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44th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • No. 314

CONTENTS

Tuesday, May 21, 2024




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

Volume 151
No. 314
1st SESSION
44th PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Speaker: The Honourable Greg Fergus

    The House met at 10 a.m.

Prayer



Routine Proceedings

[Routine Proceedings]

  (1005)  

[English]

Committees of the House

Citizenship and Immigration 

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 19th report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration in relation to the motion adopted on Monday, May 6, regarding the processing times for permanent residence pathways for Hong Kong residents. Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.
    I also have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 20th report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration in relation to the motion adopted on Monday, May 6, regarding Canadian Armed Forces' applications from permanent residents. Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.

Finance  

    Mr. Speaker, I move that the 19th report of the Standing Committee on Finance, presented on Monday, May 6, 2024, be concurred in.
    I would like to inform the House that I will be splitting my time with the magnificent member for Victoria.
    Report 19, “Excess Profit Tax on Large Grocery Companies”, was put forward by my predecessor, the former NDP finance critic, Daniel Blaikie, who said the following:
    Given that the Canadian grocery sector made more than $6 billion in profit in 2023 and that millions of Canadians have reported food insecurity in the last year, the Standing Committee on Finance call on the government to immediately take action by implementing an excess profit tax on large grocery companies that would put money back in the people's pocket with a GST rebate and establish a National School Food Program, and that this motion be reported to the House.
    The Canadian grocery sector's $6 billion in profits last year set a new record. Grocery prices are now rising at the fastest rate in more than 40 years. At the same time, Canadians are going hungry, food insecurity is rising dramatically and demand for food banks is exceeding donations. There can be no doubt that corporate greed is resulting in higher grocery bills for Canadians.
    According to Statistics Canada, food retail profits have more than doubled since prepandemic norms, and profits continue to grow. The Competition Bureau has found that the profit margins of grocery giants are increasing and that this trend predates the supply chain disruptions faced during the pandemic and the current inflationary period.
    Loblaws has almost doubled its profit margin in the last five years, and Metro has the biggest profit margin of any grocer in Canada. Loblaws has even admitted to participating in an industry-wide price-fixing scam, yet there have been no meaningful consequences for these corporate criminals who ripped off Canadians for bread.
    While New Democrats have fought for years to make grocery giants and other corporate giants play by the rules, pay what they owe, and put the money back in people's pockets, both the Liberals and the Conservatives have refused to tackle corporate greed. In fact, the Liberals have gifted $26 million to Loblaws and Costco for new appliances. The Conservatives brought in $60 billion in corporate tax giveaways when they were last in power, and both the Liberals and the Conservatives failed to get tough on corporate criminals as their successive governments presided over an industry-wide bread price-fixing scam from 2001 to 2015.
    Due to this failure of leadership, Canadians have now taken matters into their own hands by boycotting big grocery chains. Instead of sitting on the sidelines while Canadians go hungry, it is time for the federal government to act.
    In 2022, the Liberal government agreed to bring in a one-time 15% windfall profits tax on banks and insurance firms, known as the Canada recovery dividend. There is absolutely no reason this measure should not be extended to grocery giants.
    Forcing grocery giants to pay tax on excess profits would disincentivize price gouging and encourage lower prices. It would help recoup the tax dollars that both Liberals and Conservatives have gifted to grocery giants. It would lower food costs for Canadians through a grocery rebate and an expanded national school food program.
    The finance committee report before us today is not the first time a committee has recommended an excess profits tax on grocery multinationals in this Parliament. On June 13, 2023, the Standing Committee on Agriculture presented a report to the House, which recommended the following:
...if the Competition Bureau finds evidence in its upcoming market study that large grocery chains are generating excess profits on food items, the Government of Canada should consider introducing a windfall profits tax on large, price-setting corporations to disincentivize excess hikes in their profit margins for these items.

  (1010)  

    On June 27, 2023, the Competition Bureau released its retail grocery market study report, which found exactly that. The report noted that the Canadian grocery industry is concentrated, and the problem is getting worse. When the Competition Act was introduced in 1986, there were at least eight large grocery chains in Canada, and each was owned by a different company. Today, most sales are happening in stores owned by five grocery giants: Loblaws, Sobeys, Metro, Costco and Walmart. Grocery prices are increasing at the fastest rate in decades, and the profits of Canada's three largest grocers, Loblaws, Metro and Sobeys, have risen significantly in recent years.
    The food gross margins of grocery giants are increasing, and this trend predates the supply chain disruptions faced during the pandemic and the current inflationary period. Even small changes in margins can be meaningful. Every percentage point increase in gross margins at grocery stores adds over $1 billion to Canadians' food bills each year. The fact that Canada's largest grocers have been able to increase these margins is a sign that there is room for more competition in Canada's grocery industry. Those were the conclusions of the Competition Bureau.
    The Competition Bureau's findings contradict previous committee testimony from grocery giants, who claimed they are not increasing profit margins on food items but instead are simply passing on higher costs from suppliers. This should come as no surprise. Canadians have every right to be skeptical of the claims made by grocery giants, as well as their commitment to corporate ethics, based on their previous conduct.
     We must never forget that in December 2017, Weston Foods and Loblaw Companies Limited confessed that they participated in what they described as an “industry-wide price-fixing arrangement” to inflate retail and wholesale bread prices for Canadians. The Competition Bureau has since executed search warrants against Canada Bread, Weston Foods, Loblaws, Metro, Sobeys, Walmart Canada, Giant Tiger, Overwaitea Food Group Limited, and Maple Leaf Foods Inc.
    Despite this years-long investigation, there have been no meaningful consequences for the perpetrators of this criminal price-fixing scam. Loblaws received immunity from prosecution and offered customers $25 gift cards as compensation. Canada Bread also received leniency in sentencing after pleading guilty to four counts of price-fixing.
    Given that we still do not have clear answers on this scheme or any real consequences for these corporate misdeeds that stole bread money out of people's pockets, Canadians have understandably run out of patience. It is time for their elected leaders to step up, and that is what New Democrats are doing today.
    An excess profits tax would not only discourage price gouging; it would also provide significant revenue to address growing rates of food insecurity and child hunger across Canada.
    Today, nearly one in four Canadian children does not get enough to eat, 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 in children in the last year alone. However, Canada remains the only G7 country that does not have some form of a national school food program or national standards. This is a critical gap felt strongly in a time of skyrocketing food prices.
    After years of NDP pressure, including a bill I introduced in this House almost five years ago, the Liberals finally agreed to bring in a national school food program in budget 2024. This urgently needed program will be in place as early as the 2024-25 school year and help 400,000 children access the food they need to grow up healthy. By the way, that is nowhere near what is needed. There are over two million Canadians attending school from grades 1 to 6 in this country, and every one of them deserves a hot, nutritious meal every day they attend school.
    This is an important first step. While there are over two million children in grades 1 to 6 alone in Canada, and 2.6 million in grades 1 to 8, clearly the scale of this program is far from sufficient to reach all Canadian children. Revenues from an excess profits tax on grocery giants could be strategically used to provide more nutritious meals to more Canadian children. Based on the latest data from Statistics Canada's Canadian income survey, 8.7 million Canadians lived in food-insecure households in 2023.

  (1015)  

    As a targeted income support, a grocery rebate would also be an important tool for addressing household food insecurity. It would recognize that inadequate income and high prices lie at the root of the challenges faced by Canadians who are unable to afford the food they need.
    In light of the record profits made by the Canadian grocery sector, coupled with the alarming rise in food insecurity among millions of Canadians, I call on all members of the House to support the concurrence motion before us. Corporate greed cannot be allowed to drive up grocery bills while Canadians go hungry. It is time for the federal government to act decisively for Canadians and ensure fairness for all.
    Mr. Speaker, the government is very concerned about the price of groceries. It is one of the reasons we called the grocery giants to the table to demand better from them. It is why we brought in legislation to make changes to the Competition Act; this is something the NDP supported, which I appreciate.
    The member referred to providing food for children. Just this last week, the Prime Minister was in The Maples, announcing and amplifying that particular program. Children cannot learn or participate on an empty stomach. I would suggest to the member that the government is very much aware of the situation and is taking action where it can. Could he be a bit more precise about what, specifically, he would like to see take place outside the one tax he is talking about that we need to put in?
     Mr. Speaker, there is a huge difference between making a demand of an industry and making a request. The Liberal government has requested that the grocery industry make changes in this country. It has asked that it do that.
    This industry has proved itself to be gouging Canadians and making record profits. The NDP is talking about compelling it to pay more.
    I just want to say that the Liberals and the NDP campaigned in the 2021 federal election on devoting a billion dollars to a national school nutrition program. The government has been in power now for an additional three and a half years. It took three and a half years for the government to bring in this program that the NDP has been pushing for; in that time period, millions of Canadian children have gone hungry. This should have been one of the first measures brought in by the government, not one that it waited to bring in until near the end of its term and that may not even be in place until 2025.
    Mr. Speaker, of course, the NDP persistently ignores the role of inflation and the carbon tax in driving up the price of food and other everyday essentials for Canadians.
    Conservatives recognize that greed is a common part of the human condition, and this includes government greed. Bizarrely, the New Democrats think that it is only the private sector and that the government is totally immune to greed. They ignore the role that government greed plays with respect to higher taxes, higher spending, the pursuit of ever-greater government control and how that is making life more unaffordable under the NDP-Liberal coalition.
    We hear a lot about specific grocery companies but almost nothing about Metro, which is one major grocery company in this country. Does the NDP member think the lack of mention of Metro by the NDP has anything to do with the fact that its leader's brother is a lobbyist for Metro?

  (1020)  

    Mr. Speaker, no. The only lack here is a lack of listening by my fellow colleague, because I did mention Metro several times in my speech, so I do not know what he is talking about.
    What is interesting when we talk about greed is that the one difference between New Democrats and Conservatives is this: When we are in power, we are not going to give the corporate sector $60 billion in gifts as the last Conservative government did.
    With respect to government greed and taxation, maybe my hon. colleague needs to explain to all the seniors who are currently going to dentists in this country why Conservatives would take away dental care from seniors and pharmacare from diabetics. I do not call that greed; I call it a lack of compassion and poor public policy.
    Mr. Speaker, it is amazing to watch Conservatives, yet again, go to bat for their corporate friends. They are country club Conservatives indeed.
    I take issue with the parliamentary secretary, because he was making an intervention about the Liberals. The Liberals set up a grocery task force, which has completed no tasks and is not much of a force. Members will forgive me if I need to take the Liberal promises with a grain of salt, because we have been waiting for forceful action for over two years. They have all the tools of government at their disposal, and they are wondering what more can be done.
    Could my hon. colleague expand a bit on the Liberals' failure to take this issue with the seriousness it deserves and really recognize the hurt that so many Canadians are going through?
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague hit the nail on the head: The Liberals have gone cap in hand to the grocery sector and asked them to act. That is not what is required in these situations.
     What is required is strong governmental action. They did it with the banks. They brought in a windfall profits tax on the banks. There is no reason they should not do it in the grocery sector.
    At the end of the day, the NDP is interested in making sure that Canadians can afford to have nutritious food for everybody and their family. It is not happening now, and it is unacceptable in a G7 country and in one as wealthy as Canada.
     Mr. Speaker, corporate greed is driving up costs.
     At a time when Canadians are struggling, it is unacceptable to see a government fail to tackle a key driver of inflation. It is one key reason that families are having a hard time putting food on the table, paying rent, paying their mortgages and paying for essential medication.
    So many Canadians are struggling right now. They have been doing everything right, yet they still cannot get ahead. The cost of living has gotten out of hand. At the same time, the biggest corporations and their rich CEOs are doing better than ever. Between 2019 and 2023, the Liberals decided to give out $25.5 million to Loblaws and Costco. This is while these grocery store chains were making record profits.
     No matter where people live in Canada, they should be able to buy the food they need. Canadians are worried about how to put food on the table; the Liberals are worried about how many millions of dollars they want to hand out to their wealthy friends and people at the very top.
    Considering that they gave out over $25 million to corporations that were already making massive profits, it is no surprise that we have people across Canada boycotting these chains right now. It is because the Liberals and the Conservatives have failed to tackle corporate greed. Really, they lack the courage to do so.
     It is the role of government to make our country fair. Instead, the Liberals and the Conservatives before them have been making rich CEOs even richer. This $25 million is in addition to the $2.35 billion in handouts to the three big grocery chains given by successive Liberal and Conservative governments; taxpayer money is handed out to corporations that are making record profits.
     It is no wonder that the majority of Canadians support an excess profit tax. We are talking about a tax on grocery store chains, but I also want to take a moment to talk about the need for a windfall tax on oil and gas. On the eve of the federal budget, it was reported that the Minister of Finance was considering a windfall tax on oil and gas. However, according to the Globe and Mail article, multiple sources confirmed that she backed down “in the face of strong lobbying from oil patch executives and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.”
     The same lobbyists and executives are raking in record profits, increasing their emissions and gouging Canadians at the pump, all while handing out millions of dollars in bonuses to their CEOs. Luckily for them, the Liberal government has their back.
    Canadians are not so lucky. They have been experiencing the dual crisis of the cost of living and the climate crisis. There are wildfires, heat domes that kill hundreds of people and multi-year droughts; at the same time, communities are evacuated because of extreme flooding. This is costing our economy and our communities billions of dollars in damages. It has taken the lives of hundreds of Canadians.
     While Canadians are struggling with the impacts of the climate crisis, they are also struggling with the price gouging from big pharma, big grocery chains, real estate developers and investors, and oil and gas corporations, which are driving up prices while corporate profits hit record highs. Left unchecked, soaring corporate profits are a major driver in the recent inflation spike. These inflationary price increases hurt workers' pockets while padding corporate profits, particularly in oil and gas.
    Most Canadians can see that greedflation is a problem. The majority of Canadians support a windfall tax on oil and gas. The concept of a windfall profits tax or an excess profits tax is not a radical solution. It is a pragmatic approach that has been adopted by countries around the world. A windfall tax has been implemented by the United Kingdom and more than 20 European countries. It has raised over $10 billion. In response to record profits, these countries decided to put in place a windfall profits tax.

  (1025)  

    The global surge in energy prices that has been exacerbated by geopolitical tensions, market manipulations and corporate greed has generated a response; countries levied additional taxes on the surplus profits of oil and gas companies. However, in Canada, both the Liberal government and the Conservative opposition have shown a disheartening reluctance to take on big oil and gas. While New Democrats successfully forced the Liberals to put a surplus profits tax on the big banks, the Liberals refuse to ruffle the feathers of their friends in oil and gas. The Liberals lack the courage to take on corporate greed.
    Of course, then there are the Conservatives, who continue to do the bidding of the oil and gas executives who are flocking to the Conservatives' fundraisers. Conservatives champion increasing production and emissions; they disregard the long-term environmental and economic consequences of these policies. The corporate-controlled Conservatives have no climate plan. They have no problem letting oil and gas companies pollute and gouge Canadians without consequence.
    It is not surprising that the Conservatives will not even talk about corporate greed or about a windfall profits tax when the Leader of the Opposition's top adviser had to use a shell company to try to hide her lobbying, which she denies. The fact is that their party is run by lobbyists. However, no matter what the Conservatives believe, climate change is real; the cost of living crisis is real. These crises are costing Canadians. They are costing our economy billions of dollars in annual disaster response, mitigation and adaptation. Canadians are struggling. However, the Liberals have shown that, despite a clear mandate from Canadians, who support a windfall tax and demand accountability, the Liberals would rather be wined and dined by big oil, big grocery store chains and big pharma. For years, Liberals have sat on their hands while Canada's biggest polluters have made more money than ever before and while the biggest grocery chains are gouging Canadians and price-fixing with no accountability.
     The Parliamentary Budget Officer reported that, if the Liberals just made oil and gas companies pay their fair share and just implemented a windfall tax on oil and gas companies, the government would generate $4 billion a year. This could be invested in helping Canadians who are struggling with the cost of living, in clean energy, in public transportation and in helping families switch to heat pumps, ultimately driving down emissions and helping people with the cost of living. A windfall tax on the profits of grocery store chains and on oil and gas profits is not just wise; it is essential. It is a needed policy to support Canadians when they are struggling.
    I want to take a moment to talk about an amazing organization in my community: Flourish! School Food Society. It is a school food program for many communities in my region. Canada is the only G7 country without a national school food program, so we need to generate funds to ensure that we can support Canadians and make sure that kids never have to worry about where their next meal will come from, that they never have to worry that they cannot focus on school, cannot learn or cannot grow. We need to invest in Canadians, tax the corporations that are making record profits and ensure that every Canadian can make a good life.

  (1030)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is important for us to recognize that, as a government, we are moving toward a grocery code of conduct for the first time. We have actually made amendments to the Canada Competition Bureau. The member who spoke before the member for Victoria talked about how important the Competition Bureau is in terms of being effective.
     The member talked about the national school food program, which has been incorporated into the most recent budget. In fact, just last week, as I pointed out, the Prime Minister himself was in Winnipeg North talking about that program at Elwick Community School. We understand the needs of Canadians, which is one of the reasons we continue to bring in the programs and the legislation that are necessary to support Canadians in all regions of the country.
     Would the member provide her additional thoughts regarding how important the national food program is for the children of Canada and how it is a good thing to have that in the budget? Unfortunately, the Conservatives will be voting against it.
    Mr. Speaker, a national school food program is an essential policy, and the Liberals were pushed into actually delivering on it by the NDP, but I just want to take a moment address what the member started off talking about, which is a grocery store code of conduct. The Liberals are asking grocery store chains nicely to please behave. This is not how we get greedy corporations to actually do the right thing.
    The government has a responsibility to tackle corporate greed. We need to regulate these industries. Big oil and gas companies are not going to fund climate solutions on their own; we have seen it. They have rolled back their emissions targets while they rake in record profits, and then they come to the government asking for more handouts, and for some reason the government continues to give out billions of dollars to big oil and gas companies and millions to big grocery store chains. How about the government gives that money to Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, I am wondering whether the member would like to comment on the fact that the brother of the leader of the NDP is a lobbyist from Metro and that in fact its profits have actually outstripped those of Loblaw. Metro is at 4.6%, whereas Loblaw is at 3.4%. Is that just a coincidence?
    Mr. Speaker, we need to tackle grocery store chain profits: all the big grocery store chains. Unfortunately we have seen from the Conservatives that half of their national executive, their governing body, is made up of lobbyists from the big grocery store chains, from big pharma and from oil and gas. The same CEOs are flocking to Conservative fundraisers to donate to them because they know, as they have seen it time and time again, that Conservatives in power make rich CEOs richer, and Canadians get their services cut. They get the programs they depend on cut. This is what we get with Conservatives.

  (1035)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member so much for raising the oil and gas industry and the amount of profit that they are taking off the table. As we head into or are already deeply into the wildfire season, I wonder whether the member could talk a bit about how that is impacting Canadians at this point in time.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for her ongoing advocacy for climate action. At a time when we are seeing wildfire season starting in some regions of the country in February, and when last year we saw the worst wildfire season on record, with thousands of people evacuated from their homes, we need to name the fact that rich oil and gas CEOs are culpable in the climate disasters that are happening in our country and the government is letting them get away with it.
     Mr. Speaker, could the hon. member explain to me how lower grocery prices would be seen by Canadians if the government should choose to tax 100% of the profits of the big grocery stores? How would it affect someone going to the store if the money flowed from the grocery stores to the federal government?
    Mr. Speaker, I think the member does not understand an excess profits tax. It is a tax on the excess profits, the windfall profits, and it is not a radical idea. It has been implemented in the UK with respect to oil and gas. It has been implemented in 20 European countries, and it has been shown that taxing excess profits, windfall profits, disincentivizes price gouging. It disincentivizes the greedy corporations from making even more money and putting it in the pockets of their shareholders at the expense of everyday people.

Privilege

Alleged Breach of Speaker's Impartiality  

[Privilege]
    Mr. Speaker, I am rising on a question of privilege, and I regret having to do that.
    I am raising this question of privilege today on yet another instance of public display of partisanship on the part of our Speaker, following the promotion of a Liberal Party of Canada event with the Speaker as a featured guest, combined with very partisan, inflammatory language bashing the official opposition, the Conservative Party.
    Normally this is where I would lay out the facts and then argue how they meet or differ from the relevant authorities and precedents that are on point. However, in the present instance, I think it is important for us to address upfront the importance of raising this matter in the manner in which I am doing so, as a question of privilege, and your authority to rule on the same. I will then revert to the facts of the present matter and how they amount to, in my view, a contempt of the House.
    In your December 5, 2023, ruling at page 19501 of the Debates, when the House was last confronted with the Speaker's public display of partisanship, you said, “if members wish to take issue with the conduct of the Speaker, rather than raising points of order or questions of privilege, I would instead direct them to place a substantive motion on notice.”
    This is, it is fair to say, an attempt to give expression of the statement found at page 620 of House of Commons Procedure and Practice, third edition, that reads, “Only by means of a substantive motion, for which 48 hours’ written notice has been given, may the actions of the Chair be challenged, criticized and debated.” However, I would argue that the statement requires a narrower interpretation of addressing the actions of the Chair, which is to say, the actions or omissions of the Speaker or any other chair occupant here within the chamber.
    I would have you consider the following factors for the analysis. First, as you yourself said in your December 2023 ruling, there are two past examples, from June 1956 and March 2000, where dissatisfaction with the procedural rulings was vented through a question of privilege but was steered towards a substantive motion being placed before the House. I underline here that those examples involved procedural rulings of the Chair.
    Second, and on the other hand, another precedent, which was referred to in the arguments before you in December but which did not receive any treatment in your ruling, was Speaker Fraser's March 9, 1993, ruling at page 16685 of the Debates concerning the then Deputy Speaker's appointment as Chair of her party's leadership convention. In ruling against the question of privilege, Speaker Fraser did so on the merits of the case before him; that is to say, he did not dismiss it on the technicality of preferring for it to proceed by way of a substantive motion. Indeed, to that later point, the Chair said:
    Normally the Chair would not allow comment on the conduct of a Chair occupant to come before the House in such a manner. There is a formal and well-established procedure whereby Chair occupants can be censored. I allowed the discussion because the hon. member insisted on proceeding forthwith and pointed out, as subsequently also did [another member], that the Deputy Speaker's performance in the House was above any reproach and was not in question.
    In the precedent's case, as much as has been said about the current Speaker's performance in the House, I will restrain myself from doing so and will focus squarely on his publicly partisan conduct outside the chamber, which is of course not a procedural ruling's being objected to.
    Third, you yourself declined to dismiss the December 2023 question of privilege on this technicality. If the requirement for a substantive motion were truly a hard and fast rule, it would have been invoked by the Chair at the time. Indeed I believe that all of the precedents speak to the viewpoint of the limitation of using only a substantive motion concerning a chair occupant's conduct within the chamber, such as rulings, and not external conduct, which reflects on the institution of the Chair or the House as a whole.

  (1040)  

     Fourth, the statements from Bosc and Gagnon, as well as your December rulings, must now be viewed through the constraints that were subsequently imposed by the Assistant Deputy Speaker's December 15, 2023, ruling at page 20180 of the Debates, whereby such a substantive motion moved during routine proceedings cannot be treated as a privileged motion but is instead subject to the following practice, described at page 469 of Bosc and Gagnon: “When debate on any motion considered during Routine Proceedings is adjourned or interrupted..., the order for resumption of the debate is transferred to the Order Paper under Government Orders”.
    In fact, that has been the fate of the motion of non-confidence which my House leader moved for debate on December 15, 2023. It has sat on the Order Paper ever since, as Government Motion No. 33. It has never been called for further debate. It has never been put up for a vote, despite the words of the parliamentary secretary to the government House leader on May 8: “The motion did not find consensus, and as such, the matter is closed”. What all of this means is that a handful of members could in essence protect a Speaker from a majority decision by exercising a short filibuster to prevent a substantive motion from coming to a vote.
    If the House adopts a motion to adjourn the debate or even to proceed to Orders of the Day, that would at least reflect in some fashion the will of the majority in the moment, but that is not what happened on December 15, 2023, nor is it what our procedures would require at any other time. Of course, a government seeking to shield an openly pro-government Speaker would in turn have no interest in calling a motion that would be placed under Government Orders to allow it to be further debated.
    Combining these two factors during the tenure of a minority government, like the one we are in today, it would be very easy for a government to protect its guardian Speaker from a non-confidence motion's ever coming to a vote, despite the sentiments of the majority of the House. Then, on the basis of little, a short speech or two, it could be dismissed as a matter having been, as the parliamentary secretary said, “closed” because it “did not find consensus”, thereby depriving the House of the ability to purge itself of a festering controversy over its Speaker and to clear the air in either direction. That is, I would submit, the predicament that we find ourselves in today.
    In Canada, no one is above the law. Likewise, in the House, no one should be above the rules and the practices, certainly not the Speaker, who is called upon to enforce them. That is why I would urge you to interpret the requirements of censuring the Speaker by way of a substantive motion as being properly limited to procedural rulings to which objection is taken.
    Having addressed the matter of the receivability of my question of privilege, I will turn now to the substance of the present concern. It has come to light that the Liberal Party of Canada is advertising “a summer evening with the Honourable [Speaker]”, scheduled to be held on the evening of June 4 in the shadow of Parliament Hill at a location adjacent to the Gatineau bank of the Ottawa River, less than a kilometre over my right shoulder.
    The promotional material of the event used very partisan, inflammatory language concerning the Conservative Party and the leader of the official opposition. Allow me to read just some of it for the benefit of the whole House: “Join us for an event in your community—you don't want to miss it. It's an opportunity to join fellow Liberals to talk about ways we can continue to build a better future for all Canadians—because a better future starts with you.”

