House of Commons Hansard #207 of the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-51.


Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

1:20 p.m.


Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe NDP Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his comments. I agree with him.

If the government had been more open not only to what the experts said in committee, but also to the opposition's amendments, then we might have been able to come up with a bill that everyone could agree on and that responded to people's concerns.

I agree with my colleague that the threat is real and that concrete and effective measures need to be taken to protect all Canadians. It is Parliament's duty to do so, and it is an important one. We agree on that. The thing we disagree on is the approach. Bill C-51 is a threat. Canadians should not have to choose between their safety and their right to privacy. We can and must have both. This bill imposes severe restrictions.

For example, Mr. Mercier told me that very vague terms are used to define some key words in Bill C-51, which leaves room for abuse by people in high places. Mr. Mercier asked that I oppose this bill.

That was one of the dangers pointed out by our experts. The wording of this bill opens the door to abuses. Instead of reviewing the wording used in Bill C-51 and making significant changes to respond to the concerns, the Conservatives moved forward, which is regrettable.

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1:25 p.m.


Djaouida Sellah NDP Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, this week we are commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, in which the allies fought to defend freedom and democracy. I cannot help but make a link to the bill we are debating, because it will reduce our hard-won freedoms. Did we learn nothing from those ordeals? Today, this government is showing all Canadians that it thumbs its nose at the central tenets of democracy. The government is muzzling the opposition by shortening debate on a bill about something as important as security.

The reason for this gag order is simple: in committee, 45 witnesses indicated that the bill as it now stands is flawed and should be amended. We are talking about 45 witnesses. That is a lot, particularly when we know that most of them were government witnesses. Given this testimony and such overwhelming opposition from civil society and experts, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and the Prime Minister should have understood that Bill C-51 was not the best solution to the public safety issues we are facing. This bill was not developed in consultation with the other parties, all of which recognize the terrorist threat and support the adoption of effective, concrete measures to keep Canadians safe. That is not what Bill C-51 does. Instead, it violates our rights and freedoms, the fundamental rights of first nations and the right of various groups in civil society to protest, just to give a few examples.

When we received the budget, almost two months late, I was hoping to see a big envelope for the fight against terrorism. When I looked to see what was allocated in the budget I was surprised to see that the money was not there. For the Canada Border Services Agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the envelope was a little less than $300 million over five years. Five years. Before 2017, these agencies will collectively receive less than $20 million to combat terrorism. That is a drop in the bucket and it is an insult to the work being done by our police services. These agencies are overburdened and are being forced to reassign staff to do the work they are being asked to do. This budget gives them nothing but crumbs to do their job.

When a government claims to want to protect our communities, our cities and our entire country, in order to serve Canadians and to protect our national security, it needs to put its money where its mouth is. It needs to allocate the money needed. The government needs to redirect money and ensure that our law enforcement agencies have the funding they need to take action. However, there is nothing to this effect in Bill C-51 or in the 2015 budget tabled by the Conservative government. I am extremely disappointed to see the lack of leadership from this government and its obvious failure to take seriously the fight against terrorism and radicalization. There are a lot of things missing in the Conservatives' botched approach. For example, it would have been nice to see the Conservatives propose ways to combat radicalization. Various stakeholders have spoken about this. This kind of work is being done in some of our regions and communities, as well as in the United States.

The language of the act is both extremely vague and extremely broad at the same time. It is so broad that any act of protest could be considered an act of terrorism.

The bill defines terrorism as:

...any activity...if it undermines the sovereignty, security or territorial integrity of Canada...interfere[s] with critical infrastructure...or the economic or financial stability of Canada.

At first glance, it is hard to see terrorism in there. This definition casts its net far too wide, so much so, that anyone in the House could be convicted of terrorism for opposing a pipeline. The problem is similar to the one with preventive detention. I have to hand it to them, the Conservatives know how to play with words.

