House of Commons Hansard #425 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was news.

Topics

Opposition Motion—News Media IndustryBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

I want to clarify that members cannot do indirectly what they cannot do directly, even within a quote. If they can modify it to make it apply, that would be fine. I am sure the hon. member will modify the rest of her quotes for the evening.

Opposition Motion—News Media IndustryBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, I think the point is clear that the Leader of the Opposition has been told that Unifor will be his worst nightmare going into the next election.

The point is that this is clearly a very partisan organization. This is an organization that very much is against the Conservative Party of Canada and very much campaigning on behalf of the Liberal government, which means that now this whole exercise just became very political in nature.

I do not think we can argue with that point. It is very clear what has been said and what the motive of this union is. Therefore, $600 million are on the line and where they go will be determined by this partisan group of individuals. It is not only that. The majority of the money is being withheld and is going to only be given to these media outlets post-election. This means there will be an awful lot of motivation given to them, through the withholding of money and the promise of funds after the election, to cover the 2019 election in a very particular way. It does not take a great deal of intelligence to determine what that way is.

Of course media outlets will be encouraged, if not manipulated, to cover the election of 2019 from a Liberal vantage point rather than from a fair one that is non-partisan in nature. Why is that? It is because there are $600 million on the line and they want a piece of the pie.

I have clearly outlined that there is problem with regard to the independence, but it is not just me who says that. There is far more being said by journalists throughout the country.

Andrew Coyne said, “It is quite clear now, if it was not already: this is the most serious threat to the independence of the press in this country in decades.”

Don Martin said, “The optics of journalism associations and unions deciding who picks the recipients of government aid for journalism are getting very queasy.”

Jen Gerson, CBC and Maclean's, said, “If any of these associations or unions”, so the eight individuals who have been selected, “could be trusted to manage this 'independent' panel, they would be denouncing it already.”

Those are quite the statements.

Chris Selley, the National Post, said, "Liberals' media bailout puts foxes in charge of the chickens.”

I and my Conservatives are not the only ones pointing out significant concerns with the decision to give out $600 million of government money to media outlets across the country. Clearly, this is an attack on the independence and the freedom of our press.

In addition to that, it is a matter of protecting democracy and of ensuring media outlets actually cover the story of the day without being pressured by the government to do it one way or the other. As soon as the government offers money to media outlets, all of a sudden the press feels the pressure to cover stories in a way that would perhaps paint the government in a positive light. That is not okay; that is not the Canada we belong to.

We see the lack of independence and the lack of freedom in places like Turkey, Russia and China, where it is dictated how any sort of news will be covered and granted to the people in those countries. In Canada, we very much depend on the government staying out of the way and allowing press to cover a story from whatever angle that media outlet should choose.

The other problem with this is that there is no transparency in the application and review process. This concern has been brought up by the CAJ within the last couple of days. It has pointed out that there needs to be a more transparent process in moving forward with this, that those who apply for this funding should be listed online and that the process for applications for this funding should be made transparent. This should be put online and made available to the Canadian public. After all, the Liberals are taking Canadian taxpayer dollars and using them to help media outlets. That process needs to have greater transparency to it.

In addition to that, there should also be some transparency with regard to not only those who apply, but also who is rejected and why. Why are they rejected? It is fair that many Canadians, many journalists and many of those on this side of the House have a concern that the government will be quite biased in the way that it selects people. I say the government because, make no mistake, that while there are eight individuals on the panel, I have my suspicions that they are nothing more than eight puppets with the current government pulling the strings.

The entire independence and freedom of the press is being called into question with this $600 million bailout. In addition to that, our democracy is being put in jeopardy, as well as just a lack of overall transparency and good governance. It is absolutely terrible.

Furthermore, with regard to credibility, one journalist wrote, “The minute the union starts helping a government divvy up taxpayers’ cash for the benefit of news outlets, there is quite rightly a perception that reporters’ coverage is being bought off.” Whether that is the case or not, there is that perception. He goes on to explain that the credibility of a journalist is of utmost importance, that our journalists work hard to maintain the credibility and trust of the Canadian public. By the government giving $600 million to the free press, it calls into question that credibility. There is a problem there.

This is not the first time the Prime Minister has put his interests above those of Canadians. He does this quite often. In the NAFTA agreement, he said that he would get a good deal for Canada. He said he would not allow ink to go on paper until tariffs were removed. However, he put ink to paper. Meanwhile, we still had tariffs on steel. We still had tariffs on aluminum. We had tariffs on softwood lumber. We allowed the U.S. to take a good chunk of our market with regard to dairy. We allowed it to take a good chunk of our market with regard to auto and implement quotas. At the end of the day again, we saw where he put his image before the needs of the Canadian people.

