House of Commons Hansard #121 of the 44th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was s-5.


Telecommunications ActPrivate Members' Business

11:05 a.m.


Dan Mazier Conservative Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa, MB

moved that Bill C-288, An Act to amend the Telecommunications Act (transparent and accurate broadband services information), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise in the House to speak to my private member's bill, Bill C-288, an act to amend the Telecommunications Act.

Access to quality Internet is essential, and rural Canadians, in particular, understand the devastating impacts associated with poor Internet service across our nation. If members of the House were to speak with Canadians across our country, they would realize that many feel cheated, misled and ripped-off by Internet companies. This is because millions of Canadians are frustrated to learn that the Internet quality they are paying for is nowhere near what they expected.

Consumers make purchasing decisions based on information. When it comes to the Internet, Canadians expect the highest quality of service. Unfortunately, when consumers are making decisions on what Internet provider is best for them, they do not have access to the most accurate and realistic information.

Canadians are exposed to advertisements and offers that display a maximum theoretical speed. Misleading words such as “up to” are used in these ads to convince consumers that a service is better than it is. These theoretical speeds and performance metrics that consumers are provided with do not always reflect the actual speed delivered to them.

A constituent recently told me that she signed up for a high-speed wireless Internet plan that advertised download speeds of up to 50 megabits per second. Many speed tests later, she was not even getting 10% of that speed. If she knew what speed she was actually going to receive, she would never have signed a contract for such a high price.

The problem is that the current legislative landscape allows Internet service providers to advertise theoretical speeds without providing consumers with the speeds they can realistically expect. This confuses consumers, prevents competition and contributes to customer complaints.

Sure, the speeds that companies advertise have the potential to be reached, but the highest speeds are most likely reached during the hours when the consumer is not using the Internet. Some Canadians have called this practice “false advertising”, but it is not. Internet providers are following the law, which is why we need to change the law so it will benefit Canadians.

Data released by the Canadian Internet Registration Authority found that only one-third of Canadians believed their household received the “up to” speed included in their home Internet package all or most of the time. That is it. Only 33% of Canadians believe they fully receive the quality for which they pay. These numbers are even lower in my home province of Manitoba.

Canadians deserve to know what they are paying for, which is why I have introduced Bill C-288.

Bill C-288 would implement a simple change to ensure Canadians have access to accurate and transparent information. It would require Internet service providers to present a reliable indicator of the speeds and quality metrics that are in the public’s best interest.

The first pillar of the legislation is the requirement for Internet service providers to provide Canadians with typical download and upload speeds, not maximum theoretical speed but typical speeds. Canadians want to know what they can consistently expect to receive, not what they can receive once in a blue moon.

When Canadians visit any car dealership to purchase a new vehicle, there is a standardized label on the windows displaying the fuel economy of that specific vehicle. That number does not reflect the fuel economy when driving down a hill; it is a number that reflects what a driver can realistically expect to consume in fuel on average. This information is even divided into two categories to provide Canadians with better information, city and highway consumption. This enables consumers to make more informed purchasing decisions on what product best fits their needs. Consumers expect to know what they are paying for, and rightfully so.

The second pillar of the legislation would provide Canadians with the quality metrics that they can expect during the time that they will most likely use the service. I refer to this as the “peak period”. Few Canadians care what their Internet speeds are at 3 o’clock in the morning, but they do care what they are during work hours or family movie night. This is why Bill C-288 would require Internet providers to display speeds during peak periods. Consumers should understand how their Internet will perform when they are most likely to use the service.

Finally, the third pillar of the legislation would initiate a consultation process that would empower Canadians to develop a framework that is in the public's best interest.

Bill C-288 would empower consumers and industry to participate in public hearings that would contribute to a made-in-Canada model. Developing a model that works for Canada and clearly legislating the criteria is a better process than any policy directive led by the government.

We all know that access to accurate and transparent information is the bedrock of consumer decision-making and protection. Unfortunately, Canadians do not have access to it. As I mentioned earlier, this confuses consumers, prevents competition and contributes to customer complaints. Bill C-288 is a non-partisan pro-consumer bill.

The bill would not only enable Canadians to make informed purchasing decisions by providing them with accurate and transparent information, but it would also increase Internet quality within the industry. Competition is needed to ensure companies improve quality or decrease prices. When companies get too comfortable, they fail to innovate and improve.

Studies on Internet service across the world have proven that service quality increases with an increase in product transparency. Research conducted by Dr. Reza Rajabiun and Dr. Catherine Middleton from the Ted Rogers School of Information Technology Management published work on the correlation between information transparency and overall industry quality. Their research showed that a problem existed within the telecom industry because companies could not fairly compete based on quality due to the inability to signal their authentic service to potential consumers.

Imagine two Internet companies competing in Canada. I will refer to them as company X and company Y. They both advertise the same maximum theoretical speed of 50 megabits per second download and 10 megabits per second upload.

How do consumers know which service provider is better? They do not. On paper, both companies appear to offer high-quality Internet, however, we know they are advertising theoretical speeds rather than expected speeds. Although both companies advertise the same maximum theoretical speed, one provider may have much better service during the time when consumers are more likely to use the service.

For example, company X may be able to consistently deliver speeds 60% higher than company Y. This could be a result of multiple factors, including lower over-subscription ratios, improved operations or better equipment. However, company X cannot signal this quality due to the noise produced from the theoretical speed of company Y. As a result, company Y has no reason to improve its service to compete based on quality.

The researchers I mentioned earlier called this concept the “Lemons Problem” and stated the following:

Even if there are a large number of buyers of high quality products and sellers willing to meet their demand, the existence of the so-called Lemons Problem can generate markets where low quality goods dominate since providers of high quality goods cannot credibly signal the quality of their products due to the noise from their low quality rivals.

They also stated:

In addition to usual concerns about consumer protection, these considerations indicate that the potential for misleading advertising by low quality players in the market can distort platform competition and reduce the pace of technological change in the market for Internet connectivity.

If the House wants to improve telecom competition, we must allow Canadians to compare accurate information. Consumers will take their money elsewhere if a company's service quality is worse than its competitors.

Not all connectivity solutions require money; some require common sense. This legislation is truly a pro-consumer, common sense solution. That is why countries around the world are leading the way and have introduced similar policies that even go beyond the legislation we are debating today.

