House of Commons Hansard #211 of the 44th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was hybrid.


The House resumed from June 9 consideration of the motion that Bill C-41, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, be read the third time and passed.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

4:05 p.m.


The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Pursuant to order made Thursday, June 23, 2022, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at third reading stage of Bill C-41.

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

Vote #371

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

4:15 p.m.


The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

I declare the motion carried.

(Bill read the third time and passed)

Resignation of MemberRoutine Proceedings

June 12th, 2023 / 4:20 p.m.


Erin O'Toole Conservative Durham, ON

Mr. Speaker, today I rise for the last time in this chamber.

It has been the honour of a lifetime for me to serve Durham in Parliament, my hometowns of Bowmanville and Port Perry, Oshawa and dozens of small towns and hamlets. However, these are just names on signposts. The real honour has been working with and learning from Durham's people—the volunteers, the young people, the civic leaders, the business leaders, indigenous leaders and first responders. It has been a joy to work with them.

I want to start my remarks by thanking my incredibly supportive and patient wife Rebecca. You are my true partner in all things, my rock and my biggest supporter. We dedicated our family to public service, and I think we made a real difference. Thank you; I love you.

I am also incredibly proud of our two children and will retain special memories of my time with them, like running in Stanley Park with Mollie and fishing for crabs on Vancouver Island with Jack. Thank you for serving Canada, and I love you too.

They are here today with my parents and one of my siblings. I want to thank all of my family for your love and support.

I want to thank my political family, my friends and family here in the Conservative caucus, my best friends from the military, from law and from the corporate world. You were with me throughout this journey. How many first-time candidates can say they had Wayne Gretzky show up at their first fundraiser? How many candidates have little platoons of veterans knocking on doors with them in every election? My success is due to you; you know who you are. Thank you very much.

I give a special thanks to my incredibly dedicated staff. The compassion from the number of people who have worked with me over the years in Durham has helped hundreds of families in our community. The incredibly bright women and men who came to work with me in Ottawa in my office as Minister of Veterans Affairs and as the leader of the official opposition often left good jobs in the private sector or elsewhere to take a chance and face immense challenge. You did this because you believed in me and in this country. Thank you. I will never forget your efforts.

I am also incredibly proud of the accomplishments we made together, both in government and in opposition. The last full sitting day of 2012 was when I first entered this chamber. Actually, it was not this chamber, but the real one up the way. I had the pleasure and honour of being escorted in as a by-election winner by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the late Jim Flaherty. Jim Flaherty was a political mentor to me and a colleague of my father's from Queen's Park, and to have my family in the audience that day as I was taking my seat for the first time is a memory I will never forget.

A few months later I had the honour to then work with my friend the hon. member for Abbotsford as his parliamentary secretary for trade, at a time when Canada had its most ambitious trade agenda in history, helping to finalize our free trade agreement with the European Union, travelling to Seoul, South Korea, to help drive home a final deal for our first free trade agreement with Asia, and while in Seoul taking the time to lay a wreath for the hundreds of Canadians who died helping that great country earn its freedom, as well as working with our friends, the United States of America and other countries in the Americas. What an exciting time for a brand new MP.

I will never forget the day I was sworn into cabinet. The memory of Mollie explaining to her three-year-old brother Jack that we were going to Rideau Hall, that it was kind of like the home of the Queen's friend in Canada, and then an hour later seeing Jack, knowing it was the Queen's friend, standing on the couch in his shoes is a memory Rebecca and I will always keep.

What an honour for a Canadian Armed Forces veteran to be able to expand mental health treatments for our veterans, to reduce wait times, to start to win trust back from a generation of Afghanistan war veterans who were already feeling forgotten.

I travelled to more Legions than anyone in Canada at that time, and I can tell the House that I was yelled at in more Legions than anyone in Canada at that time, but sometimes listening, tough talk and humility are ways to start to earn back trust.

From restoring the memory of World War I soldier and MP Sam Sharpe to expanding benefits for veterans and their families to forging friendships with the Equitas veterans who had been suing our government, I gave it my best in the time we had, and I truly believe that we made a real difference.

Getting the chance to serve as leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, the party of Confederation, the party of the bill of rights, of leading the global fight against apartheid, of calling out, at an early time, the aggression of Vladimir Putin—this was the zenith of my time in politics. Given the pandemic, polarization and uncertain prospects at the time, I took that responsibility very seriously, and I do believe that we made a real difference.

I am proud of my team and the work we did for the country on the economy and on innovation, mental health and reconciliation, and I am proud of our values and our interests on the international scene. We have proposed intelligent policies for our future.

It was an honour for me, an anglophone member from Ontario, to honour the Quebec nation and participate in debates on its culture, language and identity. These debates are important to Quebec.

When I was leader, I often said that we must preserve the only francophone nation in North America. There are seven million francophones in Quebec and across the country living in an ocean of nearly 400 million people in North America. We must recognize that that is very special, and we must protect it. It is a patriotic project. It is a truly Canadian project.

I now end my time in this chamber as it began: as the member of Parliament for Durham, as a husband, as a father, as someone who believes deeply in Canada. This is why, in my final moments, in my last time in the chamber, I want to share my thoughts with my fellow parliamentarians

Over a century ago, as war raged in Europe, Prime Minister Borden said this about a Canada coming together to meet the challenges of its age: “In the awful conditions which confront the world today, why should the political future of any individual or the political fortunes of any party stand for one moment across the path of a great national purpose?”

War is again touching Europe and democracy is being strained in many parts of the world. With this in mind, all of us in this chamber must ask ourselves this question: What is our great national purpose at this critical moment in history?

There will be an important counteroffensive from Ukraine in the war this spring, and Canadian soldiers have helped train our friends in the Ukrainian army, but just last week we learned that Canadian soldiers in Latvia were forced to buy their own helmets.

This news came mere weeks after learning that the Prime Minister had told other world leaders that Canada had no intention of paying its fair share in NATO. The country that in Borden’s time secured victory at Vimy Ridge now has its soldiers buying their own kit. The country that helped draft the NATO charter is now saying it is not willing to pay and support it.

This chamber should always ensure that the men and women have the equipment they need to do the job we ask them to do and that our country never wavers from its commitment to peace, security and living up to our word. That should be our national purpose.

