House of Commons Hansard #129 of the 44th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was money.

Topics

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

5:55 p.m.

Bloc

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

Madam Speaker, unfortunately, pedophilia is standard practice among far too many people in positions of power or even with a drive to feel powerful. In some of his works, the Marquis de Sade described the domination of children as the logical sequel to the domination of women and pleasure as a type of aspiration to despotism.

In the 20th century, Sigmund Freud showed that civilization is built on restrictions. According to Freud's theory of the Oedipus complex, fathers and mothers could not be the sexual partners of children and the love that children have for their parents would ultimately turn into desire in adulthood.

The bill before us today amends the Criminal Code to replace the term “child pornography” with “child sexual abuse material” and makes consequential amendments to other acts. The bill does not have any direct or immediate legal effect to speak of, other than changing a term. However, that change is an important one.

In Canada, the age of consent for sexual activity is 16. Young people between the ages of 12 and 16 who are in the same age group have the right to engage in sexual activity with each other, but adults are prohibited from engaging in such activity with anyone in that age group. Under the age of 12, consent is not legally possible under any circumstances.

Using children to produce pornographic material is abuse. Child pornography is most definitely child sexual abuse. We support the bill.

Unfortunately, the term “pornography” is not clear. Everyone has their own definition. There is no consensus about the degree of consent in pornography. It was not uncommon for certain libertarian authors in centuries past to explicitly promote pedophilia.

Not everyone agrees that pornography is fundamentally violent. It is not criminal in the legal sense of the term, but there are certain exceptions such as child pornography. The fact that it is impossible to ascertain, understand and conclusively assess the participants' consent makes it difficult to distinguish between material that is erotic and material that is violent and obscene.

In the case of children, the acts are clearly defined by the Criminal Code. It is obvious that to fully heal, the victim must shed the guilt associated with the events. The burden must be borne by the abuser. We must use the term “child sexual abuse” rather than “child pornography” to make the gravity of the offence clear, so the victim can fully come to terms with it.

A person charged with possession of child pornography will not be charged with sexual assault even though they are indirectly participating in it by not reporting it and by taking advantage of the situation to satisfy their own urges. Most of the time, we do not talk about the victim in cases of child pornography, except to say that the child was indeed a child.

By calling it “child sexual abuse material”, we do two things: We name the abuse that the child suffered, and we also describe the accused as a sexual abuser of children. This term is much weightier, even though it means the same thing. It puts things into perspective: There is a victim of abuse in a crime involving child pornography, and there is a person sexually abusing children.

In many types of crime, there are often grey areas, extenuating circumstances, possible questions about the victim's level of culpability, participation and consent. In the case of child abuse, it is very clear. In the case of child abuse, we have to call a spade a spade and denounce this act without any nuance. There is no possible justification.

The term “child sexual abuse” is already being used by certain victim services organizations, including the Canadian Centre for Child Protection and Canada's national tip line for reporting the online sexual exploitation of children.

In Quebec, the majority of victims of sexual assault are adults, but the number of victims under the age of 18 continues to rise. It is rising more than the number of adult victims. The victims of other sexual offences are almost exclusively minors, specifically 90%.

Sexual assault is not the only such offence. Other sexual offences include sexual interference, invitation to sexual touching, luring and the non-consensual distribution of intimate images.

The change in terminology proposed in the bill, which, once again, I welcome, would undoubtedly bolster judges' awareness because, let us face it, not all judges have all the knowledge required to deal with this type of case.

Let us not forget that in 2019, only three years ago, a judge said out loud during a trial that the victim, who was a minor at the time of the assault, had a pretty face and should therefore feel flattered to have attracted the attention of a mature man.

Furthermore, a judge in Alberta was removed after making comments deemed sexist and racist about indigenous people, abused women and victims of sexual assault.

