House of Commons Hansard #244 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was terrorist.

Topics

Chicoutimi—Le FjordVacancy

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

It is my duty to inform the House that I have received notice that the following vacancy has occurred in the representation. The vacancy is the seat of the hon. Denis Lemieux, member for the electoral district of Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, by resignation, effective Friday, December 1, 2017. Pursuant to paragraph 25(1)(b) of the Parliament of Canada Act, I have addressed my warrant to the Chief Electoral Officer for the issue of a writ for the election of a member to fill the vacancy.

It being 11:03 a.m., the House will now proceed to the consideration of Private Members' Business as listed on today's Order Paper.

The hon. member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman is rising on a point of order.

Chicoutimi—Le FjordVacancy

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, MB

Mr. Speaker, earlier this year I made an inappropriate and insensitive comment in the presence of the member for Longueuil—Charles-LeMoyne. I have nothing but the greatest respect for this member, for this institution, and I sincerely apologize.

Chicoutimi—Le FjordVacancy

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I thank the hon. member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman for his gracious apology.

The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill S-236, An Act to recognize Charlottetown as the birthplace of Confederation, as reported (without amendment) from the committee.

Recognition of Charlottetown as the Birthplace of Confederation ActPrivate Members' Business

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

moved that the bill be concurred in.

(Motion agreed to)

Recognition of Charlottetown as the Birthplace of Confederation ActPrivate Members' Business

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

moved that the bill be read the third time and passed.

Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour for me to rise again to speak to Bill S-236, an act to recognize Charlottetown as the birthplace of Confederation.

It has been a privilege to be a part of and to witness the debate and discussions surrounding the bill in both the other place and within the House.

At the legal and constitutional affairs committee in the other place, four amendments were made to the bill. One was a correction in translation and the other three improved the context and clarified the content of the bill. That debate brought renewed interest in the story of our great nation's founding and improved the bill.

Let me once again reiterate the bill's fundamental objectives: to affirm Charlottetown as the birthplace of Confederation; to complement provincial efforts; and, to build on the designation of Charlottetown as the birthplace of our country in order to honour, celebrate, share, and educate.

In the spirit of building on this designation, it is important to acknowledge once again a point that was raised throughout the examination of the bill, that being the lack of inclusive discussions at the Charlottetown Conference in 1864. Those were indeed different times. No indigenous people were involved and no women participated.

Dr. Ed MacDonald of the University of Prince Edward Island made an important point before the Senate committee on legal and constitutional affairs, “Confederation is not Canada, and it is not the story of Canada. It is one of the stories of Canada.”

I would like to fully read into the record, as was done in the other place, the statement issued by the Mi'kmaq Confederacy when consulted by my hon. colleague Senator Diane Griffin:

While the chiefs are generally supportive of the concept of Charlottetown being recognized as the birthplace of Confederation, they note that Prince Edward Island has been the home of the Mi'kmaq people for over 12,000 years, yet they were not invited to the Charlottetown Conference. In creating this legislative recognition, the chiefs believe that moving forward, the Government of Canada must include the indigenous peoples of this land on a nation-to-nation basis in all matters. This would also involve honouring the historic peace and friendship treaties with the Mi'kmaq.

Though we cannot rewrite history we can move forward with the lessons that we have learned over time and recognize and value the importance of an inclusive society, one that respects diversity in all of its forms and the value that it brings. In my view, the Charlottetown Conference was a beginning and in each of the 153 years since that time, we have built on that vision and we will build further on that vision going forward.

The Charlottetown Conference may be viewed as the watershed moment in the story of Confederation, the point at which Confederation turned from idea into prospect. However, the importance of the Quebec Conference in 1864 and the London Conference two years later cannot be understated.

During consideration in the other place, the preamble of Bill S-236 was amended in order to acknowledge those important conferences and to recognize Confederation as a process, a result achieved through the participation of many.

Before I became an MP I served for quite a number of years as president of the National Farmers Union. In that capacity I had the opportunity to travel in many of the farming areas of this country and spend the night in people's homes, to live in the communities, and to see the differences in the regions within Canada from coast to coast to coast. That experience showed me the great potential of this country. Canada may be diverse in terms of our regions and our sectors but in that diversity we find strength. I really do believe the founding fathers built better than they knew and we have tremendous potential for progress in the future.

Let me come back to the theme of inclusiveness and relationship building. It is my hope that Bill S-236 will inspire reflection on how we can build on the story of Confederation, and how together we can develop a narrative moving forward. One possibility is to develop the narrative through tourism. As the member for Malpeque, it is my privilege to represent an area that is so rich in culture, history, and beauty. Each year, my province welcomes many Canadians and international visitors from around the world, as do many other areas of Canada. We have some of Canada's most incredible treasures in Prince Edward Island, and we do not take that responsibility for their stewardship lightly. Islanders recognize as well the value of Province House, the last remaining building of the Confederation conferences and the story of Confederation, to boost tourism and serve as an important economic generator for us.

We also recognize the importance of a common vision to promote growth. In the spirit of Sir John A. Macdonald and the Fathers of Confederation, who travelled to New Brunswick and throughout the Maritimes after the conference in Charlottetown, I am confident that together we will find new and innovative ways to attract and educate Canadian and international visitors alike and build on both the rich history of Canada's Atlantic region and the story of Confederation.

It is important to reflect on that foundational time in our history as we near the end of the year-long celebration of our nation's 150th birthday. We look forward to the next 150 years as a progressive, inclusive, and growing country.

I want to thank those who have contributed in important ways to where we find ourselves today with the bill: Senator Diane Griffin, the sponsor in the other place; the member for Charlottetown; former MP George Proud; many other islanders who worked hard toward gaining the bill; Dr. Ed MacDonald; and all my colleagues in this place and the other place whose invaluable contributions to the bill made it better. The debate itself has allowed us to reflect, to honour, and to educate during this important year for Canada.

It is my hope that the next time I walk over the time-worn steps of Province House and stand in the chamber where the Fathers stood that this moment, which is enshrined in history, will also be enshrined in law.

Recognition of Charlottetown as the Birthplace of Confederation ActPrivate Members' Business

11:10 a.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I want to compliment my colleague across the way. I had the opportunity to go to Prince Edward Island with our caucus. Islanders have such a huge sense of pride in the island and the fact of Confederation. I only need to look at my colleague, the member who just spoke on the bill, and colleagues from the island to see this has great meaning to the community.

We should all take a sense of pride. I like to think of P.E.I. as being a part of my island too, even though I do not get to go that often, once so far. However, I know my colleagues have a passion for the island, and this is a very important issue. Perhaps my colleague could just expand on how the people on the island see this as an important thing that goes beyond tourism, that it is a part of Canada's heritage.

Recognition of Charlottetown as the Birthplace of Confederation ActPrivate Members' Business

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I welcome the member's comments and thank him for his compliments for Prince Edward Island. He, of course, can catch a plane out of Winnipeg, maybe stop in Toronto, and get to Prince Edward Island. We would welcome him a couple of times a year if he would like to come.

That said, islanders do see the senate chamber in Province House as an important place of history in Canada's development. It certainly was a spark or moment in time when a maritime conference was planned and Sir John A. Macdonald and others sailed down there in boats. I understand they had champagne in the hull of their ship as they arrived in Charlottetown. They turned what was to be a maritime conference into what would become the birthplace and vision for Confederation.

To Parks Canada' credit, Province House is being renovated now, and when one walks up the worn steps of Province House one sees the decor. It is not a huge place. However, there is a sense of history when one walks through what was then the senate chamber and see the table where our founding fathers came together and decided on their vision for this great country. Their vision was built on in the Quebec Conference and the London Conference that came afterwards. To a great extent this is why we have the country we have today.

When I was the president of the NFU, I often mentioned that Canadians need to see more of Canada and the tremendous potential we have as a country, which, in many respects, is second to none compared to others around the world. That vision happened in Charlottetown and we are proud of it as islanders.

Recognition of Charlottetown as the Birthplace of Confederation ActPrivate Members' Business

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, could the member comment about the people, either the leadership or the common people at the time and where they were, and take us back to those years?

Recognition of Charlottetown as the Birthplace of Confederation ActPrivate Members' Business

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, as often happened in the early years, whether in the United States or here, there were the leaders who came together. They were certainly there. There were no big crowds in the streets, as we would find today at many such gatherings, but it was mainly the representatives of the people who came together, debated, and discussed. They made the decisions that encapsulated the vision that became Canada.

As I mentioned in my speech, those were different times. Indigenous people were not invited to the conference and neither were women. We do live in different times 153 years later, and that reflects the errors of the ways in those times. However, it is part of our history, and because of that we are now able to build on it as we move forward to be a much more inclusive, all encompassing, and open society.

Recognition of Charlottetown as the Birthplace of Confederation ActPrivate Members' Business

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, SK

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today to speak to Bill S-236, , an act to recognize Charlottetown as the birthplace of Confederation.

This bill gives us the wonderful opportunity to remember and honour our national history, to recall the humble beginnings and soaring dreams of the first of our leaders, who dreamed of a united Canada.

History is not, as it is sometimes described, a dustbin of forgotten lore. Rather, it is the memory of how we came to be who we were and, perhaps more importantly, a view to the future, to who we are and what we will become. As the Right Hon. Winston Churchill said:

The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you can see.

As a young country, it is vital to reflect on and honour our history as we look to determine the path Canada will take in the future. Our founding fathers met 150 years ago in what is now called the Confederation Chamber of Prince Edward Island's legislative building, Province House. Out of that tumultuous meeting came the seed of Confederation.

Were it not for the tireless work and dedication of George Cartier and our first prime minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, it is very likely that Canada would never have come to be in any form. In 1864, the idea of a united British North America was a far-off dream, albeit one that had its supporters, including and especially the Cartier-Macdonald administration of the Province of Canada.

For year, prior to the Charlottetown Conference, there was talk of the need for unity of the British North American colonies in the face of the American “manifest destiny” expansion. The British desire to reduce their military presence in the colonies made unity a more pressing issue. Still, many thought this a pleasant dream, but ultimately impractical and bound to fail. Yet, it was with this goal in mind that a delegation from the Province of Canada, now Ontario and Quebec, made the trip to Charlottetown to attend a conference.

The original purpose of the conference was to debate the possibility of a maritime union rather than a union of the remainder of British North America. Despite the high expectations, the conference got off to a rather rocky beginning. When the delegation from Nova Scotia arrived, there was no one waiting to greet them. W.H. Pope, the provincial secretary who had been tasked with arranging the reception, had stepped away from his post for only a moment, and in doing so he missed their arrival. They were forced to fend for themselves and find their way to the legislature in a strange city. Meanwhile, a visiting circus, the first in 20 years, had taken over the city of Charlottetown and the islanders initially ignored the gathering of political figures, unaware of the future impact of the historic meeting that was about to take place.

By the time the last delegation, the representatives from the Province of Canada, arrived in their ship the Queen Victoria, W.H. Pope had smoothed over things with the Nova Scotia delegation. However, to his chagrin, a miscommunication lead to his rowing out to meet the Canadians in an old fishing row boat rather than waiting for them to arrive in their own proper boats.

Despite these initial setbacks, the delegates were quickly enthralled by the proposal for a unified British North America. The proposal that shortly before was only a dream became more and more of a reality. Macdonald, Cartier, Alexander Galt, and George Brown laid out their practical vision for a Canada that was far more possible than perhaps initially thought. Even more than possible, the Canadian delegation expressed that a unified Canada was an imperative.

The debates took place with the American Civil War as a backdrop. The Civil War was, to that point in time, the bloodiest conflict in history. In the view of the delegates in Charlottetown, the war was a result of the disparate goals of the various states conflicting with the goals of the country as a whole. Our founding fathers did not want the British North American colonies to eventually face the same end. In their view, a strong federal government was needed to unite the colonies toward a single goal.

Over the course of a week, the Fathers of Confederation set into place the framework for the future. Three years later, in 1867, our nation was born. One hundred and fifty years ago, our Fathers of Confederation were optimistic about Canada's future and firmly believed they had just formed what would become the greatest nation on earth.

As we reflect on our past and where our country is today, we can see that they were right. Canada is a nation deeply rooted in time-honoured traditions, such as human rights, democracy, the rule of law, and respect for individual freedom. We have one of the highest quality of living standards in the world, with one of the most prosperous, peaceful, and secure populations. These blessings come with a responsibility and a duty on our part to honour that proud heritage of courage, hard work, and quiet resilience handed down to us by past generations.

The debate on this bill also provides us with an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the outstanding people, places, and events that are part of our history and culture. I cannot think of a better way or better time for us to celebrate our accomplishments, both at home and around the world, than by passing a bill like this in our sesquicentennial year. In celebrating the culture, history, and values that unite us, we can look forward to the future, just as the Fathers of Confederation did, and to the endless potential that Canada still holds.

As we look forward, we must, in equal measure, look back. For this reason, I will be supporting Bill S-236 at third reading.

Recognition of Charlottetown as the Birthplace of Confederation ActPrivate Members' Business

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Murray Rankin NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, I too rise to reiterate the New Democratic Party's support for Bill S-236.

I would like to begin with a short preamble. As my colleagues know, this year we mark Canada's 150th anniversary of Confederation. Being proud of a country's heritage and commemorating important historical events is worthwhile for most countries, but I think it is especially so for Canada. We should feel proud of our accomplishments. We are a country comprising remarkably diverse regions and remarkably diverse people.

When we are celebrating or commemorating events that have transpired, it is important that we are mindful of the myriad cultural perspectives and experiences that make this a great country. From coast to coast to coast, there are many different voices that contribute to the Canadian experience. We must remember that historical events have different connotations for different groups in different parts of this country. As Canada moves forward to the next 150 years of nationhood, I hope we can strive to be more inclusive of other voices and cultural narratives so that they might also be celebrated and acknowledged.

With that said, the bill has given us an opportunity to evaluate Charlottetown's role in the Confederation narrative. From what we have heard, there is consensus now among our colleagues that Charlottetown is the birthplace of Confederation, if we agree to think of Confederation as a lengthy process with many important stages and not as a finite singular event. That process indeed began in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, but there were, as others have acknowledged, other vital steps that occurred along the way. Therefore, the credit for Confederation cannot be attributed solely to Charlottetown. As some of my colleagues have mentioned in previous debate, Quebec and New Brunswick both played very important roles in that process of Confederation.

Although the bill is about recognizing Charlottetown, we must remember that Confederation was conceptualized there but not executed solely there. The point I alluded to in my short preamble was one I spoke about during second reading as well. I think it noteworthy that we remind ourselves, as the hon. member for Malpeque has done, that indigenous people and women were excluded from this beginning, this watershed moment the member referred to. I implored the government during second reading to ensure that recognition of Charlottetown would not therefore lead to a celebration of colonialism. As I understand it, there was little opposition to this particular point.

We have all acknowledged that the Mi’kmaq people who lived in that territory were shamefully ignored during the conversations that precipitated the union. These people had been living in that territory for thousands of years. The notoriously shameful conduct toward first nations people is not something that can be easily remedied or forgotten. However, I agree with the hon. member for Malpeque that Canada is in fact constantly evolving and that we are living in a very different time 150 years later.

I understand that at committee, efforts were made to amend the bill to mention the Mi’kmaq people, but these were not successful. I would like to take this opportunity to remind my hon. colleagues that we must consider this perspective when drafting all legislation of this kind if we are going to do justice to the so-called call for action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. We have to become more inclusive as a country, and as we look back to our historical celebrations with a more critical lens than perhaps in the past, we must, as we move forward, not omit indigenous participation in this country.

I also want to suggest that the heritage and tourism materials on Charlottetown's role in Confederation become inclusive and address that part of our history and the contribution of the Mi’kmaq people at the time and since then. As I mentioned in my previous speech, the materials developed must acknowledge their presence in the territory prior to the particular agreement and that they were not included in the negotiations about the very lands they had occupied for centuries.

It is also important to support indigenous people as they represent their own historical narratives. Confederation, as my colleague pointed out, and citing Professor Ed MacDonald to this effect, is not the Canadian story; it is one Canadian story, one of many that represent our collective history. Let us not make the same mistake that those who came before us made by ignoring other cultural narratives.

With this in mind, let me return to the matter of Confederation and defining its role in this process I referred to. Recognizing Charlottetown as the birthplace of Confederation is for many Canadians a foregone conclusion. I believe that one of my colleagues referred to it at committee as self-evident, and I am inclined to agree. The province is already promoting itself as the cradle of Confederation, and one arrives on the island using the so-called Confederation Bridge. I do, however, admire the tenacity of my colleagues in getting Charlottetown formally recognized as the birthplace as Confederation, what my colleague referred to as the “spark”. This has been many years in the making, so let me congratulate the hon. member for Malpeque and all those others who brought us to this point.

Complicated unions and political manoeuvring often have many moving parts. The union of the British North America would surely not have come together if it had not been for hard work and perseverance. As we mentioned during second reading, the initial conference was held September 1, 1864, in Charlottetown. Then New Brunswick governor Arthur Hamilton Gordon was instrumental in its organization. Without his insistence on the initial conference, perhaps things would not have come together as they did. Of course, it was Sir John A. Macdonald and George-Étienne Cartier who persuaded the Atlantic delegates to accept a greater British North America colonies union, with the so-called Canadians included, the people from the current provinces of Ontario and Quebec.

While many items were agreed to in spirit in Charlottetown, such as having a federal government and local governments, the details were confirmed during the October 1864 conference in Quebec City. Therefore, Quebec plays no less an important part in this process of Confederation. It just does not warrant the title of birthplace, in my opinion.

The British North America Act received royal assent on July 1, 1867. One can see how one needs to refer to Confederation as a process instead of as a singular event.

In some ways, this is a very Canadian story. It is filled with compromises and key players from various backgrounds. It is very interesting that, as my hon. colleague pointed out during a speech at second reading, our nation was not born out of revolution or war. It was born out of a series of conferences and negotiations that led to our Constitution, our country's founding principles, and indeed, the brilliance of Canadians since then has been just that, the brilliance of honourable compromise so that we can work together bringing various diverse regions and diverse communities together in what is modern Canada. It is imperative that we carry that diplomacy forward. It is vital that we forge relationships with care and mutual respect.

As has been pointed out, we cannot go back and undo the past. We have the option, however, of moving forward with a commitment to be more inclusive and to build stronger nation-to-nation relationships with indigenous peoples. Let us ensure that true reconciliation is a mutual undertaking for the future of all Canadians.

In conclusion, we support Charlottetown as the birthplace of Confederation. We acknowledge that the long process of Confederation did begin there. When composing heritage and tourism material, let us get it right this time by welcoming other cultural voices and perspectives. In doing so, we enrich our collective Canadian stories.

Recognition of Charlottetown as the Birthplace of Confederation ActPrivate Members' Business

11:35 a.m.

Charlottetown P.E.I.

Liberal

Sean Casey LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I am proud and honoured to stand in this place to offer my contributions to the debate on Bill S-236. I would like to acknowledge some of the people who have brought it to this stage: the former member of Parliament for Hillsborough, George Proud; Philip Brown, from Charlottetown, and Sharon Larter, both of whom have been tenacious in advancing this private member's legislation through various Parliaments since the early 1990s; Senator Griffin, who introduced it and saw it through the other place; my colleague, the hon. member for Malpeque; and Dr. Ed MacDonald. They all have played key roles in getting us to where we are today. I would also like to thank the members for Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek and Victoria for their very thoughtful and insightful remarks here today.

Finally, the proceedings before the heritage committee were particularly instructive and collaborative. In particular, I want to recognize the work and leadership of the member for York—Simcoe and the member for Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, who also carried forward a similar theme as the member for Victoria with respect to the importance of indigenous voices.

I was extremely proud on November 23 of this year when the 23rd Prime Minister of Canada stood at the Confederation Centre of the Arts, just steps away from Province House, and accepted the Symons Medal and delivered the Symons Medal lecture on the state of Canadian Confederation. It was a particularly poignant moment when in the lead-up to his presentation, there was a Canada 150 signature performance by the Dream Catchers.

The Confederation Centre of the Arts is a permanent memorial to the Fathers of Confederation, and it was no more fitting on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Confederation than to have the Prime Minister deliver remarks on the state of Canadian Confederation and to then accept a wide array of questions from the packed house. It was truly moving.

I am equally moved and honoured to stand in this House at this time on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Confederation to speak to Bill S-236. As I indicated, it was put forward by the hon. Senator Griffin. It is quite straightforward and has a simple purpose: to recognize the role of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, along with Quebec and London, in laying the foundation for Confederation, a pivotal moment in Canada's evolution as a country.

History can be a dry topic, but today I would like to paint a picture for members of that meeting in Charlottetown that may perhaps shed some light on how it came about and why it was successful in terms of laying the groundwork for a new nation to emerge in the world. Historian P.B. Waite noted:

Confederation was, in many ways, a startling development. One can add up the causes of Confederation and still not get the sum of it. Like all political achievements, it was a matter of timing, luck and the combination of a certain set of men and events.

What was that certain set of men and events? Our neighbour to the south was in turmoil, tearing itself apart in a dreadful civil war. Citizens living in the British colonies viewed the upheaval with great unease, wondering if it would spill over the border.

At that time, British officials were trying to figure out whether the colonies were more of a liability than an asset. In a day and age when the empire was more interested in trade than in military might, perhaps it was time for British North America to take its destiny into its own hands.

Meanwhile, the Province of Canada, created by the 1840 Act of Union that united what are now known as Quebec and Ontario under one government, had reached a political impasse and was looking for a way out.

The problem was that Canada West, now Ontario, and Canada East, now Quebec, each had 50 seats in Parliament.

This was creating some tension. Canada West's population was much higher than that of Canada East, so more and more voices began clamouring for representation by population.

At the same time, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island, also uncomfortable with the American conflict, had begun to talk about creating a maritime union among themselves. The instinct for unity was clearly an early Canadian trait.

Who were the men who made Confederation possible? In the early 1850s, a young lawyer from Kingston by the name of John A. Macdonald and a Montreal-based lawyer, George-Étienne Cartier, were both elected to opposite sides of the House in Parliament. A certain mutual respect developed between the two men, but it was when George Brown of the English-Canadian Reformers crossed the floor and formed an alliance with his archrival, Sir John A. Macdonald, that the logjam was broken.

The Great Coalition of 1864 wanted to build a larger united federation for British North America. Such a confederation would allow Canada West and Canada East to function as separate provinces, able to govern their own affairs within the new dominion. This is likely why Brown was able to align himself with MacDonald.

The Canadians became aware of the maritime union and asked if they might be invited to discuss a union among all the British colonies. The architects of the maritime union were Charles Tupper from Nova Scotia, Leonard Tilley from New Brunswick, and John Hamilton Gray from Prince Edward Island. They agreed.

A conference was arranged for Charlottetown, to run from September 1 to 7, 1864. The Canadian delegates included several senior ministers: Sir John A. Macdonald, George-Étienne Cartier, George Brown, Alexander Galt, the minister of finance, and Thomas D'Arcy McGee, the poet politician.

Through the daily letters of George Brown to his wife Anne, we have the flavour of what happened at Charlottetown. The Canadians travelled in their ship, the Queen Victoria, and stocked it with provisions and gifts, all with an eye to demonstrating their goodwill to their maritime hosts.

I had said that history can sometimes be dry. Well, in addition to the serious discussions, the Charlottetown conference was a social affair with dances, dinners, and by many accounts, lots of champagne.

Interestingly, the Canadians had to sleep on the ship the first day they arrived. The circus was in town and there was not a single hotel available.

On the first day, the maritime delegates told the Canadians they would put Confederation first on the agenda and move the debate on maritime union to later. After this first important decision was made, a state dinner with dancing was held by the governor.

So it went: serious discussions, interspersed by social engagements where the delegates could all get to know and understand each other better. The discussion on Confederation was thoughtfully laid out by Cartier and Macdonald who talked about the benefits and outlined different models of federalism. Alexander Galt presented the financial aspects, including the benefits for the Maritimes. Thomas D'Arcy McGee painted a picture of a bright future together with his words.

During a tour of our beautiful legislature building, Province House, Sir John noticed a visitor's guest book. He signed it and under occupation wrote “cabinet maker”; indeed.

In less than a week, the Maritimers agreed in principle to Confederation and assented to participate in the Quebec conference a month later. The future beckoned.

This certain set of men and events needs to be remembered, shared, and taught to our children, which is why we are seeking to pass Bill S-236. Commemoration is about examining the past so we can move forward into our future with knowledge and understanding of how we got here.

As we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation, we can see the evolution of our country, our democracy, and our values. Our very roots, as evidenced by what took place in Charlottetown, were not about conflict or war: They were about finding mutual ground and working out our differences.

Let us now work hard to ensure that the spirit of working out our differences and the lessons learned in Charlottetown can be applied to our search for reconciliation with indigenous peoples. Let us make sure that the spirit of reconciliation is not just for Canada 150, but will become part of our nation-building and national values. This is the lesson of Charlottetown. Let us keep moving it forward.

Recognition of Charlottetown as the Birthplace of Confederation ActPrivate Members' Business

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is indeed an honour to join the debate on this particular bill from the other place. One of my staff asked me why a B.C.-based MP would want to speak to this particular bill, and that is a fair question. In short, Confederation is an incredibly important part of our past and, of course, let us not forget that it took an amazing vision for the elected officials of the time to proudly jump off of a cliff, so to speak, and support a vision when, at the time, they could not have possibly known what the outcome would be today. However, they did know one thing: that working together united is how a stronger and more prosperous Canada would be built. They were right.

There, in Charlottetown, they came up with a consensus that would lay a foundation for what would become, I believe, the greatest country in the world, and now more than ever, that is a principle we must not forget. The version of Confederation we are increasingly seeing today is one that could almost be summarized as Nimbyism, but on a provincial scale.

Quebec is happy to get oil from countries that have next to no environmental regulations, and certainly no carbon tax at all, while many opposed the energy east project instead of supporting the good province of Alberta. My home province certainly has its own conditions. Many oppose the Trans Mountain pipeline, which is also against the good province of Alberta. Here is the funny thing about that. Tankers constantly ply the waters off the west coast of Vancouver Island and head to Cherry Point station in Washington. However, the same tanker heading to English Bay would be something to be opposed by the B.C. government.

Ontario continues to oppose wine shipped directly from B.C. wineries. It is the same story in Alberta and Saskatchewan. It remains easier for a B.C. winery to ship directly to Asia than to many parts of Canada, and that, I submit, is wrong. That is not what Confederation was about. Over my time spent working on the interprovincial trade barrier file, I could easily fill this entire speech with numerous examples of provincial protectionism or outright political obstruction that, once again, overlook Confederation. That concerns me.

Therefore, when an opportunity arose to recognize Confederation and the location where it occurred, absolutely I wanted to join the debate and speak in support of that. In my view, anything we can do to educate about our past can help with our future, and we should also never take what happened in Confederation for granted. In this place, in particular, we should work together on this one principle. There is a long answer as to why I wanted to participate in this debate, but before I close, I would like to talk about something.

Last week, the finance committee travelled to both Washington and New York and heard a talk at the Canadian embassy by a William A. Galston of the Brookings Institution, a speech called “The Populist Challenge to Liberal Democracy”. In his answers, he referred to a recent poll of American millennials that showed shifting support for western liberal democracies. Some looked more favourably at other forms of government than what we have today, like the so-called Beijing consensus. He said that people would often support other various approaches to governance in western liberal democracies, specifically due to one of two reasons: either they morally did not support it or the particular form of governance they now had did not work for them.

If we look back at what made Confederation great, it was an equal principle that everyone who came to the table brought something unique, and regardless of the size of the provinces, they all brought something incredible to bear to this common thing called Canada. I would say that in this place we have lots of debate, but we also have a rich history and know that, while we may disagree on some of those national debates, we are ultimately part and partner to something greater. That is the key principle here.

When we support reducing interprovincial trade barriers and the rule of law with regard to pipeline projects, which are approved by our Parliament of Canada through a very judicious process, but we allow those things that I talked about to happen, that demonstrates the performance of our system of governance to the average person. There are people in Alberta, British Columbia, and Quebec who are resentful—I remember, as a child of the 1970s, there being debate after debate and one national sovereignty referendum after another. However, if we act as partners in this great thing called Canada and we show that we believe morally that Canada is good and that we all bring something unique to the table, I would contend that goes a long way to addressing the performance issues that some may have with our system of governance in this great country.

I would argue that if we can allay those concerns, if we can see pipelines built properly, if we can see national issues addressed in this place, if we can see interprovincial trade barriers come down, then from that moral principle that we are better together, I believe we will see Canada continue to be the greatest country in the world.

I thank this place for allowing me to speak to this important bill. I am grateful to be part of this great country. Hopefully, we will see the bill passed as quickly as possible.

Recognition of Charlottetown as the Birthplace of Confederation ActPrivate Members' Business

11:50 a.m.

Conservative

Earl Dreeshen Conservative Red Deer—Mountain View, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour for me to speak to Bill S-236, an act to recognize Charlottetown as the birthplace of Confederation. I applaud the member for Malpeque, whom I have known for a number of years, for making sure the bill could come to this House.

Earlier this morning as the parade came in, I had a chance, as I always do, to look at this beautiful place and to think of all the history that is part of this building. Then I think back to Charlottetown. My wife's family came from Charlottetown, as a matter of fact, just on Grafton Street, and when the Fathers of Confederation were there, getting together and speaking, her family was there. They lived in the community. I had a great opportunity, therefore, to have that reflection. Of course, going to Charlottetown, as we do on occasion, we walk the stairs and have a chance to see just where Canada really took root. For us to be able to speak about this, in this place, and at third reading, it makes me feel very good about the history.

As the member for Malpeque mentioned, it is really a story of Canadian families. My wife's family, the Moore family, could have stayed in Charlottetown in 1892. They lived in a very nice place, but instead decided to come west as surveyors, to look at our vast country and see the kinds of things that were there. Then another 10 years later, when they had an opportunity to come to Alberta, they brought the whole family. My wife's father was one year old when they came in 1903. They became Albertans. Our family was there before Alberta was part of this great Confederation. Therefore, we have this bond between Charlottetown and Alberta. When we think about the importance of our entire country, it is so important that we are able to look at the families and relationships that exist there.

We had a chance to take my wife's father back to Charlottetown. This was probably in the mid-80s. He had not been there, but we did have a chance to look at the house. In the picture we had on the wall, a particular tree was about a two-inch diameter. When we were there, it took four of us to girth the thing. We can see a lot of things have happened there, but a lot of things have happened in the country as well. They are things we should be proud of, and we should recognize the strength there was in the people who decided this was something important to them.

My own family had gone to the U.S. They had come from Germany and gone to the U.S. in 1870. That was right after the American Civil War. The stress and situations that occurred there had them come to Alberta, as well, in 1903. There has been this great bond and this mixing we have in society, and it is because of families. When they came to Alberta, they started off first selling draught horses, because that was the power of the day. They then went into saddle horses, because that became the next commerce associated with it. Then they went into cattle, and finally into grain. The member for Malpeque and I have had many discussions on the grain side of things. I know our discussions on the Canadian Wheat Board go back a way, and we engaged in a lot of discussion there.

However, it is about people trying to do the best for their community and making sure they prosper, and it all happened because of people getting together and recognizing the concerns we had as a country back in those days. I am proud of that aspect of it.

Do we have things that we need to look at for the future? Yes. Should we spend all our time worrying about where we were 150 years ago? Let us think about it and let us recognize the significance. However, let us also think of the fact that Canada is the best country in the world and that is because of the people who brought us all together, and we continue to work so well together.

It is important for us to realize that the mistakes and issues that happened have built our character as a nation. We should all be proud of that. Unfortunately, we spend too much time going back, saying we could have been so much better if we had just done this or that. Where else would we rather be than here? We should all be proud of that.

I understand that these are the stories of Canadians, the stories of the distress. Look at what happened during the American Civil War. We were able to move from there. Look at the concerns and the reasons why our nation came about and why the discussions took place. That also is critical. It is extremely important we look at those aspects of it.

It has been a melting pot for nations around the world, as we come here, work together and look at our strengths. We want to ensure we maintain that. There is a Canadian identity and it is a result of the people who have been in this place over the last 150 years. This is a House of Commons and, as I have always told people, we are the common people. The moment we think we are above that is the time we should not be here. We reflect everybody in the country. I am so proud we can continuously say that Canada is the best place in the world.

Recognition of Charlottetown as the Birthplace of Confederation ActPrivate Members' Business

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Phil McColeman Conservative Brantford—Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate the member for Malpeque for introducing the bill to the House of Commons. As my colleague, the prior speaker has said, the importance of the individuals who sat at that table in Charlottetown and discussed how their visions for what Canada could be, are people who reached out far beyond that, especially after we became a country. That is why I want to relay a story that happened recently in my constituency office.

A local farmer, Willy Hilgendag, is the owner of Bow Park Farm. Bow Park Farm may mean nothing to most of those listening, but it is one of the most significant, historic farms in the country. It is part of an adjacent land, a flood plain to the Grand River that flows through my community of Brantford—Brant.

The significance of Bow Park goes back to pre-Confederation. As Willy entered my office that day, he had a life-sized cutout cardboard of George Brown. As we know, George Brown was one of the key players in Charlottetown, where he discussed his vision for the country. George became, and was, as the owner of Bow Park Farm, a huge historic figure in shaping that part of the world in which live.

Willy is an immigrant to Canada from Holland, the Netherlands. He has maintained and grown Bow Park Farm. He has also written about it. If members ever want to see one of the most beautiful farming operations, Bow Park Farm reflects that today.

Through Willy's work, he has literally set up a portion of one of his farm buildings in recognition of George Brown. It is a wonderful mini museum that he invites the public, at various times of the year, to come out and learn more, not only about Bow Park Farm and not only what it does today, but the history of it. I have to admit that I was a little lacking in knowing what Mr. Brown had done and knowing he was connected to Confederation, the home of our country, where the seeds were born.

One of the things he did that was hugely significant to the country and to agriculture was he bred prize-winning cattle. He took them to Chicago. Imagine how they had to be shipped in those days.

I wanted to tell this story because it hits at the heart of who makes up our country and what they have done for it. He had these prize cattle shipped to Chicago, where they were world-renowned and purchased by buyers from across the world. He put Canada and Bow Park Farm on the map.

I can see by the smile on the face of the member for Malpeque that he may know about Bow Park Farm. He may know this story and what George Brown did to influence agriculture across the country, just as the member has done previously with his work in the agriculture community, representing farmers. I hope that story hits home with the member.

Recognition of Charlottetown as the Birthplace of Confederation ActPrivate Members' Business

Noon

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

The hon. member for Brantford—Brant will have five and a half minutes remaining in his time when the House next resumes debate on the question.

The time provided for the consideration of private members' business has now expired and the order is dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence on the Order Paper.

