House of Commons Hansard #433 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was debate.

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Video Record of House Proceedings of June 6, 2019—Speaker's RulingPrivilege

10 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I am now prepared to respond to the question of privilege raised on June 11, 2019, by the hon. member for Banff—Airdrie, concerning the broadcasting of the June 6, 2019 sitting.

First and foremost, I want to sincerely thank the member for raising this issue. While the matter can be more closely identified as administrative in nature, rather than a question of privilege, it is nonetheless important.

The ability for the House of Commons to communicate and disseminate its proceedings is essential in order for the public to follow the debates in our Parliament. Members must have confidence in our capacity to make available these debates. This is done, in part at least, through the public broadcasting of the proceedings of the House of Commons and its committees, which offers viewers accurate and complete debates of the House.

In fact, broadcasting of all proceedings of the House dates back to 1977. Since 2003, proceedings have also been available live through ParlVu, a service offered through our website for live and on-demand broadcasting of the proceedings. This latter service allows members to retrieve parts of the audio or televised proceedings through the ParlVu portal.

As the member explained, it is this service portal that is at the core of the issue raised. A review of the events that occurred on June 6 and the following days revealed that there was a technical problem at the opening of that sitting at 10:00 a.m that has a direct impact on the capacity to access some video footage.

Fortunately, I can confirm that the missing portion at the start of the sitting on Thursday, June 6, from 10:00 a.m. up to 10:09:52 a.m., is available through ParlVu, as it should be. I am also pleased that, though part of the video was missing for a short while, the audio, its interpretation and the official debates were at all times at members' disposal and readily available.

The entire incident was certainly unfortunate and unsatisfactory for the member. On behalf of the administration, I apologize for this error. I have been assured that corrective measures are being taken to prevent this from occurring again. I would also like to thank the member for his diligence in pursuing this matter. Social media has become very important for members, particularly in their efforts to communicate information to their constituents.

I thank all hon. members for their attention.

Parliamentary Budget OfficerRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Pursuant to section 79.22 of the Parliament of Canada Act, it is my duty to present to the House a report from the Parliamentary Budget Officer entitled “Closing the Gap: Carbon pricing for the Paris target”.

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's responses to five petitions.

While I am on my feet, I move:

That the House do now proceed to orders of the day.

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

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

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

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

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

All those opposed will please say nay.

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.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 #1354

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:40 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I declare the motion carried.

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.

Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

Bardish Chagger LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

moved:

That, in relation to Bill C-68, An Act to amend the Fisheries Act and other Acts in consequence, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the stage of consideration of the Senate amendments stage of the said bill; and

That, 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders on the day allotted to the consideration of the said stage of the said Bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and, in turn, every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the Bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

10:45 a.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Pursuant to Standing Order 67.1, there will now be a 30-minute question period. I would invite all hon. members who wish to participate in the 30-minute question period to please rise.

Accordingly, I would ask all hon. members to limit their interventions to approximately one minute. That includes the minister responding to the questions. Opposition members are given preference during the 30-minute period, but some questions will be taken from the government side as well.

We will now proceed to questions. The hon. member for Cariboo—Prince George.

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

10:45 a.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, here we have it, time allocation once again being put on a bill by a government that said it would let debate reign.

Could the minister table in the House any evidence where the changes that were made to the Fisheries Act under the previous government resulted in any harmful alteration, destruction or disruption of fish or fish habitat?

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

10:45 a.m.

North Vancouver B.C.

Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson LiberalMinister of Fisheries

Mr. Speaker, the government consulted broadly and widely on this bill. The consensus among all of the folks who made submissions during the consultation was that there was a need to restore protections for fish and fish habitat that were removed when the previous government gutted the bill in 2012. There were extensive discussions in this chamber and in the other place, totalling almost 39 days of debate.

Canadians are expecting us to deliver on what we said in 2015. They are expecting us to restore the protections for fish and fish habitat, and that is exactly what we are doing.

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

10:45 a.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, here we are again. The government is bringing forward closure, effectively to shut down debate. For a government that actually promised that the Liberals would be different from the Harper Conservatives, it has brought in more closure of debates, proportionately, than the Harper government.

How can the government justify this and call it democracy?

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

10:45 a.m.

Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, let me provide a little context for the hon. member. This bill was introduced over a year ago. It went through three days of debate at second reading; eight days of committee debate, including 46 witnesses; four days of debate at report stage; and three days of debate presently. In the other chamber, it was nine days of debate at second reading, 10 days of debate at committee and three days of debate at third reading. In total, this is almost 39 days of debate.

That is a lot of debate and a lot of consideration for a very important bill that we are very proud of.

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

10:45 a.m.

Conservative

Robert Sopuck Conservative Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa, MB

Mr. Speaker, the minister is being very disingenuous here. I sat in on the hearings of Bill C-68. Not a single opponent of what we did in 2012 could prove, in any way, shape or form, that those changes had any effect on fish populations or fish communities. Colleagues can look at the record.

Under our former Conservative government, in 2010, for example, the Pacific salmon run in the Fraser River was a record. In 2014, that run was even higher. Under the Liberal government's watch, Pacific salmon stocks are collapsing and the Chinook salmon stock is the poster boy for that.

Our committee produced a unanimous report on Atlantic salmon, with a number of recommendations. We saw the minister's response. Not a single part of that letter dealt with the 17 unanimous recommendations, such as smallmouth bass in Miramichi Lake, overfishing by Greenland and excessive predation by seals and striped bass. The response did not deal with any of that.

Why is this department so inept and uncaring for fisheries communities and fish stocks?

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

10:50 a.m.

Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, I think the subject of the debate today is Bill C-68, and I would tell my hon. colleague that the department conducted extensive consultations. Over 2,000 Canadians registered online, and over 5,000 filled out questionnaires. There were 170 meetings with indigenous groups, 200 submissions from indigenous people, 208 letters to the minister and many meetings in person. It was virtually unanimous that we needed to restore protections for fish and fish habitat that were taken from the Fisheries Act by the previous government, which gutted the protections for fish and fish habitat.

We are very proud to be delivering on a campaign commitment that is so important to Canadians. We are doing that now.

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

10:50 a.m.

Liberal

Robert-Falcon Ouellette Liberal Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, in the Senate there are a number of bills that are so important, just like this exact bill here, Bill C-68. There are also Bill C-88, Bill C-91, Bill C-92, Bill C-93, Bill C-391, Bill C-374, Bill C-369 and Bill CC-262. All these bills are being delayed by the Senate because they are taking far too long.

I was wondering if the hon. minister could tell us why the Conservative senators are delaying all these bills, delaying us from doing the job that Canadians have sent us here to do. They gave us a mandate in 2015, after a decade of darkness with the Conservatives, to repair the damage they had done to the environment and to indigenous communities and to make sure we get this job done.

Can the hon. minister talk a little bit about that, please?

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

10:50 a.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I would remind our hon. colleague from Winnipeg Centre that the independent senators control the other House. I would challenge—

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

10:50 a.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

We have a maximum of 30 minutes. That comment was mostly to do with debate.

With respect to relevance, this is the second time it has been mentioned, so I ask members to stay on the question before the House.

The hon. Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

10:50 a.m.

Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, certainly Canadians expect that the government will deliver on the campaign commitments it made in 2015. It is important that the Senate debate and discuss bills, but it is also important that the Senate remember that we are the elected chamber. As we move legislation forward, we are, of course, open to amendments from the other House. However, at the end of the day, Canadians are expecting us to deliver on our campaign commitments.

I would also say that it is not simply the Senate that has been trying to delay legislation. With respect to Bill C-68, in the debate that occurred on Tuesday, my hon. colleague from Cariboo—Prince George simply talked out the clock, discussing things that had zero to do with Bill C-68. It is the Conservatives here who are trying to ensure that we do not pass the legislation that Canadians expect.

We are planning to get these things done.

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

10:50 a.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, voters will definitely remember that, in 2015, the Liberals promised that they would do things differently, that they would respect Parliament and the democratic process and that they would not not systematically impose gag orders.

These days, we see that they are imposing even more gag orders than Stephen Harper's Conservatives. To me that is proof that the Liberals are unable to manage the parliamentary process, that they are doing things at the last minute, and that they are panicking and imposing gag orders on all the bills.

What does the parliamentary secretary have to say about that?

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

10:50 a.m.

Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, we have a great deal of respect for the House and the parliamentary process. The things my colleague said are completely false.

We have had an enormous amount of debate on the bill, as I said. Again, I will provide more context for the hon. member. There have been almost 39 days of debate collectively between this chamber and the other House. We heard from 46 witnesses at the House committee and 15 additional witnesses in the other House.

I think most Canadians would expect that we get on with the business of governing, as 39 days is an enormous amount of time. We have listened and we have incorporated many amendments that were suggested, both here and in the other House. Now it is time for us to make sure we deliver on the commitments that we made to Canadians in 2015.

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

10:55 a.m.

Conservative

Mel Arnold Conservative North Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, I sat in on all of the debates in the House and at committee on the House side. Time and time again, there were requests from first nations and from our side for extended consultations and study time, yet the government members at committee shut them down. It is just like the fake consultation they are doing here.

I hope the minister will set aside his talking points and actually speak about what we heard, especially yesterday at committee when we studied the Senate amendments to Bill C-68. We heard that the only people opposed to third party habitat banking were DFO staff, as directed by the fisheries minister.

Why is it that the fisheries minister and his staff are the only ones opposed to the third party habitat banking amendments? Why can the minister not accept that we could create net habitat gains through third party habitat banking? Here he is, trying to shut down debate on it.

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

10:55 a.m.

Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, maybe my hon. colleague was not in the House when I spoke earlier. We said we are very much open to the discussion around third party habitat banking, but of course it draws in provincial jurisdiction, and it would be irresponsible to move forward with a provision that implicates the provinces without having appropriate consultation. We have asked the standing committee of the House to work on this issue, and we will certainly continue to look at it going forward.

However, I would also say that it is a little rich for the folks on the other side of the House to say that we are not consulting sufficiently, nor debating sufficiently. When they gutted the Fisheries Act in 2012, they hid it in an omnibus bill. There was no debate.

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

10:55 a.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Liberal

Sean Fraser LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Mr. Speaker, in Atlantic Canada, the fishery is the lifeblood of rural communities. One of the things that fishermen raised with me from the very first day I was elected was the importance of legislating protection for the owner-operator model. Independent fish harvesters' associations are incensed with the Conservatives' attempt to shut down the debate to delay the implementation of this bill.

I am curious if the hon. minister could explain the importance of the owner-operator model and his commitment to getting this done so we can protect the Atlantic Canadian fishery, once and for all.

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

10:55 a.m.

Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, we are very much committed to the owner-operator model, and that is why there are provisions that enshrine the fleet separation and the owner-operator model in Bill C-68. It is something that has enormous support among fish harvesters in Atlantic Canada, and I think the Conservatives are going to have to explain to the fish harvesters in Atlantic Canada why they are opposed to Bill C-68.

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

10:55 a.m.

Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals are trying to use the Fisheries Act as environmental legislation, when the federal government already has protections established under the Canada Shipping Act and the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. This is the federal government creating legislation with Bill C-68 to interfere with provincial legislation as well as the constitutionally protected private property rights.

Liberals slipped in a section after third reading, so we were unable to debate it in the House. At the Senate committee, testimony from OPG said, “One of the outcomes was that the city of Montreal would have been under a metre more of water if we had not had the ability to store water on the watershed because of flooding in the Great Lakes.”

Furthermore, we would like to know whether the government will try to do through regulation what it cannot do through legislation.

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

10:55 a.m.

Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, simply because there is one piece of environmental legislation, that does not mean that it covers all of the issues that are associated with protecting our environment. This piece of legislation is about protecting fish and fish habitat. That is something that is important to Canadians from coast to coast to coast. It is something that Canadians told us very clearly in 2015 they wanted to see changed, that they wanted to see appropriate protection for fish and fish habitat.

That is exactly what the bill does. We are very proud of this legislation. It has drawn broad support from coast to coast to coast across various groups, and we are delivering on a commitment that we made to Canadians in 2015.

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

10:55 a.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, this debate is about the procedure to which parliamentarians are entitled, and that is to engage in debate in the House. What the government is doing is shutting down debate again. I would surmise that the government will continue with this practice, not only for this bill. I would bet anything that after the debate on this bill, there will be another round of closure yet again.

That is what the government is doing, time and again, bringing in closure to shut down debate. I would love to get into the substance of the bill itself, if we are allowed to actually get into debate without closure.

Will the government commit to that?

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

11 a.m.

Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, let me once again provide some context for the hon. member. The bill was introduced over a year ago. It has gone through 10 days of debate in this chamber and eight days of debate at the standing committee associated with this chamber. In the Senate, there were 12 days of debate and nine days of committee debate. That is 39 days, in total, associated with debate.

After hearing all of the various perspectives, after adjusting the bill and taking account of some of the considerations that were brought forward, Canadians are now expecting us to act.

I would also say that I have enjoyed the very productive and co-operative working relationship with the former fisheries critic from the party opposite with respect to a number of elements of the bill. We are very proud to incorporate Bill S-203 and Bill S-238, relating to cetaceans in captivity and shark finning, to ensure that they are passed through the House and done in a manner that is appropriate. I have been very happy to work with the former fisheries critic from that party.

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

11 a.m.

Conservative

Mel Arnold Conservative North Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would ask the minister to step away from his talking points. He talked about 39 days. Many of those days the committee was studying the bill for only a few hours. We heard time and again from first nations that they wanted to provide briefs. Over $2 million were provided for first nations to provide briefs to the committee on the study of the Fisheries Act back in 2016. However, $1.2 million were paid out for a compilation of the briefs received by the committee after the study date and the committee had made recommendations on the bill, because Liberal members on that committee would not extend the study.

Why is the minister again shutting down debate on an important bill?

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

11 a.m.

Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, as I noted previously, there were several rounds of consultation that included thousands of submissions from Canadians. One of the consultations was through the standing committee, and the standing committee did very good work in that regard. However, an enormous amount of consultation went into this. There were 39 days of debate in committees and the two chambers.

It is entirely rich to hear that from somebody in the party opposite. When the previous Conservative government gutted the Fisheries Act in 2012, it did it through an omnibus bill with no debate. That is unbelievable. There have been 39 days of debate versus no debate.

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

11 a.m.

Liberal

Ken McDonald Liberal Avalon, NL

Mr. Speaker, in 2012, one thing that was entrenched into the so-called changes was something called “self-assessment, that developers and contractors could self-report any damage to fish or fish habitat.

Could the minister talk about how important it is to ensure that it is not left up to people themselves to report doing something wrong? The changes to this bill would change that. To have self-assessment is like putting a fox in charge of the henhouse.

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

11 a.m.

Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, enhancing compliance and enforcement is an important part of the changes in Bill C-68. We are ensuring that we are protecting fish and fish habitat through legislative protection. We are also ensuring that we are providing resources to the department to do effective compliance and monitoring on an ongoing basis. We have made enormous investments in the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in compliance and enforcement, but also in science.

The previous government cut over $100 million from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. We have rebuilt that department. It will be far more effective going forward and it will now have the tools to do the job.

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

11 a.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, both the hon. minister and his hon. colleague from Avalon are being disingenuous in their comments. Time and again in witness testimony, not one witness could provide any examples of where the 2012 changes to the Fisheries Act led to any harmful alteration, disruption or destruction of fish or fish habitat. Standing before the House and Canadians and making disingenuous comments like that is unparliamentary.

I would ask the minister once again to provide one example of where the changes to the Fisheries Act in 2012 resulted in any harmful alteration, disruption or destruction of fish or fish habitat as provided by any witnesses through consultation or committee work.

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, I suggest my hon. colleague read paragraph 91 of the Federal Court judgment that speaks to the issue of fish habitat being at risk.

This government made a commitment to Canadians that we would restore the lost protections, protections that Canadians knew were lost when the previous Conservative government gutted the Fisheries Act. It is incredibly important for all Canadians that we not only protect but rebuild the stock rebuilding provisions within this new act. It will help us to ensure that we rebuild major fish stocks, particularly commercial fish stocks, to ensure the economic prosperity of our coastal communities. Canadians from coast to coast to coast are supportive of this and we would ask that the Conservative members opposite get on board.

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

11:05 a.m.

NDP

Richard Cannings NDP South Okanagan—West Kootenay, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am generally in favour of this bill, as a biologist working in the country for a very long time. The federal Fisheries Act was often held up as only piece of legislation, certainly in British Columbia, that protected wildlife habitat period. It was very much noticed when the previous Conservative government took away much of those habit protection powers.

However, I want to talk about the pattern of the Liberal government to shut down debate on almost everything. I think this is the 70th time we have had a time allocation or a closure motion. We started off today missing Routine Proceedings and going right to orders of the day because the government was afraid of whatever. I had petitions to present and people may have had private members' bills to propose.

I do not know how many times we have gone to orders of the day, but we are supposed to be debating Bill C-88. Instead we are talking about closure and the shutting down of democracy.

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, I simply provide context again. This bill was introduced over a year ago. It went through three days of debate at second reading; eight days of debate at committee, including almost 50 witnesses; and four days of debate at report stage. Now it is going through three days of debate in the House. In the other House, it went through nine days of debate in second reading, 10 days of debate at committee stage and three days of debate at third reading. That is 39 days of debate.

Members on the other side are engaging in filibuster tactics to try to delay legislation before the end of the sitting. We made a commitment to Canadians that this legislation was a priority and that we would ensure we would restore lost habit protections that were gutted under the previous Conservative government. We intend to keep that promise.

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Robert Sopuck Conservative Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa, MB

Mr. Speaker, again, the minister cannot provide a single example of any harm to a fish population from the Fisheries Act of 2012. However, his government caused harm to fisheries.

I remember early in the Liberals' mandate when Denis Coderre, who is a former Liberal member and was then the mayor of Montreal, begged and pleaded when we were in government to allow the dumping of millions of litres of raw sewage. Our Conservative government said no. As soon as the Liberal government came in, it allowed the dumping into the St. Lawrence of millions of litres of raw sewage. Was there a Fisheries Act charge? Absolutely not.

Recently, the Liberals introduced the new marine mammal regulations, which will throttle the economy of Churchill, Manitoba, where whale watching is an integral part of that struggling economy. I have contacted the minister on a number of occasions about this and he simply does not care about communities. He only cares about his cronies in the Liberal Party, who do their best to destroy fish habitat, without him even caring. Why is that?

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, the purpose of the discussion today is to talk about Bill C-68, which would restore protections that were lost when the previous government gutted the bill. If the hon. member went outside of the chamber and had conversations with people out in the communities, he would find that restoring lost protections is very important to Canadians. It is something we certainly intend to do.

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Karen Ludwig Liberal New Brunswick Southwest, NB

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to stand in support of Bill C-68. As the representative for New Brunswick Southwest, I heard throughout the campaign and over the last four years from the Grand Manan Fishermen's Association and the Fundy North Fishermen's Association of the hurt that has happened in our coastal communities without owner-operator legislation.

Could the minister speak to what he has heard and how this will help our coastal communities be more secure and comfortable?

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, certainly the owner-operator provisions of the bill are of great significance to harvesters in eastern Canada. They have made it very clear to us that they believe this is an incredibly important part of strong, robust and prosperous coastal communities. We agree.

It is very important that independent fish harvesters have the protections they need and that we do what we need to do to ensure we enforce those. By putting them into Bill C-68, we are strengthening that. If the hon. members opposite went to Atlantic Canada and had conversations with fish harvesters, they would find there is virtually unanimous support for these provisions.

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

11:10 a.m.

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, what we are debating right now is the procedure being used today to limit debate on Bill C-68, not the substance of the matter.

My colleague repeatedly said that there have been 39 days of debate. He feels that is enough, but his assessment strikes me as subjective because we spend much less time, 10 to 12 days, studying 500-page omnibus bills.

At what point would my colleague, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, say there has been enough debate? Is five days enough? Ten days? Thirty-nine days? Fifty days? I would like an answer to that question because the minister's assessment seems very subjective to me.

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his question.

It is very important that members have an opportunity to discuss and debate important legislation in the chamber and in the other chamber. This has gone through substantial rigorous debate. Many different amendments have been proposed to the bill, both here and in the other chamber. As I said, we have had three days of debate at second reading, eight days of committee hearings, four days of debate at report stage, and three days of debate presently. That is 10 days of debate, and eight days of debate in committee. In the other House, nine days in second reading, 10 committee meetings and three days at third reading. That is a total of 39 days of debate.

It is important we surface issues. We have had all kinds of time to do that. However, Canadians also expect that we are going to act, that we are going to ensure we meet the commitments we made to them in 2015, and we intend to do that.

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Mel Arnold Conservative North Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, again, the minister is misleading the House and misleading Canadians. He claims 39 days, but those days were not full days by any means. Many times, even the debate at the committee stage and even though it was only partial hours, those debates were interrupted by votes in the House, similar to this, where the minister is shutting down debate again.

We have asked the minister multiple times to provide any proof of any harm, alteration or destruction of fish habitat resulting from the 2012 changes to the act, and the government has provided absolutely none. Again, the minister is misleading the House and misleading Canadians by claiming the loss of protection. Those claims are absolutely false. I would ask the minister to apologize, not just to the House but to Canadians, for misleading them with such false information.

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, once again, let me just emphasize how rich it is that the hon. member opposite talks about a lack of debate.

What debate and consultations did the Conservatives engage in when they changed the Fisheries Act in 2012 through an omnibus bill? What consultations did they engage in when they cut $100 million from the operating budget of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, gutting the scientific capacity of the department?

This government is investing in science. This government is investing in the fisheries sustainability, in restoring fish stocks. This government is putting a legislative framework in place to ensure we are protecting fish and fish habitat.

You folks should be ashamed of yourself.

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

I would just remind the hon. minister and other members to direct their comments to the Chair.

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

11:15 a.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals like to think of themselves as different from the Conservatives.

I will concede this point, that much of the legislation and many of the laws that were passed under the Harper government were repulsive. The Harper government did in fact gut environmental laws. There is no question about that.

However, that being said, the Liberal government also promised it would do things differently. The Liberals said that they would not bring in omnibus bills. What have they done? They have brought in omnibus. They said they would not bring in closure. What have they done? They have brought in closure.

If the Liberal government wants to say that it is different from the former Conservative government, will it stop bringing in closure?

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, as I have indicated on a couple of different occasions, the bill has gone through extensive debate, both in this chamber and in the other House.

It went through three days of debate during second reading. It went through eight days of committee meetings, including hearing almost 50 witnesses. It went through four days at report stage. It is going through three days of debate presently. In the other House, it went through nine days of discussions during second reading, 10 committee meetings and three days of discussions during third reading. That is a total of 39 days. This is important.

I would just reflect on the fact that on Tuesday, the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands emphasized how important it was for fish and fish habitat that the bill pass in this session.

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, this is the pot calling the kettle black. It is shameful that the government is bringing out all its Atlantic MPs to stand up for the east coast and for the fisheries out there, when during the corrupt surf clam decision, not one of them said a single word. Not one of them stood up for Grand Bank. Not one of them stood up for our friend Edgar, who was at risk of losing his job. There was not one peep from any of the Atlantic Canada MPs.

I hope that Atlantic Canadians are listening in right now, because the only people who are standing up for them are the Conservatives in the opposition.

I will ask our hon. colleague this question one more time. Can he prove, and table with this House, any examples of where the changes to the 2012 Fisheries Act resulted in any harmful alteration or disruption or destruction of fish or fish habitat?

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for raising the issue of Atlantic Canada. Atlantic Canadians understand that an important fishery is one in which we make investments and one we manage properly. There is enormous support among fish harvesters. I invite the member to go and actually talk to fish harvesters, who are for this legislation, for strengthening owner-operators, for the investments in stock rebuilding and for investments in science. This harvester is no better than anyone else in this country. The devastating cuts to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans that happened under the watch of the members opposite—

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

11:15 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Order. Shouting across the aisle is not permitted. One member has been recognized to speak in the House.

I would ask the hon. Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to wrap up in five or six seconds, and then we will get going with the question.

The hon. minister.

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, Atlantic Canadians know, better than any other folks, how important this legislation is and how important rebuilding the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has been. We expect that they will reflect on that when they make their choice in 2019.

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

I want to compliment hon. members, by the way, for keeping their interventions very succinct. We got in almost 20 questions in a 30-minute round, so that is very good.

It is my duty to interrupt the proceedings at this time 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?

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

11:20 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

11:20 a.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

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

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

11:20 a.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

11:20 a.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

All those opposed will please say nay.

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

11:20 a.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

11:20 a.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 #1355

Fisheries ActGovernment Orders

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I declare the motion carried.

Bill C-100—Time Allocation MotionCanada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

11:55 a.m.

Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

Bardish Chagger LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

moved:

That, in relation to Bill C-100, An Act to implement the Agreement between Canada, the United States of America and the United Mexican States, not more than five further hours shall be allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the Bill; and

That, at the expiry of the five hours provided for the consideration of the second reading stage of the said Bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and in turn, every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the Bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment.

Bill C-100—Time Allocation MotionCanada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

Noon

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Pursuant to Standing Order 67.1, there will now be a 30-minute period for questions.

I invite hon. members who wish to ask questions to rise in their places so the Chair will have some idea of the number of members who wish to participate in this question period.

I would also ask hon. members to keep their interventions to approximately one minute. In this 30-minute question period, questions by members of the opposition are given preference, but the government side may ask a few questions as well.

Bill C-100—Time Allocation MotionCanada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

Noon

Conservative

Dean Allison Conservative Niagara West, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals said they would do things differently, that they would not bring in closure and that they would not rush debate, yet here they are, breaking a promise they made in the last election campaign.

The Liberals indicated to us that they did not want to move too far ahead of the U.S. in terms of ratification, but how are they going to move in tandem with the U.S.? They want to make sure we are lockstep with the Americans, but we have heard on numerous occasions that the Democrats are not really prepared to move this forward.

Do the Liberals plan on bringing the House back this summer in order to ratify this agreement before the next election?

Bill C-100—Time Allocation MotionCanada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

Noon

Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

Bardish Chagger LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, as has been made quite clear, we will be moving in tandem with both the United States and Mexico. They have commenced the ratification process, and that is why it is important that we advance this important legislation to committee so that members can have the opportunity to discuss it.

We have been able to find a good deal that is a win-win-win. We want to ensure that the Canadian economy has certainty, along with our supply chains and businesses.

To directly respond to the member's question, yes, we will do so if necessary. We have limited tools, but recalling the House would be one of them. I have stated on the public record, both within the House and outside, that I would be more than willing to recall the House to ensure that both the Canadian economy and Canadians themselves have certainty, and that we are able to ratify this deal.

Bill C-100—Time Allocation MotionCanada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

Noon

NDP

Tracey Ramsey NDP Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, this is just really incomprehensible at this point. We are talking about the largest trading relationship we have and millions of jobs in our country, but we are not going to be able to have a proper debate on this agreement.

In response to a question I asked one day in the House, the Prime Minister said the bill would have a full debate in the House, yet here we are. The Liberals are using the undemocratic tools of the Harper Conservatives and ramming through legislation.

This piece of legislation, of all pieces of legislation, deserves to have the full amount of time. Rushing this through would not benefit Canadians in any way. The agreement would increase the cost of medication and jeopardize jobs.

Why have the Liberals been so dishonest? Why are they putting working people in jeopardy by ramming through this legislation?

Bill C-100—Time Allocation MotionCanada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

Bardish Chagger Liberal Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to this important legislation, we have actually been able to strike a really good balance that works for Canadian industry sectors and for Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

There is not a single deal that the NDP would ever support, because its members do not believe in free trade, and that is just their position. They say they want to discuss this; the member says she would like to discuss this, but she would rather discuss this legislation at the expense of people directly within her riding.

She says she supports the auto sector. Let us hear some quotes.

David Adams, president of Global Automakers of Canada, said on October 2, 2018 that CUSMA exempts a percentage of eligible auto exports from tariffs, and that it is one of the biggest wins in the new deal.

Flavio Volpe, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association, said that Windsor is perfectly positioned to take advantage of the new agreement. He pointed out that manufacturers now have to source 75% instead of 62.5% of the content in North America, and that that volume will show up undeniably in places like Windsor.

I would hope that the member would support this important legislation and see it go to committee.

Bill C-100—Time Allocation MotionCanada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

12:05 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Mr. Speaker, while Conservatives support stability, let me point out that we have heard the government say before that everything is fine.

The Mexican government met with the Americans to discuss trilateral issues that they originally said were all bilateral. By the time the Liberal government had woken up, smelled the coffee and realized it had been played, it ended up getting handed a NAFTA 0.5, which is this agreement that is now being referred to as CUSMA.

The Government House Leader has said that she heard specifically that the Canadian process will be in tandem with the American process. The Liberal government has been played before. What evidence does the Government House Leader have from either Congress or the administration that the government will not be played again?

Bill C-100—Time Allocation MotionCanada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

Bardish Chagger Liberal Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to the legislation and this deal, we have not been played. The only members playing games are the Conservatives. Their only plan when it comes to trade deals is to capitulate. I would encourage them to find a better plan, because as we saw under 10 years of Stephen Harper, they were not able to get deals signed. The member knows this very well. They were able to get within two inches of the end zone, but they never moved into the end zone, and those points just do not count.

We now have trade deals with every other G7 country, but I will provide the member another assurance. We have always said we will move in tandem with our partners to the extent possible, and Mexico is moving forward. On June 11, 2019, Mexico's Senate held the first of two days of hearings on CUSMA. Senators met again on June 12. The full Mexican Senate is likely to meet on June 17 and 18 to continue the process.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs is in close contact with Mexico and the United States. She spoke with Secretary Pompeo and U.S. trade representative Ambassador Lighthizer yesterday. She spoke with the Mexican foreign minister as well, on June 10.

Our government is working in tandem with others, as I have said. These are some concrete examples that should provide the member with some reassurance.

Bill C-100—Time Allocation MotionCanada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

12:05 p.m.

NDP

Richard Cannings NDP South Okanagan—West Kootenay, BC

Madam Speaker, I am flabbergasted. We have had more than 70 closure debates in the House this Parliament. This is from a government that said using closure and time allocation was not the way to go. It said it would not introduce omnibus bills, and it has done that.

We are supposed to be debating the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act, but it is afternoon now and we have not said a word on it, because we have had a series of closure and time allocation motions. We went to orders of the day and nobody could present petitions. If people had wanted to move private members' motions, they could not have done that either. Now we are shutting down debate on the biggest trade deal Canada has ever contemplated signing.

This is important to Canadians. A big part of the bill would increase drug costs. Yesterday, a report was released noting that we needed universal pharmacare. Bill C-100 would make it more difficult to implement that.

I am wondering why we are hurrying on this very important subject. Why are we sitting here going through time allocation debate after time allocation debate, and not debating the important things Canadians want us to talk about?