Lastly, an acquittal was overturned because the judge, who found a man charged with sexual abuse of children not guilty, had made comments suggesting a stereotypical attitude. The judge said that, because nobody saw anything, the girl, who was between six and 12 years of age when the assaults happened, was not credible. According to the judge, the child's testimony was, and I quote, “not transparent, not reliable, not sincere and not credible”.

These examples speak volumes. They remind us of the importance of forcing judges to get training on sexual assault and the social context surrounding it. Bill C‑291 does not go that far, but a terminology change like the one proposed here is sure to be beneficial.

Masquerading as a libertarian utopia, child pornography is actually a system in which humans exploit other humans. We need to tackle it head-on.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

6:05 p.m.

NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke, BC

Madam Speaker, let me start by saying that I do accept the good intentions of those who brought this bill forward. It is an important distinction in changing the terminology from “child pornography” to “child sexual abuse material”, which brings to the fore the question of the fact that there can never be consent for children.

However, given that there is absolutely no disagreement in this House, I had hoped we would move quickly through this bill today, perhaps all stages. If I had been able to ask a question earlier, I would have asked for assurances that this bill would be dealt with quickly and not become part of some larger strategy of delay by any given party later on either in committee or at third reading.

Let us not kid ourselves. This change would have, at best, only marginal impact on combatting child sexual exploitation. We know what works when it comes to combatting child sexual exploitation, and that is enforcement. That enforcement needs additional resources, especially for the specialized law enforcement units that work so hard to combat this scourge. We also need better coordination among federal, provincial and international partners, both public and those in the non-government sector, who are working to fight child sexual abuse.

Today, I want to say thanks to the police and those others who work in non-government organizations to combat sexual exploitation of children. This is, by default, unpleasant work and difficult work, but it is so important to the future of children in this country and around the world.

Today, I want to say to victims that I am not just an ally, but as an adult survivor of child sexual exploitation, I am with them and I know first-hand the lifelong impacts that can carry forward from child sexual exploitation.

I hope that once we have dispatched this bill as quickly as we can, all parties will still be there when it comes time to support improvements to services and supports for survivors. I trust the good intentions, as I said at the beginning of my brief remarks. I hope we can move quickly and I hope that when the time comes, we will all be there to provide the support that survivors need.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

6:05 p.m.

Conservative

Frank Caputo Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Madam Speaker, it is an honour to stand on behalf of the people of Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo.

Standing here, for me, is a bit of a dream. As my colleague for North Okanagan—Shuswap mentioned, this is a bill that I drafted. As I stood behind him when he was speaking, I was moved because two years ago, I never would have imagined that I would be sitting behind him in the House of Commons or standing up on this point, which deals with an issue so close to my heart.

Making this a reality is key. When I stood on people's doorsteps, I would tell them that this is something I wanted to change when I got to Parliament, and I am indebted to my colleague for North Okanagan—Shuswap for using his spot in the priority to work together to get this bill passed.

Before I get any further on this point, I would like to say that, in my maiden speech, this issue came up. I implored everybody in the House to change the definition of the term “child pornography” because it is not pornography. It is not consensually made material. To be speaking to this bill here today is one of the greatest honours of my career.

I would like to read from somebody who was a mentor to me on the bench and also in the classroom, the hon. Judge Gregory Koturbash. Like most good lawyers, he was educated at the University of Saskatchewan faculty of law, and I would like to read a decision of his. He wrote:

The phrase “child pornography” dilutes the true meaning of what these images and videos represent to some degree. The term “pornography” reinforces the perception that what is occurring is consensual and a mutual experience between the viewer and the actor. These are not actors. It is not consensual. These are images and videos of child sexual abuse.

Judge Koturbash continued:

The problem is so pervasive that police are required to triage and pursue only those with extensive collections or those involved in dissemination. One judge describes it as a virtual firehose spewing depraved and disturbing images across the internet. In addition to the ever-increasing supply, changes in technology make fighting its growth increasingly challenging.

I am standing before members today as a legislator, but I am not the Minister of Justice and I am not the Prime Minister. I do not want to put words in the mouth of my colleague from the NDP who spoke before me, but I understood him to say that this is a change in the wording and not necessarily a change in what is happening in combatting what is occurring.