More specifically, a judge could authorize preventive detention, and not just when he is absolutely certain that it is a matter of terrorism, because a suspicion will do: “believes on reasonable grounds that a terrorist activity may be carried out”. The judge can thereby order the arrest of a person if it “is likely to prevent the carrying out of the terrorist activity”.

Therefore, absolute certainty will no longer be needed to determine the action to be taken. Instead, that decision will be based on suspicions. That is not how the legislation is supposed to work. Intelligence on law-abiding citizens will be compiled and forwarded to the police. What we have here is the listing of people. People will be listed! One of the worst instruments of totalitarian regimes is indeed seeing the light of day here, in Canada. Big brother is watching us. What about the right to privacy set out in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms?

I am hearing members on the other side of the House argue that it is for the security of Canadians. However, who will provide strict control over this collection of information if no judge verifies the practices and if no mechanism or authority controls the agency's work? It is like having a fox guarding the henhouse. Countermeasures and safeguards need to be put in place to prevent any excesses and abuse.

With this bill, the Conservatives want us to believe that there is a conflict between security and freedom. They want Canadians to have to choose between their rights and their security, claiming that the two do not go together.

That is not the NDP's position. We feel there is no choice to be made. Both are possible. They always have been, and they always will be.

Ultimately, terrorism has won. By using fear, the Conservatives have succeeded in making us give up our freedom. If the Conservatives believe they are acting in the public interest, they are completely wrong. They are headed in the wrong direction, and it is our duty to take a stand against any measure that will be detrimental to our most fundamental principles.

More security, yes, but at what cost? The Conservative government is betraying this country's most fundamental commitments, betraying our historic values and betraying all Canadians.

What will we tell our children?

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1:30 p.m.

Scarborough Centre Ontario


Roxanne James ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, again, misinformation is being relayed to Canadians from the NDP. Whether it is intentional or because of a complete lack of understanding is still up for debate. Even in committee, with the very first amendment that was brought forward by the NDP critic, the officials who were present at committee had to correct him and indicate he was wrong. It is absolutely unbelievable that we are still hearing the same things from the NDP, that the bill targets protesters and whatnot. Very clearly, New Democrats do not understand the bill.

Also, I would like to point out that the information sharing act would be the responsibility of the privacy commissioner, who could review any of those agencies respecting the information sharing act, as well as the auditor general. In addition, internal processes would be developed.

I have been hearing throughout debate with the NDP that somehow the ability of CSIS to obtain a warrant is going to be done in some private court and there would be no representation from the other side. When law enforcement officers obtain warrants, it is not in a public forum. There is no representation from the person they are seeking a warrant against. Imagine for a moment that a police officer seeking a warrant for a wiretap has to bring in the person he wants to do the wiretap against, to defend himself.

I would like to ask the member whether she believes that our national security agencies have the intelligence and capability of determining when warrants are required?

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1:35 p.m.


Djaouida Sellah NDP Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to the preamble of my colleague's question. We are telling the truth. Forty-five witnesses commented on the bill, among them former prime ministers. We are not relaying misinformation, as my colleague claimed.

As for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, in the past it misled its oversight body. In 2014, the Security Intelligence Review Committee stated: “This investigation also found that SIRC had been seriously misled by CSIS on this same point.”

It is right there in black and white. I am not making anything up, these things do happen. That is why we are asking for guidelines and safeguards to at least protect the collection of this information and to see what the agency is doing. Organizations always need oversight and monitoring.

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1:35 p.m.


Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, in the member's concluding comments, she stated that the terrorists have won. I beg to differ. I believe that the resilience of Canadians is something we can all learn from. I would suggest that Canada, more than most countries, has weathered the issue of terrorism exceptionally well. When we look at specific situations that have arisen over the last decade, we can be very proud of the way things have evolved.

I would agree that there are many shortcomings in this piece of legislation. The legislation could have been better had the government been more receptive to listening to Canadians, other stakeholders, and members of the Liberal caucus. I know that the critic for the Liberal caucus did a fabulous job bringing forward amendments. Had the government accepted the amendments, we could have had some of the most robust legislation in the world to deal with terrorism.

