House of Commons Hansard #290 of the 44th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was hamas.


Indigenous AffairsOral Questions

3:05 p.m.


John Aldag Liberal Cloverdale—Langley City, BC

Mr. Speaker, earlier this month, legislation was introduced in the other place that affirms the Government of Canada's recognition of the Haida Nation as the holder of the inherent rights of governance and self-determination. These types of bills are needed as we move forward on the path of reconciliation with indigenous communities.

Can the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations tell us what this means for the Haida Nation located on the Haida Gwaii archipelago off British Columbia's north coast?

Indigenous AffairsOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Scarborough—Rouge Park Ontario


Gary Anandasangaree LiberalMinister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

Mr. Speaker, this marks a historical milestone for the Haida Nation. It was 50 years in the making and it would rightfully recognize the Council of the Haida Nation as the government of the Haida people. This long-overdue step solidifies the Haida's authority in ensuring the protection of the beautiful lands and waters of Haida Gwaii for generations to come.

I am grateful to the nation for its collaboration and to the member for Cloverdale—Langley City for this question as well as his leadership on the INAN committee. We will keep working to uphold the rights of the Haida Nation.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

3:05 p.m.


Lisa Marie Barron NDP Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Mr. Speaker, for five months the Liberals have sat idly by while 30,000 civilians in Palestine have been killed, most of whom have been women and children. It is devastating. Canada needs to take a stand for peace so that no one else is killed, not sit on the sidelines. We need a ceasefire, real humanitarian aid and the release of all hostages.

Will the Liberals finally join so many across Canada, and New Democrats, by voting in support of our motion for peace and justice?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Ahuntsic-Cartierville Québec


Mélanie Joly LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we believe in peace and stability in the region, and it starts with the release of all hostages. We need to make sure that humanitarian aid gets into Gaza. Of course, we need to get to a humanitarian ceasefire, which will bring long and lasting peace to Israel, and also support a two-state solution and the creation of a Palestinian state for Palestinians.

For too long Israelis and Palestinians have suffered for the fact that we have not found a solution to this conflict. We need to be there to support them and we will be.

FinanceOral Questions

March 18th, 2024 / 3:05 p.m.


Alain Rayes Independent Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, since the Liberal government took office in 2015, we have been running deficits every year.

The country's debt has been skyrocketing since then, and more and more people are concerned. The cost of living continues to rise, federal spending seems to be out of control, and then there are the various financial scandals, with ArriveCAN being the most recent.

My question for the Minister of Finance is very simple. Will she finally introduce a plan to balance the budget when she tables her next budget on April 16?

FinanceOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

University—Rosedale Ontario


Chrystia Freeland LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, our government understands how important it is to support Canadians and to do so in a way that is financially responsible.

The fact that we have maintained our AAA credit rating is proof that that is what we are doing. That was reaffirmed last week. We have the lowest debt-to-GDP and deficit-to-GDP ratios in the G7.

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba


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

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8)(a), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's responses to 53 petitions. These returns will be tabled in an electronic format.

Right Hon. Brian MulroneyRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.


The Speaker Liberal Greg Fergus

Colleagues, I understand that there have been discussions among representatives of all parties in the House and that there is agreement, before proceeding to Statements by Ministers, for members to now rise and observe a moment of silence in honour of the Right Hon. Martin Brian Mulroney, the 18th Prime Minister of Canada.

[A moment of silence observed]

Right Hon. Brian MulroneyRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Papineau Québec


Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the night before this House last rose, Canadians received the news that one of the lions of Canadian politics had left us. Prime Minister Brian Mulroney served in this chamber for a decade, but he served Canada his entire life.

He loved this country with his whole heart, and he knew we were capable of great things. He saw that the greatest strength of this country was our shared values. “Opportunity, fairness and justice for all” was one of the ways he put it, but he also understood that success was not automatic. It took hard work.

It was his work ethic that made it possible for him, the son of a Baie-Comeau labourer, to study law, head the Iron Ore Company of Canada and become prime minister of our great country.

Proudly Québécois and proudly bilingual, he never forgot where he came from. He was always happy to shake hands with everyone and with the same enthusiasm, whether they were a labourer or a monarch.

The last time I had the chance to be with Prime Minister Mulroney was at his alma mater, St. Francis Xavier University, last year. Brian and Mila took me on a tour of Mulroney Hall, a beautiful building that houses an institute of government in his name. We sat in a replica of the prime minister's Centre Block office. I reminisced not just about my own years in that office but about visiting my dad there, and that got us talking about families and the impact this life has on them.

Then, as we walked, we talked about wisdom he and my dad both shared, that leadership fundamentally is about getting the big things right. No matter what our political stripe or style is, that is our job.

One of the times he spoke at an American president's funeral, he pointed out that many people of varying talents and skills had led the country and that there would be many more in the future.

One thing is certain, historians will see that, in Canadian history, Brian Mulroney led with vision and determination and that he accomplished many great things.

We see it in his legacy on apartheid, where he was unremitting in his commitment to end that institutionalized racism, and he leveraged Canada's position in the Commonwealth to lead efforts that helped free Nelson Mandela from his cell on Robben Island.

We see this in his legacy on the environment. He understood the responsibility of governments to combat environmental degradation. He negotiated a historic air quality agreement with the United States to reduce acid rain.

