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View Bruce Stanton Profile

Question No. 373--
Mr. Bob Saroya:
With regard to illegal firearms entering Canada: what is the government’s estimate of the number of illegal firearms that have entered the country since 2016, broken down by year and by method of entry (air cargo shipments, land passenger vehicle smuggling, etc.)?
(Return tabled)
View Bruce Stanton Profile
View Bruce Stanton Profile
2021-03-25 10:18 [p.5227]
Since the government just tabled a revised response to written Question No. 373, this concludes the point of order raised by the hon. member for Richmond—Arthabaska yesterday.
However, I would like to remind members that Standing Order 32(4) states that “Any document distributed in the House or laid before the House...shall be in both official languages.” That is a principle set out in the Constitution and the Official Languages Act.
I thank hon. members for their attention.
View Alain Rayes Profile
View Alain Rayes Profile
2021-03-24 15:15 [p.5184]
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order concerning the government's response to Question No. 373, submitted on February 1, 2021.
The question was the following:
With regard to illegal firearms entering Canada: what is the government's estimate of the number of illegal firearms that have entered the country since 2016, broken down by year and by method of entry (air cargo shipments, land passenger vehicle smuggling, etc.)?
The response included a hyperlink to a site providing what the government claims is supporting information. The site was not a government source, but rather a non-government entity called “Open Parliament”, which is available only in English. The French version of the government's response, signed by the member for Louis-Hébert, I might add, provides the same hyperlink, referring francophone readers to an English-only site.
This English link was provided in the response that was signed by the Liberal member for Louis-Hébert, tabled in the House on Monday, March 22 and printed at page 5053 of the Debates. House of Commons Procedure and Practice by Bosc and Gagnon states the following at page 612: “The Constitution Act, 1867 guarantees that a Member may address the House in either English or French....In addition, all parliamentary publications”—
View Alain Rayes Profile
View Alain Rayes Profile
2021-03-24 15:17 [p.5184]
Mr. Speaker, I would be happy to repeat the last paragraph.
House of Commons Procedure and Practice, third edition, by Bosc and Gagnon, states the following at page 612:
The Constitution Act, 1867 guarantees that a Member may address the House in either English or French....In addition, all parliamentary publications, such as the Journals, the Debates, and the Order Paper and Notice Paper, are printed in both official languages.
Page 615 of the same book reads as follows:
All documents tabled in the House by a Minister are required to be tabled in both official languages.
In addition, section 4 of the Official Languages Act states the following:
4 (1) English and French are the official languages of Parliament, and everyone has the right to use either of those languages in any debates and other proceedings of Parliament.
(3) Everything reported in official reports of debates or other proceedings of Parliament shall be reported in the official language in which it was said and a translation thereof into the other official language shall be included therewith.
I know that you are aware of all this, Mr. Speaker, but I think it is important to point it out in this case, especially in light of all the problems we have had with protecting French in everything we get from the government. There are many examples, and I will not list them all today, since that is not the purpose of my request.
On April 19, 1993, the then speaker of the House, in response to a question of privilege, said that statutes “are the highest form of command that can be given by this House. In my view, the disregard of that legislative command, even if unintentional, is an affront to the authority and dignity of Parliament as a whole and of this House in particular.”
I do not know why the Liberal member for Louis-Hébert—
View Gérard Deltell Profile
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2021-03-24 15:20 [p.5185]
Mr. Speaker, with respect to this point of order, which is quite pertinent and important, I invite my colleague from Richmond—Arthabaska to repeat at least the last minute of his speech because it is an important issue, especially since we are discussing the two official languages. The interpreters should hear exactly what he said. I therefore invite my colleague from Richmond—Arthabaska to repeat the last minute of his speech.
View Alain Rayes Profile
View Alain Rayes Profile
2021-03-24 15:21 [p.5185]
Mr. Speaker, I checked my Internet connection while you were speaking and it is excellent at this time. Therefore, the problem is not at my end.
I will go back a little.
On April 19, 1993, the then speaker of the House, in responding to a question of privilege, stated that legislative provisions were “statutes of the highest form of command that can be given by this House. In my view the disregard of that legislative command, even if unintentional, is an affront to the authority and dignity of Parliament as a whole and of this House in particular.”
I do not know why the Liberal member for Louis-Hébert chose to disrespect the French language in this manner. We do not know if it was intentional or just the result of negligence.
However, I believe that, much like me, Mr. Speaker, you will recognize that there have been several failures on the part of this government with respect to the French language, especially during the pandemic.
The Commissioner of Official Languages clearly pointed that out in a report not too long ago. The government's complete response to this question, as bad as it is, must be submitted in both official languages, as required by our Constitution, rules, customs and laws.
View Joël Lightbound Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Joël Lightbound Profile
2021-03-24 15:23 [p.5185]
Mr. Speaker, I just want to briefly respond to my colleague and assure him that this mistake was far from intentional. I will see to it that the situation is remedied as quickly as possible.
Respect for official languages, and French in particular, in the House and in this institution is very important to me. That is why I chose to join the Liberal Party rather than the Conservative Party, which systematically appointed unilingual anglophones as officers of Parliament and which is still refusing to appoint bilingual judges to the Supreme Court of Canada.
View Joël Lightbound Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Joël Lightbound Profile
2021-03-24 15:24 [p.5185]
Mr. Speaker, I will do so with pleasure.
I was simply saying that respect for official languages, and French in particular, is very important to me, so much so that I decided to join the Liberal Party rather than the Conservative Party, which, for 10 years under Stephen Harper, systematically appointed unilingual anglophones to our institutions and which is still refusing to appoint bilingual judges to the Supreme Court.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)

Question No. 360--
Mr. Alexandre Boulerice:
With regard to the support units and bases of the Canadian Armed Forces and subcontracts, broken down by fiscal year since 2011-12: (a) what are the details of each contract, including (i) the supplier, (ii) the amount, (iii) the commodity description, (iv) the sourcing, sole or not; and (b) for each contract in (a), why was this work not performed by the Department of National Defence?
Ms. Anita Vandenbeld (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, the Department of National Defence issues thousands of contracts each year to facilitate its operations and to better serve Canadians at home and abroad. These contracts are subject to national defence’s procurement processes, which allow the department to deliver the right equipment and quality service to the Canadian Armed Forces in a timely manner.
As part of its commitment to openness and transparency, the Department of National Defence proactively discloses all of its contracts over $10,000. Details of these contracts, ranging from 2011 to 2020, can be found at the Open Government website using the following link: https://open.canada.ca.
National defence does not centrally track subcontract data broken down by location. Providing the requested details would require a manual search and validation of over 160,000 contracts, which could not be completed in the allotted time.

Question No. 361--
Mr. Pierre Poilievre:
With regard to private debt guaranteed by the government: what is its total value, including all Crown corporations like the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and Export Development Canada?
Hon. Chrystia Freeland (Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, the outstanding principal under loan guarantees issued by the government on the borrowings of third parties stood at $14.5 billion at December 31, 2019. At September 30, 2020, the date of the most recent finalized quarterly data available, the outstanding principal under loan guarantees totalled $15.8 billion.
In addition, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, CMHC, and the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation, CDIC, operate insurance programs related to third-party debt for the government. CDIC operates the deposit insurance fund, which provides basic protection coverage to depositors for up to $100,000 of eligible deposits with each member bank, trust or loan company. CMHC operates the mortgage insurance fund, which provides insurance for mortgage lending on Canadian housing by private institutions. At December 31, 2019, total insurance in force amounted to $1,280,849 million. At September 30, 2020, the date of the most recent quarterly data available, total insurance in force amounted to $1,405,991 million. In the event that the corporations have insufficient funds, the government will have to provide financing. The government expects that the corporations will cover the cost of both current claims and possible future claims.

Question No. 362--
Mr. Randall Garrison:
With regard to the government’s commitment to expunge the criminal records of LGBTQ2+ Canadians for historical offences that are no longer criminal offences as part of the Expungement of Historically Unjust Convictions Act: (a) how many people have applied to have their records expunged for unjust convictions; (b) what percentage of the applicants have been successful in having their records expunged; (c) of the unsuccessful applications, what reasons have been given for their rejection by category and how many rejected applications fall into each category; and (d) is there a deadline for applying for expungement under this act and, if so, will that deadline be extended to take into account the impact of the pandemic on the ability of those affected to complete applications?
Mr. Joël Lightbound (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, from December 2019 to January 26, 2021, with regard to (a), PBC received 37 applications for expungement.
With regard to (b), 10) applications were accepted as eligible, and expungement was ordered for nine of them, 90%. The remaining application was refused because, upon investigation, the activity for which the person was convicted remains a criminal offence under the Criminal Code.
With regard to (c), 27 applications were returned or were not admissible because the individual did not meet one or more of the legislated eligibility criteria--i.e., their convictions were not on the list of eligible convictions for expungement. Additionally, the board did not have jurisdiction--i.e., expired absolute/conditional discharge--over two of the ineligible applications.
With regard to (d), there is no deadline for applying for expungement under this act.