Would the member agree that with amendments, this could have been a much better—

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1:35 p.m.


The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

The hon. member for Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

1:35 p.m.


Djaouida Sellah NDP Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to what my Liberal colleague said. However, I am sorry to see that, even though the Liberal Party is saying that the bill is not good, it still plans to vote with the Conservatives. The Liberals need to get their story straight.

Next, let us talk about consultation with the other parties and about the amendments that the government should listen to. I said it in my speech: unfortunately, as usual, the Conservative government does not want to listen to experts, scientists or members of Parliament. What is more, the Conservatives are not giving us enough time to debate an issue as important as security.

When I say that terrorism has won, it is because these two parties are unfortunately playing on the fear of voters and saying that only they have the power to protect Canadians.

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1:40 p.m.


Joan Crockatt Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Etobicoke Centre.

Tonight we vote on this important legislation, the anti-terrorism act, 2015, and I am very proud today to stand in support of it. This is really an important bill that would protect Canadians from those who have openly vowed to do us harm, particularly the international jihadi movement.

This bill has strong support from my constituents in Calgary Centre and from Canadians from coast to coast to coast in every province and in every single demographic. Still, there are a lot of myths being perpetuated about this bill, many of them by the opposition, and we have heard that today. Today I would like to debunk them.

Here is the reality. Unfortunately, we all know that the threat environment we face in Canada today has escalated considerably from what it used to be. We have seen the recent ISIS-inspired acts of terror against soldiers in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and here in Ottawa. In the House, we all lived through the shooting on Parliament Hill on October 22, 2014. Believe me, it brought home to me and to many Canadians the need to take these threats on our soil very seriously.

Thankfully, authorities have foiled planned attacks in places as close to home, for my constituents, as the West Edmonton Mall.

This bill would protect our security by giving CSIS the authority to act on serious threats to protect Canadians.

In the past, if CSIS had information on a planned terrorist attack that was about to take place in Canada, it had no authority to go out and disrupt that terrorist plot. This legislation would not only give it the power to disrupt terror plots but would allow the security agencies to receive information from other government departments so that they could protect Canadians from terrorists. It is important to note that CSIS's actions are subject to a review afterward by a committee of experts in the field, SIRC, the Security Intelligence Review Committee.

Contrary to what we keep hearing from the NDP, the right to protest would be protected. In fact, we have listened to Canadians, and we specifically excluded protests from this legislation right from the get-go. To make it crystal clear, in response to feedback from Canadians, after the fearmongering of the opposition, when the anti-terrorism act, 2015 came to committee, we reviewed it and reworded the bill. The bill was changed from allowing lawful advocacy, protest, and dissent to removing the word “lawful” so that Canadians' right to protest in general or to participate in civil disobedience would not be affected.

We listened. The right to protest is an important freedom to Canadians, and this bill and our government fully recognize that.

We also recognize our duty to update our laws in the face of new threats so that we can keep Canadians safe.

There are four key measures contained in this bill. The first would create a system for internal government information-sharing. The second would improve our passenger protect program, known as the no-fly list. The third would make it a crime to disseminate jihadi terrorist propaganda. The fourth would give CSIS the ability to disrupt planned terrorist attacks before they happen. This is absolutely common sense, and Canadians get that.

People in my riding are concerned about the threat to Canada by the jihadi terrorist movement, and they told me again as recently as last weekend. They are also concerned, frankly, about the response of the NDP and the Liberals to terrorists.

The NDP has consistently put its head in the sand about the fact that Canadians are being directly targeted by jihadi terrorists that oppose our values and our way of life. The NDP leader even refused to call the horrific attacks in October what they were, jihadi terrorism, despite very clear evidence. The Liberal leader made juvenile jokes about Canada wanting to show the size of its CF-18s when it moved to confront this terrorist threat.

Let us debunk some other misconceptions advanced by the NDP and the Liberals. If it is through lack of doing the homework Canadians expect of them, I can help them with that.

