Encouraging the Growth of the Cryptoasset Sector Act

An Act respecting the encouragement of the growth of the cryptoasset sector


Michelle Rempel  Conservative

Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)


Defeated, as of Nov. 23, 2022

Subscribe to a feed (what's a feed?) of speeches and votes in the House related to Bill C-249.


This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment requires 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. The enactment also provides for reporting requirements in relation to the framework.


All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, an excellent resource from the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.


Nov. 23, 2022 Failed 2nd reading of Bill C-249, An Act respecting the encouragement of the growth of the cryptoasset sector

The House resumed from April 5 consideration of the motion that Bill C-249, An Act respecting the encouragement of the growth of the cryptoasset sector, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Encouraging the Growth of the Cryptoasset Sector ActPrivate Members' Business

November 21st, 2022 / 11 a.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba


Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, it was not that long ago when the leader of the Conservative Party was out canvassing, trying to generate support. We understand and appreciate he got overwhelming support from the Conservative Party membership.

It was really interesting. There was a number of aspects of the leadership convention that sparked a great deal of public policy debate, but one in particular was the issue of cryptocurrency. That is why I am somewhat surprised that the Conservative Party has legislation that deals with cryptocurrency. Members can recall that not that long ago the leader of the Conservative Party said that one of the best ways to fight inflation in Canada would be to invest in cryptocurrency.

I can recall, vividly, the leader of the Conservative Party making a purchase, suggesting that Canadians get on board, as if we were falling behind, and invest in cryptocurrency, not recognizing the true value of the Canadian dollar. He told Canadians that one of the best ways to fight inflation would be to invest in cryptocurrency.

Imagine those Conservative delegates, and possibly others, who listened to the leader of the Conservative Party and invested in cryptocurrency, many of whom might have been seniors on fixed incomes, using part of their life savings to invest in something that was being recommended by the leader of Canada's official opposition party.

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance has talked a great deal about what we have been doing to support Canadians from coast to coast to coast during this difficult time, a time in which we do see inflation. which concerns all of us. While we are trying to make policy decisions to support Canadians, the Leader of the Opposition is still, to this very day, demonstrating a lack of good judgment by not coming forward and saying to Canadians that he made a mistake back then, that it was not appropriate for people to invest in cryptocurrency, let alone hedging it on inflation. We now have a bill that the Conservatives want, in a very real way, to put on the Canadian agenda.

Cryptocurrency is a worldwide currency with which nations around the world have to deal. In Canada, whether it is the national government or provincial governments, we have to deal with it. It was a surprise to hear the endorsement and the degree to which the Conservatives came onside, and the lack of a response to the statements being made just months ago by the leader of the Conservative Party.

It makes me wonder how many Conservative members followed the advice of the Leader of the Conservative Party. I have said in the past that one way to find out would be to pose that question to those members. How many Conservative members have invested in cryptocurrency? I do not see any hands up. I cannot say who is here and who is not here, but I suspect there might have been some—

Encouraging the Growth of the Cryptoasset Sector ActPrivate Members' Business

November 21st, 2022 / 11 a.m.
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Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Encouraging the Growth of the Cryptoasset Sector ActPrivate Members' Business

November 21st, 2022 / 11:05 a.m.
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The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

Order, please. The hon. member knows we cannot mention absences or presences in the House.

Encouraging the Growth of the Cryptoasset Sector ActPrivate Members' Business

November 21st, 2022 / 11:05 a.m.
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Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, the point is that, as he is the leader of Canada's official opposition, there is no doubt that many people would have invested in cryptocurrency based on his recommendation. Those who did make that investment would have suffered a 60% loss or higher. Imagine being a person on a fixed income. Even if people were not on fixed incomes and invested $10,000, they would have lost $6,000-plus of that $10,000.

I am disappointed by the policy enunciations coming from the Conservative Party today. Many would argue that we are looking for policy ideas. The Conservatives are very good at critiquing and opposing everything. We have taken a number of options for Canadians to help them through the inflation issues. Whether it is rental support, or doubling the GST, or dental support or permanent relief on interest for students, these are the types of policy ideas we have come forward with and the Conservative Party has said no to most of them. The only idea the Conservatives have generated to fight inflation is cryptocurrency. They need to take this issue back to the drawing board, and the leader of the official opposition owes Canadians an apology.

