from right across Fort McMurray—Cold Lake, who are struggling. What they are seeing are higher grocery prices, higher home heating costs, higher electricity costs, higher gasoline costs and higher mortgage and rental costs, and they are seeing their limited paycheques being spread thinner and thinner.
    Unlike the Liberal government, the hard-working people I talk to know that there are consequences, real consequences, for spending beyond their means. They understand that budgets do not balance themselves, and they, in turn, are making sacrifices to accommodate these inflated prices. They are angry when they see the Liberal government out jet-setting and this out-of-touch Prime Minister continuing with out-of-control spending.
    The fall economic statement announced $20 billion in inflationary spending, further driving up interest rates, which further makes life harder. A record two million people visited a food bank in a single month. Housing costs have doubled. Mortgage payments are 150% higher than they were before the Prime Minister took office eight years ago. Violent crime is up 39%. Tent cities exist in almost every major city and in small towns across the country. Over 50% of Canadians are less than $200 away from going broke. Canadians who are renewing their mortgages will see an increase from 2% to 6% or even higher. The IMF has warned that Canada is the most at risk in the G7 for a mortgage default crisis, and business insolvencies have increased by 37% this year.
    These results of the costly new spending spree can be summed up simply: Prices are up, rents are up, debt is up, taxes are up, and Canadians I talk to every single day have told me that they want the Prime Minister's time to be up. They want to see an election today. They want to make a decision on the leadership of our country, because they know that their finances cannot afford another year of this Prime Minister.
    In 2024, for the very first time, we are going to be spending more money on payments to service our debt than we will on health care, more money to finance the reckless spending than on health care. More than $50 billion is going to be spent just on the interest payments to service the debt.
    I think that this is shameful, and the Canadians I talk to totally agree. They are not running up their credit cards unless they have no other option, yet the government has options. It is just choosing not to take them.
    The reckless spending risks a mortgage meltdown on the $900 billion of mortgages that will renew over the next three years. Personally, I am concerned about the countless people I have heard from who are currently under water on their homes. Their homes are worth less than what they owe to the bank. This is because of the government's relentless attack on Canadian energy, which has had a real impact on the home prices in many communities right across Fort McMurray—Cold Lake.
    Our eco-activist environment minister has made no secret of the fact that he not only dislikes Canada's energy industry, having a socialist idea of government transitioning it to something else, but also seems to have a problem with the very concept that we have an energy industry here in Alberta. Quite frankly, there is a serious problem with having a Soviet-style transition away from Canada's energy industry.
    I am proud to come from northeastern Alberta and to have grown up in Fort McMurray, seeing the major innovation that has taken place in our energy industry over decades. During this most recent Arctic vortex, just a couple of weeks ago, many energy workers were working outside. They were bundling up. They were going to work when the rest of us were very grateful just to get to stay inside. These brought temperatures across the Prairies of -50° and even lower in some areas, with the wind chill. In those temperatures, frostbite can set in in a matter of minutes, yet these energy workers bundled up so we could stay warm. That is, for the families who could afford to keep the heat on.

  (1240)  

    The Liberal government has consistently doubled down on charging the carbon tax on home heating in the Prairies, which continues to rachet up the cost of our home heating. We do not have a choice in the Prairies during an Arctic vortex or throughout the winter as to whether we can or cannot heat our homes. If a home is not heated in -50°C, the pipes will freeze. There will be additional costs, and people will die. That is the reality. Frostbite will set in in minutes, yet this government has decided to have a carve-out for Atlantic Canadians, allowing them to have a pause on the carbon tax because of plummeting polls. However, in the Prairies, where we were facing -50°C weather this winter, in those areas we continue to have to pay the carbon tax. Not only do we have to pay this punishing carbon tax, but it is set to continue to increase on April 1. That is no joke.
    With plummeting polls, the Liberals are making it so that a Canadian is not a Canadian is not a Canadian. The Canadians I have had the opportunity to chat with thought that this unfair, callous and crass decision of carving out the carbon tax away from Atlantic Canadians was wrong.
    Canadians are out of money, and this government is completely out of touch. Conservatives have been and will continue to stand up, clearly asking this costly coalition of the Liberal-NDP government to remove the carbon tax on everything for everyone. The government rejects this, but we continue fighting, so, in the interests of Canadians we have asked for a variety of carve-outs: eliminating the carbon tax for farmers, eliminating the carbon tax on first nations, eliminating the carbon tax on home heating and many others. However, make no mistake, a Conservative government will axe the carbon tax on everything for everyone. This is common sense. Canadians need relief, not higher taxes.
    After eight years, the Liberal Prime Minister does not understand that if we tax the farmer who grows the food, the trucker who transports the food and the store that sells the food, we ultimately tax the family buying it. I have talked to moms who are having to make hard choices as to whether they put extra water in their babies' formula just so they can afford to feed their families. I talk to families who are struggling as to whether they are going to continue bundling extra sweaters onto their children, because they cannot afford to turn the temperature in their home up an extra degree or two to keep them nice and toasty.
     This is why the Conservative Party introduced a very common-sense bill, Bill C-234, to axe the tax on farmers. It would have made the cost of food more affordable for everyone by saving farmers $978 million between now and 2030. It passed through the House of Commons, yet the unelected Senate gutted our common-sense bill under pressure from the PMO and the eco-activist environment minister. In fact, the same environment minister threatened to quit if there was another carve-out. The same environment minister even admitted during an environment committee meeting that he had called up to six senators to pressure them into voting to keep the tax on farmers. That is shameful. Now, all Canadians will have to pay a higher price at the grocery store.
    Common sense means getting rid of the carbon tax to lower the cost of living for all Canadians. It means capping reckless spending and getting rid of waste to balance the budget and lower inflation and interest rates. Common sense means cutting tax to make hard work pay off again. This NDP-Liberal government needs to rein in spending and balance the budget so that inflation and interest rates can come down and Canadians can keep more of the money they work so hard for. They need relief.
    It is clear that after eight years of waste and incompetence, the NDP-Liberal government is not worth the cost. Canada's Conservatives have provided a clear, common-sense plan to reverse course and undo the damage the Liberals have done. Only common-sense Conservatives can be trusted to axe the tax, balance the budget, bring down inflation and interest rates, and build homes, not bureaucracy, to bring lower prices to Canadians. I'll say it again: Axe the tax, build the homes, fix the budget and stop the crime.

  (1245)  

    Mr. Speaker, one thing that is very clear is that the Conservatives are going to axe the tax, as I have heard time and time again. However, I would ask the member opposite what other programs are going to be axed by her and her party. Are they going to axe child care? Are they going to axe the Canada child benefit?
    The member spoke very passionately about what families cannot afford, yet she voted against child care, dental care and other programs that would save families thousands of dollars a month. Therefore, I would ask the member opposite what programs she and her party will axe.
    Mr. Speaker, first of all, we plan to axe Liberal members of Parliament from right across the country, so that is a simple one. We also plan to axe interest rates because Canadians deserve affordability. As well, we plan to axe inflation so Canadians can keep more of the money they have worked hard to earn.
    Frankly, it is very hypocritical for a member from Atlantic Canada who got a carve-out on the carbon tax and does not have to pay the tax on their home heating this winter to tell me that somehow people in the Prairies deserve to continue paying carbon tax on home heating in -50°C weather.
    I will not take any lessons from that side.

  (1250)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her speech. However, I have some questions about what she is telling us. She is talking again about getting rid of taxes, saying, “Axe the Tax”.
    We see in this budget that $30.3 billion are granted in subsidies to the oil and gas industry in the form of tax credits, meaning that all taxpayers in Quebec and Canada will subsidize the oil and gas industry, which we are trying to transform to develop clean energy. Apparently $30 billion is not enough for my colleague or for the rest of the Conservative members of Parliament who want us to get rid of taxes and give more to oil and gas companies.
    We also see in this budget that a department of municipal affairs is being created, which is in violation of the Charter.
    Does my colleague think it is a good thing to pour $30 billion into subsidies to the oil and gas industry?
    Also, what does she think of the federal government creating a kind of department of municipal affairs to be called the department of housing, infrastructure and communities? What does she think of this interference in areas under the jurisdiction of Quebec and the provinces?
    Mr. Speaker, I know that voting for the Bloc Québécois is very costly.
    One of the problems we see is that the Bloc supports and continues to support the Liberal Party's ever-increasing expenses. It continues to vote in favour of Liberal budgets that increase costs for all Canadians and Quebeckers.
    The Conservative Party will continue to build a country where Canadians can keep the money they worked very hard to earn.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we are now two years into the brutal invasion of Ukraine by Putin and the mass killing of people in Ukraine, yet the member voted against Operation Unifier, which is a fundamental connection supporting the people of Ukraine, while the Trump MAGA team has attacked Ukraine and while Danielle Smith brings a white supremacist and Putin troll to Alberta to celebrate. He is a man who has attacked Zelenskyy and the people of Ukraine.
    How dare the member stand and support the Putin machine and undermine the people of Ukraine?
    Mr. Speaker, in my previous answer to one of my Liberal colleagues who asked what I was going to cut, I forgot to say that I really want to cut the NDP member for Timmins—James Bay
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order. A question was asked, and I want to hear the answer. I cannot hear it with everything going on.
    I will allow the member for Fort McMurray—Cold Lake to start again.
    Mr. Speaker, in my previous answer, I said I wanted to cut Liberal members of Parliament. I also want to cut the NDP member for Timmins—James Bay because, frankly, he is not serving his constituents. He voted to keep the carbon tax on home heating for his constituents in northern Ontario, and that is absolutely shameful.
    Frankly, as a proud Ukrainian Canadian, I have continued to stand up for Ukraine. I do not understand in any way, shape or form how Liberals and New Democrats can get up on their high horse and supposedly support Ukraine while they allowed a turbine that fuels Putin's war machine to go back there. I also do not understand why they are refusing to support Canada's oil and gas industry, which could be providing gas to Europe and around the world and starving Putin's war machine. Instead, they want Putin to continue producing oil and gas, undermining Ukraine.
    I am sorry; I am not going to take any lessons from the member.

  (1255)  

    Mr. Speaker, I have to comment on the last answer we heard from the Conservative member, because it somewhat defies the reality of what the Conservative Party's actions are versus what some of the members actually say when it comes to Canada and Ukraine and the need for Canada to support Ukraine in a very real and tangible way.
    Just last December we had a series of votes. I want to make reference to how the member actually voted when it came to Ukraine. There was a vote for Ukrainian immigrants settling in Canada, with respect to helping them find accommodation and receiving initial financial support. She actually, as all the Conservatives did, voted no to that. They also voted no to training Ukrainian soldiers through Operation Unifier. Not to be outdone, they also voted no to Canada's NATO mission.
    The real twist on this is the Conservative Party's approach to the Canada-Ukraine trade agreement. Imagine the President of Ukraine, at a time of war, coming to Canada and signing a trade agreement with the Prime Minister. The expectation of the community of Ukrainian heritage, which is well over 1.3 million people, not to mention of a vast majority of others, was that the Conservative Party would support that particular Canada-Ukraine deal. In my original comments on the legislation, I suggested that the Conservatives would be supporting it. Boy, was I wrong. It is unbelievable.
    That is where there is a whole mix-up as the Conservatives try to throw a red herring as to why they are voting against the trade agreement. What they are saying is that it is because of the carbon tax and that they do not think Canada should be imposing a carbon tax on the people of Ukraine. News for them, as one of them applauds, is that Ukraine already has a price on pollution. It has had a price on pollution since 2011. This means that even when Stephen Harper was prime minister, the people of Ukraine were farther ahead in recognizing the climate reality than the Conservative Party was in 2011.
    Why, then, are Conservatives opposing the Canada-Ukraine agreement? It is because of what many are suggesting is the far right element, the MAGA Conservative movement, which is kind of creeping up from the United States and seeping into Canada. It is being advocated by no one other than the leader of the Conservative Party and the minions of Conservative MPs who sit behind the leader to talk—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I want to remind folks not to cause disorder in the House. It comes from both sides. I want to make sure we have good debate on the bill before us and on the amendment.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary has the floor.
    Mr. Speaker, the point is that the Conservative Party of today is so extreme that it has even now taken a position that is not in the best interests of the Canada-Ukraine agreement. It is not just the Liberal Party that is saying this. It is usually the New Democrats who vote against trade agreements, but not this trade agreement, because they too recognize the value of it. It is only the Conservative Party that has voted against it.
    I have had a couple of meetings. I was hosting a lunch, and a couple of hundred people showed up. They were more than happy to sign a petition on the issue. The issue is that they, much like the Ukrainian Canadian Congress and the Ukrainian ambassador to Canada, want to see the Conservative Party flip-flop and support the Canada-Ukraine deal.
     I would encourage the member who spoke and provided that answer to take what she put in the answer, talk among any Conservatives with rational minds and see whether they can meet with the leader of the Conservative Party and get him to come onside and support the Canada-Ukraine trade agreement.
    That was not what I was going to talk about today. I was going to talk about the Canadian economy and the types of things we are hearing.
    I love the idea of contrasting the Liberal Party and the government's policy with what the Conservative Party is saying. Let us do the contrast. The Conservatives came in yesterday, and they were all gleeful and happy, saying they have four priorities and were going to hit a home run on them. What were the four priorities? There were at least a half-dozen members who talked about them yesterday.
    I will give an example. Their shiny one is the bumper sticker that is going to read, “Axe the tax.” I will stay away from the idea that the Conservatives are climate deniers and do not have any policy on the issue of climate change and the impact it is having on Canadians. Rather, they have a wonderful little slogan they want to use, and it does not matter.
    Yesterday I said that the Conservatives' policy would actually be taking money out of the pockets of a majority of the people who live in Winnipeg North, because we have a carbon rebate that goes to the people of Canada. When the leader of the Conservative Party says they are going to axe the carbon tax, that means they are going to axe the carbon rebate too. More than 80% of the constituents I represent get more money from the rebate than they actually pay in the tax.
    That would mean less money in their pockets, as a direct result of the Conservatives' ignoring the climate issue and choosing to change their opinion from what they told Canadians in the last federal election, when the Conservative Party, all of it, in its election platform, made very clear that its members supported a price on pollution. It is only under the new leader and with the bumper sticker idea that they have actually done a flip-flop on that particular issue, and now they are prepared to take money out of the pockets of Canadians and completely disregard the importance of sound environmental policy.
    That is one of the Conservatives' priorities. What a dud that one is. I will talk about the second dud: their talk about housing. They want Ottawa to play a role in housing. There has not been a government in the last 50 or 60 years that has invested more in housing than the current government has. We are talking about hundreds of millions of dollars.