Together with global partners, he negotiated the Montreal Protocol to fix the hole in the ozone layer. These agreements were not just essential for their time and era; they have become important models of environmental co-operation as the international community continues to confront the climate crisis.

Perhaps one of his greatest legacies was forging a free trade agreement with our closest ally, the United States.

Prime Minister Mulroney was astute and perceived, even back in the eighties, a rising tide of American protectionism. He had the wisdom to understand that the best way to fight back was to embrace our friends. He envisioned a free trade relationship and in working to make this vision a reality, he became a lifelong friend of two American presidents. With the creation of NAFTA, Brian Mulroney established the largest free trade area in the world and raised the standard of living for hundreds of millions of people, benefiting Canadians in every corner of this country for decades.

Brian also knew not to take anything for granted. He said it was important to work hard every day, and every day after that. He put his words into action by intervening when NAFTA was threatened a few years ago.

Brian played a dual role as an adviser to me and my cabinet, and as an advocate for Canada among his friends and contacts in the U.S. political and business elite.

It mattered a lot to me but even more so to Canada that Brian vouched to the American Republican class that they could trust this Liberal Prime Minister and even given partisan political pressure here at home, he always knew that the most important thing was getting a good deal for Canada and for Canadians. In our many conversations during that difficult time, he was gracious, generous, insightful and determined to see Canada come out on top.

NAFTA was created as an act of hope, so, too, was its renegotiation; hope not just in the continual economic progress of this country, but hope that those values that once held us together, opportunity and fairness for all, livelihood above gimmicks, country above politics, could still be the thing.

Politics is not an easy life. Last June, after walking around the exhibits of the institute formed in his name, Brian gave a speech where he said, “I have learned over the years that history is unconcerned with the trivia and the trash of rumours and gossip floating around Parliament Hill. History is only concerned with the big ticket items that have shaped the future of Canada”

Let us all take a moment to reflect on what we want to accomplish here in the House. Let us remember how important it is to make good decisions, regardless of popular trends, decisions that will stand the test of time.

Now, nobody who runs for office does not want to win. Brian Mulroney knew how to win, and he certainly enjoyed it. However, he knew as well as anyone that there would be attacks and criticisms that stung. Mila, Caroline, Ben, Mark and Nicholas saw it up close and knew how hard it could be. However, on the big things, they also know full well that he would not let himself succumb to temporary pressure. He was motivated by service and those things, those big things, have stood the test of history, four decades and counting.

Today, we all gather to remember him in the House, and this weekend, Canadians across the country will say goodbye. However, this will not be the last week that Canadians will quote him, remember his example and be inspired by his service. It is not just his booming baritone that will forever echo in this chamber, but his values and his leadership.

We say goodbye to the man, but not to his conviction to put country before politics, his belief in creating opportunities and his confidence in Canada's infinite possibilities.

Brian Mulroney's principles helped shape this nation and the world for the better, and we will all continue that work.

Right Hon. Brian MulroneyRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Carleton Ontario


Pierre Poilievre ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to pay tribute to a son of Quebec, a great statesman for Canada.

About a year ago, my wife Ana and I were at a mechanic's shop, servicing our car, about 30 minutes south of here. As I went to pay, the mechanic said, “You're that Conservative leader. Brian Mulroney is a family friend of mine.” I said, “Really, how do you know Brian Mulroney?” He said that his dad was a miner at the Iron Ore Company and when Brian was the president, he used to spend a lot of time with the guys on the ground. He would ask their opinions, hear their stories and, most of all, get tips on how they could be running a better business.

This was the kind of down to earth spirit that he brought, but more important than that spirit and collegiality with the workers on the ground was his incredible memory. When that miner passed away decades later, Brian called the family. What is so incredible about that phone call is that in the interim period, Brian Mulroney fought two leadership races; won two majority governments; shook hands and spent time with presidents, kings, queens and other prime ministers; negotiated free trade deals; watched the end of the Cold War; sent our troops into the Persian Gulf; and with all that passing through his mind, he still remembered the miner from the Iron Ore Company.

That is kindness. That is humility. I think he saw his dad in that miner, an electrician from a working class small town in Quebec.

Baie-Comeau is a hard-working city.

A modest, Irish working class upbringing taught him the value of work, family, neighbourhood, loyalty and merit. For me, this part of his legacy is personal. I was born to a teenage mother, incidentally she was from a working class Irish family. She put me up for adoption to two school teachers. I was just becoming aware that there was such a thing as prime ministers when he had that job.

Like millions of young people from similar backgrounds, we looked to him and said that if the Irish son of a working class electrician from a mill town could rise to become prime minister, then anyone from anywhere in this country could do anything.

He took his journey from small town to big business, leading some of the great enterprises of Canada. Many of these jobs he had in his late thirties and early forties. His first shot at politics came with a setback, but he would brush aside that setback with a second run for leadership, which he would win, before he could take on the mighty Liberal machine in the forthcoming 1984 election. Before he could do that, he had to come to this place.

