House of Commons Hansard #277 of the 44th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was illness.


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6:30 p.m.


Luc Thériault Bloc Montcalm, QC

Madam Speaker, that is an excellent question. In the supplementary report that I tabled, I note that, if we had had more time, we could have engaged with these people. By engaging with these people, we could have understood exactly what their concerns were.

A certain number of associations did tell us that everything was ready for us to do this. The member knows that. For example, the Association of Medical Assistance in Dying Assessors and Providers came and told us after Bill C‑14 and Bill C‑7 were introduced that not all doctors were trained to be MAID providers. There was only a small number and they would be able to meet the demand. When it comes to mental disorders, we are talking about an even smaller number still. The people from this association felt that they were able to do this safely. There was also the Canadian Psychiatric Association, the Canadian Bar Association, the Association des médecins psychiatres du Québec, the Federation of Medical Regulatory Authorities of Canada, the Nova Scotia department of health, and so on.

It comes down to the way people followed the debate and the way they debated within the governments because they sometimes have other concerns. I would have liked to hear them. The government did not call on us as soon as Parliament returned so that we could do a review and ask all of the questions we had. We could have even gone out into the community to see what was missing, but we were unable to.

Here is what I think: We could do it right now, in the next year. We need to work together, get out there and explain it, see what is going on, and share the guidelines. Then, if we need another year, we can take it. Waiting until 2027 to do this is definitely not a progressive way of going about it.

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6:30 p.m.


Marie-Hélène Gaudreau Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Madam Speaker, from what I understand there are inconsistencies between the processes in the different provinces. Quebec has done its part.

What I am hearing this evening is often what individuals may have experienced. We are talking about human suffering. I know what I am talking about because I have experienced it. Everything my colleague is talking about, everything he got out of all these experts, I experienced it.

Beyond a potential fear of getting to the bottom of things, of figuring out what else is needed to make an informed choice, there is urgency. I would like my colleague to tell me what our dear colleagues here might be lacking to make an informed decision on the fate of human life.

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6:35 p.m.


Luc Thériault Bloc Montcalm, QC

Madam Speaker, briefly put, I would say they lack courage. In this place, courage and compassion are lacking, and action is based far too much on ideology.

As I said earlier, only the individual can compare their life in one condition to their life in another condition, and this does not mean comparing two different lives. In that sense, we cannot turn a deaf ear to suffering. We have to listen and we have to act to make sure that these people receive care, of course. That is our goal. However, no matter how difficult it may be to determine whether a condition is irremediable, it would be intellectually dishonest to claim today that psychiatric treatment can relieve the suffering of everyone with severe mental disorders. For those whose suffering cannot be relieved and who request MAID in a considered and coherent manner, with all the safeguards I mentioned earlier in place, we have a duty to listen to what they think and to legislate accordingly.

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6:35 p.m.


Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to be standing in the House today to join debate on Bill C-62. Forgive me if I am feeling a bit of déjà vu right now, because it was precisely one year ago, in February 2023, that the House was in a similar position with the earlier bill, Bill C-39.

That bill, of course, extended the delay of the implementation of the acceptance of mental disorders as a sole underlying medical condition to access MAID. That bill kicked the can down the road by one year. As a result, we find ourselves in a position where we are now approaching the deadline of March 17, 2024.

To go into a bit of detail on what Bill C-62 contains, it is not a very complex bill. It should be clear that the bill itself is not relitigating the issue that was first brought in by Bill C-7. I will get into Bill C-7 in a moment. This bill is seeking to further delay the implementation of MAID for mental disorders as a sole underlying medical condition until March 17, 2027, essentially three years down the road from now.

I also think an important part of the bill is that it inserts a legislative requirement that the Special Joint Committee on Medical Assistance in Dying be reconvened in advance of that change, so that a committee of parliamentarians made up of members of Parliament and senators can review our country's readiness and make a determination in advance of that date.

I have been a member of the special joint committee from the beginning, all the way back in the 43rd Parliament, and, speaking for myself, I am very glad to see that we do have that legislative requirement in Bill C-62 and that, more importantly, the committee is actually being given the time it should have had to study this very complex and sensitive issue in advance of its implementation. That is something we could have been much better served by in previous iterations of this legislation.

I think it is important that we explore a little of the history of how we got to this moment. As a member of this special joint committee, I personally have felt that we have been playing a game of catch-up to the change in law that was made in advance of any serious inquiry into this matter.

Bill C-7, in the 43rd Parliament, was, of course, the Government of Canada's response to the Truchon decision. It specifically created a separate track in the Criminal Code for people whose death was not naturally foreseeable. Previous to that, one had to have a medical condition in which one's natural death was foreseeable, so essentially it was for people who were suffering terminal stage cancer, who were going through a great deal of suffering and so on.

It is important to note, though, that when the government first brought Bill C-7 in, there were already questions at that time, in advance of the legislation, about what we do with people who are suffering from mental illness, who have suffered, in some cases, as my colleague pointed out, for decades, for whom treatments have not worked. What were we to do with that?

In the original version of the legislation, by law, the government was required to have the bill accompanied by a charter statement, but mental disorders were specifically excluded from the original version of Bill C-7. The government provided what I thought at the time was a fairly well-reasoned charter statement. It was understood that by excluding this, one could potentially engage two prominent sections of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, namely section 7, which is the security of the person, the fact that everyone essentially has the right to make a decision about what happens to their own body, and section 15, the equality clause, that the law has to treat everyone equally. With reference, those two sections may potentially be engaged by an exclusion.

The government identified the following in its charter statement:

First, evidence suggests that screening for decision-making capacity is particularly difficult, and subject to a high degree of error, in relation to persons who suffer from a mental illness serious enough to ground a request for MAID. Second, mental illness is generally less predictable than physical illness in terms of the course the illness will take over time. Finally, recent experience in the few countries that permit MAID for people whose sole medical condition is a mental illness (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg) has raised concerns.

That is what the government's original position on Bill C-7 was.

The House passed Bill C-7 and it went off to the Senate. There, for reasons that remain shrouded in mystery to me to this day, the government decided to accept a Senate amendment, essentially at the eleventh hour, which had significant repercussions for the bill. Essentially, the Senate was reversing the government's original position on whether mental disorders qualified for MAID.