Encouraging the Growth of the Cryptoasset Sector ActPrivate Members' Business

November 21st, 2022 / 11:10 a.m.
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Maxime Blanchette-Joncas Bloc Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Madam Speaker, this morning I have the privilege of rising to speak to Bill C-249 on the cryptoasset sector, which was introduced by my Conservative Party colleagues.

This bill seeks to require the Minister of Finance to develop a national framework to encourage the growth of the cryptoasset sector within three years after the coming into force of the act.

The bill states that, in developing the framework, the minister must consult with persons designated by Quebec and the provinces and with experts from the cryptoasset sector. Bill C-249 also provides for reporting and tracking requirements in relation to the framework.

In a sector that is more ideology-driven than factual, the bill points out that cryptoassets have significant economic and innovative potential for Canada and that the government must focus on lowering barriers to entry into the cryptoasset sector, protecting those working in the sector and minimizing the administrative burden.

I will not keep members in suspense for very long. I will say right now that the Bloc Québécois will be voting against Bill C-249.

Before getting into more detail about our position, I would like to remind the House and my Conservative colleagues of some financial advice that the leader of the Conservative Party and member for Carleton gave to all Quebeckers and all Canadians last spring. It is no secret that the new leader of the Conservative Party of Canada dreams of bitcoin and other cryptoasset fantasies at night.

Barely seven months ago, in April, he organized a small staged media event when he went to a restaurant in London, Ontario, and paid for a shawarma in bitcoin. He took the opportunity to recommend that Quebeckers and Canadians invest their savings in cryptocurrency to shield their money from inflation.

What reasoning did the leader of the Conservative Party use to offer this advice?

He used a simplistic—and frankly dishonest—intellectual shortcut to blame the big bad central bank for the inflationary crisis and in the same breath presented the decentralized cryptocurrencies, regulated by the very free market, as a magic solution against inflation.

The problem with the supposed freedom of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin is that they are also free to crash and burn. I say this with great empathy and compassion for anyone who went through this, but the outcome was quite dramatic for those who followed the financial advice of the Conservative leader by investing in bitcoin in April 2022. Just six months later, they could only watch helplessly as close to 70% of the value of their hard-earned savings had evaporated. Poof.

I would like to hear what the Conservative leader has to say to all these constituents who trusted him and who now must surely feel he has cheated, betrayed and abandoned them. While he claims to care about helping families put food on the table, how can he take advantage of his position and the credibility his role gives him to trot out such irresponsible and dangerous financial advice?

As I indicated earlier, the Bloc Québécois will vote against the Conservative bill. My colleagues and I are convinced that, while cryptoassets do have innovative potential in some regards, the regulatory framework around them must be fleshed out and strengthened so as to make the digital and financial ecosystem in which they operate more transparent and accountable.

Unlike the Conservative Party, we believe that legislative action focused strictly on the growth of the sector, as proposed in the bill, on lowering barriers to entry, and on minimizing the administrative burden would be inappropriate and irresponsible.

The sector has experienced indisputable and dramatic growth in recent years. What it really needs now is not support for growth but a real regulatory framework that limits the risks associated with possession and transactions of cryptoassets.

There are still many issues that require us, as decision-makers, to act with caution and diligence in this matter.

The first issue is, of course, the volatility of cryptocurrencies, which is still extremely high and often inexplicable. It can be correlated to media exposure, and an event as trivial as a simple tweet has previously caused fluctuations of several thousands of dollars in just a few hours for some currencies.

That is why many professional investors see the use of cryptoassets as more of a lottery than a serious investment. Similarly, Paul Beaudry, Deputy Governor of the Bank of Canada, considers them to be more of a tool for speculation than a real means of payment, as its supporters want to present it.