On the first day in the House, he squared off with the legendary former prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, who teased him about parachuting from his corporate office in Montreal into a by-election win in rural Nova Scotia. I will quote the records:

The Hon. Member for Central Nova has come a long way from that log cabin in Pictou County. I see that he has put away his rumpled trousers and old sweaters, to be brought out again at the next election. In the meantime it is nice for us in this Chamber to be able to bask in the glow, in the benign smile, of a man who sent such shivers of pleasure down the spines of the matrons all the way from Oyster Pond to Mushaboo.

Brian Mulroney rose and responded:

I want you to know, Prime Minister, that during the summer, while you were otherwise occupied, it was a very pleasant summer for me. There was one untoward incident, only one. The Liberal candidate in Central Nova persistently referred to a candidate from Quebec who did not live in his riding but lived in a million dollar house rent free, and I defended you [vigorously].

When he appeared in this chamber with that big smile and confident tone, I think it was enough to make anybody take a walk in the snow.

Soon after the election, he would go on to win a record majority government. He inherited a desperate, divided country, with skyrocketing debt having caused double-digit inflation, unemployment and interest rates. The government had attacked industries and thousands of jobs. People's lives were falling apart. The country was more divided than ever before with rocketing separatism and western alienation, yet he set out to do his work. He shrunk government, cut red tape, ended the appalling national energy program and privatized 23 money-losing state enterprises that went on to succeed and grow in the private sector. To put any debate to rest, successive governments refused to renationalize any of them, proving that he was right.

My personal favourite was when he brought in the inflation control target that required the Bank of Canada to keep our money solid, ending the prior decade of money-printing inflation that had destroyed the working class. This policy, this inflation target, came in in 1991 and would succeed in giving us price stability and sound money for the two and a half decades that followed.

Finally, he stared down fearmongering and falsehoods to defend and secure the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, the most successful trade agreement the modern world had ever seen with the most lucrative economy in the history of the planet. In fact, all of the trade access and more that we have today with the United States was secured in that agreement.

He inherited a desperate, divided country with a public debt that led to inflation, unemployment and interest rate hikes. The government had essentially attacked key sectors, eliminating thousands of jobs. People's lives were falling apart, but he gave them hope.

He set himself some hard tasks. He downsized the government, reduced red tape, put an end to the appalling national energy program and privatized 23 public corporations that were losing money. His plan worked, and those companies thrived in the private sector. Successive governments decided not to re-nationalize any of them because they knew he had made the right decision.

My favourite decision of Brian Mulroney's was the one to give the central bank the mandate to set a low rate of inflation. The 2% target put an end to the printing of money that had destroyed the working class during the previous decade. He put that policy in place in 1991, and it was followed for 25 years.

Lastly, he stood up for the idea of free trade with the United States through what was to become the world's most successful free trade agreement, one that resulted in an extraordinary economy. In fact, these economic policies kick-started a consensus of common sense, free markets, free trade, disciplined spending, solid currency, strong defence, meritocracy and not aristocracy. That consensus lasted 30 years after he was elected in 1984.

All of the policies he put forward, the ones I have named, were controversial. Some were even unpopular, yet none was repealed by the subsequent Liberal government. He in fact started, in 1984 after his election, a common-sense consensus of free markets, free trade, disciplined spending, sound money, strong defence and meritocracy, not aristocracy. It was a consensus that would endure for 30 years after his 1984 election, and one we should restore.

He fought for the French language and for respect for Quebec, as well as for provincial autonomy.

He did away with Cold War neutrality and instead sided firmly and unequivocally with freedom and against communism. He led the world in the fight against apartheid.

Nelson Mandela would later tell the House of Commons:

I would also like to pay special tribute to the Prime Minister of this country, Brian Mulroney, who has continued along the path charted by Prime Minister Diefenbaker who acted against apartheid because he knew that no person of conscience could stand aside as a crime against humanity was being committed.

...Prime Minister [Mulroney], our people and organisation respect and admire you as a true friend. We have been greatly strengthened by your involvement in the struggle against apartheid and the leadership you have provided....

He stood for the freedom at home as well. He stood on the side of turban-wearing Sikhs by allowing them to serve in the RCMP, where they keep us safe to this day.

He was brilliant at talking through a microphone but even better at talking through a telephone. In fact for Brian Mulroney, phone calls were like an art form; he used the telephone the way Michelangelo might have used a chisel or a brush. He would use it to make business deals, to charm foreign leaders and, more importantly, to comfort grieving or suffering friends.

I have lost count of the number of people who have told me about the worst day in their life. They might have lost a loved one or a friend, or suffered a terrible public humiliation. Then, suddenly, the phone would ring and it would be that mellifluous baritone on the other end of the line, saying, “It's Brian Mulroney.” He would console, joke and maybe even throw in the odd curse about the unfairness of it all, and his friend's turmoil would melt into the astonishment that one of the country's greatest prime ministers had offered love and laughter.

I would call to seek his advice. In fact, I was very blessed to receive it. I asked him, for example, what it was that he did to deal with all of the strain of the job, the anticipation of a close election, the worry about the fate of a political battle. His answer was not that he studied stoicism, mastered yoga or meditated on a hilltop, or even that he was a tough guy who had no worries in the world. No, he explained to me very simply that he surmounted worry through one word: “Mila”, Mila Mulroney.

