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View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
View Candice Bergen Profile
2020-02-28 10:03 [p.1727]
moved:
That, notwithstanding Standing Order 81, for the supply period ending March 26, 2020, three additional allotted days shall be added for a total of 10, provided that one of the additional days is allotted to the Conservative Party, one of the additional day is allotted to the Bloc Québécois, and one of the additional days is allotted to the New Democratic Party, and, if necessary to accommodate these additional days, the supply period may be extended to April 2, 2020, and no allotted days shall fall on a Wednesday or a Friday.
She said: I am very happy to rise today in my capacity as the House leader for the official opposition to speak to the motion that we have put forward today.
I will be honest. I wish we were not talking about the Standing Orders today. I think there are a lot of issues gripping this country, including illegal blockades. We have seen individuals set fires and put up barricades on railroads, causing our economy to come to a halt. We have seen absolute weak leadership and no leadership from the government. Today would be a good day to talk about things like that.
We also have seen issues around investment leaving this country. As we have just seen this week, Teck has taken out its application for a very important project that we wish had been built in Alberta. It would have helped jobs right across the country. The Liberals and their policy are driving investment away. That is something we could be talking about today.
We also have the coronavirus, which is gripping world. We do not know if it is contained. Could it be a pandemic? That is an issue Canadians are thinking about.
However, today we are talking about changes to the Standing Orders. I will get to the fact that we only have four speakers today, but for now I will say that I am sharing my time with one of the next three speakers, the member for Perth—Wellington.
I will start by giving a little background and then will quickly let my colleagues know, as some may not be aware, how a minority Parliament operates. I want to give some context about opposition days and why they matter.
Throughout the run of a full year, the government must devote 22 days for the opposition parties to raise topics of their choosing. The rules spread those out over winter, spring and fall, and from there the opposition parties agree on how to carve them up. It is up to the government to decide which days are used for opposition motions, but on those days, the opposition gets to bring forward any topic it chooses as long as it falls within Parliament's jurisdiction. Today, the Liberals decided to give Conservatives a Friday as their opposition day.
On Fridays, as we all know, the House has a much shorter sitting period, because we all want to get back to our ridings for the important things going on in our constituencies. To be blunt and very clear, for all of us who have been here for a while and know this and for the newer MPs, giving an opposition party, any one of us, a Friday as an opposition day is a full-out slap. It is a full-out insult. It is a full-out, 100% punishment.
That is what the Prime Minister is doing right now. He is punishing Conservatives. Why? It is because we have been standing up to him, because we have been pointing out his weakness and calling out some of the ways the government has not recognized that it is in a minority, not a majority, Parliament.
We have seen a number of things that we are very concerned about. We have raised them with you, Madam Speaker. They include things like the government's leaking bills to the press before they have been brought to the House. We had to rise on a point of privilege. As we saw, the Minister of Natural Resources had to stand and apologize. We accept that apology, but it was pretty disrespectful to all of us in this place for the government to leak contents of a bill to the press before we saw it.
We have also seen the government give incomplete and inaccurate responses to Order Paper questions. Actually, this is what the Minister of Natural Resources had to apologize for. No one has apologized yet for the leaking of the bill.
In responses to the Order Paper questions, misleading answers have been given, and then even in defence of those misleading answers, we have seen misleading answers given again. It is totally unacceptable, and as Conservatives, we are going to call that out.
There are the two issues on which I have seen such a high level of disrespect. First is the new NAFTA agreement and how the Liberals have worked with us on that. As Conservatives, we are the party of free trade. We believe that many Canadians and many Canadian sectors need an agreement. It is not a great agreement, but we have been supporting it, while asking tough questions.
One of those questions has been about the economic impact to Canadians, and the Liberals have refused to give us that. Instead, they are getting up, as we saw when the Deputy Prime Minister stood in this place, to completely mislead and try to poke a stick in our eye, saying that we were somehow blocking the new NAFTA deal, which is completely misleading, completely disingenuous and insulting.
To add insult to injury, yesterday when I tried to expedite Bill C-4, to get it through in a much faster way, the Liberals opposed it. In fact, it was the member for Winnipeg North, a Manitoban, who said no.
The Liberals are sucking and blowing at the same time, and in doing that they are insulting us. They are not recognizing that we are in a minority Parliament.
The really insulting thing they did occurred last week, when the Prime Minister excluded our leader from a meeting of all opposition and government leaders on the topic of the rail blockades simply because our leader spoke the truth as to how to approach the illegal blockades. He was called names and excluded by the Prime Minister. Then three days later, the Prime Minister basically repeated verbatim what our leader had said. That was disrespectful and disingenuous, and not at all the way a minority Parliament should work.
Last Parliament, we said this often: The Prime Minister wanted an audience in this place; he did not want an opposition. I am afraid that has not changed. He did not get the voters' message in the election. He did not get the memo that his majority has been taken away. He needs to recognize quickly that Conservatives are going to stand up for the interests of the millions of Canadians who voted for us, who did not vote for the Liberals, and the growing number of Canadians who see a country and an economy paralyzed by the weak Liberal government.
Conservatives are not afraid to give voice to Canadians who disagree with the Liberals and the Prime Minister. Conservatives will demand that Liberals be open and transparent. They will be honest in this Parliament. Conservatives will hold the Liberal government to account.
In 1979, Joe Clark and his government fell after just 49 sitting days. It is often said it was because they could not count, but really it was because they had miscalculated badly. Today is just the 26th sitting day of this Parliament, and sadly the Liberals and their growing pattern of disrespect are hurtling us toward one unnecessary political disaster after another.
We are going to give the Liberals a chance to work collaboratively with opposition parties and work with Parliament by dedicating three additional days for each of the opposition parties. Members will notice that we are working collaboratively. Members will notice that we put the opposition parties in our motion. We are not looking just for our gain. We want to see all of us work together.
The motion would give three additional days for each of the parties to put forward an idea for debate and propose solutions for the many difficulties that Canadians face. We are giving the Liberals a chance to right their wrongs toward the opposition parties. We will give the Prime Minister a chance to correct his course. Today is a chance to press reset.
Recently I read an article in which the Liberal House leader, talking to a member of the press in the context of a minority Parliament, said, “Never take one day for granted. Anything can happen.” This may be a lesson for the Liberals and the Prime Minister: The things he does affect all of Parliament. This is also, with respect, a lesson for the Liberal House leader that he should never take one day for granted, because anything can happen.
Today, with the amount of time that we have, we will talk about giving additional days to the opposition. We are hoping this will result in a reset and that the Liberals will respect that we are in a minority Parliament, will tell us the truth, will not exclude people who disagree with them, will not mislead this Parliament and will be open, transparent and respectful. Then we can continue to work, as we should, as the official opposition and as opposition parties to hold the government to account and do the very best we can for this great country that we serve.
View Todd Doherty Profile
CPC (BC)
View Todd Doherty Profile
2020-02-28 10:13 [p.1728]
Madam Speaker, as we have seen with the past government, and indeed with the current government, the Prime Minister feels this is his House. We know differently. This is the House of the electors who elected the 338 members of Parliament. We are here to be their voices.
I want to ask our hon. colleague to once again share with those who are tuning in today the importance of opposition days. I honestly think our colleagues across the way do not get it. Perhaps Canadians need to fully understand what the opposition days mean.
View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
View Candice Bergen Profile
2020-02-28 10:14 [p.1728]
Madam Speaker, it obvious, in the last 20-some days that we literally have been in Parliament, by the number of opposition days we have been able to bring forward solutions to problems facing the country that the government has seemed unable to do themselves.
I will give the House one example. On our very first opposition day, we were able to pass a motion and establish the committee that is working right now to address the crisis with our relationship with the Government of China and the Beijing regime.
The role of the official opposition is to hold the government to account. However, our role is also to offer substantial solutions and fixes.
Another issue we brought forward was the illegal blockades. Again, we would like to be talking about that. We think there are some important things the government could do.
The role of our opposition is to present a government in waiting, which is a party that offers solutions to the current government, and to hold it to account. That it is what we are doing.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
View Peter Julian Profile
2020-02-28 10:15 [p.1729]
Madam Speaker, it is vitally important that other voices are heard in the House of Commons. With majority governments, generally those voices are marginalized, except on an opposition days.
In the NDP's case, we brought forward issues that had not been discussed in the House, issues such as a declaration of a climate emergency, housing as a human right, the thalidomide compensation, the environmental impacts of microbeads and banning that practice. I could go on and on. The government often refuses to consider these important issues.
Could the official opposition House leader tell us how important it is for opposition voices to be raised more frequently and to bring issues to the forefront that the government denies? How important is that to right and privilege?
View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
View Candice Bergen Profile
2020-02-28 10:16 [p.1729]
Madam Speaker, I believe the NDP supports the spirit of this idea as well.
The role is so important. All of us come with our experiences and perspectives. We all want to see Canada be the very best it can be. We want Canadians to have the best life and we have different ways of addressing the challenges Canadians face.
The opposition can bring these ideas as well. It is not just the Liberals who have solutions to problems. The NDP have some solutions. The Bloc will possibly have some solutions. We will see. The Conservatives certainly have been providing those. Therefore, it is vitally important.
However, what is just as important is that the government not disrespect Parliament, this institution, and the important role all of us play in this place.
View Ginette Petitpas Taylor Profile
Lib. (NB)
Madam Speaker, by giving the opposition more government time to debate their motions, this will negatively affect the government's legislative agenda.
