House of Commons Hansard #112 of the 43rd Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was documents.


Documents Related to the Transfer of Ebola and Henipah Viruses to the Wuhan Institute of VirologyPoints of OrderGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.


The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

I want to thank the hon. member for his intervention.

I do not have any information at this point, but I will endeavour to look into what has come of the information and return to the House as soon as I have something.

The House resumed from May 31 consideration of the motion that Bill C-6, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (conversion therapy), be read the third time and passed.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.


Taylor Bachrach NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Cowichan—Malahat—Langford.

It is always an honour to rise in the House, even the virtual House, on behalf of the people of Skeena—Bulkley Valley. In fact, in some ways it is even more significant to rise on their behalf in this way because, if I turn my head to the right, I can see the people of this wonderful place walking by outside my office, and it reminds me of the sacred responsibility that I have to do well by them in this place.

I have spoken to LGBTQ youth about what it was like growing up in small rural towns in northern British Columbia. Most of them who grew up in towns like Smithers, where I live, in the 1980s and 1990s say it was not a very tolerant place. Many of them left as soon as they could, off to places where they were more free to be themselves. That is changing, and that is a very good thing.

My office is half a block down from Smithers’s rainbow crosswalk, first painted in 2016. As mayor at the time, I was proud to help make the crosswalk happen, but really it was the work a woman named Anna Ziegler, who wrote to council and got the ball rolling on that initiative.

In the following years it has been repainted, and of course, in northern B.C., these things have to be repainted because of our harsh winters, and the road sand and salt that gets put down every year. In the following years the crosswalk was repainted by the fabulous leaders of the local Girl Guides patrol, who had to don Tyvek suits and respirators to survive the perils of the industrial road paint. It was quite a scene.

A couple years later, in 2018, the group Smithers Pride was formed and the community’s first community-wide pride event was held. At the time, Safeway and the BCGEU teamed up to hold a barbecue. We blocked off the street and it was a wonderful event. I thought it might be northern B.C.'s first pride event, but then I learned that the tiny village of Masset on Haida Gwaii not only has a pride event, but it has four rainbow crosswalks.

I mention all of this because the community where I live, and indeed our entire region, is becoming a place where everyone, no matter their sexuality or gender identity or expression, receives the full measure of respect, belonging, safety and rights, and it is worth celebrating.

This month is pride month, a good month to be conducting this final debate on this important bill before us. Before I talk about the bill itself, I want to recognize some of the folks who have been leading the way when it comes to making my home community a more inclusive place, especially Perry Rath, who is a teacher at Smithers Secondary School, and Brianna van Donselaar, Sophie Perodeau and Sarah Payne. I thank them for the important work they have done and continue to do.

Bill C-6 is about protecting people from a practice that has no place in our society. Let us be clear about what conversion therapy is. The definition in the bill before us calls it, “a practice, treatment or service designed to change a person’s sexual orientation to heterosexual, to change a person’s gender identity or gender expression to cisgender or to repress or reduce non-heterosexual attraction or sexual behaviour or non-cisgender gender expression.”

I read the Department of Justice’s charter statement on Bill C-6, and its description of the harms of conversion therapy is worth repeating here, because it underlines, I believe, why this bill is so important:

Conversion therapy has been denounced by medical and psychological professionals as being ineffective and the source of harm and potential harm. Conversion therapy has resulted, or risks resulting, in harms such as distress, anxiety, depression, stigma, shame, negative self-image, a feeling of personal failure, difficulty sustaining relationships, sexual dysfunction and having serious thoughts or plans of—or attempting—suicide. Its continued existence also harms the dignity of LGBTQ2 people by perpetuating myths and stereotypes based on sexual orientation or gender identity—in particular, that the sexual orientation or gender identity of LGBTQ2 people is undesirable and can and should be changed.

The harms of conversion therapy are clear and well established. This practice has no place in a free, tolerant society such as Canada's, and it is incumbent upon all of us as elected representatives to protect the SOGI community from these harms. Everyone in Canada should be free to love whom they love and be who they are, free from stigma, intolerance and coercion.

