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44th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • No. 318

CONTENTS

Monday, May 27, 2024




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

Volume 151
No. 318
1st SESSION
44th PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Monday, May 27, 2024

Speaker: The Honourable Greg Fergus

    The House met at 11 a.m.

Prayer



Private Members' Business

[Private Members' Business]

  (1100)  

[English]

Building Homes Not Bureaucracy Act

    The House resumed from October 30, 2023, consideration of the motion that Bill C-356, An Act respecting payments by Canada and requirements in respect of housing and to amend certain other Acts, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
     Mr. Speaker, it is an honour, as always, to rise in the House of Commons to debate and discuss the issues of the day. One of those issues, arguably the most pressing issue certainly in my community and in communities across the country, is housing. We have a private member's bill that has been introduced by the Conservative leader, which stands, as he has said, as the Conservative plan on housing. Unfortunately, for he and his party, it leaves much to be desired.
     On this side of the House, we have recognized the crisis that exists. That crisis is underpinned by a supply crisis. Therefore, to understand what this means for the country and how we bring costs down both for prospective homebuyers and for renters, we have to find a way to add supply, and that is exactly what this government has done.
     First, let me highlight the housing accelerator fund, which my friends on the other side would do well to learn from, with all due respect to them. This, at the very core of it, requires co-operation. It requires co-operation between the federal government and municipalities. Municipalities are central to this.
     Last week in question period in the House, I was asked by a Conservative member about what they call “gatekeepers”. The Conservatives always use the term in the pejorative. They always want to insult and engage that way. The reality is that those whom they call “gatekeepers” are municipal councillors, mayors and public servants at the local level who are responsible for zoning.
     As we know, zoning is fundamental to dealing with the housing crisis, because that is how we get more homes built, namely, adding more missing middle housing to the equation. That includes row houses, mid-rise apartments, duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes. All of these examples have a place in this discussion and debate. We need more supply and we will get more supply through embracing missing middle housing, and the housing accelerator fund does that. The reality is that while zoning is certainly not under the federal jurisdiction, it is completely in the municipal purview to deal with.
     We are incenting changes across the country. No less than 179 agreements have been finalized with municipalities to push them so that we have more homes built. The reality is that in these communities, we will see more homes built. We will see federal dollars put on the table as a result of our saying to municipalities that if they change their zoning, there are federal dollars available for more affordable housing, for infrastructure for housing purposes and for public transit for housing purposes. In my community in London, let me highlight that office buildings that are vacant can now be potentially used for housing as a result of a $74-million investment that this government has made in London. London has agreed to embrace a different approach when it comes to zoning.
     I have talked about renters. We do need to increase the supply of apartments to make rent more affordable. That is why we have lifted GST from the construction of purpose-built rentals. With all due respect to my Conservative colleagues, one of the glaring weaknesses of this private member's bill is that it would keep the GST on the construction of purpose-built rentals. It is astounding to me that the Leader of the Opposition, who, throughout his very long career in public life, has campaigned to cut taxes at every opportunity, does not believe that. It is all a charade. It is all an act, because if he actually believed it, he would lift GST from the construction costs of purpose-built rentals, just like this government has. It is unbelievable that he would go in this direction.
    If he does not want the advice of the government, that is fine, and I know he will not take it. However, he should listen to key advocates, like the Canadian Homebuilders' Association for instance, that has for years now called for this change. The government has moved in this direction and the Conservatives have not supported it. They have obstructed this measure, in fact, through a variety of ways, and they have not answered for that at all.

  (1105)  

    With respect to federal lands, we have an opportunity here to seize the moment when it comes to using more federal lands to build more housing to ensure greater affordability. As I said, this is about dealing with a supply crisis. What do we see? The government very appropriately recognizing that, between the two options of selling federal land that is either underused or not used at all or leasing it, a leasing approach would allow for something that is much more promising. In that case, we can ensure affordability as much as possible. With the other option, obviously, affordability would be out of the government's hands once the sale has taken place.
     The opposition has said nothing about this at all. It has also said nothing about how it would deal with development charges, which, if we are honest, are attacks on home building. There is no doubt about that
    I see the housing critic for the Conservatives in the House today. We work well together at the committee that is responsible for housing. He has brought up, quite rightly, the issue of development charges at that committee. Unfortunately, there is no plan on the other side, and certainly not in this private member's bill, on how they would deal with development charges.
    We have made clear to provinces that, as a condition of receiving infrastructure dollars from this federal government, there would have to be a freeze implemented on development charges according to April 2024 levels. Home builders have asked for that for a long time. Recently, I engaged with home builders in my community of London who were quite excited to see this change, because, as I said, development charges stand as an attack on home building. In the context of high interest rates and high costs for labour and construction supplies, among other factors that stand in the way of greater homebuilding, we have to put measures on the table that incent, that provide a green light to those in the construction sector so that they can build more, and this would do exactly that.
     Finally, homelessness is absolutely fundamental in the discussion on housing. We cannot talk about housing without talking about the most vulnerable members of our communities, who unfortunately find themselves in a very difficult position now. The Conservatives have not brought up housing very much in the past few months, but they brought it up a lot last week, and that is fine. It is good to bring up the issues of the day, especially this one, in the House whenever there is an opportunity, but the Conservatives have tried to lay the blame of the homelessness crisis on the federal government, as if the federal government caused it.
     Let us be clear on one thing. It is our responsibility to deal with homelessness. It is our responsibility to engage constructively and co-operatively with not-for-profit organizations that want to be part of the solution, with provincial governments that want to be part of the solution and with municipal governments that want to be right there working with us. There are many examples of where that can work and is working. I salute the efforts of Premier David Eby in British Columbia. I salute the efforts of mayors across the country who are part of this, and not-for-profit organizations. However, the opposition, by simplifying the debate, actually is not contributing to it in any meaningful way.
    If opposition members actually go to the encampments that exist across the land, leave the camera at home and not politicize this issue, and talk to the people in encampments, they would find that years of trauma underpin the inhabitants' reality, trauma in the form of sexual or physical physical abuse that led to a mental health crisis has led to homelessness, or it is the pandemic. The pandemic and its impact with respect to increased costs and the lack of supply that we find has pushed many of our fellow citizens to encampments as well.
    What do we do in that context? We can either politically profit off the unfortunate and unacceptable circumstances faced by people or we can put tangible solutions on the table to address the crisis. That is why this government has allocated $250 million in the most recent budget to address homelessness, specifically encampments. There is nothing from the other side, zero.
    Finally, if the Conservatives want to get serious about housing, let us work together. Are they capable of that? I do not think they are. I think the other parties might be, but I do not think the Conservatives are. When I hear the Leader of the Opposition describe co-op housing, and let us remember 250,000 Canadians live in co-ops across the country, as Soviet-style housing, that is unacceptable.
    I see continued efforts to obstruct the government's agenda to get more homes built. I see, as I said, the fact that the Leader of the Opposition does not want to lift taxes, GST specifically, off the construction of purpose-built rentals for the middle class. At the same time, and maybe it is not surprising, when he was housing minister, he was responsible for the construction of six affordable homes; he lost 800,000 units.

  (1110)  

    The Conservatives do not care about housing. They care about profiting politically so that they can add to their fundraising or add to whatever it is over there. They are not serious. We are serious.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise this morning to speak to Bill C-356, an act respecting payments by Canada and requirements in respect of housing and to amend certain other acts, introduced by the leader of the official opposition.
     On reading Bill C‑356, it is obvious that the bill blames the entire housing shortage on municipalities, but this crisis would not be nearly as serious as it is now if the federal government had not decided, under Harper, to withdraw funding for the construction of social housing.
     The bill seeks to exercise control over the municipalities by preventing them from taking measures to protect their farmland, from setting a minimum percentage of social housing, or from protecting their built heritage, on pain of having their funding slashed, including funding for public transit development. This bill denies any federal responsibility in the matter and confirms that the Conservative Party will do nothing to address the crisis if it comes into power.
     It is also a bill that offers no solutions. The market is not lacking in luxury condos. What is lacking is housing that people can afford. That is where the government should focus its efforts. This notion, however, is completely absent from the Conservative leader's vision. Bill C‑356 gives developers the keys to the city so they can build more condos that rent for $3,000 a month or more.
     In short, the bill's solution to the housing crisis is to let the big real estate developers do anything, anywhere and anyhow. The populist solution offered by the bill ignores the fact that people do not only live in housing, but also in neighbourhoods and cities. That means they need infrastructure for water and sewers, for roads, and for public and private services, such as schools and grocery stores. Cities have a duty to ensure that their residents are well served and to lay down conditions.
     This is also a bill that will cause bickering. As members know, since 1973, Quebec's Act respecting the Ministère du Conseil exécutif has prevented the federal government from dealing directly with Quebec municipalities. The Canada-Quebec infrastructure framework agreement reflects this reality, stipulating that the federal government has no right to intervene in the establishment of priorities. What Bill C‑356 would do is tear up this agreement. Although it took 27 months to negotiate the agreement, Bill C‑356 sets the stage for two years of bickering, during which all projects will be paralyzed. In the middle of a housing crisis, this would be downright disastrous.
     If a municipality's housing starts do not increase as required by Ottawa, Bill C‑356 would cut its gas tax transfer and public transit transfer by 1% for every percentage point shortfall from the target the bill unilaterally sets. For example, in Quebec, housing starts are down 60% this year rather than up 15%, so transfers would have been reduced by about 75% if Bill C‑356 had been in effect. That is unacceptable.
     Bill C‑356 goes even further by withholding funding for public transportation if cities do not achieve the 15% target it unilaterally sets. This policy would encourage car use, since transit would only be built after the fact, not in conjunction with new housing developments.
     It is clear that Bill C‑356 is not a good solution to the housing crisis in Quebec and across Canada. As members know, the housing crisis currently plaguing Quebec, which was once known as one of the most affordable provinces, is not confined to large cities. It has been a problem in my region for more than 15 years. It has resulted in a shortage of housing units and restricted access to affordable housing.
     In my riding, the housing crisis affects both availability and affordability. Prices are also limiting access to housing in the regions. Although the housing crisis initially affected mostly low-income households, it is now increasingly affecting companies' ability to recruit and retain employees.
     I cannot help thinking of Nunavik, in my riding. Half of all Inuit in Nunavik live in overcrowded housing, and almost a third live in homes requiring major repairs. This overcrowding created serious issues during the pandemic. We even had to bar access to the communities to protect them from exposure to the virus.
     The housing crisis in southern Quebec is nothing compared with the situation of Inuit communities in Nunavik, in the north. It is not unusual for five, six, seven or even eight people to live in a two-bedroom unit. If one of them has social issues, it impacts the entire family.

  (1115)  

     The housing problem in Nunavik is nothing new. There has been a housing shortage since 1990, when the federal government stopped funding construction for five years. Nunavik currently needs around 800 more social housing units.
     The housing shortage in Nunavik has also been a long-standing obstacle for students. Its impact on students who live in cramped accommodations can be severe, since they have no place to study or do their homework in peace. In addition to affecting young people, the housing shortage and lack of infrastructure in Nunavik are having a significant impact on every aspect of education, notably the working conditions of local staff, the ability of school boards to hire and retain teachers, and the ability to offer specialized programs.
     Students are not the only ones affected by the housing crisis. Entire families are impacted by toxic cohabitation. This is not something that is tracked in housing statistics, and it is often neglected in analyses of the crisis. It refers to couples who are separated but continue to live together because they cannot find another place to live. It also refers to households in which one member develops an alcohol or drug addiction, which can compromise the safety of the other members of the household.
     Bill C-356 will certainly not remedy all these problems. However, the Bloc Québécois already has a vast array of potential solutions to suggest.
     Let me name a few: that the federal government gradually reinvest in social, community and truly affordable housing until it reaches 1% of its total annual revenue to provide a consistent and predictable funding stream instead of ad hoc agreements; that all federal surplus priorities be repurposed for social, community and deeply affordable housing as a priority in an effort to address the housing crisis; that a tax be placed on real estate speculation to counter artificial overheating of the housing market; that the home buyers' plan be reformed to account for the increasingly different realities and family situations of Quebec households; that the federal government undertake a financial restructuring of programs under the national housing strategy to create an acquisition fund; that Quebec receive its fair share of funding, without conditions, from federal programs to combat homelessness, while also calling for the funding released in the last year of the pandemic to be made permanent.
     The Leader of the Opposition should have based his bill and its wording on these sound proposals by the Bloc Québécois. A simple transfer to the Quebec government with no conditions attached would be ideal. Had this been done in 2017, Quebec could have built and renovated a number of social housing projects three years earlier. It certainly would have mitigated the housing crisis we are facing today. Unconditional transfers would make the funding process much simpler. In contrast, the various agreements add to the associated red tape and increase the wait time for actually collecting the sums in question. I would point out that the programs enacted by the Quebec government are often innovative and effective.
     It must also be said that the Bloc Québécois has reiterated the need for federal funding to target first and foremost all the myriad needs for affordable social housing, as this is where the most pressing needs are.
     Bill C-356 is not the way to go if we want to build housing and cut red tape. That is why we must vote against Bill C-356.

  (1120)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, Rafah experienced the worst horrors of war again last night with atrocities that defy humanity. As human beings from across the globe protested for the terror to end, those in power did not stop it. Shame on every leader who has allowed this to continue. Innocent lives have been taken and maimed, and the scars of the children will not be healed. The trauma of war is now imprinted in their DNA and will be a reoccurring trauma. The last eight months have been unthinkable trauma for Palestinians and Jews in communities all across the globe. Their histories will be forever scarred by the inhumanity of man. No one wins in war.
    I implore the Canadian government to stand up for humanity and peace. The drumbeat of war is spreading across the world to the point that the leader of the United Kingdom is now proposing mandatory conscription. There are nine days—
     Mr. Speaker, I am not entirely sure how this relates to the private member's bill before us right now, so I am wondering if you could help us out here.
     The Chair has been very tolerant of the beginning of the hon. member's speech, but the Chair would appreciate it if the member would draw all this together with the private member's bill before the House at this time, Bill C-356.
    Mr. Speaker, there are nine days until the 80th commemoration of D-Day, and it seems that the leaders of this world have learned nothing.
    Now, what we are here to debate today is the Conservatives' gatekeeper bill. The Conservatives do not like gatekeepers, unless it is them. The leader of the Conservative Party is the largest threat to Canada's freedoms since Confederation. A little known fact is that the leader of the Conservatives and I went to the same high school. Yes, I am a Calgarian. When I read this bill, it reminded me to revisit the far-right manifesto written in Alberta by the far-right mentors of the Leader of the Opposition, called the “firewall”. It lays out a plan to gatekeep Alberta against Canada, punish those who believe in a strong, united Canada and reward those who will adopt and manifest its doctrine of power with exclusion.
    As we speak, Danielle Smith, the leader of the UCP and the Conservative Premier of Alberta, is passing laws that come directly from this manifesto, making it possible to throw out municipal governments' decisions, throw out municipal governments she does not like, limit academic freedoms by gatekeeping the research funds and destroy the Canada pension plan to keep people down in retirement. The firewall manifesto envisions that decision-making processes that affect people's lives and freedoms—
    The hon. member for Lethbridge is rising on a point of order.
     Mr. Speaker, I understand that there is a great deal of latitude in terms of how we address different speeches in this House. The issue at hand right now is housing, Bill C-356, a private member's bill brought forward by the hon. Leader of the Opposition.
    The member is currently talking about provincial politics. That does not seem to fit within the scope of this bill. Furthermore, she is talking about some far alt-right conspiracy theory. Again, I am not sure how that fits within the scope of this bill.
    I would ask you to make a ruling, Mr. Speaker, that would be most appropriate for this.

  (1125)  

    The hon. member for Port Moody—Coquitlam is talking about housing in general. The Chair has been pretty tolerant in terms of the latitude.
    I will invite the hon. member for Port Moody—Coquitlam to make her point on the bill that is before the House at this time.
     Mr. Speaker, the firewall manifesto envisions that decision-making processes that affect people's lives and freedoms flow through premiers' offices. This is exactly what the leader of the Conservatives wants to do when he says he will use the notwithstanding clause to pass his laws. The NDP is here to stop him. This right-wing ideology of Conservatives imposing their will on women and all Canadians is dangerous and serves only the corporate class who have controlled federal governments since Confederation.
    This reality is so obviously true in housing. Governments at every level have overseen the financialization of housing. Instead of protecting our social housing stock for people, they have encouraged upzoning and gentrification in the name of density. Density dreams belong to developers, who have made millions and billions of dollars off the displacement of low- and middle-income Canadians. The financialization of housing is only working for the wealthy and leaving people behind. The well-being of persons with disabilities and seniors is sacrificed to millionaire CEOs.
    Liberal and Conservative governments have ensured that truly affordable social housing has been sacrificed to create an asset class for the wealthiest people and companies across the globe. Right now in my riding of Port Moody—Coquitlam, hundreds of affordable townhomes and apartments are being emptied and are sitting empty. There are entire blocks of homes boarded up, ready for redevelopment, and some of these homes have been empty for years. Developers choose not to fill them so they do not have to spend one cent on maintenance or pay tenants out when the time comes to begin their redevelopment. This is wrong.
    During this housing crisis, governments have allowed wealthy developers to hoard housing, allowing perfectly good homes to sit empty to protect the profits of corporations over the well-being of residents. High-end sales centres for luxury condos exist in every neighbourhood across this country, right beside where low- and middle-income Canadians have been displaced. These corporate density dreams are not focused on local buyers; they are marketing their luxury product overseas. When a traveller arrives in the international terminal of YVR, they are enticed by posters of luxury housing to attract international investment.
    The current housing crisis is a crisis of negligence in protecting precious housing supply that people call home. I hear the calls for supply in the community, but this is not what this bill is talking about. I need to clarify what that supply call needs to be: affordable housing supply. The federal government must put a laser focus on maintaining what is left of housing co-ops, purpose-built rentals and not-for-profit housing in the country. It has to put that before investment. The federal government needs to immediately reinvest in social housing, not in capital loans, which it so feebly continues to bring forward, but ongoing stable operating funds to get people housed now.
    The need to act cannot wait, and the solution is not Conservative gatekeeping. Conservative policies are the ones that caused this problem. We cannot have one more person lose their home because they have been displaced by corporate capitalism.
    Let me reiterate how Canadians got into a situation where homelessness is growing, rents are skyrocketing and property purchase is out of reach for an entire generation. Conservative and Liberal governments encouraged the financialization of housing instead of protecting our social housing stock. They encouraged upzoning and gentrification in the name of density and profits. Density dreams are for developers. The financialization of housing is only working for the wealthy, and the most impacted right now are renters. We are losing rental homes at a rate of 15:1. For every new unit the government prides itself on building, an unaffordable new unit, it has not protected 15 other renters, who now have to find themselves evicted or demovicted from their homes.
    The government must immediately act to end the financialization of housing before more Canadians lose their homes, before more children are displaced from their schools and their friends and before more seniors lose services as they are forced out of the community in which they live. I can guarantee that what the Conservatives have proposed in this bill would not do that. As a city councillor in Coquitlam, I saw how these types of policies played out, with the trading of density happening in the corner offices, while seniors, persons with disabilities and single moms were losing their homes.

  (1130)  

    I am going to tell the story about 500 Foster, a redevelopment in the city of Coquitlam. I went to see those folks before a public hearing, only to find out they received a letter from the developer, even before upzoning, telling them to start moving out. There was a single mother with a child who has a disability and a senior over 70, begging me to find him what he called an “old person's home” to move into. This is going on in every community of this country.
    I will close by saying that New Democrats that know housing is a human right and that we will continue to stand up for people and block the harmful ideologies of the corporate Conservatives, who are attempting to roll back the clock so that the Leader of the Opposition can continue to act like a high school bully.
     Mr. Speaker, I was relieved, when this debate began, to hear the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Housing describe that we are in a housing crisis because, of course, a year ago, the Minister of Housing could not even use the word “crisis”; he could not be brought to do it.
    Something obviously happened over the course of the summer, and the Prime Minister's Office woke up and recognized that we are in fact in a housing crisis and that the use of the word “crisis” does make sense. We know we are in a crisis because we see the results of what is going on. Rent has doubled in the last nine years. Mortgages have doubled in the last couple of years. Home prices have doubled. Mortgage rates have skyrocketed. Inflation is out of control. There are too few homes for too many people.
    It is absolutely a supply crisis, as the parliamentary secretary mentioned. We see this with young people who are forced to stay at home and live in their parents' basements. They are not starting their lives as they normally would. The number of homeless people in this country continues to grow. We see tent cities in communities large and small all across Canada now. The cost of lodging, rent and mortgages is impacting affordability generally.
    On top of that, there is the carbon tax. The carbon tax applies to the materials used to build homes, so the materials for homes are getting more expensive. Buying food and heating those homes are also getting more expensive. More people are struggling to maintain the homes they have.
    We know that it is a supply issue, but it is also a housing affordability crisis. We have to think about what impacts the cost of a home. We know those materials I mentioned, like the two-by-fours and those kinds of things, cost more money. The carbon tax is applied to the production of those two-by-fours, to the delivery of materials to job sites and to everything.
    There is a shortage of skilled trades and labour right now, which is adding to the problem as well. We need to make sure that we are attracting people to this country who can help us build homes. That is not really happening. The approval processes at the local levels are also slowing things down and are adding costs to the process of building homes. There are also taxes, fees and government charges.
    Let us talk about that for a second. Who makes more money on housing than anybody else? The question is rhetorical, but Canadians would be horrified to know that it is not the big, greedy developers I hear the NDP talk about; it is government. In fact, between 2013 and 2023, the costs have gone up dramatically. The land value in this country has gone up about 34%, and that is due to the fact that we have a lot of land. We have a lot of land in this country, and there should be no reason that we have trouble building homes. Construction costs in that 10-year period have gone up 122%. That is the cost of materials. However, what have gone up the most are Government charges and taxes. From 2013 to 2023, government charges have gone up almost 250%. Those are charges at local levels. The HST charge on houses has gone up 221%. That means nobody makes more money on housing than governments. About 33% of the cost of the average home in this country is government.
    What makes up those fees? HST is a big part of it; there is no question about that. However, municipalities are absolutely on the front lines of this situation, and they are also one of the biggest culprits of the problem. At the local level, we have infrastructure charges and development charges. Those are charged are per lot, and they can be staggeringly expensive. We have planning approval fees, parkland and parking fees. We often have school charges that are charged by the school board. We have density bonusing fees in some cases, building permit fees, and water and sewer connections fees. There are all kinds of fees.
    At the provincial level, there are land transfer taxes when a home gets sold. There are sales taxes, like the GST and the PST. There is mortgage insurance, if someone cannot put down more than 20% on a home. These fees add up to over $200,000 on average. They are all government charges that go right to the bottom line of owning a house. Now we know why house prices just keep getting more expensive; it is that the government makes so much money. The beauty of the Leader of the Opposition's private member's bill, which is actually a very simple bill, is that it tells the municipalities on the front lines of this, which charge the biggest fees, that they just need to get the job done.

  (1135)  

    The Liberals are happy to talk about their housing accelerator fund, which I am happy to take a moment to talk about right now. The parliamentary secretary was hopeful that I would learn something from it. I have learned something from it. It is a joke. That is the truth. It is a $4 billion fund in the context of a government that is borrowing money. This $4 billion is borrowed money that it is giving to municipalities based on the promise that those municipalities will be better.
     I asked to see the agreements between the municipalities and the federal government several months ago. I did not get them. The best I could come up with was searching through each of these municipalities' staff reports to council and some of the media reports, which have been very interesting. All of them have language such as “we will do this” or “we will do that”. They say that they will permit higher density, will look at ways to improve the process or will think about things. There is nothing definitive in any of the staff reports to council. They have been adopted, but not much of it has actually been done.
    I will focus on something very specific. The Minister of Housing is incredibly proud of this housing accelerator fund. He is proud because he is focused very much on allowing four residential units as of right in any zone across the city. That means you could turn your single-family home into a fourplex without having to go to the municipality to get approval to do it. He thinks this is some kind of silver bullet, I guess, because the City of Windsor said it was not going to do that, but it had a proposal to do higher density around transit, where it made sense. It had a proposal to permit fourplexes around the university, for example, and things like that. It would have permitted thousands of units, but that was not good enough because the government wants fourplexes as of right.
     The City of Toronto has had this rule in place now for just over a year, having fourplexes as of right. This is the great panacea the Minister of Housing is so proud of, having fourplexes as of right everywhere. Since May last year, when the government adopted this, there have been 74 applications in the City of Toronto, so clearly that is not the silver bullet the Minister of Housing thought it was. However, the Liberals sure have gone all over the country doing photo ops and press releases, being so proud of the $4 billion they are going to spend on the promise of doing better, when they are not getting the job done.
    On top of the affordability issues we face, the housing accelerator fund money is going to cities that are increasing their charges. Can members imagine, in an affordability crisis, that the Liberals are sending money to cities that are increasing charges? Case in point, the City of Ottawa is going to get $178 million. It just approved an increase to its development charges by 11%. It will now cost an extra $55,000 on a house in Ottawa. The City of Toronto got $471 million. It increased its development charges this year by 21%. It is making housing more expensive in a housing affordability crisis, and what it got out of the Liberal government is a cheerleading squad.
     The Leader of the Opposition is not proposing to tell the cities how to plan what kind of housing they need, nor how to do their municipal zoning and approvals process; rather, Conservatives are saying that government needs to get out of the way. We will deliver that kind of result by tying federal infrastructure money to cities with results. It is the fundamental difference between a government that is long on photo ops, talking points and being proud of its parade, and a government in waiting that would deliver results and would pay for those results. There would be no more promises. Canadians deserve results; they are tired of the photo ops and the vacuous grandstanding. They need results. If the Leader of the Opposition becomes prime minister, they would get them.