The government accepted that Senate amendment. Of course, Bill C-7, because it had been amended, had to come back to the House, and the government managed to cobble enough votes together to get it passed.

Therefore, we, as parliamentarians, were left with a law that had been changed in advance of the hard work being done to properly consult, research and discuss the issue with expert witnesses and with the health systems that have primary responsibility for the oversight of the change in law.

Yes, an expert panel was convened. The special joint committee was convened. Of course, its work was interrupted by the unnecessary calling of an election in the summer of 2021. Some very valuable time was lost there, because, of course, we then had to reconvene in the 44th Parliament, and a considerable amount of time was lost due to that.

However, it is important to realize that everything that has transpired since then has been as a result of that Senate amendment being accepted by the government. Again, I feel, and as a member of the special joint committee I think my feeling has some validity here, that we have been trying to play catch-up ever since that moment.

My time on the special joint committee has been difficult. It is not an easy subject for anyone to sit through, because the opinions of the people with lived experience and those who work in a professional capacity really are on all sides of the spectrum and everywhere in between. It can be quite difficult for a parliamentarian to work their way through that to try and understand the complex legal and medical arguments that exist behind this issue, but it is important.

I would say that, personally, my work on the committee has really been a struggle to find a balance between two concepts that sometimes seem to be in competition with each other. I am a firm believer in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I think it is a very important document in Canadian history, and I believe that we have to respect an individual's right to make decisions over their own body, but that belief system of mine was always struggling with another concept, which is that sometimes society finds itself in a position in which it is necessary for it to step in and protect its most vulnerable members. I think those two themes were echoed, not only for me but for many of the witnesses who appeared before our committee and in the many briefs we received.

I also want to note that our special joint committee has existed twice in this Parliament. We tabled our second report in February last year, in advance of Bill C-39. The committee's mandate at that time was guided by five themes that we had to look at, and mental disorder as the sole underlying medical condition was one of those. Of course, we were reconvened after the passage of Bill C-39, but as my colleague from Montcalm pointed out, our runway was extremely short. It did not do justice to the amount of time that we actually needed and to the extreme complexity of this issue.

Just to give this clarity for people listening, I believe our first meeting as a committee was on October 31, and we had to conduct some committee business, and elect the chairs and vice chairs. We really had only three three-hour meetings with witnesses, so nine hours of testimony. We excluded, by necessity, a lot of people who I would dearly liked to have heard from, namely administrators of our public health system, elected officials of provincial governments and so on.

Because of the short timeline, we did not even have enough time to properly translate all the submissions that were sent to our committee because, of course, before they can be distributed to committee members, they have to be translated into French and English. That is a requirement that honours the fact that we are a bilingual country. We, as committee members, did not even have the opportunity to review important submissions, and those submissions came from people who had lived experience, who were dealing with the situation at home, but they also came from many professionals whose practice is involved in this specific area.

I have taken a position on this. The member for Abbotsford, in the fall, had introduced Bill C-314, and I did vote for that, so my vote on this matter is quite clear. I have been informed by the fact that at our committee, there has been a significant amount of professional discomfort expressed by people who practice medicine in this area, psychiatrists and psychologists. Sure, some of them may be acting in a paternalistic way, but I do not think that can be applied equally to everyone. I think for some of them, we have to review their opinions. We have to take them in the context in which they are given. I think we have to afford them a measure of respect, given the fact that these are their lifelong career choices and, in many cases, we can measure their experiences in decades.

I want to take a little time to read from some of the testimony we received from witnesses. We did hear from Dr. Jitender Sareen from the department of psychiatry at the University of Manitoba, who was there also on behalf of psychiatry departmental chairs at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, McMaster, McGill, Memorial University, the University of Ottawa and Queen's University. His testimony was that they strongly recommended “an extended pause on expanding MAID to include mental disorders...because we're simply not ready.” He was quite emphatic on the point that we are not going to be ready in another year.

Dr. Trudo Lemmens, who is a professor of health law and policy in the faculty of law at the University of Toronto, was there to clarify some constitutional arguments. He was really trying to underline the fact that we have to keep the section 7 and section 15 rights in balance with section 1 and that this issue has not actually been decided by the courts, contrary to what we heard from some witnesses. Previous speakers on tonight's debate have also pointed out that the Truchon decision did not include any reference to mental disorders. That is an important point we have to make.

Dr. Sonu Gaind, who is the chief of the department of psychiatry at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, pointed out that:

MAID is for irremediable medical conditions. These are ones we can predict won't improve. Worldwide evidence shows we cannot predict irremediability in cases of mental illness, meaning that the primary safeguard underpinning MAID is already being bypassed, with evidence showing such predictions are wrong over half the time.

Scientific evidence shows we cannot distinguish suicidality caused by mental illness from motivations leading to psychiatric MAID requests, with overlapping characteristics suggesting there may be no distinction to make.

He also commented on the fact that the curriculum used does not teach assessors to distinguish between suicidality and psychiatric MAID requests, and so on.

We also heard from Dr. Tarek Rajji; he is the chair of the medical advisory committee at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. He stated:

CAMH's concern is that the health care system is not ready for March 2024. The clinical guidelines, resources and processes are not in place to assess, determine eligibility for and support or deliver MAID when eligibility is confirmed to people whose sole underlying medical condition is mental illness.

These provide a snapshot of the widespread professional discomfort that exists out there, and I do not think we can discount those voices.

I would agree that there were also a number of professionals on the other side who did feel we were ready, and that is what makes this such an incredibly complex and sensitive subject to try to navigate as a parliamentarian. Again, we as a committee should have been afforded the time and space to really delve into these issues and to greatly expand our witness list to make sure we were in fact ready.

Members will note that our recent committee report had only one recommendation in it. I recognize that the recommendation was a result of the majority of the committee members. There were some dissenting opinions, notably from the senators who were part of the committee. However, the committee did recognize that Canada is not prepared for medical assistance in dying where mental disorder is the sole underlying medical condition, and we did not attach an arbitrary timeline to the recommendation. Our specific call was that MAID should not be made available in Canada until the minister of health and the minister of justice are satisfied, based on recommendations from their respective departments and in consultation with their provincial and territorial counterparts and with indigenous peoples, that it can be safely and adequately provided.

