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44th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • No. 290

CONTENTS

Monday, March 18, 2024




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

Volume 151
No. 290
1st SESSION
44th PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Monday, March 18, 2024

Speaker: The Honourable Greg Fergus

    The House met at 11 a.m.

Prayer



PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS

[Private Members' Business]

  (1100)  

[Translation]

Impact Assessment Act

    He said: Mr. Speaker, it is always an honour and a privilege to rise in the House to speak. Today is really special, because it is the first time that I have had the opportunity to explain the bill that I introduced with the support of the entire official opposition team. I put this bill together with the help of the House of Commons legislative drafting team and the team that I work with here in Ottawa and in my riding.
    This is the first bill that I have introduced in the eight years and five months that I have been a member of the House of Commons. I would like to thank the people of Louis-Saint-Laurent for putting their faith in me in 2015, 2019 and 2021. The decision is in their hands as to what will happen in the future, but I trust their judgment.
    Bill C-375 is entitled “An Act to amend the Impact Assessment Act (federal-provincial agreements)”.
    I want to talk about the title because, although I was obviously happy and quite moved the first time I saw the bill in print, I also did a bit of a double take. Those who have the French version will notice that it says “fédéro-provinciaux” agreements. I was a little surprised to see that “fédéraux” is spelled with an “o” at the end. Since this was written by legal experts, I approached the table to make sure that this was indeed how it should be spelled. I was told that when it comes to legislation, “fédéraux” is traditionally spelled with an “o”. It is a small detail, but my colleagues know that, when it comes to introducing a bill, we want to make sure that everything is written in proper French, which is clearly the case here.
    Climate change is real, as we know. We need to act quickly and decisively to deal with the effects of climate change. Human beings have contributed to climate change and must play a major role in this area. That is why our bill aims to combat climate change more effectively. To put it succintly, I would say that this bill essentially aims to establish a single environmental assessment per project, because, at this time, there is overlap between federal and provincial environmental powers. When a project is under way, an environmental assessment must be carried out. The first province to adopt this system was Alberta.
    Why carry out two assessments if one has been done already, especially considering that the need for green projects to address climate change is greater than ever? This bill aims to significantly improve efficiency and optimize the scientific effort involved in assessing environmental projects. It aims to reduce duplication. In essence, it strives for collaboration, not confrontation. We think that provincial scientists are just as capable as federal scientists. Why pit them against each other by having two environmental assessments done when they could work together on just one and achieve the same objectives much more efficiently and pragmatically?
    That is the big issue this bill tackles. What is the approach? For years now, our party has been saying that we need to stop doing two assessments every time. Federal and provincial officials need to stop stepping on each other's toes. When we came up with this bill, we looked at two options. We could have gone through every piece of legislation and analyzed every situation in order to amend this or that act, but that would have taken a very long time, and the resulting bill would have been a brick. That would have been cumbersome, so we opted for a pragmatic approach instead. My thanks to the team of legislative drafters we worked with.
    This approach creates a mechanism to enter into agreements. Yes, we have no choice but to work together to fight climate change, but, in this case, we do so gladly because that is what needs to be done for the sake of the planet and the environment. That is why we are laying the groundwork for agreements that will enable federal and provincial partners to work together on a single study, rather than competing with each other. There are no good guys or bad guys. Nobody is stricter or more lenient. Science is science. Science has no allegiance, no political stripe. Science is rigorous. Let us put Canadian scientists to work for the environment. That is how we want to do it.

  (1105)  

    Needless to say, we need green projects now more than ever. As we speak, under the provisions of Bill C-69, which was introduced and passed by this government, the government gave itself veto power over hydroelectric projects. Obviously, as a Quebecker, this affects me, and I was deeply offended when I learned of that. We recognize Quebec's extensive expertise in hydroelectricity. All projects have been carried out in accordance with the environmental assessment process that falls under Quebec jurisdiction. However, this greedy government, which always interferes where it does not belong—in other words, in areas of provincial jurisdiction—has given itself veto power over hydroelectric projects.
    If the federal government had had veto power over every hydroelectric project, including the Romaine River, James Bay, Manicouagan River, Outardes River and Betsiamites River projects, where would Quebec be today? If the federal government had given itself veto power in the 1950s, when studies were being done for Bersimis-1 and Bersimis-2, for the two generating stations on the Outardes River and the four generating stations on the Manicouagan River, where would Quebec be today? The green light was given in the 1950s, in 1958 to be precise, and the project was completed in the 1960s, with the magnificent inauguration of Manic-5 in 1968.
    The federal government had no business being involved and that is why it was done properly. Why then did it interfere in this provincial jurisdiction by giving itself veto power and the ability to conduct an environmental assessment of hydroelectric projects?
    This issue came before the Supreme Court of Canada. In the reference concerning the Impact Assessment Act, the Supreme Court of Canada chided the government for interfering in provincial jurisdictions. Obviously, the government did not take it as an order, but rather as an opinion of the Supreme Court. That is the issue. It is an opinion and it requires a response. Our response to that Supreme Court opinion is that the provinces are going to work hand in hand with the federal government and not against one another. That is how we have to look at environmental issues.
    Let us not forget that the government said that it was going to review the situation. We have a suggestion for the government to ensure that the process is much more efficient and that there will be environmental assessments for major projects. There needs to be an environmental assessment for every project, and those will be done perfectly well by our experts.
    Right now, there is a battle between the pragmatic approach that we support and the dogmatic approach. What has the government done to protect the environment in the eight years it has been in office? It has made announcements, announcements and more announcements. It has created the new carbon tax, imposed taxes and, obviously, increased the carbon tax. That is the very dogmatic approach that the Liberals are taking.
    What exactly has been achieved after eight years of this government? In eight years, this government has never met its targets, except during the pandemic. If the government has to shut down the economy to meet its targets, then that is not exactly the best approach. That is what is so disappointing. The government's approach is all about taxing people. In a few days, on April 1, the government plans to increase the Liberal carbon tax by 23%. That is not the right thing to do. We will have an opportunity to come back to that a little later.
    Some people will say that the Conservatives are against everything the government does. Of course, if the government were doing good things, we would be happy. If we were seeing results, we would be happy, but that is not what is happening. The government has yet to meet its targets, and we are not the only ones saying it.
    Every year, the UN tables a report that evaluates the effectiveness of environmental measures for more than sixty countries around the world. Scientists from all over the world provide an objective, non-partisan analysis of the efforts being made to combat climate change and their results. I want to make sure I am using the exact wording used by the UN, so I will read this in English: “Climate Change Performance Index 2024 — Rating table”.

  (1110)  

    This document was recently tabled at COP 29. After eight years of this Liberal government, Canada ranks 62nd out of 67 countries. Not 40th, 50th or 60th, but 62nd.
    After eight years of this Liberal government, Canada ranks 62nd on its performance in the fight against climate change, dropping from 58th place last year. Are the Liberals' climate change policies working? No. Canadians are not the only ones who see it, knowing that the Liberal carbon tax is set to rise in a few days. Scientists around the world see it too, and they clearly have no partisan political agenda like we do. Our very office requires us to have a political agenda. It is our duty to serve as the loyal opposition to this government and therefore to identify flaws. Scientists around the world have now confirmed that Canada's performance puts it in 62nd place worldwide.
    We need to take action on climate change. We need pragmatic measures. That is why, at last September's Conservative Party convention, our leader outlined our plan to tackle climate change. I want to emphasize the fact that this happened at our national convention; it was not some press release issued at 4:30 p.m. on a Friday. I was a journalist, and I have been in politics for 15 years, so I am well aware that when people send out press releases on Friday evenings or at the end of the day, it is because they do not really want anyone to talk about them. In this case, it was quite the opposite. We had 2,500 grassroots members from across the country, all of them gathered to hear the member for Carleton give his first speech since being elected as leader of the official opposition. In that speech, he laid the foundation for a future government that a whole lot of Canadians want, none more than us, of course.
    Our leader laid out and explained the four pillars of our party's potential government action on the environment. First, we have to invest in new technologies, through tax incentives, to fight climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Investing in high tech through tax incentives is a pragmatic solution. The people whose plants or businesses generate greenhouse gases know the reasons why, and they, not Ottawa, are the ones who know how to lower their emissions. With tax incentives, they can take prompt, concrete action and achieve tangible results. The first pillar therefore consists of tax incentives that encourage investments in high-tech solutions for reducing pollution.
    The second pillar of the Conservatives' action on climate change is to green-light green projects. We need green energy, hydroelectricity, solar energy, wind energy, geothermal energy and even nuclear energy now more than ever. None of them generate greenhouse gas emissions. These are the avenues that we need to explore, but we have to speed up the process. We need to green-light green projects. This bill aims to speed up the process and develop a game plan for collaboration between the provinces and the federal government. Instead of confrontation, we have to strive for collaboration. The second pillar is therefore to green-light green projects.
    The third pillar is the Canadian advantage. Canada has so many natural resources and so many energy sources. Why go abroad for natural resources or energy when we have them right here at home? As long as we need so-called fossil fuels, we will always support Canadian energy and Canadian products because, yes, we do still need them.
    The HEC, a Quebec institution, released its annual report about a month ago. What did it find? It found that the consumption of so-called fossil fuels has increased by 7% in Quebec. As long as it is needed, I would rather consume Canadian energy rather than the 48% of American energy that we currently consume. I have nothing against Texas or Louisiana, but the last time I checked, they were not contributing very much—in fact they were not giving one cent—to the principle of equalization.
    Finally, the fourth pillar of our environmental action plan is to work hand in hand with first nations. When a project is carried out on ancestral land, we must make first nations communities our partners, rather than handing over a cheque and telling them to leave. On the contrary, we need to work together for the common good.
    In short, this bill is about focusing on collaboration and pragmatic measures in order to make progress in the fight against climate change.

  (1115)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, what I see within the legislation is that those in the Conservative Party, in essence, are saying that they want, from a federal perspective, to open up any sort of development without ensuring that there is a process for protecting our environment, which would be off-loaded to provinces and would ultimately allow provinces to make the decision.
     The question I have for the member is this: Would he not acknowledge that there is a role when we have these major projects that have an impact that go beyond a provincial boundary?
    Mr. Speaker, this is exactly why I will never be a Liberal. The Liberals think that Ottawa knows best, which is exactly what the member said earlier. He thinks that it is not enough to have the provinces do their job. Yes, the provinces will continue to do their job, but the federal government will do it too.
     Instead of saying, “I'm from Ottawa and I know what is best for this or that project,” the government should work hand in hand with the provinces. This is the way to deal in this country. However, this is why we say this is a government with an arrogant attitude. It is saying, “Ottawa knows best”. We should be working together instead of working against each other.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, this seems like a very useful bill. It gives precedence to measures that already exist in the provinces.
    For example, if we look at Quebec, its environmental measures are stricter, I believe. There is no reason for the federal government to conduct an environmental impact assessment when the Government of Quebec has already rejected a project following its own environmental assessment. Take the GNL Québec project in Saguenay, for example.
    I have a simple question for my colleague. The federal Impact Assessment Act already states that the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada can give a province or an indigenous leader the power to conduct part of the impact assessment. I am wondering what the difference is between what is being proposed and what already exists in the act.

  (1120)  

    Mr. Speaker, just because something is set out in the act does not mean that the government enforces it. My Liberal colleague just demonstrated that. The Liberals do not trust the provinces, but we do.
    What we want is to establish a mechanism so that, from now on, the federal and provincial governments must work together on every project.
    The Bloc Québécois is wondering whether environmental assessments are effective. I must remind them that, when their leader was the environment minister for Quebec, he refused to conduct an environmental assessment for the most polluting project in Quebec's history, McInnis Cement. Now, the Bloc Québécois want to lecture us about the environment. I am sorry, but the leader of the Bloc Québécois will always be the Quebec environment minister who authorized the most polluting project in the history of Quebec.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the Cons are always on the side of oil giants who are making record profits. Why have the Cons always given space to big polluters, giving them a free ride and refusing to tax the corporate greed to help Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, let me remind everybody that when we talk about the future of this country, we are talking about a climate change reality, but as long as we need fossil fuel energy, we will fight for Canadian energy. This is so simple. Maybe some people like to live in a dream world, but the reality is that we need that kind of energy today. As far as I am concerned, why would we support that in other countries? Why would we buy from and send billions of dollars outside of this country to people who are developing their industry, while we have everything here in this country? However, we have to work hand in hand with first nations, provinces and everybody to develop all the potential in energy and natural resources of this great country that is Canada.
    Mr. Speaker, I am curious as to why, when providing amendments to the Impact Assessment Act, the member did not fix some of the problems, including ensuring that there is proper consultation with first nations.
    Mr. Speaker, I wish the hon. member would go back to see what our leader has said many, many times about making first nations our partners for each and every project. Our leader was crystal clear a year ago and repeated that just a month ago. He said that we have to work hand in hand with first nations and make them our partners for the prosperity of Canada.

Points of Order

Unparliamentary Language 

[Points of Order]
    Mr. Speaker, my colleague from the New Democratic Party just insinuated that the Conservative Party of Canada are cons. We try very hard to ensure that we use parliamentary language. I would ask the member of the NDP to apologize for that comment and—
    I thank the hon. member for Foothills for raising this issue. I am going to come back to the hon. member on this matter with some haste.

Impact Assessment Act

[Private Members' Business]
    The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-375, An Act to amend the Impact Assessment Act (federal-provincial agreements), be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise to address what I believe is one area in which the Conservative Party of Canada is somewhat vulnerable, and that is the environment. I really believe that Conservatives, under the new leadership, are found wanting in coming up with ideas that are healthy for Canada's environment.
    The legislation being proposed today reinforces other attitudes they have in general about the environment. Today, the Conservatives say a province is saying it can handle it with no problem at all, and the federal Conservative Party says it does not need to have any sort of federal involvement. That is, in essence, what the members opposite are proposing. It reminds me of this consistency of policy development that prevents the Conservatives from being concerned about Canada's environment.
    We talk about the major projects that are under way and that are being proposed and considered. These projects will have profound impacts on our environment. There is a very clear possibility some of these megaprojects will go beyond any one provincial boundary. There is a need, I suggest, and the Supreme Court of Canada also suggested, for a federal government role in the process. Most Canadians would agree that the federal government should not get away from its important role when it comes to the environment.
    When we think of industries having regulations, both at the federal and provincial levels, it enables a certain amount of security and predictability, which then allows for investment. There are so many investment opportunities. I was encouraged when the member opposite used the words “green developments”. He mentioned “green” quite a bit in his comments, and I applaud him on that.
    There is the investment, for example, that Volkswagen has made in Canada, in co-operation with the Premier of Ontario and the Government of Canada, and thousands of green jobs that are going to be created as a direct result. Those jobs, in good part, are going to rely on mineral development as Canada is in the position of being a world leader in the development of batteries. Those batteries require rare minerals, and Canada not only has the opportunity to supply internally for potential demand and development of secondary industries that create more jobs for Canadians, but also has the capacity to supply the world in many different ways.
    There are companies throughout the world looking at Canada as a place to invest, and investors are looking for regulatory certainty. When we talk about the IAA, we are really talking about recognizing that the federal government does have a role to play. The Supreme Court of Canada has made it very clear. We have indicated it will be under review. We can anticipate that amendments will be brought forward in a very progressive fashion. We are not going to do what the Conservative Party is suggesting through this legislation.

  (1125)  

     This is the type of legislation I have talked about in the past regarding the Conservative Party and its so-called hidden agenda. While this is very public, there is something within this legislation that Canadians need to be aware of. Once again, we are seeing the Conservative Party stepping back on the environment, and as a national government, we have the responsibility to ensure that there is the proper protection of our environment and that the IAA is the type of legislation that leads to regulations that protect our environment.
    This can be done in a manner that is fully compliant with the Supreme Court of Canada, and that is why we are bringing forward these amendments. Unlike the Conservative Party, we recognize the need for co-operative federalism, which is ultimately what we have seen take place with the Liberal government from virtually day one with programs such as the CPP being put in place. We have also seen this with legislation brought forward by the government on environmental impact issues and with the dialogue that constantly takes place, most recently in regard to housing. These are some of the more high profile areas we have worked on.
    An advantage Canada has, unlike virtually any other country in the world, is that we are fortunate to have all the minerals that we do. The government has a very important role in ensuring that we have laws and regulations in place at both the national and provincial levels to protect our environment. We also have a responsibility to ensure that indigenous peoples of Canada are not only consulted but also worked with when it comes to protecting our environment well into the future.
    I recall when we brought in legislation and tried to improve the process, and the Conservatives were being very difficult, for example, when it came to dealing with bills like Bill C-69. This is because having regulatory uncertainty during Stephen Harper's 10 years did nothing when it came to expanding, for example, pipelines to our coastal tidewaters. Looking at the uncertainties that were caused, I would suggest that administration was not successful.
    That is unlike our administration, which has created much greater certainty when it comes to environmental impact assessment studies.

  (1130)  

    How many pipelines to tidewaters have been built?
    Mr. Speaker, to answer the question, I can tell the member there are more pipelines to coastal waters than there were with Stephen Harper.
    There are zero.
    No, you're reflecting on Harper. With Harper, it can be measured by inches. For—
    I am going to interrupt the hon. parliamentary secretary to encourage all members to please wait their turns to take the floor.
    We will allow the person who is speaking to have the floor and to continue with their statement.
    Mr. Speaker, we need look at the Supreme Court of Canada's decision. It clearly indicates that the different levels of government have a very important regulatory role to play. For the Conservative Party to deny that fact does a disservice to our environment and to Canadians.
    Even though Conservatives might stand and say what they believe is best for Canada's environment, quite frankly their actions speak louder than words. We see that with their flip-flopping on the issue of the price on pollution. Who knows where they will ultimately land on that. They are more concerned about areas that are to the detriment of our environment. I wish they would give more thought to recognizing that climate change is a reality and that having good, sound environment policy is needed from the Conservative Party.

  (1135)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, before I begin my speech, I want to offer my deepest condolences to the entire House of Commons staff and to the loved ones and family of the staff member we lost last week.
    I was going to say that I am pleased to debate Bill C‑375. I had planned a speech in good faith to recognize the positive aspects of this bill. However, I think it is a shame that when I asked the bill's sponsor a question earlier, he immediately responded with a partisan attack. I think that is a shame at a time when we are seeing mayors in Quebec stepping down because of the hate they receive from the public. When politicians express hate toward each other, that inspires the public to express hate toward their representatives. I think it is terrible when, instead of being respectful and asking and answering questions reasonably, people in politics here immediately get partisan. I think that is unfortunate, and I just wanted to mention it. I will still deliver the speech I prepared because this is a bill that seems useful to me.
    As the member explained, the purpose of this bill is to amend the Impact Assessment Act so that, in certain cases, the federal process will not apply to a designated project. It is not a question of exempting projects from the environmental assessment process, but rather of replacing the federal process for a designated project with a provincial one, within the framework of that province's laws. Of course, certain conditions would have to be met. First, the minister responsible, such as the Minister of Environment, and the provincial government must enter into an agreement about the designated project. In order for the federal act not to apply to a designated project, the provincial process must apply. Moreover, the process must, at the very least, be designed to “determine the effects that are likely to be caused by the carrying out of the projects, including effects within federal jurisdiction” and to “identify mitigation measures for the adverse effects of the projects”. There are other provisions in the bill, notably to establish the conditions for the agreements between the minister and a given province. The agreement must be published in the Canada Gazette. The public may file comments. Within 60 days, the minister must table a report that summarizes how any notices of objection were dealt with and must publish the final agreement.
    At first glance, as I was saying, this bill seems useful in that it tries to improve coordination between the provincial and federal governments and promote provincial government autonomy in environmental protection matters. That is a good thing. We therefore support the bill in principle, and we would like it to be studied in committee to ensure that the proposed amendments provide an adequate framework for the non-application of the Impact Assessment Act and that the rights and prerogatives of each level of government are upheld. More specifically, what we would like to study in detail are the differences between the amendments to the existing act and the amendments proposed by Bill C‑375. As I mentioned earlier, the act already provides for an exemption or for part of the impact assessment to be delegated to a provincial government. The Impact Assessment Agency of Canada has the authority to delegate part of the impact assessment to a provincial government or an indigenous governing body.
    Obviously, that raises questions. As I asked the member earlier, if this already exists, why introduce a bill about it? The response was that it exists, but the government is not necessarily using it. As I understand it, what we should do is change the wording of the act from “may” to “shall”. It would be as simple as that. In that case, the provincial process would prevail. I really appreciated my NDP colleague's question about why the act was not amended when it was studied a short time ago. The Impact Assessment Act was updated, and an amendment could have been made at that time. I wonder why the Conservative Party did not do that. The committee will be able to ascertain the precise differences between the existing and proposed processes, as well as the relative strengths and weaknesses of one process versus the other.

  (1140)  

    In addition to these questions, there are three main reasons why the Bloc Québécois supports this bill in principle. First, we are already campaigning to ensure that all projects, including those under federal jurisdiction, comply with Quebec laws and municipal bylaws. Second, insofar as Quebec's environmental assessment processes are more rigorous and better adapted to the public's expectations, it is obvious that the provincial processes, and in this case, Quebec's, should prevail. The environment would simply be better protected, and the social and economic needs and aspirations of Quebeckers would also be better served.
    Finally, it is important to avoid the kind of absurd situations where, as I was saying earlier, impact assessments are being carried out under federal law when a project has already been rejected under a provincial decision following a provincial impact assessment. That was the case, as I mentioned, with the GNL Québec project.
    Members will recall that, in September 2021, the Bloc Québécois had to demand that Ottawa put an end to the federal environmental assessment for the construction of a gas plant in Saguenay after the Government of Quebec rejected the project. Once the Government of Quebec rejects a project, I do not see the point of the federal government conducting an impact assessment. Quebeckers and the Government of Quebec were clear. They did not want it, so I do not see what interest the federal government had in continuing with the process.
    I want to make it clear that, when it comes to the environment, the Bloc Québécois supports the ongoing improvement of laws and policies at all levels of government—federal, provincial and even municipal—that help to better preserve the natural environment. Health and environmental protection are obviously priorities for our party. Every day, in our work as parliamentarians, we defend Quebec's environmental laws from intrusions by the federal government. We propose meaningful action to reduce the environmental impacts of human activity and to properly protect our ecosystems. We also advocate for every level of government to respect each others' powers and jurisdictions, including the ability to legislate to improve environmental governance in the targeted areas of jurisdiction.
    Within the confines of its constitutional jurisdictions, the federal government must take responsibility for protecting the environment. The government has two tools it can use: taxation and regulation. The federal government is simply being asked to use those tools. It is being asked to fully assume its responsibilities on environmental protection, but without acting in a way that contravenes the environmental laws and policies of Quebec.
    What is more, when it comes to environmental policies, Quebec's laws are often stricter than Canadian laws, especially since Quebec's land belongs to Quebeckers. For the most part, its occupation, use, development and protection are governed by the laws and regulations of Quebec and the municipalities. The same goes for all the Canadian provinces.
    However, the federal government often gives itself the right to circumvent Quebec's laws for activities in areas under its jurisdiction. Certain activities and infrastructure are only partly covered by our laws because they fall under federal jurisdiction, for example, wharves, harbours, airports and telecommunications infrastructure. As a result, the Bloc Québécois is calling on the federal government to comply with Quebec's laws when it comes to federal activities and work in the province.
    That is in keeping with our work to defend Quebec's environmental sovereignty. We are the only party in the House of Commons that supported the unanimous declaration of the Quebec National Assembly, which adopted a motion in April 2022 affirming the primacy of Quebec's jurisdiction in environmental matters. We are the only party in the House of Commons that supported that motion. Neither the Liberal Party of Canada, the Conservative Party of Canada nor the NDP supported this desire for environmental sovereignty. We saw that during the various votes on environmental measures that were held here in the House.
    In general, what we are saying is that, when it comes to advancing environmental justice or strengthening environmental protection in Quebec, it is futile to pin our hopes on the Canadian government. So much the better if this bill seeks to give the provinces and Quebec more autonomy when it comes to environmental protection. We will vote in favour of the principle of the bill so that it can be studied in committee.

  (1145)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I am glad to rise today to speak to this important issue. Today Canada is feeling the impacts of the climate crisis. Just a few weeks ago, the Government of Alberta announced that the wildfire season had begun. This was announced in February. Never in my life would I have imagined that wildfires would start in the middle of winter; yet, to anyone who has been paying attention, it is not too much of a surprise. Western Canada has been subject to a multi-year drought because of climbing temperatures. The climate crisis is here.
    Since 2019, the Impact Assessment Act has been an important tool for civil society to use to advocate for strong environmental protection. There have been significant gains made through this act. For example, the Vista coal mine expansion in central Alberta was delayed because advocates fought hard to have the project undergo an environmental assessment to address several concerns from citizens. The Ring of Fire in Ontario has received regional assessment for all projects. This is important when we consider the delicate ecosystems that exist in these regions.
    There are many benefits of the Impact Assessment Act that cannot be ignored. Despite these benefits, we can also see that the act has many issues. This is why the NDP voted against the Liberals' bill in 2019. One of my greatest concerns about the Impact Assessment Act is that the timelines set by the government regarding public consultations are inadequate. Extraction projects often take place near first nations, Inuit and Métis communities, and they deeply impact these communities in a variety of ways. Some of these impacts can include issues related to access to traditional medicines; effects on the ability to hunt, fish and gather; health impacts from pollution; and social impacts from the demographic changes in the communities from new workers.
    Meaningful consultation with impacted communities is an essential piece of implementing reconciliation. As it currently stands, the Impact Assessment Act places timelines on indigenous consultations. To me, this is not in line with the spirit of reconciliation. Indigenous governments and communities should have the time they need to consider the impacts on projects that would affect them. If a nuclear plant or pipeline were built near one's home, would one not want to consider all the different possible impacts it could have before agreeing to support it? How is it fair to demand a short timeline on such things when these projects have such serious consequences for communities?
    When the Impact Assessment Act was amended, I believe there was an opportunity to allow for more meaningful consultations with first nations, Inuit and Métis communities, partners and nations. One option would be to amend the Information and Management of Time Limits Regulations to allow the impact Assessment Agency to stop the clock upon indigenous peoples' request and work with indigenous authorities to ensure recognition of their laws and decisions.
    Another option could be to prioritize indigenous co-operation regulations that legally recognize the inherent jurisdictional authority of indigenous nations and groups and respect this decision-making authority throughout assessments and decisions. Every level of government owes it to indigenous peoples to provide avenues of meaningful consultation. When projects undergo environmental assessment and threaten indigenous health, culture, heritage and livelihoods, we cannot expect the current timelines to address this, especially when we consider the diverse needs of different nations across the country. We must ensure that there is proper consultation and meaningful collaboration that uplifts communities.
    Ultimately, the Liberals failed to prioritize reconciliation with indigenous peoples when they first wrote this piece of legislation. There are amendments that my colleague could have presented to address this important issue. The Liberals like to talk a big game about standing up to oil and gas giants, but when it comes down to it, the legislation they present is littered with loopholes and exceptions for the oil and gas sector. This is like all the legislation they present. At the same time, the Conservatives seem trapped in a totally different reality, unable to acknowledge the fact that we are living in a climate crisis, let alone to create a plan to address it. It is not surprising that, in this debate today, we heard people shouting back and forth, arguing about whether it was the Conservatives or the Liberals who built more pipelines.

  (1150)  

    When it comes to advocating for strong environmental protection, the truth is that the NDP is the only party willing to take on the biggest polluters head-on. We are the only federal party that has called for a windfall profits tax on the excess profits of the oil and gas industry. During a cost of living crisis, the country's biggest polluters should be paying their fair share, not exploiting people.
    We have also called for a more rigorous cap on oil and gas emissions to reach our Paris Agreement targets. We have been pushing the government to move on the sustainable jobs act, so it is implemented as quickly as possible. The transition to a clean economy cannot leave workers behind. By embracing bold and progressive policies that uplift communities instead of catering to the fossil fuel industry, we can create a more sustainable future for all.
    The Impact Assessment Act is an important tool for making sure that our air, waters, homes and environments are clean and healthy. The reality is this: The current Conservative leader has said that, if his party were to form government, it would scrap this legislation entirely. Its members believe that oil and gas companies can build projects without environmental assessments. I will remind my colleagues that this is the same industry that knowingly poisoned waters near the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation and other first nations and Métis communities in northern Alberta, when tailings pond water seeped into the environment at Suncor’s Kearl tailings site. It is despicable and untenable to leave this industry to its own devices.
    In addition, we cannot ignore the reality that greenhouse gases do not know provincial boundaries. We must continue to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, and a key component of the original Impact Assessment Act is acknowledging the impact that greenhouse gases have on our environment. While we consider amending the Impact Assessment Act, we must uphold this important piece of the puzzle. It is crucial that provincial governments and the federal government continue to consider greenhouse gas effects in all projects, not just ones that undergo environmental assessment.
    We are in a climate crisis. As policy-makers, we owe it to future generations to continue to drive down greenhouse gas emissions, address pollution and consider this in all environmental assessments. We cannot afford to ignore it.
    Increasing global temperatures are having an immense impact on our country, which is felt in our communities and economy. We often hear that fighting climate change is expensive, but it would be even more expensive to ignore it. Fighting wildfires costs the federal government $1 billion every year, with this number expected to increase as wildfire seasons become longer and more intense. This does not even account for the cost of wildfires in terms of our health care system.
     The urgency of our cause cannot be overstated. Climate change is not a distant threat but a present reality. We have witnessed the devastating consequences, from wildfires ravaging our forests to heat waves killing hundreds of people in British Columbia. The toll on human life and livelihoods is equally profound, with marginalized groups bearing the brunt of environmental injustices.
    Amidst these challenges, we have to find hope by embracing bold, progressive policies, where economic prosperity and environmental stewardship go hand in hand. The time to act is now and the NDP is ready to lead the charge. As we consider amending the Impact Assessment Act, I urge my colleagues to consider the undeniable impacts and costs of the climate crisis, as well as the possibilities that exist for combatting it.
    It is important to make sure that we also hold the Liberal government to account, not only for the injustices that it continues to perpetuate on indigenous communities but also for its inaction when it comes to keeping our communities safe.
     I want to thank the member for starting this discussion. I urge all my colleagues to hold this piece of legislation responsibly.

  (1155)  

Points of Order

Unparliamentary Language—Speaker's Ruling  

[Speaker's Ruling]
    I indicated to the hon. member for Foothills that I would come back to his point of order with due haste. We have reviewed the tapes and have listened to what the hon. member raised.
    In the view of the Chair, the language that was used, certainly in English, is not considered to be unparliamentary. However, I said on February 26 and would remind all members of the fact that “insofar as debate can, on occasion, be sharp and tense, even sometimes causing some members to take offence, it can still fall within the realm of an acceptable discourse in the House.”
    I would encourage the hon. member for Foothills that if he wishes to pursue this further, he should speak to the hon. member privately. Perhaps they could come to an arrangement which could work for both members.
    Resuming debate, I regret to say to the hon. member for Yellowhead that he has six minutes left, as we are going to come to the end of the consideration of Private Members' Business.

Impact Assessment Act

[Private Members' Business]
    The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-375, An Act to amend the Impact Assessment Act (federal-provincial agreements), be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to Bill C-375, an act to amend the Impact Assessment Act.
    We are at a critical juncture where the decisions we make can shape our nation's trajectory towards prosperity and sustainability. Central to our discussion is a vital piece of legislation, common-sense Bill C-375. The bill represents a golden opportunity to streamline how we approach environmental assessments, ensuring that crucial green projects can move forward swiftly and responsibly. It is about cutting through red tape to unleash Canada’s potential for growth while safeguarding our natural environment.
    Bill C-375 is not just about amending current legislation; it is also about embracing a smarter, more collaborative way of working together as federal and provincial governments, joining forces to make Canada a better place. If we work together, we can propel our nation into a future where economic development and environmental stewardship go hand in hand.
    Over the past eight years, our system has been bogged down by unnecessary bureaucracy, a maze of regulations that, while well-intentioned, often hinder progress rather than facilitate it. The Liberal government's approach, as seen with Bill C-69, better known by many as the “no more pipelines act”, has unfortunately contributed to this stagnation. That piece of legislation, found to be unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, exemplifies an overreach of federal jurisdiction into areas that should rightfully fall within provincial expertise. The result has been delays, confusion and a chilling effect on investment in green and infrastructural projects essential for our nation's future.
    The Conservative Party has always championed the principles of efficiency, jurisdictional respect and the reduction of unnecessary governmental interference. Bill C-375 stands as a testament to these values, offering a practical solution to the challenges we face. By allowing for agreements between federal and provincial governments to exempt certain projects from the cumbersome process of repeated environmental assessments, we are proposing a way forward that would respect the expertise of provincial authorities and eliminate redundant federal oversight.
    At the heart of our discussion on Bill C-375 lies a multitude of benefits that promise to reshape the landscape of environmental assessments and project development in Canada. The legislative amendment stands not just as a policy shift but also as a signal of progress, highlighting our commitment to efficiency, economic growth and environmental integrity. There are several tangible benefits the bill would bring to the table, ensuring a prosperous future for all Canadians.
    The cornerstone of Bill C-375 is its ability to streamline the environmental assessment process. By allowing federal and provincial governments to work closely together, we can eliminate redundant evaluations, ensuring that projects do not get tangled in a web of bureaucratic red tape. This approach would not only speed up the approval process but also conserve valuable resources. It would be a common-sense step toward making government operations leaner and more effective, directly translating into quicker turnarounds for project commencements. This efficiency is critical for maintaining Canada’s competitive edge on the global stage, especially in attracting investments in green technology and infrastructure.
     An immediate advantage of streamlined assessments would be the acceleration of project approvals. This benefit cannot be overstated. By reducing the time it takes for projects to clear regulatory hurdles, we would open the door to wider economic opportunities that come with new infrastructure and technology investments. These projects are not just about immediate economic gains; they are also about laying the groundwork for sustainable economic growth. Developers and provinces could move forward with greater confidence, knowing that their initiatives would not be indefinitely delayed by the bureaucratic process. This predictability would be invaluable for planning and executing projects that can significantly contribute to our economy and our environmental goals.
    Furthermore, fiscal responsibility is a principle that guides our goals for proper governance, and Bill C-375 is aligned with that aspect. By avoiding duplication in environmental assessments, we would be poised to save significant amounts of public funds. These savings would stem from reduced administrative costs and the more efficient use of resources. While it is challenging to put an exact figure on these savings, the financial implications are clear and substantial. These funds could be redirected to other pressing needs, such as health care, education or further environmental conservation efforts, maximizing the impact of every taxpayer dollar.

