House of Commons Hansard #174 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was labelling.

Topics

Food and Drugs ActPrivate Members' Business

7:10 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Food and Drugs ActPrivate Members' Business

7:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Food and Drugs ActPrivate Members' Business

7:10 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes) All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Food and Drugs ActPrivate Members' Business

7:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Food and Drugs ActPrivate Members' Business

7:10 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes) All those opposed will please say nay.

Food and Drugs ActPrivate Members' Business

7:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Food and Drugs ActPrivate Members' Business

7:10 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes) In my opinion the yeas have it.

And five or more members having risen:

The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes) Pursuant to Standing Order 93, the recorded division stands deferred until Wednesday, May 17, immediately before the time provided for private members' business.

A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

Status of WomenAdjournment Proceedings

7:10 p.m.

NDP

Sheila Malcolmson NDP Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Madam Speaker, rates of violence against women have remained largely unchanged for the past two decades. There are some sad facts that back this up.

One million women report having experienced sexual or domestic violence in the past five years. Indigenous women are more than three times more likely to experience sexual assault than non-indigenous women. Women living with disabilities experience violence two to three times more often than women living without disabilities. Domestic violence costs our economy more than $12 billion a year. More than 500 women and children are turned away from shelters on any given day.

There is not enough room at the inn, and funding is not adequate for the work that is done by the front-line organizations. Provincial and federal governments have conceded it is going to be front-line organizations that deliver safety and shelter to women experiencing violence in their home, but they do not have the funding they need to carry out the work. We have heard this again and again at the status of women committee. The lack of access to long-term, predictable operational funding is one of the biggest problems for these brave organizations that are doing this key work in our communities. We heard also at committee again and again that inadequate funding to provide enough shelter space can actually prevent women from leaving their abuser.

A witness at status of women committee, Mélanie Sarroino, said:

The woman had been waiting for months and it took all her courage just to pick up the phone and call.... I know very well that when she calls the centre, she'll get a message on the answering machine saying that they will call her back, but presently they have a six-month waiting list. You can guarantee that woman will never call back.... That's the first impact.

Since the Liberals were elected, despite good, strong words about their commitment that no women and children will be turned away from a shelter, that they are going to work to end violence against women, nothing has changed on the ground. The budget that was announced in March provided $100 million over the next five years on spending within government and for the RCMP, rather than a plan to fund direct services to women.

I am concerned about the government's spending priorities. Budget 2017 promised $80 million over the next five years for space exploration. There were no new dollars for operators of violence against women shelters. We need to see that spending get to the organizations that will deliver the services directly. We need to recognize that as opposed to $20 million a year which is what the federal government has offered for a strategy to end violence against women, the non-governmental organization movement thought that $500 million a year for a national strategy to end violence against women is what would be needed every year from now into the future until the strategy is established.

This brings me to my question for the government. If gender equality really matters, why were women shortchanged again in the budget?

Status of WomenAdjournment Proceedings

May 10th, 2017 / 7:15 p.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

Terry Duguid LiberalParliamentary Secretary for Status of Women

Madam Speaker, I want to thank the member for Nanaimo—Ladysmith for joining us in the fight against gender-based violence and for her commitment to this issue.

I welcome the opportunity to participate in this adjournment debate and to discuss the federal government's approach to addressing gender-based violence. I want to join with the hon. member, and all Canadians, in underscoring our very deep concern about gender-based violence in this country.

Despite the modern society we have created, we can barely read through the day's news without finding in it an abhorrent example of violence directed at women, young women, or girls. Action is needed if we are to create a safe, inclusive society for all Canadians. We also need to speak out against misogyny and sexism wherever they appear in our communities, our politics, or on social media. We all need to be part of the solution.

I am proud of the fact that the Government of Canada is fully committed to addressing gender-based violence and is taking a multi-faceted approach to this critical issue.

The federal government has established a national inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women and girls. It will examine and report on the systemic causes behind the violence that indigenous women and girls experience and their greater vulnerability to that violence. It will look at patterns and underlying factors and examine why higher levels of violence occur in this community.

We are also making substantial investments to make a real difference on this issue. Through Status of Women Canada, we are investing over $1 million for a project by the Canadian Network of Women’s Shelters and Transition Houses to examine the multiple roles played by the shelter sector in supporting women who are victims of violence. Through this project, a comprehensive national profile of shelters will be developed that will include reliable, up-to-date information on shelter capacity, scope of services, funding, infrastructure, and human resources. Project activities will inform the development of a five-year strategic vision to inform policy changes in the shelter sector.

To ensure that women fleeing violence in their families have someone to turn in their hour of need, access to shelter and transition housing remains a key priority for this government. Budget 2016 committed about $90 million over two years to enhance Canada's network of shelters and transition houses through the construction or renovation of over 3,000 shelter spaces off reserve. An additional $10.4 million over three years was also allocated to support the renovation and construction of new shelters for victims of family violence in first nations communities. A further $33.6 million over five years will support shelter operations on reserve.