We keep getting ourselves into trouble by setting arbitrary deadlines for ourselves. Setting up an arbitrary timeline is not an adequate replacement for the qualitative work that needs to be done by these departments. I would much prefer that we satisfy the qualitative requirement in the recommendation, where departments, experts and our provincial and territorial colleagues are in fact saying that they are going to be okay with that.

The recommendation and my reference to the provinces and territories is a great segue to the fact that there was also a letter sent to the Minister of Health. It was signed by seven out of 10 provinces and all three territories. The signatures include those of all the ministers of health and ministers responsible for mental health and addictions in those provinces, including Adrian Dix and Jennifer Whiteside from my own province of British Columbia. They quite clearly say:

The current March 17, 2024, deadline does not provide sufficient time to fully and appropriately prepare all provinces and territories across Canada....

We encourage you and [the] federal Justice indefinitely pause the implementation of the expanded MAID eligibility criteria to enable further collaboration between provinces, territories and the federal government.

I will wrap up by saying that this is a very sensitive issue. I do think we should pass Bill C-62 and honour the calls we are hearing from the professions intimately involved in this issue and the calls coming from the provinces and territories. We need to step up to the plate and make sure we have a fully ready system in advance of the changing of any laws.

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February 7th, 2024 / 6:55 p.m.


Frank Caputo Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Madam Speaker, it is always a pleasure to rise on behalf of the people from Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo.

Before I begin my question, I want to recognize the life of Rino Piva, from our community of Kamloops, who has passed away. He leaves behind his wife of 63 years, Dina, and his children, Laura, Dennis and Mario. I know them all well and wish them all the best in this difficult time of condolence.

I will move on to my question for my colleague. So many times, the Liberal government was told that we could not have MAID proceed in the manner that it did, yet the government pressed on. Why, does he believe, the government just did not listen?

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6:55 p.m.


Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Madam Speaker, honestly, I do not know.

I was here for Bill C-7. I thought the government's original position with respect to that bill was quite clear. For some reason, the Liberals did a complete 180 when it came to the Senate's amending the bill. To this day, I do not think I—

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6:55 p.m.


The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

I have to give a chance for another question.

The hon. member for Montcalm.

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6:55 p.m.


Luc Thériault Bloc Montcalm, QC

Madam Speaker, I appreciate the comments of my colleague, who always speaks very calmly and moderately. It is a pleasure to serve with him.

The NDP voted against Bill C‑14, which did not address the Carter decision's requirements at all. Bill C‑7 met the Carter decision's requirements with additional changes that required hard work, to clarify the issue.

Is the NDP saying no to the idea of one day moving forward on mental disorders, or would it rather put the subject off indefinitely?

We could start working on this tomorrow morning, and I am convinced that within a year, we could come up with something very promising.

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6:55 p.m.


Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Madam Speaker, I would love to see the committee be given the time and space to adequately explore this issue. I think that was what was lacking from the get-go.

I am not saying a firm “no”; I just have a problem with the arbitrary deadlines. Ultimately I want my decision to be informed by a fulsome discussion that involves a much wider array of experts and representatives of the provincial and territorial governments. That is what was lacking. We have been playing a game of catch-up ever since, and we are seeing the consequences of that through the deliberations on the bill.

The House resumed from November 9, 2023, consideration of the motion that Bill C-332, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (controlling or coercive conduct), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

7 p.m.


Karen Vecchio Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Madam Speaker, I will begin by saying to the interpreters that I will try to talk slowly, but this is something that I am so passionate about, so when I do speed up I will look to the Speaker to say, “slow down”.

I wanted to start off this speech by stating the importance of making sure we add coercive control to the Criminal Code here in Canada. I want to read a story from the CBC on December 7, 2021. The title of it is “Coercive control, the silent partner of domestic violence, instils fear, helplessness in victims”. I will give a bit of background on it.

It is a story about a young woman who was in a relationship that she was trying to leave. Her friends and family knew she was trying to leave this relationship desperately, but unfortunately so did her partner, and with that the partner decided that he would take her life in order to deal with some of these issues.

I want to read from this story, because it is rather graphic:

In the last few weeks before a murder devastated people in her Halifax social circle, Ardath Whynacht began to worry.

“I had a sick feeling in my stomach,” she said.

Whynacht was concerned about two people she knew socially: a high school friend, Nicholas Butcher, and the woman he was dating, Kristin Johnston.

Butcher's friends knew that he was struggling to find work, in debt and depressed. People in their circle knew the two were having problems in their relationship.

Whynacht says she later learned in court that others among her friends knew Butcher was accessing Johnston's private messages. He also followed her movements ... [called] "stalking" behaviour.

Unfortunately these stories do not go away. I have had the honour of sitting on the status of women committee since 2015, with a small break when I went to PROC, but over and over we have talked about violence against women, and we know that violence against women is not just physical, that there is such an emotional piece to it. Coercive control is exactly what we are talking about today.

I want to read to members a second piece, and it is titled, “'A life sentence': No escape from abusive relationships when navigating family court system, say victims”. It states, “Victims, experts say courts often fail to recognize and protect people from non-physical forms of abuse”. This entire story talks about the torture, and I am going to use the pseudonym used here, of Sarah:

Sarah says her ex-husband's abusive behaviour slowly escalated after their family court decision in 2022. For instance, she says he began dropping off their kids with her later than the court order stated.

“What I've found is now that we no longer are living together as a family, I can't actually protect them,” she says.

Then, she says, the stalking and harassment began.

When she went to the police, she felt she wasn't taken seriously. Sarah says she was denied a peace bond because her ex-husband hasn't physically assaulted her or her kids recently.

This, to me, is the tragedy of what we are seeing in the justice system, and not just necessarily in the justice system, but in our society. What we are seeing is women being controlled, beaten and violated by men in the majority of these cases. I am not saying that coercive control cannot be reversed and cannot be applied to men as the victims, but we know the majority of these cases are women. What are we going to do about it?

In this House, Bill C-233 was passed unanimously, and I am so proud of the incredible work that we did as a Parliament to ensure that there are judges trained, when it comes to domestic violence issues, because we have to understand that domestic violence is not just physical violence. Of the cases, 30% may show physically, but the majority of these cases that we are seeing when it comes to domestic violence are coercive control.

