House of Commons Hansard #188 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was cannabis.

Topics

Criminal CodeRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Vancouver Granville B.C.

Liberal

Jody Wilson-Raybould LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-51, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Department of Justice Act and to make consequential amendments to another Act.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to table at this time, in both official languages, a charter statement related to the bill just tabled, an act to amend the Criminal Code and the Department of Justice Act and to make consequential amendments to another act.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Foreign AffairsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to present an online petition signed by hundreds of people. This petition is about Raïf Badawi, who is imprisoned in Saudi Arabia.

One of the reasons why the government has refused to take action is that Mr. Badawi is not a Canadian citizen. The petitioners therefore call on the government to give him honorary citizenship because they feel it would make more diplomatic resources available to press for his release.

Tax EvasionPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, I also have the honour of presenting a petition signed by hundreds of people from Sherbrooke, who are calling on the government to do more to fight tax evasion and to put an end to penalty-free amnesty deals for tax cheats.

Hundreds of people signed this petition because they want the government to work harder to fight tax evasion. The petition also calls for an end to secret deals, such as the KPMG affair, that give some people preferential treatment and let them off the hook with minimal consequences for very serious actions.

The petitioners are disappointed in the Government of Canada's current measures and want it to do more to fight tax evasion.

Water QualityPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Denis Paradis Liberal Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the spirit of Environment Week, I rise to present another petition regarding Lake Champlain.

Lake Champlain supplies the entire population of Bedford, in my riding, with drinking water that is supposed to be potable. However, Lake Champlain has a cyanobacteria problem. When it gets hot in the summer, the water is like pea soup. It is terrible, and people are forced to boil their water. We have had a treaty with the United States on boundary waters since 1906.

Budget 2016, which passed here in the House, invested $7.5 million in Lake Champlain and the Richelieu River. People from my region, specifically in Bedford, are calling on the Minister of Foreign Affairs to issue a mandate letter to the International Joint Commission to ensure that a portion of the $7.5 million allocated for flood relief is also used to address Lake Champlain's water quality.

Indigenous AffairsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition from Edmontonians calling on the government to end the discrimination against first nation children. They are calling on the government to comply with the historic Human Rights Tribunal ruling to fund systemic shortfalls in first nation child welfare and to end the systemic discrimination against first nation children.

Hearing Loss in InfantsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to present a petition signed by nearly 12,000 Canadians online and on paper.

The petition supports an ongoing campaign called Tiny Ears, which is organized by the Hearing Foundation of Canada. It calls on the federal government to put in place a national mandate around early infant screening and intervention.

Thousands of children born in our country every year are deaf or hard of hearing. Therefore, having an early infant screening program would actually assist those children to grow up and have the kind of life they should have in our country.

All children should have the right to a good start in life, so they may enjoy a healthy life with a bright future.

I am hoping that the federal government will respond positively to this petition, which is signed by nearly 12,000 Canadians, to put in place early infant screening in our country.

Immigration, Refugees and CitizenshipPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, as many in this House know, the President of the United States has signed into effect executive orders that prevent refugees and immigrants who have already been accepted by the U.S. from entering the country. That has put in doubt the reunification of families and the ability of immigrants to come to North America. The undersigned of this petition are very upset about the fact that, in addition to that, the United States of America has moved to adopt policies that contravene the 1984 convention against torture and are in violation of the Canada–U.S. safe third country agreement. Therefore, the petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to revoke the designation of the United States of America as a safe third country under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act until the United States returns to compliance with respect to torture, and to acceptance of immigrants and refugees.

Human RightsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise today to present two petitions.

The first has to do with human rights in China, particularly those of Falun Dafa and Falun Gong practitioners. This petition calls on the Government of Canada to do more to press the Chinese government to protect human rights.

Shark FinningPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, the second petition is on the subject of shark finning. Shark finning is a practice leading to the endangerment of many species of sharks around the world. It is illegal in Canadian waters. However, we still allow the trading, selling, and marketing of shark fins in Canada. The petitioners ask that the Canadian government take steps to end the sale, distribution, and trade of this so-called delicacy that is leading to massive extinctions.

Impaired DrivingPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley—Aldergrove, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to present a petition from Families for Justice, a group of Canadians who have lost a loved one, killed by an impaired driver. They believe that Canada's impaired driving laws are much too lenient. They want the crime called what it is, vehicular homicide. It is the number one cause of criminal death in Canada. More than 1,200 Canadians are killed every year by a drunk driver. They are calling on the Prime Minister to honour his letter to support legislation for drunk driving, which would include mandatory sentencing.

Commemorative MedalsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have several petitions to present, all on the same subject, which is the government's unfortunate cancellation of a commemorative medal for the 150th anniversary of Confederation. Commemorative medals have been issued by the Government of Canada on significant milestones in Canada's history, with the objective of recognizing the contributions of outstanding Canadians to their own communities. This was done in 1867, for the year of Confederation; in 1927, for the year of the silver jubilee; for the centennial in 1967; and for Canada's 125th anniversary. However, as part of the Liberal war on history, there will be no medal this year honouring outstanding contributions of Canadians to their communities.

The petitioners call upon the government to respect that tradition and reverse its cancellation of the medals, the plans for which were very far advanced. The petitions come from Botwood, Newfoundland; Lake Country, British Columbia; Oyama, B.C.; Bishop's Falls, Newfoundland; Alder Flats, Alberta; Buck Lake, Alberta; Drayton Valley, Alberta; Scotchtown, Nova Scotia; New Waterford, Nova Scotia; and Sydney, Nova Scotia.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

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

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

The Speaker

Is it agreed?

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Rights of Non-Recognized Parties—Speaker's RulingPrivilegeRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I am now prepared to rule on the question of privilege raised on May 4, 2017, by the honourable member for Montcalm concerning the effect of the proposed changes to the Standing Orders on the rights and privileges of members from unrecognized parties.

I would like to thank the hon. member for having raised the matter, as well as the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands, and the member for Joliette for their contributions.

In raising this question of privilege, the member for Montcalm alleged that the government’s proposed approach to parliamentary reform will violate the rights and privileges of members of unrecognized parties. Specifically, he argued that their freedom of speech will be violated by any discussions held in the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, as members of unrecognized parties are not entitled to be members of committees, and that the proposed increased use of time allocation in the House will likewise affect these members disproportionately. In addition, he decried the government’s expressed intent to bring into effect rule changes without a consensus, as well as the inequitable treatment of members of unrecognized parties who were notified of the government’s parliamentary reform proposal later than members from recognized parties.

In response, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons enumerated opportunities that members of unrecognized parties have to participate in committee deliberations, as well as the fact that debate time in the House is limited for all members, which in any case, is beyond the Speaker's purview to judge. He also challenged the belief that changes to the Standing Orders should be made only with the consent of all parties, citing instances of rule changes achieved without the support of opposition parties.

As the member for Montcalm rightly suggests, as Speaker, I am the custodian and defender of members’ privileges, regardless of their political affiliation. The member is looking to the Chair to ensure that there will be no abrogation or willful disregard of the rights of individual members as the House determines if and how it should change its rules.

The privilege of freedom of speech is undoubtedly the most important right accorded to members of this House. At the same time, there is an important distinction to be made between the right to freedom of speech and the right to participate in the proceedings of the House and its committees. Asked to rule on the right of members to make statements in the House pursuant to Standing Order 31, my predecessor stated on April 23, 2013, at page 15800 of Debates:

…there are inherent limits to the privilege of freedom of speech. Aside from the well-known prohibitions on unparliamentary language, the need to refer to other members by title, the rules on repetition and relevance, the sub judice constraints and other limitations designed to ensure that discourse is conducted in a civil and courteous manner, the biggest limitation of all is the availability of time.

This very same limitation, time, which is a limit for all of us in this life, is equally relevant to other proceedings, including those that may be involved in any review of the Standing Orders.

As has been well established, the Speaker has no authority to judge the adequacy of those time limits agreed upon by the House, nor decide when and if an issue has received sufficient debate; that authority rests solely with the House.

House of Commons Procedure and Practice, Second Edition, states, at page 648:

When asked to determine the acceptability of a motion to limit debate, the Speaker does not judge the importance of the issue in question or whether a reasonable time has been allowed for debate, but strictly addresses the acceptability of the procedure followed. Speakers have therefore ruled that a procedurally acceptable motion to limit the ability of Members to speak on a given motion before the House does not constitute prima facie a breach of parliamentary privilege.

The honourable member for Montcalm has asked whether or not the Speaker should be empowered to determine which procedure the House must use to effect parliamentary reform. The rules and practices of the House provide different approaches, procedurally speaking, to changing the Standing Orders. The Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, whose permanent mandate includes “the review of and report on the Standing Orders, procedure and practice in the House and its committees”, has frequently been the originator of Standing Orders changes. The House has also tasked special committees in the past to study the Standing Orders and report recommendations back to the House. In other cases, the House has been seized of motions to change the Standing Orders that have been sponsored either by the government or by private members.

Regardless of the means chosen, ultimately the Standing Orders can be amended only by way of a decision of the House. House of Commons Procedure and Practice, second edition, at pages 256 and 257, states:

Such a decision is arrived at either by way of consensus or by a simple majority vote on a motion moved by any Member of the House.

The Chair has been asked to determine if potential or future courses of action with respect to the review and reform of the Standing Orders will negatively impact the privileges of individual members. As the member's claims are more speculative in nature at this point, it would be premature and presumptive for the Chair to rule based on assumptions of what might transpire.

I can assure the member for Montcalm, and the whole House, that the Chair has found no evidence that the rights of members from unrecognized parties have been breached nor that they have been impeded from fulfilling their parliamentary duties. Therefore, I cannot find that a prima facie question of privilege exists in this case.

I thank members for their attention in this matter.

Canadian Foreign PolicyGovernment Orders

10:25 a.m.

University—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

moved:

That the House (a) recognize that the government is committed to a foreign policy that supports multilateralism and rules-based international systems, human rights, gender equality, the fight against climate change, and economic benefits being shared by all; (b) recognize that further leadership on the part of Canada is both desirable and required; and (c) support the government’s decision to use the foregoing principles to guide Canadian foreign policy.

Mr. Speaker, here is a question. Is Canada an essential country at this time in the life of our planet? Most of us here would agree that it is, but if we assert this, we are called to explain why and we are called to consider the specifics of what we must do as a consequence.

International relationships that had seemed immutable for 70 years are being called into question. From Europe to Asia, to our own North American home, long-standing pacts that have formed the bedrock of our security and prosperity for generations are being tested. New shared human imperatives, the fight against climate change first among them, call for renewed, uncommon resolve.

Turning aside from our responsibilities is not an option. Instead, we must think carefully and deeply about what is happening and find a way forward. By definition, the path we choose must be one that serves the interests of all Canadians and upholds our broadly held national values. It must be one that preserves and nurtures Canadian prosperity and security, and that contributes to our collective goal of a better, safer, more just, prosperous, and sustainable world, one we can pass on to our children and grandchildren with a sense of having done the right thing in our time.

This is no small order. It is what I would like to spend a few minutes talking about today.

Since before the end of the Second World War, beginning with the international conference at Bretton Woods in 1944, Canada has been deeply engaged in, and greatly enjoyed the benefits of, a global order. These were principles and standards that were applied, perhaps not perfectly at all times by all states, but certainly by the vast majority of democratic states, most of the time.

The system had at its heart the core notions of territorial integrity, human rights, democracy, respect for the rule of law, and an aspiration to free and friendly trade. The common volition toward this order arose from a fervent determination not to repeat the mistakes of the immediate past. Humankind had learned through the direct experience of horror and hardship that the narrow pursuit of national self-interest, the law of the jungle, led to nothing but carnage and poverty.

Two global conflicts and the Great Depression, all in the span of less than half a century, taught our parents and grandparents that national borders must be inviolate; that international trading relationships created not only prosperity but also peace; and that a true world community, one based on shared aspirations and standards, was not only desirable but essential to our very survival.

That deep yearning toward lasting peace led to the creation of international institutions that endure to this day with the nations of western Europe, together with their transatlantic allies, the United States and Canada, at their foundation.

In each of these evolutions in how we humans organize ourselves, Canadians played pivotal roles. There was Bretton Woods itself, where the Canadian delegation was instrumental in drafting provisions of the fledgling International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. A few years later, in 1947, a Canadian, Dana Wilgress, played a leading role at the meetings in Geneva that led to the development of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, the precursor to the WTO.

It is a Canadian, John Humphrey, who is generally credited as the principal author of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1948. That was the first of what became a series of declarations to set international standards in this vital area.

Let us not neglect the great Canadian, perhaps best known for advancing the cause of humanitarian intervention, Lester B. Pearson. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for his leadership during the Suez crisis in 1956, for the creation of modern peacekeeping.

These institutions may seem commonplace today. We may take them for granted. We should not. Seventy years ago, they were revolutionary, and they set the stage for the longest period of peace and prosperity in our history. It was the same appreciation of the common interests of the human family in caring for our common home that led us to the acid rain treaty of the Mulroney era. It was what led us to the Montreal protocol of 1987 to phase out CFCs and preserve the ozone layer. It is what led us, ultimately, to Paris with 194 signatories at our side. That is global co-operation.

It is important to note that when sacrifice was required to support and strengthen the global order, military power in defence of our principles and alliances, Canada was there. In Suez, in Korea, in the Congo, in Cypress, in the first Gulf War, in the Balkans, in Afghanistan, up to and including today in Iraq, among many other places, Canada has been there. As the Prime Minister has often said, that is what Canadians do. We step up.

Today, it is worth reminding ourselves why we step up, why we devote time and resources to foreign policy, defence, and development, and why we have sent Canadian soldiers, sailors, aviators, diplomats, aid workers, intelligence officers, doctors, nurses, medics, and engineers into situations of danger, disaster, and chaos overseas, even at times when Canadian territory was not directly at risk.

Why do we spend billions on defence, if we are not immediately threatened? For some countries, Israel and Latvia come to mind, the answer is self-evident. Countries that face a clear and immediate existential challenge know they need to spend on military and foreign policy, and they know why.

For a few lucky countries, like Canada and the United States, that feel protected by geography and good neighbours, the answer is less obvious. Indeed, we could easily imagine a Canadian few who say that we are safe on our continent and we have things to do at home, so let us turn inward, let us say, “Canada first”.

Here is why that would be wrong.

First, though no foreign adversary is poised to invade us, we do face clear challenges. Climate change is a shared menace, affecting every single person on this planet. Civil war, poverty, drought, and natural disasters anywhere in the world threaten us as well, not least because these catastrophes spawn globally destabilizing mass migrations.

The dictatorship in North Korea, crimes against humanity in Syria, the monstrous extremists of Daesh, and Russian military adventurism and expansionism also all pose clear strategic threats to the liberal democratic world, including Canada. Our ability to act against such threats alone is limited. It requires co-operation with like-minded countries.

On the military front, Canada's geography has meant that we have always been able to count on American self-interest to provide a protective umbrella beneath which we have found indirect shelter. Some think, some even say, we should therefore free ride on U.S. military power. Why invest billions to maintain a capable, professional, well-funded, and well-equipped Canadian military? The answer is obvious.

To rely solely on the U.S. security umbrella would make us a client state. Although we have an incredibly good relationship with our American friends and neighbours, such dependence would not be in Canada's interest. That is why doing our fair share is clearly necessary. It is why our commitment to NORAD and our strategic relationship with the United States is so critical. It is by pulling our weight in this partnership, and in all our international partnerships, that we, in fact, have weight.

To put it plainly, Canadian diplomacy and development sometimes require the backing of hard power. Force is, of course, always a last resort, but the principled use of force, together with our allies and governed by international law, is part of our history, and it must be a part of our future. To have that capacity requires substantial investment, which this government is committed to making. The Minister of National Defence will elaborate fully on that tomorrow. I know he will make Canadians justly proud.

Whatever their politics, Canadians understand that as a middle power living next to the world's only superpower, Canada has a huge interest in an international order based on rules, one in which might is not always right, one in which more powerful countries are constrained in their treatment of smaller ones by standards that are internationally respected, enforced, and upheld. The single most important pillar of this, which emerged following the carnage of the First and Second World Wars is the sanctity of borders, and that principle today is under siege. That is why the democratic world has united behind Ukraine.

The illegal seizure of Ukrainian territory by Russia is the first time since the end of the Second World War that a European power has annexed, by force, the territory of another European country. This is not something we can accept or ignore.

The atrocities of Daesh directly challenge both the sanctity of borders and the liberal international order itself. They create chaos, not only because of the carnage they perpetrate on their innocent victims but because of the humanitarian crises and migratory explosions that follow. This is why the world has united against this scourge. Violent extremism challenges our very way of life. We will always oppose it.

Another key benefit for Canada from an international system based on rules is, of course, free trade. In this sphere as well, beggar-thy-neighbour policies hit middle powers soonest and hardest. That is the implacable lesson of the 1930s and the Great Depression. Rising trade barriers hurt the people they are intended to help. They curb growth, stifle innovation, and kill employment. This is a lesson we should learn from history. We should not need to teach it to ourselves again through painful experience.

The international order an earlier generation built faces two big challenges, both unprecedented. The first is the rapid emergence of the global South and Asia, most prominently China, and the need to integrate these countries into the world’s economic and political system in a way that is additive, that preserves the best of the old order that preceded their rise, and that addresses the existential threat of climate change.

This is a problem that simply cannot be solved by nations working alone. We must work together.

I have focused these remarks on the development of the postwar international order, a process that was led primarily by the Atlantic powers of North America and western Europe. But we recognize that the global balance of power has changed greatly since then and will continue to evolve as more nations prosper.

The G20, in whose creation Canada was instrumental, was an early acknowledgement of this emerging reality. The countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia are ascendent, delivering ever-increasing living standards to fast-growing populations bursting with innovation, creativity, and enterprise.

This is not a trend any of us should fear. It is one we should embrace. Let us recognize that the peace and prosperity we in the west have enjoyed these past 70 years are desired by all and are increasingly within reach of all. As Canadians, let us be agents of that change. Let us seize the great opportunity we have now to help the people of the world's fastest-growing countries join the global middle class and the multilateral system that supports it. Peace and prosperity are every person's birthright.

The second great challenge is an exhaustion in the west of the belief among working people, the middle class, that the global system can help them better their lives. This is an enormous crisis of confidence. It has the potential, if we let it, to undermine global prosperity itself. At the root of this anxiety around the world is a pervasive sense that too many people have been left behind, betrayed by a system they were promised would make them better off but has not.

Here is the key. It is true that the system is flawed. However, international trade is the wrong target. The real culprit is domestic policies that fail to appreciate that continued growth and political stability depend on domestic measures that share the wealth.

Admittedly, this is a complicated problem. If there were easy solutions, everybody would be applying them. However, let us be clear on this point: it is wrong to view the woes of our middle class as the result of fiendish behaviour by foreigners. The truth is that the nature of work has changed because of profound, and generally benign, global economic innovation. This transformation, driven primarily by automation and the digital revolution, is broadly positive.

Managed fairly, it has the potential to increase prosperity for all, not just the global one percent. That means supporting families, supporting pensioners, and supporting education and retraining, as the Minister of Finance did in his recent budget.

By better supporting the middle class, and those working hard to join it, Canada is defining an approach to globalization that can be a model. At the same time, we strongly support the global 2030 goals for sustainable development. The world abroad and the world at home are not two solitudes. They are connected. Likewise, by embracing multiculturalism and diversity, Canadians are embodying a way of life that works. We can say this in all humility, but also without any false self-effacement: Canadians know about living side-by side with people of diverse origins and beliefs, whose ancestors hail from the far corners of the globe, in harmony and peace. We are good at it.

We say this in the full knowledge that we also have problems of our own to overcome, most egregiously the injustices suffered by indigenous people in Canada. We must never flinch from acknowledging this great failure, even as we do the hard work of seeking restoration and reconciliation.

It is clearly not our role to impose our values around the world. No one appointed us the world's policemen. However, it is our role to stand firmly for these rights, both in Canada and abroad. It is our role to provide refuge to the persecuted and downtrodden to the extent we are able, as we are so proud to have done for more than 40,000 Syrian refugees.

It is our role to set a standard for how states should treat women, gays and lesbians, transgendered people, racial, ethnic, cultural, linguistic, and religious minorities, and of course, indigenous people.

We can and must play an active role in the preservation and strengthening of the global order from which we have benefited so greatly. Doing so is in our interest, because our own open society is most secure in a world of open societies, and it is under threat in a world where open societies are under threat.

In short, Canadian liberalism is a precious idea. It would not survive long in a world dominated by the clash of great powers and their vassals struggling for supremacy, or at best, an uneasy détente. Canada can work for better. We must work for better.

Let me pause here and address the United States directly. As the Prime Minister said last week, Canada is deeply disappointed by the U.S. federal government's decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement on climate change.

That said, we will continue to seek opportunities for constructive progress on the environment, wherever we can find them, with our counterparts in Washington and across the great United States, at all levels of government and with partners in business, labour, and civil society.

As I have said, we Canadians can rightly be proud of the role we played in building the postwar order, and the unprecedented peace and prosperity that followed.

Even as we celebrate our own part in that project, it is only fair for us to acknowledge the larger contribution of the United States, for in blood, in treasure, in strategic vision, in leadership, America has paid the lion's share. The United States has truly been the indispensable nation. For their unique seven-decades-long contribution to our shared peace and prosperity, and on behalf of all Canadians, I would like to profoundly thank our American friends.

As I have argued, Canada believes strongly that this stable, predictable international order has been deeply in our national interest, and we believe it has helped foster peace and prosperity for our southern neighbours too, yet it would be naive or hypocritical to claim before the House that all Americans today agree. Indeed, many of the voters in last year's presidential election cast their ballots animated, in part, by a desire to shrug off the burden of world leadership. To say this is not controversial; it is simply a fact.

Canada is grateful and will always be grateful to our neighbour for the outsized role it has played in the world. We seek and shall continue to seek to persuade our friends that their continued international leadership is very much in their national interest, as well as that of the rest of the free world. We also recognize that this is ultimately not our decision to make. It is a choice Americans must make for themselves.

The fact that our friend and ally has come to question the very worth of its mantle of global leadership puts into sharper focus the need for the rest of us to set our own clear and sovereign course. For Canada, that course must be the renewal, indeed the strengthening, of the post-war multilateral order.

We will follow this path with open hands and open hearts extended to our American friends, seeking to make common cause, as we have so often in the past, and indeed, as we continue to do now on many fronts, from border security, to the defence of North America through NORAD, to the fight against Daesh, to our efforts within NATO, to nurturing and improving our trading relationship, which is the strongest in the world. At the same time, we will work with other like-minded people and countries that share our aims.

To put this in sharper focus, those aims are as follows.

First, we will robustly support the rules-based international order and all its institutions, and seek ways to strengthen and improve them. We will strongly support the multilateral forums where such discussions are held, including the G7, the G20, the OAS, APEC, the WTO, the Commonwealth, La Francophonie, the Arctic Council, and of course NATO and the UN.

A cornerstone of our multilateral agenda is our steadfast commitment to the transatlantic alliance. Our bond is manifest in CETA, our historic trade agreement with the European Union, which we believe in and warmly support, and in our military deployment this summer to Latvia.

There can be no clearer sign that NATO and article 5 are at the heart of Canada’s national security policy.

We will strive for leadership in all these multilateral forums. We are honoured to be hosting the G7 next year, and we are energetically pursuing a two-year term on the UN Security Council. We seek this UN seat because we wish to be heard, and we are safer and more prosperous when more of the world shares Canadian values.

Those values include feminism and the promotion of the rights of women and girls. It is important, and historic, that we have a Prime Minister and a government who are proud to proclaim themselves feminists. Women’s rights are human rights. That includes sexual reproductive rights.

That includes the right to safe and accessible abortions.

These rights are at the core of our foreign policy. To that end, in the coming days, my colleague the Minister of International Development and La Francophonie will unveil Canada’s first feminist international assistance policy, which will target the rights of women and girls as well as gender equality.

We will put Canada at the forefront of this global effort. This is a matter of basic justice and also basic economics. We know that empowering women overseas and here at home makes families and countries more prosperous. Canada’s values are informed by our historical duality of French and English; by our co-operative brand of federalism; by our multicultural, multi-ethnic, and multilingual citizenry; and by our geography, since our country bridges the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic.

Our values are informed by the traditions and aspirations of the indigenous people in Canada, and our values include an unshakeable commitment to pluralism, human rights, and the rule of law.

Second, we will make the necessary investments in our military, not only redress years of neglect and underfunding but also to place the Canadian Armed Forces on a new footing with the equipment, training, resources, and consistent, predictable financing they need to do their difficult, dangerous, and important work. We owe this to our women and men in uniform. We will not let them down.

Canada’s broader interest in investing in a capable, professional, and robust military is very clear. If middle powers do not implicate themselves in the furtherance of peace and stability around the world, that will be left to the great powers to settle among themselves. This would not be in Canada’s interest.

Third, we are a trading nation. Far from seeing trade as a zero-sum game, we believe in trading relationships that benefit all parties. We look forward to working with our continental partners to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement and to making a great partnership even better.

We will intensify our efforts to diversify Canadian trade worldwide. We will actively seek new trade agreements that further Canadian economic interests and that reflect our values, with the Canada-EU trade agreement as our template.

As I said, we are proud of the role Canada has played in creating a rules-based international trading order. We believe in the WTO and will continue our work to make it stronger and more responsive to the needs of ordinary people in Canada and around the world. We believe in progressive trade that works for working people. That is why we are very proud that this month, Canada will ratify the last of the fundamental conventions of the International Labour Organization.

In summary, we will be tireless in pursing our national interest, tireless in upholding progressive Canadian values, tireless in working to create a rules-based international order for the 21st century. Seventy years ago Canada played a pivotal role in forming the postwar international order. By virtue of our unique experience, expertise, geography, diversity, and values, we are now called to do this again for a new century.

These are ambitious objectives. There is no guarantee of success. We set them, not in the assumption that success will come easily but in the certain knowledge that it will not. We will venture in noble and good causes. We will risk, we will enjoy victories, and we will suffer defeats, but we will keep working toward a better world because that is what Canadians do.

Let me conclude on a personal note.

A popular criticism today of the arguments I am making here is that all such ideas are abstract, perhaps of interest to the so-called Laurentian elite, or the media or the Ottawa bubble, but not at all relevant to real Canadians. That line of reasoning is the ultimate elite condescension; it is nonsense.

In reply, I offer the example of my grandfather, John Wilbur Freeland. He was born in Peace River, Alberta, the son of a pioneer family. Wilbur was 24 in 1940, and making a bit of a living as a cowboy and boxer. His nickname was “Pretty Boy” Freeland. My grandpa was the opposite of an Upper Canada elite, but in the darkest days of the Second World War, Wilbur enlisted to serve. Two brothers, Carleton and Warren, joined up too. Wilbur and Carleton came home; Warren did not. My grandfather told me they signed up partly for the excitement. Europe, even at war, was an exotic destination for the young men of the Peace Country.

There was more to it than a young man’s thirst for adventure, though. My grandfather was one of a generation of Canadians who intuitively understood the connection between their lives and those of people they had never met, whose speech they could not comprehend, who lived on a continent so far away as to constitute, back then, another world.

That generation of Canadians, the greatest generation we call them with good reason, had survived the Great Depression. They were born in the aftermath of the First World War. They appreciated viscerally that a world without fixed borders or rules for the global economy was a world of strife and poverty. They sought to prevent that from ever happening again.

That is why they risked and gave their lives to fight in a European war. That is why, when they came home, they cheerfully contributed to the great project of rebuilding Europe and creating a postwar world order. That is why they counted themselves lucky to be able to do so.

They were our parents, our grandparents, and our great grandparents. The challenge we face today is significant, to be sure, but it pales next to the task they faced and met. Our job today is to preserve their achievement and to build on it, to use the multilateral structures they created as the foundation for global accords and institutions fit for the new realities of our century. They rose to their generation's great challenge, so can we.

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11 a.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, when the hugs are finished on the other side, it must be noted that we just have been subject to a speech of breathtaking hypocrisy. The government wants to cover itself in glory on foreign affairs, but the fact is that it has consistently championed appeasement in every part of the world where it has been active.

If the minister disagrees with me, I want her to answer two very simple questions that I have asked her before in committee of the whole, to which I did not get an answer.

First, will the government finally recognize the genocide of the Yazidis and Assyrian Christians in Iraq and Syria? That would be a strong indication of whether the government cares about UN conventions with respect to genocide. Would the Liberals recognize that genocide?

Second, I have asked it twice before and have not received an answer. The Saudi government is now part of the UN women's rights commission. Does this feminist government think that Saudi Arabia's presence on the UN women's rights commission is a good thing or a bad thing?

These are two simple questions that I think will be quite revealing about what is actually going on with respect to the government's foreign policy.

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11 a.m.

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland Liberal University—Rosedale, ON

Mr. Speaker, while clearly it is the job of my colleagues in opposition to find the fault in our position, I really hope and believe that it is possible for us to have a foreign policy based on broadly shared, broadly held national objectives. That is really the approach this government is seeking to take, and will continue to seek.

There are Canadian values and there is a level at which, as has been the case with Ukraine, where the House can be united in pursuing them.

On the specific questions asked by the member opposite, I have answered those many times before in the House. We are absolutely strong and clear in our condemnation of the heinous acts being perpetrated against the Yazidis, and we have been very clear in welcoming Yazidis refugees to our country.

On the question of Saudi Arabia, as the member opposite knows very well, that was not a position on which Canada had a vote. However, a reason we feel so strongly that it is the right thing for Canada to get a seat on the UN Security Council and the reason we were so disappointed at the unprecedented failure to get that seat last time around is because the Canadian voice needs to be heard at that level.

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11:05 a.m.

NDP

Hélène Laverdière NDP Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would first like to thank the minister for this initiative. I think that, in these difficult times on the international scene, it is more important than ever to have frank and open debates in the House regarding Canadian foreign policy.

Obviously, the main principles of the motion resonate with us. They are the traditional principles of Canada and principles that Canada has long defended, because they address both our humanity and our interests. As I like to say, when the world is doing well, Canada is doing better.

That said, words are not enough. The minister mentioned the many Canadians who were involved in creating institutions and developing tools. We are all proud of that, obviously, but at the same time, Canada refuses to take part in negotiations on a nuclear weapons convention.

We can talk about human rights, but what is happening with Raïf Badawi and with the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia? What is happening with the creation of an ombudsman for responsible mining? What is happening with the Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement for refugees? There are many such topics, but I will keep to just two questions for the minister.

When can we expect a clear announcement regarding a Canadian peacekeeping mission and when can we expect to have a timeline for Canada to respect its commitment to allocate 0.7% of its gross national income to international development?

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11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland Liberal University—Rosedale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by thanking my colleague for her question and for her work, not only as a member of the House, but as a diplomat.

As I have said, diplomacy is a very important part of our work in the world. My colleague asked me a lot of questions and mentioned a lot of issues, and that is absolutely fine. As for the issues regarding defence and development, my colleagues the Minister of National Defence and the Minister of International Development will speak more about those this week.

She also spoke about the United Nations and nuclear disarmament. On this issue, we may not agree. I would like to note that our goal is nuclear disarmament and that we are taking the necessary steps to achieve that. That means working hard to implement something tangible. That is the question. In 2006, for the first time, Canada rallied 159 states to support and adopt a resolution for the fissile material cut-off treaty. That is a concrete step toward the elimination of nuclear weapons, both for countries that have nuclear weapons and for countries that do not but are concerned. On this issue, I think that we must work in a more tangible manner and not just make declarations.

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11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Dianne Lynn Watts Conservative South Surrey—White Rock, BC

Mr. Speaker, I want to state very clearly, just as an FYI, that the slaughter of Yazidi people is genocide.

My question is about action. I appreciate the comments on the global order and all the things that we are going to do, but I am an action-oriented person.

My question is very simple. What are you going to do about the persecution of gay men in Chechnya?

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11:10 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Order. I would remind our hon. colleague from South Surrey—White Rock to direct her questions and comments to the Chair. I know the member does not want me to answer her question.

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11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland Liberal University—Rosedale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am sure that you would have an excellent answer to offer to those two questions.

Let me start with the Chechen question. I am very personally seized with this issue. I am very personally involved, as is our government, our diplomats, and our department of immigration. I will, in due course, have more to say about it. However, I trust that the hon. member and this entire House appreciate that this, in Russia, in Chechnya, is an extremely delicate situation, and I will not say anything for momentary partisan political gain that would endanger the lives of people who are already facing a very specific threat. I want to assure this House that this issue is very high on my personal agenda. We are working hard on it. I am afraid that, at this moment, there is no more I can say.