Let me remind the House that this motion will delay several important bills, such as Bill C-4, the bill to implement the historic trade agreement between our great country, the United States and Mexico. Let us remember that the United States, Mexico and all premiers want this bill to be passed, and passed quickly.
Will the member comment on how this will delay very important legislation before the House at this time?
View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
I want to remind members that I know for a fact that the official opposition House leader is very well able to answer this question without any help. Therefore, I would ask members to hold their thoughts and comments.
The official opposition House leader, a brief answer, please.
View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
View Candice Bergen Profile
2020-02-28 10:18 [p.1729]
Madam Speaker, that question in and of itself shows how disingenuous and disrespectful these Liberals are. Yesterday, I stood in this place and I asked that we pass a motion that would mean Bill C-4 could be before this place today. Who said no to that? The member for Winnipeg North, a Liberal.
The Liberals shut down the opportunity to bring Bill C-4, the new NAFTA agreement, to the House today. Why? They would rather politicize it and punish all of us because we dare stand up to the Prime Minister.
We will take no lessons from the Liberals. They are delaying NAFTA and they are being disingenuous and politicizing this important agreement. We are the ones who tried to get it through, and get it through today.
View John Nater Profile
CPC (ON)
View John Nater Profile
2020-02-28 10:19 [p.1729]
Madam Speaker, “Parliament is more than procedure – it is the custodian of the nation’s freedom.” Those words were spoken by the great defender of parliamentary democracy, the Right Hon. John George Diefenbaker.
Today, we find ourselves called upon to once again stand in support of this great institution, to once again stand for the right of opposition parliamentarians to hold the government to account.
Many Canadians may not be closely following the business of supply. They may not closely follow the allotted days, or the opposition days, that are often called in Parliament. However, these days, in which the agenda of the House falls to the opposition parties, are absolutely essential to our great parliamentary democracy. We as the opposition, both the official opposition and the other opposition parties, have the right to bring forward matters that we feel are important to our constituents and to all Canadians.
Beauchesne's Parliamentary Rules and Forms, sixth edition, states “The Opposition prerogative is very broad in the use of the allotted day and ought not to be interfered with except on the clearest and most certain procedural grounds.”
We have brought forward this opposition day motion on this day for very important reasons. The Liberal government decided to punish the official opposition by giving us a short parliamentary day, a short day when only two full speaking slots would be allocated to the opposition parties.
The Liberal government seems to have forgotten that it is among the weakest governing mandate in Canadian history. The Liberals forget that they actually lost the popular vote in the last election and Canadians saw fit to return them with a minority of seats in this place.
Bosc and Gagnon states the following, on page 855:
The setting aside of a specified number of sitting days on which the opposition chooses the subject of debate derives from the tradition which holds that Parliament does not grant supply until the opposition has had an opportunity to demonstrate why it should be refused.
In other words, before we as the opposition can consent to the continued funding of the government, we must, and we will, have the opportunity to raise our concerns in this place. We will not be silenced. We will not accept that the government, and only the government, has a legitimate voice in this place.
I would remind members of the Liberal party that they are first and foremost members of the legislative branch of government. Those who do not sit in cabinet are not members of the executive branch. They are parliamentarians and parliamentarians first and foremost. They too should be concerned that the members of the executive branch of government are the ones who are trying to control the debate of this very place.
I ought not to need to remind the government of its legislative record and its mismanagement of House time in the previous Parliament. At the time of dissolution, it had left at least 17 government bills lying on the Order Paper. This is in spite of the fact that it used time allocation on dozens of occasions. On top of that, there were 13 motions for closure and 40 motions to proceed to orders of the day, thereby bypassing the opportunity for opposition MPs to move concurrence motions or to table petitions on behalf of the constituents in each of our 338 ridings across the country.
Today's debate is about returning the House to the people, to give the official opposition, the Bloc Québécois and the New Democratic Party each one additional opposition day during the supply period, to give each of these parties the opportunity to raise the issues before granting supply to the Liberal government.
I do not need to remind the House either about the disregard we have seen in the past by the Liberal Party to this institution.
In the previous Parliament, on one of its very first bills, Bill C-14, the medical assistance in dying act, the Liberal government was found to have contravened the rights and privileges of the House by leaking the contents to the media before it was tabled for all parliamentarians to see. Old habits die hard, because it appears it did that once again this time with Bill C-7, the amendments to medical assistance in dying.
The Conservatives do not need to remind the Liberals either about the impacts they bring upon themselves when they attempt to use draconian measures to shut down debate in the House. We all remember Motion No. 6, when they tried to unilaterally take control of every mechanism for debate in the House. We do not need to remind the Liberals of the standing order standoff, when they tried to diminish the opportunity for the opposition to hold the government to account by unilaterally changing the rules of the House. It fell to the Conservatives, as the official opposition, and the third party, the New Democrats, to ensure we were that line of defence, that we were that thin line of the wedge to prevent the Liberal government from doing that.
In fact, in the previous Parliament, during a debate in this very House on a question of privilege, one of the most significant matters with which the House can be seized, a Liberal member of Parliament, the member for Brossard—Saint-Lambert, stood in the House, used a procedural measure to move to orders of the day and killed that debate. However, our Parliament is stronger than any one Liberal member of Parliament. At that time, the Speaker saw fit to return that question of privilege to the House so members of Parliament could have their voices heard.
We see this time and again with the Liberal government. At every opportunity it has to do the right thing, it goes the opposite direction.
That brings me to the events we have seen just in the last couple of weeks on the new NAFTA. It is not a great deal and it is not the worst deal; it is somewhere in between. We are the party of free trade and we support the implementation of the new NAFTA despite its imperfections. However, to hear the Deputy Prime Minister state publicly and in this place that the Conservative Party was somehow trying to delay the new NAFTA is an insult to the opposition and to the House of Commons.
Just yesterday, my colleague, the opposition House leader, gave the Liberals the opportunity to right their wrong by bringing forward NAFTA today. We could be debating NAFTA today and I could be raising the concerns of the people of Perth—Wellington, the farmers, the manufacturers, individuals who have concerns with the bill, However, the Liberals did not budge. In fact, speaking for the government, the parliamentary secretary to the government House leader said no, that the government would not be willing to bring NAFTA forward. That is unacceptable.
We stand here today debating this opposition motion, a motion that gives the rights and responsibilities of the House back to all its members. I encourage all members to stand for their parliamentary privilege, to stand for democracy and vote in favour of this motion.
View Sean Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Sean Fraser Profile
2020-02-28 10:29 [p.1730]
Madam Speaker, in the last Parliament, the opposition opposed our main estimates reform initiative. That is no secret.
Not only will this motion today delay government bills, but it seeks to change a fundamental balance that was struck way back in 1968 to give the opposition party time to debate motions of its choosing in exchange for an agreement to pass supply in one day. This balance and framework has remained intact for over half a century, until today.
Opposition days are very important when they bring to light an issue that is of material concern to the country, a province, a region or a group of Canadians. These are important debates that need to be had in this House. This is not that kind of debate. This is a blatant attempt to change the rules of the House of Commons in less than four hours.
In the last Parliament, the government brought forward what I viewed to be a sensible proposal to study certain rule changes. Instead of agreeing to the study, the opposition tried to shut down the House and disrupt the budget presentation, and all opposition parties cried foul. How things have changed. This is remarkable.
I thought the long-standing principle was to have this done by consensus. The procedure and House affairs committee is a proper place. I am curious if the hon. member of the opposition would like to describe why the opposition members are bucking this trend of building consensus. Why did they not do this in PROC, where it should have been done?
View John Nater Profile
CPC (ON)
View John Nater Profile
2020-02-28 10:30 [p.1731]
Madam Speaker, the rights and privileges of this House are not a gift given to the opposition by the Liberal government; the rights and privileges of this House are enshrined in the Constitution. They are enshrined in the authorities of this House. They are enshrined as a right and privilege of all parliamentarians to raise the issues that matter to them.
I do not need to remind the member for Central Nova that it was his House leader at the time who tried to unilaterally change the Standing Orders through a blatant attempt to reduce accountability through the discussion document she tried to table. It was unacceptable.
I would remind the Liberal government, which will soon be the opposition again, that this is not a change to the Standing Orders; this is an order of this House, an order of this Parliament, for the supply period ending March 31.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Madam Speaker, it is an important distinction the member just made. Of course, it is quite a regular practice of the House to make orders that say “notwithstanding the Standing Orders” or “notwithstanding the usual practice of the House”. We do this on a regular basis when we have tributes and foreign leaders come to speak, so it does not in any way upset the balance. It does not change the Standing Orders to have an order that exists notwithstanding the Standing Orders. I wonder if the member has comments on that.
Also, could the member take the opportunity to share a bit more about what he is hearing in his riding about the new NAFTA deal and some of the negative impacts of the concessions the government has made? We still want to move forward with it and it is unfortunate the government has been delaying its own legislation when we could have been debating that today. If there is time in the response, what is he hearing from his riding about these issues?
View John Nater Profile
CPC (ON)
View John Nater Profile
2020-02-28 10:32 [p.1731]
Madam Speaker, my colleague from Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan is absolutely right. This is a special order of this House for three additional opposition days during the supply period ending March 31, which has the option to be extended to April 2. This is a run-of-the-mill opposition day motion that works within the rules of this House, but he is right, we should be debating NAFTA.
