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View Bruce Stanton Profile
CPC (ON)
View Bruce Stanton Profile
2019-06-21 14:21 [p.29473]
I have the honour to inform the House that a message has been received from the Senate informing this House that the Senate has passed the following bills: C-48, An Act respecting the regulation of vessels that transport crude oil or persistent oil to or from ports or marine installations located along British Columbia's north coast; C-69, An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts; C-75, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and other Acts and to make consequential amendments to other Acts; C-83, An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and another Act; C-91, An Act respecting Indigenous languages; C-92, An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families; C-97, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 19, 2019 and other measures; C-101, An Act to amend the Customs Tariff and the Canadian International Trade Tribunal Act; C-102, An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2020.
View Bruce Stanton Profile
CPC (ON)
View Bruce Stanton Profile
2019-06-21 14:54 [p.29473]
I have the honour to inform the House that when this House did attend Her Excellency this day in the Senate chamber, Her Excellency the Governor General was pleased to give, in Her Majesty's name, the royal assent to the following bills:
C-71, An Act to amend certain Acts and Regulations in relation to firearms—Chapter 9.
C-81, An Act to ensure a barrier-free Canada—Chapter 10.
S-203, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and other Acts (ending the captivity of whales and dolphins)—Chapter 11.
C-82, An Act to implement a multilateral convention to implement tax treaty related measures to prevent base erosion and profit shifting—Chapter 12.
C-59, An Act respecting national security matters—Chapter 13.
C-68, An Act to amend the Fisheries Act and other Acts in consequence—Chapter 14.
C-77, An Act to amend the National Defence Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts—Chapter 15.
C-78, An Act to amend the Divorce Act, the Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act and the Garnishment, Attachment and Pension Diversion Act and to make consequential amendments to another Act—Chapter 16.
C-84, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (bestiality and animal fighting)—Chapter 17.
C-58, An Act to amend the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts—Chapter 18.
C-88, An Act to amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts—Chapter 19.
C-93, An Act to provide no-cost, expedited record suspensions for simple possession of cannabis—Chapter 20.
C-102, An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2020—Chapter 21.
C-101, An Act to amend the Customs Tariff and the Canadian International Trade Tribunal Act—Chapter 22.
C-91, An Act respecting Indigenous languages—Chapter 23.
C-92, An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families—Chapter 24.
C-75, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and other Acts and to make consequential amendments to other Acts—Chapter 25.
C-48, An Act respecting the regulation of vessels that transport crude oil or persistent oil to or from ports or marine installations located along British Columbia's north coast—Chapter 26.
C-83, An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and another Act—Chapter 27.
C-69, An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts—Chapter 28.
C-97, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 19, 2019 and other measures—Chapter 29.
It being 2:55 p.m., the House stands adjourned until Monday, September 16, 2019, at 11 a.m., pursuant to Standing Orders 28(2) and 24(1).
(The House adjourned at 2:55 p.m.)
The 42nd Parliament was dissolved by Royal Proclamation on September 11, 2019.
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View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bardish Chagger Profile
2019-06-20 12:31 [p.29470]
Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties and if you seek it, I think you will find unanimous consent for the following motion:
That, notwithstanding any Standing or Special Order or usual practice of the House:
(a) the amendment to the motion respecting the senate amendments to Bill C-83, An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and another Act, be deemed negatived on division and the main motion be deemed carried on division; and
(b) the amendment to the motion for second reading of Bill C-100, An Act to implement the Agreement between Canada, the United States of America and the United Mexican States, be deemed negatived on division and that the Bill be deemed read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on International Trade.
View Geoff Regan Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Geoff Regan Profile
2019-06-20 12:32 [p.29470]
Does the hon. government House leader have the unanimous consent of the House to propose the motion?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Speaker: The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
View Dan Albas Profile
CPC (BC)
Madam Speaker, let me say, as I probably rise for the last time in this Parliament, how honoured I am to represent the good people of Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, how much I have learned from my colleagues here, but also how invigorated I am by the greatness of this country and my commitment to work hard for the people I represent.
As I join this debate today, I feel compelled to make a few observations. To be clear, Canada did not ask to be put in this position. However, as we know, the U.S. election resulted in a new administration, with a mandate, among other things, to renegotiate NAFTA. That is where all of this started.
I think we can all agree that this particular renegotiated agreement resulted in an outcome that is less than ideal, but of course, it could have been much worse. Many concessions were made, and we still have unresolved issues, such as the lack of a deal for Canadian softwood lumber, something that is critically important to my riding.
Ultimately, it is not a secret that the official opposition will be supporting this deal. Unlike the third party, we do believe it is better than no deal. However, that does not mean that there are not some lessons to be learned here.
To me, it is deeply troubling that the Prime Minister went into these negotiations with his usual theme of demanding things that are all about building his brand and appealing to his base of supporters. In other words, the Prime Minister thought he saw an opportunity to score some political points and feed the brand. This is not unlike what he tried to do when he approached China.
In both cases, he failed miserably. Why would he not fail miserably? Would we as Canadians accept another leader trying to push his or her own values onto us? We simply would not accept that. What nation would? However, that is precisely what the Prime Minister attempted to to. Some may call this arrogance. Whatever we call it, it was easily foreseeable that it was a path to failure.
However, the Prime Minister did not care and went about his virtue-signalling anyway, so we ended up on the sidelines: Canada, a world leader, on the sidelines. There we were, on the sidelines with our biggest trading partner, while Mexico was in the driver's seat, getting the deal done.
Here is the thing. Mexico did get it done. Let us look at its approach. Mexico did not use the trade negotiations as some sort of domestic political opportunity to score points. Mexico did not use this as an opportunity for virtue-signalling. Mexico did not have a lead minister giving a speech within the United States of America that took veiled potshots at the U.S. administration. Mexico discussed issues related to trade and did so professionally. It is easy to see why that approach worked so well for it.
Our approach, led by the Prime Minister, was a complete failure. It did not have to be that way. I can tell colleagues that, on this side of the House, we would have taken a much different approach. I am actually quite confident that there are members on the government side of the House, whom I have worked with at various committees, who I suspect would have also taken a much different approach. I believe it is important to reflect on these things so that we can learn from them.
Canada should never again be in a situation where we are sitting on the sidelines with our greatest trading partner, while Mexico is driving the bus. I hope that is one thing we can all agree on. Perhaps that is why we are now hearing the name of Mark Carney, because there are other Liberals who feel the same way.
Now we have a new deal. Whether it is called the new NAFTA, NAFTA 0.5, USMCA, CUSMA, or whatever, there is something we should all think about. Recently, Jack Mintz wrote a very good piece on investment fleeing Canada. Members who have read the article would know that it debunks some Liberal talking points that had been carefully cherry-picked.
As an example, yes, investment in Canada was up in 2018. However, that sounds good until we consider that it was up from 2017, and 2017 was an absolute disaster of a year. Even in 2018, it was still below where things were in 2015. Yes, I mean that 2015.
Yes, investment in the U.S.A. is down, but that is outside investment. There is a large increase in U.S. domestic capital now staying in the United States. This means it is not coming to Canada.
Why should we care about that? Let us look at our automotive sector. Yes, there is still some investment in Canada, but there is considerably more occurring in the United States and Mexico. Mexico, in particular, has been a hot spot for automotive investment. Let us think about that. Mexico has no carbon tax. It has no new and enhanced CPP causing premiums and payroll taxes to increase every month. Much of its industrial power is cheap, and I would even say it is dirty.
CUSMA does more to address some of those issues than the NAFTA deal it replaces, but we also have to recognize that foreign investment in Canada is not the rose garden the Liberals are trying to suggest it is. This is a deal among three countries. If we become the most expensive, most regulated and most inefficient country to do business in, we lose collectively as a country.
The Prime Minister can continue to be virtuous. He can continue to ask people to pay just a little bit more. He can continue to lecture others for not sharing his values. However, at the end of the day, none of those things are going to attract the investment we need to make the most of this deal.
While we are on the subject of trade, I note that last week, during question period in this place, the Prime Minister vilified former prime minister Harper close to a dozen times. As the Liberals' good friend Warren Kinsella recently pointed out, the Prime Minister is looking “for an enemy to demonize”.
