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44th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • No. 309

CONTENTS

Monday, May 6, 2024




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

Volume 151
No. 309
1st SESSION
44th PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Monday, May 6, 2024

Speaker: The Honourable Greg Fergus

    The House met at 11 a.m.

Prayer



Private Members' Business

[Private Members' Business]

  (1100)  

[English]

Foreign Political Interference, Violence or Intimidation

    That:
(a) the House recognize that,
(i) Canada takes global security very seriously and has several cooperative agreements with various foreign states to share security intelligence, protect democratic institutions, maintain the rule of law, and prevent violence and terrorism,
(ii) recent events, including the credible allegations of a link between agents of the Government of India and the killing of a Canadian citizen, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, at a place of worship on Canadian soil, are examples of rising forms of intimidation, threats, and interference from countries such as India, China, Russia, Iran, and others; and
(b) in the opinion of the House, to ensure that diaspora communities are protected from acts of political interference, violence, or intimidation on Canadian soil, the government should immediately review its measures that hold to account any person or agents of a foreign state undermining democratic institutions, engaging in acts of violence, or violating human or international rights, in order to bar these persons from entering Canada, and report to the House on the progress of these actions.
     He said: Mr. Speaker, today I rise knowing that what I say, and what we do as a result, will have profound impacts on Canadians across the country.
    On the evening of June 18, 2023, Mr. Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a respected community leader from my riding of Surrey—Newton, was brutally murdered outside the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Surrey-Delta. Following this heinous crime, on September 18, 2023, the Prime Minister rose in the House and shared with us the credible allegations of a potential link between agents of the Government of India and the killing of a Canadian citizen at a place of worship on Canadian soil.
     Just this past Friday, the RCMP announced the arrest of three individuals who investigators believe were tasked with the killing of Mr. Nijjar.
    I commend the work of the law enforcement agencies for their collaboration in laying charges against the alleged killers. I also want to thank the family of Mr. Hardeep Singh Nijjar and the leadership of Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara and B.C. Gurdwaras Council for their continued advocacy. We must continue to highlight the importance of unity during these challenging times. It is crucial that we come together to condemn this heinous crime, support the grieving family and stand up for the principles of the rule of law.
    The assassination of Mr. Hardeep Singh Nijjar has shaken communities across the country. I can recall the fear and anxiety in the days that followed, fears and anxieties that, for many of our constituents, have not yet gone away.
     With that in mind, along with the help of my caucus colleagues, I got working on Motion No. 112, which I introduced on February 13. To ensure that diaspora communities in Canada are protected from the acts of political interference, violence and intimidation, our government must review its measures that hold to account any person or agents of a foreign state undermining our democratic institutions, engaging in acts of violence or violating human rights or international rights in order to bar these persons from entering Canada.
    I know that many, particularly those from our diaspora communities, are being targeted and are feeling scared. I want to assure Canadians that we are a country governed by the rule of law and that our government will not tolerate foreign interference or threats against Canadians. Denying individuals from entering or remaining in Canada in order to prevent them from engaging in foreign interference is an important aspect of countering the threat.
     The integrity and administration of inadmissibility provisions, both abroad and at our borders, contributes to defending against the threat of foreign interference in Canada.
    While not all activities are conducted in person and many occur online or via Canadian proxies, a portion of foreign interference activity stems from the ability of foreign actors to travel to Canada. Effective screening, refusal or cancellation of immigration documents are important defences against foreign interference.
     This motion would help protect our democratic institutions and would raise awareness around rising forms of intimidation, threats and interference. However, it also expresses, in no uncertain terms, the need for the government to review its measures in protecting diaspora communities. Foreign interference threats take many forms and they do not come from one state. The killing of Mr. Hardeep Singh Nijjar is just one of many examples of rising forms of violence, intimidation, threats and interference from countries around the world, including India, China, Russia, Iran and others.

  (1105)  

     While some foreign states advance their interests in legitimate and transparent ways, many others act with hostility that can threaten our national interests and place Canadians and their families in danger. These covert, deceptive and sometimes violent actions are damaging, and they undermine our national security.
    Foreign interference poses one of the greatest threats to Canada's way of life and our sovereignty. The threat is not new, but in recent years it has increased in both volume and complexity, coming from hostile foreign states and actors, and disproportionately affecting diaspora communities.
    As an advanced economy and open democracy, Canada is a target of foreign interference. Protecting our democracy is not a partisan issue. All Canadians, irrespective of political stripe, have a role to play in ensuring our democratic institutions and values remain strong. Every Canadian deserves to feel safe. Canada is a country of diversity, peace and inclusion. We cannot, and we will not, tolerate hate and violence.
    We must remain committed to addressing the threat of foreign interference by modernizing Canada's policies and legislative framework in ways that align with our national values, respect Canadian rights and freedoms, and account for a wide range of perspectives and experience.
    In this age of disinformation, misinformation and foreign interference, we must continue to do everything in our power to ensure that fair and transparent democratic processes are upheld. As part of the commitment to combatting this issue, I am glad to see that our government has already held public consultations to modernize the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act, the Criminal Code, the Security of Information Act and the Canada Evidence Act, which enhance our ability to address foreign interference threats.
    With the appointment of Justice Hogue, we established a public inquiry into foreign interference, which recently released its initial report. A final report will be released before the end of 2024.
    We have established the security and intelligence threats to elections task force, which identifies foreign threats, including those that aim to interfere with Canada’s democratic processes.
    I know that our government is working tirelessly to protect national security and public safety. We have provided $48.9 million to the RCMP to protect Canadians from harassment and intimidation by foreign actors. This funding will also help the RCMP increase its investigative capacity and co-operate more proactively with communities that are most at-risk of being targeted.
    The Canadian Security and Intelligence Service, CSIS, is key to protecting Canadians from foreign interference threats through its intelligence operations in Canada and around the world. Through budget 2024, our government is investing $656 million over eight years into CSIS to enhance its intelligence capabilities, which is critical in our fight against foreign interference.
    In order to build resilience, CSIS continues to work closely with diaspora communities to raise awareness of foreign interference threats. Some, including certain members of the House, may claim that this motion divides Canadians or that it pits diaspora communities against one another. That is completely false.
    I brought this motion forward to protect all Canadians, so that we have the mechanisms in place to defend our democratic institutions, maintain the rule of law and prevent violence and terrorism.

  (1110)  

    I am proud to share that this motion has been jointly seconded by members from all recognized political parties. It is a product of my interactions with constituents and others across this nation, many of whom came to this country in search of a life free from political intimidation and interference. To those who came before us, and to many around the world still, Canada promises a life where a person can live with dignity and where a person's fundamental freedoms can never be taken from them.
    However, I am afraid that the potential implications of Mr. Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s murder confirm the worst fears of many Canadians. While people can come to Canada in search of a better life, while they can raise their children safe from the dangers faced by their parents and grandparents, it might not be enough. Perhaps the threats and intimidations of the past will follow them here.
     Let us remain calm and steadfast in our commitment to democratic principles and our adherence to the rule of law. This is who we are, and what we do as Canadians. Our constituents trust us to do our best to protect them from any and all types of foreign interference, and so we must stand united against foreign powers that seek to undermine our fundamental freedoms and our sovereignty.
    All Canadians have the right to feel safe and secure in their communities, and our government remains committed to taking the necessary steps to combat threats of foreign interference. Simply put, we cannot and will not allow these hostile activities to go on. We must continue our efforts while strengthening measures to hold to account any person or agent of a foreign state who undermines our democratic institutions, engages in acts of violence, intimidates diaspora communities in Canada or violates human or international rights.
    Once more, I thank all the members from all the recognized political parties who have come together and encouraged me to stand in the House to defend Canadian values. For these reasons, I urge all members to support this motion.

  (1115)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for moving this motion and I commend him on his speech. It is good. We will be voting in favour of the motion. As he said, all of the parties support it. However, I would like to ask him whether the motion is sufficient.
    Part (b) of the motion suggests that maybe it is not. Unfortunately, there is no getting around the fact that the Liberal government has been dragging its feet on this from the beginning. It took a lot of pressure from the opposition for the government to finally launch a commission of inquiry into interference. We are starting to see results from that, but the work is not yet finished. What does the member have to say about that? What more could be done?
    I would like him to talk about the foreign agent registry, which the government has talked a lot about but has not yet produced any results.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member from the Bloc Québécois for supporting this motion.
    As I mentioned, some steps that our government has taken include the appointment of Justice Hogue to lead a public inquiry, with a final report due by the end of the year; investing in our national security agencies to help them detect and stop malicious activities, including nearly $50 million for the RCMP to combat foreign interference; and establishing a national counter foreign interference coordinator to coordinate efforts to combat foreign interference. These are some of the things, but I can tell members that there is more to come from the government to make sure that our sovereignty and integrity are protected and to protect Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, I commend the member for Surrey—Newton for bringing forward this important motion. As he mentioned, it has the support of all the recognized parties in the House. It has been seconded by members of Parliament from each of the parties. This is an important initiative.
    No one, no Canadian should have to fear being involved in their community in their own country. The tragic and horrendous murder of Mr. Niijar indicates to all of us the importance of taking foreign interference seriously.
    Justice Hogue has put forward her interim report. She indicates the importance of putting measures in place immediately. One, of course, is the foreign agent registry; another is having protocols.
    What is the member's reaction to putting these elements in place immediately?
    Mr. Speaker, I had the privilege of working with the hon. member for New Westminster—Burnaby for many, many years. In fact, when I first landed in B.C., it was in New Westminster. To answer his question, yes, I am also actively advocating that the foreign registry should come into effect immediately.
    I would also like to thank the hon. member from the NDP for seconding this, as well as the NDP for supporting the motion.

  (1120)  

    Mr. Speaker, something that needs to be emphasized is that, when we talk about interference, there is not one single country; there are a number of countries. We have a responsibility to protect our citizenry.
    Could my colleague amplify the fact that we all need to take responsibility for ensuring that we are talking about more than one country?
    Mr. Speaker, I have run into many different members from different communities, such as people from the Iranian community and people of Chinese origin, who have come to me and said they have been victims of foreign interference. In fact, members of Parliament from different diasporas have been victims of intimidation and acts of political interference.
    This motion says that we should focus on every nation that tries to interfere with our sovereignty, not only India, China, Iran or Russia but also many other nations.
    Mr. Speaker, we are here today because of the real and serious issue of foreign interference happening here in Canada. After nine years of the Liberal-NDP Prime Minister, the Canadian dream of being able to live in this country with freedom of expression, freedom of religion and freedom of thought is broken. Diaspora communities across this country are feeling less safe than ever because of fear of extortion, intimidation and, in fact, assassination.
    We are glad there have finally been arrests that will bring some justice for Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s family and the community. Those responsible should face the full consequences of their crimes; no foreign agent should be able to kill a Canadian, let alone on Canadian soil. We call on the Indian government to co-operate with authorities as they investigate this murder, because the truth must come out.
    Canada’s law enforcement and intelligence agencies must relentlessly pursue any other person or entity that was involved in this murder so they can be held accountable and brought to justice. We wish the government was able to foil this plot and stop this murder from happening in the first place, as was the case in the United States. In the U.S., authorities laid allegations; within one week, arrests were made of those who were going to commit that crime.
    The Liberal member who brought this motion forward mentioned Iran in the motion, even though his government refuses to list the IRGC Quds Force as a terrorist organization. The Prime Minister allows 700 agents from Iran’s terrorist regime to operate freely in Canada and terrorize Canadians. Now the regime operatives are recruiting Canadians to terrorize our allies. This terrorist organization shot down flight PS752. The families and communities of those on that flight are still living a nightmare without justice for their loved ones.
    It was voted on in the House to ban the IRGC in June 2018. Members should make no mistake: A common-sense Conservative government, under the leadership of the member for Carleton, will list IRGC as a terrorist organization and ban it so it can no longer use our country as its safe haven to recruit, fundraise and hide from any accountability.
    The Communist regime in Beijing is another threat that the government ignores. It is the same Prime Minister and his entire cabinet who showed their cowardice by abstaining on a vote to recognize that there is a genocide being committed by the Communist regime against the Uyghur Muslims. The foreign interference inquiry commissioner confirmed that agents from Beijing interfered in the 2019 and 2021 Canadian elections. The election of our former colleague Kenny Chiu was impacted by foreign interference, as we found out from the recent findings by the commissioner. My colleagues have had real threats to their safety and their families' safety because of foreign interference and the lack of any courage to stand up to it by the Liberal-NDP government.
    That same regime also intimidates and threatens Canadians who exercise their right to freedom of speech and to vote. Instead of standing up for Canadians, the government was dragged, kicking and screaming, to call a public inquiry into foreign interference in the first place. Police stations run by the Communist regime in Beijing are intimidating others here who are pro-democracy. This only demonstrates that the Liberal-NDP government must take further action to protect our country, including by immediately implementing a foreign influence registry. This is something that, for a long time, the Conservatives have been calling for. We believe paid agents of foreign governments should have to be registered. If a Canadian food bank must register to lobby a Liberal minister, paid foreign agents should have to register as well.

  (1125)  

    Even the Prime Minister's senior bureaucrats recommended he set up a registry, but nothing has been done. Conservatives brought an opposition day motion in May 2023 calling on the government to create one. All the opposition parties here voted in favour of it as well. Canadians are still waiting to have a registry implemented. This House adopted that motion a year ago. For the sake of Canada’s democracy, the Liberal government cannot continue to dismiss the impact this interference has had on our elections. This was further confirmed by the recent findings by the commissioner.
    Conservatives will continue to fight any foreign interference from any country and put an end to any attempts by foreign governments to target Canadians and our elections. This issue is one of the most important we speak about in this House, because fundamentally it is about protecting our country and protecting our people from foreign governments that seek to target them.
    The duty of government to protect Canada and Canadians is one of its most important responsibilities, and yet, sadly, as we have seen over the past nine years, the government has failed to do this. We have seen unprecedented foreign interference for years in our democracy and in our communities, and yet the Liberal government has refused to take the action necessary to bring it to an end and send a message to foreign countries that Canada will not tolerate it anymore.
    Many immigrants who came to this country, like my family, came here for a safe future. Many immigrants came here because they left countries where they did not have freedom of speech, freedom of religion or freedom of thought and were not allowed to vote the way they wanted to vote. However, when they came to this country, it was like the Canadian dream they came here for, to live freely and to be able to express themselves through their religion, their thoughts and their words, was not there. They do not feel like they are in a country where they are able to do that. It is almost like they left a country and then came to one where they ask themselves what they left their old country for when they cannot freely express themselves here either. That is after nine years of the Liberal-NDP government failing to protect Canadians and failing to protect our democracy.
     Make no mistake, a common-sense Conservative government, under the leadership of the next prime minister, the member for Carleton, will do just that. We will restore the Canadian dream. We will act to secure our democracy, protect our people and end foreign interference anywhere within our borders. We will restore the hope that if people come to this country, they will be able to express themselves freely through their religion, their thoughts, their speech and their expressions. We will bring the once lauded Canadian dream back to this country once again.

  (1130)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I will keep the public interest in mind while making my remarks rather than uttering sentences in the future tense about some potential future government.
     No one can be against virtue. This is hardly a new idea. In fact, the greatest philosopher ever, Socrates, once said that “no one knowingly does evil”. Let us bear that in mind. This morning we are studying Motion No. 112, which deals with interference and violence. The motion is divided into three parts, which I will summarize to ensure that our arguments are placed in the proper context.
     The first section moves that the House of Commons recognize that “Canada takes global security very seriously.” As we know, Canada is part of the Five Eyes. Canada is maybe the fifth and a half country, but it is nevertheless a member of the Five Eyes and, as such, it receives and provides information on the national security of member states. In recent years, questions can certainly be asked about the effectiveness of this, because it seems that when it comes to interference, we have not reacted in a very timely way. Nevertheless, there is a desire to see Canada take global security seriously.
     The motion also discusses the killing of a Canadian citizen, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, in a place of worship on Canadian soil. This is an example of threats and interference by a country. India, Iran, Russia, China and many others are recognized for their practice of interfering in some way or another in the affairs of numerous states.
     The motion goes on to say that “the government should immediately review its measures that hold to account any person or agents of a foreign state undermining democratic institutions, engaging in acts of violence, or violating human or international rights, in order to bar these persons from entering Canada, and report to the House”. No one is against virtue.
     Reading Motion No. 112 made me smile a bit, I have to say. The motion—and it is a good motion—calls on the government to play the role it should have been playing. There should be no need for Motion No. 112 because these measures should already be in place. In concrete terms, Motion No. 112 talks about reviewing the measures Canada takes to hold to account foreign agents seeking to undermine democracy. No one can be against that.
     When it comes to ignoring measures, the government is number one. We have only to think of the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, the incidents involving Chinese interference, the incidents during the election that Justice Hogue commented on last week and the harassment of certain members of the diaspora. It seems to me that we should have started demanding accountability a long time ago. When we talk about accountability, we have to differentiate between matters of influence and matters of interference. Influence is leading someone to come on side of their own accord. Interference is meddling in someone’s affairs.
     We know that, since 2015-16, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service warned the government on a few occasions that there were risks or information that had to be taken into account. We know that in November 2020, the House of Commons adopted a motion to create a foreign agent registry, but that has still not happened. Actually, last November, I proposed introducing a bill to create such a registry, which would have some teeth and a very broad scope, but so far we have not seen anything. It has not yet happened.
    The interference issue, however, has been known for a long time. We could say that the government had a slightly naive view of China and was a bit complacent toward that country. Indeed, in all these years they have not done much, other than denying the bill or attempting to dodge the issue. This struck me in the case of the Winnipeg laboratory. Six hundred pages of the report were redacted, and now the equivalent of about 14 remain. That is certainly cause for concern.
    The same goes for the federal election. They said that nothing happened, but they realized that something perhaps did happen in the case of the member for Don Valley North and the former Conservative member for Steveston—Richmond East.
     In fact, it is interesting, because, although this report says there was interference, it also says there was no impact on the outcome of the election and that the same party would have come to power. However, it might not have been the same member sitting in the same place. It is important to realize that.

  (1135)  

     These types of missed opportunities include the 2023 Rosenberg report. There was an investigation into interference and the Trudeau Foundation. It is funny that just 23 out of the 23,000 words in the report referred to interference or to China. Here again, this looks like a missed opportunity or an attempt to dodge the issue.
     In the case of the Trudeau Foundation, cheques were written in Mandarin, donations were reimbursed and the board of directors was a bungling mess; in short, this was a crisis. The Trudeau Foundation is not the government, let us be clear about that. However, there is a connection, and there is a need to rebuild trust. In a democracy, trust is key. Trust is the act of delegating one's future to someone else. That requires a relationship of trust. Otherwise it does not work.
     Morris Rosenberg filed his report. I was rather dissatisfied with it. After that, we figured there would be an independent special rapporteur appointed. We recognized Mr. Johnston’s capabilities. However, we challenged his independence. We did not approve. He said that there was nothing there and that there were documents that could not be made public because they were classified as secret or top secret. Pressure was applied to help us get to the bottom of things. In short, Mr. Johnston resigned.
     Then there was the Hogue commission, which promised transparency and did a thorough job. It recently tabled a report confirming foreign interference, with nuances, of course.
     It was only once it had lost the people’s trust that the government agreed to take action. That is not reassuring. It does not build public trust in the government, since Canadians do not know whether our elections are working, if the nomination system is working, or if—getting back to my initial point—everything was done to protect national security.
     Personally, I like Motion No. 112. However, I cannot say that the government was quick to take action. Rather, it tried to make us believe that the Prime Minister was doing something. Not doing anything is not exactly taking action.
     With a foreign policy that, in my opinion, is vague at best, and perhaps even naive, we cannot manage these incidents piecemeal. We need a coherent vision to be able to provide a coherent response. For now, we appear to respond only when we are forced to do so, on a case-by-case basis. I believe we need to think about the rogue states around us, because there is an increasing number of them, and see what we can do.
     Since it would be hard to be against virtue, the Bloc Québécois will support motion Motion No. 112, despite the fact that it is a timid measure at best.
    Mr. Speaker, as I explained earlier, the NDP will support Motion No. 112, which seeks to prevent political interference, violence and intimidation on Canadian soil. I would like to thank the member for Surrey—Newton for moving this motion in the House.
     This is a very concerning issue for us. The Hogue commission, and particularly its first report, confirms it. Although Justice Hogue said that foreign interference had not impacted past elections, foreign actors could play a role in future elections. Consequently, we believe that the government should act immediately and establish a foreign agent registry.
     Protocols should also be put in place to facilitate the sharing of information. Clearly, information was not passed on during the 2019 and 2021 elections. Although this did not change the outcome of the election, it did in some way erode the trust Canadians might place in the electoral process. For this reason, protocols must be implemented. Procedures should be put in place to ensure that information flows and the government and authorities make decisions and take action, rather than simply observe what is going on.

  (1140)  

[English]

    We will be supporting Motion No. 112. The horrific murder of Mr. Nijjar, a Canadian citizen, that took place in Canada just a few kilometres from my home, is something that I think has been a wake-up call for Canadians right across this country. There is an ability for foreign governments to intervene in our country in a way that can be profoundly destructive to democracy, and in the case of Mr. Nijjar, it cost him his life. Our condolences go out to his family, friends and everyone who was associated with him. This was a horrible and tragic killing that can never be repeated. We commend the intelligence agencies and our police for having arrested the hit squad that was sent to kill him, and justice will be done. It is encouraging to know that justice will be served one day, and our thoughts are with his family.
    First and foremost, the NDP spoke up about foreign interference. It was in February that our leader, the member for Burnaby South, first raised the issue of having a public inquiry into foreign interference. Members will recall that at the procedure and House affairs committee the NDP brought forward a motion that eventually was debated and passed in Parliament with the support of four of the five political parties in the House.
    We then moved forward with an opposition day motion expressing non-confidence in the government's original intent around dealing with foreign interference and the appointment of a very distinguished special rapporteur, David Johnston as the appointment process simply did not have the confidence of the House. Members will recall that it was the NDP members who put forward that motion expressing non-confidence. I said at the time, as did the member for Burnaby South and a number of other NDP MPs, that if the House expressed non-confidence, we were confident that Mr. Johnston, out of his respect for Parliament and for democracy, would choose to step down. Indeed, Parliament adopted it, with four parties out of five voting in favour, and we expressed that non-confidence in the special rapporteur process, not in the individual. A week later, Mr. Johnston chose to respect that vote and resign.
    That opened the door for what we believed, since February, needed to happen, which was putting in place a public inquiry. Working very diligently over the summer, the House leaders were able to come up with the recommendation around an appropriate justice, Justice Hogue, who then began her work last fall and has issued the preliminary report that will lead to a final report by the end of this year.
    All these things came because the NDP felt very strongly that all types of foreign interference needed to be treated seriously. I think it is fair to say that the government has finally come around to that fact. All the recommendations that will be made by Justice Hogue by the end of this year need to be implemented. We have also been very vocal about implementing some measures immediately, such as putting in place a foreign agents registry. It is absolutely essential, and it needs to happen right away. We are going to continue to push the government to do this.
    In terms of the protocols within the information that comes to light with the government, it is very important that protocols be established. How to communicate that information to electoral authorities, potentially to candidates in an upcoming election and certainly to law enforcement in the horrific case of the murder of Mr. Nijjar, the information that comes forward, the intelligence, needs to be vetted and acted upon. The communication around that information needs to be handled effectively and carefully, of course.
    The reality is, I think, from the preliminary report of Justice Hogue, that it is not clear that this was the case and that the government seemed to be working with a very informal and not effective set of protocols. That needs to change. Motion No. 112 does speak to that, the importance of reviewing all the measures and taking new measures. I think it is fair to say that members from all corners of the House support that.
    I will raise concerns. I stood up to ask a question when one asked for questions on the official opposition response to this private member's bill, because it seems that there are some kinds of foreign interference that the official opposition condemns but others that it is less ready to condemn. I find that very disturbing. All forms of foreign interference should be condemned.
    We, of course, spoke out. The member for Vancouver East spoke very eloquently in the inquiry about interference from China. We have spoken very determinedly. Our foreign affairs critic from Edmonton Strathcona has spoken about interference from Iran. It is also equally important to condemn foreign interference coming from India and from Russia. Indeed, the public inquiry is looking into all of this.
    I note Balpreet Singh's comments around the official opposition and the member for Carleton, saying this last October: “I'm very disappointed to see His Majesty's loyal opposition leader”, the member for Carleton, “siding with a hostile foreign government against Canadian intelligence, Five Eyes intelligence and frankly the memory of a dead Canadian citizen.”
    We have also seen the unwillingness, just in this recent speech, to condemn what was a horrific murder and the ongoing interference that is coming from India as well.
    There is the issue around Russian interference, which played such a preponderant role in overthrowing the 2016 election, which led to the election of Donald Trump, and throughout the Brexit election, of which the people of the United Kingdom are still contending with the fallout from that foreign interference. To suggest that Russia, because of its massive social media reach into each and every Canadian home, is simply not something we should condemn is something I find quite disturbing.
    Unlike the official opposition, we condemn all forms of foreign interference. We are very concerned about the rise in foreign interference. It is for that reason, and to commemorate the horrific murder of Mr. Nijjar, that we will be voting in favour of this motion.
    We will continue the fight in the House of Commons to ensure that the government takes action on all forms of foreign interference and takes action now.

  (1145)  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of this very important motion, Motion No. 112. I would like to thank the member for Surrey—Newton for bringing this motion before us and, of course, for his dedicated service.
    Democracy has always been at risk and has been tested throughout history. Living here, in one of the world's greatest democracies, it is easy to forget how fragile it is. These are real threats posed by foreign governments who seek to intimidate diaspora communities in Canada. We need to combat these threats with new tools and resources to protect our democracy, our institutions and our way of life.
     Our government has taken some strong measures, like creating a National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians so that MPs could be briefed with gathered intelligence and sensitive information they can work with to make recommendations to government. Additionally, the security and intelligence threats to elections task force was installed to maintain the integrity of our electoral process.
    In budget 2024, we are committing $655.7 million over the next eight years, and $114.7 million in ongoing funding, to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service to enhance its intelligence capabilities, in addition to increased funding for the RCMP. These efforts demonstrate the commitment of the government to push back against the threats of foreign interference.
    While these are necessary steps, we recognize that they are not sufficient, and we need to modernize our approach and fight to protect ourselves. As Justice Hogue's recent report made clear, more work needs to be done to protect Canada's democracy and institutions from foreign interference. The murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar in front of the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Surrey is proof of how far some foreign actors will go to achieve their objectives, to harm opposing ideologies or to attempt to destabilize our strong and free nation.
    Canadian police and intelligence authorities need the necessary tools to track, and they must be equipped with the tools to expose threats from foreign state actors or from individuals from within Canada. I was encouraged to hear, during the recent RCMP press conference, that co-operation between the RCMP and its counterparts in the Five Eyes allied nations, particularly the United States, helped make these arrests possible. This is why Motion No. 112 specifically references the sharing of information and security intelligence to protect democratic institutions, to maintain the rule of law and to prevent violence and terrorism.
     However, we must do more to protect vulnerable diaspora communities and the integrity of our democracy. Gone are the days when the Conservative government thought it was a good idea to invite Chinese police officers to come here, to strike fear in the Chinese diaspora community and to repatriate people back to China.
    Motion No. 112 calls on the government to review its measures that hold to account any person or agents of a foreign state undermining democratic institutions, engaging in acts of violence or violating human or international rights in order to bar bad actors from entering Canada.
     At the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, we completed a study on foreign interference last year. We heard valuable testimony on steps Canada could take to address foreign interference, including a foreign agent registry. The registry has been mentioned a couple of times. The registry is another tool that could have the ability to protect our intellectual property, academic institutions, research and development, industry and innovation, but the registry lacks the strength to target clandestine actors.
    I reached out to CSIS officers for support and protection advice, and they recognized that a registry has its limits. Dan Stanton, the former executive manager at CSIS, told the committee that it still does not solve the issue of a proxy acting out illicit activities. When asked if a registry would blunt the attempts of the PRC to influence Canada's elections, he said that it would not.
     Stanton did recommend that the government should focus on the Security of Information Act. That is why I was encouraged to see our government take another strong step forward, this past November, to launch the consultations to amend the Security of Information Act and the CSIS Act to modernize our response to the ever-evolving threats.