Perth—Wellington has more dairy farmers than any other electoral district in the country. We have more chicken farmers in Wellington County than any other county in the province. They are expressing their concerns to me about some of the challenges they see with NAFTA, and we should be debating that now in this House.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2020-02-28 10:33 [p.1731]
Madam Speaker, I listened to the member's passionate speech. On March 21, he was very passionate about making such a change to the Standing Orders. He said:
The learned amendment that's been put forward would require that all parties agree to any changes...made to the Standing Orders. That's what's been done in the past....That's what's been done in a proper functioning...of...[doing] this.
Obviously, this is changing how a Standing Order works, so it would be hypocritical if he voted for this motion.
View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
I would remind the member that using words like “hypocritical” is really not acceptable in the House. It is okay to talk about parties, but not about individuals.
The hon. member for Perth—Wellington.
View John Nater Profile
CPC (ON)
View John Nater Profile
2020-02-28 10:33 [p.1731]
Madam Speaker, I 100% agree with what I said then and I agree with what I have said now. Changes and amendments to the Standing Orders of this House should be done with the consensus of all members of this House.
This is not a change to the Standing Orders; it is the granting of three additional opposition days, during the supply period, to the members of the official opposition, the Bloc Québécois and the NDP. It is not a change to the Standing Orders of this House.
View Bob Saroya Profile
CPC (ON)
View Bob Saroya Profile
2020-02-28 10:34 [p.1731]
Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order regarding the parliamentary secretary to the government House leader's question of privilege yesterday, regarding my bill.
I worked hard on this bill. I did speak to some of the MPs from the Liberal side and I spoke to a reporter as well, not knowing the rules. I apologize. This is a good bill. I still think it is a good bill. I did not know the rule not to speak to reporters before the bill was tabled.
Regarding the change to the title of the bill, this is the title I always wanted. It is a clear title. I asked my office staff whether we can change the title of the bill and they said I can, which I did.
I appreciate your time, Madam Speaker.
View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
I know that this matter was raised yesterday. I appreciate the additional comments from the member for Markham—Unionville. We will certainly add it to the information that was provided yesterday, and a response will be forthcoming.
View Chris Bittle Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Chris Bittle Profile
2020-02-28 10:35 [p.1732]
Madam Speaker, before I begin my speech, I would like to clarify something the opposition House leader said in her speech.
She stated that the Liberals opposed a motion to expedite CUSMA legislation. While she talked about working together with other parties in a collaborative manner, what she fails to mention is that she purposely provided the text at the very last minute, with no time to review it. The Conservatives are playing silly tricks and gotcha politics because they are on the defensive, trying to slow down this important bill.
We did the responsible thing. We took time to review it and then agreed with it and moved it again ourselves. However, once we moved it again ourselves, the Conservatives opposed it. There was no consent.
The actions of the Conservatives on this merely show their current desperation, and they are on the wrong side of history of this important issue.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The hon. member is misleading the House with respect to a vote that took place yesterday. There was no denial of consent from anyone in the Conservative caucus on expediting that issue. The member cannot simply lie or mislead the House with respect to what actually happened yesterday. That is a violation of the rules of order, I think you will find, Madam Speaker.
View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
I would just say that this is not a point of order. It is debate.
I would ask the parliamentary secretary to continue his debate.
View Chris Bittle Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Chris Bittle Profile
2020-02-28 10:37 [p.1732]
Madam Speaker, it seems we hit a nerve. It is clear the members of the opposition do not want to go forward on this important bill, a bill that is required, that businesses are crying out for, that farmers are crying out for, that people across the country want us to move forward on, but we are playing gotcha politics and we are playing petty politics on this particular day.
I would like to offer some comment on the importance of what we are debating today. This is not a motion that will likely attract the attention of many Canadians outside this chamber or outside the Ottawa bubble. It does not touch on the issues that are important to many of our constituents: the economy, jobs, affordability, climate change, health care, pensions, reconciliation with indigenous people, keeping our streets safe and securing Canada's place in the world.
These are, of course, the issues that are at the forefront of our government's agenda. These are the issues on which our government was elected to make changes. These are the issues on which our government has a mandate from Canadians.
This motion today does not call on the House to have a constructive debate on any of these matters. Make no mistake, the motion from the Conservative House leader has profound implications for Parliament and for the democratic system that we cherish. It is a motion that is reflective of the Conservatives themselves. While they were in government and during recent years in opposition, we have all seen their track record.
In government, under Stephen Harper, Conservatives showed disdain for Parliament and for all the members on the opposition benches. In opposition, under the current leader, who will be replaced in June, they have continued to show disdain for the traditions and decorum of this chamber. They heckle when I talk about decorum in this chamber, which is ironic.
Canadians have not forgotten the behaviour of the Conservatives in the 41st Parliament, as well as in the last one. It is the Conservatives who, all too often, held the House of Commons hostage with political tactics and manoeuvres, repeatedly obstructing MPs from debating important legislation. On more than one occasion, they forced the House to hold all-night marathon vote sessions. They voted against funding for infrastructure during that time, on national defence, veterans, police, security, VIA Rail services, Parks Canada, indigenous peoples and more.
This was a political stunt, and Liberal MPs stood proudly to vote in favour of those services that are important to Canadians. One of these voting marathons kept MPs in the chamber for 30 hours in the last Parliament. This came at a cost to Parliament's reputation and literally a cost to the taxpayers. Indeed, the Conservatives' current House leader said in a news release, when she was part of a previous Conservative government that was facing an NDP filibuster in 2011, that these tactics cost the House of Commons an additional $50,000 per hour to stay open. Where was that outrage in the last Parliament?
One of the Conservatives' most shameful episodes was when they tried to prevent the finance minister from reading his budget speech in the chamber by banging on their desks and shouting him down, like bullies in a schoolyard. It was an undignified spectacle.
These are the political stunts that the Conservatives like to call tools from their tool box. It is quite the tool box. This behaviour from the Conservative opposition has done nothing to restore Canadians' trust in Parliament. In fact, I fear what they have done has deepened the cynicism among all of our constituents.
Unfortunately, it has become clear that the Conservatives have not changed since the last Parliament. Last Thursday, they kept MPs in Ottawa for a vote on a opposition day, which never happened because once everyone had missed their flights home, they deferred the vote to the following Monday. MPs missed events in their riding, they missed spending time with their kids, husbands, wives and families. Why did they do this? For one reason: they could.
Simply a day later, on Friday, the Conservatives dipped into their bag of tricks again to obstruct the work of Parliament. On that day, members were debating Bill C-3, supported by all parties, including the Conservatives, that would bring great improvements to the accountability of the Canada Border Services Agency, and yet the Conservatives moved to literally shut down the business of the House that day.
They moved a motion to adjourn the House at 12:30 p.m., during their lunch hour. I know most Canadians do not move to end their work during their lunch hour, but the Conservatives did. They wanted to turn off the lights for the day. When that did not work, they attempted to adjourn debate again. When that failed, they attempted to shut down the House early, again.
These political stunts consumed over two hours of time in the House. The Conservatives' objective was clear: preventing the House from debating this important legislation. Unfortunately, that is exactly what happened. Without a doubt, the Conservatives have shown their true colours. They do not believe in Parliament.
Conservatives have shown this once again with the motion we are debating today, for at the heart of what the Conservative opposition members hope to achieve is tilting the balance from long-standing practices and procedures that have served the House well for many decades. This balance is simple in its design but crucial to its core.
The following is what makes our parliamentary system so successful. When an election happens, Canadians send their elected representatives to the House of Commons to act on their behalf. The government is elected with the responsibility to move forward on the agenda that Canadians have given it. That means introducing legislation, ensuring it receives vibrant debate from all sides and ultimately bringing legislation to a vote. There is limited time in the parliamentary calendar, and the government must always endeavour to schedule the time Parliament needs to examine and vote on its legislation.
Across the aisle, the opposition has the responsibility to hold the government to account and raise issues of public concern. Our system, under standing orders, allows for supply days to be scheduled. These days are also known as opposition days. On these days, government legislation is not debated. Instead, the opposition has the opportunity to bring forward a motion for debate and, ultimately, a vote.
This is the balance. Parliament needs time to debate legislation and to debate the supply days motion from the opposition. We believe Parliament can strike that balance.
Already we have come forward with important bills to ratify the new NAFTA, improve the CBSA, require training for judges on sexual assault, modernize the oath of citizenship and adjust the rules surrounding medical assistance in dying. These are just some of the parts of our platform to keep moving forward with policies that are both ambitious and achievable.
Our throne speech in December provided a road map for Parliament that outlines our agenda. We want to strengthen the middle class, make life more affordable for Canadians, protect the environment, fight climate change, improve the lives of indigenous people and secure Canada's place in the world.
Canadians sent us all a message in the recent election. They want us all to work together, and we agree. Indeed, we believe the House of Commons is a place where we can work on legislation to make important decisions for Canadians. Every day, we work hard in Parliament to find common ground on behalf of the Canadians who sent us all here.
While this happens, while we debate the merits of legislation and look to improve it, the opposition has many opportunities to bring issues to the forefront. This happens routinely in question period, and I would be remiss if I did not remind the House that it was our government that made fundamental changes to question period. It was our government that created the prime minister's question period on Wednesdays. Our Prime Minister answers every question during question period from all sides of the House.