  (1045)  

    It goes on to say this:
     While [the Leader of the Opposition] and his Conservatives propose reckless policies that would our risk the health, safety, and pocketbooks our Liberal team is focused on making life more affordable for Canadians and moving forward with our bold plan to grow an economy that works for everybody, protects our environment, keeps our communities safe, and so much more. Especially in a minority Parliament, we can never take our progress for granted. Together, with your hope and hard work, we can keep Canada moving forward.
     The Speaker's event is being promoted by attacking the very same leader, on whom he recently used his authority to kick out of the House of Commons, allegedly for his choice of wording in the middle of question period, when the Liberal Prime Minister, merely seconds before, had used equivocally questionable language and had been given a pass for it.
    A footnote beneath the promotional rhetoric explains, “Team [Prime Minister's name] events are posted by local volunteer teams....” That means, I would submit, the Speaker must take personal responsibility for what his local team, the Hull—Aylmer Federal Liberal Association, whose past president, I would add, is the Speaker's chief of staff, has organized and published.
    The Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs noted in its 55th report, “Today, an expectation exists among members of the House, and the wider public, that the Speaker’s duties ought to be carried out with scrupulous impartiality and independence.... The Speaker must be fair and impartial.” The House concurred in this report on January 30, lending its endorsement to that position, and it is a position that the Speaker has yet again fallen short of. Moreover, it is an established standard that has not been lived up to.
    Our leading procedural guide, Bosc and Gagnon, on page 323, says, “When in the Chair, the Speaker embodies the power and authority of the office, strengthened by rule and precedent. He or she must at all times show, and be seen to show, the impartiality required to sustain the trust and goodwill of the House.” When he was elected Speaker, his extensive partisan history, from being the president of Young Liberals, to being national director for the Liberal Party, to being parliamentary secretary to the Prime Minister, among other offices, gave many members of the House pause about lending their trust and goodwill to him. Regrettably, his subsequent actions have done nothing to dispel these concerns. If anything, they have only been heightened.
    During the seven months as Speaker, he has repeatedly engaged in questionable partisan behaviour, including in October when he called a former Liberal member of Parliament and opinion writer and asked him to pen an op-ed slamming the official opposition for its efforts to hold the government to account. In November, he attended and spoke at a cocktail militant, where donations were solicited in support of the provincial Pontiac Federal Liberal Association.
    In early December, a partisan tribute was broadcast at the Ontario Liberal Party's leadership convention, where he was seen in his full Speaker's trappings, heaping praise on the party's outgoing interim leader and current parliamentary leader, a man who is not actually retiring from politics, but fully intends to run as a candidate in the next provincial election. As we know, that led to an unprecedented ruling of prima facie contempt in the House, to a committee study and to a Board of Internal Economy penalty. Then, while the House was seized with the fallout of this scandalous video, and in the midst of a sitting week, he jetted off to Washington for a trip centred around a retirement party for a personal friend from international Liberal politics, where he made a speech reminiscing about his days as Young Liberals' president, and of course, we now have this summer rally for the Liberal Party of Canada.

  (1050)  

     As for the Speaker's events scheduled next month, I fully acknowledge that Speakers do not arrive in the chair through some form of immaculate conception. Speakers have all been politicians before being elected to the chair, and some have even gone on to further partisan service after serving in the chair.
    Most Speakers have typically sought re-election to the House of Commons under their original party banner, which understandably requires the usual groundwork any member of Parliament places in his or her constituency association by engaging the support of volunteers and by ensuring adequate resources are available come election time.
    That being said, long-standing tradition and custom in the Canadian House of Commons and in its sister legislatures across the Commonwealth all have the expectation of the Speaker's impartiality while in post. This varies from country to country, as was explained in greater detail by the official opposition leader of the Conservative Party in the December question of privilege concerning the Speaker's convention tribute when he quoted various procedural authorities in Quebec, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and India, for instance, and I would commend those texts to the Chair.
    Our own Bosc and Gagnon reflects, on page 324, “In order to protect the impartiality of the office, the Speaker abstains from all partisan political activity (for example, by not attending caucus meetings)”.
    In a campaigning context, the same authority adds, on page 314, “although the Speaker eschews partisan political activity, he or she does not make a complete break. When running for re-election, incumbent Speakers are usually careful to avoid partisan statements that might prejudice their perceived impartiality in the future.”
     Reconciling these demands on the Speaker as a local member of Parliament and as a candidate for re-election is typically not that onerous. A Speaker can focus on local issues, promote his or her efforts on intentions they might want to undertake as a local member of Parliament, and build up local enthusiasm and resources, all without taking partisan statements that might prejudice their perceived impartiality. If those types of statements are considered inappropriate when Parliament is dissolved, then it must be even that much more inappropriate during an actively sitting Parliament.
    Indeed, as my party House leaders told the House in December, in respect of the video controversy, if the Speaker openly engages in partisan conduct, it opens the door to public analysis of all partisan motivations underlying his rulings. That is exactly where his habits, with this month's event promotional material I quoted as an example, have led us.
    It has simply become impossible to make any distinction now between the member for Hull—Aylmer, who also serves as the Speaker, and the Liberal member for Hull—Aylmer. Every ruling that is now given and, with hindsight, every ruling that he has ever given, will now be assumed to have been delivered with a red hint.
    The Speaker has failed at showing, and at being seen to show, the impartiality required of a Speaker. In turn, he can no longer count on the trust and the goodwill of members from all corners of the House. That is not where the House ought to be. It is far from it, in fact.
    Following the convention tribute video scandal, the Conservative and the Bloc Québécois caucuses lost confidence in the Speaker's continuing in his office.
    Meanwhile, the hon. member for New Westminster—Burnaby, speaking to journalists, for the New Democratic Party, after the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs' review of the issue, said, “This cannot happen moving forward. From now on, you cannot have a Speaker engage in partisan activity.” He also said that, “if there was any derogation from that, in the weeks and months to come”, his party would join in voting “non-confidence” in the Speaker.

  (1055)  

     If the NDP House leader and his party were true to their word, there would now be a majority of members, representing the majority of parties in the House of Commons, who have lost confidence in the Speaker. For the good of the institution of Parliament and of the enduring interest of the House of Commons, I regret to say that the Speaker must go. Failing that, it is incumbent upon the House to take action immediately.
    That is why I urge you to find in favour of my question of privilege establishing a prima facie contempt so that I may put forward a motion of remedy to vacate the chair and to schedule the election of a new Speaker.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, in response to the question of privilege raised by the Conservative Party, I would like to present the Bloc’s position and thinking on the fact that the Speaker of the House released a partisan message. This is the third instance where there is clear evidence that the Speaker of the House lacked judgment and breached his duty of impartiality. Unfailing impartiality and sound judgement are the foundation of the office of the Speaker and are required of a Speaker, and yet this is the third time we face this kind of situation.
     The Bloc Québécois made its position clear in December. It said that the events in which the Speaker had been involved at the time proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the Speaker did not have the skills required to continue in his role. What we are seeing today, unfortunately, is a repeat of what happened before. Therefore, it would seem that the Speaker, who issued his mea culpa at the time, simply does not understand the role he has to play. This is obvious, and it should come as no surprise that the Bloc Québécois is unfortunately maintaining its position and calling for the Speaker in question to step down.
     As everyone can see, House debates are becoming increasingly acrimonious. That is why we need someone at the helm who can command respect and has the skills required to control the debate, which tends to get overly heated in this chamber. The responsibility of the Chair has become increasingly important in view of the climate that has taken hold in the House.
     Obviously, we all know that the Speaker, who is the member for Hull-Aylmer, was well known for his partisanship at the committee level. That went without saying, and there was nothing wrong with that. He had a job to do, and his partisanship was not out of place in committee. However, there is no place for partisanship in the role of Speaker.
     We simply raised the flag when we saw him assume the speakership for the first time. We wanted to let him know we would be watching him, and we hoped he would show impartiality. What we are seeing, unfortunately, is that he is the wrong person for the job.
     I have nothing personal against the Speaker and neither does the Bloc Québécois. However, with all due respect to the Speaker, he does not belong in the chair, as evidenced by the fact that 150 members expressed their loss of confidence in the Speaker back in December, mere months after he was elected to the position. At the time, the NDP said that this must not happen again, but now it has.
    That is very worrying. What really worries me is that the three events we all know about may be just the tip of the iceberg. That is the problem. We know that he showed obvious partisanship and lack of judgment on three occasions, but he may have done so more than three times. We do not know. That is what worries us. Whenever he rises in the House, we always have nagging doubts about the decisions he will make, his behaviour and what he does outside the House. What does he say when he speaks to people on behalf of the House of Commons? It is impossible not to think about that.
    There are only two ways to put our minds at ease and ensure that, whenever the Speaker rises, he does so competently and with absolute respect for the House. Either the House implements a mechanism for him to leave the Chair, or the Speaker resigns, as a true statesman would. In all honesty and impartiality, that is the question I keep coming back to. I wonder what it will take for the NDP and the Liberals to say that enough is enough.

  (1100)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, this is, of course, very worrying. The New Democratic Party is very concerned. We would like to reserve the right to come back at some point in the future. As with all questions of privilege, it is important for us to take the time to look at this very clearly.
    I thank the members for their interventions. Knowing that the decision back in December was to bring the substantive motion forward, I do understand the concern brought forward here. We will go back and look at this attentively and, of course, wait for further interventions on this as well.

Committees of the House

Finance  

[Routine Proceedings]
    The House resumed consideration of the motion.
    Mr. Speaker, it is always an honour to rise in the House of Commons and speak on behalf of the people of Peterborough—Kawartha.
    It is an even bigger responsibility as the critic, or shadow minister, for families, children and social development. Without families, without healthy families, without healthy children, we have a serious problem in this country. There is no doubt whatsoever that there are some serious problems in this country.
    I will be 45 years old in two weeks, and in my time living here, I have never seen Canada in the state it is in now. I have never seen kids struggle in the way that they are struggling. I have never seen seniors struggle in the way that they are struggling. Every member in the House would know this if they were door knocking, which is part of our job when an election comes, to knock on the doors of people, to listen to them, to hear them, to take the emails and to take the phone calls. I have never seen such genuine misery and fear in my life.
    I originally come from a very small community. It is called Douro. Douro is what I always call the foundation of Canada. It has four corners. It has the elementary school. It has the church. It did have a town store, a general store, which was like a mercantile. Sadly, it burned down. The town hall was right beside it on the same corner. It also has a graveyard.
     I want to also mention that I will be splitting my time today with the hon. member for Northumberland—Peterborough South. We are, as they call us, the Peterborough pistols.
    The community of Douro really represented what Canada is. It is this community where, when one needs help, one's neighbours show up. There is the community centre where one has the weddings, events, hockey games and soccer games. There are the schools. Everybody knew everybody, and everybody helped everybody. Slowly, the erosion of the country has happened. It is no coincidence that this has happened in the last nine years under the leadership of the Prime Minister.
    I want to tell members a surprising stat. This is officially the longest-running minority government without an election in Canadian history, surpassing Lester B. Pearson's government in 1968. Why is that? It is because of the leader of the NDP.
    Why is this because of the leader of the NDP? It is because the Prime Minister knew he was tanking, knew that his gaslighting was no longer working. He took Canadians and he spoke about sunny ways, sunny days, and that things would never be better. Canadians caught on, really quickly, when they realized that they could not afford the interest rates, that they could not afford to keep their mortgages and that they could not afford food.
    They cannot afford food and are spending $700 extra a year in groceries. Two million Canadians a month are using a food bank, and 33% of those are children.
    The Otonabee-South Monaghan Food Cupboard operates in what will soon be my riding, but is now in my colleague's riding of Northumberland—Peterborough South. She came to my office last week and said that they have seen a 100% increase in the usage of food banks. She said that they are not the most vulnerable. These are working families that are doing everything that was asked of them. They go to work, and they cannot afford to feed their kids.
    They cannot afford to feed their kids. I think it is deeply upsetting because we have never had people work so hard and feel so hopeless. We have the worst GDP in the G7. People want to say that it is the sign of the times, that it is everything. They want to blame it on everything.
     This is about leadership. I often say that politics is very much like parenting. Parenting is a very perfect metaphor for politics. It is one's job as a parent to give one's kids the tools and the knowledge to go and thrive. One should never be on the field with one's child. One should be there to help them. If one does everything for them, what happens? They do not learn how to do it.

  (1105)  

    Right now, we have a government, and a coalition, because the Prime Minister knew he was going to lose. He knew that everybody was catching on to the misery and chaos he had created, such as increasing crime and victims no longer having rights. Last month we had victims' rights week, and there was not one mention from that side of the House about victims' rights. The government has made sure that criminals have all the rights they need and that they get transferred to medium security without anybody being told. It secretly did that. It transferred Luka Magnotta and did not tell the public. It does not worry about victims or retraumatizing people.
    Because the Prime Minister knew he was going to tank, he got the leader of an opposition party to sign a coalition with him, and then continued to gaslight Canadians in the hope that nobody would catch on. Everybody has caught on. Nobody believes anything the Liberals say. They are frustrated and exhausted. People ask me why, every day in question period, they do not answer anything, but just deflect, not answer the questions and pretend everything is perfect.
    There is no better example of this than child care. The Liberals' whole marketing program was that child care is great. I visited a local child care facility in my riding last week that is run by an amazing woman. She is single mom who decided to bring kids into her home to care for them and help offer flexibility to the parents who need to work. She said that the cost of food is out of control if one wants to feed kids healthy food. We all know that what we put in our gas tank determines our overall productivity and ability to function. She said that the cost of food is just unbelievable.
    I think the most shocking thing for me is that people will write to me and say that they are so embarrassed because they make $100,000 and still cannot pay their mortgage and feed their kids. They are having to cut back on sports. Then their health is compromised. Their mental health is compromised. The health of these kids is compromised.
    I spoke to a grade 10 civics class last week. These kids were very sharp. They were in tune. I said that I thought that social media has caused a lot of problems in the world, especially for young people. They were pretty dialed in and knew a lot of things. They said that they did not think they would ever own a home. They do not even know why they go to school. They do not even know what to do. They do not want to stay in their town because there are no jobs and no housing that is affordable. These kids are 15 years old and are burdened with adult problems. They were genuinely concerned.
     I think there is a real problem with acknowledging the facts, but here are some real facts to change the course we are on.
     If we tax fuel, every single thing goes up. The carbon tax is the demise of an already crushed society that cannot afford to live. It is like punching someone just a little more while they are down. It is wild. If we talk to farmers, especially small business owners who, for the record, are the whole backbone of this country as small businesses make up 98% of this economy, they are being destroyed every single day. When we increase the tax on small businesses, these people, who are not swimming in gobs of money but who are trying to make a living and provide a service to families or themselves, cannot do it. They are shutting down. If we go downtown in any major city in this country, we can see the out-of-business sales and closed restaurants. Why is that? It is because of the Prime Minister, who got into a coalition with that guy for power and control, has doubled down on an ideology that we cannot make our own decisions, that the government knows what is better for us and will do it for us, which is going to cripple us and make it dependent on us. It is baffling and so upsetting because we are here and we are—

  (1110)  

    The hon. member's time is up. I have given her some signals. She can add on throughout the questions and comments period.
     Continuing with questions and comments, the hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader has the floor.
    Madam Speaker, it is interesting to have the contrast between the Conservatives and the Liberals.
    I made reference to the Prime Minister being in the city of Winnipeg. We talked about a national food program and making sure children are eating. The Conservatives stick to spin after spin. There are concerns, and we are very much aware of those concerns.
    There is a CTV report that I googled while the member was speaking. It says that, in comparison to other nations, Canada is ranked the second-lowest nation. It is referring to inflation rates. Canada is not an island. We continue to fight inflation, which is at 2.7% today. We continue to fight it. In comparison to the rest of the world, Canada is doing reasonably well.
    There is room for improvement but, news flash for the Conservative Party of Canada, Canada is not broken. Canada is doing exceptionally well, especially in comparison to other nations. Will the member get real and be more honest and straightforward with Canadians on the facts?

  (1115)  

    Madam Speaker, I thank the member for pointing out the significant contrast between Liberals and Conservatives.
    After nine years of the Prime Minister, housing prices have doubled, the use of food banks is at record high levels, opioid deaths are at a record high, criminal activity is through the roof and domestic violence is through the roof. This is a great example of gaslighting.
    Maybe the member should just go outside, knock on a door and talk to his constituents to see that they are not okay. This is because of Liberal policies and their lack of leadership.
    Madam Speaker, it is fascinating to hear Conservatives talk about children going hungry and that Canadians cannot afford to feed their families. I hear this from the Conservatives all the time.
    However, that member stood up and voted against a national school food program for children. Canada is the only country in the G7 without a school lunch program, a food program. This would be a solution, but Conservatives do not believe in solutions. Conservatives believe in trying to gaslight the entire nation on this.
     I would like to ask the hon. member why she voted against it, and why she supports a leader whose chief of staff has set up a shell company for lobbying, six of whose employees are lobbying for Loblaw, the people who are making record profits while our families cannot afford to eat.
    Madam Speaker, I am really curious about that NDP member, who has decided not to run again because his constituents have told him enough, and also his leader, who signed an agreement to prop up the Liberal government, and whose brother is a lobbyist for Metro. I find that very interesting.
    To the member's point about why we would not vote in favour of that, why would we vote in favour of more bureaucracy? Under the Prime Minister, bureaucracy has increased 40% and customer service has decreased. That school food program is $2.50 a kid, and there is no food in it. It is pure bureaucracy.
     If the government does not fix this carbon tax and quit driving up the cost of food, people will not be able to feed their families. I ask members to do the right thing, make sense and stop doing these nonsense marketing schemes that would not feed anyone.
    An hon. member: Oh, oh!
     I want to remind members that, if they have anything to contribute, if they want to ask additional questions or if they have additional comments, to please wait until the appropriate time.
    Madam Speaker, Canada's GDP per capita is now the worst in the G7. These Liberals keep talking about how we have never had it so good.
     What is more accurate? When the member talks to her constituents, are they talking about the fact that we are suffering economically or that Canadians have never had it so good?
    Madam Speaker, my colleague is precisely right. That is why it is just so baffling. The Liberals should go outside and talk to someone, actually talk to the people.
    This is not rocket science. They should go to the grocery stores and the food banks to see these working families that cannot afford to pay for groceries, which have skyrocketed under the leadership of the Prime Minister, propped up by the NDP leader.
     That is what it is all about, power and control, and driving up the cost to make Canadians dependent upon them.
    Madam Speaker, I do not think it has ever been said in the House of Commons that this place is lacking hypocrisy. There is usually enough hypocrisy in this place to go around, but the motion brought to us by the NDP is just abounding. It is even overflowing. It is even too much hypocrisy for the House of Commons, which has certainly seen enough of it in our history.
    The NDP is talking about corporate greed and grocery prices. Meanwhile, the leader of the NDP's brother, Mr. Singh, is a lobbyist for Metro. I could not believe that the NDP member who rose with respect to the motion actually mentioned the fact. He gave away the story when he said that the most profitable large grocery chain in Canada was Metro. This is the firm that for which the brother of NDP leader lobbies. Therefore, no one is making more money. No one is profiting more from a grocery perspective than Metro, the company for which the brother of the leader of the NDP, Mr. Singh, lobbies. It is unbelievable, the hypocrisy and the chutzpah to bring this into the House, to go forward with the fact that somehow they do not have any responsibility.
    Meanwhile, as the member for Peterborough—Kawartha just said, the current government is the longest surviving minority government in Canadian history. The NDP-Liberal government has continued to prop this up, so we have seen this record profit under the NDP-Liberal government. It is not a Conservative government in power. We are seeing these record profits of these grocers under the NDP-Liberal government. Therefore, we have more hypocrisy.
    However, let me back up and explain why this might be happening.
    The reality is that socialism fails every time it is tried. Of course, we are all aware of the tremendous failures, the suffering and the millions who died during the Soviet Union. We have seen the suffering in Cuba and Venezuela. However, I want to bring three concrete examples of where socialism has failed.
    One is the U.K. After World War II, it embraced socialism. It went full hog into socialism. It nationalized nearly every major industry. What happened? Initially it was not that bad, but then Margaret Thatcher's old adage came into being, “eventually you run out of other peoples' money.” That is the problem with socialism. The United Kingdom became known as the sick man of Europe, because its economy was so behind, which brought the standard of living down further and further until Margaret Thatcher came to office, brought free economics, and brought the U.K. back on the economic road map.
    The second example is an interesting one, Israel. Israel also embraced socialist policies shortly after World War II. It embraced very socialist collectivized farming. Some members might be familiar with the term “kibbutz”. These were socialist farming agricultural places. Initially, it was not bad, because they were carrying this money that had come from before. They were initially spending their money, so they grew debt.
    However, what happened was that Israel's economy began to shrink and shrink badly. In fact, it was not until around 1980 or so that eventually it adopted free market policies and went from one of the lower economic growth countries to leading the developed world, from 2000 on, in economic growth.
    Once again, we see socialism fail.
    A third example is the world's biggest democracy, India. India initially, after World War II, also embraced socialist policies and once again found it to be an unmitigated disaster, lowering the standard of living. Then, it embraced a free market economy and, lo and behold, the market increased.

  (1120)  

     This is repeated all over again. What is happening in Canada is not new news. We had the Liberal government take power in 2015. The Liberals were coming off a great legacy of the Harper government, when housing was affordable, when Canada was a world leader in GDP per capita and when Canada was strong on the map. Then time went by and the debt, the leveraging and socialist policies had their corrosive effect on the economy over and over again, bringing down our economy.
     Then a realization happened. I do not know whether it happens for all the members; maybe some of them live in blissful ignorance or just deny the truth. However, the reality is that eventually it comes to the effect that these policies do not work. We are seeing that now in Canada, just like we did in the U.K., Israel and India. Wherever there are these socialist policies, a legacy always follows. First is high unemployment; we are now creeping up to 6.1%. Second is a lack of prosperity. Third is an increase in inequality ironically enough, given all the talk of equality in the House. Fourth is incredibly slow economic growth, which drives down the economy and economic life.
     For the folks who are in government, the challenge then becomes this. They see that their policies have created nothing but failure. What do they have to do? They have to create a bogeyman. They have a straw-man argument and they have to place the blame on something else. They divide, as they did during COVID, and they distract. They will do everything possible to not look at their record. That is what is going on here.
    We have seen the NDP leader, whose brother is a lobbyist for Metro, the large chain with the largest profit margin of all Canadian grocers, out there blaming big grocers. I am not saying Metro is innocent; it is certainly not. However, the hypocrisy of that party to go after grocery chains when the leader's brother is a lobbyist for Metro, the most profitable large grocery chain in Canada, is unbelievable.
    With that, I would like to bring an amendment to the motion. I move:
    That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following:
the 19th report of the Standing Committee on Finance, presented on Monday, May 6, 2024, be not now concurred in, but that it be recommitted to the Standing Committee on Finance with instruction that it amend the same so as to recommend a more efficient alternative to address food insecurity among Canadians this summer by calling on the government to eliminate the carbon tax, the federal fuel tax, and GST on gasoline and diesel between now and Labour Day.

  (1125)  

    The amendment is in order.
     Questions and comments, the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the government House leader.
    Madam Speaker, as I am sure the member is aware, the government fully understands and is aware of the importance of food security. It is one of the reasons we made changes to the Competition Act and it is one of the reasons we brought in things such as the grocery rebate. We have brought in a number of measures.
     One of the interesting things in the federal budget is the national food program to provide food for children going to school. Approximately 400,000 children would benefit by this. Could the member explain why the Conservative Party will be voting against that program?
     Madam Speaker, according to the Governor of the Bank of Canada, the carbon tax is responsible for 0.8% of inflation, or about one-third of inflation. We could dramatically reduce the cost of food today for children, for seniors and for everyone who is going hungry. Food banks have never been so busy; they have never had such a stretched demand. Why do we not cut the carbon tax today and let people eat?

  (1130)  

    Madam Speaker, the member talked about the leader of the NDP and his brother who is with Metro. We always wonder why we do not hear about Metro in here. We hear about Loblaws all the time. However, the government is equally as complicit in grocery prices.
    Last October, the minister of innovation stated that grocery prices would come down in a matter of weeks or months. The government passed and received royal assent, on December 15, 2023, on the Affordable Housing and Groceries Act. The government has an act called “affordable groceries”, which was passed on December 15.
     I wonder if the member would comment on this. Have grocery prices gone down? Has the government done anything at all to lower grocery prices?
    Madam Speaker, unfortunately, the answer to that is no.
    Often when I am talking to constituents, they will tell me they cannot believe how much one bag of groceries costs. They will go to grab a couple things for dinner or grab a couple things for the weekend, and have one bag. That one bag used to be $20. Now it is $50, $75 or even $100 just to fill one bag of groceries. It is incredible and there is a way to fix it right away. We can eliminate a third of inflation today by getting rid of the carbon tax.
    Madam Speaker, I wonder if my colleague could comment on the gross domestic product.
    We sometimes take for granted that we are a well-developed country, yet we do not have a very good track record when it comes to the latest announcements about our gross domestic product, particularly in the G7, never mind the G20.
     Madam Speaker, it really is quite sad where our GDP is per capita. The GDP per capita actually puts us dead last amongst G7 countries. Why is that important? Because it is not just a number. GDP per capita is a measure of what Canadians make and what they deliver in terms of services. The more products we make and the more services we deliver means the more goods, the more bounty, the more prosperity across this nation. The real nub of the issue is the fact that when prosperity shrinks, as it has over the last 10 years, which is Canada's very own lost decade here, it hurts the most vulnerable the most.
     The folks who have big trust funds, like the Prime Minister, will be okay. It is the people who are going to the food banks in Otonabee, in Cobourg or in Port Hope who are suffering because of these socialist policies that are failing Canadians.
     Madam Speaker, I suspect that if you were to canvass the House, you might find unanimous consent to allow for the debate to be adjourned so that we can continue on with Routine Proceedings.