I do want to say one other thing. The member began her question by suggesting that the international rules-based order was some ephemeral thing and not the proper concern of an action-based person. Let me say that the international rules-based order is, not only for the entire world but specifically for a middle power like Canada, of very concrete, very direct importance to us.

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11:10 a.m.

Louis-Hébert Québec

Liberal

Joël Lightbound LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I will first thank the minister for her speech and the ambitious, responsible, and humane voice that she gives or gives back to Canada. We greatly appreciate it.

I was very pleased to learn that the next G7 summit will take place in the beautiful Charlevoix region, which is not very far from my home.

We already know that Canada is an engaged partner in several multilateral forums, namely the Commonwealth, the Francophonie, NATO, the WTO, the Arctic Council, the UN and the G20.

As we prepare to assume the G7 presidency in 2018, I would like the minister to tell me what Canada’s priorities are for the important year of 2018.

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11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland Liberal University—Rosedale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. The Prime Minister has spoken a lot about Charlevoix with the other G7 leaders. Everyone is very pleased to have the chance to come see such a beautiful part of our country.

Regarding the G7, it is a very important opportunity for Canada during a difficult time for the world. It is an opportunity for us to assume global leadership with our international friends. It will be a very important year for Canada and for the world.

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11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to rise, speak about Canada's foreign policy, and respond to the statements that the minister has made, as well as make some of my own comments with respect to this.

Just as a quick follow-up to the exchange that the minister and I just had, is it not striking how I can ask very simple, basic questions about fundamental issues of human rights, issues that should not be difficult to answer, issues for which there is evidence? There is no debate, really, about the fact that Saudi Arabia is not exactly a champion of women's rights. There is no debate about the certain reality that Assyrian Christians and Yazidis face genocide in Syria and Iraq. These are not questions that I think the minister, actually—if she were not a politician but were in her former life as a journalist and commentator—would have any trouble answering in a clear and frank way.

However, through the fact that the minister and the government are unwilling to make very simple, very clear statements about human rights issues, we can discern a deeper reality about the government's foreign policy, which is that while it wants to praise, in general terms, these things like human rights and the international system, it does not actually ever want to confront those countries that are responsible for the violation of human rights.

In fact, while talking in glorious terms about these important values and institutions at least in this place, on the world stage in its interaction with other countries that actually really need to hear these messages, the government's watchword is, unfortunately, appeasement. The minister began her speech with an important and proactive question: Is Canada an essential country on the world stage in the present time? I would say, “Yes, absolutely; Canada, a Canada that stands up clearly for our values, a country with an unapologetically principled foreign policy, is very much needed on the world stage”.

However, what we have under the government is not a Canada pursuing a principled foreign policy. Rather, we have a government that knows what buzzwords it wants to use for a domestic audience, but it is afraid to say something as basic as that there are women's rights problems in Saudi Arabia. Again, this is not rocket science; this is not controversial.

It is too much, apparently, for the Minister of Foreign Affairs to state that reality. When the minister fails to do that, when the minister is unwilling to state the obvious in this place and on the world stage, we actually lose that vital Canadian voice, a voice that we had in the last 10 years under Stephen Harper. At that time, not everybody around the world liked our foreign policy approach. There were some countries that were annoyed by the fact that we talked about fundamental human rights, that we confronted leaders on issues like their disregard for international peace and security, like their disregard for borders, like their disregard for fundamental human rights.

We were not afraid to stand up and talk about those issues. It had some consequences, insofar as there were countries that, some of the time, did not really like that we were doing this. However we were true to who we are. Through our courageous, principle-based foreign policy, we were very much able to advance Canada's interest.

During the Harper years, especially in the early period when Canada was particularly vocal on human rights in China, Canada's trade increased dramatically with China. There is this myth that somehow we cannot talk about human rights with China while trading, but the opposite is true. In fact, what we saw under the Harper government was a willingness to stand up, clearly and forcefully, for our values. It might make some people uncomfortable, but ultimately those people are still going to come to the table because they can respect a Canada that is clear and convicted in its principled stand for its positions.

That is what we had previously. That is what existed under the previous government. However, there are so many areas where we see very clearly a complete dissonance between that and the flowery words of the government when, in instances like this, it wants to come into the House of Commons and have this publicity event where it talks about its alleged commitment to principles, which it then completely fails to stand up for when it actually counts.

What we are actually seeing from the government is a de-emphasis of principles and an emphasis on what it perceives to be national self-interest. It is a different form or expression of national self-interest than we see from other states. Other states disregard the international political order and seek to violently advance their self-interest with complete disregard for the borders of other countries. We see from the Liberal government a different kind of prioritization of self-interest, which is at all costs, at cost of principle, to try to curry favour within international institutions by getting the approval of whatever heads of state, dictators, or whoever control the votes to try to advance their position within the councils of the world, but with complete disregard for the actual values that are supposed to underlie those institutions.

I believe that the United Nations is important, but I care more about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights than I do about votes of the UN General Assembly, because most countries that vote in the UN General Assembly actually do not come anywhere close to the full implementation of the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. That is a truly principled internationalism, one that has greater regard for, yes, principles rather than the politics, rather than the self-interest calculation of these international institutions.

The focus on national self-interest, which we see epitomized by the actions of the Liberal government might be a different form or expression of national self-interest, but is still very much, quite evidently, a prioritization of its concept of national self-interest ahead of values. I am hopeful that through the continuing pressure of the opposition, the government can be pushed to make changes, but it is not good enough to simply applaud the statements of the minister when there is absolutely no acknowledgement of the realities of the government's foreign policy and the harms that it has caused.

Let us very clearly and specifically review the record with respect to the Liberal government's approach to foreign policy. I am going to go over some key examples in response to what the minister said, which I will dig into in more detail later, to demonstrate the contrast between what Canada has done previously, especially under the leadership of Stephen Harper, and what the current Prime Minister and foreign affairs minister are doing.

The most obvious place to start is that it is breathtaking how much the Liberal government wants to gain the favour of China and do everything possible to cozy up to China, not in Canada's interest but in China's interest, and not reflecting Canada's values. I should not even say China's interest or values, because we are talking about the governing elite, the Communist Party, that has really, in many ways, captured the direction of the Prime Minister. There are many people in China who are, I note, very concerned about what the Liberal government is doing with respect to not addressing human rights issues in their country.

How can we talk about a rules-based international system and then seek a free trade deal and an extradition deal with the People's Republic of China? Clearly, China does not, at a very basic level, have a sound criminal justice system and does not respect human rights and the rights of people who are charged to have their situation considered in an impartial way. The Chinese government actively seeks to persecute people whose crime might be, in the view of that government, simply being part of a faith community that the government does not wish to exist. Typically, the Chinese government will come up with outlandish charges against those individuals. It may charge them with corruption, disrupting the peace, or these sorts of things.

In an extradition framework, if Canada is told China wants to extradite a particular person because that person was involved in corruption, which might be the charge, the Chinese government might do everything it can to try to make that charge stick, but the reality is that there are divisions within that government that are specifically set up for the purpose of trying to make false charges stick to people who are political dissidents or members of religious minorities.

Of course, we already have extradition agreements with some countries with whom we disagree on certain things. We have an extradition agreement with the United States. Our country opposes the death penalty and I personally oppose the death penalty. Obviously, if anyone is sent back for extradition to the United States, it is on the basis of a clear understanding that the person will not receive the death penalty.

The point is that the United States is a rule-of-law country that happens to have one and probably certain other features of their justice system that we would disagree with. We want to make sure that those features are removed in the case of a person who we send back. That is fair enough.

In a country where there is not rule of law at a fundamental level, where there is not respect for or guarantees of the rights of the individual, where there is no concept even of a fair trial, how can one talk about extradition? One cannot ask, in the context of extradition, that a person not be tried by the existing system of that country. It just does not make any sense, yet the Liberal government has said that it would like to pursue extradition with China. Even there, there is a lack of coherence. We see clearly how there is this dissonance between what it wants to be saying for the benefit of a domestic audience and what it wants to be saying to the People's Republic of China.

Are we in the midst of a negotiation, or are we just talking about the possibility of negotiation? It is not entirely clear what the government is doing. We have heard subtly different kinds of responses on these points from different people on the government side as this debate has unfolded.

It would be amazing if the Minister of Foreign Affairs could give a speech as she did about the government's commitment to international institutions without having any shame about the fact that Canada is involved in negotiations or discussions of some kind with China with respect to extradition. Surely, when she was saying the things she was saying, at some point she had to think that this does not perhaps jibe with what is being done over here.

Actually, there are lots of things that are in this “over here” space that do not jibe with the words of the government. It is also talking about pursuing a free trade deal with China. I am going to talk more later about how that is not in our interest. More particularly to the point here, this does not accord at all with the government's statements about its commitment to an international rule-based system.

It is well known that China does not respect basic labour rights. The People's Republic of China does not respect basic issues around environmental protection and intellectual property. If the government is going to enter into a bilateral trade negotiation in the context of a bilateral negotiation with such a large economy as China, the government would find itself at a significant disadvantage in the context of that negotiation.

We are much better off, I would argue, in the context of an international system, in the context of a partnership of democracies, if we were to, at a later point, through a collaboration of democracies, approach China for trade. We would be in a much better position having, through a vehicle like TPP, set the terms of trade in favour of free democracies.

That is not what the Liberal government wants to do. It wants to pursue a bilateral trade agreement with the People's Republic of China. It is going into that, initially, automatically, with some degree of a disadvantage. If it is to do that, of course it has to take into consideration what the impacts would be for intellectual property protection in this country, for environmental protection, and in terms of labour rights. If Canada is in a trading relationship where there is a country not respecting those things, Canadian business is at a huge disadvantage, never mind the fundamental issues of human rights.

That is a clear instance of dissonance between what the Minister of Foreign Affairs is saying and the realities of the situation in terms of what the minister is actually pursuing with respect to our relationship with China.

I have spoken often in the House about Canada's relationship with Burma. We have a long-standing relationship with Burma. Burma has been a major recipient of Canadian development assistance. Right now, there are very credible reports of ethnic cleansing in the Rakhine area of Burma.

I have asked many questions about this, and specifically I have asked if the Prime Minister would be willing to contact Aung San Suu Kyi and ask directly for a better response to the crisis affecting the Rohingya people.

For a bit of context, Burma has a power-sharing government between a pre-existing military regime, which continues to have a lot of power, and a democratically elected government. There is a tension there. I am not trying to suggest that this is the sort of thing that Aung San Suu Kyi and the elected side of things could unilaterally stop on their own.

At the same time, we need to have strong, clear leadership from the democracy movement in Burma that rallies public support around the protection of religious and ethnic minorities in Burma, in particular around a response to the issues that are affecting the Rohingya people. The Rohingya people should have full citizenship in Burma. Of course, as human beings, they should have their basic rights respected.

I have repeatedly asked the question of whether the government would contact Aung San Suu Kyi directly on this issue. I have asked the Prime Minister that question directly in question period. It was at the last Prime Minister's question period that he did. I do not think it was my question alone that scared him away, but it was the last time, up until now at least, that he answered all the questions, and he did not answer that question.

During committee of the whole, I asked the foreign affairs minister if the Prime Minister would contact Aung San Suu Kyi and raise the issue of the Rohingya. She said she would like to speak for herself, instead of the Prime Minister, and that she had been in touch with various people involved in a study and investigation into these issues through the United Nations. That would be one way for a minister to gather information about the situation in Burma, but that is not the principal vehicle of advocacy. I asked her in a follow-up to that if she had contacted the minister of foreign affairs in Burma to raise these specific issues.

It is well established by now that the government members do not really feel obliged to answer the questions that are asked of them, either in question period, question and comments, or committee of the whole. That is a point that is well established. However, what is actually particularly revealing are the kinds of questions they do not want to answer.

When we ask them to speak clearly and specifically about human rights issues, and ask them if they will take a simple step to contact their counterpart in a country where, very likely, there is ethnic cleansing going on, and raise the issue of ethnic cleansing, a government that is committed to international institutions, to international human rights, to the protection of the rights of linguistic, religious, and ethnic minorities, as the minister talked about, would not have a problem picking up the phone and raising these issues of fundamental human rights. It is not difficult. It is not particularly time consuming to have that conversation, not just with impartial experts. Those conversations are important of course to gather information, but they should have those conversations directly with counterparts in those countries that are affected.

On the issue of Burma, clearly, we have seen that the government has probably not done it, but we would not actually know if they had done it because they have not been able or willing to answer very simple questions about that human rights issue.

It is important to emphasize this point of course because Aung San Suu Kyi is in Canada this week. Let us emphasize clearly that a government that was generally concerned about principles of foreign policy, human rights, the rule of law, human dignity, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, would take this opportunity to raise the issue of minorities, including the situation of the Rohingya in Burma.

Burma's official name used by the government is Myanmar, but Burma has always been the name used by the democracy movement. When I asked the Prime Minister this question, he initially said Burma in response to my question, but then corrected himself to say Myanmar. That is notable as well. Of course, there may be some official context in which it is appropriate to use the name Myanmar, but generally speaking, the words we use for countries also send a powerful message about whether we are aligning ourselves with the democracy movement, and with religious and ethnic minorities, or whether we are aligning ourselves with the existing political parties that are in play in a country.

Let us talk about the issue of the government's response to Daesh, because there was a specific section in the minister's speech where she spoke about the horrific atrocities of Daesh. It is striking. Every time we ask a minister of foreign affairs in this government, it was the same with Stéphane Dion, about genocide recognition they will say, “These atrocities are terrible. There are terrible atrocities happening”, but they will not use the word “genocide”. It is as if they expect the House not to notice that they did not use the word in the response. This is an unfortunate pattern with the government, not being willing to recognize the reality of this genocide.

The evidence of genocide is overwhelmingly clear. The UN convention with respect to genocide identifies five criteria for a genocide. Daesh has transgressed not just one of those criteria, it has very clearly transgressed all five of those criteria, and it has been explicit about it. Yes, it is important to undertake an investigation, but the reality is that Daesh is actively trying to broadcast its atrocities. Its members are not ashamed of the fact that they are involved in genocide. They are trying to broadcast as much as possible to the world their involvement in genocide. They are proud of it, and they want us to know about it, yet the government refuses to recognize that reality, even though it is clear that not one but all five of the criteria established by the United Nations are being clearly transgressed by this organization.

Every time I ask this question, I say that Yazidis and Assyrian Christians have been victims of genocide at the hands of Daesh, yet the response from the minister, all three times I have asked this question, twice in committee of the whole and once here during questions and comments in response to her speech, was, “Of course we are very concerned about the situation of the Yazidis”. What is going on there? I always ask about Yazidis and Assyrian Christians, and the minister replies, “We are very concerned about the situation of the Yazidis”. What is wrong with mentioning concern about the situation of Assyrian Christians as well? Yazidis and Assyrian Christians live in the same communities. They are victims of the same genocidal death cult. They are treated in the same way.

When the minister cannot bring herself to acknowledge the experience of Christians in the Middle East, that is quite revealing. Again, it is not just what the government members say. It is what they do not say that I think is particularly revealing in terms of whether they actually are seized with these issues of fundamental international human rights. We know that they voted against a motion that sought to recognize the genocide affecting Yazidis and Assyrian Christians, but even in response to my questions, they cannot bring themselves to say “Assyrian Christians”. This is really unbelievable.

I asked during committee of the whole if the minister has ever made a public statement about the persecution of Christians in any country. Christians are arguably the most persecuted religious community, certainly if we add up the number of countries and individuals affected around the world. The minister was able, only in that context, to refer me to a number of S.O.31s made by the parliamentary secretary in the House. Needless to say, 60-second statements by the parliamentary secretary are not a sufficient expression of the government's active commitment to addressing the issues affecting Christians, as well as other religious minorities.

Of course, our concern for human rights internationally should not focus on one group to the exclusion of any others. I speak regularly in the House about Muslims, Rohingya, and other minorities around the world, but yes, my advocacy on human rights includes Christians. The advocacy of our party on human rights includes all religious minorities, including Christians, yet the government cannot bring itself to say “Assyrian Christians” in response to a question. If we look at the statements made on the foreign affairs website, there is no mention of concern being expressed with respect to the treatment of Christians.

It comes down to this very clear specific point that if the government is actually concerned about issues of international human rights, it needs to consider not just the politics of the United Nations but the United Nations documents that specify fundamental human rights, including the convention on genocide, which provides a clear definition. Daesh is advertising the fact that it is ignoring that convention.

Another theme of the minister's speech is the issue of defence spending. She said, I think quite rightly, actually, that a nation that simply relies on another nation for its defence will find itself in a very vulnerable position. She used the term “client state”.

I think the other concern is that if a nation is not providing for its own defence, over time the nations that are protecting it will become sick of protecting a state that is not pulling its weight. We know that the current U.S. President has been quite vocal on the issue of other countries within NATO getting to their 2%-of-GDP target. However, it is not just Donald Trump who is talking about this issue. I remember when former president Barack Obama was here in this House speaking about issues in the Canada-U.S. relationship. Of course, he received a very warm reception from all parties. It was striking, actually, that he made some explicit comments in front of our Parliament about how it would be nice if Canada spent more on our military.

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11:40 a.m.

Conservative

David Tilson Conservative Dufferin—Caledon, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I do not think there is a quorum here to hear this wonderful speech. I would ask that you determine whether there is a quorum in the House.

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11:40 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I thank the hon. member for Dufferin—Caledon for bringing to my attention the question of a quorum. While there was an absence of it at the moment he requested it, I think he will see, as I do, that there is now a quorum.

The hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan.

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11:40 a.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, it would of course be unparliamentary for me to comment on the presence or absence of many members in the House during my remarks, but I am not surprised that members of the government backbench do not want to hear what I have to say. In fact, I know that many members of the government backbench are genuinely embarrassed about the policies of their own government with respect to these issues. I commend them for their shame when they listen to the words of the foreign affairs minister, who is clearly not willing to do basic things when it comes to international human rights. All the same, I invite them to look their own failings in the eye and participate and listen to this discussion, because it is only through honest confrontation of their failures that they can hopefully turn the corner.

I say all that with the best of regard, because we all have a stake in Canada turning a corner and returning to a principled foreign policy, one that actually measures up to the words spoken by the minister, but we are certainly not there now.

I was in the process of discussing the issue of defence spending and reminding members who are in the House now that it was the last president, President Barrack Obama, who spoke about the need for Canada to contribute more to our national defence and to our collective security. I am under no illusion that we can get to that 2% of GDP overnight, but we need to have a realistic plan to get there, because if Canada and other NATO partners are not realistically engaged in ensuring that we are meeting our obligations under NATO, then at some point, taxpayers in the United States are going to become frustrated, and it is going to add pressure and create some real problems for us.

This discussion was ongoing throughout the last number of months and years. I think many members of the government thought that finally, in budget 2017, we would see a substantial new investment in national defence. Actually, I did a panel with one member of the government, who, it seemed, was trying to send the signal, “Do not worry, we are going to make these investments. We recognize now the need for Canada to do more.” These were supposedly coming.

However, what did we see in budget 2017? Actually, in the budget, the Liberals cut $8.48 billion that had been earmarked for military equipment purchases. That, combined with last year's cut, actually brought us to a $12-billion shortfall. We had substantial cuts. This is what the Liberals telegraphed earlier, in their original throne speech, when they talked about having a leaner military. It was quite a contortion of language to do their best to make it sound as if it was a great thing having a leaner military.

When the government talks about cutting back the resources it gives our men and women in uniform, the defence is, “Our men and women in uniform do a great job, and we pull more than our weight, because our troops are so skilled at what they do.” Let me say clearly that on this side of the House, we agree with that phrase about Canada's armed forces. They do an excellent job, but I do not think anyone in the armed forces would tell us that they do not really need the resources and are doing more with less. The right way to acknowledge and recognize the great work done by our men and women in uniform is to give them the proper resources that allow them to do their job.

I do not think the minister mentioned NATO in her talk about international issues. NATO is obviously a critical multilateral institution that serves our interests. If we are not meeting our commitment sunder NATO to at least work toward that 2%, then we are putting the security of that alliance at great risk. The government is not moving toward 2%. It would have been unrealistic to expect that budget 2017 would bring us to 2%, but it is not moving us toward 2%. It is actually moving us away from 2%.

The minister talks about the importance of collective security, about the importance of our being engaged internationally on all of these issues, about the importance of responding to groups like Daesh and being part of NATO, and about the importance of defending Canada's interests in eastern Europe, the importance of defending Latvia and being present in Poland and other places. There are many different hot spots and threats around the world, places where Canada can be present, as well of course as at the discussion of prospective peacekeeping operations in Africa.

The minister talks about all of these things and yet the Minister of National Defence is cutting back on expenditures in our military. There is pretty clear dissonance here.

The person who wrote the minister's speech that was given today clearly did not reflect enough on the government's record. In a way, the government's approach is condemned through the very words of the minister. The minister said that nations that do not properly invest in their own defence risk becoming client states of other nations, and yet she is choosing—or perhaps I should blame her colleague or the government as a whole—to pull back its spending on the military. Again, there is an area of clear dissonance between the reality of the government's record and the flowing words we heard in the speech.

Let me talk about Sir Lanka. During the election, the government made very specific commitments about supporting justice and reconciliation in Sri Lanka. When I raised these issues during committee of the whole, the Minister of Foreign Affairs said she wanted to assure the committee and the House that she was very concerned about the situation and that she had, and I am paraphrasing here, good feelings and feelings of solidarity towards the people in that situation.

Expressing goodwill inside the Canadian House of Commons is not enough for the people on the ground who are suffering as a result of human rights abuses, especially when the government made specific commitments to be involved in supporting the advancement of justice and human rights on the ground. Again there is clear dissonance.

I have mentioned Saudi Arabia in my questions. The Liberal government's approach to Saudi Arabia really is quite striking. Saudi Arabia does not give basic citizenship rights or basic human rights to women, but that does not mean we cannot have a strategic partnership on certain kinds of issues.

It is important for us to engage with countries with whom we disagree, and confront issues of fundamental disagreement while working together on areas of strategic interest. Our relationship with Saudi Arabia is quite important in terms of how we collaborate and in terms of how we counter the influence of Iran in the region. I want to be clear that it is not a situation where we should have no engagement with Saudi Arabia.

If we are going to have engagement with countries with whom we disagree, we have to be clear and unapologetic about stating what our values are. If we are having a relationship with a country and that country is doing things that violate fundamental human rights, it is not difficult but in fact necessary for us to be specific and identify those issues.

If we have an interest in working with other countries and other countries have an interest in working with us, that collaboration is still going to happen, and it is going to happen very clearly with Saudi Arabia. There are opportunities to collaborate on things that are important for Saudi interests. which are not going to be lost, not going to disappear. If the minister were to have the courage to simply say that it is a bad thing for Saudi Arabia to be on the UN women's rights commission, that would not change Saudi Arabia's interests with respect to its relationship with Canada.

If the Prime Minister were to speak more clearly, or if he were to speak at all, about human rights in China, it would not change the fact that China still has an interest in accessing Canadian energy. It would not change the basic logic of the economic relationship. What do we have to lose by being true to who we are? The minister asked if Canada was an essential country. I say yes, but we have to be true to who we are.

With respect to the minister's speech, we had a lot of discussion on the issue of the environment, greenhouse gas emissions, and the government's response. I find what the government has said and done really interesting. Of course, we know that under the last Liberal government there was a dramatic increase in overall greenhouse gas emissions. The approach of the Chrétien government was to put all of the emphasis on this idea of signing a big international agreement. It signed the Kyoto protocol and launched major promotional advertising to let Canadians know that it had signed on to being part of this response to global greenhouse gas emissions. Basically, it did nothing else. Global emissions went up. Canadian emissions went up.

Then we had that glorious day, January 23, 2006, when Stephen Harper won the election. Under the Harper Conservative government, greenhouse gas emissions went down. Every time I say this, people scoff and shake their heads. Look at the numbers. Greenhouse gas emissions went down under Stephen Harper, whether anyone likes it or not.

The responses that typically came from the current government and others were to say, “Well, that was only because of the bold action of the Kathleen Wynne government”. Now the current government is not as keen to associate itself with Kathleen Wynne as perhaps it once was, yet it says that the only reason that emissions went down was because of the bold steps that were taken by the Kathleen Wynne government.

The other thing the Liberals said was that emissions only went down because of the global economic recession. The only time that they remember we even had a global economic recession was when they are talking about the environment. They completely ignore it when they talk about economic history, but on the environment they say that greenhouse gases only went down because of it. Here is the reality. If we look at the numbers province by province, not just the overall numbers for greenhouse gas emissions, we will find that if we compare the period of the Chrétien government to the period of the Harper government, in every single province emissions either went down or went up by less than they had under the previous Liberal government. Therefore, when it comes to real, achievable results on greenhouse gas emissions, progress was achieved under the Harper government in every single province across this country. That completely blows out the “Kathleen Wynne is so great” argument that I am sure many members of the Liberal caucus from Ontario would perhaps have been more reluctant to make in the past than they are now.

The other counter-argument is that the Liberals would say that greenhouse gas emissions only went down because of the global economic recession. If we look at the numbers, we see that global emissions went up during a period when they went down in Canada, yet Canada was one of the countries that was least affected by the global economic recession. Therefore, the world over, the economy was more negatively impacted by the recession, yet emissions were going up; Canada was less affected by the recession, yet was able to achieve reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. We were able to see overall economic growth at a time when our emissions were going down. I think that very clearly blows this counter-argument out of the water. Canada was able to achieve real results.

At the same time, we recognized the reality of the Kyoto protocol, which was that the Kyoto protocol would have asked Canada to spend Canadian tax dollars to buy emissions credits from other countries without actually reducing our emissions or theirs. It had a built-in system that facilitated a transfer of wealth between different countries based on where specific targets were set. We quite rightly said that the money is better invested in actually achieving environmental improvements here at home. Canada is a country that is leading on environmental innovation. It can continue to lead, it can continue to reduce emissions, and it can share its technology, but we have to do that in a way that does not cripple our economy.

What is the approach of this new Liberal government? Aside from of course failing to recognize the reality of the successes of the Harper government on these issues, it is to try to use the environment as an excuse to try to raise more revenue for government. The Liberals said their carbon tax plan would be revenue neutral, but in fact now we know that they will be collecting GST/HST—for the federal government, it is GST—on the carbon tax, so it is a tax on tax, a big increase in federal government revenue.

That is quite striking, is it not? The Liberals are talking about the environment and yet they have a plan aimed solely at raising revenue, which completely ignores the experience of the Harper government, which showed that we could achieve real reductions in emissions with binding sector-by-sector regulatory targets. The approach we took was to ensure that, through our binding sector-by-sector regulatory targets, we were not reducing the capacity of the economy to grow. We were making it possible for companies in Canada to continue to invest and grow. We were not creating a kind of environment where companies just had to go out of business because they could not possibly meet with the new regulatory burden. We were very careful to do that, because we recognized that reducing our emissions was what we wanted to do, not chase jobs out of the country. If, with punitive regulatory structures, we chased jobs to other countries, we would not help the environment, especially if we were chasing jobs to countries that actually have far less stringent environmental regulations than we do.

I am very concerned that the government's approach when it comes to the carbon tax, far from actually achieving advances when it comes to the well-being of the global environment, will actually just force job creators out of Canada. They will make those investments in the United States where there are completely different environmental standards, especially now, and that is going to lead to worse outcomes when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions and significantly worse outcomes when it comes to the Canadian economy.

How does that make any sense? It does not make sense for greenhouse gas emissions at all. I do not really like this term because I am generally a fan of virtue ethics as a philosophy, but this is what has come to be known colloquially as virtue signalling. The government wants to send the signal about its alleged commitment to some principle without actually doing anything about it.

That is the issue of greenhouse gas emissions. This came up during questions and comments, and the minister may have mentioned it in her speech as well: the rights of gays and lesbians around the world. This is an important issue and an issue that is perhaps not one of the best known successes of the last government, but this is an example where the Harper government really led with respect to standing up for fundamental human rights.

The then prime minister directly raised these issues internationally with world leaders, but also the former minister of immigration, Jason Kenney, set up a specific program to help gays and lesbians escaping from Iran. It was a way of facilitating and prioritizing gay and lesbian refugees coming out of Iran. This was cancelled by the Liberal government. This was a program.

The minister said that there are things going on with Chechnya that she cannot tell us about. On some level, we can recognize that when it comes to foreign affairs, there may be certain things that the minister is less inclined to talk about publicly, but we do not really have any strong indications of the government's commitment when it comes to doing concrete things to stand up for the fundamental human rights of people in this situation, because of the fact that the government chose to get rid of this program that was helping gays and lesbians who were escaping the severe persecution they face in Iran. At least we could be raising these issues with Iran.

Instead, speaking of Iran, the government is eager to seek a closer relationship with Iran, and this flies in the face of our strategic interests, of international law, and of our fundamental regard for human rights: the rights of religious minorities in Iran, the significant issues facing the Baha'i community, the rights of gays and lesbians, and really, actually the rights of all people, even those who are members of majority communities but still face severe repression as a result of the terrible things being done by the regime in Iran.

What else did the minister speak about in her speech? She spoke about free trade, about how we could support development and be agents of change around the world. The government has completely failed when it comes to the trade file. It has carried on the inertia with respect to things that were started under the previous Harper government. It did its best, frankly, to completely screw up CETA negotiations, but nonetheless there was enough inertia in place from the work done by the Harper government for that agreement to get over the finish line.

The government has failed to stand up for the trans-Pacific partnership. The minister spoke about the rise of Asia. It is not something she is ignorant of, yet she does not seem to appreciate, or at least the government does not seem to appreciate, the importance the trans-Pacific partnership in setting the terms of trade in the Asia-Pacific area in a way that reflects our values.

The trans-Pacific partnership would have been an opportunity for us to work with like-minded countries and set terms of trade that would favour respect for intellectual property, fundamental human rights, the environment, and workers' rights. Those things were established and could have been protected through the framework that was established by the trans-Pacific partnership.

It would have been difficult to see that proceed in its current form, in light of the disposition of the new American administration toward it. It absolutely would have helped if the Canadian government had actually been willing to lead, though, on the issue of the trans-Pacific partnership, if the Government of Canada was actually willing to stand and speak about these issues in a concrete and specific way.

Now, in light of the situation that we are in, this would be a good time for Canada to lead in defence of a free economy and to seek the kinds of relationships and partnerships in the Asia-Pacific that would allow us to ensure the dominance of the democratic and free rule of law idea in that region. We should seek deeper trading and other partnerships, with countries like Japan, New Zealand, and Australia. India was not part of the original the TPP, neither was Taiwan, but deepening our partnerships there, commercially and in other areas, would be very important for advancing our values and protecting the security of our values in the region.

The minister talks about trade, yet we do not see action in that vital area. We merely see the continuation of things that were already begun and undertaken under the previous government.

The minister's final point was about the idea of there being a crisis of confidence in the global system in the west and this being a threat politically insofar as people within the middle class no longer had confidence in the global system. I do not actually see that being a major problem in Canada.

We are not really seeing at all the rise of the kind of isolationist, anti-establishment, populism in the negative sense we have seen in some other countries. We have a political consensus around, broadly speaking, the idea of an open society, and that is important. However, it also speaks to the success of the last government in putting the economic mechanisms in place, cutting taxes, for instance, on those on the low end, economically, to ensure that there would be an effective sharing of prosperity, not through the expansion of government programs but through policies that would encourage employment and that would allow industry to develop.

We were able to cut business taxes, cut the small business tax rate and establish a hiring credit for small business. These kinds of policies stimulated the economy in a way that benefited everyone, especially those who were looking for jobs.

The government risks creating new problems with its policies, which expand government and involve big, new subsidies for companies like Bombardier. It is a tax-and-spend approach. Also, if we look at those tax changes that actually matter for those who are looking for work, the Liberals have raised the payroll taxes through the CPP expansion. They have eliminated the hiring credit for small business. They have reversed themselves on a promise they made with respect to the small business tax rate. They had promised to lower it down to 9%. Actually every major party in this place had promised to lower the small business tax down to 9%, yet the Liberals decided to renege on that promise.

The tax changes that the Liberals have made do not just affect small businesses; they affect those who are looking for jobs and contribute to rising unemployment. Alberta has an employment crisis. The government's response was to give $30 million to the Government of Alberta. That is less than the amount paid out to Bombardier executives in bonuses.

