House of Commons Hansard #114 of the 43rd Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was gba.

Topics

2 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

With the summer recess approaching, I would like to thank the Pages for their extraordinary work this year.

Normally, on a Wednesday in June, the House of Commons pages sing the national anthem at the beginning of the sitting. However, this year has been exceptional for everyone, including this year's group of pages.

Although they were not able to sing in person this year, they have collaborated virtually to maintain this tradition.

[Pages sang the national anthem]

Aphasia Awareness MonthStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Pam Damoff Liberal Oakville North—Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, June is Aphasia awareness month and that is important because 95% of Canadians do not know what aphasia is. Aphasia is a language disorder that affects a person's ability to communicate. It is most often caused by strokes that occur in areas of the brain that control speech and language. Aphasia does not affect intelligence, but it makes speech jumbled, fragmented or hard to understand, which can be frustrating.

This June, I would like to thank Carly Woods, a speech-language pathologist who for the past five years worked at the Halton-Peel Community Aphasia Programs where she helped so many Halton residents regain their voice.

Carly welcomed me into their group therapy room, taught me about aphasia and introduced me to some of the kindest friends I know. I thank her for her positivity, patience and kind heart. I wish her the best of luck in her new adventure.

Tribute to MothersStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Arnold Viersen Conservative Peace River—Westlock, AB

Mr. Speaker, there is nothing more beautiful in all the world than a new mother with her new baby. Yesterday, my friend gave birth to two brand new baby boys. The miracle of carrying a new person created with unlimited potential makes mothers tremendous.

Being a mom can feel overwhelming and impossible, but today I want to recognize all the mothers who bring new life into this world and care for their children. It can make them feel unseen and underappreciated, but their impact is infinite in the lives of their children. Moms shape the next generation.

I thank moms for their sleepless nights, for bandaids on skinned knees, for their first-day school tears, for late night heart-to-hearts and for their unconditional love.

To all the moms to whom we owe our existence, I thank them.

George MurphyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Kenneth McDonald Liberal Avalon, NL

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to the life of George Murphy, who passed away suddenly at the young age of 58 this past weekend. Every Newfoundlander and Labradorian knew George Murphy. He had a unique personality with a contagious smile and always a story to tell.

George was known in our province as the gas guru. With his expert knowledge, he would give us the inside scoop on the weekly price of gas, even in the middle of an election campaign or in the middle of a pandemic.

George was a well-known taxi driver and business manager for Jiffy Cabs. His personality and passion for our province brought him to the House of Assembly as the MHA for St. John's East from 2011 to 2015. In the recent provincial election he ran in his home district of Harbour Main for the Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador.

George will be remembered as the loving husband to his wife, Joy, a wonderful father and grandfather. He was generous, a passionate man and above all else a gentle soul. George was taken from us way too soon. His legacy will live on.

“Rest easy, my friend.”

Solidarity in SheffordStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Andréanne Larouche Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, there are some stories of solidarity that truly warm the heart.

At the height of vine-pruning season at the new Girouard vineyard, Yoan, who is 14, had a serious skateboarding accident that left him lying on the side of the road with severe head trauma, as well as other injuries. His friend Kayla, who was on her way to meet him, found him and took it upon herself to run one kilometre to go get help. Yoan was then transported to the Fleurimont Hospital, where it was feared he might not make it. His parents, Josée and Martin, owners of the vineyard, have been by his side ever since.

When he heard of this tragedy, Michel Robert, from the Coteau Rougemont vineyard, asked the winemakers of the region for emergency help. They answered the call. They took care of the parents' vineyard so they could stay by their son's bedside, and he is now recovering at home.

By pulling together, the winemakers saved the season for the young vineyard, which plans to bottle its first batch of wine in August. They probably ensured the survival of the business for this couple of entrepreneurs, but, most importantly, Yoan's friend Kayla, in going to meet up with him, saved his life.

London TragedyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Drouin Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, like all Canadians, I was shocked, outraged and horrified by the attack in London, Ontario.

A few days ago, three generations of one family paid the price for someone else's ignorance and hate. This is one tragedy too many, one that affects not only Canada's Muslim community, but all of us. We need to send a clear message. What happened in London, Ontario was nothing short of a terrorist act, motivated by nothing but ignorance and hate.

Islamophobia and racism have no place in our society. It is important to reiterate it and to remind everyone. We have a duty to act and to intervene when we witness Islamophobia in our society, because to do nothing is tantamount to supporting that kind of behaviour.

On behalf of everyone in Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, I wish to extend our heartfelt sympathies to the family.

Meadow Lake ArenaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Gary Vidal Conservative Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, SK

Mr. Speaker, it was at 2:37 a.m. on Sunday that I received a message that the Meadow Lake arena was on fire.

I still remember when the arena was first built. I was 12 years old, and when I skated out onto that ice it felt like I was in the middle of Maple Leaf Gardens. The arena was not just about hockey, though; it has been home to many other community events throughout the years, like trade shows, fairs, indoor rodeos, figure-skating carnivals, curling playdowns and the Lions Club fundraising bingos, but there was nothing that brought that place to life like playoff hockey.

The heartbeat of our community, the arena is home to memories for thousands of people across Canada, including NHL players and Stanley Cup champions. While those memories will remain, jerseys representing the pinnacle of careers, which hung from the rafters, and all the championship banners on the east wall are now gone.

I know that our community and the region will come together and one day soon we will be back in that arena cheering for our Broncos.

Frederick BickfordStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Marcus Powlowski Liberal Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, I wish to note the passing of a well-known, well-respected labour lawyer, Frederick Bickford, a resident in my riding, who represented major industrial and institutional clients for 42 years.

A true gentleman, Fred lived his life with faith and gratitude, generously working in the service of others to make the world a better place. A lifelong member of the Liberal Party, he loyally served the party in various roles over the years.

As a young man, Fred served his country as a signal officer in the military and, more recently, as honorary colonel and senate member of the Lake Superior Scottish Regiment.

Fred's keen sense of justice governed his practice of law as well as his work at the Ontario Bar Association and Law Society of Upper Ontario. Fred used his voice as a bencher with the law society to advance the goals of indigenous reconciliation, equality, diversity and inclusion, all principles he regarded as imperative for the vitality of our society. Fred's legacy of integrity, honour, kindness and compassion remain, to inspire others.

Our thoughts are with his beloved wife Cheryl; his loving sister Joan; and his three cherished children Sean, Leanne and Robert, and their families.

Mining Centre of ExcellenceStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Eric Melillo Conservative Kenora, ON

Mr. Speaker, as the economy reopens, our focus must be on securing the future and supporting the families who have been impacted by the pandemic. It is vital that we have a strong recovery in all sectors and all regions of the country. That means targeted stimulus to the hardest-hit sectors and supporting the development of natural resources across northern Ontario.

Recently, the first nations of Cat Lake, KI, Slate Falls and Lac Seul have created a historic mining partnership with the Sioux Lookout Friendship Accord and nine regional companies to create a centre of excellence. The centre will provide training and jobs, and increase the first nations' participation in mining projects.

This partnership shows the importance of the mining sector to our economy and to the well-being of families across the Kenora riding. I say congratulations to all involved for reaching this milestone, and rest assured that Canada's Conservatives will continue to support our innovative and world-leading mining sector.

Toronto West Seventh-day Adventist ChurchStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize and say “thank you” for a very special morning that I spent with the children and teachers of the Toronto West Seventh-day Adventist Church, a touchstone in our Etobicoke North community.

Teachers Miss Stacey and Miss Susan had carefully taught the children about community service and government, and Keenan, Naomi, Kevin and Quincey beautifully presented their questions. They wanted to know how to become a member of Parliament, what they would need to study, how to run in an election, and what was rewarding and hard about community service.

The children are smart, caring and empathetic, and they have big dreams. Naomi wants to be a scientist. They are brave and wanted their voices heard in Parliament.

Today, I thank the wonderful children and tremendous service of the Toronto West Seventh-day Adventist Church, which has provided healing, hope and peace throughout the pandemic.

Executive CompensationStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Stephanie Kusie Conservative Calgary Midnapore, AB

Mr. Speaker, we found out this week that Nav Canada distributed $7 million in executive compensation with taxpayer funds. This was after 700 workers lost their jobs and airline fees were hiked 30%. I received numerous messages over the last year from Nav Canada employees who told me of the fear of losing their jobs. The current government is not capable of understanding what it is like for middle-class Canadians to earn a decent living without relying on a huge payout on the backs of taxpayers.

Last week, we found out that Air Canada doled out more than $10 million to executives, with Canadians' money, as a result of the government's incompetence to negotiate an agreement that excluded the distribution of executive bonuses. Citizens are exhausted by the government's being tone deaf to the average Canadian. The government spins and distracts in an effort to cover up and deflect its deception and inability.

The Liberals side with big wigs while Conservatives try to secure the future for working people who only want paycheques. Only a Conservative government can secure the future for Canadians.

Public SafetyStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Mr. Speaker, taking a page from the Chinese Communist regime and its lack of transparency, the government, in defiance of Parliament, is refusing to turn over all documents relating to the shocking transfer of deadly pathogens from the Winnipeg lab to the infamous Wuhan Institute of Virology and the termination of two scientists linked to the Wuhan institute.

This is a major national security breach. The safety of Canadians has been compromised. Canadians deserve answers, which are being impeded by the government. For a Prime Minister who once famously said, “Sunshine is the best disinfectant”, it is time to let the sun shine in, stop the cover-up and turn over the documents.

Attack in London, OntarioStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Lindsay Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, I never thought I would see such a horrific act of terror in my hometown, but in London, Ontario, on a warm, peaceful Sunday evening at 8:40 p.m., a beautiful family went for a walk. There were Salman Afzaal; his mother, Talat; his wife Madiha Salman; and their daughter, Yumna. They will never come home home, and little nine-year-old Fayez is still in hospital, recovering from his injuries.

Last night, I attended a vigil at the London Muslim Mosque with more than 15,000 people, all there to mourn and grieve. They were looking for solace, hope and answers. The outpouring of love and support makes me so incredibly proud of my community, but last night everyone was there, desperately calling for action against Islamophobia, racism and too many other violent hateful acts. We must act now. When we say that this can never happen again, we have to mean it. Muslim lives are at stake.

Project MKUltraStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Pauzé Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, about 60 families are taking the Government of Canada to court over Project MKUltra, which, as members will recall, was a CIA program to develop mind-control techniques.

Some of these experiments took place in Montreal between 1957 and 1964. It is difficult to believe, but some Montrealers were unknowingly subjected to brainwashing experiments funded by Ottawa and the CIA. The methods used included electroshock therapy at 30 to 40 times the normal strength, many psychotropic drugs and various other paralytic substances, in an attempt to put subjects into a deep coma to reprogram them.

On May 25, 2018, I rose in the House to ask the government to publicly apologize and compensate the victims of MKUltra. I also wrote to my colleague, the member for Papineau, but, three years later, I still have not heard back from him. I agree that there is nothing glorious about admitting that we allowed people to be tortured, but it did happen. The Government of Canada must admit its guilt and compensate the victims of MKUltra.

Attack in London, OntarioStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Karen Vecchio Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, last night I stood among 10,000 Canadians who came together to grieve, commemorate and address the issues of Islamophobia. Following the horrific attack on a London family this past Sunday, leaders from all levels of government, representing all political parties, came together to honour the Afzaal family: Salman, Madiha, Yumna and Talat. Nine-year-old Fayez remains in the hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries. Together we listened to leaders of the Muslim community. Together we witnessed the number of people impacted by this.

We must end racism. We must end hate. There needs to be hope, and that begins with all of us working together. As a parliamentarian, and after working in federal politics for many years, I have seen an increase of intolerance, and I have seen an increase in the fear. I pledge to work with leaders in our community and in this country to build a stronger, more inclusive society. We should feel proud to be Canadians, but that will come with patience and commitment. It takes more than words.

Attack in London, OntarioStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Chandra Arya Liberal Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am horrified by the terrorist attack in London, Ontario, in which a Muslim family was targeted and killed by an act of hate. Islamophobia continues to increase the death count in Canada, and it is not acceptable. I stand in solidarity with my Muslim brothers and sisters.

Hate crimes are on the rise in Canada. Jewish Canadians have been targeted by an alarming rise in anti-Semitic incidents. Asian Canadians have been victims of a shocking rise in anti-Asian hate crimes. To combat hate crimes, we need a team Canada approach, including a strong educational component. We need all hands on deck to combat Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and anti-Asian hate crimes. Failure to act now leaves the door wide open for vicious hate to find a permanent home in Canada.

Cornelia OberlanderStatements By Members

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, today, I honour the memory of Cornelia Oberlander, a renowned British Columbian landscape architect who passed away last month.

At the age of 18, Cornelia and her family fled the Holocaust in Nazi Germany. She was one of the first women to study at Harvard's Graduate School of Design and continued to be a role model for women in a male-dominated field.

Cornelia described her move to Canada in the 1950s as pivotal to her career. “The freedom to create, the freedom to think differently, was unlimited...[in this] younger country”, she said. In Vancouver, she designed the log seating on Vancouver's beaches, accessible public spaces in Robson Square, the Vancouver Public Library Central Library rooftop garden and VanDusen Botanical Garden. Central to her work was the idea that everyone could have access to green and environmentally friendly designs.

Cornelia was awarded Companion of the Order of Canada, but her legacy was the enrichment of urban spaces in Vancouver and other Canadian cities.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Erin O'Toole ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, for months, Conservatives have been trying to get to the bottom of why two scientists were marched out of our top secret lab in Winnipeg. The Liberals first claimed that it was a personnel issue. Now they are saying it was a national security issue. They are hiding that under a mountain of black ink.

Why is the Prime Minister so determined, once again, to hide the truth from Canadians?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, that is simply not the truth. We are committed to sharing information in a way that will not compromise national security. The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians is the best forum for that.

This is why the Minister of Health has written to NSICOP to request that they examine the issue, and the unredacted documents have already been shared with parliamentarians through that committee. This process allows officials to share information with parliamentarians while, of course, protecting national security.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Erin O'Toole ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has already violated our national security. In 2018, the U.S. embassy sent experts to the biosecurity lab in Wuhan. They found the lab to be insufficient in terms of security protocols. This was the same lab the government was approving to transfer dangerous Ebola samples to.

Again, I will ask the Prime Minister this: Why are they covering up information about scientists and about policies between our top secret Winnipeg lab and the Wuhan Institute of Virology?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, we have made sure that unredacted documents are available to parliamentarians through the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, where they have the appropriate clearances so parliamentarians can look into all matters of national security. We created that committee exactly for this purpose.

Furthermore, espionage and foreign interference pose real threats to Canadian research security, which is why in March we announced further steps to integrate national security considerations into the evaluation of federally funded research partnerships.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Erin O'Toole ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, media reports have confirmed that a database of 22,000 virus strains at the Wuhan lab was taken offline in September 2019. That database likely included the Winnipeg virus samples sent to Wuhan.

Senior Canadian scientists warned against that transfer. Media reports also show that the Privy Council was involved immediately, as soon as there were questions about the scientists who were fired. There are so many questions in Canada and globally. Will the Prime Minister acknowledge that there was a security breach at our top secret Winnipeg laboratory?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as a government, we have always taken threats to national security extremely seriously, and we taken the appropriate measures in partnership with our national security agencies and intelligence officials.

One of the things that we did, as of 2015, which the previous Conservative government refused to do, was to bring in a mechanism so that parliamentarians could look at and examine top secret documents in a way that aligns with what our allies always did.

The Conservatives consistently voted against the oversight of national security. We made it more transparent. As I said, we have shared unredacted documents with parliamentarians through the NSICOP committee.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Erin O'Toole ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, is the Prime Minister saying he was aligned with his allies in 2015? After the 2015 election, the Prime Minister reversed a decision on the O-Net Communications sale, which was blocked to a Chinese enterprise on security grounds. The Prime Minister reversed it at the same time he was doing cash-for-access fundraisers with people connected to Beijing leadership.

At the time, he was advancing a free trade agreement. He is the only Five Eyes ally that is still considering Huawei as a part of our 5G infrastructure. When will the Prime Minister start to realize that Beijing is not a dictatorship he should admire?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, while the Conservatives continue to play political games, we are focused on standing up for Canadian interests; defending Canadian businesses; defending Canadian national security; working with our Five Eyes partners, and partners around the world, to ensure that our research institutions, our political institutions and our democracy are strong against all foreign interference and threats.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Erin O'Toole ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, for months the Conservatives have been trying to understand why two scientists were removed from the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg. The Liberals said it was a staffing issue. Now they are saying that it is a matter of national security.

Those are two contradictory, questionable and very different messages. Why is the Prime Minister hiding the truth from Canadians?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, that is simply untrue. We are not hiding anything.

In 2016, we created a committee of parliamentarians who have the necessary authority to study and investigate our national security systems. That was an election promise that we made after we watched the Harper government for years block any question related to national security.

We created a committee that enables parliamentarians to study very sensitive issues and we shared all these unredacted documents with them.

JusticeOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Yves-François Blanchet Bloc Beloeil—Chambly, QC

Mr. Speaker, at a press conference yesterday, the Prime Minister made some comments that, in light of recent events, are quite disturbing and, in in fact, should be either corrected or clarified.

Can the Prime Minister explain, because it makes no sense to us, the connection between a face mask and secularism within the Quebec state?

JusticeOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, Quebeckers are currently standing up for their rights in court over Quebec's secularism law. We are naturally following this situation closely. My position and our government's position have always been clear on this.

JusticeOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Yves-François Blanchet Bloc Beloeil—Chambly, QC

Mr. Speaker, what seems clear is that he will fund Quebeckers who want to challenge Bill 21.

