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42nd PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 073

CONTENTS

Wednesday, June 15, 2016




House of Commons Debates

VOLUME 148 
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NUMBER 073 
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1st SESSION 
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42nd PARLIAMENT 

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Speaker: The Honourable Geoff Regan

    The House met at 2 p.m.

Prayer


[Statements by Members]

  (1405)  

[English]

The Speaker:  
    It being Wednesday, we will now have the singing of the national anthem, led by the member for Edmonton Centre.
    [Members sang the national anthem.]

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Statements by Members]

[Translation]

Battling Cancer in Montcalm

Mr. Luc Thériault (Montcalm, BQ):  
    Mr. Speaker, people in my riding do not hold back when it comes to battling cancer.
    In the past two weeks, the relays for life in the RCMs of Montcalm and Les Moulins and the Saint-Jacques firefighters' shaved head challenge all exceeded expectations. In just two weeks, hundreds of participants and volunteers helped raise nearly $600,000 to fight cancer.
    It is so uplifting to know that my region is full of people of this calibre. I hope that their generosity and devotion will inspire those who are fighting and who need support.
    With Father's Day right around the corner, I would like to conclude with a special thought for my 82-year-old father, who has been fighting since 2000. Through relapse and remission alike, he has been a model of courage, determination, and resilience. I love you, Dad.

[English]

Breakfast With Santa

Mr. Peter Fonseca (Mississauga East—Cooksville, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to describe a well-conceived, multi-faceted, and much-needed charitable program operating in my area, the Breakfast With Santa Foundation.
     Several weeks ago, I had the pleasure of visiting and viewing aspects of this unique project at one of its locations, Brian W. Fleming Public School in my riding of Mississauga East—Cooksville.
     The foundation, established 27 years ago and still headed by its founder, Maria Esteves, celebrates the Christmas season, as denoted in its name. It serves breakfast at special events to underprivileged families in Peel region at Christmas and provides daily breakfast in the summer months, when school-based morning meals are not available.
     To date, over 94,000 meals have been served to hungry children, and Christmas has been celebrated with 20,000 people in an attempt to fill gaps for those most in need.
     It was my privilege to have seen the remarkable work of this foundation in action. In the near future, let there be no hungry children in any of our ridings.

[Translation]

Summer Party

Mr. Alupa Clarke (Beauport—Limoilou, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to announce to the House that the countdown has begun for the best party of the summer in my riding of Beauport—Limoilou. Folks will not want to miss it.
    In fact, I am beginning a new annual tradition. On August 20, 2016, I will be hosting a summer party at the Domaine Maizerets from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., with plenty of activities already on the schedule.
    Come and celebrate summer, and enjoy a hotdog, corn on the cob, and refreshments on me. There will also be music, water games, and many other activities for one and all.
    A large tent will be set up in the middle of the park to keep everyone dry in the event of rain or provide some shade in the warm August sun, as needed. I invite everyone to bring their families and spend the day with my family and my team.
    I hope to meet as many of my constituents as possible as I go knocking on doors in Beauport—Limoilou in the days leading up to my summer party. I would like to wish all my constituents a wonderful summer and a nice summer vacation, for those who are taking one.

[English]

Carrousel of the Nations

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle (Windsor—Tecumseh, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, I stand before you today to declare how proud I am of my riding of Windsor--Tecumseh and the surrounding area of Essex County as we head into two weeks of celebrating the vibrancy of our cultural diversity.
    Carrousel of the Nations fully showcases our favourite expressions of culture: food, music, dance, art, and friendship. This year the carrousel showcases the hospitality of the Caribbean, Filipino, Greek, Polish, Romanian, Hungarian, Bavarian, Serbian, Chinese, Italian, Scottish, and Macedonian villages.
    Congratulations to all of the volunteers and sponsors involved in making it a success for 41 years.
     Yes, leading up to the amazing international fireworks that prove that Windsor-Detroit is the life pulse of North America, we are immersed in a celebration of our strengths and our differences, and I could not be more proud to call this home.

Canadian Golf Hall of Fame Inductee

Mr. Sean Casey (Charlottetown, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise today in the House to recognize LPGA tour professional and proud Prince Edward Islander, Lorie Kane.
     Lorie will be inducted into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame later this year. She is a 20-year veteran of the LPGA tour. She has four LPGA wins, along with 99 top 10s. Lorie has also won four tournaments on the Legends Tour and very proudly represented Canada at the Pan-Am Games in Toronto last year.
    Despite her successful and high-profile career, Lorie never forgot her roots on the Island. She founded the Lorie Kane Charity Golf Classic, which has raised over $1 million for local charities.
    Lorie is a member of the Order of Canada and has twice been named Canadian female athlete of the year. She was inducted into the Prince Edward Island Sports Hall of Fame in 2014.
     I ask the House to join me in congratulating Lorie Kane on her many achievements, which now include her rightful place in the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame.

George Neal

Mrs. Deborah Schulte (King—Vaughan, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, on April 4, Canada lost one of its most influential aviation pioneers, George Neal.
    Mr. Neal learned to fly in Toronto in 1937 and was employed at de Havilland Aircraft until he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1941, where he became flight commander and chief test pilot.
    In 1946 he rejoined de Havilland and became chief test pilot, flying iconic Canadian aircraft such as the Beaver, Chipmunk, Otter, and Caribou. He was a winner of Canada's most prestigious aviation award, the Trans-Canada (McKee) Trophy, in 1989, and was inducted into Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame in 1995.
    In 2015 Mr. Neal was recognized by Guinness World Records as the oldest active licensed pilot at age 96, when he flew his own Chipmunk from Brampton to Pearson.
    I had the opportunity to work at de Havilland Aircraft in flight test when he was director of flight operations, where he was a legend even then.

  (1410)  

[Translation]

    His legacy will remain in our hearts and in—
The Speaker:  
    Order.
    The hon. member for Simcoe North.

[English]

Leacock Medal for Humour

Mr. Bruce Stanton (Simcoe North, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, last Saturday the Leacock Medal for humour was presented at a gala reception at Geneva Park, near the city of Orillia in my riding.
    As members may recall, Stephen Leacock is Canada's most famous author of humour. He kept a summer residence in Orillia, the same town that inspired the fictional Mariposa in his famous novel Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town and the home of this annual tribute to Canadian authors of humour.
    This year The Leacock Associates have awarded the medal for humour to Nanaimo's Susan Juby, for her novel Republic of Dirt. This is Susan's first Leacock Medal win and her third time being shortlisted for it.
    I would like to thank The Leacock Associates and TD Financial Group for recognizing these outstanding contributions to Canadian literature.
    I invite all hon. members to join me in congratulating the 2016 winner of the Leacock Medal for humour, Susan Juby.

[Translation]

Robert P. Kouri

Mr. Nicola Di Iorio (Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, it is said that those who choose to teach must never cease to learn. Today I would add that those who teach at the same place for 50 years must never cease to amaze us.
    I am talking about Professor Robert P. Kouri. In 1966 he began his career at the faculty of law at the Université de Sherbrooke. That is the same year that colour TV came onto the market and the Rolling Stones hit the charts.
    Since then, this civil lawyer who is an international expert on health law has been universally esteemed by his students, his colleagues, and courts at all levels, which regularly cite his decisions.
    I invite all my colleagues to applaud the exceptional career of Robert P. Kouri, this man, academic, legal expert, and professor.

[English]

Paul Harris Fellow Award

Mr. Matt DeCourcey (Fredericton, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I congratulate LeRoy Washburn and Reverend Bob Jones, who, at the Oromocto Rotary dinner on June 6, were awarded the Paul Harris Fellow Award in honour of their remarkable service and dedication to their community.
    A former town councillor and deputy mayor, LeRoy served in the New Brunswick legislature from 1974 to 1982. He is an honorary life member of the Royal Canadian Legion and is an institution in the sporting establishment, having been the face of St. Thomas University Athletics for 30 years, a member of the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame, and an official at many events, including the Olympics.
    Bob has been an active member of the Oromocto Rotary Club since receiving a meritorious citizens award. He played a prominent role settling Kosovar refugees in Canada, served as military chaplain in the Middle East, and is a well-known member of the Fredericton Choral Society.
    I thank LeRoy and Bob for their admirable contributions to our community and for their ongoing support of our neighbours and fellow citizens.

North Haven Community Association

Hon. Michelle Rempel (Calgary Nose Hill, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, community associations are the heart of our neighbourhoods. This year the North Haven Community Association will be celebrating its 50th anniversary.
    At its founding, North Haven was at the northernmost boundary of Calgary, with nothing but fields beyond. Today it is a thriving inner city community.
    I would like to congratulate Jean Togstad, Elise Konoff, and many other board members and volunteers for their devotion to our community. I would also like to thank Ms. Marie Heffernan, an outstanding volunteer of over 40 years, for her hard work. Her inspirational dedication showcases the very best that Calgarians have to offer.
    This summer, community association volunteers across my riding are working hard to deliver events and programs. I would like to thank the volunteers of the community associations in Edgemont; Sandstone MacEwan; Thorncliffe Greenview; Beddington Heights; Huntington Hills; Hamptons; Hidden Valley; and Northern Hills, including Panorama and Country Hills for all they do to make our communities vibrant and strong.

Craftswomen Symposium

Mr. Ken McDonald (Avalon, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, today I rise to recognize a young woman from my riding who recently represented Canada on the world stage. Natalie Austin of Carbonear travelled to Tokyo, Japan last month to the G7 Craftswomen Symposium as the Canadian representative.
     Natalie is a local jeweller and her work is created by reusing materials, such as copper pipe and glass enamel to produce one-of-a-kind jewellery. She was nominated by the Newfoundland and Labrador organization of women entrepreneurs for this prestigious opportunity to showcase her talents.
    Just recently, I had the opportunity to visit Natalie and see her tremendous products. Natalie has teamed up with six other artists to form a DozenOdd Galleries in Carbonear.
    I would like to mark Natalie's achievement and passion that led her to this incredible opportunity.
     We continue to celebrate women entrepreneurs all across Canada, like Natalie, who are playing an important role in the arts community and economic development across this great country.

  (1415)  

[Translation]

Vieux-Saint-Eustache

Ms. Linda Lapointe (Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to highlight the beauty, charm, and rich heritage of Vieux-Saint-Eustache, a city of 45,000 people in my riding of Rivière-des-Mille-Îles.
    Tourism in this city is very diversified because of the many historical buildings and the activities organized by the city. Take, for example, the Globensky mansion, which was built in 1902, and the Légaré mill, which is just over 250 years old and is still operational.
    I would also like to recognize the contribution of the Canada summer jobs program. Students hired through this program help bring this historic neighbourhood to life during the summer, which is just around the corner.
    I wholeheartedly invite colleagues, tourists, and all Canadians to visit the home of the patriotes of Vieux-Saint-Eustache this summer and attend the famous Festival de la Galette, which will be held from September 16 to 18.
    Have a good summer.

[English]

The Environment

Mr. Robert Sopuck (Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, in the name of environmental protection, the Ontario Liberal government has moved to phase out what it calls low efficiency wood burning stoves that provide heat for hundreds of thousands of Ontario residents.
    This excruciatingly bad environmental policy will eliminate one of the most cost effective heating options for those who choose to heat with wood, many of whom live on modest incomes. This policy, if fully implemented, will hurt families across Ontario, particularly in rural areas.
     Wood consumption in Canada accounts for 30% to 35% of renewable energy use, second only to hydroelectricity. Governments across Canada should celebrate wood heat, given it is the most carbon neutral energy source available.
     I would urge that governments across Canada support those millions of self-sufficient Canadians who choose to heat with wood. However, should the anti-wood burning policy of the Ontario government catch fire with the Government of Canada, they will have to pry my axe and chainsaw from my cold dead hands.

[Translation]

Craniocerebral Trauma

Mr. Fayçal El-Khoury (Laval—Les Îles, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to talk about craniocerebral trauma, a very important issue that is affecting more and more young people and athletes. These injuries can destroy intracranial nervous systems or cause them to dysfunction.
    Every year, more than 160,000 Canadians suffer this trauma. More than 30% of them are young people. In my riding of Laval—Les Îles, more than 20% of my constituents are between the ages of 18 and 34. They are at the highest risk of suffering permanent damage. Those who incur these injuries experience lasting physical, cognitive, or behavioural effects.
    We must make as many people as possible aware of the dangers of cranial traumas, which can have a serious impact on the lives of those who suffer these injuries. They need to know that consultation is needed in order to better prevent and treat these traumas.

[English]

Pay Equity

Ms. Sheri Benson (Saskatoon West, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, the Special Committee on Pay Equity has just tabled its report on the implementation of a proactive pay equity regime. On behalf of Canada's women, who have been waiting too long, I urge the government to act immediately. Women should receive the same pay and benefits as men for work of equal value.
     Just one example of the many situations that women are faced with every day is the one faced by rural and suburban mail carriers at Canada Post. The RSMC bargaining unit does essentially the same work, in the same offices, even on the same streets at times, as the letter carriers in the urban bargaining unit.
    Despite this, the female-dominated RSMC bargaining unit gets paid, on average, 28% less than the largely male-dominated letter carriers in the urban bargaining unit. This situation was brought to the Prime Minister's attention on March 21 and June 1, but he has not yet responded.
    Pay equity is a human right, but until there is legislation, women are forced to bargain their human rights.

  (1420)  

[Translation]

Gilles Lamontagne

Mr. Gérard Deltell (Louis-Saint-Laurent, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, we were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of the hon. Gilles Lamontagne at the age of 97.
    Mr. Lamontagne lived a very full life. He was a city councillor, mayor of Quebec City, a federal MP, the national defence minister, and lieutenant-governor of Quebec. He was a very accomplished but very humble man.
    He bravely served our country as an airman in World War II. He was made a prisoner of war and survived the hell of Nazi concentration camps.
    Mr. Lamontagne was elected mayor of Quebec City in 1965, and his governance style was quite different from that of other politicians. He preferred compromising to bickering and working together to confrontation. He preferred to show respect for his adversaries rather than trying to bring them down. Indeed, he never had any political enemies.
    It was in the winter of his life that he made a more personal contribution by providing direct assistance to hundreds of Canadians. As the public became more aware of post-traumatic stress and the problems associated with it, this World War II veteran generously offered his support to veterans.
    Although he left his position as mayor in 1978, people in Quebec City continued to refer to him as “Mr. Mayor” as a mark of respect and affection, which was always reciprocated.
    Goodbye, Mr. Mayor.

[English]

Public Service

Ms. Joyce Murray (Vancouver Quadra, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, this week, more than 250,000 federal public servants at work in every province and territory, celebrate national public service week.
    Public service is a noble calling, a way to make a difference in the lives of millions of Canadians and people all over the world.

[Translation]

    We are privileged here in Canada to be able to count on a public service whose diversity, professionalism, and dedication are the envy of governments around the world. Thanks to the continued hard work of public servants, we all benefit from high-quality government programs and services.

[English]

    Whether it's supporting those displaced by fires in Fort McMurray or helping Syrian refugees settle into new communities, public servants rise to the occasion and often go far above and beyond.
     The government has an ambitious, progressive agenda, for our fully engaged, capable public service.
    I salute the good work of Canada's public servants and encourage each member of this House to do the same.

ORAL QUESTIONS

[Oral Questions]

[Translation]

Softwood Lumber

Hon. Denis Lebel (Lac-Saint-Jean, CPC):  
     Mr. Speaker, the previous Liberal government ignored the softwood lumber issue for years, but in 2006, our Conservative government signed a softwood lumber agreement with our American partners. That 2006 agreement lasted until October 30, 2015, which was after the latest election. The current government was in place then. The former international trade minister initiated negotiations. Maybe the government and the Prime Minister are waiting for Mr. Obama's arrival to make a really big announcement with great pomp and ceremony.
    Will the government honour the needs and demands of Canada's forestry industry?
Mr. David Lametti (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his question. We have been clear from the start that this issue is a priority for our government. Our representatives, the minister, and other departmental representatives have been working with their Canadian and American counterparts for quite some time to find a fair and equitable solution for this sector. We frequently talk with Michael Froman, the trade representative, and President Obama will be visiting later this month. Until then and following his visit, we will continue to work with all of the partners.
Hon. Denis Lebel (Lac-Saint-Jean, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Premier of Quebec voiced his concerns. Of course he expects the negotiations to be difficult. He said that we need to have a true free trade system with the U.S. Of course we believe that the Liberal government should sign an agreement that takes into account the changes that have occurred in the forestry sector in many provinces in the last few years.
    Can the Prime Minister resolve this matter? We know that Mr. Obama will be treated to a nice big show, with lots of photo ops and cameras. We know that, but will an agreement finally be reached to help the economies of every province in the country? Our forestry needs it.

  (1425)  

Mr. David Lametti (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, we are aware of the differences in the forestry sector across the country. We are also well aware of the issues. We will achieve sustainable access to the American market. That is the goal. We will reach a fair and equitable agreement that is good for Canada.

[English]

Foreign Affairs

Hon. Jason Kenney (Calgary Midnapore, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, yesterday we witnessed the shameful spectacle of the Liberal government denying the undeniable reality of a genocide happening in our own time against vulnerable religious minorities.
    The Minister of Foreign Affairs actually led the Liberals in applause to celebrate their vote against this genocide recognition. They say they need some group of lawyers to make a determination about this when the organization responsible, the so-called Islamic State, admits it is committing genocide. It is seeking to eliminate what they called apostates, Shia, and Yazidi, and to enslave so-called infidels, like Christians.
    Why are they contesting—
The Speaker:  
    The hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Hon. Stéphane Dion (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to inform the House that today the parliament of Sweden rejected the same kind of motion by a vote of 268 to 43.
    Facing the—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!

[Translation]

The Speaker:  
    Order. I would ask the hon. member for Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis to exercise some restraint.
    We are trying to hear the hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs.

[English]

Hon. Stéphane Dion:  
    It is good to see, Mr. Speaker, that there are responsible parliaments that want the assessment of genocide to be done properly by an independent court.
    I am proud of the House of Commons and the vote we had yesterday. We are proud.
Hon. Jason Kenney (Calgary Midnapore, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, Canada used to be a moral leader. Are we now following Sweden?
    The European Union parliament said that ISIS is committing genocide. The American Congress unanimously said that all governments should call ISIL atrocities genocide. The U.K. Parliament unanimously recognized that genocide is being perpetrated.
    Why is the minister denying the genocide that ISIS itself admits it is committing?
Hon. Stéphane Dion (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, the EU parliament is not being followed by any parliament in Europe, but the U.K. The government of the U.K. has said the same thing we said, that the proper way to do it is to follow the motion proposed by the Liberal member.
    This motion said that it must be done by an independent body to determine if it is really a genocide. That is the proper way to do it, not the way the Conservatives want to do it. No one government is following the way they want to do it.
The Speaker:  
    Most members have the ability to listen to things, whether they like them or not, and not respond. I think we should be able to set an example to, for instance, young people who come here, especially in the spring, to watch Parliament, and show them an example of how adults can behave even when they do not like what they are hearing.
    I would ask the member for Battle River—Crowfoot and others to try to restrain themselves.
    The hon. member for Calgary Midnapore has the floor.

[Translation]

Hon. Jason Kenney (Calgary Midnapore, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, the British Parliament, American Congress, and European Parliament have all passed unanimous motions.

[English]

    Secretary Kerry said, “Daesh is responsible for genocide”, and “Daesh is genocidal by self-proclamation, by ideology, and by actions—in what it says, what it believes, and what it does.”
    Our Prime Minister said that to recognize it would be to trivialize it. What this government's genocide denial is doing is trivializing the suffering of these people and their attempted extermination.
    Is the government not just covering up for its ending the combat role of Canada against those responsible?
Hon. Stéphane Dion (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, if members want to hear a responsible motion on this issue, I will read the one by the member for Ville-Marie—Le Sud-Ouest—Île-des-Soeurs.
    It says, “That the Government of Canada continue its efforts to have these atrocities properly investigated and, where appropriate, referred to the International Criminal Court to formally determine the existence of genocide and to bring the perpetrators of these crimes to justice”.
    This is a responsible motion.

  (1430)  

[Translation]

Canada Revenue Agency

Mr. Peter Julian (New Westminster—Burnaby, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, the gap between the rich and all other Canadians is growing and the rampant use of tax havens is further widening this gap.
    The rich and the well-connected continue to get away with this, while the government continues to dodge the issue of tax evasion.
    Now we learn that the significant delay in the court case against KPMG was approved by the Canada Revenue Agency.
    Why is the minister refusing to take a stand on tax evasion?
Hon. Diane Lebouthillier (Minister of National Revenue, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, the agency is investigating taxpayers who participated in KPMG's schemes. Our massive investment will help us stop the people who promote such schemes.
    As my colleague knows, complex cases before the courts can encounter delays, particularly to allow time to produce evidence. The agency is doing everything it can to ensure that the case is dealt with in a timely manner.
    Our government is committed to preserving the integrity of the tax system. I cannot say it enough, but the net is tightening.

[English]

Mr. Peter Julian (New Westminster—Burnaby, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, unlike Liberals, New Democrats and most Canadians believe even the wealthy and well-connected should pay their fair share of taxes.
     Just last week a Federal Court judge reprimanded the Liberals for delays and foot-dragging on a case of KPMG-linked offshore tax cheats. Tax havens rob Canadians of resources to pay for the services we need. They make growing inequality even worse.
    When will the government stop defending inaction and sweetheart deals, and when will Liberals act to defend the fairness of our tax system?

[Translation]

Hon. Diane Lebouthillier (Minister of National Revenue, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, the agency is currently before the courts to obtain the list of participants in KPMG's schemes. I would caution my colleague to be careful.
    Budget 2016 provides the agency with the means to combat tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance. As Minister of National Revenue, that is my priority and that of my government. All Canadians must respect their obligations. That is what we are working toward.

[English]

National Defence

Ms. Hélène Laverdière (Laurier—Sainte-Marie, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, there are new and very troubling allegations today surrounding the treatment of detainees in Afghanistan.
     Let me quote the Prime Minister from 2009 when he spoke on this issue. He said, “We need to get at the truth. The international reputation of Canada and our military is at stake.”
    Does the Prime Minister still believe this? Will he call a full, independent public inquiry?
Hon. Harjit S. Sajjan (Minister of National Defence, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, our government and I take our obligation for human rights in accordance with Canadian and international law very seriously.
    There has been a number of investigations and inquiries done. Many feature allegations we take very seriously. We, in the Canadian Armed Forces and our government, will be doing our utmost, making sure that human rights are always at the forefront of what we do.

[Translation]

Ms. Hélène Laverdière (Laurier—Sainte-Marie, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, the question was not just about human rights. The question is about an independent public inquiry. The very day that we learned that Canada is the second-largest exporter of arms to the Middle East, to countries like Saudi Arabia, the Afghan detainee file is back in the news with new allegations by military police officers, no less. The government must take action.
    Will the Prime Minister undertake to launch an independent public inquiry into the treatment of Afghan detainees?

