House of Commons Hansard #371 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was elections.

Topics

Elections Modernization ActGovernment Orders

11:40 a.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I welcome my friend to the debate around this bill. It is very important, of course, and we have all recognized that its passage is likely one of the last bills, if not the last bill, passed out of Parliament.

We were just discussing with some of the committee members on the privacy and ethics committee that they have completed a large study that supplemented the study that the democratic institutions minister herself asked for from our Canadian spy agency, about the threats to our elections. The minister knows this but for Canadians watching, the parties all collect an enormous amount of information about individual Canadians: voting preference, gender, income and all sorts of things to best understand the voter. Parties pursue voters to try to get them to vote a certain way and we can understand why parties want to do that. That is the name of the game. The member's party, after the last election, congratulated itself about how good it was at collecting that data.

Here is the problem. That data is not falling under any restrictions or laws in terms of its protection from foreign actors or from individuals trying to hack that data, as was done with the Democrats and probably the Republicans and as was done in the Brexit scenario with Cambridge Analytica and all the rest.

This bill would do nothing to protect that privacy of Canadians or protect our democracy from that foreign influence from bad actors, domestically or internationally. Is that protection not something we should put in, if we have the research and the study and information available that there is a real and present threat to our democracy? Why do a democracy bill and omit that important piece, if not for partisan interests?

Elections Modernization ActGovernment Orders

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Ruby Sahota Liberal Brampton North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his work on this committee and on this piece of legislation. I would like to point out that the NDP and my colleagues across the way have been very supportive every step of the way when it comes to the passage of Bill C-76. They were enthusiastic to see the voter identification card being placed back into this legislation. They were happy to see the so-called Fair Elections Act be reversed through this piece of legislation. I am grateful for all the hard work they have done in supporting this legislation.

I understand the worry of my colleague. All has not been lost. I know the minister and our government take foreign interference very seriously and will look into this issue. This bill has made steps toward that. No foreign actors would be allowed to participate financially in our elections and also for all those who are advertising on platforms such as Facebook or any other platforms, all would be made transparent. These are big steps toward transparency in our elections and also in deterring those foreign actors from—

Elections Modernization ActGovernment Orders

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Questions and comments. The hon. member for Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia—Headingley.

Elections Modernization ActGovernment Orders

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Doug Eyolfson Liberal Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia—Headingley, MB

Mr. Speaker, one of the reasons that change was made to the identification requirements of the so-called Fair Elections Act was to prevent people with insufficient identification voting fraudulently in elections.

I would like to ask the hon. member this. Has there been any documented instance in Canadian history of any significant voter fraud that has had any influence on an election?

Elections Modernization ActGovernment Orders

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Ruby Sahota Liberal Brampton North, ON

Mr. Speaker, there has been a lot of misinformation and fear raised about this issue. Of course, on all aisles of this House, we want our elections to be safe and integral. However, as a member of the procedure and House affairs committee that passed this piece of legislation and went through over 300 amendments, we failed to see any instances where this was reported. The Chief Electoral Officer also said on record that this was not a concern that he had seen in any past election.

Elections Modernization ActGovernment Orders

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

Erin O'Toole Conservative Durham, ON

Mr. Speaker, I find it ironic that the last question from a Liberal member to his own colleague seems to disregard the case law on this very fact of voting, voting fraud and voting irregularities. He should speak to his friend from Etobicoke, because there is a leading Supreme Court case on this called Opitz v. Wrzesnewskyj. I can say the case name in this House I think. In that case, the Supreme Court of Canada determined there were issues related to irregularities and fraud. At paragraph 43 of the decision it equated them.

I will quote the Supreme Court of Canada for that member, which states:

In associating the word “irregularity” with those words, Parliament must have contemplated mistakes and administrative errors that are serious and capable of undermining the integrity of the electoral process.

In many ways, fraud or serious irregularities with an election undermine the democratic process. Therefore, I would ask the member this. By enhancing more voting from people with no connection to Canada after many years, and by allowing the voter identification card to be a substitute for the 30-plus types of identification for use, is the government not enshrining more irregularities into the electoral process?

Elections Modernization ActGovernment Orders

11:50 a.m.

Liberal

Ruby Sahota Liberal Brampton North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I welcome that question so I can clarify the misconception that is being put out there by the Conservatives.

