House of Commons Hansard #100 of the 44th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was families.


Cost of Living Relief Act, No. 1Government Orders

5:55 p.m.


Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, yes, I absolutely believe that the additional profit those companies are making, as the member said, not because of their business acumen but by taking advantage of global circumstances in order to have a fig leaf as an excuse for why they are raising prices, should be taken back and invested in the things that we need in order to succeed as a society. We need housing. We need better health care. We need to tackle the climate crisis. We can create good jobs for people by doing that. We need money to pay for this. The money is out there. The government collects a lot less, in relative terms, than it used to, even 20 years ago, and it is time we start going back after that.

Cost of Living Relief Act, No. 1Government Orders

5:55 p.m.

Kingston and the Islands Ontario


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

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today to speak to this very important piece of legislation, which, from what I am hearing, all members in the House will be supporting, or at least that seems pretty clear from the NDP and the Conservatives. I think people realize that this is something important. It is something that is critical and it is something that people need right now.

What are we talking about? We are talking about a six-month increase of the GST rebates that are given to individuals. This would have a real, meaningful impact for people, in particular those who are struggling the most and those who really need it. For single individuals who have no children, the total GST rebate would be $467. Married or common-law partnerships would see $612, and then there would be $161 for each child under the age of 19.

This is about trying to help individuals, particularly right now, when we know we are experiencing this inflationary problem that has developed over time as a result of a number of different things that have been going on in the world, a number of things outside of the control of any individual country, and we have landed where we are.

We know that we need to take care of each other, and that is what this really comes down to. It comes down to taking care of each other and supporting each other through programs. That is what government is all about. The government is here to establish programs and policies that can have an impact throughout society.

If we took the approach of “every person for themselves”, which, unfortunately, it appears in retrospect that the Conservatives wish we had taken when it came to the beginning of the pandemic, we really would not need much in terms of government. We would not need government to be there to support Canadians and to support each other.

We have heard a lot, and I want to reflect on a comment that the member for Elmwood—Transcona made a few moments ago in answering a question from our friend from Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, and he phrased it perfectly. We hear the Conservatives talking about EI and CPP as payroll taxes. They are not payroll taxes.

CPP is a pension plan. It is a plan that is paid into by the employee and the employer. It is a pension plan that many people rely on when they get to the age of retirement. When politicians, in my opinion, start toying with the idea of playing around with that fund or not properly ensuring that it has the resources or funds within it, it means that we are going to have problems, from a societal perspective, later on when we find out that it is underfunded.

Likewise, EI is employment insurance. This is an insurance policy. It is funding a policy that allows people to be able to withdraw when they need it the most, if they become unemployed or other circumstances put them in the position of needing it. I do not agree with the assessment of calling it a payroll tax. It is not a payroll tax. Neither of those programs is, yet we hear that.

I heard the member for Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, the neighbouring riding to mine, pine back to the days of the UCCB, the universal child care benefit that Stephen Harper introduced. They pine about that program as though it is the gold standard for social programs of helping Canadians. The universal child care benefit was a program that literally gave every child, through their parents or guardians, a specific amount of money. It did not matter how much one made. It was not tested based on someone's need whatsoever. How can that be regarded as a social program?

Instead, this government has been focused squarely on putting money into the hands of those who genuinely need it the most. When we look at it, it is not just about supporting individuals. It is smart economic policy. What happens if we give a $100 or $150 payment to a millionaire, somebody who does not need it, quite frankly, through the UCCB? What happens? They will likely put it in a TFSA or they will put it in their bank account and collect interest off of it and it just sits there, because they do not need it.

What happens if we give it to somebody who genuinely needs it? They are going to go out and they are going to spend it. What does that do? That helps, creates and stimulates the economy.

When we pine back to the days of the universal child care benefit, as the member for Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes did, that is not smart policy. It is not smart policy from the societal perspective of supporting each other, and it is not smart policy from an economic perspective. When we invest in people and we take care of each other, we will all be better off. We will see our economy grow in a way that is sustainable and that supports one another.

To that end, one of the arguments that I have heard come up a few times, and I heard it from the member for Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola and the member for Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia—Headingley, are the concerns over the inflationary impacts of a program like this. I think it is a valid question to be asked, because we know that, when we inject more money into the economy, we run the risk of inflation being attached to that. I think it is a valid question.

However, I would encourage them to go out and talk to some of the individuals, economists, who understand and know this. I will read two quotes from two economists. The first is from Armine Yalnizyan, an economist and Atkinson fellow, and this is what this economist said:

In truth the measures are so modest...that they amount to just over 0.1 per cent of nominal GDP and less than one per cent of current growth, hardly a tail that could wag a dog.

She also said:

Along with the childcare fee rebate, financed by the feds and promised by the Ontario government to start in April (money that has yet to arrive in mailboxes), there’s a lot of talk but not a lot of cash flowing to households. There’s no chance current federal measures will spur inflationary over-spending anytime soon.

Here is another one from David Macdonald, the senior economist at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives:

These transfers are unlikely to have much impact on inflation as inflation is being driven by external factors like the price of gasoline, supply chain issues and the like. These measures are quite targeted and to get the full value of all three, you'd have to be a family making under C$35,000.

In the best case scenario, you could receive about C$2,300 for that family which only amounts to 6.5 percent of income when inflation is running at 7.0 percent....

These measures aren't boosting incomes well above inflation, they are just helping lower income families afford the price increases that have already happened.

These are two economists who are putting to rest, at least in their professional opinions, the notions about inflation and what this could do to inflation, although I think it is a very valid and genuine question to ask, especially in the current climate. However, I hope that those two members, in particular, take comfort in knowing that these two economists do not agree that it would necessarily have a impact.

I do not want to take up much more time than I absolutely have to. I do not want to speak long enough that I have to come back and speak the next time that this comes up for debate. I want people and I want members to have the genuine opportunity to speak to this. I really hope that this is one of those bills that we can see pass quickly, because it really will have an impact on the lives of those who genuinely need it the most.

We need to assist those who need it the most, and I really hope that the House will not play politics with this issue. I hope we will let people have the opportunity to speak to it, but then, within a reasonable amount of time, get to a point where we can send it to committee, have it studied there and then come back, because, at the end of the day, this is about supporting the individuals who need it the most.

I really hope we can work together, because it appears as though we already all support it anyway.

Cost of Living Relief Act, No. 1Government Orders

6:05 p.m.


Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague from Kingston and the Islands for his comments, but I do want to point out one thing about his comment on sending cheques to millionaires. The Auditor General herself pointed out that the Liberal government actually changed the tax code when it was giving away the child benefit bump of $500. It actually changed the tax code so that families making up to $308,000 per year were able to receive that benefit. When the member talked about sending money to people, to those in need, he overlooked that. I think it was $88 million of taxpayers' money that was sent to those über-wealthy.

However, my question actually goes back to the member's comment about helping those truly in need. I want to give an example. The member talked about the GST credit. My two children, whom I love, receive the GST credit. One works relatively part-time and one works relatively part-time and is in school. Their income is low enough, so they will receive a bump.

As much as I love my children, I do not believe that children of someone in our income bracket who are living at home should be receiving that bump. Did the government perhaps consider looking at an income means test based on family income so that we could give more to a single mom or those of low income living by themselves, or would the member consider that in the future, so that we are getting that money to those really in need, as opposed those living at home? We saw $5 billion in CERB going to children living in the homes of wealthy parents. Could we enact something to move that away and truly focus on those in need?

Cost of Living Relief Act, No. 1Government Orders

6:10 p.m.


Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am absolutely thrilled to hear Conservative members talking about programs that are tested based on need. That is a great step in the right direction, and certainly a move away from the model of the universal child care benefit.

Perhaps I did not quite understand the member clearly when he referred to families that are making $308,000. My wife and I combined are making that, and we do not get the money back that he is talking about. I do not know where he is getting that number. Maybe he could help me with that.

Quite frankly, I do not believe that people who are in my position need to get that money. I am not looking for it. I also believe that most people who are in my position would agree that when we get to a certain level of financial stability, there is not the need to rely on these payments. Instead, we could better direct them to those who genuinely need them and provide more to those who genuinely need them, and that is exactly what the Canada child benefit did. It looked at how much individuals made and gave money to individuals to help with their children, based on how much they made. Once they hit a certain threshold, they no longer got it.

Cost of Living Relief Act, No. 1Government Orders

6:10 p.m.


Gabriel Ste-Marie Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the parliamentary secretary for his speech.

The government has introduced three measures to combat inflation. The Bloc Québécois is in favour of increasing the GST/HST credit as set out in Bill C‑30. Bill C‑31 contains two more measures: dental insurance for children 11 and under and housing assistance.

With respect to housing, the Bloc Québécois is concerned that the people of Quebec will not get their fair share, because this is a Canada housing benefit top-up. Quebec has had its own program for the past 25 years, and it has the right to opt out with compensation, but Bill C‑31 is silent on coordinating benefits. The same goes for dental insurance, which covers children 11 and under. Quebec's dental insurance covers children nine and under. The bill is silent on coordinating benefits.

On behalf of the government, will the parliamentary secretary promise to amend the bill to make sure it harmonizes with Quebec's programs so that my constituents will not be adversely affected?

Cost of Living Relief Act, No. 1Government Orders

6:10 p.m.


Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, I cannot commit to amending the bill. I am not on the committee. I certainly do not have a veto power over the committee or how it works.

If the member is bringing up a very important point about the circumstances in Quebec and how the measures might apply differently, and it sounds like he is, I would suggest that there would be an opportunity at committee for the Bloc Québécois and those who are representing Quebec to bring this issue forward and to talk about it so that individuals could be properly taken care of. If what the member is suggesting is valid, then I do not see why the committee would not properly study it in order to bring forward solutions to address it.

Cost of Living Relief Act, No. 1Government Orders

6:10 p.m.


Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, the member for Kingston and the Islands is right to give credit to the NDP for having pushed, prodded and pulled the government to put into place a series of measures that help Canadians. The GST credit, that rebate, is on average about $500 that will go to about 12 million Canadians. As well, there is dental care, which is reflected in the other NDP bill and would be put in place to help thousands of Canadian families. Of course, the rental supplement will help nearly two million Canadians.

These are all measures the NDP and the member for Burnaby South fought for, and it is to the credit of the government that it allowed itself to be pushed, prodded and pulled in the right direction to do things that will actually benefit Canadians.

My question is about other measures the NDP has talked about. For example, “greedflation”, which is the intense profiteering we have seen as inflation has risen, means we are of course seeing the cost of food go up, but profits for companies like Loblaws and Sobeys have increased far beyond the increase in the cost of food. Will the government take measures to cut back on this profiteering, which is hurting so many Canadians at this dire time?

Cost of Living Relief Act, No. 1Government Orders

6:15 p.m.


Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, quite frankly, I do not care whose idea it was. I do not care if it was the NDP's idea to increase the GST, or if it was done through negotiations or whatever. We are helping Canadians. It does not really matter at the end of the day. I doubt the individual who is receiving the cheque in time to help buy more groceries really cares that it was the NDP that pushed for this, nor do they care that the Leader of the Opposition fought for various different parts of this. All they care about is what supports their government is giving them in their time of need. If the NDP members want to take credit for it, they can fill their boots, because I am perfectly fine with that. My position on this is that we help Canadians to the best of our ability.

To his question about corporate greed, which the NDP continually brings up, I am not shying away from the topic. I hear the NDP bring it up a lot. I would love to hear more about it. If the member for Burnaby South wants to sit down with me and explain his positions on it more and talk about what he thinks some of the solutions should be, I am more than willing to listen.

Cost of Living Relief Act, No. 1Government Orders

6:15 p.m.


John McKay Liberal Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Mr. Speaker, the House will be interested to know that I am literally in the market for a deck. If one asks for quotes for a deck, one will get price x and then price y for cash. What it speaks to is the number of people who do not file income tax returns and therefore will not benefit from the CPP, EI, the HST increase, the rent supplement, and all that sort of stuff.

I am interested in the hon. member's thoughts with respect to the need for Canadians, particularly low-income Canadians, to file their income taxes so they may benefit from all of these things.

Cost of Living Relief Act, No. 1Government Orders

6:15 p.m.


Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, if the member for Scarborough—Guildwood is looking for help building a deck, I am sure the member for St. Catharines and I can go over and help him. Maybe the Speaker can come too. I do not know about the quality of the deck or how it will turn out, but I am more than willing to do my part.

The member raises an excellent point, and that is why it is our job to encourage and ensure that people are aware of why it is so important to file taxes. Filing taxes is not just about paying money and making sure one has paid their fair share, or trying to avoid taxes here or there. It is also being able to tap into these very important programs that are designed and dedicated for individuals who need them in a time of need. By filing their taxes, people will be able to demonstrate that when it is time.