[English]

Hon. Harjit S. Sajjan (Minister of National Defence, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I was just made aware of the article where the allegations were made. We take this very seriously. Our government is committed to upholding our Canadian and international law obligations. My officials will be looking into these allegations, and any allegations that are made. We have a number of institutions in the Canadian Armed Forces that are independent and have the ability to look into these matters.

  (1435)  

Mr. James Bezan (Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, yesterday, documents tabled in the House confirmed what we have been saying all along. The Liberals' capability gap for our CF-18s is imaginary. The Minister of National Defence reported that the Liberals have yet to determine when any of our CF-18s will need to be retired. The minister himself has said the CF-18s will be extended to 2025.
    Will the defence minister tell the Prime Minister to put aside his ill-advised campaign promise and hold an open and fair competition?
Hon. Harjit S. Sajjan (Minister of National Defence, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to replacing our fighters. Because of the mismanagement of this file by the previous government, that is why we are in this state. Yes, there is a capability gap, but we are working toward making sure that we have all the right information and making sure that we have the right fighter for the Canadian Armed Forces.
Mr. James Bezan (Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, again, the only capability gap is on the Liberal bench.
     Conservatives wisely budgeted $400 million to extend the life or our CF-18s. Last month, the commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force testified that our fighter jets will fly until 2025. Documents tabled yesterday by the minister's representatives confirmed that not one CF-18 has been assigned a retirement date. Will the Minister of National Defence finally admit that his imaginary capability gap is a complete fabrication?
Hon. Harjit S. Sajjan (Minister of National Defence, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, as for taking advice from the previous government, given the fact that it mismanaged the file from the beginning, it should have replaced our fighters a long time ago and then we would not be in this situation. Right now we are extending our CF-18s, and 26 have gone through the process. A lot more work needs to be done, but we would not be here if we had replaced the fighters 10 years ago.

[Translation]

Mr. Pierre Paul-Hus (Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, according to the information provided to the House by the Minister of National Defence, the retirement date for all the CF-18s has not yet been set. That is more proof that the Liberals have fabricated a capability gap, which exists only on the Liberal bench.
    In light of the official, and I stress official, information provided by the government, will the government hold an open competition to replace our CF-18s?

[English]

Hon. Harjit S. Sajjan (Minister of National Defence, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, as I stated, the CF-18s should have been retired a long time ago. They should have been replaced so that we did not have to spend all this money in extending their lives, so that our men and women in the air force could have the right aircraft for their needs. But we are in this situation. There is a capability gap and our government is working toward replacing them as quickly as possible.

[Translation]

Mr. Pierre Paul-Hus (Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, the information in question was tabled in the House by the Department of National Defence at the request of my colleague from Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman. The documents tabled paint an entirely different picture than the one presented by the Liberals. National Defence does not know when each of our CF-18s will have to be retired from service. There is no capability gap. That is a Liberal invention.
    Now that we know that there is time for an open bidding process, will the Liberals hold one?

[English]

Hon. Harjit S. Sajjan (Minister of National Defence, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, as I said, 26 aircraft have been extended. We are trying to extend all the aircraft up to 2025. There is a capability gap that does exist. I am happy to talk to some of the members privately on this with a declassified reason behind that. However, we are committed to replacing the fighters and we need to replace them now.

Canadian Heritage

Hon. Peter Van Loan (York—Simcoe, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, the proud tradition to issue commemorative medals on important anniversaries of Canada was started in 1867 when each Father of Confederation was among the many citizens receiving a medal. It happened again on the diamond anniversary. The 1967 centennial and the 125th anniversary recognized accomplished Canadians, but the Liberal government jumps at every chance to kill a proud tradition. Apparently there will not be a medal to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Confederation.
    Why not acknowledge worthy Canadians? Why this ongoing Liberal war on history and tradition?
Hon. Mélanie Joly (Minister of Canadian Heritage, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I want to reassure my colleague about the fact that Canada 150 will be a great year, and that we will celebrate, of course, history. I want to add that we have a positive message. This will be the 150th anniversary of our Confederation. We have community and signature projects throughout the country in every riding. We want to recognize local leadership and we want to engage Canadians. That is exactly what we will be doing.

  (1440)  

Hon. Peter Van Loan (York—Simcoe, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, the 1867 Confederation Medal is described as the “first honour of the Dominion”. The criteria? It was awarded for service or merit, and open to anyone. How Canadian. The Centennial Medal was for having provided valuable service to Canada. The Canada 125 medal went to those who made a significant contribution to their fellow citizens, to their community, or to Canada.
    What is it about the 150th anniversary of Confederation that makes it the time to stop honouring Canadians who care about their country and community? Why this Liberal war on history?
Hon. Mélanie Joly (Minister of Canadian Heritage, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, throughout the country we know we have amazing Canadians. We also think that we should not only be taking a top-down approach, but also a bottom-up approach. That is why we will ensure we have amazing ambassadors, from Nobel Peace Prize and Nobel Prize in Physics recipients to great artists, but also local leaders from throughout the country. I want to reassure my colleague that of course that idea of—
    The Speaker: The hon. member for Essex.

Indigenous Affairs

Ms. Tracey Ramsey (Essex, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, yesterday the national chief of the AFN testified that first nations have serious concerns about the TPP deal, but all he received from the minister was a phone call. First nations have not been consulted.
    Liberals have promised to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which means prior and informed consent from indigenous peoples on all decisions that affect them. Why are Liberals moving ahead with the damaging TPP without meaningful consultations with indigenous peoples in Canada?
Mr. David Lametti (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, we agree that consulting with indigenous peoples is critical to the process of consulting on the TPP. We are pleased that the trade committee heard from indigenous groups yesterday morning. However, as the member said, Chief Bellegarde did say that he had spoken to the minister. Further meetings have been planned and have already been set toward the end of this month.
    I, as parliamentary secretary, met with Mr. Clément Chartier of the Métis National Council. However, we agree with the member opposite that we need to do more, and we are committed to continuing consultations with first nations on a nation-to-nation basis.
Mr. Charlie Angus (Timmins—James Bay, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health has yet to explain why it is okay for her officials to interfere with doctor treatments for indigenous patients. We have a brutal suicide crisis across this country, yet her department routinely denies psychiatric prescriptions for new drugs to deal with depression, anti-psychotic behaviour, and suicide. In fact, the department will force patients to go through two failed trial periods with out-of-date drugs before they will accept the doctor's diagnosis. It is putting people's lives at risk.
    Will the minister take responsibility for her office, and end this discriminatory and dangerous practice?
Ms. Kamal Khera (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, Health Canada has committed to providing medically necessary services to first nations and Inuit clients through the non-insured health benefits program. The NIHB program covers over $1 billion in health benefits for first nations and Inuit every year. Nearly 99% of pharmacy claims and 90% of dental claims were approved.

Democratic Reform

Mr. Scott Reid (Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, Matthew Mendelsohn is one of the principal authors of the Liberal election platform containing that famous promise about the 2015 election being the last election under the current electoral system. Now Mr. Mendelsohn is a senior PCO official, specializing in what the government refers to as “results and delivery”, whatever that means.
    Mr. Mendelsohn is also the co-author of a fascinating paper on electoral reform. He writes that it is “a given that no serious change can be made to the electoral system without its being approved by referendum”.
    Will the Prime Minister take his adviser's excellent advice and hold a referendum, or would a referendum get in the way—
    The Speaker: The hon. Minister of Democratic Institutions.
Hon. Maryam Monsef (Minister of Democratic Institutions, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all public servants a happy National Public Service Week. We count on their professional, non-partisan, and dedicated efforts to serve this country.
     I can assure the member opposite that we will be relying on our public-service teams, as well as experts and academics, but also on all 338 members of the House who will reach out to their constituents and ensure their voices are reflected in this process.

[Translation]

Mr. Alain Rayes (Richmond—Arthabaska, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, it is clear from the way the Minister of Democratic Institutions is managing the electoral reform that something is not right with the Liberals.
    How else can you explain the fact that a man as respected as the Minister of Foreign Affairs is not allowed to speak about such a fundamental issue?
    The Minister of Democratic Institutions said that she wants to listen and give all Canadians the opportunity to share their views.
    My question is not for the Minister of Democratic Institutions, but for the Minister of Foreign Affairs. In 2012, he said, “Precedent makes holding a referendum necessary in Canada: changing the voting system would require popular support”. Can he tell us whether he still feels the same way?

  (1445)  

[English]

Hon. Maryam Monsef (Minister of Democratic Institutions, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the member opposite what the process is. Come Monday, which is the final day that all parties will have an opportunity to submit the names of the individuals they would like to have represented on the all-party committee, the committee can be established and begin its work. That work includes reaching out to experts and academics.
    That work includes reaching out to those constituents in our riding who do not have an opportunity to be part of this process traditionally. That work includes a commitment, on behalf of all 338 members, that we will go out of our way to ensure those voices are heard.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Hon. Michelle Rempel (Calgary Nose Hill, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, yesterday Mexico's finance minister implied that lifting the visa requirement that Canada had imposed on Mexico was a done deal. However, at committee last Thursday, senior Canadian officials confirmed that a formal evidenced-based visa review had not been completed.
    If the Prime Minister has told Mexico that he will immediately be lifting the visa requirement, and the government is not using the standard evidenced-based review process, what criteria is he using to lift this visa requirement?
Mr. Arif Virani (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, the government is very much looking forward to hosting the first three amigos summit on Canadian territory in some time, an event that was cancelled by the previous government when relationships were so frayed that a meeting was not possible.
    However, at that meeting, we are looking forward to meeting our campaign commitment, which is to lift the Mexican visa. We are undertaking the reviews necessary to ensure this is done appropriately.
Hon. Michelle Rempel (Calgary Nose Hill, CPC):  
    So no criteria, Mr. Speaker. This is where it gets interesting. Romania is signalling that it is going to raise its Canadian visa requirements as a wrench in the CETA ratification process. These countries have had visa requirements with Canada in place for many years. However, if the Prime Minister will not tell Canadians what criteria he is using to lift the visa requirement for Mexico, as the parliamentary secretary just said, what is he telling the Romanians right now?
Mr. Arif Virani (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, with respect to Romania, as well as Bulgaria, because the two go part and parcel in terms of dealing with the EU, we take our commitment to the EU and our relationship with the EU very seriously. The steps we are taking are that we are engaging in dialogue with both Romanian and Bulgarian officials. The minister has met with such individuals, as have I. In fact, the Romanian delegation is here today.
    We are taking this situation very seriously in terms of expanding a dialogue to address the visa issue so we can move forward with a productive relationship.

Status of Women

Ms. Sheila Malcolmson (Nanaimo—Ladysmith, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, 20 years ago, the Liberal government promised that Canada would use gender-based analysis for all programs, policies, and laws. However, two Auditor General reports found the little done was piecemeal and inadequate. As the Auditor General said, a major barrier was lack of mandatory requirements.
    Women's equality cannot be left up to the whims of any government or cabinet. Therefore, will the government introduce legislation before the end of 2016 to make gender-based analysis a mandatory requirement across all of the Government of Canada?
Hon. Patty Hajdu (Minister of Status of Women, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, it was my extreme pleasure to see that well over 1,000 parliamentarians, staff members, and bureaucrats took part in the gender-based analysis competition that we had just a few weeks ago, and received their certificates. It is a fantastic indication of the interest in gender-based analysis.
    We take this very seriously. It is an important tool of the government to ensure we have equity woven throughout our programs and policies. We will be working very carefully to ensure we strengthen that capacity.

[Translation]

Ms. Brigitte Sansoucy (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, gender-based analysis within the federal government is nothing new. In fact, a Liberal government committed to introducing it in 1995. It is now 2016, which means we have been waiting for over 20 years. For 20 years, the departments have been making decisions without having to systematically consider the impact they would have on women.
    Will the government commit to stop dragging its feet and implementing gender-based analysis in all departments before the end of 2016?

  (1450)  

[English]

Hon. Patty Hajdu (Minister of Status of Women, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I was really pleased that the standing committee, which looks at Status of Women Canada, took it upon itself to study gender-based analysis and how we could strengthen the use of that tool throughout government.
    I am very much looking forward to reading the report and responding fulsomely in this Parliament.

Indigenous Affairs

Mr. Don Rusnak (Thunder Bay—Rainy River, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, many indigenous communities in Canada, particularly those located in rural, remote, and isolated areas, are facing a distressing mental health crisis. These communities too often lack proper access to vital services and support, and the services that do exist are not always culturally appropriate or properly aligned with community needs.
    Would the Minister of Health please inform the House on the steps the government is taking to help address this tragic and unacceptable state of affairs?
Ms. Kamal Khera (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for Thunder Bay—Rainy River for his hard work and dedication.
    Building upon our investment of $8.4 billion in budget 2016, the Prime Minister announced new funding this week of approximately $69 million in immediate and targeted mental wellness support. That includes four crisis response teams and an increase of mental illness teams, from 11 to 43, training to ensure that care services are culturally appropriate, and a 24-hour culturally safe crisis response line.

Natural Resources

Mrs. Cathy McLeod (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, yesterday the AFN chief said that more than 130 first nations were dead set against pipelines and energy development. The rest were demanding an absolute veto over any proposed developments. As can be imagined, this creates great uncertainty for investors.
    Could the Prime Minister clarify for all Canadians whether first nations have the right to veto, yes or no?
Hon. Jim Carr (Minister of Natural Resources, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, indigenous communities have not been meaningfully consulted about major energy projects. Because the former government did not do a very good job, we have decided to do a better one. We announced a set of principles on January 27, the centre point of which was that kind of meaningful consultation. We have asked a ministerial panel of three individuals to go up and down the line for that kind of consultation. Two out of those three representatives are aboriginal women.
Mrs. Cathy McLeod (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, as members can see, both the minister and the Prime Minister continue to do a dance on this issue of a veto.
    When they promised to implement the UN declarations, the expectation of first nations, clearly, was they would have a veto over resource development. As Chief Bellegarde said, “the right to say yes, and the right to say no”. The Liberals are creating confusion.
    Again, we need a simple answer, yes or no?
Hon. Jim Carr (Minister of Natural Resources, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, we have a constitutional and a moral obligation to meaningfully consult indigenous people, not only about major resource projects but about many elements of public policy in Canada.
    We know that consultation over the last 10 years was insufficient. It was insufficient, using both constitutional and moral arguments. That is why we are committed to doing a better job.

Indigenous Affairs

Mr. David Yurdiga (Fort McMurray—Cold Lake, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, new research from the Canada Public Policy Forum has found the lack of transparency is a governance barrier facing first nation communities.
    The First Nations Financial Transparency Act was a way for indigenous governments to demonstrate their own credibility and accountability to potential investors and partners.
    Will the minister agree to undo the damage the government has done to economic opportunity for first nations bands and start to enforce the First Nations Financial Transparency Act?
Hon. Carolyn Bennett (Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to answer the member's question by celebrating the over 200 bands that have engaged with the First Nations Financial Management Board, with all the training that this requires. We are encouraging way more.
    However, the member needs to know that there is a requirement for every first nation to submit the audited statement to my department and to share it with their members. If they are unable to get that report, they can get it from my department.
Mr. David Yurdiga (Fort McMurray—Cold Lake, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, the executive director of the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations said:
    
    Our chiefs fully support public transparency and full accountability to our First Nations members and disclosure of our audited financial statements. Our chiefs support good governance and the improvement of conditions for all our people
    Will the minister listen to the Atlantic Policy Congress, stop ignoring the law, and restore the compliance measures of the First Nations Financial Transparency Act?

  (1455)  

Hon. Carolyn Bennett (Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, we celebrate the leadership of the Atlantic Policy Congress, and we are very keen.
    Accountability and transparency are the goals of all first nations and they are really important. Top-down decisions do not work. We are working on transparency and accountability with first nations bottom-up. This is the only thing that is going to work.

[Translation]

Consumer Protection

Mr. Robert Aubin (Trois-Rivières, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, this week, Walmart threatened to stop accepting Visa cards in its stores because the transaction fees are too high. Too high for Walmart.
    Imagine the dilemma for small and medium-sized businesses that must now choose between accepting the exorbitant fees or losing customers. In the opposition, the Liberals opposed the Conservatives' voluntary code of conduct, and now, in power, they are promoting it. This makes no sense.
    When will the government finally take action and cap credit card fees for our SMEs?

[English]

Hon. Bill Morneau (Minister of Finance, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, we recognize there is a voluntary agreement among the credit card companies to look at their fees. We are looking forward to the report on that voluntary agreement.
    It is important that there be a competitive market in credit card fees so consumers can be well treated. We are committed to responsibly taking a look at that report and understanding how we can ensure this market stays competitive in the future.
Mr. Gord Johns (Courtenay—Alberni, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, unfair credit card merchant fees are out of hand and putting small businesses and jobs at risk.
    While Walmart announced it will no longer accept Visa, small businesses do not have that luxury. They are left at the mercy of credit card companies and a voluntary code that has failed to protect consumers or small businesses. In opposition, the Liberals demanded long overdue action.
    Why has the Liberal government not brought in legislation to stop these unfair fees that are gouging Canadian businesses?
Ms. Gudie Hutchings (Parliamentary Secretary for Small Business and Tourism, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, we do like to talk about small businesses and the things we are doing to help them.
    Small business owners and operators tell us that they want and need a robust economy. We are making investments to ensure we support that growth. They want consumers, so we have given them the middle-class tax cut, the Canadian child benefit, investments in infrastructure, broadband, tourism marketing, incubators, accelerators, and the list goes on. All of this definitely supports small business and those in it.

Softwood Lumber

Hon. Gerry Ritz (Battlefords—Lloydminster, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister famously promised Canadians to have the structure of a new softwood lumber agreement completed within 100 days of his family reunion in Washington.
    While we were in government, we negotiated an extension to the softwood lumber agreement during a U.S. election year. The member for Abbotsford did the job with President Obama under the same circumstances we see in the U.S. today.
    What is the Prime Minister's excuse for failing Canada's forestry workers and putting thousands of good paying jobs at risk?
Mr. David Lametti (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his work on the trade committee.
    It is clear that we started off at a disadvantage because of the lack of work done by the previous government on this file. Our officials have been engaged on this file from day one. We are continuing engagement at all levels, from the ministerial level all the way down. We are gearing up toward a visit with the President in which we hope we will further advance our progress toward a deal which will ensure stable access to the American market.

[Translation]

Mr. Joël Godin (Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, nothing this government touches ever gets done.
    To get back to what my colleague asked, the softwood lumber agreement expired in October 2015. Renewing this agreement between Canada and the United States could help the forestry industry get people in the regions back to work. We need to help secure this sector, which accounts for more than $20 billion of Canada's economy. All of these Canadian regions have experienced the effects of this government's inaction.
    What is the problem? When will the minister resolve this issue and support our regions?
Mr. David Lametti (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, we are very active on this file.
    We understand the issues and we understand that the issues are different in each region across the country. Although this is a complex issue, we are working very hard on it, we are making progress, and we are working with our provincial and American counterparts to reach an agreement that will provide stable access to the U.S. market.

  (1500)  

[English]

Hon. Candice Bergen (Portage—Lisgar, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals like to brag about their so-called great relationship with Barack Obama, but the Prime Minister has been able to accomplish absolutely nothing for Canadian natural resources jobs. He did not have the courage to bring up Keystone XL and nothing is happening on softwood lumber.
    On June 29 will the Prime Minister stand up for 200,000 jobs in Canada? Will he stand up to the United States? Will he get something accomplished on June 29 on the softwood lumber deal?
Mr. David Lametti (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, we are leaving no stone unturned in our quest to get a fair and equitable deal that ensures Canadian access to the American softwood lumber market.
    We are working at all levels through all contacts, ministerial, all the way down through the ministries. We are consulting our partners within the Canadian industry across the country, and we will get a good deal done.

Persons with Disabilities

Mr. Sven Spengemann (Mississauga—Lakeshore, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, more than 800,000 Canadians live with a visual impairment and around three million Canadians are print disabled, yet very few published books are ever made available in an accessible format, such as an audiobook or a Braille conversion.
    Could the Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities inform this House on steps the government is taking to eliminate these types of obstacles?
Hon. Carla Qualtrough (Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, ensuring greater accessibility and opportunities for Canadians with disabilities in their communities and workplaces is a priority for our government.
    An increased access to print materials is a path to inclusion. Earlier this week I was proud to announce $2 million in funding this year to the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, to support its production of alternate format published material for people with print disabilities. This funding will increase the number of titles available by at least 1,300 titles.
    Our government will continue to work with the CNIB and other organizations to eliminate barriers and increase inclusion.

Justice

Mr. Michael Cooper (St. Albert—Edmonton, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, last month the Minister of Justice said in this House that she would put in place short-term procedures to appoint judges “in the very near future”. One month later, the minister has yet to appoint a single judge, notwithstanding an unprecedented backlog in our courts.
    When will the Minister of Justice stop talking and start appointing?
Mr. Sean Casey (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his excellent work on the justice committee and his advocacy on this issue.
    We are well aware of the pressing vacancies within the ranks of the judiciary across this country, and in particular, in the province of Alberta. I can tell the hon. member that the Minister of Justice has been hard at work on this file, and he can expect some news very soon.

Privacy

Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, Canada's out-of-date privacy laws are failing Canadians.
    Two recent privacy breaches shone a spotlight on the risk to Canadians. The University of Calgary paid $20,000 to buy back students' and faculty members' personal data after it was hacked, and we learned BlackBerry routinely shares customer information with no warrant and with no notifying those affected, including going overseas.
    Our privacy laws are not up to these challenges. When will the Liberal government stop putting privacy at risk and update Canada's weak privacy laws?
Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, privacy in this country is governed by not only statute but also by very strict approaches in the court system, including the Federal Court of Canada.
    The applications that are made by police authorities need to be proportionate, they need to be justified on the grounds of the subject matter under investigation. The courts ensure when an application appears before them that the appropriate standards are in fact applied rigorously.

[Translation]

Public safety

Ms. Julie Dabrusin (Toronto—Danforth, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, some people in my riding shared their concerns with me after their child was held up at the airport because of misidentification.
    I know that this is something the Minister of Public Safety has been monitoring quite closely since we were elected.

[English]

    My constituents are concerned about the ongoing impact this may have.
     Can the minister please share with the House the steps his department is taking to help those experiencing difficulty with aviation security lists?

[Translation]

Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Toronto—Danforth for the question.
    I share her concerns and understand the frustration of the affected travellers.

  (1505)  

[English]

    There was a design flaw embedded in the passenger protect program when it was first created a number of years ago.
    We are working to make the necessary structural changes, but last week, as an interim measure, I announced the launch of a new passenger protect inquiries office that will help people who experience difficulties related to aviation security lists.
    We want a safe system that treats Canadians with respect.

