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View Jaime Battiste Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Jaime Battiste Profile
2021-06-21 14:48 [p.8851]
Mr. Speaker, in 2007, the Conservative government chose to vote against the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In the year since, indigenous parliamentarians, including Romeo Saganash and I, among others, have worked diligently to rectify this mistake, resulting in our government's tabling and passing of Bill C-15.
On National Indigenous Peoples Day, could the Minister of Justice please update the House on Bill C-15 and the work ahead to implement UNDRIP?
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Sydney—Victoria for his advocacy and effort in helping us to get to this momentous landmark. I would also like to salute and thank his father, Professor Sákéj Henderson, for all the work that he did in the development of the declaration.
The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples passing in both chambers is an important step on the path toward reconciliation. It is not, however, the last one. The real work begins once the declaration is adopted. We will continue to work with indigenous peoples across Canada and support the co-development of an action plan to implement and achieve the objectives of the declaration.
We are building a better country for all our children and grandchildren.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
I have the honour to inform the House that a communication has been received as follows:
Rideau Hall
Ottawa
June 21, 2021
Mr. Speaker:
I have the honour to inform you that the Right Honourable Richard Wagner, Administrator of the Government of Canada, signified royal assent by written declaration to the bills listed in the schedule to this letter on the 21st day of June, 2021, at 6:35 p.m.
Yours sincerely,
Ian McCowan
Secretary to the Governor General
The schedule indicates the bills assented to were Bill C-210, An Act to amend the Canada Revenue Agency Act (organ and tissue donors); Bill C-8, An Act to amend the Citizenship Act (Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's call to action number 94); Bill C-15, An Act respecting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; Bill C-33, An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2022; and Bill C-34, An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2022.
View Bruce Stanton Profile
CPC (ON)

Question No. 733--
Mr. Gord Johns:
With regard to the court cases Ahousaht Indian Band and Nation v. Canada (Attorney General), 2008 BCSC 1494; Ahousaht Indian Band and Nation v. Canada (Attorney General), 2011 BCCA 237; Ahousaht Indian Band and Nation v. Canada (Attorney General), (29 March 2012) SCC File No. 34387; Ahousaht Indian Band and Nation v. Canada (Attorney General), 2013 BCCA 300; Ahousaht Indian Band and Nation v. Canada (Attorney General), (30 January 2012) SCC File No. 34387; Ahousaht Indian Band and Nation v. Canada (Attorney General Trial decision (Garson J.) – 2009 BCSC 1494; BC Supreme Court Docket No. S033335; the Supreme Court of Canada’s file number 34387; Ahousaht Indian Band and Nation v. Canada (Attorney General) 2021 BCCA 155; and all related cases: what are, including information from the Attorney General of Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, and Environment and Climate Change Canada, for each case, the (i) total amount spent by the Crown between January 1, 2006, and April 30, 2021, (ii) total amount, adjusted for inflation, (iii) total spent by the Crown by category (travel, salary, supplies, etc.), (iv) total amount spent in each fiscal year from 2005 to 2021, (v) total payment that has been, or is projected to be paid by the Crown, and an explanation as to how this figure was calculated, (vi) date by which it will be or is projected to be paid by the Crown?
Response
Hon. David Lametti (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, with respect to the legal costs incurred by the government in relation to the various Ahousaht Indian Band and Nation v. Canada (Attorney General) matters identified in the question, at the British Columbia Supreme Court, court file number S033335, British Columbia Court of Appeal, court file number CA037704, Supreme Court of Canada, court file number 34387, and all related cases, to the extent that the information that has been requested is or may be protected by any legal privileges, including solicitor-client privilege, the federal Crown asserts those privileges. In this case, it has only waived solicitor-client privilege, and only to the extent of revealing the total legal costs, as defined below.
The total legal costs, actual and notional costs, associated with the Ahousaht Indian Band and Nation v. Canada (Attorney General) matters referenced above, including at the British Columbia Supreme Court, court file number S033335, British Columbia Court of Appeal, court file number CA037704, and Supreme Court of Canada, and any related cases, between January 1, 2006, and April 30, 2021, amount to approximately $19.6 million. This amount covers the costs associated with the numerous procedures that have been filed in these various matters over a period of 15 years. The services targeted here are litigation services as well as litigation support services. Department of Justice lawyers, notaries and paralegals are salaried public servants and therefore no legal fees are incurred for their services. A “notional amount” can, however, be provided to account for the legal services they provide. The notional amount is calculated by multiplying the total hours recorded in the responsive files for the relevant period by the applicable approved internal legal services hourly rates. Actual costs represent file-related legal disbursements and legal agent fees, as the case may be. The total amount mentioned in this response is based on information contained in Department of Justice systems, as of May 5, 2021.
View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
View Gord Johns Profile
2021-06-16 14:48 [p.8527]
Mr. Speaker, the Liberals have spent over $20 million fighting the Nuu-chah-nulth people in court, denying their fishing rights. Last month, the courts reaffirmed the rights of these nations for the third time. The government has until Friday to appeal the court's decision.
The last time I asked if the government would respect indigenous fishers' rights and let them get back on the water to support their families, the fisheries minister said that they were working with the Nuu-chah-nulth. Let me be clear that taking them to court is not the same as working with them.
Will the justice minister respect indigenous rights, call off the government lawyers and confirm that he will not appeal this ruling?
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
Mr. Speaker, we have worked very hard to ensure that we are able to make sure that first nations are able to exercise their right to fish as well as sell fish. We are going to continue to work with the Nuu-chah-nulth first nation to ensure these rights are upheld.
View Alexandre Boulerice Profile
NDP (QC)
Mr. Speaker, if you were to seek it, I believe you will find the unanimous consent of the House for the following motion:
That the House:
(a) support the unanimous consent motion adopted by the National Assembly of Quebec on June 9, 2021, recognizing primarily that,
(i) the Charter of the French Language explicitly recognizes the right of First Nations and Inuit to maintain and develop their languages and cultures,
(ii) several Indigenous languages are threatened with extinction,
(iii) the 11 Indigenous nations in Quebec have, like the Quebec nation, the right to live in their languages and to promote and protect them,
(iv) the Government of Quebec has a responsibility to assume in this regard; and
(b) call on the federal government to recognize its responsibilities and to deploy more resources to protect and promote Indigenous languages in Quebec and in Canada.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
All those opposed to the hon. member moving the motion will please say nay.
I hear no dissent. The House has heard the terms of the motion. All those opposed to the motion will please say nay.
There being no dissenting voice, I declare the motion carried.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)

Question No. 681--
Mr. Gary Vidal:
With regard to the government's statistics on graduation rates of First Nations high school students: (a) what were the graduation rates of First Nations students who attended high school on reserve, broken down by province and year for each of the past five years; and (b) what were the graduation rates of First Nations students who attended high school off reserve, broken down by province and year for each of the past five years?
Response
Ms. Pam Damoff (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indigenous Services, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, ISC does not report on high school graduation rates of first nations students who attended high school on or off reserve, broken down by province and year.
The department does, however, report in its Departmental Results Report, DRR, on national secondary school graduation rates for first nations students ordinarily resident on reserve who are funded by ISC. Here are the links to the DRRs for 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20: 2017-18 DRR: www.sac-isc.gc.ca/eng/1538147955169/1538148052804; 2018-19 DRR: www.sac-isc.gc.ca/eng/1562155507149/1562155526338; 2019-20 DRR: www.sac-isc.gc.ca/eng/1603722062425/1603722082047.

Question No. 683--
Mr. Gary Vidal:
With regard to the government’s consultation process on Bill C-15, An Act respecting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: what are the details of all consultations the government conducted with individuals from First Nations, Metis Settlements, or Inuit communities prior to tabling the bill, including, for each consultation, the (i) type of meeting (in person, Zoom conference, etc.), (ii) names and titles of attendees, including who they represented, if applicable, (iii) date, (iv) location?
Response
Hon. David Lametti (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, the Department of Justice, with the support of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, has published a “What We Learned” report that is responsive to Q-683. The report can be found at www.justice.gc.ca/eng/declaration/wwl-cna/index.html. As described in the report, a series of engagement sessions were held with first nations, Inuit and Métis leaders, modern treaty signatories, regional indigenous organizations, indigenous women’s organizations and indigenous youth. These meetings were held virtually over the Zoom conference platform, largely between September 30 and November 6, 2020. The list of indigenous partners and groups that participated is also presented in the report.

Question No. 693--
Mr. Alex Ruff:
With regard to the Universal Broadband Fund (UBF) program: (a) why was the Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) 2.0 proposed project denied funding to the UBF program; (b) which of the government’s objectives did the proposed SWIFT 2.0 fail to meet; and (c) with SWIFT projects being a solution to address competition issues in Southwestern Ontario between Internet Service Providers (ISPs), how can SWIFT be a partner in achieving the government’s goal of having 98 per cent of Canadians access high speed internet?
Response
Ms. Gudie Hutchings (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, in response to (a), since 2015, the Government of Canada has made $6.2 billion available for rural and remote Internet infrastructure to help ensure all Canadians have access to fast and reliable Internet, no matter where they live. With the proposed budget 2021, the now $2.75-billion universal broadband fund, UBF, will help the government achieve its goal of connecting 98% of Canadians to broadband by 2026 and all Canadians by 2030.
The UBF is an application-based program and therefore requires that a project application be submitted in order to receive funding. The Government of Canada cannot provide the level of detail requested on any particular applicant under the universal broadband fund without disclosing proprietary third party information provided in confidence, and treated confidentially by the applicant. The program received a number of applications for southwestern Ontario, and announcements of successful projects under the rapid response stream are already under way. These projects can be found on the universal broadband website: https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/139.nsf/eng/00021.html. Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada is still finalizing its assessment of rapid response stream applications and has begun assessing applications received under the “core” UBF. More announcements are forthcoming.
In response to (b), the Government of Canada and Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology, SWIFT, share the same objectives of connecting rural and remote Canadians to the broadband Internet they need. Through the building Canada fund’s small communities fund, the federal and provincial governments are each contributing $63.7 million to SWIFT for a $209-million project, to install 3,095 kilometres of fibre, targeting 50,000 households and businesses by 2024. The Government of Canada recognizes the important role that SWIFT and other partners will play in closing the digital divide in Ontario.
In response to (c), connectivity is a shared responsibility. While the Government of Canada is playing a leadership role by providing funding, it is imperative that all orders of government across Canada, as well as the private sector, Internet service providers and other stakeholders, lend support and resources to close the broadband gap and achieve the targets set out in Canada's connectivity strategy. The Government of Canada recognizes that a flexible and collaborative approach is important in engaging with provinces, territories and other partners to help achieve our goal of universal connectivity. SWIFT has already been an important leader and partner in this effort.

Question No. 695--
Mrs. Stephanie Kusie:
With regard to the government’s decision to ban all pleasure craft in the Canadian Arctic Waters and cruise vessels in all Canadian waters until February 28, 2022: (a) why was the length of the ban not contingent upon vaccination levels of Canadians or related to vaccination requirements for those on-board the vessels; and (b) what role did the low level of Canadians vaccinated in January and February of 2021, due to the government’s inability to secure enough vaccines fast enough, have on the decision to extend the ban for an entire extra year?
Response
Hon. Omar Alghabra (Minister of Transport, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, to minimize the introduction and spread of the COVID-19 virus in the marine mode, Transport Canada has chosen interim orders as the instrument of choice. In developing its interim orders, Transport Canada has worked in close collaboration with the Public Health Agency of Canada and consulted broadly with other levels of government, health officials, transportation industry stakeholders, provincial and territorial governments and indigenous and Inuit peoples. Transport Canada developed these interim orders taking into consideration the health situation throughout the country at the time and advice provided by public health experts. One of the primary reasons interim orders were used is that they enable the Minister of Transport to apply appropriate temporary measures while retaining the ability to rescind the prohibitions if it is determined that the pandemic has substantially improved and that the prohibitions are no longer needed. To inform any such decision, Transport Canada will continue to work with the Public Health Agency of Canada and local health authorities to monitor and assess the situation.

Question No. 698--
Mrs. Tamara Jansen:
With regard to the Canada-British Columbia Early Learning and Child Care Agreement and the $10 per day Child Care Prototype Site Evaluation: (a) when did the Government of British Columbia share the results of this evaluation with the Government of Canada; (b) what were the findings of the evaluation; (c) what were the recommendations; (d) how can the public access the full report, including the website address where the report may be downloaded from; and (e) what were the specific findings of the evaluation regarding the feasibility of $10 per day childcare?
Response
Mr. Adam Vaughan (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development (Housing), Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada is committed to providing Canadian families with access to high-quality, affordable, flexible and inclusive child care. Budget 2021 has committed up to $30 billion over five years, with $8.3 billion every year, permanently, to build a high-quality, affordable, and accessible early learning and child care system across Canada. This funding will work towards cutting child care fees by 50% on average by the end of 2022, and achieving $10/day child care on average by 2026.
In response to (a), the B.C. Ministry of Children and Family Development contracted R.A. Malatest & Associates Ltd. to conduct an evaluation and analysis of the British Columbia universal child care prototype sites or $10-per-day child care pilot. This evaluation was funded by the provincial government. ESDC was not provided with an official copy of the report prior to its release.
In response to (b), (c), (d), and (e), the full report is publicly available on the Government of British Columbia’s website.

Question No. 703--
Mr. Alex Ruff:
With regard to the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Operation HONOUR Tracking and Analysis System (OPHTAS) 2020's annual incident tracking report: (a) when was this report completed; (b) why was this report not published and released on the government’s website in the summer of 2020, in a similar timeline with the previous year’s reports; (c) who made the decision not to publish the document in the summer of 2020; (d) on what date was the Minister of National Defense or his office informed that the document would not be published in the summer of 2020, in line with the schedule of the previous years; (e) if the report has since been published, on what specific website is the document located; and (f) how is the OPHTAS report data fused with other department of National Defence or CAF reports, including the annual CAF Provost Marshall report, the Judge Advocate General Annual report, the Director General Integrated Conflict and Complaint Management annual report, and the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre annual report, in order to provide a consolidated view of sexual misconduct in the CAF?
Response
Ms. Anita Vandenbeld (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, there is no room in the Canadian Armed Forces or the Department of National Defence for sexism, misogyny, racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, discrimination, harassment, or any other conduct that prevents the institution from being a truly welcoming and inclusive organization.
National Defence understands that a culture change within the Canadian Armed Forces is required to remove a culture of toxic behaviour and to create an environment where everyone is respected and valued, and can feel safe to contribute to the best of their ability.
To this end, the Minister of National Defence has appointed the Hon. Louise Arbour to lead an independent external comprehensive review of the culture and practices of the Canadian Armed Forces and the Department of National Defence. This review will provide recommendations aimed at addressing systemic issues and creating lasting culture change within the organization.
Additionally, the acting chief of the defence staff has appointed Lieutenant-General Jennie Carignan to the newly created position of chief of professional conduct and culture, to lead efforts to promote culture change across the defence team, including the enhancement and consolidation of National Defence’s sexual misconduct tracking mechanisms. This will identify areas that require focused attention, and ensure that all reported incidents are addressed appropriately in a timely manner.
Through these actions, National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces will move to eliminate harmful attitudes and beliefs that have enabled misconduct and will create an environment where all feel welcome.
In response to part (a), the report was not finalized.
In response to part (b), challenges and delays caused by COVID-19 forced National Defence to adjust the development, approach, and timelines to the 2020 report’s data release.
In response to part (c), the normal release schedule for the annual Operation Honour sexual misconduct incident report is in the fall, using data pulled in the late spring from the Operation Honour tracking and analysis system, OPHTAS. The impact of the COVID-19 restrictions through the spring and fall of 2020 delayed the completion and release of the report.
Due to the delays in the process, the previous approach of relying on data gathered in the spring was considered no longer sufficient to provide an up-to-date overview of sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces.
Given the unexpected challenges and delays, the acting chief of the defence staff made the decision to combine the 2020 and 2021 reports.
In response to part (d), as there is no legislative requirement to release this report, revised timelines were not communicated formally to the Minister of National Defence.
In response to part (e), National Defence remains committed to openness and transparency, and will re-establish a regular reporting cycle for sexual misconduct incident data.
National Defence anticipates the release of the 2021 report in the fall of 2021, which will provide a comprehensive overview using data from April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2021.
In response to part (f), several organizations within National Defence, such as the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal, the Judge Advocate General, the director general of integrated conflict and complaint management, and the sexual misconduct response centre, have databases that are designed to support their mandates. These databases may capture certain data related to sexual misconduct incidents, such as information on investigations, charges laid, and trials. This information is made available in these organizations’ annual reports.
The Operation Honour tracking and analysis system, OPHTAS, is the only database dedicated to tracking all sexual misconduct incidents reported through the chain of command. While there may be an intersection of sexual misconduct data in OPTHAS and other departmental databases, these databases are currently not linked, and a direct comparison of the information held within each cannot be made.
National Defence is working to integrate all databases that record data related to sexual misconduct. This project will help achieve a more consolidated picture of sexual misconduct data, while respecting the legal privacy and confidentiality requirements of the various databases.

Question No. 705--
Mr. Jasraj Singh Hallan:
With regard to the processing of parents and grandparents applications in the 2020 intake by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada: (a) how many interest to sponsor forms were received; (b) how many of the interest to sponsor forms received were duplicates; (c) how many individuals have received invitations to apply; (d) how many applications have been (i) submitted, (ii) approved, (iii) refused, (iv) processed; and (e) what is the current processing time?
Response
Hon. Marco Mendicino (Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, in response to (a), 209,174 interest to sponsor forms were received.
In response to (b), 5,961 of the interest to sponsor forms received were duplicates.
In response to (c), IRCC can confirm that the department sent out more invitations to apply, ITAs, than the target in order to come close to receiving 10,000 complete applications for the 2020 year.
In response to (d)(i), IRCC can confirm that enough applications were submitted to reach the annual cap of 10,000 complete applications for 2020.
IRCC cannot publicly release the number of ITAs that were sent for the 2020 parents and grandparents, PGP, process, as the data figures reveal a technique, which is applicable to paragraph 16(1)(b) under the ATIP act, which could compromise future ITA PGP processes.
In response to (d)(ii), (d)(iii) and (d)(iv), zero applications have been approved, refused, or processed, as processing from the 2020 cohort has not started. IRCC cannot release the figure for how many applications have been submitted for PGP 2020, as, at this point in time, completeness checks have not been completed.
In response to (e), the current processing times for permanent residence applications for the parents and grandparents category from April 2020 to March 31, 2021 is 28 months.