  (1300)  

    We are talking about working with provinces, municipalities and non-profit organizations, many different stakeholders, to ensure that Canadians will have the ability to get homes, rent and own, into the future. The federal government has stepped up to the plate in a very real and tangible way.
    When the leader of the Conservative Party was housing minister in the Stephen Harper government, he was an absolute disaster. He had no concept of what a housing strategy was, let alone have the ability to construct houses. He now wants to take it on. Really? It just does not make sense.
    The federal government, unlike any other government in the last 50 or 60 years, has stepped up to the plate and demonstrated strong national leadership, and we are working with the municipalities, the provinces and other stakeholders on the file. That is something the Conservative Party would not do.
    What about the Conservatives' third priority? Their third priority is the budget. People need to be very concerned when Conservatives talk about the budget. This is where the whole hidden agenda comes in. Every so often, we get to see some of that hidden agenda ooze out.
    An example I will use is the issue of the Infrastructure Bank. All the members across the way support getting rid of the Canada Infrastructure Bank. Their finance critic made that statement earlier today and we have heard it before, if people want to talk about a dumb idea. It does not matter as facts and reality are completely irrelevant to the Conservative Party.
    The reality is the Canada Infrastructure Bank has been exceptionally effective, yet the Conservative Party will say it has not done anything. It says that knowing full well that is just not true. The reality is we are talking somewhere in the neighbourhood of about $10 billion.
    Mr. Speaker, if we take a look at $10 billion coming from the Canada Infrastructure Bank, that money is being tripled. In total, that is another $20 billion through different sources because of the investments being made by the Canada Infrastructure Bank.
     Members opposite are saying to tell them how many projects there are. At last count, we are talking 48 projects. How many did the Conservative Party say? Zero. We are not talking about the intellectual capabilities of the Conservative Party when I say zero. I am saying that is what it says the number of projects are.
     If members do not want to believe me, they can take a look at the website. There are all forms of projects that are not only on the books, ongoing, but are also completed. It is truly amazing.
    They are in all different areas of the country: public transit, 11 projects; clean power, eight projects; green infrastructure, 17 projects; and broadband, eight projects. Some of the broadband ones are in Manitoba for rural Internet connections. We would think that many of the rural Conservative MPs might be a little sensitive and want to support that but no.
    Keep in mind that in everything we are talking about here, the billions and billions of dollars, a lot of private dollars, the Conservatives oppose it. They oppose that sort of development. That is building a healthier economy. That is building Canadian infrastructure. We all benefit from that.
    There is a reason the foreign investment in Canada is as healthy as it is today. It is because, as a government, we support investing. It has paid off significantly. The finance critic was critical of the government, saying we do not have foreign investment. The reality, the facts, play no role in what the Conservative Party says.

  (1305)  

    At the end of the day, on foreign investment in Canada, on a per capita basis, from last year, in real dollars, Canada was number one in the world. One would think that the Conservatives would understand that concept, yet the finance critic is saying that we are down on foreign investment.
    Conservatives cannot accept the reality of good news. In terms of job numbers, there are well over a million new jobs from pre-pandemic levels. That is good news. One would not know that because we constantly have the Conservative Party going out about the nation saying that Canada is broken and is just not working. How does that actually compare to the reality of the situation?
    As I pointed out earlier today in a question, if the Conservatives say Canada is broken, they have to believe that the entire world is broken. We can compare some of the measurements that the Conservative Party uses. They talk about things like the inflation rate. Have they taken a look at Canada's inflation rate compared to other G20 countries? Whether we are taking about France, Germany, the U.K., the United States or any of the other countries in the G20, we find that Canada is ranked at the top, in terms of the lowest inflation rates. It is the same for interest rates.
    The government policy that we have put in place, whether through budgetary or legislative measures, has helped bring down inflation rates. Even though we recognize that, relatively speaking, compared to the rest of the world, Canada is doing exceptionally well, we still need to do better. That is the reason we are seeing policies being brought in that have made a difference. We will continue to work with Canadians and other levels of government in order to improve conditions. We want an economy that is going to work for all Canadians.
    We want to continue to invest in Canada's middle class and those who are aspiring to be a part of it. That should not be a surprise. Virtually since 2015, when we were elected to government, Canada's middle class and those aspiring to be a part of it have been the first priority of the Liberal government. We continue in that area. We continue to support programs that would lift people out of poverty.
    We can talk about the GIS increases, the Canada child care benefit and the many different programs we have put in place to support Canadians, pre-pandemic, during the pandemic, and going in and out of some very difficult times that people are experiencing today.
    When it comes to the economy or the budget, on priority number three, I warn members to be very much aware of that Conservative hidden agenda. It is going to disappoint a great number of people.
    Their fourth point was on the issue of crime. Let us stop and think about that one for a moment. We just brought forward the bail reform legislation that had the support of the provinces, law enforcement agencies and a number of stakeholders from all over the country, and every political party inside the chamber except the Conservative Party. We had filibustering taking place on that important piece of legislation, even though, months prior, the Leader of the Conservative Party said we would pass that bill lickety-split. That did not happen. He wanted to filibuster the legislation, putting the government in a position where we had to force the legislation through.

  (1310)  

    That is why I say very candidly that, whenever the election is, although I suspect it will be in 2015, at the end of the day, I look forward to being able to share who the Leader of the Conservative Party really is and remind him of some things: the cryptocurrency issue; his talking about firing the governor of the Bank of Canada; the flip-flop about the price of pollution, the flip-flop about Facebook and the big Internet companies. There is so much out there that one is going to be able to go to people's doors and share with Canadians from coast to coast to coast, in contrast to the Liberal Party with a solid record of working with Canadians, supporting Canadians. Compare that to a Conservative Party that does not even have an idea about the environment nowadays, that does not want to tell Canadians what its real agenda is all about.
    I love to make that contrast. I look forward to many more days, months and a couple of years of debate, no doubt.

  (1315)  

    First of all, I just need to help the hon. member with his math. We are not having an election in 2015. It could be in 2025 but 2015 has already gone by.
    Questions and comments, the hon. member for York—Simcoe.
    Mr. Speaker, my colleague from Winnipeg North is right about one thing. Conservatives are going to axe that tax.
    Let us talk about that tax, although I suspect he is not going to answer my question. The Prime Minister said his most important relationship was with our first nations, yet he is discriminating against the first nations in my riding based on geography.
    Let us talk about that carbon tax rebate. The Prime Minister made an announcement out east. I know the member for Avalon is here. His riding got rolled back with its data from the census so that it stayed rural. My riding of York—Simcoe is now considered to be a part of Toronto so that no one gets the 20% rural top-up. The member for Winnipeg North knows that it would take 14 hours to walk to the Finch subway station from my riding. The Deputy Prime Minister likes to say that she does not even need to own a car as she can just walk out of her house and get on a subway. We do not have subways, we do not have streetcars; we do not have transit.
    I would like him to comment on that. The answer will be astounding, I am sure.
    Mr. Speaker, I wish the member had provided an answer to many of the questions that others would have of him in regard to the price on pollution. That member actually campaigned in the last election based on, in part, an election platform document that said very clearly that the Conservative Party supported a price on pollution. It is only in the last two years that that member and the Conservative Party have made a flip-flop saying now that they do not support a price on pollution. Who knows? I suspect they might even have some bumper stickers already printed saying they want to axe the tax. Even if that ends up taking more money out of the pockets of Canadians, they are not prepared to abandon that priority. I will give them that much.
    I look forward to having that particular debate whenever it comes.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, many things struck me in my colleague's speech. He said that no government in 50 years had invested so much in housing. I do not know the statistics, but it is possible, even probable.
    I wonder if he is not a bit embarrassed by the lack of results they have been able to produce with all those investments. Today we need 3.5 million housing units by 2030, after investing $82 billion in the great national housing strategy.
    The housing accelerator for municipalities was voted on in the 2022 budget, almost two years ago, and yet not a single door has been built under this program.
    I wonder if my colleague is not a bit embarrassed.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I do not find it embarrassing at all. Since 2015, we have had a national government that has recognized it has a tangible role to play in housing. That role has continued to grow under this administration to the degree in which we are seeing historic funding and programming to support housing.
    However, it is not just the federal government. The provinces also play a critical role, and the Bloc needs to recognize that even the Province of Quebec has non-profit housing supported by federal dollars, but there are also many other things that it and other jurisdictions, whether municipalities, provinces, territories or indigenous communities, can do. It takes a team approach, not just the federal government throwing a whole lot of money at it. That means there has to be a strategy and ongoing discussions, and homes are getting done. A great example of that is getting rid of the GST for purpose-built rentals. We have seen some provinces adopt that very same policy at the provincial level to ensure more purpose-built rentals will be built.

  (1320)  

    Mr. Speaker, the government member just said that, since 2015, the Liberals have recognized that the federal government needs to be involved in housing. That is not true.
     I am the representative for the NDP on HUMA. The housing minister of the very recent past refused to acknowledge that the Liberals have a market-driven lens on their take on housing. I can tell members that it has been damaging to my community of Port Moody—Coquitlam, and they are still doing it.
    I think about the rents right now and the seniors in my community who are being displaced by the gentrification. There has been luxury condo after luxury condo that the federal government has loaned money for. It has not spent a dollar on operating, when it needs to subsidize and help those seniors stay in homes. We have seniors living in tents.
    I am not going to let the Liberals take a victory lap on the work they have done since 2015 because they have done nothing.
    Mr. Speaker, that is just not true. The federal government provides tens of millions of dollars, likely going into the hundreds of millions, to subsidize non-profit housing units on an annual basis. This government has increased that funding. We are talking about tens of thousands of units across the country. In the province of Manitoba, my best guesstimate is probably somewhere around 20,000 units. Many of those units are for seniors, so to try to give a false impression does a disservice.
    The bottom line is that, since 2015, we have had a national government and a Prime Minister who are very much committed to the housing file. I would suggest that he is second to no other prime minister in the last 60 years here in Canada.

[Translation]

    The hon. member for Châteauguay—Lacolle.
    Mr. Speaker, it is the riding of Châteauguay—Lacolle, but soon it will be the riding of Les Jardins‑de‑Napierville.

[English]

    My hon. colleague made a number of excellent points, including alluding to the election of 2015.
    What galvanized me and many other folks in my region was when we were threatened by the previous Harper government with an extension to age 67 in accessing old age security, when we knew that the family allowance was taxable and when people knew that cuts were being made to balance the budget. It was penny-wise and pound foolish, as I like to say, on the backs of Canadian citizens.
    I would like to hear more from my colleague about what the world would have been like if we had not won in 2015. Indeed, we need to win again in 2025.
    Mr. Speaker, yes, I would suggest that 2015 was a wonderful year.
    The member raises a valid point. If we go back to the last federal election, I can recall the Conservatives saying that they were going to rip up the child care agreements that were being talked about. Today, we have $10 child care. Out of fear, we also had to bring in legislation to ensure that we will have that ongoing funding. However, let there be no doubt, that is on the table with the Conservative Party.
    I was sitting in the third party over in the corner of the chamber when Stephen Harper, while he was overseas, made an announcement that he was going to raise the age of the OAS from 65 to 67. One of the very first initiatives we took, back in 2015, was to lower it from age 67 back to age 65.
    We have to beware of the Conservatives and their hidden agenda.
    Mr. Speaker, I am glad the member brought up the idea of a hidden agenda. Just this week we saw a story in the news that the Liberals and the NDP were plotting behind the scenes and in secret about amendments to the Elections Act, without bringing in two of the major parties in this House. These were secret negotiations to change the Elections Act before the next election.
    I am wondering if the member could enlighten us as to exactly what that bill is going to have in it and why the Conservative Party of Canada was not invited to participate in discussions around changing elections in Canada.

  (1325)  

    Mr. Speaker, I was at the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs when the leader of the Conservative Party went to PROC to try to justify electoral reform. There were a lot of manipulations of the Elections Act there. If I only had more time, if I had another couple of minutes, I would be more than happy to expand on my answer.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by saying that I will be sharing my time with my hon. colleague from Mirabel, whose remarks are always intelligent, relevant and even amusing, although I would not want to put any pressure on him for his 10-minute speech.
    I read Bill C‑59 and looked in vain for any substance. I looked for any tangible measures that would help Quebec and Canada to deal with the problems we are facing right now, but I could not find anything. In fact, I am rather discouraged because Canada is currently facing various crises.
    There is the language crisis in Quebec. We have often mentioned the fact that the French language is in the process of disappearing. There is only one solution to this problem, and it is an independent Quebec. We will get there. We think that the stars are aligned for the election of a separatist government in Quebec within three years. That means there could be a referendum within five years. We could be saying “so long, pals”. We will not be here anymore. Most members of the House will be happy not to have the Bloc Québécois underfoot anymore. They find us annoying. They wonder what the Bloc members want. They complain that we do not even want to form government, that we just want to defend the interests of Quebeckers, that we are revolutionaries, that we are so annoying, that we are nothing but trouble. If all goes well, in five or six years' time, we will not be around anymore to fix the language crisis.
    Then there is the climate crisis. We saw all the forest fires and floods last summer, yet Bill C-59 grants $30 billion in direct and indirect assistance to the oil industry. Why are my Conservative friends always complaining? I would like to remind my friends that, in 2022, the five largest oil companies collectively made $200 billion in profits. Now the government is giving them $30 billion for carbon sequestration, despite the fact that no one can say whether that technology really works. It is investing $30 billion in that.
    There is the housing crisis as well, obviously. How can we not mention that? Canada needs to build 3.5 million housing units by 2030. That is a colossal project. One would think that a bill like Bill C‑59 would have some meaningful measures. One would think the government would have come up with a plan to address this crisis. Too bad there is no plan. All the government is going to do is change the name of the department. It is just a propaganda operation. The government is just going to change the name of the department. That is the only thing Bill C-59 has to offer.
    I toured Quebec over the last few months. I wanted to see what was happening on the ground. The figures that CMHC has given us on vacancy rates are insane. We know that homelessness in Quebec has doubled since 2018. My colleague was talking about spending earlier. He said that this government has spent more on housing since 2015 than any other previous government. If that is true, then why did homelessness in Quebec double over the same period? I do not think this spending has worked. Quebec needs to build 200,000 housing units a year. Do my colleagues know how many were built last year? Only 39,000 were built, and there was a 7% reduction in housing starts across Canada.
    Let us be serious. If the Liberals' strategy were working, we would know. Someone would have said so at some point. Someone would have said, “Wow! Well done!” We are not the only ones criticizing the government on this point. There are organizations, people in the field working with struggling Canadians, and they see it. The only thing I heard on my tour of Quebec was that the $82‑billion federal strategy is not working. In life, it is important to have the humility to say that we tried something and failed. Now we need to use that money differently. We need to invest it in social housing and truly affordable housing. Why are we still spending millions of dollars to build apartments in Montreal that cost $2,000 a month?