  (1150)  

    The findings from the public safety consultations on amendments to the CSIS Act proved to be productive and thoughtful. The report found strong support for proposed amendments to section 16 of the act. Section 16 would close the gap created by technological evolution and regain the ability for CSIS to collect, from within Canada, foreign intelligence about foreign states and foreign individuals in Canada. The amendments proposed in the consultation for the Security of Information Act provided investigators and prosecutors with new categories of offences in response to the reality of modern, clandestine activity, in order to pursue hostile foreign actors from Iran, Russia, China, India or any hostile state.
    Notably, the Department of Justice received strong support for increasing the penalty for the preparatory acts offence in section 22 and expanding its scope of application to other Security of Information Act offences, as well as to the new foreign interference offences being proposed under the act. Rightly, the report was conscious of the risks these changes could pose to the charter and provided warnings to the government that safeguards are necessary to ensure that these powers are used only against foreign actors. I look forward to seeing revisions to the CSIS Act and the Security of Information Act in the House very soon.
    Foreign interference ranges from direct hostile action, such as the murder of Mr. Hardeep Singh Nijjar, to the spread of online misinformation and disinformation. The ethics committee is currently studying the effects of misinformation and disinformation on the work of parliamentarians. We heard fascinating testimony last week from Ben Nimmo, a threat investigator at OpenAI, who spoke about the range and success of various foreign interference plots. He spoke about some efforts that had tremendous impact, such as the Russian “hack and leak” operations in 2016 that targeted the United States. However, there are other initiatives, like the Russian operation Secondary Infektion between 2014 and 2019 that posted hundreds of pieces of content across hundreds of platforms, where very little of it was seen by real people, that did not have the intended impact.
    Again, foreign threats have been real for a long time. Russian state actors may have pioneered mass information activities, but other states are now emerging as leaders in these campaigns. We learned this recently from Justice Hogue's interim report and her findings. Although attempts to interfere in recent elections were not successful, we need to be increasingly vigilant about the intentions of hostile nations and make sure our security intelligence agreements with foreign states work to protect Canadians.
     As Abraham Lincoln once said, “The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present.” We must adapt our thinking and our actions to new realities, which is why I call on all members of the House to support Motion No. 112.

  (1155)  

    Is the House ready for the question?
    Some hon. members: Question.
    The Speaker: The question is on the motion.
    If a member participating in person wishes that the motion be carried or carried on division, or if a member of a recognized party participating in person wishes to request a recorded division, I would invite them to rise and indicate it to the Chair.
    Mr. Speaker, we request a recorded vote, please.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 93, the division stands deferred until Wednesday, May 8, at the expiry of the time provided for Oral Questions.
    The hon. member for New Westminster—Burnaby is rising on a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions and I hope you will find unanimous consent for the following motion that, notwithstanding any standing order, special order or usual practice of the House, (a) the amendment to the motion at second reading for Bill C-64, an act respecting pharmacare, in the name of the MP for Cumberland—Colchester, be deemed withdrawn, and (b) Bill C-64, an act respecting pharmacare, be deemed read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Health.
    I heard someone indicate that they do not give the motion unanimous consent, so there is not unanimous consent.
    On a point of order, the hon. member for New Westminster—Burnaby.
    Mr. Speaker, just to clarify, the Conservatives said no to the unanimous consent motion?

  (1200)  

    I cannot clarify that at all. There was not unanimous consent given by the House.
    On a point of order, the hon. member for Perth—Wellington.
    Mr. Speaker, to clarify, the NDP is trying to bring time allocation to a bill using a point of order.
    That sounds very close to debate, but I thank the hon. member for the point.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[English]

Budget Implementation Act, 2024, No. 1

Hon. Patty Hajdu (for the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance)  
     moved that Bill C-69, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 16, 2024, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    Mr. Speaker, what a pleasure it is to rise to start the debate on Bill C-69.
    Governments have an opportunity every year to set down in legislation initiatives that could have a wonderful impact. I look at Bill C-69 as a budget implementation bill that would really make a difference in the lives of Canadians. I would like to think that all members of the House would get behind the legislation and the budget for the many positive initiatives the budget would put in place for the benefit of all Canadians, no matter what region of the country they are in.
    I personally think there is a theme to be taken from the budget, which I hear many of my colleagues talk about, whether it is the Prime Minister or members of caucus, and that is a sense of fairness. We need to think about generation X and the millennials, and how the government can ensure there is a higher sense of fairness. We saw a good example of that in 2015-16 when we brought in our first budget. Taxation policy is important. Through the legislation and the budget, we will see there is a higher sense of fairness as we are look to the wealthiest in the country to pay a fairer share.
    This is not the first time. In fact in 2015-16, we put a special increase on the tax on Canada's wealthiest 1%. Today it is even a smaller percentage. We recognize there is a need for us to provide the good-quality programming the government has had over the last number of years, much of it being enhanced in the budget and legislation. Some of the programs we are seeing for the first time, and others are a continuation. What it really means at the end of day is that we have a government that very much cares about the well-being of Canadians and wants to support them in a fair fashion.
    If we look at overall government policies over the last eight-plus years, we will see that, in comparison to other countries in the world, Canada is doing relatively well. I will highlight a few of them. However, before I do that, I want to talk about the last few times the Prime Minister came to Manitoba. In my opinion, they highlight three areas Canadians understand and the fact that they very much appreciate the government's making them a high priority.
    Last year, the Prime Minister visited Stanley Knowles School in Manitoba, which is pretty close to the heart of Winnipeg North, to highlight child care. He visited a child care facility at Stanley Knowles School, and the reception was exceptionally positive as people understood what the Government of Canada was doing. For the first time, we have a national child care program that ensures $10-a-day day care. It has had a profoundly positive impact in the province of Manitoba and, indeed, in all of Canada.
    The Province of Quebec instituted it many years ago. We took the idea and turned it into a national program. As a direct result, not only are we making child care more affordable for Canadians but we are also enabling more women than ever, on a percentage basis, to get engaged in the workforce. It is no real surprise, as we anticipated that would happen. There are many benefits, as we have seen, of the $10-a-day child care program, the first ever by the national government. Every province and territory has now signed on, recognizing the true value.

  (1205)  

    For the second visit from the Prime Minister, I was able to participate in a press conference. The single greatest issue I have seen over the last 30-plus years as a parliamentarian, in my constituency and, I would argue, across Canada, is the issue of health care. We love our health care system. We are passionate about it. In fact, when I talk to many people and ask them what makes them feel good about being a Canadian, our health care system is often what comes up as the thing that helps us identify as and feel good about being Canadian.
    As members know, working with all the different provinces, the federal government came up with a generational commitment of $198 billion, not million, over 10 years. That would enable long-term financial planning in an area that Canadians are genuinely concerned about. At that particular press conference, we had not only the Prime Minister but also the national Minister of Health, the Premier of Manitoba, the provincial minister of health and the most important people, the health care workers there to witness the announcement for the Province of Manitoba.
    What took place in Manitoba is taking place across the country because, for the first time in over a generation, we have a Prime Minister who is committed to ensuring that we have a world-class health care system that deals with the issues we are hearing about at the doors from people. There are concerns about family doctors; concerns about health care workers; concerns about how we are going to be able to get things, such as credentials, recognized; concerns about how we can ensure that health care workers are being valued; and concerns about how we can bring additional health care workers and support staff into the system so that we are able to meet the expectations Canadians have.
    We are looking at ways in which we can expand into mental health like we have never done in the past. This is a government that cares about health care and is looking at the Canada Health Act and the benefits it provides every Canadian in every region.
    I made reference to child care and gave credit to the province of Quebec. For health care, a great deal of credit goes to the province of Saskatchewan, where it originated. More recently, we had the Prime Minister come to Winnipeg, and this time we were involved in a press conference that included not only the national Minister of Housing but also the premier of the province, provincial ministers and the mayor of Winnipeg. At that particular press conference, we dealt with the issue of housing.
    We are very much aware of the needs for housing. I have stood in this chamber on numerous occasions to talk about the importance of the issue of housing. It is somewhat hypocritical of the official opposition to stand in its place and criticize the federal government for not doing enough on housing. I compare what the Conservatives did when they were in government, and in particular the current leader of the Conservative Party, who I think built six non-profit housing units in total. He spent hundreds of millions and was able to get six built, but I did not necessarily want to get to that. It is a bit off track.
    The point is that we had a wonderful press conference with different stakeholders out in Transcona, where we had great participation from a wonderful housing complex, and we had the opportunity to talk about some of the things the federal government is doing. Working with the different levels of government, we are going to have an optimum impact on dealing with an issue that is so critically important to all Canadians.

  (1210)  

    What is providing a great deal of comfort is the fact that it is something we have been talking about for months now, even longer. I would not be surprised if we went back a couple of years, when members might have heard me talking about the issue of housing and how the best way to deal with housing issues in Canada is to have all three levels of government, and other stakeholders, engaged. That is the only way. It is not one level of government that cures all. It is going to take all levels of government working together, as well as the non-profit organizations.
    I often talk about Habitat for Humanity. Habitat is a wonderful organization. It has likely done more in building affordable housing than any other non-profit organization, at least that I am personally aware of. In the province of Manitoba, we are talking about hundreds of homes over the years. I believe we are somewhere in the neighbourhood of 600 homes built, all of which are affordable. These homes were provided to individuals who never would have had the opportunity to have housing.
    We had the stakeholders, the premier, the mayor and the Prime Minister in Winnipeg talking about things such as accelerating funding, providing supports to the City of Winnipeg so it can speed up its process, working with the province to ensure there is going to be more non-profit housing units built and that the province would be at the table, both in a financial fashion and with other forms of resources. This is to complement other budgetary measures, which dealt with, for example, the GST removal on purpose-built rentals for the country. These are initiatives for which Ottawa is not only taking upon itself and demonstrating leadership on but also working with the different levels of government. We are talking somewhere in the neighbourhood, through this budget, of just over four million new homes as a target in the coming years. That cannot be done by the federal government alone, and we have demonstrated our willingness to work with the different stakeholders, including our partners.
    There is also our commitment to indigenous housing and working within indigenous communities. In Winnipeg, indigenous communities stepped up and worked with the Hudson's Bay Company to develop housing in downtown Winnipeg. There is also what is taking place in rural communities across the country.
    The budget shows how important it is that we not only have a higher sense of fairness but also that we move forward with a healthy, stronger economy, which is in the best interest of all.
    One of the things I took away from the budget, which the Deputy Prime Minister made reference to, is something I want to highlight because, to me, it really does matter. It puts things into perspective. No matter how much the Conservatives want to spread misinformation, the reality is that, in comparison to other countries around the world, Canada is doing exceptionally well.
    I will give an example from the Deputy Prime Minister's speech and the stats on foreign direct investment. People and companies around the world looking at where to invest their hundreds of millions and billions of dollars will often look at Canada. Not only will they look at Canada, but they will also invest here. With direct foreign investment, on a per capita basis, Canada is number one out of the G7 countries. That is number one in direct foreign investment.

  (1215)  

    Throughout the world, per capita, Canada is number three. I would suggest that people, businesses and corporations around the world that are taking a look at where to invest are looking at Canada, and that is not an accident.
     Let me elaborate on that. No government in Canada's history has signed off on more trade agreements than this government, under this Prime Minister, has. No government in the history of Canada has signed off on more trade agreements than this government has. Canada is a trading nation. We need trade. All of us benefit from it. That is one of the reasons why, I would argue, people around the world are not only looking at Canada but also investing in Canada. They are doing that because they see the stability that is here, along with a myriad of other positive attributes.
    Members can take a look at the investments. The Conservatives have been critical. They do not like the fact that we are helping Volkswagen, for example—
    Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. There appears to be so little interest in this budget on the Liberal side of the House that we do not have quorum.
    I will ask the clerk to count the members present.
    And the count having been taken:
    We now have a quorum, and the debate will continue with the hon. parliamentary secretary.
    Madam Speaker, I do not how many times, when I was sitting on the opposition benches and Stephen Harper was the then prime minister, I could have called for a quorum count because there were no Conservatives in the chamber. I am talking about nine years ago when the Conservatives had a majority government.
     I will stay away from the games that the member opposite wants to play because I know he is a little sensitive about the issue of just how well Canada is doing in comparison to countries around the world, contrary to what the Conservatives say. The Conservatives have been going around the country with misinformation. They want to say that Canada is broken. If they really and truly believe that Canada is broken, what does that say about the world, when Canada is doing so much better in so many ways than the rest of the world? The bottom line is that the Conservatives are like a dark cloud, going all over the place to spread nothing but bad, sad news, which is often, consistently, based on misinformation.
    Where was I? I was talking about investments in Volkswagen. On the one hand, there are the far right Conservative Party members saying that they do not support the Volkswagen investment. Members can imagine a manufacturing plant that would take up the size of 200 football fields. It is going to be the largest manufacturing plant in Canada, in terms of land usage, and they are all to be green jobs. Doug Ford, the Progressive Conservative Premier of Ontario, is also putting up substantial financial support. At least he recognizes the value there. Just the other day, Honda made another huge investment in Canada. I believe it is Honda's largest investment ever in North America, and it deals with the electrification of vehicles.
    The government sees that green jobs are good jobs. We are investing in them in a very real and tangible way. We are going to see thousands of direct and indirect jobs. This is a government that understands the value of a healthy economy. Since being elected, we have generated well over two million jobs. In the same amount of time, we have had more than double the number of jobs that were created under Stephen Harper. We understand the benefits of a strong, healthy economy and of supporting Canadians.

  (1220)  

    Madam Speaker, the current Prime Minister has put more debt on Canadians' heads than has every single prime minister before him, combined. That led to doubling of the national debt and gave Canadians 40-year highs in inflation with the most rapid interest rate hikes, not seen in Canadian history. Now we see students living under bridges. We see that people like nurses and teachers, with well-paying jobs, are now having to live in their cars. There are food bank lineups, with two million people going to a food bank in a single month. With this budget, $54.1 billion will go to servicing just the interest on the debt that the Prime Minister accumulated, when it should be going to doctors, nurses and our health care. More is going to bankers, bondholders and the finance minister's Bay Street buddies than to health care transfers. Why?
    Madam Speaker, it was not that long ago when we had a worldwide pandemic. We literally spent billions and billions of dollars to support Canadians. Through CERB, we supported more than nine million Canadians. We supported hundreds of thousands of businesses, both directly and indirectly, again, costing billions and billions of dollars. The Conservative Party voted in favour of those expenditures. Therefore, with respect to much of the debt that the Conservatives criticize today, they actually voted in favour of our spending that money. It is like giving a kid a candy bar and then criticizing the kid for eating it. Really? The Conservative Party knows no bounds when it comes to hypocrisy and shame. Canada's debt is very much under control—
    Questions and comments, the hon. member for Longueuil—Saint-Hubert.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, my colleague just talked at length about housing in his speech. In 2017, the Liberal federal government launched its major national housing strategy, which would span a decade and cost $82 billion. It should have addressed all the housing needs of Canadians. Today, the latest CMHC reports say we need to build 5.8 million homes in Canada by 2030.
     Over the three weeks leading up to the budget, the Liberal government made daily housing announcements. Across Canada, the Liberals announced new programs and new spending. However, we noted substantial interference in provincial jurisdictions, to the tune of some 50 pages in the budget on housing—which we welcome. Does the fact the budget contains 50 pages on housing not constitute an admission of failure with respect to the $82-billion decade-long national housing strategy?

  (1225)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I think of the commitment in terms of working with the different stakeholders, provinces and territories building a stronger and healthier Canada. This is the big difference between me and members of the Bloc: I do not see the federal government strictly as an ATM; I believe that the federal government has a role to play, for example in things like a national pharmacare program and a national school food program. We have the Canada disability benefit, which I would love to have been able to expand on. We have the Canada dental program. There are so many things in which, as a progressive government, we are supporting Canadians in a very real and tangible way. That means working with people and working with different jurisdictions in order to have that profoundly positive impact, and I am very proud of that.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to refer to the part in this bill that would double the volunteer firefighter tax credit and the search and rescue tax credit. The hon. member for Courtenay—Alberni has really been pushing on this issue. He introduced a private member's bill, Bill C-310. He has introduced countless petitions, and I have tabled a few of them. We have spoken to volunteer firefighter and search and rescue organizations right across the country, and this is a really meaningful impact that the NDP successfully pushed the Liberals to adopt.
     Can the hon. member just talk about what the doubling of this tax credit and the NDP pressure to do so would mean for volunteer firefighters and search and rescue personnel who, in many rural communities, including mine in Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, do all that important work? What would it mean for them to be able to continue to serve our communities in the honourable way that they do?
    Madam Speaker, I appreciate the question, but I can honestly say that the strongest advocate I have ever seen with respect to firefighters is my friend the former deputy House leader, now parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Emergency Preparedness.
    What I like about the budget is that it is a true reflection of what Canadians have been advocating for to parliamentarians, both opposition and government members. I truly believe that. Therefore, when we look at the budget, what we see is a reflection of the values and thoughts of Canadians with respect to the type of budget they want to see. That is why, in my previous response, I made reference to things such as pharmacare, the national school food program and other types of social programs, along with economic policies that are going to help build a stronger and healthier economy.
    Madam Speaker, I appreciate that the member for Winnipeg North, the parliamentary secretary, recognizes that we are in a housing crisis.
    Back in budget 2022, there was a funding stream called the rapid housing initiative. It allocated $750 million a year over two years so that non-profits could apply to build non-market housing. Obviously, it was not enough. As a result of the crisis we are in, we need to see the government go further and faster.
    Non-profits in my community, from the YWCA to the House of Friendship and The Working Centre, are looking to this budget expecting dollars for them to build non-market housing. What do we see in budget 2024? It is down to $195 million a year, from $750 million. The $750 million was not enough, and this year's budget cuts it dramatically.
     Why does the parliamentary secretary think this is going to be enough to address the housing crisis we are in?
    Madam Speaker, it is important that we look at it from a holistic approach. At the end of the day, as a national government over the last seven or eight years, we can say that no government in Canada's history has invested more into housing, and we have done it in different ways. In this budget, we continue to amplify the need to get homes built as quickly as possible. That means, for example, working with the municipalities. I referred to the city of Winnipeg. I think it was around $192 million back in December, when we had a major announcement to try to speed up the processing of permits and so forth.
     Sometimes the money that is allocated benefits not only for-profit, but also not-for-profit organizations. I know that I, for one, continue to want to promote and encourage more development in the whole housing co-op area.

  (1230)  

    Madam Speaker, this week is Emergency Preparedness Week. With that, I would like to ask the member, my good friend from Winnipeg North, to talk a bit about the investments in budget 2024, not only with respect to the $800,000 for the International Association of Fire Fighters to help train wildland firefighters, but also with respect to first nations communities, to help build resilience. We are also funding our defence system. Can my colleague explain a bit more about what we are doing in terms of preparedness for Emergency Preparedness Week?
    Madam Speaker, all of the investments we have put into our Canadian Armed Forces, if not directly then indirectly, are a great way to prepare for all the different types of emergencies that take place in Canada. Many years ago, I participated with members of the armed forces in the city of Winnipeg to battle floods. During the pandemic, members of the forces, who are well trained, helped take care of seniors. Therefore, any sort of investment in the forces is always a good investment, from my perspective.
    When we talk about volunteer firefighters, the tax incentives and the dollars allocated to support them are a very powerful step in the right direction. However, knowing my colleague who asked the question, she will continue to be at the table to want more yet.
    Madam Speaker, before I begin, I would ask for unanimous consent to split my time with the hon. member for Niagara West.
    Does the hon. member have unanimous consent to split his time?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Madam Speaker, this is another budget bonanza, with $40 billion of new net inflationary spending. That is only going to add to the already doubled debt after nine years of the Liberal-NDP Prime Minister that caused 40-year highs in inflation and the most rapid interest rate hikes, not seen in Canadian history, which put Canadians most at risk in the G7 for a mortgage default crisis.
    It is hard to believe that we live in a country where there is going to be more money spent on paying the interest on the debt of the Prime Minister that Canadians are on the hook for, which is going to go to bankers, bondholders and the finance minister's Bay Street buddies, than what is supposed to go to the provinces in health transfers. There is more money for those who are sitting in ivory towers and less for the doctors, nurses and frontline workers who are supposed to be taking care of people in our health care system.
    After nine years of the Liberal-NDP Prime Minister, all this debt has accumulated on Canadians that future generations will have to continue to pay for. Who is not affected by any of this at all? It is the Prime Minister's trust fund friends and those Liberal-connected insiders who get the cushy contracts and whose assets get inflated as the Prime Minister caused an inflation crisis that we have not seen in 40 years. They get an increased value in their assets, and Canadians end up paying the price with higher taxes, a higher cost of living and a higher rate of crime, chaos, drugs and disorder in the streets.
    Food bank usage is at record highs. There are two million Canadians lining up at food banks in a single month, and a million more are projected this year. The sad part about all of this is that a third of those going to food banks are children.
    There are homeless encampments all across the country. People cannot afford housing. After spending $89 billion on housing, the government caused housing prices to double. Mortgages and rents have doubled. It takes double the time to save up for a down payment on a house. We hear stories about students who came here for a better future and have to live under bridges or in tents. We are hearing about nurses and teachers having to live in their cars because they cannot afford to eat and to heat and house themselves.
    Crime is ravaging our country.
    Back in the day, families like mine were promised something by Canada, that we could leave the countries we came from and experience what was sold as the Canadian dream. It is this illustrious thing that we used to hear about before we came to this country, where people could afford to buy groceries and eat, live in a nice house, and not just live in a nice house but be able to afford to buy a house, and walk down the street without fear of something happening to them.
    That was the promise of Canada, that people could run a business and not have the government interfere by putting up more red tape and bureaucracy and taking even more from them, that the government would not kick people while they are down and would give people a hand-up rather than handouts.
    That was the promise of this country before, but after nine years of the Liberal-NDP government, that Canadian dream is broken. The dream of home ownership, the dream of owning a business, the dream of having a safe future for our kids and having a place where groceries are affordable, it is all broken. It is an absolute nightmare. This is what we hear all across the country.
    This budget did nothing more than give the Liberal-NDP government more opportunities for photo ops and for travelling the country on the taxpayers' dime and taking photos beside projects that are already under construction while taking credit for them. The government's own housing department, the CMHC, has made it clear why there is a housing hell here in Canada. Housing starts will decline this year and next year. In fact, fewer homes will be started this year than in the 1970s, when we had half the population.
    The most incompetent immigration minister in history, who is now the housing minister, was told by his own department two years ago that if the government followed through with its policies, the already existing housing crisis would get worse. What did he do? He ignored the department's warning. He ripped it up, ignored it, and housing costs got even more expensive.

  (1235)  

    Not only that, the promise that people came here for is broken; it is gone. More and more young people, nine out of 10, in fact, have given up on the dream of home ownership. Five million more homes need to be built in the country than what is already projected to be built. However, it is because of the government's gatekeeping that houses are not being built.
    I used to be a home builder before this political life, and I do not know any tradesperson or builder who says that they want more government interference, that they want more government red tape and bureaucracy, that they want the government to take more from them and give Canadians a lot less. In fact, in a free market, we should let the market decide what kinds of homes need to be built, and let builders build and let buyers buy.
    It is these high interest rates that have been caused by the government, the most rapid that we have seen in Canadian history to fight the inflation that the government created, which is keeping builders from building, developers from developing and buyers from buying. This is the crisis after nine years of the Liberal-NDP government's failed policies. Household debt is the most in the G7, the most we have ever seen. This is from a government that brags about its photo-op slush fund, that it has spent $89 billion to create the crisis we see in Canada.
    There is another emerging crisis here, and that is the productivity crisis. In fact, it was a big deal. It is a stark warning by the Bank of Canada's deputy governor, Carolyn Rogers, who said that productivity in our country is a “break glass” crisis. It is a big deal when the Bank of Canada says that. If it is saying that it is raining, there is probably a big storm brewing that will hit Canadian.
     With a six consecutive GDP-per-capita decline, we see less growth in our economy success per person, or what we call “GDP-per-capita”, than what it was in 2017. After nine years of making billions of dollars run away from our economy, not having any new investment come in and not letting projects get built, the result is that Canadians are poorer than they have ever been before.
    Let me be clear that Canada was not like this before the Liberal-NDP Prime Minister and it will not be like that after he is gone. Under a common-sense Conservative government, led by our Conservative leader, we will bring the Canadian dream, the Canadian hope, back to our country. If people work hard, they will be able to see a better future for themselves, their kids and future generations.
     How are we going to do that? We are going to get some of the large-scale projects, green-light green projects and stop getting in the way of our resource sector so we can have more powerful paycheques for our people and not give more dollars for dictators abroad.
    We recently saw Japan, Greece and other countries come here for LNG, and the Prime Minister said that there was no business case. Under such a radical, ideological-obsessed government with the carbon tax, of course there is no business case. However, we will bring Canada back on the world stage with our low-carbon, responsible, clean energy sector. We are going to axe the tax.
    We are going to bring in four very simple things. A common-sense Conservative government will axe the tax to bring down the cost of gas, groceries and home heating. We are going to build the homes by requiring municipalities to increase their permitting by 15% to get more supply into the market. We are going to fix the budget. We all know now that budgets do not balance themselves. We will bring in a dollar-for-dollar law to cap government spending so that interest rates and inflation can come down and Canadians can stay in their homes. We are also going to stop the crime. We are going to bring in jail, not bail policies, and help those who need treatment to get back on their feet so we can help our brothers and sisters recover from addictions and ensure that we have safer streets in our country once again. We are going to bring home the Canadian dream.

  (1240)  

    Madam Speaker, I want to congratulate the hon. member on the other side. I think he hit every single one of the Conservative slogans that he was required to by the whip. Nothing was really said, but all the slogans were hit.
    I have asked a number of members about this, and the hon. member brought it up. He says that cutting the price on pollution will reduce the price of groceries. However, when we look to the United States, which does not have a national price on pollution, grocery prices have increased at the same rate as they have in Canada.
     I wonder if the hon. member can explain why it is happening in the United States without a national price on pollution. Is it not truly just a misleading fact that cutting the price on pollution will have in impact on groceries, like he has said?
    Madam Speaker, let me tell the House what is misleading. The Liberals sold this carbon tax scam to Canadians, telling them that it would reduce emissions. However, their own environment department said that this was false because it was not even tracking it. They know, just like this carbon tax, that the Prime Minister is not worth the cost. In fact, emissions went up again in the country.
    They also sold this scam by saying that more Canadians would get more back in these phony rebates than what they pay into it. However, their own Parliamentary Budget Officer proved that wrong when he said, multiple times, that a majority of households would pay more into this scam than what they would get back in these phony rebates.
    We will not take any lessons from the government. We will green-light green projects and bring down emissions, while keeping more money in the pockets of Canadians.
    Madam Speaker, my Conservative colleague missed a real opportunity in his speech, which is to call out the real elephant in the room when it comes to inflation, and that is corporate greed.
    Those members like to go on and on about the carbon tax, but conveniently ignore that, since 2019, oil and gas companies have seen their net profits go up by over 1000%. Grocery retailers have seen their profit margins double, their net profits double.
    If we look at our farmers, their input costs have gone up. That is why farm debt has gone up so much over the last 20 years and that is why the consumers at the other end are getting screwed.
    When are the Conservatives going to get serious about calling out the corporate greed? Are they going to be like the Liberals and continue the deference that we have seen over the last 40 years through successive Liberal and Conservative governments?
    Madam Speaker, it is too bad. It is the NDP that will never miss an opportunity to prop up the most corrupt, incompetent government in Canadian history. The NDP is literally the reason why there is not enough competition in our country. It is literally the reason why Canadians are going into food banks. It has propped up and supported the NDP-Liberal Prime Minister, all for the greed of its leader's pension.
    Those members need to put that aside and think about the suffering that they are helping cause on Canadians by teaming up with the Liberal-NDP Prime Minister. It is time to step out of the way.
    Why does he not do the right thing and stop propping up the government? Let us go to a carbon tax election and let Canadians decide whether they want to keep this carbon tax scam or not.