His half-century-long love affair with Mila is one for the ages. They would have been married 52 years in just a short time. He credited her with all his victories. She was his closest adviser, his rock. Only days before he died, he embraced her, and even with his failing eyes, as she recounted to me the other day, he looked her straight in the face and said, “You are so beautiful.” They were inseparable from the moment they met until he took his last breath.

He told me that my wife, Anaida, who shares Mila's beautiful immigrant story, was my superpower. After my recent convention speech, he said that my speech was terrific but Ana's was far, far better. Ana and I were happy to host the Mulroneys as our first guests at Stornoway after taking on these functions. We were able to plunder both of their minds for incredible advice, which I will not reveal here because I do not want any of my political competitors to take advantage of them, but the best and most important advice was to stand with family.

Brian and Mila's achievements are greatest when it comes to their kids, who tell stories even today, saying that they could call Brian at any time and he would take the calls, even when he was the prime minister. Later they would find out that he had left world summits or cabinet meetings to talk with them. That is why Mark, Caroline, Nicholas and Ben have been such smashing successes in their own right. They are now parents themselves. He had sixteen grandchildren: “Go forth and multiply”, indeed.

He lived out the words of Kipling:

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too...

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build [them] up with wornout tools...

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings—nor lose [your] common touch...

Yours is the Earth and it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Rest in the peace of God, Prime Minister Mulroney.

Right Hon. Brian MulroneyRoutine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.


Louis Plamondon Bloc Bécancour—Nicolet—Saurel, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have fond memories when I talk about this prime minister. I was elected with him as part of his team on September 4, 1984. He was a great Canadian, a great Quebecker and a great prime minister.

On behalf of the Bloc Québécois, I would first like to offer my deepest condolences to his wife, Mila, his daughter, Caroline, his sons, Ben, Mark and Nicolas, and his grandchildren.

I remember Brian Mulroney as a family man first. He loved Mila, his wife and lifelong companion. He was proud of his children and cherished his role as a grandfather. He was always only a phone call away from his loved ones and delighted in spending quality time with the whole family.

Born to a working-class family, Mr. Mulroney grew up in Baie-Comeau, a paper mill town on Quebec's north shore. Thanks to a strong work ethic, Mr. Mulroney rose to the highest ranks in the legal and business communities of 1970s Montreal. He even became president and CEO of a large company before the age of 40. Early on, however, he took an interest in Quebec and Canadian politics. Motivated by a deep desire to build a modern Quebec and Canada, he left the sidelines to play an active role in the political arena.

In 1984, Mr. Mulroney was the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party, a party that no longer exists. He won the biggest election victory in history. He immediately set about instituting major reforms to the Canadian economy, including the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA; the privatization of Crown corporations; policies to keep inflation low, deregulate and cut spending; and the GST.

As the father of North American free trade, which would play a pivotal role in the economic vitality of Quebec as a producing and exporting nation, he is credited with reducing Quebec's unemployment rate from 12% to 6% within two years of NAFTA being implemented. He will be remembered for his engaging personality, which was key to strengthening the important relationship between Canada and the United States.

Who could forget how Mr. Mulroney strengthened ties with the U.S. at an evening out with President Ronald Reagan at the Grand Théâtre de Québec in Quebec City on St. Patrick's Day, which some people were celebrating yesterday. True to their roots, both Quebec and Irish, the two heads of state solidified their friendship when they sang When Irish Eyes are Smiling on stage. Brian Mulroney persisted and successfully negotiated NAFTA.

Another thing I remember about that time is that the then premier of Ontario was strongly opposed to NAFTA throughout the negotiations. He gave countless speeches on the subject. Three months after NAFTA was signed, Mr. Mulroney showed up to a caucus meeting with an American business magazine. He used to always give a little pep talk at those meetings. He opened the magazine to page six or seven to show everyone the picture of the premier of Ontario next to a message saying that thanks to free trade, Americans could now invest in Ontario.

It was with a hint of humour that Mr. Mulroney showed us that photo, but he made no comment about the premier of Ontario. He had a deep respect for his opponents, but he also had a very refined sense of humour.

Opposition to the GST was fierce. It came from all sides, even within our Progressive Conservative caucus. Some caucus members went so far as to resign and sit as independents. They were sure they would be re-elected as independents just by saying the word GST, because they sensed that many Canadians were opposed to this reform. Brian Mulroney did not waver. He persisted and implemented the GST. Today, no one would want to turn back the clocks on the GST. Let us not forget that, at the time, exporting companies paid a tax on the goods they exported. It was totally abnormal. Brian Mulroney promised to correct that and he succeeded.

He will be remembered for reconciling an open economic approach and confidence in the markets with global leadership on the environment. He signed the Canada-U.S. acid rain treaty and initiated the Montreal protocol on ozone-depleting substances. This made him the greenest prime minister ever.

The international relations he developed, his negotiating talents and his unwavering determination to build consensus gave him influence on the international scene. He was one of the first to respond to the 1984 famine in Egypt. He led the campaign against apartheid in South Africa. Canada was the first country to impose economic sanctions on that country, despite opposition from Mrs. Thatcher and the U.S. President, action that eventually led to Mandela's release.