Australia is leading the way on this front. After consultation with the public and industry, the Aussies have implemented clear guidance and standards on advertising with typical speeds during peak periods, and consumers have benefited.

According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's 2018 report on the effectiveness of broadband speed claims, these changes have promoted more competitive and efficient markets for the supply of broadband services. Overall, the effectiveness report concluded that increased transparency resulted in better quality services and better consumer understanding of performance.

After the industry guidance was implemented, Australian bandwidth congestion began decreasing.

Section 2.23 of the effectiveness report stated:

Overall we consider the Guidance has assisted in improving the information and support available to broadband consumers and promoting competition among RSPs.

That is a powerful statement for those looking to improve connectivity in Canada.

The United States proposed a broadband disclosure label for Internet service providers that resembled a nutrition label so consumers could easily understand and compare Internet packages.

In the U.K., the Internet service providers must state the average speed that at least 50% of their consumers receive during the high-usage hours.

Furthermore, the European Union's open Internet regulation requires Internet companies to provide information relating to their normally available minimum and maximum speeds. Clearly, this is a solution that protects consumers and increases competition through better information.

I should also note that in June 2021, the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology published report 7, and recommended the following:

That the [CRTC] require Internet service providers to make information available to consumers on the usual download and upload speeds they can expect during peak periods so they can make more informed purchasing decisions based on accurate and transparent information, thereby improving the industry’s competitiveness overall.

Not one party dissented in that report.

I have been extremely appreciative of the industry experts and organizations that have supported this legislation. It confirms the importance of this issue and the impact it is having on Canadians.

I want to quote a statement released by OpenMedia, an organization that works to keep Internet open and affordable. The statement reads:

When you sign up for an Internet plan, you deserve to know what you’re paying for.... It’s a simple matter of truth and transparency. If an Internet provider is advertising certain speeds, consumers have the right to know before they buy if those speeds accurately reflect average network performance. Other countries have handled this issue — Canada is falling behind. We hope to see every MP support and help pass Bill C-288.

This is not a partisan issue; this is a Canadian issue. I hope that every member of the House will join me in supporting this legislation that would provide Canadians with accurate and transparent broadband information.

Telecommunications ActPrivate Members' Business

11:15 a.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba


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

Madam Speaker, one issue that the member did not really address was the CRTC. CRTC plays a very strong role in our society and it deals with a lot of the telecommunications that the member references. I wonder if the member could provide his thoughts on how CRTC would be taken into consideration with respect to what he has proposed, especially if we take into consideration that it has already been given some instruction.

Telecommunications ActPrivate Members' Business

11:15 a.m.


Dan Mazier Conservative Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa, MB

Madam Speaker, I think the member is talking about the policy directive that it has already been given. The bottom line is that the policy directive does not mention peak period or typical speeds, and that is the biggest hole in this whole thing. My whole speech evolved around that.

Once consumers realize what they are actually buying as a service, they will be able to make that decision of what service best fits them. Right now, it is a very “up to“ or theoretical speed, so they are basically supplying a service that can be smoke and mirrors at certain times, especially in rural Canada.

Telecommunications ActPrivate Members' Business

11:15 a.m.


Kristina Michaud Bloc Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, QC

Madam Speaker, I am particularly interested in this bill because I represent a rural region where Internet service is, unfortunately, not yet available to everyone, even in 2022. Where it is available, as my colleague explained very well in his speech, people are not necessarily given all of the information. Companies will say that users have access up to a certain speed, for example, when that is not always the case. It is not adapted to the needs of the service users.

I would like my colleague to explain, once again, how this bill will benefit rural areas in particular and whether it will promote competition among Internet service providers once they are more transparent.

Telecommunications ActPrivate Members' Business

11:15 a.m.


Dan Mazier Conservative Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa, MB

Madam Speaker, this is what the whole bill gets at. Once consumers realize what kind of accurate information they would be getting, as I said in my speech, from company X and company Y, and they know what kind of service they are getting, they could decide what kind of service they need. With that information, they might decide not to need all that information or all that cost that goes with it. They might not need so many terabytes of downloadable information if they decide they can get it in a more accurate and timely period when they are actually using the Internet.

Part of all the time and cost that goes into using the Internet are all the delays that happen in buffering. We go to use the Internet and all of a sudden we do not have a connection and have to wait for that conversation to be complete. All those minutes and time that is lost in trying to get a connection could be used getting business done. We do not need an Internet service provider of poor quality standing in the middle of businesses and people trying to communicate to do business with Canadians and the rest of the world.

Telecommunications ActPrivate Members' Business

11:20 a.m.


Taylor Bachrach NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa for this interesting bill. I look forward to hearing the debate today.

My question for him is around enforcement of the provisions in the bill. It would do something fairly simple, which is to require companies to clearly and transparently state what they are actually selling and what consumers can expect. For companies that are not doing that in accordance with the regulations, how would the enforcement process work? I can see two options in that regard. One is a complaints-based process, and the other one involves independent auditing by the CRTC.

Could the member talk about which he would find preferable?

Telecommunications ActPrivate Members' Business

11:20 a.m.


Dan Mazier Conservative Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa, MB

Madam Speaker, section 72.01 of the Telecommunications Act addresses a breach within the act, so it is covered. I do believe if a telecommunications company is breaking the law it should be held to account. I have no problems with supporting that type of concept.

Telecommunications ActPrivate Members' Business

11:20 a.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba


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

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise and speak to this issue. I will start off by giving a very clear indication.

When we think of Internet or cell services, it is really important to recognize the fact that consumers do have rights. It is so important that we look at ways we can enhance competition. Nothing frustrates me or my colleagues more than when we get contacted by constituents, and we want to be able to send a very strong message that we are very much aware of the issues and concerns. We understand the importance of competition and the impact it has on prices and want to highlight the fact that consumers have rights.

We have seen through government actions, both present and past, that we have a government that is clearly there to support consumers. I will make reference to that for those who may be following the debate, as well as to how technology has advanced to the point where we are having these types of discussions here on the floor of the House and outside of the House in some of the arm's-length institutions that we have established to protect the rights of consumers.