  (1200)  

    Perhaps one of the most profound benefits of Bill C-375 would be the emphasis it places on collaboration and respect for provincial expertise. Canada's provinces and territories are diverse, each with its unique environmental landscape and economic context. This diversity demands a tailored approach to environmental assessments, one that respects the knowledge and capabilities of provincial authorities.
    The time provided for consideration of Private Members' Business has now expired and the order is dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence on the Order Paper.

Business of the House

    Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties, and if you seek it, I think you will find unanimous consent to adopt the following motion:
    That, notwithstanding any standing order, special order or usual practice of the House, in relation to the second reading stage of 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, all questions necessary to dispose of the said stage of the bill be deemed put, any recorded divisions be deemed requested and take place immediately following the disposal of the motion related to the business of supply later this day, after which the House shall adjourn to the next sitting day, and that the debate pursuant to Standing Order 38 not take place.

[Translation]

     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)


Government Orders

[Business of Supply]

  (1205)  

[English]

Business of Supply

Opposition Motion—Canada's Actions to Promote Peace in the Middle East  

    That, given that,
(i) the situation in the Middle East is devastating to many Canadians, particularly those with friends and family members in the region,
(ii) the death toll in Gaza has surpassed 30,000, with 70% of the victims women and children,
(iii) the Hamas terrorist attacks on October 7, 2023, killed nearly 1,200 people and over 100 hostages remain in Hamas captivity,
(iv) millions of residents of Gaza are displaced and at risk of starvation, death, and disease, and Gaza is currently the most dangerous place in the world to be a child,
(v) the United Nations reports over 70 per cent of civilian infrastructure in Gaza, including homes, hospitals, schools, water and sanitation facilities, have been destroyed or severely damaged by Israeli military attacks,
(vi) on January 26, 2024, the International Court of Justice ordered six provisional measures, including for Israel to refrain from acts under the Genocide convention, prevent and punish the direct and public incitement to genocide, and take immediate and effective measures to ensure the provision of humanitarian assistance to civilians in Gaza,
(vii) Israelis are still at risk of attacks by Iran-backed terrorist groups including Hamas and Hezbollah,
(viii) the forcible transfer and violent attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank have significantly increased in recent months,
(ix) the casualties of the war on Gaza and the Hamas terrorist attack include Canadian citizens,
(x) Canadian citizens remain trapped in Gaza, blocked from leaving,
(xi) Jewish, Muslim, Arab, and Palestinian Canadians have reported an increase in hate-motivated attacks and racism since October,
(xii) Palestinians and Israelis both deserve to live in peace, with full enjoyment of their human rights and democratic freedoms,
the House call on the government to:
(a) demand an immediate ceasefire and the release of all hostages;
(b) suspend all trade in military goods and technology with Israel and increase efforts to stop the illegal trade of arms, including to Hamas;
(c) immediately reinstate funding and ensure long-term continued funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), and support the independent investigation;
(d) support the prosecution of all crimes and violations of international law committed in the region, and support the work of the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court;
(e) demand unimpeded humanitarian access to Gaza;
(f) ensure Canadians trapped in Gaza can reach safety in Canada and lift the arbitrary cap of 1,000 temporary resident visa applications;
(g) ban extremist settlers from Canada, impose sanctions on Israeli officials who incite genocide, and maintain sanctions on Hamas leaders;
(h) advocate for an end to the decades-long occupation of Palestinian territories and work toward a two-state solution; and
(i) officially recognize the State of Palestine and maintain Canada’s recognition of Israel’s right to exist and to live in peace with its neighbours.
    She said: Mr. Speaker, “If I must die, you must live to tell my story”. Those are the words of Refaat Alareer, who was killed in an Israeli air strike in Gaza on December 6.
    I rise today in sorrow and in hope. For five months, we have watched in horror, as horror after horror has unfolded in Gaza and Israel. The stories and the images are shocking and heartbreaking. We have seen two peoples utterly traumatized by violence, death and terror. We have seen the complete failure of the international community to stop the unfolding carnage in Gaza, and we are dismayed by the failure of Canada's Liberal government to stand up for what is right, for the rule of international law, for humanity and for peace. Canadians are horrified by a brutal assault on Gaza where over 30,000 civilians have been killed. They were horrified on October 7 by the vile terrorist attack on innocent civilians in Israel by Hamas terrorists, and they are horrified now by the way Netanyahu's extremist government has responded.
    Canadians believe in peace and justice, not just for Palestinians or for Israelis, but for everyone. Canadians want our government to apply those values universally, regardless of the price, regardless of the situation. I know this because hundreds of thousands have written to me about the war in Gaza. Canadians from every province and territory, of every faith and belief, have asked us to do the right thing and help stop this war, end arms sales to Israel, push for a ceasefire and for the release of all hostages, demand that Israel stop denying humanitarian aid, and seek peace and justice for Palestinians and Israelis. Instead, the government has abdicated its responsibility by ignoring, or worse, rejecting, international law, tearing apart the global moral fabric that Canada has helped to construct over decades. It does not have to be this way.
    Our NDP motion today sets out specific actions that would work toward peace and justice for Palestinians and Israelis. Today, the Liberals and the Conservatives have an opportunity to join the NDP in upholding the values of Canadians to show that Palestinian lives matter as much as anyone's life matters, that Palestinian rights are human rights and that children, all children, deserve justice.
    We are witnessing the collapse of the rules-based international order in Gaza. Canada has the responsibility and the obligation under international law to prevent genocide where it may occur. Canada has the responsibility to prevent ethnic cleansing, to condemn war crimes and to uphold international law, but that is not what is happening right now. While Canada rightfully condemns the attacks on Israelis, Liberals are not doing the same thing for Palestinians. In fact, Canada is openly hindering the progress at the International Court of Justice regarding the occupied territories. Canada's refusal to support the work of the ICJ regarding South Africa's claim, and its refusal to urge Israel to comply with provisional orders, is shocking.
     Professor Ardi lmseis, told our foreign affairs committee, “Canada's declared commitment to the rules-based international legal order is crucial to maintaining its moral standing in the world”, going on to say that commitment “must both be and be seen by others to be credible.”
    We are fast losing our credibility. It is very clear to Canadians, to Palestinians, to many Israelis fighting for peace and to the rest of the world that Canada currently holds a double standard when it comes to the question of Israel and Palestine in international law.
    This month, the UN warned that all arms exports to Israel must stop immediately. They specifically called out Canada for its military trade with Israel. The NDP has been calling for this for years, even prior to October 7 and this latest war on Gaza, because of very serious human rights abuses throughout Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. The minister has an obligation under the arms trade treaty not to approve export permits for military goods and technology where there is a substantial risk of human rights abuses. This is Canadian law.

  (1210)  

    Over the past decade, the NDP has been the only party that has called for reform to Canada's arms export system, yet the Liberals do nothing. Last week, a 13-year-old boy was shot to death in East Jerusalem after lighting fireworks. In a moment of joy and play, this child was killed. The Israeli minister of national security Ben-Gvir, the same minister who is arming extremist settlers with assault rifles, saluted the officer who killed this child.
    Hundreds of thousands of Canadians have demanded that the Government of Canada impose an arms embargo on Israel. How can Canada continue to engage in that kind of trade while children continue to be killed and extremist ministers of Netanyahu's government encourage this violence? Canada must do more to end the illegal arms smuggling to Hamas and other groups that threaten peace and security. We have called out Canada to do this, to stop this, not just for Hamas, and not just for Haiti, but also for the Sahel, and for other regions in the world where arms are ending up in the hands of people who are terrorizing civilians.
    More than 30,000 innocent civilians have been killed in Gaza, including more than 13,000 children. More children have been killed in Gaza in four months than in four years of conflict worldwide, more than the rest of all wars combined over four years. Thousands more are suffering devastating injuries and loss. In Gaza, medical teams have added a new acronym to their vocabulary. It is WCNSF, which stands for “wounded child, no surviving family”.
    Ten-year-old Yousef aI-Dawi dreams of resting his head in his mother's hands, of going swimming with his brother and of going on walks with his father, but the bomb that fell on his family's home killed them all. This child is not Hamas. The trauma felt by this generation of children will last a lifetime. Save the Children says that severe mental harm on Palestinian children in Gaza has increased exponentially over the past months, and now 1.1 million children in Gaza are starving to death. Families are foraging for food left by rats. Children scrape flour off the dirt on the street. How can we let this happen? How can we abandon the very principles of law and justice?
    This is the mass starvation of an entire people, and instead of pushing Israel to let humanitarian trucks in, trucks blocked at the border by Israel and the extremist settlers, we are participating in aid drops. Aid drops are the most ineffective, inefficient way to deliver aid. Drops have already killed people on the ground. They cannot possibly alleviate the level of starvation we are seeing in Gaza.
    These children who are starving are not Hamas. The choice to refuse aid to these children is political. The forced starvation of children is political. It is against international law. The Médecins Sans Frontières told the UN Security Council in February that Israeli forces have attacked their convoys, detained their staff and bulldozed their vehicles, and hospitals have been bombed and raided.
     At least 165 UNRWA staff have been killed in Gaza since October. That is the largest number of UN staff in history. These are aid workers who have been killed. There are allegations that Israeli soldiers tortured Palestinian medical staff from Nasser Hospital. The United Kingdom has asked for an investigation, but where is Canada?
     As we speak, 1.5 million people are trapped in Rafah, and Israel's defence minister has said that a ground invasion could happen any day, a ground invasion against the most vulnerable people in the world, people starving to death, people with nowhere else to go.
    Last week I met with two Canadian heroes, Dr. Alvi and Dr. Ge. These two physicians went to Gaza last month to offer primary care. What they bore witness to is absolutely horrifying. There are patients living in appalling conditions and a lack of medicine and anaesthesia. There are pregnant women who have no prenatal or postnatal care, and mothers are so malnourished they cannot produce breast milk.

  (1215)  

    There are mothers hemorrhaging because of treatable iron deficiency. There are children with gunshot wounds to the head and neck, and children so severely malnourished that they are skin and bones. Babies are unable to survive, dying before they even have a chance of life. There are thousands of bodies under the rubble that have not even been counted yet.
     Gaza is facing an overwhelming crisis of malnutrition, lack of water and shelter, all while the bombs continue to fall.
    I need to take a moment to address some of the concerns I have heard about the part of the NDP motion that calls on Canada to recognize a Palestinian state. In 2006, Rashid Khalidi wrote:
     Certainly the aspirations of the Palestinians to live as a sovereign people in their own land are likely to be further denied, for a time at least and perhaps lastingly....
    It will certainly not improve if there is a continuing refusal to look honestly at what has happened in this small land...and especially at how repeatedly forcing the Palestinians into an impossible corner, into an iron cage, has brought, and ultimately can bring, no lasting good to anyone.
    He wrote that 18 years ago and, today, we are further away from a two-state solution. We are in the most dangerous and difficult moment for Palestine and Israel.
    Netanyahu has said that he will not allow the recognition of a Palestinian state. His government continues to support the construction of illegal settlements eating away at Palestinian land. In January, I travelled to the West Bank, East Jerusalem to Jordan, to meet with Palestinian families, to meet with progressive Israeli groups and humanitarians to understand what they were feeling during this terrible crisis. I have worked in many difficult contexts in my career, and this was the most devastating I have ever seen.
    Now is the time to recognize Palestine. The United States and the United Kingdom have both signalled that they are looking at ways to formally recognize the state of Palestine. Last week, the prime minister of Spain said that he would ask the Spanish Parliament to recognize the Palestinian state, and already 139 United Nation member states recognize Palestine. It is beyond time for Canada to join with like-minded states and move this forward.
    This month, the Canadian Jewish organization JSpace released an important policy brief by Maytal Kowalski and former ambassador to Israel Jon Allen, which stated, “we call on the Canadian government to unilaterally recognize the state of Palestine despite no such recognition by Israel. By doing so,...and in lock-step with our allies, we believe that such a move can help accelerate a much needed diplomatic process to revive two-state negotiations.”
    Our NDP motion does not mean Canada would be recognizing Hamas. Hamas is a terrorist organization and it is not the government of Gaza. In fact, it is far from it. We are simply asking Canadians to do what other states have done; that is to recognize that a two-state solution requires the recognition of two states, accelerate the diplomatic process and stop using the denial of Palestinian statehood as an excuse to not support proceeding at the International Criminal Court.
    Over 100 hostages remain in Hamas captivity. This is devastating for their families, whose profound grief I cannot possibly understand. Since October 7, we have been united in our demand for the return of the hostages, and Hamas must be prosecuted for attacks, crimes and kidnappings. That is why the NDP supports bringing the perpetrators to justice at the International Criminal Court, as called for by the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights. However, to do that, Canada needs to support and recognize the court's jurisdiction.
    Every day, the families of the hostages protest in Tel Aviv, calling for a ceasefire and prisoner exchange. Every day, the families of the hostages call on the Netanyahu government to stop abandoning their loved ones. They are met by extremists like Minister Smotrich who tells them that their loved ones being held by Hamas are not the priority. They are hit with water cannons while protesting in the streets. Imagine the pain and grief they feel as they are abandoned by their own government, and are instead witnessing this horrific war against people who are not responsible for what Hamas has done.

  (1220)  

    I know that these past months have been incredibly painful for Canadians, for Jewish Canadians and for Jews around the world. The pain and the trauma felt by many in the Jewish community is very real. Canadians fear and decry rising incidents of hate in our communities. We need the federal government to do more to fight anti-Semitism, anti-Palestinian racism and Islamophobia.
     How do we find hope against despair? How do we build security while acknowledging the trauma of so many people? We must look to the helpers, the many doctors of Gaza who continue to go to work, despite their families having been killed and their homes destroyed; the journalists risking their lives to report the horror of this war; the peacebuilders like Standing Together, a grassroots movement mobilizing Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel in pursuit of peace, equality and social justice. They have a simple message, “There is another way....The occupation of the West Bank and the blockade on Gaza must end - not only because it is brutal and oppressive for Palestinians - but also because it does not guarantee any long-term safety for Israelis.”
     Yotam Kipnis, whose parents were murdered by Hamas on October 7, spends his days trying to get aid into Gaza to alleviate the suffering. Wheels of Hope facilitated getting patients from Gaza to Israel hospitals, a program that Canadian Israeli Vivian Silver participated in before she was murdered by Hamas. Vivian Silver's son says, “the issues may be huge and complex, but the solution for peace is very simple.”
     It is through the work of peacebuilding organizations, human rights advocates, humanitarian workers and grassroots collectives that embrace compassion and empathy for one another that we will find that hope. It is through the work of hundreds of thousands of Canadians who are calling for a ceasefire, the release of the hostages, an arms embargo and humanitarian assistance. This is where we find hope.
     We must rise in this moment to strive for humanity, to hold space for each other's pain and trauma. We must understand that we are not separate, but we are all part of one another.
     Jewish Canadian organization JSpace has said that our NDP motion is “a strong first step for Canada to take in leading toward an end to the war and a negotiated two-state solution. It is easy to talk about what can't be done. Yasher Koach to those who propose what can be done.” That is what we are doing today.
     We are proposing that which can be done to build a real future for Palestinians and Israelis so that they can live freely in peace, with the full recognition of their dignity and their human rights.
    I am going to tell a story now. It is very difficult, but it is important that we tell it.
     Six-year-old Hind Rajab was with family members as they attempted to flee Israeli forces and their car came under fire in Gaza City. Her family members were killed. Hind was trapped in the vehicle and surrounded by her dead relatives. She managed to reach the emergency hotline of the Palestine Red Crescent. “I’m so scared, please come” were some of the last words she said in a call to rescuers. For three hours she pleaded with the Red Crescent for help, as the aid workers waited to be given permission by Israel to access Hind's location. Hind was afraid of the dark. The ambulance was finally granted permission from Israel, but once it got close to her location it came under fire. The ambulance was found days later, only metres away from Hind's family's car, the ambulance crew dead. Six-year-old Hind died alone in that car afraid, surrounded by the bodies of her dead relatives. “I'm so scared, please come”, she said, “please come.”
    I am telling members this story today because none of us can say that we did not know. We do know. The failure of Canadians to face this horror is shameful. It is not political inaction, but complicity, and it does not have to continue. The NDP motion today asks the House to recommend nine steps that Canada could take today to help end this war and save the lives of children. This is not complicated.
    Over and again we have risen in the House, demanding an end to Canada's arms sales to Israel and support for humanitarian efforts. Day after day, week after week, New Democrats have demanded that the government pursue peace and justice, while in Gaza the bombs continue to fall. How many more bombs must fall? How many more children must die before the government finally does what is right?

  (1225)  

    Mr. Speaker, I want to talk about one thing the member said, which is that we are not separate, that we are all part of one another. I agree 100%. On the story you gave about Hind dying in the car, we all recognize that this is absolutely horrendous.
    I would like to hear from you on how you feel this motion will actually make a difference in alleviating the suffering of these people right now? It is a non-binding motion in the House of Commons of Canada.
    She has said that we are not separate. Does she feel that this motion, and having members vote on this, will cause greater division, not only in the House but, more important, among Canadians at a time where Islamophobia and anti-Semitism are on the rise? We are all very concerned about unity. I think everyone—
    I know the hon. member realized her mistake of not going through the Chair when she was asking her question.
    The hon. member for Edmonton Strathcona.

  (1230)  

    Mr. Speaker, as Canadians, we must stand for peace, we must stand for justice and we must uphold international law. What the member is suggesting is that children around the world should die, should be killed, should starve to death and that the Canadian Parliament should not act, should not take steps to put things into place that would help.
    It is vitally important that this Parliament sends a clear message that, as Canadians, we believe in the rights of all people. We believe in Palestinian human rights. We believe in Israeli human rights. We believe that the international rule of law needs to be adhered to. We need to have the bravery and courage to say that in this place.
    Mr. Speaker, on October 7, Hamas murdered, raped and tortured thousands. It murdered thousands of people. This motion does not hold Hamas accountable in any way. It does not call for the surrender of Hamas, or for the putting down of its arms or even for the return of those hostages in any meaningful way.
    Why is the member rewarding Hamas terrorists for their October 7 massacre in the House of Commons? She should be ashamed of herself.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The statement that the member made in response to my question, first, did not answer my question, but second, she accused me—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I ask all members to be judicious in the discussion today. For the hon. member for Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill, that is not necessarily a point of order; it is a part of debate. However, I will allow the hon. member, if it is a point of order, to represent that point of order.
    The hon. member for Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill.
    Mr. Speaker, the member opposite made statements regarding me that I have not said, that do not reference anything I have said, and she was impugning my motive, which is completely unacceptable in the House.
    That is descending into debate. Again, it is not a point of order. The hon. member may want to discuss it with the House leader as a question of privilege. There are a number of processes for it, but it is not a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order.
    I think it is important throughout this debate, because it is going to be a very emotional debate, no doubt, to remember that it is inappropriate for any member on any side to impute the motives of another member. Making a statement that one member is in favour or suggesting in any fashion that they are in favour of children being killed is inappropriate and unparliamentary. I would suggest it does nothing to maintain decorum. I say that for what it is worth. It is something that needs to be taken into consideration throughout the day.
    I thank the hon. member for the statement. The hon. member for Victoria is rising on the same point.
    Mr. Speaker, the member across the way said “impute the motives”. That is the word they keep using. I do not think that word means what they think it means.
    I think “impugn” is what we are looking for, so I appreciate the discussion. I will proceed.
    The hon. member for Edmonton Strathcona had the floor.
    Mr. Speaker, clearly my colleague has not read the motion and did not listen to my speech. I was very clear that what Hamas did on October 7 is appalling. It is written into our motion what actions we are calling for with regard to Hamas. I spoke very clearly about that, so if she would like me to explain the motion to her again, perhaps the Speaker could read it for her again.
    However, because she did ask me that, I just want to finish off with a poem from Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, who wrote The War Will End:
    

The war will end
The leaders will shake hands
The old woman will keep waiting for her martyred son
That girl will wait for her beloved husband
And those children will wait for their heroic father
I don't know who sold our homeland
But I saw who paid the price.

The War Will End

  (1235)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois will be supporting the motion.
    I would like the member to give us more information on the last part, which aims to recognize Palestine as a state, as several other countries have done. We tabled a motion to that effect a few years ago, but we did not have enough support.
    I would also like the member to tell us about her proposal to try and put an end to the occupation and settlements in Palestine's occupied territories.
    How can recognizing the Palestinian state, as part of a two-state solution, help move towards resolving the conflict?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it is good to hear that the Bloc will be supporting the motion. I think it is very important. I certainly hope many members across the House choose to support this motion, which does align with international law and with Canadian policy and human rights.
    In terms of the piece of this legislation that calls for a recognition of the state of Palestine, I will say, once again, that 139 United Nations member states have already taken this step. This is something Canada should have done some time ago. I will also say that the U.S. has signalled that it is ready for this conversation. The United Kingdom has signalled that it is ready for this conversation and, as I mentioned in my speech, the Spanish Prime Minister has already asked Parliament to recognize the state of Palestine. This is something that is already happening around the world.
    It has always been, for me, a very difficult thing that we talk about a two-state solution and the need for a two-state solution, and that this is the path by which we find peace for Israelis and Palestinians, yet we do not recognize the existence of two states. It does not make sense. We need to have that recognition so the conversations that lead to a more peaceful future in the Middle East can happen.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Edmonton Strathcona for highlighting that 139 states already recognize Palestine and also for sharing that JSpace states that this move can help accelerate a diplomatic process. I wanted to know why the acceleration matters so much.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her important work in the House.
    Right now what we are seeing is tens of thousands of innocent civilians losing their lives. Over 13,000 children have lost their lives. Right now, today, at this moment, there is a population facing starvation. They are facing starvation in 2024, and it is not starvation because there is no food. The food is at the border rotting in trucks instead of getting into the bellies of innocent children.
    We need to do everything we can to stop the war and to alleviate the suffering of innocent civilians. This is why part of our motion is to make sure there is a ceasefire and to make sure we stop selling arms to Israel. The final piece, recognition of Palestine as a state, is so that we can build toward this. It is so that the world can work together and we can build toward a more peaceful outcome into the future. Ultimately, what we are all looking for is a secure and safe future for Palestinians and Israelis.
    Mr. Speaker, at a time when the number of people facing catastrophic hunger in the Gaza Strip is now 1.1 million, and at a time when the International Court of Justice has already ruled for the State of Israel to take six immediate steps to avoid acts of genocide, today's motion from the NDP is a critical one to compel the government to align its actions with its so-called calls for a ceasefire. It is why Greens have long supported the calls in today's motion.
    I applaud the member for Edmonton Strathcona for her courage in bringing it to the floor of the House. I wonder if she could further comment on how important it is that we move in this critical moment to have Canada take steps to align its calls with that which the ICJ and others around the world have already called for.

  (1240)  

    Mr. Speaker, my colleague has long spoken in the House about the need for peace in the Middle East and for the rights of Israeli and Palestinian people.
    This moment in time is pivotal. It is vital. It is vital that we take the steps we can now, that we work with our allies and that we signal to the international community that human rights matter and they matter wherever those human rights are being attacked. Palestinian human rights are not less than those of any other person. Children, regardless of where those children live, deserve to grow up and they deserve to have enough food to eat.
    Think about the acronym “wounded child, no surviving family”. That is why we need to do more. It is why we need to do more right now.
    Mr. Speaker, I welcome debate during this pivotal moment for the region and the world.
    I rise having just returned from visiting the Middle East, where I met with my counterparts from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the U.A.E., Israel and also the Palestinian authority.
    Of course, the ongoing Israel-Hamas war and the path toward peace was at the top of our agenda. These conversations were not always easy. We do not all share the same perspectives, but we all share the goal of peace and stability in the region so we must be pragmatic and find a way forward together.
    While in Israel, we visited Yad Vashem, the memorial dedicated to the victims of the Holocaust, one of the world's darkest chapters. It is important to remember that the persecution of the Jewish people did not start or end with the Holocaust. Before the creation of Israel, Jewish communities around the world struggled to find a place to call home, a place where they could feel safe, a place where they could live in security, a place where their human rights would be respected and a place where they could live with dignity, have a family and build a better future for their loved ones without fear. For the Jewish people, Israel is that home.

[Translation]

    On October 7, Israelis' sense of security and confidence in their institutions was shaken; for many, it was shattered. The Hamas terrorist attack was the deadliest in Israel's 76-year history. Hamas killed 1,200 people and kidnapped more than 240. Some 134 remain in captivity in Gaza. That means 134 families are desperately awaiting their return so they can hold them tight.
    Every single person in Israel knows someone, or knows someone who knows someone, who was killed or kidnapped on that fateful day. The entire country bears the weight of that shared trauma. Therefore, we once again unequivocally condemn Hamas for its October 7 terrorist attacks.

[English]

    While in Israel, we also travelled south to kibbutz Kfar Aza, one of the first communities to be attacked by Hamas on October 7. There, I met Ayelet, the mother of Netta, a Canadian who was killed protecting his fiancé.
    Ayelet walked us through her neighbourhood and recounted the agonizing massacre of October 7. She described the chaos of not understanding what was happening, of friends and family breathlessly running from house to house, passing those that had been set on fire, looking for their loved ones. However, in many cases, it was too late; they had already been killed.
    While we bore witness to the horrors of October 7, we could hear and feel the shudder of bombs falling onto Gaza nearby, followed by the unmistakable peppering of gunfire. In that moment, the duality of the tragedy befalling the Israeli and Palestinian people was profound. It was a moment that I will forever remember.
    Since October 7, more than 31,000 Palestinians have now been killed in Gaza. Over 70% of these people are women and children. There are 1.7 million Palestinians displaced, and even more at risk of starvation, disease and death.
    I sat down with humanitarian workers who described the crisis in Gaza as the worst they have seen in their careers. They have witnessed mothers undergoing C-sections without anaesthesia, the desperation of children asking for food as cars pass by and the despair of children who are now orphans.

  (1245)  

[Translation]

    It is safe to say that every Palestinian family tree has lost entire branches to the violence that has occurred since October 7. That is clear from our conversations in Ramallah.
    In the midst of this tragedy, extremist settlers are subjecting Palestinians in the West Bank to increasingly frequent and intense violence. These violent acts alone have cost the lives of over 300 Palestinians and displaced 1,000 more since October 7. One family we spoke to was forced from their home by Israeli settlers and denied access to the family farm they depend on for their survival.
    We strongly oppose this violence, and we will impose sanctions on those responsible for it.

[English]

    Palestinians continue to struggle for their self-determination and for the creation of a Palestinian state, a state where they could feel safe, where they could live in security, where their human rights would be respected and where they could live with dignity, could have a family and could build a better future for their kids. Palestinians struggle for a home of their own.
    This crisis has exposed cracks and has deepened the wounds of society on both sides. It is fuelled by dehumanization. When we do not see the humanity of others, injustice falls onto the shoulders of innocents. This pain has extended throughout the region and here at home. In Canada, we mourn the loss of eight Canadians killed on October 7. Countless Canadian families mourn the loss of loved ones in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank.
     In Canada and around the world, we have witnessed a sharp rise of anti-Semitism, as well as a sharp rise of Islamophobia. Muslim and Jewish communities are targets of physical and verbal attacks. They have been harassed on streets and online, barred from places of worship and made to feel unsafe in their schools. This is not the promise of our country. Our government will continue to strongly denounce and condemn all forms of discrimination and racism, which have no place in Canada.
    Beyond the rise of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, this conflict has polarized our society and is testing the strength of our social cohesion. We are entangled in a web of devastation, and we face pressure to pick sides. We are forced to believe that if we speak up for one, of course, surely, we are against the other. For us, it is not that simple.

[Translation]

    Given the current situation, I doubt there will be a winner. There will be only victims and survivors left to forever mourn their losses. With the current level of destruction taking place, it will take years to rebuild everything.
    Rebuilding Gaza will require our help. Canada will be there. We will be there to rebuild the health care system in Gaza, especially the children's hospitals. It will take decades, if not generations, for the consequences of the trauma experienced by Israelis and Palestinians alike to emerge and be treated.
    That is why, in this tragedy, I will always stand on the side of human dignity and the protection of civilians, both Palestinian and Israeli. We owe it to Palestinians and Israelis alike, who have been abandoned for decades because no lasting solution to this conflict has been found.
    Besides this failure, terrorists and extremist voices are being heard from all sides. They are undermining the future of both Israelis and Palestinians. This is not to mention the broader implications throughout the Middle East. We do not have a choice. We must do better.

  (1250)  

[English]

    In Canada, our position is rooted in three principles. First is the right for Israel to exist and, by extension, to defend itself in accordance with humanitarian law. Second is the protection of civilians. Third is the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people. We fully recognize that these principles are in tension with each other right now, but we remain committed to all of them.
    The violence must end. An immediate humanitarian ceasefire is urgently needed. This ceasefire cannot be one-sided. Of course, Hamas needs to lay down its weapons, and all hostages must be released. The need for humanitarian assistance in Gaza has never been greater. Rapid, safe and unimpeded humanitarian relief must be provided to civilians now. This is why Canada will participate in every single way to help.
    Due to the urgency of the situation, we have resumed funding to UNRWA while supporting efforts to reform the organization. We will contribute to the humanitarian sea corridor. We will support air drops. We recognize that this will not replace the urgent need for more access by land, and we will continue to press for it.
    We are gravely concerned by Israel's plan for a ground military offensive into Rafah. About 1.5 million Palestinians are taking refuge in the area, including many of our citizens and their families. They have nowhere else to go. We have made it clear to the Israeli government that we urge them not to go down this path.

[Translation]

    With respect to the International Court of Justice, we fully acknowledge that its interim measures are binding on both parties. The court was clear: Israel must ensure the provision of basic services and essential humanitarian aid and it must protect civilians.
    As for exports of controlled goods to Israel, I would like to reiterate that Canada has a very strict export regime whereby each application is considered on a case-by-case basis. We have not issued any weapons permits per se since October 7.
    Given the rapidly developing situation on the ground, the Department of Foreign Affairs has not approved a permit since January 8, considering our inability to confirm that human rights are being upheld and, of course, that our export regime requirements would be met.
    In conclusion, the only way to achieve lasting peace and security for Israelis and Palestinians is through a negotiated political solution. I believe that Canada has a role to play. We owe our diplomatic heritage to the likes of Lester B. Pearson, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Brian Mulroney and Jean Chrétien. That heritage centres on peacekeeping and bridge-building to promote negotiations. Today, we have a responsibility to build on that tradition.

[English]

    Canada will remain committed to a two-state solution, including the creation of a Palestinian state where Palestinians and Israelis live side by side in peace, security and dignity. The long-term security of Israel, the normalization of diplomatic relations in the Arab world and the creation of a Palestinian state cannot be considered separately or in opposition to one another. They are intertwined. We must recognize this and act on it. We are committed to being pragmatic and to doing our part.

  (1255)  

    Mr. Speaker, we are in this situation where over 13,000 children have been killed and over 30,000 civilians have lost their lives. I know the minister speaks to her colleagues in other countries and to allies in the United States and in the United Kingdom.
    I have two questions for the minister at this pivotal moment when all Canadians are very much hoping the Liberal government will have the moral courage to do what Canadians across the country have been asking for. Has the minister reached out to leaders within the United States to push them, to urge them to do more to make sure that peace can happen in the Middle East? Will she be supporting our motion today?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for her ongoing work. We do not always see eye to eye, but I know we can work together. When it comes to what is happening in the Middle East, of course, we are in close contact with different U.S. officials. I am in contact with my colleague, Tony Blinken, and I have also been in contact with many people in the White House.
    It is important that we get to a hostage deal. It is fundamental that hostages be released and that humanitarian aid gets to Gaza. We are extremely frustrated with the fact that Hamas recently decided, before Ramadan, to not take the deal that was on the table. We urge all parties to get to a very important negotiation deal, because at the end of the day, we think that by releasing hostages, by getting humanitarian aid into Gaza and by getting to a humanitarian ceasefire, we will be able to get the temperature down, to stop the violence and, eventually, to get back to a much more sustainable peace for the region. That is fundamental for the region but, at the same time, it will also bring tensions down here in the country.
    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Foreign Affairs speaks for Canada, but I did not hear the minister clearly state the Government of Canada's position on this motion.
    I think the Government of Canada has often, in the last several months, been unclear about its position on the conflict that has emerged between Israel and Hamas, so I will give the Minister of Foreign Affairs an opportunity to clearly state whether the government will be supporting or opposing the motion.
    Mr. Speaker, as I said to my colleague from the NDP and I also say to my colleague from the Conservatives, of course, I appreciate working with the member; although, we do not always see eye to eye, but I very much respect his input.
    When it comes to our position, it has been clear. It is a position that many G7 foreign ministers have been expressing across the world, which is that we need a hostage deal. We need to make sure that we get to a humanitarian ceasefire and that humanitarian aid must get into Gaza.
    There are issues with the motion presented by the NDP. We cannot change foreign policy based on an opposition motion. That being said, I would also like to know what the Conservative Party's position is.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Hon. Mélanie Joly: Mr. Speaker, I am sorry, but to my colleagues who are shouting, I would like to know whether they are in favour of a ceasefire or not, when it comes to Gaza.
    Mr. Speaker, I very much appreciate the minister's comments on what is a very sensitive issue. This is a heart-wrenching issue, which Canadians listen to virtually on a daily basis when they check in with the news and other types of forums.
    When we reflect on Canadian values, the speech I heard from the minister was very much a reflection of Canadian values. However, Canadians are having a difficult time, and we have seen an uptick in issues of racial incidents on all sides.
     I am wondering if the minister can provide her thoughts on how we can try to move forward and provide that sense of comfort that, as a government, we are taking a position in which Canadians can have that confidence in the government, particularly that we are working with our allied countries.