Some have said that aboriginal and environmental protests could come under surveillance by CSIS, so let us read the text in the bill. It says that information could be shared between government institutions regarding “interference with critical infrastructure”. If one read that and only that, one might suppose that protesting the construction of a pipeline could, in theory, meet that definition.

However, if one read slightly further, one would see that it would not meet the core of the definition, which is an activity, or activities, that “undermines the sovereignty, security or territorial integrity of Canada or the lives or the security of the people of Canada”. That is a very different measure and distinguishes between peacefully protesting against a pipeline, which is protected, and bombing a pipeline and endangering the lives of Canadians, which is not.

I have already debunked the myth that CSIS would not require warrants to disrupt this kind of serious threat. That is just not true.

Right now, CSIS is restricted from engaging in any disruption activities. It could not even approach parents of a suspected radical and encourage them to dissuade their son from his radical beliefs. Without Bill C-51, CSIS can only talk to parents to gather intelligence. Under Bill C-51, CSIS could talk to parents and ask them to speak to their children to help stop a threat or to stop their engaging in conversations in online chat rooms.

This hits really close to home for me and my riding of Calgary Centre. In my riding, several young men, born and raised there, have been radicalized into flying to Syria to join jihadist terrorist groups, including ISIL. Their parents are understandably distraught and have asked for help from the government. Christianne Boudreau, one of those distraught mothers, whose son went to Syria to fight with ISIS, where he was killed, called on the government to go further than just taking away the passports of radicalized young people. While she does not like all aspects of this bill, as I have said, she has called on Canada to start educating families so they can intervene before young people get to the point of radicalization. This bill would enable that.

She went on to say, “The propaganda is out there on social media and on the Internet and it's readily accessible”.

This bill would tackle that problem by removing terrorist materials from the Internet. It would make promoting or advocating a terror act a crime, punishable by up to five years in prison. By the way, the RCMP has also been embarking on deradicalization strategies to help combat youth being lured onto a deadly path.

Here is another myth. Some people have said that this bill would curb free speech. Canada already has hate laws, but they apply only to hate speech against an “identifiable” group and as such can exclude general threats against Canada or all Canadians. These are exactly the kinds of threats used by ISIS and al Qaeda when referring to “the west” or “infidels” in their hate propaganda. The new definition would allow us to pursue the people who are radicalizing others through their propaganda and are advocating violence.

These are the tools our law enforcement agencies say they really need to face down this terrorist threat. Credible experts have widely come out in support of this bill. Scott Tod, the Deputy Commissioner of Investigations and Organized Crime for the OPP, had this to say:

Bill C-51 offers improvements for the federal police to share information among our justice sector partners, security partners, but more importantly and hopefully, with the community partners and government situational tables designed to reduce the terrorist threat and improve community safety and well-being.

That is something we all want.

Professor Salim Mansur, of the University of Western Ontario, said, “the measures...I believe, are quite rightly and urgently needed to protect and keep secure the freedom of our citizens”.

The Heritage Foundation said that Bill C-51 is, “a balance between greater physical protection without loss of civil liberties.... There is transparency and openness”.

This is an excellent bill that would help to protect Canadians. I am proud of this legislation. I am proud of the new investments we made in the budget, and I am grateful for the nearly $300 million earmarked to fight jihadi terrorism, which the NDP seems to pooh-pooh. I am pleased that we have doubled the budget of SIRC to allow for more robust review and accountability.

I believe that Bill C-51 would give Canadians what they want and expect from our government: a law that would protect both their safety and their freedom. The majority of Canadians support this bill, and when it comes to a vote tonight, I urge everyone in the House to vote in favour of it.

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1:50 p.m.


Mathieu Ravignat NDP Pontiac, QC

Mr. Speaker, I do not doubt the sincerity of my hon. colleague across the way, but the government really has its head in the sand on this. I do not know how the member can ignore the hundreds of emails she has been receiving from constituents, hers and others from across the country, who are expressing profound disappointment in the government and profound worry about what this bill means for our civil rights. We are talking about experts across the country. We are talking about people who really know how legislation should be crafted.