Cost of Living Relief Act, No. 1Government Orders

6:15 p.m.


The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

It being 6:19 p.m., the House will now proceed to the consideration of Private Members' Business as listed on today's Order Paper.

The House resumed from May 2 consideration of the motion.

Hindu Heritage MonthPrivate Members' Business

6:15 p.m.


Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to be able to resume the remarks I was making previously on this bill to create Hindu heritage month, a bill recognizing the immense contributions of the Hindu community to Canada's national life in so many different areas.

The last time this motion came up, I was also speaking about the way we have moved from using heritage months to recognize ethnocultural communities to now increasingly recognizing religious communities as well. I think these acts of recognition for faith communities are of some particular importance. For many people faith is more fundamental than ethnocultural identity. It also has a different kind of substance and depth.

It is relatively easy for us to go through the process of experiencing the food, dress and language of another ethnocultural group, but it is much harder to try to really understand the internal logic and view of the good life advanced by another religion on its own terms, but in a pluralistic society that understanding is very important. Of course, understanding does not mean agreeing. Understanding and respect can be very consistent with also firmly asserting the truth of one's own convictions, but living out a healthy pluralism is about still seeking to draw from the insights of particular religious traditions other than one's own, recognizing that our understanding of the human condition and of the world around us is well served by a willingness to draw ideas and insights from different religious traditions.

I believe that pluralism is not just a feature of a political system, but it is a virtue to be developed by individuals. To develop the virtue of pluralism is to seek to understand other ideas on their own terms and to be able to think about the internal logic of the other without losing one's own grounding in one's own tradition. It is to cultivate the ability to step into the intellectual space offered by another religious tradition, while still being fully able to see its potential flaws and step out of it. In this sense, I am defining pluralism as an intellectual virtue, a quality of the mind that citizens and leaders should seek to develop.

Virtues are defined by Alasdair MacIntyre as qualities of character that allow an individual to achieve good internal practices and sustain us in the relevant quest for the good. The good practice of pluralism requires intellectual curiosity and substantive open-mindedness on the part of individuals to the insights of religion and of different religions. This goes beyond mere acts of recognition and seeks to understand and learn from the ideas of others.

One can and should develop this virtue while still retaining a sense of one's own grounding. Pluralism is different from relativism. Relativism denies that things can be true and false. However, pluralism is to emphasize that I can retain the sense that there are objective points of true and false, while still being able to mentally put on the thinking of another tradition long enough to really understand it and to take it seriously, and that I can learn from insights of that tradition or way of thinking.

I have tried to develop this kind of understanding of Hinduism. For those of us from Abrahamic religious traditions, Hinduism as a religion can be particularly difficult to understand. This is because the typically Abrahamic way of thinking about religion is very different from the Hindu tradition. The different communities really mean something substantively different even when they use the term “religion”.

The Abrahamic faiths, particularly Judaism, Christianity and Islam, are rooted in the concept of a single all-powerful God who provides direct and decisive revelation, who outlines the moral framework for us to live by through that revelation and who expects to alone be the object of worship. These faith systems do build on past revelations, with Christianity seeing itself as building on Judaism and Islam seeing itself as building on both, but they are also senses in which these are revolutionary ideas, in that they call for a decisive separation from other religious practices. All the Abrahamic traditions emphasize some concept of one God, one truth, leading to one right path.

For the practitioners of the Abrahamic faiths, religious doctrines that are absolute in nature can coexist with political doctrines that are pluralistic; that is, we do believe in the existence of one right path and we also believe in the freedom of individuals to find it on their own. Religious freedom in the Christian tradition emphasizes that human free choice and freedom to pursue God without state interference is a consequence of the absolute belief in created human dignity.

Hinduism is different from the Abrahamic faiths in that it has the concept of plurality directly within it theologically. An expansive open-ended pluralism is not just defended as a valuable feature for political communities. It actually exists right within the religious community of Hindu believers. We can find monotheists and polytheists and people with very different ideas about moral questions and aspects of religious practice who all identify as Hindus.

Hinduism is not defined by a belief in a particular god or gods and it is not defined by a creed. Hinduism is a kind of family of spiritual practices and religious ways of life. As it has developed into its modern form, it has continued to grow and adapt as an organic thing, preserving the past while adding to it. This is most notable in how the early Vedic traditions of Hinduism evolved with the development of the Upanishads, introducing monotheism into Hinduism as a kind of superstructure over top of but also including the older polytheism.

Hinduism finds ways of preserving aspects of the old while developing the new. Hinduism has also developed a unique kind of pluralism within itself that willingly incorporates ideas from other religions. The best summary of a religious dialogue between Hindus and members of Abrahamic faiths is this apparent exchange between the founders of India and Pakistan. Mahatma Gandhi once said, “I am a Hindu, a Muslim, a Christian, a Parsi, a Jew.” To this, Jinnah replied, “Only a Hindu could say that.”

In conclusion, we are all blessed to live in a country where we can practise our faith, share our traditions and learn from each other. Our Canadian pluralism ought not be taken for granted, as we are seeing threats to religious freedom on multiple fronts. From violent extremists who vandalize temples, mosques, churches and synagogues to make people feel unsafe in their religious practice, to governments that deny people's ability to practise their faith openly in the name of so-called secularism and governments that fail to respect conscience and the charitable status of faith-based organizations, we see that threats to religious freedom are growing in Canada. I am committed to fighting in this place to defend pluralism and religious freedom for as long as I am here.

Once again, I thank the Hindu community for its significant contributions to this great nation.

Hindu Heritage MonthPrivate Members' Business

6:25 p.m.


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

Mr. Speaker, we are here this evening to talk about this motion to recognize, create, rename and symbolically designate a Hindu heritage month. I have to say that it is the word “heritage” that makes me receptive to this motion because, of course, all of us here support secularism. I personally am a great supporter of secularism and freedom of conscience. Unfortunately, the concept of secularism is sometimes a bit foreign to this Parliament and this country. There is no direct equivalent for the French word “laïcité” in the language of Canada, which is English. The word does not exist.

“Laïcité”—or, loosely, secularism—relegates the matter of religion to the private sphere. Basically, it means that the matter of God or gods, or the absence of a god, cannot be settled through public debate. It cannot be settled through argumentation or reason. The previous debate on inflation and budget proposals can be settled using fact-based arguments, but the matter of belief or non-belief cannot.