Bill C-6 would ban the following: causing an individual to undergo conversion therapy against their will; causing a child to undergo conversion therapy; removing a child from Canada to undergo conversion therapy abroad; receiving a financial or other material benefit from the provision of conversion therapy; and, finally, advertising and offering to provide conversion therapy.

It is clear that there are some Conservative members in this place who oppose the bill and will vote against it, and to be clear, I have met with constituents of mine who have deep misgivings. Most of these misgivings purport to be based on the notion that conversations or counsel between parents and children, or between pastors and those they counsel, could be wrongly caught up in the bill's provisions. These are fair considerations for us to discuss in the debate on this legislation.

However, I would note that the justice committee has addressed this by adding a “for greater certainty” clause that highlights what the definition of conversion therapy does not include, namely, “a practice, treatment or service that relates to the exploration and development of an integrated personal identity without favouring any particular sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression”. I believe that this should provide some peace of mind as we move forward.

There are two other important amendments I will note. Changing “against a person's will” to the phrase “without consent” utilizes wording that is much more commonly used and understood. Importantly, broadening the scope of the definition of conversion therapy to include “gender identity” and “gender expression” not only makes it consistent with the language used in other legal protections, but also allows it to address new forums of conversion therapy.

I will end my remarks today by acknowledging the member for Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke, whose work on the bill has been exemplary and who, sadly, has been the target of harassment and online hate for his work. He is a champion for the rights of the SOGI community, and his work in this place is creating a legacy of safety, inclusion and protection of fundamental rights. I thank the hon. member.

We have a decent bill in front of us that moves us forward as a country and would provide legal protection for people who deserve it. Love is love, and people deserve to simply be who they are. I will end by mentioning that I spoke about the bill to my 16-year-old daughter. I told her that Parliament was working to make conversion therapy illegal. She said, “You mean it's legal?” That is exactly what I think as well.

I wish members a happy pride month. Now let us make this law.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.


Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, this is pride month, and I am sure that this member celebrates pride in his community, as we have been trying to do in my community.

One of the things we did was send out pride posters throughout our community to some 1,500 people who wanted to hang them in their windows. I got an email this morning, which I will read. It says:

MP [for Kingston and the Islands],

Thank you SO MUCH for the Pride poster! One of my teenagers is a member of the LGBTQ+ community. I ordered one of your Pride posters without thinking too much about it. I didn't realize it would be so moving for my daughter. It wasn't just that we hung a Pride poster, it was that her own MP provided it and is promoting Pride in our community. She felt seen and valued, by her family and by her government. It provoked a really beautiful conversation and we ended up ordering some additional Pride-related flags. My girl hugged me with tears in her eyes and thanked me for being so supportive.

This bill is about so much more than just banning a harmful practice. It is about changing the attitude and the way that Canadians engage, in particular, with the LGBTQ community.

Can the member provide some insight into why he thinks that having these conversations is so important to changing awful stereotypes that were, unfortunately, more predominant a few decades ago?

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.


Taylor Bachrach NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his words and I share his sentiments.

At my constituency office here in Smithers we are proud to have an ally sticker on the front door of our office to show our allyship and our support for the fundamental rights of LGBTQ people in our community.

This bill has created a very important conversation in our communities about what inclusion, acceptance and the rights that people have really mean. I think that is a very positive thing and I look forward to building on that as we move forward together.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.


Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, I think members would agree with many of the sentiments the member expressed. I appreciate the fact that he acknowledges the concerns he has been hearing from some of his constituents with respect to the definition and the desire for greater clarity on that definition.

The member spoke about the “for greater certainty” clause that reflected an NDP amendment at committee. In my view, the “for greater certainty” clause does not provide the greater certainty he alleges. It effectively says that personal opinions are fine as long as they conform to a certain structure: as long as those personal opinions are within certain defined parameters. It is not a general exception for people to be able to express personally held views outside of a quasi-therapeutic context. It is an exception that says conversion therapy does not include personally held views as long as those personally held views are within this particular box. There may be many views that are expressed in private conversations about these issues that I disagree with or that he disagrees with.

