House of Commons Hansard #132 of the 44th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was public.

Topics

Social DevelopmentOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Burlington Ontario

Liberal

Karina Gould LiberalMinister of Families

Mr. Speaker, today I was really pleased to announce the $400-million community services recovery fund for the charitable and not-for-profit sector here in Canada. We are going to be working with national funders, the Red Cross, community foundations in Canada and the United Way to deliver this to folks and organizations on the front lines of delivering the most important services right across this country.

I encourage all members to let organizations in their communities know that they can—

Social DevelopmentOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

The member for Vancouver East.

HousingOral Questions

November 22nd, 2022 / 3:10 p.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, today is National Housing Day, and one in five Canadians cannot afford a safe place to call home. The Liberals are completely out of touch. They are building homes that families cannot afford and have done little to end homelessness. The cost of rent has soared all over the country. The average one bedroom in Toronto is now over $2,500, and in Vancouver it is $2,600.

The Liberals opened the door for housing profiteering, displacing seniors, people with disabilities and low-income renters. Why are the Liberals treating housing like a stock market instead of a necessity?

HousingOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Hochelaga Québec

Liberal

Soraya Martinez Ferrada LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion (Housing)

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question. We share the same goal, which is to make affordable housing available to all Canadians across the country. That is actually the goal of the first and only national housing strategy. We will keep working to make affordable housing available to all Canadians.

JusticeOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke, BC

Mr. Speaker, two Saskatchewan first nation sisters have served nearly 30 years of a sentence resulting from a wrongful conviction. Tomorrow, the Quewezance sisters face a bail hearing, but Saskatchewan appears to be using every trick in the book to keep them in custody. Nearly 50,000 Canadians have signed a petition calling for their release.

What is the Minister of Justice doing on this case, and how much longer will Canadians have to wait for the wrongful convictions commission we need for bringing an end to these injustices?

JusticeOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard—Verdun Québec

Liberal

David Lametti LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question. I know that we share a passion for justice in criminal matters.

I cannot comment on an active case of a wrongful convictions file because of the potential role that the Department of Justice, my office and I might have to play down the road. What I can say is that the creation of a miscarriage of justice commission or wrongful convictions commission is in my mandate letter. I have received a report from former justices Harry LaForme and Juanita Westmoreland-Traoré on the potential architecture for such a commission.

I can assure the hon. member and can assure the House that I am working hard to make sure that the miscarriage of justice commission sees the light of day very soon.

FIFA World Cup in QatarOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Blake Desjarlais NDP Edmonton Griesbach, AB

Mr. Speaker, if you seek it, I believe you will find unanimous consent for the following motion.

I move:

That, given that international sporting governing bodies have a moral obligation to support players and fans in highlighting the fight for equality against homophobia, transphobia, and all forms of discrimination in sport, the House condemn the decision of FIFA to threaten to penalize players and teams who wear OneLove armbands at the World Cup in Qatar.

FIFA World Cup in QatarOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

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

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

(Motion agreed to)

The House resumed from November 21 consideration of the motion that Bill C‑32, An Act to implement certain provisions of the fall economic statement tabled in Parliament on November 3, 2022 and certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 7, 2022, be read the second time and referred to a committee, and of the amendment.

Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2022Government Orders

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

It being 3:15 p.m., pursuant to order made on Thursday, June 23, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the amendment of the member for Calgary Forest Lawn to the motion at second reading stage of Bill C‑32.

The question is on the amendment. May I dispense?

Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2022Government Orders

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2022Government Orders

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

[Chair read text of amendment to House]

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

Vote #219

Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2022Government Orders

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

I declare the amendment lost.

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

Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2022Government Orders

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would request a recorded division, please.

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

Vote #220

Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2022Government Orders

3:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

I declare the motion carried. Accordingly, the bill stands referred to the Standing Committee on Finance.

(Bill read the second time and referred to a committee)

I wish to inform the House that because of the deferred recorded divisions, Government Orders will be extended by 24 minutes.