As a federal elected official, I will never answer questions about my faith. As an individual, of course, I am free to believe or not believe, like everyone else. I am free to be passionate about a particular religious culture, but it does not interfere with my job. I represent people of all faiths or people who simply have no faith. Everyone is free to make their own choice.

Secularism puts beliefs and lack of beliefs on a level playing field. Of course, it also comes with the right to dislike, or even hate, a religion, some religions, several religions or all religions. It also comes with the right to ridicule them, if we so wish, or to ridicule just one. Those who have wanted to thwart this fundamental right have unfortunately sometimes taken it to the extreme, as was the case in the tragic Charlie Hebdo massacre.

I also personally refuse to label people based on their religious community. For me, a nation is not a group of communities that belong to one religion or another. It is a group of citizens who are each equal in rights and duties, and whose beliefs, or lack thereof, are no one's business but their own. That is what makes up a nation.

The state is aware of every religion, of course, but should not recognize any of them. That is the foundation of this secularism. It is certainly not for me, an elected federal member, to comment on dogmas, rites, religions or the tenets of one religion or another, whether we are talking about Hinduism, Catholicism, Islam or any other.

What is more, let us also clarify that where these citizens come from, when we talk about cultural diversity, is not synonymous with religion. Someone who follows a religion is not someone who, according to the religion itself, necessarily comes from one country or another. There may be people with deep roots who convert to one religion or another.

However, it is clear, and I have no problem saying this, that there is no religious heritage either, but rather religious heritages. That is why we tend to support this proposal. Just because we are ardent supporters of secularism does not mean we do not recognize the importance of Catholic congregations in Quebec's history, for example. Just because we are ardent supporters of secularism does not mean it is impossible to say that churches and places of worship are tremendous architectural gems. I have no problem saying that. Personally, I think religious buildings are the most beautiful buildings on earth.

The same goes for Hinduism and Hindu heritage, which is significant in Quebec. Quebec certainly does have a Hindu heritage, and a well-established one at that. The Hindu religious community, despite any reservations I may have expressed previously, has its own unique history. Adapting traditional rituals to Quebec winters was pretty difficult. It has not always been easy, unlike in places like India, Sri Lanka or the Caribbean, where it is much easier. Most celebrations take place outside. Some festivals have even been rescheduled. Generally speaking, the community has adapted to Quebec's weather and climate constraints.

I was talking about architecture. Let us talk about the majestic Hindu temple in Dollard‑des‑Ormeaux, an architectural jewel that contributes to the richness of Quebec's heritage and the beauty of its architectural landscape. We fully support this motion.

I should note that the arrival of the first Hindus in Canada dates back to the beginning of the 20th century. That is quite some time ago. Immigration fell off around 2015, when a law was passed prohibiting Asians from immigrating to Canada. The law was repealed in 1965. Since then, the influx of Hindu immigrants has continued, mainly from India, but also from elsewhere, such as Sri Lanka and even the Caribbean.

According to Statistics Canada, there were nearly 7,000 members of the Hindu faith in Quebec in 1981. There were 14,000 in 1991 and 25,000 in 2001. Hindu heritage has arguably been prominent in Montreal since the 1980s, following the construction of Canada's first Hindu temple, the Hindu Mission Temple, located on Bellechasse Street in La Petite-Patrie. The community is made up of two main groups. The first is people from north India, and the second is people from south India and Tamils.

There are, of course, two main spaces used for liturgical celebrations: home and temple. I want to emphasize that I am not here to comment on the validity of any of this.

Home is an important place of religious heritage, but in Quebec, Hindu heritage is mainly celebrated in temples, the second space. The unique architecture of some temples, such as the Thiru Murugan Temple built by Montreal's Tamil community, reflects this heritage.

There is also the Hindu Mission Temple, which was designed in the traditional Hindu architectural style but also has some more practical features. The Thiru Murugan Temple emulates traditional Indian architecture that dates back to around 5,000 B.C. Twelve workers came over from India to help build the Thiru Murugan Temple. The Tamil community saved $3.5 million over 20 years to build it. I tip my hat to them.

Some of the rituals practised at the temple in Dollard‑des‑Ormeaux are thousands of years old. The Thiru Murugan Temple is one of the largest Hindu temples in Canada and is the main place of worship for Quebec's Tamil community.

They are magnificent buildings. The Hindu temple in Dollard‑des‑Ormeaux is a vast 6,000-square-foot space. Whoever goes there, whether tourist or faithful, passes under a tower in the shape of a pyramid that is about thirty metres high. I have never gone, but I have to admit that my research on this subject has piqued my interest into going to have a look. I am going to make a point of going there very soon. The second tower sits imposingly above the main altar of the temple and is dedicated to the god Murugan, who is considered by Hindu Tamils to be their national divinity.

The exterior of the sanctuary transports the visitor to other spaces inspired by India. It is a very impressive place both inside and out. The temple is open to everyone every day of the year. This project was carried out mainly by Sri Lankan immigrants who began arriving in Montreal in the 1980s.

Interest in building this temple, a temple for this particular faith, dates back to 1983. I was saying that it was a long wait and that they had to organize fundraisers. We are pleased because this truly honours the community and its contributions. It is part of the city and is in the industrial sector. For many years, the organization collected private donations.

In closing, it will be a pleasure to support this motion for the reasons stated earlier.

Hindu Heritage MonthPrivate Members' Business

September 22nd, 2022 / 6:35 p.m.


Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to rise to support Motion No. 42 and follow in the footsteps of my colleague, the member for Edmonton Griesbach, who spoke in the first hour of debate very eloquently.

I want to remind members that Motion No. 42 reads as follows:

That, in the opinion of the House, the government should recognize the contributions that Hindu Canadians have made to the socio-economic development of Canada, and their services to the Canadian society, the richness of Hindu Heritage and its vast contribution to the world of arts and science, astronomy to medicine, and its culture and traditions and the importance of educating and reflecting upon it for our future generations in Canada by declaring November, every year, Hindu Heritage Month.

I want to start off by addressing my constituents in New Westminster—Burnaby and the important Hindu temples that are found in Burnaby, which has one of the largest Hindu temples in all of Canada.

The Hindu Cultural Society and Community Centre of B.C. is a remarkable temple that is found on Marine Drive. It has many celebrations and invites the entire community. It is very much a foundation stone in our community.