The Chief Electoral Officer has said that there was no significant hike in any voter fraud. Also, disenfranchising over a million people from being able to vote is very serious. On this side, we would much rather that people have the ability to vote in our fair election process than disenfranchising them because of one case that may have happened out there.

Therefore, there is no serious threat of voter fraud. The voter identification card does not replace the need for any other ID. Rather, it is one of two IDs that would be required. Voters would still require photo identification, as well as something with an address. This provides that proof of address. Therefore, it is not the ID needed alone to vote. I feel that is the misconception that has been put out there. Let us have people vote and have their voices heard. This is Canada after all.

Elections Modernization ActGovernment Orders

11:50 a.m.

Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to take the floor today to continue the debate on Bill C-76, an act to amend the Canada Elections Act and other acts and to make certain consequential amendments, also known as the elections modernization act.

I am speaking on behalf of my constituents in Guelph who are keenly interested in the changes we are putting forward. Guelph has been a centre for electoral fraud in other elections, so they want to see us take the steps necessary to ensure there are fair elections, especially in my riding of Guelph.

I have participated in debates on this bill in other stages in the House and I am very pleased to be able to weigh in after the Senate has had a chance to look at the bill and we are approaching the final periods of debate in this place.

Bill C-76 does many things that would modernize our electoral system, including making it more secure, more transparent and more accessible. The bill builds on recommendations made by the Chief Electoral Officer following the 42nd general election. It was also informed by the study of his recommendations by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, which I was pleased to sit in on for some of those meetings.

It is noteworthy that the bill implements over 85% of the Chief Electoral Officer's recommendations, and also of note is that the parties were in agreement with our coming forward with what we have in front of us today.

To set the stage for my comments, I would like to quote the former Chief Electoral Officer in his report:

Over the years, amendments to the Act have added new requirements and new rules, with little regard to the overall burden placed on electors, candidates, parties, volunteers and election workers. In the last decade, changes have been made without taking into account the rapidly shifting technological context; we now need to evaluate whether there are better ways to achieve the same results as in the past.

Those words of our former Chief Electoral Officer frame our discussion today. They are a good illustration of the importance of modernizing our electoral process to bring it into the 21st century.

That is why by implementing the recommendations, Bill C-76 would make the electoral process more efficient for all involved while continuing to protect the integrity of our elections. This includes changes that will affect the candidates. I would like to go through some of those measures, which should be of particular interest to the members of the House.

The Chief Electoral Officer indicated that many aspects of the existing nomination process reflect a view of candidacy that is simply out of step with modern approaches. For example, the requirement for a witness to file the nomination documents suggests that the candidate is only reluctantly accepting the nomination. Bill C-76 proposes to modernize the process for prospective candidates.

First, the changes to the Canada Elections Act proposed in Bill C-76 would allow either the candidate or a witness to file nomination papers. This change corrects an anachronism and at the same time respects tradition by allowing the candidate to choose who is best placed to file these important documents. While on the subject of filing the nomination papers, I would also note that Bill C-76 would make the necessary legislative amendments to allow Elections Canada to develop an electronic portal to allow the documents to be filed electronically.

Since all those present in the House have been candidates, we can all appreciate how these changes will facilitate the nomination process and bring it into the 21st century by taking advantage of available technologies.

Another key change in Bill C-76 that would affect candidates is the removal of the $1,000 deposit requirement for prospective candidates. In late October 2017, a court in Alberta held that the candidate nomination deposit was unconstitutional. The government did not appeal the decision and Bill C-76 makes the necessary changes to comply with the decision. This would remove a financial impediment to those participating in the electoral process as candidates. It would align perfectly with a central objective of Bill C-76, namely, to make the electoral process more accessible.

There are other changes affecting candidates that I would like to mention.

There is one relating to the parties' endorsements of candidates. Following Bill C-76, registered political parties will be able to provide Elections Canada with a list of all the candidates they are endorsing during the general election. Previously, parties had to do so individually, in each electoral district for each candidate and with individual returning officers. This is a remnant from a time when the elections administration was highly centralized. There is no reason to allow such a burdensome process to continue in the 21st century. Going forward, returning officers will be able to confirm the endorsement of the candidate in the electoral district simply by looking at a global list provided by the registered political parties. These changes are examples of how Bill C-76 would modernize our electoral process.