  (1245)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I listened to my Conservative colleague's speech, and I would like him to set the record straight regarding the housing crisis we are experiencing. I heard him say something that I thought was simplistic, about letting builders build and letting buyers buy.
     Does he think that it is fair to rely solely on market forces in a housing crisis of this magnitude? Does he think that the market will respond to the urgent need for social and affordable housing? What measures does my colleague's political party intend to adopt that will truly prioritize social and affordable housing?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, nothing is sustainable right now. It is these high interest rates that are stopping builders from building and buyers from buying. In fact, it is these high interest rates where, now, 2.2 million mortgages are up for renewal. There is a mortgage default crisis looming, according to the IMF. That is literally what is keeping builders from building and people from getting into homes in the first place.
    It is too bad. The Bloc is continually supporting the government and—
    Resuming debate, the hon. member for Niagara West.
    Madam Speaker, as always, I am honoured and proud to stand in this place and speak on behalf of the constituents of Niagara West.
    I want to start by reading a quote. It states:
    One of the biggest pressures on people right now is housing. Young Canadians – particularly Millennials and Gen Z – are being priced out of their communities. Families are finding it difficult to get a good place to settle down. Rising rents and the high cost of buying a home are making it more difficult for younger generations to find a place to call their own. We need more homes in Canada, and we need to keep them affordable.
    Where did I find this quote? In one of the government's news releases last week.
    After nine years of bungling the economy, inflation, taxation and housing, the government finally has acknowledged that what it has been doing is not working. It is acknowledging that it has done generational harm to millennials, gen Z and other younger folks. It is that simple and it is written down. The government has admitted it in that very statement.
    What the Liberals say after are their usual promises about to be broken. By the way, they are recycling their promises from nine years ago. If they have not been able to get things done in nine years, who is going to believe that they will be able to get things done now? Absolutely no one.
    At this point, Canadians no longer believe the Liberals. Millennials and gen Z do not believe them. Why? According to reports, nearly 60% of retirees are supporting their adult children financially. What does this do to the finances of their parents? Of course, it is having a negative impact.
    Whether younger or older, the Liberals are making everyone poorer. How much poorer? The average Canadian family is poorer by $3,687. Families that used to donate to food banks are now going to food banks for themselves. We have record visits to food banks, two million visits in a single month.
    To make matters worse, Canada will spend $54.1 billion to service its national debt: $54.1 billion is a lot of money to pay just on interest; $54.1 billion is more money than the government is sending to the provinces for health care. This was entirely self-inflicted. The Liberals will blame the world, they will blame Conservatives and they will blame everyone and anyone they can think of. They call them horrible names. We know the Liberal playbook and Canadians are wise to it as well.
     It is time for the government to take responsibility for the financial mess it has created, a mess that many Canadians can no longer endure. People are leaving Canada. Immigrants come to our country and realize it is impossible to afford a life, and oftentimes leave and take their skills elsewhere.

  (1250)  

    The Liberals admitted their failures in a statement, so there is no backtracking anymore. It has been nine years of abject failure on the housing file and many others. Young folks cannot afford to buy a home. Most have given up and think of owning a home as only for the rich. Eight out of 10 believe that owning a home in Canada is now only for the rich. This is a staggering statistic.
    It is the first time in Canada when young Canadians will be worse off than their parents were, and it is not just now. Unless a younger person purchases a home, they are unlikely to build significant equity. This would result in much smaller retirement savings down the road. Therefore, young folks may be worse off for the rest of their lives because of the Prime Minister and his policies. It was not this way when the Prime Minister was elected in 2015, and it will not be this way when he is gone. Let us be frank: If the Liberals caused it for the past nine years, they do not know how to fix it. It is very clear, and their record speaks for itself. It is a photo op government, but that is where it ends: at photo ops. Conservatives will be the getting-things-done government in due time.
    Still on the topic of housing, interest rates are also a major factor as to why folks cannot buy homes. Last week at committee, the Governor of the Bank of Canada once again confirmed that the Prime Minister's spending is “not helpful” when it comes to bringing down inflation and lowering interest rates. That is just a toned-down way of saying he should stop the spending. That is what the Governor of the Bank of Canada really wants to say, but he cannot because of the political waves he would create. However, Canadians are wise and can read between the lines. The fact is that $61 billion in new spending is making inflation worse and causing interest rates to stay higher for longer. This spending is the equivalent of pouring fuel on the inflationary fire.
    Folks watching at home should keep in mind that inflation is just another tax on them. It is not enough that the Liberals increased the disastrous carbon tax by 23% and will make sure to increase it every year on April 1. They cannot help themselves, and this will only make things worse with inflationary budgets.
    If the government members do not believe me, they should listen to their fellow Liberals. What are some of their Liberal pals saying about how things are going? According to one article, former finance minister Bill Morneau said that this budget is a “threat to investment [and] economic growth” and companies will “think twice about investing in Canada.” Another Liberal, David Dodge, former governor of the Bank of Canada, said that the budget is the “worst budget since...1982.” Former Liberal finance minister John Manley told the Prime Minister that he was pressing on the inflationary gas pedal with his spending, which ballooned interest rates.
    I mentioned the carbon tax. Let us go back to that for a second. The carbon tax is the government's notoriously bad signature policy. Almost every provincial premier has publicly come out against it. The carbon tax makes everything more expensive without having any impact on the environment. What is happening with this? The government hiked the carbon tax, but emissions still go up. According to the government, if carbon taxes go up, emissions should go down. That is false. That is not the case, and that is not true. What is true is that the carbon tax is just another cash grab for the Liberals, and everyone knows it. The Liberals just refuse to admit it.
    The Parliamentary Budget Officer has also been very clear that the majority of Canadians will pay more of their money in carbon taxes than they will get back in rebates. In other words, the Liberals take more than they give back, and they expect Canadians to thank them for this rip-off. Canadians are wiser than the Liberals think. Seventy per cent of Canadians are against the carbon tax, because they see it for the scam that it is.
    The Prime Minister and his party, though, through their disastrous policies of the last nine years, are playing with people's lives and do not seem to care that folks are hurting. They are hurting badly. The Prime Minister has doubled their rent, their mortgage payments and the down payment necessary to purchase a home. He is making Canadians pay higher taxes for food and heating, while doubling housing costs. Family budgets are broken. There is nothing extra, or even a negative amount, at the end of the month when all the bills are paid.
    Conservatives have had three demands for the budget: axe the carbon tax on farmers and food; build homes, not more bureaucracy; and cap spending with a dollar-for-dollar rule to bring down interest rates and inflation. All three are common-sense policies. All three would make life more affordable for Canadians, but the Liberals refuse to do any of them.
    Are Liberals too blinded by the ideology of big ballooning government gone out of control to see that what they are doing is hurting Canadian families and their wallets? They are also hurting small businesses, investment and productivity.

  (1255)  

    One knows that things have gotten very bad when, among Canadians who do not own a home, over seven in 10 say that they have actually given up hope on ever owning one. That is not the Canada I know.
    Business insolvencies surged by 87% year over year in the first quarter of 2024, while consumer insolvencies rose by 14%. BNN Bloomberg reported, “The Canadian Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Professionals...said that's by far the largest year-over-year increase in business insolvencies in 37 years of records.” The association's chair, André Bolduc, said, “A perfect storm of economic challenges is brewing, with high mortgage renewal rates, soaring rental prices, and elevated costs of everyday necessities”. He added, “The high cost of servicing debts is also compounding the financial strain for many Canadians and leaving them grappling with insurmountable debt burdens.”
    What the government has given Canadians is consistently increased carbon taxes, high inflation, more taxes, more inflation, housing shortages, a housing crisis and a cost of living crisis. When does this financial debacle end? One thing is for sure: It will not end with the current government and the current Prime Minister at the helm.
    Their disastrous policies have to end with an election, which would allow for a strong, stable majority Conservative government. We are ready to go on day one. There is a lot for us to fix. The government has created this mess, and it will not be easy to clean up, but we are committed. Our leader is committed.
    I would like to add an amendment.
    I move:
    That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following:
“the House decline to give second reading to Bill C-69, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 16, 2024, since the bill fails to implement a commonsense budget that would:
(a) axe the carbon tax;
(b) build the homes, not bureaucracy, by requiring cities to permit 15% more home building each year as a condition for receiving federal infrastructure money; and
(c) cap the spending with a dollar-for-dollar rule to bring down interest rates and inflation, by requiring the government to find a dollar in savings for every new dollar of spending.”
    The amendment is in order.
    Questions and comments, the hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader.
    Madam Speaker, it is interesting that the Conservatives would incorporate the issue of housing into the amendment itself. All one needs to do is take a look at the leader of the Conservative Party. When he was minister of housing, it was virtually a disaster. Hundreds of millions of dollars were spent, and I think six non-profit housing units were actually built during his term as minister. We have a government today that is bringing in budgetary measures and working with municipalities, provinces and different stakeholders to build more units.
    What more does he believe the Conservative Party could actually do to see more houses built? Is he suggesting that we go back to the way it was when his leader was the minister of housing?

  (1300)  

    Madam Speaker, one thing my colleague talks about is the hundreds of millions of dollars they are spending, and my challenge with the government is its competence level. At the end of the day, the government has no problem spending money. The challenge is actually getting results.
    We do not have to go back very far. There was a previous question talking about the fact that the government had spent all this money under COVID and all these other kinds of things. I want to remind the member that there was a sole-source contract for $720 million for ventilators, and $237 million went to one of their former colleagues, Frank Baylis.
    We talk about spending money. We also need to keep in context accountability, transparency and making sure that we are getting the job done. Any government can promise to spend money; the current government is awesome at spending and making promises. What it is terrible at is actually delivering, and what it is absolutely incompetent at is managing taxpayers' money in a responsible way.
    What happened to all those ventilators? Some are still in their packaging and still on docks, and they are actually being sold for six dollars for their parts. This is the height of incompetence.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech, though I do not agree with much of it. I have a very specific question for him.
     We in the NDP worked hard to get a new dental care program in place so that the most disadvantaged people and seniors could access dental care practically for free, starting this year.
     As of last week, we have already started to see people going to the dentist and having their bill paid in full, or 90% of it. That will be a game-changer for the millions of Canadians and Quebeckers who are suffering terribly because they have not able to go to the dentist for years.
    Will my colleague's party commit to maintaining the dental care program for the middle class and the most disadvantaged if it wins the next election?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, some things we will commit to are getting spending under control, making sure that how we spend money is transparent and making sure we get value for our money.
    Quite frankly, the member and his party are the ones propping up the government. At the end of the day, they can raise any concern they want; they can huff and puff or do whatever, depending on what their concern is. However, they still support the government and the bad decisions the Liberals make on a regular basis.
    If we are looking for ways to help people, one way would be to learn to live within our means, so we can continue to make sure that our cost of living comes down. Interest rates can then follow after that.
    Madam Speaker, I am thankful to my colleague for bringing forward a common-sense motion. He spoke about how the government has been great at spending money but falls short on results. To address housing, the government brought forward a bunch of programs. It doubled the cost of housing to try to address the cost of groceries. It spent a lot of money, and recent grocery prices increased along with inflation. That has caused a lot of economic hardship for Canadians across the country.
    Does my colleague have any stories he could share, from what he has heard in his own riding, about how the Liberal tax-and-spend agenda is making life more difficult for Canadians?
    Madam Speaker, as a matter of fact, just this past Friday, I was at a round table on poverty with people from the community, which gave me an opportunity to hear from people who are struggling. They shared their stories about how they are having a hard time paying their property taxes and rent; they are having a hard time paying for their groceries. The fact remains that, ever since the government came into power, people have been struggling as they have at no other time in history.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I would like to seek the unanimous consent of the House to share my time with the invaluable member for Thérèse-De Blainville.
    Does the member have unanimous consent to share his time?
    Hon. members: Agreed.
    Madam Speaker, this budget is unacceptable to the Bloc Québécois because it is unacceptable to Quebeckers. Let us keep the suspense for the movies: We are voting against the budget.
    This is a budget that, in many ways, feeds on human misery. It is a budget of fiscal imbalance. This budget is the soul of the federal spending power, through which the federal government assumes the right to impose conditions on Quebec in its own areas of jurisdiction. These are areas in which the federal government does not have the right to legislate, such as housing and health care, among others. It is unacceptable.
    Quebec has denounced the Liberal government, along with its NDP allies. Last week, the National Assembly unanimously adopted a motion. Not a single Quebec MNA refused to vote in favour of this motion, which called for the right to withdraw with full financial compensation for Quebec in the event of interference into its jurisdictions, as is the case with this budget. These are what we call Quebec's traditional demands.
     Every Quebec government dating back to well before I was born made this demand, in particular the Jean Charest-led government, which included the member for Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis. Had she been in Quebec, she probably would have voted in favour of this motion, rather than voting against last week’s proposal by the Bloc Québécois to give Quebec that right of withdrawal.
     Last week during question period, a minister, whose name and title I shall not mention since this was partially private, yelled from one side of the House to the other to ask me what was a unanimous consent motion by the National Assembly worth. According to this individual, there is one every month, since the National Assembly is always unanimously criticizing the federal government.
     This helps us understand just how wide the gap is between Canada and Quebec from a budgetary standpoint. Rather than turning to Quebec and showing the province a modicum of understanding and respect, Ottawa says Quebec is wrong to ask for respect in its own areas of jurisdiction. There we have it, the Liberal ministers showing the depths of their contempt. Above all, they are showing their total inability to admit that they are wrong and that they should not interfere in areas outside their jurisdiction they are incompetent to manage. No jurisdiction and no competence makes for an incompetent federal government.
     This is an omnibus bill. Right off the bat I expect that the member for Winnipeg-North, an outstanding debater, will likely rise shortly, although my saying so now might dissuade him. He is going to tell me there is something or other that is good in the budget, that there are not just bad things in the budget, that some of what it contains is acceptable. Fine, except that this is an omnibus bill, a bill that has everything and anything and that amends numerous acts and regulations.
     In such instances, our values must guide us and we must draw a red line. We in the Bloc Québécois have been transparent. We signalled this red line to the government before it tabled the budget. We told the Liberals that if they wanted, then maybe they could possibly consider seeking the Bloc’s support. One never knows, the NDP might leave their side.
     In exchange for this support, we wanted the right to opt out of programs under Quebec's jurisdiction with full financial compensation. Is that included in the bill? Not only is it not included, but the Conservatives, the Liberals and the NDP voted against the amendment to the amendment that we moved to add it to the budget. They voted against Quebec's National Assembly and against all the Quebec governments that have made this request since the 1950s. What the NDP and Liberals are telling us is that they do not think the Quebec government is doing a good enough job in its own areas of jurisdiction and that they do not trust it. However, some of the problems that Quebec is having with health care, education and housing are due to the fact that it does not have full freedom to act, because the federal government is standing in the way.
     We asked for old age security to be increased starting at age 65, but that is not in the budget. We asked for an end to the fossil fuel subsidies, but there are fresh subsidies in this budget, and the government is promising a plan. The Minister of Environment said that the government had abolished inefficient fossil fuel subsidies. However, when we asked him what “inefficient” meant, he could not even define it. The reality is that the tax incentives took on a differnt form.

  (1305)  

     The federal government owes Quebec $900 million. As François Pérusse put it, “a debt is a debt” and must be repaid. The federal government owes Quebec $900 million because we had to give asylum seekers integration classes, French classes, health services and so on. Quebec incurred these expenses and paid for them with Quebeckers' money. This budget is a slap in the face for Quebec.
     Instead of granting unconditional housing transfers, the federal government decided to impose even more conditions. Quebec has had permanent housing construction programs for decades. Now, at a time when people are living on the streets, sleeping in tents or in their cars, the government got the brilliant idea to add even more red tape. The Liberals seem to think this is the best Liberal idea this year.
     The consequences are serious, tragic and inhumane. For ideological reasons, this government is determined to crush Quebec and its desire to take action in its own areas of jurisdiction. The other provinces can do what they want, but this urge to crush Quebec is having tragic and inhumane consequences. The same is true when it comes to health.
     This may not be the worst part, but what makes this bill even more unacceptable is the part about open banking. Banks have changed. The big banks have basically become financial product factories, selling loans, insurance and other financial products. Consumers often use third-party apps to deal with banks. The banks manufacture the financial products, and the apps handle the customer service for those products. This needs to be regulated. These transactions involve personal and private information.
     The government had three choices. First, it could have opted for the Interac model, where the industry regulates itself. For instance, take Desjardins in Quebec, provincially regulated financial institutions, and credit unions in the rest of Canada. They coordinate with the banks so that the information that is shared is regulated, customers receive their product and their information is protected. This involves some self-regulation. We are not huge fans of this model, but it could have worked. However, the government said it was not interested.
    Then there was the second approach, which is more collaborative and involves securities commissions. This is where Ottawa sits down with Quebec, in particular. Not only is Desjardins the biggest employer in Quebec, but it is also its biggest financial institution. The idea would be to harmonize our laws and regulate the exchange of information to protect consumers, while ensuring that they receive quality service and that new banking services meet their needs. Ottawa, which says it is still working with Quebec, has closed the door on that option.
    The government has therefore decided to introduce legislation that will lead to a plan next fall, under which federal financial institutions will be included in the legislative framework. Desjardins and other Quebec co-operatives are literally being told that they have the choice of ignoring Quebec's Consumer Protection Act, ignoring Quebec's Bill 25 on privacy protection and that, if they want, they can come into the federal fold. They will fall under Ottawa's jurisdiction, which contradicts the most basic spirit of co-operation.
    That is exactly how the federal government behaved. It not only stomped all over Quebec's jurisdictions, it held a knife to Quebec's throat. It behaved a bit like that when it imposed a securities commission that was supposedly national, but in reality centred on Toronto, before the Supreme Court ruled against it. The government is not open to talking with Quebec.
    The Liberals can go ahead and list all the good things they want about Bill C‑69. They can try to convince us that Ottawa knows better than Quebec when it comes to managing hospitals, operating child care and fixing teeth, but that will not not change the fact that this is a bad budget. It goes against Quebec and Quebec's interests as framed by every Quebec government throughout history.
    Once again, I am announcing that not only will the Bloc Québécois vote against, but I will be pleased to rise and vote no.

  (1310)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I am sure the member would not be surprised that I disagree with him.
    Looking at this budget, there are many progressive aspects to it, whether it is pharmacare, the national school food program, the disability benefit or the expansion of the Canada dental program. These are all programs that would benefit Canadians in every region of the country.
    The issue my friend brings up is in regard to giving cash to provinces. From my experience of being a provincial MLA for almost two decades I can say that, for a lot of the provinces and a lot of provincial politicians, that is all they want from Ottawa. They want the government to give them money and they do not want to be held accountable for how they spend the money. They just want the money. However, the expectations of the people we represent are higher than Ottawa just being an ATM machine.
     I wonder if the member would recognize that one of the ways we could have programs that help lift all Canadians is by instituting a national program. Does the member not recognize there is value, for example, in a national school food—

  (1315)  

[Translation]

    I will give the hon. member for Mirabel time to answer the question.
    The hon. member for Mirabel.
    Madam Speaker, the immigration minister is in the bad habit of saying during question period that we take the federal government for an ATM. That may be because it is our money, drawn on our account, that is in this ATM. Quebeckers' national government is in Quebec City. I have no interest in what Manitobans think about this. If they want centralized programs, fine. Quebec, for its part, is asking for the right to opt out.
     There is nothing progressive about being bad. There is nothing progressive about setting up a dental care system that already exists in Quebec, while the infrastructure already exists in Quebec. There is nothing progressive about not recognizing that drug insurance is provincial and that everyone in Quebec is already covered in some fashion or another. There is nothing progressive about not recognizing that unilateral measures cannot be put in place. There is nothing progressive about doubling and tripling red tape for housing programs or to build affordable housing units. This just adds delays. There is nothing progressive about that.
     What is progressive is to listen to Quebec and let it act in its own areas of jurisdiction.
    Madam Speaker, I listened closely to my colleague's remarks. There is a double standard when it comes to the Bloc Québécois. It is true that in the past, the Bloc voted against the budgets, but they voted in favour of the budgetary appropriations. We are talking about $500 billion in inflationary, centralizing spending.
     Why does the Bloc Québécois always vote in favour of the budgetary appropriations? Will the Bloc vote for the budgetary appropriations associated with this year's budget?
    Madam Speaker, the Member for Lévis—Lotbinière talks about a double standard, and yet he always votes against Quebec and for Alberta. He votes against the right to opt out with full financial compensation for Quebec, but he has no problem giving oil companies $55 billion or $60 billion in financial incentives. This is paid for with Quebeckers' money meant for day care, health, education, social programs, housing and refugees but it ends up in the pockets of oil companies. Is that not a double standard?
     In the Bloc Québécois, for as long as I can remember, we have not supported any of Ottawa's budgetary policies because we always set conditions. As far as we are concerned, common sense is set out in black and white. Our conditions are clear and reasonable. That is why Quebeckers vote for us.
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his fiery and passionate speech. I want to talk about more than just motions, institutions and parliaments. I want to talk about Quebeckers. Some four million Quebeckers have no dental coverage, whether private or public.
    People voted for us, the NDP, to come to Ottawa and fight to give people access to a dentist, and we did. We used our balance of power and we delivered.
    What does my colleague have to say to the seniors and people with disabilities in his riding who will benefit from having 80% or 90% of their dental care paid for?
    Madam Speaker, I will tell them what I told a woman from my riding recently. When the details of the program were not yet available, she realized that she would have to pay with her credit card and then go onto the CRA portal to apply for a refund. Then, after having to wait for the refund, she would only be reimbursed for half the amount. Children are covered in Quebec. There is already a system in place and dentists are participating in it.
    The government could have reimbursed people automatically so that they would not have to pay for their dental care out of their own pocket. People often have to use their credit card at an interest rate of 20%. That is what doing a good job means in a federal context. That is what Quebeckers are telling us. That is what they are experiencing. They are paying 20% interest to provide advances to the federal government for these services because it is the CRA that has to issue the refund.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his speech. My colleagues are going to hear something similar, because the Bloc Québécois is here to defend Quebeckers' interests. This budget does not live up to the needs, interests or aspirations of Quebeckers or the people in my riding.
     It abandons seniors, workers and the unemployed. It erodes their confidence and ours. We have made it clear: the Bloc Québécois will be voting against the budget. We have always said that if something is good for Quebec, we will vote for it, and if something is not good for Quebec, we will vote against it. This budget and its implementation bill clearly do not live up to Quebeckers' needs or aspirations at all.
     It is a shameful attempt to interfere in Quebec's areas of jurisdiction on a number of levels. It interferes in health and education, as well as clean energy when it comes to Hydro-Québec, which we are proud to say is ours. It also interferes in housing and other areas.
     The government could show a bit of sportsmanship. We asked for something in a motion presented to the House. We wanted Quebec to have the right to opt out with full compensation. However, the New Democratic Party, the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party voted against the motion, which respected Quebec's areas of jurisdiction.
     That is no small matter because, in the end, I get the impression and we get the impression that they could not care less and that they are not at all concerned. I think I have just used a parliamentary term. This is such an issue that motions have been passed in Quebec's National Assembly demanding this right and telling the three federal parties to mind their own business, stay out of our areas of jurisdiction and respect the robust health and social services and housing programs we have built in Quebec. These motions ask that they respect us and allow us to continue managing these programs that have improved Quebeckers' lives, with full compensation.
     However, the reality is very different. On the one hand, the government is spending millions and billions of dollars on programs that should be under Quebec's jurisdiction and, on the other, it is not spending a dime to improve the services for which it is responsible.
     When I was elected in 2019, I put one priority atop my list of three priorities: public service. In fact, I commend the people of my riding on their grasp of the issues relating to the support available to citizens, organizations and businesses. They are very concerned about these issues.
     I would say that most of the files we deal with have to do with immigration. This comes under federal jurisdiction in many regards, particularly with respect to newcomers, asylum seekers, visa applications, sponsorship applications and family reunification applications. The processing delays are unacceptable.

  (1320)  

     Underprivileged, disadvantaged people come to see us regularly to inquire about the status of their file. These delays fly in the face of our humanitarian duty to these individuals. What is the government doing? Where in the budget does it say that these unacceptable processing delays will be reduced? Where in the budget does it say that action will be taken on immigration policy to respect Quebec's demand and integration capacity? In this case too, the stated requirements are completely ignored, which is to the great detriment of those we welcome here. Indeed, in Quebec, our integration policy is important, just as much as our policy on newcomers' French language training. In order for these policies to be respected, Quebec needs leverage, just as it needs a federal immigration policy that does not impose delays or conditions that ultimately erode our capacity. We stand against this.
     The Phoenix pay system is the responsibility of the government, which employs thousands of people in the federal public service. When it was elected in 2015, the government made a firm commitment to changing the Phoenix pay system to make it fairer and more equitable. I heard the parliamentary secretary say in his speech this afternoon that the budget was fair and equitable. Is it fair and equitable to allow the situation to continue without investing in a pay system that does not help attract or retain employees who make a real difference in people's lives? The federal government is investing nothing in the organization of its own services. I even read recently that it may use artificial intelligence to help with the problem. It is embarrassing.
     As for employment insurance, I no longer know what to say or what tone to take. The Conservatives often talk about these eight years under a Liberal government. I do not share the opinion that the Liberal government is responsible for every problem. However, when it comes to failing to fulfill a commitment to workers and, by extension, the unemployed, it is unmatched. The government undertook to present and implement an EI reform worthy of the 21st century. It did so in the minister's mandate letters in November 2015, September 2016, January 2021 and December 2021, as well as in its 2021 election platform. It went even further in 2021, saying it would reform the system by summer 2022, and yet here we are in summer 2024. The government has broken its promise and failed to fulfill its commitment.
     It also said, in its first term, that it would enhance the pilot project for seasonal workers and make it permanent. What it did in the budget, however, was to renew the five additional weeks in the 2018 pilot project for another two years. The only thing the government will have done is to renew a temporary measure, nothing more.
     Moreover, the computer system used to support the social safety net is obsolete, and the government knows it. Only recently did it say that it would invest in modernizing it, maybe in 2026 or 2028. What prospects do workers and the unemployed have? None at all. Is it fair and equitable for seniors? Canada is one of the worst OECD countries when it comes to the old age pension, not to mention that it discriminates against people between the ages of 65 and 74—

  (1325)  

    The hon. parliamentary secretary.

  (1330)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I am curious as to the member's thoughts on the pharmacare proposal that is within. I think that seniors, no matter what area of the country they are in, particularly those with diabetes, would recognize that having national pharmacare is a very strong, positive thing, just on that point alone.
    Does the Bloc support Canada providing pharmacare coverage and recognize that at least we are moving in the right direction?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I would like to lob that question back at the parliamentary secretary and ask him if the Liberals really intend to implement universal pharmacare across the country. It just does not make sense.
    It is not that universal pharmacare does not make sense. It is that it does not fit into a context where Quebec already has a pharmacare program that covers thousands of drugs.
    It makes no sense to impose such a program without the right to opt out with full compensation in an area that is under Quebec's jurisdiction. Quebec even questions why this program only covers diabetes and contraceptives. The government is not following through on its commitment.
    I have a feeling these meddling federal policies will continue for a long time to come. They may suit the rest of Canada, but they in no way meet the needs and interests of Quebec, which already has its own system. Yes, it needs some improvements, but not with federal conditions.
    Madam Speaker, I am going to talk about pharmacare too. It interests me because the Hoskins report made it very clear that the best way to control and reduce drug costs for everyone is to have universal public pharmacare.
     The Quebec system is a hybrid system that was cutting-edge at the time. Today, however, even Dr. Rochon, the person who instituted the system, says that it is time to finish the job and adopt a universal public system.
     Yes, Quebec must be given the right to opt out with compensation. We support that and agree on it. However, this universal pharmacare plan would be the best thing for Quebeckers, for patients, for businesses and for hospitals. It is something that the Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec, the Confédération des syndicats nationaux, the Centrale des syndicats du Québec and the Union des consommateurs du Québec are all calling for.
    Madam Speaker, it is no surprise to me that these major labour organizations are calling for this, because I used to work for them.
     We fought for universal pharmacare for over 20 years. That struggle is what led to the system we currently have in Quebec. Our hybrid system is not perfect and could be improved. I believe that people want to continue with it.
     I am very pleased to hear for the first time that the NDP agrees with us about the right to opt out with full compensation, because neither the bill we are studying nor the agreement to keep the government in power mentions this condition.
    Madam Speaker, at the end of her speech, my colleague talked about creating two classes of seniors.
    I would like her to elaborate on this topic because we have discussed it a number of times in the House. What is her opinion on the matter?
    I understand that she is calling for changes to old age security, but maybe there would be no need to ask if the government just decided to take action. We thought this would be in the budget, but it is still not there.
    Madam Speaker, my colleague from Shefford's Bill C-319 is currently at committee stage.
     We in the Bloc Québécois want just and equitable social safety nets. That is why we are calling on Ottawa to strengthen its own social safety net programs.
     As far as old age security is concerned, Canada is currently faring poorly among the OECD countries. Moreover, the federal government has seen fit to increase old age security by 10% for people 75 years and over, excluding those who qualify for OAS upon turning 65. Those seniors are getting no support and no increase.
     That is a disgrace.