  (1140)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is a bit much, listening to the member. He was the mayor of Huntsville, and he is talking about the costs and the percentage increases in terms of government costs. When he was the mayor, development charges went up 20%.
    Mr. Scott Aitchison: That is a lie. That is not true. We cut them.
     Mr. Kevin Lamoureux: Mr. Speaker, it will be interesting to see. The member says it is not true, but that is the number I have been provided with. We will find out what is the truth. It might upset him, and justifiably so.
    Let us take a look at the bill itself. Imagine the leader of the Conservative Party is trying to give the false impression that he actually cares about housing in Canada. What did he do when he was the minister responsible for housing in Canada, when we lost literally hundreds of thousands of housing units that went from low-income affordable to much more expensive? It was hundreds of thousands of rental units. When he was the minister of housing, and I need two hands on which to count this, he actually built six low-income housing units, and it cost him millions and millions of dollars to do that.
    Now he comes in today as if he is going to be the one who fixes the housing issues in the Canada. He has to be kidding. How is that possible? Let us take a look at the record of the Conservative Party. Not only was the leader of Conservative Party a disaster when he was the minister of housing, but the Conservative Party also abandoned housing.
    Contrasting that to today, there is a Prime Minister and a government that are working with municipalities and provinces, recognizing the importance of housing and investing not only time but also hundreds of millions, going into billions, of dollars into housing. We understand it is an issue of fairness. We must think about the millennials and generation X, and ensure that the housing dreams of Canadians will be there and alive into the future.
    We have a government that cares about housing, in contrast to a government under Harper and the former minister of housing who is today's leader of the Conservative Party that did not care about the housing in our country. The facts are there. That is the history. Let us contrast that to the billions of dollars when the Prime Minister came up with the first-ever national housing strategy years ago, and the types of financial assistance we are providing to non-profit housing, whether the habitats or the infill homes, as well as supporting housing co-ops and non-profits. These are the type of investments we are putting into housing. That is not to mention working with provinces and municipalities.
    There was a time when all political parties did not support housing, whether they were New Democrats, Liberals or Conservatives, in the early 1990s. We would have to go back generations before we found a prime minister and a government that have invested so much energy in ensuring that the federal government plays an important role in housing. We are demonstrating that and have been doing so ever since we tabled the national housing strategy years ago. The housing strategy is more than just paper; we have invested hundreds of millions, going into billions, of dollars.
    We are working with governments at all levels, and non-profits, to ensure that affordable housing will continue to be a reality for Canadians. That is something we are doing in a tangible way. That is why I am totally amazed that today's leader of the Conservative Party is trying to give the impression he is.

  (1145)  

     The leader of the Conservative Party goes around Canada talking about how Canada is broken. He amplifies the fears and anxieties of people in regard to housing. Yes, it is a serious issue. While the leader of the Conservative Party goes around speaking to the extreme right, the Prime Minister has been working with the federal minister, along with the provinces and municipalities. A good example of that happened not long ago, maybe two months or eight weeks ago, when the Prime Minister was in the city of Winnipeg.
     In Winnipeg, the Premier of Manitoba, the provincial minister, the federal minister, the Prime Minister and the Mayor of Winnipeg talked about how Manitoba is moving forward in dealing with the issue of affordable housing. The Mayor of Winnipeg, along with me and others, last December, talked about how the federal government is investing and encouraging municipalities to build more homes, not only encouraging but also providing financial support. We have seen cooperation in the province of Manitoba.
    It is not just governments but also organizations. I often make reference to Habitat for Humanity, which across Canada does phenomenal work in ensuring that homes are affordable. Individuals who would otherwise never get the opportunity to have a home are getting a home. Over the years in Manitoba alone, we are talking about 600 homes. The contributions it has made to Winnipeg North, I would suggest, are very significant. From a non-profit point of view, they are probably second to no other.
     The current government has not just opened its eyes, as the Conservative leader has said, on the issue of housing. We have been dealing with housing for years now, recognizing that it is not just Ottawa's responsibility. Ottawa has a responsibility to lead and be there, to assist where we can and provide resources where we can. We have been doing just that.
    Contrast that to the attitudes that come from the leader of the Conservative Party or from the Conservative Party in general and the extreme right. What do they talk about? Conservatives criticize the municipalities. They argue in terms of having money and being prepared to give money, but such-and-such things must be done, and if they are not done, then there will not be any money given. There is no sense of cooperation coming from the Conservative Party, none whatsoever. It is either the Conservative way or the highway when it comes to the development of housing.
    It is only in the last two years that I have actually started to hear Conservatives talk about housing, unlike the government, which has been talking about housing in terms of the housing accelerator fund for purpose-built apartments. Conservatives oppose that fund. Talking about the GST, the Conservatives would like to get rid of it. Some provinces like the federal policy so much that they are doing the same thing with the provincial sales tax. The Conservatives do not believe that the GST is a good policy either. Conservatives talk about the federal lands, but we have been talking about the federal lands for years. We have actually taken actions on that.
    Think of Kapyong Barracks as an example, in the city of Winnipeg. With respect to development charges, we are funding literally billions of dollars to support provinces and cities while ensuring that the price of housing remains lower than it would be without that sort of fund. Again, we are looking for cooperation. There is $250 million in the budget towards fighting homelessness; of course, the Conservatives are voting against that also.
     The Conservatives seem to believe they have a nice shiny plan tied up in the bill before us. Welcome to the game. However, the Conservative Party has no credibility on the issue of housing, and that is the bottom line. As the Liberal government continues to demonstrate that it genuinely cares, the Conservative Party focuses on cuts. That is the difference: Liberals care; Conservatives cut.

  (1150)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, Bill C-356 reiterates the Conservative leader's talking points about the housing crisis.
     According to him, the municipalities are responsible for the housing crisis by tying up real estate development projects in supposedly needless red tape. One of the Conservatives' proposals is to set a target for increasing the number of housing starts. Beginning on April 1, 2024, the target would increase by 15% each year.
     Bill C-356 places the entire blame for the housing shortage on the municipalities, even though the current crisis would not have been this severe had Ottawa not pulled out of funding for social housing under the Harper government.
     Bill C-356 would in effect put municipalities under outside control by preventing them from taking measures to ensure a minimum of social housing or from protecting their built heritage, under penalty of having their funding reduced—including funding for the development of public transit.
     In my riding of La Pointe-de-l'Île, I have met met many times with seniors, families and community associations and that has helped me realize the enormity of this tragedy. Expensive condos are already largely available on the market. What is sorely lacking is affordable housing. The resulting mad scramble for rentals betrays people's growing sense of despair. They feel that the government is doing nothing to help them.
     The pressing issue is not to continue encouraging big real estate developers to participate in this frantic race, but rather to address the housing shortage affecting most low-income people. The Bloc Québécois has already made a wide range of proposals and interventions. For example, it is proposing that the federal government reorganize its funding for the various programs under the national housing strategy to create an acquisition fund. This kind of fund would enable co-operatives and non-profit organizations to acquire apartment buildings currently available on the private market, keep them affordable and convert them into social, community or deeply affordable housing units. For example, in my riding of La Pointe-de-l'Île, Corporation Mainbourg, in association with the Quebec government and the City of Montreal, acquired Domaine La Rousselière. This is a 720-unit complex that will be protected from the speculative market to ensure its long-term affordability will be maintained.
     The Bloc Québécois has long said that the provinces and municipalities are in the best position to know the housing needs on their territory. It is not the federal government's place to interfere. I would remind members that housing is exclusively under the jurisdiction of Quebec and the provinces. Since 1973, Quebec law has prevented the federal government from negotiating directly with municipalities, and Bill C-356 would tear up that agreement. It would create a series of conflicts. It took two years to reach the agreement, and we cannot afford another two-year delay that will bring all projects to a halt. All of the interference brought in by Bill C-356 means that this irresponsible bill would create a breach that would foster sustained conflict and certainly paralyze every project, right in the middle of a housing crisis.
    I would remind members that we welcomed the $3.7-billion Canada-Quebec housing agreement signed in 2020. Half of that money came from the federal government, but the negotiations took three years. The funding that was supposed to go to Quebec was blocked until the two levels of government came to an agreement. Had that happened in 2017, Quebec could have built and renovated many social and affordable housing projects since then, which would have helped mitigate the current housing crisis.
    In closing, the Bloc Québécois deplores the federal government's constant need to spend its money, interfere in Quebec's jurisdictions and tell Quebec how to spend its money. We are asking that the federal government transfer its share with no strings attached. That is why we will be voting against Bill C-356.

  (1155)  

[English]

    The hon. Leader of the Opposition has five minutes for his right of reply.
     Madam Speaker, after nine years, the Prime Minister is not worth the cost of housing, which has doubled since he took office. It is hard to believe, but on my last day as housing minister, in November 2015, the average rent in Canada's 10 biggest cities for a one-bedroom was $973. Can members believe that? It is now $1,893.
    The average down payment needed for a new home then was $22,000; it is almost quaint. Now it is almost $50,000. The average mortgage payment needed on a brand new home was just $1,400. It is now almost $3,500. It took about 39% of the average family paycheque to make monthly payments on the average home. That number has now risen to 64%, a record-smashing total, meaning that one would not be able to eat, clothe oneself, own a vehicle or do anything other than pay taxes and one's mortgage if one is the average family buying the average home.
    The Prime Minister did not care much about any of this until he started crashing in the polls, and then he panicked and appointed a big-talking housing minister to take the helm of the ministry of housing. This minister had already, according to Liberal admission, caused immigration to run out of control. Since that time, we have seen a flurry of photo ops and new government programs designed to generate media headlines. However, predictably, these headlines have not reduced housing costs or increased home building. Home building is down this year. The federal housing agency says that it will be down next year and the year after that. Rent and mortgage payments continue to rise.
    That is because the government, under the Prime Minister, is building bureaucracy rather than homes. My common-sense plan is the building homes, not bureaucracies act. It seeks to provide exactly what it says: less bureaucracy, more homebuilding.
    In a nutshell, here is my common-sense plan to build the homes: First, we would require municipalities to permit 15% more homebuilding as a condition of getting their federal funds; second, we would sell off thousands of acres of federal land and buildings, so they can be used to build homes; and third, we would axe taxes on homebuilding. In this plan, we would get rid of the carbon tax, the sales tax and other taxes that block homebuilding.
    This is a fundamentally different approach than what we see from the current Liberal government. What it currently does with its so-called housing accelerator program is to fund box-ticking. It puts together a bunch of boxes that municipalities have to tick for procedural and bureaucratic reforms. Once the boxes are ticked, the money is sent and we move on. The problem is that, even if those are the right boxes to tick and the municipality ultimately ticks them, when the feds turn their backs, the city can then put in place a bunch of new obstacles. For example, municipalities such as Ottawa and Toronto have actually jacked up development charges after getting federal housing accelerator funds. The City of Winnipeg got federal funding and then blocked 2,000 homes right next to a federal transit station.
    That is why trying to manage process will get one nowhere. When one pays for bureaucratic box-ticking, that is what one gets. However, people cannot live in a box ticked by a bureaucrat; they have to live in a home. That is why my plan would pay for results. It simply requires that municipalities permit 15% more homes per year. If they hit the target, they keep their federal money. If they beat the target, they get a bonus. If they miss the target, they pay a fine. They are paid on a per completion basis, just as a realtor or a home builder is paid per home built. We want to pay for keys in doors and families sitting in a beautiful new kitchen, enjoying their dinner. We want families to be housed, healthy and safe, with money in the bank. That is the result we are going to pay for. Now let us bring it home.

  (1200)  

     The question is on the motion.

[Translation]

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

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I request a recorded division.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 93, the division stands deferred until Wednesday, May 29, at the expiry of the time provided for oral questions.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[Translation]

Canada–Newfoundland and Labrador Atlantic Accord Implementation Act

Bill C‑49—Time Allocation Motion 

    That in relation to Bill C‑49, An Act to amend the Canada–Newfoundland and Labrador Atlantic Accord Implementation Act and the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, not more than five further hours shall be allotted to the consideration at third reading stage of the said bill; and
    That, at the expiry of the five hours provided for consideration at third 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.

[English]

    Pursuant to Standing Order 67.1, there will now be a 30-minute question period. I invite hon. members who wish to ask questions to rise in their places or use the “raise hand” function so that the Chair can have some idea of the number of members who wish to participate in this question period.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader.

  (1205)  

     Madam Speaker, I can appreciate just how critically important the legislation is to Atlantic Canada in many different ways. It is about economic opportunities. I know my Atlantic colleagues are very anxious to see the legislation pass. I also understand that there are provinces that are waiting for the legislation to pass because of the mere necessity of seeing the provincial legislation ultimately pass.
    Could the minister amplify how important it is that the legislation get through sooner, as opposed to later, because we have provincial governments, and even different political parties, that want to see the legislation pass quickly?
    Madam Speaker, it is extremely important that the legislation move forward. As folks who understand how the Atlantic accords work would know, we worked on this in lockstep with the governments of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador: every word, every period and every comma. It requires mirror legislation to be introduced in both legislatures after it actually goes through the parliamentary process here in Ottawa.
    I will quote the two premiers, in terms of their anticipation of this act. Premier Furey said, “Newfoundland and Labrador is perfectly positioned in the green energy transition. Part of that transition requires offshore wind so our province can become a world leader in green hydrogen. We continue to support the Government of Canada on Bill C-49 and urge the other federal parties to do the same.”
     Premier Houston of Nova Scotia said, “Bill C-49 is a necessary...step in unlocking our energy potential. There will be many steps along the road but we are hopeful that Bill C-49 passes so we can get started.”
     Madam Speaker, we have heard a lot of concern from Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as Nova Scotia, over the fact that the offshore industry is taking off and could leave Canada behind. We are the only Atlantic nation that does not have an offshore wind industry. We know the United States is moving ahead with substantive investments.
    It is essential to get the legislation through, which is why New Democrats have agreed to support this extraordinary move. Throughout the committee hearings, the Conservatives said again and again that they were going to oppose this because it is about clean energy, even though, in Nova Scotia, there is no offshore oil work being done at all. The communities have asked us to get the bill through.
    However, without the tax credit incentives to get these projects off the ground, we are not any further ahead. We see that Biden has managed to get the offshore industry up and running and is putting the tax credits in place. The states are going to leave us in the dust if we do not move quickly on this. Could my colleague speak about the ITCs?
    Madam Speaker, for all the reasons that my hon. colleague articulated, it is certainly important that we move forward.
    Other countries are moving, and Canada also needs to move. We do not have a regulatory structure to enable offshore wind at the present time. We need to get that in place to enable the development of a hydrogen industry that will help our friends and allies in Europe to decarbonize and improve their energy security. I was recently in Germany and met with the vice-chancellor. We are very hopeful that we will be able to move forward with Germany, but we certainly need to have the regulatory structure in place.
    We also need the investment tax credits, and we are certainly anxious to move the relevant bills through the House to ensure that they are, in fact, in place.
    Madam Speaker, FFAW-Unifor representatives were at committee, representing 14,000 fishing industry stakeholders in Newfoundland and Labrador and a number of stakeholder organizations from the Maritimes. They wanted a framework built into the bill for meaningful consultation and for compensation where spatial requirements just do not work for the wind energy industry, where it competes against the fishing industry. We worked directly in consultation with Unifor's lawyers and created nine amendments, which put forward exactly what the fishing industry wanted.
    Could the minister tell us how many of the amendments made it into the legislation that we are going to be voting on?

  (1210)  

    Madam Speaker, as my hon. colleague knows, the legislation was drafted in collaboration with both provincial governments. Obviously, they are very concerned about the perspectives of fish harvesters, as are we. Fishing activities can coexist alongside the development of an offshore wind industry. We just need to look at the example of the United Kingdom and many other countries around the world.
    Proposed projects will have to go through a regional assessment that is ongoing now. That will certainly include significant input from fish harvesters as part of that process. In the development of the legislation, officials have engaged along the way with One Ocean, which I believe includes the FFAW, as well as the CNSOPB Fisheries Advisory Committee.
    The views of fish harvesters are and will continue to be very important, but it is certainly within the bounds of what is being done in many countries around the world that a healthy fishing industry and healthy renewable energy can coexist.
    Madam Speaker, in the riding of Waterloo, there are a lot of connections to people in all provinces and territories, including the Maritimes, the east coast and Newfoundland and Labrador. I would like to hear from the minister about how the legislation would actually connect to the economic prosperity of Canada today and leading into the future.
    This is something that is on the minds of constituents. They would like the legislation to go forward, but it is also important for them to understand how it would actually work when it comes to the economic abilities and prosperity for the country. How would this work with the government's plan?
     Madam Speaker, certainly this is integral as part of building an economy that is going to create jobs and economic prosperity in the future. That starts with actually accepting the scientific reality of climate change, which is something the folks across the way seem to have great difficulty doing. At the end of the day, climate change is real; it is a scientific reality. One needs to actually found our economic strategy on looking to seize the economic opportunities that will be enabled through the transition to a low-carbon future. That is net-zero petrochemical facilities in Alberta. That is ultra-low-carbon potash facilities in Saskatchewan. That is nuclear development in Ontario. That very much is the development of an offshore hydrogen industry that would help to ship hydrogen to our friends and allies in Europe. It would be an enormous economic enabler for Nova Scotia and for Newfoundland and Labrador. It has been strongly endorsed by both provincial governments, including the Conservative Premier of Nova Scotia. It is time the Conservative Party simply got out of the way and let us build the economy of the future.
    Madam Speaker, it is no surprise to anybody that the Conservatives are blocking, yet again, legislation that would make a difference in the lives of people. We saw them oppose dental care, even though 100,000 seniors have already had access to a dental care program that the NDP forced the government to put into place. They have opposed pharmacare. They have opposed anything that has a net benefit.
     It does not surprise me either that the Conservatives are opposing a bill that would provide benefits to Atlantic Canada, because the member for Carleton is on the record making disparaging, negative and derogatory comments about Atlantic Canada. It is no surprise to me either that Conservatives are opposing clean energy. That is really the wave of tomorrow, but Conservatives, because they want to drag Canada back to the 19th century, absolutely refuse to accept any portion of a clean energy strategy that would create potentially hundreds of thousands of jobs across the country. Therefore, I am not surprised. Is my colleague surprised by the Conservatives', yet again, blocking important legislation?

  (1215)  

     Madam Speaker, unfortunately, I am not surprised. As I said a minute ago, having a thoughtful approach to an economy that will create jobs and economic prosperity in every province and territory in this country requires, in this day and age, an acceptance of the fundamental reality of climate change. It requires having a plan to address the climate crisis. It requires, then, looking to seize the opportunities that will be enabled through the transition to a low-carbon future.
     Unfortunately, the Conservative Party does not believe in climate change. Its plan is, effectively, to let the planet burn. It has no relevant economic plan for the future. Therefore, no, I am not surprised. Unfortunately, I am not surprised.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, the current debate deals with the fact that the House is being muzzled for the work that must be done on an important piece of legislation for the Canadian economy, particularly for the Atlantic provinces.
     It should be noted that this bill was tabled a year ago and that the entire process unfolded normally, particularly in committee. I note that there were 12 meetings in committee to study this bill. That means that people are taking this issue seriously, and that it is having a direct impact on thousands of workers throughout the country, especially in Atlantic Canada. Amendments had been proposed hand in hand with the Conservatives and even organized labour. To put it simply, the work was done. Nine amendments were tabled and only one made it into the bill. As parliamentarians we have a job to do, and that job was done in parliamentary committee.
     The bill was tabled in the House on May 2, so, about three weeks ago. We were ready to continue our work, but it was not to be. Today, the guillotine was used to shut down debate. It is unfortunate to realize that the government, which has absolute control over the list of political priorities, waited so long before calling the bill. Better still, the government granted itself the power to have the House sit late into the evening, whenever it wants. If we wanted to have a true substantive debate on this issue, the rules should have been followed.
     Why is the government invoking closure while the process remains under way? It is our job as parliamentarians to debate in the House instead of being muzzled.
    Madam Speaker, the provincial governments, industry, environmental groups and local communities have all been clear: They want this legislation to pass.
     The Conservatives, for their part, have done all they can to prevent Atlantic Canadians from benefiting from the huge $1-million economic opportunity associated with offshore wind energy. The Conservatives invited climate sceptics to testify in committee. They filibustered for months. They proposed amendments to kill this bill.
     This motion is the only way to overcome Conservative obstruction. My colleague opposite knows that full well.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, first and foremost, I want to reiterate the importance of us looking at sustainable clean energy along with a vibrant fishing industry in Newfoundland.
    Being from Newfoundland originally, I can speak first-hand to the incredible potential for a wind industry. I remember as a kid walking to school and my little body having to fight against the wind while trying to get myself to school. There is so much wind potential and real jobs.
    I am wondering if the minister could speak to why it is that the Conservatives are against a sustainable, real-jobs plan for Newfoundlanders and instead are trying to block this important work from moving forward.
    Madam Speaker, I have had a similar experience as my hon. colleague with being knocked over by the wind in Newfoundland and Labrador.
     Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia have some of the best wind speeds offshore of anywhere in the world. It is highly competitive moving forward for Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to compete on the international stage as we develop the offshore wind and hydrogen industry in this country. As I said before, this has the full support of the governments of Nova Scotia and of Newfoundland and Labrador.
     However, it is truly bewildering for the Atlantic Canadian MPs on the Conservative side of the House to be opposing the development of industries that are going to create jobs, economic opportunity and prosperity for both of those provinces. It is truly bewildering, and it goes back to the fact that the Conservative Party of Canada has no view about addressing climate change. The Conservatives' view is to let the planet burn, and they simply do no have an economic strategy that recognizes the enormous economic opportunities that are before us.

  (1220)  

    Madam Speaker, I am glad to rise today in the House to raise a question regarding the bill.
    There is an expression that says, “Where there is uncertainty, there will be instability”. What we have heard from those who are going to be most affected by the implementation of the bill as it stands without the amendments, and very helpful amendments that were proposed by the official opposition, means that there is going to be continuing uncertainty and instability within the sectors, especially for the fish harvesters who have raised very legitimate concerns about how this will affect their potential livelihoods for the future.
    Once again, this government is lending a deaf ear to the concerns of those whose livelihoods are at stake that would result from the implementation of the bill before us. If the Liberals had worked proactively with us to address the legitimate concerns of those whose livelihoods are affected, perhaps we could have gotten somewhere with the bill. However, there was no proactivity. Several of our amendments, in fact all of our proposed amendments, to my knowledge, were rejected out of hand. The consideration of those in the fishing harvest and the energy sectors in Newfoundland and Labrador as well as in Nova Scotia were ignored. Once again, people were not engaged properly, and the concerns of those most affected by these decisions were ignored.
     Can the minister please provide some assurance that the government will start listening to the concerns of Atlantic Canadians on this matter?
    Madam Speaker, fish harvesters, and the views of fish harvesters, are obviously extremely important.
     I would say to my hon. colleague that these kinds of industries coexist in many countries around the world. This is not rocket science. However, it is important to listen. It is important to ensure that we are addressing the concerns that are raised, which is exactly what the regional assessment and environmental assessment is for. It is to hear those questions. Fish harvesters will absolutely be directly engaged in those conversations.
    However, it is rich for the Conservatives to actually stand up after filibustering this bill for seven weeks in committee, talking about muscle cars and a range of things that had nothing to do with the bill, simply to try to block its progress. It is a shame.
    If the member wants to actually listen to Atlantic Canadians, let me read for him some of the comments from Nova Scotia Conservative Party, Minister of Natural Resources, Tory Rushton, who said:
    Offshore wind is Nova Scotia's greatest economic opportunity since the age of sail. There are tremendous opportunities for our coastal communities, for our province and for our country. We cannot afford to wait.
    He also said:
    In years to come, I think people are going to look back at this. Once this gets moving along, once Bill C-49 is passed, people will look at this decades from now and say, “Here was a move that made Nova Scotia a capital of renewable energy in the world.”

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank the minister for his intervention. My NDP colleague asked him a highly pertinent question about Newfoundland's wind power potential.
    Since we are talking about the Maritimes, Nova Scotia in particular, could the minister comment on the potential of tidal energy, which involves harnessing tides, the ocean, the power of the ocean and water, to generate energy? Could it create good jobs in the future?
    Mr. Speaker, in the provinces and territories, and especially in Nova Scotia, tidal power offers many opportunities. It is something very significant. A few Nova Scotia-based technology companies are active in this field, particularly in the Bay of Fundy.
    Of course, this could give us clean energy in the future. It is something that will gain momentum, just like our work with wind turbines offshore.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I heard the hon. minister talk about the experience with wind energy in the oceans all over the world and how well it is working out. Those fishing industry stakeholders who came to the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans pleaded with us to allow them to be part of the process, to make sure they did not get left out and to make sure wind energy did not push them off their prime fishing grounds.
    If that minister knew what he was talking and about the experience the rest of the world has had in the conflict between wind energy and the fishery, he would know there are thousands of fishermen who have been displaced from their prime fishing. The same thing is going to happen in Canada. The big fear in Atlantic Canada is that the livelihoods of harvesters and the onshore jobs are all going to be destroyed if wind energy is allowed to set up on the same fishing banks the halibut and lobster fishermen depend so heavily on.
    The question is whether the minister will listen. Will he listen to the 14,000 Unifor members who came to us with amendments, which we submitted and his party voted against? Will he have a change of heart and let those amendments go through?

  (1225)  

    Madam Speaker, as I have said before, this legislation was drafted alongside the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Government of Nova Scotia, which also have a strong interest in and engagement with the fishing industry.
    Certainly, I know the FFAW very well. I spent two years as fisheries minister and had a highly constructive relationship with the FFAW. It is very important to me the concerns of fish harvesters are heard and are addressed in the context of moving forward.
    As I said, the fishery can very well and healthily exist alongside a healthy and robust offshore wind industry. This happens in the United Kingdom and many countries around the world. There is a regional environmental assessment that will look at all of these issues and ensure we are addressing these in a thoughtful and engaged way.
    There is an opportunity for Newfoundland and Labrador and for Nova Scotia to have a robust and healthy fishery, which is very important for coastal communities, alongside a robust and prosperous offshore wind and hydrogen sector that will enable jobs and economic opportunity and will enable us to help our friends and allies in Europe to decarbonize and to improve energy security.
    Madam Speaker, it was pretty dismal to sit and watch the Conservatives make it clear they are going to oppose this legislation because it was about clean energy, just like Danielle Smith chased out $33 billion of clean energy on ideological grounds in Alberta.
    Through it all I was thinking of my grandfather, Joe MacNeil, a Cape Bretoner. Timmins was the Fort Mac in the thirties, forties and fifties, and all the Cape Bretoners worked in the mines. My grandfather would have gone home in a second if there was a job, but there were no jobs back home so they lived as exiles, bringing their culture, their language and their songs. They all wanted to go home.
    We have a proposition, where we are hearing from Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia about sustainable jobs, and that not only we could have people back home but that they could export this and create a new economy, and yet the Conservatives are here to say they will stop that by any means necessary through all the filibusters and the amendments they keep bringing.
    I want to ask the hon. minister about the need to tell people in Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia that we are committed, through this program, to get clean energy jobs in the offshore.
    Madam Speaker, yes, it is important to talk to folks in Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia. It is important for the federal government. It is important for federal political parties to be engaging this conversation about the opportunities of the future.
    It is also the case that the governments of Nova Scotia and of Newfoundland and Labrador have been talking about this very actively. I was in Nova Scotia just six weeks ago to celebrate the conclusion of the FEED study for EverWind Fuels, one of the leading developers of offshore wind. This is the first FEED study that has actually been completed anywhere in North America with respect to hydrogen from wind and offshore wind. Some 300 business leaders came to celebrate this in a restaurant in Halifax; it is extremely important.
    However, as I said before, it requires that the parties to this House, and the Conservative Party in particular, actually have a belief in the reality of climate change and have a view about the economic opportunities that would be enabled through this transition to a low-carbon future. When the Conservatives brought a climate denier, Ches Crosbie, a friend and adviser of the Leader of the Opposition to the committee to actually say that climate change is not real truly reflected the view of the folks who sit across the way. It is a shame.
    Madam Speaker, I am so happy. I have been listening to the minister's reasoning for pushing this bill forward and bringing in time allocation. It is because the premiers of two provinces agree with his position. I am so glad that the Liberals support premiers when premiers have the same position as other premiers.
    I would love the minister to apply that lens to the seven out of 10 premiers who are against a carbon tax. Will he apply the same lens to that as he is applying to Bill C-49, or is that only for special occasions when the Liberals agree with some provinces, while other provinces continue to fight tooth and nail?