Opposition Motion—ISIS Fighters Returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Today being the last allotted day for the supply period ending December 10, 2017, the House will proceed as usual to the consideration and passage of the appropriation bill.

In view of recent practices, do hon. members agree to that the bill distributed now?

Opposition Motion—ISIS Fighters Returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Opposition Motion—ISIS Fighters Returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:05 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Paul-Hus Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

moved:

That the House:

(a) condemn the horrific acts committed by ISIS;

(b) acknowledge that individuals who joined ISIS fighters are complicit in these horrific acts and pose a danger to Canadians;

(c) call on the government to bring to justice and prosecute any ISIS fighter returning to Canada; and

(d) insist that the government make the security and protection of Canadians its priority, rather than the reintegration of ISIS fighters, or the unnecessary financial payout to a convicted terrorist, like Omar Khadr.

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my colleague from Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman. Our motion, which has just been read and which we will be debating today, is a very important motion about the return of fighters who joined ISIS.

The ISIS traitors who have returned to Canada are part of a group that, need I remind the House, has burned allied soldiers alive, decapitated men, and raped women and children. They are complicit in acts of violence that defy all understanding or belief.

We know that some of these traitors have come back to Canada, that others are planning to return, and that some did not have permission to travel abroad to fight because they were already known to have hostile intentions.

The Prime Minister believes that these terrorists can be reintegrated. His own Minister of Public Safety tells us that they cannot be reintegrated.

Can these animals be reintegrated into Canada after being complicit in such crimes? Is it really acceptable for these murderers to be allowed to come back to Canada and live freely?

When we think about it, these are not just criminals, they are men who work day and night to destroy everyone who does not share their ideology. We do not know who they are, where they are, or what their plans are.

The Minister of Public Safety should have been proactive about informing Canadians about these criminals. Instead, he gives us vague responses and he assures us that everything is just fine. He assures us everything is fine even though the information coming out of his department is two years old, from 2015. Our minister is not really up to date.

Canadians remember all the terrorist acts committed here in Canada. They do not feel reassured by the Liberals, who are always trying to accommodate these dangerous sickos.

Canadians will remember that Ahmed Ressam, known as the “Millennium Bomber”, was arrested in December 1999 when he arrived in the United States on a ferry from Victoria, British Columbia. He was transporting explosives in his car, for use in a bomb plot against Los Angeles International Airport on New Year's Eve 1999 during the 2000 millennium celebrations.

In April 2004, a radicalized Muslim convert of Lebanese origin firebombed the library of United Talmud Torah, a Jewish school in Montreal.

In 2006, Canadian anti-terrorist forces investigating an Ontario terrorism plot arrested 18 terrorists inspired by al Qaeda who came to be known as the “Toronto 18”.They were accused of planning to detonate truck bombs, open fire in a crowded area, storm the Canadian Broadcasting Centre, the Canadian Parliament buildings, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service headquarters, and the Peace Tower, as well as wanting to behead the Prime Minister and other senior leaders.

In August 2010, Misbahuddin Ahmed of Ottawa was arrested for facilitating a terrorist activity and participating in a terrorist group.

In 2013, Chiheb Esseghaier and Raed Jaser were accused of an alleged al Qaeda plot to derail a train between New York and Toronto on Canadian soil.

We often hear about Islamic terrorism, but I must point out that in this instance, Canadian Muslim groups helped to thwart the alleged plot.

On October 20, 2014, Martin Couture-Rouleau drove his car into two Canadian forces members in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. Mr. Couture-Rouleau had also recently converted to radical Islam. Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent was killed.

Two days later, on October 22, 2014, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau killed Corporal Nathan Cirillo, a Canadian soldier, at the monument just down from Parliament, before coming into the parliamentary precinct, where he opened fire on security personnel.

On September 30, 2017, 30-year-old Abdulahi Sharif, ran down Mike Chernyk, an Edmonton police officer, and then stabbed him, near the Commonwealth Stadium. He then fled and hit four pedestrians during a police chase.

We can all clearly see that the threat is not a thing of the past. This threat is here now, today. Our Prime Minister seems completely indifferent to the possibility of a major attack here in Canada. To illustrate, the Prime Minister's lack of judgment was evident when he responded to questions from our leader regarding the government's position on the reintegration of Islamic State members who have returned to Canada.

Last week, during question period, our leader asked the following:

Mr. Speaker, it is the Prime Minister who is de-emphasizing Canadian security, and Canadians are tired of it. It was Conservatives who amended the Criminal Code to make it an offence to leave Canada to fight for ISIS. It was Conservatives who were focused on giving our law enforcement new tools to prosecute ISIS fighters. The Prime Minister is using a broad spectrum that includes poetry and podcasts, and all kinds of counselling and group hug sessions.

When will the Prime Minister take the security of Canadians seriously and look for ways to put these ISIS fighters in jail?

That was the question that the leader of the official opposition asked the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister responded as follows:

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative Party learned nothing from the last election and the lessons Canadians taught them. They ran an election on snitch lines against Muslims, they ran an election on Islamophobia and division, and still they play the same games, trying to scare Canadians. The fact is we always focus on the security of Canadians, and we always will. They play the politics of fear, and Canadians reject that.

The Prime Minister also said:

Mr. Speaker, we can see that Stephen Harper's Conservative Party is alive and well. They are doubling down on the same approaches they had in the last election, the same approaches that Canadians rejected. I wish them luck.

This was the answer the Prime Minister gave the leader of the official opposition, with his usual patronizing smile. I think Canadians are really tired of this.

Why is the Prime Minister trying to label the opposition's questions on the safety of Canadians as Islamophobic?

The Prime Minister has to understand that the Conservatives are not the only ones who are committed to the safety and security of Canadians. Past surveys show that Canadians of all political stripes want to live in safety. It is simply common sense. Are all Canadians Islamophobic? Are Canadian Muslims who are against jihadists Islamophobic too? No, they are not.

Why is it bad to ask how the government is handling the return of jihadists to the country? Why should we feel uncomfortable to ask a question as simple as that?

The Liberals are putting a lot of energy into making sure Islamic State fighters who come back to Canada are seen as poor little children who need our love and support. They are not children. They are violent men of deep conviction who are capable of pursuing their mission here in Canada against us, the infidels. In their eyes, we are all infidels. Whether we are Christian, Jewish, non-believers, men, women, or members of the LGBTQ2 community or other groups, we are targets to these sick people. For reasons that escape me, the Liberals believe that, from one day to the next, members of Islamic State will stop plotting to kill Canadians and force people to convert to their macabre ideology.

We have no right to scale back our efforts against this violent movement. We have no right to believe that the events of September 11, 2001, targeted only the United States, not Canada. Islamic State fighters have indeed been dispersed, but those who preach their lethal extremist ideology have not.

Once again, I will ask the questions I recently asked the Prime Minister in the House: Who are they? Where are they? What are their plans? Those are simple questions that call for simple answers, not evasive ones.

Opposition Motion—ISIS Fighters Returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, for the people who have returned and there is not enough evidence to lay charges against them, what does the member suggest the government do? Does he agree with efforts to rehabilitate these people when there is not enough evidence to lay charges?

Opposition Motion—ISIS Fighters Returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:15 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Paul-Hus Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is an excellent question. That is exactly why we are in the House today. We want to debate this matter and ask the government to take action.

The government keeps replying that it does not know and that there is no evidence. At least 180 people left Canada and their identity is known. We know that they went to Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere to to join the jihad. What happens when they come back to Canada?

My Liberal colleagues should be asking their Prime Minister and their Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness to take meaningful action. We, the Conservatives, determined that as soon as it was known that someone had decided to join the jihad, that individual was considered a criminal. That was clear.

Immediately upon taking office, the Liberal Party withdrew that provision from the legislation. As for the return of ISIS fighters, the Liberals have to account to Canadians for this, because we, the Conservatives, introduced the appropriate measures back in the day. The Liberals weakened the legislation and are giving these people another chance.

Opposition Motion—ISIS Fighters Returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:15 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Dubé NDP Beloeil—Chambly, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech. I have a very hard time understanding why we cannot do both at the same time. If police forces and national security agencies are able to collect enough evidence to arrest someone, they certainly will. It is absolutely preposterous to claim otherwise.

Deradicalization is a matter of public safety. During the previous Parliament, the Conservatives just introduced draconian measures to strengthen laws, without looking at how to prevent individuals from becoming radicalized in the first place. To prevent this from happening, we need community initiatives, and these initiatives never had the support of the previous government.

I also want to point out that, despite what is being said, this is not a question of just one group or another. There are all kinds of examples right now. For example, hate crimes are on the rise, as is anti-Semitism. If we want to keep the public safe and address radicalization, we need to do it across the board and must not target one group in particular. Why are the Conservatives so bent on denigrating the deradicalization efforts that help keep Canadians safe?

Opposition Motion—ISIS Fighters Returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:15 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Paul-Hus Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have the utmost respect for my colleague, but what he just said is completely wrong. I never said that we were against deradicalization or efforts to prevent radicalization. Today, we are calling the government to account with regard to people who are known to the government who returned to Canada after leaving the country to fight with ISIS or other terrorist groups.

Yes, we are taking a hard line on this, but that is because the safety of Canadians is our top priority. The time for telling these people not to do certain things is past, because they have already done those things. We want to know who they are, where they are, and what measures are being taken to keep Canadians safe.

Opposition Motion—ISIS Fighters Returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:15 p.m.

Conservative

John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is quite right in not conflating this issue with a de-radicalization issue within Canada. We are talking about people who left this country, who fought against this country, and are now coming back into this country and are being reintegrated back into the country.

The issue of the passport is important because these people are dual citizens. Does the hon. member believe that their passports should be revoked and they should not be allowed back into this country after they have left to fight us?

Opposition Motion—ISIS Fighters Returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:15 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Paul-Hus Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. Yes, that is one of the measures that should be put in place. Of course, a distinction must be made between people who were born in Canada and those who received Canadian citizenship later in life. We need to acknowledge the difference there, of course.

However, it is important to say that, as soon as anyone decides to become a traitor, they become a direct enemy to their country. Strong and effective measures must be put in place, such as imprisonment or passport seizures. We need strong measures, for sure. Other countries have much more radical measures in this regard. Even the British have told their snipers to kill British citizens who acted as enemies to their country. We will not be going quite so far, of course, but we are asking the government to at least take a hard line when it comes to such individuals.

Opposition Motion—ISIS Fighters Returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, MB

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles for bringing this motion forward today. He has been doing amazing work as our shadow minister of public safety, using his experience as a colonel in the Canadian Armed Forces to apply his knowledge and experience in making sure that Canadians are safe. National security should be paramount in all of our decision-making as parliamentarians. It is something we hope to see the Liberal government doing, but we are not witnessing that today.

It is disappointing to again be talking about how the Liberal government is not properly prosecuting ISIS terrorists returning to Canada. They are not being properly monitored by the Liberal government. This is an affront to our veterans and our troops who have gone over and fought against ISIS. It is a slap in their face for having gone and put their lives on the line to protect national security, fighting alongside our allies, and to protect the most vulnerable.

Let us not forget that ISIS terrorists conducted one of the greatest genocides we have witnessed in the 21st century. These are people who have no problem with throwing members of the gay community off buildings. They have no problem selling women and girls into sexual slavery. They have no problem in wiping out a complete culture, like the Yazidis, because of their religion. Ethnic cleansing, genocide, and mass atrocities are the hallmark of ISIS terrorists, and yet these are the people the Liberals want to reintegrate back into society. It is disgusting.

I met just yesterday with members of the Yazidi community, and they cannot believe that the government would reduce the number of Yazidi refugees welcomed into Canada so they can finally be protected and reunited with some of their family, even though their husbands, brothers, and fathers were crucified by ISIS, and their daughters, mothers, and sisters were sold into sexual slavery, albeit some of them have been able to get to Canada. However, the government has no problem welcoming those ISIS terrorists back into Canada and reintegrating them into our society.

How do we change that ideology after these people have already committed these mass atrocities, either directly or indirectly? They shared that ideology, but the Liberal dogma on this is what is problematic. It is almost a perversion to protect human rights and then to turn around and allow these terrorist criminals into our country, to allow them then to take poetry classes and become better bloggers, or maybe have a pottery class or two. That, to me, is something that we should be doing before they are radicalized, but once radicalized, I do not think we can reprogram them unless they are actually incarcerated.

We have talked about how our proud men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces have served this country by fighting alongside our allies in Iraq and supporting operations in Syria. However, earlier this year, it was the current government that removed the danger pay of some members of the Canadian Armed Forces who were part of Operation Impact in the fight against ISIS. It was only after veterans, members of the military and their families cried out, and after our work as the official opposition to hold the government to account on taking away the danger pay and tax benefits awarded to those who put their lives on the line in operational missions in the fight against terrorism that the Minister of National Defence and Treasury Board president backed down. Danger pay is $1,800 a month for all those who were deployed, and they deserve every penny. Canadians asked them to take on these roles, and they deserve every penny.

However, did the Liberals learn from this? Not at all. On September 1, they retroactively applied to September 1 a provision stating that special allowances would be cut of those members who are ill, injured, and cannot return to work within six months. This includes those enlisted in our special operations forces, fighter jet pilots, commandos of the JTF 2, or Joint Task Force 2, out there fighting ISIS, and our submariners. If they cannot get back to work within 180 days, they will lose their special allowances for the particular skills they have developed as members of the Canadian Armed Forces. That is almost $23,000 per year. It is ridiculous.

We framed it this way in the House. We can have two Canadians leave Canada and go to Iraq, one as a member of the Canadian Armed Forces to fight ISIS, and the other as a terrorist member of ISIS. If that soldier is injured out in the field, comes back and cannot get back to work within six months, he loses his special allowances of $23,000 a year. However, an ISIS terrorist coming back to Canada is welcomed with open arms by the Liberal government and put into reintegration programs. Again, that is a perversion of public policy. It is completely disgusting.

The Liberals really do not like to hear the truth. The public safety ministry is saying that returning foreign terrorist travellers and their families, specifically women and children, require proper disengagement and reintegration support. Again, I can see our doing that for someone who might have been exposed to it in our communities in Canada, but not once they have been abroad. We are seeing different members being interviewed, especially ISIS brides coming back with their families, who believe in the ideology of raising their children to commit jihad down the road. These individuals are not going to be reprogrammed.

The Liberals are committing $3.5 million to the community resilience fund to do all sorts of things like poetry, pottery, and blogging. Why we would want these terrorists back online to radicalize more people with better blogging techniques is beyond me. Again, it is the perversion of Liberal policy.

Instead of reintegrating these terrorists, they should be charged and arrested. They should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law and incarcerated. Over a period of time, which might be life in prison or a 10 or 14-year sentence, they can be offered the proper programming so they can reintegrate into society as productive members of our public when they are released from jail. Terrorists should be in prison, not in poetry classes.

There are laws to support this, for example, high treason. Section 46 of the Criminal Code says that anyone who “assists an enemy at war with Canada, or any armed forces against whom Canadian Forces are engaged in hostilities, whether or not a state of war exists between Canada and the country whose forces they are”, commits treason. That is pretty clear.

Subsections 46(3) and (4) say that whether it is done as a conspiracy, an act, or an overt act, it is still called treason, a Criminal Code violation. High treason is punishable with a life sentence.

Section 83.181 mentions a 10-year sentence for anyone who attempts to or leaves Canada to become an activist in a terrorist group. Why are we not prosecuting them? These people left to become members of ISIS. They are terrorists committing jihad.

Section 83.19 says that it is punishable for a person even facilitating terrorist activities, whether or not they leave the country. Section 83.2 is about the commission of offence on behalf of a terrorist group and that the person doing so is liable for life in prison. Sections 82 and 83 of the Criminal Code go on about promotion and direction of terrorism, even when a person is leaving the country to be trained, as Criminal Code offences.

The question becomes why is the Liberal government not prosecuting these individuals, incarcerating them rather than giving them a hug and a poetry class?

Opposition Motion—ISIS Fighters Returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:30 p.m.

Ajax Ontario

Liberal

Mark Holland LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, the speech by the hon. member across the way is disappointing, and I will tell him why. There are a few pieces of information that he would know as fact, namely that if any government of any stripe, Conservative, Liberal, or one day an NDP government, sees that an individual has committed a terrorist act and has evidence of that, it would fully prosecute that person to the fullest extent possible under the law, without question.

Under 10 years of Conservative government, there were zero prosecutions of fighters returning to Canada. There were no prosecutions whatsoever. We already have two under way, and I would think the member would want to talk with us about how we can have more. I want to set the record straight on that point first.

Second, I would ask the member who so belittled and talked down anti-radicalization efforts, what would he say to security experts in Canada and across the world who state that we have an obligation to those individuals who have not committed violence, yet are on a track to doing so, an obligation that was unfulfilled and heavily criticised in the last 10 years, to ensure that they do not become terrorists, that we stop them before this happens. What does the member have against prevention?

Opposition Motion—ISIS Fighters Returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:30 p.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, MB

Mr. Speaker, that is typical Liberal mantra, with a member crossing the wires again. If he had listened to my speech, I said that anything we can do preventively upfront to de-radicalize people is money well spent, but this is not what the Liberals are saying. They are trying to de-radicalize those who are already radicalized and belong to ISIS. We have to remember the revisionist history the Liberals like to promote. ISIS only started losing territory in the last 18 months. We only started seeing ISIS terrorists return home in the last two years. Who was the government in the last two years? It was the Liberals.

These individuals have come back under the Liberals' watch. I would remind the member to look at the track record, which indicates that the first of the Toronto 18 domestic terrorists will be getting out of jail in January. I hope the Liberals look at that sentence and make sure he is not pardoned and given early parole. This is the individual who radicalized all of those youth and should be held behind bars to serve his entire sentence, not get early parole, which the Liberals love to do.

Fact and reality are different from what was just said by the parliamentary secretary. We need to make sure that we keep the record straight.

Opposition Motion—ISIS Fighters Returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:30 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Dubé NDP Beloeil—Chambly, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to echo what the parliamentary secretary said insofar as if ever there were sufficient proof to lay charges against someone who had committed any kind of crime, whether it be terrorism or any form of violence, those charges would absolutely have be laid.

The challenge here that the motion seems to neglect is the fact that there is a whole slew of issues not actually being addressed. It is fine to enumerate points of the Criminal Code that these people may be in breach of, but the fact is, and the experts agree on this, that there are all sorts of challenges relating, for example, to the evidentiary standard with regard to intelligence gathering insofar as it would apply in court proceedings. There are challenges to actually getting that admissible in court.

When it comes to dealing with that situation, we need to interact positively with the government and help get that effort going so we can lay charges against these individuals, as opposed to fabricating the notion that somehow any one party would want to welcome dangerous people back with open arms. No, it is about due process, which is fundamental to or at the core of Canadian values.

I asked the sponsor of the motion why Conservatives continue to denigrate deradicalization efforts and was told that it was not what this is about, but that is exactly what the member just did in his speech. I am having a difficult time understanding why we are making these ludicrous comments about poetry readings and so on, when the reality is that these community grass roots efforts are sorely needed and will ensure public safety by making sure that these people are not radicalized in the first place.

In closing, may I add a good reminder that radicalization is not just about one group. It is important to keep that in mind.

Opposition Motion—ISIS Fighters Returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:35 p.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, MB

Mr. Speaker, the left, in both the Liberals and NDP, tend to get caught up in this whole issue of de-radicalization. Any preventative programming we can do, and working with communities, is a positive thing. I was at a meeting last night where there were a lot of people from the Iranian community. They are very concerned about how the Liberals have gone soft on terrorism. They are concerned we are not holding to account those who have joined terrorist organizations.

The problem is, we have a Criminal Code that says quite clearly terrorism and treason are indictable offences under the Criminal Code, but all the left can do is talk. They have taken “hug a thug” to “hug a terrorist” now.

The motion is about dealing with those who have already been convicted, or those who have participated in terrorist organizations by joining ISIS, al Qaeda, Al Shabaab, or any of the other different terrorist groups out there. Let us make sure we are holding those individuals to account. The Liberals are giving them a pass and putting our public safety at risk.

Opposition Motion—ISIS Fighters Returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:35 p.m.

Ajax Ontario

Liberal

Mark Holland LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, as I said in my question, there is not a person in the House who does not unequivocally condemn terrorism. There is not one person in this place who would not, at the first opportunity if evidence presented itself, pursue to the fullest extent of the law somebody who committed an act of terror. To make the outrageous assertion that a member of any party in the House of Commons feels otherwise is unbecoming of this place and it is disgraceful that anyone would stand and make such a statement. We all unequivocally condemn the horrific acts of Daesh. Although we may disagree about the policies and the mechanisms that we use to go after terrorists, each and every one of us wants to hunt down and find those that would do others harm.

The member opposite made a few points that are concerning and I have unfortunately heard others in his party making the same points. He said he was not disparaging anti-radicalization efforts and yet in his speech he talked about poetry readings and how people are soft on individuals who would do us harm. The poetry reading he is talking about is in fact being conducted by a university aimed at young people who committed no crime, young people who might be starting down a dark path. God forbid we should use the arts to try to reach somebody who might be heading down a bad path. Is that the assertion Conservative members are making?

The entire focus of Conservative members on attacking our efforts on anti-radicalization shows the fundamental problem with the 10 years that they occupied office and their complete unwillingness to look at the need and imperative nature of prevention in all of its forms, whether or not it is health, crime, or terrorism. Terrorist acts have already been committed and I have already said we must pursue the individuals who committed those acts with every ounce of our force.

There are all sorts of terrorism that have not happened yet, people who have not yet been victimized, people who have not yet been attacked. Is it not our job every day in every single possible way to use every tool at our disposal to ensure that those who would seek to do us harm are pulled from that pack? Is it not our job to stop acts from happening before they are ever committed?

For some reason members of the opposition cannot get their heads around the idea that there are two separate but equally important priorities. The first is going after those who have committed wrongs and have already broken the law and who, with our international partners, we must pursue. The second are those who have not yet done harm, who are misled, who are beginning to head down a dark path, but who could be pulled away from that direction. There is nothing at odds about pursuing those two objectives at the same time.

The other problem that I have with the rhetoric that we are hearing from members on the other side is that it does not match their record. The Conservatives are now talking about the importance of protecting our communities, and I agree with them, but over the 10 years that they were in power they cut $1 billion from the very agencies designed to protect us. Let us go over those: $430 million cut from the RCMP; $390 million cut from the CBSA; $69 million cut from CSIS; $42 million cut from the Canadian security agency; and, $171 million cut from CATSA. Not only did they not keep up with inflation during that period for this ultimate priority that we all share, they slashed funding during that period of time.

The Conservatives talk about how Liberals will not pursue those who have come back to Canada. Two matters are actively being pursued to convict individuals where we have evidence and a decade under the Conservatives that number is zero, not a single one. It is a little rich for them to stand up and say there has been a sea change and suddenly now we are not doing anything.

It is the cloak that is put around it, as if they and they alone walk the streets concerned with protecting Canadians from terror. It is unbecoming of this place, and I wish that we could spend more time in this place having the kinds of intelligent debates that, frankly, we saw with all members including Conservative members around the security and intelligence framework, the kinds of conversations we are having around Bill C-59 right now to create the best and most leading-edge policy framework and oversight mechanisms and resources for our police. That is the debate that is worthy of this place, not this motion that we are going to spend a day talking about. It is unfortunate to try to angle for whatever particular partisan gain. Of course, in this place every day we try to advance what our party does well and they do poorly, but when it is framed this way it is so cynical.

With that, I want to point out one last thing as just a rebuke to what we heard earlier around the notion of extremism and to point out that not only do we hear the Conservatives belittling it in their text, but that in the 10 years they were there, the work to stop people walking the path of violent extremism simply was not done. According to Dr. Lorne Dawson of the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society, “all the G20 nations...are convinced of the need to move into prevention program...” but “the previous conservative government had little or no interest in following up on this”. According to former CSIS analyst, Phil Gurski, the“previous government had an abysmal record when it came to countering violent extremism and early detection. The Conservative government didn't care.”

I do not know that the Conservatives did not care, I would not make that characterization, but I think their priorities were in the wrong place. I think that while they went after, rightfully, those who had committed acts, they did not do a fraction enough to go after those who were beginning to walk that dark path, and their lack of regard for it in their debate and their discussion on the motion is heavy evidence of it.

We recognize and condemn the depravity of groups like Daesh. That is why Canada has renewed our military commitment to the Global Coalition against Daesh until March 2019. In addition to training, advising, and assisting Iraqi security forces, we have expanded our intelligence capabilities, we are conducting aerial surveillance and recognizance to air-to-air refuelling, we are leading the coalition medical facility, and as the situation continues to evolve we will re-evaluate how the women and men of the Canadian Armed Forces could be most effective and ensure that we equip them with the resources they need to get the job done.

On the home front, when people have given support to Daesh and other terrorist groups and they return to Canada, whether they were active in combat, fundraising, propaganda, or in some other way, they are confronted with the full weight of Canadian intelligence and law enforcement agencies controlling and managing their return. Canadians can be assured that our world-class security and intelligence law enforcement agencies actively track and assess all potential threats. To this end, they work 365 days a year with domestic and international partners, including Five Eyes, the G7, the European Union, Interpol, and many others. These are professional, non-partisan agencies whose skills and expertise are sought all over the world. They work for us. They worked for a Conservative government. They would work for an NDP government. They would work constantly, vigilantly, ceaselessly for any government of any stripe. It is what they did, it is what they do.

They monitor returning extremists closely and gather and share intelligence in accordance with the law. They conduct investigations, collect criminal evidence, and lay criminal charges wherever possible. They use Criminal Code tools like peace bonds and terrorist listings as well as no-fly lists, passport revocations, and other authorized threat disruption measures wherever appropriate. Whichever tool they use, their work is apolitical, based on expert assessments and threats to public safety and national security.

At a recent gathering in Italy, G7 interior ministers, including our Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, committed to working together to address this very issue. This will involve multi-agency co-operation, risk assessment, and possible interventions, as our allies continue to deal with this shared threat.

To give a sense of the situation on a global scale, I would direct hon. members to the most recent public report on the terrorist threat to Canada. It shows, for example, that over 6,600 extreme travellers from western countries went to Syria since the start of that conflict in 2011. The number of Canadians involved is relatively small, about 250, with a nexus to Canada have gone abroad to participate in terrorist activity of some kind. Some went to Syria and Iraq, and many others went to countries in conflict zones. Around 60 of them have returned to Canada. These were the numbers at the end of 2015.

CSIS confirmed in its annual public report released this past February that the numbers stayed largely stable, and that remains the case.

We should neither underestimate nor overestimate that threat. We should not understate it, because there are people who have felt, and may continue to feel, so strong an affinity for the vile ideology and conduct of groups like Daesh that they travelled halfway around the world to get involved. Some of them may have been active participants in brutal violence. Certainly, as the motion before us states, people who team up with terrorists are complicit in atrocities, must be found, must be convicted, and must be put in jail.

When these individuals return to Canada, they merit and receive the full attention of our security intelligence law enforcement agencies. At the same time, that is exactly why we should not overstate the threat. Our expert, highly-skilled, highly-trained security services are on the job. They lay charges when there is evidence to support charges. Even when there is not enough evidence for criminal prosecution, they keep a close tab on these individuals to ensure Canadians are kept safe. They evaluate the extent to which each returnee remains bent on radical violence and they take appropriate measures to keep us safe.

As for the 100 to 190 Canadians who remain abroad, experts do not necessarily expect a great influx back to Canada. For one thing, many of them may be dead. Of those who are still alive, it may not be easy to leave whatever country they are in, and some of them may not want to. For those who do come back and face the same full force of our security and intelligence, it will be exactly the same treatment as those who arrived here already.

That is how we deal with people who have been radicalized. It is, of course, far preferable to prevent radicalization from happening in the first place, which is why I spent so much of my initial conversation in my speech talking to this point.

That is why we have established the Canada Centre for Community Engagement and Prevention of Violence. Setting up this new centre was a commitment we made during the last election. We set aside funding for it in our very first budget, and it has been up and running since June. Canada has certain local initiatives, such as the Centre de prévention de la radicalisation menant à la violence, Montréal and the ReDirect program run by the Calgary Police Service. These programs and others like them engage in direct intervention with people at risk of being radicalized.

Our new federal centre is not meant to supplement. Rather, it is a coordinating body that helps local initiatives work to prevent violent extremism of all kinds. It includes Islamic extremism, white supremacy, and others.

The centre also facilitates the best practices and supports research to develop an evidence base about what approaches work best to combat radicalization in the Canadian context. This is important, and prevention is really the most effective way of reducing the threat posed by radicalization in the long run, not instead of a robust security and enforcement response, but in addition to it.

Therefore, I hope we are hearing, from the comments opposite, an approach that is misled. There is a need to ensure we approach both sides of the equation with equal vigour.

I would also like to address the motion's reference to the case of Omar Khadr.

Canadians obviously hold deeply divergent views about how he ended up on a battlefield in Afghanistan in 2002, and about what happened there. It was undoubtedly a tragic situation, particularly for the family and friends of Sergeant Christopher Speer, who was killed, and for Sergeant Layne Morris, who was injured.

There is conflicting evidence and commentary about what occurred on that day, 15 years ago. There is, however, no ambiguity about the fact that the Government of Canada violated Mr. Khadr's rights when he was in custody. The Supreme Court has been very clear on that point, on not one occasion but two.

Court proceedings have already cost upward of $7 million and prolonging them would have cost millions more, not to mention the cost of settlement itself, all to fight a case that was virtually unwinnable for reasons that were purely political. The settlement was the only sensible course of action. It saved taxpayers an enormous amount of money. It reminds us of the fundamental point that Canadian governments must apply the Constitution, follow the law, and respect the rights of citizens no matter how controversial they might be.

I am proud to be part of a government that upholds Canadian rights and I am proud to be part of a government that prioritizes the security of Canadians. We know that when there is a difficult case, when there is to be an arbiter of whether a Canadian citizen's rights were violated, it is not this place but the courts that make that determination. It is the courts that tell us whether our charter has or has not been upheld. When we violate fundamental rights, there has to be a consequence. Our charter is a document that protects each and every one of us. That is what can be so dangerous in this debate.

Each and every one of us has an incredible zeal to protect our fellow citizen. Probably all members here, if they were to list the top two or three things they wanted when the came to this place, was to make their communities safer, to make their families safer, to make their friends and neighbours safer. It is a prime motivator, I believe, for almost any person who runs in an election. However, when we get here, in our zeal to do so, we have to ensure we do it right. Yes, we go after those who perpetrate violence and create victims and ensure they are incarcerated and face justice. Similarly, we have to ensure those same actions do not transcend into violations of the rights of innocent people.

We can look at the O'Connor and Iacobucci inquiries and the recommendations that came out of them. Serious failures in our intelligence and security led to innocent people facing dire circumstances. Freedom is delicate. It must be carefully guarded. Those who would attack us or commit terrorism hope we will suspend freedom, live in terror, and lead our lives differently. However, when we get the opportunity to be in a free country, we have to hold that responsibility close. That balance of prevention, enforcement, protection, and the guaranteeing of rights is one that we must debate with the utmost caution, weight, consideration, and lack of partisanship. I hate to say it, but this motion fails on that account.

Opposition Motion—ISIS Fighters Returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:55 p.m.

Conservative

Karen Vecchio Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, I heard the word “rights” used a lot. Some members may know that I worked very diligently on the LGBTQ2 apology. I have opened a lot of doors in that community and people now come to me to share some of their views. Within two hours of that apology, I started being contacted by people who were part of that community, saying they were Muslim gay men and they feared for their lives now with the return of ISIS fighters.

We talk about the rights of ISIS fighters, but I want to know what the rights of people are, those who came to Canada in fear of their lives because these people torture, buried alive, and a variety of other things that specific population. We know that gay men were buried alive by ISIS fighters within their own communities and culture. What about the rights of those people who feel they will be victimized, now they are Canadians, by these ISIS terrorists?

Opposition Motion—ISIS Fighters Returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:55 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member's question drives to the heart of exactly what I was talking about, and that is the paramount nature of our charter.

I have been very lucky to have a close relationship with a lot of different communities in my riding. When we debated the matter of equal marriage, I went into mosques and told them that the charter protected those in the mosque and also the LGBTQ2 community and that equal marriage was fundamental and sacrosanct. I also told them that there may be a day when people or a government might turn on their rights, when they felt their rights were not so important. I told them that the charter, which annoyed them because it protected people who they did not think should be protected, would suddenly become their closest friend, their greatest shield. This is exactly why the courts, not this place, protect that charter. Absolutely, without question, if people are gay Muslims, of if they are asexual, or anything they want to be, I do not care, their rights have to be protected.

Hate in all forms is abhorrent. I do not see the point here except to say that the a balance must be struck. For the person who makes an Islamophobic comment, that it is detestable. Anybody who makes a comment against somebody because of his or here sexual orientation is equally abhorrent.

Opposition Motion—ISIS Fighters Returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:55 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Dubé NDP Beloeil—Chambly, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his speech and for setting the record straight.

As he is well aware, I often strongly disapprove of the Minister of Public Safety's decisions, especially when it is being insinuated that, if they were in government, any other person or party in the House would settle for anything short of prosecution in cases where there is sufficient proof to lay charges.

The debate about the efforts being made to counter radicalization is very important. My colleague spoke at length about the motion, and I would like to ask him a question. There has been some talk about jailing fighters who return to Canada, but experts have raised concerns about that approach, believing prisons themselves to be breeding grounds for radicalization.

As part of its counter-radicalization strategy, does the federal government intend to deploy similar efforts in prisons?

Opposition Motion—ISIS Fighters Returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:55 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. There is no doubt that this is a very important issue.

We must ask ourselves what happens to people when they go to prison. In the current context, that is a good question. What kind of people will they be when they are released? Will they be ready to rejoin society? Will they be able to make a positive contribution to our culture and society? That is one of the reasons that the time they spend in prison is important in our view.

I spent a lot of time touring virtually every federal penitentiary in the country when I was the critic in opposition. I saw some pretty horrible conditions. Given the fact that 93% of those who go into prison will come out, we have to be preoccupied with who comes out those doors.

I know this is a matter of preoccupation and concern for the member. I look forward to working with him closely on this.

Opposition Motion—ISIS Fighters Returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1 p.m.

Saint-Jean Québec

Liberal

Jean Rioux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, Canada combats terrorism both inside and outside its borders, and we are proud of our results in Iraq. However, the consequence is that some people will return here.

I find the alarmist tone adopted by our Conservative friends to be unfortunate because we have a number of security measures at our disposal, including surveillance, the revocation of passports, the no-fly list, and criminal charges when there is sufficient evidence. In fact, when they were in government, the Conservatives cut $1 billion from surveillance and they laid no charges against those people. We should also bring some perspective to the number of people that could return; we are talking about approximately 180 people.