Division of Bill C-27 for the Purpose of VotingPoints of OrderGovernment Orders

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

Andrew Scheer Conservative Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, I am rising to add to this morning's point of order raised by the NDP House leader concerning the application of Standing Order 69.1 to Bill C-27.

In general, we have reviewed the hon. member's submissions and concur with them. That said, there are a couple of additional citations I want to put before the Chair for your consideration. I will not repeat the arguments, because you already have them before you, Mr. Speaker, but we do agree that the measures proposed in part 3 of Bill C-27 are significantly different from and unrelated to parts 1 and 2 such that they warrant a separate vote at second reading.

As my NDP counterpart articulated, the purpose of parts 1 and 2 of the bill concern privacy protections, the powers of the Privacy Commissioner and the establishment of a new government tribunal. Part 3, meanwhile, would create a whole new law respecting artificial intelligence. The mechanisms under the minister and department's powers are completely unrelated to those in parts 1 and 2. That last point is significant in view of another aspect of the March 1, 2018, ruling of Mr. Speaker Regan, which my colleague cited. Allow me to quote your predecessor, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Regan said:

As each of the first two parts of the bill does indeed enact a new act, I can see why the hon. member for Berthier—Maskinongé would like to see each one voted separately. However, my reading of the bill is that the regimes set out in part 1, the impact assessment act, and part 2, the Canadian energy regulator act, are linked in significant ways, reflected in the number of cross-references. For example, the impact assessment act provides for a process for assessing the impact of certain projects, but contains specific provisions for projects with activities regulated under the Canadian energy regulator act. There are also obligations in the Canadian energy regulator act that are subject to provisions in the impact assessment act. Given the multiple references in each of these parts to the entities and processes established by the other part, I believe it is in keeping with the standing order that these two parts be voted together.

Deputy Speaker Bruce Stanton also encountered a similar situation in his June 18, 2018, ruling at page 21,196 of the Debates. Unlike the case that I quoted just now respecting the pipeline-killing former Bill C-69, Bill C-27 does not feature any significant or intertwining cross-references. In other words, Speaker Regan found that the two parts should be voted on together because of all the intertwining and cross-referencing in so many parts, and one part mentioning and referencing items in the first part.

This is not the situation we have today with part 3 of Bill C-27. In fact, part 3 of Bill C-27 does not explicitly cross-reference the personal information and data protection tribunal act, which part 2 would enact. Furthermore, there appears to be only one single, tiny, solitary cross-reference to the consumer privacy protection act, which part 1 would enact, and that is solely for the purpose of proposing a definition of personal information, which would be common to both of those laws. That is certainly not enough to warrant any kind of grouping when it comes to votes.

Part 3 is completely separate. It is its own independent section. There is not anywhere near the level of cross-referencing and intertwining that previous Speakers have ruled are justification for deciding not to have a separate vote. Therefore, it is clear in this situation that Bill C-27, should you, Mr. Speaker, agree with the arguments, should be dealt with in such a manner that there can be a separate vote on part 3.

Standing Order 69.1 is a relatively recent innovation. It has only been in the last number of years that Speakers have been given the authority by the House to separate aspects of bills for separate votes. I will read it:

(1) In the case where a government bill seeks to repeal, amend or enact more than one act, and where there is not a common element connecting the various provisions or where unrelated matters are linked, the Speaker shall have the power to divide the questions, for the purposes of voting, on the motion for second reading and reference to a committee and the motion for third reading and passage of the bill. The Speaker shall have the power to combine clauses of the bill thematically and to put the aforementioned questions on each of these groups of clauses separately, provided that there will be a single debate at each stage.

If we think about the context in which this standing order developed and was ultimately passed by the House, it was to allow members more flexibility and latitude to make their votes count on various aspects of the bill. It is important to think about why the House decided to adopt this measure. There had been, over the course of several Parliaments and across different governments at various times, more and more subject material being included in bills, and this was done at the time to give members the option of voting in favour of some aspects of a bill and oppose others and to clarify for their constituents and Canadians which parts of a bill they supported and which parts of a bill they opposed.