When the government talks about how a crisis in confidence in governments contributes to problems in our global system, it needs to look in the mirror and ask why it does not stop taxing Canadians to death. It needs to start looking at our history and employing the measures successfully undertaken by the previous government. Why does it not proceed in that direction? Maybe that would address some of the issues about which it is concerned.

The other thing is, having been in the United States during the U.S. election, that there is a reality that America spends a great deal of money on its national defence. Some people say that maybe we should not be spending so much on the defence of other countries and other countries should step up and spend more. American leadership is important when it comes to supporting collective security, but it is part of why it is so important for Canada to actually invest in collective security and national defence.

I spoke earlier about the major cuts that the government had made, and is making, when it comes to national defence. It absolutely sends the completely wrong message when, in the midst of a time of increasing global insecurity and real and growing threats, the government cuts back on spending in national defence.

Having directly responded to many of the points that were made, I would like to talk a bit about the legislative context of this motion.

Before I do that, I believe we do not have quorum in the House.

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Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Indeed, we do not.

And the bells having rung:

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12:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

We now have quorum.

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12:05 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This is a particularly important point. I want to ensure there are at least some members here to benefit from it.

We are debating a motion with respect to the foreign policy of the government. It comes forward in a particular context. That context is that the government has sought to extend the hours beyond the usual hour at which we adjourn. We are now in a situation where Monday to Thursday every week the debate continues to progress until midnight, but only motions or bills that the government has brought forward. It is not the case for opposition motions. However, the government has now extended debate to the end of the day. It has done so, allegedly, with the goal of implementing its very important legislative agenda. In fact, it was so important that the government not only introduced a motion for extended hours, it brought in a motion of closure with respect to extended hours.

Here is what the government House leader said on this issue. She said:

We have much to accomplish in the coming weeks. Our government has an ambitious legislative agenda that we would like to advance in order to deliver on the commitments we made to Canadians in the last election. Let me reflect on our recent legislative achievements before I turn to the important work that lies before us over the next four weeks.

In our last sitting week, the House and Senate were able to reach agreement on securing passage of Bill C-37, which would put in place important measures to fight the opioid crisis in Canada. I would like to thank members of the House for the thoughtful debate on this bill and for not playing politics with such an important piece of legislation....I would also like to point out the passage of two crucial bills related to trade...The first, Bill C-30...I am proud that our government continues to open the doors to trade and potential investment in Canada to grow our economy and help build a strong middle class.

In looking forward to the next four sitting weeks, I would like to highlight a few priority bills that our government will seek to advance. I will start with Bill C-44, which would implement budget 2017. This bill is about creating good middle-class jobs today while preparing Canadians for the jobs of tomorrow....

Sitting a few extra hours for four days per week will also give the House greater flexibility in dealing with unexpected events. While it is expected that the Senate will amend bills, it is not always clear which bills and the number of bills that could be amended by the Senate. As we have come to know, the consideration of Senate amendments in the House takes time. This is, in part, why we need to sit extra hours. I know that members work extremely hard balancing their House duties and other political duties. I expect that extending the hours will add to the already significant workload.

I wish to thank members for their co-operation in these coming weeks.

The government assured us that it had a robust legislative agenda that it had to get through before the summer. That is why we needed to extend hours.

Our party was willing to support extending hours under certain conditions that involved protecting the fundamental rights of the opposition. Those considerations were completely ignored by the government. It put through closure, it ran through its bill, and we carry on.

Now we are working under the framework established by Motion No. 14, which was designed to respond to the government's allegedly important legislative agenda.

Then we have the government bringing forward this motion. This motion was not promised. It is not something the government had ever committed to doing. It is not at all substantive. In general, motions in the House do not impact legislation. They can change the Standing Orders, theoretically, but that is it. They cannot change the law of the land. This motion was not effectual. Really, if we drill into the text of the motion that has been proposed, it looks more like it is designed simply to boost the self-esteem of the government. It is a motion that says, “Hey, we're doing a really great job.” The government seems to need to use the time in the House to debate and seek a vote on a motion telling it that it is doing a really good job.

I have a spoiler alert. This motion is probably going to pass. The government has a majority. If it wants to pass a motion saying, “Hey, we're doing a great job”, it has the numbers in the House to do it. However, it is a ridiculous exercise. It speaks more fundamentally to the question of why the government needs a motion of the House of Commons to boost its self-esteem with respect to what it is doing on foreign policy.

Let me read the motion for the benefit of members so it is very clear what I am talking about.

The motion reads:

That the House (a) recognize that the government is committed to a foreign policy that supports multilateralism and rules-based international systems, human rights, gender equality, the fight against climate change, and economic benefits being shared by all; (b) recognize that further leadership on the part of Canada is both desirable and required; and (c) support the government’s decision to use the foregoing principles to guide Canadian foreign policy.

Basically, it is a motion. It does not speak to specific foreign policy situations. It does not seek the endorsement of the House to proceed in a particular way with respect to a particular situation. It just says, “These are some important principles and aren't we doing a great job at implementing them.”

Put another way, I would say this is the selfie of parliamentary motions. It is put forward purely for image and has absolutely no legislative effect, yet a government that was so concerned with needing to get through its legislative agenda has put this motion on the table.

When a government needs to bring forward a motion like this, it actually reminds me of a dialogue from Game of Thrones, where Tywin Lannister says to Joffrey, “Any man who must say 'I am the king' is no true king.” This is the “I am the king” of parliamentary motions. It is the government members' attempt to simply remind themselves that in their view they are doing a very good job. It is perplexing as a use of parliamentary time when the government claims it actually has a robust legislative agenda. It is quite strange. I would say, if this is the “I am the king” of parliamentary motions, then the king is tired so see him to his chambers.

This is the second time they have done this in two days. Yesterday, they put forward a motion to reaffirm the House's commitment to the Paris accord. The House has already passed a motion to support the Paris accord. That already happened, but I guess government members felt that they just wanted to do it again. The new motion they proposed yesterday had no legislative effect. It was a rearticulation of the position of the government, but it had absolutely no substance or meaning, just as this motion has no substance in terms of the actual effect it has. Of course, as argument it has substance, but its passage has no concrete effect, especially with respect to Paris, since the House has already passed a motion.

Notably, we have had, twice in as many days, a government that needed to extend the hours supposedly for the purposes of advancing its legislative agenda coming forward with motions that really do not have any kind of substantive effect. In one case, it is very repetitive. They merely create an occasion for the government to, through a vote, say, “Look at us. We got our majority to vote to say we're doing a good job” on some issue or another.

On the issue of the Paris accord, as we are again voting on it, it is an accord that introduces nationally approved targets, which are not binding. In principle, there is nothing wrong with that, but it also needs to be recognized that it is not the be-all and end-all, because the effect of the Paris accord is going to be determined by the kinds of targets that nations actually set under it and whether or not they follow through with their targets.

It is the same approach that I spoke of earlier with respect to the Kyoto protocol. With the Kyoto protocol, the Chrétien government emphasized Kyoto and did a big public relations exercise on it, but in the end, it did not actually do anything about it beyond having that extensive public relations exercise.

Again, with Paris, we are seeing the government trying to use this as a cover for its desire to raise taxes. It is not following the effective example we saw under the Harper government, which actually led to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. It is instead trumpeting the agreement and trying to use it as a cover to raise taxes.

This is what is going on here. This is the government wanting to extend hours and then using the time for these pretend public relations exercises, which actually do not have a substantive effect on outcomes on the ground. In the case of Paris, the motion has already passed.

In this case, if the government wanted to bring forward a motion saying such and such a thing with respect to our relationship with China, with respect to something that is happening in a particular area, then there would be a space to debate it. However, it is strange to try to wrap one's head around the government's strategy in terms of parliamentary time, never mind the broader hypocrisy with respect to its approach on foreign policy issues.

I would like to talk about some of the specific foreign policy initiatives that were taken under Stephen Harper's leadership because this should provide some examples to government members that they would do well to follow. I want to talk about our relations to Israel, Saudi Arabia, Iran, China, Sri Lanka, Russia, and then the United Nations and gender equality, then trade, and then a number of other issues.

First of all, with respect to Canada's relationship with Israel, I was certainly very proud of the work that was done under the previous government with respect to our relationship with Israel. We recognized the importance of that relationship, that it was a relationship based on shared values, that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, and that Israel is a country that provides respect and provides rights to its minority. That does not mean that Canada never does or never could disagree with specific policies of the Israeli government. In fact, there are many Israelis who eagerly engage in debate about the direction of the government, and in its very dynamic proportional representation political culture there are a lot of differences of opinion even within the cabinet.

Supporting Israel does not mean we do not necessarily disagree with what the Government of Israel is doing, but it means that we have a commitment to the principle of Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state, not just the right of a country called Israel to exist but Israel's right to exist as a homeland for the Jewish people. This idea is quite important, quite fundamental, and something that Stephen Harper in our previous government was very clear in terms of leading on. He gave a speech to the Knesset that was very powerful in terms of standing up for Israel.

I want to read a section of that speech. Stephen Harper said:

Let me repeat that: Canada supports Israel because it is right to do so.

This is a very Canadian trait, to do something for no reason other than it is right, even when no immediate reward for, or threat to, ourselves is evident.

On many occasions, Canadians have even gone so far as to bleed and die to defend the freedom of others in far-off lands.

To be clear, we have also periodically made terrible mistakes, as in the refusal of our government in the 1930s to ease the plight of Jewish refugees.

But, as a country, at the turning points of history, Canada has consistently chosen, often to our great cost, to stand with others who oppose injustice, and to confront the dark forces of the world.

It is, thus, a Canadian tradition to stand for what is principled and just, regardless of whether it is easy or popular.

It is, thus, a Canadian tradition to stand for what is principled and just, regardless of whether it is convenient or popular.

But, I would argue, support today for the Jewish State of Israel is more than a moral imperative.

It is also of strategic importance, also a matter of our own long-term interests.

Before I continue, because I want to read more from that speech, this a similar point rhetorically to what the minister made here. The minister talked about Canada standing up even in cases which do not directly inform our interests. Stephen Harper was speaking very specifically about that, about it being a Canadian trait to be willing to “bleed and die” in defence of freedom even when our interests are not immediately or obviously directly impacted.

The difference is that under the previous government, our words were backed up by actions. We were willing to step out and do the hard thing, challenge other countries, and stand up for fundamental human rights. We were willing to commit troops, for example, to the fight against Daesh, as opposed to the current government, which pulled back from that fight.

Therefore, there are some similarities in terms of the words being used, but there is dramatic dissonance in terms of the actual actions undertaken if we compare what is being done by the current government and the principled foreign policy of the previous government.

I have just a few more paragraphs from Stephen Harper's speech before the Knesset that I think are crucial here. He said:

Ladies and gentlemen, I said a moment ago, that the special friendship between Canada and Israel is rooted in shared values.

Indeed, Israel is the only country in the Middle East which has long anchored itself in the ideals of freedom, democracy and the rule of law.

Indeed, Israel is the only country in the Middle East which has long anchored itself in the ideals of freedom, democracy and the rule of law.

These are not mere notions.

They are the things that, over time and against all odds, have proven to be the only ground in which human rights, political stability, and economic prosperity, may flourish.

These values are not proprietary. They do not belong to one nation or one people.

This is an exposition of the reasons for Canada's relationship with Israel, but also more broadly the emphasis that we took when it came to protecting fundamental human rights, and recognizing as well that these are not just Canadian values, that these are universal human values. When the minister spoke, she spoke about not wanting Canada to dictate to the rest of the world on these issues, but we have to recognize that when Canada is seeking to advance not just narrowly Canadian values but values that speak to fundamental human rights, these are things that Canada should be confident in standing up for.

When it comes to Canada's relationship with Israel, we recognize that Israel is a special country in many ways, but it should not be specially singled out for criticism when there are so many other countries in the region and throughout the world who are not singled out, whose human rights situations are rarely mentioned. Uniquely, Israel is often singled out for criticism.

In one more section of his speech, the former prime minister said this before the Knesset:

I believe that a Palestinian state will come, and one thing that will make it come is when the regimes that bankroll terrorism realise that the path to peace is accommodation, not violence.

All of us in the House, I think, would strongly desire a two-state solution in the region and to see the emergence of a Palestinian state that was based on the same kinds of universal human values we all share, but that has to be based on a rejection of terrorism. That was the strong approach when it came to standing beside Israel and standing up for fundamental human rights, which we saw as a core part of the foreign policy of the previous Conservative government.

I am going to talk more about the current government's approach to Israel later on, but the big issue for me is its decision to restore funding to UNRWA. UNRWA is an organization providing education in the Palestinian territories, but one that is severely compromised when it comes to concerns about radicalization in terms of the content of that education. It is one thing for the government to talk about supporting Israel, and I think there are many members of the government who genuinely do. However, when it comes to taking a principled approach to how we spend Canadian tax dollars and how we stand by and up for our friends in the region, realistically we need to say that involves not being involved in funding or supporting education that is compromised when it comes to real concerns about radicalization.

Another point that is important to make about Israel is that, for those members who have not been to Israel, it is a pluralistic, multicultural democracy. People will see a very large number of Arab and Muslim Israelis who have all of the same rights that Jewish Israelis do. Israel is, yes, a homeland for the Jewish people; it is a Jewish state but it is also a state that fully respects the rights of minorities. Muslims as well as Christians as well as Baha'i, as well as a range of other smaller and less-known minority faith communities find they are most safe in Israel.

Israel is one of the only countries in the Middle East where Muslims have a right to vote. In many countries in the Middle East, nobody has a vote. It is important to point out that Israel, in terms of its protection of the rights of its Muslim citizens, is far ahead of many of the other countries in the region. For those who would want to cast this as an inevitable clash of religious identities, the reality is that Israel is a Jewish state but also a pluralistic one that respects fundamental rights.

That alignment of values, shared interests, commercial opportunities, and Israel's vitality when it comes to innovation are things that indicate that there are major continuing opportunities in that relationship. We have to continue to prod the government with respect to these issues, and we will. There are areas of agreement with respect to the relationship with Israel, but there are areas where it needs to do better, especially on the issue of UNRWA.

We can also talk about comments the last foreign minister made along the lines of using this “honest broker” language. The implication of being an honest broker is that we have to somehow stand right in the middle rather than being principled in our advocacy of our values. Being principled advocates of our values means that at certain points in time, we will take sides. We are not just going to sit on the sidelines and try to balance things out. We are going to say that this is right, this is wrong, and so on and so forth. A big part of the principled foreign policy of the last government was standing up for and with Israel.

Let me speak now about our relationship with Iran. We need to recognize that there is a clear threat to international peace and security presented by Iran. We need to judge Iran by its actions, not its words. I want to go through and talk specifically about some of the crimes of the Iranian regime. There is a threat to international peace and security, but there is also the issue of the fundamental human rights of the people of Iran.

Iran will have so-called elections, not really, later this year. This should be a reminder to us that President Rouhani has failed to deliver on promises of meaningful reform. The Iranian regime remains a disastrous human rights basket case and a menace to its neighbours and the people it is supposed to govern.

The regime executes hundreds of people every year, many of them for non-violent so-called crimes, such as drug-related offences, same-sex relations, and religious conversion. Iran continues to execute children. The United Nations has noted the use of electric shock therapy on LGBT children, and media have reported the flogging of minors who have protested the firing of other workers. I mentioned earlier how the Liberal government had eliminated a program the previous Conservative government had set up to help gay and lesbian refugees fleeing from Iran.

The justice system in Iran is not worthy of the name justice. Rights of defendants are restricted, and human rights groups allege the use of confessions obtained through torture. Certain kinds of criminals can only select lawyers from a pre-approved group. Selecting a lawyer in Iran can be a lot like selecting a president. Iran has elections, but candidates have to be approved by the Guardian Council, whose criteria is certainly anything but transparent.

We know that journalists and ordinary citizens alike continue to face severe restrictions on freedom of speech and can be arrested and charged for the opinions they express. Websites and social media platforms remain blocked or restricted. Independent unions continue to be targeted. Those who speak out about human rights issues are also persecuted by the regime.

Discrimination against women is rampant in all aspects of life. Women require the approval of a male guardian to get a passport, to travel, and to get married, regardless of age. Marriage for girls as young as 13 is permitted. According to the UN children's rights committee, sexual intercourse with girls as young as nine years old is not criminalized, and judges have the discretion to not punish perpetrators of so-called honour killings.

In terms of minorities, the government denies basic freedoms to the Bahá’i community, converts out of Islam, and Christians who meet in private homes, so-called house churches. Cultural activities as well as political activities are severely limited for the country's ethnic minorities.

It is quite jarring to meditate upon that list of crimes, and it is jarring every time we go over it. It is probably particularly jarring to anyone watching who has family members who are affected by these crimes. I have a few specific points about them. First, these crimes are abuses of the Iranian people. When we speak out about human rights in Iran, we are not doing that principally for a geostrategic reason but out of solidarity with the suffering people of Iran. Second, we recognize the rich cultural heritage the Persian civilization has given to the world. The clear reality of the simplistic brutality of this regime does not in any way represent this enlightened tradition. These are not Iranian values the regime is acting on. The government is, in fact, betraying its people and its cultural heritage, and Iranians are its primary victims. That is the necessary starting point when we talk about these violations of fundamental human rights in Iran.

The second point is that we can see a continuum between the regime's disregard for human dignity domestically and its foreign policy, a foreign policy that undermines the security of the entire region. I have often said in this place that a regime that is a menace to its own people is also necessarily a menace to international peace and security. This should highlight the failure of this government's appeasement policy toward various brutal regimes around the world. When nations are abusing the human rights of their own people, and they are not following international law with respect to the treatment of their own populations or minorities within their countries, they cannot be expected to follow international norms and laws either. They will not. If they are not following international law at home, they will not abroad.

We see this continuity between those two aspects of ignoring international law with respect to Iran. Iran's actions throughout the wider region are exactly the way we would expect a regime to act that treats its own people in the way I have described.

I have contended that we must seriously confront human rights abuses out of a moral concern for those who are impacted by those abuses but also because addressing human rights abuses clearly, forcefully, and constructively is also in our strategic interest. Failure to do so leaves in place those who are or will become a menace to the global order and its stability.

I want to move now from talking about Iran to talking about certain other countries through this same prism. The Iranian regime is like the North Korean and Putin regimes. Both are human rights abusers and geostrategic foes in that they oppose both our values and interests. In that sense, therefore, it should be easy to criticize them. The Liberal government often fails to do even that, but it should be relatively easy to do so.

How forceful can we be? I have raised the question in cases where a regime is a human rights abuser yet is also a potential geostrategic collaborator. I have spoken a little about Saudi Arabia. Perhaps the government's reluctance comes from the potential benefits of geostrategic collaboration with Saudi Arabia. That is a present example. I think history would give us many more examples. At the same time, if I were to go through a full litany of Saudi crimes, they would come close, perhaps, in certain respects, to Iranian crimes.

The other interesting thing about Saudi Arabia is that states like Saudi Arabia are, in a certain sense, schizophrenic. They can promote one type of policy direction with one arm of government while promoting another type of policy direction with another arm of government. States may be human rights abusers but also be led by people who are trying to, in the process, change the system. Taking a principled approach to foreign policy does not mean being unnuanced or disengaged.

At the pure strategic level, in broad strokes, I believe we are witnessing a period of dramatic transition in the Middle East, a period that started with the so-called Arab Spring. Conservative non-radical authoritarian states in the Middle East, of which Saudi Arabia is chief among them, had for too long pursued a policy of buying off radical elements, especially through support for so-called international education. These radical elements grew as a result, and the Arab Spring marked the proverbial chickens coming home to roost.

Initially, radicals allied themselves with liberals to overthrow authoritarian governments throughout the region. Some governments survived. In Egypt, after the revolution, liberals effectively re-allied themselves with authoritarians, leading to a successful counter-revolution. Other countries, like Libya and Syria, unfortunately remain in chaos.

The House of Saud, in light of all that has gone on, has still remained in place, but the Saudi monarchy must know, and I think does know by now, that it cannot keep appeasing and buying off radical fundamentalists who ultimately want to destroy it. Saudi Arabia must change, and we need to help it change, because if it does not, then not only will we have the continuation of all the human rights abuses associated with its authoritarian brand of government but we will also eventually see the chickens come home to roost there in a serious revolution in a country with Islam's holiest sites and the world's largest oil reserves.

Coming back to Iran, in some sense, Saudi Arabia's ability to confront radical Sunni elements is limited by its ongoing proxy conflicts with Iran. Iran is a post-revolutionary radical power, not a conservative authoritarian power. Unlike Saudi Arabia, which funds radical groups that it actually fears, Iran is behaving more rationally in terms of its narrowly defined self-interest. It is seeking to spread a Shia fundamentalist ideology, which it sees as ultimately strengthening its position. Saudi Arabia must change or collapse, but Iran will only change if it is forced to, and this is one of several critical differences we can distinguish here.

Unfortuntely, western policy in general has recently been failing to recognize the real threat of the Iranian regime to its own people and to global security. Negotiations to curtail Iran's nuclear ambitions are important, but it is striking that a nuclear deal supported by virtually every country in the west is actually opposed by virtually every country in the Middle East not directly controlled by Iran. It is not just the Israelis who oppose the nuclear deal. The Saudis, the Emirates, and many others express concerns along similar lines.

The money Iran gained access to through the deal has now allowed it to step up its support for radical activity throughout the regime. We know well the direct involvement of Iran in continuing and perpetuating the terrible conflict in Syria.

In the midst of all I have described in terms of the situation with Iran, the threat it poses strategically, and its complete disregard for human rights, we have a government in this country that is eager to strengthen and deepen our relationship with Iran. What the government fails to recognize is that Iran is a post-revolutionary radical state, and as a result, it does not play at all by established rules. It attacks embassies, putting international diplomats at risk. It uses its own embassies to intimidate people in other countries, and we have seen examples of this happening in Canada. It is not the only country that does it, by the way, but certainly Iran is one of the countries that does it. Iran seeks to destabilize any state that has not adopted its program. Not unlike the old Soviet Union, Iran does not play by the same assumptions we do with respect to the international system.

When the Liberal government talks about opportunities for deepening the relationship with Iran, we should be very concerned. That does not accord with the commitment to fundamental international human rights, to international institutions, and to the rule of law the Liberal government is supposedly committed to. Again, there is a dramatic and unmistakable dissonance between what the government talks about with respect to these issues and what it is doing in virtually every case. With Iran, we can see clearly the working out of this policy of appeasement, a desire to pursue closer relations with Iran, in spite of the very real risks that come with it.

The previous minister of foreign affairs during his signature speech at the University of Ottawa talked about so-called responsible conviction. He highlighted the fact that movies had been made the last time Canada had an embassy in Tehran. Movies were made, but diplomats have repeatedly been put at risk.

We can have back-channel dialogue with countries like Iran, but we should not give them something for nothing. We should not send the message that everything is fine, when everything is not at all fine in any sense with regard to the actions of this regime.

I want to move on now to talk a little about Canada's relationship with the remaining communist countries in the world, specifically China and Cuba.

Sometimes during question period we have referred to communists and there have been chuckles from the government benches, as if the members think that is not really a thing anymore, that we are sort of stuck in a Cold War story that is no longer relevant.

The reality is that we have to take seriously the fundamental threats from the world's remaining communist powers, the ways in which they perhaps have changed but also the ways in which they have not changed. We have to speak frankly about that. One of the things our government championed was recognizing the terrible crimes that happened by other communist regimes, and proceeding with a memorial to victims of communism.

Some objected to that proposal and said that maybe we should just have a memorial to victims of totalitarian communism, the bad kind of communism, without seeming to understand that all communism was, by its nature, totalitarian. That is the world view of communism. That is what it is in theory and in practice.

If we look at a country like China, we see the emergence of facially capitalist structures throughout the Chinese economy, but it is all undergirded by the continuing, sometimes unseen but still present, domination of the existing system, the substructure of Communist party control. We need to be aware of that reality when we think about a commercial relationship.

With respect to our relationship with China, the opportunities but also the risks, this is something Stephen Harper understood very well. I want to quote from an interview he gave on this point. He said:

First of all, let’s be clear what the government’s objective is. These are not mixed signals, as you put it. They are carefully calibrated decisions with an objective in mind. Let me be absolutely clear: the objective is not to have the best possible relationship we can have with China in terms of getting along.

The policy of our government is not to go along to get along. And the more we get along, the better the relationship is.

Our policy is not just to get along as well as possible. Our policy is to have the best relationship that is in Canadians’ interests.

That means parts of this relationship that serve our interests, and frankly serve mutual interests between Canada and China, we are trying to develop. Whereas when we’re faced with issues that we think may be in the Chinese interest but frankly not in the interest of this country, we calibrate accordingly.

That is a very important point. Our goal in a relationship with China, frankly in a relationship with any state, should not be to have the warmest possible relationship. It should be to have the kind of relationship that, to the greatest extent, advances Canada's interests and values.

Now, for countries like Israel, about which I have spoken, where there is significant value alignment, probably the kind of relationship that best serves our interest will also be the kind of relationship that is as wafrm as possible. However, for a country like China, where there is a significant divergence of values and interests, then we will hold back a lot of the time and say that we do not want to proceed in that direction with the relationship. Proceeding in that direction might be in China's interests but it is not in Canada's interests.

This was the kind of careful measured calibration that we saw taking place under the previous Conservative government, which we have really lost under the Liberal government. It is eager, falling head over heels, into that Canada-China relationship. Whatever the Chinese government asks for, it seems as if the Liberals cannot say no, when it comes to discussions with the People's Republic of China. If it is extradition, sure, they will talk about it. If it is free trade, sure, they will talk about it. Obviously, that is a very concerning set up in the kinds of priorities they have. The government's priorities should be looking to advance Canada's interests. It should not be with respect to currying favour with people internationally who have their own interests, not Canada's interests, at heart.

With respect to Cuba, our government was very clear about understanding the major problems associated with human rights abuses and standing up forcefully in response to the things that were going on. I am quite proud of our record with respect to these issues.

Before I move on to my next point, I want to talk a bit about the situation around religious freedom in Tibet and the importance of the government on raising these issues.

I had the pleasure of serving as the vice-chair of the Canada-Tibet interparliamentary friendship group, of participating in the friends of Tibet internship program, having someone in my office involved in that program, who is doing a great job. This is on the demolition of Larung Gar.

In 2016, the Chinese government began the wide scale demolition of Larung Gar, one of the largest Tibetan Buddhist centres in the world, with plans to downsize it by 50% and evict half of its 10,000-plus residents. The evictees were forced to sign a document pledging to neither return to the institute nor continue their practice in their home town.

In 2016, the Freedom House report ranked Tibet the second worst in political and civil rights after Syria. Similarly, Amnesty International has reported on the increasing restrictions on Tibetan monastic institutes by the Chinese government. Despite the continuing repression, Tibetans and Tibet have been at the forefront of the Tibetan's movement to fight for their fundamental human rights.

In 2016, the European Parliament adopted an emergency resolution on Tibet, condemning the demolition of Larung Gar and calling for the resumption of dialogue with Tibetan representatives.

This past February, on the eve of the 34th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, six independent UN experts expressed concern over China's systematic religious crackdown and the violation of international human rights. The U.S. congressional delegation to Dharamsala last month called for a rethink of policies to defend and promote human rights in Tibet.

Given the international condemnation of China's Tibet policies, Canada should also stand on the right side of history. As the Canadian government seeks to develop stronger ties with China, it should be consistent in doing it in the way that is consistent with our values, seeking to have China adopt the middle way approach. The middle way approach, for members who do not know, is advocated by the Tibetan community, by the Dalai Lama himself. It calls not for independence, but for genuine autonomy within the framework of the Chinese constitution.

The Canadian government has at different times called for dialogue, but it should go the next step and endorse the middle way approach, which is genuine autonomy for Tibet within the framework of the Chinese constitution. Certainly it is consistent with the principles of the self-determination of peoples that has established international law in which the government is supposed to believe.

When we think about the use of House time, the government could have chosen to bring forward a motion that dealt with something concrete and specific like a motion similar to the one passed by the European Parliament, specifically condemning the demolition of Larung Gar. Instead, though, the Liberals would rather talk in big generalities so they have an opportunity to pat themselves on the back without actually dealing with specific issues, such as this terrible demolition and some of the broader issues of human rights in Tibet.

It would be worthwhile, even outside of a motion of the House, if the Minister of Foreign Affairs made some specific statements about human rights in China, specific statements with regard to this demolition.

I wanted to ensure I got the Canada-China relationship on the record.

Another area where the previous government led with respect to principled foreign policy was in our approach to Sri Lanka. This is another clear example of how Stephen Harper was more focused on Canada's interests, on Canada's values than on going along to get along.

In 2013, Canada boycotted the Commonwealth summit happening in Sri Lanka. We did so specifically because we were very concerned about the human rights situation there, in particular about the situation affecting the Tamil community.

There are very legitimate and concerning reports about the conduct of the Sri Lankan government in the civil war with respect to the use of torture and the impact on civilians. Therefore, Canada had continued, under Stephen Harper, to put significant pressure, which included the boycotting of the 2013 Colombo summit. I was very proud of the leadership that our government showed on that. However, we have not seen similar leadership or action with respect to justice in Sri Lanka from the current government, in spite of its promise to do so. I will talk more on its response to Sri Lanka later on. However, the leadership we saw from the last government on that issue was certainly very clear, something all Canadians should celebrate.

One of the areas where Canada was able to be a very strong leader toward the end of our 10 years in government was with respect to Russian aggression in eastern Europe. Canada was very clear and forceful on this issue. This was an opportunity that Canada had, given our membership as part of international bodies and institutions, to put these issues forward and to effectively advance them.

As a member of the G7, Canada finds itself in a somewhat different position relative to the United States and our European partners. Perhaps because of the superpower relationship between the United States and Russia, there are certain things the United States has always been less inclined to say. There are certain things that our European partners are perhaps less inclined to say because of commercial relationships.

Canada, without being a superpower and without having the same kind of commercial ties, was able to act as a conscience at the G7. We were able to lead specifically and forcefully on the importance of isolating Vladimir Putin, on defending Ukraine, on standing up for international borders and fundamental human rights. Stephen Harper repeatedly spoke forcefully on those issues, and it had an impact. He was able to build and lead a consensus of the G7 on those issues.

I remember people asking me if it made a difference talking about or engaging in that conversation. It made a significant difference because he and Canada were able to ramp-up that public pressure. We were able to introduce sanctions, yes, but lead our partners on imposing strong sanctions against the Putin regime, sanctions which the regime has felt.

At the same time, we were providing important military aid and other kinds of support to Ukraine. This combined action of the western alliance helped to tip the balance. It helped to allow Ukraine to respond more effectively over time to the threat associated with the Russian aggression. This was Canada being principled, appropriately understanding its role, and understanding its capacity to raise issues in a particular way because of our situation, because of the membership we had in various groups.

I was in Ukraine last August for the 25th anniversary of the founding of Ukraine. This is obviously an exciting moment for Canada. It is our 150th birthday, but none of us were here 150 years ago, so it is not as imminent to us. It is a point of remembering something that happened historically. However, the spirit was so powerful around the 25th anniversary celebrations in Ukraine, a country marking 25 years of independence, noting a very painful history prior to that, which involved repression and occupation in so many different ways. This was the kind of leadership Ukraine was able to show through those 25 years, and the changes that happened.

I had the chance to observe a military parade. There is such a great deal of pride in how over the last two years, since the start of the war, which was effectively a Russian invasion, Ukraine has been able to significantly increase its capacity to respond. That is in no small part a result of the relationship that Canada has had with Ukraine, and the steadfast support it has given to this important ally.

It was also on the occasion of the 25th anniversary that Stephen Harper and Jason Kenney were awarded the Ukraine Order of Liberty, recognizing the fact that Stephen Harper was prepared to stand up to Vladimir Putin.

I think members will remember how, during the election, the Prime Minister said that he would stand up to Putin as well. Then, afterwards, he said he did not really think that was necessary. Stephen Harper's leadership in confronting Putin was critical.

That is an example of Canadian leadership, principled leadership, with respect to our response to the situation in Russia and Eastern Europe.

What about our approach to the United Nations?