Another issue that cannot be overlooked when we talk about cryptoassets is energy consumption, which ultimately leads us to energy production. That certainly is in the Conservative Party’s wheelhouse. To put it simply, cryptoassets are created by mining. This is not mining from the earth, but rather mining done by many very powerful computers operating at full power to perform extremely complicated calculations.

It is also estimated that the total activity generated by cryptomining uses as much energy as a country like Norway, about 130 terawatt hours. By comparison, Hydro-Québec's electricity sales only reached 50 terawatt hours in 2020. I think that we will have to reflect on what we really want to focus on and what we want to do with our energy production.

It appears euphemistic, then, to say that cryptoassets are energy intensive. As Europe is going through an energy crisis, we must ask ourselves whether priority should be given to these activities rather than heating our homes, schools and hospitals. Moreover, the environmental impact of these activities must not be forgotten. For jurisdictions that do not have the opportunity to produce clean energy like Quebec, the pollution caused by cryptomining is extremely significant.

The third issue regarding cryptoassets, which we cannot ignore, is their use to finance criminal and terrorist activities. There is a real and documented possibility of taking advantage of the cryptoasset sector to launder money and finance terrorist activities due to two aspects inherent in these activities: anonymity and the proliferation of instant transactions.

The launderers take advantage of this sector operating outside of conventional banking systems to convert the proceeds of criminal activities into legal tender. There currently exists a regulatory vacuum, one which organized crime certainly takes advantage of.

I will give a concrete example. At this time, current legislation allows people to convert up to $1,000 per day into cryptocurrency at an automated teller machine without having to verify their identity. There are currently no fewer than eight companies that operate such machines in Quebec and a single person can exchange several thousands of dollars per day. Obviously, this is a real boon for criminal organizations.

Terrorists can use it for similar reasons. Since it is difficult to identify the actual recipient of a wallet, money can be transferred from one side of the world to the other to finance terrorist activities without alerting the authorities responsible for our protection. So much for this party claiming to be the champion of law and order.

My time is coming to an end. I will conclude by reminding you that the cryptoasset sector has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years. However, there have been bumps along the way, and it is now clear, given the crash of bitcoin and several other cryptocurrencies, that it is better to be cautious and responsible when it comes to this technology, which is a minefield of risks and uncertainties.

Unlike the Leader of the Conservative Party and his party members, who seem to be looking at cryptoassets through rose-coloured glasses, the Bloc Québécois prefers to focus on transparency and responsibility. We are—

Encouraging the Growth of the Cryptoasset Sector ActPrivate Members' Business

November 21st, 2022 / 11:20 a.m.
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The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

I am sorry to interrupt the hon. member, but we must resume debate.

The hon. member for Timmins—Baie James.

Encouraging the Growth of the Cryptoasset Sector ActPrivate Members' Business

November 21st, 2022 / 11:20 a.m.
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Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Madam Speaker, it is a great honour to rise in the House and discuss what the Conservative Party has put out as its key platform for dealing with inflation: cryptocurrency. It is a really good opportunity to look at what the Conservative leader has as an economic vision. It is perfect that it is happening here just after the weekend, when FTX, the crypto exchange site, collapsed, destroying 32 billion dollars' worth of savings in 48 hours. That is a record for a complete financial collapse. Could we say that money was vaporized?

If we look at what we have offered as New Democrats for responding to inflation, we put forward the need to get children dental care. The Conservative leader, whose kids get their own dental care paid for by the taxpayer, opposed that and said all that money to help children would vaporize. We talked about doubling the GST tax credit. The Conservatives were against it. They said that money would vaporize because of inflation. Of course, there was our work to get rent support for low-income housing, and the Conservatives were dead set against that. They said inflation would vaporize it. What did the leader of the Conservative Party offer as his one solution for fighting inflation? It was Ponzi schemes and cryptocurrency.

The Conservatives had a two-part strategy. One was to spin cryptocurrency as something we could buy a shawarma with and put our life savings into. The second part of the Conservative strategy is even more important to look at. It was his full-on attack on the basic principle of having financial regulations to keep people from being scammed.