There are indigenous youth in Canada who voted for the first time for people here in this chamber, yet some of these Canadians have never been able to drink the water in their communities. It is our job to ensure that every child has access to clean drinking water and a fair chance to succeed in life. That should be part of our national purpose.

It takes a decade to get a pipeline built to tidewater in this country, and two decades to get a mine into operation. Canada has been slowing down at a time when the world is asking us to speed up. Getting Canadian resources to global markets, both for our economy and for our environment, should be our shared national purpose.

There are many challenges facing Canada at this time, but there are also incredible opportunities waiting to be seized. However, that is not happening today. Instead of leading, instead of debating our national purpose in this chamber, too many of us are often chasing algorithms down a sinkhole of diversion and division. We are becoming elected officials who judge our self-worth by how many likes we get on social media, but not how many lives we change in the real world. Performance politics is fuelling polarization, virtue signalling is replacing discussion, and far too often we are just using this chamber to generate clips, not to start national debates.

Social media did not build this great country, but it is starting to tear its democracy down. If we are not careful, there will soon be a generation of young voters who have never even heard a point of view different from their own. I fear that ignorance of the views of others will slowly transform into a dislike of others, and we can see that starting to happen.

Canada is a frontier country. We were built on the strength of the fur trade, a country where going hunting with our grandfather or an elder is as quintessentially Canadian as the backyard hockey rink, but today hunters are often demonized as a threat to society by politicians who know that this is not true. Whole rural swaths of our country are being held up as the problem, just to secure a few political points in the suburbs.

We are a country that sent our citizens far from our shores several times to fight for liberty alongside other countries in multilateral efforts. Canadian diplomats, including a future prime minister, helped draft the agreements built on that sacrifice to give us decades of peace and security, creating NATO, the United Nations and the Commonwealth, but today, too often, we are allowing conspiracy theories about the UN or the World Economic Forum to go unchallenged, or we attribute sinister motives to these organizations or people in a way that is simply not true or not fair. If we do this more, we are allowing others to define the debate for us and we risk allowing others to set the course for this country, because too many members on all sides of this chamber—and from time to time I have been guilty of it myself—are becoming followers of our followers when we should be leaders.

One member from the other side of the House told me that they no longer speak to their brother because of the divisive nature of the vaccine debates in the last election. Canadian families are, in some cases, finding it difficult to talk to each other about important issues. If we ever want to change this and begin to have respectful and serious discussions again, that change needs to start right here in Canada's House of Commons.

Why should the political future of any single member of the chamber or the electoral success of any one party stand in the way of our unity and of the prosperity we want to give to our children? Preserving these things and rising to meet the unique challenges facing Canada and the world today needs to be our national purpose.

As members of Parliament, we must always put the country first. We must lead and not just follow. We must strive to inspire and be careful not to incite. We must debate with insightful reason and not just tweet out of frustration. If we do not, decades in the future, Canadians will point to the current Parliament as the time when our national decline first began. However, I say to my colleagues that I do not think that will happen. I am an optimist, and I hope all members reflect on some of these things over the summer, because I believe that Canada’s best days are actually ahead of us. I believe in this great country and its people, and I believe in each of my friends. It has been an honour to serve with them.

Resignation of MemberRoutine Proceedings

4:35 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker Conservative Chris d'Entremont

I want to thank my good friend from Durham. I believe there are a few other comments to be had.

Resignation of MemberRoutine Proceedings

4:35 p.m.

Ajax Ontario


Mark Holland LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to rise today to speak about a neighbour and long-time colleague, a friend who, while we disagree vociferously on many different issues, always had the interests of Durham and his country in his heart. I want to start by thanking the member for Durham for his service to Durham, to our community and to our country.

We do not often enough rise in our place to recognize the contribution that people who have different opinions from us make. When the member for Durham talks about the darkness that is casting a shadow over this world right now, it is remarkable that we live in a country where, when we say goodbye to one another and thank one another for our service, we can recognize that which is good in the other person. We can recognize that the debate we have, the differences we have and the ways we exchange those differences in this place, is what makes Canada so very special and is at the core of much of what the member talked about.

I had the opportunity to meet the member for Durham in a way that is most fitting: out giving back to the community. This was well before he was in elected office. He was giving to charity, active in his community, involved in the legion and involved in any important cause. He was somebody who, like John, his father before him, served our community admirably. I knew I could go to him and have a conversation about what mattered for our community and where we needed to put aside partisan differences. The member for Durham did not just serve the House or serve his community as a volunteer; he also served in the military, where he went as far as becoming a captain. He put his life on the line for our country, which is something we are profoundly grateful for.

He was also a lawyer and, as mentioned, a minister of the Crown, which is a remarkable accomplishment. It is one that I know he holds deep in his heart. I want to talk about that and what he did, partnering with Senator Roméo Dallaire, to raise awareness for Samuel Sharpe, not only with the memorial here, but also with the memorial in Uxbridge, really bringing attention to the issue of mental health in our armed services generally. That was something he took from his time serving in the military and attacked with great passion in his time as a cabinet minister. It is something I am deeply appreciative of, and it is a conversation we have to continue.

He also had a real sense of fun and was somebody who was up for the challenge of doing something different. I was just talking to the Minister of Families. When she was the minister of democratic institutions, there was an event most of us attend called Politics and the Pen. He was asked to dance publicly, which is something he had never done before. He was there doing a 1940s-style swing dance. He did it because he wanted to help out. I do not know that I am big enough to put myself on display like that and dance publicly, but he did, for something he cared about.

Most of all, as members heard in the member for Durham's speech, he is first and foremost a father to Mollie and Jack, a husband to Rebecca, and a son to John, whom I know well so I mention him specifically. He is somebody who has really had family at the centre of his life. As somebody who knows deeply the sacrifice of public life, I want to say to the member's family that I thank them for their sacrifice so he could be shared in this place and so he could share his voice and his service. I cannot imagine the level of sacrifice needed and the level of scrutiny one goes through when one is the leader of a party. I do think we have to pay particular respect to those who would step forward into the space of leadership, particularly in this time. The member talked about the destructive power of social media and the nastiness that is going around. There is not a member of the House who is not subject to it. There is not one of us who has not had to look at something and have it strike us in our heart as being deeply cruel and mean. To have his family subjected to that as well is incredibly difficult.