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
Mr. Chris Bittle: Madam Speaker, again we hear heckling from the other side. It is something Stephen Harper would never do in his wildest dreams, but something that the Prime Minister put forward to make himself accountable to the opposition, to Parliament, so that Canadians can hear the government's agenda. This is true accountability.
In addition to this, there are supply days. Today is the 26th sitting of the session. In December, as the previous supply period ended, the Conservatives were allotted an opposition day in which they put forward their motions. In this supply period, which runs from December 11 to March 26, seven days are allotted for opposition days. These are the rules under the Standing Orders.
Today marks the sixth opposition day. The Conservatives had four of those opposition days, and the Bloc and NDP have each had one to present their motions to the House for debate and a vote. Under the rules, one more opposition day remains up to March 26. Once we get to the next supply period, from April to June, there will be eight more opposition days.
This is the balance I spoke of. It works, it is democratic, yet the Conservatives are proposing to turn their backs on the Standing Orders and tilt the balance by adding three more opposition days to this supply period.
There would be a consequence to this change. There would be three fewer days for members of the House to debate legislation that Canadians have elected the government to move forward with. The motives behind the Conservatives' political tactic are transparent. They do not believe Parliament is a democratic institution to achieve consensus and change for Canadians. When Conservatives do not like the rules, they simply bulldoze over them.
This is a stunning hypocrisy given that the Conservatives continually preach that any rule change needs to have the unanimous support of all parties, but this should surprise no one. When it suits their needs Conservatives are willing to do anything, even if they were against it before they were for it.
They have become politically isolated and are in the midst of a leadership race that is exposing their own divisions. They are increasingly becoming irrelevant. Their objective is to obstruct the government's agenda. We are committed to making that agenda a reality.
I would like to talk about some examples of what we want to accomplish. There is no greater challenge facing this country and the world than fighting climate change. We believe strongly in this government's pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change. It is no surprise that Conservatives do not want to debate that because, for the last five years that I have been here, we have heard the language of denial, mistrust of scientists and doing nothing.
We are committed to building upon this plan to ensure Canadian businesses will seize on the immense economic opportunities that are involved in the transition to the clean economy of the 21st century. We will set a target to achieve net-zero by 2050. Our goal will be ambitious but necessary, as we protect the environment but grow the economy.
We will help make energy-efficient homes more affordable. We will make it easier for Canadians to buy zero-emissions vehicles. We will cut taxes for all Canadians except the wealthiest. This will provide more money in the pockets of hard-working Canadians who need it the most.
To many Canadians who are unable to buy their first home, we will continue to take action with significant investments in affordable housing. We will introduce measures to make it easy for more people to purchase homes. It would be nice to see the Conservatives' provincial counterparts take action on that as well and work with us as partners to make affordable housing a reality in the provinces across the country.
Canadian workers, families and seniors are facing anxieties about making ends meet. We will assist parents with the time and money they need to raise their children. We will support students as they bear the cost of higher education and skills training. We will increase the federal minimum wage. We will reduce cellphone bills by 25%, and strengthen pensions for our seniors.
Four years ago, we promised to put Canada on a path forward toward reconciliation with indigenous peoples. We put the country on that path and we will keep Canada firmly on that path. The work toward reconciliation has not ended.
Once again, I hear heckling on that, but the leaders of their party talk about sending in the army. They call indigenous protesters terrorists, yet they are the ones heckling us on our record on reconciliation when the Harper government did absolutely nothing on the subject.
Canadians are worried about gun violence in our communities and we will crack down on this. We will also ban military-style assault rifles. We will work with provinces and territories to strengthen the health care system to get the service Canadians deserve. Once again, it is shocking that we are debating changes to the standing order, rather than talking about issues like climate change or health care.
Pharmacare, for example, has become one of the key missing pieces of universal health care in this country. Our government will take steps to introduce and implement a national pharmacare program so that Canadians have the drug coverage they need.
I cite these examples of where we intend to lead the country. We believe that parliamentarians must put the interests of Canadians first. Parliament is not a place only to debate our disagreements, but also a place to come together and find common ground. This is what can happen when we maintain the crucial balance about which I have spoken.
I would implore members to look at the legislation before this chamber, as well as the bills before us in the future, and work together on all of those bills. Parliament needs time to debate those bills, to scrutinize them and, when necessary, improve them. It is not time for political stunts and obstructions. This is the time for constructive debate, returning our attention to the legislation that can improve the lives of Canadians. It is the time to do the right thing for Parliament.
View Mike Lake Profile
CPC (AB)
View Mike Lake Profile
2020-02-28 10:52 [p.1734]
Madam Speaker, it is very difficult to hear what the member is saying and contrast that to what my constituents are saying. For context, in my riding of Edmonton—Wetaskiwin, we had 63,000 votes in the last election. Looking at the election results, if we combine the member's results with those of the four Liberal members from P.E.I., it does not amount to as many votes as we had in Edmonton—Wetaskiwin. We have 47 Conservative members out of the 48 members of Parliament for Alberta and Saskatchewan. Nothing that the government does reflects anything that matters to the lives of the people of Alberta and Saskatchewan and other parts of this country.
They are not being heard. The member talks about political stunts. His deputy House leader and one of the ministers went to my riding last week. They did not call me. They did not let me know they were going. They met with mayors from outside my riding, including Naheed Nenshi. They are not listening to the concerns that matter to the people on the ground. People in my community are committing suicide because the economic measures the government is taking are absolutely destroying the lives of Albertans.
When will the member come to my riding, call me and meet with my constituents about the things that really matter to them?
View Chris Bittle Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Chris Bittle Profile
2020-02-28 10:53 [p.1735]
Madam Speaker, I find it interesting that it requires the invitation of members of Parliament to meet with the mayor of another community. That is shocking in and of itself. We can throw around statistics all day. In my riding—
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
Mr. Chris Bittle: Madam Speaker, they clearly do not want to debate the issues of the day.
View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
I want to remind the member that he had an opportunity to ask his question without being interrupted and I would hope that he would want to hear the response in its entirety, as do other members I am sure.
The hon. parliamentary secretary.
View Chris Bittle Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Chris Bittle Profile
2020-02-28 10:54 [p.1735]
Madam Speaker, we can talk about the riding of St. Catharines, where the Conservative vote went down. Residents of my riding look at the harmful cuts that a Conservative Ford government has made. They have looked at the terrible actions of austerity and what that has done to the people of this country. We can talk about the 70% of St. Catharines residents who want action on climate change.
Why are we not debating that? Why are we debating this political stunt?
View Marilène Gill Profile
BQ (QC)
View Marilène Gill Profile
2020-02-28 10:54 [p.1735]
Madam Speaker, I got a little worried listening to my hon. colleague's speech about opposition days. I did not really hear him talk about those allotted days.
That makes me feel like when I rise in the House to defend a motion, as the Bloc Québécois did with regard to the proposed extension of the EI sickness benefit period, I am not standing up for Quebeckers or Canadians, doing constructive work or seeking common ground, as someone said. That makes me feel like I am just the opposition.
I would like to hear what my hon. colleague has to say about the objective and purpose of opposition days in a democratic Parliament.
View Chris Bittle Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Chris Bittle Profile
2020-02-28 10:55 [p.1735]
Madam Speaker, I remember sitting in the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs at three in the morning one day in the previous Parliament because of a filibuster from the opposition. There was a suggestion that we enter into a debate to consider changes to the Standing Order. That was so out of bounds from the opposition, that we would even engage in a discussion to proceed that way. The opposition has an opportunity, as I have stated, every day in the House to call the government to account. It will have that in five minutes. Every day that happens.
The opposition has said repeatedly it will not change the Standing Order, and should not change Standing Orders unless there is the consent of all parties. That seems to have disappeared today.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
View Peter Julian Profile
2020-02-28 10:56 [p.1735]
Madam Speaker, I think if people were neutral on the issue of the motion brought forward by the Conservatives today, after hearing the member's speech, they would be inclined to support that motion because they would recognize the importance of having the opposition bring forward issues that the government denies.
Clearly, the sense that I get from Liberal members is that their definition of democracy is what the government puts forward and the government agenda only. This then reinforces the argument that what we need is more opposition days to counter the government's rhetoric.
The member talked about the government's environmental initiatives, but in my riding we are trying to force through a major pipeline that will cost at least $20 billion. This is the most massive fossil fuel subsidy in Canadian history, yet the government has a line that is completely contrary to that.
Is the member not actually reinforcing the importance of having opposition days, to get those diverse points of view on the floor of the House of Commons and to have Parliament make decisions that may be counter to the government line?
View Chris Bittle Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Chris Bittle Profile
2020-02-28 10:57 [p.1735]
Madam Speaker, it is interesting that the hon. member talks about a pipeline that is subsidized and is being overseen by an NDP-Green coalition government.
That aside, I sat on the PROC committee with the hon. member David Christopherson for years. He talked about the need for consensus in any change to the Standing Orders. Having heard that from the NDP for the two years that I sat on that committee, it is shocking now to hear from the NDP that “Well, this benefits us, so it is okay. We should just go ahead with this. Do not worry about what we said in the last Parliament or the Parliament before. In this one instance, it benefits us. Do not read Hansard. We would rather you not do that.”
View Michael Barrett Profile
CPC (ON)
Madam Speaker, there is a lot to unpack there from the parliamentary secretary.