Justice

Mr. Arnold Viersen (Peace River—Westlock, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, on Friday I asked the Liberals why they have no plan to combat human trafficking. The parliamentary secretary for justice replied that the government's only priority is to review the Criminal Code.
    Front-line anti-human trafficking NGOs and survivors do not need a review of the Criminal Code, they need real support from a government that takes this issue seriously. Why are the Liberals doing nothing to end human trafficking?
Mr. Sean Casey (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I reject the premise of that question. This government is very committed to attacking the scourge of human trafficking in this country. We are well seized of this issue. We were the ones who instituted an inquiry into murdered and missing aboriginal women. We are also going to be reviewing in detail the provisions of Bill C-36, the flawed piece of legislation that was brought in by the previous government.
    We are seized of it, we are acting on it, and we will indeed come up with an evidence-based solution to this terrible scourge.

Transport

Ms. Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands, GP):  
    Mr. Speaker, the transportation of liquefied natural gas poses very specific and different risks from any other substance. In countries around the world there are regulations to deal with this threat that have exclusion zones around tankers.
    As the British Columbia government is pushing for LNG, we desperately need regulations to ensure the safety of transport. I would ask the hon. Minister of Transport where that matter stands within his department and when we can see exclusion zones.
Hon. Marc Garneau (Minister of Transport, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, Canada, as a member of the International Maritime Organization, complies with safety standards for internationally operated vessels, including LNG tankers, when they operate in Canadian waters. This includes the IMO's international code for the construction of ships carrying liquefied gases in bulk.
     We further enforce international requirements on foreign vessels operating in Canada through the port state control program.
Hon. Jason Kenney:  
    Mr. Speaker, during question period, I made reference to motions adopted by the parliament of the European Union, the Congress of the United States, and the Westminster parliament, in which each one of these legislatures recognized the reality of the genocide being committed by Daesh in the Middle East. I would, therefore, seek the unanimous consent of the House to table these motions.
The Speaker:  
    Does the member have unanimous consent?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

[Routine Proceedings]

  (1510)  

[English]

Customs Act

Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Lib.)  
     moved for leave to introduce Bill C-21, An Act to amend the Customs Act.

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

[Translation]

Committees of the House

Official Languages 

Hon. Denis Paradis (Brome—Missisquoi, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the second report of the Standing Committee on Official Languages, entitled “Study of the Translation Bureau”.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.
    I would also like to thank the committee staff for their excellent work, as well as our interpreters and our translators.

[English]

Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities  

Mr. Bryan May (Cambridge, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the third report of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, entitled, “Exploring the Impact of Recent Changes to Employment Insurance and Ways to Improve Access to the Program”. Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.
    I would like to thank all of the committee members for their hard work in getting this report completed for today.

International Trade  

Hon. Mark Eyking (Sydney—Victoria, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the second report of the Standing Committee on International Trade, entitled, “Softwood Lumber Agreement between Canada and the United States”. Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.
    I would like to thank all members of the committee for their hard work and the staff who put it together for us.

Status of Women  

Ms. Marilyn Gladu (Sarnia—Lambton, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fourth report of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women, entitled, “Implementing Gender-Based Analysis Plus in the Government of Canada”. Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.
    I would like to thank the entire committee and the parliamentary staff for getting this report out on time.

Health  

Mr. Bill Casey (Cumberland—Colchester, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the following reports from the Standing Committee on Health from the 41st Parliament.
    The first report is entitled, “Vaping: Toward a Regulatory Framework for E-cigarettes” and the second report is entitled, “Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Radiation and the Health of Canadians”. Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a response to each of these reports.
    Again, these are from the 41st Parliament and I want to congratulate the members for the work done in the last Parliament.

Procedure and House Affairs  

Hon. Larry Bagnell (Yukon, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I want to compliment the members of the committee for working so well together. They came to an agreement on a report, with no minority report.
    I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 11th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, entitled, “Interim Report on Moving Toward a Modern, Efficient, Inclusive, and Family-Friendly Parliament”.
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux:  
    Mr. Speaker, I am wondering if I may have leave to table a document.
The Speaker:  
    Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

Government Response to Petitions

Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to seven petitions.

Immigration and Refugee Protection Act

Ms. Jenny Kwan (Vancouver East, NDP)  
     moved for leave to introduce Bill C-294, An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (cessation of refugee protection).
     She said: Mr. Speaker, I rise to table a private member's bill to repeal cessation provisions in Bill C-31.
    Bill C-31 came into force on December 15, 2012, and it is retroactive. Cessation applications are being brought against permanent residents because it is alleged that refugees have re-availed themselves of protection by temporarily travelling back to their country of origin.
    No matter that the conditions of the country of origin have changed, no matter that they are going back to see a dying relative for one last time, no matter that the law did not exist at the time of travel, they are at risk of losing their permanent resident status.
     My bill will eliminate this unfair and unjust law created by the former Conservative government. From 2012-15, the government wasted as much as $15 million in special CBSA and Department of Justice funding for cessation applications. The government should have redirected those resources into processing backlogs in family reunification cases.
    I hope that the minister will take this bill and adopt it as a government bill in the Fall.

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

  (1515)  

Canada Elections Act

Ms. Irene Mathyssen (London—Fanshawe, NDP)  
     moved for leave to introduce Bill C-295, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act (residence of electors).
     She said: Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to be given this opportunity to introduce this particular bill.
     Currently, section 11(d) of the Canada Elections Act prohibits Canadian citizens from voting in federal elections once they have resided outside of Canada for more than five years.
    My bill would strike down this part of the act. It is unfair and undemocratic to take away the voting rights of 1.4 million ex-pats, simply because they are engaging in opportunities abroad.
    Although this restriction may have had sound policy reasons in the past, today's age of instant information transmission makes this policy archaic. Canadians overseas still have a vested interest in the Canadian government, and how laws impact their families and communities that remain in Canada. The five-year limitation simply does not conform to the 21st century demands of globalization.
    Under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Canadian citizens who are 18 years and older have the right to vote and the right to enter, remain in, and leave Canada. Indeed, nowhere is it mentioned—
    The Speaker: I thank the hon. member.

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

Committees of the House

Transport, Infrastructure and Communities  

Mr. Vance Badawey (Niagara Centre, Lib.)  
     moved:
    That the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, presented on Tuesday, May 31, 2016, be concurred in.
     He said: Mr. Speaker, it is my privilege today to move concurrence and speak in support of the report of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, which contains the text of a resolution to postpone, for a period of one year, the repeal of certain provisions of the Canada Transportation Act that were enacted by the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act.
    The resolution, if approved by this chamber, would allow a one-year extension of the government's authorities over four key provisions related to: first, minimum grain volume requirements; second, operational terms related to the arbitration of service level agreements; third, compensation for rail service failures; and fourth, differentiation of interswitching distances by region and goods.
    Those who were here at the time will recall that the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act was introduced in May 2014 to address the backlog of grain shipments that emerged during the winter of 2013-14 due to a record-sized grain crop and extreme cold conditions that significantly impeded the ability of the railways to move grain across the Prairies.
    When introduced, the legislation received all-party support. At that time, we recognized the need to act quickly to ensure grain continued to move to port and to preserve Canada's international reputation as a reliable supplier of grain.
    I am pleased to say today that the system has fully recovered from those challenges of the winter of 2013-2014 and a healthy grain crop is moving well through the supply chain this crop year. As of the end of April 2016, which represents the latest data available at this time, rail shipments of grain from Western Canada to all destinations were almost 34 million tonnes, over 5% higher than at the same time in the previous year. Shipments out of western ports to export destinations through April of this year are over 27 million tonnes, which is 7% higher than the same period last year.
    Our Grain Monitor is also reporting that rail service has been strong and vessels are spending less time in port than in previous years. With the freight rail system currently performing well, we have the opportunity to consider the best approach to ensuring optimal performance over the long-term. Indeed, the government is in the process of doing this and our assessment will be informed by the findings of the Canada Transportation Act review.
    As well, some will recall that in the summer of 2014, the CTA review was accelerated by one year and the review panel was asked to give grain transportation priority consideration in its mandate. The CTA review, led by the Hon. David Emerson, took a broad look at Canada's transportation system and made a number of recommendations on grain transportation in particular and the freight rail system more broadly.
     Stakeholders across our nation were active in providing their perspectives on the challenges and opportunities facing the transportation system in the years ahead as part of the overall review.
    The Minister of Transport tabled the review report in Parliament on February 25, 2016. It provides a source of independent advice as work continues to support the government's agenda as it relates to the transportation system.
    In order to allow a comprehensive consideration of the long-term future of Canada's transportation system, while providing policy predictability to stakeholders, on April 22, the Minister of Transport, together with the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, announced the government's intention to work with Parliament to postpone the repeal of the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act provisions, which are set to expire on August 1, 2016.
    I am here today to seek support for the resolution, which would do exactly that.
    In April, the Minister of Transport gave a speech in Toronto at the Economic Club of Canada, stating his intention to develop a long-term vision for Canada's transportation system that is focused on the future and on the outcomes we as a nation want to achieve. They include better growth, more competition, and better service.

  (1520)  

    Over the coming months, both the minister and the House of Commons Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities are taking the time to fully consider the future of transportation and how it can enable economic growth, job creation, and overall Canada's competitiveness and performance in global markets.
    We want to ensure Canada's transportation system is innovative and adaptable to the changing trade flows globally and to assure Canadians that we are pursuing these goals along with a strong commitment to public safety and sustainability.
    The government is carefully considering the CTA review report which includes recommendations on a range of issues, many of which were raised in stakeholders' submissions. We are interested in hearing the perspectives of all stakeholders on these recommendations and more broadly, on a transportation system as a whole, and not just one sector or one mode.
    Collaboration with all key partners will be essential to move forward and ensure that Canada's transportation system is well positioned to capitalize on global opportunities, contribute to a higher performing economy, and meet the evolving needs of all Canadians.
    In this context, the minister and Transport Canada officials have started a wide-ranging stakeholder engagement exercise that will continue over the summer to discuss and further elaborate a long-term agenda for transportation in Canada, including elements related to freight rail transportation.
    The House of Commons Standing Committee on Transportation, Infrastructure and Communities has also committed to study the issues related to freight rail transportation as it relates to grain shipments in Canada.
    Discussions with stakeholders, including ministerial round tables, have begun and focus on broad themes, including strong and strengthened trade corridors, green and innovative transportation, the traveller, waterways, coasts, the North, and of course, safety.
    Postponing the repeal of the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act provisions will allow us to fully assess the freight rail transportation system for all commodities, in the context of responding to the review of the Canada Transportation Act.
    We know full well there are a range of views on the provisions in the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act. That is why we want to situate our consideration of these issues in the broader context, one that encompasses the whole freight rail transportation system. That way, we as a nation can align the transportation system overall to meet the future needs and support economic growth for our great nation.
    Approval by this chamber of this resolution would provide predictable conditions for shippers and railways to plan for the upcoming year while we undertake this very important work.

  (1525)  

Mr. Chris Warkentin (Grande Prairie—Mackenzie, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege for me to stand in the House to talk about the provisions we have before us.
    I have the privilege of serving as the official opposition representative responsible for agriculture. I can tell members that I may be seen as having a little bit of a conflict of interest here, because in fact, I am a farm kid. I am a farm kid who is very proud of the work my parents did and the work my family continues to do, which is being grain farmers on the prairies.
    I think it is important that we reflect a little on the people who would be mostly impacted by the provisions being looked at today. Of course, this is an extension of something the previous government did, so let us look back in history at what brought us to sensing the necessity of moving forward on the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act.
    I would note that as a farm kid, I came to recognize one reality very early in life, which is that a farmer does not make money every year. As a matter of fact, growing up, I understood very clearly that farmers often go year after year hoping that next year will be better or that the next year might have a different result than the year previous. That is what is required to be a farmer. A farmer must be an optimist by nature, otherwise he would be a depressed person.
    Of course, there are so many things that determine whether a farmer might be successful. One of the most important things is the uncertainty of the weather. I can say that having grown up as a farm kid, I still look at the weather forecast like I am a farmer, wondering if it is going to rain when it is dry and if the rain will stop when it is wet. It may be something that comes through the bloodline.
     I am not sure if that is the reality or if as a kid it was impressed upon me so clearly the fact that if it rained when it was dry, it was important for the family's well-being, and if it stopped raining when it was wet, that was a good thing for the family in the same way. Of course, we were always concerned about those considerations. We were also concerned if there was an early frost that might impact the family's well-being.
    We know that a farmer has to bank and gamble that one year in every so many years will be a good year, because a farmer cannot continue indefinitely not making money on the farm.
    In 2013, we had a bumper crop across the Prairies. This was a unique reality, and an important one. It was important because there were many farmers across the Prairies who had been struggling in the previous years. Of course, there were a number of reasons for that, weather, of course, being a big factor. However, this was an incredible year in that we saw the yields across the fields of the Prairies and across Canada go up by about 33%. That was an important year.
    It is also important to recognize that for farmers to make money, they have to get that product to market, so farmers became concerned very quickly as they saw the amount of the crop coming off the fields. They saw the yields, and they recognized that the grain was going to have to move.
    There were some realities in terms of the weather conditions that developed over the months that followed the harvest, and there was some difficulty in trains moving because of inclement weather. However, what became a major concern to farmers across the Prairies, and I heard it first-hand, not only from my own family members but from my constituents from corner to corner in my constituency, was that the grain was not moving and that it was detrimentally impacting the bottom line for farmers.
    There were many farmers who were fearful that if they could not get the product moved, they were going to have massive spoilage, because much of the grain that had been harvested was not in proper long-term storage, because it was such a bumper crop. There was also a recognition that if the crop was not moved, it was going to mean that farmers were not going to be able to pay their bills. That was the reality we found ourselves in.
    We also found that while the rail companies said they were doing everything in their capacity to move grain, farmers were not seeing that reality on the ground. They were not seeing the rail companies responding to their expectations with the speed they would have expected. Therefore, the previous government, after a significant amount of deliberation, made a determination on a number of fronts, and the result was the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act.

  (1530)  

    This act had a number of provisions. One was to ensure that better information would flow from the rail companies to the shippers. That was important, because in the absence of information, it is very difficult for farmers, shippers, and those people on the receiving end of the shipments to plan and to understand what is happening and what could be done to improve the system.
    There were a number of other provisions, including one of the most important, which is the provision for inter-switching. Inter-switching is the ability of a shipping company to use a railway that it does not necessarily own for a portion of track length. In the past, there has been an ability for inter-switching for a certain length of track. However, that needed to be extended to ensure that there was a more competitive environment such that if one company was not serving a community, another company could come in and actually service those communities and respond to the demand in those communities.
     This is important for us to understand. Those parliamentarians and Canadians who live in urban centres may not understand what happens in rural communities. In the communities I represent, we have the provision of service by only one rail company. It is CN, and there are other communities that are serviced only by CP or other short-line rail companies. In most rural communities, there is not an alternate service provider.
    Canada exports significant amounts of grain. As a matter of fact, the vast majority of what we produce actually gets exported. It is some $21 billion in exports on an annual basis. If farmers want to get their product to market, they are limited in how they can move it. In most communities, moving that $21 billion worth of grain means that farmers depend on a single rail company. They do not have alternate ways to move the product, with the exception of trucking the grain out. In many cases, the trucking of grain long distances is cost prohibitive and actually would reduce the profits to the point where many farmers would not be able to move their product in a competitive way. Therefore, farmers and shippers depend on a single rail company in the vast majority of rural communities across the Prairies and in many farming communities across the country.
    The inter-switching provision is an important one. It allows rail companies to compete with one another in communities in which they do not have rail service or a track specifically. Rail companies are able to move into those communities and pick up the demand being created by the amount of grain or the number of shipments to be shipped that are not being serviced by the rail company that exists there today. There is evidence that as a result of that provision, we have a seen a change in the attitude of the rail companies that serve those communities where they have seen competition increase.
    I heard the Liberal member across the way talk about the necessity of competition in the scope of the entire review. I am thankful that the government has extended these provisions. Obviously we have been asking for this. It comes as no surprise to the government that we are supporting this. This is what we have been asking for, so we appreciate this.
     However, as we look at the CTA review, it is important that we listen to the stakeholders. I have heard consistently from the canola producers, oat producers, barley producers, and wheat producers that inter-switching is a game changer for their ability to move their commodities in a way they have not been able to in the past. They have seen that not only is there the possibility of competition within their communities but that as a result of that possibility of competition within their communities, the regular transport company is being more responsive to the demands and the expectations of those shippers in those communities. They are moving the product faster and moving it in a way that responds to the demand.

  (1535)  

    No perfect system can be created within the Canadian context. Grain comes off the fields in the fall. It happens in September and October. The weather starts to get nasty in some parts of this country at the end of November, and it is difficult to move massive amounts of commodities during the winter, especially if we have inclement weather.
    I am, like my dad, an eternal optimist. I believe that this year could see another bumper crop. I have to believe that, otherwise I would not be a good farmer. I would not be a good representative of farmers if I did not believe that there was a possibility of a very good year. I believe that we have the possibility of having a bumper crop again this year.
    I also believe that we might have inclement weather this winter. That is the natural reality in this country. We might end up with a nasty winter. The last time this happened, we ended up with a major backlog of grain on the Prairies. There need to be tools in the government's hands so that it can respond to these conditions to ensure that we get grain moving. Farmers need to be able to get their product to market. That is essential for the survival of the family farm throughout the Prairies and throughout Canada.
    While the rail companies might be trying to do what they feel they need to do, their priorities are sometimes different from those of farmers and governments. Governments have a responsibility to respond to the expectations and the demands and the needs of constituencies across this country. I am optimistic that we will have a problem with rail service this fall in so much as I am hopeful that we will see another bumper crop across the Prairies.
    The government needs the tools that are included in the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act. It contains the right combination of tools to ensure that information flows so that inter-switching is available to the rail companies to ensure that there is competitive behaviour in a significant number of communities that currently are serviced by a single rail line.
    It is important that we continue to have the provisions of the act until such time as the government completes the CTA review. Looking toward that, I would respectfully ask that the government consider what we have learned thus far, and that is that inter-switching, or some version of inter-switching, is essential to ensure that pressure is put on companies that service communities in a monopolistic way.
    I am not saying that there is necessarily a rail monopoly in Canada, but there is a rail monopoly in the vast majority of rural communities in this country. The extension of inter-switching into these communities is absolutely essential if we are going to have a competitive market and all of the positives that flow out of competition in terms of providing adequate service for those communities.
    It is absolutely essential that we continue to allow information to flow and that we continue to get good data. The act obviously delineates the data that needs to be collected and that needs to be provided. It is not as good as it should be even now, but the information that is required through the act is essential so that we can continue to build a better system that will provide better service for farming communities, and more importantly, will continue to provide better service for farmers across the country.
    My family has seen the evidence of bad rail service. It has suffered as a consequence of that. My family is exactly the same as every single family that lives in our region. I have seen first-hand the impact on people and their families and their farms. It is not only the financial stress but the individual stress that bad rail service places on farms and farm families.

  (1540)  

    Let us never lose sight of the fact that we need to move forward on these provisions to ensure we help support the people who produce the best quality and most highly-demanded product that we produce in Canada. We should be proud of the people who produce our agriculture commodities. We need to continue to defend their interests and ensure they have a bright, strong and prosperous future.
    I thank the government for moving on extending these provisions. We will continue to call on the government to make the provisions of this act permanent, especially those I have spoken about today. These have been a game changer as far as moving grain in our country and this should be the new norm.
Ms. Linda Duncan (Edmonton Strathcona, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, at the end of his speech, the member said that these measures to support our agriculture producers in getting their product to market were an important part of the revenue of our country and our provinces and that they should be made permanent. Why did the Conservatives not make them permanent? Why are we making the farmers go through this again, waiting right to when it is about to expire, and then only to get another year?
Mr. Chris Warkentin:  
    Mr. Speaker, perhaps the member, who I appreciate as a friend, has not followed the legislation that was brought forward. This was an interim measure. Our government made no secret of that fact and that it would be completed upon the completion of the expedited CTA review.
     I will give due respect to the current government. We would have liked to have had the CTA review completed by now, but we respect that two quite important things occurred to this Canadian Parliament: an election and a change of government. Therefore, I will give the benefit of the doubt to the new government. It is saying that it has not had the time it feels is necessary to complete the review of the documents, of the Emerson report.
    The hon. colleague is still wondering why we did not complete it. The Emerson report was only available after the election. Therefore, with due respect to the member, the CTA review was not going to be done before the Emerson report because that was the precursor to the government responding in legislation. There is no way our government would have completed a process if we did not have the Emerson report back before the election was called.
    The responsible thing that should be done is in fact what the Liberal government is doing, which is what we have called upon it to do, and that is extend the provisions of the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act until such time as it has completed the CTA review. We look forward to the completion of that. We will continue to advocate for the provisions included in this act in that final review. However, we do respect the time the government says it needs to complete that. We look to it to complete it in the duration of the next year.

  (1545)  

Hon. Gerry Ritz (Battlefords—Lloydminster, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I, too, want to thank the government for moving forward in this way. I also want to point out that this is the beginning of a process, not the end. I know it is an interim measure, but interswitching has been useful, and it is gaining in use, with producer cars and so on. A lot of short line rail now make use of that interswitching. This reflects the new reality.
    Years ago, there were some 1,700 or 1,800 points where people could actually deliver their grain, but they could not. The Wheat Board made their permit books only good to one elevator. Now they can deliver it anywhere they want, but there are less than 300 catchment points. The interswitching, extended to 160 kilometres, starts to reflect that new reality, and I know my friend understands that. In some cases they are going to have to go further than that, writing a permit to go 200 or 220 kilometres.
    The other thing that is so important to continue on with is the data, the information. However, it has to be a two-way street. There is a lot of information from the shippers going to the railways so they will know what cars to deliver, but the shippers are not getting the information back from the railways, or when they get it, it is out of date, or they have withheld cars, and so on. It is the only way they could have a road map, a plan, for what is happening.
    It is easier to do right now because of all the bulk commodities. Grain is about the only one that is moving with any kind of volume. Oil is down. Coal is down. Potash is down. It is not a question of track capacity or cars. It is a question of engines and crews. Right now, CN is fulfilling its obligations about 80% of the time and CP is at a dismal 60% to 62%, even with all the other commodities down. A lot more work needs to be done.
    This is the beginning of a process. No one is addressing the adequate and suitable language that needs to be attached into the next tranche that is going to be worked on. Then there are reciprocity and penalties. When the railways bring a car and the elevators do not load it quickly enough, they charge them for a demurrage day. However, when the railways do not bring the car and it is late a day, there should be the ability to have that reciprocal penalty. I know my colleague understands a lot of this.
    Again, this is the beginning of the process. It gives us some breathing space but, certainly, a lot of this work needs to be done to really keep the lens on the railways to ensure they measure up.
Mr. Chris Warkentin:  
     Mr. Speaker, I could not agree with my colleague more. Obviously, he knows this file. He was the author of the legislation with the then transport minister. It was in consultation with people across the country that the ministers, at the time, developed these provision.
    However, what I have heard consistently from farmers is that lack of information is probably one of the most frustrating things when dealing with the rail companies. There are two types of information.
    One type of information is how much is being shipped on a global scale in Canada. That information should be readily available and it would be helpful if that was amplified. Obviously, that data needs to be collected and needs to be shared more freely. It really helps in planning and providing the building of the infrastructure and the ability for grain companies and others to plan.
    The second type of information is also equally important, but it is the most important to the farmer who wants to deliver his commodity to the elevator or to a producer car. It is knowing when the train is going to show up.
    I have often thought about this, and it is a relevant point. The world has changed over the last decade. Today we have the ability to track everything at any time. The information should be more readily available. If I want to catch an Uber car in Ottawa, I can click on an app and find out exactly where those cars are at this minute, and when one will arrive. I am not suggesting that our rail companies turn into Uber, but the technology is available to communicate more easily in new and innovative ways. The government should do everything it possibly can to increasingly pressure these companies to increase their transparency and the information that flows to farmers.
    There is nothing more frustrating for a farmer, believing that he is going to ship his grain one day, having to change his entire plans. It is one thing if things change. Farmers accept that. That is the life of a farmer. However, when he shows up, having been given no advance knowledge that the train did not show up on the day it was supposed to and he did not find out for days after as to where it went or if it was coming, or whatever, that is highly frustrating. The amount of productivity that is lost as a result of that is astronomical. It is important we continue to pressure the rail companies to provide better technological advancements in sharing that information.