He also played an active, if not a leading role in the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie. He was awarded highest honours not only by Quebec and Canada, but also by a long list of countries, including France, which named him Commander of the Order of Legion of Honour, South Africa, which appointed him Supreme Companion of O.R. Tambo, Japan, which honoured him with the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun, Haiti, which gave him the Grand Cross of the National Order of Honour and Merit, and Ukraine, which awarded him the Order of King Yaroslav the Wise. He was a person of international renown.

There are aspects of Brian Mulroney's political life that the Quebec nation will always remember more than anyone else, and that too many others have since forgotten, if not swept under the rug. He took it upon himself to transform, almost single-handedly, the then historically difficult and distrustful relationship between Quebec and his party. Quebeckers will never forget that, when he was prime minister, from 1984 to 1993, he was the last to make a sincere and ardent attempt to reconcile Quebec and Canada.

Brian Mulroney had the courage to build his winning campaign in 1984 on respect for Quebeckers and their pride. He won with the support of the most nationalistic among us. René Lévesque placed his trust in him the day after the 1980 referendum. Lucien Bouchard placed his trust in him as well, and the news of their recent reconciliation, a few months before his death, brought comfort to the hearts of many Quebeckers.

The majority of Quebeckers placed their trust in him, as did I when I was elected to the House alongside him in 1984. Like most Quebeckers, I was confident that his was the steady hand that would lead the government to do right by Quebec's aspirations.

He promised himself and the rest of us that the trickery marring the repatriation of the Constitution in 1982 would not set the tone for future Canada-Quebec relations. He pledged to bring Quebec into the Constitution and the federation with “honour and enthusiasm”, as a people. He said that Quebec had “an option”, to paraphrase the words he fired off at John Turner during the first debate. I am sure we all remember that.

Mr. Mulroney's openness to Quebeckers did not hurt him. On the contrary, in his first election as leader, his commitment to nationalism won him no fewer than 211 of the 282 available seats, including 57 in Quebec. He won another majority in 1988. It was the first time since Confederation that the Progressive Conservative Party won a majority twice in a row, both times on a promise that no federal party would make in 2024. Nowadays, nobody is promising to reform Canada in a way that includes Quebec with dignity.

Just a few kilometres from the House of Commons, at Meech Lake, he managed to convince every premier from the Canadian provinces and every federal opposition leader to take this chance with him. Everyone was ready to recognize Quebec as a distinct nation. Everyone was ready to limit the federal government's spending power. Everyone was ready to guarantee Quebec the right to withdraw from federal programs with full compensation.

Brian Mulroney loved Canada deeply, just as he loved Quebec deeply. That is why he did everything he could to make Quebec feel at home. He did everything and tried everything to carve out a better Canada, a real federation, united in mutual respect and in celebration of its founding identities. Unfortunately, no one has tried to take that on since.

For the years that I had the honour and privilege of sitting under his leadership, I rubbed shoulders with a true statesman, a man of vision who was undaunted in achieving the goals he set for himself, an affable man who was respectful of his opponents and who had one goal: to improve the lives of Quebeckers and Canadians.

My dear Brian, we etched your name on the trees on the Hill, but over time the bark wore off. We etched your name on the sidewalks of the Hill, but over time the concrete broke down. Fortunately, we etched your name in our hearts and time will keep it there forever. Adieu, Mr. Prime Minister, and thank you.

Right Hon. Brian MulroneyRoutine Proceedings

3:50 p.m.


Jagmeet Singh NDP Burnaby South, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to offer my sincere condolences, on behalf of all New Democrats, to the family and friends of late prime minister Brian Mulroney. It is never easy to lose someone you love, and our thoughts are with you.

To Canadians, he was a prime minister, but to those closest to him, he was a father, a grandfather and a husband. I hope his loved ones can find some comfort in the many memories that people have shared about him as they grieve this loss.

Prime Minister Mulroney will be remembered as someone who took big chances while he was in office. While there are a great many issues that, of course, he and I would not agree on, I want to acknowledge the legacy that he leaves behind after a long career of dedicated public service.

I would be remiss not to point out that Mr. Mulroney was a Progressive Conservative. He respected our democracy and the role of the media in a way that was not remarkable at the time but is no doubt noteworthy today.

He was also a great human rights advocate on the international stage. Brian Mulroney strongly condemned the injustices of apartheid in South Africa at a time when many world leaders remained silent. His strong stance reminds us that we must never turn a blind eye to the difficulties that people throughout the world are facing.

Thousands of Canadians will always remember that Mr. Mulroney did not ignore that blatant violation of human rights. He chose to use his voice to help those who were suffering under apartheid, not for his own political gain, but because it was the right thing to do.

I also want to note Prime Minister Mulroney's environmental advocacy.

He listened to the concerns raised by scientists about the hole in the ozone layer and the impacts it would have on Canadians, including higher rates of cancer.

He responded to scientists' warnings about acid rain and the damage it would do to our soil and our ability to grow food.

Mr. Mulroney understood that if there was no responsible stewardship of our environment, Canadians' health would suffer. He understood that the government played a significant role in ensuring that people have clean water to drink and clean air to breathe for generations to come.

In addition to his dedication to environmental advocacy, the late prime minister was also a champion for Quebec and Quebeckers, as many have shared.

It was important for him that the people of Quebec be recognized. He valued Quebeckers' culture, heritage and distinct society as an integral part of this country.