  (1300)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to note that I did not get an answer from the Conservatives, and I am looking forward to getting one on the question of whether they are in favour of a humanitarian ceasefire or not.
    Hon. Michael Chong: A humanitarian pause.
    Hon. Mélanie Joly: Mr. Speaker, I am getting information that they are not.
    That being said, when it comes to Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and dehumanization, we have to do a better job in this country, and that is the reality. At this point, a lot of people want us to condemn one side and not the other. We have to condemn both sides, and we have to help both sides to eventually get to an understanding that Israelis and Palestinians will have to live together in peace.
     As a country, we are there to help. We are an honest broker, and that is what Canada does. That is what we have been doing since the Second World War, when Lester B. Pearson was there during the Suez Canal crisis to help with tensions in that region.
    The House has my promise that I will make sure, as the foreign affairs minister of this country, to keep the space for Canada to play a role in what could be consequential times in that region and in the world.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank all my colleagues and friends in the House. I thank my colleague from Edmonton Strathcona, as well as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, my colleague and friend.
    I am rather distressed. How can the government members vote against this motion?

[English]

    Canadians want to see us, as elected people, reflect the conscience of this country, the heartbreak across this country and the cries to stand up and to not be on the wrong side of history as innocent civilians continue to be slaughtered.
    I could tweak the words of the motion before us; we all could. However, I do not see how we can fail to be united, as Canadians would like to see and as Greens will be, in supporting the motion. I beg the minister to consider how important a signal it would be to the world that we vote together in support of peace, of humanitarian values, of the release and the freedom of the hostages and of all the individual elements of this excellent motion.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I have great affection for my colleague. I want to reiterate that to her. I thank her for her work and her respect. I know that she is a great advocate for peace and solidarity, especially in times of crisis. I want to thank her for all her work.
    The government is very sensitive to this motion before Parliament. This motion is not perfect, but it is important. It seeks to offer a solution to this extremely devastating war, both on the Israeli side and the Palestinian side. Of course, Canada is engaged in a constructive dialogue to ensure, as she said so well, that we bring people into the country, denounce the humanitarian disaster in Gaza and, at the same time, ensure that the innocent Israeli victims, the hostages, are released.
    We will continue to work with all parliamentarians in the House. My colleague can count on my collaboration in coming up with a solution here in the House.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, today Liberals have the chance to stand up for peace and justice. The minister and her government keep talking about a commitment to a two-state solution, yet the Liberals refuse to recognize two states. There are 139 countries that recognize the state of Palestine. Canada does not. As it stands, Canada continues to deny the most fundamental right of self-determination to the Palestinian people.
    When is Canada going to back up its supposed commitment to a two-state solution by recognizing the state of Palestine? Will the Liberals support this motion and finally recognize the state of Palestine?

  (1305)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind my colleague that, of course, we always stand up for justice and peace in this world. That is our foreign policy. That is what we do every day.
    Of course, when it comes to the Israel-Hamas issue, we believe in a two-state solution. We believe that we are, after this war, closer than ever to a two-state solution. Why? It is because, coming back from the region, what I heard is that many Arab countries would be interested in the normalization of diplomatic relations with Israel. Many Arab countries, in terms of Iran, want to make sure that Israel and the region are safe. We believe in that. It is in the interests of the Government of Canada in general to make sure that is the case.
    This normalization, this security architecture for the region, must come also with the recognition of the state of Palestine. We must do the two together. This is sound foreign policy, and this is also what our closest allies in the world will continue to do. Canada will be leading that conversation.
    Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Thornhill.
    Today I speak on behalf of Conservatives. Conservatives, like everyone in this chamber, want to see an end to the conflict between Israel and Hamas. We are concerned about the loss of civilian life in Gaza, the loss of children, women and other civilians. We are equally concerned about the humanitarian crisis, the humanitarian needs of some two million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip. We are concerned about their access to food, water and the other basic necessities of life.
    We condemn the atrocities of October 7, 2023, atrocities committed by Hamas against some 1,200 innocent Israeli civilians. Hamas committed these atrocities against these innocent women, men, children and babies, who were just civilians living their lives in their houses on that dark day of October 7. Conservatives assess that Hamas committed war crimes that day. We base that assessment on the evidence collected by reputable news organizations and western governments. Innocent civilians were raped and tortured. Children and babies were slaughtered. Civilians were beheaded and bodies were burned. Hamas deliberately used techniques employed by ISIS.
    Conservatives also condemn the taking of 253 innocent civilians as hostages that day by Hamas, also a crime under international humanitarian law. Over half of these innocent civilians remain hostage, held by Hamas. This too is a war crime, a crime under the law of armed conflict.
    This is why we, as Conservatives, support humanitarian aid and humanitarian pauses for the Palestinian people in Gaza and why we support the State of Israel's right to defend itself in eliminating Hamas as a threat. However, we cannot support providing humanitarian aid through an organization whose employees joined Hamas and participated in the October 7 atrocities. Humanitarian aid needs to be delivered through a different mechanism, through a different organization than that of UNRWA.
    There are those who say that UNRWA is the only organization that can possibly deliver aid on the ground to some two million Palestinians in Gaza. What happened to the creativity and the immense resources of the west? Seventy-six years ago, the west faced another similar humanitarian crisis of similar proportions. Some two million West Berliners were trapped in a Soviet-occupied zone in Germany, blocked from receiving aid and the basic needs of life because of a blockade that had been set up by the Soviets. The west responded with creativity and with far fewer resources than we have today to help the people of West Berlin.
    The Berlin airlift of 1948-49 lasted for 15 months and provided the basic needs of life for two and a quarter million West Berliners. At the time, there were plenty of people saying that it could not be done, plenty of naysayers saying that it was impossible to do, but our forebears in Ottawa, Washington and London decided otherwise. They came up with a creative way, with much more limited resources than we have today, to help the people of West Berlin. Maybe an airlift is not the solution here, but surely the west, with much greater resources today, can use the same kind of creativity that we had 76 years ago to deliver humanitarian aid to the some two million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip without having to use an organization that has been complicit with Hamas.
    Conservatives support providing humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people, but not through UNRWA. We also support the right of the State of Israel to defend itself against Hamas, which committed the most unspeakable atrocities on October 7. We should not forget the genesis of this most recent conflict. The genesis is Hamas and its atrocities of October 7. Hamas is what we should be focused on, not the State of Israel. Hamas is the only party to this conflict that is to blame for this conflict, that started this conflict and that can end this conflict. Hamas, today, can unconditionally surrender, release all of the remaining 130 or so hostages and lay down all its arms.

  (1310)  

    Let us not forget it was this Parliament and the Government of Canada that decided Hamas is a terrorist entity. The decision was made by Parliament to empower the Government of Canada, through the Criminal Code, to designate entities as terrorists. The Government of Canada has taken the decision to list it as a terrorist entity, and we should not forget that this reflects the will of the Canadian people as expressed through Parliament and through the Government of Canada.
    Hamas is at fault for October 7. Hamas is the one who, on October 7, broke a ceasefire. Hamas is responsible for the greatest loss of Jewish civilian life since the Shoah, the Holocaust. Hamas is the reason Israel has executed on its right under international law and on its responsibility to protect its people from this horrendous threat.
    Conservatives support Canada's long-standing position of a two-state solution, a state of Palestine living in peace, security and prosperity next to the State of Israel. However, this cannot be achieved through some sort of unilateral declaration in the House of Commons, just like we cannot declare in this House of Commons that an authoritarian state is suddenly a democracy.
    I would think that in the aftermath of the Arab Spring, in the aftermath of the second war in Iraq and in the aftermath of what happened in Afghanistan several years ago, we would understand that simply declaring a democracy does not result in one. Democracy is not the result of a declaration. It is the result of a long, arduous process that can take months, if not years, of negotiations for a constitution that results in democratic institutions that have popular support. It is only then that one can have a democracy and that one can have democratic elections that result in the selection of leaders who govern.
    Similarly, a two-state solution cannot be achieved just by a declaration. It can only be achieved through a long, arduous process that will take months, if not years, of negotiations between the two parties at hand: the State of Israel and representatives of the Palestinian people, representatives who have the popular support of the Palestinian people, who have renounced violence and terrorism and who have accepted the rules-based international order.
    Let me finish by saying that Conservatives support the aspirations of the Palestinian people to have their own state, a Palestinian state that would join the community of nations around the world and would allow the Palestinian people to fulfill their hopes and dreams, a Palestinian state that would contribute to the region's peace and security, like the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has done and like other states have done in the region, a Palestinian state that would give hope, opportunity and ever-increasing prosperity to the millions of Palestinians living in the region and a Palestinian state no longer ruled by Hamas and other terrorist entities that use violence as a means to an end and that have used the Palestinian people for their own enrichment, their own control and their own ends.
    Conservatives support the State of Israel. Israel is the homeland of the Jewish people. It has the right to defend itself and has the right to use all legal means necessary under the law of armed conflict to ensure its peace and security. Conservatives see Israel as a democratic partner in the Middle East. Israel, like Ukraine, is at the front line of a clash between a rising authoritarianism backed by states like the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China, and democracies like Ukraine and the State of Israel.
    In this rising clash between two very different models of governance, there is no doubt where Canada's interests and Canada's values lie. We stand with liberal democracies like Ukraine and like the State of Israel. For all these reasons, Conservatives will not be supporting the motion before the House.

  (1315)  

    Mr. Speaker, my colleague spoke about the recognition and the value of international law. Does he believe international law applies in all cases? Does he believe the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court, institutions Canada has supported and has shown respect for, should be respected? Does he believe those provisional measures that have been put in place against the Government of Israel should be adhered to?
    Does he believe the Canadian government should urge its friends within Israel to in fact stick with those provisional measures despite the fact that right now they continue to bomb innocent civilians, they continue to kill children and we continue to see the death toll of people who are innocent go up?
    Mr. Speaker, international humanitarian law, in other words the law of armed conflict, makes it clear that what Hamas did on October 7, 2023, was war crimes. The taking of hostages is a war crime. I think we all acknowledge that hostages were taken. The raping, murdering and targeting, deliberately, of civilians is a war crime. This has been assessed by reputable organizations.
    What I am not aware of is any reputable organization's, including the International Court of Justice's, assessing that Israel has committed a war crime. States have the right to defend themselves and to use force to defend themselves. They have the right to target military infrastructure and the right to eliminate terrorist entities like Hamas that pose a threat to the safety and security of their own citizens.
    I am not aware of any international organization, the UN or any high court that has assessed that the State of Israel has committed war crimes since October 7, 2023.
    Mr. Speaker, what saddens me is the fact that, with such an important issue that is taking place in the world today, as a group of parliamentarians we are having to debate a motion of this nature. I would rather have seen the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs try to build some form of consensus and then, through that consensus, bring it to the floor of the House of Commons.
    I think there is a lot to be said about unity. At a time when Canadians are looking for leadership on issues such as this that are having such a profound impact, can the member opposite give any sort of indication whether there was any dialogue between him and the New Democratic Party with respect to the motion we have before us today? Was there any form of an attempt to do something of this nature in the standing committee, as opposed to trying to politicize the issue inside the chamber?
    Mr. Speaker, what I will say is that Conservatives have supported Canada's long-standing position on the State of Israel. That position calls for a negotiated settlement between the two parties, the State of Israel and the Palestinian people, that would arrive at a two-state solution.
    Conservatives also support a long-standing position that was held by the previous Liberal government and the previous Conservative government, a policy developed by Irwin Cotler, Pierre Pettigrew and then prime minister Paul Martin that said that we were not going to vote in favour of resolutions at the United Nations General Assembly that singled out the State of Israel for targeting.
    We support Canada's returning to that long-standing position at the UN, where resolutions that single out the State of Israel would be voted against by Canada in order to indicate that we are not supportive of an anti-Semitic approach that we often see, where the Jewish people or the State of Israel is singled out for special condemnation when there are plenty of other cases around the world in which there are actual cases of human rights violations and actual cases to be condemned but that go ignored.

  (1320)  

    Mr. Speaker, despite the many positions of the Government of Canada, the motion is not about a ceasefire; the motion is about rewarding Hamas for its massacre. The motion is about a vote to reward the murder, rape and kidnapping of Israelis, and the motion is deeply irresponsible for Parliament.
     It is hard to explain and express the complex feelings of shock, fear and anger felt by thousands across the country who are being subjected to the motion today. It would have been enough if they were shocked by the public displays of blatant anti-Semitism in our streets, driven entirely by the irresponsible rhetoric in the House. It would have been enough if they were fearful for what lies ahead in Canada. It would have been enough if they were only angry and betrayed by the government's duplicitous attempt to be all things to all people, like we just heard.
    However, today the blind sellout to the forces of evil at home and abroad is what should be a wake-up call like no other to every freedom-loving Canadian who has built any piece of this country and who enjoys everything that those before us built for us.
    The motion would be a ceasefire motion if it called for Hamas to lay down its arms, to surrender and to immediately return every single hostage, to bring them home. It is not that.
    In the face of some of the world's most vile anti-Semitism, and in the wake of the deadliest day for the Jews since the Holocaust, the Liberal government and the Prime Minister held captive by its NDP overlords are giving in to terror. The motion before us is only the latest example of that. On October 7, 2023, Hamas launched an unprovoked and unjustified attack on innocent civilians in Israel, where hundreds of men and women, young and old, were raped, murdered, tortured and taken hostage. More than 100 of those hostages are still being held captive.
    The motion is not only an abandonment of the ongoing fight to bring those hostages home; it is also an abandonment of our ally in Israel. More than that, it is a blind giveaway to Hamas terrorists and those who seek to undermine democracy, freedom and the rule of law in the Middle East and in the western world. It is an insult to everyone who lost a family member in the attack and to anyone who witnesses a nation, an ally, paralyzed by forces so barbaric, so evil, that discussing the motion today flies in the face of civilization and the future of a Palestinian people free of Hamas. There is a reason that Canada has a long-standing policy of not negotiating with terrorists. It is that it rewards barbarism, and worse that it provides an incentive for that barbarism to continue and even escalate.
    I want members of the chamber to think long and hard about what many concessions in the motion mean for peace. In the short term they mean that Hamas would remain intact. They mean that no more members of Hamas would be brought to justice. They mean that no more hostages would likely be brought home. In the long run they mean that Hamas would be rewarded for its decision to attack a democratic nation.
    They mean that our lost decade of foreign policy in this country would be culminated by a recognition of a state ruled by terror instead of what was once a long-established consensus of Canadian foreign policy by Liberal governments before this one that says that there should be a negotiated solution among parties. The Government of Canada supports parties that want to see a future of two states living side by side in peace and security in a negotiated settlement.
    It is shocking and shameful that elected representatives here in this place would support such a dead giveaway to a group literally defined as terrorists by Canadian law. Imagine a future for the Palestinian people free of Hamas. We do not have to imagine it; we see it in the success of peaceful gulf states whose raison d'être is not the annihilation of the other or a perverse nihilism of their own people.
    We should not be surprised, however. After eight years of the Prime Minister and his Liberal government, our nation has abandoned almost every principle that we used to be known for on the world stage. It is the Liberal government that called the Taliban our brothers and sisters, that frolicked with African dictators to try to buy a seat on the UN Security Council, that fails the basic task of listing the IRGC as terrorists and banning from this country those who are known backers of these atrocities and who intimidate our own citizens as sport, and that is now taking the side of a literal terrorist organization best known for killing babies in ovens and starving their own citizens in Gaza for more than a generation.

  (1325)  

    Yes, peace is needed in the Middle East. Yes, we all want to see an end to violence and to see aid reach those who are absolutely in need of it. Yes, we want to find a long-term solution that helps both innocent Israelis and innocent Palestinians live in peace and security. Yes, Hamas is responsible for all of the carnage that sets these goals back. However, there is a way to do that without sacrificing our principles, and there is a way to do it that is not a dead giveaway to a murderous, barbaric, inhumane terrorist group.
    The motion is not that way. It advances the same kind of foreign policy that sees our foreign minister and the member of Parliament for York Centre caress the hand of a dictator in the 19th year of his four-year term, a terrorist who denies the Holocaust, who denies what took place on October 7, 2023, and who set up the martyrs fund that rewards families of terrorists who killed Jews, including, in some cases, family members in that member's riding. There is no other word than “shameful” for that.
    Today she will have a free vote on the motion, and we will all be watching. We will see whether she puts her community first or whether she is just a sellout to the Prime Minister and the radical mob once again, as this is not about foreign policy but about the heartless ploy to placate the domestic audience by a government that has lost its way.
    I am not afraid for my community to see the tragic support of a deeply illiberal government stand against it, but I am afraid for our country; for our reputation abroad; and, most of all, for the values that this country is formed upon, the values of order, of democracy, of justice and freedom; and of the precedent that is being set here today with the motion. It would set in place a casual, gradual erosion and a disregard of the very beliefs that make this country special, sending a signal that we support a noisy few over a silent many, lawlessness over principle and what is convenient over what is right.
    The government is playing a dangerous game of moral equivalency, pitting one group against another. It misrepresents the truth about support for funding for organizations like UNRWA, in fact for the organization UNRWA. The government promised a month ago that it would cut off the flow of taxpayer dollars to an agency whose members actively participated on October 7, 2023. It is rewarding rapists.
    It is yet another empty and broken pledge made in a blatantly transactional manner for domestic politics, one that never saw the funding stop. The government advanced payments instead and upped the amount. These payments are not going to bankrupt our country in a fiscal sense but in a moral sense. The price of abandoning our values, our allies and reason is the true cost of these payments. That is the true cost of the Prime Minister's moral indifference, and that would be the true cost of the motion before us.
    It is not too late. We can begin by voting the motion down. We can begin by voting down the Hamas giveaway. We can continue by voting out the immoral, immature Liberal government, and we can finish by putting in place a principled, common-sense Conservative government that will never support this motion, not now and not ever. Hamas is watching the House. Our allies are watching the House. Canadians are watching the House. Our allies and all Canadians will see that there are members on this side who stand in their fight for democracy, who stand in their fight for the west and who stand in their fight for justice.
    I will leave colleagues with these words. There are going to be many politicians who make a choice today. Ours will be the right one. I can only hope that members, all members on the other side, make the right one too. When they do not, those who sit with them will have to account for their own choices.

  (1330)  

    Mr. Speaker, I listened to the Minister of Foreign Affairs deliver what I thought was a very thoughtful articulation of what is actually taking place. I thought she articulated a reflection of what true Canadian values are. This is not an easy topic; it is a heart-wrenching discussion among families throughout Canada. It is a disservice by the member across the way to try to imply that the Government of Canada is off track. Whether with the war in Ukraine or what is happening today in Israel, I think this is a government that very much reflects the values of Canadians.
    I wonder whether the member could indicate whether she really believes that everything she says is a true reflection of Canadians as a whole and what our values are.
    Mr. Speaker, my implication that the government is off track is not an implication; it's just the truth.
    The Minister of Foreign Affairs stood here and gave Canadians every position. No matter what the position was, she tried to placate every single group with what it wanted to hear. That is exactly what the government is doing on this issue and so many more. It sends one group of MPs into one community to say one thing and another group of MPs into another community to say another thing.
    It has no position on this. It has no moral clarity on this and now everybody at home gets to see it.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to my colleague's statement. I must say I was surprised by its inflammatory tone.
    I was surprised that she seemed to see only one side of the matter. I was surprised by this inflammatory tone towards our colleague from Edmonton Strathcona, because she refuses to see the extent to which our colleagues from the New Democratic Party have sought, in their motion, to have a balanced approach that takes every aspect of the current situation into account.
    Our colleague was telling us that a negotiated solution must be the outcome. Certainly, but with whom do the parties negotiate, when one side says that they do not want to negotiate and that the two-state solution is not a solution?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, Conservatives support the long-standing Canadian foreign policy position of a negotiated solution. This motion does not do this. It puts forward a moral equivalency of terrorists and innocent civilians, and that is exactly what we have called out. We will call it out at every single opportunity, and I will not be shamed for that by any member of the House who is going to vote in favour of this motion.
    Mr. Speaker, history is clear. There is no such thing as a military solution. There are only political solutions. Nowhere is that clearer than what we are seeing right now in Israel and Palestine.
    This is what I want to understand: Conservatives today are going to vote against a motion that states that the House recognize a Palestinian state, like 139 countries have already done. Let us be clear. Are Conservatives saying they no longer support a two-state solution? Are the Conservatives today saying that they do not support statehood for the Palestinian people?
    That is what they are saying by voting against this motion.
    Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate the member hears that. Here is what Conservatives do support: a two-state solution negotiated by both parties in a negotiated settlement. What we do not support is the House calling for the recognition of a state that is governed today by Hamas terrorists, by an organization that we have called, in law, terrorist and banned from this country. This motion rewards terrorism. It would never be on the table if October 7 did not happen.
     I want the member to tell that to the families of the hostages, the families of the victims who are still being held hostage in Gaza today. I want her to say that to them, if she would even bother meeting them, if any member of the NDP would even bother meeting with those families.

  (1335)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I cannot express what a sad day this is. Never did I imagine I would have to rise in the House to condemn an attack as brutal and deadly as the one perpetrated by Hamas on innocent Israeli civilians on October 7. Never did I imagine I would have to rise in the House to condemn the inhumane bombing of defenceless populations, yet that is what we must do today.
    I want to begin by saying that the Bloc Québécois will vote in favour of this motion for one very simple reason. Most of the points in the NDP motion have already appeared in previous Bloc Québécois statements. We will remain consistent and vote in favour of the motion.
    Since that was what started everything, I would like to go back to the brutal, barbaric attack by Hamas in Israel against innocent civilians on October 7. After the attack, the leader of the Bloc Québécois said that “the violent and terrorist provocation by Hamas must be unequivocally condemned. Aside from the Israeli victims and hostages, it exposes Palestinian civilians in all regions to horrific reprisals.” Tragically, the Bloc Québécois leader's prediction proved true. To date, there have been more than 30,000 casualties in the Gaza Strip, half of them women and children. Over 70,000 are said to be injured, while health and hospital services are completely overwhelmed and in disarray.
    We are talking about a considerable population displacement; 1.5 million out of Gaza's 2.2 million people have been displaced and are currently living in extremely crowded conditions. Gaza's population density was already one of the highest in the world. Now, people are literally crammed into the Rafah region, where Israel is threatening to launch a ground strike. It would be nothing less than a massacre, if what is going on right now cannot already be described as one.
    Some will point out that those numbers come from the Hamas ministry of health, so they must be taken with a grain of salt. However, the UN has been increasingly corroborating the number of deaths and the level of destruction in Gaza. Now famine is threatening the people of Gaza. The humanitarian situation is appalling, so much so that there are fears of outbreaks of diseases and epidemics in Gaza. The WHO has described the health situation in Gaza as inhumane, with only seven out of 23 medical centres remaining partially operational. That is totally unacceptable. Today we learned that Israel is bombing Gaza's largest hospital.
    Allegations of war crimes committed by Israel, led by Benjamin Netanyahu's far-right government, are mounting. South Africa has asked the International Court of Justice to look into the situation, arguing that genocide is taking place in Gaza. Although the court has not yet ruled, it has demanded that Israel take a series of measures to prevent genocide. Such measures include punishing members of the government who advocate genocide or war crimes. Instead, Israel has denounced the intervention of the International Court of Justice, which indicates that it has absolutely no intention of complying.

  (1340)  

    The Israeli government is also trying to obstruct humanitarian aid by waging a diplomatic offensive against UNRWA, the United Nations agency responsible for most of the humanitarian aid in the Gaza Strip. Because UNRWA hires employees locally, it is likely that some of them are Hamas sympathizers. That is most likely the case, but is it any reason to describe the UNRWA as a terrorist organization, like the Leader of the Opposition did?
    If that were the case, we would have to consider the implications of the fact that some individuals who identify as Proud Boys are serving in the Canadian Armed Forces. Does that mean that the Canadian Armed Forces should be considered a terrorist organization? Obviously, that would be completely ridiculous. For the same reasons, I think that it is safe to say that the Leader of the Opposition's statement that the UNRWA is a terrorist organization is absolutely ridiculous.
    As I was saying a few moments ago, in response to our Conservative colleague's intervention, Israel has rejected any plan that would lead to the creation of a Palestinian state, and it has put forward a plan that would have the Israeli army occupy the Gaza Strip. Civil administration of the area would be handed over to officials chosen by Israel. Meanwhile, settlement expansion in the West Bank is ramping up, including with the authorization of 3,500 additional housing units. Settlers are receiving logistical support from the Israeli government and are stepping up attacks on Palestinians. Negotiations are currently under way for the release of the remaining hostages in exchange for a six-week truce, but Israel categorically refuses to establish a long-term ceasefire, while Hamas, for its part, refuses to release the hostages as long as Israeli troops remain in Gaza. It is a deadlock.
    Since the parties on the ground clearly cannot see eye to eye, the international community needs to intervene. That is what the motion moved by the NDP today is calling for. Let us look at the items of this motion. It calls for “an immediate ceasefire and the release of all hostages”. On March 15, the CBC reported that Benjamin Netanyahu had approved the Rafah offensive. An offensive on Rafah would lead to an even greater humanitarian crisis than the one we have now, as Israel well knows. Minister Benny Gantz actually said, “to those saying the price is too high, I say this very clearly: Hamas has a choice — they can surrender, release the hostages, and the citizens of Gaza will be able to celebrate the holy holiday of Ramadan”. In other words, he is saying that either Hamas surrenders or there will be a massacre.
    Simply put, Israel categorically rejects any talk of a ceasefire until it has destroyed Hamas and taken control of the entire Gaza Strip. Even the option of a ceasefire in exchange for the hostages is being rejected by Israel. As if that were not enough, Hamas has also refused to release the hostages as long as Israeli troops remain in Gaza, as I was saying.
    On November 6, 2023, the Bloc Québécois called for a ceasefire and the presence of an international force to ensure that the parties to the conflict were prepared to move. There is a consensus in the House when it comes to the release of the hostages. We all agree that the hostages must be released. However, we need to be realistic. A ceasefire is very unlikely at the moment, so the international community must intervene.
    The motion also calls to “suspend all trade in military goods and technology with Israel and increase efforts to stop the illegal trade of arms, including to Hamas”.

  (1345)  

    The Bloc Québécois supported suspending arms sales to Israel because the Israeli attack is disproportionate and intended to inflict maximum damage in the Gaza Strip. The federal government actually confirmed that it suspended all military exports as of January 8. According to Global Affairs Canada, this particular NDP request was partially fulfilled over two months ago.
    Alone, Canada has no clout. Its military exports are minimal, which significantly weakens the impact of such a measure. It should be noted, however, that military exports, especially in terms of technology, have gone up since October 7.
    During the first two months of the conflict, Canada exported $28.5 million worth of arms to Israel, more than in any previous given year. In 2021, it exported approximately $26 million worth, a record at the time. That was $26 million in a whole year, compared to $28.5 million worth of military equipment sold to Israel over a two-month period. We have been told that, for the time being, Canada is selling only non-lethal weapons, such as night vision goggles and civilian drones, to Israel. The thing is, if these non-lethal weapons are being used to identify targets, are they really non-lethal?
    Under its Export and Import Permits Act, Canada cannot issue military export permits if there is a substantial risk that the weapons would be used to commit a serious violation of international law.
    For years, the Bloc Québécois has been calling for the free trade agreement with Israel to explicitly exclude products originating from illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank, and possibly in the Gaza Strip, if it is annexed and settled. This measure would more strongly convey to Israel our disapproval of its conduct of the war. Other countries might be tempted to follow Canada's lead and stop funding settlements through trade agreements.
    Today's motion also urges the government to “immediately reinstate funding and ensure long-term continued funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), and support the independent investigation”. UNRWA says it has reached a breaking point in Gaza after major contributors froze its funding. Furthermore, Israel has never provided a shred of evidence that UNRWA members contributed to the October 7 massacre.
    Canada and several other countries, including the United States, suspended funding to UNRWA, which thought it would have to shut down its operations by the end of February, but Canada, Sweden and others announced that they would restore funding on March 8. Australia followed suit on March 15. In actual fact, Canada had already paid for the first quarter of 2024. In other words, Canada never really stopped funding UNRWA. In fact, the only real impact that Canada's announcement had was that we did not respond to UNRWA's urgent funding requests.
    The motion also seeks to have the government “support the prosecution of all crimes and violations of international law committed in the region, and support the work of the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court”. The International Court of Justice is currently investigating whether there is a genocide occurring in Gaza.
    It may be too soon to determine whether it is indeed genocide, but many influential members of the Netanyahu government literally support a plan of genocide. South Africa submitted many quotes from Netanyahu government ministers as evidence of the genocidal intentions of the Israeli government. Article II of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide sets out the acts that could constitute genocide. One of those acts is “physical destruction”, including the expulsion of a group from a given territory.
    That is exactly what we are witnessing right now. Israel's finance minister talked about voluntarily expelling almost the entire population of the Gaza Strip, saying, and I quote, “If there are 100,000 or 200,000 Arabs in Gaza and not two million Arabs, the entire discussion on the day after will be totally different.” In other words, the Israeli government would like to see the Gazan population drastically reduced, so as to better manage the situation. Two million is too many for Israel, so the Palestinians are being encouraged to leave.

  (1350)  

    It should come as no surprise that the neighbouring countries are very reluctant to welcome Gazans, partly because they want to avoid taking in potential terrorists, but also because they know full well that once Palestinians leave their homes, they can never return, as we have seen since 1948. The neighbouring countries are very aware of this. Twelve ministers in the Netanyahu government also took part in a rally calling for the resettlement of the Gaza Strip. It should be noted that these voluntary expulsions are being carried out by making life totally impossible for Gazans and by making their living conditions absolutely miserable, both through physical destruction and by hindering humanitarian aid. Making living conditions inhumane constitutes genocide according to the genocide convention, which makes “deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part” one of the criteria for determining whether genocide is occurring.
    Several images have shown indiscriminate artillery bombardment of built-up areas in the Gaza Strip, which constitutes a war crime. Organizations helping Gazans, such as Doctors Without Borders, have also been targeted by Israel. It is too early to say that the Israeli government has indeed committed genocide, but the fact remains that several ministers have clearly stated that this is their intention. At the very least, Canada must support the efforts of the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court to clarify the issue.
    The NDP motion also suggests that Hamas, which committed a massacre on October 7, in addition to rape, kidnapping and hostage-taking, must also be tried for its crimes. While the October 7 attack is no longer top of mind for many people, we must not forget the atrocities committed by Hamas. The Bloc Québécois fully supports the idea that all Hamas leaders must be held accountable.
    Another part of the motion asks the government to “demand unimpeded humanitarian access to Gaza”. Canada's Minister of International Development believes that humanitarian aid to Gaza is “down to a trickle”, that more border crossings need to be opened, and that a ceasefire should help with the delivery and distribution of aid.
    On Tuesday, the World Food Programme suspended its distribution of aid in northern Gaza. Since most convoys have to go through Rafah, they have to cross the entire Gazan territory, which has been completely destroyed and is still a battle zone, in order to deliver humanitarian aid. Israel has created safe zones in the south, but it is systematically preventing any humanitarian aid from reaching the northern part of the country.
    From the start of the conflict, Israel asked everyone to move to the south, while many residences were bulldozed to create a buffer zone. Now, it is preparing to attack that zone, where the people of Gaza have gathered.
    The motion also urges the government to “ensure Canadians trapped in Gaza can reach safety in Canada and lift the arbitrary cap of 1,000 temporary resident visa applications”. Here we can see the humanitarian concern underlying this request, but I do need to point out that, as I was just saying a moment ago, everyone is afraid of exactly the same thing, namely that the Palestinians who leave will never be able to return. We have to prioritize the repatriation of Canadian citizens and family reunification.
    The motion also calls on the government to “ban extremist settlers from Canada, impose sanctions on Israeli officials who incite genocide, and maintain sanctions on Hamas leaders”. I think that speaks for itself.
    Lastly, the motion calls on the government to “advocate for an end to the decades-long occupation of Palestinian territories...and...officially recognize the State of Palestine and maintain Canada's recognition of Israel's right to exist and to live in peace with its neighbours”.
    The Bloc Québécois has always been in favour of a two-state solution. The Netanyahu government categorically rejects this possibility, believing—as we have seen and as our Conservative colleagues have reiterated—that such an arrangement would reward Hamas. A number of Israeli government ministers dream of driving out the Palestinians.
    The United Kingdom, Spain and Belgium are considering recognizing the state of Palestine, but the Israeli government wants to divide the Gaza Strip into areas of occupation, and some Israeli ministers are openly in favour of resettling Gaza following the Palestinians' voluntary departure. However, by maintaining the Gaza blockade and choking off humanitarian aid through UNRWA, the government will likely seek to render regions like northern Gaza uninhabitable for Palestinians, thereby forcing them to leave.