  (1335)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, before I start my speech, I seek unanimous consent to split my time with the hon. member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie.
    Does the hon. member have unanimous consent to split his time?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Madam Speaker, millions of Canadians are really struggling right now. The cost of living is up dramatically. It is getting much harder to pay rent, to pay a mortgage, to buy food and to pay bills. This has gone on for several years now for many Canadian families, and I think it is fair to say that communities across Canada are really feeling the toll of the economic difficulty facing this country.
    However, big corporations and the ultra rich are doing better than ever. They are making record profits, often by gouging Canadians with sky-high prices. Even with corporate profits soaring, the investments in Canadian workers and in the Canadian economy are declining. Major shareholders and top executives are reaping enormous benefits, while the promised trickle-down to workers, communities and consumers, promised by the right to North Americans around the world since the beginning of the century, is as illusory as it has ever been. New Democrats recognize these facts. That is why we are using our power in this minority Parliament to deliver results for people.
    In the 2024 budget alone, New Democrats have compelled the government to do the following: to build more homes, to preserve existing affordable housing and to protect renters; to bring in universal, single-payer pharmacare, starting with contraception and diabetes medications and devices; to establish a national school food program; to reverse damaging cuts to indigenous services; to invest in accessible, high-quality, non-profit child care; to establish a dedicated youth mental health fund; to double the volunteer firefighter tax credit and the search and rescue volunteer tax credit; and to take the first step toward tax fairness in this country by making wealthy Canadians pay a bit more on their capital gains profits.
    It is funny that while I have been speaking, I have heard nothing but catcalls from the Conservatives, who have opposed every single one of the points I just mentioned. That gives people a flash into what a Conservative government might do for Canadians. I think it is quite clear that it would reverse every one of those measures.
    While these achievements illustrate, in part, what a New Democrat government could accomplish, the 2024 budget does not fully reflect our party's vision. This is not an NDP budget, but it was a budget that we were able to influence in a minority Parliament.
    Likewise, Bill C-69, the bill under consideration in the House, the budget implementation act, 2024, No. 1, includes many of those positive measures that the NDP was able to compel the Liberal government to implement. However, we acknowledge that the legislation has several and significant shortcomings. In our view, there is much more the federal government can and should be doing to make this easier for people and to provide opportunities for the generations to come. For our part, New Democrats will not stop working to deliver results for people.
    I want to cover some positive aspects of Bill C-69 because we have indicated that we intend to support this legislation. First, it would launch the new national school food program. This program would be in place as early as the 2024-25 school year and would help over 400,000 children access the food they need to grow healthy and to learn. This would be an important first step toward establishing a national school food program or national standards. This is a critical gap felt strongly in a time of sky-rocketing food prices.
    Across Canada, the reality is that nearly one in four children do not get enough food, and more than one-third of food bank users are children. According to Children First Canada, there has been a 29% increase in food insecurity for children in the last year alone. A national school food program not only would give students in Canada access to nutritious food, but also would make healthy eating a daily lesson for our kids. By integrating lessons on food growing, nutrition, preparation and cultivation into established curricula, a national school food program can encourage children to adopt lifelong healthy eating habits.
    We know, from international best practices, that all children benefit from universal school food programs, not just children from low-income households. Countries with a national school food program have documented better academic performance, improved short- and long-term health for children, help for family budgets and improved efficiency in the health care system.
    Bill C-69 also includes measures that would make housing more affordable in a few ways. It would enhance the home buyers' plan by increasing the withdrawal limit from $35,000 to $60,000 and would temporarily add three years to the grace period before repayments to an RRSP were required.

  (1340)  

    Bill C-69 would start to crack down on short-term rentals to unlock more homes for Canadians to live in by denying income tax deductions on income earned from short-term rentals that do not comply with provincial or local restrictions. It would ban foreign buyers of Canadian homes for an additional two years, until January 1, 2027, to ensure homes are used for Canadians to live in and not as a speculative asset class for foreign investors.
    Bill C-69 also includes measures that would make life more affordable Canadians in other ways. It would make it easier to find better deals on Internet, home phone and cellphone plans by amending the Telecommunications Act to better allow Canadians to renew or to switch between plans and to increase consumer choice to help them find a deal that works best for them.
    We know that Internet and cell services are now core staple utilities for Canadians, and Canadians pay among the highest prices in the world. This happened under the current Liberal government, and it happened under the previous Conservative government. New Democrats know we have to drive those prices down for Canadians to meaningfully participate in work-at-home life.
    It would crack down on predatory lending by strengthening enforcement against criminal rates of interest to help protect the most vulnerable Canadians from harmful illegal lenders. It would make it easier to save for our children's education by introducing an automatic enrolment in the Canada learning bond to ensure all low-income families receive the support they need for their children's futures.
    It also includes measures that would support workers. Bill C-69 would protect gig workers by strengthening prohibitions against employee misclassification in federally regulated industries. It would establish a right to disconnect to help restore the work-life balance for workers in federally regulated industries. It would extend additional weeks of employment insurance for seasonal workers in 13 targeted regions until October 2026. It would advance employee ownership trusts to enable employees to share in the success of their work by encouraging more businesses to sell to an employee ownership trust.
    Bill C-69 would deliver two major investment tax credits to help build a more sustainable future, and those are the 30% clean technology manufacturing investment tax credit and the up to 40% clean hydrogen investment tax credit. I sat in the Standing Committee on Finance, where I heard from businesses across this country that cannot wait to get these tax credits in place so that they start to make the investment in sustainable forms of energy that not only would create the jobs of the future but also would help Canada meet our carbon reduction targets.
    I have already mentioned that Bill C-69 would provide support for volunteer first responders and the care economy workers in rural and remote communities. It would do this in a couple of ways. It would expand the Canada student loan forgiveness program to pharmacists, dentists, dental hygienists, midwives, early childhood educators, teachers, social workers, personal support workers, physiotherapists and psychologists who choose to work in rural and remote communities. This would build on existing loan forgiveness for doctors and nurses. We all know our rural and remote areas probably feel the pinch of a health care system that is not providing fast enough or good enough service, and it is important this budget recognizes that and takes some steps toward addressing it.
    I want to talk for just a moment about the Canada disability benefit because I mentioned that this bill has some serious deficiencies. In my mind, this is one of the most major ones. Despite its plan announced earlier to provide a maximum benefit to people living with disabilities to lift them out of poverty, which is the claim and the goal, which the NDP agrees with, the Liberal government decided to back that up by giving those Canadians $200 a month.
    One does not need to be an economist to know that it does not come anywhere near to lifting anybody out of poverty, but frankly, it is almost an insult. At present, a single adult with a disability will live below the poverty line if they receive funding from any of the provincial programs across Canada, and an additional $200 a month is not enough to bring them even to the poverty line. There are over a million and a half Canadians living with disabilities who live in poverty in this country, yet this plan would also have a restrictive eligibility requirement that would limit access to, at most, an estimated 600,000 people.
    We are deeply disappointed to see that broken promise, and we will continue to fight for Canadians living with disabilities. We know they need sufficient income in this country not only to let them get out of poverty but also to meaningfully participate and to live enriched lives, where they can contribute as fully as they can. It is not only good for them, but also good for communities and our economy as well.

  (1345)  

    Madam Speaker, I appreciate the comments the hon. member shared. The budget document is a massive document. Working together to find some elements within that document that we can agree on, I think, is a way to move forward as a country.
    I would like to hear the member re-echo what some programs are that he supports, and should the Conservative Party be elected, which I hope it is not, what could be undone or possibly taken away from Canadians. Does he agree that all levels of government need to work together? I know he comes from the province of British Columbia. I do not know the politics of British Columbia, but I can say that in the province of Ontario, every time the federal government tries to provide supports for people to make their lives better, the provincial Conservative government tends to claw back the supports at their level, which actually does not move Canadians ahead. I would like to hear about their experience versus what we see in Ontario.
    Madam Speaker, dealing with the last question first, I think a critical part of the Canada disability benefit is that we ensure all provinces and territories come to an agreement with the federal government whereby any additional funds the federal government is providing to people living with disabilities is not clawed back. If that were to happen then people living with disabilities would not receive any benefit at all. That is a critical component for success.
    In terms of additional aspects of the budget, which is over 600 pages long, I would point out that Bill C-69 would provide support for small and medium-sized businesses by returning over $2.5 billion in proceeds from the price on pollution to an estimated 600,000 small and medium-sized businesses through an accelerated and automated return process. Rebates would also be provided every year going forward. That is a positive step. Small businesses are the engine of our economy, and many of them are suffering.
    The extension of that carbon tax rebate, in the billions of dollars, to small and medium-sized businesses would be an important reason, I think, to support this budget and one that I would be interested in hearing my Conservative colleagues' reasoning as to why they would oppose that.
    Madam Speaker, I agree with the member opposite that it was very disappointing to see what happened with the Canada disability benefit. It certainly was not what the community was asking for.
    Would he not also agree that everything else the Liberals are delivering is disappointing, including $10-a-day child care with fewer child care spots than existed before, a dental care program with no dentists subscribed, and a pharmacare program that does not even exist and might end up having two drugs in it? Is it really worth carrying the water for the Liberal government for the last nine years?
    Madam Speaker, the NDP has been championing public, affordable, accessible child care for decades. While I agree that there are not enough spots being created, I have seen more created in the last six years than I ever saw created under any Conservative government. That is for sure.
    I do not really understand the premise of my hon. colleague's last question when she said that dental care does not exist. I read stories over the weekend and saw pictures of seniors who had been to the dentist and were showing copies of their bills that were paid for by the Canada dental care program. I do not know what she means about dentists not signing up. The last I heard was that 6,500 dentists across this country have signed up and, frankly, there is no more requirement to sign up for the program. Dentists can just automatically enrol in the program by billing their first customer.
    The NDP fought for nine million Canadians, during this Parliament, to be able to go to the dentist for the first time. To us, dental care is primary health care. Every Canadian should have the right to get their oral health needs met, regardless of their ability to pay. At the end of this Parliament, we will be able to go to Canadians on their doorsteps and tell them how the NDP helped to get dental care for nine million Canadians. I am going to tell them that the Conservatives voted against dental care, that they thought it was a bad idea and that they will take it away from them. That is not illusory.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I basically agree with my colleague that times are hard for many people in Canada, Quebec and elsewhere right now.
    Let us talk about housing. It is true that this issue is the focus of the budget. However, the problem is the federal government's approach. It is interfering in provincial jurisdictions. Housing is not a federal jurisdiction and never has been.
    Nevertheless, the government is creating more programs. It will have to negotiate with Quebec, and that process is going to drag on. When the government introduced the big national housing strategy, it took three years for Quebec to see a single penny. As for the housing accelerator fund, it took two years for a single project to be announced in Quebec. All of that is going to slow down the projects, when we need housing to be built immediately.
    Why is the NDP supporting a budget that is basically only going to delay—

  (1350)  

    I need to give the hon. member for Vancouver Kingsway a little time to answer.
    The hon. member for Vancouver Kingsway.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, housing is in crisis in this country. Canadians in every community, including in the province of Quebec, cannot find affordable housing to buy or to rent.
    In my view, it takes all levels of government working on this problem. We cannot solve the problem by leaving the federal government, which has the deepest pockets in this country, out of it. The feds, the provinces and the municipalities have to work together. It is the only way we are going to make progress.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, first of all, I am deeply concerned about what is happening right now in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, where the bombing seems to have resumed. The Israeli army seems to have asked tens of thousands of people to seek shelter elsewhere, even though they are are already refugees within the Gaza Strip and keep being told to move. It is a forced displacement of the population. That is extremely worrisome. The city's only public hospital is located on the east side of Rafah, which people are being asked to leave. I think we need to look at the scope of what is going on over there. I just read that the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has called this forced relocation order “inhumane”. We have to be watchful and pay close attention today to what has been going on there for the past six months.
    After the last federal election, we ended up with another minority government in Ottawa. Wanting to play a constructive role, the NDP caucus agreed to enter into talks and negotiations to see if we could secure things that neither the Liberals nor the Conservatives would agree to in the past, hence our imperfect but historic agreement to support the Liberal government in exchange for programs and measures that will provide meaningful help to workers and their families, seniors, patients, students and others.
    The latest budget is far from being an NDP budget, but it does reflect the NDP's influence in this Parliament and the use of our leverage to get tangible results and make a difference in people's lives. We are not in politics just to make speeches and to have photo ops. We are also here to provide meaningful help to people who really need it and to improve the living and working conditions of the people we represent in our ridings.
     I will get to my criticisms later, but there are some good things in this budget, things that we in the NDP forced the Liberals to deliver, things that past governments had never agreed to. The dental care program is one example. This program came into effect last week, on May 1 to be exact, for the oldest seniors who registered in December and January. It is going to make a huge difference in people's lives. In Quebec alone, four million Quebeckers do not have public or private dental coverage. What the NDP fought for will help those folks in a meaningful way. The Department of Finance estimates that a senior couple could save roughly $2,600 as a result. A family with two children could save just over $1,800, or nearly $2,000.
    Having 80% or 90%, or even more, of a dental bill covered has a big impact on someone's budget. Some people have avoided going to the dentist for years because they cannot afford it. Things are about to change. Will the program work beautifully, and is it perfect? No, adjustments will have to be made. We will have to find a balance. That said, I am convinced that it will be of real benefit to families, middle-class people and the most disadvantaged, particularly at a time when the cost of living is rising everywhere, and housing and groceries are becoming more and more expensive. Being reimbursed for almost all dental care will be a game-changer for many people. I am very proud of that. I encourage everyone to sign up, especially dentists. What is more, there will be a new system that I think will make payment even easier.
    This program is directly related to the work of the NDP caucus. It was a campaign promise. We promised that we would come to Ottawa to fight for that, and we did. We got results. Today, I am very pleased to say that we kept our promise, and we also took an extremely important first step on pharmacare through the budget. All the reports and studies tell us that a universal public pharmacare program is the best way to reduce or control the cost of drugs. The strange thing is that Canada is the only country in the world that has universal public health care but no pharmacare. For years, we have witnessed drug prices spiral out of control while people go without the drugs they need and end up sicker than ever. As their condition grows worse, they end up in emergency rooms, which places our health care system under additional stress and strain.

  (1355)  

    Yes, Quebec has its own pharmacare program and retains the right to opt out of the federal pharmacare program with compensation. However, there are limits to Quebec's system, which is a hybrid public-private program that strongly encourages supplemental insurance plans that are negotiated by the unions when employment contracts are renewed. A large part of the money that is used to cover the increased cost of drugs, which is out of control, could be used to enhance things like wages or pension benefits. Even Dr. Jean Rochon, the person who established Quebec's pharmacare system, says that the program was a major step forward 30 years ago but that now we can see all of the flaws and that is it time to finish the job.
    Finishing the job means implementing a universal public pharmacare program. The most recent budget lays the groundwork for the discussions that will take place with the provinces. It also sets out specific measures, such as $1.5 billion to help 3.7 million people with diabetes, who will have access to medication or equipment in a few months, once the discussions have wrapped up. Nine million women across the country will also have access to contraceptives. That is huge.
    I urge the Government of Quebec to listen and be open to dialogue so that Quebeckers can benefit from this progress and this offer. It would be a real shame if, for ideological reasons, women in Gatineau could not get access to contraceptives while women in Ottawa could. I think that would be a real shame, especially when civil society groups in Quebec are calling for this. Every major union agrees with this. The FTQ, the CSN, the CSQ and the Union des consommateurs du Québec unanimously agree that this is the path to take, as stated in the Hoskins reports. That is pretty significant.
    This budget also contains something that we asked for and that Quebec and others have been asking for for years, namely a school food program. Schools are a provincial jurisdiction, obviously. However, federal money can be used to buy meals, snacks or lunches for children who go to school on an empty stomach and who need energy so they can get through the day, pay attention in class and get good grades. These are determinants of academic success.
    I do not know if anyone else remembers them, but I remember the little milk cartons we used to get at school when I was a kid. I think it is important for kids to have access to this kind of food. The folks responsible for the health of our children in schools were also calling for this. For years, the Breakfast Club has been asking for this kind of program and for federal money to be allocated. I am glad we managed to get it done.
    This budget also increases scholarship amounts for people enrolled in higher education, scholarships that have been frozen for 20 years but have finally just been increased. The budget also includes a plan to use federal lands to build truly affordable housing, something the NDP had called for, as well as an acquisition fund to purchase land for non-market housing, another request from the NDP. There is also a new $1‑billion fund to build truly affordable housing. There are a number of worthwhile measures.
    I see that my time is running out, but I have to add that there are some seriously disappointing things about this budget, including the disability benefit, which will provide only $200 a month. That is totally inadequate and will not lift people out of poverty. We could also talk about indigenous infrastructure and indigenous housing, both areas where the federal government needs to do a lot more.

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Statements by Members]

  (1400)  

[English]

Salvation Army

    Madam Speaker, I was pleased to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new Salvation Army’s Barrhaven Church and Community Centre. This is a great addition to our Nepean community.
    The Salvation Army is a social services organization that responds to disasters, feeds the homeless and runs thrift stores. As a local branch of the Salvation Army, the Barrhaven Church and Community Centre aims to bring help, hope and salvation to everyone without discrimination. The church is a place to build relationships with people who care, a place to belong to a community of faith and a place to become a person of purpose.
    The people of Nepean and I are glad to finally see this wonderful facility built after many years of delays due to red tape.

Wedding Anniversary

    Mr. Speaker, today is May 6. Exactly two years ago to the day, at a David Wilcox concert, I met the love of my life, my husband Paul. He is wonderfully intelligent, wonderfully humorous, wonderfully loving and wonderfully tall.
    From the day we met, he has brought joy to my life and has renewed my enthusiasm for doing this difficult job, from which I was considering retiring. He has restored again my pride in being the member for Sarnia—Lambton and has encouraged me and stood by me every step of the way. He has put the sparkle back in my eyes, a spring in my step and made me even smilier than before, if that is even possible. We share a love for God, family and music.
    Today, I want to thank him for his love and say how much I look forward to doing life together. Happy anniversary, my darling.

Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar

    Mr. Speaker, today is a special day on the Hill as we mark Dr. Ambedkar Equality Day and day of jayanti.
    Widely regarded as the father of the Indian Constitution, Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar was an Indian jurist, economist, social reformer and political leader. A champion of civil rights, Dr. Ambedkar’s vision for a free India was simple. He wanted equality for all, irrespective of caste, gender or religion. He carried these values and goals with him as he wrote India’s Constitution, became India’s first minister of law and resigned from government when the Indian cabinet and Parliament refused to support crucial civil rights reforms.
    Today, as we welcome guests to Ottawa from across Canada, including the Chetna Association of Canada from Surrey and the Ravidass Sabha from Burnaby, to celebrate Dr. Ambedkar Equality Day, it is an honour to recognize his long-lasting legacy and praise those who continue his work in India and abroad.

[Translation]

225th Anniversary of Saint‑Benoît

    Mr. Speaker, 2024 is a defining moment in the history of the community of Saint-Benoît, now part of the city of Mirabel. Founded in 1799, this village is celebrating its 225th anniversary this year.
    From the rise of the Patriotes' movement of 1837 to 1838—which was a battle for our freedom and democracy and saw the entire village burned by General Colborne's soldiers—to the expropriation of land by the federal government for the Mirabel airport, the people of Saint-Benoît have experienced many moments of adversity in their history.
    Despite these major trials and tribulations, the village has been revitalized thanks to the industrialization of agriculture, the diversification of agri-tourism and the ingenuity of numerous entrepreneurs over the last few decades.
    Surely members can see why I have such admiration for the people of my riding. The people of Saint-Benoît have a sense of honour, solidarity and innovation running through their veins.
    On behalf of the citizens in the riding of Mirabel and on behalf of Quebeckers, I would like to wish the people of Saint-Benoît a happy 225th anniversary.

[English]

Daniel Richard Nicholes

    Mr. Speaker, today, in this special place, I wish to recognize and celebrate the life of an extraordinary person from my home community: Daniel Richard Nicholes. Fredericton was not the only city to benefit from Dan's presence, kindness and dedication, but it would be his final resting place. We are eternally grateful for the time we had together.
    I first met Dan after joining the Liberal Party of Canada. I was going through a lot of difficulty in my life and it was a very tumultuous time. When I needed it most, Dan and his amazing wife Susan were there. They showed up and they believed in me. I am forever indebted to them for picking me up, dusting me off and offering me hope and energy. They gave me the courage to keep putting one foot in front of the other, to keep fighting for justice, for equity, for better. That is just who Dan was. He was a giver and an optimist with a realist's wit, and anyone who was lucky enough to know him would attest to that.
    We were fortunate enough to gather this past December to raise a toast to our incredible community of volunteers. I was honoured to present Dan with the Volunteer of the Year award, and it will forever stay in his name. Green's first hue is gold, its hardest hue to hold, yet Dan somehow stayed golden.
    Until we meet again, my friend.

  (1405)  

Winkler Flyers

    Mr. Speaker, last Friday I was proud to be at the sold-out Winkler Centennial Arena to watch the hometown Flyers sweep the Steinbach Pistons to win the Manitoba Junior Hockey League, their first league title since 1998. The atmosphere was absolutely electric throughout the game but turned tense in the dying moments, when Steinbach tied it up with only 40 seconds left to play, to send it into overtime. Have no fear: It was the Flyers' Zach Nicolas who banged in the rebound to score the series' winning goal, and the crowd went wild.
    Leading up to the series final, the whole city of Winkler was buzzing, and it was amazing to see how the community rallied around the team. The Flyers are a big, heavy team, built to win. Led by NHL alumni on the bench, the team walked over the Pistons in the final. Now the Flyers are off to play in the Centennial Cup in Oakville, Ontario, and will take on the best Junior A teams from around the country.
    The entire province of Manitoba is cheering them on to bring home the cup. Go, Flyers, go.

MS Awareness Month

    Mr. Speaker, the month of May marks MS Awareness Month.
    Last week, I met with representatives of MS Canada to discuss how we can work together to improve the lives of those living with MS and prevent MS before it starts. For more than 90,000 Canadians, including 1,000 islanders, affected by MS, hope for the future is found in research. It is research that will help us understand the cause, prevent the disease before it starts, discover new treatments and ultimately find a cure.
    Here in Canada, we are at the forefront of MS research, but in order to make the needed progress, we must make MS research funding a national priority and commit $15 million in funding for global efforts. I am proud to be part of a government that is investing in improved health care services, increased research funding, and greater accessibility and support for individuals with disabilities.
    Together, let us build a future where no one has to face the challenges of multiple sclerosis alone.

Yom HaShoah

    Mr. Speaker, today is Yom HaShoah, the annual day to remember the six million Jews who were slaughtered during the Holocaust. We mark this sombre occasion with the jarring reality that anti-Semitism has never been more pervasive in Canada. B'nai B'rith just published its annual audit, reporting nearly 5,791 anti-Semitic incidents committed in 2023, more than double from the year prior.
    Jews are bombarded daily with epithets like “[Jews,] go back to Europe”, “All the Zionists are racist” and “Long live October 7”. Some diminish these incidents; however, look at university campuses and one will see Jewish professors and students intimidated and harassed, to say nothing of the synagogues, day schools, businesses and neighbourhoods targeted every single day. If this were any other minority, there would be outrage, and there should be.
    Yesterday I met with Rose Lipszyc and Pinchas Gutter, two Holocaust survivors. Their fighting spirit is indefatigable. We owe it to them, to the remaining survivors and to all of those who perished in the Shoah, to remember what our eyes have seen and to teach our children “never again”.

National Prayer Breakfast

    Mr. Speaker, it is an absolute honour to rise in the people's House today and welcome to Ottawa guests from all over the country who are attending the 59th annual National Prayer Breakfast leadership dinner and the Young Christian Leaders Summit. We are excited that there will be record attendance this year, and we are so looking forward to the message of hope that will be shared with all of those attending.
    Our theme this year is “bridge over troubled waters”. In times like these, when there is so much trouble geopolitically and there is so much uncertainty throughout our world, whether it is within nations or the hearts of individuals, the waters of life can become very troubled and our lives tumultuous and storm-tossed, but the timeless hope of the ages is that when we are in the storms of life, there is a promise we can hold onto: that we are not alone. We can look toward a source that is higher than we are, to find strength, comfort and courage.
     It is our hope and sincere prayer that all of us in the chamber would experience the calming reassurance that is offered by the one who still calms the waters, speaks peace in any circumstance and is our true bridge over troubled waters: Jesus Christ.

  (1410)  

Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River

    Mr. Speaker, later today, Great Lakes and St. Lawrence stakeholder groups will be hosting a special event for MPs and senators, as well as officials and staff, to learn more about the triple bottom line impacts of this massive freshwater system.
     Representatives from the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, the Lake Champlain Basin Program, the IJC, the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, the OCFA and many more will be on hand to take questions about what they do to help sustain the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River as economic and social drivers for millions of Canadians and Americans.
     This evening, we will also be treated to a special live performance of We Are The Water, by Welland Centennial Secondary School. Trust me: This is a performance that members do not want to miss. I encourage all members, as well as their respective staff, to attend at 6:00 p.m. at the SJAM building.
    Canada's freshwater resources are critical to Canada's future and deserve our unwavering respect. I am very pleased to share and support the binational work being done throughout the basins. Come out and see how we are keeping the “great” in the Great Lakes.

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, after nine years of the NDP-Liberal government, two million Canadians are using food banks each month. In my community alone, Project Share served more than 13,000 people last year, or one in seven residents, in Niagara Falls. This is a 97% increase over the past two years.
     What has been the government's response? It increased the carbon tax by 23%, driving up the cost of food and making it harder to buy groceries, thereby sending more people to food banks. If that were not sad enough, a new report by Canada's food professor finds that nearly 60% of Canadians are deciding to purchase and eat expired food so they can lower their grocery bills.
    After nine years of the incompetent Prime Minister, Canadians are deciding to run the risk of food poisoning because the price of food is so high. The NDP-Liberal government is not worth the cost of going hungry or getting sick.
     It is time for a change in Ottawa. It is time to elect a common-sense Conservative government.

[Translation]

Finance

    Mr. Speaker, to hear the government talk, everything is just fine, life is good. I would invite the government and its ministers to follow me out to the streets and meet some real people.
    After nine years of this government, its complacency has put us in a precarious situation. The Bloc Québécois, unfortunately, shares the blame. As a little reminder, the Bloc Québécois thought it was too much work to check every allocation, so it instructed its members to vote for them all. That represents $500 billion of taxpayer money. Yes, $500 billion in centralizing, inflationary spending. ArriveCAN, for example, cost over $60 million. Worse still, the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General cost over $20 million.
    The Bloc Québécois says one thing and does another. The time has come for a responsible Conservative government that will govern with common sense. Enough of this Bloc-Liberal waste. They have both hands in the cookie jar, or I should say, in the pockets of honest Canadians.

[English]

Pulmonary Hypertension Day

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize that May 5 is World Pulmonary Hypertension Day.
    The rare form of the disease is called pulmonary arterial hypertension, or PAH, which severely impacts the health and quality of life of patients who are affected. I commend the Pulmonary Hypertension Association of Canada and its patient ambassadors Donna Downes and Shirley Druhan from my riding of Orléans for their relentless efforts in raising awareness for Canadians with PAH.
    With initiatives like the federal government's national strategy for drugs for rare diseases, investments are being made to help increase access to and affordability of promising and effective drugs for rare diseases to improve the health of patients across Canada.
    We will continue to work on ensuring that people living with PAH are able to access the resources they need.

  (1415)  

Mental Health Week

    Mr. Speaker, today, on the first day of Mental Health Week, millions of Canadians are unable to access reliable, quality mental health care as they cope with mental health disorders or mental illness in their daily lives.
    At some point in our lives, most of us will be touched by mental health issues. However, for too many people in need of mental health care, cost-free universal care is not available in the same way as it is for physical health. Too many must turn to for-profit services, if they can afford them. For some, compassionate care is available from chronically underfunded non-profits in communities far away from hospitals and government services.
    Join me on this day, and every day, in the fight for parity of mental health care in our universal system, for sustainable funding for community-based service delivery, and for compassion and kindness in our response to the mental health needs of all Canadians.

[Translation]

National Nursing Week

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize National Nursing Week.
    As we all know, being a nurse is a calling. It can be seen in a glance, a smile, their care, their presence or the fact that they listen and reassure. They are the heart and soul of our health care system and, too often, they are the ones holding the system together.
    Day after day, we see them working with those who are sick, the elderly and the most vulnerable people in our society. Sometimes, in remote areas, they are the only ones who can assess people's health and provide the necessary care. It is a demanding role that calls for diligence, commitment, excellence and compassion.
    I thank nurses for being there for us day after day so that we have access to quality care. They change our lives and shape the future.
    I wish everyone a happy National Nursing Week.