It was not that long ago when, as a parliamentarian, the Internet was a new, wonderful thing. I was probably further ahead than most of my constituents back in 1988-89 when we required a telephone line. The first thing we heard was a dial tone followed by pushed buttons, and then these weird hook-up connections. Some might say I am a little older than others as I can still remember the era of the old-fashioned Apple computer. We just waited for the simplest of things to appear on the monitor. Today the expectation is far greater and we need to recognize that advancement.

Computers today are than more just something that we use to play games, watch a video or do a Google search. Over the summer, I had the opportunity to meet with a couple of businesses that are very much there today as a direct result of having access to the Internet. Its speed is absolutely critical in terms of their future growth.

Today more than ever, people will consult with the Internet on all sorts of how-to repairs for something in their home, or to take a look at symptoms in regard to a health-related issue. Suffice it to say that the role that the Internet plays today is virtually an essential service.

The current government and all members of the House, as the member opposite indicated, it does not matter what side of the House one sits on, are all concerned about the issue of price points and consumer awareness, and what we can do to ensure that we are serving Canadians well through the responsibilities we have.

We do that in many ways. We have a Minister of Rural Economic Development who, over the last number of years, has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in rural communities, from coast to coast to coast, to assist in building an infrastructure. Being in downtown Toronto, Vancouver or my own city of Winnipeg, there is a high expectation of fast Internet service.

One thing we can do to enable economic growth, whether in a high-density urban centre or a remote rural setting, is to invest in the Internet. Part of doing that is recognizing the services that are being provided through the private companies.

That gets to the core of the issue that my friend across the way is raising. Like him, all Canadians have seen the ads. The ads are plentiful with the whole idea of “up to” a certain set speed. A consumer looking at that would think that sounds awfully fast. For many consumers like me, it is hard to get an appreciation of how fast that actually is, let alone after factoring in the different times of day or a peak period versus three o'clock in the morning, which has been highlighted.

It has been pointed out that there is a difference in demand during a peak period versus those non-usage hours or those hours when the number of people accessing the Internet is down. In fact, often when one sees those packages one will see five or six items in one household that use the Internet as a way to be able to watch TV, communicate with a family member, do business transactions or do random Google searches. Whether using a desktop computer, a high-resolution TV or an iPad, the demand even within one household can be fairly extensive. These are the types of issues that will be best served if we are prepared to step up.

The member across the way brought forward Bill C-288, which has some real substance to it. As I pointed out, there was policy direction given to the CRTC earlier this year, around April or May. How can we, through using the CRTC as an arm's-length organization, ensure that we protect consumers? We might at times have personal opinions and concerns in regard to the CRTC, but, all in all, it does a relatively good job for Canadians.

The CRTC has a mandate. It has been asked to look at the ways we can ensure we are protecting the interests of consumers, such as mandating broadband testing and performance reporting, which is absolutely critical. One does not need to read between the lines of what the member is proposing. That is the thing that would be required to provide the type of consumer awareness that many of us would advocate for.

I look forward to hearing from the CRTC and some of the recommendations that it will bring forward. For me, put quite simply, I like consumer labelling that is simplified so that the average person can truly understand it. I want to know what sort of speed is there during that prime time. Being able to do a comparison between companies is really important. It is very hard to do that given the current system. That is why we do need change. I acknowledge that.

I am anticipating that, in early 2023, we will be hearing something that is positive and encouraging from the CRTC. I look forward to that.

Telecommunications ActPrivate Members' Business

11:30 a.m.


Sébastien Lemire Bloc Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to speak today to the bill from the member for Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa.

The member and I have had the opportunity to discuss it and I told him this week that the Bloc Québécois agreed to allow this bill to be studied in committee. In fact, the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology already made a recommendation to the government in June 2021 in its report on the accessibility and affordability of telecommunications services in Canada.

This enactment amends the Telecommunications Act to require Canadian carriers to make tacitly available certain information in respect of the fixed broadband services that they offer. It also requires the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, or CRTC, to hold public hearings to determine the form and manner in which this information is to be provided to the public.

In 2016, the CRTC declared that broadband Internet was an essential service for all Canadians. This bill is part of the measures that will not only allow consumers to finally have a better experience on the Internet, but also ensure that actual speeds are closer to expected speeds, in other words, that people actually get what they pay for.

It also takes aim at competition between Internet services providers, or ISPs, which will now need to make more detailed and accurate descriptions of the services offered. The quality we are looking for, in addition to reliability, is the ability to recognize the actual browsing speed offered to consumers. Thus, consumers will be able to make informed purchasing decisions and will be able to appreciate the full value of their purchase.

For several years now, Internet service providers have been criticized for shortchanging the public. At least, that is the impression that consumers have of them. Consumers pay astronomical prices for Internet services, particularly in the regions, only to realize, in most cases, that the speeds they achieve are much lower than expected.

The experience with the Internet is very different for residents of rural areas. Internet service providers are well aware of it and I understand that they are working hard to ensure that this reliability can be achieved. However, it is time to do better. The public no longer want to settle just for the maximum theoretical speeds that the network can offer. As we know, this is due to the current legislative framework, which allows ISPs to only mention maximum theoretical speeds in their advertising.

The download speed in question here refers to the speed at which downloads take place, usually calculated in megabits per second. People are entitled to receive the download speed they signed up for. Internet service providers use words like “up to”, leading consumers to believe that their Internet access services are better than they really are.

Bill C‑288 seeks to correct that practice and bring Internet service providers to sell the speed that consumers will receive during the hours they are most likely to use those services. Bill C‑288 will therefore provide order and have a significant impact on how Internet services are sold in Quebec and Canada.

Under section 37 of the Telecommunications Act, ISPs are already required to provide various data to the CRTC, including data on download and upload speeds. Since they already have that information, it will be easy for them to make some of it available to their customers.

Earlier, I mentioned that the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology had supported a Bloc Québécois recommendation in 2021 in its report entitled “Affordability and Accessibility of Telecommunications Services in Canada: Encouraging Competition to (Finally) Bridge the Digital Divide”. That recommendation is as follows:

That the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission require Internet service providers to make information available to consumers on the usual download and upload speeds they can expect during peak periods so they can make more informed purchasing decisions based on accurate and transparent information, thereby improving the industry's competitiveness overall.

