Interventions in the House of Commons
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View Geoff Regan Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Geoff Regan Profile
2018-03-22 10:03 [p.17849]
I have the honour to lay upon the table the 2017 annual report of the Canadian Human Rights Commission. Pursuant to Standing Order 108(3)(e), this document is deemed to have been permanently referred to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to table, in both official languages, a charter statement on Bill C-71, an act to amend certain acts and regulations in relation to firearms.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2018-03-22 10:03 [p.17849]
Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to four petitions.
View Kevin Sorenson Profile
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 42nd report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, entitled “Report 1, Phoenix Pay Problems, of the Fall 2017 Reports of the Auditor General of Canada—Part 1”.
Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee request that the government table a comprehensive response to the report.
View Denis Paradis Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Denis Paradis Profile
2018-03-22 10:05 [p.17849]
Mr. Speaker, I have a petition from residents of Magog about Lake Memphrémagog. We have a big problem. On the Canadian side of the lake, the water is potable, but not on the American side. There is a garbage dump on the American side that could pollute Lake Memphrémagog, which is where all 200,000 people of Magog and Sherbrooke get their drinking water.
The petitioners are asking the Minister of Global Affairs to raise this matter with the International Joint Commission.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2018-03-22 10:06 [p.17849]
Mr. Speaker, I would ask that all questions be allowed to stand.
The Speaker: Is that agreed?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 83(1) I wish to table a ways and means motion to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018, and other measures.
Pursuant to Standing Order 83(2) I ask that an order of the day be designated for consideration of the motion.
View Pierre Paul-Hus Profile
That, given the Prime Minister has supported a claim that the invitation issued to a convicted attempted murderer was the work of a foreign government attempting to interfere in Canadian foreign relations, while others in the government, including the Minister of Foreign Affairs, claimed that the invitation was an “honest mistake” on the part of the Canadian government, the House call upon the Prime Minister to instruct his National Security Advisor, Daniel Jean, to appear before the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security to provide the Committee the same briefing he gave to journalists on February 23, 2018, and that the briefing take place in public and no later than March 30, 2018.
Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my colleague from Foothills.
I rise in the House today to speak to an important issue, although one that is also sad and shameful. Yes, I want to talk about the Prime Minister's recent disastrous trip to India, as well as our immense need to get to the bottom of the unfounded accusations made against the Indian government.
Our Prime Minister has been arrogant and disrespectful to the House and elected members from all parties. He is in the habit of sharing information with journalists ahead of Parliament and that is shameful. His arrogance, his lack of judgment, and his impetuous behaviour has spoiled our diplomatic relations with India. The relationship between our two countries is in shambles. That relationship was built over years with a great deal of effort. It is sad, but true.
We have a Prime Minister who is not very keen on coming to the House to answer questions. I guess that when he was young and dreaming of becoming Prime Minister, it never occurred to him that as leader of the country he would have to be accountable to Canadians. I guess that he thought it would be just like in the movies, where decisions and problems are neatly wrapped up in the end.
I honestly believe that the Prime Minister has woken up to the reality of his responsibilities and role and is in a state of shock. He rarely comes to the House, and when he does honour us with his presence, he does not answer the questions. He is all talk and no substance.
Let us review the facts. During the Prime Minister's family vacation to India, the media reported that a criminal convicted of attempted murder had been invited to one of the Canadian Prime Minister's events. To save face, the Prime Minister's first instinct was to do what he usually does and blame someone else for his own mistakes.
Usually, he blames our former prime minister, Stephen Harper, for all the mistakes that he and his ministers are making here in Canada. However, since he was in India, on the other side of the world, he could not find a Stephen Harper or a Conservative government, so he had to improvise. Since he is not overly skilled in the art of telling the truth, he made another mistake in an attempt to hide his first mistake. If you can imagine, our Prime Minister actually accused the Indian government of plotting to embarrass and undermine Canada by placing Mr. Atwal's name on the Prime Minister's guest list.
To lend some credence to his made-up story, the Prime Minister sent a senior official to a media-only briefing, to try to sell them this story.
Later, the Prime Minister said that he stood by the claims and accusations his official made against the Indian government. They did not hesitate to make allegations against India to Canadians, but they never provided any evidence or other information to justify their position. The Prime Minister ended up being the only one who believed the story he had made up.
That same day, both the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Liberal member for Surrey Centre readily, though clumsily, denied the Prime Minister's claims.
From the very beginning, the Indian government rejected the accusations. Even Mr. Atwal confirmed, with deep dismay, that India had not been involved.
Who are we to believe? We have two versions to choose from, the one from the Prime Minister and his national security adviser, and the one from the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Atwal, the Indian government itself, and the member for Surrey Centre. This latter group all denied that the Indian government had played a role in extending this invitation to Mr. Atwal. They all affirmed that there had been no plot, and the minister even apologized to the Indian government.
On the opposite side, there is the isolated and unrepentant Prime Minister, who continues to level serious accusations at India.
This Prime Minister often uses big words to say nothing at all. This Prime Minister loves to hear the sound of his own voice. For all of these reasons, we need to shine a light on this affair.