  (1230)  

    Madam Speaker, there is a bit of tortured logic there. This debate is supposed to be about Bill C-49, not about the price on pollution.
    My hon. colleague might want to read the Atlantic accords. The Atlantic accords are a specific mechanism requiring that a province and the federal government agree on everything and that provinces introduce legislation that is exactly the same as what is going through the federal House. It is something on which we must collaborate. It is something that was attacked by Stephen Harper. It is extremely important for the people who live in Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia.
    With respect to the price on pollution, we have had this conversation many times. Provinces and territories are very capable of coming up with pricing systems that they can put in place in their jurisdictions if they think they can do it better, as Alberta does with the industrial pricing system and as British Columbia does with the retail pricing system. Provinces have flexibility.
    My hon. colleague may deny the reality of climate change. He may continue to put his head in the sand and pretend that he is an ostrich. However, as I said before, at the end of the day, climate change is real. We have to take steps to address it. We have to work in a manner that will enable us to seize economic opportunities, as countries around the world are doing. The Luddite-type behaviour on that side of the House is shameful.
    Madam Speaker, I think we know there are two things going on here: The Conservative Party is against clean energy and the Conservative Party is against Atlantic Canadians. It is very simple.
    Let me bring members back to 2007. In 2007, a Conservative member defended Atlantic Canada by voting against the budget. It was my friend Bill Casey. What happened to him? The Conservatives were going to rip apart the Atlantic Accord, so they threw him out of the party.
    This is about sustainable jobs for Atlantic Canadians. The premiers want it and the people want it. It is our job to deliver for them.
    Can the minister share his thoughts about the trillion dollars to be had in the next 16 years?
    Madam Speaker, there is an enormous economic opportunity for both of the provinces to pursue the work being done to enable offshore wind development and onshore wind development. As I said, I was in Germany recently. We are working very proactively with the German government to ensure there is a place for this hydrogen to go, that the commercial terms will actually work, that we see investment coming to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador, and that jobs go to both of those provinces.
    My hon. colleague is exactly right about the history. The attacks by the Conservative Party on the Atlantic accords were shameful then. Given the active support of both governments under the Atlantic accords and the attacks on the Atlantic accords now, it is unbelievable that the parties across the way are willing to say they are effectively opposed to the Atlantic accords.
    Madam Speaker, earlier in the debate, my hon. colleague from Coast of Bays—Central—Notre Dame put a question to the minister regarding the amendments brought forth by the FFAW union and the fishers and families who are going to be impacted by this. At least from the television feed, the minister did not answer that question, so I am going to give him an opportunity to answer it once again.
    Of the amendments that were requested by the hard-working fishers and families who are going to be impacted by this, the ones my hon. colleague says he is standing up for, how many were actually adopted by the minister?
     Madam Speaker, there was broad consultation with respect to this bill, and that work was done in lockstep with the governments of Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia. When we brought that bill forward, what we saw on the part of the Conservative Party was seven weeks of filibuster, seven weeks of wasted time, seven weeks of wasted taxpayers' money talking about muscle cars and other irrelevant things.
     At the end of the day, we are moving forward in a manner that addresses the concerns of fish harvesters and others in both of these provinces. There is a regional environmental assessment under way, which will ensure that the concerns and thoughts of all relevant stakeholders, very much including fish harvesters, are heard.
    There are many examples around the world of a robust offshore wind industry existing alongside a very robust fishery. It is shocking that folks have such a limited view about the capabilities of the people who live in the provinces they are supposed to serve.

  (1235)  

[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]

     Shall I dispense?
    Some hon. members: No.
     [Chair read text of motion to House]

[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 request a recorded vote, please.
     Call in the members.

  (1320)  

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

(Division No. 772)

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

Total: -- 170


NAYS

Members

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

Total: -- 147


PAIRED

Members

Drouin
Dzerowicz
Gallant
Normandin

Total: -- 4


     I declare the motion carried.

Third Reading  

    Madam Speaker, I look forward to resuming my speech and to hearing what my colleague from Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon has to say, as I am splitting my time with him today.
    I work on the natural resources committee, and we are the ones who went through the study of this bill. From that perspective, in my speech before, I was setting the record straight, because there was some misrepresentation as to how we went through the entire process of the bill.
     Having gone through it, as I had said, and I will say it again today, the Liberal government has made a mess and it continues to refuse to clean it up. It did that with its Impact Assessment Act, which the Supreme Court said was unconstitutional, and now those same Liberals are once again right on track to interfere with local industry and provincial jurisdiction.
    In this case, we are talking about the Atlantic fishing industry. We have heard from many fishing groups that are deeply concerned about a lack of consultation and a lack of protection for their livelihood. They do not feel that enough has been done to rule out the potential for major irreversible damage to their industry. The government is ignoring them, but we need to hear what they have to say for themselves. I am going to continue sharing what a few more witnesses told us at committee.
    Michael Barron, from the Cape Breton Fish Harvesters Association, said:
    In an industry that is a major economic driver for Nova Scotia, the lack of consultation has not gone unnoticed by all fish harvester associations throughout Nova Scotia.
    Dr. Kris Vascotto, from the Nova Scotia Fisheries Alliance for Energy Engagement, said:
    Historically, members have relied on the federal government to protect the interests and viability of their enterprises. They have worked to support science and refine rules for the fishery, and they have tried to be part of the solution. In turn, they rely on the government to make good decisions.
     Perhaps this is why members are surprised and dismayed by the content of the bill before you. Collectively, we understand that, as a planet, we are facing profound challenges related to climate change risk, and we realize that we all have an important role in finding a viable solution. However, rushing poorly thought-out legislation to govern an industrial marine development that remains largely in an experimental stage for Atlantic waters and lacks proper safeguards to ensure a viable and resilient coastal economy is myopic.
    There are some important things that so many fishing groups mention consistently. They made it clear that they were absolutely not against renewable or wind energy per se, but they wanted acknowledgement that there were still many unknown factors and potentially negative impacts on ocean wildlife and their ecosystems. If that happens, it would devastate their industry and it may not be reversible. There is a witness who addressed this concern.
    Dr. Kevin Stokesbury, dean of the School for Marine Science and Technology, shared his thoughts at the committee. He said:
    Developing the wind farms will add hard structure, thousands of small islands, throughout these areas, islands that pull energy out of the system. This will change the environment: the sea floor makeup, the current structure, the acoustics both during construction and operation, and the electromagnetic field. All these will impact the associated flora and fauna of the areas. This will happen on the scales of the individual turbine, which is centimetres to kilometres; the wind farm fields, from tens to hundreds of kilometres; and the entire eastern seaboard. It will affect the fisheries. Some will be able to harvest within the wind farms; some will not. All will have to navigate through or around them.
    Right now, some wind farms are beginning to monitor the marine environment and the animals associated with them, but it is a disjointed effort. There is no overall framework to coordinate the different scientific research or push for broader ecosystem understanding.
    What we have heard from local witnesses in Atlantic Canada is that Bill C-49 has been rushed and lacks the necessary safeguards for the fishing industry.

  (1325)  

     Madam Speaker, as indicated earlier, Bill C-49 is all about economic growth and prosperity, and it provides a great deal of hope. I know that because many of my Atlantic colleagues talk about how important it is to see Bill C-49 pass.
    We have many people wearing barongs today on Parliament Hill, recognizing that June is Filipino Heritage Month. Part of growth is seeing how communities have been able to participate in growing in Atlantic Canada. The type of growth that Canadians want to see, I believe, is of an economic nature, providing opportunities for all people to grow and be a part of a community.
     Madam Speaker, putting the livelihoods of tens of thousands of fishers and all the spinoff industry that comes from it at the behest of another industry is not the way we build an economy. It is not the way we get more people involved in the economy.
     As the witnesses, who I referenced in my speech, talked about, they are happy to see more economic development in the region. They just want to see the process done properly. They want to see proper consultation. Many fisher groups, Unifor, talked about how there was a complete lack of consultation with the fishers and the different associations in the fishing community. They are worried that their livelihood will be lost because there is a lack of certainty and clarity in this legislation.
    Madam Speaker, I enjoyed my time with the member on the natural resources committee. Like the member for Nanaimo—Ladysmith, who brought up her Newfoundland heritage, I, too, have a family heritage there. I lived there for three years while going to university. I actually lived in a lighthouse. I can attest, as well, to the vast wind resource available in Newfoundland. I was blown around quite a bit.
    Newfoundland and Labrador wants this. Nova Scotia wants this. Regional assessments will be done that will have full involvement of the fishing industry. Why does the Conservative Party still hold up this bill when everybody wants it? The Conservatives want to block it just because it involves sustainable energy.
    Madam Speaker, our desire in committee was to ensure that we passed a bill that was constitutional. When the bill came to us, it had over 35 direct references to the unconstitutional Impact Assessment Act, and the government gave us no timeline as to when it would deal with that. Therefore, to us, it seemed absolutely pressing and urgent to ensure that we passed a bill that was constitutional.
     The Liberals and the NDP wanted none of it, so we ensured that we would set out to get a bill that would be constitutional so that investors in the wind industry would have absolute certainty and confidence when they looked to make proposals on building their industry.
     Also, we want to ensure that the current users of the waters, the fishers, have the certainty they need so that their industry can continue and flourish. We do not need these two industries combatting each other. There needs to be a way to figure out if they can coexist, and this bill would provide no certainty for that.
    Madam Speaker, this divide-and-conquer approach seems very typical of the Liberal government. The Liberals say one thing, do another and it pits group against group and region against region. I wonder if my colleague could comment further on whether Bill C-49 is about that; not about building prosperity, but rather playing politics with our federation.

  (1330)  

    Madam Speaker, it is absolutely true that we continue to see the divide-and-conquer approach, and it goes no further than with the Impact Assessment Act. We know how much devastation that has brought entirely across the country, and the Liberals continue to hide behind that and use that as a way to divide people on this bill as well.
    I know the government said that it fixed that now in the budget, but there really was no effort for committees to get involved and for people to come to talk about what these changes needed to be. The Liberals are continuing to take a sledgehammer approach to a very important part of not just the renewable sector, but also the entire energy system and our nationwide economy as a whole. The Liberals are choosing to divide people over that.
     Madam Speaker, after nine years of the Prime Minister, life is unaffordable. With energy bills through the roof, Canadians are struggling to afford to heat their homes and keep the lights on. Not only has the carbon tax driven up the cost of energy, but the government has launched a war on Canada's natural resources and energy sectors.
     Bill C-69, which was deemed largely unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of Canada last October, created burdensome red tape, drastically increased approval times and drove away resource exploration and extraction projects. Now the Liberals seek to revive parts of that unconstitutional bill through this attack on both traditional and renewable offshore energy projects in Atlantic Canada. Bill C-49 will drive away investment through more uncertainty, red tape and longer timelines.
    In 2022, the environment minister reluctantly approved the Bay du Nord offshore oil project, calling it one of the most difficult decisions the government had ever made. This project will create more than 13,000 jobs: 8,900 in Newfoundland and Labrador, 2,200 in Ontario, 900 in Quebec and 700 in Alberta. It will also add about $97 billion and change to our national GDP. However, thanks to the government's reckless deficit spending, costs have increased, and burdensome red tape has created uncertainty. Thanks to these factors, the project was delayed by three years, and it is still unclear whether the project will ever be completed at all.
    In Nova Scotia, a private company was set to generate electricity from the massive tides in the Bay of Fundy. However, the project was eventually cancelled due to the mountainous red tape. That company shut down its operations in Canada entirely, costing jobs for workers and affordable renewable energy for Nova Scotians.
     Over the last couple of years, multiple countries have pleaded for Canada to provide them with LNG to help end their reliance on Russian gas. What did the Prime Minister say to those countries? He told them that there was no business case for Canada to export LNG from our east coast. Germany went on to sign an LNG deal with Qatar and built a massive receiving port in just a matter of months. What could have been powerful paycheques for Atlantic Canadians turned into more dollars for dictators. That is shameful.
    Of course, as a British Columbian, I would be remiss if I did not talk about the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, which Kinder Morgan at the beginning was prepared to complete on its own, without taxpayer funding. After the government made the project unfeasible, Kinder Morgan pulled out, and the government bought the pipeline. From there, costs exploded and taxpayers have now spent more than $30 billion on a project that was estimated to cost just $7 billion only a few years ago. This is the NDP-Liberal government's record on energy and resource projects: Delay, drive up costs, and eventually drive projects away.
     I have talked a lot about the woeful lack of productivity in Canada's economy recently, because it is truly an emergency. Even the Bank of Canada said that. Canada produces just 79% of what the United States does per hour. That ranks us behind all of our G7 peers, maybe save for Italy right now. Adjusted for inflation, Canada's GDP per capita now sits lower than it did in 2014. Meanwhile, businesses are closing at an alarming rate, and the data does not even capture the full story for small businesses.
    The most recent statistics from the superintendent of bankruptcy showed a 66.2% year-over-year increase in business insolvencies for the year ending March 31, 2024. A recent article in The Globe and Mail highlighted that many small business insolvencies are not even captured under business insolvencies, as many small business owners have to take personal liability on leases and loans. When they go bankrupt, it is considered a consumer bankruptcy, of which Canada saw 33,885 in the first quarter of 2024, an increase of 14% year-over-year during the same period.
     Driving away investment and development of energy and resource projects will only make things worse. In a time when businesses are struggling and Canadians cannot afford to pay their bills because their paycheques do not go far enough, the government is chugging ahead with another attack on energy, jobs, economic growth and even the Constitution.

  (1335)  

    Clause 19 of Bill C-49 would open the door to more red tape and lengthy delays. It would shift decision-making powers on licence approvals to the federal and provincial ministers, while tripling the amount of time that decision can take. Clause 28 would give the federal minister, with the approval of the provincial minister, the power to outright ban drilling in certain areas and even halt projects that are already approved and in progress. If this bill were to pass with clause 28 as written, it could put an end to offshore petroleum drilling in Atlantic Canada, killing good-paying jobs for workers and further strengthening eastern Canada's dependence on foreign oil imports from dictatorships like Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
    Clauses 61 and 62 bring the unconstitutional Bill C-69 into the review process, allowing the minister to attach any conditions they see fit to approval. I would be remiss if I did not mention that, back in 2016, I was a political staffer, and I went over this bill at the environment committee. At that time, it was very clear that the intention of the government with this legislation was to give the minister unilateral power. It was to give the government more control over the private sector. It was to give the government the ability to halt projects through delay tactics. We have seen that now, and we are living it now. The last thing we need to do is to include those measures in this legislation.
    We have seen how the government treats resource projects in this country. Clauses 61 and 62 will invariably be abused by the government to attach so many strings to approvals that projects will indeed become unfeasible, as we have witnessed. Canadians simply cannot afford any more of the current government and its anti-energy, anti-job and anti-economic growth policies. The government has shown time and time again that it is dead set on killing Canada's natural resource sector. If the environment minister had his way, not a single resource would ever be extracted in this country again. He would take away people's right to have a gasoline car as well.
    While the government is focused on killing jobs and increasing our dependence on foreign sources of oil, Conservatives are focused on creating powerful paycheques for Canadians and getting Canada's bountiful resources to market so that our people can prosper.
     I will be joining my Conservative colleagues in voting against this NDP-Liberal attack on Canada's resource industries.
    Madam Speaker, I will say from the outset, because my colleague mentioned the oil industry, that I have family members who work in the oil industry in Newfoundland as well. I support the oil industry wholeheartedly.
     He mentioned “powerful paycheques”. Could you please give this House your definition of a powerful paycheque?
    The hon. member knows that he is to address questions and comments through the Chair and not directly to the member.
    The hon. member for Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon.
     Madam Speaker, what does a powerful paycheque mean? It means that more of the money one earns stays in one's pocket and not in the hands of Ottawa. There is not a single Canadian who does not agree with that. That is what the Conservatives are set on doing by winning the next federal election.
    Madam Speaker, that was a hilarious way to spend my morning in the rabbit hole world of the Conservatives, who have spent weeks trying to shut down a bill about creating jobs in Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as Nova Scotia, and who do not want any clean energy jobs offshore, even though the whole world is moving to clean energy jobs. Maybe the member does not understand the words “Atlantic Accord”. If he knew anything about the Atlantic Accord, he would know that his leader tried to attack the Atlantic Accord, and Bill Casey had to stand up and leave the Conservative Party. Bill Casey was a dignified Conservative; of course he left the party.
    However, here we see these guys once again attacking Newfoundland, attacking Labrador, attacking Nova Scotia, attacking the Atlantic Accord, all so they can shut down energy jobs. The Conservatives have the gall to come in here and say they are going to defend energy jobs. Like heck they are.

  (1340)  

    Madam Speaker, my ears are burning with nonsense.
    Let me recount a story from British Columbia. One of the first decisions of the NDP-Liberal government was to approve LNG in Canada. Why did the government rush to approve LNG off the coast of British Columbia? It was because it would not be subject to the constitutional discrepancies in the bill before us today. Bill C-69 effectively shut down resource exploration, development and exportation in Canada. That is why the NDP-Liberal government did not include the carbon tax when they approved that bill. That is why they did not subject the largest private sector investment to their unconstitutional laws.
    Order. On both sides of the House, members are having discussions or heckling, and it is really inappropriate. I would ask members to please wait until it is the proper time to speak.
    Rising on a point of order is the hon. member for Timmins—James Bay.
    Madam Speaker, I am concerned because it is impossible not to have nonsense in your ears if nonsense comes out of a member's mouth.
    That is not a point of order.
    I want to remind members, again, that it was on both sides of the House, even before the hon. member asked the question. I would ask members to please be respectful and allow for questions and answers to be asked and answered without disruption.
    Questions and comments, the hon. member for South Shore—St. Margarets.
    Madam Speaker, what Bill C-49 would do, which the member articulated very well, is bring the no capital bill, Bill C-69, into offshore energy in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. To give an example, every summer, as the member for Avalon would know, the Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board puts out a call for exploratory licences, and every summer it gets applications. This past summer, four weeks after this bill was tabled in the House, how many applications did Newfoundland get? It got zero, because of the provisions in this bill already on the IAA, which is driving capital into the Gulf of Mexico, where all of those capital investments went.
    I would like the member to tell us a bit about the experience he has had with how the IAA elements, the environmental review elements, of Bill C-69, which are now in this bill, have shut down jobs in his part of the world.
    Madam Speaker, when Bill C-69 was in the House a few Parliaments ago, the Mining Association of Canada came out very strongly in favour of the bill. I questioned the Mining Association of Canada in advance of the 2019 election as to why it would support this legislation. It has since rescinded its support for the approach taken by the NDP-Liberal government. It did that primarily because what the unconstitutional Bill C-69 does, and by extension its provisions in Bill C-49, is provide opportunities for the minister to make unilateral decisions that would create a level of uncertainty that most Canadian and foreign capital companies that want to invest in Canada are not willing to take a risk on.
    What we need to do, and what this bill has shown us, is that we need to provide certainty. We do need to have strong environmental reviews, but that needs to be coupled with a degree of certainty to allow investment.
     I am very happy to speak on Bill C-49. As an Atlantic Canadian, I am, of course, a strong supporter of this bill, which talks directly to the Newfoundland and Labrador Atlantic accord and the Nova Scotia petroleum resource accord.
    The first question I ask myself is: Why is the Conservative Party still, today, against Atlantic Canadians, against prosperity and against sustainable jobs for Atlantic Canadians?
    I think of my colleague, Bill Casey, who was a Progressive Conservative, and not a Conservative that we see today. He defended Atlantic Canadians and the Atlantic accord. I will read what Mr. Casey, who was elected in 1988, said in an interview at the end of his career. The article said that “a rather significant hitch disrupted his career when, in 2007, he voted against the budget tabled by the Stephen Harper government,” progressive conservative government, “saying it broke the Atlantic Accord.” It was “the most unforgettable moment of his time in Parliament.”
    He said, “I managed to get my vote in and a second later I was thrown out” of the party. He was expelled from their party. He had to sit, of course, as an independent and continue to fight for Atlantic Canadians as an independent.
     Again I ask, why is the Conservative Party against Atlantic Canadians? Why is it against Nova Scotia? Why is it against Newfoundland and Labrador? It is because the Conservatives are doing the exact same thing. Here we are three days away from a year since the introduction and first reading of this bill, and still we are not able to get this bill done. Why? It is because the Conservatives spent seven weeks talking about everything else except the bill that was to be debated in committee. It was seven weeks wasted in filibustering, which is pretty sad when we think about the importance of getting legislation across to help Atlantic Canadians.
    Why is this offshore renewable energy so important? It is important on many fronts. First, we are seeing emerging growth, twentyfold since 2010. Clean energy is the way to the future, and the world is moving toward that future. Where is Canada? We need to get there.
    The International Energy Agency is saying that, from now until 2040, the sector is going to attract up to $1 trillion of investment. Canada has a major opportunity to be a leader in this renewable energy. Of course, it will also help us achieve our net-zero emissions by 2050, which is a very important piece of our work, but not the work of the Conservatives who are okay to let the planet burn. It is also going to give us good, sustainable jobs, which is very important to Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada and my riding of Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook.
     We want jobs. We have seen, with the Irving shipyard 30-year contract, that people are coming back home from various parts of the country. They know they can get good, sustainable jobs, which is really important for them to move back to Atlantic Canada.
     It is also important because Canada has the longest coastlines in the world and the fastest wind speed in the world. This is the industry for Atlantic Canada. This is why we need to move quickly on this project. We are well positioned for local and international markets, and it is going to allow provinces to decarbonize the electricity grid. However, today, still, there is not a single offshore wind farm in Canada.

  (1345)  

     Is this a federal-led project or a provincial-led project? It is the provincial government asking us to move this bill forward as quickly as possible, because it represents economic growth. It is Nova Scotia's Premier Houston, and Houston of course is a Conservative, as well as the Liberal government in Newfoundland. They are asking us to move on this as quickly as possible.
    The Premier of Nova Scotia, last year, said, that they are setting targets to offer leases to make sure that they are supporting offshore wind energy. He said, “Setting this target sends a clear signal to the world that Nova Scotia is open for business and becoming an international leader in offshore wind and green hydrogen development.”
    Contrary to what the Conservatives are saying, we are taking every opportunity to develop our renewable energy market, not only to fight climate change, which Conservatives do not even believe exists, but also to create green jobs for Nova Scotians. Again, the provinces are asking us to move forward, and this government, working closely with provinces, intends to do just that.
    It was not so long ago, last August, that I attended an announcement in Halifax about two companies, DP Energy and SBM Offshore. These global leaders in the world in this industry are set to establish Canada's first offshore wind farm, which is really important. Think about it; there are trillions of dollars to be had. It means great positioning in the world and an opportunity for sustainable jobs, and yet the Conservative Party is voting again against Atlantic Canadians. It is very difficult to understand. This bill—
    An hon. member: Oh, oh!

  (1350)  

    There seem to be a lot of comments and questions being posed while the hon. member has the floor. I would ask members to please wait until the appropriate time. There will be a whole 10 minutes of questions and comments.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary has the floor.
    Madam Speaker, it is simple: The truth hurts. When Conservatives hear the truth, it hits them and it hurts, because some of these individual members care about Atlantic Canada, but their leader does not, so they cannot. It is a simple game. This is what we are witnessing as they keep screaming on the other side and not supporting our government simply because their leader does not support our government and does not support Atlantic Canadians.
    Our amendments are very clear and very straightforward. We can get this done very fast. As a matter of fact, tomorrow afternoon Conservatives are going to get their opportunity to show their colours. I am asking for at least the members on the other side who are from Atlantic Canada to do like the former member Bill Casey did. He stood up for his principles and stood up for Atlantic Canadians. That is what I am asking them to do. It is not complicated. We are asking to modernize and expand the mandate.
    By passing Bill C-49, both provinces would follow mirror legislation. They are ready to go. Nova Scotia will launch a call for bids in 2025. The federal government and the provincial government are working together to support Canada, to support Atlantic Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and the people of Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook.
    Madam Speaker, it was very comical to hear that the Liberal government actually listens to provinces; that will be a first for them. Let us talk about Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, P.E.I. and New Brunswick. All four premiers are asking the government to get rid of the carbon tax. It is not listening to them very much when it comes to that.
    I would ask this member if he knows what the levelized cost of energy is for offshore wind without subsidies. It is 15¢ a kilowatt for offshore wind right now and it is 4.5¢ for coal in Nova Scotia. Who is going to pay that two-thirds difference, ratepayers?
    Madam Speaker, I was sitting in a meeting about four months ago when my colleague from across the benches made that argument in front of the Premier, a Conservative premier, of Nova Scotia. He made that same argument, and the premier said he was talking baloney. His numbers are not correct, and we can get this done.

  (1355)  

     Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order.
    The premier of the province never appeared in the committee—
    That is not a point of order; it is debate.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): Order, order.
     The hon member for South Shore—St. Margarets had an opportunity to ask a question. If he has more, then he should wait until the appropriate time.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary has the floor.
    Madam Speaker, the baloney is clear, because it means the member is wrong. His numbers are wrong. He can go somewhere else and talk about it, but he should not come in this meeting and talk about it. That is what is happening.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    If the hon. member has another question, he should wait until the appropriate time.
    The hon. member for South Okanagan—West Kootenay has the floor.
    Madam Speaker, the member across the way's speeches are always passionate and entertaining, and I just want to give him—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I am going to get the hon. member to start from the beginning, because there seems to be cross-debate. I would ask those members, if they wish to have conversations, to please take them out into the lobby.
     The hon. member for South Okanagan—West Kootenay has the floor.
    Madam Speaker, it is always entertaining to hear the member from Nova Scotia speak in this House about how he cares for the people of Atlantic Canada. The bill is important. It is essential for the people of Atlantic Canada, for Newfoundland and Labrador, and Nova Scotia, to develop sustainable resources, which they have in spades, that will drive a real boom of jobs for the future.
    I am just wondering if the member can comment on that and on how the provinces, as he mentioned, have asked for this, and yet the Conservatives have blocked it, have filibustered and delayed it. It is as if they do not really care about Atlantic Canada at all.
     Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague, because he is 100% right. I said it from the beginning. The Harper government did not care about the Atlantic accord. It wanted to take the royalties away. Now the Conservatives have a chance to make it up. They are doing the same thing, because the Leader of the Opposition does not care about Atlantic Canadians.
    To the member's point, the provincial minister of Nova Scotia said that this is probably the greatest opportunity in decades that Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick and P.E.I. have. We must take advantage of it, and I want to see the people who moved away from Atlantic Canada, probably because of the 2007 decision by the Conservative government, come back home. It is time to come home. It is 2024, and we care about Atlantic Canada.
    Madam Speaker, I want to express my support for Bill C-49 and say what a rousing speech my colleague just gave in the House of Commons. Bill C-49 is allowing Atlantic Canadians in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador to kick-start a new economy and to lead a new initiative that will bring jobs and wealth to our provinces.
    Why are the Conservatives so dead against Atlantic Canada leading the way in this new technology and this new energy sector?
     Madam Speaker, the first thing that comes to mind is jealousy, but I guess that is too simple. The real answer is that the Leader of the Opposition does not care about Atlantic Canadians and does not care about us having good-paying sustainable jobs for Atlantic Canadians. That is what it is all about. People would come back to Nova Scotia. Many people have returned because of the shipyard contract. Many more will return now. These are opportunities for Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, P.E.I. and all of Canada. We are going to lead the world into this industry. The opposition should get out of the way and let us do our job.