These concrete actions highlight the Government of Canada's commitment to addressing all forms of gender-based violence.

Status of WomenAdjournment Proceedings

7:15 p.m.

NDP

Sheila Malcolmson NDP Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Madam Speaker, the problem is that the good words of the government are not being matched with action. The federal government spends 1.6% of the actual cost to women, which is $12 billion in economic impact every year, to actually end violence against women. It is just $189 million.

We have heard again and again that funding five additional shelters on reserve over the next five years, which is one new shelter every year for the next five years, is completely inadequate for indigenous communities. Pauktuutit, which is an Inuit women's group in Canada, estimates that there are only 15 shelters across 53 communities. The gap is tremendous.

When will the government act to actually make women safe?

Status of WomenAdjournment Proceedings

7:20 p.m.

Liberal

Terry Duguid Liberal Winnipeg South, MB

Madam Speaker, I will respectfully disagree with the hon. member and just say again that in addition to the federal government's significant investments in shelters, budget 2017 includes a number of very important actions to address and prevent gender-based violence. This includes over $100 million in investment over five years, starting in 2017-18.

As a first step in this effort, we will soon announce a strategy to deliver concrete actions in three main areas: preventing gender-based violence, providing support for survivors, and promoting responsive legal and justice systems.

The budget also announced support for the creation of a centre of excellence within Status of Women Canada to better align existing resources for addressing gender-based violence. These important actions will make women and girls safer in our country, and that benefits all Canadians.

International TradeAdjournment Proceedings

7:20 p.m.

NDP

Tracey Ramsey NDP Essex, ON

Madam Speaker, several months ago I asked the government what will be on the table in NAFTA renegotiations with the United States. I spoke about how hundreds of thousands of Canadian jobs depend on trade with the United States, but the Liberals' silence on their priorities for NAFTA renegotiations has been, and continues to be, deafening. There is an incredibly high level of uncertainty that currently exists in the Canada-U.S. trade relationship.

President Trump's repeated rhetorical attacks on key Canadian sectors such as auto and dairy are deeply worrisome for the hundreds of thousands of Canadians whose jobs depend on the strong, integrated Canada-U.S. relationship. Aside from these attacks, the U.S. has, of course, gone ahead with countervailing duties on Canadian softwood lumber exports, and we know that next month anti-dumping duties are expected that will be layered on top of the already devastating duties. These duties will devastate communities, mills, and workers across Canada.

The federal government's response has been extremely weak. Requests for assistance and support have been met with silence. The Liberals talk a lot about progressive trade that benefits Canadians; now it is time to walk the walk. Canadians want fair trade that benefits all Canadians, not just the few at the top. They want a government that has a plan for protecting Canadian jobs in trade-dependent industries like softwood lumber, auto, steel, agriculture, and dairy. They want a government that is not afraid to say yes, we can and must do better than the status quo of the 25-year-old NAFTA.

The United States has communicated a number of priorities for NAFTA renegotiations. We know what they are looking for, so what is Canada looking for? Maintaining Canada's tariff-free market access to the U.S. is priority one—do no harm—but we can take this a step further. There are many opportunities to modernize and strengthen NAFTA to better serve Canada's interests, and now is the time to be having those conversations.

NAFTA's labour and environment side agreements must be brought into the main text of the agreement and given some actual teeth, or Canada will continue to bleed jobs to Mexico, where labour and environmental rights are nowhere near the standard they need to be. Human rights must be central to Canada's trade agreements.

NAFTA's energy proportionality clause needs to be revisited. As for chapter 11 on investment state dispute settlement, the Liberals need to prioritize getting rid of this terrible chapter. Canada is the most-sued country in the world under this chapter, and the only reason this was brought in was to protect us from a corrupt Mexican court system. Canada has become the target, and environmental claims have been brought against us.

I am not suggesting that the Liberals lay their hand on the table and reveal their negotiating plan to the U.S. What I am suggesting is that Canadians are looking to their government to show some leadership and be up front about where NAFTA could be heading.

Therefore, I would like to ask the parliamentary secretary to provide us some additional information this evening. We have not had an opportunity to hear from him or the Minister of Foreign Affairs at committee since Trump's election, so my questions this evening are these: what does the government want to get out of NAFTA negotiations, what opportunities does it see to modernize and strengthen the agreement, and how does the government intend to ensure negotiations are inclusive of Canadians' views, as well as respectful to the nation-to-nation relationship with indigenous peoples in Canada?