Every major nation knows that it is important to maintain good relations with other countries.
Year after year, we, as elected representatives, work hard in partnership with our staff in diplomatic affairs and other services to sign free trade agreements and increase our exports to new markets. This work is crucial because it is the main driver of job creation in Canada.
In a fit of impulsiveness and wanton recklessness, our Prime Minister destroyed our business community's chances of securing business opportunities in the Indian market.
For all of these reasons, we need to hear the testimony of the public servant who could tell the House the whole truth about this infamous affair.
First, why did the Prime Minister force Daniel Jean to tell the media an unbelievable story? Now, that same Prime Minister is hindering the work of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security by preventing Mr. Jean from answering the questions of elected officials. Why? Does he have something to hide? The Prime Minister likes to brag about being transparent and about having cleaner hands than any other leader in Canadian history. He claims to be the the Obama of the north.
We want explanations and we want answers. The only man—sorry, I meant to say the only person—
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
Mr. Pierre Paul-Hus: One has to be careful these days, right?
The only person who has the power to resolve this issue once and for all is the Prime Minister himself. I am therefore asking the Prime Minister to do his job.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2018-03-22 10:15 [p.17851]
Madam Speaker, to say I am disappointed in the member across the way would come as no surprise to the opposition.
The Conservatives carry on with this character assassination of the Minister of Finance and the Prime Minister. They talk about arrogance. I sat in opposition for years, and I saw an arrogant prime minister by the name of Stephen Harper, a prime minister who had a huge disconnect with Canadians.
Contrast that to our Prime Minister, a prime minister who is constantly out in the community meeting with Canadians. He actually has town halls and invites Canadians to participate and ask questions they might have that are important to our economy and society. He is a prime minister who genuinely cares about Canada's middle class and those aspiring to be a part of it. Members can take a look at the litany of policies that have enabled our economy to grow, to assist our middle class and those aspiring to be a part of it.
I would love to spend a full day contrasting our Prime Minister to Stephen Harper, but Canadians already did that back in 2015.
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux: You can applaud all you want—
View Carol Hughes Profile
I would remind the parliamentary secretary that he is to address all questions to the Chair. He has been in the House and in politics long enough to know that.
The hon. member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles.
View Pierre Paul-Hus Profile
Madam Speaker, my colleague is very passionate. We know that he is the one who talks the most in the House. Once again, as was the case with the Prime Minister, those words do not mean anything. Prime Minister Harper, of whom I am very proud, is the only one who managed to sign free trade agreements with countries all over the world.
The Prime Minister came back from Vietnam, China, and India in disgrace. Nothing was accomplished for Canadians or business people. What is more, he is making up a story to cover up his problems. Stop comparing him to former prime minister Stephen Harper. Mr. Harper is a smart man who worked hard for Canadians. All your Prime Minister has is empty rhetoric that means nothing.
View Carol Hughes Profile
I do not think that the member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles understood what I just told the parliamentary secretary. I would therefore remind him that he must address the Chair and not other members or the government directly.
The hon. member for Beloeil—Chambly.
View Matthew Dubé Profile
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2018-03-22 10:17 [p.17851]
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech. I sit with him on the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, and I am pleased to support his efforts to have Mr. Jean appear before the committee, especially in this difficult situation. The Liberals do not want us to have the same briefing as the media. That is the difference. No matter one's views or party allegiance, the fact remains that the Liberals' conduct on this trip raised questions. I believe that at a bare minimum we should have the opportunity to hear from an expert who will explain how he arrived at his conclusions. I realize that we must always be prudent and careful when hearing from people who work on national security in a public forum. However, I believe that information has already been provided to the public by the media. There is nothing more public than that.
I would like to ask my colleague why he believes that the Liberals do not even want to debate the motion. In committee, they did not defeat the motion, they chose to adjourn the debate. They do not even want to talk about it. Why does he think that this is the case?
View Pierre Paul-Hus Profile
Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague from Beloeil—Chambly for his question and for supporting our collective efforts to shine a light on this affair.
Why do the Liberal Party members on the government side oppose this motion? It is probably because they are getting their orders directly from the Prime Minister's Office. However, they should know that in committee and in the House, as duly elected representatives, if their hearts and minds are telling them to demand that this business be cleared up, they have the right to vote for this motion. They have the right to vote with us. They represent their constituents. Canadians want to know what happened. Citizens want to know whether the Prime Minister made up a story or whether it is the others, including his Minister of Foreign Affairs and his member, who are telling falsehoods. People want to know. The information from Mr. Jean has been given to the media. At the very least, members of Parliament should be informed as well.
View John Barlow Profile
View John Barlow Profile
2018-03-22 10:19 [p.17851]
Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to speak to this issue. I will be taking a different tack on what we are discussing today.
Our motion is asking the Prime Minister to come clean with the conspiracy theories he has been putting forward. This is an issue of concern for Canadians across the country who want to ensure that their Prime Minister is being honest, especially in his dealings with countries around the world like India, a trusted ally and one of the largest democracies in the world.