  (1330)  

    No one can afford to rent the units offered under the national housing strategy right now. We just need to stop and think about what we do next.
    I also learned something else. The government is not investing enough, but that is not all. Earlier, I spoke about the 10,000 people experiencing homelessness. There is a federal program called Reaching Home that assists organizations and people experiencing homelessness. Not content with knowing that we are getting nowhere and that people all over Quebec will die this winter and are already dying because the federal government has underinvested in housing for the past 30 years, the government is going to reduce that program's budget by 3%. Three per cent may not seem like much, but how can the government even think of doing such a thing at a time when homelessness in Quebec has doubled? Half of these people are in Montreal.
    One thing struck me during my tour of Quebec. We used to see homeless people in Quebec City, Montreal and major Canadian cities like Toronto and Vancouver. My colleague was saying earlier how dire the situation is in Edmonton. Right now, however, we are seeing something we have never seen before: tent cities in small towns across Quebec.
    I visited the Lower St. Lawrence, where cities have sprung up in places they have never been seen before. There are homeless people on street corners and living in tent cities next to the town hall. There are seniors sleeping in tents. How can we allow such a thing to happen? There are tent cities in Saint‑Jérôme and Longueuil as well. Granby has decided to do something about the situation and set up a shelter. How can something like this be allowed to happen in a G7 country? How can we institutionalize tent cities and allow people to sleep there in wintertime when it is -30 degrees out?
    I do not know how that can be allowed. I feel like we are going in the wrong direction. I feel like we have been saying that for years. Naively, I always believed that, in a democracy, people work together to find solutions. Naively, I believed that if the government realized something was not working, it would be willing to try a better solution suggested by someone else. I thought a government was supposed to work for people in need, not pose for photo ops. Ultimately, we have been talking about this for four years. I am not the only one. Many people in the House are concerned about housing and homelessness. Unfortunately, the system is stuck.
    There is one basic issue to consider when it comes to homelessness. Obviously, we have to prevent people from freezing to death, but what is the ultimate problem? In the past, there used to be a continuum of services for people experiencing homelessness. Quebec, for one, understood that. There were 24-7 emergency shelters where people could sleep and eat a good meal. There were also shelters where people could stay for up to 90 days, to take the time to reintegrate into society, overcome drug addiction, rejoin the workforce and get back in touch with family. There used to be 90-day shelters. It worked because, at the end of the 90 days, people had access to social housing. They could return to work and get their life back on track. Today, in Quebec, these resources are overwhelmed. Since there is no social housing anymore, people end up staying in the shelters for longer, anywhere from six to nine months, so no new people can get in. We have work to do on a lot of fronts, but we especially need to build housing units.
    I have criticized the national housing strategy a lot, and we will continue to do so. I am writing a report on my tour of Quebec, which I will present around February or March. We will make very specific recommendations. All I hope is that someone across the aisle will hear us. During my tour, I was often asked why I, a member of the opposition, was touring Quebec. I was asked why the minister himself was not sitting down with people in Saguenay, Saint‑Jérôme, Rouyn‑Noranda and Gaspé. People wanted to know why the minister and the government were not coming to see how difficult things are on the ground. Instead, it was I, a member of the opposition, who went. My colleagues can be sure that the findings from my report will help us make progress on this issue.

  (1335)  

    We have solutions that we are going to put forward.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for that very fiery and timely speech. I always enjoy his contributions to the House.
    I know he supported Bill C‑13, a piece of legislation of great importance to Canada and Quebec. It was the first time a government recognized the decline of French in Canada. He also knows that a strong Quebec makes for a strong Canada. It goes both ways. A strong Canada makes for a strong Quebec. I hope Quebec will always be part of our wonderful Canadian family.
    Before 2015, the government invested $2.2 billion in French in Canada. That amount is now $4.1 billion. It is almost twice as much. My colleague must be impressed by that. Maybe he should talk about the importance of French in Canada as a whole.
    I would like him to comment on that.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague, whom I like very much. Indeed, French is in jeopardy across Canada. It is rather sad to see how tough this has become. Maybe $4 billion will help, but I would like to throw a question back to my colleague.
    How is it that the government is going to invest $700 million over the next five years for anglophone communities in Quebec? If there is a community that is not in jeopardy, it is the anglophone community, not only in Quebec, but across Canada and North America.
    Why spend $700 million to save a community that is not at risk and never will be?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech and his passion for fighting homelessness, for standing up for people and for getting housing that is not just for the super rich, but social housing and truly affordable housing. He is very familiar with the file. It is always interesting to hear him talk about it.
    In Canada, we do not have a lot of social or co-op housing. It makes up roughly 3% to 4% of the entire housing stock. In Finland, it is 10%. In Denmark, it is 20%. I think there are examples we can use.
    I would like my colleague to talk about Conservative Party leader's position. It seems that his solution to the housing problem is to insult the mayors in Quebec. I would like to know what the member thinks about the Conservative leader's attitude and his lack of real solutions.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague. I did not mention it in my speech, but I too, like many Quebeckers, was truly insulted by the Conservative leader's remarks. Together, Montreal and Quebec City make up roughly half of Quebec's population. The mayor of Montreal and the mayor of Quebec City are therefore two elected representatives of half of Quebec. As a solution, or as an approach to these elected officials, the Leader of the Opposition of this country insults them. He says they are incompetent.
    How can anyone think that this man, once in power, would have any solutions? At some point, he will have to sit down with decision-makers from other levels of government to find solutions to this crisis. I do not see how he could possibly find any solutions.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to wish you a happy new year. I know it is a little late, but people say that it is like RRSPs: We have the first 60 days of the year to offer our best wishes. I wish all my colleagues a very happy new year.
    I find it fascinating that we are starting this new session with a debate on the economic statement. It is curious, because during the holidays, the Conservative leader was very interested in budget issues; he spoke of them often. Since we are starting off nice and slow and we seem to have a pretty good atmosphere, I thought I would tell a joke. What is the difference between Quebeckers and the leader of the official opposition? Well, they are both in the wrong country. At some point, we Quebeckers will need to get our independence. The Conservative leader is living in a conspiracy theory. We heard him over the break. The glasses have come off. All he needs now is the orange tan and the blonde hair.
    The dictionary says that a conspiracy is someone who thinks there is a secret agreement against someone or something. The Conservative leader toured Quebec saying that the Bloc Québécois supports 100% of the Liberals' economic policies. The Conservative leader's tone, the unpleasant, disrespectful tone he had over the holidays, which he has here in the House, and his gratuitous attacks on everyone that have no basis in fact, clearly show us that the Conservatives' best strategy is to say that offence is the best defence. Why? There is one party in the House that supports each and every Liberal policy. I am not talking about the NDP, whose members are Liberals by definition. I am talking about the Conservatives. It is even worse for Quebec Conservatives.
    A Conservative member from Quebec is basically just a Liberal. Both parties have a fetish for oil. Some people have a foot fetish, while others, like the Conservatives and the Liberals, have an oil fetish. Bill C‑59 gives oil companies $18 billion in subsidies, or what the Liberals are referring to as tax credits and clean investments. How do they define “clean”? For them, clean means building nuclear reactors paid for with Quebeckers' tax dollars—both the Liberals and the Conservatives are compulsive taxers—so that we stop cleaning up the oil sands with gas and so that we can export gas. I hope that the Conservatives and Liberals get cleaner than that when they shower. It is all the same.
    The carbon tax does not apply in Quebec. They sounded so foolish that they stopped saying it. There is a reason why they are against the carbon tax in the other provinces. If there is no more carbon tax, then emissions will rise, and they will be able to impose more taxes on Quebeckers and give more subsidies to oil companies with Quebeckers' tax dollars. Those are their equalization payments. The Quebec Conservatives, like the Liberals, are people who live only for western Canada and dirty oil.
    The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the OECD, has said that the storage tax credit is an illusion. It has no role to play in any structured solution to global warming. Bill C‑59 provides $12.5 billion in carbon storage investments. Who is in agreement about these subsidies? The Liberals and the Conservatives are. The Conservatives have supported the Liberals' economic policies at every turn.
    That is interference in Quebec's affairs. It is funny, though. Trampling all over Quebec, meddling in its affairs and engaging in interference are practically Liberal hallmarks. The Liberals have a lot of experience in this regard and, as the bill shows, unique expertise too. They tell us that they are going to put together a department of municipal affairs, an undertaking that has failed before. To listen to the Liberals, it would almost seem that no stop sign or speed bump could possibly be installed in any residential neighbourhood without the federal government's help. Complicating existing structures, picking more fights and adding more phases to negotiations, only to build no housing and make no progress, is classic Liberal behaviour. As the member for Longueuil—Saint-Hubert aptly said, it is what Liberals do.

  (1340)  

    We thought the Conservatives were different, but no. Unfortunately, the Leader of the Opposition may have had a little too much time on his hands during the holidays. What did he do? He managed to outdo the Liberals when it comes to meddling. He went to Longueuil, Montreal and Quebec City to insult the mayors and demonstrate his total lack of knowledge of how the system works. Quebec municipalities receive their funding from Quebec City and the transfers go to Quebec City. This king of meddling, the Conservative king of meddling, is the guy who, when he was a minister, built nothing but housing slabs—no deliverables, no construction. The Leader of the Opposition could not even recognize a two-by-four in a hardware store. Who supports the Liberals' economic policies? The Conservatives do.
     Here is something surprising. When half of Quebec was being insulted during the holiday season, where were the Quebec Conservatives? Were they off buying turkeys by the dozen and attending tons of New Year's Eve parties? They were absolutely nowhere to be seen.
    Let us move on to the Liberal policy on asylum seekers. Ottawa owes Quebec $470 million. Why is that? Quebec welcomed 65,000 asylum seekers in 2023, or 45% of all asylum seekers, even though we represent only 22% of the Canadian population. We welcome them with open arms, as best we can, with all the resources at our disposal. When Quebec asks to be compensated for its contribution, the Liberals reply that they are not an ATM, as if Quebeckers do not pay taxes to Ottawa.
    How many Conservatives from Quebec rose to defend the Premier of Quebec when he made this request? Not a single one, because the Quebec Conservatives are red from head to toe. They could almost run for the NDP; there would be no difference.
    That is what is happening in the House. Only one party is worthy of Quebeckers' trust. We see that on the ground; we feel it. Only one party is consistent, only one party stays true, only one party does not spend its time flip-flopping, sloganeering and campaigning two years ahead of an election: the Bloc Québécois.
    The Bloc Québécois is the only party that will always stand up for seniors and demand an OAS raise for everyone over 65 so as to put an end to the two classes of seniors the Liberals created.
    Only one party is demanding an end to fossil fuel subsidies. Not even the NDP is calling for that; only the Bloc Québécois is.
    Only one party called for the CEBA repayment deadline to be extended to keep small and medium-sized businesses afloat. That was us. Even the Conservatives did not join our efforts to save businesses and innovators, the people who make up the industrial and commercial fabric of our cities, our towns and our regions.
    Only one party is calling for a media fund. The Conservatives want to shut down the media, and the Liberals are staying mum.
    Only one party is calling for an emergency homelessness fund. The only thing the Conservatives want to do about homelessness is speed up global warming so that the winters are not so hard on the homeless. Only one party is doing that. As the member for Longueuil—Saint‑Hubert says, only one party is calling for an affordable housing acquisition fund for our non-profit organizations in Quebec.
    Bearing all that in mind, who really supports the Liberals' economic policies in the House? The Conservative members from Quebec do. Quebeckers will remember that.
    Quebeckers can see that and they are smart. We appeal to Quebeckers' intelligence, and that is to our credit. We will continue to do so. We will continue to be trustworthy. When the election comes, Quebeckers will understand that we have been steadfast and consistent, and that we have worked for them.
    Should a day come when Quebeckers grow tired of making agonizing choices about which bad party they should vote into power in Ottawa, there is a solution: We can vote for independence, pack up and leave, and let the other provinces and territories resolve their issues as a family.

  (1345)  

    Mr. Speaker, I really enjoyed my colleague's speech, especially when we consider the expression “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. He spent most of his speech making completely valid attacks against the Conservatives. Just before I ask my question, since we are joking around here, I want to say “hello, bonjour” to you, Mr. Speaker, and wish you a happy new year. I am saying that because we are all Quebeckers and we, on this side of the House, also speak for Quebeckers.
    I wanted to point out a few contradictions. When he was the environment minister for the Parti Québécois government, the leader of the Bloc Québécois approved oil exploration off Anticosti Island. He also approved other things that I believe go against the principles that the Bloc Québécois is advocating for today.
    Why did the members of the Bloc Québécois vote against our budget? By so doing, they voted against the investments in housing that we made for Quebec.

  (1350)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am somewhat surprised that the member for Châteauguay—Lacolle is happy to hear me say that the Conservatives are as bad as the Liberals. Apparently, they take compliments any way they can.
    I did my Ph.D. in Ontario. I am bilingual. In Quebec, we greet people in French. I think that is one of our selling points, something that makes us valuable. I understand that the member is very comfortable with the fact that her government will be pouring $800 million of public money, including Quebeckers' money, into English-speaking organizations to defend English in Quebec over the next few years. She may have political reasons for doing so. I think it is appalling.
    I will conclude by saying that I am very proud that Quebec's CO2 emissions trading system was implemented by our leader when he was the environment minister, and I think history will remember that.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his attacks on the Conservatives, on the next government. He got some good practice in. It will come as no surprise that the Conservatives may very well form the next government.
    I would like my colleague to lay out the costs of all the demands he made in his speech so we can have an idea of where to head with future budgets.
    Mr. Speaker, when his leader was attacking all the mayors in Quebec over the holidays, my colleague went into hiding.
    Sometimes we have to bug them a bit to get a reaction.
    I will take just a few seconds to tell my colleague that Bill C‑59 provides two years' worth of equalization payments in subsidies for the oil companies. I will give him a chance to think about that.