Further to that was the students summer jobs program. We watched again as the government put itself first. It imposed a requirement on organizations that they would need to sign off on a value statement, that they would need to sign off on a set of beliefs and values in order to receive dollars from taxpayers. If organizations were not willing to sign this value statement, or this attestation, then they could not have any of that money. Again, the government was not acting in the best interests of Canadians. Instead it was acting in the best interests of the Prime Minister and the image he wanted to portray.

The problem with this was that many faith-based organizations could not sign the Prime Minister's value statements. Those organizations do tremendous work. They look after the homeless. They look after those who live in poverty. They help refugees come to Canada and settle here. They run summer camp for kids, many who are underprivileged kids. The Prime Minister actually refused to give them a dollar because they would not sign his value statement. That is wrong.

With the carbon tax, again, the Prime Minister is wanting to put forward this image of himself as someone who cares for the environment. He gets this great idea about putting a tax on pollution. Then all of a sudden people will no longer need to drive their cars to work, put clothes on their back, food on their tables or heat their homes in -30°C. That is not the case at all. That is ridiculous. It lacks any sort of logic.

What have we watched over the last four years? We have watched as emissions in the country have gone up. We have watched as the government is further away from meeting its targets than we have ever been as a country.

The current Prime Minister has the audacity to say he is standing up for Canadians, but he is standing up for no one other than himself. He wants to maintain his image, propagate his ideals and manipulate Canadians along the way, when it is all based on a foundation of deception.

With Bill C-71, the Prime Minister said he wanted to look after the safety and well-being of Canadians, and in order to do that he would go after those who legally acquired their firearms, who were properly vetted to have a firearm and who legally used their firearms, because that would take all criminals and gangs off the street. He thinks he will help make this place a safer country if he shuts down the sports shooters and the hunters. That is the Liberal logic. It is terrible. It is more about image than it is about serving the well-being of this country and the Canadian public.

Meanwhile, the same government put another bill in place, Bill C-75. Do members know what that bill did? It rewarded terrorists. It rewarded those who force marriage. It rewarded those who engage in genocide.

Opposition Motion—News Media IndustryBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:25 p.m.

Liberal

Julie Dabrusin Liberal Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I feel like we have ventured very far from the topic of today, and I would ask that we return to it.

Opposition Motion—News Media IndustryBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Order. I would ask for a bit of order here. There is one minute remaining for the hon. member for Lethbridge. We will ask her to finish her last minute.

The hon. member for Lethbridge.

Opposition Motion—News Media IndustryBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

The Liberals cannot handle the truth, but that is okay.

Mr. Speaker, again we have an example where the Prime Minister and the current government want to put forward this particular image. They want to tell Canadians they are offering this particular thing, when in fact that is not the case. They are not keeping Canada safer, because they are not putting the money on the front lines to our responders. They are not putting the money on the front lines to secure our borders. They are not putting the money toward our military. They are not doing anything to further the safety and well-being of Canadians. However, they are doing everything to shut down those who are law-abiding citizens.

My final point in all of this is that we currently have a government led by a Prime Minister who is more interested in his own image, his own well-being and furthering himself, rather than furthering the Canadian people and making sure this country thrives. That is wrong.

Opposition Motion—News Media IndustryBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

It being 6:30 p.m., pursuant to an order made Tuesday, May 28, it is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith every question necessary to dispose of the business of supply.

The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Opposition Motion—News Media IndustryBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Opposition Motion—News Media IndustryBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

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

Opposition Motion—News Media IndustryBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Opposition Motion—News Media IndustryBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

All those opposed will please say nay.

Opposition Motion—News Media IndustryBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Opposition Motion—News Media IndustryBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

In my opinion the nays have it.

And five or more members having risen:

Opposition Motion—News Media IndustryBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

Mr. Speaker, I ask that the vote be deferred until Tuesday, June 4, at 11:25 p.m.

Opposition Motion—News Media IndustryBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Accordingly, the recorded division stands deferred until Tuesday, June 4, at 11:25 p.m.

The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill C-92, An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families, as reported (with amendment) from the committee.

First Nations, Inuit and Métis Children, Youth and Families ActGovernment Orders

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

There being no amendment motions at report stage, the House will now proceed, without debate, to the putting of the question on the motion to concur in the bill at report stage.