  (1355)  

    Other than these countries that are considering recognizing the Palestinian state, 78 others began to recognize Palestine as early as 1988. By 2023, 139 countries recognized Palestine, including nine G20 member states.
    Therefore, we must also move forward with this motion to enable a breakthrough on the ground.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, given that the right of people to self-determination is enshrined in legally binding treaties to which Canada is a party, including the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, could the member speak more to his party's position on the importance of recognizing a Palestinian state after 75 years of occupation?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the State of Israel has signed a number of treaties with several Arab states, claiming that this would lead to a calmer situation in the region. Obviously, with this brutal, barbaric offensive against Gaza, some negotiations are now on ice, and certain treaties are being undermined. The reason is simple: Israel needs to sign a treaty with the only people through whom lasting peace can be achieved in the region, and that is the Palestinian people. The Israeli government is refusing to do this, but it is the only possible solution, because it is the only way to put an end to the permanent state of war in which both Israelis and Palestinians have to live. No people can live for such a long time in a permanent state of war.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the UN has called for an end of arms sales to the State of Israel. Specifically, it has called out Canada for fuelling this crisis with military trade. The International Court of Justice made a ruling to prevent genocide. For years, New Democrats have called for an arms embargo. We are also calling on the government to do more to stop arms smuggling to Hamas.
    The member spoke about the increase in military trade that has happened since this conflict started. It is not enough, as the minister said, to go export permit by export permit. We need an arms embargo. Canada must do more to prioritize human rights, international law and peace for Palestinians and Israelis.
     Could the member speak to how horrific it is that the government is still allowing military trade to the State of Israel?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I could not agree more with my colleague, especially since the Netanyahu government is a hardline government. It wants the war to go on, so it needs weapons.
    The reason the Netanyahu government wants the war to go on is very simple. It knows that its political survival depends on the war continuing, because once the war is over, then it will have things to answer for. It will have to explain to Israelis why it promoted the illusion that creating a cordon sanitaire around Israel would be enough to ensure peace. It will have to explain why security services failed to anticipate October's attack. It will have to explain why it encouraged the creation of Hamas in order to weaken the Palestinian Authority and prevent negotiations on the creation of a Palestinian state.

Statements by Members

[Statements by Members]

  (1400)  

[English]

Community Leadership

     Mr. Speaker, I rise today to highlight an exceptional role model for youth in Whitby. Cohen Lane, fondly known as Coco, epitomizes community service.
    In 2022, he started “Coco's cocoa for kids”, a creative idea to turn Christmas lawn decorations into a hot chocolate stand to support SickKids hospital. Motivated by a life-changing treatment his 16-year-old cousin received at SickKids as an infant, Cohen set out to raise money for SickKids.
    Recognizing his friends' eagerness to contribute, Cohen established the “Coco crew” to acknowledge dedicated volunteers. With the support of the Coco crew and with his relentless dedication, Cohen's idea yielded an impressive $6,130. The following year, in just 10 days, Cohen exceeded his $7,500 goal by raising an astounding $14,512.
    Cohen's approach stands out for his fundraising talent, his inclusivity and his kindness. Today, let us all applaud Cohen, a young philanthropist whose passion serves as an inspiration to us all.

Seafood Industry

    Mr. Speaker, the seafood industry is a top contributor to Nova Scotia's economy, and my riding of West Nova is home to some of the most productive fishing grounds in the world.
    The lobster industry is a major employer in many coastal communities, supporting thousands of good local jobs. Everything that has been built in our communities over the years has been done thanks to the strength of the lobster stock and the entrepreneurial spirit of our incredible fishers. Unfortunately, lobster catches are continually declining, while the cost of living is going up, making it extremely difficult for fishing families to make ends meet.
    The primary responsibilities of the DFO are to provide science, conserve and protect resources, and working with all stakeholders. However, the department has turned a blind eye to the out-of-season, unregulated and unreported fishing that has been taking place in lobster fishing area 34 over the years.
    For the safety of all fishers and to preserve the sustainability of the stocks, the government must do better to protect this industry for future generations.

International Women's Day

    Mr. Speaker, March 8 was International Women's Day, a day celebrated by women here in Canada and around the world. Originating in the decade from 1910 to 1920, with women fighting for better working conditions, for the right to vote and for peace, it has since been observed to celebrate women's achievements and the fight for equality.
    From across York Region, women and our allies gathered at the LiUNA training centre in Richmond Hill, with our Liberal York Region MPs joined by our Minister for Women and Minister of Labour. There, we heard from amazing community members and women trailblazers in non-traditional roles. I thank LiUNA, the York Regional Police, the Central York firefighters and the Richmond Hill firefighters, as well as Blue Door, ELLA at YSpace and CYRSS for making this a fantastic celebration.
    We all recognize the need to keep working together to advance gender equality. This year's theme underscored this. We must invest in women to accelerate progress and we must not let regressive forces push us back. Happy International Women's Day.

[Translation]

Paul Houde

    Mr. Speaker, on March 2, a unique figure in Quebec's arts and media landscape passed away. Paul Houde left us much too soon, at the age of 69.
    He was a man of many talents, an outstanding orator and a walking encyclopedia who left his mark on all of Quebec with his vast and varied knowledge and his mastery of the French language. His multifarious career took him from radio host to quirky reporter on La fin du monde est à 7 heures to the role of Fern in Les Boys. This unlikely ambassador for the Chicago Blackhawks on Quebec soil was also universally appreciated for his kindness and generosity.
    Our sincerest condolences go out to his entire family, his loved ones and the countless other people who loved him. He had a phenomenal memory and left a lasting mark on all those he crossed paths with. Even Nostradamouse could have predicted that.
    No one is about to forget him either. Paul Houde has not left us for good. No, his game has just gone into overtime.

[English]

Indo-Pacific Agriculture and Agri-Food Office

    Mr. Speaker, just recently, I was in the Philippines with the Minister of Agriculture. We actually opened the very first ever Indo-Pacific Agriculture and Agri-Food Office. No government in recent history has done more in terms of enhancing trade opportunities. This office is going to serve over 40 countries, and it is going to be located in metro Manila.
    When we think of agriculture, we can think of $30 billion in 2023. We can add another $70 billion when we think of the agri-food industry. We think of the potential that has for the creation of jobs and for food security in the world. There is so much more that we can do, and this is a government that believes in trade, getting agreements and getting the job done.

  (1405)  

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years under the current Prime Minister, crime, chaos, hard drugs and disorder rage in our streets. Adnan Polat has owned Gold Rush Jewellers in Maple Ridge for decades. Because of rampant drug crimes and threats, he is closing his store to go to a new location.
    In British Columbia, over 2,500 people, a record, died last year from overdoses, and over 40,000 have died since the Liberals came into power. The Liberals' and NDP's dangerous safe supply experiment has ruined the lives of countless Canadians and devastated communities.
    In a Prince George drug bust, the RCMP discovered more than 10,000 morphine and hydromorphone pills coming from the government's safe supply program. They got into the hands of drug dealers, who prey upon and destroy the most vulnerable.
    Common-sense Conservatives would stop spending taxpayers' dollars on dangerous drugs. We would support treatment and recovery to bring our loved ones home drug-free.

St. Gregory Catholic School

    Mr. Speaker, I recently visited the grade 6 social entrepreneurship class at St. Gregory Catholic School in my riding. These smart and creative kids have raised over $700 for the Ottawa Food Bank by making greeting cards and 3D printed items, such as jewellery and key chains, and selling them on Shopify.
    Through work-based learning, they use their business skills to address UN sustainable development goal 2, zero hunger. These students, with the guidance of their teacher, Susan Goslin, and mentor, Jeremy McQuigge, are learning skills, which they are applying in order to make a better world. They told me they just want to ensure that everyone goes home to food on their plate.
    Their social enterprise is called Every Bite Counts. By helping others, including those they may never meet, these inspiring kids understand that, when our neighbours do well, we all do well. These grade 6 students inspire me and give me hope.

Black History Ottawa

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to recognize Black History Ottawa, which emerged from the activities of the Barbados (Ottawa) Association and of the Black History Month Committee, formed in 1986. Since then, every February, this organization has been celebrating Black History Month in the nation's capital.
    Their activities honour the numerous achievements and contributions of Canadians of African, Caribbean and Black heritage in fields such as sciences, medicine, literature, the arts and sports. They also serve to acknowledge the roles Black people have played in the growth and development of Canadian society and culture.
    I would like to recognize and thank the key leaders associated with Black History Ottawa. They include, but are not limited to, June Girvan, Godwin Ifedi, Joanne Robinson, Sarah Onyango and Jean-Marie Guerrier.

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, we are in a grim situation as the affordability crisis gets worse. The prices of groceries, rent, mortgages, heating, medication and everything have increased to unmanageable levels under eight years of this Liberal-NDP government.
    At CFB Gagetown in New Brunswick, upwards of 50 military families are forced to use the local food bank. Instead of delivering relief to struggling single parents, families, students or seniors, the Liberals want to hike the carbon tax by 23% over the next six years.
     The independent Parliamentary Budget Officer confirmed that most families will pay more in tax than what they receive via rebate. This is not partisan noise; this is fact.
    Canadians can take solace in knowing that, when the Liberal-NDP government is finally defeated, the common-sense Conservative government will axe the tax and bring fiscal stewardship home to Ottawa. Let us bring it home.

  (1410)  

Ramadan

    Mr. Speaker, this month, millions of Muslims across Canada and around the world, including my family and me, are celebrating the holy month of Ramadan. We celebrate by fasting during the day, sharing meals with friends and family at sunset, and becoming closer to our faith. It is usually a time of community and of celebration. However, when we gather this year, we speak of Gaza.
    As we eat our dates, we think of the innocent Palestinian people forced into starvation. We think about mothers desperately grinding up animal feed to feed their children and about young children waking up in the hospital, still in shock, to find out their parents were killed in Israeli air strikes.
    My prayer for Ramadan, as it has been for many months, is for an immediate and just ceasefire, the return of all hostages and prisoners, and unimpeded humanitarian aid.
    My prayers are for peace and justice.

Carbon Tax

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years under the NDP-Liberal Prime Minister, Canadians are turning to food banks at record rates. We just learned that, in Toronto alone, the Daily Bread Food Bank served over 300,000 people this February. That is up from 52,000 people in 2015. Now the NDP-Liberal government wants to hike its punishing carbon tax on food, heat and groceries by 23% as part of its plan to quadruple the carbon tax. What a cruel April Fool's Day joke to play on Canadians.
    According to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, the average Manitoba family will pay $1,750 in carbon tax. That is far more than any rebate. It is no wonder 70% of Canadian premiers and 70% of Canadians are opposed to the Prime Minister's carbon tax hike.
    Only common-sense Conservatives will stand with Canadians against the Prime Minister's failed carbon tax. It is time to spike the hike and axe the carbon tax.

Carbon Tax

    Mr. Speaker, seven out of 10 premiers around the country have stood against the Liberal carbon tax. Now even the Liberal Premier of Newfoundland has come out and said that it is not working and that it is not worth the cost. The Prime Minister responded by saying, “I think Mr. Furey is continuing to bow to political pressure.” This is not just political pressure; this is the overwhelming consensus of Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
    The government is elected to be the servant of the people, not their master, and the people are speaking clearly. When will it listen to the farmers who feed us and are fed up with struggling to keep up with the soaring input costs coming from the costly coalition? When will it listen to the single mother who has had to choose between heating and eating for her family or the senior who lies awake worrying about how they are going to manage yet another tax hike while on a fixed income? When will it listen to rural Canadians who have no options for heating their homes or transportation?
    When will the government finally start to hear the cries of Canadians, who want to axe the tax and spike this hike in the tax?

[Translation]

Eight Exceptional Women in the Riding of Bourassa

    Mr. Speaker, International Women's Day once again gives me the opportunity to honour eight dedicated women in my riding who contribute to improving the lives of people in Bourassa. I thank the elected officials who joined me in congratulating and applauding these eight women for their commendable work.
    The battle for women's rights is our battle. For my seventh year of recognizing exceptional women, I am honoured to congratulate eight women from the riding of Bourassa: Elena Adipietro, Julie Bessette, Julie Mayer, Renée Dagenais, Huguette Péloquin, Kicha Estimé, Eve Torres and Sly Toussaint.
    I congratulate this year's honourees.

[English]

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, today I will read into the record what legal expert Dr. Ardi Imseis said about the legal framework for Palestinian statehood.
    He stated, “Palestine is recognized by 140 states.
    “Palestine is a juridical fact. Its territory is under illegal foreign military occupation by Israel, but that does not mean that the State of Palestine does not exist in law.
    “It possesses all four of the criterion for statehood as codified in the 1933 Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States: (1) a permanent population; (2) a territory; (3) a government; and (4) the capacity to enter into foreign relations with other states.
    “Successive Israeli governments have, for years, indicated that they will never allow the establishment of an independent Palestinian state and that only the Jewish people have a right to self-determination in the land between the river and the sea.
    “This is unlawful.
    “As a peremptory norm, no people's right to self-determination in their own territory can be the subject of negotiation under international law. This is the last chance Canada has to save the two state framework set in motion by the UN in 1947.”
     Where will the Liberal government stand today on Palestine's statehood?

  (1415)  

[Translation]

Tragedy in Barrhaven

    Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Bloc Québécois, I would like to offer our heartfelt support to the Sri Lankan community in the Ottawa region, which was struck to the core on March 6. I extend our sincerest condolences to the Sri Lankan community, to all those affected by this terrible tragedy, and especially to the families and friends of the victims.
    Our hearts break as we think of the father who was hospitalized and whose life has been shattered forever by the terrible loss of his wife and their four children. We hope he gets all the support he will need to get through this inconceivably sad ordeal.
    Let us hope that such a tragedy never happens again, and let us come together to reflect and find ways to curb this violence everywhere, because it never leads to anything but tragedy, loss and tears. Our hearts go out to Barrhaven.

[English]

Carbon Tax

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years of the Prime Minister, life has never been more expensive. To make matters worse, the Prime Minister is going to play a cruel joke on Canadians on April 1, hiking the carbon tax again, this time by 23%, as part of his plans with the NDP to quadruple the carbon tax on everyone. That is why 70% of Canadians and seven premiers are demanding a stop to this latest tax hike. Even the provincial Liberals now in Ontario and New Brunswick are getting out against these never-ending tax hikes.
     After eight years, even Liberals now know that the Prime Minister is just not worth the cost. The only ones who do not seem to get it is the NDP-Liberal coalition in Ottawa. Meanwhile, it is getting worse, as food banks are bracing for an extra one million visits to food banks this year.
    Our common-sense plan is clear. Axe the tax for everyone everywhere for good. It is time the Prime Minister, the NDP and the Liberals smartened up. Spike the hike and axe the tax.

Kim Rudd

    Mr. Speaker, it is with deep sadness that I rise today to pay tribute to a remarkable woman, politician, entrepreneur and friend.
    Former MP Kim Rudd, who represented the riding of Northumberland—Peterborough South from 2015 to 2019, recently passed away after a long battle with cancer. Kim worked hard for her constituency and for Canadians. She served as a parliamentary secretary, chaired the health research caucus and was on a number of committees. She was a strong supporter of women and of the mining industry and nuclear industry, knowing that the resource sector was key to climate action.
    Kim was a fierce fighter in her battle with cancer and used her experience to advocate for new research in ovarian cancer and for women's health. Most important, Kim was a wife, a mother and a grandmother, a loyal and beautiful friend who will be deeply missed. Her hard work and commitment led the way for others and left this world a better place.
    Let us carry that torch for Kim in her fight for women and for all Canadians. Today, we send our deepest sympathies to her husband Tom, her daughters Alison and Stefanie, their partners and her four grandchildren. We thank Kim for her contributions to our country.

Oral Questions

[Oral Questions]

[Translation]

Forestry Industry

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years, this Prime Minister is not worth the cost.
     While common-sense Conservatives are working to axe the tax, build the homes, fix the budget and stop the crime, the Prime Minister wants to impose not only a new 17¢-a-litre gas tax with the support of the Bloc Québécois, but also a decree to shut down Quebec's forestry industry.
    Why does the Prime Minister want to encroach on Quebec's jurisdiction and eliminate forestry workers' jobs?

  (1420)  

    Mr. Speaker, Quebec has had its own carbon pricing system since 2013. The province is not subject to the federal regime.
    The Conservative leader continues to demonstrate just how poorly he understands Quebeckers by promising to dismantle a system that Quebec decided to put in place more than 10 years ago. The Conservative leader is the one who does not respect Quebec's jurisdiction.

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, there seems to have been some misinterpretation. The question was about the forestry sector, which the Prime Minister wants to shut down with a decree that oversteps Quebec's jurisdiction, while the common-sense Conservatives want to stand up for workers.
    Another headline in the Journal de Montréal reads, “‘These people are starving’: Police forced to respond to at least two organizations distributing food hampers”.
    Why is the Prime Minister forcing people to use food banks with his taxes and inflationary deficits?
    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are the ones who want to reduce all the social support that the federal government is currently giving to Quebeckers.
    All that the Conservatives know how to do is make cuts. They want to cut support for the less fortunate, but we will be there and we will not let the Conservatives cut such badly needed support.

[English]

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, while common-sense Conservatives are fighting to axe the tax, build the homes, fix the budget and stop the crime, the Prime Minister is promising a cruel April Fool's Day joke, a 23% carbon tax hike on food, gas and groceries. This is at a time when the Prime Minister has forced 50 families at CFB Gagetown, military families, to go to food banks. Two million Canadians every month are going to those same food banks, and 8,000 are part of a Facebook group where they share tips on eating out of dumpsters.
    Will the Prime Minister gain some compassion and some common sense and spike the hike?
    Mr. Speaker, we will take no lessons from the Conservatives when it comes to supporting the least vulnerable in our country. That is the party that wants to cut the Canada child benefit. That is the party that wants to cut support to our seniors. That is the party that wants to cut early learning and child care, which supports so many families. It is opposed to dental care. It is opposed to pharmacare.
    Mr. Speaker, fear and falsehoods to distract from the fact that after eight years of the Prime Minister he is not worth the cost, and neither is his carbon tax, which will cost the average Ontario family this coming year $1,674. That is $1,674 for a middle-class family that has lined up at a food bank, not able to feed itself or pay its heating bill.
    Will the Prime Minister give his head a shake, cancel his cruel April Fool's Day joke and spike the hike?
    Mr. Speaker, no one here is surprised to hear the Conservative leader talk about fear and falsehoods, because that is what he trafficks in every single day. It is his area of personal expertise.
    What he is proposing is at least consistent. He wants to cut, cut, cut the support that Canadians get and he wants to cut the support Canadian families are getting from the price on pollution. That is $1,800 Alberta families would not get. That is $1,120 Ontario families would not get. Cut, cut, cut, that is all the Conservatives know how to do.
    Mr. Speaker, she just brags that Alberta families will get $1,800, but according to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, the carbon tax will cost Alberta families $2,943.
    The Prime Minister takes away $2,943 and gives back $1,800. It is almost like he is a bank robber who thinks he is virtuous because he tips the teller on the way out the door.
    Why will he not spike the hike?

  (1425)  

    Mr. Speaker, the Conservative leader should know a lot about living off the public purse. That is all he has done his entire life.
    When it comes to the price on pollution, this is entirely revenue-neutral. The government does not keep a penny. It returns more money to eight out of 10 Canadian families. That is a good deal for Canadians.

[Translation]

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, on Friday, the Premier of Quebec met with the Prime Minister to demand full immigration powers. The Prime Minister said no, but that is not all.
    Did the Prime Minister commit to adjusting his immigration thresholds based on integration capacity? No. Did he commit to doing his fair share in welcoming asylum seekers? No. Did he commit to speeding up the processing of claims and granting of work permits? No. All day, he said no, no, no, no, no.
    If he does not want to deal with immigration, why prevent Quebec from doing so?
    Mr. Speaker, no country in the world, no federal government would give all immigration powers to a federated state.
    The fact remains that with Quebec, we have a very important agreement, the Canada-Quebec accord, which gives a lot of powers to Quebec. There are responsibilities on both sides, Canada's and Quebec's. We will continue our good relationship with Quebec and continue to focus on people who are here temporarily.
    Mr. Speaker, no one ever taught the Prime Minister that he could say yes, that he could be a partner, that he had a responsibility to offer solutions and compromises at the meeting on immigration.
    The result is a great partnership, but no additional powers, no money for asylum seekers, no shared integration, no accelerated work permits and claims processing, not even a simple thought for integration capacity. As a matter of fact, on Friday in an interview, the Prime Minister said that this was a boring job.
    Is that why the Prime Minister is not doing his job?
    Mr. Speaker, I wonder what $5.2 billion means to the member across the way.
    Since 2015, our government has maintained good relations under the Canada-Quebec accord and that will continue. It was a good meeting with Premier Legault. The member across the way refuses to admit it, but it is clear that there is work to do with our two governments. It is a question not so much of power, but of responsibility.

[English]

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, the people of Gaza are facing unspeakable violence. Thousands of children have been killed and vital supplies like food, medicine and water are scarce. Today, the NDP is calling on the government to do everything in its power to stop the violence and release the hostages.
    Will the Prime Minister vote today for peace?
    Mr. Speaker, I agree with my hon. colleague that the violence must stop. Hostages must be released and humanitarian aid must go into Gaza. We need to make sure that Israeli and Palestinian civilians are protected, and that is the position of the government. We will be there to make sure there is long-term peace in the region and, of course, to make sure the Jewish community, the Muslim community and all communities across the country are well secured and can live peacefully here as well at home.
    Mr. Speaker, Canadians are watching, and they will see how the government votes.

[Translation]

    The violence that we are seeing in Palestine and Israel is unacceptable. So many innocent people are being killed for crimes they did not commit. Our motion proposes measures that the Liberals can take for peace and justice in the region.
    Will the Prime Minister vote for peace, yes or no?

  (1430)  

    Mr. Speaker, of course, our position is clear. The hostages must be released. More humanitarian aid must reach Gaza, and we need to ensure that there is more peace and stability in the region.
    That is why I was in the region last week. That is why the Government of Canada and Canada will be there to help with any kind of future solution that, of course, will involve a two-state solution, the recognition of a Palestinian state and the normalization of diplomatic relations with the region.

[English]

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years, the Prime Minister is not worth the cost. Thanks to his policies, millions of Canadians are visiting a food bank for the first time in their lives.
    As if prices were not high enough already, the Prime Minister is planning a 23% hike on the carbon tax in a cruel April Fool's Day joke. However, the tax revolt is happening, as 70% of Canadians and 70% of premiers are opposed and fighting back, just like in Saskatchewan, where the budget watchdog has determined that Saskatchewan families will pay an extra $2,620 in carbon taxes. I have a simple question: Where are Saskatchewan families supposed to come up with $2,600 to pay his tax?
    Mr. Speaker, I have a lot of respect for the former Conservative leader. He is a proud MP from the province of Saskatchewan, a province that is proud of its Ukrainian-Canadian population.
    Last week, the current Conservative leader, in a radio interview, implied strongly that he would cut all economic aid for Ukraine. This is a chance for the MP from Saskatchewan to say if he supports that shameful position: yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals desperately do not want to answer for the carbon tax pain they are causing Canadians. No one is fooled by the ridiculous rebate ruse the government is selling. That is because Canadians know that the carbon tax rebate was specifically designed to exclude all the secondary costs that go up when the producer, the shipper and the retailer all have to pay their higher share of carbon taxes. Middle-income earners across Canada are worse off, even after the rebate. They are $900 worse off in Alberta, $500 worse off in Saskatchewan, and $600 worse off in Ontario.
    Why does the Prime Minister not show some compassion and spike the hike?
    Mr. Speaker, I am glad to hear the member opposite talk about the rebate because that is what it is. It is returning money to Canadians. Eight out of 10 families are better off. It is revenue-neutral for the government.
    I would ask the Saskatchewan MP, a member of Parliament many of us on this side of the House really respect and someone who is proud to represent the people of Saskatchewan, I would like to hear him say if he supports his leader's shameful position on Ukraine: yes or no? The people of Saskatchewan deserve to know.
    Mr. Speaker, after eight years of the NDP-Liberal Prime Minister, food bank usage in Toronto is up 500%. Now Liberals want to hike the carbon tax on gas, groceries and home heating by 23% on their way to quadrupling the tax over the next six years. What a cruel April Fool's Day joke.
    According to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, the average Ontario family will pay $1,674 of carbon tax. Where does the Prime Minister think they are going to get that kind of money?
    Mr. Speaker, Canadians can see through the Conservatives. They know that the only thing Conservatives know how to do is cut, and the people who suffer the most are the most vulnerable. They want to cut the Canada child benefit. They do not support dental care, which is helping the most vulnerable among us. They do not support early learning and child care, which is helping make life more affordable for Canadian families. They want to push Canadians into poverty. We will not let them.
    Mr. Speaker, they have already done that, and we are going to cut the taxes.
    If we give back $1,000 to an Ontario family but take $1,674, Liberal math says that is more, but real math says that is less. The Prime Minister does not get it. He is not worth the cost, especially for the 300,000 Torontonians who ate at a food bank just last February.
    The Liberals are about to hike taxes by 23% in less than two weeks. Why is the minister the only person in Canada who thinks that raising taxes will lower the cost of food?

  (1435)  

    Mr. Speaker, if the member opposite really believes her rhetoric about supporting Canadian families, why does she think that cutting support for them would help? Why does she not support early learning and child care? Why does she not support the Canada child benefit, which has helped to lift more than 2.3 million Canadians, particularly children, out of poverty? Why does she not support dental care, which is helping the poorest Canadians be able to take care of their health and their teeth? That is Conservative hypocrisy.
    Mr. Speaker, after eight years of this Liberal-NDP coalition, food has never been more expensive. In fact, food is so unaffordable that 50 active serving military families from CFB Gagetown are using the Oromocto Food Bank. This is outrageous, shocking and unacceptable.
    For the hundredth time, on behalf of all Canadians and 70% of the premiers in this country, will they spike the hike, axe the tax and make food more affordable?
    Mr. Speaker, that is an extraordinary comment. I would like to commend the member for being able to say it with a straight face because the fact is that we gave members of the Canadian Armed Forces a very significant raise just last year. When it came before the House for a vote for the money for that raise, every single Conservative on that side of the House voted against it. Perhaps they should scrap the crap.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I am going to ask members to be very judicious in their use of words, and I would ask the hon. minister to be very judicious in his choice of words.
    Mr. Speaker, that is exactly the lack of a classy response I would expect from the Liberals. The reality is that he does not know what is going on because he clearly does not listen.
    These are 50 real families accessing a food bank under that Prime Minister's watch. It is $700 more in groceries a year for Canadian families. Low-income families are most impacted. There are a million more users of food banks this year. They are students, seniors and low-income families. Those are the facts. That is what we will keep fighting for. Spike the hike. Axe the tax.
    Mr. Speaker, many people in the House profess to support members of the Canadian Armed Forces, yet when it came time to put their money where their mouths are, they were not there. When it came time to vote for a pay raise for members of the Canadian Armed Forces, every single Conservative voted against it. That is the height of hypocrisy.

[Translation]

Intergovernmental Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, the word of the day in Ottawa is “no”. They are saying no to sole jurisdiction for Quebec over immigration, but they are also saying no to the right to opt out with full compensation from the federal dental care program. They are saying no to the right to opt out of the federal pharmacare program with full compensation. They are saying no to advance requests for medical assistance in dying. Even in health care, where Quebec has full authority, the answer is no. Even for programs created by Quebec, the answer is no.
    Why not respect Quebec's expertise instead of making it harder or even impossible to receive care?
    Mr. Speaker, I am so pleased to hear our colleague talk about dental insurance, the new Canadian dental care plan, for which over 1.4 million seniors have already applied and been approved.
    Over one-third of those 1.4 million seniors are Quebeckers. I hope our colleagues from Ontario are not hearing this, but more Quebec seniors have been approved than seniors in Ontario. It is all happening because we really need this plan to help patients get the dental care they need. It will help dentists and hygienists provide care to these people, and as an added benefit, it will also help the Government of Quebec.

  (1440)  

    Mr. Speaker, even when Ottawa and Quebec agree on health care matters, the federal government threatens to say no. Quebec has reluctantly accepted the inadequate health transfer increase, but Ottawa is still threatening to turn off the tap if Quebec does not comply with its conditions within 13 days.
    Even when Ottawa and Quebec have the same goals and agree on things, Ottawa threatens to withhold the money if Quebec does not sign off on each of its conditions. Does the federal government want Quebeckers to get down on their knees and beg for their money?
    Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois is the one saying no, no to collaboration, no to discussion, no to partnership, no to everything. In contrast, our government is working with the Government of Quebec toward a fair and equitable agreement. We believe that can be achieved by the end of the month.
    Why is that? Because it is good for all Quebeckers. It is good for everyone except the Bloc Québécois.
    Mr. Speaker, this government is a broken record of “no”. “No” is its answer to everything, all the time: no to Bill 21, no to full powers over immigration and no to Quebec's ability to manage health care, an area under Quebec's exclusive jurisdiction, on its own. Today, it is saying no to Quebec's autonomy in managing areas under its authority, contrary to a principle recognized in Canada.
    Do the Liberals realize how disrespectful they are being to Quebec?
    Mr. Speaker, does the Bloc Québécois realize how disrespectful it is being to Quebeckers and to the Premier of Quebec? The Bloc Québécois leader gave a big speech attacking the Premier of Quebec instead of sitting down and talking with him.
    The member wants to talk about “no”. Bloc members are the “no” champions: no to negotiations, no to discussion, no to consensus and no to co-operation. That is what the Bloc Québécois is all about. We will reach an agreement by the end of the month. It will be a good agreement for all Quebeckers, but not for the Bloc Québécois.

[English]

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, Saturday's poll by the Voice of the Common Man revealed that 90% of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are against the April 1 increase in carbon tax by 23%. Even Liberal Premier Furey pleaded with the Prime Minister to pause the April 1 tax hike.
    Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are sick and tired of these cruel April Fool's Day jokes, so after eight years, will the NDP-Liberal Prime Minister heed the plead and spike the hike, or will he once again prove that he is simply not worth the cost?
    Mr. Speaker, on this side of the House, we will continue. We are absolutely driven to impart upon the people of Canada cold, hard cash in their pockets. That is what this rebate will do. This is not something that is made up. This is not something that is trivial. This is something that Canadians feel in their bank accounts, in their wallets and in their pockets four times a year. This is real cash that we will not deny to the people of Canada.
    Mr. Speaker, after eight years, the Liberal Prime Minister is just not worth the cost for Canadian farmers. On April 1, the Prime Minister is going to increase the carbon tax 23%. The impact on Canadian food production is staggering. A grain farmer in Simcoe County paid $36,000 in carbon tax in one month. The carbon tax cost a poultry farmer in Alberta $180,000 last year.
    The food professor, Dr. Sylvain Charlebois, advised the Liberals to spike the hike or see wholesale food costs go up 34%. Food production is no joke. Will the Prime Minister spike the hike so farmers can afford to grow food?
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague is well aware that farmers are on the front line of climate change. He is also fully aware that we have a climate change environmental plan. He is also aware that his constituents receive $1,800 a year in their bank accounts.
     Is that what you want to cut, $1,800 out of your constituents' bank accounts? I disagree.

  (1445)  

    Once again, I would like to remind ministers and all members to make sure their answers go through the Chair. That is done is so there is always a sense that there are no personal attacks when members are asking questions or giving responses.
    Mr. Speaker, my constituents are fully aware that Liberals are taking away $2,900 and giving them back $1,800. That is not revenue-neutral.
    Here are the facts. The Liberals are increasing the cost of food, yet again, on April 1 by increasing the carbon tax by 23%. This is driving Canadians to food banks in unprecedented numbers. The Caring Cupboard food bank in Prince Edward Island is struggling just to keep its doors open. It cannot handle the increase in demand, which is up 70%, 5,500 families.
    I know the Prime Minister is bored, but will he listen to Canadians and axe the tax so that Canadians can put food on the table?
    Mr. Speaker, it is very surprising to hear the member opposite talk about support for the most vulnerable Canadians. I am glad he is turning his attention there. If he cares about the families of P.E.I., I want to understand if he supports our early learning and child care system, which P.E.I. has been enthusiastically a part of, and which is putting money back in the pockets of P.E.I. families. Does he support that? Does he support dental care that the seniors of P.E.I. are enthusiastically supportive of?
    That is real support—
    The hon. member for Vancouver East.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, after two months, I am aware of nearly 2,000 loved ones in Gaza who are still waiting to receive a code from IRCC to reunite with their families in Canada. Clearly, the 1,000 arbitrary cap is a problem. Even for those with codes, not one person has made it to safety, and not even people whose biometrics are completed. Meanwhile, families are reporting that their loved ones have been killed in an air strike.
    Why can Canada not get people across the border when other countries can? What will it take for the minister to lift that cap?
    Mr. Speaker, it will perhaps be cold comfort for the member opposite to find out that we are indeed increasing the number of people who will be eligible to come out of Gaza. There are a number of matters beyond our control, notably the ability to extract people from the Rafah gate. That is something that falls within matters of other governments. We plead with them to let those people out, but, again, we will be relentless in advocating for people reuniting with their family members in Canada, if only on a temporary basis.

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, the starvation of civilians during war is absolutely prohibited under article 54 of the Geneva Conventions. A UN food agency just reported that due to the Israeli siege on Gaza, 1.1 million Palestinians are facing catastrophic hunger. The EU foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, stated that Israel is provoking famine in Gaza and using starvation as a weapon of war.
    Did the foreign affairs minister, at any point during her high-level meetings with the two Israeli cabinet ministers named in the ICJ proceedings, raise the plight of starving Palestinians in Gaza forced into famine by Israel?
    Mr. Speaker, yes, I did.
    I will never shy away from having difficult conversations, maybe with the Israeli government or maybe with the Palestinian authority.
    We need to make sure that we will continue to put pressure on Hamas, which is a terrorist organization, to release hostages. We support the discussions that are happening with Qatar, Egypt, the U.S. and, of course, Israel, to make sure the hostages are released. We need to make sure there is more humanitarian access to Gaza, including the support of UNRWA.

Persons with Disabilities

    Mr. Speaker, in recent months, we have heard lots of stories about Canadians with disabilities receiving unacceptable treatment while travelling with Canadian airlines. Canadians with disabilities have the same rights as all of us. They deserve equal access and to be treated with dignity. The Minister of Transport said it best when he said that our airlines need to do a better job for Canadians.
    Can he tell us what is happening next?

