House of Commons Hansard #430 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was internet.

Topics

Human Organ TraffickingPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, the fifth petition is also in support of Bill S-240.

HealthPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, the sixth petition highlights the issue of health products. The petitioners call on Parliament to instruct the Standing Committee on Health to undertake a comprehensive study of the impact of uninsured self-care products and wellness services and of the barriers that exist for those wishing to access them.

Human Organ TraffickingPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, the seventh petition is in support of Bill S-240.

Religious MinoritiesPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, the eighth petition also highlights the issue of religious minorities in Afghanistan. The Sikh and Hindu communities call for action from the government on that.

Human Organ TraffickingPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, the ninth petition is also in support of Bill S-240.

FreshwaterPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

NDP

Tracey Ramsey NDP Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to present a petition calling on the government to develop a national freshwater strategy and to support my private member's bill, Bill C-439.

Canada has 20% of the world's freshwater resources. The federal government should have a clear plan to protect this valuable resource, domestically and under international agreements. We have not had an updated national freshwater policy since 1987. Our environment, both nationally and globally, has changed dramatically with climate change.

Canada's population is highly dependent on our freshwater lakes, rivers, wetlands and watersheds for tourism, commerce, recreation and household needs. National drinking water standards in Canada are not consistent from province to province, which is a problem, and they lag behind international standards. We know that the many freshwater bodies across Canada have been plagued, as have those in my riding, with harmful algal blooms and invasive species.

This petitioners are calling on the Government of Canada to develop a national freshwater strategy.

The EnvironmentPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Paradis Liberal Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Canada committed to combatting the effects of climate change by signing the Paris Agreement. There is an urgent need for action, and we must launch concrete projects to meet that need.

The riding of Brome—Missisquoi has an abundance of natural treasures that must be protected. The people of Brome—Missisquoi who signed the petition are calling on the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to pass legislation that creates an inhabited natural park in the riding of Brome—Missisquoi.

Palliative CarePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

Alice Wong Conservative Richmond Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of our colleague from Langley—Aldergrove, I hereby present 50 petitions on the following.

The undersigned residents of Canada draw the attention of the House to the following: that in the 41st Parliament, the House of Commons unanimously passed a motion calling on the government to create a national strategy on palliative care to ensure that every Canadian has access to high-quality palliative care at the end of life; that in Carter v. Canada (Attorney General), the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that competent and consenting adults who have a grievous and irremediable medical condition that causes enduring and intolerable suffering should be allowed to access physician-assisted suicide/euthanasia; and that it is impossible for people to give informed consent to assisted suicide/euthanasia if appropriate palliative care is unavailable to them. Therefore, the petitioners call upon Parliament to establish a national strategy on palliative care.

Forced MigrationPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Liberal

Pierre Breton Liberal Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, on May 17, I met with representatives of the organization Development and Peace in my riding office.

This organization's mandate is to defend refugees and victims of forced migration. The organization has sponsored a petition that I was eager to present to the House.

The signatories are calling on the House of Commons to support grassroots organizations working for peace, democracy and human rights and to invest more in diplomatic and peaceful solutions to armed conflicts.

I would like to thank all those who signed the petition as well as the board of directors for their important work on this very crucial issue.

AgriculturePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

David Tilson Conservative Dufferin—Caledon, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition from a number of my constituents from Dufferin—Caledon highlighting that farmers should have the right to keep the seeds that come from their farming activities and use them as and how they see fit and to not have them subjected to intellectual property restrictions on how and where they can be used.

Human Organ TraffickingPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

June 10th, 2019 / 3:40 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston, ON

Mr. Speaker, one of the petitions I have today has come up before. The petitioners are urging us to support either Bill C-350 or Bill S-240 on the issue of international organ harvesting, essentially making organ tourism unlawful in Canada.

CannabisPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston, ON

Mr. Speaker, the second petition is one that has not been repeated dozens times by other members. It is in relation to a cannabis production facility in my constituency in Beckwith Township. The petitioners are concerned that the facility does not meet Health Canada requirements. They urge the minister to look carefully, prior to issuing a licence for it.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:40 p.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

3:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed consideration of the motion.

Opposition Motion—TelecommunicationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:40 p.m.

Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, before I begin, I would like to inform you that I will be sharing my time with the member for Niagara Falls.

I am happy to rise today and respond to the motion introduced by the hon. member across the way for Windsor West regarding telecommunications services in Canada. In fact, it is an item we are discussing at the INDU committee and is something that both of us have opinions on.

I would like to use my time to speak specifically to the concerns that have been raised by Canadians about aggressive and misleading sales practices.

Since coming to office, our government has made it clear that we understand that to achieve fast, reliable telecommunications services, we need to focus on three core objectives: quality, coverage and affordability. We understand that to make progress on these three goals, we need a competitive marketplace in which consumers are treated fairly.

Currently, there are measures in place to empower Canadians in their relationships with their telecommunications service providers. This includes, for examples, the creation of a consumer code of conduct. There is also a dedicated organization to help resolve the complaints Canadians have specifically about their telecommunications service providers. It is called the Commission for Complaints for Telecom-Television Services, the CCTS. The CCTS reported that in 2018-19, it had successfully resolved 92% of the complaints it received.

Furthermore, the CRTC has strengthened its own measures over time. In 2017, the CRTC revised its wireless consumer code with changes, including a ban on cellphone unlocking fees. That provided savings for millions of Canadians and also made it easier for them to switch providers if they chose to.

Our government recognizes that more needs to be done. The CCTS 2018-19 “Mid-Year Report” shows that a large proportion of complaints received are about home Internet services. In addition, Canadians have expressed serious concerns about the sales practices used by certain large telecommunications carriers. We share those concerns. That is why, in June 2018, we directed the CRTC to launch a public inquiry to thoroughly investigate this matter and to consider potential solutions. We required the CRTC to investigate what provisions carriers have in place to mitigate the risk of consumers being subject to misleading or aggressive sales tactics. Furthermore, we specifically called for the CRTC to address the most feasible ways to strengthen or expand the scope of existing consumer protections, such as its codes of conduct. We also asked the CRTC to consider creating new codes of conduct that relate specifically to new issues so as to further empower consumers to make informed decisions with respect to their telecommunications services.

In short, we want to ensure the fair treatment of all Canadians. The CRTC led the inquiry, and the Competition Bureau also participated, given its expertise in combatting deceptive marketing.

In February 2019, the CRTC released its report on misleading and aggressive sales practices, which confirmed that such sales practices were taking place.

That these practices occur is unacceptable. They harm consumers, in particular vulnerable Canadians, and are a serious concern for the CRTC. The CRTC confirmed that they exist in all types of sales channels, including in stores, online, over the phone and door to door. The CRTC also believes that the internal measures put in place by the carriers to address misleading or aggressive sales practices are not achieving their stated goals.

In its report, the CRTC outlined a range of measures to address the matter of these sales practices. In the near term, the CRTC has an Internet code of conduct already under development. The CRTC also noted that it was necessary to establish such a mandatory code of conduct to address consumer contracts and other related issues.

The CRTC sought comments on a draft Internet code, which is based on provisions in two of its existing codes of conduct: the wireless code and the television service provider code.

Issues addressed in this draft include contract clarity, bill shock, bill management tools, service outages, equipment issues and barriers to switching service providers. The CRTC also sought public comments from Canadians with disabilities and companies that worked in this field on the kinds of experiences, barriers and challenges they faced.

Final comments were received this year, and a decision will follow shortly.

Furthermore, in the near future, the CRTC plans to launch a secret shopper program to monitor behaviour in the marketplace and will also create information tools to help consumers better understand their rights and the avenues they have for recourse.

The CRTC has an ambitious agenda for future action, which will require multiple regulatory processes to consider and to implement. Among others, it will consider expanding the CCTS's mandate to include handling complaints about misleading or aggressive retail sales practices. It will also consider requiring service providers to ensure their offers and promotions match the consumers' needs and means. Any new measures will add to the consumer protections already in place. This is a good thing, giving more protections for Canadian consumers.

More broadly, our government is taking action to ensure Canadian consumers are at the forefront of all future regulatory decisions in telecommunications.