International TradeAdjournment Proceedings

7:20 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Liberal

Matt DeCourcey LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Madam Speaker, as someone active on the trade file in the House, the member knows well that Canada, the U.S., and Mexico all benefit from NAFTA, thanks to the open and predictable rules-based trading environment that the agreement created 23 years ago.

In 2016, trilateral trade reached nearly $1 trillion U.S., more than a threefold increase since 1993. The combined GDP of the three countries has more than doubled, and Canada is the largest single-country export market for the U.S. and one of the three largest-country merchandise export markets for 48 U.S. states.

In 2016, the U.S. exported nearly $266 billion U.S. of merchandise to Canada, and nine million jobs in the U.S. depend on trade and investment with Canada. Overall, our trade is fair and balanced.

The elimination of tariffs and the creation of the rules set out in NAFTA have helped produce significant efficiencies in our supply chains in a number of industries, such as autos. It is this trade interdependence that supports millions of jobs across North America and strengthens trade and investment.

NAFTA has established a strong foundation that contributes to future economic growth and has set a valuable example of the benefits of trade liberalization. With nearly all tariffs on originating trade between the three member countries eliminated, the ultimate goal of NAFTA—to lower costs for producers and lower costs for consumers—is being achieved.

This government acknowledges how vital the softwood lumber industry is to Canadians right across this country as well. We have been working tirelessly toward a new agreement and will continue to do so. The Government of Canada wants a good deal, not just any deal, and we will vigorously defend Canadian softwood lumber interests through litigation if necessary.

Similarly, for the steel industry the government is making sure that the market operates in a fair environment with a strong trade remedy system and strong enforcement of measures at the border, as well as by working with all major steel-producing countries to tackle the problem of excess capacity and production found in some of these countries.

I thank the member for her question. She will know that if and when NAFTA negotiations begin, we will be ready and we will defend Canadian interests.

International TradeAdjournment Proceedings

7:25 p.m.

NDP

Tracey Ramsey NDP Essex, ON

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for providing me with information that stakeholders need to hear. I have been travelling across the U.S. saying those exact same things with the statistics. However, in the House we do not need to be convinced of the importance of trade with the U.S., and certainly I do not need to be convinced of that in my riding of Essex. I understand the importance of it.

My question for the parliamentary secretary was, what is our plan? Where do we see opportunity? Where can we improve NAFTA in a way that is being called for across the board? When the Liberals continue to say that we need to improve this agreement, they need to start showing us how. In what ways do they see us improving it? In what ways do they see we can strengthen that relationship?

Currently, although there are a lot of conversations in NAFTA taking place in the House and at committees, we have no direction from the government of what it is the government is looking at. Again, my question is this: what does the government want to get out of NAFTA negotiations? What opportunities does it see to modernize and strengthen the agreement? How does the government intend to ensure negotiation—

International TradeAdjournment Proceedings

7:25 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

International TradeAdjournment Proceedings

7:25 p.m.

Liberal

Matt DeCourcey Liberal Fredericton, NB

Madam Speaker, again, our integrated economies will continue to provide a basis for advancing prosperity for all Canadians as well as Americans.

Canada is the single largest country export market for most U.S. states. Canada has many trade agreements with partners across the world. We are always willing to examine potential improvements.

This government is actively engaging with the U.S. administration across a range of files. However, the U.S. has not started the clock on NAFTA negotiations. When it does, the priority for this government will be jobs for Canadians, and you can rest assured, Madam Speaker, that we will vigorously pursue and defend Canadian interests.

MulticulturalismAdjournment Proceedings

7:25 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

Madam Speaker, I appreciate this opportunity to rise in the House and raise a matter that I had first raised with the parliamentary secretary at the time, on February 3 about the Paul Yuzyk Award for Multiculturalism. In fact, it was a multiculturalism award for which the government failed to make a call for nominations. The Liberals gave their excuse for not actually giving out the award as they did not get any nominations and so they did not give the award.

It is the government's responsibility to call for nominations, receive them, review them, and then actually give out the award. The government cannot talk a good game about inclusiveness and multiculturalism and accepting other groups into our country and making them a part of the Canadian family without actually doing something about it.

The words that come to mind, of course are from a Yiddish proverb, “On his words no building could be built.” I received a non-answer at the time from the parliamentary secretary. There was talk of the values of tolerance, inclusion, and diversity. Actually the answer had very little to do with my original query as to why the Government of Canada was failing to champion the Paul Yuzyk Award for Multiculturalism.

It is an important award. It is something that many members in different ethnic communities who have become Canadian citizens were very proud of because it was an opportunity for them to promote what they were doing to integrate into the Canadian family. Another saying that is very common in the faith community I belong to is, “Faith without works is dead.”