The reason I am talking about this context is I do not believe that at the time, the rationale and impetus for the inclusion of this measure in the Standing Orders was meant to be terribly restrictive. The whole point of the standing order was for it to be more permissive to allow greater latitude and flexibility. This is a relatively new innovation that has only been used a small number of times, and in parliamentary terms certainly a very small number of times, and I believe it would not be in keeping with the spirit and intent that was guiding members when we adopted it to start off, early on in its new use, with being very restrictive, because things around here tend to go in one direction and powers or flexibilities accorded the Chair over time often get more and more rigid as rules and precedents develop around them.

If the Speaker were to adopt a very restrictive interpretation of this standing order, I believe it would take away the point of this innovation, as it was proposed. I do not believe it would take a permissive interpretation of the standing order to agree with my hon. colleague from the NDP and the points that I raise here today. It is very clear that these parts are separate. Part 3 of Bill C-27 is completely independent, stands on its own and is not related, intertwined or cross-referenced in earlier parts of the act.

I only mention the point about restrictive interpretation as one further point to urge the Speaker to consider what the spirit, intent and purpose of this innovation was meant to do, which was to allow members to clearly differentiate which parts of legislation they support and which parts they do not. I would urge you, Mr. Speaker, to keep that in mind as you study the arguments that were put before you. I hope you will find in our favour and allow members to vote separately on part 3.

Division of Bill C-27 for the Purpose of VotingPoints of OrderGovernment Orders

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Perkins Conservative South Shore—St. Margarets, NS

Mr. Speaker, I will add to the what the hon. opposition House leader said on the point of order.

We should understand a key point of difference in this bill. Parts 1 and 2 deal with the privacy of an individual's personal information and the powers of the Privacy Commissioner to review breaches of it and impose penalties, as well as the creation of a new tribunal. That is all related to an individual's personal privacy, whereas part 3 is about regulating an entirely new industry that has nothing to do with the Privacy Act and the replacement of PIPEDA in artificial intelligence. It gives all the regulatory, administrative, investigative and penalty power to the minister and has no connection whatsoever to the Privacy Commissioner or the new tribunal that the government would create.

I add that for the Speaker's further consideration.

Division of Bill C-27 for the Purpose of VotingPoints of OrderGovernment Orders

3:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

I thank the hon. members for their input. I will take it into consideration when making my ruling.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-20, An Act establishing the Public Complaints and Review Commission and amending certain Acts and statutory instruments, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Public Complaints and Review Commission ActGovernment Orders

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

Tako Van Popta Conservative Langley—Aldergrove, BC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member opposite for his speech on Bill C-20, an act to enact the public complaints review commission. This is going to include not only the RCMP, but also the CBSA. When we are talking about the CBSA, I think it is also very appropriate to ask whether the CBSA is properly financed and resourced for the demanding work we expect of it in stopping the smuggling of guns coming across the border. It is one thing to hold officers to account for misconduct. We should also expect them to be properly resourced so they can do their work.

I wonder if the member could comment on that.

Public Complaints and Review Commission ActGovernment Orders

3:50 p.m.

Kingston and the Islands Ontario

Liberal

Mark Gerretsen LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons (Senate)

Madam Speaker, I am not sure how this question in particular relates to this piece of legislation. This legislation was specifically about bringing in oversight and review bodies to look at the work of the CBSA and the RCMP and to respond to the complaints out there.

When it comes to properly resourcing our individual agencies and departments, yes, we have an obligation to do that and provide them with resources so they can deliver on our expectations and what we are asking them to do. I think it goes without saying, as I believe every member of the House would agree, that providing the proper resources is absolutely critical, in this case to the CBSA and the RCMP.

Public Complaints and Review Commission ActGovernment Orders

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Tako Van Popta Conservative Langley—Aldergrove, BC

Madam Speaker, I am happy to join my voice to the debate on Bill C-20, an act to establish the public complaints and review commission. This commission would replace the current Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP. It is more than just a change of name. There is also change of provisions.