Bill C-100—Time Allocation MotionCanada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

Bardish Chagger Liberal Waterloo, ON

Madam Speaker, the CUSMA is excellent for Canadian jobs and for certainty in the Canadian economy. It is important for Canadian workers, consumers and businesses. It safeguards more than $2 billion a day in cross-border trade between Canada and the United States. For the national economic interest, we should move forward on this new deal, because it actually provides certainty to Canadians.

NDP members talk a big game. They talk about their support for workers and their support for the automotive sector. However, they never talk about support for a trade deal. They refuse to accept that Canada is a trading nation. We are huge in terms of our land mass, but we are really small when it comes to our number of people.

The border between Canada and the United States is the longest border between any two countries, and our supply chains work really closely together. To provide the member with some reassurance regarding the legislation, I note it was tabled in December. New Democrats have had more than ample opportunity to look at the wording within the deal. They have refused to do so, because, as they have stated, their position is that they oppose trade.

That is the NDP position, and it will always remain the NDP position. I encourage New Democrats to support Canada's role as a trading nation.

Bill C-100—Time Allocation MotionCanada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

12:10 p.m.

Green

Paul Manly Green Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Madam Speaker, I would love to have more time to debate this trade agreement in Parliament. It is really important to have these discussions so that Canadians can understand the implications of these agreements.

I am glad to see that the investor state dispute settlement portion of this trade agreement has been eliminated. ISDS undermines our sovereignty and democratic authority. Canadians have had trade agreements and foreign investment promotion and protection agreements, like the Canada-China FIPA, foisted upon them. The Stephen Harper government rammed through the FIPA agreement with China and basically turned Canada into a colonial state of China. Canadians need to understand better what investor state means to our democratic authority.

There are things in this agreement that need to be improved. I am opposed to extending patents on pharmaceutical drugs, but we need a more fulsome debate on what investor state dispute settlements mean and how we are going to get rid of these ISDS agreements in our foreign investment promotion and protection agreements and our other free trade agreements. I am glad it is gone from NAFTA. Let us get it out of the rest of them.

Bill C-100—Time Allocation MotionCanada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

Bardish Chagger Liberal Waterloo, ON

Madam Speaker, the discussion does not end here. We are suggesting that this legislation be sent to committee. In committee, members are able to call witnesses and scrutinize legislation better than they can in the House. In the House, only elected members of Parliament can speak. I am sure the member wants to represent his constituents and would agree that there is a lot of intel across this country. That is exactly why we set up a table, with experts and people from different sectors and of different stripes, to support the government and take a team Canada approach. That is why we were able to advance a good bill.

I know the member is new to the House, and I welcome him here, but the ISDS clause costs Canada hundreds of millions of dollars, and that is why it was important to remove that clause.

The member should be pleased to hear that we have an environmental chapter to the trade dispute mechanism within this legislation, which is unheard of, and I hope he recognizes the importance of Canada being a trading nation.

The text of the agreement has been available since November 2018, and the text of the bill has been public since May 29. Everybody has been able to see it, whether they are in the House or not. It has been available to Canadians. Let us move this to committee.

Bill C-100—Time Allocation MotionCanada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

Leona Alleslev Conservative Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill, ON

Madam Speaker, the most important question at this moment is around the exact roles of Parliament and of debate in this House of Commons. It sounds like the government House leader is trying to convince us that because we have known about it, because it was available to the public and because it has been on the table, we in the House of Commons have absolutely no role, so we do not need to have a debate in the House of Commons. That is egregious.

Eighty per cent of Canada's GDP is trade; 70% of that trade is with the United States, and this is the most significant trade agreement we have with the United States. It is not a free trade agreement; it is a managed trade agreement. It is now compromising our sovereignty, and this bill is going to give unlimited access to the Prime Minister to do whatever he wants and further undermine the role and responsibility of this House of Commons.

We are in a majority situation; members do not always have the opportunity to vote the government down, but we do have the opportunity to debate in this House. The more the Liberals constrain us, the more they undermine Parliament and everything about this deal.

Bill C-100—Time Allocation MotionCanada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

Bardish Chagger Liberal Waterloo, ON

Madam Speaker, I have good news for the member. What we are saying today is that we should not only have debate on this legislation but also put it to a vote. After we vote on this legislation, it goes to committee. That is how the process works. Members of Parliament sit on committees. The committee to which we send this legislation will be able to continue studying it.

The member has spoken on numerous occasions about her oath to office and about how her oath is to serve her constituents. The very statistics she just provided are all the more reason this legislation should be sent to committee for study. It should be sent back, and we should be able to advance a trade deal for Canadians. Canada is a trading nation. Rather than talk about it, like the Conservatives are now wanting to do, let us actually act on it. Let us deliver for Canadians, to satisfy that very oath the member took for her constituents: Queen and country, I believe, are the words she repeats.

I will remind everyone that the Conservatives chose not to discuss the legislation during the debate on Tuesday, June 11. The member for Niagara West spoke about the carbon price, Bill C-48 and others, but refused to talk about CUSMA. The member for Calgary Forest Lawn spoke about China and foreign policy rather than about the CUSMA legislation. They have had ample opportunities, but they are trying to stop us from advancing this legislation. That does not sound like a party that supposedly supports Canada being a trading nation.

Bill C-100—Time Allocation MotionCanada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

12:15 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

There are still a lot of individuals who want to ask questions. I will be cutting off the questions and comments as well as the replies at one minute.

Questions and comments, the hon. member for Vaughan—Woodbridge.

Bill C-100—Time Allocation MotionCanada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

Francesco Sorbara Liberal Vaughan—Woodbridge, ON

Madam Speaker, when we started negotiations with our partners in the United States and Mexico, we appointed a panel to provide advice. The panel consisted of former members from all different parties.

We have come to an agreement now with our major trading partners, an agreement which provides certainty. It provides certainty for businesses. It provides certainty for businesses in my riding of Vaughan—Woodbridge, many of which are interconnected with the United States economy. They create and provide jobs for middle-class Canadians in the area that I represent. That certainty is so important. Now that we have reached an agreement, we need to move forward with this agreement. We need to send the bill to committee.

I was wondering if the member for Waterloo can comment on how important it is to provide certainty for Canadian businesses and, more importantly, certainty for Canadian families that are working hard. Everyday middle-class families are working hard, saving for their kids' future. They need to know that the trading relationship is intact.

Bill C-100—Time Allocation MotionCanada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

Bardish Chagger Liberal Waterloo, ON

Madam Speaker, I would like to commend the member for the exceptional work that he does for his constituents.

His question really speaks to his knowledge on this file. It is so important to understand the wording of the text. What we need to do as parliamentarians is to study the legislation, really get to know it, so that we can strengthen it and ensure that we are delivering for the very people that he and every member in the House represent.

Canadians definitely saw how hard it was to negotiate this new agreement and to achieve the lifting of tariffs. This was a task that all of our country was involved in. During that time, unfortunately, many Canadians had real worries about whether they would lose their jobs or not. This legislation provides certainty to those very workers and their families.

Canada did its job. We have a new NAFTA deal, which is a win-win-win outcome. We have a full lift on tariffs. Unions and auto workers support this deal.

It is important that we move this legislation to committee. That is why we need to call it to a vote, but we still have a little bit of—

Bill C-100—Time Allocation MotionCanada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

12:15 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

Questions and comments, the hon. member for Vancouver East.

Bill C-100—Time Allocation MotionCanada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

12:15 p.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Madam Speaker, the government House leader suggests that the NDP does not support trade. That is absolutely incorrect. It is false. We support fair trade. Perhaps that is the point that government members do not get.

The government House leader said that we do not have to have this debate here in this chamber, because it could go to committee. Not all members sit on that committee. A limited number of people can participate at committee. We all deserve to engage in this democratic process, to engage in a debate with respect to this trade deal.

This is the second time just this morning where the government is bringing in closure. For a government that said it would do things differently from the Harper government, how is that going? How is that going with the sunny ways and with the number of closure motions the Liberals have brought in that is proportionately higher than that of the Harper government?

Bill C-100—Time Allocation MotionCanada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bardish Chagger Liberal Waterloo, ON

Madam Speaker, I would not state anything that is actually not valid and does not have facts to support it. When it comes to members of the NDP, I would love for them to name one trade deal that they support. Canada is a trading nation. We have trade deals with every other G7 country and the NDP has not supported a single one. If the NDP members could just name one trade deal that they support, I would be more than willing to change my statement. However, they cannot because they want to talk a good game. They do not want action.

We are saying that we are going to have debate and then we are going to call the question on the legislation. Then it can definitely advance to committee.

We are the government that has actually increased resources to committees. If the member wants to be on that committee, I am sure that she can talk to her House leadership team and be able to participate on that committee. If she has questions, what I often do with questions that I want posed, I actually work with my colleagues on our benches to see if we can get an answer to them. I actually go to ministers directly to see if we can get an answer.

There are different ways to obtain information if members want to. What is clear is that the NDP does not want to and does not want to call it—

Bill C-100—Time Allocation MotionCanada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

As I said, I am giving signals as to when the time is up and I would ask members to respect that so other people can ask questions.

Questions and comments, the hon. member for Prince Albert.

Bill C-100—Time Allocation MotionCanada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.

Conservative

Randy Hoback Conservative Prince Albert, SK

Madam Speaker, the Liberals make things so tough for themselves, it is unreal. The hon. government House leader said it was tabled in the House in December. She could have actually brought the legislation forward in plenty enough time for us to have a good debate here in the House and plenty enough time for the committee to do a thorough review of the bill.

I have two questions for the government House leader. One, will she assure us that if it goes to committee, the committee can hear from as many witnesses and take as much time that it needs to actually go through this legislation? Two, will she also assure us that if any changes in this legislation should happen in the U.S. this summer, the committee will have a chance to look at them before it finally votes on it and bring it back to the House?

Bill C-100—Time Allocation MotionCanada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bardish Chagger Liberal Waterloo, ON

Madam Speaker, I really appreciate that question.

In response, I was reminded by colleagues that when it comes to members of Parliament, as part of the work that we do and the privileges we have, we can actually appear and be part of any committee. I would like to reassure the other member that she is able to participate at committees.

As for the member's question, he was part of the previous government, so I can understand why he is concerned. Stephen Harper used to tell members what to do at committee. The Conservatives had a rule book to shut down committees, so I can understand why he is concerned.

I do not intervene in the committee process. Committees have the resources and they should be able to do the work. It is clear why the Conservatives did not want to debate this legislation earlier this week. The member is already providing excuses that the Conservatives are going to use to ensure that we do not advance it.

Rather than providing excuses, let us work together to find a way forward. We are a government that works on finding solutions. The Conservatives remain a party that works on finding excuses.

Bill C-100—Time Allocation MotionCanada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.

Independent

Tony Clement Independent Parry Sound—Muskoka, ON

Madam Speaker, on the strategy that is being deployed by the government, the government House leader did mention that there have been talks with Mr. Lighthizer and also with Mr. Pompeo. However, all of us in this place and those who are watchers of the American scene know that Speaker Pelosi has a lot to say about this as well.

I want to know whether there have been consultations with the Speaker's office in the House of Representatives in the United States. They are going to be driving whether there is actual passage of the trade deal. Speaker Pelosi and the Democrats have been opposed to the trade deal.

Have there been discussions? Can the government House leader assure the House that there is actually going to be a tandem approach here? In fact, in the U.S. House of Representatives, there is a lot of opposition to this particular trade deal.

Bill C-100—Time Allocation MotionCanada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bardish Chagger Liberal Waterloo, ON

Madam Speaker, I would encourage the hon. member to be careful about what he reads on the Internet, because it does not always turn out to be what he might think it is.

I would like to reassure the member that we are working in tandem with the United States, as well as Mexico. I would like to reassure him that the Minister of Foreign Affairs is definitely working closely with her counterparts. Not only is she having conversations, but we also set up a table to ensure that people from coast to coast to coast, people from all stripes and sectors were part of the team Canada approach to ensure that we had a good deal.

I would encourage the member to be careful about what information he is obtaining. The Minister of Foreign Affairs is always available and will continue to provide reassurance. We will work really hard for Canadians to ensure that we have a good deal, not just any deal like the Conservatives were asking for.

Bill C-100—Time Allocation MotionCanada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

I would remind members that I do have a clock in front of me.

Bill C-100—Time Allocation MotionCanada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

NDP

Tracey Ramsey NDP Essex, ON

Madam Speaker, it is unfortunate that the government House leader does not know what legislation has been passed in this House.

I can reassure her that in this Parliament, and she could go back and look it up for herself, the New Democrats supported the Canada-Ukraine deal and other deals as well. If she would correct her statement, I would appreciate that.

The other thing is the Prime Minister and the minister promised that we would have a full debate, not the closure we are seeing today. Again, Liberals are not being truthful and not just with parliamentarians but with all Canadians.

At the committee on TPP, we had over 400 witnesses. We have two meetings left in this Parliament and we will be lucky to get 16 people through there. This is the most important trade relationship that we have. We cannot afford to have this messed up.

I want to say one other thing about what is happening in the States. This is not moving in tandem. The Democrats have not put this on the floor and will not put it on the floor until the provisions on labour, the environment, the cost of medications and the enforceability are improved. This is something they have done. It is not a Pandora's box. They have a precedent for it under Speaker Pelosi.

The Liberals are not being truthful here today. I want to know why the Liberals have been misleading Canadians and saying that they are allowing debate, when they are shutting it down and there will not be enough witnesses at committee.

Bill C-100—Time Allocation MotionCanada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

I want to remind the member that she cannot say indirectly what she cannot say directly.

Bill C-100—Time Allocation MotionCanada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bardish Chagger Liberal Waterloo, ON

Madam Speaker, we have been very truthful with Canadians, and that is exactly why we had a table set up with people from all sectors, all stripes, experts, economists and the list goes on.

When it comes to the member's comments, I would like to say, the NDP supports trade with Ukraine. The New Democrats supported a trade deal. Canada is a trading nation. I cannot even say how many trade agreements we have. We have at least 75 trade agreements, and the NDP supports one out of 75 trade agreements. We should definitely do the math on that. I guess the NDP now supports trade deals. What those members should—

Bill C-100—Time Allocation MotionCanada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

An hon. member

That's not true. There is more than one.

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12:25 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

Order. I want to remind the member for Essex that she had an opportunity to ask her question without being interrupted, and I would hope she would afford the government House leader that respect as well, even though she may not like the answer.

The hon. government House leader.

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12:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bardish Chagger Liberal Waterloo, ON

Madam Speaker, when it comes to Canada and the United States, as the member knows very well, we have the largest border of any two countries. We have a really important relationship. It is really important to our economy and the workers the member represents and fights for.

The NDP and the Conservatives do not really have a lot of interest when it comes to the actual bill, because not a single Conservative or New Democrat MP showed up to the technical briefing we hosted on June 11. If they have concerns and questions, why did they not show up? Sorry, I would like to correct myself: I think one of the members in the official opposition sent a staff member.

However, what I am saying is that MPs want to debate but MPs are not showing up. Let us call a spade a spade and say that the NDP does not want to see this legislation—

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NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

Questions and comments, the hon. member for Niagara Falls.

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12:25 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Conservative Niagara Falls, ON

Madam Speaker, I have to agree on one point that the Liberals made with respect to the NDP. I do not know if there is any party in any western democracy that has had such a consistent record of opposing trade deals. To be fair, it is not just something recent. This goes back to the 1960s when the NDP did not like the Auto Pact. The NDP did not like the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement. The NDP did not like NAFTA. New Democrats do not like CETA or the TPP. They do not like anything, but to be fair, I guess they have supported one agreement.

At least with the Liberals, they support trade agreements when they are in office, but of course not when they are in opposition like they were in 1988. They were passionately against the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement. They were going to the wall on that one. They were going to challenge it.

That being said, would the hon. member like a list of all the trade deals that the Harper government agreed to and put into effect? It was a considerable record. I appreciate she is not the trade minister or the foreign affairs minister, but if she likes, I will—

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12:25 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

Questions and comments are getting pretty long again.

The hon. government House leader.

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12:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bardish Chagger Liberal Waterloo, ON

Madam Speaker, the member has been here for a long time and I know he will not be running again. I want to commend him on his comments and his knowledge of history. I assure him that when it comes to technology, we can obtain the information he is referring to, and it has definitely been looked at. What we know is that we have a better trade deal than the previous deal the Conservatives were able to sign.

However, former prime minister Mulroney was able to provide us information. The member for Niagara Falls represents a border riding and he knows that trade is important to the business community. We listened to businesses, and they are looking forward to us moving ahead on this legislation.

When it comes to Niagara's trade corridor, it is very dependent on this legislation moving forward, so I appreciate the first half of his comments.

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12:30 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Madam Speaker, the government House leader and member for Waterloo is consistently a strong advocate for her constituents in ensuring hard work is done every day the House sits. I am wondering if she can reflect on how important it is that we continue to work hard for Canadians.

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12:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bardish Chagger Liberal Waterloo, ON

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Winnipeg North not only for the work he does for his constituents but also for his presence within this House and being able to debate on many pieces of legislation.

Members talk about not wanting to debate legislation or not having the opportunity, but oftentimes that very member is up on his feet asking questions to make sure we are having thoughtful debate. He should be commended for the important work he does, and I know that I look to him.

When it comes to working hard, members of the Liberal Party are not strangers to hard work. We know that Canadians from coast to coast to coast work hard every single day. We extended the sittings until midnight to be able to have more debate, which is exactly what members were asking for. Oftentimes members do not want to participate in that debate.

We are the government that is going to take action to ensure we deliver for Canadians. We are a government that is going to ensure that legislation works for Canadians. When it comes to opposition members, they will continue to provide excuses and continue to try to ensure the government is not able to move forward. I encourage them to not play partisan games at the expense of Canadians. This legislation needs to be sent to committee.

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12:30 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

It is my duty to interrupt the proceedings at this time 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?

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12:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

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12:30 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

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

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12:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

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12:30 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

All those opposed will please say nay.

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12:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

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12:30 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

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 #1356

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1:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I declare the motion carried.

(Motion No. 225. On the Order: Private Members' Business)

That, in the opinion of the House: (a) the government should set a goal to prevent and end veteran homelessness in Canada by 2025; (b) a plan to achieve this aim should be developed by the government and be presented to the House by June 2020, led by the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and supported by the Minister of Veterans Affairs; and (c) this plan should include consideration of whether a National Veterans Housing Benefit similar to the highly successful U.S. Housing and Urban Development – Veterans Administration Supportive Housing (HUD VASH) Program would fit the Canadian context, complementing the National Housing Strategy.

Veterans HomelessnessPrivate Members’ Business

1:10 p.m.

Conservative

Karen Vecchio Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order with respect to a tweet claiming that I did not support Motion No. 225 and that I was preventing it in the House, as well as the fact that I voted against it. This claim is categorically false. I want the House to know that I was one of the seconders of the motion and spoke favourably to the proposal.

Further, I would like to seek unanimous consent of the House for the following motion:

That Motion M-225 be deemed adopted.

Veterans HomelessnessPrivate Members’ Business

1:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to move the motion?

Veterans HomelessnessPrivate Members’ Business

1:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Veterans HomelessnessPrivate Members’ Business

1:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Veterans HomelessnessPrivate Members’ Business

1:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Veterans HomelessnessPrivate Members’ Business

1:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

(Motion agreed to)

The House resumed from June 11 consideration of the motion that Bill C-88, An Act to amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, be read the third time and passed, and of the amendment.

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1:15 p.m.

Labrador Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Yvonne Jones LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs and Internal Trade

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise in the House and speak in support of the third reading of Bill C-88. This bill would amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act. These changes have been long awaited by governments, both indigenous and territorial, in the Northwest Territories.

On Monday, we heard colleagues in the House speak to this bill, including the member of Parliament for the Northwest Territories, who worked very closely with indigenous governments, treaty and land claim owners and the Government of the Northwest Territories to ensure that this bill would be in the best interests of the constituents he represents and would meet the standards they have been requesting from the Government of Canada.

I want to applaud the member of Parliament for the Northwest Territories for the great work he has done on Bill C-88 and for ensuring that members in this House on both sides fully understand this bill and the need for the changes being proposed.

Bill C-88 is based on a simple but wise idea, which is that the best way to regulate development along the Mackenzie Valley and in Arctic waters is to balance the interests of industry, the rights of indigenous governments and organizations, and environmental protection. The proposed legislation before us aims to achieve this balance in three ways.

First would be by foster certainty, which is required by industry. As we know, the Northwest Territories is no stranger to industry. It has been home to some of the largest mining developments in Canada and to some substantial energy, oil and gas developments. It is a region of our country that has been very active in engaging with industry.

Second would be by reinstating a mechanism to recognize the rights of indigenous communities to meaningfully influence development decisions. This would allow indigenous communities to have full input, full insight and full decision-making in industry and resource developments that are occurring within their land claim areas. This would allow them to be part of development, to look at the impacts and benefits of development initiatives, and to be true partners in decisions and outcomes.

Third would be by ensuring that scientific evidence on the state of the environment would inform development decisions. The indigenous governments of the Northwest Territories have set up a model that allows them to look at individual projects and their impact on the environment, not just today but for generations to come, and to make decisions based on scientific information. Scientific evidence ensures that decisions are informed, not just from an economic perspective but from an environmental perspective.

As it stands today, the regulatory regime fails to strike this balance. In particular, the regime currently in place fails to provide clarity, predictability for proponents who are investing, and respect for the rights of indigenous communities in that region and in the north. In large part, that is because of the Northwest Territories Devolution Act, which was endorsed by this House in 2015, and which I, too, voted for. However, it was subsequently challenged by a court order, which led the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories to effectively suspend key provisions of the act. This ruling caused uncertainty in the regulatory regime for the Mackenzie Valley, and as many of my colleagues have already stated, that uncertainty has not been good for business.

I voted for the bill in 2015, even though it contained clauses that would eradicate the treaty rights of indigenous people in the Northwest Territories. We knew it was wrong. We fought hard to change the bill. We proposed amendment after amendment, but the Harper government would have none of it. It accepted no amendments to the bill that would ensure the rights of indigenous people.

We were left to make a choice. Do we support the devolution of the Northwest Territories, which needed to happen and was long overdue, or do we not support it because of these clauses? We supported the bill but said that when we formed government, we would reverse the negative legislation in the bill that eradicated the rights of indigenous people and did not uphold the environmental and economic responsibilities that should be upheld in any major development. We made a commitment to the people of the Northwest Territories that when we formed government, we would change the legislation to reflect what they wanted. That is what we are doing today.

Over the last couple of years, we have worked very closely with indigenous governments in the Northwest Territories, its member of Parliament and the Government of the Northwest Territories to get this legislation right and change the injustices caused by the Harper government and imposed on people in the Northwest Territories. Today we are removing them.

We would be allowing companies that want to invest in the Northwest Territories through major resource development projects to have certainty. This would ensure that there would be no unforseen impacts for them and would ensure that they would know the climate in which they are investing and the process expected of them.

We would allow indigenous governments, which have had land claims, treaty rights and self-government agreements for many decades, to take back control of their own lands and to make decisions in the best interests of their people for generations to come, and to do so in a systematic and scientific way that looks at all the impacts and benefits. This would allow these indigenous governments to not only have a choice about whether a project went forward but to have the opportunity to partner with investors and resource development companies. Everyone can benefit when they work together.

That is the kind of relationship we have promoted right across Canada with indigenous groups, territorial and provincial governments, investors, resource development agencies and others.

Today we would legislate the changes we committed to in 2015 regarding the Northwest Territories. We know that the legislation would achieve the balance we are trying to establish in three ways. I have already outlined them in my speech.

I want to take a few minutes to talk about how Bill C-88 would restore certainty in the regulatory regime, which was a key aspect of the Northwest Territories Devolution Act. The act eliminated regional boards mandated to review proposed development projects that were likely to impact the traditional lands of three particular indigenous groups: the Tlicho, the Gwich’in and the Sahtu. Their rights were eradicated, and the impact on their lands and treaty agreements forced on them, by the Harper government.

Today we would be giving the Tlicho, the Gwich’in and the Sahtu the right to make decisions about their own lands. They could look at the impact on their traditional lands, their way of life and their environmental footprint and at how their people can benefit from development projects.

It is just common sense, so why would any government want to take that away from indigenous groups in Canada? We saw only a few years ago that the former Harper government had no shame when removing rights from indigenous groups and indigenous governments. That is exactly what it did to the Tlicho, the Gwich'in and the Sahtu in the Northwest Territories. They had spent years working and negotiating with the federal government and territorial government. Generations of elders never lived to see the day they reached self-government agreements in their own lands.

When they finally did, it was an opportunity for them. That opportunity was eroded by the Harper government overnight with one piece of legislation that said that it would now tell them how they were going to regulate resource development in their traditional lands and in the Northwest Territories.

We made a commitment then that if we ever formed government, we would reverse those changes, and that is exactly what we are doing today. Each of those communities concluded comprehensive land claim agreements. Doing so in this country guaranteed them a role on land and water boards and a mandate to review and make decisions on development projects on or near traditional lands. Parliament reviewed and endorsed each one of these agreements and authorized the establishment of the regional boards.

Bill C-88 proposes to reverse the board restructuring and reintroduce the other provisions that were suspended by the Supreme Court decision. These indigenous groups in the Northwest Territories knew that their rights were violated by the Harper government. They knew that what was happening was the epitome of colonization. That is why they fought in the courts. They went to the Supreme Court to argue their case, to say that they had negotiated these rights, that they were inherent rights, that they had treaty agreements and that no government should have the right to impose upon them the way the former government did.

The Supreme Court decision outlined several things that needed to happen to restore confidence in the regime, particularly among indigenous people and proponents and investors in resource development in the Northwest Territories.

The proposed legislation would build confidence in another way. It would clarify the processes and expectations for all parties involved in the regulatory regime. I happen to live in the north, and I represent a riding that is very engaged in resource development, the mining industry and the energy sector in particular. I also know that with every one of those development projects, there are major investments and major commitments. There is nothing better in moving forward on a project than knowing what all the expectations are of all the parties involved and knowing what the process is and what is expected of companies before they put a shovel in the ground. Those things are important.

The party opposite will say that Liberals are too engaged in regulating, restricting and putting too many demands around the environmental component. However, large-scale industries that care about the people where they want to develop want to do what is right. They want to ensure that their environmental footprint is as small as it can be. They want to have the support of the indigenous people and the communities in which they are investing. They want to have strong partnerships to ensure that their development projects are not interrupted by protests or by unforeseen regulations and can move forward and are sustainable. That is why many of these companies, and many I have known personally over the years, are happy to sign impact benefit agreements.

These companies are happy to work with indigenous governments to hire indigenous workers, to ensure that benefits accrue to their communities and to ensure that environmental concerns that indigenous and non-indigenous people have with development in their areas are going to be listened to and dealt with. These companies want to address those issues up front. They do not want to plow into communities and put pressure on them to do things. They do not want to rule what is going to happen. They want to operate in partnership, too.

It is the party opposite that has the idea that these companies are not interested because they have to follow regulatory regimes or look at what the environmental implications are. Very few companies would take that approach, and I am so proud that in this country there are companies investing heavily in resource development that really care about the footprint they leave behind for the environment and the people who live there. Those are the companies that are successful and that Canadians hold up as examples of how resource development partnerships work with communities and indigenous people in Canada. We should be very proud of that. We should not be trying to change how we do that through legislation and impose regulations on people because we think they should do it this way or that way.

People should understand that in the previous legislation by the Harper government, Conservatives wanted to get rid of the regulatory boards of the Gwich'in, the Sahtu and the other groups in the Northwest Territories. They wanted one megaboard to deal with all these issues. They even hired a consultant by the name of McCrank. When Mr. McCrank testified at committee, I sat in that day. One of the questions asked of him was where he came up with the idea that we should get rid of the regulatory boards in the Northwest Territories, that indigenous groups should no longer have control over what is happening on their own lands, their own regulatory boards or negotiating their own deals, and that we would infringe upon them and implement a super regulatory board in the Northwest Territories for the Mackenzie Valley.

When he was asked where that idea came from, he did not know. He did not know where that idea came from or who suggested it to him, but he wrote it in a report as a strong recommendation, and the Harper government at the time said it would run with it, yet everyone in the Northwest Territories, including the three aboriginal groups and the territorial government, knew this was not the right approach and wanted to stop it. This is what is happening today.

We are restoring confidence to the people in the Northwest Territories. Under this act, we would also make changes to the petroleum regulatory board. A moratorium would be implemented that would allow the reissuing of licences for oil and gas development in the Northwest Territories. This moratorium would be revisited every five years. As we know, there were no new applications for licences, no investment was being made. There was no projection for oil and gas, and there was no body to manage oil and gas development in the Northwest Territories to ensure there would be benefits to that region.

It is not like Atlantic Canada, which has oil and gas agreements that pay royalties to the provinces. There are agreements in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Quebec. When the Northwest Territories asked the former government for that agreement, the answer was no. It did not want to pay royalties to the indigenous groups or the territorial government on oil and gas. We are working with them to get it right, and that is why this bill is important today.

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1:35 p.m.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Madam Speaker, I have a few comments, and then I will have a question.

My first comment is, here we are. Four years ago, the Liberals said they had a problem, and the bill has been sitting in the House for months and months. Finally, with their lack of proper House planning, the Liberals deem it an emergency to get this through. Quite frankly, it has been the inadequate planning of the Liberals' legislative agenda that has created this challenge.

Second, in spite of all the criticisms we might have heard of the former bill, I would like to point out that the Liberals actually voted for it. If they thought it was that bad, they certainly did not exhibit that in their vote.

The third point, which will lead to a question, is this. The Liberals do not talk much about the moratorium built into this in the national interest. The last time they did that, the Premier of the Northwest Territories called it the result of eco-terrorism. The mayor of Tuktoyaktuk had many comments, such as “They shut down our offshore gasification and put a moratorium right across the whole freaking Arctic without even consulting us.”

The Liberals have embedded in this legislation the ability to do that again. How does the parliamentary secretary align that with her talk of consultation?

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1:35 p.m.

Liberal

Yvonne Jones Liberal Labrador, NL

Madam Speaker, first of all, with the legislative agenda, we would not be here doing this today if the member opposite and her government had gotten it right in the first place.

If the Conservatives had listened to the Sahtu, the Gwich'in and other governments of the Northwest Territories at the time, we would not be here today making those amendments. That is the first point.

The Conservatives say that we voted for it in 2015. We voted for the devolution agreement of the Northwest Territories, and these other amendments were tied into the bill, which was eroding the rights of indigenous governments. We had to make a difficult choice, and our choice was to support the bill at the time, which was the devolution of land claims in the Northwest Territories, but with a commitment to the people that we would make these changes and revert the amendments the Harper government made, and that is what we are doing today.

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1:35 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member. I am a great admirer. She clearly stands up for the rights of the people of Labrador, and definitely the indigenous people of Labrador.