[Translation]

    Some hon. members: Agreed.

  (1135)  

[English]

Industry and Technology  

    That it be an instruction to the Standing Committee on Industry and Technology that, during its consideration of Bill C-27, An Act to enact the Consumer Privacy Protection Act, the Personal Information and Data Protection Tribunal Act and the Artificial Intelligence and Data Act and to make consequential and related amendments to other Acts, the committee be granted the power to divide the bill into two pieces of legislation:
(a) Bill C-27A, An Act to enact the Consumer Privacy Protection Act, containing Part 1 and the schedule to section 2;
(b) Bill C-27B , An Act to enact Personal Information and Data Protection Tribunal Act, and an An Act to enact the Artificial Intelligence and Data Act, containing Part 2 and Part 3.
    He said: Madam Speaker, I rise today on an important debate that is coming from the industry committee. Right now, we are studying what seems to be the unending study of Bill C-27, which is privacy legislation.
    I have risen in this House before at least one other time on this matter, as have other members of the Conservative Party and other parties, including the NDP. We are rising today to request that this bill be split into two parts. One would be the privacy legislation replacing PIPEDA in the tribunal, and the second one would be AIDA, or the AI portion of this bill.
    The reason for that is twofold. It is taking a long time to pass this bill mainly because of the government. The government produced a bill that was flawed, and because of this flawed bill, when it presented the bill, it presented 55 amendments to the bill. We have been going through them at committee, and we are now just getting through the definitions part of clause-by-clause on the first part, which is PIPEDA. We are finding there has been 16 table-drops to this bill for amendments.
    This bill was not ready to come to the floor. We are looking at the need for privacy legislation, which we do agree with. Conservatives have stood in this House and said we believed that privacy should be considered a fundamental right for Canadians. When we look at that aspect of the bill, and it is very important, the second part of this bill, the AI, the AIDA, portion of this bill, is so flawed that it is holding up the first part of the bill.
    The parts never should have been put together; they should have been separate. There were some fundamental reasons why the government wanted to put them together. With 55 amendments and 16 subamendments to the main part of the bill, this bill is so flawed we cannot even get through the first part. We are worried if the bill is not separated into two votes, and we do not have AIDA separated and perhaps have it come back as a whole new legislation, we are not going to get the first part of the bill through, which is privacy legislation that Canadians are desperately asking for.
    After nine years, Canadians have never had less privacy. We look at the fact that we have Alexa, or AI of any form, and when our children are on their iPads, that data is being scraped off the Internet and collected. None of it is private. We do not have any privacy with our data.
    This week, we are looking at privacy, and we are trying to discern the difference between normal privacy and sensitive data. Sensitive data would be looked at under the act, but would be a bit more heightened. It would be looked at with greater penalties for those who breach it. We are certainly looking at everyone's privacy in the coming years with AI and the advancement of computers.
    The one that we are specifically looking at is financial data. All of the transactions that we do through Interac, our banking system as a whole, our bank accounts, and the interactions that we have online, like with Apple Pay or on our cellphones, are all held by the banks. Many Canadians would be surprised to know they do not own their financial data.
    A bank has someone's data, and that can mean anything from their credit history, where they spend their money, how they get their income or where they are paying their taxes. All of that data right now is not held as sensitive, and more importantly, it is not held under that person's consent. Financial data across Canada needs to be regarded as sensitive.
    Perhaps the biggest breach of that within the last two years was when the government enacted the Emergencies Act and bank accounts were frozen under the act. The government has the ability to freeze bank accounts because that data is not sensitive. Through the government, when it took away the rights of Canadians, that data was then held by those banks against consumers' will.
    In this country, we want to be able to have open banking. The idea with open banking is to have Canadians control who owns their data, and, with their consent, who can have their data. That is really the crux of this bill. When we talk about sensitive financial data, it is the ability for someone, as a consumer, to control where their data is and where it goes.

  (1140)  

     Open banking, of course, brings competition to our banking sector, which allows not only the six big banks to have our business, but also hundreds of other financial tech organizations that want to have our business and right now are only able to get it through screen scraping. This is taking data off screens or having their clients take screenshots of their financial history in order to get it to a financial tech organization so it can compete for their business. However, financial data should be sensitive information, and when we look at how that relates to AI, well, it is a whole different component of the bill. Also, when we look at location data, and the ability for someone to know from a person's phone where that person is right now, that is also sensitive data. However, the advancement of AI has allowed all of that information to be out in the open and to be emulated.
    When we look at the AI bill, the most important part that we are going to be standing up for, as Conservatives, is to ensure that computers cannot emulate human beings without their express consent. However, when we look at privacy as a fundamental right, AI allows the ability of one's image, likeness and voice to be replicated and used all over this planet, which, of course, is bad when we talk about fraud. We have all the heard stories of parents who thought that their children were calling them for help and to ask for money. It sounded like them, they laughed like they did, but at the end of the day, it was an AI program that emulated an individual to cause an act of fraud.
     Right now, Scarlett Johansson is in the news. If anyone has used ChatGBT lately, version 4, which is the new version, they would find that Sky apparently uses Scarlett Johansson's voice without her permission. AI does this right now. It can scrape images and likenesses off the internet, and there is no recourse to ensure that it is taken care of. However, having this AI bill attached to Bill C-27, the privacy act, is slowing this process down and, because of that, Canada is falling further and further behind. It should be a separate bill, and we are asking that the bill before us, of course, be put into two separate votes, as we have before.
    I am splitting my time today, because I have some knowledge, but we have greater expertise coming from the member from South Shore—St. Margarets.
    I will end with where we are with AI in general. It was announced last week on the budget bill, Bill C-69, that the government is going to put money into AI, figuring that, finally, Canada should have been a leader and should be a leader on this. However, another article, just released yesterday, effectively said, “Ah, too late”, and that the money the government wants to put into AI and infrastructure, Meta Llama 3 has just made obsolete. Of course, Meta, Microsoft, Google and so many other companies have already put money and resources into AI, and Canada is falling further and further behind because, after nine years, Canada has lost almost all of its IP in AI to the rest of the world. China had 13,000 patents in AI just last year, which was more than all patents filed in all sectors in Canada. The U.S. had close to 20,000 patents. So, now, when we put money into IP for AI in Canada, it is not Canadian IP. Once again, we are just investing in American and international companies in Canada. Canada is becoming a branch-plant state. We take our taxpayers' hard-earned money and we put it into intellectual property and multinational corporations that do not provide the GDP that Canada needs but just jobs, which is what we are left with.
    We have a bill that was not properly done. It has 55 amendments from the government side and 16 subamendments. I could not believe that, the other day, the government was filibustering its own bill. We were in committee, and the government was talking it out. It did not like that we were talking about financial data as sensitive information. I had never seen this before. However, the bill is flawed and it needs to be split in two. We are happy to make sure that happens and that we get the bill right. Do not worry, a Conservative government will get it right.
    Madam Speaker, it is interesting seeing a Conservative stand up and talk about AI. The only time I am aware of the Conservatives actually utilizing AI was when they came up with the idea of using AI to create amendments that they could bring to filibuster legislation. They came up with 20,000-plus amendments in order to prevent legislation from being able to pass the committee. Now, they have another idea, which is to try to divide the legislation into two pieces and, if they are successful, they will have two pieces of legislation they can filibuster instead of one.
    The member talks about the government amendments. Is he not aware that governments do that, whether it is this government or even Stephen Harper's government, which made amendments at committee stage for bills? Because a government makes an amendment at committee stage does not mean that the legislation is flawed and should not be ultimately passing. Would the member not agree?

  (1145)  

    Madam Speaker, the government brought 55 amendments to its own legislation. When has that happened before? The member talks about Stephen Harper. I do not think Stephen Harper brought 55 amendments to his own bill, followed by 16 subamendments and then filibustered his own bill for four meetings in committee.
    The government's role is to present a piece of legislation, ensure there is proper debate in the House and in committee and then ensure the bill passes in the House. One does not do that by bringing 55 amendments and 16 subamendments. The government has failed to present a proper bill. We have identified that it needs to be split, or it may never get passed.
    Madam Speaker, one of the great things Canada had in terms of fighting for privacy rights was the role of the Privacy Commissioner. We know it was the Privacy Commissioner, following a letter of complaint I actually sent in, who identified that what Clearview AI was doing was illegal. The taking of people's images in public spaces and selling those images was such a breach of privacy rights, yet when the Liberals brought forward their privacy legislation, the Privacy Commissioner told us that his ability to take on bad actors like Clearview AI would actually be undermined.
    Knowing the power AI has to scrape data and knowing how wide open our data, including facial images, personal information and geo-tracking, is being taken, I would like to ask the member about the importance of having fundamental principles in privacy, including the right not to be tracked, not to be followed and not to have our faces taken by corporate interests.
     Madam Speaker, I cannot believe I am saying this, but we agree with the member. We are fighting for privacy as a fundamental right and ensuring that those things can happen. We are the only party, and actually the NDP is with us, fighting for that data to be deemed sensitive. This is data such as one's location, biometrics and gender. Even with driver's licences, massive fraud is going up. Violent crime is going up. All those things are extremely important.
    I would hope the Privacy Commissioner gets more money and more funding. We are asking for more power to that commissioner. I hope this member does not go down the same road as what has happened with the Information Commissioner and the Ethics Commissioner, who are seeing their funding cut. I do not think that the funding of those two commissions needs to be cut or that the commissioners' wages need to be cut.
    We need the Privacy Commissioner to probably see more autonomy, but also get the power they need to make sure they enforce those rules.
    Madam Speaker, my hon. colleague mentions flawed legislation coming to committee. I was on a committee where the Liberals brought over 100 amendments to a piece of their legislation. This speaks to their having a problem writing legislation to begin with. Maybe this member would like to talk about how challenging it is to deal with legislation that is flawed to begin with and many amendments having come from the government.
    Madam Speaker, yes, going to committee one expects to do the work. This is an important topic for every single Canadian, and the fact is that we have to deal with filibustering and amendments from a government that just cannot get it together or present good legislation to begin with. It would help all Canadians and all the government if it could just get its act together and present some good legislation in the first place
     Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise on this motion today. To remind everyone what it is about, we have a massive bill, as my colleague from Bay of Quinte said, that would, one, replace the entire Privacy Act with a brand new one for Canadians; two, create a new judicial tribunal to appeal decisions; and three, create something totally unrelated, the artificial intelligence and data act, the first such act.
    Way back in October 2022, the House leader for the New Democratic Party moved a motion to split the vote, to have two separate votes on this bill, which we had at second reading: one vote on parts 1 and 2, the privacy and tribunal parts, and then a separate vote on the artificial intelligence part. In November, the Speaker ruled in favour of that and we were pleased to support that motion.
    What we are asking for now is to go a step further and split the bill, because we had 21 meetings in committee with witnesses, we are in meeting nine or 10 of clause-by-clause, and we have had almost unanimous witness testimony asking for the bill to be split, and not only because it is a totally separate subject area. To remind everyone, the purpose section in part 1 of the bill, regarding the Privacy Act, says:
     The purpose of this Act is to establish—in an era in which data is constantly flowing across borders and geographical boundaries and significant economic activity relies on the analysis, circulation and exchange of personal information—rules to govern the protection of personal information in a manner that recognizes the right of privacy of individuals with respect to their personal information and the need of organizations to collect, use or disclose personal information....
     However, the purpose section of part 3, the artificial intelligence and data act, says the following:
(a) to regulate international and interprovincial trade and commerce in artificial intelligence systems by establishing common requirements, applicable across Canada, for the design, development and use of those systems; and
(b) to prohibit certain conduct in relation to artificial intelligence systems that may result in serious harm to individuals or harm to their interests.
     It is a very different piece of legislation bolted onto privacy legislation. I think that is why the Speaker rightly ruled that they are separate pieces of legislation and, therefore, should have separate votes.
    Conservatives are proposing, after all this study, that the bills should be separated, and we are not alone in that. I will quote what some members in this House have said about separating the bills. The New Democratic Party member for Windsor West, who has been very active and proposed many valuable amendments to this bill in committee, said, “this is really three pieces of legislation that have been bundled up into one.... The first two parts of the act, concerning the consumer privacy protection act and the personal information and data protection tribunal act, do have enough common themes”, but he still thinks they should be separated. He went on to say, as he has said on many occasions, that the New Democrats agree with having the bill in committee, but they want separate voting, as the AI act is the first time that topic has been debated in the House “and it should be done differently.”
    The member from the Bloc Québécois who has spoken on this, the member for Laurentides—Labelle, said, “this bill is important, but I would like to know if we should refer it to a committee to study it properly because it is really two bills in one. The first is on artificial intelligence, and the second on privacy protection.” I could go on. For example, the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands said in response to the Speaker's ruling, “The Speaker has now given a ruling that says we will be able to vote separately on the AI piece of the bill, but I do not think that is good enough. I do not know if the committee will be able to set aside witnesses and only look at the AI piece”.
    The minister claimed he has done all the consultation and the artificial intelligence bill is a great bill. It turns out he did not have a single meeting on it before he tabled it in June 2022. He did not have a single meeting with any group, but then he bragged afterwards, because he had to put the toothpaste back in the tube, that he had 300 meetings after the bill was tabled. Let me tell members whom he had meetings with.

  (1150)  

     He said he had 300 meetings. He had five meetings with the AI advisory council; four with the Alliance for Privacy and Innovation in Canada; eight with Amazon; four with the Business Council of Canada; 12 with the Canadian Bankers Association, and maybe that is why we are hearing a big lobby on the filibuster right now on behalf of the Canadian Bankers Association in committee, four meetings where the Liberals have been speaking on behalf of big banks; five with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce; and 12 with the Canadian Marketing Association, the people who send all that irritating stuff. I could go on. The list is here. There were 15 meetings with Microsoft. These are companies that are obviously very interested in protecting people's data and the use of artificial intelligence. It seems that for big businesses, after a bill is introduced, they can get time with the minister.
     Now, not to be outdone, the committee has had a request that the bill be separated, signed by the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, Digital Public, the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group, Open Media, the Privacy and Access Council of Canada, Tech Reset Canada, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the Freedom of Information and Privacy Association, the Centre for Digital Rights, the Centre for Free Expression, the Women's Legal Education & Action Fund, and then another 18 individuals.
    The letter was sent to the chair of the industry committee, a very fine chair, by the way. It said:
     This letter, submitted on behalf of the individuals and civil society organizations below, is a formal request for your Committee to recommend that AIDA be sent back to the drawing board for full public consultation prior to a substantial redrafting. Additionally, such consultation should not be led by ISED alone given that their stewardship to date has resulted in deeply-flawed legislation, flowing from a process biased heavily toward narrow industry interests.
    We are also asking that your Committee split your hearings on AIDA—to have them exist distinctly and separately....
    We have done this. It goes on to refer to the Speaker's ruling, saying:
     As you know, the Speaker of the House of Commons, in his ruling of 28 November 2022, decided that the House would vote separately on Part 3 of Bill C-27 (AIDA). Subsequent to that ruling, the Committee Vice-Chair [referring to me] noted...that “we've chosen as a Committee to break up the witnesses,” and that “The details of AIDA will happen, and those witnesses will be at the back end of the witnesses.”
    This was in the context of granting the Minister more time to produce his promised amendments on AIDA.
    It goes on to ask for the bill to be split up. I do not have the time to read the whole letter, but it was interesting that when the minister led off the discussion in the committee, he said, essentially, that it is a flawed bill. He admitted it. His whole opening statement was about amending eight areas, or saying he was going to amend eight areas. It was very specific.
    Then, when I and my other colleagues asked him to table those amendments, he refused. We actually had to fight, for four meetings, to get him to agree to table those amendments. We were about to embark on hearing from witnesses who were going to discuss a bill that was already out of date, and the minister was refusing to share what parts he thought were out of date and how he was going to amend it. He finally relented and put in eight draft amendments.
    We held 21 meetings. Then, as my colleague from Bay of Quinte said, the Liberals proposed 55 amendments in clause-by-clause to their own bill. None of the witnesses in the 21 meetings that we had had a chance to comment on those 55 amendments. Thirty-eight of them are on artificial intelligence. The Liberals have made 38 amendments to the artificial intelligence bill that they introduced, when they said they were only going to make three or four. They hid all of those from the public, and now the public and the people in the industry have no ability to comment on them, because we are in clause-by-clause.
    The minister's admission from the beginning that he had drafted a flawed bill, his admission that he had met with people only after the bill was tabled, his admission that he had basically met only with big business about the bill and his tabling of 55 amendments after we had heard from witnesses all speak to the fact that these are two separate bills on a flawed bill and need to be separated.

  (1155)  

     Madam Speaker, I am somewhat disappointed. I came here believing that we would be debating budgetary measures on Bill C-69, something that Canadians are very much concerned about and would ultimately like to see passed.
    I am wondering why it is that the Conservatives have now made the decision to try to have a discussion on an issue that we have already had a debate on. It is in the committee. Why not allow the committee to do the work and continue to do the work that it has been doing? There is nothing the member has said that previous governments have not done.

  (1200)  

     Madam Speaker, the simple answer is that the budget has been widely panned by just about everybody in the country. I am surprised that the government wants to get on to debating it, since it has not actually tabled parts of the budget that it has talked about.
    This is perhaps even more important to what happens to Canadians in the future than this flawed budget. It is about what is going to happen, how we regulate artificial intelligence, how it uses people's data and how we interact with it in the future. It is probably one of the most fundamental things. That is why Canadians want the bill separated. That is why it is vitally important that we do that now.
    Madam Speaker, I remember that in 2018-19 the ethics committee, working across party lines, was attempting to bring forward to the House language to protect privacy rights in light of the Cambridge Analytica breach. One of the key elements that we had was the right not to be tracked. When my daughter goes on the Internet, why are they tracking her? Why is that phone tracking us? The ability to say no, to limit the amount of information, did not happen.
    Then we had Clearview AI stealing people's images and selling them. The Privacy Commissioner stepped into the breach at that point, and yet he said that the Liberal government's privacy legislation at the time would undermine his ability to hold companies like Clearview to account.
    Now we have AI. What we were dealing with in 2018 is like dealing with stagecoach robberies, given the speed of the ability to take information, to take our lives and to move them in ways we could not even conceive of, yet the Liberals are still puttering along with legislation. They have put it into what should be two separate bills that are really thought through. We are trying to just deal with one single bill.
     I want to ask my hon. colleague what he thinks the danger to Canadian privacy is, with regard to the failure of the government to address the privacy rights of citizens and the right to privacy as a fundamental right.
    Madam Speaker, that is a question on which our side and the NDP have been in total agreement. We have worked hard in committee with the member for Windsor West to ensure that the bill has the fundamental right recognized up front. We have moved the preamble, which had no legal meaning, into the bill and changed it to make that part of it, as well as to define what a minor is and make the best interest of the child part of that. We have not gotten to the purpose section yet, where we will probably do that.
    I know that the member spoke earlier about the Privacy Commissioner. In the committee, the Privacy Commissioner said that, to oversee this legislation, he would need a doubling of his budget. I see that, in this budget, there is not a penny more for the Privacy Commissioner. I guess the Liberals do not intend to have enforcement of the bill that they are trying to push through.
     Madam Speaker, with the challenge of dealing with a piece of legislation that is too complicated, and with two purposes, how do we deal in committee with legislation written this wrong?
     Madam Speaker, that is a great question. We struggled with it in committee. We took the privacy part first, the first part of the bill, and had it organized by subject areas, so some witnesses would come twice.
    The problem we had was that by the time we got through that, the government decided that it wanted to limit the discussion on artificial intelligence, perhaps the most consequential part, and we ended up with only about eight meetings on artificial intelligence, which is wholly inadequate to deal with all the issues that have been raised. Of course, it makes it even more difficult when the minister does not share his amendments to that bill before we actually hear from those witnesses so that they can have input on the changes that the government wishes to make.

  (1205)  

    That the House do now proceed to the orders of the day.

[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]

    Madam Speaker, we would request a vote.
     Call in the members.

  (1245)  

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

(Division No. 760)

YEAS

Members

Aldag
Alghabra
Ali
Anand
Anandasangaree
Angus
Arseneault
Arya
Ashton
Atwin
Bachrach
Badawey
Bains
Baker
Barron
Battiste
Beech
Bibeau
Bittle
Blair
Blois
Boissonnault
Boulerice
Bradford
Brière
Cannings
Carr
Casey
Chagger
Chahal
Champagne
Chatel
Chen
Chiang
Collins (Hamilton East—Stoney Creek)
Collins (Victoria)
Coteau
Dabrusin
Damoff
Davies
Desjarlais
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Diab
Drouin
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
Dzerowicz
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Erskine-Smith
Fillmore
Fisher
Fonseca
Fortier
Fragiskatos
Fraser
Freeland
Fry
Gaheer
Gainey
Garrison
Gazan
Gerretsen
Green
Guilbeault
Hajdu
Hanley
Hardie
Hepfner
Holland
Housefather
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)
McDonald (Avalon)
McGuinty
McKay
McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)
McLeod
McPherson
Mendès
Mendicino
Miao
Miller
Morrice
Morrissey
Murray
Naqvi
Noormohamed
O'Connell
Oliphant
O'Regan
Petitpas Taylor
Powlowski
Qualtrough
Robillard
Rodriguez
Rogers
Romanado
Rota
Sahota
Sajjan
Saks
Samson
Sarai
Scarpaleggia
Schiefke
Serré
Sgro
Shanahan
Sheehan
Sidhu (Brampton East)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Singh
Sorbara
Sousa
St-Onge
Sudds
Tassi
Taylor Roy
Thompson
Turnbull
Valdez
Van Bynen
van Koeverden
Vandal
Vandenbeld
Virani
Weiler
Wilkinson
Yip
Zahid
Zarrillo
Zuberi

Total: -- 172


NAYS

Members

Aboultaif
Aitchison
Albas
Allison
Arnold
Baldinelli
Barlow
Barrett
Barsalou-Duval
Beaulieu
Bergeron
Berthold
Bérubé
Bezan
Blanchet
Blanchette-Joncas
Block
Bragdon
Brassard
Brock
Brunelle-Duceppe
Calkins
Caputo
Carrie
Chabot
Chambers
Champoux
Chong
Cooper
Dalton
Dancho
Davidson
Deltell
d'Entremont
Desbiens
Doherty
Dowdall
Dreeshen
Duncan (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Ellis
Epp
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Ferreri
Findlay
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
Lawrence
Lehoux
Lemire
Leslie
Lewis (Essex)
Lewis (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Liepert
Lloyd
Lobb
Maguire
Majumdar
Martel
May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
Mazier
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McLean
Melillo
Michaud
Moore
Morantz
Morrison
Motz
Muys
Nater
Normandin
Patzer
Paul-Hus
Pauzé
Perkins
Perron
Plamondon
Poilievre
Rayes
Reid
Rempel Garner
Richards
Roberts
Rood
Ruff
Savard-Tremblay
Scheer
Schmale
Seeback
Shields
Simard
Sinclair-Desgagné
Small
Soroka
Steinley
Ste-Marie
Strahl
Stubbs
Therrien
Thomas
Tochor
Tolmie
Trudel
Uppal
Van Popta
Vecchio
Vidal
Vien
Viersen
Vignola
Villemure
Vis
Vuong
Wagantall
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Williams
Williamson
Zimmer

Total: -- 145


PAIRED

Members

Fast
Ng

Total: -- 2


    I declare the motion carried.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[Translation]

Budget Implementation Act, 2024, No. 1

Bill C-69—Time Allocation Motion  

    That, in relation to Bill C-69, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 16, 2024, not more than five further hours shall be allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the bill; and
    That, at the expiry of the five hours provided for the 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.

  (1250)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I am very encouraged by the budget implementation bill. There are many aspects of it that one could talk about.
    I want to highlight something the Prime Minister highlighted just last week in Winnipeg North. We gathered at Elwick school and had a great elevation of an important issue, the national school food program. It is going to feed literally hundreds of thousands of children and ensure they have food in their stomachs while they are learning in the classroom.
    Could the minister provide her thoughts on how such important budgetary measures are going to affect the lives of Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, I am very excited about the national school food program, which we estimate is going to lift 400,000 children out of poverty across this country. It is something we will work on with the provinces, territories and, of course, indigenous communities.
    We know that developing brains need good nutrition, and Canada needs everyone to be able to reach their full potential. That is why it is important that we work in partnership with communities, school boards, provinces and territories to make sure that every child, no matter their income level, has a fair chance to get a good head start that day and be able to nourish their brains as they nourish their minds.
    Mr. Speaker, it is absolutely disappointing to be sitting here and have the government decide, once again, to use the blunt force object that is time allocation rather than allowing a fulsome debate on the bill.
    This is an implementation bill on a budget for which we have had countless constituent emails come to my office from people with very serious concerns. However, here the government is ramming this through again. It is very clear that it is afraid to hear what Canadians have to say on this.
    Is the government concerned about the further inflationary spending that is being brought forward through the budget and what the impacts will be on Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, I am surprised to hear my colleague opposite speak about their concerns around the budget. In fact, the Conservative leader, without a second thought, said he would vote against the budget to support fairness for every generation. It includes many measures that the Conservative Party has been calling for, indeed, for example, more aggression on getting houses built across our country. The Canada housing plan would see 3.87 million new homes unlocked by 2031 and would ensure that the dream of home ownership is in reach for young Canadians, something that I know she and many members of the party opposite have spoken about in the House.
     I would urge her to move this bill quickly to study. That is where we will be able to hear a variety of perspectives on this bill. We will be able to move more quickly to ensure that Canadians have what they need to have a fairness in their lives.
    Mr. Speaker, it is really important to be able to move legislation so that we can actually get something done. Canadians expect us to get something done here.
    One of my concerns is that, in dealing with the issue of a national food program, a school nutrition program, if this passes, it is going to rob the Conservatives of their ability to stand up in the House. This morning, we heard the member for Peterborough going on about how concerned she was that children were not eating, although we have offered a national school program. She said that that it was just bureaucracy. That is what they think of feeding children; they called it “bureaucracy”.
     I would like to ask the hon. member, the minister, about this. We are the only G7 country without a national nutrition program for school children, yet we have the Conservatives trying to block this. They are gaslighting people, and they actually claim that children are going hungry, while they will not let a program to feed children go ahead.