I really appreciate the member for Calgary Nose Hill for bringing forward legislation that talks about the need for legislation. She has rightly pointed out that if we do not have regulation, this dark money system could easily be a forum for money laundering and terrorist financing. Who else would want to have a financial system with no checks and balances so we cannot trace where the money goes?

I appreciate that there are members of the Conservative Party who are not in the thrall of whack-job economics. Unfortunately, her leader is a complete devout believer in whack-job economics, because he is dead set against this principle of regulation. He said, “Canada needs less financial control for politicians and bankers and more financial freedom for the people.” He has referred to financial regulations as “cobwebs” that need to be blown away. Of course, he has his other great folk devil, the gatekeepers. We have to attack the gatekeepers, which is why he wants to get rid of the Bank of Canada. It is a full-on attack of basic regulations.

The reason we have these so-called cobwebs is that time and time again we have seen hard-working people's savings wiped out by flim-flam artists: Bre-X, Bernie Madoff, junk bonds and the derivative market that destroyed the savings of millions of people. They would love this leader of the Conservative Party. They would embrace him. They embrace the notion of freedom as the freedom to swindle, the freedom to hustle and the freedom to rob people of their savings.

The leader of the Conservative Party was promoting crypto, but then we found out he was an investor in crypto. I think that is really telling because with a Ponzi scheme, we only get our money back if we sucker other rubes into put their money in too. We had the leader of the Conservative Party using his platform to tell Canadians who were worried about their savings to invest in crypto. He thought, “This is where I'm going to get my money back.” That is highly irresponsible, because who pays the price when $32 billion just vaporizes? It is not Goldman Sachs. It is not Jeff Bezos. It is ordinary working-class and middle-class people who are afraid they do not have enough savings.

I met many people who were investing in crypto because they were guaranteed that it was going to give them the kind of return on investment they could not get anywhere else. They trusted the leader of the Conservative Party.

Of course, he explained what his financial knowledge was: He stays up late into the night watching YouTube videos. I stay up late into the night watching YouTube videos too. I love watching old Motown videos. When I have to fix my toilet, YouTube is a great place to learn how to fix my toilet. However, one thing I learned from the pandemic is that just because buddy with a baseball cap sitting in his mother's basement claims he is an expert on immunology and vaccinations does not mean YouTube is a good place to get medical advice.

What we have learned is the leader of the Conservative Party stays up late into the night learning economics. It is not really too bright to trust the leader of the Conservative Party when he gets his economic vision from YouTube. He is saying he is going to get rid of regulations, he is going to get rid of the Bank of Canada and he is going to get rid of all the cobwebs that have protected people from financial scams year in, year out.

That takes us to the collapse of FTX. There were a lot of of dodgy crypto sites, but this was supposed to be the good one. This was a really good one, apparently. It was set up in the Bahamas, of course, because there is almost no regulation there. They have very limited financial regulation and it is set up as a tax haven with no reporting obligations to anybody. It is like an opaque, financial black box. Is that not exactly what the leader of the Conservative Party thinks is good for getting people investing and believing in crypto?

FTX did not have a board of directors and was not under the oversight of any American regulators, such as the SEC or the CFTC. It is this black box run by a bunch of 20-year-olds who probably would love to party with the leader of the Conservative Party as they talk about crypto conspiracies. However, here is the thing: We found out that FTX also ran a hedge fund, so people were putting their savings into and trusting this black box with no accountability or regulatory oversight. It was moving anywhere from between $1 billion and $10 billion into this side hustle. That is why we have proper financial regulations.

It is really irresponsible for the leader of the Conservative Party to feed on the fears of people in a time of uncertainty by hustling a Ponzi scheme. That is what he was doing. He was saying to trust him on the Ponzi scheme because he was going to get rid of any regulation so people could not really tell what was happening, but that Ponzi scheme would be there for people whenever they needed it. It was not, and we have seen the results.

I am certainly pleased that the member for Calgary Nose Hill is one of the few Conservatives willing to stand up in the face of this party that has now committed to anti-science, anti-vaccination and anti-economics. The Conservatives feel that any kind of regulation on hustlers and swindlers is somehow an attack on freedom: It is the freedom we all enjoy to take our hard-earned savings and get hustled by some scam artist down in the Bahamas. That is not what we should be doing.