Question No. 369--
Mr. Jack Harris:
With regard to Global Affairs Canada, from August 2020 to the present: (a) how much funding was (i) allocated, (ii) spent by month to promote the candidacy of Bill Morneau to the presidency of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development; (b) how many public servants were involved in substantial activities related to Mr. Morneau’s candidacy; and (c) how many person-hours were dedicated to substantial activities related to Mr. Morneau’s candidacy?
Mr. Robert Oliphant (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, the following reflects a consolidated response approved on behalf of Global Affairs Canada ministers.
The Government of Canada was disappointed to learn that Bill Morneau did not obtain sufficient support to become the next Secretary General of the OECD. Bill Morneau was an ideal candidate to lead the OECD in these difficult times and his commitment deserves to be recognized. Although this result was not what Canada hoped, Canada will work with the next Secretary General of the OECD, Mr. Mathias Cormann, and would like to congratulate him on his appointment.
In response to (a), consistent with its goals to contribute to an effective and high performing rules-based system that serves Canadians and Canada’s interests, the government campaigned for a Canadian to become the next Secretary General of the OECD. It provided diplomatic support, advocacy and strategic advice.
As is the case in campaigns for leadership positions in multilateral organizations, outreach with key decision-makers in members’ capitals and members’ representatives to the organization is required. Based on the Treasury Board’s special travel authorities and the approach taken for travel-related costs in similar campaigns supported by the department in the past, existing resources of up to $98,385.19 were budgeted. No new resources were allocated. As of January 27, 2021, the total costs incurred by the government in relation to the campaign are $10,899.73.
In response to (b), the department has not assigned any officials exclusively for the purposes of the OECD Secretary-General campaign. Nevertheless, as the lead department responsible for the relationship with the organization, to varying degrees and in line with their regular duties, 19 officials in the department and at the permanent delegation of Canada to the OECD provided punctual support to the campaign at different moments in time.
In response to (c), the work performed by government officials is part of their regular duties, such as preparing briefing or communications materials, managing relations with the OECD and undertaking outreach with foreign countries.

Question No. 370--
Mr. Rob Morrison:
With regard to the negotiations between Canada and the United States to renew the Columbia River Treaty: (a) what is the current schedule of the negotiations; (b) which organizations and individuals have been granted observer status for the negotiations; (c) which organizations and individuals have requested observer status but were not granted it; and (d) what is the government's specific reason for denying the request for each organization or individual in (c)?
Mr. Robert Oliphant (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, the following reflects a consolidated response approved on behalf of Global Affairs Canada ministers.
With regard to (a), Canada and the United States have held 10 negotiation rounds on modernization of the Columbia River Treaty, the CRT. Round 11 has not yet been scheduled.
With regard to (b), in April 2019, the Minister of Foreign Affairs granted observer status to representatives from the Ktunaxa, Okanagan-Syilx and Secwepemc nations. These three indigenous nations work closely with Canada and British Columbia as part of these treaty negotiations.
With regard to (c), the member of Parliament for Kootenay--Columbia has requested observer status. This status has not been granted.
With regard to (d), the negotiating teams from both Canada and the United States are made up of non-political public servants. There are no political representatives from federal, provincial or state governments or other political representatives.
The Canadian delegation consists of personnel from the federal government, provincial government, BC Hydro and the three indigenous nations official observers covering the range of CRT-related issues. The Global Affairs Canada negotiating team and chief negotiator continue to engage with and update Columbia River basin community groups, the Local Governments Committee and political representatives at provincial and federal levels. The provincial members of the team provide regular updates to the responsible minister and B.C. political representatives and host regular town hall meetings to ensure local communities are briefed on the negotiations and to receive feedback from people in the basin. The representatives from the Ktunaxa, Okanagan-Syilx and Secwepemc nations engage their leadership and communities on the CRT and bring back their interests to the Canadian delegation.

Question No. 372--
Ms. Michelle Rempel Garner:
With regard to COVID-19 vaccines: (a) how many will Canada receive, broken down by week, between January 29, 2021, and the end of 2021; and (b) what is the breakdown by manufacturer with whom Canada has procurement agreements, including those manufacturers whose vaccines have not yet received Health Canada approval?
Mr. Steven MacKinnon (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), as of March 16, 2021, the quarterly breakdown of expected deliveries of approved vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, AstraZeneca and Janssen) is eight million by the end of March, 28.5 million between April and the end of June, and 81.5 million between July and the end of September, for an aggregate total of 118 million by the end of September 2021. This includes accelerated doses of 1.5 million in March and one million in April and May. PSPC continues to work with vaccine suppliers to negotiate the early delivery of doses to Canadians, and as such, the information is subject to change.
In addition, information about the quantities of COVID-19 vaccines that have been delivered to provinces and territories to date is published by the Public Health Agency of Canada on the Vaccines and treatments for COVID-19: Vaccine rollout website at https://www.canada.ca/en/ public-health/services/diseases/ 2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/ prevention-risks/ covid-19-vaccine-treatment/ vaccine-rollout.html#a4. This information is updated weekly.
With regard to (b), information on Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine agreements, including a breakdown by supplier and number of doses, is published on Public Services and Procurement Canada’s Procuring vaccines for COVID-19 website at: https://www.canada.ca/en/ public-services-procurement/ services/procuring-vaccines- covid19.html.
To protect Canada’s negotiating position and to respect confidentiality clauses in our vaccine agreements, Public Services and Procurement Canada cannot unilaterally disclose details of specific agreements. We continue to seek opportunities to be as transparent as possible about our procurements in support of Canada’s COVID response, while respecting confidentiality agreements and protecting our negotiating position.

Question No. 373--
Mr. Bob Saroya:
With regard to illegal firearms entering Canada: what is the government’s estimate of the number of illegal firearms that have entered the country since 2016, broken down by year and by method of entry (air cargo shipments, land passenger vehicle smuggling, etc.)?
Mr. Joël Lightbound (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to ensuring that our border remains open to legitimate trade and travel while closed to those who seek to traffic or smuggle weapons or drugs.
Following significant cuts by the previous Conservative government to our security agencies, in the last Parliament our government announced an investment of $327 million to combat gun and gang violence, with $86 million to prevent cross-border smuggling of illegal firearms. Of this, the CBSA is being provided an extra $51.5 million to enhance screening, detection and training around firearms smuggling, and $34.5 million for the RCMP’s integrated criminal firearms initiative to enhance intelligence gathering, technology and investigations.
Upon the introduction of new legislation that will strengthen gun control at our borders, we announced additional anti-smuggling investments for the RCMP worth $42.4 million over 5 years, with $6.1 million ongoing. At the same time, for the CBSA we announced enhanced intelligence and investigative capacity of $21.8 million over 5 years, and $3.3 million for ongoing AI threat detection, with $1.7 million over 5 years.
We welcome the opportunity to discuss ways to prevent cross-border firearms smuggling, considering that during the study of Bill C-71 study at SECU, the Conservative MPs proposed amendments that “there be no punishment for include ‘false statements to procure licences’, ‘false statements to procure customs confirmations’—so, importing or trafficking”, as seen at https://openparliament.ca/search/?q=%22randall+koops%22&page=3
At every point in the travel continuum, the government undertakes activities to prevent the smuggling of illicit firearms. Pre-border, the government works closely with domestic and international law enforcement agencies to identify and disrupt criminal networks involved in smuggling or facilitating the smuggling of illicit firearms, through intelligence sharing and operations. The Canada Border Services Agency’s, CBSA’s, national targeting centre also uses intelligence, information and other indicators to conduct pre-arrival risk assessments of goods and people entering the country to identify high-risk shipments or travelers.
If firearms are smuggled into Canada, the CBSA works closely with its law enforcement partners to identify smuggling routes and individuals involved, and to lay the appropriate criminal charges after a thorough criminal investigation. Where a foreign national may be involved, the CBSA can also remove the individual from the country, as such criminal involvement would likely deem the individual as inadmissible to Canada. From January 1, 2014 to September 6, 2020, the CBSA seized 4263 undeclared firearms at the border.
Just recently, we announced that we will be re-establishing the cross-border crime forum with the U.S. while exploring the creation of a cross-border task force to address gun smuggling and trafficking.
To fight the criminal act of gun smuggling and trafficking at our border, under Bill C-21 we will increase the maximum prison sentence to highlight how serious this offence is. Additionally, we will increase sharing of data between the RCMP and local law enforcement agencies to better prosecute trafficking offences, and will table an annual report for greater transparency and accountability.
We welcome the support of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police who “wholeheartedly endorse all efforts to strengthen border controls and impose stronger penalties to combat firearms smuggling and trafficking”.