Here is the issue when it comes to the United Nations. Our previous Conservative government always prioritized the values that the United Nations is supposed to embody over the politics of UN committees. We put the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at the forefront of our approach to international politics. We sought to advance the protection of fundamental human rights—all of these rights that are not well protected throughout the world, quite frankly. We have a situation in which many of the countries voting on UN resolutions, many of the countries that are represented on bodies that are supposed to be all about advancing human rights, are actually not countries that appear to take seriously their obligations under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

It is important that we get this right. A principled foreign policy, with respect to the United Nations, focuses on those values. It certainly also recognizes that the United Nations is an important forum. It is an opportunity for us to raise issues, for us to refer to the founding documents and ask why certain things not happening that should be, given the direction given by those founding documents. However, we do not regard specific UN committees as sort of the final arbiters of truth.

The previous government sought a position on the UN Security Council. I will be the first one to say it would have been great if we had been elected to the UN Security Council. However, we were not willing, ultimately, to pay the price that would have been necessary to get there. The present government's approach is to make all kinds of unacceptable compromises in the pursuit of that objective, in the pursuit of trying to get on the Security Council. However, our approach was to refuse those unacceptable compromises, recognizing that there are honourable compromises but dishonourable compromises as well. We were not willing to compromise our support for freedom, democracy, human dignity, rule of law, and justice. We were not willing to compromise those things just to get on the Security Council. We were not willing to dial back our criticism of the worst violators of human rights just in order to get approval in the councils of the world.

The government's approach is just fundamentally utilitarian. It says we can ignore human rights, we cannot talk about human rights, but then, maybe in a few years, we will be on the Security Council and maybe then we'll talk about human rights.

The fact is that, if we are not saying anything then, by that time there will be something else to pursue and, again, the government is not going to change its direction at that point. I think we know that. Even still, it is not worth the prize. I believe that, yes, as the minister discussed, Canada is an essential country. The world needs Canadian leadership on human rights right now. That is not something on which we should be willing to compromise.

Canada showed real leadership, under the previous government, on the issue of promoting gender equality around the world. Canada worked hard to combat early and forced marriage, which is something we spoke about, we pushed back on, and we made strong and forceful points. This was not uncontroversial. There were some countries that did not want us talking about the issue of early and forced marriage because they felt it was putting them in a bad light. However, it was an important issue for us to talk about.

Our former interim leader for the opposition was a strong leader on the international stage, getting the United Nations to recognize International Day of the Girl Child and bring more attention to the range of issues that affect girls: issues like early and forced marriage but also sex selection, feticide, the lack of access to education, and how poverty and different kinds of health challenges disproportionately affect girls. These were issues that our former government led on, and we were able to drive a consensus that brought more attention to these issues.

When we talked about fundamental human rights and about the rights of women, our focus was always on women and girls who were on the ground, who were suffering around the world, and who had real needs to which we could respond. It was not about just emphasizing symbolic moves in high places. This is not to say that those things cannot be important, but what really matters is the impact that the advocacy we did had on the ground and the difference that we were able to make. This will be a big part of the political legacy of the member for Sturgeon River—Parkland. That was a core part of our emphasis.

The other area where we can look at the principled approach of our previous Conservative government was the emphasis we put on a principled approach to trade policy. We clearly had a robust, strong, active trade agenda. We pursued trade forcefully in all different avenues. Through trade negotiations, we were able to sign trade deals with the trans-Pacific partnership area group of countries and with the European Union. Had all of those agreements gone through, Canada would have had free trade with countries representing over 60% of the world's GDP. That would have given us an incredible trade advantage in terms of being a nation with strong trade links in North America, in Europe, and in the Asia-Pacific, emphasizing those trade links with like-minded countries.

Why was it important and why was it principled for Canada, under Stephen Harper, to pursue those kinds of important trade partnerships? There was the issue of the basic economic benefits of trade, that when we have freedom of exchange—people have the ability to voluntarily exchange goods among themselves—this is in everybody's interest because people can have the freedom to make mutually beneficial exchanges, and countries can specialize in areas of their comparative advantage. Free trade raises everybody's standard of living, and we know well the benefits of that. We know well the economic benefits that have accrued to Canada as a result of, for example, our membership in NAFTA.

However, free trade also is consistent with our belief in the value of an open society. It is curious to me that there are some members in this House, including members of the government, who seem to believe in the idea of an open society and yet are skeptical about the idea of an open economy. What better expression of the fact that people from different kinds of backgrounds and different kinds of countries can live together and work together than commercial relationships? Commercial relationships can facilitate understanding and indeed be part of what informs and helps build toward global peace.

Also, the previous Conservative government had a trade policy that really highlighted our interests, and it did so by seeking strategic partnerships with like-minded countries, like-minded democracies. The point needs to be made that the current government, in seeking a bilateral trade deal with China, will have a very hard time in the context of those negotiations, China being a much larger economy. It is not clear the Liberals wanted to, but even if they did, they would have a much harder time standing up for Canada's interests in the context of those negotiations. The alternative that we pursued was forming partnerships with like-minded countries as part of these broader partnerships like the TPP, and we need to continue to seek broader partnerships with other countries in a way that reflects our principles and our values.

I want to talk a bit about the principled approach that the previous government took when it came to LGBT issues, and this is perhaps something that is one of the less-known successes of that government, but it is a reality.

I want to draw the attention of members to an article in The Globe and Mail on November 29, 2009. The headline reads “Harper lobbies Uganda on anti-gay bill”, and it states:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has privately lobbied Uganda's president on the sidelines of a Commonwealth leaders' summit to jettison a proposed law that would imprison homosexuals for life in the African country.

“I did raise it directly with the president of Uganda and indicated Canada's deep concern and strong opposition,” Mr. Harper announced at the conclusion of the 53-country meeting in Port of Spain, Trinidad.

“We deplore these kinds of measures. We find them inconsistent with frankly I think any reasonable understanding of human rights,” the prime minister said.

“I was very clear on that with the president of Uganda.”

Not all leaders at the summit were so forceful. Patrick Manning, Trinidad and Tobago's president, declined comment, saying Uganda's planned law was an internal matter.

These are examples that Stephen Harper spoke clearly and was willing to directly lobby the leader of another country. This is something that I have asked the Liberal government to do. He was willing to lobby directly and speak publicly about the fact that the lobbying had taken place. Of course, the parliamentary secretary is trying to make a point across the floor that this was a private conversation. The former prime minister had a private conversation with the president of Uganda and then spoke publicly on the record about the fact that the conversation had taken place.

When I ask the Prime Minister to actually raise issues of fundamental human rights with world leaders, I am not expecting him to necessarily include the media on the conference call, but he should still make the calls and then talk about the fact that he has made the calls, to help raise the pressure. The Conservative government raised these issues because we believe in protecting the fundamental human dignity of all people, and that includes standing up for religious minorities as well as the issues that I mentioned.

There is a follow-up story in Maclean's, which states:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper...is being hailed as a gay rights hero—in Uganda. “He’s a human rights activist,” said Brown Kiyimba. “Harper is a liberal guy,”—

I do not know about that, but maybe in that sense.

—added Emmanueil Turinawe. Both men are from Uganda’s gay community, which is under siege thanks to a bill that calls for life sentences for gays....

The article describes the context and notes that Harper's criticism has provoked a response from the government in Uganda. Further on in the article, it states, “For the first time, Museveni talked of the need for 'extreme caution' about the bill because it had become a foreign affairs issue.” In other words, the president of Uganda recognized that this had become an issue in his country's foreign affairs and, therefore, was responding to the pressure from Canada. It did not damage the relationship between Canada and Uganda. It was an example of Canada being willing to speak in a way that reflects our fundamental values.

This shows what can happen when Canada is simply willing to step up and actually talk about international human rights. This was the principled foreign policy approach of the previous government and it is one that, unfortunately, has not been carried on under the Liberal government. It is not discussing issues happening with respect to the LGBTQ community internationally. It has made statements for a domestic audience here, but we know nothing about direct advocacy that is happening. Liberals certainly have not been willing to talk about it. Again, I mention the cancelling of the refugee program for people coming from Iran.

Members will know that I have spoken before about the issues around religious freedom. I know I have somewhat limited time, so I will not go into the issues of religious freedom in depth, because I have put those statements on the record many times before. The previous government created an office of religious freedom, which had a small $5 million budget and was very effective in bringing about real change by funding programs on the ground that were building communal harmony. The office also brought greater public attention and awareness to issues of religious freedom around the world and helped to inform the whole Department of Foreign Affairs on these issues. It was a very effective model and yet one that, unfortunately, the Liberal government got rid of.

To sum up my comments on the foreign policy approach of the previous government, it is important to dig a little into the philosophy of what actually constitutes a principled foreign policy. In the summer, I published a book that was for the most part a collection of speeches I had given on foreign policy issues and I called it The Fight for a Principled Foreign Policy. The introduction is an exposition of the philosophy behind a principled foreign policy.

It says that in politics, whether it is a student union, where I started, or at the United Nations, to which I now pay considerable attention, there is always some balancing of principle and pragmatism. Almost no one seriously suggests that it is possible or desirable to be completely uncompromised. The precise way in which principle and practicality are balanced then is at the heart of many of our political conversations.

For some in public life all decisions are shaped by interests. Those interests could be personal such as one's own career advancement. They could be political such as the election of one's party. They could be class or group-based such as elevation of the relative condition of the poor or the preservation of privilege for a particular social or ethnic group. They could be national such as the elevation of Canada to the Security Council.

For those who think in an interest-based way, principles play a secondary role. As the example suggests interests are not necessarily good or bad. They can be selfish or noble and their realization can be socially desirable or undesirable.

In any event, the interest-based perspective would emphasize that interests are the only relevant considerations. Those whose politics have been shaped by a focus on interests, especially in the context of foreign policy, are many and are well celebrated, from Machiavelli to Kissinger and beyond. Nobody expressed this elevation of interests over principles better than Kissinger who once told a congressional committee, “Covert action should not be confused with missionary work.”

The people shaping Canada's current foreign policy do not quite have the cut of a Machiavelli or a Kissinger, yet the significance of what is happening here should not be underestimated. The Liberal government knows what it wants and it is pursuing clearly stated foreign policy objectives. Their foreign policy doctoring recasts Canada's engagement with the world in interest-based terms instead of in principle-based terms.

There is an alternative to the politics of unmoored interests. It is the politics of principle. For me, the politics of principle rests on two interrelated ideas. The first is that there are certain things that have intrinsic value and that those things must be defended come hell or high water. Intrinsic value in this sense means value that is not dependent on anyone's interests for protection. Intrinsic value is not given as an act of someone's will and it is not the result of circumstance. Intrinsic value is the sense that particular kinds of value are embedded in the very nature of a thing.

For example, we say that a person has intrinsic value, meaning that a person is not valued simply based on their usefulness, their experiences, or their social circle, but rather based on the fact that they are a human being. The belief in the intrinsic value of people and of certain principles can have many different intellectual origins. It is not the exclusive domain of any particular political or moral philosophy or of any part of the political spectrum.

Historically, a principle-based concept of intrinsic value has been the basis of almost every claim about human rights. Human rights are rights that accord uniquely to humans on the basis of who and what we are, creatures with a certain inherent worth and dignity. History's great human rights defenders have understood that while compromises may be made in the pursuit of ends that are of intrinsic value, intrinsic values themselves must never be compromised or denied.

Second, the politics of principle holds that our interests individually, politically, factually, and nationally, are in the final analysis, best advanced by sticking to our principles. In the short term, principles can often seem to get in the way of achieving one's objectives; however, in the long run, there is not much sense in sacrificing principles in order to advance one's interests. Doing so is almost always counterproductive.

Principles may come from a sense of intrinsic value, but they are also useful tools of self-preservation. The identification and public defence of principles as well as consistent adherence to those principles increases the likelihood that others will adopt them and treat the proponent of them in the same way. Those who behave solely according to their interests implicitly invite others to do the same. We are all safer in a world where others treat us individually, politically, and nationally in a principled way.

This point is well illustrated in a dialogue in A Man for All Seasons, in which Thomas More tells his son-in-law:

This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast—Man's laws, not God's—and if you cut them down—and you're just the man to do it—d'you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake.

Regardless of where they come from, our common principles of conduct generally leave us better off. The politics of principle fundamentally contend that adherence to principle is both intrinsically right and practically useful.

Coming out of that statement, which I put in the introduction to my book, principles, politic, and foreign policy is not about taking a particular side in a conflict. It is not about rejecting pragmatism. It is about defining one's principles and then working from them in a way that refuses to compromise on those fundamental principles.

One cannot be genuinely pragmatic without being principled. Pragmatism, properly understood, is principle in action. Pragmatism is trying to advance a principled objective in a way that recognizes and accords with the realities of the world in which we find ourselves. In other words, if one is trying to be pragmatic without having principles, then one will not have any sense in terms of the direction one is trying move pragmatically. It is not even properly coherent to speak of pragmatism independent of fundamental principles.

Our approach is distinct from the government's approach, from what it wants to prioritize in terms of foreign policy. Notwithstanding the fact that we have a different Minister of Foreign Affairs, the previous Liberal minister articulated what the government's approach to this was in a speech he gave at the University of Ottawa, where he talked about his approach to these issues.

He said the following:

The guiding principle that I will follow in fulfilling this mandate is something I call responsible conviction. Let me explain what I mean by that.

I refer you to the traditional distinction that Max Weber made between the ethics of conviction and the ethics of responsibility. Weber contrasted behaviour that remains true to one’s convictions, regardless of what happens (ethics of conviction), and behaviour that takes the consequences of one’s actions into consideration (ethics of responsibility). In isolation, the ethics of conviction of course lead to pure action, defending a principle or a cause, while ignoring the consequences. Pacifists who recommend unilateral disarmament in the face of the enemy are inspired by the ethics of conviction: they advocate non-violence at all times.

He goes on later in the speech to say:

Canadian foreign policy has lacked responsible conviction in recent years. It must be principled, but less dogmatic and more focused on delivering results. Responsible conviction must not be confused with some sort of moral relativism. Since the classic concept of the honest broker is now too often confused with moral relativism or the lack of strong convictions, I prefer to say that Canada must be a fair-minded and determined peace builder.

Unlike the current Minister of Foreign Affairs, the previous foreign affairs minister was at least willing to frankly look in the eye of what he was doing, which was a policy of appeasement. We see the consequences of this de-emphasis on principle. What he called being less dogmatic actually meant being willing to compromise. The previous foreign affairs minister gave every signal that the government would not be supporting Magnitsky sanctions. Fortunately, the government reversed itself on that point.

Whether it is China, Burma, Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia, the treatment of Christians, the way in which we engage with the Middle East around genocide recognition, our relationship with Russia and Ukraine, or any number of these human rights issues, it has been clear throughout the last 18 months that the Liberal government has been willing to sacrifice on fundamental issues of principle in order to achieve what it believes is its objectives.

I am calling on the government today to measure up to the words that were spoken during the minister's speech, to turn those things into concrete action, and not to make it all about its desire to curry favour in international institutions. Rather, for it to act in a way that accords with the values that Canada believes in: fundamental human rights, justice, the rule of law, and a belief in universal human dignity.

Canada must not be shy in standing up for these values. Canada must be confident and fearless in our advocacy for fundamental human rights.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs started this debate by asking, “Is Canada an essential country?” The answer is absolutely, yes, Canada is an essential country. Our values are essential, and they are not just Canadian values. They are universal human values embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

I am proud to be part of a party that consistently put universal human rights and a broader understanding of universal human rights, rooted in a belief in universal human dignity, at the centre of its foreign policy, that was willing to be controversial and to disagree, and was willing to stand up for our convictions, regardless of the consequences, also recognizing that being true to who we are and standing up for our convictions, would advance our interests. That is exactly what I think Canadians expect of us. It is to consistently only carry on in a way that reflects our fundamental values.

It is important in the time I have left to highlight some of the failures of the government when it comes to the issue of religious freedom, because there is a real dissonance between what it has said on the issue of fundamental human rights and the issue of religious freedom. When we had the previous Office of Religious Freedom in place, here is what members of the government had to say about it.

I know the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs for Consular Affairs has been following this debate with great interest. At the time, when the Office of Religious Freedom was in place, he said:

As a part of broader efforts to cultivate long-term stability, tolerance, and respect for human rights, including freedom of religion or belief, Global Affairs Canada, through the Office of Religious Freedom, is supporting two projects in Ukraine to promote interfaith dialogue and to strengthen the capacity of local authorities to respond to hate crimes.

As the hon. member is aware, the Office of Religious Freedom has advocated on behalf of religious communities under threat, opposed religious hatred and intolerance, and promoted pluralism and respect for diversity abroad.

As the Minister of Foreign Affairs has already stated repeatedly, we are grateful for Dr. Andrew Bennett's service as the head of the Office of Religious Freedom and for his ingenuity, sensitivity, and competency over the past three years.

We clearly see the government talking about the benefits of the Office of Religious Freedom, yet showing a complete lack of willingness to support it. In fact, it decided to do away with the Office of Religious Freedom. It said it would leave in place the contact group, the advisory committee, yet I am not even sure if that advisory committee has met once since the office was done away with.

We heard the government talk about new programming with respect to communal harmony, yet I asked the minister during committee of the whole what was going on with that and she was not able to talk at all, in any specific terms, about programs they were actually doing.

We see clearly the failure of the government's foreign policy to measure up to the lofty words we hear some of the time from the government. I call on government members to reject the politics of appeasement and instead stand up for Canadian values and fundamental human rights around the world.

At this point, I would like to move that the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following:

the House recognizes that the government's foreign policy should have acknowledged the genocide committed against Yazidis and Assyrian Christians, including women and girls; refrain from attempting to reopen and normalize relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran, a Canadian-listed state sponsor of terror as well as normalizing relations with Vladimir Putin and the Russian Federation when it is illegally occupying Crimea and Ukraine; reopen immigration programs targeted towards vulnerable minorities; and reopen the Office of Religious Freedom.

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1:30 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Liberal

Matt DeCourcey LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend for being in the House today. I feel sorry for him, though, in the sense that his party sent him in here to deliver that glut of flippant ramblings for such a long period of time. What it demonstrates is that the Conservative Party has not recovered from 10 years of an isolationist, insular, and disastrous foreign policy and that it has no credible plan to position Canada as a country on the global stage.

I want to correct the record, though. One of those flippant ramblings that my friend delivered suggested that our minister did not speak about the importance of NATO in her speech. In fact, she clearly articulated the importance of Canada's role in NATO. She said:

We will strongly support the multilateral forums where such discussions are held, including the G7, the G20, the OAS, APEC, the WTO, the Commonwealth, and La Francophonie, the Arctic Council, and of course NATO and the UN.

She went on to speak much more about our important role in NATO, saying, “There can be no clearer sign that NATO and Article 5 are at the heart of Canada's national security policy.”

Would the member not agree that at this time multilateral institutions that hold the rules-based world order in play are important and that Canada's leadership in those institutions is vital? Would the member not deliver clear support for that position, or would he just admit that the Conservatives are still isolationists and have a disastrous foreign policy for Canada?

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1:35 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, most of that, frankly, is not worthy of a response. If that member thinks that signing trade agreements with countries constituting over 60% of the world's GDP is an isolationist foreign policy, I would like to know what the opposite would be.

Perhaps I missed hearing the minister mention NATO once in part of a list of 10 other international organizations. However, what the government should be more focused on, rather than on whether the word was thrown in there, is meeting our obligations under NATO. The minister talked about the importance of collective security, yet the finance minister substantially cut the support for our men and women in uniform.

Rather than those kinds of attacks, I think members of the cabinet should spend more energy trying to address issues of fundamental human rights. Why will the parliamentary secretary and why will the minister not address some of these issues about human rights in China, Burma, Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia? Why will they not address the issue of genocide recognition? The Liberals are not doing it because they are more interested in currying favour in the councils of the world than in standing up for fundamental human rights.

We believe in multilateralism, but we also believe in multilateralism that is rooted on and acts from Canadian values.

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1:35 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am going to take issue with the factual basis of some of what the hon. member said relating to previous governments. I do know him to be a thoughtful person and I found his speech thoughtful.

The member was not in the 41st Parliament, where I lamented repeatedly the ways in which our former prime minister moved us away from multilateralism toward a more isolationist stand. For example, as someone who has worked on the climate crisis for decades, I was horrified to see the Canadian government's position under Stephen Harper undermine and sabotage negotiations.

Just as egregious as Donald Trump's decision last week to get out of the Paris agreement was the Liberal government's decision to ignore the Kyoto protocol while Canada was legally bound to it and then subsequently bargain in bad faith at a UN meeting, saying Canada was in and then withdrawing. We also withdrew from the UN Convention to Combat Desertification and refused to sign the Arms Trade Treaty.

It was not a question of the UN voting against us and Portugal winning the security council seat in 2010 because we were too principled; it happened because we had the wrong set of guidance, overly ideological and shunning multilateralism.

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1:35 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for her kind words. Of course we disagree, but it is good to have a collegial working relationship in which we can discuss issues on which we disagree.

Earlier in my speech I did talk about the distinctions between Kyoto and Paris, some of the problems with the Kyoto protocol, and the ways in which it was not in Canada's interests.

The global response right now is gas emissions. When it came to deciding whether Canada should pay Canadian tax dollars to other countries to buy emissions credits or whether we should invest that same money in responding to climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions here at home, the government decided that being part of the Kyoto protocol framework would require us to use tax dollars to buy emissions credits, and this would actually be less in our interests and less effective in terms of the overall issue than it would be to spend that money domestically to try to respond to and improve issues around our environment.

I would like to speak very briefly on the issue of the Arms Trade Treaty. The Arms Trade Treaty raised serious concerns for the rights of law-abiding gun owners in Canada. While we should be forceful in trying to address the problem of the arms trade, we should recognize the realities when there is a negative effect from certain kinds of international treaties, an effect that may not be the one intended by those who promote these agreements or sign them, but still a negative effect on the legal rights of Canadians, and recognizing that reality was a reasonable response.

Being committed to multilateralism does not mean going along with everything. Being committed to multilateralism means engaging in the—

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1:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Order. Questions and comments, the hon. member for Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola.

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1:40 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Mr. Speaker, I certainly appreciate the member's contributions in this place. He has also written a book on foreign policy. I would encourage members of the government to look at it, because it goes through many of the ideas that he has enunciated today.

I wholeheartedly agree that multilateralism is a commitment to work together toward issues of common interests but that it does not always mean following along. Members may remember Brian Mulroney and the policy of apartheid. Our allies were not aligned with the position of the Government of Canada, which was that apartheid was the wrong policy for South Africa and that it should change.

There are times when Canada can show leadership on the world stage and move the consensus to another area. That is not toeing the line, as the Liberal government seems to want to do in order to get a seat.

Can the member again explain how important it is to not just be a multilateralist but to actually stand for something and try to move the bar to a higher position?

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1:40 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, my friend makes the very good point that many things that we might in retrospect regard as obviously the right policy to pursue were actually unpopular in the context of their own time. The minister spoke about peacekeeping. This was a new idea that put us offside with some of our traditional allies.

It was not in particular our opposition to apartheid, because many countries shared that opposition, but our view that we needed to take particularly strong tactics in terms of responding to South Africa that put us a bit offside with some of our allies and partners; nevertheless, we were still forceful in standing up for our principles and standing up for what was right.

Let me speak to this point about multilateralism. Canada needs to be engaged. We need to be a part of these fora. We need to speak clearly and forcefully about our values.

Some people in the House seem to think that multilateralism means always going along to get along, putting our name on every single agreement, signing on to every single resolution. That is not a coherent definition of multilateralism, at least not one that is in our interests or reflects our values. Our multilateralism should be selective. We should be engaged where it is right to do so, always advancing the things that we believe are important.

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1:40 p.m.

NDP

Hélène Laverdière NDP Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the minister for this initiative. In these difficult times we are going through, it is absolutely essential that we have informed and frank debates on international issues.

Obviously, we support the broad principles of the motion before us. It is interesting to see that, for their part, the Conservatives seem to have problems. We will have an opportunity to discuss them. In effect, they are principles that have guided Canada’s actions on the international stage for decades, except during the Harper government interlude, of course. Those principles reflect our values and our humanity, as well as our interests. As I like to say, when the world is doing well, Canada is also doing well.

I would have liked to see certain things in this motion, particularly regarding conflict prevention and peacekeeping, but I will not dwell too long on that.

The problem is not those traditional principles that are in the motion; the problem is the discrepancy between what the motion says—which is what the minister said in her speech this morning—and what the government is actually doing. Let me provide a few examples.

The minister spoke at length with respect to the Canadian contribution to international instruments, agreements, and conventions. Of course we are all proud of that, peacekeeping being one of the first that comes to mind. I found it very interesting when the minister said, “Canada was there” and “We step up.” Yes, and that is great.

The problem with that is, for example, this month the UN is negotiating a convention to ban nuclear weapons. Guess what? Canada is not there. Canada actually stepped down. The minister said that we are doing this other thing, which is a bit like saying, “This month I'm cleaning the dishes, so I won't make food or I won't clean the clothes. Let's just do one thing.” It just does not hold water, especially given that the Liberals voted for a motion in this House in 2010 asking for such a convention and in 2016 the Liberal Party adopted a resolution asking for work to be done on that file. Now the government is saying no.

Let us take human rights. It is easy to speak about human rights when it is easy, but it is when the going gets tough that we see whether or not a country is really ready to stand up for human rights. What about selling arms to Saudi Arabia? That is certainly defending human rights. What about having an ombudsman for our mining sector? This was promised by the current government before the election, and we do not hear anything about it anymore.

Regarding Raif Badawi, it seems that not much is being done for him. It seems that he is not a Canadian citizen, but rather someone who has been imprisoned for wanting to exercise his right to free speech, his right to free thought. The response to his imprisonment is very lukewarm. However, there is a matter on which we are more proactive: we want an extradition treaty with China. Even though we know the Chinese legal system, we want to be able to extradite people to China more easily.

These are just a few examples, but there is a fundamental contradiction between what we are told and what is being done. Another example of this is that the motion refers to sharing economic benefits. That is all well and good. However, can someone explain to me why Canada’s contribution to international development represents one-third of its international commitments?

Canada’s international commitment is to allocate 0.7% of its gross national income to international development. We currently allocate 0.2% or slightly more. Unfortunately, there is no commitment by this government to establish a timeline for achieving 0.7%.

The British did so while they were in a very difficult financial situation, because they understood their duty of solidarity and their long-term interests, particularly regarding security. Here, however, there is nothing. We have frozen the budget, which means a cut, given inflation.

The peacekeeping theme was also part of the big announcements by the Liberals. Today, a year and a half later, the minister has told us that we will have more news later this week as part of the defence review.

However, peacekeeping is not strictly a defence issue; it is also a foreign affairs issue. We have been waiting a year and a half for this government to take a position. Our partners are worried and they are wondering what is happening.

Is this government unable to make a decision, so that the other countries involved can organize accordingly? Yes or no?

Climate change is another issue that is extremely important to me. It is the best example of an issue that has us all in the same boat and requires us to work together.

Speeches are great, and I appreciate the will, in words at least, to do something in this area. We continue to work with the Harper government’s targets and we will not even achieve those targets.

The list is very long and I could go into more detail.

One other example is the cluster munitions convention. When the Conservative government tabled a bill to put into effect the cluster munitions convention, the Liberals said that it was terrible, that it did not fulfill the aims of the convention, that it even went against those aims.

Now the Liberals do not seem keen at all to repair the mistakes that were made by the Conservatives. On top of that, they are giving us a bill, at last, so Canada can accede to the ATT. However, the key provision of that bill relating to human rights and all that will be left to regulations. Those can be changed at any time. We do not what the Liberals will be putting into that, what they will be doing. A lot of people are highly preoccupied with this.

As I said at the beginning, we do live in difficult international times. I agree with what the minister said about working with partners, especially working with like-minded partners,with people who want to move forward with a better world and share our concerns and our vision. However, it is not enough to say that. If we want to work together with those countries, those countries must have trust in us.

That trust between parties will not be developed by simply giving speeches in the House of Commons that essentially reiterate what Canada’s foreign policy has been for decades. Only our actions will rebuild the trust that has been undermined over the last decade.

That means that we must stand up to protect human rights and act multilaterally. It means that we must submit to and comply with United Nations Security Council resolutions. As for the council's resolution 2334, I have asked the minister several times whether she will comply with it. However, she refuses to say. For a country that wants to sit on the Security Council, refusing to say that it will comply with resolutions when all the other countries are bound by those resolutions is absolutely unacceptable.

I almost forgot another very important point: the minister also mentioned that Canada is a safe haven for people fleeing violence, war, and discrimination.

I am not so sure about that. We have been asking for months now for Canada to suspend the safe third country agreement with the United States. Somebody died recently because of this agreement. People have lost their arms, their fingers, their feet. There is no reason to have that agreement in place right now. I think we all know the problems for refugees in the United States. In this current situation, we cannot consider it to still be a safe third country. If the government is really ready to stand up for human rights, if it is ready to do more than talk, the government should suspend that agreement immediately until the situation develops further.

Overall, this motion does not tell us anything new. I think that they are all principles that we have seen for a very long time, that we will not oppose, and that we will obviously endorse. Multilateral work is part of our DNA in the NDP. We firmly believe in it. As for this motion, I can guarantee that I will continue to dedicate my time and my energy to ensuring that this government does more than just talk and that it finally begins acting to systematically apply these principles.

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1:55 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Liberal

Matt DeCourcey LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to ask a question of my colleague from the NDP, who I thank for her speech.

Regarding the pillars of Canada’s foreign policy, can she tell us whether she supports the government’s position that Canada, over the coming years, will show leadership within multilateral organizations and demonstrate to our allies and the entire world the values to follow? I am thinking of respect for human rights, diversity, inclusion, and the rules that govern our world today.

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1:55 p.m.

NDP

Hélène Laverdière NDP Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I obviously have no problem supporting the idea of Canada showing leadership within multilateral organizations and protecting human rights and all of those issues.

Like most people, many of my colleagues know that I was a diplomat for 15 years. That is exactly what I did and that is what Canada has done for a long time, except, and I am sad to say it, during the conservative interlude. Those are traditional Canadian positions and policies. I even defended them with all my energy for many years. I have no problem with them. I say again that the problem that I have is that words are not enough, there needs to be action. Unfortunately, this government is not fulfilling its promise in that regard. It is just another broken promise.

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1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, I want to dig further into one question the Conservatives and NDP have raised in question period, and that is the situation in Chechnya with respect to gay men. The Liberal government cancelled a program that was in place to help gay refugees coming from Iran. We have statements made domestically in Canada, but what is needed is high-level engagement between the Liberal government and other governments on these issues, as well as a willingness to prioritize the most vulnerable refugees, which includes Christians and other religious minorities coming from certain countries. Another context certainly includes gays and lesbians.

Could the member provide her thoughts about what the government should do on those issues in Chechnya and, more broadly, those affecting the LGBTQ community.

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1:55 p.m.

NDP

Hélène Laverdière NDP Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question.

I always find it funny to hear members of the Conservative Party talk about high-level engagement because when they were in power they were not known for being very open to dialogue. In fact, it was their trademark. Dialogue includes talking to representatives of Russia in order to resolve specific situations.

That being said, I want to address two key points. My colleague talked about Christians and other religious minorities. The basic principle behind receiving refugees must not be based on religion or colour, but on their vulnerability. That is what matters most. Gays and lesbians are especially vulnerable. Our refugee system, our immigration system, is not adapted to their particular situation and that needs to change.

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1:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

The hon. member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie will have six minutes to respond to her colleagues' questions and comments when the House resumes debate on the motion.

We will now proceed with statements by members. The hon. member for Mount Royal.

Community Leader TributeStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Anthony Housefather Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, on June 8, the Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee is paying tribute to my friend and former colleague on the Hampstead town council, Lillian Vineberg. This is incredibly well deserved. Over the course of her life, Lillian has done just about everything: elected official, activist, philanthropist, and community leader.

She was chair of Concordia University's Board of Governors, chair of Hope & Cope, and member of the board of the Jewish General Hospital and dozens of other organizations.

Lillian was a leader in building relationships between English-speaking and French-speaking Canadians and between people of different faiths. She has been a source of inspiration to many, including me.

When I think of the quintessential Montrealer, Quebecker, and Canadian, Lillian comes to mind. She comes from a minority religious and language community yet is respected and viewed as a leader by all.

I ask all my colleagues to join me in paying tribute to her.

Day at the RangeStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Robert Sopuck Conservative Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa, MB

Mr. Speaker, this morning, many MPs and staff took part in the sixth annual Parliamentary outdoor caucus day at the range. This all-party event allows people from diverse backgrounds and political leanings to have the opportunity to experience using firearms in a safe manner, with professional instructors helping everyone with safety measures and tips on how to fire accurately.

