Madam Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to talk about Bill C‑249, an act respecting the encouragement of the growth of the cryptoasset sector. I would also like to thank my colleague from Calgary Nose Hill for bringing this important matter to our attention.
This bill would require the Minister of Finance to develop a national framework to encourage the growth of the cryptoasset sector and, in developing the framework, to consult with persons working in the sector who are designated by provinces and territories. I believe this bill merits careful study. I realize that it is well-intentioned, but we must also consider the risks it poses to the country and to all Canadians. Financial innovation can certainly provide significant benefits, such as making payments more efficient, offering a broader range of services and reducing costs for consumers. This change may also make financial services more inclusive and more responsive to the changing needs of consumers and businesses.
In fact, on March 22, the government announced its intention to move forward with open banking in Canada. Open banking, or consumer-directed finance, is a system that enables consumers to transfer their financial data between financial institutions and accredited third parties in a secure and consumer-friendly manner.
Modernizing the open banking system and payment services will benefit consumers and businesses by offering more choices in the financial services sector at lower cost. These initiatives will also enhance the security and soundness of the Canadian financial system. The government remains committed to modernizing payment services in a way that is responsible and prudent. This modernization must benefit Canadians while maintaining the security and integrity of the financial system.
However, getting back to Bill C-249, it is important to understand that, while cryptoassets are innovative financial products, they pose very significant risks to consumers and to the security and integrity of the Canadian financial system.
The recent protests in downtown Ottawa and at border crossings across the country are an excellent example. Indeed, cryptoassets greatly contributed to funding the protests, which threatened the country's national security for several weeks. Without a doubt, it is vital that any regulatory regime governing cryptoassets balance innovation in the financial system with any possible associated risks in order to ensure that our financial system is safe and secure and benefits all Canadians.
This bill merely seeks to promote growth in this sector, but this approach definitely does not serve the fundamental interests of Canada.
I will now speak about cryptoassets and illegal activities. I would like to remind my colleagues that cryptoassets play an important role in facilitating illicit activities such as fraud, cybercrime and money laundering, among others. This is because not all cryptoasset transactions are subject to the same rules to counter money laundering and terrorist financing, or to the same consumer information requirements.
It is important to understand that cryptoassets are decentralized and based on blockchain technology. This means that cryptoasset transactions can take place beyond our borders, either on numerous exchange platforms, of which there are eight at present, or on peer-to-peer exchanges. Clearly, this creates significant risks for the consumers and investors who participate in these activities. For example, the lack of a framework to protect consumers and investors makes them more vulnerable to fraud.
We were reminded by recent protests in Canada that were financed with cryptoassets that there is also a real risk for our national security. Unfortunately, Bill C‑249 does not address any of these risks.
Instead of blindly supporting the growth of cryptoassets, I think the government should focus its efforts on finding solutions and properly take into account the role that cryptoassets play in facilitating illicit activity.
What is more, given the more global nature of cryptoassets, I think the government needs to work with the provinces to adopt an approach to cryptoassets that is consistent with international standards and best practices. By adopting such an approach, we would limit the risk to Canada's financial system and protect the interests of Canadians.
In conclusion, imagine if every senior had invested their savings into cryptocurrency on the recommendation of the Conservative leader. What position would they be in today?
The bill introduced by the member for Calgary Nose Hill raises some rather complex questions. To me, the main problem is that Bill C‑249 seeks exclusively to encourage growth in the cryptoasset sector, without taking into consideration the major risk it poses to the financial system and Canadian consumers.
As I was saying, cryptoassets play a major role in facilitating illicit activity such as fraud, cybercrime and money laundering, among others. Recent demonstrations across the country are a good example. We have to assume that there is always a risk.
It would make more sense for the government to work on a comprehensive approach to the regulation of cryptoassets that would both support growth and limit the risks to the financial system and consumers.
According to the Conservatives, cryptocurrency is still a good investment. The recent drop in cryptocurrency would have jeopardized the investments of middle-class families and seniors. However, seven months ago, during his leadership campaign, the leader of the Conservative Party encouraged Canadians to avoid inflation by investing in cryptocurrency.
Today, we know that sound financial management does not involve cryptocurrency. Right now, our government is taking a more comprehensive approach and working to more strictly regulate cryptoassets in order to support growth, limit the risks to the financial system and help consumers. Today's cryptocurrency will do nothing to balance consumers' investments.
I am grateful to have had the opportunity to talk about cryptocurrency. I hope all members will unite to vote against this bill.