The Arul Migu Thurkadevi Hindu Society is a Tamil-speaking Hindu temple on Edmonds Street in Burnaby. I can tell members that for those who participate in its annual chariot festival, which goes along Edmonds Street and through the Edmonds area of Burnaby, it is a truly extraordinary manifestation of the strength of the Hindu faith in Canada.

Finally, I want to give a shout-out to the ISKCON in Burnaby, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. I attended its Krishna Janmashtami just a few weeks ago, and it was quite extraordinary. There were over 30,000 people there, many of them my constituents and many of them constituents of the NDP leader, the member for Burnaby South. It was a warm summer evening, and the celebration for the commemoration of Janmashtami went late into the night and even into the early morning hours. Every one of the 30,000 present had the opportunity to eat a vegetarian meal. There was entertainment and, of course, worship in the ISKCON temple. It was quite an extraordinary event, and I think among both the Hindus and non-Hindus who attended there was a sense of solidarity and peace that was truly exceptional. It is an incredible addition to our community.

I mention this because in those of the Hindu faith across the country, half a million Canadians, we see that type of contribution to communities, provinces and indeed to the entire country, which is why this motion to put in place a Hindu heritage month is so important. I congratulate the member for Nepean for bringing it forward.

When we have half a million Canadians make that type of contribution each and every day right across the country, it is important for this Parliament to acknowledge it and underscore it. I am delighted, along with my NDP colleagues, to support this very important motion, and we hope that it will pass with the backing of all members of Parliament.

I thank the member for Nepean for bringing this motion forward, and I also want to thank him for the discussions we have had, which do touch on the Hindu faith, regarding my bill, Bill C-229, on the banning of Nazi symbols in this country. I want to briefly touch on this, because just as it is important that we highlight the important contributions of Canadians of the Hindu faith right across the length and breadth of this country, we cannot ignore the fact that there is an increase in hate, racism and things that we thought we had gotten beyond in Canada. A lot of this is provoked from outside of the country, as we have seen far-right organizations in the United States and Europe that are trying to ignite hatred, and it is important to curtail that. We also saw it in the recent convoy with the expressions of hate that we need to push back against.

My bill to ban Nazi emblems and Nazi symbols was put forward in the House, as we know, a few months ago. The member for Nepean and many members of the Hindu community stepped forward to say that it is important that we not talk about the swastika as anything more than an important symbol of Hindu faith. This is an important point to make, that the swastika is a profoundly reverent symbol of the Hindu faith and should be treated as such.

I have undertaken to amend my bill to eliminate that reference so that we speak only about Nazi symbols when we talk about the banning of these symbols of hate. That is perhaps why it is more important than ever that we underscore the important contribution of Canadians of the Hindu faith in putting forward and adopting this motion to adopt a Hindu heritage month.

Because we are seeing this increased manifestation of hate, we need to counter it. This is one very effective way that we can do that. We, as members of Parliament, hopefully, all joining our voices together, can move to adopt this motion to put in place a Hindu heritage month for the month of November. This is an important way of pushing back against the signs we have all seen, which are profoundly disturbing, of a rise in hate often triggered from outside our country.

I mentioned earlier Janmashtami and the 30,000 people coming out at ISKCON to celebrate this important Hindu festival. I mentioned the chariot festival at the Arul Migu Thurkadevi Hindu Society on Edmonds Street.

I think it is important to note that, in New Westminster—Burnaby, we have a profound contributions from those of the Hindu faith right across the length and breadth of our riding, and that, in all of those circumstances, these incredible festivities of peace, serenity and celebration of the Hindu faith, there have never been any incidents. There is a profound support in the community for these very significant festivals.

This is something that I appreciate enormously about New Westminster—Burnaby. I know that I have talked before about New Westminster—Burnaby. It is the most diverse riding in the entire country. Over 150 languages are spoken there. People come from all of the four corners of this planet to join on the traditional territory of the Qayqayt first nation and the Halkomelem- and Squamish-speaking Coast Salish peoples.

There they have found a home in which everyone gets along together. One hundred and fifty different languages support components of every major faith around the world and all of these people get together in harmony. It is something that we treasure in our community.

When we talk about the Hindu community, there, as well, we know of many dozens of languages that come from those of the Hindu faith themselves. I had, in my younger years, the chance to travel from New Delhi down to Kanyakumari in a third-class train across India. I spent a couple of months travelling throughout India and saw, first-hand, the importance and relevance of the Hindu faith there in its birth place, and its remarkable contribution right across the length and breadth of India, the incredible diversity of so many different languages.

Well, that is replicated in New Westminster—Burnaby. That is why it is so important to underscore the important contributions of half a million Canadians of the Hindu faith, and to do that, hopefully, as soon as possible.

I sincerely hope, as well, that this initiative from the member for Nepean will be adopted unanimously in the House. I hope that will happen soon.

Hindu Heritage MonthPrivate Members' Business

6:45 p.m.


Ryan Turnbull Liberal Whitby, ON

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise today and speak to Motion No. 42 to designate Hindu heritage month every November moving forward. I could not be more supportive of this motion. I am glad to hear that it seems we have quite a bit of consensus in the House today.

We all get a source of pride from multiculturalism across Canada. We know that other months have been designated to celebrate other Canadian heritages or backgrounds, and I think the proposal to have every November designated Hindu heritage month is another contribution for us to not only acknowledge the many contributions that Hindu Canadians make, but also to really celebrate and learn about the richness of the culture that Hindu Canadians bring to Canada.

The Hindu community in my riding of Whitby is growing and becoming stronger. Our community is growing rapidly and diversifying, which I am very happy to see because I can relate to and truly appreciate Hindu culture. I love the vibrant colours, clothing, music, food, dances, festivals and the many events I get to attend. The Hindu culture is highly pluralistic. It is not just one religion or god; there are a number of traditions within the Hindu culture. I think that is beautiful. It also has an aesthetic foundation that I really think brings out the arts and unique cultural expression within the culture.

We know diversity has always been recognized as a strength for Canada, but I am glad to see we are continually embracing that and recognizing it as a true strength that we have. As we continue to foster diversity, more strength will come with it. We need to facilitate cross-cultural dialogues and really work to learn and appreciate the cultures we get the chance to be exposed to here in Canada. That means being committed to learning, engaging and truly coming to appreciate the various cultures, and the Hindu culture is no exception.