Let us not make any mistake. What is occurring in this sort of material is the repeated victimization of children. I say “repeated” because the act itself happens, and the act is recorded. Every time that media is disseminated, viewed or passed on to somebody else, that child is revictimized, and we cannot lose sight of that. The children do not ask to be abused. However, not only are they abused, but that abuse is also perpetuated. It is my view that sentencing must get in line with the pernicious and insidious nature of this offence.

As my colleague from the NDP just alluded to, I also thank the police officers. Most people do not know what police go through. If there is a large downloaded data extraction for the police, often a police officer will have to go through nearly all of those images to ensure there is not a victim that was offended against by the person in possession of them.

We will have police officers at a constable level who go through, literally, 3,000 media files. They could be out on the streets. They could be investigating robberies. They could be investigating break and enters, but no, they are looking at media that will probably harm them psychologically maybe for the rest of their lives, maybe for a few months.

As a former prosecutor, I remember that some of the most scarring things were reading about what was in these files. I did not generally have to look at them. Those times as a prosecutor that I had to deal with these things even in the written word, I can say I viewed it as traumatizing, disgusting, vile material.

Make no mistake. I am not in a position to legislate unfettered on this point, but I will say this. If I ever am in the position where I can legislate with respect to sexual offences unfettered, I have a message. Those who carry out these offences should be worried. In a world where children do not even know that they may be being victimized, I will advocate for real penalties. In a country where people repeatedly trade images of children being abused, I will not take my foot off the gas pedal, nor will my Conservative colleagues do so, until anyone who trades in these images sees the inside of a jail cell.

Why? They are perpetuating the victimization of children again and again and again. We will not stop until that is exposed. I will look under every single rock I have to legislatively to put an end to this. I can speak for my own Conservative colleagues that we will do the same and I hope that every single person in the House does the same and is prepared to commit to the same.

Some people may disagree ideologically, but house arrest, where a person can enjoy the comforts of their life, is not an appropriate sentence legislatively for people who produce these materials, who access these materials and who distribute these materials. I call for us to end conditional sentence orders for possession, distribution and production of child sexual abuse material.

One of our greatest failings as a society is to allow our children to be victimized in this way.

This is not a partisan issue, but I can say this much. When I would attend conferences with people in British Columbia, there would be people in the same room, police officers, who, again, investigated this work, oftentimes to the detriment of their mental health, as well as prosecutors, subject matter experts and people who worked for non-profits. I will never forget when someone in the room said, “I am not going to use the term 'child pornography' anymore. Let us call it what it is: 'child sexual abuse material'.” That person stopped saying what they were saying because it is not pornography.

I encourage the House to not stop here. Let us deal with Internet luring. Let us deal with sexual interference. Let us deal with all of these cases. It is time for sentences to get stronger, just like I proposed in Bill C-299.

I know that my colleague from North Okanagan—Shuswap is passionate about this. I can speak for my colleagues on this side of the House. We are prepared to do whatever it takes.

Again, I thank my colleague for using his position in the order of precedence to bring this bill forward. I hope that it is the first of many to come in which we take seriously the protection of children.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

6:15 p.m.

Conservative

Mel Arnold Conservative North Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Madam Speaker, the member from the NDP who spoke on this bill hoped it would move through the process quickly. Seeing the debate collapse here tonight, I think, is an indication that everyone wants this bill to move quickly through the process.

I thank all the members who spoke. I thank the member for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo for drafting the bill, and I am glad we were able to work together as neighbouring ridings, as neighbouring seat mates in the House. It is an honour to work with him.

It is an honour to represent the people of not just our communities of North Okanagan—Shuswap and Kamloops—Thompson—Caribooo but all of the constituents of Canada. The people of Canada are relying on us as legislators to strengthen our laws and to make them clearer and more concise, so that the judicial system can have the tools it needs and the direction it needs to drive our country forward.