From the smallest villages to the most urban centres, there are millions of law-abiding firearms owners across Canada. These are people from all walks of life who enjoy finding themselves in nature while hunting or who love the excitement of precision target shooting.

The rain this morning could not dampen our spirits, and it was evident that those who had their first experience with firearms were quite simply having a blast. I would like to thank the sponsors as well as the Parliamentary outdoor caucus for organizing the event. My hope is that the participants' experiences will help them understand that the rights of law-abiding firearms owners and enthusiasts must be respected. They should not be attacked for enjoying their way of life. Canadian firearms owners deserve nothing less.

Philippines Independence DayStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker,

[Member spoke in Tagalog]

[English]

That is a phrase that will be used a great deal over the coming days, as the Philippines will be celebrating its independence day. It is a celebration that takes place in every region of our country, as the Filipino heritage has grown, prospered, and done so well in Canada. In my home province, we celebrate Philippines independence for a week of festivities, from a ball and many fiestas to many other organized celebrations that highlight the many contributions our Filipino Canadian community has made over the years. It is a community that continues to grow like no other, as it is Canada's number one source of immigrants to our country. It also provides many thousands of workers every year. There are so many wonderful things we can do to expand that relationship.

It is with pride that I am the co-chair of the Canada–Philippines Parliamentary Friendship Group. We look forward to a full year of activities.

Bill ThompsonStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today with great sadness, on behalf of me and the member for Hamilton Mountain, to pay tribute to our good friend Bill Thompson, who passed away suddenly last week.

Bill was a well-known figure in the Hamilton community and a beloved member of our labour and NDP family. A dedicated social justice advocate, Bill fought tirelessly for important issues, such as co-op and affordable housing, poverty reduction, economic equality, and the environment. I had the honour to know and work with Bill for more than 40 years, as members of the Hamilton and District Labour Council executive in the late 1970s, as an assistant to Ontario minister Richard Allen, and through his lifelong dedication to fairness and equality. Nobody enjoyed a knock-down, drag-'em-out political debate better than Bill, yet his relentless positivity, sense of humour, and deep compassion endeared him to everyone he met.

On behalf of our NDP caucus and family, I would like to extend our sincerest condolences to Bill's family and friends. He will be greatly missed.

Rest in peace, brother.

Give 30Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax, ON

Mr. Speaker, in Canada and across the world, millions of Muslims are celebrating the holy month of Ramadan. During this time of sacrifice, empathy, and reflection, I want to wish all Ramadan Mubarak.

For the third year, I will be fasting again for Give 30 during the entire month of Ramadan. It is a charity that asks us to take the savings from fasting to give to those in need, namely the hungry.

Fasting is hard. When I walk past food, my body is yearning and I want to reach, but unfortunately, the reality for countless children in Canada and across the world is that there is no food to reach for. When the sun sets, their hunger does not. Hunger is not a choice, it is a condition, and the power of Ramadan connects us to that suffering. Give 30 is a way for us to make a difference.

Inshallah, we will.

Celebrating Youth AwardsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Tony Clement Conservative Parry Sound—Muskoka, ON

Mr. Speaker, it was my great honour this past Saturday, June 3, to attend the second annual Celebrating Youth Awards event hosted by hockey legend Bobby Orr at the hall of fame that bears his name in Parry Sound. This event recognizes and celebrates the contribution of youth 17 years of age and under in the west Parry Sound area. It is always inspiring to hear the accomplishments of these local young people.

As the member of Parliament for Parry Sound—Muskoka, I have had the great privilege of getting to know my hockey hero, Bobby Orr. While his accomplishments during his career were truly remarkable, what he has given back to his hometown of Parry Sound is even more amazing. Bobby Orr's generosity is only outdone by his great humility. As such, I feel it is important to rise in this House to recognize his tremendous support for youth in my riding and the many other significant contributions he has made to Parry Sound and all of Canada.

Italian DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to recognize Italian Day on the Hill. In my riding of Kingston and the Islands, we have a thriving Italian Canadian community, and I am happy to welcome 30 members of the Italo-Canadian Club of Kingston here on the Hill to help celebrate.

It is a challenge to move to a new country where one does not know the language, especially when one is only nine years old. This was the story of my mother, Assunta Garofalo, who moved from Italy to Kingston with her six siblings and parents in 1956. In fact, around that time, nearly 1,500 Italians did the same, further enriching the culture of Kingston. They started businesses, worked long hours, and showcased their resilience to make their community among the best places to live in Canada.

The Italo-Canadian Club of Kingston was formed to celebrate the richness of the Italian culture and has been a staple in my riding for over 50 years, welcoming people from all backgrounds. Today I am proud to stand in this place and recognize my Italian heritage.

SudburyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Lefebvre Liberal Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to welcome to Parliament Hill many groups from the happiest city in Canada, Sudbury, which have come to advocate for the projects they believe will continue to make Sudbury a great place to live.

Sudbury is a microcosm of Canada.

It has a majority Anglophone population, is one-third francophone, and has an urban indigenous community. As Canada was, Sudbury was built on the backs of hard-working immigrants. It is a city rich with an abundance of minerals, but its greatest asset is its people.

World-renowned poets, musicians, and visual and performing artists live in Sudbury.

Researchers and innovators have reshaped the moon-barren landscape with over 15 million trees, restocked 330 lakes with fish, and created a Nobel Prize-winning science lab two kilometres underground.

Sudbury is home to Science North and Dynamic Earth, the second- and eighth-largest science centres in Canada, and is home to the iconic Sudbury Wolves hockey team. Without a doubt, it is the mining innovation capital of the world.

I am proud to welcome all of these persons from my home in Sudbury.

73th Anniversary of D-DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, MB

Mr. Speaker, today marks the 73rd anniversary of D-Day. On June 6, 1944, under heavy fire, allied forces fought their way ashore in Normandy to begin the liberation of Europe. On this decisive day, Canadian soldiers proved their courage and determination.

Landing at Juno Beach, 14,000 soldiers from the Canadian Army's 3rd Infantry Division and the 2nd Armoured Brigade advanced further than any other allied force. Ten thousand sailors of the Royal Canadian Navy on 110 ships took part in the landings, while 15 squadrons of the Royal Canadian Air Force provided cover from the air.

The success of the Canadian troops on D-Day reminds us on this anniversary of Canada's proud military history and of the sacrifices Canadians made to secure peace, freedom, and justice around the world. Three hundred and fifty-nine Canadians were killed in this historic battle, and another 1,074 were wounded. Today we pay tribute to those who served so bravely at Normandy, and we remember those who did not return home.

Lest we forget.

Portugal DayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Marwan Tabbara Liberal Kitchener South—Hespeler, ON

Mr. Speaker, on June 10, Portuguese Canadians across Canada will be celebrating Portugal Day, Camões, and the Portuguese community. This day marks the anniversary of the death of Luis de Camões, the greatest Portuguese poet, who captured the essence of Portugal, its history, and its people. It is also a day for the Portuguese diaspora to celebrate its cultural heritage.

In Waterloo region, the Portuguese community is welcoming and vibrant. I am so proud the Portuguese club is in my riding, adding to the cultural mosaic of Kitchener South—Hespeler. I also congratulate the Portuguese Club of Cambridge and the Portuguese Oriental Club of Cambridge for their contributions to the cultural fabric of Waterloo region.

To all Portuguese Canadians in Kitchener South—Hespeler:

[Member spoke in Portuguese language as follows:]

Feliz dia de Portugal, de Camões e das comunidades portuguesas.

Pride MonthStatements By Members

June 6th, 2017 / 2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Arif Virani Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, June is Pride Month in Toronto. Events will be taking place all month to raise awareness and show solidarity with the LGBTQ2 community, culminating with the pride parade. I am proud that our Prime Minister was the first ever sitting leader to march at pride and is a party leader with the courage and conviction to voice unequivocal support for the LGBTQ2 community in Canada. I am also proud that our government has introduced Bill C-16, to make targeted acts against the trans community a hate crime, and Bill C-32, which makes the age of sexual consent equal for heterosexual and homosexual young couples.

I am most proud of the residents of my riding of Parkdale—High Park, who despite a climate of rising intolerance both internationally and here at home, remain steadfast champions in the fight against homophobia and transphobia, constituents who believe, as I do, in equality for all, regardless of how we identify or whom we love.

This month I urge all members to show their pride and their solidarity.

Sir John A. MacdonaldStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, today we pay tribute to the great Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada's founding father, who died on this day in 1891. A true visionary, John A. Macdonald worked with determination and charm to unite our country. The feat was ultimately accomplished through Confederation on July 1, 1867. The Dominion of Canada was born.

Sir John A. spoke often of his immense pride in and gratitude to the Canadian people who entrusted him with the leadership of the dominion for almost 19 years. Macdonald dedicated his entire life to this fledgling country and its people. Indeed, the old chieftain died while in office, without having had a single day's rest before his death. His loss was overwhelming. Canadians from coast to coast mourned and paid tribute to his devotion, intellect, wit, and patriotism.

We stand here today because of this great man and his remarkable legacy. This year, as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation, let us take a moment and reflect on the achievements of Sir John A. Macdonald, without whom Canada, strong, proud, and free, would not exist today.

Italian Heritage MonthStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Francesco Sorbara Liberal Vaughan—Woodbridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, June is Italian Heritage Month. It is an opportunity for all Canadians to think about and celebrate all the goods things we have that come from Italy: la cultura, il cibo, il vino, l'architettura, l'arte e la moda.

Let us not forget gelato.

Tonight MPs from all sides of the House will gather for the second annual Canada Italy Day on the Hill. We will celebrate the shared values of hard work, sacrifice, and the enduring contributions Italian Canadians have made to this country's national fabric.

On recent travels to magnifica Italia with the Prime Minister, I was reminded of our two countries' shared values of democracy, social justice, and gender equality.

The Italian community has played and will continue to play an invaluable role in our country.

I look forward to spending the month of June celebrating tutte le cose italiane.

Christine ArchibaldStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Richard Cannings NDP South Okanagan—West Kootenay, BC

Mr. Speaker, on Saturday we learned of a terror attack in London and then learned that one of the people killed in that attack was a young woman from Castlegar, British Columbia, Christine Archibald.

Like many Canadians, I was deeply moved by the statement Christine's family released on Sunday, and when I talked to Christine's father later that day, he said the family would be honoured if those words were read in this place. Here is their statement:

We grieve the loss of our beautiful, loving daughter and sister. She had room in her heart for everyone and believed strongly that every person was to be valued and respected. She lived this belief working in a shelter for the homeless until she moved to Europe to be with her fiancé. She would have had no understanding of the callous cruelty that caused her death.

Please honour her by making your community a better place. Volunteer your time and labour or donate to a homeless shelter. Tell them Chrissy sent you.

73rd Anniversary of D-DayStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, on June 6, 1944, 73 years ago today, nearly 150,000 American, British, French, and Canadian soldiers stormed the Atlantic Wall in Normandy to free Europe from Nazi oppression.

Among them, 850 French Canadians from the Régiment de la Chaudière, my regiment, landed on the beach near Bernières-sur-Mer, led by Colonel Paul Mathieu.

Soldiers from the Régiment de la Chaudière, the only francophone unit in the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division that landed on D-Day, were aggressive and determined. They advanced quickly, pushing the enemy back behind the rear lines.

To this day, our French cousins still cherish the memory of these soldiers from North America who came to their aid. The duty to remember must be instilled in new generations, and it is our responsibility to maintain a deep respect for these thousands of soldiers who fought for freedom.

Aere Perennius, more lasting than bronze.

73rd Anniversary of D-DayStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Andrew Leslie Liberal Orléans, ON

Mr. Speaker, today marks the 73rd anniversary of the D-Day allied landings in Normandy.

By June 1944, the Nazis had occupied France and much of the continent of Europe for four long and brutal years. The historic military victory of D-Day on the beaches of Normandy was a major turning point in the hard-fought war to liberate Europe from a cruel and oppressive regime. Canada's soldiers, sailors, airmen, and airwomen were assigned to capture an area that we now know as Juno Beach, which is legendary in our annals. It was there that our troops managed to defeat a heavily entrenched German force, but at a terrible price.

Today, we commemorate the victory of our ancestors, some of whom were mine, and pay tribute to those who paid the ultimate price to make that victory possible.

Indeed, the entire democratic world owes the soldiers—those who did not come home, those who were injured—and their families a debt we can never repay. There is a price for freedom.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Regina—Qu'Appelle Saskatchewan

Conservative

Andrew Scheer ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, today is the anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy. Thousands of Canadian soldiers stormed Juno Beach, and many of them never came back. In the 21st century, however, the enemy has new methods and a new face, namely, radical Islamic terrorism.

What is the Prime Minister doing to really protect Canadians from this threat, apart from spewing a bunch of empty rhetoric on an American talk show, of course?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we are always proud of the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces who serve their country, both here in Canada and abroad, to defend our values today, just as they have done for decades.

We owe it to our soldiers to give them all the equipment, assistance, and tools they need, as well as the support they need when they come home, so that they can continue to bravely defend our values and share them with the rest of the world.

We will continue to work to be worthy of the service performed by these brave men and women every day.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Regina—Qu'Appelle Saskatchewan

Conservative

Andrew Scheer ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Prime Minister articulated his sophisticated thoughts on the threats of global terrorism. He told Americans that it was super important to invest in “investigative national security stuff”. He then described the impact of violent acts of terrorists, saying Canadians are able to respond to “bad things happening without falling into a bad space”.

After abandoning the fight against ISIS and cutting our Canadian Armed Forces, would the Prime Minister tell Canadians what kind of stuff he is investing in and how he plans on keeping those positive vibes coming to keep us out of a bad space?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I am glad the Leader of the Opposition's new duties have not kept him from his daytime TV-watching.

The fact is that we take very seriously the importance of both protecting Canadians' rights and defending our safety at the same time.

We committed to Canadians in the last election campaign that we would get that balance right, that we would make sure that, always, we are defending Canadians' rights and protecting our communities at the same time. That is what Canadians expect. That is what we will do.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

National DefenceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Order. I realize that hon. members are in a party mood, I hope, but let us make sure we are listening to the questions and the answers.

The hon. Leader of the Opposition.

TaxationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Regina—Qu'Appelle Saskatchewan

Conservative

Andrew Scheer ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, after a week of avoiding me, that was the only place I could find him.

Yesterday, the Minister of Finance seemed proud to say that his government raised taxes, but Canadians are not happy with the Liberals for raising taxes on beer and wine. Not only is this move going to take money out of the pockets of Canadians who want to relax with a beer, but it is also going to cost good jobs across the country.

When will the Prime Minister stop looking for new ways to raise taxes on Canadians?

TaxationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we are very proud of the fact that we lowered taxes for the middle class and raised them on the wealthiest 1%.

Unfortunately, the party opposite chose to vote against the idea of raising taxes on the rich and lowering them for the middle class. We will continue to look for ways to create more opportunities for the middle class and to stimulate economic growth that will help the middle class and those working hard to join it.

TaxationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Regina—Qu'Appelle Saskatchewan

Conservative

Andrew Scheer ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister just keeps repeating things that are not true. They are not cutting taxes on the middle class; they are raising them: higher payroll taxes, higher taxes on beer and wine, bus passes, Uber, the carbon tax. However, he keeps trying to convince Canadians otherwise. I guess he is taking a cue from the old George Costanza philosophy that it is not a lie if one believes it.

Could the Prime Minister explain why he has an economic policy about nothing except hurting the people he claims to help?

TaxationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the last election campaign was fought on two very different visions of the economic growth this country needed.

The previous Conservative government spent its time on boutique tax credits and advantages for the wealthiest one per cent, while we knew Canadians needed real growth that would support the middle class, needed investments in infrastructure that were long overdue, needed the kind of support for a forward-thinking economic and environmental vision that went together.

These are the things Canadians asked for. They asked for real change. That is exactly what they got.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Regina—Qu'Appelle Saskatchewan

Conservative

Andrew Scheer ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, parents work tirelessly to provide a safe and secure life for their children. They pick neighbourhoods and schools based on what is best for their kids, and they are always focused on keeping them safe.

Every parent deserves to know if a high-risk offender is living next door, so when the Liberals suggested it is a better idea to defend these high-risk sex offenders than to help parents keep watch over their kids, they are putting the rights of dangerous criminals ahead of the safety of Canadian families.

When will the Prime Minister show some compassion for victims and their families instead of repeat dangerous offenders?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, what has not changed is the Conservative propensity to politicize things that really should not be politicized.

We take the safety of our community, of our children, extraordinarily seriously. That anyone would suggest that any parent or any person in this House would not take the safety of their children seriously is quite frankly shameful.

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to government nominations, the Prime Minister now pretends that he is partisan blind. He does not know what that means, so let me describe what partisanship looks like. It is when we donate to a politician's campaign and then get appointed by that politician to high office. It is when we get special access to the PM's top advisers—just friends, of course—when no one else gets that benefit.

Madeleine Meilleur confirmed again yesterday that the position of commissioner did indeed come up in discussions with Gerry Butts and Katie Telford, but the minister has denied this in the House.

Can the Prime Minister please tell us which one is lying?

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we put in place an independent nominations process that works on merit, that looks at who is going be the right person for the job.

We know that Canadians deserve appointments across government that reflect the full diversity of our country, and that is what we have stayed focused on.

We look at merit-based appointments, and we are moving forward in a way that keeps Canadians' trust.

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Colleagues, it is very quiet during the questions. I am sure it can be equally quiet during the answers.

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians would trust him more if he would answer a simple question like which one of them was lying.

I would like to quote exactly what the minister said: “Ms. Telford and Mr. Butts never discussed with Ms. Meilleur the possibility that she could become the Commissioner of Official Languages. That was never discussed.”

The thing is, on two occasions, once in committee and again yesterday before the Senate, Ms. Meilleur clearly stated that she did discuss the commissioner position with Mr. Butts and Ms. Telford.

The Prime Minister is accountable for this appointment. In light of this flagrant contradiction, will he take Madeleine Meilleur's name off the list?

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, Canadians expect us to appoint highly qualified people to these positions. That is why we went through an open, merit-based appointment process that reflected Canada's diversity. All Canadians were welcome to apply. We are proud of the process we put in place, and we are proud that it led to such a positive appointment.

Intergovernmental RelationsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would say “highly Liberal”.

The Prime Minister of Canada has the duty to seriously and calmly consider the recommendations of all the provinces. However, rather than considering Quebec's request to open a discussion, the Prime Minister acted impulsively and irresponsibly. He slammed the door on Quebeckers. That does not seem like a party that represents and respects Quebeckers to me.

How can the Prime Minister refuse a request to open a discussion without even listening to what the province had to say?

Intergovernmental RelationsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the member is well aware of my position on the Constitution. We discussed it extensively during the 2015 election debates.

All Canadians know that I was elected to defend growth for the middle class and to help Canadians deal with real issues, not to fall into the black hole of endless constitutional debate. That is what the NDP had to offer during the last election. We ran on a platform of growth for the middle class and real change.

Intergovernmental RelationsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

What arrogance, Mr. Speaker.

If Newfoundland and Labrador or Nova Scotia wanted to discuss the fishery or if British Columbia wanted to discuss issues facing indigenous people in Canada, would the government have slammed the door like that? No. Its contempt is reserved for Quebec.

How can this Prime Minister slam the door on Quebeckers without even having read the document in question? Is that his way of respecting Quebeckers?

Intergovernmental RelationsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, everyone in the House is well aware that I say the same thing in French and in English. I always take the same approach, which is to give Canadians what they need and respond to their concerns, rather than constantly reopening the Constitution. That always has been and always will be my position. I made that commitment to Canadians.

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

John Nater Conservative Perth—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, last night, in the another place, Madeleine Meilleur claimed that while she was serving as Ontario's attorney general, she acted in an impartial fashion. However, at the same time she was attorney general, she was also headlining cash for access events for the Ontario Liberals. Given her track record, are we really expected to believe she will be an impartial officer of this place?

Why does the Prime Minister not simply admit that this appointment is what it is? It is a Liberal reward for a Liberal partisan.

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Charlottetown P.E.I.

Liberal

Sean Casey LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, our two official languages are at the heart of who we are as Canadians, and is a priority for our government. Ms. Meilleur has been a fierce advocate for official languages over the course of her career and has sought to protect the vitality of our official languages communities. She will continue to be an important watchdog for the Official Languages Act.

We are certain she will fulfill her duties with all of the experience and impartiality required.

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

John Nater Conservative Perth—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, not even the Liberals are believing these answers.

Last night, a Liberal senator questioned Madeleine Meilleur's ability to act independently from the Liberal government. He suggested that not enough time had passed to develop the neutrality and distance needed.

If Madeleine Meilleur cannot even convince long-time Liberals that she is independent, how can Canadians believe she will be independent of the Liberal government?

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Charlottetown P.E.I.

Liberal

Sean Casey LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, we are committed to finding the most qualified candidates for each position. We also believe that taking part in public life should not exclude one from serving Canadians in a new capacity.

Once again, it is the qualifications that matter. In fact, we appointed Kim Campbell to lead the Supreme Court of Canada advisory board. Like Kim Campbell, we firmly believe that Madeleine Meilleur will be able to serve Canadians with all of the accountability, impartiality, and rigour required.

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Canadian Heritage keeps saying that Ms. Meilleur never talked about the commissioner position with Gerald Butts or Katie Telford.

However, yesterday, in committee of the whole at the other place, Ms. Meilleur stated the opposite yet again, and even confirmed that they talked to her about the process. It is patently obvious that this appointment was decided long before the so-called rigorous but highly suspicious process.

When will the government apologize for continuing to mislead the House and when will it start the process over again?

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Charlottetown P.E.I.

Liberal

Sean Casey LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, we recognize the importance of having an official languages commissioner and we are committed to finding the best possible candidate for that position.

After a lengthy, open, and merit-based process, Ms. Meilleur stood out as the most qualified candidate for this position.

As far as my colleague's allegations are concerned, I want to point out that at no time was the official languages commissioner job discussed. We have made that very clear a number of times. A process was in place and it was followed.

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, what a joke.

The more Ms. Meilleur talks, the deeper she sinks and brings the government down with her. She is hell-bent on taking the job, but she does not understand that Canada has two official languages.

When answering questions yesterday regarding what she would do for anglophone minorities, she replied using examples from the francophonie. She has no clue what anglophone minorities in Quebec need. It is therefore not surprising that she is declaring herself the new French language commissioner.

When will this shameful circus finally end, in order to start from scratch—

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Order. The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Charlottetown P.E.I.

Liberal

Sean Casey LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, we promised to find the best person to be the official languages commissioner, and that is exactly what we did.

After a rigorous, open, and merit-based process, which included 72 candidates, a selection committee, multiple rounds of interviews, and testing, Ms. Meilleur clearly showed that she had the experience, skill, and impartiality required.

We are confident that Ms. Meilleur will carry out her duties with all the experience and impartiality this important position requires.

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

Mr. Speaker, let us recap where we are at. Less than a year ago, Madeleine Meilleur left politics to spend time with her family. She was a cabinet minister under popular premier Dalton McGuinty and the even more popular Kathleen Wynne. She donated thousands to the federal Liberals during the last election campaign. She also donated to the Prime Minister's leadership campaign. Then she wanted to be a senator, but was told she was too partisan, so she applied for the non-partisan position of official languages commissioner.

Will the Prime Minister just admit that he is filling a non-partisan position with a Liberal Party donor and fundraiser?

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Charlottetown P.E.I.

Liberal

Sean Casey LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, we are committed to finding the most qualified candidate for each position. We believe that taking part in public life should not exclude someone from serving Canadians in a new capacity. It is the qualifications that matter.

In fact, as the hon. member knows, we appointed Kim Campbell to lead the Supreme Court of Canada advisory board. Like Kim Campbell, we firmly believe that Madeleine Meilleur will be able to serve Canadians with all the accountability, impartiality, and rigour required.

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

Mr. Speaker, that group of Liberals is acting just like we thought it would. The Liberals managed to divide Acadian, francophone, and minority English communities with this pick. Yesterday we learned a group that defends the rights of Acadians was seeking a judicial review. The Liberals just do not get it. It is not about Meilleur's qualifications; it is whether anyone believes she can be an independent officer of Parliament. It is about that.

Why can the Prime Minister not just admit that he and his backroom operatives have caused the integrity of the selection process to be called into question and they have no choice now but to do it over again?

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Charlottetown P.E.I.

Liberal

Sean Casey LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, our two official languages are at the heart of who we are as Canadians and they are a priority for our government. The experience, the expertise, and the integrity of Ms. Meilleur has been recognized by many both in the House and in the official languages community across Canada.

We are certain that Ms. Meilleur will fulfill her duties with all the experience and impartiality required for this position. In fact, last week the francophone community called on the House to end the political games and support this nomination.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Rachel Blaney NDP North Island—Powell River, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal infrastructure bank reminds me of a Tommy Douglas story about a place where mice were governed by cats. The cats passed laws that, for example, limited the speed mice could run so they would be easier to catch. They were good laws for cats.

This infrastructure bank was created by corporations for corporations. It ensures that Canadians will be stuck with the bill. It is a good bank for corporations.

Why are the Liberals less interested in helping working Canadians and more interested in helping corporate fat cats?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Edmonton Mill Woods Alberta

Liberal

Amarjeet Sohi LiberalMinister of Infrastructure and Communities

Mr. Speaker, we have put forward a very ambitious agenda to help build and rebuild Canadian infrastructure by tripling of our investments compared to the previous Harper government. Our goal is to go even further.

We believe that by mobilizing the pension funds of institutional investors, we can help build infrastructure that otherwise would never get built or may take decades to build. That will help us grow our economy, create jobs for the middle class, and also make a gap in the infrastructure deficit.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Meow, Mr. Speaker.

We know that the infrastructure privatization bank will mean new tolls and fees. That is what always happens. Look at Australia. Their competition commissioner, who supported privatization, is now admitting the scheme failed. He says companies want to maximize profits, not efficiency. We have to put a stop to privatization because all it does is raise prices and fees. That is a fact.

Instead of listening to BlackRock and their Bay Street friends, will the Liberals open their eyes and take a good look at the trap we are about to walk into?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Edmonton Mill Woods Alberta

Liberal

Amarjeet Sohi LiberalMinister of Infrastructure and Communities

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to building infrastructure, members of the opposition, including the NDP, really lacked commitment. It was quite evident in the last election.

We put forward a very ambitious agenda because we understood that Canadian communities needed to build more affordable housing, more public transit to reduce congestion, and more recreational culture infrastructure to build healthy communities. That is exactly what we are focused on. We believe that by mobilizing the pension funds of institutional investors, we can do more for our communities.

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Conservative Niagara Falls, ON

Mr. Speaker, we have been hearing reports from New Brunswick about a legal crisis in its family court system. It is all because of the judicial delays in the court system because the Liberals have not even put together a committee to advise them on judicial appointments in New Brunswick.

Because of this, families that are desperate for relief are getting none, and Canadians are further losing confidence in our criminal justice system.

What is the problem with the Liberals? Why do they not get on with making these judicial appointments?

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Vancouver Granville B.C.

Liberal

Jody Wilson-Raybould LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I am committed to ensuring that Canadians maintain their confidence in the criminal justice system. We are taking many measures to ensure this confidence is upheld, including putting in place an open and transparent judicial appointment process and reconstituting the judicial advisory committees.

I look forward to continuing to add to the 67 judicial appointments I have made across the country in the superior courts. I look forward to constituting the remaining judicial advisory committees and making further judicial appointments in the very near future.

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Conservative Niagara Falls, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals have not even appointed a committee to advise them on judicial appointments.

I know this is very difficult for the Liberals, so let me make this suggestion. If they are unable to do this, why do they not put us and the NDP in charge of putting together a committee and we will make recommendations so the minister can get the job done.

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Vancouver Granville B.C.

Liberal

Jody Wilson-Raybould LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I am very confident in the process that we put in place for judicial appointments and for constituting the judicial advisory committees.

I have appointed 67 substantive, meritorious, judicial appointments across the country. I look forward to continuing to make more appointments to fill the outstanding vacancies.

I assure the hon. member across the aisle that we will be constituting the remaining judicial advisory committees.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis, QC

Mr. Speaker, not only is the government taking its sweet time appointing judges, but now, terrifyingly, it wants to take an essential tool away from our police services. It wants to shut down the National Sex Offender Registry, which the police use to monitor high-risk sex offenders.

Canadians have the right to know if their neighbour is a sexual predator known to the authorities.

Can the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness confirm that he is putting victims, parents, and their children ahead of high-risk sexual predators?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Regina—Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, public safety is of course always our constant priority. The innuendo that is buried in that question is simply, utterly false.

When a potentially dangerous offender is about to be released from prison, Correctional Service Canada alerts the local police. If there is a danger, the police then alert the public.

The National Sex Offender Registry is a key tool for ensuring that offenders are properly registered and that high-risk offenders are identified.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Mr. Speaker, the government is considering shutting down a publicly accessible registry for high-risk sex offenders.

High-risk sex offenders are the worst of the worst and pose the greatest risk to our children. Every parent has a right to know if one of these predators is moving into his or her neighbourhood. Shutting down this registry would be nothing short of outrageous.

Why would the government be making it more difficult for parents to keep their kids safe by shutting down this registry?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Regina—Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, that appears to be an odd position for a member of that party to take, since it failed to put one nickel in the budget to support this initiative.

Public safety is our priority. The innuendo in that question is utterly false. When a potentially dangerous offender is about to be released from prison, Correctional Service Canada alerts the local police. The police ensure the public is notified if there is any danger. This is the system that is in place.

Immigration, Refugees and CitizenshipOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Inland Refugee Society of B.C. is the only group that provides support to inland asylum seekers upon arrival. Its caseload has increased by 300%, and even CBSA directs asylum seekers to it. However, it gets zero support from the federal government. Without federal support, the organization will have to close its doors later this year.

Instead of taking action, the minister has decided to ignore this dire situation. Will the government step up to the plate, or will it continue to abandon these NGOs that are struggling to stay afloat?

Immigration, Refugees and CitizenshipOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

York South—Weston Ontario

Liberal

Ahmed Hussen LiberalMinister of Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I am proud of our government's record in welcoming those who flee war, persecution, and terrorism. Our government is committed to a robust, fair, and compassionate asylum system, and that includes not only adequately funding the IRB but also organizations that help refugees day in and day out.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Hélène Laverdière NDP Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow, Hiroshima survivor Setsuko Thurlow will be here to address interested parliamentarians.

In 2010, the Liberals supported a motion calling on Canada to work on promoting nuclear disarmament. In 2016, the Liberal party adopted a resolution calling on the government to launch a process to ban nuclear weapons.

In fact, the United Nations is drafting a convention on banning nuclear weapons and Canada is nowhere to be found. Why is that?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

University—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, our goal is nuclear disarmament and we are taking the necessary measures to achieve that. That means we have to work hard to get something tangible.

In 2016, for the first time, Canada rallied 759 states to support and adopt a United Nations resolution calling for a fissile material cut-off treaty. That is something tangible.

Immigration, Refugees and CitizenshipOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Randeep Sarai Liberal Surrey Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, as the member of Parliament for Surrey Centre, I have seen first-hand how important highly skilled newcomers are to Canada's economy. Like many communities across Canada, Surrey is attracting more foreign international students, experienced professionals, and skilled newcomers who help meet Canada's labour market needs, contribute to economic growth, and drive innovation.

Will the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship please update the House on the recent changes to the express entry system that will help support the integration of newcomers and grow our economy?

Immigration, Refugees and CitizenshipOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

York South—Weston Ontario

Liberal

Ahmed Hussen LiberalMinister of Immigration

Mr. Speaker, starting today all applicants under the express entry system who have siblings in Canada will receive additional points, and applicants who also have strong French language skills will also receive additional points.

We value family reunification, which is why we understand that when newcomers have siblings in Canada, it leads to better integration outcomes. We also are unwavering in our commitment to the vitality and vibrancy of Francophone communities outside of Quebec, which is why we want to attract—

Immigration, Refugees and CitizenshipOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

The hon. member for Lakeland.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Shannon Stubbs Conservative Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals' anti-energy agenda is obvious. Their carbon tax undermines Canada's competitiveness and makes everything more expensive for everyone. The Liberals delayed LNG and pipeline projects, putting both at risk; added cost in red tape to oil and gas; and the PM wants to phase out the oil sands. It is political. They say one thing in B.C. and something different in Alberta. Now, a long-time anti-energy activist is the new chief of staff to the natural resources minister.

When will the Liberals finally champion Canadian energy, Canadian innovation, and Canadian jobs?

