That, given that the House recognize that
(i) Canadians of Chinese descent have made immeasurable contributions to Canada,
(ii) the people of China are part of an ancient civilization that has contributed much to humanity,
(iii) the distinction between the people of China and the Chinese state, as embodied by the Communist Party of China and the government of the People's Republic of China,
(iv) authoritarian states, including the People's Republic of China, increasingly pose a threat to the rules-based international order,
the House appoint a special committee with the mandate to conduct hearings to examine and review all aspects of the Canada-People's Republic of China relationship, including but not limited to diplomatic, consular, legal, security and economic relations, provided that:
(a) the committee be composed of 12 members, of which six shall be from the government party, four shall be from the official opposition, one shall be from the Bloc Québécois and one shall be from the New Democratic Party;
(b) the whips of the recognized parties shall deposit with the Clerk of the House the list of their members to serve on the committee within four calendar days of the adoption of this motion;
(c) changes in the membership of the committee shall be effective immediately after notification by the whip has been filed with the Clerk of the House;
(d) membership substitutions be permitted, if required, in the manner provided for in Standing Order 114(2);
(e) the Clerk of the House shall convene an organizational meeting within one week of the presentation of the final report of the Special Committee on Afghanistan;
(f) the chair of the committee shall be a member of the government party, the first vice-chair shall be a member of the official opposition, the second vice-chair shall be a member of the Bloc Québécois and the third vice-chair shall be a member of the New Democratic Party;
(g) the quorum of the committee be as provided for in Standing Order 118, provided that the Chair be authorized to hold meetings to receive evidence and to have that evidence printed when at least four members are present, including one member of the opposition and one member of the government;
(h) the committee have all of the powers of a standing committee, as well as the power to (i) travel, accompanied by the necessary staff, inside and outside of Canada, (ii) authorize video and audio broadcasting of any or all of its proceedings;
(i) the provisions of Standing Order 106(4) shall extend to the committee;
(j) the committee shall, notwithstanding paragraph (r) of the special order adopted on Thursday, November 25, 2021, have the first priority for the use of House resources for committee meetings;
(k) the evidence and documentation received by the Special Committee on Canada-China Relations during the first and second sessions of the 43rd Parliament be referred to this committee and taken into consideration in this session; and
(l) any proceedings before the committee, when hybrid committee meetings are authorized, in relation to a motion to exercise the committee's power to send for persons, papers and records shall, if not previously disposed of, be interrupted upon the earlier of the completion of four hours of consideration or one sitting week after the motion was first moved, and, in turn, every question necessary for the disposal of the motion shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment.
Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Louis-Saint-Laurent.
In the last Parliament, the 43rd Parliament, the Special Committee on Canada-China Relations played a constructive role in furthering Canada's policy on the People's Republic of China. The committee met 30 times and issued three reports to the House. We heard from dozens, if not hundreds, of witnesses.
We focused on espionage, foreign interference and intimidation operations here on Canadian soil. We focused on Hong Kong. We focused on the genocide of the Uighurs. The committee also focused on the plight of the two Canadians who were wrongfully detained: Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. Arguably, it was the focus on the two Michaels, as they became known in this country, that put pressure on the People's Republic of China and others involved with this issue to release them last year. The committee played a constructive role in furthering Canada's policies in the Indo-Pacific region, particularly on China.
Much more needs to be done. Much more study and analysis needs to be done, because the relationship between Canada and China is broad and multi-faceted and touches on so many areas of Canadian life: diplomatic, economic, military, security, academia and many others. China is one of the world's superpowers and we need to be mindful of the impact that the People's Republic of China has on the day-to-day lives of Canadians. I can think of no better place to do that than in a special committee of Parliament, where we can call experts, where we can listen to testimony and where we can explore the multi-faceted relationship that we have with the People's Republic of China.
Up to this point, it has not been possible to establish a special committee. In the last Parliament, the 43rd Parliament, two additional committees were added to the House of Commons. Those two committees were the special committee on Canada-China relations and the special committee on Canada-U.S. relations. Because of the pandemic and because of hybrid sittings, House administration resources were taxed to their limit with the addition of those two committees.
That has been the case in the 44th Parliament up to this point. We have had two additional committees added to this Parliament. We have the new Standing Committee on Science and Research and the Special Committee on Afghanistan. The addition of these two committees in this 44th Parliament has taxed the House's resources to the limit. All members of the House realize and understand this, because not a week goes by that we do not have trouble booking additional meetings or additional time for committees because of the constraints regarding staff and information technology.
However, on June 8, that will change. The order of the House that established the Special Committee on Afghanistan orders this committee to be wound up and to report back to the House, so we will have only one additional committee added to the House in this 44th Parliament, that being the permanent Standing Committee on Science and Research. We have an opportunity to resurrect the Canada-China committee, which we believe is a very important thing to do.
There are so many more things we have yet to study. We did not complete our study of national security issues concerning the relationship between Canada and the People's Republic of China. We have not even begun to tackle the issue of the People's Republic of China's belt and road initiative.
Since the last election, new information has come to light that needs urgent study and analysis, which is the foreign interference and disinformation on the part of the People's Republic of China that we saw in the last election. Professor Fung, who is a McGill University professor and a Canada research chair, and Ms. Lee, a researcher at McGill University, both published a piece in Policy Options recently, in which they concluded that proxies acting on behalf of the leadership in Beijing spread disinformation in the last election campaign that led or contributed to the defeat of a number of colleagues in this House. This is an urgent issue that requires study and analysis. It is an issue that we cannot let slip from the radar screen of public consciousness.
Democratic institutions, both here and abroad, are under immense pressure and threat, from both internal and external forces. We need to ensure the integrity of these institutions, whether it is our electoral process or Parliament in between elections. The research that these two McGill University researchers conducted after the election, which found that there was disinformation spread on social media platforms by proxies acting on behalf of Beijing, is something that is critical and requires urgent attention. I believe the Canada-China committee would be a very good place for that to be studied and analyzed.
We also have a need, because China is a superpower and because it is so integrated into the global economy, to study how we can engage with it on issues such as supply chains and natural resources, and how we should be approaching it on the issues of rare earths, critical minerals and climate change. All of these things need to be studied and focused on. A new special committee on Canada-China relations would be the perfect place to do exactly that.
I think the committee could play a constructive role in assisting the government. Clearly, the government has struggled with establishing a policy on China. The third Minister of Foreign Affairs promised to come forward with a new framework on China by the end of 2020. That never happened. The fourth Minister of Foreign Affairs came forward with an approach that was summed up by the three Cs: co-operate, compete and challenge. However, that same minister, shortly after the last election, in 2021, changed that policy to the four Cs and added the fourth C of “co-exist” to the policy. The current Minister of Foreign Affairs, the fifth in just over six years, has now been tasked with coming forward with a new Indo-Pacific strategy, which we have yet to see. Clearly, the government is struggling to come forward with a written, clearly defined policy on China and the Indo-Pacific region. That is where I think the committee could be of great assistance to the government.
Let me conclude by saying this. The most important reason for the establishment of this special committee on Canada-China relations is February 24, a day that shocked the democratic world. For the first time since 1945, two states in Europe were at war. Russia attacked a democracy, upending the international order that has ensured peace and stability for some eight decades. We have to be mindful that what is happening in eastern Europe today could also happen in the Indo-Pacific region. That is why we need to focus on all aspects of the Canada-China relationship, to ensure that we are prepared for any eventualities that may take place.