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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was alberta.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as Liberal MP for Edmonton Centre (Alberta)

Lost his last election, in 2019, with 33% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Canada Labour Code October 16th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I am extremely proud to speak to Bill C-65, which amends the Canada Labour Code and the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act to help ensure that federally regulated workplaces, including the federal public service and parliamentary workplaces, are free from harassment and violence. With this legislation we can all look forward to a time when Canadian workers are better protected against workplace violence and harassment. We can look forward to a time when no worker in Canada has to fear coming forward after experiencing these inappropriate behaviours to protect themselves or their families.

I want to begin by thanking the hon. Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour for bringing this very important legislation before Parliament. While it is not often that we enjoy support from our opposition colleagues, the way in which we have worked together across the aisle to support this legislation shows that it is truly time for change. Whether it is how sexual violence in the workplace is handled, or how power imbalances are reinforced in our culture, violence and harassment in the workplace are not partisan issues. They are issues that affect us all, regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

Of course, the first thing that comes to mind when I think of this bill is that it benefits vulnerable minorities who are much more likely to be harassed in the workplace. Sexual minorities, including people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or two-spirit are at a particularly high risk of being victims of harassment and violence in the workplace. To me that is totally unacceptable.

Historically, LGBTQ2 community members have been targets of workplace violence and harassment. Progress is being made, but we need to continue to do more.

One example of such societal progress is the historic apology made to LGBTQ2 Canadians last summer by Prime Minister Trudeau. When most of us see Canada as a progressive and accepting nation, our past has not always been so open-minded. We know that from the 1950s to the early 1990s, the Government of Canada undertook a horrifying campaign of oppression against citizens suspected of being part of LGBTQ2 communities, setting a course for decades of discrimination in the Canadian workforce and destroying the lives of thousands of workers, including public servants and soldiers in the process. As we know, the Prime Minister made a historic apology that day. I apologize for using his name in this chamber.

Although we now see workplace violence and harassment as issues that need to be solved, this shows that for these communities in particular, workplace violence and harassment have been part of the lives of people for too long. Today, as a legacy of this dark period of our history, LGBTQ2 Canadians are still subjected to discrimination, violence and aggression at alarming rates. In fact, trans people did not even have explicit protection under federal human rights legislation until 2017. Occurrences of mental health issues and suicides remain higher among LGBTQ2 youth as a result of violence and harassment. In fact, LGBTQ2 youth are four times more likely to attempt to suicide than their straight counterparts. The homelessness and joblessness rates that face the LGBTQ2 community are high. Therefore, the steps we are taking today will encourage LGBTQ2 Canadians to be full participants in our workforce.

I must also mention the treatment of indigenous workers, for whom violence and discrimination are part of their daily lives. According to the 2014 Statistics Canada General Social Survey, violent victimization among indigenous people is more than double of that of the non-indigenous population. Research shows that regardless the type of violent offence, whether it is sexual assault, robbery or assault, the victimization rate is almost always higher in indigenous populations than in Canada's non-indigenous populations.

It is vitally important that indigenous peoples and LGBTQ2 citizens feel able to be 100% themselves without the fear of being harassed, treated poorly or made to feel insignificant.

Before I came out, I felt like I could only operate at about 60% or 70%. I spent 30% to 40% of my brain space trying to be a straight guy. It did not work and it ate me up from the inside. Once I came out, I was able to be 100% me. Even some of my friends said, “Could we just have the 80% Randy back? You're a lot to handle.” Quite frankly, I am 100% now. I am not going back in that closet.

Guess what? We want LGBTQ2 Canadians to be 100% themselves, and that includes in the workforce. When we get this kind of legislation passed, when we practise what we preach inside this chamber, all Canadians can feel like they belong in our workforces.

As I have said to friends and colleagues in the workplace since coming out, “Joke with me, not about me. I am a bald, gay guy. They can make lots of jokes about that, but just do it with me in the room, not when I am outside the room grabbing some coffee.”

The results and the stats are real. A 2018 Human Rights Campaign foundation study noted that a little more than half of employees surveyed, 53%, hide their sexual orientation or gender identity at work, and a little over a third, 35%, do not disclose their personal lives. Could members imagine going through a week in this place not talking about what it is like to be part of a family, not talking about their kids, not talking about their loved ones, not talking about whether they are an aunt or uncle, and whether they are a proud member of a partnership that has lasted for 10, 15, or 20 years? That would be unthinkable to me, and yet it happens to far too many Canadians. That means they are not bringing their full selves to work.