[English]

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary defines the word “wacko” as “crazy; not sensible”. To many people in British Columbia, what is happening in our beaches, neighbourhoods, parks, playgrounds, coffee shops and even in our hospitals is truly wacko, because the Prime Minister and NDP Premier David Eby have surrendered our most precious public spaces to illegal drug dealers. This is a wacko policy.
    Illegal drug dealers prey on our most vulnerable in society. This is not good for those people suffering with addictions, nor is it good for public safety. In fact even the B.C. NDP has now figured this out. Since the B.C. government asked 10 days ago to stop the wacko, far left project of legalization of hard drugs, some 60 British Columbians have died due to the Prime Minister's political dithering.
    Let us end the wacko, failed, deadly, illegal drug experiment in British Columbia, and let us bring common-sense Conservative solutions that will protect the public and people battling with addictions, instead of supporting illegal drug dealers.

Aquaculture Industry

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today on behalf of many Canadians who are looking for our government's continued commitment to our coastal communities and their families by standing with the Canadian aquaculture industry.
    Through investment, innovation, technologies and practices, Canada's highly regulated aquaculture industry can continue to grow and prosper. Our coastal communities on the east coast and on the coast of British Columbia asked whether they are given the chance to continue to thrive with a modern salmon aquaculture industry. One hundred per cent of the remaining salmon farms in coastal British Columbia operate with the support of coastal first nations, on whose traditional territories they exist. The activists have an ill-informed agenda that ignores the science.
    As we look to long-term renewal of B.C. salmon farming licences, it is a question of growth and hope versus poverty for many indigenous communities. The future of Canada's coastal communities depends on it.

Oral Questions

[Oral Questions]

[Translation]

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, today's headlines in Quebec once again show that this Prime Minister is not worth the cost of housing, which has doubled in the nine years since he took office.
    Quebec's big moving day, July 1, is a disaster waiting to happen. Organizations in Quebec are appealing for help. Renters are contacting us with very clear suicide plans. Soon they will be forced to live in their vans.
    After nine years of promises, why should Quebeckers believe the Prime Minister?

  (1420)  

    Mr. Speaker, I understand that the situation is difficult for renters and those who do not have any housing solutions.
    That is why the government is holding discussions and negotiations to reach an agreement with Quebec to build affordable housing. With the money from the federal government, Quebec will be able to build up to 8,000 affordable housing units.
    The Conservative Party's position is to oppose that. That is not good.
    We are working with our colleagues in Quebec to build affordable housing.

Finance

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals are making more expensive promises, but this Prime Minister is not worth the cost after nine years.
    Worse still, the Bloc Québécois voted to support this Prime Minister's $500 billion in inflationary and centralizing deficits and spending. This has driven up interest rates for Quebeckers who are afraid of losing their homes. In addition, taxpayers are now paying more for interest on the national debt than for health care.
    When will the Prime Minister admit that he and the Bloc Québécois are not worth the cost?
    Mr. Speaker, we have a plan to build more housing faster, but the Conservatives voted against it. We have a plan for the green industrial transition, but the Conservatives voted against it.
    I want to share some very good news with members, news that Canadians learned last week. Moody's has reaffirmed our AAA credit rating, the highest possible rating, thanks to our responsible fiscal policy.

[English]

Mental Health and Addictions

    Mr. Speaker, after nine years, the Prime Minister is not worth the crime, chaos, drugs and disorder. It has now been 10 days and 60 dead British Columbians since the government of that province has asked the Prime Minister to reverse his deadly and radical legalization of crack, heroin and other hard drugs in children's parks, hospitals and on transit. Why will he not reverse his radical agenda?
    Mr. Speaker, communities in B.C. are facing an extremely serious challenge. It is a toxic drug supply on the streets, and people are dying.
     We know that public consumption is an issue of concern, which is exactly why B.C. is amending its proposal, and we have been working with it every step of the way. We are treating this with the urgency it deserves. All partners are at the table right now to find the path forward, working with law enforcement and health services so that we get this right and save lives.
    Mr. Speaker, to find a path forward, the path forward is obvious: ban hard drugs; invest in treatment; and bring our loved ones home, drug-free.
    That minister claimed last week that she was waiting for the B.C. government to provide information before she could decide on reversing radical legalization. It turns out that the government had given her that information within hours of the request. She has all the information. Therefore, why are she and her radical boss clinging on to this insane policy?
    Mr. Speaker, on this side of the House, we follow science, we follow health care experts and we follow the information. We are working with B.C. on a comprehensive amendment to its proposal. This takes collaborative work to get it right. This is a health issue, not a criminal one. The Leader of the Opposition is misleading Canadians in not recognizing that people need health care; they do not need to be re-stigmatized and criminalized.
    Mr. Speaker, the Abbotsford Soccer Association wrote a letter entitled, “A Cry for Change”. Volunteers with the organization have found dirty needles that can puncture innocent children in the playing field. Other B.C. fields have found women raped and overdosed, addicts naked and have had pets that have actually overdosed because there is so much drug contamination on the site. What are the Liberals thinking over there?

  (1425)  

    Mr. Speaker, a pilot project was put in place at B.C.'s request. B.C. now has serious concerns about some aspects of that. We share those concerns and are addressing them.
    I do want to say that I do not think there is a family in Canada that has been untouched by the tragedy of opioids. I think it is absolutely abhorrent to try to score political points off the pain of Canadians.

[Translation]

CBC/Radio-Canada

    Mr. Speaker, creative staff at Radio-Canada are worried. The cultural sector is worried. The Government of Quebec is discussing catastrophic scenarios. The plan to bring the CBC and Radio-Canada closer together is ruffling feathers and looks more like a plan to rescue the CBC on the back of Radio-Canada. It is no surprise, given that the CEO of CBC/Radio-Canada, appointed by the Liberals, has never been afraid to attack Radio-Canada.
    Internally, they are saying that everything is on the table, including programming and leadership.
    Can the Prime Minister commit to maintaining the independence of Radio-Canada with respect to the CBC?
    Mr. Speaker, I will repeat what I said last week: In no way are the services to Canada's francophone population, whether in Quebec or outside Quebec, going to be affected by internal restructuring at CBC/Radio-Canada.
    It surprises me to hear the Bloc Québécois taking more or less the same position as the Conservatives, that we need to completely separate the CBC and Radio-Canada and, while we are at it, completely defund the CBC.
    I do not understand where the Bloc Québécois is going with this. It makes no sense.
    Mr. Speaker, there is the official narrative and then there is anonymous information. What we learned from La Presse is that nothing is off the table in this supposed effort to bring the two entities closer together, not even programming, and that there is indeed talk of a management merger. That means a single management team for the French and English networks.
    When we mix French and English in Canada, English always ends up taking precedence, while French takes a back seat.
    Will the Prime Minister put a stop to this very dangerous idea of bringing the CBC and Radio-Canada closer together?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to point out that the Conservatives are applauding when the Bloc Québécois talks about separating the CBC from Radio-Canada and completely defunding the CBC. What is happening? Why is the Bloc Québécois so aligned with the Conservatives on something as fundamental as our public broadcaster, Radio-Canada?
    They were never able to protect Radio-Canada from the Harper Conservatives, and they will not be able to do any better now.
    On this side of the House, we have said that we will always protect French programming and content. What we want is more French content, not to reduce funding.

[English]

Health

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals delay in protecting women's rights. The Conservatives straight up want to attack women's rights. Last year, they brought in a motion attacking a woman's right to choose. Right now they are blocking free birth control for women. Later on this week, they are going to attend an anti-choice rally.
    New Democrats want more freedom, more choices and more affordability for women.
     Will the government support us in stopping the Conservatives from denying nine million Canadians free birth control?
    Mr. Speaker, let me state clearly and unequivocally that every woman, in every part of the country, must have access to the oral contraceptives she needs to have control over her reproductive future. Any party that stands in the way of that is standing in the way of the basic freedom for women in our country to have autonomy over their body.
     I would ask the Conservative Party of Canada to stop blocking this so that women can get the reproductive aids they need to have control over their reproductive future.

  (1430)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, free contraception will allow women to save hundreds of dollars and will give them freedom of choice, but the Conservatives want to block that. They want women to pay more and have less freedom. The NDP will not allow that to happen.
    Will the government vote with us today to ensure that nine million people have access to free contraception?
    Mr. Speaker, it is a question of freedom. Women across the country will have access to the contraceptive drugs they need for their body and their freedom. I wonder why the Conservative Party is blocking the bill that will provide drugs not just to women, but also to diabetics.
    It is time to take action. It is time to ensure that there is true freedom for women across the country. It is time to stop blocking legislation.

[English]

Finance

    Mr. Speaker, after nine years of the Liberal-NDP Prime Minister, it does not feel like Canada anymore. Life is more unaffordable than ever. Canadians, the Governor of the Bank of Canada and even random Liberals are saying that the government is not helpful with its out-of-control spending and not worth the cost.
    Canadians are living in their cars and in tents because they cannot afford housing. They are lining up at food banks in record numbers because they cannot afford food. They are leaving in droves because they cannot afford the high cost of living.
    When will the Liberals implement a common-sense plan, bring in a dollar-for-dollar law and cap government spending so that inflation and interest rates can come down?
    Mr. Speaker, we have put forward a budget that invests in the things Canadians need, first and foremost, housing. We are doing that by asking those at the very top to contribute a little more. The good news is that we are doing it in a fiscally responsible way.
     People do not have to believe the partisans in any chair in the House. They can talk to the analysts at Moody's, who, last week, reaffirmed Canada's AAA rating, the highest that exists, with a stable outlook. It does not get better than that.
    Mr. Speaker, common sense is chasing the finance minister, and just like in Alberta, she is speeding away from it.
    The Liberals have put taxpayers on the hook, and $54 billion of taxpayer money is going to go, just in interest, to the Prime Minister's doubling of the debt. That means more money is going to bankers, bondholders and the finance minister's Bay Street buddies than to doctors, nurses and the health care system.
    Why does the finance minister not pump the brakes on hypocrisy, let common sense catch up and introduce a dollar-for-dollar law so that inflation and interest rates can finally come down?
    Mr. Speaker, last week, Moody's reaffirmed our AAA credit rating. These are objective analysts who have pointed out that Canada has the most fiscally responsible plan in the G7.
    Let us talk about hypocrisy, Conservative hypocrisy. Last week, the Conservative leader wrote an op-ed asking business leaders to attack our budget. I guess that is because he does not have the courage to come out and say the truth, which is that he stands for those at the top, not regular Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, last week, the Governor of the Bank of Canada confirmed what millions of Canadians already know: Liberal spending is making life more expensive. Nine years of NDP-Liberal deficits have led to a lost decade, lowering standards of living, record food bank usage and a housing crisis.
    Will the government finally commit to a dollar-for-dollar rule that would allow Canadians to feed their families and keep their homes?
    Mr. Speaker, I respect the member for Northumberland—Peterborough South and he is better than misrepresenting the words of the Governor of the Bank of Canada.
    The reality is that the Governor of the Bank of Canada, in testimony since the budget, said, “The budget does respect the fiscal guardrails that the government put in place.” He also said, “Keeping the debt-to-GDP ratio on a declining track, and importantly keeping deficits below one per cent of GDP in future years, the budget...commits to those guardrails...and that is helpful.”

  (1435)  

    Mr. Speaker, I will quote the governor directly. He said this Liberal budget is “not helpful.”
    It is more distraction and denial to cover up the government's record of massive deficits, which have led to over $54 billion in interest being paid in this budget alone. It will spend more in interest that it will collect in GST. We will pay more in interest than we will for health care transfers.
    When will the Liberals finally get their deficits under control so Canadians can eat and keep their homes?
    Mr. Speaker, that is simply not true.
    I encourage people to read the testimony of the Governor of the Bank of Canada and news reports about that testimony. Here is what he said, and I am quoting precisely: “Keeping the debt-to-GDP ratio on a declining track, and importantly keeping deficits below one per cent of GDP in future years, the budget also commits to those guardrails going forward and that is helpful.” Those are the words of the Governor. People can just take a look at the transcript.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, Quebeckers are struggling. They are being hit hard by mortgage renewals. Mortgage rates are high, mainly because of the Prime Minister's chaotic management of the public purse, with the support of the Bloc Québécois.
    Over the past nine years, the Bloc Québécois has supported and voted in favour of additional spending of over $500 billion. That includes a June 2022 vote on $115 billion to be used in part for pipelines. People should take note that the Bloc Québécois voted in favour of pipelines. Will the Liberals and the Bloc Québécois take responsibility for the sharp rise in mortgage rates and the cost of living?
    Mr. Speaker, Canadians are listening to a party that has no ambition, no vision and no plan. Canadians have a choice. They can choose to listen to a party that has no vision or a government that is investing in youth, investing in growth, investing in housing, and investing in science and research.
    On this side of the House, we will continue to invest in Canadians, because, as my colleague was saying, confident countries invest in their people. That is exactly what we are going to do.
    Mr. Speaker, the Conservative Party has a great vision, a common-sense vision. This government left all that behind nine years ago. On the other side, we have the Bloc Québécois, which is no better than the Liberals. The Bloc Québécois supported $500 billion in additional spending. It always says it is going to vote against the budget, yet it always votes for specific budget allocations, which has led to the struggle that Quebeckers and Canadians face today.
    Can the government ask the Bloc Québécois why it always goes along with the government's schemes, that lack all common sense?
    Mr. Speaker, Canadians watching the debates at home understand what lacks common sense. What defies common sense is not having any ambition, not having any vision and not having a plan for the country in 2024. We are in the middle of a full-on economic transformation. The people at home understand that. Now is the time to invest in science and research. Now is the time to invest in the next generation. Now is the time to invest in growth.
    That is exactly what we are doing. We have the best credit rating in the world. The time to invest is now. We are a confident nation. Together, we are going to build the Canada of the future.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, let us come back to immigration. On February 12, the House supported a motion giving the government 100 days to convene a meeting of all first ministers to discuss integration capacity. It had 100 days to table a plan for revising federal immigration targets in 2024, 100 days to produce a report on the gap between federal targets and capacity, and 100 days to determine how to financially close that gap to successfully integrate newcomers.
    One hundred days goes by fast. There are now only two weeks left. Have the first ministers received the invitation? Is it in the mail?
    Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member should be well aware, I am off to meet with my provincial counterparts this Thursday for precisely this purpose. I am looking forward to the follow-up. In particular, the provinces will be asked to define precisely what this integration capacity is. I am anxious to see what happens next.
    Mr. Speaker, in November, the House voted unanimously for the federal government to review its immigration targets in 2024, after consulting Quebec and the provinces about their integration capacity. Even the Liberals recognized that the targets should correspond with housing, health, education, French language training and infrastructure needs.
    Even so, Ottawa intends to continue to increase immigration in 2024 and even in 2025. When will the government listen to the reasonable demands of the House and stop blindly increasing immigration?

  (1440)  

     Mr. Speaker, I think I answered the previous question the same way. This is practically the same question, and I already answered it before.
    Mr. Speaker, we are going to go far like that.
    The federal government is blindly increasing its targets despite the House's calls to adjust the targets in line with integration capacity, despite the House's calls to begin this process within 100 days of meeting with the premiers, despite the negative feedback of the public service, despite the warnings from economists and despite the CMHC figures proving that the housing crisis is getting worse. Despite all of that, the government will not listen.
    Why do the Liberals refuse at all costs to find out how many people can be integrated without depriving them of services or ignoring their basic needs?
    Mr. Speaker, I do not know whether the member changed his notes between his three questions, but as I just said, I will be meeting with my ministerial colleagues this Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to talk about exactly that. That is our commitment to the provinces. Co-operation is needed. We will see what happens next, but of course we will be reviewing this with the provinces. We have not committed to an increase or decrease, or something in between, but we will see.

Finance

    Mr. Speaker, after nine years, this Prime Minister, backed by the Bloc Québécois, is not worth the cost that Quebeckers are paying for their mortgages, rent, food, gas and taxes.
    Every day, there are moving stories of Quebeckers who have to live in their cars and go without food, or of food banks that can no longer feed the people knocking on their doors. It is all because of this Prime Minister's $500 billion in inflationary spending, which the Bloc Québécois supports.
    When will the Prime Minister stop this wasteful spending so that, despite the Bloc Québécois, people can have enough to eat?
    Mr. Speaker, Quebeckers need investments in health care and we are making them.
    Quebeckers need investments in day care and early childhood centres and we are making them.
    Quebeckers need investments in housing and we are making them.
    The only thing the Conservatives know anything about are cuts and austerity, because they are afraid to raise taxes on the wealthy.
    Mr. Speaker, Quebeckers are already experiencing the austerity imposed by this government. They can no longer afford housing. They can no longer afford food. That is the reality facing Quebeckers every single day.
    After nine years, this Prime Minister seems to have found a partner to help him spend and create even more inflation at the expense of families. He knows that the Bloc Québécois will not vote against his spending because the Bloc Québécois likes this Liberal government.
    What does the Bloc Québécois get out of voting for $500 billion in centralizing Liberal spending?
    When will the Prime Minister, with the Bloc Québécois's support, stop impoverishing Quebeckers?
    Mr. Speaker, our colleague talks about reality, but the reality is that, during his term as minister responsible for housing, the Conservative leader created six affordable housing units, while Quebec municipalities are currently creating 8,000.
    The Conservative leader is still calling Quebec's municipalities incompetent, however. He insults everyone. That makes six affordable housing units over his entire term, compared to 8,000 affordable housing units by Quebec municipalities.
    Who is the most incompetent?

Employment

    Mr. Speaker, for weeks now, the member from Quebec City has been telling tall tales.
     The problem is that, at Université Laval, a grievance has now been filed against him directly because his status changed, allowing him to keep all his benefits.
    My question is, did the member from Quebec City request this benefit, which puts him in a conflict or interest, or did he accept an offer made by Université Laval, which puts him in a conflict of interest?
    It is a clear question, so I would like a clear answer, please.
    Mr. Speaker, I thought the member was better than that.
    He knows that Canada has some of the strictest conflict of interest and ethics rules in the world. This minister is a model citizen when it comes to complying with the very strict conflict of interest and ethics rules.
    That question surprises me, coming from the member across the way.

  (1445)  

[English]

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other advocates have called on the Liberals to end Canada's rights-violating immigration detention system. This system traumatizes people seeking safety.
    Provinces have ended immigration detention in their jurisdictions. Instead of following their lead, the federal government plans to lock up migrants and asylum seekers in federal prisons. They also want to codify this practice into law. This is in violation of international human rights standards.
    When will the government stop jailing people who are seeking safety and a better life?
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate our hon. colleague's question. I share her concern that the rights of all individuals must be respected.
    I think she will understand that there is a very small group of individuals, with perhaps violent criminal pasts or those who may be involved in terrorist activity, for whom releasing into the community would not be an acceptable option because of public safety. We worked for many years with the provinces that kept this very small group of individuals in the appropriate custody, and now we are going to take over our responsibility, while at the same time respecting their rights.

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, every minute, two garbage trucks' worth of plastic are dumped into the world's oceans.
    Canada has the longest coastline in the world, and plastic and industrial waste are choking the shoreline, making its way into our food and harming vital ecosystems. However, the Liberals' solution is to cancel the ghost gear fund, which creates local jobs, and removes plastic and marine debris from our waters.
     The government says that it cares about the environment, but it refuses to act to protect it. Will the Liberals immediately restore this funding, so we can continue to clean up our coasts?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the department knows how important the state of our oceans is. I can say that we are working very hard. Projects have been implemented to recover ghost gear. The work will continue with our communities and our people in the field.

[English]

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, our government will always uphold the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to protect Canadians' rights. We even established a rule, in 2019, that every government bill must be accompanied by a charter statement to ensure that Canadians' rights are respected in all legislation.
    Last week, the Leader of the Opposition admitted that he would overrule Canadians' rights using the notwithstanding clause. Can the Minister of Justice please reaffirm our government's commitment to upholding the charter?
    Mr. Speaker, I will state that our government will stop at nothing to ensure that Canadians' charter-guaranteed rights and freedoms are protected.
    One cannot claim to care about freedom and then vow to strip certain people's freedoms away when it is politically inconvenient. That is not democracy. The opposition has said that it will start with criminal justice matters, but where will they stop? Will it be with religious rights, abortion rights or the rights of the LGBTQ2 community?
    Our government will always protect all Canadians' rights. It is a wake-up call that the Leader of the Opposition cannot and will not do the same.

[Translation]

Mental Health and Addictions

    Mr. Speaker, after nine years of this Liberal government, the crises keep piling up. We have a housing crisis, a cost of living crisis and now an opioid crisis. In Montreal, the situation is getting worse and worse. Crack and heroin can be found near child care centres. Parents are worried about the safety of their children, and rightly so.
    Who is supporting the Liberal government on its extreme policies? The Bloc Québécois is. The Bloc is not worth the cost.
    The question is simple. When, on what date, will the Prime Minister put an end to this radical experiment of legalizing hard drugs?
    Mr. Speaker, as the member is well aware, the Province of Quebec has made no such requests. This means no changes are being considered in the treatment of opioids in Quebec.

  (1450)  

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, after nine years, the Bloc Québécois continues to support this Prime Minister in his reckless spending. The Bloc Québécois wants more transfers to the provinces, but it is voting in favour of $500 billion in centralizing and inflationary allocations. It is incomprehensible.
    Without housing, Quebeckers will become homeless, which has a major impact on the health care system. The Bloc Québécois and the Prime Minister are simply not worth the cost.
    When will this Prime Minister, with the support of the Bloc Québécois, stop wasting money so that Quebeckers can finally find a dignified place to live?
    Mr. Speaker, it might be a good idea for the Conservatives to talk to the Government of Quebec and to the mayors of Quebec's municipalities, because we have an agreement with Quebec to invest in housing.
    Quebec and the federal government both understand the importance of investing in housing and investing to help and support Quebeckers, but the Conservatives only understand austerity.
    Mr. Speaker, after nine years under this government, it is clear that the Bloc Québécois and the Prime Minister are not worth the cost.
    The housing shortage and high cost of rent have forced one 42-year-old to live in her minivan, and she is not the only one. While Quebeckers are trying to survive, the Bloc Québécois has decided to vote in favour of $500 billion in Liberal spending. That means they are voting in favour of bureaucracy and in favour of wasting $60 million on ArriveCAN.
    When will the Prime Minister stop wasting money, with the support of the Bloc Québécois, so that Quebeckers can start living with dignity again?
    Mr. Speaker, if the member thinks there is a housing problem in Quebec, why did he oppose the program to support the construction of housing in Quebec?
    One, two, three, four, five, six. Six is the total number of affordable housing units built with the support of the federal government when the leader of the Conservative Party was the minister responsible for housing.
    We are making investments to build affordable housing across the country, including in Quebec. I am having conversations with my counterpart to continue our collaboration and, at the same time, we are making investments to build affordable housing.
    Mr. Speaker, after nine years under this government, the housing crisis has become so severe that Quebeckers are having trouble choosing between putting a roof over their heads and putting food on the table.
    The Journal de Montréal reported that someone is living in their minivan while the government continues to waste money. Meanwhile, the Bloc Québécois, which claims to defend Quebec's interests, is making matters worse by voting for the Liberals' $500 billion in spending. It is costly to vote for the Bloc Québécois.
    When will the Prime Minister, supported by the Bloc, stop his wasteful spending?
    Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to be able to talk about housing with my colleague from Chicoutimi—Le Fjord. In his riding alone, 180 affordable housing units have been created in recent months. This is extraordinary. I congratulate him on that outcome.
    The only problem here is that perhaps he could speak with his Conservative leader to ask him why, during his entire mandate as minister responsible for housing, he created only six affordable housing units across the entire country.
    I am very happy for the member, but it may not have been the brightest choice to make a comparison with his leader's record.

Democratic Institutions

    Mr. Speaker, the Hogue commission's initial report unequivocally reveals the magnitude of foreign interference in our elections.
    Today, the government will be introducing a bill that contains measures for countering this interference. Better late than never. However, if the government wants to prove that it means business, it will have to create, at long last, the foreign agent registry that everyone is calling for. The Bloc Québécois intends to introduce a bill to create a binding registry, although nothing is stopping the federal government from moving forward today.
    Will the minister agree to pass legislation creating a binding foreign agent registry?
    Mr. Speaker, we obviously appreciate the enthusiasm of our colleague from Trois-Rivières.
    Still, he has some experience of how the parliamentary system works. He would not want me to talk about a bill on the Order Paper before it is introduced in the House. I would risk censure by the Speaker for violating members' privileges. That is something I would never do.
    I therefore ask my colleague for his patience. I am confident that we will be able to work with him on these important issues in the future.

  (1455)  

    Mr. Speaker, the Hogue commission report also exposes the Prime Minister's and the Liberal Party's irresponsible attitude toward Chinese interference.
    The report confirms that as early as 2019, the Prime Minister was duly informed of irregularities in the nomination in Don Valley North. The report specifies, on page 137, the Prime Minister's reasons for not withdrawing his candidate from the election. Among the reasons, we learned that “the [Liberal Party] expected to win [Don Valley North]”. In other words, the Prime Minister does not care if there is interference as long as the Liberal Party is winning.
    Should democracy come before partisanship?
    Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, I disagree with what my colleague said. He knows full well that we are the first government to bring in measures to counter foreign interference and we have improved those measures. Following expert recommendations, we adjusted the measures to strengthen them further.
    We have worked with our friends at the Bloc Québécois and other parties to help the commission and Justice Hogue do their work. We look forward to having her recommendations.
    Parliament will certainly have to work together to follow through on those recommendations.

[English]

Mental Health and Addictions

    Mr. Speaker, after nine years, the NDP-Liberal Prime Minister is not worth the crime, chaos, drugs and disorder. Since the request 10 days ago to end deadly legalization, 60 British Columbians have died, and the impacts are felt in every community. The Abbotsford Soccer Association has to sweep its fields for dirty needles and deal with open drug use at our community parks. Patrons of the SkyTrain in Surrey Centre fear open use of meth on our transit system.
    Can the minister provide the date when the government will finally cancel this wacko policy?
    An hon. member: Oh, oh!
    I am going to ask the hon. member for Timmins—James Bay to please keep his voice quiet unless he is recognized by the Speaker to speak.
    The hon. Minister of Mental Health and Addictions.
    Mr. Speaker, the pilot program in B.C. was set forth at B.C.'s request, to save lives. They have come to us now to amend their proposal. Working with the B.C. government, law enforcement and health care services to get this right and to save the lives of people who are dying because of a toxic drug supply is an urgent priority for us.
    Mr. Speaker, after nine years of the NDP-Liberal Prime Minister, he is not worth the crime, chaos, drugs or disorder. It was 10 days ago that the B.C. government pleaded with the Prime Minister to end this wacko drug policy. There have been 60 overdose deaths since B.C. begged for this to come to an end. On what day will they finally act and give B.C. what it is asking for?
    An hon. member: Oh, oh!
    Again, I am going to ask the hon. member for New Westminster—Burnaby to please not take the floor until he is recognized for doing so. I know this is a very difficult issue for many, so I ask members to please listen carefully to the questions and listen carefully to the answers.
    The hon. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.
    Mr. Speaker, we have a very effective, collaborative relationship with the Province of British Columbia, and it is frankly insulting to the province to suggest that the province needs to beg us for anything. The province has serious concerns about its pilot project. We share their concerns, and we are working collaboratively and effectively to address those concerns. What we are not doing is playing partisan politics with the lives of real people.
    Mr. Speaker, after nine years, the NDP-Liberal Prime Minister is not worth the crime, chaos, drugs and disorder. The B.C. government sent the Prime Minister all the information he needs to end his wacko drug policy experiment. In his 10 days of inaction, it is estimated 60 British Columbians' lives have been tragically lost to overdoses. Wacko drug policies have the RCMP citing government-supplied drugs being diverted and open drug use of crack in hospital rooms, meth in restaurants and fentanyl in parks and playgrounds.
    How many more days will it take the Prime Minister to end his failed drug policy experiment?

  (1500)  

    Mr. Speaker, of course, all members in this House are absolutely ripped apart by what we are seeing the opioid crisis do across this country. The responsibility we have to the families who have lost loved ones and to the people who are in crisis right now is to make sure we follow the evidence. The reality is that the ideas proposed by the Conservatives have been tried and have failed everywhere they have been tried. If we are going to have honest conversations, holding out false solutions is very disappointing on a subject so sensitive.
    We need to work collaboratively in an evidence-based way to make sure that we do everything we can to get this right.