Statements by Members

[Statements by Members]

[English]

Azerbaijan

    Mr. Speaker, Azerbaijan achieved its Independence Day on May 28, 1918. I had the pleasure of hosting its Independence Day celebration on Parliament Hill last Friday. On Saturday, I participated in an event, raising the Azerbaijan flag on Parliament Hill grounds.
    Azerbaijan became the first democracy in the entire Muslim world, and it is also one of the first nations in the world to grant women the right to vote. Religious minorities, including Jews and Hindus, have equal rights to practice their faith in this Muslim-majority country, and they enjoy state support too.
    Azerbaijan's geographic location gives it great strategic importance as an energy producer and transit hub.
    I would also like to recognize the contributions Azerbaijani Canadians have made and continue to make toward our country, Canada.

  (1400)  

Vernon Search and Rescue Group Society

    Mr. Speaker, this weekend we celebrated eight members of the Vernon Search and Rescue Group Society for decades of search and rescue service and community safety in North Okanagan—Shuswap and across Canada.
    At the ceremony we recognized Robert Cross, for 28 years of service; Geoff Vick, 31 years; Robert Hurtubise, 34 years; Coralie Nairn, 35 years; Don Blakely and Leigh Pearson, 37 years; James Viel, 50 years; and Pete Wise, 60 years, the longest-serving search and rescue volunteer in Canada.
    These volunteers have committed their time to assist and often lead in the search and rescue of many Canadians no matter the time of day or the weather conditions. They also assist emergency services during evacuations and disaster response. Their families make sacrifices and contributions by supporting them. Employers give them time away from work, while sponsors provide resources.
    I thank these volunteers and the thousands more across Canada who embody the professionalism, sacrifice and courage to the search for and rescue of Canadians across the country.

Ocean Sector

    Mr. Speaker, as we approach World Ocean Day on June 8, it is timely to reflect on the ocean's profound contribution to our economy, climate and way of life, and to Canada's prosperity as a whole.
    The ocean sector contributed close to $52 billion toward Canada's GDP in 2022 and supports hundreds of thousands of jobs nationwide. There are opportunities to create many more jobs in the fisheries, aquaculture, shipping and tourism industries, as well as emerging industries like offshore renewable energy and marine biotechnology.
    This evening, representatives of Canada's Ocean Supercluster will be hosting a briefing reception at the Shaw Centre to discuss Ambition 2035, its vision for fivefold growth in the ocean economy. I encourage all members to attend and learn more about how we can enable this vital sector.

[Translation]

Loisirs St‑Vincent‑de‑Paul/Champlain-Gamache Community Organization

    Mr. Speaker, it is with great sadness that we learned of the closure of the community organization Loisirs St-Vincent-de-Paul/Champlain-Gamache, which has played a key role in the lives of hundreds of families in Longueuil since 1995.
     I would like to especially thank Dolorès Vaudeville, who ran the organization with passion and dedication for 17 years, and Sophie Hébert, who greatly contributed to the organization's development thanks to her unfailing commitment and dedication.
     Loisirs St-Vincent-de-Paul/Champlain-Gamache was located in a neighbourhood where people face daily challenges, but each action taken by the organization made a difference in the lives of many people in the community.
     I would like to express my gratitude to all the volunteers, partners and community members who supported this cause over the years. We hope that the legacy of St-Vincent-de-Paul/Champlain-Gamache will continue to inspire other community initiatives in the future to help the least fortunate among us live with dignity.

[English]

Filipino Heritage Month

    Mr. Speaker, do members know that the heart of Canada's Filipino community is located in Winnipeg North and that June is Filipino Heritage Month in Canada?
    No matter where someone goes in Canada, they will be encouraged to participate in a wide spectrum of Filipino hospitality. One of the things they will notice is that it does not matter what kind of event they go to; they will experience hospitality, kindness, love and hard-working people. These are the types of things that are embedded in our Filipino heritage community.
    Today, over one million people in Canada are of Filipino Canadian heritage. That is something all of us should be very proud of. I would encourage all members to get out and promote Filipino heritage in the month of June no matter where they live in Canada.

  (1405)  

[Translation]

Roger Barbeau

    Mr. Speaker, I am honoured today to pay tribute to the exceptional commitment of Roger Barbeau, a citizen in my riding of Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles.
     An accomplished businessman in the shoe industry, Mr. Barbeau founded the first Caisse Populaire in Saint-Émile in his home in 1959. With the tireless support of his wife Aline and his sons Blaise and Gervais, he devoted much of his life to the service of his community while promoting the values that were so dear to him.
     As a prominent member of the Knights of Columbus for more than 55 years, he was the embodiment of that organization's spirit of fraternity and solidarity. He was a model for us all, thanks to his compassion for the least fortunate and his commitment to the principles of charity and goodwill. He inspired those around him with his kindness, wisdom and ability to reach out to those in need.
     I would like to thank Roger Barbeau for everything he has done and for everything he is. His legacy will live in our hearts forever.

[English]

Filipino Heritage Month

    Mr. Speaker, Filipino Heritage Month is just days away, and Filipinos from coast to coast to coast are ready to celebrate Filipino art, culture and food.
     The Philippine Fiesta Extravaganza started in Scarborough under the leadership of Von Canton and Philip Beloso. This year it is expanding to cities across Canada, with fiestas this summer in Toronto, Surrey, Vaughan, Brampton, Lethbridge, Hamilton, Niagara Falls, Miramichi and Montreal. I encourage my colleagues in these communities and all Canadians to go to their local fiesta events and other events to experience Filipino food, music, and art as we celebrate Filipino culture and 75 years of diplomatic relations between Canada and the Philippines.
     I was proud to sponsor the motion that made June Filipino Heritage Month in Canada, and I thank everyone who has taken Parliament's declaration and made it a month-long celebration.
     Mabuhay Canada; mabuhay Philippines.

Ian Smith

     Mr. Speaker, Dr. Ian C. P. Smith was a tireless and passionate public servant for over 40 years. We lost this cherished member of Winnipeg's community recently.
     Throughout the course of his distinguished career, Dr. Smith received numerous accolades for his hard work, including the Manitoba Order of the Buffalo Hunt, the Outstanding Achievement Award of Public Service of Canada, and both the Queen's golden and diamond jubilee medals.
     He was an internationally respected biophysicist, having contributed to Canada's reputation as a leader in state-of-the-art medical diagnostic devices. Under his leadership, the National Research Council's Institute for Biodiagnostics has garnered a reputation for world-class research. It has generated and commercialized new, non-invasive diagnostic tools used in human and veterinary medicine, and continues his cutting-edge research on the early diagnosis of cancer.
    Dr. Smith was an accomplished man, both professionally and personally. He will be sadly missed by all who knew him. His work in the field of biophysics will continue to have a lasting impact.
    We wish his family all the best during this difficult time, and thank Dr. Smith for his lasting contributions to our country.

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, after nine years, the NDP-Liberal Prime Minister is not worth the hunger and homelessness.
    The Salvation Army report showed that 75% of Canadians face challenges managing limited financial resources, poverty and food insecurity worse in every corner of the country. Twenty-five percent of Canadians eat less so their children and other family members can eat. It is staggering. Twenty-six percent of Canadians skip or reduce the size of a meal because they cannot afford to buy groceries.
    I was just at the food bank in Cranbrook. I was talking with a young couple and their two children. I have known them for many years. They were regular contributors. They were embarrassed as they told me they were there at the food bank to pick up some groceries for their family. The NDP-Liberal government hiked the carbon tax 23% last month, driving up the cost for food, gas and heating, especially hard-hitting in rural Canada.
     Only common sense Conservatives will cap spending, axe the carbon tax, and bring home safe streets and powerful paychecks for Canadians.

National Seal Products Day

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to invite all my colleague to join me and others tomorrow as we celebrate National Seal Products Day, which is normally on May 16.
     Inuit and coastal communities across Nunavut, Atlantic Canada and Quebec have relied on seal and seal products for subsistence and survival for millennia, and we continue to use seal for food, clothing and historical ceremony. Seal Day is about recognizing and honouring historical, cultural, social and economic contributions that seal represent for our communities and our people. It is a day when we can recognize and counter narratives about the seal that seek to delegitimize and have devastating impacts on indigenous and coastal communities.
     I support the industry, and it is a strong industry that has sustained people for many generations. We must continue to work together to ensure the economic viability of seal for all Canadians.

  (1410)  

Pets

    Mr. Speaker, after nine years of the current Liberal government, it is a cruel summer for Canadian pet owners. Life in Canada is now so unaffordable that the Calgary Herald just reported the following: “Calgary animal advocates say the increased costs of living, combined with a housing crisis, are forcing pet owners to make tough decisions between their needs and those of their pets.”
     Animal shelters are overflowing, and Melissa David, founder of Parachutes for Pets, said that her organization is taking nearly 100 calls a day on average from people whose entire support network is their pet but who are considering heartbreaking decisions like abandoning their pets because inflation means they cannot afford them anymore.
     The inflation caused by nine years of massive Liberal deficits and the ineffective carbon tax has led us to this place. At a minimum, the Liberals must cancel the carbon tax, the federal fuel tax and the GST on gasoline and diesel between now and Labour Day. This would save the average Canadian family $670 this summer and could mean the difference between keeping their beloved furry family member or cruelly having to abandon it.

Carbon Tax

    Mr. Speaker, after nine years, tax-and-spend Liberals are jeopardizing all that Canadians hold dear. The family vacation was the one opportunity to enjoy Canada's great outdoors, a chance to connect with fellow travellers and to see the sights and sounds of this great nation. Now, even a simple road trip is unaffordable as parents struggle with the basic necessities of life. A summer vacation is no longer an option for Canadian families.
     Families will have to pay $700 more for food this year than they did in 2023. Last year, food banks had to handle a record two million visits in a single month with one million more monthly visits expected in 2024.
     In the middle of this historic cost-of-living crisis, the NDP–Liberal coalition decided to hike the carbon tax by 23%. This is just one step in its plan to quadruple the carbon tax over the next six years, making everything more expensive at the worst possible time. This has to stop. Our common-sense Conservatives can be trusted to axe the tax this summer and to give Canadian families the break they so desperately deserve.

National AccessAbility Week

    Mr. Speaker, this week is National AccessAbility Week.

[Translation]

    I would like to recognize the incredible contributions made by people living with disabilities and the organizations that represent them.

[English]

    Persons with disabilities, advocates and organizations work tirelessly to remove barriers. They ensure the full participation of more than eight million Canadians with disabilities. It is by working together with the disability community that we have made progress.

[Translation]

    This year's theme is “Forward Together: Accessibility and Inclusion for All”.

[English]

    Collective efforts are needed from all sectors of society. We need this in order to reach a barrier-free Canada by 2040. I invite my colleagues and all Canadians to celebrate the exceptional work being done by so many. Let us continue working toward a more accessible and inclusive society, a more accessible and inclusive Canada.

Voting Age

    Mr. Speaker, “If you can work, if you can pay tax, if you can serve in your armed forces, then you ought to be able to vote” were the words of U.K. Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer just last week.
     I mention his statement because this week, here in Ottawa, young people from across the country are gathering for the first-ever national Vote16 summit. The Vote16 movement around the world is growing because the issues being discussed in places like this have a profound impact on the lives of young people. It is growing because the evidence shows that when young people are empowered to vote, the voter turnout rate rises, which is a hallmark of a strong democracy. That is why the Northwest Territories' Chief Electoral Officer has recommended that the voting age be changed to 16 in that place, and it is why I tabled my bill, the right to vote at 16 act, here in Ottawa.
    I want to wish all the young people gathering in Ottawa for the summit a productive session.

  (1415)  

[Translation]

Yvon Picotte

    Mr. Speaker, Louiseville and Maskinongé have lost one of their most illustrious sons and a great leader: Yvon Picotte.
    Mr. Picotte began his career as a teacher and principal. He also worked as a radio host and newspaper columnist and served in many volunteer positions in the community. Elected MNA in Maskinongé in 1973, he represented his riding in the Quebec National Assembly for 21 years. He served as the Quebec minister of recreation, tourism and municipal affairs and as the minister of agriculture, fisheries and food, where he made his mark.
    After retiring from politics, he worked as the director of the Pavillon du nouveau point de vue addiction centre in Lanoraie and as the president of Groupe RCM in Yamachiche, a company that employs people with functional limitations. He also served as the president of the Louiseville buckwheat pancake festival for 15 years.
    The Mauricie is mourning a man who brought people together and cared about his fellow citizens and his community. I thank Mr. Picotte for his commitment. We will remember him.

[English]

Housing

     Mr. Speaker, Canadians are experiencing pain and anxiety as rent and mortgage payments have doubled after nine years of the Prime Minister. Housing is a need, not a want, yet OSFI just made a report stating that 76% of Canadians are going to face trouble paying their mortgages. That is 34 million Canadians who have a mortgage, who live with a mortgage holder or who rent from a mortgage holder.
     Trust is a powerful word. It is an experience more than a statement, and Canadians are facing anxiety and pain, and are losing trust over the Liberal Prime Minister, who cannot take care of even the basic needs: housing, low taxes and an affordable cost of living. Trust does not require billions; it requires action. To make Canada right, we need change. We need a new prime minister who is going to restore trust, build homes for Canadians, and bring it home.

Member for Cloverdale—Langley City

    Mr. Speaker, it is with a heavy heart that I announce my resignation as the member of Parliament for Cloverdale—Langley City, effective May 31. I have had no greater honour than to serve for almost seven of the past nine years here in Ottawa.
     During this time, I have worked with many incredible MPs and senators across parties on numerous legislative priorities. I also worked closely with colleagues at the provincial and municipal levels of government because many issues require collaboration between all levels of government.
    I am proud to see that our community south of the Fraser has grown over the past decade, but I have also gained a deeper appreciation of family. I am so grateful to my wife, Elaine, and to my children Kai, Hattie and Kalani for their love and support over the past decade as I pursued politics in Ottawa, and, of course, my condo cuties.
    As my time as a member of Parliament ends, I am so thankful to everyone who supported me over these past seven years, especially my staff and volunteers, but mostly, I thank the constituents of Cloverdale—Langley City for allowing me to serve them.

Oral Questions

[Oral Questions]

[Translation]

Finance

    Mr. Speaker, after nine years, this Prime Minister is not worth the cost of mortgages, 76% of which will require higher monthly payments in the next three years, according to the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, which monitors Canada's banks. This comes after the Prime Minister promised that interest rates would stay low for Canadians. Against this backdrop, the Bloc Québécois is voting in favour of a $500-billion bureaucratic, inflationary and centralist budget that is causing interest rates to balloon.
    Why does the Prime Minister not cap spending and reduce the waste in order to lower interest rates?
    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are not really worried about Canadians who are struggling to pay their mortgage. We know that because the Conservatives refused to support our Canadian mortgage charter, which truly provides significant support for Canadians. They are against 30-year amortization for new buyers.
    The only thing the Conservatives understand is cut, cut, cut.

  (1420)  

Taxation

    Mr. Speaker, of course the Conservatives want to cut. We want to cut taxes.
    The Journal de Montréal has declared that Quebec taxpayers are tapped out. It should come as no surprise that 75% of respondents to Léger-Québecor polls said that they were not getting their money's worth. The Liberal Bloc, however, wants to raise taxes.
    Why not at least accept my common-sense plan to suspend the gas tax this summer?
    Mr. Speaker, the reality is that the Conservatives do not have a plan. The only thing the Conservatives understand is austerity. The only thing they can do is cut, cut, cut.
    They want to scrap our dental care plan, which is very popular in Quebec. They want to scrap our school food program, another plan that is very popular in Quebec. Obviously, they are not going to support child care centres, another very important plan for Quebeckers, including Quebec women.

[English]

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, after nine years, the NDP-Liberal Prime Minister is not worth the cost of mortgages, 76% of which will become more expensive over the next three years, according to the federal banking regulator, OSFI. This, after the Prime Minister said rates would stay low for long. We know that his massive government deficits have driven rates up two percentage points higher than they otherwise would be, according to Scotiabank.
    Will he accept my common-sense, dollar-for-dollar plan to cap spending and cut waste to bring down interest rates so Canadians can keep their homes?
     Mr. Speaker, we know the truth. The Conservatives do not actually care about Canadians who are struggling to pay their mortgages, and we know that because when we put forward something very concrete to support those Canadians, like the strengthened Canadian mortgage charter, they refused to support it. When we put forward a plan to help first-time homebuyers with 30-year mortgage amortizations, the Conservatives voted against it.
    The fact is that the only thing the Conservatives know how to do is cut, cut, cut, and the only Canadians they care about are themselves.
     Mr. Speaker, we have voted against everything the Prime Minister has done to balloon the cost of living of Canadians, to increase food bank use by 50% over three years, to send one-quarter of all young people to the food bank in three months alone, one-quarter of all Canadians skipping meals because they cannot afford a home, a 38% increase in homelessness since 2019, 50 new homeless encampments in Toronto, now a total of 256 of them in the biggest city in the country.
    Why is it that the more they spend, the more Canadians hurt?
     Mr. Speaker, we will take no lessons from the Conservatives when it comes to supporting the most vulnerable Canadians. The fact is that when we formed government and when they left government, the poverty rate in Canada was 14.5%. It is now 9.9%. The Canada child benefit has lifted hundreds of thousands of children out of poverty. The GIS helps 900,000 seniors. The only thing they know how to do is cut, cut, cut.
    Tory times are hard times.
    Mr. Speaker, we know how to cut taxes. That is why we reduced poverty and had affordable homes nine years ago when common-sense Conservatives were in government. Since that time, housing costs have doubled. Mortgage payments have doubled. Rent has doubled. The number of homeless encampments in Canada is up by hundreds per cent. We now have one in four Canadians skipping meals because they cannot afford the cost of food.
    Will the government finally stop the policies that make Canadians poor, get off the backs of the working people and let Canadians keep their homes?

  (1425)  

     Mr. Speaker, we know what the Conservatives really believe and what they really do. When that leader was in government, how many homes did he actually get built? There were just six homes. We know what Conservatives do to programs that support the most vulnerable: cut, cut, cut.
    We have put forward a national school food program, a dental care program and national early learning and child care. They want to cut those programs. We will not let them.

[Translation]

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, on May 10, the immigration minister met with his counterparts. They announced a working group to address the distribution of refugee claimants.
    Last Thursday, Minister Fréchette wrote to the minister again. She is getting frustrated because there has been no movement since that announcement. I would remind the minister that he said that the status quo was no longer acceptable, yet, since then, it has been nothing but the status quo. Our public services are overwhelmed; meanwhile, there is a working group that is not working.
    I know they have made an announcement, but is there actually a working group? When will it meet and when will we see results?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform the House that the group will be meeting over the coming week. That does not mean that there is no preparatory work being done. Obviously, a working group with ministers requires advance preparation, and that work is currently under way. I spoke to Minister Fréchette this morning.
    I, too, am looking forward to some news because the status quo is unacceptable.
    Mr. Speaker, since 2017, Quebec has taken in over 50% of those seeking asylum in Canada, even though Quebec has 22% of the population. Let us also not forget that, for months, Canada's immigration minister denied something that was obvious. He denied that there was an imbalance. He even considered the concept of integration capacity suspect. When the immigration ministers met, he finally acknowledged that there were integration capacity issues. He saw the light. Only fools would say they get everything right.
    Will the minister stop demonizing Quebec and trying to buy time, and will he finally ensure that asylum seekers are spread out among the provinces?
    Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois is confusing capacity and willingness to integrate newcomers. What I said very clearly to my Quebec counterpart was that we would work together to distribute asylum seekers across the country. Ontario and Quebec have an excessive burden in terms of the number of asylum seekers relative to their population. We need the rest of the country to follow suit.
    That is what we are going to do.

[English]

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, it is difficult to find the words to describe the horror of what is going on in Rafah. Women and children were burned alive in tents. They were told they were in a safe zone, in a refugee encampment, yet they were burned alive.
    What will it take for the Liberal government to send a message to Netanyahu that what has happened is inexcusable? What will it take for the government to take actions to prevent this genocide from happening?
     Mr. Speaker, even in times of war, there are rules. The images coming out of Rafah are horrific and heartbreaking. Our position has been clear on Rafah. We have been repeating our position for weeks. Palestinian civilians do not have any safe space to go. The killing of innocent civilians is completely unacceptable, and the decisions of the International Court of Justice are binding.
    The level of human suffering is catastrophic. That is why we need an immediate ceasefire.

[Translation]

     Mr. Speaker, the images coming out of Rafah are horrifying. Women and children were burned alive.
    What will it take for the government to send a clear message to Netanyahu that what he is doing is inexcusable? What will it take for the government to finally take action to prevent this genocide?
    Mr. Speaker, even in times of war, there are rules.
    The images coming out of Rafah are horrific and heartbreaking. Our position on Rafah is clear, and we have been repeating it for several weeks now.
    Palestinian civilians have nowhere to go. The killing of innocent civilians is completely unacceptable. The decisions of the International Court of Justice are binding. The level of civilian suffering is catastrophic.
    That is why there must be an immediate ceasefire.

  (1430)  

[English]

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, after nine years of the Liberal-NDP Prime Minister, hunger and homelessness are up, as one in four Canadians is food insecure. It is because the carbon tax scam leaves Canadians with less money in their pockets, food in their bellies and fuel in their cars.
    The Prime Minister and the carbon tax scam are not worth the cost. The Conservatives are calling for all federal fuel taxes to be axed this summer so that Canadian families can save an average of $670.
    Will the road-raging finance minister stop the road-trip wrecking and implement this common-sense Conservative ask, yes or no?
     Mr. Speaker, the only thing the Conservatives believe in is austerity, and the only thing they know how to do is cut, cut, cut. That it is why it is no surprise that they would like to cut the carbon rebates that are putting more money back in the pockets of eight out of 10 Canadians. It is no surprise they want to cut a national school food program. It is no surprise they want to cut our national early learning and child care plan. They have no real plan, but they are letting the country burn.
    Mr. Speaker, it is no doubt that we will cut the carbon tax scam, which will leave more money in Canadians' pockets.
    She wants to talk about a food program. That food program has no food in it. The only thing these guys have been feeding over the last nine years is the already obese government.
    What common-sense Conservative governments are going to do is axe the tax for good. Why not just call a carbon tax election so we can show them how it is done?
     Mr. Speaker, it is incredibly disappointing to see the misleading information that the hon. member puts forward. It is very clear, as 300 economists and the Parliamentary Budget Officer have said, that eight out of 10 Canadian families get more money back. Our approach is one that addresses the existential threat of climate change and does so in a manner that is affordable for Canadians. To be honest, his constituents should be asking him, and I am sure they are, why he campaigned on putting in place a price on pollution in the last election and is now taking such a hypocritical position.
    Mr. Speaker, I will be sure to tell the people in my community, who are suffering under the NDP-Liberal government, that a bunch of well-to-do economists and some tenured professors are saying that life has never been so good. I will make sure I tell them that.
     Common-sense Conservatives have put forward a plan. We are asking the government to axe all federal taxes on gasoline from today until Labour Day, meaning that the average Ontarian could save about $600 this summer.
    When will the Prime Minister adopt our common-sense plan and axe the carbon tax this summer so that families can take their kids on vacation?
     Mr. Speaker, I am glad that folks in the House are finally being honest. He is saying to just ignore the facts. Ignore the facts; make it all up.
    At the end of the day, eight out of 10 families get more money back. Every reputable authority says that. It is only the Conservatives, who campaigned on the basis of putting in a price on pollution, have now changed their minds and have no plan for the climate except to let the planet burn, who would take a position like that.
    Mr. Speaker, food bank usage is at the highest level it has ever been, and that is because of the policies of the NDP-Liberal government. In fact, this summer, my community, which relies on tourism, is being punished because the Liberals refuse to reduce their carbon tax. Canadians can actually save money. In Ontario, approximately $600, from today until Labour Day, could be saved if the Liberals reduced the tax on all gasoline.
    When will the Liberals accept this and give a break to Ontarians, who just want a vacation this summer?
    Mr. Speaker, during the pandemic, the Conservatives would not have been there for small businesses and people who were suffering. The Conservatives' response to the challenges around the globe is to say to people who are suffering to pretend those issues are not happening in our country. They can help them out by taking away their rebate check. They can help by taking away dental care from a senior, or help by taking away a diabetic patient's medication.
    We do not help vulnerable people in a time of global turmoil by cutting their essential supports. We help them by standing up and standing behind them, and that is what our government does every day.

  (1435)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, after nine years of this Liberal government and its out-of-control spending, Quebeckers are facing a full-blown cost of living crisis and are in desperate need of relief. That is why we are calling for the elimination of federal taxes on gas to lower prices at the pump.
    We need vehicles to get around during summer vacation, but instead of supporting us, the Bloc Québécois thinks everywhere is like Plateau‑Mont‑Royal and everyone can just take the bus. Will the Prime Minister agree to our request and axe the federal gas tax for the summer?
    Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleague to go meet with economists at Université Laval to get a grasp of the very simple fact that eight out of 10 families are getting more money back than they are paying for the price on carbon.
    The reason is very simple: The proceeds from the price on carbon are returned to Canadians. Wealthier Canadians pay more. Middle-class and lower-income Canadians receive more. It is as simple as that. In other words, eight out of 10 families are receiving more money back than they are paying for the price on carbon. This is true across the country, wherever the price on carbon applies.
    Mr. Speaker, we know that the minister often spends time at the university. He still has a job there. It looks like he is expecting to get a new job after the next election.
    I would also remind the minister that no one in Quebec receives a compensation cheque. The excise tax, the GST and the 19¢-per-litre gas tax need to be axed for Quebeckers, since they do not get reimbursed for them. Will the minister agree to axe the federal taxes for the summer so that Quebeckers can go on vacation and pay 19¢ less per litre of gas?
    Mr. Speaker, if my colleague does not like the economists at Université Laval, there are plenty of economists across the country he can consult. Three hundred of them signed a letter that explains to the Conservatives, who are a bit hard-headed, that eight out of 10 families get more money back from the rebate than they pay because of the price on carbon. It is not complicated: All the proceeds from the price on carbon are returned to Canadians. Wealthier Canadians pay more. Middle-class and lower-income Canadians get more back in their pockets. Plus, of course, it reduces pollution.