Are people not asking for a greater certainty clause that actually says private conversations people have about their views on this, that or the other thing are not going to lead to criminal prosecution?

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.


Taylor Bachrach NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I do not believe that private conversations constitute a practice, first of all, but there may a point on which we disagree with respect to what the member mentioned, which is this. One thing I have learned through this debate, and I admit going into it I did not have a very deep knowledge of conversion therapy, is that a lot of conversion therapy takes place in the shadows. I think we have to ask ourselves, even in the context of conversations between pastors and their faithful or between parents and their children, where the boundaries are with respect to what would constitute conversion therapy. Perhaps in the future the courts will have to weigh in as to where those boundaries are, but I think in this bill it is important for us to state clearly that this is about protecting people and their rights, and that we should not be trying to convince people that they are something other than they are.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.


Tamara Jansen Conservative Cloverdale—Langley City, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his commitment to stand against coercive and abusive therapies on behalf of vulnerable Canadians.

As 72% of Canadians who were polled support a wait-and-see approach for counselling young people, that means the support is for the right of parents to delay medical treatments for a gender transition until the child is mature enough to understand their repercussions.

Does the member believe that parents should preserve that right or that children as young as age seven or eight have the cognitive ability to understand the impact puberty blockers will have on their health in years to come?

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.


Taylor Bachrach NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, today's debate is about conversion therapy and those practices that seek to change people from who they are: from the identity, expression and orientation they hold to something other. I appreciate the gist of the member's question; however, I think it departs fairly significantly from the content of the debate before us.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.


Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague, the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley, for sharing his time today.

At the outset, I will acknowledge the LGBTQ community in my riding of Cowichan—Malahat—Langford. I want to put this in the context of the privilege I have of serving as member of Parliament for this beautiful part of Vancouver Island, but also the great responsibility that comes with that. As members of Parliament, we have the power and responsibility to stand up for people in our ridings and communities and across the country who have traditionally been on the margins, who have not been recognized as equals by large parts of Canadian society, and who have been actively discriminated against in the past through our laws and policies.

That is one of the things that we members of Parliament have to do. We have to stand on this incredible stage in the House of Commons to do what we can to change this country so that everyone is equal no matter who they love or what their social background, race or origin. We have to stand up and be champions for every member of our communities. I take very seriously that responsibility and the privilege I have had over the last nearly six years in this role.

We are speaking today about the government's Bill C-6. I want to acknowledge and thank the Minister of Justice for bringing forward Bill C-6. I know he held many consultations. My NDP colleague, the member for Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke, was part of those consultations and I would like to thank him for his advocacy in the House.

The bill before us, Bill C-6, would amend the Criminal Code. It got me thinking about federal criminal law power in general, because it is a powerful tool of the federal government. We know from previous rulings of the Supreme Court of Canada that a valid criminal law power requires, number one, a prohibition; number two, a penalty; and number three, a valid criminal law purpose. Those have been traditionally listed as peace, order, security, morality and health. Those are the broad areas in which federal criminal law power can be applied.

Bill C-6 and the practice it is trying to prohibit fall very clearly under security and morality, because it is so morally wrong to force people to undergo a change from who they are. It also applies under section 7 of the charter: security of the person. Individuals are being denied security of the person by being forced to go through conversion therapy. We know this is an extremely harmful practice. We have heard testimony about how it has ruined lives. As many members who have spoken to Bill C-6 before me have said, when I speak with constituents they always express surprise that this practice is still ongoing in Canada.