We have to have rules in place, we have to have oversight and we have to ask questions about a system that is supposed to be financial and is trading something that does not exist in order to have no financial tracking of it. If we have an ability to transfer money through sites without tracking, of course it is going to be where money is laundered and where criminal activities are. Is that the freedom the Conservative Party believes is so important to protect: the freedom of gunrunners and gangs to clean money through cryptocurrency? We need to shine a light on this practice.

For the people who lost $32 billion in savings in 48 hours, what kind of freedom do they get? Those are hard-working people who trusted this guy while he was standing there eating a shawarma and telling everyone this is the best thing to do. Their kids should not get dental care and should not get the GST, but what they should get is an investment in cryptocurrency with no oversight and they will be better off.

The Liberals are not clear on this either. Before crypto collapsed, they were thinking this was pretty good stuff too. In fact, I know the Liberals invested in cryptocurrency in the Deputy Prime Minister's riding. Before we start promoting these kinds of dodgy financial hustles, we need to ask what rules are in place to protect people and their savings and to have proper oversight. That is something the leader of the Conservative Party refuses to do and he needs to be accountable for it.

Encouraging the Growth of the Cryptoasset Sector ActPrivate Members' Business

November 21st, 2022 / 11:30 a.m.
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Larry Maguire Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Madam Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to speak to Bill C-249. The member for Winnipeg North's speech is a fine reason why the Liberals are dropping in the polls in popularity with Canadians. I wonder if he would say the same thing about any other tradeable asset in Canada. After all, Canada does depend on trade and regulations.

First, before I get into the speech on why we need to move forward and have an open view of getting this bill to committee, I want to thank my good friend and colleague from Calgary Nose Hill for introducing this very important legislation, as was said by the other members as well. Her passion and zeal for good public policy is to be commended. She has an innate ability to cut through the claptrap and get straight to the point. She is results-oriented and always comes to the table with a plan. Her private member's bill is a great example of just that.

I know she has carefully crafted the legislation to allow the Standing Committee on Finance ample room to put forward amendments once expert witnesses have had an opportunity to testify. Unlike some legislation with crafters that guard against any amendments, my colleagues in the House will find that the hon. member for Calgary Nose Hill is ready to work with everyone.

This legislation will start the conversation about how the Government of Canada can begin the process of developing a national framework to protect investors and to encourage the growth of blockchain technology across the country. None of us is so naive as not to notice the recent uptick in media coverage on cryptoassets. The markets are down. Some NFTs have failed spectacularly.

When cryptocurrencies are being written about by political commentators, we know they have finally broken through to the mainstream. With the recent collapse of FTX and the financial fallout felt by many, there is no better time for Parliament to start this conversation.

Those involved in the industry want a regulatory system that will help them build trust, and that is a key point. They want a system that will provide clear guardrails and more stability for all those involved. Legal clarity and better education will lead to more innovation. I also want to stress that we cannot let this issue get polarized to the point that it becomes too toxic to discuss.

The fact that the industry is being disparaged for political reasons is short-sighted and thoughtless. I would encourage all my colleagues in the House to go back to their respective caucuses and stress the need to support this bill and to turn down the rhetoric. I will tell members why as we move forward.

During the first hour of debate on this bill, my colleague from Calgary Nose Hill laid out a compelling argument for why it is time for the Government of Canada to start working on a national framework. As she said in her speech:

Many innovators and proponents of cryptoassets in Canada are actually calling for the federal government to use its convening power to provide policy clarity to the industry. The current lack of clarity, particularly on safeguards to protect those working in the space, is seen as an impediment to investment.

Across the country, there is a mix match of policies. While we respect the jurisdiction of the provinces, the federal government can help facilitate a much more harmonized set of policies for cryptoassets. There are some recent examples of this happening in other countries.