Can the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety establish that Canadians can have confidence in the Canadian Security Intelligence Service?

Opposition Motion—ISIS Fighters Returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax, ON

Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt that everyone in Canada and around the world working hard to protect our country and ensure the safety of all Canadians is doing an incredible job.

First, it is important not only that we have faith in them but that we put in oversight mechanisms to make sure that they are doing that job well. It is not just us patting ourselves on the back. We need oversight mechanisms to make sure that we are conducting that work appropriately. Second, we have to acknowledge when there have been failures and put in mechanisms to fix them.

Unfortunately, in this job, I have had occasion to sit across from people who have been the victims of terror or who have lost loved ones at the hands of terrorism. It is gut wrenching. I have also sat across from innocent Canadians who were wrongly accused, who it later turned out had done no wrong, and who wound up in foreign jails for years, away from their families, being tortured and taking incredible amounts of psychological abuse.

That is why this balance is so important. It is not a competition of one against the other. We can ensure our security while also protecting our rights.

Opposition Motion—ISIS Fighters Returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1 p.m.

Liberal

Greg Fergus Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, as a member of Parliament, I get to see some great speeches and great debates, and today has certainly been one of those occasions. I would like to thank the hon. member from Ontario for what I thought was a very enlightened debate.

I would like to go back to the key point he made that all Canadians and all parliamentarians are preoccupied with the safety and security of Canadians. It would be unfair and below the dignity of this place to say otherwise.

Could the hon. member please tell this House how the government uses the full panoply of tools available to it to make sure that we are fighting radicalization in all its forms before people are radicalized, during the time they decide to engage in that activity, and afterwards?

Opposition Motion—ISIS Fighters Returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:05 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his excellent question. When we look at how we are building up Canada's capacity to deal with any radicalization, unfortunately, for a decade, it was a neglected area.

A lot of it is done at the community level, because what works in one context will not work in another. That is not only true in a Canadian context but is true abroad.

We have to look at the reasons that horrific act happened in Sainte-Foy. I ended last week with victims of that tragedy, who witnessed it happen in a place they thought was safe. We have to ask what the context is that led a person to commit such an act of hate. Where do we draw the line back to where that process of radicalization began so that we can get people way before they ever commit such a heinous act? It means investing in communities and understanding that radicalization, in all its forms and permutations, requires different solutions. We have to work at the community level, and that is what our efforts to end radicalization are about.

The more we dial down the hyperbole, the more we stop saying that this person does not care and that person cares too much, or that this person is trying to hug a criminal and that person is trying to lock someone away forever for something minor, the more we get away from that kind of frame and say that we all share the same objective. It is a question of a policy approach. It is question of who has the best evidence or the best direction we can take to get it done. We can then have a debate that is real, honest, and beneficial to actually getting the results we all care about.

Opposition Motion—ISIS Fighters Returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:05 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Dubé NDP Beloeil—Chambly, QC

Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned in my questions to the parliamentary secretary, it goes without saying that we condemn the terrorist and violent acts committed by ISIS as well as by neo-Nazi groups, for example; we are disgusted by them.

Not only should all forms of terrorism be condemned, but we also find that our measures provide sufficient evidence to lay criminal charges. The parties all agree on that.

Mr. Speaker, with all due respect to the fantastic interpreters here in the House, it is worth repeating in both official languages that we find any violence committed by any terrorist group, whether it is ISIS or neo-Nazis, to be abhorrent and something we denounce. Insofar as we have the evidence required to go ahead with criminal proceedings and press charges, it should absolutely be done. That is not something up for debate, no matter which party is in power. On that, I certainly agree with the parliamentary secretary.

The sad part about trying to politicize a situation that is obviously very worrisome for all Canadians, as it pertains to their safety and security, is that when it comes to radicalization we have to ask ourselves what is the best way to address it. I heard the Conservatives say that this is not about people who are in the process of being radicalized, but about those who already were and have now returned.

With that in mind, it is very important to remember that the problem does not lie with our legislation or political will; in fact, we are talking about the justice system and not a political decision. It is about adapting to the standards of proof.

The way evidence is admitted in court is extremely important when we look at this particular issue of foreign fighters returning to Canada, in particular in what way intelligence gathered can be admissible as evidence in court. Even experts have had a hard time grappling with how we can lay charges with that evidence. That is something we acknowledge the government needs to look at and work on. It is certainly something that could help law enforcement press charges when they may be required.

When we are looking at pressing charges, it is not just what evidence is admissible. It is also the question of even laying terrorism charges, which is something we did not see in the previous Parliament under the previous government and that we have now seen twice under the current government. It is complicated, because as experts have said, often terrorism charges do not relate to the violence in and of itself, which usually falls under another part of the Criminal Code. Terrorism charges usually relate to the planning of said violence, which makes it very difficult, especially when we fall into the trap, as with this motion, of targeting specific groups.

I will explain why. Members will recall the horrible massacre in Moncton. By all accounts, this man committed a terrorist act. In fact, he confirmed that he wanted to attack the RCMP because it supported a government he thought was corrupt. I do not think this can be described as anything other than a terrorist act, and yet no one calls it that.

The attack at the Métropolis against a newly elected Quebec premier could also be considered a terrorist act.

However, in both of these cases, no terrorism-related criminal charges were laid. Criminal charges were obviously laid, but these charges fell under other parts of the Criminal Code.

This is a very important point, because it shows how difficult it is to judge motives and to define terrorism. This is unfortunately extremely complicated, and we need to work on that.

I also think it is important to trust the men and women who work for our national security agencies and police forces—in the case, the RCMP. It goes without saying that if they collect enough evidence, we can, and should, be confident that they will file criminal charges. The problem is how to obtain this evidence and whether the evidence is admissible. There is no point laying criminal charges if the person ends up being released because of a lack of evidence. This may be annoying, but this is the reality of our legal system, and we must respect that. This is exactly what terrorists want to attack. If we cannot respect this pillar of our democracy, we are doomed. This is very important here.

The other point is the question of resources, which is extremely important and which we raised over the course of the debate on what was Bill C-51 in the previous Parliament.

We can change the law. We can make the strictest laws possible. We can say we are going to throw everyone in jail and throw away the key, but if the men and women in uniform do not have the human and financial resources to do the work, the law is useless. That is a key issue here.

The commissioner of the RCMP has said that the focus on radical Islam has taken away from other investigations at a time when we are seeing a rise in hate crimes, a rise in anti-Semitism, which are also forms of radical violence and are, in some cases, forms of radical terrorism.

It is important to keep in mind that it is not always a legal issue. It is sometimes the political will to provide the appropriate resources to the national security agencies and police bodies, something that, unfortunately, certainly was not done in the last Parliament, and there is more work to be done in the current Parliament. That is important to keep in mind if we actually want the RCMP, among others, to have the resources to do the work they need to do to keep Canadians safe.

Getting back to the subject of radicalization, which is at the heart of today's motion, I asked the sponsor why the Conservatives have been so intent on disparaging anti-radicalization efforts. I was told that this is not about being for or against radicalization, but right after his speech, his colleague spent at least five minutes sneering at anti-radicalization efforts. That makes absolutely no sense.

During the last Parliament, nothing of substance was done to fight radicalization. Although I frequently disagree with the public safety minister's stance on issues, I am pleased to see that something is finally being done at the community level to fight radicalization through a centre set up to fund local projects. The Conservatives scoffed at those projects in their motion, as did their critics in their speeches on the subject. That is a shame.

If we really want to keep our communities safe, we have to fight radicalization and make sure people do not leave in the first place. Extremist groups such as Islamic State and far-right groups such as neo-Nazis often exploit young people with mental health problems. We need to help those young people not because they should be treated as victims but to ensure public safety, which requires a concerted, community-wide approach.

I asked the parliamentary secretary a question about what is being done in prisons.

I overheard a comments from a Conservative that we are saying to not put them in jail, because they are going to be radicalized there. That is not what we are saying. We are saying that we cannot do one without the other. The experts all say that one of the worst places for being radicalized is in prison. If there are criminal charges brought and people are found guilty, certainly no one is debating whether they should be in prison. The issue is that when they are in prison, we need to make sure that the programs are there to get to the root of that radicalization that is taking hold and leading them to be a threat to national security and public safety. That is what is at stake here. If we just want to incarcerate and forget about it, to see no evil and hear no evil, those people, if they ever get out, will have slipped through the cracks and will not only be people society has not come in aid of but will be people who will pose a threat to public safety. If the objective here is to protect public safety, then let us make sure we are cutting the evil that is radicalization off at the root, and that means providing the proper programs.

As I said, I recognize the efforts the government has made to begin working with and funding best practices in some of those efforts, but more needs to be done. Again, prisons are one example. I appreciate the openness the parliamentary secretary has shown to recognizing that this is an issue and to working on it, but more needs to be done.

Let us move on to the matter of counter-radicalization, which is something else that is of great concern to me. What are we talking about? Some people go abroad and are labelled as “fighters”. In some cases, they do not commit any acts of violence, which is why it is so important to have evidence. In fact, sometimes these people are victims. Some of them are taken over there by their families. They are vulnerable people who quickly realize after arriving that they have made a mistake, and who then come back to Canada without committing any acts of violence.

Will some of these individuals be criminally prosecuted? Of course, but evidence is needed. Rather than heckling and shouting “yes”, we must understand the nuances of the situation. We have to understand that our system is a system of law. I am not talking about rights and freedoms. I am talking about a system of law, the rule of law. It is important to understand that simply making a list of people and sending them all to prison is not an effective approach to public safety. We have to have evidence, and we have to understand the challenges associated with that evidence, challenges that experts have told us about.

The Conservative member is heckling me by shouting “yes, we have to do it”. If we move forward with these criminal charges, we need to make sure that they will result in prison sentences. Rather than blaming the government and engaging in a senseless dialogue by claiming that some people in the House are seeking to jeopardize the safety of Canadians, we need to understand that there is work to do to ensure that the national security agencies and police forces that have the evidence they need to successfully prosecute will do so. Everyone would be pleased if that happened, because it would help keep Canadians safe.

Let us engage in a positive dialogue. That is the approach that we are advocating today. It is no secret that I disagree with the approach of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, but one thing is certain and leaves no room for debate: we want keep to Canadians safe and ensure public safety.

In that context, when we are looking at such an important issue as this one, to engage in dog-whistle politics and use expressions like “welcomed with open arms” and to throw things out about reading poetry, to denigrate counter-radicalization efforts, does a disservice to the men and women doing the serious work of making sure Canadians are safe, does a disservice to this House where we all believe in the importance of ensuring Canadians' safety, and does a disservice to the real efforts and debate that need to happen over the proper way of dealing with the situation.

As part of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security's review of Canada's national security framework, we travelled for one week, stopping in five cities in five days. We stopped in Montreal, where we had the opportunity to visit the Centre for the Prevention of Radicalization Leading to Violence. This centre is one of a kind in North America. It is so unique that it receives calls from families in New York who are worried about the possible radicalization of a friend, a family member, or even a child in some cases.

We sat down with the team at the centre and had a nuanced discussion. It was clear that these people fully understood that in many cases, the RCMP and our national security agencies have a role to play and a job to do if they are to catch those who pose a threat to public safety and security.

The collaboration between our police forces and national security agencies has been outstanding. They have also made an effort to reach out to the community and to concerned families and individuals. This work did not focus on any community more than another. An attack like the one committed at the Islamic cultural centre in Quebec City is just as troubling as an attack like the one that took place in Edmonton. Both are equally troubling, and the centre acknowledges that.

The people who fight against radicalization fully understand what we are saying today in the House. Yes, we need to consider prosecution. Yes, we need to make sure that anyone we can press charges against is actually prosecuted. However, we must also recognize that simply acknowledging one facet of an extremely complicated and important issue does not diminish the need to hold this debate and offer concrete solutions. Not only would concrete solutions help us ensure public safety, but they would also keep youth from falling through the cracks and possibly save them from the scourge of radicalization.

In closing I want to say, as I have said several times in my speech, that the minister and I certainly have our differences, and it is no secret in this place, but there is one thing to which we will always commit, and that is working together to ensure the safety of Canadians, no matter what the partisan issue is.

To do that, there is a lot that needs to be done. I have mentioned some of it: getting terrorism charges right, getting the peace bond process right, getting the evidentiary process right with regard to intelligence gathering. These are all challenges that we have in getting the counter-radicalization efforts right.

The government has taken some good steps. We think we can do more, including doing it in federal prisons, and making sure that, in some instances where there are best practices, there is more robust federal leadership despite the importance of supporting those grassroots efforts.

Those are all things on which we are ready to work with the government. It is part of the reason why it is so disappointing to hear the kind of hyperbole we hear today. When it comes to ensuring public safety, there are important measures that need to be taken. It is not about stoking and fanning the flames of fear, but rather about standing in this place and having the courage to take on these important challenges that we face, and that all experts agree are challenging but are at the core of the mandate we have as parliamentarians.

I am very happy to say that the NDP is committed to working with the government on all the points that I mentioned.

No proposal, whether Bill C-51, introduced during the last Parliament, or Bill C-59, should ever implement more draconian public safety legislation at the expense of rights and freedoms. However, that does not preclude concrete efforts from being made, for instance, providing more resources to the RCMP and other national security agencies and strengthening our counter-radicalization efforts. We have to do what we can to truly put an end to this scourge instead of simply focusing on one aspect of the issue and moving on.

There is still a lot of work to be done. Let us set aside this kind of rhetoric and ensure that we are doing our job properly because that is what Canadians expect from us.

Opposition Motion—ISIS Fighters Returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Paul-Hus Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.

Today's debate seems to be getting a little off topic. Our motion relates to the 180 identified individuals who left Canada to wage jihad overseas. We know that 60 of them have returned to Canada, and we have no information about the others.

Today we are debating the fact that the government refuses to provide Canadians with any clear and precise information. Who are those individuals? Where are they? What are they doing? This has nothing to do with deradicalization and the ongoing programs for people here. This is about the people who decided to go and fight alongside Canada's enemy.

We invested billions and hundreds of millions of dollars in bombing them and fighting them on the ground. The first step in the government's plan was to withdraw our CF-18s. I do not want to hear about deradicalization today. That is not what our motion is about.

We want to know what they are doing. We also want to know the government's position on these enemies of Canada, these traitors to our nation.

Could my colleague who just spoke forget about deradicalization, which is not the subject of today's debate, and tell us whether he agrees that the government should provide us with more details about the situation?

Opposition Motion—ISIS Fighters Returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Dubé NDP Beloeil—Chambly, QC

Mr. Speaker, in reading the motion, I do not see anything about the issues my colleague just raised, such as the number of fighters and what has been done. The motion is written in general terms.

It is this type of discourse and vagueness that spreads fear without really tackling the problem. That is why today's motion misses the mark.

My colleague says he does not want to hear about the fight against radicalization. It was the previous government's refusal to talk about it that caused its abysmal failure on this file. That is the problem.

I said it in my speech, and I will repeat it for my colleague and for the parliamentary secretary. This is serious. I am now having to defend the government. We said the same thing: if there is enough evidence for the police to lay charges, they should do so. We would be very pleased to see that because it contributes to public safety. In some cases, however, criminal proceedings are not successful because the complexities of the law as regards the admissibility in court of certain evidence must be reviewed. The Conservatives' problem is that they ignored that fact as well as the fight against radicalization. That is exactly why we find ourselves in this situation.

We must stop ignoring the real problem and deal with this to ensure public safety.

Opposition Motion—ISIS Fighters Returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, I want to make two points.

The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness has said categorically that all the people who can be charged will be charged to the full extent of the law, just like any other criminal. It is surprising to me, maybe embarrassing for the Conservatives, that the two speakers who should know something about this, the sponsor and a critic, are not aware of that. Just to make sure that the people of Canada are aware of that and that any future Conservative speakers are aware, those who can be charged will be charged to the full extent of the law. The member made that point and the parliamentary secretary made that point.

Regarding the people who are left who cannot be charged and what we should do with them, the second Conservative speaker said they cannot be changed or rehabilitated, nothing can happen, whereas the rehabilitation efforts of the government, as emphasized by the speaker opposite, belie the whole attitude to making Canada safer. The parliamentary secretary said that 93% of people who go to jail will come out again. If we do nothing, if we have that philosophy that nothing can be done to rehabilitate them, what a dangerous place Canada would be. Maybe it does not always work, but it certainly works in a lot of cases and Canada is a lot safer because of it.

I really appreciated the member's speech in making that point about rehabilitation, both for these people coming back and for all criminals.

Opposition Motion—ISIS Fighters Returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Dubé NDP Beloeil—Chambly, QC

Mr. Speaker, once again it is worth repeating in our other official language that there is no doubt in my mind that no one in this House is saying that, should law enforcement agencies have sufficient evidence, they should not lay charges and prosecute anyone who should be prosecuted. There is no debate about that, despite what we seem to be hearing.

However, the issue here is that simply prosecuting and incarcerating is not the end of the story and that is what is at play here. Even as I said in my question for the parliamentary secretary, no one is saying that someone who is found guilty in a court of law should not go to prison. What we are saying, as the experts are saying, is that prisons are some of the worst places to become radicalized for some of the violent ideologies.

Therefore, we should be making sure that there are programs in place so that we are attacking the horrifying notion that is radicalization in the system, while ensuring public safety. If the Conservatives do not understand that ignoring the fight against radicalization for 10 years was not the right approach, then I do not know what to tell them, because everyone agrees that terrorism is horrible and if we have enough proof we need to prosecute, but we also need to attack the root of this, which is radicalization, something that they choose to ignore.

Opposition Motion—ISIS Fighters Returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Saint-Jean Québec

Liberal

Jean Rioux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I thank my riding neighbour for reassuring people, unlike those who frightened them by making $1 billion in cuts to public safety and failing to bring charges against people coming back to Canada. My riding neighbour and I were particularly affected by the death of Warrant Officer Vincent three years ago. We have every right to be concerned about our communities.

Could the member confirm to me that our constituents and all Canadians are safe, that they can have confidence in Canada's security and intelligence system, and that human rights and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms are being respected?

Opposition Motion—ISIS Fighters Returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Dubé NDP Beloeil—Chambly, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my riding neighbour for his question. Just because I am not rending my shirt and fearmongering does not mean that I do not recognize the fundamental importance of addressing this issue. Obviously, there is work to be done. We are committed to fully participating in any effort we feel is valid to address the scourge of radicalization and bring criminal charges, where appropriate.

However, we also have a responsibility to assess the situation and understand the reasons behind it. The goal here is not to write a thesis on the issue, but if we really want to protect public safety, we need to deal with the scourge of radicalization. We are duty bound. We must also find the best ways to keep the public safe. Incarceration is one of them, of course, but if we only focus on that, our approach will fail just like the previous government's.

Opposition Motion—ISIS Fighters Returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Mr. Speaker, as members of Parliament, we all receive correspondence from constituents that is frequently critical of other countries' judicial systems not upholding the rule of law and making sure those who are charged with a crime get their day in court. However, some of those same voices turned a blind eye to the process that went on at the Bagram air force base and Guantanamo Bay, which we know did not meet our high standards of justice.

That is important to raise, because my colleague was talking about the importance of the rule of law and making sure our judicial system has the resources. If the state is so sure of a guilty verdict, it should be prepared to bring that person to court, bring the evidence through, and charge and convict them the way we afford everyone in Canadian society. It is important to bring up, because in this motion we see specific mention of Omar Khadr and the process he went through. Earlier this year, I had the chance to meet with his lawyer, Dennis Edney, and ask him why he took that case against all the advice of his colleagues. He said it was because the rule of law was not followed.

I would like my colleague to comment on if we are to have confidence in our justice system, and to talk about the importance of a government not cherry-picking when our rights apply and when they do not. If we are so sure of a guilty verdict, the state should have the resources to put a person through our court system and get a guilty verdict in the same way that is afforded to all people who are charged with crimes.

Opposition Motion—ISIS Fighters Returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Dubé NDP Beloeil—Chambly, QC

Mr. Speaker, from the work my colleague has done on the justice file and on that committee, he will recognize, as I do, that on many of these public safety and justice issues there is one thing that bears repeating which is too often forgotten in these types of debates. That is, the fact that respect for due process and disgust of abhorrent things that have been done by certain people are not mutually exclusive. It is about time we repeat that over and over again, because it is so important to recognize that respecting due process is, as far as I am concerned, one of the pillars of our democracy. Saying that we respect it and want it to happen properly, as well as looking at ways we can improve it to make certain things perhaps easier, does not necessarily take away from the fact that we find absolutely abhorrent the things we see happening with regard to terrorism and other forms of violence.

That is a key point. If we continue to dismiss the importance of due process and go into this type of thinking where somehow what happens in places like Guantanamo Bay is acceptable, then that is when radicalization wins. It is up to us to stand against that, recognize that we all want the same thing, public safety for Canadians, but also realize that there is a proper way to go about it. That is what we are committed to do. If the government has good ideas, we are certainly going to support that. If the ideas are not as good, we will certainly be critical of that. However, we all need to have that debate in a specific context. We all recognize the importance of these issues.

Opposition Motion—ISIS Fighters Returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Conservative

Glen Motz Conservative Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, AB

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for Mégantic—L'Érable.

I rise in support of my colleague's motion to condemn ISIS terrorists and their supporters and to call on the Liberal government to not allow Canada to become a safe haven for terrorists.

As I have said in this place before, the top priority of the House must be the protection of all Canadians. The protection of our people should be placed ahead of political manoeuvring and should be of top concern for all members of Parliament regardless of their party.

This view is shared by my Liberal colleagues on the public safety and national security committee, who earlier this year endorsed a national security report that stated, “National security is one of the most fundamental duties—if not the most fundamental duty—conferred upon a government.” On the issue of Canadians who have left Canada to join ISIS and are now returning to Canada, the Liberal government is failing to meet the national security report standard.

The government's threat level is currently at medium as a result of growing terrorist attacks and threats globally and here at home. A medium threat level is where a violent act of terrorism could occur.

A 2016 CSIS publication titled “The Foreign Fighters Phenomenon and Related Security Trends in the Middle East” stated clearly, “One does not have to speculate terribly much to see the potential threat from ISIL to the West given its vast cadre of foreign fighters native to, or previously resident in, those countries. This unprecedented pool of foreign recruits suggests that ISIL would certainly have the capability to undertake...attacks”.

We owe it to those who sacrificed and fought to protect Canada from threats both foreign and domestic. Our armed forces, our veterans, our police, and our national security agencies have paid a price to give us the freedoms we enjoy today. We owe it to every Canadian to ensure that all reasonable and lawful measures are taken to protect our nation from the threat of those who would do us harm and compromise our national security.

Let us be clear. Canadians are strongly opposed to welcoming terrorists back to Canada. We should not mince words, ISIS fighters are terrorists. They are people who have publicly beheaded Canadians and other westerners. They have burned other human beings alive. They have drowned people in cages. They have thrown people off buildings for simply being who they are. They have raped and enslaved women and girls. There appears to be no manner of unspeakable atrocities that ISIS terrorists would stop at to harm those who are not deemed to be true believers.

If we as a House cannot come together to condemn ISIS and their atrocities, if members of the House cannot stand against oppression, slavery, murder, and war, if we cannot agree to oppose the annihilation of the freedoms of worship, belief, and association, then the House has lost its moral compass and its moral authority. ISIS terrorists stand against everything we as Canadians hold as fundamental to our way of life, the very foundations of our society.

There are clear tools to deal with these threats however. Canadians who attempt to travel to join ISIS are recognized and have been convicted under the Criminal Code for treason, which is a crime against our society and our country. Canadians who participate with ISIS, al Qaeda, and other terrorist groups that seek to kill and destroy all who oppose their strict doctrine and beliefs, are in reality committing treason against Canada, and there are charges that can be levied in Canada for returning ISIS terrorists as well. That is treason.

In Canada there are two criminal charges of treason. The first is high treason, which is defined under Section 46 of the Criminal Code as being those who levy war against Canada or assist an enemy at war with Canada, or any armed forces against whom Canadian Forces are engaged in hostilities, whether or not a state of war exists between Canada and the country whose forces they are. In my view, this describes those Canadians who have taken arms and joined with the radical ISIS terrorist groups to attack humanity

There is also the charge of treason, which includes those who in Canada conspire with any person to commit high treason or to do anything to use force or violence for the purpose of overthrowing the Government of Canada. In fact, the Criminal Code is explicit that for Canadian citizens, treason applies while in or out of Canada.

There is another tool for the government to use to help protect the security of our country. That would be to revoke the Canadian citizenship of dual citizens who have travelled overseas to join or to commit terrorist acts. When the Liberals passed Bill C-6 in June 2017 they removed the authority to strip dual citizens of their Canadian status if convicted of terrorism, treason, or espionage. Therefore, today, we cannot stop these people from returning, and we cannot deport them either. Moreover, as Canada falls behind other western countries in taking away citizenship from these terrorists and extremists, it makes Canada the destination by default for anyone with Canadian citizenship.

Canadians oppose ISIS terrorists returning to Canada, or rejoining our society. These terrorists have, by virtue of participation and their acts against others, forfeited that right. Based on the law of armed conflict, ISIS terrorists are legitimate targets for such a time as they take part in hostilities at both the operational and tactical levels for international engagement for Canadian soldiers.

Stuart Hendin, a lawyer and instructor at the Royal Military College, and the Canadian Forces College, was explicit that the government can target ISIS, Canadian or not, who are engaged in conflict. Unfortunately, unlike many of our allies, Canada, under the Liberals, has withdrawn from this active conflict. If the government will not stop this evil from returning to Canada, will it not vigorously pursue charges of treason? If we are going to provide funding to reform ISIS collaborators, something the Minister of Public Safety has admitted has a very low probability of actually occurring, let it be from behind bars. Let them begin to repay their debt to humanity as soon as they set foot back on our soil. We should treat ISIS terrorists as the criminals they are. Should they receive any support from the taxpayer, whether to de-radicalize or reintegrate, let that funding flow through Correctional Service Canada.

There can be no forgiveness without repentance. The Bible says in Luke 17:3, “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.” All who have supported and fought for ISIS are rebuked by the citizens of Canada, if not by the government. For Canadians linked to ISIS, let them serve a sentence in Canada and do their penance, under far more generous conditions I might add than under the oppressive regimes they support. Only then should there be forgiveness and acceptance into our society.

The minister and his parliamentary secretary have said all that can be done is being done. However Canadians are confused about the government's position and actions regarding these terrorists. On November 23, the media asked the Minister of Public Safety directly if passports were being taken away, if names were being added to the no-fly list, and if these people were neutralized in terms of a threat. The minister says that steps are beginning to be taken and that all Canadians can be assured they are safeguarding the security of the country. While I and my colleagues appreciate that disclosing specifics on security operations would be counterproductive, the minister's comments that steps are beginning to be taken are not a strong reassurance to Canadians that the Liberal government is on top of this issue.

What I will commit to with the Minister of Public Safety and the government is we will work together to get this issue of national security and public safety right for the best interests of all Canadians.

Opposition Motion—ISIS Fighters Returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Drouin Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to reassure the House, none of us is saying that ISIL is a good Samaritan. All of us are condemning Daesh. It is a terrible organization. I also want to remind my colleague, with what the official opposition is portraying, I have seen this movie before. I saw it in the 2015 election. I saw it in 2014 and 2013. The fearmongering that the government is not doing anything on protecting citizens is just completely false.

My dad used to tell me, “Put your money where your mouth is”. I want to ask my colleague, if he believes our government is doing absolutely nothing to fight Daesh, does he agree, whether or not the previous government cut $1 billion out of security services, that was an okay thing to fight ISIS.

Opposition Motion—ISIS Fighters Returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Conservative

Glen Motz Conservative Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are not deceived by the platitudes of any government or the rhetoric of any government, to be honest. It is important to recognize that when it comes to public safety and national security, when there is a threat to our country and our citizens, it would behoove all of us in this place to put partisanship behind us, not point fingers, and all work together.

I have said repeatedly in the national security committee that we are committed to working on Bill C-59 and getting it right. There is a reason the government has sent the bill to committee before second reading, and that is because there are some things we have to get right that are not quite right yet. The Liberals acknowledge that, which is great. I am encouraged we can work together to improve the gaps in our national security and the things that would give confidence to the public on protecting them and our future as a country.

Opposition Motion—ISIS Fighters Returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Marilyn Gladu Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have watched as this evolves and I have listened to what the government has said. Our allies are taking action to prevent ISIS terrorists from returning to their countries because they understand the hazzards. It seems to me that the government is lost in naïveté by having reintegration services and not being clear about how many there are exactly and what exactly is being done. It does not sound like it has a plan. Would the member agree?

Opposition Motion—ISIS Fighters Returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Glen Motz Conservative Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would agree that on the surface, there is the appearance that the current process of reintegration and de-radicalization is naive. To suggest that a poem is going to help de-radicalize someone is definitely naive. Are people capable of being rehabilitated? Sure. Our system has proven that over and over again. Are ISIS fighters capable of being rehabilitated and should we welcome them, without consequence, back to our country when they have forfeited the right to be Canadian because they are fighting against everything we as a democracy believe in? No.

Opposition Motion—ISIS Fighters Returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Mr. Speaker, any worthy debate is one with thorough facts. The member has been serving quite honourably on the committee studying Bill C-59 and has served the country as a police officer for most of his adult life. The Conservatives have concerns regarding the lack of information, how many fighters from Syria and Iraq have come back to Canada, and the fact that the information we have been given is about two years old. Does he find it concerning that the government is not forthcoming with that information and that the government is also not letting us know whether ISIS fighters are being supervised?

I am particularly concerned because many of these individuals may have participated in genocide, human trafficking, all sorts of heinous crimes, including attacking our allies, perhaps even firing at Canadian Armed Forces abroad. Could the member please comment on these issues?

Opposition Motion—ISIS Fighters Returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Glen Motz Conservative Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, AB

Mr. Speaker, it behooves us a country to have a clear picture of the threat that exists to our country. As I said in my speech, it would be counterproductive to have operational details revealed to the public on exactly what is going on, but there needs to be confidence that something actually is happening and being directed by the current government to stop the tide of returnees, to give it sober second thought that they can return Canada without consequence.

I appreciate that there is a steep hill to climb when it comes to convictions for war crimes, but there are mechanisms in place with which we can overcome those hurdles. It only takes one individual to cause chaos and destabilize our country, and we need to do whatever we can, as a country and as a government, to ensure we prevent that from happening.

Opposition Motion—ISIS Fighters Returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate my colleague on his measured, heartfelt, and fact-based speech. My Liberal colleagues could take some inspiration from him.

I also want to thank the member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, who moved this motion and gave us an opportunity to debate the return of Canadians who fought alongside ISIS in Iraq or Syria. Canadians are, quite rightly, apprehensive and concerned.

I have been listening to my Liberal and NDP colleagues all day, and I would like to talk about the meaning of the motion before us today. First, the motion calls on the House to condemn the horrific acts committed by ISIS. Second, it calls on the House to acknowledge that individuals who joined ISIS fighters are complicit in these horrific acts and pose a danger to Canadians. Third, the motion calls on the government to bring to justice and prosecute any ISIS fighter returning to Canada. Fourth, the motion calls on the House to insist that the government make the security and protection of Canadians its priority, rather than the reintegration of ISIS fighters, or unnecessary financial payouts to convicted terrorists, like Omar Khadr.

That is the resolution before us today. I think it is simple and logical, and it meets Canadians' expectations in terms of the government's responsibility to protect them from the increasing number and frequency of terrorist threats from abroad.

Essentially, this motion states that the Liberal government must assure Canadians that public safety is truly its top priority. It calls on the Liberals to confirm that they give the safety of Canadians precedence over the comfort of ISIS terrorists who come back to Canada. Make no mistake: these are terrorists, traitors to our nation. They have been directly or indirectly associated with acts such as drowning people in cages, decapitating people, attacking the homosexual community, and enslaving women and girls. Nobody can deny that ISIS committed horrific acts in other countries. We cannot stand behind anyone who took part in any way, directly or indirectly, in such acts in other countries, regardless of whether they are Canadian.

It is also important to note that we are talking about individuals who fought against Canada and our allies. They went to Syria and Iraq to actively fight against us. Now that they are back here, is it not possible that some of them are still in contact with their recent allies? Let us not forget that Canada has already suffered two attacks inspired by Islamic ideology and narrowly avoided a third.

We know that at least 60 ISIS terrorists have already returned to Canada, but this government estimate is two years old. Now, the government seems unable to tell Canadians why it thinks this figure has not changed. In fact, the government still refuses to tell Canadians how many ISIS terrorists have returned to Canada since 2015 and how many are under round-the-clock surveillance.

In January, the TV show Enquête made several revelations. In a rare interview, an assistant director at the Canadian Security Intelligence Service said she wondered whether these individuals were coming back on a mission to commit an attack in Canada, or because they wanted nothing more to do with terrorism.

Maybe some are done with terrorism, but if just one fighter comes back with hostile intentions or planning to commit acts of terrorism here, then it is justified for us to intervene as soon as they return to Canada and to do what it takes to protect all Canadians.

I will continue my speech after the members' statements and question period. I still have a lot to say.

Opposition Motion—ISIS Fighters Returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

The hon. member for Mégantic—L'Érable will have five minutes for his speech when the House resumes this debate. He will also have another five minutes for questions and comments.

Davie ShipyardStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Louis Plamondon Bloc Bécancour—Nicolet—Saurel, QC

Mr. Speaker, the holidays are approaching, but for 800 families in the Quebec City region, the holidays bring anguish and uncertainty.

I am talking about the families of the Davie shipyard workers who are going to lose their jobs for lack of federal contracts, even though it is the best shipyard in North America. Davie successfully delivered on the one contract that Ottawa awarded it.

It is hard to understand why Davie is being forced to lay off its workers, because of a shortage of work, when Irving, with its $63 billion in federal contracts, has not yet delivered a single ship.

It is hard to understand why Davie, which just delivered a ship at one-quarter of the cost proposed by Irving, is being forced to lay off its workers, when the government is on the hook for Irving's cost overruns.

It is hard to understand, unless there is a concerted effort to wipe out Quebec's expertise in favour of other provinces. This is not just hard to understand; it is inexcusable.

Workers in ManufacturingStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Marwan Tabbara Liberal Kitchener South—Hespeler, ON

Mr. Speaker, I stand today to express my sincere appreciation to all the men and women working day, afternoon, night shifts, 12-hour continental shifts, and weekends. I have a great respect for all the workers in manufacturing facilities because I, too, have worked in all shifts during my 13 years of experience in manufacturing.