Question No. 374--
Mr. Pierre Poilievre:
With regard to ownership of government bonds: what is the total ownership of bonds, broken down by wealth quintile?
Hon. Chrystia Freeland (Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, a search of the records of the Department of Finance did not produce any results, as neither the department nor the Bank of Canada collects data regarding holdings of government bonds, either in general or by wealth quintiles.

Question No. 375--
Mrs. Cathay Wagantall:
With regard to the directives outlined in the Supplementary mandate letter of January 15, 2021, addressed to the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence and signed by the Prime Minister: (a) what are the specific programs and services that will be reviewed to ensure veterans, their families, and their primary caregivers receive the best possible mental health supports, including timely access to service; (b) what are the metrics by which each program and service will be reviewed; and (c) when will a review of each program and service begin and end?
Hon. Lawrence MacAulay (Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, Veterans Affairs Canada recognizes the impact that military service has on the mental health and well-being of both veterans and their family members, and understands the importance of family to the overall health and wellness of veterans. As emphasized in the Prime Minister’s supplementary mandate letter to the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, the Minister of Veterans Affairs is committed to ensuring that eligible veterans, their families and their primary caregivers have access to the mental health support they need, when they need it. Veterans Affairs Canada fully supports these efforts and is engaged in activities that are working towards delivering on this mandate commitment, including a review of mental health supports to ensure that veterans, their families and primary caregivers have the best possible mental health services. The timing and metrics are still being determined.

Question No. 376--
Mr. Michael Kram:
With regard to the decision to layoff air traffic control workers at the Regina International Airport and the statement by the Minister of Transport in the House of Commons on January 28, 2021, that "No decision has been made. It is important to note that any changes in the level of service proposed by Nav Canada will be subjected to a rigorous safety assessment by Transport Canada": (a) why were layoff notices provided to workers prior to January 28, 2021, if "no decision has been made"; (b) on what date was the decision made; (c) on what date was Transport Canada first notified of the decision; (d) what are the details of how the "rigorous safety assessment by Transport Canada" was conducted; and (e) what were the results of the safety assessment?
Hon. Omar Alghabra (Minister of Transport, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to part (a), Nav Canada is a private, arm’s-length entity and Transport Canada is not involved in the company’s day-to-day management decisions. That said, Transport Canada assesses service level reductions to ensure that they do not have a negative impact on safety.
With regard to parts (b) to (e), no decisions have been made by Transport Canada on a potential service level reduction. Transport Canada is still awaiting receipt of Nav Canada’s aeronautical study, which it will review to determine if the department is supportive of any proposed service level reduction at Regina International Airport. This assessment will begin once the study is received from Nav Canada.

Question No. 377--
Mr. Michael Barrett:
With regard to the various travel restrictions and border measures put into place during the pandemic: (a) what is the government's criteria or exit strategy regarding when each restriction or measure will be eased, including the targeted number of vaccinations, cases or hospitalizations before the government will consider easing each measure; and (b) does the government have any projected timeline for when each criteria in (a) is expected to be met and, if so, what is the timeline?
Hon. Patty Hajdu (Minister of Health, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada’s top priority is the health and safety of Canadians. To limit the introduction and spread of COVID-19 in Canada, the Government of Canada has taken unprecedented action to implement a comprehensive strategy with layers of precautionary measures.
Between February 3, 2020, and February 14, 2021, the Governor in Council has made 45 emergency orders under the Quarantine Act to minimize the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in Canada, to reduce risks from other countries, to repatriate Canadians and to strengthen measures at the border to reduce the impact of COVID-19 in Canada. Together, these measures have been effective. By limiting incoming travel to Canada, requiring mandatory quarantine for asymptomatic travellers, with some exceptions, and requiring mandatory isolation for symptomatic travellers, the number of travel-related COVID-19 cases in December 2020 was a fraction of the travel-related cases seen in March 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic.
In consultation with provinces, territories, and industry stakeholders, and in recognition of the low number of domestic cases, some travel restrictions were eased in October 2020. These include restrictions for extended family members of Canadian citizens, permanent residents and persons registered as Indians under the Indian Act; compassionate entry and limited release from quarantine for reasons such as funerals or to provide care to someone residing in Canada; international students; regular cross-border students; children in shared custody agreements; and residents of isolated border communities.
However, as the numbers increased again and new variants of concern emerged, more stringent measures were introduced once again. In December 2020, the Minister of Transport announced a 72-hour emergency travel ban on all incoming flights from the United Kingdom, and by January 7, 2021, travellers flying into Canadian airports were required to provide proof of a negative molecular test taken prior to departure, with exceptions. This was followed later in January with the ability of travellers to provide proof of a positive COVID-19 test taken at least 14 days and not more than 90 days prior to travel. At this time, strengthened measures continue to be necessary as new variants of the virus that causes COVID-19, which are more transmissible, may have an impact on the efficacy of some vaccines and drugs. Therefore, additional testing and quarantine requirements for travellers arriving by both air and land, as announced by the Prime Minister on January 29, 2021, came into effect on February 14. Under these new measures, travellers arriving at Canada’s land ports of entry are required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular test, and as of February 21, all travellers arriving in Canada will be required to take a COVID-19 molecular test on arrival and again later during their quarantine, with exceptions. Also as of February 21, travellers arriving by air will be required to reserve and stay in a Government of Canada-approved hotel for up to three nights, at their own cost, while they await the results of the COVID-19 molecular test they took upon arrival, with limited exceptions.
A certain proportion of travellers will require the use of clinical resources for care. In addition, infected travellers can cause secondary transmission to household members or in the community. Therefore, travel continues to present a risk of importing cases, including cases of new variants of the virus, and increases the potential for onward community transmission of COVID-19. To increase monitoring for importation of variants of concern, and to allow our health care system to recover, these stricter measures are necessary to reduce immediate risks associated with new variants and to protect Canadians.
Border measures are developed through consultation with provincial, territorial and international governments, and are based on national and international evidence-based risk assessments, including evaluation of available scientific data and assessment of domestic and international public health measures. The Government of Canada continues to review the available scientific evidence to determine future border measures, including the use of both testing and vaccination to protect the health and safety of Canadians.
The Government of Canada recognizes that entry prohibitions, mandatory quarantine requirements and testing protocols place significant burden on the Canadian economy, Canadians, and their immediate and extended families. However, these measures remain the most effective means of limiting the introduction of new cases of COVID-19 into Canada. The Government of Canada continues to work with provinces and territories to gather evidence to guide policy and decision-making and to incorporate all available options to permit further easing of border measures. While approved COVID-19 vaccines protect an individual from the severe effects of illness, there is limited evidence regarding the ability of a vaccinated individual to transmit the virus to others. Questions also remain regarding the effectiveness of vaccines in preventing illness related to new variants of concern of COVID-19. We continue work towards a time where measures can be eased for those who are vaccinated.
With the advent of new, more transmissible variants of the virus, the Government of Canada continues to take a precautionary approach to border measures in an effort to preserve domestic health capacity and reduce the further introduction and transmission of COVID-19 in Canada.

Question No. 378--
Mr. Marty Morantz:
With regard to the impact of interest rate hikes on the government’s finances: what are the Department of Finance’s projections on the amount of interest the government will have to pay to service the debt in each of the next 10 years under the (i) current interest rate levels, (ii) increased interest rate levels, broken down by rate?
Hon. Chrystia Freeland (Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, the most recent projections for Government of Canada debt charges can be found in the fall economic statement 2020, which was released on November 30, 2020, and is available at https://www.budget.gc.ca/ fes-eea/2020/ home-accueil-en.html. Specifically, the projection for interest paid on the federal debt for the current and following five years can be found in Table A1.5 on page 126, in the row labelled “Public debt charges”. The Department of Finance does not produce 10-year projections.
These public debt charge projections have been calculated using interest rate projections provided by private sector forecasters through a survey conducted in September 2020. Further details and the results of the September survey can be found on pages 119 -121 of the fall economic statement 2020, including the private sector projection of the Government of Canada three-month treasury bill and the 10-year bond rates.