I want to thank all the members who spoke today on this. I look forward to the bill moving quickly through the committee stage and back here hopefully for final reading, so we can move it through the other house and receive royal assent. I thank everyone for their participation.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

6:20 p.m.

Liberal

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

The question is on the motion.

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

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

6:20 p.m.

Conservative

Mel Arnold Conservative North Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Madam Speaker, I request a standing vote.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

6:20 p.m.

Liberal

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

Pursuant to an order made on Thursday, June 23, the division stands deferred until Wednesday, November 23, at the expiry of the time provided for Oral Questions.

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

Agriculture and Agri-FoodAdjournment Proceedings

6:20 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Kram Conservative Regina—Wascana, SK

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to follow up on the Liberal government's proposed fertilizer policy, which I also raised in the House just before the summer break.

On December 11, 2020, Environment and Climate Change Canada released a document entitled “A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy: Canada's strengthened climate plan to create jobs and support people, communities and the planet”. The release of this document was important enough to warrant a press conference by the Prime Minister himself, accompanied by several of his cabinet ministers. At 78 pages, this document is a lot to take in, but what is most concerning is that on page 45 it indicates that the government will “set a national emission reduction target of 30% below 2020 levels from fertilizers”.

I had the opportunity over the summer to talk with many farmers and farm organizations about this policy, and there are many people with many concerns. Given that fertilizer is already a major input cost for Canadian farms, it follows that farmers already use as little of it as possible and only as much as is necessary. The only way to reduce fertilizer emissions by 30% seems to be to reduce fertilizer applications by 30%. Such a policy would be harmful to Canadian farmers, Canadian consumers and the global food supply.

According to the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities, a typical farm consisting of 1,000 acres of canola and 1,000 acres of wheat would have its annual profits reduced by approximately $40,000 per year if these proposed fertilizer restrictions were implemented. Such a massive reduction would be devastating not only to farmers, but to the many urban entrepreneurs they do business with.

A massive reduction in fertilizer would trigger a massive reduction in crop yields, which would then lead to a dramatic increase in the price of bread and bread products at the grocery story. With inflation and the carbon tax already driving up the price of everything at the grocery store, the last thing Canadian consumers need is for the price of groceries to be driven up even higher by these new fertilizer restrictions.

The problem will not be limited to Canadians, though. Indeed, Canada already produces enough food to feed everyone in this country, and we export the surplus to international markets. As brutal as these fertilizer restrictions may be, we should still be able to produce enough food to feed everyone in this country. The problem is that the amount of food that Canada exports to foreign countries will be dramatically reduced. That means these fertilizer restrictions will simply cause many of the poorest people in the world to starve to death.

Given that the only way to reduce fertilizer emissions by 30% seems to be to reduce fertilizer applications by 30%, how will the Liberal government implement this policy? Will it be with a fertilizer tax, similar to the carbon tax, perhaps by restricting the amount of fertilizer that farmers can buy with some sort of licensing program, or is the federal government simply going to nationalize every potash mine in the country and reduce output by 30%?

The Liberal government's plan to reduce fertilizer emissions by 30% does not seem to be particularly well thought out, but I would be curious to hear from the hon. parliamentary secretary as to how exactly the government plans to implement this policy.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodAdjournment Proceedings

6:25 p.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

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

Madam Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for Regina—Wascana. I think he would agree with me that Saskatchewan is one of the world's agricultural powerhouses.

Last year, despite historic challenges from the pandemic, the drought and Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Saskatchewan agriculture and food exports rose to a record $17.5 billion. That is a powerful testament to the resilience and determination of our farmers in the face of diversity.

There is no question that fertilizer continues to play a major role in that success. Farmers in Saskatchewan and across Canada continue to work hard to ensure the responsible use of fertilizer. They are practising the four Rs: the right fertilizer source, rate, time and place for maximum yields and minimum carbon footprint. They are using the latest tools, such as crop sensors and drones, to help them align fertilizer rates to the needs of their crops. According to the recent census, the number of Saskatchewan producers using trees for shelterbelts and windbreaks has risen by over 50% since 2016.