I want to thank all the workers in my riding in Waterloo region at places like ATS Automation, Boehmer Box, Cober, Colt, Erwin Hymer, Grand River Foods, Ontario Glove and Safety, Frito-Lay, and Toyota, among many others.

I want to take a moment to ask members to join me in thanking all the workers in manufacturing facilities across this country to support their families and themselves, and to provide Canadians with all the manufactured products we take for granted every day in our lives.

Middle Eastern ChristiansStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Saroya Conservative Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the house today, to welcome to Canada His Beatitude Louis Raphaël I Sako, the patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church of Babylon.

Patriarch Sako is visiting Canada for the installation of the new Chaldean eparch, Bishop Soro.

Christians in Iraq have long faced persecution from terrorist groups. Recently, I met with the patriarch of the Melchite Catholic Church who visited my riding of Markham—Unionville. I also attended a religious service of prayers for peace at St. Michael's Cathedral in Toronto to pray for Coptics and other Middle Eastern Christians, who are facing persecution.

I am proud to stand with my Conservative colleagues to defend religious freedom at home and abroad. I warmly welcome His Beatitude to Canada.

Ian JonesStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Salma Zahid Liberal Scarborough Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to pay tribute to a constituent of mine, Ian Jones, who passed away on October 16th after a brief illness.

I knew Ian as an artist and a photographer. This year, residents have been enjoying Ian's scenes of Scarborough as part of my 2017 calendar. This was a retirement hobby for Ian, who helped mould young minds for 25 years as an elementary school teacher for the Toronto District School Board. His goal was always to inspire and help his pupils feel good about themselves.

I planned to honour Ian's community service with a Canada 150 pin, and his wife Dominique Hamouth-Jones and family were proud to accept it on his behalf. I would like to extend my sincere condolences to Dominique, Ian's mother Grace, his siblings Katharine, Francis, and Anthony, and all of his loved ones. We were blessed to have Ian as part of our Scarborough community.

Saskatchewan High Schools Athletic AssociationStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Georgina Jolibois NDP Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, SK

Mr. Speaker, the Saskatchewan High Schools Athletic Association volleyball tournaments were held all over the province. I am happy to stand in the House today to congratulate all our inspiring athletes in northern Saskatchewan.

Among the winners, the boys volleyball team of Island Lake First Nation Ministikwan reserve won Provincial lA Boys Volleyball. The Île-à-la-Crosse girls volleyball team won the silver medal. The La Loche Community Dene High School boys volleyball team won the silver medal.

I would also like to congratulate all the parents, coaches, trainers, and school staff on their dedication and the support they bring to young athletes. I am grateful that they are contributing to the health and well-being of our youth, as we know full well that competitive sports bring a sense of confidence and enhance the importance of self-care among youth.

To all the athletes and the teams who made it to the tournaments, we are proud of them.

Assisted Human ReproductionStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Anthony Housefather Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow, Canadians from across the country will be meeting with MPs, asking us to decriminalize payment to sperm and egg donors and surrogates. Under the Assisted Human Reproduction Act, intended parents who require assistance to have a child, including cancer patients, infertile couples, and members of the LGBTQ2 community, can be subject to a maximum fine of $500,000 or imprisonment for up to 10 years for simply offering to pay a sperm or gamete donor or surrogate. As a result, many Canadians either lose the opportunity to become parents or are forced to look to jurisdictions such as the United States where payment to donors and surrogates is legal but unfortunately health regulations are much looser. I therefore invite my colleagues from all sides of this House to join with me in support of amending the AHRA to stop criminalizing people who just want to love a child of their own.

IslamStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Ziad Aboultaif Conservative Edmonton Manning, AB

Mr. Speaker, last week in question period, the Prime Minister was asked to defend his sunny ways plan to bring ISIS fighters back to Canada and hope for the best. What struck me was the absurdity of his answer. Instead of defending his plan to bring ISIS fighters back to Canada and somehow fix them, he began his response by talking about Muslims and Islam. I find it hard to believe that the prime minister of a multicultural, multi-faith country is unable to differentiate between Muslims and ISIS fighters. I have heard from Canadians across this country who were just as shocked as I was that the Prime Minister could make such an absurd and insulting comparison. I demand that the Prime Minister apologize to Muslims in Canada and in the world for that insult.

Canada–United States Inter-Parliamentary GroupStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Randeep Sarai Liberal Surrey Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is wonderful to be back in Canada's national capital, but I am also grateful for the opportunity I had to visit Washington, D.C., the capital of our neighbours to the south, earlier this week. Over four jam-packed days, members of the Canada–United States Inter-Parliamentary Group met with 62 elected officials from the United States Senate and Congress. It was encouraging to see that many of the issues important to Canadian MPs also matter deeply to our American allies, and we took part in many productive discussions on topics such as NAFTA, trade, and our mutual security. Our visit to Washington reinforced the notion that Canadians and Americans share far more than just a border. We look forward to working with all parties in the United States and Canada to build a future that benefits both our nations.

Centre d'action bénévole L'Actuel Volunteer OrganizationStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Schiefke Liberal Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege for me to rise in the House today to honour the Centre d'action bénévole L'Actuel, which is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year.

L'Actuel provides essential resources to the neediest members of my community, Vaudreuil—Soulanges. For the past 35 years, the organization has been working with respect, integrity, and dedication to improve the lives of seniors, adults, and children too.

I would like to thank L'Actuel's executive director, Francine Plamondon, and all the volunteers who have worked so tirelessly to support the most vulnerable among us. This holiday season, they will be helping people of all ages in our community as they have done every year since 1982.

Today, I would like to thank L'Actuel for for its valuable work.

ChristmasStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, this past weekend, I had the privilege of participating in three Christmas parades in Kitchener—Conestoga. The parades, the lights, and the Christmas carols point to Christmas, the time when we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace. “Joy to the world, the Lord is come.”

At Christmas, we are reminded again of the incredible blessings we enjoy in this great country of Canada and to give thanks. Christmas offers us time to reflect on what is truly important in life and to commit to spreading Christ's message of peace and goodwill in our families, in our communities, in Canada, and around the world.

This Christmas, I ask that people please join me in praying for those affected by the violence in Iraq, Syria, Myanmar, north Africa, and beyond. Right here at home, let us remember those who are grieving the loss of a loved one, those suffering debilitating illness, and those who are isolated and lonely. Please let us remember our brave men and women in uniform defending freedom all around the world, whose loved ones will celebrate this Christmas without them.

Merry Christmas and a very happy new year.

Canada 150 Awards GalaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Michel Picard Liberal Montarville, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canada's 150th anniversary is an opportunity for us to celebrate the achievements of great Canadians in our ridings. Yesterday, I was honoured to host the Canada 150 awards gala for the riding of Montarville.

I invite my colleagues to join me in congratulating Léa Rose Brouillard, Marie Fragasso, Laury-Ann Beaulieu Lemay, Benjamin Bernatchez, Jeremy Tremblay, Samuel Di Pasquale, Toussaint Riendeau, the St-Bruno Players theatre company, Chantal de Serres, le Centre de bénévolat de St-Basile-le-Grand, L'Envolée, Les p'tits bonheurs de St-Bruno, Minta, Réal Dubois, Jean-Pierre Reinesch, Richard Pelletier, Jean-Luc Dalpé, Richard Greaves, Marc Savard, and Marcel Babeu.

Congratulations to you all. I sincerely appreciate the work you do every day in our community.

Decorations for BraveryStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Vance Badawey Liberal Niagara Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honour and congratulate four officers of the Niagara Regional Police Service.

Two weeks ago I attended a service at Rideau Hall when constables Daniel Bassi, Jake Braun, Neal Ridley, and Allan Rivet received decorations for bravery from the Governor General.

On October 10, 2015, these officers subdued an active shooter in Fenwick, Ontario, in the Niagara Region. While Constable Ridley negotiated with the distraught man, the man suddenly opened fire, hitting both constables Ridley and Braun. Despite their injuries, the officers, joined by constables Bassi and Rivet, were able to neutralize the threat, preventing the situation from escalating any further.

These officers go to work every day to protect and defend the most vulnerable within our society, often at great personal cost to them. These men exemplify courage, bravery, and the best Niagara has to offer. I would like to congratulate constables Ridley, Braun, Bassi, and Rivet for their decorations of bravery. We thank them for helping to keep Niagara safe.

Canada Revenue AgencyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Mr. Speaker, recently I have become aware of a disturbing trend. The Canada Revenue Agency has been targeting single parents, most often single mothers, typically because an ex-spouse has left a relationship with no forwarding address.

In response, these single moms are seeing their marital status changed back to married or living common law by the CRA. That, in turn, can result in their Canada child benefit being reduced, stopped, or even clawed back. Essentially these single mothers are being penalized with a presumption of guilt, while CRA says, “Prove us wrong”. It does not make that an easy process to fix.

I am asking single parents impacted by this to contact me. With the assistance of the CRA minister's office, we have already helped one single mom with three kids. I know there are many more who need our help.

I know all members of the House will join me in wanting to resolve this problem for single parents. They and their children deserve our respect and support in fixing this.

Middle Eastern ChristiansStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal Humber River—Black Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure and honour, on behalf of all of my colleagues, to rise in the House today to acknowledge the visit of Patriarch Louis Raphaël I Sako.

Patriarch Sako has come to Canada for the installation of Bishop Bawai Soro at the Good Shepherd Chaldean Cathedral in my riding of Humber River—Black Creek. There are very few moments as meaningful as this for any community, and this installation is a milestone.

I was happy to have the opportunity to be present at this momentous occasion to celebrate with all those in attendance. Canada is committed to the promotion and protection of peaceful pluralism, respect for diversity, and all human rights, including freedom of religion or belief, and that it is an integral part of Canada's engagement in the Middle East and the world.

We welcome all of them to Canada.

HousingStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Kennedy Stewart NDP Burnaby South, BC

Mr. Speaker, my community is in the midst of a profound housing crisis. Rents are increasing, more people are homeless, and businesses are starting to relocate as their young employees cannot afford to buy their first homes.

The government brags about its new national housing strategy, but it is doing nothing to immediately address what is becoming an emergency situation in Burnaby. University of Toronto housing specialist Professor David Hulchanski writes today in The Globe and Mail that the Liberals' newly announced policies will help “very few, of those in housing need”.

He instead suggests we need a “real national housing strategy” that would create an “inclusive housing system, much like our health-care system” addressing:

(1) how to stimulate adequate housing production, (2) how to produce a mix of housing choice...and (3) how to assist those who cannot afford adequate housing.... It would...address remaining systemic racism in our housing system.

The government needs to start delivering real housing solutions right now, such as guaranteeing to those living in existing co-ops that they will not see increased rents next year.

Davie ShipyardStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis, QC

Mr. Speaker, after years of immense challenges, the new leadership at the Lévis shipyard has orchestrated a spectacular turnaround since 2012, making it a flagship of Quebec industry.

Thanks to the expertise and competence of its skilled workers, whom I salute here today, the shipyard has successfully repaired icebreakers such as the Louis S. Saint-Laurent for the Canadian Coast Guard, ships like the Micoperi Pride for the private sector, and now the Asterix supply ship for the Royal Canadian Navy, all on time and on budget.

Marc Veilleux, who works at the shipyard, once told me that the only way to prove the shipyard's critics wrong is by succeeding.

I have a message for the workers today: mission accomplished. Canada needs them to build the Obelix.

International Day of Persons with DisabilitiesStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

TJ Harvey Liberal Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday was the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. It aims to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society and development, and to increase awareness of the situations of persons with a disability. This year's theme is “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient society for all”.

That objective is about eliminating discrimination and creating environments that allow people with disabilities to reach their full potential.

That is why, last week, our government tabled the optional protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

We will also be introducing accessibility legislation by next summer.

I hope my colleagues will join me in recognizing this day and advancing the rights of people with disabilities.

EthicsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Lisa Raitt Conservative Milton, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister wrote the Minister of Finance that “As Minister, you must ensure that you are aware of and fully compliant with the Conflict of Interest Act”. However, the minister was fined by the Ethics Commissioner for not being in compliance with the ethics act. I wonder if the minister realizes that he has failed the most basic, fundamental requirement of his mandate letter and the express desire of the Prime Minister.

My question is simple. Why is he still minister?

EthicsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Beauséjour New Brunswick

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc LiberalMinister of Fisheries

Mr. Speaker, my colleague continues on the useless fishing trip they have been on for a number of weeks.

Canadians and members of this House know that the Minister of Finance, upon assuming office, worked with the Ethics Commissioner proactively to ensure that he was in compliance. He has followed all of her recommendations and, as this House and Canadians know well, he has gone above and beyond that advice and will continue to work with the Ethics Commissioner. That is why we support the important work he is doing on behalf of Canadians.

EthicsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Lisa Raitt Conservative Milton, ON

Mr. Speaker, if the Ethics Commissioner gave her recommendations to the Minister of Finance, why is she now investigating him in three different cases?

Just days after the minister was found not to be in compliance, the Ethics Commissioner actually opened up yet another investigation. This time it has to do with whether he should have introduced Bill C-27, specifically since it would have directly benefited his family business. Again, this is another investigation of another conflict. How many more investigations must there be for this minister to step aside?

EthicsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Beauséjour New Brunswick

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc LiberalMinister of Fisheries

Mr. Speaker, again, my hon. colleague knows that the Minister of Finance, as he has always done, is working with the Ethics Commissioner with respect to this particular circumstance and will be happy to answer any and all questions she may have.

The reason why he is continuing his important work as the Minister of Finance is that the Canadian economy is growing at a faster rate than it has in a decade, with an average growth of 3.7% over the last four quarters. When the hon. member was in a cabinet of the previous Conservative government, she would have loved economic results like that.

EthicsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Lisa Raitt Conservative Milton, ON

Mr. Speaker, one thing is for sure. The Minister of Finance will be answering a lot more questions of the Ethics Commissioner in the coming days, because she now has launched yet another inquiry. This time she would like to discuss with the minister the timely sale of 680,000 shares in Morneau Shepell, which happened on November 30, because this actually was of value to the seller to the tune of half a million dollars.

My question is simple, and I think it is the one the Ethics Commissioner will be asking. Was it the minister's 680,000 shares that were sold on November 30?

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Beauséjour New Brunswick

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc LiberalMinister of Fisheries

Mr. Speaker, again, the fishing effort continues. The Minister of Finance has been very clear. As part of the normal compliance upon his taking office, he assumed a number of decisions. That is not a surprise to this House. All of that was done in consultation with the Ethics Commissioner.

Why we, on this side of the House, want the minister to continue his important work for Canadians is that since he has taken office, the economy has created more than 600,000 jobs, most of them full time. The unemployment rate is now at 5.9%, its lowest level in a decade, which is something the previous party could not achieve.

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Alain Rayes Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conflict of Interest Commissioner has asked for another meeting with the Minister of Finance to discuss whether he is in conflict of interest. This is becoming a habit for the Minister of Finance.

I would like the Minister of Finance to answer this simple little question: is he the one who sold 680,000 shares worth more than $10 million just before introducing tax measures that he himself would benefit from?

The question is simple: did he do this while he was both the Minister of Finance and a shareholder of that company?

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Beauséjour New Brunswick

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc LiberalMinister of Fisheries

Mr. Speaker, I would reiterate to my hon. colleague that, as usual, the minister followed the advice of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner at all times.

It is time to stop thinking that there is some big mystery around the moment when the tax cut came into effect. As government House leader, I was the one who announced on November 5 that Parliament would return in December and bring in this measure effective January 1. No one was kept in suspense.

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Alain Rayes Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians expect their finance minister to have integrity and to be accountable and transparent.

However, over the past two years, the minister has been fined for having hid his French villa in one of his foreign companies; he is under full investigation by the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner; he refuses to disclose the content of his many numbered companies to Canadians; and he forgot to put his shares in a blind trust.

Now, the question everyone is asking is this: When will the Minister of Finance step down?

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Beauséjour New Brunswick

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc LiberalMinister of Fisheries

Mr. Speaker, Canadians expect the Minister of Finance to continue the important work he is doing to create jobs for the middle class.

We have the highest economic growth in the G7. What does that mean in practical terms? It means that the economy has created more than 600,000 jobs over the past two years, most of them full-time.

We have an economic record that the Conservative Party would have been proud to have when it was in government a few years ago.

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron NDP Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance is not out of the woods.

For the third time, the minister will have to work with the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, who spends her time investigating the scandals surrounding him.

The minister keeps saying he did nothing wrong and followed the rules, blah, blah, blah.

If he did nothing wrong, why is it that no other parliamentarian spends as much time explaining themselves to the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner as he does?

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Beauséjour New Brunswick

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc LiberalMinister of Fisheries

Mr. Speaker, as we all did when we were elected to the House or were invited to serve in cabinet, the Minister of Finance accepted the responsibility of working with the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner to make sure that his affairs are in order and that he is following the commissioner's guidelines. That is what the minister has always done.

The Minister of Finance also has the important responsibility of working for economic growth in order to improve Canadians' economic situation. We believe he has done an excellent job on that score and should continue to do so.

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron NDP Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, one problem is that working with the Ethics Commissioner does not mean the same thing as being under investigation by the Ethics Commissioner.

The finance minister has responded to criticism with the classic Liberal sense of entitlement. He has dismissed the questions asked by the opposition and journalists, threatening legal action against to those who would even dare challenge him. Well, the Ethics Commissioner does not think these questions are absurd, because for the third time she will be following up with the finance minister.

How can the finance minister stand there and say with a straight face that everything is fine when everything obviously is not fine?

EthicsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Beauséjour New Brunswick

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc LiberalMinister of Fisheries

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague may not want to accept the answer that the Minister of Finance, the Prime Minister, and our government have given consistently, that it is the responsibility of all members of this House to work with the commissioner, as the Minister of Finance did, at all times to ensure that we are in compliance with the rules that are applicable.

One thing this government is focused on is improving the economic condition of middle-class Canadians, and that is why the almost 600,000 full-time jobs is an impressive economic record for any government, and certainly one that Canadians should be proud of—

EthicsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

The hon. member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie.

Canada Revenue AgencyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is not just the finance minister who is having a rough time. The revenue minister is also in hot water. Not only can nobody find the $25 billion she keeps talking about, but also this morning two diabetes organizations held a press conference saying that either the CRA is giving them wrong information or there is a massive lack of communication between the minister and her own agency. There are two different stories, but the same incompetence.

Does the minister know what she is talking about?

Canada Revenue AgencyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Gaspésie—Les-Îles-de-la-Madeleine Québec

Liberal

Diane Lebouthillier LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, our government pledged that the Canada Revenue Agency would administer measures for persons with disabilities in a fair, transparent, and accessible way.

I was proud to announce that the disability advisory committee, which was disbanded by the former Conservative government in 2006, was being reinstated. By reinstating the committee, the agency will benefit from its advice about enhancing the quality and accessibility of the services it provides to persons with disabilities and their families.

Canada Revenue AgencyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, for weeks, the Minister of National Revenue has repeatedly said that she has recovered $25 billion that was lost to tax evasion. The only problem is that no one knows where that number came from. Where did she get that number, from the inside of a Cracker Jack box?

Even the CRA international tax services branch has no idea what the minister is talking about. It is unbelievable. It is like a fairy tale.

Does the minister know the difference between the money identified and the money recovered? How much credibility does the minister have when she utters such nonsense that her own department does not know what she is talking about?

Canada Revenue AgencyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Gaspésie—Les-Îles-de-la-Madeleine Québec

Liberal

Diane Lebouthillier LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, our government is fully committed to combatting tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance. The CRA has an effective recovery process. This process was strengthened through our historic investments in 2016 to ensure that the CRA has all the tools it needs to effectively combat tax cheats.

We are on track to recover $25 billion in the wake of the audits that were conducted over the past two years. Every company or individual affected has been notified of the changes made by these audits and sent reassessments.

EthicsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, last Thursday, the Minister of Finance was asked yet again if he sold his shares in Morneau Shepell on November 30, 2015. Here is what he said, “ I do not know on what exact date those shares were sold.” He has also said in the House that he gave the transaction records to a journalist.

How is it possible that a journalist knows the date on which he sold the shares but he does not?

EthicsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Louis-Hébert Québec

Liberal

Joël Lightbound LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the minister has never denied it. He has always been clear that he did sell shares when he came to office in November 2015.

I wonder what the member is alleging. What is the story there? If the member had read the newspapers this weekend, he would have read, “Tories can stop blowing smoke because there's nothing suspicious about Morneau share selloff.” That was in the National Post.

I know the member enjoys reading Rebel Media. He should broaden his horizons.

EthicsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Actually, Mr. Speaker, I enjoy reading the transaction ledgers that show on which date what shares were sold. That is where I found that the minister appears to have sold his shares on November 30, 2015. His father sold shares at roughly the same time. They both sold millions of dollars just before the minister introduced tax measures on the floor of the House of Commons.

The minister said that there was no coordination in this matter between him and his father. Did they use the same stock brokerage firm, yes or no?

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Louis-Hébert Québec

Liberal

Joël Lightbound LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, let me quote something else I read recently in the papers. The Financial Post said, “The attacks on [the finance minister] ethics are beginning to look unethical in themselves.” That is precisely what the member is doing. It is beginning to look disgraceful to see the Tories engaged again and again in a smear campaign, focusing on everything that does not really matter to Canadians. What Canadians care about are the jobs we have created, 600,000 in the last two years, and the fastest growth in the G7.

The minister has always worked with the Ethics Commissioner. We will always work with the Ethics Commissioner.

Canada Revenue AgencyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, the kindest thing we can say about our millionaire finance minister's conduct in the sale of these shares before he introduced his tax measures is that by selling those shares at that time, he avoided paying the same tax increases that he would impose on others at the end of the month.

Unfortunately, low-income people suffering from diabetes do not have access to the same kind of sophisticated tax manoeuvres the minister used.

Why does the Liberal government continue to raise taxes on those with the least while letting the wealthy get off scot-free?

Canada Revenue AgencyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Gaspésie—Les-Îles-de-la-Madeleine Québec

Liberal

Diane Lebouthillier LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, our government pledged that the agency would administer measures for persons with disabilities in a fair, transparent, and accessible way.

Last week, I was proud to announce that the disability advisory committee, which our colleagues opposite disbanded in 2006 when they were in government, was being reinstated. By reinstating the committee, the agency will benefit from its advice about enhancing the quality and accessibility of the services it provides to persons with disabilities and their families.

Canada Revenue AgencyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, so that is the consolation the government says to people with diabetes, that they lost their $1,500 tax credit but that is okay because the government has given them a committee instead.

That minister's office said the CRA had not changed its decision-making process with regard to the disability tax credit eligibility criteria. Now we have an internal memo that was sent from senior officials in her department to 51 other officials that says that people with diabetes are now excluded.

Why did the minister mislead the House in that matter?

Canada Revenue AgencyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Gaspésie—Les-Îles-de-la-Madeleine Québec

Liberal

Diane Lebouthillier LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, all Canadians must receive the tax credits to which they are entitled. I am pleased to say that there was a 20% increase in the number of approvals of this credit between 2014 and 2016.

We put in place measures to make these credits more accessible, and they are working. We reduced the length of the application form and we are allowing specialized nurse practitioners to fill out the forms. We will continue to work with the most vulnerable Canadians.

Canada Revenue AgencyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, she told the House, “There have also not been any changes to the way the law is interpreted.” She also said, “The rules are the same and apply just as they always have.” We now know, through an internal document released by ATIP today, that an internal CRA memo, sent to dozens of officials, urged those officials to reject all diabetics for the tax credit, except in exceptional circumstances.

Why did the minister mislead the House?

Canada Revenue AgencyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Gaspésie—Les-Îles-de-la-Madeleine Québec

Liberal

Diane Lebouthillier LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, our government is implementing important measures to help the most vulnerable Canadians.

In 2015-16, our government invested more than $41 million in diabetes research. In budget 2017, we are investing $5 billion in mental health supports for about 500,000 young people. No changes have been made to the eligibility criteria for the disability tax credit, and we are continuing our efforts on behalf of the most vulnerable Canadians.

Canada Revenue AgencyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, in this memo that went to 51 different officials in her department, the top decision-makers indicated that except for rare circumstances, diabetics were to be rejected every time. The minister denied the existence of any change in the practice or the policy. We now know that was not true. She stated in the House falsehoods, and her department has raised taxes on the most vulnerable people in the country. Why?

Canada Revenue AgencyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Gaspésie—Les-Îles-de-la-Madeleine Québec

Liberal

Diane Lebouthillier LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, all Canadians must receive the tax credits to which they are entitled. No changes have been made to the eligibility criteria for the disability tax credit. I am pleased to say that the number of approvals rose by 20% between 2014 and 2016.

We have taken action and I will continue to work for the most vulnerable as I have done throughout my life.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Hélène Laverdière NDP Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-47 on the Arms Trade Treaty respects neither the letter nor the spirit of the treaty, and it does not even cover exports to the United States, which is why Stéphane Dion's former human rights advisor said that the bill is quite simply inadequate.

In committee, the NDP proposed six amendments to the bill based on expert testimony.

Will the government finally listen to Canadians' concerns, accept our amendments, and fix the flaws in this bill?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Liberal

Matt DeCourcey LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, my colleague opposite is well aware that committees manage their own affairs. As a government, we are keeping our election promise to join the Arms Trade Treaty.

Regulating the illicit global arms trade is essential to protecting human rights. By acceding to the treaty, we will join our G7 and NATO allies. I am eager to see the bill come back to the House for third reading.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Hélène Laverdière NDP Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, that all sounds nice, but the government is not actually doing anything.

The Saudi-led bombing campaign of Yemen, and its merciless blockade, has killed thousands and left millions of people on the brink of famine. However, Canada has remained silent on the role of Saudi Arabia in this conflict and continues to sell arms to that country, making it potentially complicit in the conflict.

When will Canada show moral leadership and suspend the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Liberal

Matt DeCourcey LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we are absolutely committed to an export control system that is rigorous, that is transparent, and that is predictable. Our government is taking steps to further strengthen the export regime. We have allocated $13 million to help Canada accede to the arms trade treaty.

With Bill C-47, which we just spoke of, we are moving forward on a key campaign commitment to strengthen Canada's arms control regime and accede to that treaty. Bill C-47 would allow us to join our G7 and NATO allies by acceding to the treaty and playing a leadership role in regulating the trade of conventional arms around the world.

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Maxime Bernier Conservative Beauce, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have a Minister of Finance who was fined by the Ethics Commissioner because he forgot to disclose his villa in France and who is also being investigated for sponsoring a bill that could benefit his family company. We have a Minister of Finance who is still refusing to disclose the many assets he holds in his many numbered companies and who is refusing to answer questions from the opposition and journalists. Most importantly, we have a minister who is refusing to resign.

When will the Minister of Finance resign?

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Louis-Hébert Québec

Liberal

Joël Lightbound LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance will not resign today, and I will tell you why.

I will continue with the list that the member for Beauce started. We have a Minister of Finance who helped Canada become the fastest-growing economy in the G7 and who helped create 600,000 jobs in the past two years, most of which are full-time jobs. We have a Minister of Finance who reduced the unemployment rate to 5.9%, the lowest it has been in the past decade. This finance minister also reduced child poverty by 40% through the Canada child benefit and helped almost one million seniors through the guaranteed income supplement. That is what the Minister of Finance has done over the past two years.

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Maxime Bernier Conservative Beauce, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have a finance minister that does not abide by the mandate letter that was given to him by his Prime Minister, along with instructions to honour his mandate and follow ethics laws.

The finance minister is under investigation by the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner. We should be able to trust our finance minister, but we lost that trust for all these reasons.

When will the finance minister resign?

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Louis-Hébert Québec

Liberal

Joël Lightbound LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as the member for Beauce knows very well, when they come to Ottawa, every member and every minister is expected to work with the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, who has our complete confidence.

The Ethics Commissioner has always worked with the finance minister. She made recommendations, which he followed. He even went further in order to continue the important work he has been doing in service to Canadians for the past two years.

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner has her work cut out for her with the Minister of Finance, to say the least. This file must be taking up nearly all of her time.

The Minister of Finance forgot to mention that he owns a company in Provence. He introduced a bill that puts his family business in a direct conflict of interest. Furthermore, he still refuses to say whether he was the one who sold 680,000 shares shortly before he tabled his fiscal policy.

The Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner is meeting with the Minister of Finance to ask him the same questions we are asking.

Will the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner also be threatened with legal action?

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Louis-Hébert Québec

Liberal

Joël Lightbound LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner is an independent and impartial institution, unlike the opposition, which is acting as judge and jury. We trust the Ethics Commissioner, with whom the Minister of Finance has been working from the beginning to make sure he is in full compliance with the rules that guide us in the House.

He set up a conflict of interest screen as soon as he arrived in Ottawa. He announced that he would go even further by placing all his assets in a blind trust and selling his shares in Morneau Shepell. That is what the Minister of Finance has done in the past two years, guided by the Ethics Commissioner.

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance's fundamental problem is that he only takes action once he is caught red-handed.

He promised to put his assets in a blind trust, but he did not. Instead he created a company that he sold when he was caught. That is the problem.

He also continues to refuse to answer the question about the 680,000 shares that were sold.

The question is simple: will the Minister of Finance finally get serious about collaborating with the Ethics Commissioner? Instead of keeping this between himself and the Ethics Commissioner, why does the Minister of Finance not publicly say whether he was the one who sold those 680,000 shares?

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Louis-Hébert Québec

Liberal

Joël Lightbound LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, to the question about whether the Minister of Finance will work with the Ethics Commissioner the answer is yes, he always has and always will.

As far as the sale of shares is concerned, the Minister of Finance has never denied that he sold shares when he arrived in Ottawa in November 2015.

What is the opposition member alleging? Is he claiming that the tax measure introduced in December 2015, which was to raise the personal income tax of the wealthiest 1% and lower taxes for the middle class, may have had some sort of impact on a certain individual in the House?

I am trying to understand their argument, the media is trying to understand it, but no one can figure it out.

Indigenous AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Murray Rankin NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, this week, the Assembly of First Nations is holding its special chiefs assembly where a resolution will be presented to reject Bill C-58, the Liberals' effort to gut our Access to Information Act. Today, five chiefs stood with me, calling on the Liberals to fix Bill C-58, since it introduces significant new barriers for first nations trying to access even basic information.

The Liberals like to talk about how the most important relationship is with indigenous people, so will they finally actually consult first nations and fix this regressive bill?

Indigenous AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, we have consulted with first nations. In fact, we have received suggestions that include clarification that broad requests, particularly historical records to substantiate indigenous claims, are in fact legitimate and consistent with the act. Further to that, we support amendments to Bill C-58 to strengthen the bill by making it explicit that no department can refuse a request simply because of the subject, the type of record, or that the date of record is not specified. We have listened, and as a result of that, the Information Commissioner—

Indigenous AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

The hon. member for Timmins—James Bay.

Indigenous AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations refuses to explain why lawyers in her department suppressed thousands of pages of police evidence that named 180 perpetrators of abuse, torture, and child rape at St. Anne's residential school and then had the cases thrown out. Now that they have been forced to turn over the documents, she sent her lawyer to superior court to block those survivors from getting new hearings. Why? Who are they protecting? Just how many survivors of St. Anne's have had their legal rights compromised and their cases thrown out because of the legal obstruction of her officials? How many?

Indigenous AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Toronto—St. Paul's Ontario

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett LiberalMinister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I want to be very clear with the member: We are not blocking reopening up cases. We are asking for clarification on what procedural fairness means. The adjudicators have given conflicting definitions of procedural fairness, and we are committed to ensuring justice for the victims of this dark chapter in our history.

Canada Revenue AgencyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Pierre Breton Liberal Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, we know that starting a business takes dedication and hard work.

Business owners must be aware of their tax obligations when it comes to hiring employees, finding facilities, or keeping the books, so that they do not end up with surprise bills from the Canada Revenue Agency.

Can the Minister of National Revenue tell the House how the Canada Revenue Agency is supporting small business owners?

Canada Revenue AgencyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Gaspésie—Les-Îles-de-la-Madeleine Québec

Liberal

Diane Lebouthillier LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Shefford for her question and for her warm welcome this morning in Granby.

Small businesses are major economic-development drivers across Canada, and especially in our regions. This morning, I was proud to announce a national expansion of the Canada Revenue Agency's liaison officer service. Now, small businesses across the country may request an in-person visit from a liaison officer to help them understand their tax obligations and to get off on the right foot.

TaxationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Pat Kelly Conservative Calgary Rocky Ridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, for weeks the Minister of Revenue has told the House that nothing has changed for type 1 diabetics applying for the disability tax credit, but we know that this is not true. This morning, Diabetes Canada produced an internal CRA email detailing a new Liberal policy to automatically deny the tax credit, including to those who have received it for years.

Will the minister apologize for the misleading answers that she has given the House and reverse this heartless decision before Christmas?

TaxationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Gaspésie—Les-Îles-de-la-Madeleine Québec

Liberal

Diane Lebouthillier LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, all Canadians must receive the benefits to which they are entitled. I am pleased to say that 20% more credits were approved between 2014 and 2016.

We have implemented measures to make this credit more accessible, and they are paying off. We simplified the forms and allowed specialized nurse practitioners to fill them out if a doctor is not available.

No changes have been made to the eligibility criteria for the disability tax credit. We will continue to work for the most vulnerable Canadians.

TaxationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Pat Kelly Conservative Calgary Rocky Ridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, is the minister even aware of what has been happening in her own department since May? For seven months the CRA has been denying the disability tax credit to vulnerable Canadians, and the minister just shrugs her shoulders and says that nothing has changed. We know that is not true and the proof is right here.

Will the minister apologize for this heartless attack on type 1 diabetics and reverse this tax hike?

TaxationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Gaspésie—Les-Îles-de-la-Madeleine Québec

Liberal

Diane Lebouthillier LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, our government pledged that the Canada Revenue Agency would administer measures for persons with disabilities in a fair, transparent, and accessible way.

I proudly announced the reinstatement of the disability advisory committee, which the Conservative Party disbanded in 2006. By reinstating the committee, the agency will benefit from its advice about enhancing the quality and accessibility of the services it provides to persons with disabilities in Canada.

We will continue to work for the most vulnerable members of our society, as we have been doing since we took office.

TaxationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Sylvie Boucher Conservative Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d’Orléans—Charlevoix, QC

Mr. Speaker, for weeks now, the Minister of National Revenue has been saying over and over again that her government has recouped nearly $25 billion that the Liberals had lost to tax evasion over the past two years.

However, her senior officials and the assistant deputy commissioner are refusing to confirm the much-vaunted yet unsubstantiated amount. It seems obvious, then, that the minister has been misleading Canadians.

Given these facts, how can we continue to trust this minister, when she too is hiding the truth from us?

TaxationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Gaspésie—Les-Îles-de-la-Madeleine Québec

Liberal

Diane Lebouthillier LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, our government is fully committed to fighting tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance. The Canada Revenue Agency has a very effective recovery process, which was strengthened by Liberal investments of close to $1 billion.

We were able to implement the necessary tools to crack down on tax cheats. All companies and individuals affected have been notified. We are on the right track to recoup these $25 billion. All those affected have been notified, and I can assure the House—

TaxationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Order. The hon. member for Sarnia—Lambton.

TaxationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Marilyn Gladu Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, every day is consumed by constant vigilance and management for type 1 diabetics. Before they get into their vehicle, before they go to work, before they eat, after they eat, and before they go to bed, diabetics are consumed with knowing and managing their blood sugar. Living with diabetes is a constant struggle. The minister can say what she wants, but the diabetics I have met say that living with diabetes is 24-7. Will the minister finally do the right thing and reverse the heartless decision to refuse them their tax credit?

TaxationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Gaspésie—Les-Îles-de-la-Madeleine Québec

Liberal

Diane Lebouthillier LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, all Canadians must receive the credits they are entitled to. Chronic illnesses impact not only the affected individual, but also their entire family and everyone around them.

However, I am pleased to say that the number of approvals for this credit went up by 20% between 2014 and 2016. We have put measures in place and reinstated the disability advisory committee, which will be able to make recommendations to us. We are going to continue working for the most vulnerable Canadians.

TaxationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Brigitte Sansoucy NDP Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, this government still lacks compassion. Parents of severely disabled children are being denied their allowance on the grounds that their child is no longer in their custody. However, placing a child in institutionalized care is not a choice. It is a necessity, one that comes with a price tag. This situation is painful enough for parents without the government making it worse.

When will this government show compassion and pay the parents of disabled children the allowances they are entitled to?

TaxationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Gaspésie—Les-Îles-de-la-Madeleine Québec

Liberal

Diane Lebouthillier LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I am dedicated to ensuring that Canadians, especially the most vulnerable, get the benefits they are entitled to. That is a key part of my mandate.

The CRA has never set out to make life more difficult for anyone. We realize that some people cannot provide all of the information needed for the agency to review their files. People grappling with situations like that should contact the CRA for help.

Indigenous AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Rachel Blaney NDP North Island—Powell River, BC

Mr. Speaker, reconciliation was one of the four pillars included in Canada 150 celebrations. Unfortunately, the Liberals told indigenous chef, Richard Francis, that sharing his traditional foods could not happen at a Canada 150 event. Touring the country for years sharing his traditional foods of whale and seal as a tool of reconciliation, he described this incident as exactly the type of oppression he is working to eliminate. Actions matter more than words. Therefore, if the government is serious about reconciliation, will it apologize to Chef Francis and act to honour UNDRIP?

Indigenous AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Ahuntsic-Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Mélanie Joly LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, of course in the context of Canada 150 we made sure to support the importance of reconciliation. We know that our history has had some wrongs and we want to make sure that we can acknowledge them and make sure that we all work together on the path of reconciliation. Many indigenous communities across the country have engaged in Canada 150. Again this morning I was there to support a great Canada 150 indigenous project. I really hope that all of us in this room and this House will be able to support the importance of reconciliation in the context of Canada 150.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Paul-Hus Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, instead of showing leadership and condemning the horrific acts committed by ISIS, instead of recognizing that the individuals who joined ISIS fighters are complicit in these horrific acts, instead of bringing to justice and prosecuting any ISIS fighters returning to Canada, and instead of making the security and protection of Canadians their priority, the Liberals are treating these traitors like vulnerable children and are trying to reintegrate them with financial compensation and poetry.

Why?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Regina—Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman is simply wrong.

Like every other civilized country, Canada has a full range of counterterrorism tools, and we use all of them, including the Global Coalition against Daesh, security investigations, surveillance, monitoring, intelligence gathering, lawful sharing, collection of evidence, criminal charges, prosecutions, peace bonds, and public listings, the no-fly list, hoisting passports, authorized threat reduction measures, and prevention initiatives to head off tragedies in advance.

We need all of them, and we use all of them to keep Canadians safe.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals are proposing a reintegration program and support services for returning ISIS terrorists.

The public safety minister says the government has identified about 250 people with links to Canada who are suspected of overseas terrorist activities or, as he has called them, terrorist travellers. Two years ago, CSIS identified it as a major unparalleled threat to the west, and it was warned returnees could recruit or inspire individuals in Canada and could even be planning attacks here.

Does the minister not think it is time for the Liberals to rethink this crazy reintegration plan?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Regina—Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, the opposition has spent the last week deprecating Canadian security agencies on the front line.

However, the previous Conservative government left CSIS without clear legal protections under the Criminal Code. It put our security in a muddle with the Constitution. It provided no framework for dealing with datasets. It left Canada trailing behind on cyber-safety. It did nothing on prevention, and it reduced the budget for our security agencies by more than $1 billion.

There are no lessons to be learned from the Conservative government.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I would remind the honourable member for Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis that members on both sides of the House must wait their turn to speak and must not interrupt others. I believe he is very familiar with the rules, especially Standing Order 16.

The hon. member for Barrie—Innisfil.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

Mr. Speaker, nobody, in the last election, voted for a government to protect the rights of terrorists.

At least 60 people who left Canada to fight abroad against us have returned home. The Prime Minister says the Liberals have ways “of deprogramming people who want to harm our society”.

While our veterans wait for promised benefits, our deployed troops see their pays cut, and seniors struggle to make ends meet, why would the Liberals spend a single dime on terrorists?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Regina—Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman's sound and fury is signifying nothing. The best experts do not agree with him.

Phil Gurski, a former CSIS officer, now in the private sector, said “the previous government had an abysmal record when it came to countering violent extremism and early detection.” He said that the Conservative government did not care.

Dr. Lorne Dawson, of the University of Waterloo, said “the previous conservative government had...no interest in following up on this, so Canada is late.”

We are getting into the game five years late. That is the Conservative record. It is a mess.

Tourism IndustryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Geng Tan Liberal Don Valley North, ON

Mr. Speaker, my riding of Don Valley North is located in the greater Toronto area, which offers marquee destinations for tourists from China, including Niagara Falls, Casa Loma, Rouge National Urban Park, and world-class cuisine.

Can the parliamentary secretary to the Minister for Small Business and Tourism please update this House on the government's plan to tap into the Chinese tourism market?

Tourism IndustryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Fundy Royal New Brunswick

Liberal

Alaina Lockhart LiberalParliamentary Secretary for Small Business and Tourism

Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to welcoming more visitors from China in 2018, the Canada-China year of tourism.

Today, the Prime Minister and minister unveiled a new logo for this amazing year to come. We have developed a strategic plan for the fast-growing Chinese market. We are working to enhance tourism marketing in China. We are working with Canadian tourism businesses to become China-ready. We are increasing air and visa access, and developing experiences that are in high demand by Chinese visitors.

We will continue to develop Canada's world-class tourism industry, which creates jobs and opportunities for middle-class Canadians.

Public Services and ProcurementOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the minister was conspicuous by his absence. Can someone tell me what planet the Minister of Transport is on, given his statement that we cannot artificially create a need for something that does not exist ? Hello, planet Earth here. The Preserver and the Protector are kaput, done.

By ignoring the evidence that we need a second supply ship, the minister is showing contempt for our men and women in uniform and is jeopardizing national security.

When will the Liberals rise and give the Obelix contract to the Davie shipyard, like our government did with the Asterix contract? This is a national security matter and the workers are ready.

Public Services and ProcurementOral Questions

3 p.m.

Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount Québec

Liberal

Marc Garneau LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I cannot help but seize this opportunity to ask my colleague where he was when the government established the national shipbuilding strategy. I will tell him: he was at the cabinet table and he did nothing.

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, a lot of people are fed up with the heritage minister. The cultural sector, print media, and even a number of her own Liberal colleagues are calling on her to take action to help our cultural sector and our media, but she is refusing to do so.

When we tell her about newspapers that are shutting down, she talks about the CBC or a federal fund that does not support daily papers. Everyone, from her own colleagues to people such as Fred Pellerin, Boucar Diouf, and Alexandre Taillefer, has reached the breaking point. Even a former advisor to Jean Chrétien had some choice words for her recently.

For pity's sake, can the minister offer up just one concrete measure she will take to save print media, if only to salvage her own reputation? She has two reports full of ideas to choose from.

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

3 p.m.

Ahuntsic-Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Mélanie Joly LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, Canada's cultural sector is very pleased that we invested $2.3 million in the Canada Council for the Arts, the CBC, Telefilm, and the National Film Board, organizations that employ thousands of people across the country.

We are, of course, very concerned about what is happening in the print media industry. We know the media are facing huge challenges. That is why I have already announced that we are going to modernize our approach so that we can better support the industry in both paper and online formats.

We are also going to help the media show leadership in transitioning to the web to ensure their viability.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Vandenbeld Liberal Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, today we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the historic Ottawa Treaty banning the use of anti-personnel landmines. Because of Canada's leadership, there are now 162 states party to the treaty. Twenty-eight countries have been declared mine-free, and over 48 million stockpiled landmines in 88 countries have been destroyed.

However, there is still work to be done. Can the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs tell the House what Canada is doing to rid the world of landmines?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Liberal

Matt DeCourcey LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Ottawa West—Nepean.

We are proud of what the former Liberal government did under the leadership of Lloyd Axworthy, and we remain committed to the elimination of land mines around the world.

We have seen significant results since December 3, 1997, when the Ottawa Treaty was signed, including the destruction of 51 million landmines worldwide, and just today, our minister announced $12 million to pursue Canada's goal of ridding the world of landmines.

We are always willing to work with our international partners to continue to strive for a mine-free world.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Phil McColeman Conservative Brantford—Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, despite promising not to do so in the last election, the Liberals continue to fight our veterans in court. Today, in the Equitas case, the B.C. Court of Appeal ruled against veterans.

Does the Prime Minister regret breaking his promise not to take our veterans back to court?

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

St. John's South—Mount Pearl Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Seamus O'Regan LiberalMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we value the significant contributions veterans and Canadian Armed Forces members have made and continue to make in protecting Canadians and their peace and security at home and around the world.

Regardless of the results of this case, we remain and are committed to bringing a pension-for-life option, and that is what we will do. We need to deliver the right option for a lifelong benefit for ill and injured veterans. We took the time to get it right, including consulting with veterans, some of whom are involved with the Equitas Society.

Public Services and ProcurementOral Questions

3 p.m.

Bloc

Xavier Barsalou-Duval Bloc Pierre-Boucher—Les Patriotes—Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government is beneath contempt in the Davie shipyard situation.

In the Quebec City region, 800 jobs will be in jeopardy by Christmas and not one minister has had the courage to meet with the workers. Eight hundred jobs is worth five minutes of their time. As luck would have it, we have some union representatives with us in Parliament today.

Will the Minister of Public Services, the Minister of National Defence, or the Minister of Transport show a bit of respect and agree to meet with the workers who are here?

Public Services and ProcurementOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Delta B.C.

Liberal

Carla Qualtrough LiberalMinister of Public Services and Procurement

Mr. Speaker, obviously we are very concerned about the impact of job losses on workers and their families.

We recognize the expertise of the workers at the Davie shipyard and the excellent work that was done on the Asterix. Over the past few weeks, our government has been in touch with management at the Davie shipyard. Last week, I personally met with them. I can assure the House that my colleagues and I are quite seized with the issue.

Public Services and ProcurementOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Bloc

Marilène Gill Bloc Manicouagan, QC

Mr. Speaker, Irving is unable to deliver a single ship despite being awarded $63 billion in federal contracts, yet the government continues to grant it favours.

Today, the government is making us vote on whether to allocate an additional $54 million to cover Irving's cost overruns. While 800 workers at Davie are going to lose their jobs due to a lack of contracts, Ottawa is rewarding an incompetent shipyard that, number one, is not up to the task, and number two, costs too much. If that is not favouritism, what is?

I will repeat the question directed at the Minister of Public Services. Will she, the Minister of Transport, or the Minister of National Defence take five minutes—

Public Services and ProcurementOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Order. The hon. Minister of Public Services and Procurement.

Public Services and ProcurementOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Delta B.C.

Liberal

Carla Qualtrough LiberalMinister of Public Services and Procurement

Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to equipping the Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian Coast Guard with the ships they need to serve Canadians.

The strategy is a long-term commitment that will reinvigorate our marine industry, support Canadian innovation, and create jobs for Canadians across the country. This strategy has contributed $7.5 billion to our GDP and creates 7,000 jobs a year. We regularly monitor shipyards to make sure they are meeting the strategy's requirements with regard to jobs and economic benefits.

EthicsOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Bloc

Luc Thériault Bloc Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, through the member for Louis-Hébert, the Liberal government has misled the public.

The Ethics Commissioner was unable to give her blessing to a kickback worth about $70,000 in Papineau, because the report of the Chief Electoral Officer was not even available, as the members of this government are well aware.

Will the Prime Minister apologize for once again taking the public for fools?

EthicsOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, these assertions are entirely false, as confirmed by the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner. Not only that, but the Liberal Party has moved forward with the strongest standards in federal politics for openness and transparency, including facilitating media coverage, advance postings, postings in publicly accessible spaces, and timely reporting of events, details, and guest lists. Contrast that to opposition parties, which continue to organize their fundraising events in secret, barring journalists and hiding details about who is attending their closed-door events.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I wish to draw the attention of hon. members to the presence in our gallery of Her Excellency Eunide Innocent, Minister for the Status of Women and Women's Rights for the Republic of Haiti.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Pat Kelly Conservative Calgary Rocky Ridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, misleading the House is a serious matter, which I know no member would do deliberately. Today the Minister of National Revenue again claimed that there had been no changes to the disability tax credit. I have in my hand a copy of an email obtained through an access to information request that contradicts the statements the minister has made today and in the past. I ask for unanimous consent to table this document.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Is there unanimous consent?

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

The hon. member for Longueuil—Charles-LeMoyne.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Sherry Romanado Liberal Longueuil—Charles-LeMoyne, QC

Mr. Speaker, in response to a point of order made earlier today by the member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, in May, the member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman publicly made inappropriate, humiliating, and unwanted comments to me that were sexual in nature. These comments have caused me great stress and have negatively affected my work environment.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis, QC

Mr. Speaker, further to an issue raised in question period, I have here the report from a Liberal-dominated committee that states that the Royal Canadian Navy is in urgent need of a supply ship.

In the interest of transparency and openness, I would like to seek the unanimous consent of the House to table this report.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Does the hon. member for Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis have the unanimous consent of the House?

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 10 petitions.

Status of WomenCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

Karen Vecchio Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 10th Report of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women, entitled “Supplementary Estimates (B) 2017-18”.

Industry, Science and TechnologyCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Dan Ruimy Liberal Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the ninth report of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, entitled “Supplementary Estimates (B) 2017-18: Vote 5b under Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Votes 1b and 5b under Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, Votes 1b and 5b under Canadian Space Agency, Votes 1b and 10b under Department of Industry, Vote 5b under Department of Western Economic Diversification, Vote 5b under Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, Vote 10b under National Research Council of Canada, Votes 1b and 5b under Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, Vote 1b under Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Vote 1b under Standards Council of Canada and Vote 1b under Statistics Canada”.

Environment and Sustainable DevelopmentCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour today to present, in both official languages, the 10th report of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, entitled “Preserving Canada's Heritage: the Foundation for Tomorrow”.

The committee found that many of our historic places throughout Canada are under threat and in serious disrepair or are disappearing. Further, the federal government must take action to preserve Canada's historic places. The report puts forth recommendations to address rehabilitation and preservation.

Therefore, pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.

Environment and Sustainable DevelopmentCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

Joël Godin Conservative Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, we all agree that the government needs to show some leadership when it comes to heritage conservation. That being said, where we do not agree is how the financial resources are being managed.

One of my Conservative colleagues presented a solution in committee that demonstrated that Bill C-323 did represent a solution, at no cost to the government.

The Liberals rejected this bill. Most of the recommendations meant additional costs. The committee did not take into account the financial implications of these measures in its analysis.

While the objectives of the legislative recommendations are commendable, the Conservative members of the committee believe that it would be irresponsible, considering the huge deficit, to impose these expenses on taxpayers without examining the financial implications.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Pat Finnigan Liberal Miramichi—Grand Lake, NB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the ninth report of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food, entitled "Supplementary Estimates (B) 2017-18".

Government Operations and EstimatesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Conservative Moose Jaw—Lake Centre—Lanigan, SK

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the 12th report of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates entitled, “Reaching Canadians with Effective Government Advertising”.

Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.

Also, my information is that a dissenting report will be forthcoming, but it has not been prepared at this time.

International TradeCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I believe if you were to seek it, you would find the unanimous consent of the House for the following motions. I move:

That, in relation to its study on Trade Relationship Between Canada and Countries of the Association of South East Asian Nations, seven members of the Standing Committee on International Trade be authorized to travel to Singapore, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Bangkok, Thailand, in the Winter or Spring of 2018, and that the necessary staff accompany the Committee.

Environment and Sustainable DevelopmentCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I move:

That, in relation to its study on Clean Growth and Climate Change in Canada, seven members of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development be authorized to travel to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Calgary, Alberta and Vancouver, British Columbia, in the Winter or Spring of 2018, and that the necessary staff accompany the Committee.

Foreign Affairs and International DevelopmentCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I move:

That, in relation to its study on Canada's Engagement in Asia, seven members of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development be authorized to travel to Tokyo, Japan, Seoul, South Korea and Manila, Philippines, in the Winter or Spring of 2018, and that the necessary staff accompany the Committee.

Mr. Speaker, I also move:

That, in relation to its study on Canada's Global Engagement on Human Rights Issues, Particularly Through the United Nations (UN) and its Agencies, five members of the Subcommittee on International Human Rights of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development be authorized to travel to New York, New York, United States of America, in the Winter or Spring of 2018, and that the necessary staff accompany the Committee.

Justice and Human RightsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I move:

That, in relation to its study on Human Trafficking in Canada, seven members of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights be authorized to travel to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Montreal, Quebec, Toronto, Ontario, Edmonton, Alberta and Vancouver, British Columbia, in the Winter or Spring of 2018, and that the necessary staff accompany the Committee.

Official LanguagesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I move:

That, in relation to its studies of Access to Early Childhood Services in the Minority Language and French and English as a Second-Language Programs, seven members of the Standing Committee on Official Languages be authorized to travel to Whitehorse, Yukon, Vancouver, British Columbia, Edmonton, Alberta and Winnipeg, Manitoba, in the Winter or Spring of 2018, and that the necessary staff accompany the Committee.

Natural ResourcesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Finally, Mr. Speaker, I move:

That, in relation to its study on Strategic Electricity Inter-ties, seven members of the Standing Committee on Natural Resources be authorized to travel Toronto, Mississauga, Oshawa and Chalk River, Ontario, in the Winter or Spring of 2018, and that the necessary staff accompany the Committee.

Natural ResourcesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Does the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons have the unanimous consent of the House to move these motions?

Natural ResourcesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Natural ResourcesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

The House has heard the terms of the motions. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motions?

Natural ResourcesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Natural ResourcesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

(Motions agreed to)

Parental RightsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

Sylvie Boucher Conservative Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d’Orléans—Charlevoix, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to table in the House a petition on parental rights signed by 2,527 people.

Pan-Canadian Food StrategyPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to table two petitions calling on the Canadian government to adopt a pan-Canadian food strategy. It is a matter of survival for Canadian women. It is also about the quality of food and promoting local food.

I hope that the government will consider what the petitioners are calling for.

The EnvironmentPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Nathaniel Erskine-Smith Liberal Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise to present two petitions.

In the first petition, 100 petitioners are calling on the environment minister to educate Canadians about the impact of our diets on our planet through the climatechange.gc.ca website. The petitioners note that reducing animal products in one's diet is an effective way to reduce one's carbon and water footprint, and that the dieticians of Canada have found a plant-based diet to be among the most helpful.

Canadian HeritagePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Nathaniel Erskine-Smith Liberal Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, in the second petition, hundreds of petitioners have noted that Canada does not currently have a national flower.

Master Gardeners of Ontario created an online poll in which almost 10,000 Canadians voted, and 79.5% of those voters chose cornus canadensis, also known as bunchberry, and call on our government to adopt a national flower in Canada's 150th year.

TaxationPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

Karen Vecchio Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise to present a petition from the beautiful and scenic riding of Elgin—Middlesex—London. Petitioners call on the government to ensure that campgrounds with fewer than five full-time employees will continue to be recognized and taxed as small businesses.

Falun GongPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present a petition with literally hundreds of signatories. This issue is very difficult to even say out loud. It focuses on the issue of unethical organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners in the People's Republic of China. It urges the House and the Canadian government to publicly request that the government of the People's Republic of China launch an independent investigation into forced organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners in China and to actively discourage Canadians from seeking organ transplants.

There are a number of specific requests in this petition, but they all go to the issue of stopping organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners in the People's Republic of China.

Abandoned VesselsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Sheila Malcolmson NDP Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise to present a petition in which coastal voices from Halifax to Cowichan Bay on Vancouver Island urge this House to act now on the longstanding issue of abandoned vessels. They point out that no effective programs or regulations exist, and call on the government to designate the Coast Guard as the first stop to end the runaround and jurisdictional quagmire of abandoned vessels and to create good green jobs by supporting marine salvage businesses in support of recycling.

Also, they also call on the House to support of my private member's bill. It has been deemed non-votable, but we will find other ways to bring coastal voices to this House.

Algoma Passenger TrainPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Carol Hughes NDP Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise one more time to table petitions on behalf of constituents from Hearst, Hornepayne, Jogues, and other Canadians from Thunder Bay, Roberval, and Kirkland Lake. It is with regard to the Algoma passenger train.

They remain concerned that the train is still not back on the rail and that there are substantial hardships for residents, businesses, and other passengers. They indicate that 75% of the properties on the rail line are inaccessible and there are very few industrial roads. The roads that exist are not safe and not year-round. They also indicate that the cancellation infringes on the federal government's obligation to first nations.

The petitioners ask the government to put the Algoma train back on track and to ensure that the mission of Transport Canada is responded to.

Indigenous AffairsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to table in the House a petition from Dublin Street United Church in Guelph, joining the United Church moderator Jordan Cantwell, in requesting the support of the House of Commons for Bill C-262.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the following questions will be answered today: Nos. 1237 to 1239, 1241, 1242, 1244, 1248, and 1251.

Question No. 1237Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Kent Conservative Thornhill, ON

With regard to the decision taken by the World Heritage Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on July 7, 2017, to inscribe Hebron and the Tomb of the Patriarchs as a Palestinian site on the World Heritage List and on the List of World Heritage in Danger: what is the government’s official position on the UNESCO decision?

Question No. 1237Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

University—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, Canada is disappointed by the continued politicization of the work of the world heritage committee as evidenced by the decision to include the Old Town of Hebron/Al-Khalil on the list of World Heritage in Danger.

This decision hurts UNESCO? and it does nothing to advance prospects for the comprehensive, just, and lasting peace to which we aspire for the sake of all Israelis and Palestinians.

Canada is not a member of UNESCO’s world heritage committee. Therefore, Canada could not vote against this decision, but expressed our opposition during the world heritage committee meeting in Krakow, Poland, in July 2017.

Question No. 1238Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Bev Shipley Conservative Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, ON

With regard to the conflict of interest screen for the Minister of Finance: (a) since November 4, 2015, how many times did the chief of staff warn or notify the Minister that he may be contravening the conflict of interest screen; (b) when did each instance in (a) occur and what was the nature of each warning or notification; (c) for each instance in (a), was action taken as a result of the warning or notification, and if so, what action was taken; (d) did the Minister disclose the fact that Morneau Shepell relocated its headquarters to Barbados in 2016 to his chief of staff; (e) did the Minister attend any meetings concerning the Barbados tax treaty or the use of Barbados as a tax haven, and if so, did the Minister inform his chief of staff about the meeting; and (f) did the chief of staff advise the Minister that the changes proposed in the consultation paper “Tax Planning Using Private Corporations” could benefit Morneau Shepell or the Minister personally, and if so, on what date was the advice given?

Question No. 1238Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Louis-Hébert Québec

Liberal

Joël Lightbound LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner is an independent officer of the House of Commons who administers the Conflict of Interest Act and the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons. The Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner is responsible for helping appointed and elected officials prevent and avoid conflicts between their public duties and private interests.

Per her recommendations, the conflict of interest screen is administered by the minister’s chief of staff and supported by the department. Instances that are caught by the conflict of interest screen are reported to the Ethics Commissioner’s office.

Minister Morneau continues to work closely with the Ethics Commissioner to ensure all the rules are being followed, and has gone above and beyond her recommendations.

Question No. 1239Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Bev Shipley Conservative Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, ON

With regard to correspondence, in both paper and electronic format, between the Premier of Ontario and the Prime Minister, in relation to the proposed tax changes announced by the Minister of Finance on July 18, 2017: what are the details of all such correspondence, including the (i) date, (ii) format (email, letter), (iii) sender, (iv) recipient, (v) title, (vi) summary of contents?

Question No. 1239Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Vaudreuil—Soulanges Québec

Liberal

Peter Schiefke LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister (Youth)

Mr. Speaker, the Privy Council Office does not have any correspondence, neither in paper nor electronic format, between the Premier of Ontario and the Prime Minister, in relation to the proposed tax changes announced by the Minister of Finance on July 18, 2017.

Question No. 1241Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Bev Shipley Conservative Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, ON

With regard to the Minister of Finance’s paper entitled “Tax Planning Using Private Corporations” and the consultations, which closed on October 2, 2017: (a) how many submissions did the Department of Finance receive by (i) mail (paper), (ii) email, (iii) phone; (b) for each submission in (a), what are the details, broken down by submitter’s (i) profession, (ii) province; (c) how many submissions were in favour of the government’s proposed changes to passive income rules; (d) how many submissions were opposed to the government’s proposed changes to passive income rules; (e) how many submissions were in favour of the government’s proposed changes to so-called “income sprinkling” rules; (f) how many submissions were opposed to the government’s proposed changes to so-called “income sprinkling” rules; (g) how many submissions were in favour of the government’s proposed changes to so-called “income stripping” rules; (h) how many submissions were opposed to the government’s proposed changes to so-called “income stripping” rules; (i) how many submissions were received after the deadline, and what did the government do with these submissions; (j) which section of the Department of Finance was responsible for receiving submissions; (k) what is the government’s estimation of revenue to be generated by the proposed changes to passive income rules; (l) what is the government’s estimation of revenue to be generated by the proposed changes to so-called “income sprinkling” rules; and (m) what is the government’s estimation of revenue to be generated by the proposed changes to so-called “income stripping” rules?

Question No. 1241Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Louis-Hébert Québec

Liberal

Joël Lightbound LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, with regard to part (a), over 21,000 submissions were received in response to the consultation on tax planning using private corporations via email in the dedicated consultation mailbox. This total includes over 11,000 form letters. In addition to the emails received through the consultation mailbox, over 10,000 related items of correspondence to the Minister of Finance were received by the department.

With regard to part (b), the department has not kept a record or a tally of submissions based on their source, such as place of residence, occupation, etc. Individuals and groups making submissions to the consultation mailbox were not asked to provide this information .

With regard to parts (c) to (h), the department is in the process of reviewing submissions to ensure that comments and proposals are properly taken into account in the further development of the policy. Through this process, the department is not keeping a record or a tally of all these submissions based on their degree or type of support. That said, various opinions were expressed.

With regard to part (i), the consultation mailbox received over 200 submissions via email from October 2, 2017 to October 17, 2017, i.e., the date of the question. Concerns raised in these submissions will be considered by the Department of Finance.

With regard to part (j), the tax policy branch of the Department of Finance is receiving the submissions directly.

With regard to part (k), as announced in the fall economic statement 2017, the government will propose measures to limit tax deferral opportunities related to passive investments, and will release draft legislation as part of budget 2018. The department will provide a revenue estimate after key design aspects are determined.

With regard to part (l), the government’s estimation of revenue to be generated by the proposed measures to limit income sprinkling using private corporations is about $215 million in 2018-19, growing to $245 million by 2022-23.

With regard to part (m), the government announced in the fall economic statement 2017 that it is no longer moving forward on the proposed changes regarding the conversion of income into capital gains and that the draft legislative proposals released with the consultation will not proceed.

Question No. 1242Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

With regard to the working group referred to by the Minister of Finance’s spokesman in the Toronto Star on February 28, 2017, “to collaborate on transparency and beneficial ownership”: (a) what is the mandate of the working group; (b) on what date was the working group created; (c) on what date does the working group anticipate concluding; (d) since being created, on which dates has the working group met; (e) for each meeting in (d), what were the items on the agenda; (f) what is the membership of the working group, broken down by (i) position or title, (ii) level of government, (iii) department, (iv) responsibilities related to the working group; (g) who was present for each meeting in (d); (h) was the Minister of Finance present for any items pertaining to Barbados being used as a tax haven; (i) If the answer to (h) is affirmative, did the Minister disclose the fact that his company, Morneau Shepell, relocated its headquarters in 2016 to Barbados; (j) if the answer to (i) is affirmative, did the Minister inform his chief of staff; (k) if the answer to (i) is affirmative, did the Minister inform the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner; and (l) if the answer to (i) is affirmative, did the Minister inform the Prime Minister?

Question No. 1242Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Louis-Hébert Québec

Liberal

Joël Lightbound LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, with regard to parts (a) and (b), the Government of Canada is committed to implementing strong standards for corporate and beneficial ownership transparency that provide safeguards against money laundering, terrorist financing, tax evasion, and tax avoidance, while continuing to facilitate the ease of doing business in Canada. Timely access for competent authorities to accurate and up-to-date beneficial ownership information is vital for combatting illicit financial flows, including money laundering, terrorist financing, and tax evasion and avoidance.

The federal-provincial committee on taxation is a committee composed of senior federal, provincial, and territorial tax officials who meet generally on a semi-annual basis to discuss common tax policy issues and examine their consequences for the national and provincial/territorial economies. The proposal to create a working group of federal, provincial, and territorial officials to examine tax avoidance and evasion, with the first issue proposed for examination being strengthening the collection of beneficial ownership information, was first adopted at the federal-provincial committee on taxation held June 6-7, 2016 in Winnipeg and support for the formation of this working group was confirmed by finance minister at the federal, provincial, and territorial finance ministers’ meeting on June 19 and 20, 2016. Key objectives for the working group are to raise awareness and understanding of the international standards and importance of corporate and beneficial ownership transparency, and collaborate on identifying and advancing options to improve availability of accurate beneficial ownership information.

With regard to parts (c) to (e), the work of the working group is ongoing. The working group met via conference call on September 26, 2016, February 14, 2017, September 12, 2017, and September 29, 2017.

The objective of the working group is to collaborate to advance the issue of strengthening the transparency and collection of beneficial ownership information. The agenda for the first meetings centered on the development of the working group’s objectives and terms of reference and an analysis of the current state of the corporate registry requirements in each of the participating jurisdictions. Subsequent working group meetings have focused on an international comparison regarding what other jurisdictions have proposed or introduced to strengthen the collection of beneficial ownership information and a discussion on potential options for strengthening the collection of beneficial ownership information.

With regard to parts (f) to (l), the working group operates at the officials’ level. Participants at the federal level are officials from the Department of Finance responsible for tax policy, in the tax legislation division, and financial sector policy, financial crimes, and officials from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada responsible for federal corporate law policy, marketplace framework policy and Corporations Canada. The working group is supported by at least one official from each of the provinces and territories with responsibility for tax and/or corporate law policy.

Various officials from the Department of Finance, from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, and from most or all provinces and territories participated in each working group meeting, but specific attendance was not recorded.

The working group has not discussed items pertaining to the use of any particular jurisdiction for the purposes of tax avoidance or tax evasion.

Question No. 1244Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Arnold Viersen Conservative Peace River—Westlock, AB

With regard to the relationship between the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), the Standards Council of Canada and the Department of Industry, since January 1, 2016: (a) what role does the CSA play in the development or recommendation of regulations imposed by the Department of Industry; (b) what specific measures are in place to ensure that groups recommending standards or regulations are not influenced by foreign money; (c) what specific regulations, which were recommended by the CSA, have been put into place by either the Standards Council of Canada or the Department of Industry; (d) what is the website location of any regulations referred to in (c); and (e) what are the details of any memorandums at the Department of Indsutry, which reference the CSA, including the (i) date, (ii) sender, (iii) recipient, (iv) title or subject matter, (v) file number?

Question No. 1244Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Mississauga—Malton Ontario

Liberal

Navdeep Bains LiberalMinister of Innovation

Mr. Speaker, with regard to part (a), the Canadian Standards Association, operating as CSA Group, is one of nine standards development organizations accredited by the Standards Council of Canada, SCC, which can be found at: www.scc.ca/en/accreditation/standards/directory-of-accredited-standards-development-organizations. CSA Group is not a regulatory entity and does not report to the Minister of Innovation, Science or Economic Development, ISED, either directly or indirectly through the SCC. SCC is a federal crown corporation whose role includes the coordination of Canada’s voluntary standardization network. SCC does not have any regulatory authority in its mandate.

With regard to part (b), SCC is not aware of any specific measures in place to ensure that groups recommending standards or regulations are not influenced by foreign money. SCC takes its mandate from the Standards Council of Canada Act, its governing legislation, to promote efficient and effective voluntary standardization in Canada, which can be found at: http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/S-16/index.html. SCC promotes the participation of Canadians in voluntary standards activities and coordinates and oversees the efforts of the persons and organizations involved in Canada’s standardization network.

With regard to part (c), neither SCC nor CSA Group is a regulatory entity. SCC is not aware of any regulations put in place that have been recommended by CSA Group.

With regard to part (d), neither SCC nor CSA is a regulatory entity.

With regard to part (e), ISED officials have confirmed that there are no active memoranda referencing the CSA since January 1, 2016.

Question No. 1248Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Benzen Conservative Calgary Heritage, AB

With regard to the decision by the Ontario Superintendent of Financial Services to appoint Morneau Shepell as the administrator for the pension plan of Sears Canada Incorporated: (a) when did the Department of Finance first become aware of the decision; (b) which other departments or agencies were notified of the decision, and when were they notified; (c) was any government agency or department consulted prior to naming Morneau Shepell as the administrator, and if so, (i) who was consulted, (ii) on what date did consultation take place; (d) did the Minister of Finance recuse himself from this matter; and (e) if the answer to (d) is affirmative (i) what specific steps were taken by the Minister, (ii) on what date did the Minister recuse himself, (iii) who is replacing the Minister with regard to ministerial responsibility on this file?