I, too, am deeply concerned that it has taken the government so long to bring forward this bill. It was a reprehensible move by the Conservatives in the last Parliament. Indeed, all parties were forced for vote for it, because the Conservatives tied it to the devolution vote. It was reprehensible. My former colleague Dennis Bevington, then the member for Northwest Territories, spoke strongly against this move. It was clearly unconstitutional.

I had the privilege of being the assistant deputy minister for renewable resources in the Yukon, and I played a part in the negotiation of first nations final agreements and self-governance agreements. I was well aware of what was being done to the Tlicho, the Gwich'in and the Dehcho, who finally had final agreements.

If the hon. member and her party are so dedicated to respecting the rights of indigenous people, will she speak up, speak to the senators and tell them to finally bring forward Bill C-262 and finally put in place, as Liberals had promised, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples? Will they finally—

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

I do want to remind members that their interventions are quite long, and there are other people who want to ask questions. Unfortunately, I will have to cut individuals off.

The hon. parliamentary secretary.

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Liberal

Yvonne Jones Liberal Labrador, NL

Madam Speaker, the member spoke about her former colleague and his representation on this issue back in 2015. I remember he was very strong on this issue and advocating for it.

With regard to Bill C-262, like many others in this House, I want to see the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples implemented in Canada. We have supported it. We strongly believe in it. We believe in the fundamental principles of UNDRIP. We believe that it is important in guiding future governments in Canada in how we deal with indigenous people. I, too, would support the member in encouraging the Senate to move forward with its amendments and bring it back to the House of Commons.

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Liberal

Robert-Falcon Ouellette Liberal Winnipeg Centre, MB

Madam Speaker, I wonder if the member knows that in the Conservative-run province of Manitoba, two agreements had been signed with the Métis people for hydro development. Under that government in Manitoba, the Conservatives started cancelling those treaties, I mean agreements. Agreements do sound a lot like treaties. Where is the respect in Manitoba for indigenous rights under a Conservative government?

As we approach the 150th anniversary of the Province of Manitoba, when we say those words at the beginning of every speech, “We are here on the traditional lands of the Métis nation”, we must recognize that this province was founded by the Métis people under their leader Louis Riel.

I would like to quote David Chartrand, president of the Manitoba Metis Federation, who said, “Do you want to get revenge on the Métis people?”

I would like to ask the parliamentary secretary, should we be respecting indigenous rights right across this country, not only by Liberal or NDP governments but also by Conservative governments?

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Liberal

Yvonne Jones Liberal Labrador, NL

Madam Speaker, we can only hope that one day Conservatives will see that indigenous rights are in the best interests of all people who live in this country.

For many generations, we have seen the violation of indigenous rights, of well-constituted treaties and agreements that have never been followed and implemented. As a government, we have taken a different decision. We have worked closely with indigenous governments, with provinces and territories to do what is in the best interests, in the right interests, of indigenous people in Canada.

It is unfortunate to see what is happening in Manitoba. It is unfortunate to see what is happening in Ontario, with funding being cut to indigenous groups and organizations. We sit in a Parliament today where the Harper government for 10 years did not invest in indigenous people and communities in this country. In the four years we have been here, we have invested more than $17 billion in additional revenue into indigenous governments and communities in Canada.

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

I do want to remind members to stop heckling. There are opportunities for questions and comments.

The hon. member for Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa.

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Conservative

Robert Sopuck Conservative Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa, MB

Madam Speaker, I would remind the member opposite that this was a great concern of John Diefenbaker, who gave indigenous people the vote. Most of the ugly residential school experiences were under the Liberal government of Mackenzie King. Let us not point fingers when it is not required.

I should also make a point for my colleague from Manitoba. The agreement he referred to was by Manitoba Hydro, not by the Manitoba government.

The crocodile tears of all the members opposite crying for indigenous people are truly sickening. All they talk about is process, process, process. There has not been a single major development in this country that has helped aboriginal people, ever.

I am going to make a prediction right now. If all the socio-economic indicators of indigenous communities were measured when the Liberal government took office and when it is going to leave office on October 21, I absolutely guarantee that not a single socio-economic indicator will have improved.

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Liberal

Yvonne Jones Liberal Labrador, NL

Madam Speaker, I do not think there was a question there, but I would certainly like to respond to the member's comments. If he wants to talk about the colonization of indigenous people in Canada over the generations, there is enough blame to go around for everyone in this country, whether Conservative, NDP, Green or Liberal.

I really believe that reconciliation is about finding a new path forward. It is about working together to ensure that indigenous people in Canada have their proper place and the ability to have some control and say about the traditional lands which they founded and formed. As hard as it may be to swallow, it is the right thing to do. I would suggest that the Conservatives get on board and make reconciliation real in Canada for all Canadians.

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Madam Speaker, what is sad is that the term “reconciliation” has become a buzzword under the government. I take this to heart.

Many members know I have stood in the House, time and again, and have said that my wife and children are first nations. It is troubling for me when some members stand in the House, put their hands on their hearts and say that it is in the best interests of reconciliation, not just with respect to Bill C-88 but also Bills C-69, C-48, C-68 as well as the surf clam scam that took place earlier in this session.

The only part I will agree with in the hon. parliamentary secretary's intervention was when at she said there was enough blame to go around. Nobody should be pointing fingers, saying one group is better than another group. Reconciliation is about creating a path forward. It is not about pitting a first nation against a first nation or a first nation against a non-first nation. It is about how we walk together moving forward.

What I am about to say is not related to all members on both sides of the House. Some members truly understand this. However, time and again some Liberals will stand in the House and say that they support reconciliation or that this is all about reconciliation. Then a heavy-handed policy comes down or words are said, which we call “bozo eruptions”, and there is regret afterward.

I will go back to how we started the spring session. The first female indigenous Attorney General in our country spoke truth to power, and we saw what happened to her.

Bill C-88 is interesting, because it looks to reverse the incredible work our previous government did in putting together Bill C-15.

I will read a quote from our hon. colleague across the way when she voted for Bill C-15. She stated:

As Liberals, we want to see the Northwest Territories have the kind of independence it has sought. We want it to have the ability to make decisions regarding the environment, resource development, business management, growth, and opportunity, which arise within their own lands.

The parliamentary secretary has offered a lot of excuses today as to why she voted for it, such as she was tricked or voted for it for a specific reason. It is easy for members to stand after the fact and say, “I could have, would have, should have” or “This is the reason; my arm was twisted.” However, if we do not stand for something, we will fall for anything. That is what we have seen with the government taking up the eco-warrior agenda to pay back for the 2015 election. That is why we have Bills C-68, C-69, C-48 and C-88.

The parliamentary secretary wants to talk about how Bill C-88 would empower our first nations. Let me offer the House a few quotes.

Mr. Merven Gruben, the mayor of the Hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk, stated:

Tuk has long been an oil and gas town. Since the first oil boom, or the whalers hunting whales in the late 1800 and early 1900s, we have grown up side by side with industry. We have not had any bad environmental effects from the oil and gas work in our region, and we have benefited from the jobs, training and business opportunities that have been available when the industry has worked in Tuk and throughout the north, the entire region.

Never in 100-plus years has the economy of our region, and the whole north, looked so bleak for the oil and gas industry, and for economic development, generally. All the tree huggers and green people are happy, but come and take a look. Come and see what you're doing to our people. The government has turned our region into a social assistance state. We are Inuvialuit who are proud people and who like to work and look after ourselves, not depend on welfare.

I thank God we worked very closely with the Harper government and had the all-weather highway built into Tuk. It opened in November 2017, if some of you haven't heard, and now we are learning to work with tourism. We all know that's not the money and work that we were used to in the oil and gas days that we liked.

He further states:

Nobody's going to be going up and doing any exploration or work up there.

We were really looking forward to this. There was a $1.2-billion deal here that Imperial Oil and BP did not that far out of Tuk, and we were looking forward to them exploring that and possibly drilling, because we have the all-weather highway there. What better place to be located?

The Hon. Bob McLeod, the premier from the Northwest Territories, said that the moratorium was “result of eco-colonialism”.

I speak of the moratorium. The Liberals want to talk about all the work they are doing in standing up for the north and the indigenous peoples in the north. It was just before Christmas when Prime Minister travelled to Washington, D.C. to make the announcement with the then United State President, Barack Obama. There had been zero consultation with northerners, despite consistent rhetoric about consulting with Canada's indigenous peoples. Prior to decision making, the resolution was made unilaterally from the Prime Minister's Office.

The indigenous peoples and the people from the Northwest Territories had about an hour's notice with that. Wally Schumann, the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Investment, Minister of Infrastructure for the Northwest Territories, stated:

I guess we can be very frank because we're in front of the committee. When it first came out, we never got very much notice on the whole issue of the moratorium and the potential that was in the Beaufort Sea. There were millions and millions, if not billions, of dollars in bid deposits and land leases up there. That took away any hope we had of developing the Beaufort Sea.

Merven Gruben said:

I agree the Liberals should be helping us. They shut down our offshore gasification and put a moratorium right across the whole freaking Arctic without even consulting us. They never said a word...

Our hon. colleague, the parliamentary secretary, in response and to pre-empt my speech, called us the government on the other side. We are the government in waiting. We will be government in October. She said that the guys across the way would criticize the Liberals for caring too much about the environment. That is incorrect. We criticize them because they put the priorities of the environmental groups like Tides, World Wildlife Fund and like Greenpeace ahead of the local stakeholder, the indigenous peoples who are saying that they are tired of being poster boys for these eco-groups.

If my colleagues do not believe me, I will read some quotes.

Calvin Helin, chair of Eagle Spirit Chiefs Council, said “What the chiefs are starting to see a lot now is that there is a lot of underhanded tactics and where certain people are paid in communities and they are used as spokespersons.” He also said, “Essentially (they are) puppets and props for environmental groups to kill resource development” and “It’s outrageous and people should be upset about that…the chiefs are....”

Also, Stephen Buffalo, president and CO of the Indian Resource Council said, “Since his government was elected in 2015, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has repeatedly—

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

I remind the member for Cariboo—Prince George, and this is the second time, that he is not to mention the names of any ministers or MPs who sit in the House.

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

I am aware of what was said and I ruled. I ask members to be very patient.

The hon. member Cariboo—Prince George,

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Madam Speaker, I am merely reading a quote from a concerned indigenous leader, who the Liberals say stand up for. Clearly they do not, which is probably why they take offence.

Stephen Buffalo, president and CEO of the Indian Resource Council, said:

Since his government was elected in 2015, [the] Prime Minister...has repeatedly spoken about his personal commitment to a new relationship with Indigenous people in Canada. In action, however, he has clearly privileged those Indigenous peoples, our friends and relatives, whose perspective aligns with the more radical environmental movement.

Stephen Buffalo also said:

When pipeline opponents use the courts to slow or stop pipelines, they undermine our businesses, eliminate jobs in our communities and reduce the amount of money flowing to our governments.

Why do I bring that up? Over the last four years, time and again the Liberals have stood and have said that only they no better. They point fingers and say that a certain government did this or that and that they know the NDP will not do this. The Liberals had four years, and Canadians are now learning that it was all just talk; all show, no go.

Bill C-88 is nothing more than an all talk, all show and no go type of bill. It is shameful to have bills such as Bill C-69, Bill C-48 and Bill C-88.

Bill C-88 would give the minister the authority to shut down the north and essentially turn it into a park, taking away any economic opportunity for indigenous peoples and those who live there. That is the worry.

Members can sit here and listen to all the talking points of the Liberals, but the reality is that they are being disingenuous. They will stand here, as I said earlier, with their hands on their hearts and say that it is all about reconciliation. We know that it is the opposite because they have proven it time and again.

In the 2015 election, on day 10, the member for Papineau, who is now the Prime Minister, told Canadians that he would not resort to such parliamentary tricks as omnibus bills. He told Canadians that he would balance the budget by 2019. He also told Canadians that he would let the debate reign. What did he mean? It means that he would not invoke closure or time allocation on bills.

I remind those in the House, in the gallery as well as those listening that this is your House. You have elected the 338 members of Parliament to be your voice. When the government invokes closure, it silences your voice. It is silencing the electors who elected the opposition.

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

The hon. member knows that he is to address his questions and comments directly to the Chair, not to individuals in the House or in the gallery.

Unfortunately, I need to cut him off now. The member will have five minutes remaining after question period when this is back before the House.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Pauzé Bloc Repentigny, QC

Madam Speaker, the furor over environmental assessments of federal projects reflects a classic Canadian divide.

On the one side are six provincial premiers who are opposed to the Liberals' Bill C-69 because they believe it does not sufficiently take the financial aspect into account. They want free rein to impose pipelines. On the other side is Quebec, which is also opposed to Bill C-69, but only because it gives too much power to Ottawa and its subpar environmental standards. Quebec wants its own laws to apply on its own territory. Caught in the middle is Ottawa, which has introduced a bill no one wants. It is the classic Canadian quandary.

We in the Bloc Québécois support Quebec. Quebeckers are the ones who should be deciding which projects to approve or deny based on our own laws. That is why we voted against Bill C-69. We are going to also vote against the Conservatives' amendments, but that is because their amendments have just one goal, which is to ram pipelines down our throats without any possibility of a challenge.

Bill PatchettStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Kim Rudd Liberal Northumberland—Peterborough South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to acknowledge the recent passing of Rotarian Bill Patchett, a tireless and compassionate philanthropist and humanitarian in my riding of Northumberland—Peterborough South.

Bill's was a life that touched so many in ways both big and small. He helped to raise millions of dollars locally, provincially, nationally and internationally for a wide variety of causes. Bill was a true self-made man, from hardscrabble beginnings to greatness. He never forgot what it means to struggle, what it means to feel vulnerable, what it means to go without. He channelled early adversity into incredible personal success. In doing so, he brought those gifts we take from the hard times to good times and used them to help every day in any way he could.

I would not be here today without the support of Bill and his loving wife Delphine. I wish words could accurately describe the positive impact Bill Patchett made on this world. We are all humbled by his legacy. Again, I can only say thanks.

Hunsdeep RangarStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Saroya Conservative Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, last Friday, I lost a great friend. Hunsdeep Rangar was a friend to many of us here in this place and his recent and sudden passing touches so many in the greater Ottawa region.

Huns was a champion of the South Asian community and the primary organizer of Ottawa's annual South Asian Fest. Huns was also a businessman, a public servant and the host of Mirch Masala Mix and Bhangra Nation on CHIN 97.9 FM. He had a deep passion for sharing South Asian culture and was always looking for new ways to put Ottawa on the map, but most importantly, he was a devoted husband to his wife Oshima and the very proud father of their daughter Neela. Huns also leaves behind his brother Bundeep and his mother Vinnie, who I know miss him very much.

Huns always had a big smile on his face and made time for everyone. Huns was a great friend to all of us and will be greatly missed.

ScienceStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Geng Tan Liberal Don Valley North, ON

Mr. Speaker, science matters. It improves our lives, including how we live, travel and communicate around the world.

Since 2015, evidence-based decision-making has helped to create over one million new jobs and to raise thousands of children and families into the middle class. Now that is real change. Canada's improved status has attracted many world-class researchers to work with us on some of the most pressing challenges facing society, such as climate change and mental health, at a time when many countries are turning inward.

I am optimistic about our future as a country. While there is still much work to be done, it is clear that our science-based plan for Canada is working.

Gender EqualityStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, we have an obligation to advance gender equality here and throughout the world in our policies and commitments to sustainable development goals, and it starts with ensuring absolute sovereignty over our own bodies.

Contraception is power. There is no country that has achieved economic empowerment without recognizing family planning and a woman's empowerment as an effective tool. Gender rights and women's rights are human rights. This simple fact challenges the power of the patriarchy and its concentration of capital in the hands of white male one percenters. This is the reason we are seeing a bolder, more blatant attack on women and the LGBTQ2S community in the public sphere. It is all about power. New Democrats challenge that construct. We understand that fostering inclusivity and equality benefits everyone.

Over the next few weeks, the NDP will be rolling out its progressive platform. Look for it, because that is where we will see real change. Members can count on it.

Northern Economic DevelopmentStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Michael McLeod Liberal Northwest Territories, NT

Mr. Speaker, the expansion of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency is yielding great results. We not only made CanNor funding ongoing for the first time, but we also increased it.

I cannot talk fast enough today to list all of the investments, but I can name a few. There are millions for our tourism industry for marketing support to Northwest Territories Tourism, to more specific funding for our amazing Snowking, boosting arts and crafts in Inuvik, the pavilion in Hay River, campground investments in Tulita and Wrigley, and support for Ulukhaktok to help provide services to cruise ship tourists. The investments include $2.7 million to the Government of Northwest Territories for advance work on the Slave Geological road. There is Canada 150 funding of over $2 million for much-needed improvements to the Girl Guides camp, the Deline cultural centre, and the trail system in Fort Smith.

Support for CanNor is support for northern economic development. It is great to see the support that this side of the House has for economic development in the north.

Government PoliciesStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Matt Jeneroux Conservative Edmonton Riverbend, AB

Mr. Speaker, as shadow minister for infrastructure, I have been travelling across the country. I recently visited the ridings of Malpeque, Charlottetown, South Shore—St. Margarets, Halifax and St. John's East. Many people have told me how much Canada needs a Conservative government. They are not happy with how the current government and its MPs have performed and the many 2015 campaign promises they have broken. People are seeing delays in getting infrastructure built. They are seeing less money in their pockets at the end of the month, and their government representatives are missing in action. Actually, a number of them told me how their member of Parliament will not even return their phone calls.

A lot of the people I spoke with are excited for the Conservatives' vision for Canada, which includes working with local communities to develop infrastructure programs that give them more autonomy. Under a Conservative government, east coasters and all Canadians will finally see their priorities reflected in their government because the current government is not as advertised.

2019 General ElectionStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Rémi Massé Liberal Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, QC

Mr. Speaker, people back home remember what 10 years under the Harper government looked like. Those 10 years were marked by cuts and the muzzling of scientists. Just ask anyone at the Maurice Lamontagne Institute.

A fundamental shift occurred in 2015, a 180-degree turn. Now the government is investing in my region and in our people, including our seniors. We introduced the Canada child benefit, which is giving families in my region $3.8 million every month and is helping 11,880 children. Some 75 projects have been created through the new horizons for seniors program, representing a $1.3-million direct investment in my riding. Consider the hundreds of students who found work through the Canada summer jobs program, representing a $3-million investment in my riding. Finally, 220 federal jobs were created, generating $11 million in salaries to contribute to my region's economic development. A total of $160 million has been invested in my region.

Just imagine another four years like that.

Kanata—CarletonStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Karen McCrimmon Liberal Kanata—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to recognize the extraordinary people of my riding. We are blessed in so many ways.

Kanata—Carleton is the ideal place to start up a tech business, because it is home to Canada's largest technology park and business is booming. Despite some challenges from Mother Nature, the agricultural sector of my riding is also growing.

We have had our challenges: three natural disasters in three years. However, without any hesitation, people from one end of the riding to the other rushed in to help. The wonderful volunteer leaders at West Carleton Disaster Relief helped coordinate it all. They worked with the city, first responders, NGOs, the Canadian Armed Forces and thousands of volunteers who came out to help. They set an incredible example for our community, which is what leaders do.

I thank the people of Kanata—Carleton for being such an inspiring example of community. I am so proud to represent them.

Excellence AwardsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Jamie Schmale Conservative Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate Lindsay native and St. Louis Blues defenceman Vince Dunn on winning the Stanley Cup last night. It was a remarkable ending to a season that certainly had its share of bumps for the 22-year-old and his teammates.

In the spirit of recognizing organizations and individuals who improve our community, the Lindsay and District Chamber of Commerce recently held its annual Evening of Excellence. I would like to congratulate all award nominees and recipients including: Kawartha Care Wellness Centre for marketing excellence; Integrated Care Pharmacy for health and wellness excellence; BTW Electronic Parts for youth excellence; PKA SoftTouch for innovation excellence; Fresh Fuell for customer service excellence; Horizons Family Dentistry for design excellence; and Soroptimist International of Kawartha Lakes for not-for-profit excellence. Employer of the year went to WARDS Lawyers. New business of the year went to The Lindsay Advocate. Don Brown was named business leader of the year. This year's coveted citizen of the year award went to Claus Reuter.

Finally, I extend a special thanks to all the sponsors, staff, board of directors, president Bob Armstrong and executive director Colleen Collins for organizing the spectacular event.

Excellence AwardsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

The hon. Minister of Veterans Affairs was hoping I would cut off the hon. member when he was talking about the St. Louis Blues' victory. While that might appeal to us Bruins fans, I think it is important to recognize the outstanding job the St. Louis Blues did and congratulate the players on their victory, as painful as that is.

The hon. member for Fredericton.

Stanley Cup WinnersStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Matt DeCourcey Liberal Fredericton, NB

Mr. Speaker, congratulations go to Fredericton's own Jake Allen, who hoisted the Stanley Cup last night in a decisive game seven victory over our Boston Bruins.

Jake is the first Frederictonian since Danny Grant in 1968 to win hockey's holy grail. In fact, on the heels of Willie O'Ree's induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame, it has been a pretty good 12 months for NHL fans and our stars in Fredericton.

I am sure that Jake's biggest fan, Brad Pond, is sitting at home already planning the parade for when the Stanley Cup comes to town this summer. Like Brad, all of Fredericton was filled with pride as Jake lifted the cup over his head last night. I am sure that his great-grandfather Wilfred, a childhood buddy of mine, is looking down from above, smiling.

I hope Jake will enjoy the celebration with his teammates. We look forward to seeing him, Shannon and the two girls in Freddy Beach this summer where we can all have a sip out of Lord Stanley's mug.

Mississauga—LakeshoreStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Sven Spengemann Liberal Mississauga—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, grassroots organizations and passionate residents are at the core of what makes Mississauga—Lakeshore a great place to live, work and play. From the Mississauga Waterfront Festival to the Paint the Town Red Canada Day parade and the Southside Shuffle, the champions behind our events are true community builders.

I would also like to thank members of our community who came together to tackle plastics pollution. The Prime Minister's recent announcement on single-use plastics is supported by the advocacy of people in my riding and across Canada who saw a pressing challenge and decided to be part of the solution.

In their efforts to build a more inclusive community in Mississauga—Lakeshore, local leaders also came together to found the Rainbow Sauga Alliance to create LGBTQ2+ safe spaces. This past weekend, they hosted the first Pride flag raising at Mississauga's city hall.

To all those who work tirelessly to make our community even stronger and more inclusive, I offer my sincere thanks. Mississauga—Lakeshore is indeed a better place because of their commitment and hard work.

SeniorsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Alice Wong Conservative Richmond Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Seniors from all walks of life across gender, culture and socio-economic status are vulnerable to elder abuse: physical, financial, sexual or emotional. These crimes result in distress and harm to the victims, who need to be protected. That is why the last Conservative government passed the Victims Bill of Rights and included age as an aggravating factor for sentencing. I am so proud that my motion to combat seniors fraud passed in the House recently.

Conservatives created the position of minister for seniors. The Liberals cut it. It took them more than three years to appoint one. When it comes to caring for seniors, the Liberals are not as advertised.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Rachel Bendayan Liberal Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, the disastrous effects of climate change demand immediate action. This is our generation's biggest challenge. My constituents in Outremont and Mile-End feel the same. I have listened to them and we responded. Our government just strengthened our plan for the environment.

We are banning single-use plastics in two years, including plastic cutlery and plastic food wrapping. Eighty-seven per cent of these plastics are not being recycled. They are instead found in our lakes, in our rivers and in our parks.

I know some think this is a very bold measure, but we need to be bold. It is our responsibility in this House to consider the future of our country and to protect the planet for our children and our grandchildren.

Cowichan—Malahat—LangfordStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Mr. Speaker, the 42nd Parliament is drawing to a close and we shall soon vacate the nation's capital for some much-needed time with our families, our constituents and our communities. I want to wish all of my colleagues a safe and happy summer.

It has been an incredible privilege to be a member of Parliament and represent the area in which I grew up. This House is a special place, with every seat here representing a distinct and unique part of this great country.

This job is certainly unlike any other, but it has never been about me. It has always been and will continue to be about the amazing communities and people I represent on the spectacular and beautiful Vancouver Island. They are the reasons I am here and they are the ones who continue to inspire and push me to be better. I look forward to reuniting with them in the weeks and months ahead.

Carbon PricingStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Mr. Speaker, throughout this past winter a record number of my constituents shared their home heating bills with me.

They did this because in British Columbia, which has signed on to the Liberals' pan-Canadian agreement to raise carbon taxes, the price of the carbon tax can be higher than the commodity cost of the gas. For an 87-year-old senior on a fixed income, a $150 monthly power bill hits hard.

Today we learn from the Parliamentary Budget Officer that the Liberals' carbon tax is a total failure. It will not meet the Paris targets the government likes to boast about. We are told the carbon tax will need to be massively increased. lt will literally need to be five times higher.

I have constituents who cannot afford the current carbon tax. A massive carbon tax increase will cause serious hardship. I implore the Liberals to come clean and tell Canadians how much more carbon tax they will impose if re-elected. Canadians have a right to know.

York CentreStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Levitt Liberal York Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to highlight some of the work over the past four years that has improved the lives of my constituents in York Centre.

Each year we have created hundreds of summer jobs for youth, including for those most at risk of gun and gang violence. Through the Canada child benefit, we have lifted record numbers of families and children out of poverty. We have invested in the TTC and opened two new subway stations in my riding alone. We have addressed affordable housing for seniors and families through investments in Toronto community housing. We have made investments in vital projects like the North York Women's Shelter, brought our community's voice back to Downsview Park, supported the new Centennial College aerospace campus, and quadrupled security infrastructure grants at synagogues, schools and community centres. We have recognized and celebrated our community through Jewish, Italian, Filipino and Latin American heritage months.

Let me close with words that will resonate across this chamber and across the country: “Let's go Raptors. We The North.”

Carbon PricingOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, we now know the Liberal carbon tax is so ineffective that it would have to rise by 400%, or double what the Liberals have publicly projected, in order to do what it promises. That is according to the Parliamentary Budget Officer. That would mean a painful 25¢ a litre of new tax on gas.

Will the government come clean before the election, and admit that it is indeed planning a 25¢ a litre tax on gas?

Carbon PricingOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Ottawa Centre Ontario

Liberal

Catherine McKenna LiberalMinister of Environment and Climate Change

Mr. Speaker, once again, the party opposite continues to mislead Canadians. I want to know if the member opposite cashed his climate active incentive rebate of $307. That is for a family of four; he may only have a family of three.

We need to take serious action on climate change. It is not, as Jason Kenney says, the flavour of the month. We have Doug Ford cutting flood management and forest fire management programs during floods and forest fires. We have the Leader of the Opposition, who seems to doubt the link between climate change and extreme weather. He wants to make it free to pollute, and Doug—

Carbon PricingOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

The hon. member for Carleton.

Carbon PricingOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister is doing exactly what she said she would do. She will just repeat and repeat something, even if it is not true, so people will totally believe it.

The facts are out. The Parliamentary Budget Officer says the carbon tax would have to be 400% higher than the Liberals have admitted. The reality is that would mean a painful 25¢ a litre tax on gas.

I am asking a simple yes or no question. Are the Liberals planning a painful 25¢ a litre tax on gas?

Carbon PricingOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa Centre Ontario

Liberal

Catherine McKenna LiberalMinister of Environment and Climate Change

Mr. Speaker, the answer is no, and the member is misleading Canadians.

Carbon PricingOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, it comes directly out of the Parliamentary Budget Officer's report. If we simply take his numbers, we arrive at a 25¢ a litre tax on gas. That is the plan, as the Parliamentary Budget Officer has laid it out, and it works out to $1,000 for an Ontario family, far more than the tiny, smaller than advertised rebate cheques that the Liberals sent out prior to the election.

If the minister wants to deny it, why does she not just tell us how much the price of gas will go up when the carbon tax applies at $100 a tonne?

Carbon PricingOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa Centre Ontario

Liberal

Catherine McKenna LiberalMinister of Environment and Climate Change

Mr. Speaker, let me set it out plainly for the member opposite. I hope he will listen. We are taking ambitious action on climate change in everything from pricing pollution to phasing out renewables. We are also taking other measures that are not reflected in the Parliamentary Budget Office report, from phasing out plastic and tackling plastic pollution to the incentives for electric vehicles that we just announced, and from doubling nature to planting trees.

We are committed to meeting our international obligations and doing more, but what Canadians want to know is whether the party opposite understands we have a climate emergency that we need to be taking—

Carbon PricingOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Order.

The hon. member for Louis-Saint-Laurent.

Carbon PricingOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, the cat is out of the bag. Yesterday, once again, the Prime Minister stood in his place and misled Canadians, saying that he would meet the Paris targets. That is not true.

The Parliamentary Budget Officer concluded today that Canada will not meet those targets and, worse still, that the Liberals will have to raise their Liberal tax from $20 to $100 if they want to meet those targets. That is five times higher than the current Liberal tax.

Can the Minister of Environment tell us how much Canadians will have to pay with the Liberal carbon tax?

Carbon PricingOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa Centre Ontario

Liberal

Catherine McKenna LiberalMinister of Environment and Climate Change

Mr. Speaker, that member should be ashamed of his comments, given that he is from Quebec, where there is a price on pollution that works. What is happening in Quebec? Quebec is reducing its greenhouse gas emissions and growing its economy. It has the largest clean technology sector in the country.

I hope the member opposite will step up, as Quebeckers want, and present an ambitious climate action plan to meet our targets.

Carbon PricingOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased and honoured to stand in the House with a document prepared by the Quebec ministry of the environment, which indicates that between 2014 and 2016 the carbon exchange did not lead to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. I cannot say in the House that the minister lied, but she did not tell the truth.

I have a simple question for the minister: how much more will Canadians have to pay for gas?

Will gas go up by 25¢ per litre, yes or no?

Carbon PricingOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa Centre Ontario

Liberal

Catherine McKenna LiberalMinister of Environment and Climate Change

Mr. Speaker, I am surprised to hear the opposition member's comments.

Is he telling Quebeckers that he no longer supports Quebec's carbon exchange? Is the opposition member saying that Quebec should not put a price on pollution? Does the opposition member believe that we cannot do as Quebec is doing and grow our economy while tackling climate change? Has the opposition member not seen the millions of young people in the streets calling for concrete measures to deal with climate change? I know that Quebec members of the House know this.

The SenateOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jagmeet Singh NDP Burnaby South, BC

Mr. Speaker, members democratically elected to the House voted to pass a bill that would work towards reconciliation. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People would be enshrined in Canadian law. That would improve the lives of indigenous people.

Members of the House also voted for a bill that would ensure that federal judges receive sexual assault training. That would improve the lives of sexual assault survivors.

These bills are now being held up in the unelected Senate. It is a travesty of our democracy.

What is the Prime Minister doing to ensure that the will of the people is defended and these bills are passed?

The SenateOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Toronto—St. Paul's Ontario

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett LiberalMinister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

Mr. Speaker, the government is moving forward on key legislative initiatives to implement the UN declaration, including the legislation on languages and child and family services.

We also supported Bill C-262 as an important next step.

We too are deeply disappointed to see that the Conservative leader continues to allow his caucus members in the other place to use partisan delay tactics to prevent this important bill from moving forward, blatantly ignoring the unanimous motion passed by the House.

Reconciliation with indigenous peoples should not be subject—

The SenateOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Order. Members need to remember to listen. No matter whether they like what they hear or not, they still have to hear it. The Chair has to hear it to know whether it is out of order. I would appreciate some help in that regard.

The hon. member for Burnaby South.

PharmacareOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jagmeet Singh NDP Burnaby South, BC

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Sherbrooke was approached by a man who said he was unable to pay for his three prescriptions. He could afford only one of the three and his pharmacist had to tell him which one was the most important. People like him have been waiting decades to have access to the medicines they need.

Are the Liberals going to keep catering to big pharma or will they stand by Canadians and finally bring in a publicly delivered universal pharmacare plan?

PharmacareOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe New Brunswick

Liberal

Ginette Petitpas Taylor LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, let us be clear: our government is committed to ensuring that all Canadians have access to a national pharmacare plan.

We will be developing this plan, and to do that we need to work with the provinces, territories, the health care sector, indigenous peoples and all Canadians. We will not stop working on this file. We want to ensure that all Canadians have access to the drugs they need.

PharmacareOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jagmeet Singh NDP Burnaby South, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday's report confirms 40 years of commissions and studies. It confirms that Canada needs a single-payer, publicly delivered, universal, comprehensive pharmacare for all.

Afer four years, what does the Liberal government have to show? The answer is nothing. In fact, the Liberals have shown that they would rather help big pharma over people who have to make tough choices between medication and buying their groceries: tough choices that may mean they end up in hospital because they cannot afford their medication.

Why will the Liberals not do what is necessary? Why will they not get out of the way and let New Democrats implement a plan?

PharmacareOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe New Brunswick

Liberal

Ginette Petitpas Taylor LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, let us be very clear. Our government is firmly committed to making sure all Canadians have access to a national pharmacare program, and the work is well under way.

Over the past two years, we have been working to make sure we lower the price of drugs. In budget 2019, we have invested monies to make sure the funding is in place to create a Canadian drug agency.

We are in the process of modernizing the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board in order to once again make sure we lower the cost of drugs and are able to move forward with this program.

Government PoliciesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jagmeet Singh NDP Burnaby South, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government continues to choose the richest people at the top over people struggling to get by. They chose big pharma and protecting its profits over people who cannot afford their medications. They chose to help big telecom and allowed it to gouge Canadians on their cellphone bills. They chose to help big polluters continue to poison our planet. They let the richest off the hook on taxes.

The reality is that the government does not care about people. Why is it that it continues to help the people at the top, the rich, instead of people working hard to get by?

Government PoliciesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount Québec

Liberal

Marc Garneau LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, let us talk about affordability. The very first thing we did was reduce taxes on the middle class, for nine million Canadians. The second thing we did was introduce the Canada child benefit, which put more money into the pockets of middle-class families. We have demonstrated that over the past three and a half years, we have put $2,000 more in the pockets of middle-class Canadian families of four. That is what we are doing with respect to affordability.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Candice Bergen Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, just like everything else the Prime Minister touches, his “no more pipelines” bill, Bill C-69, has turned into a dumpster fire, ticking off and alienating the majority of provinces. National unity is at stake, but instead of taking the premiers' concerns seriously, the Prime Minister keeps insulting them with his “I am the boss and I know best” attitude.

Does the Prime Minister realize the harm he is doing and what is at stake? He is putting his ego and his own political interests ahead of national unity.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa Centre Ontario

Liberal

Catherine McKenna LiberalMinister of Environment and Climate Change

Mr. Speaker, we have a $500-billion economic opportunity for major projects in the next decade. Under Stephen Harper, under gutted rules, good projects were unable to go ahead, we did not listen to indigenous peoples and we did not protect the environment.

We are very proud of the better rules we brought in through Bill C-69. We listened to senators and accepted amendments that made the rules better.

We can protect the environment. We can partner with indigenous peoples. We can do all of that while ensuring that good projects go ahead in a timely way. I would ask the parties opposite to support this good—

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

The hon. opposition House leader.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Candice Bergen Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister and the environment Minister are doing everything they can to destroy Canada's energy sector. Their “no more pipelines” bill, Bill C-69, would be devastating to hard-working families in the oil and gas sector, and they know it.

Sadly, the Liberals will be shutting down debate on this bill later today, forcing this destructive legislation on Canadians. Nine premiers have raised concerns, but the Prime Minister is ignoring them.

Will the Prime Minister finally stop attacking our natural resources sector, listen to the premiers and withdraw this horrible bill?

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa Centre Ontario

Liberal

Catherine McKenna LiberalMinister of Environment and Climate Change

Mr. Speaker, it is time for the country to come together. We do need major projects to go ahead. Under the failed system under Stephen Harper, environmental protections were gutted, and we did not care about our constitutional obligation to consult with indigenous peoples. In the end, good projects were not able to go ahead in a timely way.

We have better rules. Everyone should be standing for those better rules, because we want to continue to grow our economy. We want to continue to attract investment.

We had the largest foreign direct investment in Canada last year. We created a million jobs. Families are $2,000 better off. We are showing how to grow the economy—

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I urge members to show courtesy to each other and not be rude and not interrupt.

The hon. member for Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Joël Godin Conservative Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, what she is saying is absurd. This centralizing government, which is a hallmark of the Liberals, has no respect for the provinces and territories. The Prime Minister does not even listen to the provincial premiers, who were duly elected by Canadians. The Premier of Quebec is also saying he is disappointed that the current federal government refused to accept the amendments to Bill C-69 on the environment. Rather than being constructive, the Liberals' provocative approach is undermining national unity.

Why does the Prime Minister think he has a monopoly on truth?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa Centre Ontario

Liberal

Catherine McKenna LiberalMinister of Environment and Climate Change

Mr. Speaker, do you know what Quebeckers tell me when I talk to them? They say that they want us to take ambitious measures to fight climate change and protect the environment. They do not want to go back to the days of Stephen Harper; rather, they want us to strengthen the environmental assessment rules.

Yes, they want us to grow the economy and create good jobs. They know that we have a plan. The Conservative Party has no plan for the environment, no plan for the economy and no plan for Canadians.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Joël Godin Conservative Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, his plan is not working. The Prime Minister is just insulting Canadian taxpayers. He claimed that Canada would meet the Paris Agreement targets by 2030. That was a half-truth, if not a certain word that I am not allowed to say in the House.

Following the lead of the United Nations and the environment commissioner, the Parliamentary Budget Officer released a report this morning explicitly stating that Canada is not going to meet the Paris targets with its current plan. To meet the targets, the government would have to to raise the carbon tax to five times what it is now.

Why the lack of transparency? Why are the Liberals being such hypocrites?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa Centre Ontario

Liberal

Catherine McKenna LiberalMinister of Environment and Climate Change

Mr. Speaker, do you know who is insulting taxpayers? Premier Ford, who is spending taxpayers' money attacking pollution pricing.

Quebec has put a price on pollution. Is my colleague opposed to pollution pricing in Quebec? I do not know if the member realizes that Quebec's economy is growing. It put a price on pollution, and it is working. The province has good jobs and a vibrant clean technology sector.

The economy and the environment go hand in hand, as Quebec perfectly illustrates.

Why is the member not standing up for Quebec and Quebeckers?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Joël Godin Conservative Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Tell the truth!

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Order. The hon. member for Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier needs to listen to the answer after asking a question.

The hon. member for Barrie—Innisfil.

Carbon PricingOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are being impacted by the Liberal carbon tax. Every day we are paying more for the necessities of life in Canada. On top of that, Canadians did not receive the carbon tax rebate they were promised. Ontarians received 30% less than what was advertised.

Earlier today, the PBO said that for the Liberal carbon tax to be effective, it would have to rise by 400%. This will add more than a painful 25¢ a litre in new taxes just for the price of a litre of gas.

When will the Prime Minister just admit that his plan is to cost Canadians more for the gas they put in their cars?

Carbon PricingOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa Centre Ontario

Liberal

Catherine McKenna LiberalMinister of Environment and Climate Change

Mr. Speaker, I am wondering if the member opposite noticed the report that showed that Doug Ford's climate plan is twice as expensive as our climate plan. It is twice as expensive.

What is Premier Ford also doing? He is spending $40 million of taxpayers' money to fight climate action rather than to fight climate change. He has a sticker campaign where he is actually going to make businesses pay if they do not mislead Ontarians.

We need to take serious action on climate change. We need to do it. It is good for our economy. It is good for the environment, and we owe it to our kids.

Carbon PricingOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I am going to have to ask members, including the member for Battle River—Crowfoot, not to intervene when it is not their turn.

Carbon PricingOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am thinking the minister should run for Ontario Liberal leader.

We also heard the PBO confirm today that the Liberal government will not meet its Paris targets by 2030. In order to meet these targets, the PBO says the carbon tax would have to rise by 400%. Guess what? Fifty percent of Canadian families are $200 away from bankruptcy. They cannot afford the Prime Minister's carbon taxes.

When will the Prime Minister just admit that his plan all along has been to raise the price on the necessities of life in Canada, like putting gas in our cars and heating our homes?

Carbon PricingOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Pickering—Uxbridge Ontario

Liberal

Jennifer O'Connell LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance (Youth Economic Opportunity)

Mr. Speaker, let us talk about what we have done for Canadians and the investments we have made, because it seems the members opposite just do not get it.

One of the first things we did was lower taxes on the middle class. The next thing we did was make the Canada child benefit more generous and put more money in people's pockets. What did the Conservatives do? They taxed families.

Let us also talk about the fact that taking into account Canada's total budget deficit, 72% came from Conservatives.

PovertyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Brigitte Sansoucy NDP Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the last budget, the Liberals noted that the NDP, the Assembly of First Nations, the Breakfast Club of Canada and many other organizations have been calling for a national school food program. Given that one child in five is living in poverty, that is crucial.

Unfortunately, the Minister of Families refuses to commit to a time frame and, worse still, no funding has been announced for the program.

Was that announcement from the last budget a genuine promise—not that that means much to the Liberals—or was it simply another Liberal PR exercise?

PovertyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Spadina—Fort York Ontario

Liberal

Adam Vaughan LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families

Mr. Speaker, it is always an honour to rise in this House and talk about the amazing progress we have made on eliminating child poverty in this country. In fact, the child benefit has reduced child poverty by 300,000 children in this country, and we have the lowest levels of poverty since we started recording it.

On the issue of the food program, we are strongly in support of making sure that children who go to school and students who study have the nutrition they need to do the work they need to do in school. Every study shows that this is a progressive policy. We stand firmly behind it, and we will meet those targets prescribed within the budget.

HealthOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Rachel Blaney NDP North Island—Powell River, BC

Mr. Speaker, Dr. Hoskins' report could not be more clear. We need a universal, single-payer pharmacare system in Canada. It is the latest in 50 years' worth of reports ignored by consecutive Liberal and Conservative governments.

Seniors across this country are cutting their pills in half because they want to make them last longer. They are having to make choices between food and the medication they desperately need. This does not have to happen. After 50 years, how long are Canadians going to have to wait?

HealthOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe New Brunswick

Liberal

Ginette Petitpas Taylor LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, let me be very clear. Our government is absolutely committed to making sure that all Canadians have access to a national pharmacare program, and the work is well under way. That is why we launched the advisory council. We are very pleased that we received its report yesterday. I look forward to continuing to work with the provinces and territories, indigenous leaders and all the groups involved, as we want to make sure that all Canadians will have access to affordable medications.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Larry Maguire Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Manitoba-Minnesota transmission project would bring clean, green Manitoba energy to coal-burning Minnesota. After five years of consultations, and approval from both Manitoba's Clean Environment Commission and the National Energy Board, the Prime Minister still refuses to approve this project. He is too proud to approve a project from a Conservative provincial government that is better for the environment than anything he can come up with.

When will the Prime Minister put aside his ego, get out of the way of clean, green Manitoba energy and approve this project?

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Edmonton Mill Woods Alberta

Liberal

Amarjeet Sohi LiberalMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member very well knows, there is an ongoing dispute between the Government of Manitoba and the Manitoba Metis Federation as well as some indigenous communities elected to this project, because the Manitoba government walked away from an agreement it was proposing to deal with some of the outstanding concerns. We are working hard to make sure that we are respectfully discharging our duty to consult with indigenous communities before we approve this project.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Jamie Schmale Conservative Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, ON

Mr. Speaker, if the current government was serious about getting the Trans Mountain pipeline built, it would have done so three and a half years ago. Instead, the Prime Minister told Canadians he plans to phase out oil and gas. He confirmed that with anti-energy bills, by vetoing northern gateway and by regulating to death the west-to-east pipeline. On killing Canadian oil and gas, he is exactly as advertised.

What is the plan to start construction on the TMX in Burnaby this June 19?

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Edmonton Mill Woods Alberta

Liberal

Amarjeet Sohi LiberalMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, as we all know, when Stephen Harper came to office in 2006, 99% of Alberta's oil was sold to a single customer, the United States. When he left office in 2015, the same was the case; 99% of the oil was sold to the United States.

We are changing that by making sure that we are putting better rules into the process so that good projects can move forward while at the same time making sure that we are protecting the environment and are including indigenous voices in the decision-making process.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Shannon Stubbs Conservative Lakeland, AB

No answer, Mr. Speaker, so we will try again.

In five days, Canadians expect the Liberals to approve the Trans Mountain expansion for the second time, but big questions remain. How will they handle new court challenges? When will it be in service? Who will own and operate it? What will be the cost to taxpayers?

It was supposed to be done this year, but it has not even started because of three and a half years of the Liberals' failure to exert federal jurisdiction and their mistakes on indigenous consultation.

Approval is one thing, and getting it built is another. What exactly is the plan this time to ensure that construction starts in Burnaby on June 19?

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Edmonton Mill Woods Alberta

Liberal

Amarjeet Sohi LiberalMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, it is very interesting, and actually unfortunate, that the Conservatives want us to follow the same process that failed to build a single pipeline to get our resources to non-U.S. markets. We are doing things differently. Our goal is to ensure that good projects can move forward in a responsible, sustainable way while at the same time ensuring that we are taking action to protect our environment and to include indigenous voices in the decision-making process. That is the only way to have good projects move forward.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Shannon Stubbs Conservative Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is the Liberal failures that have held up the TMX.

However, after only one hour last night, the Liberals said that they would shut down debate on their decision to reject 187 Senate amendments that attempted to fix their no more pipelines bill, Bill C-69. Nine provinces and every territory are demanding major changes. It will harm the entire Canadian economy.

The Liberals rushed this bill through the House last year. That is why the Senate was forced to try to repair it and rewrite it completely. Will the Liberals allow MPs to actually bring the voices of Canadians to this debate or will they shut it down and ram it through again?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa Centre Ontario

Liberal

Catherine McKenna LiberalMinister of Environment and Climate Change

Mr. Speaker, in January 2016, we released interim principles. There were two parliamentary committees that looked at Bill C-69. There were two expert panels. There was consultation across the country with businesses, with provinces, with indigenous peoples and with environmentalists. Then the Senate actually went on tour to listen to people. Then we accepted 99 amendments.

However, let us go back to what happened under Stephen Harper. What did he do? Through an omnibus budget bill, with no consultation, he gutted environmental assessments, which meant that good projects could not go ahead in a timely way.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Order, please. I want to remind members that it is not necessary to be speaking at all times when someone else has the floor. In fact, how can we count ourselves on having a chance to speak when they do not let us.

The hon. member for Trois-Rivières.

Rail TransportationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, a recent response from the government suggests that I was wrong to believe that the Minister of Transport was the one responsible for the high-frequency train. Instead, it appears that the Minister of Finance is leading the project. Nearly 10 meetings on the subject were held last fall between officials from his department and Infrastructure Bank representatives.

While the Minister of Transport goes on and on about his studies, the Minister of Finance is deciding which lucky friend will benefit from the ample profits.

How can the government take any approach other than offering users the best service at the lowest possible cost?

Rail TransportationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount Québec

Liberal

Marc Garneau LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Trois-Rivières for his weekly question on the high-frequency train.

I will give him the same answer. Our government, which is a responsible government, is giving very serious consideration to the high-frequency train proposal. As soon as we have something to report, we will make an announcement. He will be one of the first to know.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we know the Liberals broke their promise to eliminate subsidies—

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Order. I would ask all members to calm down and listen to the member who has the floor. They need to listen to the answers. Members must not talk out of turn.

The hon. member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we know the Liberals broke their promise to eliminate oil subsidies. Along with the rest of the G20, they also promised to eliminate inefficient subsidies.

The problem is that they do not understand the meaning of the word “inefficient”. The commissioner of the environment and sustainable development told us that they do not even have a definition of the word. Apparently the Prime Minister cannot tell the difference between a plastic bottle and a box. It is easy to mix up the two.

Does the government need help understanding the difference between “efficient” and “inefficient”? Do the Liberals think they mean the same thing?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa Centre Ontario

Liberal

Catherine McKenna LiberalMinister of Environment and Climate Change

Mr. Speaker, I am always happy to rise in the House to talk about what we are doing to protect the environment and fight climate change. We are eliminating coal. We are investing in renewable energy, clean technology and public transit. We are eliminating plastic pollution. We are doubling Canada's green spaces. That is what we will continue to do.

We know that we can protect our environment and grow our economy, and we have done so while creating one million jobs for Canadians. We know that we need to move forward. We know it is our duty to—

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

The hon. member for Guelph.

International TradeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, we know that Canada's canola producers are key drivers of jobs, economic prosperity and growth for the middle class, exporting $11 billion in 2018 to more than 50 countries. Our government has shown that we are committed to maintaining full market access for Canadian canola seed exports, while supporting Canadian producers and their families to meet the challenges ahead through our trade diversification strategy.

Could the Minister of International Trade Diversification, and my mother-in-law's MP, please provide an update to the House of his recent trade mission to Japan and South Korea?

International TradeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Jim Carr LiberalMinister of International Trade Diversification

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague from Guelph for his mother-in-law.

Last week, I led a canola trade mission to Japan and South Korea with my counterparts from Alberta and Saskatchewan and the member for Niagara West. The mission was a great way for government and industry to come together to promote the sale of Canadian canola and other agricultural products.

Today, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and I announced that Export Development Canada would provide $150 million in insurance support for Canadian canola producers as they explore new markets. We will always support canola farmers.

International TradeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Order, please. The member for Souris—Moose Mountain will come to order, please

The hon. member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles.

Immigration, Refugees and CitizenshipOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the media is reporting that the daily illegal crossings at Roxham Road have practically doubled. After the Prime Minister's infamous tweet, more than 23,000 people sought asylum in Quebec in 2017. In 2018, the number of asylum claims exceeded 36,000.

What is more, the vast majority of these claims are made by people leaving the United States, a country where there is no civil war or famine and that has comparable social services.

Why is the Prime Minister trying to have Canadians believe that these people are true refugees?

Immigration, Refugees and CitizenshipOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Vaudreuil—Soulanges Québec

Liberal

Peter Schiefke LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister (Youth) and to the Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction

Mr. Speaker, every day is another opportunity for the Conservatives to scare Canadians. Let me share three very important facts.

First, since last year, the number of irregular crossings at our border by asylum seekers has dropped by 45%.

Second, a majority of the people coming to our border are young people.

Third, let's not forget that it was the Conservative government that cut $1.2 billion from the budgets of our security agencies, and that is what we are currently reinvesting to give them the resources they need to manage our borders.

Immigration, Refugees and CitizenshipOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I believe that Canadians are well aware of what is happening. The parliamentary secretary's facts are wrong. He need only consult the statistics from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada; they are available.

Next week, the Prime Minister is going to meet with the President of the United States and one of the subjects on the agenda will be security and defence.

Is the Prime Minister prepared to ask the U.S. President to renegotiate the safe third country agreement?

Immigration, Refugees and CitizenshipOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Vaudreuil—Soulanges Québec

Liberal

Peter Schiefke LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister (Youth) and to the Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction

Mr. Speaker, perhaps the member misunderstood. There has been a 45% reduction since 2018. That is a fact. I know that the Conservatives do not like to talk about facts that contradict their arguments, but it is true. I will repeat that your Conservative government cut $1.2 billion from the budgets of the RCMP and—

Immigration, Refugees and CitizenshipOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Order. I remind the member to address his comments to the Chair. He may finish his answer.

Immigration, Refugees and CitizenshipOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Schiefke Liberal Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, their Conservative government cut $1.2 billion from the budgets of the RCMP and the Canada Border Services Agency. We are the ones giving them the resources they need to do a good job and protect Canadians.

Immigration, Refugees and CitizenshipOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, only a Liberal would get up and say that spending more money was a good excuse for getting worse results. That is exactly what that guy is doing. He is standing and saying that the Liberals spent more money.

However, we found out today, through TVA, that the number of people illegally crossing the border had doubled. That is ridiculous. It is unfair, it is uncompassionate, and spending money is not a metric. This has to stop.

When will the government close the loophole in the safe third country agreement?

Immigration, Refugees and CitizenshipOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

We should probably refer to each other as members, but some of us are guys, I suppose.

The hon. parliamentary secretary.

Immigration, Refugees and CitizenshipOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Vaudreuil—Soulanges Québec

Liberal

Peter Schiefke LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister (Youth) and to the Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction

Mr. Speaker, first, here is what is not compassionate: cutting health care for children who come into this country seeking our protection, which is exactly what the Conservatives did.

Once again, this gives me an opportunity to repeat some very important facts. There has been a 45% reduction in the number of asylum seekers coming across our border irregularly, something the Conservatives do not want to share with Canadians. They want to continue to try to scare Canadians.

Second, a huge portion of them are children.

Third, let me remind the House and all Canadians that the Conservative government cut $1.2 billion from the RCMP and the CBSA and expected them to be able to do their jobs. We know different. We invested.

Immigration, Refugees and CitizenshipOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, the reality is that when we are spending that much money, we should be prioritizing the world's most vulnerable. People who are illegally crossing the border from the U.S. to claim asylum do not have the same level of need as someone languishing in a refugee camp in northern Iraq.

Also, when we are talking about spending money, the Liberals have spent billions of dollars on people who likely do not have a valid asylum claim, on health care, on education and on affordable housing. Then they look at veterans and tell them they have nothing more to give.

There is a choice to make. When will the government close the loophole in the safe third country agreement?

Immigration, Refugees and CitizenshipOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Liberal

Matt DeCourcey LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration

Mr. Speaker, one of the very first things the government did when it came to office was work with Canadians to help resettle now over 60,000 Syrian refugees in our country, something all of Canada is proud about.

Something else the government did was help resettle over 1,400 Yazidi women and girls, something the previous government could only do for three such people.

What else has the government done? It has committed to resettling over 1,000 vulnerable women and girls from some of the most conflict and persecuted areas across this world.

The Conservatives cannot even stand and say if they will maintain Canada's humanitarian leadership in the world through refugee resettlement.

Indigenous AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Niki Ashton NDP Churchill—Keewatinook Aski, MB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the government betrayed the Dene in northern Manitoba and northern Saskatchewan. For years, they have been negotiating to pursue their right to land and resources north of 60.

They were so close to reaching an agreement. A few weeks ago, they were told one thing about consultations and initialling and then at the last minute, the minister reversed her position.

This is an egregious act of bad faith. It sets the Dene communities back years. It is the opposite of reconciliation.

What will the minister do to fix this major problem?

Indigenous AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Toronto—St. Paul's Ontario

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett LiberalMinister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

Mr. Speaker, the relationship with first nations, Inuit and Métis in this country is the most important relationship. It is therefore extraordinarily important that in any agreement we make, the section 35 rights holders are consulted. There have been discussions and concerns raised by indigenous peoples in the Northwest Territories.

Until I feel those consultations are met to my satisfaction, we will have to delay the initialling of that agreement.

Indigenous AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister likes to denounce the Ford government's anti-refugee sentiments, yet, shockingly, when it comes to changes to the asylum system, as we saw in the omnibus budget bill, the Liberals took a page out of the Conservative playbook for political gain.

Now the Prime Minister is in a spat with Doug Ford over legal aid funding. The collateral damage is women fleeing gender-based violence and LGBTQ2-plus members faced with persecution. That means no representation at refugee hearings, detention reviews and deportation orders. This will put lives at risk.

Will the Prime Minister stop the deportations until the legal aid crisis is resolved?

Indigenous AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Peterborough—Kawartha Ontario

Liberal

Maryam Monsef LiberalMinister of International Development and Minister for Women and Gender Equality

Mr. Speaker, I assure my colleague and every Canadian that our government is working hard to end gender-based violence at home and all over the world. Why? Because it is unthinkable that this is a reality in Canada. It is costing our economy over $12 billion a year.

We have invested in Canada's first gender-based violence strategy to support the most vulnerable women and LGBTQ2 individuals in the country. We have increased investments to women's organizations.

My hon. colleagues in the NDP and the Conservative Party voted against this.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday I asked the Prime Minister to commit to meeting with the Chinese president at the G20 meeting. I now understand why I did not get a response.

The Chinese premier has been ignoring him since January, and the Prime Minister was hiding this embarrassing failure from the Canadian public. That is pathetic. The Canadians being detained in China and our canola, soy and pork producers need action. If the Liberal leader cannot even phone the Chinese premier, how does he plan to meet with the Chinese president at the G20?

Will the Prime Minister finally admit that his foreign policy is a total failure?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Don Valley West Ontario

Liberal

Rob Oliphant LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I want to assure the House that China has heard our position very clearly, very loudly and at every level.

We have discussions with our diplomats in Canada, our diplomats in China. We have had discussions with them in China. A parliamentary delegation discussed our positions in May during a visit to China. I was on that delegation. It is shame that neither the Conservatives nor the NDP decided to join us on that mission.

These are serious issues. Canadians need to unite to keep Canadians safe and Canadian businesses well.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Blake Richards Conservative Banff—Airdrie, AB

Mr. Speaker, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor remain illegally detained by the Chinese government for entirely political reasons. Canadian shipments of canola and meat to China are being arbitrarily blocked, putting farmers in a dire situation. News reports state that China's premier has even rejected phone calls from the Prime Minister. Tensions between our two countries continue to escalate due to the failures of the Prime Minister.

With Destination Canada sponsoring a Canada Day gala in China, could the Minister of Tourism please explain how this gala will concretely address the ongoing issues that we have with China?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Ahuntsic-Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Mélanie Joly LiberalMinister of Tourism

Mr. Speaker, we have said it quite clearly. The Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and I have stated, in this room, that the security of the Canadian detainees in China is a priority. As my colleague just mentioned, we engage with Chinese officials regularly and as often as possible.

Destination Canada, as my colleague knows, is an arm's-length corporation from the government. I must remind him that tourism is a big business in Canada: 700,000 visitors from China come to Canada every year, which accounts for 13,000 people working in the sector.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Order. I remind the hon. member for Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola that other members will hear him better if he waits until he has the floor to give his views on things, and we all look forward to that.

The hon. member for Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Leona Alleslev Conservative Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill, ON

Mr. Speaker, what about the safety of Canadians? Human rights and the rule of law are under attack in Hong Kong. Proposed changes to the extradition law would allow China to extradite anyone in Hong Kong to the mainland, including Canadians. Peaceful protestors against these changes are met with tear gas and rubber bullets. There are 300,000 Canadians living in Hong Kong, and another half million Canadians with relatives there.

In the midst of this chaos, can the government inform us if it is issuing any advisories to Canadians currently in Hong Kong?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Don Valley West Ontario

Liberal

Rob Oliphant LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I would like to assure all members of this House that we have raised serious concerns about the proposed amendments to Hong Kong's extradition laws. Yesterday, we issued a public statement expressing these concerns and concerns about the impact they will have.

The recent protests demonstrate the deep, deep concern that the people of Hong Kong have about their future. I hope every member of this House stands in solidarity with them. We have discussed these amendments directly with the Government of Hong Kong. I have discussed them myself with members of the legislature on both sides of that House.

Immigration, Refugees and CitizenshipOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Marwan Tabbara Liberal Kitchener South—Hespeler, ON

Mr. Speaker, last month, the OECD ranked Canada number one in the world in attracting entrepreneurs, thanks to policies such as the Atlantic immigration pilot, the global skills strategy and the rural and northern immigration pilot. We know that we have historic low unemployment rates and have added over a million new jobs to the Canadian economy in less than four years.

Can the parliamentary secretary update this House on how Canada can maintain its competitive edge?

Immigration, Refugees and CitizenshipOral Questions

3 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Liberal

Matt DeCourcey LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration

Mr. Speaker, our competitive edge is dependent on smart increases to immigration, something that this government has done and will continue to do.

However, someone is telling the Leader of the Opposition that we need fewer immigrants in Canada. Who is it? It is not families who were separated for seven years under Stephen Harper. It is not universities that see the $15 billion in our economy from international students. It is not businesses that want more immigrants to create another million jobs across the country. Who is telling the Leader of the Opposition to cut immigration? Who is whispering in his ear?

JusticeOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, it has been two and a half years since Mark Norman was suspended from his position as vice chief of the defence staff. It has been two years since the Prime Minister put his thumb on the scale of justice, saying that Mark Norman would end up in court. It has been five weeks since the Crown stayed the charges after receiving evidence that the government was trying to block. All this time, Vice-Admiral Mark Norman has still not been reinstated.

When will the Prime Minister do the right thing and reinstate him as second in command of the Canadian Armed Forces?

JusticeOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Vancouver South B.C.

Liberal

Harjit S. Sajjan LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I want to remind the member of the quote by the Public Prosecution Service of Canada:

No other factors were considered in this decision, nor was there any contact or influence from outside the PPSC, including political influence in either the initial decision to prosecute Mr. Norman or in the decision to stay the charge.

The chief of the defence staff, General Vance, is having those discussions, and more will be said once they have had the opportunity to have further discussions.

TransportOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Mr. Speaker, the extension of the interim protocol for southern B.C. anchorages has been an abject failure. Not only were the anchorages established on first nations' traditional territory without consent or consultation, but light and noise pollution persists at all hours of the day and infractions are not being enforced by Transport Canada.

Will the Minister of Transport commit to investigating the infractions with anchorages around the Southern Gulf Islands and make the findings public before any further extension of the interim protocol is entertained?

TransportOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount Québec

Liberal

Marc Garneau LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we recognize that there are many ships coming to the Port of Vancouver. It is a very active and very economically and financially viable port. For that reason, many ships are coming.

We do recognize that we need to find a long-term solution to anchorages, and we are working on that. We are working with the Port of Vancouver. We are working with ship owners. We are trying to find a solution that will be long-term. As soon as we are in that position, we will announce it.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Mona Fortier Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, francophones and Acadians from across the country, including the Franco-Ontarian community in Ottawa—Vanier, have fought hard to promote bilingualism improve access to French-language services in the nation's capital.