He said that he would not be surprised if in the weeks and months to come people started re-examining the purpose and importance of Bill 21, partly because we have been spending a lot of time wearing masks for the past year, and because people are really worried about the increase in intolerance and Islamophobia.

Good grief, is the Prime Minister making a connection between Bill 21, the Quebec National Assembly, intolerance and Islamophobia?

JusticeOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois has expressed its concerns over the court challenges program multiple times. We reinstated this program after the Conservatives slashed it because we believe that it is important for every Canadian to be able to defend their fundamental rights before the courts, whether it be their official language rights, their rights as members of the LGBTQ+ community or their religious minority rights. Our government believes that people should be able to defend their rights before the courts, and we will always defend these principles.

Indigenous AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jagmeet Singh NDP Burnaby South, BC

Mr. Speaker, the discovery of the remains of 215 indigenous children devastated people across the country. The indigenous community is calling for justice and action.

The Prime Minister continues to fight indigenous kids in court, despite the fact that the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruled that these children were victims of discrimination. Will the Prime Minister continue to fight indigenous kids in court on Monday, yes or no?

Indigenous AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, that is simply not true. We are not fighting indigenous children in court.

On the contrary, we have recognized that indigenous children and young adults who have been abused in the child welfare system in recent years deserve to be compensated. That is why we are working with indigenous communities to establish fair amounts for compensation. We will always work hand in hand on the path of reconciliation. That is what indigenous and non-indigenous Canadians expect.

Indigenous AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jagmeet Singh NDP Burnaby South, BC

Mr. Speaker, that is very troubling as a response because this Monday indigenous kids are going to be showing up at court, their representatives, and the Canadian government, directed by the Prime Minister, is going to be there to continue fighting against them. It is about this Monday. It is not a distant thing in the future. It is this Monday that I am talking about, where in fact the Canadian government, under direction of the Prime Minister, will be fighting these kids.

Despite all of Parliament saying the government should stop, will it stop fighting these kids in court and, instead, walk the path of reconciliation?

Indigenous AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate that on an issue as important as reconciliation the NDP continues to try to make political points and twist rhetoric.

We are not fighting indigenous kids in court. This government has committed to compensate the young people who went through child and family services.

We recognize the trauma and the pain inflicted upon them, and that is why not only are we working with indigenous communities and leadership on just compensation, but we have also brought in significant reforms to child and family services to keep indigenous communities in control of their kids at risk.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Mr. Speaker, Dr. Matthew Gilmour, head of the government's Winnipeg lab, raised serious concerns about the Wuhan Institute of Virology. He questioned the nature of its work, whether it could be trusted and why materials were being shipped from Winnipeg to Wuhan. He asked why they would work with the Wuhan lab in the first place.

On May 15 last year, only eight weeks into the global pandemic, he suddenly quit. Why?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I can understand that parliamentarians have questions around issues, including questions around issues of national security. That is very much why we have ensured that there is a forum for them to look at even very sensitive things, in the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians. The health minister has made available to parliamentarians, through that committee, unredacted documents regarding the National Microbiology Lab, and I look forward to the study that parliamentarians can do to get to the bottom of this.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is a PMO committee, not a parliamentary committee. Its members are hired and fired by the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister can deny the committee information and order changes to reports. It is not the place to hold the government accountable; this place is.

We do not know why Dr. Gilmour resigned. We do not know why Dr. Qiu and Dr. Cheng were fired. We do not know how a scientist from the People's Liberation Army gained access to the Winnipeg lab.

When is the government going to start being accountable to this House of Commons and answer the questions?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the member who asked the question was a part of Stephen Harper's Conservative government, which regularly refused to allow any oversight whatsoever on issues of national security. Many Canadians will remember the excesses of Bill C-51 that the Harper government put forward, which is why we made changes to Bill C-51 when we got into office, which is also why we created the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, to provide a forum for parliamentarians to oversee national security work. That is an improvement we made that Conservatives voted against.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Mr. Speaker, when I sat on the other side of the House, I stood up publicly on numerous occasions and called on the government to be accountable to the House of Commons and its committees. I did in government what I am doing in opposition, something the Prime Minister is not doing.

I have a very simple but serious question for the Prime Minister. The government expects Canadians to uphold the rule of law. In turn, Canadians expect their government to do the same.

When will the government comply with the House order for the Winnipeg lab documents?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Winnipeg lab documents, in completely unredacted form, have been given to parliamentarians through the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians. Two of that member's colleagues sit on that committee and will be able to follow up on any of those questions the member has brought forward.

It is very important that at the same time as we protect national security we find a way for Parliament to hold us to account, and that is exactly what we have done with NSICOP.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, what happened between the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg and the Chinese laboratory in Wuhan is an extremely serious matter. Unfortunately, the Prime Minister is doing whatever he wants.

The House of Commons adopted an order last week calling on the government to table relevant documents. It is not a wish or a desire; it is an order. Once again, the Prime Minister thinks he is above the law. He thinks there is one set of laws for him and another for everyone else.

Why does the Prime Minister refuse to release important information so that Canadians can get to the bottom of this matter?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is nothing but nonsense from the opposition.

We have given all the unredacted documents to the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians so that it can ask its questions and examine the facts without jeopardizing our national security.

Everyone can understand that we need to protect national security, but we also need transparency and accountability. The committee is there for that very reason, with the necessary qualifications and safeguards to investigate thoroughly.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, no, an order of the House of Commons is not nonsense. What happened in Winnipeg and Wuhan is not nonsense. That is why we must get to the bottom of the matter.

The Prime Minister talks about his committee of parliamentarians, but his committee of parliamentarians is in his hands. It is the Prime Minister himself who gets to decide whether or not certain aspects will be made public.

That is not transparency. That is why these matters must be referred to a parliamentary committee, not his committee.

Why is the Prime Minister refusing to publicly get to the bottom of this matter?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, either for political reasons or simply out of ignorance, the opposition party is clearly refusing to accept the good work that the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians is doing.

I suggest that the Conservatives talk to their two excellent members on the committee to get an idea of the kind of tremendous and diligent work that this committee is doing on matters of national security.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, speaking of ignorance, the Prime Minister does not even realize that the members of his committee cannot talk.

He is telling us to talk to our parliamentary colleagues on this committee, but we cannot. The Prime Minister himself does not even know that. He does not know what he is talking about.

We are serious about this, and Canadians are too. They want to know the truth.

Why is the Prime Minister refusing to get to the bottom of this matter?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we created a parliamentary committee made up of parliamentarians from all parties to thoroughly examine matters of national security, with the necessary clearances. The leader of the Conservative Party recommended members of his party to sit on this committee.

Other democracies like ours have similar committees. We are simply the last to have created one, because Stephen Harper refused to do so.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Yves-François Blanchet Bloc Beloeil—Chambly, QC

Mr. Speaker, as the community of London, Ontario, comes to grips with a tragedy that will mark it forever, at a time when we need to reflect, be compassionate and defuse tensions, the Prime Minister is suggesting that there is a link between the anti-Muslim terrorist attack in London and the Government of Quebec's secularism law.

Does the Prime Minister believe that his comments will defuse tensions? Will he apologize to Quebeckers and retract his unfortunate comments?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, Muslims and Muslim communities across Canada, including Quebec's Muslim community, which continues to suffer as a result of the attack in Sainte-Foy several years ago, are standing in solidarity with the London community and with Muslims across the country.

Muslims are now saying that they feel even more anxious when they go outside wearing hijab and go for walks with their family.

What happened Sunday evening was a horrific terrorist attack. I know that people across the country are supporting this community that has suffered so much.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Yves-François Blanchet Bloc Beloeil—Chambly, QC

Mr. Speaker, I understand that there is no set limit in the Standing Orders for refusing to answer a question or being incapable of answering, but in real life, there are limits.

Quebeckers are no less supportive of the people of London than the Prime Minister is, but the Prime Minister drew a link between Islamophobia and intolerance and a law passed by the Quebec National Assembly, a law that has widespread support in Quebec.

Will he repeat this asinine remark, or will he apologize?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, despite the rhetoric from the leader of the Bloc Québécois, there are Quebeckers who are going before the Quebec courts to challenge that law and defend what they believe to be their rights. We are, of course, closely following these proceedings and watching what happens. As for Bill 21, I have already expressed my position on it very clearly.

HealthOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, today the Prime Minister announced the indefinite continuation of the unsafe and unscientific hotel quarantine program. Even for fully vaccinated Canadians, no firm date was announced as to when they would be able to forgo staying at federal facilities where sexual assaults, worker abuses and COVID-19 outbreaks have occurred.

Will the Prime Minister listen to the advice of his expert scientific panel and give a firm date for when the hotel quarantine program will be scrapped?

HealthOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, every step of the way we have been informed by science, experts and data on how to keep Canadians safe through this pandemic. We recognize that people are eager to get things back to normal. We also know that as people get fully vaccinated it will be possible to remove many of the restrictions that are in place. We will be making announcements around that in the coming weeks. The reality is that every step of the way our top priority must be the safety and security of Canadians during what are hopefully the final months of this pandemic in Canada.

HealthOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, while other Canadians are doing their part and avoiding travel, the Prime Minister is about to travel internationally to go on a cocktail-party-loaded photo op trip to London. Upon his return, he will not quarantine at the same facilities that every other Canadian has because he wants to personally avoid all the problems that Canadians have experienced. That is despicable. Worse, today he announced the indefinite extension of the hotel quarantine program.

Why will the Prime Minister not listen to the expert panel advice of scientists and give a firm date for when the program will be scrapped? Sometime soon is not a date.

HealthOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, like all Canadians returning home via air during the pandemic, the delegation and I will be staying in a government-approved airport hotel. These are the same strict protocols that every traveller must follow and we expect them to be applied to everyone.

At the same time, we recognize that being double vaccinated, as increasing numbers of Canadians are as millions of doses continue to arrive every week into Canada, gives one an extra level of protection, which is why we are talking about loosening the restrictions for fully vaccinated Canadians in the coming weeks.

HealthOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister will not be staying at the same facility that every other Canadian is, and that is just ridiculous. This week, prominent Democratic and Republican congresspeople have been musing about how the United States may unilaterally open its side of the land border to Canadians. This comes as prominent Liberals such as Bob Rae have also been musing about the border. The Prime Minister has no plan for benchmarks for a safe reopening on federal restrictions.

Is the Prime Minister instead preparing for the chaos that will likely ensue if the Americans unilaterally open the border?

HealthOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, since the beginning of this pandemic we have worked hand in hand with the United States to align our measures. Even with that, however, the measures have not been the same on both sides of the border. We brought in, early on, a mandatory two-week quarantine. We brought in initiatives such as pre-departure and on-arrival testing, which the Americans never had. There has also been asymmetry with respect to people wanting to fly south to the United States. That has been allowed, but equivalent tourists have not been able to fly up to Canada from the United States. We have always worked closely with them and will continue to, but we will make our decisions based on what is in Canadians' interests.

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, Joe Biden has not listened to the Prime Minister on KXL. Joe Biden has not listened to the Prime Minister on softwood lumber. Joe Biden did not listen to the Prime Minister on Line 5. There is no indication that Joe Biden has been given any reason by the current government to listen to the Prime Minister on the border. This is not a slight on the Americans: The Prime Minister's approach to foreign relations has been weak, incoherent and patronizing at best.

Given today's rambling, shambolic, incoherent press conference on federal border restrictions, how likely is it that the Americans are now going to unilaterally reopen the border?

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, you will understand if I take no lessons from the Conservative Party of Canada on managing Canada-U.S. relations.

Over the past very difficult four years, we were able to renegotiate NAFTA in a way that protected supply management, that strengthened our economy and that demonstrated a defence of our cultural industries. We stood up for steel producers, for steel workers and for aluminum workers. We managed to get the Americans to remove unfair tariffs. We have continued to stand up for Canadian interests and we will continue to, particularly with someone who is significantly more aligned with Canadians now in the White House.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Lindsay Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, a family out for a walk was killed in a terrorist attack. They were murdered because of their faith: because they were Muslim. Last night in London people came together. Over 15,000 strong, they grieved and condemned this hateful act, but they want action. Words of condolence will not stop something like this from happening again. If we do not act, Canadian Muslims will continue to be unsafe.

What will the Prime Minister do to address online hate and Islamophobia? Will he commit to holding a national action summit on Islamophobia? When will we see real action?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we were all heartbroken by the terrorist attack that unfolded Sunday in London. An attacker murdered a Muslim family going out for an evening walk just because of their faith.

To the Muslim community in London and to Muslims across Canada, I want to say we stand with them. Islamophobia has no place in any of our communities. This hate is insidious and despicable, and it must stop. The government has taken many steps, but we know there is more to do. We will work hand in hand with the Muslim community and with all Canadians who stand against this violence.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, we have to stop pretending that Canada is a country without Islamophobia. We have serious structural problems in Quebec City, Toronto and London. Islamophobia is deadly. We have needed action for a long time to confront it head-on. In 2019, a delegation from Windsor's Muslim community appeared at the justice committee on Islamophobia with strategies to combat it. A 2018 heritage committee report put forth 30 recommendations to fight it.

What specifically will the Prime Minister do to tackle Islamophobia and online hate speech once and for all? Is the government waiting for more people to die? What specifically will he do?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as a government, we have taken unprecedented steps to fight the rise of Islamophobia. We have a responsibility to combat and condemn hatred in its strongest forms, which is why we declared January 29 as a national day of remembrance of the Quebec City mosque attack and action against Islamophobia. We also committed an additional $50 million to anti-racism initiatives through FES 2020 and proposed $2 million through this year's budget for not-for-profit organizations such as places of worship, schools and community centres to ensure their safety. We have stood, and we will continue to stand, in action with the Muslim community to ensure that all are protected.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Kate Young Liberal London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, my community in London West is reeling from the vicious hate crime that took place on Sunday evening. Four members of a local Muslim family are dead because of an act of terrorism. A child is in the hospital. All Canadians and all Muslims deserve to feel safe and secure in their own communities, and heinous acts such as this leave many feeling unsafe. We know this is not the Canada we want.

Can the Prime Minister inform us of the steps being taken to combat hate crimes in Canada to ensure all Canadians can feel safe and secure in their own communities?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for London West for her unwavering advocacy against hatred and discrimination. What happened in London, this act of terrorism, shows us that Islamophobia is a serious issue and it has no place in Canada or around the world. Whether through the security infrastructure program, by cracking down on online extremism or by dismantling far-right hate groups, we will continue doing everything we can to fight violence in every form. We grieve with Muslim communities across Canada and stand with them in solidarity during this difficult time.

HealthOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, just in time for the Prime Minister's trip to the United Kingdom, he has decided to eliminate the hotel quarantine requirement for fully vaccinated travellers arriving in Canada beginning in July.

While the Conservative Party has been calling for this for months now, the Prime Minister is suddenly realizing how his bad decisions will affect him personally.

Will the Prime Minister admit that his hotel quarantine policy has done more harm than good?

Will he scrap it for everyone, effective immediately?

HealthOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have always taken the necessary measures to keep Canadians safe. The requirement for incoming air travellers to have a negative COVID-19 test before leaving a government-approved hotel has worked, detecting cases and protecting Canadians from the importation of COVID-19 variants.

We know that our priority is to continue to protect Canadians from this COVID-19 pandemic, but we also recognize that people who are fully vaccinated should have more freedom.

HealthOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the mandatory hotel quarantine has been a fiasco from day one. There have been stories of sexual assault, hotel room doors without locks and for some travellers the conditions were horrible. Many Canadians have suffered unnecessarily because the Prime Minister did not take action in a timely manner during this health crisis.

I will give him another chance. Will the Prime Minister admit that the hotel quarantine program is shoddy?

HealthOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I would say no because Canadians expect us to do what it takes to protect Canadians during this health crisis.

We know full well that the Conservatives encourage freedom for all. Unfortunately we have seen that some provinces have had a tough time because of that philosophy, but we as a government have always been there to put the safety of Canadians first. We will continue to take the necessary measures to keep people safe.

HealthOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I want the Prime Minister to tell me what he is going to say to Canada's Olympic athletes, who thrill and unite us and inspire entire generations. These athletes go into debt to carry the maple leaf to the very top of the podium.

The Prime Minister chose to eliminate the hotel quarantine for professional hockey players but not for athletes such as Meaghan Benfeito, Charles Philibert-Thiboutot and Camille Fiola-Dion.

How can the Prime Minister justify that decision to our Canadian athletes?

HealthOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we work with teams, institutions and amateur and professional sport organizations to ensure that athletes are safe and people are protected so they can entertain and inspire us as athletes always do.

The safety and health of everyone must always be the priority. That has guided us since the start of this pandemic, and that will guide us to the end. We will continue to work with our athletes and sport organizations to ensure we find the right balance.

HealthOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, when we asked the Prime Minister to close the border to avoid the worst, he called us racists. When we asked him to work with our allies or Canadian firms on vaccines, he chose the Chinese communist regime. When we asked to abolish the hotel quarantine, he laughed at us.

Since the Prime Minister will have to quarantine, can he tell us if he will do so in a third-rate hotel as he has forced so many Canadians to do?

HealthOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as I said, the delegation returning from the G7, including me, will quarantine in an airport hotel, which is equivalent to what all Canadians have to do when they return from a trip.

I should point out that we have often disagreed with the Conservatives on their approach to this pandemic. I know that Canadians have seen that our approach of putting the safety of Canadians first and investing to support Canadians has been the right choice.

JusticeOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, the majority of Quebeckers believe that the best way to protect every religion is for the government to be free from religion. For Quebeckers, secularism contributes to social cohesion and harmony for all.