  (1255)  

     Mr. Speaker. the hon. member noted that, in fact, we have a gap here in Canada, and that is feeding hungry children in school. We know that brains actually need that nourishment to develop and that Canada needs every ounce of potential if we are going to meet the challenging conditions of today and tomorrow.
     We hear the members opposite in the Conservative Party speak about the need, on one hand, to take care of children and to take care of communities, but on the other hand, to not move forward quickly to ensure that programs are in place so that, no matter a person's income, they can access food, with dignity and with pride, in school, the way it should be.
     Mr. Speaker, it is always a privilege to rise on behalf of the constituents of the riding of Waterloo. They have brought many items to my attention and have raised many concerns. They want different levels of government to work together.
    Within this budget implementation act, I understand there would be increased health care funding. There would be the national school food program that we have heard about. There would be funding for nearly four million homes. The region of Waterloo, within the riding of Waterloo, has received really good support through the housing accelerator fund. There would also be support for renters to ensure that they are able to understand their tenant rights so that they will not be put out of their homes.
    Some constituents have also been raising the issue of free contraceptives. I know it is a hard conversation in this place, especially as the official opposition does not recognize that a woman should be able to have full control and decision-making over her body. It is unfortunate that we are still having that debate, but we know where Liberals stand.
    I also know that this is about affordable dental care and much more.
    I would like to hear from the minister as to what this budget implementation act would do when it comes to affordability and when it comes to making lives better for Canadians, especially for constituents within the riding of Waterloo.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for her elocution of her constituents' concerns and of their thoughts. In fact, this entire budget is wrapped around the concept of fairness for every generation.
    There are many exciting measures in the budget that would actually bring down the costs for Canadians, that would support Canadians, no matter what stage of life they are in, and, in fact, that would get us to a place where we have everybody reaching their full potential. There are things like expanding the Canada student loan forgiveness program so that 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 could have any Canada student loan forgiven. That takes it a step beyond what we have already done, which is to remove interest on student loans, because the government is focused on making sure people reach their full potential.
    The member opposite also spoke about contraceptives. In fact, we know that many people struggle with access to medication. That is why we are taking those next important steps on pharmacare, including the provision of diabetes medication and, importantly, contraceptive medication. We do believe, on this side of the House, that women should have the right to full autonomy over their bodies.
     Mr. Speaker, the budget and the BIA are increasing taxes on Canadians who cannot afford any more and on parents who cannot afford to put food on their tables to feed their children because taxes keep going up, in particular, the carbon tax. The reason we do not support the budget is that the NDP-Liberal government keeps increasing taxes on Canadians. Why is the government so bad at managing the calendar that it needs to limit debate on every single piece of legislation at every single stage?

  (1300)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would propose this question: Why are Conservatives so much in the way of actually making life more affordable for Canadians?
     In the budget measures that we have proposed, there are many things the Conservatives themselves have called for that would make it more affordable for Canadians. In fact, we see a highlight of, yet again, misinformation that is being shared around the carbon tax when, in fact, eight out of 10 families get back more than they pay, and it is part of reducing emissions. I happened to overhear a conversation in this place earlier this morning. People were talking about the fear of the fires out west. We know we have to do more to protect the climate and to protect Canadians. The budget has measures for that, and we need to move quickly because Canadians are expecting us to work together on their behalf.
    Mr. Speaker, I am going to just repeat that last question in a bit of a different way because, in this place, we should have a government and we should have a strong opposition who holds that government to account. Unfortunately, what we have is an official opposition who only gets in the way.
    Every single time that we are trying to do something and actually get results, what do we hear from the Conservatives? We hear Conservatives yelling because they cannot handle hearing a woman ask a question, and then actually listen quietly. When the Conservatives want the floor, they want to be able to speak and to be listened to, but when it is their turn to listen, they do not want to listen. That is what is always really interesting about the Conservative way.
    Why is it that every single time—
    An hon. member: Oh, oh!
    Hon. Bardish Chagger: If the member wants the floor, Mr. Speaker, you can give it to him. However, I believe I have the floor, so you might want to remind him who has the floor, Mr. Speaker.
     I would like to hear from the minister—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order. I do not know where all this disorder is coming from, but let us get the hon. member for Waterloo to finish up the question.
    Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
     I would like to hear from the minister why it is that whenever we are trying to respond to the very challenging times and to the needs of Canadians, we always have to use these kinds of tools to actually get the work done.
    Mr. Speaker, the loyal opposition has a very important job, and that is to work with all members of Parliament to make sure that the laws that we pass and the spending that we undertake actually benefit Canadians.
     The Conservatives have an opportunity today. We can get this bill to committee. The questions that their constituents have, the comments that they have themselves, the experts that they've consulted with and those kinds of things can be fleshed out at committee, as members know. In fact, that is an important part of studying the bill.
    Therefore, I would urge members not to stand in the way of fairness for every generation. We are talking about those who need the support. We are talking about measures that would make life more affordable for Canadians. That is all the Conservatives seem to want to talk about, but when the rubber hits the road, they do not want to do anything.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the minister why her party hates democracy so much. The fact is that we have not had a single hour of debate on Bill C-69, a 657-page piece of legislation, and the Liberals are already limiting debate. I know that the Liberals' leader once said that he most admires China, and I know that they find the opposition's questions and perhaps having a different perspective gets in the way. The member for Waterloo said that she thinks it is terrible that the opposition would actually have a different perspective. Why do the minister and the government think that debate on government bills is something that should not happen?
    Mr. Speaker, I find it interesting to be standing in this place talking about democracy with a member of the loyal opposition who voted against the support that Ukraine needed to defend democracy. It is ironic that as we talk about whether Liberals defend democracy, it is actually this side of the House that works with other countries that are working so hard and, in fact, that are losing lives to defend democracy, yet the Conservatives are going to attack our record of democracy—
    I just want to make sure that we keep our noise down to a minimum.
    Questions and comments, the hon. member for New Westminster—Burnaby.
     Mr. Speaker, in the House, we have seen the Conservatives blocking the dental care legislation.
    Six thousand seniors, on average, in each of the Conservative MPs' ridings, have actually signed up for dental care so far, and we know that millions more are joining as we speak. Tens of thousands of Canadian seniors have benefited from dental care.
     We have seen the Conservatives opposing the pharmacare legislation, even though 17,000 of their constituents, on average, would benefit from the diabetes medication components, and 25,000 people in their ridings, on average, would benefit from contraceptive coverage.
    We now have the Conservatives blocking Bill C-69 as well. We are talking about affordable housing. These are all things that the NDP has forced the government to put forward in a minority Parliament. This is important.
     My question to my colleague is simply this. Why are the Conservatives systematically opposing measures that would help people in their ridings?

  (1305)  

     Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his hard work on many of the measures that he outlined and that are, in fact, featured in this budget.
    I cannot answer why it is that Conservatives oppose measures that help their own constituents, but it is a good question for their constituents. I think that is why it is important that we get this bill to committee because we will hear a variety of perspectives on what is in that bill and how it will help Canadians.
    The member opposite talked about dental care. I just want to share that I have someone in my family who will actually benefit from the Canada dental care plan. I am very excited to say that there are so many seniors in my riding getting care for severe dental caries who had no coverage anywhere else in this country. This is life-changing. It is about alleviating pain. It is about increasing dignity. I know we can do better as a country. I hope the Conservatives will help.
    Mr. Speaker, in budget after budget, the government has allocated more funding towards indigenous services. However, we have seen various reports by the PBO and by others outside indicating that the dollars being spent by the Liberal government are not leading to an equivalent increase in the ability of ISC and its programs to achieve the goals it has set for itself. In other words, it is more spending, but it is not improving the lives of first nations and indigenous peoples to the measure that it should.
    Are there any specific, tangible steps that the minister could provide to assure members of the House and Canadians that the new spending being brought forward in this budget would actually go to the grassroots, to the first nations leaders and to the people who need this funding?
     Mr. Speaker, it is disappointing that the member opposite does not realize that, in fact, after a decade of not spending anything in indigenous services equity, including, for example, keeping indigenous education suppressed below the provincial average, meaning that children in indigenous communities did not have the same fair chances to graduate and that graduation rates were abysmally lower than non-indigenous students, we changed that. In fact, we created equity within education systems.
     We are excited that, in this budget, there will be increased amounts of money available for post-secondary education so that anybody who is ready, willing and wants to go to post-secondary, whether it is trades, college or university, will be able to have the supports to be able to succeed, increasing the capacity of every community.
    These are the kinds of investments we are proud of. Over 25% of the new spend in this budget is dedicated to indigenous priorities. I would challenge the member to speak with the national chief and others about how he could be an advocate for ensuring that communities have the autonomy they have the right to.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the minister this question. Does she see a pattern of behaviour here where the Conservatives constantly want to roadblock programs Canadians desperately need, whether it be dental care, pharmacare or the hot lunch program, the food program for Canadians?
    I am also seeing a pattern of behaviour by the Conservatives of blocking the passage of important legislation at committee. We experienced that at the immigration committee when we tried to address the lost Canadian issue; the Conservatives took away the right of second-generation-born Canadians to pass on their citizenship to their children if they were born abroad.
    From that perspective, I would like to ask the minister if she could comment. In order to move things forward, to get things done for Canadians, what options does the government have?
     Mr. Speaker, earlier we were talking about a national food program. We cannot starve our way to prosperity, but that is what the Conservatives seem to want to try yet again. They want to starve their way to prosperity, and that is not how we get ahead as a country. We get ahead as a country by taking care of each other, and this budget is about that. It is about fairness for every generation.
    I think everyone in the House would say that we appreciate and welcome constructive debate among each other. That is what we do. We are members of Parliament. We are always ready to work with each other, with our opposition colleagues, to make life better for Canadians. When see that pattern of obstruction, the Conservatives are not obstructing the government, they are obstructing Canadians who are waiting for this bill to pass so they can see improvements in their lives.

  (1310)  

    Mr. Speaker, talking about pattern of behaviour, we see in the House a party, the New Democratic Party, not acting as the opposition party it was elected as, but as the government's lapdog. It is absolutely pathetic. When we talk about Canadians and what—
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. This has been a recurring incidence of very poor unparliamentary language, so I would ask the member to withdraw.
    I just remind folks to be judicious in the words they use in explaining things.
    The hon. member for Battlefords—Lloydminster has the floor.
     Mr. Speaker, this legislation was introduced in this place on May 6. There has only been four sitting days since that time and we are seeing, again, time allocation on a bill at a stage. I will go back to my first question I asked not long ago, which I did not receive an answer from the minister.
     Why is the government so terrible at managing the government calendar that it needs to limit debate on every stage and every piece of legislation?
     Mr. Speaker, we hear two parties in the House talk about the obstruction of the Conservatives in the House. Therefore, it is a little rich as the members opposite get up and name-call and yell at members of the opposition, who are just doing their job as well.
    We all have a job here, and I would encourage us all to stay focused on what that job is, which is to ensure that we work for Canadians, that we work on programs that will support Canadians, and that we work on law and policy that will support Canadians to reach their full potential. There are no shortages of problems in the world and we can be part of that solution if we actually work together.
    Mr. Speaker, the minister's comments addressed parts of Bill C-69, but unfortunately, as we know, it is an omnibus bill. As an omnibus bill, it includes other parts that are not intended to help Canadians who are most in need or help indigenous communities, but to push through, without proper study, quick and dirty amendments to the Impact Assessment Act.
    I intend to move a motion later today to ask that the impact assessment portions of this omnibus bill be removed so they can be properly studied, not by the Standing Committee on Finance but by the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development. I wonder if the minister has any thoughts on that.
    Mr. Speaker, every item in this legislation appears in the text of this year's budget, either in its chapters or in the legislative annex. We look forward to the robust debate that will happen through this debate and certainly at committee. It is important we ensure we work together. As I said, Canadians are expecting us to work quickly together to ensure they have the measures they need.
    Mr. Speaker, I made reference to the national food program. There are all sorts of other aspects of the budget that are so important, such as the red dress alert. I know the minister is familiar with the program. Ottawa is working with the province on the very important issue of murdered and missing indigenous women and girls and others. Through co-operation with stakeholders and different levels of governments, this has become a reality.
     I am wondering if the minister can provide her thoughts on this important initiative, as well as the importance of working with stakeholders and governments.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member of Parliament for highlighting the importance of the parts of the budget implementation act that address indigenous priorities. Indeed, the red dress alert is an indigenous priority. It is something indigenous families have been calling to have for a very long time. It is a pleasure to work with members in the House to ensure we can get that alert up and running.
    I was very proud to be one of the ministers who launched the inquiry into the missing and murdered indigenous women after a decade of Stephen Harper refusing to do that, saying it was not on his radar. Indigenous women and girls know they have an ally. This government will continue to work with partners across the country.
     Mr. Speaker, I do not understand why the government is so scared to have an actual fulsome debate on the budget, if it is so proud of the budget. It spent weeks going out selling the budget to Canadians before putting it into the House of Commons, yet, as my colleague has stated, we have had four sitting days to have conversation on this.
    The government is absolutely atrocious when it comes to managing its own schedule. It expects everyone else to pick up the slack when it fails to deliver results for Canadians. We are here, holding the government accountable. It is shameful that the New Democrats continue to prop up the government, allowing it to get by with something that they would have previously rolled over to prevent any kind of time allocation. What we see over and over again is them supporting time allocation and curtailing debate.
    Why is the government so afraid to have a debate on the budget? If it is as good as the Liberals say it is, why will they not just let us have this conversation and debate?

  (1315)  

    Mr. Speaker, I think what Canadians expect is for parties to work together in the House, to find compromises to ensure that things can move forward that will benefit them and their families. That is why the NDP works closely with the Liberals to ensure that there are measures in the budget that actually meet the needs of constituents in their ridings. The Conservatives have an opportunity to do that as well.
    That member talks about being scared. When they are calling members opposite names and when they are trying to drown people out by yelling at them, that is when they are scared. We see a pattern of obstruction by the Conservatives, while the other parties are willing to roll up their sleeves and work hard for Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, I am rising on a point of order. The minister opposite is implying that somehow we are calling people names or yelling, neither of which is accurate.
    I appreciate the debate that we are having today, but that is falling into debate.
    With questions and comments, the hon. member for New Westminster—Burnaby.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives oppose every measure that can actually help people. The NDP is bringing a lot to this minority Parliament.
    There is one thing I do not understand. Why are the Conservatives blocking all these bills that address affordable housing, dental care, pharmacare? There is even a measure about lunches for school children. All these measures are being blocked by the Conservatives. They do not want it to pass through Parliament. It is a bit like the tiranny of a minority party—they want to block all the bills that will help people.
    I would like to ask my colleague a question. Why do the Conservatives oppose every measure that helps people, including their own constituents?
    Mr. Speaker, I agree. The Conservative Party's obstruction in the House is sad to watch.

[English]

    We have to work together. Canadians are waiting for us to implement many of the measures in the budget. In fact, the Conservatives have called for many of those same measures.
    Let us talk about housing for a moment. The Conservatives have talked about the need for ambition on housing. This budget proposes a lot of ambition in partnership, something I believe the members opposite are forgetting about, with provinces, territories and municipalities. Canadians cannot wait for that kind of action. In fact, what they want to see is that kind of collaboration.
    Of course, let us have debate and let us talk about what we need to achieve on behalf of Canada, but there are many ways to do that in a way that is not obstructionist. We see the Conservative Party continuing to obstruct the House and committees. We hope we will see a change of heart very soon.
    Mr. Speaker, it is important to recognize that every single member who has been elected to this place has a really important role to play, whether in government or in opposition. When it comes to a minority Parliament, one of the ways of advancing important legislation and programs for Canadians to respond to their needs is to work together.
    What I am finding challenging in the conversation today is that I hear some constructive feedback from some members, saying this is a way we could move forward. Then I see an official opposition that never had to play nicely in the sandbox and does not remember the primary principles of kindergarten, where we can work together to deliver for our constituents across the country.
    I will always fight for the constituents of the riding of Waterloo and I will try to work with whomever I can to ensure they have the programs and services they need.
    When it comes to legislation like this, what is the value and importance of members remembering why we are elected and how do we deliver for constituents? Do we do better by working together or do we just blindly oppose and not get anything done?

  (1320)  

     Mr. Speaker, I am glad the member opposite mentioned kindergarten, because it reminds me of a time when I was a lunchroom monitor. It was a lowly position, but a very important one. I went to the school every day to help ensure that students were safe in the playground and safe in the lunchroom. One of the hardest things to see as a lunchroom monitor were the number of children who did not have enough to eat. I will remind members this was 15 or 20 years ago.
    My colleague from the NDP mentioned that Canada was the only G7 country without a school food program. This kind of suffering can be alleviated, and alleviated quickly, because we have provinces, territories and school boards that are eagerly awaiting the implementation of a national food program. Many allies and advocates have worked very hard to propose to the government how best to do this to ensure that no child is in school hungry and that every child has an opportunity to succeed.
    We will continue to work with the majority of MPs in the House who want to see this budget pass.
    Mr. Speaker, my question relates to the minister's own portfolio. The government's indigenous procurement policy obliges that when indigenous companies are hired under the policy, a certain proportion of those subcontractors be indigenous. However, documents shared with the government operations committee show that there is absolutely no tracking of subcontractors.
    Does the minister think it is acceptable that adherence to the requirements on indigenous subcontracting are not being tracked by the government?
    Mr. Speaker, one thing that I am very excited about in Bill C-69 is that 25% of the new spending is proposed for indigenous priorities, including a major loan guarantee for which indigenous partners have been calling for economic reconciliation, to ensure that when natural resource projects or other major projects in the country go forward, indigenous people also prosper, stopping what I would say is a pattern of exclusion. This is going to enrich all of us. I look forward to the member's support.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Respectfully, there may have been an issue with the translation because the minister did not seem to hear the question. What she said had nothing to do with the question.
    We are out of time.

[Translation]

    It is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith the question necessary to dispose of the motion now before the House.
    The question is on the motion.

[English]

    May I dispense?
    Some hon. members: No.
    [Chair read text of motion to House]
    The Deputy Speaker: 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 division.
    Call in the members.

  (1405)  

[Translation]

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

(Division No. 761)

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)
Coteau
Dabrusin
Damoff
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
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)
McDonald (Avalon)
McGuinty
McKay
McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)
McLeod
McPherson
Mendès
Mendicino
Miao
Miller
Morrissey
Murray
Naqvi
Noormohamed
O'Connell
Oliphant
O'Regan
Petitpas Taylor
Powlowski
Qualtrough
Robillard
Rodriguez
Rogers
Rota
Sahota
Sajjan
Saks
Samson
Sarai
Scarpaleggia
Schiefke
Serré
Sgro
Shanahan
Sheehan
Sidhu (Brampton East)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Singh
Sorbara
Sousa
St-Onge
Sudds
Tassi
Taylor Roy
Thompson
Turnbull
Valdez
Van Bynen
van Koeverden
Vandal
Vandenbeld
Virani
Weiler
Wilkinson
Yip
Zahid
Zarrillo
Zuberi

Total: -- 172


NAYS

Members

Aboultaif
Aitchison
Albas
Allison
Arnold
Baldinelli
Barlow
Barrett
Barsalou-Duval
Beaulieu
Bergeron
Berthold
Bérubé
Bezan
Blanchet
Blanchette-Joncas
Block
Bragdon
Brassard
Brock
Brunelle-Duceppe
Calkins
Caputo
Carrie
Chabot
Chambers
Champoux
Chong
Cooper
Dalton
Dancho
Davidson
Deltell
Desbiens
Doherty
Dowdall
Dreeshen
Duncan (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Ellis
Epp
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Ferreri
Findlay
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
Lawrence
Lehoux
Lemire
Leslie
Lewis (Essex)
Lewis (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Liepert
Lloyd
Lobb
Maguire
Majumdar
Martel
May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
Mazier
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McLean
Melillo
Michaud
Moore
Morantz
Morrice
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
Simard
Sinclair-Desgagné
Small
Soroka
Steinley
Ste-Marie
Stewart
Strahl
Stubbs
Therrien
Thomas
Tochor
Tolmie
Trudel
Uppal
Van Popta
Vidal
Vien
Viersen
Vignola
Villemure
Vis
Vuong
Wagantall
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Williams
Williamson
Zimmer

Total: -- 146


PAIRED

Members

Fast
Ng

Total: -- 2


    I declare the motion carried.

[English]

    The hon. parliamentary secretary is rising on a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, if you were to canvass the House, I suspect would find unanimous consent to allow the 17 statements by members before question period.
    Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Statements by Members]

[English]

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, many reports are setting off alarm bells about the state of the Canadian economy, but perhaps none is more shocking than the Fraser Institute's report out last week that showed that Canada's GDP per capita had dropped 3% in four years while the American GDP per capita had grown by 8%.
    Canada's economy is now underperforming that of the U.S. by the widest margin since 1965, and has had the worst per capita income drop in the G7 in the last five years. These are the consequences of inflationary spending, taxes and deficits from the Liberal-NDP government.
    Sadly, none of this is a surprise to the people of Flamborough—Glanbrook, because they are living it every day. What angers them even more is that it does not have to be this way in Canada. Generations have sought Canada for opportunity, hope and freedom, and yet the Prime Minister has destroyed that. He is definitely not worth the cost. Only common-sense Conservatives will fix the budget and axe the tax so Canadians can bring home powerful paycheques.

Symphony Nova Scotia

     Mr. Speaker, music is an essential part of the human experience. It fills our lives with joy and comfort. Fundamentally, music unites us.
    Today I make this overture to congratulate Symphony Nova Scotia on its 40th anniversary. Throughout the years, Symphony Nova Scotia has embraced the full spectrum of genres from classical to baroque, pop, jazz and spectacular collaborations with some of Canada's biggest stars. The symphony also plays a vital role in nurturing creativity through educational initiatives, mentorship and community programs. Its diverse and versatile repertoire and the skill with which it performs it has captivated our hearts for generations.
     Today, for its long-standing commitment to the cultural traditions that have shaped Nova Scotia over the last 40 years, we applaud Symphony Nova Scotia not from the music hall seats back home but right here from the benches of the Parliament of Canada. Happy anniversary to Symphony Nova Scotia, and may the next 40 years reprise the accomplishments and excitement of the last 40 years.

  (1410)  

Hon. James Scott Peterson

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay my respects to the Hon. James Scott Peterson, my extraordinary predecessor as the member of Parliament for Willowdale, who, sadly, passed away on May 10.
     Jim Peterson was a distinguished lawyer, philanthropist, parliamentarian and minister who won six federal elections and served as the member of Parliament for Willowdale for 23 years. What made him so incredibly memorable was not only his enviable number of years as a tireless parliamentarian but also his immense intellect and his exceptionally big heart. A larger-than-life personality, Jim was an inspiration to me and to many of the most discerning individuals who follow Canadian politics.
    On behalf of the many residents of Willowdale, I would like to offer my condolences to Jim's wife, Heather; his family; and his many, many friends.

[Translation]

National Patriots Day

    Mr. Speaker, in a country, when statutory holidays are not celebrated throughout the land for the same reasons, that tells us something.
    Yesterday, in Quebec, we honoured the memory of the Patriots, who laid down their lives while fighting the British Empire to protect our freedom. Meanwhile, in Canada, people celebrated the monarch of the same British Empire that hanged the Patriots and has yet to apologize for this act of colonial violence.
     Chevalier de Lorimier and his brothers in arms were, however, on the right side of history. What happened since proved it. One of their demands was a responsible government, accountable to the people of this land.
    While Quebec honours the memory of its martyrs, Canada continues to celebrate their executioners. When such division exists in a country, it is because that country is in fact two countries. Although the memory of the Patriots was trampled on this past weekend, we have to remember that the best way to honour their sacrifice is to win.
    The Patriots' fight is our fight. Our victory will be their victory.

Mouvement d'Implication Francophone d'Orléans

    Mr. Speaker, it is with pride and a sense of accomplishment that I inform the House that on May 2, the Minister of Official Languages travelled to Orléans to announce that the federal government would be investing $36 million to build the new Mouvement d'implication francophone d'Orléans, or MIFO, community centre.
     Since 1979, MIFO, a pillar of the French-speaking community, has touched the lives of over 100,000 francophones. The revitalization of the MIFO community centre as a net-zero carbon building at the heart of an official language minority community will help the francophone and francophile community of Orléans, Ottawa and eastern Ontario provide services and community spaces to all generations.
    I want to thank local leaders and my national capital region colleagues for their support. We got our new MIFO.

[English]

Skin Cancer Awareness Month

    Mr. Speaker, May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, and with summer under way, the Save Your Skin Foundation is using this time to increase awareness and promote the treatment and prevention of skin cancer.
    My wife, Kelly, is a melanoma skin cancer survivor. Unfortunately, too many people have lost their lives to the disease, while others continue to fight. It was projected that in 2023, 9,700 Canadians would be diagnosed with melanoma and 1,250 would die from it. Sadly, the numbers continue to rise year after year.
    Skin cancer is caused by overexposure to UV radiation from the sun and the use of artificial tanning equipment. In the past, I tabled a private member's bill that strengthened warning labels on artificial tanning equipment, which was enacted by our previous Conservative government.
    This summer I encourage all Canadians to enjoy the great outdoors and be skin-safe. The good news is that prevention is easy: wear sunscreen, cover up when outside, seek shade and avoid tanning beds. Of course, have lots of fun.