All the parties agreed on this issue in 2021 because most of the witnesses and many society stakeholders agreed that consumers are entitled to have this information.

If they do not have the exact information when making a purchase decision, consumers may find themselves paying too much for a service or not purchasing the one that best meets their needs. The deployment of Internet in rural areas has caused its share of dissatisfaction and led to many complaints to the CRTC. There is no denying that all the barriers to competition in the telecommunications industry must be eliminated.

In the current context, it is impossible for an ISP that advertises the real quality of its service to compete with providers that advertise theoretically misleading speeds. ISPs therefore have little incentive to improve the quality of their service or reduce their price to attract customers. The bill gives the CRTC the flexibility to require that Internet service providers make other indicators of the quality of their service available to the public, such as wait times or the level of instability. Paragraph 24.2(2)(c) will also allow the CRTC to require disclosure of any other information that is in the public's interest.

The measures proposed in the bill are not new. They have been successfully implemented in other countries, including Australia, the United Kingdom and European Union member states. We see provisions in this bill that encourage competition between Internet service providers, which will bring prices down over time and improve the overall quality of the network. Consumers are entitled to have access when they need it most to the download speed to which they agreed.

I will digress for a moment because it is such an important issue in the regions. A service is provided, but the infrastructure is often outdated or lacking. Too many users can overload a given band, particularly during peak periods. As a result, the quality of the services is often lower in the regions. In large cities and urban areas, there is competition, and different providers can meet those needs. In rural areas, however, there is often only one provider and, if they are overloaded, the entire service cannot be offered. This has repercussions on all economic development measures in some villages, particularly in agriculture.

I am thinking of home education in rural areas, Facebook posts and the ability to stream videos, music or television shows. It is really an essential issue. If Internet service providers ensure that they give the right speed and invest in their network to make it more robust, stronger and more resilient, everyone will win. For too many years, we have seen lower quality Internet services in rural and regional areas due to a lack of investment.

Bill C‑288 addresses many concerns from people in my riding, Abitibi—Témiscamingue, and will allow them to make informed decisions while improving service quality throughout the industry.

Telecommunications ActPrivate Members' Business

11:35 a.m.


Taylor Bachrach NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise this morning and contribute to this debate on Bill C-288. I want to start by thanking my colleague, the member for Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa for bringing this forward. I understand that it has been brought forward in previous Parliaments, and perhaps this time we will have a chance to pass it.

This is a bill that does something that I think is fairly simple and that most Canadians probably take for granted or assume is already articulated somewhere in regulation or law. It requires companies to clearly and transparently and honestly depict the services they are selling, so that when consumers purchase those services, they know what they are buying. This is a basic tenet of consumer protection and one that I believe has broad support across our country.

The bill, as has been mentioned, amends the Telecommunications Act to do a couple of things. First, it requires carriers and Internet service providers to provide transparent, clear-to-understand information about the real-world performance of the Internet services they are selling. Second, it lays out a consultation process, a series of public hearings, that would be used to create and inform the framework by which this bill would be enacted and rolled out. These are things most people can get behind. They are pretty basic requirements and they have a number of benefits.

I mentioned the benefit in terms of consumer protection. This is particularly important for seniors, for people who may not have a detailed understanding of some of the nomenclature that is used when talking about Internet services, for people who did not grow up with access to digital services, and for people who are vulnerable to being taken for a ride by companies that are less than honest about the products they are selling.

This is also positive because, as many know, Canada does not stack up well when it comes to our telecommunications sector. When it comes to transparency, when it comes to competition and when it comes to pricing, Canada is among the worst countries in the world. Any measures, in terms of regulation and reform, that tilt the scales in favour of consumers are, I think, warranted.

It is good to see that the Conservative Party supports reasonable regulations in the interests of consumers. I know, in many ways, it is more of a fan of deregulation, but this is certainly one area where we can find broad agreement across party lines.

Finally, it is always good to catch up with other countries around the world and, in this case, catch up to where Australia was over a decade ago. That is good to see. We can certainly look to their experience and their example to inform this process moving forward.

Of course, I would be remiss if I did not offer some of my concerns, the first of which is that this bill could go much further in terms of protecting Canadians, particularly in the area of affordability. Perhaps I will run through some of the areas I have questions about.

The first is enforcement. I raised this a few minutes ago in my question to the member. It is one thing to require companies to provide transparent and honest advertising about the services they provide. It is another thing to enforce that provision.

Thinking about how this could take place, we can envision either a complaint-driven process or an audit-driven process. I am trying to imagine how it would look for a consumer to lodge a complaint with the CRTC based on the provisions in this bill, particularly because this bill acknowledges that service delivery can vary depending on the time of day.

If we look at the Australian model, some of the advertising that is consistent with their regulations is pretty broad. It is hard to see how someone would prove an infraction when, for instance, consumers are promised a standard evening speed of between two and 23 megabits per second. That is a pretty broad range.

For a claim that around 50% of customers achieve download speeds greater than 50 megabits per second, I think it would be tough for an individual consumer to call up the CRTC and lodge a complaint, claiming they were in the 50% that was not served properly, and have the CRTC investigate that. Having some sort of independent verification of the real-world performance of these telecoms would be beneficial. Of course, that would require a system and some cost, so we need to understand how these rules, if they come into force, are actually going to protect consumers.

My biggest concern is that, while these regulations and this legislative change may benefit consumers in areas where there is competition for Internet services, there are vast areas of our country where there is simply no competition in purchasing Internet. This is something we need to turn our minds to. How do we deliver transparency in advertising, and how do we deliver choice, competition and affordability for rural and remote residents of our country?

I will tell members a bit about the part of the country I get to represent. It is a vast, rural area. Many of the communities are tiny, remote communities with limited services, particularly when it comes to Internet service. I cannot tell members the number of residents who have approached me with concerns about the lack of choice and service they have for access to Internet. This is a big deal when it comes to ensuring economic development in and attracting residents to remote communities, and when it comes to delivering a basic quality of life in an era when so many of the services that we rely on are moving online.

I was recently contacted by a fellow named Lee Marion. He is the postmaster in Telegraph Creek, which is a tiny and remote indigenous community hours away from the nearest neighbouring community. It is way up in northwest B.C., and it only has one Internet service option. The service speed and quality of that service is insufficient for him to conduct the basic operations of the post office.

