Madam Speaker, we have a fixed amount of time to debate a wide spectrum of both domestic and international issues. Today members came in prepared to listen, debate and have an exchange on the issue of the digital charter because Canadians are concerned about this issue. We were going to have literally hours of debate on it. That will not happen because the Conservative Party, under motions, brought forward a report it wants to have a debate on.
Yesterday, Conservatives could have provided ample ideas, thoughts and reflections on the report because we were debating Bill C-41. I do not know if any member made reference to Iran, let alone the report, at all yesterday, but it would have been absolutely relevant to have done so.
What other options do opposition members have? They just had an opposition day. They wanted us to talk about a budgetary measure as opposed to talking about this issue they say is so critically important that it had to be debated today. It could have been debated a couple of days ago when they had an opposition day. They could have designated an entire day to that and had a resolution at the very end of that day, which would have forced a vote on the issue.
This is part of the games Conservative Party members play day in and day out. As the Government of Canada continues to be focused on Canadians and the issues that are important to Canadians, we will continue to tolerate the games being played by the Conservatives. At the same time, we will deal with those international issues that are so critically important to our nation in reflecting true Canadian values.
Last year, Mahsa Amini, a young lady in her early 20s, was in the community in Iran and was picked up by the morality police. It was later said that she had a heart attack and that caused her death. The morality police are not fooling anyone. We know she was abused and beaten, and that is what caused her death.
We understand and we appreciate those true freedom fighters in Iran. They are the brave women of Iran who are standing tall. They are ensuring that individuals like Mahsa are not forgotten and that what she stood for will continue to prevail and will be fought for in Iran. Mahsa inspired the world to mobilize and to recognize that what was taking place was just so wrong.
I would argue that Mahsa is one of the reasons that even members of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration feel the way they do in regard to Iran and what is taking place there today. It motivates individuals like myself and other MPs to stand and be vocal on this issue not only inside the chamber but also throughout our communities.
The motion that came from the standing committee reads:
That the [standing] committee [on citizenship and immigration] report the following to the House: In light of the downing of the Ukrainian International Airlines flight PS 752 by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps—
That is what we often refer to as the IRGC.
—and in light of the killing of Mahsa Amini by the Iranian Guidance Patrol, that the committee demands the government stop issuing visas to all Iranian nationals directly affiliated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard...Iranian Armed Forces, Iranian Guidance Patrol or Iranian Intelligence Organizations and that, pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee request a response to the report by the government.
That response is well under way.
Mahsa encapsulated what is so wrong when we contrast Canadian values to what took place between her and those in the Iranian society who support the regime that is currently in place. We see how wrong it is.
The downing of the Ukrainian airline touched Canada, as I made reference to, in a very profound way and to me, personally. Kourosh is a dear friend whom I have been meeting at the local McDonald's on occasion. He has actually met many parliamentarians because of his former role in the real estate industry. He would make presentations to members of Parliament. Kourosh's wife was on the plane that went down and, like many other victims' families, he faced the horrors of the downing of that plane.
I think it is important that the Prime Minister appointed the former minister of finance Ralph Goodale to investigate the situation. We wanted to ensure a sense of accountability for that tragedy. We also worked with other governments, such as Ukraine, where the flight was headed. It was a Ukrainian international flight.
The effect of the lives of those who passed away on the lives of those here in Canada is so profound. When we look at the achievements of those individuals in a relatively short time span here in Canada, they made incredible contributions. I like to think that members, no matter what side of the House one sits on, along with the broader community that follows what is taking place in Iran virtually on a daily basis, can imagine and provide sympathy for those victims.
Our Iranian community is large and it is very much interested and tuned in to the issue. That is why I take offence when someone in the chamber accuses the government or myself of not having a high priority in regard to this issue because nothing could be further from the truth. The government and its ministers have been following what is taking place in Iran very closely, and it is taking appropriate actions where it can in dealing with the Iranian regime.
Where I challenge opposition members is on the manner in which they feel that they can declare that an issue of urgent importance be used as a tool as opposed to a legitimate debate. The Conservatives will stand up today and reflect on this issue, as opposed to talking about the important domestic issue of the digital charter and the protection of personal information.
I raised that because the Conservatives will criticize the Liberals for not allowing enough time for debate on Bill C-27 if the government needs to bring in any form of time allocation in order to get the bill through. Unfortunately, this issue today is no more a priority for the Conservative Party than it was last week when it completely ignored the issue when it had an opposition day motion.
Today it is only important because it wants to disrupt the government agenda. It is an agenda that deals with personal information on the Internet. It is something I know of first-hand. We are often asked to bring concerns from our constituencies here to Ottawa, and we do believe that within our caucus.
I can assure members that there is a genuine concern about information that is being collected on the Internet. I feel that the Conservatives taking away from that debate today does a disservice to those who are concerned about how the Internet collects data. Bill C-27 should be going to committee at the very least.
All one needs to do is look at the government's agenda. We have a budget this afternoon and there will be budget debates. We have other legislation, and the Conservatives know it is a very aggressive legislative agenda. It will cause us to continue, as we did last night, whether the Conservatives want to or not. As long as there are other parties that understand the importance of having that debate, we will have to sit later.
I want to conclude by talking about the debate on Bill C-41 yesterday. It is substantial legislation that would ensure there is ongoing humanitarian aid to countries like Iran and other countries. It is for those in the Iranian communities to know and understand that the Government of Canada, through its ministries, is following what is taking place in Iran and it is taking actions that will make a difference. We want to keep our Iranian communities not only safe but also feeling safe.