The national capital has been officially bilingual since December 2018, which contributes to promoting and celebrating our two official languages in Canada's education, culture and economic spheres.

Could the Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie update us on this worthwhile initiative?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Ahuntsic-Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Mélanie Joly LiberalMinister of Tourism

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her hard work on official languages.

In a bilingual country like ours, it goes without saying that the federal government works very hard to make sure that our nation's capital is bilingual. That is exactly what we are doing. I am pleased to announce today that the Association des communautés francophones d'Ottawa will receive more than $1 million to ensure access to services in French in the nation's capital. We owe it to the 150,000 Franco-Ontarians living in Ottawa and to the eight million francophones in our country.

Canada Summer Jobs ProgramOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

John Barlow Conservative Foothills, AB

Mr. Speaker, a Toronto-area organization lost its charitable status and was fined $550,000 for funding militants in Pakistan, but it was given a Liberal Canada summer job grant worth more than $25,000. Meanwhile, 1,500 groups were denied summer jobs funding, and summer camps in Ontario and Nova Scotia are in court fighting the Prime Minister over the Liberals' values test.

Will the Prime Minister commit to revoking this grant to assure Canadians that their tax dollars are not being used to fund terrorist organizations?

Canada Summer Jobs ProgramOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Thunder Bay—Superior North Ontario

Liberal

Patty Hajdu LiberalMinister of Employment

Mr. Speaker, we unequivocally condemn violent extremism of any kind. It is unacceptable. It is not tolerated.

I have asked the department to review this matter to ensure that the organization is in compliance with the terms and conditions of the program. If it is found that the organization is not, then it will not receive reimbursement for that student.

Democratic ReformOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, people are sick of seeing the old parties getting huge cheques from lobbies and holding fundraisers at $1,500 a head. We need to restore the former system where political parties received a per-vote subsidy. That is the only way to eliminate any potential conflicts of interest. The Bloc Québécois is not the only one saying so. Former chief electoral officer Jean-Pierre Kingsley and Democracy Watch feel the same way. Enough with the patronage.

When will the government restore the per-vote subsidy financing system?

Democratic ReformOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Burlington Ontario

Liberal

Karina Gould LiberalMinister of Democratic Institutions

Mr. Speaker, we have strict political financing rules. Individual donations are capped. The member and all members of the House know that organizations and unions are not allowed to make donations. We introduced Bill C-50, which increases transparency in political fundraising.

Democratic ReformOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, Uber, Facebook and Google are the ones funding the Liberal Party, not ordinary Canadians. It is the oil companies, the Irvings and all those who wait, cap in hand, for government subsidies.

Corporations are not allowed to fund political parties, but when their employees donate $3,000 a year, it certainly helps to fill the kitty, does it not?

Is that why the Liberals do not want to restore the per-vote subsidy? Is it because they would rather take a funding-for-favours approach?

Democratic ReformOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Burlington Ontario

Liberal

Karina Gould LiberalMinister of Democratic Institutions

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is making unfounded and, quite frankly, absurd allegations in this House.

All members in this place know that it is illegal for private organizations or unions to make donations to political parties. We have very strict financing laws in Canada. Only individuals can make donations.

PharmacareOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Independent

Erin Weir Independent Regina—Lewvan, SK

Mr. Speaker, universal pharmacare was part of CCF's original vision for medicare. Yesterday's report estimated that it will save Canadians and employers $23 billion but cost governments $15 billion.

How much of that will Ottawa transfer to the provinces to make pharmacare a reality? Will that transfer be a block grant based on provincial demographics, or will it share the actual cost of covering prescription drugs in each province?

PharmacareOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe New Brunswick

Liberal

Ginette Petitpas Taylor LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to thank my colleague for his important question. It also allows me an opportunity to reiterate our government's commitment to making sure that all Canadians have access to a national pharmacare program, and that work is well under way.

I would like to remind this House that in budget 2019 we received a funding commitment of $35 million to ensure the creation of a Canadian drug agency, which is the foundational piece for a national pharmacare program. We have also received $1 billion to address the area of rare diseases.

I look forward to working with provinces, territories, indigenous groups and others to make sure that all Canadians will have access to a pharmacare program.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Canadian Forces Day is an opportunity for Canadians across the country to recognize the sacrifices that our men and women in uniform make on our behalf.

It is my pleasure to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of six members of the Canadian Forces who are taking part in the Canadian Forces recognition program in Ottawa this week: Master Seaman Sarbpreet Boparai, Lieutenant Andrea Murray, Sergeant Mélanie Duchesneau, Warrant Officer Mark Meyer, Corporal Joseph Champion and Corporal David Pigott.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, I believe you will find unanimous consent for the tabling of a document entitled “Inventaire québécois des émissions de gaz à effet de serre en 2016 et leur évolution depuis 1990”, which was prepared by Quebec's environment and climate change ministry and tabled in the Quebec National Assembly on November 29 by the Premier of Quebec.

I seek unanimous consent to table this evidence-based document.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Does the hon. member for Louis-Saint-Laurent have the unanimous consent of the House to move the motion?

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

There is no unanimous consent.

The hon. member for Longueuil—Saint-Hubert.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, as members know, frustration associated with the end of the parliamentary session can sometimes lead even the wisest amongst us to behave inappropriately.

I want to apologize for making offensive comments toward the Minister of Transport, for whom I have immense respect, particularly with regard to his previous career.

I do apologize.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

I thank the hon. member for Longueuil—Saint-Hubert.

The hon. member for Vancouver East is rising on a point of order.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I believe my parliamentary privilege has been breached today.

My question on deportation and legal aid funding was clearly directed to the Minister of Public Safety, who is responsible for CBSA. However, the Minister for Women and Gender Equality answered the question. I hope you will find it appropriate to invite the Minister of Public Safety to respond to my question.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

As the hon. member for Vancouver East may know, the decision as to which minister responds to questions in question period is of course left to the government.

We will now move to the usual Thursday question.

The hon. opposition House leader.

Business of the HouseOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Portage—Lisgar Manitoba

Conservative

Candice Bergen ConservativeHouse Leader of the Official Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the government House leader if she could inform us of the business for the rest of this week and next week. Next week is our last scheduled week, so we would like to know what the House leader has scheduled.

I am particularly interested in the climate emergency motion that the government brought forward, Motion No. 29. It seems odd to us that the Liberals do not want to talk about it, although maybe it is because they do not have a plan to combat climate change. We on this side of the House want to continue to debate and discuss this important motion.

We are all wondering if at some point this week or next week we will be discussing Motion No. 29.

Business of the HouseOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

Bardish Chagger LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate and acknowledge the opposition House leader's new-found respect and regard for the environment. It probably means the Conservatives will be coming out with a plan soon. We have been waiting for it for well over a year now.

In answer to her question, this afternoon we will begin debate on the Senate amendments to Bill C-58, an act to amend the Access to Information Act. This evening we will resume debate on the Senate amendments to Bill C-69, the environmental assessment legislation. We will then return to Bill C-88, the Mackenzie Valley bill.

Tomorrow we will resume debate on the Senate amendments to Bill C-68, an act to amend the Fisheries Act. We expect to receive some bills from the Senate, so if we have time, I would like one of those debates to start.

Next week, priority will be given to bills coming back to us from the Senate, or we may have an opportunity to continue to debate the motion referred to by the House Leader of the Official Opposition.

Personally, I am reassured to hear that the Conservatives want to talk about the environment. Perhaps they will also share their plan with Canadians.

House of CommonsOral Questions

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

I have the honour to lay upon the table the House of Commons report to Canadians for 2019.

Access to Information ActGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Karina Gould Liberal Burlington, ON

moved:

That a Message be sent to the Senate to acquaint Their Honours that, in relation to Bill C-58, An Act to amend the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, the House:

agrees with amendments 1, 2, 4, 5(b), 6, 7, 8(b), 9, 10, 11, 13, 14(b), 15(a), (b) and (d), 16, 17, 18, 19 and 20 made by the Senate;

respectfully disagrees with amendments 3 and 12 because the amendments seek to legislate matters which are beyond the policy intent of the bill, whose purpose is to make targeted amendments to the Act, notably to authorize the Information Commissioner to make orders for the release of records or with respect to other matters relating to requests, and to create a new Part of the Act providing for the proactive publication of information or materials related to the Senate, the House of Commons, parliamentary entities, ministers’ offices including the Prime Minister’s Office, government institutions, and institutions that support superior courts;

as a consequence of Senate amendment 4, proposes to add the following amendment:

1. New clause 6.2, page 4: Add the following after line 4:

“6.2 The portion of section 7 of the Act before paragraph (a) is replaced by the following:

7 Where access to a record is requested under this Act, the head of the government institution to which the request is made shall, subject to sections 8 and 9, within 30 days after the request is received,”.

proposes that amendment 5(a) be amended to read as follows:

“(a) on page 5, delete lines 31 to 36;

(a.1) on page 6, replace line 1 with the following:

“13 Section 30 of the Act is amended by adding the”;”;

as a consequence of Senate amendment 5(a), proposes to add the following amendments:

1. Clause 16, page 7: Replace line 37 with the following:

“any of paragraphs 30(1)(a) to (e), the Commissioner”.

2. Clause 19, page 11: Replace line 28 with the following:

“any of paragraphs 30(1)(a) to (e) and who receives a re-”.

proposes that amendment 8(a) be amended by deleting subsection (6);

proposes that amendment 14(a) be amended by replacing the text of the English version of the amendment with the following: “the publication may constitute a breach of parliamen-”;

respectfully disagrees with amendment 15(c) because providing the Information Commissioner with oversight over proactive publication by institutions supporting Parliament and the courts has the potential to infringe parliamentary privilege and judicial independence.

Access to Information ActGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

Liberal

Greg Fergus LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Digital Government

Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to speak to the message received from the other place with regard to Bill C-58, an act to amend the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act and to make consequential amendments to other acts.

I would like to recognize that this is my first official duty debating a piece of legislation as Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Digital Government, who is a fabulous minister, I might add.

I also want to acknowledge the many stakeholders who were involved in getting Bill C-58 to this point, starting with our colleagues in the other place, who conducted a very thorough and thoughtful study of this bill.

I must also recognize the contributions of parliamentarians and stakeholders and particularly the contributions of the Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner in the development of Bill C-58, as well as, of course, our colleagues on the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics who worked long and hard on the amendments being proposed.

I would especially like to note the interventions of a number of indigenous organizations, their influence on the matters we are considering today and with whom the government is committed to engaging more closely on these matters in the future.

Together, the ideas and suggestions in the letters and presentations at both committees contributed to ensuring that the concerns of Canadians were taken into consideration and reflected in the final version of the bill.

I would remind the House that the bill would implement some of the most significant changes to the Access to Information Act since it was introduced more than 30 years ago, changes which have not been seen since the advent of the World Wide Web. This is part of the Government of Canada's continuing effort to raise the bar on openness and transparency.

We believe that government information ultimately belongs to the people it serves, and it should be open by default. That is quite simply a fundamental characteristic of a modern democracy, and the bill reflects that belief.

In that context, we welcome many of the proposed amendments that would further advance this objective. I would note, however, that two of the amendments would effectively legislate matters that are beyond the intent of the bill, whose purpose, I would remind the House, is to make targeted amendments to the act.

Those targeted amendments include providing the Information Commissioner with the power to make binding orders for the release of government information and the creation of a new part of the act on the proactive publication of key information.

For the reason that it goes beyond the intent of the bill, the government respectfully disagrees with the amendment that would limit time extensions to respond to a request to 30 days without prior approval of the Information Commissioner.

The government is declining this proposal because these provision have not been the subject of consultation or thorough study in the context of the targeted review that led to Bill C-58. This proposal risks having unintended consequences, particularly for the office of the Information Commissioner.

The government does agree with our friends in the other place that the time extension provisions merit further study. These will be examined as part of the full review of the act which Bill C-58 requires to begin within one year of royal assent.

For the same reason, the government respectfully disagrees with the proposal to create a new criminal offence for the use of any code, moniker or contrived word or phrase in a record in place of the name of any person, corporation, entity, third party or organization. Once again, the provisions of the Access to Information Act concerning criminal offences have not been the subject of consultation or thorough study in the targeted review. Therefore, it would be more appropriate to review changes to this provision in the context of a full review.

A third amendment of concern would require the Information Commissioner to review the operation of proposed part 2 of the act regarding proactive publication and report the results to Parliament on an annual basis. Giving the commissioner oversight of proactive publication by institutions supporting Parliament and the courts would create the potential to infringe on both parliamentary privilege and judicial independence. For this reason, the government respectfully disagrees.

It is also proposed that the Information Commissioner's ability to receive and investigate complaints related to fees and time limit extensions be removed from the act. While the government recognizes the intent of this amendment, which relates to some of the other proposals that were advanced, the commissioner's authority to receive and investigate complaints regarding waiver of fees would be removed from the act, an outcome I am certain hon. members on all sides of the House would agree is undesirable.

Similarly, as the amendment with respect to the extension of a time limit was not agreed to, we must preserve the powers of the Information Commissioner to receive complaints concerning time limits and to investigate these complaints, and therefore this amendment is not necessary.

With these few exceptions, the government is pleased to accept the proposed amendments in the message from the other chamber, subject to some technical adjustments to ensure the proper functioning of these provisions.

For example, we agree with the proposed amendment that would eliminate the government's authority to set and collect fees, apart from the application fee. As the government has committed to Canadians, it will continue to charge no fees other than the application fee of just $5.

A related amendment proposed in the message would retain the right of requesters to make a complaint to the Information Commissioner regarding decisions to waive the application fee. While the Senate amendments would have removed that right, we consider that the Information Commissioner should continue to have oversight over the way the authority to waive fees is exercised by institutions.

Some of the amendments proposed in the other place would foster and, in some cases, require more extensive consultations and better communication between the Information Commissioner and the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. This is paramount to continue to ensure privacy protection while the government seeks to foster more openness and better access to government documents.

The bill already provides the Information Commissioner with new power to order the release of government information. To ensure that this does not compromise the right to privacy, an amendment proposes that the Information Commissioner must consult the Privacy Commissioner before ordering a release of personal information. This amendment also proposes that the Information Commissioner have the discretion to consult the Privacy Commissioner when investigating a complaint regarding the application of the personal information exemption. Both of these and some related amendments were suggested by the commissioners themselves, and the government has previously indicated that it supports these amendments. We believe they will strengthen the protection of personal information and further safeguard Canadians' privacy rights.

The government also accepts an amendment that would retain Info Source. Government institutions will continue to be required to publish information about their organization, records and manuals. Canadians seeking to exercise their right of access to government records will continue to have access to this tool.

As hon. members are surely aware, the government processes tens of thousands of access requests each and every year. It is an unfortunate fact that in a small number of cases, the requests are made for reasons that are inconsistent with the purposes of the Act. They may be made to harass a certain employee or work unit, for example. Such requests can have a disproportionate effect on the system and slow down resources on legitimate requests.

The government agrees with the amendment from the other place that the power of government institutions to ask the Information Commissioner for approval in order to refuse to act on requests should be limited to requests that are vexatious, made in bad faith or that would constitute an abuse of the right of access and would backlog the system. That would enable government institutions to focus their efforts on legitimate requests after having obtained approval from the Information Commissioner.

As I mentioned earlier, one of the main objectives of Bill C-58 is to provide the Information Commissioner with the power to issue binding orders for the processing of requests, including the disclosure of records.

The commissioner would be able to publish these orders, establishing a body of precedents to guide institutions as well as users of the system.

Originally, in order to give the commissioner time to prepare to assume this power, it would not come into force until one year after royal assent. However, the commissioner has asked that this power be available immediately upon royal assent. Reflecting the value it places on the commissioner's perspective, the government has already indicated its support for this amendment.

Another amendment asked for the Information Commissioner to file her orders in Federal Court and have them enforced as Federal Court orders. Under Bill C-58, the Information Commissioner's orders are legally binding without the need for certification. We believe that this amendment is unnecessary and would add a step in the process.

However, the government will look at these amendments at the one-year review of the act, with a year's worth of experience under the new system.

Providing the Information Commissioner with the power to issue binding orders to government and institutions is not a trivial change. It is a game-changer for access to information. Whereas now the Information Commissioner must go to court if an institution does not follow her recommendations, Bill C-58 puts the onus on institutions. Should they disagree with an order by the Information Commissioner, institutions will have 30 days to challenge the order in Federal Court.

As for the courts, I would remind the House that the government accepted an amendment that would ensure that Bill C-58 does not encroach on judicial independence. As the House knows, part 2 of the bill would impose proactive publication requirements on 260 departments, government agencies and Crown corporations, as well as the Prime Minister's Office, ministers' offices, senators, MPs, parliamentary entities and institutions that support the courts.

The amendment would also enshrine in law the proactive publication of information of great interest to Canadians, particularly information relevant to increased transparency and responsibility with regard to the use of public funds.

This includes travel and hospitality expenses for ministers and their staff and senior officials across government, contracts over $10,000 and all contracts for MPs and senators, grants and contributions over $25,000, mandate letters and revised mandate letters, briefing packages for new ministers and deputy ministers, lists of briefing notes for ministers or deputy ministers, and the briefing binders used for question period and parliamentary committee appearances.

Putting these requirements into legislation will ensure that Canadians will have access to this kind of information automatically, without having to make a request. It will impose a new degree of transparency on this government and on future governments.

As passed by the House, Bill C-58 would require similar disclosure by the judiciary.

Concerns have since been raised about the impact that the publication of individual judges' expenses could have on judicial independence, and those concerns are exacerbated by the fact that, due to the traditional duty of reserve, judges express themselves only through their judgments and can neither defend themselves nor set the record straight. The amendment proposed in the message that would require the publication of judges' expenses according to each court, rather than on an individual basis, would address these concerns and include additional measures to increase transparency.

The government also welcomes and accepts the amendment to remove the specific criteria requiring requesters to state the specific subject matter of their request, the type of record being requested and the period for which the record is being requested.

This was included in the original bill as a way to ensure that requests provided enough information to enable a timely response.

We listened to the Information Commissioner's concerns about this clause and especially to the indigenous groups who told us that these provisions could impede their access rights. I just want to note that this amendment, along with several others proposed in the message, was suggested by the former Treasury Board president when he appeared before the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs in October.

The proposal and acceptance of this amendment reflect the government's commitment to guaranteeing that indigenous peoples have access to the information they need to support their claims and seek justice for past wrongs, for example.

As members can imagine, when it comes to records that are several decades or, in some cases, more than a century old, asking someone to state the specific subject matter, type of record and period requested may constitute a barrier to access.

I also want to assure the House that the government has taken careful note of the feedback from indigenous groups who felt that the governments did not consult them properly when drafting Bill C-58.

To respond to these concerns, the government supported the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, the National Claims Research directors and the Indigenous Bar Association in surveying selected first nations researchers and policy staff about the issues they were encountering with respect to access to information, compiling and analyzing the results in a discussion paper, and undertaking a legal review of Bill C-58.

Nonetheless, we recognize that further work is needed, with greater collaboration between the government and indigenous groups. I would draw the attention of the House to a letter written by the former president of the Treasury Board and sent to the committee in the other place. The letter detailed specific commitments to engaging indigenous organizations and representatives about how the Access to Information Act needs to evolve to reflect Canada's relationship with indigenous peoples, including how information and knowledge of indigenous communities is both protected and made acceptable.

This engagement, as with all engagements with first nations, Inuit and the Métis Nation, will be founded on the fundamental principle of “nothing about us without us”. The government is committed to ensuring that programs, policies and services affecting indigenous peoples are designed in consultation and in collaboration with them.

In that regard, I would remind the House that this bill represents only the first phase of the government's reform to access to information. A full review of the functioning of the act would begin within one year of royal assent of Bill C-58, with mandatory reviews every five years afterward to ensure that the Access to Information Act never again falls so far out of date. I would add that the government recognizes that engagement with indigenous communities and organizations needs to be a central part of these reviews of the act.

In conclusion, I would recall for the House that in its fifth global report, issued in 2018, Canada was ranked number one in the world for openness and transparency by Open Data Barometer, well ahead of many other nations, including many so-called advanced countries. I would note that in this most recent report the author states:

The government’s continued progress reflects a strong performance in virtually all areas—from policies to implementation. Its consistent political backing has been one [of] the keys to its success.

Bill C-58 would continue to advance our progress toward more open and transparent government.

I again thank our friends in the other place for helping to make a good bill even better. I share the Information Commissioner's opinion that Bill C-58 is better than the current act and urge all members to join me in supporting it.

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3:45 p.m.

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I salute and congratulate my colleague from Gatineau.

When I am here in Ottawa I live in Quebec, like many members of Parliament from Quebec. He is my representative, so I always pay close attention to what he says and to the mailings he sends out fairly frequently.

I also want to congratulate him on his new position as Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board. As the official opposition's Treasury Board critic, I am happy to know that I will be debating my colleague in the days we have left in the House. We are getting this started off right.

It will soon be my turn to speak and to explain some of our serious concerns about this bill. For this reason, I have a question for the parliamentary secretary. The Senate's 12th proposed amendment is as follows:

(b.1) use any code, moniker or contrived word or phrase in a record in place of the name of any person, corporation, entity, third party or organization;”

This proposed amendment from the Senate is very important. It would mean that the government could not use monikers or codes in communications with others.

I would like to know why the government rejected this amendment, which we think is very important and crucial. I will explain why shortly in my speech.

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3:45 p.m.

Liberal

Greg Fergus Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for Louis-Hébert for his question. I apologize, I meant the member for Louis-Saint-Laurent. It is a good question. Perhaps he should let someone else make their speech before he makes his, because I think that my answer will lead him to modify some of his concerns.

First of all, the member is raising a serious point. I think that my hon. colleague will acknowledge that we cannot consider that proposal without considering the consequences of the amendment.

For instance, if the RCMP is carrying out an operation and they give it a name, as they often do, will we sue the RCMP agents because they used a name that is not the real name of the person who is being investigated?

That is why we must delve into this. A mere statement by the other chamber is not reason enough to sue people for hiding things. Allow me to give a 30-second explanation. A public servant would violate the current legislation if they intentionally hide someone's name in order to prevent a document from becoming accessible or subject to the Access to Information Act. That is already in violation of the act's provisions.

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3:45 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron NDP Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to congratulate my colleague from Hull—Aylmer on his new role as Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board.

My question has to do with the amendments proposed by the Senate and the committee. In committee, NDP members proposed 36 amendments. About 20 of them were considered, but none of them were adopted. Most of the NDP's amendments were related to clause 6. Clause 6 of the original bill had to do with the conditions that must be met when submitting an access to information request, conditions that the Information Commissioner described as excessive. They would have impeded journalists' investigations, for example.

Is the government planning to make a habit of rejecting legitimate amendments that are proposed in committee and then accepting them when they come from the Senate? The amendments proposed by my colleague were very similar to those the government finally agreed to.

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3:50 p.m.

Liberal

Greg Fergus Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my NDP colleague for his question.

It raises the importance of carefully considering amendments to bills. Of course, we took very seriously the recommendations made by members of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics. We considered and debated them. Unfortunately, we did not have enough time to come to a decision. However, as a result of the amendments raised by all members of the committee, the department held a brainstorming session. Then, when similar proposals were made by the other place, we had enough time to think about them and to agree to the very good amendments that were first proposed by the members of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics. That is why we have agreed to them now.

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3:50 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the comments from the parliamentary secretary. I had the opportunity at a much earlier date to provide some thoughts on the legislation.

What we have before us is actually some very substantial changes overall, a modernization in fact, many would argue, within the legislation itself, something that was long overdue. We have witnessed a great deal of work over the last couple of years. Even prior to the legislation coming before the House, there was a great deal of consultation done.

Could my colleague provide his thoughts on how we got to where we are today?

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3:50 p.m.

Liberal

Greg Fergus Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, first of all, we got here on a road with a lot of good intentions along the way, but as we know, good intentions are not enough. We have to follow up with action.

The original access to information law was proposed back before there was even something called the World Wide Web, back in the mid-1980s. That was the last time we had an opportunity to have the current framework of the access to information law. Every government since that time, and I would say especially the Harper government, promised that this was going to be a top priority. It was one of the few things it was going to do to improve the accountability of government, but the Harper government failed to act.

Finally, it is time to stop passing the buck. We took it on. Not only did we take it on, we made sure—

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3:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Order. Questions and comments, the hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands.

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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate my hon. colleague on his first speech as the Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board. I just wish he had better content for his first speech.

Bill C-58 is such a massive disappointment. I have never seen a commissioner like the Privacy Commissioner pan legislation as this was panned. I have to confess that while I try to keep up with absolutely everything in this place, I have not seen if the Senate amendments are capable of making this bill worth supporting.

I read an article which says that the Liberals' new freedom of information bill is garbage. I wonder if there is any reference that the hon. parliamentary secretary could direct us to from any impartial experts. Is there anything from a third party source that could be referenced at this point indicating that it is a substantial improvement?

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3:50 p.m.

Liberal

Greg Fergus Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, I do appreciate the question from the hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands.

I can tell the hon. member that perhaps she should have kept up to date. I would not assume that she has not kept up to date, but she admitted she might not have kept up to date with the last little bit. As of May 14, the Information Commissioner actually had this to say before committee:

...the current version of the act is definitely a better bill than what we have currently....I think [the former commissioner's] call for changes has been responded to....I'm really hoping that Bill C-58 will be passed, yes....

I think we have done our duty. Is better always possible? Absolutely, and that is why we included a provision to take another look at the act a year after it receives royal assent and review the entire act every five years.

That way, we will avoid waiting 34 years to update a bill that is crucial to ensuring the people view the government as legitimate.

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3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased and proud to speak to Bill C-58 as the official opposition critic for the Treasury Board.

Let us put things in perspective. The bill was debated and passed in the House. Then it was sent to the Senate, which proposed amendments. In accordance with our legislative and parliamentary procedure, once the Senate made its proposals, these must be brought back to the House for analysis, and the House must accept or reject the proposals. The government calls the shots in that regard.

Essentially, the government has decided to accept most of the Senate's amendments, but it opposed four proposals, two of which are particularly interesting.

In the time I have, I will take an in-depth look and clearly explain why those four proposals should be in the act. Unfortunately, the government rejected them.

That attitude has led to the one of the worst crises of public confidence in the government, especially when it comes to the respect that the government should have for the responsibilities of the Canadian army. In fact, just a few minutes ago, here in the House, we honoured some of our bravest men and women in uniform.

Bill C-58 is a tricky bill. It is tricky yet essential, since it concerns privacy protection and the disclosure of information. We basically need to strike a balance between the public's right to information and privacy.

I know what I am talking about, having had the good fortune and privilege of being a journalist for more than 20 years. On July 17, 1989, I was officially hired as a journalist by the TQS television station in Quebec City. That was the start of a 20-year career. Actually, the year before that, I was hired by the Canadian Press to fill in as a parliamentary reporter covering the National Assembly of Quebec. During the 1988 general election, Michel Dolbec, who was a journalist at NTR and the Canadian Press, left. I replaced him for six weeks. That was my first experience as a journalist. I am not going to get into my entire life story. My point is that this is very important to me.

This issue is quite important, because we are talking about the balance we have to protect, as parliamentarians, between the right to information, which means that we protect the good work of the free press in our democracy, and on the other hand, making sure that people have their privacy respected. It is not a very easy thing to address, but this is what democracy is all about. It is about letting the press do its job while making sure that people are well protected with regard to their privacy, and especially their private lives.

It has been quite a while since this legislation was first brought forward and all the political parties committed to reviewing it. It is important to remember that the first Privacy Act dates back to 1983.

If we look back 36 years, we were entering a new world. Certain rules were needed. Year after year, successive governments thought that the rules would need to be updated one day to ensure that the approach taken in 1983 was still relevant. In 2006, the Conservative government initiated the first update to that legislation.

As mentioned earlier by the Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board and member for Hull—Aylmer, who is also my MP when I am in Ottawa, the fact is that in 1983, the World Wide Web, the system that led to the Internet, was not nearly as widely used as it is today. It was basically restricted to very small scientific and military circles.

To get back to what I was saying, in 2006, the Conservatives laid the foundation for a much-needed update. From one government to the next, election after election, everyone committed to reviewing the legislation to adapt it to the realities of the 21st century, such as the advent of social media and greater access to information. This dramatically changed how journalists and investigators do their jobs, as well as the information to which everyone has access.

Members will also recall that in 2016, in the last Parliament, a report was tabled that included 32 recommendations. Most of them made their way into the legislation and have been implemented to various degrees. Some of the recommendations that were not included in the legislation were subsequently proposed by the Senate and were either implemented or rejected by the government, which is part of the legislative process.

This piece of legislation is quite important, because since 1983, we have had a law here in Canada on the protection of personal information. It has been a long ride since then, but we have to understand that in 1983, there was no World Wide Web, aside from in some laboratories, universities and the military. People in general did not have access to this new reality of the 21st century. That is why, when my party was in office in 2006, we touched up that legislation, and finally, in this Parliament, the government tabled Bill C-58.

The first version of this bill was introduced a while back. That may come as a bit of a surprise, since this bill was the next logical step after the Liberal Party's election promise to address the dire need for more democratic privacy legislation. This promise appeared in the Liberals' infamous election platform, along with a number of other broken promises. For instance, they promised to run three modest deficits. Instead, they have posted three huge deficits in the last three years. In 2015, the Liberal Party also promised a zero deficit by 2019, but we now have a $19.8-billion deficit. The government has not kept its word, and Canadians will pay the price.

The Liberals' election platform also included a promise to update the privacy legislation, which led to Bill C-58. That is why I am talking about it in this speech. Obviously, when we talk about something, we must get to the point, lay out the facts and stay focused. I just felt it was important to remind the House that the Liberal Party's 2015 election platform said that they would introduce legislation on this issue, and the result was Bill C-58. Their platform also included a string of broken promises that the Liberals will have to answer for on October 21.

I would like to table the document in question, that is, the election platform. Over the past three years, I probably tried to do so 150 times, which is barely an exaggeration, but my requests are always denied. Again today, after question period, I asked for leave to table an official document of the Government of Quebec's environment ministry, which was tabled in the National Assembly by the Quebec premier on November 29. Unfortunately, once again, the government refused to let Canadians have access, here in the House, to serious, rigorous, scientific and official data on the environment compiled by the Government of Quebec. We will definitely have an opportunity to come back to this. In short, this was an important piece of legislation for the government.

When the new cabinet was sworn in at Rideau Hall, in November 2015, after the November 19 election, the Prime Minister gave each new minister a mandate letter. The Minister of Democratic Institutions' mandate letter stated, “Work with the President of the Treasury Board and the Minister of Justice to enhance the openness of government, including supporting a review of the Access to Information Act.”

