Conservative MP Michelle Rempel Garner’s bill calling for a national framework to encourage growth in the cryptocurrency sector was tabled in the House of Commons on Wednesday.
By a vote of 199 to 119, the law was defeated at second reading, meaning it will not be further studied or discussed. Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre and his caucus voted to allow the bill, as did some Liberal and Independent MPs.
Bill C-249 – “An Act Respecting the Encouragement of the Development of the Crypto Asset Sector” as the title read – allows Treasury Secretary Chrystia Freeland to “develop a national framework to encourage the development of the crypto asset sector” . asked.
The five-page legal text also called on the government to consult with those working in the sector to develop this framework.
Describing how “cryptoassets have significant economic and innovation potential for Canada,” Rempel Garner called for federal crypto sector policy focused on lowering barriers to entry and protecting those employed in the sector. was.
The legislation became a lightning rod in the House of Commons amid growing attention to Poilievre’s controversial crypto comments during the party leadership race.
During Monday’s debate on the bill, battle lines became clear as lawmakers from the Liberals, NDP and Bloc Québécois expressed opposition to the legislation, repeatedly citing Poilievre’s promotion of cryptocurrency.
“I’m a bit surprised that the Conservative Party has legislation dealing with cryptocurrency. Members may recall that long ago the leader of the Conservative Party said that one of the best ways to fight inflation in Canada is to invest in cryptocurrency. Will be,” said Liberal MP Kevin Lamoureux. “Imagine if people… who listened to the Conservative Party leader and invested in cryptocurrencies… lost 60 percent or more.”
“It’s no secret that the new leader of Canada’s Conservative Party dreams about Bitcoin and other crypto fantasies at night,” said Bloc Québécois MP Maxime Blanchett.
“There are still a number of issues that we, as decision-makers on this matter, need to address with care and diligence,” Blanchett said. The first problem, of course, is cryptocurrency volatility, which is still very high and often unspeakable.” on transparency and accountability.”
Focusing on Poilievre’s comments, NDP MP Charlie Angus suggested that the federal government, with support from the NDP, had pushed ahead with some anti-inflationary and affordability-focused spending measures, such as: B. Doubling the GST tax credit. will evaporate”. To reverse this, Angus pointed to how billions had recently “evaporated” following the collapse of cryptocurrency exchange FTX.
“Before we start promoting such heinous financial scams, we need to ask what rules and proper oversight are in place to protect people and their savings. Conservative Party leaders refuse to do so. They are doing it and they have to be responsible for it,” said Angus, thanking Rempel Garner for his attempt to start the conversation to frame the sector.
To defend his proposal, Rempel Garner ended the debate by expressing his dismay at how politicized the issue had become. Noting his degree in economics, he argued why his efforts with this bill were aimed at pushing forward safeguards for the sector.
“When Bernie Madoff ran his Ponzi scheme, we didn’t ask for a ban on email or phone calls because he was using it to lure victims, and we didn’t ask for the entire investment services industry to be banned because of a bad actor. no We have searched. Strengthen security measures to ensure bad governance and too good to be true schemes no longer occur. We tried to educate people not to fall into the plans, and most importantly we said that we have to do these things so that this sector, which is so important to our economy, can continue to grow,” she said. “I don’t want to look back 10 years on this debate and say we missed an opportunity.”
The federal government committed in its 2023 federal budget to launch a consultation on cryptocurrency, to address the stability and security of digitizing money, and to acknowledge the growing interest in the potential future of the sector.
In an economic update in the fall, Freeland announced it would begin consultations, with the first phase of the review pertaining to digital currencies, including cryptocurrencies, stablecoins, and central bank digital currencies.