  (1550)  

Ms. Ruth Ellen Brosseau (Berthier—Maskinongé, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, we have rarely seen where we have the consensus of three parties on issues. It was the same thing a few years ago when we had the grain transportation crisis. We all got together on the agriculture committee and we worked hard to try to make the bill better. We had multiple amendments to put forward to the government. Sadly, a lot of those were thrown out.
    However, once again, here we are working together. I think everybody is on the same page. We are in favour of seeing a lot of these provisions in Bill C-13 continue on. However, this is only for one year. It is not only important to stand up for farmers, but they also need predictability. A long-term solution is really important.
    The Minister of Transport is now taking the lead on this issue. He said that he would consult again, but that seems to be the favourite thing of the Liberal government, consultation and buying time.
    Could my colleague talk about the importance of the long-term solution and the fact that the minister will have to come back and update us on what his vision for grain transport should be, ensuring that farmers have adequate service?
Mr. Chris Warkentin:  
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague from the NDP is the critic and a fellow member of the agriculture committee.
     I want to thank her for advancing this file with me. There were days in Parliament where I did not think she or I were certain as to whether the government would extend these provisions. Her continuing to pressure the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and the Minister of Transport to make this happen, along with myself, was very helpful. I appreciate the work on which we have been able to collaborate. I am hopeful we can continue that.
    The transportation system in the country is so complex. When we have one minister and one committee talking about all transport in the entire country, that could be problematic. The reason I say that is there are realities within the resource sector and the agriculture sector that are quite different from subways in Toronto and the airline industry. There are realities, nuances and stakeholders within the agriculture committee specifically. They need to be consulted with regard to any provision or any changes to the act moving forward.
    I have made my case on what I have heard back from stakeholders, on the necessity of advancing provisions within the bill into the future, the final Canadian Transportation Act. I am hopeful the agriculture committee and it members will be consulted on the provisions of the transport of agriculture commodities.
Ms. Linda Duncan (Edmonton Strathcona, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to say at the outset that I am sharing my time with the member for Berthier—Maskinongé.
    Before I proceed with my speech, I just want to comment on the mention made by my colleague in the Conservative Party. I have been working very closely with the NDP agriculture critic, sharing great frustration with the breadth of the issues in transportation and that for this area of agriculture, it makes common sense for those who are dealing, day in and day out, with agriculture issues that maybe these matters to do with the transport of our agricultural products should be going, at least in part, to the agriculture committee.
    We will continue to pursue that. Lord knows and those of us who are on the transport committee know that we have a lot to deal with anyway.
    I feel confident in sharing that prairie farmers will be greatly relieved that the government has at long last, and at the very last possible moment, taken action to extend the time period for the application of the emergency legislation enacted last year under the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act.
    One important provision, as we have discussed here, of that law postponed the expiry of the extended access by farmers to interswitching from 30 to 160 kilometres until August of this year. Were this action not taken, farmers would have been greatly disadvantaged.
    Greg Sears, chairman of the Alberta Canola Producers Commission supported this extension, which is also endorsed by the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan, the Canadian Canola Growers Association, the Barley Council of Canada, the Canadian Oilseed Processors Association, Cereals Canada, Prairie Oat Growers Association, Grain Growers of Canada, Pulse Canada, Western Grain Elevator Association, and the Inland Terminal Association of Canada. They all support this.
    Mr. Sears said:
    Extended interswitching is being used by grain shippers and is emerging as an effective tool to provide better rates and service between two Canadian Class 1 railways, as well as other North American railways. Time is of the essence to ensure this provision does not lapse before parliament adjourns for the summer.
    Farmers, especially in the Prairies, need better access to interswitching to get their crops to market. This was identified as a key issue in the Emerson report, but extended rights under the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act are set to expire August 1 of this year. This means that many farmers could lose access to markets this season, which would lead to severe hardship.
    On May 13, at the request of the Canadian grain, canola, and pulse growers, I put this exact request to the government on behalf of agricultural producers. I asked that the government commit to legally extending these rights for fair rail before the House rises in the summer. While the Prime Minister made a commitment in April of this year, it was not until today that any action occurred.
    This motion will ensure extended access for at least another year. For this coming year, Canadian grains and pulses will potentially reach markets in a timely manner. This is critical to provide expanded options for producers to access markets, thereby making grain sales more competitive. However, as grain producers have advised, they require longer-term solutions than just a one-year extension.
    Again, as Greg Sears has expressed:
    Truth be told, all farmers would benefit from 1,000 kilometre interswitching or open running rights because there are still major farming areas not receiving any benefit from the extended interswitching, such as the Peace region of Alberta that is over 500 kilometres north of Edmonton.
    As Mr. Sears reminds us, agriculture is among the most trade-dependent sectors with the majority of product exported. He reminds that rail remains the only economical option to ship those products from prairie to port.
    This makes prairie producers almost entirely dependent on the railways for the long-term viability of our Canadian farms. Farmers are reminding us that Canada cannot afford a repeat of the 2013-14 shipping debacle and the damage to the Canadian agriculture industry as a reputable supplier of high-quality grains and oilseeds.
    In the farmers' view, these measures are critical to correct the imbalance of market power controlled by the railways. As submitted by the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan, further measures will be needed to “address the fundamental problem of railway market power as the primary factor constraining rail service and commercial accountability in the grain transportation system.”

  (1555)  

    The president of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, Humphrey Banack, an Alberta farmer, has said that extended access to interswitching is critical in order to hold rail companies accountable. He recommends that the extension continue, at a minimum, until after the Emerson report is considered and acted upon by the government in a process, he stresses, of direct consultation with the agricultural producers.
    As my Conservative colleague has stated, what would be absolutely critical is that, as the government moves forward to review the Emerson report and all of the issues that arise out of the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act, the producers themselves play an active part at the table and not be peripheral. It is absolutely critical to our economy at this time, particularly in areas such as Alberta, where the economy is suffering. Agriculture has always been an important part of the revenue for my province and contributes to the wider Canadian economy. It is absolutely necessary that we get this right and that we do not let the rail companies continue to, frankly, railroad our farm producers.
    I am very happy to support the motion, which I contributed to at committee. It is very important that any review of the motion be further expedited so that the farmers have some kind of clarity and are not left hanging, as they were this year, right to the bitter end.

  (1600)  

Ms. Ruth Ellen Brosseau (Berthier—Maskinongé, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, as the member knows well, Canada has many trade deals. During the grain transportation crisis, there were boats sitting empty in Vancouver. On the international scene, our image was damaged because we were not able to deliver grain. There were empty boats leaving Canada. Where are they going to go? They need consistency, so they are going to look elsewhere.
    I wonder if the member could elaborate on how important it is to make sure that we consult and work with farmers, but also that we have the big stick ready to ensure that the two rail companies are actually doing the work they are supposed to do. When we have all of these trade deals and we are not able to deliver the merchandise as we are supposed to, what does that mean? It means they are worthless. I was wondering if the member could comment on that.
Ms. Linda Duncan:  
    Mr. Speaker, I would first like to thank my colleague for her incredibly hard work on behalf of Canadian farm producers. She has certainly been outspoken for the dairy farmers, as well as in representing the grain, pulse, canola, and oat growers of this country, and trying to get this matter moving forward more expeditiously.
    Finally, the government has come forward with at least a one-year extension, but as my colleague has stated, what is at risk is the reputation of Canada as an exporter of food products. Those who want to purchase in the long term, in Asia or elsewhere, want to be assured that, in fact, we can continue to supply quality product when they need it. A one-year extension, frankly, is just not going to cut it.
    It is absolutely critical that the government move forward more expeditiously and resolve this for the long term in the interests of Canadians and the farm community.

[Translation]

Ms. Ruth Ellen Brosseau (Berthier—Maskinongé, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak today about the motion from the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities.
    We have been calling for the Liberal government to take action on the grain transportation file for a long time. The report simply requests that the changes set out in Bill C-30, which expire in August 2016, be extended for one year. I agree with that request and will support it when it comes time to vote.
    Before explaining why it is important that the government extend these provisions of Bill C-30, I would like to give my colleagues in the House a little bit of background about the grain transportation crisis. About two years ago, I spoke specifically about Bill C-30 in the House.
    The combination of an excellent harvest and a harsh winter uncovered major flaws in our grain transportation system that cost farmers and the Canadian economy between $7.2 billion and $8.3 billion.
    Although the government at the time had known since the fall of 2013 what our farmers would be up against, Bill C-30 was its belated response to this major crisis. The opposition parties and stakeholders had to pressure the government for months before it did anything.
    Unfortunately, the bill did not go far enough. What is more, it was temporary, as members can see from the provisions that expire in August.
     The Premier of Saskatchewan said that the bill was flawed and disappointing. Throughout the crisis, the Conservatives acted as if the situation was out of the ordinary, even though farmers had clearly indicated that the system was broken and the duopoly of Canadian Pacific and Canadian National over the market was allowing the companies to provide inadequate service without fear of repercussions. There is still an imbalance of power between farmers and the railway companies.
    In an attempt to address the many shortcomings in Bill C-30, my party proposed a number of amendments: implementing mandatory reporting of the price of grain throughout the transportation system; requiring adequate service in all corridors; ensuring that producers in all affected regions would be consulted about the regulations; requiring the government to work with the provinces to develop and implement a plan for open access running rights to ensure effective competition in the rail service; imposing a moratorium on the closure or delisting of producer car sites; increasing fines and directing those revenues to compensation programs for producers; and opposing the temporary nature of the provisions in Bill C-30, which suggested that systemic structural problems were actually temporary and exceptional.
     Unfortunately, all of the amendments that the NDP presented in committee were rejected. By the end of winter 2015, the delayed delivery of more than 11,000 grain shipments prompted us to try again. Despite Bill C-30, there was another crisis.
     As a result, I moved another motion in the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food for the immediate study of problems related to the transportation of grain and agricultural products. Subsequently, my colleague from Sydney—Victoria moved a motion in the House.
    His motion, which was adopted unanimously on April 22, 2015, called on the House to recognize that an increase in rail service and capacity is essential to the livelihood of Canadian agriculture and that changes to legislation are needed to address the structural gaps in our system.
    When I spoke to the motion, I made sure to emphasize how important it is for the government to listen to all stakeholders. That point is important and remains valid.
    The current government should improve the system. It should implement the recommendations of all stakeholders, the experts, and especially farmers.

  (1605)  

    I am pleased to see that the Minister of Transport said that he would take the Emerson report as advice only and that his government would consult stakeholders before making any decisions.
    I can tell him right now that producers and shippers are not keen to abolish maximum revenue entitlement and interswitching. Stakeholders all agree, as do the parties here in the House, that these two measures should be removed.
    As Dan Mazier, the president of Keystone Agricultural Producers, said:

[English]

    “The report doesn't address [the lack of competition in grain transportation] at all, and this is the fundamental thing those in the grain industry believe lies at the heart of all of our problems.”

[Translation]

    Since the beginning of the year, stakeholders have also all agreed that it is important to extend the provisions of Bill C-30, which expire on August 1. All of the groups I met with mentioned this to me. The members of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-food received many letters to this effect from such organizations as Alberta Barley, Alberta Canola, Alberta Pulse Growers, Alberta Wheat, and Grain Growers of Canada.

[English]

    They wrote to us to encourage the fact that we need to act very quickly and that the pro-competitive measures introduced in Bill C-30, the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act, do not expire on August 1.
    Among the other measures, the legislation provided for the establishment of minimum grain volume targets for railways, gave authority to the Canadian Transportation Agency to establish regulations governing rail service level arbitration, and provided for the extension of railway inter-switching distances from 30 km to 160 km, in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.
    Parliament must pass a resolution prior to August 1, 2016 to extend these elements of railway regulation or Canadian shippers will lose these important shipper protection measures.

  (1610)  

[Translation]

    The report presented to the House by the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities goes precisely along the same lines. That is why we support it. However, the government must adopt a long-term vision and address producers' concerns. This is important. A number of agronomists and officials at the Department of Agriculture and Agri-food have said that crop yields would only increase.
    If the government does not improve our system, we will see more crops like those we saw in 2013 and more crises like the one we experienced in 2014-15. The government must show leadership and must implement long-term solutions for producers.
    I sincerely hope that the Liberal Party will keep its promises on this issue and that its decisions will be consistent with what it said and did when it was in the opposition. It is one thing to get all worked up to defend producers when one is in the opposition, but it is another thing to do so when one is in government.
    Since the beginning of their mandate, the Liberals have not had a great record on agriculture and agri-food, but they now have an excellent opportunity to take action and to stand up for producers. We hope that they will take this opportunity today and will take action quickly.

[English]

Business of the House

Hon. Kirsty Duncan (Minister of Science, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to an order adopted by the House on June 9, 2016, I move:
    That the hour of adjournment for the current sitting day shall be midnight.
The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mr. Anthony Rota):  
    Pursuant to order made on Thursday, June 9, the motion is deemed adopted.
    Questions and comments, the hon. member for Sherbrooke.

[Translation]

Committees of the House

Transport, Infrastructure and Communities  

    The House resumed consideration of the motion.
Mr. Pierre-Luc Dusseault (Sherbrooke, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be able to ask my colleague a question about her speech.
    I see that the government extended the deadline on the measures taken by the previous government. Could my colleague talk about a possible long-term solution to this problem rather than just a short-term solution? What solution does she think would be best to ensure fair transport for farmers? Of course I am thinking about a long-term solution, rather than something that would simply patch things up in the short term.
Ms. Ruth Ellen Brosseau:  
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for the question.
    I think many of the provisions passed in Bill C-30 are really important for the industry, as well as for ensuring the safe transportation of agricultural products and other goods. I am really pleased that the government moved a motion at the last minute to extend many of those provisions once again. I think we need to keep those provisions, including the one on interswitching, for example. All the stakeholders and farmers told us repeatedly that they were really happy with the decision regarding the extension of interswitching distances to 160 km.
    Perhaps we could consider the possibility of extending that distance, since, as members know, Canada is vast and transportation is rather complex. I would also like to see what comes out of the consultations being held by the Minister of Transport, Mr. Garneau. I look forward to hearing about that and I hope to have some news when the House returns this fall. I also think the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food could show a little more initiative on this.
    The House will recall that Bill C-30 was introduced by the former minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. This directly affects producers and therefore we must consult these experts. I hope that the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food will show more leadership and, together with the Minister of Transport, will ensure that producers have fair and adequate service.

  (1615)  

[English]

Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, obviously this measure is of great interest to a province like Saskatchewan and to the farming sector in particular, but it does carry with it implications and benefits for shippers far beyond the agricultural sector per se. That is important enough, but assisting the entire shipping community is also extremely important because that means jobs and growth and effective exportation of Canadian goods, agricultural and otherwise, into the world community.
    I would be interested to know the views of the member because I know she has been very active with respect to transport and agricultural issues. Now that the Minister of Transport has provided this year of time during which these extraordinary measures will be extended, what changes would the member like to see in the Canadian Transportation Agency in terms of its authority to more proactively safeguard the rights and interests of Canadian shippers? Agricultural shippers, for sure, but also the others in the shipping community that may need proactive regulatory support from time to time. How do we empower the CTA to be more proactive in the pursuit of shipper rights?
Ms. Ruth Ellen Brosseau:  
    Mr. Speaker, I know that the provisions that have been prolonged are very important to keep. One aspect that keeps coming up when I speak to farmers is the importance of data sharing and predictability, knowing when things are happening, when they are going to arrive. That is something that we had brought up and when Bill C-30 was at committee, we wanted to make sure that there was better data sharing, transparency. That is something that I think would be very important for shippers, not just agricultural products, but everyone would like to have better data sharing like we see in the U.S. If the U.S. can do it, why can we not do it here?
    That is something that would help everyone. It would make sure there is more predictability and information sharing and then we could look into penalties to make sure that when delays are not respected, whether it is the railways or at grain, that there is some kind of reciprocity. That is very important too. I am really looking forward to seeing what the government comes up with and working together to make sure that we get our grain and our transportation going in Canada so that we can respect our international trade agreements.
The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mr. Anthony Rota):  
     Is the House ready for the question?
    Some hon. members: Question.
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mr. Anthony Rota) The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

    (Motion agreed to)

Petitions

Palliative Care  

Mr. Brad Trost (Saskatoon—University, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I have the privilege to introduce a petition of several hundred people from Saskatoon who are calling upon the House of Commons to specifically identify hospice palliative care as a defined medical service covered under the Canada Health Act. With the current debate in Parliament, this is a very timely petition.

  (1620)  

Physician-Assisted Dying  

Mr. Larry Miller (Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to stand in the House today to present a petition from a number of my constituents and others across Canada. They are petitioning the Government of Canada to establish conscience protection for physicians and health care institutions. They are calling upon the Parliament of Canada to enshrine in the Criminal Code protection of conscience for physicians and health care institutions from coercion or intimidation to provide or refer for assisted suicide or euthanasia.
Mr. Harold Albrecht (Kitchener—Conestoga, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present petitions signed by over 500 residents from British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec in regard to the protection of vulnerable Canadians from assisted suicide. These residents are calling upon the Government of Canada to draft legislation that will include adequate safeguards for vulnerable Canadians, especially those with mental health challenges; provide clear conscience protection for health care workers and institutions; and protect children and those under 18 from physician-assisted suicide.
Mr. Ted Falk (Provencher, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I have a petition from residents of Manitoba from various communities. The petitioners are asking the Parliament of Canada to enshrine in the Criminal Code the protection of conscience for physicians and health care institutions from coercion or intimidation to provide or refer for physician-assisted suicide or euthanasia.
    I also have a petition similar to it, predominantly from folks inside Winnipeg and communities surrounding Winnipeg to the same note.

Public Safety  

Mr. Arnold Viersen (Peace River—Westlock, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition signed by Canadians from Houston, British Columbia. The petitioners are concerned about access to violent and degrading sexually explicit material online and the impact on public health, and especially on the well-being of women and girls. As such, these petitioners are calling on the House of Commons to adopt Motion No. 47.

Justice  

Mrs. Cathay Wagantall (Yorkton—Melville, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, in our criminal law, we recognize indecency toward a dead body as a crime. Our criminal law respects a life that was.
    Today I present petitions representing nine Ontario communities of Windsor, Essex, Milton, Hamilton, Alban, Sudbury, Dandurand, Woodslee, and Tilbury. These constituents are calling on us as legislators to also recognize life as one that would have been, and support Bill C-225, recognizing a woman's choice to her right to carry her child to term.

Housing  

Mr. Kennedy Stewart (Burnaby South, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, there is a housing crisis in Burnaby and indeed in many parts of British Columbia. To address that, earlier this year I tabled Motion No. 20, a made-for-B.C. affordable housing strategy.
    This petition is signed by many residents in Burnaby and the rest of British Columbia. The petitioners are calling for the government to take seriously this motion, and to indeed implement an affordable housing strategy for British Columbia, including investment in public housing, which has been lacking over many decades; and as well to examine the impact of investor speculation and housing vacancies on rising real estate prices.
    I urge the government to take this seriously. I will be bringing up this topic again.

Animal Cruelty  

Ms. Irene Mathyssen (London—Fanshawe, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, I have a petition from a number of concerned citizens who worry that we do not have adequate laws to protect animals from cruelty.
    Members will recall that in 2008 there was a provision passed, but it did not actually improve protection for animals. The majority of those animal-abuse investigations that are conducted do not end up in criminal prosecution. Therefore, the petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to modernize the animal cruelty positions in the Criminal Code to effectively protect all animals from deliberate acts of cruelty.

Questions on the Order Paper

Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I would ask that all questions be allowed to stand.
The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mr. Anthony Rota):  
    Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

[Translation]

    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mr. Anthony Rota): It is my duty, pursuant to Standing Order 38, to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, Air Transportation; the hon. member for Windsor West, International Trade; the hon. member for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, Indigenous Affairs.

  (1625)  

[English]

Motions for Papers

Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I would ask that all notices of motions for the production of papers be allowed to stand.
The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mr. Anthony Rota):  
    Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[English]

Food and Drugs Act

Hon. Ralph Goodale (for the Minister of International Trade)  
    moved that Bill C-13, An Act to amend the Food and Drugs Act, the Hazardous Products Act, the Radiation Emitting Devices Act, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, the Pest Control Products Act and the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act and to make related amendments to another Act, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
Mr. David Lametti (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade, Lib.)  
     Mr. Speaker, I am delighted with this opportunity to rise today on Bill C-13, which is legislation that would reinforce our government's already strong track record on trade.
    The bill before us would make a variety of amendments to other laws, so that Canada could implement our commitments under the World Trade Organization's agreement on trade facilitation, or TFA for short.
    The TFA is groundbreaking in many ways. It is the very first multilateral trade agreement concluded since the creation of the WTO over 20 years ago. More importantly, it is the very first time in WTO history that developed and developing countries have recognized that each commitment within an agreement should be linked to each country's ability to implement it. Specific provisions are set out to help least developed and developing countries. It is about better trade.
    At the heart of Bill C-13 and the TFA are the commitments I believe all of us share, to see more open borders and the freer movement of goods and services around the world. It is also about freer trade.
    As the Prime Minister has said, today's world is full of challenges, but there are also tremendous opportunities with the opening of new markets, the growth of developing countries, and the emergence of new technologies, and of sustainable development.
    This is one reason our government is pursuing a progressive trade agenda. It is also one reason the Prime Minister committed to the expeditious ratification of the TFA during his meeting with G20 leaders in Antalya.
    The TFA will help to enhance global trade by putting measures in place to expedite the movement, release, and clearance of goods across international borders. It also contains provisions to encourage closer co-operation between customs officials at the border.
    Overall, the WTO estimates that the trade facilitation agreement will lower trade costs by more than 14% for low income countries, and by more than 13% for upper middle income countries by streamlining the flow of goods across borders. Therefore, I urge all hon. member to support this bill before us today.