He stood and fought for what he believed in. We have a democracy that we can thank for that. Perhaps, that is something we can be called to in this moment when we talk about former prime minister Robert Borden's call to a greater purpose.

That greater purpose is our democracy. It is the respect we show for one another, that, as we have debates and differences, we recognize that those differences are so small compared to the love we have for this country and the love we have for serving our community. In our words and in our differences of policy, the member for Durham and I had very vigorous debates and disagreements, but in one another's eyes we see a love for our community, a love for our country and a desire to serve.

I thank the member for Durham for his service to this place and to our country. I wish him every success in the days ahead.

Resignation of MemberRoutine Proceedings

4:40 p.m.

Carleton Ontario


Pierre Poilievre ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in praise of a life of service to Canada. The member for Durham is a Canadian first, and a Canadian servant above all.

He started his adult life at military college. He went through law school and had a successful career in law, but then, instead of turning that success simply into personal riches for himself, he turned it into generosity towards others. He became known for his commitment to philanthropy and volunteer work, sitting on the board of True Patriot Love Foundation, where he raised countless dollars to help wounded veterans. This was something already close to his heart because, of course, he himself had served in the armed forces. It was in the forces that he learned about loyalty, discipline, planning and strategy, which are all qualities that he would put to successful use in his service toward others.

He would go on to follow in his father's footsteps, with his father, John, having been a very respected member of provincial Parliament, acting as a great mentor to his son. The member for Durham would present himself in a by-election, and I think we can all agree he was someone who was elected locally not on a party brand but on his personal notoriety around the community. People of places, streets, community halls and coffee shops he had frequented since childhood came out in droves to elect him to be their servant in this place. After being elected, he would make great sacrifices, for which I not only thank him but also want to thank his wife, Rebecca; his daughter, Mollie; and his son, Jack, who had to spend weekends and often evenings without him as he was travelling on the road.

He was very quickly elevated to minister of the Crown. In fact, he was in cabinet with lightning speed as then prime minister Harper recognized his ability, his knowledge and his prior experience, making him minister of veterans affairs. This was a difficult time in that portfolio because Canada was grappling with a new generation of veterans. We had, prior to then, all known of the great veterans of the Second World War, of the Korean War and of peacekeeping and other missions throughout the latter half of the 20th century. However, for the first time in a very long time, we were dealing with the new challenges of young men and women who had served on the battlefield in an extremely dangerous and violent place, southern Afghanistan, and who were coming home with new problems with which we were not yet equipped to deal. The member's role was to transform and modernize programs so they could serve those veterans who had suffered so greatly and whose needs were so grand.

I remember the time when he was minister and he would be on the road, up until late at night and sitting in a legion hall, hearing the concerns and sometimes even the complaints of military veterans who were feeling strangled by a bureaucratic program or that they were not getting a prompt response to their concern, and to deal with others who were there to say thanks for the excellent service that the member had managed to turn around in his, at that time, very short time as the veterans affairs minister. I remember the stories of him being up late at night on those famous Facebook chat groups, which he described as the virtual legion hall. He would sit in front of his computer until 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning. Veterans who were up late as well could ping questions and comments, complaints and suggestions off him, and he would respond personally, not through staff, and in real time, sitting, I imagine, in his family living room in darkness but for that screen glowing on his face. In these moments, we saw a true public servant.

The member would go on to run two very impressive leadership campaigns, one of them successful and by which he became leader of, at that time, Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition and of the Conservative Party of Canada. He ran a spirited election campaign in very difficult circumstances, constrained by a pandemic that prevented the normal human interaction that typifies election campaigns. However, he came through it and remains a statesman in our party.

He has loyally served the people in his community and the people of Canada. We know that wherever he goes, whatever chapter he decides to write in his life, one thing is for sure, and that is that it will be consistent with the life of service that has personified everything he has done to date. I look forward to watching that service and learning from his wisdom and experience.

On behalf of His Majesty's loyal opposition, all Conservatives, and I think I could say all Canadians, we thank the member for his incredible service. If I could be allowed, I will break the Standing Orders to say, “Thank you, Erin O'Toole.” I thank the entire O'Toole family. The nation is deeply grateful, and we will always be in their debt.

Resignation of MemberRoutine Proceedings

4:45 p.m.


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

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to honour the member for Durham. I had the pleasure of getting to know him more personally during a mission to Washington in May 2022. We had a great time chatting over glasses of wine and beer during an embassy reception and later at a wonderful restaurant, the Old Ebbitt Grill, which is an institution in Washington. I highly recommend it to all members heading to Washington.

Before that, I only knew him politically. I must admit that he annoyed me during the 2021 election campaign because he came to visit my riding often. He wanted to win it, so he kept visiting to show support for his candidate. At one point, he promised $7 million to create an agri-food research and development centre. I am sure members can imagine how well this idea went over in Saint‑Hyacinthe. I did not feel much affection for the member for Durham when he proposed that. Democracy is democracy, of course.

I am forced to admit that the departure of the member for Durham clearly marks the end of an era. For him, it is the end of a decade as a member serving his constituents, first and foremost, and as minister of veterans affairs, the position he held under the former Harper government.

However, it is probably not the end of his public service or his service to people in general. I recently ran into him on the outside, and he told me what field he would be working in. I will no doubt have to work with him again. As he lives in Ottawa, we will be able to go back to our old habit of chatting over a beer. We may not be able to change the world that way, but we might make progress on some issues.

As everyone knows, he previously served in the armed forces. Let us be honest, the member seems both too young to retire and maybe too old to change his deep-rooted nature. People are saying that he has not left public service and never will. I am convinced that public service will catch up with him at some point, no matter what field he goes into.

His departure marks the end of a certain era for the Conservative Party. He was elected leader in 2020 ahead of a general election that would take place on September 20, 2021. I was listening to his speech earlier and that reminded me of another speech, his first in the House as opposition leader in September 2020. As we say back home, it was long but good.

I remember that even though his vision for Canada's future was obviously incompatible with our vision for Quebec's future, and even though we disagreed with some of his public policies, I recognized those he was speaking to. He was talking to the people. We all remember the famous contract with Quebec he proposed during the 2021 campaign—he is giving me a thumbs-up. That famous contract did not get signed in the end, but not for a lack of understanding of the differences that characterize Quebeckers nor for highlighting commonalities that could have proved promising. He even repeated that in his speech just now.