Climate Change

    Mr. Speaker, some people think that Canada is too small to have any impact on climate change. On Thursday, Carbon Brief reminded us that it compiled data on greenhouse gas emissions dating back to 1850 to determine which countries are historically responsible for climate change.
    Canada is in the top 10. It is by far the least populated country in the top 10, which means that Canada is the largest contributor to global warming per capita. Nevertheless, Canada continues to increase its oil production, particularly through the Trans Mountain pipeline. Encouraging harmful oil production means being responsible for climate change. When will the Liberals stop it?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question. I would like to remind her that Climate Scorecard gave Canada a grade of 70% in 2024 for our climate change performance and that our greenhouse gas emissions dropped by over 50 million tonnes.
    That is the equivalent of taking 15 million cars off our roads. We are getting there. We need to do our part in fighting climate change. Every sector of the economy and every region of the country must contribute to the fight against climate change.
    Mr. Speaker, again, according to Carbon Brief, Canadians have historically been the major contributors to climate change per capita. The Canadian Press investigated the sharp rise in infectious diseases linked to climate change. It found that there has been a 1,000% increase in Lyme disease cases in Canada over the past 10 years.
    Public health is even concerned that wet weather may promote the emergence of mosquitoes responsible for diseases such as Zika virus and malaria. There is a human cost to being responsible for climate change. Is it not time for Canada to finally crack down on its abusive oil and gas production?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind my hon. colleague that in recent years, we implemented a clean fuel standard, which the Conservatives promised to do during the last election campaign, but they changed their minds.
    We continue to move forward with carbon pricing, which the Conservatives promised to do during the last election campaign, but they changed their minds. We have put in place methane regulations and a zero-emission vehicle standard to ensure that Canada has only zero-emission vehicles by 2035.
    We are taking action to fight climate change and protect Canadians.

  (1440)  

    Mr. Speaker, according to Carbon Brief, Canadians per capita are historically primarily responsible for climate change.
    Quebeckers are much less responsible. While an individual Canadian emits more than 21 tonnes of greenhouse gases a year, a Quebecker emits 9.8. That is less than half. Why? It is because we do not produce dirty oil in Quebec.
    However, we pay for this dirty oil when the federal government invests our money in projects such as Trans Mountain. Ottawa makes us unwilling accomplices to those who are responsible for climate change.
    Why not get out of dirty oil instead of getting Quebeckers into it unwillingly?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind my hon. colleague that more than half of the oil consumed in Quebec is Canadian oil and that as Quebeckers, we consume 360,000 barrels of oil every day.
    Yes, our record is better than the rest of the country, but Quebec also needs to make an effort. No one is off the hook from fighting climate change. No one is better than everyone else. We must all work on fighting climate change.

[English]

Carbon Pricing

     Mr. Speaker, after nine years, the NDP-Liberal Prime Minister is not worth the hunger or the homelessness. The Calgary Herald reports of a single mother struggling to feed her family. Edith said, “I pay all of the important things first, mortgage, utilities, insurance, condo fees. Then feeding the kids. If I have anything left over, they can do activities”. She has resorted to feeding her family at the community kitchen.
     Far too many Canadians are in this sad reality. When will the government axe the carbon tax, give Canadians a break and allow people like Edith to feed their families?
     Mr. Speaker, I take my hon. colleague's concerns as sincere, but it is ironic that he puts his question on the floor of the House of Commons just hours after a debate on his leader's bill, which proposes to cut many of the supports that will help people like Edith. The Conservatives put forward measures that are going to increase taxes on home construction. Their plan includes billions of dollars in cuts to support communities that are dealing with homelessness. They plan to cut the very funds that build affordable housing opportunities for families in need.
    The government will continue to make the investments that will support vulnerable people in their time of need. I invite Conservatives to join us.
     Mr. Speaker, it is the government's failed policies that have doubled the cost of housing. We would cut the carbon tax and allow families like Edith's to afford to pay for groceries.
    After nine years, the NDP-Liberal Prime Minister is not worth the hunger or the homelessness. According to the Salvation Army, 26% of Canadians are skipping or reducing their meals because they cannot afford to buy groceries, and one in four Canadians is skipping meals so they can afford for their children to have food.
    The government's out-of-control spending and the carbon tax are driving Canadians into poverty. When will it cut the carbon tax and give Canadians a break?
    Mr. Speaker, it is disingenuous in the extreme for the hon. colleague to argue that the very measures that put more money in the pockets of vulnerable people are driving the concerns they are experiencing now. At the same time, he is putting forward a plan, standing behind his leader, that wants to make sure we cut programs that are building affordable housing, that cuts funding going to cities and that cuts programs supporting vulnerable families, whether they are programs to provide affordable child care, dental care or essential medicines to people in need.
    It takes investments to support the vulnerable Canadians who live in our communities. We are going to make them.
    Mr. Speaker, after nine years of the NDP-Liberal government, Canadians are hungry and homeless. Two million Canadians are now visiting food banks each month. The Salvation Army just reported that one in four Canadians has skipped or reduced the size of at least one meal because they cannot afford to buy groceries. In Niagara Falls, Project Share served more than 13,000 people last year, or one in seven residents.
    Instead of piling on more taxes and making life more expensive, when will the NDP-Liberal government axe the tax to provide the relief that struggling Canadians so badly need?
    Mr. Speaker, 10 years ago, when the party opposite was in power, there were over two million more people in poverty. It is a bit difficult to take their protestations when they had the opportunity and did not talk about these issues.
    There may be a senior who has had plastic plates to crush food in their mouth, but this week, will get dentures in their mouth for the first time in 41 years. My simple, direct question is this: When the Conservatives are dealing with such a senior, do they believe that senior should get dentures, and will they support making sure that she does?

  (1445)  

[Translation]

Grocery Industry

    Mr. Speaker, it is picnic and barbecue season, and people are wondering what they will be able to buy to eat.
    While Quebeckers are racking their brains, CEOs are rubbing their hands together because the money is pouring in. They are laughing all the way to the bank because they know the Liberals will not make them pay their fair share.
    Forget the Conservatives. They would never dare touch their donors' profits.
    Will the Liberals finally admit what everyone already knows? As long as they are in office, there will be no break for people who can no longer afford groceries.
    Mr. Speaker, our government has an economic plan to ensure fairness for all generations. We have a plan to ensure tax fairness.
    That is why our plan is asking wealthier Canadians to pay their fair share. With this revenue, our government will help Quebeckers with dental care, which will help children across the country.

[English]

Climate Change

     Mr. Speaker, a recent report outlines the devastating impacts of the climate crisis over the next decade. We can expect ecosystems collapsing, our emergency responses overwhelmed and a scarcity of vital resources. In the face of this, the Liberals keep breaking their climate promises. In fact, they are still allowing big polluters to increase their emissions. Meanwhile, the Conservatives cannot even agree on whether climate change is real.
    The Prime Minister is meeting with his Youth Council. Is he going to be honest about how he is fuelling the climate crisis and endangering their future?
     Mr. Speaker, I would like to correct my hon. colleague. Since before the pandemic, our emissions have gone down in Canada, and we have one of the best performances of all G7 countries when it comes to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions since 2019.
    However, I would agree with the member that more needs to be done, which is why we have put together the first-ever national adaptation strategy, working with provinces, territories, indigenous nations and municipalities to ensure that we are better prepared to help Canadians and their communities face the impacts of climate change. This is something that, unfortunately, the Conservative Party of Canada cannot even bring itself to mention.

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, our government presented Canadians with a housing plan that will increase the housing supply across the country. A core measure of the plan is the removal of GST from new apartments, student housing and co-operatives.
     Earlier today, the House debated the Conservative leader's housing plan, Bill C-356. The bill would actually put the tax back on the construction of middle-class apartments.
     Can the Minister of Housing tell Canadians where the government stands on the Conservative leader's plan to reimpose a rent tax on middle-class apartments?
    Mr. Speaker, I can just imagine the setting when the leader of the Conservatives sat down with the napkin he wrote his housing plan on and thought: “What can I do to address the housing crisis? Idea one, raise taxes on home construction.”
     I cannot make this stuff up, but that is not all. The Conservatives also plan to cut funding for affordable housing. They plan to cut funding for cities that build more housing, and they plan to cut the measures that are going to make it easier for people to buy their first home.
     When we look at the Conservative leader's private member's bill, we will not find a housing plan; we will find a disaster.

  (1450)  

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, after nine years, the NDP-Liberal Prime Minister is not worth the hunger and homelessness. A recent CBC report highlighted the reality for people living in Thunder Bay. There, neighbours are having to share groceries and other essentials just to be able to get by.
    Now, realizing that Canadians are struggling and that the Liberals' plan has received a failing grade from the poverty report card, will the Prime Minister finally axe the carbon tax and stop his inflationary spending to bring home lower prices for all Canadians?
     Mr. Speaker, I have a hard time accepting this question from the member, whom I respect and believe is here for the right reasons. He puts the question in a frame of homelessness, but he is willing to stand behind his leader's proposition to cut funding that serves homeless Canadians across this country.
    I never hear ideas from the Conservatives about making more investments to support vulnerable people. I never hear ideas from the Conservatives that will actually result in more homes being built. It is cut, cut, cut every step of the way. They do not want to put measures in place that will help vulnerable Canadians. We absolutely will.
    Mr. Speaker, the minister can try to deflect and deny as much as he wants, but the fact of the matter is that, after nine years, it is his government's policies that have caused hunger and homelessness to rise. One in four Canadians is struggling to put food on the table. People are spending over 30% of their incomes on housing alone. This is the NDP-Liberal plan in action.
    How can the government possibly believe its plan is working?
     Mr. Speaker, he wants to talk about our policies on affordability. How about the Canada child benefit, which puts more money in the pockets of nine out of 10 Canadian families and stops sending child care checks to millionaires? His party voted against it. Let us look at the change that restored the age of retirement to 65 from 67. His party voted against it. Let us look at the guaranteed income supplement for low-income single seniors, which increased by up to $947. His party voted against it. Let us look at the student loan forgiveness measures for health care professionals who work in communities such as mine. His party votes against it. Every time Conservatives have a chance to help someone, they say no.
    Mr. Speaker, the NDP-Liberal government is receiving a failing grade in Newfoundland and Labrador. Back home, according to Food Banks Canada in its annual poverty report card, almost half are paying more than 30% of their earnings to house themselves and 40% are worried about feeding themselves.
    After nine years, the NDP-Liberal Prime Minister is not worth the hunger and the homelessness. Will he listen to the premiers who begged him to axe the tax, so people can feed and house themselves?
    Mr. Speaker, if my hon. colleague opposite really wanted to do something for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians and all Atlantic Canadians, he would vote to pass the fall economic statement, because that would mean $1,430 to families of four in his riding. It would mean $2,160 to families of four in Alberta, $1,805 to families in Saskatchewan, $1,440 to families in Manitoba, $1,300 to families in Ontario and $912 to families in New Brunswick. That is how we help Canadians.
     Mr. Speaker, I find that a bit rich coming from my colleague from Long Range Mountains, who voted against Bill C-251, against the seal industry, against the fishing industry and against the people in her very own riding.
    Back to the matter at hand, 45% of people back home have an inadequate standard of living, 35% have a severely inadequate standard of living and 26% are experiencing food insecurity.
    After nine years, will the NDP-Liberal Prime Minister, who is not worth the hunger and not worth the homelessness, axe the tax and listen to the premiers back home?
     Mr. Speaker, I will tell members what we do on this side of the House. On this side of the House, we support communities and we support businesses. I would love to hear the member opposite comment on the 181 projects that ACOA has funded in his riding that supported 64 businesses and 43 not-for-profit organizations; he voted against every single one of those.
    That is supporting businesses. That is supporting communities. That is what we do.

  (1455)  

[Translation]

Official Languages

    Mr. Speaker, while the Liberals were making headlines with their contradictions about French, the report of the Office québécois de la langue française slipped by almost unnoticed.
    However, guess which sector heads the list of workplaces where working in French is often the most difficult? It is the federal government. The federal government is the worst economic sector in Quebec when it comes to Quebeckers' right to work in their language.
    Are the Liberals finally going to stop fostering the decline of French in Quebec?
    Mr. Speaker, our two official languages are an asset for all Canadians. We continue to protect both official languages all the time, every month and every year.
    Since 2015, our government has been committed to enhancing French and English after 10 years of underinvestment by the opposition. That is what we have done.
    Let us continue to protect both official languages always.
    Mr. Speaker, according to the Office québécois de la langue française, the federal government is the worst workplace when it comes to anglicizing workers. The impacts are catastrophic.
    Take Gatineau for example, where the federal government is the largest employer. Between 2016 and 2021, the proportion of people working primarily in French fell from 77% to 62%, a drop of 17% in just four years. Quebec's fourth-largest city is being anglicized at breakneck speed with the help of the Liberals.
    I ask again, are the Liberals finally going to stop supporting the decline of French in Quebec?
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague from the Bloc Québécois forgot one thing. He failed to mention that he hates the fact that, as we speak, Quebeckers are working to help build the best country in the world, Canada, using offices on both the Quebec and Ontario sides of the river.
    Quebeckers also contribute in large part to ensuring that we have a bilingual country that respects its two official languages, and they are helping maintain and grow Canada.

Finance

    Mr. Speaker, after nine years, this Liberal-Bloc Prime Minister is simply not worth the cost.
    The Bloc Québécois voted in favour of $500 billion in spending because it wants to keep the Liberal government in power. Quebeckers are homeless, starving and sleeping in dumpsters, and the Bloc Québécois supports the Liberals, who are responsible for this suffering.
    Will this Liberal-Bloc Prime Minister stop his reckless spending and let Quebeckers live in dignity?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind my colleague of something that she already knows and that is that her Conservative leader created only six affordable housing units, whereas 205 were built in her riding alone in recent months.
    What I would like to ask her, however, is whether she agrees with her Conservative leader that the Canadian dental care plan does not exist, while in her riding, 9,000 seniors have signed up and hundreds of them have participated in the program and were able to receive care, sometimes for the first time in their lives.
    The Conservative leader said in Quebec City that the Canadian dental care plan does not exist.
    Mr. Speaker, after nine years of this Liberal-Bloc Prime Minister, Quebeckers are living in unbearable misery because of the housing and homelessness crisis.
    The more the government spends, with the Bloc Québécois's support, the more the Quebec nation struggles. The Bloc is keeping this Prime Minister in power.
    Can the Bloc Québécois end this spectacle and think of Quebeckers, instead of supporting the misery this Prime Minister is putting them through?

  (1500)  

    Mr. Speaker, my colleague talks about struggling, but the people in my region, the Quebec City and south shore region, are struggling to understand the Conservative leader who says that the Canadian dental care plan does not exist, when in her region 9,000 seniors have registered for it. Several thousand Quebeckers in the Quebec City region alone have been able to access dental care, in some cases for the first time.
    How can we struggle even more when we hear the Conservative leader say on Radio-Canada in Quebec City that the Canadian dental care plan does not exist?
    Mr. Speaker, nine years under this Liberal-Bloc Prime Minister is too costly. As a result, there has been an increase in hunger and homelessness.
    By supporting every single budget appropriation totalling $500 billion, the Bloc Québécois has increased inflation, the cost of housing, the cost of energy, the cost of groceries, the cost of bureaucracy and centralizing powers. Going hungry and sleeping on a park bench has become a daily reality for far too many people. Quebeckers are struggling.
    Do the Bloc Québécois and the Liberals have nothing better to offer Quebeckers?
    Mr. Speaker, when I see the Conservatives across the way talking about affordability, with their hands on their hearts, it is hypocrisy. They voted against the dental care program. They are against the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. They are prepared to take on women's reproductive rights and people with diabetes.
    It is really shameful.

[English]

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, today, the House is debating Bill C-356, the Conservative leader's housing proposal. In the Conservative leader's bill, there is no mention of students, seniors, workers or the most vulnerable in the country.
    Could the Deputy Prime Minister please tell Canadians what our plan focuses on, how we are working to create more affordable homes faster across Canada and how the Conservative leader's plan would slow down builders?
    Mr. Speaker, here is what the Conservatives are actually proposing to do on housing. They want to eliminate the renters' bill of rights and our plan to build more homes faster. They want to cut the infrastructure funding that municipalities need to get more homes built. They want to put the tax back on purpose-built rental construction. They do not have a plan; we do.
     Mr. Speaker, after nine years of the NDP-Liberal government, Canadians are in trouble. On Thursday, we learned from the OSFI risk report that Canadian homeowners who renew their mortgages in 2026 will be facing a payment shock. This means that as of February 2024, 76% of Canadians are in jeopardy of losing their homes.
     After nine years of the NDP-Liberal government, many Canadians are now facing the very real fact that they will be losing their homes. The Liberals are just not worth the cost.
    Will the Liberals commit today to stop their inflationary spending to drive down interest rates and make housing affordable so that Canadians can keep their homes?
    Mr. Speaker, as we have been making clear throughout question period, the only thing the Conservatives want to do is cut and cut, and actually put taxes back on home builders.
    When it comes to fiscal policy, let me quote the Parliamentary Budget Officer speaking last week in the other place. He said that Canada compares “rather favourably on a debt-to-GDP ratio with G7 countries. We are probably the least or second least indebted country.”
    The Conservatives are absolutely wrong about everything, including fiscal policy.

  (1505)  

    Mr. Speaker, in the next election, we will let Canadians decide exactly who is wrong. If people listen to the Liberals talk about this, they would think they have never had it so good. That could not be any further from the truth. The fact is that we have tent cities from coast to coast. We have students who are living underneath bridges. We have workers who are living in their cars.
     If the Liberals will not listen to Canadians and they will not listen to the Conservatives, they should listen to their own regulators. They should stop the spending and drive down costs so that Canadians can keep their homes.
     Mr. Speaker, there will be a next election and at that moment in time, Canadians will be able to look at who has the record of stepping up and supporting vulnerable people.
    I can say that the record of the Conservative Party of Canada in our country in standing up and fighting for vulnerable people, fighting for people who do not have homes and fighting for people who are in poverty is abysmal, and that is just the plain facts. Every time the Conservatives had a chance to stand up and fight for those who were in need, they instead turned to ancient, trickle-down economics that do not work, and they will try it all over again.
    People have seen the game, they know what is up, and I do not think they are going to buy it.
    Mr. Speaker, after nine years of the NDP-Liberal government, Canadians are hungry and homeless.
     In the Minister of Housing's own backyard, 10 people are going homeless every single week. One in four Canadians feels they do not even have enough money to live. Canadians are spending 64% of their income on housing, which under the Prime Minister has doubled.
     While tent cities become normal and the Liberals gaslight Canadians and tell them they have never had it so good, the Conservatives are fighting.
    When will the Liberals wake up up and vote in favour of our “build homes not bureaucracy” bill?
     Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague would like to talk about my community. I want to take an opportunity to thank the service providers at shelters like Viola's Place. I want to thank our partners at Coady's Place, who are benefiting from a multi-million dollar investment to build more affordable housing. I want to thank the Antigonish Affordable Housing Society for partnering with us to build more units for vulnerable families in that community.
     However, let us take a minute to talk about the member's community. She shows up for ribbon cuttings for projects that we have funded when she voted against them in the House of Commons.
    It is important that our words match our actions if we are going to solve the housing crisis. I hope the Conservatives will do the same.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, our government tabled a plan to free up 250,000 new housing units by 2031 on federal, provincial, territorial and municipal public lands.
    The Conservative leader has debated his housing plan, Bill C‑356, which will sell federal buildings to the highest bidder with no guarantee of affordable housing.
    Can the public works minister explain to Canadians how our federal land conservation plan will create affordable housing across the country?
    Mr. Speaker, my colleague from Châteauguay—Lacolle is right to talk about affordable housing.
    Do members know how many affordable housing units the Conservative leader created across the country when he was the minister responsible for housing? That would be six affordable housing units.
    The good news for us is that we are building 8,000 units in Quebec because municipalities are taking the lead. Unfortunately, the Conservative leader's bill would scrap those 8,000 housing units to be built by municipalities.
    The other good news is that we will set up a $500-million fund in the coming months to make more housing and public buildings available to serve the communities.
     I am going to ask the member for Portneuf—Jacques‑Cartier to speak only when recognized by the Chair.

[English]

    The hon. member for Winnipeg Centre.

Youth

    Mr. Speaker, while Winnipeg Centre has among the highest rates of youth poverty in Canada, Resource Assistance for Youth, Inc.'s level up job placement and education program has been placed at risk by the Liberals' funding delays. After seven months of waiting, this has forced RaY to discontinue vital programming for youth and lay off staff. It is shameful.
    Will the minister restore the funding, save the level up program and protect the livelihoods of marginalized youth during an affordability crisis?

  (1510)  

    Mr. Speaker, youth employment and skills strategy has been hugely popular this year across the country. So many programs are looking for this funding to support our youth, to get them back into the workforce. Absolutely, I support these organizations getting the funding they need to continue.

Housing

     Mr. Speaker, while the number of people living unsheltered is up across the country by almost 90% since 2018, in my community it is even worse. The number of people living rough has almost tripled.
     A recent PBO report shows the government is investing less than one-seventh of what is needed to even cut the rate of chronic homelessness in half. The government seems to have billions to subsidize the largest companies in the country.
    When will the government do better by those living unsheltered and commit the funds they need to close this gap?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his advocacy on behalf of the most vulnerable who call his part of the country home.
    With respect, we are going to make the investments necessary to support some of the country's most vulnerable, including by partnering with communities that serve homeless Canadians, but also by making the investments necessary, worth billions of dollars, to build out the affordable housing stock so people have a durable solution.
    There are no immediate solutions to solve the challenges that so many Canadians are facing, but consistent investment over time, as we have been doing and will continue to ramp up, is going to make a meaningful difference in lives of some of the most vulnerable Canadians.

Government Orders

[Business of Supply]

[Translation]

Business of Supply

Opposition Motion—Federal Intrusions in the Exclusive Jurisdictions of Quebec and the Provinces  

    The House resumed from May 23 consideration of the motion.
    It being 3:12 p.m., the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion of the member for Beloeil—Chambly relating to the business of supply.
    Call in the members.

  (1525)  

[English]

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

(Division No. 773)

YEAS

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
Desilets
Doherty
Dowdall
Dreeshen
Duncan (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Ellis
Epp
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Fast
Ferreri
Findlay
Fortin
Garon
Gaudreau
Généreux
Genuis
Gill
Gladu
Godin
Goodridge
Gourde
Gray
Hallan
Hoback
Jeneroux
Jivani
Kelly
Khanna
Kitchen
Kmiec
Kram
Kramp-Neuman
Kurek
Kusie
Lake
Lantsman
Larouche
Lawrence
Lehoux
Lemire
Leslie
Lewis (Essex)
Lewis (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Liepert
Lloyd
Lobb
Maguire
Majumdar
Martel
Mazier
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McLean
Melillo
Michaud
Moore
Morantz
Morrison
Motz
Muys
Nater
Patzer
Paul-Hus
Pauzé
Perkins
Perron
Plamondon
Poilievre
Rayes
Redekopp
Reid
Rempel Garner
Richards
Roberts
Rood
Ruff
Savard-Tremblay
Scheer
Schmale
Seeback
Shields
Shipley
Simard
Sinclair-Desgagné
Small
Soroka
Steinley
Ste-Marie
Stewart
Strahl
Stubbs
Thériault
Therrien
Thomas
Tochor
Tolmie
Trudel
Uppal
Van Popta
Vecchio
Vidal
Vien
Viersen
Vignola
Villemure
Vis
Wagantall
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Williams
Williamson
Zimmer

Total: -- 149


NAYS

Members

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

Total: -- 172


PAIRED

Members

Drouin
Dzerowicz
Gallant
Normandin

Total: -- 4


    I declare the motion rejected.

Canada Labour Code

[Government Orders]
    The House resumed from May 24 consideration of the motion that Bill C-58, an act to amend the Canada Labour Code and the Canada Industrial Relations Board Regulations, 2012, be read the third time and passed.
    The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at third reading stage of Bill C-58.

  (1535)  

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

(Division No. 774)

YEAS

Members

Aboultaif
Aitchison
Albas
Aldag
Alghabra
Ali
Allison
Anand
Anandasangaree
Angus
Arnold
Arseneault
Arya
Ashton
Atwin
Bachrach
Badawey
Bains
Baker
Baldinelli
Barlow
Barrett
Barron
Barsalou-Duval
Battiste
Beaulieu
Beech
Bergeron
Berthold
Bérubé
Bezan
Bibeau
Bittle
Blair
Blanchet
Blanchette-Joncas
Block
Blois
Boissonnault
Boulerice
Bradford
Bragdon
Brassard
Brière
Brock
Brunelle-Duceppe
Calkins
Cannings
Caputo
Carr
Carrie
Casey
Chabot
Chagger
Chahal
Chambers
Champagne
Champoux
Chatel
Chen
Chiang
Chong
Collins (Hamilton East—Stoney Creek)
Collins (Victoria)
Cooper
Cormier
Coteau
Dabrusin
Dalton
Damoff
Dancho
Davidson
Davies
DeBellefeuille
Deltell
Desbiens
Desilets
Desjarlais
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Diab
Doherty
Dowdall
Dreeshen
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
Duncan (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Ellis
Epp
Erskine-Smith
Falk (Provencher)
Fast
Ferreri
Fillmore
Findlay
Fisher
Fonseca
Fortier
Fortin
Fragiskatos
Fraser
Freeland
Fry
Gaheer
Gainey
Garon
Garrison
Gaudreau
Gazan
Généreux
Genuis
Gerretsen
Gill
Gladu
Godin
Goodridge
Gould
Gourde
Gray
Guilbeault
Hallan
Hanley
Hardie
Hepfner
Hoback
Holland
Housefather
Hughes
Hussen
Hutchings
Iacono
Idlout
Ien
Jaczek
Jeneroux
Jivani
Johns
Joly
Jones
Jowhari
Julian
Kayabaga
Kelloway
Kelly
Khanna
Khera
Kitchen
Kmiec
Koutrakis
Kram
Kramp-Neuman
Kurek
Kusie
Kusmierczyk
Kwan
Lake
Lalonde
Lambropoulos
Lamoureux
Lantsman
Lapointe
Larouche
Lattanzio
Lauzon
Lawrence
LeBlanc
Lebouthillier
Lehoux
Lemire
Leslie
Lewis (Essex)
Lewis (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Liepert
Lightbound
Lloyd
Lobb
Long
Longfield
Louis (Kitchener—Conestoga)
MacAulay (Cardigan)
MacDonald (Malpeque)
MacGregor
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
Maguire
Majumdar
Maloney
Martel
Martinez Ferrada
Masse
Mathyssen
May (Cambridge)
Mazier
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McDonald (Avalon)
McGuinty
McKay
McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)
McLean
McLeod
McPherson
Melillo
Mendès
Miao
Michaud
Miller
Moore
Morantz
Morrice
Morrison
Morrissey
Motz
Murray
Muys
Naqvi
Nater
Ng
Noormohamed
O'Connell
O'Regan
Paul-Hus
Pauzé
Perkins
Perron
Petitpas Taylor
Plamondon
Poilievre
Powlowski
Qualtrough
Rayes
Redekopp
Reid
Rempel Garner
Richards
Roberts
Robillard
Rodriguez
Rogers
Romanado
Rood
Rota
Ruff
Sahota
Sajjan
Saks
Samson
Sarai
Savard-Tremblay
Scarpaleggia
Scheer
Schiefke
Schmale
Seeback
Serré
Sgro
Shanahan
Sheehan
Shields
Shipley
Sidhu (Brampton East)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Simard
Sinclair-Desgagné
Singh
Small
Sorbara
Soroka
Sousa
Steinley
Ste-Marie
Stewart
St-Onge
Strahl
Stubbs
Sudds
Tassi
Taylor Roy
Thériault
Therrien
Thomas
Thompson
Tochor
Tolmie
Trudeau
Trudel
Turnbull
Uppal
Valdez
Van Bynen
van Koeverden
Van Popta
Vandal
Vandenbeld
Vecchio
Vidal
Vien
Viersen
Vignola
Villemure
Virani
Vis
Wagantall
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Weiler
Wilkinson
Williams
Williamson
Yip
Zahid
Zarrillo
Zimmer
Zuberi

Total: -- 316


NAYS

Nil

PAIRED

Members

Drouin
Dzerowicz
Gallant
Normandin

Total: -- 4


    I declare the motion carried.