  (1415)  

Port Credit Secondary School

    Mr. Speaker, I rise to recognize the 100th anniversary of Port Credit Secondary School.
    As one of the oldest educational institutions in Ontario, the school has a rich history. It has survived the Great Depression, the Second World War, a devastating fire and even a visit from our friend, Prime Minister Chrétien.
    The school's alumni have gone on to successful careers, raising families and making significant contributions to our country. With academic excellence as its central mission, Port Credit Secondary continues to inspire the minds of the next generation. The school is a beacon of learning, helping to guide our young leaders in the pursuit of wisdom.
     I congratulate the school on its historic achievement. Here is to another 100 years, and as its motto goes, “May the light never fail.”

Darren Dutchyshen

    Mr. Speaker, the Canadian sports broadcasting world has lost a giant. Born and raised in Porcupine Plain, Saskatchewan, Darren Dutchyshen was a mainstay on TSN's Sportscentre for close to 30 years. He was in many ways the heartbeat of TSN.
    Dutchy loved sports, loved Canada and loved his job at TSN. No one was more passionate about bringing the sports highlights to Canadians every single night, and he always did it with a giant smile, his massive personality and often inappropriate humour. Rod Smith, Jennifer Hedger and countless other Canadian broadcasting legends have shared moments that exemplified Dutchy's unforgettable personality and remarkable talent. It has been a tough time, but those memories have been very touching.
    Confident and kind, larger than life and always smiling, Darren Dutchyshen was a beauty. To his kids, Tyler, Brett and Paige; his partner, Kate; his TSN family and all of his fans, I want to extend deepest condolences and express our sincerest gratitude for all the amazing stories told by Dutchy, all the laughs and all the highlights. He left an indelible mark on the Canadian sports narrative, and we will never forget him.

Liberal Party of Canada

    Mr. Speaker, after nine years, the Liberal government is not worth the cost or corruption. While Canadians struggle with the cost of living crisis, the Liberals dish out billions to government contractors for their arrive scam.
    Last week revealed more corruption: another lavish dinner between GC Strategies, the two-person IT company that was paid $20 million for doing no work, and government officials. The head of this two-person operation had his house raided by the RCMP in its investigation into the arrive scam.
     On top of this Liberal mismanagement and waste, we learn that the former CBSA chief John Ossowski was given a one-day contract for $500 so he could access documents to prepare him for a committee appearance. All the while, he was working for a consulting firm that does business with the Government of Canada. This is another glaring conflict of interest and waste of taxpayer money.
     The incompetent Liberal government is a burden Canadians cannot afford. Conservatives will use every measure possible to bring home accountability for Canadian tax dollars and put a stop to corruption.

Africa Day

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to celebrate the rich heritage, diversity and resilience of the African continent, ahead of Africa Day on May 25. As a member of this vibrant community, I understand the importance of fostering strong ties between Canada and Africa. Africa Day serves as a reminder of our shared history and the ongoing journey towards unity, progress and prosperity for all African nations, as well as the African diaspora, including the 1.3 million African Canadians.
     It is a day to honour the struggles and the sacrifices of those who fought for liberation, justice and equality, both in Africa and in communities across our country. Canada's relationship with Africa is essential for promoting peace, sustainable development and mutual prosperity. Through collaboration areas such as trade, diplomacy and life-saving health care investments, including Gavi and IDA, Canada and African nations can work together to address common challenges and seize the opportunities for growth and innovation.
    Together, we can build bridges of understanding and co-operation that benefit both of our nations and contribute to a brighter future for all.

Opioids

    Mr. Speaker, our nation is gripped in an opioid crisis, with over 42,000 Canadians dying from overdose since 2016, yet the Prime Minister still allowed hard drugs like cocaine, meth and heroin to be used in public spaces in my province of British Columbia. Our once-safe hospitals are being destroyed by these radical drug policies. The B.C. Nurses' Union is ringing the alarm bell, saying that vulnerable patients and staff are being exposed to illegal drugs, harmful weapons and increased violence.
     Common-sense Conservatives will not allow this catastrophic experiment to come to the rest of Canada. Our safe hospitals bill would put the brakes on the insanity, punishing criminals who bring dangerous weapons, violence and illicit drugs into our hospitals. We would immediately pass my common sense Bill C-321, which would protect first responders and health care workers from the increased violence they face while serving our communities. A common-sense Conservative government would ban hard drugs and taxpayer-funded opioid handouts. Instead, we would invest in compassionate treatment and recovery for our loved ones.

  (1420)  

[Translation]

Carbon Tax

    Mr. Speaker, many Quebec families are being forced to cancel their summer vacation plans because the Liberals' taxes and spending, backed by the Bloc Québécois, have made life unaffordable. Some people can barely afford food, so going on vacation is out of the question. While the Prime Minister treats himself to $230,000 luxury vacations on the taxpayers' dime, most Quebeckers are being forced to scale back their holiday plans or cancel them altogether.
     The Conservatives are calling on the Prime Minister to give Quebeckers a break this summer by axing the carbon tax, the gas tax and the GST on fuel from now until Labour Day to help families simply take a summer vacation. This measure would allow families to save hundreds of dollars and enable Quebeckers to discover places like the Maritimes or Ontario.
     The Conservatives will axe the tax for everyone as of the next election, but in the meantime, the Prime Minister should adopt this common-sense proposal to lend a hand to Quebec families this summer.

[English]

Opioids

    Mr. Speaker, last week I joined the health committee during its two days in Vancouver as a part of its study into the toxic drug crisis. We met with people on the front lines: supervised consumption sites, overdose prevention, low-barrier housing, health care and recovery providers, law enforcement and the community court. We also met directly with people who use drugs, the very same people who are bearing the terrible and lethal impact of toxic street drugs. I learned a lot over those two days, especially about harm reduction and safe supply as necessary parts of a continuum of care with treatment and recovery.
     Unfortunately and shamefully, not one single Conservative MP showed up in Vancouver. Rather than learn and bear witness to evidence-informed policies on the toxic drug crisis, the Conservatives would rather embrace bumper-sticker politics and false narratives, and scapegoat the most vulnerable. The Liberal government has failed to meet the crisis with the urgency it demands, and the Conservatives are playing politics. All the while, people die.

[Translation]

Claude Villeneuve

    Mr. Speaker, I cannot count how many times I have told my colleagues from Jonquière and Lac-Saint-Jean that we should ask Claude. I am of course talking about biologist Claude Villeneuve, a giant in the field of science and a giant of a human being, who left us Sunday evening.
     He was a scientist and an academic for whom ideology was no substitute for science and universities should teach facts, not fairy tales. His idea of scholarship was to engage in research, create knowledge and then put that knowledge in service of the common good.
     Claude would always play down his talents in such fields as biology, chemistry, physics and energy. He was very quick to launch into some topic or other, but luckily for us, he took his sweet time finishing.
     He taught at the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, he founded the Chair in Eco-consulting in 2003, he was the driving force behind the Carbone boréal project, and those are just a few of his accomplishments. His passing is even being mourned internationally, because the UN adopted some of his research tools.
     A few months before leaving us, Claude paid me and my colleagues the greatest of compliments by saying that he was happy to be handing over his project to us, because he knew that with us, it would get done. What a compliment from Claude, but he is gone too soon.

[English]

Taxation

    Mr. Speaker, a fun fact is that the Liberal-NDP minority government is now the longest-serving minority government in this country's history. A not so fun fact is that Canadians have never been poorer. With the worst standard of living crisis in 40 years, and in the middle of this historic cost of living crisis, the government decided to hike the carbon tax by 23%, ruining Canadians' vacations.
    The Conservatives just announced their common-sense plan to axe the carbon tax and all federal taxes on gas from Victoria Day to Labour Day weekend, which would save the average Canadian 35¢ or, for those in Ontario, $592. Common-sense Conservatives know that what Canadians really need a vacation from is the government and its tax hikes, which is why, when Canadians elect a Conservative government, we would axe the tax in the summer, fall, winter and forever for everyone.

  (1425)  

Malpeque Farmer

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to recognize Nick Green, a constituent of Malpeque and an island beef producer who is in Ottawa today with maritime beef producers for their annual Hill day. Last year, Nick and his operation, Kingston View Farms, earned the Maritime Beef Council's The Environmental Stewardship Award for his commitment to sustainability in agriculture.
     Nick is the third generation on the family farm, which was first established in the early 1900s. When he fully took over the operation in 2019, he set out to improve efficiency while benefiting the environment and reducing input costs. Through a series of operational changes that relied on conservation and regenerative farming practices, such as a closely managed rotational grazing system and late spring calving, Nick has managed to achieve his goals. He is now on track to achieve a 75% reduction in fertilizer and chemical costs and a 50% reduction in diesel fuel costs by 2025. I send my congratulations to Nick, and I thank him for being a leader in his industry.

Oral Questions

[Oral Questions]

[Translation]

Taxation

    Mr. Speaker, after nine years, this Prime Minister and the Bloc Québécois are not worth the cost of the inflationary taxes and deficits.
     Worse still, the Bloc Québécois and the Liberal Party want to radically hike taxes on gas and diesel, even though 25 countries have cut their gas taxes. The western provinces have shown that by cutting taxes, they have been able to lower prices at the pump as well as inflation compared with the other provinces.
     Why is the Prime Minister refusing to follow my common-sense plan to axe the tax until Labour Day?
    Mr. Speaker, I am so pleased that the Conservative leader brought up inflation, because it gives me the opportunity to give Canadians some great news. In April, the inflation rate went down to 2.7%. That is the lowest it has been in three years. It is all thanks to our fiscally responsible plan.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, today we learned the terrible news that inflation is 35% above target. Again, after eight years, the Prime Minister is not worth the cost of debt interest.
    They cannot do basic math over there. That 0.7% is actually a third higher than the 2% target. They are patting themselves on the back when they realize that Canadians cannot afford to eat, heat and house themselves.
    Why do they not, instead of quadrupling the carbon tax on the backs of Canadians, follow our common-sense plan to suspend all gas and diesel tax until Labour Day?
    Mr. Speaker, the Conservative leader has quite proudly and publicly called for the Governor of the Bank of Canada to be fired. Maybe it is the Conservative leader who should lose his job because he just revealed his astonishing ignorance of the Bank of Canada's inflation target.
    The Bank of Canada has a target of between 1% and 3%. For four months in a row, inflation in Canada has been within that target. That is good news for Canadians.

[Translation]

Finance

    Mr. Speaker, the minister does not even know that the target is 2%. Maybe that is one of the reasons she is missing the target; she does not know what it is.
    The same goes for the interest rates we are paying on the national debt. The Prime Minister says that doubling the national debt is not a problem because the rates were very low. That is why I suggested locking in the rates with 10-year or 30-year bonds, when the rates were low, as it is done with mortgages.
    That incompetent minister did not do that. Now we are going to pay more interest on the $400 billion that is going to be refinanced this year.
    Why?

  (1430)  

    Mr. Speaker, the reality is that the Conservative leader is the one who is totally incompetent.
    The only thing he knows how to do is to criticize Canada, criticize Canadians and criticize our wonderful country.
    The fact is that the inflation rate has come down to 2.7%. That is a huge success for our country. Every member should be pleased.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, not only does the incompetent finance minister not know the inflation target, she does not know that one locks in low rates when one has the chance.
    Do members remember when the Prime Minister was saying to not worry, that we can double the national debt because, as he said, “Interest rates are at historic lows, Glen”?
    The problem is that I told him at the time that they should lock in those rates for 10 years, or 30 years, with long-term bonds. It turns out that they did not do that, and now $400 billion of that debt will roll over into these higher rates, forcing Canadians to spend more on interest than on health care.
    Why did he hire the worst mortgage broker in the world to be our finance minister?
     Mr. Speaker, it is clear that the Conservative leader is in a grouchy mood today. I think we all know why. The only thing he knows how to do is talk down Canada. What he just cannot bear is the reality that, thanks to our fiscally responsible economic plan, inflation is at a three-year low.
    Inflation has been within the Bank of Canada's target rate for four months in a row. That is good news for Canada and Canadians.

Mental Health and Addictions

    Mr. Speaker, Liberals think that one pays down debt by borrowing more, that one stops inflation by printing money and that one fights the drug overdose crisis by legalizing hard drugs, so at least they are consistent in their irrationality. Now they have been forced to backtrack right before the election on their legalization of hard drugs because Canadians are revolting against the policy.
    Today, we have a motion that will be voted on in the House to permanently ban hard drugs. Will the government vote for that motion, or will it admit that it plans to legalize drugs again after the next election?
     Mr. Speaker, the Conservative leader is wearing more makeup than I am today. Now, I think it is wonderful—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order, please.
    I will ask the hon. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance to withdraw that comment. We do not comment on the appearance of members.
     Mr. Speaker, I am sorry. I withdraw that comment.
    The fact is that the Conservative leader is phony all the way through. He is phony when it comes to his concern about the economy. All he can do is talk our country down. He is also phony when he talks about his concern about the opioid crisis. He tries to score cheap partisan points. It is just not right.

[Translation]

Official Languages

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals seem to have a newfound appreciation for the cause of the francophonie.
    The Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie, or APF, had 18 Liberals in 2021, 11 in 2022, and 22 in 2023. Since last week, there has been a sudden awakening: No less than 112 members of the Liberal caucus are now members of the APF. I say bravo. Francophiles thank them. It is an extraordinary commitment to the French language.
    However, could someone tell us what is the Liberals' priority issue at the APF that explains such a sudden commitment on their part?

  (1435)  

    Mr. Speaker, I really want to thank the member for her question. Our government and I, personally, understand that French is in decline in Montreal, Quebec and across the country.
    I must tell the member opposite, however, that I do not find this situation amusing. For me, this is no joke. The Quebec nation is so important to us. The French language is so important.
    Mr. Speaker, no one is pulling the wool over our eyes. They have not decided to overtake the Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie because they had an epiphany about the fact that French is under threat in Quebec, Canada and around the world. No, they signed up because there is nothing more important to a Liberal than another Liberal. A friend is a friend. They signed up because they have to save their friend, the member for Glengarry—Prescott—Russell. After that, we will never see them again.
    It might be a good idea for this government to start working as hard in the interest of the French language as it does in the interest of the Liberals.
    Mr. Speaker, the French language, whether in Montreal, Quebec or anywhere else in Canada, is very important to our government. We understand that the French language is in decline, and we will always support the French language, as well as the Quebec and French culture throughout Canada.

[English]

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court is seeking arrest warrants against five senior Hamas and Israeli leaders. This is a step toward justice for Palestinians and Israeli victims of war crimes.
    The Liberals promised to support the ICC when they voted for our motion in March, so will the Prime Minister and the Liberal government state clearly that Canada supports the ICC's work to hold all those responsible for crimes accountable?
    Mr. Speaker, Canada respects the independence of the International Criminal Court. Canada condemns the terrorist attack by Hamas on Israel on October 7. Canada calls for an immediate ceasefire and deplores the humanitarian tragedy. Canada believes it is absolutely wrong to equate the terrorist leaders of Hamas with Israel.
    Mr. Speaker, as the minister knows, that was not my question and that was not the subject of the arrest warrant.

[Translation]

    The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, or ICC, is seeking arrest warrants against five senior Hamas and Israeli leaders. This is an important step toward justice for Palestinian and Israeli victims.
    Can the Prime Minister state clearly that Canada will support the ICC's work to hold all those responsible for crimes accountable?
    Mr. Speaker, Canada respects the independence of the International Criminal Court. Canada condemns the terrorist attack of October 7. Canada calls for an immediate ceasefire. Canada has made it clear that it is absolutely wrong to equate the terrorist leaders of Hamas with Israel.

[English]

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, after nine years of the NDP-Liberal government, it is clear the Prime Minister is not worth the cost of fuel. Most Canadian families will struggle just to be able to afford their yearly summer road trip. That is because the carbon tax has helped push the cost of fuel up to record highs.
    Conservatives have called for a common-sense plan to axe the carbon tax and all federal taxes from fuel from now until Labour Day. That would save about 35¢ a litre.
    Will the government adopt our common-sense plan so Canadians can afford their summer road trip?

  (1440)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am so glad that the Conservatives are raising questions about the cost of living and the lives of Canadians, because it gives me an opportunity to point out that inflation was 2.7% in April. That is the fourth month in a row that inflation has been within the Bank of Canada's target range. For 15 months now, wage increases have been outpacing inflation. That helps Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, that is the Liberal message: Canadians have never had it so good. The carbon tax is failing, except at driving up the cost of everything. The government is succeeding very well at driving up the costs of groceries, home heating and fuel.
    The carbon tax is sending millions of Canadians to the food bank for the first time, and it is pushing the cost of simple things, such as driving to one's favourite family vacation spot, out of the reach of hard-working Canadians. While the Prime Minister gets to stick Canadian taxpayers with the bill for his exotic vacations, Canadians are struggling just to scrape enough together to take their families on a trip.
    Why will the Liberals not adopt our plan and take the tax off fuel for the summer?
    Mr. Speaker, I would encourage my hon. friend to actually read the work that was done by 300 economists across this country, which says unequivocally that eight out of 10 Canadian families get more money back in the rebate than they actually pay in the price on pollution. That is addressing affordability. In fact, Premier Smith herself said she got more money back for her family than she paid.
    If the member really is concerned about affordability, I would encourage him to talk to his friend Premier Smith. She just increased the gas price by 13¢; she did so with no rebate and did not account for affordability.
    Mr. Speaker, after nine years, Canadians cannot afford the costly coalition's carbon tax, but the Prime Minister does not care. He will quadruple it, even though 70% of Canadians and seven out of 10 premiers told him to spike the hike.
    The Conservatives' common-sense plan is to axe all federal taxes on gas until Labour Day to save Canadians 35¢ a litre. That is more than $955 of needed savings for Alberta families alone.
    Will the Prime Minister axe the tax on gas this summer so Canadians can afford the basics and maybe even a Canadian road trip staycation?
    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives' lack-of-common-sense approach to these things is about axing the facts. Every reasonable observer, 300 economists across this country and the Parliamentary Budget Officer are very clear. Eight out of 10 Canadian families get more money back, and it is those who live on modest incomes who actually do the best, all while fighting climate change. If the Conservatives have questions, I encourage them to go and talk to the Premier of the Province of Alberta about the fact that she gets more money back than she actually pays.
    That is a responsible plan to address affordability and to fight climate change.
    Mr. Speaker, after nine years it is clear that everyone but the out-of-touch, elite NDP-Liberals knows the carbon tax is not worth the cost. Page 4 of last year's parliamentary budget office report says, “Taking into consideration...fiscal and economic impacts...most households will see a net loss”. The NDP-Liberals' inflationary tax-and-spend agenda makes everything more expensive and hurts vulnerable Canadians.
    The most common-sense Conservatives will axe the tax for all, for good. However, since fuel prices have surged over 50% under him, will the PM at least axe the tax on Canadian summer road trips?
    Mr. Speaker, it is very clear, and 300 economists across this country agree, that eight out of 10 Canadians get more money back in the rebate. It is an approach that addresses affordability and does so in a manner that actually addresses climate change. I would encourage my hon. colleague across the way to talk to her Premier, who has said it is a price on pollution that actually gives her family more money back. She should go and have a conversation with Premier Smith, who just raised the price on gasoline by 13¢, with no rebate and no plan to address the climate crisis.
    Mr. Speaker, our jet-setting Prime Minister has begun his summer luxury tour early, blowing through Philadelphia with his usual all-expenses-paid five-star hotels and all the food and alcohol his entourage can take. After nine years of an NDP-Liberal government, most Canadians can hardly afford a summer road trip.
    Will the Prime Minister adopt our common-sense plan to put $682 in the pockets of British Columbians and give them a shot at a summer road trip, or is he planning on putting himself first?

  (1445)  

     Mr. Speaker, once again I would encourage my hon. colleagues across the way to stop misleading people with respect to the price on pollution. They need to look at and read the letter that was written by 300 economists across this country, who say the carbon price is the most economically efficient way to address the climate in a manner that actually addresses affordability for Canadians.
    I would encourage the Conservatives to go talk to their friend Premier Smith, who said exactly that. Her family got more money back than it actually paid in the price on pollution. I would encourage them, if they are concerned about the price of gas, to go talk to Premier Smith and ask her to reduce it by 13¢. That is how much she just raised it, with no rebate whatsoever.
    Mr. Speaker, that rhetoric will not put money in the back pockets of British Columbians, and while the cost of the jet-setting Prime Minister's summer luxury tours and vacation soars, his carbon taxes and gas taxes are driving Canadians nose first into the ground. The Prime Minister is not worth the cost. Canadians are struggling to afford a simple road trip.
    Our Conservative common-sense plan is to give $682 back to the people of British Columbia. Will the Prime Minister agree that his carbon tax is a road trip wrecker and axe the tax on gas this summer?
    Mr. Speaker, I am really astonished by the gall of the Conservatives. They have the temerity to talk about the road trips of regular Canadians, when they racked up a charge of $426,283 in Canadians' money travelling to their own convention. The member for Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola was one of the Conservatives who charged regular Canadians to go to his convention.
    That is not right.

[Translation]

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Immigration has finally met with his counterparts from Quebec, the provinces and the territories. They have finally started talking about integration capacity. What solution did they come up with? They are going to put a working group together to examine the distribution of asylum seekers.
    I thought this was not a problem for the minister. I thought that, when we asked him for fairer distribution, he said that asylum seekers were not cattle.
    Is it safe to assume that, until this all-important committee issues its recommendations, absolutely nothing will change on the ground?
    Mr. Speaker, if he is criticizing the working group, perhaps he should direct his criticism at the Government of Quebec, because it was the Government of Quebec's idea. We were happy to work with the other provinces and agree to it. That is very important.
    The member was not at the meeting eight days ago, but we issued a unanimous news release announcing that we agreed to work together, better coordinate our efforts and do better, because we know that the way we welcome asylum seekers has to be properly coordinated. That is something we can do, as a country, with all the provinces.
    Mr. Speaker, he should have invited me. Next time, I will go.
    Quebec is asking to be reimbursed $1 billion for the cost of welcoming refugee claimants. Quebec is asking that the cost of welcoming refugee claimants be shared with provinces that are not carrying their fair share of the load. Quebec is asking for a temporary reduction in immigration as well as the power to approve all applicants. Quebec is asking that federal programs have French language requirements.
    What did the immigration minister offer Quebeckers, after months of shirking his responsibilities? He offered a committee.
    Does his committee at least have a deadline to start delivering results?
    Mr. Speaker, what we do not invite at these meetings is bickering.
    Working together is very important to us. For once, Quebec fully agreed with the news release we issued.
    In terms of French language training, we have given Quebec $5.2 billion since 2015. We are committed. We want to ensure, once again, that French, the common language, is strengthened in Quebec.
    Mr. Speaker, after the meeting, the Minister of Immigration stated that the status quo was no longer acceptable. However, as we speak, it is still the status quo. Nothing has changed on the ground. As of now, the federal government has not paid back a penny, and Quebec is still taking in more than half of all of Canada's asylum seekers.
    His committee must not become a gimmick that will sit around being useless until the election. We needed results yesterday. Today, it is a matter of urgency. When are we going to see results?

  (1450)  

    Mr. Speaker, the status quo is the Bloc Québécois doing nothing for 30 years, while we make $5.2 billion available to Quebec for French language training, with clear results.

[English]

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, after nine summers, Canadians know the Prime Minister is not worth the cost. His carbon tax has hiked up the prices of everything. Canadians deserve relief, not taxes. Unlike the coalition of convenience, Conservatives have a solution: It is to cancel all federal tax on gas from now until Labour Day, keeping nearly $600 in the bank accounts of Ontarians to spend on basic needs and maybe even visit family.
    Would it be too much to ask for the Prime Minister to lend a helping hand to Canadians and take the tax off their summer road trips?
     Mr. Speaker, I am curious about whether the hon. member has actually approached Conservative premiers across Canada, who maintain their own taxes on fuel. In particular, in the province of Alberta, Danielle Smith has increased the price of fuel by 13¢ and offers no rebate. I expect she knows very well that the majority of families receive more than they pay in a fuel tax, but facts do not seem to matter to a party that is committed to eroding all the environmental protections that exist in this country and has virtually no plans to invest in the things that are going to help working-class families address the cost of living.
    We are in search of solutions, not fights. I wish Conservatives would at least come armed with facts.
     Mr. Speaker, Conservatives are calling on the NDP-Liberals to axe the carbon tax and all federal taxes on gas from Victoria Day to Labour Day. For Nova Scotians, this would represent $542 of savings per family this summer. After nine years, we know the Prime Minister will jet off to surf in Tofino this summer at taxpayers' expense while Nova Scotians cannot afford a summer road trip.
    Will the Prime Minister do a surfing cutback to help Canadians by taking the tax off the summer road trip?
    Mr. Speaker, I know the Conservatives are excited because they think they have found a new bumper sticker, but what would they say to families? Not only are they taking away their carbon rebate, but they would also be taking away child care. They would be taking away their dental care. They would be taking away their diabetes medication. What they would give in exchange for taking all those things away from vulnerable people is a false, empty promise. That is what we have on the other side: empty rhetoric and attacking vulnerable people at a time when they most need help.
    We will continue to stand with those who need help.
    Mr. Speaker, after nine years, Canadians cannot afford the NDP-Liberal government's carbon tax that it just increased by 23%. That is why Conservatives announced a common-sense plan to axe the carbon tax and all federal taxes on gas from Victoria Day to Labour Day. It would mean saving 35¢ per litre. In Manitoba, that would represent over $600 in savings for each family during the summer.
    Will the Prime Minister lend a helping hand to Canadians and take the tax off their summer road trip?
    Mr. Speaker, I was actually just in Manitoba last week, where we were announcing supports for Canadian families with more investment in creating more child care spaces to relieve the burden for families. These are programs that we continue to invest in, such as the Canada child benefit, dental plan and investments in Canadians, while we see the Conservatives continue to vote against them.
    Mr. Speaker, after nine years of the NDP-Liberal government, people cannot afford to live or die. Funeral costs are now out of reach for Canadians in Ontario. The increase in unclaimed bodies is 488% since 2013. The Prime Minister is not worth the cost. Seniors are already struggling with the affordability crisis. They built this country and now they cannot afford to bid their loved ones farewell.
    When will the Prime Minister show some compassion and stop the out-of-control spending so people can live and die with dignity?