He stood up for the language rights of francophones, unlike some other prime ministers before him. Mr. Mulroney worked hard to build a bridge between anglophones and francophones. He fought so that francophones would not feel like second-class citizens but like an integral part of the country's social fabric.

Having grown up in Quebec, he recognized that the diversity of our country makes us a richer and stronger nation.

At a time of more heightened divisions, when some political leaders try to score points by pitting one group of people against another, Mr. Mulroney will be remembered as someone who tried to build unity.

Since he passed away, I heard a media interview with former prime minister Kim Campbell, his cabinet colleague and successor. The thing that really stands out is the way she spoke about his willingness to change his mind, to hear other points of view and to adjust his actions. That Mr. Mulroney had this flexibility and open-mindedness is a testament to his leadership style and his character.

Ultimately, Canadians expect this of their political leaders. There are bound, of course, to be disagreements between people with different life experiences and different perspectives, but truly listening to and respecting one another should be a baseline for people in political life, and that is a standard that Mr. Mulroney upheld and exceeded.

I want to share a story about the late prime minister that illustrates my point.

Just a couple of months ago, our party lost a legend in our former leader, Ed Broadbent. His passing hit us hard. Ed was, of course, a champion for disenfranchised people, a principled leader and a wonderful friend.

Even though, at the time, Mr. Mulroney was in hospital, dealing with his own health issues, he still made time to speak to the media about his former political rival. He spoke of Ed, from the hospital, with tremendous respect and kindness, when he could have just as easily decided not to do any interviews at all, and it would have been understandable.

That was so generous of him, to honour an opponent. It says a lot about him as a leader and as a person.

I want to close by reiterating my condolences to the late prime minister's loved ones and to thank them all for sharing him with this country.

Right Hon. Brian MulroneyRoutine Proceedings

3:55 p.m.


The Speaker Liberal Greg Fergus

I see the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands rising in her place. Would this be to seek the consent of the House to participate in the statements regarding the Right Hon. Brian Mulroney?

Right Hon. Brian MulroneyRoutine Proceedings

3:55 p.m.


Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I humbly beg my friends to please let me join by unanimous consent of everyone here, because I loved the late prime minister so much it is going to kill me if I do not get to say so out loud.

Right Hon. Brian MulroneyRoutine Proceedings

3:55 p.m.


The Speaker Liberal Greg Fergus

Is it agreed?

Right Hon. Brian MulroneyRoutine Proceedings

3:55 p.m.

Some hon. members


Right Hon. Brian MulroneyRoutine Proceedings

4 p.m.


Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I want to offer my deepest condolences to the entire family of our former prime minister, to Mila, Ben, Mark, Nicolas and Caroline.

I had the very huge honour, in a very unlikely event in the life of a very passionate non-Conservative, to serve as a member of the staff team for the minister of environment and ultimately, over the years, to become a friend of Brian Mulroney's.

I have never said this to the family, but I used to have this recurring dream after I resigned from the office. There was a certain amount of bad blood from other Conservatives, but never from Brian Mulroney, about my leaving over my minister doing this little thing called breaking the law. I had this recurring dream that I kept running up to Brian Mulroney to say, “I hope you know I love you.” It was weird, because I did not know I felt that way when I was having this dream, but I had it over and over again.

Then we became friends. We became friends when I felt compelled, as the executive director of the Sierra Club, to write articles saying, “Look at this legacy. Hello.” I was on the jury for who was the greenest prime minister, and it was not close. This was in 2005. It was not like there were a lot of prime ministers who had that kind of record.

In thinking about my remarks today, I have decided there is no way I can actually speak to each of the accomplishments of the Mulroney government and of Brian Mulroney quite personally, of his personally picking up the phone and putting the negotiations to stop the logging of Gwaii Haanas and of him putting them back into play by calling Bill Vander Zalm. This was hard work and heavy lifting, and it was personal. Where it came from I cannot tell, but I know it was profound, real and personal on issue after issue, so I have decided the only way I can get through them is to list them.

I can hardly editorialize on the accomplishments, because they are so many, but let us start under the category of underpromising and over-delivering. There is the multinational effort to deal with acid rain, to actually solve the issue, and to make it our single top bilateral issue at every meeting with the President of the United States of America.

Then it was the ozone layer. We did not just put in place some ideas. Brian Mulroney quite literally saved all life on earth when Canada stood up and organized the Montreal Protocol and saved the ozone layer, so that it was not just no longer being eroded but was repairing itself. I was never so proud as when I saw him at the 30th anniversary of the Montreal Protocol in Montreal, when he even mentioned me in his speech. We were there at the same congress where it was negotiated in September 1987. The Montreal Protocol is an astonishing accomplishment for this country, but it was Brian Mulroney personally who delivered it.

The first international conference on the climate crisis was in the last week of June 1988. Late prime minister Brian Mulroney opened it and gave a speech that brought the house down and brought scientists from all around the world to their feet to cheer. Stephen Schneider, one of the leading climate scientists, said, “My God, this is our Woodstock.”

Prime Minister Mulroney and Gro Harlem Brundtland of Norway opened that conference, which was the first one, but then the work kept going. There was the work to acknowledge and support the World Commission on Environment and Development and its landmark report, “Our Common Future”, to lead the United Nations in creating the Earth Summit for June 1992, and to lead, with heavy lifting, to deliver the treaty for the protection of biological diversity.