Question No. 380--
Mr. Bob Zimmer:
With regard to the planned layoffs at the air traffic control towers in St-Jean, Windsor, Sault Ste. Marie, Regina, Fort McMurray, Prince George and Whitehorse: (a) how many air traffic controllers have received layoff notices, broken down by each airport; (b) does the Minister of Transport agree with the decision to lay off these air traffic controllers, and, if not, has he asked Nav Canada to reverse the decision; and (c) did Transport Canada conduct an analysis on the impact of these layoff decisions, and, if so, what methodology was used, and what were the findings, broken down by airport?
Hon. Omar Alghabra (Minister of Transport, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, in response to part (a), Nav Canada is a private, arm’s-length entity, and Transport Canada are not involved in the company’s day-to-day management decisions.
In response to parts (b) and (c), and having said that, Transport Canada assesses service level reductions to ensure that they do not have a negative impact on safety. No decisions have been made by Transport Canada on potential service-level reductions currently under consideration. The department is still awaiting Nav Canada’s aeronautical study, after which the assessment will begin.

Question No. 381--
Mr. Chris Warkentin:
With regard to the government’s response to Order Paper question Q-313, regarding SNC-Lavalin and COVID-19 programs and spending measures, and the $150,000,000 contract awarded on April 8, 2020, to SNC-Lavalin to design and deliver mobile health units: (a) was this contract solesourced, or was there an open competition; (b) if the contract was awarded through an open competition, how many other competing bids were received; (c) was the tender for this contract advertised and, if so, between what dates was the contract advertisement online, prior to the bid deadline; (d) on what date did the Minister of Public Works and Government Services approve the contract; (e) did this contract receive sign off or approval at any cabinet committee and, if so, on what date, and at which committee; (f) what are the terms of the contract, including any delivery dates; (g) what are the start and end dates of the contract; (h) has the value of the contract been amended since it was originally signed and, if so, what is the (i) original contract value, (ii) revised contract value, (iii) date of amendment; and (i) what specific products, and how many, have been delivered to date as a result of the contract, and where are each of the products currently located?
Mr. Steven MacKinnon (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), a contract in support of the government’s COVID-19 response was awarded to the SNC-Lavalin PAE Joint Venture, SNC-Lavalin PAE Inc., on April 9, 2020, to design and deliver mobile health units following a limited tender solicitation. This contract is valued at $150 million.
With regard to (b), two Canadian contractors were invited to submit proposals based on their proven record on complex logistics work: SNC-Lavalin PAE Inc. of Ottawa, Ontario, and Weatherhaven Global Resources Ltd. of Coquitlam British Columbia.
With regard to (c), the tender was not publicly advertised. The two contractors were invited to submit proposals based on their proven record on complex logistics work. SNC-Lavalin PAE Inc. was invited because of its past and current contracts related to supporting the Department of National Defence with camp logistics for deployed military operations, e.g., in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
With regard to (d), the deputy minister of Public Services and Procurement Canada approved the SNC-Lavalin PAE Inc. and Weatherhaven Global Resources Ltd. contracts on April 9.
With regard to (e), the $150,000,000 contract awarded on April 8, 2020, to SNC-Lavalin to design and deliver mobile health units did not receive approval from any cabinet committee.
With regard to (f), in accordance with the statement of work, the supplier is to provide up to 10 transportable 100-bed mobile health units, MHUs, with an option for additional units, and to also provide services, as and when required, through task-authorizations. Each MHU is to be a fully self-sufficient unit that can provide targeted care for persons with acute respiratory disease and distress.
During the MHU contract period, the supplier may be asked to provide and warehouse up to 10 MHUs deployable kits; establish a program management structure and team to execute the work; and provide logistic support services, on an as and when required basis.
With regard to (g), the contracts were issued with a six-month term and two six-month options. The award date for the two contracts was April 9, 2020. Both six-month extensions have been exercised on both contracts, which now have an end date of October 8, 2021.
With regard to (h), the maximum contract value of both contracts has not increased from the original value of $150 million.
With regard to (i), for the SNC-Lavalin PAE Inc. contract, the contractor was required to provide up to five MHUs’ worth of medical consumables and medical equipment. The contractor has delivered three designs for different MHU configurations, including a container and pod solution. Project management services and warehousing of products continues.
Some of the medical equipment has been transferred to the Public Health Agency of Canada for distribution to provinces to address provincial needs. The rest of the medical equipment and consumables remain within the contractor’s warehouse.

Question No. 382--
Ms. Michelle Rempel Garner:
With regard to the government’s contracts for COVID-19 vaccines: (a) what recourse or financial penalties were written into each contract for (i) a delayed delivery schedule, (ii) deliveries with fewer doses than stated in the delivery schedule; (b) what was the original vaccine delivery schedule written into each contract; (c) what is the current vaccine delivery schedule for each contract; and (d) what intellectual property provisions were included in the contracts related to licensing for domestic manufacturing?
Mr. Steven MacKinnon (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, to protect Canada’s negotiating position and to respect confidentiality clauses in our vaccine agreements, Public Services and Procurement Canada cannot unilaterally disclose details of specific agreements. We continue to seek opportunities to be as transparent as possible about our procurements in support of Canada’s COVID response, while respecting confidentiality agreements and protecting our negotiating position.
For further information regarding vaccine procurement, please see https://www.canada.ca/en/public-services-procurement/services/procuring-vaccines-covid19.html

Question No. 383--
Mr. Jamie Schmale:
With regard to procurement practices applied to contracts during the COVID-19 pandemic: (a) what constitutes a COVID-19-related contract or supplier; (b) what policies or requirements have been paused, removed, suspended, or deferred for contracts related to COVID-19; (c) have integrity checks been downsized or compacted to accommodate tighter supply timelines; and (d) what policies or requirements have been waived for companies bidding on COVID-19-related contracts?
Mr. Steven MacKinnon (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to part (a), as a common service provider for procurement, PSPC has been engaged by its clients to procure a broad range of goods and services related to the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This has included requirements such as personal protective equipment; medical/laboratory equipment and supplies; vaccines, logistics; professional services; software; health related services; guard and security services; cleaning services; and communications, advertising, and contact center and construction services.
PSPC has been disclosing supplier names and contract values for contracts that it has entered into on behalf of other government departments and agencies for personal protective equipment, PPE, as well as medical/laboratory equipment and supplies at https://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/comm/aic-scr/contrats-contracts-eng.html. The information released will be adjusted over time as the procurement environment evolves.
With regard to part (b), no policies or requirements have been paused, removed, suspended, or deferred for contracts related to COVID-19. However, the Treasury Board amended the contracting policy to confer time-limited increased emergency contracting limits to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement for COVID-19-related procurements.
In addition, the Public Health Agency of Canada made a request on behalf of the federal government that PSPC invoke a national security exception, NSE, with respect to the acquisition of goods and services required in order to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. That invocation, which covers a broad range of goods and services, is time-limited and applies only until the World Health Organization no longer declares the COVID-19 pandemic a public health emergency of international concern. An NSE invocation removes procurements from the obligations of Canada’s trade agreements for reasons of national security. NSEs are provided for in trade agreements to ensure that parties to the agreements are not required to compromise their national security interests through application of the trade agreements.
With regard to part (c), the Government of Canada’s integrity regime and its verification process have been consistently applied throughout the pandemic, including for applicable COVID-19 related procurements. The verification process has not been impacted and the department continues to provide high-quality services to complete all requests within its prescribed service standards.
With regard to part (d), no policies or requirements have been waived for companies bidding on COVID-19 related contracts.

Question No. 384--
Mrs. Cathy McLeod:
With regard to the consultations conducted before the tabling of Bill C-15, An Act respecting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: (a) what are the details of all in-person and virtual consultations and meetings conducted by the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations or the Department of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs with all First Nations, Inuit, and Metis stakeholders, between August 1, 2018, and December 3, 2020, including, for each, the (i) date, (ii) location, (iii) name and title of the First Nations, groups, organizations or individuals consulted, (iv) recommendations that were made to the minister; and (b) what are the details of all in-person and virtual consultations and meetings conducted by the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations or the Department of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, with all provincial ministers of Indigenous Affairs and all third-party stakeholders, between August 1, 2018, and December 3, 2020, including, for each, the (i) date, (ii) location, (iii) name and title of the groups, organizations or individuals consulted, (iv) recommendations that were made to the minister?
Hon. David Lametti (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, the question was interpreted as referring specifically to consultations conducted on Bill C-15, An Act respecting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Consultations on this bill began in early 2020, with a focused engagement period from September 2020 to November 2020. Between October and November 2020, the Government of Canada held 28 sessions with modern treaty and self-governing rights holders on a nation-to-nation, government-to-government basis as reflected in their agreements. The Government of Canada met bilaterally with the Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, and the Métis National Council. Our government also met with other national and regional organizations, including indigenous women’s organizations, LGBTQ2S+ groups, indigenous youth and indigenous law students.
Justice Canada, with the support of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, CIRNAC,, will publish a what-we-learned report, which will be made available to members of the public soon.

