Mr. Speaker, for the benefit of my friend from Winnipeg North, I am not sure if he has read Bill C-57 or is familiar with the details in it, but Bill C-57 deals with the framework for sustainability. The member heckled to say that it does not mention immigration, but it deals with an evaluation of sustainability across government. It deals with considerations of the sustainability of policy in all areas.
We are debating a message to the Senate. The government's message to the Senate is not to concur in one of the Senate amendments, which would effectively deal with the issue of building into performance contracts considerations about the sustainability goals of government.
I will not refer to whether the member was here in the beginning, because it would be unparliamentary to do so, but if he had been here he would know that I talked about how that section really raises big questions about the government's commitment to sustainability across the board. I talked in my remarks today about how the government's environmental policy is not sustainable, about how its economic policy is not sustainable and about how its approach to energy—the fiscal policy—is not sustainable. I have made some comments here about our immigration system and what the government is doing with respect to our immigration system. It does not have a plan. It is not being effective in terms of its handling of our immigration system.
We believe in an immigration system that is orderly, compassionate and legal. Canadians who see people walk across the border—people who want to come to Canada—want to see the process be fair and orderly. I said before that, when it comes to immigration, Canadians want us to use our heads and our hearts at the same time. They want us to be compassionate and strategic. They want us to think about how we can help as many people as possible and as many of the most vulnerable as possible. In fact, our immigration shadow minister, the member for Calgary Nose Hill, has called for the government to do more to facilitate private sponsorship of refugees.
What I hear when talking to different groups involved in the issue of private sponsorship of refugees is that they are very frustrated in dealing with the government. They see the government piling more red tape and creating more challenges for them when all they want to do is be able to sponsor the most vulnerable refugees and use their own money to do it. While the government has failed to properly respond to the issue of illegal border crossing, it is piling more red tape and challenges on those who are trying to privately sponsor our most vulnerable refugees. I think about members of my own family who were refugees and the benefits they had coming into communities of support. The value of a system of privately sponsored people who come into a system of support is that it works very well. We think that using that private channel and getting out of the way for these private sponsors can be very effective.
The member for Winnipeg North does not think this is a sustainability issue. However, I submit that it is, and Bill C-57 speaks precisely to the need for sustainable policy across government, for policy that can be indeed sustained in the long run, policy that can work and provide the best of the system going forward and also maintains and preserves public support for that system. When we hear criticisms of the immigration system, I think that the government immediately wants to polarize that discussion. However, from our perspective, there are things we can do to substantively improve our immigration system, to build greater public support for it and ensure that it works very well, and that is emphasizing compassion, order and legality in the context of our immigration system.
I will talk about another failure when it comes to sustainability from the government, which is to build a sustainable approach to Canada's voice in the world. If we are to sustain a strong voice in the world, it is important that Canada be principled and clear in its efforts to advance freedom, democracy, justice and human rights. However, we have not seen this from the government at all. We have seen at best a very inconsistent approach when it comes to the advancement of freedom, democracy, human rights, justice and the rule of law.
One area where this is really evident is the Liberals' approach to China. There has been note of this over the last few weeks. Part of it is not just the relationship between events in Canada and China, it is the changing political reality in China itself. We see more and more aggressive action by the Chinese government.
There are a few things to note. We see the terrible abuse of Uighur Muslims, the violent crackdown we have seen, something we hoped to never have to talk about again in the 21st century. Canadians are asking their government to speak out on the violent abuses being imposed in this context. I hope that Canada could play a role in building a broader consensus around the response to these events, working together with our partners across the world. Countries like Pakistan and Algeria could do much more to call out and respond to the abuse by China of its Muslim minority communities.
We also see a crackdown against Christians, ongoing abuse of Falun Gong practitioners, increasing abuses in Tibet, the breaking of the agreement over the status of Hong Kong, more aggression toward Taiwan and aggressive action in the South China Sea. We also have the very worrying situation of the detention of Canadians.