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Northumberland—Peterborough South Ontario

Liberal

Kim Rudd LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, I reject the premise of the question. Our support for the energy sector reflects a balanced approach that ensures the environment is protected and creates good, well-paying jobs for Canadians.

After 10 years of inaction by the Harper Conservatives, we have approved pipelines while at the same time protecting our oceans, pricing carbon pollution, and working with indigenous peoples. Our approach will create tens of thousands of good-paying, middle-class jobs for Canadians and position Canada's energy sector well to capitalize on opportunities going forward.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Joël Godin Conservative Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government lacks credibility.

Before becoming the minister's right hand, the Minister of Natural Resources's chief of staff used every possible platform to speak out against the oil industry. How is that acceptable? It is naive to believe that she could be a good advisor.

If asked to choose between two projects that meet environmental standards, does the government honestly believe that she will be capable of choosing the one that involves the oil sector? Workers in that industry have the right to work.

Does the minister want to shut down the oil industry and put thousands of Canadian workers on unemployment?

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Northumberland—Peterborough South Ontario

Liberal

Kim Rudd LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask members opposite if indeed they will be supporting the Paris climate motion that is coming forward.

By approving pipelines, our government took a step forward in supporting thousands of good-paying, middle-class jobs. Unlike the previous 10 years of the Harper Conservatives who failed to take any real action, we are protecting our oceans and putting a price on carbon pollution, all while finding new markets for our resources. We have said many times that a choice between climate action and pipeline approval is a false one. Our government is committed to a balanced approach that can do both.

TaxationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Blake Richards Conservative Banff—Airdrie, AB

Mr. Speaker, with regard to the small business tax rate, would the revenue minister agree that due to the seasonal nature of the camping industry it would not make sense for these businesses to have five year-round employees. Therefore, they are subject to a higher tax rate. As a result of this financial burden, many campground owners are struggling to keep their businesses. Consideration should also be given to the fact that owners of campgrounds are in most instances full-time employees, no different than full-time, self-employed in other small businesses.

Would the minister agree?

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 committed to ensuring that all Canadians pay their fair share of taxes.

With respect to the small business tax deduction, I want to tell my colleague that we have not changed the tax rules. The same rules still apply.

TaxationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Blake Richards Conservative Banff—Airdrie, AB

Mr. Speaker, notwithstanding the fact that was totally inaccurate, I also find it quite curious that the Minister of National Revenue does not feel fit to agree with those statements, because they were made by her Liberal colleagues, the member for Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook and the Minister of Fisheries, in letters that were written to her.

I ask the Minister of Fisheries this. Does he still stand by the letter that he wrote to the Minister of National Revenue in June 2016? Does he still believe that “the tax treatment of campgrounds [should] be reviewed taking into account their specific circumstances” with regard to the small business tax rate? Does he still suggest a moratorium on assessments while a review is undertaken?

TaxationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

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

Liberal

Diane Lebouthillier LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, we will continue to support small and medium-sized businesses across the country.

I would like to remind my colleague opposite that, when his party was in power, it held consultations with partners in the business community and it kept the same provisions. The rules have not changed.

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, first the Liberals shut down the Coast Guard's rescue dive team, and then they announced the cancellation of the salmon in the classroom education program, both within a week. This specialized dive team, based on B.C.'s Sea Island, is the only of its kind that rescues people trapped in submerged vessels. The salmon in the classroom education program has taught thousands of students about the importance of the salmon life cycle.

British Columbians are outraged. Why has the minister not heard their concerns? When will he reverse these cuts?

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Beauséjour New Brunswick

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc LiberalMinister of Fisheries

Mr. Speaker, we heard the concerns of British Columbians and all Canadians when we decided as a government to invest massively in the oceans protection plan. It is good to protect marine ecosystems. It improves search and rescue capacity on all of Canada's coasts, particularly in British Columbia.

I was proud to be there last week to announce four new lifeboat rescue stations on the coast of British Columbia. We will continue to protect fish habitat and work with the volunteer groups in that province and all across the country that do such outstanding work.

PensionsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Cheryl Hardcastle NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, nearly half of Canadians denied access to CPP disability benefits are successfully appealing the rulings. Two-thirds of those who took their appeal to the social security tribunal won. Clearly this proves the process we have in place is seriously flawed. These claims for benefits are not just numbers. They are real people who need these benefits in order to live and thrive. Why are so many claims denied in the first place?

Will the minister address this urgent matter immediately?

PensionsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Delta B.C.

Liberal

Carla Qualtrough LiberalMinister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities

Mr. Speaker, both the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and I agree that this is unacceptable. That is why we are taking steps to fix it.

The Minister of Families, Children and Social Development has called for a comprehensive review of CPP disability to ensure that it is more responsive to the needs of Canadians with severe and prolonged disabilities. Actions have already been taken to date, including simplifying the appeal process, creating a working group, contacting citizens proactively, and revising the operations and processes to make them fair and efficient.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Kent Conservative Thornhill, ON

Mr. Speaker, after 18 months of erratic foreign policy missteps, Canadians may be relieved the Liberals have finally accepted the need to hit the reset button.

After a stroll through history, through a myopic Liberal lens today, where is the detail for example on whether the Liberal retreat from the allied coalition in Syria and Iraq will be reversed, whether the Liberals will be less submissive with China on trade and human rights, and whether the Liberals will be less secretive about votes for human rights abusers at the United Nations?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

University—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure Brian Mulroney would agree that a reference to his work on the acid rain treaty was a myopic Liberal stroll unless the member opposite has information that Prime Minister Mulroney is joining our side of the House.

When it comes to Daesh and Iraq, our government is absolutely resolute. We have committed $1.6 billion to the effort there. We are proud of the work we are doing.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Kent Conservative Thornhill, ON

Mr. Speaker, when Canadians are illegally detained and abused by countries like Iran and China, the Liberals cite “privacy” as a reason to remain silent. When Canadians are eventually released, if they survive, like the Garratts from China or Professor Hoodfar from Iran, the Liberals have been similarly mute.

When will the Liberals reset this unacceptable foreign policy and condemn publicly, on behalf of all Canadians, the past and present abuse of Canadians in China and Iran?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

University—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, let me be absolutely clear. We condemn, in absolute terms, the human rights abuses of Canadians and all people anywhere in the world.

When it comes to consular cases, as the member opposite knows having been in government himself, these are among the most personally difficult and challenging cases any government can face. It is often important to do this work in private in order to secure our ultimate goal, which is not a partisan win; it is getting Canadians home.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Foreign Affairs promised us a big foreign policy announcement, but what she delivered was hardly worth taking notice of. To make matters worse, there was no consultation.

The minister made no mention of reversing the government's decision to turn its back on our allies who are fighting ISIL in Iraq and Syria, and she did not say when the government will stand up to China on trade and human rights issues.

When will the government finally take off its rose-coloured glasses, see that the world we live in is a complicated place, and anchor its foreign policy in reality?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

University—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as I said this morning, I understand that the world is a complicated place and that there are tough realities. I want to repeat what I said this morning: Canada must help the world through multilateral institutions, rules, and Canadian values. That is what we are doing and what we will continue to do.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Bernadette Jordan Liberal South Shore—St. Margarets, NS

Mr. Speaker, abandoned and derelict vessels have a tremendous impact on communities in my riding of South Shore—St. Margarets, and for many coastal communities all across Canada. Our government demonstrated that a clean environment and a strong economy can and have to go hand in hand, and we recognize the importance of supporting healthy coastal marine ecosystems.

Can the parliamentary secretary please inform my constituents, and all Canadians, on the recent positive developments on this important issue?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Kanata—Carleton Ontario

Liberal

Karen McCrimmon LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for South Shore—St. Margarets for her advocacy on this file.

Last week, our government was proud to announce the new abandoned boats program as part of our oceans protection plan. This new funding will assist in the removal and disposal of high-priority abandoned and wrecked small boats posing a hazard in Canadian waters, and sometimes interfering with safe navigation. This is yet another clear step in our commitment to further protect and preserve our country's pristine coastlines.

Rail TransportationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, SK

Mr. Speaker, a closer look at Bill C-49 reveals that the Liberals are trying to sell shippers a weaker version of the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act. Adding insult to injury, the pro-shipper measures contained in Bill C-30 will sunset on August 1. As a result of the minister's delay tactics, farmers will be forced to negotiate next year's contracts without the benefit of a law.

This omnibus bill is too late for western shippers. Will the minister now separate the rail shipping measures for expedited scrutiny?

Rail TransportationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Kanata—Carleton Ontario

Liberal

Karen McCrimmon LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, all Canadians would benefit from a competitive and reliable freight rail system. That is why our government introduced legislation to support a transparent, fair, efficient, safe, national rail system that will meet the long-term needs of users and facilitate trade and economic growth for years.

We are putting our efforts toward building a comprehensive and permanent solution, not another band-aid.

Air TransportationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to defend the rights of the people of Saint-Hubert, who were hoping for some relief from the din of the Saint-Hubert airport by summer. The community should be proud of having negotiated an agreement that satisfies all of the local stakeholders.

However, it is disappointing that here we are the beginning of June, and Transport Canada still has not issued the relevant restrictions on operating hours.

Will the minister ensure a modicum of collaboration on Transport Canada's part in issuing those restrictions so that people can enjoy the agreed-upon peace and quiet this summer? Summers are short here.

Air TransportationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Kanata—Carleton Ontario

Liberal

Karen McCrimmon LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we are trying to build infrastructure in our country to allow economic growth, opportunity, and jobs for middle-class Canadians. This needs to be done in a balanced way that takes the needs of all Canadians into account. That is exactly what we are doing.

EmploymentOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Brenda Shanahan Liberal Châteauguay—Lacolle, QC

Mr. Speaker, young people in Châteauguay—Lacolle have told to me about the steps our government has taken to reduce the labour market barriers they face.

Many of them have had their first real work experience thanks to programs such as Canada summer jobs.

Can the parliamentary secretary to the minister for youth update the House on other steps our government has taken to help young Canadians jump-start their careers?

EmploymentOral Questions

3 p.m.

Vaudreuil—Soulanges Québec

Liberal

Peter Schiefke LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister (Youth)

Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for her question and for her hard work on this issue in the riding of Châteauguay—Lacolle.

Investing in youth is a priority for our government. In our first two budgets, we invested to grow the economy and make job opportunities available to young Canadians, and we set up an expert panel on youth employment.

Last week, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour received the expert panel's final report, which our government is now reviewing to determine how we can follow up on their recommendations.

MarijuanaOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Alain Rayes Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have learned that the Government of Quebec reached out to the federal government and asked it to delay its plans to legalize marijuana only to be sent packing.

This government refuses to listen to anyone, including the provinces, the municipalities, the general public, experts, and even the parliamentarians here in House. The Liberals are improvising on this issue. They are downloading all the problems onto the municipalities and the provinces.

Will this government at least have the decency to listen to Canadians and treat them like real partners?

MarijuanaOral Questions

3 p.m.

Vancouver Granville B.C.

Liberal

Jody Wilson-Raybould LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to legalizing cannabis, strictly regulating, and restricting access to it in order to keep it out of the hands of children and the proceeds out of the hands of criminals.

We have undertaken substantive consultation, put together a substantive task force that provided a myriad of recommendations, which informed our bill, Bill C-45, the cannabis act. We will continue to work diligently with the provinces and the territories to ensure we have a comprehensive regime in place across the country.

Intergovernmental RelationsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, after two years in power, this government really is in its “terrible twos” phase.

The Prime Minister seems to know only one word: no. Will the government maintain health transfer increases? No. Will it give Quebec more time to adapt to pot legalization? No. Will it discuss the Constitution? Heck no.

When will the government start showing Quebec some respect?

It really is time for Quebeckers to vote yes, once and for all.

Intergovernmental RelationsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Québec Québec

Liberal

Jean-Yves Duclos LiberalMinister of Families

Mr. Speaker, as a government member from Quebec, I am very pleased to serve as part of a government that is working to develop the economy, grow the middle class, and ensure that our economic, social, and physical environments live up to the expectations and needs of Canadians, all while respecting our governments' jurisdictions, and recognizing the special, very strong, and productive relationship we enjoy with the Government of Quebec.

InfrastructureOral Questions

3 p.m.

Bloc

Gabriel Ste-Marie Bloc Joliette, QC

A wordy response, Mr. Speaker, but all I heard was no, no and no.

Today, the 40 members from Quebec have a choice. They can vote in favour of the infrastructure bank and help wealthy investors get around Quebec laws and municipal regulations. That means no BAPE, no agricultural zoning, and the power to expropriate.

They can also vote to ensure that Quebeckers and our National Assembly are respected.

Who is going to vote for the infrastructure bank today, 40 Quebec MPs or 40 phantom MPs who do not respect Quebec?

InfrastructureOral Questions

3 p.m.

Edmonton Mill Woods Alberta

Liberal

Amarjeet Sohi LiberalMinister of Infrastructure and Communities

Mr. Speaker, as I have stated in the House many times, the infrastructure bank and any project undertaken by the infrastructure bank will be required to follow all provincial, territorial, and municipal laws. We respect the local jurisdiction and we will ensure that in order to grow our economy, we will continue to work with the provinces, including a very strong relationship with the province of Quebec, and all MPs working in the House advocating on behalf of the province.

We will continue to invest in infrastructure to grow our economy.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Blake Richards Conservative Banff—Airdrie, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. During question period, I rose to ask a question of the Minister of Fisheries in regard to a letter that he and another member of Parliament had written to the Minister of Revenue. However, I noticed that the Minister of Revenue got up and responded to the question, with the same old talking points we had heard over and over again, which are completely untrue.

Therefore, I would like to give the Minister of Fisheries an opportunity to refresh his memory by asking for unanimous consent to table the letters that were written to the Minister of Revenue.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Is there unanimous consent?

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Erin O'Toole Conservative Durham, ON

On May 31, I rose in the House on a point of order asking you to make a prima facie finding of contempt on the Minister of Canadian Heritage with respect to her evidentiary record, her testimony before this chamber. At the time, I mentioned the member for Chilliwack—Hope had entered into the record the testimony of Madam Meilleur, which conflicted directly with the minister's comments.

Today, I would ask you to also enter into your reflection on my point of order, the evidence provided today by the member of Parliament for Outremont, which confirms a second time that Madam Meilleur's direct testimony to a standing committee of Parliament and to the Senate conflict with the minister's comments in the House.

As you are considering my request for a prima facie finding of contempt, I would ask that you would add to your evidentiary record the remarks today by the member for Outremont.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I thank the hon. member for Durham for adding to his arguments in relation to his point of order.

The House resumed from June 1 consideration of the motion.

Opposition Motion—Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

It being 3:06 p.m., pursuant to an order made on Thursday, June 1, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion relating to the business of supply.

Call in the members.

And the bells having rung:

Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

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 Beauport—Limoilou, Public Services and Procurement; the hon. member for Edmonton West, Public Services and Procurement; the hon. member for Calgary Rocky Ridge, Ethics.

The question is on the motion.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Vote #292

Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I declare the motion carried.

Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs is not a new member. I think she is familiar with the rules that say, if a member enters the House while the Speaker is reading the question, the member is not able to vote. The member still endeavoured to vote, so I ask that her vote be stricken from the record.

Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

If the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan was listening carefully, he would have noticed that I was announcing the topics for adjournment debate this evening when the hon. minister walked into the chamber. I had not started posing the question at that time. It is fair to ask.

The House resumed from June 5 consideration of Bill C-44, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures, as reported (with amendment) from the committee, and of the motions in Group No. 1.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Pursuant to an order made on Tuesday, May 30, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred divisions on the motions at report stage of Bill C-44.

The question is on Motion No. 1.

(The House divided on Motion No. 1, which was negatived on the following division:)

Vote #293

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

3:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I declare Motion No. 1 defeated.

The question is on Motion No. 3. A vote on this motion also applies to Motion No. 6.

(The House divided on Motion No. 3, which was negatived on the following division:)

Vote #294

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

3:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I declare Motion No. 3 defeated. I, therefore, declare Motion No. 6 defeated.

The next question is on Motion No. 5.

(The House divided on the motion, which was negatived on the following division:)

Vote #295

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

3:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I declare Motion No. 5 defeated.

The question is on Motion No. 7. A vote on this motion also applies to Motions Nos. 8 to 13.

(The House divided on Motions No. 7, which was negatived on the following division:)

Vote #296

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

4 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I declare Motion No. 7 defeated. I therefore declare Motions Nos. 8 to 13 defeated.

The next question is on Motion No. 14. A vote on this motion also applies to Motion No. 15.

(The House divided on Motion No. 14, which was negatived on the following division:)

Vote #297

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

4:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I declare Motion No. 14 lost. I therefore declare Motion No. 15 lost.

The next question is on Motion No. 16. A vote on this motion also applies to Motions Nos. 17 to 85.

(The House divided on Motion No. 16, which was negatived on the following division:)

Vote #298

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I declare Motion No. 16 defeated. I therefore declare Motions Nos. 17 to 85 defeated.

The next question is on Motion No. 88. A vote on this motion also applies to Motions Nos. 89 to 92.

Before the Clerk announced the results of the vote:

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

Amarjeet Sohi Liberal Edmonton Mill Woods, AB

Mr. Speaker, I want to make sure that my vote is recorded, and recorded no.

(The House divided on Motion No. 88, which was negatived on the following division:)

Vote #299

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

4:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I declare Motion No. 88 defeated. I therefore declare Motions Nos. 89 to 92 defeated.

The question is on Motion No. 93.

(The House divided on Motion No. 93, which was negatived on the following division:)

Vote #300

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

4:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I declare Motion No. 93 defeated.

The question is on Motion No. 94. The vote on this motion also applies to Motions Nos. 95-97.

(The House divided on Motion No. 94, which was negatived on the following division:)

Vote #301

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

4:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I declare Motion No. 94 defeated. I therefore declare Motions Nos. 95 to 97 defeated.

The next question is on Motion No. 98. A vote on this motion also applies to Motions Nos. 99 to 106.

(The House divided on Motion No. 98, which was negatived on the following division:)

Vote #302

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

4:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I declare Motion No. 98 lost. I therefore declare Motions Nos. 99 to 106 defeated.

The next question is on Motion No. 107. A vote on this motion also applies to Motions Nos. 108 to 113.

(The House divided on Motion No. 107, which was negatived on the following division:)

Vote #303

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

5 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I declare Motion No. 107 defeated. I therefore declare Motions Nos. 108 to 113 defeated.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

5 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Morneau LiberalMinister of Finance

moved that the bill be concurred in.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

5 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

5 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

5 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

5 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

5 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

All those opposed will please say nay.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

5 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

5 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

In my opinion the yeas have it.

And five or more members having risen:

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Vote #304

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

5:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I declare the motion carried.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

5:10 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, I rise to inform the House that the member for Manicouagan is paired with the member for Egmont for the votes today and tomorrow with the consent of the chief government whip.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

5:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I thank the member for Pierre-Boucher—Les Patriotes—Verchères for his intervention.

Motion that debate be not further adjournedParis AgreementGovernment Orders

5:10 p.m.

Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

Bardish Chagger LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism

Mr. Speaker, in relation to the consideration of Government Business No. 15, I move:

That the debate be not further adjourned

Motion that debate be not further adjournedParis AgreementGovernment Orders

5:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Pursuant to Standing Order 67.1, there is a 30-minute question period in relation to the closure motion. However, the House is scheduled to proceed to private members' business at 5:30 p.m. before the 30 minutes have expired.

When confronted with a somewhat similar situation on April 30, 2015, where the 30-minute question period was interrupted by statements by members, the Acting Speaker noted that there would be an opportunity for the House to resume and finish the proceedings pursuant to Standing Order 67.1 later in the day. The Chair intends to take the same approach in this case.

Accordingly, the question period will begin now, interrupted at 5:30 p.m. and resume following private members' business.

I therefore invite all members who wish to ask questions to rise so that the Chair has an idea of how many members want to participate in this question period.

Motion that debate be not further adjournedParis AgreementGovernment Orders

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

Candice Bergen Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Is this not interesting, Mr. Speaker. We have been sitting until midnight for the last week and a half. We will be sitting until midnight until the end of session because the government has such important business, apparently, that it wants to get accomplished. The Liberals have not been able to accomplish it previously because they have mismanaged the House so badly.

In the midst of all of us sitting this late and the Liberals ramming through their legislation, they have thrown two motions on the Order Paper that have absolutely no consequence. The motions could have been discussed in a press conference. The motions could have been discussed in a ministerial statement. The motions could have been discussed in a variety of ways. However, the government chose to bring the motions here to us and interrupted the work that we were doing, using up valuable House time and still making all of us sit here until midnight.

Now the Liberals are moving time allocation and shutting down debate on this motion. This is unbelievable of the Liberals, absolutely mismanaging not only the House but their own pathetic agenda.

I ask that the Liberals stop this kind of nonsense. We have a summer break coming up and things will not be better when we come back in the fall if this is the way they continue.

Motion that debate be not further adjournedParis AgreementGovernment Orders

5:15 p.m.

Ottawa Centre Ontario

Liberal

Catherine McKenna LiberalMinister of Environment and Climate Change

Madam Speaker, I am very disappointed to hear the words of the member opposite, because there could be nothing more important than reaffirming our support for the Paris agreement in light of the U.S. decision.

I would ask if the party opposite could please clarify its position. After so many declarative statements in support of the Paris agreement by Conservatives members of Parliament, including the members for Abbotsford, Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, Langley—Aldergrove, Oshawa, Thornhill, Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier and Calgary Rocky Ridge, one would think they would be somewhat embarrassed that yesterday the member for Carleton stood in this place, on behalf of the Conservative Party, and not once simply affirm his party's support for the Paris agreement, and during questions, refuse to answer.

Motion that debate be not further adjournedParis AgreementGovernment Orders

5:15 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Dubé NDP Beloeil—Chambly, QC

Madam Speaker, it is certainly true that the NDP is very happy to support the Paris agreement, despite the lack of effective targets. In fact, we do have targets, but they are the ones put in place by the former Conservative government.

That being said, I find this interesting and I would like to echo the comments made by the official opposition House leader. For example, it might have been nice to have a motion denouncing the President Trump's executive orders that discriminate against people from certain countries. This is the reaction we are seeing in the case of the Paris agreement, from which he withdrew. It seems we are being very selective.

The decision has now been move to propose a motion to make grand statements on foreign affairs. We are pleased to see Parliament getting some respect for once; we are happy for these statements.

However, we see how difficult it seems to be to get legislation through; things are moving rather slowly. Despite the grand speeches on work-family balance, parliamentarians are being made to work even harder because of this government's lack of efficiency; for example, it could have initiated a debate and collaborated with the opposition parties.

I would like the minister to tell us why the government is not going forward in a more constructive way to avoid having to gag the opposition and introduce time allocation motions, when all we need to do is have a constructive conversation on these issues so we can really work for Canadians.

Motion that debate be not further adjournedParis AgreementGovernment Orders

5:15 p.m.

Liberal

Catherine McKenna Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, I want to thank my opposition colleague for saying with certainty that the NDP will support this evening’s motion regarding the Paris agreement. I am really happy to hear that.

I want to be clear: the targets were not just adopted by our party, but the provinces and territories also adopted them, along with the Prime Minister, in the Vancouver declaration. It is very important to declare today to the world that Canada supports the Paris agreement. We know that climate change is real and we need to work with everyone to protect our planet. We are also going to create good jobs and make innovations, here, in Canada.

Motion that debate be not further adjournedParis AgreementGovernment Orders

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

Erin O'Toole Conservative Durham, ON

Madam Speaker, I had the good fortune of spending the last seven months speaking with a lot of Canadians in all parts of this country. I have to say that they are very worried about the government's carbon tax plan and scheme across this country. At a time where manufacturers in Ontario are already facing high electricity costs, they are worried about input costs related to pricing carbon.

Making our Paris commitments is important. What I said on the road is that having a tailored plan of innovation and tax reductions for our 30 largest emitters would mean we are targeting 25% of our nation's emissions, if we took a pragmatic approach like that. Instead, the government is spreading the hurt across all companies and all families across this country, to not even meet its targets.

My question for the minister is this. A few weeks ago, 500 families in Brockville learned that the production at Procter & Gamble will be moving to West Virginia, a state in the integrated North American economy that does not have a carbon tax. The government's conduct is putting a dagger in the heart of manufacturing in Ontario. What will the minister say to those 500 families who are seeing those jobs flee as a result of the Ontario government's hydro prices, and as a result of its federal carbon tax scheme?

Motion that debate be not further adjournedParis AgreementGovernment Orders

5:20 p.m.

Liberal

Catherine McKenna Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, unlike the party opposite, when we work with the provinces and territories to develop a climate plan, we actually have a plan to achieve a target. The previous government disingenuously brought a target, had no plan, and had no intention to meet it. Our government is committed to climate action.

Once again, I have a very simple question. Will the members of the party opposite stand up tonight and say very clearly that they believe climate change is real, that they believe we need to take action, and that they support the Paris agreement?

Motion that debate be not further adjournedParis AgreementGovernment Orders

5:20 p.m.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Madam Speaker, I want to build on what my colleague, the opposition House leader, was talking about. She said we are here until midnight for the next number of weeks. We know that the summer recess is coming. I sit on the indigenous affairs committee and we have a Supreme Court of Canada decision that needs to be responded to. There is a deadline of July 3. That bill has come through the Senate. It has been introduced in the House and we have not had any time debating that bill.

As the member indicated, there are important motions that could be achieved in other ways, but we have women who are waiting for the decision on the Descheneaux case. The Supreme Court of Canada gave us a deadline and we have to get a response back to the Senate in terms of the amendments it has made.

In terms of House management, this is an absolutely ludicrous way forward when the Liberals are saying we have critical legislation that has to be passed before we rise for the summer and we have not spent one hour debating the case and we are spending time doing many different motions, time allocation, etc.

Motion that debate be not further adjournedParis AgreementGovernment Orders

5:20 p.m.

Liberal

Catherine McKenna Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, it is critical that the House is clear to the world that Canada stands up, that we support the Paris agreement, that we understand that we need to be taking action to protect our planet, and that we are going to stand with the governors, mayors, businesses, and communities in the United States that have said they support the aims of the Paris agreement.

We understand that the economy and the environment go together. That is why we have developed a practical plan with the provinces and territories, with indigenous leaders, with business leaders, with labour leaders, with environmentalists, and with all Canadians because we know Canada needs to do its part to tackle climate change. There is a huge economic opportunity in the trillions of dollars. We are going to position ourselves well so that we can create innovation here in Canada that we will export to the world, creating good jobs and growing our economy.

Motion that debate be not further adjournedParis AgreementGovernment Orders

5:20 p.m.

NDP

Cheryl Hardcastle NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Madam Speaker, I agree that it is important for Canadians to understand what is going on here. The issue is not really about us looking at new policy and the era of using legislation to advance environmental sustainability as well as economic health. The issue here is about the tactics being used by the governing party to run roughshod over opposition members who want to have meaningful debate about the very significant and milestone achievements that the government wants to be able to take credit for.

I am here and ready to give my thoughtful, meaningful, and reflective comments on the legislation, which is historic. However, every time I sit here and am ready to be the voice for the very progressive constituents in my area who have provided very insightful information, we get shut down by a government that campaigned on being healthy for democracy, campaigned on sunny ways, and I see this Eddie Haskell version of governance here. It is very disconcerting to hear the members detract from the real issue of undermining our ability to talk about the issue in this place, when we should be debating it.

Motion that debate be not further adjournedParis AgreementGovernment Orders

5:25 p.m.

Liberal

Catherine McKenna Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, I would once again repeat how important it is that Canada shows to the world that we stand firm on the Paris agreement. In the face of the very disappointing decision by the U.S. administration, we need to stand up and say that Canada understands that climate change is real and we understand the very real impacts that we are seeing across our country. We are seeing floods, forest fires, and an Arctic that is literally melting before our eyes.

We know we need to take action and we need to show that the world is resolved to take action, that we are all going to be working together. I have three children and I am absolutely committed to making sure that we take serious action to protect our planet, but also to create good jobs for them, to grow the economy, to make sure that we are creating the innovation needed for a cleaner planet to help grow our economy and place us well in the world.

Motion that debate be not further adjournedParis AgreementGovernment Orders

5:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Motion that debate be not further adjournedParis AgreementGovernment Orders

5:25 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

Before I recognize anyone else, I want to remind members that if they have something to contribute, they should stand up to be recognized and I will try to make sure that everyone has an opportunity to ask a question or make a comment.

Questions and comments, the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment.

Motion that debate be not further adjournedParis AgreementGovernment Orders

5:25 p.m.

North Vancouver B.C.

Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Madam Speaker, I think the thoughtful people in the House understand the environmental imperatives associated with endorsing the Paris agreement and addressing climate change in a substantive way, but there is also an enormous economic opportunity enabled through the Paris agreement and in how countries actually implement it. In Canada, that is reflected in the pan-Canadian framework on climate change and clean growth.

Can the minister tell us a little more about the economic opportunity and the ways in which the government is actually approaching this subject?

Motion that debate be not further adjournedParis AgreementGovernment Orders

5:25 p.m.

Liberal

Catherine McKenna Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the member for his tireless work on climate change and the environment.

The economic opportunity of climate action is enormous. The former governor of the Bank of Canada, now the governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, has called it a $30-trillion economic opportunity. We need investments in renewable energy. China is making historic investments in solar and wind power. It is the same for India. Countries around the world are looking for innovations. When I was in China, I brought a trade mission with me. The Chinese government told me it needs our clean air, clean water, and soil remediation solutions. I want Canadian innovations to be exported to the world and to take advantage of that economic opportunity so that we can grow our economy and create good jobs, all the while saving the planet.

Motion that debate be not further adjournedParis AgreementGovernment Orders

5:25 p.m.

Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Madam Speaker, a taxpayer shared with me a recent conversation he had with Jon-Paul Jepp, who goes by the inflated title of senior policy adviser to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change. Jon-Paul Jepp, who hung up twice on the taxpayer, was completely unable to respond in a professional way. Apart from his former employment with an oil company, which Jon-Paul Jepp felt made him a climate change expert, he was incapable of defending the Liberal Party position on carbon taxes and the reality that carbon taxes are a tax policy, not an environmental policy. When Jon-Paul Jepp was asked to explain how a carbon tax is going to hold temperatures to less than 2° as per the Paris agreement and how a carbon tax causes warming when higher levels do not perceive warming, he hung up.

Is not the real reason the Liberals are bringing in this carbon tax and forcing this vote on the Paris agreement so quickly before all of us have had a chance to talk that they are afraid the truth is getting out and that their signing this agreement is not based on fact?

Motion that debate be not further adjournedParis AgreementGovernment Orders

5:25 p.m.

Liberal

Catherine McKenna Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, I am a bit confused. The Paris agreement was actually negotiated with 195 countries around the world in 2015. We are strongly supportive of action to tackle climate change. I have a very simple question for the Conservative Party opposite. Do you or do you not stand with the House and support the Paris agreement?

Motion that debate be not further adjournedParis AgreementGovernment Orders

5:25 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

I would remind the minister that she is to address the Chair and not individual members.

It is my duty to interrupt the proceedings at this time. I remind hon. members that there will be 14 minutes and 16 seconds remaining for questions and comments on the motion after private members' business.

It being 5:30 p.m., the House will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business as listed on today's Order Paper.

Carbon PricingPrivate Members' Business

5:30 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

moved:

That the Standing Committee on Finance be instructed to undertake a study on: (a) how the government could examine approaches and methods to ensure maximum transparency for consumers related to the costs of carbon pricing, including a requirement for a dedicated line item on invoices and receipts; (b) mechanisms the government could use to report annually to Parliament on the financial impact, past and projected, of the federally-mandated price on carbon on Canadian households and employers; and that the Committee report its findings and recommendations to the House within four months of the adoption of this motion.

Madam Speaker, I am not going to lie, but it is actually a bit bothersome that I should even have to introduce a motion like Motion No. 131. However, today I get the opportunity to challenge the Liberals' commitment to be transparent with Canadians, since the Liberals are forcing their mandatory carbon tax on all Canadians.

Motion No. 131 would instruct the federal government to report annually to the House of Commons on the financial impact this tax is inflicting on Canadian families and Canadian employers alike. It would also instruct the Standing Committee on Finance to study new approaches and methods to ensure maximum transparency for consumers about the costs of carbon pricing. Last, Motion No. 131 calls on the government to report its findings and recommendations to the House of Commons in the four months following the passage of this motion.