I mention that because the former Conservative government of Mr. Harper concluded more free trade agreements than any prime minister in the modern era. It is not as if the Liberals, or the Prime Minister, would be unaware of this, because they sat in this place during the last Parliament and voted in support of all those new trade agreements, yet the Prime Minister turns around and vilifies the former prime minister, who has a demonstrably more successful record on trade agreements.
However, perhaps that is preferable to talking about the lack of progress on Canadian softwood. I looked up on the Open Parliament website how many times the Prime Minister has even mentioned the word “softwood”. The answer is 18 times since 2016. The vast majority of those times were only because he was answering questions on softwood lumber asked by the opposition.
How many times has he referenced Stephen Harper? It is 190 times, and it will probably be more than 200 after today's question period. With the Prime Minister's priorities so focused on vilifying Mr. Harper instead of focusing on softwood lumber, is it any wonder he has made zero progress on this file?
Why do I point this out? I point this out because lumber mills are closing all across British Columbia at an alarming rate. My riding has lost lumber mills. I know first-hand what that does to a small rural community. It is devastating. However, there is complete silence from the Prime Minister regarding softwood lumber unless he is asked about it by the opposition in this place. Why? Maybe it is because he is too busy vilifying Mr. Harper.
In my view, that is not acceptable. B.C. forest workers deserve better. They deserve to know that they have a prime minister in Ottawa working to reach a softwood lumber deal.
I sometimes wonder whether, if Mexico had a vibrant softwood lumber sector, we would now have a deal done by extension as well. It is clear that Mexico has a more effective track record in these negotiations than the brand-first approach of the Prime Minister.
To summarize, we did not ask to be in this situation, clearly. However, I believe the approach taken by the Prime Minister to try to use this as a political opportunity was deeply flawed and made a bad situation worse.
Again, as evidence of that, I say to look no further than the approach taken by Mexico and the success that it had while we sat on the sidelines.
I have raised this point with ministers of the Crown. They told us that the meetings between the United States and Mexico were simply on bilateral issues that had nothing to do with Canada. However, they came out with a trilateral agreement, and Canada had a take-it-or-leave-it moment.
Despite the many concessions that the Prime Minister has made on this file, we can still make the most of it, but only if we recognize that we need to be more competitive. We have a regulatory environment in which things can get done in Canada. Many people have raised alarm bells, particularly the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, and not just about the lack of investment but also the ability to get things done.
The Leader of the Opposition today clearly asked the Prime Minister several times for the date for the Trans Mountain pipeline. The Prime Minister promised the Trans Mountain pipeline, one of the most important projects on the deck and one of the only ones on the deck, would go forward to help build the national interest, but the Prime Minister cannot give a date.
Originally, the Liberals said that it would be operating this calendar year. Again, I would submit that one need to look no further than the Trans Mountain pipeline as evidence as to where the challenges are. It has been four years, and still there is not a shovel in the ground. The fact that the Liberal government had to buy the project to save Kinder Morgan from the embarrassment of not being able to build it in a timely manner is all part of the problem. The fact that today even the government has serious challenges in trying to navigate the process to get it done is telling. Does anyone seriously believe that Bill C-69 and Bill C-48 will make it easier to invest in Canada?
The Prime Minister says that tankers can operate totally safely in one part of British Columbia and in other parts of Canada, but are so dangerous in another part of British Columbia that they must be banned. Does anyone seriously think that makes sense? In fact, a number of the senators in the other place have commented on the lack of scientific evidence on Bill C-48. The committee that studied it in depth recommended that the bill not proceed.
The approaches of the current government do not reconcile. These are the types of mixed messages that are just not helpful. However, I remain hopeful that we can become more competitive and that as we move forward, we can ultimately try to fully capitalize on this agreement despite the many concessions.
I would like to close on a more positive note, and I will add a few positive observations.
As we have established many times and in many areas, Canada and Canadians can compete and succeed against the very best in the world. As legislators, it is our job to ensure that they have a level playing field and unrestricted market access to do so. Therefore, I will vote in favour of this agreement as, ultimately, it will provide these opportunities.
However, I must say one more time that until we have full, unfettered free trade within Canada's borders, we are, as a country, not owning up to the promise of Confederation, and that falls on us. It falls upon the provinces that have not allowed Canada to become not just a political union but an economic one.
This will be my last speech in the 42nd Parliament, and I would like to share a few words on a personal note.
We all share the collective honour of being elected members of this place, and our families all share the sacrifice for the many times that we cannot be there for them. It is my hope that our families, particularly our young ones, understand that in this place our collective desire to build a better country starts and ends with them. I would like thank all families of parliamentarians for their understanding and support.
I would also like to share a word with other members of this place. It is so unfortunate that much of the work we do here is often summarized by many Canadians as what transpires in question period. Much of the most important work that we do collectively happens at committee.
On that note, I would like to sincerely thank the many members I have worked with on various committees. Everyone I have worked with shares the same commitment to help ensure that the federal government provides the best level of governance possible. We may disagree on programs, projects and approaches, but I have found that we share a commitment to making these programs work best for Canadians.
A final point I would like to make should not be lost by any of us. The former Conservative government introduced a program to provide supports for kids directly to their parents. At the time, the Liberal opposition mocked it, ridiculed it, and suggested that parents would simply blow the money they received on beer and popcorn, but when the Liberals formed their majority government in 2015, they did not kill that program. Liberals saw the merits of it and saw that it was working so they made improvements to it, and now it is working even more effectively. I wish to commend them yet again for that.
That is an example of two very different governments coming up with a program and finding ways to improve it to ensure that it helps support Canadian families.
Trade is similar. After all, we are a nation of traders. We need to have these things that make us collectively prosper, that allow us to build stronger ties and relationships and provide the security and the sense of certainty that it takes for someone to start a business or for a country to get behind a new program. These are great examples of the work that we do when we are here on behalf of Canadians.
Thank you, Madam Speaker, for the time you spend in the chair. I am sure there are many different ways you would rather spend your time than listening to me, but I do appreciate the work you do and I am sure my constituents do as well. I look forward to the challenges in the upcoming months and in the questions and comments I will hear from my fellow colleagues.
View Lloyd Longfield Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Lloyd Longfield Profile
2019-06-19 16:59 [p.29414]
Madam Speaker, the member across the way is a fellow member on the INDU committee. We have had a lot of great discussions there, and a lot of them came as a result of our connections with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
I was the president of the Guelph Chamber of Commerce. I was on the board of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and worked very closely with Perrin Beatty and his group at the Canadian chamber, who were supportive all the way through our negotiations on the new NAFTA, in particular saying we had to hold our ground when it came to the section 232 provisions on steel and aluminum. When we were successful, the Canadian chamber put out a press release saying that it supported the federal government's efforts to have the unjustified U.S. tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum products lifted. It took all of Canada standing together.
It sounds like the member was suggesting that we should be more like Mexico. Does he mean we should be reflective of the labour practices of Mexico, or the safety practices? How should we be more like Mexico?
View Dan Albas Profile
CPC (BC)
Madam Speaker, in my speech I pointed out that this is obviously a three-way agreement and that trade is influenced by many different things: the ease of transport, the tax regime, and tariffs, obviously, because that is what a free trade deal is supposed to deal with.
As I mentioned in my speech, Mexico has seen a rise in the development of its automotive sector because Mexico is not subject to many of the costs that are associated with doing business in Canada, such as the enhanced CPP, for which employers have to pay higher premiums, and the carbon tax, which increases the price of everything, particularly for processes that require a tremendous amount of energy, such as those in the automotive sector.
We must remain competitive if Canada, a nation of traders, is to compete in trade. We cannot take our products and services to other countries if we are priced out of the market because of our input costs. That is an area where we cannot allow Canada to fall back. I hope that when the time comes, the member will advocate for a new government to deal with the red tape and excessive taxation that the government has put on this country.
View Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet Profile
NDP (QC)
View Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet Profile
2019-06-19 17:02 [p.29414]
Madam Speaker, I would first like to thank the member for his many years of service. I know this is not easy work, and he has been doing it for a long time now.
I would also like to say that my colleagues in the NDP and I are fully aware of how important our trade relationship with the United States is. We want to have the best possible agreement with the United States and Mexico, but we must recognize that that is not what we have. That is also why there are people in the United States who want to renegotiate the agreement to get a better deal.