Recently, the President of the United States issued an executive order for the federal government to start drafting a plan. The EU has also started working on a plan so that various countries and industries are in sync. The acceptance and use of cryptoassets is on the rise. That includes cryptocurrencies, utility tokens, security tokens and stablecoins. Cryptoassets will only continue to grow in prevalence in the years ahead.

According to the latest statistics, close to 5% of Canadians now own a cryptoasset. Across the globe there are now thousands of cryptoassets, and more will be made available in the years to come. Regardless of whether someone wants to invest in or purchase a cryptoasset, hundreds of thousands of Canadians are currently engaged in the industry. It is about time we started to think about a national framework and to get various jurisdictions working together.

The Canadian securities administrators are now working in collaboration with the investment industry. They even released guidance for platforms to ensure they are in compliance with regulatory requirements. Securities regulators in individual provinces are now starting to regulate crypto-trading platforms to protect Canadian investors. Last week there was a meeting on Parliament Hill with many of Canada's leading blockchain companies. It was encouraging to hear how they too want to start engaging with policy-makers.

In Canada, we have some of the best and finest innovators in this growing industry. They have the talent and the solid foundation to further expand their operations. They are optimistic about the future of blockchain technology. Our government should also have the same optimism and can-do attitude. What we do not want to see happen again are more lost opportunities, such as when Ethereum, which was mostly designed and developed in Canada, moved to Switzerland.

Other countries are quickly realizing the potential of the entire industry and are quickly seizing this moment. As companies are looking around at countries in which to set up shop, I want Canada to be at the top of their list. I want Canada to be known as a jurisdiction where governments work with and listen to those in the industry, while also educating the public and protecting its investors.

Those in the industry are already talking about making our country a blockchain hub. They see this technology as a way to have a more transparent Internet, and one that will help drive better skills training for the jobs of tomorrow.

The Web3 economy is here and as Morva Rohani, the executive director of the Canadian Web3 Council said, “blockchain and related technologies have unleashed a wave of innovation and creativity for a generation of entrepreneurs.”

The key to this speech is that, at its core, this is what this bill is all about. As the industry grows, I want to see those jobs and the wealth created by those innovators' ingenuity stay right here in Canada. I want Canada to be the best place in the world for the Web3 economy and blockchain innovation.

As with many new innovations, they have the capacity to be used in many ways that were never originally imagined. For instance, blockchain technology can be utilized in various financial services, including remittances, digital assets and online payments, because it enables payments to be settled without a bank or other financial institution taking a cut. Furthermore, the next generation of Internet interaction systems, including smart contracts, reputation systems, public services and security services, are among blockchain technology's most promising applications.

As the Canadian Web3 Council said during their meeting on Parliament Hill last week, blockchain technology can be used for social good. Whether it be energy, climate and the environment, or health care and even agriculture, the potential of this budding industry is endless.

In closing, I urge all of my colleagues to vote in favour of this bill. Let us send it to the finance committee and have the thorough consultations that are long overdue. I believe that it would be prudent for all of us to continue to learn more about blockchain technology. This is an exciting opportunity for the Canadian economy, for our innovators and, most importantly, to help create the jobs of tomorrow.

Encouraging the Growth of the Cryptoasset Sector ActPrivate Members' Business

November 21st, 2022 / 11:40 a.m.
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Stéphane Lauzon Liberal Argenteuil—La Petite-Nation, QC

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.

Encouraging the Growth of the Cryptoasset Sector ActPrivate Members' Business

November 21st, 2022 / 11:45 a.m.
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Alain Therrien Bloc La Prairie, QC

Madam Speaker, we have already stated our position on this bill. I will not elaborate on the fact that cryptocurrency or cryptoassets are not well understood, that they are growing rapidly, that we have no control over them and that they facilitate money laundering and speculation. We have already talked a lot about those aspects.

It is hard to know the implications of all of this, even after talking to economists. Since the Bloc Québécois has already gone over much of that, I want to provide more of a macroeconomic analysis. That is something I know a little more about.