    (Bill read the third time and passed)

Privilege

Alleged Breach of Speaker's Impartiality—Speaker's Ruling  

[Speaker's Ruling]
     I am now ready to rule on the question of privilege raised on Tuesday, May 21, by the member for Grande Prairie—Mackenzie concerning the Speaker's alleged lack of impartiality.
     In his intervention, the member stated that the Liberal Party's promotional material used to advertise the Speaker's participation in an upcoming constituency event contained inflammatory partisan language targeting the leader of the official opposition. According to the member, this constitutes an unacceptable display of partisanship that calls into question the Speaker's impartiality. As such, this matter required immediate priority consideration. The member for La Prairie also intervened to support this position.
     The member for Grande Prairie—Mackenzie further contended that the standard procedure to raise concerns over the Speaker's conduct, namely through a substantive motion proposed during Routine Proceedings following the appropriate notice, is deficient insofar as its consideration can be easily adjourned or interrupted. Once interrupted, such a motion is then transferred to the Order Paper under Government Orders, leaving it in the hands of the government to reschedule a resumption of the item. The member posited that the government could forestall a decision of the House on such a motion indefinitely, potentially frustrating the will of the majority of the House on such a critical question.
     The member for New Westminster—Burnaby also intervened on this matter. He challenged the premise of the question of privilege, which in his view was based on an incorrect interpretation of the events and of the rules governing motions on the conduct of the Speaker. The member also reiterated his concerns regarding the recent attacks on chair occupants. While this last issue is perturbing, I will not address it. My ruling will focus solely on the matter raised by the member for Grande Prairie—Mackenzie.

  (1540)  

[Translation]

     While I did not expect to have to rule on another question of privilege regarding the Speaker, it does give me the opportunity to expand on my ruling of December 5. At the time, while I did find that there was a prima facie question of privilege on another matter questioning the Speaker's impartiality, I also stated at page 19501 of the Debates the following:
    In the future, 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.

[English]

     I did so to emphasize that there is a procedure in place to address concerns about the conduct of the Speaker. That process is outlined in House of Commons Procedure and Practice, third edition, at page 323: “The actions of the Speaker may not be criticized in debate or by any means except by way of a substantive motion.” This process is also in line with the precedents we have from June 1, 1956, which can be found at page 4540 of the Debates, and from March 13, 2000, at page 4397 of the Debates.
    While it is true that the House has a process for withdrawing or reaffirming its confidence in the Speaker through a substantive motion, the current rules for considering these motions do not seem responsive enough to deal with this type of issue.

[Translation]

    As members might imagine, few precedents exist in this area, besides those already cited and the December ruling. In another decision, rendered on March 9, 1993, on a question of privilege relating to the participation of a deputy Speaker in outside partisan activities, Speaker Fraser also stated that a well-established official procedure exists to reprove the conduct of chair occupants. While Speaker Fraser did not find a prima facie question of privilege, he did state that the level of impartiality expected of the Speaker should be higher than that of other chair occupants. While he could have insisted that members place a motion on notice, Speaker Fraser instead took the matter under advisement as a question of privilege. In so doing, he took the context into account.

[English]

     I also believe it is vital to account for the specifics of each situation. Indeed, it may be necessary to separate grievances regarding the way chair occupants manage House proceedings from those relating to their conduct outside the House. Members no doubt regularly disagree with the decisions rendered in the House, and I could not allow every decision to rise to a question of privilege or point of order. However, outside activities that result in complaints are far less common and should therefore be dealt with in an extraordinary manner.

  (1545)  

[Translation]

    In December, I ruled that the House itself should as soon as possible pronounce itself on the Speaker's conduct outside the House and the doubts it could raise about his impartiality, and I am of the same opinion today.
    In ruling on this matter, I would like to clarify that I am not passing judgment on the alleged facts but rather on the priority these allegations should be given. While a motion could indeed be moved during routine proceedings, such motions are subject to interruptions in proceedings that could delay a decision on them indefinitely. As for opposition motions, they depend on the allotment of a supply day.

[English]

     Quite clearly, it is in the interest of the whole House to resolve this particular matter quickly and with all due seriousness. As a result, I find that a prima facie question of privilege exists in this case. However, I must point out that a substantive motion placed on notice remains the procedure required to address the conduct of chair occupants during proceedings. I will continue to apply this distinction until the House provides new instructions for dealing with accusations that the Chair is partial based on conduct that occurs outside the House.
     I now invite the member for Grande Prairie—Mackenzie to move his motion.

Request for Office of Speaker to be Vacated  

[Privilege]
    That the Speaker's ongoing and repetitive partisan conduct outside of the Chamber is a betrayal of the traditions and expectations of his office and a breach of the trust required to discharge his duties and responsibilities, all of which this House judges to be a serious contempt and, therefore, declares that the office of Speaker shall be vacated effective immediately before the hour of meeting on the next Monday the House sits following the day this resolution is adopted and directs that the election of a Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 2(2), shall be the first order of business at that Monday's sitting of the House.
    I regret to stand yet again to declare that the Speaker is a partisan Liberal. I do not say that as a critique or a criticism. While I might do that in a different setting, today I bring that up to say that those are the facts.
    The fact is that the Speaker has a very long history of partisan Liberal political activity. As a young person, the Speaker was the president of the Young Liberals of Canada. He took an activist role in that position, building Liberal organizations and connecting with Liberals from coast to coast. I was involved in young Conservative politics, so I know a bit about what is involved there. I can tell members that nobody gets involved in youth politics because they are non-partisan. It is a very partisan environment.
    He went on to be a staff member for several Liberal cabinet ministers. As a matter of fact, he was so well known within Liberal politics that Stéphane Dion appointed him to be the national director of the Liberal Party. After being elected, he took on what is probably one of the most partisan positions in the House of Commons, which is becoming the pit bull to defend the Prime Minister as the Prime Minister's parliamentary secretary.
     I say all of that simply to give context to why many in the House were concerned or had reservations about electing the member for Hull—Aylmer to become the Speaker of the House of Commons. It was evident that the member who is now the Speaker had a very partisan history, and he did it very well. As a matter of fact, oftentimes he would disrupt committees and agitate processes and procedures to try to defend the Prime Minister, especially when the Prime Minister was coming under scrutiny for the litany of scandals that he has now found himself in.

  (1550)  

    The Speaker has a very important role in the House of Commons. Yes, it is always going to be or, for the most part, throughout our entire history, it has been a person who is elected from among us. Moreover, we all get here because of partisan activities. We went and campaigned against other parties or other individuals within our local communities. We eventually got elected to this place. People who are looking to become the Speaker are not here through a different mechanism than the rest of us; however, the Speaker usually has a history of working well with other parties and with other members of the House. That is not the case for the member for Hull—Aylmer. As a matter of fact, he has aggressively defended the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister's Office over the procedures and the rights and privileges of members in the House.
    To give some level of context and contrast, I would like to draw to members' attention a bit of recent history. When the House of Commons, through its committees, had requested, in many ways, in different ways, information about the documents that had not been forthcoming regarding the firing of lab scientists from the Winnipeg lab, the predecessor to the current Speaker went so far as to sue the government, the Liberal government, to defend the decision of members of the House of Commons. He was elected as a Liberal member of Parliament. He did this because the Speaker serves as the servant of the decisions of the House of Commons. They are there to execute the will and the decisions of the collective House of Commons. I am sure that the former Speaker was uncomfortable with launching a lawsuit against his own party's government, but he did it, because that was the role of the Speaker.
    To contrast that and to, I guess, draw the members' attention to comments made by the current Speaker, on November 16, 2020, I was serving as the chair of the ethics committee. The committee was reviewing the unbelievable revelations that had started to flow out, the allegations of huge amounts of money being given to the Prime Minister's friends during the COVID payouts, specifically with regard to up to a billion dollars that had been committed to the WE organization.
    The ethics committee began a process of looking into that organization; in due course, it discovered that, previous to getting the commitment of nearly a billion dollars, this organization had given significant amounts of money to the Prime Minister's family. It was in these discoveries that the committee was looking for more information from the government, but the government was not forthcoming with that documentation. The members of the committee, including members of the Conservative Party, the Bloc Québécois and the NDP, came together and constructed a motion that was being debated at the committee. The Liberals, through a filibuster, were refusing to allow that motion to ever get to a vote on requiring the government to produce documentation. This documentation would either prove or disprove information about money given to the Prime Minister's family members from the WE organization, which later got a commitment of nearly a billion dollars.

  (1555)  

     In a lengthy intervention at that committee, the member for Hull—Aylmer, who is now the Speaker, was leading the charge on behalf of the Liberals. At the committee meeting, he said, “If this motion ends up passing, as the opposition holds majority at the committee, its validity will be immediately questioned and there will be serious questions about the ability to enforce it.” He did not slip up: He went on to say, “Mr. Chair, this is very important. Let me repeat. If this motion ends up passing, as the opposition holds the majority at this committee, its validity will be immediately questioned and there will be serious questions about its ability to be enforced.”
    It is not wrong for a member of Parliament to get elected and defend their government with all their ability. I hope to have the privilege to do that. What is inappropriate is for somebody who serves as the Speaker to continue that conduct. That is the part that seems confusing to the current Speaker. As a matter of fact, when he ran to be the Speaker, he acknowledged that he had had many partisan positions and played partisan games; he said that he wanted to be judged by his conduct going forward. He asked for us to trust him. He said that, effectively, the proof would be in the pudding. We have some facts that we should go through.
    The other thing he said was that the Speaker should be a referee and not a participant in the game. I can tell members that he has had more headlines for his misconduct since he has been in the position of Speaker than have the vast majority of members of Parliament in the House.
    We had other reservations about the fact that he had been found guilty by the Ethics Commissioner of a breach of rules with regard to ethical behaviour. However, those were secondary to what we believe needs to be a non-partisan behaviour of any Speaker of the House of Commons.
     Unfortunately, the revelation of partisan activity has really been historic. This is a type of history nobody should ever want to make. I do not think there has ever been a Canadian Speaker who has been a legend and been found guilty of so many partisan involvements while in the Speaker's Chair. I will just go through a few. The list has now grown to such a length that it would take me much longer than my speech would allow to go through them all.
    It was discovered that, last October, he called up a former member of Parliament, who is now an opinion writer, and asked that person to write an op-ed slamming the official opposition for its effort to hold the government to account.
    Next, in November, it was discovered that he attended and spoke at an event for his provincial Liberal association in Pontiac, for his provincial counterparts in Quebec. They were soliciting support from the community for the upcoming election. Obviously, they were looking for financial support.
     In December, and this is when it all broke loose and became national news, the Speaker undertook to videotape a partisan video tribute that was broadcast at the Ontario Liberal Party's leadership convention. The tribute was for the outgoing interim leader of the Liberal Party. However, it was wrong on so many levels: It was at a Liberal Party convention where they were obviously soliciting support for the next general election. Yes, the tribute was specific to an individual who was leaving an interim position, but he would also be seeking re-election, so it is not as though it was just some tribute.

  (1600)  

     However, far worse than just paying tribute to a Liberal candidate as a non-partisan Speaker is that the Speaker recorded it in his full Speaker's robe and in his Speaker's office. One would think somebody somewhere would have raised alarm bells. However, it gets worse: When it was all made public, his defence was that he did not think anybody was going to find out. He said that he did not know it was going to be put on the big screen; he thought he could get away without anybody knowing.
    Then the Liberal Party, again coming to his defence, said that, in fact, it was not clear to him that it was going to be exposed to the public. All of them in agreement believe that it would have been all right if it just had not become public. That in and of itself raises a massive question of conduct and of character.
    In the days that followed the fallout of that scandalous video, the Speaker jetted off in the midst of a sitting week. It happens rarely, if ever, that a Speaker does so, but the current Speaker did. He went down to Washington. We would have imagined he was going there for some very important, high-level meeting that obviously would have required him to leave Parliament; however, we then found out he actually went there to pay tribute to a good Liberal he came to know while he was the president of the Young Liberals. He made another tribute to a Liberal while he was travelling on the Speaker's budget.
    Now we have the revelations of this summertime evening with the Honourable Speaker of the House. The details of the event have been circulated, and they are interesting. They are very partisan. They attack the official opposition and the leader of the official opposition. I had the opportunity to actually go through other invites that were posted to the same website, the Liberal Party of Canada's website about events in local communities. By far the most partisan descriptor of any event posted on that entire website is attributed to the Speaker of the House of Commons.
    Then, of course, we have the cover-up. It is all fine because now the Liberal Party of Canada, obviously a disinterested and independent body, has come racing to the Speaker's defence. It says that he did not know it was going to be posted there. Therefore, it is okay, and the Liberal Party of Canada will take full responsibility. It says that was the party's doing and that this is a template it uses for all kinds of events on the website.
    I went through all the events. There is only one other event that has the same text, and it was posted in the midst of this scandal. It is not as though it was there for a long period of time. It was just recently posted, and it is the only other event with the same descriptor. This is not a boilerplate template. This is another effort by the Liberal Party to cover things up.
    However, the interesting part is this: If one looks at the fine print at the bottom of the website, it reads, “Team [Prime Minister] events are posted by local volunteer teams.” There is also a “learn more” link, as well as a link to “submit a ticketed event.” My party does not know when I hold a local event unless I tell them.

  (1605)  

    My local association is very effective at doing the good work of raising money and political support in my community. The Conservative Party of Canada does not organize these things; they are local events by local volunteers and other folks.
     The interesting part is that the former PMO staff member and former president of the Hull–Aylmer Federal Liberal Association now serves as the Speaker's chief of staff. It does not seem to me that the individual would have been appointed because he was really well versed in parliamentary procedure. It is clear what his credentials were.
     I say all of this to say that he knows how the system works. Nothing gets fed to the party without somebody at the local level sending it there. The event was clearly a decision of the local folks. Any member of Parliament in this place, when they are expected to show up at an event, does not have the event planned without their knowledge. Therefore the Speaker knew about the event, and there is a chief of staff who is very politically astute and has been engaged at the local association level who is now serving as the chief of staff to the Speaker. Nothing checks out about these revelations and the now new explanation that the Speaker has given.
    The Speaker has demonstrated countless times that he is unfit to be a non-partisan Speaker. He is a very effective partisan Liberal. We have lost trust in his ability to govern this place.
    Madam Speaker, it is interesting hearing the Conservatives, not once, not twice and not even three times, but constantly having it in for the Speaker.
    I was not here on the day of the election of the Speaker because I was working on my daughter's campaign in a provincial election at that point, and I could not be here. Coming back, I heard comments in regard to the Conservatives' shock and surprise that the Speaker actually won. From day one, the Conservatives have actually not supported the Speaker. I find that unfortunate. I will not ask the reasons as to why—
    Mr. Chris Warkentin: I will tell you.
    The member says he will tell me why. Maybe he could expand on his heckle. Could the member tell me why?
    Madam Speaker, the majority of my speaking time was spent explaining why.
     The evidence mounted even before the Speaker had taken the Speaker's chair. It is not a crime for somebody who has a very robust partisan political history to get elected. Many of us do. The issue is that the Speaker has continued his aggressive partisan behaviour throughout his time in the House of Commons, and everybody knows about it. I read testimony of where the now Speaker said that even if a parliamentary committee were to pass a request for information, he would disregard it. The Liberal government would disregard it.
     He did not defend the interests of Parliament. He did not defend the procedures and the policies of transparency that ensure that Canadians get the information that their elected officials request in this place. The Speaker said he would ensure that it never saw the light of day. This is in direct contrast to his predecessor, who, I am sure reluctantly, sued his own party's government to get information that had been requested by the House.
    It was clearly evident that the present Speaker would always put the Liberal Party ahead of Canadians and ahead of Parliament every single time. That is why we did not vote for him.

  (1610)  

    Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for stating the grounds on which we seek the removal of the Speaker of the House.
     Can my colleague expand and provide some examples of the partisanship displayed by the Speaker of the House in terms of how he manages proceedings in the House itself?
    Madam Speaker, there have been many times. I have played a number of sports, and from time to time players get frustrated with the referee. I have been there and done that. When a call comes in the player's favour, they are happy, but when it does not, of course they claim that the referee is favouring the other side. However, the current Speaker, I believe, consistently in the House has heard one thing on this side of the House and not heard it on the other side.
    Quite frankly, folks can decide for themselves, but the national media was seized with an episode of the demonstration of what I believe I have just described. When the Prime Minister used language that some would consider inappropriate, the Speaker asked him to withdraw it. The Prime Minister did not; he changed it up a bit and moved on.
    The leader of the official opposition, in the same question period, did almost the identical thing. As a matter of fact, he stood several times to say that he would replace the word that had been used with an alternative word, which the Prime Minister had just done. The Prime Minister replaced the word he had used. The leader of the official opposition requested several times to do the exact same thing, and the Speaker had a different ruling for him to the one he had for the Prime Minister. He was clearly partisan in his rulings that day, and the media all saw it.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I have a comment, rather than a question, for my colleague.
    The current Speaker was elected on September 27, 2023, just eight months ago. The government is well aware that the Bloc Québécois called for the Speaker to step down after a second incident. Now, there have been three incidents. I have a question for my colleague. If the motion is not adopted, what should we expect?
    Right now, the term that is being used and that we, the members of the Bloc Québécois, really like is “distraction”. The Speaker is a distraction that Parliament cannot afford. The Speaker is supposed to be the picture of impartiality in the House, so we are asking, for a second time, for the Speaker to step down. That is a comment, not a question, but I would be pleased to hear what my colleague has to say, if he cares to respond.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, it is absolutely clear that nearly half of the members of the House have already called for the Speaker to step down. Last time, following the video and all of the evidence that was provided to the NDP, the New Democrats said, yes, what the Speaker did was wrong, and, based on the information, they believed that the Speaker just did not know what his role should be. However, they did say that if it happened again, they would also have to vote to have the Speaker removed.
    We know what the Liberals are going to do because the Liberals believe that the current Speaker serves their purposes very well. The question is this: What will the NDP do? If its members vote with the Bloc and the Conservative Party, the Speaker will be removed. Therefore, will the NDP be true to its word or will it find another reason to yet again support the corrupt Liberal government?

  (1615)  

    Madam Speaker, the role of Speaker and the neutrality of that role are fundamental to Canadian democracy. The people whom we all represent believe that this place can make laws and decide things like spending a budget fairly. We are now in a situation where the Speaker has lost the confidence of the House. To me, it appears as though the NDP and the Liberals are making a decision on whether or not he should go based on their supply and confidence agreement rather than on maintaining the dignity of the Chair.
    What happened in the last instance is that a partisan event was advertised on the Liberal website. This is the third time. In sports, it is three strikes and a person is out. Can my colleague reiterate why it is so important, given everything that has been said here today, that the Speaker resign so the appearance of democracy can once again be restored for the Canadian public?
     Madam Speaker, I think the question is a very important one. I do not stand here as myself; I stand here as the voice of those who sent me here, as does every member of the chamber.
    What an idea it is that the Speaker would in fact be engaging in partisan preferences in the House and not enforcing the rules as they are set out to ensure fair play, not ensuring that all members are treated equally and not ensuring that the procedures are conducted in such a way that we can be sure as to what the voices of Canadians are and what the outcomes are in terms of both.
    The Speaker oversees all kinds of things, including votes in the House of Commons. He oversees the language that is used in the House of Commons. The Speaker oversees all kinds of administration that goes on outside the chamber in terms of the resources that are allocated to different members of Parliament as well.
    The Speaker plays such a central role in defending our democratic institution. If the Speaker is deemed to be partisan in his role, how can Canadians have any faith in this institution anymore? We are their voices, and if we do not believe that the Speaker is conducting himself in a fair manner, how can Canadians? The Speaker has to go.

[Translation]

    Order. 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 Langley—Aldergrove, Mental Health and Addictions; the hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, Public Services and Procurement; the hon. member for York—Simcoe, Carbon Pricing.

[English]

     Madam Speaker, the comments that I have heard, both just in the last 25 minutes or so and previously, concern me a great deal. They concern me, first and foremost, as a parliamentarian. I have been involved at the provincial and federal levels of politics for over 30 years now, and I have had the opportunity to work with Speakers of all political stripes: New Democrats; Progressive Conservatives; Conservatives, here; and Liberals, here in Ottawa. They play a very important role in our whole institution of Parliament, for which I have grown, from the days in which I served in the military, to have a great deal of respect.
    Our institutions mean a great deal, and we do need to be respectful of them and never take them for granted. There are going to be times that we will disagree with something that a Speaker might be saying. I know when I was in opposition in the third party in the far corner over there, I received treatment from the current opposition House leader when he was the Speaker that I did not appreciate. I think, for example, of concurrence motions, where a concurrence motion would be moved, and then I would attempt to stand up and speak, and be instantly shut down, even though today on concurrence motions, members are given all sorts of latitude and provided opportunity to speak.
    I can recall a number of incidents from the Manitoba legislature when I would have real issues, even at times when there was an uproar a Speaker walked out of the chamber, and we continued to have debates, but I have always respected the Chair, even when I was asked to leave the chamber on one occasion. I respect the institution,. We have witnessed over the last number of years that has not been the case coming from the Conservative Party.
    There is a lack of respect for the institution, and that also includes the Speaker and the chair that the Speaker holds. The member spent so much of his time talking about the person, and justifiably so, given the very nature of the ruling that has been made, but the biggest problem I have with the comment is that he is talking about how, at the end of the day, they did not support this Speaker. The Conservative Party never supported this Speaker.
    What was their argument? It was not because of anything that happened from the moment that he was elected as Speaker to today, but because they did not vote for the Speaker. They did not vote for him, because they did not like the Speaker. I made reference to that in my question. At the end of the day, the response was very clear: “We don't like the Speaker. We didn't vote for the Speaker, and nothing has changed.”
    There is no such thing as a perfect human being. Mistakes do happen, and we saw that mistake that had taken place with this particular Speaker. An apology followed, even before, from what I understand, a motion being brought to the chamber.

  (1620)  

     We had a debate at that time, with regard to the Speaker, which ultimately went to the PROC committee. Then the PROC committee came back with a ruling. The Speaker, again, apologized for what had taken place and the disruption.
    That is what the opposition whip was talking about in criticizing the Speaker today. What is the offence that has led to the motion and the ruling that we have before us? The offence is for something that appeared to be inappropriately advertising, or whatever, communicating an event. The Liberal Party of Canada has taken full responsibility for that posting and apologized to the Speaker. The Conservative Party is so upset about that incident that it is introducing another motion of non-confidence in the Speaker, a Speaker who Conservative members voted against when he first put his name forward. They have been very clear about that.
    The incident was based on something the Speaker had nothing to do with and a formal apology was provided.
    To me what that speaks to the Conservatives' focus. Their focus seems to be more about telling Canadians that the institution here in Ottawa is broken. We can see that by their behaviour time and time again. Conservatives are trying to say that we cannot pass legislation, for example. They are trying to say that everything is a problem inside the chamber when, in essence, the problem is not the government. The problem is that the Conservatives, in opposition, are doing whatever they can to destabilize things or make an argument about the institution being broken when it is not broken. They know that, but it does not prevent them. Despite their heckling across the way, they cannot legitimately say that this institution is broken because it is not broken. That does not prevent the Conservatives from going out and about spreading misinformation. Now they are trying to say it is the institution of the Speaker's chair. The Speaker did nothing. The Liberal Party apologized for posting something that should never have been posted and made that a formal apology to the Speaker of the House of Commons. However, the Conservatives are trying to blame the Speaker.
    There is something wrong with that picture, but the Conservatives genuinely do not care. At least, those in the House leadership genuinely do not care. Imagine if someone in the Conservative back room posted something on one of the Conservative MPs and then we started to challenge that individual MP for what was posted, and that MP stood up to say, “Oh, well, it's my fault so I will apologize, even though the Conservative Party of Canada apologized for doing something.”
     This makes no sense unless it is a personal, vindictive attempt at character assassination from the Conservative Party and the leadership. There is an argument to be made for that. That is why I posed the question about why they did not even vote. The opposition whip admitted that the Conservative Party had no intention of voting for the current Speaker. Why does that matter? The way I see it is that the Conservative Party was shell-shocked when the announcement was made and based its argument on how political the Speaker was before he was elected to the position.

  (1625)  

    They said he was a parliamentary secretary to the Prime Minister and he worked for the Liberal Party of Canada and that is the reason he should be disqualified to be Speaker. That is the reason they did not vote for him. Those were the red-flag warnings that they espoused as to why he would never be a good Speaker, saying he was too partisan. That is absolutely ridiculous, especially coming from the Conservative Party.
    Let us think about it. The Conservatives have a gentleman who is the House leader for the Conservative Party. He was first elected in 2004. That is the member for Regina—Qu'Appelle. Let us imagine this. He became the Speaker of the House in 2011. I will bet a McDonald's Happy Meal that at the end of the day I could pull out many quotes from Hansard where we would see the Speaker at the time, the member for Regina—Qu'Appelle, being very critical of the current government. I can guarantee that. I can guarantee that the member for Regina—Qu'Appelle actually was a very partisan individual prior to becoming the Speaker of the House of Commons.
     What happened after the member's little stint as the Speaker? After being the Speaker for a number of years, he realized that he might not win by running for the Speaker again, so he ran for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada. Therefore, oh my goodness, it is okay for a Conservative Speaker to be politically engaged, but it is not okay if we elect a Liberal member of Parliament who was politically engaged before he was a Speaker. That seems to be a double standard. Why is there the double standard? Why is it okay for a Conservative to be politically engaged, active, run for Speaker and be Speaker, but not okay for an active Liberal to become the Speaker? Let the Conservatives explain that one to me. Let them explain why the Conservative Party, as a collective whole, decided to vote against the current Speaker.
     After the Conservatives have tried to justify that one, they can explain this to me. When the Speaker used bad judgment in terms of a video, upon realizing his mistake where what he thought was a video that was going to be shared internally ended up being shared in a public fashion, it did not take Conservatives, New Democrats, Greens or even Liberals for him to recognize that it was inappropriate. He came forward and apologized, but still, we had the privilege issue. The matter came before the House and understandably so. It actually went to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. The procedure and House affairs committee dealt with the issue and came up with a series of recommendations. Let me read what those recommendations were:
    That the Speaker undertake the appropriate steps to reimburse a suitable amount for the use of parliamentary resources that were not related to the performance of parliamentary functions.
    That was done.
    Recommendation 2 states:
    That the House Administration be tasked with preparing, as part of the briefing binder, guidelines for any future Speaker of the House that presents clear boundaries for impartiality and non-partisanship.
    Recommendation 2 was something that was important to see happen. One would think that this would happen when we get a new Speaker in place and, as a result of the issue going to PROC, we learned something. It is going to happen, which is a good thing.