This is an area of huge concern, and it is one that I do not believe this bill will address. It might help the residents of Telegraph Creek understand what speed they can expect, but if that speed is insufficient, knowing that fact is not going to help them very much. To put it a bit more simply, if one is in a position of “take it or leave it”, it is not terribly helpful to know more about what “it” is.

The residents of Findlay Lake, an area just north of Terrace, is not a particularly remote area, but it has similar challenges. When Telus built out its fibre optic infrastructure in the area, it stopped just a few kilometres north of the city, which left out dozens of households that are relatively close to a built-up urban area. They are not able to access proper Internet service. They rely on hubs and wireless service that is, frankly, at speeds that do not allow them to conduct the basic operations necessary to work from home or attend school from home, things that are and were, especially during the pandemic, so important to Canadians.

In rural areas, we really need to look at this issue of affordability. The Liberal government's approach to affordability when it comes to the telecom sector relies almost solely on competition. The fact is there are vast areas of this country where no competition exists in the sector, and folks in those areas are stuck with whatever price the companies want to charge them or feel they need to charge them. We need some assurance that, moving forward, we have a mechanism to drive affordability. I am not sure that greater transparency in advertising is going to achieve that.

The NDP has a policy proposal that would require all telecoms in Canada to provide a basic service that is comparable, affordability wise, with the basic services provided in other countries, and I think we are going to need that kind of regulation moving forward, especially for rural residents.

There are a bunch of related issues I could speak to, but I am excited to see this bill move forward. It is something we can get behind. I hope it gets strengthened, and I hope that when it gets to committee, some of these questions around enforcement and potential areas of improvement can be addressed.

Telecommunications ActPrivate Members' Business

11:45 a.m.


John Nater Conservative Perth—Wellington, ON

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today to debate Bill C-288, an act to amend the Telecommunications Act concerning transparent and accurate broadband services information.

I was originally planning to speak to the predecessor of this bill on June 23, 2021. There is nothing like 16 months of intervening time to allow me to really collect my thoughts on this matter, but I am pleased that my colleague and friend from Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa has revived his bill from the previous Parliament to provide Canadian consumers with the important information they need when it comes to rural broadband services across our country, so I thank him for raising this issue.

Something I have said many times in the House of Commons and in public to my constituents at events is that reliable high-speed Internet ceased being a luxury a long time ago. For Canadian families, businesses and communities, it is an absolute necessity. When members are given the opportunity to bring forward private member's bills, there are often a lot of competing priorities, which members see as being important to their communities and their ridings. When members win the lottery and have a high-up number in the private member's business lottery, like my friend from Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa did, it is great when they are able to pick a priority like this, which is important for folks not only in rural communities like Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa, but also in places like Perth—Wellington and across the country.

In my community of Perth—Wellington, the issue of rural broadband is one I hear of time and again. On a nearly weekly basis, if not sometimes on a daily basis, I will receive an email from a constituent, a phone call from a family, sometimes even a printed letter in the mail because the Internet is so bad, asking when they might finally see rural broadband fibre optics coming to their communities. Just this morning I spoke with a business owner in Wellington North, in the north part of Wellington County, who was talking about how his business was affected by not having access to reliable high-speed Internet. The speeds he is able to get, based on his current Internet service provider, are simply not adequate for him to carry out his business.

Later today, after I have downloaded this video and upload it to my website, my Facebook page and YouTube, many of the constituents in my riding will not be able to watch it. They will not be able to watch it because their high-speed Internet is simply not adequate. They would spend most of the day watching it buffering rather than actually watching this, or any other video or business communication.

There are challenges affecting Internet across the country. I will be honest that it takes a lot of infrastructure investment in order to get reliable Internet and telecommunications services in a country as large, rural and remote as Canada. One of the challenges is that there are very few Internet service providers in Canada, and this market is dominated by a couple of large corporations.

I do not think it is a surprise to anyone in this chamber who those large corporations are that dominate the marketplace. This lack of competition leads to the lack of choice for Canadians. In many parts of my riding, my constituents have no choice and are stuck with one provider. In a lot of cases, that is old ma Bell herself.

There are several, often community-owned, Internet service providers that are trying to do the hard work to make sure that fibre is installed along every concession road. They are trying hard. They are working hard, and they are committed to providing reliable high-speed Internet, but they are often unable or struggling to compete with the large Internet service providers that often engage in marketing that, while legal, is really pushing the boundaries of what is believable and consistent.

In my riding, I am very proud of community businesses such as Quadro, Wightman and Mornington, which are working to connect rural subscribers and rural residents with fibre-optic Internet service that would have up to one gigabyte of download speeds. This is an amount that is simply unbelievable for so many in my community right now because they are dealing with speeds as low as 2.5 Mbps, megabytes per second, which is simply not sufficient to carry on a business, participate in community events or communicate with family members.

Canadians need accurate information about the speed of their Internet service, which is why I support this bill. The theoretical speeds, hypothetical service and best-case scenarios are all advertising mechanisms that some of these large corporations use. They hinder us and prevent us from making meaningful decisions when deciding what Internet service provider to go with.

What does help Canadian consumers is realistic expectations based on data regarding what the download and upload speeds are going to be with the specific Internet service provider in their community.

Let us step back just a little to look at what has been happening in the past number of years. Throughout the first 15 years of the 21st century, Internet access expanded dramatically. Service, quality and speeds increased during that period, albeit not always consistently across the country.

What we have seen in the last seven or so years is that progress has slowed and stalled. In fact, I would say that the progress of the government on expanding high-speed Internet across the country has been slower than dial-up. I have raised this issue of poor Internet service time and time again with different Liberal members of cabinet over these past seven years. Unfortunately, the responses we get are either disappointing or, quite frankly, misleading.

The Liberal government has pointed to the different federal funds and dollar totals that it claims to have invested, but in typical Liberal fashion, it measures success based on the amount of money it spends rather than on the actual results it achieves.

One small example of this is when, in November 2018, I raised a question during question period about a report that was criticizing the government's failed process to improve rural Internet. I raised this in question period, and the now Attorney General, who was the parliamentary secretary at the time, responded simply by telling me how much more money they were spending, how many more dollars were being put into it rather than focusing on results. Here we are, four years later, and people in rural and remote communities across Canada simply do not have access.