The commission would have an expanded role to also receive and deal with complaints on the activities of the Canada Border Services Agency, or the CBSA. This hits home to my home community of Langley because my community has the RCMP as its police force and is a border community, with a border crossing between the Canadian town of Aldergrove and the American town of Lynden.

Many people in my community have friends and relatives in Washington state. I am one of them. Four of my grandchildren live in Lynden, Washington, which is just a 45-minute drive from my home in Langley, not counting the time we might need to wait at the border, which is sometimes a long time and sometimes very short.

In the hundreds of times I have crossed the border from Aldergrove into Lynden, I have never had a bad interaction with anybody from the CBSA. I can say the same of the RCMP, not that I have had that many interactions with members of the RCMP, but any that I have had have always been good and positive. I have the highest regard for people who work for both agencies.

Our police officers and border security guards are at the front line of public safety and we owe them a debt of gratitude. I think of Burnaby RCMP Constable Shaelyn Yang, who was stabbed to death on October 18, just over a month ago, trying to save a homeless man's life. Constable Yang was attending at a city park along with a bylaw officer from the City of Burnaby to serve an eviction notice on a person who was camped in a public park. On approaching the scene, Constable Yang noticed there was evidence of the man overdosing. She entered into the tent with a naloxone kit. She did not come out alive.

I did not know Constable Yang at all, but I know people who did know her, who worked with her, who trained with her and who loved her. Her death is a reminder to her colleagues, and indeed to all of us, that working on the front line, whether it is with the RCMP or other police services in Canada, is dangerous work. To all police officers and other frontline workers, I thank them for their service to their communities. We owe them a debt of gratitude. We are grateful for their service.

It is in this context that I now want to join the conversation about complaints against the RCMP. During my time on the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, I have heard from many witnesses about the failings of the RCMP and other police services across the country.

Last year we studied alleged systemic racism in the RCMP. It was an exhaustive study. It was an exhausting study. There were 19 meetings. We heard from 53 witnesses. The study resulted in a report of 125 pages and 42 recommendations. We heard from community organizations providing services to or advocating for indigenous communities. We heard from academics working in the fields of law, law enforcement and social services. We heard from people working with people suffering mental health and addictions. As well, of course, we heard from representatives of various police services.

Whether there is racism in policing in Canada was the question we were tasked with. The first job, as always, is to define our terms. One of our witnesses, Alain Babineau, a law enforcement consultant, social justice advocate and former member of the RCMP gave us a working definition. Quoting Senator Sinclair, he said, “Systemic racism is when the system itself is based upon and founded upon racist beliefs and philosophies and thinking and has put in place policies and practices that literally force even the non-racists to act in a racist way.”

I have met many police officers. I have a family member who is a RCMP police officer. I went to law school with several former RCMP officers who then went on to become lawyers and with whom I have formed lifelong friendships. I have colleagues who have had full careers in law enforcement prior to coming to the House. I attend church with several people who are RCMP officers, and I can assure the members that not one of them is racist. They are all honest, hard-working people and law-abiding citizens who have, at heart, nothing but the best interests for their communities, neighbours and country.

Our report at the public safety committee was not about whether individuals within the RCMP are racist. The evidence is clear that we do have societal problems. It is not a problem of just the RCMP, the CBSA or the Vancouver Police Department. The problem is in our society.

When we think about racism, we might be tempted to point fingers at others, at the fathers of Confederation and at residential schools and say it was not us. We may think about our ancestors' role in slavery and say it was not us. We were not there.

A little closer to home, we might talk about the Chinese head tax and say it was before our time. Even a little closer to home, in Vancouver, we might think about the Komagata Maru incident, when law enforcement agencies turned a ship around and sent it back to India.

To make it current, we could point the finger at the RCMP, but finger pointing is not going to get us anywhere. It is certainly not going to help us find solutions to racism. We recognize that we are all part of society. We are all a product of our shared history. We are all in the same boat, so to speak, but the good news is that we are all also part of the solution.