Question No. 1248Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Louis-Hébert Québec

Liberal

Joël Lightbound LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, private pension plans are regulated under the applicable pension standards legislation, which can be either federal or provincial, depending on the employer’s business operations. Plans sponsored by employers in federally regulated industries, which include banking, interprovincial transportation, and telecommunications, are regulated under the federal Pension Benefits Standards Act, 1985, PBSA.

The Sears pension plan falls under provincial jurisdiction and is regulated by the Ontario Pension Benefits Act. Decisions pertaining to the supervision and administration of this plan are the sole responsibility of the Ontario Superintendent of Financial Services. The federal Department of Finance is not involved in any way.

Question No. 1251Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

With regard to appointments by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) of administrators to wind-up the pension plans of bankrupt or insolvent companies, since January 1, 2004: (a) has OSFI hired Morneau Shepell; and (b) if the answer to (a) is affirmative, what are the details of each instance, including the (i) internal tracking number, (ii) name of the company for which OSFI was seeking an administrator, (iii) date OSFI commenced its search for an administrator, (iv) date Morneau Shepell was hired, (v) date the contract was approved by the Treasury Board Secretariat, (vi) value of the contract, (vii) position or title of the public servant who approved the contract, (viii) date Morneau Shepell concluded its work?

Question No. 1251Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Louis-Hébert Québec

Liberal

Joël Lightbound LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, OSFI, is an independent federal government agency, established under the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions Act, that regulates and supervises more than 400 federally regulated financial institutions and 1,200 private pension plans to determine whether they are in sound financial condition and meeting their regulatory and supervisory requirements.

OSFI is funded mainly through assessments on the financial institutions and private pension plans that it regulates. The deputy head of OSFI is the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, who is appointed for a seven-year term and may not be removed without cause.

OSFI does not hire replacement administrators, rather it has the authority to appoint a replacement administrator under subsection 7.6(1) of the Pension Benefits Standards Act, 1985, PBSA. As such, there is no formal contract between OSFI and an appointed replacement administrator. OSFI does not consult with the Department of Finance on the appointment of replacement administrators.

As per the provisions of the PBSA, a replacement administrator is appointed if the plan administrator is insolvent or unable to act or the Superintendent of Financial Institutions is of the opinion that it is in the best interests of the members, or former members, or any other persons entitled to pension benefits under the plan that the administrator be removed. Replacement administrators may recover their reasonable fees and expenses from the pension fund.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, if the government's responses to Questions Nos. 1240, 1243, 1245 to 1247, 1249, and 1250 could be made as orders for return, these returns would be tabled immediately.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Is that agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Question No. 1240Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Bev Shipley Conservative Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, ON

With regard to buildings owned or operated by the Department of Public Works and Government Services for government employees, as of October 17, 2017: (a) what is the complete list of buildings; (b) what are the details of each building, including the (i) address, (ii) building name, (iii) occupancy limit (maximum number of employee workstations); and (c) what is the current occupancy or number of employee full-time equivalents assigned to each building?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 1243Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

With regard to all contracts signed since September 19, 2016, between the government and Morneau Shepell: what are the details of each contract, including the (i) internal tracking number, (ii) contract purpose or title, (iii) goods or services provided, (iv) value, (v) department, (vi) position of the government employee who initiated the contract, (vii) date of signature, (viii) date of approval by the Treasury Board Secretariat, (ix) expiration date?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 1245Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, MB

With regard to the government’s discussions with the Australian government, leading up to the submission of the Expression of Interest of September 29, 2017, regarding the potential purchase of F/A-18 fighter aircraft and associated parts: (a) how many aircraft has the Australian government made available for purchase; (b) how many aircraft has the government expressed an interest in purchasing from Australia; (c) when does the government expect to receive the first used F/A-18 fighter aircraft from Australia; (d) when does the government expect to receive the last F/A-18 fighter aircraft from Australia; (e) what is the anticipated acquisition cost per aircraft; (f) when did each aircraft available for purchase become operational within the Royal Australian Air Force; (g) what is the anticipated life-span of the Australian fleet of F/A-18 fighter aircraft; (h) how many flying hours has each of Australia’s F/A-18 fighter aircraft intended for purchase accumulated; (i) were the economic benefits to Canada discussed; (j) what are the economic benefits to Canada from the potential purchase of F/A-18 fighter aircraft and associated parts from Australia; (k) what type of repairs, upgrades and modernization will Australia’s F/A-18 fighter aircraft require before being operational within the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and, for each repair, upgrade and modernization (i) what is the anticipated timeline, (ii) what is the anticipated cost, (iii) will the manufacturer of Australia’s F/A-18 fighter aircraft be involved in any of them; (l) has any analysis been done to determine if any spare parts from currently active or recently retired aircraft can be used in the repairs, upgrades and modernization of Australia’s F/A-18 fighter aircraft; (m) if the answer in (l) is affirmative, what were the findings of this analysis; (n) will Canadian CF-18 pilots require additional training before flying Australia’s F/A-18 fighter aircraft; (o) if the answer in (n) is affirmative, what is the timeline for the additional training; (p) what analysis was done to determine that Australia’s F/A-18 fighter aircraft could (i) be operational within the RCAF, (ii) satisfy the RCAF’s commitments to domestic security, NATO, NORAD, and other international obligations; and (q) what are the details of communications which have been received from the Australian government from November 1, 2015, to date, related to the purchase of F/A-18 fighter aircraft, including the (i) date, (ii) sender, (iii) recipient, (iv) title, (v) relevant file number?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 1246Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

With regard to the government’s marketing strategy, including advertising: (a) what is the total marketing budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year; (b) what are the names of the sectors or branches in each department or agency that manage marketing and advertising; (c) how many full-time equivalents are employed in each marketing sector or branch, broken down by department or agency; and (d) for the positions in (c), what are the public service classifications (i.e. EX-1) and corresponding pay range, broken down by department or agency?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 1247Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Benzen Conservative Calgary Heritage, AB

With regard to the travel of the Prime Minister, the Minister of Finance, the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and others to Stouffville, Ontario, on October 16, 2017: (a) what are the details of all expenditures related to the travel, including (i) transportation, (ii) venue rental, (iii) audio-visual equipment, (iv) graphic artwork, (v) meals, (vi) per diems, (vii) other expenses, broken down by type; (b) what is the complete list of individuals who traveled; and (c) what is the flight manifest for all government aircraft flights related to the travel?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 1249Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Eglinski Conservative Yellowhead, AB

With regard to expenditures on “talent fees” and other expenditures on models for media produced by the government since January 1, 2016, broken down by department, agency, Crown corporation or other government entity: (a) what is the total amount of expenditures; and (b) what are the details of each expenditure, including the (i) vendor, (ii) project or campaign description, (iii) description of goods or services provided, (iv) date and duration of contract, (v) file number, (vi) publication name where the related photographs are located, if applicable, (vii) relevant website, if applicable?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 1250Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

With regard to the Office of Human Rights, Freedoms and Inclusion: (a) what projects, research and activities have been undertaken in Burma since October 2015; (b) What are the details of each project referred to in (a), including the (i) project name, (ii) date, (iii) budget, (iv) duration, (v) description; (c) what projects, research and activities have been undertaken in Canada and elsewhere outside Burma related to the Rohingya crisis; (d) what are the details of each project referred to in (c), including the (i) project name, (ii) date, (iii) budget, (iv) duration, (v) description; (e) what projects, research and activities are planned related to violence facing Rohingya and other Burmese minorities; (f) what are the details of each project referred to in (e), including the (i) project name, (ii) date, (iii) budget, (iv) duration, (v) description; (g) what funding applications have been received for projects, research or activities related to violence, persecution or genocidal acts in Burma or against the Rohingya people and, for each application or proposed expenditure, (i) why was said application approved or denied, (ii) what expenditure amount was approved, (iii) what individuals and organizations received funding, (iv) what was the stated project objective, (v) what monitoring of project progress has been done; (h) what organizations or individuals have received funding from the Office of Human Rights, Freedoms and Inclusion, and (i) in what amounts, (ii) for what stated objectives, (iii) under what ongoing monitoring of progress, (iv) what is the date of funding; (i) what officials have been assigned the situation of the Burmese Rohingya minority as an ongoing responsibility; (j) what statements have been issued which mention the situation of the Rohingya people in Burma or those who have fled; and (k) what expenditures, other than those described in the response to (a) through (j), have been made in either Burma or in relation to the Rohingya people and, what are the details of such expenditures, including the (i) vendor, (ii) date, (iii) amount, (iv) goods or services provided, (v) description of expense, (vi) file number?

(Return tabled)

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all remaining questions be allowed to stand.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Is that agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

The hon. member for Mégantic—L'Érable has five minutes left to conclude his speech.

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will pick up where I left off before question period.

That being said, something happened during question period. Once again, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness completely rejected the motion being moved today by the opposition. In my opinion, that is totally incomprehensible. During question period, the Minister of Public safety was content to quote Phil Gurski, a former analyst at the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

I too will quote Mr. Gurski. In a broadcast of the program Enquête, when he was asked how to ensure that the reintegration of those who were not charged and at what point we can be certain that someone no longer presents a danger, he said, “Never”. He went on to say:

I am saying that there are no guarantees that someone who travelled, who believed in a certain violent ideology, will ever fully abandon all that.

That is the reality and why today the opposition is calling on the government to take action to keep Canadians safe. That is why. Are there 60, 100, 120, or 180? The number is neither here nor there. The problem is that it only takes one, just one, to commit irreparable acts, acts that could have quite tragic consequences for Canadians. Would that have an impact on one Canadian, or two or three Canadians? We cannot imagine the potential horror.

However, the horror has occurred over and over again in recent years. Anyone who thinks these horrors cannot happen here in Canada is living in a fantasy land. That is why it is important that the government keep us up to date. That is why the government needs to tell us how many of these Canadian fighters who went and fought overseas are now back in Canada. How many are under surveillance? How many are out on the street while the RCMP has no means of monitoring them?

In the same report from back in January, the RCMP admitted that it did not have the means to track each of the former ISIS fighters that have returned to Canada.

However, the law is very clear: people who left Canada to join a terrorist group overseas could face imprisonment.

Section 46 of the Criminal Code states:

46 (1) Every one commits high treason who, in Canada,

(c) assists an enemy at war with Canada, or any armed forces against whom Canadian Forces are engaged in hostilities, whether or not a state of war exists between Canada and the country whose forces they are.

I also want to quote section 83.191 of the Criminal Code:

83.191 Everyone who leaves or attempts to leave Canada, or goes or attempts to go on board a conveyance with the intent to leave Canada, for the purpose of committing an act or omission outside Canada that, if committed in Canada, would be an offence under subsection 83.19(1) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 14 years.

It is clear. People who left Canada to join ISIS committed a crime. Why, then, are they not being charged upon their return? We have all the necessary information. We know their names. If we know their names, we know where they came from. If we know where they came from, we know why they were there. We can therefore charge them and so ensure the safety of Canadians.

It is clear that, since 2015, the government has been doing everything it can to appease the Islamic State and other terrorist groups. Two years ago, it withdrew our F-18 fighter jets from the fight against ISIS. That was at a time when the international community was mobilizing to stop its spread. I could go on. I will not mention the $10.5 million given to Omar Khadr, a convicted war criminal and terrorist.

For all of these reasons, we insist that the government confirm that the safety and protection of Canadians and not the protection of war criminals returning to Canada is its top priority. Why will it not prove to Canadians that it is committed to ensuring their safety?

Today’s motion is very important, but also very reasonable if one takes the time to read it properly.

It is for this reason that I support it and that I suggest that my colleagues in the government and the NDP support it as well.

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Marco Mendicino LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Madam Speaker, for the reasons I am about to get into, I am not able to share most of what my colleague said.

Many of the member's colleagues have stood and have offered commentary that is coloured with partisanship, which is not constructive to a thoughtful debate on national security. Why does my hon. colleague not encourage some of his friends within his party to think about national security in a way that promotes the careful balance required to protect Canadians, but at the same time ensure that all individuals will have their charter rights protected?

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Madam Speaker, when a person commits a crime, regardless of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the role of the government and law enforcement agencies is to arrest them and bring them to trial. That is the procedure. The rule of law applies in Canada, and that is what we must do. Whoever commits a crime must be arrested and brought to trial. Then, the accused can defend themselves.

Once again, the hon. members across the aisle are trying to create a diversion. They are trying to say that the hon. members on this side of the House are against programs that promote deradicalization. That is not true. We are entirely in favour of these types of programs.

The global situation has changed so much in recent years that we want to ensure that fewer and fewer Canadians become radicalized.

However, today we are talking about Canadians who are so radicalized that they fought against other Canadians and their allies and perhaps even opened fire on them. We cannot overlook that fact.

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

John Barlow Conservative Foothills, AB

Madam Speaker, my colleagues across the floor have said that we are being partisan and are fearmongering. However, we are speaking for the voices of our constituents. My constituents have been overwhelmingly concerned by the position of the Liberal government, that it will allow radicalized Canadians to come back here and there will be, in the words of our Prime Minister, a wide range or suite of ways to try to rehabilitate them into communities, whether through poetry classes and other programs. Canadians and certainly the constituents who have spoken to me and who have called my office do not believe the Liberals are taking this seriously.

What is my colleague hearing from his constituents on this issue and why does he feel it is important that he speaks up for his constituents on being serious on the threat of ISIS radicalization coming back to Canada?

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Madam Speaker, the people in my riding are worried, because the government cannot say how many Canadian soldiers fought their own country and its allies before returning to Canada. The government cannot say how many of these people are under 24-hour surveillance. In short, the government cannot set the record straight on the real threat these people represent.

A little earlier, I spoke about a news report. The people in my riding are very worried because, according to postdoctoral researcher in Islamic extremism Amarnath Amarasingam of the University of Waterloo, Ontario, of the 62 soldiers he identified, 22 are in Ontario, 17 are from Alberta, 16 are from Quebec, 3 are from British Columbia, and 4 are of unknown origin. They are everywhere.

That is why it is important that the government invest all the necessary resources and energy in surveilling these people around the clock so that they can have a fair and equitable trial. In the meantime, we cannot take any risks.

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Madam Speaker, this is my first opportunity to stand in this debate. I will be voting against the opposition motion, and I want to explain why. The language around Omar Khadr is again an attempt to spin something on which Canadians have a right to have straight facts. Is the hon. member comfortable describing someone as being convicted as a terrorist when the court involved was a military court in Guantanamo Bay, it was as a result of torture, and where in fact even the word terrorist is a perversion of that word because it was actually in a war zone?

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Madam Speaker, I do not know how they can say such things in the House when they know that the families of Omar Khadr's victims could one day hear these comments.

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Marco Mendicino LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Madam Speaker, at the outset, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Scarborough Southwest.

Today, I am rising to speak against the motion brought forward by the Conservative opposition, and my reasons for doing so are straightforward.

Contrary to what this motion suggests, our government has already unequivocally condemned Daesh for committing acts of terrorism and genocide, as they should be. In addition, the Canadian Forces, law enforcement, and intelligent communities are fully engaged in combatting and preventing terrorism in all its forms, both abroad and at home. This is work of which we should all be proud.

Finally, Canadians can be confident that we have enacted a robust set of criminal laws, offences and preventative tools for law enforcement, to address terrorism, which are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, wherever and whenever appropriate.

In a moment, I will expand on how these measures are collectively working to keep Canadians safe, but first I need to express how regrettable it is to hear the opposition politicize national security time and again.

Far too often, we see the Conservatives wagging their fingers, lecturing Canadians, and pandering fear on this subject. However, one need only look at their record to see it is heavy on rhetoric and light on substance.

I hear hon. members heckling from the other side, and that will not change the facts. Let me tell everyone what some of those facts are.

During their 10 years in government, the Conservatives imposed dramatic cuts to national security. Indeed, in their last four years in power, they slashed close to $1 billion in resources to the RCMP, CBSA, CSIS, CATSA, and CSE. The opposition would do well to remember these figures, as I know Canadians will in sizing up the validity of this motion and the credibility of the Conservatives on the whole of national security.

Let me now say a few words about a number of the terrorism provisions within the Criminal Code that specifically apply to terrorist travel.

I would like to begin by acknowledging that thousands from around the world have indeed travelled to join terrorist groups and that this is indeed an important issue, which our government is grappling with domestically, internationally, and abroad with all our partners in the combat against terrorism.

Within the law as it exists in Canada, there are four specific offences of leaving Canada, or attempting to leave Canada, for the purpose of committing specific terrorism offences. In this way, the criminal law addresses the terrorist traveller phenomenon by having the substantive offence crystallize before the person leaves Canada and by applying the same maximum punishment to attempting to leave Canada, as well as leaving Canada, to commit these offences.

Over and above these targeted offences, the Criminal Code includes terrorism provisions designed to prevent the carrying out of terrorist activity and have a preventive focus. They are in large part designed to permit law enforcement to intervene and charge someone with a terrorism offence before a terrorist attack can take place. Such offences include knowingly facilitating terrorist activity and knowingly instructing someone to carry out a terrorist activity.

A particular example of this can be found in the participation offence, which is under section 83.18 of the Criminal Code. Terrorist travellers could be, and have in fact been, prosecuted under the offence of knowingly participating in any activity of a terrorist group for the purpose of enhancing the ability of any terrorist group to carry out a terrorist activity.

I will pause for a moment to say that in my former career as a federal prosecutor, I have first-hand experience dealing with these provisions. Again, I would draw the attention to Canadians that they can take great satisfaction and confidence in knowing we have a rigorous criminal law enforcement provision. I was honoured to serve with many prosecutors and members of the RCMP and CSIS, who continue to do a good job today in keeping our country safe.

As well, it is notable, in the current threat environment, individuals are often radicalized to violence and encouraged through online interactions and messaging. In Bill C-59, the national security act, 2017, the government proposes to revise the offence of advocating or promoting the commission of terrorism offences in general to be one of counselling the commission of a terrorism offence, whether a terrorism offence is committed and whether a specific terrorism offence is counselled. The advocacy or promotion offence has been much criticized since its enactment in 2015 for being vague or overbroad. Bill C-59 proposes to revise this offence to use well-known criminal law concepts and facilitate its prosecution.

The bill continues to support the view that the active encouragement of others to commit terrorism offences, even without being specific as to which terrorism offence is being encouraged, should be an offence in the same way as it is an offence to counsel a specific terrorism offence.

Some of these criminal offence provisions have already been successfully used in court. To date, there have been 26 terrorism convictions in Canada and three trials are currently in progress.

I will now speak about preventive enforcement tools.

Certainly one of the most fundamental tools police and prosecutors have to keep Canadians safe from individuals who may have associated with terrorism groups abroad is the terrorism peace bond. This is a powerful preventive tool that can help to protect Canadians from terrorism offences.

In situations where police may not have enough evidence to justify charging a person with a terrorism offence, the terrorism peace bond is available to bring the individual before a judge rather than wait until it is too late. In such cases, the court has the power to impose “any reasonable conditions” to counter the threat posed by the individual concerned.

The Criminal Code also sets out that the provincial court judge shall consider whether it is desirable, to prevent a terrorist activity from being committed, to include in the recognizance a condition that the defendant deposit, in the specified manner, any passport or other travel document issued in their name that is in their possession or control. If the judge decides that it is desirable, the judge shall add the condition to the recognizance and specify the period during which it applies.

Furthermore, the provincial court judge shall consider whether it is desirable, to prevent a terrorist activity from being committed, to include in the recognizance a condition that the defendant remain within a specified geographic area unless written permission to leave that area is obtained from the judge or any individual designated by the judge. If the judge decides that it is desirable, the judge shall add the condition to the recognizance and specify the period during which it applies. Furthermore, If the provincial court judge does not add a condition, the judge shall include in the record a statement of the reasons for not adding it.

With respect to the recognizance to keep the peace related to terrorism, this tool has been used by law enforcement agencies and by Crown prosecutors. The use of this tool has been on the rise since 2015. Specifically, there have been 19 applications for this recognizance in the past two years, compared to six between 2001 and 2014.

I would note that during the 2016 national security consultation, some called into question the threshold for a terrorism peace bond that was enacted in 2015 by former Bill C-51. That act lowered the threshold of the terrorism peace bond from “will commit” to “may commit”. After careful consideration, the government has determined that the lowered threshold is a balanced approach between the constitutional rights of Canadians and the need to protect the security of Canadians. This threshold has also been upheld as constitutional in the recent Manitoba case of Regina v. Driver in 2016.

Another preventive tool is the recognizance with conditions, which is available for law enforcement in the appropriate case to disrupt nascent terrorist activity.

The Canadian Passport Order contemplates that passports can be denied or revoked in certain instances of criminality and where necessary to prevent the commission of a terrorism offence or for the national security of Canada or a foreign country or state.

As can be seen, Canada already has a broad range of offences and tools to assist in the fight against terrorism. As the hon. Minister of Public Safety has said, we need them all and we use them all.

Opposition members have spent the last week criticizing national security, national defence, and deriding effective counter-radicalization measures that go a long way toward both combatting and preventing terrorism. Instead of that kind of partisanship we need a thoughtful debate that will strike the right balance between protecting Canadians as well as their charter rights.

I encourage all hon. members in the House to reject the opposition motion and to support the important measures this government is taking on this file.

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:45 p.m.

Conservative

John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

Madam Speaker, my hon. colleague stands and defends the indefensible. He said that the opposition had been up all week criticizing national security. We are not criticizing national security, but we are criticizing the Liberal attempt of reintegration of terrorists whose sole intent is to act on an ideology that kills anyone who does not agree with that ideology. Therefore, it is not an issue for us as a matter of national security.

I will ask the hon. member the same question I asked the Minister of Public Safety, which he refused to answer. Will he agree with me that this reintegration process is nothing but a crazy gesture on the part of the Liberals to think that somehow these terrorists are actually going to reintegrate back into Canadian society? It is just nuts.

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:45 p.m.

Liberal

Marco Mendicino Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Madam Speaker, the problem with my hon. colleague's question is its premise.

The premise is that the government does not prosecute terrorist activity. Of course we do. I made mention of a number of very concrete examples where the government has taken very concrete measures to ensure that we keep Canadians safe by applying the criminal law, and we will continue to do so.

What I mean, when the Conservative opposition in particular stands up to denigrate the work of the national security apparatus and role players, is those individuals who are capable of reintegration.

My hon. colleague well knows that there are individuals who we can stop before they go too far down the path of radicalization. We should bring them back so that they can be positive, contributing members of society. That is not work that is futile. It is important work, and the member knows it.

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:45 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Stetski NDP Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Madam Speaker, this morning I received an email from a constituent in my riding of Kootenay—Columbia.

She said that, as the wife of an RCMP officer who lives and works in my riding, she was quite alarmed by the December 1 article in Ottawa Life Magazine, entitled “Carleton Professor Says Minister and MPs are Failing the RCMP and Canadians”, which quotes Carleton criminology professor Darryl Davies.

In my riding of Kootenay—Columbia, I met with a number of members of the RCMP over the last year. They will tell members that they are underfunded, understaffed, and working with poor equipment. I spoke with a new recruit who just came out of Regina, who said that within the six-month mandatory period after attending boot camp, they left and went to municipal police forces and provincial police forces, which pay better and have better benefits.

I would like to ask the member, first of all, whether he would commit to actually meeting with members of the RCMP in his riding. I would challenge all members in this House to sit and meet with members of the RCMP in their ridings. What we need is a well-funded, well-equipped force to deal with crime and terrorism in Canada.

That is an issue about which I think every member of Parliament should be concerned.

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:45 p.m.

Liberal

Marco Mendicino Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Madam Speaker, the Minister of Public Safety routinely meets with members of the RCMP to ensure that they have all of the resources that are necessary to both prevent and prosecute national security matters.

Just to point out what I said in my remarks, under the last government, the Conservatives cut close to $1 billion in resources and important monies that would go to the RCMP, CSIS, CSE, and all important branches within the national security apparatus, which of course had the potential risk of compromising Canadians' security.

It is very important that we point that out to members of the Canadian public, so that they use that in sizing up the credibility of this opposition motion. Judge the opposition on its actions, not its words.

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:50 p.m.

Scarborough Southwest Ontario

Liberal

Bill Blair LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and to the Minister of Health

Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to have the opportunity to rise and join in this important debate, in part because of its timeliness, given the apparent winding down of combat activity against Daesh and the ongoing evolution of terrorist threats in this country. It is also because the myths and misperceptions that have been allowed to persist in this House over the last few weeks have misinformed Canadians. Not surprisingly, those misperceptions are now echoed at family dinner tables right across the country.

If the quality of recent debate is to be believed, Canadians would think that we are combatting returning terrorists with poetry. However, Canadians expect to know exactly what their government does to protect their safety without the distraction of irresponsible sound bites. Therefore, I will dispel some of these myths.

First of all, how are returning extremists treated? The idea persists that they are somehow akin to prisoners at the end of their sentence, being reintegrated into the community, which is certainly not the case. Canada's law enforcement, security, and intelligence departments and agencies actively assess and monitor the threat each individual poses. They may be charged with a criminal offence where the evidence warrants. Based on available information, they may have passports revoked. They may be denied travel or placed on Canada's no-fly list. They are monitored closely in every case, and their return is tightly controlled and managed. In some cases, they may be found suitable for programs designed to help disengage from violent extremism, but by no means does that replace, prevent, or exclude investigation and close monitoring.

Second, the myth persists that somehow we can and should paint each returning extremist with the same brush through immediate action. However, we cannot, and we should not. Threat assessment is made to measure. Their places of travel, experience, and motivations may be entirely different. Criminal investigations are unique from case to case, and these, I can say from experience, can take time. They take a herculean effort on the part of many agencies in collaboration with international allies.

Third, there is a myth that our security agencies cannot possibly keep tabs on each and every returning extremist, which is also untrue. There are approximately 60 who have returned to Canada, and that is over the past decade. This has not changed significantly over the years. The full range of counterterrorism tools are in use, including surveillance, monitoring, and ongoing investigations. Once they return, agencies are well aware of them and aware of appropriately managing the threat they present to our citizens.

Fourth, there is a perception that these returnees pose Canada's largest security threat. This is also an unfortunate mischaracterization. Let us remember that the Strathroy and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu attacks in Canada were made by homegrown terrorists. They never left the country. They were radicalized right here in Canada. The same goes for attacks in Berlin and Nice. Those terrorists had not been trained in Syria or Iraq, but fought from their home countries, inspired by groups like Daesh. The risks that homegrown terrorists pose can be just as great as those posed by returning extremists.

There is no neat and simple solution to the complex problem that terrorism poses in a rapidly changing world, but we have in place effective and world-class professionals. Canada's full range of counterterrorism tools are in use, and these include ongoing investigations, surveillance and monitoring, intelligence gathering and sharing, the collection of criminal evidence, criminal charges, and prosecution where the evidence exists. Other Criminal Code tools, like peace bonds, public listings, expert threat assessments, no-fly lists, the revocation of passports, and legally authorized threat destruction measures, are all in use. The government and Canada's top-notch security agencies continue to use all the tools at their disposal to address the threat of Canadians joining or returning from terrorist activities.

The National Security Joint Operations Centre helps to coordinate an effective and timely operational response to high-risk travellers. G7 interior ministers recently redoubled their commitment to sharing information and working closely together to deal with returning extremists, and the process has worked.

We must now focus our attention on what lies ahead. Daesh, for one, continues to aggressively target the Internet to push an evil ideology and to recruit new adherents. Those who were on the battlefield may now be attempting to move perhaps to Africa, Asia, or Europe, and even to Canada. Yet, as the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness has said, the terror threat is now morphing into other forms, and we must not be complacent.

As I have noted, homegrown terrorism is one of our most urgent threats. It can come in many forms, from right- and left-wing extremism to religious motivations.

In Bill C-59, the overhaul of national security legislation currently at committee, we intend to provide the framework through which we can act on these threats, moving forward. We need to play the long game. International experts recognize that a key part of that means getting to the roots of the problems on our own turf, and that is why the government recently launched a new centre to coordinate, bolster, and help fund and share the counter-radicalization programming that exists across the country. It is called the Canada Centre for Community Engagement and Prevention of Violence. It is based on the fact that early intervention in dangerous situations to prevent radicalization to violence can and does work. The centre takes a broad approach to this issue, recognizing that the process of radicalization to violence occurs differently for different people.

It provides national leadership to support local efforts, and a key part of that work is through the community resilience fund. This fund was created to enhance those partnerships and to promote innovation in research on countering radicalization to violence, and domestic programming. We have recently announced a renewed call for proposals under this fund, with $1.4 million available to approved projects starting in 2018 and $7 million annually for the balance of the program. The centre is ensuring that resources are in place to facilitate disengagement from violent ideologies. In particular, children are served who return from combat zones and require tailored support to recover from their traumatic experiences.

From every angle, the Government of Canada continues to carefully monitor trends in extremist travel, and our national security agencies work extremely well together to ensure our response reflects the current threat environment. Canadians can be assured that our agencies are carefully monitoring returning extremists and that our law enforcement agencies are doing the difficult work of collecting the evidence required for convictions in Canadian courts. This remains a priority for our government and for all of our national security agencies. We must work together, alert at all times to the threats posed by terrorism at all levels, buoyed by solid facts and a shared commitment to act.

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:55 p.m.

NDP

Sheri Benson NDP Saskatoon West, SK

Madam Speaker, Canada has asked the U.S. and the other Five Eyes countries to keep a tight watch on far-right extremists who are increasingly getting international attention and having anti-immigration messages and of course violent attacks. We on this side, the NDP, agree that the fight against terror should be tackled on all fronts. Following the terrorist attack on Parliament Hill in 2014, 500 RCMP members from the organized crime unit were moved to counterterrorism related to radical Islamic militants. As a result, 300 investigations have been put on hold. In light of the increasing threat from far-right extremists and anti-Semitic movements, will the government—I will ask the hon. member to agree with me—allocate the proper resources to gather intelligence on these criminal organizations?

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:55 p.m.

Liberal

Bill Blair Liberal Scarborough Southwest, ON

Madam Speaker, I want to assure the member opposite that our national security agencies, the RCMP, CBSA, CSIS, and many others, are committed to identifying and to responding effectively to extremism from any source, whether from the right or from the left. The protection of our country and our citizens is of the utmost importance.

The member made reference to the fact that, under the previous government, a substantial amount of resources was taken from serious organized crime investigations and dedicated to national security. Those resources are still committed to national security, but our government has recently announced $113 million to increase resources for both the RCMP and CBSA in responding to border integrity and organized crime threats, putting some of those resources back that were stripped away from our federal law enforcement agencies responsible for keeping us all safe.

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

Madam Speaker, I highly respect my hon. colleague's public service in the police force—I too have lots of friends within the police services—and I want to focus specifically on the issue of Omar Khadr and the payment of $10.5 million. The hon. member would know it precludes any judgment in that case saying that somehow the government was going to lose the case, when there were and still are so many people who are upset in this country as a result of that court case, including veterans whom the current government took to court. How could the hon. member reasonably stand up here and agree with a payment like that to Omar Khadr?

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4 p.m.

Liberal

Bill Blair Liberal Scarborough Southwest, ON

Madam Speaker, having spent nearly two decades on the front lines of countering terrorism, I can tell the member with great confidence that the greatest responsibility of law enforcement in this country, and every law enforcement official would agree with me, is upholding the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the highest law in this country.

The member said that there was no court decision that informed the government's action, but I would quite respectfully disagree. Two Supreme Court decisions made it very clear, not regarding the actions that took place in Afghanistan but in response to the violation of a Canadian citizen's rights under our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The payment was in respect of the violation of those rights, not for the individual's activities in Afghanistan.

I would simply remind the member that in the defence of our Charter of Rights and Freedoms—all of our rights, all of our freedoms—the least of us deserves the protection of that charter as much as the best of us. Therefore, it is in the best interests of all Canadians to uphold that charter and to respect its tenets to ensure that we all receive its protection.

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4 p.m.

Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

Madam Speaker, I would like the parliamentary secretary to expand on that a bit. The previous government tried to take hold of the Supreme Court, the Senate, and the Queen and make all judgments and laws under one roof in the House of Commons. The role of our government is to form the laws. We have a judicial branch that enforces the laws.

I wonder whether the parliamentary secretary could expand on the role of our security and legal professions.

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4 p.m.

Liberal

Bill Blair Liberal Scarborough Southwest, ON

Madam Speaker, I want to assure every member of the House that those responsible for our safety in law enforcement, national security, and border integrity all believe that upholding the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as defined in our Constitution and charter, is their first and greatest priority. Adhering to that highest law and ensuring that they perform their duties with respect to that law is a tenet of each and every one of those organizations.

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4 p.m.

Conservative

Candice Bergen Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Madam Speaker, I will be splitting my time this afternoon with the member for Elgin—Middlesex—London.

Women and girls held captive, used, and sold as sex slaves; gay men pelted with stones, thrown from the rooftop because they are homosexual; children taken from their families and turned into suicide bombers; tens of thousands of innocent humans placed in mass graves: these are just a sample of the awful, horrible, and repugnant stories we have heard time and time again from territory controlled by ISIS and its fighters.

However, these awful tragic events are happening literally on the other side of the world, so we actually have nothing to worry about, right? I guess that is what some would think. We, on this side of the House, are being called fearmongers, because we are actually suggesting that what is happening in ISIS-controlled territories on the other side of the world actually does affect Canada and could have an even more lasting effect on Canada. We are being told we are wrong and that we are fearmongers.

In our present day, with our modern technology, terrorism and terrorist groups are not geographically limited. They recruit, they inspire, and they fundraise right around the globe, including here in Canada. Do not take my word for it. Let us look at what the experts say.

In its most recent annual report to Parliament, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service said:

The principal terrorist threat to Canada remains that posed by violent extremists who could be inspired to carry out an attack in Canada. Violent extremist ideologies espoused by terrorist groups like Daesh...continue to appeal to certain individuals in Canada.

This is a concern to us. Let us talk not just about those individuals here in Canada who may espouse these values but about those who have taken that additional step to go to Syria and Iraq to join ISIS and fight with them and have then returned to Canada. With that in mind, let us think about potential dangers these ISIS fighters pose to Canada.

Sadly, shockingly even, this does not seem to trouble our Prime Minister. In fact, when our Conservative leader pressed the Prime Minister last week, right here in the House of Commons, on the troubling pattern of Canadians fighting for ISIS and then returning to Canada, we did not get an answer. What did we get? We got an angry, attacking Prime Minister who tried his very best to slap a racist label on those important questions.

Islamophobia is what the Prime Minister called our concerns and the concerns of Canadians. Invoking that label is wrong, and it is cheap politics. It ought to be beneath the Prime Minister. These are concerns Canadians have. These are letters, emails, and social media that are full of the concerns Canadians have. These are legitimate questions that should not be dismissed with name calling, including fearmongering or Islamophobia. That is wrong.