At the same time, we know that we must build on this excellent work if Canada is to remain a world leader in sustainable agri-food production. That is why we are working with producers and the entire sector to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from fertilizer application, and note the word “emissions”. It is important to understand that this is not a mandatory reduction in fertilizer use across the board. We know that fertilizers are necessary for agricultural production. That, as I am sure the hon. member would agree, is non-negotiable.

The hon. member mentioned consultation, and that is exactly what we have done. Over the past year, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada held consultations with farmers and the industry across Canada to develop a collaborative approach to reduce emissions from fertilizer use. The conversation has continued into the fall, with technical workshops focusing on solutions to key challenges. We will continue to engage with the sector, as we know the challenge ahead of us will require collaboration and partnership.

Our goal is to work with producers to develop voluntary approaches to meet the 30% target. We know that the best way forward is to expand the use of practices and technologies that farmers can use to reduce emissions while maintaining or improving yields. We also understand that there is a need to support these efforts through information and knowledge exchange. Farmers will need help when making the transition to new practices and approaches.

We certainly look to the leadership of our farmers and want collaboration with provincial and territorial governments and other stakeholders and partners. We want to move forward together, guided by our discussions. We are confident that action to meet the fertilizer target will build on the practices, innovation and expertise that Canada's farmers and scientists are already using and developing to improve nutrient management and reduce emissions while maintaining the quality that Canadian agriculture is known for around the world.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodAdjournment Proceedings

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Kram Conservative Regina—Wascana, SK

Madam Speaker, in closing, I would like to share some insights about how the government seems to make announcements first and then figure out the details later.

In a reply to my Order Paper question, Question No. 89, the government said that it did not even study how rationing fertilizer would affect the food supply in Canada and affect Canadian agricultural production, nor how lower exports would affect the global food supply. Furthermore, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food admitted in writing, in Order Paper Question No. 90, that the government did not study how rationing fertilizer would impact the economy of Saskatchewan, whether it be from reduced crop yields or from the resulting unemployment, including fewer jobs in agri-retail, at canola crushing plants and at farms throughout the province.

Why is an issue as fundamental as food production not worth studying before an announcement?

Agriculture and Agri-FoodAdjournment Proceedings

6:30 p.m.

Liberal

Terry Duguid Liberal Winnipeg South, MB

Madam Speaker, indeed, we are looking at all solutions for reducing fertilizer emissions.

Over the next decade, the government will invest over $1.5 billion to help Canadian farmers adopt sustainable practices and technologies. That includes $12.8 million to support two living labs in Saskatchewan, which bring farmers and researchers in the field together to develop sustainable practices that work in real farm conditions. Our first-ever indigenous-led living lab will bring together Saskatchewan producers and first nations to explore practices such as crop diversification for pesticide management and landscape diversification.

Natural ResourcesAdjournment Proceedings

6:30 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Madam Speaker, I am raising tonight a question I initially asked in June of this year. I was basing my question on a written question on the Order Paper relating to the ongoing costs to the Canadian taxpayer of the reckless and pointless Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. In the question on the Order Paper, I pointed out that the Minister of Finance had said earlier that year that, with the rising costs of the Trans Mountain pipeline, as demonstrated by the reports from the corporation itself, which is a crown corporation owned by us, she was going to ensure that no more public money went into this crown corporation.

However, a question on the Order Paper pointed out that the assessment of the ongoing debt of the project was reviewed by the TD Bank and described as confidential for commercial reasons. Therefore, we were not going to get to find out. An independent economist within British Columbia, one of our leading economists Robyn Allen, pointed out that, no, we have ongoing costs for the tariffs and we have debt from the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and that those debts are likely to be written off, leaving Canadians holding the bag once again.