It is part of a pattern of depriving and eliminating the legacy of the previous Conservative government. It is wiping out a legacy and promoting something new, the new sunny ways that we have heard so much about. The Paul Yuzyk Award for Multiculturalism was not just one piece that was missing. The Canada 150 medals were cancelled as well. The John Diefenbaker Defender of Human Rights and Freedom Award was also eliminated. These are all initiatives started by a previous government that did good works, promoted good values, and was a good steward of values that we care about as Canadians.

Has the government actually called for nominations for the multiculturalism award related to Paul Yuzyk? If it has, will it be announcing sometime shortly who has actually been awarded this award?

MulticulturalismAdjournment Proceedings

7:30 p.m.

Parkdale—High Park Ontario

Liberal

Arif Virani LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage (Multiculturalism)

Madam Speaker, I thank my friend opposite for his commitment to this issue. I will start with some prefatory comments about what our government is committed to and then I will answer the member's question directly.

Our government is committed to diversity. It is a great source of pride.

Thanks to several significant measures, we have already made progress on diversity and inclusion.

For example, we appointed Canada's very first gender-balanced cabinet. We allocated additional funds to Status of Women Canada to support gender-based analysis and the creation of a research and evaluation unit. We welcomed over 26,000 Syrian refugees, over 40,000 Syrian refugees, actually, in 2016. We made diversity and inclusion one of the themes for Canada 150. We restored the court challenges program.

With respect to this award, it was established in 2009. It commemorates the legacy of the late Senator Paul Yuzyk, a member of the Senate of Canada from February 1963 to July 1986. He played a key role in the development of Canada's multiculturalism policy. We remember that legacy. We also recognize Paul Yuzyk as a strong member of Canada's Ukrainian community, a community that has played a strong role in shaping our country and contributing to our rich cultural diversity. In fact, that immigration route has stood for 126 years at this point.

The award recognizes individuals and groups who have made an exceptional contribution to multiculturalism, diversity, and the integration of newcomers.

Since the award's launch in 2009 by the previous government, however, there has been a steady decline in the number of nominations received, from 88 nominations received in 2010 to 41 nominations received, again by the previous government, in 2015.

Because of declining public interest in the award, it was decided not to call for nominations in 2016. Departmental officials are looking for the best way to recognize Canadians' dedication to multiculturalism.

In direct response to the question from my friend opposite, it is not a question of erasing the legacy of the previous government in terms of this award, because this award is a useful award, when we award and promote people who promote diversity. However, when it comes to aspects of the previous government's legacy that did not promote our diversity, such as the barbaric cultural practices hotline, such as targeting religious minorities specifically for refugee resettlement to the detriment of other people from majority religions such as Sunni Muslims coming out of Syria, the member is absolutely correct that we will erase that legacy, because that is not what Canadians want. That is not what Canadians voted for in 2015. That is not what this government stood for in its platform, and it is not what we are going to implement.

What we will do is promote our diversity at every possible point in time. We will recognize people who are leaders in multiculturalism. We will do it in a way that is efficacious and rewards proper success and progressive ideas, and we will do it in a way that is commensurate with the ideas that Canadians elected us on.

MulticulturalismAdjournment Proceedings

7:30 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

Madam Speaker, let me begin with this. The parliamentary secretary did not have to come here all dressed up for a special occasion. I am honoured by the fact that he has chosen to. Perhaps he is missing Politics and the Pen.

I have a great love for writing prizes, as I have mentioned before, both the Nebula prize and past debates on the budget. I know that today we will be giving out the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing.

However, the answer I received is still imperfect. I basically got a recount of what the award is about, which I can find on the government website. It has been updated a bit. What I did not hear is how many actual nominations the government has received.

Second, what is the government doing to promote the award? This is an award given out by the Government of Canada, and therefore, it should be giving time to the award.

Before I end, I have just one more Yiddish proverb: “You can't ride in all directions at one time.” I just want to know these two simple facts: how many nominations have been received, and what is the government doing to promote the award?

MulticulturalismAdjournment Proceedings

7:35 p.m.

Liberal

Arif Virani Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Madam Speaker, my friend opposite perhaps is not aware of the different aspects or the different initiatives being undertaken by the Department of Canadian Heritage with respect to multiculturalism. Therefore, let me tell him about some of the applications we have received.

We have received applications for inter-action funding, which will fight racism, prejudice, and discrimination. That is a program that existed under the previous government but it did not have a large outreach component. Under our watch, on this side of the House, we have increased by fivefold the number of applications for grants through inter-action funding that will go to addressing what multiculturalism is meant to address, which is to combat racism, prejudice, and discrimination. There were 250 applications received by our department for such funding. We have committed $5.5 million to that fight.

We believe in the value of diversity and in stressing diversity as a point of strength, not as a point of weakness, and in recognizing Canadians across this country who are promoting those very values.

MulticulturalismAdjournment Proceedings

7:35 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

The motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly, the House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 7:37 p.m.)