The Prime Minister would have people believe that Bill 21 fuels intolerance and Islamophobia and practically invites people to challenge it. Will the Prime Minister promise that the government will not directly or indirectly fund any court challenges of Bill 21?

JusticeOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I know that every Quebecker values human rights and individual rights. It is important for every society and country around the world.

The reality is that there are Quebeckers who have chosen to challenge this legislation as they have the right to do before their provincial court. They are in the process of doing so. Obviously we respect that choice. The Bloc Québécois and other Quebeckers who are in favour of the bill should respect the choice that some Quebeckers have made to challenge it. We will continue to follow this issue.

JusticeOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister needs to stop conflating issues. In the current context, it is quite simply irresponsible to blame Bill 21 for the absolutely horrific events that have recently taken place.

We have a responsibility to pull together, but the Prime Minister and politicians from other parties want to point fingers. That is not how we show solidarity. That is not how we will heal our wounds. That is not how we become closer. Will the Prime Minister retract his comments?

JusticeOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, in the wake of the terrible attack in London, much like the one at the mosque in Sainte-Foy, it is important to listen to the Muslim community in Quebec, London and elsewhere, to understand its worries and concerns.

If we truly want to become closer, I urge the Bloc Québécois to listen to members of the Muslim community, who have expressed concerns about what they are experiencing right now in Quebec.

HousingOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Brad Vis Conservative Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government loves to announce it is spending billions of dollars on housing, but we are years into the national housing strategy and it has nothing to show for it, except for higher prices and a market that is more and more out of reach for Canadians.

Could the Prime Minister please explain why he is intent on destroying the hopes and dreams of Canadians and new immigrants who just want to own a home?

HousingOral Questions

3 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again the Conservatives never let facts get in the way of a good political attack.

It is a fact, as new numbers show, that the national housing strategy is helping over 200,000 families get the housing they need by building new homes, by repairing existing ones and by helping with costs. Since 2015, our government has supported the creation of nearly 100,000 new units and repaired over 300,000 more across housing programs.

However, we are not stopping there. Budget 2021, which the Conservatives voted against, includes funding for the construction, repair and support of 35,000 affordable housing units.

HousingOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Brad Vis Conservative Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon, BC

Mr. Speaker, I will take no lessons from a Prime Minister who is squeezing out a generation from home ownership under his watch.

The HUMA report “Indigenous Housing: The Direction Home” was tabled on May 26. Will the government persist in a paternalistic Ottawa-knows-best approach, or will the government commit to implementing and supporting a “for indigenous, by indigenous” approach to empower indigenous Canadians with the autonomy to address their own unique housing needs?

HousingOral Questions

3 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, that is exactly what we have been doing for a number of years, working directly with indigenous leadership and indigenous communities on meeting specific housing needs. That is something we recognize. We have long recognized the need for leadership from the federal government. Unfortunately, the Conservatives, when they were in government, refused any role for the federal government on housing.

We have stepped up, not just in working with indigenous communities on housing, but in working with provinces and municipalities to fix the challenges around housing.

HousingOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Brad Vis Conservative Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon, BC

Mr. Speaker, the least the House could do is give indigenous Canadians a date when they can expect that FIBI process.

Under the government, housing has never been less affordable. Both the Prime Minister and the finance minister acknowledge we have a housing supply crisis.

Will the government take concrete action to secure Canada's future, support the Conservative motion and address the housing supply challenges facing Canada right now?

HousingOral Questions

3 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is a good thing the Conservative Party is finally noticing that the federal government does have a role to play in housing. However, over the past number of years, we have not waited for the Conservatives. We have moved forward ourselves, building new affordable units through programs like the rapid housing initiative, expanding the first-time home buyer incentive, introducing Canada's first national tax on vacant property owned by non-resident non-Canadians, working to maintain the stability of the market, making the largest public transit investment in Canadian history and more.

We will continue to work on housing. We will continue to hope that the Conservatives will eventually support our initiatives.

HousingOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Annie Koutrakis Liberal Vimy, QC

Mr. Speaker, affordable housing is a major concern for the constituents of Vimy.

Whether we are talking about a young person who has moved to a new city for school or a couple looking to start a family, finding a safe and affordable place to live is critical to achieving one's dreams. This is an important goal that we all need to work toward.

Could the Prime Minister provide an update on what the government is doing to make affordable housing accessible to all Canadians?

HousingOral Questions

3 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for Vimy for her hard work and for this important question.

We introduced the first-ever national housing strategy, a 10-year, $70-billion plan that will provide housing for hundreds of thousands of Canadians and eliminate chronic homelessness.

Budget 2021 builds on this investment with an additional $2.5 billion to ensure Canadians have the housing they need. We will continue to invest in affordable housing to make it a reality for everyone.

Public SafetyOral Questions

3 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Erin O'Toole ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, Canadians watching question period today will see one thing: It is not answer period when it is the Prime Minister.

The Winnipeg lab security breach could be the largest security breach in our history and we have questions. Why did we send virus samples to Wuhan? Why was access given to scientists with deep ties to the Chinese military? Why did the director of the Winnipeg lab resign shortly into the pandemic? There is a cover-up on all of these simple questions that Canadians deserve an answer to.

The documents are not being shared with the House of Commons, defying an order. Did the government share those documents with the media or any outside sources?

Public SafetyOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as I have said, questions of national security deserve a level of oversight and parliamentarians deserve to be able to scrutinize and ensure that every government is doing what it needs to do to keep Canadians safe.

That is why we created the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians to allow parliamentarians from every party to weigh in on issues of national security, with the appropriate security clearances. The health minister has made available to that committee unredacted documents, and we hope they will go through those documents and get answers to the questions they have.

Public SafetyOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Erin O'Toole ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, when two scientists were marched out and fired from our top secret virus lab in Winnipeg, the government first said it was a personnel issue. Then it said it was a national security issue. Today the Prime Minister read some remarks about foreign espionage in relation to our questions on the Winnipeg lab.

Will the Prime Minister elaborate on his answer today? Will he confirm that the security breach at our Winnipeg lab was related to espionage from China?

Public SafetyOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I sat in opposition for many years watching the Conservative government not answer any questions on national security under the guise of protecting Canadians and national security. That is why one of the commitments we made in the election of 2015 was to create an oversight body of parliamentarians that would have the clearances necessary to dig into national security questions so that parliamentarians could be reassured and assured that government was doing things right.

We did that. We created the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians.

Public SafetyOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Erin O'Toole ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, if he keeps covering up the security breach with respect to the Winnipeg lab in the midst of the worst pandemic this globe has ever known, the Prime Minister will be sitting in the opposition benches once again.

I do not want to hear about a committee that is secret, that reports to him, that he controls and that does not report to the House of Commons. Canadians deserve answers to why there was the most massive security breach in our history at the lab in Winnipeg. It was so severe that the director of the lab resigned, and the Prime Minister is covering up our questions.

He mentioned espionage today. Will he acknowledge espionage was involved in the Winnipeg lab incident?

Public SafetyOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite knows well that it is important to always have the national security of Canadians top of mind as a government. We also need mechanisms whereby parliamentarians can scrutinize and oversee the work that our national security agencies do. That is why we created the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians to oversee our national security agencies. It has access to all documents and all things to be able to follow-up and ensure that everything is being done right.

HealthOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Sonia Sidhu Liberal Brampton South, ON

Mr. Speaker, in my community, diabetes affects one in six Bramptonians, and across the country there are 11 million Canadians living with diabetes or prediabetes. They are at risk of serious complications such as heart and kidney disease, blindness, amputation and many others. They have been hit hard by this pandemic.

As Canada recognizes the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin, could the Prime Minister tell us what the government is doing to help people living with diabetes?

HealthOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Brampton South for her unwavering advocacy on behalf of Canadians living with diabetes.

We recognize the impact that diabetes has had on the health of Canadians and their families. That is why, in budget 2021, we are investing $35 million to develop a national framework for diabetes to help Canadians get access to prevention and care. This will build on the important legislation put forward by the member in Bill C-237.

We will keep working to support diabetes prevention and care for all Canadians.

Public SafetyOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Jagmeet Singh NDP Burnaby South, BC

Mr. Speaker, this question is directed to the Prime Minister.

We are still reeling from the devastating and horrible loss in London. We know that hate-motivated crimes against Muslims in Canada have been perpetrated by people who have been radicalized by online hate: the attack in Quebec, the killing in Toronto and now this horrible and heinous attack in London, which was perpetrated by hate.

We know that online hate is very powerful in radicalizing people. The Liberal government has promised to bring in legislation. We need that legislation.

Where is the legislation to tackle online hate so that we can protect the Muslim community?

Public SafetyOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, over the course of this pandemic, we have seen an unfortunate rise in Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, anti-Asian hatred and anti-Black racism. We have seen, unfortunately, during this pandemic, a spike in something that we have seen increase over the past number of years as well.

There is no question of the role the Internet plays in the radicalization to violence and in increasing hate. That is why, as a government, we signed on to the Christchurch Call to Action, why we have continued to move forward on protecting Canadians from online hate and why we will continue to do exactly that.

Public SafetyOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

We have a point of order.

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

Public SafetyOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, if you seek it, I think you will find the unanimous consent of the House for the following motion: That the House recognize that the police brutality we are witnessing in Colombia constitutes a flagrant violation of the rights and freedoms of the Colombian people and firmly condemn the actions of the police forces and the Colombian government, which is preventing its people from protesting freely.

Public SafetyOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

All those opposed to the hon. member moving the motion will please say nay.

Public SafetyOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Public SafetyOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, in my question to the Prime Minister, I referenced a document, “Taking Action Against Systemic Racism and Religious Discrimination Including Islamophobia”, a report from the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage. I have copies of the recommendations, in both official languages. If you seek it, I hope there would be consent for me to re-table these documents, given the events that have taken place over the last number of days.

Public SafetyOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

All those opposed to the hon. member moving the motion will please say nay.

Public SafetyOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

The House resumed from June 3 consideration of the motion that Bill C-262, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (capture and utilization or storage of greenhouse gases), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Income Tax ActPrivate Members' Business

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

It being 3:14 p.m., pursuant to order made on Monday, January 25, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at second reading stage of Bill C-262 under Private Members' Business.

Call in the members.

(The House divided on the motion, which was negatived on the following division:)

Vote #132

Income Tax ActPrivate Members' Business

3:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

I declare the motion defeated.

The House resumed from June 4 consideration of the motion that Bill C-234, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (home security measures), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Income Tax ActPrivate Members' Business

3:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Pursuant to order made on Monday, January 25, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at second reading stage of Bill C-234 under Private Members' Business.

(The House divided on the motion, which was negatived on the following division:)

Vote #133

Income Tax ActPrivate Members' Business

3:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

I declare the motion defeated.

The House resumed from June 7 consideration of the motion that Bill C-226, An Act to amend the Canadian Multiculturalism Act (non-application in Quebec), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Canadian Multiculturalism ActPrivate Members' Business

3:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Pursuant to order made on Monday, January 25, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at second reading stage of Bill C-226, under Private Members' Business.

(The House divided on the motion, which was negatived on the following division:)

Vote #134

Canadian Multiculturalism ActPrivate Members' Business

4:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

I declare the motion defeated.

Motion

The House resumed from June 8 consideration of the motion.

Opposition Motion—Housing PolicyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Pursuant to an order made on Monday, January 25, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion of the hon. member for Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon relating to the business of supply.

The question is on the motion.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Vote #135

Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

I declare the motion carried.

The House resumed from June 8 consideration of the motion.

Combatting Tax EvasionPrivate Members' Business

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on Motion No. 69 under Private Members' Business in the name of the member for Montarville.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Vote #136

Combatting Tax EvasionPrivate Members' Business

4:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

I declare the motion carried.

I wish to inform the House that because of the deferred recorded division, Government Orders will be extended by 69 minutes.

Combatting Tax EvasionPrivate Members' Business

4:40 p.m.

Conservative

Damien Kurek Conservative Battle River—Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, this point of order originates from question period today, where the Prime Minister, in his final round of answering questions from the Leader of the Opposition, spoke specifically about the structure of NSICOP.

I would seek the unanimous consent of the House to table, in both official languages, a segment of the recent Standing Committee on Public Safety committee meeting where the chair of NSICOP outlined very clearly that NSICOP is not so much an oversight committee as it is a review committee. I would ask for unanimous consent to table this document in both official languages.

Combatting Tax EvasionPrivate Members' Business

4:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

All those opposed to the hon. member moving the motion will please say nay.

Combatting Tax EvasionPrivate Members' Business

4:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

4:40 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8)(a), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 11 petitions. These returns will be tabled in an electronic format.

Interparliamentary DelegationsRoutine Proceedings

4:40 p.m.

Yukon Yukon

Liberal

Larry Bagnell LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency)

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, a report of the Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association respecting its participation in the 14th Conference of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region, by video conference, on April 13 and 14, 2021.

Foreign Affairs and International DevelopmentCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:40 p.m.

Liberal

Sven Spengemann Liberal Mississauga—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the following periodic report of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development: the seventh report, entitled, “Part 2 of a study on the aftershocks of the COVID-19 Pandemic — Confronting a Child Rights Crisis and Restoring Hope”.

Foreign Affairs and International DevelopmentCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:40 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Mr. Speaker, Conservative, Bloc Québécois and New Democratic members of the committee find ourselves in the unusual position of presenting the views of the majority of the committee members in a supplementary report. I note, in general terms, that committee rules allow any MP unlimited time to debate a draft report.

The committee heard expert testimony on the government's failure to repatriate Canadian children trapped in Syria. There are currently 24 Canadian children being detained under life-threatening conditions in northeast Syria who have not been repatriated by the government.

The majority of members of the committee hope the government will act on the recommendations in the supplementary report with respect to these 24 Canadian children.

Transport, Infrastructure and CommunitiesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:40 p.m.

Liberal

Vance Badawey Liberal Niagara Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the second report of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, entitled “A Study of Aircraft Certification in Canada in Light of Two Incidents Involving Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302”.

The committee heard from witnesses who had lost family members in the tragic incident involving Ethiopian Airlines flight 302. I extend, on behalf of all committee members, our sincere appreciation for their participation and heartfelt condolences for their loss.

The study reviewed Canada's process in responding to aviation-related incidents.

The committee dedicates this report to the memory of all those who lost their lives on Lion Air flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines flight 302.

Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.

Status of WomenCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:40 p.m.

Conservative

Marilyn Gladu Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the eighth report of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women entitled “Women's Unpaid Work in Canada”.

Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.

Public AccountsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:45 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, SK

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 19th report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, entitled “Canada Child Benefit”.

Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.

While I am on my feet, I move:

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

Public AccountsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

If a member of a recognized party present in the House wishes to request a recorded division or that the motion be adopted on division, I would invite them to rise and indicate it to the Chair.

The hon. member for Kingston and the Islands.

Public AccountsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:45 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, I request a recorded division.

Public AccountsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Call in the members.

Before the Clerk announced the results of the vote:

Public AccountsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

5:30 p.m.

Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Madam Speaker, on a point of order, I wish to change my vote, please. I voted nay but I would like to vote yea.

Public AccountsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

5:30 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

The hon. member wishes to change her vote.

Does she have unanimous consent to change it? All those opposed will please say nay.

Public AccountsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

5:30 p.m.

An hon. member

Nay.

Public AccountsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

5:30 p.m.

Conservative

Blake Richards Conservative Banff—Airdrie, AB

Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order.

I will remind the House that we have typically had agreement from members to allow these kinds of things. We have done it for their side and they have done it for our side.

Earlier today someone asked to do it for a previous vote. We sort of set a precedent that we would not do that. However, I am quite disappointed to see the government refuse to follow along with the precedent we have been following that if someone makes an honest mistake, we try to give them the opportunity to correct it.

Public AccountsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

5:30 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

In the middle of a vote we cannot have a point of order.

Public AccountsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

5:30 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

I wish to remind the member for Kingston and the Islands that it is up to the Chair to raise these issues.

The hon. member for Banff—Airdrie is correct in his assessment of what the House has done in the past. I will take a moment to re-ask the question and we will go from there.

All those opposed to the hon. member moving the motion will please say nay.

Public AccountsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

5:30 p.m.

An hon. member

Nay.

Public AccountsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

5:30 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order.

Had the matter not already been resolved? You asked for unanimous consent, did not receive it and then asked the question again. It has to be out of order to ask the question a second time.

Public AccountsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

5:30 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

The hon. member is challenging the Chair. Because of other decisions made in the past, which I know the hon. member has weighed in on, decisions were reversed. That is why I am asking the question once again.

All those opposed to the hon. member moving the motion will please say nay.

Public AccountsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

5:30 p.m.

An hon. member

Nay.

Public AccountsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

5:30 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

There is no unanimous consent.

Public AccountsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

5:30 p.m.

Conservative

Blake Richards Conservative Banff—Airdrie, AB

Madam Speaker, I have a point of order.

Public AccountsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

5:30 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

There is a bit of debate going back and forth. If the hon. member is looking to challenge this vote, his point of order is out of order. If it is technical, that is different.

Public AccountsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

5:30 p.m.

Conservative

Blake Richards Conservative Banff—Airdrie, AB

It is technical.

Public AccountsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

5:30 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

On a technical issue, the hon. member for Banff—Airdrie.

Public AccountsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

5:30 p.m.

Conservative

Blake Richards Conservative Banff—Airdrie, AB

Madam Speaker, the hon. member for Lethbridge had asked for unanimous consent, and I know it was denied, but I want to raise some information that I think may cause a reconsideration of that.