Question No. 715--
Mrs. Shannon Stubbs:
With regard to the implementation of Orders in Council entitled “Minimizing the Risk of Exposure to COVID-19 in Canada Order (Prohibition of Entry into Canada from any Country Other Than the United States)” and Minimizing the Risk of Exposure to COVID-19 in Canada Order (Mandatory Isolation): (a) what specific direction was given to border agents regarding new and modified Order in Council provisions directly from the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness or his staff; (b) what procedure was followed ensuring the Orders in Council’s proper enforcement by Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) agents; and (c) what specific direction was given to CBSA agents regarding non-application – requirement to quarantine, specifically for persons who must enter Canada regularly to go to their normal place of employment or to return from their normal place of employment in the United States?
Response
Mr. Joël Lightbound (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to part (a), the Canada Border Services Agency, CBSA, works in close co-operation with the Public Health Agency of Canada, PHAC, to implement and operationalize the travel restrictions and public health measures at the port of entry. The measures that have been implemented are layered, and together, aim to reduce the risk of the importation and transmission of COVID-19 and new variants of concern of the virus related to international travel.
The regulatory framework that has been developed to minimize the risk of exposure to COVID-19 at the border is complex. At time of seeking entry, the CBSA officers are required to consider various facts and make multiple decisions related to a single traveller.
While the border services officers, BSOs, are focusing on the eligibility to enter under an order, as well as their public health requirements, they are also assessing all relevant obligations under other acts or regulations including their admissibility under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
The CBSA has issued a number of operational bulletins, shift briefing bullets, annexes and job aids to support officers in the decision-making process. As the orders in council, OICs have evolved over time, so has the guidance issued to frontline officers.
All guidance is point in time and is updated on an ongoing basis as more clarity is required, or where there are changes to the OICs. The CBSA and PHAC regularly consult on interpretations of restrictions and public health measures and collaborate on adjustments and improvements where issues have been identified.
With regard to part (b), every day, BSOs make over 35,000 decisions across the country and those decisions are made based on all laws and information made available to the BSO at the time of entry. To facilitate decision-making, the CBSA provides support to frontline BSOs through operational guideline bulletins, 24-7 live support access and regular case reviews. In addition, the CBSA conducts detailed technical briefings prior to the implementation of new or amended OICs to support the accurate implementation of new provisions and ensure clarity for frontline employees. The CBSA has also established a process to monitor decisions made by BSOs as they relate to the application of OICs for essential service providers and will continue to make adjustments or review the CBSA operational guidance to BSOs, as required. If the CBSA discovers that an incorrect assessment has been made at the border, it works with PHAC to rectify the situation.
With regard to part (c), the operational guidance referenced in the response to part (a) of this Order Paper question includes passages specific to cross-border workers and how specific public health requirements within the OICs may apply in these circumstances.
More specifically, in those instances, when assessing whether an exemption may apply, BSOs have been instructed to remain mindful of the following points. The traveller must be able to demonstrate that their purpose of crossing was specific to attending their normal place of employment. “Regular” is typically interpreted to mean daily or weekly, but a person able to establish a regular pattern of travel for this purpose could qualify. This exemption applies to persons who must cross the border regularly to go to their normal place of employment on either side of the Canada-U.S. border. There may be some circumstances where travel to another country could qualify, e.g., weekly or biweekly travel required. Those who are looking to establish that they must cross regularly must demonstrate to an officer that they will be crossing on a regular basis going forward when being processed. If the cross-border work involves medical care for persons over age 65, i.e., nurses, home care specialists, pharmacists etc., an individual request outlining the precautionary public health measures intended for interaction with this older age group must be submitted for determination of the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada.
Officers are trained to reach a decision on the basis of the entirety of the information made available to them over the course of an interaction with a traveller. As such, information and circumstances beyond the items listed above will be considered by BSOs when determining a traveller’s admissibility to Canada, as well as in relation to any applicable exemptions from public health requirements.
Furthermore, in an effort to assist cross-border workers who by virtue of their employment are required to enter Canada regularly, the CBSA has also published guidelines on its website.

Question No. 720--
Mr. Dan Albas:
With regard to the Greener Homes initiative that was announced in the Fall Economic Statement, but is still not available for applications and has had a message on its website to come back in the coming weeks for months: (a) when will the program launch; (b) how will the retroactivity be implemented; (c) what will happen to people who believed they were eligible, but due to the lack of application information were denied; and (d) why was there such a major delay in opening this program?
Response
Mr. Marc Serré (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to part (a), the Canada greener homes grant initiative, announced in the fall economic statement, launched on May 27, 2021.
With regard to part (b), to be eligible for retroactive payment, homeowners must document their retrofit journey and are asked to keep copies of all invoices both for the EnerGuide home evaluation and for their retrofit work. The home energy adviser will take before and after photos. Homeowners can access the online portal to register and submit this information for reimbursement, provided the retrofit measures undertaken are on the list of eligible measures.
With regard to part (c), to be eligible for reimbursement, participants in the Canada greener homes grant initiative must obtain an EnerGuide home evaluation before the retrofit and then a post-retrofit evaluation once retrofit work is completed. Call centre operators and program officers are available to help homeowners navigate the program’s eligibility requirements. Should the homeowner not be eligible for reimbursement under the Canada greener homes grant initiative, program officers can assist in identifying other federal, provincial/territorial, municipal and/or regional programs for which the homeowner may be eligible.
With regard to part (d), in the fall economic statement, the government committed to launching the Canada greener homes grant initiative during the spring of 2021. Government officials have been working in an expeditious manner since this announcement and the Canada greener homes grant initiative launched during the spring of 2021 as announced.

Question No. 721--
Mr. Dan Albas:
With regard to the $2.3 billion over five years announced in Budget 2021 for conservation: (a) when will the ‘thousands of jobs’ be created; (b) where will the 1 million square kilometers of land be located; (c) has all the land been located; (d) have lands under provincial jurisdiction been identified and have provincial governments agreed; (e) what is the cost breakdowns for funds earmarked for partnerships with indigenous peoples; and (f) what is the total cost breakdown for how exactly this money will be spent?
Response
Hon. Jonathan Wilkinson (Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to part (a), millions of jobs rely on nature, including those in farming, fishing, forestry and tourism. Investment in conservation, therefore, is also an economic opportunity.
Over the course of the next five years, the work announced in budget 2021 will generate jobs in nature conservation and management for Canadians. Arising out of partnerships with provincial and territorial jurisdictions and indigenous governments, organizations and/or communities, these jobs will be distributed across all regions of Canada, including in rural and remote areas and indigenous communities.
With regard to parts (b), (c) and (d), the government is currently working to finalize a concrete and ambitious approach that would achieve protection of 25% of land and oceans by 2025, and set the stage for 30% by 2030. While not all of the specific locations are yet identified, we continue to engage with provinces and territories, indigenous organizations, foundations, the private sector and non-profit conservation organizations to get their views on how it can work together to achieve these ambitious targets. Specific efforts are ongoing and we will continue to work with provinces and territories to find mutually beneficial approaches to conserving land and addressing species at risk and biodiversity loss.
The government is aware of specific landscapes and waterscapes that have been included in provincial, territorial and municipal land use planning, and other protected areas systems plans including the Natural Areas Systems Plan in Newfoundland and Labrador, the Plan Nord in Quebec, the Peel Watershed Land Use Plan in the Yukon, the Living Legacy protected areas plan in Ontario, and Nova Scotia’s Parks and Protected Areas Plan, among others.
Parks Canada will continue work to complete negotiations with provincial and indigenous governments for the establishment of two new national park reserves in the South Okanagan-Similkameen, British Columbia, and in the coastal barrier islands of the Sandhills, Hog Island area, Prince Edward Island, and to identify and assess additional national parks with an emphasis on unrepresented regions and natural areas of importance to indigenous communities.
With regard to part (e), we are not yet in a position to share the cost breakdown for how the money will be spent until such time as program details of the funding are finalized and approved by Treasury Board, including funds earmarked for the indigenous guardians program and other indigenous partnerships.
The indigenous guardians program is a good example. Building upon the work initiated in budget 2017, which allocated $25 million over five years for an indigenous guardians program, budget 2021 provides additional resources to continue supporting indigenous peoples in opportunities to exercise responsibility in stewardship of their traditional lands, waters and ice, including preventing priority species at imminent risk of disappearing. The indigenous guardians program supports indigenous rights and responsibilities in protecting and conserving ecosystems, developing and maintaining sustainable economies, and continuing the profound connections between Canadian landscape and indigenous culture.
Once these final allocations are confirmed, ECCC and Parks Canada will work in partnership with indigenous governance bodies to allocate resources and identify particular projects moving forward.
With regard to part (f), we are not yet in a position to share the cost breakdown for how the money will be spent until such time as program details of the funding are finalized and approved by Treasury Board.

Question No. 723--
Mr. Brad Vis:
With regard to the commitment on page 305 of Budget 2021 to implement a “Tax on Unproductive Use of Canadian Housing by Foreign Non-resident Owners”: (a) how many internal memos, presentations, or other similar type of documents were created by the government or hired consultants on this proposed tax; (b) of the documents in (a), what are their titles and when were they dated; (c) in which internal documents and when was it “estimated that this measure will increase federal revenues by $700 million over four years”; (d) what methodology was used to establish the $700 million figure in (c); (d) on what date will the promised consultation paper for stakeholders be released and to which stakeholders will it be distributed; and (e) how many days is the stakeholder consultation period scheduled to take place and on what date will it (i) begin, (ii) conclude?
Response
Hon. Chrystia Freeland (Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, budget 2021 announced the government’s intention to implement a national, annual 1% tax on the value of non-resident, non-Canadian owned residential real estate that is considered to be vacant or underused, effective January 1, 2022. The government indicated that it will release a consultation paper in the coming months to provide stakeholders with an opportunity to comment on the parameters of the proposed tax. The government also indicated that, moving forward, it intends to work closely with provinces, territories and municipalities.
With regard to part (a), one internal memo was prepared by the department in relation to the proposal announced in budget 2021.
With regard to part (b), the title of the memo referred to in part (a) was “Tax on Underused Housing” and was dated in 2021.
With regard to part (c), the fiscal impact of the proposal was estimated when planning for budget 2021 and was presented in internal budget documents.
With regard to part (d), the fiscal impact was calculated by applying a 1% tax on the estimated value of non-resident, non-Canadian owned residential real estate considered to be vacant or underused. The value of the proposed tax base was estimated using Statistics Canada data on foreign-owned properties and residential property values, as well as information on British Columbia’s speculation and vacancy tax.
With regard to part (e), the date of the release of a backgrounder has not yet been determined. However, budget 2021 indicated that the document would be released in the coming months.
With regard to part (f), while the length of the consultation period has not been established, it would not be uncommon for consultations on proposals such as these to be open for public comment for 60 days.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)

Question No. 682--
Mr. Gary Vidal:
With regard to expenditures related to promoting, advertising, or consulting on Bill C-15, An Act respecting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, by the government, including any that took place prior to the tabling of the legislation, since October 21, 2019, broken down by month and by department, agency or other government entity: (a) what was the total amount spent on (i) consultants, (ii) advertising, (iii) promotion; and (b) what are the details of all contracts related to promoting, advertising or consulting, including (i) the date the contact was signed, (ii) the vendor, (iii) the amount, (iv) the start and end date, (v) the description of goods or services, (vi) whether the contract was sole-sourced or was competitively bid on?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 684--
Mrs. Cathy McLeod:
With regard to fraud involving the Canada Emergency Response Benefit program since the program was launched: (a) what was the number of double payments made under the program; (b) what is the value of the payments in (a); (c) what is the value of double payments made in (b) that have been recouped by the government; (d) what is the number of payments made to applications that were suspected or deemed to be fraudulent; (e) what is the value of the payments in (d); and (f) what is the value recouped by the government related to payments in (e)?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 685--
Mrs. Cathy McLeod:
With regard to Corporations Canada and the deregistration of federally incorporated businesses since 2016, broken down by year: (a) how many businesses have deregistered their corporation; and (b) what is the breakdown of (a) by type of business?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 686--
Mrs. Cathy McLeod:
With regard to the government’s requirements for hotels being used as quarantine facilities: (a) what specific obligations do the hotels have with regard to security standards; (b) what specific measures has the government taken to ensure these security standards are being met; (c) how many instances have occurred where government inspectors have found that the security standards of these hotels were not being met; (d) of the instances in (c), how many times did the security failures jeopardize the safety of (i) the individuals staying in the facility, (ii) public health or the general public; (e) are hotels required to verify that someone has received a negative test prior to leaving the facility, and, if so, how is this specifically being done; and (f) how many individuals have left these facilities without receiving a negative test result?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 687--
Mrs. Cathy McLeod:
With regard to the government’s requirements for hotels to become a government-authorized hotel for the purpose of quarantining returning international air travellers: (a) what specific obligations do the hotels have with regard to security standards; (b) what specific measures has the government taken to ensure these security standards are being met; (c) how many instances have occurred where government inspectors have found that the security standards of these hotels were not being met; (d) of the instances in (c), how many times did the security failures jeopardize the safety of (i) the individuals staying in the facility, (ii) public health or the general public; (e) how many criminal acts have been reported since the hotel quarantine requirement began at each of the properties designated as a government-authorized hotel; (f) what is the breakdown of (e) by type of offence; (g) are the hotels required to verify that someone has received a negative test prior to leaving the facility, and, if so, how is this specifically being done; (h) how many individuals have left these hotels prior to or without receiving a negative test result; and (i) how does the government track whether or not individuals have left these hotels prior to receiving a negative test result?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 688--
Ms. Nelly Shin:
With regard to the requirement that entails individuals entering Canada for compassionate reasons to seek an exemption online, the problems with the Public Health Agency of Canada’s (PHAC) online system, and the resulting actions from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA): (a) what is the total number of international travellers arriving at Canadian airports who were denied entry, broken down by month since March 18, 2020; (b) how many individuals in (a) were (i) immediately sent back to their country of origin, (ii) permitted to remain in Canada pending an appeal or deportation; (c) what is the number of instances where the PHAC did not make a decision on an application for exemptions on compassionate reasons prior to the traveller’s arrival, or scheduled arrival in Canada; (d) of the instances in (c), where PHAC did not make a decision on time, was the reason due to (i) technical glitches that caused the PHAC to miss the application, (ii) other reasons, broken down by reason; (e) for the instances where the PHAC did not make a decision on time, was the traveller (i) still permitted entry in Canada, (ii) denied entry; and (f) what specific recourse do travellers arriving for compassionate reasons have when they encounter problems with the CBSA or other officials due to the PHAC not making a decision on time?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 689--
Mr. Robert Kitchen:
With regard to expenditures on social media influencers, including any contracts which would use social media influencers as part of a public relations campaign since January 1, 2021: (a) what are the details of all such expenditures, including the (i) vendor, (ii) amount, (iii) campaign description, (iv) date of the contract, (v) name or handle of the influencer; and (b) for each campaign that paid an influencer, was there a requirement to make public, as part of a disclaimer, the fact that the influencer was being paid by the government, and, if not, why not?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 690--
Mr. Robert Kitchen:
With regard to all monetary and non-monetary contracts, grants, agreements and arrangements entered into by the government, including any department, agency, Crown corporation or other government entity, with FLIR Lorex Inc., FLIR Systems , Lorex Technology Inc, March Networks, or Rx Networks Inc., since January 1, 2016: what are the details of such contracts, grants, agreements, or arrangements, including for each (i) the company, (ii) the date, (iii) the amount or value, (iv) the start and end date, (v) the summary of terms, (vi) whether or not the item was made public through proactive disclosure, (vii) the specific details of goods or services provided to the government as a result of the contract, grant, agreement or arrangement, (viii) the related government program, if applicable?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 691--
Mr. Randy Hoback:
With regard to the deal reached between the government and Pfizer Inc. for COVID-19 vaccine doses through 2024: (a) what COVID-19 modelling was used to develop the procurement agreement; and (b) what specific delivery timetables were agreed to?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 692--
Mr. Randy Hoback:
With regard to the testimony of the CEO of BioPharma Services at the House of Commons' Standing Committee on International Trade on Friday, April 23, 2021, pertaining to potential future waves of COVID-19 and the need for trading blocs: (a) have the Minister of Finance and her department been directed to plan supports for Canadians affected by subsequent waves of the virus through 2026; (b) what is the current status of negotiations or discussions the government has entered into with our allies about the creation of trading blocs for vaccines and personal protective equipment; (c) which specific countries have been involved in discussions about potential trading blocs; and (d) what are the details of all meetings where negotiations or discussions that have occurred about potential trading, including the (i) date, (ii) participants, (iii) countries represented by participants, (iv) meeting agenda and summary?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 694--
Ms. Raquel Dancho:
With regard to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit payments being sent to prisoners in federal or provincial or territorial correctional facilities: (a) how many CERB benefit payments were made to incarcerated individuals; (b) what is the value of the payments made to incarcerated individuals; (c) what is the value of the payments in (b) which were later recouped by the government as of April 28, 2021; (d) how many payments were intercepted and or blocked by Correctional Service Canada staff; (e) what is the breakdown of (d) by correctional institution; and (e) how many of the payments in (a) were sent to individuals in (i) federal correctional facilities, (ii) provincial or territorial correctional facilities?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 696--
Mrs. Stephanie Kusie:
With regard to the negotiations between the government and major Canadian airlines that are related to financial assistance, since November 8, 2020: what are the details of all meetings, including any virtual meetings, held between the government and major airlines, including, for each meeting, the (i) date, (ii) number of government representatives, broken down by department and agency, and, if ministers' offices were represented, how many representatives of each office were present, (iii) number of airline representatives, including a breakdown of which airlines were represented and how many representatives of each airline were present?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 697--
Mrs. Alice Wong:
With regard to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO): (a) broken down by end of fiscal year, between fiscal years 2011-12 to 2020-21, how many trademark examiners were (i) employed, (ii) contracted by the CIPO; (b) what percentage in (a) were employed with a residence within the National Capital Region of Ottawa-Gatineau, by the end of fiscal years 2015-16 to 2020-21; (c) broken down by fiscal year, during each fiscal year from 2011-12 to 2020-21, how many trademark examiners were (i) hired, (ii) terminated, broken down by (A) for cause and (B) not for cause; (d) is there a requirement for bilingualism for trademark examiners, and, if so, what level of other-official language fluency is required; (e) is there a requirement that trademark examiners reside within the National Capital Region of Ottawa-Gatineau, and, if so, how many trademark examiner candidates have refused offers of employment, and how many trademark examiners have ceased employment, due to such a requirement in the fiscal years from 2011-12 to 2020-21; (f) what was the (i) mean, (ii) median time of a trademark application, for each of the fiscal years between 2011-12 and 2020-21, between filing and a first office action (approval or examiner’s report); (g) for the answer in (f), since June 17, 2019, how many were filed under the (i) direct system, (ii) Madrid System; (h) for the answer in (g), what are the mean and median time, broken down by month for each system since June 17, 2019; (i) does the CIPO prioritize the examination of Madrid system trademark applications designating Canada over direct trademark applications, and, if so, what priority treatment is given; (j) as many applicants and trademark agents have not received correspondence from the CIPO by regular mail and prefer electronic correspondence, does the CIPO have systems in place to allow trademarks examiners and other trademarks staff to send all correspondence by e-mail to applicants and trademark agents of record, and, if not, is the CIPO looking into implementing such system; (k) when is the anticipated date for the execution of such system; (l) what is Canada’s ranking with other countries, as to the speed of trademark examination; and (m) what countries, if any, have a longer period of time between filing and a first office action (approval or examiner’s report) for trademarks compared to Canada?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 699--
Mr. Tom Kmiec:
With regard to the Fiscal Stabilization Program under the Federal-Provincial Arrangements Act, since January 1, 1987: (a) what is the breakdown of every payment or refund made to provinces, broken down by (i) date, (ii) province, (iii) payment amount, (iv) revenue lost by the province, (v) payment as a proportion of revenue lost, (vi) the value of the payment in amount per capita; (b) how many claims have been submitted to the Minister of Finance by each province since its inception, broken down by province and date; (c) how many claims have been accepted, broken down by province and date; and (d) how many claims have been rejected, broken down by province and date?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 700--
Mr. Tom Kmiec:
With regard to voluntary compliance undertakings (VCU) and board orders by the Patented Medicines Prices Review Board (PMPRB), since January 1, 2016: (a) what is the total amount of money that has been made payable from pharmaceutical companies to her Majesty in right of Canada through voluntary compliance undertakings and board orders, both sum total, broken down by (i) company, (ii) product, (iii) summary of guideline application, (iv) amount charged, (v) date; (b) how is the money processed by the PMPRB; (c) how much of the intake from VCUs and board orders are counted as revenue for the PMPRB; (d) how much of the intake from VCUs and board orders are considered revenue for Health Canada; (e) as the Public Accounts lists capital inflow from VCUs as revenue, what has the PMPRB done with the inflow; and (f) who decides the distribution of the capital inflow from VCUs?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 701--
Mr. Tom Kmiec:
With regard to the Patented Medicines Prices Review Board (PMPRB) and the proposed amendments to the “Patented Medicines Regulations”, also referred to as the PMPRB Guidelines, since January 1, 2017: (a) how many organizations, advocacy groups, and members of industry or stakeholders have been consulted, both sum total and broken down in an itemized list by (i) name, (ii) summary of their feedback, (iii) date; (b) how many stakeholders expressed positive feedback about the proposed guidelines; (c) how many stakeholders expressed negative feedback about the proposed guidelines; (d) what is the threshold of negative feedback needed to delay implementation of the proposed guidelines as has been done previously in mid 2020, and start of 2021; (e) have there been any requests made by PMPRB executives to Health Canada officials to delay the implementation of the proposed regulations; and (f) how many times were these requests rejected by Health Canada officials?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 702--
Mr. Tom Kmiec:
With regard to reports, studies, assessments, consultations, evaluations and deliverables prepared for the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation since January 1, 2016: what are the details of all such deliverables, including the (i) date that the deliverable was finished, (ii) title, (iii) summary of recommendations, (iv) file number, (v) website where the deliverable is available online, if applicable, (vi) value of the contract related to the deliverable?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 704--
Mr. Alex Ruff:
With regard to government data relating to the Cannabis Act (2018) Part 14 Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes, broken down by month, year, and province or territory since 2018: (a) how many active personal or designated production registrations were authorized for amounts equal to or above 25 grams per person, per day: (b) how many active personal or designated production registrations are authorized for amounts equal to or above 100 grams per person, per day; (c) how many registrations for the production of cannabis at the same location exist in Canada that allow two, three and four registered persons; (d) of the locations that allow two, three and four registered persons to grow cannabis, how many site locations contain registrations authorized to produce amounts equal to or above 25 grams per person, per day; (e) how many site locations contain registrations authorized to produce amounts equal to or above 100 grams per person, per day; (f) how many Health Canada or other government inspections of these operations were completed each month; (g) how many of those inspections yielded violations, broken down by location; and (h) how many resulted in withdrawal of one or more licences?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 706--
Mr. Jasraj Singh Hallan:
With regard to COVID-19 specimen collection from travellers completed at Canada’s ports of entry and through at home specimen collection kits: (a) what company performs the tests of specimens collected from each port of entry; (b) what company performs the tests of at home specimen collection kits; (c) what city and laboratory are specimens collected from each port of entry, sent to for processing; (d) what city and laboratory are at home specimen collection kits processed; (e) what procurement process did the government undertake in selecting companies to collect and process COVID-19 specimens; (f) what companies submitted bids to collect and process COVID-19 specimens; (g) what are the details of the bids submitted by companies in (f); and (h) what are the details of the contracts entered into between the government and any companies that have been hired to collect and process COVID-19 specimens?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 707--
Mr. Jasraj Singh Hallan:
With regard to Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) requests submitted to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC): (a) what is the current inventory of requests and broken down by the type of request; (b) what is the average processing time of each type of request; (c) what percentage of requests have received extensions in response time and broken down by the type of request; (d) what is the breakdown of the percentage of requests in (c) according to reasons for extensions; (e) what is the average length of extensions for response time overall and for each type of request; (f) what is the average number of extensions for response time overall and for each type of request; (g) what percentage of requests have had exemptions applied; (h) what is the breakdown of the percentage in (g) according to the reasons for exemptions; (i) how many complaints regarding the ATIP process has IRCC received since January 1, 2020, broken down by month; and (j) what is the breakdown of the number of complaints in (i) according to the type of complaint?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 708--
Mr. Jasraj Singh Hallan:
With regard to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) offices: (a) what lines of business are processed at each case processing centre (CPC), the centralized intake office (CIO), and the Operations Support Centre (OSC); (b) what lines of business in (a) are not currently being processed at each CPC, the CIO, and the OSC; (c) how many applications have been (i) submitted, (ii) approved, (iii) refused, (iv) processed for each line of business, at each CPC, the CIO, and the OSC since January 1, 2020, broken down by month; (d) what is the current processing times and service standard processing times for each line of business at each CPC, the CIO, the OSC; (e) what is the operating status of each IRCC in-person office in Canada; (f) what services are provided at each IRCC in-person office in Canada; (g) what services in (f) are currently (i) available, (ii) unavailable, (iii) offered at limited capacity, at each IRCC in-person office in Canada; (h) what lines of business are processed at each IRCC visa office located in Canadian embassies, high commissions, and consulates; (i) how many applications have been (i) submitted, (ii) approved, (iii) refused, (iv) processed, for each line of business processed at each IRCC visa office in (h) since January 1, 2020, broken down by month; and (j) what is the current processing times and standard processing times for each line of business processed at each IRCC visa office in (h)?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 709--
Mr. Alex Ruff:
With regard to correspondence received by the Minister of Canadian Heritage or the Office of the Prime Minister related to internet censorship or increased regulation of posts on social media sites, since January 1, 2019: (a) how many pieces of correspondence were received; and (b) how many pieces of correspondence asked for more internet censorship or regulation?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 710--
Mr. Martin Shields:
With regard to the planning of the government’s announcement on April 29, 2021, about the launch of an independent external comprehensive review of the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces and reports that some of those involved in the announcement, including Lieutenant-General Jennie Carignan, did not learn about their new roles until the morning of the announcement: (a) on what date was Lieutenant-General Jennie Carignan informed that she would become the Chief, Professional Conduct and Culture, and how was she informed; (b) on what date was Louise Arbour informed that she would be head of the review; (c) was the decision to launch this review made before or after Elder Marques testified at the Standing Committee on National Defence that Katie Telford had knowledge about the accusations against General Vance; and (d) if the decision in (c) was made prior to Mr. Marques’ testimony, what proof does the government have to back-up that claim?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 711--
Mr. Martin Shields:
With regard to free rapid COVID-19 tests distributed by the government directly to companies for the screening of close-contact employees: (a) how many tests were distributed; (b) which companies received the tests; and (c) how many tests did each company in (b) receive?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 712--
Mr. Martin Shields:
With regard to contracts awarded by the government to former public servants since January 1, 2020, broken down by department, agency, or other government entity: (a) how many contracts have been awarded to former public servants; (b) what is the total value of those contracts; and (c) what are the details of each such contract, including the (i) date the contract was signed, (ii) description of the goods or services, including the volume, (iii) final amount, (iv) vendor, (v) start and end date of contract?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 713--
Mr. Pierre Paul-Hus:
With regard to sole-sourced contracts signed by the government since February 1, 2020, broken down by department, agency, or other government entity: (a) how many contracts have been sole-sourced; (b) what is the total value of those contracts; and (c) what are the details of each sole-sourced contract, including the (i) date, (ii) description of the goods or services, including the volume, (iii) final amount, (iv) vendor, (v) country of the vendor?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 714--
Mrs. Shannon Stubbs:
With regard to the RCMP’s National Security Criminal Investigations Program, broken down by year since 2015: (a) how many RCMP officers or other personnel were assigned to the program; and (b) what was the program’s budget or total expenditures?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 716--
Mr. Marc Dalton:
With regard to the Interim Protocol for the use of Southern B.C. commercial anchorages: (a) how many (i) days each of the anchorage locations was occupied from January 2019 to March 2021, broken down by month, (ii) complaints received related to vessels occupying these anchorages, between January 1, 2019, and March 31, 2021; and (b) why did the public posting of interim reports cease at the end of 2018?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 717--
Mr. Marc Dalton:
With regard to federal transfer payments to Indigenous communities in British Columbia: (a) what is the total amount of federal transfer payments in fiscal years 2018-19, 2019-20, 2020-21; and (b) of the amounts provided in (a), what amounts were provided specifically to Metis communities?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 718--
Mrs. Cathay Wagantall:
With regard to funding provided by the government to the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies (CAEFS): (a) what requirements and stipulations apply for the CAEFS in securing, spending, and reporting financial support received from the government; and (b) what has the government communicated to the CAEFS with respect to the enforcement of Interim Policy Bulletin 584 before and after the coming into force of Bill C-16, An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code, on June 19, 2017?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 719--
Mr. Dan Albas:
With regard to government funding in the riding of South Okanagan—West Kootenay, for each fiscal year since 2018-19 inclusive: (a) what are the details of all grants, contributions, and loans to any organization, body, or group, broken down by (i) name of the recipient, (ii) municipality of the recipient, (iii) date on which the funding was received, (iv) amount received, (v) department or agency providing the funding, (vi) program under which the grant, contribution, or loan was made, (vii) nature or purpose; and (b) for each grant, contribution and loan in (a), was a press release issued to announce it and, if so, what is the (i) date, (ii) headline, (iii) file number of the press release?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 722--
Mr. Dan Albas:
With regard to COVID-19 vaccines and having to throw them away due to spoilage or expiration: (a) how much spoilage and waste has been identified; (b) what is the spoilage and waste breakdowns by province; and (c) what is the cost to taxpayers for the loss of spoiled vaccines?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 724--
Mr. Brad Vis:
With regard to the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive (FTHBI) announced by the government in 2019, from September 1, 2019, to date: (a) how many applicants have applied for a mortgage through the FTHBI, broken down by province or territory and municipality; (b) of the applicants in (a), how many applicants have been approved and accepted mortgages through the FTHBI, broken down by province or territory and municipality; (c) of the applicants in (b), how many approved applicants have been issued the incentive in the form of a shared equity mortgage; (d) what is the total value of incentives (shared equity mortgages) under the program that have been issued, in dollars; (e) for those applicants who have been issued mortgages through the FTHBI, what is that value of each of the mortgage loans; (f) for those applicants who have been issued mortgages through the FTHBI, what is that mean value of the mortgage loan; (g) what is the total aggregate amount of money lent to homebuyers through the FTHBI to date; (h) for mortgages approved through the FTHBI, what is the breakdown of the percentage of loans originated with each lender comprising more than 5 per cent of total loans issued; (i) for mortgages approved through the FTHBI, what is the breakdown of the value of outstanding loans insured by each Canadian mortgage insurance company as a percentage of total loans in force; and (j) what date will the promised FTHBI program updates announced in the 2020 Fall Economic Statement be implemented?
Response
(Return tabled)
8555-432-682 Expenditures related to pro ...8555-432-684 Canada Emergency Response B ...8555-432-685 Corporations Canada and der ...8555-432-686 Quarantine hotels8555-432-687 Quarantine hotels8555-432-688 Applications for exemption ...8555-432-689 Expenditures on social medi ...8555-432-690 Government contracts and ag ...8555-432-691 Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine8555-432-692 Testimony of the Chief Exec ...8555-432-694 Canada Emergency Response B ... ...Show all topics
View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
View Gord Johns Profile
2021-06-10 17:16 [p.8248]
Madam Speaker, it is a privilege and honour today to rise and speak to the bill.
As we know, we are dealing with four crises right now. We have a climate crisis, an opioid crisis, a homeless crisis and of course the COVID pandemic, which we have all been battling together for over a year. Many people have been living daily with the anxiety of losing their jobs. They are worried about their health and the health of their loved ones. In the meantime, the wealthiest Canadians have grown their wealth and Canada's largest corporations have benefited from this pandemic, and we have a Liberal government that has been resistant to having them pay their fair share and contribute to the cost of the pandemic. We know this is going to fall on the backs of everyday, middle-class Canadians and the most vulnerable, as services will be cut in future years because of the government's lack of courage to make those who should pay for the pandemic contribute more.
On the other side, the Conservatives are using delay tactics to get support to Canadians. In this budget there clearly are very important pandemic supports that small businesses need. As the federal NDP critic for small business and tourism, I know all too well from talking to entrepreneurs how important it is that they continue to get supports such as the wage subsidy and the emergency commercial rent assistance program. While we were glad to see the government extend those programs through the summer, the cuts to those programs as they are slowly and gradually phased out will impact those businesses, especially in the tourism industry.
Many businesses that rely on international tourism likely will not see international guests this season. Any tourists who planned on coming to Canada have cancelled their bookings, so these businesses have been asking for the wage subsidy and the rent program, which are lifelines for them. As members may recall, these are programs that the NDP fought to have increased. The wage subsidy was initially going to be 10%, and we pushed so the government would increase it to 75%. The commercial rent program is a program for which the government took our idea, but of course it rolled out a flawed program that was landlord-driven and forgot about the tenants.
We kicked and screamed to get these programs fixed. We got the wage subsidy up to 75% and the rent program to be tenant-driven. These benefits are absolutely essential to those tourism businesses and small businesses that are going to have to go through fall and into next spring. We heard from the Tourism Industry Association of Canada at committee, and other tourism industry organizations such as the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada, that said they needed those programs to go to the spring.
While I am mentioning it, the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada has seen a cut of 83% to its core budget. At the time when we needed it most, ITAC delivered over $15 million in loans to indigenous-led businesses, because it has that intimate relationship with its member businesses. It saved over 1,900 indigenous businesses with over 40,000 employees. These are going to be the most vulnerable businesses as we come out of the pandemic.
I am encouraging the government to come back and try to save these businesses. Time is running out. They need help.
In terms of the Canada emergency business account loan, we were glad to see the government finally fix the last increase of the CEBA loan during the second wave, but businesses are saying it is not enough. They have gone through a third wave. They need more funds. They need help and liquidity to get through the summer and beyond. The repayable timeline of next fiscal year is absolutely impossible for almost any small businesses to meet, in order for them to get the rebate of one third of that CEBA loan. We are asking the government to extend the terms of that repayment at least to the end of 2025, so that these businesses have a fighting chance to get back on their feet.
The government also keeps talking about credit card merchant fees. We know that the government is in bed with the big banks, but the reality is that small businesses are being constantly ground down by the banks. We just saw the banks increase their fees for consumers and small businesses again, during a time when they are having record profits. This is completely unacceptable to Canadians. In Europe, when it comes to merchant fees and interchange fees, they are paying 0.3%. Right now in Canada, 1.4% is the voluntary rate that credit card companies say they are paying.
I have met with Visa and Mastercard. They say that it is actually not their issue and that it is the big banks that are setting the rates on the interchange fees. We have seen the big banks having record profits. Why are they not stepping up to the plate and providing some relief to small businesses and consumers? We know that merchant fees are often put on the backs of small businesses.
As members know, I can speak for a long time about small business. The other piece is start-ups. The Liberals have completely abandoned start-ups, and those who started a business after March. They may have signed leases months and months, or even years, before. They have paid their employees and their rent through the pandemic. They have a record of receipts they have paid.
There are many different tools the government could use and industry standards it could look at. They have had leases and made these payable expenses. Liberals should set some criteria to save these businesses, or we are going to lose a generation of businesses. Throughout every riding in our country, we are hearing from people who have been abandoned by the government.
As members know, the other file I carry as the federal critic for the NDP is for fisheries, oceans and Coast Guard. We were happy to see the government finally listen to our call. Members heard me kicking and screaming in the House of Commons, calling on the minister to declare a wild salmon emergency and to make this a wild salmon recovery budget.
We are happy to see the Liberals put a significant allocation to wild salmon recovery, but we still have not seen the fine details. We have heard the broad framework of what they want to use to guide them in terms of delivering that funding, but we have not had the details of how they are going to spend that money, and time is of the essence.
Also, we have not had a commitment to reconciliation with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and we need a wild salmon secretariat that is government to government with the province, with indigenous leadership and communities, the nations on the coast and the federal government working together in co-management. We know what Liberals mean by “consultation”. They check a box, then they leave and abandon communities without listening and implementing what they have been told by those communities.
The other pieces we have not seen are the transition funding supports for those that were in the salmon farm industry. The government is hopefully following through with its commitment to move away from open-net salmon farming and to support those workers, their families and the communities in which those fish farms are in. The government made the right decision on Discovery Islands, but it did not come back with a plan to support the workers. This is something the NDP has been calling for. I have been calling for it. I tabled a bill about moving away from open-net salmon farming to closed containment, and the government abandoned it. I want to see the government do something significant around that.
Friday was the one-year anniversary of the death of Chantel Moore, a Tla-o-qui-aht member from my riding who was shot by a New Brunswick police officer. She was a Tla-o-qui-aht member, and she was killed on a wellness check. I think all of us can join together in offering the family of Chantel Moore our condolences, along with the nation and the Tla-o-qui-aht tribal council, especially as they seek justice. We need to work together to ensure that no one else suffers the same fate Chantel did during a wellness check. Canada needs comprehensive police reform.