Another such example relating to candidates deals identification. I believe that many Canadians would be surprised to learn that while they, as electors, are required to show identification to vote, we, as candidates, are not required to do so for the nomination process. This would change with Bill C-76. Respective candidates would be required to provide proof of identification with their nomination papers. This would not limit their ability to use another name by which they are commonly known, such as a nickname. It only means that if they wished to use a name other than the one that is on their identification, they would need to provide evidence that they are, in fact, known by that name. We believe it is reasonable to ask candidates to provide evidence of their identity as a measure to ensure the integrity of our electoral system.

The last series of changes I would like to note is the amendments that Bill C-76 would bring to the treatment of candidates' expenses during the election period. It is noteworthy that these changes have also been made in response to the recommendations of the Chief Electoral Officer. Most importantly, changes are being made to the reimbursements of candidates for expenses incurred during the election period for child care or the care of a person with a disability. Following the passage of Bill C-76, these expenses would not be counted towards a candidate's spending limit. The candidate would be allowed to use his or her personal funds to cover these expenses, and they would be reimbursed at 90% instead of the current 60%. We believe this will prove to be an important measure that, once again, would make our elections more accessible to a wider range of candidates, including women and people with disabilities.

During the debates on this important proposed legislation, we talked a lot about the measures related to foreign interference, as in fact mentioned in the previous speech, such as identification requirements for electors and other issues coming from offshore.

I am pleased that the debate today has given me the opportunity to discuss some of the lesser known aspects of the elections modernization act. I think we are heading in the right direction. The Senate has made some good suggestions. The committee was very collaborative and came forward with measures that would really improve our electoral process, including the process relating to candidates.

Elections Modernization ActGovernment Orders

Noon

NDP

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to come back to a theme that my colleague for Skeena—Bulkley Valley has been pursuing, and I think quite rightly, with respect to the proposed legislation. For all the pomp and ceremony that we hear from government members about the proposed legislation and how great it is going to be, there are two things I find really objectionable about the bill.

One is the fact that it took so long to get the bill, but then in exchange for the time the government took to prepare the bill and get around to debating it, it said to Parliament that it was somehow our job to review a massive piece of legislation in a very short amount of time. I think there is something fundamentally unfair about that. This is not the only time we have seen this happen, but particularly with legislation on how we conduct our election, I think it is wrong. Therefore, we have a process grievance that perhaps the member would care to address.

Furthermore, for all the time the Liberals took, they did not include anything to obligate political parties to protect the privacy of Canadians' personal information, which we know political parties harvest and use for their own purposes. We have seen some recent very high profile abuses of such information, such as for the Brexit vote and the presidential election in the United States.

Therefore, we have this odd contradiction where there is a really important issue that I think Canadians would like to see addressed, but that has not been addressed in the bill, and the fact that the government took an inordinately long time to prepare the bill and then asked Parliament to rush its approval. I wonder how the member justifies that to this place and to Canadians generally.

Elections Modernization ActGovernment Orders

December 13th, 2018 / noon

Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have heard from the NDP with regard to other pieces of legislation that we move too slowly. The fact is that we have been very thorough in our review of this legislation. The committee was thorough. The Senate has spent time on it. We would rather get this done right instead of quickly. It is important for us to pass this legislation, though, in a timely way so that we can be prepared for the 2019 election.

In terms of transparency, parties are required to publish their transparency policies. The NDP currently does not have a transparency policy that shows who attends its fundraisers. Would the member consider that as his party goes forward?

Elections Modernization ActGovernment Orders

Noon

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, as I stated earlier, this legislation is going to greatly enhance Canada's democracy, and for that reason, the member should be supportive.

The Conservatives on the other hand oppose this legislation. They will do whatever they can to make sure that it never gets passed. We have had first reading, second reading, committee stage and have gone through report stage and third reading. The Senate has dealt with it also.

Maybe just to draw what would be a natural conclusion, would the member not agree that it is time to get the bill passed?

Elections Modernization ActGovernment Orders

Noon

Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for Winnipeg North. Winnipeg is my home town and I hope to get there over new year's and see some of my friends in that fine city. Maybe we could even have a coffee at his favourite restaurant, where he is at every Saturday morning at 10 o'clock.

We did a thorough analysis of this legislation in a way that would not advantage one party over another. The bill would empower Elections Canada and the Chief Electoral Officer to administer our elections fairly. It would give them the power to prosecute when our elections are not done fairly, and really to take control of our elections out of the political process and have that power as an independent organization.