Why rush the vote on this agreement, when we could very well improve on it by waiting a bit and continuing to negotiate?
View Dan Albas Profile
CPC (BC)
Madam Speaker, I want to reiterate my thanks to the member for her kind words, and to say the same. We all should respect members who work so very hard for our constituents. I thank her for her service.
One thing I have learned as an elected official, both at the city council level and now as a member of Parliament, is that business asks for just one thing from government: certainty. While the negotiations kept going on, I heard right across the country at business round tables that people felt they could not make those once-in-a-lifetime or once-in-a-generation investments in their businesses on the Canadian side. Often the reason people chose to go south with those investment choices was that we did not have trade certainty.
I am fully cognizant that this deal is a sub-par deal that the government's approach led us to this position. I will support this only because the business owners I speak to and the people they employ are asking for that basic certainty.
However, we need to make sure that our entrepreneurs, our producers and ultimately our employees have a level playing field. Right now, I am very concerned about the competitiveness aspects of our country. While we maintain trade ties with Mexico and the United States, competitiveness is going to become more and more important. It is something that we should never take our eyes off of.
View Omar Alghabra Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Omar Alghabra Profile
2019-06-19 17:05 [p.29415]
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his gracious final remarks.
We believe that in order for trade deals to be successful, they need to be inclusive. They need to bring onside the majority of the population so that all people benefit, not just the large multinational corporations.
Which of these provisions does the member find to be virtue-signalling? Is the labour chapter in the NAFTA deal virtue-signalling? Is the chapter that promotes gender equality virtue-signalling? Is the chapter that enforces environmental standards virtue-signalling? How about the committee that includes SMEs in the trade implementation? Is that virtue-signalling?
View Dan Albas Profile
CPC (BC)
Madam Speaker, I will just go back to my speech.
Again, it is about putting forward values that may be important to the Prime Minister, that may be important to Canadians. He tried the same approach with China. China rejected that.
I would just ask it the other way around. If the leader of China came to Canada and said, “We want a free trade agreement, but here is what we want to see” and put values in it that are contrary to Canadian values, Canadians would rightly say that we were not in support.
In the case of Mexico, Mexico was laser-focused on where it could win. When we asked the government where it got any wins, the Liberals said that we kept chapter 19. If they cannot say where their wins are and can only say that they kept one component, it is not much of a win.
There was concession after concession, not to mention the steel and aluminum tariffs that kneecapped many in our industry. That was the wrong approach.
In my speech, I gave an alternative view. We should not have allowed Mexico to isolate Canada in those bilateral talks that ended up being trilateral ones. That was a key error, regardless of what the government says. I know there are Liberals on that side who would agree with that assessment.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
View Paul Manly Profile
2019-06-19 17:07 [p.29415]
Madam Speaker, I have a question about how the member feels about investor state dispute settlements being removed from the agreement, and also about article 22, which limits state-owned corporations.
In light of that, how does he feel about the Canada-China FIPA? It was an investment treaty, not a trade agreement, that was pushed through by the Harper government without any debate in this House, whereby Chinese state-owned corporations can use investor state dispute settlements to seek compensation for the loss of potential profit when our laws and policies get in the way of their profitability.
I am just curious about how the member feels about investor state agreements in trade agreements, about state-owned corporations, and about the Canada-China FIPA in light of those things.
View Dan Albas Profile
CPC (BC)
Madam Speaker, the member seemed most offended by the Canada-China FIPA, so I will address that straight away.
First of all, the member should review the Constitution. It is the executive, in this case the Prime Minister and cabinet, that has the authority to enter into agreements with other countries. It was actually the Harper government that made changes that allowed those agreements to be tabled for 21 days here so that parliamentarians could review them.
If the member and his leader want to win enough seats to form an official party, they can make that the question on their opposition day.
When we push Canadian companies to sell their products and services abroad, and they choose to enter a place like China, they may not feel that they are going to be treated the same way they are in a rule-of-law country like Canada, like the United States and like many in the European Union, where there is due process and similar values in that due process. They would ask how they were going to protect themselves in case there was confiscation without compensation. Having that process in place in places like China allows some protection.
I would be happy to speak with the member further about his views.
View Omar Alghabra Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Omar Alghabra Profile
2019-06-19 17:09 [p.29415]
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise to speak on the new NAFTA. Before I start, I would like to point out that I will be splitting my time with my colleague from Nanaimo—Ladysmith.
Let me take the time to highlight, first and foremost, our government's record on international trade. Consecutive governments have talked about trade diversification and trade expansion, but most governments have failed. I acknowledge that the previous government, under Mr. Harper, had started some negotiations, but unfortunately, it was not able to close the deals. When it came to the free trade agreement CETA, while the Conservatives started the negotiations, they could not close the deal. When it came to the CPTPP, the Conservatives negotiated the previous agreement known as TPP, but it failed. It took our government's leadership and our Prime Minister's leadership to renegotiate it to include progressive, inclusive elements and revive it, improve it and ratify it.
Canada is a trading nation. One out of six Canadian jobs is related to trade. Our government has recognized the value of trade. However, we also know that it is really important to make sure that when we sign trade agreements, they are inclusive. We keep in mind our middle class, we keep in mind small and medium-size enterprises and we keep in mind gender equality. Those issues are not virtue signalling. Those issues are economic issues. Those issues benefit all Canadians. They help lift many people out of poverty and invite them into our labour force to ensure that everyone is benefiting from those free trade agreements.
I want to talk about how we were able to close the deal on CETA, sign it and ratify it here in the House of Commons. We were able to renegotiate and improve the previous agreement known as the TPP, the CPTPP, sign it and ratify it here in the House of Commons. In fact, we were one of the first countries to ratify the CPTPP. We were also able to renegotiate NAFTA, and now we are in the midst of the ratification process.
If we add all that up, that is 1.5 billion new customers for Canadian businesses and Canadian workers. Today Canada is the only member of the G7 that has a free trade agreement with all other G7 nations. These are not just any free trade agreements. They are fair, inclusive trade agreements that keep in mind the interests of all Canadians, particularly our middle class.
I also want to highlight our investment in expanding trade. Our government has put the largest investment into trade infrastructure and trade support systems in Canada's history. We have invested over $1.2 billion in expanding our trade corridors, including ports, roads and rail. We have invested in the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service, which is our best asset. It is our Canadian businesses' and Canadian workers' best asset. It is Canada's global sales force. It is present in 160 countries around the world, promoting Canadian businesses and promoting Canadian interests, and we are proud to invest in it and to expand its presence around the world.
We are creating programs that support small and medium-sized businesses that are looking to expand and trade, because we know that small and medium-sized enterprises that trade pay better, are more resilient and are more profitable. It is in our best interest, if we want to continue to create more jobs, that we support small and medium-sized enterprises that export. Today only 14% of our SMEs trade, and we want to increase that number.
We have created programs such as CanExport that help small and medium-sized enterprises that are thinking about trade but are worried about the upfront costs. We are providing support to those SMEs all across our great country so that they are able to take advantage of those new markets that are available to them.
It does not end there. In 2018, foreign direct investment in Canada grew by 60%. Why? Canada is receiving an unprecedented level of foreign investment, because the rest of the world is noticing that Canada has access to an incredible array of markets. The U.S. market does not have the same access to foreign markets as Canada does.
International businesses are noticing. International investors are noticing. That is why we have seen a 60% increase in foreign trade investment. Direct investment from countries other than the U.S. has increased by 300%. Those investments bring jobs to our middle class. Those investments bring wealth to our businesses. This is good news for our country and good news for Canadians.
Let me take a moment to talk about NAFTA.
We had to renegotiate NAFTA when the current President of the United States campaigned on tearing up NAFTA. He told U.S. citizens that NAFTA needed to be torn up.
We started the negotiations with the new administration in good faith. We wanted to keep an open mind. NAFTA was over 20 years old, and it needed an overhaul. It was a tough negotiation process.
I want to take a moment to acknowledge how Canadians of all political stripes and Canadian businesses rallied around our government as we were in the midst of a tough negotiation with our partners.
However, many on the Conservative benches, and other Conservative voices, were asking us to capitulate. The Conservative Party loves to brag about Stephen Harper's record. Here is a direct quote from a memo written by Mr. Harper in 2017. He wrote, “it does not matter whether current American proposals are worse than what we have now.” He wanted us to capitulate, and he was encouraging people to put pressure on the Canadian government to capitulate.