Question No. 385--
Mrs. Cathy McLeod:
With regard to offers or proposals received by the government to manufacture or produce COVID-19 vaccines in Canada, or to develop facilities for such production, since January 1, 2020: what are the details of any such offers or proposals, including (i) the name of the individual or firm making the offer or proposal, (ii) the summary of the offer or proposal, including the timeline, (iii) whether or not the offer or proposal was accepted by the government, (iv) the reason the offer or proposal was rejected, if applicable?
Hon. François-Philippe Champagne (Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada does not comment on whether specific applications for federal funding, including from the strategic innovation fund, SIF, may be under consideration. Details related to applicants and/or applications are subject to commercial confidentiality and cannot be disclosed. The process for strategic innovation fund projects can be consulted on the program website at https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/125.nsf/eng/00023.html.
In the course of the Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development’s efforts to map the vaccine and therapeutic manufacturing landscape in Canada, departmental officials conducted a comprehensive outreach across a range of companies to better understand their capabilities in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The nature and content of these conversations are commercially confidential. The Government of Canada also established the Vaccine Task Force, Therapeutics Task Force and the joint manufacturing subcommittee, comprising scientific experts and industry leaders, to make evidence-based recommendations to the government. All promising leads and offers to the government have been thoroughly evaluated for their specific scientific and technical merits and their ability to make a timely contribution to Canada’s biomanufacturing landscape, and investment decisions are made on that basis.
To date, more than 20 proposals have been submitted that are related to biomanufacturing, vaccines and/or therapies. The Government has announced three of these projects, Precision NanoSystems, Abcellera and Medicago, and multiple others are in various stages of due diligence or other consideration, in consultation with the some of Canada’s leading scientists and industry experts in vaccinology, immunology, therapeutics and commercialization. Further projects will be announced in due course.
On May 3, 2020, the government announced a $175.6-million investment in AbCellera through SIF to support its antibody therapy discovery and to establish a good manufacturing practice facility in Vancouver.
On October 23, 2020, the government announced an investment of up to $173 million in Quebec City-based Medicago through SIF. The project, valued at a total of $428 million, will involve developing a vaccine through clinical trials, including phase 3, and establish a large-scale vaccine and antibody production facility to increase Canada’s domestic biomanufacturing capacity.
On February 2, 2021, the government announced an investment of up to $25.1 million in Vancouver-based Precision NanoSystems Inc. for a new biomanufacturing centre to expand Canada’s capabilities in the production of ribonucleic acid, RNA, vaccines and future genetic medicines.
A backgrounder that highlights the list of investments that have been made can be found at the following website: https://www.canada.ca/en/innovation-science-economic-development/news/2021/02/backgrounder--government-of-canada-investments-in-covid-19-vaccines-and-biomanufacturing-capacity.html.