Although his choice of themes did not necessarily align with the Bloc Québécois's priorities, we must admit that on some issues, such as the need to stand up to China, he was ahead of many people here in the House. I congratulate the member for Durham for that.

Let us look back at his first speech as leader of the opposition in 2020. We realized right away that we were in for some really great debates and that the bar was being set pretty high, because we were dealing with such a fine political opponent.

A lot of water has passed under the bridge since then, perhaps even a torrent, the hon. member might say. Through it all, the member for Durham has remained unchanged, as he demonstrated just a few days ago in his speech on Chinese interference, which targeted him directly. He spoke eloquently and had the decency and the statesmanship that he was obviously proud to uphold.

Indeed, many Hill commentators have commended his speech and how he managed to rise above the fray. Some even called it the best plea for an independent public inquiry. Ultimately, what we will remember about this member's time in politics is that he was able to put his country before his party, that he was concerned about the future of all his fellow Canadians, and that he was as humble about the importance of the elected role as he was uncompromising when it came to protecting democracy. Simply put, he is a good and decent man.

On behalf of the Bloc Québécois, I would like to thank the member for Durham for his years of service in the House of Commons. His party will miss him. For some people, it may take a little longer to miss him, but they will eventually miss him, too.

He will be missed in the House and certainly by his constituents, although we know he will not be too far away. We wish him all the best in his future challenges. I say to him thank you and congratulations.

Resignation of MemberRoutine Proceedings

4:50 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker Conservative Chris d'Entremont

It is my duty pursuant to Standing Order 38 to inform the House that the question to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment is as follows: the hon. member for Calgary Centre, Taxation.

Resignation of MemberRoutine Proceedings

4:55 p.m.


Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise to pay some words of tribute to the member of Parliament for Durham, who I first encountered when I was a newly minted MP. The member for Durham was his party's critic at the time for Bill C-7, which had to do with RCMP collective bargaining.

It was my first assignment on a bill. I sat in on the public safety committee, and I have to say that debating that bill with the member for Durham gave me an unrealistic expectation about debate in this place because it was principled, sophisticated and well executed. Even though we did not agree on all of the points of that bill and, in fact, disagreed on many of them, he carried out parliamentary debate in the style I thought was appropriate. Things got so downright collegial that it earned him a quote in one of my very first householders. It was not an authorized quote, but it was on the public record, so it was fair game. Now that he is leaving public life, I feel it is time to reciprocate, so I may have a few nice things to say.

That relationship further developed later in the 42nd Parliament when I had the honour of sitting in on a study of Canadian sovereignty in the north. We were able to travel to northern Canada together. That was a great trip in its own right and I learned a lot, but one of the things I really enjoyed about that trip was the opportunity to get to know the member for Durham better and to discuss some of the issues of the day in a less public forum. That was certainly a pleasure.

One of the lessons of that experience for me, and for the folks who looked at that report or the joint all-party press conference we did at the end of that study, was that it was a fine example of when parliamentarians, who come from different political movements with different ideas about where the country should head, roll up their sleeves and immerse themselves in the study of an important issue together, they can find ways to find common ground instead of just finding ways to wedge and divide. That report showed nicely how the priorities of maintaining Canada's sovereignty in the north and some of the military components of that can dovetail nicely, with an emphasis on investing in the people of the north and making sure that their needs are met. I was very proud of the work that we all did together to make that case to Parliament and, more widely, to Canadians.

As I say, one of the great contributions, which was demonstrated later when the member for Durham became leader of the Conservative Party, was his ability to state differences of opinion in a principled way and in a way that promoted the kind of debate that Canadians want from their politicians. They do not need to see us agree on everything all the time or to cover over important differences, but to explore them in ways that are far more constructive than we sometimes explore those differences in this place.

He talked earlier about the tendency toward division that we are witnessing in politics right now and the dangers of performance politics. I think we can say with hindsight that the member for Durham exhibited a refreshing lack of demagoguery in the way that he presented the Conservative position, and for that I am grateful, as I know many Canadians are. There are a lot of lessons for all of us to learn in how we carry ourselves in public debate.

I know that can be a difficult thing to do, not just for members themselves but especially their families, so I too want to add my voice to the chorus of thanks to Rebecca, Mollie and Jack, who supported their husband and father through this journey. I thank, on behalf of New Democrats, the member for Durham for his service in this place, and I offer my well wishes for what awaits him as he exits public life.

Resignation of MemberRoutine Proceedings

4:55 p.m.


Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise in this place to add the voice of the Green caucus in saying farewell to the hon. member for Durham, and he exemplifies the term an honourable member.

There are a lot of my colleagues in this place. If I were asked when I first met, for example, the hon. member for Elmwood—Transcona, who just spoke, I cannot remember the first time we met. We have known each other forever. When was the first time? How would we know? The same thing applies to many friends around this place.

However, I remember, and the hon. member for Durham knows this, with crystal-clear clarity, the moment we met. It was right after his election in the 2012 by-election, and he won me over forever. He came up to me and said, “I want to say hi. I went to Dal law school too.”

Those of us who went to Dalhousie law school hold that in common, although, not that I need to mention it, the member for Durham did graduate 20 years after me. Therefore, we were not classmates, although we would have had fun if we had been.

I also want to add my thanks to Rebecca, Mollie and Jack. They will probably remember a candid and fun moment we all had together at the Billy Bishop Airport. There is nothing like making friends across party lines and truly meaning it.

The hon. member for Durham has stood for what I think is the best about this place and the best of being Canadian, which is to be able to disagree without being disagreeable. He has conducted himself in this place with the gravitas that comes with being a party leader and with speaking across party lines, while, again, having differences but not descending into what he mentioned in his speech, and I appreciated it, which is the business of manipulating algorithms. No one could accuse the hon. member for Durham of being interested in rage farming.

I will end here, because we have had a lot of speeches and I think the whole family is probably keen to get going and do something more fun. I hope the rest of their lives together will be more fun, that they have time to be together as family. I hope he can continue to contribute to our country and the life of it, as he has done in the military and as he has done in this place. The country and those of us appreciate the way in which he has conducted himself in politics. We will all be able to reflect that the time together as family, and the good times, is well deserved and well received.