The transgender community especially faces staggering challenges. Transgender people face an unemployment rate three times higher than average. Twenty-seven per cent were not hired, were fired or were not promoted in 2015, due to their gender identity or expression, according to the U.S. Transgender Survey, the largest of its kind looking at the American transgender community. In 2015, an astounding 80% of transgender people were harassed or mistreated at work or had to take steps to avoid it. We do not have data at the national level, but we are getting there. The Trans Pulse project in Ontario studied the impact of social exclusion and discrimination on the health of transgender people. Of those surveyed, 13% said they were fired specifically for being transgender; another 15% suspected that it might have been the reason for their dismissal; 18% said they were turned down from a job for being transgender, while another 32% suspected this was the reason.

I have faced this kind of discrimination in advance of the campaign trail. I was on a study tour, learning how to speak Spanish in Latin America. I was in Buenos Aries, and serendipity happened to lead me to hear a voice of a distinguished member of my community of Edmonton. We met in the kiosk at the local museum and we agreed to have lunch the next day. It was a long lunch. After about two and a half hours, I mentioned that I might someday like to be in politics and mentioned my partner at the time. He said, “Wait a second, you are gay?" I said yes, that I had been out for almost 20 years. “And you're francophone,” he said. I said that I was. He said he could tell me what I needed to do, that I needed to take my francophone, gay self and go back to Montreal where I came from because I did not stand a snowball's chance in hell of ever being elected in Edmonton. I found that really interesting because my family does not come from Montreal. It comes from Quebec City and had moved to Alberta 126 years earlier. Therefore, I took what was overt discrimination and used that as fuel. I used that as fuel at the doors and won that election. Within a couple of days of winning the election and becoming a Liberal, gay, francophone person in Edmonton Centre, I found a postcard, en français, that said, “thinking of you”, “pensant à vous”. I wrote on the inside, “Looking forward to lunch soon. Can't wait to see you”, and signed my name with “Edmonton Centre, member of Parliament”.

We had a meal together and it went very well.

He totally fell on his sword and said, “I can't believe I said that to you. I was wrong, and please forgive me.” Discrimination happens, but so does reconciliation.

What we are talking about here is stopping it, preventing it, and addressing it properly. Bill C-65 can help to further our fight for equality. The legislation builds on existing violence and harassment provisions in the code to create a comprehensive approach that would cover the full spectrum of harassment and violence, from bullying and teasing to sexual harassment and physical violence. This legislation extends the full suite of occupational health and safety protections, including harassment and violence protections, to parliamentary workplaces, such as the Senate, the Library of Parliament and the House of Commons, including our own political staff.

I was surprised, mystified and shocked when I was elected to realize the few protections afforded to parliamentary staff. As a new member of Parliament, coming from business, I was shocked. I am proud to be part of a Parliament that is taking steps to address that. As a result of this legislation, a single, integrated regime would be created to protect all federally regulated employees from harassment and violence in the workplace, including LGBTQ2 and indigenous workers, preventing incidents of harassment from occurring and supporting those employees affected by harassment and violence, including respecting their privacy.

I know that the other chamber has done extensive study of this bill and that it engaged in discussions with witnesses from many organizations to help in the study.

Having read the amendments made to Bill C-65, I find that these changes clearly help strengthen a powerful framework that will support every Canadian worker from coast to coast to coast.

The other place heard concerns that Bill C-65 would prevent employees from complaining to the Canadian Human Rights Commission when they experience workplace harassment or violence. As such, they proposed an amendment that explicitly states that “nothing in this Part shall be construed so as to abrogate or derogate from the rights provided for under the Canadian Human Rights Act.” Indeed, it is not the intention of this legislation to prevent someone from going to the Canadian Human Rights Commission. As such, we support this amendment.

The Government of Canada reiterates that it is essential for Canadian employees to know that they can file complaints without fear of those complaints being buried under a pile of red tape. Reprisals are already prohibited under the Canada Labour Code. Accordingly, a complainant who feels they are being punished for coming forward can contact the labour program for help.

This amendment also guarantees that the information concerning any complaint of workplace harassment or violence remains confidential, whether it is brought before one tribunal or another.

The other chamber has proposed additional amendments. A member of the other place proposed that the terms “trivial, frivolous or vexatious” be replaced with the term “abuse of process” to limit the negative associations of coming forward with a complaint. Language matters. It is important that we show the government that people who experience workplace harassment or violence will have their claims taken seriously and that experiences will not be dismissed as trivial, or frivolous, or vexatious. We know that it takes strength and courage for someone to come forward when they have experienced inappropriate behaviours in the workplace. We know that we must make it easier for those people to come forward.