In this budget, the Liberals put forward $100 million for mental health. That is not even close to enough. They put forward $108 million for first nations policing, which is not even close to what is needed. Police are supposed to be there to serve and protect people from our communities, but instead, the federal government has not acted to address the disproportionate amount of violence indigenous people are facing at the hands of police.
I will continue, and the NDP will continue, to advocate in Parliament for indigenous participation in investigations into police violence, ongoing mental health assessments of police officers, enhanced vetting of new recruits and cross-cultural training for police forces in all levels of Canadian society. There needs to be reforms to the police act.
I can speak in great detail about many other things. There is the opioid crisis, as I touched on earlier. There is the government's blue economy. The fact is that it is completely tainted and tilted toward industry, instead of doing the right thing, which is protecting our oceans. Our oceans are critical right now, especially as we are seeing a warming planet and a warming ocean.
View Heather McPherson Profile
NDP (AB)
View Heather McPherson Profile
2021-06-03 11:39 [p.7877]
Mr. Speaker, when the Truth and Reconciliation Commission requested $1.5 million for research for mass burial sites, it was a Conservative government that denied the request. This member was given an opportunity to vote in favour of UNDRIP just days ago, but neither he nor his Conservative colleagues voted in favour of the legislation. Just this week, Conservative Premier Kenney made such a despicable statement that Grand Chief Watchmaker reconfirmed the decision to dissolve the protocol that was made between the Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations and the Government of Alberta.
How can we believe the member's comments, when provincial and federal Conservatives have so clearly shown us where they stand on reconciliation?
View Dan Albas Profile
CPC (BC)
Mr. Speaker, let me be clear here, yet again.
It is not just one simple people. They are first nations. There are over 660 first nation bands in this country, and each is unique. We, as parliamentarians, need to listen to them. We need to help provide supports and to partner on ways we can move forward in reconciliation. Reconciliation will mean one thing to some, and it will mean another to someone else. I would simply say that all governments dating back to the birth of this great country have failed in many cases to protect individual rights and to respect our commitments to first nations, dating back to the royal proclamation.
More needs to be done. We need to act, but we also need to listen, and to listen well.
View Pam Damoff Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, the hon. member pointed out that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission did not issue recommendations but calls to action, which require action. As he knows, in the last Parliament, we passed a private member's bill to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which is one of those calls to action in the TRC report. It was held up by Conservative senators and never passed.
Therefore, our government, in this Parliament, introduced Bill C-15, which would implement UNDRIP as it is called. It passed in the House of Commons without Conservative support at all. Now it has gone to the Senate.
I wonder how the hon. member can reconcile the fact that the Conservative Party seems to support some of the calls to action, but not all of them. Will he commit to helping, with those Conservative senators, to get this bill passed in the Senate and finally implement this call to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission?
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
View Mark Strahl Profile
2021-06-03 11:59 [p.7880]
Madam Speaker, it was a Conservative government that first recognized the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as an aspirational document. We do have some concerns with how the free, prior and informed consent provisions of UNDRIP mesh with, quite frankly, the Canadian Constitution, section 35, and the duty to consult and accommodate, which has been honed over years in the courts and through negotiation; that is, the Canadian approach has been the duty to consult and accommodate.
Our concern with UNDRIP was with the free, prior and informed consent provisions and how that would interact with our Constitution, which does specifically acknowledge indigenous rights, and through our own court system, which has specifically endorsed a duty to consult and accommodate where necessary. That is the reason why we have raised our concerns.
The Senate, as the member knows, will take its own decisions as it always has. I am sure there will be robust debate in that chamber, which is controlled right now with a majority of appointees by the current Prime Minister.
View Mumilaaq Qaqqaq Profile
NDP (NU)
View Mumilaaq Qaqqaq Profile
2021-06-03 14:13 [p.7899]
Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister said that the remains of 215 children are from a dark and shameful chapter of our country's history, but indigenous peoples know that colonization is not just in the past. It is an ongoing reality.
More than 50% of children in foster care are indigenous, but account for less than 8% of the child population. More than 30% of inmates in prison are indigenous and Inuit in Nunavut die by suicide at nine times the rate of non-indigenous Canadians.
Colonization is not a dark chapter in Canadian history. It is a book that the federal institution continues to write. We are tired of living in someone else's story and refuse to continue to have it written for us. We have written and will continue to write new chapters and will not ask for permission to live lives full of dignity and respect. We will demand it.
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, it is dangerously misleading for the government to suggest significant progress is being made on 80% of the TRC calls to action. Endless meetings and process is no substitute for substance. Leadership is required to change colonial laws, policies and practices that perpetuate systemic racism and injustice. The Prime Minister knows that adjusting the ongoing colonial legacy requires a comprehensive indigenous rights recognition framework. How do I know this? The Prime Minister said it in this House on February 14, 2018—
View Marc Miller Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I want to take this moment, in front of the House, to thank the former attorney general and minister of justice for the work she did to move these important issues forward, in answering the TRC's calls to action and the MMIW's calls for justice, in making sure that indigenous languages affirmed their inherent right to have a rightful place in this country, and that child and family services, which betrayed indigenous children and is broken in this country, was reformed through Bill C-92.
Obviously, this time of mourning is a time to reflect on the speed at which reconciliation is going, but as we continue to search for the truth, I think it is also a time to recognize the progress and the tens of billions of dollars this government has invested in reconciliation. I want to thank the former attorney general and minister of justice for the work she has done in contributing to this.
View Niki Ashton Profile
NDP (MB)
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his words.
The decolonization process is a multi-stage process. We absolutely have to not only think, but also act to put an end to a colonizing law.
At the same time, we have to work with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to really support first nations, who are doing everything they can for their people.
To be clear, this all has to happen with the engagement, investment and support of the federal government, not acting in a paternalistic way but as a responsible partner.
Regarding today's motion, it is clear that the Government of Canada is guilty of genocide. We must do everything possible to bring justice to indigenous peoples across the country.
View Kody Blois Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Kody Blois Profile
2021-06-03 16:44
This past Sunday, I had the opportunity to join members of the community of Sipekne'katik as they gave prayers and a smudging ceremony to those who have been impacted by the legacy of the residential school system.
Many in indigenous communities of course knew that what was found in Kamloops was a likelihood, and indeed this will not be the only type of tremendous harm we will find. We need to prepare ourselves, as Canadians, that this is not an isolated incident. I say this recognizing that we have to continue the work in this domain.
I have asked myself over the last number of days how best I can be an advocate in this particular space. The member opposite last mentioned the $33 million the government had set aside in budget 2019 to be able to do the important work of finding these burial sites. For instance, my understanding is that in Kamloops it was the funding that helped find these individuals, and hopefully bring home even more children.
There is ongoing work right now in Shubenacadie, through The Confederacy of Mainland Mi'kmaq, at the Shubenacadie site. It is a large area, 250 acres. Despite this being a national issue, I ask myself how best I can help in my community, in my riding. That is where I am going to turn my attention, in terms of working with indigenous leadership in Kings—Hants and indeed across Nova Scotia on how we can make sure that this particular site has the recognition it deserves.
For the members in this House who may not be familiar with the area, there is nothing there right now that actually gives credence to the horrors and the tragedy that happened in that place. Although it is not my place to say exactly how that should happen, as it has to be through the eyes of the survivors who had gone to this school, I do think it is important and it will be my focus in the days ahead.
There has been progress, and I say that hesitantly. We should not shy away from the fact that we have moved the yardsticks on reconciliation in the right direction. I am proud to be a member of a government and caucus that I believe have done more than any government in Canadian history in this particular work to reconcile with indigenous people. I say that recognizing and certainly making very clear that there is more work to be done, and that includes of course not only the work in Shubenacadie that I will undertake with my colleagues and indigenous leaders, but indeed a lot of the work that has to happen to be able to implement the TRC calls to action.
I want to highlight some of the work that I believe is important and is going to be fundamental for us, above and beyond the particular issue of the residential school system, to continue to build that relationship, because members and indigenous community members would say it is absolutely important that we recognize and we do right by the harm, but we also have to build on a better future.
I look at UNDRIP, the legislation that was passed in this House and is now before the Senate. It represents a historic opportunity for us, as a government, to continue to move and build partnerships nation to nation with indigenous communities. I look at Bill C-5 and take notice that all members of this House supported the fast-tracking of that particular legislation to establish a national day of truth and reconciliation in this country. Those, although alone they will not be enough, are important to being able to move the yardsticks in the right direction.
I look in my own community. Recently, I sat down with Chief Sack. We had a very important housing announcement through the rapid housing initiative, where we were able to make investments in the community for 20 units. Is there more work to be done? Absolutely, but this is an important investment I am proud our government has made to try to improve the lives of the indigenous communities I represent.
I look at Annapolis Valley First Nation and the ability for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to work with that community to make sure there is access through Canada Creek for their fisheries and their opportunities to exist in that domain.
I look at Glooscap Landing. Although it was a project that was advanced under my predecessor, Scott Brison, in partnership with the Glooscap community, it is a prime example of the opportunities that exist to be able to move and build commercial partnerships with the Glooscap community.
I have about 90 seconds left by my clock, so I will conclude by saying this.
My commitment to the members of my community, both indigenous and non-indigenous, will be to continue to advocate for and advance the priorities of indigenous communities in Kings—Hants, and of course beyond, with my colleagues in this House.
Reconciliation will not be an easy path. We know that. There will be remaining challenges and there will not always be agreement on the best pathway forward, but it is the spirit of being willing partners and working with each other that will be crucial.
To the survivors of the residential school system in my riding, and those who were impacted at Shubenacadie, I will do my utmost to ensure that this tragic legacy and the harms that have been done are known so we can all move collaboratively to reconcile and be able to advance and move forward from this darkest period of Canadian history.
View Arif Virani Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Arif Virani Profile
2021-06-03 16:55 [p.7924]
Mr. Speaker, let me start by congratulating you on your 10-year anniversary in that chair as Deputy Speaker and your distinguished service as a parliamentarian in this chamber, respected by every one of your 337 colleagues.
I want to speak today about something that is critically important, not just now but all of the time, that has come to the forefront given this opposition day motion that we are discussing, and that is the events at Kamloops in terms of the shocking discovery of the mass grave of 215 children who belonged to the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation.
After hearing about it on the radio, and the sheer magnitude, my first reaction was simply one of horror, and I had to explain to my kids why I was reacting the way that I was.
My second response was as someone who came to this chamber as a lawyer who has some experience with international law, particularly with Rwanda at the UN war crimes tribunal. I thought of how we usually associate mass graves with foreign conflicts and not with Canada. Then I started to think of what we have done vis-à-vis indigenous people of this land and how sometimes it is not much different in terms of the overt assimilation that we have propagated against them, and when the declared policy of the government at the time was to “take the Indian out of the child”.
I also reacted as a parliamentarian who has not been in this chamber as long as you, Mr. Speaker, but for six years now, who feels like he has gathered some understanding of the situation. I had gone through the calls to action, but I was still shocked and surprised. However, we do not have to dig too far to realize that there were a lot of people who were not surprised, and a lot of those people are indigenous people of this land, particularly elders.
This led me to the question of how we value knowledge and recognize its legitimacy, and how this Eurocentric idea has been passed down that unless something is reduced to writing or photographic or video evidence, it probably did not happen. This is a bias that we bring to the table that we have to acknowledge. I thank a constituent of mine who wrote to me about the issue of Canadians, including Canadian parliamentarians, who need to learn to embrace oral histories as legitimate histories so that we can truly come to terms with the magnitude of what we are dealing with.
I also reacted as a father, as I mentioned, when I heard the news that morning on CBC Radio while my children were eating cereal in front of me. My boys are very dear to me. I mean, everyone's children are dear to them. My wife, Suchita, and I are raising two young boys, Zakir and Nitin, and we try and do right by them. However, it one thing for me to imagine my children being removed from my home against my will, but it is another thing entirely to imagine them never returned to me and to never know their whereabouts, which is exactly what has transpired over and over again with indigenous families of this land. This is the true tragedy that needs to be dealt with and understood, and it needs to be accounted for, which can only start with a very strong, historical, educational exercise.
There are some people in this House who are younger than I am, which is the tender age of 49, who had the benefit of actually being educated on this. However, I went through every level of school, including post-secondary education and through law school, and never once was I instructed about the history of the residential school legacy in this country, which is quite shocking for a guy who graduated law school in 1998.
I know that people are now getting that education, and that is important. I also know that people are taking steps, and we heard the member for Kings—Hants talk about what was happening in his community in Nova Scotia. In my community of Parkdale—High Park in Toronto, there was a vigil just yesterday about this very issue, which raised awareness, and that is important. I thank my constituent, Eden, for organizing the vigil. She took the reins on doing so, because she felt so strongly about it. I took my oldest son to that event, because I wanted him to be there to understand, to learn, and to see how others were reacting to what we had learned on Friday morning.
It is one thing to read stories, and I do read him stories, particularly the orange shirt story of Phyllis Webstad, the woman who wore that infamous orange shirt, which was removed from her at that residential school. She is also a member of the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation. However, it is more than just the stories, and I wanted him to get that. It is not just past or distant history, it is still unfolding around us, which is very important, because we should not deem it relegated to the past. It was also important for him and for me to see the turnout, the number of young people who were there, and to hear the demands, and there were many.
There were many directed at the federal government, the government that I represent. There was outrage, shock and horror, but it was important for me to hear the demands. It was important for my son to hear the demands. If I could summarize it, which is difficult to do, but they want justice, accountability and transparency and they want it now, not at some date to be determined in the future.
I hear that sentiment and I very much share that sentiment. I say that in all sincerity in this chamber for those who are watching around the country. In particular ,what I think is most critical is just having a sense that if this happened to the Tk'emlúps First Nation, in Kamloops at that former school, we know that there are 139 sites around this country where it may very well have happened there as well. That forensic investigation, that radar investigation must be done and it must be done immediately.
I know that we have dedicated as a government almost $34 million to address some of the calls to action we have heard extensively about during the course of today's debate. If more money is needed, it must be provided forthwith. That is what I am advocating for.
Others have also said to me just get on with every single one of those calls to action, get it over with now. It has been far too long. I hear that outrage and that sense of urgency. I pause because I know in looking at the calls to action that some of them relate to us at the federal level, us as parliamentarians in the House of Commons. Some of them relate to provincial governments, city governments. Some of them relate to institutions and school boards. Some of them even relate to foreign entities.
I, for one, would be dearly appreciative to see a formal papal apology. That is call to action 58. That is a call to action that the Prime Minister squarely put to the Pope on a visit to the Vatican and that has not yet been acceded to. I think that stands in stark contrast to what we see with other denominations of Christian churches in this country that have formally accepted and apologized for the role that the church played in terms of administering many of these residential schools. That needs to be forthcoming and Canadians are demanding that, rightfully so.
Others I believe have been met at least in part if not fully. I count myself as very privileged to have served in the last Parliament when I was the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Heritage. We worked on and co-developed with first nations, Métis and Inuit leaders what became Bill C-91, Canada's first ever Indigenous Languages Act.
I personally count that as one of my most significant learning opportunities as a parliamentarian. It took that lawyer who was not educated about this stuff in law school and it turned him into a parliamentarian who was dealing directly with first nations, Inuit and Métis leaders about the difficulties of not having that connection to one's language and what that does to one's psyche, one's level of mental anxiety, one's connection to one's culture.
We have remedied that. It speaks directly to TRC calls to action 13, 14 and 15. We have also made great strides with respect to indigenous child and welfare legislation. That was Bill C-92 in the last Parliament. The most important piece there is that the norm now based on that legislation is if we must remove a child, then we keep them within their group, within their first nation, among their community and only as an absolute last resort would they be removed.
We have worked on UNDRIP with members of the opposition parties including the NDP. We have worked on Bill C-22, which I count myself privileged to have worked on as parliamentary secretary to the current Minister of Justice. It deals with curing the overrepresentation of indigenous people in this land. Much more remains to be done. I do not discount that and it needs to be done quickly. We need to do that work together.
I welcome this debate. I welcome the discussions we have been having literally all week, not just today about this important topic, because they are critical. I do feel at my core that we will only gather sufficient momentum when all Canadians are talking about this stain on Canada's history and Canada's legacy. That is critical to see. We have seen it over the course of this pandemic where people, non-white and white, people who are racialized or not racialized have taken up the call for addressing systemic racism and systemic discrimination in wake of George Floyd and in this country people like Regis Korchinski-Paquet.
I am seeing that again now. I am seeing that massive outreach now and that is a good thing because it gives us momentum. It gives us the initiative to keep working hard at these issues and to keep focused on these calls to action in addressing the needs of indigenous people, but always in a manner that is led by indigenous people and done on their terms, because gone must be the paternalism where Ottawa dictated to indigenous people the appropriate remedies. We must be listening and responding.
View Eric Duncan Profile
CPC (ON)
Madam Speaker, 13 years ago next week, the chamber of the House of Commons was filled with tears and a lot of raw emotion. Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued the apology for the treatment that residential school survivors experienced at federally funded schools across the country. It marked a milestone in the healing and reconciliation process for former students.
One of those former students is Bill Sunday, a member of Akwesasne, which is in my riding of Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry. At that time, the grand chief of the council, Chief Tim Thompson, brought seven survivors from the community of Akwesasne to hear the words of the Government of Canada that day. I am thinking of Bill tonight and the number of residents of Akwesasne who, over the course of numerous generations, have faced hardship and discrimination.
What came of the apology at that time was the idea of establishing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. As alluded to in other speeches, its report came out with tangible calls to action back in 2015. To give context, that is six years ago, or 2,100 days that our federal government has had to respond to and enact the change that has been called for.
We are here today with nowhere near the pace and volume of completion and tangible progress that Canadians want us to have. A few more than a handful of calls to action have been marked as completed; others are under way. However, if we were to speak to indigenous Canadians, first nations leadership and any Canadian, they would agree that the pace of change and of enacting reconciliation has not moved in the past six years as fast as it needs to.
On Monday, our leader, the leader of the official opposition, wrote a letter to the Prime Minister, and over the course of the last couple of days, after the advancement of Bill C-5 regarding a day for truth and reconciliation, which is positive, all parties have worked together to advance that legislation. It was one of the calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Our leader also wrote in that letter that the legislation we are debating here tonight should come back up, be moved forward, as it will be tonight, and eventually be passed. It will pass with support from our caucus and I believe from all of Parliament.
This is an important measure; do not get me wrong. However, and I say this respectfully, when we look at all the measures we need to do, the tangible, real, meaningful reconciliation is yet to come. There are a lot of big items that we as a Parliament and we as a country need to confront and address in a timely manner.