My colleagues on the Conservative benches were asking questions in question period, and this is on the record. They were demanding that our government capitulate to U.S. demands. I am glad, and I am proud, that our Prime Minister, our Minister of Foreign Affairs, and our team did not capitulate. We stood firm for Canadian values. We stood firm for what made sense for Canadian businesses. We ended up with a great deal.
We did face a challenge with steel and aluminum tariffs, unjust and illegal steel and aluminum tariffs, but we hung in. We pushed and we advocated. At the time, my colleagues on the Conservative benches again asked us to drop our tariffs. They called them “dumb”. Our retaliatory tariffs worked, and we were able to negotiate the elimination of those tariffs with our partner, the United States.
My friends say that we were virtue-signalling. I would like to know from them what part of this new NAFTA is virtue-signalling. Is the new labour chapter virtue-signalling? Is the new chapter on the environment virtue-signalling? Is the new chapter on gender equity virtue-signalling? These inclusive chapters will benefit all Canadians and will raise their wages. They will make sure that we have more productive jobs for the middle class.
I am disappointed in the Conservatives. I am relieved that they will be voting for this agreement. It does not make sense to me, but still I am relieved that they will be voting for it. I ask them to join us and agree that those provisions and this deal are good for Canadians and good for middle-class Canadians.
View Randy Hoback Profile
CPC (SK)
View Randy Hoback Profile
2019-06-19 17:19 [p.29417]
Madam Speaker, I need to straighten out the record. The parliamentary secretary said that his government saved the TPP. The reality is that it was signed, and if we had passed it, we would not have had to renegotiate NAFTA. What happened? The government stalled. The Liberals dragged their feet. They kept hesitating. They kept making it impossible for the U.S. to move forward. If the Liberal government had embraced it and ratified it, we would not be talking about NAFTA today. That is the reality.
The Liberals have upset many of our trade partners around the world: China, Saudi Arabia, the Philippines. Which country has the Prime Minister travelled to where he has not upset someone?
The reality is that this agreement is not perfect, but it would provide stability, and business communities want stability.
Our structural steel is going to face tariffs in August. Our softwood lumber has tariffs right now. What are the Liberals going to do to solve those problems once they ratify this deal?
View Omar Alghabra Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Omar Alghabra Profile
2019-06-19 17:20 [p.29417]
Madam Speaker, I have a lot of respect for my colleague, but I find it interesting that he is doubling down on the old TPP. I find it interesting that he has taken the side of the Saudi Arabian government over the Chinese government. I find it interesting that he is saying that we should not be upholding our own laws or values. I am really—
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
View Omar Alghabra Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Omar Alghabra Profile
2019-06-19 17:21 [p.29417]
Madam Speaker, when we are defending Canadian interests and values around the world, my hon. colleague should support us in that effort. Yes, we have disagreements domestically, but I wish he would not take the side of the Saudis or the Chinese government's side.
Our government has proven that we will continue to defend Canadians' interests. We will continue to defend the interests of the middle class. All of our trade negotiation results have proven that. We have a million jobs to speak for that, we have the lowest poverty rate in Canada's history to speak for those results and I am very proud of our government's record.
View Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet Profile
NDP (QC)
View Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet Profile
2019-06-19 17:22 [p.29417]
Madam Speaker, for some time now, the NDP has been calling on the government to establish a national pharmacare program that would cover everything.
However, the agreement we are currently discussing, and that the government wants to get signed quickly, includes patent extensions that would make pharmacare even harder and more expensive to implement.
Does my colleague not think that this kind of clause in the agreement with the United States and Mexico will hinder the implementation of a pharmacare program?
View Omar Alghabra Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Omar Alghabra Profile
2019-06-19 17:23 [p.29417]
No, Madam Speaker, I disagree with my hon. colleague. We have seen this before. Twenty-five or 30 years ago, the New Democrats were dead set against the original NAFTA. They said the sky was going to fall and that we were going to lose so many jobs. It has been proven that free trade is good for Canadians. Today, once again, they are trying to scare Canadians, again claim that the sky is going to fall and that drugs are going to be so expensive. It is not true. The short answer to her question is no.
View Colin Carrie Profile
CPC (ON)
View Colin Carrie Profile
2019-06-19 17:23 [p.29417]
Madam Speaker, I want to ask the same question my colleague asked. He was quite right.
I am going to read from an article by Bill Curry on November 19, 2015. This was 13 or 14 months before Mr. Trump was even sworn in. Mr. Obama was in Manila and stated, “We are both soon to be signatories of the TPP agreement.” In other words, as my colleague said, we would not have had these problems if the Liberals had actually moved ahead on it. Mr. Obama was the most progressive president around and now, by doing this, there seems to be no leverage for the outstanding issues, like my colleague said, on steel, softwood lumber and the Buy American clause.
Could the parliamentary secretary please let us know how he is going to resolve those issues now that he has given away this leverage?
View Omar Alghabra Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Omar Alghabra Profile
2019-06-19 17:24 [p.29417]
Once again, Madam Speaker, I find it strange. Regardless of what Conservatives think of the TPP, and I disagree with him, the U.S. pulled out of the TPP. The claim is that if we had ratified the TPP, it would have solved so many problems, but the U.S. pulled out the TPP.
To answer his question, I can point to our record. Our Prime Minister, the Minister of International Trade Diversification, the Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs and Internal Trade and the Minister of Foreign Affairs have proven that we will stand firm to defend Canadian interests and Canadian jobs.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
View Paul Manly Profile
2019-06-19 17:25 [p.29417]
Madam Speaker, it is an honour to stand here today and engage in the debate on NAFTA.
Many of my constituents in Nanaimo—Ladysmith will know that I am very passionate about trade issues and concerned about international trade and investment agreements.
First of all, I want to say that the Green Party of Canada supports trade. We think it is a vital part of our economy. However, what we want to see in trade agreements is respect for environmental regulations, labour standards, health and safety standards, and consumer protections. These things should be increased in trade agreements, the way that the European Union does. Countries that enter the European Union must increase their standards and regulations to meet the highest standards in the union. We think that those kinds of approaches to international trade are important.
About 15 years ago, I was focused on a lot of local issues and worked on films about local water. Somebody had asked me if I knew anything about the Security and Prosperity Partnership, the SPP, and I did not. Therefore, I went off to Ottawa to go to the people summit and learn about the SPP.
I went to Montebello to document the protests that were happening there, and I happened to videotape three police officers who were dressed as radicals with masks on who were attacking their own riot squad. They were unmasked in the process, and all of their boots matched with those of the riot squad. This raised questions for me about why the police would be involved in this kind of incitement, and I have footage of them banging rocks into shields, etc. I wondered why they would be involved in this kind of incitement at a peaceful protest, and they were later proven to be police officers.
I became interested in the Security and Prosperity Partnership and started to dig in. What I found was that in this process there was a deep integration of Canada, the United States and Mexico as part of a fortress North America after 9/11. It also included integration of our regulatory standards. I looked into who was negotiating on behalf of Canada for these regulatory standards. There were 20 corporations for each of three countries, Mexico, the United States and Canada. There were some great Canadian corporations representing Canada in this negotiation process, such as Home Depot Canada, Walmart Canada, Chevron Canada and Ford Canada.
I started to study trade agreements a little more and found that there really was no involvement of civil society in these agreements. These were corporate agreements. Therefore, I really appreciate in this new version of NAFTA that the government has involved labour organizations and environmental organizations as part of the negotiating process, and I see that as progress. This is what we need to be doing in our negotiations on international trade and investment. They cannot just be secretive processes where only the corporations and the bureaucrats are involved. We need people who represent consumers, workers and environmentalists so that we have a fair process that can look at all aspects of trade and make sure that our regulations and standards are protected.
One of the others things I learned working on this film was about investor-state dispute settlements. Chapter 11 in NAFTA was the first time that a developed country had signed on to this process. It was something that the Europeans had used with their former colonial states to kind of keep corporate control over mineral extraction, etc. However, when I looked into Chapter 11, there were cases such as Ethyl Corporation, which got $5 million when Canada blocked the use of MMT, an additive that was a neurotoxin in gasoline. Ethyl Corporation said that it was an unfair trade practice to ban it. There are also things in these investment chapters such as indirect expropriation, and we all know what expropriation is; national treatment; as well as most favoured nation status. These are all things that are used by corporations to challenge our laws and policies. Therefore, I was really happy to see that the investor-state dispute settlement was taken out of the new NAFTA.