This amendment shows that the government recognizes that abusive language can harm anyone who has been a victim of sexual harassment and wishes to file a complaint, but who is ashamed of what happened to him or her.

There were other amendments proposed by the other place that we were not able to accept, and I will address one such amendment in particular.

A member of the other chamber proposed that persons who investigate the complaint shall inform the employee and employer in writing of the results of the investigation. We agree with the intent of this amendment, which was thoughtful and positive. However, we are unable to accept this amendment because of its location in the legislation. The section of the Canadian Labour Code that would be amended by the other chamber pertains to investigations by workplace committees. In Bill C-65, incidents of workplace harassment or violence are not subject to this part of the code, in order to protect the privacy of individuals in cases of harassment and violence. Bill C-65 prohibits the involvement of workplace committees in the investigation of specific incidents.

If this amendment were included the Canada Labour Code, it would not apply to incidents of harassment or violence, and that is why it was not adopted. If an incident of harassment or violence is not resolved, the workplace committee investigates and proceeds directly to an investigation by a qualified person.

This concern is not lost. The process related to the investigation by a competent person will be set out in the regulations. That point was raised by the other chamber and will be included in the regulations as well. What we propose is that these regulations include who receives a copy of an investigative report, including the employee. Since the entire process related to the competent person investigation is set in the regulations, there is nowhere in the code where a reference to who receives the investigative report could be added.

Further, the reason why the process is set out in regulations is that it builds on the existing violence prevention regulations that were developed through tripartite consultation. The new regulations for Bill C-65 are also being developed through tripartite consultation to ensure that the process meets the needs of all parties and will result in timely resolution of incidents.

I am also glad to see that this legislation will apply to employees of Parliament who were not previously protected, as we discussed. It is also important to know that staff are being supported both on the Hill and in constituency offices like my own in Edmonton Centre. This legislation now extends all safety protections to Hill and constituency staff.

The fundamental objective of this bill is to prevent not just physical illness and injury, but also mental health issues. This bill will apply to the entire spectrum of workplace harassment and violence. The amendments to the code will apply to federally-regulated workplaces, including international and interprovincial transportation, banks, telecommunications, most Crown corporations, the federal public service, ministerial exempt staff and interns employed in these sectors.

The proposed changes to Bill C-65 will show Canadians that these behaviours will not be tolerated.

There is a misconception brought to the House by the member for Foothills that I would like to address. The issue pertains to the possibility of perceived political interference in processes related to political staff and their employees.

Let me be really clear on this. To avoid any perception of conflict of interest where a matter involves a member of the Senate or their staff, or a member of the House of Commons or their employees, the powers, duties and functions of the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour will be exercised by the deputy minister of labour. This includes the ability to extend the length of time for a former employee to bring forward a complaint. It is the deputy minister of labour who will grant this extension. There will be no political influence or interference in such matters, full stop.

It is important to circle back to why this matters so much. The federal government employs some 300,000 Canadians, as the largest employer in the country. A 2014 World Bank study estimated that the cost of intolerance in the Indian economy was $31 billion U.S. a year. What does that mean in the Canadian context? If we take the average company, the average NGO, the average provincial workforce or, in our case, the federally regulated agencies, and we take 15% of the bottom line, 15% of the staff costs, and add up what that number is, it is the cost of exclusion. That is what intolerance in the workplace costs us as Canadians every day. Add up how much is spent on salary and benefits, take 15% of that, and ask how much is it worth to get workplace harassment under control, to stop it, to prevent it and to help people who are victims of it.

That is what we are talking about. I would like to be here in the future to talk about the benefits of inclusion, not the costs of exclusion. That is exactly what this kind of legislation will help us to achieve here today.

Here is a magical thing that happens. When an inclusive workforce is created, when people know they are protected, when the 15% of those who feel marginalized because of racism, bullying, misogyny, transphobia, homophobia and biphobia feel welcome, that workforce will include 100% of its employees. Something magical happens, because the other 85% know they are in a healthy ecosystem as well, and the whole workforce does better. The pie increases.

What we want to do here is to have workplaces where people can bring 100% of themselves to work. We want to have workplaces where people can be their full selves. We want people to be safe. We want them to have a good day at work and to go home to their loved ones and to be able to talk about how awesome it is to work for the Government of Canada, because we have put in place a system and a piece of legislation that keeps them protected.