I want to acknowledge the discussions of another piece of legislation, Bill C-15, which has had many hours of debate here and in committee and is now over in the Senate. I had the honour and privilege of speaking to it, and with my perspective as a young Canadian; as somebody who has a first nations community, Akwesasne, in his riding; and as part of our Conservative caucus, I took a look at the details of the legislation. I want to speak about the opposition to Bill C-15, not because of a lack of support for reconciliation, but to illustrate to Canadians that our work as parliamentarians is far from done and we know that. What I took note of today, as we talked about the motion, is that the work we do here needs to be better.
Let us consider Bill C-15, and a lot of the words and descriptions in it, such as the description of free, prior and informed consent and its definition, or lack thereof. The NDP's opposition day motion today is an important one that I am proud to support. The first few parts of the motion speak to ending litigation in courts, where the government, first nations communities and residential school survivors are spending years and years and millions and millions of dollars, with more and more emotion going from there. That has been exacerbated because we are not taking the time for consultation and the details.
I completely support the idea of UNDRIP and the principles behind it. The details matter on that. I think it is important for Canadians, as the NDP motion said today, as Parliament will be calling on when that vote comes up in the coming days, that we see real, meaningful changes in this country, not more lawsuits, more delays, motions and millions of dollars being spent on lawyers, but rather on frontline differences to first nations communities and indigenous Canadians in every part of this country.
I want to focus some of my time tonight on the fact that we are expediting this legislation with all-party co-operation to move forward, because there are other parts of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that need to move forward now, urgently, and Canadians are saying that.
Thinking of the news that every single Canadian has had to take in over the course of the last week, of the discovery of 215 children in unmarked graves at the former Kamloops residential school, I look, from a personal perspective, at my life and my lived experience. I am 33 years old. I have an amazing, loving family that helped raise me. I am so grateful for the opportunity that I received in public education: the teachers, staff and students at Inkerman Public School, Nationview Public School and North Dundas District High School. My family and my experience in public education helped make me who I am today.
I could not imagine being a child torn away from my parents never to see them again, going to a school hundreds of kilometres away and receiving horrific treatment. We have an example that was laid bare before us last week. Children ended up buried in unmarked graves, only recognized recently. These children did not have the opportunities that so many of us were fortunate to have, surrounded by loving and caring parents in an education system and experience that were second to none. To have them deprived of that, to have that ending, is completely unacceptable.
In the letter I referenced, we talk about the work we need to do as a Parliament. We need to address this specific, dark part of our history. I was rightfully corrected after one of my social media posts where I was struggling to come up with the proper thing to say about this news. Somebody said that it is not all history, that there are still residential school survivors here today living the experience each and every day. It is not history to them. It is lived experience that they have to deal with and struggle with each and every day.
I think parliamentarians from all parties in every part of this country will hear that, yes, we need to move forward on Bill C-5. We need to move forward on this piece of legislation and on Bill C-8. We need to fund the investigation of all former residential schools in Canada where unmarked graves may exist, including where the 215 children were already discovered in Kamloops. We need to ensure that proper resources are allocated for reinterment, commemoration and the honour of any individuals discovered at any of those sites, according to the wishes of their family. We also need to develop a detailed, urgent and meaningful way of educating Canadians on the real and lived experiences of those there.
I am going to wrap up my comments tonight by bringing them back to my community in eastern Ontario. As I wrap up, I think of Leona Cook, an elder from Akwesasne. She actually lives on the American side of Akwesasne, but her story goes a long way. She was sent from Massena to western New York in the Buffalo-Niagara Falls area to a residential school. This tragedy goes even beyond borders. They took her shoes away when she went to school. Her brothers also went there, but they were placed on a different side of the campus, and she rarely, if ever, saw them.
I watched a video earlier today as I was preparing my remarks, and Leona was in it. She said, “I don't want their apology. I don't want anything from them. I would hope that they learn to treat people better than they treated us. You can't make people be somebody they don't want to be.”
We can take the lessons and the words of Leona Cook, embody them in our work and move forward on major sections of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that will matter to Canadians.
I look forward to the questions and comments and supporting the legislation before us.
View Mark Gerretsen Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, I would agree with the member that we need to commit all resources possible to ensure that any other potential sites like this are found immediately and that the proper process is done in conjunction with the indigenous communities in the area.
The member talks about the recommendations and implementing them all as quickly and expeditiously as possible, but one of those recommendations had to do with UNDRIP. The Conservative Party voted against that. As I listen to the member, I am trying to rationalize how he can stand here and say we absolutely must implement these recommendations and do as much as we can to see them come to fruition as soon as possible, yet the Conservative Party voted against one last week.
Could he explain why he took that position?
View Eric Duncan Profile
CPC (ON)
Madam Speaker, I want to thank my fellow eastern Ontarian for that question from the government side. It provides an opportunity for me to again state the principles of UNDRIP. The overwhelming majority of the declaration is not an issue. However, for far too long and in far too many examples in our history, we have not seen the proper parliamentary work and consultation to get some of the details in that legislation resolved early.
We heard that at committee. First nations communities and legal experts say it is important to take the time to make sure that the legislation and the interpretations do not end up in court. What we are going to have through this process is much more litigation, many more legal fees and many more difficulties in court when those dollars could be spent on tangible improvements in the lives of indigenous people.
It takes time to get it right. The government has had six years to get it right. It did not do that, which is why we are here. More work could have been done in that six years to provide more solidity on Bill C-15 and UNDRIP.
View Christine Normandin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Christine Normandin Profile
2021-06-03 19:10 [p.7944]
Madam Speaker, I was saying that I felt sad and bitter about this bill, which we, the Bloc Québécois members, will soon be voting against. We were going to support it, but we are forced to oppose it. Even today, we are forced to vote against it although we did try to amend it so we could support it.
Why is the Bloc Québécois opposed to this bill, whose commendable intent should be self-evident? What happened to bring us to this point? These are questions that I feel compelled to answer, not only for my colleagues in the House, but also for indigenous peoples across the country and for the sake of history, which I call on today as my witness.
The first thing I would like to say to all first nations in Quebec and Canada and to the Métis and the Inuit peoples is that the Bloc Québécois firmly believes that call to action 94, as well as all the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, must be implemented without delay.
However, we cannot support Bill C-8 as it stands now, for two reasons. Reason one is that the bill seems to disregard the fact that the rights of indigenous peoples are not blessings to be bestowed on them by white people. On the contrary, these are inherent rights connected to their very existence as indigenous peoples. The second reason has to do with Quebec's and Canada's turbulent constitutional history.
Too little has been said about the first reason why my party did not support the bill. That reason has to do with the essence of indigenous rights. The Bloc Québécois believes that indigenous peoples have rights that are inherent to their very existence. These rights were not created by a charter, a royal proclamation, an international agreement or a constitutional act. On the contrary, these documents serve only to recognize and confirm these rights.
The ancestral rights predate the arrival of the Europeans and are connected to the activities of indigenous peoples before colonization. These are sui generis rights, in the sense that they are inherent and not granted by the Crown. These ancestral rights were first recognized in the 1973 decision in Calder, and then defined in the Van der Peet decision in 1996.
However, the Crown recognized indigenous land rights in the Royal Proclamation of 1763. Sections 25 and 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, grant explicit constitutional recognition of ancestral rights, but do not create the rights themselves. For us, putting that much emphasis on the Canadian Constitution means ignoring the inherent nature of the rights of indigenous peoples.
The second reason is well known, but I want to reiterate it. As it now stands, the bill explicitly refers to the Constitution in the oath of citizenship. I do not think one needs a PhD in history to know how big of a disgrace Quebeckers felt the patriation of the Constitution was. Despite all the successive federalist premiers since 1982, Quebec has never signed the Constitution. Obviously, the Liberals will bring out their old argument about separatists stirring up quarrels of the past to break up our beautiful country. However, are modern-day problems not just problems that went unresolved in the past?
That is why it is worth remembering that, when the Constitution was repatriated in 1982, an event that federalist parties dearly love to celebrate, the draft included an explicit reference to the rights of indigenous peoples. However, during the infamous “night of the long knives”, the federal government and the other nine provinces that abandoned Quebec agreed not only to stab René Lévesque in the back but also to edit out recognition and affirmation of the inherent rights of indigenous peoples. Ottawa was a party to that. That too is part of the history of the Constitution, a living tree whose sap is sometimes poisonous.
As it happened, indigenous militancy and concern that Westminster might reject the proposed Constitution resulted in what is now section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, being put back in. However, constitutional malaise is still very real for Quebec. Members of other parties know that because we have told them.
Despite all this, we tried to amend Bill C-8 to bring it closer to the original citizenship oath of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, because we wanted to support it.
I should point out that the oath proposed in call to action 94 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission made no reference to the Constitution. The study of the bill in committee was not able to convince us that this addition was made at the request of indigenous peoples. On two occasions, when I asked the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship if the addition of the word “Constitution” was an explicit request of first nations, he replied that it was a result of the general process. In short, he never did tell me if this came from the government or from the first nations.
When we questioned witnesses in committee, they all told us that adding a reference to the Constitution was not at all essential to them. To the Bloc Québécois this addition is not only unnecessary, since it departs from the oath proposed by the Commission, but it is insulting, disrespectful and a provocative act toward the Quebec nation. It is a show of bad faith by the Liberal government and the uncontrollable desire of the federalist parties to pursue a process of building a national identity that endlessly repeats this fable of a Canada of rights and freedoms founded on a millennium-old Constitution.
The sudden haste with which the Liberal government rushed to bring Bill C-8 back to the House this week is rather troubling. Let us not forget that this bill was stuck in limbo since February. We are now June. Last week there was the tragic discovery that pained us all. Suddenly the government woke up to study Bill C-8. Sometimes I get the impression that governments simply wait for the right time to impose their will instead of negotiating, a bit like the Prime Minister's father did so well one day in November 1981. On that, I must say that the unanimity of the federalist parties against the Bloc Québécois's proposals was striking. Sometimes when you win, you lose.
Canadians can carry on building their country in their own image, without worrying about Quebec. We ourselves continue to do so, without Canadians, as we see fit. Perhaps it is because we sense that one day our paths will finally separate.
As a final point, even though our suggestions will undoubtedly fall on deaf ears, since that is the government's way, I would still like to propose a solution for a possible path forward that could suit everyone. Why not simply introduce a new bill with language that all parties can agree on? We could then pass that legislation with a simple unanimous consent motion and send it to the other chamber in one fell swoop, as we do here from time to time.
I am making the suggestion, even though I know it will probably fall on deaf ears. At least we tried.
View Jenny Kwan Profile
NDP (BC)
View Jenny Kwan Profile
2021-06-03 19:26 [p.7946]
Madam Speaker, I am dismayed that, despite it being six years since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls to action had been tabled, the Liberal government has been exceedingly slow at implementing even the simplest of the calls to action.
According the CBC Beyond 94 tracker, it remains that there are still only 10 out of 94 TRC recommendations completed as of June 1, 2021. Bill C-8 is emblematic of the pace at which the Liberal government has been moving with reconciliation. The concerning rate at which the government has been addressing the calls to action leads me to question the government’s timeline and commitment to fully implement all the calls to action.
During the five-year anniversary on December 15, 2020, the commissioners of the TRC report issued a joint statement to indicate that the government’s process has been too slow. Former TRC commissioner Ms. Marie Wilson highlighted that revising the citizenship guidebook and updating the oath of citizenship to reflect a more inclusive history of indigenous peoples and recognition of their rights was low-hanging fruit among the TRC recommendations.
Yet, this is the third time it has been introduced. In the years that led up to it, of the official list of organizations consulted provided by IRCC, only four were indigenous organizations and the others were six organizations focusing on immigration, including a couple of Catholic organizations, demonstrating that the imprint of colonialism persists to this day.
While the Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs heard from a number of witnesses that the wording could have been improved, they were ultimately in favour of passing it so that we could move on to focusing on some of the more major calls to action. Indeed, the Liberals and Conservatives voted down NDP amendments that would address the concerns raised by adding a recognition of inherent rights of first nations as well as aboriginal title rights in the citizenship oath. This is shameful.
The government cannot say it supports the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which explicitly speaks to free, prior and informed consent. Article 10 states:
Indigenous peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their lands or territories. No relocation shall take place without the free, prior and informed consent of the indigenous peoples concerned and after agreement on just and fair compensation and, where possible, with the option of return.
Yet we continue to see ongoing violations of this very article. This is a clear example of the ongoing colonialism that persists today.
Let us look at what is happening with the Mi’kmaq fishers. DFO has decided that they cannot fish now even though this is a clear violation of their treaty rights to earn a moderate livelihood. UNDRIP stipulates that indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination, which is what indigenous fishers are trying to do, earn a living, feed their families and, in some cases, work their way out of poverty.
Now, as a result of the failures of the government to live up to its obligations, they are even afraid of violence from non-indigenous fishers. Their property has been burned, they have been threatened and assaulted, and the government has offered no plan to ensure their safety. This is not reconciliation. In fact, this is what systemic racism and discrimination looks like.
Why is the government not doing everything it can to protect the rights and safety of indigenous fishers? Former TRC commissioner Marie Wilson also pointed out that calls to action 53 and 56 call for the creation of a national council for reconciliation. One of its core functions would be to provide oversight and hold the government accountable to the progress on implementing other TRC calls to action.
The fact that these TRC recommendations are missing in action and have not been among the first that were implemented shows a lack of interest by the government in actually implementing these calls to action. It also does not want to be held accountable in an independent, transparent way.
On the five-year anniversary of the TRC report, Murray Sinclair was critical of the slow pace the government has been moving and said:
It is very concerning that the federal government still does not have a tangible plan for how they will work towards implementing the Calls to Action.
This is how the Liberals treat what they say is their most important relationship. The Liberals are abusing the goodwill of indigenous peoples. As they say with a straight face how much they respect indigenous rights, and cry crocodile tears about what indigenous people have always known in light of the findings of the mass grave of indigenous children at the Kamloops residential school site, they continue to take indigenous children to court.
The Liberals cannot claim to honour the spirits of children who died in residential schools while they continue to take indigenous kids to court. The Liberals cannot claim to take their role in reconciliation seriously when they force survivors of residential schools to wage legal battles for recognition and compensation. I am calling for real action, real justice and real reconciliation, not just more words and symbolic gestures. I am calling on the federal government to stop its legal battles against indigenous kids and survivors of residential schools: battles that have cost millions of taxpayer dollars.
In 2020, Dr. Cindy Blackstock stated that the government had spent at least $9 million fighting against first nations children at the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. These children do not get a second childhood. As we are sitting here, the government is still fighting survivors of St. Anne's residential school. This cannot be acceptable to anyone who says they want to honour the lives of indigenous children who were ripped away from their loved ones and were subjected to untold abuse and horror. Too many died alone, too many went missing and too many are still suffering from the effects of colonization.
Make no mistake: Genocide was committed against indigenous peoples, and successive Liberal and Conservative governments have continued a genocide against first nations, Métis and Inuit across the country. These are crimes against humanity and it is time for Canada to take full responsibility. I am calling on the Liberals to end their court challenges, to work with survivors, and to ensure that all resources needed are made available to survivors and their communities.
The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal found Canada's discrimination to be “wilful and reckless” and “a worst-case scenario” resulting in unnecessary family separations for thousands of children, and serious harm and even death for other children. These are facts that the government must accept. In addition, the federal government must work with first nations to fund further investigation into the deaths and disappearances of children at residential schools.
The Harper Conservatives denied the TRC the $1.5 million it requested to get an accurate representation of how many unmarked graves there are. The TRC heard from countless witnesses of their existence, but no national effort was made to identify them. This must be addressed.
As stated by Murray Sinclair, retired senator and chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission:
We know there are lots of sites similar to Kamloops that are going to come to light in the future. We need to begin to prepare ourselves for that. Those that are survivors and intergenerational survivors need to understand that this information is important for all of Canada to understand the magnitude of the truth of this experience.
I am also calling for full funding of the healing resources that survivors need. The federal government must accelerate its progress to implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action and announce a timeline and an independent, publicly accountable mechanism for the fulfillment of the calls to action. We cannot continue to say that we support reconciliation without doing real, meaningful work.
To close, the NDP wants to see the TRC recommendation realized. We want to see this bill come to reality, but we also want to see the new citizenship guidebook, which has been in the making for five years, and we have no information of when it will be available. We want the guidebook to also incorporate that history, and clearly outline that genocide has been committed against indigenous peoples and continues to be. Every newcomer needs to know this history and take it to heart. As indicated, this is not an aboriginal issue: It is an issue for all of Canada. It is a Canadian issue and we need to own up to it. We need to—
View Charlie Angus Profile
NDP (ON)
Mr. Speaker, it is difficult to describe the squalid and dangerous conditions that the children of Attawapiskat were being educated in, or the indifference of the government officials who knew these children might never see a real school, but let me tell the House about the fire that I saw in the eyes of 13-year-old Shannen Koostachin when she vowed that the little brothers and sisters of James Bay would have a safe, comfy school to go to.
Shannen lit a fire across this country. She took on the government. She inspired a young generation of activists because she said it was not acceptable that first nations children are being denied their rights in a country as rich as Canada. We lost Shannen 11 years ago today in a terrible accident. Her story lives on in movies and books, and as a comic book super hero, but most of all, Shannen's dream continues to challenge us.
I was honoured to know this young warrior. If she were here today, she would say that the systemic discrimination against this young generation of first nations children must end now, because every child has the right to hope and dream for a better future. That was Shannen's dream. We need to make it a reality.
View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
Mr. Speaker, Mi'kmaq fishers from the Sipekne'katik First Nation have been abandoned by the government. DFO has decided that they cannot fish now even though this is a clear violation of their treaty rights to earn a moderate livelihood, which is what indigenous fishers are trying to do: earn a living, feed their families and, in some cases, work their way out of poverty.
They are also afraid of violence from non-indigenous fishers, with good reason. Their property has been burned, they have been threatened and assaulted, and the government has offered no plan to ensure their safety. This is not reconciliation.
What is the government doing to protect the rights and safety of indigenous fishers?
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
Mr. Speaker, we have been very clear that first nations have an absolute right to fish for a moderate livelihood. We have put in place a plan this year that allows them to fish for that moderate livelihood as we work toward long-term agreements. The plan we put in place for this year is flexible, it allows first nations to sell their catch and it ensures they are the ones who develop their fishing plans.
We will continue to negotiate for longer-term agreements, because we know how important this is to first nations.
View Jaime Battiste Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Jaime Battiste Profile
2021-06-01 18:52 [p.7783]
Mr. Chair, I noticed the member mentioned he would like to see us accelerate the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls to action 71 through 76, but I am wondering about number 57, which is the recommendation on UNDRIP.