God bless you and thank you.

Resignation of MemberRoutine Proceedings

5 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker Conservative Chris d'Entremont

Before we close, I will use a bit of the Speakers' prerogative as well.

Knowing the member for Durham and Rebecca for probably close to 20-some years now, I have been honoured to work with him and alongside him. I thank him for his service on behalf of the House of Commons. I hope he does not go too far; Canada still needs him. We do hope he comes to visit us on occasion and keeps us up to date on what is going on, because his friendship is always very important to many of us. This is for Mollie, Jack and Rebecca as well.

I thank you very much.

Alleged Intimidation of MemberPrivilegeRoutine Proceedings

5:05 p.m.


Frank Caputo Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, ordinarily I often start my speeches with it is a pleasure to rise on behalf of the people for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo. However, I am not going to say that today, because this is not something I relish, frankly, having to rise on a question of privilege.

I am rising on a question of privilege concerning an effort by the Attorney General of Canada to retaliate against me, in my eyes, or in the lexicon of parliamentary privilege, to intimidate me for sharing and supporting my party's position that the toxic mix of overlapping conflicts of interest involving the former special rapporteur required the calling of a public inquiry and his dismissal, as was voted on by our House.

During Thursday afternoon's question period, my colleague, the hon. member for Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, asked this question at 2:46 p.m.:

Mr. Speaker, it seems to be a comprehension issue for the minister. The question is about levels of conflict of interest with the government. We have the Prime Minister, who hired his friend, paying him $1,500 a day. That friend then hired Liberals. He hired Frank Iacobucci, from the Trudeau Foundation. He hired Liberal insiders, such as Sheila Block, and now we have this rapporteur, who is taking the same communications advice as the member for Don Valley North is getting. It is conflict of interest after conflict of interest.

Fire the rapporteur. Call a public inquiry. Will the Liberals do it today?

I pause here to note that the member for Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes asked another question but it was not related to Justice Iacobucci in any way.

I stood along with many of my colleagues to applaud that question, as I agreed that there should be a public inquiry called. It zeroed in on a genuine issue of foreign interference that our nation was currently dealing with. Of course, since Thursday things have changed now with Mr. Johnston's resignation.

I now return to the events of Thursday. The Attorney General sent me an email stamped at 2:49 p.m., and I note that my recollection is that the member for Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes spoke at 2:46 p.m., so it was three minutes later. It said, “See you clapping on attacks on Frank Iacobucci's Integrity. I will let the community know.” This was not a situation wherein the hon. Attorney General spoke to me privately after question period or sent me a note asking to chat. It was not a casual text or even a note signed with his initials or his first name. It was simply a signature block that said this was from the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada. Typically, obviously in the House, I will speak with anybody at any time when appropriate.

The message might sound innocuous enough, but I worry and I do not take it that way. I reacted to a question put forward by one of my colleagues. The Attorney General said that he would take action by letting the community know. Therefore, the question I have is: What action and to whom? The community in question is presumably the legal community. We are obviously both from legal backgrounds. It does not matter whether he was referring to the legal community, the Italian community or my home community of Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo.

I have two law degrees. I was trained as a lawyer and I currently have a non-practising status with the Law Society of British Columbia. I served and was proud to serve the people of British Columbia as a former Crown prosecutor, and, like the Attorney General, I taught at a law school. I tried to teach students to weave ethics into their everyday decision-making as a lawyer. I believe that this is our role as lawyers. I know that the House of Commons is different and sometimes we will do things differently here, but it was something I really did strive to do, and that was the feedback I did receive from my students. I hope and presume that the Attorney General did the same when he taught students in his prior career.

What is this about? I take this to be about reputation. The Attorney General did not like that I clapped in response to a question. He said that he would let the community know, presumably the legal community.

I pause here to note that a lawyer's reputation is really everything. I may go back to the practice of law. I am still a non-practising member. I am less than 44 years old. There is a lot of time left in my career.

I have therefore concluded that the Attorney General communicated that my reputation would be damaged and that he would be the communicator of the information to do so.

This is problematic on two levels. First, there is an issue of parliamentary privilege, which I am raising now to you, Mr. Speaker. Second, in my view, the Attorney General got this wrong. The question did not question or impugn the reputation of Justice Iacobucci. I will be very clear. It called on him as a member of the Trudeau Foundation, which I understand to be a fact. I do not know Justice Iacobucci. I have never met Justice Iacobucci. I have always respected Justice Iacobucci.

We cannot forget the dynamic here. The Attorney General is a third-term parliamentarian. He has been a minister of the Crown for longer than I have been elected. He decides serious justice matters. He makes all federal judicial appointments. He is senior to me at the bar by nearly two decades. This is my first mandate. My party is not in government.

To be direct, this is the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and he is telling a non-governmental MP that he will take action to diminish another member's reputation in the community. Surely he is aware, or should be aware, that his word as Attorney General will have significant weight. That is a problem on many levels. This behaviour, I respectfully put forward to you, Mr. Speaker, is a misuse of his office as the country's top lawyer.

House of Commons Procedure and Practice, third edition, states, at page 107:

In order to fulfill their parliamentary duties, Members should be able to go about their parliamentary business undisturbed.... Any form of intimidation of a Member with respect to the Member’s actions during a proceeding in Parliament could amount to contempt.

This is a long-standing and well-established principle in the law of parliamentary privilege, tracing its roots back to an April 12, 1733 resolution in the British House of Commons:

That the assaulting, or insulting, or menacing any Member of this House in his coming to, or going from the House, or upon the account of his behaviour in Parliament, is a high infringement of the Privileges of this House, a most outrageous and dangerous violation of the rights of Parliament, and a high crime and misdemeanour.

Bosc and Gagnon observed, at page 109:

In order to find a prima facie breach of privilege, the Speaker must be satisfied that there is evidence to support the Member’s claim that he or she has been impeded in the performance of his or her parliamentary functions and that the matter is directly related to a proceeding in Parliament.

Here are the words endorsed by the Speaker in a landmark ruling on May 8, 2023. He endorsed, as I understand it, the words of Speaker Lamoureux at page 6709 of Debates on September 19, 1973, who said:

I have no hesitation in reaffirming the principle that parliamentary privilege includes the right of a member to discharge his responsibilities as a member of the House free from threats or attempts at intimidation.