I am honoured to serve in the 42nd Parliament. I am even more honoured to know that we are working on an issue that not just Canadians face, but also people around the world. Workplace harassment is serious. We must stamp it out. With this legislation, we are taking great strides. We know that the measures in Bill C-65 will help make these changes possible. I hope that the bill will serve as a historic reminder of Canada's dedication to equality and strength here and from coast to coast to coast. I encourage all colleagues in the House and around the country to bring their 100% selves to work. Canadians would ask no less of them.

Trans Mountain Pipeline Project Act September 21st, 2018

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today to speak to Bill S-245 at second reading and to do so as a proud Alberta MP. I am very proud of my home province and my city of Edmonton. It is a place that values hard work and entrepreneurship. In fact, if people come to my riding of Edmonton Centre, they will see on one of the buildings there a huge mural that says, “Take a risk”. There is nothing more Edmontonian that anyone could possibly do. It is a place that celebrates inclusion, a place that believes everyone should have the opportunity to succeed. The Edmonton Metropolitan Region has brought innovation and resource development to new levels, once thought impossible.

Members may know that I grew up in Morinviille. Close members of my family and dear friends work and have worked in the oil sands, and I know first-hand the importance of resource development to people's lives and livelihoods. I agree categorically with what I hear at doors every week, the keen and deep interest in getting our resources to market and ending the $15-billion-a-year haircut that our resource products get because we have only one customer, the United States.

These are the same reasons that our government approved the Trans Mountain expansion project in the first place. We know that this project holds the potential to create thousands of good middle-class jobs, to strengthen the Canadian economy and generate billions of dollars in new revenues for all orders of government, and to ensure that we get a fair price for one of our country's most valuable resources. It would also open up new opportunities in indigenous communities across B.C. and Alberta, which support the project. There are also 43 indigenous communities that have signed mutual benefit agreements.

It is for all of these reasons and many more that we believe that the TMX project is in Canada's national interest and why we purchased its assets as a sound investment in Canada's future. The existing line will generate $300 million in earnings every year regardless of the expansion. Therefore, when legislation comes before us suggesting that, “the Trans Mountain Pipeline Project and related works [are declared] to be for the general advantage of Canada”, it is hard to disagree. We have said as much repeatedly in every part of the country, and yet it is not enough that the pipeline project expansion proceed. It must proceed in the right way, and that includes fulfilling our government's commitments to protecting the environment and renewing Canada's relationship with indigenous peoples.

The Trans Mountain expansion project is in the situation it is in today because of the failures of the previous Conservative government. We promised legislation that would move Canada forward and brings more, not less, environmental protection and respect for indigenous rights. Have the Conservatives learned that lesson? No. Despite court ruling after court ruling, they still fail to understand the importance of having strong and meaningful frameworks for pipeline approval in place. Ten years of Conservative failure to get our energy to other markets does not serve the Canadian people and does not serve the energy industry.

With Bill C-69, our government will move Canada's projects forward based on doing things the right way, and without cutting corners the way Conservatives did for a decade. When will the Conservatives learn that Canada cannot legislate its way out of its constitutional obligation to consult indigenous peoples and to protect the environment? Only they know the answer to that. On this side, we know that cutting corners has not worked in the past and will not work now or in the future.

The Federal Court of Appeal found that the government's assessment of the project left room for improvement. Potential environmental effects of marine shipping were not properly considered by the NEB, which was a result of a flawed process created by the Conservatives. It also found that while we had an acceptable framework for indigenous consultation, one that we brought forward in our interim approach to environmental assessments, the Crown did not properly execute that phase of the process.

That is why today the Minister of Natural Resources announced an important step in our path forward. He said that the government has instructed the National Energy Board to reconsider its recommendation, taking into account the effects of marine shipping related to the project. We will be directing the NEB to report within 22 weeks. During this time, the NEB will hear from Canadians and provide participant funding for indigenous and non-indigenous groups. We will present to the NEB recent government actions to protect the southern resident killer whales and to implement the oceans protection plan. We are committed to ensuring that the National Energy Board has the expertise and capacity to deliver the best advice to the government. To that end, we intend to appoint a special marine technical advisor to the National Energy Board.

Our government has been clear about its vision for resource development, a vision built on three key tenets: creating good, middle-class jobs; protecting the environment; and indigenous partnerships.