[Translation]

    We all know that from the early days of the fur trade to today, Canada has always been a trading nation. Canada has made a name for itself in green and renewable technologies, pharmaceutical products, and the aerospace sector. In fact, trade is as much a part of our national and provincial identities as hockey, and certainly more so than the Leafs.
    Today, trade represents 60% of Canada's annual gross domestic product, and one Canadian job in five is tied to exports. Trade leads to wage increases and a higher standard of living. Furthermore, it helps companies create better paying jobs, increases the number of middle-class families, and makes them more prosperous.
    That is why our government is going to such great lengths to increase market access for business people and investors across Canada. Our efforts will also create new opportunities for Canadian companies and workers.
    With our progressive trade agenda we are making every effort to create opportunities and foster prosperity for all through the liberalization of trade and the opening of borders and markets.
    Canada's trade agenda emphasizes the role of women, indigenous groups, and small and medium-sized businesses, as well as the role of a diverse population that is connected with the rest of the world. This agenda also seeks to place environmental protection and labour protection at the heart of our efforts, right from the outset. It seeks to ensure that the middle class and those working hard to join it truly benefit from the trade spinoffs both in Canada and abroad.

  (1630)  

[English]

    It is about progressive, ethical, and greener trade.
    Our comprehensive economic and trade agreement, or CETA, with the European Union clearly shows that an inclusive and progressive trade agenda tailored to the 21st century is possible. Our focus now is getting this gold standard deal signed this year and implemented early next year, so that Canadians and Europeans can take full advantage of the benefits. The Minister of International Trade has on numerous occasions met with our European friends and partners to help ensure that we accomplish just that.
    Canada is pleased to be moving forward with CETA ratification now that the legal scrub of the English text has been completed. We fully support the modifications that were recently made to its investment chapter. These changes reaffirmed and strengthened the right of governments to regulate in important areas like labour, health, and the environment. The changes also modified the dispute resolution system in a way that makes it more transparent, independent, and impartial with high ethical and procedural standards.
    Our government's progressive trade agenda is also focused on strengthening our long-standing friendship and trading relationship with the United States and Mexico. The minister has already had some great productive meetings with her counterparts in the U.S. as well as with several key Mexican and U.S. decision-makers in Washington.
    The minister also visited Mexico City this week where she held bilateral meetings with Mexican government and business leaders while also meeting with the Council of Ministers of the Pacific Alliance to sign a joint declaration with member countries to reaffirm the ties of friendship, solidarity, and co-operation between our countries and making Canada the first observer to enter into a strategic partnership with one of the most important economic blocks in the Americas.

[Translation]

    Not long after being appointed Minister of International Trade, the minister represented Canada at the tenth WTO ministerial conference in Nairobi. Among the many other issues, the members of the WTO agreed on a series of development measures that will help the less developed nations integrate into the global trading system and benefit from it.
    These measures include preferential rules of origin for least-developed countries and commitments to help them participate in global trade services. I know that we are all in favour of these objectives and the general work that the WTO does. Trade can lift millions of people out of poverty, as was the case for India and China.
    Trade can also promote investment, innovation, and technological changes that are all essential to sustainable development. Trade is not just synonymous with exporting goods and services. It means working together to meet the needs of people and societies grappling with long-standing problems such as poverty, and new problems such as the repercussions of climate change.
    In both developed and developing countries, trade can play a significant role in strengthening the middle class, which is a top priority for Canada's new government. Most importantly, trade can lead to transformation. For years, the WTO has recognized that opening markets is not an end in and of itself. Open trade is a function of our values. It is one of our central objectives, as set out in the WTO's founding document.
    Among our many objectives are raising the standard of living, creating more meaningful jobs, achieving full employment, ensuring the sustainable use of global resources, and protecting the environment.
    I already talked about reducing poverty. More open trade can contribute to the spread of innovative technology and help groups in rural regions and people with low incomes in developing countries take part in the global economy. As we all know, global value chains can augment the benefits derived from trade in terms of the economy and resources. Open trade can also help address inequality among people and promote women's economic independence to a significant degree.

  (1635)  

[English]

    Today, there are nearly one billion women around the world who could be contributing more robustly to their economies were they trained or allowed to do so.
    Seen in this light, closing the gender gap would be equivalent to adding a new China or a new India to the global economy. We simply cannot afford to sit idly by and not seize the potential or the fairness of this tremendous opportunity.
    The trade facilitation agreement, which the legislation before us will implement in Canada, can be an important catalyst for achieving these goals. Lower trade costs along with enhanced timeliness and predictability in the delivery of intermediate goods will drive growing participation by SMEs in world trade as the high cost of international trade disproportionately affects small and medium-sized enterprises as well as developing nations.
    Helping SMEs reduce their trading costs will also benefit women in developing countries, as the World Bank estimates that 8 million to 10 million SMEs in the developing world have at least one female owner.
    In general, implementation of the TFA is expected to deliver an unprecedented and significant stimulus to the world economy. The WTO estimates that the boost in global trade resulting from the entry into force of the TFA could create around 20 million jobs worldwide by 2030, with the majority located in developing countries.

[Translation]

    Canadian and international stakeholders, including the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, and nearly all agriculture and agrifood associations, have voiced widespread support for this agreement.
    To date, 81 members of the WTO have ratified the trade facilitation agreement, or TFA for short, including some of our major trading partners like the U.S., the European Union, China, and Japan. They expect Canada to do the same without delay. Another 27 countries need to ratify the agreement for it to come into effect.
     The legislative changes in Bill C-13 are necessary to the ratification of this agreement in Canada. These changes aim to protect the health and safety of Canadian consumers and workers, as well as the environment, in the event that goods in transit are diverted into the Canadian market. They also aim to clarify the practices for dealing with rejected goods.
    Canada is committed to promoting prosperity around the world and helping the poorest and most vulnerable people reap the benefits of economic growth when it comes to reducing poverty. Canada can do its part by ratifying the TFA as quickly as possible.
    I therefore urge all hon. members on that committee to support the legislative amendments contained in Bill C-13 so that Canada can do its part to ensure the agreement is fully implemented.

  (1640)  

[English]

Mr. Garnett Genuis (Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, certainly the implementation of this deal builds on the important work that was done under the previous government. It is great to see some of that at least continuing under the current government with respect to this particular trading initiative.
    We are aware that it is not just tariff barriers to trade that can prevent trade. It is also these kinds of non-tariff barriers. I wonder if the member could talk more specifically about the work we can do to expand trade, not just in terms of tariffs but also non-tariff barriers such as this agreement and other areas.
Mr. David Lametti:  
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the previous government for its work. I see the previous minister of trade in the House, as well as the previous minister of agriculture. Both of them have done yeoman's work on these files.
    It is true that non-tariff barriers are an incredibly important part of the picture. It is by harmonizing various kinds of standards, such as sanitary and phytosanitary standards, and harmonizing through science the way we look at genetic modification, for example, that we will be able to build better, more efficient trade agreements in which the only barriers are real and justified barriers and not idiosyncratic or imaginary ones.
Ms. Tracey Ramsey (Essex, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the work of the hon. parliamentary secretary across the way on this file. These are the types of trade changes, the facilitation that we are talking about here, that we in the NDP can get behind as well.
    Bill C-13 makes some changes to how Canada deals with goods in transit and non-compliant goods, including hazardous products and pest control products. It is very important to Canadians that they are assured that they are safe within our country and that these ingredients and products will not harm our environment. Therefore, my question to the member is this. Is he confident that the changes to Bill C-13 maintain existing health and safety standards for workers who may come into contact with these products?
Mr. David Lametti:  
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her question and her work on these files.
    Yes, we are confident that our domestic health and safety standards as regards workers handling these kinds of products will be maintained, if not enhanced.
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I truly appreciate the efforts that the parliamentary secretary and the Minister of International Trade have put in, in a relatively short time span. There has been a great deal that has been accomplished, whether we talk about our lumber industry, Bill C-13, or the necessary work to get the EU agreement into a position where, ultimately, it can be ratified.
    I say that because it has been a very aggressive, progressive government on the trade file, because we recognize that Canada is a trading nation and we need to take initiatives of this nature in order to be able to continue to grow and prosper into the future.
    I wonder if the parliamentary secretary would reflect on how this particular piece of legislation would build upon the important trade that we need to ultimately see in order to continue to grow and prosper and have our middle class become even stronger in the future.
Mr. David Lametti:  
     Mr. Speaker, we certainly have done a lot of work in a short period of time, but I want to recognize that the previous government had done a lot of work, as well.
    What we are trying to do and I think what distinguishes the work we are doing is that we are really focusing not just on more trade but on better trade, a progressive trade agenda that cares about the environment, that cares about the status of women, that cares about labour standards and other ethical concerns, that cares about helping nations that are developing or are in various stages of development. We think that is all part of the picture, and that is where we are really working hard in order to make this trade agenda work. This agreement is part of that. This agreement tries to do those sorts of things and it fits in with the other trade projects that are currently in front of the minister and all the rest of us.

  (1645)  

Mr. Garnett Genuis (Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, CPC):  
     Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary talked about progressive trade, claiming the government is supportive of trade. Where are we at with the TPP? Why is it taking the government so long? Canadians have, I think, been clear on this in support of it. President Obama has called this the most progressive trade deal ever. Certainly, many of the things that he is talking about being important are clearly identified in the trans-Pacific partnership. Our party has a position. The NDP has a position. We have yet to hear the government's position.
    Given what he said about the importance of trade, I wonder if he will take the opportunity to finally tell us where they stand on this important trade deal.
Mr. David Lametti:  
     Mr. Speaker, our policy is good trade agreements. We still are not sure that the TPP is a good trade agreement. We are still learning about it. I can honestly say to the hon. member that despite having a pretty good knowledge of it, I am still learning about corners of the TPP through our consultations on a daily basis.
    The hon. member is correct to say that there are people in Canada who fervently support the TPP. However, there are also people in Canada who are very critical of the TPP, all of them are advancing reasons, all of them are advancing studies, all of them are asking us to take their opinions into account. We feel that we need to do this for an agreement of this size and stature.
    It was negotiated by the previous government. We need to decide, as a government, whether this is a good trade agreement or not, and whether we, as a government, will get behind it. I can frankly say that we are not near a conclusion on that yet. We simply need to learn more.
Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle (Windsor—Tecumseh, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has mentioned several times that there is the opportunity here for us to improve the lives of women, specifically in other countries.
    Basically and simply up front, does this mean that we are going to have an implementation with these other countries that is going to promote increasing access to financing for women entrepreneurs? Is this what is actually going to happen?
Mr. David Lametti:  
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's question is an important one. The trade facilitation agreement in and of itself improves the ability of small and medium-sized enterprises, many of which are run by women or which have a woman who is one of the owners or one of the partners, to be able to trade more. I cannot say for certain, in all honesty, that it also improves access to financing as well.
     I do know of the work of Martha Nussbaum and A. K. Sen and others and microfinancing in various parts of the world. One would hope that the increased number of small and medium-sized enterprises and increased number of women trading would lead to better access to financing and microfinancing in a variety of different countries and places.
Hon. Ed Fast (Abbotsford, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I congratulate my good friend on his speech and his support for the TFA, but as he knows, this was a hard-fought agreement, one which had emerging economies up against some of the developed economies. It took a lot of hard work to finally arrive at a consensus post-Bali.
    I wonder if the member could comment on the state of the World Trade Organization. There are many who believe that the organization is moribund and I would appreciate hearing his comments about the WTO.

  (1650)  

Mr. David Lametti:  
    Mr. Speaker, I will not refer to any Monty Python sketches. I do think that the WTO has its place. There is an important place in the pantheon of trade for bilateral agreements, plurilateral agreements, and a multilateral organization like the WTO. Each of those instruments has its own strengths and weaknesses. The WTO has its strengths and weaknesses. We do have to be a part of it. We do have to understand what those strengths are and try to play to those strengths. I think this agreement is an example of one of them.
Hon. Gerry Ritz (Battlefords—Lloydminster, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, it is my first opportunity to congratulate you on your elevation to the chair. You are doing a great job, thank you.
    To my colleagues in the House, I want to begin by saying I will be splitting my time on the bill with the former minister of trade.
The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mr. Anthony Rota):  
    Since this is the first round, I am afraid I need unanimous consent. Do I have unanimity in the House?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mr. Anthony Rota): It will be split then.
Hon. Gerry Ritz:  
    Mr. Speaker, let me also congratulate my friend across the way. I see another friend from the trade committee. We are getting some great work done. As he is rightly pointing out, there are a tremendous number of opinions out there as to what constitutes good trade, what constitutes progressive trade, and what constitutes us giving away the country that I do not agree with.
    Having said that, we are a trading nation. We always have been. It was traders who came to this great country and settled it many years ago. The first nations that were here when they arrived were traders, and they continue to be. We had several of them before committee yesterday. There is a huge contradiction, whether they are for it or against it, what the day is, and so on.
    On Bill C-13, lucky 13, the trade facilitation act, a number of things come into play. The former minister was up just a moment ago talking about how difficult it was. I happened to be at that particular WTO meeting in Bali. It was one of the last ones I attended. It was always interesting to see the countries siding with certain other countries. He said that there is a tremendous amount of disagreement between the developed, the developing, and the underdeveloped countries and how we get from one level to the other, with everyone scrambling.
    The unfortunate part with the WTO is that it seems to want to bring everyone down to a median as opposed to lifting everyone up. That is what caught my attention at my first WTO meetings, almost a decade ago in Geneva. What we were discussing then was already irrelevant, but we were trying to get that passed so we could move on. Rather than shift it aside and move on to something more relevant, they were stuck in a situation where everyone had a veto and they really could not move forward. To actually bring this through in the Bali package, as it was called, and India was very much against it, took another year of negotiation back in Geneva.
     It takes two-thirds of the membership of the WTO to make this happen, so roughly 108 countries have to agree. Once we get this done here in the next little while, we will be number 82, so there is still a tremendous amount of work to do before it actually comes into play.
    What it seeks to do is level the playing field to create more predictability and stability in trade corridors around the world. These are global trade corridors now. Certainly, Canada is part of all that global movement. However, it will also help the developing countries.
    The parliamentary secretary talked about the women entrepreneurs around the world. I could not agree with him more. That is one of the strengths I see in the TPP, which hopefully we will get to at some point in this august House as well. There are labour and environmental standards, and it seeks to reinforce them throughout the world.
    Countries that are involved in the TPP, like Vietnam, are looking forward to it. I had a good opportunity to be in Vietnam about a year or a year and a half ago. It is looking forward to using our level of labour standards, our workers' compensation, and a number of other things to reinforce its ability to grow. It has an economy of some 80 million people in a small area. It does a lot of secondary processing that goes into other economies around the world through any trade corridors that work. There are a tremendous number of women involved in what happens in Vietnam. It is looking forward to that. With the environmental standards, too, it does not have to commit the errors that a lot of us, as growing economies, did. It does not have to go through coal-fired generation. It can go right to something green. There are all those opportunities out there as well.
    I agree with the parliamentary secretary on this. If I say that three times, someone slap me, because that will be enough.
    At the end of the day, this is all about making sure that we have global standards that are enforceable. As obsolete as the WTO is at times on certain fronts, it really is the only rules-based organization that everyone belongs to. We used that operation when we were taking the United States to task on country-of-origin labelling. The parliamentary secretary will have an idea of how much work went into that over the two or three years it took to wind through the appellate body at the WTO. It started to come together fairly quickly when the United States realized that it had run out of options, and it finally put forward a piece of legislation and took that off its agenda.
    However, they are the only rules we have on a multilateral stage. We have rules involved in NAFTA. We have rules involved in the TPP. There are rules involved with the CETA and ISDS adjudication, which is groundbreaking. We look forward to those rules being put in place and having the ability to argue our side, make our case, and move forward.
    It takes things like this TFA, almost housekeeping, because it is sort of reactionary to what has happened before. It needs to be addressed, but it is not forward looking, as we see in some of the movement we have with the CETA and the TPP. It is today's economy.

  (1655)  

    When I was first elected to this place almost 20 years ago, cell phones were not in vogue. Few people had them, so at one point I took my garage door opener with me a couple of times just to make it look like I was part of the in-crowd. Now everything is done at the speed of commerce. We have to address those situations throughout the world and go back into some trade agreements and address how we download cultural products and so on.
    There is a lot of concern about getting it right as we move to that in CETA and the TPP. I think we have. A lot of consultation went on with respect to both of those agreements as we moved forward page by page. The former minister of trade and I worked hard. The TPP agreement is 6,000 pages long. There is a lot of stuff in it. We went through it page by page as it developed over the years Canada was involved in negotiating it.
    I want to take a moment to congratulate all the great people at DFAIT, as it was called at that time. Now it is called Global Affairs. I want to congratulate all the negotiators, the Steve Verheul, the Kirsten Hillman, who did the heavy lifting day after day, taking, some would say, a schizophrenic position that Canada always carried into those agreements and making it work. They did tremendous work, as did all of the people who worked with them. We owe them a tremendous amount of gratitude for getting us to this level today and for making Canada a broker in the world.
    On my first trip to Geneva, we were still working on the Uruguay round of GATT. Everyone has since forgotten about those things and moved on, but they are still important, because they set the foundation.
    I remember being with Steve Verheul on a number of different fronts. At that point, the director-general of the WTO was Pascal Lamy. He had the idea that if he kept everyone dangling until midnight then put them to work, he would get something done. That did not work. He just ended up with mad people around the table. We did not get anything done. He would break us into country groups of five and cherry-pick who he wanted. I remember going out with Steve for a beer afterward or supper late at night or whatever, and his cell phone never stopped ringing with calls from the five people who were in the room who were asking him what they should do. He was the broker involved behind the scenes for a lot of the countries. They relied on Steve Verheul and people like him.
    I have a tremendous amount of respect for the work these people have done to get us to this point. Now they are watching to see how long it will take us to do the light lifting and put into play what they worked so hard to do.
    This is a good first step, but there are so many other things that need to be addressed as we move along. It seems almost hypocritical to me that we are going to implement border-smoothing operations under the TFA while at the same time we cannot seem to clean up our own interprovincial trade. We have a motion coming forward, and the government has already said it will not support. The government is going to support this at the international level but we are not going to clean up our own house at the same time. That is a bit hypocritical and is something we will really have to bear down on.
    Other countries are watching. We talk about rules and about how Canada is a global trader, but we have all of these anomalies right here within our own country we need to address.
    The Senate has done some work on this. We will be doing some work on it, I am sure, at trade committee. I look forward to those future discussions.
Mr. David Lametti (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I would second my hon. colleague wholeheartedly on the capacity and intellect of our trade negotiators. I have now come to the conclusion that trade negotiators are among the most intelligent people I have ever met, including Steve Verheul and Kirsten Hillman.
    I want to ask the member about the TPP. I want to ask him for a couple of specific examples, putting the best cases forward, as to why the TPP might qualify as a progressive trade agreement.

  (1700)  

Hon. Gerry Ritz:  
    Mr. Speaker, I think there are a number of chapters in the TPP that are unique to the TPP. I talked about cultural downloads, digital downloads, and a lot of different things like that. The rules and regulations, when it comes to moving products around the world, address what we really have here, which are global supply chains. It is not just raw materials going to Japan. It is goods that go back and forth to finish them up.
    Canada is very good at certain things. We are not as good at other things. We export between 50% and 90% of what we produce on the agricultural side: what we raise, grow, and produce. At the same time, we import 50% of what we eat domestically. We have to have good, solid trade corridors for that to happen.
    We have to diversify our trade portfolio the same as anyone would diversify a stock portfolio. If we rely strictly on the U.S. market, as we have done for years, when they have a problem, we face the same problem.
    CETA, on one hand, is a very aged market, a very mature market. The Pacific Rim, on the other side, of course, takes into account a growing, emerging middle class we will have access to, so between the two, we will have access to some 80% of the global GDP. It is very important that we have both.
    It is also very important that we have strength with the TPP countries in our hip pocket if and when we move forward on an agreement with China. The size and scope of the Chinese economy will swallow us whole overnight.
    I have often said, from an agricultural standpoint, that if everyone in the middle class in China had a bacon cheeseburger and a beer once a month, we could not supply it. That is the size and scope of that market.
    We have to move into that realm with caution. I am a firm believer in doing more with China. It is a tremendous opportunity, but I think we will do it and fare a lot better when we have the strength of the TPP in our hip pocket. It is the same as having the CETA agreement in our hip pocket. In the final days of negotiating the TPP, it was very helpful.
Ms. Tracey Ramsey (Essex, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague on the trade committee for his hard work on this file, although we fundamentally disagree, certainly, on the TPP.
     I think it is interesting that the member mentioned his own stock portfolio and worrying about that. Most Canadians do not have the luxury of worrying about whether their stock portfolio is doing well, and the TPP would severely impact these people's lives.
    Getting back to this particular piece, he spoke a bit about the challenges we have here in our own country. Really, the inability of small and medium-sized enterprises to actually access these market is a huge problem. We have heard this on the trade committee. We are talking about over 80% of Canadian businesses. They are simply unable to get into other markets and get into an export situation.
    I am confident that the hon. member believes, as I do, that the government has to focus more of its efforts on improving opportunities in trade for SMEs, such as the tax reduction that all three parties agreed to during the election campaign, which unfortunately, we have seen the Liberals fail on. That will end up costing small and medium-sized enterprises in our country millions of dollars that they simply cannot afford.
    I wonder if the hon. member could actually speak to some ways we could improve trade avenues for small and medium-sized enterprises, such as things that have been identified at the committee.
Hon. Gerry Ritz:  
    Mr. Speaker, certainly my colleague and I disagree most of the time on the trade committee, but we do agree that Canadians need to be better off and that we cannot tax them into submission. They have to be able to have a number of different things at their disposal.
    I never said I had a stock portfolio. I was a farmer. Before that I was a general contractor to pay for that nasty habit. I said that just as people would say that they should have a diversified stock portfolio, they should also have a diversified trade portfolio.
    When it comes to small businesses doing trading, I consider myself, as a farmer, a small business, and I was not scared about selling my canola, my lentils, into other countries around the world, because there were corridors to do that. We educate ourselves, we find the knowledge, and we work with others to make that happen, and there are always people who will facilitate that.
    First we have to have the ability to do it. Then we have to have the knowledge and the wherewithal to actually make that happen. Once one starts doing it, it is almost a drug. One can get hooked on the ability to move products through and watch them being enjoyed by other countries.
    I had the great opportunity in my former role as the agriculture minister to be on pretty much every continent and in every country enjoying Canadian products. Without a word of a lie, there is no better product for consistency and quality of product, when it comes to foodstuffs, than the Canadian one in the world.
     It is unbelievable. When we go into other countries and they serve what they consider to be a steak or lettuce or whatever, it does not measure up to ours at all.