ISIS does not represent Islam, nor does it represent the overwhelming majority of the almost two billion peaceful and peace-loving Muslims on this earth. What ISIS does do is represent a narrow-minded, extremist, and radical ideology, rooted in violence, seeking a religious cloak.

Sadly, we know that some Canadians have fallen prey to these extreme ideologies and recruitment approaches. Some have even travelled to the Middle East in aid of ISIS. Some of these fighters have come back to Canada, and that is what we are talking about today.

Although it does not seem to be a major concern for the Prime Minister, it is a concern for our professionals in the security and intelligence field.

Retired CSIS director Michel Coulombe, said:

Daesh, in particular, has developed a robust social media presence, allowing it to successfully recruit thousands of individuals, including Canadians, to travel to Syria and Iraq.

These extremists also pose a potential threat if they return to Canada.

Those are not our words. Those are the words of CSIS director Michel Coulombe. Let me continue his words:

For instance, they may radicalize others, help with logistics and financing for those who may want to travel abroad, or engage in attack planning here in Canada.

Terrorism is a global threat and we are not immune from its reach.

It is a global threat from which Canada is not immune. That principle has been recognized by successive governments in their approach to fighting terrorism.

Jean Chrétien's Liberal government, following the 9/11 terrorist attack, brought in the Anti-terrorism Act and the Public Safety Act, 2002, to establish a legislative framework to address terrorist crimes. Paul Martin's Liberal government authorized the deployment of Canada's troops to Kandahar to support our allies in Afghanistan.

Stephen Harper's Conservative government, in which I had the honour to serve, had a very long track record of fighting terrorism. We extended the mission in Afghanistan, brought in stronger anti-terrorism laws, and made it an offence to travel abroad to engage in or facilitate terrorist activities. It is against the law. When they come back to Canada, they could be prosecuted for that. That is the law we brought in, but this government refuses to actually enforce it. Conservatives also created a process for removing Canadian citizenship from convicted terrorists who were dual citizens. Under Stephen Harper, Canada joined a global coalition to fight ISIS.

Then these Liberals took office, and everything changed. The Liberals withdrew Canada from the global anti-ISIS coalition. These Liberals passed legislation allowing convicted terrorists to retain Canadian citizenship and enjoy their Canadian passports. These Liberals introduced Bill C-59 to unwind and roll back the tools our police and intelligence agencies have to fight terrorism. These Liberals are welcoming ISIS fighters back to Canada with a reintegration program, thinking they can de-emphasize violent terrorist instincts. These Liberals cut a $10.5 million cheque to a convicted terrorist, Omar Khadr. That is the shameful record of these Liberals.

Canadians expect their government to protect them and to keep them safe. Knowing that terrorist fighters are in Canada is worrying enough. Our government welcomes these fighters, arranging group meetings and supportive meetings and asking them to please stop being involved with those bad people and running around with bad gangs. The Liberals think that will be sufficient.

No wonder Canadians are upset. No wonder we are hearing from our constituents. Right across the country, people are concerned. When we label those concerns and call them names, it does not stop the concerns. It actually makes them even worse.

What the federal government, and the Prime Minister, really ought to be doing is making sure that we can, and do, bring these fighters to justice. ISIS fighters and other terrorists should be made to face the full legal consequences for their actions. They should be charged, they should be prosecuted, and they should be in jail. The federal government ought to make sure that the RCMP and its provincial and municipal partners have the tools, the legal authority, and the resources needed to bring charges and secure convictions against these returning terrorists.

We need to keep strong relations with our allies in fighting terrorism to ensure that we have the information, the intelligence, and the evidence necessary to prosecute terrorists and to protect our citizens. However, that is not what we have been seeing from the other side of the House. Instead of focusing on what can be done to keep Canadians safe, we see a government obsessed, for reasons we just do not understand, with avoiding any appearance of being tough on terrorists here in Canada. As Professor Randall Hansen, the interim director of the Monk Centre, said last year, “there's nothing admirable in letting other countries do the fighting while you hide behind liberal pieties”.

Canada's contribution of fighter jets to the anti-ISIS coalition was pulled, abandoning our allies. We have deprogramming coffee circles set up for ISIS fighters who come back to Canada.

When Omar Khadr, a convicted terrorist, sued the federal government, what did the Liberals do? They gave in. Let us not be fooled that this was somehow a charter issue. No court ruled that Omar Khadr should receive $10.5 million. The Liberals hiding behind that is a fraud. Repatriation was the settlement. Repatriation is what happened. The Liberals could have fought the lawsuit. They could have said that the Supreme Court's ruling was enough, but they decided to make this terrorist, a videotaped bomb-maker and convicted killer, into a multi-millionaire.

Let me just finish with this. Canadians are concerned, but in less than two years, these Liberals are going to have to take their record to the country, and they will answer. The year 2019 cannot come soon enough.

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:10 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Madam Speaker, this is Conservative old-style spin at its very best.

I ask my friend across the way what exactly did Stephen Harper do differently when terrorists from abroad were returning back to Canada? What exactly did Stephen Harper do, as prime minister, that was different from what is taking place today?

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:10 p.m.

Conservative

Candice Bergen Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Madam Speaker, first of all, I want to caution my hon. colleague. He can insult us and say that our concerns are old school, but he cannot refute the fact that Canadians are emailing, writing, and talking about this on social media. I really caution him not to disregard their concerns.

As for what Stephen Harper did, he passed legislation stating that if someone left Canada to participate in a terrorist attack it was against the law, and if that person came back, they would prosecuted.

It is pretty simple. If the Liberals do not want to do that, why do they not just say that although it is illegal to leave Canada to participate in terrorism, they have no intention of prosecuting these people? We did something. If we were in government today, we would be telling Canadians that their fears and concerns are not Islamophobic and fearmongering. They they are legitimate concerns. That is what we would be doing. Liberals just ignore, and are arrogant toward, Canadians' concerns.

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:15 p.m.

Conservative

John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

Madam Speaker, there have been a lot of questions today about what the previous government did. In fact, what it did was increase the RCMP and CSIS by over a third. It also increased the number of CBSA border guards by a quarter. Moreover, it declared as no-travel zones the areas where these types of activities existed, and if someone did travel to those zones, they would be charged.

I will give the hon. member a chance to speak on exactly what the previous government did to help in this regard.

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:15 p.m.

Conservative

Candice Bergen Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Madam Speaker, my hon. colleague is correct about our increasing the resources of our protective services and changing the legislation so that those services could communicate with each other.

However, I want to talk about something else. This last weekend I had the privilege and honour of meeting with some young women from the University of Toronto. I met with a group of young Muslim women who were smart, intelligent, forward-thinking, amazing young women. The Islamic faith is such a faith of peace. It is a faith that is being taken advantage of by these ISIS fighters. I think we all agree that we need to look at the dangers of ISIS and bring some safety and security to Canadians, but not make this into a religious battle.

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:15 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Madam Speaker, the member referred to how we have international terrorist organizations that actively attempt to recruit people here in Canada through social media. The previous questioner said that the Conservatives enhanced our services to deal with that. In reality, we actually saw $1 billion cut from the security services that deal with terrorism and the radicalization of people here in Canada.

How does the member across the way or the Conservative Party respond to the lack of any attempt by the previous government to deal with radicalization of young people in Canada by foreign terrorists?

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:15 p.m.

Conservative

Candice Bergen Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Madam Speaker, not surprisingly, that member's characterization is completely false. We did not cut money. I should not be surprised, because this is the same party that said it would only run a $10-billion deficit. It has a lot of problems with math and the facts.

Here is the fact, and we took a lot of heat for this. The Conservative government is the one that made sure terrorists would not be able to organize in Canada. It enacted laws against terrorism being promoted on the Internet, which are being rescinded, by the way, if we look at what is happening with Bill C-59. We were criticized for the work we did because we were working so hard to invest money to keep Canadians safe.

The Liberals' approach to this is what is causing the problem. They are not taking this issue seriously.

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:15 p.m.

Conservative

Karen Vecchio Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Madam Speaker, I am thankful for the time today so we can discuss this.

I have listened to much of this debate. Luckily I am on House duty today, and it has been a very good debate, especially on this side where we are talking about this.

To begin, I hope that the member for Avalon will not mock people as I read the letters I have received from people throughout Canada, from the east coast to the west coast. They are telling us to please stand up for them, and so I am hoping I do not hear any further mockery. We must be non-partisan about this, because the bottom line is that it is in the best interests of Canadians. That is what I want to remind everyone of.

We have heard a lot of back and forth today. I was not part of the previous government, but I worked for a member of Parliament at that time and am very proud of the work we did. However, I do not want this to be a partisan debate. This is about the security and safety of fellow Canadians and the security and safety of refugees who sought Canada to get away from the terror that was happening in their own countries. Unfortunately, I think we are forgetting that point during this debate. I am hoping members will listen to this.

Tuesday last week was a historic day for the Prime Minister because of his apology to the LGBTQ2 community. At that time, we saw all four leaders stand and put forward apologies in support of the Prime Minister's words. Within two hours of that apology, I started receiving emails from Muslim gay men. By the next day, I had a group come forward to me. In less than 24 hours, they came to me fearing for their lives. They recognized that because of my work on LGBTQ2 issues, I was on their side and that their thoughts mattered. This is why I want to read their letters today. I have 10 in hand right now, but I can tell members that by the time I get home, I am sure I will have more, because over just a couple of days they started contacting me, a member whom they might not know but heard of me and knew that I was on their side.

For their own security, I will not read their names, because one of the gentlemen has already been targeted on Facebook, being told that they will be coming after him. I am hoping that all members can listen and not comment, because these are atrocities to our public security.

The first wrote the following:

My name is [YC]. I am a 30-year-old Gay Muslim. I was born in a small town in Eastern Turkey close to the Syrian border named Kahta. My town is officially run by the Turkish government but unofficially run by mullahs and radical Islamists. In my very early age I was aware of my sexual interest.

Growing up I heard about only 3 homosexuals, and their stories were scary enough for the rest of the homosexuals to hide themselves. One of them was buried alive by his Islamist relatives, despite all the pressure his family would not kill him and relatives see Ibrahim (people called him Ibo) dishonor to their tribe. Ibo was one of the first victim of gay honor killing that I have heard of, who I have met in person growing up in same neighborhood. The second gay man that I heard of was from near by village, all we heard is that family cleaned its honor and buried him alive. Third person I knew was [H]. People called him all kind of names male dog, top (Turkish stand for fag), ibne (insult for gay people similar to fag), raping him, harassing him, beating him, etc.

I sit here thinking, oh my gosh, this is what we are welcoming. It is unbelievable. The letter continues:

His family is open-minded compared to Islamists and they did not kill him. Instead they put him in a mental hospital. Some said that they were worried that his relatives were Islamic terrorists and that they would kill him.

On Tuesday when Prime Minister apologized and mentioned all the LGBTQ2 people all around the world, I was so happy. Finally someone was going to uncover the pain of the forgotton LGBTQ2 communities around the world. Finally someone is going to be a voice to gay muslims who are being victim of honor killing. All my memories, all my fear, all my pain of growing up as gay man in a very religious town pass through my eyes. I was free and there might be chance to free other gay muslims.

After I left the gallery, chatting with some people I heard that the Prime Minister is trying to bring ISIS members. I was in shock and did not believe them. I went home and did my research and find out they were right. Our Prime Minister who spoked for LGBTQ2 rights also emporing enemy of LGBTQ2 people and enemy of humanity. Prime Minister is not only bringing those terrorist back here but their ideology. In addition, Prime Minister is sending a wrong message to those who killed, rape, and torture gay people in muslim countries and a heartbroking message to the LGBTQ2 community in muslims countries who suffered from those Islamist.

Maybe being an openly gay Muslim activist and my friends, who are fighting for the liberation of Muslims of the community, are in fear. We are afraid to lose our freedom of speech, freedom to walk in our beautiful cities without fear of being attacked. I hope this will, in turn, be a non-partisan action and stop this tragedy before it is too late. The Prime Minister is constantly talking about constitutional rights. I guess we Canadians have the same constitutional rights and we must be protected, feel safe and secure.

I have a number of others, so hopefully, Madam Speaker, you will say, “Karen, you have a couple more minutes.”

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:20 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

I would remind the hon. member that she cannot use her first or last name, or the name of somebody else sitting in the House.

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:20 p.m.

Conservative

Karen Vecchio Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Another wrote:

My name is [F]. I am a gay man from Iran who escaped from persecution. I am a member of a gay middle eastern group with my friend [Y] and [O]. Recently I read Canadian government is bringing back ISIS people. I am in a shock and fear to know ISIS people are going to be leaving in our cities. I escaped persecution two times Iran to Turkey, Turkey to Canada we have no other place to go. Please help us to stop ISIS members coming into this country. Instead of wasting our tax money on ISIS people help to empower gay middle eastern people who been persecuted by Islamic regimes.

A further letter states:

Hello, I'm writing to you concerning the governments wish on trying to re-integrate ex. ISIS militants back into Canadian society. I believe this is a grave mistake that could have tragic outcomes. These people decided to leave Canadian society and throw away the values we hold dear to our hearts in order to join an extremist ideology that has killed scores of innocent people including children. They believe in beheading and burning alive those who don't submit to their twisted views and have wrecked havoc all over the world. There is no guarantee that attempts to rehabilitate these terrorists will be successful. Frankly, this is not a risk I am willing to take. In the event that even one of these people decides to commit another act of terror- lives will be lost. Is it worth risking our nations civilians to try and help those who have already decided to slaughter us? Is the risk really worth bringing them back into our neighbourhoods? I would rather leave them to rot in jail than put even one of our citizens lives at risk.

He continued, but we are getting the idea.

Yet another one states:

I am a proud Canadian who immigrated here from the Middle East where I could not enjoy freedom. When I come to Canada I realized how beautiful, peaceful, and secure life is. I enjoy walking with my children with out fear. I enjoy speaking my mind with out fear of being attacked. I enjoy my individual freedom in my beautiful home, Canada.

Recently I heard that the ISIS is coming back to Canada under: the rehabilitation program. My dear those people who step on our constitution, fought against our heroes, killed our allies, raped women and children should not be allowed to walk among us. They should be in prison. They made their choice. We do not want to lose our freedom because of their wrong choice. We do not want to leave in fear because of their ideology. Help us. Sincerely, [MK].

I am going to put the rest of these on the record. I know that with my speech, I could probably put them all through as part of it, but what I really want to say today is that we are talking about politics. We are talking about Conservatives and Liberals. We have to stop talking that way and start talking about the people who are now fearing for their lives. There are people out there every day who are living in terror and fear, especially this specific community. Last week we were embracing them, and this week they feel like they are being throw to the wolves.

Therefore, I ask this. Instead of making this partisan as I have seen it to be, let us talk about the people who have to walk down the streets and realize that somebody they may have known or may have seen in a photograph, or variety of different things, may be out there ready to target them. Let us not put our heads in the sand. These are people's lives and they have rights as people who live in Canada, fought for Canada, and whose home is Canada. When did their rights become lesser than the rights of terrorists who left Canada, went over there, and are now coming back? They left Canada.

I recognize that this could be a constitutional issue, but let us get our heads and hearts right and recognize that there are people living in fear because of government decisions. I am asking the government to look at the policies it is making and start having conversations with the groups who are now being attacked.

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

Sean Fraser Liberal Central Nova, NS

Madam Speaker, it is always a pleasure to engage with my colleague, who serves as the chair of the Status of Women committee. It is my pleasure to sit on that committee alongside her.

If I were sitting at home listening to the remarks and accepted everything I heard verbatim to be the case, I could see why it would inspire fear. Facts matter greatly and we owe it to Canadians to be factual and give them the opportunity to be engaged in a nuanced debate.

Would the hon. member opposite acknowledge that the number of extremist travellers in Canada cited by the minister is of same order of magnitude as under the previous government? This is not some partisan initiative to welcome ISIS fighters to Canada in large numbers. This is something she can do today to help put fearful Canadians at ease and understand there is no program to bring ISIS fighters into our country in big numbers.

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Karen Vecchio Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Madam Speaker, I want to make two points. First, the numbers being used may be inaccurate. Second, and I will have to put on my partisan hat unfortunately, our government came up with the idea of a travel ban. We felt that people who went to those countries and did not need to should be questioned as to why they were going there in the first place.

In our 2015 Conservative platform, we stated that if Canadians were going to regions they had no business going to, then it would be deemed they were probably going to fight with ISIS.

We need to look at that. I am not sure if the Liberal government has put in any of those provisions, but we have to look at it from all angles.

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:30 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Madam Speaker, I would like to continue on along the line of my colleague's question.

Surely to goodness the member recognizes that this is nothing new. This took place when Stephen Harper was prime minister. We need to be careful to not cross that fine line.

The Conservatives have consistently tried to put a spin on active terrorists coming to Canada as being completely new. There are real and tangible consequences for someone identified as a terrorist. Stephen Harper ensured that this was the case, and the same is true with the current Prime Minister. Not one member of the House of Commons supports terrorism. We all want to fight it.

What specifically did Stephen Harper do that was any different than what we are doing? We rely on those individuals who have the expertise to ensure Canadians are safe, and they are safe.

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Karen Vecchio Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for using our former prime minister as an example. He did a great job.

Let us be honest here. We are seeing some changes. People are still writing to us today. I am not saying the previous government did all of the right things with respect to this. Terrorist attacks were taking place, even in Strathroy, Ontario, where people were looking at doing things in our great country. These people were raised here and radicalized here.

There is no perfect option to this. That is why I urge the government to hold consultations. The word consultation is used all the time. I would ask the government to please start listening to people, to please start giving rights back to Canadians who have not gone against their own country like these ISIS fighters have.

Let us ask questions. Are we going to have them sign up for a group? Do we know if it is going to be a program like AA but it has to be by choice? Is it going to be an individual's right? If there are ISIS fighters, do they have the same rights as a person who drinks alcohol? These might sound like crazy questions, but that is the direction in which I am afraid we are going. A person will have that right and not an obligation to the country.

I am very fearful on how this will go out. I have seen other things rolled out by the Liberal government, so I am a little skeptical.

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:30 p.m.

Saint-Jean Québec

Liberal

Jean Rioux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Madam Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Central Nova.

I am happy to take part in this debate on the horrible acts committed by Daesh fighters and on the safety and protection of Canadians. If we are having this debate today, it is largely because the international coalition, to which Canada has greatly contributed, has managed to fight Daesh and push its fighters out of Iraq and Syria, which has made the region more stable. If the coalition had not been successful, we would certainly not be here today debating the fate of young Canadians who left to join Daesh’s ranks.

I would like to take advantage of this opportunity to talk about Canada’s contribution to the efforts to fight Daesh and its influence in the Middle East and around the world. I am honoured to be here today to remind Canadians of the exceptional and ongoing work of the men and women in the Canadian Armed Forces as part of Operation Impact, Canada’s contribution to the coalition against Daesh.

I would also like to remind the House that we vehemently condemn the horrible acts committed by Daesh around the globe and, through the efforts of the Canadian Armed Forces, we condemn Daesh itself. Our forces make the world a safer place, but we also know that, ultimately, their efforts are directly related to the safety and protection of Canadians at home.

In February 2016, shortly after the election of the current government, the Prime Minister, the Minister of National Defence, the former minister of foreign affairs and the Minister of International Development announced the refocusing of Canada’s military contribution to the fight against Daesh. This reorganization of the mission was debated at great length in the House. During the debate, which lasted five days, no fewer than 98 hon. members gave their opinion on the matter. Canada’s new Middle East engagement strategy, involving $1.6 billion over three years, included a military contribution designed to optimize our country’s unique capabilities while supporting our partners’ efforts.

The situation on the ground has evolved in such a way that it is now clear that, in order to effectively counter the threat posed by Daesh, the coalition’s efforts must be based on a combination of security, diplomatic, humanitarian aid, and development assistance initiatives.

Canada is currently involved in the coalition’s five lines of effort: the military component and the four civilian components. We are investing more than $2 billion over three years to deal with the crises in Iraq and Syria and to mitigate the impacts in Lebanon, Jordan and elsewhere in the region.

As I said earlier, our government has refocused our mission. It is now focusing more on providing training, advice, and assistance for Iraqi security forces to help them weaken and defeat Daesh. It has pledged additional military resources to support the coalition with intelligence personnel and staff to help the Iraqi security forces conduct offensive operations and retake control of their territory from the terrorist organization.

In June, the government announced the extension of our mission until the end of March 2019. In this announcement, Canada committed to providing $371 million over two years to support the costs of this renewed contribution to the global coalition against Daesh. It was another opportunity for Canada to show its commitment to supporting the coalition and the Iraqi security forces until the situation on the ground has improved.

It is important to remember that, in its June announcement, the government authorized the Canadian Armed Forces to continually re-evaluate the needs of our coalition partners and the Iraqi security forces to allow Canada to adjust its contribution in order to support them as effectively as possible.

This condition is critical, because the situation on the ground is rapidly evolving, and Canada’s contribution will be more useful if we can adjust it based on the most pressing needs. Our soldiers’ exceptional contribution has garnered the praise of all our coalition partners. Their exceptional skills and professionalism are recognized around the world. Their contribution is remarkable. I repeat, if we are having this debate today, it is because of the military success of the global coalition and Canada’s contribution.

Our armed forces played a crucial role in the fight against Daesh by providing the Iraqi security forces with exceptional military training. To date, Canada has trained more than 2,000 members of the Iraqi security forces in tactical skills and the law of armed conflict.

The coalition’s ministerial liaison team, led by a Canadian general and made up of strategic military personnel, is another important component of the training and advice offered by Canada. The team, made up of senior Canadian Armed Forces personnel, provides support for high-ranking Iraqi departmental leaders and ensures improved operations and planning coordination. More recently, Canadian personnel has begun training allied troops in mine clearance, since it was becoming increasingly clear that this was a truly necessary skill in the region.

Our soldiers are among the most valued instructors in the world.

We have used this skill set in several missions in recent years. Unfortunately, the ideology of groups such as Daesh and al Qaeda continue to inspire, and we cannot change the situation overnight.

We know that the threat Daesh poses goes beyond borders. We are certain that the women and men who work in the public safety portfolio will do whatever is necessary to ensure Canadians’ basic right to safety.

With the same assurance, we can also count on the support of members of the Canadian Armed Forces to do the same at home and abroad. They are effective and essential partners in the global fight against Daesh.

Canadians should be proud of the members of the Canadian Armed Forces working to restore peace and stability. Every day, they represent Canada abroad, tackling the difficult and sometimes dangerous tasks our government asks of them with professionalism and exceptional dedication. Our soldiers are exceptionally good at what they do, and we are immensely grateful.

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:40 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Paul-Hus Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Saint-Jean for his speech. Like him, I am thankful for the members of the Canadian Armed Forces who have been fighting ISIS so doggedly for several years.

However, my criticism is that his government withdrew the CF-18 fighter jets that were so effectively bombing our common enemy, ISIS.

This being said, on this opposition day, the subject is the problem of Canadians who fought alongside our common enemy. There were Canadians over there who were fighting against our proud soldiers in combat and against our pilots who were busy bombing enemy positions.

Can my colleague tell me how he thinks these cases should be managed? What should we do? Should we tell Canadians they are here and who and where they are?

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:40 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Rioux Liberal Saint-Jean, QC

Madam Speaker, I regret that my colleague neglected to mention the role played by the air force, because 3,400 sorties were conducted. The CC-150 tanker aircraft flew 850 sorties, the CP-140 Aurora patrol plane went on 875 missions, the Hercules aircraft conducted 260 sorties, and 60 members of the 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron flew 1,378 sorties. They played an important role. All this was also done to ensure our safety here in Canada.

In Canada, we can count on the intelligence service to ensure Canadians’ safety. I think that people have faith in our system. I am from a riding that was affected, the home of the late Warrant Officer Vincent.

I think that people feel reassured. That is why they elected a new government.

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:40 p.m.

Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

Madam Speaker, I thank the parliamentary secretary for building on the confidence we have in our armed forces as well as the systems we have in place for the peace and security of Canada.

Could he could comment on the rule of law in Canada and how everyone falls under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but when people act against the law, we have ways to handle that as well?

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:40 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Rioux Liberal Saint-Jean, QC

Madam Speaker, Canadians' rights are determined by the Charter and the rule of law. These fundamental rights are the pride of all Canadians. Every Canadian citizen has the right to equal justice, and we are proud of that.

We would be the first to invoke that right when we get in trouble, to make sure we are treated fairly. All of us are against Daesh and those who combat alongside them, but those people also have the right to be treated fairly and with dignity.

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:40 p.m.

NDP

Sheila Malcolmson NDP Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Madam Speaker, we are reliant on well-trained, rested, ready-to-go RCMP officers who can help Canada deal with the swings of a sudden domestic emergency and are looking out for instances of radicalization right within our communities. We understand, though, that the RCMP is understaffed. There is a lot of burnout, among young recruits in particular. Having been trained federally, they often move to other police forces where the conditions are better. Could the member reassure us that the government is doing everything it can to create good working conditions so our well-trained RCMP are ready to help us in case of emergency?

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:40 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Rioux Liberal Saint-Jean, QC

Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for her question and for her interest in security and in ensuring that the RCMP can play its role.

Unfortunately, as she knows, the previous government cut the overall security budget by $1 billion. We have started reinvesting to ensure that we can fully guarantee the safety of all Canadians.

I think my colleague was referring to the Canada Centre for Community Engagement and Prevention of Violence, which works to ensure no one else is indoctrinated.

We are going to continue in that direction. I believe we have a commitment to Canadians to ensure security across the country.

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:45 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

It is my duty, pursuant to Standing Order 38, to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Nanaimo—Ladysmith, Indigenous Affairs; the hon. member for Lethbridge, Taxation; the hon. member for Provencher, Ethics.

Resuming debate. The hon. member for Central Nova.

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:45 p.m.

Liberal

Sean Fraser Liberal Central Nova, NS

Madam Speaker, let me begin by saying that I am somewhat frustrated to be involved in this debate today.

The motion on the floor purports to be about the interplay between national security, human rights, and fighting terrorism, to some degree. However, its spirit is to divide Canadians, in my opinion, for political gain by praying on fears. Its effect is to scare Canadians into positions, rather than to engage them in a nuanced debate.

We live in a time in our global history right now of ultra-divisive politics that has seen many issues that were not legitimate policy discussions turn into an exercise in fearmongering designed to secure the support of a political base. Once-healthy democracies across the world have become sick with a virus of anti-intellectualism that is spreading rapidly across our planet.

In the age of social media, the phenomenon is even worse, as individuals prone to one idea or another on various points of the political spectrum more easily find validation in the echo chambers of the Internet. However, we cannot let Canada fall victim to this deeply worrying trend. People need to step away from the computer, find a human being, and talk to each other. They should not get sucked into the kind of nonsense that so many politicians around the world would have them engage in, without informing themselves, without facts.

I cannot let another motion like this, which I believe is designed to spread fear amongst Canadians, go unchallenged. I believe that, at the end of the day, I am responsible as a parliamentarian not only for my own actions and decisions but also for the opportunity, when I have the chance, to confront an injustice and not choose to stand idly by instead.

I will not be supporting the motion on the floor of the House of Commons.

Over the course of my remarks, I hope to cover a few themes. First is the importance of protecting the rule of law, then the issue of extremist travellers returning to Canada, then a brief conversation about the settlement involving Omar Khadr, and I will conclude with the need to combat the politics of fear and division.

The rule of law, in my opinion, is a fundamental pillar of our democracy. It separates our country from dictators and despots, and ensures that our government is subject to the law and that our citizens are protected by it, not the other way around. It prevents the possibility of a given leader or government eroding protections enshrined in our legal system for political advantage, and prevents them from operating without scrutiny or accountability.

The rule of law is the linchpin to our democracy. Our entire system depends on this. Without it protecting our rights, our society would break down. At times, protecting the rights of Canadians can be extremely difficult. It is very easy to give away the rights of other people, but we need to stand up for the rights of our neighbours, not only when it is convenient but when it is difficult. In fact, that is when it is most important.

It can be very hard to defend the rights of another person when seeking to balance those rights with such heavy concepts as security or such immense threats as terrorism. Those words have extraordinary power.

When we fear for our safety, the easy thing to do is to give away the rights of our neighbour. However, my friends, our neighbours' rights are our collective rights. To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, any society that would give up a little freedom to gain a little security deserves neither and will lose both.

The erosion of our freedoms and our security will not come at the hands of tyrants and terrorists half a world away. The threat is far nearer. It is going to come by the decisions and actions of some future government, a generation from now, empowered by an erosion of our rights today, and it is going to happen in our own communities, right here at home, if we do not take a stand to protect our rights.

The fact is that we can protect our rights and our security at the same time. There is immense interplay between these two concepts, but they are not mutually exclusive. There are, in fact, very serious issues of national security that any government needs to address in the 21st century. Our government is addressing those matters. Given the changing nature of the global order and the rise of well-organized, well-financed sub-state terror entities like Daesh, we need to adapt our traditional model of national security to address the changing nature of the threats we face, and the world faces.

With respect to the first aspect of the motion on the floor today, I anticipate every member of Parliament joining me in condemning the horrific acts of violence committed by Daesh against innocent people around the world. I readily acknowledge, without equivocation, that we must work as part of the global community to eradicate these acts of senseless violence from our planet altogether.

Notwithstanding my agreement with the first part of the motion on the floor of the House, I take sincere exception to the other parts, which seek to stoke fear of extremist travellers returning to Canada. We have to formulate policy on issues of national security from a place of reason. The Conservatives have not taken a rational approach to this issue and are seeking to form policy from a place of fear, which in my opinion is very dangerous and creates an unreasonable apprehension of risk, not just amongst their caucus members but amongst Canadians as well.

We need the tools to address these kinds of threats, and in fact, we are in the midst of ensuring that we have those tools. I note the efforts that have been raised today to pass Bill C-59, which would eliminate many of the superfluous measures that were contained in the prior iteration under Bill C-51, to which I had great objection.

I note that leading experts Kent Roach and Craig Forcese have referred to some of those measures as overkill and have since said that the revisions made under Bill C-59 are the real deal and pose no credible threat to security.

The motion today no doubt arises as a result of our public safety minister sharing in question period the fact that approximately 60 extremist travellers have returned to Canada. The opposition members have seemingly implied in the House and previously that they have returned under the Liberal government's watch, when in fact this same number had returned to Canada prior to the last election when they were still in power.

We cannot forget that, under both Canadian and international law, citizens have the right to return to their country of citizenship. My own view is that I would rather have a dangerous person who is a Canadian citizen detained or being monitored within our own country than being part of an international terror organization abroad where they could more easily escape scrutiny and pose a greater danger to innocent people around the world and in our country.

In fact, the heavy irony of the opposition's calls for enhanced prosecution of returning ISIS fighters is a difficult one to swallow when we consider that, under its government, precisely zero prosecutions actually took place. Moreover, in its last term in office alone, the Harper government cut over $1 billion from the budgets of the very agencies that seek to protect us against the kind of harm that they now raise in the House.

Since the Conservatives were ousted from power by Canadians, prosecutions of extremist travellers have actually taken place and a conviction has been obtained not too long ago. The fact is that groups such as Daesh are to be treated seriously, and I know every member of the House shares that opinion.

However, Canadians need not live in fear, as the Conservatives would have us do, because these matters have the fullest possible attention of our world-class security agencies. We know that safety and security of our citizens is a top priority for any government of any party. To suggest otherwise is a distasteful display of fearmongering that seeks to take advantage of Canadians, who need not be afraid.

To any Canadians who may be listening, do not fall into this trap. They do not need to fear that terrorists are running rampant through our communities, unchecked. CSIS, CBSA, and the RCMP work with global partners to monitor security threats through surveillance, intelligence gathering, and many tools that are available under the Criminal Code, including prosecutions where there is evidence that a crime has actually been committed.

In fact, we are significantly more likely to be killed while walking, riding a bike, or experiencing a heat wave than we are to die in a terrorist attack in our country. I am not going to let groups like Daesh hold the power of fear over me from the other side of the world as other members of the House would. Let us provide our security agencies with the tools that they need to protect us, while upholding the values enshrined in our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and let us move on with living our lives free of fear.

The motion on the floor today also makes passing reference to what the opposition has called the “unnecessary financial payout” to Omar Khadr. This position is a choice by the Conservatives to ignore the world around them when the facts are readily available to demonstrate the Government of Canada's inevitable liability in the litigation that was before the courts.

The opposition seeks to undermine the rule of law and erode our Charter of Rights and Freedoms to once again divide Canadians on the basis of fear, not facts or evidence. It has gone to incredible lengths to demonstrate Mr. Khadr is evil in order to justify gross miscarriages of justice and to excuse unconscionable conduct that demonstrates a moral and legal failing by the Government of Canada.

I do not know Mr. Khadr, nor do I need to in order to understand what was going on in this piece of litigation. The settlement in this case has nothing to do with his quality as a person or his actions in Afghanistan. Instead, it addresses the sole question of the Government of Canada's conduct and responsibility to make amends for its breach of legal duties it owed to one of its citizens.

Many Canadians were upset upon learning the details of the settlement with Mr. Khadr. I have been watching this file unfold for years. I have been deeply disturbed by it for quite some time. The fact that our country would demonstrate such a disregard for one of its citizens is the real shame in this matter, and we all need to wear that as Canadians.

To conclude, there are reasoned debates to be had about the interplay between human rights and national security. Our national interest compels it. However, our citizens are more intelligent than this motion gives them credit for. They deserve a nuanced debate. However, the quality of our politics cannot possibly be so low that a party's political fortunes depend on the fear or ignorance of the electorate.

I have now watched the opposition use politics of fear and division repeatedly without shame, not just in this motion but when it came to the niqab ban and the immigrant snitch line. I received promotional materials in a prior election that promised to deny dental benefits to refugees.

I am sick of the fearmongering that is invading Canadian politics. Liberals do not like it. New Democrats do not like it. Progressive Conservatives in my riding do not like it, and they do not deserve to be painted with that brush. The failed—

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:55 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

Unfortunately, the time is up. Perhaps the member will be able to add anything else he could not finish during questions and comments.

Questions and comments, the hon. member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles.

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Paul-Hus Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Madam Speaker, I listened carefully to the speech given by my colleague across the way.

The Liberals would have people believe that we are trying to divide Canadians. I would like to ask my colleague whether he believes that members of ISIS have been the sworn enemy of the western world in recent years. During the Second World War, the Germans were the enemy of the western world. Today, the enemy is ISIS. We invested billions of dollars to help our soldiers combat ISIS.

Does my colleague agree with us, the Conservatives, that ISIS is our enemy and that people who crossed the ocean to fight for ISIS are too?

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:55 p.m.

Liberal

Sean Fraser Liberal Central Nova, NS

Madam Speaker, before I answer the meat of the question, the hon. member across the aisle began his remarks with a comment about division. This motion is an exercise in divisive politics, if ever I have seen one. This is about dividing Canadians, not based on facts, but based on fear.