[English]

     [Member spoke in Inuktitut ]
    [English]
    Mr. Speaker, what I just said in Inuktitut is that I am always so happy to rise and speak in Inuktitut in the House.
    As we all know, most MPs here are settlers or are ancestors of settlers, Quebec included. I wonder if the member has, or if anyone in his party has, consulted with the indigenous peoples in Quebec, the Cree and the Innu, who most likely would wish to stay in Canada as opposed to what the member shared in his intervention.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I think that the member for Longueuil—Saint-Hubert did a good job earlier explaining what might happen if there were a referendum. If one is called, there will be a national conversation in Quebec. Thank goodness it will be far away from this Parliament.
    My speech today will be on the economy, which is very important, but also on our government's position on the economy. I will talk about affordability and, of course, housing, an important topic.

[English]

    I want to underline that we are in a great position economically right now as country. I want to share some of our strengths, and this comes not just from me but from other sources around the world. Let us keep in mind that Canadians created 1.4 million jobs before COVID. We recaptured that 1.4 million, built on it and Canadians now have an extra one million jobs.
    The International Monetary Fund predicts that this year Canada will have the strongest economy in the G7. The OECD also said that Canada received the third-most foreign direct investment in the world last year. Also, on labour, when we took power in 2015, the unemployment rate was at about 7%. Now the unemployment rate is down to 5.7%. These are facts.
    Before COVID, inflation was at 2%. COVID pushed it to 8.1%. Today it is down to 3.4% and it continues to drop. We continue to have our AAA credit rating, which is extremely important.
    When it comes to affordability, there are two pieces. The first is what we have done since the last election in 2021. We have made some great investments for Canadians because we know that affordability is challenging and that we need to be there to support them.
    We doubled the GST credit for two payments for those receiving it, which helped 11 million people. It also helped over 300,000 Nova Scotians. We added supports for a grocery rebate, which again helped 11 million people and over 300,000 Nova Scotians.
    On the Canada workers benefit, which represents about $2,461 per year, we made adjustments so they receive three quarterly payments. This helps with affordability as well.
    We have of course eliminated the interest on Canada student loans, helping young Canadians in dealing with affordability.
    We have indexed, and this is crucial, key benefits to inflation. If another government takes over some day, it will not be able to stop it, unless it brings legislation to the House. We indexed the Canada child benefit, ensuring that young families will continue to prosper. We have also indexed the GST and the Canada pension plan, which we made major changes to with the provinces back in 2017. The OAS and the GIS have both been indexed and will ensure seniors can continue to prosper as well.

  (1355)  

    We also brought in dental support for children under 12 years old, of which over 1,200 Nova Scotians have taken advantage.
    These are some investments we made in the past two years. What the fall economic economic statement brings to the table today is also key areas of investments.
     We are expanding the dental benefit to not just children 12 and under, but to 18 and under. For seniors, January, February, March and April are important months because they will have access to dental care, which is very important. People with disabilities will also have access starting this year. Next year, all Canadians who make $90,000 or less and are not part of a dental plan will be able to receive dental care. Those are major investments supporting Canadians and affordability.
    Other investments include removing the GST from psychotherapy and counselling. This is important for affordability for people who have challenges with their mental health.
    We are going to crack down and make major changes to the Competition Act. This will ensure that we can bring prices down and ensure competition is strong in Canada, that no anti-competition happens. We need to do a major review of that area and make improvements, which is exactly what we will be doing as we move forward.
    Another area I want to touch on is housing. We are focused on four areas. The first one is new, increased and continued investments in housing, which is important. There are going to be challenges with labour in the building sector, so we are going to make changes that would allow workers to move from province to province and territory to territory. We will prioritize workers for permanent residency in key areas of need, with construction being one and education being another.

Statements by Members

[Statements by Members]

  (1400)  

[English]

Temple Inauguration

    Mr. Speaker, in the history of the oldest religion in the world, January 22, 2024, marked the beginning of a new era for 1.2 billion Hindus across the world, including a million Hindus in Canada.
    After centuries of anticipation and immense sacrifices, the divine temple at Ayodhya was inaugurated with Bhagwan Shri Ram’s “Pran Pratishtha” ceremony, an act that transforms an idol into a deity.
    Like Hindus across Canada at about 115 Hindu temples and events, I witnessed the live coverage of this emotional moment at Ottawa's Hindu temple.
    The birthplace of Hindu Dharma, India, that is Bharat, is rebuilding its civilization to emerge as a major global economic and geopolitical power. Canada and India are natural partners for sharing economic opportunities and addressing global challenges.

Emergencies Act

    Mr. Speaker, the Federal Court of Canada could not be clearer in its 190-page ruling. In 2022, there was no justifiable reason to invoke the Emergencies Act.
     The Liberal government's use of the act directly violated Canadians' most essential rights to freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression. The decision to invoke the Emergencies Act was unnecessary from the start. For Canadians to have any faith in our democracy, the Liberals must show that they understand the court decision and have learned their lesson. They should drop their plans to appeal and should promise to abide by the Constitution instead of breaking the law. When will the Prime Minister admit that he was wrong, apologize to Canadians for his actions and drop the appeal?

Elections in Taiwan

    Mr. Speaker, I am happy to share today that Taiwan successfully completed presidential and legislative elections on January 13, 2024. This marks the eighth milestone in Taiwan's history, and I would like to congratulate the new President of Taiwan, Mr. William Lai. With a proven track record of dedication to public service and a deep commitment to the values that define Taiwan, President Lai embodies the spirit of progress and inclusivity.
     As Taiwan embarks on this new chapter, let us rally together in support, embracing the shared vision of a Taiwan that thrives on innovation, justice and the unwavering spirit of its people. These elections are another testament to Taiwan's strong commitment to democracy and freedom. The democratic process is the heartbeat of the people of Taiwan.
    Once again, congratulations to President Lai and the people of Taiwan.

[Translation]

Guy Rousseau

    Mr. Speaker, it came as a shock to everyone in the riding of Trois‑Rivières when my friend, Guy Rousseau, executive director of the Société Saint‑Jean‑Baptiste de la Mauricie, announced his retirement.
    Guy Rousseau has been a fixture in Trois‑Rivières for 40 years. He served the Conseil central de Trois‑Rivières for a decade, first as a union representative, then as president. He was on the front lines of every battle. It was quite a journey for a liberation theologian.
    Guy devoted all of his skill and energy to promoting Quebec culture and the French language. Nary a borrowed word or anglicism was tolerated in his presence, nor in his absence, for that matter.
    In 2015, Guy was awarded the Rosaire-Morin prize for individuals whose writings and actions have made a significant contribution to enhancing Quebec's national conscience and championing Quebec's interests.
    Guy Rousseau has organized national holiday celebrations in Mauricie and is a tireless advocate for Quebec independence. He leaves a lasting legacy in Trois‑Rivières.
    On behalf of myself and of everyone in Trois‑Rivières, I thank him for his years of service to the community.

Canadian Dental Care Plan

    Mr. Speaker, many seniors in Alfred-Pellan and across Canada are neglecting their oral health because they cannot afford dental care.
    Untreated dental problems can escalate, causing a person's general health to deteriorate and putting even more strain on an already overburdened health care system.
    That is why our government introduced the Canadian dental care plan to help ease financial barriers to accessing oral health care for eligible Canadians.
    I invite seniors in Alfred-Pellan and across Canada who have an annual family net income of less than $90,000 and who do not have access to dental insurance to apply for the plan today. Once registration is confirmed, coverage can start as early as May 2024.

  (1405)  

[English]

Opioids

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years of the Prime Minister and his NDP coalition, Canada is in the midst of an unprecedented addictions crisis, one that continues to get worse. Last year, the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions assured Canadians that the Liberals would end their decriminalization experiment if public health and public safety indicators were not met. One year in, there are out-of-control crime and chaos and unprecedented deaths: nearly seven a day in British Columbia alone. It is time to end this dangerous experiment.
    Many leading addictions physicians from across the country have stated that the Liberal-NDP's so-called “safe supply” continues to fuel new addictions. These courageous physicians demand an immediate end to the programs that are flooding the streets with taxpayer-funded narcotics.
    Conservatives would listen to the experts and shut down government-supplied drug programs. We would bring hope, with a common-sense plan for treatment and recovery. Conservatives believe recovery is possible, and that should be the goal. We believe that every Canadian with an addiction deserves the treatment—
    The hon. member for Toronto—Danforth.

East York

    Mr. Speaker, today I rise to celebrate a special first. I am asking everyone in the House to please join me in wishing a special 100th birthday celebration for East York. It is an important part of the community that has played an important role in Canadian history.
    Agnes Macphail, the first female MP in this place, came from East York. Our first honouree of the East York Hall of Fame, John Candy, was from East York. He was not only an important actor and comedian but also a great supporter of the Argos. Let's go, Argos!
    Let us say that East York is such an important place, and every day we see that spirit. In fact, East York has the longest-running Canada Day parade in all of Toronto. We celebrate year after year, bringing a small-town feeling to a big city. There is also the East York Historical Society, which helps to preserve and keep telling that history.
    I thank community members for keeping that spirit alive. Happy birthday, East York.

2023 Canadian Music Class Challenge

    Mr. Speaker, at St. John Fisher Elementary School in Pointe-Claire, music is deep. The school is one of 13 schools to win the 2023 Canadian Music Class Challenge, a competition that salutes music education in Canada, sponsored by CBC Music in association with the music charity MusiCounts.
    St. John Fisher's grade 3 class, under the direction of music education specialist David Arless, claimed top prize in the primary vocal category with their rendition of Turning the Tide by Luke Wallace. Competition judge and Canadian musical artist Victoria Duffield said of the students’ performance that it captured her ears and heart right from the opening chorus and that the musicality displayed through the vocals and instruments showed a great degree of skill and teamwork.
    I ask all members to join me in congratulating St. John Fisher's grade 3 class on this truly wonderful accomplishment.

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years of the Liberal-NDP government's soft-on-crime policies, crime, chaos, drugs and disorder are ravaging communities across our country.
    Under the Prime Minister, crime is up 39%. Shootings are up, extortion is up, car thefts are up and homicides are up. Canadians do not feel safe walking down their own streets anymore. They are waking up to find their cars stolen and shipped out of the country. Car thefts have increased by 34% nationally. What is the government's response? It is more photo ops, large summits, more talk and no action. The Prime Minister is not worth the crime or the chaos.
    Only a common-sense, Conservative government would bring back jail and not bail for repeat violent offenders. We would secure our ports to stop stolen vehicles from being shipped out, and we would bring back mandatory jail time for serious violent crimes that were repealed by the government. It is time to support victims and put them first, not the criminals. That is just common sense.

Women in Peacekeeping

    Mr. Speaker, last December I had the opportunity to lead the Canadian delegation to the UN Peacekeeping Ministerial in Accra, Ghana. It was encouraging to hear so many countries talk about the importance of women, peace and security and, in particular, the Elsie initiative.
    Known as the “Queen of the Hurricanes”, Elsie MacGill was the first woman in the world to earn an aeronautical engineering degree and did much to make Canada a powerhouse in aircraft construction. She was a champion of gender equality in an industry that had, up to that point, been entirely dominated by men. The Elsie initiative carries forward her legacy.
    Since its launch, the Elsie initiative has created interest globally as a unique, bold and insightful policy intervention that seeks to ensure that military and policewomen are represented in UN peacekeeping, across all ranks and functions, in an environment that is conducive to their meaningful participation.

  (1410)  

Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada

    Mr. Speaker, here is a question: How many Canadians stayed in a $9,000-a-night resort owned by a friend over Christmas for free? The answer is very likely none, but there was one, and that was the Prime Minister.
    At a time when two million Canadians are using food banks, the carbon tax is punishing families and businesses, housing is unaffordable for young Canadians while those in their houses can barely afford them as mortgages become due for renewal, and seniors cannot afford groceries and are not eating nutritiously because of the NDP-Liberal government, the Prime Minister did not for a second think that maybe an $87,000 free vacation to a luxury resort was not a good look right now. He clearly did not care.
    What about the 100 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions put into the atmosphere from the not one but two private jets he needed for the trip? We can understand why Canadians are upset about his lack of judgment and his hypocrisy.
    It is clear to everyone that after eight years of the Prime Minister, he is not worth the cost. Canadians see that everything is about him, and that while we live in his world, the rest of us are just squirrels looking for nuts, nuts that not many can afford anymore.

Carbon Tax

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians across this country are paying a high price for the NDP-Liberal government's tax-and-spend agenda.
    After eight years with the carbon tax-obsessed Prime Minister, Canadian families are struggling to put food on the table, put gas in their tanks and keep a warm roof overhead, yet the Prime Minister only wants to punish them more. His April 1 carbon tax is only going to make things worse for the two million Canadians who are already lined up at food banks.
    Bill C-234 is a common-sense piece of legislation that would remove the carbon tax on farm operations to help lower our grocery prices. However, the Prime Minister is hell-bent on quadrupling the carbon tax on farmers and on Canadians.
    It is clearer than ever that the Prime Minister is simply not worth the cost.

Gender Equality

     Mr. Speaker, this past weekend marked the 108th anniversary of a historic milestone in our nation's journey towards equality. It was on January 28, 1916, that my home province of Manitoba blazed a trail by granting women the right to vote; it was the first province in Canada to do so.
    This decision was the result of years' worth of brave and courageous actions by women across Canada, marking a turning point for our country, fostering inclusivity and shaping a more representative democracy. Their efforts deserve our recognition and gratitude.
    As we celebrate this anniversary, let us take pride in the progress made, acknowledge the depth of work yet to be achieved, and commit to continuously advancing gender equality in all spheres of Canadian life.

Indigenous Language Revitalization

     Mr. Speaker, the Nuu-chah-nulth people have suffered enormous loss throughout their 200-year history of colonization, not the least of which has been the devastating loss of language and culture.
    Today, Nuu-chah-nulth elders, educators and learners are making tremendous progress towards revitalizing their indigenous language, in spite of the uncertainty of federal funding from one year to the next. Now their language program funding may be cut by up to 57% because of a newly proposed federal heritage funding formula. The formula fails to recognize that British Columbia has the highest concentration of indigenous language and cultural diversity of any province or territory in the country, with 35 distinct languages and more than 90 dialects.
     As B.C.'s First Peoples' Cultural Council reminds us, “the revitalization of languages, arts and cultural heritage is an essential step in recognizing the rights of and finding reconciliation with indigenous peoples.” Language revitalization is essential to reconciliation, along with fair, predictable, sustained and long-term funding.