Let us look at cases like Bilcon, where a foreign corporation is challenging our environmental assessment process and getting $7 million for doing nothing. It is not a process that makes sense. We see this used as a big stick by mining companies to get developed countries to accept mining and extraction projects.
We need to do something about softwood lumber. That is an important issue in my community.
I am also concerned about the extension of patents for pharmaceuticals from eight years to 10 years for biologics and how that will affect the cost of drugs. We see many people, seniors in particular, who are having to make decisions about what they spend their money on: rent, food or pharmaceuticals.
Article 22, the state-owned chapter, has a carve-out for the Trans Mountain expansion project. That is a concern for me as well.
View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bardish Chagger Profile
2019-06-19 18:32 [p.29426]
Mr. Speaker, in relation to the consideration of the Senate amendments to Bill C-75, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and other Acts and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, I move:
That debate be not further adjourned.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2019-06-19 18:33 [p.29426]
Mr. Speaker, I am very alarmed that here we go again with the Liberal government, through an omnibus bill, Bill C-75, watering down criminal penalties for serious crimes. What really irks me terribly is that impaired driving causes bodily harm.
Statistics in Canada today state that impaired driving offences are going up. Impaired driving is a leading cause of death in Canada, whether from consuming alcohol or drugs, and here is that government trying to include a softening of the sentences for it through Bill C-75.
I wonder if the government could answer this. What is it really trying to do here? Statistics are going up and penalties are going to be reduced. How is that going to help make Canada safer for people driving on the roads?
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, let me say at the outset that I am going to miss the hon. member. He is now my neighbour. I have always enjoyed working with him, particularly during our time on the industry committee.
That is not our intention at all in this piece of legislation. While there is a hybridization of certain offences in this legislation, serious crimes where the facts are serious will always be taken seriously, both in terms of the sentence sought and in terms of the procedure used if it goes by way of indictable offence.
Sometimes, under the same alleged offence, there are facts that point to a less serious situation, and here we give the prosecution service across Canada the option to proceed by way of summary offence, which is quick and efficient, making more resources available within the judicial system for the treatment of serious crimes, and they will always be treated seriously.
View Randall Garrison Profile
NDP (BC)
Mr. Speaker, here we are on one of the last sitting days of this Parliament, and it is passing strange that the Liberals appear to be going for a very strange record.
In the last Parliament, I took a photo of myself standing next to a pile of bills on which the Conservative government had introduced time allocation. It was nearly half a metre tall. If we stacked up the bills that the Liberal government has used time allocation on, the pile would be of similar size. Even though the Liberals have not quite reached the 100 record for time allocation that the Conservatives established, they have used some kind of time allocation or closure on a greater percentage of their bills than the Harper government ever did.
Lately, we have had closure motions like this one. One of those motions restricted debate to a government speaker only, with no questions allowed. One of them occurred after four minutes of debate. This one occurs after less than two hours of debate.
Could the Minister of Justice tell us if the Liberals are going for a new record? I always like it when Conservatives and Liberals compete to be the worst.
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I believe that in the current Parliament, closure has been used 10 times. I coached soccer for a number of years, and the number 10 was always a lucky number. Many of the best players in the world wear the number 10. For a soccer fan, that is a good thing.
In all seriousness, this bill was introduced in March 2018. It has been debated in the House for a total of 22 hours and 10 minutes. It has been with the Senate since December. The Senate has proposed 14 amendments and we have accepted 13. There has been a lot of back and forth, a lot of study by both committees. I can go through the number of speeches and the time spent on those speeches, as well as the witnesses in front of either the justice committee in the House or the justice committee in the other place.
It is simply time. It is an important bill. We have had time to look at it. A lot of House time has been dedicated to it. It is time to move on.
View Colin Carrie Profile
CPC (ON)
View Colin Carrie Profile
2019-06-19 18:38 [p.29427]
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the minister's being in the House and the opportunity to question him.
I tabled a bill recently in regard to human trafficking. I know we all think this is a very serious offence. I would like the minister's honest opinion here.
He mentioned the hybridization of offences: in other words, taking things that were indictable offences and turning them into summary convictions. For example, in some cases of human trafficking, it would be taking it from a high level down to two years less a day or a $5,000 fine.
The reason I want him to answer is that, in Oshawa and Durham Region, human trafficking has actually doubled. I know the minister's intention, but there is a reality here. Two years less a day or a $5,000 fine is very lenient when a person who traffics one individual can make $300,000 a year. That is only for one person, but many of these guys are trafficking 10 to 20 young girls in our communities. The challenge is that Canada is becoming a country where this crime is being perpetrated because the system here is so lenient. Two years minus a day or a $5,000 fine is just the price of doing business for these guys.
Does the minister think that two years minus a day or a $5,000 fine for a serious crime like human trafficking is going to stop somebody from victimizing our young people, especially young women for sex trafficking and things like that? Could he please comment? I do not think it is realistic, and advocates think this is ridiculous.
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, the first thing I would point out is that we rolled what used to be Bill C-38 into this bill, which deals with human trafficking and presents improvements to prosecuting human trafficking in the justice system.
The answer to his question is the same as the previous, which is that in the serious kinds of facts that he describes, it would be quite unfathomable for a prosecutor to proceed by way of summary offence. It would proceed by way of indictable offence and that is the way it would go. I would point out that across Canada, provinces are widely in favour of this bill. We worked closely with our provincial and territorial counterparts in putting this legislation together, and they are widely supportive of this bill, particularly on the side of the Crown. This is evidence that this is the way it is going.
View Pierre-Luc Dusseault Profile
NDP (QC)
View Pierre-Luc Dusseault Profile
2019-06-19 18:41 [p.29428]
Mr. Speaker, I am slightly disappointed that the Minister of Justice moved a closure motion today. Yet another minister rises today to limit the number of hours of debate in the House by using a procedure that is supposed to be extraordinary but that has become commonplace under the Liberal government. When the Liberals were on this side of this House, they spoke out every time this procedure was used. Now, they are joking around about this being their 10th closure motion. They are making jokes as if this were all a game. They are laughing at Canadians who are watching today and who are seeing a government invoking closure for the 10th time. They seem to be taking this lightly, as if it were no big deal, just another regular procedure, but it is supposed to be an extraordinary procedure.
How can my colleague defend this today? How can the Minister of Justice, who is supposed to defend our rights and justice in Canada, rise in this democratic chamber to defend the use of a procedure that is supposed to be extraordinary? The situation is rather ordinary and does not call for the use of a procedure to shut down debate and rush this bill into law.
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I am disappointed by my colleague's question because I just said that we spent over 22 hours debating this bill in the House. There were 78 speeches in the House. The Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights heard from 107 witnesses over the course of 10 meetings, and 50 submissions were received.
This bill was introduced in the House in March 2018 and in the Senate on December 3, 2018. It is now June 19. We worked with the Senate to improve the bill. All in all, it is entirely appropriate to use this measure to conclude debate today.
View Brenda Shanahan Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Brenda Shanahan Profile
2019-06-19 18:43 [p.29428]
Mr. Speaker, although I am anything but a lawyer, my constituents and I are very concerned about long delays in the legal system. I see some major reforms in Bill C-75.
I would like to know if the minister thinks we held enough consultations. I believe this is a very important bill, and I want to be sure everything has been done properly.
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question. The short answer is yes. We held consultations. We did a lot of work on different aspects of the bill.
This should be part of our response to the issue of delays in the judicial system. The reform of hybrid offences will give more discretion to our prosecution services. This will differentiate less serious cases from more serious cases, which will be allocated more resources.
This will also help indigenous people across the country, who are often overrepresented in the justice system. There are reforms of administrative procedures and also of administrative offences. This should help prevent revolving door justice for indigenous people. There is also a reform of preliminary inquiries.
View Kevin Sorenson Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Speaker, we are in the last few days of Parliament, and it seems like every day the government is saying it is going to invoke closure and bring forward time allocation to shut down debate.