We see the Trans Mountain expansion project as part of this vision, but the vision is much bigger than that. We are committed to building a long-term energy vision for Canadians, one that transitions Canada to a clean growth economy. Canada is now a global leader in clean tech and we are poised to be a clean energy leader as well.

We have worked across sectors and across the country to build Bill C-69, with industry and environmental groups. The bill moves past the Conservative way of ignoring indigenous peoples and the environment, and proposes a modern, new way to review major resource projects and a new framework to recognize and implement indigenous rights in a spirit of respect, co-operation and collaboration.

Our vision is of more than a single pipeline. It is about creating jobs for Canadians and charting a path for Canada's long-term future, a new course that recognizes that the economy and the environment must go hand in hand.

The Federal Court of Appeal confirmed that we had made a solid start with the interim principles we introduced back in January 2016, but it said there was more work to be done. We understand that. That has been our focus since we formed government in November 2015.

That is why we not only signed the Paris Agreement on climate change, but also helped shape it as an ambitious and balanced plan for ensuring that the environment and economy are equal components of a single engine that will drive enduring prosperity.

That is why we also sat down with the provinces, territories, and indigenous peoples to draft the pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change, a blueprint for reducing emissions, spurring innovation, adapting to climate change and creating good middle-class jobs across the country.

That is why we are making long-term investments in clean technology and green infrastructure. That is why we are providing unprecedented levels of support for science and basic research. That is also why we are making a historic investment to protect Canada's oceans, marine life and coastal communities.

The $1.5-billion oceans protection plan will strengthen the eyes and ears of the Canadian Coast Guard, enhance our response capabilities in the unlikely event of a spill and support innovative marine research. It will also reinforce new important partnerships with indigenous peoples. That includes the joint creation of an indigenous advisory and oversight committee to assess the safety of the TMX project throughout its life cycle.

This is in addition to our efforts to improve indigenous peoples's access to financing for economic development, professional training and business opportunities arising from the pipeline expansion. We recognize the importance of Canada's energy sector and its impact on both Canada's economy and the environment.

The Trans Mountain expansion project is a key element, part of a common-sense approach that includes the diversification of our energy markets, the improvement of environmental safety and the creation of thousands of good jobs for the middle class, including good jobs for indigenous communities.

However, we have to do this properly, by keeping our commitments to reconciliation with indigenous peoples and to environmental protection, and as part of our plan to build a better future and a better Canada for everyone. That is what I am proud to support today.

The Conservative Party can continue to attempt to mystify Canadians with bafflegab, blather and blarney. Our government will do the right thing and be respectful, rigorous and get this done in the right way.

Firearms Act September 20th, 2018

Madam Speaker, the committee talked about and looked at this question. I believe it was a motion accepted by all parties, of not allowing background checks that would span more than five years to be optional. We are seeing a rise not just in violent crime but in Internet hate and violence in online communities. The idea was that if there are going to be licences and we have to make sure they are valid, the ability to check a person's history throughout the course of his or her life needs to be required. It should no longer be optional and needs to be required. The committee debated it and found it was in the interest of the safety of Canadians. That is why it is in Bill C-71.

Firearms Act September 20th, 2018

Madam Speaker, that is an excellent question. Indeed, this is part of a whole-of-government approach in protecting Canadians and reinforcing security for our communities.

It is important to note that we respect and admire the process that law-abiding gun owners go through to receive their permits. Bill C-71 is attempting to strengthen background checks and licence verification. People in Alberta have to get their licences renewed every five years to drive a car. It is important to know that people have valid permits in order to use their legally registered firearms. We have to have more sensible rules around the transportation of restricted and prohibited firearms and a consistent approach to classification.

Cabinet should not be able to decide the technical matters of whether a weapon is prohibited, restricted or permitted. That is up to technical gun experts, and that is exactly what Bill C-71 is allowing this government to do to keep Canadians safer.

Firearms Act September 20th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Winnipeg North. I am pleased to join the debate on Bill C-71 at third reading.

As we know, the recent increases in crimes committed with a firearm, gang activity, and homicides in our communities and cities require our urgent attention. A review of our firearms laws in Canada is long overdue, and Bill C-71 contains practical and balanced reforms that will help us achieve that.

We began by proposing mandatory criminal background checks as well as stricter controls for transporting restricted or prohibited firearms.

We began by proposing to remove the Governor in Council's authority to downgrade the classification of a firearm contrary to what is provided in the definition under the Criminal Code, thereby reclassifying some firearms in the prohibited weapons category, and then by limiting their authorized transfer through grandfathering.