Question No. 389--
Mrs. Cathy McLeod:
With regard to the agreement between the government and the Enoch Cree Nation related to the Yekau Lake Practice Bombing Range: (a) what is the summary of the terms of the agreement; and (b) is the text of the agreement publicly available and, if so, how can the public access the agreement?
Mr. Gary Anandasangaree (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, insofar as Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada is concerned, the response is as follows.
With regard to (a), the Enoch Cree Nation submitted its Yekau Lake Practice Bombing Range specific claim in November 2007, on the basis that the Crown breached both its fiduciary and statutory obligations under the Indian Act in respect of the lease of the former Yekau Lake Bombing Range as part of Canada's war effort during the Second World War. Canada has provided $91 million in compensation to fully and finally resolve the Yekau Lake Practice Bombing Range specific claim. Please see https://orders-in-council.canada.ca/attachment.php?attach=39817&lang=en for additional details.
With regard to (b), the text of the agreement is not publicly available and is protected by settlement privilege.
View Bill Blair Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Blair Profile
2021-02-26 10:03 [p.4591]
moved that Bill C-21, An Act to amend certain Acts and to make certain consequential amendments (firearms), be read the second time and referred to a committee.
He said: Madam Speaker, I am very honoured today to have the opportunity and privilege to take part in this debate and introduce to the House Bill C-21 at second reading. Bill C-21, an act to amend certain acts and to make certain consequential amendments, is a historic and important step forward for Canada in creating a safer country. This legislation proposes to introduce some of the strongest gun control measures in our country's history.
It represents the culmination of many years of work and strong advocacy from the victims of gun crimes in this country. We have listened to those victims. We have listened to police chiefs across the country, who have urged successive governments to bring in stronger measures, recognizing that gun control is a factor of community safety and a necessary legislative requirement for keeping our communities safe. As Dr. Najma Ahmed, co-chair of Canadian Doctors for Protection from Guns, has said about the bill, “This is a comprehensive bill that, if enacted, will save lives”.
Canada is generally a very safe country and Canadians take great pride in that, but they are legitimately concerned about the threats posed by firearm-related crime in their communities. It is therefore important to begin with the recognition and acknowledgement that gun ownership in Canada is not a right; it is a privilege. It is a privilege earned by gun owners who obey our laws and who purchase their guns legally, use them responsibly and store them securely. It is through the strict adherence to our laws, regulations and restrictions that Canadians earn the privilege of firearm ownership. I want to acknowledge that the overwhelming majority of those firearm owners are, in fact, responsible and abide by our laws. However, we also know that far too often, firearms can fall into the wrong hands or be present in dangerous circumstances.
As a former police officer and police chief, I have far too many times been required to go to the scene of firearm tragedies where young people and innocent citizens have been gunned down in the streets, and where firearm violence impacts not only the victims, but their families and their communities. Last summer, I went to a community in Toronto that had already experienced 22 violent gun incidents just in the month of July. What that meant in the community is that every child knew someone who had been the victim of a gun crime. That generational trauma demands an appropriate response from all Canadians. I have also had the unfortunate duty to attend funerals for police officers and for citizens who had been killed with these guns. Those are the things that should deepen all of our resolve to take action.
We have listened to the strong advocacy of the victims from École Polytechnique, from Nova Scotia, at the mosque in Quebec and at tragedies throughout the country. We have also witnessed with horror the use of some of these weapons in mass shootings around the world, and we have taken action.
As members will recall, last May 1, our government, by order in council, prohibited over 1,500 weapons. With Bill C-21 introduced today, we are taking actions to complete that prohibition. We have, through the legislation, established the conditions necessary to secure and set controls for the newly prohibited firearms.
Under this legislation, all of those in possession of such newly prohibited firearms will be required to acquire a licence to possess the weapon. The firearm will have to be registered as a prohibited weapon. There will be no grandfathering, as previously done. Rather, we are imposing through this legislation strict prohibitions on the sale, transfer and transport of these weapons, and we are imposing complete prohibitions on their use. The use of these newly prohibited weapons will be a criminal offence. We are also imposing strict conditions on the storage of these weapons, rendering these newly prohibited firearms legally unusable as a firearm.
We have relied on the advice of law enforcement and our various officials across the country to determine the best way to safely manage these weapons, which are prevalent in our society. However, I want to be clear: There is nothing in this legislation that speaks of a buy-back program. We believe that Canadians who legally purchased the guns we want to prohibit need to be treated fairly, and we are imposing appropriate and necessarily prohibitions on their sale and use, and restrictions on their storage. We also intend to offer the people who purchased these guns legally an opportunity to surrender them and be fairly compensated for them.
The bill does much more than just complete the prohibition. We have also looked very carefully in this legislation at all of the ways that criminals gain access to guns. We have seen a very concerning increase in gun violence in cities and communities right across this country. This manifests itself in different ways, but we know that in almost every circumstance criminals get their guns one of three ways: They are smuggled across our borders from the United States, stolen from lawful gun owners or retailers, or criminally diverted from those who purchase them legally and then sell them illegally.
In consultation with law enforcement, we have looked at all of the ways that criminals gain access to guns, and we have taken strong action in Bill C-21 to close off that supply. For example, with respect to concerns over guns coming in from across the border, we have heard many concerns from not only law enforcement but communities across the country about the proliferation of firearms, particularly handguns, that are smuggled in from the United States.
I recently had a conversation with my counterparts in the United States, and we are committed to establishing a bilateral task force on both sides of our countries for law enforcement to work collaboratively together to help prevent the importation of these firearms. In Bill C-21, we are also taking strong action to increase the penalty for gun smuggling and provide law enforcement and our border service officers with the resources and access to the data they need to be effective in identifying the source of these guns, for cutting off that supply and to deal more effectively to deter, detect and prosecute the individuals and organizations responsible for smuggling these guns into our country.
Let us also be clear that smuggling is not the only way. Quite often, we hear from gun retailers and the gun lobby in this country that we should only look at somebody else's guns, not theirs. Unfortunately, the reality is that in many parts of the country, crime guns are not just smuggled across the border.
I think it is important to listen to some of the police chiefs. For example, the chief in Saskatoon has recently said that crime guns in his community are not being smuggled across the border but are being stolen from legal gun owners. We also heard from the chief in Regina, who very clearly said that the guns in his community are not coming across the border but are legally owned, obtained through theft or straw purchase. The chief in Edmonton also opined that only 5% to 10% of the crime guns in his community, in the city of Edmonton, are actually smuggled across the border and the rest come from legal gun owners through theft and straw purchasing.
It is therefore important that in this legislation we address those sources of supply as well. That is why we are introducing in this legislation strict new restrictions on the storage of handguns in this country. They would require all handgun owners to store their weapons more securely, in a safe or vault that will be prescribed and described in the regulations of this legislation. They would also require gun retailers to store their weapons, when on display and in storage, more securely to prevent their theft.
I will highlight an example. A couple of years ago, two young girls and nine Torontonians were injured in a terrible and tragic gun incident. The firearm in that case was stolen some three months before from a gun shop in Saskatoon. Over three months, it made its way into Toronto and was used in a horrific crime. Therefore, keeping those guns out of our communities is an important element of Bill C-21.
Finally, we also deal with the source of supply through criminal diversion. We have seen a number of examples where individuals have purchased a large number of handguns and made an attempt to disguise their origin by filing off the serial numbers and then selling them for an enormous profit to the criminal market and to the gangs that commit violent acts in our communities. For those crimes to be detected and deterred, we need to ensure that law enforcement has access to the resources and data its members need to properly trace those weapons. That is why in this legislation we have provided law enforcement with that access.
We are also making significant investments. Yesterday, I advised the House that through our investments in British Columbia, for example, we just opened up a brand new forensic firearms laboratory. It will assist law enforcement in determining the origin of these weapons so we can hold individuals who purchase them legally and sell them illegally to account.
We also know that, in addition to guns that get into the hands of criminals, there are circumstances when the presence of a firearm that may have been legally obtained can lead to tragedy in certain potentially dangerous situations. We see it in incidents of domestic violence and intimate partner violence, when a legally acquired firearm may be in a home. When the circumstances in that home change so that it becomes a place of violence and threat and coercion, the presence of a firearm in those circumstances can lead to deadly consequences.
Although the police currently have some limited authority to remove firearms in those circumstances, in many cases of domestic and intimate partner violence the police are not aware of the presence of a firearm, even when the crime is reported to them.
Through this legislation, we are empowering others: empowering victims, those who support them, legal aid clinics and other people in our society to take effective action through what are called extreme risk laws to remove firearms from potentially dangerous situations. Similarly, in situations where an individual may become suicidal or is emotionally disturbed, the presence of a firearm could lead to a deadly outcome.
We are empowering doctors, family members, clergy and elders in communities to take effective action to remove firearms by using the provisions of this legislation to remove firearms from those potentially dangerous and deadly situations.
Finally, this legislation also applies to those who engage in acts of hatred and extremism online. We have seen, in a number of tragic incidents in this country, that individuals have given an indication of their deadly intent online. When that information is available, we are now empowering those who become aware of it to take action, to remove firearms from those deadly situations and help keep people safe.
I want to advise the House that in the United States, 19 states have implemented extreme risk laws, also referred to as red flag laws, in every jurisdiction. In those states, we have seen strong evidence that these measures save lives. That is our intent with this legislation.
This legislation is not intended, in any way, to infringe upon the legitimate use of firearms for hunting or sport shooting purposes. It is, first and foremost, a public safety bill. It aims to keep firearms out of the hands of those who would commit violent crimes with them, and to remove firearms from situations that could become dangerous and be made deadly by the presence of a firearm. That is the intent of this legislation.
We are taking some additional measures within this legislation. For example, we have listened to law enforcement, which for over 30 years has been urging the Government of Canada to take action to prohibit what are often referred to as replica firearms. These devices appear absolutely indistinguishable from dangerous firearms. The police have urged governments to take action because these devices are often used in crime. They have been used to hurt people. They present an overwhelming, impossible challenge for law enforcement officers when they are confronted by individuals using these devices. This has, in many circumstances, led to tragic consequences.