What does that mean? I think that is what we have to get down to, and this is exactly what the member who has put forward the bill, whom I would like to thank for putting forward the bill, and I want to talk about: what coercive control is and why we as parliamentarians need to take it seriously for the safety of our women and girls.

The definition presented in Bill C-332 indicates:

(a) it causes the person to fear, on reasonable grounds, on more than one occasion, that violence will be used against them; (b) it causes the person's physical or mental health to decline; or (c) it causes the person alarm or distress that has a substantial adverse effect on their day-to-day activities, including (i) limits on their ability to safeguard their well-being or that of their children, (ii) changes in or restrictions on their social activities or their communication with others, (iii) absences from work or from education or training programs or changes in their routines or status in relation to their employment or education, and [finally] (iv) changes of address.

This was all put forward by Evan Stark, an American forensic social worker, back in 2007. That is why I am really proud to see this definition in Bill C-332. It so important that we have this discussion.

In my role as the chair of the status of women committee, I can speak for every member of that committee on the strength and vulnerability of so many of the victims who have come to speak to our committee, knowing that when they go to the police, if they do not have a bruise, it is not going to be taken into consideration. Coercive control is not in the Criminal Code. Things like harassment are, but coercive control, that idea of controlling another individual, is not.

We have to take it into consideration. Let us look at the first case that I talked about. The young man was reading all of her emails and intercepting those types of messages. The prying into that relationship: That is control. It takes me back to a phone call that I had just last week from a teacher, who was very concerned. A young woman, an EA, had come to the school very fearful for her life. She had never had physical abuse. She had never been violated or anything like that. However, the fear of coercive control was there, because she was being controlled. What ended up happening to this young woman is that she did not go to work, flag number one.

This is important: Putting coercive control into our Criminal Code will give the opportunity for our police to understand what coercive control is. Thus, when they are investigating or going to a scene of a dispute, they can understand and know what they are looking for.

Right now, with its absence from the Criminal Code, how are police officers supposed to recognize it? Does it look like harassment? Are they being stalked? There are various different things.

The one thing we know about coercive control is that it does not just happen once. In physical abuse, someone can actually show and date the abuse, and all those things. They can go to the hospital, report it, show the bruises and provide evidence to the police or the doctors. With coercive control, that option is not there. How do they go and show somebody what another person said or that the person has read all their emails?

There is one thing that I found really disturbing from doing the research that we have done in the last number of years on this. That is the number of women who are not believed. This is really concerning to me. We have to understand that many women are isolated in their homes. We saw that through COVID-19. In March 2020, we saw an absolute increase. By May 2020, I believe, the government was saying that we need to help out shelters more. That is something we all agreed on. We know that, when women cannot leave a place where they are being victimized, they are not safe. That is exactly what happened with COVID.

Coercive control is one of those things that we must talk about. It is not just about the physical. It is about looking at the whole person.

I want to read a part that was received from the federal ombudsman for victims. It is very important that I read this, because when women are talking about coercive control, when we are talking about it, it is cumulative. It is not just one incident. It is something that could have happened yesterday and continues each and every day.

One of the stories I read was talking about a women who watched her husband driving up the laneway every day. She needed to see his facial reaction, because she needed to know how he was entering that house. Was he happy that day? Was he angry? Those are things that women who are victims of coercive control are thinking about all the time. They are always tiptoeing on glass. The fact is that they are worried about their safety. That is what we see with coercive control.

There is that threat down the road. Today they may not hit them, but they do not know what is going to happen later. We know from the Canadian Femicide Observatory that one woman is being killed here in Canada every other day. What is that telling us? We have to change our laws, and we have to take a better look at this.

The federal ombudsman for victims of crime has asked for this to be looked at thoroughly, recognizing that it is a pattern. It is not just a one-time incident.

Therefore, I ask the justice minister and his department, and everybody, to work together to ensure that we save women's lives.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

7:10 p.m.


Nathalie Sinclair-Desgagné Bloc Terrebonne, QC

Madam Speaker, I rise today to speak to Bill C-332, which amends the Criminal Code to make it an offence to engage in controlling or coercive conduct that has a significant impact on the person towards whom the conduct is directed, including a fear of violence, a decline in their physical or mental health or a substantial adverse effect on their day-to-day activities.

It is high time we had legislation on this issue, which is distressing to too many people and too often to women.

It is also important to note that this problem is being fuelled by technological advances, including geolocation trackers, miniature cameras, smart phones and social media platforms. All of these tools make it easier for abusers to continue to inflict harm or further isolate and control their victims, wherever they may be.

Although coercive and controlling violence may a factor in other cases, it is definitely present in 95% of cases of domestic violence as we understand it. Only about 36% of family violence incidents and 5% of sexual assaults are reported to the police. We can therefore assume that there are many more cases of coercive and controlling violence than the justice system knows about.

Based on data reported by police services across Canada in 2018, women in rural areas experience the highest rates of intimate partner violence. The committee also notes that the risk is greatest for marginalized women, including indigenous women, racialized women, women with disabilities and migrant women. Let us not forget the children either.

First, it is important to define coercive control. Coercive and controlling behaviour does not relate to a single incident, but a pattern of behaviour that takes place repeatedly and continuously. It is currently hard to define this behaviour, in isolated cases, in the Criminal Code. We could talk about harassment, but, again, in isolated cases, it is hard to express. However, repeated and well-defined coercive behaviours could become a criminal offence if this bill is passed. Examples include financial control and implicit or explicit threats against a partner or ex-partner or against their children, belongings or even pets.

Abusive behaviours are intended to cause fear and gain power and control over the thoughts, beliefs and actions of the victim. Despite what one might think, this behaviour often does not involve physical violence and takes away the victim's sense of personal agency.

Generally, the abuser uses isolation, both physical and psychological, as a means to control their partner's contact with friends and family to emotionally bind the partner to them with the shackles of fear and dependency.

The bill that the member for Victoria has introduced is in line with legislative efforts to bring about change on the issue of coercive violence. A few years ago, in 2019, we passed legislative changes to divorce law. However, they apply to married couples only. There are many individuals who were not covered by that legislation, but, more importantly, it did not make this behaviour a criminal offence. While the amendments defined coercive behaviour as part of what is known as “family violence”, there was still no criminal sanction associated with it. It is about time we made it a criminal offence.