I went to an event on September 9 for the unveiling of a statue of Ganesh for Ganesh Chaturthi, organized by the Cultural Association of the GTA and the Durham Telugu Association. It was fantastic. The food was amazing. The statue came all the way from India. It was a big cultural event in our community. There were hundreds of individuals of Hindu faith there, and we really just enjoyed the many aspects of their culture.

I am also looking forward to the Diwali, which is coming up in October. It is the festival of lights, which I know many of us celebrate as well, the victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance, which is great. The Diwali tradition brings people together, and we have a lot to be grateful for with respect to that tradition.

We have also been encouraging cricket, and it is being played by hundreds of people in my community. It is really growing in popularity. We have been advocating for a cricket pitch for some time, and the many Hindu Canadians who love their cricket are now getting to play in a more permanent pitch in my community.

I would also say that there are so many contributions that Hindu Canadians have made to the fabric of our country, and there are over 500,000 Hindu Canadians who continue to make valuable contributions every single day. One in my riding whom I particularly appreciate is the Charminar Indian Cuisine restaurant in Whitby, which during the pandemic was wonderful in feeding frontline workers. It was so generous. It supports all kinds of charity events in our riding. It really does great things, not to mention the fact that the food is fantastic.

We also know that here in Ottawa the neurosciences clinic was supported by a very generous donation from the Bhargava family. It is things like this that we really need to recognize.

Obviously, many of us have probably appreciated yoga. I know, being six-foot-six, it is something I find a bit difficult, but certainly lots of Canadians can appreciate that as another contribution that Hindus have made to Canada.

I have one other really strong tie with Hindu culture. When I studied philosophy at Carleton University many years ago, I read and studied and got many insights from the Bhagavad-Gita.

All in all, Hindu Canadians are making great contributions to the country. The fabric of our communities is greatly enhanced by the contributions they make. Their cultural expressions and many traditions and even their religious beliefs and backgrounds are making contributions to how we work together and understand the importance of diversity in our communities.

I could not be more supportive of making every November, moving forward, Hindu heritage month. I hope everyone in the House will support this.

Hindu Heritage MonthPrivate Members' Business

6:50 p.m.


Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise in strong support of M-42. The motion before us simply seeks to declare that every November will be Hindu heritage month. I want to at the outset take this opportunity to acknowledge the member for Nepean. He is someone I have gotten to know over the past seven years that we have served together in this place, and he is someone I consider a friend. I want to acknowledge his leadership in bringing this motion forward, the member himself being of Hindu heritage.

Hinduism is one of the world's oldest religions. Indeed, it has been said to be the world's oldest religion, with an ancient history dating back more than 5,000 years. It is also one of the world's largest religions, with more than 900 million people from all corners of the world practising Hinduism. Hinduism is, beyond that, a set of religious beliefs. The member for Nepean in his eloquent speech, when he spoke to the motion, spoke of the rich, diverse and ancient heritage that underpins Hinduism, including wisdom, traditions, literature, festivals and, as the member noted, most importantly samskaras​, or sacraments, in their homes.

Hinduism is a religious tradition. It is a way of life, or dharma, with a message centred on tolerance, on religious freedom and in universality. Indeed, a Sanskrit phrase found in Hindu texts, when translated into English, means, “the world is one family”. Consistent with this, pluralism is very much inherent in the beliefs of Hindus. These principles, including the pluralism, tolerance and universality that I spoke of, are rooted in the sacred Hindu text, the Rig Veda, which provides that truth is one and sages call it by many names.

Hindus in Canada have a long history, dating back more than 100 years, when a small number of Hindu families came from Punjab. It was not until the 1960s that a larger number of Hindus came to Canada, mostly from northern India. In the 1970s many more Hindus from other parts of the world, including countries in east Africa, Trinidad, Fiji and Guyana came to Canada. Many of those Hindus were fleeing religious discrimination and persecution in their home countries, and I have to say that one of the great things about Canada is that we are a country of religious freedom. Canadians have a right, and indeed it is a fundamental right guaranteed to all Canadians, to peacefully assemble and practise their religion freely. Consistent with that and in that spirit, this motion reflects the cultural and religious pluralism that is Canada.

Today the Hindu community is a vibrant one. It is more than 600,000 people strong and growing. It is a community that is recognized to be peaceful, community-oriented, productive and highly educated.

Hindu Canadians have contributed to virtually all aspects of Canadian society, including technology, science, the arts, law, medicine and politics. Speaking of Hindu Canadians who have contributed politically, I want to acknowledge the member for Nepean. That hon. member came to Canada not many years ago. In 2003 or 2004, he came here, like many Hindu Canadians, as someone who was highly educated, and he brought professional expertise as an executive in high technology. He came to build a better life for himself and his family, to work hard, to give back and to contribute to Canada as a dedicated volunteer in his south Ottawa community. Quite remarkably, in little more than a decade after arriving in Canada, the hon. member was elected to serve the people of Nepean, where he has served over the past seven years, during which time he has made substantive contributions.

I also would be remiss if I did not acknowledge our late former colleague, Deepak Obhrai. Deepak is someone I was fortunate to get to know when I was first elected in 2015, and I served with Deepak until his untimely passing in 2019. Deepak's political career is a storied one. He did many things, including running for the leadership of the Conservative Party. Although he was very much an underdog and, frankly, did not come close to winning, he did contribute in a substantive way to the leadership race and made many contributions to our party, but more than that, he made many contributions in this place, where for 22 years he tirelessly and effectively represented the people of Calgary East and Calgary Forest Lawn. For many years, he served as parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. He represented Canada on the international stage in that capacity.

In closing, let me say that passing this motion and declaring November as Hindu heritage month would rightfully acknowledge the significant contributions of Hindu Canadians. More than that, it would provide a unique platform, an opportunity for Canadians of Hindu heritage to promote their culture and traditions and to tell their stories, the stories of their ancestors that are interwoven into the fabric of Canada.

This House has a long tradition of passing bills and motions that celebrate communities that make up Canada. In that spirit, I hope that this worthy motion receives the unanimous support of the House and that every November we can celebrate Hindu heritage month.

Hindu Heritage MonthPrivate Members' Business

7 p.m.


Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise in support of the motion on Hindu heritage month. Like my colleague from St. Albert—Edmonton, I want to also congratulate and thank our hon. colleague from Nepean. He has worked tirelessly in pursuit of cultural recognition and I want to publicly thank him. Understanding, tolerance and acceptance are what this motion is all about.