Dental Care

    Mr. Speaker, over 1.9 million seniors 65 and older have successfully applied for the Canadian dental care plan. The Conservatives chose to vote against funding toward the CDCP. However, the numbers speak for themselves and have demonstrated Canadians' overwhelming support for this program.
    Could the minister please update the House on the impacts of the work being done to provide access to dental care for Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to start by thanking the member for Richmond Hill for all his work to promote—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    The Chair has been pretty patient with the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan calling out when he does not have the floor. I am going to ask him to please listen respectfully to the questions that are asked and to the answers that are given.
    The hon. Minister of Health can start from the top, please.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to start by thanking the member for Richmond Hill, who has been such an incredible advocate in making sure that all Canadians get the oral health care they deserve.
    In the first three days, we have had extraordinary results. More than 15,000 seniors, just in the first three days, have already gotten service. When we think about that, it is a fundamental issue with dignity and prevention. Those are seniors who are not going to wind up in a hospital room.
    We need to continue that momentum. More than 8,000 dentists have now signed up, with more and more signing up every day. We are going to get to—
    The hon. member for Wellington—Halton Hills.

Democratic Institutions

    Mr. Speaker, on April 11, the Prime Minister said that “it wasn't simply, an overall the election was free and fair”, but that in “every single constituency election...election integrity held and it was free and fair.”
     Justice Hogue concluded otherwise. She concluded that well-grounded suspicions about PRC interference in Don Valley North “could...have impacted who was elected to Parliament. This is significant.”
    Does the government agree with Justice Hogue that PRC interference could have impacted who was elected to Parliament in Don Valley North?
    Mr. Speaker, we agree with Justice Hogue that there has been an increase in foreign state actors, hostile state actors seeking to interfere in the Canadian democratic process. Obviously that takes place at the riding level. We also noted Justice Hogue saying that this was the case for a very small number of constituencies and that she was not able to draw definitive conclusions as to the extent of that impact.
    I understand my hon. friend is identifying some of what Justice Hogue said. I think it is important to put it in the context that she herself did.
    Mr. Speaker, I will tell the government what Justice Hogue concluded in Steveston—Richmond East. She found that “there are strong [indications] of PRC involvement and there is a reasonable possibility that these narratives could have impacted the result in this riding.” Again, the Prime Minister said, just several weeks ago, that in “every single constituency election...election integrity held and it was free and fair.”
    Does the government agree with Justice Hogue that PRC interference could have impacted the election result in Steveston—Richmond East?
    Mr. Speaker, we think that Justice Hogue has done a very serious job in terms of understanding the extent and nature of foreign interference and helping Canadians understand also the tactics that foreign hostile state actors may use and how they seek to undermine the confidence of Canadians in democracy.
    We should be very careful before we take out-of-context specific things that Justice Hogue has said. Our government, unlike the government that was in office before 2015, has taken this matter seriously and will continue to do everything necessary in this regard.

  (1505)  

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal employment minister got caught cashing cheques from his secret lobbying business. It turns out his own department got lobbied and then gave $10 million out, and the minister himself announced it. After nine years of the NADP government, it is clear it is not worth the cost or the corruption.
    How much did the minister pocket? Is the government prepared today to announce that it is going to have the RCMP investigate this latest Liberal scandal?
    Mr. Speaker, the minister has, of course, addressed that matter. Let us talk about the member for Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes. In an alarming way last week, in the House, he failed to rule out using the notwithstanding clause to deny the rights of women to reproductive services in this country. There are 80 members of that caucus who have green or yellow lights from the Campaign Life Coalition. Who is going to stand up over there to make sure that the rights of women are protected against these Conservative anti-choicers?

Climate Change

    Mr. Speaker, cutting the pollution that is fuelling costly climate change while building a strong, sustainable Canadian economy that creates jobs and invests in the competitive decarbonizing world is the key to success in the 21st century. The latest national inventory report confirms that Canada has bent the curve and is reducing emissions toward achieving the country's 2030 emissions reduction goal.
    Can the Minister of Environment and Climate Change update Canadians on this progress and the next steps in climate action?
    Mr. Speaker, in fact, emissions are down in Canada. That is not only according to us; the independent Canadian Climate Institute said that, for the first time in the history of Canada, we are on track to meet our 2026 and 2030 targets. There was less pollution in 2022 by 44 million tonnes than there was in 2019; this is the equivalent of removing 13 million vehicles from our roads, basically half of our existing vehicles in Canada.
    More needs to be done, which is why we are the first and only country in the G20 to have eliminated fossil fuel subsidies, as well as the only large oil and gas producer to put in place a cap on emissions.

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, the expected military invasion in Rafah will be catastrophic. Over a million people, half of them children, have no safe place to go. In Gaza, there is famine in the north and bombing in the south. This escalation threatens the safety of both Israelis and Palestinians.
    The Liberals should be doing everything to protect innocent civilians, including hostages. Where are the promised sanctions on extremist settlers? Where is the two-way arms embargo? Why will the minister not do what she promised and act to save lives?
    Mr. Speaker, the violence must stop. What is happening in Gaza is catastrophic. As we have said from the beginning, a military operation in Rafah would be devastating for Palestinian civilians and foreign nationals. They are seeking refuge. They are mothers and children. They have nowhere else to go, and asking them to move again is unacceptable.
    We continue to call for a sustainable ceasefire. This cannot be one-sided. Hamas must release all hostages and lay down its weapons; humanitarian aid must get into Gaza.

Climate Change

    Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, and contrary to what the Minister of Environment just said, Canada is not on track to meet our target for 2030, which is expressed to the United Nations as 40% to 45% below 2005 levels, only conveniently forgetting the range into 45%.
    On top of that, we are still spending more money to support fossil fuels than to decarbonize: $34 billion on Trans Mountain; another $5.7 billion on fraud, carbon capture and storage; and under-spending when the government promised it was going to spend money on climate. We are at least $14 billion behind that promise.

  (1510)  

    Mr. Speaker, if the member will not take it from me, maybe she will take it from organizations she probably knows very well.
     Environmental Defence stated, “New data released today by the Government of Canada shows that [we are] finally starting to bend the curve when it comes to climate pollution. GHG emissions in 2022 were the lowest they have been in 25 years, with the exception of the pandemic years.”
    The Pembina Institute stated, “Canada’s climate policies are starting to pay off.... It appears the suite of measures introduced by the Government of Canada over the last several years is starting to make a notable dent in our overall emissions.”

Routine Proceedings

[Routine Proceedings]

[English]

Government Response to Petitions

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8)(a), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 28 petitions. These returns will be tabled in electronic format.

Countering Foreign Interference Act

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

[Translation]

Committees of the House

Health 

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the following two reports of the Standing Committee on Health. The 17th report is titled “The Patented Medicine Prices Review Board: Ensuring the Effectiveness of the Reform Process”. The 18th report is titled “Fostering Healthy Childhoods: A Foundation for Resilient Generations”.

[English]

    Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to each of these two reports.
    We are grateful for the diligent support that we have received from the procedural clerks from the House of Commons and the expert assistance from the analysts of the Library of Parliament.

Finance  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the following three reports of the Standing Committee on Finance.
    First, I present the 17th report of the Standing Committee on Finance, in relation to Bill C-59, an act to implement certain provisions of the fall economic statement tabled in Parliament on November 21, 2023, and certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 28, 2023. The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report the bill back to the House with amendments.
    Second, I present the 18th report, entitled “Main Estimates: 2024-25”.
    Third, I present the 19th report of the Standing Committee on Finance, in relation to the motion adopted on Thursday, March 21, regarding the excess profit tax on large grocery companies.
    I want to thank the members and all those who helped us get these reports prepared for Parliament.

  (1515)  

Government Operations and Estimates  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 18th report of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates, known as the mighty OGGO, entitled “Request for a Privacy Commissioner Investigation of the ArriveCAN Application”.

Petitions

Public Safety  

    Mr. Speaker, it is always an honour to present petitions on behalf of my constituents.
    I rise for the 35th time on behalf of the people of Swan River, Manitoba, to present a petition on the rising rate of crime. Jail has become a revolving door for repeat offenders. Bill C-75 allows violent offenders to be in jail in the morning and back on the street the same day, while Bill C-5 allows criminals to serve their sentences from home.
    The people of Swan River are calling for jail, not bail, for violent repeat offenders. They demand that the Liberal government repeal its soft-on-crime policies, which directly threaten their livelihoods and their community. I support the good people of Swan River.

Hong Kong  

    Mr. Speaker, I am tabling a petition on behalf of Hong Kongers all across Canada.
    The petitioners draw the attention of the House specifically to the treatment that Hong Kongers have received ever since the national security law in Hong Kong was implemented, instituted in Hong Kong by the Communist authorities, on June 30, 2020. They draw the attention of the House to the fact that it has suppressed their freedom of speech and their peaceful expression of alternative views, and it also promotes the elimination of meaningful political opposition.
    Protesters from Hong Kong have been coming to Canada since then and are asking the House of Commons for the following five things. The first is that IRCC should take greater care when receiving the applications of Hong Kongers who are recently released from prison and who have criminal convictions related to the pro-democracy movement. The second is that involvement in the pro-democracy movement not be an impediment for Hong Kongers eligible for immigration pathways in coming to Canada. Third is that IRCC should create a mechanism by which Hong Kong people with pro-democracy movement-related convictions may provide an explanation for such convictions. The fourth is that IRCC should create a mechanism by which Hong Kong people with convictions related to the pro-democracy movement may be provided admission to Canada. The fifth thing is to ensure the translation of police documents on arrest, charges and convictions, as well as personal declarations regarding criminal history, but to remove an explicit requirement for a Hong Kong police certificate.

Canada Post  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to present a petition on behalf of the residents in the area of Langdon, who have been without a post office for over a year. I know the environment minister would be very concerned about this because now they have been redirected 30 kilometres away to another community. This is an environmental disaster with all the carbon they will use getting to a post office in a community 30 kilometres away.
    Residents need their post office. It has been over a year. We need the post office in Langdon.

Public Transit  

    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise in this place on behalf of the people of Saanich—Gulf Islands who are looking to see climate action and, particularly, transit plans across Canada.
    They note that the federally supported 10-year transit plan will end in 2027 and that we still lack an effective public transit plan that serves Canadians, particularly in rural and more remote areas, such as Vancouver Island. The petitioners are asking for a permanent federal funding mechanism for public transit to go beyond the 10-year plan and for all orders of government to work together to ensure predictable, long-term and low-carbon transit.
    They hope accountability measures will be in place to ensure governments work together to deliver public transit for Canadians.

Firearms  

    Mr. Speaker, as always, it is an honour to stand in this place and present three petitions signed by so many Canadians from across this country.
    The first petition seeks to support the health and safety of Canadian firearms owners. The petitioners recognize the importance of owning firearms and are concerned about the impacts of hearing loss caused by the damaging noise level of firearms and recognize the need for noise reduction.
    The petitioners acknowledge that sound moderators are the only universally recognized health and safety device that is criminally prohibited in Canada. Moreover, the majority of G7 countries have recognized the health and safety benefits of sound moderators, allowing them for hunting, for sport shooting and for reducing noise pollution. The petitioners are calling on the government to allow legal firearms owners the option to purchase and to use sound moderators for all legal hunting and sport shooting activities.
    It is great to present that petition on behalf of so many Canadians here today.

  (1520)  

Freedom of Political Expression  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition I rise to present in the House was signed by numerous Canadians concerned about freedom of expression in this country. The petitioners recognize that Bill C-257 seeks to add protection against political discrimination to the Canadian Human Rights Act.
    Therefore, these Canadians call upon the House of Commons to, one, support Bill C-257, which would ban discrimination on the basis of political belief or activity, and two, to defend the rights of Canadians to peacefully express their political opinions, a very important issue, indeed.

Charitable Organizations  

    Mr. Speaker, the third and final petition I rise to present today in the House of Commons is from numerous Canadians who, and it is not the first time I have to present a petition like this, share their concern about how the Liberal Party of Canada, in its 2021 platform, promised to deny the charitable status of organizations that have convictions that differ from those of the Liberal Party. In some cases, it may jeopardize the charitable status of hospitals, houses of worship, schools, homeless shelters and other charitable organizations that simply do not agree with the Liberal Party on matters of conscience.
    Many Canadians depend on, and benefit from, the charitable work done by these organizations, and certainly, these Canadians are very concerned about the imposition of a values test similar to that used to eliminate so many organizations from the Canada summer jobs program, as we saw a number of years ago.
    Therefore, a host of Canadians call upon the House of Commons to, one, protect and preserve the application of charitable status rules on a politically and ideologically neutral basis without discrimination on the basis of political or religious values and without the imposition of another values test and, two, to affirm the rights of Canadians to freedom of expression.
    As always, it is an honour to stand, on behalf of so many Canadians, to present these three petitions here in the House today.

Climate Change  

    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise to present a petition on behalf of folks who note, first of all, that thermal coal, the kind used to generate electricity, is the world's dirtiest fossil fuel. They note that thermal coal is responsible for half of the world's carbon footprint. They note that the world needs to rapidly move away from thermal coal if we have any hope of holding on to the 1.5°C target set in Paris to limit global warming.
    Petitioners go on to note many of the physical effects of the climate crisis, from permafrost melt to drought and wildfires, much of which we are seeing across the country and even more so around the world. They also note that Canada's greenhouse gas emissions are actually the worst of any G7 country since the 2015 Paris Agreement, and certainly since 1990.
    Petitioners go on to then call on the Government of Canada to do two very specific things. The first is to add thermal coal to the priority substances list of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, and as soon as possible to the toxic substances list of CEPA and, as a result of doing that, to go on to regulate the mining, use, export and import of thermal coal in accordance with our international commitments, effectively banning the export of thermal coal.

Natural Health Products  

    Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise on behalf of Canadians to present a petition with respect to this large interventionist government proceeding again to take away consumer rights and health rights of Canadians, which will have a significant impact on the natural health products business in this country that employs literally thousands of people and that represents multi-billions of dollars of business.
    The petition says that the Liberal Party is threatening access to natural health products. Through the new rules, it will mean higher costs and fewer products on store shelves, that new so-called cost recovery provisions will impose massive costs on all consumers of natural health products and will undermine access for Canadians who rely on these products and that the provisions in the latest Liberal omnibus budget have given the government substantial new arbitrary powers around the regulation of natural health products.
    Therefore, the undersigned residents of Canada call on the government to reverse the changes made by the Liberals regarding natural health products. While I am on my feet, I do agree with many of my residents and businesses in Barrie—Innisfil, who see this as an attack on their consumer choice and cost, and it will have a dramatic impact on businesses in this country.

  (1525)  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. First and foremost, one is not supposed to be reading a petition into the record. One is supposed to give a summary of it. Petitions should not be politically targeted in terms of the member giving a political statement at the same time.
    We all should be judicious, of course, with what has been going on.
    The hon. member for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke has the floor.
    Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to present.
    I am pleased to present a petition signed by the great people of Pickering, Uxbridge, Ajax and Whitby. They call on the House of Commons to immediately repeal the new regulatory constraints that were passed last year on natural health products, which millions of Canadians rely upon, and that have since affected their medical freedom of choice and affordability.

Pornography  

    Mr. Speaker, I also present a petition organized by Pastor Joe Fiorentino of the Quadeville Pentecostal Church in my great riding of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke.
    The petitioners call on the House of Commons to immediately pass Bill S-210 without delay, which aims to protect our children from accessing harmful sexual and explicit pornographic content online. I would like to thank Pastor Fiorentino and all those in his congregation who signed this petition.

[Translation]

Natural Health Products  

    Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to present a petition today on behalf of Canadians who are concerned about what has been tabled by the Liberal Party regarding natural health products. It is clear that citizens believe the new rules will undermine access to natural health products, resulting in higher costs and fewer products available on store shelves, to name but a few issues.
    In addition to this petition, our offices have received a tremendous amount of correspondence about this. I think it is very important for the House to receive this petition from concerned citizens, who want us to maintain access to natural products.

[English]

    The hon. member for Kingston and the Islands is rising on a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, I did not want to raise this at the time because I almost felt that it was intended for this purpose.
    One Conservative member, when presenting a petition today, was wearing a button that said “I heart oil”. I just want confirm, as I know there was a ruling on this before, that we should not be wearing any buttons with political statements as such.
    Could you confirm that for the House?
    We have said that we do not want buttons that are supporting one position or another position in the House. We should be judicious in what we are wearing. I do believe the hon. member has a mix of buttons he does wear. This one, I think, says “I love Canada”. I will have to go back and check that.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today on behalf of 30 people who have chosen to present a petition to the House of Commons. This petition concerns access to natural health products, which has come under threat from new legislation and rules introduced by this Liberal government.
    The new provisions, which are called “Natural health product cost recovery”, so that everyone understands, are going to impose massive costs on all consumers of natural health products, obviously undermining access for Canadians who rely on these products.
    On behalf of these 30 petitioners, who speak for many people in many regions of Canada, I am honoured to table this petition calling on the government to reverse the changes made in the latest Liberal budget regarding natural health products.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to table a petition from 26 signatories regarding the decision to threaten access to natural health products with higher costs and fewer products available on our store shelves. The cost recovery provisions will impose massive costs on all consumers of natural health products and will undermine access for Canadians who rely on these products, and, stemming from an omnibus budget bill, would give the government's substantial new arbitrary powers around the legislation of natural health products.
    Therefore, I am happy to table this petition of the 26 concerned citizens regarding this effort to quell their ability to have natural health products available to them.

  (1530)  

Questions on the Order Paper

    Mr. Speaker, the following questions will be answered today: Questions Nos. 2456 to 2458, 2460, 2461, 2471, 2473, 2477, 2482, 2484 and 2485.

[Text]

Question No. 2456—
Mr. Randall Garrison:
    With regard to the two-year deadline for sequestration of criminal records for personal possession as required by the passage of Bill C-5, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, which received Royal Assent on November 17, 2022: (a) can the Government of Canada provide a status update on how this work is proceeding and whether the two-year deadline will be met by November 17, 2024; and (b) what the process will be for Canadians to be notified that their criminal records for personal possession have been sequestered?
Ms. Jennifer O’Connell (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety, Democratic Institutions and Intergovernmental Affairs (Cybersecurity), Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada is committed to promoting fairer and more effective responses to criminal conduct, and to addressing systemic racism and discrimination in Canada’s criminal justice system, while maintaining public safety. To that end, on November 18, 2022, Bill C-5, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Controlled Drug and Substances Act, received royal assent. This legislation allows for the sequestering of a record for any simple drug possession conviction under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. It eliminates the need for individuals to submit an application; rather, eligible records will be set aside and apart from other convictions on their record. This ensures sequestered records for simple drug possession convictions cannot be revoked or cease to have effect. In effect, this sequestration eliminates the existence of the record for that offence only. Keeping simple possession convictions separate and apart from other convictions seeks to help reduce the negative consequences of conduct that is increasingly viewed as a public health and social problem.
    Given the decentralized manner in which criminal records are stored and that the possession of controlled substances is governed across several legislative frameworks, effective implementation of section 10.6 of the CDSA requires federal, provincial, territorial and municipal government co-operation. Since coming into force in November 2022, Public Safety has been working closely with partners to implement Bill C-5 by November 17, 2024.
    Public Safety recognizes there is much work left to be done to reduce the barriers those with a criminal record continue to face. The government remains committed to pursuing the best way forward to continue implementing these reforms and looks forward to continuing to work closely with partners at all levels to help ensure the handling of criminal records is fair and supports reintegration.
    There is currently no plan to proactively notify individuals as to the status of their impacted record. Such proactive notification raises privacy concerns and distribution complexities, such as long-outdated contact information or individuals without access to Internet, mail or telephone. In addition, different jurisdictions have different rules for the disclosure of information and different means of defining, holding and setting aside records of conviction.
Question No. 2457—
Ms. Melissa Lantsman:
    With regard to the new Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) regulations for the slaughter of non-stunned animals: (a) what are the details of all consultations that the CFIA conducted related to the regulations, including which businesses, stakeholders, interest groups, and organizations were consulted, when were they consulted, and what feedback was received; (b) what impact does the government project that these regulations will have on the (i) availability, (ii) affordability, of Kosher meats in Canada; (c) what specific steps, if any, will CFIA take to ensure that the domestic Kosher market will remain viable in Canada; (d) what is the government's response to the concerns of Canadian Jews who observe Kashrut who will no longer be able to purchase non-imported Kosher meat following the implementations of these regulations; (e) what process did the government undertake to determine who receives exemptions from the new regulations; and (f) what entities or slaughtering practices has the government exempted from the new regulations?
Hon. Lawrence MacAulay (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to part (a) of the question, the safe food for Canadians regulations, or SFCR, came into force in 2019 and outline animal welfare requirements. Prior to the SFCR, the meat inspection regulations,1990, or MIR, which were repealed when the SFCR came into force, provided the requirements for the humane treatment of animals, including the need to ensure animals are unconscious before they are suspended on the slaughter line.
    The SFCR contain animal welfare requirements that apply to all federally regulated slaughter activities, including non-ritual and ritual slaughter.
    In non-ritual slaughter, the SFCR require that food animals be rendered unconscious through pre-slaughter stunning prior to being suspended and bled on the slaughter line. With respect to ritual slaughter activities, the SFCR explicitly provide an exception that allows animals to be ritually slaughtered without stunning in compliance with Judaic or Islamic law. Regardless of the slaughter method, the SFCR require that any handling of food animals must not cause or subject the animal to avoidable suffering, pain or distress, and require that the food animal be unconscious before suspending on the slaughter line.
    The ritual slaughter provisions of the MIR were carried over into the SFCR and the CFIA received comments on these provisions during the public consultation phase of the SFCR. The proposed regulations were published in Canada Gazette, part I, in January 2017 for a 90-day public consultation period. Over 1,300 comments were received and reviewed.
    Based on the comments received and further analysis and considerations, the CFIA maintained the ritual slaughter provisions in the final publication of the regulations but amended the wording describing the neck cut to be in line with a recommendation from a Jewish organization.
    With regard to part (b), the CFIA administers and enforces the Safe Food for Canadians Act, or SFCA, and regulations, which govern food import, export and interprovincial trade. Slaughter businesses that operate entirely within a province or territory are subject to provincial or territorial requirements under the supervision of the respective authority that governs food safety and welfare at slaughter within the province or territory.
    The exception in the SFCR that allows animals to be ritually slaughtered without stunning provides the flexibility needed for kosher meat to be available in Canada. There are several SFCA licence-holders, or federally licensed operators, who are currently slaughtering and producing kosher meat products in compliance with the SFCR.
    Kosher meat can also be imported in accordance with the SFCR, if the country and the establishment where the food animal was slaughtered and the meat produced has a system that is recognized as providing the same level of protection as in Canada. Currently, 43 establishments from eight countries with a recognized inspection system by the CFIA can export kosher beef to Canada.
    Most provinces and territories also offer a similar flexibility for ritual slaughter while meeting animal welfare outcomes, thus offering opportunity for ongoing production and supply of kosher products within a province or a territory.
    Regarding part (c), the SFCR, through the exception offered for ritual slaughter, ensure animal welfare requirements are met while providing the flexibility needed to produce kosher meat. Since 2010, the CFIA has been providing guidance to industry to help them comply with animal welfare regulatory requirements during ritual slaughter activities. In 2019, the CFIA published the “Guidelines for ritual slaughter of food animals without pre-slaughter stunning”, which are based on scientific evidence and international best practices.
    The CFIA has engaged, and will continue to engage, with federally regulated licence-holders involved in kosher meat production to support them in their efforts to maintain compliance and the domestic production of kosher meat.
    The CFIA always stays on the lookout for new scientific findings that can support animal welfare and listens to and engages with stakeholders on the challenges they face as well as on potential solutions.
    Concerning part (d), the CFIA has engaged and will continue to engage with federally regulated licence-holders involved in kosher meat production to support them in their efforts to maintain compliance and the domestic production of kosher meat. The CFIA always stays on the lookout for new scientific findings that can support animal welfare and listens to and engages with stakeholders on the challenges they face as well as on potential solutions.
    Along with CFIA, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is also taking steps to engage with federally and provincially regulated abattoirs, as well as the Jewish community, to gather intelligence, understand probable solutions and examine potential options that could contribute to increasing kosher supplies in Canada.
    With regard to parts (e) and (f), the regulatory exception to support ritual slaughter practices by allowing animals to be ritually slaughtered without stunning is available to all licence-holders who are licensed for slaughter activities and who comply with their licence conditions.
Question No. 2458—
Mr. Blake Richards:
    With regard to the Department of Finance and changes in federal taxes or levies, since November 4, 2015: (a) how many federal tax or levy increases have occurred since November 2015; (b) what are the details of each increase, including the (i) date, (ii) name of the tax or levy, (iii) previous tax or levy rate, (iv) tax or levy rate following change, (v) percentage of increase; and (c) for each increase, how much additional revenue has been received by the government broken down by year since the increase?
Hon. Chrystia Freeland (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, the details of tax policy changes, including their projected fiscal impact by year, are published in the budgets and fall fiscal updates in which they were announced. These publications are available on the Department of Finance Canada website at www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/services/publications/federal-budget.html and www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/services/publications/fall-economic-statement.html. The tax annexes of these publications are comprehensive and include detailed information.
    Note that annex 5 of budget 2019 includes detailed tables showing tax savings realized from tax measures undertaken from the beginning of the government’s first mandate to budget 2019 inclusive. These tables are available at the following link: www.budget.canada.ca/2019/docs/plan/anx-05-en.html#Tax-Expenditure-Review.
    The government’s first tax changes were announced prior to its first budget. In the fall of 2015, the government announced a middle-class tax cut and a new top personal income tax rate of 33% for the wealthiest Canadians. The details of these changes are included in a December 7, 2015, backgrounder published on the Finance Canada website at: www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/news/2015/12/backgrounder-middle-class-tax-cut.html.
    Other measures involving rate increases to taxes, duties or charges include introducing an additional tax of 1.5% of the taxable income for members of bank and life insurer groups in budget 2022; increasing the tobacco excise duty rate in budget 2021; indexing excise duty rates on alcohol products to maintain their effectiveness over time in budget 2017; and increasing the rate of the air travellers security charge in budget 2023.
    The federal pollution pricing system includes a federal fuel charge that applies in certain jurisdictions. The fuel charge is revenue-neutral for the federal government, since direct proceeds are returned in the jurisdiction of origin. Fuel charge rates increase annually and are published on the Canada Revenue Agency website at www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/forms-publications/publications/fcrates/fuel-charge-rates.html#fcrts. Information on proceeds collected and returned is published in the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act annual report.
Question No. 2460—
Mr. Frank Caputo:
    With regard to Correctional Services Canada and the La Macaza Institution: (a) what is the last known date the ice rink at the institution was (i) operational, (ii) skated on by inmates; and (b) what is the last known date the tennis court at the institution was (i) operational, (ii) used by inmates?
Ms. Jennifer O’Connell (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety, Democratic Institutions and Intergovernmental Affairs (Cybersecurity), Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, the boards related to the ice rink at La Macaza have been in place since 2002 and the rink area was used until 2017-18. Based on consultation with staff, there has been no skating for the past seven years. Tennis was last available in October 2023.
    Access to exercise, including outdoors, is part of CSC’s legal requirements and contributes to offender rehabilitation while keeping our staff and sites safer. Approved activities are structured, monitored and supervised.
Question No. 2461—
Mr. Garnett Genuis:
    With regard to the authorization regime created by Bill C-41, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make consequential amendments to other Acts: (a) how many organizations have (i) applied for, (ii) received, authorization from the Minister of Public Safety; (b) where can organizations seeking authorization apply; (c) when will the authorization regime created under the Act be fully operational; and (d) what are the names of the organizations which have received authorization to date?
Ms. Jennifer O’Connell (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety, Democratic Institutions and Intergovernmental Affairs (Cybersecurity), Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to parts (a)(i) and (ii) of the question, Public Safetyand partnering departments and agencies are currently working to launch the authorization regime pursuant to sections 83.031 to 83.391 of the Criminal Code. Necessary tools, such as application forms, policy guidance and instructions for the application process will be put in place to support the effective launch and administration of this initiative.
    Public Safety intends to launch this regime in spring 2024; the Minister of Public Safety has not yet granted any authorizations.
    To note, in addition to the authorization regime, Bill C-41 also created a humanitarian exception pursuant to subsection 83.03(4) of the Criminal Code. This exception has been in effect since royal assent in June 2023 and provides a shield from criminal liability under 83.03 to Canadian organizations and Canadians carrying out humanitarian assistance activities under the auspices of impartial humanitarian organizations in accordance with international law while using reasonable efforts to minimize any benefits to terrorist groups.
    Regarding part (b), an online interface will be rolled out to the public as part of the launch of the authorization regime to receive applications and supporting documentation and where external stakeholders, for example, organizations and individuals not working in partnerships with the Government of Canada, may submit their application.
    Government of Canada departments are responsible for obtaining authorizations, if needed, for any of their relevant activities, including programming. As indicated in the legislation, authorizations cover all implementing partners.
    With regard to part (c), Public Safety intends to launch this regime by spring 2024 and will work towards achieving full operational capacity by late 2024.
    Regarding (d), due to strict privacy considerations, as well as the personal and operational safety of applicants, the names of applicants and authorization holders will not be publicly released.
Question No. 2471—
Ms. Michelle Ferreri:
    With regard to the National Advisory Council on Early Learning and Child Care: (a) what conflicts of interest or potential conflicts of interest have been declared by each of the members of the council, broken down by member; and (b) are members of the council permitted to profit as a result of their membership on the council, including through consulting businesses or other enterprises owned by members of the council, and, if not, what are the measures in place to ensure that members do not act in their own self-interest?
Mrs. Élisabeth Brière (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and to the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to part (a) of the question, members of the national advisory council on early learning and child care are subject to the ESDC policy on establishment and management of advisory bodies, which upholds the principles and values found in the Conflict of Interest Act, the values and ethics code for the public sector, the policy on people management and the directive on conflict of interest, and establishes conflict of interest compliance measures for all advisory body members. Moreover, council members are subject to the terms and conditions of their letters of agreement, affiliations and interests declarations and non-disclosure agreements.
    In fulfillment of their responsibilities outlined in their letters of agreement, some council members have declared potential conflicts of interest. Following a departmental assessment of their declaration, side agreements outlining mitigation strategies were put in place to manage the risk of a conflict of interest associated with their duties performed in a capacity other than as council members.
    Failure to abide by the conditions outlined in their signed side agreements may lead to members’ dismissal from the council.
    Affiliations and interests declarations contain personal information and cannot be disclosed without the individual consent of the council members concerned.
    Regarding part (b), council members serve in a non-affiliated capacity. Members are not permitted to profit as a result of their membership on the council, including through consulting businesses or other enterprises they may own or may be affiliated with.
    As per their signed letters of agreement, members shall at all times act honestly and only in the public interest. Members must not act in any way to further their or their family members’, friends’ or colleagues’ private or personal interests, nor in the interests of any organization they may be affiliated with, including with regard to the receipt of project funding.
    Furthermore, council members must not knowingly take advantage of or benefit from any information, confidential or otherwise, that is obtained in the course of undertaking their responsibilities under the agreement and as members of the council, where information is not generally available to the public. This is applicable both during the term of the member’s agreement and after its expiry.
    If council members are in a situation, or anticipate that they may find themselves in a situation, where their actions could constitute an actual or perceived conflict of interest, they must inform the director general of the federal secretariat on early learning and child care at ESDC immediately in writing and complete required documentation disclosing the nature of the conflict. Members then agree to abide by any instructions provided by ESDC to address the conflict, up to and including removing themselves or being removed as a member of the council. Where a potential conflict of interest is identified, a side agreement providing an outline of the individual situation, along with a series of conditions and measures to abide by, is put in place to mitigate any risks.
    ESDC regularly reminds council members of their duty to proactively disclose any and all relevant affiliations and interests that might give rise to a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest in relation to their official responsibilities as members. Written communication to this effect was shared most recently with all council members on January 18, 2024.
Question No. 2473—
Ms. Kerry-Lynne D. Findlay:
    With regard to government definitions: what is the government's definition of a woman?
Ms. Lisa Hepfner (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, a woman is an adult female human being. The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that its policies, programs and initiatives are inclusive of all individuals, and reflect the diversity of experiences of the Canadian population.
Question No. 2477—
Mr. Sameer Zuberi:
    With regard to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and late personal taxes, broken down by fiscal year from tax year 2016 to 2023, by province and territory, and by income tax bracket: (a) how many people had a balance owing and were unable to pay it by the payment due date; (b) what was the total amount of balance owing for people that were unable to pay by the payment due date; (c) how many for each tax year had daily interest charged on any unpaid amount owing because they were unable to pay by the payment due date; (d) how much was paid in compound daily interest by those unable to pay by the payment due date; (e) how many people filed their tax return after the due date and had a balance owing and were charged a late-filing penalty; (f) what was the total amount of late-filing penalties paid; (g) how many people made a request to the CRA to cancel or waive penalties or interest as they were unable to meet their tax obligations due to circumstances beyond their control; and (h) how many people for each tax year were granted relief for requests in (g)?
Hon. Marie-Claude Bibeau (Minister of National Revenue, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, with respect to the abovenoted question, what follows is the response from the CRA as of March 20, 2024, that is, the date of the question.
    In response to parts (a) to (f), the CRA is not able to report on live accounting information, referring to a taxpayer's current outstanding balances and other related information. Live accounting information is typically accessible on a case-by-case basis by CRA agents, but it is not accessible for reporting purposes.
    In response to parts (g) and (h), data relating to RC376, the taxpayer relief request form, are similarly unavailable for reporting purposes. This form may also be accessed by CRA staff on a case-by-case basis for tax administration purposes, but its fields are not captured and stored in a database that can be used for reporting.
    Accordingly, the CRA is unable to respond in the manner requested.
Question No. 2482—
Mr. Don Davies:
    With regard to reductions in Full-time equivalent (FTE) employees, broken down by department or agency: (a) what is the total number of FTE employees the department or agency will be eliminating; (b) what is the projected cost savings by the department as a result of eliminating FTE employees; and (c) what impact assessments has the department or agency undertaken to ensure that services Canadians rely on will not be affected by the FTE employee reductions?
Mr. Anthony Housefather (Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, information regarding the refocusing government spending initiative and planned spending reallocations that will be implemented in 2024–25, 2025–26, and 2026–27, can be found here: https://www.canada.ca/en/treasury-board-secretariat/services/planned-government-spending/government-expenditure-plan-main-estimates/2024-25-estimates/refocusing-government-spending.html
    The refocusing government spending initiative, announced in budget 2023, was about reallocating funds and resources to the priorities that matter most to Canadians. Departments had the opportunity to identify reallocations from across their portfolios to provide flexibility to identify proposals that made the most operational sense and to ensure that important services to Canadians and other priority areas were not affected as part of the exercise.
    The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat worked with departments to ensure that their proposals were sustainable and did not create service delivery or program integrity pressures.
    Proposals were also reviewed using various analytical tools, such as the quality of life index and gender-based analysis plus.
    Proposals were then reviewed by Treasury Board ministers to ensure appropriate oversight and to apply a pan-government view of all proposals.
    Departments and agencies are responsible for staffing decisions based on their operational needs and budgets. Any impacts on the workforce from these reallocations are expected to be conducted mainly through the redeployment of staff to high-priority activities or attrition.
    To implement the second phase of refocusing government spending, budget 2024 announced that, starting on April 1, 2025, federal public service organizations will be required to cover a portion of increased operating costs through their existing resources and that the public service population is expected to decline by approximately 5,000 full-time equivalent positions over the next four years through natural attrition. Specific details on these savings will be shared when available.
Question No. 2484—
Mr. Don Davies:
    With regard to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and Société Radio-Canada (SRC): how many (i) non-disclosure agreements, (ii) non-disparagement agreements, and (iii) confidentiality agreements have the CBC and the SRC signed with employees and contractors for each year in the last 10 years?
Mr. Taleeb Noormohamed (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, as part of its business and employment activities, CBC/Radio-Canada concludes a wide variety of contracts and agreements, many of which could include non-disclosure or confidentiality provisions. CBC/Radio-Canada does not track the specific number of those references. To gather the information requested, an extensive manual search and review of each contract concluded by the corporation would be required.
Question No. 2485—
Mr. Dan Mazier:
    With regard to Parks Canada’s Detailed Impact Assessment of the ‘Management of Zebra Mussels in Clear Lake in Riding Mountain National Park’ that was opened for public comment in February 2024: (a) who did Parks Canada directly inform of the Detailed Impact Assessment, and when were each of them notified; (b) for each notice in (a), what is the name and title of the Parks Canada official who provided the notice and what method of communication was used; (c) what are the details of how Parks Canada informed the public of the Detailed Impact Assessment prior to extending the public comment period, including the (i) date of public notice, (ii) method of communication used; (d) what elected officials were informed by Parks Canada of the public comment period for the Detailed Impact Assessment prior to March 10, 2024, if any; (e) were any of the elected officials in (d) a (i) mayor, (ii) reeve, (iii) councillor, (iv) member of the Legislative Assembly, (v) member of Parliament, and, if so, what was their name and title; (f) how many public comments for the Detailed Impact Assessment did Parks Canada receive before the original March 10, 2024, deadline; (g) why was the public comment for the Detailed Impact Assessment period extended from March 10, 2024 to March 29, 2024; and (h) what First Nations were informed of the Detailed Impact Assessment prior to March 10, 2024, and when was each informed?
Hon. Steven Guilbeault (Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, in response to (a), Parks Canada informed the following groups of the opportunity to publicly comment on the detailed impact assessment: Wasagaming Chamber of Commerce; Clear Lake Country; the office of the member of Parliament Dan Mazier;, Riding Mountain Biosphere Reserve, Valerie Pankratz; Sandy Lake water protection committee, Victor Kowall and Daryl Kines; rural Municipality of Harrison Park, Ian Drul; the Province of Manitoba aquatic invasive species unit, Jeff Long and Rob Bajno; Erickson and District Chamber of Commerce, Eric Bjornson; reeves and mayors of western Manitoba communities. Notifications were provided in February and March 2024.
    In response to (b), Dameon Wall, external relations manager, provided information via phone calls or emails on behalf of Parks Canada.
    In response to (c), Parks Canada posted notification of the detailed impact assessment to the Canadian Impact Assessment Registry on February 9, 2024. The draft detailed impact assessment document was available on March 1 and was emailed to all who had requested it by March 3. All detailed impact assessments and basic impact assessments are posted on the registry as regular practice,and it has a searchable map at https://iaac-aeic.gc.ca/050/evaluations/exploration?search=&showMap=true. With respect to (i), date of public notice is not applicable. With respect to (ii), notification of the upcoming deadline for public comment was provided via the Parks Canada Facebook page on March 18, and to media and stakeholders via email distribution list on March 20.
    In response to (d), elected officials informed by Parks Canada were Ian Drul, reeve of the rRural Municipality of Harrison Park; and the office of member of Parliament Dan Mazier.
    In response to (e), with respect to (i), the answer is no. With respect to (ii), the answer is yes: Ian Drul, reeve of the rural Municipality of Harrison Park. With respect to (iii), the answer is no. With respect to (iv), the answer is no. With respect to (v), the answer is yes: the office of the member of Parliament Dan Mazier.
    In response to (f), Parks Canada received three public comments for the detailed impact assessment before March 10, 2024.
    In response to (g), as there is strong public interest in Parks Canada’s plans to use an approved pesticide, Parks Canada extended the public comment period to welcome input from Canadians about the potential impact of the proposed use on the environment.
    In response to (h), the draft detailed impact assessment document was shared with the following first nations on March 1, 2024: Keeseekoowenin Ojibway First Nation, Ebb and Flow First Nation, Sandy Bay First Nation, Rolling River First Nation, Gambler First Nation, Waywayseecappo First Nation, and Tootinaowaziibeeng First Nation.