Will he ask Conservative senators to support Bill C-15 and do what he can to help us ensure that all indigenous people are guaranteed equal human rights, as every other Canadian is?
View Erin O'Toole Profile
CPC (ON)
View Erin O'Toole Profile
2021-06-01 18:53 [p.7784]
Mr. Chair, the member knows, or likely should know, that that is guaranteed in our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which predates UNDRIP. It is an important document that was started by a former Conservative member of Parliament.
I think all parliamentarians share our commitment to reconciliation, but what we have to do is make sure it is more than just important words, lowering of flags or gestures. These are important in healing, but it is more important to address the underlying unfairness, give certainty to the families, and give the ability, as Roseann and her family had, to heal.
I would ask that member to work with us to move swiftly on calls to action 71 to 76 by Canada Day. Let us have a plan to deliver the true potential of this great country for all Canadians.
View Andréanne Larouche Profile
BQ (QC)
View Andréanne Larouche Profile
2021-06-01 18:54 [p.7784]
Mr. Chair, I thank the Leader of the Opposition for his speech.
Tonight's debate is very emotional. We all feel it.
The hon. member told us that he is a father. As an aunt and status of women critic, my thoughts obviously go out to the mothers of these 215 children. What is sadder still is that we know that this is just the tip of the iceberg. That is what prominent representatives of indigenous communities, including Ghislain Picard and Michèle Audette, have said. In Quebec, more bodies of children who were taken from their mothers could be discovered.
On behalf of all those women who have been harmed, and knowing that indigenous women are still suffering a lot today, the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls issued its final report. One of the recommendations in the report was to implement Bill C-15 and sign the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This is important.
The Leader of the Opposition said that concrete action is required. Ensuring that Bill C-15 moves forward is one such action.
Will his party finally recognize that it is important to sign this international declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples?
View Erin O'Toole Profile
CPC (ON)
View Erin O'Toole Profile
2021-06-01 18:55 [p.7784]
Mr. Chair, I thank my colleague for her question.
All first nations issues are important, including economic reconciliation. I read Bill C-15, an act respecting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Some indigenous people and indigenous leaders from various nations, including some in Quebec, have questions about a small part of this bill.
Today I talked about calls to action 71 to 76. We must make these a priority, for the sake of the grieving families.
Now is not the time to play politics. Now is the time to take action for families and indigenous people across the country. I started studying this issue long before I entered politics because it was important to me. That is why I mentioned my son Jack. It is important to have a serious debate about a serious matter. The residential schools were a national shame.
View Sébastien Lemire Profile
BQ (QC)
Mr. Chair, the Leader of the Opposition told my colleague that we should not respond with political arguments, yet that is what he just did by bringing up his plans for the future.
I will ask the question again. We are participating in a debate on the rights of indigenous peoples, which we buried with the residential schools. I will remind members that these rights were buried, and there is nothing more morbid in the current circumstances.
My question is about the rights of indigenous peoples, and it is very simple: Why did the Leader of the Opposition vote against Bill C-15, which would recognize the rights of indigenous peoples?
View Erin O'Toole Profile
CPC (ON)
View Erin O'Toole Profile
2021-06-01 19:02 [p.7785]
Mr. Chair, I thank my colleague for his question.
Ironically, I was just talking yesterday with a few indigenous mayors and leaders from Abitibi—Témiscamingue. It was an important conversation for me as a new leader with a new approach as well as extensive experience in the private sector.
There would be many opportunities for economic reconciliation if we had a plan and a serious partnership with indigenous peoples. Thousands of indigenous leaders have reasonable questions about the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. I am more familiar with the file than my colleague is, and I am prepared to work for the well-being of indigenous people across the country.
View Pam Damoff Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Chair, I thank my friend across the way for his speech and for his work on this file.
The member talked about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls to action. Earlier tonight, the Leader of the Opposition was asked about call to action 43, which calls on the federal government to adopt and implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
I think all of us in the House can agree that we cannot pick and choose from the recommendations which ones we should implement. I am wondering if the member opposite would work with his Conservative colleagues in the Senate to ensure that this legislation does get passed, and gets passed quickly.
View Jamie Schmale Profile
CPC (ON)
Madam Chair, I appreciate the question from my friend from Oakville North—Burlington.
Conservatives have said many times that they support reconciliation, including financial reconciliation. They also support the spirit of UNDRIP. What happened at the committee process with Bill C-15 was that the opposition parties were amplifying the voices of first nations leaders themselves. They were the ones who showed up at committee expressing concerns in regard to that bill, specifically about free, prior and informed consent and exactly what that means, not just for industry but for the way of life as well, the certainty that it provides.
Again, these were not just voices of Conservative Party members; these were the voices of the indigenous communities themselves, trying to get their voices to the government. That is what we were trying to do.
As I have said many times, we support reconciliation. We support the spirit of UNDRIP. We were looking to amplify the voices of those on the ground and those first nations communities concerned about Bill C-15.
View Pam Damoff Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Chair, I will be sharing my time with the member for Yukon.
I would like to acknowledge that I am speaking from the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation from my home in Oakville.
My thoughts are with all indigenous families as they mourn. Like all Canadians, I am devastated by the horrifying news from British Columbia, where the remains of 215 children buried at the site of the Kamloops Indian Residential School were discovered. This is not news to indigenous peoples in Canada. My friend, the member for Northwest Territories, shared with me that there is a mission graveyard in his small community. Half of those buried there are children from the local residential school.
Many years ago, the Catholic Church removed the crosses, dug up the priests, nuns and brothers and moved them to a new graveyard. Then it plowed over the old cemetery and grew potatoes there. In the early 1900s, the community, working with elders, hired specialists to locate the bodies of the children buried there, reclaimed their names, remembered their ages and erected a monument. I am ashamed to say that I did not know this story, and I suspect that most Canadians do not know these stories.
Families deserve closure. Our government is committed to supporting survivors, the families as well as communities, to locate and memorialize children who were killed because they were forced to attend residential schools.
We invite indigenous communities to seek federal support, which is available, to conduct radar scans on other residential school sites to confirm if lost children are buried there.
The history of residential schools was not taught when I was a student. When I was first elected, I held a public screening of the documentary We Were Children. A former MP attended and said he wished he had known this history when he served in Parliament in the 1980s.
Duncan Campbell Scott, deputy superintendent of Indian Affairs in 1910, said of residential schools, “It is readily acknowledged that Indian children...die at a much higher rate than in their villages. But this alone does not justify a change in the policy of this Department, which is being geared towards the final solution of our Indian Problem.”
This month during #IndigenousReads, I am encouraging my community to read 21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act by Bob Joseph. It is important to confront our past to learn what is true in order to move forward on the path of reconciliation.
Near my home, the Mohawk Institute Indian Residential School operated in Brantford from 1828 to 1970. It served as a school for first nations children from Six Nations, as well as other communities throughout Ontario and Quebec. Just today, Six Nations of the Grand River has asked the federal government to help it search its grounds.
The Save the Evidence project from the Woodland Cultural Centre is working to restore the former Mohawk Institute Indian Residential School into a historical site and educational resource. Projects like this that are indigenous-led are vital for educating the public about our past and for understanding the realities of indigenous peoples in Canada.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission made 94 calls to action. If Canadians have not already read them, they should do so. Calls 71 to 76 deal with the missing children and burial information.
One of the honorary witnesses to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is a friend of mine who survived the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. We have talked about what Canada can do as we implement the recommendations of the TRC. Call to action 81 calls for a residential schools national monument in Ottawa to honour survivors and all children who were lost to their families and communities.
Now is the time to take action on this. Our government has worked to build a more equitable relationship with indigenous peoples based on partnership and honesty. We have introduced legislation to establish a national day for truth and reconciliation, to amend the oath of citizenship and to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
We are working with indigenous leadership and communities to implement legislation that affirms and recognizes indigenous peoples' jurisdiction over child and family services to reduce the number of indigenous children in care. We are committed to continuing to take action to redress the legacy of residential schools and advance reconciliation across Canada.
I pray for the stolen little souls and I mourn their loss.
View Mumilaaq Qaqqaq Profile
NDP (NU)
View Mumilaaq Qaqqaq Profile
2021-06-01 21:15 [p.7802]
Madam Chair, as the member was speaking, and he said some nice things, I could not help but try to reconcile the words and actions. The irony of hearing heartfelt speeches from the Conservatives is their own proven track record of providing less than the basics for indigenous peoples across Canada.
Indigenous peoples do not want their shame, guilt or even, to an extent, the thoughts and prayers of non-indigeneous peoples. What indigenous peoples are calling for throughout the country is action and for this to be treated for what it is. It is a crime. What we are seeing is history. It is one of the biggest crimes to happen in Canada.
That member and his party recently voted in the House against the UN declaration. That is a party that deepens the cuts to indigenous services and has for the programs that have been so desperately needed in past years.
Does the member, and, more broadly, the Conservatives, believe that we should implement each and every single TRC call to action and if so, how does he suggest we go about doing that before I am 69 years old?
View Eric Melillo Profile
CPC (ON)
View Eric Melillo Profile
2021-06-01 21:17 [p.7802]
Madam Chair, I think I speak for all members in the House in saying we will certainly miss the member's voice in the chamber and we wish her well in whatever she will be doing next.
There are quite a few things to address in the member's question.
Yes, we have to implement all the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's recommendations. When it comes down to it, the government has to decide whether, at the end of the day, it supports the commission or it does not. I certainly hope it will support it.
I will touch on UNDRIP, as the member mentioned it. At the INAN committee through the study of that bill, we heard a number of concerns from many indigenous organizations and indigenous people. They suggested a number of amendments that they would like to see. However, our party, in an attempt to bring forward those amendments and suggestions, as I recall correctly, every single one those amendments—
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Madam Chair, I particularly appreciate the message that is sent by having members of Parliament have the ability to speak in indigenous languages in the House. It demonstrates that in spite of the horrors of the past and the continuing challenges indigenous people face, indigenous cultures are there, are preserving and are continuing, including through languages.
I want to comment on some of the discussion around Bill C-15. It is obviously not the focus of tonight's debate, but it has come up many times.
The reality is that there are diverse opinions within indigenous communities about Bill C-15. We certainly hear in western Canada that some indigenous communities are concerned about development. Some indigenous communities are also very supportive of development, including in the resource sector, and want to have in place policies that allow them to proceed with development. They and are concerned about the impact of Bill C-15 in that context.
I wonder if the member would agree that when it comes to issues like development policy frameworks in Bill C-15, it is important to listen to the diversity of indigenous voices to ensure there is robust consultation and that we protect the rights of those communities who want to participate in resource development as well as the views of those who have a different point of view.
View Jaime Battiste Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Jaime Battiste Profile
2021-06-01 21:24 [p.7804]
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member's comments, but I have to disagree with his entire premise.
UNDRIP, which is what Bill C-15 was based on, was the most comprehensive document that had nation states and indigenous peoples at the table for more than 40 years to create consensus, including Assembly of First Nations, ITK, MNC. Every single indigenous organization and government supported Bill C-15.
The fearmongering that the Conservatives try to put out there by saying that indigenous people do not believe in growth and development is wrong. We believe in growth and development, but we ensure that development is sustainable for the next seven generations.
View Andréanne Larouche Profile
BQ (QC)
View Andréanne Larouche Profile
2021-06-01 21:27 [p.7804]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Sydney—Victoria for his speech. Indigenous languages are so beautiful and poetic. They are a treasure, and I hope we can work to better protect them.
I would like to hear what my colleague thinks about what one of my Conservative colleagues said about Bill C-15. This bill would have been a great way to open a dialogue with indigenous communities in order to prevent crises, rather than creating them. I am referring here mainly to the rail crisis with the Wet'suwet'en last year.
How can Bill C-15 be a good way to talk nation to nation with indigenous peoples to prevent future crises?
View Jaime Battiste Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Jaime Battiste Profile
2021-06-01 21:28 [p.7804]
Mr. Speaker, I have stated in the House that Bill C-15 helps us turn the chapter on the horrible legacy that has been left to us by the Indian Act. Bill C-15, UNDRIP and all the recommendations within UNDRIP, helps us get past what colonial governments thought about how we should govern ourselves. It gives us the ability to look at what indigenous people have put forward over 40 years, working with nation states. It was endorsed by so many indigenous organizations across Canada as the way forward.
I really feel that with the passage, and hopefully royal assent, of Bill C-15, we will get to that new chapter in indigenous and Crown relations.
View Yvonne Jones Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Yvonne Jones Profile
2021-06-01 21:44 [p.7807]
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his remarks this evening. Like most who have spoken tonight, we are all experiencing the real hurt and pain of the incident that has been unfolding in this country, and especially in British Columbia.
We also know that today indigenous Canadians are still affected by the legacy of what has happened. We know that intergenerational trauma continues for so many families in this country that have been affected.
Recently we introduced UNDRIP: the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It is something indigenous people have asked for for 40 years in this country. How can you say today that you are working towards reconciliation? How can you say that we are on a journey of healing, and how can you say that we are moving forward with indigenous people in this country and not support UNDRIP?
View Brad Vis Profile
CPC (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Labrador for her question, but I will say that all of the things she said I said were not necessarily things I actually said in the first place.
I support the goals and aspirations of UNDRIP. As the member for Kenora outlined earlier in his testimony, during committee there were a number of first nations that had issues with free, prior and informed consent, and that were looking for legal clarity on that matter. However, the government was not open to any amendments to the bill from the Conservative Party.
View Michael McLeod Profile
Lib. (NT)
View Michael McLeod Profile
2021-06-01 21:59 [p.7809]
Mr. Speaker, I am splitting my time with the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands. I appreciate the time I have to speak tonight, and I am glad another prolonged Standing Committee on Finance meeting ended in time for me to do so.
I ran for the member of Parliament position to help my constituents. Unapologetically, and with everything I do here, my goal is to try to improve their lives and those of their children. Those are my marching orders.
Indigenous constituents make up 50% of the population in the Northwest Territories, and the Northwest Territories has the highest per capita number of residential school survivors, and “survivor” is the accurate term. Those who came home from many of these schools are literally survivors, as has been so shockingly illustrated this past week by the discovery of all those children, those babies in Kamloops.
I am not surprised many Canadians are shocked. However, I am not shocked and neither are many indigenous families. In my hometown of Fort Providence, I can visit a small fenced-in area on the edge of the community that has a monument with the names of 161 children who died at the Sacred Heart Mission school.
In the 1920s, the mission decided to dig up all the priests, nuns and brothers who were buried there and move them to a new gravesite. Then they plowed the graveyard over, over all the bodies that were buried there, over my relatives and the children who were buried there. If our elders had not carried the information forward and convinced our leadership in the 1990s to do some research and find this grave, this would have been all forgotten.
The devastation of these so-called schools has lived through generations. Unfortunately, this devastation has survived as well. In the Northwest Territories, we top many of Canada's lists: addiction rates, suicide rates, crime rates and housing needs. My efforts here in this House have often targeted getting more housing, increasing indigenous policing and accessing more mental health funding.
I have also been advocating for more attention and resources to conclude land claims and self-government. As well as decreasing this constant and large socioeconomic gap between indigenous people and other Canadians, which needs to be a priority, there also needs to be certainty over land rights and empowerment of indigenous people through self-government.
I can see how the government has supported Canada's effort and attention, and the billions of dollars in additional funding to indigenous governments, indigenous organizations and programs that have been created over the five years. Should there be more? I think so. Should it be faster? I think so.
While we are all mourning the children from Kamloops, let us not make it an empty exercise. Let us move faster in fulfilling the important work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Let us focus on reducing and eliminating systemic racism that exists, and that we see in policing and health care, for example.
To the members of the loyal opposition, while posting thoughts on the recent tragedy before us along with pictures of teddy bears, let us not continue to vote against legislation like UNDRIP. Let us work together to support indigenous people in Canada. Let us not continue to make comments on residential schools that are both inaccurate and insensitive.
Let us work together and not obstruct our attempts to heal and to help and to empower indigenous people, who are still surviving this generational harm that goes by the name of residential schools. Please, let us all focus on helping our constituents.
View Yvonne Jones Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Yvonne Jones Profile
2021-06-01 22:26 [p.7812]
Mr. Speaker, I thank all my colleagues in the House of Commons this evening for the opportunity to speak to this motion.
As a proud Inuk woman of Labrador, the daughter of a mother of residential school, when we hear these stories through generations, we are always reminded, each and every day, of the trauma that they have endured and of the legacy that it has left behind.
What we are dealing with today is a horrible reality. It is a horrible reality of our past that has been uncovered. It has been revealed and unearthed that in Kamloops, 215 innocent children lie in a mass grave. This is not only devastating; it is heartbreaking. It is an act against humanity. On that, I think we all agree. It is an act against children who had no voice. They were alone. They were scared. They were silenced. They were isolated. They were robbed of life, and they were buried with the same horror that they endured in society.
Yesterday, I stood in my riding next to two very strong moms, Jodie Ashini and Thea Penashue of the Sheshatshiu Innu First Nation, along with Chief Eugene Hart, surrounded by so many children, so many moms and so many dads. I stood surrounded by survivors and victims of residential schools, surrounded by love and affection for each other, and surrounded by tears, so many tears.
On behalf of all of them, on behalf of all the people of Labrador, I want to extend our love and support to those many families who are suffering this evening in this country, those many indigenous families who are feeling the loss, the void and the heartache of what has happened.
I think we can all agree on several things, and that is there is much work to do in advancing not just the rights of indigenous people in this country, but also upholding the rights of innocent indigenous children as well. We have talked so much about the harm that has been caused by the legacies of residential schools and the trauma that comes with it. However, we also know that, as we sit here this evening and we speak, indigenous people still face racism. We still face unacceptable injustices, which are happening in many of our communities across the country.
I know that, one by one, we have pledged our support to make a difference. We have pledged to ensure that we can restore the language and culture, that we can restore, once again, the proud legacy of indigenous people. It is a long road, and one that has to be shaped and led by indigenous people themselves.
Like every ill act, there has to be accountability. I am sure that many share my belief that more accountability needs to come to bear. I really believe that the Catholic Church has yet to redeem itself, in any way, in recognizing what has happened at the hands of their institutions. That is unacceptable.
While we pledge our support that, as the Government of Canada, we will continue to move forward to bridge that gap for indigenous people in this country, we need to do it with the support of all parliamentarians of all provinces and all territories. That means that when we have legislation such as UNDRIP, we have to be able to stand up and support it. That is part of reconciliation in this country. That is part of bridging that gap with indigenous people.