First Nations, Inuit and Métis Children, Youth and Families ActGovernment Orders

6:30 p.m.

St. John's South—Mount Pearl Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Seamus O'Regan LiberalMinister of Indigenous Services

moved that the bill, as amended, be concurred in.

First Nations, Inuit and Métis Children, Youth and Families ActGovernment Orders

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

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

First Nations, Inuit and Métis Children, Youth and Families ActGovernment Orders

6:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

First Nations, Inuit and Métis Children, Youth and Families ActGovernment Orders

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

(Motion agreed to)

First Nations, Inuit and Métis Children, Youth and Families ActGovernment Orders

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

When shall the bill be read a third time? By leave, now?

First Nations, Inuit and Métis Children, Youth and Families ActGovernment Orders

6:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

First Nations, Inuit and Métis Children, Youth and Families ActGovernment Orders

June 3rd, 2019 / 6:30 p.m.

Liberal

Seamus O'Regan Liberal St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

moved that the bill be read the third time and passed.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to start by acknowledging that we are meeting on the traditional, unceded territory of the Algonquin people.

Today has been a powerful and emotional day for indigenous and non-indigenous Canadians alike. With the release of the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, we took another step in identifying the unacceptable gaps that exist between first nations, Inuit and Métis people and the rest of Canada.

Our government is working to end the ongoing national tragedy of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls. The commissioners of the national inquiry did important work, and now it is up to us as the federal government and up to us individually as Canadians to develop a national action plan and to implement those recommendations in partnership with first nations, Inuit and Métis people.

The bill before us addresses an important part of the work we need to do to advance reconciliation, and that is to address gaps between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples, thereby improving the quality of life for indigenous peoples right across the country.

Protecting and promoting the well-being of indigenous children and families should be the top priority of the federal government and all governments across the country. That has obviously not always been the case. Members of the House are aware of the pain and suffering that continue to be inflicted on indigenous children and families in this country.

Separating indigenous children from their families is not just something that happened in the past. This is something that occurs every day, to this very day. In fact, it is a worsening problem. More indigenous children are in care now than at the height of the operation of residential schools.

In terms of hard numbers, more than 52% of children in foster care in Canada are indigenous, yet they represent less than 8% of the population. Studies show that the average indigenous child in foster care may live with anywhere between three and 13 different families before turning 19 years old. This is unacceptable and it has to stop.

I think we can all agree that the current system needs to change. As parliamentarians, we must act. We believe in a system where indigenous peoples are in charge of their own child and family services, something we recognize should have been the case all along. Indigenous families are currently bound by rules and systems that are not their own and do not reflect their cultures, their identities, their traditions, their communities or their ways. No wonder they have not worked. This bill sets out to change that.

First and foremost, Bill C-92 sets out principles that would apply across the country to guide the provision of child and family services involving indigenous children and families. These principles are informed by extensive engagement with indigenous people all over the country. The principles in the bill, which are the best interests of the child, substantive equality and cultural continuity, are aligned with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls to action and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

If no agreement is reached within 12 months, but reasonable efforts were made to do so, the indigenous law would also have force of law as federal law. In other words, should a government not act in good faith after 12 months of negotiations of a coordination agreement, indigenous child and family services law would have precedence as a federal law. To be clear, as a federal statute, the indigenous law would stand on its own; it would not be subject to the whims of a federal or provincial government. It would be equal to, not lesser than.

To promote a smooth transition and implementation of Bill C-92, Canada will explore the creation of distinctions-based transition governance structures. The co-developed governance structures would identify tools and processes to increase the capacity of communities as they assume responsibility of child and family services. During this phase, we would continue our work with first nations, Inuit and Métis partners, as well as with the provinces and territories, to set out the details about how to support communities to exercise their jurisdiction. The bill also provides a clear affirmation of the inherent right of first nations, Inuit and Métis to exercise their own jurisdiction in relation to child and family services.

Pursuant to Bill C-92, if an indigenous group or community wishes to exercise its authority in relation to child and family services and have its own laws take precedence over federal, provincial or territorial laws, the Minister of Indigenous Services and the provincial or territorial government shall enter into trilateral discussions to develop a coordination agreement.

If a coordination agreement is reached within 12 months following the request, the laws of the indigenous group or community would have force of law as federal law and would prevail over federal, provincial and territorial child and family services laws.

Gone are the days of top-down colonial solutions. It is contrary to the spirit of reconciliation, goes against the principle of codevelopment that has guided this proposed legislation, and they just do not work.