Reparative or conversion therapy is a very dangerous practice that targets LGBTQ youth and seeks to change their sexual or gender identities. It has sometimes been called reparative therapy, but I hate the fact that we are even using the word “therapy”. Therapy, in my mind and I think in the minds of most Canadians, indicates a practice or some sort of counselling that is going to help someone get to a better place. This does not do that in any way. It is a range of dangerous and discredited practices that falsely claim to change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity or expression and it has been found by all experts to be fraudulent and harmful. In fact, the practice has been rejected by every mainstream medical and mental health organization for decades, but because there is continuing discrimination and societal bias against LGBTQ people, some practitioners continue to conduct this practice.

We know that minors are especially vulnerable, and that being forced to undergo conversion therapy leads them to experience depression, anxiety, drug use, homelessness and, in worst cases, death by suicide. We heard powerful testimony at the justice committee from survivors of conversion therapy, even before the bill began its formal process of debate, documenting what this practice had done to their lives. The fact that it is still going on in Canada leads to a lot of shock.

To show how much the world has changed in a short time, but also the changes that we still need to see, until 1990 homosexuality was considered by the World Health Organization to be a mental disorder. Today we are in the unfortunate position where gay sex remains illegal in 68 nations around the world. In those countries homosexuality has very serious penalties, including the death penalty and complete ostracization from mainstream society.

Canada has an important role to play on the world stage to show that we accept people for who they are and that we do not judge. We also have to be a voice of moral clarity on the world stage and speak out against those harmful practices. We do that to some extent.

The societal pressure of forcing gay and trans people to become heterosexual, or to be some kind of a societal norm, has been extremely harmful. Many conversion therapy practices have been based on religion, and have included talk therapy, hypnosis and, in some cases, electrical shocks and fasting.

It is incumbent upon us in the House of Commons, as the people's elected representatives, to recognize how harmful this practice is and to make our voices heard and say, “No more.” We are going to use the full force of the federal criminal law power, make a stand and declare how harmful this practice is, and we are going to take steps to prohibit it.

Particular sections of the bill include prohibitions against forced conversion therapy, against causing a child to undergo conversion therapy, against advertising conversion therapy and against materially benefiting from conversion therapy.

I want to take a moment to address the concerns that have been raised by some of my colleagues in the House. In each of those prohibitions, we see the phrase “conversion therapy.” This bill has taken the time to provide a definition of what conversion therapy is. In response to some of the current concerns, the greater certainty clause of that definition was expanded, and it now says it does not include:

The exploration and development of an integrated personal identity without favouring any particular sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

That means the definition does not include a practice, treatment or service that relates to those specific things. This helps provide that clarity for conversations between parents and their kids, church ministers and parishioners or people who simply want to have that conversation in a semi-formal setting. It does not in any way prohibit conversations from occurring.

In my mind at least, I believe that the concerns have been dealt with, and the harms that come from this practice warrant that this bill be passed.

In conclusion, I would like to say clearly and unequivocally that I will be supporting Bill C-6, and I hope my colleagues will join me so we can send this to the other place for royal assent in short order.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

The hon. member for Cowichan—Malahat—Langford will have five minutes for questions and comments when the House next returns to debate on the motion.

Woolwich Healthy CommunitiesStatements by Members

1:55 p.m.


Tim Louis Liberal Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, I was proud to meet with Woolwich Healthy Communities, an organization in Kitchener—Conestoga that is doing outstanding work locally to help protect our environment. Woolwich Healthy Communities has several working groups that are dedicated to making a difference in our riding.

I spent a beautiful sunny day in Elmira this weekend, planting over 300 trees with my daughter Brooklyn and other volunteers from the group Trees for Woolwich. I thank all the volunteers who celebrated World Environment Day by helping to create habitat, supporting species at risk and biodiversity, enriching the soil and sequestering carbon dioxide.

Thousands of trees will be planted for this nature reserve, with benefits and rewards decades away. The shade of these trees will not be enjoyed by the volunteers who planted them, but rather future generations to come.

The selflessness and commitment to improving our community is what makes Kitchener—Conestoga such an incredible place to live.

Mental HealthStatements by Members

2 p.m.