Before I get into the crux of my address, I want to begin by mentioning my Ukrainian intern Yuliia Hrabenko. Yuliia, who started with us last May and stayed until the end of the session, was responsible for researching this motion. I know Yuliia is watching from home tonight, and if you will indulge me for a moment, Mr. Speaker, I want to say a few words to her.

I cannot tell members how impactful Yuliia was. It is one thing to see the horror of what is going on in Ukraine on TV, but to speak with someone living it each and ever day, there are no words to express that. She is an incredibly strong woman. I want her to know we are thinking of her. We are thinking of her family. We are praying they are all safe, and we are praying for an immediate end to this Russian aggression.

Yuliia was a valued member of our team. Aside from her daily duties around our office, she offered us a real-time perspective on the war and what was going on back at home. She opened our eyes daily to the atrocities her family, her friends and her country are facing at the bloodstained hands of Vladimir Putin.

I asked Yuliia to help research this motion and I am extremely proud of her efforts and the work she performed. I am extremely proud of the work that she did with us and her work on this motion. I am extremely proud of her. Yuliia is a remarkable young woman.

Acceptance and tolerance in a world torn by conflict is something that we should all strive for. The motion before us, in my mind, embodies what it is to be tolerant. We do not lose ourselves or our traditions when we recognize and celebrate the values and traditions of others.

In a world that has seemed to have lost its way, we need more understanding, we need more education and we need more acceptance. We fear what we do not know. There is so much intolerance. We cannot turn on the news without seeing acts of violence in Ukraine, acts of violence in Iran, acts of violence against the Yazidis and the list goes on.

This violence, while seemingly more prevalent today, is not unique or exclusive to this time. Recent discoveries of mass graves at residential schools across Canada have shown us this. Atrocities committed against the young and defenceless have filled newsfeeds for the last two years. This is unacceptable. There are many Canadians who are just waking up to the fact that residential schools were there to drive the Indian out of those children. Tens of thousands of them went to those schools and many never came home.

How do we ensure that this generation and generations to come understand and know their heritage? My own children are indigenous, but they know very little about their culture. They know very little about their language. They know very little about their history. That is a shame, because the greatest connection to one's heritage should be through one's family.

I have always said, “You'll never know where you're going if you don't understand where you are from.” One of the main reasons we see these daily atrocities is the lack of knowledge, the unwillingness to accept each other's perspectives. This leads to unfathomable forms of intolerance between people. This prejudice lets us believe that our actions have no consequences.

History is rife with examples of intolerance, instances where we have looked the other way because we believe those who are not like us do not matter. The beauty of Canada is our multicultural background. I value the ethnic patchwork that makes our country whole, but we have room to grow. The motion before us today is a perfect example of this.

The addition of Hindu heritage month would only strengthen our union. It would only strengthen our tolerance. It would only strengthen our knowledge. It is an opportunity to celebrate, remember and educate future generations about Hindu Canadian contributions, about the important roles they have played in building our country and about the important roles they continue to play in building our future.

When I think of Hindu Canadians, the first name that comes to mind is my friend, and our former colleague, Deepak Obhrai. Deepak was an MP from Calgary East and then Calgary Forest Lawn, and when the Conservatives formed government, he became parliamentary secretary to the minister of international co-operation and to the minister of foreign affairs. He was the only Hindu Canadian MP running for election at that time. He was an incredible person loved by all in Parliament.

He showed me how one can respect and promote their original heritage while maintaining an incredible love for Canada. Deepak Obhrai was a proud Hindu Canadian who brought Hindu cultural celebrations to Parliament Hill.

When I was first elected in 2015, one of the very first events I visited on the Hill was the Diwali festival organized by Deepak. Diwali is a festival of lights and one of the major holidays celebrated by Hindus every fall. I fell in love with the vibrancy of the event. I was sitting in the front row and felt very proud to celebrate our diverse community and be a part of it. I felt so Canadian at that moment.

Deepak passed away, unfortunately, in 2019. He was a very good friend of mine. Every time I speak to his family, and even now, I tear up because of how kind and dedicated he was. Deepak had so little time to share his culture with us and celebrate his Hindu heritage. Yes, it was a life well lived and a legacy never to be forgotten, but alas, it was a life too brief.

After his death, I decided to take over organizing the national Diwali celebration on Parliament Hill. Since 2019, we have been holding the event on the Hill. Canadians of all ethnicities come to the national Diwali celebration on Parliament Hill because of Deepak. I am so proud to announce we will be hosting the 22nd national Diwali celebration on Parliament Hill on October 26 in the Sir John A. Macdonald Building hall. I hope I will see all my colleagues there.

Deepak showed me a great example of how a leader must invest in his community and work with different communities across the nation. He must be understanding and involved in events that are culturally significant to his constituency and Canadians, regardless of background and religion. Like Deepak, my philosophy is that it does not matter where we come from; we must care for one another. We have a responsibility to support our neighbours, regardless of their background.

Canada is home to more than half a million Hindus. Their contribution to Canada's social and economic fabric is so immense. It was about 110 years ago when the first Hindus migrated to Canada from India and settled in my own province of British Columbia. Today, there are over 2,000 Indo-Canadians who live in my riding of Cariboo—Prince George alone. Many of them represent the vibrant Hindu community of our region. I am always delighted to visit my Hindu friends and be a part of their glorious traditional celebrations.

Canada is also home to some of the largest Hindu temples located outside of India. One of the biggest is the venerable BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Toronto. The mandir is the largest of its kind in Canada and was constructed according to guidelines outlined in ancient Hindu scriptures. The grounds are spread over 18 acres and, in addition to the mandir, include a heritage museum.

The mandir was inaugurated in 2007 in the presence of then prime minister Stephen Harper. In his address that day, Prime Minister Harper said, “The [BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir] will inspire visitors to appreciate how the spiritually diverse, multi-ethnic heritage of indo-Canadians has contributed to the fields of arts, science, education and pluralism.”

Fifteen years later, I cannot agree more with the vision laid out by our then prime minister. We as Conservatives have contributed much toward the evolution of Hinduism in Canada. We are very proud of the contributions and achievements of our Hindu Canadians. It is why I will unequivocally support this motion to make the month of November Hindu heritage month.

There are so many divisions in the world. We should all stand together shoulder to shoulder to celebrate our diversity and learn from each other, because that is how we unite.