[Translation]

Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary Volunteers

    Mr. Speaker, on the evening of September 21, 2018, off the coast of the Lower St. Lawrence, a 22-foot sailboat ran violently aground on a reef, leaving its two sailors clinging to the mast, fearing the worst. Despite extreme weather conditions, 100-kilometre-an-hour winds and three-metre waves, the Canadian Coast Guard auxiliary volunteers in my region took to the sea with one goal in mind: to save lives. Thanks to Ted Savage and his crew, the worst was avoided.
    More than five years after the events, the men who risked their lives to save others have never received any recognition. These people, acting on a volunteer basis, with very little means, deserve all the honours in the world for the acts of bravery they carry out every day.
    That is why I feel humbly compelled to officially thank Johnatan Brunet, Philippe Charbonneau, François‑Xavier Bérubé‑Dufour and Ted Savage on behalf of the people of Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia.

  (1415)  

[English]

Conservative Party of Canada

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians will face a choice in the next election.
    One choice is the out-of-touch, NDP-Liberal coalition. It is a costly coalition with an ever-increasing carbon tax pushing grocery and gas prices higher and higher. It has doubled the cost of housing and increased violent crime by 40%; its dangerous, taxpayer-funded drugs have destroyed thousands of lives.
    However, the other choice is the common-sense Conservative plan to axe the tax on gas, heat and grocery bills; to build more homes instead of more bureaucracy; to cap spending and cut waste to bring down Liberal inflation and interest rates; to make our streets safer by bringing treatment, not taxpayer-funded drugs; and to bring in jail and not bail for repeat violent offenders.
    The choice is clear, and in the next election, Canadians will choose a common-sense Conservative plan to bring it home.

Ajit Singh Badh

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to a community leader, Mr. Ajit Singh Badh, who passed away on January 13 at the age of 87.
     Mr. Ajit Singh Badh immigrated to Canada in 1969, and over half a century, he made several impactful community contributions. He was a founding member of the first Canadian Sikh Panth magazine, Sikh Samachar, and the first individual to own and operate a Punjabi-language radio station outside India.
    Pioneer Ajit Singh Badh deeply believed in the power of community in creating meaningful and positive change. I offer my sincere and deepest condolences to the entire Badh family. Although Mr. Ajit Singh Badh will be deeply missed, his legacy will continue to inspire for generations to come.

Oral Questions

[Oral Questions]

[Translation]

Public Services and Procurement

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years, the Prime Minister says that he had no choice but to double the national debt and drive up inflation and interest rates because every penny he spent was absolutely necessary.
    Today, however, we learned that 76% of the contractors paid from the $54 million spent on the ArriveCAN app did no work.
    Will the Prime Minister get our money back and stop wasting it?
    Mr. Speaker, Canadians know full well that when Conservatives talk about spending, what they really want is to make cuts.
    They want to take away dental care for Canadians. They want to shut down child care centres. They want to end investments in the green economy. That is the reality of Conservative policy, which is so dangerous for Canada.

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, we will cancel the $54 million for the ArriveCAN app, an example of corruption and a Liberal scandal.
    There is also the carbon tax on farmers. The other day when I said that the leader of the Bloc Québécois fully supported the Liberals' economic policies, the spending, the taxes, and the hikes in inflation and interest rates, the Bloc leader flipped out. However, yesterday, he admitted that he was going to change his mind and vote to keep the carbon tax on farm buildings.
    How much will this tax cost farmers and people who buy food?

  (1420)  

    Mr. Speaker, obviously, as an anglophone and member from Ontario, I cannot speak for the Bloc Québécois, but I know that Quebec, the Quebec nation, understands the importance of the environment and the importance of industrial investments in the green economy.
    We are proud to do that. We are proud to do that with the support of all members who understand the importance of Canada's industrial economy.

[English]

Public Services and Procurement

    Mr. Speaker, when the Prime Minister doubled the debt and drove inflation and interest rates to their highest levels in a generation, he said he had no choice, that every penny he spent was necessary. Along came ArriveCAN, a $54-million app that we did not need, that did not work, and that could have been done for $200,000 or $300,000. Now, we have learned, based on the ombudsman's audit, that 76% of the contractors did absolutely no work for the money they received.
    Will the Prime Minister get back this stolen money for taxpayers and stop the waste that is not worth the cost?
    Mr. Speaker, Canadians have learned through bitter experience that, when Conservatives talk about the public finances, what they are really talking about is cutting the government support Canadians depend on. What they are talking about is cutting early learning and child care, which is supporting labour force participation at record levels in Canada and, by the way, making life more affordable for Canadian families. They want to cut dental care. They want to cut essential investments in our green future.

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, we want to cut waste and mismanagement; this has risen to a level that is not worth the cost after eight years under the Prime Minister.
    Speaking of wasteful, the Prime Minister loves to lecture Canadians on how they use energy. He says that he is just like every other Canadian when he stays with a friend for an $89,000-a-week vacation. The average Canadian emits 15 tonnes of carbon per year. His trip emitted 100 tonnes of carbon in one week.
    Did he pay the full carbon tax on each tonne he emitted for his luxurious vacation?
    Mr. Speaker, since we are asking questions of MPs, I have a couple of questions for the Leader of the Opposition. I want to know how much it costs to heat the 19-room government mansion that he lives in. That would be interesting for Canadians to understand.
    The good news for Canadians is that we are helping them with the cost of heating with the carbon rebate. Did his family cash their carbon rebate cheque? It is almost a thousand bucks.
    Mr. Speaker, I can tell the member that I pay for my own vacations and those of my family. Canadians who pay for their own vacations are also paying too much for food. We have a common-sense Conservative bill, Bill C-234, that would take the carbon tax off the farmers who feed us and the consumers who desperately need to put nutrition on their tables.
    Will the Prime Minister stop blocking the bill and pass this law so that Canadians can afford food?
    Mr. Speaker, people who live in glass houses really should not throw stones, and the Leader of the Opposition may be bragging about what he pays for, but I think Canadians should understand that he does not pay any rent on that 19-room mansion that he lives in. In fact, he has been on the government payroll for more than 20 years, and he qualified for a full pension at 35. Now, he wants to take the rebate away from Ontario families. It is $1,000 a year, and he wants to take that away.

  (1425)  

[Translation]

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Prime Minister said that “immigration levels are based on our capacity to welcome and integrate newcomers.” Unfortunately, that is entirely untrue.
    As early as 2022, his public service warned him that if he raised his immigration targets, he would worsen the housing crisis and other things. The Prime Minister went ahead and did it anyway. Now he has to fix a situation caused by his poor judgment.
    On November 1, the Prime Minister promised to review his immigration targets as early as 2024 on the basis of intake capacity and after speaking with Quebec.
    Will he keep his word?
    Mr. Speaker, we can welcome newcomers and build housing at the same time. That is why we negotiated a $1.8-billion contribution agreement with la belle province to build 23,000 housing units and 8,000 affordable housing units.

[English]

    We are going to continue to work with our partners in Quebec to welcome newcomers who contribute essential skills to our economy and build houses at the same time.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals knew that increasing immigration levels would exacerbate the housing crisis. They did it anyway.
    Today, the consequences are blowing up in their face and there is no sign of them rectifying the situation, which they seem incapable of doing.
    No, on the contrary, in 2024, the number of immigrants will increase to 485,000 and in 2025, to 500,000. Even in the middle of a crisis, they continue to increase immigration targets against the advice of their public service and economists.
    When will they do the responsible thing and adjust immigration levels to integration capacity?
    Mr. Speaker, the member across the way seems to forget that we have a unique agreement with Quebec, the Canada-Quebec accord, which transfers more than $700 million a year to Quebec precisely to manage its levels.
    Quebec is almost exclusively responsible for choosing who comes to Quebec. We will work with Quebec to ensure that this is consistent with its integration capacity.
    I have a question for the member across the way. He seems to want to reduce immigration. Where would he like to make these cuts?

[English]

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, with 24 Liberal MPs in Toronto, we get a housing crisis and a Davenport MP who gaslights and attacks the city and the housing workers who are struggling to make sure people have a place to call home. Whether someone was born here or moved here, no one should live on the streets. The city and the housing groups are just asking the Liberal government to do its fair share.
    Will the Liberals provide the $250 million that Toronto needs now?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member opposite for pointing to the importance of the great city I have the privilege of representing, Toronto, which is such an engine of economic growth for our entire country. We are having very constructive conversations with the City of Toronto and with the Province of Ontario. We are providing $1.5 billion for Toronto in 2023-24. We are there for Toronto more than any government in Canadian history.

Grocery Industry

    Mr. Speaker, the out-of-touch Liberals continue to let down Toronto.

[Translation]

    Yesterday, the Minister of Industry made me laugh. He said he was disappointed in the big grocery stores. He asked people to read the flyers and failed to stabilize prices, and now he says that we need another investigation. We know what the problem is: People are getting taken for a ride as the CEOs fill their pockets.
    When will the Liberals stop protecting the big grocers' profits?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his important question. I think the price of groceries is an issue that affects all Canadians. That is why Canadians understand that the best way to stabilize prices in the medium and long term is to have more competition in this country. That is exactly why we amended the Competition Act in December to give the commissioner of competition more power. Yesterday, on behalf of all Canadians, I asked him to use these new powers to help stabilize prices in Canada. The leader of the NDP should be happy about that.

  (1430)  

[English]

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, another year means another carbon tax increase on April 1. It was -50°C in some places in this country where Canadians cannot even afford to heat their homes.
    Yesterday, the finance minister lectured Canadians on her out-of-touch version of events, and then we learned that the Liberals were going to change the name of the carbon tax. Taking money out of the pockets of Canadians rebranded is still taking money out of their pockets. So, instead of paying high-priced consultants to change the carbon tax name, they should take some free advice and cancel it April 1.
    Mr. Speaker, let me tell members what is really out of touch. What is out of touch is for a Toronto MP, like the one sitting opposite, to be saying to the people of Ontario, to the hard-working families of Ontario, “We are going to take away the $974 you are getting back thanks to the price on pollution. We are going to cut that money that goes directly to your family budget. Oh, and by the way, we are going to cut day care and dental care along the way too.”
    That is not going to help anyone is Canada.
    Mr. Speaker, I do not remember a government so indifferent to the plight of Canadians. The minister's advice of cutting Disney+ is cold comfort to the woman who is putting water in her children's milk. The cost of some produce is up 94% since she got here. The Liberals can lower the cost of food, gas and home heating by cancelling the increase instead of quadrupling the tax. They paused it for one region where their MPs revolted. Where are the rest of their silent MPs who should be speaking up for their neighbours who are asking to cancel the increase?
    Mr. Speaker, when it comes to being out of touch with regular Canadians, I will tell members what was out of touch. It was having a temporary leader who charged $20,000 to move into her temporary house and then charged Canadian taxpayers more than $5,000 for bed and bath linens, which is for towels and sheets.
     What Canadians need to know is that these Conservatives would cut child care, dental care and the carbon rebate people are getting.
    Mr. Speaker, that Deputy Prime Minister is so out of touch. This is the truth: After eight years, Canadians cannot afford to eat, heat or house themselves. Last year, two million Canadians needed help from food banks every month. That is a shocking 78% increase from just two years before, and food banks say that 2024 will be even worse.
    The Conservative common-sense bill, Bill C-234, would take the tax off farmers to lower food prices right now, but the Liberals forced senators to gut it. Why will the Liberals not axe the tax on farmers to bring down food prices for Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, we will take no lessons from these austerity Conservatives when it comes to supporting the most vulnerable Canadians. Since we formed government, 2.3 million Canadians have been lifted out of poverty, and the poverty rate has fallen from 14.5% when they were in government to 7.4%.
     The Conservatives want to cut child care and dental care. That MP from Alberta wants to cut the $1,500 Alberta families are getting from the price on pollution.
    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals' schemes, scams and spin jobs do not help the millions of desperate hungry Canadians struggling just to get by every single month.
    This is the fact: when one taxes the farmer who produces the food, the trucker who ships the food and the cost of heating and cooling and storing the food, Canadians cannot afford the food.
    These out-of-touch carbon tax crusaders do not care. They are going to quadruple it on April 1. Conservatives would axe the tax for all for good.
    Why will these Liberals not just pass Bill C-234, reject the Senate amendments, axe the tax on farmers and bring down food prices today?

  (1435)  

    Mr. Speaker, I will tell us where Conservatives were focused just over a week ago. A who's who collection of Conservatives gathered for a pep talk from far-right U.S. commentator Tucker Carlson—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order.
    It is important, once again, for us to be able to hear the questions and the answers. I know that, yesterday, if we will recall, there was a member who had complained about the noise level, which made it difficult to hear, especially for people who need to listen to the translation.
    The hon. minister, from the top, please.
    Mr. Speaker, last week, a who's who of Conservatives gathered in Alberta for a lecture in a series with far-right commentator Tucker Carlson. In that speech, one of them, which had the premier, Danielle Smith, attend, we heard attacks on francophones, homophobic jokes and the traditional best hits of MAGA politicians.
    A Conservative nomination candidate in my riding went on Twitter and had lots of fun on it.
    Will his leader stand with the candidate or call him out or is he standing with Tucker Carlson?
    Mr. Speaker, after eight years of this NDP-Liberal government, Canadians who used to belong to the middle class are going hungry. The Prime Minister and his radical environment minister know that if it costs the farmer more to grow food, it is going to cost Canadians more to buy food. This Prime Minister is not worth the cost.
    Farmers, ranchers and producers are asking for Bill C-234 to lower their costs. Will the Liberals finally reject the amendments to Bill C-234 from the Senate, remove the carbon tax completely and lower the price of food for all Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, I fully understand the importance of looking after the land. Being a farmer, I fully understand taking steps to prepare the industry for the future.
    That is why we invested, as a government, $1.5 billion to make sure our farmers, ranchers and processors are ready for the future. We are going to continue to make sure our farmers and ranchers remain on the cutting edge.
    Mr. Speaker, the two million Canadians who rely on food banks deserve better than that cheap deflection. One in five Ontario households who struggle to put food on their tables deserve better. They need this government to stop inflating food prices. They need the Prime Minister to stand up to his radical environment minister and carve out the inflationary carbon tax for our farmers, producers and ranchers.
    Would the Liberals finally do the right thing, reject the Senate amendments to Bill C-234, remove the carbon tax for farmers and lower the price of food for Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, being a farmer, the member must fully understand that it is so important that we invest in what farmers do. When one sees what takes place across the country, with the devastating fires and floods, it is so important that we take care of the environment.
    Farmers fully understand that one has to take care of the land and the environment, and if not, one's food price will increase dramatically. We will continue to make sure we support our farmers and ranchers right across this country.