I will note that some other strategies have been promoted more broadly on the issue of spectrum. I would note that the government still has not followed up on the use it or lose it policy that would actually make sure that spectrum is actually used and not kept in corporate coffers as some kind of bargaining chip or future asset that they could sell or re-sell in the future.

Many of the projects being funded across the country have gone to some of these large telecom companies rather than going to the smaller telecoms. In fact, I would note that the so-called rapid response stream of the universal broadband fund gave $7 million of taxpayer funding to Bell in November 2020, whereas a lot of small, local, often community-owned, Internet service providers in rural communities could have used that $7 million to actually get fibre in the ground.

I would note as well, in terms of the failure of the Liberal government, that despite the fact that 10% of the underserved population lives in southern Ontario, the Liberal government's connect to innovate program did not invest a single dime in southern Ontario. Again, there was a big show, lots of announcements, the citing of big dollar figures, but 10% of the population is not being served in Ontario.

There is a program in southern Ontario, the SWIFT program, which is a collaboration among Internet service providers, municipalities, counties and private business. Hopefully, at some point there will be some further funding from different levels of government because they are ready to do the work necessary to make sure that fibre is in the home of all Canadians. However, when it comes to the program like the connect to innovate program, not a single dollar is being invested in southern Ontario.

I want to refocus on why this bill is important. As the member for Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa mentioned earlier, the phrase “up to speeds” and misleading types of advertising are simply not acceptable when Canadians are making important decisions about rural high-speed Internet. We need to do more. We need to act. I am very excited to support Bill C-288.

Telecommunications ActPrivate Members' Business

11:55 a.m.


Chad Collins Liberal Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise this morning to talk about the importance of affordable, high-quality Internet services and the need for consumer protection in the telecommunications industry.

To start, we all know how important access to the Internet is for Canadians as we work, learn and socialize online more and more every day. To make progress against our key goals for the telecom sector, the government continues, contrary to what we just heard, to introduce new policy measures to enhance the quality, coverage and affordability of telecom services.

One of the key parts of our forward agenda is a new policy direction to Canada's telecom regulator, the CRTC. The policy direction would provide the CRTC direction that aligns with the government's priorities, and one of our government's key priorities is to ensure that Internet service is affordable for all consumers. The policy direction would tackle this issue and help consumers. In particular, it targets improvements to strengthen competition in the telecom sector.

The proposed policy direction sets out a renewed approach to wholesale regulation. It would instruct the CRTC to take action to have more timely and improved wholesale rates available, and to consider external expertise for international best practices as it sets these new rates. Ultimately, these changes would encourage more sustainable competition, and this would lead to better prices and better outcomes for consumers.

Within the wholesale regime, the CRTC requires large telephone and cable companies to provide other service providers with access to their networks. The CRTC does this by mandating wholesale access and regulates the rates charged for these services. This allows other service providers to offer their own services to Canadians. I am glad that we have taken the action to strengthen the ability of these alternative Internet providers to compete, because I know it has meaningful impacts on prices in the marketplace.

The proposed policy direction also includes a range of measures to strengthen consumer rights. For example, our government understands that having competitive service providers in the telecom sector is important, but consumers also need to be able to easily switch providers when they find a better deal. That is why the policy direction would require the CRTC to make it easier for consumers to cancel their service or change their service provider so that Canadians can take advantage of better offers.

Another key part of the proposed policy direction would require the CRTC to take measures to promote the clarity and transparency of pricing information and service plan characteristics in marketing materials. This would allow consumers to better understand their choices in the Internet market.

I regularly hear from Canadians, including those in my riding of Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, who are having difficulty with their telecom service providers. I know that my colleagues hear about these issues as well. Questions about quality and a lack of satisfaction with how these issues are resolved can be very frustrating for our constituents. Poor quality service can lead to lagging Zoom calls for students in virtual classrooms, frustration for parents working from home and missed opportunities to connect with family and friends.

To deal with issues like this, the Government of Canada helped to establish the Commission for Complaints for Telecom-Television Services, or the CCTS. The CCTS is an independent organization that provides consumers with recourse when they are unable to resolve disagreements directly with their telecom service providers.

Telecommunications ActPrivate Members' Business



The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

Unfortunately, I have to cut off the member at this point, but when this matter is next before the House, the hon. member will have a little over six minutes remaining.

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.

Strengthening Environmental Protection for a Healthier Canada ActGovernment Orders



Damien Kurek Conservative Battle River—Crowfoot, AB

Madam Speaker, as always, it is an honour to enter into debate in this place and stand up for the people of Battle River—Crowfoot. In the short amount of time I have left, I have some further points to make on Bill S-5, but I will note something that I hope the Speaker will give me a slight amount of leave to discuss, which is Hayden's Hopeful Journey.

This is the story of a young man from a community not far from my own who, even though he is just in grade 12, is facing his second battle with cancer. I had the honour this past weekend to participate in a perogy supper fundraiser, where we heard some stories about Hayden and the strength and resilience of this young man. Although he is facing something many people never face in their lifetime, he is doing so with determination and grit and with the support of the community through the perogy dinner fundraiser, an online auction that took place over the course of the preceding weeks and a GoFundMe page, where the true generosity of rural Alberta has been demonstrated.

I will take this moment in the House of Commons, wearing a green ribbon, to recognize Hayden's Hopeful Journey and Hayden Buswell. I acknowledge him and wish him all the best. My family's thoughts and prayers are with him as he battles this terrible disease.

I will wrap up a few points on Bill S-5, the bill before the House.

I dealt with a number of the overall aspects of what Bill S-5 would accomplish, but some of the concerns I have heard about this bill have less to do with the original text of the bill. Rather, they are about some of the amendments that came forward during the study that took place in the Senate.

Everyone watching will know that I represent an area of the country that is proud to have what I call two legacy industries. One is agriculture. The 53,000 square kilometres of rural east central Alberta that I represent has a proud history of being incredibly productive for agriculture in its many forms. Further to that, the second legacy industry that I talk often about is the energy industry. Bills that have a direct and indirect impact on both of those fields certainly make a significant impact on how we approach many of these issues.