Then, there is the Minister of Justice; he, too, was called upon to work collaboratively in his mandate letter. Actually, back then, the position was held by a woman. I apologize for misleading the House. The fact of the matter is that the individual who once held the position of justice minister resigned and was ejected from caucus. She now sits as an independent.

This unfortunately happened in the wake of a situation considered to be shameful and outrageous by any Canadian who understands that politics and the judicial process must be kept separate. I will talk more about this later.

The justice minister's mandate letter stated the following:

Work with the President of the Treasury Board to enhance the openness of government, including supporting his review of the Access to Information Act to ensure that Canadians have easier access to their own personal information, that the Information Commissioner is empowered to order government information to be released and that the Act applies appropriately to the Prime Minister’s and Ministers’ Offices, as well as administrative institutions that support Parliament and the courts.

I should also point out that the president of the treasury board in question also resigned. The Prime Minister claimed that he was behind all of this government's misfortunes in 2019. I will talk more about this later.

That is no small task that the Prime Minister gave his former justice minister, whom he later ousted from his caucus. Many of the tasks outlined in that letter did not even come close to being accomplished, but that is another story. Canadians will have their say on October 21, just four months and a few days from now.

In June 2017, after two years in office, the government introduced Bill C-58. I would like to recognize the outstanding work of my colleague in the upper chamber, Quebec Senator Claude Carignan. I believe I am allowed to say his name. Here in the House, we cannot identify MPs by their names, but I think I am allowed to do so when referring to a parliamentarian from the upper chamber.

Senator Carignan is a lawyer and the one responsible for the extraordinary legislation to protect whistleblowers. Members will recall that, two years ago, Senator Carignan introduced a bill in the Senate to provide better protection for whistleblowers. I had the great honour and privilege to sponsor that bill here in the House of Commons. We would therefore like to recognize Senator Carignan's outstanding work to protect access to information, freedom of the press and journalists' ability to do their job properly.

Senator Carignan played a major role in the analysis of this bill. Senator Carignan is a lawyer and a well-known parliamentarian who was nominated 10 years ago by Prime Minister Harper. He is doing a tremendous job with respect to protecting whistle-blowers. He tabled a bill two years ago in the Senate. I had the privilege of being the sponsor here in the House of Commons of this great piece of legislation.

I want to pay my respects to Senator Carignan, who played a major role in the study of Bill C-58 in the Senate of Canada.

In a speech he gave in the upper chamber on May 3, Senator Carignan noted that former information commissioner Suzanne Legault had expressed serious reservations in her report about Bill C-58, which had been tabled in the Senate in September 2017, writing:

Rather than advancing access to information rights, Bill C-58 would instead result in a regression of existing rights.

Later in his speech, Senator Carignan made the following remark:

Senator Pate spoke about this. A number of Indigenous groups have asked that Bill C-58 be simply withdrawn. Former information commissioners have spoken out against it. Several commentators hope it will not be passed. Senator McCoy pointed out that Bill C-58 makes a mockery of the very essence of access to information, and I share her opinion. She wanted the Senate to block the bill, but she dares not do it now.

Senator Carignan was warning of a very valid and relevant issue that had been raised by many commentators and journalists. Many professional journalists' associations felt that, although the government got elected by vaunting its lofty principles, the very essence of Bill C-58 fell well short of those goals.

As former information commissioner Suzanne Legault said, this was not a step forward, it was a step back. That is why the Senate did its work. Members will recall that the official opposition voted against the bill. Since we are now at the stage following the upper chamber's study of the bill and the tabling of amendments, let us focus on what the senators did.

That is why the amendments were tabled and voted for by a majority of senators. As I said, we are now studying the proposed amendments.

In the big picture, the government accepted most of the amendments tabled by the Senate, but unfortunately decided to put aside what we consider to be four key elements of this legislation and the amendment tabled by the the Senate.

The government said, in a very respectful way in the words that were read a few minutes ago, that it put aside amendments No. 3 and No. 12 and will also put aside paragraph No. 6. It also put aside amendment No. 15(c).

Now let us talk about two Senate amendments that we believe should be included in the legislation. Unfortunately, the current government is rejecting those amendments.

I will now look at amendment 12, which I mentioned earlier in my question to the Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board. The amendment proposes:

12. New clause 30.2, page 17: Add the following after line 37:

“30.2 Subsection 67.1(1) of the Act is amended by adding the following after paragraph (b):

(b.1) use any code, moniker or contrived word or phrase in a record in place of the name of any person, corporation, entity, third party or organization;”.

This is a key element that I will have a chance to debate later. I will also provide a specific example that we believe justifies keeping this subsection. Unfortunately, this amendment was rejected by the current government.

In the next few minutes, I will go over the tragic ordeal our country went through because of this government's arrogant attitude. I am referring to the sad affair of Vice-Admiral Norman.

The other amendment that we believe should have been accepted is amendment 3, which reads:

3. New clause 6.2, page 4: Add the following after line 4:

“6.2 Subsection 9(2) of the Act is replaced by the following:

(2) An extension of a time limit under paragraph (1)(a) or (b) may not be for more than 30 days except with the prior written consent of the Information Commissioner.”.

Before getting to the topic at hand, I want to commend the outstanding work of the legislative drafters. When we read clauses of bills, they can seem arduous and hard to understand. They are especially difficult to follow since the language is very technical. I would like to commend the outstanding work of the legislative drafters of the Parliament of Canada, who check, word for word, line by line—

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4:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

The member for Cariboo—Prince George on a point of order.

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4:15 p.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I do not think we have quorum.

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4:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

We do not have quorum. I would ask for the bells to ring.

And the bells having rung:

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4:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

We now have a quorum.

The hon. member for Louis-Saint-Laurent.

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4:15 p.m.

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my B.C. colleague for reminding us about the respect that we, as parliamentarians, should have for rules and customs. It is not because we are full of ourselves that we want to have a lot of people here listening to the person who has the floor, who just so happens to be me right now.

I want to recognize the outstanding work done by the people who draft bills for Canada's Parliament, because that is an extremely difficult job. It takes years of practice and, above all, dedication to doing things right, down to the last detail. I very much appreciate their work.

In December 2004, if memory serves, I did a story on the legislative specialists working for Quebec's revenue ministry. They are the people who write budget implementation bills, which are extremely intricate. I would just like to pay tribute to the Hon. Lawrence Bergman, Quebec's revenue minister under the Hon. Jean Charest. Mr. Charest was well known here in the House of Commons from 1984 to 1997 as an MP, minister, deputy prime minister, party leader and deputy speaker of the House of Commons.

That said, we think it is important to include those four elements in the legislation, which is exactly what the Liberal government did not do. I mentioned that we Conservatives were particularly concerned about the issue of monikers. In the Norman affair, unfortunately, people with bad intentions—and I can say this with the protection of the House—started a witch hunt. I will prove this over the new few minutes. That is completely unacceptable in our democratic system, especially when we consider the respect that the political branch needs to show for the legal system and the military system. Unfortunately, there were attempts to lump everything all together, without talking about the financial repercussions it could have on Canada's shipping industry.

The people conducting the investigations used code names to cover up their work. In our view, that practice should be harshly condemned. We applauded the fact that the Senate adopted amendment 3, which would put an end to that practice. As the Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board announced, it is their right and their prerogative, and I respect that. I am a parliamentarian first and foremost, and a champion of democracy above all else. However, we believe that the government is wrong to reject that amendment, because it pertains to an abhorrent practice and one of the most direct attacks by political authority on judicial authority and military authority, all for financial gain and dishonourable purposes.

I am going to talk about what happened with the Asterix, since that is what this is all about, as well as Vice-Admiral Norman and the contract awarded by the Government of Canada in 2015 for the construction of that supply ship. The contract was awarded to a shipyard in Lévis called Davie. Meanwhile, pressure was being applied by a competing shipyard, Irving, which interfered in the executive process of our parliamentary system by lobbying some of the most senior cabinet members directly.

We should first talk about Vice-Admiral Norman, one of the most decorated and honourable members of the Canadian military. His dedication, professionalism and sense of duty led him to accomplish great things. He is the son of an army officer and grandson of a First World War veteran; honour runs in his blood. Vice-Admiral Norman studied in Kingston before joining the naval reserve and pursuing a career in the navy. He is a specialist in above water warfare and has held a number of posts, including on the maiden operational deployment of HMCS Halifax, and as executive officer of HMCS Iroquois, commanding officer of the frigate HMCS St. Johns and, more recently, commander of Canadian Fleet Atlantic.

At every step of his career, from his days in the naval reserve to his promotion to one of the highest ranks in the navy, that of vice-admiral, he always acted with a level of honour befitting his rank, never betraying the faith placed in him by his peers.

Sadly, history will show that this government dragged an honourable man through the mud for their own, purely self-serving, financial purposes. The government disgraced itself. Incidentally, let's hope the Canadian public voices its extreme displeasure over this issue on October 21.

Let's not forget that all of this happened because, during the 41st Parliament, the previous government, a Conservative government, contracted the Davie shipyard in Lévis to build a supply ship.

As soon as the Conservative government was defeated and the new Liberal government took over, Irving immediately started pressuring the newly elected government to review the decision. This resulted in a judicial inquiry, which led to the vice-admiral, an honourable man, being dismissed and dragged through the mud by the current government, including the Prime Minister, who made some unfortunate comments. Heads of state need to choose their words carefully. Unfortunately, on two separate occasions, the Prime Minister said that there would be a trial, even though nothing had been announced. This was some utterly unacceptable political interference in the judicial system, not unlike what we saw with the SNC-Lavalin scandal. It is worth remembering all of this.

Since my time is limited, I will be brief, but I do want to remind members about the unfortunate Vice-Admiral Norman affair, which runs deep and which will leave a permanent scar on this government.

Paul Martin's Liberal government looked at the possibility of replacing some supply ships in 2004, but the decision was ultimately made in 2015.

There had been talk of the need for a new supply ship since 2004 and a number of steps were taken. Finally, on November 18, 2014, Vice-Admiral Norman informed the Standing Committee on National Defence that Canada needed new supply ships.

In 2004, Paul Martin's Liberal government announced that Canada would need a new supply ship. Then, on November 18, 2014, in front of a parliamentary committee, Vice-Admiral Norman stated that Canada was indeed in need of a new supply ship. In January 2015, the federal government decided that it needed to follow through on that request. On June 23, 2015, the current Premier of Alberta, the Hon. Jason Kenney, who was the defence minister at the time, announced that the government was in discussions with Davie shipyard in Lévis about a temporary supply ship.

This announcement was made on June 23, on the eve of Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day, Quebec's national holiday or, as some call it, the summer solstice, but that is another story. This happened just a few hours before Quebec's national holiday.

On June 23, 2015, the defence minister, on behalf of the Conservative government, announced that it was initiating talks with Davie. On August 1, 2015, the Conservative government announced, a few hours before the election was called, that the Government of Canada had signed a letter of intent with Davie shipyard for the construction of a supply ship. Everything was going well up to that point. However, on October 19, 2015, Canadians cast their ballots, and the Liberal Party came to power. We are democrats and we respect the people's decision.

On October 8, 2015, the MV Asterix, which was chosen by Davie to be refitted as a supply ship, arrived at the shipyard in Quebec City.

November 17, 2015, is when the political interference in the entirely appropriate process initiated by the former government began.

I want to remind members that that is no small thing. I represent a riding in Quebec City, where the issue attracts considerable attention. Once again, for the third time, I would remind members, because this does in fact relate to Bill C-58, that in my 20 years as a journalist in Quebec City, I reported on the Davie shipyard between 150 to 200 times.

Of those 150 to 200 news reports, maybe three of them were positive because, unfortunately, as I recall, things were never going well for Davie. Our government granted funding to this shipyard, which was established in 1880. That is no small thing, and this is no small shipyard that we are talking about. It is the biggest shipyard we have with two huge dry docks where these sorts of big jobs can be done.

Some members will likely wonder why the Conservative government did not do anything about that in 2011. I will say two things. First, the government announcement in 2011 was based on the recommendations of a neutral and independent committee. Second, it is important to remember that, sadly, the Davie shipyard was technically bankrupt in 2011. No one takes any joy in that, but facts are facts. I would invite members to ask themselves whether they would be prepared to hire a company that is technically bankrupt to build their house. I am not so sure anyone would. That is what happened in 2011.

However, in 2015, under our government, Canada granted Davie a contract to build a supply ship and we all know now how well that turned out. I can confirm that the ship was indeed delivered on time and on budget. That does not happen very often. Davie workers and managers, the union leaders, and the new head and owner of the Davie shipyard all deserve our warmest congratulations and salutations for delivering this important part of Canada's arsenal, the Asterix, on time and on budget.

I was there on July 20, 2017, when Pauline Théberge, wife of the Hon. Michel Doyon, Lieutenant Governor of Quebec, broke a sacrificial bottle on the ship for good luck. We were there. I was very pleased and honoured to attend the ceremony along with a number of MPs and former Conservative ministers. Unfortunately, the current government was conspicuously absent from what was an important, positive and exciting event for Canada. That absence spoke volumes.

Getting back to our story about Mr. Norman and the contract for the Asterix, on November 17, 2015, just a few days after the Liberal government's cabinet was sworn in at Rideau Hall, James Irving, Irving's co-CEO, sent a letter to four Liberal ministers, namely the Minister of National Defence, the Minister of Finance, the former minister of public services and procurement, and the former Treasury Board president, Scott Brison. We have heard that name a lot over the past few months, and as we will see, there may be something of a connection with what happened here.

Mr. Irving went to bat for his shipyard, which is basically his job, and communicated directly with four of this government's senior ministers, including the Treasury Board president, the Minister of Defence and the Minister of Finance. They might not be the three aces, but they are pretty close. They are at the top of the federal government hierarchy. Mr. Irving wanted to revisit the contract awarded by the previous government.

Then, as it turns out, on November 19, 2015, during a federal cabinet meeting that Vice-Admiral Norman did not attend, the Treasury Board president shelved the Asterix project for two months to review the contract that had been awarded.

It was not until later that we found out why. Cabinet confidences were leaked to CBC journalist James Cudmore, who, on November 20, 2015, reported that the letter was not signed by November 30 as it should have been.

That is where the problems in this story all began. On November 16, 2016, the RCMP started putting Vice-Admiral Norman under surveillance. There was a police car in front of his house in Orleans, a suburb of Ottawa. As I was saying, he was dragged through the mud, and it was despicable. On January 9, 2017, seven police officers conducted a raid of Vice-Admiral Norman's home.

Let me quote some information. The seven police officers arrived at Vice-Admiral Mark Norman's home. They “stayed [in the house] for six hours, and seized a desktop computer, a laptop, two cell phones and three iPads, one owned by [Norman's wife].”

Norman's defence would later argue that the RCMP, which had a warrant to seize “DND files and related material”, overstepped “by also seizing thousands of pieces of personal effects from the Norman family.”

This is totally unacceptable and outrageous. We are talking about one of the top soldiers in the Canadian Army. We are talking about the number two person in the Canadian Army, and the Liberals did not treat this honourable man as highly as they should treat a man who was so honourable in his career and in his personal life.

Other reprehensible events followed. The vice-admiral was relieved of his duties. On November 20, 2017, the Canadian government refused Vice-Admiral Norman's request for financial assistance for the legal expenses stemming from this crisis.

The Asterix was officially christened by the wife of the Lieutenant Governor of Quebec in July 2017. On December 23, 2017, the supply ship Asterix left Davie shipyard, near Quebec City, to commence operations. Over the past two years, the supply ship Asterix has distinguished itself as one of the best, if not the best, ship of all of Canada's allies. The contract our government awarded to the Davie shipyard was completed impeccably, not only in terms of budgets and deadlines, but also in terms of our military's needs.

Everything was going well until the political interference began. When asked about it, the Prime Minister twice said that Vice-Admiral Norman would be charged with a crime. He said that before any suit was officially filed in court. That is despicable. We are talking about clear interference by the Prime Minister of Canada, who is the head of the government, and therefore the head of the executive branch and, to some extent, the head of the legislative branch, in the judicial process.

This is not the only time he did this. We all remember the terrible SNC-Lavalin scandal, which led to the resignation of two senior government ministers, namely the former justice minister and the former president of the Treasury Board. Such political interference in the justice system is despicable.

The Prime Minister did not have to publicly announce that the Norman case would go to trial. We should let the courts and the justice system do their work. We cannot start predicting that certain cases will go to trial, unless we are talking about a backdoor deal, which we are not, even if it almost seems that way. That is what is despicable here.

What happened next? Vice-Admiral Norman was relieved of his duties under a cloud of deep suspicion. Police searched his home and confiscated his family's personal property. They went through his wife's iPad looking for information. Vice-Admiral Norman eventually requested access to evidence, emails and other records he needed to mount a full and complete defence. The government's lawyers continuously refused to grant him access to this important information, which was vital to mounting a full and complete defence of a man as honourable as the vice-admiral.

When the Canadian military's second-in-command is implicated in a case, we would at least expect the government to remain at arm's length. On the contrary, day after day, this government wanted to ensure that Mr. Norman did not have access to a full and complete defence. It refused to grant the financial assistance that would normally be provided to a man of his rank under such circumstances. Even when the charges were dropped, the government continued to refuse him this financial assistance, even though it had spent almost $15 million prosecuting him. The government steadfastly refused his request for financial assistance.

At the beginning of the court case, a request was made for access to important records, and there again, the government refused. Fortunately, the judicial system worked. A judge gave Mr. Norman access to certain pieces of evidence. Once everyone had access to this information, it suddenly became clear that there was no case and that this man should never have been dragged through the courts and the mud. This case will long be remembered by every Canadian as a shameful incident. Politicians interfered in a court case that was without merit.

Vice-Admiral Norman suffered for months and was left to defend himself alone and unaided. On May 8, the government realized that it might not have a case. It therefore dropped the charges against Mr. Norman and finally decided to pay his legal fees. My goodness, that is the least it could do. The government created this whole problem for nothing.

Once the government was forced by the court to disclose all of the evidence Mr. Norman was entitled to see, and once Canadian legal experts had access to this evidence, suddenly, there was no more story. What did this evidence include? Here is where I will make the connection to Bill C-58 and the Senate's third amendment, which was rejected by this government.

On December 18, 2018, Vice-Admiral Norman's team called two surprise witnesses, who provided evidence proving that Vice-Admiral Norman had the right to see names that had been redacted. The people in power had avoided using his name in their emails, specifically to avoid identifying him. This is a fundamental point. Furthermore, on January 29, 2019, a list was released showing acronyms and other military terms that had been used to refer to Vice-Admiral Norman.

Let me quote this in English because, in the proof, the important element was all written in English. Instead of talking about Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, they referred to him as “the boss,” “N3” and “C34”. The list was compiled by DND. Under questioning, the chief of the defence staff, General Jonathan Vance, said that “unless officials were specifically instructed to use these as search terms, subpoenas from Norman’s defence team may not have turned up documents that used those phrases.”

That is precisely why the Senate's third amendment must be maintained. The use of code names, especially in cases like this one, is completely unacceptable in our view. Mr. Speaker, let me correct something I just said. It is not amendment 3, but rather amendment 12. In my conversations with my colleagues, I have always called it the Norman amendment. This change aims to ensure that no one gets in the bad habit of identifying key people in criminal cases by code names. Incidentally, this was not actually a criminal case.

In the end, they realized that this man was more of a victim of the obnoxious attitude adopted by this government for purposes that I dare not even mention here in the House. The Liberals wanted to please certain friends here and there, rather than all Canadians. In our view, this use of code names should be stopped.

I know this brings up bad memories for the government. If I were a Liberal, I would definitely feel uncomfortable about this situation, the terrible Norman scandal, which has the Liberal government's fingerprints all over it.

This soldier dedicated his professional life to defending Canada with honour and dignity. He came from the humblest naval beginnings to rise through the ranks of the Royal Canadian Navy. At the peak of his career and his art, this man made sure that we could trust Canadian industry and the workers at the Davie shipyard in Lévis. Yes, everything was going well, yes, it was a success, and yes, it could be completed on time and on budget.

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4:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

I will take a minute to announce the questions for the adjournment debate this evening.

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 Courtenay—Alberni, The Environment; the hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands, Justice; the hon. member for Bow River, International Trade.

The hon. member for Louis-Saint-Laurent.

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4:40 p.m.

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, I always have great respect for your role, and the information you shared a few moments ago was entirely relevant.

I just want to emphasize the fact that the bill, which is about privacy, is important legislation. It is a refresh of something that was done in 1983 and touched up in 2006. Now it is time to refresh it and address the issue of the World Wide Web and the new realities of the 21st century.

I recognize and appreciate the fact that the bill would be reviewed in five years from now, which is good. However, there are issues that could have been addressed more correctly by the Liberal government. In our parliamentary system, we have the privilege of another House, the Senate, which is there to review every element without the political agenda of members of Parliament.

Great senators, like Senator Claude Carignan from Quebec, did a tremendous job to upgrade the bill. They tabled some very important amendments, especially amendment 12, which states that we should not use nicknames or other indications when identifying people, businesses or groups. We have to be clear. The government was wrong when it decided not to accept amendment 12. It should have kept it in the bill.

Unfortunately, an example of something the Liberal government will have to live with forever was its attack on an honourable man, Vice-Admiral Norman, without any proof. He was put in a very tough situation. The government put him out of his office and nearly put him out of his house when the RCMP arrived at the family home and grabbed hundreds of the family's personal effects. It was a disgrace what the government did. The court decided to allow the delivery of key information and then suddenly there was no more case, even when the Prime Minister had said twice before any charges were filed that it would finish in court. This is totally unacceptable.

As I explained in the last hour, this is why we have really big concerns with the bill as tabled by the government, especially because the government refused to address important amendments tabled by the Senate.

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4:45 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

Liberal

Greg Fergus LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Digital Government

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague from Louis-Hébert for his speech. Pardon me, I mean my colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent.

I also want to congratulate him on the anniversary of his journalistic career. It seems he may have forgotten how to be the good journalist he was 20 years ago. He did not get all the facts. There is something he forgot to consider, and that is the role of the Harper government, which was the first government in the entire Commonwealth to be found in contempt of the House of Commons for refusing to disclose certain information. Indeed, the government violated the Access to Information Act.

My colleague also forgot to mention that the Conservative government was the first government to be taken to court by the Parliamentary Budget Officer.

That government also cut the Auditor General's budget by $6.4 million. It cut the long form census.

I wonder if the hon. member would like to go through the depths of this and take a look at the previous Conservative government.

I should mention that he was not a member of Parliament at the time, but he still has to defend his government's record.

I would like to know how he can defend the Conservative government's record on access to information and all the measures it took to get around the legal requirements at the time.

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4:45 p.m.

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his kind words, saying I had been a good journalist for 20 years. I will not repeat that I won four national awards when I was a journalist. This was for the private sector of industry.

Sometimes my colleague refers to me as the member for Louis-Hébert, when I am actually the member for Louis-Saint-Laurent. Sometimes I say he is the member for Gatineau, when he is actually the member for Hull—Aylmer. Soon there will be a member for Louis-Hébert from my party. My party is currently the official opposition, but that is only temporary. In four months, we will be on the government side, if that is what Canadians want, of course.

It is rather strange to hear the member trying to lecture the Conservative government. Need I remind him that his leader, the Prime Minister, is the only prime minister to have been found guilty of breaking the ethics rules? He did so not once, not twice, not three times, but four times. What is more, he is currently under investigation for a fifth incident.

The member dared to mention the Auditor General. Need I remind him that, for the first time in history, the Auditor General has informed Parliament and the government that he does not have enough money to carry out two major investigations? That is why he needs to have the necessary funding. When we asked the entire Canadian government to help us deal with the worst economic crisis in the history of the 20th century since the Great Depression in the 1930s, and even when all of the institutions made the necessary efforts, the Auditor General never had to set aside any investigations that were under way. Never. However, that is what is happening under this government. I therefore encourage the member to get the facts.

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4:50 p.m.

NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet NDP Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, in his speech, the member raised several concerns with respect to Bill C-58. However, I see that the Conservatives did not propose a single amendment in committee. The NDP proposed 20, but the Conservatives proposed none.

If they had so many concerns about this bill, I would like to know why they did not propose any amendments.

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4:50 p.m.

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, everyone has their own strategy or approach to studying a bill. In this case, we looked at the bill in its entirety. In our view, there were so many aspects to be analyzed that the whole bill would have had to be rewritten. That is why we were very cautious. Once the bill had gone through the parliamentary process, that is, once it had gone through all three stages in the House and been studied in the Senate, and the Senate amendments had been submitted to the House, we felt it made sense to analyze each element of the bill. We are sad to see that the government has decided to reject amendment 12 as proposed and adopted by the Senate.

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4:50 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent for highlighting many of the issues we have with Bill C-58, and a lot of the failings of the government when it comes to transparency.

My colleague joined us recently on the operations committee, beating out 98 other Conservatives who were desperate to join me on that committee. Before he joined us, the committee put together a report on whistleblowers. Canada has some of the weakest whistleblower protections for public servants in the OECD.

The committee put together a unanimous report on how we could better protect public servants. We heard story after story, very similar to that of Vice-Admiral Norman, of public servants who came forward and had their lives destroyed by the government for daring to expose corruption and negligence, almost identical to Vice-Admiral Norman's story.

We put together a unanimous report, submitted it to the government. The then Treasury Board president, Scott Brison, took the report, promptly threw it in the garbage and did nothing. Later, we summoned him to the committee and he refused to return to the committee to report on why he was doing nothing to protect whistleblowers.

We have seen the Liberal government time and again refuse to be transparent. Are these the actions of a government that is trying to be open and transparent?

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4:50 p.m.

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have been on the OGGO, the government operations and estimates committee, with the member for the last year. I have learned a lot from his experiences.

I would remind the House that he was the one who highlighted the fact that in the last budget, the government did not calculate correctly. That was not a big surprise for us. The Liberals were elected by talking about a zero deficit in 2019. The reality is exactly the reverse of that. There is a huge deficit of nearly $20 billion.

The member raised a very serious issue. Civil servants should have the protection necessary to blow the whistle when things are not going well, as far as they are concerned. Those are the first witnesses. Civil servants are the first witnesses to how things could go wrong and how we could fix it. For that, they should have all the protection necessary.

Hopefully, those civil servants will have all the protection they need and also will not have to suffer attacks from other people, especially those driven by a political agenda, as happened, unfortunately, to one of the bravest soldiers we have in the Canadian Army, Vice-Admiral Norman. He had to suffer for the last two years because of the Liberal government.

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4:50 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, it does not surprise me that my colleague across the way an award recipient for his role in the media. We all know the media is an important part of our democracy. He was also the recipient of the Parliamentarian of the Year award last year, and I congratulate him for that.

Having said that, I would ask the member to reflect on the 10 years of Stephen Harper. There was a commitment from the former Conservative government to attempt to do something with access to information. We made a commitment in the last federal election that we would bring forward legislation, and this is the most detailed, thorough piece of legislation in the last 30-plus years dealing with access to information. As a government, we believe in accountability and transparency.

Would the member have anything to say in regard to the era of Stephen Harper, who also made the commitment but failed to live up to that commitment?

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4:55 p.m.

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to listen to the speeches from my colleague for Winnipeg North. If I do not have a chance to see him before the weekend, I know he will be at Macdonald's or Tim Hortons, having a coffee with constituents this weekend. One day I will go there and surprise him.

The hon. member brings up an important issue. It is true that in 1983, the government of the Prime Minister's father tabled a bill that was a first part of the story. However, in 2006, a government elected by the people, led by the Right Hon. Stephen Harper, touched up this bill. Yes, we did achieve something.

Unfortunately, the member seems to have forgotten the fact that in 2006, under a Conservative government, we addressed this issue. Did we address it as he would have preferred? Maybe not, but democracy is all about that.

We were elected three times to achieve our goal.

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4:55 p.m.

NDP

Murray Rankin NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to participate in this important debate. I want to say at the outset that what we are technically addressing is a motion by the government that would refuse the 19 or 20 amendments to Bill C-58 that were proposed by the Senate. The NDP opposes the motion. It cannot support a bill that does not include the amendments that were brought to this place by the Senate. I will explain why in my remarks.

It is a very disturbing situation we find ourselves in. During the election campaign, the government committed to transparency. Indeed, the Prime Minister, when in opposition, introduced Bill C-613, an act to amend the Parliament of Canada Act and the Access to Information Act. We could call it the transparency bill. Bill C-58, therefore, is not something the Liberals simply decided to propose on a whim. It was the result of a considered effort by the government to deliver on an election promise on transparency.

It was a total disappointment when it came forward. That is not me speaking. It is from the former information commissioner of Canada, Suzanne Legault. Members know, just as I do, how unusual it is for an independent officer of Parliament, such as the Information Commissioner, to give the kind of criticism I would like to read into the record today.

On September 28, 2017, when the bill first came forward, she said that bill would “take people’s right to know backwards rather than forward”, according to the National Post. The article went on:

In her first substantive comments on the legislation, [the former commissioner] said the measures fail to deliver on Liberal election promises. “If passed, it would result in a regression of existing rights.”

She put forward 28 recommendations to improve the legislation, and they are not found, in any significant degree, in Bill C-58. That is why, when I stood in this place during debate on the bill earlier, I reluctantly said, with sadness, that we had to oppose the bill. If the government is not even prepared to take the baby steps represented by the Senate amendments, clearly we cannot afford to pass what even the commissioner so eloquently said was a regressive bill. She is right, for reasons I will come to.

Like the member for Louis-Saint-Laurent, who is justly acclaimed for his awards in the world of journalism, I received an award as well for my work on freedom of information. It was from the hon. Ged Baldwin, who was once the member of Parliament for Peace River, for work I did at graduate school and then with the Canadian Bar Association, so many years ago, lobbying for an access to information act. It was modelled on legislation other countries have taken for granted. The United States has had it since the sixties, Sweden since the 18th century, and so on.

Finally, Canada got an access to information act. However, it is old. It was passed in the eighties. It is from horse-and-buggy days, yet some of those old features have not been corrected in the bill before us.

I care deeply about the issue. I think it is central to a democracy. The Supreme Court of Canada has called the right to know, freedom of information and access to information a “quasi-constitutional right” Canadians have. When the former commissioner says that the bill is regressive and is a step backwards, despite the bold promises of transparency the Prime Minister made when he was leader of the third party in the House, we can imagine the disappointment of Canadians.

Of course, it is not only this Canadian who has that disappointment. I should point out that Canadian Journalists for Free Expression and the Centre for Law and Democracy called the bill “inadequate” and asked that the government withdraw it.

The Senate has brought forward improvements, and for the government to say it cannot even go there is frankly shocking.

What is wrong with the bill? I do not quite know where to start. One thing it gets right, I concede, is that for the first time, there is an order-making power for the commissioner.

Just to step back, what should an access to information act contain? It should contain three things.

First, it should contain a general statement that the public has a right to government records.