  (1705)  

Hon. Ed Fast (Abbotsford, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I am thankful for the opportunity to build on the comments of my colleague from Battlefords—Lloydminster. In his speech, he mentioned some of our remarkable trade negotiators. He mentioned Kirsten Hillman, who spearheaded our TPP negotiations, and Steve Verheul, who spearheaded our negotiations with the European Union.
    There are others and I do not want to leave out. For example, Marvin Hildebrand negotiated our trade agreement with the Ukraine and our updated agreement with Israel. Ian Burney did that monumental trade agreement with South Korea and J.B. Leblanc was responsible for negotiating a number of trade deals within Central America and South America. All of these trade deals are driving prosperity and job creation within Canada.
    Let us get back to Bill C-13. Those who are viewing across Canada may not understand what we are talking about when we talk about TFA, trade facilitation agreements, when we talk about the Bali package. We need to go back 30 years when there was a large number of like-minded countries around the world that realized there were no common sets of rules around the world to govern trade. As countries traded with each other, tariffs could be increased or reduced, protectionist measures could be enacted day upon day, and it made trade very unpredictable.
    Back in 1986, negotiations started under what was called the Uruguay round and then in 1994-95, an agreement was finally reached, in which tariffs were eliminated or, in many cases, reduced. It also addressed some of the behind the borders challenges to trade. That was called the Uruguay round. That culminated into the creation of the World Trade Organization. Today, I believe there are 162 or 163 members in the World Trade Organization.
    It was under this WTO that a second round of trade negotiations started back in 2001. Think about it. That was 15 years ago. Very little progress had been made over those years and I will get to the reasons for that in a moment.
    Countries at least were able to get together and put together a small package under the Doha round, which we now call the Bali package. This was an outcome that included trade facilitation, which, in other words, improved customs processes and the ability to export and import products more efficiently.
    There was a second piece to that, which involved food security for developing countries, things such as the public stockholding of food, and also addressed export competition. Certainly, there was financial support agreed to for the least developed countries, to help them actually take advantage of trade opportunities around the world.
    During the Bali package negotiations, I was in Bali, Indonesia and at that time there were 157 countries. It was hard fought because there were so many different competing interests trying to come to a consensus. We finally came to a consensus on these three smaller packages, which we bound up in a ribbon called the Bali package.
    We took it home and then, suddenly, we heard that India had a change of government. Prime Minister Modi was now in charge. He said he did not like the agreement and wanted to renegotiate it. That is an indicator of how difficult it is today to reach consensus within the World Trade Organization.
    Fortunately, negotiations among India, the U.S., and some other partners were finally able to resolve that impasse and today, we are here in the chamber implementing one part of the Bali package, which is the trade facilitation agreement.
    I want to be very clear that we in the Conservative Party strongly support this legislation. We strongly support trade facilitation because it would allow us not only to improve our own trade opportunities around the world but also give a hand up to other countries, in most cases the poorest countries in the world, to start to think about trade as a way of improving their own prosperity and raising up more people into the middle class.
    The trade facilitation agreement is actually the first multilateral trade agreement to be concluded since the WTO was established over 20 years ago. It would likely eliminate up to 14% of the trade barriers and the costs related to those trade barriers around the world.

  (1710)  

    The biggest beneficiaries of this trade facilitation agreement are actually the poorest countries in the world. Of course, they cannot do that without receiving support from the developed countries, countries like Canada. We have agreed to support them. We are streamlining the flow of trade across borders.
    The agreement sets forth a series of measures for expeditiously moving goods across borders based on best practices from around the world. Most of those best practices come from the developed nations, like Canada. It will also simplify customs procedures, reduce red tape, expedite the release and clearance of goods, reduce costs associated with border processing, and make international trade more predictable. As I mentioned, it will also establish a program to financially assist the poorest of the WTO members to actually take advantage of trade.
    The reality is that the WTO has struggled to make meaningful progress and eliminate additional tariff and non-tariff barriers. The Doha round was started 15 years ago, and we have the Bali package, which is actually relatively small compared to the aspirations of the Doha round.
    Many people have asked me what has made the WTO somewhat sclerotic, in other words comatose, in achieving the kinds of trade goals and trade ambitions that we as Canadians have for the world.
    It is all about the emerging economies. Countries like India, which I already mentioned, Brazil, China, Russia, and South Africa, the BRICS countries that are flexing their muscles, realizing they have some economic clout within the global marketplace, and are exercising that clout, often preventing consensus from occurring at the WTO.
    That is why it is so difficult to get this Doha round completed, to make meaningful progress in eliminating tariff and non-tariff barriers around the world.
    What has Canada done? In the absence of a robust trade agenda at the WTO, we are doing bilateral agreements, trade agreements with countries like South Korea and Ukraine. We have negotiated trade agreements with countries like Jordan. Of course, the largest agreement of its kind is our free trade agreement with the 28 countries of the European Union.
    This is an economy of some 500 million consumers with whom Canada will now have preferred access. The same thing is true for the trans-Pacific partnership. I am quite disappointed that the Liberal government does not seem to understand the importance of being a leader, showing leadership in moving forward with ratifying this very important agreement.
    This agreement, the TPP, actually involves 12 countries that want to raise the ambition for trade, have high level rules for trade within the Asia-Pacific region. We are talking about partners like Japan, Australia, and New Zealand, but also other partners that are less developed, like Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Peru, and Chile, all countries that want to work together to eliminate trade barriers, to drive prosperity in our own countries.
    Our previous Conservative government really worked hard to embark upon the most ambitious trade agenda Canada had ever seen. Over a 10-year period, we were able to negotiate free trade agreements with 46 different countries, bringing to 51 the total number of countries with which Canada has trade agreements.
    I am issuing a challenge to the Liberal government that has yet to show a sustained interest in trade. In the previous 13 years, under the Chrétien and Martin governments, very little was accomplished, just three small trade agreements. It left Canada far behind in the global marketplace, in the global trading world.
    We need to be ahead of the curve, otherwise we lose out. Our Canadian businesses lose out because they do not have preferred market access that other countries have.
    This is my message to the Liberal government. Take trade seriously, as perhaps the most significant driver of prosperity our country has available. It is a key tool. Then get us to the next level, improving standards of living within Canada, providing consumers with the kind of value that they look for when they are buying goods, providing our businesses the kind of preferred access they need to expand their opportunities around the world.
    Again, we strongly support this trade facilitation agreement and encourage everyone in this House to vote in favour of it.

  (1715)  

Mr. David Lametti (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member and former minister for his comments. I really would like to pick his brain, given his experience, and ask a reformulated question I asked the previous speaker from his side of the House.
    What arguments can you give this House to say that the TPP is an agreement that would actually raise standards as opposed to lower standards?
    Unlike CETA, it is an agreement with a variety of different countries with a variety of social, labour, and environmental standards. Perhaps the member can give us his best arguments as to why this is an agreement that would raise all those as opposed to just foster a race to the bottom?
The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mr. Anthony Rota):  
    Before I recognize the member, I want to remind hon. members to speak through the chair and not ask questions directly.
    The hon. member for Abbotsford.
Hon. Ed Fast:  
    Mr. Speaker, I am glad to answer that question.
     The trans-Pacific partnership, of course, involves some highly developed countries, like Japan, Canada, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand, that have very high standards not only when it comes to non-tariff barriers and disciplining non-tariff barriers but also have high standards when it comes to things such as intellectual property.
    One of the biggest challenges Canadian companies have around the world is doing business in places like China and Vietnam where those standards are not robust. Canadian businesses lose value. The TPP actually raises those standards for everybody within that partnership.
    The same thing is true for labour and environmental standards. There are separate chapters for each of those that would impose upon the parties much higher standards than many of them have been accustomed to actually applying within their own jurisdictions.
    This is a huge opportunity for Canada to carve out preferred market access within the Asia-Pacific region. That is a region that is difficult to do business within because often it is a very opaque trading environment where we do not always know exactly what the rules are or how they are going to be applied.
    The TPP actually sets out very strong disciplines on how behind the border issues, such as standards, regulations, and rules are applied in a manner that actually facilitate trade rather than hinder it.
Ms. Tracey Ramsey (Essex, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Abbotsford for his wisdom and insight. Being a former minister on this particular file, he certainly has some insight to bring to this House. I want to let the member know that the trade committee is working extremely hard, not only on the TPP and the pre-study that we are doing but certainly on every endeavour that we undertake.
    When we talk about trade, we must talk about the responsible approach and look at the way that it is going to impact Canadians. There is a group of people who are often left out when we are talking about the types of changes to our trade facilitation that we are talking about today. They are the ones who are most responsible for its implementation.
    I am talking about our Canada Border Services Agency people, who do an incredible job every day to ensure that our borders are safe. These people are on the front lines of facilitating trade while enforcing regulations and keeping our country safe.
     Does the member believe that CBSA requires additional support to make our borders more efficient and secure, in particular when we are looking at expanding the ability of things to move through our country?
Hon. Ed Fast:  
    Mr. Speaker, yes, we do need to have a border service that is able to process the billions of dollars of trade that travels across our borders from other countries around the world. However, it is important to note that the trade facilitation agreement that we are debating in this House today actually would apply mostly to countries that do not have an already high standard of customs processes of trade facilitation within their own jurisdictions.
    When we look at this agreement, virtually everything that is outlined in this trade facilitation agreement as being required of the partner countries to implement, we have already implemented. In fact, we have implemented them many years ago.
    We do not expect that this agreement would impose any substantive additional burdens upon our border officials who have to ensure not only that excise duties are paid but also that smugglers are not using the borders for illicit gain. We understand the work that the border officials do is absolutely critical to keeping our borders safe and ensuring trade happens in a legal manner.

  (1720)  

The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mr. Anthony Rota):  
    Order, please. Resuming debate, the hon. member for Essex.
    Before the hon. member starts, I want to compliment the room tonight. This could be a very emotional topic and everyone has been very respectful. We often hear the Speaker talk about when things go bad. However, things are going very well. Thank you.
    The hon. member for Essex.
Ms. Tracey Ramsey (Essex, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, thank you for that wonderful compliment to the House this afternoon.
    I rise today to speak to Bill C-13, an act to amend the Food and Drugs Act, the Hazardous Products Act, the Radiation Emitting Devices Act, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, the Pest Control Products Act, and the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act.
    As we know, the legislation before us today would enable Canada to implement the World Trade Organization's agreement on trade facilitation, the TFA.
    Bill C-13 will bring various acts it seeks to amend into conformity with Canada's obligations under the TFA. There are about 71 clauses to this bill, not including related and coordinating amendments. It will be important to carefully look at each clause. However, I will not focus my remarks today on attempting to provide a detailed clause-by-clause analysis.
    I would like to thank the department officials for providing me with a helpful briefing on the bill.
    I would like to discuss more broadly what a trade facilitation agreement is, how it will impact global trade, and it what it means for Canada.
    The TFA is the first multilateral agreement concluded since the creation of the WTO in 1994. It emerged from the WTO Bali ministerial conference in 2013, and it was a priority for developed countries. It aims to liberalize trade by harmonizing customs and border procedures among all 162 WTO member states. This could lower trade costs and boost trade. It makes sense that developed countries would want to see greater trade facilitation as it could provide greater opportunities for our companies to do business abroad.
    Developed countries, such as Canada, are already in vast compliance with the measures proposed in the TFA. We have modernized customs and border procedures with a highly skilled and professional workforce at the Canada Border Services Agency.
    On the other hand, developing countries may require a lot more changes to both their legislation and practices in order to implement the TFA. These costs are difficult to estimate. It is important to acknowledge that TFA implementation could divert resources and energies away from other development priorities.
    The TFA has two main sections. Section I is about how the TFA will expedite the movement, release, and clearance of goods in transit. Section II sets out how developing and least developed countries will implement the TFA. It stipulates that they should receive assistance and support for capacity-building. I wonder what this would mean in practical terms, and I would like to hear more from the government on what mechanisms will be in place and what role Canada may play in this.
    Overall, Canada should support the promotion of a more level playing field at the WTO that encourages sustainable, inclusive development.
    There are two specific articles in the TFA that Bill C-13 addresses, Article 10.8.1 on rejected goods and Article 11.8 on goods and transit.
    On rejected goods, TFA Article 10.8.1 requires that a country must allow importers to return to exporters goods rejected when they do not meet prescribed sanitary, phytosanitary, or technical regulations. A set of criteria outlines how these rejected goods should be dealt with. They can be returned, reconsigned, or handled in other ways, for example through seizure, detainment, forfeiture, or disposal.
    Five of the six acts being amended by Bill C-13 are in relation to the issue of rejected goods and how Canada deals with them. Bill C-13 would give Canada the authority to take action on non-compliant goods and avoid having to maintain indefinite care and control of non-compliant goods.
    In the bill we see some examples of what these goods could be, such as products with improper labelling or products that may contain certain hazardous materials. In some cases, if attempts to locate the rejected goods' owner are unsuccessful, the WTO member may now have the option to destroy the rejected goods.
    The second TFA provision addressed by Bill C-13 is article 11.8, which states:
     Members shall not apply technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures within the meaning of the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade to goods in transit.
    In order to comply with article 11.8, four federal acts require amendments, as follows: the Food and Drugs Act, the Pest Control Products Act, the Radiation Emitting Devices Act, and the Canadian Environmental Protection Act of 1999.
    Currently, certain Health Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada statutes prohibit the transit through Canada of goods that do not comply with Canadian technical regulations. This restricts food, drugs, cosmetics, or devices that are not compliant with Canadian regulations from passing through our borders.

  (1725)  

    Bill C-13 would create the legal authority to allow Canada to exempt goods in transit from the technical regulations outlined in these four acts. I would like to see some close study of these amendments at committee stage and look at some examples of what could be allowed to transit through Canada under these new provisions.
    For some statutes under the administration of Health Canada, Bill C-13 would impose conditions that identify goods in transit that may not comply with Canadian technical regulations, so that in case these goods are diverted into the Canadian market, we know what they are.
    Conditions would also be imposed under Bill C-13 that would provide oversight on products, such as certain pesticides and pharmaceutical drugs, not captured under the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act of 1992, which are currently not permitted to transit through Canada but will be once this TFA is implemented.
    The government asserts that this oversight maintains safeguards that protect the environment, health, and safety of persons who may come into contact with such goods. I am interested to hear more from witnesses at committee to ensure that this is the case, as the health and safety of workers is of paramount concern, as is the protection of our environment.
    On the surface, many of the changes we see in Bill C-13 are seemingly minor, but we need to hear from experts in order to fully understand that this is the case.
    For example, Bill C-13 would make changes to the product safety information section of the Pest Control Products Act, section 8.3. While much of the language remains the same, it deletes specific reference to a requirement to provide material safety data sheets, or MSDS. I wonder why this is the case, as we all know the importance of MSDS for workers who handle potentially hazardous products.
    I talked about the TFA and its specific articles, and now I would like to discuss the potential benefits of the TFA to Canadian exporters.
    We often see in trade agreements the tendency to overstate the potential benefits and understate the potential costs. We certainly see that with the trans-Pacific partnership. Initially, the previous Conservative government touted the benefits of the TPP. However, when we look at the studies conducted so far in this agreement, we see a different story.
    On the one hand, we have a study by the Peterson Institute, which predicts a 1.3% rise in the real income of Canadians, but this is only a modest increase, and we have to question some of its assumptions, such as the assumption that we have full employment. In contrast, several have predicted negative or negligible impacts.
    The independent study by the researchers at Tufts University actually criticizes other studies for using unrealistic assumptions in their TPP analysis. The Tufts study predicts that Canada will lose 58,000 jobs by joining the TPP. Negligible GDP growth for Canada is also reported in this study, and the same is true for the results produced by the World Bank, and the C.D. Howe Institute.
    There are many reports, some suggesting gains and some suggesting losses; however, none of these reports are replacements for a full economic impact analysis that we are still waiting on the minister to provide.
    At trade committee this week, we again heard calls for an impact study, and first nations groups also called for a human rights impact assessment. The government needs to provide this analysis to Canadians and their elected representatives so that we can get a better understanding of the potential benefits and costs of the TPP.
    In the same vein, I wonder if the government has done any modelling or deep analysis of the trade facilitation agreement. Therefore, I approached the WTO numbers on the potential gains of the TFA with some caution, but let us talk about them—
The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes):  
    I am sorry that I have to interrupt. It is time for private members' business.
    The member will have 11 minutes the next time this matter is before the House.

Private Members’ Business

[Private Members’ Business]

  (1730)  

[English]

National Anthem Act

     The House resumed from June 10 consideration of the motion that Bill C-210, An Act to amend the National Anthem Act (gender), be read the third time and passed.
The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes):  
    It being 5:30 p.m., the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at third reading stage of Bill C-210 under private members' business.
    Call in the members.

  (1810)  

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

(Division No. 100)

YEAS

Members

Aldag
Alghabra
Alleslev
Amos
Anandasangaree
Arseneault
Arya
Ashton
Aubin
Ayoub
Badawey
Bagnell
Bains
Baylis
Beech
Bélanger
Bennett
Benson
Bergen
Bibeau
Bittle
Blaney (North Island—Powell River)
Boissonnault
Bossio
Boucher
Boulerice
Boutin-Sweet
Bratina
Breton
Brison
Brosseau
Caesar-Chavannes
Cannings
Caron
Carr
Casey (Cumberland—Colchester)
Casey (Charlottetown)
Chagger
Champagne
Chan
Chen
Chong
Choquette
Christopherson
Clarke
Cormier
Cullen
Cuzner
Dabrusin
Damoff
Davies
DeCourcey
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Di Iorio
Dion
Donnelly
Drouin
Dubé
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Duncan (Edmonton Strathcona)
Dusseault
Duvall
Dzerowicz
Easter
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Erskine-Smith
Eyking
Eyolfson
Fergus
Finnigan
Fisher
Foote
Fragiskatos
Fraser (West Nova)
Fraser (Central Nova)
Fry
Fuhr
Garneau
Garrison
Généreux
Goldsmith-Jones
Goodale
Gould
Graham
Grewal
Hajdu
Hardcastle
Hardie
Harvey
Hehr
Holland
Housefather
Hughes
Hussen
Hutchings
Iacono
Johns
Jolibois
Joly
Jones
Jordan
Jowhari
Julian
Kang
Kent
Khalid
Khera
Kwan
Lametti
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Lauzon (Argenteuil—La Petite-Nation)
Laverdière
LeBlanc
Lebouthillier
Lefebvre
Lemieux
Leslie
Levitt
Lightbound
Lockhart
Long
Longfield
Ludwig
MacAulay (Cardigan)
MacGregor
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
Malcolmson
Maloney
Masse (Windsor West)
Massé (Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia)
Mathyssen
May (Cambridge)
May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
McCallum
McCrimmon
McDonald
McGuinty
McKay
McKenna
McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)
McLeod (Northwest Territories)
Mendès
Mendicino
Mihychuk
Miller (Ville-Marie—Le Sud-Ouest—Île-des-Soeurs)
Monsef
Moore
Morneau
Morrissey
Murray
Nantel
Nassif
Nault
Obhrai
O'Connell
Oliphant
Oliver
O'Regan
Ouellette
Paradis
Paul-Hus
Peschisolido
Peterson
Petitpas Taylor
Picard
Poissant
Quach
Qualtrough
Raitt
Ramsey
Rankin
Ratansi
Rempel
Rioux
Ritz
Robillard
Rodriguez
Romanado
Rota
Rudd
Ruimy
Rusnak
Sahota
Saini
Sajjan
Samson
Sangha
Sansoucy
Sarai
Scarpaleggia
Schiefke
Schulte
Serré
Sgro
Shanahan
Sheehan
Sidhu (Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Sikand
Sohi
Sorbara
Spengemann
Stetski
Stewart
Tabbara
Tan
Tassi
Trudel
Vandal
Vandenbeld
Vaughan
Virani
Weir
Whalen
Wilkinson
Wilson-Raybould
Wrzesnewskyj
Young
Zahid

Total: -- 225

NAYS

Members

Aboultaif
Albas
Albrecht
Allison
Anderson
Arnold
Barlow
Bernier
Berthold
Bezan
Blaney (Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis)
Block
Brassard
Brown
Calkins
Carrie
Cooper
Deltell
Diotte
Dreeshen
Eglinski
Falk
Fast
Gallant
Genuis
Gladu
Godin
Gourde
Harder
Hoback
Jeneroux
Kelly
Kenney
Kitchen
Kmiec
Lake
Lauzon (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Lebel
Liepert
Lobb
Lukiwski
MacKenzie
McLeod (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo)
Miller (Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound)
Nater
Nicholson
Nuttall
O'Toole
Poilievre
Rayes
Reid
Richards
Saroya
Scheer
Schmale
Shields
Shipley
Sopuck
Sorenson
Stanton
Strahl
Stubbs
Sweet
Trost
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vecchio
Viersen
Wagantall
Warawa
Warkentin
Webber
Yurdiga
Zimmer

Total: -- 74

PAIRED

Nil

The Speaker:  
    I declare the motion carried.

     (Bill read the third time and passed)

    [Members sang the national anthem]

Canadian Organ Donor Registry Act

    The House resumed from June 13 consideration of the motion that Bill C-223, An Act to establish the Canadian Organ Donor Registry and to coordinate and promote organ donation throughout Canada, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
The Speaker:  
    The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at second reading stage of Bill C-223.