Contrary to what the minister has just said, the process we go through here is this: Our committees look at these justice bills, and then we debate them here and send them to the Senate. Sometimes the Senate will send a bill back to us with amendments. Indeed, the Senate has sent this bill back with a number of amendments, at least 13 or 14, from what we hear tonight. However, we are not given the ability to debate those amendments. Our constituents expect us to do our due diligence.
We debated the bill prior to this, but the Senate has sent it back, and now the Liberal government is going to invoke closure. This is not just about closure and time allocation; it is about another promise of an omnibus bill. Bill C-75 is a 300-page bill that is an omnibus bill. The government has thrown everything in here, and now we are asked to shut down debate and get ready to vote on it.
The question that came from the Liberal side hit the nail on the head. That member said that one of the things we are concerned about is long delays in the courts. This bill is not just hybridizing many offences, but showing the failure of the Liberals to appoint judges throughout this country so these cases can be heard in the court system. Therefore, the Liberals bring this forward to basically push things through quickly, like a revolving door.
This is how the Liberals drew this up. Originally, offences like leaving Canada to join a terrorist group were part of this bill. It is basically allowing them to water down serious offences, such as advocating genocide, using a date rape drug and human trafficking. Yes, some of those may not be in there now, but that is the Liberal philosophy of criminal justice reforms.
I am sorry, but we are skeptical of the kinds of measures the current government brings forward, and we are very skeptical of the closure the minister is invoking.
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, with all due respect, I disagree not only with the facts as the hon. member has presented them, but also with his starting assumptions.
With respect to appointing judges, we have set up a rigorous and transparent system to appoint judges. At last count, I believe there were over 350 superior court judges appointed across Canada. There are not many vacancies left. I have appointed 50 to 60 since I was appointed Minister of Justice.
With respect to the examples the hon. member cited, those are precisely examples of how the justice committee worked and worked well. Changes to the bill were brought by the committee and accepted by the government.
This bill has been in front of us for over a year. It is not a question of anything being rushed through. We have been quite deliberate. We have accepted amendments at the justice committee level. We have heard and accepted amendments from the Senate. There has been a good to-and-fro in a number of different situations. Frankly, I have no problem whatsoever invoking closure on this bill, given where we are in this session and given the amount of input that all sides have had on this bill.
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
View Pierre Nantel Profile
2019-06-19 18:49 [p.29429]
Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House as a father from Longueuil—Saint-Hubert. We are grappling with a real crisis. Young women are getting dragged into a process that will destroy them. As a father, I am deeply troubled by that.
I know nothing about this subject, seeing as I am not a lawyer, but the point raised by my Conservative colleague caught my attention. It is true that $5,000 sounds like a paltry fine. I do not know much about this.
The government says that we have been talking about this for however many days and hours, but when it decides to cut our debate time short, it is not respecting the standard regarding the number of hours that should be allocated to debate on a given issue. The Liberals say it is fine, but this is an issue I really care about.
Do they think all bills should be debated for less time? Is the Minister of Justice trying to tell us that the parliamentary process in general is too long?
The debate on this issue does not seem like an appropriate place to save time. This is such a serious issue that we should have enough time to discuss it fully, but the Liberals are saying we have talked enough.
Does my colleague think the parliamentary process is too long? It seems to me that it is shorter in China.
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question.
What I am saying applies specifically to this bill. I am talking about this bill only.
As parliamentarians, we have a lot of opportunities to reflect on legislation and take part in debates. As I said, there were 22 hours and 10 minutes of debate. At second reading, there were seven hours and 15 minutes of debate. We heard 24 speeches at second reading, including nine from the NDP. Everyone had plenty of opportunity to contribute to this bill. I can quite comfortably say that we had enough time. We have been studying this bill for more than a year. At some point we have to decide.
As I just explained, as far as human trafficking is concerned, which my colleague brought up, we incorporated Bill C-38 into Bill C-75 because human trafficking is a very serious offence.
Moreover, the system gives the prosecutor the flexibility to determine how to proceed. Also, there is always the option to proceed by way of indictment. The penalties are very serious.
I want to assure my hon. colleague that we are not treating serious offences any less seriously.
View Chris Bittle Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Chris Bittle Profile
2019-06-19 18:53 [p.29429]
Mr. Speaker, it is clear to me that the Conservatives are misleading Canadians in saying that this is going to reduce sentences. I have heard this time after time. What it really means is that they do not trust the independent police or independent prosecutors who bring cases forward to the justice system.
The bill would ensure that they would have discretion and would ensure that they could put people behind bars. Do Conservatives honestly believe that people who have dedicated their lives to criminal justice and fighting for victims would use the bill to reduce sentences?
What this would do is clean up the mess left by the Harper government. The Jordan decision was argued before we were elected and released after. After 10 years of making a mess of the justice system and clogging it up, the only thing we hear from the Conservatives is Doug Ford's plan to cut and make things even worse. They have nothing.
Could the hon. minister please tell the House why it is important to get the bill through?
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his work on the justice committee, to which he has brought his experience as a practising lawyer.
The bill is critically important as part of our response to the Jordan decision and to making the criminal justice system much more effective and efficient, while maintaining fairness for victims and making sure that the rights of the accused are also protected.
It is critically important that we pass this legislation. It contains a number of reforms that attempt to reduce delays in the system and attempt, as the hon. member has said, to give discretion to our prosecution service in general, which we think very highly of. As we know, at the federal level, it was, in part, created by the justice minister in the previous government, the member for Niagara Falls.
It is important that we move ahead with these kinds of reforms. Along with the number of judges we have named and the process we have created to name them, we are pushing the system ahead.
We have consulted widely. We have consulted practitioners and experts. Most importantly, we have consulted parliamentarians. That is why we are moving to do what we are doing this evening.
View Kevin Waugh Profile
CPC (SK)
View Kevin Waugh Profile
2019-06-19 18:56 [p.29430]
Mr. Speaker, what the minister did not say is that they never consulted the victims of crime in this country. On the second to last day of Parliament, Bill C-75 comes to us. It does not show that they are taking the safety and security of Canadians seriously. We have seen this. They are attempting to water down serious offences in this bill, such as impaired driving causing bodily harm. The province of Saskatchewan has the worst record in the Dominion of drunk driving charges. I have talked to many victims, and they are upset with this bill, because they have not had chance to address it. Many of them have lost loved ones. When they look at this flawed bill, it is all about criminal rights and nothing about the victims in this country.
I would like the minister to answer that. What is the government doing for the victims in this bill, because they are upset with this?
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I reject his premise on this bill. I believe it is an attempt to mislead.
With respect to drunk driving, in addition to the measures contained in this bill, we have also passed Bill C-46, which strengthens our ability to react to driving while impaired. Again, it is the result of consultation with police forces across the country.
I categorically reject the idea that we do not take victims into account. This legislation takes victims into account. We met with victims groups seriously throughout the process, and I have since I have become minister.
Let me say that years ago, when I clerked at the Supreme Court of Canada and helped Mr. Justice Peter Cory prepare for the Ascov decision at the time, which was the Jordan of that generation, one of the things that were abundantly clear was that delays in the system did no good for victims. By improving delays in the system, we are also helping victims. We are helping families adapt to the tragedies that have befallen them, and we are helping them to have closure and move on.
I reject categorically any hint from the other side, any insinuation from the other side, that we do not take victims seriously. That is simply false.
View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
View Gord Johns Profile
2019-06-19 18:59 [p.29430]
Mr. Speaker, I am thankful that the minister is here today to answer questions, because New Democrats have a lot of concerns. The government is again breaking another promise. The Liberals said that they would not use closure if they were in government and condemned it when they were sitting on this side of the House. Here we go again with another omnibus bill. They said they would not put forward omnibus bills. The broken promises continue, whether it be electoral reform or environmental protection. They are ramming through legislation without proper debate.
In terms of this piece of legislation, we have not heard from enough witnesses, and the Liberals have not produced this legislation in an evidence-based way. We are concerned that this legislation might even lead to more backlogs. We have concerns that we would like to debate here in the House, and we have not had the opportunity to do so.
Here we go again with another broken promise by the government. I would like to hear the minister speak about some of the concerns New Democrats have and about why the Liberals are breaking another promise.
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, my colleague is one of the first members I met when I came here four years ago, and this may be one of the last exchanges we have, so it is quite fitting.