Hundreds of my constituents have contacted me. They are worried about this particular bill. I feel a responsibility to listen, and I think the government should also be listening.

How can she explain that the government just will not accept Canadians' opinions on this bill and change this badly drafted legislation?

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

1:50 p.m.


Joan Crockatt Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member across the way knows that we all understand the New Democrats are trying to circulate their form letters out there right now.

We also understand that The Globe and Mail has said that there has hardly been a bill before Parliament that Canadians have been as strongly in support of as Bill C-51. That was before the four amendments we made after listening to what Canadians said.

This is what is being said against Canadians by ISIL:

If you can kill a disbelieving American or European--especially the spiteful and filthy French--or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way however it may be.

This is ISIL spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani. Canadians understand that threat, and that is why they support this bill.

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1:50 p.m.


Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, for my hon. friend from Calgary Centre, it is true that CSIS did not have the powers to disrupt plots, but the RCMP did. We have not been powerless. Nor have been helpless. We have measures to confront terrorist plots. That is why the members of the Toronto 18 were arrested and that is why the VIA Rail plot was disrupted.

We have consciously and deliberately set the RCMP up as the police agency in our country. CSIS was consciously and deliberately set up as intelligence gathering only. This is for the very good reason that we can create a lot more mischief and danger by having different police forces operating differently and not controlled by any pinnacle control. That is why so many security experts have said that this still makes us less safe.

On the point about propaganda, and it is the same point I would have hoped to have made for the member for Thornhill when he spoke, the bill does not specify that it is about jihadi propaganda. In fact, it uses terminology that is so vague that none of the legal experts appearing before committee could understand what it was intended to catch. It is about terrorism in general. Unlike our laws on hate speech and unlike our laws on child pornography, this bill would not exclude private conversations. Experts are concerned that the language in the bill around propaganda would prevent people from reaching out to others and preventing their radicalization.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

1:50 p.m.


Joan Crockatt Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I want to relate a little story for the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands because it might help her understand this bill more when she says that the RCMP already has powers of arrest.

There was an example in an airport where CSIS knew there was somebody who was a radical Islamic jihadist who was in the airport security. The agents could not do anything to arrest the individual, who was about to get on a plane. They had to have an offline conversation with the RCMP or with the security forces in the airport, telling them that they may want to walk through the waiting room and see if there was anyone they recognized there. Fortunately, that was done. That information was passed on and the person walked through the waiting room and was able to detain a radical about to get on a flight, who could very well have posed an extreme danger to Canadians.

This kind of thing just does not make sense to Canadians. Canadians wonder whether we already can share that kind of information between our security agency and our RCMP. The answer to that is no, but under this bill we could.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

1:55 p.m.


Ted Opitz Conservative Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise in the House to speak in favour of this very important bill before us today.

The anti-terrorism act, 2015, is all about making Canadians safer. We must remember that the international jihadi movement has declared war on Canada and her allies. We heard my hon. colleague say that a little earlier in her speech. Canadians are being attacked; we have been attacked. We are being targeted solely because the jihadi terrorists hate our values. They hate our freedom and they do not want us to have it.

We must also remember what brought about this discussion. If we had asked most Canadians a year ago or more whether they wanted more action to protect our national security, they would likely have said that the previous strong actions by our Conservative government would have been enough. However, October 22 changed all of that. We were attacked twice in three days by admitted jihadi terrorists, in their own words.

Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Corporal Nathan Cirillo were killed in cold blood by jihadi terrorists. These attacks made it clear that our security legislation had to change and evolve with the times. Evidently, that is not clear to some.

The NDP member for Marc-Aurèle-Fortin said that these attacks were merely unfortunate events. These comments are shocking and quite frankly offensive. I hope the member or the NDP leader will do the right thing and stand in his place and apologize to the families of the victims of these attacks.