I thought it was interesting that the member for Spadina—Fort York was nodding along while the parliamentary secretary was upset about heckling in the chamber and while he is next to an arch-heckler in this place. They talk about collaboration as they continue to heckle.
In talking about collaboration, I had a FedDev announcement in my riding this week and, lo and behold, the parliamentary secretary and the minister did not even let the member know that they were going to be there. There was no collaboration.
Then in meetings with leaders of all parties recognized in the House, the Prime Minister does not invite the leader of the official opposition. When we talk about collaboration, it is pretty rich coming from that side, and if they are not going to hear from opposition parties, we are going to make sure that we are heard with more supply days.
View Chris Bittle Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Chris Bittle Profile
2020-02-28 10:59 [p.1736]
Madam Speaker, I cannot speak to the one announcement in the hon. member's riding, but I will speak to the last announcement in Niagara. It was at Brock University, and it was great to see the hon. member for Niagara Falls come and cut the ribbon on a new green energy facility there. This facility will cut greenhouse gas emissions, and it was funded under Kathleen Wynne's cap and trade program.
It was great to see the member in attendance after having been invited, smiling to see the benefits of cap and trade in helping the environment, helping Brock University, and bettering the community and all of Niagara.
View Sven Spengemann Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Sven Spengemann Profile
2020-02-28 10:59 [p.1736]
Madam Speaker, I have listened intently and I wonder if my colleague could explain to Canadians what is really going on here.
View Chris Bittle Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Chris Bittle Profile
2020-02-28 11:00 [p.1736]
Madam Speaker, if we take a step back, this is gamesmanship, pure and simple. When the Conservatives get an opposition day on a Friday, which is a perfectly legitimate thing for the government to do, they decide to team up with opposition parties to change the rules for their benefit.
What the opposition parties are clearly aligned on today is a blatant attempt to give them more opposition days, which means less time for government bills. Not only would this provide less time for government bills, but it would also slow the progress of the parliamentary process.
View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
The hon. member will have about one minute for questions and comments right after question period.
View Patrick Weiler Profile
Lib. (BC)
Madam Speaker, this month we celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Canadians welcomed the world to Vancouver with glowing hearts to showcase and celebrate Canadian athleticism, talent and culture.
West Vancouver and Whistler hosted a number of Olympic events. In one of them, Alex Bilodeau won Canada's first gold medal on home soil at Cypress Mountain.
The games provided a unique opportunity for the four host first nations to work together and to work with our communities to reconcile with them. The games showcased their language, culture and history on a global scale, providing a model for our country and for future Olympic games.
The games were also a catalyst for critical improvements to our communities, including the Sea to Sky Highway, the Canada Line, affordable housing and a green building industry. The games united our country to celebrate a record number of medals, capped off by the storybook ending of Sidney Crosby's golden goal 10 years ago today.
These games provided memories we will never forget, and I look forward to again hosting the world in Vancouver in 2030 and beyond.
View Tamara Jansen Profile
CPC (BC)
View Tamara Jansen Profile
2020-02-28 11:02 [p.1736]
Madam Speaker, there is one thing I have learned since being elected, and that is that what the left says never means what people might think it means.
When Liberals talk about unity, what they really mean is “My way or the highway”. When they talk about diversity, they never mean diversity of opinion. When they talk about truth and reconciliation, they have no intention of respecting elected band councils unless it is convenient. When they talk about consultation, what they really mean is, “Let me tell you what I think.” When they say “dying with dignity”, they only mean euthanasia.
Canadians look to this House for compassion, truth and leadership. In light of this week's debate on Bill C-7, let us ensure that when we say we are committed to quality palliative care, we truly mean what we say we mean.
View Peter Schiefke Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Peter Schiefke Profile
2020-02-28 11:03 [p.1736]
Madam Speaker, it is an honour to rise in this House to recognize the good work of the Hudson-based Pure Art Foundation. Founded by Robert and Brigitte McKinnon and their incredible boys, the foundation is committed to empowering people and building stronger communities. With initiatives in Peru, Tanzania and Nepal, the impact of the foundation cannot be overstated.
On March 5, their work continues with 68 dedicated and generous people departing for Peru, including 13-year-old Laurelie, 88-year-old Donna Munroe and our community's very own Father Demers. They will pursue the wonderful work of the foundation by building four additional homes, starting two new medical campaigns with the help of local nurses, enhancing the sewing initiative with the addition of financial literacy programs and enrolling 300 kids in the school program during their trip.
Today, on behalf of all members of my community of Vaudreuil—Soulanges, I would like to wish them all a safe and productive journey and thank them for the work they are doing in bettering the lives of not only those in our community but also all around the world.
I wish them all the best and and I wish them safe travels.
View Laurel Collins Profile
NDP (BC)
View Laurel Collins Profile
2020-02-28 11:04 [p.1737]
Madam Speaker, my riding of Victoria is facing a serious housing and homelessness crisis. Too many people are living in precarious housing, or worse, finding themselves sleeping on the street. We need to take urgent action to invest in affordable, social and co-operative housing.
We should be taking the lead from community organizations like the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness and the Aboriginal Coalition to End Homelessness in adopting a Housing First approach. The role of the Aboriginal Coalition to End Homelessness is particularly critical, because we know that indigenous peoples are eight times more likely to end up homeless. Their work is centred on the lived experience and perspectives of indigenous peoples.
We need a housing strategy by indigenous people for indigenous people. Housing is a human right. In a country as wealthy as Canada, no one should have to go without a safe place to call home.
View Rachel Bendayan Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Rachel Bendayan Profile
2020-02-28 11:05 [p.1737]
Madam Speaker, I was first elected as the member for Outremont one year ago this week. It is a tremendous honour to be here in the House to speak on behalf of the 100,000 residents of my riding.
Protecting the environment is the number one concern for residents of Outremont and Mile-End. I recently met with several mothers who are members of For Our Kids, an organization that urges us all to do more to fight climate change.
Our government has made protecting the environment a top priority. We have committed to reaching net zero by 2050, and we know that the best way to get there is through a price on pollution.
As a mother of a two-year-old, I share the fears of the parents in my riding, for whom the number one concern is the planet we will be leaving our children. We know we need to do more, and I will join them in that fight against climate change.
View Colin Carrie Profile
CPC (ON)
View Colin Carrie Profile
2020-02-28 11:06 [p.1737]
Madam Speaker, given Oshawa's long hockey history, it is not surprising that many families in my riding spend their winter nights and early mornings at the arena, but as much fun as our kids have playing the game they love, no minor hockey team, game or league exists without the hard-working volunteers who make them possible.
Since he was 17 years old, Dave Glazier has spent much of this life giving back to the OCHL, one of the local house league associations in my riding. Like many others in Oshawa, Dave spent his days on the General Motors assembly line during his working career, but his nights and weekends have been spent at the rink. As a coach, a board member and a tournament convener at the annual Heritage Classic, Dave's love for hockey has shown no bounds, and his volunteer work has been his way of sharing that with young players.
Dave will be retiring from his volunteer work with the OCHL come the end of this season, and hockey in Oshawa will not be the same without him. I thank him for the tremendous work he has done for the past 50 years and wish him a happy retirement.
View Darrell Samson Profile
Lib. (NS)
Madam Speaker, as we celebrate Black History Month, I want to recognize the 19 students currently enrolled in Irving Shipbuilding's Pathways to Shipbuilding for African Nova Scotians.
In June of this year, these students will graduate and start their careers as welders at Halifax Shipyard, where they will build the next fleets of the Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian Coast Guard. This program is a collaboration between Irving Shipbuilding, the Nova Scotia Community College, the government and community groups such as the East Preston Empowerment Academy. This program also creates opportunities for African Nova Scotians to learn a trade and establish long-term careers in shipbuilding, an industry in which these groups have been under-represented.
I invite all members of this House to join me in congratulating the 19 students, as well as the people who are involved in this special program.
View Anita Vandenbeld Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Anita Vandenbeld Profile
2020-02-28 11:08 [p.1737]
Madam Speaker, I rise in this House today to speak about the provincial by-elections held yesterday in Ottawa—Vanier and Orléans.
Voters in both ridings sent a resounding message to Doug Ford and elected two strong Liberal community champions in Stephen Blais and Lucille Collard.
Stephen and Lucille ran outstanding campaigns focused on education, health care and the Conservatives' failure in Ontario. I know that they will proudly represent their community and the city of Ottawa. I am eager to start working with them to move forward on issues affecting the region.
Congratulations to Stephen and Lucille, and to their outstanding team of volunteers in a hard-fought campaign and an impressive victory.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
View John Brassard Profile
2020-02-28 11:09 [p.1738]
Madam Speaker, National Volunteer Week is still a few weeks away, but it is never too early to appreciate the work and impact volunteers have in our communities.
During National Volunteer Week, I will once again be hosting the 2020 Barrie-Innisfil Volunteer Awards on Friday, April 24, at 12:30 in the afternoon. This is the fifth year that Barrie—Innisfil residents and organizations will be recognized for their kindness, generosity and compassion to youth, families and seniors.
Very soon, if they haven't already, residents in Barrie—Innisfil will be receiving in their mailboxes a form that they can complete to tell me how volunteerism has impacted their lives. They can also nominate someone they know or an organization doing amazing things to help others in our communities. Nomination forms are also available on my website at johnbrassard.com or in my Barrie—Innisfil office. Nominations must be received by Friday, April 3, at 5:00 p.m..