The member did, in fact, seek to change her vote because she realized she had made an honest mistake. She did try to change her vote, but was unfortunately prevented from doing so. I think maybe a technical difficulty caused her to run out of time to change it. I would ask you to seek unanimous consent again for that vote to be reconsidered based on the fact that the member did make the effort to change her vote and was unable to do so. I hope that causes government members to reconsider.

Public AccountsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

5:35 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

The hon. member clarified that the member for Lethbridge ran out of time to change her vote. Ten minutes was allotted to change the vote, and the question was posed in the House as to the hon. member receiving unanimous consent to change the vote. Therefore, I will stand by the decision that was made. It is obvious that the vote was asked twice and was rejected.

Public AccountsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

5:35 p.m.

Conservative

Tamara Jansen Conservative Cloverdale—Langley City, BC

Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I believe that my colleague from Banff—Airdrie was suggesting that the app did not allow a change. We are allowed in the app, during the 10 minutes, to change our vote, and if it is not working, it is a technical difficulty. I wonder if maybe that is a better explanation. The app, within that 10 minutes, was not allowing her to do it and that makes this a technical difficulty.

Public AccountsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

5:35 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

The decision has been made and I am not going to call the question again.

The hon. member for Sturgeon River—Parkland is rising on a point of order.

Public AccountsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

5:35 p.m.

Conservative

Dane Lloyd Conservative Sturgeon River—Parkland, AB

Madam Speaker, I had to step out of the House, unfortunately, very quickly for something, and I was alerted by the staff that I should come in here as quickly as possible because my vote might be invalidated. I hope you can clarify that just because I left the House for a moment, my vote has not been invalidated. I would like a ruling from you.

Public AccountsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

5:35 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

I appreciate the hon. member's honesty about leaving the House. Given the fact that the hon. member did leave the House, the vote will not be counted.

The member for Brandon—Souris has a point of order. Is it on the vote?

Public AccountsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

5:35 p.m.

Conservative

Larry Maguire Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Yes. On your comment to my colleague from—

Public AccountsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

5:35 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

That is a point of debate. I have already ruled, so unless the hon. member has an issue with his vote, the point of order will wait until I am done with the vote.

Public AccountsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

5:35 p.m.

Conservative

Larry Maguire Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Well, it is about the vote, but—

Public AccountsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

5:35 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

The debate is continuing on. I have already ruled on the hon. member's point.

The hon. member for Sturgeon River—Parkland is rising on a point of order.

Public AccountsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

5:35 p.m.

Conservative

Dane Lloyd Conservative Sturgeon River—Parkland, AB

Madam Chair, I am not going to debate your ruling. I would like to ask the House for unanimous consent to count my vote. I was here to listen to the entire vote, but we were going through a lot of technical aspects for it and I had to step out momentarily. I am just asking for unanimous consent from the House to count my vote.

Public AccountsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

5:35 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

Does the hon. member have unanimous consent to have his vote recorded despite the fact that, as he indicated, he stepped out of the chamber for a few seconds?

All those opposed to the hon. member moving the motion will please say nay. It is agreed.

The House has heard the terms of the motion. All those opposed to the motion will please say nay.

I declare the motion carried.

(The House divided on the motion, which was negatived on the following division:)

Vote #137

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

5:40 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

I declare the motion rejected.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

5:40 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

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 Saanich—Gulf Islands, The Environment; the hon. member for Edmonton Strathcona, Post-Secondary Education; the hon. member for Calgary Midnapore, Airline industry.

Extension of Sitting Hours in JuneRoutine Proceedings

June 9th, 2021 / 5:40 p.m.

Oakville Ontario

Liberal

Anita Anand LiberalMinister of Public Services and Procurement

moved:

That, pursuant to Standing Order 27(1), commencing on Friday, June 11, 2021, and concluding on Wednesday, June 23, 2021, the House shall continue to sit on Mondays and Wednesdays until midnight, and on Fridays until 4:30 p.m.

Extension of Sitting Hours in JuneRoutine Proceedings

5:40 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, I am very glad that we were able to get to this point. I am concerned and disappointed, even in the last half-hour. I think we need to realize that, although members of the Conservative Party will say they want more debate time, in reality nothing could be further from the truth. I would argue that ultimately the Conservatives have been very much a destructive force on the floor of the House of Commons. I would like to explain why it is so important that we pass the motion that the minister of procurement has just presented.

The pandemic really challenged all of us. We needed to find new ways to get the job done, the job that Canadians have been very much relying on us to do. We gradually brought in a hybrid Parliament to ensure that MPs could do their job from wherever they are in the country. This was so it would be inclusive, whether they are up north, the west coast, the east coast or in central Canada, like me here in Winnipeg. We found ways for the House to debate and pass legislation that would ultimately help Canadians during the pandemic. Many bills were passed to ensure that millions of Canadians had the funds that they needed to put food on their table, pay the rent, cover mortgages and so on.

We have a number of pieces of legislation before the House in one form or another. I would like to give some examples of the legislation that are in limbo because the Conservatives are more interested in playing political games than they are in serving the best interests of Canadians. I would like to highlight a few of those pieces of legislation and then make a point as to why this particular motion is necessary.

We have seen motions of this nature previously. I have been a parliamentarian for 30 years now, and I have seen it at the provincial level and at the national level. Political parties of all stripes have recognized that there is a time in which we need to be able to bring in extended hours. In the most part it is meant to contribute to additional debate and to allow the government to pass important legislation. That is really what this motion is all about.

Looking at the last vote we just participated in, it would appear as though Bloc members, New Democrats and Greens are in agreement with the members of the Liberal caucus that we need to sit extra hours. My appeal is to the Conservatives to stop playing their political, partisan games and start getting to work.

There is nothing wrong with sitting until midnight two to four times between now and mid-June. Stephen Harper did it. He had no qualms moving motions of this nature. Yes, we will also sit a little extra time on Friday afternoons. I believe Canadians expect nothing less from all members of the House.

When Canadians decided to return the government in a minority format, it was expected that not only we as the governing party would receive a message, but also that all members of the House would receive a message. The Conservative opposition has a role to play that goes beyond what they have been playing and what we have been witnessing since November or December of last year. I would cross the line to say that it is not being a responsible official opposition.

I spent well over 20 years in opposition. The Conservative Party, with its destructive force, is preventing the government of the day and other members, not only government members, from moving the legislation forward. I appeal to the official opposition to not only recognize there is a genuine need to move this legislation forward, but also recognize that, at the end of the day, we extend hours to accommodate additional debate.

My concern is that the Conservatives will continue the political, partisan games, at great expense to Canadians. I will give an example. Bill C-30 is at report stage and third reading. We were supposed to debate that bill today. Chances are that we will not get to that bill today. We have not been able to get to other legislation because of the tactics of the official opposition, the reform Conservative Party, as I often refer to it.

The last budget legislation was Bill C-14. The first female Minister of Finance of Canada presented an economic update to the House back in late November, and the legislation was introduced in December. For days, the Conservatives would not allow it to pass. This was legislation that helped businesses and Canadians in many ways, yet the Conservatives saw fit to filibuster it. Bill C-30 will pass. It is budget legislation. It is not an option for the government.

Bill C-12 is the net-zero emissions legislation. If members canvass their constituents, they will find out that it does not matter where they live in Canada, our constituents are concerned about the environment and are telling all members of the House that we need to do more. Bill C-12, the net-zero emissions bill, is very important legislation. It answers, in good part, the call from Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

To a certain degree, we have seen a change in attitude by some Conservatives with their new leadership. Some in their caucus do not support it, but the leadership agrees that there is a need for a price on pollution. They seem to be coming around, even though they are five, six or seven years late. Surely to goodness, they would recognize the value of the legislation. Bill C-12 is stuck in committee.

What about Bill C-10? Bill C-10 would update very important legislation that has not been updated for 30 years, since 1990 or 1991. Let us think of what the Internet was like back in 1990. I can recall sitting in the Manitoba legislature, hearing the ring, the buzzing and then a dial tone. We can remember how slow it was.

I will tell my Conservative friends that things have changed. Now all sorts of things take place on the Internet. This is important legislation. The NDP, the Greens and the Bloc support the legislation. The Conservatives come up with a false argument, dig their feet in and then say they are not being given enough time, yet they have no problem squandering time.

Thankfully, because of the Bloc, we were able to put some limits on the committee, so we could get it though committee. If the Bloc did not agree with the government and with that concurrence, it would never pass the committee stage. There is absolutely no indication that the Conservatives have any intent of seeing Bill C-10 pass through committee stage.

If members have been listening to the chamber's debates in regard to Bill C-6, they have heard the Conservatives disagree with another piece of legislation. They say they do not support mandatory conversion therapy, and they are using the definition as a scapegoat to justify their behaviour on the legislation. Once again they are the only political entity inside the House of Commons that is preventing this legislation or putting it in jeopardy. The leadership of the Conservative Party might think one thing, but the reality is that the behaviour of the Conservative Party has put Bill C-6 in limbo.

I could talk about Bill C-21, the firearms legislation. Members know that the Conservatives have been using firearms as a tool for many years. Even when I was an MLA in the mid-nineties, I can remember the Conservative Party using firearms as a tool, and nothing has really changed. The bill is still in second reading. There is no indication at all that the Conservatives are willing to see that piece of legislation pass. Members can check with some of the communities and stakeholders that are asking and begging not only the government, but also opposition parties, to let this legislation pass.

That is not to mention Bill C-22, which is about criminal justice reform. That is another piece of legislation that, again, the Conservative Party has given no indication it intends to let see the light of day or go to committee.

Another piece of legislation that is important not only to me, but should be to all members of the House, is Bill C-19. I understand this important piece of legislation is going to committee tomorrow, but if we apply what we have seen at second reading to the committee stage, it is going to be a huge concern. This bill would give Elections Canada additional powers to administer an election in a safer, healthier way for voters and for Elections Canada workers. It is a good piece of legislation. I am somewhat familiar with it because of my role as parliamentary secretary to the minister, who I know has worked very hard on bringing this legislation forward and wants to see it passed. It is a piece of legislation on which the Conservatives have said we should have more debate.

The government attempted to bring this legislation in a long time ago. It tried to get it to committee a long time ago. One day I was ready and primed to address Bill C-19, and the Conservatives' game at that time was to bring in a concurrence motion, because if they did that they could prevent debate on Bill C-19. That is what they did, and it was not the first time. The Conservative Party does not even recognize the value of it. It is a minority situation. We do not know when there is going to be an election. It seems to me that the responsible thing to do is to get Bill C-19 passed. As I say, it is at the committee stage today. I hope that the Conservative Party will see the merits of passing that bill out of the committee stage.

At the beginning of the pandemic, there seemed to be a greater sense of co-operation. From the very beginning, the Prime Minister has been very clear: He and the Government of Canada have had as their first priority minimizing the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and being there in a real and tangible way for Canadians. That is for another speech in which I can expand on the particular argument the Prime Minister put forward.

We can do other things. We have seen that in some of the legislative initiatives that we have taken. As I say, at the very beginning there was a high sense of co-operation and the team Canada approach applied within the House of Commons. The Conservatives started falling off the track last June. One year later, there is no sign that the Conservative Party recognizes the value of working together.

I would remind my Conservative friends that, as we in government realize, it is a minority government. If someone gives me 12 graduates from Sisler High School, or any high school in the north end of Winnipeg, whether it is Maples Collegiate, Children of the Earth High School, R.B. Russell Vocational High School or St. John's High School, I can prevent the government from being able to pass legislation. It does not take a genius to do that.

We need co-operation from the opposition, and the Conservative Party has been found wanting in that. It has not been co-operative in the last number of months. I find that shameful. Obviously, the Conservatives are not listening to what Canadians expect of them. In fact, what we have seen is delay and more delay, to the point that it becomes obstruction.

Conservatives have obstructed the work of the House as it has debated Bill C-14. If I were to draw comparisons, I would compare Bill C-14 and Bill C-3. Bill C-14 is vitally important to all of us. Canadians needed Bill C-14 passed, but look at the amount of debate and filibustering we had from the official opposition.

On the other hand, Bill C-3 was also a very important piece of legislation. All parties supported it. In fact, the initial idea came from the former leader of the Conservative Party, Rona Ambrose. Everyone supported it. We spent many hours and days debating that piece of legislation, when we could have been debating other legislation. Not that the other legislation was not important, but we all know there is no time process outside of time allocation to get government legislation through. That is in a normal situation, when we have an opposition party that recognizes the value of actual debate of government agenda items that they should pass through, but they did not. Instead, they would rather debate it.

We have moved motions to have extended sittings in the past to accommodate additional debate. I say, in particular to my Conservative friends, that if they are going to behave in this fashion they should not criticize the government for not affording time to debate bills. What a bunch of garbage. They cannot have it both ways. I appeal to the Conservative Party to recognize true value. They should work for Canadians and let us see if we can make a more positive contribution and start working together for the betterment of all.

Extension of Sitting Hours in JuneRoutine Proceedings

6 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Anand Liberal Oakville, ON

Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I am tabling the government's responses to Order Paper Questions Nos. 641 to 654.

Extension of Sitting Hours in JuneRoutine Proceedings

6 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Madam Speaker, as you know, the NDP members have the reputation of being the worker bees of the House of Commons.

It is in that spirit that we proposed, not a few weeks ago and not in April but on March 7, that we start extended evening sittings because we believed it was important to get to legislation that was important for Canadians. On March 7, we wrote to all the House leaders to say that we should start streamlining, because quite frankly the government's approach on the House agenda has been absolutely inept.

We will be supporting the motion to extend the hours, but the real question is why did the Liberals wait so long? Why, on a key bill such as Bill C-12, which is so fundamentally important but was deeply flawed, did the NDP have to drag the Liberals kicking and screaming to improve the bill? Now, with a few days left in the session, the Liberals are scrambling to get it through.

Why did the Liberals wait so long when the NDP proposed this route on March 7?

Extension of Sitting Hours in JuneRoutine Proceedings

6 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, I appreciate that the NDP members are going to be supporting the motion at hand. Also, the NDP did not object when we made the suggestion, on at least three occasions, to sit longer in the evening to accommodate debate on important legislation. I think one time it was on the medical assistance in dying legislation.

At times there is a need to have extended hours. We have attempted it in the past. We required unanimous consent, and unfortunately the Conservatives would not give it. It would be so much better if we could actually see a sense of commitment and could say, “Here is the time we could use on bill X,” then we would be able to pass it on to the committee stage, or get it out of committee in a reasonable fashion so there could be some debate time.

I would suggest this window of opportunity is there to do two things: to facilitate more debate and to pass legislation that we know Canadians want us to move forward.

Extension of Sitting Hours in JuneRoutine Proceedings

6:05 p.m.

Conservative

Blake Richards Conservative Banff—Airdrie, AB

Madam Speaker, the impact of the motion is that committees would be cancelled. The important work of this House extends to what is done in those committees as well. By doing this, resources are challenged. As a result, a number of the committees would be cancelled. That is important work as well.

Does the member not think committee work is important?

Extension of Sitting Hours in JuneRoutine Proceedings

6:05 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, committee work is very important. I have always recognized the value of committee work. I wish the member who posed the question or the Conservative House leadership would value time, both in committee and in the House, and not only allow for debates to occur but to see things flow through.

Could members imagine if the government used game play to prevent opposition motions or private member's bills from being able to pass? They are all set through a process of time to ensure that they happen. The Conservatives know full well that if they continue to talk or do not commit, it obligates the government to take action. It obligates us to work with another opposition party so that we can have a majority. We are prepared to do that wherever we can.

Extension of Sitting Hours in JuneRoutine Proceedings

6:05 p.m.

Liberal

Iqra Khalid Liberal Mississauga—Erin Mills, ON

Madam Speaker, we have all been sent here by our constituents, Canadians across the country, to do the work that we promised them we would do through our campaign platforms. That is part of the democratic process.

How does the member think Canadians across the country feel, whether in the western provinces, in the Atlantic provinces or in the agriculture sector, when they see members wasting time in the House, giggling and laughing, and trying to delay more and more as they pretend they are confused about votes and try to delay the important work that we as a minority government have to do together in a co-operative way?

Extension of Sitting Hours in JuneRoutine Proceedings

6:05 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, I think the question is best answered with two specific examples. If we reflect on what took place last Friday, we were supposed to deal with Bill C-10 at committee stage. A majority of members inside the House wanted to see limitations put on the committee so we would be able to get the bill back to the committee. In my opinion, the games that were played crossed the line. We saw the Chair occupant challenged inappropriately and harassed, I would suggest. There were all sorts of issues that took place on Friday. If I was a Conservative, I would be embarrassed by the behaviour.

With respect to the election, the member is right. We knocked on doors telling seniors age 75 and over that we would bring that 10% increase. This budget bill, Bill C-30, which we want to pass, gives that 10% increase to those age 75 and over. It is the fulfillment of a campaign promise. That is why the Liberals are so passionate about getting our legislative agenda through, because in good part, they are commitments that we made in the last election—

Extension of Sitting Hours in JuneRoutine Proceedings

6:05 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

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

Extension of Sitting Hours in JuneRoutine Proceedings

6:05 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Madam Speaker, I have been privileged to be in the House for 13 years. The hon. member is correct that it is absolutely routine every June to extend the hours so we can get important business done. That has happened under majority and minority Conservative and Liberal governments.

The previous questioner talked about wasting time. My question to my hon. colleague is this. If we are so concerned about wasting time and getting the government's important business done, why did he take 20 minutes of valuable House time to explain the simple motion to extend the sitting hours?