That is not too difficult, right? My colleagues on this side of the House have been trying for months to get the Liberals to immediately, and completely release all estimates of cost burdens on Canadians in regard to their mandatory carbon tax. An ATIP request of this information was completely redacted. The censored documents demonstrate the government has done an analysis of how the carbon tax will impact Canadians' budgets, including the price increases of things like home heating, gas, electricity, and of course, grocery bills.

The Liberals just refuse to make the information public. This is information the Liberals currently have, but they refuse to be transparent about it, because the Liberals would rather avoid telling Canadians how much this is actually going to be costing them. Let us not forget, this is the party that campaigned on openness and transparency with all Canadians.

In fact, let me take a minute to read the Liberals' views on openness and transparency that come directly from their website. This is the message they are sending to Canadians. The Liberals' website states:

At its heart is a simple idea: transparent government is good government. If we want Canadians to trust their government, we need a government that trusts Canadians. We will amend the Access to Information Act so that all government data and information is made open by default in machine-readable, digital formats. We will also ensure that Access to Information applies to the Prime Minister's and Ministers' Offices, as well as administrative institutions that support Parliament and the courts.

If this is not the definition of hypocrisy, then I do not know what is. Considering the numerous opportunities the Liberals have been given, not once have they been transparent about their apparently revenue neutral carbon tax, which we know, again, is not true.

What exactly is a revenue neutral tax which the Liberals keep promising? They claim that it means all revenue generated from the carbon tax would stay in each province. Just last month, the Minister of Environment released a technical paper which ultimately seeks to mimic Alberta's carbon tax plan. I am sure if we asked Albertans how that is going over, they will tell us it is not going so well.

The Alberta plan, like the Liberals' plan, claims to be revenue neutral, meaning that every dollar taken out of taxpayers' pockets is then spent by the Alberta government. Let us be honest. This tax does nothing but make the necessities of life more expensive for the everyday consumer, and will likely have no impact on actually achieving its goal.

In case members have any doubt, recent estimates show that the Alberta carbon tax program has raised the price of a litre of gasoline by about 4.5¢. By 2018, a single person will have to pay approximately $400 more per year for gas, heat, groceries, and other goods affected by the Liberal carbon tax. A couple with two kids will have to pay an average of $600. This is ludicrous. Alberta is collecting about $5.4 billion between 2017 and 2019 from its carbon tax, but only issuing $1.5 billion in rebates. This so-called revenue neutral tax is anything but neutral.

Do not take my word for it. The Canadian Taxpayers Federation recently stated:

If the federal plan is to take money from taxpayers, and dish it back to businesses they choose in the form of corporate welfare, and select people they choose in the form of rebates, it will not be revenue neutral.

In actuality, the Alberta government has created its own farce of a definition of revenue neutrality, one that consists of taking taxpayers' money, and spending it on how it sees fit.

The federation went on to say that if the federal government copies Alberta's definition of revenue neutrality, every tax in Canadian history would be considered revenue neutral.

I bring this up not only because it is of great concern to Albertans but, in fact, the Parliamentary Library calculated that the additional GST the Liberals are placing on the Alberta and B.C. carbon program will enrich the federal government by about $130 million to $150 million over the next two years. This is approximately 5% of the annual cost of carbon tax in each of those provinces. As my colleague, the member for Langley—Aldergrove, brilliantly said, “That's where the federal government suddenly gets rich off Canadians”.

I am here today to challenge the Liberal government to support my motion, and prove to Canadians and everyone in the House that it will finally start being transparent. Since the Liberals stated their intention of imposing a national carbon tax, I have been in disbelief with how deceitful and shameful the government has been to members of the House and to all Canadians. The Liberals have been caught red-handed misleading Canadians about the lack of information they have on the cost of this mandatory carbon tax. The worse part, after being exposed for misleading Canadians and for withholding this information, the government did not even blink an eye. I am genuinely curious as to what type of an explanation the government could possibly come up with for deliberately concealing information that will have a profound impact on millions of Canadians.

Despite the heavily redacted report the Liberals issued, thanks to the pursuant work by my colleague, the hon. member for Carleton, one thing was clear: the conclusion.

Jean-François Perrault, who was assistant deputy minister at Finance Canada, and now chief economist at Scotia Bank said that these higher costs, associated with the carbon tax, would then cascade through the economy in the form of higher prices, thus leading all firms, and consumers to pay more for good and services with higher carbon content.

In case that was not clear, taxing carbon emissions will have compounding effects on all aspects of our economy. For example, as seen in Alberta, we know that the carbon tax will increase the price of fuel. If gas prices rise, then the price of transporting goods will undoubtedly rise as well. If the price of transporting goods increases, then guess what will happen to the price of these goods? They will skyrocket.

It is bad enough that the Liberals deem it appropriate to further tax individuals on the basic necessities of life, such as gasoline, heat, and electricity, but to slap on these compounding costs without telling Canadians is just plain wrong.

In essence, this tax specifically discriminates against Canada's poorest individuals who are already overwhelmed and overburdened with just paying their bills. As we have already heard many times in the House, Ontario, my home province, has the worst poverty record of any province in Canada. More so, the poverty rate dropped by one-third in British Columbia, the Prairies, and Atlantic Canada. There is nothing fair about this carbon tax. One does not need to be an expert to understand that individuals living around or below the poverty line often spend at least one-third of their monthly salaries just paying for what people would consider basic necessities.

If the Liberals are insistent that their only solution to combatting climate change is by taxing Canadians, then at the very least they should be telling consumers how much it is going to cost them.

According to the Minister of Environment, she says over and over again that pollution is not free, yet there is no evidence that taxation will actually work. The facts about how badly this tax will impact Canadians are not clear.

However, from a speculative standpoint, according to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, it is estimated that the carbon tax will cost $1,028 per person, per year, or $4,112 per year for a family of four when it is fully implemented in 2022. A study by the University of Calgary estimates that a carbon tax will cost between $603 and $1,120 per year, depending on the province. These numbers are so mind-boggling that close to 2,000 people signed petition E-910 in complete outrage. In terms of stakeholders, the consequences are far-reaching, and can be felt across the country, including in my own riding of Oshawa.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business recently reported that a great majority of its members fear that they will not be able to absorb the consequences of this forced carbon tax. They are also worried about global competitiveness, and that is so important in my community of Oshawa, that a decrease in their profitability could lead to a major reduction in business investments. No investments means no jobs. What does the government not understand?

The Liberals should be working to improve Canada's competitiveness, and should be fighting to maintain our global competitive advantage. Instead, it appears the Prime Minister is more interested in imposing a carbon tax that will kill jobs by the thousands.

Why would any company, including Canadian companies, be interested in investing in Canada if they do not know what the cost of doing business will be? That is the whole point. These exact issues were confirmed by a report issued by the Stikeman Elliott law firm, which basically confirmed Canadians are left guessing whether the federal government will have the tools to actually introduce and enforce a floor price on carbon.

There is another question. How does the federal government intend to properly measure and consolidate the two different pricing methods? In other words, it would be a carbon tax versus a cap and trade. How does the proposed pricing line up with Canada's commitment under the Paris agreement?

Our American counterparts are working to reduce regulation, lower taxes, and are investing in coal-fired electricity to reduce energy costs. With uncertainty over the effects of the Liberals' national climate change plan, with the U.S. recently reneging from the Paris agreement, and with Canadian companies sitting on the sidelines waiting to find out how much the cost of doing business will be, it is time the Liberals start taking action. It is time for them to come clean.

In light of all the issues I just exposed regarding the carbon tax, I propose Motion No. 131, with the hopes that everyone will agree.

I want to reiterate that this should not be a divisive motion. In fact, it was inspired by the large bold slogan running next to the Prime Minister's face on the Liberal website. I want members to imagine the Prime Minister's face, like a selfie, and the slogan reads “Openness, Transparency, Fairness”, with the Prime Minister standing there and very proud about it. That is what the Liberals are saying.

I am asking for three things. First, for the federal government to report annually to the House of Commons regarding the financial impacts this mandatory carbon tax will have on Canadian families and employers. Second, for the Standing Committee on Finance to investigate new ways of ensuring that there is maximum transparency for consumers about the cost of carbon pricing, such as a line item on receipts. Third, for the government to report its findings and recommendations to the House of Commons within four months following the passage of this motion.

If the government cannot agree to have the finance committee undertake this important transparent study, then it will be acting in complete juxtaposition to the bold writing on its website.

Misleading the House about the consequences of imposing a carbon tax on millions of Canadians is not openness. Redacting a document that tells Canadians how much they will need to pay out of pocket is certainly not being transparent. Lastly, punishing struggling Canadians for heating their homes, keeping their lights on, and purchasing groceries is absolutely not fair.

Carbon PricingPrivate Members' Business

5:45 p.m.

North Vancouver B.C.

Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Madam Speaker, I must say that I am quite surprised that the House is hearing a speech like that. Carbon pricing is a market-based mechanism that actually drives emissions reduction at the lowest possible cost. It drives innovation and efficiencies. Canadian business leaders and virtually every Canadian economist say that this is actually the best way to address carbon emissions.

Personally, I am surprised to hear the Conservatives opposing market-based solutions. The Conservatives have opposed carbon pricing. They have opposed a whole range of other measures that are focused on addressing greenhouse gas emissions.

Fundamentally, this raises one important question. Does the Conservative Party actually believe that climate change is real?

Carbon PricingPrivate Members' Business

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

Madam Speaker, I hope everybody watching on television actually heard that rhetoric.

It is not what he said; it is what he did not say. What I told this House is that the Liberals have done detailed studies. They know what the cost of the carbon tax is going to be. However, when we asked for it, when we put in the ATIP, instead of telling this House and Canadians what it was going to cost, the Liberals blacked it out.

This is all I am asking. Why will the Liberals not release the numbers? This is outrageous. Imagine, Canadians. We have paid to have these studies done. The Liberals know what the costs are. They have been asked what those costs are. They refuse to release them to the elected representatives of Canada, and they refuse to release them to Canadians.

My question for the Liberals is why.

Carbon PricingPrivate Members' Business

5:45 p.m.

NDP

François Choquette NDP Drummond, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for raising the climate change issue again. This is an important issue that we talk about regularly in the House, fortunately. Still, the Liberals' measures are disappointing. They put a price on carbon, but that is the only good thing they have done.

My Conservative colleague keeps calling it a carbon tax, but what he is referring to is a carbon pricing system. For example, in Quebec and Ontario, there will be a carbon exchange, a cap-and-trade market that prices emissions allowances. This is not just about a price on carbon.

As for the economic disaster that carbon pricing could trigger, here is what Équiterre has to say:

To those who fear the economy will fall apart, I would like to point out that, when Quebec put a price on carbon, it was able to create jobs, boost the GDP, and reduce GHG emissions.

Seventy university researchers from across Canada have said that we must put a price on carbon and that it will help grow our economy and fight climate change. That is what science has to say about it.

Carbon PricingPrivate Members' Business

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his comments, but we are not surprised in this House that the NDP is supportive of any tax out there.

The point is, unfortunately, that the member has actually missed the point of my entire motion. The motion is there to say to the Liberals that they know the cost of this to Canadians, and it is asking that the finance committee actually do a study on this new carbon tax that they are putting in, the biggest tax on Canadians probably in Canadian history, and look at ways of making it transparent. That is simply what I am asking them to do.

It is about transparency. I would have thought that the NDP would have been supportive of that, but from the comments by my colleague from Drummond, maybe they are not.

Canadians deserve to know what this new massive tax is going to cost them.

Carbon PricingPrivate Members' Business

5:50 p.m.

Conservative

Erin O'Toole Conservative Durham, ON

Madam Speaker, very rarely do we get to compliment a member. My colleague from Oshawa, probably more than anyone else, helped save the auto industry in the last Parliament, in the depths of the global recession.

Now with an integrated North American economy and the lack of realization that our economy is integrated, the input cost of the carbon tax or the cap and trade is not going to be transparent. We are seeing manufacturers, like Procter & Gamble, already leave and go to the United States.

Could the member comment, particularly on how the auto industry will be uncompetitive in Ontario versus the plants in Michigan or Pennsylvania, where there is no carbon tax?

Carbon PricingPrivate Members' Business

5:50 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

Madam Speaker, we have seen that there has been a change in government in the United States. The Americans are very clear. They are going to be lowering taxes. The Canadian government, under the Liberals, is going to be raising taxes. These companies want to invest in Canada, but the costs are not clear. All I am asking is that the government release it, let it be transparent, and let them know what they are getting themselves into so they can continue to invest in Canada.

Carbon PricingPrivate Members' Business

5:50 p.m.

North Vancouver B.C.

Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Madam Speaker, Canadians know that polluting is not free. We see the costs of carbon pollution in the melting of ice in the Arctic, coastal erosion in Prince Edward Island, and the increasing frequency of extreme weather events.

In December 2016, Canada's first ministers and indigenous leaders finalized the pan-Canadian framework on climate change and clean growth. The framework is a collaborative plan to meet Canada's Paris emission reduction targets of 30% below 2005 levels by 2030 and to grow the economy.

The pan-Canadian framework is built on four pillars: pricing carbon pollution; taking action in each sector of the economy to reduce emissions; adapting and building resilience to climate change impacts; and supporting clean technologies, innovation, and jobs.

Pricing carbon pollution is a fundamental element of the pan-Canadian framework, but we also support the framework with a range of measures that will play a central role in achieving our Paris agreement objectives.

These include regulatory requirements to ensure the timely reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from key sectors, as well as investments in infrastructure, support to help households and businesses transition to cleaner technology and energy efficiency, investments to stimulate the development and deployment of clean technology and innovation, and new actions to build resilience to a changing climate.

Pricing carbon pollution is widely recognized as the most efficient way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote clean growth.

Under the pan-Canadian approach, provinces and territories have the flexibility to shape their own carbon pricing policies, based on their particular circumstances.

Some 97% of Canadians live in provinces that already have a price on carbon pollution or are working toward one. Every province except one has indicated that it will have a price on carbon pollution to reduce emissions while growing the economy. A federal system will only apply in provinces and territories that do not have a price on carbon pollution that meets a national benchmark in 2018. This is an important point that the hon. member seems not to understand. The pricing of carbon pollution in the pan-Canadian framework builds upon the good work of many provinces. In the case of provinces and territories that are acting to price pollution in line with the national benchmark, there will be no federal system implemented, no direct or indirect federal price on carbon whatsoever.

That said, revenues from pricing carbon pollution will remain with the province or territory of origin. Provinces and territories that implement their own pricing systems will thus be able to decide for themselves how to use the revenue to best meet their individual needs. These revenues could be used in a number of ways; they could be invested in clean technology to cut taxes or even refunded.

Carbon pollution pricing systems create an incentive for households and businesses to reduce their consumption of carbon-intensive goods and fuels and to choose lower carbon alternatives. The cost to households of pricing carbon pollution will vary by province and territory, depending in part on the differences in energy and fuel consumption and electricity generation mix across provinces and territories. The cost to households will also depend on the design of carbon pollution pricing policies introduced in each jurisdiction, as well as on how the particular jurisdiction decides to use revenues from carbon pricing.

Estimates produced by Ontario and Alberta illustrate that costs can vary by province. The Ontario government published estimates that households will face an average increase in direct costs of $156 from pricing carbon pollution this year, and this figure is before consideration of how revenues will be utilized. Alberta estimated the direct impact of its carbon levy to range between $190 and $340 per year per household and the indirect impact from higher prices of goods and services to be about $50 per household.

These numbers suggest that the costs of carbon pollution pricing for households will be modest. However, these numbers do not tell the whole story. They do not account for the fact that pricing carbon pollution provides a signal to invest in energy efficiency and alternative sources of energy and to change behaviour to save energy and reduce carbon pollution. Any such investment will reduce the costs of pricing carbon pollution to the household that makes it.

In terms of impact on those less well off, the goods and services purchased by low-income families are usually not more carbon intensive than those purchased by higher income earners. However, as the federal-provincial-territorial working group on carbon pricing mechanisms observed in its report last year, because lower income earners spend a greater share of their income on energy, they may be disproportionately impacted by carbon pollution pricing unless specific measures are taken to compensate for the impacts.

There are many ways in which low-income Canadian families and vulnerable communities can be protected from the costs associated with carbon pricing. It is important to note that revenues generated by carbon pricing can be used to mitigate these impacts.

Provinces and territories can choose to use carbon pollution pricing revenues to compensate low-income and middle-income families for higher energy costs while still maintaining an incentive to reduce energy use, thereby helping to reduce emissions.

For example, British Columbia provides a tax credit for low-income families and has made its carbon tax revenue neutral by reducing income taxes for British Columbians and for businesses operating in the province.

Alberta's carbon pollution pricing system includes rebates for low- and middle-income households to offset the cost of the carbon levy on transportation and heating fuels. The Government of Alberta has estimated that six out of 10 households will receive a rebate. For example, the full rebate amount for a household with two adults and two children will be $360 in 2017. This exceeds Alberta's estimate of the total direct cost of the levy for a household with two adults and two children, which is $338 in 2017.

Alberta has stated it will provide the full rebate amount for couples and families earning less than $95,000 per year, and for singles earning less than $47,500 per year. In other words, the median Alberta household will receive a larger rebate this year than the amount by which its fuel costs increased. Households receiving these rebates will still have the incentive to reduce carbon pollution, and if they save energy by making their homes more energy efficient, they can save money and be further ahead.

The hon. member's motion proposes that the Standing Committee on Finance undertake a study to find methods to ensure maximum transparency for consumers related to the costs of carbon pricing, including a requirement for a dedicated line item on invoices and receipts.

Such a requirement is not part of the carbon pricing approach that was agreed upon by the Prime Minister under the pan-Canadian framework and would run counter to the flexibility that the framework aims to give the provinces and territories to develop and report on their own carbon pricing systems.

In fact, as I noted earlier, in jurisdictions comprising 97% of the Canadian population, provinces have moved or are moving to implement their own pricing systems. These are not federal systems, as the hon. member seems to be understanding. I would also note that some of the provinces with carbon pricing have in fact already chosen to require a carbon cost line item. It is certainly open for provinces and territories to choose to do so.

Federal, provincial, and territorial governments agreed to work together to review progress annually in order to assess the effectiveness of collective action. Programs and policies will be monitored, results will be measured, and actions and performance will be reported on in a way that is transparent and accountable to Canadians.

The pan-Canadian approach to pricing carbon pollution provides that jurisdictions should provide regular, transparent, and verifiable reports on outcomes and impacts of carbon pricing policies.

A separate study on pricing carbon pollution by the Standing Committee on Finance would run counter to the collaborative approach agreed to by federal, provincial, and territorial governments to implementing, reviewing, and reporting on carbon pricing measures. That is why we oppose the motion and instead support working collaboratively with provinces and territories to report on and review the pan-Canadian approach to pricing carbon pollution.

Our climate is already changing, and Canadians are already feeling the effects. Extreme weather, in the form of droughts and floods is increasing in frequency. North of 60, the average annual temperature has tripled, compared to the global average since the middle of the last century. Snow, sea ice, glaciers, and permafrost are all in rapid decline. We must address climate change now, for the well-being of our people, our communities, our economy, and most of all, our children and grandchildren.

Carbon PricingPrivate Members' Business

6 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to stand here today to reaffirm the principles and values of progressives and new democrats, the people who put their trust in the NDP in our collective fight against climate change and the warming of the planet. That is why I am announcing that the NDP will oppose the Conservative motion, which looks strangely like a fox trap inside a bear trap, an expression from a movie that I liked a lot when I was younger, The Dog Who Stopped the War.

In fact, the Conservative Party is trying to do indirectly what it cannot do directly. It is using the virtue and positive value of transparency as a pretext for attacking the fact that we need to set a price on carbon emissions in order to gain the necessary tools to reduce our emissions and do our part, as an industrialized nation, to meet our objectives under the Paris agreement. It is the most recent and most comprehensive agreement regarding the greatest challenge facing our planet, which is the possibility that temperatures might rise to a point that they will cause natural disasters, major geographic changes as well as extremely serious geopolitical changes.

There is a reason Al Gore received the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on the environment; a rather clear causal link has been established by 99% of the world’s scientific community. There are several ways we can reduce emissions. In fact, there are two great tools: a carbon market and a carbon tax.

The NDP has always favoured the carbon market tool, which has deeper structural effects over the medium and long term. However, a carbon tax is also a viable option. It also makes it possible to use market forces to apply economic and financial pressure on businesses and individuals so they will make the best choices and use the best methods in order to make this green shift towards renewable energy that just about everyone supports.

Let us go over some recent facts about the Paris agreement. It was ratified by 195 countries. Though legally binding, it uses broader brush strokes than previous agreements such as Copenhagen and Kyoto, which only involved 15, 20 or 30 countries.

The primary objective of the Paris agreement is to limit global warming to well below the 2% threshold. There is a broad consensus that, compared to pre-industrial temperatures, this would be the point of no return. The changes that would affect our communities, our country and our continents would become irreversible. This is obviously a scenario that everyone wants to avoid. This is not the kind of environment I want to leave to my children. If we don’t succeed, we will have truly failed future generations. The Paris agreement also sets a warming threshold of 1.5%, but clearly, that is a bit more ambitious.

This agreement is based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. This is not “one size fits all”. Developed countries do not have the same objectives as developing countries. Industrialized countries have an absolute responsibility to reduce carbon emissions, while developing countries must increase their efforts to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.

There is also a contribution from the richest countries to the poorest countries. The argument by poorer countries is clear and logical: today’s rich countries are those that have most rapidly industrialized and that have polluted the most. It is difficult to deny poorer countries the same kind of industrialization. Funding of $100 billion per year is planned until 2020 to help them make this transition and allow them to continue to grow, which is entirely legitimate and normal. We did it, too; we had no qualms about it.

The goal is to have a carbon-free world by 2100. That is not to say that there will be no more greenhouse gas emissions, but we hope that new technologies and renewable energy will sufficiently reduce carbon emissions so that the natural environment and carbon sinks will allow us to achieve a balance by 2100.

The Paris agreement is interesting, because it is a dynamic agreement that will be reviewed every five years. Representatives from each country will have to gather together and report on their performance, their progress and their action plan.

The federal government decided to put a price on carbon and concluded that it was good thing. I would remind the members that, unfortunately, the price set by the Liberal government will not allow Canada to meet its targets under the Paris agreement, which is problematic. Any action so far has been extremely modest.

I urge people to try to come up with other measures that would allow us to honour our international commitments. The government is not walking the talk right now. Here is what Greenpeace had to say:

...the framework announced today point[s] in the right direction, but we won’t free ourselves from fossil fuels fast enough to avoid dangerous levels of warming if we allow oil companies to build new tar sands pipelines and liquefied natural gas export facilities that [pollute]...for the next 50 years.

I would add that this is especially true if we continue, as a society, to subsidize oil and gas companies, which are the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions. Something just does not add up here.

Speaking of not adding up, the Conservative motion includes two extremely impractical aspects. It calls for an annual report on the impact of the carbon tax, a federal tax that will not be imposed on the provinces that already have measures in place.

British Columbia and Alberta already have a carbon tax, one that is tougher and more rigorous than the one announced by the current federal government. Ontario and Quebec already trade on carbon markets. The federal government's carbon tax will apply to six out of 10 provinces at this time, because four provinces will be excluded.

It is therefore very difficult to see how the Conservatives can expect an annual report, when the four largest provinces would not be included in the findings. They would have to be taken out of the equation to have any meaningful data. There is an incongruity here that the Conservatives simply did not think through.

The second thing that makes the Conservative motion absolutely unworkable is that it calls for a dedicated line item on invoices and receipts. I can see how that might seem like a good idea at first. However, imagine going to an appliance store to buy a washing machine or a fridge made with many parts manufactured by companies from all around the world shipped by multiple modes of transportation. On an administrative level, it would be absolutely impossible to indicate on the receipt the direct and tangible impact of a federal carbon tax, which, by the way, would apply to 6 out of 10 provinces only.

That is a bit rich coming from a party that advocates cutting red tape. Now, it would create a monster. I cannot imagine a cash register being able to make such a calculation. This is nothing more than an illusion, an intellectual conceit.

That is why the NDP will oppose the Conservative motion.

Carbon PricingPrivate Members' Business

6:10 p.m.

Conservative

Shannon Stubbs Conservative Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague, the member for Oshawa, for leading this motion today and for all his work on behalf of taxpayers and all Canadians.

Transparency is vital to Canada's free democracy, especially when it comes to spending Canadians' hard-earned tax dollars and making decisions, like on the carbon tax, that would seriously impact their ability to make ends meet and the whole economy.

Today's motion calls on the Liberals to open the books, to do what they promised to do and be honest with hard-working Canadians about the impact of the carbon tax on their lives. The Liberal carbon tax will make things so much worse for families and businesses in Lakeland, across Alberta, and in all of Canada.

Before the Liberals unilaterally announced that they would force the carbon tax on all Canadians, the Department of Finance completed two analyses on how much this tax would cost, its economic consequences, and how it would affect Canadians. Both documents were released through an access to information request, but all the detailed information was blacked out.

Canadians should know what their government is doing with the collection and spending of their hard-earned tax dollars and how the government's fiscal decisions will impact them. However, the Liberals are keeping all this a secret. Obviously, the Liberals are hiding information they do not want Canadians to know. Perhaps the documents prove that the carbon tax will harm Canadians by raising the price of everything for everyone.

A carbon tax supporter, professor Nicholas Rivers, admitted that the Liberals' national carbon tax would increase the price of gasoline by 11¢ a litre, electricity bills by 10%, and natural gas by 15%. It is a burden Canadian families should not have to bear. In fact, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation calculated that the national carbon tax will cost more than $1,000 per person, or more than $4,000 per family of four, annually.

The redacted documents probably show that low-income Canadians, the most vulnerable, will be hurt by this tax the most. Low-income families in Canada spend a majority of their household income on basic necessities, including food, heating, and gas. This tax will disproportionately hit them with cost hikes on essentials.

The Liberals have promised time and time again that transparency is their most important principle. They have created this facade by posting mandate letters online, starting endless studies and reviews, and consulting on consultations, but when it comes to comprehensive, meaningful, internal information that should be available to all Canadians, the Liberals are shutting the books.

In 2016, the parliamentary budget officer said that the Liberals' first budget was “less transparent than [any] Conservative budgets under Stephen Harper and overestimates the number of jobs that will be created”. Fast forward to this year and the same independent parliamentary budget officer chided the Liberals for their lack of transparency on spending.

In the 2015 campaign, the Prime Minister talked a big game about transparency, and in fact, the Liberal Party's campaign website has an entire section entitled: “Openness. Transparency. Fairness. Making government work for Canadians.” The platform says,

At its heart is a simple idea: transparent government is good government. If we want Canadians to trust their government, we need a government that trusts Canadians.

However, the Liberals' actions speak much louder than their words. Hiding these reports goes against the most fundamental promise the Liberals pledged to Canadians for 78 days, and regularly ever since. Here we are, day 596 into their mandate, and it is clear that the Liberals are all rhetoric almost all the time, leaving a trail of broken promises.

The Liberals love to talk about transparency. In fact, they have said the word in one form or another a combined 1,358 times in the House of Commons and at committee since they took office. That is a lot of talk for a party that does the complete opposite.

The Liberals must be transparent about the costs of their nationally imposed carbon tax, especially since much of the information they have presented does not make sense or add up and because the carbon tax will hurt most the very people they claim to care about. The key tenets of the Liberals' argument for the carbon tax, that it would be revenue neutral and would reduce emissions, are actually verifiably false.

The Liberals told Canadians that the tax would be a neutral price on carbon. First, there is no guarantee whatsoever of any so-called revenue neutrality in every province, and recently, the Library of Parliament revealed that Albertans and British Columbians will pay $280 million in GST on the carbon tax over the next two years. The Liberals cannot claim that the carbon tax is revenue neutral when the federal government will collect millions in GST revenues from taxing the tax.

The member for Newmarket—Aurora said, “To characterize something as a carbon tax is not doing that person any justice. We all know it is a revenue-neutral plan. Just because people keep calling something a carbon tax does not make it a carbon tax.”

That is nonsense. It is obvious it is a tax and it is obvious the cost will be passed on to consumers. In fact, the member for Carleton found out recently that internal government documents show that the tax will cascade through the Canadian economy. Since the Liberals are forcing this tax on all Canadians, then Canadians deserve to fully understand what it will cost them.

The member for Vancouver Quadra said that British Columbians are “proud that the emissions were driven down over a number of years by this carbon tax”, but in fact, in every year since 2010, emissions in B.C. have actually increased. They have gone up every year. There has been no significant reduction in gasoline purchases, which should concern proponents on that side, since transportation is the second-highest sector for emissions.

What is worse, resources and other industries, such as cement manufacturing, have been hit hard by the tax. Cement that used to be manufactured completely in B.C. is now being imported from jurisdictions with no carbon tax. Rural growth has stalled. However, the left spins a different tale.

The Prime Minister said just this month that a carbon tax is something “everyone can understand”, but they do not. In a way, they cannot, because the very nature of the Liberals' carbon tax is not transparent. The cost is hidden in the price of groceries, at the gas pump, in the price of meals at restaurants, in heating bills, in annual school board fees required for additional resources for transport, in future municipal tax hikes or service cuts to cover the added costs to their thin budgets, in recreational cost increases, in hikes in refrigeration and heating costs, and in job cuts.

Therefore, this motion calls for maximum clarity for customers on bills, invoices, and receipts to show Canadians exactly how much this tax will cost them. As much as the Liberals and the left want to deny it, this tax will punish Canadians. Just as in the case of the HST and GST, it should be clear to everyone why their everyday bills are suddenly more expensive.

Transparency can always be improved. Throughout the years, access to information requests have been a valuable tool for opposition MPs, journalists, and Canadians to find out information from federal departments on a variety of issues, and on spending in particular. Of course, the Liberals made this a specific pledge in their election platform, which states, “We will amend the Access to Information Act so that all government data and information is made open by default in machine-readable, digital formats” and “We will also ensure that Access to Information applies to the Prime Minister’s and Ministers’ Offices, as well as administrative institutions that support Parliament and the courts.”

Of course, like so many others, this promise has yet to come to fruition.

The President of the Treasury Board, the minister responsible, even announced this past March that any access to information reform would be delayed indefinitely. He then skipped out on the Transparency for the 21st Century conference organized by the Information Commissioner herself. It is just another example of the Liberals saying one thing to get elected and then doing something, anything, else.

The carbon tax will kill jobs, especially in remote, rural, and agriculture- and energy-based communities. I have heard from business owners in Lakeland who are predicting layoffs because they are already struggling to stay afloat. Small and family business owners who may employ half a dozen or a dozen employees but whose businesses are significant to their communities will be forced to make decisions they do not want to have to make: raising operating costs or prices, decreasing output, cutting wages and benefits, or laying off their employees. All Canadians deserve to know how much the tax will cost them in every aspect of their lives.

The Liberals' pattern of breaking promises and blaming others is getting old. Whether they are low income, the poor, middle-class Canadians, families, single parents, seniors, people on fixed incomes, businesses, or charities, all Canadians deserve better.

I support this motion. I thank my colleague. I urge all members of this House to support it too. The Liberals need to walk their talk because, in their own words, it is a matter of trust.

Carbon PricingPrivate Members' Business

6:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Resuming debate, I will let the parliamentary secretary know that there are only about nine minutes remaining in the time provided for private members' business. Of course, if she needs all 10 minutes, we will get the extra minute tacked on the next time this particular motion comes before the House.

The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources.

Carbon PricingPrivate Members' Business

6:20 p.m.

Northumberland—Peterborough South Ontario

Liberal

Kim Rudd LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, I am proud that Canada has worked to put carbon pollution pricing at the centre of our plan to deliver on our commitment to reduce Canada's greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030. Experts in Canada and globally recognize carbon pollution pricing as an essential tool for reducing greenhouse gas emissions at the lowest possible cost and for stimulating investment in green infrastructure and low-carbon technology.

A report issued on May 29 by an international panel of experts led by Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz and Lord Nicholas Stern, former chief economists of the World Bank, concluded that a well-designed carbon price is an indispensable part of a strategy for efficiently reducing greenhouse gas emissions while fostering economic growth. Carbon pollution pricing uses the market to drive clean investment decisions, encourage innovation, and reduce emissions.

Carbon pollution pricing can do all of this for a number of reasons. First, it provides flexibility. Instead of government deciding what actions must be taken, pricing allows businesses and consumers to take advantage of their own least-cost options for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and to continue to reduce their emissions as long as it is cost-effective for them to do so.