  (1630)  

    Recommendation 3 states:
    That the Speaker issue another apology—
    I underline the word “another”, because he did apologize already.
—clearly stating that filming the video both in his office, and in his robes was inappropriate, his remorse for the situation, and a clear outline of what he and his office will do to ensure this does not happen again; and that the principle of respect, impartiality, and decorum are values he will continue to prioritize as Speaker.
    The member says that he did not. That is part of the problem, if one listens to nothing but the Conservative spin coming from the bench, from behind the curtains. The Speaker did apologize. I heard the apology, as many others heard the apologies. I saw the remorse that was there. I believe it was genuine, from the heart, not only the second time but also the first time that he apologized. Excuse me but, as I said, humans are not perfect. A mistake was made and was recognized, and an apology was given. He did that.
    As one says: How many mistakes? This incident we are talking about right now was a party mistake. It is a party that made the posting. Do a Google search on it, if one likes.
    I believe that the Conservative Party is being misguided. One of the questions that was put to the introducer of the motion itself was about how he “manages proceedings in the House”. I believe that is the quote. I was writing it down and was listening to some of the comments.
    I have been on the opposition side for far more years than I have been on the government side. I can tell members that sitting in that chair can be a challenge at times. I know that. I see that. I have also witnessed that the Speaker who is being referenced today is nowhere near how the Conservatives try to portray him.
    When they say “partial”, listen to the question periods. They get all upset, and they start yelling from the benches and all that kind of stuff. If the Speaker tries to calm them down, then, they will be yelling all sorts of things, even directed at the Speaker. We see challenges inside the chamber and outside the chamber, harassing and challenging the Speaker. I have never seen that sort of a challenge taking place, whether it is here in Ottawa or inside the Manitoba legislature, to the degree that I have seen this particular Speaker be abused verbally inside the House and outside the House, without justification whatsoever. There is a lack of respect toward the Speaker's chair, let alone toward the individual, that I have witnessed.
    Does one think that one feels that the rulings of the Speaker are always on our side? More often than not, I always think the Speaker favours the opposition side because I see the uproar and the loudness of the opposition as they try to interfere with ministers asking questions, and then, all of a sudden, we will heckle once or twice, and we are told to shush, from the Speaker's chair. We would say to listen to the other side.
    I believe this is something very personal for the Conservative Party. They did not support the Speaker when he was first elected. We know that. They do not support him today. They do not support anything that looks good here in the institution of Parliament. We see the behaviour that tries to demonstrate, as much as possible, that this Parliament, as an institution, is broken, when in fact it is not. I believe the Conservatives are dead wrong in the assertions they're making today.

  (1635)  

    Madam Speaker, I have two quick questions for the parliamentary secretary.
    First, if the Speaker does not do the honourable thing and resign, is the member going to vote to have the Speaker step down? If his answer is no, then I want to know how many strikes, mistakes or errors of judgment he expects the Speaker to be tied to before he would ask him to step down.
    As for my second question, the parliamentary secretary has alluded to the fact that he somehow knows how I or all Conservatives voted when we elected the Speaker in the first place. I am wondering how he has access to secret ballots.
    Madam Speaker, I guess I take the word of the committee member who introduced a motion that said we, with “we” being the Conservative Party, voted against the current Speaker. Maybe the member should tell his House leader or opposition whip that they should not be taking his vote for granted because that is what was definitely implied.
    It was not the Speaker's direct responsibility for the posting that has ultimately brought forward this motion. It was the Liberal Party of Canada's administrative wing, which recognized its mistake and apologized to the Speaker. It is in the news; it was in the news, and even though it is not the Speaker's fault, it does not matter from the Conservative Party's position. It is like punishing someone for something they did not do, and that is what the Conservative Party is doing today.

  (1640)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, in his speech, my colleague put a lot of blame on the Conservatives. He told us that there was a year where the Conservative Speaker was also partisan. That may be true. Perhaps there is a double standard here. However, that in itself is not an argument to defend anything unacceptable that is currently happening. I would like to ask my Conservative colleague the same question.
    How many mistakes, how many lapses and how many partisan actions will it take before my colleague opposite finds the Speaker's behaviour to be unacceptable?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I understand the Bloc is going to be speaking next, so maybe it could provide very clear evidence or make a very clear comment on the Liberal Party of Canada taking full responsibility for the posting, apologizing to the Speaker and, ultimately, to all Canadians. It was publicized. The Speaker was given a formal apology because he had nothing to do with what we are talking about. It was the Liberal Party of Canada, and it has apologized for it.
    Why would the Bloc then blame someone for doing something that he did not do? That is a legitimate question, and I hope we get a very clear answer on that.
    Madam Speaker, it is amazing how the member for Winnipeg North is so partisan that he defends a partisan Speaker with such veracity.
    I will ask a similar question to the one just asked by my friend from the Bloc about this. There really are only two opposition parties because the third one is in a coalition with the government. Last December, basically, the Bloc expressed no confidence in the Speaker because of the partisan nature of what he did with the video. He did it a week later in Washington; the list grows. Apparently being a Liberal, generally, as we know from the Prime Minister, who sets the standard, saying “I am sorry” countless times makes up for all of one's mistakes, whether one breaches the Conflict of Interest Act or anything else, and there are no consequences.
    What is the consequence to the Speaker, consistently, at least once a month now, it appears, for making partisan statements and for being part of partisan organizations, many of them about himself and some on behalf of others? What is that number? Is it 10, 20 or 30 apologies before the Liberals recognize that the neutrality of the Speaker has been destroyed by the Speaker?
     Madam Speaker, the Conservative caucus collectively needs to have a huddle on this. I do not think they have actually read any of the media stories. What took place is an incident, and the Liberal Party of Canada has taken full responsibility for that incident and has formally apologized to the Speaker, and through that, to all Canadians. It was not the Speaker, so it's almost like saying that we are going to punish little Johnny for stealing a chocolate bar, when it was not Johnny who stole the chocolate bar.
    Why does the Conservative Party want to punish the Speaker if it was not the Speaker's responsibility for the incident that is being called into question?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, this business about chocolate bars borders on demagoguery. Can we get serious?
     The member for Winnipeg North mentioned several times in his speech earlier that opposition members do not like the Speaker. It is not a question of liking or not liking him. We actually have a great deal of respect for the member for Hull—Aylmer. That is not the issue. The issue is confidence. It is not a matter of not liking him; it is a matter of having confidence in this fundamental institution upon which all the rest of the debates are based. In fact, we have an excellent example this evening: All of the government's work is once again being held up because there is a problem of confidence in the Speaker.
     Is the member capable of differentiating between the two?

  (1645)  

[English]

     Madam Speaker, let us simplify it even more. We are debating the proposed motion because of a posting, and that posting was issued through the Liberal Party of Canada. The Liberal Party has apologized to the Speaker and, through the Speaker, to Canadians. The Liberal Party is the one to blame. Why should the Speaker have to pay the price not for his mistake, but for the Liberal Party's mistake? I really hope the Bloc members will explain that as clearly as I have explained why we have the motion before us right now.
     Madam Speaker, I want to give the parliamentary secretary another chance to answer my question. I asked him this: If the Speaker does not resign, when this comes to a vote, how is he going to vote? Is he going to vote for the Speaker to stay in the chair or not? If he is going to vote to keep the Speaker in the chair, how many more mistakes does he think the Speaker should be allowed? Is it one, two or 10 more? I just want to know the number. If the Speaker makes a mistake, how many more strikes does the member think the Speaker should get?
     Madam Speaker, based on the facts before the House, I would suggest that every member should accept the fact that the Liberal Party of Canada has taken full responsibility for this, and my vote will not be to punish someone who has not had anything to do with that particular posting. I think that is the responsible and respectful thing to do, given the fact that the Liberal Party of Canada has taken the responsibility for it.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, we are currently facing a crisis. I get that my colleague has no solution to the crisis except to vote against the motion under consideration, which is fine. I just find it funny how many gaffes a Speaker is allowed to commit.
     There is also the gravity of those gaffes to consider. Although it is all well and good to see the third gaffe as relatively minor, I would say this to my colleague: We are in a crisis, not only because the Speaker has made serious errors in view of his status, role and office, but we have been in a crisis for several months. Respect no longer exists in the House. For me, this is one more factor that reinforces and lends credence to the motion calling on the Speaker to resign.
     Does my colleague agree that the House is not functioning normally in terms of respect, order and language?

[English]

     Madam Speaker, I believe that the charge being led by the Conservative Party of Canada is very much politically motivated. At the end of the day, I would like to see members provide clarity on the issue of why the Speaker should be held responsible for something the Liberal Party of Canada has very clearly indicated it was responsible for and for which it has formally apologized. That is what I believe—
    We will have to leave it at that.
    Resuming debate, the hon. member for La Prairie.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I will begin by advising you that I will be sharing my time with my friend, the member for Salaberry—Suroît.
     We have already been over this. We have discussed the situation with this Speaker again and again. For people who like stories and novels, let us just say they will be spoiled by the saga of this Speaker, who has made gaffe after gaffe and has always relied on the excuse that it was not his fault, it was just a rookie mistake.
     The bottom line is that two things are clear. First, this is the worst Speaker in the history of this Parliament. Second, this is a Speaker who lost the confidence of 150 parliamentarians, which is no mean feat. These 150 parliamentarians, who make up 44.38% of the members, said that he no longer enjoyed their confidence, that they were done with him. On top of that, there are two parties keeping him in his post, namely the NDP and the Liberal Party. I can guarantee that if these two parties allowed a free vote in the House, it would mark the end of this Speaker's tenure. I am 100% certain.
    What do we do here? We debate, we work and we try to improve the lot of our communities, of the people we represent. Now we have a Speaker drawing attention to himself again. We are delaying government business to talk about a Speaker who keeps stumbling. That is the reality. That is like going to a hockey game and spending the whole time watching the referee, who is not calling the plays right. Eventually, something has got to give.
    I remember when the Speaker appeared before the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs to explain. Of course, he repeatedly said that it was not his fault. However, one thing struck me: He said that there is no instruction manual for being the perfect Speaker. I understand that, but every Speaker before him has done better than he has. Even if there is no perfect Speaker instruction manual, there is a way to get the job done. We are not asking him to move mountains. He should be able to do the job, but it seems he is the only one who has not been able to, so we have to wonder.
     There are certain things I will never forget. When we say that 150 members have lost confidence in the House, we have to ask ourselves what the word “confidence” means. Does it simply amount to saying that we are no longer encouraging him? No, it is not only that we no longer think he is a good Speaker. It is that each time he makes a decision, we will have doubts as parliamentarians.
     When the Speaker told the leader of the official opposition to leave the House, did he do that because there was a hint of Liberal red peeking out from under his robes? I will not say that I myself wondered, but some people may have. Did that have something to do with it, or did he truly make the right decision? The mere fact that we have doubts about him means that he cannot do his work properly. It is over.
     When the problems with the former Speaker and the unfortunate visit by the former Nazi occurred, the NDP leader said one thing that struck me. In fact, I commended him on his remarks. He told the Speaker, who was in the chair, that members could no longer have confidence in him or know whether he had or had not made the right decision. I thought that was good, because that is what it means to have confidence in a Speaker who represents institutions. I do not know what his position on today's motion will be, but I hope that the flash of insight he had a few months ago will strike him again today in relation to this Speaker, whose position is once again in jeopardy.
     He has made one blunder after another. I recall hearing my whip say at the outset that certain members were recognized for their vision and their intelligence in debates. Our whip has that intelligence. She told the Speaker he had been very partisan in his former life. It is as though the member for Winnipeg North decided to become Speaker. I would be a little frightened of that prospect. I would wonder whether it was serious or some kind of joke.

  (1650)  

    It is not that he is not a great guy. He is a great guy, but he is a bit partisan. We are talking about him right now and he does not know it. He is a bit partisan. It would be funny if he ran. We might question the result. It would be like asking Colonel Sanders to guard the henhouse. In any case, it would be a bit scary. That being said, he has come in too late, which is too bad.
    We would say to the member for Winnipeg North that we believe him, that we trust him, but that we are keeping an eye on him. That is what the whip said. I remember it like it was yesterday. We like him as an individual. I think he is nice and I like him a lot. When I worked with him in committee, he was very good. He was partisan and he was very good. I just think this was a case of bad casting.
    I am not a bad hockey player, but I would not be any good as a contortionist for Cirque du Soleil. No one is good at everything. These are jokes, but that is what it comes down to. He made the video wearing his Speaker's robes and recorded it in his office. He made a video to pay tribute to a former conservative leader of the Ontario Liberal Party, which is really closely tied to the Liberal Party of Canada. That is okay. That is fine. The Speaker was caught and he said he did not know the video would be used for that. Still, when someone makes a video like that, they should realize that it could lead to trouble. I do not know. Let us just say that it was not a good start.
    When this matter was discussed at the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, he was not there. He was not there until he testified, because he was in Washington attending a partisan event. Here we have two for the price of one. He does a partisan event in his office, wearing his robes, with the caption “House Speaker”. Then, when the matter is being discussed, he goes to Washington because there was a partisan meeting and event. That is two.
    Then he said that there is no guide on how to be the perfect Speaker. I understand that people make mistakes, but there is a limit. There are two qualities that a person must have to be a good Speaker: impartiality and judgment. He messed up on both of those things right from the start, which is no small feat. At just one event, he messed up on the two things that are essential for the job.
    Then, as I said, there was the trip to Washington. After that, he participated in a partisan event hosted by André Fortin of the Quebec Liberal Party. He was there. He was in attendance.
    Now, we are talking about the invitation to his spring event. The Speaker of the House is a member of the Liberal Party, and Liberals stick together. The Speaker said that it was the Liberal Party that sent out the invitations that took aim at the Leader of the Opposition. He apologized. Once again, he apologized. It was not his fault. It is never his fault.
    I do not know when that happened, but we saw it on Wednesday of the previous week. He saw it on Tuesday of the following week, six days later. He is not nervous. It took six days for him to catch on, when this is a huge deal and he was under scrutiny. Not only did he fail to exercise judgment and demonstrate impartiality, but he and his team were also somewhat incompetent. I will close by saying that, if he respects the democratic institutions that he represents, then he has no choice but to step down from his role as Speaker himself. Does he respect those institutions?

  (1655)  

[English]

     Madam Speaker, for those who are following the debate today, it is important to recognize that the first incident the member talked about received unanimous consent in the House. Not only did the government agree to it, but we also ensured that it would be given proper priority and resources so that the matter could be dealt with, because the Speaker made a mistake. Does the Bloc not realize that that was the Speaker's call and that the Speaker is the one who made the mistake?
     In this situation, it is not the Speaker; it is the Liberal Party of Canada. The Bloc members are trying to punish the Liberal Party of Canada by censuring the Speaker of the House. How do they justify that? I do not understand.

  (1700)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, the video is no minor error. He is dressed in the Speaker's robes, he is talking to his buddy and he is being filmed in his office. While it may seem harmless, we can agree this was his first mistake.
    However, when he went to see MNA André Fortin, a member of the Liberal Party of Quebec, was he kidnapped in the night and taken to a back room for the photo? When he went to Washington for a partisan meeting, the same thing happened again. Did he get lost looking for his car keys and somehow end up there? Come on.
    For six days, no one knew what was going on. The Speaker and his team were in their office, counting their fingers and toes, oblivious that a text bashing the Conservative Party of Canada had been written for the Speaker's event. Did no one clue in?
    Mistakes can happen, but eventually it gets to be too much.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, that was not the question.
    We are talking about the incident that is before us today. The Liberal Party took responsibility, and the Bloc seemed to be content with blaming the Speaker for what the Liberal Party of Canada did and formally apologized for.
    Why would the Speaker be punished for something the Liberal Party of Canada has taken responsibility for? That is the question.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I understand my colleague's question, but he is the one who did not understand my answer. I will explain again.
    The Speaker of the House must take care to remain neutral. It is part of his job. He must guard his neutrality jealously, because it is one of the two pillars of his position. He has to keep an eye on everything involving himself and his events. That is his job. No one should ever have reason to think that he is being partisan. He must be as pure as the driven snow.
    He organized an event to be held in June. The Liberal Party of Canada came streaming in and sent out a message to the public about a Speaker of the House event, while also bashing the Conservative Party. It took six days for the Speaker to clue in. How come our party and plenty of other parties clued in, but it took him six days? It is part of his job, after all.
    He has proven time and time again that he is not neutral and that he lacks judgment. I like him a lot, I think he is nice, but unfortunately, this afternoon, I must add that he is incompetent.
    What more will it take?
    Madam Speaker, it gives us no pleasure to rise in this debate. We would rather be discussing the problems confronting Canadians. Unfortunately, the current Speaker's misconduct has led us here.
    I am going to answer the question put by the member for Winnipeg North directly. The Liberal Party says that it accepts responsibility for what happened, but it forgets one thing. In the Liberal Party's apology, it said that direct attacks on the Conservative Party are part of every invitation it sends out for its events. However, the only time that this specific wording was used was after the member for Hull—Aylmer had used it. Therefore, this happened after the explanation for the mistake was given. As the Bloc Québécois member so aptly said, for six days, the current Speaker lacked the dignity and respect to point out the mistake and correct it.
    I have a question for my colleague, who, like me, was once a member of the Quebec National Assembly. Does he think that the National Assembly would have tolerated a situation like this?
    Madam Speaker, my colleague knows the answer.
    This behaviour is unacceptable. There is no doubt in my mind that if this person were in the Quebec National Assembly, they would have had to resign. There are others who have had to resign for lesser errors.
    However, I do not want to imply that the National Assembly is better than the House of Commons, and I say that with all due respect. What I am saying is that what happens in the National Assembly should also happen here. I still have confidence that the House will realize that this Speaker can no longer continue in his position and that the House of Commons deserves better.

  (1705)  

[English]

Business of the House

    Madam Speaker, I request that the ordinary hour of daily adjournment of the next sitting be 12 midnight, pursuant to order made on Wednesday, February 28.

[Translation]

    Pursuant to order made Wednesday, February 28, the minister's request to extend the said sitting is deemed adopted.

Privilege

Request for Office of Speaker to be Vacated  

    The House resumed consideration of the motion.
    Madam Speaker, I listened carefully to my colleague from La Prairie's speech, and I completely agree with what he said. I could try to give some more arguments, but I think that the Bloc Québécois's position is fairly clear.
    I do have to say that I am deeply saddened to rise to speak today. It is sad that the member for Hull—Aylmer is once again in the spotlight, a distraction that is diverting attention away from the work of the House and slowing it down. I am trying to put myself in his shoes and I can imagine that it must not be very pleasant for him to hear what we are saying today.
    As the member for La Prairie said, we do not have anything against the member for Hull—Aylmer. On the contrary, as I said many times when he testified before the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, the member for Hull—Aylmer is certainly a good person. It is just that he does not have the right qualifications for the job. He is not the right person at the right time to preside over this House, a job that requires a high degree of knowledge, skill and judgment.
    It is not easy to become the Speaker without first putting in time as a deputy speaker, without having learned the rules of procedure, without having learned how to do that job or give rulings first. That takes experience. It is not easy to become the Speaker overnight without having gained that experience, like the Assistant Deputy Speaker has been able to do. Thanks to all her knowledge and experience, she now has the ability to one day hold the position of Speaker. It takes experience.
    At the risk of repeating myself, after today I do not want people to think that the Bloc Québécois is attacking the member for Hull—Aylmer. It is the complete opposite. We reached out to him several times to ask him to step down of his own accord and realize that he has lost the confidence of the majority of members in the House. After the most recent event that was the subject of the motion we are debating, the Speaker made some calls. He contacted me to say that what happened was not his fault and explained to me at length what really happened.
     I told him that if I were in his position, given the situation and the fact that he did not have the confidence of 149 members of the House, I would not have taken part in that event to thank volunteers. I would not have publicized it or organized it. I would not have done so to prove to the members of the House that I wanted to finish out the parliamentary session on as good a note as possible. The fact that he went ahead with the event demonstrated to us once again that he showed a lack of judgment. If I were in his place, I would have said to my people that we would not hold the event to thank volunteers this year, even if the Clerk of the House had given me permission to do it.
    As we all know, the Clerk of the House advises the Speaker. The Deputy Speaker knows this, because she herself has received advice from the procedural clerk and his team. However, the Clerk cannot advise the Speaker on his political judgment. He provides guidance on procedures and refers to precedents, but he cannot advise the Speaker on any political decisions involving any activities. Once again, the member for Hull—Aylmer, even as Speaker, has the right to thank his volunteers, because there will be an election next year. Let us just say that this was all very sloppy and unprofessional in terms of how it was organized and advertised and how communications were handled between his office and the political party leadership.
    I think the member for La Prairie would agree that if one of us had been in the Speaker's shoes, our teams, the people around us, would have been monitoring the website where the information was going to be posted. From the moment an invitation or press release was imminent, my team would have been making calls and sending texts to ensure that what was published matched my intentions, so that this activity would not be seen as partisan or as an ad attacking the official opposition party. That was the mistake. It was not an error in terms of rules or procedure. Rather, it was an error in judgment.

  (1710)  

    In our discussion with the Speaker, he told me that meeting with volunteers in the middle of July or August was not easy and that is why he decided to do it in early June. That was a poor decision on top of all the other poor decisions that he has already made and that engendered mistrust.
    We take no pleasure in having this discussion today, but we are all wondering what will be next. We are appealing to the judgment and the competence of his team to advise him well because the Speaker is walking a fine line, as the saying goes. He has reached the limit. There is no more room for error. He did not take the opportunity to cancel or postpone this annual event, even though he knew he was putting himself at risk. He is at risk. If we keep making the same mistake, at some point enough is enough. There is a limit, as the member for La Prairie said.
    There was already a lack of trust, but to be quite frank, it is as though the Speaker and his entourage were doing everything in their power to once again make themselves the object of debate, the focus of discussion and a major distraction at the end of an intensely busy session.
    Earlier, a minister said that we would have to sit until midnight to get our work done. However, what we are doing today—debating and dealing with a motion asking the Speaker to step down and seeking to hold an election on Monday—is delaying the passage of bills and our legislative agenda. Members will be rising until midnight to support the motion moved earlier. As a result, we will be losing an entire day discussing the Speaker's errors in judgment.
    I understand that this is a difficult situation. It is easy for the Liberals to point fingers at the Conservatives and say that, even if the Speaker had the wisdom to leave and another Speaker were appointed, the House would not change its behaviour. They would argue that no Speaker could manage the House as it currently stands because its members are so unruly and deeply disrespectful toward the Speaker and each other.
    Personally, I do not subscribe to that theory. I think that if the Speaker wisely steps down of his own accord, members of the House will trust the new process and give the new Speaker a chance. It would be good to have a female Speaker to end the session, to have a woman with experience presiding over the end-of-session proceedings. The elastic has been stretched so thin for the current Speaker that, if a new Speaker were elected, I trust—and I do not say that often—that my opposition colleagues, mainly the Conservatives who, sometimes, find it hard to chill out, as the member for La Prairie would say, would understand that we are on the homestretch, and if a new Speaker took the chair, we would end the session much more calmly and with more discipline.
    The government needs to realize that it has dragged things out for so long that the person who is suffering right now is the member for Hull—Aylmer, who feels judged and truly unliked. The truth, however, is that that is too bad for him.

  (1715)  

    He did not become Chair at the right time, in a context that suits the arrival of a new Speaker. We therefore ask him to leave the chair.

[English]

     Madam Speaker, I am going to quote a letter that came from the Liberal Party of Canada. It is addressed to the Speaker. It says, “I am writing to you today about an event that was posted to our Liberal website for your riding, which had language that was partisan in nature.” It goes on, at the end stating, “The Liberal Party of Canada unequivocally apologizes to you for this mistake, and we take full responsibility.”
    The reason we are having the debate today is that incident. This letter is very clear as to who is responsible. Why has the Bloc made the decision already that because of this incident, because the Liberal Party made a mistake, the Speaker has to be censured?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I will try to speak slowly so that the member for Winnipeg North can hear the interpretation of what I am saying.
    With respect to the latest events that have taken place, yes, the party president apologized for publishing an invitation to a volunteer appreciation event that had not been approved by the Speaker. What we do not understand, and what the member for Winnipeg North does not understand, is why the Speaker decided to organize this event. The second question is, why did he or his team only learn, six days after this invitation was published, that the Liberal Party had made a mistake and that it would be at the Speaker's expense because it proves that he was holding a partisan event? It seems that the team surrounding the Speaker and the Speaker himself were not paying attention; they did not sound the alarm bells. They did not explain that he was already in the hot seat and ensure that the invitation that got sent out was the one he wanted to send for the volunteer appreciation event. No, they sent out the press release and then did not pay attention. The wrong press release was published.
    That is why we do not trust the Speaker. He lacks judgment and competence and he has surrounded himself with the wrong kind of people.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, it is quite a scenario when not just on this issue, but on numerous other issues that have been before the House the Bloc Québécois is doing more to support Canada and the institutions of our British parliamentary system than the NDP and the Liberals are. This is quite a situation we find ourselves in.
    I do not know what my colleague's true intentions are. Perhaps she wants her colleague from Bécancour—Nicolet—Saurel to be the Speaker twice in one session, even on a temporary basis. However, all kidding aside, because everybody likes Louis—
    The hon. member cannot use the name of a member.
    Madam Speaker, I know. I am sorry.
    We all have EDAs, we all have riding associations and we all have care and control of these things. How hard is it as a politician not to do something, like not be partisan? How hard is that?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, we shared the duties of whip when he was whip for the Conservative Party.
    It is a combination of events. It is a string of events that have undermined and continue to undermine many parliamentarians' confidence in the Speaker. Things build up. We wonder how long the NDP and the government will tolerate these kinds of events. It is really becoming, and inordinately so, the most discussed topic in a Parliament that is supposed to finalize and complete a legislative agenda by June 21.
    I will take advantage of my colleague's question to say that the Bloc Québécois wants this institution, Parliament, to work because it has the interests of Quebec to defend. Every minute that we waste, we are not present to move our issues forward and to move Quebec forward.
    We have a profound respect for the institution. However, we have no tolerance for a Speaker in the chair who is not worthy of the office.