Extension of Sitting Hours in JuneRoutine Proceedings

6:10 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, I can tell the member that the feelings I often express are not mine and mine alone. Whether they are from my colleagues or constituents in Winnipeg, I think there are points that need to be made. If we can make those points and that helps shape the tone of the debate or causes additional legislation to pass, I would like to see that. I would like to think that my contributions will add value to what is being done inside the House of Commons. I am naive enough to believe that there are times when my contributions do add value. I realize there are other times where I could have said something a bit better or a little stronger, or possibly even toned it down somewhat. However, I understand the member's message.

Extension of Sitting Hours in JuneRoutine Proceedings

6:10 p.m.

Bloc

Simon-Pierre Savard-Tremblay Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Madam Speaker, the Bloc Québécois agrees, because we are hard-working and we have done a good job. As for my files, I can say that we have worked on supply management, the aerospace industry, vaccines that must be distributed worldwide and the export of green technologies. I think we need to give ourselves time to continue our good work before the summer break.

Extension of Sitting Hours in JuneRoutine Proceedings

6:10 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, I value the comment. I, like a majority of members inside the House of Commons, want to be able to sit these extra hours to ensure that we can contribute more to the debate on a wide selection of the very important issues I referenced, such as the environment with respect to net zero, the budget, the support of the Bloc to get Bill C-10 out of committee, which is so critically important, or the importance of the Bill C-6 legislation or Bill C-19. There is so much that is there that we can, through these additional hours, allow for more direct input from political entities in our respective parties and the individual opinions that members might want to express on the floor that reflect the concerns of their party or their constituents. At the end of the day, what we really want to be able to do is provide Canadians the types of supports they need to get out of this pandemic and at the same time—

Extension of Sitting Hours in JuneRoutine Proceedings

6:10 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

Unfortunately, the hon. member's time is up.

Resuming debate, the hon. member for Louis-Saint-Laurent.

Extension of Sitting Hours in JuneRoutine Proceedings

6:10 p.m.

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to inform the House that I will be sharing my time with the chief whip of the official opposition in the House of Commons.

Let us be clear from the start. We have no problem with extending work hours at this time of the year, as in fact our standing orders provide.

However, we are extremely concerned about the motion introduced by the government and voted on a few moments ago, because we know that facilities are limited, given the current pandemic situation. A lot of technical efforts are being made and government officials have made generous offers to co-operate with us, and we greatly appreciate that. However, when we get to this time of year, there is a kind of bottleneck. That is why we have to strike a very fair and reasonable balance between extending the work hours in the House of Commons and keeping parliamentary committees running. That is where there is a disconnect with the motion put forward by the government.

I would remind members that the House of Commons is part of Parliament, and as its very name suggests, Parliament is a place for parley, in other words, for discussion. We in the official opposition discuss things with our counterparts on the government side and with the other opposition parties. I would never, ever go into the details of those discussions. However, one thing is certain and indisputable, that is, that we had honest, good-faith discussions with our counterparts and could not come to an agreement. That is the point.

As we saw, when my colleague, the chief whip of the official opposition, asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons a very specific question, that good man, whom I like and respect a great deal, was unable to give anything even remotely resembling the merest hint of an answer. As parliamentarians, we cannot give carte blanche in terms of which committees will survive this proposal and which will not.

It should be immediately obvious why we have some very serious concerns about the lack of clarity on the parliamentary committees. We need only look at this government's track record over the past few months in terms of parliamentary work.

However, it was funny to hear my Liberal colleague for Winnipeg North talk about everything being in limbo because of Conservative opposition members, that their tactic on a daily basis is to delay, delay, delay, and that there is a filibuster each and every step of the way on each and every bill. This is anything but true.

When we talk about filibustering, I think that the king of filibustering is the Liberal Party of Canada, especially in this session, and there is a record of that. I do not think that the member for Winnipeg North and his colleagues would be very proud of what they have done in committee.

Let us look at what the Liberals have been doing in parliamentary committees over the past few months. They were the ones who accused us earlier of filibustering, as in talking for hours and hours in order to waste time rather than get to the bottom of things.

We can look at the Standing Committee of Procedure and House Affairs where the Liberals had filibustered for 73 hours.

The Liberals filibustered for 73 hours, preventing the committee from doing its work. Why?

It is because we wanted to get to the bottom of things and allow witnesses to appear and explain why the government prorogued Parliament. The Liberals filibustered for 73 hours to prevent witnesses from testifying. Now they are the ones accusing us of being the bad guys holding up the works. It is ludicrous.

However, it does not end there.

We can look at the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics where the Liberals filibustered for 43 hours. Why? It was to block getting to the truth about the WE Charity scandal.

There is a common thread in all this, however. When we want to get accurate information on Liberal scandals, they filibuster. They are very unhappy about that and accuse us of wanting to delay parliamentary work, when we are just doing our job.

These are concrete examples, but it does not end there. At the Standing Committee on Finance, the Liberals filibustered for 35 hours, once again to prevent parliamentarians from getting to the bottom of the WE Charity scandal.

At the Standing Committee on National Defence, the Liberals filibustered for over 16 hours. The committee chair, who is a member of the government party, unilaterally suspended the meetings 23 times.

This is starting to really add up: 63 hours at one committee, 43 hours at another, 35 hours at a third, 16 hours at a fourth. I have not even mentioned the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, where the Liberals filibustered for 10 hours, between February and April, on the study we wanted to conduct on the COVAX facility, which was created by rich countries to provide poor countries with access to vaccines. Sadly, members will recall that Canada, a rich country, helped itself to the supply for poor countries because it did not have the vaccines that the Prime Minister had announced at his December dog and pony show. That is the reality.

I hear government members accusing us of being the bad guys and filibustering, when they are the ones who filibustered for 63 hours at one committee, 43 hours at another, 35 hours at the Standing Committee on Finance, 16 hours at the Standing Committee on National Defence, and 10 hours at the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs.

In light of the Liberals' dismal parliamentary record, we feel it is perfectly valid to want to be sure of what is planned for the committees before we give the government carte blanche to extend the committee and House sittings. However, the government refuses to tell us its plans and instead demands a free hand. We think this is unacceptable.

I heard my colleague from Winnipeg North explaining the status of some bills, so we will take a look at that assessment.

He talked about Bill C-3, regarding judges, which is modelled on a bill originally introduced by the Hon. Rona Ambrose. We are very proud of that legislation, but the Liberal government used the strongest weapon in its arsenal to delay its passage or concurrence, namely prorogation.

Let us not forget that last summer, when the Liberal government was in a real jam over the WE scandal, the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics met day after day in July and again in August. The official opposition members strenuously challenged the government's moral authority, because it had adopted a despicable strategy for dealing with this scandal.

What did the government do when it was in trouble? It prorogued Parliament. This was the worst thing it could do to slow down the work of parliamentarians. Once Parliament is prorogued, everything goes back to square one. That is what happened with Bill C-3.

What about Bill C-11? I heard the member for Winnipeg North say how important this legislation is, and he is absolutely right. I even remember the member and Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry calling out the Conservatives on Twitter in February, accusing us of delaying Bill C-11 and saying that it was awful.

I quite like the member for Saint-Maurice—Champlain, who is the minister responsible. I have a lot of respect and regard for him, but when I saw that on Twitter, I found myself thinking that I had not seen Bill C-11 in a long time. When I checked, I saw that the last time the government had brought Bill C-11 forward in the House was on November 24, 2020. The bill then sat around for three months, through November, December, January and February, before the government brought it forward again. However, the government went after us in February, claiming that we were delaying it. That is completely absurd.

The member also mentioned Bill C-14, on the economic statement, since there was no budget. The government accused us and is still accusing us of filibustering it, when two-thirds of the official opposition members did not even speak on it.

I am proud to be the House Leader of the Official Opposition. Our caucus has 120 members who duly represent eight Canadian provinces and regions in the House of Commons. We are the only truly national party. I am very proud of the calibre of people I work with, and that is why, when they ask to speak, I am happy to add them to the political debate. However, it is utterly ludicrous to accuse us of filibustering when two-thirds of our caucus did not even speak.

That is why the motion, as currently presented, is unacceptable to us. We are ready and willing to work longer hours as long as the parliamentary work in the House of Commons can be done without compromising the work of the committees, but that is absolutely not the case with this motion.

Extension of Sitting Hours in JuneRoutine Proceedings

6:20 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Madam Speaker, the problem is that what the member is saying does not reflect the reality of the situation.

Conservatives have been trying routinely to slow down the way this Parliament works. Look at last Friday, for example, and the antics that Conservatives were up to literally to burn a day. Today alone, they waited 15 minutes before walking out to vote after question period, and then, in the middle of tabling documents, they tabled a motion to go to Orders of the Day that they knew would never pass, but they knew would burn more time.

When the member says he comes here in good faith, he has to understand that good faith does not mean getting their way all the time. Good faith means negotiating and trying to get something out of it. What we are seeing being gotten out of this is the fact that we would not be sitting late every day. Tuesdays and Thursdays would remain the way they are so that those resources can be deployed to committees.

Extension of Sitting Hours in JuneRoutine Proceedings

6:20 p.m.

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Madam Speaker, let me go back to Friday morning. There was talk of time allocation for a bill that is attacking the free speech of the people. It is very concerning to see that the government is attacking free speech with Bill C-10 and also using the tool of time allocation on that bill.

It was a big surprise, because the Conservative member who sits at that committee tabled an amendment to get back proposed section 4.1 of that bill, which was protecting the free speech of people on social media, but the party that had written this section in the first draft of the bill refused the amendment to get it back.

When we talk about free speech, I can assure the House that Conservatives will always fight for the free speech of Canadians.

Extension of Sitting Hours in JuneRoutine Proceedings

6:25 p.m.

Bloc

Claude DeBellefeuille Bloc Salaberry—Suroît, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague. I agree with many of the points he raised.

There is one point in particular that I would like to discuss with him. I know that committee work is important to him, and the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities will soon begin studying my bill, Bill C-265, which seeks to extend special EI sickness benefits from 15 weeks to 50 weeks.

Given that time is running out and we know that this bill has the support of the majority of the House, can my colleague explain why he thinks the government is refusing to give the royal recommendation to Bill C-265?

Extension of Sitting Hours in JuneRoutine Proceedings

6:25 p.m.

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Madam Speaker, I completely agree with what the whip of the second opposition party just pointed out, and rightly so. What we are seeing right now is that they are going to significantly extend our work time in the House. Again, we are not against increasing the amount of time that we work, speak and debate in the House of Commons, but we need to strike a balance with the other committees.

My colleague raises an important point. Yes, this bill is very important to her, and everyone who has had the privilege of introducing a private member's bill will say the same: it is very important, and they care about it, especially when they see support from all sides of the House. Bravo, I say. However, if we are going ahead with it, we have to be absolutely sure that the relevant committee is going to sit.

In the current motion, and I understand that the Bloc Québécois is going to vote for it, there is no guarantee that the committee that has to study this bill will be able to do so in the allotted time. The way it is written in the motion, there is no guarantee that all the committees will be able to do their work as they should.

Extension of Sitting Hours in JuneRoutine Proceedings

6:25 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Madam Speaker, I always enjoy listening to my colleague.

It is true that people are accusing the Conservatives of filibustering, and this has happened in several committees, but it is also true that the Liberals themselves are filibustering certain bills.

On March 7, the NDP proposed that we extend our evening sitting hours, but the government did not support this proposal. I know that my colleague has a lot of experience here in the House of Commons and also at the Quebec National Assembly. This government has really mismanaged its agenda.

What does my colleague think about the government's approach to our business here in Parliament?

Extension of Sitting Hours in JuneRoutine Proceedings

6:25 p.m.

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Madam Speaker, I congratulate my New Democrat friend from B.C. for his excellent French. I agree with the member that, unfortunately, the government is in charge of managing parliamentary business and has failed miserably at the task.

Extension of Sitting Hours in JuneRoutine Proceedings

6:25 p.m.

Conservative

Blake Richards Conservative Banff—Airdrie, AB

Madam Speaker, before I get to what I see as the government's real motives, I would like to speak to why we are here. We have a government that claims it needs extra time. Why does it need extra time? I suggest, to begin with, one of the reasons would be that it prorogued Parliament. That was time that could have been used to put forward its agenda.

The government waited two years to put forward a budget, and now the budget implementation act is not passed. It seems a bit rich for it to claim that it needs extra time when it had all that time. It took two years to present a budget and prorogued Parliament during that time. I do not know if it is just me, but if Liberals did not work for a while and now want to work overtime, it seems to me they could have done it during the time they chose not to come to work. We are here partly because of prorogation.

Ironically, one of the filibusters is tied back to the prorogation itself, but we are also here because the Liberals chose to filibuster in parliamentary committees. One of them was the procedure and House affairs committee, which was trying to get to the bottom of the prorogation. Liberals on the committee filibustered for hours upon hours. It went on for weeks and weeks. It was to try to prevent the Prime Minister from having to appear at committee to answer for why he prorogued Parliament. These are some of the reasons.

The opposition House leader laid out a number of other committees. He mentioned a committee where there were 73 hours of filibustering by the Liberals and other committees where the Liberals, the government members, filibustered for dozens and dozens of hours. It seems to me that they could have managed their time, but instead they were trying to cover up for a Prime Minister who is, frankly, corrupt. They were trying to cover up their misdeeds and incompetence. That is why we are here.

Beyond what I just said about the Liberals covering up their own incompetence, misdeeds and corruption, they are trying to ram through legislation. It is understandable that a government would try to get bills through. For example, right now Bill C-10 is before the House. It is a censorship bill. It seeks to censor everything that Canadians do on the Internet. It would censor the free speech of Canadians on platforms like Facebook, TikTok, Instagram and Twitter, places Canadians go to engage in discussions and debate. The Liberals are trying to ram through a bill that would censor all of that. It would censor Canadians' right to free speech. It is disgraceful and shameful that they would seek to do that, but that is what they are doing. They are trying to ram the bill through with a motion such as this.

Members of the opposition are here to ensure that Canadians maintain the right to their free speech. We are here to fight against the censorship that the government is trying to put in place. We will be opposing it all the way. If the Liberals manage to put it in place, Conservatives will repeal it when we form government, which I am sure will not be very far into the future.

The other motive of the Liberals is to stop committees from meeting. I will explain why that is. The effect of the motion they have put forward means that for every day there are extended sitting hours, it causes the cancellation of a couple of the parliamentary committees that meet. For Canadians who do not know, parliamentary committees play a very key role in this place in terms of studying in detail legislation that is put forward. We saw, not that long ago, mistakes that were made by the government in its legislation. When parliamentary committees take the time they need to study legislation in detail, they are able to uncover mistakes. They are able to propose amendments to that legislation to ensure that it is right, correct and does what it is intended to do in serving Canadians.

When the ability for committees to meet is removed, it also removes the ability for those kinds of things to happen, for that proper scrutiny to happen. It removes the ability for Canadians to get answers to important questions through their elected representatives, and it removes the ability to sharpen up legislation and to get to the bottom of things. In some cases, with some of the filibusters that we have seen from the Liberals, they would have been able to get to the bottom of some of the misdeeds or incompetence of the Liberal government.

By cancelling those committee meetings, which this motion would effectively do, the Liberals are covering for themselves, but they are doing that at the expense of Canadians. I will give a couple of examples. Members do not have to take my word for the effect of what this will do, because the Liberals are already trying to do it now, before the motion is even passed. They are trying to cancel committees.

They are trying to cancel a meeting of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates. That meeting was to talk to under-represented groups in our society and businesses. We are talking about indigenous businesses that would have come to speak at committee about the fact that they feel under-represented in some of the programs and services that are provided by government. I find it shameful that the Liberals would want to prevent indigenous business owners from being able to speak to some of the issues they have with the government. That is what they are already trying to do, prevent indigenous business owners in this country from being able to speak about the problems they are experiencing because of the Liberal government.

We were able to prevent the Liberals from doing that. Instead, they decided they would cancel a meeting of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. New immigrants to this country, some of them possibly refugees fleeing persecution, were going to speak about the services that are provided to them in some of our smaller municipalities and outside of major cities, so those voices will be silenced by the Liberal government.

That is the effect that a motion like this has by preventing committees from doing their work. It prevents the voices of indigenous Canadians and new immigrants. That is the effect that we see from this motion. I think it is shameful that we are actually discussing this idea. It would shut down the voices of Canadians across this country and prevent new immigrants, indigenous peoples and others from having the chance to have their voices represented at committees. That is why we are fighting this motion. That is why we are fighting against this. That is what we are doing.

They also cancelled a meeting of the transport committee to avoid finalizing a report there on the Canada Infrastructure Bank. We are all well aware of the Liberal government's failures in regard to infrastructure. They are very good at making announcements and very terrible at delivering results.

Given that, I move:

That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “commencing” and substituting the following:

“on Monday, June 14, 2021, and concluding on Wednesday, June 23, 2021, the House shall continue to sit on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays until 8:30 p.m.”

That way we can get business moving but not cancel very important committee meetings of this Parliament.

Extension of Sitting Hours in JuneRoutine Proceedings

6:35 p.m.

Liberal

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

The amendment is in order.

Questions and comments will be the next time the motion comes up for debate.

It being 6:39 p.m., the House will now proceed to the consideration of Private Members' Business as listed on today's Order Paper.

6:40 p.m.

Liberal

Yves Robillard Liberal Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

moved:

That:

(a) the House recognize that gender-based analysis plus (GBA+) is an analytical process that provides a rigorous methodology for assessing systemic inequalities, as well as a means to determine how diverse groups of women, men, and gender diverse people may experience policies, programs and initiatives; and

(b) in the opinion of the House, the government should direct the Department of National Defence to implement GBA+ to meet recruitment and retention targets for under-represented groups.