We began by restoring a consistent approach to classification and by creating a bill that will help combat the problem of unauthorized access to firearms.

All of these reforms are about putting public safety first, and about making this bill enforceable and reasonable for responsible gun owners. These reforms are not about restoring the federal long gun registry. The committee agreed to add a provision that clarifies this exact point. The reforms also do not add any unreasonable measures for gun owners and retailers.

Hon. members in the House are calling on the federal government to look at how banned weapons get into the hands of organized crime, and this is exactly what the Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction is responsible for. That is his job.

These reforms will stop guns from getting into the wrong hands and will help keep our communities safe. The bill we are debating today has been strengthened and improved by the comments and recommendations of my colleagues in the House, as well as the testimony of the many experts we heard in committee.

I would like to talk about how each party contributed to designing a bill that is able to do more.

As an aside, I want to mention that my brother is a gun enthusiast. He has his licence, and we talk about this topic every time we go for dinner at our mother's house.

First, the parties proposed enhancing background checks of firearms licence applicants, and the Liberal Party and Green Party amendments to that effect were adopted in committee with the agreement of the Conservative Party and NDP members. These amendments mean that from now on, specific additional checks will be done over the lifetime of a firearms licence applicant.

All parties agreed that if an applicant has a history of threatening behaviour or poses a risk of causing harm to himself or others, these factors must absolutely be taken into consideration in evaluating the application.

We now have a bill that expressly states, in no uncertain terms, that an individual's threatening behaviour must be taken into account in determining that individual's eligibility for a licence. What is more, the amendments that all parties agreed to contributed to expressly take into account whether the individual was or was not subject to a previous order prohibiting the possession of firearms in connection with violence against an intimate partner or former intimate partner. The bill now clearly indicates that threats of violence and threatening behaviour can include those communicated on the Internet or any other digital network.

This amendment responds to a serious and growing problem. Online harassment and hate, including threats of violence, have unfortunately become all too common in 2018. This is a disturbing trend that disproportionately affects women, racialized persons and LGBTQ people, and it gives way to racism, sexism, and intolerance in our daily lives.

According to Statistics Canada, one in six Internet users reported seeing content that promotes hate or violence, and 7% of these people have experienced it. Enforcement has focused on how to address this problem. Canadians from all walks of life are concerned about violent threats at a time when our lives depend on the use of the Internet.

With this amendment we can assure Canadians that the assessment of eligibility for a firearms licence will take into consideration threatening behaviour. This represents a reasonable and modern approach that will prevent guns from falling into the wrong hands.

I will cite some other amendments, moved by the different parties, that were adopted.

The Conservative amendment to section 1 would specify that the government will not reintroduce the federal long-gun registry. There is nothing in the bill to that effect and therefore that is quite fair.

The NDP's amendment makes a practical precision to the rules on transferring non-restricted firearms. The law will state that a reference number confirming the validity of the licence may apply to one transaction including the transfer of one or more unrestricted firearms. Clause 5 already sets out the conditions for transferring a non-restricted firearm, and it already includes the conditions for transferring more than one non-restricted firearm. However, the amended bill clarifies that if the licence and reference number are valid, people are free to transfer ownership of more than one non-restricted firearm.

I thank all parties for their work on this bill. It will be an improvement.

Once the bill is passed, if people plan to sell or give a non-restricted firearm, they will have to make sure that the person receiving it has a valid licence. They will also have to confirm with the RCMP's Canadian firearms program that the licence is valid, which will take just a few minutes.

Under the new law, the authorities who decide whether to issue a permit will also have to take into account an individual's entire record of certain types of criminal activities and violent behaviours, not just those of the previous five years.

It is already a best practice to include certain pieces of information in non-restricted firearm records, and we will support that practice by making it a legal obligation. Records will have to include the licence verification reference number issued by the registrar of firearms. They must also include the transferee's licence number and the date. Records will include information about the firearm being transferred, such as the serial number, date of manufacture, model and type. Firearms vendors must keep these records for at least 20 years. To be clear, businesses, not the government, will keep these records. It is already common practice for businesses to have these records and keep this kind of inventory. This bill will simply make that practice mandatory.

This new measure will guarantee that firearms are sold only to people with a valid licence, which will help save time and resources when it comes to enforcing the law. What is more, it will better support criminal investigations by providing the police with a tool that will make it easier to track non-restricted firearms that were used to commit a crime and to identify suspects of firearms offences. That will facilitate investigations and provide evidence that could help secure a conviction.