All members have contributed to this. All members of the committee put this forward, and so has the Senate. Today, we are really only looking at a technical amendment. There is a small part of the technical amendment that just puts a finer point on the pencil to make sure that we have all of the legislative details covered properly before we go into our next election.

We are in the right place and I look forward to the vote.

Elections Modernization ActGovernment Orders

12:05 p.m.

NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach NDP Salaberry—Suroît, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am still concerned about one aspect of the bill, despite all the time the government has taken to propose amendments to what they had already proposed in Bill C-33 to protect Canadians' privacy.

Even the Privacy Commissioner said that Bill C-76 adds nothing of substance in terms of privacy protection. For instance, this bill still allows parties to sell Canadians' personal information, so it is not covered by the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act.

Does my colleague not think that we are moving a little too fast with this bill, considering that the government has rejected some significant amendments?

Also, is it not totally ironic that a so-called electoral reform bill is being rushed through the House of Commons—virtually on the last possible day that Parliament gets to debate in this chamber in 2018—and that it is riddled with so many privacy loopholes?

If we move ahead with this bill, it may not even come into effect in time for the next election. Why not take the time to get it right and make absolutely certain that everyone's privacy is protected?

Elections Modernization ActGovernment Orders

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, as I said at the beginning of my speech, 85% of what has come forward has been agreed to by the Chief Electoral Officer. This place will be able to do a review going forward after the next election to see whether there are further changes required.

We have introduced transparency and accountability and have modernized the act. We are in a place where we can have a much better election than we had the last time in terms of participation by all groups, including people overseas, and allowing seniors in residences to have multiple people vouch for them so they can participate in the election.

We are way ahead of where we were, but better is always possible.

Elections Modernization ActGovernment Orders

12:05 p.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak for probably the last time in these hallowed halls. It is an honour to stand once again to speak to what has been deemed amendments to Bill C-76. I am going to focus my speech on Bill C-76, which represents yet another failure of the government.

I want to bring Canadians back to day 10 of the 2015 election, when the member for Papineau, who is now the Prime Minister, said that under his government, debate would reign. The Liberals would not resort to Parliamentary trickery or invoke closure on debate, because every Canadian deserves to have a say.

Here we sit today debating a very important piece of legislation. Over 50 times, the government has invoked closure. I have said this a number of times, but this just shows the contempt of the Prime Minister and his team for this House, and indeed, for electors, electors who vote opposition members in. This House is not the Prime Minister's. It is not the Speaker's, and it is not mine. This House belongs to Canadians and those who elected the 338 members of Parliament to be their voices here in Ottawa.

The message the Prime Minister and his team send when they invoke closure is that if members are on the opposition side, their voices really do not matter, and the electors who elected them really do not matter. That is shameful. That is just one broken promise by the Prime Minister and his team. Bill C-76 is yet another broken promise. The Liberal platform in 2015 called for real change. The Liberals talked about omnibus bills, yet here we have another omnibus bill.

The Liberals talk about wanting to get this bill through. It is important that we get it done for the 2019 election. We have heard testimony from all our colleagues on this side of the House that this is because of the Liberals' failure to manage their legislative agenda. They are now at the eleventh hour having to push this through by invoking closure. They want to get this done before we rise. The Liberals said they would never limit debate, yet here we have seen it over 50 times.

The Liberals also talked about being open and transparent. I believe the member for Papineau, now our Prime Minister, said that his government would be the most open and transparent in the history of our country. Have we ever seen the government be open and transparent? It is so open that if one is a Liberal insider, one will get an appointment. If one is a Liberal family member or a former Liberal colleague, one will get a quota, such as the surf clam quota.

Mr. Speaker, if you can sense a little frustration in my voice, it is because I was elected here, and while the national outcome was not what I had hoped for, I came here with the best intentions. I came here with great hope for all of us, the 338 members of Parliament. We all put our names down with the intention of doing good for our country.

We have seen arrogance. It is not from all members on that side. There are good people on that side, but the front bench has let them down and has let Canada down. I am angry, and Canadians are angry.