Meanwhile, on May 1, 1986, Speaker Bosley held, at page 12847 of Debates:

If an Hon. Member is impeded or obstructed in the performance of his or her parliamentary duties through threats, intimidation, bribery attempts or other improper behaviour, such a case would fall within the limits of parliamentary privilege.

Bosc and Gagnon explain at pages 81 and 82:

The House of Commons enjoys very wide latitude in maintaining its dignity and authority through the exercise of its contempt power. In other words, the House may consider any misconduct to be contempt and may deal with it accordingly.... This area of parliamentary law is therefore extremely fluid and most valuable for the Commons to be able to meet novel situations.

Throughout the Commonwealth most procedural authorities hold that contempts, as opposed to privileges, cannot be enumerated or categorized.... The United Kingdom Joint Committee on Parliamentary Privilege attempted to provide a list of some types of contempt in its 1999 report....

assaulting, threatening, obstructing or intimidating a Member or officer of the House in the discharge of their duties....

assaulting, threatening or disadvantaging a Member, or a former Member, on account of the Member's conduct in Parliament....

While I hope to enjoy my electors' confidence for many years to come, I am also young enough that I could find myself practising law before I retire, or even by choice after retirement from the House or after any election that could come. That is the case for anybody here in this place. Remaining in good standing within the legal community is central to that potential path. An attack on my integrity impedes me as a parliamentarian, as a future practising lawyer and as a non-practising lawyer at this time.

It is my view that the House must take a firm stance against actions like this, and as the defender of the House's rights and privileges, it falls to you, Mr. Speaker, to signal that this kind of conduct among hon. members or by the hon. Attorney General will never be tolerated.

I do not relish this one bit. I never thought I would have to rise on a point of privilege. I certainly do not enjoy doing this, but this email struck me and I felt it was inappropriate.

If you agree with me, I am prepared to move an appropriate motion.

Alleged Intimidation of MemberPrivilegeRoutine Proceedings

5:20 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker Conservative Chris d'Entremont

We have a couple comments on this.

The hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader.

Alleged Intimidation of MemberPrivilegeRoutine Proceedings

5:20 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba


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

Mr. Speaker, right offhand, I categorically deny what the member is trying to imply with his statement. However, I will take note of what the member has said and then come back to the House.

If we are going to continue to have this discussion, members should be better focused on what the privilege is.

Alleged Intimidation of MemberPrivilegeRoutine Proceedings

5:20 p.m.


Kerry-Lynne Findlay Conservative South Surrey—White Rock, BC

Mr. Speaker, there is no implication here. It is very clear what happened. I happened to be sitting beside the member when he received that text, in real time, from the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada.

He is a member of the law society of British Columbia, as am I, and we both had legal careers before being in this place and may after. As the member mentioned, there was a time when I was not re-elected to this place, in 2015, and returned to my profession. I then came back again in the subsequent 2019 election.

If a member of the law society or a member of the legal profession does not have their integrity and reputation, they have very little. These things, for a member of Parliament, are extremely important. They are also extremely important for a member of the legal profession and for members of their respective law societies.

In my case, I am a King's Counsel. I have also been a minister of the Crown. I understand the duties of a minister of the Crown, and I very much understand the duties of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, having been a parliamentary secretary of justice myself and understanding that the Attorney General of Canada is the most prominent position that a lawyer can hold in this country.

To uphold the integrity of that office must also be about treating other members of the House as honourable members. To even contemplate that the Attorney General of Canada would threaten the reputation of an hon. member of this place, knowing that it would not just reach this place but could reach into the outer profession and into his life following his time in this place and during his time in this place, is egregious.

The member opposite suggests that this is not what the message says. I have read it and have read the email in real time when sitting next next to the member. My reaction was exactly his: The Attorney General of Canada is threatening to harm the reputation of a sitting member of the House because he stood in his place and clapped for a member of his caucus during question period.

This is a fettering of his privilege. This is a fettering of his ability to vote and express himself in this place as a member of Parliament. It is not implied. It is explicit and is beneath the dignity of the Attorney General of Canada. It should be sanctioned.

Alleged Intimidation of MemberPrivilegeRoutine Proceedings

5:20 p.m.


Andrew Scheer Conservative Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, I just want to add a few brief comments to my colleague's intervention, because it is very important to underscore the way this message was transmitted to my colleague.

We have all been in the House when people say things after emotions get the better of them, and we might chalk something like that up to a heat-of-the-moment exchange. However, what the Minister of Justice did was write a message intimating a threat to my colleague's reputation and his standing in the legal community and then sign his full signature block to it. In other words, it was not just a message from one colleague to another or from one opposing side to another. This was a message delivered by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada. That was at the bottom of the email. The minister was exercising an action with his Attorney General hat on. That was him in his office as Attorney General, the highest legal office in the land, and as Minister of Justice.

That is the context in which it was sent. It was an official communication from the member, acting in his capacity as Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada. However, do not take my word for it. We will table the email so the Chair can see what was said and understand the point we are making.

I want to make a comparison, if I could. Imagine a similar scenario. We have members of this House who, before they were elected, were in the armed forces. Some of them may have intentions to go back to the armed forces. We have a colleague who is a reservist. Imagine the Minister of National Defence writing, in the capacity of Minister of National Defence, a similar message to a member saying they saw their actions in QP or they noticed something and are going to make sure the rest of the member's fellow servicemen and servicewomen know what they just did, or saying that based on what was done, they are going to make sure the member's regiment understands what just happened, doing so as Minister of National Defence. It is egregious. That is the context in which we are raising this point.

I also want to make the point that in Canada, these threats of disciplinary action are increasingly becoming the fashionable way of imposing political uniformity and enforcing political viewpoints within the country's self-governing professions. Members of the Ontario bar have, over the past half-decade, been having a back-and-forth battle about whether to oblige lawyers to adopt statements of principles, whereby they must profess to hold certain beliefs, whether or not they actually do, the failure of which would lead to disciplinary hearings. We all know what is happening to well-known commentator Jordan Peterson, who is defending against disciplinary proceedings with the College of Psychologists of Ontario for, among other things, re-tweeting the words of the Leader of the Opposition and posting criticism of the Prime Minister's former principal secretary, Gerald Butts.