  (1455)  

    Mr. Speaker, for somebody to live with dignity, they need access to dental care. For somebody to live with dignity, they need access to their diabetes medication. For somebody to live with dignity, they need access to the medicine, support and health care that we are making sure we deliver each and every day.
    For the party opposite, the Conservatives, to say that the solution to global inflation and the crisis that people are seeing all over the world is to slash supports to vulnerable peoples and attack the very supports that lift them up in the darkest times that we have faced in generations, we say “no”.
    We will continue to be there for Canadians and make sure they get what they need.

[Translation]

Grocery Industry

    Mr. Speaker, over the past three years, the price of groceries has gone up by 21%. No wonder food banks are swamped. The Liberals and Conservatives could not care less, however.
    When the CEO of Metro is a Conservative donor, it is clear who the official opposition leader is working for. Meanwhile, the Liberals are giving Loblaw and Costco millions of dollars in handouts. While ordinary folks are going hungry, CEOs are getting the VIP treatment. Enough is enough.
    Will the Liberals support the NDP motion to make wealthy CEOs pay their fair share?
    Mr. Speaker, we have an economic plan that is fair for all Canadians, for every generation. We understand that, in order to fund this plan in a fiscally responsible manner, we need to ask the wealthiest Canadians to pay a bit more. That is what our government is doing.
    The question should really go to the Conservatives, who are opposed to our plan. The Conservatives are the ones who are against a fair plan.

[English]

     Mr. Speaker, Canadians are hungry and hurting. Liberals have failed to lower food prices while Conservatives promote corporate greed. Over the last three years, grocery prices increased 21% while portions shrank. In 2023 alone, grocery giants made a record $6 billion in profit, all while Canadian families were tightening their belts and missing meals. That is why today New Democrats are forcing Liberals to take a stand.
    Will Liberals support our motion to make CEOs pay what they owe or continue to put profits over people like the Conservatives do?
    Mr. Speaker, our government has put forward a plan for fairness for every generation, a plan to invest in housing, in affordability and in economic growth. We have done it in a fiscally responsible way because we know inflation has to come down, so that interest rates can come down. To do that, we are asking those who are the most successful in our amazing country to contribute a little bit more.
    That is tax fairness. We support it. The party that opposes it is the Conservatives.

Women and Gender Equality

     Mr. Speaker, eight out of 10 Canadians support a woman's right to choose. Yet, it seems the Conservative leader is unwilling to assure Canadians that he and his party will defend this fundamental right.
     Could the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth remind the House of our government's position on a woman's right to choose?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her advocacy and her tireless work.
     I am proud to stand in this House to tell Canadians our government will always defend and support a woman's right to choose. Conservatives claim this is settled, yet anti-choice bills and petitions keep cropping up.
    It is settled for us. No ifs, buts or maybes. We will never stop defending the rights that women in this country have fought so hard for.

[Translation]

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, July 1 is shaping up to be a disaster for people looking for housing in Quebec. According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, new housing construction in Montreal has decreased compared to last year for both multi-unit dwellings and detached homes. Clearly, this Prime Minister's strategy is just one more in a long list of failures.
    Will the Prime Minister remove the barriers to building instead of wasting Quebeckers' money?

  (1500)  

    Mr. Speaker, that is interesting, considering that my colleague who asked the question has no plan to fix the situation.
    We have a plan to make the investments needed to build housing. For example, we signed an agreement with Quebec to build 8,000 affordable housing units.

[English]

    To contrast, the Leader of the Opposition, when he was housing minister, was only able to build six units across the entire country. The Conservatives are going to cut programs for housing. We are going to make the investments. There is no clearer contrast.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, what the minister should remember is that over the last nine years, this government, with help from their Bloc Québécois friends, has created the conditions that have made today's cost of living unaffordable, raised interest rates and increased inflation.
    This government, aided by the Bloc Québécois, voted in $500 billion in inflationary spending. As a result, Canadians and Quebeckers are now faced with a housing shortage or unaffordable options.
    Can the minister answer my question more thoughtfully?
    Mr. Speaker, memories are short. After spending a week in our ridings, it is easy to forget the six affordable housing units that the Leader of the Opposition built when he was the minister responsible for housing. We are talking six affordable housing units across the entire country during his entire tenure.
    In the riding of Charlesbourg—Haute‑Saint‑Charles alone, 222 affordable housing units have been built in the last few months thanks to the leadership of Quebec municipalities and the financial support of the Canadian and Quebec governments.
    Mr. Speaker, after nine years of this government, after nine years of this Prime Minister's leadership, this Liberal Party is not worth the cost. Unfortunately, Canadians are paying the price. In what way? Rent costs have doubled since the Liberals took office.
    People in Quebec City are starting to worry about the crisis that is looming for July 1. Le Soleil spoke to Nicole Dionne, who helps people find housing. She said, “Starting in mid-May, people start panicking if they haven't found housing yet.... A lot of people could be forced to camp outside.”
    What does the government have to say to those people who would rather camp outside when they cannot find decent housing?
    Mr. Speaker, Ms. Dionne is absolutely right and, unfortunately, she will be surprised to learn that the Leader of the Opposition created only six affordable housing units across the country during his entire term as the minister responsible for housing. I do not mean six units in the Quebec City area. I mean six affordable housing units in the entire country.
    Just in the riding of my esteemed colleague, the member for Louis-Saint-Laurent, more than 150 affordable housing units have been built in the past few months, thanks to the leadership of Quebec City's municipal government, whom the Conservative leader calls incompetent, but also thanks to the support of the Canadian government.
    Mr. Speaker, it is really unfortunate that the member for Québec is continuing to tell tall tales.
    I am not sure that Ms. Dionne will find what he just said very funny, because people in Quebec City are suffering right now. According to Le Soleil, the organization is receiving twice as many requests in Quebec City and Lévis as it did last year, and 815 people have asked for help from the CMHC.
    Is the minister willing to go see them and tell them another tall tale?
    Mr. Speaker, I would be delighted to go and visit the 160 affordable housing units that have been built in my colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent's riding. The problem is that his Conservative leader is accusing the municipalities of Quebec of being incompetent.
    Nevertheless, hundreds of affordable housing units are currently being built in Quebec City thanks to the leadership of its municipal government and, obviously, with the support of the Canadian government, which, instead of boasting about the six affordable housing units that the Conservative leader built, is working closely and respectfully with all those involved.

The Budget

    Mr. Speaker, the government is moving a closure motion to force the implementation of the budget.
    This budget interferes in Quebec's jurisdictions; its theme is to decide for Quebeckers. Imposing conditions on Quebec and the cities under the threat of cutting funding for housing, intruding into health care in favour of private care, grabbing power in the financial sector; we have to wonder if the Liberals have a bit of a separatist streak. Indeed, never has a budget attacked federalism in such a way.
    Why not collaborate with Quebec instead of picking a fight?

  (1505)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am very surprised that my colleague is worried about the state of federalism. I thank him for his concern for Canada.
    We too are concerned about Canada. That is why we are introducing important programs for all Canadians.
    The Bloc Québécois should be ashamed because it campaigned on wanting to work for housing, for seniors, for the environment and for families. It voted against all that. It should be ashamed.
    Mr. Speaker, let me reassure the member, I do not care much about federalism.
    I know that Quebeckers want to be masters in their own house, and yet what the federal government is doing with this budget is trying to be master everywhere.
    While the Liberals seek to govern in place of the provinces, no one is looking after federal business. No one here is looking out for seniors 65 and over who do not qualify for the OAS increase. No one is looking after EI. No one is seeing to reimbursing the costs of receiving asylum seekers. No one is looking after our key sectors like forestry and aerospace.
    Instead of trying to be masters everywhere, why do the Liberals not take care of their own responsibilities?
    Who is taking care of our seniors, Mr. Speaker? It is the Liberal government. Who is looking after housing? It is the Liberal government. Who is looking after our young people? It is the Liberal government. Who is taking care of the environment and fighting climate change? It is the Liberal government.
    The Bloc Québécois is doing one thing and one thing only: looking for a fight. Bloc members have lost their identity. They do not even know why they are here anymore.
    At the risk of repeating myself and without wanting to cause them too much grief, these people, in the beginning, were here for their passion. Today, they stay here for their pension.
    Order.
    I invite all members to be very careful with their language.
    The hon. member for South Surrey—White Rock.

[English]

Mental Health and Addictions

    Mr. Speaker, after nine years of this NDP-Liberal Prime Minister and his extremist agenda, once-safe B.C. hospitals are now infested with chaos, drugs and weapons. The B.C. Nurses' Union confirms that staff are exposed to fentanyl and meth smoke, even in maternity units. This is wacko.
    That is why I will introduce the safe hospitals act, which would toughen penalties for criminals who bring in weapons and ban the minister from allowing open hard drug use in hospitals.
    Will the Prime Minister support our common-sense Conservative plan, yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, on the first order, if we are going to have safe hospitals, we have to provide science-based, evidence-based information and not support misinformation, because, too often in our hospitals, it is actually misinformation that is fuelling much of the aggression that our doctors and nurses are facing.
    Secondly, I would say to the member opposite, with regard to the health committee going and listening to people on the ground in British Columbia and hearing directly from those affected by this toxic drug crisis, why were the Conservatives not there?
    Why did they not send anybody to listen? Why are they not actually on the ground listening to the people who are suffering in this crisis?
    It is time to act on solutions and evidence.
    Mr. Speaker, it will be news to the B.C. Nurses' Union that it is spreading disinformation. Here is the reality. Nurses should never be exposed to fentanyl smoke in their workplace. Patients should not have to worry about dangerous weapons when they are vulnerable and seeking treatment in hospitals. After nine years, I cannot believe I even have to ask this.
    Does the Prime Minister support tougher sentences for criminals who bring weapons into hospitals?
    Will he make it permanently illegal to smoke meth in hospital rooms next to newborn babies, yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, the only thing that separates the member opposite and her concern for victims and families is that my colleagues and I on this side of the House want to use evidence-based solutions to make sure that we respond to the crisis with things that are working.
    The reality is that the strategy the member is advocating was first led by Newt Gingrich in the United States. It was the greatest disaster of his career. He has completely abdicated any responsibility for it, saying that it was a disastrous mistake. Stephen Harper's advisers are saying the same thing. What they are advocating would not work.

  (1510)  

    Mr. Speaker, after nine years of the NDP-Liberal coalition, Canadians are suffering with crime, chaos, drugs and disorder.
    The minister talks about evidence. What about the evidence from the BC Nurses' Union and its outcry to ban weapons and hard drugs inside of hospitals? What more science could there be than that?
     On this side of the House, the Conservatives announced our plan for tough penalties for weapons in hospitals and to not allow the minister to decriminalize or even legalize hard drugs.
    Why do we have to ask again? Will the Prime Minister make it illegal to smoke crack and meth in a hospital next to a baby?
    Mr. Speaker, I find it disappointing that the member across actually did not join the recent visit by the health committee to B.C. to speak to experts on the ground, an actual member of the committee.
    On this side of the House, we follow science, we follow medical experts and we follow the best, evidence-based practices in order to save lives. The war on drugs did not work then; it will not work now. We need compassion, evidence and science to guide us through this.

[Translation]

Pharmacare

    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives voted against the pharmacare act, which outlines our government's plan to provide free medication to Canadians.
    This bill is an important step in ensuring that every Canadian has access to the reproductive options they deserve and that no Canadian will ever have to ration their insulin again. Can the Minister of Health describe the positive impact this legislation will have on Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for her important work on this issue.
    We share the goal of ensuring that everyone across the country can access the medication they need. This is essential. I have a very simple question for the vast majority of Conservative Party members who oppose abortion. Why do they also oppose access to contraceptives? The only answer is that these members oppose women's rights in general.

[English]

Public Services and Procurement

    Mr. Speaker, last week, we learned that three contractors involved in the Prime Minister's $60-million arrive scam alone were awarded $1 billion. After nine years, we know that the Prime Minister is not worth that cost.
    Let us also talk about the corruption. One of those contractors, who received $20 million in IT contracts but did no IT work, had their doors kicked in by the RCMP. We also learned they were wining and dining senior officials from the Liberal government.
    We know that it cost $60 million. How many boozy dinners were involved in this $60-million scandal?
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. friend knows very well that there are internal investigations taking place with respect to this matter. A number of people were properly called before parliamentary committees, and they came to testify. Of course, he also knows that the RCMP is looking into this matter. He made reference to that in an overly dramatic moment as well.
    The member should have the decency to let the police do its work. We have said from the beginning that anybody who misused taxpayers money will be held to account. I have confidence that the RCMP will do its work.

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, the ad hoc committee concluded that the Prime Minister went to unprecedented lengths to hide the Winnipeg lab documents from Parliament to protect the government from political embarrassment, in other words, a cover-up.
    The cover-up continues. Last week, Liberal and NDP MPs voted to shut down a parliamentary committee to get to the bottom of the cover-up. It is a cover-up of a cover-up by the cover-up coalition.
    I have a simple question. What are they hiding?
    Mr. Speaker, of course, the hon. member across would be aware that his party was against any of the mechanisms that actually brought these documents to light. It was this government, and in fact, I was the House leader at the time, that made sure that we had an ad hoc process to make sure that there was a way to properly vet secure documents. That is why these documents in full, unredacted are available for everybody to see.
     The Conservatives refuse to participate in that and they continue to search for some way to pretend those documents are not available. However, to any Canadian, not just any parliamentarian who wants to see those documents, they are available in their entirety.

  (1515)  

[Translation]

Official Languages

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals are defending the indefensible. The member for Glengarry—Prescott—Russell used foul and aggressive language towards Quebec witnesses defending the French language before the Standing Committee on Official Languages on May 6. This MP must be sanctioned, as he has damaged the reputation of the committee and all its members. The Liberals always protect their own, however. They will go to any lengths.
    Can the Prime Minister show respect for francophones by immediately removing the MP from the Standing Committee on Official Languages and replacing him as president of the international Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie?
    Mr. Speaker, the member for Glengarry—Prescott—Russell has spent far more time in this Parliament defending the French fact in Canada than any member of the Conservative Party has. We will continue to defend the French language throughout Canada, including Quebec. The member for Glengarry—Prescott—Russell will do everything in his power to be with us in defending French across Canada.

[English]

Women and Gender Equality

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians are worried that the right to choose, along with sexual and reproductive health care, is no longer guaranteed. Our government has made critical investments in protecting and strengthening sexual and reproductive rights in Canada.
    Could the Minister of Women, Gender Equality and Youth update the House on the work our government is doing to support sexual and reproductive health care across the country?
    Mr. Speaker, strengthening sexual and reproductive health care is essential to ensure women can make their own decisions when it comes to their health. It is why we are making contraceptives free to nine million women across Canada. It is why the menstrual equity fund was created, which has lifted nearly three million people out of period poverty. It is why we invested $45 million into the sexual and reproductive health fund to organizations providing essential services. Investments like these are a true step forward to lasting gender equality.

Indigenous Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, trinkets and beads is what Obsidian Energy, an American company, has been willing to offer the Woodland Cree First Nation. Its drillings have caused earthquakes and polluted the land. Worse yet, now that Treaty 8 first nations are exercising their treaty rights, the company has called on the RCMP to imprison Woodland Cree leaders. It is a shameful display of colonial tactics that have plagued indigenous communities for generations.
    Will the Liberals uphold the treaty and support the Woodland Cree against this greedy company?
    Mr. Speaker, self-determination over indigenous land is so critical to our path toward reconciliation. We will be working with the Woodland Cree as well as my colleague opposite toward a resolution to this very important issue.

Telecommunications

     Mr. Speaker, major wildfires hit early this year here in northern Manitoba because of drought, because of climate change. Thankfully evacuees in Cranberry Portage and elsewhere are back home.
     However, in addition to thousands of hectares, the fire destroyed fibre optic and telecom lines and left major centres like Flin Flon stranded without vital Internet and cell service for days. Bell MTS has reconnected its customers, but the truth is that there needs to be backups in place. Let us be clear: We need plans that apply to the catastrophic effects of climate change.
    Will the government step up, use its jurisdiction over telecom companies and ensure critical infrastructure plans are in place for communities during climate emergencies like these?

  (1520)  

    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for raising those concerns directly with me, and we responded. Other ministers in other departments responded very quickly. I also spoke with my counterpart within the province to look at the issues. We are speaking with the telecommunication companies to look at how we can look at a longer-term solution and also emergency solutions, and making sure that communication stays.

Hon. John Fraser

[Tributes]
    Colleagues, there have been discussions among representatives of all parties in the House and I understand we will now proceed to tributes with respect to the passing of the Hon. John Allen Fraser, former Speaker of the House.
     I would like to first recognize the hon. government House leader.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to a man who truly was a distinguished and honourable member of the House. I speak of John Allen Fraser, whose role as Speaker of the House of Commons will always be remembered with affection and respect.
    He passed away last month in Vancouver at the age of 92. His legacies were many: 21 years as a member of Parliament, membership in the federal cabinet in multiple postings and seven years as Speaker of the House of Commons. Perhaps the most memorable for those of us in Parliament, in this chamber, is that he was the first Speaker to be elected directly in a secret ballot by members of the House. Why did this happen? It was that John Fraser was a decent and a courteous man who treated people with respect, no matter where they came from or what their political colours were. He was the best of us.
    John Fraser was born in 1931 in Yokohama, Japan. Three years later, his family returned to Canada, eventually settling in Vancouver. As a teenager, he worked in a lumber mill in the interior of British Columbia. It was there where he gained a lifelong appreciation for nature and where he developed his work ethic that carried him through law school at the University of British Columbia, through the Canadian Army Reserve training and, of course, through an extensive career in public service.
    He was first elected to the House in 1972 as a Progressive Conservative in the riding of Vancouver South. He was re-elected in five further elections. During those two decades, he served his constituents and his country well from all sides: the opposition, the government and the Speaker's chair. In government, he served as environment minister, postmaster general, and minister of fisheries and oceans. It was in the fall of 1986 that history was truly made. Reform was brought to the House. No longer would the Speaker be nominated by the prime minister of the day, to be merely confirmed by the House.

[Translation]

    At 3 p.m. on September 30, the House was convened so that members could directly elect their new Speaker. Eleven rounds of voting were needed, and the results were not announced until 1:48 a.m. John Allen Fraser was elected by his peers to the position of 32nd Speaker of the House. He would hold this office with distinction until his retirement from political life in 1993, and yet, he had not finished serving his country.
    His love of nature was genuine and profound. In January 1994, he was appointed Canada's ambassador to the United Nations for the environment, a position he held until December 1997. He was a man who loved his family and his country deeply.

[English]

     We were lucky to call him our Speaker. We were fortunate to have him in the House, and we shall always be thankful for his and his family's service to Canada.
    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour and a privilege to rise and pay tribute to a proud British Columbian, a great Canadian and my friend. The Honourable John Allen Fraser passed away last month on April 7 at the age of 92. He was born in Yokohama, Japan, and his family returned to Canada in 1934, settling in Vancouver when he was a small child. As a young man, he worked in a lumber mill in the B.C. interior, sparking a lifelong appreciation for nature and the outdoors. He also developed a strong work ethic that would benefit his distinguished career in public service.
    John completed Canadian Army Reserve training and attended law school at UBC. In 1972, he was elected to Parliament as the Conservative voice of Vancouver South, a role he would retain for 21 years. He served in the cabinets of the Right Honourable Joe Clark and the Right Honourable Brian Mulroney as Minister of the Environment, as postmaster general and as Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. From 1986 to 1994, he served as our 32nd Speaker of the House, with the distinction of being the first Speaker elected by secret ballot. I believe the Speaker was a page at that time.
    On a personal note, I was honoured to speak at Speaker Fraser's piping out ceremony from the Seaforth Highlanders during my tenure as associate minister of national defence. I and many others sought his counsel on many occasions and always appreciated his kindness, his sense of humour and his wisdom. I can say with confidence that he was held in the highest regard by all who knew him.
    Through a mutual love of skiing, John met Cate Findlay in Whistler, beginning a love story that lasted 59 years. I will note again that Cate is not a family member of mine, but is part of the right clan, and John too was always proud of his Scottish heritage. He loved to wear a kilt. He was also very appreciative of his campaign volunteers and organisers, giving gifts of thanks that included the words “country, family, party”.
    On behalf of a grateful nation, I once again thank Speaker Fraser for his service and for his contributions to our province and to our country. A celebration of life will be held in Vancouver next Friday, May 31. My thoughts continue to be with his many friends; his three wonderful daughters, Sheena, Anna and Mary; and their children, as they and many friends mourn his loss. He will be greatly missed.

  (1525)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I too would like to honour John Fraser today, whom I had the honour of working with for many years when he was a minister and when he was Speaker of the House. He was the proud representative of the riding of Vancouver South from 1972 to 1993.
    In 1986, Mr. Fraser was the first MP elected Speaker of the House of Commons by secret ballot. Prior to this first election in the House, the Prime Minister appointed the Speaker, and the leaders of the other parties simply gave their approval. As was mentioned earlier, in this election, it took 11 rounds before he was elected. We finished at around 1:30 a.m., and the procedure was subsequently changed. He held this position continuously until his retirement in 1993. Decisions made at the time by Speaker Fraser are still cited today.
    I want to tell a little story. Speaker John Fraser was very clever. At one point, when I was serving as an independent member, I asked a question that he found to be a bit radical, I guess. He asked me to withdraw some of my comments, which, being a good MP, I willingly agreed to do. To my great surprise, two or three weeks later, the Prime Minister used the same expression and so I asked the Speaker if he was also going to ask the Prime Minister to withdraw his remarks, since that is what I had done. He told me that he would think about it.
    That is when I understood that he was very clever. He gave his answer when I was absent, even though I had been there every day to hear what he had to say on the matter. He decided that it was fine for the Prime Minister to have said what he did, so I went to the Speaker's office to meet with him and ask him why it was okay for the Prime Minister to have made those comments. He said that the reason was very simple. It was that my tone was aggressive, whereas the Prime Minister's tone was humorous, and so it was more understandable. We can see how clever and original Speaker Fraser was.
    I remember him as a charming man, and we liked to call him John outside his official duties. He was such a pleasure to be around. He would invite everyone to a cocktail party at the end of the year, where he would wear a kilt and serve a good Scotch from the same region. He was also an honest, articulate and dedicated man. He could be authoritarian at times, but always eager to serve all members effectively. His re-election as Speaker was merely a procedural matter, because he was so well liked by all members of the House.
    Of course, he is being remembered as Speaker of the House, but he was also an excellent environment minister and served as minister of fisheries and oceans. He got in a bit of hot water at the time and, apparently, he did not eat tuna for several months. Anyone who looks it up will understand what I mean. After retiring from Parliament, he continued to be a strong advocate for Pacific salmon conservation in British Columbia and with a number of groups. He also served as an ambassador.
    On behalf of the Bloc Québécois, I extend our sincere condolences to his entire family. Farewell, Mr. Speaker. He was a dedicated member of Parliament, a capable minister and an exceptional Speaker.

  (1530)  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to the Hon. John Allen Fraser, former member, 32nd Speaker of the House of Commons, minister of the environment and minister of fisheries and oceans. Roughly two years ago, I rose during this Parliament to honour former Speaker John Bosley following his passing. It is with a heavy heart that I rise to honour his successor, Mr. Fraser.
    As mentioned in the speeches we just heard, Mr. Fraser had the distinction of the being the first Speaker of the House of Commons to be elected, as the position was previously filled through an appointment process by the Prime Minister.
    Having been a candidate for the position several times, I can say that it is not easy to put one's name on the ballot and explain to our colleagues in the House why they should put their trust in us and choose us to be the arbiter of the rules of the House. It is a great responsibility for a parliamentarian to accept the challenge of this role, given the nature of the debates. It is also a great responsibility to determine that the candidate is better suited to being not a player, but an arbiter.

[English]

    On the day he was elected as Speaker, Mr. Fraser famously said in an interview with the CBC, “I've sat on the opposition side, I've sat as a minister and I've sat as a private member on the government side. I think I've got a pretty fair idea of how members feel about exercising their responsibilities and their obligations in the chamber.”
    He was clearly correct in his assessment, because it took the MPs at the time just 11 ballots to come to that conclusion and elect him as the first Speaker. He would remain in this position for an astonishing seven years and 108 days, from 1986 to 1994.
    Speaker Fraser would continue to have a momentous career beyond the time of his retirement as a member of Parliament in 1994. He would go on to be appointed to the United Nations as Canada's ambassador for the environment until 1997.
    Speaker Fraser spent the first four years of his life in Japan, where his father sold lumber. Those early days must have had a profound influence on him. In his obituary, his family indicated, “One of his proudest moments while serving as Speaker, was being witness to the Government of Canada announcing redress for Japanese Canadians.”
    Speaker Fraser would go on to be honoured by his country for his service on numerous occasions, including twice as an officer of the Order of Canada. He would also receive the Vimy Award for making a significant contribution to the defence and security of Canada.
    It is once again difficult to put into words the importance of the legacy Speaker Fraser brings to this House. I would say to John's family that I know they have lost a tremendous individual who dedicated so much of himself to Canada. I thank them for having supported him along the way and for sharing him with all of us.
     On behalf of the New Democratic Party caucus and our leader, the member for Burnaby South, we extend our deepest condolences to his daughters Sheena, Anna and Mary, as well as their families, his friends and former colleagues, and all who were blessed to have known him.
    May he rest in peace.