As disturbing as the analysis about the ongoing debt of the Trans Mountain pipeline is, it was the outrageous response of the member for Edmonton Centre, who is also the Minister of Tourism and also a deputy finance minister, that forced me to say that this better come forward at Adjournment Proceedings. In the short space of his 30-second response, he made three statements that were not true factually. He probably believes they are factual. I am not saying he is in any way dishonest; most people seem to believe this rot.

First, he said, “Canadians know how important it is to get our product to market and to tidewater.” There are two mistakes there. There is no market for dilbit. Nobody in Asia is clamouring for dilbit. This is demonstrable and empirically true and, if we have another chance in late show, I will bring forward all the statistics of how few tankers have left Vancouver with available dilbit. There is no market.

Second in the ridiculous statement is just misleading. It is that this project has led to 12,700 jobs, once completed. That suggests this is a job creator. The job creation is only the construction. It creates fewer than 100 permanent jobs. There will be many jobs if they ever have the horror of a seven-fold expansion of tankers carrying dilbit, because dilbit is a material that cannot be cleaned up in the marine environment. Therefore, there will be many thousands of people going to shorelines in a futile attempt to restore the ecosystem if we allow this horror to happen.

Third in his statement is that, if we do this, “Canadians will enjoy full price for our oil on the world market.” This is another big whopper that is just impossible to be true. Dilbit is diluted bitumen. Bitumen is solid, like tar. They add the diluent, not to process it to make it more viable but to get something solid to move through a pipeline. Guess what. It has a very low value, inherently low. It does not become more profitable or get to world price because it gets to tidewater. It is just a low-value product that is very expensive to produce and that produces more greenhouse gases than nearly any other fossil fuel.

Last, the member suggested that it is going to be derisked. The Minister of Finance says this too. It is nonsense. It is a risky project financially and it is a fatal project environmentally.

Natural ResourcesAdjournment Proceedings

6:35 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Madam Speaker, on many points I disagree with the former leader, and possibly the future leader, of the Green Party.

We may need to be a little more transparent on the issue. The Green Party, the member in particular, on many occasions in the House has given her opinions on pipelines. To her credit, she has been very articulate in believing that there really is no justification whatsoever for Canada to develop pipelines or put them in place. If we were to further explore her thinking on it, it is more about getting rid of the pipelines that are currently in place. At least that is what I recollect offhand.

When we think of the Trans Mountain pipeline, I would argue it was indeed in Canada's national interest that we did what we did when we acquired it, because there was a great deal of interest and a great deal at stake. At some point in time, it will be divested. That is when the member will be able to ensure that there is a higher sense of accountability in terms of how it is divested and where we come out on the balance sheet on that divestiture.

The member referenced jobs, and there were well over 10,000 jobs, even during its construction. She might say there will be a relatively low number of jobs once it has been constructed, but the resource is there and it is important, as I said, in the national interest. She did not talk about that aspect of it. I can appreciate why, because she does not believe we should be tapping into resources of that nature.

Suffice it to say that when we talk about the Trans Mountain pipeline, one of the things we need to recognize is that there is a difference in political approaches or philosophy on the issue. We constantly get targeted by members from the Green Party and, to a certain degree, the New Democrats and the Bloc, saying we are doing too much to support our resource industries. Virtually every day we are criticized by the Conservative Party of Canada, which says we are not doing enough and we need to get more pipelines built.

One of the first things we did, members will recall, back in 2016, was to establish a process to ensure that stakeholders are brought into it, that our environment is of the most significant concern, that it is part of the process and it has to be clearly demonstrated that we will not damage our environment. It also takes into consideration the economic factor, or the national interest. The Trans Mountain pipeline is the reason we are moving forward, because those things have been safeguarded and we very much want to do this in the name of the national interest. At the end of the day, once it is divested, many of the potential answers the member would like with regard to the feasibility of it will also—

Natural ResourcesAdjournment Proceedings

6:40 p.m.

Liberal

Natural ResourcesAdjournment Proceedings

6:40 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Madam Speaker, my heavens, I need to say a few things.