Having passed first reading and been added to the order of precedence of the House on September 20, 2023, Bill C‑332 has come farther in the legislative process than any previous bill on this issue and has the best chance of coming to fruition.

While a number of Criminal Code offences can apply to acts of family violence, some issues have been brought to light regarding the way the current legislation applies to victims of controlling or coercive violence.

Victims have little or no confidence in existing mechanisms. Once again, distrust is even higher among the groups who are most often targeted, namely, marginalized women. Immigrant women, for example, fear that speaking out will result in their immigration application being denied. While aspects of coercive control and controlling behaviour may be present, the police and the justice systems often say that the victim's word alone is not enough to file a complaint. Victims also fear that they will not be taken seriously if they contact police.

Finally, during the study of the ninth report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, it was stated that multiple charges against abusive men are regularly reduced to one single charge, usually assault. That charge is then often withdrawn in exchange for a peace bond, the infamous “810 order”.

To address this problem, which is close to the Bloc Québécois's heart, we support the objective of Bill C‑332, which amends the Criminal Code. However, we do have some reservations, along with a few proposals and suggestions that would address certain shortcomings that we feel are significant.

First, we should study the possibility of expanding the scope of the bill so that ex-partners and other family members who are not part of the household can testify, in order to address the problem of “one person's word against another's”. We could also extend this idea even further by including testimony from outside witnesses such as a neighbour, for example.

Second, we should look at the severity of sentences and the consideration given to children in cases of coercive or controlling violence. Third, the link between the new offence and the impact on family law and child welfare cases should be studied. This bill must link up with what already exists. That is part of the work that will be done in committee on this bill.

Finally, the wording in the NDP members' bills does not necessarily address the issue of victims being retraumatized and having to recount their experiences over again. Furthermore, Bill C-332, in its current form, does not change the way the courts and authorities deal with this issue.

I would like to emphasize one thing. If coercive control were to be added to the list of criminal offences, victims would finally be able to obtain financial assistance. As members know, victims of crime are entitled to financial assistance. A person could receive such assistance if, for example, they want to leave their home for fear of physical or emotional violence. If this bill is passed and coercive violence is added to the Criminal Code, victims of coercive violence will be able to apply for financial assistance to help them move or get counselling. All of the financial support offered to victims of other types of crime could then be offered to those who have experienced coercive control, which can be harmful to victims' mental, psychological and physical health.

When victims are financially or otherwise dependent on their abuser, it can hinder them from taking action and make it difficult to establish evidence. If this bill is implemented, victims of coercive violence will no longer have to be financially or otherwise dependent on the perpetrator of the violence.

Lastly, I would like to underscore another very important point. We see a lot in the news about femicide, and we often observe that physical violence only happens at the end of a relationship. It often involves an act of violence, a total loss of control where a man kills his partner. There are too many cases of femicide. However, we also observe a pattern of coercive control throughout the relationship. By making coercive behaviour a crime, we might help prevent femicide, and that is essential.

I was very moved by the Latin American campaign Ni Una Menos or “Not One Woman Less”. The campaign is designed to get people talking about cases of domestic violence where it is not limited to physical or sexual assaults, but also encompasses the use of violence to control victims, as I defined it earlier.

I am therefore asking my colleagues, parliamentarians, stakeholders and the community at large to support this legislative effort, which is crucial to the physical and mental well-being of victims of domestic and family violence.

The House needs to recognize problems related to coercive control as a priority to ensure that victims get support and protection. We also need to ensure that abusers are held accountable for their actions before it becomes too late for their victim.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

7:15 p.m.


Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke, BC

Madam Speaker, in Parliament, unanimous support is a rare thing to see, but on the issue of coercive and controlling behaviour, we have an instance where all parties agree that there is a need to act.

This bill and the associated recommendations from the justice committee have now twice received the support of all parties at the justice committee, and we heard strong speeches in support of this bill from all parties in second reading debate just before the holiday break. Given this degree of support, it is my hope that Bill C-332 can move forward quickly from this point. As we are all too well aware, this is a minority Parliament, and one which is already well past the normal life of minority parliaments in Canada, so the clock is ticking, and we need to act in the House to make sure this bill still has time to get through the other place before the next election.

There is no doubt among any of us here that there is an urgent need to act to combat domestic violence in Canada, and we have shocking statistics that clearly demonstrate the fact that intimate partner violence is a growing problem across Canada. More than 40% of women, that is more than 6.2 million Canadian women, have reported experiencing some kind of psychological, physical or sexual abuse in the context of their intimate partner relationships in their lifetime. For indigenous women, that number is 61%. For women with disabilities, it is 55%, and for lesbian, bisexual, non-binary and trans women, it is over 67%. These are shocking numbers.

One woman is still killed by an intimate partner every six days in this country, and as femicide in intimate partner relationships is almost always preceded by coercive and controlling behaviour, this bill would save lives.

Some may wonder what caused me to take up this issue in 2020. At the start of the pandemic, I did a call around to police and social services agencies in my riding. I heard universally that one main thing was happening, and that was a spike in domestic violence calls for assistance as a result of the pandemic. In fact, those rates of calls for assistance have not decreased, even as the pandemic measures have eased.

What I heard from police and frontline social services agencies, and in particular from women's shelters and anti-domestic violence agencies, was that this is something we should think of a as shadow pandemic. It was something that was being hidden because women were being isolated at home during the pandemic, and it was even more difficult for them to reach out for assistance.

The second thing I heard, almost universally again, and in particular from both police and social services agencies, was their frustration at lacking the tools to offer help to those trapped in abusive relationships until there is physical violence. Local police recounted leaving many domestic violence calls without being able to help, yet they were certain they would be called back soon, and that the next call would involve physical violence. Shelters reported seeing the same women multiple times, but without the presence of physical violence, there was no ability to seek restraining orders or get removal of the abusive partner from the home.

Making coercive and controlling behaviour a criminal offence is not really about adding a new offence to the Criminal Code. Instead, it would recognize this behaviour is in itself a form of violence. It would move the point at which victims can get help to before physical violence occurs, instead of waiting until there are bruises and broken bones. Bill C-332 is not by itself a solution to the problem of intimate partner violence, but it is rather a tool for addressing abusive relationships before that violence turns physical.