There were over 107 witnesses at the justice committee over the course of 10 meetings, in 43 hours of committee time. There were 58 briefs submitted. There were also more than eight meetings of the justice committee in the other place and 40 witnesses during the Senate study. In addition to the usual letters and that sort of thing that come up through this kind of process, which has been going on for more than a year, we have dedicated a lot of House time and a lot of committee time to the bill. The other chamber dedicated a lot of time to the study of this bill. Amendments were proposed at the committee stage by all sides, some of which were accepted, some of which were not. The same was true at the Senate stage. There has been a lot of back and forth and a lot of participation.
I can assure the hon. member that I am quite comfortable with the amount of parliamentary input into this bill, and I am comfortable in saying that it is simply time to adopt it and allow these changes to be implemented in the system, because they will do people good, be they victims or the accused.
View Colin Carrie Profile
CPC (ON)
View Colin Carrie Profile
2019-06-19 19:02 [p.29430]
Mr. Speaker, I introduced a private member's bill that would change the Criminal Code on human trafficking. Right now it is extremely difficult to get a conviction in Canada, because we have to prove fear. The bill would align our definition with the Palermo protocol. In other words, it would allow easier convictions of human traffickers and also allow for training judges on human trafficking. Right now, it is extremely difficult to get a conviction.
I was wondering if the Minister of Justice could let all Canadians know if he would be supporting my private member's bill, or at least the initiatives the bill intends to provide for Canadians, especially victims of human trafficking.
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, the bill addresses human trafficking and tries to make it easier to prosecute human trafficking offences. It is my understanding that our government will also take measures toward a better approach on human trafficking in upcoming weeks. I am pretty confident that we have addressed a part of that question in this bill.
View Rachael Harder Profile
CPC (AB)
View Rachael Harder Profile
2019-06-19 19:43 [p.29432]
Mr. Speaker, today in the House we are discussing Bill C-75. The bill is supposed to strengthen the justice system. It is meant to better protect Canadians. It is meant to reduce delays and it is meant to modernize the criminal justice system.
In part, it does this by facilitating the administration of justice down to the provinces. However, the reality is the bill is yet another example of the current government's dirty habit of saying one thing but doing another. It is known as Liberal hypocrisy, or sometimes people refer to it as Liberal logic.
At the end of the day, this will in fact severely damage Canadian society and our justice system as a whole. Despite the rhetoric from across the way and despite the current heckles, the Liberals decided that they would not properly consult with stakeholders. They rammed the bill through without giving it careful consideration, without paying attention to the call for further discussion and certainly without adequate debate in this place.
As a result, Canadians are stuck with a piece of legislation that has a number of flaws that are very significant in nature. One of the flaws has to do with hybridization. Putting aside the issue of reducing the penalty of very serious crimes for just a moment, which I will come back to, hybridization also results in many crimes being moved from Federal Court into provincial court.
The Canadian Bar Association had this to say with regard to hybridization. It said this“would likely mean more cases would be heard in provincial court. This could result in further delays in those courts”. In other words, we already have a backlog within our justice system and the Canadian Bar Association is saying that Bill C-75 would result in an even further backlog, which is problematic because these individuals do need to go to trial. These cases do need to proceed, so holding them up even further is actually an injustice to the victim.
Furthermore, it should be noted that it is the government's chief responsibility to care for the safety and well-being of its citizens, to defend the vulnerable, to create laws that put the rights of victims first, which is why it is extremely alarming to see that the Prime Minister is actually pandering more to criminals than standing up for victims.
Bill C-75 reduces penalties for some very heinous crimes including participating in a terrorist group, trafficking women and girls, committing violence against a clergy member, murdering a child within one year of birth, abducting a child, forced marriage, advocating for genocide or participating in organized crime.
The members opposite do not like it when I say those things, it is an inconvenient truth for them, so their heckling gets louder and louder, but the truth cannot be concealed. These heinous, unthinkable acts would have a reduced sentence under Bill C-75.
Conservatives believe in the safety of Canadians being put first. They believe that it should be the number one priority of any government. We will continue to speak up on behalf of victims and we will continue to advocate for them to come first in our justice system. It is very important for me to stand here today and to speak to this piece of legislation because the rights of victims and the rights of communities must come first.
We have a Prime Minister who is much more concerned about pursuing his own agenda than he is about acting in the best interests of Canadians. It is not just with Bill C-75, it is with other pieces of legislation and other decisions being made by the government as well.
Bill C-71, which is the firearms legislation, was rammed through by the government earlier this spring. This was an attack on law-abiding firearms owners. Bill C-71 was rammed through without the government taking concern for the advice of law enforcement agents. It was rammed through without them actually consulting with legislative experts. It was rammed through without the Liberals taking the time to consult with and listen to Canadians.
When those in power turn a deaf ear to the people that they represent, arrogance incapacitates any ability for them to exercise logical thought or common sense. That is exactly what has happened under the current government.
The irony in all of this is that while the Liberals are letting criminals off the hook for committing atrocious crimes such as forced marriage, trafficking, terrorist activity and genocide, they insist on demonizing those who hunt or use their rifles for sport shooting. It is absolutely ludicrous. In what world does this make sense?
From the start, the Liberals did not want to debate Bill C-71. They did not want to consult, because that would mean they would need to listen and then would be held accountable to act on the things that they heard. Instead, the Liberals decided to push Bill C-71, the firearms legislation, through the House. They told Canadians that the bill is for their safety and protection, but it does nothing of the sort. It fails to address gang violence, it fails to address illegal firearm acquisition and use and it fails to address rural crime and violence. Bill C-71 simply goes after those who are already following the law, while rewarding criminals with shorter sentences or allowing them to walk away altogether.
It is very clear that what the current government likes to do more than anything is deceive Canadians. It is less about the safety, well-being and security of our country and more about appearing to be doing something good. If the government took Canadians seriously and really took the position of honour that has been bestowed upon it seriously, then it would genuinely want to strengthen our justice system and our borders. It would genuinely want to invest in front-line responders and make sure that illegal firearms are taken off the street and that people are kept safe in this country, but the current government is not interested in actually governing well. The current government under the current Prime Minister is more interested in its appearance, its image.
The Prime Minister told veterans that they cost too much. Meanwhile, he handed $10 million over to a convicted terrorist, Omar Khadr.
An hon. member: Shame.
Ms. Rachael Harder: It is shameful. I'm glad you recognize it.
The Prime Minister insists consistently on putting criminals before victims. This is wrong, because Canadians elect a government to look after their safety, security and well-being, to ensure that this country is running on all cylinders, that Canadians have a vibrant future that they can dream for, work toward and step into and be excited about for their children and grandchildren. The bill we are discussing today, Bill C-75, which makes changes to the criminal justice system, actually puts this country at risk and victims in serious danger. It rewards criminals.
The role of every government is to keep citizens safe. It is to facilitate an environment of economic prosperity in which people are free to use their time, their talent and their energy to build wealth and achieve the financial outcomes they desire. This means protecting our borders, investing in necessary infrastructure, decreasing taxes, exercising fiscal restraint and scrapping unnecessary regulations. It means respecting the rights and freedoms of Canadians and celebrating the contributions of those who work hard, rather than turning them into criminals. I am talking about the retired widow who lives next door to me, the local business owner who serves coffee when I go there, the medical practitioners who look after our health, the students who dream for a vibrant future and the veterans who have faithfully served this country. These are the faces that government should be looking into when it makes decisions to rule this country.
During his time as prime minister, John Diefenbaker told party members, “I was criticized for being too much concerned with the average Canadians. I can't help that; I am one”, and so it is today. Just as the Right Hon. John Diefenbaker did all those years ago, my colleagues and I on this side of the House are committed to standing up for everyday Canadians, those who work hard and want a vibrant future not just for themselves but for their children and grandchildren.
When we mess around with the justice system with a bill like Bill C-75 and when we reward criminals who commit some of the most heinous crimes imaginable and allow them to go free or we diminish their sentence to a mere fine, we depreciate the value of our country and we fail to look after the well-being of Canadian citizens.
In this place, there are 338 of us who were elected to do far better than that. I would expect much more from the current Prime Minister and much more from the members who govern with him. There is no greater honour than to serve in this place, to be elected by the people of Canada and to have the opportunity to function as a voice on their behalf. I would call upon this House to steward that honour and to vote this bill down.