David Sweet Conservative Flamborough—Glanbrook, ON

Mr. Speaker, over the past decade, we have thankfully made huge strides reducing the stigma around mental health, which is one of the reasons our present circumstances are so frustrating. These ill-advised lockdowns have been devastating to Canadian’s mental health. Even the inconsistent WHO has stated that protracted lockdowns cause more harm than good.

Sadly, those most victimized by the lockdowns are those who were already struggling with mental health and have now been pushed over the edge, and tragically this group is joined by our children and youth.

The social isolation, inability for a long time to even use equipment at our parks and the closure of schools have driven heretofore healthy young people to eating disorders, self-harm, ideation of suicide as well as increased actual suicide attempts. Hamilton Health Sciences a month ago reported youth suicide attempts had increased threefold.

With all this devastation, the Liberal government's answer to increased health care requests from the provinces was a flat no. At a time when mental health struggles are so significant, Canadians have been sorely let down by their leadership, and they deserve better.

Stéphanie BellavanceStatements by Members

2 p.m.


René Arseneault Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, the ongoing pandemic has brought out the resourcefulness, creativity and determination of our entrepreneurs. I would like to share with the House the story of Stéphanie Bellavance, from Saint-Quentin.

Her hair salon had to close for two periods because COVID-19 cases were increasing in her area. Being a hairdresser for 16 years, she has not given up and instead has managed to diversify and expand her business.

Stéphanie wanted to expand her services by selling a new product, modified hair extensions exclusive to her salon. In addition, she developed an online coaching program about one of her passions, healthy living.

She rolled up her sleeves and followed online courses to develop and increase her business. Therefore, if in the future her business must close due to COVID-19, she will still be able to sell her product and offer online coaching.

To all the Stéphanie Bellavances in Canada, I say well done. I congratulate them for their perseverance and their contributions to our economy.

Jocelyne BatesStatements by Members

2 p.m.


Alain Therrien Bloc La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, her name is Jocelyne Bates, but I can only refer to her as “Madame”. This year, this exceptional woman, known for her striking smile, is celebrating 30 years in municipal politics. It is not nothing to spend 30 years working at a level of government that involves such close contact with constituents.

Madame Bates is passionate about her work, and she loves her town of Sainte-Catherine the way a mother loves her child. She knows everything about her municipality. She defends it, she takes up arms and goes to the front, she stands up for her community. She is simply extraordinary.

This may be a first in the House, but my Liberal colleague from Brossard—Saint-Lambert and I agreed to speak one after the other to applaud this amazing woman. That too is politics: knowing when to come together to acknowledge good things, regardless of our political stripes, as long as we are doing it for the common good. I would say that this approach of setting partisanship aside for the common good represents Madame Bates' attitude very well.

I will pass the baton to my colleague and again commend the outstanding dedication of Madame Bates, mayor of Sainte-Catherine. I wish her a happy 30th anniversary.

Jocelyne BatesStatements by Members

2 p.m.


Alexandra Mendes Liberal Brossard—Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague, the hon. member for La Prairie, just paid a glowing tribute to the political career of a woman we deeply admire.

The longevity of Jocelyne Bates' political career is due in large part to her undeniable knack for bringing people together. In that same spirit, I join my colleague in congratulating Madame Bates for a political career marked by her desire to rally residents around projects that benefit the entire community. I especially want to acknowledge her determination to revitalize the waterfront in Sainte-Catherine. The St. Lawrence River and Seaway are vital engines for development, and Madame Bates never lets us forget that.

I was one of her constituents for seven years, and we have been friends for over 20 years. I know that having to juggle multiple roles over the past 30 years has always helped Jocelyne Bates strike the right balance between reaching for the stars and keeping her feet planted firmly on the ground.

Congratulations, Jocelyne.

Hut 8 MiningStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.


Glen Motz Conservative Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to recognize both Hut 8 Mining, an industry leading bitcoin miner, and the city of Medicine Hat where the mine is centred.