This legislation is an accumulation of intensive engagement, including nearly 2,000 participants across 65 sessions, from elders, youth, women, grandmothers, aunties and from those with lived experience in a broken child and family services system. We heard what needed to be included in the bill to make successful the exercise of jurisdiction that is already an inherent right of first nations, Inuit and Métis people.

What we heard included values and cultural practices, lived experience and academic research, as well as recommendations of a reference group that was comprised of representatives from national indigenous organizations.

First nations, Inuit and Métis people have asked time and again for codeveloped legislation, from resolutions passed by the Assembly of First Nations in May and December 2018, to hearing that Inuit leadership wanted a distinctions-based approach, and that the Métis wanted jurisdiction over child and family services to be recognized through legislation.

Since the emergency meeting convened by my predecessor in January 2018, there have been extensive meetings and consultations across the country in an effort to get this right.

Even in weeks preceding the introduction of this legislation, we were incorporating the suggestions of indigenous groups, provincial and territorial partners. Those suggestions made the bill that I was fortunate enough to inherit much stronger.

We did not stop there. There are no closed doors to our indigenous partners or to the provinces and the territories. This legislation and the children it aims to protect are only served if we collaborate and ensure their best interests.

Many came forward and offered suggestions on how to improve the bill, and I am pleased to support the changes made by the Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs. These amendments reflect what was heard from a number of witnesses, especially around funding, around balancing physical and cultural security in the best interest of an indigenous child and around ensuring implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Right of Indigenous Peoples as a purpose of the bill.

With regard to funding, we cannot presume that the funding models that have supported the current broken system will be what indigenous groups want to use while exercising their jurisdiction. Those models and levels should be discussed and designed through the coordination agreement process to ensure they reflect the unique needs of each community and are not a one-size-fits-all approach.

We pledge to work with partners to identify long-term needs and funding gaps. The amendment supported at committee guarantees that funding will be sustainable, needs-based and consistent with the principle of substantive equality, so that long-term, positive results for indigenous children, families and communities are secured.

Both the House committee and the aboriginal peoples committee in the other place heard that there needed to be a better balance between the physical well-being of a child and the preservation of cultural identity, language and connection to the community. We completely agree, and we fully support the amendment that will see primary consideration given to a child's physical, emotional and psychological safety, security and well-being, as well as to the importance of that child having an ongoing relationship with his or her family, indigenous group or community.

In committee, members of the official opposition and the NDP also presented important amendments to strengthen the bill. I thank them for their efforts. Bill C-92 establishes a legislative framework and will ensure that solid guiding principles are in place to protect the needs of indigenous children and families for generations to come.

Now is the time to follow through on our promises to indigenous children, families and communities. Our promise is that the same old broken system that needlessly separates so many children from their families, that removes them from their culture, that cuts them off from their land and their language, not be allowed to continue and that we affirm and recognize that indigenous families know what is best for indigenous children.

Ours is a historic opportunity to make a real, meaningful change to address centuries of harm and improve the lives of first nations, Inuit and Métis people. I hope everyone will join me in supporting this bill.

First Nations, Inuit and Métis Children, Youth and Families ActGovernment Orders

6:45 p.m.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, as the minister knows, there has been a recognition by all parliamentarians of the importance of this legislation and the fact that what is currently happening is not good enough. Of course, there are problems when a bill is rushed through the system. In this case, perhaps the biggest flaw is the lack of conversation with the provinces and territories that have been responsible for delivering the services and that will have something imposed on them. For those who know the Nunavut territory, the legislatures are predominantly Inuit. They have expressed great concern that the systems and processes they have developed will perhaps arbitrarily move to a different organization.

I would like the minister to explain what he intends to do in the future. We know that this bill will be passed. What is he going to do to continue that conversation to make sure this works for everyone?

First Nations, Inuit and Métis Children, Youth and Families ActGovernment Orders

6:45 p.m.

Liberal

Seamus O'Regan Liberal St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Indeed, Mr. Speaker, we are committed to working with the provinces and territories, and we have built in the notion of a coordination agreement to ensure there is a buffer between an indigenous group requesting that it be able to exercise its inherent right over this jurisdiction and the actual inheritance of that right. There are issues with capacity, and we need to ensure that capacity is built up, so we have put 12 months in place. The issue in some provinces and with some of the people I have spoken to is that 12 months is too long. They want to assume that responsibility right away.

There is a push and a pull, and we will attempt to find the compromise. However, most certainly this is not going to work unless we work with provinces and territories, and we certainly have every intention of doing so.