  (1535)  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise to add the voices of those in the Green Party across this country and myself, as someone who was so honoured to know and love John Fraser as a friend, a colleague and a fellow warrior in the battle to save this planet. He would raise a glass and say, “To the conspiracy, to the conspiracy to save the planet.” The Hon. John Fraser brought into that conspiracy his ability to pull people from all sides of the political spectrum into one space.
     I can remember his close friendship with the former member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley, Jim Fulton, NDPer and dear friend of John Fraser, the two of them and Bill Blaikie, another Scot, my goodness. I was a bit younger, and I was so honoured to be in the Speaker's chambers when they would get a bit in their cups with the whisky, and I remember fondly John Fraser, arm in arm with Jack Harris from St. John's East, and Bill Blaikie from Winnipeg, and dear Jim Fulton, singing a bit of Robbie Burns.
     It was John Fraser who introduced to this place the Robbie Burns night dinner. In one of the obituaries now up online, the Right Hon. Kim Campbell, the former prime minister, recalls well when John Fraser tapped her to do the “Reply from the Lassies”, which, by the way, she delivered in French with a Scottish accent. I still do not know how she pulled that off.
     In reflecting on John's time as Speaker, I have to say we have lost some of the love. There used to be a lot of love in this place across party lines, no matter what. We would see it in the way he pulled people together, time and time again. Some people would be surprised that a Progressive Conservative was on the front lines of the battle to stop acid rain, on the front lines of those who wanted to stop the logging of trees that were over 1,000 years old up in Haida Gwaii, and on the front lines of people concerned about the destruction of the natural world and the loss of our wild Pacific salmon.
     As an angler and a flyfisher, he really knew what it meant to stand in a river and cast the line out for those fish. He was part of nature. He did not see it as some separate environment. He was in it. He cared deeply, and he would say, “If you're a Conservative, it means you want to conserve. You don't want to destroy. If you're a Conservative, the natural world is a place you respect and love.”
     Well, I could go on and on, but I will try not to. I remember when they were trying to talk him into running. By the way, some of the members will know this story, but most are too young. One time Jim Fulton smuggled a dead salmon down one of his trouser legs, in a Glad bag, and managed to get it across the floor and slap it on the desk of Brian Mulroney, the former prime minister, before anyone could stop him.
     Jim was trying to talk John Fraser into running for Speaker. John said to Jim Fulton, as Jim remembered it, “Jimmy, if you had pulled that trick and I was Speaker, you wouldn't have been recognized in this place for six months.” Fulton said, “Oh no, Fraser, you wouldn't have done that to me.” He said, “Oh yes, I would have done that to you.”
     He was still elected Speaker, and he was able to quell the noise and chaos in this place, as Garth Turner recently reflected in an online tribute, with a voice barely above a whisper. He commanded the respect of everyone in this place, because everyone knew that John Fraser was a man whose integrity was above reproach, who knew his parliamentary principles and who basically, through the core of his being, understood fairness.
     He would stand up for MPs such as those in my position, although I had never had the honour to serve with him as an MP. However, when Bill Blaikie brought the point of order that said that if a party happened to fall below 12 members in this place, they still needed to have the respect that allowed them to participate in question period more or less as equals, John Fraser said that was not in doubt. However, they could not get exactly the same privileges when they were fewer than 12.
     He stood up for everyone in this place without favouritism, without partisanship, and he fought for what was right. He always fought for what was right. I know that I cannot recognize people in the gallery, but perhaps, Mr. Speaker, you will. I am certainly overwhelmed that Sheena, Anna and Mary have shared their father with this country.

  (1540)  

     There was a former quite young staffer I first met then who worked for Speaker Fraser, our former Ottawa mayor, Jim Watson. John Fraser knew everyone and knew how to pull in their involvement and engagement when it mattered, whether it was Dalton Camp or the Right Hon. Brian Mulroney. We would not have solved acid rain without John Fraser. We would not have Gwaii Haanas National Park without John Fraser. We would not have the rivers that we have in British Columbia that were in danger.
    God bless the memory of John Allen Fraser. May the light perpetual shine upon him as he is gathered up in Heaven right now. I sure hope that they are protecting everything that needs protecting or he will be on the angels' case in short order.

[Translation]

     Colleagues, I thank you for the kind words and thoughts that you have shared and the deep respect you have shown for our 32nd Speaker, the Hon. John Allen Fraser. He lived a long, rich life in service to his country.

[English]

    I was a page standing in front of this chair, and I can tell everyone how inspiring he was. I can also say how his shoes squeaked every time he stood up, which gave the signal to the pages to stand. When asked what advice he would give a young person, he said, “Try mightily to maintain a vivid curiosity about everything, care about things a great deal and have courage.” Those are, indeed, words to grow and live by.
    He had a deep love for the traditions and history of this place. He said that democracy does not function well without a sense of history and that we cannot take freedom and civility for granted. In many ways, his career path led him inevitably to this chamber and to this chair. He started in law and moved into politics.

[Translation]

    John Fraser was always interested in politics and an active member of the Progressive Conservative Party, so he finally decided to take the step that everyone here has taken and run for a seat in the House of Commons.
    He was elected for the first time in 1972 in the riding of Vancouver South, and he obviously served his constituents well because he was re-elected five times.

[English]

    He served as Speaker from 1986 to 1994. Following the enactment of significant changes to the Standing Orders, many of his decisions created the basic interpretation of our modern rules and redefined what is appropriate practice in our chamber today.

[Translation]

    John Fraser lived a long life of service. We are very grateful for his service to Canada and to this place.

[English]

    He was also, as was mentioned by several members, a man who loved nature and all creatures, great and small. I heard an interesting anecdote about Speaker Fraser when he used to live at the farm, the official residence for the Speaker. One year there was an infestation of raccoons, and the people who take care of the official residence thought it was appropriate to set raccoon traps throughout the property. Mr. Fraser thought otherwise, so he would get up early, at the crack of dawn, armed with a broomstick, and set off all the traps along the property so the raccoons would not get hurt, much to the befuddlement of the people who took care of the official residence, as they wondered why all the traps were set off and not one raccoon was caught in them.

[Translation]

    We extend our deepest condolences to his family, who are here with us today. We hope that John Fraser's remarkable contributions to Canada will bring comfort to his family in their time of grief.

[English]

    I thank his family for being with him and having him serve not only this place but our great country.

Government Orders

[Business of Supply]

  (1545)  

[Translation]

Business of Supply

Opposition Motion—Legalization of Hard Drugs  

    The House resumed from May 9 consideration of the motion.
    It being 3:46 p.m., the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion of the member for Carleton relating to the business of supply.
    Call in the members.

  (1615)  

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

(Division No. 762)

YEAS

Members

Aboultaif
Aitchison
Albas
Allison
Arnold
Baldinelli
Barlow
Barrett
Berthold
Bezan
Block
Bragdon
Brassard
Brock
Calkins
Caputo
Carrie
Chambers
Chong
Cooper
Dalton
Dancho
Davidson
Deltell
d'Entremont
Doherty
Dowdall
Dreeshen
Duncan (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Ellis
Epp
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Ferreri
Findlay
Gallant
Généreux
Genuis
Gladu
Godin
Goodridge
Gourde
Gray
Hallan
Hoback
Jeneroux
Jivani
Kelly
Khanna
Kitchen
Kmiec
Kram
Kramp-Neuman
Kurek
Lake
Lantsman
Lawrence
Lehoux
Leslie
Lewis (Essex)
Lewis (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Liepert
Lloyd
Lobb
Maguire
Majumdar
Martel
Mazier
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McLean
Melillo
Moore
Morantz
Morrison
Motz
Muys
Nater
Patzer
Paul-Hus
Perkins
Poilievre
Redekopp
Reid
Rempel Garner
Richards
Roberts
Rood
Ruff
Scheer
Schmale
Seeback
Shields
Small
Soroka
Steinley
Stewart
Strahl
Stubbs
Thomas
Tochor
Tolmie
Uppal
Van Popta
Vecchio
Vidal
Vien
Viersen
Vis
Vuong
Wagantall
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Williams
Williamson
Zimmer

Total: -- 116


NAYS

Members

Aldag
Alghabra
Ali
Anand
Anandasangaree
Angus
Arseneault
Arya
Ashton
Atwin
Bachrach
Badawey
Bains
Baker
Barron
Barsalou-Duval
Battiste
Beaulieu
Beech
Bergeron
Bérubé
Bibeau
Bittle
Blair
Blanchet
Blanchette-Joncas
Blaney
Blois
Boissonnault
Boulerice
Bradford
Brière
Brunelle-Duceppe
Cannings
Carr
Casey
Chabot
Chagger
Chahal
Champagne
Champoux
Chatel
Chen
Chiang
Collins (Hamilton East—Stoney Creek)
Collins (Victoria)
Coteau
Dabrusin
Damoff
Davies
DeBellefeuille
Desbiens
Desjarlais
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Diab
Dong
Drouin
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
Dzerowicz
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Erskine-Smith
Fillmore
Fisher
Fonseca
Fortier
Fortin
Fragiskatos
Fraser
Freeland
Fry
Gaheer
Gainey
Garon
Garrison
Gaudreau
Gazan
Gerretsen
Gill
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
Lemire
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
Mendicino
Miao
Michaud
Miller
Morrice
Morrissey
Murray
Naqvi
Noormohamed
Normandin
O'Connell
Oliphant
O'Regan
Pauzé
Perron
Petitpas Taylor
Plamondon
Powlowski
Qualtrough
Robillard
Rodriguez
Rogers
Romanado
Rota
Sahota
Sajjan
Saks
Samson
Sarai
Savard-Tremblay
Scarpaleggia
Schiefke
Serré
Sgro
Shanahan
Sheehan
Sidhu (Brampton East)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Simard
Sinclair-Desgagné
Singh
Sorbara
Sousa
Ste-Marie
St-Onge
Sudds
Tassi
Taylor Roy
Therrien
Thompson
Trudel
Turnbull
Valdez
Van Bynen
van Koeverden
Vandal
Vandenbeld
Vignola
Villemure
Virani
Weiler
Wilkinson
Yip
Zahid
Zarrillo
Zuberi

Total: -- 204


PAIRED

Members

Fast
Ng

Total: -- 2


     I declare the motion lost.

[English]

Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2023

[Government Orders]
     The House resumed from May 10 consideration of Bill C-59, An Act to implement certain provisions of the fall economic statement tabled in Parliament on November 21, 2023 and certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 28, 2023, as reported (with amendments) from the committee, and of Motion No. 1.
     The House will now proceed to the deferred recorded division on the motion at report stage of Bill C-59.
    The question is on Motion No. 1.

  (1625)  

    (The House divided on Motion No. 1, which was negatived on the following division:)
 

(Division No. 763)

YEAS

Members

Aboultaif
Aitchison
Albas
Allison
Arnold
Baldinelli
Barlow
Barrett
Berthold
Bezan
Block
Bragdon
Brassard
Brock
Calkins
Caputo
Carrie
Chambers
Chong
Cooper
Dalton
Dancho
Davidson
Deltell
d'Entremont
Doherty
Dowdall
Dreeshen
Duncan (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Ellis
Epp
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Ferreri
Findlay
Gallant
Généreux
Genuis
Gladu
Godin
Goodridge
Gourde
Gray
Hallan
Hoback
Jeneroux
Jivani
Kelly
Khanna
Kitchen
Kmiec
Kram
Kramp-Neuman
Kurek
Lake
Lantsman
Lawrence
Lehoux
Leslie
Lewis (Essex)
Lewis (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Liepert
Lloyd
Lobb
Maguire
Majumdar
Martel
Mazier
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McLean
Melillo
Moore
Morantz
Morrison
Motz
Muys
Nater
Patzer
Paul-Hus
Perkins
Poilievre
Reid
Rempel Garner
Richards
Rood
Ruff
Scheer
Schmale
Seeback
Shields
Small
Soroka
Steinley
Stewart
Strahl
Stubbs
Thomas
Tochor
Tolmie
Uppal
Van Popta
Vecchio
Vidal
Vien
Viersen
Vis
Vuong
Wagantall
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Williams
Williamson
Zimmer

Total: -- 114


NAYS

Members

Aldag
Alghabra
Ali
Anand
Anandasangaree
Angus
Arseneault
Arya
Ashton
Atwin
Bachrach
Badawey
Bains
Baker
Barron
Barsalou-Duval
Battiste
Beaulieu
Beech
Bergeron
Bérubé
Bibeau
Bittle
Blair
Blanchet
Blanchette-Joncas
Blaney
Blois
Boissonnault
Boulerice
Bradford
Brière
Brunelle-Duceppe
Cannings
Carr
Casey
Chabot
Chagger
Chahal
Champagne
Champoux
Chatel
Chen
Chiang
Collins (Hamilton East—Stoney Creek)
Collins (Victoria)
Coteau
Dabrusin
Damoff
Davies
DeBellefeuille
Desbiens
Desjarlais
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Diab
Dong
Drouin
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
Dzerowicz
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Erskine-Smith
Fillmore
Fisher
Fonseca
Fortier
Fortin
Fragiskatos
Fraser
Freeland
Fry
Gaheer
Gainey
Garon
Garrison
Gaudreau
Gazan
Gerretsen
Gill
Green
Guilbeault
Hajdu
Hanley
Hardie
Hepfner
Holland
Housefather
Hughes
Hussen
Hutchings
Iacono
Ien
Jaczek
Joly
Jones
Jowhari
Julian
Kayabaga
Kelloway
Khalid
Khera
Koutrakis
Kusmierczyk
Kwan
Lalonde
Lambropoulos
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Lattanzio
Lauzon
LeBlanc
Lebouthillier
Lemire
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
Mendicino
Miao
Michaud
Miller
Morrice
Morrissey
Murray
Naqvi
Noormohamed
Normandin
O'Connell
Oliphant
O'Regan
Pauzé
Perron
Petitpas Taylor
Plamondon
Powlowski
Qualtrough
Rayes
Robillard
Rodriguez
Rogers
Romanado
Rota
Sahota
Sajjan
Saks
Samson
Sarai
Savard-Tremblay
Scarpaleggia
Schiefke
Serré
Sgro
Shanahan
Sheehan
Sidhu (Brampton East)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Simard
Sinclair-Desgagné
Singh
Sorbara
Sousa
Ste-Marie
St-Onge
Sudds
Tassi
Taylor Roy
Therrien
Thompson
Trudel
Turnbull
Valdez
Van Bynen
van Koeverden
Vandal
Vandenbeld
Vignola
Villemure
Virani
Weiler
Wilkinson
Yip
Zahid
Zarrillo
Zuberi

Total: -- 202


PAIRED

Members

Fast
Ng

Total: -- 2


    I declare the motion defeated.
Hon. Steven MacKinnon (for the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance)   
     moved that the bill be concurred in.

[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]

     Madam Speaker, I request a recorded division.

  (1640)  

[Translation]

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

(Division No. 764)

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)
Coteau
Dabrusin
Damoff
Davies
Desjarlais
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Diab
Drouin
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
Dzerowicz
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Erskine-Smith
Fillmore
Fisher
Fonseca
Fortier
Fragiskatos
Fraser
Freeland
Fry
Gaheer
Gainey
Garrison
Gazan
Gerretsen
Green
Guilbeault
Hajdu
Hanley
Hardie
Hepfner
Holland
Housefather
Hughes
Hussen
Hutchings
Iacono
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
Mendicino
Miao
Miller
Morrice
Morrissey
Murray
Naqvi
Noormohamed
O'Connell
Oliphant
O'Regan
Petitpas Taylor
Powlowski
Qualtrough
Robillard
Rodriguez
Rogers
Romanado
Rota
Sahota
Sajjan
Saks
Samson
Sarai
Scarpaleggia
Schiefke
Serré
Sgro
Shanahan
Sheehan
Sidhu (Brampton East)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Singh
Sorbara
Sousa
St-Onge
Sudds
Tassi
Taylor Roy
Thompson
Turnbull
Valdez
Van Bynen
van Koeverden
Vandal
Vandenbeld
Virani
Weiler
Wilkinson
Yip
Zahid
Zarrillo
Zuberi

Total: -- 173


NAYS

Members

Aboultaif
Aitchison
Albas
Allison
Arnold
Baldinelli
Barlow
Barrett
Barsalou-Duval
Beaulieu
Bergeron
Berthold
Bérubé
Bezan
Blanchet
Blanchette-Joncas
Block
Bragdon
Brassard
Brock
Brunelle-Duceppe
Calkins
Caputo
Carrie
Chabot
Chambers
Champoux
Chong
Cooper
Dalton
Dancho
Davidson
DeBellefeuille
Deltell
d'Entremont
Desbiens
Doherty
Dowdall
Dreeshen
Duncan (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Ellis
Epp
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Ferreri
Fortin
Garon
Gaudreau
Généreux
Genuis
Gladu
Godin
Goodridge
Gourde
Gray
Hallan
Hoback
Jeneroux
Jivani
Kelly
Khanna
Kitchen
Kmiec
Kram
Kramp-Neuman
Kurek
Lake
Lantsman
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
Redekopp
Reid
Rempel Garner
Richards
Rood
Ruff
Savard-Tremblay
Scheer
Schmale
Seeback
Shields
Simard
Sinclair-Desgagné
Small
Soroka
Steinley
Ste-Marie
Stewart
Strahl
Stubbs
Therrien
Thomas
Tochor
Tolmie
Trudel
Uppal
Van Popta
Vecchio
Vidal
Vien
Viersen
Vignola
Villemure
Vis
Vuong
Wagantall
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Williams
Williamson
Zimmer

Total: -- 141


PAIRED

Members

Fast
Ng

Total: -- 2


     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 Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, Foreign Affairs; the hon. member for Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, Mental Health and Addictions; the hon. member for Battle River—Crowfoot, Carbon Pricing.

[English]

Budget Implementation Act, 2024, No. 1

    The House resumed from May 8 consideration of the motion 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, and of the amendment.
    Madam Speaker, it is a privilege today to rise to speak to the 2024 budget. It is a plan to build more homes faster, help make life cost less and grow the economy in a way that helps every generation get ahead. When I talk to my constituents in Scarborough Centre, they tell me that they want to see our government work to ensure fairness for every generation, including for the youth just finishing school and ready to enter the world, for the families trying to get by and save for the future, and for the seniors looking to live the dignified retirement they have worked so hard for. That is the goal of this budget: growth that lifts everyone up and fairness for every generation.
     Let us start with housing. It is consistently the number one priority of my constituents. I will admit our government has not always gotten this right. Successive governments from both parties and at all levels of government, including cities, provinces and the federal government, have failed to work together on housing with the seriousness this issue deserves. That is why we are in a housing crisis in Canada. It is a crisis that impacts every generation. Young people are moving back home after college or university because they cannot afford to move out on their own, homeowners are worried about keeping their homes when their mortgages are up for renewal and seniors are trying to either age at home with dignity or find assisted living that meets both their needs and their budgets.
     Inaction in the past does not mean we should not act today. We must act on housing and this budget lays down the federal gauntlet in a serious way with an ambitious plan to unlock 3.87 million homes by 2031. If we are going to do it, we will need to work together, and the federal government is ready to do its share and then some. We would invest $1.5 billion in the Canada rental protection fund to help affordable housing providers acquire units and preserve rents at a stable level for decades to come, preventing those units from being redeveloped into out-of-reach condos or luxury rental units.
    The $6-billion Canada housing infrastructure fund would accelerate the construction and upgrading of housing, enabling water, waste-water, storm-water and solid-waste infrastructure that would directly enable new housing supply and help improve densification. More money would be available to cities that legalize more housing zoning for smart density and more missing middle homes. We would leverage the $55-billion apartment construction loan program to partner with provinces to build more rental housing across the country. Provinces would need to make their own investments, cut red tape to begin building faster, and agree to expand protections and rights for renters in order to access federal funding. Solving the housing crisis requires a team Canada approach. Working with the provinces, we are creating the Canadian renters' bill of rights to protect renters from unfair practices, make leases simpler and increase price transparency as well as crack down on renovictions, introduce a nationwide standard lease agreement and require landlords to disclose historical rent prices of the apartments.
     We are taking action to make it easier for homeowners to increase Canada's supply of housing by adding additional suites to their home. The new Canada secondary suite loan program would enable homeowners to access up to $40,000 in low-interest loans to add secondary suites to their homes.
     More homes need to be built closer to the services that Canadians count on. Transit that is more accessible and reliable means Canadians can spend more time with their friends and family members. It is crucial that all orders of government work together to achieve this. Any community seeking to access long-term, predictable funding through the federal government's permanent public transit fund would be required to take action that directly unlocks housing supply where it is needed most, by eliminating mandatory parking requirements and allowing high-density housing within 800 metres of a high-frequency transit line.

  (1645)  

    These are just a few of the concrete measures, backed by real dollars, that we are taking to jump-start housing in Canada. We are ready to work with the provinces and cities that are ready to get serious on housing, and we are ready to take on the gatekeepers if they stand in our way.
    However, we need to do more than just focus on housing. Affordability is impacting all facets of life in Canada and around the world, and we are taking action. In Scarborough and in many communities across Canada, many children are going to school hungry. It is hard to learn on an empty stomach. Our next generation deserves the best possible start in their lives. That is why we are launching the national school food program to help 400,000 more kids get the food they need through existing school food programs.
    Our child care program is saving families thousands of dollars every year, but there still are not enough child care spaces. We will help public and not-for-profit child care providers to build more child care spaces and renovate existing centres. We are investing $8 billion to build more child care spaces, offering student loan forgiveness for rural and remote early childhood educators and training more early childhood educators.
    We are taking action to help seniors on a number of important fronts. Since 2017, we have invested $11.8 billion in long-term care and community care, but more action is needed to keep our seniors safe. We will introduce a safe long-term care act to support new national long-term care standards to help ensure safe, reliable and high-quality care and improve infection prevention and control practices. The old age security program, which includes the OAS pension, GIS and other allowances, is the government's largest program. It will provide $80.6 billion to more than seven million seniors in the year 2024-25. Old age security annual program expenditures are projected to grow by close to 24% to almost $100 billion by 2028-29 for Canadian seniors.
    Oral health care is an important part of overall health care, and we are rolling out the Canadian dental care plan, starting with Canadian seniors. Since May 1, more than 50,000 Canadian patients have accessed care through the CDCP, and more than 9,000 dental care professionals have signed up to provide care. This program will improve health outcomes and save money for Canadians, starting with our seniors.
    We have introduced legislation to help make essential medications more accessible and more affordable for Canadians. The budget includes $1.5 billion to support the launch of the national pharmacare plan. The first phase will ensure the effective rollout of pharmacare by providing immediate support for health care needs of women as well as people with diabetes. More areas will be added very soon.
    Budget 2024 is a plan to take bold action to build more homes faster, help make life cost less and grow the economy in a way that is shared by all. This year's budget would drive our economy toward growth that lifts everyone up, because that is fairness for every generation.

  (1650)  

     Madam Speaker, I listened intently to the member's speech, but I did not hear any explanation from that member as to why, as the first speaker, she thought it was appropriate that time allocation be put on the budget bill on a half a trillion dollars of spending, limiting debate before it even starts. I would like her to explain to this House, if she could, why she thinks that not having sufficient debate on this spending is a good idea.
    Madam Speaker, it is a budget for fairness for every generation. It is really very important that Canadians are looking to all of us to come together and make decisions that will help build more houses faster. Action needs to be taken today, and many Canadians are relying on us, so it is really very important that we put our partisan politics aside and make sure that the implementation of the budget starts as soon as possible, so that Canadians can start seeing the results. We can start building housing; we can make sure that the kids do not go hungry at school. This budget would help 400,000 kids get food during these food programs.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I congratulate my colleague on her speech.
     Earlier, during oral question period, we heard the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance tell us how important the Quebec nation and the French language in Quebec are for her.
     However, there is nothing in the budget to subsidize French. From 1995 to 2002, I found that 94% of funding of official languages in Quebec went to support English. Furthermore, in the action plan for official languages 2023-28, it is the same thing, with 94% of the money going to supporting English.
     I know that my colleague believes in people's right to self-determination. In her opinion, should the federal government not stop using official languages funding to undermine Quebec’s self-determination?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I want to highlight that in Bill C-13 there are major investments for the French language. Within the 2024 budget, we are here to support Quebec by investing $3.4 billion to support young researchers in Canada and in Quebec, $1.28 billion to fight homelessness and $1.5 billion to protect and to expand affordable housing. These are some of the measures being taken in this to make sure there is help to support Quebec.
    Madam Speaker, we know economists have been saying for years that there is going to be a need for more rental housing. The capitalist society realized this very quickly, and corporations started buying up more affordable apartment buildings. I think about REITs and about one specific REIT, Boardwalk, which recently made its profit announcement. It talked about the fact that it is using CMHC funding and is taking advantage of low interest rates through CMHC that average Canadians do not have access to.
    My question to the member is this: Why is the Liberal government continuing to put the needs of corporate Canada ahead of people who need a place to rent?
     Madam Speaker, I really want to thank the hon. member for her question and for making sure that we have more rental units available here in Canada.
    Rental units are really very important and our government is doing its best to make sure that we see the construction of more rental units. That is why we will leverage the $55 billion apartment construction loan program to partner with provinces to build more rental housing across the country. Rental units, for sure, are really very important, and we have taken many initiatives to make sure that there is a greater stock of rental units in Canada.

  (1655)  

Correction to Official Report

    There have been consultations among the parties, and I believe, if you seek it, you will find unanimous consent for the following motion:
    That the name of the individual referenced by the member for Don Valley West during his speech on the opposition motion standing in the name of the member for Carleton, be struck from the House of Commons Debates of Thursday, May 9, 2024, and from any House multimedia recording, and that the Parliamentary Publications be authorized to make the necessary editorial changes.
    All those opposed to the hon. member moving the motion will please say nay.
    It is agreed.
    The House has heard the terms of the motion. All those opposed to the motion will please say nay.