The existence of cryptocurrency causes problems with state economic intervention. Let me explain why. In his 1776 work, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith made the groundbreaking assertion that money and currency were just a veil and not worthy of our attention. According to Adam Smith, money and currency are like watching a play with the curtains down: The actors perform the play behind the curtains, but the spectators see only the curtains and cannot observe the economic life that takes place behind the curtains. This is why, according to Adam Smith, we should take an interest not in money and currency, but in the actors, in the economy in the true sense of the word, and in the different economic forces that interact.

Later on, it was suggested that money is not necessarily something useful. During the crisis of the 1930s, GDP fell by 40% over three years and the unemployment rate was 25%. Very little was done to help the unemployed. It was a catastrophe.

Upon analyzing that economic crisis with some hindsight, it is pretty clear that all the factors that could contribute to a collective collapse were there. Monetary delinquency was one of the reasons why that crisis was so severe, and I use the term “monetary delinquency” because, at that time, people did not believe that monetary policy was very important to the economy. The various players had been allowed to act in a decentralized way, and people later realized that this had aggravated the crisis. During that severe economic crisis, interest rates went up, which further depressed economic growth, after it had already naturally dropped off.

This is where another great economist, John Maynard Keynes, came in and said that governments had a role to play and that they must intervene in the economy. He began telling the government that it had to use its two arms of intervention, the fiscal or budgetary arm and the monetary arm. He helped people understand that monetary policy can be very important to the economy and can change the macroeconomic situation in different countries.

Keynes said at the time that intervention was needed in those two areas, and it just so happens that the Bank of Canada was created in 1935. The bank was created precisely so that the Canadian government could intervene more intelligently in order to ensure the economic well-being of Canadians.

The fundamental objective of the Bank of Canada is to ensure the economic well-being of Canadians. Top economists have worked at Canada's central bank, which is renowned around the world. It is one of the leading banks because it takes its role seriously, it is intelligent and it is there to serve the economic needs of citizens. No leading economist believes that the Bank of Canada does not act in the interest of the well-being of Canadians. By the way, it is beyond the reach of political power.

This led to the creation of monetary policy using fluctuating interest rates to intervene in the economy. Little by little, some economists noticed that the Bank of Canada could influence production, but only in the short term. When it intervenes, its actions tend to have long-term effects on inflation. This is when monetarists came on the scene saying that the Bank of Canada's only job was to control inflation. To understand this, we must go back to the 16th century when Jean Bodin came up with the quantity theory of money.

He was saying that printing money always leads to inflation. Back in the day, the great explorers of America came with a lot of gold, which was the currency at the time. Prices skyrocketed while production had not really changed. That is when it became clear that the important thing when working on and dealing with currency is to keep an eye on long-term inflation.

In the 1990s, the Bank of Canada used the central bank only to control price levels. Its fundamental objective of ensuring the well-being of Canadians turned into an economic objective. The Bank of Canada ensured that prices remained stable. Inflation was allowed to oscillate between 1% and 3% with an ideal target of 2%. The Bank of Canada was the second bank in history to be that transparent, after the Bank of New Zealand.

Why is it so transparent? It is very simple. Between the time when the Bank of Canada intervenes on interest rates and the time that its actions impact inflation, there are several economic agents who intervene. Plus, that time span can stretch up to two years. It is very complex. The economists at the Bank of Canada are not clowns; they are not performers who get overly agitated. No, they are intelligent, hard-working people. They have extraordinary tools. They can tell us the value of the money supply at a given time and how much money, in its various forms, is circulating in the economy. That is what the Bank of Canada does. The more accurate and transparent the bank is, the greater the impact and efficiency. The goal is to improve the central bank's efficiency.

Then cryptocurrency comes and puts a wrench in the works. By introducing cryptocurrency into the economy, by giving it an increasing role, the central bank's connection to interest rates becomes weaker. There is also an impact on the consequences the inflation rate has on the economy. In the end, this is another currency that is out of the bank's control, that is unfamiliar and that will, quite simply, disrupt the well-informed connection that has been created between the Bank of Canada and inflation.

Bodin's quantity theory of money states that the greater the money supply, the more it feeds inflation. This means that the more cryptocurrency there is, the more money there will be, and the more inflation there will be. Conservatives, who fight inflation day and night, want to bring in another money product to further increase inflation. Do they have an economist in their party?