The Liberals talk about Bill C-76 making things better for voters. I will bring members back to 2015. We had the highest voter turnout in the 2015 election. They said that somehow Prime Minister Harper was trying to suppress voter turnout, that the changes he made to the Elections Act were somehow going to suppress voter turnout, but we had the highest voter turnout. Speaking of voter ID, we increased the number of acceptable pieces of ID for voters. Not everyone has a driver's licence or a passport.

The hon. colleague who spoke just before me said that as candidates, people have to have ID to show that they are who they say they are and that they are not just nicknames they are putting on their candidate forms. I do not know how it works on that side, but on this side of the House, we have to prove who we are. I actually had to have a criminal record check as well. It is unbelievable.

It is funny. When other groups make changes, the Liberals say that it is an attack on democracy, but we heard the parliamentary secretary just a little earlier say that these changes will enhance Canada's democracy. Why is it that when it benefits the Liberals to do something, they say it is enhancing Canada's democracy? It would do nothing. This bill is another broken promise, another Liberal failure.

My speech today is a compilation of the Liberals' failures, case by case, citing critical examples. I talked about a few just now.

In the 2015 election, there were 114 third-party groups that received foreign funds to campaign to get Prime Minister Harper out. We hear from others saying that we are sowing the seeds of fear and that it is just Conservative rhetoric. However, I offer this, as I did in a previous speech. There is a website called leadnow.ca. Just shortly after the 2015 election, leadnow.ca received an international award for getting Prime Minister Harper out. I have not checked, but I said in my last speech that if one goes to leadnow.ca, and I mentioned that my colleagues were probably googling it, there would be a picture on the site where they were probably receiving the award for getting Prime Minister Harper out. I do not know if it is still going to be there, but that was one of the entities. Bill C-76 does nothing to stop this. The Liberals want to talk about how they are strengthening our electoral process and stopping that foreign interference.

There is a bit of a pattern with the Liberal government and the Prime Minister. They promise big, and they under-deliver.

I want to go back to the speech the Prime Minister gave yesterday about the closure of this House and Centre Block. To me, it spoke to his contempt for this place. Maybe that is what happens when one is raised in the halls of this place. It becomes just another hall, just another building. These are hallowed halls. We look around and think about the history. His words were that this is just another building, just another room.

Thinking back to 2014, when I started my run, I never would have thought that a kid from the Cariboo would end up here. There is not a day I am not honoured to sit among all members of Parliament. I am honoured when I see the flag waving on the Peace Tower and the one over your shoulder, Mr. Speaker. I think of Canadians. I think of the veterans who signed up and of first responders who serve and protect us. They are all our silent sentinels, yet the government and the Prime Minister have failed them.

Let us go back to the Chris Garnier case. This is a convicted murderer who is receiving PTSD benefits from Veterans Affairs but never served a day in his life.

Elections Modernization ActGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.

Bernadette Jordan

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I would ask what the relevance is to Bill C-76 and where the hon. member is going with his comments.

Elections Modernization ActGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

I am going to allow the member to take it where he is going to take it. I am sure he will bring it back to the bill. Members have gone off on different tangents but have somehow brought it back, so I will leave it to the hon. member for Cariboo—Prince George, and we will see where he takes it.

Elections Modernization ActGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

I appreciate your intervention, Mr. Speaker. My colleague across the way should have listened to this debate, as I have, from the very beginning, by all members of Parliament, especially in the last couple of days, because this is our last day in the House. I would challenge my hon. colleague to look through Hansard and see if some of the speeches by her own colleagues were relevant throughout. As a matter of fact, I prefaced my comments today by saying that Bill C-76 is yet another Liberal failure and that I would be speaking to the other failures and how they relate to Bill C-76. With that, I will continue.

Let us talk about natural resources and the hundreds of thousands of pipeline workers, softwood lumber workers and forestry workers—

Elections Modernization ActGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons is rising on a point of order.

Elections Modernization ActGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, a member cannot say at the beginning of a speech that it will have a general theme and that the member will not necessarily talk about the debate but instead will talk about the failures and then go through a litany of issues that are completely irrelevant to the legislation. The member knows that. I would ask him to be somewhat relevant. Just because he declared at the beginning of his speech that he wants to talk about a litany of issues does not necessarily mean he can do that, because there is a responsibility to be somewhat relevant.

Elections Modernization ActGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

I will leave it to the hon. member for Cariboo—Prince George to show us where he is taking it and the relevance of his speech.