I thank every volunteer in Barrie—Innisfil and across Canada for all that they do to help the most vulnerable in our society.
View Adam van Koeverden Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Adam van Koeverden Profile
2020-02-28 11:10 [p.1738]
Madam Speaker, I proudly grew up in community housing, with my brother Luke and my mother Beata, at Chautauqua Co-op. My mom is the community coordinator at Briarview Co-op, and I join her in championing co-op housing as a solution for poverty and housing insecurity in Canada.
This past weekend in Milton I joined my neighbours for the Coldest Night of the Year walk. Miltonians walked two, five and 10 kilometres in support of Milton Transitional Housing, raising almost $60,000. I want to make special mention of Bob and Mary Walker, the original organizers of this event in Milton. They are both in their nineties now, and they have walked every single year, true champions of this cause.
Our government introduced Canada's first-ever poverty reduction strategy, and the recent Canadian income survey indicates that over one million Canadians have been lifted out of poverty since 2015. Collectively, we have achieved Canada's lowest rate of poverty ever.
Our plan is working, but better is always possible. I am thrilled to support that work on behalf of my neighbours in Milton and across Canada.
View Eric Melillo Profile
CPC (ON)
View Eric Melillo Profile
2020-02-28 11:11 [p.1738]
Madam Speaker, like many of my colleagues, one of my favourite aspects of this career is connecting with people across my riding by door knocking.
During the last campaign, I met a family at the door in Kenora. They have an amazing five-year-old daughter named Jo-Hannah. She is intelligent. She is full of character. I have no doubt in my mind that she will find a way to accomplish her greatest dreams.
Jo-Hannah was rendered completely blind from birth. Diagnosed at the age of four months, she has been learning throughout her life how to deal with the challenges that presents.
A simple task such as distinguishing between a harmful cleaning product or a bottle of juice can prove to be a barrier to Jo-Hannah's independence.
That is why I want to take this opportunity to remind all members of the House that we must do more to ensure that people like Jo-Hannah, the other 1.5 million visually impaired Canadians, have a safer and more accessible life. After all, it is up to all of us to work toward building a more inclusive society.
View Kerry-Lynne Findlay Profile
CPC (BC)
Madam Speaker, I have found myself reflective on the promise of Canada, a country few want to leave and many want to call home.
I have walked past “shut down Canada” signs, and been sworn at in the street by people holding those signs.
It is my daughter Donna's birthday today. She is a compassionate law student who fiercely defends the rights of women. What is this Canada she is inheriting?
I think on sacrifices of our ancestors, including first nations. I think of their deprivations and their fierce belief that this was a home worth fighting and dying for. I also think of how, in modern times, our freedoms in Canada are precious and too easily lost, freedoms such as peaceful protest, the dignity and self-worth that comes from work well done, the ability to provide for one's family, and the hopeful joy of a new parent.
However, I confess that I am worried for my country right now. We are having trouble finding our balance and finding our rhythm.
Helping others is a tried and true way to put our own egos aside and do good works from the heart out. Let us all embrace that challenge.
Believe in Canada.
View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2020-02-28 11:13 [p.1739]
Madam Speaker, the theme for Black History Month is “Canadians of African Descent: Going Forward, Guided by the Past”.
I believe all of us, regardless of ethnicity, can find inspiration and guidance in the stories of trail-blazing African Canadians, people like Windsor resident James L. Dunn, a 19th century black businessman who sued the Windsor Board of Education for its segregationist practices in 1883.
He lost the case, but continued the fight by being elected as a school board trustee and desegregating all of the city's schools. He went on to be elected as a town councillor and continued changing policies from the inside. It is fitting that Windsor's newest school be named after him.
However, one does not have to look into the past to find inspiration. In my riding of Windsor West we lost four outstanding individuals of African descent in 2019: Daphne Clarke, one of the founders of Windsor Women Working with Immigrant Women; Brian Kersey, a longtime labour and human rights activist; Freida Steele, one of Windsor's first black nurses who co-founded the Windsor and District Black Coalition; and Shelley Harding-Smith, Canada's first black female master electrician, a long-time school board trustee and a personal mentor of mine.
Let us all learn from their examples.
View Andréanne Larouche Profile
BQ (QC)
View Andréanne Larouche Profile
2020-02-28 11:14 [p.1739]
Madam Speaker, on March 8, we will celebrate International Women's Day.
Current events regularly remind us that the battle has not yet been won and that we need to continue to promote feminism for as long as it takes.
March 8 is not only a day to show how proud we are to be women, but also a unique opportunity to raise awareness of the feminist struggle here and around the world.
There are still far too many cases of femicide. In 2020, far too many women are still being killed simply because they are women, and the number of cases of discrimination and violence against women is growing. What is more, some rights that we took for granted are under attack now more than ever. That is not to mention the still significant inequality between men and women. We are still not treated the same way because of our gender.
Let us make our voices heard on social, political, economic and cultural issues. We must stand together in solidarity. Let us stand up for women' rights—
View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
The hon. member for Lethbridge.
View Rachael Harder Profile
CPC (AB)
View Rachael Harder Profile
2020-02-28 11:16 [p.1739]
Madam Speaker, on March 8 we celebrate International Women's Day. We celebrate women from all countries, all ethnicities and all faiths. We celebrate that all women are valuable and have incredible contributions to make to society.
Every woman is full of potential and able to positively impact the world. Every woman deserves an equal opportunity to do so. Many women, unfortunately, get up each day and face discrimination, harassment and perhaps even violence. This is unacceptable in a country as great as ours.
Today, we renew our commitment to creating a world where women and men exist as equals, people of equal value, equal worth and equal dignity.
Today, we celebrate the greatness in each and every woman across this country and around the globe. Today, we commit to being her champion. She is strong. She is capable. She is intelligent. She is talented. She is inspiring. She is a grandmother, mother, spouse, daughter, sister, niece, friend and coworker,
Today, we commit to empowering women everywhere.
View Ron McKinnon Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Ron McKinnon Profile
2020-02-28 11:17 [p.1739]
Madam Speaker, Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam has been a little extra kind lately. From February 9 to 15, students and teachers in my riding spread the word of committing kind and caring acts.
Real Acts of Caring began at Central Community School in Port Coquitlam in 2005. Students from across the riding have since supported this idea in their own schools and around our community. This year, Real Acts of Caring Week again had our community members doing something kind for one another and not expecting anything in return.
I would like to thank all those who participated and encourage everyone to continue caring about being kind.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
2020-02-28 11:18 [p.1740]
Madam Speaker, we learned today that in the last three months of 2019 our economy ground to a halt with a pathetic 0.3% growth rate and big declines, again, in business investment in machinery. Last year the U.S. economy grew almost 50% faster than here in Canada. By the way, this is all before the impacts of the coronavirus and the illegal blockades. Who knew that when they shut down major projects, raise taxes and wrap business in red tape, the economy stops moving?
When will the government realize that a week later equals a weak economy?
View Sean Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Sean Fraser Profile
2020-02-28 11:19 [p.1740]
Madam Speaker, with respect, the hon. member seems to be ignoring the enormous success the Canadian economy has experienced over the past number of years.
I will remind him we are at record low levels of unemployment. We have added more than one million new jobs to the Canadian economy. We have more women working in the Canadian economy than at any point in our history to date.
If the hon. member would take a break from running down the Canadian economy, he might actually realize that foreign direct investment is up, more people are working and we are experiencing an economic growth record that the Conservatives would blush at.
View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
Before it gets any worse, I just want to remind members to hold their comments and questions. There are opportunities to ask questions during question period, but there is also an opportunity to hear the answer. I would ask that the heckling stop.
The hon. member for Carleton.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
2020-02-28 11:19 [p.1740]
Madam Speaker, the member is absolutely right, Conservatives would blush if we were presiding over these terrible numbers.
Here we have the economy grinding down to a rate of 0.3%, and a third consecutive quarter in which business investment in machinery has collapsed. The economy is grinding to a halt, and that is even before the blockades started to take effect.
When will the government realize that “don't worry, be happy” is not an economic plan?
View Sean Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Sean Fraser Profile
2020-02-28 11:20 [p.1740]
Madam Speaker, the hon. member has completely misconstrued the plan that has actually led to over one million jobs being created in the Canadian economy.
I will remind him of some of the measures we put in place to help this development become a reality. We have invested by reducing the small business tax from 11% to 9%. We have created a new and more effective regulatory regime that will help projects move forward more effectively. We have engaged in international trade negotiations, and we are now the only G7 economy that has a free trade agreement with every other G7 economy.
We have a million new jobs, more people working and growth that would make the Conservatives jealous.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
2020-02-28 11:21 [p.1740]
Madam Speaker, I reiterate that these terrible numbers are from before the new illegal blockades took effect.
This quarter we are going to experience the repercussions of illegal protestors blocking the full functioning of our economy, something that the Prime Minister encouraged when he stood in the House of Commons and celebrated them as great defenders of human rights.
The reality is that this illegal blockade of our economy represents a war on working people. When will the government stand up and fight back?
View Joël Lightbound Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Joël Lightbound Profile
2020-02-28 11:21 [p.1740]
Madam Speaker, our government is working on a peaceful resolution to the conflict. There has been progress in the past week. There is now one blockade remaining on a Canadian railway near Montreal. We are working very hard. The Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations is currently in British Columbia, where she met with the hereditary chiefs to discuss a peaceful resolution to the conflict. Trains are once again running in the Belleville area on a line that is crucial to the Canadian economy. We have made progress.