Having a customer focused agenda, our government recently announced a proposed policy direction that would require the CRTC to consider competition, affordability, consumer interests and innovation in all its telecommunications decisions and demonstrate to Canadians that it had in fact done so.

Through this proposed directive, we will ensure that telecommunications policy will be made through a consumer-first lens to ensure Canadians have access to quality services at more affordable prices, focused on their needs as consumers. The proposed policy direction includes a specific focus toward measures that will enhance and protect the rights of consumers in their relationships with telecommunications providers.

The record shows that Canadians have shown significant support for this policy direction.

Following the publication of the proposed policy direction, we sought feedback from Canadians. Over 64,000 Canadians wrote to their members of Parliament and sent copies to my colleague, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, to indicate their support for the general policy direction. Another 14,000 Canadians signed a petition in support of the policy direction.

This proposed approach will be a clear and binding direction to the CRTC and apply to all its decisions on a going forward basis. One of my colleagues will soon speak more on our policy direction to the CRTC and how it will put consumers at the forefront of decisions.

It is unequivocally unacceptable that Canadians are subjected to aggressive and misleading sales practices. This government has responded with concrete and effective actions to protect and empower Canadian consumers. Our government will continue to stand up for consumers to ensure they are treated fairly. In addition, we will ensure that the technical tools are there to ensure we have access to the services, technically speaking, getting broadband available across all of Canada.

Opposition Motion—TelecommunicationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Madam Speaker, I certainly appreciate the member opposite's work, along with other members such as me, on the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology.

Last week, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development dropped a bomb, not literally but metaphorically, on the fixed wireless providers due to the new announced changes to the 3,500 megahertz spectrum auction. The government is going to be clawing back from rural areas and repurposing that, which is the first time this has ever happened. In previous years, if providers did not follow through with the conditions, that could have been possible. This is the first time the government has ever done this.

This policy will either cause service to be lost, because spectrum runs the system, or it will put a permanent cap on the growth of those wireless providers that are offering competition to the other large telecom providers.

I would like to hear the member comment on this. I know he is a great advocate for e-health and other innovations, but this will be very harmful to local economies.

Opposition Motion—TelecommunicationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:55 p.m.

Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member across the way for continuing the discussion we are having in the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology. As these concerns come forward, they will go to the government to be looked at and analyzed.

The intention of the program is to increase the competition within the smaller regions of Canada. There are concerns from different types of carriers. We have not heard from the smaller carriers. However, in the end, we need to have something that is fair to Canadians and provides service at an affordable rate, which I know the hon. member would support as well.

Opposition Motion—TelecommunicationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:55 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Madam Speaker, I was fascinated to hear a 10 minute speech from a member who obviously had not read what the motion was about. We are not talking about misleading pricing practices. We are talking about price gauging and the fact that people in my region are paying $70 a month for two gigabytes, when in Australia people pay $24 a month. This is supported by the government and the league of telecom lobbyists who knock on its doors daily. When my daughter was in Rwanda, she had better download rates than she can get in downtown Ottawa.

Let us talk about northern Ontario and the complete failure of the government, which ended broadband plans and said that it would another one. We waited two years for that. Many of the communities I represent do not have broadband service and pay outrageous fees. The government continues to protect the telecom giants that rip us off day in, day out.

To say that the Liberals will do something better about bad arbitrary calling and how they deal with it is a side issue. The issue is the price gauging by a protected market of telecom giants.

Opposition Motion—TelecommunicationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:55 p.m.

Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

Madam Speaker, I will turn that into a question about what type of frequency we need in the north. If we look at the 600 megahertz band, we had an auction on that band this year. The low frequency band covers long distances in the north. Of the 112 licenses, 104 from this auction were from nine participants that would go toward developing these types of services in northern Canada and, in particular, indigenous communities. The hon. member across the way should be glad to see the progress we have on the low frequency part of the auction.

Opposition Motion—TelecommunicationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Madam Speaker, I really would like the member opposite to reconsider his previous answer to me. The fixed wireless communities are usually small, local regional players that have offered services that through no fault of their own, have had their spectrum clawed back. That is why it is called a clawback. It is going to be repurposed, as in, sold at a higher auction price. This is kneecapping those regional players that have traditionally gone to places where the big telecoms have not.