[Translation]

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, since 2021, the federal government has been withholding the money it owes Quebec for taking in asylum seekers. It has been so long that the bill has reached $470 million.
    Yesterday, at last, the government announced in the newspapers that there would be some good news today. It is 2:40 p.m., and there is still nothing. Yesterday, in his first question of 2024, the minister talked about playing politics at the expense of immigrants. Do they know what it means to play politics at the expense of immigrants? It means withholding for years the money needed to provide them with services.
    Where is the money?

  (1440)  

    Mr. Speaker, the member was here in the House. He did not learn about it in the papers, unless he did not listen.
    I was the one who announced that there would be good news this week. It will deal with matters under my authority, and naturally, Quebec will not be getting all that it asked for. That is very clear, but it will deal with matters under my authority.
    It is our responsibility to support asylum seekers and to support Quebec in its efforts to ensure that these people are well supported. It is a dual responsibility. We will continue our good work together.
    Mr. Speaker, Quebec does not play politics on the backs of immigrants. These people need services, and Quebec is scrambling to provide them at Quebeckers' expense. People come first and money matters come later.
    It is only here, in Ottawa, where the policies are not up to snuff. It is only here that the government has been trying for years to save money at the expense of asylum seekers and Quebec. Today, I would invite the federal government to take the high road and face up to its responsibilities.
    Where is the $470 million?
    Mr. Speaker, the government is not saving money by giving Quebec $700 million a year under the Canada-Quebec accord, in addition to a surplus of over $700 million that we have never asked Quebec about. We never asked for an accounting, but obviously there will have to be a conversation about that with Quebec. We are ready to have that conversation. We are already having some good discussions.
    As I said, there will be good news later this week.
    Mr. Speaker, obviously, the heart of the matter is the quality of services offered to asylum seekers. Money is essential, but there is much more to it than that.
    Last year alone, Quebeckers welcomed more than 65,000 asylum seekers. That is almost half the total for all of Canada. Our public services and community organizations are overwhelmed. We lack resources. Quebec has exceeded its integration capacity.
    In the interest of fairness—but, more importantly, to guarantee adequate services for asylum seekers—will the minister finally organize how integration is shared among the provinces?
    Mr. Speaker, it is nice to hear the member opposite admit that this responsibility falls to both levels of government. Last year, he was claiming that it was solely Canada's responsibility, and that all the provinces needed was money.
    We are clearly going to work together. We clearly need to make more effort. There are two provinces that are overburdened, Ontario and Quebec. This is something we can do as a team. We are a federation, and a beautiful one at that.

[English]

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, for far too many Canadians, the dream of home ownership is dead, and it lays squarely on the Liberal-NDP government. After eight years, mortgages have doubled and a staggering three out of four families cannot afford a home.
    Canadians know that the Prime Minister is not worth the cost, a cost brought about by a truly impressive mix of arrogance and indifference to the suffering of many Canadians.
    When will the government take a break from its Jamaican junkets and actually address the housing hell in Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, with respect, my hon. colleague is simply trying to prey on the very real anxiety that families are feeling across this country. At the same time, she advances a plan that will build fewer homes than we are already on track to build.
    We have removed the GST from homebuilding in this country. The Conservatives want to put it back on. We are investing directly in affordable housing. The Conservatives want to cut it. We have put a $4 billion fund on the table to reduce red tape with cities, and they have committed to doing away with that too.
    We will get the homes built. They only stand in the way.
    Mr. Speaker, those are more empty words while Canadians are spiralling out of control. It is not only home ownership that the Liberal-NDP government has managed to turn from a dream into a nightmare but also rent. In the last two years alone, rents have increased by 22%. That is nearly $400 a month. After eight years of its war on affordable housing and rent, the government is forcing Canadians out from the suburbs and into tent cities in parking lots.
    When will the government stop the photo ops and actually fix the housing and affordability crisis that is hammering Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, for years, the Conservative approach to policies that would actually help people was to prey on their anxieties rather than to advance ideas that would actually address them.
    The member is supporting her leader's plan, which is going to build fewer homes than we are already on track to build. We have removed the GST from apartments to help bring down rent. She is campaigning on a commitment to put that GST back on for a lot of middle-class apartments, which would increase the cost of living. When it comes to affordable housing, we have put programs in place to support their construction. They have promised to cut it.
     We are going to continue to put money on the table to build more homes. The Conservative's policies would drive up rent.

  (1445)  

[Translation]

    Before I give the member for Louis‑Saint‑Laurent the floor, I would urge all members to show respect for those listening to the interpretation and refrain from commenting during questions and answers.
    The member for Louis‑Saint‑Laurent.
    Mr. Speaker, the impact of the Liberal housing crisis is devastating.
    Yesterday, Radio-Canada reported that university students in Montreal are having to go to Auberges du cœur, a homeless shelter. According to the president of the Fédération étudiante collégiale du Québec, “This speaks to the magnitude of the crisis. Going there is not a solution. It takes spaces away from people experiencing homelessness.” This kind of thing should not be happening in Montreal. It should not be happening in Canada.
    The Bloc Québécois supports the Liberals' economic policies, but when will this government understand that inflationary budgets help nobody?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we understand well the challenges that young people in this country are facing when it comes to finding a place to live that they can actually afford.
    That is why, just yesterday, we advanced a new policy that is going to make low-cost loans available to build more student residences across this country. We are going to continue to advance policies that do not just allow students to find places they can afford next to where they go to school but that are going to free up supply that exists within communities today.
    The Conservatives will tap into people's anxieties for their political gain. We will advance policies that actually address them.
    Mr. Speaker, there is no political gain. This is the truth, the reality of Canadians on a daily basis.

[Translation]

    What has this government achieved over the past eight years? It has doubled the cost of rent and doubled mortgage payments. We need 3.5 million new houses. We barely got 35,000 last year. Two million Canadians are using food banks. That is not politicking; that is the Liberal record.
    When will this government act in the best interest of all Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my opposition colleague and I can see he is very passionate about this.
    Having said that, I am happy to be on this side of the House, with a government that began rolling out the very first national housing strategy in 2016 to put a roof over the heads of Canadians across the country, rather than with a party that wants to insult the mayors of our cities, because when someone insults mayors in Quebec, they are insulting all Quebeckers.

[English]

Grocery Industry

    Mr. Speaker, no one should miss a meal.
    However, seniors in Canada cannot afford sky-high grocery prices. While big grocery CEOs rake in record profits, seniors are making difficult decisions at the grocery store. It does not stop there. Loblaws even tried to cut discounts on nearly expired food. Corporate greed has no limit.
    While the Liberals continue to let it happen, the Conservative opposition wants to let those big companies get even more of a payout. Why are the Liberals allowing CEOs to gouge Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, we remain focused on the affordability needs of seniors.
    In fact, we are very proud on this side of the House that one of the first things we did was to make sure the age for OAS was maintained at 65 years old, not 67. This was not a change that should have been made here in the House or a change that should have been made at the World Economic Forum, which it was, in Davos, Switzerland.
    Instead, we are maintaining and increasing supports for seniors in this country.

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, when it comes to the over-25,000 Palestinians killed by Netanyahu's brutal bombardment, the Liberals have done nothing to uphold international law and to protect innocent civilian lives. When it comes to Islamophobia and anti-Palestinian hate crimes, the Liberals have failed to stop it here in Canada.
    The community feels so betrayed that yesterday, the National Council of Canadian Muslims cancelled their meeting with the Prime Minister because they are tired of his broken lies—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!

  (1450)  

    The hon. member is an experienced parliamentarian. He knows very well that we cannot accuse hon. members of deliberately lying. That is unparliamentary language. I will ask the hon. member to withdraw that comment.
    Mr. Speaker, I withdraw it, because they are tired of the broken promises.
    What will it take for the Liberal government to listen, to start protecting Palestinian lives in Gaza and to combat Islamophobia and anti-Palestinian hate here in Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, this gives me an opportunity to talk about the announcement we made today to deal precisely with this issue. There is $40 million, additional, to deliver life-saving food, medicine and other supplies to Palestinians through trusted international partners, including the World Health Organization, the World Food Programme, UNICEF and many others. We have always centred our decisions around the protection of innocent civilians in Gaza, and through this allocation, we have upped our game to $100 million in humanitarian assistance to Palestinians.

Diversity and Inclusion

    Mr. Speaker, for the past few months, there has been a significant rise in hate impacting communities across the country. All of us have a role to play during these difficult times to bring Canadians together.
    Can the Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Persons with Disabilities share some of the measures we have taken to support Canadians and to encourage unity?
    Mr. Speaker, during this difficult time for so many communities, we know there is still more that unites us than divides us as Canadians. That is why I am pleased to announce $3 million toward a building community resiliency call to action. This funding seeks to support local initiatives that drive positive change by building bridges and connecting communities together.
     When it comes to fighting discrimination and racism, let us learn about each other from one another. Our focus continues to be working together to heal divides and to protect communities from hate right here at home.

[Translation]

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, this government has been in power for eight years. Let us consider the damage it has done to our country. This Liberal Prime Minister has plunged Canadians into the worst housing crisis. We Conservatives have a plan: We will reward cities that accelerate housing construction, like Saguenay, Trois-Rivières and Victoriaville.
    What does the Prime Minister have to say to desperate families that are unable to afford rent or those who cannot find housing?
    Mr. Speaker, it must be extremely difficult to be a Conservative member from Quebec.
    Members will recall that before the holidays, the Conservatives repeatedly voted against Quebec, against the Plains of Abraham project, against farmers, against the Magdalen Islands and against the St-Tite festival. This year, their leader added fuel to the fire by coming to Quebec and insulting all Quebeckers and our leaders.
    I urge the member to leave the dark side and come join us in working for all Quebeckers.
    Mr. Speaker, again, this government is spreading disinformation.
    The member for Gaspésie—Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine is also misleading the House. She should worry about her own region. The Gaspé and the Magdalen Islands are grappling with an unprecedented housing crisis. Members do not have to take my word for it. This is coming from Ambroise Henry, the director general of the Groupe ressource en logements collectifs, the communal housing resource group in the Gaspé and the Magdalen Islands.
    What is she actually doing to help the people of the Magdalen Islands find a solution for housing?
    I often have a hard time hearing the members on the far side of the room. I would ask the member for Lac-Saint-Jean to be quiet when members are asking and answering questions.
    The hon. Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard.
    Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned yesterday, I would say to my colleague across the way, who tells us to get off our islands, that we have indeed left our Magdalen Islands and that Magdalen Islanders have gone all over Canada. These are people who are involved in their community.
    If he has a backbone, he will stand up and apologize to Magdalen Islanders.

  (1455)  

    Members know full well that they cannot impugn the reputation of another member. I invite the minister to withdraw her comments about the member for Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier.
    Mr. Speaker, I apologize.
    I thank the minister.
    The hon. member for Dufferin—Caledon.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, every day the Minister of Housing rises in the House, he has a new program, a new announcement. The cheque is in the mail. All of these things—
    Some hon members: Oh, oh!
    Order. I invite the member for Dufferin—Caledon to start from the top, and I invite other members to please listen to the question without interruption.
    Mr. Speaker, every day, the housing minister pops up and has a new program, a new plan—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I invite the government House leader and the chief whip to please ask their members to listen quietly to the question without interruption.
    The hon. member from Dufferin—Caledon, from the top. I hope it will be the last time he will have to start his question again.
    Mr. Speaker, every day, the housing minister pops up and celebrates his new announcement, his new project or his new scheme, but the sad thing is that the Liberals do not actually build a single house.
    Meanwhile, in the real world, after eight years of the NDP-Liberal government, rents are skyrocketing. In fact, asking rent is now up 22%. Donna's rent in Orangeville is going up again and she cannot afford it.
    When will the minister realize that these announcements are doing nothing and that housing is a disaster, and apologize to Donna and to Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, perhaps my hon. colleague is confused about the pace at which we are advancing new policies, because on the Conservative side he is not used to seeing the work actually getting done.
    Let us compare our plan to theirs, They would put Canada on a track to build fewer homes than we were already projecting to have built in the years ahead. We have cut taxes; they will raise them. We have made investments; they will cut them. We have completely changed the way large cities in this country are zoning to build more housing; the Conservatives oppose that too.
    We will do what it takes to build homes, to bring down rents and to make sure every Canadian has a roof over their head.
    Mr. Speaker, all of that leads us to exactly where we are today: nowhere. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment is up 12% to $1,900, and rent for a two-bedroom apartment is up 9.8% to $2,300. Rent is now at a record high across Canada: $2,100, up 8.6%. Why is that? It is because all they have are phony announcements and photo ops.
    When will he finally admit they have made the mess that Canadians are suffering through, apologize to people like Donna and apologize to Canadians? It is their mess.
    Mr. Speaker, since the adoption of the national housing strategy, hundreds of thousands of homes have been constructed or renovated to support Canadians who need help. There are millions of Canadians who have benefited directly from government supports to ensure that they could keep a roof over their head. We are going to continue to put policies in place that will improve the quality of life people get to enjoy, by helping them find a place they can afford.
    The Conservative plan would raise taxes on home building, cut funding for cities that are trying to change their rules and eliminate supports for affordable housing altogether. That is the wrong approach. It was tried; it has failed.
    We will build the homes to support Canadians.

  (1500)  

[Translation]

Public Services and Procurement

    Mr. Speaker, I want to talk about a public servant from the Quebec City area who ended up $25,000 in debt because of the government. It all began in 2016 when the Phoenix pay system began to repeatedly forget to issue him his paycheque. Now, seven years later, despite all of the calls he has made and everything he has done to try to remedy the problem, he has had to refinance his home and is struggling with a great deal of stress.
    I have to ask. Would this happen to the minister? Would the system “forget” to issue a paycheque if the payee were the minister?
    Mr. Speaker, as my colleague is well aware and as she said so well, it is completely unacceptable for public servants, those who put all their talent and energy into working for the public service, to not be paid properly and on time. That is why we must work harder every day so that people like the person the member mentioned get what they need and what they are owed for the work they do, for the time and talent they put into serving our country.
    Mr. Speaker, an isolated case would be cause enough for a scandal, but we are talking about 448,000 Phoenix-related payroll problems in 2023 alone. Public servants are even avoiding changing their address or accepting a promotion because they are afraid of experiencing pay issues if they make the slightest change. Worst of all, this government sees no urgency in paying what it owes its own employees.
    When will the minister finally open his eyes and fix this incredible fiasco that would bankrupt any private company?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank our colleague once again for raising this issue. She is right. We need to invest more in order to pay our public servants on time and correctly, and that is why we are currently hiring hundreds of new compensation officers. We are investing in improved technology that will enable better information flow between the departments concerned and the payroll centre, most of whose employees are in Miramichi. We have already done a lot of work, but there is a lot more to come over the next few months.