  (1450)  

    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his amazing work.
    I have been clear. What happened was completely unacceptable. All Canadians must be treated with dignity and respect, full stop. The airlines have to do better. We all have to do better.
     The Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Persons with Disabilities and I want to see action now, which is why I am announcing an air accessibility summit in Ottawa on May 9. We have to work together to ensure a more accessible and a more inclusive Canada. This is about fairness, dignity and respect.

[Translation]

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years of this Liberal government, Quebec farmers are stretched to the limit. There is a generalized sense of frustration as a result of tax hikes, inflation and carbon pricing, which the Bloc Québécois wants to drastically increase.
    I am not the one saying it. Martin Caron, the president of the Union des producteurs agricoles, has been clear. He said that rising interest rates and increased input costs are resulting in a major drop in net farm income, and that there was basically no net income at all in 2024.
    Will the members of the Liberal Party and the Bloc Québécois acknowledge the frustration of farmers and vote against the 23% carbon tax hike on April 1?
    Mr. Speaker, I hope that the member opposite understands that Quebec has its own carbon pricing system that was implemented in the province in 2013.
    I think that Quebeckers have the right to know whether the member opposite or the Conservative Party intend to destroy the system that Quebec put in place.
    Mr. Speaker, it is time for the minister to come back down to earth. In the Lower St. Lawrence, 500 farmers were escorted by 200 tractors; in Charlevoix, 200 farmers were escorted by about 100 tractors. There were also demonstrations on the north shore and in Quebec City. This is a heartfelt plea from farmers across Quebec.
    As farm closures multiply, the Liberals, backed by the Bloc Québécois, think it is a good idea to raise taxes on diesel.
    Will the costly Bloc-Liberal coalition abandon the idea of raising taxes on those who produce food so that Quebeckers can continue to eat local produce?
    Mr. Speaker, I was under the impression that the Premier of Quebec was François Legault, not the member opposite.
    The province of Quebec has its own carbon pricing system. The system works very well and has the support of Quebeckers. The province of Quebec supports this system.
    Those of us here respect Quebec's jurisdiction and the system that Quebec has put in place.

Forestry Industry

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years of this Liberal government, Canadians know that this government likes to meddle in provincial affairs, areas that do not fall under federal jurisdiction.
    The most recent example is the woodland caribou issue. We in the Conservative Party stand with the 1,600 forestry workers. Now, this Liberal government's environment minister wants to issue a decree in this matter because, apparently, he is not happy with what is happening in Quebec City.
    My question is for the Deputy Prime Minister. Could she tell her environment minister to set aside his ideology and side with forestry workers?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind my hon. colleague that, over a year ago, the Quebec government and the federal government jointly signed a letter in which we committed to protecting at least 65% of caribou habitat, as requested by the scientific community. This agreement also stipulated that we would consult with indigenous people on this plan.
    The Government of Quebec has committed to doing that. We expect the Government of Quebec to keep its word.

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, former judge Jacques Delisle was convicted of the first-degree murder of his wife in 2012. The ruling was upheld by the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.
    In 2021, federal justice minister David Lametti intervened to order another trial. He believed there had been a miscarriage of justice. However, a Criminal Conviction Review Group report released on Thursday makes no mention of a miscarriage of justice.
    Does the government condemn the preferential treatment given to the former judge by former justice minister David Lametti?

  (1455)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for his question. Let me just say that we are well aware of the situation and will follow up.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, Quebec sets its own immigration targets, as even the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship has repeatedly said. That is why it is all the more unacceptable that the minister ordered his officials, two weeks ago, to exceed the threshold set by Quebec.
    This is a serious precedent. Going forward, the federal government will no longer interpret Quebec's immigration target as a decision, but as a suggestion. This amounts to imposing on Quebec federal immigration policies inspired by the Century Initiative, which directly contravenes the spirit of the Canada-Quebec accord.
    Will the minister backtrack, return to the table and talk to Quebec?
    Mr. Speaker, I am prepared to answer the question when the member across the way assures me that she has read the Canada-Quebec accord.
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to let him know that I have read it.
    The federal government has no lessons to give Quebec on successful immigration. The federal government is the one responsible for plunging immigrants into the worst housing crisis in recent history. The federal government is the one responsible for the lack of services that asylum seekers too often face. It is the federal government's fault that these people do not have the right to work to meet their basic needs.
    No, we will not accept the federal government's decision to unilaterally increase the immigration targets set by Quebec.
    Will the minister respect Quebec's choices?
    Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the member opposite.
    What does she have to say to Quebec families who are waiting to be reunited with their loved ones?

[English]

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, in British Columbia, the carbon tax is going up 23% on April 1.
    After eight years of the NDP-Liberal government, middle-income families are depending on food banks. They receive absolutely nothing, no federal tax rebate and no provincial tax rebate, but they do get higher prices for food, gas and heating. Seven of 10 premiers are demanding that the Prime Minister spike the hike, but the NDP Premier of B.C. is cheering it on.
    Will the Prime Minister stop the suffering and authorize Premier Eby to spike the hike on April 1?
    Mr. Speaker, as with the Conservative Quebec MPs, we are hearing a question that demonstrates either profound ignorance or profound disrespect of the system that the Province of B.C. put in place. B.C., in 2008, led by a centre-right provincial government, put in place a world-leading price on pollution. That system is popular. That system was voted for by some current Conservative federal MPs from B.C.
    Do they want to tear it apart?
    Mr. Speaker, we absolutely do, because that was a baloney answer from the minister, and that is what we are getting from the B.C. premier as well.
    There are 200,000 British Columbians relying on food banks in a single month now. The tax credit shell game, if one qualifies, is way less than one pays. B.C. already has the highest gas prices at two dollars a litre just this morning. A 23% hike will force prices up another 18¢ a litre.
    The Prime Minister is not worth the cost. Will he show some compassion and authorize the B.C. premier to spike the hike on April 1?
    Mr. Speaker, did the MP from B.C. just accuse the Premier of B.C. of putting forward baloney policies for the people of B.C? Is the federal Conservative Party intending to step on the jurisdiction of the Province of B.C.? Is it intending to go against a system put in place in 2008 by a centre-right B.C. provincial government that the people of B.C. support? That is astonishing.

  (1500)  

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years of the NDP-Liberal government, more and more British Columbians are lining up at food banks. That is not baloney. The fact that many cannot afford to drive with $1.99-a-litre gas is not baloney either. What is also not baloney is on page 75 of B.C.'s 2024 budget, where the provincial government blames the Prime Minister for forcing a 23% carbon tax hike on April 1.
    Will the Prime Minister help sandwiched British Columbians and spike the hike, or do British Columbians need to throw him out like an old, spoiled, stale pack of baloney?
    Mr. Speaker, let us just remember that every single one of the Conservative MPs in the House today ran on a platform promising a price on pollution, and let us just remember that the B.C. caucus of that party includes MPs who, when they were in the provincial legislature, voted for British Columbia's current world-leading price on pollution.
    Canadians and the people of B.C. have to ask themselves if the Conservatives even know what they campaigned on and what they voted for.

[Translation]

Official Languages

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to wish all my colleagues here and all of Canada a happy Francophonie Month.
    In the last budget, our government invested in official languages and made a historic announcement. We added more than $4.1 billion to the action plan to help minority language communities, including in Acadia and my own province of New Brunswick.
    Can the Minister of Official Languages tell us about the measures he recently announced for Francophonie Month?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his tireless work on behalf of Acadians and the Canadian francophonie.
    Our government is making record investments in our official language minority communities. On March 1, we announced an additional $62.5 million for 300 organizations across the country. These investments allow us to ensure that our communities remain strong, vibrant and diverse.
    I join my colleague from Madawaska-Restigouche in wishing all members of the House a happy Francophonie Month.

[English]

Public Services and Procurement

    Mr. Speaker, the NDP-Liberal government has been trying to cover up the full cost of its $60-million arrive scam. After eight years of the Prime Minister and his NDP-Liberal government, they are not worth the cost or the corruption. He has been hiding the documents and we have been hearing the paper shredders, but his homework is due today.
    The question is for the Prime Minister. At what time will he respect the common-sense Conservative motion that was passed by the House and deliver all of the documents and the full cost of his arrive scam scandal?
    Mr. Speaker, as many ministers, including the CBSA minister, have often said, what happened during COVID-19 regarding the application was unacceptable, despite the fact that it was at a moment when it was important for public servants to be efficient and act quickly. Unfortunately, some of the rules were not followed.
    There is more work to do, although much of the work that the Auditor General asked us to do has already been implemented.
    Mr. Speaker, what the Auditor General asked for in terms of information the government did not even want to provide. That is why it voted against having the Auditor General investigate the Prime Minister's $60-million arrive scam. It is clear that after eight years of the NDP-Liberal government, it is not worth the corruption or worth the cost. That $60 million was for outside consultants. It was not for public servants who needed to act quickly. It is was for Ottawa insiders who were getting rich, being made millionaires, while Canadians struggle and are now lined up at food banks.
    The Prime Minister has had weeks and he will not stand up, but we have ordered him to provide the documents. At what time will they be provided?
    Mr. Speaker, from the very beginning, our government has been transparent with Canadians and with Parliament. We have had officials and ministers appear before parliamentary committees. We understand the concern that Canadians have around the appropriate use of taxpayers' money.
    In spite of my friend's pessimism, I do not share his view. This government will always continue to be transparent with Canadians around this matter.

  (1505)  

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years, the arrive scam scandal has made clear again that the NDP-Liberal government and the Prime Minister are not worth the cost or the corruption.
    Liberals gave GC Strategies $20 million for arrive scam alone. Last week, Kristian Firth from GC Strategies revealed that he got at least $2,600 per hour for subcontracting. Canadians are struggling to put food on the table and Liberals are giving well-connected consultants multi-millions at $2,600 per hour.
    I have a simple question: Do Liberals believe that $2,600 per hour was a reasonable rate?
    Mr. Speaker, as my colleague knows very well, there are internal investigations being conducted into all these matters. We welcome the report of the Auditor General. The RCMP is investigating some elements of this matter. If at any time people have misused taxpayers' money or contractors have claimed taxpayers' money for work they did not complete, of course the government will demand refunds as is appropriate.

Indigenous Affairs

     Mr. Speaker, earlier this month, legislation was introduced in the other place that affirms the Government of Canada's recognition of the Haida Nation as the holder of the inherent rights of governance and self-determination. These types of bills are needed as we move forward on the path of reconciliation with indigenous communities.
    Can the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations tell us what this means for the Haida Nation located on the Haida Gwaii archipelago off British Columbia's north coast?
    Mr. Speaker, this marks a historical milestone for the Haida Nation. It was 50 years in the making and it would rightfully recognize the Council of the Haida Nation as the government of the Haida people. This long-overdue step solidifies the Haida's authority in ensuring the protection of the beautiful lands and waters of Haida Gwaii for generations to come.
    I am grateful to the nation for its collaboration and to the member for Cloverdale—Langley City for this question as well as his leadership on the INAN committee. We will keep working to uphold the rights of the Haida Nation.

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, for five months the Liberals have sat idly by while 30,000 civilians in Palestine have been killed, most of whom have been women and children. It is devastating. Canada needs to take a stand for peace so that no one else is killed, not sit on the sidelines. We need a ceasefire, real humanitarian aid and the release of all hostages.
    Will the Liberals finally join so many across Canada, and New Democrats, by voting in support of our motion for peace and justice?
    Mr. Speaker, we believe in peace and stability in the region, and it starts with the release of all hostages. We need to make sure that humanitarian aid gets into Gaza. Of course, we need to get to a humanitarian ceasefire, which will bring long and lasting peace to Israel, and also support a two-state solution and the creation of a Palestinian state for Palestinians.
    For too long Israelis and Palestinians have suffered for the fact that we have not found a solution to this conflict. We need to be there to support them and we will be.

[Translation]

Finance

    Mr. Speaker, since the Liberal government took office in 2015, we have been running deficits every year.
    The country's debt has been skyrocketing since then, and more and more people are concerned. The cost of living continues to rise, federal spending seems to be out of control, and then there are the various financial scandals, with ArriveCAN being the most recent.
    My question for the Minister of Finance is very simple. Will she finally introduce a plan to balance the budget when she tables her next budget on April 16?
    Mr. Speaker, our government understands how important it is to support Canadians and to do so in a way that is financially responsible.
    The fact that we have maintained our AAA credit rating is proof that that is what we are doing. That was reaffirmed last week. We have the lowest debt-to-GDP and deficit-to-GDP ratios in the G7.

Routine Proceedings

[Routine Proceedings]

  (1510)  

[English]

Government Response to Petitions

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8)(a), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's responses to 53 petitions. These returns will be tabled in an electronic format.

[Translation]

Right Hon. Brian Mulroney

[Tribute]
    Colleagues, I understand that there have been discussions among representatives of all parties in the House and that there is agreement, before proceeding to Statements by Ministers, for members to now rise and observe a moment of silence in honour of the Right Hon. Martin Brian Mulroney, the 18th Prime Minister of Canada.

[English]

    [A moment of silence observed]
    Mr. Speaker, the night before this House last rose, Canadians received the news that one of the lions of Canadian politics had left us. Prime Minister Brian Mulroney served in this chamber for a decade, but he served Canada his entire life.
    He loved this country with his whole heart, and he knew we were capable of great things. He saw that the greatest strength of this country was our shared values. “Opportunity, fairness and justice for all” was one of the ways he put it, but he also understood that success was not automatic. It took hard work.

[Translation]

    It was his work ethic that made it possible for him, the son of a Baie-Comeau labourer, to study law, head the Iron Ore Company of Canada and become prime minister of our great country.
    Proudly Québécois and proudly bilingual, he never forgot where he came from. He was always happy to shake hands with everyone and with the same enthusiasm, whether they were a labourer or a monarch.

[English]

    The last time I had the chance to be with Prime Minister Mulroney was at his alma mater, St. Francis Xavier University, last year. Brian and Mila took me on a tour of Mulroney Hall, a beautiful building that houses an institute of government in his name. We sat in a replica of the prime minister's Centre Block office. I reminisced not just about my own years in that office but about visiting my dad there, and that got us talking about families and the impact this life has on them.
    Then, as we walked, we talked about wisdom he and my dad both shared, that leadership fundamentally is about getting the big things right. No matter what our political stripe or style is, that is our job.

  (1515)  

[Translation]

    One of the times he spoke at an American president's funeral, he pointed out that many people of varying talents and skills had led the country and that there would be many more in the future.
    One thing is certain, historians will see that, in Canadian history, Brian Mulroney led with vision and determination and that he accomplished many great things.

[English]

    We see it in his legacy on apartheid, where he was unremitting in his commitment to end that institutionalized racism, and he leveraged Canada's position in the Commonwealth to lead efforts that helped free Nelson Mandela from his cell on Robben Island.

[Translation]

    We see this in his legacy on the environment. He understood the responsibility of governments to combat environmental degradation. He negotiated a historic air quality agreement with the United States to reduce acid rain.
    Together with global partners, he negotiated the Montreal Protocol to fix the hole in the ozone layer. These agreements were not just essential for their time and era; they have become important models of environmental co-operation as the international community continues to confront the climate crisis.

[English]

    Perhaps one of his greatest legacies was forging a free trade agreement with our closest ally, the United States.
    Prime Minister Mulroney was astute and perceived, even back in the eighties, a rising tide of American protectionism. He had the wisdom to understand that the best way to fight back was to embrace our friends. He envisioned a free trade relationship and in working to make this vision a reality, he became a lifelong friend of two American presidents. With the creation of NAFTA, Brian Mulroney established the largest free trade area in the world and raised the standard of living for hundreds of millions of people, benefiting Canadians in every corner of this country for decades.

[Translation]

    Brian also knew not to take anything for granted. He said it was important to work hard every day, and every day after that. He put his words into action by intervening when NAFTA was threatened a few years ago.
    Brian played a dual role as an adviser to me and my cabinet, and as an advocate for Canada among his friends and contacts in the U.S. political and business elite.

[English]

    It mattered a lot to me but even more so to Canada that Brian vouched to the American Republican class that they could trust this Liberal Prime Minister and even given partisan political pressure here at home, he always knew that the most important thing was getting a good deal for Canada and for Canadians. In our many conversations during that difficult time, he was gracious, generous, insightful and determined to see Canada come out on top.
    NAFTA was created as an act of hope, so, too, was its renegotiation; hope not just in the continual economic progress of this country, but hope that those values that once held us together, opportunity and fairness for all, livelihood above gimmicks, country above politics, could still be the thing.
    Politics is not an easy life. Last June, after walking around the exhibits of the institute formed in his name, Brian gave a speech where he said, “I have learned over the years that history is unconcerned with the trivia and the trash of rumours and gossip floating around Parliament Hill. History is only concerned with the big ticket items that have shaped the future of Canada”

[Translation]

    Let us all take a moment to reflect on what we want to accomplish here in the House. Let us remember how important it is to make good decisions, regardless of popular trends, decisions that will stand the test of time.

  (1520)  

[English]

    Now, nobody who runs for office does not want to win. Brian Mulroney knew how to win, and he certainly enjoyed it. However, he knew as well as anyone that there would be attacks and criticisms that stung. Mila, Caroline, Ben, Mark and Nicholas saw it up close and knew how hard it could be. However, on the big things, they also know full well that he would not let himself succumb to temporary pressure. He was motivated by service and those things, those big things, have stood the test of history, four decades and counting.
    Today, we all gather to remember him in the House, and this weekend, Canadians across the country will say goodbye. However, this will not be the last week that Canadians will quote him, remember his example and be inspired by his service. It is not just his booming baritone that will forever echo in this chamber, but his values and his leadership.

[Translation]

    We say goodbye to the man, but not to his conviction to put country before politics, his belief in creating opportunities and his confidence in Canada's infinite possibilities.

[English]

    Brian Mulroney's principles helped shape this nation and the world for the better, and we will all continue that work.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to pay tribute to a son of Quebec, a great statesman for Canada.

[English]

    About a year ago, my wife Ana and I were at a mechanic's shop, servicing our car, about 30 minutes south of here. As I went to pay, the mechanic said, “You're that Conservative leader. Brian Mulroney is a family friend of mine.” I said, “Really, how do you know Brian Mulroney?” He said that his dad was a miner at the Iron Ore Company and when Brian was the president, he used to spend a lot of time with the guys on the ground. He would ask their opinions, hear their stories and, most of all, get tips on how they could be running a better business.
    This was the kind of down to earth spirit that he brought, but more important than that spirit and collegiality with the workers on the ground was his incredible memory. When that miner passed away decades later, Brian called the family. What is so incredible about that phone call is that in the interim period, Brian Mulroney fought two leadership races; won two majority governments; shook hands and spent time with presidents, kings, queens and other prime ministers; negotiated free trade deals; watched the end of the Cold War; sent our troops into the Persian Gulf; and with all that passing through his mind, he still remembered the miner from the Iron Ore Company.
    That is kindness. That is humility. I think he saw his dad in that miner, an electrician from a working class small town in Quebec.

[Translation]

    Baie-Comeau is a hard-working city.

[English]

    A modest, Irish working class upbringing taught him the value of work, family, neighbourhood, loyalty and merit. For me, this part of his legacy is personal. I was born to a teenage mother, incidentally she was from a working class Irish family. She put me up for adoption to two school teachers. I was just becoming aware that there was such a thing as prime ministers when he had that job.
    Like millions of young people from similar backgrounds, we looked to him and said that if the Irish son of a working class electrician from a mill town could rise to become prime minister, then anyone from anywhere in this country could do anything.
    He took his journey from small town to big business, leading some of the great enterprises of Canada. Many of these jobs he had in his late thirties and early forties. His first shot at politics came with a setback, but he would brush aside that setback with a second run for leadership, which he would win, before he could take on the mighty Liberal machine in the forthcoming 1984 election. Before he could do that, he had to come to this place.
    On the first day in the House, he squared off with the legendary former prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, who teased him about parachuting from his corporate office in Montreal into a by-election win in rural Nova Scotia. I will quote the records:
    The Hon. Member for Central Nova has come a long way from that log cabin in Pictou County. I see that he has put away his rumpled trousers and old sweaters, to be brought out again at the next election. In the meantime it is nice for us in this Chamber to be able to bask in the glow, in the benign smile, of a man who sent such shivers of pleasure down the spines of the matrons all the way from Oyster Pond to Mushaboo.
    Brian Mulroney rose and responded:
    I want you to know, Prime Minister, that during the summer, while you were otherwise occupied, it was a very pleasant summer for me. There was one untoward incident, only one. The Liberal candidate in Central Nova persistently referred to a candidate from Quebec who did not live in his riding but lived in a million dollar house rent free, and I defended you [vigorously].

  (1525)  

    When he appeared in this chamber with that big smile and confident tone, I think it was enough to make anybody take a walk in the snow.
    Soon after the election, he would go on to win a record majority government. He inherited a desperate, divided country, with skyrocketing debt having caused double-digit inflation, unemployment and interest rates. The government had attacked industries and thousands of jobs. People's lives were falling apart. The country was more divided than ever before with rocketing separatism and western alienation, yet he set out to do his work. He shrunk government, cut red tape, ended the appalling national energy program and privatized 23 money-losing state enterprises that went on to succeed and grow in the private sector. To put any debate to rest, successive governments refused to renationalize any of them, proving that he was right.
    My personal favourite was when he brought in the inflation control target that required the Bank of Canada to keep our money solid, ending the prior decade of money-printing inflation that had destroyed the working class. This policy, this inflation target, came in in 1991 and would succeed in giving us price stability and sound money for the two and a half decades that followed.
    Finally, he stared down fearmongering and falsehoods to defend and secure the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, the most successful trade agreement the modern world had ever seen with the most lucrative economy in the history of the planet. In fact, all of the trade access and more that we have today with the United States was secured in that agreement.

[Translation]

    He inherited a desperate, divided country with a public debt that led to inflation, unemployment and interest rate hikes. The government had essentially attacked key sectors, eliminating thousands of jobs. People's lives were falling apart, but he gave them hope.
    He set himself some hard tasks. He downsized the government, reduced red tape, put an end to the appalling national energy program and privatized 23 public corporations that were losing money. His plan worked, and those companies thrived in the private sector. Successive governments decided not to re-nationalize any of them because they knew he had made the right decision.
    My favourite decision of Brian Mulroney's was the one to give the central bank the mandate to set a low rate of inflation. The 2% target put an end to the printing of money that had destroyed the working class during the previous decade. He put that policy in place in 1991, and it was followed for 25 years.
    Lastly, he stood up for the idea of free trade with the United States through what was to become the world's most successful free trade agreement, one that resulted in an extraordinary economy. In fact, these economic policies kick-started a consensus of common sense, free markets, free trade, disciplined spending, solid currency, strong defence, meritocracy and not aristocracy. That consensus lasted 30 years after he was elected in 1984.

  (1530)  

[English]

    All of the policies he put forward, the ones I have named, were controversial. Some were even unpopular, yet none was repealed by the subsequent Liberal government. He in fact started, in 1984 after his election, a common-sense consensus of free markets, free trade, disciplined spending, sound money, strong defence and meritocracy, not aristocracy. It was a consensus that would endure for 30 years after his 1984 election, and one we should restore.

[Translation]

    He fought for the French language and for respect for Quebec, as well as for provincial autonomy.

[English]

    He did away with Cold War neutrality and instead sided firmly and unequivocally with freedom and against communism. He led the world in the fight against apartheid.
    Nelson Mandela would later tell the House of Commons:
    I would also like to pay special tribute to the Prime Minister of this country, Brian Mulroney, who has continued along the path charted by Prime Minister Diefenbaker who acted against apartheid because he knew that no person of conscience could stand aside as a crime against humanity was being committed.
...Prime Minister [Mulroney], our people and organisation respect and admire you as a true friend. We have been greatly strengthened by your involvement in the struggle against apartheid and the leadership you have provided....
    He stood for the freedom at home as well. He stood on the side of turban-wearing Sikhs by allowing them to serve in the RCMP, where they keep us safe to this day.
    He was brilliant at talking through a microphone but even better at talking through a telephone. In fact for Brian Mulroney, phone calls were like an art form; he used the telephone the way Michelangelo might have used a chisel or a brush. He would use it to make business deals, to charm foreign leaders and, more importantly, to comfort grieving or suffering friends.
    I have lost count of the number of people who have told me about the worst day in their life. They might have lost a loved one or a friend, or suffered a terrible public humiliation. Then, suddenly, the phone would ring and it would be that mellifluous baritone on the other end of the line, saying, “It's Brian Mulroney.” He would console, joke and maybe even throw in the odd curse about the unfairness of it all, and his friend's turmoil would melt into the astonishment that one of the country's greatest prime ministers had offered love and laughter.
    I would call to seek his advice. In fact, I was very blessed to receive it. I asked him, for example, what it was that he did to deal with all of the strain of the job, the anticipation of a close election, the worry about the fate of a political battle. His answer was not that he studied stoicism, mastered yoga or meditated on a hilltop, or even that he was a tough guy who had no worries in the world. No, he explained to me very simply that he surmounted worry through one word: “Mila”, Mila Mulroney.
    His half-century-long love affair with Mila is one for the ages. They would have been married 52 years in just a short time. He credited her with all his victories. She was his closest adviser, his rock. Only days before he died, he embraced her, and even with his failing eyes, as she recounted to me the other day, he looked her straight in the face and said, “You are so beautiful.” They were inseparable from the moment they met until he took his last breath.
    He told me that my wife, Anaida, who shares Mila's beautiful immigrant story, was my superpower. After my recent convention speech, he said that my speech was terrific but Ana's was far, far better. Ana and I were happy to host the Mulroneys as our first guests at Stornoway after taking on these functions. We were able to plunder both of their minds for incredible advice, which I will not reveal here because I do not want any of my political competitors to take advantage of them, but the best and most important advice was to stand with family.
     Brian and Mila's achievements are greatest when it comes to their kids, who tell stories even today, saying that they could call Brian at any time and he would take the calls, even when he was the prime minister. Later they would find out that he had left world summits or cabinet meetings to talk with them. That is why Mark, Caroline, Nicholas and Ben have been such smashing successes in their own right. They are now parents themselves. He had sixteen grandchildren: “Go forth and multiply”, indeed.
    He lived out the words of Kipling:
    

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too...

    

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build [them] up with wornout tools...

    

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings—nor lose [your] common touch...

    

Yours is the Earth and everything...in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

    Rest in the peace of God, Prime Minister Mulroney.

  (1535)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I have fond memories when I talk about this prime minister. I was elected with him as part of his team on September 4, 1984. He was a great Canadian, a great Quebecker and a great prime minister.
    On behalf of the Bloc Québécois, I would first like to offer my deepest condolences to his wife, Mila, his daughter, Caroline, his sons, Ben, Mark and Nicolas, and his grandchildren.
    I remember Brian Mulroney as a family man first. He loved Mila, his wife and lifelong companion. He was proud of his children and cherished his role as a grandfather. He was always only a phone call away from his loved ones and delighted in spending quality time with the whole family.
    Born to a working-class family, Mr. Mulroney grew up in Baie-Comeau, a paper mill town on Quebec's north shore. Thanks to a strong work ethic, Mr. Mulroney rose to the highest ranks in the legal and business communities of 1970s Montreal. He even became president and CEO of a large company before the age of 40. Early on, however, he took an interest in Quebec and Canadian politics. Motivated by a deep desire to build a modern Quebec and Canada, he left the sidelines to play an active role in the political arena.
    In 1984, Mr. Mulroney was the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party, a party that no longer exists. He won the biggest election victory in history. He immediately set about instituting major reforms to the Canadian economy, including the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA; the privatization of Crown corporations; policies to keep inflation low, deregulate and cut spending; and the GST.
    As the father of North American free trade, which would play a pivotal role in the economic vitality of Quebec as a producing and exporting nation, he is credited with reducing Quebec's unemployment rate from 12% to 6% within two years of NAFTA being implemented. He will be remembered for his engaging personality, which was key to strengthening the important relationship between Canada and the United States.
    Who could forget how Mr. Mulroney strengthened ties with the U.S. at an evening out with President Ronald Reagan at the Grand Théâtre de Québec in Quebec City on St. Patrick's Day, which some people were celebrating yesterday. True to their roots, both Quebec and Irish, the two heads of state solidified their friendship when they sang When Irish Eyes are Smiling on stage. Brian Mulroney persisted and successfully negotiated NAFTA.
    Another thing I remember about that time is that the then premier of Ontario was strongly opposed to NAFTA throughout the negotiations. He gave countless speeches on the subject. Three months after NAFTA was signed, Mr. Mulroney showed up to a caucus meeting with an American business magazine. He used to always give a little pep talk at those meetings. He opened the magazine to page six or seven to show everyone the picture of the premier of Ontario next to a message saying that thanks to free trade, Americans could now invest in Ontario.

  (1540)  

    It was with a hint of humour that Mr. Mulroney showed us that photo, but he made no comment about the premier of Ontario. He had a deep respect for his opponents, but he also had a very refined sense of humour.
    Opposition to the GST was fierce. It came from all sides, even within our Progressive Conservative caucus. Some caucus members went so far as to resign and sit as independents. They were sure they would be re-elected as independents just by saying the word GST, because they sensed that many Canadians were opposed to this reform. Brian Mulroney did not waver. He persisted and implemented the GST. Today, no one would want to turn back the clocks on the GST. Let us not forget that, at the time, exporting companies paid a tax on the goods they exported. It was totally abnormal. Brian Mulroney promised to correct that and he succeeded.
    He will be remembered for reconciling an open economic approach and confidence in the markets with global leadership on the environment. He signed the Canada-U.S. acid rain treaty and initiated the Montreal protocol on ozone-depleting substances. This made him the greenest prime minister ever.
    The international relations he developed, his negotiating talents and his unwavering determination to build consensus gave him influence on the international scene. He was one of the first to respond to the 1984 famine in Egypt. He led the campaign against apartheid in South Africa. Canada was the first country to impose economic sanctions on that country, despite opposition from Mrs. Thatcher and the U.S. President, action that eventually led to Mandela's release.
    He also played an active, if not a leading role in the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie. He was awarded highest honours not only by Quebec and Canada, but also by a long list of countries, including France, which named him Commander of the Order of Legion of Honour, South Africa, which appointed him Supreme Companion of O.R. Tambo, Japan, which honoured him with the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun, Haiti, which gave him the Grand Cross of the National Order of Honour and Merit, and Ukraine, which awarded him the Order of King Yaroslav the Wise. He was a person of international renown.
     There are aspects of Brian Mulroney's political life that the Quebec nation will always remember more than anyone else, and that too many others have since forgotten, if not swept under the rug. He took it upon himself to transform, almost single-handedly, the then historically difficult and distrustful relationship between Quebec and his party. Quebeckers will never forget that, when he was prime minister, from 1984 to 1993, he was the last to make a sincere and ardent attempt to reconcile Quebec and Canada.
    Brian Mulroney had the courage to build his winning campaign in 1984 on respect for Quebeckers and their pride. He won with the support of the most nationalistic among us. René Lévesque placed his trust in him the day after the 1980 referendum. Lucien Bouchard placed his trust in him as well, and the news of their recent reconciliation, a few months before his death, brought comfort to the hearts of many Quebeckers.

  (1545)  

    The majority of Quebeckers placed their trust in him, as did I when I was elected to the House alongside him in 1984. Like most Quebeckers, I was confident that his was the steady hand that would lead the government to do right by Quebec's aspirations.
     He promised himself and the rest of us that the trickery marring the repatriation of the Constitution in 1982 would not set the tone for future Canada-Quebec relations. He pledged to bring Quebec into the Constitution and the federation with “honour and enthusiasm”, as a people. He said that Quebec had “an option”, to paraphrase the words he fired off at John Turner during the first debate. I am sure we all remember that.
    Mr. Mulroney's openness to Quebeckers did not hurt him. On the contrary, in his first election as leader, his commitment to nationalism won him no fewer than 211 of the 282 available seats, including 57 in Quebec. He won another majority in 1988. It was the first time since Confederation that the Progressive Conservative Party won a majority twice in a row, both times on a promise that no federal party would make in 2024. Nowadays, nobody is promising to reform Canada in a way that includes Quebec with dignity.
    Just a few kilometres from the House of Commons, at Meech Lake, he managed to convince every premier from the Canadian provinces and every federal opposition leader to take this chance with him. Everyone was ready to recognize Quebec as a distinct nation. Everyone was ready to limit the federal government's spending power. Everyone was ready to guarantee Quebec the right to withdraw from federal programs with full compensation.
    Brian Mulroney loved Canada deeply, just as he loved Quebec deeply. That is why he did everything he could to make Quebec feel at home. He did everything and tried everything to carve out a better Canada, a real federation, united in mutual respect and in celebration of its founding identities. Unfortunately, no one has tried to take that on since.
    For the years that I had the honour and privilege of sitting under his leadership, I rubbed shoulders with a true statesman, a man of vision who was undaunted in achieving the goals he set for himself, an affable man who was respectful of his opponents and who had one goal: to improve the lives of Quebeckers and Canadians.
    My dear Brian, we etched your name on the trees on the Hill, but over time the bark wore off. We etched your name on the sidewalks of the Hill, but over time the concrete broke down. Fortunately, we etched your name in our hearts and time will keep it there forever. Adieu, Mr. Prime Minister, and thank you.

  (1550)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to offer my sincere condolences, on behalf of all New Democrats, to the family and friends of late prime minister Brian Mulroney. It is never easy to lose someone you love, and our thoughts are with you.
    To Canadians, he was a prime minister, but to those closest to him, he was a father, a grandfather and a husband. I hope his loved ones can find some comfort in the many memories that people have shared about him as they grieve this loss.
     Prime Minister Mulroney will be remembered as someone who took big chances while he was in office. While there are a great many issues that, of course, he and I would not agree on, I want to acknowledge the legacy that he leaves behind after a long career of dedicated public service.
    I would be remiss not to point out that Mr. Mulroney was a Progressive Conservative. He respected our democracy and the role of the media in a way that was not remarkable at the time but is no doubt noteworthy today.