In this debate, we heard a couple of concerns about the impacts of this bill. Certainly, when I began working on this topic, I did often hear that there is no accepted definition for what constitutes coercive and controlling behaviour. This bill would solve that problem by putting in law a very specific description of what this involves.

I have to say, most of those saying that they did not know what coercive and controlling behaviour looks like were men. From women, I almost universally heard about the kinds of coercive and controlling behaviour they, members of their family or their friends had been subjected to. They had no trouble recognizing this behaviour. In fact, I had to admit to myself that the lens of coercive and controlling behaviour helped explain a lot of the family dynamics from my own childhood.

A second concern we heard in this debate referred to the slow start in making effective use of the provisions in other jurisdictions where similar legislation has been adopted. It was adopted in the U.K. in 2015, in Ireland and Wales in 2019, and in New South Wales in Australia in 2022. Hawaii also has a similar provision. Measures to criminalize coercive and controlling behaviour are also moving forward in a number of other U.S. states.

Studies looking at the U.K. show that there was a period of time before there was broad knowledge of the existence of the bill and how to make use of it, and this was not just among those who were victims, but also among police, prosecutors and social services agencies. However, this in itself is no reason for further delay. Similar studies show that the rates of charging and convictions in those other jurisdictions have steadily increased as both the public and enforcement agencies become aware of the possibilities in such a bill. So, we will probably go through the same period of adjustment in this country once we pass the bill, but, for me, that is a strong argument to get started now and not an argument for delay. We should remember that this bill in one form or another has now been before the House for three years.

Members will also have heard some concern that the bill would potentially have a negative impact on marginalized women as it might provide another tool to be used against them by their abusive partners. It has been suggested that the abusive partner might be able to accuse the victim of coercive and controlling behaviour. I have no doubt that this will happen, but I have three, admittedly somewhat impatient, responses to this concern. One is that it is in fact marginalized women, so, racialized women, new Canadians and indigenous women, who are most often the victims of coercive and controlling behaviour and often have the fewest resources to escape those relationships. My second response is to agree that, of course, the whole legal system systematically disadvantages marginalized women, but this is a broader reform we need to tackle in the justice system and not a reason to not proceed with this particular bill. Finally, I would say that I have never heard this concern raised by frontline social service agencies and, in particular, I have never heard this concern from those who serve marginalized women or from marginalized women themselves.

We should also recognize the broad community impacts that this bill will have, the positive impacts. Yes, women are the primary victims of coercive and controlling behaviour, but it is equally damaging in whatever context and whatever the gender of those being abused. Studies have shown that coercive and controlling behaviour is an equally large problem in the queer community. As well, we should also recognize that coercive and controlling behaviour does not just impact the victims but also their children in terms of physical safety and mental health. This is a particularly serious concern when relationships between mothers and their children are weaponized by abusive partners, and it is a particular concern when it comes to questions of child custody when someone is trying to leave such a situation.

At this point, I want to stop and thank all of those who have shared their personal experiences with me and my office. This is not an easy thing to do. We have heard from literally hundreds of women over the past four years, some expressing their thanks for recognizing coercive and controlling behaviour as a form of violence, some just for putting a name to what they were going through and recognizing they were not alone, but all of those women expressing their hope that we would press forward with this bill.

One conversation in particular still stands out for me. It was with a women in my local constituency who holds a highly skilled job and a prominent position in our community. She said she would like to tell her story publicly to show other women that this could happen to anyone, even to those who we would imagine have all the skills, abilities and resources to avoid or escape a coercive and controlling relationship. She wanted to tell that story, because she wants others to understand that it is never the victim's fault no matter how many times the abusive partner tries to make them believe that it is their fault. However, she cannot tell her story publicly yet as her ex-husband is still using child custody as a weapon in trying to reassert control over her.

To conclude, I did not introduce this bill in the beginning thinking it would pass immediately. I introduced it to try and get attention to the crisis that came about in parallel to the pandemic. However, when this report was adopted by the justice committee, I became hopeful that we could get this bill through, and here is where my thanks go to my NDP colleague for Victoria. She and I have been working closely on this and other important issues involving women and the law and, thankfully, the member for Victoria had a much luckier draw in the precedence for PMBs than me. My number would have been virtually last in this Parliament, but she was able to get it before us now, and here we are today.

Let me just say that I hope we advance this bill quickly. It would be a good way of showing Canadians that we, as parliamentarians, can work together effectively to tackle important problems. It would show that we understand that intimate partner violence is indeed an epidemic in our society. It would show that we are going to devote everything we can to fight it, not just with a new law, but also with a necessary—

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

7:25 p.m.


The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

We have to resume debate.

The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

7:25 p.m.

Mississauga—Erin Mills Ontario


Iqra Khalid LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue

Madam Speaker, I am rising today to add my voice to the second reading debate on Bill C-332, an act to amend the Criminal Code on controlling or coercive conduct. This bill seeks to strengthen Canada's legislative framework and address intimate partner violence by proposing reforms that would protect victims of coercive and controlling behaviour in intimate relationships.

A lot of people may ask what coercive control is. Coercive control is a form of intimate partner violence. It involves ongoing conduct that serves to subjugate victims and deprive them of their autonomy. We talk about life, liberty and freedom of the person; we have to put this in the context of what gender-based violence is.

I hear from constituents, who often call me in confidence to ask if something is coercive, controlling behaviour. Is it right for an intimate partner to control the finances, down to the last penny, of another person? Is it right for them to control access to their intimate partner, the person they are living with or are close to, and whom they engage with, hang out with, or go and get a coffee with?

We are tackling the broader issue and epidemic, as many of my colleagues have outlined, of gender-based violence, of women being killed, and of femicide occurring across the country, from coast to coast to coast in all communities. As we do this, how do we make sure that we are being more proactive? How do we proactively try to put an end to that violence and that murder? We need to make sure that Canadians, in their homes and across our communities, are able to thrive and really get to their full potential as they go about their lives with that freedom and autonomy.

I was the chair of the justice committee when we did this study on coercive, controlling behaviour. We heard stories, from coast to coast to coast, of people who have suffered the escalation of that violence, the escalation of that coercive control and the inability to control, leading to violence.

I think this bill has really good intentions. We listened to experts and their testimony within the justice committee and came to those recommendations. Those were very important pieces of evidence that informed the spirit of this bill. It is about saving lives. It is about preventing, in a proactive way, intimate partner violence as it occurs across our country.