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12:20 p.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-76 is about electoral reform. It is about what we do in the House. It is about how we govern.

Our national economy is directly related to this, how we function. Pipelines and softwood lumber all relate to this. It is, yet, another Liberal failure. We still do not have a softwood lumber agreement. Pipeline workers in Alberta have been told to hang in there.

The Liberals failed miserably with Bill C-76. It is evidenced by the number of amendments offered by committee members, over 330 of them and only a handful were accepted.

It brings me back to, I think it was 2016, when we were pressuring the government to do something with softwood lumber. We were nearing the end of our softwood lumber agreement and our grace period. We were almost to that critical point. We challenged members across the way, at the natural resources committee, to hold an emergency meeting, to bring folks in from the industry and to find a team Canada approach to getting a softwood lumber agreement done. We were told that it was a waste of time and a waste of money.

There are sweeping mill closures, work curtailing and layoffs in my province of British Columbia. That is because government failed to secure rail access to our forestry manufacturers. It has failed to get a new softwood lumber agreement in place. The government has done nothing regarding the unfair tariffs and duties placed on our forestry workers. We are under attack, and the government has done nothing.

I will bring us back to the Prime Minister's very first speech on the world stage. There was no mention of softwood lumber in the minister's mandate letter, no mention of softwood or forestry in the Speech from the Throne. In his very first speech, he said that under his government, Canada would become known more for our resourcefulness, than for our natural resources. It is shocking.

I have talked about how far we have fallen. When someone who crosses our borders illegally, we cannot call it “illegal”, it is “irregular”. That goes to Bill C-76 as well, and I have mentioned it before. It is about that foreign interference and protecting us from those who come in to Canada.

There are so many holes in the bill. That was outlined through the many amendments. As my hon. colleague from Calgary Midnapore offered, there are holes big enough to drive a Mac truck through. This is not dissimilar to the government's leaky border policy. Do members remember the tweet “Welcome to Canada”? What is that costing Canadians? By 2020, that crisis will cost Canadian taxpayers $1.6 billion.

Let us go back to the deficit and why that is such an issue. It is another promise that was broken by the Prime Minister. He would say anything to get elected and once he was in here it was “I didn't really mean it.” He promised that 2019 would be be the final deficit and that the Liberals would return us to surplus in 2019, just in time for the election. Now we know there is another, possibly, $30 billion added to that.

Bill C-76 could potentially open the door for what proposes to dissuade, instead of taking this opportunity to ensure foreign influence, 114 different foreign-funded groups.

I mentioned veterans. I mentioned first responders. The government has failed them. Earlier this week at a meeting with veterans, the Minister of Veterans Affairs actually used his transition, of retiring from the media to political life, as a way to understand what veterans went through because he assumed it was similar to what he went through, going from the structured life of media. It was unreal.

Let us talk about ethics. The Prime Minister is the first prime minister in the history of our country to be found guilty of an ethics violation. Then there was the finance minister, guilty. Then there was the fisheries minister, guilty. Now there is a Liberal MP, who we are not sure whether he has resigned or not, tied to another minister and some shady land deals, and perhaps money stuff going to other foreign entities. This has been a year of failure.

If I seem a little riled up, it is because I was sent here with great hope for all of us. Sadly, the Prime Minister and his front bench, and then some, are failing Canadians. It is only those of us in the opposition who are doing whatever we can to hold their feet to the fire, yet they say we are calling them names and being divisive. All we are doing is standing up for Canadians. We will continue to do so.

Elections Modernization ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

Bernadette Jordan Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Democratic Institutions, Lib.

Mr. Speaker, after that speech, there are so many questions I would love to ask the hon. member. However, I will start with this one and maybe I will get another chance. He keeps talking about foreign funding in our elections. Bill C-76 would eliminate foreign funding from any partisan activities at all times, not just elections, not during the writ, not pre-writ but all times.

This was an amendment brought forward at PROC by the member from this side of the House and the Conservative members voted against it. If they are so concerned about foreign funding, why would they vote against banning foreign funding from partisan activities in the country? I would really love an answer to that.

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12:25 p.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, as I outlined in my speech, when the Liberals say something, we cannot believe what they say, and that is just another example of—

Elections Modernization ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Democratic Institutions, Lib.

Bernadette Jordan

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I believe the hon. member just said that I lied. He should retract that.