How do we ensure Canada, in a long-term way, can sustain a strong voice on the world stage in the midst of these events? One thing we should not do is discredit our engagement on these issues by having a vital post be used as a way to say goodbye to a cabinet minister. The government's approach to China has been very ineffective, in part because it has not responded to the situation with the seriousness it deserves. Liberals have not put the appropriate, competent person in that situation.
Also we see how the Prime Minister's admiration, his comments about China's basic dictatorship, have undermined the credibility of Canada's approach to this. My hope is that Canada would have a long-term strategy for saying how we build that voice on the world stage. Unfortunately, we have not seen that from the government.
I talked earlier about the issue of pipelines. It may be of interest to people to know that the government put hundreds of millions of dollars into the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which is a Chinese-controlled investment bank that is building pipelines, not here in Canada but in Azerbaijan. A lot of people would ask why our government is spending money to build a pipeline in Azerbaijan as a tool for advancing Chinese foreign policy. How is that consistent with the values of sustainability? I would submit that it is not, but it is also a big mistake, a big failure by the Prime Minister, which is imposing costs on Canadians.
The government's argument for this, the reason it invested in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is so that Canadian companies could get those contracts. I have been to the bank's headquarters in Beijing and we were told that the bank has an open procurement policy and it will buy from Canadian companies and hire Canadians regardless of whether or not Canada is a member of the bank.
Therefore, the one argument the government had for supporting this multi-million dollar giveaway to a Chinese-controlled bank and entity of its foreign policy was to say that it was about opportunities for Canadian companies. That argument was blown out of the water in the first five minutes of a conversation with the folks at the bank's headquarters. If the government had actually done any kind of due diligence, it would have known that this was not the reality and that it was not achieving the objective that it said it was going to achieve.
As long as China is continuing this aggressive direction and is unresponsive to what we see as basic principles and values, why are we continuing to support this agent of its foreign policy? Why are we continuing to give money to this infrastructure bank? This is costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.
If I were a Liberal MP, I would sure have a hard time explaining to people at home, who are struggling to get ahead, why they should have to pay for this particular failure of the government. Why should they have to pay for the failure of the government to do basic due diligence on an issue like the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank? The failures of the government, in this respect and in so many others, are costing Canadians and we will see, as it continues to fail and tries at every turn to increase taxes, the real and growing costs of those failures on Canadians. A sustainable voice for Canada on the world stage should seek to advance our values, put those forward and do so in an effective way.
Bill C-57 seeks to introduce a sustainability framework for the government. It comes out of a report that was done at the environment committee and I think speaks in general to an important principle, the principle being that the decisions the government makes should be made with an eye to the future, that all the things government does should consider the impact on future generations, not just the impact on today, and that the way we approach every policy on immigration, foreign policy, the environment or the economy should not just be made with an eye to today but should be made with an eye to tomorrow. Why? Because if we fail to consider the impact of policies on tomorrow, then we will end up imposing additional costs and challenges for the future.
I am sorry to say this is exactly what we have seen from the government. Its lack of attention to the issue of long-term sustainability has led it to pursue policies that are imposing significant costs on Canadians and will continue to impose escalating costs on Canadians. Liberals are increasing taxes. Why? Because of their failure to take the steps necessary in all of these policy areas to strengthen our economy. This is imposing costs on Canadians.
We know that if they are successful in the next election, their plan is to impose higher taxes, to impose new costs. In the area of the carbon tax, for example, we see how they have imposed a carbon tax that is hurting Canadians who are struggling to get ahead and they will increase that carbon tax significantly. They will use every excuse they can to increase the carbon tax.
They are failing to pursue sustainable policy in so many areas, and that is why, in this message to the Senate, Liberals propose to reject the second amendment that was put forward. The second amendment proposes:
Performance-based contracts with the Government of Canada, including employment contracts, shall, where applicable, include provisions for meeting the applicable goals and targets referred to in the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy and any applicable strategy developed under section 11.
The amendment goes on to clarify the exact mechanism by which that would take place. It speaks precisely to how things would proceed in the context of employment contracts building sustainability there. The Senate, I think, wisely understands that if we are going to take an approach to sustainability—