We are making these proposals with due consideration for privacy. Law enforcement agencies will not have any special powers in this regard. They will have to continue to operate under existing laws. All of this is supported by a consistent approach to firearms classification and safe and legal transportation requirements.

These proposals are effective measures that will enhance public safety and yet will still be fair and manageable for firearms owners and merchants.

Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership Implementation Act September 18th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, the answer is simple: we are debating the CPTPP now. It is good for Canadians, for the middle class, for economic growth and for job creation. We are doing the work today. That is what we promised and what we are going to do.

Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership Implementation Act September 18th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his passion, which has not diminished over three years. It is an important opportunity to mention that all of the provisions of the CPTPP would benefit small and medium-sized enterprises. We know they represent well over 95% of businesses and job creation in the country.

The fish and seafood provision alone would eliminate 100% of tariffs on Canadian fish and seafood products. We know what that means to fishers coast to coast to coast who are trying to export their goods around the world. CPTPP is good for them and middle-class families.

Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership Implementation Act September 18th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, as our government has said and will continue to say, the environment and the economy go hand in hand. That is why we have worked hard with member nations in this agreement and in others to ensure high environmental standards. In the case of CPTPP, as I mentioned, there are exemptions in Canada for culture, labour and environmental considerations.

As it pertains to this agreement, this is about opening up markets to half a billion of the world's consumers and making sure Canadian businesses can compete on the global stage.

We take our environmental responsibilities very seriously here at home and abroad, and we will continue to do so.

Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership Implementation Act September 18th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, as I have the opportunity to speak to Bill C-79 today, I would like to extend my best wishes to people in Edmonton Centre, who are braving the snow and looking forward to a sunny fall before the snow actually stays for the winter.

I will be sharing my time with my esteemed colleague from Rivière-des-Mille-Îles. We are beginning the debate on Bill C-79.

Our government strongly believes that the comprehensive and progressive agreement for trans-Pacific partnership, or CPTPP, is the best deal for Canadians and for our economy. The CPTPP is a historic new agreement between Canada and 10 other countries in the Asia-Pacific region, namely Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.

Once it comes into effect, the CPTPP will constitute one of the largest trading blocs in the world, representing close to 500 million people and 13.5% of global GDP. The agreement will generate major economic benefits for Canada thanks to trade with countries like Japan, our fourth-largest trading partner and top source of investment from Asia, and with fast-growing economies like Malaysia and Vietnam.

Today, I would like to speak to how the CPTPP will facilitate foreign investment into Canada and provide protections for Canadians looking to invest in CPTPP markets. Investment at home and abroad is vital for the Canadian economy. Foreign investment contributes to job creation across the country. It also promotes trade by facilitating integration into global value chains, improving access to new technologies and enhancing our competitiveness.

According to economic modelling by Global Affairs Canada, the CPTPP will spur an additional 810 million dollars' worth of investment into Canada, and will encourage increased and diversified Canadian investment throughout the Asia-Pacific region. It will achieve this by creating a predictable investment environment to ensure that investors are treated in a fair and equitable manner in all CPTPP markets. If a company is going to invest its capital abroad, it needs to know that capital is safe and secure and is going to provide a return on investment.

The CPTPP will establish a comprehensive and enforceable set of investment protection provisions. It will provide new, more robust obligations on non-discriminatory treatment of CPTPP businesses and investors. These will benefit Canadian businesses through better protection from expropriation or nationalization without compensation, elimination of unfair requirements on foreign investments that favour domestic industries, and easier transfer of capital and profits to and from the host country.

To ensure that these obligations are observed by all member countries, the CPTPP also introduces and includes a fair and impartial mechanism for the resolution of disputes. Investor-state dispute settlement, or ISDS, is an important component of international trade and investment agreements. With an ISDS mechanism in place, Canadian investors will have greater confidence that they will be treated in a fair and transparent manner in other CPTPP markets. It will also provide an impartial means to resolve any investment-related disputes in the event that specific obligations under the CPTPP are breached by a government. Such protections will help facilitate two-way investment by providing a transparent and predictable investment-friendly environment.

The agreement, once implemented, will encourage Canadian companies to look to fast-growing markets across the CPTPP region to grow their businesses. It will encourage investment in Canada and CPTPP countries. It will also connect Canadians with partner investors and businesses in new markets, and help our businesses further integrate into global supply chains. In doing so, it will create new opportunities and generate jobs for Canada.