[English]

Finance

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals are great at breaking things. They have broken the bank. They have broken the law, and they have broken the budget.
    It turns out that budgets do not balance themselves. Record government spending leads to record inflation and soaring interest rates. Canadians need the budget fixed. A dollar of new spending must be met with a dollar of savings. It is a simple concept; even children can understand it.
    Will the Liberals finally end their inflationary spending, or will they keep breaking the budget?
    Mr. Speaker, bitter experience has taught Canadians that whenever Conservatives talk about public finances, whenever they talk about saving money, what they are talking about is taking money away from Canadians.
    They are talking, to be very specific, about taking away early learning and child care. They are talking about taking away dental care and about taking away the investments in things like the EV factories in Ontario that are the jobs of today and the future.
    Mr. Speaker, I will tell members what Conservatives are going to cut. We are going to cut broken apps and we are going to cut high-priced consultants because Conservatives talk directly to Canadians, so we do not need to spend billions of dollars to find out what Canadians think.
    Let me tell members what Canadians are thinking. They want to axe the tax. They want to fix the budget. They want to build homes. They want to stop crime. Will the Liberals finally listen to them?

  (1505)  

    Mr. Speaker, we have learned just now about one specific thing Conservatives will cut. I am an MP for Ontario. The member opposite is too. They are going to cut the nearly $1,000 that an average family of four in Ontario is getting right now. That is money that is helping people every day. Of course they are going to cut child care; they voted against it. They are going to cut dental care, and they will not make the investments our economy needs.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, this government has been spending recklessly for the past eight years. The ArriveCAN app cost $54 million. The billion-dollar green fund is turning out just like the sponsorship scandal, the Canada Infrastructure Bank and any number of other unnecessary expenditures that make it impossible to balance the budget. Then there are the massive amounts of money spent on contracts for consultants of all kinds. Conservatives want a plan to balance the budget.
    Does the government plan to listen to common sense and use its next budget to achieve that balance in the near term?
    Mr. Speaker, I am very happy to get a question from a Quebec MP about our government's investments, because this gives me the opportunity to talk about our investments in early childhood care. This initiative started in Quebec. We are proud to be helping Quebec with this crucial work.
    We are also proud that our work with the province has led to the biggest investment in Quebec's history, the investment in Northvolt.

Regional Economic Development

    Mr. Speaker, our government cares deeply about Montreal East. This area has long been neglected and associated with refineries and heavy industry, but the time has come to transform it into a hub of economic and social development.
    Can the minister tell us how the federal government is working with other levels of government to help revitalize Montreal East and support businesses like Les Laboratoires MZL Inc.?
    Mr. Speaker, when I ran in 2019, and with the government's support, we made a commitment to host the very first Sommet de l'Est, a summit about Montreal East. Last November, working with the Chambre de commerce de l'Est de Montréal, we managed to gather together more than 800 participants from all levels of government and announced over $750 million in investments. This was the largest show of support that Montreal East had ever seen.
    We are here for Montreal East. We are going to work with all partners to ensure that Montreal East achieves the socio-economic potential it desperately needs.

[English]

Public Services and Procurement

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years of the Liberal-NDP government, Liberal insiders have never had it so good, and Canadians are paying a high price.
    Yesterday's ombudsman report on ArriveCAN reveals that procurement policies were ignored over and over again. Companies were given preferential treatment even though they lied in their bids to secure millions of dollars in contracts. This is more Liberal corruption and waste, proving that the Prime Minister is not worth the cost.
    When will the Liberal ministers come clean with Canadians and tell them why they gave this work to their buddies?
    Mr. Speaker, it is important to remember that the ArriveCAN app was built to help save lives during an extraordinary time. However, with that being said, we expect the procurement process to be followed, and I have said time and time again in the House that any wrongdoing in the procurement process would face consequences. The CBSA has already begun this important work by calling in the police when necessary and by doing internal audits. We are committed to ensuring that the procurement processes are always followed.
    Mr. Speaker, after eight years of the Liberal-NDP government, scandal continues to follow it with the ArriveCAN app.
     Liberals insisted there were no forged resumes. However, it is a fact that almost 40% of the resumes GC Strategies sent in were forged. Liberals insisted security was never compromised, but it is a fact that almost 80% of all contracts did not follow security protocol. Liberals insisted procurement rules were followed; the fact is that the system was rigged in favour of GC Strategies.
    I have a question for the Liberal government: What kind of operation is it running over there?

  (1510)  

    Mr. Speaker, what we expect from the public service is that it implement contracts based on government policies that follow the rules and procurement policies, and when we were aware—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order, please.
    I ask colleagues to please keep it down so I can hear the answer from the hon. member.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary, from the top, please.
    Mr. Speaker, when our government released government policies during the global pandemic to help save Canadian lives, we expected the public service to implement these contracts following the procurement policies and rules set out by the government.
    We are concerned with some of the initial findings, as is the CBSA president. That is why she has already implemented measures, including calling in the police when necessary and conducting more internal audits. There will be consequences for anyone who did not follow the procurement processes.

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years of the NDP-Liberal government, we have a Prime Minister who has been caught misleading Canadians multiple times. Most recently, it is his $84,000 gifted vacation to a luxurious Jamaican villa. What he told Canadians was that he was paying for it, but we do not know what he told the Ethics Commissioner. Now we do know that in fact it was a gift. He did not pay anything. He took an $84,000 gift.
    The Ethics Commissioner said that, unlike what the government House leader said, the trip was not pre-cleared, so when will the House leader and the Prime Minister start telling Canadians the truth?
    Mr. Speaker, of course the member was able to hear this directly from the Ethics Commissioner this morning when he appeared at committee. He was very clear on this matter. He confirmed that the office had been consulted by the Prime Minister's Office before the Prime Minister and his family went on their vacation. He also confirmed that his office provided advice on this matter and that the Prime Minister took that advice and went on a Christmas holiday with his family. The commissioner told committee members that, as far as he concerned, there is nothing further on this matter.

Labour

    Mr. Speaker, our government believes workplaces should be safe, respectful, and free from harassment and violence. The Canada Labour Code includes numerous provisions to that effect, and Canada has international obligations that outline that same commitment. One year ago today, Canada ratified convention 190 of the International Labour Organization on violence and harassment.
    Can the Minister of Labour provide insight on this convention and the important role Canada plays in international organizations like the ILO?
    Mr. Speaker, one year ago today Canada signed convention 190 of the International Labour Organization, which is a part of the United Nations. Convention 190 aims to eliminate violence and harassment in workplaces across the globe because no one should face violence or harassment on the job, not in Canada, not anywhere. Today this becomes a protected right for every worker in Canada. Canada is proud to be a founding member of the ILO, and let me add that on this side of the House, we are proud to be a founding member of the United Nations.
    Mr. Speaker, today I joined the hundreds of workers on strike at the Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services. Their key demands are fair wages, better job security and respect, but the Liberal government refuses to even sit down to negotiate a fair deal. These are workers who support our military with critical wellness services. When they wrote to local Liberal MPs asking for support, they were told the minister did not know that these 4,000 workers were his responsibility.
    Will the Minister of National Defence finally accept his obligation to these workers and get back to the bargaining table?
    Mr. Speaker, this is an important question because the services provided by those non-public employees are important to the Canadian Armed Forces, and those workers deserve a decent contract. We support a resolution of this labour dispute at the table, and we will continue to support both sides coming back to the table. That is the right place to find the solution.

  (1515)  

Indigenous Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, it is another winter, and another tragic fire in Treaty 9. Children at Eabametoong First Nation have no school because it burned in a fire, and there was no fire service. Last winter, Peawanuck lost a beautiful 10-year-old child to a fire, and the government's response was, “We'll buy you a truck, but we're not going to pay for the fire hall.” How does one do fire safety at -45°C without a fire hall?
    Will the minister stop nickel-and-diming the people of Treaty 9 and commit to, for all the communities, properly funded fire halls and vehicles, and for the children of Eabametoong, a new school? Every child deserves safety and a comfy school.
    Mr. Speaker, I think all Canadians were so sad to hear about the fire that destroyed the school in Eabametoong. I spoke with Chief Atlookan on Friday night to reiterate to the chief that we will work with the community, not only on fire prevention, with the truck waiting for the ice roads so it can be delivered, but also on making sure that those students have a plan to complete their year of study. I will be meeting with the chief, and indeed the CEO of Matawa First Nations tribal council, to be very clear about the support our government will continue to provide to Eabametoong.
    Mr. Speaker, I believe if you seek it, you would find unanimous consent for the following motion. I move that this House call for the immediate release of Vladimir—
    Some hon. members: No.
    I am already hearing a number of noes.
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I wonder if you could clarify the cases in which an individual is expected to apologize for a violation of the rules and when an individual is not expected to apologize for a violation of the rules.
    During question period, a member used unparliamentary language and was not expected to apologize. Meanwhile, earlier today, a member of the Conservative caucus was forced to—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    The member is right next to me, but I cannot hear anything.
    I would ask the hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan to give us the substance of his point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, I wonder if you could clarify the rules with respect to the cases in which members are expected to apologize for a violation of the rules and the cases in which members are not required to apologize.
    I note the difference between the treatment of a member of the NDP caucus during question period and that of a member of the Conservative caucus this morning, even though the violation by the member from the NDP caucus was evidently much more egregious.
    I know the Chair is seized with the issue that transpired this morning. The Speaker will be returning with a ruling on that as soon as is practicable.

Orders of the Day

[Orders of the Day]

[English]

Committees of the House

Procedure and House Affairs  

    The House resumed from January 29 consideration of the motion, and of the amendment.
    It being 3:18 p.m., the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the amendment to the motion to concur in the 55th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.
    Call in the members.

  (1530)  

    (The House divided on the amendment, which was negatived on the following division:)
 

(Division No. 613)

YEAS

Members

Aboultaif
Aitchison
Albas
Allison
Arnold
Baldinelli
Barlow
Barrett
Barsalou-Duval
Beaulieu
Bergeron
Berthold
Bérubé
Bezan
Blanchet
Blanchette-Joncas
Block
Brassard
Brock
Brunelle-Duceppe
Calkins
Caputo
Carrie
Chabot
Chambers
Champoux
Chong
Cooper
Dalton
Dancho
Davidson
DeBellefeuille
Deltell
Desbiens
Desilets
Doherty
Dowdall
Dreeshen
Duncan (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Ellis
Epp
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Fast
Ferreri
Findlay
Fortin
Gallant
Garon
Gaudreau
Généreux
Genuis
Gill
Gladu
Godin
Goodridge
Gourde
Gray
Hallan
Hoback
Jeneroux
Kelly
Khanna
Kitchen
Kmiec
Kram
Kramp-Neuman
Kurek
Kusie
Lake
Lantsman
Larouche
Lawrence
Lehoux
Lemire
Leslie
Lewis (Essex)
Lewis (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Liepert
Lloyd
Lobb
Maguire
Majumdar
Martel
Mazier
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McLean
Melillo
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: -- 149


NAYS

Members

Aldag
Alghabra
Ali
Anand
Anandasangaree
Angus
Arseneault
Arya
Ashton
Atwin
Bachrach
Badawey
Bains
Baker
Barron
Battiste
Beech
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
Fraser
Freeland
Gaheer
Gainey
Garrison
Gazan
Gerretsen
Gould
Green
Guilbeault
Hajdu
Hanley
Hardie
Hepfner
Holland
Housefather
Hussen
Hutchings
Iacono
Idlout
Ien
Jaczek
Johns
Jones
Jowhari
Julian
Kayabaga
Kelloway
Khalid
Khera
Koutrakis
Kusmierczyk
Lalonde
Lambropoulos
Lametti
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Lattanzio
Lauzon
LeBlanc
Lebouthillier
Lightbound
Long
Longfield
Louis (Kitchener—Conestoga)
MacAulay (Cardigan)
MacDonald (Malpeque)
MacGregor
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
Maloney
Martinez Ferrada
Masse
Mathyssen
May (Cambridge)
May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
McDonald (Avalon)
McGuinty
McKay
McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)
McLeod
McPherson
Mendès
Mendicino
Miao
Miller
Morrice
Morrissey
Murray
Naqvi
Ng
Noormohamed
O'Connell
Oliphant
O'Regan
Petitpas Taylor
Powlowski
Qualtrough
Robillard
Rodriguez
Rogers
Romanado
Rota
Sahota
Sajjan
Saks
Samson
Sarai
Scarpaleggia
Schiefke
Serré
Sgro
Shanahan
Sheehan
Sidhu (Brampton East)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Singh
Sorbara
Sousa
St-Onge
Sudds
Tassi
Taylor Roy
Thompson
Trudeau
Turnbull
Valdez
Van Bynen
van Koeverden
Vandal
Vandenbeld
Virani
Weiler
Wilkinson
Yip
Zahid
Zarrillo
Zuberi

Total: -- 178


PAIRED

Members

Bragdon
Joly

Total: -- 2


    I declare the amendment defeated.
    The next question is on the main motion.

[Translation]

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

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I would request a recorded vote, please.
    Before the Clerk announced the results of the vote:

  (1555)  

[Translation]

     Mr. Speaker, as you know, the member for Beloeil—Chambly, leader of the Bloc Québécois, was unable to open his app because it failed. He was unable to open Zoom.
    I seek unanimous consent for his vote to be recorded as no for the last vote.

  (1600)  

[English]

    I am hearing “no”s.