Madam Speaker, I rise today to move my public interest motion, Motion No. 58, in the House of Commons.

I am happy and proud to present this motion to my colleagues from across Canada, whether they are present in the House in person or virtually. I am also happy to present this motion to our constituents and, especially, to the members of the Canadian Armed Forces, many of whom, I think, are watching.

My motion is on an analytical tool that, in my opinion, could improve the recruitment and retention of under-represented groups in our armed forces.

Motion No. 58 calls on the government to recognize that gender-based analysis, commonly known as GBA+, is an analytical process that provides a rigorous methodology for assessing systemic inequalities, as well as a means to determine how diverse groups of women, men, and gender-diverse people may experience policies, programs and initiatives.

In today's complex security environment, a diverse military is seen as a strategic advantage. In 2017, our government released “Strong, Secure, Engaged: Canada's Defence Policy”. It recognizes that Canada's multicultural population is one of its greatest strengths and identifies several personnel modernization initiatives aimed at enhancing diversity, respect and inclusion in the CAF.

The Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces are committed to striving for gender equality and to building a workforce that leverages the diversity of Canadian society.

At the same time, the CAF must reflect the society it serves and uphold the values it defends. As Canada’s population has grown increasingly diverse, the Canadian Armed Forces has placed a stronger emphasis on improving its attractiveness as an employer of choice for women, first nations people, visible minorities and members of the LGBTQ2 community.

To that end, the Canadian Armed Forces has set targets for recruiting and retaining under-represented populations, recognized the benefits of diversity for operational effectiveness in its doctrines and made various commitments relating to improved diversity and inclusion.

The Department of National Defence has set the following objectives: increasing the representation of women in the CAF from 14.9% in 2016 to 25% by 2026; increasing the representation of first nations people in the CAF from 2.6% in 2016 to 3.5% by 2026; and increasing the representation of visible minorities in the CAF from 6.7% in 2016 to 11.8% by 2026.

Canada's diversity must be reflected in the CAF so that it is representative of the richness of society.

The CAF is modernizing its recruitment practices to ensure that it welcomes all applicants, but there are a number of areas where it could focus its recruitment efforts in order to achieve greater representation of women, indigenous people, visible minorities and members of the LGBTQ2 community.

These areas include new recruitment strategies, recruitment in rural, remote and indigenous communities, recruitment in urban centres, and reserve force recruitment.

As a member of the Standing Committee on National Defence, I believe that this motion is in the spirit of our government's commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion across the public service.

The objectives of gender-based analysis plus, or GBA+, also include improving the skills and competencies of analysts and developing the capacity within the public service to support and implement this commitment in government decision-making.

GBA+ provides an opportunity to deepen knowledge and examine the impact of programs, initiatives and policies on different groups of women, men and people of different gender identities. The “+” indicates that the analysis also takes account of the multiple other identity factors that define a person, including ethnic origin, religion, age and intellectual or physical disabilities.

This motion aims to encourage and support existing efforts by the CAF to implement GBA+ across the organization, including the unit level, and to promote awareness and training on GBA+ among all current members, including new recruits, and newly hired civilian staff.

It would also help develop assessment and evaluation mechanisms to regularly monitor the impact of GBA+ within and across the CAF. This will ensure efforts by the CAF to designate gender, diversity and inclusion champions, both at the unit level and across the organization, and to promote awareness of the focal points among all current members, including new recruits, and newly hired civilian staff.

It will encourage and support the development and implementation of recognizing individual initiative and leadership in the area of gender equality, diversity and inclusion within the CAF.

I am proud to be part of a feminist, progressive and inclusive government. This intent is also demonstrated by our government's decision to include this analytical tool in many decision-making processes. For example, the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and member for Peterborough—Kawartha ensured that GBA+ was considered in the government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Almost 185,000 people have completed the GBA+ online course, including federal public servants, parliamentarians and their staff, and provincial and territorial officials. Furthermore, GBA+ is now mandatory in all Treasury Board submissions, memoranda to cabinet, and departmental results frameworks and reports, and is reflected in the Cabinet Directive on Regulation.

Strategic relationships are being developed and strengthened, and a network of GBA+ experts from across the Government of Canada is increasingly collaborating to meet common goals.

Legislation increasingly includes GBA+ and obligations to conduct intersectional analysis. For example, the new Impact Assessment Act requires that GBA+ be a factor in the assessment of designated projects.

The 2018 Gender Budgeting Act enshrined gender budgeting in federal budgetary and financial processes.

Due to the growing demand for better intersectional data, the government has responded by creating Statistics Canada's Centre for Gender, Diversity and Inclusion Statistics.

I believe this motion is necessary since, again, Canadians must be able to see themselves reflected in their armed forces. The CAF must reflect the richness and diversity of our society. It must also set an example as an employer by promoting the diversity we are so proud of as Canadians.

As many of my colleagues know, I have been dedicated to our armed forces since I first became involved with them in my youth. I hope that my colleagues in the House will grasp the importance of this motion and take the time to read and understand it so that we can move forward. Although this motion is a simple one, I believe it is necessary, because it makes use of a specific tool to addresses a complex societal concern.

I look forward to questions from my friends and colleagues. I hope that our discussions will be fruitful, especially in the interest of the Canadian Armed Forces. I am, of course, available to answer phone calls and emails to answer the questions, and even the concerns of all of my colleagues.

6:50 p.m.

Conservative

Alex Ruff Conservative Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

Madam Speaker, the member referenced the online training. As a former officer within the Canadian Armed Forces and somebody who is GBA+ trained, I have a couple of simple questions for him. Is he personally GBA+ trained, and how many Liberal members of Parliament have taken the GBA+ training?

6:50 p.m.

Liberal

Yves Robillard Liberal Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Madam Speaker, in response to this question, I would like to recall the past of GBA+, recruitment and retention.

This year, 2020-21, 493 women signed up, representing 24% of recruits, compared to 1,530 recruits who were men, representing 75.6%. Although recruitment was lower than in the previous year, 2019-20, this percentage of women recruits was the highest of all previous years. This can be attributed to the priority given to selecting women candidates for the limited capacity of basic training. Also, 349 of the members recruited are from a visible minority—

6:50 p.m.

Liberal

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

I have to give other members the chance to ask questions. The hon. member for Berthier—Maskinongé.

6:55 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Perron Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech. I have two quick questions for him.

Based on the information we have, the armed forces have already been instructed to do this, so what is the point of this motion? I would like my colleague to clarify his thoughts on this.

In addition, do they have any technical evidence? Again, based on the information we have, there is no evidence that this system works. There is no data to prove whether it works or not.

How useful is this motion in addressing the substantive problems in the Canadian Armed Forces, specifically regarding sexual misconduct and incomplete investigations, some of which are apparently even shut down by cabinet? Does the fact that these cabinet ministers are still in their positions worry my colleague?

6:55 p.m.

Liberal

Yves Robillard Liberal Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Madam Speaker, on the subject of sexual misconduct, Canadians have heard in recent months that defence team members have been affected by sexual trauma and sexual misconduct. On behalf of those who serve their country, the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces must live up to our professed values of integrity, inclusion and accountability.

We also know that the current reporting system does not meet the needs of those who have been affected by misconduct or have witnessed misconduct. That must change. We accept responsibility for our failures and continue to conduct a critical examination of lessons learned.

6:55 p.m.

NDP

Lindsay Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Madam Speaker, I would like to repeat a bit of the question asked previously. Of course GBA+ is an important tool, and as of 2015, the government has committed to make it a part of every government department and military decision.

If it has existed already, and the member just admitted it is not really working and the government has failed on this issue, then how would his motion in particular do what the government has already failed to do?

6:55 p.m.

Liberal

Yves Robillard Liberal Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Madam Speaker, the purpose of Ms. Arbour's review is to eliminate all forms of sexual misconduct and abuse of power and create a safe work environment—

6:55 p.m.

Liberal

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

Order. The member for London—Fanshawe on a point of order.

6:55 p.m.

NDP

Lindsay Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The interpreter has indicated throughout the question and answer period that interpretation cannot happen because of the sound quality.

6:55 p.m.

Liberal

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

The member for Marc-Aurèle-Fortin seems to be having trouble with his Internet connection.

We will move on to the next speech while the member tries to improve the quality of his Internet connection.

We will resume debate.

The hon. member for Calgary Skyview.

6:55 p.m.

Conservative

Jag Sahota Conservative Calgary Skyview, AB

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to speak today on Motion No. 58.

The member's motion mentions recruitment and retention targets for under-represented groups in the Canadian Armed Forces. The Conservatives completely support this.

As a matter of fact, the Standing Committee on the Status of Women has recently been studying our Canadian Armed Forces, and the issue of recruitment and retention has come up several times. However, what we have found is rather interesting. It explains why women have not been joining the Canadian Armed Forces, and why they are leaving so early.

For months, Canadians have been shocked by the revelations of sexual misconduct in our Canadian Armed Forces, and in the highest positions. Early this year, we learned that General Vance, the former chief of defence staff, had been under investigation since as early as 2018. He was being investigated for inappropriate relations he was having with women under his command, particularly one relation that had been ongoing for 30 years.

When that individual made an appearance before the committee, she mentioned how she had asked questions about who would have the ability to investigate the actions of the chief of defence staff and if the CFNIS would be the appropriate body. The response the general gave this witness was that he was untouchable because he owned the CFNIS.

It was deeply concerning to hear that someone would actually believe they were above the law, was willing to create an unsafe work environment and had considered that they could not be investigated. To this day, this woman believes that she is not going to get justice for herself. However, she also believes that it was important for her to come forward so the issue could be dealt with, and so other women in the military would be able to get justice. For that, I applaud her.

We heard from another witness who had reported an incident, and even with all of the redactions and personal information removed, there was still enough information left that it was easy for someone to identify her. The report on the incident was openly discussed among her peers and even with her superiors, so she had no confidence in the system.

So many witnesses, women in particular, came forward to our committee to express this lack of confidence and trust in our system. They did not feel that the military had their backs. We even had a witness who gave a very interesting perspective on the double standards that the military justice system has towards women and men.

This witness discussed how, when she was deployed in Afghanistan, an investigation had been conducted into a consensual relationship she had had with a U.S. officer, who was not in her unit but of the same rank. She admitted that the relationship was against the regulations, and she pleaded guilty to the charges. She was fined, repatriated from the theatre and posted out of her unit. She accepted this as her punishment.

However, as a result, she was called demeaning names and was told that she was not worthy of leading soldiers. She said that she was also threatened with violence by a commanding officer and was repeatedly chastised by other officers. She was sent to work alone in an office managing a single Excel spreadsheet, and it quickly became very clear to her that her career in the Canadian Armed Forces was over. When she left the military, she had originally been given an offer to go into the reserves, but that was revoked when the commanding officer told her that she was not the type of leader he wanted in his unit.

She said the biggest failure in her life were the actions for which she was pushed out of the armoured corps, and for that she continues to carry immense shame. However, this was precisely the type of leadership displayed by the former chief of defence staff, who was the longest serving chief of defence staff. This brings into question what kind of environment allows for this double standard, for sexual misconduct to be so prolific in the Canadian Armed Forces, and for women to be always treated as the wrongdoers, even when they are the victims.

The status of women committee was overwhelmed by the evidence and testimony that so many of these women came forward with, and the fact that the military had multiple reports on sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces, most recently in 2015 with the Deschamps report. However, we continue to see, time after time, the government talking about wanting to stand up for women and talking about how we need to get to the root cause of this, yet never implementing recommendations made in the Deschamps report. It is not listening to the previous status of women committee, which made recommendations on how to address the culture within the Canadian Armed Forces, and it is now launching another review into this very same topic, less than 10 years from the last one.

We do not need more reports to tell us what we already know. We can act on the things we already do know. For example, the Deschamps report talks about reviewing government policies and directives, and putting them through a gender-based lens. It was one of her recommendations.

This is not something new. As a matter fact, it is part of the Minister for Women and Gender Equality’s mandate letter that she work with her cabinet colleagues and ensure these things are done. It was mentioned in this report, and it wasn't until explosive revelations, two house committee studies and another report that the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and the Minister of National Defence made the decision that they were going to work together to address this.

In the report by Justice Deschamps, she talks about the directives that defined what sexual misconduct was in the military, and mentioned how out of step it was with Canadians' understanding of sexual misconduct and with the Criminal Code. However, it was not until November 2020, 5 years after her report came out, that the chief of the defence staff amended the order as to how sexual misconduct is defined. Just recently, in the latest Justice Fish report that was just tabled, we saw that even he says the new version does not even do this issue justice.

The motion we are debating today recognizes the fact that women are under-represented in our military, but doing a gender-based analysis is only one step in addressing this. I would even go as far as saying this motion does not even do enough, because there are no metrics attached to it. There is no measurable way for us to say whether this is being successful. There needs to be something we can measure; there needs to be a failure or success report on this. I am interested to see if the member opposite would be willing to add this to his motion. I know that on our side we would be very grateful to see that.

We need to do more for women to attract them and retain them in the military. We can do that by actually addressing the culture in the Canadian Armed Forces and actually dealing with the issue at hand, not doing another report. For every report that has no action to it, it is yet another year and another decade that women go mistreated, under-represented and treated as less than their male counterparts.

Canadians, and particularly Canadian women, who serve proudly in our Canadian Armed Forces deserve much more from the government than just its words. They deserve real action. I am proud of the fact that our committee members have worked really hard on the status of women committee.

I hope that the government is listening to the various reports and to the opposition members and Canadian women and men in uniform who are calling for these changes. I hope it does not treat this as just another partisan issue and will instead address it, because everybody has the right to feel respected and treated equally in the workforce. That includes those in our military, whether they are civilians or in uniform.

7:05 p.m.

Bloc

Andréanne Larouche Bloc Shefford, QC

Madam Speaker, today I am speaking to Motion No. 58 as the Bloc Québécois critic for the status of women.

From the outset I want to state that our party will vote against this motion. Nevertheless, I want to reiterate loud and clear in the House that I am a feminist.

It is clear that this motion is completely useless since the government has already asked the Department of National Defence to integrate GBA+ into its policy development. We are also studying this integration at the Standing Committee on the Status of Women.

The motion states that GBA+ provides a rigorous methodology for assessing systemic inequalities. However, there is no data indicating that it really works nor is there anything to confirm that this analytical process is a failure.

I will approach this topic by providing a brief history of GBA+, by talking about organizations where the problem is still quite serious and by sharing a few of my hopes for a safer future for women.

Here is a brief overview. In 1971, Canada created the position of minister responsible for status of women, then, in 1976, it created the Office of the Coordinator of the Status of Women. In 1981, Canada ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, which was adopted by the UN in 1979. In 1995, the federal government launched a plan to eventually implement GBA, but without the “+”, in all federal agencies and departments. In 2004, the Standing Committee on the Status of Women was established with the support of all parties, including the Bloc Québécois. In 2009, the Auditor General released a report at the request of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women indicating that the GBA had not been properly implemented in various departments. In 2011, the government transitioned to GBA+ where the “+” included other factors, such as gender identity. The Auditor General released another report in 2016 in which he stated that more had to be done. Budget 2018 was intended to be a feminist budget that sought to achieve results and improve oversight with respect to attaining gender equality.

As it happens, that was around the same time that the Prime Minister and the Minister of National Defence completely ignored the allegations of sexual misconduct against former chief of the defence staff General Vance.

The Department of National Defence has a team of 23 employees who are already working on integrating GBA+ into the department and the Canadian Armed Forces. The 2017 defence policy entitled “Strong, Secure, Engaged” stated that the department must integrate GBA+ in all defence activities across the Canadian Armed Forces and the department, including the design and implementation of programs, services that support our personnel, equipment procurement and operational planning.

However, six years after Justice Deschamps released her scathing report on sexual misconduct within the Canadian Armed Forces, the government is under tremendous pressure from the opposition for not having addressed the allegations against General Vance.

Essentially, this motion is completely pointless. If the government wants to increase the number of women and minorities in the Canadian Armed Forces, it should start by proving a safe work environment free from sexual misconduct and assault.

However, the facts continue to speak for themselves. Let us then examine the numerous examples that speak to the inaction of Liberal and Conservative governments, who have consistently failed to fight sexual harassment and sexual misconduct, whether it be in the Canadian Armed Forces, in penitentiaries, in the RCMP or, of course, in the Canadian Border Services Agency.

As a matter of fact, I spoke about this just this afternoon before the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security. The government showed it was incompetent at handling cases of sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces, the RCMP, penitentiaries and the Canadian Border Services Agency. The Prime Minister and the Minister of National Defence turned a blind eye to allegations of sexual misconduct against the former chief of the defence staff, General Vance.

The government is trying to protect its image as a feminist government, but the Liberals are not taking any concrete action to deal with systemic problems, apart from spouting talking points. Their veneer has scraped off and is badly chipped. If the Liberals want to increase the percentage of women in the Canadian Armed Forces, they must start by offering them a work environment free from harassment and sexual misconduct.

Liberals have had the Deschamps report in their hands since 2015. However, according to former Justice Deschamps herself, they have yet to implement the measures it recommends. This motion will do absolutely nothing to help victims of sexual misconduct, sexual harassment and racism.

The federal government has consistently failed to protect women and other groups. The government has demonstrated its utter incompetence in addressing sexual misconduct in the military. It has had the Deschamps report since 2015 and still has not implemented its key recommendations.

We know how that turned out. Senior officers have been abusing their authority and several generals are accused of sexual misconduct.

The Prime Minister and the Minister of National Defence have known about General Vance, the former chief of the defence staff, since 2018 but did absolutely nothing until the media broke the story in February 2021.