Every day I wake up not knowing what I am going to hear next. I woke up today in a very small populated riding to find out two very young beautiful people died by suicide last night, in my riding. One was first nations and one was Inuit. This has to stop. The healing is not happening in the way it should be. It is happening, but it is slow. How do we get it to move faster? How do we bridge that gap more?
How do we ensure that every child has the opportunity to wake up in a warm home with a full belly? That is where we need to focus. It is as basic as those things in many cases.
Reconciliation with indigenous people and recognizing that every child does matter is not difficult. It really is not, but we need to do it faster. We need to move at a more rapid rate than we have.
That includes us as a government, but it includes indigenous leadership as well. It includes all of us working together to make sure these things happen. These are times of critical advancement for indigenous people. Let us not lose this. Let us not bury this so we have to wait 10 more years for this to become a priority in the country.
I am so proud of what our government has done to help indigenous people. I have seen more indigenous children get support in my riding in the last five years than I have seen in the 15 years before. I have seen more houses built in communities across my riding for indigenous families than I have seen in 15 years before.
I have seen more investments into food banks, into social support. We have revamped the social welfare system and the child welfare system in this country to support indigenous communities and indigenous people, but there is still a lot more to do—
View Marilène Gill Profile
BQ (QC)
View Marilène Gill Profile
2021-05-28 13:07 [p.7575]
Mr. Speaker, I must admit that I am a bit shaken today as I rise to speak to Bill C-5. It obviously has to do with the events of the past week, when the remains of 215 indigenous children were uncovered behind a residential school.
Earlier, when I was thinking about this, I realized that as gruesome as this image is, it shows us that the gesture we are debating today, humble as it may be, is necessary for commemoration and remembrance in a spirit of reconciliation, but also in a spirit of truth as we deal with the bombshell of these appalling new revelations.
The thought of this image is definitely making me emotional as I speak to Bill C-5. This bill is something tangible that proves that we have started a process that is not finished, so we have to keep moving forward.
The Bloc Québécois agrees with this bill and will support it for all of the reasons it has previously mentioned, which I would like to reiterate. I think that the idea of painting a picture and telling stories would be good for everyone. As I said before, the purpose of this day is to actively remember. Memories are not a passing thing that we let slip by. They are something that we hold close and reflect on so that we can heal and act.
This is a human issue, and there are certainly many other human beings in the House. We sometimes try to keep a level head when giving certain speeches and in certain situations, but the issue of residential schools is something that strikes to the very core of who we are.
I am going to share a story I was told by one of my constituents, a story that is all too common. I listened to this story from every possible perspective, as a human being, a mother, a woman, a daughter, a sister and an elected official. This constituent is a man who was born in the Innu community of Nutashkuan, which has no road access. He told me that when he was two years old, some people showed up, took him away from his family and brought him to a residential school.
I have a three-year-old son, and I cannot even imagine my little guy being taken hundreds of kilometres away from home, far from everything he knows and loves.
This man went to a residential school for one year and was sent home the following summer. He found that first summer difficult, since he was starting to lose touch with the community. It was starting to feel foreign to him. A second summer passed, then a third. Eventually, he ended up losing the language he had learned at home. He forgot the smells, tastes and people from back home and ended up feeling like a different person from the little Innu boy he used to be. He started asking not to go home anymore, since he had lost any connection to that home.
The man ended up returning home. He did great things for his nation, but the person, the human being, the Innu man who returned home was not the same. He had been stripped of his language, his culture, his family, his people and love.
What does one do upon returning home when one is no longer oneself, when one has lost all sense of connection to the people one loved, to one's culture, to one's nation?
The man recovered his language and culture over the years, but there was always a divide. He himself became a father and even a grandfather. He now has several grandchildren, so he thinks a lot about passing on his knowledge because he himself nearly lost everything. He was taken far away and even lost contact with his parents.
Earlier, I used the word “process”, but I wanted to focus on the concept of continuity, of our living connections to both the past and the future because the ability to convey one's culture and language, to be oneself, is all one and the same.
His story is the story of so many other people, but his story shows us that we need a day like September 30 to focus on truth and reconciliation for both indigenous and non-indigenous peoples with a colonial past. I said “colonial past”, but I would add that we still have a colonial present. We need vigorous, rapid action on many fronts, and this day is one of those actions.
I talked about one particular case, but considering all the goodwill we are witnessing in the House today by virtue of symbolic gestures including ideas, values and principles, I hope this will translate into quicker action on several issues.
We are talking about first nations today, but we all know that the Indian Act still exists. It is the clearest example of systemic racism. If we had to pick one, that would be it. Someone talked about the issue of water earlier. Human beings have basic needs, and not all indigenous children have access to water at this time. Education also comes to mind. We talk about the acculturation that resulted from the assimilation process at residential schools. Meanwhile, when we know that indigenous children have less money for their education than non-indigenous children, we have to look carefully at whether indigenous languages and cultures are being protected.
There is of course just such a day, and the Bloc Québécois would like to see September 30 officially designated. Meanwhile, there are many things we can do right now. As we did with Bill C-15, I hope we can pass this legislation quickly, so that it can be implemented as soon as possible. Symbolism is essential, but we also need concrete actions on the ground, and means and resources must be given to theses communities.
This bill talks about truth and reconciliation, but I would like it to go even further and talk about the vitality of first nations and first nations children, because children are really at the heart of this.
In closing, I would like to acknowledge the courage of my constituents. I am thinking about the parents who lost their children some sixty years ago, parents whose children were flown out one day and never came back or were found again, like the children in Kamloops.
My wish for them, and for all indigenous peoples, is that, one day, as they see their children leave, they can be confident, and that they will no longer think about what happened in the past. I want them to know that their children are safe and can live their lives with dignity, respect and love, as all children in this world deserve.
View Jenny Kwan Profile
NDP (BC)
View Jenny Kwan Profile
2021-05-28 13:23 [p.7577]
Madam Speaker, I am speaking today from the unceded Coast Salish territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh peoples.
Today is a dark, dark day and the dark clouds that hang in the air as we learn of the news in B.C. at the Kamloops residential school just shake us to the core. I cannot imagine what the families and friends of the children must be going through.
We can say we mourn with them, and we send our strength and support as they are confronted with this horrific news and forced to relive the trauma of colonization and the egregious impact of residential schools. These are, of course, words and they are not our family members who have lost loved ones.
However, I do want to say with all my heart, I know that I and all my colleagues, the New Democrats, the Liberals, the Conservatives, the Bloc members and the Greens, stand with them. We share their mourning and we take in deeply what this means.
The finding is a reminder that the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation has estimated that more than 150,000 indigenous children attended residential school. The centre also estimates that 4,100 children died at the schools. They are identified in death records, some by name and some not. Let us just imagine, for one minute, if that were our child. The exact number of children who died is not known, as many were taken to residential schools and many never returned.
We must remember this and never forget the generational impact of Canada's shameful history. For us to say these words, we must then redouble our efforts in every single action we do to address this shameful history. Reconciliation cannot just be words. It must be action.
We must also never forget that this is not an indigenous people's problem. It is a Canadian problem. I ask members to remember these words each and every day. That is what I ask for all members of the House. I also ask all Canadians to remember those words and act on those words.
Today, we are speaking to Bill C-5, a bill that would honour indigenous people and set the national day for truth and reconciliation as a statutory holiday. It is a recognition of the call to action 80 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's report.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission's report states, “Reconciliation is not an [indigenous] problem; it is a Canadian one. Virtually all aspects of Canadian society may need to be reconsidered.”
We, as non-indigenous peoples, must carry these profound words with us each and every day in everything that we do, and, as mentioned, this is particularly significant with the news of what has happened at the Kamloops residential school.
What does it mean for us? There is no question that we need to get this bill passed. I want to honour former MP Georgina Jolibois, who brought forward her own private member's bill in the last Parliament. It went through all three stages in the House, and then, when it went to the Senate, the Senate blocked it. The unelected Senate blocked it and it never became law.
I hope that this does not happen again. I call on the government, the Conservatives and all members of the House to do everything they can to ensure that Bill C-5 becomes law. The NDP is in full support of seeing this expedited through the House of Commons so we can honour indigenous peoples, their history and their culture, and remember the trauma and generational impact of colonization.
However, it is equally important that we truly honour and celebrate them, make a statutory holiday not as a day off, but as a day to learn about indigenous peoples, their culture and their history, and take to heart what it means to show the respect they deserve and that was robbed of them so many years ago.
The call for collective action across Canada in recognition of first nations, Métis and Inuit peoples and the history of their rights, cultures and languages must be at the heart of our work. They are the first peoples of this land and we must never forget that, whether we are talking about the conflicts going on now, Land Back or issues around rights. We must remember this not only in the face of news about the Kamloops residential school, but as a guide in the work that we do. When we talk about the voices of indigenous peoples, we cannot just say that we consult with them. It must be in the context of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and honouring their inherited rights, acknowledging these and acting on them.
This bill does not address socio-economic challenges faced by indigenous communities, but it is a reflection on colonial history and its current effects on the rights of first nations, Métis and Inuit communities across the country, and that is an important step. Equally important, though, is the question I asked the minister: Why on earth is the Canadian government taking indigenous children to court? His answer was that this was a complex issue. I say that it is not that complex. The government should step up, own up and stop taking indigenous children to court, period. This is something the Canadian government can and must do. That is how to show reconciliation in action and not just in words.
We talk about water safety. Water is sacred. Our lives depend on it, so why are we still dealing with water advisories? The government will say we are making progress. How about that? We are making progress. How is it acceptable that people do not have access to clean, safe drinking water? How is it acceptable that this is happening to indigenous people? How is it acceptable that we are taking this incremental approach to get there?
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
CPC (NS)
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
2021-05-27 15:03 [p.7504]
Mr. Speaker, a few weeks back, I sent a letter to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans asking for details on the possible indigenous fishery beginning June 1 and how she and her department would respond. The minister's statement about regulations and seasons in March was what coastal communities had been waiting for since tensions blew up back in September. Nobody wants a repeat of that.
Will the minister allow tensions to blow up once again, or have there been meaningful negotiations with all sides to avoid another fisheries crisis in St. Marys Bay?
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
Mr. Speaker, with regard to the ongoing situation concerning moderate livelihood, we are continuing to have negotiations with first nations, as well as making sure that industry is well communicated with. We have put a plan in place for this year where fishers are able to get out on the water with the moderate livelihood fishery. It is a flexible plan. It is a plan that allows them to develop their own fishery plans.
We are committed to finding a path forward. I look forward to working with the hon. member opposite to make sure that we do that.
View Mona Fortier Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mona Fortier Profile
2021-05-14 10:03 [p.7229]
moved:
That, in relation to Bill C-15, An Act respecting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration of the third reading stage of the bill; and
That, 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders on the day allotted to the consideration of the third reading stage of the said bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this order, and, in turn, every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Madam Speaker, we are sorry to see the government shutting down debate yet again. I want to ask a specific question about the legislation, though.
Right now in Canadian law, we have a duty to consult around the development of resource projects. The government has said that this legislation does not create a veto for all communities that may be affected. The existing law has duty to consult, and the Liberals are saying it is not a veto. FPIC, the doctrine of free, prior and informed consent, is ostensibly somewhere in between these two extremes, according to the government, but there is still a lot of clarity required. What does “free, prior and informed consent” mean if it is not a duty to consult and it is not a veto?
What precisely is meant in the context of this legislation by “free, prior and informed consent” if it is something more than the duty to consult, but something less than a veto?
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, the hon. member has asked this question a number of times, and I will give what I believe is the same clear answer that I have given a number of times before.
FPIC is a process. FPIC is about meaningful consultation, discussion and dialogue with indigenous peoples affected by a particular decision, say a resource development project, that they be at the table from the beginning. Yes, there is a duty to consult under Canadian law. That has had further refinement and guidance from the Federal Court of Appeal in the Trans Mountain process. We, as a government, were taken to task for not having meaningfully consulted the first time through, and we got it right the second time through.
FPIC is a process. It is going to continue to be a process. It will be contextual, so there is no way to precisely define it at the outset, and there is no way it should be precisely defined at the outset. The hon. member knows that. It is about discussion and dialogue. It is about putting indigenous peoples at the table, where, heretofore, they have not—
View Christine Normandin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Christine Normandin Profile
2021-05-14 10:07 [p.7229]
Madam Speaker, that is a little ironic because, yesterday, when we were debating the Bloc Québécois's opposition day motion, I talked about how one can be for a bill but against using closure to pass that bill.
The same principle applies here. I agree with Bill C-15. I realize that it needs to go through quickly. However, I do not agree with the government's approach. It has clearly done a poor job of managing its legislative calendar, and now it is shutting down debate on a very important subject that many members wanted to speak to. We got just two hours of debate on this.
Is this because we will not be able to debate it in September because there will be an election between now and then? Is that why the government had no choice but to bring in time allocation?
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for her question.
The answer is no. This is a priority for the government, for indigenous peoples, and for indigenous leaders across the country.
The fact is, we have already covered this. We have already debated the substance of Bill C-15 because we debated its previous iteration, Bill C-262, which was introduced by our former colleague, Romeo Saganash. The previous Parliament passed that bill after a debate to which the Bloc Québécois contributed its opinion.
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples itself has been around for 15 years, so it is not new.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Madam Speaker, the government is certainly using speed to get this bill through. Fair enough, but one wonders why it does not use speed to resolve community issues that have come up. First nations communities have desperate need to end boil water advisories, and we have heard the government is now extending the deadline. For over a decade, first nations communities continue to wait for that government support. Indigenous-led housing is also something the government has not tackled with any speed whatsoever, and we have seen first nations kids taken repeatedly to court rather than having their basic needs met.
The question is very simple. Liberals are using speed when it comes to this bill. Why do they not use the same speed to meet the needs of indigenous peoples in this country?
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I thank the member for his support on this bill generally, as well as the support of his party. I obviously also salute the work that Romeo Saganash did in the last Parliament and continues to do in support and promotion of this bill.
We are working hard to solve infrastructure problems, drinking water problems. We have done a great deal of work on it, but we have admitted honestly that more work needs to be done. The same is true for resolving cases around Jordan's principle. We are working very hard to resolve those cases out of court where possible, and we are doing our best to move all of those files forward.
I think the hon. member and I share the same end point and the same goals, and we are pushing hard to make them happen.
View Jamie Schmale Profile
CPC (ON)
Madam Speaker, I share the concern on this side of the House at the way the government is ramming through this piece of legislation. We heard at committee many times from indigenous groups themselves that said they have not had the opportunity to be consulted. We still have the outstanding question about the very important piece of FPIC, free, prior and informed consent, and what it means, and the minister, in his previous response to my friend from Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, was quite dismissive of it. The fact that the legislative branch is not doing its job in creating a definition so that industry and first nations communities themselves have an idea of what this means, and then chart a path forward that is best for them, is quite concerning.
Why will the government not do its work and get that definition done here so it is not challenged in the courts later, further delaying this process?
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his work on committee. The answer is the same. The best expert opinions we have received throughout this and the most convincing arguments made have been that FPIC should not be defined in the legislation, cannot be defined in the legislation, because the very nature of FPIC is in a process.
We said from the beginning that we would consult as many indigenous leadership groups as we possibly could before the tabling of the bill. We did that. Those groups had an impact on the form of the bill before it was tabled. We continued to consult after the bill was tabled, and the indigenous groups, in making appearances at committee and in working with the government, have proposed a number of amendments, many of which we have accepted. Again, that consultation process continues, and the consultation process with indigenous leadership groups across Canada will continue as we move through the action plan and the co-development of it.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2021-05-14 10:13 [p.7230]
Madam Speaker, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has called upon all levels of government in Canada to adopt and implement the UN declaration as the framework for reconciliation. I am wondering if the minister could provide his thoughts as to why it is so important in moving forward with reconciliation that the Government of Canada and the Prime Minister continue to push this bill so it ultimately can get passed.
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his commitment to the reconciliation process generally. It is an important question. TRC called UNDRIP a road map to reconciliation, and we firmly believe that. This bill is about human rights. It is about the human rights of indigenous peoples. It behooves me to understand why people could be opposed to recognizing human rights for indigenous people, who simply want to have the same rights that other people in this country have.
Yes, this is a priority for our government. Yes, this helps the road map to reconciliation. It is fundamentally important. People like Dr. Wilton Littlechild, former Conservative member of Parliament and one of the architects of UNDRIP, have said that precisely.
View Andréanne Larouche Profile
BQ (QC)
View Andréanne Larouche Profile
2021-05-14 10:14 [p.7231]
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for this morning's debate, which will be very short.
As the critic for the status of women, I would have liked to see the government have the same sense of urgency when it came to applying the recommendations of the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls as it did this morning for Bill C-15.
How much time has been spent so far debating a document as important as Bill C-15? I will give the House just one guess: barely an hour and 43 minutes and the minister is already imposing time allocation.
Does the minister think that one hour and 43 minutes is enough time to debate this important issue? What about the time allocation on Bill C-19, prorogation of Parliament and obstruction in committee? This government behaves like a majority government when voters gave it a minority mandate.
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for the question. It is true that she was not here in the last Parliament when we fully debated Bill C-262, which is the foundation for the current Bill C-15. The House even passed Bill C-262, but it died on the Order Paper in the Senate because of the Conservative senators' political games.
This is therefore the second time the House is studying this issue, so much of it is very familiar. Everyone is indeed aware of the content of the bill and we are proceeding in this way because it is a priority for the country.
View Alexandre Boulerice Profile
NDP (QC)
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague. This issue is obviously a priority for the country. I must point out that Bill C-262 was introduced by our former colleague, Romeo Saganash, as an NDP initiative. Therefore, we are in agreement with the substance of Bill C-15.
However, if this bill were truly a priority for the government, why was it incapable of managing its legislative agenda and the activities of the House in such a way as to move it forward without having to resort to time allocation? This is another example of inept management by the Liberals, who now claim the bill is a priority.
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his question and his support for the substance of this bill.
I will once again highlight Romeo Saganash's work on the previous bill, which is the basis for Bill C-15. I also want to remind members that Mr. Saganash continues to promote Bill C-15 to this day.
We must proceed in this way because, as the House has noticed, certain dilatory tactics are being used, especially by one opposition party.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2021-05-14 10:17 [p.7231]
Madam Speaker, I am torn on this matter and I am going to be very candid with the minister. I am rarely less than decisive. I fully support the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, but the process by which we come to this place has left indigenous communities, first nations, Métis and Inuit, divided on the matter. The right path, the right way to vote, is not at all clear to me, and it certainly is the case that we cannot wait any longer to take the steps we need to take for reconciliation.
There are a number of very significant first nations policy analysts and a number of legal analysts who are on both sides, and of first nations themselves that say they were not consulted in the development of Bill C-15. It is therefore really important that we hear the different perspectives and we ask the hon. minister if he does not regret that there was—
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I agree with the member's observation that it is rare that she is less than decisive on a matter. I always appreciate her opinions and I take this question very seriously.