However, let us not mistake the power and gravity of an attorney general's efforts to stir up a disciplinary complaint from within the legal community. An attorney general is not just some random person, a random lawyer or even a random Liberal off the street who might muse about such things. Any lawyer who aspires to a judicial appointment to a superior court, the Federal Court, a court of appeal or even the Supreme Court of Canada must have the favourable recommendation of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada to advance through the cabinet appointment process.

I just want to add a couple of points. Paragraph 15.14 of Erskine May, 25th edition, says:

To molest Members on account of their conduct in Parliament is also a contempt.... [T]hreatening a Member with the possibility of a trial at some future time for a question asked in the House...or proposing to visit a pecuniary loss on them on account of conduct in Parliament have all been considered contempts....

To attempt to intimidate a Member in their parliamentary conduct by threats is also a contempt, cognate to those mentioned above. Actions of this character which have been proceeded against include impugning the conduct of Members and threatening them with further exposure if they took part in debates... [and] summoning a Member to a disciplinary hearing of their trade union in consequence of a vote given in the House....

It is a well-established principle that witnesses appearing before parliamentary committees largely enjoy the same privileges as members. The jurisprudence concerning witnesses threatened for their participation at committees would also be relevant to consider in the circumstance. Indeed, in our own House, Mr. Speaker Fraser, on December 4, 1992, at page 14631 of the Debates, found a prima facie case of privilege after the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation threatened a witness with a lawsuit concerning the evidence she gave to a subcommittee.

Erskine May, 25th edition, meanwhile, explains at paragraph 15.21:

On the same principle, molestation of or threats against those who have previously given evidence before either House or a committee will be treated by the House concerned as a contempt.... Such actions have included...censure, punishment or dismissal by an employer.

In relation to that latter proposition, I would refer the Chair to paragraph 40 of the fifth report, in the 2003-04 session, of the U.K. House of Commons Committee of Privileges, which states:

We do not accept Mr Hewson's evidence that Ms Weleminsky's evidence to the Constitutional Affairs Committee was not ‘the final straw’. Mr Hewson, with the active encouragement of the majority of his Board, sought to initiate the formal disciplinary process against Ms Weleminsky after the 17 June Board meeting as a result of the evidence she gave to the Constitutional Affairs Committee. We do not believe that a code of conduct or Board rules can override the rights and obligations of witnesses to select committees, a view in which we understand the Attorney General concurs. Mr Hewson’s attempt to ‘call Ms Weleminsky to account’ for the evidence she gave was, in our view, a contempt of the House.

I would argue that the justice minister's intention is patently clear. Disciplinary proceedings will be encouraged to be brought against my colleague because he dared to speak out about or show support for the Conservative Party's position that the Liberal government's special rapporteur process was a monstrosity of compounding conflicts of interest.

The House must take a firm stance against egregious actions like this. As the defender of the House's rights and privileges, it falls to you, Mr. Speaker, to signal that this kind of conduct will never be tolerated here among hon. members.

I thank you very much for considering the opposition's points on this.

Alleged Intimidation of MemberPrivilegeRoutine Proceedings

5:30 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker Conservative Chris d'Entremont

I thank hon. members for bringing this issue forward. We will be reviewing it closely and getting back to the House as soon as possible on the findings of our review.

Also, as a quick reminder, when presenting a question of privilege, members should stick to the facts as much as possible to keep it as short as possible.

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

5:30 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, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8)(a), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 32 petitions. These will be tabled in an electronic format.

Citizenship and ImmigrationCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

5:30 p.m.


Fayçal El-Khoury Liberal Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 17th report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration relating to Bill S-245, an act to amend the Citizenship Act (granting citizenship to certain Canadians). The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report the bill back to the House with amendments.

Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with DisabilitiesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

5:30 p.m.


Bobby Morrissey Liberal Egmont, PE

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 11th report of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, entitled “National Housing Strategy”.

I would like at this time to acknowledge and thank the clerk and the analysts of the committee for preparing the report and attached copies.

Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.

Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with DisabilitiesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

5:30 p.m.


Scott Aitchison Conservative Parry Sound—Muskoka, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on behalf of the Conservative members of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities to table a dissenting report to the main report of the committee with respect to the national housing strategy.

We all know that when the national housing strategy was presented by the government some years ago, it was described as a transformational plan. Of course, we all know that despite that and the work of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, rents have doubled and mortgages have doubled. This has driven Canada to a high risk of mortgage defaults and has allowed the number of persons experiencing homelessness to grow significantly.

Conservative members also wish to highlight that the person ultimately responsible for these failures of the CMHC is the Minister of Housing, along with the government. He is responsible for the massive increase in the government fees the CMHC has just introduced on multi-unit residential housing. He is responsible for the complex paperwork that stalls so many applications. He is responsible for the crisis that is unfolding today.

Justice and Human RightsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

5:30 p.m.


Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Madam Speaker, I move that the 12th report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, presented to the House on Monday, June 5, 2023, be concurred in.

It is a pleasure for me to rise to be able to speak to this important committee report, which deals with the House's ongoing condemnation of the Taliban for its horrific violence against the Afghan people. While I am moving this concurrence motion, I want to say that I am going to be sharing my time with the member for Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound. I am very much looking forward to his comments, as he is someone who has served this country in uniform.

So many Canadians served in uniform in Afghanistan: 158 Canadians gave their lives, and more than 40,000 members of the Canadian Armed Forces served. The blood, treasure and time Canada invested in Afghanistan has established a special bond and commitment that we have with that country. It is felt particularly deeply by those who served, but it is felt in some sense by all of us who have seen the sacrifices and known people who have participated in those sacrifices.

This House has rightly just passed Bill C-41, a bill that will enable development assistance to get into Afghanistan and create an authorization regime whereby that can happen. I think passing that bill was the right decision to create that framework whereby this development assistance can be delivered. However, at the same time, we should be clear in our denunciation of any normalization of the Taliban or any recognition of legitimacy of its control over Afghanistan, and we should be firm and clear in our commitment to the fact that the Afghan people deserve freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law. This is the birthright of all people. Canada has been particularly engaged with, and it has sacrificed for, the people of Afghanistan. We need to hold on to, and be steadfast in committing to, the principle that Afghans, in particular, deserve the protection of these fundamental rights. Therefore, we reject any kind of normalization or recognition of the Taliban, and we believe that it is important to engage with pro-democracy opposition groups, with the goal of restoring freedom, democracy and fundamental human rights to the people of Afghanistan.

