House of Commons Hansard #111 of the 43rd Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was point.

Topics

Immigration, Refugees and CitizenshipOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Marco Mendicino LiberalMinister of Immigration

Madam Speaker, our government is committed to openness and transparency.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada receives more than half of all government access to information requests, and the number of requests has gone up by 36%. Even so, we continue to make progress, and most requests are fulfilled within 30 days. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada also closed 26% more requests than the previous year. We will keep working on this.

Immigration, Refugees and CitizenshipOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Christine Normandin Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Madam Speaker, last month, we learned that the minister deliberately slowed down the processing of permanent residency applications from skilled workers who had been selected by Quebec.

Now we learn that he is delaying not only applications, but also access to information requests filed by people who want to know what is happening with their case. The problem is even worse for Quebec applicants.

The minister is putting the future of people and families at the bottom of the pile. When will he start helping to deal with the backlog instead of deliberately making things worse?

Immigration, Refugees and CitizenshipOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Marco Mendicino LiberalMinister of Immigration

Madam Speaker, here are the facts. We are on track to meet Quebec's 2021 targets, including for the family class. We have added resources. We went from paper to digital. We gave priority to family reunification applications, and we have already supported over 14,000 foreign workers in Quebec's agricultural sector.

This is good for Quebec, and it is good for the economy. We will continue to work with our partners in Quebec and across Canada because immigration is important for the economic strategy.

Airline IndustryOral Questions

June 4th, 2021 / 11:30 a.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Madam Speaker, Air Canada executives are making out like bandits, bandits who are receiving $6 billion in public funds, bandits who are taking advantage of the wage subsidy for workers, bandits who have shamelessly laid off thousands of employees, bandits who are adding insult to injury by giving themselves obscene bonuses.

Why does the minister not speak out against Air Canada? How can she suggest that this is none of her business? Is she afraid to go after the large corporations that call the shots?

Airline IndustryOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Liberal

Sean Fraser LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and to the Minister of Middle Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance

Madam Speaker, I would like to correct the hon. member. As the minister pointed out, the behaviour of Air Canada is completely unacceptable in these circumstances. The notion that it would issue large bonuses to corporate executives, at a time when it is taking public funds designed to support workers, is not fair. Canadians see that.

I would like to point out for the hon. member that we have made changes to the wage subsidy program to insist that companies will have to pay back their wage subsidies if they increase executive compensation. In the recent deal we struck with Air Canada, we placed a cap on executive compensation. It will not be able to avoid that cap until one full year after it has paid back every dollar owed to the Canadian taxpayers.

Airline IndustryOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Madam Speaker, it is not just Air Canada that is taking public funds and paying big executive bonuses, because the Prime Minister seems to be giving unprecedented support to banks and billionaires through this pandemic. Banks have received $750 billion in liquidity supports through government institutions. They have made nearly $60 billion in pandemic profits and banks are repaying Canadians by jacking up bank fees. The government has the tools to prevent gouging. It is choosing not to use them.

At this difficult time, why are the Liberals letting the banks rip off Canadians with higher bank fees?

Airline IndustryOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Liberal

Sean Fraser LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and to the Minister of Middle Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance

Madam Speaker, I point out to the hon. member that some of the supports he is referring to were offered by independent organizations to the banks, to allow them to loan more money to Canadians to help provide relief for mortgage payments.

The reality is the wage subsidy program was designed to support workers. I am pleased to report that it has helped keep more than 5.3 million Canadian workers on the payroll so they could contribute to the economic recovery and be able to put food on the table in the interim.

The reality is that the member voted against our opportunity to raise taxes on the wealthiest 1% so we could cut them for the middle class. When he had an opportunity to send less money to millionaires through the Canada child benefit and put more money in the pockets of nine out of 10 Canadian families, he voted against it as well, so—

Airline IndustryOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

The hon. member for Richmond—Arthabaska.

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Conservative

Alain Rayes Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Madam Speaker, in Bill C-10, the Liberals are attacking freedom of expression and net neutrality. Now, they are attacking the freedom of expression of the parliamentarians who are examining the bill in committee by imposing a gag order. That is unbelievable. The problem with the bill has to do with freedom of expression, and to solve it, they are imposing a gag order with the help of the Bloc Québécois.

Is there a Liberal in the House, a single one, who will have the courage to speak out against this undemocratic move?

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Laurier—Sainte-Marie Québec

Liberal

Steven Guilbeault LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Madam Speaker, first, I would like to say that the premise of my colleague's question is completely false because public servants who are independent from the Department of Justice Canada conducted an independent analysis of Bill C-10 and the deputy minister appeared before the committee to say that Bill C-10 falls completely within the framework of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The committee has already adopted a clause in Bill C-10 that states that the CRTC must exercise its power within the limits of freedom of expression, journalistic freedom and creative freedom—

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

Order. The hon. member for Richmond—Arthabaska.

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Conservative

Alain Rayes Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Madam Speaker, what the minister is doing here, trying to silence the Conservatives with this gag order, is unacceptable. In doing so, the Liberals are ignoring the advice of experts, university professors, former CRTC commissioners and thousands of Canadians who have been standing up for freedom of expression and net neutrality since the very beginning of this study. I would be ashamed to be a Liberal member today.

How can they show so little respect for all these Canadian citizens and experts by muzzling parliamentarians in committee?

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Laurier—Sainte-Marie Québec

Liberal

Steven Guilbeault LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Madam Speaker, I would remind my colleague that Bill C-10 is the result of the Yale report, issued by a commission that worked for over 18 months and received 2,000 submissions from across the country.