We have seen so many tragic incidents, and we have lots of resources across the country to try to protect and save women from intimate partner violence. For example, in my community, we have the Safe Centre of Peel, which is a phenomenal project that brings community leaders and community organizations together to provide a wraparound service for those who are fleeing violence within my community. It is at its brink.

We cannot continue to fund these programs without also looking to see how we can proactively prevent these incidents from happening in the first place. We want to make sure that, when a woman tries to flee violence, she has the support system she needs in order to do so. We find that fleeing violence is often the most dangerous part for a woman who is trying to seek refuge, who is trying to find safety and autonomy.

I want to give a shout-out to our local chief of police, Chief Nish, who has been a phenomenal advocate for women within the region of Peel, ensuring that we provide safety and security for them.

We are talking about how to prevent it from happening in the first place. Yes, this legislation is very important. Yes, coercive and controlling behaviour precedes what often becomes violent behaviour and often puts women's and children's lives in danger. As we talk about awareness and making sure we bring our male allies into this conversation, I believe that the spirit of this bill is a step in the right direction. It would help in educating people and ensuring there is legal and criminal recourse for those who are seeking protection. Our legal system should be able to protect them.

There are a number of concerns that I, along with a number of my constituents and people across the country, have raised. One is what coercive or controlling behaviour is. Are people going to say that someone looked at them in a bad way and now they feel they need to modify their behaviour? Is that coercive or controlling behaviour? That is something we need to explore a little more to define those terms. How do we, in a court of law, prove that coercive or controlling behaviour has occurred? Those are things that need to be explored further in this bill.

When we try to ensure the safety of people in our constituencies, we try to do it through a gendered lens that makes sure we take into account the totality of the context of a person's lived experience. As members in the House have said before, we have to ensure that new immigrants coming to Canada have the awareness and ability to be able to protect themselves. Members can imagine a new family coming to Canada, the woman having previously been bound to her home to take care of young kids, not having financial freedom and now having to deal with the frustrations and tensions of moving to a new country and what could be coercive or controlling behaviour.

With bills like this, it is also important for us to provide the supports for the victims alongside the legislation. When we talk about making sure that coercive or controlling behaviour is included in the Criminal Code, we have to make sure we are providing supports to those seeking refuge from that as well. We have to make sure that institutions such as the Safe Centre of Peel are scaled up and located across the country for all who need the support so they can seek refuge and support, not just for themselves but also for their children.

We also want to make sure that this bill is balanced. I am sure there are tensions in every relationship. I am sure everyone has outbursts and exchanges of words, and that is why it is so important to define what coercive and controlling behaviour is in that context and with the evidentiary burden to prove it in court will be. I do not want people to think that raising one's voice or having a heated, open and honest discussion with one's partner is criminal. Those are normal things. However, at what point do we have to push that before it becomes abusive, violent or life-threatening. The issue of gender-based violence is significant in our country. It is a hidden pandemic.

We need to make sure that we prevent this from happening. This bill is an excellent first step toward getting there. I am looking forward to it going to committee to explore it and make sure we are doing the right thing and finding the right balance of separating it out and making sure that, while we live healthy lives together, we are also preventing violence from occurring. I am looking forward to following this very closely, as I did in the justice committee with this report and it recommendations, and to this bill passing in the House, with the concerns I have raised.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

7:35 p.m.


Bonita Zarrillo NDP Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Madam Speaker, everyone in the House should feel the urgency and the necessity of tackling intimate partner violence and gender-based violence. As has been said, every six days in Canada, a woman is killed from intimate partner violence. This fact is not new, yet the Liberals, and the Conservatives before them, have not addressed it adequately. New Democrats refuse to stand idly by while countless individuals, primarily women and girls, face physical and psychological trauma and fear for their lives on a daily basis.

Intimate partner violence and gender-based violence are not just private matters; they are systemic issues rooted deeply in ingrained inequalities and power imbalances in Canada. It is women, especially those from marginalized communities, who experience the worst of this violence.

We also know that individuals with disabilities are disproportionately impacted by this kind of violence. People with disabilities experience higher levels of intimate partner violence, and they face unique barriers to accessing support and escaping abusive situations. As the NDP critic for disability and inclusion, too many times I hear from residents who say that there is not enough research done on this, that there is not enough data on this and that there is not enough investment from the government in understanding the impact of domestic violence on persons with disabilities. Therefore, I encourage the government to invest in more research on violence against persons with disabilities, all genders.

I also want to note that indigenous women face higher levels of violence and that the current government has failed to meaningfully tackle the horrific levels of violence experienced by indigenous women, girls and 2 people. The Liberal government could immediately address some of that violence by investing in housing.

In 2019, the Downtown Eastside Women's Centre presented a report called “Red Women Rising” at the Metro Vancouver indigenous relations committee. The presenter said that no woman should be homeless on her own land. That really stuck with me, and I hope the Liberals will make the investments needed to ensure that every single indigenous woman and every single indigenous person has a home to call their own.

We cannot achieve an equitable and just society until we address the underlying structures that enable and perpetuate this kind of violence. As a New Democrat, I am committed to dismantling these systems of oppression and creating a society where everyone lives free from violence. All New Democrats are committed to that. A society where everyone has a home and has access to full and universal health care and pharmacare is also something the current Liberal government needs to move on immediately.

I want to acknowledge the work of survivors, frontline organizations and advocates who helped to make Bill C-332 a possibility. I also want to thank my colleagues: the MP for Victoria, for bringing this important piece of legislation forward; and the MP for Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke, for his work on criminalizing coercive and controlling behaviour. We would not be here without the commitment of those people.

Coercive and controlling behaviour is a form of abuse that so many people, especially women, have experienced and that many are experiencing today, living in fear in their own homes. It is a form of domestic violence that, rather than a single instance, is a repeated pattern of behaviour by the perpetrator. This pattern often includes physical violence and sexual violence, but in many instances, it starts with other types of abuse, like humiliation, threats and attempts to take away the person's support systems and independence. Often, that means limiting transportation options, like taking car keys or intentionally damaging vehicles, and also controlling their access to communication, like taking or breaking cellphones. It also often involves limiting access to bank accounts, passports and immigration documents.