Second, it should have obvious exceptions to that rule. We can all guess what they are. They are all included in this legislation, and then some. They include cabinet confidences, business information, policy advice, solicitor-client records and information that if disclosed would be injurious to national security or international relations. There are the rules, and there are exceptions.

Third, there should be an independent umpire in the game. Until this bill goes through, that umpire, the Information Commissioner, has only been able to make recommendations, which the government has frequently ignored. Now there would be something like an order that could be made and enforced in the Federal Court. That is something I believe is worth support. I also support that there would be a legislative review of these provisions within five years. I think that is good.

I talked about Liberal promises. One thing the Liberals talked about constantly in the last election was that the bill would be extended to the Prime Minister's Office and ministers' offices. Those records would be available. They are available in provincial laws. They are certainly available in my province of British Columbia. That was a black and white election promise that has now been broken by the current government. There is no way to sugar-coat that.

The Senate amendments would improve it and give it a bit more teeth, but that is simply not on in terms of this legislation. I am grateful to the Senate for the 20 amendments that would, if passed, allow us to begrudgingly accept the improvements in this bill. However, the government has now put us on notice that it does not want to go anywhere near them. It likes the bill the way it is, despite the fact that it was castigated by everyone who knows about access to information in Canada. The academics and journalists who studied it and the advocates out there who use it as a tool to hold their government to account all said that it is not going to work and that it is just not enough. That was sad to me.

In opposition, the Prime Minister said, “a country's access to information system is at the heart of open government.”

I talked about transparency. The Liberals seemed to like it in opposition. The Prime Minister said during the campaign, “transparent government is good government.” That was something he said during the campaign.

Let us get more specific. He said:

We will...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.

Unfortunately, that did not happen in this legislation.

What the government likes to talk about is what it calls proactive disclosure, which is a good thing. That is when a minister travels and puts his or her expenses on the website so Canadians can see whether there has been abuse. That is done proactively. If one goes to the website, there it is. Frankly, it is old hat in Canada. It has been around for decades in the provinces. However, as much as I like that, the fact is that it is not what people want. If they want to apply to that minister's office to understand about a particular contract or something for which the minister is responsible, they cannot get anywhere with it, because the ministers' offices are not subject to the law. It is a bizarre aberration.

I had the good fortune of being the unpaid adviser to the attorney general when B.C.'s freedom of information act was brought forward. I can say that we did a lot of consultation. I think there were 52 amendments made on the floor. The bill was passed unanimously and was praised as the best bill in the Commonwealth when it came forward. Unfortunately, it needs more work. I hope it is amended, like this bill. Nevertheless, it was the gold standard at the time. There was never any question about ministers' offices not being covered.

The government has what is called in the trade a “Mack truck clause”. It was not changed. It is the clause that was section 69 in the original bill, the cabinet confidences Mack truck clause. What does that mean? Rather than just being an exemption, an exception to the rule, of which I spoke earlier, the act does not even apply to it. What does that mean? It means that we cannot have the commissioner's office or anyone else deciding whether stuff has been stuffed into a cabinet record to evade the law on the right people have to access information. It is called a “Mack truck clause”, or often, “cabinet laundering”. That means that the government sticks a record in the cabinet. I am not saying that this happened. I am not suggesting bad faith, but it is certainly possible under the law. That is why it was so criticized during the day.

What else does the Senate do that the government will not go near? We have heard a lot about Mark Norman today. The Senate would add a clause that would create a new offence forbidding the use of any “code, moniker or contrived word or phrase in a record in place of the name of any person, corporation, entity, third party or organization” with a view to evading the duty to disclose and release records under the act.

We all know why that is there, because it is notorious that to evade the law on access to information, the Department of National Defence did not even use the name of Mark Norman or his rank. It used a phony word, contrary to the spirit of the act and certainly the letter of the act. This would make it clear that this could not be done in the future, which seems to be good public policy.

It seems to me obvious that if the government intends to evade the letter and spirit of the act, as this government has done, we would want to correct that misbehaviour. The Senate saw through that, proposed amendments and brought them here, and the government has not even allowed us to talk about them. We are going to just put them all aside. That is quite disturbing. It is not a theoretical problem, in other words. It is a real problem that the Senate wanted to address, because we got wind of it in the litigation involving Mark Norman. The government will not fix it. It does not even want to go there.

There are some other changes that are technical in nature, but the big principle is that the bill, after so many years of ossification, is rusting out. The bill came forward before we even had computers, and now the government is doing tinkering and patting itself on the back for doing what in other jurisdictions has been the law for a generation.

I am hard pressed to find things to say about the bill that are positive. I appreciate the fact that there would be a five-year review and that, as I said earlier, finally, in keeping with all the provinces' laws, the order-making power would be available to the commissioner. That is pretty thin gruel after all these years. Nevertheless, it has to be acknowledged as a positive change. However, on balance, the bill is very, very disturbing.

I wish I could be here saying that the bill has merit. I wish I could be saying that there were some of those things I talked about, like cabinet confidences being a regular exception for which courts and others would have the theoretical ability to review disclosure decisions, but there is nothing here that would do that.

There is another issue. That is the duty to document. One of the modern issues that has come forward is that to evade the public's right to know, there is a great oral tradition that seems to have emerged. Things are not written down in government documents. Either little yellow stickies are put on them, which are removed when disclosure applications are made, or, more frequently, a record is not made at all. We have seen that in British Columbia, the development of the so-called oral culture of government.

The notion of documenting and having a duty to record for future generations and others just exactly what decision was made and for what reasons is lacking. In administrative law, there has been a growing commitment, the courts have found, to provide reasons for decisions that are made. Sometimes access to information has been a tool to elucidate the reasons a particular decision was made, so people have been calling for a duty to document. There is no such thing in this law, I am sad to say.

In conclusion, the government has taken off the table all the work the Senate did that would have made it possible to support this bill. The Senate amendments made it better, said Caroline Maynard, the Information Commissioner of Canada. Had those amendments gone through, the New Democratic Party would have supported this bill.

To take all those amendments off the table and leave what has been soundly criticized, in all quarters, by academics, user groups and journalist groups, and say that we should be happy with what is remaining is simply an outrage. We cannot dignify this with our support.

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5:10 p.m.

Liberal

Chris Bittle Liberal St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, anyone who is from St. Catharines should be listened to, and I appreciate that.

The current Information Commissioner, Caroline Maynard, noted that our proposed legislation is “definitely a better bill than what we have currently”. She said that her predecessor's call for changes has been responded to. She said, “I am really hoping that Bill C-58 will be passed.”

I am wondering if the member could comment on that and why that differs from the NDP's position on the bill.

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5:10 p.m.

NDP

Murray Rankin NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is always a pleasure to rise and speak to someone so wise from the city of St. Catharines, a place I have come to love. I am delighted that he pointed that out.

For many years, Suzanne Legault served Canadians with distinction as our information commissioner. If one read her annual reports over the years, one would see there was an increasing skepticism and sadness that was easily found. She said that the measures failed to deliver on Liberal election promises and “if passed, the bill would result in a regression of existing rights.” With all of the years of experience that she has, I take her comments seriously.

As regards the comments of Ms. Maynard, the new commissioner, she said that the “current version of the act is definitely a better bill than what we have currently. The act right now is 35 years old, and what is being proposed in the amendments has made it better.”

I take her comments to include a reference to those amendments which the government, through its motion, has taken entirely off the floor.

Access to Information ActGovernment Orders

5:10 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Victoria for yet again a very cogent reminder of how effective a member he has been in the House with his presentation of all of the weaknesses of the Liberals' attempt to deny and delay on access to information. He set out very clearly why it is so important to have the bill amended, which is what the Liberal government has absolutely refused to do. The Liberals are gutting improvements that they refused in the House of Commons.

When the bill went to committee, the Liberals just rammed it through without accepting many of the dozens of amendments that had come from opposition parties like the NDP. Now the Senate has shown some intelligence in dealing with this particular issue, and again the Liberal gang is trying to railroad the bill through the House of Commons.

The member for Victoria provides so much depth of detail and intelligence to his analysis of these types of bills. His voice will be missed in the House of Commons. There is no doubt about that.

What does he feel is the most egregious aspect of the deny and delay aspects of the bill, allowing the government to deny a whole range of applications for access to information, information that belongs to Canadians, and delay responding to these requests for access to information in the same way the former Stephen Harper government did?

Access to Information ActGovernment Orders

5:15 p.m.

NDP

Murray Rankin NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from New Westminster—Burnaby for his very kind remarks.

He talked about the amendments. I was involved in bringing forth some 36 amendments to Bill C-58 at committee. Many of them were deemed inadmissible because they were beyond the scope of the bill we were amending, but they were part of the package that all of those academics and activists and journalists had asked us to bring forward. Twenty were ultimately accepted as admissible, but of course, the government disallowed every single one of them. Why the Liberals are opposed to this I do not know.

Journalist Jeremy Nuttall, who writes for the Tyee, talks about writing cheques for $5. People have to pay $5. It costs the government way more money to cash the cheque than to do otherwise. One cannot go online like can be done in British Columbia with a credit card and request the information.

The Liberals pride themselves on updating the bill but they are stuck with this horse and buggy bill. It is very hard to understand why they would not take the opportunity to improve it. It is not like all of the provinces have not done stuff that the government could learn from. The Liberals are so rigid and do not seem to accept that we can do it better for Canadians. I am not suggesting that the provinces' legislation is perfect by any stretch, but it is so much better than what we have here.

Access to Information ActGovernment Orders

5:15 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

Liberal

Greg Fergus LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Digital Government

Mr. Speaker, first, I have heard the member say at least on two occasions during his speech to the House that no amendments were accepted by the government on this piece of legislation, whereas, as I said in my speech, and as is indicated in the motion on the Order Paper, the government has accepted all but four amendments from the Senate. We could engage in a debate on that, but I want to make sure we are talking about the facts.

Second, I heard the member say the department can refuse to respond to an access to information request. That is not quite correct. The department can refuse to answer an access to information request only with the permission of the Information Commissioner. I am wondering if that was an oversight by the member.

Access to Information ActGovernment Orders

5:15 p.m.

NDP

Murray Rankin NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the hon. member for Hull—Aylmer on becoming a parliamentary secretary in this important field.

The amendments of which I spoke were the ones brought forward at the ethics committee by the NDP. I gave notice of 36 amendments and 20 were accepted as admissible, but none was put in the bill. I stand corrected if I gave misinformation on that.

As for the fact that the department can refuse a request but the commissioner can override it goes to an important point. There has been no suggestion that the commissioner's office, which has been strapped for resources for years—the complaint of that office every year is that it simply does not have the tools to do the job—will have the ability, in a practical way, to give meaning to that. It sounds good on paper, but whether, in practical terms, it will change anything, I do not know.

Second, there is no such approach in any of the provincial legislation. A simpler, cleaner way would be to limit the exceptions and allow order-making power in a much more robust fashion than this bill contains.

Access to Information ActGovernment Orders

5:20 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, this gives me another opportunity to praise the member for Victoria for his due diligence and work on this particular issue and so many others on behalf of Canadians from coast to coast to coast. He is certainly one of the most learned and knowledgeable members of Parliament that this House has seen in the century and a half that it has existed. We really appreciate the work that he has done. He may dismiss the learned erudition that he brings, but we certainly do not.

I would like the member to speculate on why the Liberal government would, first, refuse all amendments at committee and then, after the other place provided some helpful amendments that would benefit what people across the country are looking for in access to information, why it would gut the bill a second time when there is so much opportunity to accept amendments and improve the legislation.

Access to Information ActGovernment Orders

5:20 p.m.

NDP

Murray Rankin NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, this is not unique to the current government. It is a fact of life and it applies to parties on all sides. Access to information sounds like a good idea when one is in opposition and can use it as a tool, but when in government, it is expensive and is a pain. The public servants do not like it and one certainly does not like seeing embarrassing information, to which the public has a right, nevertheless on the front pages of The Globe and Mail or Le Devoir. That is a reality facing every government from left to right to centre, and I understand that, but when our courts say it is a quasi-constitutional right to know and the government takes half measures, at least some measures that are considered regressive, then it is a question we have to ask.

The Liberals made so much in opposition about their commitment to transparency. Of all the topics the Prime Minister could have chosen to introduce as his private member's bill, it was, guess what, amendments to the Access to Information Act. When Pat Martin, a former member, came to the House, he simply reintroduced all of what the Prime Minister had in his private member's bill and that went nowhere.

I do not think this is unique to the Liberals. I just wish they had been better.

Access to Information ActGovernment Orders

5:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Before resuming debate, I will let the hon. member for New Westminster—Burnaby know we are just shy of the 10 minutes that are remaining in the time for debate at this particular juncture of the day. We will have to interrupt at 5:30 p.m. for the usual hour for Private Members' Business, but I will give him an indication ahead of the interruption in the usual fashion.

Resuming debate, the hon. member for New Westminster—Burnaby.

Access to Information ActGovernment Orders

5:20 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, the member for Victoria is a tough act to follow, but I will do the best I can.

I will start by saying there is wide gulf between what the government promised in 2015 and what it has actually delivered. It is quite saddening to every Canadian who believes in parliamentary democracy and believes the people should have the right to determine the destiny of this country. We see the government having repeatedly betrayed the promises the Liberals made during the election campaign in 2015.

I will not spend too much time on the litany of broken promises, but certainly one is on democratic reform. In 2015 we were supposed to have the last first past the post election which is undemocratic. We are now going into another election with the whole aspect of democratic reform gutted, ripped up. It is a promise that has been thrown on the floor and trampled on.

The government wanted to take action on the environment. Instead, we get the Trans Mountain pipeline that the government has spent billions of dollars on and will spend tens of billions more as construction costs escalate.

When we talk about the House of Commons and respecting parliamentary democracy, we had the Prime Minister promising in 2015 an end to omnibus legislation, legislation that ties together a whole range of unrelated items. Instead, the Liberals have doubled down and created some of the most monstrous pieces of omnibus legislation that the House has ever seen in a century and a half.

The Prime Minister during the election campaign talked about eliminating closure and working co-operatively with the opposition parties. Instead, what we have seen this week is the most toxic muzzling of the opposition that has ever occurred in our history, toxic closure motions that allow only one member to speak. The government has used this device a number of times now. Once the government moves the motion, one member gets to speak. Most often it is a government member, and there is no time for questions or comments or anything by the opposition. Opposition members represent more than 60% of the Canadian population and they are completely muzzled and shut down.

We just saw the spectre of the worst Thursday question response that this Parliament has ever seen. There has always been respect for Parliament that when the Thursday question is offered by the official opposition House leader, a role which I played in the last Parliament, the government then gives some idea of the legislation to come before the House in the following week. For a century and a half when that question has been asked by the official opposition, the government has been forthcoming. It does not mean that sometimes agendas change, but there has been some inkling of the business to come before Parliament in the following week.

Today, we saw the government remove its mask and show its real face. There was no information forthcoming at all to any member of the opposition or even any member of the government side. We do not know when the Conservatives will get their opposition day. We do not know when the supply votes, which should take us a good part of the day and probably all night, will occur. We do not know what legislation is coming up on Monday morning. Members of Parliament will be leaving this place this week with absolutely no idea of what is coming before the House in the subsequent week. That is the first time any government has attempted to override and ride roughshod over parliamentary rights in our nation's history. It was absolutely despicable to see that.

This is not a small matter. When we think of all the members of Parliament having to organize their travel schedules to make sure they are here for those supply votes which often take 24 hours, for Conservatives to know when their opposition day is coming forward so that they can offer their suggestions, which often I disagree with, but always respect their right to offer them for what Parliament and the government should do moving forward, all of those things have been put in complete suspension. Members of Parliament now have to wait to see what the government will be bringing up Monday morning. It is unbelievable.

Therefore, when we talk about Bill C-58, it is in the same framework of broken promises and abuse of parliamentary democracy.

All members of Parliament have a role to play in the House of Commons. All of us should have the ability to represent our constituents. However, the government provides nothing but a blank slate, saying, “We'll let you know Monday morning what is actually going to come before the House. We're going to let you know, Conservatives, when you can offer your opposition motion. We're going to let all members of Parliament know when we are getting into the 24-hour voting cycle.” For those members of Parliament who also have to be present in their constituency and for those members of Parliament who also have family obligations, this disrespect for Parliament is unbelievable. It is unbelievable not to provide any sort of indication whatsoever about what is going to transpire in this place from Monday morning on.

Access to information starts with that. If the government respected access to information, it would start with parliamentarians, by saying to them, “Here is the schedule for next week. It may change, but here are our intentions about the bills to come before the House.” Yes, the Senate influences that, I have no doubt, but to give some sense of what bills may be coming forward, when the opposition day is or when we will be having all-night voting is just a modicum of respect and information that needs to be provided to parliamentarians.

The Liberals have done the same thing to Canadians that they are doing to members of Parliament. We now have Bill C-58, which was deeply flawed. It was criticized from right and left, from people who believe that Canadians have a right to access the information that belongs to them. This is not a Liberal dictatorship, or I certainly hope it is not or will not become one. Liberal governments, like all governments, should govern in the interest of all Canadians. There is no doubt that there is a fundamental right to information that all Canadians possess.

However, the Liberals presented a flawed bill. The New Democratic members and members of the other opposition parties all came forward with helpful suggestions that would make a difference and make a bad bill a fairly good bill. Liberal members on the committee and in the House simply gutted that and refused those amendments. The bill then went to the Senate, and the government had an opportunity to get amendments from senators. We might believe in the abolition of the Senate, but it certainly has a role to play right now, and it improved the bill, again. I think people were generally optimistic that at least the bad bill had become a fairly good bill, yet the government has gutted that again.

Ultimately, it is disrespect for parliamentarians, and it is disrespect for Canadians. For that reason, New Democrats will be voting against the government's proposal.

Access to Information ActGovernment Orders

5:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

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.

The House resumed from April 29 consideration of the motion that Bill C-331, An Act to amend the Federal Courts Act (international promotion and protection of human rights), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Federal Courts ActPrivate Members' Business

5:30 p.m.

Conservative

Marilyn Gladu Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise to speak to Bill C-331, which was brought forward by the member for New Westminster—Burnaby.

I will talk about the bill and what it purports to do, and then I want to talk about the state of the nation in terms of the Federal Court system, because this bill proposes to make changes there.

The bill's intent is “[to amend] the Federal Courts Act to provide for the jurisdiction of the Federal Court over civil claims brought by non-Canadians in respect of alleged violations outside Canada of international law or a treaty to which Canada is party.”

The intent of the member who brought forward this private member's business was to address instances where, for example, Canadian companies operating in other jurisdictions are not being good corporate citizens and are violating in some way the human rights of individuals there.

In the member's speech, which I reviewed, he had a number of examples of companies. A lot of them were mining companies, such a Nevsun Resources, which had a gold, zinc and copper mine in Eritrea, where there were allegations of forced labour, slavery and torture of workers. Another case was the one of Hudbay Minerals in Guatemala, where people were shot and killed. The intent of this bill is to allow people who may not be Canadians and who have had things happen to them outside of Canada to come and use the Canadian Federal Court system to pursue civil actions.

The issue I have with that, first of all, is that the Federal Court system, as it is today, under the current Liberal government, is in tatters. The former justice minister did not appoint a sufficient number of judges, so court cases were backed up and there was a huge logjam. As a result of that, many murder cases and rape cases were being tossed out of court because they had been in the queue for more than two years, and according to Jordan's principle, these people, guilty of heinous crimes, have gone free.

The government has continually eroded the execution of justice in Canada with a weakening of the rules. The government introduced legislation such as C-75, which took some very serious crimes, such as the forcible confinement of a minor, and reduced them to summary convictions, which means a penalty of less than two years or a fine. There was a whole list of charges in that bill that took serious crimes and brought them back to something that was minor in nature. I would argue that a fine for the forcible confinement of a minor is like a slap on the wrist for something that I think all Canadians would agree is heinous.

We also saw the situation with Tori Stafford's killer, Terri-Lynne McClintic, who, even though she viciously participated in the murder of a child, was allowed to go to a healing lodge, where there was no security and she was in the presence of parents who had their children with them when they came to work.

I am concerned that we need to strengthen our Federal Court system as it stands today, not weaken it, and the Liberal government has not done that. I am concerned that if we open it up to non-Canadians in other countries, they would come and bring an extra caseload of court cases to a court system that is arguably already under stress and not delivering. There are Canadian crimes that we are not able to adequately prosecute on time. That is a real difficulty.

Within the bill, there are 17 different types of cases that could be brought forward. I will go through a few of these and talk about incidents that have occurred during the 42nd Parliament, to give members an idea of the volume of these cases that could come before the Federal Court.

First on the list is “genocide”, which everyone knows is a very serious crime. If we think about some of the genocides that have happened during this Parliament, the Yazidis come to mind. Yazidi women were brought to Canada after the genocide where those people were exterminated by ISIS terrorists. That is one. There are still outstanding actions to be taken on Rwanda. That is another genocide that could come our way.

Another item on the list is “slavery or slave trading”. Human trafficking of someone under 18 is also on the list. Human trafficking is a huge issue in Canada. In my riding of Sarnia—Lambton, which is a border city, we see a huge amount of human trafficking happening. There is an actual network between Sarnia and Toronto that couriers people, and not just people from out of the country. Young Canadian boys and girls are lured into this and trapped in that lifestyle for years. There is no doubt that it is a heinous crime, but when I think about the number of these cases in Canada today and the fact that we do not have the resources to adequately prosecute our own, I am concerned about opening that up to the rest of the world.

Any “extrajudicial killing or the enforced disappearance of a person” is on the list. Let us think about the Saudi Arabian journalist who was exterminated. Let us think about the two Canadian men who were killed in the Philippines.

Also on the list is “systemic discrimination”. This opens it way up. When I was the chair of the status of women committee, we had visits of people from countries all over the world where women were being systematically discriminated against. They came to see what we were doing here in Canada. Some would argue that we are still seeing systemic discrimination within our own country. LGBTQ is another group that sees a lot of systemic discrimination across the world. If all of those cases came and flooded our courts, we would be very busy indeed.

The human rights violations that we are seeing right now in Hong Kong come to mind. There are 300,000 Canadians living in Hong Kong, and the Chinese government is trying to bring in extradition rules that would allow it to take anyone from Hong Kong and bring him or her to China. I am very concerned that if this bill came into force, there might be a lot of non-Canadians who would want to take advantage of the Canadian court system to pursue some civil charges there as well.

Child soldiers are another item on the list. We know that in every battle we are seeing from ISIS, child soldiers are being raised up. We see that in a bunch of the wars that are happening in Africa and similar places. That would open it up to a huge number of people, as well, who may want to take action and get some civil reward from the Canadian court.

“Rape” is also on the list. Rape is rampant in Canada. The data says that one in three Canadian women will experience sexual violence during her life. When we think about how many cases we have, and how many of those are being kicked out of court, we really do not have the capacity to take others on.

“Forced abortion” and “forced sterilization” are on the list. We heard testimony today at the health committee about forced sterilization and the thousands of women in Canada who are undergoing this. It is horrible, but, once again, there are lots of cases of our own to take care of.

Issues like pollution have been put on the list. Let us think about plastics pollution by non-Canadians. We know that 95% of ocean pollution is happening from eight rivers in Asia and two in Africa. Again, that is a huge volume of complaints that could be brought forward.

“Environmental emergency” has been added. That could be like the climate emergency that the Liberals brought in debate. The debate was never brought back, so it must have been a non-urgent emergency. Climate emergencies and environmental emergencies like that could also make the list.

I know the member was well-intentioned in bringing the bill forward and wanting to address those Canadian corporations, for example, but the bill needs to be narrower in scope, and I do not think we have the capacity in the Federal Court system. I would encourage the government of the day, or, on October 21, the Conservative government, to restore the federal justice system.

Federal Courts ActPrivate Members' Business

5:40 p.m.

NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is indeed a great pleasure to stand in this House to speak to Bill C-331, brought in by the member for New Westminster—Burnaby.

I know this particular issue has been very dear to him over many Parliaments. It is really great to see that we are in the second hour of debate on Bill C-331, which means it is probably going to come to a vote next week. We will finally see where members of this House actually stand on this issue, because it does matter to a lot of people.

The long title of Bill C-331 is An Act to amend the Federal Courts Act (international promotion and protection of human rights). The reason this is so important is that, at present, human labour and environmental rights are subject to few concrete, effective enforcement mechanisms. This bill fills this need for the victims of international rights violations when there is no forum available to them in the country where the violations are taking place.

By way of addressing my Conservative colleagues' concerns, this is not going to result in a flood of people coming to Canada. It is really just providing a forum in Canada when no such legal option is available to the person in the place where the violation happened.

Specifically, Bill C-331 is going to allow non-citizens to bring a civil suit against anyone for gross violations of the rights of indigenous peoples, and for basic labour, environmental and human rights violations when they are committed outside the country. Furthermore, judges on the Federal Court would have to satisfy themselves that their court is an appropriate forum to hear these cases.

This legislation, if enacted, is not going to force the court to hear every single case. It still specifies within the bill that Federal Court judges will have the ability to judge the merits of each case before them, and whether in fact there is enough evidence to proceed with trial.

When we look at Bill C-331 in detail, it is an amendment to the Federal Courts Act. The bill would add a specific section 25.1 after the existing section 25. Some of the claims listed within the bill are genocide; a war crime or a crime against humanity; slavery or slave trading; extrajudicial killing or the enforced disappearance of a person; torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment; prolonged arbitrary detention, and so on. These are crimes that really speak to some very horrible actions that take place around the world.

We are so very lucky to live in Canada under the rule of law. We have a judicial system that we place a lot of trust in. Generally, when people see police on the streets, we know they are doing their job. We have a lot of trust in those institutions, not only to keep us safe but also to hold people to account. In many places in the world, this is a luxury or simply does not exist.

Canadians, by and large, are fairly detached from some of the horrors that go on internationally. The unfortunate fact is that a lot of Canadian-based companies have actually been responsible for some of the worst behaviour around the world. We know some Canadian mining companies have been implicated in brutal crackdowns on local populations, because they were daring to protest a mining operation. They have employed paramilitary guards who have used sexual violence as a weapon. They have violated environmental rights by dumping mining tailings into a local drinking supply. These are companies that are based in Canada.

The issue here is to basically hold those companies accountable. We want to ensure that we are not engaging in a race to the bottom for economic reasons, while neglecting those very important rights.

We have corporations based here in Canada that generate a tremendous amount of wealth. That wealth is not equally distributed. Often, the wealth that is being generated is coming directly from the so-called global south and from countries that are rich in natural resources that are being exploited by companies, but the wealth is being unevenly distributed.

Therefore, corporate social responsibility should not be a voluntary thing. This is something we need to have firm legislation around and firm accountability. I believe that Bill C-331 is a step in the right direction.

If we look at Global Affairs Canada, we see, as I mentioned earlier, that 50% of the world's publicly listed exploration and mining companies are headquartered in Canada. If we look at the TSX, it is quite evident.

The federal government, just recently, in April, appointed Sheri Meyerhoffer as the first Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise. Before I receive any applause from my Liberal colleagues, they may want to listen to the next part of my speech.

This is what the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability stated when that office was announced:

The government announced that it would create an independent office with the power to investigate. Instead, it unveiled a powerless advisory post, little different from what has already existed for years.

United Steelworkers Canada national director, Ken Neumann, said:

With today’s announcement...of the appointment of a special advisor, without the powers of an effective ombudsperson, this government has again disappointed thousands of Canadians who were expecting serious action on human rights.

Again, we cannot just create the office and then walk away without giving it the necessary powers, the legislative framework and the resources necessary to actually act on these particularly egregious crimes against humanity. As listed in Bill C-331, these are some of the worst crimes imaginable.

I am proud to be a member of a party that has long demonstrated a keen interest in this particular issue. The member for New Westminster—Burnaby, as I said in the introduction of my speech, has been pursuing this through multiple parliaments. Our former colleagues, Paul Dewar and Alexa McDonough, and the Liberal member for Scarborough—Guildwood also saw this as an important thing. Several parliaments ago, the member for Scarborough—Guildwood presented Bill C-300, which unfortunately ran aground because not enough Liberals showed up at a key vote.

It is important that we act on this. It is a signal to citizens of countries where these rights do not exist. This is a signal to the world that Canada actually means what it says when talking about human rights, labour rights and environmental rights. Furthermore, we are actually going to provide a forum for the affected party to come here and use our Federal Court system to pursue justice. I can think of no better signal to the world than Canada actually standing by what it says and showing, through this proposed legislation, that it is going to follow through with it.

We have some great endorsements for this proposed legislation, and the endorsements have kept on coming from the member for New Westminster—Burnaby. We have the Canadian Association of Labour Lawyers, the National Union of Public and General Employees and the B.C. Teachers' Federation. It is great to see Canadian civil society, and indeed international actors as well, come behind this legislation to recognize its importance.

To conclude, I am particularly and personally attached to this bill, because it is following in the same vein of what I am trying to do with my own private member's bill, Bill C-431, which would amend the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board Act to make sure that our public pension monies are no longer invested in entities that are guilty of human rights, labour rights and environmental rights transgressions. It is particularly shameful, when we ask the Library of Parliament to do research, that we find the Canada pension plan still invested in companies that are committing these kinds of rights transgressions around the world.

I am happy to see that we are going to put force behind our words, as New Democrats always do. I congratulate the member for New Westminster—Burnaby on this important bill, and I look forward so very much to next week, when I can stand in the House and vote on it on behalf of my constituents.

Federal Courts ActPrivate Members' Business

5:50 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

Liberal

Greg Fergus LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Digital Government

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to have the opportunity to speak to Bill C-331, an act to amend the Federal Courts Act with regard to the international promotion and protection of human rights.

This bill would amend the Federal Courts Act to provide for the jurisdiction of the Federal Court in civil matters involving claims for relief in respect of certain violations of international law.

The bill's sponsor, the member for New Westminster—Burnaby, believes this bill is necessary to hold Canadian companies accountable when they are involved in violations of international law abroad and to compensate the victims of these violations, especially in countries where there is no rule of law and there are no remedies to be had.

I agree that these are valid and important concerns, but Bill C-311—

Federal Courts ActPrivate Members' Business

5:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

I apologize for interrupting the hon. member. He is speaking very eloquently, but there is a bit of a rumble in the background. When members are close to the member speaking, it echoes into the microphone, so I would remind them to have respect for the person speaking.

The hon. parliamentary secretary.

Federal Courts ActPrivate Members' Business

5:50 p.m.

Liberal

Greg Fergus Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, I agree that these are valid and important concerns, but Bill C-331 would not make Canadian companies more accountable and would not help award damages to victims.

The Federal Court is a statutory court, which means that it has only the jurisdiction explicitly conferred upon it by statute. In lawsuits against individuals and corporations, the court can only hear claims for relief arising in the federal domain, such as patent infringement or collisions at sea, which fall under Canadian maritime law. Such cases are explicitly provided for in federal law.