To answer the question, I mentioned in my remarks that I think every member of the House is willing to condemn the evil that ISIS, or Daesh if one prefers that name, commits against innocent civilians. There is no reasonable basis upon which a conclusion could be drawn after my remarks that I am somehow sympathetic to members of ISIS. In fact, the opposite is true. We need to continue to engage in the fight against sub-state terror groups like Daesh, Boko Haram, and others around the world, to keep Canadians safe.

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:55 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Drouin Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Madam Speaker, it is true this motion is only meant to divide Canadians and prey on their fears. It is actually shameful that the Conservatives are operating this way. I have seen this movie before. We saw it during the 2015 election. We were wondering who was the leader of the official opposition. Now we know who the new boss is. He is the same as the old boss.

My colleague is a new member of Parliament, and I was not here either in the previous years, I want to ask him if he would have stood up to cut $1 billion from the very organizations that do a great job at stopping terrorism in our country. Would he have stood up in the House and voted yea. We know on that side of the House, they all voted to cut security services out of the budget. Would he have done that had he been a member of Parliament then?

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:55 p.m.

Liberal

Sean Fraser Liberal Central Nova, NS

Madam Speaker, on the first point my hon colleague, the member for Glengarry—Prescott—Russell made, I can point out that this failed campaign tactic has been pulled straight from the playbook of Stephen Harper. The new opposition leader has branded himself after his win as Stephen Harper 2.0, and the same politics of fear and division that brought down the Harper government I trust will do the same thing to his party in 2019.

To answer the question, it is important that Canadians do not feel compelled to live in fear. We can ensure that agencies are well funded and have the resources they need to protect us, and then go on and live our lives the way we want to in our communities. Absolutely, I would stand up for the rights of our security agencies to be well funded and well resourced so they can do the job they are so talented at doing, which is keeping Canadians safe.

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5 p.m.

Conservative

John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

Madam Speaker, I remind the member that it was Stephen Harper who did not roll over against a terrorist and pay him $10.5 million. It was this government that did that.

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5 p.m.

Liberal

Sean Fraser Liberal Central Nova, NS

Madam Speaker, I would like to remind the member opposite that it would have been Stephen Harper, had he not run a campaign based on fear and division, that would have ended up paying $40 million to lose a lawsuit.

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5 p.m.

Conservative

Alain Rayes Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Madam Speaker, first, I would like to inform you that I will be sharing my time with my colleague from Barrie—Innisfil.

I am pleased to rise today to discuss this important national security issue. A report issued by the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness in 2016 estimated that 60 jihadists had already returned to Canada and that 180 others “were abroad and...were suspected of engaging in terrorism-related activities”.

It is estimated that 90 individuals who fought for terrorist groups will try to return to Canada in the coming months, now that ISIS is losing ground in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, the government wants to implement a reintegration program. The Prime Minister also said a number of times that he would create the Canada Centre for Community Engagement and Prevention of Violence to counter radicalization.

While the government is trying to reintegrate and monitor the Canadians who went to fight with ISIS, Canadians are worried about the impact the return of these fighters will have on national security. The government must address that concern. It has a duty to reassure us.

Anyone who has taken part in the activities of a terrorist group, whether as a fighter, a teacher, or a nurse, is a criminal. Canada has every right to charge such individuals with terrorism offences when they return to the country. We know that so far, about 60 Canadians who were involved with ISIS have returned to Canada. Only two of them have been charged; the others have not been charged with anything whatsoever.

We also know that it is difficult to gather the evidence needed to charge these individuals with participating in the activities of a terrorist group, but that should in no way interfere with the government's work. This is a priority issue. These people can unfortunately pose a risk to the security of our country.

The RCMP does not currently have the resources for round-the-block monitoring of all the fighters who have returned to Canada. The government needs to set priorities, take appropriate measures based on the risk posed by each individual, and create a bulletproof safety net that will make all Canadians feel secure.

Today we are asking the government to send a clear message to all Canadians. What are the repatriation procedures? What is it doing to ensure national security? How will it provide assurances to Canadians about that? How many and what kinds of resources will be invested? How many Canadians are under surveillance?

ISIS is losing ground every day. More and more Canadians who joined ISIS will return to Canada. It is time to establish a clear national policy that covers the psychosocial aspects of the problem and, above all, the security aspects.

Those who have joined a terrorist group and fought against Canada and its allies must be brought to justice. It cannot be denied that those people decided to fight against our own soldiers, Canada's soldiers. We know that those individuals who return to Canada must be arrested and charged upon arrival, or authorities could quite simply lose track of them in our country.

Canadians' desire to feel safe in their own country is a basic and perfectly legitimate issue. The Liberal government must do everything possible to detain and bring to justice the Canadians returning to Canada after collaborating with ISIS, and it must do so quickly.

On November 30, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness testified before the committee about his bill, which will address the alleged gaps in the Anti-terrorism Act. He explained that Bill C-59 would restrict the powers of Canada's secret services to disrupt terrorist plots while they are in the planning stages.

However, we should be working on prevention. Many Canadians get the impression that the government is spending more time protecting the criminals than the victims and Canadians themselves. This is fuelling a deep and understandable concern that the government must address.

The political choice to give priority to respecting the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms for criminals instead of doing everything we can to ensure that they are arrested does not fly. The political choice to give priority to respecting the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms for criminals instead of doing everything we can to ensure the safety of Canadians does not fly. Those who made the personal choice to fight alongside terrorist groups also made the deliberate choice to fight our own soldiers and our allies.

That is why so many Canadians do not understand anything the Liberal Party is saying right now. This government has to demonstrate that it is listening, respect people's intelligence, and address their concerns about our country's national security.

Our motion today proposes:

That the House:

(a) condemn the horrific acts committed by ISIS;

(b) acknowledge that individuals who joined ISIS fighters are complicit in these horrific acts and pose a danger to Canadians;

(c) call on the government to bring to justice and prosecute any ISIS fighter returning to Canada; and

(d) insist that the government make the security and protection of Canadians its priority, rather than the reintegration of ISIS fighters, or the unnecessary financial payout to a convicted terrorist, like Omar Khadr.

The opposition is very worried about how this Liberal government is handling this national security issue. We, like everyone else, see these incidents and attacks carried out all over the world. We are very worried to know that Canadians made a deliberate choice to go to these countries to fight alongside ISIS soldiers. By fighting alongside them, these individuals also made the choice to fight our own soldiers.

We just marked Remembrance Day, on November 11. We all took part in various commemorative ceremonies. We have seen how hard our soldiers have worked to protect democracy and peace here in Canada and around the world. These individuals did so proudly, and based on directives from our Parliament and our army, which believed in justice everywhere.

Knowing that some Canadians will be able to or have been able to go and fight overseas and then return to this country without facing any justice whatsoever, that worries us. To hear this government hide behind the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms again and again instead of bringing in the measures needed to keep Canadians safe is worrisome.

I look forward to questions from my colleagues across party lines. I hope the members of the House will stand up and send a clear message by voting in favour of our motion before the House.

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:10 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Madam Speaker, there is a sense that the members of the Conservative Party have lost an opportunity to possibly have a healthier debate because they seem to be more focused on wanting to put across some sort of a spin, as if something has taken place that has endangered Canadians or is going to make Canadians feel less safe when in fact the truth is that this government has taken a very proactive approach. Not only do we have a Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness who is on top of this file just as much as, if not more so than, in the previous government, and prosecutions would demonstrate that, but—this is where the question lies—we also finally have a government that realizes that there is a role for the Government of Canada to play to combat the radicalization of young people. As we have terrorists from abroad using the Internet and social media as a means to recruit extremism here in Canada, the former government tended to ignore it. The current government recognizes that as a problem. Will the Conservative Party at least recognize that it is a problem and support what the government is doing on that initiative?

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

Alain Rayes Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Madam Speaker, no one is opposed to countering radicalization or educating and informing young people. That is not the problem.

The first step is to be aware of the problem. There are Canadians who chose, with heart and mind, to join ISIS and fight against our soldiers and allies throughout the world. They were perfectly aware of what they were doing. That is unacceptable.

On this side of the House, we do not want these people to be allowed to come back without being brought to justice. We need to put an end to that and send a clear message that no Canadian who chooses to leave the country to fight with ISIS will be given a free pass.

The motion seems fairly straightforward to me. It says it all. I invite hon. members opposite to give it a careful, thoughtful read. I am convinced that they will come to the same conclusion as us.

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

David Anderson Conservative Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Madam Speaker, government members have talked all day about the fact that they think there is fear related to this whole issue. There actually is, but it does not have anything to do with us. It has to do with Canadians feeling less safe. The folks opposite have tried to turn this into a budget issue, which they have gone on about all day, but it really is not a budget issue.

The perception Canadians have of the government is that its heart is just not in protecting them. It does not have the same kind of commitment to protecting Canadians as there has been in the past. Therefore, it is not a budget-related issue; it is a commitment-related issue, and the government has not made that commitment. That showed up in a few places.

The Liberals are not proactive in this at all. When we hear their answers in the House, we know they are not really taking this seriously. On television, the public safety minister talked about how he knew we could not change these people's minds, but the Liberals would let them in anyway and work with them on these little projects. That makes people across the country very uncomfortable.

We have heard we cannot defend our borders. We know that. We have talked about this in the House many times. The Liberal government is incapable of defending our borders, telling people that if they want to cross into Canada, they should go to border crossings. We have also seen massive payouts to people who have been convicted of terrorist activities.

Could my colleague comment on that and does he think this is a matter of a commitment from the heart that the government has refused to make so far, or if it is really a budget-related issue, like those members have been trying to sell all day?

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

Alain Rayes Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his kind words. He is right. He sees that we, on this side of the House, are extremely concerned about this issue, unlike the members opposite.

This is a fundamental issue. Here in Canada and throughout the world, people are extremely worried about terrorists. We hope that this government will send a clear message to anyone who is becoming radicalized and chooses to fight with ISIS that, when they come back, they will be tried and held to account for all of the acts they may have committed while fighting alongside these terrorists.

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

Madam Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague for sharing his time with me today.

It is interesting, because the member for Cypress Hills—Grasslands brings up a good point, and that is about Canadians feeling safe. The motion states:

That the House:

(a) condemn the horrific acts committed by ISIS;

(b) acknowledge that individuals who joined ISIS fighters are complicit in these horrific acts and pose a danger to Canadians;

(c) call on the government to bring to justice and prosecute any ISIS fighter returning to Canada; and

(d) insist that the government make the security and protection of Canadians its priority, rather than the reintegration of ISIS fighters, or the unnecessary financial payout to a convicted terrorist, like Omar Khadr.

It is the reintegration of the ISIS fighters over the course of the last couple of weeks, where this debate has gone on, that has really concerned many Canadians. It has concerned many people in my riding of Barrie—Innisfil. The Omar Khadr payout has done this as well.

This is not stoking a fear issue. This calls on the government to prioritize, with respect to safety for Canadians, and look after and ensure we hold the ISIS terrorists back, and not allow them to reintegrate back into our society. I had to laugh when the member for Central Nova spoke about this being an anti-intellectual debate. When it causes concern to Canadians, it is not anti-intellectualism. It is a concern for Canadians and that needs to be debated in the House.

In the last election, nobody voted to elect a government to focus on the rights of ISIS terrorists over Canadians. This reintegration policy the government is now proposing certainly flies in the face of safety and security. These people, and it has been said through the course of this debate today, have raped women. They are terrorists who have burned people alive, have beheaded people, and in some cases Canadians have gone over there to engage in those types of activities. They have become normalized to those types of activities.

They are going to come back to Canada and somehow reintegrate into Canadian society, with the help of things like poetry. We saw the Prime Minister get upset last week when this question was asked, stoking the fears of division.

That is really the answer to everything with the Liberals. Whenever somebody has a concern about an issue, they label them as a foe. If members call into question the concerns of ISIS terrorists, the Liberals will call them an Islamaphobe. Nothing could be further from the truth. There is a proud Muslim community in my riding of Barrie—Innisfil. The people work hard and they do not agree with ISIS ideology or this jihadist ideology. I am very proud to call many of them my friends.

I want to focus on the latter part of the motion. It relates to the issue of Omar Khadr and the payment. The Liberals have stood up today in defence of that payment. Members on that side of the House have served in the military, members like the member for Orléans, the Minister of National Defence, the member for Kanata—Carleton, the member for Kelowna—Lake Country and the member for Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill. After being engaged in the anti-terror fight, I find it hard that they actually would defend that payment $10.5 million to Omar Khadr.

I will remind the House again that thus was done in July. There was a sense that somehow people were not going to pay attention to that issue. They did. We certainly heard about it. The Liberal side certainly heard about it.

This was not a case that dealt with the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court said that clearly his rights were violated, but Omar Khadr filed a civil case. For the Liberal government to preclude judgment of that civil case, and as I said earlier, by simply rolling over and giving this money to Omar Khadr in advance of any decision of any court, in advance of any argument that was made, why do we even have a court system? Why do we have judges? Why do we have lawyers? Why, if all the Liberals are going to do is preclude any civil action by deciding they are going to do is roll over and effectively give a convicted terrorist $10.5 million?

Repatriation, coming back to this country, was enough for Omar Khadr. It was enough, and he deserves nothing more after what he did to Christopher Speer and his family.

However, I remind the House that many Canadians were killed in Afghanistan. Shortly after the payment was made to Omar Khadr, I received an email from Fred McKay. Fred's son, Kevin, was killed in Afghanistan just days before Omar Khadr was scheduled to come back. The email stated:

Sir...I would very much appreciate it if you would stand up against this ridiculous reward and apology being given to a convicted terrorist. It is beyond my comprehension why our government would do this. Is it because Khadr was “only fifteen years old” when he killed U.S Army Medic Christopher Speer? His lawyer claims that the confession was obtained “under duress”, thus creating the impression that Khadr was tortured, when it has been reported that the method used to extract this confession was nothing more than sleep deprivation! His captors didn't lay a hand on him!

I have more than a passing interest in this matter. My fine young son, Pte. Kevin McKay, lPPCLI, was killed by an IED on May 13th, 2010, only two days before the end of his tour of duty. He was on his very last night patrol in the village of Nakoney, in the Panjwaii District.

Kevin willingly went to Afghanistan with the intended purpose of ensuring the kids could attend school without having acid thrown in their faces, and be free from oppression. Kevin went to Afghanistan to HELP, and not to HURT. He didn't think it was right that teachers were being murdered just for being teachers. The Taliban are not afraid of guns and bombs; they are afraid of school children with school books, because as those kids become educated, they will reject the Taliban's archaic ideology of oppression and ignorance. Kevin spent close to eight months in the combat outposts (“outside the wire”, in harm's way). During this time Kevin and his section did not have to fire a shot in anger, but rather had to play “IED hopscotch”. During their patrols, they found in excess of 160 IEDs...all of them built with the intention of killing and maiming our Canadian soldiers. Kevin's Battle Group suffered six casualties. Our son was the 144th Canadian soldier killed in Afghanistan.

Shortly after Kevin was killed it was brought to my attention that the person that had built the bomb that killed our son was “only fifteen years old”. Sound familiar? He and his father were known to be Taliban bomb makers, but our soldiers were hamstrung by their Rules of Engagement (ROEs). I was very pleased to hear some months later that retribution, with extreme prejudice, was visited upon them by the subsequently arriving Canadian Battle Group just two weeks after Kevin's death.

Should we feel sympathy for Omar Khadr because he was only fifteen years old? I'm sorry, but I do not. Just like I don't feel sorry for the fifteen year old bomb maker that killed our son. Should we feel sympathy for Khadr because his confession was “coerced” by “sleep deprivation”? I'm sorry, but I do not. I wish I got paid ten million bucks for every sleepless night I spent while Kevin was deployed into one of the most dangerous places in the world for eight months. Any parent or anyone who works for a living to make ends meet knows all about sleep deprivation! We complain about it, but is it to be considered a form of torture?

Am I to believe that, should these bomb maker's families come forward, with a lawyer, our Canadian government would apologize and compensate them to the tune of ten million dollars for the loss of their loved ones? By the way, we received $90,000 from the government when we lost our son, a far cry from the $360,000 maximum. We were told we were receiving that particular sum because Kevin was single and had no dependants...

I am going to conclude with the words of Fred McKay:

I am a proud Canadian, and Kevin was a proud Canadian soldier. The honour and respect that our family was shown as we came along the Highway of Heroes was unbelievable and unforgettable. Apparently that honour and respect is not mirrored by our government. That pride is now being strained like never before. It is wrong to offer Omar Khadr an apology and a compensation package. The only way to right this wrong is to ensure that this money, rather than ending up in Khadr's hands, must be forwarded to Chris Speer's widow, should she be inclined to accept it.

It is for Fred McKay, his wife, and Kevin that I bring this letter up. The payment to Omar Khadr was wrong, and the government was wrong to do it.

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:25 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Madam Speaker, I wonder if the member across the way could inform the House of how many individuals who left Canada, participated in terrorist activities—because we know this is not new but happened when Stephen Harper was the prime minister—and came back to Canada were actually put in jail by Stephen Harper and his government, in 10 years.

I think it is a fair question. I am sure they have done their homework and the hon. member should be able to give us a number.

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:25 p.m.

Conservative

John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

Madam Speaker, let us look at what the government's public safety minister has said, which is relevant to this discussion, because we are talking about reintegrating Canadians who have left our soil to fight on behalf of ISIS and are coming back.

The public safety minister said that the government has identified about 250 people with links to Canada who are suspected of overseas terrorist activities, or as he has called them, terrorist travellers. These are people who have gone to cause harm to others, including potentially Canadian soldiers, who the current government wants to reintegrate back into Canadian society.

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:25 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Madam Speaker, for the Canadian parents of Kevin, there is nothing one can say to ease their pain and their loss. However, I think we do ourselves a disservice to direct that anger to the settlement with Omar Khadr.

I do not think I have heard any other member of Parliament talk about this in this place, but I know this due to the reporting work of Sandy Garossino for the National Observer, which published photos taken by the U.S. military. This was, of course, an exchange between combatants and not conventionally what anyone would describe as terrorism. They were combatants, and there is no question that Omar Khadr was taken by his father into a war zone. We can say anything we want about how unbearably unacceptable what his father did to him was, but he was taken into that zone. There is no good evidence that would stand up in a Canadian court that Omar Khadr threw the grenade, and I think there is a very large chance that he did not. The photos in the piece in the National Observer show him under mountains of rubble at the moment that grenade was thrown.

Therefore, I think we have a very large reason to doubt that his confession during sleep deprivation was for something he actually did. Quite possibly it was for something he did not do, for which he was not getting the help of his government when he was in a foreign prison and being tortured.

There are many layers to this, and I wonder if my hon. friend for Barrie—Innisfil would feel differently about what he said if he thought for a moment that it was quite possible that the person described in this motion as a convicted terrorist was in fact convicted in a military court for something he did not do.

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:25 p.m.

Conservative

John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

Madam Speaker, I think the hon. member raises an important point here.

There is no question that the courts found that Omar Khadr's rights had been violated. The issue we are talking about with respect to this particular payment was the fact that Omar Khadr had filed a civil suit against the government, but the government did not allow that civil suit to play out to its final verdict. In my opinion, the government rolled over and gave Omar Khadr a settlement, which he could potentially have not been worthy of had it gone through the entire process of the civil court.

I think the Liberal government did a disservice to Canadians by doing this and certainly opened the door for other cases, as we have seen, subsequent to the Omar Khadr case.

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:25 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Madam Speaker, it is always nice to rise and share some thoughts and some opinions on things that come before the House. I must say right up front that I am disappointed in the official opposition. Today, those members stand alone. I do not see the unholy alliance with them on this. Even the Green Party is offside with the motion. They stand alone, and there is a good reason for that. One of my colleagues called the current leader “Stephen Harper 2.0”. There is a lot of truth to that simple statement. Members of the opposition seem to want to repeat their past, and it is really unfortunate because it talks to the negativism in politics today.

I do not believe for a moment that there is any member in the House of Commons today who in any way would support terrorism. I do not believe there is a member in the House who would not want to see whatever is possible to be done to condemn terrorist acts.

Members across the way have talked about the horrific acts that take place in some of these countries where terrorism is occurring far too often, horrific actions such as women being raped, gays being thrown off buildings, people being burned alive, and decapitation. These are all horrific acts, and no Canadian would recognize them to be anything other than horrific acts.

Canadians want members of this chamber to speak out against them. If each and every one of us stood in our place and provided comment on those acts, maybe with some variation, I believe I have in essence captured what each and every member would say, at least in part. It needs to be reinforced that there is not one member in the House who is more taken aback by those horrific actions and is therefore a fighter against terrorism.

Members on both sides of the House recognize the horror of terrorism and want as much as possible to marginalize it, to minimize the types of acts that are taking place around the world today, more concentrated in some areas. It is sad to see. The Government of Canada has taken many different initiatives not only outside our borders but also inside our borders.

I want to pick up on some of the things I have been hearing over the last week or two in regard to some of the spin that the Conservative Party is trying to put on this. The Conservatives are trying as hard as they can to give the impression that there is not only a serious problem with terrorism, which we all recognize, but that the threat is increasing to more today in Canada than previously.

The recent question I asked my colleague was meant to be a sincere question in the hope that the member opposite would be able to provide an answer. It was not a difficult question. Listening to the rhetoric that is coming from the opposition benches, one would think that the Stephen Harper government and those Conservative members would have sent directly to jail anyone who came back to Canada from certain areas of the world. That is the impression one would get from some of the rhetoric we are hearing today.

That is the reason I posed the question of how many individuals were actually put in jail by Stephen Harper. People who might be following the debate or listening would be expecting to hear a number, I am sure, maybe even a guesstimate, anything to provide some legitimacy to the motion or to the rhetoric we are hearing from across the way. The member, who has the right to answer any question in any fashion he chooses, chose to ignore the question. I do not blame him, because my understanding is that it is pretty close to zero, if not zero, but we would not know that by the type of rhetoric we are hearing.

On many question period opportunities, the opposition members said we have 60 returning individuals who were radicalized, left Canada, and now are coming back, and asked why are they not going directly to jail. That is what the opposition members are trying to imply, that because the Government of Canada is not putting them in jail, Canadians are at great risk. I contrast that to what was taking place prior to this government. In 2015, it was around the same number, 60.

There are lawyers inside this House and maybe they can advise me a bit differently, but I genuinely believe that Canadians have rights. The Liberal Party is the party of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. We are the party that actually brought it in through Pierre Elliott Trudeau. We understand the importance of rights and freedoms. Behind closed doors, at times, it seems that Conservatives also will recognize that, and that is likely the reason why the member opposite could not provide an answer greater than zero. The legislation that the Conservatives introduced said that, if people left Canada with the intention of coming back after committing a terrorist act, they would be prosecuted. Even with that, what were the results? What did the Stephen Harper government provide at the end of the day? It provided zero, nothing, and yet now we do not really see a great huge influx. It is right around 60 and the Conservatives are screaming from their seats that the sky is falling, and asking what is happening and why the government is not throwing them all in jail. That is what they are trying to imply and because the government is not saying that, they say—eureka—they have an issue here; they are going to say that the Government of Canada is soft on terrorism, when nothing could be further from the truth.

Whether it was through the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, or the parliamentary secretary, with whom I was quite impressed and would encourage members to read his earlier speech, or the answers that the minister provided for the opposition members, or in fact even the Prime Minister's address to the leader of the official opposition in regard to the issue, Canadians should know they have nothing to fear in regard to the issue, any more than they did two years ago. In fact, with the recent budget, I would suggest there is a greater likelihood that we are going to be able to do more with regard to preventing the radicalization of Canada's young people.

The Minister of Public Services and Procurement made it very clear, and I believe I have the numbers here. We talked about the agencies, and that would have been a great way to start the debate. We really need to express just how wonderful a job our Canadian security agencies actually do. It is phenomenal work.

It is not something that is nine to five. This is seven days a week, 24 hours a day, and not only working with agencies here in Canada. This is working with the Five Eyes countries, G7, Interpol, and so forth doing this tracking system. It is very thorough. The women and men who perform for us in keeping Canadians safe need to be recognized, and they should be applauded for the fine work they do day in and day out.

I have far more confidence in them and their ability than the spin the Conservatives are putting to try to give a false impression. The number I heard from the minister of public safety was over $1 billion in cuts. Think about it, between 2011 and 2015, as opposed to the Harper government supporting all those security agencies with the responsibility of keeping Canadians safe, it actually cut in excess of $1 billion in that time period.

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:35 p.m.

Tony Clement

Where do you get that from?

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:35 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Someone heckled where we get those cuts. I have some numbers right in front of me, and the member who is heckling actually sat in cabinet when those cuts were taking place. One would think that would maybe curtail some of their criticism toward a government that has been reinforcing and providing more support. No, because it gets in the way of the spin that the Conservatives are trying to falsely put across.

Think about it, $530 million in cuts between 2011 and 2015 to the RCMP alone. Now, that is the bulk of the cuts. Another $390 million was cut from the Canada Border Services Agency, $69 million from CSIS, $42 million from the Communications Security Establishment, and a further $171 million from the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority. These are agencies that are expected to work collaboratively to ensure Canadians are safe. Fortunately, because of the dedication and hard work of the individuals who make up those security agencies, they have done an outstanding job in keeping Canadians safe despite the significant cuts from the previous administration.

That is one aspect that the minister of public safety talked about. The other issue was the actual numbers. It was estimated around 60 individuals, and that is what has generated the uproar from the opposition benches. What is the Government of Canada doing about 60? What is the actual change? It is virtually the same. It was estimated to be around 60 back in 2015. That is when Stephen Harper was prime minister. That is why I asked a very simple question of the member opposite, and people following the debate saw the answer.

It seems to me that whether it is the Prime Minister of Canada or the minister responsible for public safety, or even the parliamentary secretary or other members who have addressed this issue today inside the chamber, it does not matter what the facts are. The Conservatives are going to push it because they want to use it as a wedge issue. The Conservative Party of Canada wants to cause Canadians to be more fearful of something they do not necessarily need to be fearful of any more than they were in the dying years of the Conservatives on the issue of security.

In fact, I would argue that given what the government has done since 2015, there have been significant actions that should decrease the level of fear.

Members across the way might say I am somewhat biased because of where I stand currently. There is something called a baloney meter. I believe it is one of the TV stations that conducts it. We will find there is a lot of baloney in the Conservative arguments, and that is more independent. They are not just hearing it from the Liberals and the New Democrats, or the Green Party, there are many independents out there following the debate and realizing the Conservative Party members, like on so many other issues, are out of touch and they do not understand. They recognize this is an issue where the Conservatives are prepared to prey on the potential fears of Canadians. Shame on them for that sort of behaviour. That is the reason I will not support this opposition day motion.

Where should the focus be, at least in part? We know the government is taking very seriously, more seriously, those individuals who are crossing because we are respecting and supporting our security services agents. We are demonstrating that in a very a real and tangible way. However, there are other things we could be doing. This is something the Conservatives did not do. Under Stephen Harper and their minister of public safety, they seemed to ignore the issue of radicalization, that in fact it was happening in Canada to the degree it was taking place. They had their collective heads buried in the sand, preferring to ignore it, trying to sound tough, but not looking at ways to prevent young people from being lured into this extreme behaviour.

For 10 years they had the opportunity. For the last three or four years while they were in government, countries around the world were recognizing that one of the ways we are going to have a more long-term impact on combatting terrorism is to look at ways people are being recruited into extreme actions. Social media is the goldmine for terrorists and their organizations. In fact, there are many websites that are designed for one purpose only, and that is to recruit individuals who could potentially cause extreme, harmful actions not only outside of Canada's borders, but also within Canada.

The former government did not recognize that. It did not invest resources into that issue. We have, because we believe that in many of those situations, by the government being more proactive and investing in our community activities, we will be able to prevent some of these young people from being lured away where they could plan and cause harm, whether it is to society here in Canada or abroad. There are financial resources following that.

We hope the Conservatives recognize it is time to go beyond trying to divide and cause fear in the minds of Canadians, any more than what was there prior to 2015.

Instead of trying to promote or add a falsehood, in good part, why not participate in and appreciate what we can do to help young people in Canada by preventing them from possibly being lured into these extreme actions, to the detriment not only of Canada but the world.

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:50 p.m.

Conservative

John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Winnipeg North has missed the whole point of what this motion and the debate are all about.

Years ago, ISIS was on the run. Canada took the fight, with our allies, to ISIS, which has effectively been destroyed and is actually retrenching now. The way it is doing that is by sending its fighters go back to their countries of origin. We are talking about the reintegration of fighters. We are not necessarily talking about de-radicalization of young people who are here right now.

The ones coming back to Canada are the ones posing a very real threat not just to our country but countries of their home origin, and yet the hon. member says we are supposed to accept them with open arms. That is not what Conservatives are saying. We are saying the government needs to be more diligent, and it is not proving that diligence based on the policies it has suggested of reintegrating these ISIS terrorists who are on the run and only later the potential exists that they are going to cause harm to the country they are returning to. Why are we opening our arms to those types of people?

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:50 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, this is where the baloney meter would come into play. The member is wrong in what he is asserting. He is trying to give the impression that, for the first time, terrorists are coming back into Canada under this regime and this regime is choosing to do nothing.

I have two quick points. First and foremost, unlike the Conservatives, Liberals have confidence in Canada's security agencies. We have confidence and faith that they have the expertise, the understanding, and know what is best to do in order to keep Canadians safe. That is the first point I would express for my colleague across the way. The second point is that he will recall I asked him a specific question about how many of these individuals he is calling into question came back to Canada when Stephen Harper was the prime minister, when his party was in government, and the answer was zero.

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:50 p.m.

Conservative

John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

Circumstances have changed.

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:50 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

The member says that circumstances were different. The circumstance that is different is that he is now in opposition as opposed to being in government.

The reality of the situation is that we need to recognize and acknowledge that we have security service agents who can keep Canadians safe and there is no substantial change from when Stephen Harper was prime minister to the current Prime Minister, with one exception. We now have a government that is prepared to support our security agencies and is also going to target youth being lured by countries or terrorist groups abroad to try to radicalize them to cause extreme activities that could happen here in Canada. We are prepared to take that on, whereas Stephen Harper was not.

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:50 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, it would absolutely astonish me if the Canadian branches of the Five Eyes—CSIS, the RCMP, and so on—were not keeping anyone associated with overseas engagement in ISIS activities under very close watch and surveillance. However, there is an opportunity here that we ought to talk about, and that is that these are monstrous people in a monstrous organization. I have heard the stories in the media of people who have left ISIS, have gotten away from ISIS, and have been so traumatized by it. We should get their voices out there to provide a counterbalance. The hon. member is quite right about the use of the Internet and social media to mislead and attract people to its horrific activities.

ISIS, right now, is in collapse, but we thought al Qaeda was gone, and then ISIS sprung up. These will remain threats. They are active. They quickly change names and leaders. We cannot ignore the threat of those people who have returned from those activities engaged with ISIS, on behalf of ISIS for its caliphate. What if, within those returning Canadians, there are the voices of those who could innoculate other youth from being mistakenly led to go overseas? Can the Government of Canada do more to find those voices of those who have returned?

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:55 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question. That is why, whether it was the Minister of Public Safety or the parliamentary secretary, they have picked up on that point.

It is not as if we have individuals coming back to Canada and they are lost among 36 million other people. Our security services agencies will continue to do the fine work they have done. It is one of the reasons, back in June, we launched the Canada Centre for Community Engagement and Prevention of Violence. This is an excellent program that was just introduced in June. We genuinely want to intervene to try to prevent young people from being attracted to that extreme position.

I believe in taking a proactive approach. When I say “I”, this is not something unique to the Government of Canada. Countries around the world have recognized that this is the type of thing we need to do. In the long term, that is how we are going to make our communities, not only at home but also abroad, safer places to be. None of us support the types of terrorist activities that take place and the horrific actions of these individuals.

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:55 p.m.

Liberal

Chris Bittle Liberal St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for his passionate speech on the topic.

I have been listening throughout the day, and one of the interesting things I have not heard from the opposition, in terms of radicalization, is radicalization among the far right. I am wondering why we have not really heard the condemnation of that, which has led to terrorist activity in Canada, most recently in Quebec City.

The other issue, which is astounding, is that the motion calls on the government to bring justice and prosecute any ISIS fighter returning to Canada. The opposition knows that it is not the Government of Canada that decides who to prosecute. We have independence of prosecutors. We have independence of the RCMP.

This motion is an attack against the rule of law, an attack against the RCMP, and an attack against CSIS from a party that cut these agencies. I am wondering if the hon. member could comment on those particular issues and the hypocrisy we are hearing from the other side.

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:55 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, that is one reason I, about three or four minutes into my speech, made reference to the fine work actually performed seven days a week, 24 hours a day, by the women and men in Canada's security agencies. It want to let them know just how much confidence we, as a government, have in their ability to make good, sound decisions.

It is those decisions that are ultimately providing the comfort Canadians require. I think the Prime Minister said it best. This is priority number one. We want Canadians to feel safe in the communities in which they live as we continue to build the economy, to support our middle class, and to do the things necessary so we can continue to develop as a country.

That is why at the beginning, I said that in my opinion, the Conservatives have chosen to take a wedge issue to create something that is just not there. In fact, we could have been debating so much more, such as the performance of the economy and the hundreds of thousands of jobs that have been generated. There is so much I think Canadians would have loved to see debated here.

If there is something I am hoping those who are following the debate will realize, it is that they should not buy into the Conservative falsehood, or baloney, that we are somehow in more danger today than we were two years ago. If anything, it is the opposite.

That is what is important to take away from the debate. We have a government that is genuinely committed to ensuring the safety of Canadians. There is no government member whatsoever who would support any sort of action from a terrorist. We see it for what it is: horrific and unacceptable. We will do what we can to fight terrorism, and we are also going to do what we can to prevent, in particular, young Canadians from falling into that trap and being lured by things like social media.

Opposition Motion—ISIS fighters returning to CanadaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6 p.m.

Conservative

Kellie Leitch Conservative Simcoe—Grey, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Souris—Moose Mountain.

One of the parts of being a member of Parliament I love the most is spending time with the individuals in my riding and talking to these down-to-earth, hard-working, sensible people in Simcoe—Grey. These are people who see through all the nonsense here in this Ottawa bubble.

One of the things I am hearing more and more from my constituents is that the government could not be any worse. However, the Prime Minister continues to come up with new and shocking ways to explain to Canadians this divergence from what were campaign promises.

First, it was the disaster of the budget that went from a small deficit promised during the election campaign to an obviously substantive one. Then it was cutting infrastructure funding from small communities, such as Alliston, Angus, Everett, and others in my riding to provide for big city p