I hope all my colleagues will vote in favour of this motion put forward by the hon. member for Nepean.

Hindu Heritage MonthPrivate Members' Business

7:10 p.m.


The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

I recognize the hon. member for Nepean for his right of reply.

Hindu Heritage MonthPrivate Members' Business

7:10 p.m.


Chandra Arya Liberal Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, namaste.

I would like to begin by thanking my colleagues from all political parties for strongly backing the motion to designate November as Hindu heritage month. I am humbled by the support of dozens of organizations across Canada and from thousands of Canadians.

Hindu Canadians are a peaceful, hard-working community. They have made and continue to make significant contributions to Canada’s socio-economic development and cultural heritage. On Hindu heritage, Hindus have an ancient, magnificent and robust inheritance, which they have received from numerous sources: our wisdom traditions, our religious rites and rituals, our literature, the many arts and crafts, our elders, our fairs and festivals and, above all, from the many samskaras or sacraments in our home. That heritage not only gives us a drishti or world view; it also defines our purusharthas or aims of life and equally defines our sanskriti or culture. In short, the Hindu heritage defines our dharma.

What is striking about such an ancient civilization is not only the unbroken tradition of 5,000 years of recorded history but also the plurality or diversity of our tradition. Even in the absence of a monolithic religious dispensation, we Hindus, whether in Canada or anywhere in the world, are connected by an invisible thread that binds us together: the strength of our Hindu heritage.

Our wisdom traditions, which start from the Vedas and then flow into the Upanishads or forest discourses, followed by our puranas or our songs and stories, are philosophically rich and form the foundation of our temple traditions. It is the same vast heritage that informs our costume and cuisine, our habits and behaviour, our arts and crafts. The Hindu heritage does not restrict itself to religious matters: We have a strong aesthetic foundation, which leads to the celebration of saundarya, or what is beautiful.

We celebrate the beautiful in our lived lives through stories and paintings, song and dance, colour and cuisine, festivals and family events. Though ancient, our heritage is alive and growing. It is open to influences from other civilizations and freely adapts and gives to whomever we come in contact with.

Thus it is that for us Hindus, Canada is a comforting and embracing home away from home. For many people in the world, the term “cultural heritage” is still primarily tangible or material cultural heritage. There is a need to recognize, preserve, celebrate and promote the Hindu heritage as defined by UNESCO’s intangible or living cultural heritage. This intangible or living cultural heritage includes oral traditions such as songs and dramatic performances; performing arts, such as vocal and instrumental music and dance; social practices, such as rituals and festivals; traditional knowledge, such as cuisine and medicine; and traditional craftsmanship, such as pottery, metalwork and jewellery.

Proclaiming Hindu heritage month provides an opportunity to remember and celebrate Hindu heritage and the contributions of Hindu-Canadians to our great nation, as well as to educate both current and future generations.

I would like to again thank my colleagues in this House, dozens of organizations across Canada and the thousands of Canadians who have reached out to me in support of this motion. This support is so Canadian, in that people with different political ideologies and people agnostic of any political ideology are all coming together in recognizing and promoting Hindu heritage in Canada.

Hindu Heritage MonthPrivate Members' Business

7:15 p.m.


The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

The question is on the motion.

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

The hon. member for St. Catharines.

Hindu Heritage MonthPrivate Members' Business

7:15 p.m.


Chris Bittle Liberal St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, I request a recorded division.

Hindu Heritage MonthPrivate Members' Business

7:15 p.m.


The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Pursuant to order made on Thursday, June 23, the division stands deferred until Wednesday, September 28, 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.

The EnvironmentAdjournment Proceedings

7:15 p.m.


Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise in Adjournment Proceedings this evening to pursue a question I asked on World Oceans Day. World Oceans Day, June 8, is observed every single year within what is the United Nations' and Canada's Environment Week.

I asked about the impact of the climate crisis on our oceans and whether the government was prepared to take it seriously. Every single second, and I need to repeat that because when we ask questions in 30 seconds in question period it goes rather quickly, every single second of every single minute of every single hour of every single day, every second, the equivalent of seven Hiroshima nuclear bombs' worth of heating is absorbed by our oceans due to our burning of fossil fuels and the destruction of forests, the problem that gets referred to as the climate crisis.

I put forward that we are seeing changes in our ocean currents that are massively dangerous. We are seeing ocean levels rising; the acidity levels are rising in our ocean water, and the oxygen levels in many of our oceans are dropping.

One particular example is the Gulf of St. Lawrence. There are members in this place who have connections to Atlantic Canada. I am a member from British Columbia, but my family is still on Cape Breton Island. The Gulf of St. Lawrence is Canada's most productive marine ecosystem. It provides billions of dollars of wealth to the Atlantic region.

We still have a fishery, despite the collapse of the North Atlantic cod. There is a fishery in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, but the Gulf of St. Lawrence is experiencing rapid deoxygenation and acidification. Why? It is because the Gulf Stream is stalling and the Labrador Current is stalling. What happens is that whereas the Gulf of St. Lawrence used to be refreshed with the colder water from the Labrador Current, which was full of oxygen, the Gulf of St. Lawrence is now being recharged by a stalling, warmer, deoxygenated Gulf Stream.

All of this, of course, points to the fact that the climate crisis is not a manageable issue, like putting some kind of a filter at the end of a tailpipe and keeping on polluting. That is the approach the government has taken. Its so-called solution of net zero by 2050 is nothing but propaganda. As I pointed out to the parliamentary secretary in that debate, net zero by 2050 is not a goal; it is an epitaph.

It is true that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the most eminent scientific and most rigorous process ever invented for any issue, has made it clear that, yes, by 2050 we must be at net zero and we must meet the commitments to hold to as far below 2°C as possible and, if possible, hold to 1.5°C. However, net zero by 2050 is a lie and propaganda, if that is all that is mentioned and it is not mentioned that in order to have it make any difference, the curve of that line starts with a rapid drop. In other words, we must ensure that before 2025, global emissions stop rising and start decreasing. We also must ensure that by 2030, that curve is dropped so fast that it is about half of what it was in 2010, and then it levels out.

I am afraid the human brain rather translates net zero by 2050 as if we have lots of time, but the line does not go gradually. The line must go down sharply, which means that when the government approves Bay du Nord and insists on completing Trans Mountain, it is foreclosing on any hope of holding to a livable world.