That is why lawsuits such as Araya v. Nevsun Resources Ltd. and Choc v. Hudbay Minerals Inc. were heard in provincial superior courts, which have jurisdiction over matters involving Canadian companies' actions abroad and, more generally, those with a real and substantial connection to the province.

Some provinces have also recognized the forum of necessity doctrine, which allows courts to assume jurisdiction in situations where the victim cannot be forced to initiate proceedings in the jurisdiction where he or she was harmed. The doctrine was applied in Bouzari v. Bahremani, an action for damages in respect of acts of torture in Iran.

Accordingly, there is no gap in domestic jurisdiction that Bill C-331 needs to fill. The provincial Superior Courts have adequate jurisdiction to address this type of claim. When Superior Courts decline to exercise jurisdiction, it is in application of well-settled rules of private international law or based on considerations of international comity.

The common law evolves gradually, incrementally taking into account developments in other jurisdictions. Recent decisions applying the doctrine of forum of necessity show that the common law can and does evolve to address accountability concerns of the kind reflected in Bill C-331.

It is worth noting that Bill C-331 is modelled on the U.S. Alien Tort Statute, which is the only legislation of its kind in force today.

The Alien Tort Statute provides, in full, “'The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of any civil action by an alien for a tort only, committed in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the United States.” Belgium experimented with similar legislation starting in 1993, but repealed it 10 years later, in 2003.

The Alien Tort Statute is something of an anomaly. It was enacted by the first United States Congress in 1789 and lay dormant until the 1980s. It is a controversial and much litigated legislation. Its scope has been narrowed by successive decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court, most recently last year when the court decided that foreign, that is, non-American, corporations could not be sued under that law.

Bill C-331 is likewise an invitation to costly and protracted litigation. As with the Alien Tort Statute, the scope of the bill is not clear and it would not assist victims in obtaining reparation.

In particular, Bill C-331 does not create any new remedies, that is, any new right of action, under federal law that the Federal Court could enforce. Rather, it merely allows the court to exercise jurisdiction where one of those violations of international law can be framed as a type of conduct that is already actionable under federal law.

Similarly, the bill does not change the private international law requirement of a real and substantial connection between the forum and the subject matter of litigation. As such, Bill C-331 would not allow foreign victims to sue foreign companies that did not carry on business in Canada in respect of their conduct abroad. The real and substantial connection test would lead a court to decline jurisdiction in such cases. This test was developed by the Supreme Court of Canada, notably in order to prevent jurisdictional overreach by the courts.

Finally, the bill would do nothing to enable claims against foreign states, which would continue to enjoy immunity pursuant to the State Immunity Act with respect to their sovereign activities outside Canada.

The victims this bill is meant to serve would not be any better off if the Federal Court had jurisdiction over their cases. On the contrary, they are more likely to find justice through the superior courts, where the law is clearer and more predictable.

Instead of providing the same remedies that can already be sought from the superior courts, this government created the ombudsperson for responsible enterprise, a world first. In April 2019, the Minister of International Trade Diversification appointed Sheri Meyerhoffer to the position.

For the victims of human rights abuses, the ombudsperson is a real and effective alternative to litigation. More specifically, the ombudsperson's mandate is to review alleged human rights abuses arising from a Canadian company’s operations abroad and to propose corrective actions, such as victim compensation. This mechanism complements the legal remedies available to victims.

In January of this year, the Supreme Court of Canada heard the Araya v. Nevsun case. The respondents were Eritrean refugees who allege that they were forced to work in an Eritrean gold mine, 60% of which is indirectly owned by the B.C. company in question.

This case raises questions directly addressed by this bill. For example, would Eritrea be the appropriate place to initiate the proceedings? What would be the scope of the act of government, which would prevent the court from ruling on the legality of a foreign state's sovereign acts within its own territory? Furthermore, the bill addresses the application of the customary standards of international law.

The Supreme Court will rule in the coming months. It would be prudent to wait for the court's ruling in this case, since the ruling could affect the content of this bill.

Federal Courts ActPrivate Members' Business

6 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Before resume debate, I want to remind hon. members that some members are very fortunate to have a voice that carries exceptionally well. Even though they are talking to the person maybe a couple of benches away, it carries very well, and I compliment them on that. However, when we are trying to hear someone, it does interfere. I just want them to learn to whisper and control their strong voice.

The hon. member for Victoria.

Federal Courts ActPrivate Members' Business

6 p.m.

NDP

Murray Rankin NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am rising to express my strong support for the enormous contribution made by the member for New Westminster—Burnaby. He has been championing this legislation for so many years, in so many parliaments, and here it is again. It is a bill that would work toward the international promotion and protection of human rights.

I live in the province of British Columbia, where so many of our mining companies are headquartered. Sometimes, when we travel abroad, it is quite embarrassing to learn about what some of those companies, not all, have done. Whether they like it or not, they carry the Canadian flag on their back.

Some of the abuses involving sexual violence, human rights abuses and environmental degradation are things that come back and haunt us in Canada. That is why Mr. Justice Ian Binnie, formerly of the Supreme Court, has been calling on us, as parliamentarians, to do something about this, as have so many others. In fact, as the member for Cowichan—Malahat—Langford reminded us, groups that speak for over three million people have asked us to get the bill through Parliament.

I would like to address what was said just now by the Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board, who seems to be suggesting, if I understand his argument, that this is unconstitutional and cannot be done.

I have a legal opinion from a very well-known and highly respected constitutional law firm, Goldblatt Partners in the city of Toronto, which confirms, at great length, that the bill “is squarely within the jurisdiction of the federal Parliament.” I do not know who is giving legal advice to the minister or whether this is a smokescreen to, once again, avoid effective legislation, but I can assure the House, for reasons I will also describe in a moment, that is simply not the case.

Therefore, I would hope that the Canadians watching will beseech the Liberal members of Parliament to not be timid; to do what the Supreme Court justice has asked; to do what Canadians from coast to coast to coast have asked; to deal with those of us who are embarrassed sometimes when we go abroad to say we are from Canada, knowing what some of our mining companies have done abroad; to get with the program and do what has been done in so many other jurisdictions. Is it not ironic that we are here talking about doing in Canada what the Americans did in their alien foreign tort claims legislation so many generations ago? It just seems sad.

What would the bill do? It would amend the Federal Courts Act to provide that court with jurisdiction over civil claims brought by non-Canadians in respect of alleged violations outside of Canada of international law or a treaty violation to which Canada would be a party, particularly violations of human rights and recognized fundamental rights of indigenous peoples, labour and environmental groups.

As my friend from Cowichan—Malahat—Langford reminded us, Global Affairs said that over 50% of the world's listed publicly traded exploration and mining companies were headquartered in Vancouver. That gives us a particular responsibility to do something about this difficult problem.

Allegations have been made by NGOs and others of so many instances abroad, over so many years, where our mining companies were associated with human rights and environmental abuses. What is called for is that there be an effective independent mechanism to investigate complaints of abuses and for something to be done about it.

The government prides itself on the adviser position that was created, with absolutely none of the powers that would make a difference in the real world. Of course, that is what we are here to try to do.

I am pleased the hon. member for Scarborough—Guildwood, a Liberal member of Parliament, brought forth a bill not long ago that would have brought in some of the reforms we are talking about today. Unfortunately, that bill was defeated by his Liberal colleagues. Hopefully they will not do it this time and Canadians will successfully urge their Liberal members of Parliament to get with the program.

There is litigation, of course, that deals with the issue of what is called forum non conveniens. Normally, if one has a lawsuit in Canada but is told that the better forum to do such a lawsuit would be in Eritrea or Papua New Guinea or Guatemala where some of these cases have occurred, a Canadian court would dismiss the lawsuit on the basis that there is a better place for that to be heard.

I am happy to report that in British Columbia our Supreme Court rejected a claim involving a mining company called Nevsun that was listed in British Columbia but was doing business in Eritrea. The court concluded that there was a legitimate risk that the refugees would not get a fair trial in Eritrea. That was upheld on appeal.

It seems that there is a recognition in our courts that we might, in certain circumstances, allow for litigation in Canada. That was a good example of that. However, we cannot depend on that occurring. We need to get legislative change to confirm that. That is what this bill would do. That is what the hon. member for New Westminster—Burnaby has endeavoured to do with this legislation. I am so proud of the work that he has done.

Earlier someone quoted some of the many, many supporters of this legislation, one of whom is Ken Neumann of the United Steelworkers. He said this:

Stronger laws are urgently needed in Canada to address international violations of human and environmental rights and related corporate practices. Getting there requires leadership from our elected representatives.

Of course he is right. That is what Canadians are looking for on this. They are looking for a civil cause of action that our courts, the Federal Court of Canada, would be able to address when people from abroad come here and sue over outrageous transgressions of human rights or treaty rights to which Canada is a party. What is wrong with that? Why would that not be something we would all want to respect? Our country has had such a strong reputation for human rights and environmental good practices around the world. It gives us all a black eye when we hear of some of the horrible abuses that have taken place abroad, whether it be the genocide and suffering of people of Darfur or the murder of trade unionists at the hands of death squads in Colombia or the sexual violence that occurred in Papua New Guinea. I think it is critical that we fix it.

As I said earlier in my remarks, it is not like this is something terribly new. The Americans have the Alien Tort Claims Act that allows foreigners there to bring action in American courts for violations of the law of nations. They have had that since 1980. Here we are with this radical notion in Canada.

The Liberals seem to think it is unconstitutional and cannot be done. Of course it can be done. That is why the hon. member for Scarborough—Guildwood has also tried to get it done. I am sure he is feeling the same pressure that I have felt as a member of Parliament in Victoria when people come to me and beseech me to get this right. It is embarrassing to us to see what some of our companies are doing abroad. They are not going to be effectively sued in a court in Eritrea. They are not going to be effectively held to account in a court in Papua New Guinea. Canadians understand that. They want companies to be held accountable here where they are created and where their directors reside in many cases as well.

A civil claim will be easier to substantiate than a criminal matter, which requires foreign governments to be engaged in and the standard of proof, of course, of beyond a reasonable doubt makes it very hard to get criminal convictions where civil claims are available.

In conclusion, I want to thank the hon. member again for the excellent work that he has done in bringing this bill forward. It seems to me to be common sense legislation. In no way is it unconstitutional. If there is ever a doubt, let us let the courts test it, but let us not be so timid that we will not even give Parliament the opportunity to respond to the pressure that so many of us have heard from our constituents to take away that black eye that our companies are giving all of us abroad and let them be held accountable, where appropriate, here in courts in Canada.

Federal Courts ActPrivate Members' Business

6:10 p.m.

Liberal

TJ Harvey Liberal Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to rise today during private members' hour to join in the debate on Bill C-331, and underscore our government's strong position on this bill.

Canadian companies have always had the ability to hold their heads up high when doing business around the world based on our reputation as a country, not only including our credibility from a financial standpoint but also given our strong record on human rights.

This government is a strong proponent of upholding strong human rights all around the world and is willing to work collaboratively with parties on all sides of the House to put strong legislation in place over the years to come to help strengthen those laws as well.

I am going to use this time to speak briefly about my riding as this will most likely be my last opportunity to speak in the House.

As my constituents and a lot of my colleagues are aware, I decided not to re-offer in the upcoming federal election. However, my feet remain firmly planted in my riding and I will be forever rooted in New Brunswick, my home and my future.

When I originally decided to run, I remember stating in my nomination speech that I was committed to building a great future for Tobique—Mactaquac and to work collaboratively with members on all sides of the House and all parties to do whatever was possible to help New Brunswickers, specifically those people in my riding. My willingness to work toward that goal has never wavered and I feel as committed to my riding today as I ever have.

My constituents are exemplary people who have shown time and time again to have the ability to not only perform but lead on the world stage. I am so incredibly proud of my province and very proud of my country.

I quickly realized as I took office the immense opportunities that ridings like Tobique—Mactaquac and other rural ridings across the country hold and continue to hold today. Not only in my riding, but from coast to coast to coast, the opportunities are endless.

It was once said that the reason a lot of people do not recognize opportunity is that it goes around wearing overalls and it looks like hard work. Believe me, I recognize opportunity. I have had immense opportunities in my life working in the private sector and it has been an immense privilege to have the opportunity to sit on behalf of the people of Tobique—Mactaquac here in the House of Commons over the last four years. Whether it involves wearing overalls or a three-piece suit, I certainly do not plan to stop seeing opportunities develop for all New Brunswickers and for those in Tobique—Mactaquac. It has been an immense privilege to have had the opportunity to work and be of service.

Over the past four years, we have made great strides in the right direction and yet there are so many opportunities left to come and so many people that have still been left behind. We all know those people: veterans struggling with PTSD; hard-working folks facing unemployment; young people burdened by student loans; seniors struggling on fixed incomes; sole-support mothers trying to make ends meet; aboriginal peoples facing discrimination and the legacy of residential schools abuse; persons with disabilities facing isolation and accessibility barriers in their own homes and communities; and new Canadians working hard to build their new lives. The list goes on. These people are our neighbours, our friends and our family. I am proud, along with my office staff, to have worked hard on their behalf but there is so much more that can be done and we need to continue to be mindful of these issues.

I personally ran to make a difference, to ensure that all kids have the opportunities here at home that truly reflect our amazing region, so that children in every family can excel and reach for their dreams, and to achieve true fiscal responsibility for big and small businesses alike, while recognizing that opportunities country-wide require federal leadership, especially when it comes to infrastructure renewal and new infrastructure. Our government has proven that it is capable of leading that charge. I am very proud of the developments that we have made as a federal government in terms of infrastructure over the last four years.

That is why I have worked hard as a member of Parliament over the past four years serving as chair of the all-party agricultural caucus and chairing the national Liberal rural caucus for a year. In the past, I sat as regional director for provincial ridings in Carleton—York, Carleton—Victoria and Victoria—La Vallée. I worked with the Rotary Club in my local riding. I think that self-service is one of the greatest gifts that we can give to this place. All this and more has made me passionate about public service and about representing my constituents.

As the member of Parliament for Tobique—Mactaquac, I have strongly advocated for continued supply management and investment in agricultural robotics; safe and responsible natural resource development; rural economic development; investment in rural infrastructure; accessibility and visitability, and I am very proud to have worked collaboratively with my colleagues in the House on this; a healthy local economy; improved stewardship of our environment; better, more affordable education; open, fair and strong democratic representation; and the list goes on. I have never pretended to have all the answers. I believe it is more important to ask the right questions and then work to find solutions.

I would like to cite one of my favourite quotes that first came to me from an agricultural producer in my riding. He used to say that we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. I believe that public service means giving one's time and talents and providing the resources necessary to improve the lives of others. This approach was adopted by my office from the outset and as the member of Parliament for Tobique—Mactaquac, I have always strived to meet this as a public servant.

I hear what people want and need from their representatives: public engagement, a voice that understands and truly reflects them and a willingness to work across the aisle with those who oppose or are different from us on certain issues. Partisan, divisive politics drives us apart, distracting us from the real priorities and the real work ahead. In New Brunswick, our communities are often close-knit and small, sometimes isolated and struggling. As politicians, our focus should always be on the kind of service that starts in our own homes and grows to embrace our communities and strengthen the general public good.

Serving as the member of Parliament for Tobique—Mactaquac has been so much more than a job. It has been one of the greatest privileges of my life and I feel honoured to have had the opportunity to provide a strong, independent New Brunswick voice on behalf of my constituents. I cannot express enough thanks to the residents of my riding for placing their trust in me. I am fortunate to have been part of policy changes and legislation which will leave a lasting, positive impact in the lives of so many constituents and Canadians, in general.

It has been said that there is no bad seat in the House of Commons and I honestly believe that to be true. I would like to acknowledge the friendships and dedication of the members from all sides of the House and the Senate as we worked together on the important issues facing Canadians. We may have had a few disagreements regarding process and policy, but I never had cause to question our collective objective of providing responsible and compassionate governance.

New Brunswick is my home and the place that I love most. I have always dedicated so much of my service advocating for rural economic development, small business growth, rural infrastructure, accessibility and a host of other issues that are important to New Brunswickers. I am proud of our accomplishments. I look forward to continuing to work with and advocate on behalf of New Brunswick businesses and the growth of our local economy. Small and medium-sized businesses are the backbone of the economy and I know I can continue to play a role in their success and contribute to economic development for the benefit of those not only in my community but for New Brunswick as a whole.

I would like to thank all of the volunteers and those who have shared their time, concerns and advice with me and those who attended events and reached out to my office with their concerns around the issues that are important to them. I thank them for their support and encouragement. It is my intention to continue to work tirelessly on behalf of the people of New Brunswick and my constituents until the federal election. I look forward to the challenges and opportunities that lay ahead and thank all of the people of Tobique—Mactaquac for placing their trust in me. I would like to thank my family, my friends, my colleagues and all of the people who have made this journey possible for me, a worthwhile journey, indeed.

I would like to close by citing an old Gaelic blessing, one that my grandfather used often:

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Federal Courts ActPrivate Members' Business

6:20 p.m.

Green

Paul Manly Green Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am thankful for this opportunity to stand in support of private member's bill, Bill C-331. I would like to thank the hon. member for New Westminster—Burnaby for his work on the bill. It is very important legislation.

Speaking from personal experience, as a Canadian, I have had experience travelling in Central America. In the nineties, I was in Guatemala. My younger brother was part of the Managua team with the United Nations. My parents and I were involved in a human rights accompaniment with trade union activists who were trying to organize maquilas, the factory workers in Guatemala, and also working with people who were taking forward human rights complaints.

I spent some time travelling around Central America. I had a Canadian flag on my back. I could see, in different places where I went in Nicaragua and El Salvador, there were Canadian flags on bridges that had been built with Canadian money. People thanked me for being Canadian, for being there, for our country and for the role we played after the civil wars in Central America.

In 2014, I went back to El Salvador to take part in a delegation on mining. I was doing research for a film on investor state dispute settlements and looking into the case of Pac Rim Cayman LLC v. Republic of El Salvador. In that case, five of the environmentalists who stood up against this mine that nobody in the country wanted, because it would destroy the watershed that provided water to 60% of the population, were murdered. People had to leave the country as refugees because of the thugs who were involved with the mining company.

I took part in a conference, with delegates from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. They all explained situations that were happening in their countries. They had photos and videos. I documented this conference and I put it up on my YouTube channel. However, the whole time I was hearing about how Canadian mining companies were involved in these projects in communities where they were unwanted. They ended up hiring thugs to intimidate local indigenous people and force them into accepting projects they did not want. They were destroying their communities, their local environment and their way of life. People were having to leave their homes under the threat of violence. People were being murdered, abused and sexually assaulted. To me, it was a very shameful experience. To know that we had companies abroad involved and engaged in these activities was very disheartening.

Therefore, I thank the hon. member for New Westminster—Burnaby for this work. This is a very important bill. People in these situations should be able to seek redress in this country, get justice and ensure that Canadian corporations abroad are responsible for the behaviour of the people they hire and work with in those countries.

Federal Courts ActPrivate Members' Business

6:25 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleagues who spoke in favour of the bill. Obviously the bill has withstood the parliamentary scrutiny of the discussions and debates we have had over the two hours that have been accorded to it.

First, there have been a number of small technical issues, but they can be easily resolved through amendments. I want to make clear to all members, as I have in letters to every member of Parliament, that I am open to amendments and technical changes.

Second, we have heard from the government that this is not needed at all and that a bunch of people would apply. There is an obvious contraction there. If the bill is not needed, then victims will not come forward in the federal court. If victims come forward, it is because the bill is needed.

Just as we saw in the debate on the bill from the member for Scarborough—Guildwood about corporate responsibility, I suspect, after hearing the government members speak, that what is being heard here are the voices of corporate lobbyists. Corporate lobbyists are saying that no action should be taken on corporate responsibility. Corporate lobbyists are saying that victims should not be heard.

I would like to note in these final minutes of debate on this issue, before the important vote held next Wednesday, that other voices should be heard on the floor of the House of Commons when we cast our votes next Wednesday.

The voices that should be heard are those of the victims, like the victims of forced slave labour at Nevsun Resources in Eritrea. These people were forcibly conscripted, held as slaves and beaten. Their voices need to be heard on the floor of the House of Commons. They can only be heard by a yes vote on Bill C-331.

We should hear the voices of Adolfo Ich Chaman's family members. He was the activist who was shot and killed on the Hudbay Minerals property in Guatemala. There is also German Chub Choc, a local youth activist who was speaking out against mining operations. The voices of those in surviving families need to be heard on the floor of the House of Commons.

We need to hear from the victims of the appalling sexual violence taking place in Papua New Guinea. This happened on the grounds of the Barrick Gold operations. Those voices, those victims need to be heard on the floor of the House of Commons.

There are the surviving members of the family of the Salvadoran environmental activist, who was found murdered at the bottom of a well, his finger nails pulled out. That family needs to be heard on the floor of the House of Commons.

Those voices need to be heard, not those of corporate lobbyists. We should hear from the victims of these appalling human rights abuses taking place worldwide. In each of these cases, there can be no justice in those countries, because their judicial systems are corrupt and will not hear victims' pleas for justice.

Other voices need to be heard. There are the more than three million Canadians whose organizations have endorsed the bill and have called on members of Parliament to vote yes on the bill next Wednesday. Those voices need to be heard, as well as the voices of Canadians across the length and breadth of the country.

Poll after poll has shown that the vast majority of Canadians believe in corporate responsibility, believe in justice and believe that Canada needs to be a voice in the world for human rights and justice. We can accomplish that by a yes vote next Wednesday.

Canadians have said very clearly that they want parliamentarians to vote yes on the bill. I would urge Canadians to contact their members of Parliament in the coming days. The vote is next Wednesday. Parliamentarians need to be called by their constituents, and their constituents need to tell them to vote yes on Bill C-331.

The victims' voices, the victims of appalling human rights abuses, of violence, of murder and of sexual abuse, all of them are calling out today for members of Parliament to vote yes on Bill C-331. I hope all members of Parliament will heed the call and vote yes next Wednesday.

Federal Courts ActPrivate Members' Business

6:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

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

Federal Courts ActPrivate Members' Business

6:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Federal Courts ActPrivate Members' Business

6:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

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

Federal Courts ActPrivate Members' Business

6:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Federal Courts ActPrivate Members' Business

6:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

All those opposed will please say nay.

Federal Courts ActPrivate Members' Business

6:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Federal Courts ActPrivate Members' Business

6:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

In my opinion the nays have it.

And five or more members having risen:

Pursuant to order made on May 28, the division stands deferred until Wednesday, June 19, at the expiry of the time provided for oral questions.

Motion that debate be not further adjournedImpact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

6:30 p.m.

Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

Bardish Chagger LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, in relation to the consideration of the Senate amendments to Bill C-69, An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, I move:

That debate be not further adjourned.

Motion that debate be not further adjournedImpact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

6:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Pursuant to Standing Order 67.1, there will now be a 30-minute question period.

I invite all hon. members who wish to ask questions to rise in their places so the Chair has some idea of the number of members who wish to participate in the question period.

Questions and comments, the hon. member for Foothills.

Motion that debate be not further adjournedImpact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

John Barlow Conservative Foothills, AB

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak to this incredible disrespect for Canadians across the country, that the Liberals would shut down debate on probably one of the most controversial pieces of legislation that the Liberal government has put forward.

Six premiers have signed a letter, stating that the legislation would devastate their natural resources development and economic opportunities. The Prime Minister and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change have said that the letter from these premiers, who were duly elected by their constituents, by a vast majority I may add, is pandering to a small and disgruntled portion of the population. These premiers represent about 60% of Canada's population, more than 60% of our GDP. It is absolutely disrespectful for the Prime Minister and the parliamentary secretary to say that they are pandering and are a challenge to national unity.

Then, as a response to that, the Liberals have come here this evening and have shut down debate on the consideration of 187 amendments from the Senate, of which they have thrown aside the majority. This is an incredible disservice. The Liberals said that they would be doing government differently, that they were going to be open and transparent and that there were going to be sunny ways.

The Senate went across the country and listened to thousands of stakeholders. The majority of those stakeholders brought forward very real concerns about what the legislation would do to their economic opportunities not only in their provinces but in their communities. I am talking about nine different provinces, and the premiers have voiced concerns with the legislation.

It is not just Conservative premiers. The NDP former premier of Alberta, Rachel Notley, the former Liberal premier of B.C., Christy Clark, and the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador have all voiced concerns.

How, in good conscience, can the minister shut down debate on legislation that nine premiers and tens of thousands of Canadians have said would be devastating, without even listening or having any regard for their input on the legislation? How, in good conscience, can she ignore the feelings of Canadians?

Motion that debate be not further adjournedImpact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

6:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Before we go to the Minister of Environment, I want to remind hon. members that we have quite a few speakers who want to ask questions of the hon. Minister of Environment. I also want to remind them that the amount of time the question takes is the same amount of time that the minister has in replying. I want to remind members to keep the questions and answers as concise as possible.

The hon. Minister of Environment.

Motion that debate be not further adjournedImpact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

6:35 p.m.

Ottawa Centre Ontario

Liberal

Catherine McKenna LiberalMinister of Environment and Climate Change

Mr. Speaker, I would like to correct the record. We are accepting just under half of the amendments proposed by the Senate. We have always believed that we need better rules, because under the process gutted by Stephen Harper, we were not protecting the environment; we were not meeting our constitutional obligations to indigenous peoples; and good projects were not going ahead in a timely way.

We can all agree that we should protect the environment, that we should properly consult with indigenous peoples and that good projects should go on in a timely way. We have spent three and a half years working on this piece of legislation. It has gone through two House committees. It has gone through two expert panels. There have been consultations from coast to coast to coast. We have heard from business leaders. We have heard from environmental leaders. We have heard from indigenous leaders. We have heard from provinces and territories, and we have heard from Canadians. They want better rules, because they want to take advantage of the $500-billion opportunity in the next decade.

We have a huge opportunity to get our resources to market, but we need to do it in a sustainable way, because in the 21st century the environment and the economy have to go together. Canadians know this. Responsible businesses know this. We have seen too often that we are ending up in court. We are seeing too often polarization. That is bad for the environment, and that is bad for the economy. We can do a lot better.

I would encourage the members opposite to join us, to say yes, we want to get our resources to market in a sustainable way; yes, we want to make sure we protect our environment; yes, we want to make sure we do right in consultations with indigenous peoples; yes, we want to make sure we have the trust of the public so we can do what we need to do.

We want to grow our economy, and that is exactly what we are doing. We have created one million jobs with Canadians. We have historic levels of foreign direct investment in our country. We have reduced child poverty, and 300,000 kids are out of poverty now. The typical Canadian family has $2,000 more in its pocket at the end of every year, and we are doing right by the environment.

Motion that debate be not further adjournedImpact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

6:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Again, I want to remind hon. members that when they ask a question, the minister has as much time as the question lasted to answer it, so keep your questions as concise as possible, and we will get concise questions and concise answers.

The hon. member for New Westminster—Burnaby.

Motion that debate be not further adjournedImpact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

6:35 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, the NDP will be supporting the government motion on Bill C-69, but we do not in any way support this toxic muzzling of the opposition. The motion that has just been moved forward in closure actually allows that. It is important to specify, because Canadians need to know, that this is the fourth time the government has used this new toxic muzzling of the opposition in a closure motion that accords only one member the right to speak for 20 minutes, and after that there is a vote. There is no reply from opposition members and no ability to question. Under no circumstances at all can this be called a true parliamentary debate. It is toxic. It muzzles the opposition, and it is something that even Stephen Harper did not dare to do in the House of Commons.

Next Tuesday, it appears that the government is going to rubber-stamp Trans Mountain. I firmly believe, and so does my caucus, that climate leaders do not try to ram through massive bitumen pipelines. The question is, are they going to use the same toxic muzzling of the opposition to try to ram through the Trans Mountain pipeline, which British Columbians oppose?

Motion that debate be not further adjournedImpact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

6:40 p.m.

Liberal

Catherine McKenna Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to hear that the NDP will be supporting this motion and Bill C-69 and that it knows we need better rules to protect our environment, to engage properly and meet our constitutional requirement with indigenous people, and to ensure that good projects go ahead in a timely way with regulatory certainty.

I would point out that I had the opportunity to be here while the NDP House leader was speaking about his own piece of legislation, and he said that two hours of debate was the threshold for him, so we are also very similar in thinking that this is enough. We have been having discussions around this legislation for about three years: two expert panels, two parliamentary committees, consultations from coast to coast to coast. Canadians have written in. We have had formal submissions from businesses, environmentalists, provinces and territories. We have had meetings.

We believe that we have very good legislation that would enable us to take advantage of the $500-billion economic opportunity of getting our natural resources to market. That would help grow our economy, and we can do it in a way that protects the environment.

Motion that debate be not further adjournedImpact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

6:40 p.m.

Conservative

Matt Jeneroux Conservative Edmonton Riverbend, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have a comment. This is from Cenovus Energy, a major employer in my home province of Alberta:

[Bill C-69] is a devastating blow to the future of the Canadian economy.

It's important to stress that our industry has never asked for a free or easy ride. We expect rigorous regulation and oversight. But when projects meet all reasonable regulatory requirements, proponents and their investors need a level of certainty that those projects will be built. Our industry undertook an unprecedented level of engagement with the government on Bill C-69. We are deeply disappointed that the changes we proposed in good faith, and were told were workable, were not accepted. The amendments we proposed were the bare minimum required for the Bill to be workable. And those recommendations were based on the input of Canadians, including many Indigenous leaders.

Motion that debate be not further adjournedImpact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

6:40 p.m.

Liberal

Catherine McKenna Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, we have a problem in our country. We have polarization. We end up in courts. We cannot ensure that good projects go ahead. What system are we working under? We are working under the system that was gutted under Stephen Harper, that has reduced the trust of the public in how we review major projects, that has not met the constitutional requirement of engaging and consulting with indigenous peoples and, ironically, that did not ensure that good projects went ahead in a timely fashion.

We listened to industry. Industry stakeholders said that they wanted shorter timelines; we have shorter timelines under Bill C-69. They said they wanted certainty about what permits would be required; we said that we would give them certainty about the permits that were required. They asked about what indigenous consultation was required; we said that we would work with them to provide that.

We have created a system that would do a much better job to keep us out of court and make sure that good projects go ahead in a timely way. That should be everyone's goal. Companies and provinces should be saying that they are open for business, that this is a great opportunity to take advantage of the $500-billion investment opportunity, that Canada is a great country to invest in and that they are going to continue creating good jobs for Canadians.

Motion that debate be not further adjournedImpact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

6:40 p.m.

NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am absolutely shocked at this tactic. Surely the minister must know that when this motion passes, the New Democratic Party will not have had a single opportunity to debate the Senate amendments to this bill by the time it goes to a vote. In what world is that a fair parliamentary process, when the member for Edmonton Strathcona, with all the work she has done on this bill, all the amendments