  (1720)  

[English]

     Madam Speaker, it is a pretty critical point in the legislative agenda that has come up.

[Translation]

    I agree with the Bloc Québécois member and her argument that there are many bills we would like to discuss.

[English]

     I appreciate that this is a critical time right now. We have a lot of legislation that we need to discuss in the House, legislation that our constituents have sent us to this place to get through. It is serious things that are so important, such as Bill C-49, Bill C-59, Bill C-70 and Bill C-64. We have two opposition day motions just this week. We are trying to deliver the help that Canadians so desperately need, including through legislation like the fall economic statement, which the official opposition has filibustered at committee for months and which is something that would deliver a great deal of support in terms of housing.
     Something I am particularly proud of as a part of that piece of legislation is actually the removal of the HST on psychotherapy and counselling services. It is something that would help those who are working within that profession, and something that I actually had a conversation about just yesterday with a psychotherapist who asked me when we would be getting the legislation passed. I said we are working on it and trying to make sure it goes through. The person I spoke to needs the fairness for the removal of the federal tax to occur. She spoke to me about how important it was for her clients to have equality within the services that are provided to them. We know, of course, that we are in a mental health crisis and that every bit of assistance helps in that regard. That is one piece of legislation that the official opposition has filibustered at the committee.
    There are, of course, amendments to the Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia accord act that we need to get through. There is the foreign interference act, which is of course becoming more and more important as we move through this parliamentary session.
    I do not know how many times New Democrats have to talk about how incredibly important pharmacare is. We certainly know that the official opposition does not believe that. I think about the millions of Canadians who rely upon that piece of legislation to help them afford the medications they need, diabetics in this country, and I believe there are 3.7 million of them, who need the legislation to go through so they would not have to worry about the cost of their diabetes medications and devices. So many constituents have written to me thanking me for moving that forward.
    Those are the key pieces of law that we need to get moving in the House. Yes, we are sitting until midnight most nights to do that. New Democrats believe in that absolutely because it is for people that it is important. There is an opposition party determined to delay every single one of the bills. Time again, the Conservatives have obfuscated, filibustered, screamed and yelled in outrage and then attempted to delay and stall all of that progress, all of those supports. I find it unacceptable.
    The fact is that what the Conservatives are now calling out, in terms of their outrage, is that the Speaker seems to have been caught up in supposed partisan activity that clearly was not of his doing. He did everything he was supposed to do, ran through the permissions that he was supposed to get, and yet mistakes were made. The partisanship that the Conservatives are so outraged about actually fuels their own partisanship fire of trying to find yet some other thing that they can hold on to, so much so that it will delay again all of the incredible supports that we need to get to people.

  (1725)  

    I see this every day, whether I am at the procedure and House affairs committee or here in the House. The Conservatives are desperate to cling on to anything they can, and destroy whatever we are trying to do in the process, to show that this place does not work, because that fits into their communication strategy. I am sorry, but I am not going to allow something to fit into their communication strategy to disrupt what needs to happen for my constituents.
    The member across the way for Winnipeg North did quote the letter, but I want to mention it again. We are here, in this case, over a tweet that was sent out by the Liberal Party without having consulted the Speaker. The letter is very clear. It is from the national director of the Liberal Party, apologizing very clearly to the Speaker. It states, “The Liberal Party of Canada unequivocally apologizes to you for this mistake, and we take full responsibility.”
    Was there a mistake made? Absolutely. Is it horribly unfortunate? Absolutely. Are we punishing the right person in this instance? No. Should there be more vigilance on this issue? Absolutely, of course. However, calling for the Speaker's resignation is clawing to the communication strategy that benefits one group. It does not benefit the entire House. I do not agree with that. We on this side of the House do not agree with that.
    We have to work on the legislation that the people have sent us to work on. We have a very important job, and I have no time for all of the bickering and squabbling. Canadians need this place to work. They need us to get to work. We can make this all about ourselves or we can make it about them. Canadians deserve that. New Democrats want to help deliver the supports they need. The work is urgent, and the official opposition just wants to delay. That is all I have to say on this matter.
     Mr. Speaker, in listening to the member, I was thinking about programs. Through co-operation, the Liberals and New Democrats have been able to achieve some wonderful things for our constituents in dental, pharmacare, child care, disability and housing-related issues
    Today we are supposed to be debating the fall economic statement, which has within it the doubling of the rebate top-up for rural Canadians. There are a lot of substantive things we could be doing to support Canadians. In good part, things are happening because of the co-operation we are getting from New Democrat members.
    We can disagree on legislation, but can the member expand on why it is important to at least allow the majority of the House to get the important stuff through?
    Mr. Speaker, we are not in a unique situation in the House of Commons in trying to work collaboratively on legislation. It is not a wild idea. There are so many governments, legislatures and parliamentary institutions around the world that figure out ways of coming together to make things better. They do it through different forms of proportional representation, an issue I would love the government to have taken seriously. There is a partisan dig.
    However, this is not unusual. I have said many times throughout my career that there are members within this place who think this is about them. They are here because it benefits them. It benefits a very small number of people who already have a great deal of power and privilege. I am here in this institution to represent the people who do not have that power or privilege. I am here to try to redistribute wealth and power, because that is what democracy truly calls for. As lofty as those goals may be, and as difficult as I find incremental progress, those are the things we work together on to ensure that Canadians truly benefit.

  (1730)  

    Mr. Speaker, I know when I hear somebody give an intervention in the House and they have already arrived at a conclusion, that they fill it with blanks as to how they got there. The fact is that the New Democratic Party is an ally to the Liberal Party here in the House of Commons and is not going to vote it out at this point in time. It is not going to do anything against the party that is its lifeblood at this point in time, so let us not pretend there was any rationale there.
    I will say that when I come into the House and look at the way it operates, it is ridiculous. There is a whole bunch of stuff that the government is getting completely wrong, and parliamentarians have much less input, in my opinion, than they used to have. That is wrong.
    The main thing that we are talking about today is the person who sets the rules for the House. Our job as the opposition, and the member's job as part of the opposition supposedly, is to make sure those types of things, like the way this place functions, happen appropriately. That is not happening. Why will the member not admit that and try to get to a path of fixing what is becoming more and more broken? I say that with absolute clarity.
    Mr. Speaker, there is a clear perspective I was talking about in my speech on what Conservatives believe is broken or what they are trying to make appear to be broken. This institution can run quite well if they allow it to do so.
     What I find ridiculous is the insulting manner in which the member tried to ask his question. It is up to all of us to create the rules that govern this place, so he is wrong with respect to what he said about the Speaker's creating those rules.
    We as a caucus will, absolutely, look at the motion. We will take it to caucus on Wednesday. We will discuss it. We will take the time to do so. What I find offensive is Conservatives' use, which I do not appreciate or agree with, of this institution for their own partisan games.
    I am entirely clear in my mission here in the House to deliver what my constituents and the people of Canada need, and I do not believe that is the Conservative Party.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I agree with many of the things my colleague said.
    I especially agree with the fact that we are here to work for people and to get results. I am always saying that, every day. My colleague knows me well enough to know that I believe what I am saying. I am appalled by the fact that members are playing partisan politics.
    However, we are currently dealing with a loss of confidence. I understood the explanations that she gave about the much-talked-about letter or message. Nevertheless, we had already lost confidence in the current Speaker because of the previous incidents that occurred. Once members' confidence has been shaken, that is a problem. We cannot look at this new situation and say that maybe it is just a little mistake because it is the first time that such a thing has happened. No. This is the third time, the fourth. With each new mistake, the doubt grows. Do we believe it when we are told that he did not see the message? I do not want to insult anyone, but I am going to give members of the House the privilege to have doubts. That is the problem.
    I agree with the member that we need to get to work. Does she not think that we should deal with the confidence issue and elect a new Speaker to resolve this issue so that we can work for ordinary citizens?

  (1735)  

    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member's question.
    The Liberal Party of Canada made a mistake. That is what is at issue here. The Speaker did not make a mistake. The Speaker verified all communications related to this matter and got permission. It was an error made by the Liberal Party.

[English]

    That is the crux of the issue today.
    Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to my colleague's speech. I know that neither she nor I normally likes sports metaphors, but we have something going on here that seems quite obvious: When the game starts to go badly, as it is for the Conservatives in the current Parliament, then one has two choices. In Parliament, one can either take the ball and try to disrupt the game by pulling the fire alarm or—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
     Order.
    The hon. member for Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke has the floor.
    Mr. Speaker, as I was saying, when things are not going well, in terms of getting things done in Parliament, we can try to up our game, make positive suggestions and seek co-operation with other parties; otherwise, we can grab the ball, pull the fire alarm, go for distractions and delay, and hope that we will somehow benefit from that in the long term. In her speech, the hon. member made the good point that, in the meantime, Canadians suffer from inflation, health crises and all kinds of other things. There is important work we can do here to help them.
    As such, despite not liking sports metaphors, would the hon. member agree with me that what we have going on here is a failure to actually work on behalf of Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, I do not mind sports metaphors. It is true that the Conservatives are trying to take their ball and bat and run home, but the member hit it out of the park in terms of his question. I was on the doorsteps in many elections, but in the last election, I promised my constituents that I would get real things done for them. While it is not exactly perfect, and I certainly do not love all the things that Liberals have put forward, we are doing some core, key work that will help people. Again, millions of Canadians will receive medications that they desperately need. Let us focus on that instead of ourselves.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Battle River—Crowfoot.
    Today is a sad day, because we cannot help but be disappointed. I will read part of the motion that was moved. It states, and I quote:
    That the Speaker's ongoing and repetitive partisan conduct outside of the Chamber is a betrayal of the traditions and expectations of his office and a breach of trust required to discharge his duties and responsibilities, all of which this House judges to be a serious contempt and, therefore, declares that the office of Speaker shall be vacated effective immediately...
    That is serious. We are not trying to figure out how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. This is something extremely important. The role of the Speaker of the House is the highest office in the House, so the Speaker must be beyond reproach.
    For some time now, I have been hearing that the Speaker made a mistake, that these things happen. I think it could be x, y or z. The key word in the motion is “trust”. What is trust? It is the ability to rely on someone else, and I will add without having to check constantly. Trust is an element of faith. Members should have faith in the Speaker. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
    One mistake can happen. Three mistakes is a pattern. It is not the same thing. We have to be careful. Unfortunately, I believe that the Speaker did not understand what his role entailed. I think he wanted to take up the role and he is happy to be in it. However, I do not think he understood. We are talking about comprehension. I would like to provide a bit of background. I love to play with words. The word “comprehension” comes from the Latin “comprehendere”, which means to grasp the whole situation. I do not think the Speaker has been able to grasp all that he is. His vision is a little narrow. He sees part of the whole situation, the partisan part. Having worked with the member for Hull—Aylmer on the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, I can attest that partisanship is part of his terms of reference.
    Members will not be surprised to learn that the Bloc Québécois is going to ask the Speaker to step down. We have not had any confidence in the Speaker since December. This is nothing new. Despite the fact that most members of the House are actively contesting them, the Speaker continues to make decisions that show a lack of impartiality and neutrality. Neutrality is rather demanding concept, but we should at least be able to expect the Speaker to be impartial. In this case, impartiality is the ability to choose for the common good. Unfortunately, we do not think that the Speaker has that quality.
    We are talking about repeated errors. Let us make a distinction between three different words that deal with the same thing. What is a mistake? A mistake produces an unintentional result. If someone is following a path and takes a wrong turn and gets lost, they can backtrack and find their way again. That is fine. People can make mistakes once. It can happen once.
    There is a difference between a mistake and an error. An error is when someone should have known. In these cases, the Speaker should have known. A person cannot be Speaker and assume that they can attend a function wearing their Speaker's robes without sending an implied message. That person cannot assume that a partisan message like the one recently sent by the Speaker does not have any consequences. They cannot do that. That would be an error.
    There are things that are more serious than a mistake, like negligence. Negligence is when someone should have known better, but did not bother to know. They did not pay enough attention to know what they should have known. It is like saying that a doctor acknowledged symptoms, but did nothing about them. That is negligence. The Speaker's repeated negligence bothers me. As an ethicist, I am bothered by this. I believe that the Speaker, our supreme adjudicator, collectively brings us to make the right choices, to be guided the right way. Currently, because of the lack of trust, we are uncertain. The lack of trust turns into mistrust. Then we look at all of the Speaker's actions and we wonder if he is in the right place, on the right side. Mistrust does not make for a good environment. It is something that makes us too prone to looking at and questioning every action. We cannot doubt the Speaker's decisions every day.

  (1740)  

    I pay close attention to the Speaker's actions, and I find him extremely partisan. Some of his decisions are a bit hard to take. I am not saying that all of his decisions are partisan, I am saying that none of them should be. He is just not quite up to the task.
    It always makes me smile when I hear him address members as his colleagues. A Speaker has no colleagues. The people under his authority are not his colleagues. His inability to elevate himself is exactly the problem. I am not blaming him for being partisan, but a person cannot be partisan and be Speaker at the same time. There is no overlap between the two roles. Depending on the circumstances, this would be a mistake, an error or negligence.
    If we cannot trust the Speaker, or if we distrust the Speaker, what happens next? Distrust leads to defiance. Defiance is precisely what creates trouble, being unable to accept authority and then going a little overboard to compensate for too much partisanship. The issue at the centre of our debate is trust, or should I say, a lack of trust, which leads to defiance and, in turn, worsens an already tense situation.
    I repeat that the Speaker holds the highest office and must therefore be beyond reproach. If I were in his shoes, I would be questioning myself when I stood in front of a mirror. I would be wondering if I were the right person for the job. I have a great deal of respect for the role of Speaker. It is a very important position, but one needs to be better prepared.
    Earlier, my colleague from Salaberry—Suroît was saying that someone who holds the position of Deputy Speaker of the House may be in a better position to fulfill all the duties that come with the position. I think it is difficult to take someone who is very partisan, which is nothing to be ashamed of, and make them Speaker overnight. I can understand being partisan, but that is incompatible with the role of Speaker.
    I think that the Speaker should make the only choice he has left, since his first choices were not very good, and decide himself to step down.

  (1745)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it is somewhat disheartening how the Conservatives, in particular, along with the Bloc, have already predetermined that they want the Speaker, the individual, out of the chair.
    At the end of the day, the Liberal Party of Canada has taken full responsibility for the incident that we are actually talking about. The Liberal Party of Canada apologized to the Speaker and, through that, to Canadians. It has already been done.
    We are talking about punishing the Liberal Party of Canada by trying to censor the Speaker of Parliament. That is a bizarre and, in my opinion, bad thing to do.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague from Winnipeg North. I love to hear him speak, by the way. I feel he needs to know that.
    The Conservative and Liberal members may have different motives in this case. In response to my colleague, yes, this latest oversight was the Liberal Party's fault, and it was acknowledged as such. Not every injury is fatal. There were two previous incidents. Then there are all the little, daily incidents that are not deadly sins but that still smack of partisanship.
    I like the member for Hull-Aylmer. I have worked with him a lot, but I just do not think he is the right person for the job. I would think he is unhappy in this job too, because it cannot be easy being challenged like this every day.
    Again, perhaps the solution is a serious dose of introspection coupled with a fairly firm invitation from our side to leave. I value the position enough to ask the Speaker to leave.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank and congratulate my colleague from Trois-Rivières for his remarks. Of course, when it comes to ethics, among the 338 members of Parliament, he knows a lot more than many.
    As the member for Trois-Rivières said, the Speaker is not a colleague of members of the House of Commons. His role is above that. However, in the speech he gave when he became Speaker, the member for Hull—Aylmer focused a lot on the fact that we needed to elevate debates in the House and that we were here first and foremost for Canadians, which is true. As Speaker, however, is he here first and foremost for Canadians or is he also here, perhaps even first and foremost, to protect the right of all parliamentarians to express themselves properly?
    We should also keep in mind that all the incidents took place outside the House. I counted five. Three specific ones were very serious, but there have been at least five.
    What is, therefore, the Speaker's role in this place with respect to those he calls his colleagues?
    Mr. Speaker, things that happened outside the House nevertheless affected the Speaker's legitimacy to sit in the House. This is serious because, once again, the Chair is an important position that demands the most exemplary conduct. It is not a good look if the Speaker lacks legitimacy.
    We are not the only ones who asked the Speaker to resign. Quite a few members here have done so. I realize that it may not be the majority, but even one is too many. When one person believes that the Speaker lacks legitimacy, that sends a message. When there are 100, that sends another message, and so on.
    Even though the incidents occurred outside the House, I believe that the Speaker's legitimacy has been completely undermined. The conclusion is obvious.

  (1750)  

    Mr. Speaker, as a number of speakers before us have said, we could clearly be talking about something that has more of an effect on our constituents. It goes without saying that this matter, this episode, must not be very enthralling for the public. In fact, they must be about as interested in this as they are in Denis Coderre hiking the Camino de Santiago, which says a lot.
    That said, institutional mechanisms are still important. I think our colleague said that. If, in the very House itself, the Speaker no longer has the confidence of a large portion of this Parliament, it acts like a wrench thrown into an extremely precise spot in the works, causing them to break down.
    Partisanship aside, the office of Speaker has some very high-level requirements. Correct me if I am wrong, but it seems to me that a Speaker cannot sit in their caucus and they must even give up their party membership. The requirements are that strict.
    Why does my colleague think it is so difficult for some people to move from one role into another?
    Mr. Speaker, it is not easy being the Speaker. It is not easy to be impartial. It is not easy to strive for neutrality. It is a hard thing to do, and that is why the position has such high-level requirements.
    Although our constituents are not interested in day-to-day debate, I would say that this affects them a great deal because it affects the House, which is not working well.
    Therefore, as my colleague said, I believe that the Speaker was unable to show that he had what it takes.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Because of the importance of this debate and the constitutional requirement related to members' participation, I would ask for a quorum call.
     I will ask the clerk to count the members present.
    And the count having been taken:
    The Deputy Speaker: The hon. member for Battle River—Crowfoot now has the floor.
    Mr. Speaker, to emphasize—
    The honourable parliamentary secretary to the government House leader.
     Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, recognizing the member opposite finally has Liberals and opposition members who can actually watch the member give his speech, I would encourage some of his Conservative colleagues to join in the—
     No, we cannot underline whether someone is here or is not. The quorum call is as much as we can do. The hon. member, being a learned member of here and the Manitoba legislature, should know full well he is not allowed to do that.
     The hon. member for Battle River—Crowfoot.
     Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the speech that my colleague for Trois-Rivières gave previously.
    Not to suggest the presence or absence of any members, I would hope that all members take this very seriously. What we are talking about here is at the very foundation of, and the need to be able to trust in, our democratic institutions.
    At committee the other day, I had the opportunity to talk a little bit about the importance of that process.
     When it comes to the ballot, the election and the necessity of making sure every Canadian has that opportunity during a general election to go into that voting booth and mark a ballot, it is essential that there be trust in every step of that process. However, some things have been called into question. There have been instances of election interference, including the Communist dictatorship in Beijing pressuring members of the Chinese diaspora in Canada to vote in a certain direction. It is essential to ensure that we do everything we can to protect our democracy, and likewise in this place.
    When the role of the Speaker was first contemplated in the 1300s in the United Kingdom, in the early years of the establishment of Westminster democracy, there was a deep understanding of the need for a moderating voice, so that there could be parley, so that we could have discussions and debate as opposed to simply fighting wars. The carpets are still green in the people's House of Commons. The Speaker plays an important role in that process, as it is his or her responsibility to facilitate that.
     I talk about trust when it comes to ballots in a general election and how essential it is for each and every Canadian to have that opportunity to cast a ballot. That is, by extension, passed on to this place. Each and every member of Parliament has to be able to trust the institution.
    Each one of us has to navigate the circumstances of politics and partisanship, while also ensuring that we serve every constituent. I have been vocal in support of the first-past-the-post system because of its simplicity and its legacy within the Westminster system. However, when constituents walk through my office door, I have never asked who they voted for. The expectation is that I will serve them and their needs and help them with casework. We may not always agree. In fact, there are many instances where I do not agree with individuals across my constituency, but never once would I put at risk that sacred obligation that I have to serve all of the people that I represent.
    When there was discussion surrounding the establishment of a more formal role of Speaker, there was the acknowledgement that there had to be that moderating presence within the House of Commons to ensure that debates could take place, and for a moderating presence that could be trusted by both those who had the ability to make a change and those who would make up what we now know as the opposition; so government and opposition. Although it was not quite as formalized in those early days, and quite often ended up being the presence that pushed against, not necessarily a government, in the sense of a political party having won an election, but rather the direction that the Crown was moving the country, there had to be that voice that could be trusted by all. However, there are instances throughout the history of the Westminster system where that has not always been the case, but we have been able to build upon that history to the point where it highlights how important the role that the occupant of that chair plays.

  (1755)  

    It is not just in terms of the debate. That is a big part of it and that is what people see. For all of us in this place, that makes up a significant portion of the time Canadians get to know MPs, whether it be from question period, debates or the symbols that are associated with this. However, the foundation of it is trust. The privileges of members have been violated an unprecedented number of times. I have not yet had the opportunity to look into the specifics, but there have been many questions of privilege that have been raised in the current Parliament that call into question many things.
    I will get to the troubling correlation that I see with that and the leadership that is attempting to guide our country right now, but Conservatives see how the sacred trust of the individual who sits in the chair as Speaker has been called into question. It is not for dislike of the individual. Many of us will have fights about policy and differences of opinion. In fact, I get so frustrated when I quite often hear my Liberal and NDP colleagues say that they are doing what is best for Canada and anybody who opposes them is wrong or is un-Canadian or something to that effect. That is not only insulting to me as a parliamentarian and representative of the people of Battle River—Crowfoot, but speaks to how we have to ensure that we take so seriously the obligation that we have as members of Parliament.
    There has been a series of examples, and if this was the first instance, a beginner's mistake, I would understand that. I would hope that I and many others would take seriously the need to allow someone to grow in the role, but I am so concerned that this is a trend that seems to have continued over the course of the last number of months. Further to that point, these are the public instances where we are seeing a lack of impartiality. I have heard from constituents who have called that into question in other instances that have not necessarily made media attention.
    Part of the sacred trust that is required for the chair occupant is that every parliamentarian needs to be able to trust that it is not only the words that are said while the Speaker takes his place in the throne at the front of Parliament, but every decision that the Speaker makes in the undertaking of those duties and many of the questions associated with that. For example, there were questions asked by the Speaker's chief of staff to the clerk to clear this in advance. There were questions asked about whether this would be appropriate. There has been a host of other concerns raised in terms of whether that partisanship can happen. We have the erosion of the ability of MPs to trust that the decisions the Speaker is making are, in fact, impartial and ultimately serve the interests of the institutions, which is what best serves, full stop, the interests of parliamentarians and, ultimately, Canadians.
    I will conclude with this. One of the concerns that I certainly highlighted in the discussion after the previous Speaker's resignation, when there did not seem to be many Liberals running to the previous Speaker's defence, and who was taken to court by the Prime Minister, is that we see excuses being made. We see members quick to jump to their defence saying it is sorted, but it is not their fault. I would suggest that the Prime Minister and the leadership that he has presided over during the course of the last nine or so years has led to an erosion of trust in the very foundation of our democratic institutions.
    As a result, I would suggest that we have to all take it upon ourselves to so diligently rebuild that trust that has been broken. If we do not, my fear is that so many Canadians will stop seeing themselves represented by those who take their seats in this place, and that would be an absolute travesty. We need to take this issue seriously. We need to ensure that we restore trust and, ultimately, ensure that the Speaker is able to operate in an impartial manner.

  (1800)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like for people to do a comparison. Imagine the opposition House leader being the Speaker in Parliament and attending a Conservative fundraiser. What did the Conservative members back then say? There was not a word, zero. Looking at what was said, the Liberal Party of Canada admitted it made the mistake, not the Speaker, and fully apologized, and now the Conservatives are demanding that the Speaker be censured and kicked out of office.
    The question I have for Conservatives is why they are questioning this particular Speaker, but were not prepared to question the ethical misjudgments of their current House leader when he was Speaker. A lot of people are very suspicious as to why the Conservatives are really doing this.
    Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate that more Liberals are not seized with this debate because I suspect their opinion is like that of the many within the benches of the opposition who have seen this troubling erosion of trust. The reason I can say that confidently is because I have been hearing increasingly from constituents of Liberal members who are saying that they have lost trust in the ability for the government to listen to its people.
    An hon. member: Oh, oh!
    Mr. Damien Kurek: Mr. Speaker, the member is heckling that she doubts it, but I believe there is even an email in my inbox from someone in the city of Waterloo. My question to all Liberal MPs is whether they care about power first or the institutions to which we should all serve?
    When it comes to the issue we are debating here today, as the old saying goes, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” We have seen this pattern repeated time and time again, and it is too bad that the Liberals seem so desperate to hang on to power that they refuse to acknowledge how their attempts are eroding trust in the very institutions we serve. They are ultimately eroding the trust of the Canadians we serve.

  (1805)  

     Mr. Speaker, my colleague made a thoughtful speech. He referred to this tawdry situation as being unprecedented, and he is so right. It is unprecedented in Canadian history that a Speaker would face a prima facie case of privilege in the House not once, not twice, but three times in a short period of months.
    Given the fact that there have been so many Speakers in the past who, in many cases, have served for many years who have never had this kind of a case brought forward, is it not shocking that we find this to be the third time it has taken place with the current occupant of the chair? Is it not shocking that the Liberal government, the Liberal members of the House and their NDP coalition partners would not call the Speaker on this and finally agree to fire him?
    Mr. Speaker, I would look back at the beginning of this Parliament, and the previous Parliament, when the then Speaker was even taken to court by the Prime Minister and the government for upholding the needed impartiality of the Chair. These questions were not asked during the 42nd Parliament, although the Liberal Party was the third party at the time, way in the back corner, but its members did not have questions about impartiality during Stephen Harper's majority government. In the three minority parliaments prior to that, where there was a Liberal Speaker presiding over two Conservative minority parliaments and a Liberal minority parliament, they did not have these questions about the impartiality of the Speaker.
    I implore all of my colleagues, especially those from the Liberal benches, but specifically those from the New Democrat benches, for the sake of our institutions and for all Canadians, to let us make sure the chair occupant is able to conduct themselves in a way that is truly impartial.
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I take very seriously the responsibilities bestowed upon me to represent the good people of the riding of Waterloo. The member who just spoke shared about an email he received from a constituent in the riding of Waterloo, and I would ask that he share with me those concerns because I represent the diversity of opinions—
    That is descending into debate.
    Continuing with debate, the hon. member for Louis-Saint-Laurent has the floor.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I want to say that I will be splitting my time.
    It is heartbreaking for me to have to rise in the House today to speak to a very unfortunate subject. It is heartbreaking because there are so many subjects we should be talking about in the House right now. We should be talking about public finances, the housing crisis, the fac