This was clearly demonstrated in 2015 by former justice Marie Deschamps who released a scathing report on sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces, where she found a sexist culture that turns a blind eye to many instances of misconduct.

The RCMP has also been plagued by allegations of sexual misconduct, including a scathing report by former justice Michel Bastarache. In that report, Justice Bastarache wrote that the culture of the RCMP was toxic and tolerated the misogynistic and homophobic attitudes of some of its leaders and members. He found that the problem was systemic and that addressing the situation would require a major overhaul.

In October 2020, the Office of the Correctional Investigator of Canada issued a devastating report on sexual violence in federal penitentiaries. It determined that the organization was indifferent to this reality. According to the correctional investigator, Dr. Ivan Zinger, Correctional Service Canada, CSC, turned a blind eye to the situation because the organization considered this to be normal behaviour in prison. The correctional investigator also noted that LGBTQ+ groups, women and persons with disabilities were more likely to be assaulted, but CSC had no strategy.

In May 2020, Radio-Canada reported that the Canada Border Services Agency had conducted more than 500 investigations into allegations of misconduct by its officers, including allegations of theft, corruption, abuse of power, criminal association and sexual harassment. As an example, some officers were using their position to get the phone number of women crossing the border.

We can only hope that the government takes meaningful action. For now, there is still no report on the horizon on cases of misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces at the Standing Committee on National Defence. As for the Bastarache report, it is lingering at the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security.

Fortunately, we are now studying this report on sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces at the Standing Committee on Status of Women. We can only hope that the government takes meaningful action. However, no report has been produced yet.

The Liberals had no problem filibustering to prevent Liberal staffers Zita Astravas and Elder Marques from appearing in committee. I know this because I was filling in for another member at that committee when it happened.

From the testimony of Elder Marques, we learned that everyone around Trudeau was aware, but Trudeau continues to deny it. When other staffers were summoned by the House—

7:15 p.m.

Liberal

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

The hon. member knows that she must not use the names of current members of Parliament.

7:15 p.m.

Bloc

Andréanne Larouche Bloc Shefford, QC

I understand, Madam Speaker.

The Liberal government continues to deny the facts. When other employees were summoned by the House, the Liberals chose instead to send the Minister of National Defence and said that they would prevent their employees from testifying.

Members should recall that the Conservatives had already caught wind of allegations against General Vance. However, they still appointed him as chief of the defence staff even though the Canadian Armed Forces had just been roundly criticized for their management of sexual misconduct cases and pervasive sexist culture.

In another report by the Standing Committee on the Status of Women dealing with women living in rural communities, we saw that the recommendation to apply GBA+ was already in the mandate letter of the Minister for Women and Gender Equality. However, not enough attention was given to the needs of women, especially those with special needs in rural, remote and northern communities.

The recommendation is not clear on whether there should be a comparative or feminist analysis or one based on the differences with respect to urban areas. In short, it is not clear whether this analysis can truly help fight the culture of toxic masculinity in the various federal institutions in our regions.

To conclude, given that it is now 2021, it is unacceptable that too many women and gender-diverse people continue to be victims of violence. Too many reports have been shelved for too long by different federal departments and agencies. To be able to take action and restore women's trust, and to reduce cases of assault, we must take action and that will take more than just applying GBA+ analysis.

7:15 p.m.

NDP

Lindsay Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Madam Speaker, before I begin to discuss Motion No. 58, I need to briefly speak about the incredible loss that the people of London have suffered. An act of terror that occurred a few days ago took the lives of Salman, Yumna, Talat Afzaal and Madiha Salman and left Fayez recovering in hospital.

The heartbreak in our community is palpable, and that grief will take a long time to heal. It reminds me that every time I rise in this place I must keep the people I fight for in London—Fanshawe at the heart of what I say and what I do, the people who sent me here to bring their concerns forward, to deliberate on legislation and policies, to make sure those decisions will care for, treat fairly and improve their lives and, in fact, the lives of all people living in Canada. It must be beyond words that we work here in the House. Actions, after all, speak louder than those words.

To move the discussion on to the motion here today, one of those policies that can have a positive impact on the people in my riding is gender-based analysis plus. This analytical process, which provides an assessment method of systemic inequality as well as a means to assess how diverse groups of women, men and gender-diverse people may experience policies, programs and initiatives, is something the NDP supports fully.

The “plus” in GBA+ acknowledges the substantial differences, the multiple characteristics and intersections that contribute to who we are. GBA+ considers many other identity factors, such as race, ethnicity, religion, age and mental or physical disability and how the interaction between these factors influences the way we might experience government policies. New Democrats believe this, too, is a key part of the necessary analysis the government and all of its departments must apply.

In 2015, when the government committed to applying GBA+, including by mandating the minister of status of women to ensure that government policy, legislation and regulations are sensitive to the different impacts that decisions can have on men and women, we too were supportive.

Today, of course, we support the private member's motion, Motion No. 58.

I sit as a member of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women. We have spent the last few months studying sexual misconduct within the Canadian Armed Forces. We have heard clearly that the forces exist in a toxic culture and that without proper supports in place and without directly addressing the significant cultural issues within the military, many people will not want to enlist and retention will continue to be an issue.

In March 2021, Lieutenant-Colonel Eleanor Taylor, the deputy commander of 36 Canadian Brigade Group and a distinguished veteran of combat in Afghanistan, publicly resigned, saying in a Facebook post, “I am sickened by ongoing investigations of sexual misconduct among our key leaders. Unfortunately, I am not surprised. I am also certain that the scope of the problem has yet to be exposed. Throughout my career, I have observed insidious and inappropriate use of power for sexual exploitation.” That is an incredibly powerful statement.

We heard testimony at the status of women committee from several witnesses that in fact one cannot apply a GBA+ lens onto the military in this country because the culture of toxic masculinity is so pervasive that it is not taken seriously.

Christine Wood, chief of strategic engagement at It's Just 700, a volunteer-run organization that provides confidential peer support and information to members of the Canadian military who are survivors of work-related sexual trauma, appeared before our committee in April. When asked about GBA+ for programs to help military members, she said, “It's still...at that point where we talk about GBA+. It doesn't start with GBA+. Everyone kind of checks it as a box at the end of their design.” Ms. Wood also said, “I feel like women have never had a level playing field in the forces; we were mandated to be included.”

In 2016, the Office of the Auditor General published a report, “Canadian Armed Forces Recruitment and Retention”. The Auditor General said:

We found that although the Canadian Armed Forces had established a goal for the representation of women among its ranks, it set this overall goal with no specific targets by occupation. We also found that despite the fact that achieving this goal depends heavily on increased recruiting, the Canadian Armed Forces had not implemented any special employment equity measures. The goal was 25 percent during the audit period; meanwhile, women represented 14 percent of the Regular Force.

In 2019, the Canadian Armed Forces told the Standing Committee on the Status of Women that, as of February, women accounted for 15.7% of the Canadian Armed Forces workforce. Not only is the Canadian Armed Forces, with mandated targets on retention, not meeting its goals, but for those who are recruited, the toxic environment they are surrounded by creates trauma and forces women and people from many other backgrounds, abilities, sexual identities and orientation to be victimized, often repeatedly.

My concern in all of this, and the questions we must ask here are: Will the motion bring much-needed change to the armed forces? Will it push the government, the military or the Department of National Defence to do anything differently or to go further to implement GBA+ in retention and recruitment within the department or within our military? Will it actually help to create a healthy environment for the people recruited, or will we continue to see the exodus of those who gave up years serving their country and defending others because they can no longer deal with the violence, ridicule and trauma they face, and because they have to defend themselves as a matter of survival instead?

I believe that too often the Liberal government says what it knows people want to hear, but then it breaks promises and does not take the real action necessary to make a difference. I believe the government is too often concerned with only checking the box. This motion cannot serve as only checking a box. There are things the government must do here today, and even though it has already had six years, it could create real and substantive change. I have received so many emails and calls, and I have heard too many stories, from people impacted by this toxic culture not to act.

As I said earlier, New Democrats support this motion because we support a GBA+ approach to meeting recruitment and retention targets for underrepresented groups. The supports CAF members need go far beyond this motion, and despite the many additional reports and reviews the government may call for, it could act immediately.

The government could create a special program within the Canadian Armed Forces in the recruitment of women and underrepresented groups as recommended by the Auditor General in 2016. It could strengthen the federal Employment Equity Act to attach employment equity measures to all Canadian Armed Forces recruitment and retention programs. It could introduce legislation to establish a military ombudsman as a permanent and independent officer of Parliament. It could create an independent centre of accountability for sexual assault and harassment, entirely outside of the forces. It would be responsible for receiving reports of inappropriate sexual conduct and for preventing it, as well as for coordinating and monitoring training and victim support, monitoring accountability and research, and acting as a central authority for the collection of data.

The government could ensure that parents who are members of the Canadian Armed Forces have access to affordable child care services that meet their needs. It could create an inclusive, safe and respectful workplace for all members of the Canadian Armed Forces, and it could provide mandatory, comprehensive trauma-informed survivor-centred sexual misconduct training for members at all levels, including senior leadership, delivered by experts regularly and applied with a GBA+ lens.

The government could also reverse the decisions it has already made when it comes to the privatization of military services, as these have negative impacts on all members. It could stop outsourcing service contracts to private companies at military bases, which costs the government millions of dollars more than if it were to provide full-time unionized jobs. It could reinvest these millions of dollars by bringing federal public service jobs back to DND and into the Canadian Forces to provide services such as upgrading inferior housing, training personnel and developing genuine efforts to tackle systemic racism, discrimination and sexual harassment within the forces.

The government could reinvest this money to purchase equipment designed for women. It could implement the recommendations of not only the Deschamps report, but also those of the PSAC report released last November, entitled, “In the interest of safety and security:?The case for ending the privatization of Department of National Defence services.”

In conclusion, this motion is a drop in the bucket of what is actually required for substantive change in the Armed Forces. The Canadian government has a long way to go to ensure gender equality, and the enforcement of GBA+ must not only be considered a box to check. This motion cannot simply pay lip service to the incredible people who depend upon us to create responsible policies and legislation. The government must work harder to do what is truly necessary.

7:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Liberal

Anita Vandenbeld LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Madam Speaker, I would very much like to thank the hon. member for Marc-Aurèle-Fortin for this valuable motion that would help national defence and the Canadian Armed Forces meet recruitment and retention targets for underrepresented groups.

My hon. colleague has been a staunch champion of ensuring that these issues in the Canadian Armed Forces are heard and challenged. I fully support this motion. Our government is working to build a public service that is more inclusive and effective. Gender-based analysis plus is essential to both of these goals.

GBA+ looks at how diverse groups of women, men and gender-diverse peoples may experience policies, programs, legislation, regulations and other initiatives differently. It goes beyond an examination of just the impacts on gender and considers all of the different factors that simultaneously make up people's identities, such as age, sexual orientation, gender, geography, language, race, religion, ethnicity, socio-economic status and other factors, and how those intersect.

It involves understanding who is affected, determining how we can adapt our efforts to address their diverse needs, and reducing barriers to access or support. This analysis is essential for building a public service that meets the needs of all Canadians. We have to be fair, equitable and inclusive.

To this end, the Department of National Defence supports the use of GBA+ in all defence activities, including recruitment and retention. We are facing an increasingly more complex, challenging and interconnected world. State and non-state actors are competing for influence and challenging the rules-based international order that underpins our prosperity and democracy.

At home, the military has answered the call time and again to help Canadians in need, whether during natural disasters or during the COVID-19 pandemic. To remain strong at home, secure in North America and engaged in the world, National Defence must be agile. It must be able to adapt to new circumstances and innovate. Diversity and inclusion are essential to that. We need people from all different backgrounds who bring unique perspectives to the table and who can work together to find creative solutions to the problems we face.

National defence must also maintain the trust and confidence of the people we serve. That means upholding the highest ethical and professional standards. Treating all people with dignity and respect must be at the core of our culture, a culture that is currently undergoing a complete overhaul to better reflect the values Canadians expect.

GBA+ must be included in all of our work. One important area for this is recruitment. Recruiters are front and centre in bringing top talent to the Canadian Armed Forces. They are often the first face in uniform that potential recruits meet, so it is essential that they embody the values and principles that Canadians hold dear, and that they understand the value of inclusion and representation. All Canadian Forces recruitment group members go through rigorous training on diversity, inclusion, racism, human rights, employment equity and GBA+. They apply these principles in their work as they bring in the next generation of Canadian Armed Forces members.

GBA+ is a vital part of Operation Generation, the CAF's multipronged mission to meet growth requirements and employment equity goals. By using GBA+, we can better understand how perceptions of the military and attitudes toward joining may differ among various groups. We need to find and address any barriers.

Although there has been a slight increase in the number of women recruited into the Canadian Armed Forces over the past three years, we have not yet met our recruitment targets. GBA+ research shows that certain groups of young women are not aware of the career options that are available in the Canadian Forces or have concerns about work-life balance.

GBA+ research has shown how people of all genders from racialized communities have different perceptions about a military career, so we need to overcome these perceptions and speak to what motivates people from various communities.

Canada's sailors, soldiers and aviators perform meaningful work at home and abroad, and can find flexibility through part-time service with the primary reserve. However, we recognize attracting people to the military is not enough. They need the right policies and structures to want to stay.

As GBA+ is important to recruitment, it is also critical in retention. For example, when we purchase equipment, we need to consider the differences in size, shape and mobility of different CAF personnel.

During the medium support vehicle system project, we found that soldiers below a certain height would have difficulty pushing the vehicle's brake pedal across its entire range of motion. We therefore worked with the contractor to move the pedal. Not only did this make the truck safer, but it meant that a group of people would not be excluded from driving it.

That is how we can set people up for success: clothes and equipment that fit their bodies, policies that fit their needs and career paths that fit their professional aspirations.

In the context of operations, the Canadian Armed Forces is currently assessing barriers to women's meaningful participation in peace support operations, and DND is exploring the use of GBA+ to help inform Canada's selection of and role in ongoing and future military operations. On the civilian side, DND implemented the civilian diversity and inclusion action plan in 2019, which aims to eliminate employment equity gaps, expand leadership representation, enhance promotion rates for all civilian diversity groups, implement inclusive practices and embed individual accountability.

To overcome our systemic barriers, we need strong and inclusive leadership. Last September, National Defence launched an executive recruitment campaign for racialized people to increase representation within our senior leadership team. This process was heavily informed by GBA+. We used research and evidence to guide our decisions, implemented new AI tools and assessment methods to evaluate candidates, and challenged legacy recruiting assessment and hiring practices to eliminate bias.

We successfully qualified 36 top-tier candidates. Some of these individuals have already been hired from this process, and others will fill future executive positions at National Defence and in the broader public service. National Defence is committed to evaluating human resource policies, programs, tools and reporting systems through a GBA+ and anti-racism lens.

We need to understand how our legacy initiatives impact people and how we can improve in the future. One example is the military spouse employment initiative. After a GBA+ review, we found that the program previously focused on a narrow scope of administrative and clerical roles. We are therefore highlighting jobs in a variety of fields to provide military spouses with a broader range of opportunities.

National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces have made progress over the years regarding GBA+ across all lines of efforts. That said, the department recognizes that more needs to be done to build a safe, welcoming and inclusive workspace.

Let me be clear. Every person deserves to work in an environment that is free from harassment and discrimination. That is why we welcome the crucial recommendations that will come from Madam Louise Arbour's independent, comprehensive external review, and that is why we created the new chief professional conduct and culture organization, which will be led by Lieutenant-General Jennie Carignan.

Looking forward and in the spirit of this motion, DND and CAF will continue building on the foundational GBA+ work that has been done so far. We recognize that it needs to be applied through every stage of our work, from initial planning through to evaluation.

GBA+ will help us improve the way we recruit and retain people from diverse communities and improve the way we do our important work to defend Canada.

I want to sincerely thank my colleague, the member for Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, for moving this important motion. It comes at a critical time.

I also want to thank him for his ongoing commitment, for being an ally and for contributing to improving our institutions and making them more inclusive.

We support this motion without amendment.

7:35 p.m.

Conservative

Stephanie Kusie Conservative Calgary Midnapore, AB

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to be here to discuss Motion No. 58 before us today.

It is always a pleasure for me to rise in the House to speak to a motion when the objective is to support women. I am always so happy to see more women in the House and more women candidates, and it is just a pleasure when they get elected and join us here in the House.

The thing I struggle with regarding this piece of legislation is that it is coming from a government that says one thing, yet does another. We have seen this repeatedly, and in particular with the Liberals' GBA+ program. We have mostly heard here today about the testimony from the status of women committee. I am very fortunate to have been on that committee for a brief period. I did enjoy my time in that committee. However, the testimony that we have heard here today is very damning of the history of the current government and certainly of the representation of women and the rights of women within the Canadian Armed Forces.

Within the testimony we have heard regarding sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces, various things have included the rollout of Operation Honour. Even with the rollout of Operation Honour, which former chief of the defence staff General Vance was responsible for, members of the military were actually heard saying it was “hop on her”: a play on words indicating the toxic culture that existed at the time. We are hearing in testimony that it still exists to this day.

Another terrible story is that after one witness appeared before the committee to share her experience, the following day, on a private military police Facebook page of predominantly men, there were comments such as “sounds like PMQs,” private married quarters, “on payday”. Another said “giggity”, in reference to a character on the adult show Family Guy who is a sex addict and a womanizer. This is the type of activity that was going on in the Canadian Armed Forces.

In fact, the man in charge of developing Operation Honour was regularly committing this offence. One witness referred to Operation Honour as “sour milk”, and the quote is as follows:

[Operation] Honour certainly got the conversation going and improved resources and education available to [Canadian Armed Forces] members, but the leadership has been wilfully ignorant—

7:40 p.m.