I intervened in the National Energy Board process. I read all 23,000 pages of its so-called evidence, and I can swear on a stack of Bibles that nowhere in there was there a cost-benefit analysis. In fact, the National Energy Board blocked the evidence from Unifor, the largest union in the oil sands, when its representatives testified and had expert evidence that the pipeline project would cost Canadian jobs and that Unifor was against it. The National Energy Board said that jobs and the economy were not in its mandate and then magically ruled that, yes, there would be a lot of environmental damage if this went ahead, but it was in the national interest.

I think the national interest is in a viable planet. I think the national interest is in making sure we try to stabilize at 1.5°C, and we know that every international body is saying no new fossil fuel infrastructure if we have an interest in human civilization surviving to when my daughter, now 31, is my age. By God, this must be stopped.

Natural ResourcesAdjournment Proceedings

6:40 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, the member makes reference to how I started off the comment, saying that the member would ultimately argue that it is never in the national interest to build an inch of pipeline. That is the essence of what she is saying. Some, but not all, New Democrats might agree with that assessment, but all one needs to do is look at the LNG project, where the provincial NDP, working with the federal Liberals, recognized the natural resource and saw the national interest.

I like to think that is where we will see a bit of a difference between the Greens and the New Democrats, that under no circumstances whatsoever will the Greens ultimately see and acknowledge that any pipeline whatsoever would be in the national interest, and that is where we would have to disagree.

HealthAdjournment Proceedings

6:40 p.m.

NDP

Lisa Marie Barron NDP Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Madam Speaker, I am happy to ask for further clarification on a question I brought up earlier on youth and children's access to mental health supports and the backlog of these supports as a result of Liberal inaction. This seems particularly timely as National Child Day here in Canada is coming up on November 20.

I want to start by expressing that I am a parent of two, and many in this chamber are also parents. I worked directly with children and youth in our school systems. I worked directly with youth and families in addictions. I saw the implications for children and youth directly of a lack of appropriate, accessible, timely and adequate mental health supports for children and youth.

We are talking about the accessibility and location specifically and having it somewhere nearby and having barrier-free access to mental health supports. The costs are a huge barrier. I am looking at free or appropriately priced mental health care, which should be free, and having it be appropriate. When it comes to availability and consistency, often youth struggle to build relationships with a service provider without that consistency, and of course, it should be culturally appropriate.

The wait-lists and backlogs, as we all know, are often months and sometimes years long. These youth and children were not only not accessing the support in relation to the immediate symptoms they were experiencing, but also those symptoms were compounded because they were not getting access to the supports. The illnesses they were experiencing often increased. I saw youth whose medication was either under-prescribed, overprescribed or inappropriately prescribed due to a lack of access to care.

When mental health supports are consistently unavailable and inappropriately funded, it reinforces the stigma attached to mental health supports. It reinforces the narrative that mental health supports are not important. We know that mental health and physical health are inextricably interconnected. We cannot disconnect one from the other. This is not only having a direct impact on youth and children, but it also has an impact on their loved ones. It has an impact on our capacity to support one another in the community.

We need to have federal leadership today. The stats do not lie. In 2020, one-quarter of the hospitalizations across Canada for those five to 24 years of age were around mental health, yet we are still seeing inaction. There was $4.5 billion promised by the Liberal government over five years, and to date none of that has been delivered. This is money, much-needed support, that has been promised and committed that is not being used to support children and youth with mental health. Some $250 million from 2021-22 and $625 million from 2022-23 has not been allocated.

I think of my colleague, the member for Courtenay—Alberni, who put forward Motion No. 67, pushing the government to establish the Canada mental health transfer.

I see I am running close to my four minutes, so I will ask the government when it will be sending this much-needed mental health transfer to the provinces and territories.

HealthAdjournment Proceedings

November 17th, 2022 / 6:45 p.m.