[Translation]

    He was also a great human rights advocate on the international stage. Brian Mulroney strongly condemned the injustices of apartheid in South Africa at a time when many world leaders remained silent. His strong stance reminds us that we must never turn a blind eye to the difficulties that people throughout the world are facing.
    Thousands of Canadians will always remember that Mr. Mulroney did not ignore that blatant violation of human rights. He chose to use his voice to help those who were suffering under apartheid, not for his own political gain, but because it was the right thing to do.

  (1555)  

[English]

    I also want to note Prime Minister Mulroney's environmental advocacy.
    He listened to the concerns raised by scientists about the hole in the ozone layer and the impacts it would have on Canadians, including higher rates of cancer.
    He responded to scientists' warnings about acid rain and the damage it would do to our soil and our ability to grow food.
    Mr. Mulroney understood that if there was no responsible stewardship of our environment, Canadians' health would suffer. He understood that the government played a significant role in ensuring that people have clean water to drink and clean air to breathe for generations to come.
    In addition to his dedication to environmental advocacy, the late prime minister was also a champion for Quebec and Quebeckers, as many have shared.

[Translation]

    It was important for him that the people of Quebec be recognized. He valued Quebeckers' culture, heritage and distinct society as an integral part of this country.
    He stood up for the language rights of francophones, unlike some other prime ministers before him. Mr. Mulroney worked hard to build a bridge between anglophones and francophones. He fought so that francophones would not feel like second-class citizens but like an integral part of the country's social fabric.

[English]

    Having grown up in Quebec, he recognized that the diversity of our country makes us a richer and stronger nation.
    At a time of more heightened divisions, when some political leaders try to score points by pitting one group of people against another, Mr. Mulroney will be remembered as someone who tried to build unity.
    Since he passed away, I heard a media interview with former prime minister Kim Campbell, his cabinet colleague and successor. The thing that really stands out is the way she spoke about his willingness to change his mind, to hear other points of view and to adjust his actions. That Mr. Mulroney had this flexibility and open-mindedness is a testament to his leadership style and his character.
    Ultimately, Canadians expect this of their political leaders. There are bound, of course, to be disagreements between people with different life experiences and different perspectives, but truly listening to and respecting one another should be a baseline for people in political life, and that is a standard that Mr. Mulroney upheld and exceeded.
    I want to share a story about the late prime minister that illustrates my point.
    Just a couple of months ago, our party lost a legend in our former leader, Ed Broadbent. His passing hit us hard. Ed was, of course, a champion for disenfranchised people, a principled leader and a wonderful friend.
     Even though, at the time, Mr. Mulroney was in hospital, dealing with his own health issues, he still made time to speak to the media about his former political rival. He spoke of Ed, from the hospital, with tremendous respect and kindness, when he could have just as easily decided not to do any interviews at all, and it would have been understandable.
    That was so generous of him, to honour an opponent. It says a lot about him as a leader and as a person.
    I want to close by reiterating my condolences to the late prime minister's loved ones and to thank them all for sharing him with this country.
    I see the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands rising in her place. Would this be to seek the consent of the House to participate in the statements regarding the Right Hon. Brian Mulroney?
    Mr. Speaker, I humbly beg my friends to please let me join by unanimous consent of everyone here, because I loved the late prime minister so much it is going to kill me if I do not get to say so out loud.
    Is it agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

  (1600)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I want to offer my deepest condolences to the entire family of our former prime minister, to Mila, Ben, Mark, Nicolas and Caroline.

[English]

    I had the very huge honour, in a very unlikely event in the life of a very passionate non-Conservative, to serve as a member of the staff team for the minister of environment and ultimately, over the years, to become a friend of Brian Mulroney's.
    I have never said this to the family, but I used to have this recurring dream after I resigned from the office. There was a certain amount of bad blood from other Conservatives, but never from Brian Mulroney, about my leaving over my minister doing this little thing called breaking the law. I had this recurring dream that I kept running up to Brian Mulroney to say, “I hope you know I love you.” It was weird, because I did not know I felt that way when I was having this dream, but I had it over and over again.
    Then we became friends. We became friends when I felt compelled, as the executive director of the Sierra Club, to write articles saying, “Look at this legacy. Hello.” I was on the jury for who was the greenest prime minister, and it was not close. This was in 2005. It was not like there were a lot of prime ministers who had that kind of record.
    In thinking about my remarks today, I have decided there is no way I can actually speak to each of the accomplishments of the Mulroney government and of Brian Mulroney quite personally, of his personally picking up the phone and putting the negotiations to stop the logging of Gwaii Haanas and of him putting them back into play by calling Bill Vander Zalm. This was hard work and heavy lifting, and it was personal. Where it came from I cannot tell, but I know it was profound, real and personal on issue after issue, so I have decided the only way I can get through them is to list them.
    I can hardly editorialize on the accomplishments, because they are so many, but let us start under the category of underpromising and over-delivering. There is the multinational effort to deal with acid rain, to actually solve the issue, and to make it our single top bilateral issue at every meeting with the President of the United States of America.
    Then it was the ozone layer. We did not just put in place some ideas. Brian Mulroney quite literally saved all life on earth when Canada stood up and organized the Montreal Protocol and saved the ozone layer, so that it was not just no longer being eroded but was repairing itself. I was never so proud as when I saw him at the 30th anniversary of the Montreal Protocol in Montreal, when he even mentioned me in his speech. We were there at the same congress where it was negotiated in September 1987. The Montreal Protocol is an astonishing accomplishment for this country, but it was Brian Mulroney personally who delivered it.
    The first international conference on the climate crisis was in the last week of June 1988. Late prime minister Brian Mulroney opened it and gave a speech that brought the house down and brought scientists from all around the world to their feet to cheer. Stephen Schneider, one of the leading climate scientists, said, “My God, this is our Woodstock.”
    Prime Minister Mulroney and Gro Harlem Brundtland of Norway opened that conference, which was the first one, but then the work kept going. There was the work to acknowledge and support the World Commission on Environment and Development and its landmark report, “Our Common Future”, to lead the United Nations in creating the Earth Summit for June 1992, and to lead, with heavy lifting, to deliver the treaty for the protection of biological diversity.
    One of the hallmarks I was going to mention is what Brian Mulroney did, not just in standing up to his enemies, which is easy, but in standing up to his friends. When he saved the biodiversity convention, and he did quite personally save it when George Bush tried to kill it, he was standing up to his friends.
    When he stood up to throw South Africa out of the Commonwealth, he had to stand up to his friend, Maggie Thatcher, whom he loved, because it was wrong to ignore apartheid and let South Africa be a member of the Commonwealth family. He stood up against his friends.

  (1605)  

    He stood up to Ronald Reagan on acid rain, and he delivered an agreement between Canada and the U.S. that actually ended the scourge of acid rain pollution in Canada. He banned lead in gasoline. He banned alachlor, the herbicide that was carcinogenic. He brought in the environmental legislation we still have, some of which has been tragically repealed. He brought in the Canadian Environmental Protection Act and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. He brought in Canada's only federal water policy and created new institutions, only some of which we still have. He brought in the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy.
    He created the International Institute for Sustainable Development. He created the post of ambassador for the environment. He did the early work that led to the creation of the Arctic Council. He brought in the Great Lakes water quality agreements, multilateral agreements between many levels of government, provincial and federal. He brought in the national parks, one after the other. Quttinirpaaq, which we then called Ellesmere, was created on Ellesmere Island.
    There was Gwaii Haanas. We talked earlier today in the House of the news of what has been done with the Haida Nation and acknowledging its sovereignty. Brian Mulroney flew to Vancouver Island to sign the deal with then premier Vander Zalm. I will never forget Pat Carney, another dear friend we lost this year, saying to all the men gathered there that a lot of what they had done in their political careers would be forgotten, but this would last and always be remembered.
    Gwaii Haanas National Park, Canada's Galapagos, was personally saved by Brian Mulroney. Yes, all the Haida elders blocked the logging roads and got arrested. We cannot take a thing away from their courage, but the personal courage of the elders who blocked the logging road would have come to a historical footnote if Brian Mulroney had not been willing to get a deal and get Bill Vander Zalm back to the negotiating table. There were also the Grasslands National Park, the Pacific Rim National Park, Georgian Bay Islands National Park and the early work on the Rouge Valley.
    Making poverty history was the best international development funding record Canada has ever had. The closest we have ever come to the Pearson target was under Brian Mulroney when we still had the Canadian International Development Agency. Our funding commitments under Brian Mulroney were the most generous of Canada's whole history on international development. He stepped up to respond to the Ethiopian famine.
    The problem is that with this kind of résumé, not only can we not pad it, we cannot even list it and not run out of time. How did he do all this? He had skills and talents. With him being Irish, I can only suspect he actually once physically kissed the Blarney stone. There is no real way to explain how he could charm the birds out of the trees, but he sure as heck could.
    He could make people laugh. I loved his jokes so much. I feel like that old joke where someone can just give the punchlines and the family will know which ones were the best: “Do you know who I am? I am the man who gives out the butter.” These were great jokes. His comic timing was perfect.
    One thing about Brian Mulroney's humour, and he was a great at it, is that there was never a joke at anyone's expense. There was never a cruel joke. If there was ever a joke at someone's expense, it was his own self-deprecating humour at his own expense. There was the time back in 2005 when he missed the first award dinner for his being the greenest prime minister. He talked later about being in hospital and some old guy, who looked pretty rough, looked at him and said, “Did you used to be Brian Mulroney?” At people's lowest moments, he could make them laugh.
    I just cannot say enough how grateful I am and how deeply honoured I am. There is no explaining the generosity and kindness of his heart. When I had low moments now and then, I could not believe it when my office would tell me former prime minister Brian Mulroney wanted to talk to me on the phone. I thought they were kidding me. I would love to tell everyone what he said because it is so darned funny, but I really cannot repeat it.
    Dear Brian Mulroney, there are no pearly gates anywhere near this place, more like a bat out of hell, one would say, but I know where there's a proper welcome, open arms and angelic choirs, for someone who deserved and deserves to come home. God bless him, his family, his children, his grandchildren and all who loved him. He lived well, and he loved this country. Let us continue to try to meet that example of a good-hearted, kind-spirited, generous and brilliant Canadian.

  (1610)  

[Translation]

    Colleagues, I thank you for the words, the kind sentiments and the deep respect you have shown for our 18th Prime Minister, the Right Hon. Brian Mulroney.
    His life story is worthy of a fairy tale. From humble beginnings in Baie-Comeau to a leader who made Canada and the world a better place, Brian Mulroney exemplified courage, vision and love of country.

[English]

    When he died on February 29, it was the last day of Black History Month. That evening, I took a stage at a final Black History Month event and announced to those assembled the passing of the right hon. gentleman. I reminded the crowd of the great debt of gratitude that Black Canadians, Black people around the world and any freedom-loving people owed Brian Mulroney for his work to end apartheid, for he was a fearless politician who fought for policies that, frankly, transformed the world. He never wavered from what he believed was right, no matter how hard or how controversial.
    From fighting apartheid in South Africa to apologizing for the wrongs committed against Japanese Canadians, Brian Mulroney's legacy puts him squarely on the side of justice. His charisma was legendary and made him a statesman like no other. He was an amazing orator and a consummate networker who could make magic happen by picking up the phone.

[Translation]

    All of us in the House could learn from his kindness, his smile and his civility. Every Canadian has benefited from his intelligence, hard work and exemplary dedication to public service.

[English]

    His love for his beautiful family filled him with an infectious joy that grounded him with what matters most, and we are honoured to have his family here with us today. As Canada grieves, we hope that the love and light he brought to his family, friends and all who knew him, as well as his indelible contributions to the people around the world and, of course, to our wonderful country, offer strength to his family during this time of sorrow.
    We will miss him.
    I wish to inform the House that, because of the ministerial statement, Government Orders will be extended by 60 minutes.

Committees of the House

Government Operations and Estimates  

[Routine Proceedings]
    Mr. Speaker, I have two reports today.
    The first one is, in both official languages, the 15th report of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates, a.k.a. the mighty OGGO, in relation to the motion adopted on Thursday, February 22, which asked the House to recommend that the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner investigate allegations of wrongdoing related to ArriveCAN.
    The second one I have the honour to present, in both official languages, is the 16th report of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates, entitled “Supplementary Estimates (C), 2023-24: Votes 1c and 5c under Department of Public Works and Government Services, Vote 1c under Privy Council Office, Vote 1c under Shared Services Canada and Votes 1c, 15c, 20c and 30c under Treasury Board Secretariat”.

  (1615)  

Turkish Heritage Month Act

    , seconded by the member for Vaughan—Woodbridge, moved for leave to introduce Bill C-384, An Act to establish Turkish Heritage Month.
     He said: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Vaughan—Woodbridge for supporting this bill, as well as the several other members who also wanted to second it. It is an act to establish Turkish heritage month.
    The preamble states:
    Whereas the first Turks arrived in Canada in the late 1800s, settling in Brantford, Ontario, in the years after Confederation;
    Whereas the population of Turkish Canadians has since grown considerably and includes people from such Turkic nations as Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, East Turkestan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Tatarstan;
    Whereas young, dynamic Turkish Canadian communities continue to flourish throughout Canada;
    Whereas Turkish Canadians from all walks of life have contributed substantially to Canada's social, economic and political life;
    Whereas Turkish Canadians have made rich and significant contributions to the cultural fabric of Canada, including through food, literature, music and fashion;
    We are proposing to make the month of October Turkish heritage month.
    I want to thank The Federation of Canadian Turkish Associations, particularly Hulya Gunay, the vice-president of the federation, and Dr. Sinan Yasarlar from Windsor, who have been the inspiration for this bill.
    In conclusion, I want to thank the chamber here and the other members who are reaching out on this bill. Hopefully, we will find unanimous consent at some point in time. Turkish heritage month is something that has been supported by many different cities and organizations. I believe it would be appropriate for the House and chamber to adopt this legislation.

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

Committees of the House

International Trade  

    Mr. Speaker, I would ask that members be a bit patient as I go through this.
    There have been discussions among the parties and, if you seek it, I think you would find unanimous consent for the following motions.
    I will start with the travel motions relating to four committees.
    I move:
    That, in relation to its study Canadian business in supply chains and global markets, seven members of the Standing Committee on International Trade be authorized to travel to Prince Rupert, British Columbia; Winnipeg, Manitoba; Windsor, Ontario; Montréal, Québec; and Halifax, Nova Scotia, in the Spring of 2024, during an adjournment period, and that the necessary staff accompany the Committee.

    (Motion agreed to)

Health  

    That, in relation to its study of the opioid epidemic and toxic drug crisis in Canada, seven members of the Standing Committee on Health be authorized to travel to Montréal, Québec; Vancouver, British Columbia; Calgary, Alberta; and Red Deer, Alberta, in the Spring of 2024, during an adjournment period, and that the necessary staff accompany the Committee.

    (Motion agreed to)

  (1620)  

Indigenous and Northern Affairs  

    That, in relation to its study of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), seven members of the Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs be authorized to travel to New York, New York, United States of America, in the Spring of 2024, during an adjournment period, and that the necessary staff accompany the Committee.

    (Motion agreed to)

Public Safety and National Security  

    That, in relation to its study of the growing problem of car thefts in Canada, seven members of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security be authorized to travel to Montréal, Québec, in the Spring of 2024, during an adjournment period, and that the necessary staff accompany the Committee.

    (Motion agreed to)

Canada-Ukraine Relations

    I would like to ask for consent to adopt the following motion relating to a take-note debate on Ukraine.
    I move:
    That a take-note debate on the Canada-Ukraine relationship and the newly signed strategic security partnership be held on Wednesday, March 20, 2024, pursuant to Standing Order 53.1, and that, notwithstanding any standing order or usual practice of the House: (a) members rising to speak during the debate may indicate to the Chair that they will be dividing their time with another member; (b) the time provided for the debate be extended beyond four hours, as needed, to include a minimum of 12 periods of 20 minutes each; and (c) no quorum calls, dilatory motions or requests for unanimous consent shall be received by the Chair.
    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)

Right Hon. Brian Mulroney

    Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties and, if you seek it, I believe you will find unanimous consent to adopt the following motion:
     That a take-note debate to pay tribute to the late Right Honourable Brian Mulroney be held, pursuant to Standing Order 53.1, on Tuesday, March 19, 2024, and that, notwithstanding any standing order, special order or usual practice of the House: (a) no member may speak for more than 10 minutes and the speeches not be subject to a question and comment period, provided that members wishing to speak may indicate to the Chair that they will be dividing their time with another member; and (b) no quorum calls, dilatory motions or requests for unanimous consent shall be received by the Chair.

[Translation]

    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)

[English]

Petitions

Climate Change  

    Mr. Speaker, I actually have three petitions to present today. I will do them as quickly as possible.
    The first petition is on the subject of the environment. It draws to the attention of the House that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has warned us repeatedly that rising temperatures over the next two decades will bring widespread devastation and extreme weather. The petitioners have also referenced the 2021 federal government commitment to cap and cut emissions from the oil and gas sector to achieve net zero by 2050.
    The petitioners are calling on the Government of Canada to immediately move forward with bold emissions caps for the oil and gas sector that are comprehensive in scope and realistic in terms of achieving those targets.

Food Security  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition I have was created in my community and has to do specifically with respect to a national school food program.
    The petitioners are calling to the attention of the House, and indeed the government, that Canada is the only G7 country without a national school food program, and that Canada should move immediately and quickly in developing such a program. The petitioners are specifically from the Glenburnie Public School community. They are calling on the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food to prioritize funding for a national school food program in budget 2024 for implementation in the fall of 2024.

Agriculture and Agri-Food  

    Mr. Speaker, I have a petition that actually has to do with Joyceville Institution. It is not a federal prison within my riding. It is actually in the neighbouring riding of Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston. This petition is with respect to an abattoir at Joyceville Institution.
    The petitioners are beef farmers and supporters of the beef farming community. They are drawing to the attention of the government that some beef farmers must wait six to nine months and, in many cases, up to a year to have their cattle processed at provincial facilities. The abattoir located at Joyceville Institution has not been utilized for a couple of years. The closure of that abattoir put even more strain on processing, negatively impacting processing wait times for beef farmers in Lanark and Frontenac counties. The closure has had negative economic impacts on neighbouring businesses and restaurants that have relied on products from the abattoir.
    The petitioners are therefore calling on the Government of Canada to explore all options to ensure that the abattoir located at Joyceville Institution is reopened to address the issues noted above.

Democratic Institutions  

    Mr. Speaker, today I rise to present two petitions.
    I made a commitment to my constituents in Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon that I would present petitions even when I do not agree with them. This is clearly the case with the first one.
    It states that whereas with current polling showing only one in five Canadians—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I understand where the members were going with their points of order. I was going to remind the member at the end of his statement that all members, when presenting petitions, should not indicate whether they are in favour or against a petition but just present the petition.

  (1625)  

    Mr. Speaker, that is duly noted.
    The petition states that, with current polling showing only one in five Canadians support the monarchy, Canadians no longer support the monarchy and are wishing to abolish the monarchy. It states that Canadians are ready to elect our own head of state and recommends the new office be termed “Chancellor of Canada”. It also states that Canadians would save on paying for residences in every province and territory, as we have lieutenant governors that taxpayers pay for, that all treaties with our indigenous people would be automatically transferred to this new office, and that they would seek to have the new office act as a proper check and balance and not just a rubber stamp.
    The petitioners ask that our provinces and territories work within a co-operative, open and fair process to prevent the provinces from hijacking it. In short, the petitioners are calling for the abolition of the Canadian monarchy.

Natural Health Products  

    Mr. Speaker, whereas, last spring, this government made legislative changes to allow Health Canada to regulate natural health supplements, the same as therapeutic synthetic drugs, which will mean substantial new fees on the import, manufacturing and sale of things like vitamins, protein powders and even fluoride-free toothpastes, constituents in my riding who rely on natural health products daily are concerned with these changes and what will result from these products being removed from Canadian store shelves. They are calling on the government to stop these changes and to work with the industry on issues such as labelling and fees. They ask the government to save our supplements.

Postgraduate Work Permits  

    Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to present this petition today on behalf of 24,349 signatories. This petition addresses a request for an extension of the postgraduate work permit. The rationale given is that public policy has recently given 18-month extensions. Based off of that, these petitioners request that the three-year postgraduate work permit time be turned into five years and that the one-year postgraduate work permit time be extended to two years. The reasoning for that is that many students find that it takes some time to find a job in their sector and to make sure that they get the skills they need.
    We have shortages of workers in the trades and a lot of trades programs require four years of experience in order to get licensed. Also, for nurses participating in one-year certification programs, we know that there is a shortage of nurses in our country. Therefore, providing them ample opportunities to work and serve Canadians would do Canadians well.

Aquaculture  

    Mr. Speaker, it is so tempting to tell the story of the time the hon. member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley managed to dump a dead salmon on Brian Mulroney's desk, but I have to skip over that.
    My petition is about salmon and the importance of protecting wild salmon. The petitioners are calling on the government to institute all 75 recommendations of the Cohen inquiry into salmon aquaculture and to move to recognize the threat to wild salmon represented by the climate crisis and warming waters, which are threatening the sustainability of Fraser River sockeye.
    On behalf of petitioners in Saanich—Gulf Islands, I am honoured to present this petition.

Foreign Affairs  

    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise and present a petition that notes that, whereas the petitioners are Mennonites, Anabaptists and other peace-seeking Christians whose shared values compel them to follow Jesus Christ's model of active peacemaking, they were shocked and horrified by Hamas's brutal attack against Israeli civilians on October 7 and whereas they are heartbroken and horrified by Israel's continuing attacks on Palestinian civilians that have resulted in tens of thousands of deaths, including thousands of children, the petitioners, Mennonites, Anabaptists and Christian citizens or residents of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to, one, immediately help broker a substantial, permanent, sustained ceasefire; two, help negotiate the release of all hostages; three, halt arms sales to Israel and work with partners to end illegal arms transfers to Hamas; and, four, advocate for diplomacy and a political solution that ends the occupation of Palestine and builds towards dignity for all Israelis and Palestinians.

  (1630)  

Questions on the Order Paper

    Mr. Speaker, the following questions will be answered today: Questions Nos. 2202, 2203, 2205, 2217, 2218, 2220, 2223, 2230, 2236, 2237, 2243, 2245, 2247 and 2250.

[Text]