Liberal

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

I apologize, but I have to interrupt the member at this moment. The hon. member will have six minutes and 50 seconds to complete her speech when we next come to this.

The time provided for the consideration of Private Members' Business has now expired and the order is dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence on the Order Paper.

A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

The EnvironmentAdjournment Proceedings

7:40 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Madam Speaker, I am resuming a question I asked previously. The minister of fisheries answered the question, but it pertains to climate targets and climate accountability. I made the point in question period that, when we talk about climate targets, they are not political. Climate targets are deeply about the science.

The minister of fisheries replied at the time that the new targets the Prime Minister had just announced at the Earth Day summit with Joe Biden were, in fact, to be put into the law and actually reflected in part of what is called the net-zero emissions accountability act, Bill C-12. Since then, the government decided not to put those targets in the act.

The key point I want to make today in our adjournment proceedings is about the nature of what we committed to do under the Paris Agreement in 2015 at COP 21. The key thing we committed to do was to work with all the other nations on earth to hold the global average temperature increase to no more than 1.5° above what those levels were before the industrial revolution, and to certainly hold it as far below 2° as possible.

Why does this matter? The survival of human civilization is very much at risk if we miss these targets. We are now more than 1°C in global average temperature increase above where we were as a society and a planet before the industrial revolution. Going above 1.5° is actually not a safe zone; it is a danger zone. It involves a significant risk to human civilization's survival. Going above 2° would put our future generations, our own children, very much at risk. That is why the targets are not political. They are about the science.

I am heartbroken that the government chose to put forward its so-called climate accountability legislation, which aims for a level of reductions of emissions that are not tied to the science. It actually puts us at risk. There is a lot of clamouring around Bill C-12 and the title “net-zero”, but net-zero by 2050 is the wrong target. Net-zero by 2050 does not hold to 1.5°. In the words of Greta Thunberg, net-zero by 2050 is “surrender” without short-term and near-term targets that ensure global emissions are cut in half by 2030.

I have just this moment left clause-by-clause as it ends on Bill C-12. The milestone year remains 2030, but the large problem remains that, if we do not improve what we have agreed to do, the target of 40% to 45% below our 2005 levels by 2030 referenced when I put this forward in question period is not close to being what we committed to do in Paris.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change set forth what all countries on earth have to do. Canada has a larger burden than most, because it is the only country in the industrialized world to see our emissions go up so very much since 1990 and go up since Paris.

We have a commitment to do better and to do more. That means that we should be revising our target upward and we should not delude ourselves into believing that net-zero by 2050 is anything other than a public relations gloss on what the science tells us we must do. We are in a climate emergency. We need to act like it and ban fracking, cancel the TMX pipeline and do those things in our power, as a wealthy industrialized society, to move to climate security.

The EnvironmentAdjournment Proceedings

7:45 p.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

Terry Duguid LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (Western Economic Diversification Canada) and to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change (Canada Water Agency)

Madam Speaker, once again, Bill C-12 is a ground-breaking piece of legislation for Canada, establishing a legal framework for Canada to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050 and help the globe avoid the worst consequences of climate change.

There are many years before 2050 and we know that our actions in emissions reductions in those intervening years are just as important as where we are in 2050. That is why Bill C-12 requires the government to set emissions reduction targets at five-year intervals starting in 2030 all the way until 2050, and it will also require the government to report on its progress toward achievement of those targets throughout. Of course, the requirement to develop emissions reduction plans is also an important component of the legislation.

With respect to a near-term target, a new provision was added during committee review to require the inclusion of an interim GHG emissions objective for 2026. Adding an interim objective provides a mid-point check-in between now and 2030. The 2026 objective will offer an opportunity to have a more detailed look in terms of whether we are still on track for 2030 or not, and do the course correction accordingly.

Understandingly, the previous emissions reduction commitments made by signatories to the Paris Agreement are not enough to hold global warming below 1.5°C. There has been a global call for increased ambition and climate action. Canada heard this call, and in April at the Leaders Summit on Climate, announced an enhanced emissions reduction target of 40% to 45% below 2005 levels by 2030. I am pleased to announce that because of amendments adopted by the House of Commons and the committee, this target will be embedded directly in the text of the bill.

To conclude, the measures contained in the Canadian net-zero emissions accountability act would ensure that there is a clear process in place for setting targets, as well planning and reporting on progress, including in the key period between now and 2030.

Finally, along with the reporting requirements under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the act would ensure that the Government of Canada is committed and accountable for all the years to come in charting Canada's path to net-zero emissions by 2050.

The EnvironmentAdjournment Proceedings

7:45 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Madam Speaker, I am disappointed to tell the parliamentary secretary that clause-by-clause did not embed those targets in the act, although it had been promised.

The reality is that net zero by 2050, if achieved, does not ensure that we are holding to 1.5°C or even to as far below 2°C as possible. That is why Greta Thunberg has said clearly to the EU commissioners that net zero by 2050 is “surrender”. There is only one pathway that will lead to 1.5°C and as far below 2°C as possible. The IPCC set that out in its special report from October 2018 and that is more dramatic emissions reductions globally than anything yet anticipated.

Canada should be cutting to 60% below our 2005 levels by 2030, not a mere 40%. We must do better, we must do more and we must stop lying to ourselves.

The EnvironmentAdjournment Proceedings

7:50 p.m.

Liberal

Terry Duguid Liberal Winnipeg South, MB

Madam Speaker, our recently announced strengthened climate plan, “A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy”, builds on our first climate plan, the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, and included over 60 new measures and $15 billion in investments to advance our ambitious climate goals and strengthen our clean economy. The government has since expanded on these investments and committed an additional $15 billion for public transit and active transportation projects, and $17.6 billion in new, green recovery measures in budget 2021.

The investments made in budget 2021, along with other actions, including strengthened alignment with the United States to cut further pollution from transportation and methane emissions, means that Canada is now positioned to reduce emissions by about 36% below 2005 levels by 2030.

Post-Secondary EducationAdjournment Proceedings

7:50 p.m.

NDP

Heather McPherson NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Madam Speaker, on February 1, Laurentian University declared insolvency, taking many by surprise. We have since learned that Liberal members of Parliament and the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages were aware of the issue at Laurentian University prior to this announcement. This begs the question: Why did the government choose to sit on the sidelines and watch Laurentian University fail?

However, Laurentian University is not the only post-secondary institution in trouble in this country. I must, once again, implore the government to step in and ensure that what happened with Laurentian University does not happen again in Alberta, further jeopardizing minority official language education in Canada.

Campus Saint-Jean, the only French-language university west of Winnipeg, is at risk because of massive provincial cuts. Campus Saint-Jean is part of the University of Alberta, and over the past two and a half years, the Government of Alberta has cut the University of Alberta's funding by $170 million. Nearly half of the cuts to post-secondary education in Alberta have happened to the University of Alberta, and as a result, 1,000 faculty members in Edmonton are losing their jobs. Tuition fees are rising as much as 50%, and the fate of Campus Saint-Jean hangs in the balance.

Campus Saint-Jean is not an ordinary post-secondary institution. It serves a unique role in western Canada, and it is vital that it be supported. Its education programs train future teachers for Alberta and other provinces in primary and secondary French immersion and French programming. Without Campus Saint-Jean, Alberta would not have qualified teachers for the needs of francophone students, of parents like me and of students who, like my daughter Keltie, are enrolled in the bilingual program.

Section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees that Albertan francophone parents have the right to have their children receive primary and secondary school instruction in French. A year ago, the Supreme Court affirmed this right and more. It found that minority language communities must receive equivalent support to the majority language, not proportional support.

The implications for Alberta are very clear. Unless Campus Saint-Jean receives federal support, Alberta school boards will not be able to meet the equivalency standard. The government must not allow another French-language university to fail. The government must act now before it is too late.

The mandate of the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages outlines the government's stated commitment to Canada's official language in minority settings and calls for investment in infrastructure to support minority communities, including schools. However, current funding is not sufficient to meet the intent of the Official Languages Act. It is obvious that we need systemic change and a structure that acknowledges the need for post-secondary education support, not just support for kindergarten to grade 12, and we need this change in the long term.

Right now there is a crisis. Right now there is an immediate need for support that does not rely on provincial governments to match, like in Ontario, where the Ford government refused to fund Université de l'Ontario français. Alberta's government is failing to live up to its obligations, and just like those in Ontario, Albertans need the federal government to step in and save Campus Saint-Jean.

The future French-language instruction and vitality in Alberta and western Canada is at stake. Will the government show francophones in Alberta the same respect that it has shown francophones in Ontario—

Post-Secondary EducationAdjournment Proceedings

7:55 p.m.

Liberal

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

The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages.

Post-Secondary EducationAdjournment Proceedings

7:55 p.m.

Orléans Ontario

Liberal

Marie-France Lalonde LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (FedDev Ontario and Official Languages)

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Edmonton Strathcona for raising this very important issue. She spoke in French during her speech and when she asked a question on May 28. I wish to applaud her efforts.

My colleague has been defending Campus Saint-Jean against the Conservative threat for a long time now. We share her concerns about the way the government of Jason Kenney is making access to post-secondary education in French more difficult for Franco-Albertans and francophiles.

That is why we wrote Premier Jason Kenney last year. We asked him to reconsider his decision to reduce funding for Campus Saint-Jean. We know how vital it is for our official language minority communities to access post-secondary education in the language of their choice. Campus Saint-Jean strengthens these communities and contributes to ensuring their continued vitality. Our government has often affirmed its commitment to finding solutions to support and increase services offered by Campus Saint-Jean and to ensure its continued existence.

We have invested more than $3 million in Campus Saint-Jean and more than $15 million a year for Alberta, through our action plan for official languages. Furthermore, in budget 2021, we announced that we will invest more than $120 million to support post-secondary minority-language education. We are working on solutions. We hope that the province will work just as quickly to address this important challenge.

As the Minister of Official Languages has said many times, our government is committed to protecting and promoting French across the country, including in Quebec. That obviously includes Alberta. We want francophones to have access to post-secondary education in French, no matter where they live. We want to give francophiles an opportunity to build on their language skills. A strong and dynamic Campus Saint-Jean is a key part of that.

Once again, I thank the member opposite for her advocacy on this very important issue. Our government is committed to protecting Campus Saint-Jean and we will continue to push the Conservative government in Alberta to show its support for the university, its programs and the many students who rely on it.

I hope that the member for Edmonton Strathcona will continue to work with us on this important fight.

Post-Secondary EducationAdjournment Proceedings

7:55 p.m.

NDP

Heather McPherson NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Madam Speaker, budget 2021 allocated $121.3 million over three years to Canadian Heritage to make high-quality post-secondary minority-language education available across Canada. We already know that a significant portion of these funds must be earmarked for the Université de l'Ontario français, an institution that will see its very first cohort of students this fall.

As the government has already committed more than $60 million over eight years to support French-language education at this institution in Toronto, Campus Saint-Jean, represented by the Association canadienne-française de l'Alberta, the ACFA, has been told to be patient. They have been told that the minister is working on it.

Time is running out. When will Campus Saint-Jean be notified of funding? How much funding will Campus Saint-Jean be receiving, and how will that funding be applied?

Post-Secondary EducationAdjournment Proceedings

7:55 p.m.

Liberal

Marie-France Lalonde Liberal Orléans, ON

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question.

We have been quite clear that we are prepared to provide financial assistance to the Alberta government through our official languages support programs. Through our action plan for official languages, various initiatives are available to the provinces to address the financial challenges facing their post-secondary institutions.

As we indicated in our reform document on the Official Languages Act, our government intends to enhance support for the key institutions of official language minority communities, because they are essential to the future of our two official languages and are fundamental to building and maintaining the vitality of minority language communities.

Airline IndustryAdjournment Proceedings

8 p.m.

Conservative

Stephanie Kusie Conservative Calgary Midnapore, AB

Madam Speaker, it is always a pleasure to be in the House speaking for the people of Calgary Midnapore.

On May 14, I asked the following question of the Minister of Transport:

Madam Speaker, the U.K. has announced its restart plan for international travel, using the traffic light system, but here in Canada we are still stuck under the Liberals' third wave—

We are still stuck in the third wave.

—and the hotel quarantine program—

We are still stuck in the hotel quarantine program.

—with no end in sight. It is not just like flipping a light off and on: Both airports and airlines will need time to get things up and running again.

When will the government do the right thing, provide some hope for Canadians and come up with a comprehensive restart strategy for air travel?

It is almost a month later. Today when I recognized I would be giving the adjournment speech regarding this question that has yet to be answered, and we have yet to see a plan provided to the airline sector, I wondered why I was doing this yet again and why I had to ask for this once again. Then I saw the news that Ed Sims, the incredible CEO of WestJet, has announced his retirement at the end of the year. I thought of what a wonderful individual and leader he is, and how he has led the industry and his company with such grace and respect. Then I thought about all of the pilots who have written to me in the last year, all of the flight attendants who have congratulated me for standing up for them, and all of the mechanics and Nav Canada employees who watched the executives receive $7 million in bonuses this week, yet they were laid off.

They are the reason I am here today demanding another answer from the Minister of Transport. It is a month later and we still do not have a plan. There is no hope. It was announced today that there is no end in sight to the hotel quarantine program even though it is unsafe and unscientific. One week after I asked this question, the minister could not give Canada a date as to when travel restrictions would end.

Canadians have done their fair part. Airline workers have done their fair part. Everyone has followed the guidelines and lined up for their first vaccines, but the terrible procurement strategy and distribution of the vaccines have in fact led to this third wave. We are all awaiting our second vaccination. I truly hope we can avoid a fourth wave with the Delta variant.

Frankly, beyond the question that I asked the minister, the government owes it to Canada to answer a question. When do we get our lives back? When do we get to go to Disneyland? When do we get to see our loved ones wherever they are? We have not been given that hope and assurance at this time. This goes well beyond the airline sector. It goes to Canadians. The problems were terrible procurement and distribution of vaccines. The most egregious issue is not having a plan. That includes a plan for the airline sector, for travel and for Canadians who absolutely deserve one.

I am calling on the minister again today to answer the question that I first asked on May 14: When will the government do the right thing, provide some hope for Canadians and come up with a comprehensive restart strategy for air travel?

Airline IndustryAdjournment Proceedings

8 p.m.

Hochelaga Québec

Liberal

Soraya Martinez Ferrada LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Madam Speaker, since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, Transport Canada has been working tirelessly to support and collaborate with the Canadian aviation industry. We know that after the pandemic, a strong and competitive airline industry will be essential to Canada's economic recovery.

The government worked in close collaboration with its industry partners to implement this comprehensive, multi-layered system of security measures and directives aimed at protecting Canadians and people who work in the transportation sector.

In August 2020, Transport Canada unveiled Canada's flight plan for navigating COVID-19. This action plan, which was developed with governments and industry representatives, describes the measures taken in response to the pandemic to promote public health across the aviation sector, in accordance with international standards and best practices.

Meanwhile, federal officials are having regular discussions with aviation sector stakeholders on the future of the travel industry, through various channels and opportunities for direct communication, such as the working group on the post-COVID-19 recovery. Transport Canada continues to support the aviation industry and the restart of air travel with an allocation of $82.5 million in funding in 2021-22 in the 2021 budget. This funding will help major Canadian airports make investments in screening infrastructure and COVID-19 tests. The funding will be provided under a transfer payment program, a cost-sharing program similar to other federal infrastructure programs. The minister has launched consultations with international hubs and small regional airports to examine how they can benefit from this funding.

Transport Canada is also working tirelessly at the international level with like-minded partners and international organizations, such as the International Civil Aviation Organization and the World Health Organization, to ensure that our recovery measures follow international best practices and to ensure global coordination when possible.

It is important to note that the Minister of Transport and his G7 counterparts made a commitment at the G7 transport ministers' meeting on May 5 to work on a common set of principles to guide the resumption of international travel when it is safe to do so.

We are aware that other regions, including the United Kingdom and the European Union, have released plans for restarting international travel. We are examining these approaches carefully as we begin to plan Canada's recovery.

The government's top priority is to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and its variants. Any decision on reopening will be based on public health advice. We understand the need to prepare for the sector's recovery and are working tirelessly to plan for it, but such decisions can only be made at the right time.

Airline IndustryAdjournment Proceedings

8:05 p.m.

Conservative

Stephanie Kusie Conservative Calgary Midnapore, AB

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague.

They are obviously not working tirelessly, since I am here again today and there is still no plan. There is no plan for the sector and no plan regarding Canadians' travel plans. The minister is fully responsible for this, which is why I did not get an answer on May 14. I am once again asking for a plan, because the sector needs one and Canada needs one. I am waiting for a plan.

Airline IndustryAdjournment Proceedings

8:05 p.m.

Liberal

Soraya Martinez Ferrada Liberal Hochelaga, QC

Madam Speaker, I want to reassure my colleague that the government is working tirelessly with the vital airline industry to bring in a comprehensive, multi-layered system of measures and directives to protect Canadians and people who work in the transportation and shipping sector.

Looking ahead, we know that Canada's economic recovery depends on a strong and competitive airline industry. We know that we must start planning now to ensure a safe and successful restart of the industry in the months to come. We also know that this needs to be done in planned stages, by clearly communicating with the public and the Canadian industry regarding which restrictions will be lifted and when, and by relying on the advice of our top public health researchers and experts.

The government's top priority is to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and its variants. Any decision on reopening will be based on public health advice.

Airline IndustryAdjournment Proceedings

8:05 p.m.

Liberal

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

The motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly, the House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m. pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 8:09 p.m.)