Hut 8 is a great story, from its penny stock beginnings to its all-female leadership team, very unique in the tech industry. Medicine Hat has a long history of entrepreneurial acumen and willingness to pioneer with new opportunities.

As a bitcoin miner, reliable electricity is a critical consideration, which is one of the many reasons why Medicine Hat was chosen as the city owns it own electric utility, from generation to distribution. This enables Hut 8 to access low-cost electricity involving a clean environmental footprint using natural gas combustion turbine.

Hut 8's operations in Medicine Hat provide highly skilled jobs, with 80% of its team based locally. As a sustainable leader in bitcoin mining, Hut 8 contributes excellent value to the local community and the economy.

It is important that Canada harness innovation and value behind emerging technology such as blockchain and foster a regulatory and commercial environment that promotes companies such as Hut 8 within Canada and abroad.

National Roofing WeekStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.


Steven MacKinnon Liberal Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, this week, the Canadian Roofing Contractors Association and its 400 corporate members are celebrating National Roofing Week. The objective of this national week is to increase awareness across Canada about the significance of roofs to every home and business.

Let us remind ourselves that the roof is one of the most important components of every structure and is also the first line of defence against natural elements.

I would like to take this opportunity to recognize one of its members, an entrepreneur from the Outaouais, Alain Raymond, president and founder of Raymond Group. Mr. Raymond is an accomplished businessman who was named person of the year by the Gatineau chamber of commerce in 2018. His company now has more than 300 employees across Quebec.

As the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement, I am proud of my work with the construction industry across Canada. I am delighted to wish all roofers in the Outaouais and Canada a happy National Roofing Week.

LGBTQ2S+ OrganizationStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.


Soraya Martinez Ferrada Liberal Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is International Pride Month, and I want to take this opportunity to recognize the outstanding work that is being done by many LGBTQ2S+ organizations in my riding, particularly Fondation Émergence.

Fondation Émergence held the first day against homophobia in 2003, and it fights every day to educate and raise the awareness of Quebeckers with regard to the realities of the LGBTQ2S+ community.

As a government and as citizens, we have the responsibility to ensure that everyone can live as they see fit without discrimination, no matter who they are or who they love. That is why our government introduced Bill C-6, which seeks to protect the dignity and equality of members of the LGBTQ2S+ community by criminalizing conversion therapy. That is one of the most progressive and comprehensive legislative responses in the world because no one should try to change anyone's sexual orientation or gender identity.

I would like to once again thank Fondation Émergence for the important work that it does in my riding to combat discrimination against members of the LGBTQ2S+ community in Hochelaga, in Quebec and around the world.

Birthday CongratulationsStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.


Brad Vis Conservative Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to celebrate the upcoming 80th birthday of James Ross Hurley, the founding director of the Parliamentary Internship Programme.

In 1969, Mr. Hurley, a young academic at the University of Ottawa, worked with the Canadian Political Science Association and the late Alfred Hales, MP for Wellington, to develop a new program that would allow recent university graduates to serve as assistants to MPs and to study Parliament during a 10-month internship.

Thanks to Mr. Hurley's dedication, more than 500 Canadians have benefited from this unique non-partisan program, which continues to this day. The current interns will finish their placement this month. I, myself, am proud to have been an intern in 2010-11.

Mr. Hurley eventually moved on to a distinguished career with the Privy Council Office, but remains a dedicated supporter of the internship, most recently helping to establish the Hales and Hurley Parliamentary Foundation to raise funds on its behalf.

We congratulate him on this milestone and thank him for his contributions to Canada and our Parliament.

His Excellency Bishop Ibrahim IbrahimStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.


Fayçal El-Khoury Liberal Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege to rise in the House to talk about the crucial role of His Excellency Bishop Ibrahim Ibrahim, the eparch of the Melkite Catholic Church of Canada consecrated by Pope John Paul II to serve members of his community across Canada.