We know that 95% of people who report physical abuse also report coercive control; they correlate. We need women and girls to know what these abusive red flags are and to know what this kind of abusive behaviour is and that it is unacceptable. It has terrible impacts on the person's mental health. It often means they live in fear of violence all the time. Too frequently, it ends in tragedy.

These stories are all too common. Coercive control is not only a serious issue on its own but also so often it is precursor to physical violence. This is an opportunity to stop physical harm before it happens.

I want to take a moment here to recognize an organization called BOLT Safety Society, a youth-funded, not-for-profit, building safer and equitable communities. I have known the women in this organization for many years. I am happy to say that my office in Port Moody—Coquitlam is called a safe hub. It is a place where women and gender-diverse residents can come and get information about support groups in our community and also to get a wellness kit, if they need it.

I want to thank BOLT Safety for their work, and I want to thank them for raising the issue with young women and diverse genders of what coercive and controlling behaviour looks like. Coercive control is one of the most common risk factors for femicide, even in cases where there were no instances of physical violence before the murder.

Passing this legislation gives victims and police the tools they need to prevent some of the most tragic examples of intimate partner violence. It is time we said, “enough is enough”. Years ago, the justice committee recommended criminalizing coercive and controlling behaviour in Canada, but the Liberal government, despite its claims to be feminist, has not acted. It continues to delay and disappoint.

All parties should listen to survivors, listen to frontline organizations, make sure we support those who experience this kind of abuse and give victims the tools they need to leave the situation.

I am urging every member in the House to take immediate action to protect women and victims of intimate partner violence, and to support this important bill. This is one important step in tackling gender-based violence and working to eradicate intimate partner violence from our communities forever.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

7:45 p.m.


The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

The hon. member for Victoria for her right of reply.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

7:45 p.m.


Laurel Collins NDP Victoria, BC

Madam Speaker, we must tackle gender-based violence and intimate partner violence. I want to thank all of my colleagues who have spoken today and in the past on this bill. Many of us have shared stories of friends and family members who have experienced abuse, as well as constituents we have heard from. This is so common and so pervasive, and so many of us, too many people, have witnessed our loved ones in these situations or experienced it first-hand.

Almost always, this physical violence takes place after repeated patterns of coercive and controlling behaviour, as 95% of victims of intimate partner violence report coercive control. It is one of the most common precursors to physical violence. It is also one of the biggest risk factors for femicide, even when there has been no physical violence.

If we give women ways to speak out and get support early, we can take a meaningful step in ending femicide with this bill.

I had the recent opportunity to meet with Angie's Angels. This is a group including the family members of Angie Sweeney, who is a victim of a murder-suicide that took place in the fall in Sault Ste. Marie. She was a victim of coercive and controlling behaviour, and her death is a failure of this government to tackle intimate partner violence and to protect women.

Angie's story is not unique. I recently spoke to a father who lost his daughter to intimate partner violence, and he said to me that his daughter would still be alive if a bill like this had passed.

Survivors have shared their stories with me, saying that this bill would have been life-changing if it had been in place when they were in the situation of coercive control. One of those survivors is my sister, and I want to express my heartfelt gratitude for her courage in allowing me to share her story. I have been blown away by the courage of survivors. Passing this bill would change lives and save lives.

It has been over two years since the justice committee studied this topic and recommended that the government make these changes, but we have seen no action. This is urgently needed. Every six days, a woman is killed by an intimate partner. We cannot wait, so I ask my colleagues to move this bill swiftly through the House to ensure it passes. We have heard from every party that they support this important change, so I am asking that we not have a recorded vote and that it be sent to the justice committee without delay.

Let us come together today and not falter in our duty to protect victims from the insidious grip of coercive control. Let us ensure that we pass this bill and affirm our commitment to ending gender-based violence and preventing femicide, and to justice, dignity and the sanctity of every individual.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

7:50 p.m.


The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

Is the House ready for the question?

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

7:50 p.m.

Some hon. members


Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

7:50 p.m.


The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

The question is on the motion.

If a member participating in person wishes that the motion be carried or carried on division, or if a member of a recognized party participating in person wishes to request a recorded division, I would invite them to rise and indicate it to the Chair.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

7:50 p.m.


Laurel Collins NDP Victoria, BC

Madam Speaker, I ask that this bill be adopted on division.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

7:50 p.m.


The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

I declare the motion carried. Accordingly, the bill stands referred to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

(Motion agreed to, bill read the second time and referred to a committee)

A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

HousingAdjournment Proceedings

7:50 p.m.


Bonita Zarrillo NDP Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Madam Speaker, today I want to speak about the fact that so many Canadians are suffering from losing or potentially losing their housing.

Recently in the House, I asked the housing minister what the government was going to do about keeping seniors in their rental homes as many of the affordable rental homes for seniors are being gutted for luxury condos. Luxury condo developers are buying up land, getting it rezoned and upzoned, and displacing the people who have lived in those homes for 10, 20, 30 years, and sometimes longer.

I was at a redevelopment where a 70-year-old senior asked if I could help find a long-term care home, because a developer had come and bought up that low-rise rental housing and there was nowhere for that senior to go.

I was talking to an educational assistant in her 60s who wants to retire, but is being displaced in my community of Port Moody—Coquitlam. She told me that she has nowhere to go. She has spent her entire career supporting families in this community, sibling after sibling. She loves the community, but is being pushed out by greed.

I think about the fact that the government continues to miss the mark on supporting and protecting rental homes. Conservatives lost 800,000 affordable homes. Liberals have done nothing to make up for those losses and it is affecting people on the ground.

I also want to talk about transit. We know that we need more public transit investment. The Liberal government is so far behind on its investments in communities, it would much rather spend its money on greedy CEOs who want new freezers than make sure that EAs and the seniors who have lived in our communities forever are being displaced. That is where the Liberals are focused. That is what they want to do.

Therefore, I am here today to ask the Liberal government this. Why it is so hard for it to invest in communities and people? Why is it missing the boat on transit? The Metro Vancouver mayors have been here advocating for a transit investment. The infrastructure minister said that they will get it two years from now. That is not good enough. If they do not get the money for two years, they cannot even build for another two on top of that.

What is the Liberal government doing to make sure that communities are kept whole, and that people have a place to live and transit to use?