Back to the topic at hand, I would like to highlight the fact that budget 2015 has invested nearly $300 million to combat jihadi terrorism. This is above and beyond the fact that we have increased our funding for national security agencies by one-third since coming to office.

Given that there has been a substantial amount of misinformation spread by the opposition, I would like to highlight, in the simplest terms, what exactly Bill C-51 would do.

The bill would allow for information possessed by one agency of the government to be shared by another agency of the government when national security would be at risk. It would modernize the passenger-protected program, colloquially known as the no-fly list. It would criminalize the production and distribution of jihadi terrorist propaganda. It would also give CSIS new tools to stop terrorist attacks before they happen. These are very common-sense measures that strike the right balance.

As members know, there is no liberty without security. Contrary to what has been suggested by many members of the NDP, it is ISIS and not CSIS that poses a threat to the lives and security of Canadians, and we in the House have a duty to look to that.

The first duty of any government is to protect the safety of its citizens, and that is exactly what our government will do. The bill would ensure that our police forces would have the tools they need to protect Canadians against the evolving threat of jihadi terrorists. I have spoken to police officers in Toronto and they have told me just that. They need this bill to pass. They need these tools.

We reject the argument that every time we talk about security, our freedoms are threatened. Canadians understand that their freedom and security go hand in hand. Canadians expect us to protect both, and there are safeguards in the legislation that would do exactly that.

The fundamental fact is that our police forces are working to protect our rights and our freedoms, and it is the jihadi terrorists who endanger our security, who would take away our freedoms in a heartbeat. We have only to look overseas to see what ISIS has been doing.

What is more, we will never apologize for taking jihadi propaganda out of circulation. In fact, if websites that provide content hosting services or other businesses are profiting from the dispersal of this type of horrific material, they should seriously reconsider their business model and their lack of commitment to the values that bind us as Canadians.

Across the country, businesses, large and small, depend on a strong economy, clear rules of marketplace conduct, dependable transactions and secure data. The reality is that there is no profitability without a stable security environment, both physical and virtual. The bill would strengthen our niche in security and would benefit businesses as well as consumers.

I have heard the members of the NDP say that no experts support this important legislation, and that is simply not true. I would ask them if they do not believe that Justice John Major is an expert. He said, “I don't think Parliament is equipped as a body to act as an oversight, which is what is being proposed.”

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2 p.m.


The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

Order, please. The time for government orders has expired. The hon. member for Etobicoke Centre will have five minutes remaining when this matter returns before the House.

Second World WarStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Ted Opitz Conservative Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, on May 8, 1945, the Second World War ended in Europe. It began on September 1, 1939, when Nazi Germany attacked Poland, later joined by the Soviet Union, their infamy consummated by the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. World War II unleashed evil of an unimaginable scale, with a cost so high it is still difficult to comprehend: the Holocaust; Stalin's gulags; the rape and slaughter of millions; forced deportations; the assault on language, culture and national identities.

The war ended and a new Cold War began with half of Europe shrouded in darkness until Communism was defeated. Today, Vladimir Putin threatens global peace and security once again, as he wages an illegal war in Ukraine and annexes territory, just like Hitler did.

World War II provided us with many lessons, and those remain relevant today and we should listen. It is fitting that the commemoration of the war's end takes place where it began: in Poland.

It is our solemn duty to Zachor to remember the sacrifices of those who fought and those who perished for our freedom and never again allow evil to flourish.

International Day of the MidwifeStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to rise today to mark the International Day of the Midwife, established in 1992 by the WHO to bring attention to the important work being done by midwives around the world.

Midwives are extremely important to the health of mothers and children during pregnancy, childbirth and the post-partum period. There are currently more than 1,300 midwives in Canada, and this number is growing every year, thanks to our rigorous and high-level training.

Canadian midwives are recognized around the world for their expertise and the quality of their care. That is why I introduced a bill to make May 5 the National Day of the Midwife, which was unanimously passed by the House. We must recognize the invaluable contribution that midwives make to our health care system.