Does the member not understand there was a consultation and the minister announced last week this change in policy? It is ridiculous.

Opposition Motion—TelecommunicationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:55 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

A brief answer from the hon. member for Guelph.

Opposition Motion—TelecommunicationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:55 p.m.

Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

Madam Speaker, it is hard to be brief on these complex issues. When we look at the $1.7 billion that we will spend on the universal broadband fund to connect every household in Canada by 2030, this will include all types of providers, including the types the hon. member across the way has mentioned.

Opposition Motion—TelecommunicationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Conservative Niagara Falls, ON

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for Guelph, who was good enough to share his time with me, as well as all those individuals from different political parties who have been so supportive and helpful over the years.

It is with mixed emotions that I rise today to give what will be my farewell address in this chamber, the people's House.

Thirty-five years ago, the people of Niagara Falls first elected me as their member of Parliament, and I will be forever grateful to them.

I am proud today to be wearing the Nicholson tartan tie for this occasion. I am pleased as well to be wearing a medal that was given to family members of World War I veterans. I received this when I was over at Vimy Ridge a couple of years ago. I was told that the Borden government encouraged people who were related to people who served in World War I to wear the medal. I had two grand-uncles, Gordon Gunn and Stewart Gunn, who fought in World War I. I have been very proud to wear this in public since that time.

As a boy, I took an interest in Prime Minister John Diefenbaker during the Cuban missile crisis. We talked about it all the time and I got quite caught up with this. I wrote to Mr. Diefenbaker and told him of my support for him, and it started a fan club in my class on his behalf.

Among other things, I would like to point out to the chamber that on this day, June 10, 1957, John Diefenbaker won his first election as Prime Minister of Canada. That was a great day for ours country.

At the age of 13, I had the privilege of meeting the Right Hon. John Diefenbaker, who asked me if I wanted to become a Conservative MP some day. I said for sure I would.

What I did not know at the time was that since the creation of the Niagara Falls riding, the Liberals had won five straight elections. It came as no surprise to me that years later my teacher, Mrs. Gordon, told me that when she told other teachers I wanted to be a Conservative MP some day, one of them said she should have encouraged me to become the captain of the Zeppelin instead.

In my 24 years in the House of Commons, I have witnessed much, such as the rise and fall of governments, including my own. Regardless of political stripe, the important thing is that our democracy works. There is not another country in the world that does it better than Canada.

At citizenship courts and others, I always say that to be a Canadian means that one has won the lotto of life. That was consistently true in the roles I have had as defence minister, foreign affairs minister and justice minister.

Wherever I went in the world, representatives of other countries were always and completely consistent. They were appreciative of and grateful to Canada.

I remember being in Afghanistan a few years ago, talking with government officials. They wanted to talk about the difference Canada and our allies had made in that country. They told me that in 2006, 75,000 girls went to school in Afghanistan. They pointed to me and said that two million girls now went to school in Afghanistan, that this was the difference Canada and its allies had made. What we heard was so consistent with what we hear wherever we go.

One of the other things that always struck me was Canada's influence. I remember getting off a plane in Ukraine and being asked if I would wear a poppy on my left lapel. This was in March. I said I would. Everywhere I went I could see posters of people wearing poppies. I checked my briefing notes, but I did not see anything on this in particular. When I asked about it, I was told that up to a couple of years ago Ukraine had commemorated its war dead the way the old Soviet Union did, but had decided to do what Canada did, which was to wear a poppy. It is a perfect example of Canada's influence.

I remember getting off the plane in the United Arab Emirates and meeting Prince Abdullah, who was the foreign minister. We made a bit of chit-chat. He told me his son had just completed the Terry Fox run. I asked if he had visited Canada recently, to which he replied no, that the run was in Abu Dhabi, where 20,000 people participated in the Terry Fox run. He said that they got the idea from Canada, to which I replied “I know”.

This is so consistent with what we have heard about Canada. Canada has always been there for the right reasons.

Over the years, I have always emphasized the great opportunities for our country. Sometimes we do not underscore that enough.