Sherbrooke Québec

Liberal

Élisabeth Brière LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to provide my hon. colleague with more details.

We all agree that we want to give young people access to mental health services when and where they need it most. Supporting mental health also helps to prevent suicide, and that is vitally important.

In 2020, suicide was the second leading cause of death among those aged 15 to 34. The government recognizes the devastating effects of suicide on families and communities. We also recognize that wait times and problems getting access to services are having a negative impact on people with mental health issues.

More people need more services. We all know about the lack of system capacity to meet needs, and the persistent and ongoing barriers to care have been exacerbated by the pandemic.

One such barrier is long wait times. This is unacceptable, and we are working to address this situation through a suite of measures. We have responded to these needs by working with provinces, territories and stakeholders to help spread and scale integrated youth services, or IYS, models of care.

This measure builds on the work we have done to increase young people's access to mental health and addiction services, which includes transferring $600 million to the provinces every year until 2027, as per budget 2017.

All 13 provinces and territories have developed or are developing an IYS network in their regions. Additionally, there is an indigenous IYS network in progress. These hubs are easily accessible, community-based one-stop shops that provide an integrated suite of services, which can include peer support, mental health and primary care support, and employment counselling, as well as support for navigating these systems of care.

This demonstrates how the federal government can work constructively with provinces and territories to spread and scale evidence-based practices in the mental health and substance-use space.

In addition, in response to the pandemic, we quickly launched Wellness Together Canada, an online portal offering mental health and substance use support. Budget 2022 committed an additional $140 million over two years for the portal so it can continue to provide this support to Canadians. Through the portal, people aged five to 29 can access a wide range of resources free of charge, including Kids Help Phone.

Kids Help Phone offers support via chat, call and text. Once again, the government has recognized the need for this support and is providing more than $14.8 million so that Kids Help Phone can support kids and teens in mental health crisis at this unique time.

In addition to investments in suicide crisis services, in the 2020 fall economic statement, the government announced a $50‑million investment to bolster distress centres across the country. It has supported over 61 such centres to date.

Furthermore, we are investing in the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, CAMH, to implement and sustain a fully operational pan-Canadian suicide prevention service with its partners. Talk Suicide Canada currently provides suicide crisis support via the phone in English and French, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and by text, in—

HealthAdjournment Proceedings

6:50 p.m.

Liberal

HealthAdjournment Proceedings

6:50 p.m.

NDP

Lisa Marie Barron NDP Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Madam Speaker, provinces and territories are asking when they will see the mental health transfer and the increase to our health care transfer as well.

The Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health, for example, sent an open letter along with 65 organizations from health and allied sectors indicating that the development of the standards of the mental health transfer should not be a reason to delay the establishment of the Canada mental health transfer.

It is also calling for parity in legislation, so the federal government will value mental and physical health equitably, which is something that we do not currently see. Mental health stakeholders are calling for a target of at least 12% of health care spending to be directed toward mental health.

There are so many asks right now, but the bottom line is that provinces and territories need more funding to adequately staff our health care, for both mental health and physical health. When will we see the money transferred—

HealthAdjournment Proceedings

6:50 p.m.

Liberal

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

The hon. parliamentary secretary.

HealthAdjournment Proceedings

6:50 p.m.

Liberal

Élisabeth Brière Liberal Sherbrooke, QC

Madam Speaker, as we look to the future, we know that more needs to be done. As the first Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, the minister is dedicated to ensuring that mental health is treated as a full and equal part of our universal health care system. Achieving this requires building on our current investments.

Over the past year, we have had the opportunity, as has the minister, to travel across Canada reaching out to stakeholders and hearing about solutions to meet mental health and addiction needs. There is more sound evidence on the models of care that work and on those that do not.

We recognize that more needs to be done, and we are determined to support mental health and addiction services so that Canadians, especially youth and teenagers, receive quality care at the right time.

HealthAdjournment Proceedings

6:50 p.m.

Liberal

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

The motion that the House do now adjourn is 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 6:53 p.m.)