It is important to emphasize that while the CPTPP's ISDS rules will help protect Canadian investors abroad and serve to attract foreign investment to Canada, the rules outlined in the CPTPP will also preserve the Government of Canada's right to regulate to achieve legitimate policy objectives. Under the CPTPP, Canada has taken certain exemptions to CPTPP obligations that allow continued policy flexibility to regulate in the public interest in sensitive areas such as health, education, indigenous affairs, culture, fisheries and certain transportation services.

Foreign investors in Canada and all the other CPTPP nations will be required to follow the same laws and regulations as Canadian investors, including laws and regulations aimed at protecting the environment and maintaining high workplace health and safety standards.

The investor-state dispute settlement mechanism, or ISDS, gives investors a way to resolve disputes without resorting to the national justice system of the host nation, but it is not a blank cheque. Damages could only be recovered if specific requirements under the agreement were violated. The ISDS tribunals would never have the power to nullify government decisions or laws. They would only be authorized to grant investors compensation for damages resulting from violations of the treaty.

By suspending certain ISDS provisions that were included in the original TPP, the CPTPP ensures that the ISDS complies with Canada's standard, balanced approach to investment obligations in free trade agreements.

This reflects the concerns that were heard from Canadians through extensive consultations, and I am proud to say that the CPTPP gets ISDS right.

To reiterate, CPTPP will not prevent Canada from protecting the environment or maintaining or enhancing labour, health, and safety standards. In short, it will allow us to continue promoting the values that Canadians cherish, which are the values that make us Canadian.

I would like to highlight for residents of Edmonton Centre, and for all Albertans, that this CPTPP is one of the most comprehensive trade agreements that our country will enter into. It comprises 11 countries: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Once approved, it will open up a market of an additional 500 million consumers, resulting in 40% of the world economy being able to trade with us when we add in CETA, NAFTA and South Korea. This demonstrates our commitment to opening up new markets. It is an important agreement because it will eliminate over 95% of tariff lines, representing over 98% of total trade and over 99% of Canada's exports.

I want to highlight the importance of this for Alberta industry and Edmonton companies. Let us take a look at the agriculture provision.

When CPTPP enters into force, more than three-quarters of agriculture and agri-food products will benefit from immediate duty-free treatment, with tariffs on many other products to be phased out gradually. This means new market access opportunities for Canadian pork, beef, pulses, fruit and vegetables, malt, grains, cereals, animal feeds, maple syrup, wines and spirits, and then processed grain and pulse products as well. All of these products hail from my province of Alberta.

Let us take a look at industrial goods. Under the agreement, 100% of tariffs on industrial goods and consumer products will be eliminated. The majority of Canadian industrial goods exported to CPTPP countries will be duty-free immediately upon the entry into force of the agreement, with most remaining tariffs on industrial goods to be eliminated within 10 years. That is also good for Alberta and Edmonton businesses.

On forestry and value-added wood products, CPTPP will eliminate tariffs on all Canadian exports of forestry and value-added wood products. Many will enter into force immediately, while others will be phased out over 15 years.

With regard to services, our economy is diversifying in Alberta. Many companies in my own city of Edmonton will love the provision in CPTPP that will provide more secure access through greater transparency and predictability in the dynamic CPTPP region.

I would like us to think about professional sectors like engineering, architecture and those related to environment and mining. My riding of Edmonton Centre alone is headquarters to the seventh-largest engineering and design firm in the world, Stantec, and one of the world's largest construction companies, Poole Construction Limited, known as PCL. This is the kind of free trade deal that allows these companies, as well as small and medium-sized enterprises, to continue expanding around the world.

In terms of government procurement, this agreement will provide more transparency and opportunity for companies in my hometown of Morinville, in St. Albert and in Edmonton to compete on the global stage. It is what we promised Canadians during the campaign. It is what our government has been doing. It is what we will continue to do: opening up markets, creating jobs, and growing the Canadian economy.

Edson Mosque June 18th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, Albertans and all Canadians are standing in solidarity today with members of the Muslim community following a cowardly and appalling act of arson against the Edson mosque. An attack on any place of worship is an attack on the entire faith community. For this attack to come so quickly after the end of the holy month of Ramadan makes it all the more heinous.

I know I speak for the House when I express my gratitude to first responders whose swift actions extinguished the fire quickly.

Our country is stronger because of its diversity, and members of all communities and all faiths must feel safe and be safe in Canada.

The Muslim community, and everyone who may be shaken or frightened in light of this attack, should know that the government stands with them, their neighbours stand with them, and all Canadians who believe in the strength of our diversity stand with them today and every day.

Shukran.