  (1605)  

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

(Division No. 614)

YEAS

Members

Aldag
Alghabra
Ali
Anand
Anandasangaree
Angus
Arseneault
Arya
Ashton
Atwin
Bachrach
Badawey
Bains
Baker
Barron
Battiste
Beech
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
Duguid
Dzerowicz
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Erskine-Smith
Fillmore
Fisher
Fonseca
Fortier
Fragiskatos
Fraser
Freeland
Gaheer
Gainey
Garrison
Gazan
Gerretsen
Gould
Green
Guilbeault
Hajdu
Hanley
Hardie
Hepfner
Holland
Housefather
Hutchings
Iacono
Idlout
Ien
Jaczek
Johns
Jones
Jowhari
Julian
Kayabaga
Kelloway
Khalid
Khera
Koutrakis
Kusmierczyk
Lalonde
Lambropoulos
Lametti
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Lattanzio
Lauzon
LeBlanc
Lebouthillier
Lightbound
Long
Longfield
Louis (Kitchener—Conestoga)
MacAulay (Cardigan)
MacDonald (Malpeque)
MacGregor
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
Maloney
Martinez Ferrada
Masse
Mathyssen
May (Cambridge)
May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
McDonald (Avalon)
McGuinty
McKay
McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)
McLeod
McPherson
Mendès
Mendicino
Miao
Miller
Morrice
Morrissey
Murray
Naqvi
Noormohamed
O'Connell
Oliphant
O'Regan
Petitpas Taylor
Powlowski
Qualtrough
Robillard
Rodriguez
Rogers
Romanado
Rota
Sahota
Sajjan
Saks
Samson
Sarai
Scarpaleggia
Schiefke
Serré
Sgro
Shanahan
Sheehan
Sidhu (Brampton East)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Singh
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: -- 174


NAYS

Members

Aboultaif
Aitchison
Albas
Allison
Arnold
Baldinelli
Barlow
Barrett
Barsalou-Duval
Beaulieu
Bergeron
Berthold
Bérubé
Bezan
Blanchette-Joncas
Block
Brassard
Brock
Brunelle-Duceppe
Calkins
Caputo
Carrie
Chabot
Chambers
Champoux
Chong
Cooper
Dalton
Dancho
Davidson
DeBellefeuille
Deltell
Desbiens
Desilets
Doherty
Dowdall
Dreeshen
Duncan (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Ellis
Epp
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Fast
Ferreri
Findlay
Fortin
Gallant
Garon
Gaudreau
Généreux
Genuis
Gill
Gladu
Godin
Goodridge
Gourde
Gray
Hallan
Hoback
Jeneroux
Kelly
Khanna
Kitchen
Kmiec
Kram
Kramp-Neuman
Kurek
Kusie
Lake
Lantsman
Larouche
Lawrence
Lehoux
Lemire
Lewis (Essex)
Lewis (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Liepert
Lloyd
Lobb
Maguire
Majumdar
Martel
Mazier
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McLean
Melillo
Michaud
Moore
Morantz
Morrison
Motz
Muys
Nater
Normandin
Patzer
Paul-Hus
Pauzé
Perkins
Perron
Plamondon
Rayes
Redekopp
Reid
Rempel Garner
Richards
Roberts
Rood
Ruff
Savard-Tremblay
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: -- 145


PAIRED

Members

Bragdon
Joly

Total: -- 2


    I declare the motion carried.
    I wish to inform the House that because of the deferred recorded divisions, Government Orders will be extended by 48 minutes.

Russia

    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I am going to try this again. I believe that if you seek it, you will find unanimous consent from all members of the House for the following. I move:
    That this House calls for the immediate release of Vladimir Kara-Murza, honorary Canadian citizen and Russian democracy and human rights leader.
    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)

    As a reminder to those folks who had the failure of the app, the more we have in to do the count in the chamber, the better this all works sometimes.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[English]

Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2023

    The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-59, 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, be read the second time and referred to a committee, and of the amendment.
    When we left this, the hon. member for Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook had the floor, and the hon. member has four minutes remaining in debate.
    The hon. member for Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook has the floor.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my Conservative colleagues who said that the information I shared about the strength and position of the Canadian economy was so great that they wanted me, like an encore in music, to come back and continue the show. I am very happy to be back here to share some of the news and information.
    I was sharing that Canada's economy's position in the world is at the top. These are some of the facts the Conservatives need to share and to talk about. Canadians have created one million jobs since COVID and 1.4 million before. That is 2.4 million in total. The unemployment rate, when we came into power in 2015, was almost 7%. Today it is 5.7%, which is very impressive. Inflation, which was at 2% but because of COVID went to 8.1%, is now down to 3.4% and heading downward as we speak. We have a AAA rating once again, which shows Canada's strength.
    Members should not believe me, but believe the facts. The International Monetary Fund said it is predicting this year that Canada will have the strongest economy in the G7. They said it; I did not say it. The OECD indicated a few months ago that Canada received the third most foreign direct investment in the world. They said it; I did not say it.
    Because of our position, we are able to continue to support Canadians. Let us not forget that we have already lifted, since 2015, 2.3 million Canadians out of poverty. That is very important information. Canadians appreciate that work but know we have more work to do.
    As I was sharing about the housing investments, there are four major components of course. The first one is the investments we are bringing forward in housing, which are crucial in ensuring that we are able to fill the demand because when we construct more houses, we have more labour needs.
    Therefore, we have two approaches to labour. One is internal mobility, which means construction workers can move from province to province and territory to territory. We also have express entry for immigrants coming in to fill some of the jobs in the labour force with education in construction, etcetera.
    The third piece of this is short-term rentals in provinces and territories where municipalities have prohibited short-term rentals. We will deny the income reduction, of course, on the building and construction of those. Finally, we will support more Canadians with the mortgages. Understanding that the interest rate is up and that there are many challenges Canadians are facing today, we will provide, if they want, tailor-made relief that will allow for a temporary extension of their mortgages and will waive some of the fees. Those who have qualified and want to change banks do not have to requalify, which is very important. Of course, the banks need to communicate with Canadians four to six months prior to the end of their mortgages.

  (1610)  

    Madam Speaker, on a point of order for me and for the member for Edmonton—Wetaskiwin, I have had my hand up since we were calculating the votes.
    I know we are past the calculations now, but as I had technical difficulties, I would like to seek unanimous consent to cast my vote as a nay on the last vote.
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): The hon. member for Edmonton—Wetaskiwin.

  (1615)  

    Madam Speaker, I vote nay.
    The votes will be added to the tabulation of the vote.
    Questions and comments, the hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader.
    Madam Speaker, I know that the member from Atlantic Canada has always been a very consistent, strong advocate for that region of the country.
    Could he provide, from his personal perspective through consultations and in working with his constituents, his thoughts with respect to the overall budgetary measures of the government?
    Madam Speaker, that is a very important question because throughout the summer months and in the fall session, I had lots of opportunities to meet many constituents in my riding. I can tell the House that there are a number of areas they are really focused on.
    One area is seniors. Seniors are looking for support, and they were extremely happy to hear that we had indexed to inflation the OAS and GIS, which is extremely important. Canadians were telling me how proud they were that we had moved forward on indexing the CPP as well. Let us not forget the young families, for whom we have indexed the CCB. Those are very important investments. Nova Scotians were also telling me that up to 300,000 of them benefited from the doubling of the GST and the grocery rebate.
    Those are very important investments that Canadians have experienced and benefited from, including Nova Scotians such as my constituents in the riding of Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, this economic statement obviously will not make history because it was supposed to address an urgent situation, namely the housing crisis, but the only solutions the Liberals proposed for solving the housing crisis will not apply until 2025 or 2026.
    We are talking about budgets. They are saying that construction will be pushed back by a year or two or three. Considering the other agreements the Liberal government is making with the provinces, like Quebec, we may have to wait another three years.
    I would like to know if my colleague feels any embarrassment over this situation. When will there be money to build housing in Rouyn-Noranda or anywhere else in Quebec?
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his very important question.
    Let us not forget that our government is the first government in Canadian history to launch a national strategy. An enormous amount of work has been done since 2015. Through our accelerator fund alone, we are seeing municipalities improving zoning. That will help not just Canadians in my region, but also Quebeckers who live in the beautiful province of Quebec.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, this fall economic statement is about investing in Canadians and supporting Canadians, in particular those who need supports right now. What we are continually seeing from the Conservatives is how they talk down these supports. They start talking about removing the carbon incentive rebate cheques, taking those away from Canadians. They are talking about the putting the GST back on building homes for Canadians who need them right now.
    I am wondering whether my colleague could share his thoughts on the stark difference for Canadians in terms of an option between what we are providing and what the Conservatives are proposing.
    Madam Speaker, that question is so important, because let us be real: If the Conservatives ever take power, they are going to be making cut after cut. I remember, as if it were yesterday, when the Conservative government in 2014 made major cuts on the backs of our veterans, our men and women who have served and continue to serve. It was totally unacceptable.
    Since we took power, we have contributed over $11 billion to support the men and women who have served and continue to serve.
    I can tell young families that if the Conservatives take power, their CCB cheques, which are tax-free and 30% more than what the Conservatives were giving, will be gone as well.
    We need to continue to focus on and support Canadians. That is exactly what we are doing. We will continue to do that.

  (1620)  

     Madam Speaker, good afternoon to you and to all my hon. colleagues in this wonderful and esteemed House. It is my pleasure to rise to speak to Bill C-59, the fall economic statement. Before I begin my formal remarks, I will say that it is really great to share our thoughts and be the voice of the residents of our ridings, whom we get to represent with much privilege and honour.
    When we look at Canada today, the country we are blessed to call home whether we were born here in this generation or prior, like our parents and grandparents, however we ended up here, we are very fortunate as Canada is a land of opportunity for its residents, our constituents and our children. We are going to keep it that way. All 338 members of the House aspire for this country to be the best it can be, and to provide opportunity and fortune for our children and our prosperity.
    Today the International Monetary Fund came out with its economic growth outlook projections, and the growth outlook for Canada looks quite impressive. In fact, in 2025, out of all of the G7 countries, Canada will have the fastest economic growth rate forecast for real GDP. We will grow at almost 2.5%. It is 2.3% to be exact. In 2024, we will be a snick behind the United States and will be the second fastest-growing country in the G7.
    That does not happen by accident; it happens through the hard work of all our residents and entrepreneurs. It also happens through collaboration with government, labour and industry. That is how we grow an economy. That is how we create prosperity, by collaborating and working together.
    As I was reading through the fall economic outlook today, it was great to see that the choices we have made and continue to make as a government are creating economic growth, jobs and prosperity for all Canadians, not only the wonderful residents in my riding of Vaughan—Woodbridge but also those across this country.
     In the fall economic statement there is talk of the $4-billion housing accelerator fund. I was proud to stand with the Prime Minister of Canada and my mayor, the Hon. Steven Del Duca, to announce a $59-million investment into the city of Vaughan to streamline the processes to build housing to ensure that we prioritize housing near transportation infrastructure, much like is being done at the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre and all along the Highway 7 corridor along York Region in the city of Vaughan.
    We will continue to make those strategic investments in our communities. Why will we? It is because we believe in Canadians, and a confident government invests in its people, its entrepreneurs and its country. That is what we continue to do.
    There is one measure I think we must all look at and applaud, which is the first-time homebuyer savings account. This account has been taken up by over 500,000 Canadians. It combines the best of the tax-free savings account and an RRSP account. It puts them together: tax-free in, tax-free out. People get a tax deduction for investing in the account, and when they use it to purchase a home, it is tax-free: tax deduction in, tax-free out. It is a powerful measure that 500,000 Canadians have taken advantage of.
    On the building side, we put in place a 100% GST rebate with respect to new purpose-built rental housing. I know this is something that, for many years, rental builders across this country have asked for, and we have delivered that.
    We brought in the Canada child benefit and an early learning and child care plan, which I know the Province of Ontario, under a Progressive Conservative government, is celebrating day in and day out, but the opposition apparently criticizes.
    I would say “shame”, because we know, and the member opposite knows, that my riding, York—Simcoe, and all the ridings across this country are benefiting from the agreement we have signed with the provinces.
    We know that Canadians are facing high consumer prices, which is putting pressure on their families.

  (1625)  

[Translation]

    Over the past year, the federal government has taken other measures to make life more affordable for those who need it most in our country. Those measures include doubling the GST credit for six months in the fall of 2022 and providing a new one-time grocery rebate in June 2023, which enabled us to deliver hundreds of dollars in targeted inflation relief to 11 million Canadian households.
    On July 28, 2023, the government began distributing the first quarterly payments of the enhanced Canada workers benefit, a measure designed to help Canada's lowest paid but often most essential workers. A family could receive up to $2,461 this year.

[English]

    The Canada workers benefit is like the unsung hero, the grinder on the ice, doing its job. This benefit has lifted millions of Canadians out of poverty. Almost two and a half million Canadians have been lifted out of poverty since 2015. The poverty rate has been reduced by more than half, 650,000 children. We will continue doing what is right. When the government does what is right, when a parent does what is right, when an entrepreneur does what is right, they know they are going in the right direction. We are certainly doing that.

[Translation]

    These are just a few examples of how our government continues to support Canadians at a time when some prices are still too high.

[English]

    Bill C-59 builds on these efforts by introducing new measures to further the government's economic plan and continue to support a strong middle class. We are seeing it. We have a AAA credit rating, and that is not by fluke; it was by hard choices made many years ago to keep that under all governments. We celebrate it. We maintain it. We have a strong fiscal foundation.
    Our deficit-to-GDP ratio, across the board, is one of the lowest, if not the lowest, in all the G7 countries, and it continues on the right path. We know that Canadians are feeling elevated prices, but we have made the right choices to support them, and we will continue to do so.
    We will support Canadians' right to repair, preventing manufacturers from refusing to provide the means of repairing devices and products in an anti-competitive manner. We have further modernized merger reviews and enhanced protections for consumers, workers and the environment, including putting the focus on worker impacts and competition.
    We empowered the commissioner of competition to review and crack down on a wide selection of anti-competitive collaborations.
    Finally, we are broadening the reach of the law by enabling more private parties to bring cases before the Competition Tribunal and to receive payment if they are successful.
    Bill C-59 and Bill C-56 would provide generational changes to the competition laws for Canadians.
    Again, on competition, I love capitalism and I love the creation of wealth. That is what creates jobs. That is what drives prosperity, not only here in this beautiful country but across the board. However, we can do that only when we have a regulatory regime in place that ensures that anti-competitive practices, abuse practices on pricing, collusion and drip pricing, and all those of types of measures are looked at and examined, and folks are held to account.
    We need to do that, whether there are circumstances like a few years ago with bread or in any circumstance today. We need to ensure that the commissioner of competition and the Competition Tribunal have teeth. We need to ensure that the law with regard to competition is on the side of Canadians, not on the side of corporations. Believe me, I want all companies and corporations to succeed, whether it is a limited partnership, whether it is a CCPC, whether it is publicly listed or a family business, or whether it is one of the 18,000 or 19,000 small businesses that exist in the city of Vaughan, literally the economic engine of York Region, the largest economic centre, with almost 1,300,000 residents.

[Translation]

    Our government also recognizes the importance of enabling Canadians to access the mental health services and support they need when they are at their most vulnerable.
    For example, therapy and counselling services play a critical role in the lives and mental health of millions of people in Canada, but they can also be costly. To ensure that Canadians can get the help they need, the federal government is taking the necessary steps to make these essential services more accessible.

  (1630)  

[English]

  &nbs