Having heard much of the debate that has taken place on Bill S-5, I think it needs to get before the committee so we can study the specifics. In the moment I have left, I will note how important it will be to examine the amendments that were made in the Senate. I have heard from constituents and a number of stakeholders who have expressed some concerns that the unintended consequences of some of the amendments made by the other place may have a negative effect on both our economy and the environment.

I look forward to being able to expand further on this in questions. I am thankful for this opportunity.

Strengthening Environmental Protection for a Healthier Canada ActGovernment Orders

12:05 p.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba


Terry Duguid LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his emotional tribute to Hayden. I know everyone in the House joins with him in wishing Hayden well and a speedy recovery.

I thought I heard the hon. member say that he was very interested in the amendments coming from the other place and looking at them more thoroughly. I wonder if he supports speedily getting this bill to our environment committee, which I serve on, by the way, with him, to look at these amendments more closely.

Strengthening Environmental Protection for a Healthier Canada ActGovernment Orders

12:05 p.m.


Damien Kurek Conservative Battle River—Crowfoot, AB

Madam Speaker, I will certainly pass along the best wishes to Hayden and his family.

I am not sure I have had a chance to expound in this place on my new role as vice-chair of the committee on the environment. I am very excited to be able to stand up for the people of Battle River—Crowfoot in that role.

I find it interesting and ironic that whenever a bill comes before the House and seems to be debated at any length, not even an extended period of time, the automatic response of any member of the government is that the only path forward is that of no debate or that we are being obstructionists. I hear from constituents daily, and I am not exaggerating when I say “daily”, that they expect me, as their member of Parliament, to take a serious look at every aspect of the legislation that comes before this place and to take the time necessary to do the job we were all elected to do: to study, consider and debate bills in the House of Commons. If the bill passes with the will of Parliament, I look forward to being able to look at it more in depth at the committee stage of the process.

Just because the government does not want to spend time doing a fundamental aspect of its job does not mean the Conservatives do not. I find it incredibly demeaning to the democratic process that they—

Strengthening Environmental Protection for a Healthier Canada ActGovernment Orders

12:10 p.m.


The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

Questions and comments, the hon. member for Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia.

Strengthening Environmental Protection for a Healthier Canada ActGovernment Orders

12:10 p.m.


Kristina Michaud Bloc Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, QC

Madam Speaker, the government widely promoted this bill as a modernization of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act that would finally grant people a right to a healthy environment. When the government gave a briefing on its bill, civil servants were asked if the bill would truly give a right to a healthy environment. Their response was simply “no”, that will not be the case. It might happen when legislation is implemented more than two years from now, but for the time being, it will not.

Does the member agree with me that it is unfortunate that the Liberal Party is engaging in political marketing with this right to a healthy environment when, in fact, that will not happen when the bill is passed?

Strengthening Environmental Protection for a Healthier Canada ActGovernment Orders

12:10 p.m.


Damien Kurek Conservative Battle River—Crowfoot, AB

Madam Speaker, I think the member highlights an important point. I have said often that the only thing the Liberals are good at is politics. They have shown time and time again that they are failures when it comes to policy, implementation and ultimately governing this country.

When it comes to their record on the environment, it is deplorable. They have never met a target. They have missed virtually every emissions target they have ever implemented. They have a tax plan, not an environment plan, and are quick to demonize anybody who points out the facts in this regard.

Canadians should have the right to a healthy environment, but that includes being able to ensure we have an industry and technology that allow for that to not only be the case here in Canada. Canada can and should be a leader in the world when it comes to ensuring that the entire planet has the tools, resources and ability to have a healthy environment.

Strengthening Environmental Protection for a Healthier Canada ActGovernment Orders

12:10 p.m.


Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Madam Speaker, I appreciate hearing my colleague speak today about some very important points to his constituents, particularly wishing Hayden the best.

This bill would take up what was a temporary trial experiment in regard to chemical management, put forward by the Hon. Rona Ambrose under Mr. Harper. There were a number of amendments made by the Senate without having any practical knowledge of it.

Does the member think the system that was developed has stood the test of time? Does he believe those changes require proper study before amending the bill?

Strengthening Environmental Protection for a Healthier Canada ActGovernment Orders

12:10 p.m.


Damien Kurek Conservative Battle River—Crowfoot, AB

Madam Speaker, I will pass along the best wishes to Hayden and his family from this place.

I think we have highlighted again that it is absolutely essential for us to do our jobs in this place. The member points out that Conservatives have a strong history and legacy of good environmental management and protection, and of acknowledging the complicated way that has to be accomplished. Certainly, when it comes to committee, we need to make sure we look at the amendments the Senate made and the full subject of the bill to ensure we get it right, because jobs and our environment depend on it.

Strengthening Environmental Protection for a Healthier Canada ActGovernment Orders

12:10 p.m.


The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

This brings us to the end of the 20-minute speeches. We are now down to the 10-minute speeches. Therefore, I would like to recognize for debate, the hon. member for Calgary Shepard.

Strengthening Environmental Protection for a Healthier Canada ActGovernment Orders

12:10 p.m.


Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

Madam Speaker, what a great privilege it is always to rise on behalf of my constituents. It is just too bad I missed my opportunity to be recognized to speak for a 20-minute slot now that we have moved past the first five hours of debate.

It is always a privilege to be speaking on behalf of my constituents and rising to share some of their views. On this legislation, it is a bit more difficult. It is an act to amend the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, to make related amendments to the Food and Drugs Act and to repeal the Perfluorooctane Sulfonate Virtual Elimination Act, which then reminds me of a Yiddish proverb.

I will save members the Yiddish pronunciation, but it is that a man studies until he is 70 and he dies a fool. I am always gratified to learn of new things that I do not know. Oftentimes, as parliamentarians, we need to be reminded how much we do not know both by our constituents, but also by reviewing legislation such as this. If they had asked me before I was first elected back in 2015 if this type of legislation was on the books, I would have said I did not know.

Therefore, I want to offer up a bit of history on how we have come to this point where we are modernizing this act. From the outset, while I do have quite a bit of concern with the contents of the legislation, different parts of it and how we have come to this point, I will be supporting it. The Yiddish proverb is a reminder that there is always more to learn and I am always learning more about what the legislation says.