It is in that context that I hope people would read the report from the public safety committee, and I hope they do read it. The report is simply called “Systemic Racism in Policing in Canada”.

Here we are today, talking about Bill C-20, an act to establish the public complaints and review commission. This draft of legislation is backed up by the report that I just talked about, that our public safety committee tackled last year.

I mentioned that the report contains 42 recommendations. Five of those 42 deal with what we call, under the current legislation, the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission. Evidence we heard at committee made it clear that we have a problem. The current review and complaints structure is dysfunctional, and it needs to be fixed.

Witnesses raised concerns about the transparency of the disciplinary process from the RCMP. For example, we heard from Professor Christian Leuprecht of the Royal Military College. He suggested that the RCMP should be required to make public all disciplinary decisions. That goes to transparency.

Professor Samuels-Wortley of Carleton University pointed out that transparency is required in the disciplinary processes for police who engage in misconduct to ensure public confidence in the system. We want to know what is going on.

Alain Babineau and the hon. Michel Bastarache suggested that the RCMP does not appear to be capable of addressing discrimination within the organization itself, suggesting that change must come from the outside.

All of this evidence, presented to the public safety committee, brought us to 42 recommendations. I am going to highlight just three of them.

The first recommendation was that the Government of Canada should clarify and strengthen the mandate of the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission, or the public complaints commission. We were not contemplating then that the whole commission would be revamped and given a new name, but so be it.

This would include creating statutory timelines for a response by the RCMP commissioner to reports coming from the commission and requiring that the commission publish its findings and recommendations. It all goes to transparency.

The second recommendation was that the Government of Canada should increase accessibility and transparency by simplifying the process for initiating a complaint. The third recommendation was to allow for a meaningful engagement of indigenous participation in the complaints commission. Let us not forget that the study was about whether there was racism in the RCMP.

Can Bill C-20, the legislation we are talking about, answer those challenges? The answer is, in large part, yes. The legislation creating the new PCRC, the public complaints and review commission, which in many ways mirrors the existing commission, would require the establishing of timelines for dealing with complaints. That was one of the concerns we heard at committee.

It would also require implementing education and information programs so the public can better understand the process, something else we heard complaints about at committee.

It outlines how complaints would be submitted, investigated and reviewed, and that there would be an annual report to the minister, who would then submit it to Parliament. That report is to include information about whether service standards are being met, the number of complaints and data about the complaints, so we can develop policy based on good, reliable data.

There are a lot of details in the bill also about what information the commission might encounter that would be treated confidentially to protect complainants and for security purposes.

There is information about the hearing process and the powers the commission will have, the powers of the superior court of record, including the power and ability to be able to subpoena witnesses and order them to give evidence. The commission will also have the ability to recommend disciplinary action, but not to carry it out.

The legislation appears to be straightforward at achieving its objectives. We will be supporting this draft bill at second reading, and I look forward to a deep dive at committee into its details, and to listen to experts.

When we are talking about police oversight, which is the police policing themselves, and border staff oversight when possible discipline might happen, we need to ask the question whether these agencies are properly resourced to do their work. We know that police services across the country are facing a recruitment and retention crisis, like almost every sector in our economy. We have a shortage of new people coming into the police services at the same time that older people are leaving, and all at the same time that we are demanding more from our police services.

Police recruitment is down and crime is up. There has been a 32% increase in violent crimes since 2015, when the current Liberal government took office. There were 125,000 more violent crimes last year than there were in 2015. Therefore, crimes rates are going up, and we are expecting more from our police services. We need to make sure they are fully resourced.

We have similar statistics for the CBSA. There is a shortage of workers. People are retiring, with not enough people coming in, and there is a higher demand with respect to their work.

Another study we recently completed at the public safety committee was about guns and gangs. We learned that most firearms used in violent crimes in Canada are handguns smuggled in from the United States. One of our witnesses stated the obvious. We live beside the largest gun-manufacturing society in the world, and we share the longest undefended border with it. This presents a big challenge for us, and we expect a lot from our CBSA to intercept the guns that are being smuggled into our country. It is not an easy problem to solve.