After listening to law enforcement, this legislation includes prohibiting those devices. If I may be clear, these are not BB guns, paint guns or pellet guns that people use recreationally. These are devices designed as exact replicas of dangerous firearms. That exact appearance really creates the danger around these devices, so we are taking action.
We are also taking action to strengthen our provisions with respect to large-capacity magazines. I have been to far too many shootings in my city of Toronto. Years ago, when someone discharged a revolver, there would be two or three shots fired. Now, dangerous semi-automatic handguns and large-capacity magazines can lead to literally dozens and dozens of rounds being discharged, putting far more innocent people at risk.
We have seen that those devices are often modified to allow for the higher capacity, and we are taking action to prevent that. We are closing a loophole with respect to the importation of information, and we are making other consequential amendments to this legislation, all intended to keep communities safe.
As a companion to this important legislation, we have also made significant investments, first of all, in law enforcement. Several years ago a previous government cut enormous amounts of funding from the police, eliminating RCMP officers and border services officers, weakening our controls at the border and compromising our ability to deal effectively with organized crime. We have been reinvesting in policing and border services to restore Canada's capacity to secure our borders and keep our communities safe.
For example, we have made over $214 million available to municipal and indigenous police services because we know that they do important work in dealing with guns and gangs in their communities and reducing gun violence. Those investments in policing are important; however, they are not the only investments necessary to keep our communities safe. That is why we are also investing in communities. Through our fall economic statement, over the next five years we are making $250 million available to community organizations that do extraordinary work with young people and help to change the social conditions that give rise to crime and violence.
This is a comprehensive approach to gun safety in this country. It is always extraordinary to me that some people are afraid to talk about guns when we are talking about gun violence, but in my experience, countries with strong and appropriate gun control are safer countries. We have also seen that those countries with weak gun laws, as have been opposed by some in the House, experience the tragedy of gun violence far too often.
If I may repeat, in this country firearm ownership is a privilege, not a right. That makes us fundamentally different from countries like the United States, where the right to bear arms is protected constitutionally. It is not in Canada. Canada, like many other very sensible countries, has taken the appropriate step of banning firearms that have no place in our society. They are not designed for hunting and they are not designed for sport: they are designed for soldiers to hunt other soldiers and kill people, and tragically that is what they have been used for. That is why we have prohibited them and through the actions of this bill, we are taking strong measures to ensure that these firearms cannot ever be legally used in this country.
We believe that these provisions are appropriate, they are necessary, they are effective and they are fair, because we acknowledge as well that those who purchased the now-prohibited firearms did so legally. Now that we have prohibited them, we want to ensure that they can never be used to commit a violent crime at any time in this country.
We have drawn a bright line in this legislation. We are not a country where people arm themselves to defend themselves against each other. We do not carry guns in this country for self-protection. We rely on the rule of law. Peace, order and good government are strongly held Canadian values, and we do not arm our citizens as they do in some other countries for self-defence.
Firearms in this country are only appropriate for hunting and sport shooting purposes, and there is nothing in this legislation that in any way infringes upon those activities. Some will try to make the case notwithstanding, but frankly it is a false case based on the false assumption that all firearms in this country represent a danger. They are offensive weapons by their very definition; therefore, we regulate them very strictly in Canada. Some of those firearms, such as handguns, are very dangerous, so we have appropriately added restrictions on them.
Finally, some weapons frankly have no place in a society for which firearms can only be used for hunting and sport purposes, These are firearms that were designed for combat: tactical weapons, which used to be marketed as assault weapons before those weapons began to be prohibited by countries like New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom. These weapons were even prohibited in the United States for a decade.
We are doing the right thing and taking the appropriate action to keep Canadians safe. This bill builds upon the effective measures that we brought forward in Bill C-71, which we are in the process of fully implementing over the next few months. We believe that, coupled with our investments, both pieces of legislation will help fulfill our promise to Canadians to do everything necessary to strengthen gun control in this country and keep Canadians safe.
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
2021-02-26 10:34 [p.4596]
Madam Speaker, the Conservatives have and will always support common-sense firearms regulations that keep Canadians and communities safe and respect their rights.
In Bill C-21, there are some things that the Conservatives have been calling for and can support. However, many things completely target the wrong people and the wrong groups, if the aim really is to improve and protect public safety. Also, crucial areas of concern are not addressed in the bill at all.
The Conservatives have always urged the Liberals to focus on and to target Canada's legislation and enforcement resources toward the primary source of most gun crime in Canada: illegally-smuggled firearms in the hands of gangs and criminals. That is why we support certain measures, like increasing the penalty for gun smuggling, something the Conservatives have advocated for years; authorizing disclosure to Canadian law enforcement agencies when there are reasonable grounds to suspect a firearms licence is used for straw purchasing; improving the ability of the CBSA to manage inadmissibility to Canada when foreign nationals commit offences upon entry into Canada, including firearms-related offences; and transferring the responsibility for transborder criminality from the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.
The Conservatives are committed to actually strengthening and securing public safety through real action to tackle gun crime head-on. The Conservatives have always said that we would increase funding and coordination for border security to clamp down on illegal firearms smuggling, restore mandatory minimum sentences to keep violent gang members off the street and focus on gangs and criminals instead of making life more difficult for law-abiding firearms owners and retailers by ending automatic bail, revoking parole for gang members and new and tougher sentences for ordering or involvement in violent gang crime.
The Liberals do the opposite. They are big on rhetoric but short on real action. In fact, the day after the Liberals announced Bill C-21, they announced Bill C-22, which, incredibly, would eliminate mandatory minimums for unauthorized possession of a firearm, possession of a prohibited firearm, possession of a weapon obtained by crime, weapons trafficking, reckless discharge of a firearm, discharge of a firearm with intent to wound or endanger a person and robbery with a firearm; so reductions for all of those sentences. Bill C-22 would reduce sentences for a number of other horrible offences, including sexual assault, kidnapping, human trafficking, abduction of people under 14, motor vehicle theft and arson.
The Conservatives focus on outcomes and whether laws will achieve objectives. What Bill C-21 proves is that the Liberals, as always, are more concerned with appearances. They play fast and loose with the facts, make up words to scare and ignore the actual problem. With Bill C-21, they would effectively trade on Canadians' fear and safety for short-term political gain. The reality is that taking firearms away from law-abiding citizens does nothing to stop dangerous criminals and gangs who obtain their guns illegally and already do not follow laws, do not get licences and do not care about firearms classifications. This just continues the Liberal government's ongoing preoccupation with taking firearms off of regulated ranges, while leaving illegal guns on the streets in the hands of those gangs and criminals who will never comply.
In June 2019, the former Toronto police chief was asked about banning handguns in Canada. He said:
I believe that would be potentially a very expensive proposition but just as importantly, it would not in my opinion be perhaps the most effective measure in restricting the access that criminals would have to such weapons, because we’d still have a problem with them being smuggled across the border
Of course, the former Toronto police chief to whom I am referring is the current Minister of Public Safety.
Bill C-21 would create conditions on federal firearms licences to restrict handgun storage or transport within municipalities that have passed such bylaws. Again, the bylaws would be conditions on licences. Therefore, this proposed measure literally, specifically and only targets lawful Canadians who already have the paperwork and comply with the rules. This section would lead to yet another layer of confusing, overlapping regulations and a patchwork of rules for already law-abiding Canadians within and between communities, while violations could result in two years imprisonment or permanent licence revocations and would do nothing to crack down on illegal gun smuggling, trading and gang crimes with guns.
Many law enforcement officials have already said that this measure would not be effective, including the current RCMP commissioner, the former OPP commissioner, the police chief of Vancouver, the former president of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, representatives of the Winnipeg and Halifax police services and police chiefs of Regina and Saskatoon. Provinces are already speaking out against Bill C-21: Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba, whose premier said, “It's just not going to work.”
In 2019, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police did not support calls for a ban on handguns and the former president, Vancouver police chief, Adam Palmer said:
In every single case there are already offences for that. They’re already breaking the law and the criminal law in Canada addresses all of those circumstances...The firearms laws in Canada are actually very good right now. They’re very strict.
Former OPP commissioner Chris Lewis says:
This municipal handgun ban is ridiculous...It would only impact legal owners. The gangbangers are already possessing/carrying them in defiance of the Criminal Code and don’t fear police whose hands are tied and weak judicial systems.
Toronto Police Services president Mike McCormack says:
There's no way in my world or any world I know that this would have an impact on somebody who's going to go out and buy an illegal gun and use it to kill another person or shoot another person...
This is a classic Liberal smokescreen. There is absolutely no impact on the illicit use of illegal firearms in crime. Of course criminals and gangs do not carry licences or register their illegally obtained firearms and will not be deterred by municipal bylaws. They do not even care about the Criminal Code.
The fact that at least 80% of guns used in Canadian gun crimes are illegally smuggled in from the states shows that enabling towns and cities to demand handguns from licenced owners will have little to no impact on actual public safety.
In 2016, a father of four for two years, whose children were only six and five along with one-year-old twins, was enjoying a night out with friends in Toronto when he was shot and killed by a stray bullet. Now a mother of three, carrying the lifetime grief from the loss of her child, his mum, Evelyn Fox, advocates to support at-risk youth and prevent youth involvement in gang activity. She believes that banning handguns in Canada is “nonsense” because “street level wise, they'll get access to the handguns anyways.”. She says, “I also would like to know how it is that penalizing law-abiding gun owners with a gun ban is going to deter gun violence on our streets when 80%, if not more, is coming across the border?” She is right.
In Toronto, despite the new Liberal order in council prohibition of thousands of firearms, there were 462 shootings in 2020, an increase over 2018 when there was no prohibition order. The year 2019 was a record year.
Since 2014, shootings in Toronto have increased 161%. Obviously residents and family are worried about this reality, causing sleepless nights, untold heartbreak and anxiety about security, and whether kids can grow up carefree in peaceful neighbourhoods. How galling that Bill C-21 would do nothing to make it more safe, while the Liberals claim otherwise.