View Kim Rudd Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I am a mother and a grandmother and I truly am honoured to be in this place. I feel I have a duty and a responsibility to represent my constituents and all Canadians. I come here with honesty and integrity. I listened to the member across the way talk about people heckling in a place where we could hear a pin drop.
It is dishonest and it is misleading. I ask if the member opposite is proud of the remarks she just made.
View Rachael Harder Profile
CPC (AB)
View Rachael Harder Profile
2019-06-19 19:54 [p.29433]
Mr. Speaker, I would invite that member to have her hearing checked, because there was clear heckling in this place.
View Arif Virani Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Arif Virani Profile
2019-06-19 19:55 [p.29433]
Mr. Speaker, I respect the member opposite's commentary here tonight, but in terms of clarifications, there are significant inaccuracies that she put forth in her comments.
The member represented to this House that crimes and offences related to terrorism or advocating genocide are being hybridized in this bill. That is clearly not the case. I urge the member to actually look at the bill as it was structured and as it was amended at the standing committee.
I take issue with many things that she raised here in terms of our government's commitment to addressing crime and our government's commitment to addressing victims. I know of the member's role on the committee for the status women and I would put this to her: This bill addresses intimate partner violence. This bill includes enacting reverse onus at bail for repeat offenders. It broadens the definition of intimate partner violence to include dating partners and former partners and it increases the maximum sentence in cases involving intimate partner violence.
In light of her own advocacy for women in this Parliament, would the member agree that those amendments serve the victims for whom she seems to speak?
View Rachael Harder Profile
CPC (AB)
View Rachael Harder Profile
2019-06-19 19:56 [p.29433]
Mr. Speaker, I respect the hon. member's question. Certainly any act that advocates on behalf of victims is noble. Any act that would put the well-being of women and children first and foremost is absolutely to be commended.
However, there are allowances made within this bill that would in fact allow people off with very small fines or penalties after committing extremely heinous crimes. I would also like to add that if the member opposite and his colleagues are interested in the well-being of victims, it probably would have been a good idea to consult with them in the creation of this bill. That was not adequately done.
View Pierre-Luc Dusseault Profile
NDP (QC)
View Pierre-Luc Dusseault Profile
2019-06-19 19:57 [p.29433]
Mr. Speaker, I too was surprised to hear my colleague talk about heckling, because she is part of the Conservative caucus, which does most of the heckling in the House. Every day, during question period, that is the caucus that makes the most noise. I am surprised to hear her say that there is too much noise in the House. I would like to know whether the Conservative Party has a new, no-heckling policy for debates in the House, including question period.
My question is actually very specific. I know it is not directly related to the bill, but since the member raised the issue of heckling in the House, I would like to know whether the Conservative Party intends to introduce a no-heckling policy during question period.
View Rachael Harder Profile
CPC (AB)
View Rachael Harder Profile
2019-06-19 19:58 [p.29434]
Mr. Speaker, Conservatives have always had a policy of standing up for victims and placing them as our first priority. We have always had a policy of advocating for Canadians who live everyday lives. We have always had a policy of making sure that our justice system is strengthened and that the most vulnerable among us are advocated for. We will continue that legacy when we form government in October.
View Anthony Housefather Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Anthony Housefather Profile
2019-06-19 19:58 [p.29434]
Mr. Speaker, we looked at this bill for dozens of hours at the justice committee, and I think I was looking at a different bill than the one the member was referring to. I would like to point out two inaccuracies in her comments.
First, terrorism and genocide offences were not hybridized under this bill.
Second, and more important, offences are not given lesser penalties under this bill. There are many offences that were already hybridized in Canada before this bill. All that hybridization does is allow the Crown to choose between an indictable and a summary type of offence. Under indictable offences, which they were before, the maximum sentence was five, seven or 10 years, but the minimum sentence could have been a fine. Therefore, there is no difference in minimum sentences and there is also the possibility of looking at the facts of the case and prosecuting it as a summary offence.
I would like to ask if the member was aware, before she gave her remarks, that terrorism and genocide offences were not hybridized under this bill?
View Rachael Harder Profile
CPC (AB)
View Rachael Harder Profile
2019-06-19 19:59 [p.29434]
Mr. Speaker, certainly when this bill was first brought forward, terrorism and genocide were included within hybridization. However, due to pressure that was applied by the Conservative members in this House as well as by members of the Canadian public, the Liberals did walk those two back, so I will give them credit for that.
View Todd Doherty Profile
CPC (BC)
View Todd Doherty Profile
2019-06-19 20:00 [p.29434]
Mr. Speaker, Cody Legebokoff is Canada's youngest serial killer. He heinously killed four young women in my riding. He just started serving his time, but recently he was transferred to medium security. I want to ask our hon. colleague what she feels about the current government's lack of priority for victims' rights. Cody Legebokoff should be behind bars—
View Rachael Harder Profile
CPC (AB)
View Rachael Harder Profile
2019-06-19 20:00 [p.29434]
Mr. Speaker, I think the bottom line is this: Those who find themselves elected in this place find themselves in a very honoured position and have every responsibility to stand up for the rights of victims first and foremost. Bill C-75 fails to do that.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
View Paul Manly Profile
2019-06-19 20:45 [p.29435]
Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to stand again to speak to the new NAFTA. I appreciate the Liberal Party giving me some time to speak about this.
When I left off, I was talking about investor-state dispute settlement and my appreciation that this part of NAFTA was removed. I know it will take three years for it to be completely removed and that some corporations will still be able to use that provision against Canadian laws and policies that get in the way of their profits.
I think it is time to get rid of investor-state provisions in all our trade agreements. It is undemocratic, and it undermines our sovereignty. As we have seen in many cases, such as in Bilcon v. Canada, three arbitration lawyers, whose only interest is keeping the system going, sit in a room and make decisions on our environmental assessment process.
In Bilcon v. Canada, there was a proposed quarry at Digby Neck. The community came out and experts came out and talked about the problems with the quarry. It was an area where the endangered North Atlantic right whales had their calving grounds. There was tourism for whale watching. There was lobster fishing. The community did not want the quarry. When the environmental assessment review panel ruled against Bilcon, after years of environmental assessments, Bilcon was able to take the dispute to a NAFTA panel. Bilcon wanted $470 million. It walked away with $7 million. That is outrageous. Using these kinds of processes to challenge our laws and policies is antithetical to democracy.
Investor-state provisions are being used in developing countries to force through extraction projects or to make developing countries pay through the nose.
A good example of this is Crystallex, a Canadian mining development company. It challenged Venezuela using investor-state provisions after Venezuela decided, on behalf of its indigenous population, that the Crystallex mine would not be in the interest of the indigenous population. It was a threat to the environment. Tenor Capital paid for the arbitration lawyers and invested $30 million. Crystallex ended up getting $1.2 billion in a settlement in this investor-state dispute, and Tenor Capital walked away with a 1,000% return, or $300 million. It is obscene.
I could give members example after example of these kinds of situations. I am glad this is out of NAFTA.
I am also glad to see that the proportionality clause is gone. Under this clause, we had to continue to export the same amount of energy to the United States, on average, as we had in the previous three years.
However, as I was saying earlier, there are a few things that disappoint me about the new NAFTA.
First is the extension of biological patents for pharmaceutical drugs. This is important for products like insulin and for people who have Crohn's disease. People are already struggling with the cost of pharmaceutical drugs. We need drug costs to come down. We must have a national pharmacare program rather than more money for big pharma.
Second is article 22, the carve-out for the Trans Mountain expansion. It looks to me as though it will continue to be a state-owned corporation, which is concerning.
Third is having bovine growth hormone in the American milk and dairy products we will import.
I am thankful for the opportunity to speak to the bill.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-06-19 20:50 [p.29436]
Mr. Speaker, I am very proud of the fact that we have had a government in the last three and a half years that has recognized the true value of trade. The trade agreement between Canada and Mexico further supports the fact that Canada is a trading nation. Having these trade agreements helps facilitate and secure markets. That helps Canada's middle class and those aspiring to become a part of it. It helps drive our economy. We are looking for new trade with new nations and with our best friends to the south.
Would the Green Party be in a position at some point in time where it would support a trade agreement or would it be more inclined to take the same approach to trade as the New Democrats?
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