The motion that Conservatives brought to the committee and that was unanimously adopted by the committee says:

That the committee report to the House that it firmly denounces the Taliban and rejects any recognition or legitimization of their control over Afghan territory. In particular, the committee denounces the Taliban system of gender discrimination, systemic violence targeting minority communities, reprisals against former members of the Afghan National Security and Defence Forces, attacks on freedom of the press, and other violations of fundamental human rights. The committee believes that the Taliban must remain a listed terrorist organization.

Parenthetically, I want to mention to the House that there are a number of cases of terrorist listings that the government has been behind on. We are at about the five-year anniversary of the House adopting my motion calling on the government to list the IRGC as a terrorist organization. At the time, the government actually voted for that motion. That was five years ago; the government said it was being studied and considered, but it still has not listed the IRGC as a terrorist organization, in spite of the escalation in horrific violence from the Iranian regime.

Conservatives have also called for the listing of the Wagner Group as a terrorist organization. There was a unanimous consent motion in the House a number of months ago. It has not been five years, as it has been with the IRGC, but it has still been a number of months. The Wagner Group is involved in the genocidal invasion of Ukraine by the Putin regime. It is also active in parts of Africa. It has been active in Syria, using horrifically violent tactics with complete disregard for civilian life and acting as an agent of the Putin regime's foreign policy.

We have called for the listing of the IRGC and the Wagner Group, and the House has called for the listing of the IRGC and the Wagner Group. These are two terrorist groups that have not been listed as terrorist entities under the Criminal Code. The Taliban is listed, and, through this motion, we are highlighting the importance of the Taliban remaining listed.

When we list an organization under the Criminal Code, it is not merely symbolic; of course, it is very significant. It is a way of most clearly denouncing these groups and shutting down any possibility for them to operate in Canada. It means that, when an organization is a terrorist group, it cannot recruit, be present or fundraise here. In the absence of a terrorist listing, groups have more room to manoeuvre. This is why we think it is important to shut down these groups in Canada.

I will return now to talk specifically about the Taliban and Afghanistan. After the September 11 attacks in the United States, there was a global coalition that came together recognizing that Afghanistan had become a haven from which terrorist attacks could be organized, as well as that the Afghan people were victims of horrific, ongoing violence.

We could detail those violations of human rights then and now. We have seen the horrific targeting of ethnic and religious minorities, such as Christians and the Shia Muslim community. The Hazara community has faced multiple ongoing genocides, as have the Sikh and Hindu communities in Afghanistan, which I and other members have advocated for. There has also been targeting of other minorities and all Afghans, particularly in terms of the situation of women in Afghanistan. I think it is quite correct to say that there is a system of “gender apartheid” in place in Afghanistan, and that is part of the system of human rights violations that we are seeing.

The motion highlights the system of gender apartheid, as well as the violence against minorities, attacks on freedom of the press, the targeting of those who have been involved in Afghan national security and defence forces and those who were involved in supporting Canada. They are all victims of Taliban violence. Many of these groups were victims of Taliban violence during the initial period of Taliban control of Afghanistan, and it is with this in mind, as well as the threats to our own security, that Canada stepped up and joined our allies in fighting to rid Afghanistan of the Taliban and support the Afghan people in realizing their desire for freedom, democracy, human rights and rule of law. Many Canadians participated heroically in that effort.

I believe that the pullout from Afghanistan was a big mistake. It would have been better for western troops to be able to continue to play a supportive role as Afghans were heroically fighting the Taliban. The pullout was poorly managed and poorly executed, and it was really done in a way that gave the Taliban the greatest opportunity to be able to take over the country. The sad reality is that the Taliban has taken over Afghanistan. However, I think it is crucial for the House, for us here and for the Canadian people to remain engaged with events in Afghanistan. We must honour the sacrifices that have been made and the ongoing desire of the Afghan people to have change in their country.

There are many Afghan civil society groups, opposition groups, pro-democracy groups and diaspora groups in Canada that are working to envision and to plan for a brighter future for Afghanistan. The foreign affairs committee recently heard testimony from a representative of the National Resistance Front, who said that the Taliban rule in Afghanistan is clearly not working. It is causing all sorts of problems, including a humanitarian crisis, and, in his view, it is realistic to hope for a collapse of the Taliban administration that would open the door, again, for a new alternative Afghan government that aligns more with the hopes and values of the people of that country, which is what we would hope for here in Canada.

We should be continuing to engage, to support the opposition and to tighten sanctions against the Taliban oppressors of the Afghan people. It is not a lost cause; far from it. There are many reasons to hope that a brighter future is ahead, but Afghanistan's friends around the world must continue to be engaged in that hope. That means firmly holding the line against the Taliban, preserving its terrorist listing and looking for opportunity, if anything, to tighten the sanctions that apply to the Taliban. That is our position, and I hope this is a position that is shared by the House.

Finally, on immigration measures, Canada had and continues to have an obligation to support those who stood with Canada and fought with Canada, as well as the most vulnerable minority communities, and to support their ability to make application to come to Canada. Sadly, the government was far behind on making that happen. We had been calling for measures in the lead-up to the fall of Kabul. In fact, on the day Kabul fell, the Prime Minister should have been at his desk; instead, he was at the Governor General's, calling an election.

It is a shame that the government was not more focused on responding to events in Afghanistan. Instead, it was making calculations about its own political future. Conservatives believe that this whole House should stand with the people of Afghanistan and seek that brighter democratic future.

Justice and Human RightsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

5:45 p.m.

Scarborough—Rouge Park Ontario


Gary Anandasangaree LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Madam Speaker, I note that Bill C-41 passed in this place this afternoon. It is a very important piece of legislation ensuring that aid goes from Canadian sources and agencies to Afghanistan. I want to acknowledge the work of the member opposite on this file.

I also want to question something. Today, when we have the passage of Bill C-41, when I think we are all quite united in condemning the Taliban and all that it stands for, why are we taking valuable House resources away from Bill C-40, an act to amend the Criminal Code with respect to the miscarriage of justice? It is an act that has been sought by many victims, who have come forward to ask the justice system to respond to their needs.

Why are we spending so much time on something that we all agree on?