I know we are talking about Bill C-20, but I want to make a quick reference to Bill C-21. Bill C-21, which would make owning a handgun in Canada illegal, or more illegal than it already is, is not going to solve the problem because the people who are committing violent crimes are already illegal gun owners, to state the obvious, so C-21 does not add much value. It certainly does not keep Canadians any safer. It just further stigmatizes legal gun owners and trained and licensed sport shooters who are good and honest citizens.

Bill C-21 does not help our neighbours, but that is for another day. Today we are talking about Bill C-20, the public complaints and review commission.

Our report on guns and gang violence recommended that funding for the CBSA be increased. If we are going to enhance a complaints review process for our workers, it is only fair that we make sure they are properly resourced so they can do their jobs properly. Let us also make sure they are adequately resourced with both people and money, so they can do the work effectively.

We expect a lot from our border security people. They should expect to receive the full complement of a workforce, financial resources and tools to do their job effectively.

I want to take the opportunity to say thanks to CBSA workers, including many who live in my riding of Langley. We live on a border. There are several land border crossings, and I have a lot of friends who work in one or other of those border crossings.

I want to talk about something else that touches on the police. Our safety committee met with Mr. Justice Bastarache, formerly of the Supreme Court of Canada. He presented his report to us a couple of years ago in the 43rd Parliament, entitled “Broken Lives, Broken Dreams”. This retired judge was tasked with the unenviable task of distributing and disbursing court-awarded money under the so-called Merlo Davidson Settlement Agreement to victims of sexual harassment within the RCMP. Merlo and Davidson were the two named plaintiffs in that case.

The judge's report is a stinging rebuke of a culture of sexual harassment within the RCMP. It starts with these words:

For more than 30 years there have been calls to fix sexual harassment in the RCMP.

The report then goes on to talk about the 3,086 claims over that 30-year period. He and his staff conducted 644 interviews with victims. At the end of all his work, they awarded some compensation to 2,034 victims. It is widespread. It is not a good situation.

As I read through the report, I wondered whether my pride in our national police force was misplaced. In our discussion with Mr. Justice Bastarache at committee, I related a story from my childhood, when my parents took me and my siblings to the RCMP Musical Ride. My parents were new immigrants from the Netherlands, and they told us that one of the things they were very proud of about their new country was that we could be proud of our police force, something that is not true, sadly, for every nation in the world.

Mr. Justice Bastarache told me that in his opinion it was still appropriate for us to be proud of our RCMP service. It has a proud history and it is redeemable, but in his opinion it would require outside resources, outside influences, because the RCMP could not reform itself.

I will be voting in favour of Bill C-20 at second reading, for it to go to committee for a deep dive, a line-by-line review. There, I will be looking not only for how the RCMP interacts with the public, who expect the police to keep them safe and to do no harm, but also for how this legislation would steer us towards improving the internal culture of this agency, the RCMP, that we all want to be proud of.

Public Complaints and Review Commission ActGovernment Orders

4:15 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Madam Speaker, it is very encouraging to see the support that is coming forward for this legislation.

Earlier today, prior to question period, we had a very clear indication of support, whether it was from the government, obviously, which is proposing the legislation, or support coming from the New Democrats, the Bloc party, or even the Green Party members for the legislation. It has become very clear that the Conservative Party is going to be supporting the legislation.

I would like to think that given the type of support it is getting from the House, there would be a willingness to see it go to committee, given that we have had a great deal of opportunity over not only months but years to have that discussion, both informally and formally, inside the chamber and outside. I know the standing committee is anxious to receive the legislation so it can get down to work on it, listening to the public and so forth.

I wonder if the member is in concurrence with me that we should try to advance this, even if it means getting support to sit tonight. I, for one, would be happy to be here until midnight if there are more members who want to speak to the legislation. Let us see if we can get this legislation passed.

Could the member provide his comments on how important it is to pass the legislation?