  (1820)  

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

(Division No. 101)

YEAS

Members

Aboultaif
Albas
Albrecht
Allison
Anderson
Arnold
Ashton
Aubin
Barlow
Benson
Bergen
Bernier
Berthold
Bezan
Blaney (North Island—Powell River)
Blaney (Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis)
Block
Boucher
Boulerice
Boutin-Sweet
Brassard
Brosseau
Brown
Calkins
Cannings
Caron
Carrie
Casey (Cumberland—Colchester)
Chong
Choquette
Christopherson
Clarke
Cooper
Cullen
Damoff
Davies
Deltell
Diotte
Donnelly
Dreeshen
Dubé
Duncan (Edmonton Strathcona)
Dusseault
Duvall
Eglinski
El-Khoury
Erskine-Smith
Falk
Fast
Gallant
Généreux
Genuis
Gladu
Godin
Gourde
Hardcastle
Harder
Hardie
Hoback
Hughes
Jeneroux
Johns
Jolibois
Julian
Kelly
Kenney
Kent
Kitchen
Kmiec
Kwan
Lake
Lauzon (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Laverdière
Lebel
Liepert
Lobb
Lukiwski
MacGregor
MacKenzie
Malcolmson
Masse (Windsor West)
Mathyssen
May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
McLeod (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo)
Miller (Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound)
Moore
Nantel
Nater
Nicholson
Nuttall
Obhrai
O'Toole
Paul-Hus
Poilievre
Quach
Raitt
Ramsey
Rankin
Rayes
Reid
Rempel
Richards
Ritz
Sansoucy
Saroya
Scheer
Schmale
Schulte
Shields
Shipley
Sopuck
Sorenson
Stanton
Stetski
Stewart
Strahl
Stubbs
Sweet
Trost
Trudel
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vecchio
Viersen
Wagantall
Warawa
Warkentin
Webber
Weir
Yurdiga
Zimmer

Total: -- 131

NAYS

Members

Aldag
Alghabra
Alleslev
Amos
Anandasangaree
Arseneault
Arya
Ayoub
Badawey
Bagnell
Bains
Barsalou-Duval
Baylis
Beaulieu
Beech
Bennett
Bibeau
Bittle
Boissonnault
Bossio
Boudrias
Bratina
Breton
Brison
Caesar-Chavannes
Carr
Casey (Charlottetown)
Chagger
Champagne
Chan
Chen
Cormier
Cuzner
Dabrusin
DeCourcey
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Di Iorio
Dion
Drouin
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Dzerowicz
Easter
Ehsassi
Eyking
Eyolfson
Finnigan
Fisher
Foote
Fortin
Fragiskatos
Fraser (West Nova)
Fraser (Central Nova)
Fry
Fuhr
Garneau
Goldsmith-Jones
Goodale
Gould
Graham
Grewal
Hajdu
Harvey
Hehr
Holland
Housefather
Hussen
Hutchings
Iacono
Joly
Jones
Jordan
Jowhari
Kang
Khalid
Khera
Lametti
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Lauzon (Argenteuil—La Petite-Nation)
LeBlanc
Lebouthillier
Lefebvre
Leslie
Levitt
Lightbound
Lockhart
Long
Longfield
Ludwig
MacAulay (Cardigan)
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
Maloney
Marcil
Massé (Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia)
May (Cambridge)
McCallum
McCrimmon
McDonald
McGuinty
McKay
McKenna
McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)
McLeod (Northwest Territories)
Mendès
Mendicino
Mihychuk
Miller (Ville-Marie—Le Sud-Ouest—Île-des-Soeurs)
Monsef
Morneau
Morrissey
Murray
Nassif
Nault
O'Connell
Oliphant
Oliver
O'Regan
Ouellette
Paradis
Pauzé
Peschisolido
Peterson
Petitpas Taylor
Picard
Poissant
Qualtrough
Ratansi
Rioux
Robillard
Rodriguez
Romanado
Rota
Rudd
Ruimy
Rusnak
Saini
Sajjan
Samson
Sangha
Sarai
Scarpaleggia
Schiefke
Serré
Sgro
Shanahan
Sheehan
Sidhu (Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Sikand
Sohi
Sorbara
Spengemann
Ste-Marie
Tabbara
Tan
Tassi
Thériault
Vandal
Vandenbeld
Vaughan
Virani
Whalen
Wilkinson
Wilson-Raybould
Wrzesnewskyj
Young
Zahid

Total: -- 171

PAIRED

Nil

The Speaker:  
    I declare the motion defeated.
    It being 6:22 p.m., the House will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business as listed on today's Order Paper.

  (1825)  

Taxpayer Bill of Rights

    The House resumed from April 18 consideration of the motion.
Mrs. Karen Vecchio (Elgin—Middlesex—London, CPC):  
    Madam Speaker, I am honoured to speak tonight on Motion No. 43 put forward by my colleague, which instructs the finance committee to study and report on the means of creating an enforceable duty of care.
    I feel that when I come to this chamber, I come with years of experience of working with constituents who have dealt with Canada Revenue Agency issues. That is what I would like to speak to this evening, as well as sharing some of my constituents' issues and some of the settlements we have gone through in the past.
    I know that the previous speakers who spoke in the first hour of this debate have discussed the motion, including files such as Irv Leroux and constituents from their own ridings. This evening, I would like to share some of the situations that occurred in my years as a constituency assistant, over the last 11 years.
    When we are working as constituency assistants, we work with so many different people. Many people come in with issues, whether it is their passport, Service Canada, or not receiving their old age security, but one of the biggest files that we worked on in Elgin—Middlesex—London had to do with Revenue Canada. It is very difficult for some people to deal with the Canada Revenue Agency.
    With the motion that our colleague has put forward, I believe it is very important to understand that there is a service of care and a duty of care that is necessary for the constituents. As a constituency assistant and through members of Parliament offices, we have worked many times on a variety of reviews, whether it is a review of business tax, marital status, child tax benefits, or just a regular income tax return, which can be looked at individually for up to 10 years.
    I want to share a couple of particular cases that I had. One started with a good friend of mine who was a chartered accountant. First of all, this gentleman's name is Bill Graham and he has the biggest heart of gold. When one of his clients, who was a retired farmer, came to him with a $1-million debt owed to Revenue Canada, he decided it to do it pro bono. Within a few months, he asked me if I would join his team to see if we could get any movement on the Canada Revenue Agency file.
    This gentleman, who was aging, had a wife who had over the previous two years become blind. Their son and a nephew had also passed away. He, himself, had many failing health issues. Due to some arbitrary audits that were done on his farm, it was found that he owed a $1 million.
    I recognize that a lot of times when arbitrary audits happen to people through Canada Revenue Agency, it is because people have not provided some information or put forward some of the requests, whether it is a tax return that is necessary, such as a T2, or a corporate income tax return, or whether it was just their personal income taxes.
    He was not able or capable of doing so at the time, so an arbitrary assessment had occurred. This is a gentleman who, right now, if we are talking about his income, probably brings in $25,000 to $30,000 a year. At one time, it was a very successful farm, but that was back in the eighties and nineties. Unfortunately, the situation had changed for him, and because of his deteriorating health and that of his wife, he no longer ran a very lucrative farm.
    After this, he had gone to Bill Graham, as I said. This arbitrary assessment was done and he owed over $1 million. Unfortunately, he had tried many times to speak to them, show them the information, show medical notes and a variety of different things, but none of that stuff convinced Revenue Canada to change the decision.
    Unfortunately, that is when our office had to get involved. That was when I was working for member of Parliament, Joe Preston. I sent in all of the information, as well as referring back to the taxpayer bill of rights.
    I realize the taxpayer bill of rights is truly that; it is sort of like the 10 commandments. It is something that people should live by, but it seems not to be as enforceable as necessary. That is why when we have a motion like Motion No. 43 come through, I fully support that.
    In a situation like this, a man who already had deteriorating health was told he owed $1 million. They were putting a lien on his farm. They then started taking all of his old age security that he would receive and withholding that. Any government funds that were being sent to him were being held back. We took a family that was going through a horrible time in the first place, and the Government of Canada, through the Canada Revenue Agency, just made it worse for this poor gentleman and his family.

  (1830)  

    I am very proud to say that after a number of months' work and many phone calls and all the documentation we sent in, the direction of this file did turn around, and he fortunately did receive the audit back indicating he owed about $10,000 in taxes, not $1 million. Can members imagine, when a person is going through the worst time in his life and receives a bill in the mail for over $1 million in back taxes? Those are the sort of things for which this motion is necessary.
    As I was discussing earlier, I spoke to my assistant in St. Thomas. Her name is Kaylie. As I said, we have a very busy constituency office. We were told that ours is one of the busiest in the southwestern Ontario area. We have a person who just deals with our Revenue Canada cases. We deal with about 15 new cases per day, and it is not just changing of addresses. A lot of times, it is dealing with marital status reviews and a variety of things. I said to Kaylie that I needed to know what has happened this week. It is really unfortunate when my assistant can pull from her memory bank something that just happened yesterday because it is that common that we are finding these issues.
    I want to share an email that Kaylie sent me today when I asked her to share with me one simple situation. She shared this with me:
    A constituent came in the office and had to provide proof of her marital status (her husband was living in the US) so she had to provide proof that the children were living with her and her marital status was single. She provided all the necessary documentation and received back payment for the months of CCTB that she missed. 2 months later, she came into the office with a letter from CRA indicating that she has been selected for a random review to provide proof that she is the primary caregiver for her children.
    CRA would not accept the documentation that they had received previously. We have a situation here where a single mother is going through a review, which is very common. It is important to have reviews; fraud happens in the Canada Revenue Agency. However, we are looking at one simple case where the woman had already proven that she had primary care of her children. The next thing we knew, a random review occurred. Random reviews occur where the agency is just doing an arbitrary review of somebody. Once again, the woman needed to submit all documentation proving that she was a primary caregiver, that her children were in school, and a variety of things. At that time, her child tax benefit and any benefits that came from the Canada Revenue Agency such as the Ontario trillium benefit and the GST benefit for families all ceased. The woman was advised that she could not provide the same information that she had provided two months previous, which makes it extremely difficult for families. Luckily, the successful and very good staff that I have, who know they have to go after everything, are working on this.
    Imagine people living in a community who do not know to go to their member of Parliament and who have other troubles. Unfortunately, many people walk into our office with a brown envelope. When they see that it is from the Canada Revenue Agency, due to the issues that have happened to them in the past, they bring their unopened mail to us. This is, unfortunately, not uncommon. We have many people who show up and say they are scared to open a letter.
    I have dealt with many cases where we see families for months and months who have had their child tax benefit cut off and who owe enormous amounts of money because of past debts. A lot of times it might be something as simple as a T slip that was duplicated and the Canada Revenue Agency thought the people had received more money than they actually did. Sometimes it is about proving that someone stole their social insurance number. That too has happened. We have a case of fraud. I understand, when we are dealing with these things, that it is very important that we recognize that fraud occurs.
    In this motion, the member has asked that there be a duty of care. We recognize that the civil term, which I would call customer service of the Government of Canada, needs to be used in situations like this. We are in some cases removing food from people's table, making it so they cannot pay rent, and a variety of different things; and it is because there has either been an error by the agent, or an audit that did not look at all of the correct information.
    I fully support this motion. I hope that everyone in this chamber will also support this motion because it is a right step forward for Canadians. We must continue to protect Canadians and do what is best for them.

  (1835)  

Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.):  
    Madam Speaker, it is with pleasure that I rise to address the motion before us today.
    I listened to the member across the way. She talked about the whole issue of taxpayers' rights and tries to give the impression that the Conservatives are now the great defenders of taxpayers' rights. They say the proof is in the pudding. At the end of the day, they had 10 years to work on some of the initiatives the member is talking about. Obviously, they failed to accomplish that.
    We have an opposition now that wants to come across as the great defenders of a number of issues. When they had the opportunity to address the issue, what did they actually accomplish? Many of the constituents I represent would say, in a couple of words, not much, because when the Conservatives had the reins of power, when they could have implemented some of the things that are being mentioned in this particular motion, they did not do it.
    There is a good reason why they did not do it. I would suggest the minister responsible for Canada Revenue probably sat down with the caucus back then and explained that it really was not necessary. Some of the actions the motion is talking about do not really make too much sense.
    I would like to go through it and maybe suggest to members that there are a number of issues that I would ultimately argue with which Canadians are very much in tune, and understandably so. Taxation, Canada Revenue Agency, everyone is concerned about that because we all contribute to taxes, we all have a vested interest in what is taking place there.
    For many years I have advocated that what we want is a consumer-friendly type of Canada Revenue Agency. One that would have the outreach necessary and people could make a live connection whenever possible in a timely fashion, not only for people who pay taxes, consumers, but also for small businesses.
    I suggest there are wonderful opportunities. That is why I was actually quite pleased that in the 2016 budget we proposed to invest $185.6 million in the CRA to address the government's commitment to service excellence through a number of initiatives, particularly for telephone service and correspondence.
    Let me suggest that is quite different from what we saw in the former government. The former government was more preoccupied with cutting back than they were in reinforcing with resources that are necessary to meet some basic standards of service delivery.
    Over the last number of years I have had the good fortune to talk to many members of Canada's civil service. I would ultimately argue that our civil service is second to no other in the world. In fact, we get civil service agencies from around the world coming to Canada to learn how we administer the types of programs we do, including the Canada Revenue Agency. Other countries recognize the high quality of our civil service and its professional manner and they are looking at ways to duplicate it.

  (1840)  

    I suspect Liberal caucus members, at the very least, will be unanimous in recognizing the level of expertise our civil service brings to the table day in and day out. We take this very seriously.
    Getting back to the motion before us today, the Conservatives want to coin the phrase “taxpayer bill of rights” so it fits nicely in their press conferences or press releases, maybe their ten percenters, or mailers, and so forth. As they comment on those sorts of titles, they should also reference the fantastic work our civil service does for all Canadians.
    Let me highlight why I believe this is not a bill members should support.
     The Taxpayers' Ombudsman reports directly to the Minister of National Revenue and is neither an advocate for taxpayers nor a defender of the CRA. Empowering the ombudsman to order redress is inconsistent with other ombudsmen officers appointed by Parliament who have no such authority.
    I can understand why the official opposition is trying to promote this, but I do not believe it is in our best interests. There are many other things we can do that will achieve what this motion has proposed to achieve in different ways. I do not think we can justify giving this ombudsman a unique characteristic, given that a mechanism already exists.
     The creation of an enforceable duty of care would be redundant and would provide no more force than what currently exists today. The taxpayer bill of rights contains a mix of legislative rights and non-legislative service rights. It is difficult to support this motion. We need to recognize that it would limit the minister's ability to deliver on her mandate to improve the CRA's service.
    Ultimately, the motion would force the agency to implement a series of very costly measures that would have no concrete impact on the improvement of services or ensure higher quality. To me, that speaks volumes. With scarce resources, there are many things we could do, some of which we have already taken action on in budget 2016.
    I referenced the millions of dollars dedicated to improve the quality of service. The millions of dollars I have not referenced, about which Canadians are also concerned, are the dollars of people who are looking for the back door and avoiding paying taxes.
     There is no shortage of ideas for ways we could improve the Canada Revenue Agency and the types of services it could provide. If we can reinforce what has been very successful in providing better quality service, those are the things we should be aggressively pursuing.
    The constituents who I represent want to feel comfortable that they can make the connection. The best way to make that connection is by looking at what we have done in the budget and allocate serious resources that will better enable our civil service to deliver the types of services they, too, want to deliver.

  (1845)  

[Translation]

Ms. Brigitte Sansoucy (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, NDP):  
    Madam Speaker, every time I rise in the House, I am always thinking about representing the people in my riding of Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot and doing a good job of defending their interests.
    I decided to run for office in order to improve the day-to-day lives of my constituents and to stand up for their rights.
    In the case of the motion before the House today, I unfortunately do not believe that it would truly defend the interests of Canadians. I am not saying that the member did not have their interests at heart or that he did not intend to defend them. However, the proposed motion misses the mark.
    I will explain why, in my opinion, Motion No. 43 must be rejected. First, the motion debated would not require the Canada Revenue Agency to provide better service. On the contrary, it would fuel poor relations between agency employees and the public.
    The public currently has mechanisms it can use to deal with grievances or to complain about service. When dissatisfied, the public can file a complaint through the CRA complaint resolution process or with the Office of the Taxpayers' Ombudsman.
    I will get back to the Office of the Taxpayers' Ombudsman, but I want to talk more about the changes proposed in the motion and about why we should reject it.
    Under the motion's proposed changes to articles 4, 8, and 9 of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, public servants would face potential legal action regarding the services they provide to the public; the changes would also promote an unhealthy climate at the agency.
    This motion would amend the articles of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, so that if a Canadian found that the agency had failed to adhere to one of its 16 principles, the taxpayer could take the agency to court. If this motion were to pass, agents could become potential targets. They would be exposed to countless legal proceedings.
    The Taxpayer Bill of Rights sets out 16 rights, and it is based on the values of the agency, which are professionalism, respect, integrity, and collaboration. It sets out how Canadians have the right to be treated and sets out what they have the right to expect from the agency.
    I have had to deal with the CRA, as have the staff in my riding office who help constituents resolve problems at the federal level every day. We are therefore well aware that the agency always keeps in mind the high standards of accuracy, professionalism, courtesy, and fairness when serving the public.
    When a person thinks that one or more of his or her rights have been violated or is dissatisfied with the service received from the CRA, that person is invited to file a service-related complaint as part of the CRA's complaint resolution process. If still not satisfied once the complaint has been investigated, that person can contact the taxpayers' ombudsman and ask her to review the complaint. There are already mechanisms in place and they work.
    I promised to come back to the Office of the Taxpayers' Ombudsman. When I read Motion No. 43, I was surprised to see that the Conservatives want to change the powers and mandate of the Office of the Taxpayers' Ombudsman. I want to remind the House that that position was created by the Conservatives in 2007.
    Need I remind members that the Conservatives were in office in 2007? They therefore had the means, the authority, and countless opportunities to make any changes they thought were necessary. Now, all of a sudden, the Conservatives have had an epiphany and want to protect taxpayers. Why now, almost 10 years later?
    In 2007, the Conservatives therefore created the position of a taxpayers' ombudsman, who is supposed defend the interests of Canadians, but they failed to give the position all the tools needed to do so. Now that they are no longer in power, suddenly they want to give the ombudsman the tools she needs to do her job. If they truly cared about standing up for Canadians, they could have given the Office of the Taxpayers' Ombudsman all the necessary tools any number of times.
    Unfortunately, the Conservatives were always attacking our officials and our public services. By bringing forward the motion, they are trying to cast doubt on the quality and integrity of the services our public servants provide to Canadians. I find that completely unacceptable.
    I for one am extremely proud of and grateful for the work our public servants do. In fact, I would like to say thank you to them.
    As an aside, this week happens to be National Public Service Week, from June 12 to 18.

  (1850)  

    I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their work and their dedication. Every day, our public servants from coast to coast do high-quality work that reflects their professionalism, and we thank them sincerely. The problem is not the quality of the service that public servants are providing, but rather the resources they have to provide those services.
    The ombudsman's powers are limited to evaluating service delivery. The ombudsman is explicitly forbidden from reviewing the administration or enforcement of program legislation, other than to the extent that the legislation or policy relates to service matters.
     The ombudsman is not on the taxpayer's side or on the agency's. The ombudsman's mandate is to provide an impartial review of unresolved complaints from taxpayers about service. The ombudsman reviews service-related complaints to determine whether taxpayers received accurate, clear, and complete information. The ombudsman reviews the matter and recommends corrective measures if necessary.
    This approach makes it possible for individuals to avoid an endless, complex, and very costly process. This fair and efficient system ensures the same rights for all Canadians, not just those with the means to take matters to court.
    The NDP believes that it is possible to improve the services that the Canada Revenue Agency provides to Canadians. To do so, we believe that the government must provide more resources to the agency so it can provide better services to the public and ensure the accuracy of the information it shares with all Canadians.
    We encourage the government to make the necessary investments and we are prepared to work with the government to find potential solutions in order to improve services for all our constituents.
    The government should provide more resources to the Canada Revenue Agency so it can improve its services and be as fair as possible. The NDP has always fought for high-quality, accessible service for all. The Canada Revenue Agency still has a lot of work to do in that regard. We encourage the government to make the necessary investment.

[English]

Mr. David Sweet (Flamborough—Glanbrook, CPC):  
    Madam Speaker, it is always an honour and a privilege to speak in the chamber. I would like to thank my colleague, the member for Calgary Rocky Ridge for the motion. I believe my colleague tabled the motion with the best of intentions and great practicality.
    I would like to say up front that I am profoundly disappointed by the tone of the last two speeches that were partisan in nature rather than realistic about what actually happens in our constituency offices. All the members in the House, once they have had just a few months of experience, know, although there might be some differences, that one of the number one areas that all of us deal with are constituents who have concerns with the Canada Revenue Agency. Those concerns end up being very emotional for them. It is very emotional for anyone whenever there are concerns with their bank account and their pocketbook. The member for Calgary Rocky Ridge is simply trying to do the best he can in a motion to the finance committee to ensure that some of those concerns are addressed.
    In the multitude of concerns that come into our constituency offices, fortunately, with a couple of phone calls, sometimes with faxes, these situations can be cleared up. We actually have to use a fax machine in order to communicate with Canada Revenue Agency. My colleague over here seems to think we cannot have any improvements. We are still using a fax machine to communicate with the Canada Revenue Agency, so there are some improvements we could make. Fortunately, most of the time, with a couple of faxes and some phone calls, most of the situations are cleared up.
    However, as the hon. member for Calgary Rocky Ridge illustrated so well on April 18 with the stories of Irv from British Columbia, Doug from Alberta, and Janet from Ontario, there are times when the Canada Revenue Agency has wronged Canadians and stubbornly refuses to correct its errors. Even worse, it causes significant financial and emotional strain on Canadian taxpayers. It is true it does not happen often, but when we look at the details and circumstances of the stories illustrated by Irv, Doug, and Janet, our goal should be that it should never happen. This is why we have a taxpayers' ombudsman and a taxpayers' bill of rights. On that we can all agree, and for good reasons.
    What Motion No. 43 is seeking to do is simply ask the Standing Committee on Finance to study ways to establish an enforceable duty of care from CRA to all Canadians by taking five very reasonable steps. One would think that is fair enough.
    As Canada Day approaches, we know Canadians are mindful that we are all indeed very blessed and fortunate to live in this great land. It is a privilege that was hard won by the courageous young women and men who defended our values in two world wars, Korea, Afghanistan, and many peacekeeping missions. It is a privilege that continues to be earned today by our women and men in uniform.
    With the privilege of citizenship comes the duty to pay taxes so that our society can function in the caring, compassionate way we all want it to function. I do not believe Canadians object to paying taxes when they believe they are fair and instituted democratically and when governments of any level respect the hard work that provided those tax dollars, and spend the money wisely according to that respect.
     Fair is fair. Canadians are known around the world for fairness and compassion. That is why I take exception, along with my colleagues, to the comments made by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue in debate of this motion on April 18. The parliamentary secretary noted the $185-million investment in telephone technology and easier-to-understand correspondence at CRA. We accept that as good, but we do not accept that as enough. Those are well-meaning and reasonable improvements, but they are not mutually exclusive with exploring ways the taxpayers' bill of rights can be enhanced with an enforceable duty of care.
    Further, the parliamentary secretary levelled a familiar accusation our way, stating that the Conservatives are smearing public servants again. We heard that here again tonight. Well, that is just a bunch of balderdash. The vast majority of our federal officials are dedicated to serving Canadians. I have mentioned this on innumerable occasions, and so have my colleagues. We have also said all along that the vast majority of Canadians file and dutifully pay their taxes without incident. However, that does not preclude a study of continuous improvement. That is all we are asking for here. That is not anti-public servant. That is pro-taxpayer. Perhaps most arrogantly, he said this is a solution in search of a problem that does not exist.