As leader of his diocese for 18 years, he has worked tirelessly and with respectful openness to build bridges among all men and women of goodwill and among religions. Employing his talent as a communicator and acting for the common good, Bishop Ibrahim is a builder and presided over the construction of a magnificent Byzantine cathedral in Montreal, a dream at long last realized thanks to his vision and leadership.

Bishop Ibrahim is an eastern bishop in Canada and has not forgotten his roots in his native land, Lebanon, and stands with the Middle Eastern countries that are suffering.

Peace Country EducatorsStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.


Chris Warkentin Conservative Grande Prairie—Mackenzie, AB

Mr. Speaker, today I want to pay tribute to Peace Country educators, who have met the unprecedented challenge of this past year and deserve our thanks. These past months have been challenging for all of us, but teachers have navigated some really unique obstacles. The unexpected shutdown of in-person learning forced teachers to innovate and learn new technology skills so they could continue to teach their dispersed students at home and create ways for students to connect with one another.

Families across the Peace Country have faced the pain of financial pressure, job loss and isolation, and I know that educators and staff have helped students navigate these realities while many faced these same challenges in their own homes. These past months have been unprecedented in our lives, but Peace Country teachers, staff and administrators have met the challenges.

As we come to the end of this school year, on behalf of myself and our family and on behalf of Peace Country residents, I want to thank them for their dedication and service to our kids as we look forward to more normal days ahead.

Victoriaville TigresStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.


Alain Rayes Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, the prestigious President Cup of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League is back in my region.

Nineteen years after their last victory, the Victoriaville Tigres were tournament champions on Saturday, thanks to a spectacular victory against the Val-d'Or Foreurs. I would like to sincerely congratulate them.

Well done to the players, who were exhilarating to watch over the past months, despite COVID-19. I would also like to acknowledge the work of Carl Mallette. Nineteen years ago, he shot the winning goal in the final game as captain of the team. This weekend, he raised the cup as its head coach. Bravo, Carl.

Congratulations to his assistants, Maxime Desruisseaux and Sébastien Charpentier, to the general manager, Kevin Cloutier, to the president, Charles Pellerin, and to all those who contributed to the team's success.

On behalf of myself and all of their fans, I say, “go, Tigres, go!”

You are champions and we are proud of you.

Middle School Student's Community InitiativeStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.


Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Mr. Speaker, as we slowly and cautiously emerge from the pandemic, I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge and recognize a remarkable young woman from my riding: Spencer Middle School student Kylee Booth.

The last 15 months have been incredibly difficult for our youth. At a time in their lives that is supposed to be about learning and experiencing new things, they have had to completely readjust their time at school. They have been cut off or distanced from their social circles and many have struggled, but some have stepped up to community service.

With help from her mom Collette, Kylee started learning to use the family sewing machine and took it upon herself to start designing and creating masks for the community, which she gave out for free. In her words, “The community has done a lot for me and I thought it would be a good time to give back”.

I thank Kylee for this dedication to making her community safer, and I congratulate her.

Alternative School Student ParliamentStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.


Claude DeBellefeuille Bloc Salaberry—Suroît, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to address my counterparts, the members of the student parliament at La Traversée alternative school.

Esteemed colleagues and community representatives, my visit with you showed me an inspiring model of civic engagement. Your gender-balanced parliament sets an excellent example, considering that we still have a long way to go here in the House of Commons. Perhaps one day Évelyne Rochefort, Ellie Landry and Korali Lebœuf will join me in the green seats of the House.

I am equally certain that Julien Funk, Zac Bérubé and Hugo Morin would also make excellent elected officials, as they helped mobilize the school to support the mission of Pacte de rue in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield. It comes as no surprise that Vox Populi has recognized your school's thriving democratic engagement. I wanted to officially congratulate you.

To my hon. colleagues of the student parliament, please extend my sincere congratulations to Sabrina Dubé, Suzanne Blouin and your school principal, Isabelle Perron.

It will always be a pleasure to collaborate with you, hon. members.