[English]

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns

    Mr. Speaker, if the government's responses to Question Nos. 2459, 2462 to 2470, 2472, 2474 to 2476, 2478 to 2481, 2483 and 2486 could be made orders for return, these returns would be tabled in an electronic format immediately.
    Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

[Text]

Question No. 2459—
Mrs. Kelly Block:
    With regard to costs related to the government's output-based pricing system (OBPS) for industrial facilities: (a) what have been the costs to implement and administer the OBPS broken down by year since 2018; (b) what have been the costs related to OBPS compliance verification; (c) how many employees or full-time equivalents are currently assigned to positions related to the OBPS; and (d) how many employees or full-time equivalents are assigned to OBPS compliance verification?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2462—
Mrs. Cathay Wagantall:
    With regard to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and its funding of the study titled “Impact of population mixing between vaccinated and unvaccinated subpopulations on infectious disease dynamics: implications for SARS-CoV-2 transmission”: (a) to what funding opportunity stream, and what application criteria, did Fisman et al. submit their grant application and receive funding approval; (b) when CIHR conducted a peer review of this application prior to funding, (i) which researchers were assigned to conduct this review, (ii) what were their qualifications, (iii) what were their conclusions, (iv) what were their conflicts of interest; (c) how much funding did CIHR grant this study project; (d) were there any other funding agencies or entities supporting this study; (e) if the answer to (d) is affirmative, who were the other funding agencies or entities; (f) what was the expected timeline for study completion at the time of funding; (g) what conflicts of interest were listed for the grant applicants at the time of funding; (h) was there any federal government involvement with, or communication regarding, any component of the application review process, research study, or media outreach; (i) if the answer to (h) is affirmative, which government bodies were involved; (j) what are the details of the media communications once the study was completed, broken down by (i) subject, (ii) type of communication, (iii) who directed the communication, (iv) date of communication; (k) after the study was published, did CIHR receive any negative feedback; (l) if the answer to (k) is affirmative, (i) what was that feedback, (ii) how was it addressed; (m) what is CIHR’s average timeline from the day a grant application is received to when the grant is approved; and (n) what was the timeline from the day the grant application was received to when the funding approval decision was made for the above-captioned study?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2463—
Mr. Andrew Scheer:
    With regard to Farm Credit Canada (FCC): (a) what is the current number of employees or full-time equivalents (FTEs) at FCC; (b) of the current employees or FTEs, how many work out of (i) Regina, (ii) the National Capital Region, (iii) FCC offices in other cities, broken down by location, (iv) remotely; (c) on January 1, 2016, how many employees or FTEs worked out of (i) Regina, (ii) the National Capital Region, (iii) FCC offices in other cities, broken down by location, (vi) remotely; and (d) what is the breakdown of (b) and (c) by rank or classification level (executive, manager, assistant, etc.)?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2464—
Mr. Pat Kelly:
    With regard to provisions of the Criminal Code concerning motor vehicle theft: (a) how many Government of Canada-owned vehicles were stolen between January 2016 and February 2024 inclusively; (b) how many of the vehicles in (a) have been recovered; (c) how many of the vehicles in (a) have been used in the commission of other crimes; (d) how many of the vehicles in (a) departed Canada; (e) how many of the vehicles in (a) have been stolen more than once; (f) what is the provincial and territorial breakdown for the location in which the vehicles in (a) were stolen for each year; (g) of the vehicles in (a) stolen in Ontario, how many were stolen in (i) Ottawa or the National Capital Region, (ii) the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, (iii) the rest of the province; (h) of the vehicles in (a) stolen in Quebec, how many were stolen in (i) Gatineau or the National Capital Region, (ii) Montréal, (iii) Quebec City, (iv) the rest of the province; and (i) how many times has the official vehicle of the Minister of Justice been stolen?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2465—
Mr. Pat Kelly:
    With regard to the Department of National Defence's (DND) "2022-2023 Annual Report to Parliament - Administration of the Privacy Act", in particular "Figure 7: Number of active requests (as of 31 March 2023)", regarding the age of outstanding access to information and privacy requests filed with the DND, between January 2016 and February 2024 inclusively: (a) how many privacy requests were filed in each year; (b) how many of those requests filed in 2018 or earlier remain open; (c) how many of those requests filed in 2019 remain open; and (d) how many of those requests in (b) were filed by (i) serving members, (ii) veterans, (iii) misconduct complainants?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2466—
Mr. Pat Kelly:
    With regard to personnel levels in the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces, for each year between January 2015 and January 2024, broken down by branch and occupation: (a) what were the target or desired personnel levels in each occupation; (b) what were the actual personnel levels in each occupation; (c) how many applicants expressed a desire to serve in each occupation; (d) how many applicants were admitted to serve in each occupation; and (e) how many civilian, full-time equivalents, were employed in the Department of National Defence?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2467—
Mr. Kevin Waugh:
    With regard to the electoral district of Saskatoon–Grasswood: 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. 2468—
Mr. Adam Chambers:
    With regard to correspondence, written or electronic, received by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) from 2016 to 2024, broken down by year: (a) what was the total amount of correspondence received by the CRA; (b) what was the average length in days for a complete response, excluding the acknowledgement of receipt reply; (c) how many and what percentages of final responses took (i) over six months, (ii) over 12 months, (iii) over 18 months, (iv) over 24 months; (d) how many pieces of correspondence have yet to receive a final response and what is the oldest piece of correspondence that has yet to receive a final response; (e) what is the total yearly budget for all CRA correspondence operations; and (f) what is the total number of employees assigned to CRA correspondence operations?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2469—
Mr. Adam Chambers:
    With regard to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and the objection process, broken down by fiscal year from 2015-16 to 2023-24: (a) what was, or is, the total budget for all CRA objection-related operations; (b) what was, or is, the total employee count for all CRA objection-related operations; (c) how many taxpayers filed objections; (d) what was the total of outstanding federal tax dollars in dispute; (e) how many days, on average, did the CRA take to assign objections from the time they were filed by the taxpayers for (i) low-complexity objections, (ii) medium-complexity objections, (iii) high-complexity objections, (iv) complexity not assigned; (f) how many days, on average, did the CRA take to resolve objections from the time they were filed by the taxpayers for (i) low-complexity objections, (ii) medium-complexity objections, (iii) high-complexity objections, (iv) complexity not assigned; (g) what was the CRA's inventory of outstanding income tax objections for (i) new objections, (ii) outstanding objections, (iii) resolved objections; (h) with respect to the data and figures included in "Appendix-Outcomes of objection decisions for the 2011-12 to 2015-16 fiscal years" in the 2016 Fall Reports of the Auditor General of Canada - Report 2-lncome Tax Objections-Canada Revenue Agency, what are the same data and figures for provide each of the fiscal years from 2015-16 to 2023-24; and (i) since the CRA began measuring and reporting service standards related to the objection process, how many and which service standards have not been met, broken down by fiscal year and specific service standard?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2470—
Mr. Adam Chambers:
    With regard to taxation, for the last tax year for which statistics are available: for each federal tax, (i) what is the name of the tax, (ii) how much did it cost to administer, (iii) how many employees or full-time equivalents were assigned to administer the tax, (iv) how much revenue was received from the tax?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2472—
Ms. Michelle Ferreri:
    With regard to the Canada Dental Benefit (CDB): (a) what is the government's estimate of the number of dentists currently operating in Canada; (b) of the dentists in (a), how many have received payments for services provided under the CDB; and (c) what is the breakdown of (a) and (b) by province or territory?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2474—
Ms. Kerry-Lynne D. Findlay:
    With regard to contracts entered into by the government relating to diversity, equity and inclusion services, since January 1, 2019, and broken down by department or agency: (a) what is the total value of such contracts, broken down by year and by type of service provided (policy development, training, guest speaker, fee, etc.); and (b) what are the details of each such contract, including, for each, the (i) vendor, (ii) date, (iii) amount or value, (iv) description of goods or services, (v) manner in which the contract was awarded (sole-sourced versus competitive bid)?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2475—
Mrs. Laila Goodridge:
    With regard to Global Affairs Canada's (GAC) reduced operating budgets from 2024 to 2027 as per the most recent Main Estimates: (a) what is the detailed breakdown of budget reductions per branch and office in GAC, broken down by (i) year, (ii) expected budget per year after reduction, (iii) reasons for why the budgets are being reduced, (iv) title of employee managing the branch or office; (b) what is the budget reduction for every embassy, consulate, and representative office from 2024 to 2027; and (c) which of the embassies, consulates, and offices in (b) are scheduled to be closed and by what date?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2476—
Mr. Marty Morantz:
    With regard to the federal government's commitment in budget 2022 to invest $76 million to strengthen Canada's capacity to implement sanctions: (a) how much of the $76 million has been invested to date; (b) of the funds spent to date, what is the breakdown by (i) department that was allocated funding, (ii) how the funds were spent, including what specific investments were made and how much spent on each item; (c) which directors general and assistant deputy ministers were tasked with overseeing the program implementation; and (d) what are the key progress indicators used to determine the success of the program, and what are the results of the indicators?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2478—
Mr. Frank Caputo:
    With regard to Correctional Service Canada (CSC), broken down by year since 2019: (a) how many assaults have taken place in CSC facilities, in total, and broken down by facility, year, and by type of incident (inmate assaulting inmate, inmate assaulting correctional officer, inmate assaulting staff and inmate assaulting contractor, etc.); (b) what is the breakdown of each part of (a) by the seriousness of the resulting incident (i.e. no injury, minor injury, serious injury, death etc.); (c) following the events in (a), how many times was (i) the inmate who committed the assault moved to a different CSC facility, (ii) the inmate who was assaulted moved to a different CSC facility, (iii) the inmate who committed the assault moved to a higher security; (d) what were the nature and types of espoused used in assaults contained in (a); and (e) of the incidents in (a), how many have resulted in punitive measures against the perpetrator in total and broken down by type of punitive measure?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2479—
Mr. Alex Ruff:
    With regard to the mandatory electronic filing requirements for the Goods and services tax (GST) and harmonized sales tax (HST): (a) did the government consult with any religious or cultural communities such as the Amish, Mennonite and Hutterite communities that do not have access or utilize the internet before making paper filing less accessible, and, if so, what are the details, including the (i) dates, (ii) locations, (iii) types of consultations that were conducted; (b) were seniors and Canadians without reliable internet access consulted on the recent changes to electronic filing, and, if so, what are the details, including the (i) dates, (ii) locations, (iii) types of consultations that were conducted; (c) what are the standards or criteria for attaining an exemption from the electronic filing requirement from Canada Revenue Agency (CRA); (d) what are the estimated number of exemption requests that CRA is anticipating receiving for this year; (e) how much are the financial penalties for a tax filer who is required to file their HST or GST returns online but continues to file it on paper; and (f) what is the projected revenue that CRA will receive as a result of the penalties in (e) and how will that money be allocated or spent?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2480—
Mr. Alex Ruff:
    With regard to the federal government’s implementation of new bare trust filing requirements: (a) what is the Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) formal definition of a bare trust; (b) what guidance regarding formal and informal arrangements that qualify as a bare trust that requires filing for tax purposes has the CRA provided; (c) how many complaints or requests for information or clarity has the minister and the CRA received to date broken down by (i) number of requests, (ii) medium of request – letter, phone call, webform, (iii) month of inquiry; (d) do parents or children co-signing a mortgage for property qualify as a bare trust requiring a return; (e) does joint ownership of a bank account, investment or security with a value of over $50,000 during the reporting year qualify as a bare trust requiring a return; (f) what are the the CRA’s plans to ensure new requirements regarding bare trusts are communicated clearly and available to all Canadians, including those without access to the internet; and (g) what conditions would exclude a trust from the T3 return requirement?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2481—
Mr. Dan Mazier:
    With regard to the government's participation in the UN Climate Change Conference, the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) in Dubai: (a) what are the total expenditures incurred by the government to date related to the conference, broken down by type of expense; (b) what was the total number of delegates that the Government of Canada paid for, including the (i) official title and department or organization of each individual, (ii) total expenditures incurred for each entity in (b)(i), broken down by type of expense; (c) 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 were the room rates paid at each hotel and the number of rooms rented at each rate, (v) who stayed at each of the rooms in (c)(iv) broken down by room rate; (d) what were the details of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change’s accommodation expenditures, including the (i) daily rate, (ii) accommodation venue; (e) what are the details of the total hospitality expenditures broken down by (i) date, (ii) amount, (iii) location, (iv) name of any commercial establishment or vendor involved in the hospitality activity, (v) number of attendees, (vi) description of event, (vii) description of goods and services; (f) what are the details of all ground transportation expenditures, including, for each, the (i) date, (ii) amount, (iii) vendor, (iv) origin, (v) destination, (vi) make and model of each vehicle used, (vii) type of vehicle (gas, electric, hybrid), (viii) whether a chauffeur or driver was included, (ix) names and titles of passengers or individuals who incurred the expense; and (g) what are the details of all expenditures on gifts related to the conference, including, for each, the (i) value, (ii) description, (iii) vendor from whom it was purchased, (iv) who was the recipient?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2483—
Mr. Don Davies:
    With regard to the Minister of Health’s mandate letter and the marketing of food and beverages to children: (a) what are the details of all consultations held since January 1, 2023, including the (i) name of organization consulted, (ii) date of consultation, (iii) format of consultation; and (b) is the government on schedule to submit draft regulations in the Canada Gazette before June 1, 2024?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2486—
Mr. Clifford Small:
    With regard to striped bass (Morone saxatilis) science at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO): (a) what was the biomass of striped bass, broken down by year since 2010, with the upper and lower reference points, for the combined waters of the St. Lawrence River and all Atlantic Canadian waters; (b) what is the biomass in the St. Lawrence River and its tributaries; (c) what is the biomass in the Miramichi River; (d) what is the biomass in Area 4R and 2J; (e) what framework is in place to support a balance of the striped bass population and rest of the ecosystem; (f) what was the total catch of striped bass per area in Atlantic Canada and Quebec broken down by year since 2010 and what was the total allowable catch; (g) what is the biomass projected to be in each of the next five years and what are the upper and lower reference points, broken down by the St. Lawrence River and estuary, Miramichi River and all Atlantic Canadian waters; (h) what has the DFO's science budget amount been, that has been dedicated to striped bass since 2019 per year; (i) what is the known range of the migration of striped bass and can the DFO display where they are throughout the year on a map with their spawning zones and rivers; (j) why has the DFO not removed the maximum length restriction of 65 cm on striped bass per Recommendation 4 from the 2019 Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans’s report entitled “Striped bass in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence and Miramichi River: striking a delicate balance”; (k) have scientific studies been done in the Gulf of the St. Lawrence on striped bass since 2019, and, if so, what are the details, including results; (l) what ectotherm animals feed upon Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar); (m) what is the "at sea" diet of striped bass, broken down by (i) area, (ii) percentage of species consumed in overall diet; and (n) what is the "in river" diet of striped bass, broken down by (i) river studied, (ii) percentage of diet by species?
    (Return tabled)

[English]

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

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[Translation]

Pharmacare Act

Bill C‑64—Time Allocation Motion  

[English]

    That in relation to Bill C-64, An Act respecting pharmacare, not more than five further hours shall be allotted to the consideration at the second reading stage of the bill; and
    That, at the expiry of the five hours provided for consideration at second reading stage of the said bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this order, and, in turn, every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 67.1 there will now be a 30-minute question period. I will ask hon. members who wish to ask questions to rise or use the “raise hand” function so that the Chair can have some idea of the number of members who wish to participate in the question period.
    On a point of order, the hon. member for Mégantic—L'Érable.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, while you were reading the motion, I was unfortunately distracted by the Liberal government House leader when you were specifying the number of hours allotted for debate on this issue.
    Could you please remind the House of the number of hours specified in this time allocation motion to discuss the bill? This will illustrate the lengths to which the government is going to prevent us from talking about it any longer and debating it as much we would have liked.
    The time allotted is five hours.
    The hon. member for New Westminster.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the member for Burnaby South, the leader of the NDP, was the leader in actually bringing the bill to bear, with pharmacare being so vitally important for so many Canadians. He basically said, last week, that the Conservatives had up until noon today to remove their blocking amendment.
    The Conservatives put an amendment forward that would block pharmacare. What that means for each and every Conservative MP is that 17,000 people, on average, who depend on vital diabetes medication would still have to pay for it out of pocket, in many cases $1,000 a month. That is an unbelievable charge on their ability to put food on the table or keep a roof over their head, and the Conservatives did not care. The reality is that 25,000 women who are looking to take care of their reproductive health in terms of birth control or contraception are also being denied by the Conservatives' blocking this important legislation.
    My question very simply—

  (1535)  

[Translation]

    The hon. member for Mégantic—L'Érable is rising on a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, has the question and answer period on the time allocation motion started yet?
    Yes, the hon. member for New Westminster—Burnaby has started asking his question.
    The hon. member for New Westminster—Burnaby may continue.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives should have stood up and should have the guts to actually defend the unbelievably negative things that they have tried to do around pharmacare.
    My question to my colleague is very simple. When 17,000 of their constituents need access to diabetes medication and 25,000 need access to their reproductive health prescriptions, which are part of this bill, why are Conservatives blocking the ability of Canadians to access these medications?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his work on this legislation. Specifically, I want to take an opportunity to thank the member for Vancouver Kingsway for his work as well.
    Canadians expect parliamentarians to work together to get results, to get the services and the care that they need. It is fine that the Conservatives are going to vote against dental care or vote against pharmacare, which means they are voting against medication for diabetes and against women getting access to the contraceptives they need. It is bad enough that they would vote against it, but to block it actively, to block the elected will of the House to be able to get care to people, is extremely disturbing.
    I will talk about dental care. It was really revealing to talk to dentists across the country who had been filled with misinformation, and who were shocked by how easy it is to use the dental care plan. The reason that confusion, in many cases, exists is because of the confusion deliberately being pumped into it.
    Again, I would say this to the Conservatives: It is fine that they do not want people to get diabetes medication, they do not want seniors to get dental care and they do not want people to be able to get access to the contraceptives that they need. That is one thing, but they should allow the House to do its work, allow us to move the legislation forward and allow us to make sure that those people who need care get care.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I was listening to the minister when he said to allow this House to do its work. Allowing the House do its work also means not limiting debate. I know the minister to be a reasonable man. Is he not embarrassed to be limiting debate?
    Bill C‑64 includes some extremely important powers. There is a danger. No one will be surprised to learn that the Bloc Québécois is against encroachment, against jurisdictional overlap, against what will likely be a waste of public funds on administrative redundancy. I think it is important to take the time to debate this properly.
    Is the minister not embarrassed to be limiting the time for debate?
    Mr. Speaker, there will be time for the committee to conduct a study. After committee, there is still going to be time for the report stage and third reading. After that, there will be time in the Senate. It is important to keep the debate going, one step at a time. We need to make sure we can have a conversation with the Quebec government.
    I had a good conversation with Minister Dubé. Quebec is ready to move forward. If the House takes too long, it affects people who really need medication, whether it is diabetes medication or contraceptives.
    Yes, it is important to debate. However, there is plenty of time for debate in committee and during the rest of the House process. It is time to get on with it and move forward.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, my question is about pharmacare, in particular, the contraceptive angle of this and the supports it is going to provide.
    At the heart of this is really a woman's right to choose. I found it very alarming that, on Friday, the member for Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes stood up in the House and said, “A common-sense Conservative government would use the notwithstanding clause only on matters of criminal justice.”
    It was in the nineties when it was actually made a crime to perform an abortion. What we have seen is that the Supreme Court, using those charters rights, overturned that law. We now have Conservative members saying that, in terms of criminal justice, which that law was, Conservatives would consider using the notwithstanding clause. In theory, Conservatives could bring back a similar law to that which was in the nineties, using the notwithstanding clause to make sure that it stuck, something that the Supreme Court would not be able to overturn.
    I find it alarming that, only a year after the United States reintroduced legislation regarding a woman's right to choose and preventing it, Conservatives are now toying with and basically laying out the framework for how they would restrict those rights in the future. I am wondering if the Minister of Health would like to comment on that.