Yes, in a minority government context, we consulted as many indigenous leadership groups in a variety of forms as we possibly could. As I said, they had an impact on the original Romeo Saganash bill before tabling. We continued to consult, and they had an impact on the bill at committee. I commit to the hon. member that I will continue to consult as many indigenous leadership groups as I possibly can, in particular in the development of the action plan as we move forward.
I would just point out to her that although there is disagreement, there is an increasing trend, particularly after the last set of amendments in committee, to be supportive of the bill on the part of indigenous leadership.
View David Sweet Profile
CPC (ON)
View David Sweet Profile
2021-05-14 10:19 [p.7231]
Madam Speaker, for the better part of 16 years I have left it up to my colleagues to always comment on a hatchet closure motion, but I think it is time for me to speak up in this regard.
For 10 straight years I sat on the other side and listened to the weeping, gnashing and howling from the Liberal Party every time the Hon. Peter Van Loan stood and moved closure on a bill. The Liberals said that they would never do it, that it was undemocratic. They promised in an election that they would never do it. Now, at the height of hypocrisy, they continue to do it over and over again. As my NDP colleague said, it is simply because they cannot even manage their own House agenda.
This needs to stop. The Liberals need to start respecting the House and debate bills appropriately.
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, the reason why we are here is because of the general dilatory tactics of the member's party on every single matter that comes up in front of the House. We can recall the fall economic statement, which got more debate time than a budget. The Conservatives keep throwing up tactic after tactic to delay debate, which has forced our hand.
I would imagine the hon. member was here in the last session and would remember the high-fiving of certain Conservative members who voted against Romeo Saganash's bill. That is not reconciliation; Bill C-15 is reconciliation.
View Marilène Gill Profile
BQ (QC)
View Marilène Gill Profile
2021-05-14 10:21 [p.7232]
Madam Speaker, I just want to comment on the fact that the government cannot even manage its own legislative agenda properly. That is why we are in this situation today.
The government introduced Bill C-19 rather than prioritizing Bill C-15, and yet the Liberals claim they do not want an election. This government prorogued Parliament last summer, when we could have used that time to work faster and more responsibly.
I would just like to point out to the minister that there seems to be a real leadership problem when it comes to the government's legislative agenda.
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for her comments.
Obviously, I disagree. As she might well recall, we debated Bill C-262 in the previous Parliament, and it received significant support in the House. The foundations of this bill had already been laid and were well known before the debate began.
We are moving forward like this because it is a priority for indigenous people across Canada and it is important to our reconciliation process.
View Taylor Bachrach Profile
NDP (BC)
 Madam Speaker, I believe this bill has strong support among indigenous people in northwest B.C., but there are also some misgivings. I wonder if the minister could inform Canadians, especially indigenous people in the region I represent of northwest British Columbia, about the tangible changes the bill would create in the near term for indigenous communities.
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his commitment. I salute the leadership of British Columbia generally on UNDRIP. The Province of British Columbia has UNDRIP legislation and a road map. It is moving forward and doing quite well economically, among other things.
The bill is a reset for the path that indigenous and non-indigenous peoples have to walk together in our country. It would put us at the same table from the beginning with respect to major decisions that have an impact.
Symbolically and substantively, it articulates a set of rights for indigenous peoples. Symbolically and substantively, it rejects a number of doctrines—
View Mark Gerretsen Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, when ministers rise usually a day before or a couple of days before to indicate that they will be moving this motion, the first thing they say is that an agreement could not be reached with the parties. Indeed, there is always the behind-the-scenes work of trying to come to some co-operation and agreement of when a bill can be put through the process and eventually voted on. However, as we are seeing time and again, the Conservatives are absolutely refusing to let certain legislation go through. It is their way of saying they do not want the legislation.
Could the minister comment on how frustrating it must be for him to go through this time after time?
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I salute the member's resilience in the House of Commons, holding down the fort.
It is frustrating to watch the dilatory tactics of the Conservative Party on a number of important pieces of progressive legislation. MAID, for example, was something that Canadians wanted, that would reduce the suffering of Canadians, yet there was delay after delay. It is the same on this bill and on other bills I have had in front of the House. I have had a number, and still have a number.
It is important we get these bills through.
View Jamie Schmale Profile
CPC (ON)
Madam Chair, again, we are hearing over and over the fact that the government cannot seem to manage its legislative agenda. Again, we are being forced to undergo a closure motion, yet this bill has barely been debated in the House. Of course, the Liberals, which they do best, play the blame game, saying it has to be someone else's fault. No matter what goes wrong, it is never their fault, which is a common theme.
Why did we not debate this bill when Parliament was shut down? Why did we not keep going longer throughout the summer, rather than the one-day sitting a month, to debate this bill? Why did the Liberals prorogue Parliament?
This could have been done a lot better, and it was not. We still do not have certainty through indigenous communities that have relayed their concerns through committee. Those concerns have not been addressed. Why not?
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, we are continuing to engage with indigenous leadership groups from across the country, particularly in the development of amendments to this bill. We have done that.
We will continue to work with indigenous leadership groups as we develop an action plan together. The law requires us to do that within a period of two years. That is intense, and it will be intense, but we will do it.
The hon. member should ask his Conservatives senators why they let this bill die. They used every procedural manoeuvre possible to let the previous bill die in the Senate. If they had not done that, we would not be here; we would be working on an action plan.
View Matthew Green Profile
NDP (ON)
View Matthew Green Profile
2021-05-14 10:27 [p.7233]
Madam Speaker, this is another example of Liberal words not meeting their actions. It is another example of how the Liberals do not prioritize their actual work.
I am going to talk about Six Nations and 1492 Land Back. We have heard the government talk about how it is committed to working collaboratively to address historical claims at Six Nations and how it is willing to work with the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Council. It has been almost a year of a reclamation process happening there. The Liberals have not had the courtesy of taking the trip down the road to visit them and open up the negotiations.
Will the minister commit, today, to actually doing something toward reconciliation by visiting Six Nations and opening up the negotiations to finally settle that land claim?
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, the member knows that this part of our mandate falls with the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations. I know she is working on that file. I support the minister in her efforts to settle land claims and to push for these kinds of settlements around the cabinet table.
While I have not been to the Six Nations reserve as a member of Parliament or a minister, I have visited other Haudenosaunee reserves and territories. I do my best to work closely with them.
View Eric Melillo Profile
CPC (ON)
View Eric Melillo Profile
2021-05-14 10:28 [p.7233]
Madam Speaker, working on the INAN committee, we heard testimony from a lot of witnesses, a lot of indigenous people and organizations that did not feel they were adequately consulted in the process of this bill. That is very concerning for me and should be concerning for a lot of people.
I wonder if the minister would agree that pushing through legislation that would greatly impact indigenous people without proper consultation is contrary to the spirit of reconciliation.
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I certainly share the member's concern.
From the beginning, we have tried to consult with as many indigenous leadership groups as possible. It is a complex web with a complex variety of leadership groups. There are treaty nations, modern treaty nations, nations with no treaty, regional groups, national leadership groups and groups that focus on women.
We have done our best to consult with as many as possible. In fact, we prioritized those groups that we had not met in our recommendations to committee, so these groups would be heard. I continue to do this. I have continued to work through this. Even now, I continue to schedule meetings with groups that I have yet to meet to push this process forward in a truly consultative fashion.
View Gary Anandasangaree Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the minister for his hard work on Bill C-15 and for getting it to this point. I want to ask him about the amendments made by committee and his comments with respect to going forward. Does he believe they strengthened the bill and is he satisfied with the amendments made at the committee stage?
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his work on the committee and his leadership as well as the fact he is posing this substantive question.
I am very pleased with the amendments. They are things I have believed in for a long time, such as a better recognition of systemic racism in the preamble, an explicit rejection of the doctrines of discovery and terra nullius, which for 20 years teaching in a law faculty property, I consistently reminded my students. I will put this euphemistically of the real meaninglessness of these doctrines and the historical distortion and the colonial basis that existed for them.
The other is that indigenous rights are not frozen. This is an important amendment that is in accord with Supreme Court of Canada jurisprudence.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Madam Speaker, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples speaks to free, prior and informed consent. The same government is trying to ram through the Trans Mountain pipeline at nearly $20 billion despite the fact that there is strong opposition from first nation communities.
Will the passage of this bill mean that the government will finally halt ramming through this pipeline over the objections of first nations?
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, we did get elected saying that we would redo the consultation process for Trans Mountain. We redid it. We redid it imperfectly, and the Federal Court reminded us of that. Therefore, we went back to the table again, with one consultation group being led by Justice Iacobucci and the other being led by Justice Department officials, and we did a better job to the satisfaction of the Federal Court.
The kind of process that FPIC in UNDRIP represents is one that hopefully allows us to avoid these kinds of questions down the road. They will put indigenous peoples at the table from the get-go, as they should be.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
View Blake Richards Profile
2021-05-14 10:33 [p.7234]
Madam Speaker, the minister has claimed that somehow there has been Conservative dilatory tactics used and he has to move time allocation, yet that has not been the case. Maybe the minister could give us the real reasons why time allocation is being moved.
I know he has so far refused to attend the heritage committee hearings on Bill C-10, even though he has been ordered to do so. Perhaps, is he moving time allocation so he can clear his schedule to enable him to appear at that committee as he has been asked to?
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for the real sense of humour that he has in posing that question.
There is nothing but government priority represented in the use of time allocation on this, priority for indigenous peoples, the importance of the law. This should have been passed in the last Parliament. It was the will of Parliament and the will of most of the Senate except for dilatory tactics used by Conservative senators. We have seen dilatory tactics in this minority Parliament used very effectively by the Conservative Party only to impede, not on any good, substantive ground. This is an important bill. It is about human rights. It is about the human rights of indigenous peoples.
View Julie Vignola Profile
BQ (QC)
View Julie Vignola Profile
2021-05-14 10:34 [p.7234]
Madam Speaker, it is high time that we passed Bill C-15.
First nations peoples are human beings, and that is precisely what Bill C-15 says. As human beings, they must enjoy the same rights as all other human beings. This is 2021, and it is about time that was acknowledged and implemented.
However, it is not right for parliamentarians, who represent the people, to be denied the right to speak to and discuss these issues.
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, this is not the first time we are debating this bill in the House. Members of the Bloc Québécois have already participated in the debate.
This bill is already well known. It is based on a former bill, so it is not surprising—
View Niki Ashton Profile
NDP (MB)
Madam Speaker, yesterday, the Manitoba government violated the constitutional rights of O-Pipon-Na-Piwin and Tataskweyak Cree Nations by approving a final licence to Manitoba Hydro that includes parameters to further devastate these communities.
In the past, the federal government has helped first nations to defend their rights. This led to the negotiation of the historic Northern Flood Agreement, but what about today in this era of reconciliation? Where is the federal government?
Will the federal government step in and support OPCN and TCN as they defend their rights and protect their nations?
View Arif Virani Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Arif Virani Profile
2021-05-14 12:08 [p.7245]
Madam Speaker, we take very seriously the constitutional rights of indigenous peoples, including in the case that has been mentioned by the member opposite. I would be happy to follow up with her at a later date to get more details about the matter and see what can be pursued.
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
Madam Speaker, speaking to the UNDRIP legislation today, the justice minister said that if Bill C-262 had not been delayed in the last Parliament, the government would be working on an action plan for its implementation.
Let us not kid ourselves. The fact is the government delayed the important work of true reconciliation due to political expediency. There have been over five years of promises, and very little action on rights recognition.
Bill C-15 is a small first step. Will the government stop making excuses, do its work, get its own house in order and change its laws, policies and operational practices to ensure indigenous peoples can be self-determining?
View Arif Virani Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Arif Virani Profile
2021-05-14 12:30 [p.7249]
Madam Speaker, we take very seriously the issues that relate to indigenous reconciliation and UNDRIP.
We thank the member opposite for her contributions to this matter in her previous role as minister of justice. The government stood behind Romeo Saganash's private member's bill in the last Parliament. It is unfortunate that it did not secure passage at that time due to Conservative opposition in the Senate.
That is why we have tabled Bill C-15, why we are working with opposition parties to secure the passage of Bill C-15, and why we are very keen to have UNDRIP see the light of day and achieve royal assent.
View Adam van Koeverden Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Adam van Koeverden Profile
2021-05-14 12:34 [p.7250]
Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my friend and colleague, the member for Oakville North—Burlington.
Today, I am speaking to members from the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee, Attawandaron, Anishinabe, Huron-Wendat, and most recently, the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation.
I would also like to acknowledge that I arrived here as an athlete. An Inuit invention, the kayak, was originally built and invented for transportation and hunting. I got to use it for sport, and I am very grateful for that.
Just over 10 years ago, Canada endorsed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Then, in 2019, the Prime Minister made a commitment to introduce legislation on its implementation before the end of 2020, and here we are today at its third reading in the House.
I wish to begin by acknowledging all of the hard work, especially the significant role that indigenous leaders from Canada, like Willie Littlechild, have played in the development of the declaration itself over the last 25 years. It is a lifetime of indigenous advocacy and tireless efforts championing indigenous and human rights that have brought us to this important milestone today.
Bill C-15 is a turning point. For far too long, and despite robust constitutional and legal protections, indigenous rights have not been fully respected. While progress continues to be made, it has been slow and grave harms have continued to occur, including to indigenous women and girls.
We have a responsibility, as a country, to recognize and respect the rights of indigenous peoples, to uphold the protections that are part of the fabric of our nation, and that as a government we take steps to ensure that those rights are reflected and considered when we make new laws or introduce new policies. We must work together with indigenous peoples to build our relationship and seek to avoid lengthy court cases whenever we can. No less important is for all of us, as Canadians, to understand why this is relevant for us, to our lives, and to debunk myths and misconceptions so that we can move forward inclusively with values that ensure dignity and respect for all.
Indigenous rights are not new rights. However, the declaration acknowledges and affirms the rights of indigenous peoples. Implementing the declaration is about respecting human rights. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission called upon the Government of Canada to fully adopt and implement the declaration as the framework for reconciliation. Bill C-15 responds to call to action 43 to do just that.
The action plan that is required under Bill C-15 to be developed in consultation and co-operation with indigenous peoples will also respond to the call to action 44. This call to action requires the Government of Canada to develop a national action plan, strategies and other concrete measures to achieve the goals of the declaration.
Development of an action plan will require broad and in-depth engagement with indigenous partners across the country to discuss their various priorities. Bill C-15 sets out minimum requirements for what the action plan must address. These elements of the legislation were included in direct response to what was heard consistently throughout the fall 2020 engagement process with indigenous partners. These measures are focused on three areas.
First are measures to address injustices, combatting prejudice and eliminating all forms of violence and discrimination, including systemic discrimination against indigenous peoples, indigenous elders, youth, children, women, men, persons with disabilities, gender-diverse persons and two-spirit persons. I would note that the Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs, of which I am a proud member and contributor, has unanimously adopted an important amendment to this provision, which is the addition of a specific reference to racism and systemic racism. The addition acknowledges that while there are linkages between discrimination and racism, there are specific harms and legacies in relation to racism that need to be identified and addressed. The Government of Canada wants to make its position clear that it will stand against racism and work toward eradicating it wherever it exists.
Second, the plan must also contain measures promoting mutual respect and understanding as well as good relations, including through human rights education.
Third are measures relating to monitoring, oversight, recourse or remedy, or other accountability measures that will be need to be developed with respect to the implementation of the declaration. During one of our committee studies, a second amendment to clause 6 was adopted relating to the time frame associated with the development of the action plan.
Throughout engagement, and again through the committee process, we heard from indigenous peoples on the need to reduce the three-year maximum time frame to a shorter one. As a result, we did just that, bringing it down to a maximum of two years to reinforce the Government of Canada's commitment to work with indigenous peoples from coast to coast to coast to elaborate how to turn commitments into action and to achieve the objectives of the declaration.
These are minimum requirements of the action plan. We recognize while we need to include measures for reviewing and amending the plan, this initial phase is the beginning of a process, one that will continue to evolve over time in partnership with indigenous peoples.
In terms of implementation of the declaration, this is a whole-of-government responsibility. Bill C-15 implicates all federal ministers in the development and implementation of an action plan, as it should. Reconciliation is not the responsibility of a single minister or government department. Bringing about meaningful change requires action from all areas of government.
This government's Speech from the Throne and ministerial mandate letters have made it clear the path to reconciliation requires everyone's participation. Achieving the objectives of the declaration and further aligning federal laws with the declaration will take time. However, we are not starting from scratch and we are not sitting idle while we wait for the development of an action plan.
The Government of Canada has taken concrete measures to advance its relationship with indigenous peoples in a way that aligns with the principles set out in the declaration. This includes areas such as enabling self-determination and self-government through the recognition and implementation of rights, the establishment of permanent bilateral mechanisms to jointly identify priorities with indigenous leaders and an increased indigenous participation in decision-making on socio-economic and land matters, to name a few.
As of May 2020, there were nine federal laws that refer to and were created within the spirit of the declaration. They include laws regarding indigenous languages, indigenous child and family services, and indigenous participation in environmental impact assessments and other regulatory processes. We know much more work is required with indigenous peoples to ensure federal laws more fully protect and promote the rights of indigenous peoples.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the ongoing health, food security, housing, economic, governance, policing and other vulnerabilities and gaps that continue to impact indigenous peoples and communities. We are working hard to create new opportunities to turn the page on a colonial structure and build stronger and lasting relationships, close socio-economic gaps and promote greater prosperity for indigenous peoples and all Canadians.
Over the past months, we engaged closely with national indigenous organizations and heard from modern treaty and self-governing nations, rights holders, indigenous youth, and national and regional indigenous organizations, including those representing indigenous women and two-spirit and LGBTQ2+ peoples on the proposed legislation. The feedback we received has shaped the development of the legislative proposal.
Bill C-15 now includes an acknowledgement of the ongoing need to respect and promote the inherent rights of indigenous peoples, a respect for gender diversity, the importance of respecting treaties and agreements and the need to take distinctions into account while implementing the legislation, including with elders, youth, children, persons with disabilities, women, men, gender-diverse and two-spirit persons.
What is needed is a fundamental and foundational change. It is about respecting indigenous rights and respecting diversity. It is about righting historical wrongs. It is about shedding our colonial past. It is about writing the next chapter together, as partners, and building meaningful relationships and trust in that process.
This will not happen overnight, but we must take the necessary steps along that path, starting with implementing Bill C-15. I look forward to the journey we take to get there. It has been a sincere honour and privilege to serve on this committee with my colleagues.