I want to thank the Canadian Association of Midwives, the National Aboriginal Council of Midwives and the Regroupement des sages-femmes du Québec for supporting my bill. I sincerely hope that on this day next year we will be able to celebrate the National Day of the Midwife here in Canada for the first time.

Physician-Assisted SuicideStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Steven Fletcher Conservative Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia, MB

Mr. Speaker, most baby boomers will not die on the golf course. Nobody lives forever. Some people listening probably believe Elvis is still alive or that they will have a second chance as a zombie. A lot of young people these days fantasize about becoming immortal vampires. Personally, I would not want that hickey. A rare few will live long and prosperous lives and die in their nineties while having sex with their bride of 65 years.

Some people may end up in a situation like Sue Rodriguez, a victim of ALS. She asked Canadians, “If I cannot give consent to my own death, whose body is this? Who owns my life?” On February 6, 2015, the Supreme Court yelled back to Sue, “It's your life, Sue. You decide your fate”, and with that, physician-assisted death became legal in Canada.

Let us talk about it.

University of Ottawa Alumni WeekStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, as a proud graduate of the University of Ottawa, I want to recognize that institution's Alumni Week, which is this week, until Saturday, May 9. It has been officially proclaimed by the City of Ottawa and it pays tribute to the 92,000 graduates living in this region.

This year the University of Ottawa is celebrating its 50th anniversary as a public institution. My alma mater is now a world-class teaching and research institution and the largest English-French bilingual university in the world. Many other members here are also graduates. I see someone nodding.

On this special week, it is with pride that I invite all fellow citizens of our region to celebrate the success of this institution and its contribution to our economy.

I invite you, Mr. Speaker, a University of Ottawa alumnus, to proudly wear our school colours of garnet and grey, which I am wearing today.

I also invite MPs to join Alex Trebek, another proud alumnus of the university, to a reception in our speaker's lounge, following today's question period. À bientôt donc. He may have some questions for us to answer.

YellowheadStatements By Members

May 5th, 2015 / 2:05 p.m.


Jim Eglinski Conservative Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, I had the pleasure over the weekend to meet up with four separate groups of volunteers from my great riding of Yellowhead. These groups were from the Carrot Creek and the Peers 4-H Clubs and Edson's Holy Redeemer High School travel club and its local football club.

The volunteers started as early as 6 a.m. to clean up highways around Alberta, especially around my riding so that my part of Alberta is kept clean and beautiful.

Parents, teachers and students all participated in this great community effort. I had the opportunity to drive to several spots where the clean-ups were being done and was able to meet and greet with kids, parents and teachers.

I applaud them for their community spirit. Their time and work, and that of others, makes our country a great place to live. My sincere thanks goes out to all volunteers around Canada.

Compton—StansteadStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Jean Rousseau NDP Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by mentioning the passing of a friend and collaborator, André Nault. A pioneering ecologist and co-founder of the Friends of the Earth, his courage and his battle for a better world will always be an inspiration to us.

Last week, I had the pleasure to welcome the great member for Sackville—Eastern Shore in Compton—Stanstead. We spoke to veterans from all across my riding and visited various sites. For instance, Ogden's Weir Memorial Park in honour of Robert Stanley Weir, who wrote the English version of our national anthem; and Hatley village, where over 3,000 people attend each year one of the oldest Canada Day parades. We also paid tribute to Louis St. Laurent, Canada's 12th prime minister, born and raised in Compton, where he was buried in 1973.

I would also like to pay tribute to a fantastic man, Mr. David Woodard, who devoted most of his life to helping veterans. For over 35 years at the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch No. 5, he helped many and continues to do so. Mr. Woodard is celebrating his 63rd birthday today. I wish him a happy birthday and thank him for his work.

The NetherlandsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


David Sweet Conservative Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, with the spectacular spring weather we have been having here in Ottawa this week, the tulips are starting to bloom and that is very appropriate because today is Dutch liberation day. It was on May 5, 1945 that the Nazis surrendered Holland to the mighty advancing Canadian troops, thereby ending five years of occupation. As we recognize the 70th anniversary of these defining moments of our history, we enjoy the bright colours of tulips here in Ottawa. They are a symbol of the enduring friendship between Canada and the Netherlands, a symbol of freedom and liberation and a source of pride for all Canadians.

We were also proud to see many Canadian flags when the Prime Minister visited this past weekend as well.

However, along with tulips and flags, ours is a mutual friendship and partnership. Canada has benefited greatly from the courage, industriousness and creativity of the Dutch people who came here following World War II and who gave birth to new generations of Canadians since.

I am blessed to have many constituents of Dutch descent in my community and we are very mindful of them today as well as our brave veterans who fought valiantly as we recognize this important anniversary in our respective histories.

MaldivesStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Deepak Obhrai Conservative Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, the situation in the Maldives is a cause of concern to Canada. Canada condemns the crackdown by the Maldives government and its lack of respect for democracy.

We are appalled by the trial and treatment of former president Mohamed Nasheed. An effective review of the investigation and legal proceedings is significant to ensure that international and domestic obligations related to fair trials and the rule of law are respected. We are also concerned that the opposition leaders have been arrested. These actions go against the core principles of the Commonwealth. Canada will continue to call on the Maldives to reaffirm its commitment to democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

Canada stands with the Maldivian people who have peacefully congregated to call for the release of political prisoners and the restoration of the rule of law.

Toronto TransitStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Matthew Kellway NDP Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, in Toronto, people are waiting on buses that take forever, waiting on platforms for the morning train that will arrive already full. But before relief comes for the public, billions will go to the one-in-ten families eligible for income-splitting, hundreds of millions will be sheltered by those who have money enough to shelter.

When new federal funding for transit finally arrives, Toronto's share will be a small package wrapped in red tape, enough to put a few buses on the road or perhaps a boring machine in the ground, but not both. Transit under-investment in Toronto has been costly to date and without consideration for the future of a city region expected to grow by 2.5 million people and add 1.5 million jobs over the next decade and a half.

My city is a globally relevant city with great potential not just for itself and those who live there, but for all of Canada and yet, nowhere to be found in the city of Toronto is the Government of Canada. That has to change if Toronto is to become all that Toronto should be.

The NetherlandsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Pierre Lemieux Conservative Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, May 5 marks the 70th anniversary of Liberation Day, the day when the Nazi forces occupying the Netherlands were pushed out and a starving people ravaged by war was liberated.

During the nine-month offensive, more than 7,600 Canadians lost their lives and many more were wounded.

Thousands of Canadians lie buried far away from the homes and families they left behind. Today, the bonds of mutual respect and friendship between our communities and countries endure, forged by the sacrifices made in the name of freedom and strengthened by our shared values of freedom, democracy and rule of law.

To the Canadian veterans who played such a crucial role in the liberation of the Netherlands, we will never forget their sacrifice.

The NetherlandsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, today throughout the Netherlands people are celebrating and commemorating what happened 70 years ago with the liberation of the Netherlands at the hands of the Canadians and our allies. As a Dutch-born parliamentarian, I am very proud to stand on behalf of my family, my colleague from Sidney—Victoria and his family, and all of the other Dutch members of Parliament here to once again thank the one million Canadians who wore the uniform of Canada and liberated my parents. In fact, it was because of that military that my father said, “If they have a military like that, can you imagine what kind of country they come from?”

One of those heroes was featured on CBC last night, the great Ed Carter-Edwards, who was a pilot shot down and interned at Buchenwald. Last night the CBC told his very poignant story. At the end, he said he will never forget, but maybe he will forgive.

On behalf of the Royal Canadian Legion and all veterans organizations that keep alive the memories of those veterans I want to say, “Do not regret growing old, it is a privilege denied to so many.”