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2020-02-28 11:22 [p.1740]
Madam Speaker, the truth is that we are in the fourth week of a major crisis for the Canadian economy. This crisis is entirely a product of this government's inertia and lack of leadership. That is the truth. Yesterday, Quebec's natural resources minister sounded the alarm. Quebec is—
View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
Order. There seems to be a problem hearing the interpretation.
I would ask the hon. member to start over, now that everything is working again.
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2020-02-28 11:23 [p.1740]
Madam Speaker, this is week four of the rail crisis in Canada, a crisis that was entirely created by the inaction of this government, which has shown mediocre leadership these past few months. Unfortunately, this is harming the economy in Canada and Quebec. Yesterday, Quebec's natural resources minister said that we are days away from a major propane crisis. Propane is very important to the economy. We know that Quebec already went through a propane crisis in November.
What does the government plan to do to respond to this very worrisome problem for Quebec's economy?
View Joël Lightbound Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Joël Lightbound Profile
2020-02-28 11:23 [p.1741]
Madam Speaker, I share the public's concern and impatience for finding a peaceful resolution to this conflict. That has been our goal from the start. Our priority is dialogue, which is what the provincial premiers also asked for when they met the Prime Minister last week.
There is now just one remaining rail blockade in Canada. Two days ago, rail traffic resumed on the Belleville rail line, which is critical to Canada's economy and the shipping of propane to Quebec and eastern Canada.
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2020-02-28 11:24 [p.1741]
Madam Speaker, during all this time, containers piled up, ports were blocked and the trains that were not running were lined up one after the other.
Perhaps the Minister of Transport meant to reassure Canadians yesterday, but he did exactly the opposite. He said it was going to take months for the Canadian economy to get back to normal for the movement of goods in Canada.
Is there anyone in this government who can set the record straight for Canadians and tell them when the economy might finally get back to normal after three weeks of government inaction?
View Chris Bittle Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Chris Bittle Profile
2020-02-28 11:24 [p.1741]
Madam Speaker, the government fully understands the impacts that these blockades are having across the country. I would like to remind the hon. member that the Minister of Transport and his department helped facilitate an agreement between CN and CP to get rail traffic going and that up to 70% of CN's goods were flowing down the tracks.
Exaggerating the shortages does not benefit Canadians. There is some backup. We hope to get everything back moving and we are moving in the right direction.
View Marilène Gill Profile
BQ (QC)
View Marilène Gill Profile
2020-02-28 11:25 [p.1741]
Madam Speaker, the Bloc Québécois has been saying from day one that the Prime Minister needs to do something about the rail crisis. For over two weeks now, since February 13 to be exact, the Bloc has been proposing mediation. For 10 days now, we have been saying that the RCMP must withdraw from the Wet'suwet'en territory and the work must be halted. The government finally woke up in the past 48 hours. The government has completely mismanaged this crisis, despite our proposals.
Now will someone at least manage the aftermath of the crisis?
View Gary Anandasangaree Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question.
Our government has been working around the clock to resolve this issue in a peaceful and lasting way. Our Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations is currently in British Columbia along with her B.C. counterpart in Smithers, to have continued discussions with the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs. We are encouraged that all parties have worked together to create the necessary conditions to meet.
I want to quote the hereditary chiefs who made it clear to their supporters yesterday that they now “need time to have discussions...in an atmosphere of” respect. We look forward to those discussions.
View Marilène Gill Profile
BQ (QC)
View Marilène Gill Profile
2020-02-28 11:26 [p.1741]
Madam Speaker, that was not what I was asking. I was talking about the aftermath of the crisis, even if it is not quite over. It is difficult to assess the cost of the rail crisis because it has not been resolved yet. Even the Minister of Transport believes that it could take months for rail transportation to return to normal.
At this point, we may well be talking about billions of dollars in losses for our businesses, not to mention what the families of laid-off workers have lost. Quebec even made a commitment to provide emergency assistance to businesses.
Will the government provide financial support to the businesses and workers affected?
View Chris Bittle Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Chris Bittle Profile
2020-02-28 11:27 [p.1741]
Madam Speaker, as I have said, the government understands the significant impacts that these blockades have had across the country. I know we are working hard to resolve the issues that are outstanding and focusing on negotiation as the best way to solve this in a lasting and meaningful way. We will continue to do that. We hope to hear progress from the meetings with the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and look forward to hearing from her from British Columbia.
View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2020-02-28 11:27 [p.1741]
Madam Speaker, the Prime Minister's failure of leadership has forced another 1,500 auto workers in Windsor Essex out of their jobs. The Liberals have given up on the auto sector. They cancelled the automotive investment fund, they ignored the “auto czar”, and, like the Conservatives, have refused to bring in a national auto strategy to support the assembly and supply chain.
What will it take? How many jobs have to be lost? How many communities have to be devastated before the Liberals realize that this industry and the Canadians who work for it are worth fighting for?
View Kate Young Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Kate Young Profile
2020-02-28 11:28 [p.1742]
Madam Speaker, we are very concerned about jobs and understand the anxiety in the Windsor area. Our government understands the path to economic prosperity varies from region to region. As a member from southwestern Ontario, I know how important the auto industry is to the region.
I was with the minister just two weeks ago when we met with local businesses and the mayor of Windsor. We are hearing their concerns.
View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
View Gord Johns Profile
2020-02-28 11:29 [p.1742]
Madam Speaker, the Liberals promised they were going to move to on land, closed containment salmon farms on the B.C. coast by 2025. It was even in the minister's mandate letter. Now they are saying they will not even have a plan until 2025.
B.C. wild salmon workers cannot wait five years. The transition needs to get started now to save Pacific wild salmon. The Liberals already know that open-net salmon farming is impacting wild salmon stocks, so why are they delaying?
View Terry Beech Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Terry Beech Profile
2020-02-28 11:29 [p.1742]
Madam Speaker, on this issue I think it is important that we are incredibly clear. When it comes to finfish open-net pen aquaculture specific to the B.C. coast, we are moving forward on our commitment to transition away, completely independent, from anything happening on the east coast. This is a tricky issue. It is going to mean working with the province. It is going to mean working with indigenous people. It is going to mean making sure we take care of the economic opportunities that coastal communities are depending on. We are going to do that work.
View Tim Uppal Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tim Uppal Profile
2020-02-28 11:30 [p.1742]
Madam Speaker, yesterday the Auditor General appeared before the public accounts committee and said that his office does not have the financial resources required to fulfill his mandate to properly audit the government. He is forced to conduct fewer audits, and his IT system is completely out of date. He is still running on the old DOS system. He has made several unsuccessful requests for more funding.
Why is the Prime Minister hampering the Auditor General's office and restricting him from conducting more audits into his government?
View Sean Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Sean Fraser Profile
2020-02-28 11:30 [p.1742]
Madam Speaker, taking a question from the Conservatives on officers of Parliament is like taking a question about the well-being of chickens from Colonel Sanders. When it comes to the Office of the Auditor General, I will point out to the hon. member that the Conservatives cut $6.5 million from its budget and removed 60 employees.
As part of budget 2018, during the past Parliament we committed to investing more than $41 million in additional funding for the Office of the Auditor General.
I will start taking these questions seriously when the Conservatives step up with actions, not just words.
View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
I want to remind members that we were doing really well. I would again ask members to not heckle when we get the answers.
The hon. member for Mégantic—L'Érable.
View Luc Berthold Profile
CPC (QC)
View Luc Berthold Profile
2020-02-28 11:31 [p.1742]
Madam Speaker, the Auditor General has launched an investigation into the Liberals' $186-billion infrastructure plan. He has said again and again that he does not have the resources to do his job.
Yesterday, I asked the Minister of Infrastructure if cabinet is going to support this request, to ensure that the Auditor General has the money he needs to conduct his investigation. She answered that they want to be held accountable for what they are doing.
Will the Minister of Finance also act responsibly and give the Auditor General the funds he has requested to conduct his audits?
View Sean Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Sean Fraser Profile
2020-02-28 11:32 [p.1742]
Madam Speaker, again I find it rich to take questions on the adequacy of funding to officers of Parliament given the Conservatives' track record of cutting those resources in order to avoid scrutiny of the government when they were in power.
In budget 2018, our government beefed up the funding for the Office of the Auditor General by $41 million, which represents a 16% increase relative to the 2015-16 fiscal year. When it comes to ensuring that officers of Parliament have the resources they need, we are going to work with them to ensure they benefit not only our government but all Canadians.
View Pat Kelly Profile
CPC (AB)
View Pat Kelly Profile
2020-02-28 11:32 [p.1742]
Madam Speaker, the answers we have received to those two questions are ridiculous.
In 2011, the Auditor General voluntarily participated in a deficit reduction action plan. He told the NDP committee chair he had enough money then to do his job, but now he is saying he does not. The main estimates reveal the Liberals have cut $300,000 from the budget. When will the minister do the right thing and fully fund the Auditor General, like the former Liberal co-chair advised in the letter that went to him in June?
View Sean Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Sean Fraser Profile
2020-02-28 11:33 [p.1743]
Madam Speaker, I have already given a detailed answer on both Conservative cuts to officers of Parliament by the Conservatives and the investments we made in budget 2018.
The fact of the matter is we remain committed to supporting the work of the Auditor General and other officers of Parliament. We are going to ensure they are able to have the tools they need to do their job to ensure Canadians benefit from their advice and Parliament can work to its greatest capacity.