I remember, back in 1988, I had a meeting with an American congressman. We were going to have an election later in 1988, and he said to me, “Do you have your money lined up?” I told him that my party had a few dollars in the bank and that we could spend only $50,000, because that was the limit. He said, “Fifty thousand? I don't think I could open an office for $50,000.” I asked him how much he had, and he said, “I am running for re-election as a congressman, and I have $2 million in the bank right now.” I thought to myself, what a wonderful country this is. One does not have to have a couple of million dollars to become a member of Parliament. We do not need that kind of money, and we are not dependent on people for that.

We are truly blessed to live in this country. In the words of Prime Minister Diefenbaker:

I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.

May all of us in this House continue to value those ideas, because that is what makes Canada great.

It was a great opportunity to be elected in 1984, and it was a great day for Canada when Brian Mulroney was elected prime minister. I have had so many amazing experiences that I would need much more time than I have today to recall them all.

I do remember, for instance, that very soon after being elected, Brian Mulroney sent several of us MPs over to Ethiopia and Sudan to observe that aid was getting through to the people of those countries. It was no surprise to me that it was getting through. Canadian aid was being delivered to the people of Sudan and Ethiopia. Again, this is one of the things that are so characteristic of this country.

I was proud to be a member of the government that enacted the acid rain treaty between Canada and the United States and the free trade agreement between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, and I was proud of the fact that Brian Mulroney took such a determined stance against apartheid and was the first western leader to recognize the freedom of Ukraine.

One of the last pieces of legislation to be passed under that government was legislation that made the possession of child pornography illegal in Canada. I am most proud that as a government we stood to protect children from falling prey to this heinous crime.

I also had the honour of serving under Canada's first female prime minister, the Right Hon. Kim Campbell, first as her parliamentary secretary and then later as minister of science and small business.

Serving in the cabinet under the Right Hon. Stephen Harper was one of the great chapters of my life, first of all as his House leader, minister of justice, minister of national defence, and minister of foreign affairs. I thank him, because on the world stage, he stood up consistently for what is right. He stood up for the integrity of our justice system and the rule of law, and for victims of crime. I believe he will go down in history as one of Canada's greatest prime ministers.

During my time as an opposition member these last few years, I was very pleased to have passed my private member's Bill C-233, on Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. One of the most poignant memories I have, after the passing of my friend and colleague Gord Brown, was my initiative to distribute aspirin pill holders in his memory.

I also want to thank the hon. Leader of the Opposition for having placed his confidence in me. I am grateful to have served under him as shadow minister for justice and shadow minister for procurement. I thank him for putting my name forward for the national security committee. Canada is fortunate to have the Leader of the Opposition.

There are many I would be remiss if I did not thank. The countless volunteers who gave up their personal time to elect me are all remarkable Canadians, and I owe them a debt of gratitude. I want to thank all those who worked on my federal campaigns, people like the Lyon, Gibson and Stockton families, and members of my own family who have helped me for over 35 years.

This is also for Maureen Murphy and the outstanding staff I have had the privilege of working with in my ministerial portfolios, on the Hill and in the riding. I cannot name all the people who worked in my Hill and constituency offices, but I will name those who are with me today: Stewart Graham, Tracy Alway, Anna Annunziata, Jenn Stockton, Billy Morrison and Cheri Elliott. I want them to know that it has been an honour to work with them, and a great privilege for me.

To my beautiful wife and partner, Arlene, so often she displayed extraordinary graciousness in not having her husband by her side when duty called. There were many special occasions I was not able to be present at. I often tell people, though, that if a spouse does not completely support them in their candidacy, they should not get into this job, because it is a 24-hour-a-day job. One of the blessings I have had is the unequivocal backing of my wife, and I thank her for her love and support. I am looking forward to being there for my wife and my family. I love Arlene dearly.

To my colleagues in the House and those who work with us, I am grateful. It has been a privilege serving with them, and Canada is a better place because of them.

There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens. Now is my time and season to say farewell to this venerated chamber.

This marks the beginning of a new chapter in my life for Arlene, myself and our three children, Rob, Peter and Christine. I have enjoyed the journey thus far and look forward to what the future holds. I have always been proud to be a loyal subject of Her Majesty the Queen, and I am proud that the people of Niagara Falls have given me the privilege of serving in this place.

I thank everyone for the memories, for they will last long after the goodbyes.