  (1540)  

    Mr. Speaker, I think it really is reprehensible to see the backward movement we are seeing over women's reproductive health and rights, where their autonomy over their own bodies is being called into question.
    Let me make it very clear, as Minister of Health, that we will do everything in our power to make sure that women have full power and autonomy over their bodies. That is a fundamental freedom. That includes their reproductive futures.
    In many of these instances is an inability to have real conversations about sex and about whether a woman should have the autonomy to make a choice about the way in which she makes decisions with her body. It is absolutely unacceptable in this country. When we take something like contraceptives, such as a condom, that have a failure rate of about 9%, and an IUD, which has a failure rate of 0.2%, how could people, first of all, have the position that they are going to tell a woman what she does with her body and then, secondly, try to block her ability to get reproductive technologies so that she does not wind up with an unwanted pregnancy?
    Those things, to me, seem to be diametrically opposed. If one was opposed to abortion, if one was opposed to a woman being able to make that choice over her body, it would seem to me that one would at least stand up and support her ability to get reproductive medicine.
    For me, it is extremely disturbing that this is any kind of debate in this country. Everywhere in this country, every woman should be told that she has autonomy over her body and that she has access to the medication she needs. That is fundamentally what this bill is about, in part. I am sure we will get an opportunity to talk about diabetes as well.
    Mr. Speaker, the debate right now is on time allocation on Bill C-64, and I would put it to the Minister of Health that I would love for us to be having a debate on an actual proposal for pharmacare.
    It has been since June 2019 that the former Ontario health minister, Dr. Eric Hoskins, gave the government and this country clear direction that we need a national pharmacare program. We are the only country in the world with a national health care program that does not automatically include the provision of needed prescription drugs. We know from the Hoskins report that, properly implemented, a full national pharmacare program will save this country $5 billion a year at least.
    However, the bill is picking out only two things, which is what is so strange about this bill and why I object to the debate being closed before we can actually discuss it. Why are we only talking about reproductive health care and diabetes medication? What that may end up doing is giving those opposed to pharmacare evidence that it costs more than it is worth, when we need to prove to everyone concerned that national pharmacare will save our health care system money and ensure Canadians get the health care they need.
    Mr. Speaker, this is a concrete proposal to move pharmacare forward in this country. The drugs are two classes of drugs. They represent more than 80 different medical drugs that deal specifically with diabetes and contraceptives. It is part of a broader suite of actions that we are taking, such as, for example, drugs for rare diseases. I am currently having conversations with every province and territory about how we can take action on drugs for rare diseases so that folks with rare diseases can get access to the medications they need.
    It is part of what we have done on bulk purchasing to realize $300 million in savings for Canadians across the country. It also builds on the work that we are doing with a pilot in P.E.I., where we have been able to get copays down to five dollars there, saving seniors hundreds and hundreds of dollars in P.E.I.
    Action is taken one step at a time by demonstrating in evidence exactly what is going to be saved and exactly how this should function. As an example, in British Columbia, when it comes to contraceptives, it already shows that the province is saving more than it costs to run the program. I suspect we will also see that in diabetes. Canadians, rightfully, want to see this in evidence. They want to see these things live out there, demonstrate how they work in each example and then build on that successively.
    Our health care system was based on an iterative process by making sure that the steps we take are prudent, smart and fiscally responsible, and that is the way that we need to proceed with pharmacare as well.

  (1545)  

    Mr. Speaker, I view this legislation not as a pharmacare plan but a spending plan and what will be another empty broken promise, just like the carbon tax was going to be revenue-neutral and just like housing was going to become more affordable under the current government. Frankly, I do not see enough trust from Canadians to see another project fail to be delivered properly.
    I have been getting a lot of questions from constituents regarding the proposed plan. People are asking me if they should cancel their existing insurance plans because, like many others, the majority of Canadians are already covered. They are worried there is going to be a reduction in availability of coverage under the single-payer system that is being partially promised, partially proposed and, ultimately, I expect, poorly delivered.
    Perhaps the minister could clarify, for the hundreds and thousands and millions of people across Canada who are wondering if they are in limbo, if they are going to lose the quality of the coverage they have through their private insurance and whether they should cancel it now and await further clarification from the government, what eventually may be covered under the pharmacare plan.
    Mr. Speaker, the answer, of course, is no, and that point is not grounded in any kind of reality. There is no plan. I used to be the head of Heart and Stroke, and we would negotiate benefit agreements. They cannot say, “Oh, there are two drugs and now people are going to cancel the rest of their medical coverage.” That is a preposterous notion that is not rooted in anything resembling reality. What really would happen is that people would have choice. What does that mean? Let me be very clear, and put the question back to the member.
    For somebody in the member's riding who does not have the money for contraception, why should they be limited to the choice they can afford, which has a 9% failure rate, when there is something available to them that has a 0.2% failure rate? Why should somebody who has less money not have access to the contraceptive medicine they need to have choice and autonomy over their own body? I can tell the member that I have had direct conversations with Minister Asagwara. We are ready to work together to deliver this in the same way that we are working together to create dental care.
    It is fine if the Conservatives want to vote against it. If they do not think those people should have access to contraceptive drugs, then that is fair. They are allowed to have that position and to go and defend it. However, they should not try, with misinformation and blocking in the House, to sabotage the ability of somebody to get dental care or contraceptives. Let us have a debate rooted in reality. The reality is that there is an enormous need. This bill would make sure that everybody would get exactly what they need and would not be left in a position without the critical medication that they require.
    Mr. Speaker, I find it really funny that the Conservatives are talking about health care plans. Clearly, their lives have been marred with privilege, especially because every member in the House has a pharmacare plan that is paid for by taxpayer dollars, including the member for Carleton, who has had this for over 20 years.
    In saying that, I have a feeling about why the Conservatives are stalling this, and it is because something is going to freeze over before they support the reproductive rights of women and, certainly, trans folks. The opinion held by the Conservative Party on the bodily autonomy of trans folk and women has been demonstrated through things such as voting for Bill C-311, which was a piece of backdoor anti-abortion legislation. It was called out by anti-violence groups, and it was supported by the Conservatives.
    Let us not be too cozy with the Liberals either. Out east in New Brunswick, people cannot access an abortion. I have spoken to the minister about it, and the fact is that access to safe trauma-informed abortion care out east is not a reality. Although the Liberals wipe their hands of it as being provincial jurisdiction, I would like to remind the them that they do provide federal transfer payments, and they are obliged to uphold the Canada Health Act. That is not happening in parts of the country.
    I am concerned about the Conservatives here. I know there was a whole revolution around women getting menstrual hygiene products. Now, there is a whole revolution around women or folks who use contraception getting contraception because not everybody has a health care plan and not everybody has access to safe trauma-informed abortion care. I wonder if my hon. colleague would speak to what his government is planning to do to make sure that folks who need a safe trauma-informed abortion can have it and what he is willing to do to make sure that this pharmacare plan gets passed.

  (1550)  

    Mr. Speaker, I recognize and appreciate the work of the New Democratic Party in this bill. It was a good example of members coming across party lines to find a way to work toward solutions.
    In the first order, every member should be very clear about where they stand with respect to reproductive medicine for women. It is a pretty basic question, and I hope every member would answer it in the affirmative. Should women be able to access the reproductive medicine that they need to have control and autonomy over their own bodies? I hope every member would say yes. I am concerned that some might not agree with that statement.
    In the second order, in this country, people can have an opinion on whether a woman should have an abortion or not, but they do not have the right to tell a woman what to do with her body. It is that simple. The member is quite right that the ability of every woman everywhere in the country to have clear, definitive and unquestionable choice over who she is as a person and her sexual and reproductive health is essential. Anywhere that a woman is blocked from that, then we have a collective demand for action. Yes, there are provincial and territorial considerations in that, but I absolutely and firmly agree with that, as a matter of principle. I look forward to working with the member to make sure that we live in the type of country that she and I both want to have, where every woman has full control over her body and over her sexual and reproductive choices.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I agree with the minister when he says that everyone who needs it should have drug coverage. The Bloc Québécois wholeheartedly agrees with him.
    That being said, what is the best authority, the best government to manage a pharmacare program? The Bloc Québécois is convinced that it is the Government of Quebec and the provincial governments that should fulfill that responsibility for their citizens.
    I know that the minister wants to impose a gag order because he is worried that the Conservatives will delay the debate to prevent the bill from being passed. On the other hand, the Bloc Québécois still needs to debate this bill, because it creates an agency that will manage a Canadian pharmacare program.
    It is complicated. I am wondering how things will be done in Quebec because we already have a hybrid public-private program managed by the Régie de l'assurance-maladie du Québec.
    That means that we have a lot of questions and we need to hear from witnesses. I understand that the minister wants to move fast on this and that he is concerned that the Conservatives will filibuster, but we still need to debate this matter and study it further. We need to hear from witnesses to determine whether this bill will work for Quebec and the provinces. Is it the best solution to provide good coverage for all Quebeckers and all Canadians? I have to wonder.
    Mr. Speaker, for the bilateral agreements with every province and territory, there is truly a spirit of collaboration. The focus is not on jurisdictions, but on the best way to work together, to ensure that there are nationwide indicators for tracking progress in the data for every province and territory.
    As we did for oral health care, we are once again going to work closely with the Province of Quebec, Minister Dubé and the entire Government of Quebec to ensure that the program works properly. There are going to be debates in committee and at third reading stage. After that, it will go to the Senate, and then to the provinces and Quebec. I am very open to the idea of working with the members across the way because we have a common objective: to ensure that everyone receives services and ensure that the jurisdictions are respected. The goal is to work collaboratively to find a solution together.

  (1555)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, health care is such a critical issue. It always has been in my 30-plus years as a parliamentarian. We talk a lot about health care. We have achieved health care accords or agreements with different provinces and territories. We made a $198-billion commitment toward health care. That is talking about future generations.
    For many years, I have been a very strong advocate for a pharmacare program, and my question to the minister is this: As I see it, a pharmacare program is a huge step forward toward the type of health care system Canadians want to see here in Canada, and I am wondering if he could provide his thoughts on how the pharmacare legislation we are proposing today would complement our health care system into the future.
    Mr. Speaker, each of these actions does not stand on its own. They are part of an overall plan to make sure that we have the best health care system in the world. We cannot have the best health care system in the world, just as a point of fact, if one-third of Canadians do not have access to dental care. We cannot have the best health care system in the world if women do not have access to the contraception they need or if we have diabetes patients who do not have access to their medication. As an example, Sarah, in an Ottawa clinic, was talking about people having to reuse syringes because they do not have the money to get new devices.
    Also, we think of the school food program, about kids getting the healthy food and nutrition they need. We think about what we are doing for the safe long-term care act and, as the member mentioned, the 26 agreements signed across the country, whether they are on aging with dignity, working together, primary care, nurses or doctors. What we are seeing with the provinces and territories is that, by working together, we are able to make huge change everywhere in our health system to improve it.
    What we all need to be doing in the space of health is to be focused on data, evidence and moving forward because, I will say, and I know the member feels the same way as I do, that what Canadians expect of us is to not talk about our differences. This is not to try to find problems and spend all of our energy criticizing things, but to find solutions and answers, to drive that forward and to make things better. That is squarely where our mind is focused, and I know that it is squarely where the health ministers across the country of every political stripe are as well. I look forward to the meeting we are going to be having later this week with all health ministers.
    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives have no problem with Canadians getting the drugs they need.
    I am doing something the government does not often do, and that is to think ahead. This is the first bit of the pharmacare legislation it is talking about, with a couple of drugs. There are plans to do more.
    Many Canadians already have drug care coverage. I am curious as to why the program is being developed in the way it is because there is a large percentage of Canadians who have coverage. One of the big questions I often get is whether Canadians are going to have to opt out and lose the coverage they have to go with this.
    The costs are the big concern. The PBO has said there would potentially be tens of billions of dollars being spent on the pharmacare program once it is implemented. Why are we spending money on something that Canadians already have? This is a question I have.
    On top of that, we know that Liberals cannot be trusted. We look at the cost of taxes, which have gone up. The cost of housing has gone up. The cost of groceries and food has gone up. I just do not see how Canadians can trust the Liberal government to implement something such as a pharmacare program at any kind of a cost that would not cause taxes to go up.

  (1600)  

    Mr. Speaker, the member opposite would know that we are dealing with an inflationary crisis that exists across the world. That makes it incredibly difficult for Canadians.
    It does not matter that Canada has one of the lowest rates of inflation in the industrialized world. In fact, we have the second-lowest rate of food inflation in the OECD. It is ridiculous to pretend that that exists in some kind of domestic bubble that only Canada is facing. It ignores the complete reality across the world.
    The question is what we do when people are facing hard times in the world. Do we pretend that it only exists domestically and tell people that cuts to government services and programs is somehow going to magically make things better, or do we lean in and help people?
    I would say the member for Saskatoon West has an opportunity. He says that people have access to the drugs that they need. That is not the case. That is absolutely not the case. People who have an existing drug plan are going to continue to enjoy the access that they have to their drugs.
    The question here is about, for example, a woman who is an abusive relationship and whose insurance overage is through her partner. She would not have the ability to get that medication on her own. That is what this bill is about. If a young woman, whose health coverage is through somebody else, is making a decision about their reproductive future, it is about making sure that that person has access. There are absolutely millions of people who do not have any coverage at all, for whom dollars and cents mean they do not have access to life-saving medicine.
    If the member opposite does indeed support the people who do not have access to these medications getting them, there is great news. There is something he could do, and that is vote for this bill.
    Mr. Speaker, I would be interested to hear from the minister about the timing of this blockade by the Conservatives.
    We know that every year, unfortunately, quite a lot of very young people are brought up onto the Hill as part of a very anti-choice movement. They are susceptible to the forces at will that would bring them up for various reasons. That is happening this week on the Hill. Considering the Conservatives' focus on their own fundraising abilities, would the minister say that this has anything to do with their timing in the blockage of the bill?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for her work and for her advocacy in this space. I recognize that she has worked long and hard to try to make sure that women have access to what they need, to make sure that they have autonomy over their own bodies and their sexual and reproductive health.
    I cannot guess as to why the Conservatives would block something as important as this. Underlying it is a conversation that we do need to have as a country about sexual health. We have to be able to have open conversations about sex. When we do not have open conversations about sex, it means that people are more likely to be mistreated, manipulated and subject to abuse. Consent can only come from knowledge. Sexual shame does radical and destructive damage everywhere in the country.
    For me, women having access to the contraception that they need is not, just in and of itself, enough. We also need to be able to say to women, to men, to those who are non-binary and to those who are trans that who they are is just fine and anybody who tries to make them feel less than or to attack their identity is creating an act of sabotage that is totally and utterly unacceptable. The real villain is the shame that we push upon others for being who they are, and the damage that does is unspeakable and must be stopped.

[Translation]

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

[English]

    The question is on the motion.

  (1605)  

[Translation]

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

[English]

    I request a recorded division.
    Call in the members.

  (1645)  

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

(Division No. 751)

YEAS

Members

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

Total: -- 180


NAYS

Members

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

Total: -- 147


PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion carried.
    It is my duty, pursuant to Standing Order 38, to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Abitibi—Témiscamingue, Sport; the hon. member for Kitchener Centre, Foreign Affairs; the hon. member for Calgary Nose Hill, Carbon Pricing.

[Translation]

Second reading  

    The House resumed from April 16 consideration of the motion that Bill C‑64, An Act respecting pharmacare, be read the second time and referred to a committee, and of the amendment.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak to Bill C-64, an act respecting pharmacare, to highlight two major concerns. The first is the federal government's intrusion into matters of provincial jurisdiction, and the second is budgetary concerns.
    This neo-liberal initiative, which came from the Liberal-NDP coalition, raises serious concerns because of its impact on provincial jurisdictions. During its nine years in power, this Liberal government has not even been able to properly and competently manage its own files. How, then, do the Liberals think they can get away with interfering in provincial health care by imposing Bill C‑64 on the provinces, including Quebec, which has been offering Quebeckers its own pharmacare program since 1997, so for nearly 30 years?
    Instead of continuing to overstep its boundaries by interfering in provincial affairs, the government should focus on matters within its jurisdiction, such as managing passports, fighting crime, fixing the immigration system, which it broke, and cutting inflationary taxes. These are just a few examples of areas where it needs to direct its attention and energy, instead of investing time and money in provincial matters.
    A pharmacare program is not a program that should be set up at the federal level. That is a provincial responsibility. This arrogant, pretentious government wants to impose its science when it totally lacks the authority to manage this type of file.
    Was this pharmacare program designed in close co-operation with all provinces, territories and indigenous peoples? Was it developed following a thorough review of what already exists in each of these areas of responsibility? Is it the result of thoughtful consultation with experts and stakeholders? We know the answer: Of course not.
    We have here a shameful attempt by the Liberal government to stay in power thanks to the support of the NDP. The Journal de Montréal's Yasmine Abdelfadel writes, and I quote:
     Make no mistake: Justin Trudeau has sold his soul to the NDP. The New Democrats are the ones who are really in power, the same New Democrats that did not have the support of the public in the last election.
    This initiative seems well intentioned, but it is not. Because the Liberals only hold a minority, they found a dance partner, the NDP, which is keeping them in power in exchange for the implementation of various measures that the New Democrats care about, like dental care and pharmacare, the issue that is before us today.
    Canadians did not vote for that or for the NDP. Only 17.7% of Canadians supported this far-left party in the last election.
    Also, Radio-Canada notes that neither dental care nor pharmacare were part of the Liberals' election platforms.
    Despite what they want us to believe, this pharmacare bill is therefore no reflection of the NDP-Liberal coalition's benevolence toward Canadians. It is mere political and electoral theatre. To suggest otherwise is to lie to Canadians.
    Now, getting down to dollars and cents, this pharmacare plan, as proposed, would generate massive costs, a concern that seems to have been glossed over, if not completely ignored. In a report published on October 12, 2023, the Parliamentary Budget Officer wrote the following:
...we estimate the incremental cost to the public sector (that is federal and provincial governments combined) to be $11.2 billion in 2024-25, increasing to $13.4 billion in 2027-28.
    I would remind the House that the Parliamentary Budget Officer thinks the total is going to reach $40 billion.
    I find it hard to trust in the current government's ability not only to implement an effective pharmacare program, but also, and more importantly, to maintain it over the long term. A government that has proven repeatedly since 2015 that it cannot maintain a balanced budget and is fiscally incompetent does not exactly inspire confidence.

  (1650)  

    I think it is worth reminding the people watching at home that the national debt has doubled since the Liberals came to power in 2015. It now stands at $1.255 trillion. I also want to remind everyone that since we have to borrow money to pay for the Liberals' reckless spending—because they are spending money they do not have—we are also paying interest. The interest on this unbelievable debt is $54 billion. That is more than the total amount of health transfers to the provinces, and it is the equivalent of all the GST paid by Canadians. This money is being thrown away to pay for the creation of programs that already exist.
    Access to medication is a major concern for Canadians, which is why it is imperative that we carefully examine the viability of such a program, so as to be absolutely certain that it will last over the the very long term. More than anything else, it is hard to justify creating such programs, which would require additional bureaucracy and uncontrolled spending, when the vast majority of Canadians, four out of five, or 80% according to Statistics Canada, already have drug coverage in their respective provinces, coverage that is even broader than what is proposed in Bill C‑64.
    Here is what Quebec's health minister, Christian Dubé, had to say to La Presse:
     Not only is the government refusing to give us the money we asked for in federal health transfers, but it wants to interfere in an area of Quebec jurisdiction. The federal government knows full well that this is an area of provincial jurisdiction. We've had our own drug insurance program since 1997. It's been nearly 30 years. We also probably have the broadest drug coverage of any Canadian province.
    By the way, he also pointed out that 45% of Quebeckers are entitled to drug insurance coverage through the public plan and that 55% of Quebeckers have private insurance. Guess what? Fifty-five per cent plus 45% equals 100%.
    The federal government has caused countless crises in Canada since coming to power. Canadians continue to be both witnesses and victims of this incompetence every day in things like immigration, passports—we are starting to see lineups again—the correctional system, the use of food banks or the lack of affordable housing across Canada. Do my colleagues know that since the Liberals came to power in 2015, the public service has grown by 40% and hired 100,000 public servants?
    I am going to quote a sharp mind on the subject of bureaucracy. I would not bet that he is a Conservative. Listen to this:
    Like a black hole, it can also absorb astronomical budgets without leading to an improvement to public services.
    Look at the Phoenix pay system, the chaos in immigration management, the ArriveCAN saga, the passports saga, the airports saga, etc. Despite the huge amounts of money squandered on new programs administered by an armada of public servants and the gigantic debt it has run up, the [Liberal] government's incompetence at delivering effective services to the public continues to defy expectations.
    That is a quote from Boucar Diouf.
    I want to close by quoting Gérald Filion, an economics journalist who is very well respected in Quebec. In his opinion, the government is creating a lot of programs and economists are concerned about the impact that will have on Canada's credit rating. The creation of many expensive programs that must be maintained in the future means additional spending.
    All of the provinces offer coverage, particularly Quebec. We therefore recommend that we not go forward with this bill because we cannot afford it right now with this government's reckless spending.

  (1655)  

    Mr. Speaker, on September 21, 2010, when my colleague was a minister in the Charest government, Le Soleil published an article that said, “the Charest government was hoping that Ottawa would recognize Quebec's right ‘to opt in or opt out of federal financial initiatives’ and that, if it decides to opt out, it would receive ‘full compensation’”.
    The member voted against the Bloc Québécois's subamendment, which called for exactly the same thing that she was calling for when she was a minister in the Charest government. I listened to her speech and it seems as though she has changed her mind again.
    What is her final position on Quebec's right to opt out with full compensation?

  (1700)  

    Mr. Speaker, what is clear to us is that the economic situation in Canada right now is very precarious, even worrisome. We have a government that spends money hand over fist. Canada's debt has doubled since 2015 and public debt charges are up to $54 billion. That is money that is being thrown onto the fire. It is not being used to help Canadians. That money is being given to bankers because we are spending too much here in Canada. It is therefore a very bad idea to implement a pharmacare program when the vast majority of Canadians and all Quebeckers already have drug coverage.

[English]

     Mr. Speaker, there are three million people across our country living with diabetes, and they pay about $18,000 a year out-of-pocket. This is going to make a big difference for those folks, especially knowing that they are going to have the devices as well.
     This is the first step in a model that I really believe in, which would result in collective purchasing. Any Canadian would know that, when we buy collectively, prices usually go down. Of course, that is why Canada pays the second- or third-highest medication rates on the planet.
    Does the member have any thoughts on the hopefulness of the people who will finally get medication they can afford?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, this is just wishful thinking. I read the bill carefully. There is nothing specific in it and everything remains to be done. No agreements have been reached with the provinces and a list of drugs has not yet been compiled. All the bill says is that a strategy will be developed and a committee of experts will be set up.
    This is just pure politics, completely partisan politics. As I demonstrated in my speech, the only reason this minority Liberal government proposed the pharmacare and dental care programs was to stay in power. It is supported by the NDP, which said that the Liberals had to bring in a pharmacare program to stay in power. Let us not kid ourselves this afternoon. That is the Liberal government's real motivation, and it is a national disgrace.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we are offering it under a Westminster parliamentary system that is multiple centuries old. The member is talking about a minority government as though she has never even come close to understanding what happens in a minority. I am sorry if the NDP figured out how to actually get things done on behalf of Canadians while Conservatives would rather just yell and scream all day long about what they wish would happen; clearly, they do not use any kind of ability to act like adults in this room to get things done on behalf of their constituents.
    Very simply, if Conservatives are going to be voting against this, is it safe to then say that they would remove this program if elected into government?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals put on quite the spectacle. Pharmacare was not even part of their election platform. As a minority, they rely on their NDP friends to keep their hold on power, sometimes with help from their Bloc Québécois friends too—we must not forget that. Then they turn around and criticize us for supporting or not supporting measures that they never raised with Canadians themselves. They cozy up to the NDP, which received only 7.7% of the vote in the last election, and have the nerve to lecture us. We are not going to take that.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I am thankful for the opportunity to speak to Bill C-64, an act respecting pharmacare. I am extremely excited to talk about this, because this is a very important program, another transformative initiative for Canadians. We are again supporting Canadians. We can think back to 1968, when we brought in medicare. We knew the Conservatives were against it then, and the Liberals brought it in; today, no one wants to get rid of medicare, because of its importance.
    In this speech, I will be talking about the framework on pharmacare and also talking about diabetes and the three million people with diabetes, and how difficult it is for them. Also I will share some information about the pilot project we have been running in P.E.I., which has given us some information, as well as where we sit in the G20 when it comes to health care and drug care. Finally, I will talk about all those initiatives the Liberals have brought in, which are helping Canadians today and in the many years forward. It was the Liberal Party that brought those.
    Let me start off by saying that this act is focused on certain drugs that we would bring forward, and related products.
    Of course, my colleague will be joining me afterwards. I will be sharing my time with the member for Dorval—Lachine—LaSalle.
    To continue, we are talking about certain drugs, such as contraceptives and diabetes medication. Again, as I said, there are over three million people with diabetes in Canada. Back in December 2023, we created the Canadian drug agency, and its focus is on three major areas. One is a formulary, which is putting up a list of all the drugs that would be included in this pharmacare program. Another is bulk purchasing. As some have mentioned already, we have already saved millions of dollars, and there are billions to be saved through that process, which will continue. Third, we will be publishing, of course, appropriate use of medication in Canada.
    I also want to say that once this legislation is passed and receives royal assent, within 30 days the minister will appoint a committee of experts to make recommendations within a year, so that we can move on this as quickly as possible.
    When I go to get some medication at the drug store, my pharmacist often tells me, “You have to do something for people with diabetes. The cost is unbelievable. Many Canadians are facing a cost they cannot afford to pay. You need to come forward with some type of initiative.” I am so pleased to be here today to talk about that.
    In the last decade, we have seen a doubling of the number of people facing challenges with diabetes, which is extremely important. Today, 3.7 million people are living with this. If we do not do something to help them, 25% of those people have indicated that they cannot afford to pay for that medication. If we do not treat that disease, we know what some of the end products would be, and they are not very good. We are talking about blindness. We are talking about amputation. There are all kinds of challenges that come with that.
    Just for insulin, for type 1 or type 2 diabetes, the cost can range anywhere between $900 and $3,000 or $4,000 a year, which is extremely high. The