Question No. 2202—
Ms. Jenny Kwan:
    With regard to federal spending on housing, between February 1, 2015, and November 1, 2015: (a) did the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) reduce federal funding for any housing initiatives during this period, and, if so, how much funding was cut under each initiative; (b) did CMHC executives receive any bonus compensation, and, if so, what is the average and median bonus compensation received; (c) did CMHC’s total operational expenses increase or decrease during this period; (d) were there any changes to CMHC’s risk management policies or risk appetite framework during this period, and, if so, what were the changes and did they contribute to an increase in processing time for approval of housing projects and, if so, what was the average and median length of the additional delays; (e) how many federal housing funding announcements were made by the minister responsible for housing during this period; (f) how much housing funding was announced by the minister responsible for housing during this period; and (g) how many new units of non-profit housing, social housing, and co-op housing were completed during this period?
Mr. Chris Bittle (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to federal spending on housing, between February 1, 2015, and November 1, 2015,with respect to part (a) of the question, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, or CMHC, did not reduce federal funding for any housing initiatives between February 1, 2015 and November 1, 2015.
    With respect to part (b), CMHC had a different system for tracking bonus compensation prior to 2016. CMHC undertook an extensive preliminary search in order to determine the amount of information that would fall within the scope of the question and the amount of time that would be required to prepare a comprehensive response. The information requested is not systematically tracked in a centralized database. It was concluded that producing and validating a comprehensive response to this question would require a manual collection of information that is not possible in the time allotted and could lead to the disclosure of incomplete and misleading information.
    With respect to part (c), CMHC total operating expenses, defined as what CMHC’s classified as operating expenses in the annual report, between February 1, 2015 and November 1, 2015increased as compared to the same period in 2014.
    With respect to part (d), there were no changes to CMHC’s risk management policies or risk appetite framework between February 1, 2015 and November 1, 2015.
    With respect to parts (e) and (f), the Minister responsible for housing did not make any funding announcements between February 1, 2015 and November 1, 2015. However, please note that other members of Parliament made funding announcements during this period.
    With respect to part (g) CMHC had a different system for tracking new units prior to 2016. CMHC undertook an extensive preliminary search in order to determine the amount of information that would fall within the scope of the question and the amount of time that would be required to prepare a comprehensive response. The information requested is not systematically tracked in a centralized database. It was concluded that producing and validating a comprehensive response to this question would require a manual collection of information that is not possible in the time allotted and could lead to the disclosure of incomplete and misleading information.
Question No. 2203—
Mr. Brian Masse:
    With regard to the Fall Economic Statement (FES) 2023 and the reference to right-to-repair on page 37: (a) will the amendment to the Competition Act include the right to repair of automotive vehicles; (b) what is the breakdown of all “equipment,” as referenced in the FES, that will be included in the changes to the Competition Act; (c) what other considerations are not included in these proposed changes; (d) which organizations, interest groups and businesses were consulted during the process; and (e) does the government intend to make further changes to the Competition Act to include future considerations left out of this current plan?
Hon. François-Philippe Champagne (Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, in response to parts (a) and (b) of the question, the Government introduced the legislative changes referred to in page 37 of the Fall Economic Statement through Bill C-59, the Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2023. The relevant amendments to the Competition Act can be found in clause 244. They broaden the existing “refusal to deal” provision in section 75 of the Act to include refusal to provide means of diagnosis or repair, defined as “diagnostic and repair information, technical updates, diagnostic software or tools and any related documentation and service parts.” The provision is industry-neutral, and can apply in any sector where the criteria set out in section 75 are met.
    In response to (c), given the limits of antitrust legislation and federal jurisdiction, the changes to the Competition Act remain rooted in the question of harm to marketplace competition, and represent only one aspect of ongoing government efforts to address the question of repair.
    With regard to (d), the proposed reforms were informed by the results of the Consultation on the Future of Competition Policy in Canada. This public consultation ran from November 2022 to March 2023 and garnered more than 130 submissions from identified stakeholders. Issues surrounding repairs were primarily raised by members of the automotive and farm equipment sectors, as well as environmental groups. The consultation responses, as well as a What We Heard report, are publicly available on the Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Canada website at: https://ised-isde.canada.ca/site/strategic-policy-sector/en/marketplace-framework-policy/competition-policy/consultation-future-competition-policy-canada.
    As for part (e), the introduction of Bill C-59, together with complementary reforms to the Competition Act enacted through Bills C-19, the Budget Implementation Act, 2022, No. 1, and C-56, the Affordable Housing and Groceries Act, represent the most comprehensive update to the Act since the law’s inception. At this point the Government has not announced an intention to modify the Act beyond these initiatives.
Question No. 2205—
Mr. Brian Masse:
    With regard to the repayment to the city of Windsor for the Ambassador Bridge blockade in February 2022: (a) will the government be providing the outstanding expenses of almost $1 million in reimbursement to the city of Windsor as requested for outstanding legal fees and foregone transit revenue; (b) does the federal government believe this portion of the funds should be recuperated by the province of Ontario, and, if so, what steps has the federal government taken to address this outstanding amount with the government of Ontario; and (c) what are the details of the documentation and reasoning of the federal government's decision to not provide the remaining amount to the city of Windsor?
Ms. Jennifer O’Connell (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety, Democratic Institutions and Intergovernmental Affairs (Cybersecurity), Lib.):
    Mr Speaker, in response to part (a), there are no plans to issue additional reimbursements to the City of Windsor beyond the eligible expenses totaling $6,094,915 provided via an ex gratia payment issued in 2023.
    With respect to part (b), the Government of Canada does not have a view regarding financial issues between the Province and Ontario municipalities in this regard.
    With regard to part (c), Public Safety Canada officials reviewed the City of Windsor’s claimed expenses against the Nation's Capital Extraordinary Policing Costs Program terms and conditions, the details of which can be found on the website at , and concluded that most would be eligible for reimbursement. This Program’s Terms and Conditions were applied equally to municipalities to determine eligible expenses. In the case of Windsor all expenses were deemed eligible save for the lost Windsor Transit revenues which were ineligible.
    The only exception pertained to $1,780,983.00 in legal fees and legal support incurred by Windsor for Ambassador Bridge blockage-related injunctions and for obtaining legal support in preparation for the Emergencies Act Commission of Inquiry. Legal expenses are out of the program’s terms and conditions scope, however and exceptionally, partial reimbursement,in other words, a 50/50 split between the municipality and the federal government, was made due to their extraordinary and unforeseen nature. This formula was applied to other municipalities as well.
Question No. 2217—
Mrs. Stephanie Kusie:
    With regard to expenditures in relation to the Canadian delegation to Davos, Switzerland, in January 2024 for the World Economic Forum, and based on invoices, contracts, or receipts received to date: (a) what is the total of all such expenditures; (b) what are the details for each expenditure, including the (i) vendor, (ii) amount, (iii) description of the goods or services provided, (iv) file number, (v) date; (c) who were the delegation members; and (d) if known, which delegation member incurred each of the expenditures in (b)?
Hon. Chrystia Freeland (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, under the Access to Information Act, the travel expenses incurred will be published on Open Canada at https://search.open.canada.ca/travel/ within 30 days after the end of the month in which these expenses were reimbursed.
Question No. 2218—
Ms. Michelle Ferreri:
    With regard to the Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care system: what is the amount per child that the government provides to each province or territory for each child enrolled in the program?
Mrs. Élisabeth Brière (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada is investing over $27 billion over five years to build a Canada-wide early learning and child care system, ensuring all families have access to high-quality, affordable, flexible, and inclusive regulated early learning and child care no matter where they live.
    Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreements have been signed with all provinces and territories (PTs), including an asymmetrical agreement with Quebec, to reduce fees for regulated child care to an average of $10-a-day across Canada by March 2026.
    The terms and conditions under which the federal government transfers funding to provinces and territories is outlined in the Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreements. Each province or territory is allocated base funding of $2 million, and the remainder of each province and territory’s funding is calculated using the formula F x K/L, where F is the annual total funding amount transferred to provinces and territories for the fiscal year minus the base funding from all provinces and territories; K is the total population of children aged 0 to 12 in [province/territory] on July 1 of that fiscal year, as determined using population estimates from Statistics Canada; and L is the total population of children aged 0 to 12 on July 1 of that fiscal year, as determined using population estimates from Statistics Canada.
    Each Agreement outlines the province or territory’s projected share of total notional financial provisions for each fiscal year from 2021-2022 to 2025-2026, subject to Parliamentary appropriations.
    Under the Constitution Act, 1867, provinces and territories have primary responsibility for matters pertaining to education, including the design and delivery of early learning and child care programs and services. Each province and territory has its own system governed by legislative and regulatory frameworks, including varying licensing standards. To this end, any requirements a province and territory may put in place regarding the provision of funding to operators is at their discretion, provided these requirements meet the terms and conditions outlined in the Canada-wide Agreements. As such, the Government of Canada is not in a position to provide information regarding the dollar amount per child enrolled in the system, as each province and territory would have their own respective mechanisms to allocate the funding.
Question No. 2220—
Mr. Jeremy Patzer:
    With regard to the Regulations Amending Certain Regulations Made Under the Canada Labour Code (Menstrual Products): SOR/2023-78: (a) what was the total amount spent by the government on consultations and consultants related to the development and the implementation of the new regulations; and (b) what are the details of all contracts related to the consultations or consultants in (a), including, for each, the (i) date of the contract, (ii) vendor, (iii) amount or value, (iv) description of the goods or services provided, (v) manner in which the contract was awarded (i.e. sole-sourced, competitive bid)?
Mr. Terry Sheehan (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Labour and Seniors, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, in response to part (a) of the question, all consultations related to the development and the implementation of the new regulations were conducted virtually and in-house. This resulted in zero costs incurred. The only related costs were to publish the Notice of Intent (NOI), namely $1,542 on May 4, 2019, and to pre-publish the Regulations in the Canada Gazette, Part I, namely $17,779 on October 15, 2022.
    With respect to part (b), no contracts were awarded related to the development and the implementation of the new regulations.
Question No. 2223—
Mr. Eric Melillo:
    With regard to the First Nations and Inuit Policing Program, since November 4, 2015: (a) how many Self-administered Police Service Agreements have been (i) signed, (ii) renewed, (iii) not renewed; and (b) of the agreements in (a)(iii), what is the (i) police service name, (ii) date the agreement expired, (iii) reason the agreement was not renewed?
Ms. Jennifer O’Connell (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety, Democratic Institutions and Intergovernmental Affairs (Cybersecurity), Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, there are 36 Self-administered Police Service Agreements supported by the First Nations and Inuit Policing Program. These agreements vary in duration given that each self-administered police service has the discretion to negotiate the term of the agreement.
    Since November 4, 2015, of the 36 signed agreements, all agreements have been renewed or extended. Notably, 3 of the 36 agreements were amended in 2023 in the context of an ongoing Canadian Human Rights Tribunal complaint brought forward by the United Chiefs and Councils of Manitoulin Anishnaabe Police, the Anishinabek Police Service, and the Treaty Three Police Service. These services chose not to renew their respective funding agreements for 2023-2024 and each agreement will expire on March 31, 2024.
Question No. 2230—
Mrs. Tracy Gray:
    With regard to the Fall Economic Statement 2023 projecting that the unemployment rate is expected to rise to 6.5% in the second quarter of 2023: (a) what analysis was utilized to calculate this projection; (b) how does the projection’s analysis apply sector by sector; and (c) how does the projection’s analysis apply province by province?
Hon. Chrystia Freeland (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, the economic outlook presented in the 2023 fall economic statement, or FES, released on November 21, 2023, is based on the Department of Finance survey of private sector economists conducted in early September 2023. The average of private sector forecasts has been used as the basis for economic and fiscal planning since 1994, helping to ensure objectivity and transparency and introducing an element of independence into the government’s economic and fiscal forecast. See page 7 in the “Economic and Fiscal Overview” section of the FES 2023, at https://www.budget.canada.ca/fes-eea/2023/report-rapport/FES-EEA-2023-en.pdf.
    In the survey, private sector economists are asked to provide forecasts for selected economic indicators, including the unemployment rate for Canada. The survey results do not provide detailed projections at the sectoral level or at the provincial level.
Question No. 2236—
Mr. Jake Stewart:
    With regard to “the Barn” on the grounds of Rideau Hall: (a) what is the square footage of The Barn storage facility; (b) can members of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts visit the new storage facility for a tour, and, if not, why not; (c) is the new storage facility appraised, and, if so, what is it’s appraised value; (d) is the new storage facility insured, and, if so, what is the value of the insurance policy; (e) does the new storage facility have a backup generator, and, if so, how is the backup generator powered (e.g. gas, diesel, propane); (f) what equipment is stored in the new facility; (g) does the new storage facility include a kitchen and break room for staff; and (h) was the approximately $600,000 that was saved by reprofiling the Barn project returned to the government, and, if so, (i) what amount was transferred back to the government, (ii) on what date did the transfer occur?
Mr. Charles Sousa (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, in response to part (a) of the question, the size of the service, maintenance and storage facility totals 9,257 gross square feet, or 860 gross square metres.
    In response to part (b) of the question, the service, maintenance and storage facility is not suited for tours, given that it serves as the central working area for the operation and maintenance of the Rideau Hall site and grounds, as well as the five other official residence properties in the national capital region. A tour could be arranged for the members of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, taking into account the operational nature of this facility.
    With respect to part (c) of the question, the service, maintenance and storage facility has not been appraised.
    In answer to part (d) of the question, the NCC self-insures all buildings that it owns and occupies.
    In response to part (e) of the question, the service, maintenance and storage facility does not have a backup generator.
    Regarding part (f) of the question, the service, maintenance and storage facility’s indoor parking accommodates various types of vehicles, such as utility vehicles and riding mowers. In the winter, one bay is dedicated to the storage and maintenance of equipment required for upkeep of the public skating rink. The exterior work zone serves as a parking area for larger tractors, trailers and an on-road fleet. Stored in a designated space within the facility are manual and power tools, landscape equipment, hardware, geotextiles and fertilizers. The facility also serves as longer-term storage for other kinds of equipment, including tires, form work for heritage building components, and seasonal and event equipment.
    In response to part (g) of the question, the service, maintenance and storage facility does not have a kitchen. There is space made available for staff breaks and meals within the open space.
    In response to part (h) of the question, as a Crown corporation, every year, the NCC develops a corporate plan that includes its operating and capital budgets. This plan is approved by the board of directors and submitted to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement Canada and the Treasury Board for approval. Project delivery at the NCC is governed by the process for project management, which is modelled after Treasury Board’s “Directive on the Management of Projects and Programmes”. As part of this process, the NCC leverages tools such as the Treasury Board’s project complexity and risk assessment tool to evaluate project risks and inform contingencies. When there are cost variations on a project-by-project basis, funding is reallocated in a responsible manner between projects. This is done in accordance with the budgetary envelope detailed in the corporate plan and approved by Treasury Board. At this point in time, any projects exceeding $5 million require approval from the board of directors.
Question No. 2237—
Mr. Rick Perkins:
    With regard to audits conducted by or on behalf of the Department of Industry of Crown corporations and government agencies, since January 1, 2016: what are the details of each audit, including the (i) date it first commenced, (ii) date it was completed, (iii) cost of the total audit, (iv) name of the agency or Crown corporation subject to the audit, (v) reason for the audit, (vi) findings?
Hon. François-Philippe Champagne (Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, a search was conducted in Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada’s, or ISED’s, departmental financial coding system with regard to audits conducted by or on behalf of the Department of Industry of Crown corporations and government agencies since January 1, 2016. ISED has not conducted any audits of Crown corporations or government agencies since January 1, 2016.
    Crown corporations, as arm’s-length organizations, are not subject to the Treasury Board “Policy on Internal Audit”. The Financial Administration Act, or FAA, requires that all parent Crown corporations have an audit committee. The FAA further stipulates that the Auditor General of Canada is appointed the external auditor, or joint auditor, of each Crown corporation, unless otherwise dictated in the corporation’s legislation or the Auditor General waives the appointment. The Treasury Board Secretariat’s “Guidelines for Audit Committees in Crown Corporations and Other Public Enterprises” has guidelines on exemptions from internal audit.
    Reports to Parliament prepared by the Office of the Auditor General are available at the following address: https://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/parl_lpt_e_1706.html.
Question No. 2243—
Ms. Niki Ashton:
    With regard to emergency preparedness infrastructure shipped to First Nation reserves by Indigenous Services Canada, and broken down by province or territory and fiscal year since 2015-16: (a) how many reports of emergency preparedness infrastructure in need of repair or replacement were reported to the department; (b) how many incidents of replacement materials becoming damaged in-transit were reported to the department; (c) how many incidents of replacement materials becoming damaged due to a lack of storage capacity were reported to the department; and (d) of the incidents in (b) and (c), how many projects were (i) delayed, (ii) cancelled by the department?
Ms. Jenica Atwin (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indigenous Services, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, Indigenous Services Canada’s emergency management assistance and capital facilities and maintenance programs provide funding to on-reserve and other eligible first nations communities. First nations communities are responsible for assessing their infrastructure and emergency management services needs and applying for funding.
    First nations own, operate and procure their infrastructure. Neither ISC’s emergency management assistance program nor the capital facilities and maintenance program ships infrastructure or equipment to first nations. This responsibility lies with the communities that have procured services from third party providers.
Question No. 2245—
Ms. Niki Ashton:
    With regard to the Canada Infrastructure Bank’s (CIB) policies concerning funding for the Indigenous Community Infrastructure Initiative (ICII) and Indigenous Equity Initiative (IEI), broken down by fiscal year since the inception of the CIB: (a) what is the total amount of funding delivered through the (i) ICII, (ii) IEI; (b) of the funding in (a), how much funding has been delivered and what is the total amount of funding in (a) delivered to (i) rights-holding Indigenous governments, (ii) non-profit or not-for-profit organizations representing the interests of Indigenous communities, (iii) for-profit companies or organizations whose leadership comes from First Nations, Inuit, or Métis communities, (iv) for-profit companies or organizations whose leadership does not come from a First Nation, Inuit, or Métis community; and (c) how much funding has been delivered through each of the CIB’s priority industry sectors?
Mr. Chris Bittle (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to the policies of the Canada Infrastructure Bank, or CIB, concerning funding for the indigenous community infrastructure initiative, or ICII, and the indigenous equity initiative, or IEI, broken down by fiscal year since the inception of the CIB, please refer to the attached annex.
    Please note that the CIB made the following interpretations. With respect to parts (a) and (b) of the question, regarding funding delivered, the CIB interpreted “funding delivered” to represent the total capital allocated to projects that have achieved financial close as of February 15, 2024. As of February 15, 2024, the CIB has committed a total of $312.2 million towards 11 projects, benefitting 59 indigenous communities under the ICII and IEI, which will be deployed over a period closely resembling each respective project’s construction timeline. The CIB’s long-term target is to invest at least $1 billion in projects that benefit indigenous communities in Canada.
    On February 15, 2024, the CIB announced an investment commitment of $138.2 million to support the development of Atlantic Canada’s largest planned energy storage project by Nova Scotia Power Inc., or NS Power, in collaboration with Wskijinu'k Mtmo'taqnuow Agency Ltd., or WMA, an economic limited partnership owned by 13 Mi’kmaw communities. Under the terms of these arrangements, NS Power, Nova Scotia’s main electricity provider, will receive a loan of up to $120.2 million, while WMA will receive an equity loan of up to $18 million. The project, which is subject to regulatory approval, involves the construction and deployment of energy storage facilities in the communities of White Rock, Bridgewater and Waverley. CIB’s equity loan to WMA is its first under the IEI. The IEI fills a market gap by providing indigenous communities access to capital and opportunities to invest in infrastructure projects across Canada.
    To date, $77.4 million of the capital committed to ICII and IEI has been deployed, and $234.8 million remains available for use by the project partners.
    In addition to the direct ICII and IEI loans to date, the CIB is supporting indigenous infrastructure through project acceleration funding as well as CIB involvement in projects that help to enable indigenous participation in those projects.
    With respect to part (c) of the question,the CIB has interpreted the question to be in reference to amounts previously outlined in questions (a) and (b), and not the entire CIB portfolio. Information related to total funding delivered through each of the CIB’s priority industry sectors for the entire portfolio can be found directly on the CIB website, https://cib-bic.ca/en/about-us/reports-and-transparency/, as part of quarterly and annual financial reporting.
Question No. 2247—
Mr. Michael Kram:
    With regard to the Sidney Island deer cull: (a) what are the details of all discussions and meetings regarding the legality of hunting (i) by helicopter, (ii) at night, (iii) using silencers, (iv) using .223 caliber bullets, (v) using high capacity magazines; (b) what departments, agencies, entities, offices and individuals, including those from First Nations, provincial and municipal governments, entities and non-governmental organizations, were involved, including the company hired to eradicate the deer; and (c) what supporting documents exist regarding this cull, including, but not limited to, emails, texts, briefing notes, memos and reports, and what are the details of such documents?
Hon. Steven Guilbeault (Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, with respect to part (a) of the question, the Sidney Island Ecological Restoration Project is a multi-jurisdictional restoration project that aims to facilitate recovery of forest ecosystems that have been significantly damaged due to over-browsing by introduced European fallow deer. The project has been collaboratively built from the ground up with project partners co-developing the project’s vision and goals, conducting thorough expert analysis by specialists and animal welfare organizations to implement the project safely, and then co-designing restoration actions.
    All necessary statutory and regulatory authorities were granted for this operation, including permits granted by Parks Canada, Transport Canada, the Province of British Columbia and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). Access to private property to carry out the operation was provided by the Sidney Island Strata Corporation and the Islands Trust Conservancy.
    Specifically, with respect to part (i), operations by helicopter, a special flight operations certificate, or SFOC, to operate at low elevations was not required for operations above Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, as this work was done for the purpose of the National Park Reserve administration and was thus permissible under Canadian aviation regulations 602.15(1)). An SFOC was issued to Kestrel Helicopters by Transport Canada for the portions outside of Parks Canada boundaries and jurisdiction.
    Two aviation security exemptions were issued by Transport Canada to include Kestrel Helicopters Ltd. in the existing exemptions for contract companies, which exempts these companies from the application of section 526 and subsection 527(1) of the Canadian aviation security regulations, or CASR, 2012, and to include Wildlife Capture Management Ltd., Kiwi Field Crew Ltd. and Coastal Conservation Ltd. in the existing exemptions for air carriers, which exempts these companies from the requirements set out in subsections 78(1), 78(2), 79(1), 79(2) and 80(1) of the CASR 2012.
    With respect to flying at night, permits were issued to three professional marksmen by the Province of British Columbia, granting exemption from the following regulations under the Wildlife Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 488: 3(1)(b)(i) hunting/killing wildlife with a firearm or bow during prohibited hours, and 3(1)(b)(ii) hunting/killing wildlife with the use of or aid of a light or illuminating device.
    With respect to part (iii), using silencers, and part (v), using high-capacity magazines, permission to use the suppressors and 10-round magazines was granted to the contractor under their business firearms licence, issued by the chief firearms officer of the RCMP.
    With respect to part (iv), using .223 caliber bullets, the use of .233 caliber bullets to hunt deer is legal in British Columbia, as per section 17(1)(e)(i) of the British Columbia hunting regulation. Further, the federal regulations prescribing certain firearms and other weapons, components and parts of weapons, accessories, cartridge magazines, ammunition and projectiles as prohibited or restricted, SOR/98-462, do not list .223 bullets as prohibited ammunition.
    In response to part (b) of the question, project partners include W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership Council Pauquachin First Nation, Tsawout First Nation, the Province of British Columbia, the Sidney Island community, and Islands Trust Conservancy. This project has received additional participation and support from Cowichan Tribes and Penelakut Tribe.
    The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is not a project partner but was consulted on the project's methodology, provided feedback on the project’s operational plan and attended several days of the on-site operation as an observer.
    Members of the public have had the opportunity to provide input at various stages of the project: In spring 2021, project partners consulted local indigenous and community members on the project proposal, and in July and August 2023, the public had the opportunity to review the detailed impact assessment and provide feedback.
    A primary contractor was tasked with the development and implementation of an operational plan for the eradication of invasive European fallow deer from Sidney Island. Public Services and Procurement Canada, on behalf of Parks Canada, awarded this contract to the successful bidder, Coastal Conservation Inc., a Canadian company, on March 29, 2022. The request for proposals, including the requirements for developing a plan for the removal of fallow deer and an option to conduct eradication activities, was posted publicly and available to domestic and international firms.
    Parks Canada has also consulted Transport Canada, Public Safety Canada, the Department of Justice, the First Nations Health Authority, Island Health, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Capital Regional District.
    In response to part (c) of the question, Parks Canada has released documents related to this project through access to information requests. Copies of the documents can be requested online at https://open.canada.ca/en/search/ati.
Question No. 2250—
Mr. Doug Shipley:
    With regard to Correctional Service Canada’s role in distributing the Net Aggregate Damages Award payments from the Federal Administrative Segregation Class Action Settlement: (a) how many federally incarcerated inmates received payments from the Federal Administrative Segregation Class Action Settlement, in total and broken down by correctional institution; (b) what is the breakdown of (a) by how many are (i) classified as Dangerous Offenders, (ii) classified as High-Profile Offenders, (iii) convicted of multiple murders; and (c) what was the average settlement payment received by a federally incarcerated inmate, overall and broken down by institution and by each subsection in (b)?
Ms. Jennifer O’Connell (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety, Democratic Institutions and Intergovernmental Affairs (Cybersecurity), Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, CSC is committed to upholding its legal obligations. The federal administrative segregation class actions challenged the previous use of administrative segregation in federal correctional institutions, which was abolished in 2019. The superior courts of Ontario and Quebec awarded class members aggregate damages and the ability to seek individual additional compensation.
    The court-appointed claims administrator, EPIQ Canada Inc., is responsible for managing and tracking the distribution of the net aggregate damages award payments to eligible claimants. The $28-million aggregate damages award was divided equally among 5,311 eligible class members. The equal share has been calculated at $5,469.85. Payment distribution by the claims administrator is ongoing.
    With regard to information about the status of the offender as well as the institutional breakdown, CSC undertook an extensive preliminary search in order to determine the amount of information that would fall within the scope of the question and the amount of time that would be required to prepare a comprehensive response. The level of detail of the information requested is not systematically tracked in a centralized database. CSC concluded that producing and validating a comprehensive response to this question would require a manual collection of information that is not possible in the time allotted and could lead to the disclosure of incomplete and misleading information.

[English]

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns

    Mr. Speaker, if the government's responses to Questions Nos. 2204, 2206 to 2216, 2219, 2221, 2222, 2224 to 2229, 2231 to 2235, 2238 to 2242, 2244, 2246, 2248, 2249 and 2251 to 2253 could be made orders for returns, these returns would be tabled in an electronic format immediately.
    Is that agreed?
     Some hon. members: Agreed.

[Text]

Question No. 2204—
Mr. Don Davies:
    With regard to the federal tobacco control strategy for fiscal year 2022-23: (a) what was the budget for the strategy; (b) how much of that budget was spent within each fiscal year; (c) how much was spent on each component of the strategy, specifically (i) mass media, (ii) policy and regulatory development, (iii) research, (iv) surveillance, (v) enforcement, (vi) grants and contributions, (vii) programs for Indigenous Canadians; (d) were any other activities not listed in (c) funded by the strategy, and, if so, how much was spent on each of these activities; and (e) was part of the budget reallocated for purposes other than tobacco control, and, if so, how much was reallocated?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2206—
Mr. Todd Doherty:
    With regard to Statistics Canada's phone surveys on mental health service accessibility and effectiveness: (a) how many people have been contacted across the country from 2016 to 2023, broken down by year and by province or territory; (b) does Statistics Canada explain the nature of the survey before participants are asked to continue; (c) does Statistics Canada obtain informed consent from participants to participate in the survey before questions are asked; (d) does Statistics Canada provide a list of services available if questions traumatize participants; (e) do those administering the survey, including those who make the phone calls, have any mental health awareness training, and, if so, what training is provided; (f) what follow-up measures, if any, are taken when a survey participant exhibits signs of distress; and (g) if no follow-up measures are taken in (f), why not?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2207—
Ms. Kirsty Duncan:
    With regard to athlete abuse, discrimination, and harassment in sport in Canada: (a) what are all the groups of athletes under federal jurisdiction; (b) are athletes who are carded under the Athlete Assistance Program considered protected under federal jurisdiction; (c) how many athletes are currently carded, broken down by sport; (d) how many athletes have been carded, broken down by sport since any form of carding began; (e) has the government ever undertaken a large-scale survey of athletes under its jurisdiction or protection, while protecting their privacy, on athlete abuse, discrimination, and harassment; (f) has the government ever taken such a survey of current carded athletes, while protecting their privacy; (g) has the government ever undertaken such a survey of past carded athletes, while protecting their privacy; (h) if the answer to (e), (f) or (g) is affirmative, what are the details of the survey, including (i) the dates, (ii) the questions, (iii) the results, (iv) any changes to protecting athlete health, safety, and wellbeing as a result; (i) does each national sport organization (NSO) have a formal policy to address (i) abuse, (ii) discrimination, (iii) harassment; (j) which NSOs do not have a policy; (k) how often does Sport Canada review such policies as in (i)(i) to (i)(iii), and has any policy ever been required to be strengthened, and, if so, how and when; (l) does each NSO have an independent third party to address abuse, discrimination, and harassment; (m) which NSOs do not have an independent third party; (n) what are the minimum requirements for a third party; (o) what oversight, if any, does Sport Canada provide; (p) broken down by NSO, for each one, is annual mandatory training on (i) abuse, (ii) discrimination, (iii) harassment, taking place; (q) broken down by NSO, for each one, how does Sport Canada track what annual training is taking place; (r) broken down by NSO, for each one, how many athletes, coaches, trainers, medical personnel, judges or referees, parents, and volunteers have gone through such training, broken down by year since April 2020; (s) how many incidents of abuse, discrimination, and harassment, broken down by sport, have been reported to Sport Canada, broken down by year since June 2018; (t) of the incidents in (s), how many of them (i) involved a team, (ii) involved a coach or trainer, (iii) involved medical personnel, (iv) involved a judge or referee, (v) involved another athlete, (vi) involved anyone else in a position of power, (vii) were considered sufficiently serious to withhold funding; (u) in the context of withholding funding, how is “sufficiently serious” defined; (v) how many cases were transferred to the Office of the Sport Integrity Commissioner (OSIC); (w) what is the current backlog of cases broken down by sport at the OSIC; (x) how many cases at the OSIC have been effectively resolved; (y) what is, in detail, the current reporting mechanism for reporting an incident of abuse, discrimination or harassment to the appropriate channels at the federal level, and what are all the appropriate channels; (z) since June 2018, broken down by sport, how many coaches, trainers, medical personnel, judges or referees, or any other person in a position of power have been (i) suspended, (ii) removed from the sport system, (iii) referred to the police; (aa) what mechanisms have been put in place to ensure that anyone (i) suspended, (ii) removed, (iii) criminally convicted, cannot work, volunteer or cross jurisdictions to work or volunteer with athletes or children in Canada and internationally; (bb) what work, if any, has been undertaken on any form of registry of offenders to protect athletes and children, and what were the steps taken; (cc) since 2018, how much funding has the government invested in safe sport, and, for each, what were the dates and investments; (dd) how much funding has each NSO invested in safe sport, and what areas of safe sport has each NSO invested in; (ee) are U Sports athletes protected under federal jurisdiction; (ff) what governments have jurisdiction over U Sports; (gg) who has jurisdiction if an athlete is both a university athlete and a carded athlete; (hh) are Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association athletes protected under federal jurisdiction; (ii) what governments have jurisdiction over Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association; and (jj) who has jurisdiction if an athlete is both a college athlete and a carded athlete?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2208—
Mr. Tony Baldinelli:
    With regard to the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA), which is administered by Export Development Canada: (a) what is the total number of loans and total capital (i) issued from the CEBA program since it was first launched on April 9, 2020, (ii) that was paid back in full by December 31, 2023, (iii) issued that the government expects or forecasts to be refinanced before March 28, 2024, (iv) that the government expects or forecasts will be repaid in full by March 28, 2024; (b) what is the breakdown of (a) by province and territory; and (c) for each province and territory in (b), what is the breakdown by each sector of the tourism industry, including (i) accommodation, (ii) transportation, (iii) food and beverage services, (iv) recreation and entertainment, (v) travel services?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2209—
Mr. Mike Lake:
    With regard to the government’s response to the Emergency Alert issued at 6:44 p.m. on January 13, 2024, by the Alberta Emergency Management Agency asking Albertans to immediately limit their electricity use to essential needs only: what specific actions, if any, were taken by the government to limit the amount of electricity it was using at federal buildings and facilities in Alberta during this crisis, including, for each building, (i) the name and location of the building, (ii) what action was taken, if any, (iii) what time and date was the action taken?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2210—
Ms. Kirsty Duncan:
    With regard to the Canadian sport helpline and the abuse-free sport helpline: (a) in what month and year was the service first launched; (b) what are the details of the program’s financing, including (i) the cost to administer the program annually, (ii) whether there have been any changes to the finances since its inception, (iii) the dates of any such changes; (c) what is the size of the current team that leads the program, and what are the details of the team that leads the program including the name of all positions of the current team; (d) how many days a week is the service available, and (i) what are the specific times when the service is available for each day, (ii) how many operators are available during these times, (iii) what training do each of the operators have; (e) how is the existence of the service communicated to athletes, and who is responsible for doing so; (f) broken down annually and by sport, while protecting privacy of all callers, how many calls have been logged yearly since 2019; (g) broken down annually and by sport, while protecting the privacy of all callers, how many calls provided advice on (i) a complaints process, (ii) how to seek help from the Office of the Sport Integrity Commissioner, (iii) how to seek help from a national sport organization, (iv) how to seek help from a provincial or territorial sport organization, (v) how to seek help from a lawyer, (vi) how to seek help from the police, (vii) on any other matter, including the full range of issues that athletes, parents, witnesses, and any callers were concerned about; and (h) who has oversight of data from the helpline, and, while protecting privacy of all callers, what analysis, if any, has been undertaken on the data and (i) on what timescales, (ii) have any such analyses been used to inform further action to protect athletes and young people, and, if so, what are the details of each instance?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2211—
Ms. Kirsty Duncan:
    With regard to the Red Deer Declaration signed in 2019: (a) how many federal, provincial and territorial sport ministerial meetings have been held, and, for each meeting, what were the details, including (i) the date, (ii) the agenda, (iii) whether safety and integrity in sport were on the agenda, (iv) what specifically was discussed regarding safety in sport; (b) how many federal, provincial and territorial sport ministerial conference calls have been held, and, for each, what were the details, including (i) the date, (ii) the agenda, (iii) whether safety and integrity in sport were on the agenda, (iv) what specifically was discussed regarding safety in sport in each of the conference calls; (c) what intergovernmental goals have been developed to address abuse, discrimination and harassment in sport in the areas of (i) awareness, (ii) policy, (iii) prevention, (iv) reporting, (v) management, (vi) monitoring; (d) what intergovernmental actions have been taken in the areas of (i) awareness, (ii) policy, (iii) prevention, (iv) reporting, (v) management, (vi) monitoring; (e) what progress has been made on mechanisms to report and monitor incidents of abuse, discrimination, and harassment (i) federally, (ii) by each province and territory; and (f) what outcomes have been achieved as a result of signing the declaration?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2212—
Mr. Larry Maguire:
    With regard to refugee claims made at points of entries at Canadian airports, broken down by year for each of the last five years: (a) what was the number of refugee claims made in total and broken down by airport; (b) what is the breakdown of (a) by country of persecution; (c) what is the breakdown of (a) by country of citizenship; and (d) of the claims in (a) through (c), how many (i) were granted, (ii) were denied, (iii) are still awaiting a decision?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2213—
Mr. Dan Albas:
    With regard to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, broken down by year since 2020: (a) how many newcomers came to Canada; (b) what is the breakdown of (a) by status (i.e. permanent or temporary); (c) what is the breakdown of (a) and (b) by industry and occupation; and (d) what is the breakdown of (c) by how many newcomers are currently working in that industry and occupation versus how many are currently working in a different industry or occupation?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2214—
Mr. Brad Redekopp:
    With regard to the Home Child Care Provider Pilot, Home Support Worker Pilot, and Live-in Caregiver Program, broken down by province or territory and by each program: (a) how many work permits have been processed by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) during each calendar year between 2019 and 2023 inclusively; (b) how many work permits are projected to be processed for 2024; (c) of the permits in (a), how many migrants arrived in Canada to fill jobs; (d) what is the expected duration of the work permit for these migrants in each category; (e) what was the average processing time for each of the in years in (a); (f) what was the average wait time between application processing and arrival time in Canada to begin their employment for each program stream; (g) what is the number of migrants to stay in Canada under a renewed visa in that program; (h) what is the number of migrants to stay in Canada under a different type of visa after their initial visa, and what is the (i) breakdown of those various visas by type, (ii) average length of those various visas; (i) how many and what percentage of migrants who arrived under these programs stayed past the expiry of their initial visa; (j) of those migrants in (i), how many migrants remain in Canada, and of those, how many has IRCC or the Canada Border Services Agency lost track of; and (k) of the migrants who arrived under these programs for each year, how many have gained permanent residency?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2215—
Mr. Brad Redekopp:
    With regard to the Caring for Children Program, Caring for People with High Medical Needs Program, and Interim Pathway for Caregivers, broken down by province or territory, and by program: (a) how many work permits have been processed by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) during each of the calendar years between 2015 and 2020 inclusively; (b) of those permits, how many of those migrants have actually come to Canada to fill jobs; (c) what was the expected duration of the work permit for these migrants in each category; (d) what was the average processing time for each of the years in (a); (e) what was the average wait time between application processing and arrival time in Canada to begin their employment for each program stream; (f) what was the number of migrants to stay in Canada under a renewed visa in that program; (g) of the migrants in (a), what number subsequently stayed in Canada under a different type of visa, in total and broken down by type of visa, and what is the average length of those various visas; (h) how many migrants stayed past the expiry of their initial visa; (i) of the migrants in (h), how many remain in Canada, and of those, how many has IRCC or the Canada Border Services Agency lost track of; and (j) of the migrants who arrived under these programs between 2015 and 2020, how many have gained permanent residency?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2216—
Mr. Gerald Soroka:
    With regard to government advertising promoting or about the climate crisis, since 2016, and broken down by year: (a) what are the total amounts spent on such advertising; (b) what is the breakdown of (a) by type of advertising, or media outlet; and (c) what are the details of all contracts awarded related to the advertising, or the associated advertising campaigns, including any contracts associated with developing the content of any government websites or advertisements, including, for each, the (i) date, (ii) vendor, (iii) amount or value, (iv) description of the goods or services, (v) duration, if applicable?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2219—
Mr. Eric Melillo:
    With regard to the Northern Ontario section of the Community Futures Program: (a) what were the service standards for the program in Northern Ontario in fiscal Year 2020-21, broken down by (i) standard name, (ii) target, (iii) performance, (iv) results, (v) total business volume, (vi) volume meeting target; and (b) if data in (a) is not available, what is the reason for it not being available?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2221—
Mr. Adam Chambers:
    With regard to the Canada Revenue Agency and the Canada Child Benefit (CCB), broken down by year for each of the last five years: (a) what was the total number of overpayments that were (i) assessed, (ii) collected from taxpayers who received overpayments following or due to death of a child; and (b) what is the amount of money represented by the overpayments in (a)(i) and (a)(ii)?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2222—
Mr. Tom Kmiec:
    With regard to the acceptance of government assisted refugees from United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) refugee camps in Uganda: (a) what is the total number of refugees accepted from Uganda since January 1, 2017, broken down by year; (b) what is the breakdown of (a) by ethnicity; (c) what is the breakdown of (a) by country of origin; and (d) what is the breakdown of (a) through (c) by UNHCR camp for (i) Kyaka I, (ii) Kyaka II, (iii) Kyangwali, (iv) Nakivale, (v) Kampala Capital City, (vi) Kiryandongo, (vii) Nyumanzi, (viii) Rhino, (ix) Rwamwanja?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2224—
Mr. Gerald Soroka:
    With regard to Parks Canada and the Sidney Island Deer Cull: (a) what are the total expenditures to date related to the cull, broken down by type of expense; (b) what are the details of all contracts awarded to date related to the cull, including, for each, the (i) vendor, (ii) date, (iii) value or amount, (iv) description of the goods or services, (v) manner in which the contract was awarded (i.e. sole-sourced versus competitive bid); (c) how many deer have been culled to date, in total and broken down by date; (d) what are the future planned dates of the cull; (e) how many more deer will be hunted as part of the cull; (f) what types and models of (i) firearms, (ii) ammunition, were used in the cull; (g) were the firearms and ammunition used obtained domestically or imported, and, if so, from what country; (h) were any of the firearms used classified as restricted or prohibited, and, if so, which ones; (i) did the RCMP or the Minister of Public Safety, Democratic Institutions and Intergovernmental Affairs give an exemption to the hunters to use restricted or prohibited firearms, and, if so, what are the details; (j) did all hunters who participated in the cull possess a valid Possession and Acquisition License, and, if so, what are the details of how these licenses were checked, including who checked them and on what dates; (k) why were Canadian hunters not offered the opportunity to cull the deer; (l) was a financial benefit analysis done regarding how much income would have been generated if Canadian hunters participated in the cull, and, if not, why not; and (m) were any of these deer shot from helicopters, and, if so, was permission received from Transport Canada prior to this occurring?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2225—
Mr. Dan Mazier:
    With regard to the Government of Canada’s delegation to COP28 in Dubai: what were the total expenses incurred by the Government of Canada, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, and Canada's Climate Change Ambassador, for each, broken down by expense, including (i) transportation, (ii) accommodation, (iii) hospitality, (iv) gifts, (v) miscellaneous, (vi) registration and event costs?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2226—
Mr. Dan Mazier:
    With regard to the government’s advertisements of the website canada.ca/climate-crisis: (a) how much has the government (i) spent, (ii) budgeted to spend, on advertisements for the canada.ca/climate-crisis website; (b) what is the breakdown of the advertisement expenses in (a) on (i) social media, further broken down by platform, (ii) television, (iii) print, (iv) radio, (v) online, (vi) all other types of advertising; (c) who did the government pay to produce the advertisements in (a); (d) how much did the government pay each entity in (c) to produce the advertisements; (e) did the government purchase television advertisements for the canada.ca/climate-crisis website during the broadcast of Superbowl LVII; (f) what were the cost of the advertisements in (e), if any; and (g) how many Canadians visited the canada.ca/climate-crisis website broken down by month?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2227—
Ms. Kirsty Duncan:
    With regard to international charters, conferences, consensus statements, declarations, policy, and national reports regarding sport and abuse, discrimination, and harassment: (a) following the UNESCO International Charter of Physical Education and Sport in 1978, and with respect to the statement that “sport practiced by all must be protected against any abuse”, what, if any, (i) actions were taken against abuse in sport, (ii) new requirements were adopted as a result of the Charter with respect to “appropriate qualifications”, “training”, and “further training” for each of those in administration, coaching, teaching, and volunteering, and on which dates between 1978 and 1988; (b) following the UNESCO International Charter of Physical Education and Sport in 1978, and with respect to the statement that “it is crucial that the fight against doping should win the support of national and international authorities”, what, if any, actions did Canada take, and on which dates between 1978 and 1988; (c) following the 1990 release of the Commission of Inquiry into the Use of Drugs and Banned Practices Intended to Increase Athletic Performance and with respect to the recommendation “that individuals and organizations in receipt of government funding meet the ethical standards as well as the performance standards required for funding”, what actions, if any, did Canada take in response to the recommendation for individuals and organizations, and on which dates; (d) following the 1990 release of the Commission of Inquiry into the Use of Drugs and Banned Practices Intended to Increase Athletic Performance, and with respect to the recommendation “that those involved in the health, care, and training of athletes are qualified to be so ethically as well as technically”, what actions, if any, did Canada take regarding ethical qualifications for all those involved in the health, care, and training of athletes, and on which dates; (e) following the 1990 release of the Commission of Inquiry into the Use of Drugs and Banned Practices Intended to Increase Athletic Performance, and with respect to the recommendation that “the measure of success of government funding be linked not to medal count, but to the degree to which it has met the social, educational, and national goals of government for sport”, what actions, if any, did Canada take to (i) disentangle medal count from funding, (ii) tie medal count to funding, and on which dates; (f) following the International Olympic Committee’s adoption of a Consensus Statement on Sexual Harassment and Abuse in Sport in 2007, what actions, if any, has Canada undertaken with respect to (i) developing “policies and procedures for the prevention of sexual harassment and abuse”, (ii) monitoring “the implementation of these policies and procedures”, (iii) evaluating “the impact of these policies in identifying and reducing sexual harassment and abuse”, (iv) developing “an education and training program on sexual harassment and abuse in their sport(s)”, (v) fostering “strong partnerships with parents in the prevention of sexual harassment and abuse”, (vi) promoting and supporting scientific research on these issues, and on which dates; (g) did any representatives of Canada attend the 5th International Conference of Ministers and Senior Officials Responsible for Physical Education and Sport in 2013, and, if so, what were the names of positions of all those who attended; (h) following the 2013 Declaration of Berlin, what actions, if any, has Canada taken with respect to Article 1.4 of the Declaration “recognizing that an inclusive environment free of violence, sexual harassment, racism and other forms of discrimination is fundamental to quality physical education and sport”, and on which dates; (i) following the revised International Charter of Physical Education, Physical Activity and Sport in 2015, what actions, if any, has Canada taken with respect to (i) “safety and management of risk”, (ii) Article 10.1 which states that, “All forms of physical education, physical activity and sport must be protected from abuse”, (iii) any identified harms, (iv) “bullying”, (v) “deprivation of education”, (vi) “discrimination”, (vii) “excessive training of children”, (viii) “homophobia”, (ix) “racism”, (x) “sexual exploitation”, (xi) “violence”, (xii) “potential risks, especially for children, of dangerous or inappropriate training methods and competition, and psychological pressures of any kind”, and on which dates were these actions taken; (j) following the issue of the Policy on Non-Accidental Violence and Abuse in Sport of the International Paralympic Committee in 2016, what actions, if any, were taken by Canada with respect to violations of human rights, including, but not limited to, (i) “bullying and emotional abuse”, (ii) “child exploitation”, (iii) “hazing”, (iv) “neglect”, (v) “physical abuse”, (vi) “sexual abuse and assault”, and on which dates; (k) did Canada attend the Sixth International Conference of Ministers and Senior Officials Responsible for Physical Education and Sport in 2017, and, if so, what were the positions of all those who attended; and (l) following the Kazan Action Plan, what actions, if any, did Canada undertake with respect to (i) “protecting the integrity of sport”, (ii) “III.1 Safeguard athletes, spectators, workers and other groups involved”, (iii) “III.2 Protect children, youth and other vulnerable groups”, and on which dates?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2228—
Mr. Stephen Ellis:
    With regard to the federal carbon tax: (a) how much did the (i) Canadian Army, (ii) Royal Canadian Navy, (iii) Royal Canadian Air Force, (iv) Canadian Coast Guard, pay in carbon tax on the fuel which they purchased in each of the last five years; and (b) what are the projections for how much the (i) Canadian Army, (ii) Royal Canadian Navy, (iii) Royal Canadian Air Force, (iv) Canadian Coast Guard, will pay in carbon tax on the fuel which they will purchase in each of the next five years?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2229—
Mrs. Tracy Gray:
    With regard to the Benefits Delivery Modernization Programme: (a) what was the projected scope, full technology requirements and projected procurement needs presented in the initial budget for the programme in 2017; (b) what is the breakdown of costs for each aspect of (a); (c) what is the projected scope, full technology requirements and projected procurement needs presented in the most recent budget for the programme in 2024; and (d) what is the breakdown of costs for each aspect of (c)?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2231—
Mrs. Tracy Gray:
    With regard to the Canada Digital Adoption Program: (a) how many and which vendors applied to administer the (i) "Grow Your Business", (ii) "Boost Your Business Technology", stream; (b) what metrics and criteria were used by the government when determining which applicants in (a) would become administrators, broken down by stream; (c) what is the dollar value of the contracts provided to Magnet to administer the "Boost Your Business Technology" stream; (d) which vendors were awarded the contracts to administer the "Grow Your Business" stream; (e) what is the dollar value of the contracts provided to each of the vendors in (d); (f) what is the number of students hired, as of January 1, 2024, via the (i) "Grow Your Business", (ii) "Boost Your Business Technology", stream; and (g) what is the number of businesses which have applied, as of January 1, 2024, to the (i) "Grow Your Business", (ii) "Boost Your Business Technology", stream?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2232—
Mr. Brad Redekopp:
    With regard to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA): (a) how many migrants does the CBSA currently believe are in Canada without a valid visa; (b) how many of those individuals in (a) are pending adjudication by the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB); (c) how many of those individuals in (a) have had their case resolved by the IRB but are awaiting judicial review; (d) how many of those individuals in (a) have exhausted all legal avenues including the IRB and judicial review, and of those what is the number of those individuals that (i) are currently detained, (ii) are currently awaiting deportation, (iii) the CBSA lost track of; and (e) of those individuals in (d), how many (i) have been convicted in Canada of a criminal code offence, (ii) have been convicted in their country of origin of an equivalent charge to a criminal code offence, (iii) of those convicted are currently being detained, (iv) are set to be deported in 2024, (v) has the CBSA lost track of?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2233—
Mr. Brad Redekopp:
    With regard to the electoral district of Saskatoon West: what are the details of all the grants, contributions, loans and any other payments from Government of Canada departments, agencies, and Crown corporations, but excluding the Canada Revenue Agency, to all other levels of government within and outside of Canada, First Nations, corporations, non-governmental organizations, and charities for the fiscal years 2015-16 to the current fiscal year inclusively?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2234—
Mr. Brad Vis:
    With regard to the Climate Action Incentive Fund SME Project Stream: (a) of the $218 million of 2019-20 carbon pollution proceeds allocated to the stream, (i) how many businesses applied for funding, (ii) how many businesses were approved, (iii) how much money was awarded to the approved businesses for the duration of the program; (b) how much of the $218 million allocated was not spent; and (c) did the amount in (b) return to general revenue or was returned to businesses, and, if so, how?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2235—
Mr. Brad Vis:
    With regard to the Canada Digital Adoption Program: (a) what is the number of businesses which have applied, as of January 25, 2024, to the (i) Grow Your Business Online stream, (ii) Boost Your Business Technology stream; (b) what is the total number of businesses which have received funding or assistance through the (i) Grow Your Business Online stream, (ii) Boost Your Business Technology stream; (c) what is the number of students hired, from October 5, 2022, to January 25, 2024, via the (i) Grow Your Business Online stream, (ii) Boost Your Business Technology stream, broken down by week since October 5, 2022; and (d) since the start date of March 3, 2022, how much has been paid to Magnet to administer the Boost Your Business Technology stream, in total and broken down by payment?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2238—
Mr. Rick Perkins:
    With regard to private stakeholders consultations held by the Department of Industry, prior to June 1, 2022, that helped inform the drafting of the Artificial Intelligence and Data Act: what are the details of all such meetings, including, for each, the (i) date of occurrence, (ii) name of any meeting attendees, (iii) names of organizations or stakeholder groups in attendance, (iv) topic of discussion?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2239—
Mr. Andrew Scheer:
    With regard to expenditures incurred by the government related to the Prime Minister’s trip to Jamaica which began on or around December 26, 2023: (a) what are the expenditures to date, including those incurred by the Privy Council Office, the RCMP, and any other department or agency that was involved in the trip, including any advance work done to prepare for the trip, in total and broken down by type of expense (e.g. accommodation, fuel, per diems, etc.); (b) what was the total amount of expenditures incurred for accommodations at (i) Prospect Estate and Villas, (ii) other hotels or properties, broken down by vendor; (c) for each expenditure in (b), what was the (i) number of rooms rented at each resort, (ii) number of nights stayed, (iii) nightly rate; (d) what are the details of the legs of each challenger flight that travelled between Canada and Jamaica in relation to the trip, including, for each leg, the (i) date, (ii) origin, (iii) destination, (iv) names and titles of passengers, excluding security personnel, (v) amount of fuel used, (vi) fuel cost, (vii) catering cost, (viii) other costs, broken down by type; (e) what are the details of the problem or malfunction that occurred with the initial Challenger jet that causes a second Challenger jet to be flown to Jamaica; and (f) how much did it cost to fix the problem or malfunction in (e)?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2240—
Mr. Andrew Scheer:
    With regard to the government's participation in the UN Climate Change Conference, the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) in Dubai: (a) how many and which individuals were part of the Canadian delegation that travelled to Dubai; (b) what were the titles of all individuals in (a); (c) were there any delegation members in (a) for which the government did not pay the expenses of, and, if so, which members; (d) what are the names and titles of all other individuals who attended the COP28 for whom the government paid expenses; (e) what are the total expenditures incurred by the government to date related to the conference, broken down by type; (f) what is the government's estimate of the carbon footprint resulting from the Canadian delegation's travel to and from the conference; and (g) for the delegations accommodations in Dubai, (i) what hotels were used, (ii) how much was spent at each hotel, (iii) how many rooms were rented at each hotel and for how many nights, (iv) what was the room rate, or range of room rates, paid at each hotel?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2241—
Mr. Andrew Scheer:
    With regard to government subsidies to Qualified Canadian Journalism Organizations (QCJO): (a) what is the total amount of subsidies paid to QCJOs in total, broken down by year for each of the last five years; (b) what is the breakdown of (a) by type of tax credit or subsidy; (c) how many organizations have applied for the QCJO designation; (d) of the applications in (c), how many were (i) approved, (ii) rejected; (e) how many QCJOs received subsidies, broken down by year for each of the last five years; and (f) without identifying the organization, what is the breakdown of (e) by subsidy range for each type of subsidy (i.e. under $100,000, $100,001-$500,000, etc.)?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2242—
Mr. Andrew Scheer:
    With regard to the ArriveCan application, broken down by each department or agency that worked on the application: (a) how many employees worked on the application; and (b) how many man-hours and working days were spent working on the application?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2244—
Ms. Niki Ashton:
    With regards to the Indigenous Community Infrastructure Fund (ICIF), and broken down by province or territory and fiscal year since 2020-21: (a) what is the total number of applications received by Indigenous Services Canada; (b) for the applications in (a), what is the (i) median amount of funding requested, (ii) average amount of funding requested; (c) how many projects in (a) were approved; and (d) what is the total amount of funding allocated by the ICIF, reflected as a dollar amount and a percentage of program funding?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2246—
Ms. Niki Ashton:
    With regard to on-reserve housing funding provided by Indigenous Services Canada (ISC), broken down by province or territory and fiscal year since 2015-16: (a) what measures and resources have ISC allocated to streamline and expedite the application and approval process for building new housing; (b) what indicators do ISC use to ensure consistency in processing times across regions, considering the varying nature of projects and community-specific needs; (c) broken down by A-base stream funding and targeted funding, what is the average number of days for ISC to (i) acknowledge receipt of an application for funding, (ii) review an application, (iii) approve an application, (iv) deliver funding, (v) begin construction; and (d) in cases where multi-year plans or annual applications are submitted, what strategies are in place to minimize delays and ensure timely processing of funding applications?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2248—
Ms. Michelle Rempel Garner:
    With regard to the Canada-Wide Early Learning & Child Care System: (a) how many kids are currently enrolled in a $10 a day spot, in total and broken down by province or territory; (b) what is the average income of the parents who have the $10 a day spot; (c) how many of the $10 a day spots are for flexible childcare outside of the hours between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.; (d) what is the average wage of a childcare worker who provides $10 a day daycare; (e) how many additional childcare workers are needed to achieve the amount of spots that the government promised would be created; (f) how many of the $10 a day spots are located in urban areas versus rural areas; and (g) for each statistic in (a) through (f) that the government doesn’t have the answer for, why does the government not track such information?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2249—
Mr. Ziad Aboultaif:
    With regard to the government contracts involving FTI Professional Grade and Baylis Medical since January 1, 2020: what are the details of each contract, including (i) when was the contract signed, (ii) what is the monetary value of the awarded contract, (iii) what is the description of the good or service contracted, (iv) what is the quantity of the good or service agreed to be supplied, (v) how many ventilators have been delivered to fulfill the conditions of the contract, (vi) what quantity of the good or service has been received by the addressee, (vii) what are the last known locations of each ventilator, (viii) whether the terms of the contract have been fulfilled and, if not, what penal actions have been taken to ensure compliance for each contract?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2251—
Mr. Adam Chambers:
    With regard to the Underused Housing Tax (UHT) that came into effect on January 1, 2022, broken down by year: (a) how many UHT returns have been filed (i) in total, (ii) broken down by census metropolitan area (CMA); (b) how many UHT returns had no amounts owing (i) in total, (ii) broken down by CMA; (c) what is the total amount of the UHT assessed; (d) what is the amount of the UHT assessed that has been collected; (e) what are the costs to (i) implement, (ii) annually administer, the UHT by government departments or agencies; (f) how many employees or full-time equivalents are or were assigned to work on the UHT by government departments or agencies; and (g) how much has been spent to date by government departments or agencies on public consultations, advertisements, promotion, publications, stakeholder meetings or engagements, public opinion research, or other communications, public relations, and information efforts related to the UHT, in total and broken down by type of expense?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2252—
Mr. Adam Chambers:
    With regard to the Select Luxury Items Tax (luxury tax) that came into effect on September 1, 2022: (a) what is the amount of luxury tax assessed by asset class (i.e. aircraft, vehicles, vessels); (b) what is the amount of luxury tax assessed that has been collected by asset class and separated by relative size of the payments received, including how many transactions involved a luxury tax between (i) $1 and $24,999, (ii) between $25,000 and $74,999, (iii) between $75,000 and $174,999, (iv) greater than $175,000; (c) what are the costs to (i) implement, (ii) annually administer, the luxury tax by government departments or agencies; (d) how many employees or full-time equivalents are or were assigned to work on the luxury tax by government departments or agencies; and (e) how much has been spent to date by government departments or agencies on public consultations, advertisements, promotion, publications, stakeholder meetings or engagements, public opinion research, or other communications, public relations, and information efforts related to the luxury tax, in total and broken down by type of expense?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2253—
Mr. Marty Morantz:
    With regard to government funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA): (a) what is the amount of funding that the government provided to UNRWA in total and broken down by year since November 4, 2015; (b) what is the breakdown of funding by individual project, including the name, timeframe and description of each project; (c) how much funding has been paused since the government’s announcement that it was pausing funding due to allegations that UNRWA employees were involved in the October 7, 2023 terror attacks by Hamas; (d) of the projects in (b), which ones have had their funding halted since the pause of funding; and (e) what information does the government have regarding the extent of UNRWA’s employees involvement in the terror attacks, including the estimated number of employees who participated in the attacks and the number of employees who may have assisted Hamas in the taking or holding of hostages?
    (Return tabled)