One of the hallmarks I was going to mention is what Brian Mulroney did, not just in standing up to his enemies, which is easy, but in standing up to his friends. When he saved the biodiversity convention, and he did quite personally save it when George Bush tried to kill it, he was standing up to his friends.

When he stood up to throw South Africa out of the Commonwealth, he had to stand up to his friend, Maggie Thatcher, whom he loved, because it was wrong to ignore apartheid and let South Africa be a member of the Commonwealth family. He stood up against his friends.

He stood up to Ronald Reagan on acid rain, and he delivered an agreement between Canada and the U.S. that actually ended the scourge of acid rain pollution in Canada. He banned lead in gasoline. He banned alachlor, the herbicide that was carcinogenic. He brought in the environmental legislation we still have, some of which has been tragically repealed. He brought in the Canadian Environmental Protection Act and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. He brought in Canada's only federal water policy and created new institutions, only some of which we still have. He brought in the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy.

He created the International Institute for Sustainable Development. He created the post of ambassador for the environment. He did the early work that led to the creation of the Arctic Council. He brought in the Great Lakes water quality agreements, multilateral agreements between many levels of government, provincial and federal. He brought in the national parks, one after the other. Quttinirpaaq, which we then called Ellesmere, was created on Ellesmere Island.

There was Gwaii Haanas. We talked earlier today in the House of the news of what has been done with the Haida Nation and acknowledging its sovereignty. Brian Mulroney flew to Vancouver Island to sign the deal with then premier Vander Zalm. I will never forget Pat Carney, another dear friend we lost this year, saying to all the men gathered there that a lot of what they had done in their political careers would be forgotten, but this would last and always be remembered.

Gwaii Haanas National Park, Canada's Galapagos, was personally saved by Brian Mulroney. Yes, all the Haida elders blocked the logging roads and got arrested. We cannot take a thing away from their courage, but the personal courage of the elders who blocked the logging road would have come to a historical footnote if Brian Mulroney had not been willing to get a deal and get Bill Vander Zalm back to the negotiating table. There were also the Grasslands National Park, the Pacific Rim National Park, Georgian Bay Islands National Park and the early work on the Rouge Valley.

Making poverty history was the best international development funding record Canada has ever had. The closest we have ever come to the Pearson target was under Brian Mulroney when we still had the Canadian International Development Agency. Our funding commitments under Brian Mulroney were the most generous of Canada's whole history on international development. He stepped up to respond to the Ethiopian famine.

The problem is that with this kind of résumé, not only can we not pad it, we cannot even list it and not run out of time. How did he do all this? He had skills and talents. With him being Irish, I can only suspect he actually once physically kissed the Blarney stone. There is no real way to explain how he could charm the birds out of the trees, but he sure as heck could.

He could make people laugh. I loved his jokes so much. I feel like that old joke where someone can just give the punchlines and the family will know which ones were the best: “Do you know who I am? I am the man who gives out the butter.” These were great jokes. His comic timing was perfect.

One thing about Brian Mulroney's humour, and he was a great at it, is that there was never a joke at anyone's expense. There was never a cruel joke. If there was ever a joke at someone's expense, it was his own self-deprecating humour at his own expense. There was the time back in 2005 when he missed the first award dinner for his being the greenest prime minister. He talked later about being in hospital and some old guy, who looked pretty rough, looked at him and said, “Did you used to be Brian Mulroney?” At people's lowest moments, he could make them laugh.

I just cannot say enough how grateful I am and how deeply honoured I am. There is no explaining the generosity and kindness of his heart. When I had low moments now and then, I could not believe it when my office would tell me former prime minister Brian Mulroney wanted to talk to me on the phone. I thought they were kidding me. I would love to tell everyone what he said because it is so darned funny, but I really cannot repeat it.

Dear Brian Mulroney, there are no pearly gates anywhere near this place, more like a bat out of hell, one would say, but I know where there's a proper welcome, open arms and angelic choirs, for someone who deserved and deserves to come home. God bless him, his family, his children, his grandchildren and all who loved him. He lived well, and he loved this country. Let us continue to try to meet that example of a good-hearted, kind-spirited, generous and brilliant Canadian.

Right Hon. Brian MulroneyRoutine Proceedings

4:10 p.m.


The Speaker Liberal Greg Fergus

Colleagues, I thank you for the words, the kind sentiments and the deep respect you have shown for our 18th Prime Minister, the Right Hon. Brian Mulroney.

His life story is worthy of a fairy tale. From humble beginnings in Baie-Comeau to a leader who made Canada and the world a better place, Brian Mulroney exemplified courage, vision and love of country.

When he died on February 29, it was the last day of Black History Month. That evening, I took a stage at a final Black History Month event and announced to those assembled the passing of the right hon. gentleman. I reminded the crowd of the great debt of gratitude that Black Canadians, Black people around the world and any freedom-loving people owed Brian Mulroney for his work to end apartheid, for he was a fearless politician who fought for policies that, frankly, transformed the world. He never wavered from what he believed was right, no matter how hard or how controversial.