  (1855)  

    Well, I think he needs to visit some of our offices more often. Canadian taxpayers who have survived ordeals with CRA that have impacted their health, their finances, and their homes would disagree vehemently.
    I reject the notion that CRA, or any other government body, is beyond reproach, unable to make a mistake, or above the law. When someone is wronged, is it unreasonable to expect a dignified and expedient resolution? When many individual taxpayers, citizens, and permanent residents provide tens of thousands of dollars in revenue to the Government of Canada, should they not expect more?
    Let us look at what the hon. member for Calgary Rocky Ridge is asking the Standing Committee on Finance to do over the next 18 months and put it in perspective.
    All of us here have had some interaction with the health care system in Canada during the course of our lifetimes, and hopefully most here, and the majority of Canadians, have been blessed not to have had too much interaction with the system. While there are always concerns and issues, we know that the public health care system is a source of pride for Canadians.
    For the purpose of illustration, let me compare what we are asking for in this motion to a critically ill patient in a Canadian hospital asking the same of the hospital's ombudsperson.
    We are asking for an enforceable duty of care between the CRA and individual taxpayers. Most hospitals already have such a code, and certainly the professionals who run them, the doctors and nurses, absolutely do. This is very reasonable.
    We are asking for the insertion of reasonable and necessary steps to avoid vexatious, malicious, and grossly negligent actions. In health care, this is a called good bedside manner, quality administration, and avoiding malpractice. These are all good, reasonable things to do, especially when it is a matter of life and death.
    We are asking to empower the Taxpayers' Ombudsman. By comparison, in a health care setting, a patient ombudsman is automatically respected and is given the deference she or he is due. In more serious situations, where there is medical power of attorney, it is enforceable by law.
    We are asking for service matters to be dealt with in a timely manner. In medicine, time is always of the essence, and again, that is not unreasonable.
    These are just four comparisons. However, I believe that all members can see the point. This is not a solution in search of a problem, as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue so arrogantly put it. This is as reasonable a code for taxpayers as it is for patients, and we should aspire to and embrace this level of care.
    The Standing Committee on Finance would have 18 months to study best practices, consider the best approach, and consult with experts, which is entirely doable in 18 months. All we need is the political will to stand up for taxpayers.
    That is why I urge all members who believe in serving and representing their constituents who have come to see them in regard to CRA members, who believe in the best nature of Canadians who pay their taxes in support of the privilege and honour of citizenship, and who also believe in fairness for taxpayers to vote yes to this motion.
    This motion would give the Standing Committee on Finance the mandate to support good customer service and accountability. That is what we are asking for. It is a reasonable request that this motion be approved by the House so that the standing committee can do the work and make good and reasonable improvements to the Canada Revenue Agency for all Canadians.

  (1900)  

Mr. Pat Kelly (Calgary Rocky Ridge, CPC):  
    Madam Speaker, I wish to thank the member for Flamborough—Glanbrook, the member for Elgin—Middlesex—London, and the member for Calgary Shepard as well for the excellent speeches that they have delivered in support of my motion.
    Motion No. 43 sets out to protect Canadian individuals, families, and companies from rare but potentially devastating incidents of gross negligence on the part of the Canada Revenue Agency. It seeks to instruct the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance to investigate and report on the best way to implement an enforceable duty of care owed by CRA to taxpaying Canadians. The motion recognizes the vast power the CRA has over individuals, families, and businesses, and so seeks to give the latter some recourse in a case of egregious abuse by the former. This is a common sense approach to a rare but nevertheless real problem.
    Given the nature of the motion, which is only concerned with protecting Canadians from potential harm, it is disappointing that the other major parties in this Parliament appear to believe that acts of gross negligence by a powerful government agency are not a problem. They appear to consider it beneath the attention of elected representatives to ensure that honest Canadians do not lose their livelihoods, their homes, their health, and all that they have worked hard to achieve due to an egregious error by the tax collector.
    Unfortunately the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue has taken the position that the CRA complaint resolution systems are just fine as they are and that abuses are adequately addressed by existing internal mechanisms and perhaps any lingering service complaints could be just cleared up by additional money. This is both shamefully naive and completely misses the point of the motion. Motion No. 43 does not aim to replace the internal complaint and objection process. It addresses cases of gross negligence, abuse, malice, and frivolity, which the internal systems as they exist cannot handle.
    Neither I nor my motion cast aspersions on CRA's internal objection and redress mechanisms, nor do I or my motion deny the good work done by the dedicated and professional employees of the CRA. The troubleshooting team members who help with our constituents typically provide first-rate service, but even if they can help correct issues for the most part between CRA and constituents, they cannot order redress for ruined lives when cases of gross negligence occur. This happens rarely, but nevertheless it does occur.
    Along with clearer communication, the Liberals promised to make CRA more client-friendly and transparent, yet they appear opposed to a measure to keep the tax collector accountable to the taxpayer. What could be more client-friendly than enshrining in law a duty of care requiring CRA to consider Canadians' interests?
    The Liberals talk about improving the taxpaying experience but when we give them a gift-wrapped opportunity to keep their own election promise to do so, the parliamentary secretary calls it a solution in search of a problem. As much as I may approve of Liberal imposed measures to make the CRA easier to interact with, a case of gross negligence cannot be solved by making the forms easier to understand.
    Equally disappointing are the statements made by members of the NDP, who claim to be defenders of ordinary Canadians and yet can always be counted upon to put the interests of public employees ahead of the interests of members of the Canadian public.
    My colleagues on the left of these benches first tried to derail this motion on weak procedural grounds that were actually a repudiation of their parliamentary prerogatives as fellow private members. Then the member who spoke earlier, as well as the member for Jonquière who spoke in April, and shamefully also now the member for Winnipeg North, attacked the motion by mischaracterizing it as an attack on government workers when the motion is simply an accountability measure to protect Canadians.
    We were elected to the House to legislate. Are the workers in the executive branch not there to execute the laws passed by Parliament? Is it not an MP's role to set standards of behaviour for government agencies? If we do not do it, who will? That is our job. I do not know why members of the NDP and some members apparently of the Liberal Party as well want the government and its agencies to be unaccountable. Do they not understand why they are here?
    Let me conclude by mentioning that members of the House have an opportunity before them to support a motion that would ensure a powerful government agency is accountable to the individual Canadians it serves and not just to the crown. They can fulfill the aspirations contained in the taxpayers bill of rights and ensure that Canadian taxpayers can be made whole if they become victims of gross negligence.

  (1905)  

[Translation]

The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes):  
    Is the House ready for the question?
    Some hon. members: Question.
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): The question is on the motion. May I dispense with reading the motion again?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
    [Chair read text of motion to House.]
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.
    Some hon. members: Yea.
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): All those opposed will please say nay.
    Some hon. members: Nay.
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): In my opinion the nays have it.
    And five or more members having risen:
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): Pursuant to Standing Order 93, the recorded division stands deferred until Wednesday, June 22, 2016, immediately before the time provided for private members' business.

ADJOURNMENT PROCEEDINGS

[Adjournment Proceedings]
    A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

  (1910)  

[English]

Air Transportation  

Mrs. Kelly Block (Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, CPC):  
    Madam Speaker, tonight, I would like to once again call upon the government to reverse a decision it made on November 12, 2015, to overrun a city of Toronto process to determine the future of the Billy Bishop Airport.
    This issue remains relevant. The Liberals can still choose to remove their veto and allow the city of Toronto and Ports Toronto to move forward in their process to decide on the future of the island airport. I would like to take this opportunity to respond to a number of comments made by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport during a previous debate.
    She noted that reopening the act would allow any capable jet aircraft to use the airport. The member opposite should know that reopening the tripartite agreement would not allow an unlimited number of jumbo jet aircraft to land at the island airport. Reopening the agreement would have no bearing on the noise allowance at the airport, the number of daily landing slots, or the daily curfew, unless all the parties listed in the agreement chose to amend these.
    If an airline cannot operate within the city of Toronto's strict rules governing the airport, its aircraft should not be allowed to land. The parliamentary secretary also erroneously claimed that the sole reason for supporting the reopening the tripartite agreement was to benefit Bombardier.
     I support reopening the tripartite agreement for the following reasons.
     The city of Toronto should have the primary say in determining whether the airport should be allowed to expand and lift the jet ban. As a former mayor, I believe that I understood the needs and concerns of my community better than the federal government did. If the member opposite is so convinced that Toronto City Council is opposed to the airport expanding its runway and lifting the jet ban, she should have no issue with allowing it to have that vote.
    Airports help create economic and industrial hubs that create jobs and increased opportunities for local businesses and residents. That is why nearly every Canadian city is trying to bring new carriers to their airport. I am sure all of the Liberal members who regularly fly to Ottawa from downtown Toronto can vouch for the convenience of a centrally located airport that serves many destinations. Businesses take advantage of this, and that is what drives jobs and economic growth.
    I support the airport expansion because I believe our regulations should keep up with new technology. Aircraft are much quieter today than they were 30 years ago, and regulations governing airports should reflect that reality.
    The parliamentary secretary has stated on a number of occasions that she supports getting rid of the Air Canada Public Participation Act because the aerospace sector has changed and the nearly 30-year-old act is consequently out of date. She may be interested to know that the tripartite agreement is actually older than the Air Canada Public Participation Act. By her logic, the tripartite agreement should be reopened or shelved.
     In conclusion, if the parliamentary secretary is so confident that Toronto City Council supports the minister's 88-character tweet, will she allow it to determine the future of its local airport?

  (1915)  

Ms. Kate Young (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, Lib.):  
    Madam Speaker, the hon. member for Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek has asked once again why the government did not support the expansion of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.
    As has been said on several occasions already, this government had the courage to make a decision regarding Billy Bishop while the previous government did not. Further, this government believes, as has also been said before, that the current tripartite agreement strikes the right balance between commercial and community interests, including the evolution of the waterfront. With a jet capable airport close by, it still believes there was no compelling case to change the current approach.
    Repeating the rationale for the government's decision should be unnecessary. This government has considered the interests of the people who reside in the vicinity of the airport, who work in the area, and the much broader population of Toronto who come to the waterfront and the Toronto Islands for a break to enjoy themselves.
    The Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport has been doing well. It has grown remarkably in a short period of time. Porter Airlines, the primary carrier operating from that airport, has demonstrated remarkable entrepreneurial spirit, and will continue to do so. I am sure it will continue to show its initiative and determination to succeed.
    I am equally sure Bombardier will show its initiative and determination to succeed. As has been said before, the new Bombardier C Series is a remarkable aircraft. Report after report takes that view. It needs to get out into the world and show everyone its capabilities. It will soon have a chance to do just that. The C Series will be entering commercial service with Swiss Airlines in just a few months. Air Canada has announced a significant order for the C Series aircraft. These events are, we are sure, just the beginning of a bright future for that aircraft.
    That does not mean this government is going to ignore Bombardier and its employees. The government has said several times in the past that it will continue to work with Bombardier to understand its situation and future plans, and it will.
    The C Series is a great aircraft. To tie its future to a decision regarding a single airport is not only incorrect, it also shows a singular lack of imagination and initiative on the part of those making that connection.
Mrs. Kelly Block:  
    Madam Speaker, it is obvious the parliamentary secretary has been left to defend an indefensible decision made by the Minister of Transport, which was made to appeal to very few at the expense of so many.
    This brand of not in my backyard politics that the minister is leading, and his parliamentary secretary is defending, will only lead to economic stagnation within Canada.
    If the parliamentary secretary and the minister she serves are so concerned with the impact of aircraft noise on residents of Toronto, what other action will we see from the government for people who live perhaps under a 24-hour final approach path for Pearson airport?
Ms. Kate Young:  
    Madam Speaker, following the comments from the hon. member for Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, I am pleased to reiterate that on December 18, 2015, it was announced that Bombardier had received type certification of its C Series aircraft.
    Transport Canada's approval of the design, airworthiness limitations, and operating conditions of the aircraft means that Bombardier can now take the important final steps, including seeking international approvals and crew training, to deliver the C Series to its customers worldwide. I am sure this will be a key step in bringing the C Series to the broader market and increasing its use by airlines everywhere.

  (1920)  

International Trade  

Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP):  
    Madam Speaker, I am here to continue the debate on the trans-Pacific partnership that has been taking place in this chamber and across Canada thanks to the work of the member for Essex on the NDP side, who has done a terrific job on this matter in promoting the rights of Canadians.
    In this chamber, I raise the concerns with the TPP. This deal would put us again in a position of a greater trade deficit. What I mean by that is that we would venture into an agreement that would undermine the value-added goods and services that we produce in Canada for Canadians and those abroad, and would allow the shipping in of other goods and services that would be of lesser value. I will speak specifically to the auto industry in this particular case.
    In the auto industry, the deal is so bad. The United States is our trading partner with NAFTA, where we have a fully integrated auto-manufacturing system in place. For example, our neighbours and the neighbours across from us both contribute directly to the well-being of our communities. In the TPP agreement, our neighbour to the south has a 25-year exemption on auto because the deal is so bad for auto manufacturing. The United States gets 25 years to plan for this intrusion into the market.
    Those value-added jobs are very important. They are the ones that we are trying to win back because they pay pensions, they have money for families, they are growing the middle class, they have benefits, and they lead the world in work-safety regulations. What do we get? As my colleague from Hamilton has noted, the U.S. gets 25 years and we would get five years, and we have an integrated market.
    The reason I brought up the integrated market is because vehicles such as those built in Windsor go across the border, back and forth, to produce the minivan, for example, from the plant that is arguably the most successful manufacturing plant since the Second World War. It provides hundreds of millions of dollars to the coffers of this nation and also great employment for workers, money for the United Way, and more important, Canadian innovation that is also spread across other sectors because one auto job counts for about seven to nine other jobs. Those jobs are at risk.
    The U.S. gets 25 years, so where are they actually going to go for replant development? Where are they going to go to get the parts and the service and the structures? They will be enticed to go to the United States because it has 20-plus years of exemptions for exporting and importing that we will not get.
    I ask members to think about this. Malaysia got 12 years. Our government is promoting a deal where Malaysia outmanoeuvred us by ensuring that they had a better, bolder agreement of 12 years. If we were playing the Malaysians in handball, I could say they might have some competitive spirit there. However, when it comes to innovation, science, technology, and value-added jobs that have human rights, labour rights, gender rights, and most important, contribute to our economy as a whole and to our United Way organizations from coast to coast to coast, I say we defend those workers.
    These people are telling them, “Good luck, see you later”.
Mr. David Lametti (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade, Lib.):  
    Madam Speaker, it is an honour to get up in the House this evening, on the first Italian day on the Hill.
    This government recognizes the immense value and contributions of the manufacturing and high-tech industries in Canada that bring products to market, so I understand very well the hon. member's question, and I thank him for it.
    As mentioned in the House, the government supports free trade, but we are serious about wanting to consult and hear the views of Canadians and parliamentarians on the merits of the TPP and whether or not it is a good agreement for Canada, before deciding whether or not to ratify it.
    The five-year provision that the hon. member cited in the auto industry is one example of a provision that has been heavily criticized in certain quarters. There are other provisions that have been promoted in certain quarters. We need to get to the bottom of it. The government pledged to take a responsible approach to examining the details of the trans-Pacific partnership and assessing their impact, and that is precisely what we are doing.
    The Minister of International Trade has engaged in consultations across the country, as have I as parliamentary secretary, and the government has committed to bring forward the TPP to a debate and discussion here in the House to hear from all members of Parliament representing the people of Canada. The Minister of International Trade is also working closely with her colleagues whose portfolios could be affected by the TPP, and together they are engaging with Canadian stakeholders to hear what they have to say. This is a whole-of-government effort.

  (1925)  

[Translation]

    Since November, the Government of Canada has held over 250 consultation sessions with over 450 stakeholders, including all the provinces and territories, industry representatives, industry associations, civil society, think tanks, indigenous groups, academics, students, unions, and the general public.
    The government has already begun outreach efforts with regard to the trans-Pacific partnership in many Canadian cities, including Vancouver, Toronto, Guelph, Montreal, Quebec City, Edmonton, Halifax, Moncton, Charlottetown, Oakville, Windsor, Winnipeg, and Regina.
    The Minister of International Trade also held a general meeting in Montreal last week in order to find out what the public thinks about the trans-Pacific partnership. This evening, she is meeting with Torontonians on the same subject.

[English]

    In parallel, the House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade is currently studying the TPP on its own and is holding consultations with Canadians across the country as part of its outreach to Canadians. Those who have views to share are encouraged to submit written comments to the committee for its consideration.
    The government signed the TPP to ensure that Canada remains at the table and that the Government of Canada is able to continue consulting with Canadians. As the Minister of International Trade explained in her open letter to Canadians, signing the TPP was only a first step and does not equal ratification. Signing the agreement has allowed us to continue these consultations with Canadians and to hear all views before we consider whether the TPP is in Canada's best interests.

[Translation]

    This gives us the opportunity to find out what the various sectors and the general public think about the partnership.
    That is exactly why we are holding these consultations. We have heard from those who support the TPP, those who have serious concerns about it, and those who are still undecided.

[English]

    As we continue our consultations, we look forward to updating this House.
Mr. Brian Masse:  
    Madam Speaker, I thank the parliamentary secretary for mentioning Italian Day. Ironically, Italians helped build the auto industry in my community. On six blocks of Erie Street, one can find wonderful Italian cuisine, but the people are at risk of job losses due to the fact that the current government and previous governments have not supported the auto industry. There is no national program. It was the Liberals signing NAFTA that killed the Auto Pact, which helped build this country.
    It is important to note that it has not taken too long for the blue labels to be removed from the shelved speeches, which have now resurfaced with red labels. The members actually speak the line of the government versus a real debate in the House of Commons.
     The reality is that they signed this agreement and it now holds. They cannot change the agreement. Consultation, as it is called, is nothing more than basically hearing back with no input.
    I will conclude with this. The parliamentary secretary should get to the bottom of it. That is what is going to be—
The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes):  
    The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade.
Mr. David Lametti:  
    Madam Speaker, I do not share the hon. member's view about getting to the bottom of it. The fact of the matter is that we are learning a great deal about the agreement, both for and against. This was not the previous government's policy. It is our policy. It is the rational thing to do: to neither condemn the agreement without having read it nor to accept it blindly. We will make a decision that is in the best interests of all Canadians.
    The reality is that the global trade policy framework has changed since NAFTA and the WTO. There are many barriers our companies face in getting products, people, services, and even data across borders on a day-to-day basis. It is our responsibility to ensure that the right decision is made on whether it is in Canada's best interest to participate in the TPP.

  (1930)  

[Translation]

    What is more, our responsibility to Canadians centres on our commitment to be transparent and maintain an open dialogue. As members can see, a lot of work has been done and a lot remains to be done.

[English]

Indigenous Affairs 

Mrs. Cathy McLeod (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, CPC):  
    Madam Speaker, I am very glad to have the opportunity to follow up on a question that I asked with respect to the Daniels decision.
    On April 14, a very important decision was rendered by the Supreme Court of Canada. For the first time, our Métis and non-status Indians got some clarity that they had long been waiting for, that is, that they are Indians under section 91(24) of the Constitution Act. This really has significant, immediate, and important consequences. There are approximately 200,000 Métis and 400,000 non-status Indians who really have been left in limbo for a long time.
    We did note at the time that the minister said that she welcomed the decision, respected the Supreme Court, and was really glad to see that there was some important interpretation put around it.
    My concern is this. The government always likes to suggest that we are not respectful of rights, that we are indifferent, and that we are not concerned about the significant challenges our indigenous communities have over the years. There is nothing that is further from the truth. However, it is our responsibility, and the government's responsibility, to share with Canadians the consequences of many important decisions.
     I will provide a quick example. At the time I had said that because the government members knew the decision was coming down they should have been anticipating how it would end and have a plan in place: plan A if it goes in a certain direction and plan B if it goes in a different direction. Instead, they sort of acted surprised, as though they received this decision and had not contemplated anything in terms of how they were going to respond to it, other than saying they welcomed it.
    There is a simple example that was immediate. I believe it was the son of Mr. Daniels, or it might have been another person, who was interviewed at the time who said that they have an expectation that they will have the rights to the health care benefits that status Indians have. If members are not aware, those are simple things like dental and pharmaceutical coverage. That is an expectation. Therefore, we asked the government at the time if it had thought about it and whether it would be providing those kinds of supports. It responded that it welcomed the decision and that we were wrong to ask the question. It said, “Don't ask the question because that's inappropriate.” Therefore, we are trying to find out what analysis the government has done and where it will go next.
    This is not the first time that government members sort of jump in and have great glowing words but actually do not do a good job, such as when, all of a sudden a year ago in June, they said, “We are going to implement the 94 recommendations”, but did not have a plan.
     What continues to concern us is that there was this significant decision and we are now two months later. Therefore, perhaps tonight we will get a bit more detail, other than the general statements that we always get, in terms of what the government will do in response to this very important decision.
Ms. Yvonne Jones (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, Lib.):  
    Madam Speaker, I am pleased to respond to the question from the hon. member for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo.
    I want to begin with a few words about this historic ruling, acknowledging, of course, that we are gathered on traditional Algonquin territory.
    The Supreme Court of Canada has made a landmark decision on a very important issue for Métis people, for non-status Indians, and for this country. Close to 32% of indigenous peoples in Canada self-identify as Métis people, representing communities in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia. Non-status Indians represent over 200,000 people in this country.¸
    In every case, they deserve clarity and our partnership, not the jurisdictional tug-of-war that they have experienced for far too long in Canada. That is why I want to thank the Supreme Court for bringing the much needed and long-awaited clarity to this important issue.
    The Government of Canada welcomes and will respect the decision. We are committed to working in partnership with all indigenous peoples impacted by the decision, along with other partners to ensure that we are following the court's direction in implementing this judgment.
    As with any historic ruling, the government and all those impacted must take the time to review the decision carefully. It is premature to assign costs and timelines to this important issue at this juncture.
    Following court direction and ensuring careful review is paramount, and making progress will require co-operation and genuine partnership in order to advance this important dialogue and map the way forward together.
    Indeed, the government has already been working on renewing the relationship with the Métis and non-status Indians. Métis National Council President Chartier said that the new government had already recognized the Métis nation and was prepared to deal with it on a nation-to-nation basis.
    Dwight Dorey, the National Chief of Indigenous Peoples Assembly of Canada said that the ruling was a historical recognition that had been long overdue.
    We will work with all partners to advance reconciliation and renew the relationship based on co-operation, respect for rights, our international obligations, and a commitment to end the status quo.
    I look forward to having the support of all colleagues and to working closely with the minister over the next while to ensure that this is done. This is our promise. This is what we intend to do.

  (1935)  

Mrs. Cathy McLeod:  
    Again, Madam Speaker, this is a decision that has been coming for a long time. It came down about two months ago. We are no further ahead in understanding than we were two months ago in terms of the response to a very important specific decision.
    Regarding medical benefits, are they in or are they out? Natural resource projects are very complicated already and we are again no clearer in terms of how we will integrate the Métis and non-status into the decisions around natural resource projects.
    The Liberals are very quick to come forward in terms of accepting, for example, the 94 calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, but they are very slow in terms of what they are doing with the Daniels decision, and more importantly, showing it both to the Métis and non-status Indians, and to all Canadians.
Ms. Yvonne Jones:  
    Madam Speaker, our government's over-arching commitment is to renew the relationship between Canada and indigenous peoples, based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership.
    The Supreme Court decision speaks to a renewal of that relationship and reaffirms that we are on the right path.
    As I have said, the Government of Canada respects the decision, and again, this is a new chapter. It is a brighter and more hopeful chapter in which we will be able to lift up indigenous peoples throughout the country.
    The Supreme Court decision reaffirms that conviction. As a parliamentarian and a Canadian, I welcome the support of all partners in realizing that vision and looking forward to implementing the ruling of this historic decision on behalf of the hundreds and thousands of Métis and non-status Indians across Canada.

[Translation]

The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes):  
    The motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly, the House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).
    (The House adjourned at 7:39 p.m.)
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