Encouraging the Growth of the Cryptoasset Sector ActPrivate Members' Business

November 21st, 2022 / 11:55 a.m.
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Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Madam Speaker, I do have a degree in economics. I want to talk about why this bill is so important and ask the member to reconsider.

When Bernie Madoff ran his Ponzi scheme, we did not seek to ban email or ban phones because he used those to lure victims, and we did not try to vilify the entire investment services industry because of one bad actor. What we did was seek to strengthen safeguards to ensure that bad governance and “too good to be true” schemes were not taking place anymore. We sought to educate people so they would not be lured into schemes, and most importantly, we said we need to do these things so this sector that is important to our economy can continue to grow.

I am very concerned by, in Parliament, the words and speeches on this bill, which is fully amendable. It can go to committee, and every single different party can edit the scope of the framework. I made it purposely non-partisan. The reason “growth” is in the title is that the toothpaste is out of the tube on Web3 technologies, and cryptocurrencies are but a small, infinitesimal drop in the bucket of how our economy and our society are changing by blockchain technology.

It is called “Web3” for a reason. If we think about Web1 as our just being able to read a site on the Internet, and then Web2 as being things like Facebook where we can read and write, Web3 means that individuals can own data and digital assets. For each of us in this place, and probably in the broader Canadian economy right now, the production value of our data might be greater than the value of the labour we provide. Thus how can we sit here and say we should not be putting together a growth framework that provides all the safeguards we have been talking about here for an area of the economy that we so desperately need?

I represent a riding in Alberta, and I hear, day after day, colleagues of different political stripes talking about how the people who work in my community in natural resource-based jobs need to transition away from these jobs into digital-economy based jobs. Digital asset jobs are the very jobs we all are talking about. It is those jobs, but we have had the Bloc Québécois who, on behalf of their colleagues and the people in Quebec, make the argument that we need fewer natural resource-based jobs and more digital economy jobs, and the speech they gave was that we need to not support this growing more, but to restrict it, and similarly the government said the same thing.

I do not want to ascribe motive, that this is what my colleagues meant to say, but I want them to understand what investors hear when they listen to this debate, and investors are listening to this. They say not to invest in Canada, because politicians in Parliament are willing to get cheap political points. We are talking about making a decision on an industry over cheap political points, instead of doing something that resembles work at committee.

I could have picked any private member's bill. I could have picked the national day for something and gotten a big win, but instead I tried to pick something that was one of the hardest things for us to deal with as a Parliament, and I tried to do it in a non-partisan, non-prescriptive way, so that if this bill got to committee, everybody in this place could amend it. Why would we leave this to happen behind closed doors in the government, if it happens at all, without the input of industry?

If we allow that to happen, the result is things like Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin's organization, which now has a market cap of over $150 billion. All of those jobs and all of that capital, even though he is Canadian, are in Switzerland, because they have a legislative framework. The Americans have a legislative framework. The Europeans have a legislative framework, yet we are sitting here trading partisan barbs, instead of talking about how we grow a sector that could be the solution to all of our job problems in this country.

Yes, we need safeguards. Yes, we need better rules, but we are the ones who are supposed to do that. Why are we abdicating this responsibility? I do not want to look back in 10 years on this debate and say we missed an opportunity because of partisanship. Members should go back to their colleagues on Wednesday, have a caucus meeting and support this bill through to committee stage.

Encouraging the Growth of the Cryptoasset Sector ActPrivate Members' Business

November 21st, 2022 / noon
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The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

The question is on the motion.

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

The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons.

Encouraging the Growth of the Cryptoasset Sector ActPrivate Members' Business

November 21st, 2022 / noon
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Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, I request a recorded vote.

Encouraging the Growth of the Cryptoasset Sector ActPrivate Members' Business

November 21st, 2022 / noon
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The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

Pursuant to an order made on Thursday, June 23, the division stands deferred until Wednesday, November 23, at the expiry of the time provided for Oral Questions.