From fighting apartheid in South Africa to apologizing for the wrongs committed against Japanese Canadians, Brian Mulroney's legacy puts him squarely on the side of justice. His charisma was legendary and made him a statesman like no other. He was an amazing orator and a consummate networker who could make magic happen by picking up the phone.

All of us in the House could learn from his kindness, his smile and his civility. Every Canadian has benefited from his intelligence, hard work and exemplary dedication to public service.

His love for his beautiful family filled him with an infectious joy that grounded him with what matters most, and we are honoured to have his family here with us today. As Canada grieves, we hope that the love and light he brought to his family, friends and all who knew him, as well as his indelible contributions to the people around the world and, of course, to our wonderful country, offer strength to his family during this time of sorrow.

We will miss him.

I wish to inform the House that, because of the ministerial statement, Government Orders will be extended by 60 minutes.

Government Operations and EstimatesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:10 p.m.


Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have two reports today.

The first one is, in both official languages, the 15th report of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates, a.k.a. the mighty OGGO, in relation to the motion adopted on Thursday, February 22, which asked the House to recommend that the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner investigate allegations of wrongdoing related to ArriveCAN.

The second one I have the honour to present, in both official languages, is the 16th report of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates, entitled “Supplementary Estimates (C), 2023-24: Votes 1c and 5c under Department of Public Works and Government Services, Vote 1c under Privy Council Office, Vote 1c under Shared Services Canada and Votes 1c, 15c, 20c and 30c under Treasury Board Secretariat”.

Turkish Heritage Month ActRoutine Proceedings

4:15 p.m.


Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

, seconded by the member for Vaughan—Woodbridge, moved for leave to introduce Bill C-384, An Act to establish Turkish Heritage Month.

He said: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Vaughan—Woodbridge for supporting this bill, as well as the several other members who also wanted to second it. It is an act to establish Turkish heritage month.

The preamble states:

Whereas the first Turks arrived in Canada in the late 1800s, settling in Brantford, Ontario, in the years after Confederation;

Whereas the population of Turkish Canadians has since grown considerably and includes people from such Turkic nations as Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, East Turkestan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Tatarstan;

Whereas young, dynamic Turkish Canadian communities continue to flourish throughout Canada;

Whereas Turkish Canadians from all walks of life have contributed substantially to Canada's social, economic and political life;

Whereas Turkish Canadians have made rich and significant contributions to the cultural fabric of Canada, including through food, literature, music and fashion;

We are proposing to make the month of October Turkish heritage month.

I want to thank The Federation of Canadian Turkish Associations, particularly Hulya Gunay, the vice-president of the federation, and Dr. Sinan Yasarlar from Windsor, who have been the inspiration for this bill.

In conclusion, I want to thank the chamber here and the other members who are reaching out on this bill. Hopefully, we will find unanimous consent at some point in time. Turkish heritage month is something that has been supported by many different cities and organizations. I believe it would be appropriate for the House and chamber to adopt this legislation.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

International TradeCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:15 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba


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

Mr. Speaker, I would ask that members be a bit patient as I go through this.

There have been discussions among the parties and, if you seek it, I think you would find unanimous consent for the following motions.

I will start with the travel motions relating to four committees.

I move:

That, in relation to its study Canadian business in supply chains and global markets, seven members of the Standing Committee on International Trade be authorized to travel to Prince Rupert, British Columbia; Winnipeg, Manitoba; Windsor, Ontario; Montréal, Québec; and Halifax, Nova Scotia, in the Spring of 2024, during an adjournment period, and that the necessary staff accompany the Committee.

(Motion agreed to)

HealthCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:15 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba


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

Mr. Speaker, I move:

That, in relation to its study of the opioid epidemic and toxic drug crisis in Canada, seven members of the Standing Committee on Health be authorized to travel to Montréal, Québec; Vancouver, British Columbia; Calgary, Alberta; and Red Deer, Alberta, in the Spring of 2024, during an adjournment period, and that the necessary staff accompany the Committee.

(Motion agreed to)

Indigenous and Northern AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:20 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba


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

Mr. Speaker, I move:

That, in relation to its study of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), seven members of the Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs be authorized to travel to New York, New York, United States of America, in the Spring of 2024, during an adjournment period, and that the necessary staff accompany the Committee.

(Motion agreed to)

Public Safety and National SecurityCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:20 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba


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

Mr. Speaker, I move:

That, in relation to its study of the growing problem of car thefts in Canada, seven members of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security be authorized to travel to Montréal, Québec, in the Spring of 2024, during an adjournment period, and that the necessary staff accompany the Committee.

(Motion agreed to)

Canada-Ukraine RelationsRoutine Proceedings

4:20 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba


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

Mr. Speaker, I have two other motions.

I would like to ask for consent to adopt the following motion relating to a take-note debate on Ukraine.

I move:

That a take-note debate on the Canada-Ukraine relationship and the newly signed strategic security partnership be held on Wednesday, March 20, 2024, pursuant to Standing Order 53.1, and that, notwithstanding any standing order or usual practice of the House: (a) members rising to speak during the debate may indicate to the Chair that they will be dividing their time with another member; (b) the time provided for the debate be extended beyond four hours, as needed, to include a minimum of 12 periods of 20 minutes each; and (c) no quorum calls, dilatory motions or requests for unanimous consent shall be received by the Chair.