In 2019, Toronto's police chief, Mark Saunders, reported that most guns using crime were illegally smuggled in. He said, “When it comes to the handguns, I believe, 82 per cent...of the ‘crime guns’ in the city are coming from the United States.”
Peel Police Association President Adrian Woolley says, “There are a lot of guns out there and they are not legal ones from target shooters but illegal ones smuggled in from the United States.”
For the 2017-18 year, CBSA seized 751 illegal firearms at the U.S.-Canada border, 696 the next year and 753 for the year after that. The CBSA has already seized 166 firearms for the first quarter of this fiscal year. Canada's border agents should be commended for that good work and lawmakers should support their efforts to improve public safety by getting tougher on gun criminals and gun smugglers when they are caught. That is exactly what our Conservative colleague from Markham—Unionville tried to do when he proposed Bill C-238, which would have cracked down on gun smuggling, knowingly possessing illegally smuggled guns by increasing sentences and making it harder for gun runners to get out on bail. However, the Liberals and the NDP voted against that public safety legislation a week before the announcement of Bill C-21.
When asked why the government is not getting tougher on criminals, the Liberal default is to say that they implemented a prohibition on “military-style” assault rifles. First, the term “military-style” assault rifle is of course invented with no legal definition, but it does sound scary. The reality is that fully automatic fire rifles have been prohibited for use outside of the military since the 1970s. The Prime Minister said that he made a law so people could not purchase firearms without purchasing a licence, but that is false.
Along the spirit of making things up, just last Saturday, the member for York South—Weston told a crowd of gun crime victims and families that his Liberal government's gun grab included “AR-135” submachine guns, except they absolutely do not even exist.
Unfortunately, it is easy to see why lawful, well-intentioned urban and rural firearms owners, collectors, hunters, sport shooters, enthusiasts and retailers, people who enjoy this Canadian heritage, are skeptical of the Liberals, to say nothing of the radical shift in Bill C-21. It would create a one-sided guilty-until-proven innocent-ask questions later regime, focused on Canadians who already did a filing and have the licences under Canada's stringent regulations and vigorous vetting processes for prohibition orders and warrantless search and seizures.
That is ripe for abuse and conflicts while bogging down already backlogged courts and law enforcement resources when right now there are multiple overlapping systems to ensure that law enforcement can respond to urgent situations involving threats to personal and public safety, as they must. The new approach actually may even take longer and could easily have unintended consequences and deliver the opposite outcomes. This pattern of saying one thing and doing another, of literally making things up, of not having the evidence to support the legislation to show it will achieve stated outcomes should make every every single Canadian question and challenge the Liberals to prove that their laws will actually make a difference for public safety, and combat gun crimes, too.
That brings me to the framework for the voluntary confiscation program. A 2018 Public Safety Canada paper entitled “Reducing Violent Crime: A Dialogue on Handguns and Assault Weapons” explained why confiscating firearms from lawful licensed owners would be ineffective at reducing gun crime in Canada. The report states:
The vast majority of owners of handguns and of other firearms in Canada lawfully abide by requirements, and most gun crimes are not committed with legally-owned firearms....
In most cases, individuals own handguns either in the context of sport shooting activities or because those handguns form a part of a collection....
Any ban...would primarily affect legal firearms owners,...
The public safety minister recently said that the government does not know how many firearms will fall under the confiscation program, but claims it is in the range of 200,000 and says that at an average price of $1,300 per firearm, it will cost taxpayers in the range of $250 million to $260 million. Of course, experts say that the Liberals are way off and that this confiscation program could cost as much as $5 billion when all is said and done. The fact is that the Liberals do not have any structure in place because no private sector proponents have agreed to run the program after two public requests for bids. It really does say something when highly reputable major firms look at the government's purported analysis and cost assumptions and decide they will not touch it with a 10-foot pole.
The Liberals still have not been clear on how they will address retailers left holding the bag with inventory they cannot sell or return to manufacturers either. Phil Harnois, the owner of P&d Enterprises in Alberta, says that 40% of his annual sales were of firearms that are now banned and that thousands of dollars of inventory became worthless overnight. The president of the National Police Federation, Brian Sauvé, says that “the evidence is that illegal gun trafficking leads to criminals owning guns, which leads to crimes with firearms.... [W]e need to look at the source of the problem.” The vast majority of gun crime committed in Canada is by gangs and criminals using already illegal guns, most often illegally smuggled in. That needs to be reiterated because Bill C-21 clearly misses the mark.
Sylvia Jones, spokesperson for Ontario's solicitor general, agrees. She says that “As law enforcement experts routinely highlight, it has not been demonstrated that banning legal firearms and targeting law-abiding citizens would meaningfully address the problem of gun violence.” The Liberals have shown, of course, though, that they do not really believe that their list of banned firearms in the hands of licensed law-abiding firearms owners are a real threat either. Otherwise, why is there this confusing step of banning them, but allowing Canadians to keep them in their homes so long as the guns are registered with the government? It is very confounding.
However, what is clear is that Bill C-21 finds a way to create a boondoggle that will result in the creation of another long-gun registry because some of the now-prohibited firearms are long guns and it will cost taxpayers billions of dollars while delivering no concrete results to improve the public safety of Canadians suffering at the hands of gangs and criminals carrying out the vast majority of gun violence and crime in Canada.
Another measure that is glaring in its obvious irrelevance to improving public safety in Canada while also imposing major consequences on everyday people is the prohibition of the importation, exportation and sale of all non-regulated air guns that look like modern firearms. Here is the deal. The Liberals are actually imposing a ban on Airsoft and a partial ban on paintball. Any rational, common sense person can see that toy guns are not responsible for the shootings are causing death in Canadian cities. Criminals and gangs with illegal guns are tragically ending the lives of Canadians. This provision in Bill C-21 would end hundreds of livelihoods, legacies and jobs and outlaw an entirely harmless hobby enjoyed by more than 60,000 Canadians.
Airsoft in Canada says the Canadian Airsoft market is worth $100 million and over 260 businesses in Canada are linked to the paintball or Airsoft community. The Quebec Airsoft Federation estimates that the industry brings in over $10 million per year in Quebec alone. Distributors and retailers are uncertain about what to do with the current stock and stock on order because all of it would be rendered worthless immediately, with no option to offset losses because the bill would prohibit sales. It will not only impact businesses that directly sell hobby and competition practice guns, but also the retailers of protective equipment and accessories, as well as the clubs and owners of sports facilities that have focused their businesses largely or solely around these activities.
This whole industry would be devastated. Matt Wasilewicz, who owns Canadian Airsoft Imports, says that the ban “confirms our worst fears”. Frank Chong, who owns Toronto Airsoft, Canada's largest airsoft retailer, says “It looks like it's doomsday for us at this point". Ziming Wan of BlackBlitz Airsoft in Waterloo says that “We're basically all going to have to shut down.... It's the death of the sport, as we know it”. Joe Kimpson of Flag Raiders in Kitchener says “You'll see the demise of airsoft in Canada”.
Seventy-four per cent of these businesses expect to lose over half their revenue because of Bill C-21 and 47% of them expect to be out of business for good. There are approximately 3,000 employees working in those affected businesses. It is unconscionable that half of them would lose their jobs and not a single life be saved for it.
It is hard to see how the Liberals are materially protecting the well-being and safety of Canadians by banning toy guns, shuttering more businesses and killing 1,500 jobs while Canada's unemployment rate is already the highest in the G7.
Mark from Motium Manufacturing in Lakeland says, “I was given no notice, no warning, no consultation. The hard work I've put in for over 8 years has been erased and my customers wrongfully criminalized. Why aren't criminals being as negatively impacted as my small business?”
A petition called “Stop Bill C-21” is circulating in the hobby community and 30,000 Canadians have already signed it. That is because Canadians know what experts have been saying all along, which is also what the Conservatives have been saying. What is missing from these Liberals is any meaningful emphasis or major legal framework targeting the main source of gun crime in Canada.
It is good to see some measures to help the CBSA and a small increase in penalties for gun smuggling, but those aspects of Bill C-21 appear more like a footnote in what seems to be a broader strategy primarily concerned with targeting already law-abiding members of Canadian society. One would read this bill and assume that the main goal is to be a nuisance to the legal firearms community. It is not at all obvious that the aim of Bill C-21 is to improve public safety.
The tragedy is that for all the big words and tough talk from the Liberals, it is the very real victims of growing gun violence and Canadian citizens and their families who are forced to bear the brunt of these failed Liberal policies and experiments. What is worse is that the evidence is available for all of us to see. Experts, law enforcement and policy-makers all agree that concrete strategies and legislation must be directed at criminals and gangs and supports for at-risk youth.
Conservatives will always support a common-sense approach to firearms legislation with concrete outcomes that protect personal and public safety. Bill C-21 does not get to the bottom of addressing the major cause of gun crime in Canada and all MPs really owe it to the victims of violent crime in Canada, past and future, to get serious about gun smuggling, gangs and criminals.
As Evelyn Fox says, “I see the homicides happen and it’s almost like a retrigger for me to think that another mother has to go through this and another mother has to deal with the fact that they aren’t going to see their children again.” Because Bill C-21 will not actually make any difference to that, Conservatives will strongly oppose it, and if it passes, repeal Bill C-21.
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
2021-02-02 14:52 [p.3909]
Mr. Speaker, last year gun seizures at Canada's borders spiked. Eighty percent of guns seized by Toronto police came from the U.S., while shootings went up.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister talked to the U.S. VP about gun trafficking, but last week the exact same Prime Minister defeated a Conservative bill to crack down on illegal gun smuggling. As usual, the PM is all talk and no action. Why does he target law-abiding firearms owners and retailers, but rejects solutions for criminals and gangs that terrorize Canadians?
View Bill Blair Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Blair Profile
2021-02-02 14:52 [p.3909]
Mr. Speaker, we are moving forward to strengthen gun control, including addressing all of the ways in which criminals gain access to guns. We have promised Canadians that we will strengthen gun control, while the Conservatives have promised the gun lobby that they will weaken it.
It is important to listen to police chiefs, like the police chief in Edmonton who advises that only 5% to 10% of the guns in his city come from across the border. The rest are obtained illegally through straw purchases or are stolen.
We are committed to doing the whole job of keeping communities safe.
View Glen Motz Profile
Mr. Speaker, police across Canada have been very clear that smuggled firearms, illegal firearms and criminals are the real problem in this country, not legal gun owners. If the Liberals actually took gun crimes seriously, they would have demonstrated that last week on Bill C-238, but what did they do? The Liberals voted against one of the root causes of gun violence in Canada, which are illegal firearms smuggled into this country from the United States. They did not even want to study the issue at committee.
The government continues to fail Canadians at every turn. Why?
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