Furthermore, Bill C-10 is supported by the entire arts community across the country. A petition signed by several thousand artists supports Bill C-10. As recently as last week, The Globe and Mail published a letter signed by several leading Canadian artists who also support Bill C-10.

The problem with Bill C-10 is that the Conservative Party unfortunately does not want to support artists.

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Conservative

Alain Rayes Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Madam Speaker, the minister is spreading misinformation. We have nothing against culture, but we do oppose this minister's and the Liberal's censorship.

Today they are showing us that they are opposed to net neutrality, they are attacking Canadians' freedom of expression on social media and they are using any means they can to give more power to the CRTC. If we do not think like the Liberals, then we deserve to be silenced.

To make things worse, the Liberals have been trying for six years to make us believe that committees are independent and today they are imposing time allocation. How—

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

Order. The hon. minister.

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Laurier—Sainte-Marie Québec

Liberal

Steven Guilbeault LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Madam Speaker, the Conservative Party is attacking our artists and artisans. Every month that goes by, the Conservative Party is depriving Canada's artistic community of $70 million. Bill C-10 will make web giants pay. I do not understand why the Conservative Party has decided to stand with some of the richest companies in the world, such as Google, rather than support our artists.

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Madam Speaker, “how low can they go” is the name of the game when it comes to free speech with the Liberals and their attack, time and time again.

Bill C-10 undeniably threatens the voices of Canadian creators. MPs have contended for them by standing up for their voices and their right to both freely express and be freely heard. What the government is doing now is nothing less than a gag order. Censoring the voices of creators was not enough. Now it is having to stop members of Parliament from debating this atrocious bill at committee.

Why is that?

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Laurier—Sainte-Marie Québec

Liberal

Steven Guilbeault LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Madam Speaker, I would like to remind my colleague that the Bloc Québécois supports Bill C-10. The NDP supports Bill C-10. The Greens support Bill C-10. Obviously, the government supports Bill C-10 and artists across the country support Bill C-10.

The real question is, why has the Conservative Party decided to side with some of the wealthiest companies in the world, such as Google, instead of supporting our artists?

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Madam Speaker, no other democratic country in the world uses its broadcasting act to censor what Canadians post online. Let that sink in for just a moment.

It would appear that the Prime Minister wants Canada to be likened to countries like North Korea and Communist China. Experts have called Bill C-10 the most regressive piece of legislation they have ever seen.

Why is the Liberal government so determined to rush it through, to silence our voices and to move on this piece of legislation that it is shutting down debate within committee?

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Laurier—Sainte-Marie Québec

Liberal

Steven Guilbeault LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Madam Speaker, for the Conservative Party of Canada to say that it supports artists is like when it says it supports climate change, yet it voted down a motion to recognize climate change at its annual meeting. The Conservative Party says it supports the Charter of Rights, yet 81 Conservative members voted this week to strip away women's right to choose.

Canadians do not buy it, and artists certainly do not buy it. The Conservative Party has never been in favour of artists. When it was in power, we saw a number of cutbacks. Frankly, this is just more of the same.

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Madam Speaker, we are talking about free speech. The government's Bill C-10 intends to censor artists and creators who are achieving success online.

We were in the middle of going through Bill C-10 clause by clause in committee, which is the normal and right legislative process here in this place. The government does not want any more problems to be discovered with its bill, and it is plagued with them, by the way.

Why is the government shutting us down? It is nothing less than a gag order.

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Laurier—Sainte-Marie Québec

Liberal

Steven Guilbeault LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Madam Speaker, yet again, we have more fearmongering on the part of the Conservative Party.

Let me point out that during the first four meetings of the committee, the committee was able to study 79 amendments. Since the Conservative Party decided to start systematically obstructing the work of the committee, during the last 11 meetings, we were barely able to make it through seven amendments.

If the committee were to pick up the same pace that it had initially, it would have plenty of time to go through all of the remaining amendments. However, if we continue going at the rate we are going now, in six months' time the bill would still be in front of the committee.

Immigration, Refugees and CitizenshipOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Bloc

Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe Bloc Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Madam Speaker, yesterday the Senate adopted a motion calling on the Minister of Immigration to grant citizenship to Raif Badawi. That is the exact same demand that the House of Commons unanimously passed in January. It is unanimous. Everyone wants the minister to take action. I am emphasizing that this was unanimous because it means that even the minister agreed. The minister has the power to grant citizenship to Raif Badawi, who has been imprisoned for nine years even though he did not commit a crime. His wife and children are waiting for him in Quebec.

When will the minister finally do something?

Immigration, Refugees and CitizenshipOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Marco Mendicino LiberalMinister of Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his leadership on this issue.

I know they are quite passionate on that side of the House. I will continue to work with all members of the House. We recognize the motions that have recently been passed by the House and the Senate. We will always stand up for human rights here, in Canada, and around the world. We should be very proud to have an immigration system that is based on compassion and the rule of law.

Immigration, Refugees and CitizenshipOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Bloc

Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe Bloc Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Madam Speaker, allow me to repeat what I just said.

Yesterday, the Senate called on the government to grant citizenship to Raif Badawi. The House unanimously called for the same in January. That is right: in January. That was five months ago. The clock is running.

I am not sure if the minister realizes that time can feel like an eternity in prison in Saudi Arabia. Time feels like an eternity to Mr. Badawi's wife. Time feels like an eternity to his children who have not seen their father in nine years.

When will the minister grant citizenship to Raif Badawi?