    (Motion agreed to)

Budget Implementation Act, 2024, No. 1

    The House resumed consideration of the motion 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, and of the amendment.
     Madam Speaker, I am pleased to lead off second reading debate for His Majesty's loyal opposition on Bill C-69, the NDP and Liberals' budget implementation bill. I am disappointed that there will be so few Conservatives allowed to speak on this bill. That being said, we will deal with it at a later date in committee. I know the House will be shocked to learn that I will be voting against this budget bill, and I will tell members why.
    As the opposition critic for industry, I have been focused on Canada's declining prosperity since 2015. The public policy choices of the Liberals have caused this decline in prosperity because of three major choices the Liberals made. Number one is that we have too much debt in Canada. Number two is that the world no longer buys enough of what Canada makes, our exports. Number three is that too many oligopolistic industries are charging Canadians too much for their services.
    Let us start with the first point: too much debt. When the government debt grows faster than the economy, which is how the Liberals have been managing the country's finances, we eventually hit a wall. Liberal debt has caused inflation, which has caused interest rates to rise. Liberal inflation and interest rates have doubled housing costs and have hurt Canadians. For the ninth year in a row, the NDP-Liberals are running a huge deficit. This year alone, it is $40 billion, and a balanced budget is not even in their thinking.
    Let us look at the numbers the budget the Liberals are so proud of proposes. The Liberal spending spree continues with $61 billion in new spending initiatives. The national debt will rise to a record $1.37 trillion. Interest on the national debt will rise from $26.6 billion in the last year of the Harper government to $64.3 billion. Debt interest payments will be more than what Ottawa spends on health care and twice what it spends on national defence.
    The budget projects the government's spending to grow to $608 billion, which is $328 billion more than the first year of the Liberal government in 2015. That is a 117% increase in spending alone under the Liberals. That increase alone is more than the entire Harper budget of the last year. In case someone is worried about it, revenue, which is taxes, will rise from $282 billion in 2015 to $586 billion. In other words, government tax revenue has gone up by $304 billion, or 108% under the Liberal government. However, spending has gone up 117%, hence the debt.
    If government spending made for a stronger economy and for more powerful paycheques for Canadians, we would be leading the world on our standard of living. However, that is not what Canadians are experiencing. Instead, what we have is a homegrown affordability and productivity crisis. The price of everything has gone up, and productivity per worker has declined. Since 2022, inflation-adjusted GDP per capita, which is an indication of living standards, declined from $60,000 to $58,000 in only a year and a half into 2023 and is now below where it was in 2014, a decade ago.
    In other words, declining incomes at a time of rising costs of food, fuel, heating and everything, while our incomes are sliding back, make it more difficult for people to afford daily life. It is a double hit on Canadians thanks to the NDP-Liberals. Clearly, the record spending by the NDP-Liberal government, with the Liberal finance minister adding 62% of Canada's national debt, is not making people better off; it is making things worse.
    This is the result of the disastrous policy choices of the NDP-Liberals on deficits, spending, government manipulation of the free market and policy choices to destroy Canada's competitive advantage over other countries, and those are our natural resource industries.
    Let us turn to my second point. The world is not buying enough of what Canada creates anymore. As a small nation globally, in terms of population, Canada needs to export in order to maintain and to grow our living standards.

  (1700)  

     I spent most of my career in business, and when one's company has a competitive advantage, one innovates and works extremely hard to grow and to protect that competitive advantage, otherwise one's business declines and eventually dies. To export what Canada does successfully, we need to offer something other countries do not. In the world of nations, what is Canada's competitive advantage? It is our natural resources. Those include renewables, such as agriculture, fisheries and forestry, and non-renewables, such as minerals, oil and gas. We have been blessed like few others. We need to lead in exporting those commodities and the technology to harvest them.
     We do not hear Saudi Arabia saying that they are glad they do not have all those forests to manage like Canada. We do not hear Germany saying that they are glad they do not have all that Canadian oil and gas to manage. In fact, Germany is begging for our oil and gas. However, In 2016, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau—
    An hon. member: Oh, oh!
    Mr. Rick Perkins: I apologize, Madam Speaker.
    In 2016, the Prime Minister told the World Economic Forum “My predecessor wanted you to know Canada for its resources. Well I want you to know Canadians for our resourcefulness.” While that is a cute thing, let us look at how that has worked out. In 2019, natural resources accounted for 14.9% of Canada's economy, dropping from 19.5% in 2015. At the same time, Canada's prosperity began to decline, as measured by GDP per capita, and it is now the worst in Western democracies. By the way, Klaus Schwab apparently has resigned from the head of the World Economic Forum, so there is a job opening for the Prime Minister.
    Why is productivity important? When productivity rises, it means that more output is generated with the same number of hours worked, which boosts profit for business and creates wage growth without lowering business profitability. The growth and export of Canada's natural resource sector not only is the driver to restore our productivity and prosperity, but also is the most important factor in restoring Canada's productivity. It is our competitive advantage globally.
    The challenges that the natural resources sector has faced are because of the specific Liberal government policies, which are the key driver of Canada's overall economic decline. The policy choices of the Liberal government with its unconstitutional Impact Assessment Act, which is basically a no-capital-back act, has diminished our ability to get things to market. The Liberals do not recognize that the policy choices they have had on Canadians are driven by their decisions.
    According to a report from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, displacing only 20% of Asia's electricity that is generated by coal with clean Canadian liquefied natural gas is the equivalent to eliminating all of Canada's emissions globally. Our goal should be to displace 40% of Asia's coal generation, which would remove two of Canada's carbon emissions from the globe while driving more powerful paycheques at home as Canada resumes its place in the world as an energy superpower. Why would the NDP-Liberals think that destroying this industry is anything but harmful not only to Canadian prosperity but also to reducing carbon emissions? They will have to answer this to voters, hopefully in the not-too-distant future.
    However, there is good news. Common-sense Conservatives would proudly restore Canada's competitive advantage by developing all of our renewable and non-renewable resources. Canada's productivity recovery begins with our resource sector. It also begins with restoring fiscal sanity to our finances. We would fix the budget, reduce spending and ensure new spending is matched dollar for dollar with spending reductions. Common-sense Conservatives know that the value of Canada's competitive advantage is our natural resources, and we will get projects permitted in under 18 months.
    Does the Liberal budget do anything to get clean, ethical, liquefied natural gas to Asia to replace harmful coal generation? There is not a word, not a peep, not a sentence in the bill on that. This is not a serious budget, since it would not do anything to improve our productivity, and it would do nothing to improve the world's climate issues. However, there is hope on the way and hope for the planet, and it is called an election, which cannot come soon enough for Canadians.

  (1705)  

    Madam Speaker, it is somewhat consistent, yet disappointing, that the Conservative Party does not see fit to support many of the initiatives the government is looking to provide through budgetary measures, such as the national food program for kids. Somewhere in the neighbourhood of 400,000 children would benefit from that particular program. There are programs dealing with pharmacare and dental care, and the Conservatives continuously vote against these programs by voting against the budget.
    I am wondering if the member can explain why the Conservative Party does not believe it should be standing up for Canadians and providing the services that are needed across the country.
     Madam Speaker, I thought my speech made it clear. This budget, with its fiscal irresponsibility and efforts to continue to destroy the Canadian competitive advantage of our natural resources, is so significantly dire that we are at a crucial economic turning point for our country. If this is not reversed shortly, we would be in a spiral that would be very difficult to get out of. All we have to do is look at countries such as Argentina, and others with similar resources that had governments that were not willing to develop their natural resources, to see what our economic future under the Liberal vision entails.
    Conservatives also believe that we should have a balanced budget. The Liberals used to believe that. In 2015, they said they would balance it in 2019. How has that gone so far? We are now up to a $40-billion deficit after nine years. Every single year, there is a deficit. I guess the Liberal promise in 2015 is not worth any more than the Liberal promise today of this budget.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank the member of South Shore—St. Margarets for his speech. He is eloquent as usual. I really appreciate my colleague. Among other things, I like his thoroughness.
     I find the previous question on the long-term consequences of the budget interesting, particularly in terms of the debt and the deficit, especially as we will be dumping that on future generations.
     Why can we not balance the budget? It is because the federal government wants to interfere in something that is not its responsibility or in its area of expertise, by investing in pharmacare, health insurance and dental insurance. These are all things that are not its responsibility.
     Can we take this money, lower federal taxes and allow the provinces to invest more? If not, can we stop dumping this on future generations? Perhaps there are solutions to explore. I would like to know what my colleague thinks of that.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, the member from the Bloc and I served together for quite a while on the industry committee, and he added a lot of great value.
     Conservatives and the Bloc share the same concerns with the constant and historic desire of the Liberal Party to always tell provinces what to do and how to do their job. Apparently, the Constitution that Pierre Trudeau negotiated and signed is something that members on the Liberal side do not hold in high regard because they are constantly breaking the provisions of the Constitution when they intrude in provincial jurisdiction by using the federal spending power, as the member pointed out.

  (1710)  

    Madam Speaker, I would like to acknowledge that my colleague used the World Economic Forum in his speech to keep the Conservative base happy. I sometimes think that the current leader of the Conservative Party is really unhappy with the WEF because former prime minister Stephen Harper never let him go when he was a cabinet minister.
    I want to know why my colleague is so tone deaf to the real cause of inflation. If we look at every single major corporate sector that is responsible for the prices that consumers pay, we will see that the increases in costs for shipping containers, fertilizer, oil and gas, and food retail all coincide with massive corporate profit increases over the last three years. Why do the Conservatives refuse to acknowledge this? Are they that intent on running interference in this place on behalf of their corporate Bay Street friends?
    Madam Speaker, my colleague would know from living in B.C. that RBC has a report out now on the housing crisis in Vancouver, which says that it now takes 106% of people's gross income for them afford the average mortgage on a house in Vancouver. That is before paying taxes, buying food or doing anything else. People still do not have enough money. That is the only place in the world where that exists.
    That is a homegrown issue caused by the government's insane spending, where it has added more debt to the—
    We have to resume debate.
    The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages has the floor.
     Madam Speaker, fairness across generations is the quintessential Canadian promise that every individual deserves an equal opportunity, with hard work, determination and a little support, to join the middle class, to secure savings, to purchase a home, to grow a family, and to enjoy retirement and their golden years in dignity.
     That is what budget 2024 is all about. Budget 2024 is crucial for the health, well-being and prosperity of my community in Windsor—Tecumseh. The foundation of prosperity and a strong middle class are good-paying manufacturing jobs. We know that. More and more, those good-paying manufacturing jobs are in the growing clean tech sector.
     In this budget, there is record investment in clean technology and record investment tax credits to create tens of thousands of new jobs in the growing zero-emission economy. It builds upon clean tech and climate change investments in the fall economic statement and in previous budgets. It is already working.
     We have seen over $50 billion in auto investment in just the last four years, including the historic Honda investment in Alliston and Port Colborne, the historic Northvolt investment in Quebec, the historic VW investment in St. Thomas and the Stellantis battery plant that our federal Liberal government delivered for my community in Windsor—Tecumseh, the first battery plant in all of Canada.
     I drive past the battery plant on the corner of EC Row Avenue and Banwell Road every single day on my way to work. It is an incredible thing to see. The battery plant is the size of 120 hockey rinks. It stretches as far as the eye can see. Driving by it, hundreds of pickup trucks belonging to local skilled workers, iron workers and millwrights can be seen. There are 2,000 workers, Canadian, local, unionized workers, building our battery plant.
    When it is completed, the battery plant will employ 2,500 local, unionized Canadians. What a remarkable turnaround. Eight years ago, under the previous Conservative government, Canada lost 300,000 manufacturing jobs. My community had an unemployment rate of 11.2%.
    However, today there is optimism. Today, we are building a bright future. Where Conservatives destroyed manufacturing, Liberals are rebuilding the manufacturing heartland of Canada, right here in southwestern Ontario and in Windsor with a new battery plant and thousands of new jobs. Soon, there will be the return of the third shift at Windsor assembly plant, where proud auto workers in my community will build the Dodge Charger Daytona, the first electric muscle car in North America. Windsor is back, and it is because we have a Liberal government standing by auto workers in Windsor with historic investment, respect and a true partnership.
    Like many other communities across the country, we also face challenges. One of those challenges is the rate of childhood poverty. Windsor-Essex has some of the highest rates of childhood poverty in Canada. Just last week, I met with the incredible people at ProsperUs, a unique local partnership of 40 organizations, including labour and industry, that are tackling childhood poverty by building wraparound supports from cradle to career in some of the most vulnerable neighbourhoods. It has built a unique neighbourhood opportunity index that gives us neighbourhood-level data on the health of our children and of families.
    In many neighbourhoods, we see moms and dads, often single parents, working hard, juggling multiple part-time jobs to take care of their children, and sometimes it is not enough. It is hard to make ends meet. Oftentimes, the struggle to balance time and money means that kids go to school hungry. We can have the best teachers in the world in front of a classroom, but they will not reach the student in that classroom if the student is hungry. That is why our Liberal government, through this budget, is investing over $1 billion in a national school food program. That is historic for Canada, and it will be transformative for my community.

  (1715)  

    The national school food program is the result of decades of tireless advocacy by local leaders such as United Way Centraide Windsor-Essex County, VON and the Ontario school nutrition program, as well as the teachers, principals, volunteers and parent councils that have been providing school nutrition on a shoestring budget for years. It would lift 400,000 children across the country, put over $800 back in the pockets of parents and ensure that hundreds of thousands more kids would have access to nutritious meals to kick-start their day. More than food, this is about a fair start, a fair start for all of our kids, regardless of their background or postal code, so that they can be their best, and so that they can help build our Canada.
    Our budget 2024 is about investing in people and communities. The national school food program is just one example, albeit a great example. It is what differentiates Liberals from Conservatives. Liberals invest. Conservatives cut. Liberals believe in neighbour looking after neighbour. Conservatives believe that one is on one's own. We already know this because the Leader of the Opposition has telegraphed this.
    Conservatives will vote against clean tech investments such as our battery plant in Windsor. Conservatives will vote against a national school food program for kids. Conservatives will vote against record funding to build more homes and support renters. Conservatives will vote against dental care for seniors. Conservatives will vote against a fairer tax system that asks the super wealthiest to pay a little bit more so that we can strengthen the programs that help young people, working families and seniors.
    These measures all share a common goal, which is to lift people and to lift communities, to build a Canada that we want, a Canada that rewards hard work and that is fair. I see it in my community of Windsor—Tecumseh. It is not just about building and helping Canadians today. It is also about building a Canada that is fair for future generations and for generations still to come.
    Here I turn my attention to the environment. Liberals care about passing along a healthy environment, clean air and clean water to the next generation. Last year, I remember stepping out onto my front step, seeing a sky that had turned a burning bright orange while breathing in the thick air and smoke from the wildfires burning millions of hectares of forest in Quebec, New Brunswick and Alberta. Is this the future that we want to pass on to our kids? Budget 2024 confirms our commitment to fight climate change, to take real action to prevent wildfires and floods ravaging our communities.
    The Conservatives oppose climate action. They oppose investments in wind and solar, and in electric vehicles. Not only do they not have a climate plan, they are actively working to dismantle Canada's climate plan, which is already reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
    Along that vein, the Conservatives will also vote against the historic investment of $36.1 million in budget 2024 for the creation of the Ojibway national urban park in my community. There is over $40 million in this budget to open and operate an Ojibway national urban park, which our community has fought for, defended and championed for decades. The Conservative Party will vote against an Ojibway national urban park, too. I know our community will be watching for how our local Conservative MPs will vote. Will they vote with their Conservative leader to cut funding for Ojibway, or will they vote with their community and vote for Ojibway?
    Ojibway is a testament to the resilience and perseverance of grassroots advocates, community leaders, environmental stewards and, above all, first nations. It underscores the power of strong partnerships, local advocacy, solidarity and a government that believes in conservation and in fighting climate change.
     Budget 2024 will have a huge positive impact in my community, so much so that it feels like this budget was written by Windsor—Tecumseh for Windsor—Tecumseh. In my community, we are building a battery plant and thousands of jobs. We are taking care of the most vulnerable through programs such as the national school food program, and we are fighting climate change, preserving our land and waters and building an Ojibway national urban park. That is what this budget is all about. It is about stronger, healthier and more prosperous communities and a stronger, healthier and more prosperous Canada.

  (1720)  

    Madam Speaker, as a member of the Standing Committee on Industry and Technology, I was dismayed by the lack of transparency by the government. In the last number of months, over $50 billion has been announced in different EV subsidy contracts. As a member of that committee, I was given only two hours, along with the other committee members, to really scrutinize what the government was committing Canada to for only two of those contracts. In many respects, it is committing Canada to mimicking the programs in the United States. However, we cannot really be sure, because we do not actually know.
    How much time should members of Parliament have to review 50 billion dollars' worth of contracts?
    Madam Speaker, here is what I know. Eight years ago, when the Conservative government was in power, my community had an unemployment rate of 11.2%, and 300,000 manufacturing jobs were lost across Canada. Today, we see $50 billion of automotive manufacturing investment under the Liberal government. We are reviving the industrial manufacturing heartland of southwestern Ontario. Communities such as mine and those such as St. Thomas are building battery plants. We are seeing tens of thousands of automotive jobs being created in my community. Our focus is on bringing investment, creating well-paying jobs and lifting up manufacturing communities such as mine.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, we will vote against the budget, not because we are against pharmacare or because we are against the creation of a park or because we are against the creation of 2,000 jobs and more in the world of automotive technology. We will be voting against this budget because it creates duplicate services in Quebec and in the provinces that already have drug coverage, by refusing to grant them the right to opt out with full compensation. We are going to vote against it because, strangely enough, it disrespects the Constitution.
    My question is this: Are we to understand that the government's refusal to respect the Constitution means that it wants to reopen the Constitution? If it reopens the Constitution this time, will it negotiate in good faith, which it did not do in 1982?

  (1725)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, my hon. colleague is absolutely brilliant at the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates. I really enjoy her questions, her insight and her incredible hard work.
    We need a team Canada approach in order to be able to lift communities across Canada. When I see over $100 billion for clean-tech industries in this budget, I know it is going to impact not only communities such as mine in Ontario but also communities such as those in Quebec, especially with the Northvolt battery investment. It is going to help lift communities across the country from coast to coast to coast.
    When I see the Canada disability benefit, pharmacare and child care, when I see all these programs, I know that these investments in budget 2024 will lift communities and Canadians from coast to coast to coast. For that very reason, I urge my hon. colleague to continue to work with us as team Canada and vote in support of this incredibly important budget.
     Madam Speaker, as the very proud spokesperson for employment and workplace development, I am baffled that the parliamentary secretary stands to deliver the comments he did in his speech. Just last month, provincial and territorial labour ministers united across all parties and coast to coast to coast to call an emergency meeting to decry the $625-million cut to workforce development programs for people across the country. This would imply that, somehow, in a just transition, we do not need labour training anymore.
    Could the hon. member, the parliamentary secretary for this file, please explain to those provincial premiers why the government made cuts to those very important programs?
    Madam Speaker, there is no government in the history of this country that has invested more money in skills training in Canada. Whether it is through sectoral workforce development, UTIP or apprenticeships, the government has made more investments in skills training than have all other previous governments combined.
    Madam Speaker, to respond quickly to the last speech, the member for Windsor—Tecumseh made many comparisons between the Conservatives and the Liberals.
    One key thing the Conservatives want to do is fix the budget. That is because the Liberals love to take. They love to increase taxes. They say, “Work hard. We're going to take more of your money and then we're going to mismanage it and not tell you how it was spent”. That is the basis of this budget, and it is why I am opposing it.

[Translation]

    After nine years under the NDP-Liberal government, life is more expensive. The budget should have invested in a more productive economy and encouraged investment, innovation and economic growth by cutting taxes.
    Instead, the budget maintains this government's reckless deficits and raises taxes. This year, taxpayers will have to shell out $54.1 billion to pay interest on the Prime Minister's debt. That is more than we send to the provinces under the Canada health transfer.
    After nine years of this policy, is the average Canadian better off? I do not think so.

[English]

    After nine years of the NDP-Liberal government, life is more expensive. The budget should have invested in a more productive economy while encouraging investment, innovation and economic growth with lower taxes. Instead, the budget continues the government's reckless deficits and raises taxes. This year, taxpayers are on the hook for $54.1 billion just to pay the interest on the Prime Minister's debt. That is more than we send to provinces through the Canada health transfer. The budget is yet another incremental push toward socialism.
     With everything the government has done, it has never been about making life better and more affordable for the average Canadian. It is about how the government can take more of people's hard-earned money and more control over their lives. After nine years of this, is the average Canadian better off? I do not think so. Nine years of this—

  (1730)  

    I am going to cut the hon. member off. Just as a reminder to members, if they plan to finish their speech, they should not end their speech too quickly.
    The hon. member will have seven and a half minutes the next time this matter is before the House, plus five minutes for questions and comments.

Private Members' Business

[Private Members' Business]

[Translation]

Protection against Extortion Act

    The House resumed from April 17 consideration of the motion that Bill C‑381, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (extortion), be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to speak to Bill C‑381.
    This is a private member's bill introduced by a member of the Conservative Party. It fulfills a promise made earlier this year by the leader of the Conservative Party. He said that if his party came to power, he would establish mandatory minimum prison sentences for individuals convicted of extortion.
     We have already heard my colleague from Rivière-du-Nord explain the Bloc Québécois position on this matter. We support the bill in principle. It is quite a simple bill. It would change the text of the Criminal Code to “amend mandatory minimum penalties in relation to the offence of extortion, including when the offence is committed for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with, a criminal organization”. It proposes a mandatory minimum penalty of three years for extortion and the reinstatement of a four-year mandatory minimum sentence for extortion with a non-prohibited firearm. The mandatory minimum sentence was repealed by Bill C-5. The Conservative Party wants it to be reinstated. The bill also speaks of a five-year mandatory minimum sentence for extortion “for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with, a criminal organization”.
     Moreover, the bill proposes to “add arson as an aggravating factor for the purposes of sentencing when a person is convicted of extortion”. It is quite simple.
     As I said the Bloc Québécois supports the principle of this bill. We would like it to be referred to committee so we can study it in more detail. Given the rise in crime, I believe this bill is important. In Canada, extortion is often committed during auto thefts, which are also increasing nationwide. Recently, we have seen newspaper reports of armed robberies and physical assaults when offenders tried to steal cars from ordinary citizens. I think this bill is very relevant.
    At the same time, it gives us the opportunity to set the record straight about the Bloc Québécois's position on Bill C-5. During study of this bill, the member for Rivière-du-Nord proposed an amendment to reinstate the mandatory minimum sentence for extortion with a firearm. This position became somewhat lost in the debate. We often heard the Conservative Party, with its slogans, say that the Bloc Québécois was helping the government in its efforts to let criminals serve their sentence at home. This has confused people a bit. It is important to clarify what happened.
     I would like to remind members that Bill C-5 dealt with the repeal of certain mandatory minimum penalties. The Bloc Québécois is in favour of repealing minimum penalties, except for crimes against people. We believe that if mandatory minimums are to be maintained, at the very least judges have to have the necessary latitude to occasionally depart from them with justification. This proposal was made by the Bloc Québécois, but it was rejected. That is why we voted in favour of Bill C-5 in the end. This proposal was rejected, but let me point out that the bill dealt with something else. It was proposed that Bill C‑5 be split in two, because it dealt with two completely different topics. There was also the part on diversion measures for simple drug possession offences. We were in favour of those diversion measures. That put us in a rather difficult position. We even tried to amend Bill C-to make it more reasonable, but our amendment was rejected.
     We support abolishing mandatory minimum penalties for less serious crimes, as we recognize that these types of penalties are not necessarily effective in dissuading criminals from committing a crime. They can also needlessly increase the size of prison populations. Police officers who were recently invited to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security to speak about the rise in auto theft in the country said as much. I asked them if the offenders or youths who were associated with street gangs were aware of the sentences connected to crimes they were preparing to commit. We often hear, in political circles, certain parties say that increasing sentences will solve all the problems. I thought that maybe criminals were aware of the sentences associated with the crimes they wanted to commit, or maybe not at all. I asked if that made any difference to them.

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    The police officers explained that criminals were well aware of the sentences associated with the crimes they were going to commit, but decided to commit those crimes anyway.
    Nevertheless, we believe that maintaining mandatory minimum sentences for violent crimes is justified because legislators have the legitimate authority to rank crimes in order of severity, and mandatory minimum sentences ensure that the penalties reflect that ranking.
    Obviously, mandatory minimum sentences are not perfect. Because they apply to everyone convicted of a particular crime, they sometimes lead to unjust sentences. That is why the Bloc Québécois wanted the Criminal Code to include a notwithstanding clause to allow judges to depart from minimum sentences in exceptional circumstances. That is what lawyer Julie Desrosiers reminded us when we were studying Bill C-5:
    One thing for certain is that if you decide to keep minimum sentences in certain cases, you should also provide a possibility of making an exception to them in exceptional circumstances. In fact, that is what my colleague, Mr. Henry, suggests. In other words, you prescribe a minimum sentence, but you give discretion back to judges not to apply it in exceptional circumstances. Exceptional circumstances do exist. The reality is complex, and it isn't just hardened criminals who sell guns to children. The courts have to manage all sorts of situations, and sometimes it is not appropriate to apply a minimum sentence.
    That is what this lawyer told the committee.
    Let us not forget that gun crime has surged in recent years. Canada's rate of firearm-related violent crime was 36.7 incidents per 100,000 population in 2022, and the increase is mainly attributable to increases in Ontario, New Brunswick and British Columbia. In this context, I believe that we, as legislators, must send the public a message that violent crime is unacceptable and, above all, that it is punishable by law.