[English]

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

Request for Emergency Debate

Carbon Tax Increase  

[S. O. 52]
    I wish to inform the House that I have received notice for a request for an emergency debate.
    I invite the hon. Leader of the Opposition to rise and make a brief intervention.
    Mr. Speaker, we all know that after eight years the Prime Minister is not worth the cost of food, gas, heat and groceries. We also all know that common-sense Conservatives will axe the tax, build the homes, fix the budget and stop the crime, but today is different. The cost of living crisis has turned into a cost of living emergency with stories now, in Montreal, for example, of police being called to food banks because they have run out of food and disorder is breaking out among the people who are desperate to eat.
     With 8,000 people now joining a Facebook group called the “Dumpster Diving Network”, where they share tips on how to eat out of garbage cans, and with tent cities in all of our major towns and centres, 35 of which are in Halifax, basically our economy is falling apart and our people are desperate, hungry, cold and, in many cases, in the streets. Some of these scenes are reminiscent of the Great Depression, if they were merely put in black and white. This is an emergency.
     The Prime Minister, though, wants to go ahead with a 23% carbon tax hike on gas, heat and groceries on April 1. This will be the tipping point for many families who are literally hanging on by their fingernails. This policy has already driven many into hunger and despair. We cannot allow for that breaking point to occur.
    That is why I wrote to you, Mr. Speaker, on March 17, 2024. I have a dated letter asking for you to accept an emergency debate on this forthcoming Liberal-NDP tax increase and the resulting desperation and emergency that it is causing around kitchen tables, at food banks and in tent cities across this country. I ask you to find the compassion, the urgency and the common sense to grant our request for an emergency debate on the April 1 Liberal-NDP carbon tax hike.

Speaker's Ruling  

[Speaker's Ruling]
    I thank the hon. Leader of the Opposition for his intervention. However, as Speaker, I am not satisfied that this request meets the requirements of the Standing Orders at this time.

Government Orders

[Business of Supply]

  (1635)  

[Translation]

Business of Supply

Opposition Motion—Canada's Actions to Promote Peace in the Middle East  

    The House resumed consideration of the motion.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Montarville for his clear and insightful presentation on such a grim situation. Objectivity was called for, and he definitely delivered.
    My question may seem a little unusual, but given his expertise in international affairs, can he tell us whether it is possible that Hamas could win this war?
    Mr. Speaker, I hope not, far from it. That said, Israel launched its deadly assault on Gaza vowing to destroy and annihilate Hamas.
    The fact is that even if Israel were able to find all of Hamas' hiding places, seize all of its weapons and take all of its leaders and fighters prisoner—we know very well that most of the leaders are probably in Qatar or Lebanon—even if Israel managed to capture all of Hamas' infrastructure, given the extent of the destruction and killings in Gaza, unfortunately I feel that Israel will only have ensured that the very concept of Hamas will endure.
    Even it manages to destroy Hamas, it will have created so much resentment among Palestinians in the process that hatred could well overtake them again, and yet that is what should be avoided at all costs to finally secure a path to peace.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, earlier today, the Minister of Foreign Affairs addressed the House. If colleagues take a look and read what she said, it was really a true reflection of Canadian values. That is something we really need to highlight.
    At the end of the day, this is a heart-wrenching issue that is having a severe impact on people in many different ways around the world. Here in Canada, I have had thousands of emails and all sorts of discussions, as many other members have. There has been a great deal of effort.
    My concern, in part, is this: The member indicated at the beginning that he is going to support the motion. Does the member, as well as the Bloc, support every aspect of this motion? Are there any specifics that he does not support?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, my colleague's question implies that there are aspects of the motion that he himself does not agree with.
    I stated at the outset that the Bloc Québécois had already taken a position on most of the points in the motion. I went through these points one by one. For the sake of consistency, the Bloc Québécois will vote in favour of this motion, which aligns with several of its previous positions. I do not know why the parliamentary secretary hopes to find things in this motion on which we might disagree. We have asked the NDP to make changes to some points, such as adding “Quebeckers” to the part in the motion referring to “Canadians”. However, in general, we are in full agreement with the points in this motion.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his statement and interventions. He is always knowledgeable and always shows compassion and empathy.
    We have been witnessing mass killings for months, an absolutely immense humanitarian crisis. Millions of people have been displaced, are starving and are being bombed every day.
    I would like to hear my colleague's comments on what happens next after tonight's vote on this motion. What message could this Parliament send to the international community and the world at large by supporting such a motion?
    Mr. Speaker, if there was one thing I tried to show in my speech, it is that we have reached an impasse. If the parties are no longer able to find a way out of the crisis, the international community must step in and try to impose one. This means that certain states must find the courage to do what others have done. Some 140 states around the world have already recognized the state of Palestine, and Spain, the United Kingdom and Belgium are considering recognizing it.
    I think that if Canada joined the movement, it would send a strong message to Israel, not that we are against the very existence of the State of Israel or its security, quite the contrary. We support the creation of two states living side by side in peace and security. This can only happen by recognizing of the state of Palestine.

  (1640)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie.
    I rise today to speak about a crisis that has horrified Canadians from all walks of life, that requires action and courage and that begs us to recognize our common humanity. In a few weeks, it will be six months since the horrible terrorist attacks of October 7 that killed over a thousand Israelis occurred and six months since the beginning of the war on Gaza that has killed tens of thousands of Palestinians. These are extremely difficult times.
    Many in our country and around the world are feeling pain. Palestinians are suffering on a massive scale in Gaza. Right now, an entire population is on the brink of starvation. Israeli families mourn for relatives killed by Hamas. Many still have family members who remain hostages. The United Nations' reports of sexual violence deepen these families' grief and fear. Violence against Palestinians in the West Bank has increased. More illegal settlements are planned.
    Today, Gaza is the most dangerous place in the world to be a child. We can listen to the words of 14-year-old Kareem, who has been orphaned in this war: “I was unable to bid farewell to my mother, father and brother, and no funeral was conducted for them.... I wish I had departed with them.” He said, “I cannot fathom what life will be like after the loss of my family.... This pain is unbearable.” This child is not Hamas.
    Every day, we are confronted with the images of war: parents screaming in grief, clutching dead babies; families of hostages holding pictures of their loved ones, pleading for their safe return. Amid all this suffering, Canada is absent. The promise of Canada to do better, to be better, has driven us to bring this motion forward today. Today, we are bringing forward solutions that offer hope amid the despair that so many of us have felt.

[Translation]

    It has been a very difficult few months. The images coming out of Gaza and Israel are very difficult to look at.
    On October 7, horrific terrorist attacks by Hamas caused the deaths of 1,200 people, while hundreds of others were taken hostage. Since then, the war between Netanyahu and Hamas has continued to kill innocent people who have nothing to do with the war, including 30,000 Palestinians. This war is taking a toll on many communities in Canada. That is why it is important today that we talk about what the government can do to try to end this disaster.

[English]

    The impact of this war for Canadians is deep. I have heard so many stories of families who have lost loved ones. Some Palestinian Canadians have lost 20 or more relatives. Entire family lines have been wiped out. Every day that this war goes on, it brings more pain, loss and grief.
    I have heard the stories of families who lost loved ones to the terrorist attacks on October 7, as well as some who lost loved ones held hostage by Hamas. I am thinking of Vivian Silver, who was killed in the Hamas attack. Like so many in Israel and in Palestine, Vivian worked tirelessly for peace. She did this work for decades, trying to build understanding between Israel and Palestine. She was a mother and grandmother.
    I met her son and I will remember this meeting forever. It would have been understandable for him to want to seek revenge, to want others to suffer as he had, but he only wants peace. These are his words: “We need to stop the violence now.... Vengeance is not a strategy.”

  (1645)  

    Many of the hostages' families are protesting in the streets of Tel Aviv, demanding a ceasefire and a prisoner exchange. They are angry with Netanyahu's government. They are told that hostages are not the government's priority. I cannot imagine how these families feel.
    I have met many families that still have loved ones stuck in Gaza and the West Bank, where every day brings more destruction, death and despair. I am thinking of families in London, who have told me that, for their relatives in Gaza, nowhere is safe. It is the responsibility of the Liberal government to ensure their safe return to Canada. However, the government imposed an arbitrary cap on temporary resident applications of only 1,000 people. Why? Moreover, not a single person has been admitted to Canada under this scheme. Families who have applied are frustrated and devastated by the government's failed program. The Palestinian Canadian community deserves better than this.
    Humanitarian aid workers who have spent decades working to save lives in the most awful of places describe the situation in Gaza as the worst crisis they have ever seen. We can take that in. These are some of the people who have worked in the most dangerous and awful places, where we have seen the worst of humanity, and they are saying that this crisis is the worst they have seen.
    The people of Gaza are not responsible for the actions of Hamas. New Democrats are appalled by Netanyahu's bombing of camps, hospitals and heavily populated areas. These attacks are indiscriminate. A majority of homes in Gaza are gone. Universities, archives and flour mills are gone. We must make no mistake: Collective punishment is a violation of international law. Canada must insist that all those who broke these laws are held accountable. This includes Netanyahu's government; Canada must put pressure on it to respect the provisional measures ordered by the International Court of Justice.
    Right now, Israelis are dealing with the deep trauma of the horrendous terrorist attack of October 7, as well as the pain and the fear for hostages who remain captive. Israelis continue to live with the worry of being at risk of terrorist attacks, including from Iran-backed groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah. They are terrorist groups that want the destruction of Israel and that are their neighbours. Both Israelis and Palestinians have the right to live in peace and security.
    A decades-long cycle of violence has already taken the lives of so many Palestinians and Israelis. With an extreme right-wing government in Israel, a lack of real democratic Palestinian leadership and the dangerous influence of external states like Iran, it is hard to see a path to peace.
    Canada and the international community must now work towards a sustainable solution where Israelis and Palestinians can live in peace and security, each exercising their right to self-determination. The solution can only be political. Our motion offers real solutions for peace and justice, as well as steps to show that Canada can be a force for good in this world and that Canada and its leaders have the moral courage to say when enough is enough.
    I am also extremely worried about the impact of this crisis on people here in Canada. I have had some very important conversations with Palestinians, Muslims and Arab Canadians. They are scared of what is happening here. They are scared of the rise of anti-Palestinian racism and Islamophobia and scared of being harassed on the street or fired from their jobs. They feel unheard.
    We have also witnessed an alarming rise in anti-Semitism. Synagogues and schools have been targeted. I have heard stories from parents who worry for their children if they wear their kippah or Star of David, because to be visibly Jewish is to be at risk. Holding Jewish people collectively responsible for the actions of the State of Israel is anti-Semitism, and it is wrong. I know something about what it is like to have one's loyalty questioned because of the way one looks. That one is safe, believes in peace and wants everyone to live in freedom are things that one must constantly try to prove.
    We must be aware of our words and how they can be used to justify actions that we all find disgraceful. No one should feel that they are unsafe because they wear clothing that reflects their faith, enter a sacred space to pray or exercise their right to disagree with our government or any government of any country.

  (1650)  

    The rise of anti-Semitism, anti-Palestinian racism and Islamophobia is extremely alarming. These problems are not new, but this crisis has made them even worse. My message to Canadians is this: In these dark times, we must treat each other with compassion and recognize our common humanity.
    Mr. Speaker, it is very clear that the leader of the NDP is passionate about the issue. It is also very clear that the government has taken all of the positions and has not stated in the House whether it supports the motion.
    I would ask the leader of the NDP this: If the government does not support the motion, is he willing to, right here, right now, declare that his confidence agreement with the government is over today? I would like just a yes or no answer from the member.
    Mr. Speaker, what we are going to do is continue to use the power we have in this Parliament to push for change, the way we pushed to double the GST rebate, to bring in pharmacare and dental care and to make child care legislation permanent. In the same way, we are using our power in the House to push for peace and justice and for a solution that puts Canada on the global stage of pushing forward solutions to save lives. We have seen the death and destruction, and we have to use the power we have to push for peace and to push for safety and security for all. That is what we are going to do.
    Mr. Speaker, when we look at the terms of the motion on the floor of the House, we see a number of measures that are really critical actions for the government to take to work towards a lasting peace. One of those measures that the member for Burnaby South, the leader of the NDP, mentioned was an end to the occupation of Palestinian territory. Can the member speak more about why this is a critical measure as part of the package of calls that the Government of Canada should be making to work towards true peace?
    Mr. Speaker, in order to achieve peace, we need to create the conditions for peace, and one of the ongoing violations is the ongoing occupation of Palestinian land. To achieve a two-state solution, we need to ensure that we recognize that the two states have the right to exist and that they have the right to self-determination. We also need to ensure that the occupation stops so they can move forward towards a peaceful solution.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to repeat that we are in favour of the motion and want it to pass, but I have a question. In terms of the message we are sending to the international community, it would undoubtedly be much more desirable for us to adopt the motion than the opposite. However, what message does it send if they see that the House had to force the Canadian government's hand to arrive at such a position?
    If we are sending the message that the government was so unmotivated that Parliament had to force its hand, it seems to me that this undermines the message. What does my colleague think?
    Mr. Speaker, it is disappointing that Canada's Liberal government has not taken a stand to promote peace and justice. I believe that when the government does not take the proper stand or do the necessary work, it is our job as members of the House of Commons to force the government to do it. That is why we have moved this motion to offer a path to a peaceful and just solution.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, prior to his time as a parliamentarian, the hon. leader of the NDP was a lawyer. He has spoken about the preconditions for peace, and everybody would know that the most important precondition for peace is justice. Could the hon. member perhaps reflect on the importance of all nations' having accountability under international law, particularly as it relates to the International Court of Justice, and what Canada's role is in ensuring that those international norms are upheld, not just for Palestinians and the question of Palestine, but also internationally in all conflicts?

  (1655)  

    Mr. Speaker, the reason why one of the issues we raised in our motion is respect for the ruling of the International Court of Justice is that in order to build a society, a world, where people are treated with respect and dignity, and where that dignity and respect are protected by law, we need to ensure that the law is applied.
    There is a deep concern about erosion of trust for institutions and erosion of trust for a rule of law based on justice, equality and equity, which is further eroded when nations like Canada do not respect the decision and do not respect the ruling. We saw from the very weak response of the Liberal government that it did not reflect the gravity of the ICJ's ruling and did not show a commitment to following through, which is why we included that in the motion.
    We believe that all people in the world deserve rights, dignity and respect, and that these should be upheld and protected for all.

[Translation]

     Mr. Speaker, it is with deep emotion and a sense of responsibility to history that I rise today to speak to the important motion that my party has moved in the House.
    History is dramatically unfolding before our very eyes. It is a bloody chapter filled with suffering, violence, fear, pain and death. On October 7, 1,200 Israeli voices were silenced forever, victims of a brutal attack by the Hamas terrorist organization. Some 100 hostages are still being held captive and living in terrible anguish, as are their families. They must be released safe and sound.
     Since October 7, nearly 31,000 Palestinian voices have been silenced forever, almost all of them killed by the Netanyahu government's mass indiscriminate bombing. The majority are women and children. More than 12,000 Palestinian children have been killed. In Quebec, this would be the proportional equivalent of 48,000 Quebec children being killed by bombs. In fact, more Palestinian children have been killed in the last four months than in all armed conflicts in the last four years. It is happening every day, right in front of us, live. We can never claim that we did not know. This is a test for humanity, for our own humanity. Right now, humanity is failing.
    We must keep in mind what the daily reality has been in Gaza for months. There is no water, no food, no electricity, no housing, no fuel. People are starving, besieged, displaced, and being bombed every day. It is happening every day. Desperate people are being shot at while trying to get a little water, flour or rice from one of the too few humanitarian aid trucks.
    In bombed-out hospitals that have no electricity, doctors have resorted to performing surgeries without anaesthesia. We have seen the footage of a little girl in a wheelchair crying and pleading to get her legs back, a woman lifting debris too heavy for her as she frantically searches for her husband in the rubble, a child all alone covered in blood and dust, dazed and shaking like a leaf, with nowhere to go. We have seen the mass graves being hastily dug to keep the dead from contaminating the living. It is unbearable to watch.
    For many Quebeckers and Canadians, these people are their friends or relatives. The Palestinian death toll does not include the bodies buried in ruins, the 72,000 who are wounded, the thousands of orphans or this generation that will be traumatized for life. We cannot ignore the horrors and massacres. Our humanity will not let us.
    Volker Türk, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said, “In Rafah I have witnessed the gates to a living nightmare. A nightmare, where people have been suffocating, under persistent bombardment, mourning their families, struggling for water, for food, for...fuel.... Gaza has already been described as the world's biggest open-air prison before 7 October, under a 56-year occupation and a 16-year blockade by Israel.... The collective punishment by Israel of Palestinian civilians amounts also to a war crime, as does the unlawful forcible evacuation of civilians.”
    As former French foreign affairs minister and prime minister Dominique de Villepin put it, “The right to self‑defence is not a right to indiscriminate vengeance”.
    It is becoming increasingly clear that the Netanyahu government and its far-right ministers are not just trying to destroy Hamas, but are pursuing other war aims, political aims. This becomes even clearer when ministers state it publicly, in a terrifying process of dehumanizing Palestinians. The defence minister called Palestinians “human animals”. The national security minister, who, incidentally, is distributing weapons to settlers in the West Bank, equated civilians in Gaza with terrorists who must also be destroyed. The heritage minister opposes humanitarian aid and said that “there is no such thing as uninvolved”, in other words, non-combatant, “civilians in Gaza”.
    The infrastructure minister said, “They will not receive a drop of water or a single battery until they leave”. The agriculture minister said, “We are now rolling out the Gaza Nakba”. Finance minister Smotrich, who denies the very existence of the Palestinian people, said he was prepared to tolerate a Gaza Strip with 200,000 Palestinians, when the territory now has more than two million people. It is clear, is it not? They are saying these things to us. We should listen to what they are saying. The genocidal rhetoric is there.
    We support sanctions against Hamas officials. We also call on the Liberal government to sanction extremist Netanyahu cabinet ministers who incite violence and genocide.

  (1700)  

    What happens next? That is the crux of the motion we are putting forward today. Basically, we need to increase the pressure on the Netanyahu regime. We need to turn up the heat. There need to be consequences.
    First of all—and we were the first party to say it here, starting on October 10—there needs to be a ceasefire, and both Israel and Hamas must respect it. The massacre must stop. The hostages must be freed. Lives are truly at stake. This is not a figure of speech. After nine weeks of dithering, the Liberals finally asked for a ceasefire, but only half-heartedly, and they have done nothing since.
    Next, there is an urgent need to get enough humanitarian aid in to meet people's needs. The risk of famine is real. Some 20 children have already died of dehydration and malnutrition, including Samar's daughter. She died over there while her mother was desperately trying to bring her here. I met Samar.
    We are asking the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship to fast-track repatriation cases and lift the arbitrary cap of only 1,000 visas. So far, the Canadian program has not brought a single person to Canada. Families here are terribly worried for their loved ones trapped in that hell.
    We also need to stop selling arms to that government. The NDP has been calling for this for a long time, but now it is imperative. On February 23, UN experts warned that all arms exports to Israel must stop immediately because they violate international law. The experts also cited Canada as a bad example. The minister has a duty not to approve the sale of military goods and technology when there is a risk of human rights violations, like use against civilians. The Liberal government could be abetting serious crimes by allowing the sale of these weapons.
    Speaking of obeying international law, the Liberals need to stop talking out of both sides of their mouths. Canada took part in building the institutions that uphold international law. Today, the Liberals cannot claim to support these institutions while only accepting their decisions when they see fit. We must respect human rights and international law everywhere and at all times. To do otherwise would be hypocrisy.
    In December, South Africa filed an application with the International Court of Justice, arguing that Tzahal's offensive in Gaza constituted a violation of the 1948 genocide convention. The court agreed to hear the case, considering that there is a real and plausible risk of genocide. In the short term, it issued an order intended to protect civilian lives.
    Human Rights Watch a