Second, carbon pollution pricing will help Canada to transition to a low-carbon economy. Carbon-intensive goods become more expensive. This encourages consumers to shift their purchases toward less carbon-intensive goods and for investors, industry, manufacturers, and retailers to respond to the growing demand for low-carbon products.

Third, carbon pollution pricing will help position Canada to compete in the low-carbon economy. Carbon pollution pricing provides an ongoing incentive to innovate, especially if the price on carbon pollution is expected to gradually increase over time. Canadian businesses and investors know that carbon pollution pricing will foster innovation and create new job prospects. That is why many of Canada's leading companies from diverse economic sectors, such as Suncor, Canadian Tire, and General Electric, strongly support a price on carbon pollution and already account for an internal price on carbon pollution in their investment decisions. Canadian business leaders know that carbon pollution pricing is one of the most economically efficient ways to reduce emissions, stimulate investments in clean innovation, and position Canada to be competitive globally in the emerging low-carbon economy.

Governments across Canada also know and recognize this. On December 9, 2016, Canada's first ministers and indigenous leaders finalized the pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change. The pan-Canadian framework is a collaborative plan to meet Canada's Paris agreement emission reduction target of 30% below 2005 levels by 2030 and to grow the low-carbon economy.

Central to the framework is the pan-Canadian approach to pricing carbon pollution. This pan-Canadian approach to pricing carbon pollution gives provinces and territories the flexibility to design their own pricing systems in a way that makes sense for their specific circumstances.

It also sets some common criteria that these systems have to meet to ensure fairness and a price on all key sources of carbon pollution across the country. Under this approach, provinces and territories can put a direct price on carbon pollution, as is done in British Columbia and Alberta, or they can adopt a cap and trade system, like Ontario and Quebec. Ninety-seven per cent of Canadians live in provinces that already have a price on carbon pollution or are working towards one. Every province except one has indicated it will have a price on carbon pollution to reduce emissions while growing its economy. It is only fair that polluters pay and that there is a price on carbon pollution across Canada.

A federal carbon pollution pricing system will apply in provinces and territories that do not have a carbon pricing system in place that meets the national benchmark by 2018. We are in the process of developing this federal option, and on May 18, 2017, we posted a technical discussion paper outlining the proposed design of the federal system and seeking to obtain feedback.

The proposed system applies the carbon price in two ways. The first is a levy on fossil fuels used for heating and transport. The second applies the price to pollution from large industrial facilities. Those that pollute more will pay more than cleaner competitors.

The more a facility reduces its emissions below its limit, the more it can benefit by selling credits to less efficient competitors.

This system will avoid adverse competitiveness impacts by minimizing the total costs paid by industries that compete internationally, while still creating an incentive for companies to innovate to reduce their emissions. Whichever system is implemented, federal or provincial, revenues will go back to the jurisdiction where they are collected

Revenues can be used for different purposes, such as to cut taxes or invest in clean innovation and infrastructure, or they can be given straight back to Canadian families.

The overall approach to pricing carbon pollution will be reviewed by early 2022. The review will include expert assessment of stringency and effectiveness that compares carbon pricing systems across Canada. The review also will also account for progress and for the actions of other countries in response to carbon pricing, as well as recognition of permits or credits imported from other countries. The review will be completed by early 2022 to provide certainty on the path forward.

While we support transparency for consumers and accountability to Canadians, the government opposes this motion for a number of reasons. First, as I have just outlined, first ministers have already agreed to work collaboratively to review and report on pricing carbon pollution, and a federal study would be incompatible with this collaborative approach.

The motion also proposes a Standing Committee on Finance study, including a requirement for a dedicated line item on invoices and receipts. As my hon. colleague outlined earlier, such a requirement is not part of the approach agreed to by first ministers and runs counter to the principle of providing provinces and territories the flexibility to design their own systems.

Canadians know that carbon pollution does not come without a cost. We see the costs of carbon pollution in droughts, floods, and extreme weather events related to climate change.

Our government remains steadfast in its commitment to price carbon pollution to meet our commitments under the Paris Agreement, promote clean growth, and position Canada to compete in the future low-carbon economy. It is the right thing to do for our children and grandchildren, and it will create good jobs as we generate clean growth and participate in the global transition to a low-carbon economy.

We understand the clear economic opportunity. The 21st century will be the clean-growth century. We also understand that we need to leave a more sustainable planet to our children and grandchildren.

Carbon PricingPrivate Members' Business

6:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

There is one minute left under private members' business.

The hon. member for Drummond.

Carbon PricingPrivate Members' Business

6:25 p.m.

NDP

François Choquette NDP Drummond, QC

How very generous of you, Mr. Speaker. I have a minute; I am not sure where to start.

This motion comes from the Conservative Party, that withdrew from the Kyoto protocol in 2012. Let us not forget those were very difficult times. They were certainly difficult for me and for many of my colleagues in the House of Commons.

Let us also recall that that same party eliminated the national round table on the environment and the economy, the only institution that linked the economy with the environment. The Conservative Party did that. It was very disappointing.

The study conducted by the national round table on the environment and the economy showed that not fighting climate change comes at a cost.

Carbon PricingPrivate Members' Business

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

The hon. member for Drummond will have a second opportunity to present his speech. When the House resumes debate on this motion, he will have nine minutes.

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

The House resumed consideration of the motion.

Motion that debate be not further adjournedParis AgreementGovernment Orders

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Pursuant to the statement made earlier this day, the House will now resume with questions and comments as it relates to Government Business No. 15. There are 14 minutes remaining in the time period for questions under this question and answer period, part of the 30-minute period as was announced earlier this day.

The hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan.

Motion that debate be not further adjournedParis AgreementGovernment Orders

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have to say I was quite struck during the previous question by the minister's glowing comments about China with respect to these issues. It is passing strange to hear the government wanting to praise nearly everything about China. Of course the environmental problems that are the result of the problems of the PRC government are, I think, quite well known and easy to see when one spends time in China.

Many countries are pursuing their Paris obligations without carbon taxes. By my count, the majority of countries that are signatories to the Paris agreement do not have and do not have any intention of imposing carbon taxes. Therefore, why did the current government choose to focus on collecting revenue, as being the real objective of its policy as opposed to addressing environmental issues, when clearly many other countries that are part of the agreement are seeking to meet their obligations without imposing new taxes on their citizens?

Motion that debate be not further adjournedParis AgreementGovernment Orders

6:30 p.m.

Ottawa Centre Ontario

Liberal

Catherine McKenna LiberalMinister of Environment and Climate Change

Mr. Speaker, I would like to clarify for the member that in putting a price on pollution the federal government will collect no revenues. The revenues will all go back to the provinces and territories should a province or territory not decide to put in place a system of its own. Eighty per cent of Canadians live in a system where there is a price on pollution because of the action of the provinces.

The member asked, “Who has a price on pollution?” Let me inform the member. China is bringing in a price on pollution this year. That is the second-largest economy in the world and the largest emitter. California, the sixth-largest economy in the world, has a price on pollution, with Ontario and Quebec joining on with California. The European Union has a price on pollution. We had a meeting last night with the Chilean president and the Chilean minister of the environment. They are looking at a price on pollution. There is Mexico. I could go on and on. States recognize that putting a price on pollution is the most efficient way to reduce emissions, to foster innovation, and to tackle climate change.

Motion that debate be not further adjournedParis AgreementGovernment Orders

6:30 p.m.

NDP

François Choquette NDP Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to repeat what I said in the brief minute I had earlier and to talk about the fight against climate change.

I am truly disappointed that we are bringing back a motion to say that we will continue to support the Paris agreement. We support the Paris agreement. Why do we need a motion? What we need is action. We are being told that a price has been put on carbon. That is all fine and good, but what are we waiting for to eliminate, for example, all direct and indirect subsidies to the fossil fuel industries?

We are giving $1.3 billion to $1.5 billion per year to the fossil fuel industry instead of investing it in renewable energy and helping northern communities to make an energy transition, so that they need not draw electricity from diesel fuel. Those are the kinds of new measures we are waiting for.

In 2016, we were expecting $1 billion along with the Minister of the Environment's climate action plan. Funding has been postponed not to 2017 or 2018, but to 2019. We are short $3 billion. Yes, we would have preferred a motion that brought about action, not a motion just to say once again that we agree on the Paris agreement. Everyone knows that.

Motion that debate be not further adjournedParis AgreementGovernment Orders

6:35 p.m.

Liberal

Catherine McKenna Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, whether the NDP supports the Paris agreement or not, it is important that we consider this motion today. I am sure they support it. However, I think it is important to find out whether the new leader of the Conservative Party and members of the House support the Paris agreement.

Personally, I am a person of action.

I certainly believe in action. That is why I am so proud of what our government has done, working with the provinces and territories. We have put a price on carbon pollution. We are phasing out coal by 2030. We have made historic investments in public transit and in green infrastructure. We are working with indigenous communities to get them off of diesel. We have an innovation budget where we have historic investments in clean technologies because we are going to create good jobs, reduce emissions, grow our economy, and help save the planet.

Motion that debate be not further adjournedParis AgreementGovernment Orders

6:35 p.m.

Northumberland—Peterborough South Ontario

Liberal

Kim Rudd LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, I wonder if my hon. colleague might talk a little bit about Canada's role on the world stage in terms of our opportunity with the Paris agreement. I know that there is trillions of dollars' worth of an economy attached to green technologies and the new lower carbon economy. Canada is being seen around the world as the leader in moving that forward, and I wonder if she could talk a little bit about that.

Motion that debate be not further adjournedParis AgreementGovernment Orders

6:35 p.m.

Liberal

Catherine McKenna Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for her work in advancing Canadian businesses in the clean-tech world. We have a trillion-dollar opportunity that we are going to take advantage of, and I will give some examples of Canadian companies that are doing great things.

In Burnaby, B.C., General Fusion is developing a process that could unleash the energy potential of fusion, which could power our cities and communities. In Calgary, Carbon Engineering has created a technology to capture carbon from the air and use it to produce fuels. While I was in Edmonton, I visited a Canadian company called Landmark Homes. It produces net-zero homes. They look exactly like any other suburban home, but they actually produce energy so that people in those homes can put electricity onto the grid.

I could go on and on. There are so many examples of Canadian companies that are recognizing the trillion-dollar opportunity of clean growth.

Motion that debate be not further adjournedParis AgreementGovernment Orders

6:35 p.m.

Conservative

John Nater Conservative Perth—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I think it is interesting, the response the minister gave to my friend for Drummond. She said that this is just basically a political game or ploy to try to trap the Conservative Party. Therefore, she is wasting valuable House time to play a political game with the official opposition. What nonsense.

What is even more interesting is that the motion is brought forward when the Liberal government is completely stalled in its legislative agenda. The Liberals cannot get anything through, yet they bring in this motion.

I find it interesting that the minister would be so much against the principles and traditions of the House that she would offend the Wednesday tradition, the Wednesday principle, where a motion is not put on notice prior to giving all parties the opportunity to discuss this in caucus. This motion was put on notice last Thursday. It is now being moved on closure prior to tomorrow's caucus meeting and being voted on tonight.

Would the minister not agree that this is all just a political game, as she just said?

Motion that debate be not further adjournedParis AgreementGovernment Orders

6:35 p.m.

Liberal

Catherine McKenna Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I could not disagree more with what the member has said. I have great respect for Parliament and I have great respect for our planet. The reason we are bringing this motion is to show the world that Canada is absolutely committed on climate change.

I have a very simple question for the opposition members. Do they or do they not believe in climate change? Do they believe it is real? Do they believe that we need to be taking action with the rest of the world?

I have three kids, and I got into politics so that I could do important things like protect the planet, create good jobs, foster innovation, and grow our economy. I hope the members will support the motion.

Motion that debate be not further adjournedParis AgreementGovernment Orders

6:35 p.m.

NDP

Kennedy Stewart NDP Burnaby South, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is a weird day here today. We have had the Liberals stand up just a few hours ago and say that they unanimously approve of the Kinder Morgan pipeline. Of course, the Conservatives have too. They have joined together in probably one of the biggest assaults to our environment that we can have. They are pushing for the Keystone XL pipeline. They are pushing for the energy east pipeline. This is so inconsistent with this whole idea of climate change and trying to fix the environment.

How does the minister balance this? How does she on the one hand vote for a giant bitumen pipeline to the west coast and on the other hand claim that she is trying to help the environment?

Motion that debate be not further adjournedParis AgreementGovernment Orders

6:40 p.m.

Liberal

Catherine McKenna Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, we understand that the environment and the economy go together. We understand that we need to be moving to a lower carbon future, but that is not going to happen overnight. I realize this in my work, and members can follow my Twitter feed where they will see this debate playing out. There are some people who believe that we need to move immediately to not using any fossil fuels, that we should move overnight. Meanwhile, there are others who think we should do nothing.

Our government understands that we need to take serious action to tackle climate change but at the same time we need to get our resources to market in a sustainable way. As the Prime Minister has said, we would not have carbon pricing without pipelines. We would not have pipelines without carbon pricing.

Motion that debate be not further adjournedParis AgreementGovernment Orders

6:40 p.m.

Conservative

Marilyn Gladu Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I think it is just preposterous that the minister is in here pretending that she cares what any party thinks about what the government is going to do. She has already been on television everywhere saying that regardless of what everybody else thinks, the government is going to continue with its ill-thought-out plan. One of the sad things is that when it comes to history, if we do not learn from the mistakes of history, we are doomed to repeat them.

I would turn her attention to Australia, which implemented a carbon tax, found it drove the price of everything up, found that even though it was leading in this kind of technology, the rest of the world did not come along, even though they said they were going to, and so Australia abandoned ship on it. Is that what the present government will do?

Motion that debate be not further adjournedParis AgreementGovernment Orders

6:40 p.m.

Liberal

Catherine McKenna Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the member opposite that we worked with provinces and territories. We worked with indigenous leaders. We worked with labour. We worked with environmentalists. We worked with business. We worked with youth. We worked with all Canadians to develop our made-in-Canada climate plan. It is a practical plan. It is a plan that is going to reduce our emissions. It is a plan that is going to grow the economy, and it is also going to ensure that we have a sustainable planet for our kids and grandkids.

Motion that debate be not further adjournedParis AgreementGovernment Orders

6:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

I remind hon. members that during this 30-minute period, the questions are given almost proportionately in the majority, the far majority, to opposition members.

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

Motion that debate be not further adjournedParis AgreementGovernment Orders

6:40 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals are saying all the right things about climate change, but, unfortunately, they are not doing the right things.

Putting a price on carbon is one thing, and the NDP agrees with that and thinks it is necessary. Still, we have to get serious. All of the experts agree that, in the proposal before us now, the price is so ridiculously low that it will not make a difference and will not enable us to meet the Paris agreement objectives that we set with the international community.

Why are they saying one thing but doing another so as not to hurt big business and their oil industry friends too much? They are speaking out of both sides of their mouths.

Motion that debate be not further adjournedParis AgreementGovernment Orders

6:40 p.m.

Liberal

Catherine McKenna Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to hear the opposition member say that putting a price on carbon makes sense.

We have taken many additional measures because we know that we need to tackle climate change head on. As I said earlier, the economy and the environment go hand in hand. We will not stop using oil overnight, but we are on the path to a cleaner, healthier world. We are working toward that, and we will continue working with businesses, environmentalists, the provinces and territories, indigenous peoples, and all Canadians to work out a plan to tackle climate change while creating good jobs and growing our economy.

Motion that debate be not further adjournedParis AgreementGovernment Orders

6:40 p.m.

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have a very brief question.

Will the Minister of Environment and Climate Change recognize that the Paris targets adopted by her government and the entire planet were the same targets established by the previous Conservative government?

Motion that debate be not further adjournedParis AgreementGovernment Orders

6:40 p.m.

Liberal

Catherine McKenna Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, let me be clear. It is one thing to set targets, but it is another thing altogether to have a real plan.

Otherwise, they are a cynical ploy that make no difference and do not take the serious action on climate change that Canadians expect and deserve.

We have a plan. We are going to implement it. We are working with the provinces and territories because we know climate change is real. We know that we have an obligation to our kids and grandkids. We know we have a trillion-dollar opportunity that we are going to take advantage of.

Motion that debate be not further adjournedParis AgreementGovernment Orders

6:45 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, earlier the minister said the motion was important to see where the new Conservative leadership stands. I would tell her that I would not hold too much hope. This is the party that cancelled Kyoto, and I think she will find it is the same old Conservative Party that has put us in the position, because of the cancellation of Kyoto, that we missed opportunities.

I live on an island. I will tell members climate change is very important to us. How does the minister see putting the economy and the environment together and dealing with both, in enhancing our opportunities as Canadians?

Motion that debate be not further adjournedParis AgreementGovernment Orders

6:45 p.m.

Liberal

Catherine McKenna Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, in terms of the party opposite, hope springs eternal. I certainly hope that it will acknowledge that climate change is real and that we should all be supporting the Paris agreement, especially, in the face of the decision of the U.S. administration.

Unfortunately, Prince Edward Island is shrinking by 43 centimetres a year. That is a very real impact of climate change. However, Prince Edward Island is also taking very serious action to tackle climate change. They have wind farms across the island. They understand that we need to move to cleaner sources of power because it is good for our economy and it is going to ensure a more sustainable future for our kids.

Motion that debate be not further adjournedParis AgreementGovernment Orders

6:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Order, please. It is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith the question on the motion now before the House.

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

Motion that debate be not further adjournedParis AgreementGovernment Orders

6:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Motion that debate be not further adjournedParis AgreementGovernment Orders

6:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Motion that debate be not further adjournedParis AgreementGovernment Orders

6:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Motion that debate be not further adjournedParis AgreementGovernment Orders

6:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

All those opposed will please say nay.

Motion that debate be not further adjournedParis AgreementGovernment Orders

6:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Motion that debate be not further adjournedParis AgreementGovernment Orders

6:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

In my opinion the yeas have it.

And five or more members having risen:

Call in the members.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Vote #305

Paris AgreementGovernment Orders

7:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

I declare the motion carried.

The House resumed from June 5 consideration of the motion, of the amendment and of the amendment to the amendment.

Resuming debateParis AgreementGovernment Orders

7:25 p.m.

Ottawa Centre Ontario

Liberal

Catherine McKenna LiberalMinister of Environment and Climate Change

Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege to rise today to address the hon. members, and indeed all Canadians, to reaffirm our unyielding commitment to the Paris agreement. Today, after decades of warning, the effects of climate change are no longer a distant threat. Across our own country we see its impacts seared on the landscape.

In the boreal forest, wildfires rage longer and harsher than ever before. In the Prairies, droughts and floods occur with greater frequency and with more devastating effects.

In the Arctic, the sea ice is thinning at an alarming rate, transforming traditional Inuit hunting lands where they have been hunting for millennia. From coast to coast to coast, rising sea levels pose a very real and potentially catastrophic threat.

These are great challenges we face and we see them happening around the world. However, by tackling them now, by lowering our emissions, and transitioning to a low carbon economy, we can take hold of a tremendous opportunity. It is an opportunity to not only prevent the worst impacts of climate change, but to spark clean innovation, strengthen our economy, and create good paying jobs for Canadians in the clean growth century.

Let us be clear. As temperatures rise and the environmental crisis advances, inaction and indifference are no longer an option. The previous government did not take climate change seriously. It created targets with no intention to meet them and refused to back them up with tangible, credible plans. However, Canadians expect us to act on climate change and that is exactly—

Resuming debateParis AgreementGovernment Orders

7:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Resuming debateParis AgreementGovernment Orders

7:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Order, please. There is too much noise in the chamber. I would ask all hon. members who wish to continue their conversations to make their way to their respective lobbies now. We are into debate on the motion before the House. We will go back to the hon. Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

Resuming debateParis AgreementGovernment Orders

7:25 p.m.

Liberal

Catherine McKenna Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians expect us to act on climate change, and that is exactly what we have been doing since we formed government.

In Paris almost two years ago, the world and Canada decided to take hold of an enormous opportunity.

After some long nights and tense negotiations, 195 countries reached this historic agreement, which will limit the global average temperature increase to below 2 degrees Celsius, with efforts being made to keep it below 1.5 degrees, reduce carbon emissions through measures taken by each country, protect vulnerable countries against the most serious impacts of climate change, and contribute to clean economic growth by freeing up market potential.

We can be extremely proud of the role Canada played in negotiating the Paris Agreement. In the end, our work was instrumental during the negotiations, which included advocating for indigenous rights and indigenous traditional knowledge, acknowledging the disproportionate impacts of climate change on women, and recognizing the importance of market mechanisms to reduce carbon pollution.

Our delegation not only included mayors, premiers, business, labour, youth, and indigenous leaders from across the country, but it also included members of the opposition, and together our delegation worked passionately to bring consensus and to push for stronger measures.

Not only will the Paris Agreement help us avoid the worst impacts of climate change; it will usher in economic opportunities of an unprecedented scale in the clean growth century.

A recent report from the International Energy Association found that the Paris Agreement would boost the global economy by $19 trillion over the next three decades as the world moves toward renewable energy, zero emissions transportation, and increased energy efficiency.

Already we are seeing seismic shifts.

In 2013, for the first time, the world added more low-carbon electricity capacity than fossil fuel capacity. Two years later, nearly one-third of $1 trillion was invested globally in renewable energy generation, nearly double the amount invested in fossil fuels.

Nearly 10 million people around the world today work in the renewable energy sector, and new jobs are being created every day.

This energy transition is unprecedented, and around the world countries are already taking hold of the growing opportunities. In China, two wind turbines are erected every hour of every day, and in 2016, China added roughly enough solar panels to cover three soccer fields every hour.

Just last month, over the course of an hour, renewable energy supplied nearly all of Germany's power demand for the first time. In the U.S., the solar and wind industries are creating jobs 12 times faster than the rest of the economy. In fact, the U.S. has twice as many solar jobs as coal jobs.

A decade ago these remarkable achievements would have seemed impossible, but technological innovations, market demand, and a desire to leave future generations with a cleaner planet have together sparked an energy revolution. These are the innovative actions and bold solutions our generation demands.

For too long, the former government worked hard to stall action on climate change. Some failed to see the enormous opportunity before us, and others simply did not believe that climate change exists.

However, the time for inaction is over. Today, the Paris Agreement is a testament to collaboration across borders from countries, to cities, to businesses, working toward a common cause.

Just recently, a group of 1,100 businesses with a combined valuation in excess of $3 trillion reiterated its commitment to the Paris agreement. In a public letter, companies like Walmart, Google, and Nike indicated that, by taking measures to prevent climate change now, we could create jobs and enhance economic competitiveness. What is more, many companies are matching their words with action.

The private sector accounts for close to half of the world's electricity consumption, and some of the world's largest companies are stepping up and making dramatic changes. Walmart has committed to running its facilities from 100% renewable energy, and so have Google, Coca-Cola, and Starbucks. They are all part of RE100, a group of major companies working to procure their power from renewables.

Cities too are taking the lead. Half of the world's population lives in cities, and cities produce 70% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. They are also being hit hard by the impacts of climate change. In Canada, by 2020 cities could be hit with $5 billion a year in costs from extreme weather events, and by 2050 that number will rise to a striking $43 billion a year. Therefore, many cities are taking independent action to mitigate these effects. In Canada, Vancouver has committed to cut emissions by at least 80% below 2007 levels before 2050. It has joined Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Edmonton, and 18 other cities in the Compact of Mayors. With more than 7,000 members around the world, this group commits to cities' taking tangible actions to reduce emissions.

New York, Seoul, Los Angeles, and Hong Kong are just some of the big cities that have committed to drastically reducing their carbon emissions. Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of New York and businessman, told me that cities, companies, and individuals will continue to reduce their emissions because they have understood that it is in their own best interest to do so.

I quickly learned in this job that the topic of climate change can raise strong views and emotions. There are some who want to transition from fossil fuels overnight, and nothing the government does will ever be fast enough. For others, any climate action is wrong-headed. People can just read my Twitter feed and watch these views battle it out. However, I have learned that the majority of Canadians understand that Canada and the world are transitioning to cleaner forms of energy. They understand this transition will not happen overnight. They understand that oil and natural gas are essential bridges to the low-carbon economy, and they want to ensure that their family and all Canadians benefit from this transition. In Canada, the shift to a cleaner future is already under way, and it is not only reducing carbon pollution; it is fostering innovation, strengthening our economy, and creating the jobs of the future.

In my travels across this country, I have seen so many companies that embody innovation and entrepreneurship. They are the scientists, the engineers, and the inventors who are catalyzing the future economy.

In Burnaby, B.C., General Fusion is developing a process that could unleash the energy potential of fusion to power our cities and communities.

In Calgary, Carbon Engineering has created a technology to capture carbon from the air and use it to produce fuels. Bill Gates is its biggest investor, and the company is also a finalist for the $25 million Virgin Earth Challenge prize.

While in Edmonton, I visited a manufacturing facility that makes net-zero homes that look like any suburban home. The company, Landmark Homes, employs more than 300 people, uses energy-efficient materials, and puts solar panel roofs on its houses. I met a family who lives in one of these homes, and instead of paying hydro bills, the family earns revenues from selling electricity.

Alberta is also home to Canada's Oil Sands Innovation Alliance, which through collaboration and the sharing of technologies among companies, is creating cleaner air, bigger efficiencies, and better-protected lands. Canadian companies are helping to drive innovation in the clean-growth economy.

In Winnipeg, I visited a factory that makes electric buses. They are incredible. They run smoothly and quietly with zero emissions. The company, called New Flyer Industries, is creating good, middle-class jobs. Today, we can find electric buses and electric cars humming across the country, and we are going to keep on seeing more of them.

In Toronto, SkyPower exports solar power to more than 30 countries around the world. It has new projects that could potentially power tens of millions of homes.

In Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, CarbonCure has created cutting-edge technology. It captures carbon pollution from industry and then uses it to create stronger, lower-emission cement.

Farmers across the country are using zero-till agriculture and climate-resilient crops. They are a part of the solution to tackle climate change.

By changing the way we commute, heat our homes, and run our industries, as well as the way we power our towns and cities, we are helping to achieve our Paris targets and creating well-paying jobs while doing it.

Canada is quickly becoming a major competitor in the renewable energy and clean tech sector. Earlier this year, 11 of Canada's clean tech companies were ranked within the top 100 in the world. We are punching well above our weight.

However, for Canada to continue innovating and creating good, middle-class jobs in a clean-growth century, we must signal to the market that we are open for investment. That is why our government has pursued pragmatic, flexible, and smart climate policies. Canadians expect us to uphold our commitment to the Paris agreement, our commitment to growing our economy and strengthening the middle class, and our commitment to future generations. In fact, they told us so last year, when members of Parliament hosted town halls across the country, from Newfoundland, to Manitoba, to British Columbia, to the territories, and thousands more people participated in stakeholder round tables and contributed on line.

Canadians of all ages, young and old, business representatives, unions, indigenous communities, scientists, and environmentalists have spoken.

I believe that Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England and a great Canadian, put it best when he said, “The more we invest with foresight, the less we will regret in hindsight”.

With that in mind, I will reiterate our plan to fight climate change.

Canada's climate plan will not only reduce carbon pollution; it will renew our infrastructure, strengthen our transportation networks, and through smart and strategic investments, spur innovation and opportunity in Canada's towns and cities.

First, we will price carbon pollution across our country. The concept is simple. We are pricing what we do not want, pollution, so that we can foster the things we do want, like stronger businesses, well-paying jobs, innovation, and cleaner and healthier communities.

However, there is so much more to our climate plan. We are investing $21.9 billion in green infrastructure to build energy-efficient homes and offices and to help families save on their energy bills. We are investing $20.1 billion to support urban public transit to help reduce commute times in our cities, increase the use of clean transportation, and allow people to spend more time with their families and less time in traffic.

We are also phasing out coal from our electricity system by 2030. This is the equivalent of taking 1.3 million cars off the road, significantly reducing our carbon emissions, and it will prevent more than 1,000 premature deaths and save billions in health care dollars.

Our climate plan needs to help all Canadians, in every part of the country. That is why we are investing $21.4 million, over four years, to support renewable energy projects in indigenous and northern communities, many of which rely on diesel for electricity and heating.

Finally, Canada is making historic investments in rapidly growing clean technology and clean energy sectors. With a $2.2-billion investment, we are fostering clean research and development production and exports, and we are accelerating the growth of the industry to capture an increasing share of the global market.

This is how we are fighting climate change. This is how we are strengthening our economy and protecting our environment. This is how Canada is leading during the clean-growth century.

It is obviously very disappointing to hear that the U.S. federal government plans to withdraw from the Paris agreement. Some suggest that, as a result, we should back off from acting on climate change. In response, I would say two things.

As our foreign affairs minister put it so eloquently this morning, Canada must set our own clear and sovereign course, working with like-minded people and communities who share our aims. That is what Canadians expect from us when it comes to tackling climate change.

Second, in the face of the U.S. federal government's decision, the world is even more resolved. India, China, France, and countries around the world are all doubling down on their efforts to reduce carbon pollution, and express their support for the Paris agreement. Already, more than 1,000 governors, mayors, and businesses have signed on to America's pledge, where they commit to uphold the goals of the Paris agreement.

I personally spoke with the governor of California, Jerry Brown, and the governor of Washington state, Jay Inslee, and they reiterated their commitment to the fight against climate change and their support for the Paris agreement.

I also know that my colleague, the Minister of Transport, spoke to the mayor of Pittsburgh about his commitment to reducing emissions and the Paris agreement.

The Paris agreement is a sustainable framework. People of the world are showing more determination than ever as we deal with one of the biggest challenges that the earth has ever faced.

If the U.S. administration is going to step back from climate action, Canada is going to step up. Almost a century ago, one of our greatest prime ministers, Wilfrid Laurier, issued a warning to future generations. He said, “It is often the mistake of nations that they do not apprehend fully the necessities of the situation. They fail in boldness.”

Today, our world is at a turning point. Climate change represents both the greatest challenge of our time, as well as the greatest opportunity. Therefore, I want to give my assurance that we will face this challenge. We will take hold of these opportunities, and Canada will not fail to be bold.

As we meet here today to reaffirm Canada's commitment to the Paris agreement, let us not forget that this is also a commitment to our children and grandchildren. As a mother of three children: Madeleine, Isabelle, and Cormac, I often ask myself what the world will look like when they are my age. While I do not have the answer to that, I do know that if we work hard and make the right decisions, we will leave our children and grandchildren a better world, one with a strong, diverse, and clean economy, with healthy and dynamic communities, and with pristine mountains and lakes. That is what they deserve.

My friend, Elmer Courchene, from the Sagkeeng First Nation in Manitoba, put it this way. He said, “At the end of your life you'll be asked, did you take care of the garden?” Today, we have an opportunity to make a real difference, to take care of the garden that we all love and share.

I hope that all members will be voting in favour of tonight's motion supporting the Paris agreement.

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7:45 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Madam Speaker, if the auto sector saw an economic downturn, the government would come forward with millions or billions of dollars of bailout money. If Bombardier saw an economic downturn, the government would come out with billions of dollars for a bailout. If a ketchup plant in southern Ontario went out of business, Canadians would boycott it.

What is happening in my province is that there are hundreds of thousands of people out of work, and what has the government done? It has put in place a carbon tax. It has put in place a tanker ban. It has failed to support the interests of Alberta.

What the Liberals are asking us tonight to do is to not fail in boldness, but instead to support a plan, this nationally determined contribution to Canada's economy that completely forgets my province, and they are gasping here.

If they are asking my province to support this, will the minister stand up, and tell us what price elasticity assumptions she has used to show the price she has assumed in that nationally defined contribution will actually materially reduce greenhouse gas emissions, without completely reducing the economy of my province to ruin?

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Liberal

Catherine McKenna Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, I completely disagree with the member's characterization. I have spent an extraordinary amount of time in the province of Alberta, working with the province. The province of Alberta is absolutely committed to climate action. It understands it is good for the economy. It will create good jobs and foster innovation.

I would like to remind the member that, unlike the party opposite, we were able to get pipelines approved. We understand we would not be able to approve pipelines without a price on pollution, and we would not be able to get a price on pollution without pipelines.

We will continue working with the province of Alberta to grow the economy, to create good jobs, and to ensure a more sustainable—

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Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

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NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

Order. The hon. member for Calgary Nose Hill had an opportunity to ask the question, and we need to offer the opportunity to have an answer If other MPs want to ask questions or have comments, then I would suggest they stand up to be recognized.

Questions and comments, the hon. member for Sherbrooke.

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NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her speech, even though there was a fundamental problem with it. She talked about commitments and targets and the fact that her government wants to reduce greenhou