One key that I have heard from constituents in the past is about beauty products. I have a lot of constituents in my riding who are entrepreneurs and they run smaller, unique-product companies. They were specifically worried about toxic substances. Toxicity, of course, is primarily based around how much of the substance there actually is, and we should keep that in mind. This legislation would split the list of toxic substances into two schedules: one with the highest risk to health and environment; and two, lower risk but still regulated.

Some of the other things the legislation proposes to do is mostly to reduce red tape. A lot of different stakeholder organizations and industry sectors are quite supportive of this. They would have less paperwork to fill out. It would be a more streamlined process. Again, reducing redundancies and unnecessary red tape, or paperasse as they call it in French, is necessary. Especially nowadays when people have so much opportunity to use digital methods of delivering services and informing government regulators, it is an opportunity to do that.

With respect to the process of how we got here, it has taken five years for the government to get to the point where it is offering up these modernizations in Bill S-5. This government legislation came through the Senate, which is the complete reverse of how this place is supposed to work. The House of Commons is supposed to consider legislation and send it to that other place, the Senate, to then do sober second thought. Now we are doing the complete reverse.

Bill S-5 should have come to us as government legislation from the government benches so we could consider it here first. Because that work was not done in the House of Commons, the senators did it. They passed 24 amendments, and I have concerns with many of those amendments. The legislation would be made worse through these amendments. If we amend Bill S-5, it would go back to the Senate for reconsideration, and it will go back and forth.

During this debate, I have heard several government caucus members say that they want to expedite this bill. They are worried that the bill is not going through the process fast enough. Of course, any one of us here is allowed to rise on behalf of our constituents and try to catch your eye, Madam Speaker, to speak to the legislation on behalf of our constituents. After five years of waiting to get to the point where the Liberals are and then claiming that it needs to be expedited, knowing full well that a single amendment passed at the environment committee or at report stage by the House would send the bill back to the Senate, is a dishonest way of going about the debate. With respect to claiming that opposition parties are delaying it, debate is not delaying. Debate is careful consideration of government legislation.

There are many amendments with which I have problems. Maybe I will spend just a bit of time on the preamble question, because it has been crowed about quite a bit by government caucus members that a right to the environment is being inserted into law. Some opposition members outside the Conservative Party have mentioned the fact that it is not an actual right to have a healthy environment.

In fact, that portion in the modernization of the act is being inserted in the preamble. During his intervention on this legislation, the member for Dufferin—Caledon reminded the House that when it is in the preamble, it is often not considered by justices, by judges, if a matter comes before the court. Placing it is in the preamble essentially means that it is just something one reads ahead of time, but it is not the substance of the legislation.

The government's claim, after five years of this “consultocracy” that it has set up, is that we now we have to expedite it through the House of Commons and quickly get it to committee. Then at committee, I am sure the members will say the same thing, that they need to get it quickly through committee in order to get it back to the House to be considered, and probably with no amendments. We saw that the Senate had a substantial amount of amendments to the legislation. However, it has been moving at a glacial speed, and it is not the job of the House of Commons to act like a slot machine.

We do not just roll in government legislation, either from the Senate or the floor of the House, and then expect members to say yes to everything and pass it on to the next stage. There are members here who can weigh-in on the legislation. There are Conservatives members who are professional engineers, such as the member for Sarnia—Lambton. She has expertise in this material and she can share that with the House. There are members who were, in their previous lives, builders. There are members who, in their previous lives, worked for chemical companies. They can all make a contribution here. Also, we come from different ridings where we have major industrial energy projects, major mines being built or are operating, which can provide insight into how legislation like this should function, and that insight should come to the floor of the House of Commons.

I will also mention on this preamble component that the Liberals are adding for a healthy environment, which is something that is completely unenforceable. They say they cannot define it further and will need another two years to figure out what it means. Therefore, not only are we being told that we have to rush the legislation through, probably without amendment after the work of the Senate, but that they will take another two years to figure out the substance of the communication on the legislation. Essentially, it is a modernization and reduction of red tap and not actually an environmental piece of legislation.

We have seen this before. The carbon tax, for example, is not an environmental plan but a tax plan. Also, the cut on taxes for the middle class actually resulted in every member of Parliament earning a bigger tax cut than a Canadian who was not in a middle income bracket. Actually, anybody earning less than $43,000 got nothing from the government in that tax cut. To get the full tax cut, one had to earn the full $93,000 to be at the top end of that middle-income tax bracket.

The Liberals do this all the time. They claim one thing in legislation, which is actually something completely different, and then after many years of consulting, they say that things must be expedited through the House to have the legislation pass. I have seen it happen many times before.

I would rate this legislation as a C-, but it has given me an opportunity to go back to my Yiddish proverb. It has also given me an opportunity to look at legislation about which constituents of mine do care. They want a healthy environment. They want to know that toxic substances are being reviewed and considered, and that there is some type of goal post in place for different industries and entrepreneurs to look at before they decide what to put into their products and how they make their products.

At the same time, they do not want more years of consulting after the fact. They do not want framework legislation; they want legislation and enforcement that works, that is reasonable and that is not over the top. We are not trying to manage the economy, we are trying to be good stewards of the economy, and legislation like this is trying to reach that point. We always have an opportunity to learn something new, and that was the Yiddish proverb, that a man studies until he is 70 and dies a fool. It is a reminder to all of us that there is always something new to learn.

My offering to the Liberals is that they can learn something new through the legislation they are now trying to rush through the House. The 24 amendments they received from senators, and some of them made the legislation worse, is a reminder that legislation should start in this place. They should consult more with the House of Commons and members of Parliament before they bring forward legislation like this.

Despite that, I will be supporting the legislation to get it to committee so that, hopefully, we can fix it there and make further amendments, which will then further delay the bill. However, that is not our fault. We are here for the people to ensure we pass legislation that makes sense for them.

Strengthening Environmental Protection for a Healthier Canada ActGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.


Marie-Hélène Gaudreau Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Madam Speaker, I enjoyed my colleague's speech.

Strengthening environmental protection is a good thing. We are not against virtue. However, based on what my colleague said earlier, I am wondering whether this is just wishful thinking. Is there not something else we could focus on to ensure a healthy environment after this bill is passed?

What commitments could the Conservatives make to improve the environment for all of their constituents?