View Jacques Gourde Profile
CPC (QC)
View Jacques Gourde Profile
2020-02-28 11:33 [p.1743]
Madam Speaker, our country's economy is chugging along at the same speed as freight trains. After more than 23 days, the rail blockades are causing huge losses for our economy. These losses will be felt for a very long time.
Unlike the Prime Minister, Canadians are running out of patience and tolerance. There are limits. Enough is enough.
Will the Prime Minister show some backbone and get Canada's locomotive back on track?
View Chris Bittle Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Chris Bittle Profile
2020-02-28 11:34 [p.1743]
Madam Speaker, we understand the impacts that these blockades are having across the country, but it is important we proceed with a negotiated settlement of these disputes because we want a lasting settlement. We do not want to see these blockades happening again.
The government is engaged in those negotiations and we are doing what we can to ensure a lasting settlement going forward.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
View John Brassard Profile
2020-02-28 11:34 [p.1743]
Madam Speaker, all week the Liberals have been spinning Teck's decision to cancel their project as the company's decision. It is the same spin they used when TransCanada cancelled energy east.
The systematic destruction of Canada's energy sector is what the Prime Minister and the Liberals have always wanted. Here is the truth: Liberals have politicized the process to the point where these companies and others have decided not to invest further in Canada while the Liberals are in power.
Why will Liberals not stop the spin and acknowledge that billions of dollars in lost opportunity and the jobs that go with them lie directly at their feet?
View Chrystia Freeland Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, let me just state very clearly for members of this House and for all Canadians that our government absolutely understands the importance of natural resources to the Canadian economy, and in particular, of the oil and gas sectors.
Canada is one of the world's leading oil and gas producers, one of the world's leading oil and gas exporters, and that sector provides hundreds of thousands of high-paying jobs, including blue-collar jobs across the country. That is of great value and that is something our government supports.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
View John Brassard Profile
2020-02-28 11:36 [p.1743]
Madam Speaker, also this week, we found who is really in charge of Canada. As Global News showed us, the Prime Minister is taking his cues from the granola-crunching, Castro-loving, VW bus-driving, anti-resource, anti-government, anti-everything professional protesters with absolutely no connections to first nations groups.
Across the country this week, including in Union Station in Toronto, illegal blockades affected not just commuters, but also communities.
Why are the Liberals supporting wealth-funded eco-radicals more than hard-working Canadians and the businesses that employ them?
View Chris Bittle Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Chris Bittle Profile
2020-02-28 11:36 [p.1743]
Madam Speaker, I understand, representing residents who use GO rail to get to work in Toronto, the impacts this is having and that rail blockades in the past have had across the country over the last few weeks.
We are working hard toward a negotiated peace and settlement. The tone by the Conservatives to exaggerate the impact is not appropriate. The tone to call in the army and to order the police is inappropriate and is not helping anything. He is only exacerbating the situation.
View Christine Normandin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Christine Normandin Profile
2020-02-28 11:37 [p.1743]
Madam Speaker, businesses' use of facial recognition technology is worrisome. Canadians have the right to go about their business, enter stores and work without being constantly spied on. This brings up some serious questions about how these companies can use our biometric data.
The Quebec government and the federal government do not yet have a legal framework to regulate the use of facial recognition technology or to protect the data obtained through this technology.
Will the government temporarily ban the sale of facial recognition software to businesses?
View Joël Lightbound Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Joël Lightbound Profile
2020-02-28 11:38 [p.1743]
Madam Speaker, I want to thank the member for her question. I agree that this is a worrisome issue.
We must always strive to balance privacy against, in the case of the RCMP, which was also involved with Clearview, the duty to protect Canadians. That is why the RCMP will be working with the Privacy Commissioner to make sure it finds that balance.
As for my colleague's broader question, I will note that the privacy commissioners of Quebec, British Columbia and Canada will be examining this issue.
View Christine Normandin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Christine Normandin Profile
2020-02-28 11:38 [p.1744]
Madam Speaker, Clearview AI, a leader in facial recognition technology whose services are used by police, has revealed that it suffered a data breach. That is our personal biometric data.
Companies today are hoping to sell this kind of technology to private corporations so they can target the right clients, spy on their behaviour and profile them. In addition to raising major ethical concerns, this is simply not safe. We cannot just wait until a problem crops up. We need a ban.
Is the government prepared to introduce one?
View Ali Ehsassi Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ali Ehsassi Profile
2020-02-28 11:39 [p.1744]
Madam Speaker, Canadians are understandably anxious about how their data is being used in an increasingly digital world. Allow me to assure my colleague that the privacy commissioners of Canada, B.C., Quebec and Alberta are jointly investigating whether the organization's practices are in full compliance with Canadian privacy law. As this is an active investigation, no additional details are available at this time.
View Martin Shields Profile
CPC (AB)
View Martin Shields Profile
2020-02-28 11:39 [p.1744]
Madam Speaker, the new CRTC guidelines in the Yale report that the minister is reviewing are deeply flawed. I have strong concerns about the journalists being licensed and registered.
I am also very frustrated about Yale report recommendation number four that would have nine board members live or move to Ottawa for seven years. That is discriminatory to western Canada and just plain wrong.
Will the government commit to rejecting recommendation number four of the Yale report or will the government continue to alienate western Canada?
View Julie Dabrusin Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Julie Dabrusin Profile
2020-02-28 11:40 [p.1744]
Madam Speaker, our government thanks the members of the Yale report for the work they did. The panel has undertaken a wonderful final report, and we are looking at the recommendations in the report and plan to take action as swiftly as possible.
The report recommendations that are proposed are all being considered, and we support a strong, competitive broadcasting media sector. We intend to move swiftly to ensure all players, including web giants, support Canadian culture. We are reviewing them and are looking at them right now.
View Nelly Shin Profile
CPC (BC)
View Nelly Shin Profile
2020-02-28 11:41 [p.1744]
Madam Speaker, the Prime Minister announced a $600-billion media bailout before the last election, and then he directed his minister to create new regulations that control social media platforms. January's Yale report states, “accurate, reliable, and trusted news content is in peril”, and “The CRTC must be able to monitor and address issues concerning news content...regardless of format.”
The Prime Minister has been priming his way to control what Canadians have to say. When will the Prime Minister stop attacking freedom of speech and expression?
View Julie Dabrusin Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Julie Dabrusin Profile
2020-02-28 11:41 [p.1744]
Madam Speaker, our government believes in a strong, free and independent press. The report we received from an independent panel proposes to exempt news media from licensing requirements. I want to be clear on our intentions. Our government will not impose licensing requirements on news organizations, nor will we regulate news content. Our focus is to ensure Canadians have strong access to diverse, high-quality and credible news.
View Steven Blaney Profile
CPC (QC)
Madam Speaker, we already knew that the Liberals have been ignoring our community radio stations and regional newspapers, but now we have learned that they are giving web giants five times more money than they are giving our Canadian media. What? The government is giving $52 million to foreign companies that do not pay taxes in Canada. Why not invest in Ricardo's site, which has 3.8 million online viewers, or in VÉRO magazine, which has a readership of 800,000? They pay taxes here in Canada.
View Julie Dabrusin Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Julie Dabrusin Profile
2020-02-28 11:42 [p.1744]
Madam Speaker, as my friend from across the way knows, we are reviewing all of the regulations and are committed to ensuring that Canadian creators are paid their fair share. That is something we are continuing to work on, and I look forward to working with the member from across the way as we work on those proposals.
View Dan Albas Profile
CPC (BC)
Madam Speaker, despite the federal government ignoring the scourge of money laundering, a provincial inquiry into the practice has started in B.C. BMW told the inquiry that the lack of port police has allowed a massive increase in illegal exports to China. This is a huge problem because the federal government has rejected calls to subject luxury car purchases to FINTRAC reporting.
Either these Liberals are ignorant to what is happening in my home province, which, despite its distance, is still part of this country, or they just do not care. Which is it?
View Sean Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Sean Fraser Profile
2020-02-28 11:43 [p.1745]
Madam Speaker, when it comes to money laundering, our government put in place a strong regime to make sure that we are watching out for this kind of irresponsible and, frankly, illegal behaviour.
We are working with the provinces so we can highlight the information for beneficial owners. We are going to continue to work with all parties of the House to ensure we are taking care of Canadians. I look forward to a follow-up conversation with the member to discuss this in more detail.
View Laurel Collins Profile
NDP (BC)
View Laurel Collins Profile
2020-02-28 11:44 [p.1745]
Madam Speaker, the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs have been asking for weeks for a meeting with the Prime Minister, but he just cannot seem to find the time. When wealthy and powerful corporations like Enbridge and Suncor ask for a meeting, he does not hesitate.
Canadians are waiting on the Prime Minister to show some leadership and take real action to de-escalate this situation. Why does the Prime Minister have time for big oil and gas but not for indigenous leaders?
View Gary Anandasangaree Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, I want to start by rejecting the premise of that question.
I want to reiterate that, as we speak right now, our Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations is in British Columbia, along with her B.C. counterpart, in meetings with the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs. We are encouraged by the recent developments, and we are encouraged that all parties have come together to create the necessary conditions for this meeting.
It is a positive first step and discussions will continue. As the hereditary chiefs made clear to their supporters yesterday, they now “need time to have discussions...in an atmosphere of” respect.
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