I want to touch on the very real consequences of the lack of judgment of the Prime Minister, as a result of his actions in India, and the ramifications that we are feeling here at home. What should have been one of the top priorities for the Prime Minister when he went to India was the significant trading issue we have with one of our most significant trading partners when it comes to Canadian agriculture, certainly with respect to our pulses, lentils, peas, and chickpeas.
The Conservative government grew Canada's pulse industry to a more than $4.5 billion industry. Farmers in my constituency of Foothills in southern Alberta and throughout the province are now growing crops like soybeans, chickpeas, and lentils, which were never grown there 10 years ago. As a result of new innovation and new technology they are able to grow these very lucrative crops. One of the reasons that they want to seed these crops is the opportunity to access lucrative new markets like India. However, over the last few months and as a result of the Prime Minister's actions in India, we have seen what was once a great opportunity for Canadian agriculture drop to not nearly that scope.
For example, in the days after the Prime Minister returned from India, the Indian government raised the tariff on Canadian chickpea exports from 40% to 60%. The Liberal government does not seem to understand the very real consequences for Canadians and Canadian entrepreneurs in agriculture as a result of its actions in India . Not only is this a question of the Prime Minister's embarrassing performance in India, but it is also having an impact here at home. I want to give the House some statistics with respect to just how profound this impact is.
The Prime Minister went to India to hopefully address some of these issues. When he came back, we found that not only had the issue not been addressed but it was substantially worse. To put that in perspective, the price Canadians were getting for a bushel of lentils prior to the fall was about $9 a bushel. Now we are getting just over $6.90 a bushel. That is a substantial decrease in the price that Canadians were getting for their product on the market. A great deal of that can be directly attributed to the Prime Minister's performance in India.
The fumigation issue was one that we were hoping the Prime Minister would be able to address on that trip. He said over there that they were able to bring that issue to the table, and I appreciate that, but they did not come home with any agreement, nothing was signed indicating that the fumigation issue was going to be addressed. In fact, there is no agreement. It is just maybe something that will be discussed further as we go through 2018. We have to understand the financial consequences of that.
When we talk about a shipment of these products that are going from Canada to India, we do not have the exemption on the fumigation, which we used to have. It sunsetted last December and the Indian government did not extend that exemption. It is now costing Canadian producers $700,000 per shipment on these products going to India. India is not asking us to necessarily fumigate our shipments, but it is charging us a fee when we send our products over there. India has also increased the tariffs on peas to 50% and on lentils to 30%. There is now a fear within the pulse industry in Canada that India could increase the tariffs on lentils to 100%, which is still within WTO rules.
My concern, and I think the concern that is shared by producers across the country, is that increasing these tariffs, including the latest one increasing the tariffs on chickpeas from 40% to 60%, is just a shot across the bow, just a warning shot that is saying to Canada that it must come clean with its actions when it comes to Jaspal Atwal and the claim that this was a conspiracy put forth by the Indian government. Until there is responsibility taken for the consequences, they are going to continue to take this out on Canadian farmers.
I certainly do not believe that is fair in any way, shape, or form, when our farmers or Canadian producers are the ones who are paying the very real consequences for the Prime Minister and his antics in India. Every single day here in question period, he continues to send mixed messages. Even in one single answer he is giving two different responses that simply do not mix. One cannot happen without the other. Either it was a conspiracy by the Indian government or it was an honest mistake, as the Minister of Foreign Affairs has said. It has to be one or the other, and it cannot be both. Until the Prime Minister steps forward, takes responsibility, and shows some accountability for his actions, we are going to continue to face some of these consequences, and it could get worse.
For example, there is a company in Saskatchewan that just recently signed a fertilizer agreement with India to supply India with potash. What makes this agreement so unprecedented is that it is the first potash mine in Canada that is being done in strong partnership with a first nation in Saskatchewan. The potash mine is actually on a first nation's land. This is something that the first nation community in northern Saskatchewan will benefit from. It is a memorandum of understanding between the first nation, the mining company, and India to supply potash. However, who is to say that they are not the next target? Will the next step for the Indian government be to say that they are not going to move forward with this agreement to supply potash from Canada to India? Is this another company or sector of industry that is going to be impacted by this?
I want to give my colleagues a quote from Gord Bacon who is the CEO of Pulse Canada, and was on that trip with the Prime Minister to India. Earlier on, when it came to the fumigation issue, Gord Bacon said, “There was never a science-based reason [for fumigation]. We were having to mix biological science with political science and the two never mixed well.” Thus, even with Pulse Canada and our producers across the country, they are raising alarms on the consequences of the Prime Minister's actions in India and the very real implications that this is having on the ground.
We are asking the Liberal government to quickly take action on this. I have to be honest. I am not expecting them to take quick action because we have certainly seen over the last several months that when it comes to Canadian agriculture and rural economic development, these are certainly not priorities for the Liberal government. In fact, when a lot of these issues were going on, our agriculture minister was nowhere to be found.
When the pulse and lentil tariffs were raised last fall, the Liberals sent a trade mission to India. The fumigation and trade issues with our pulse products were not even raised, not to mention that the agriculture minister was not even part of that delegation that went to India to discuss possible free trade agreements with that trading partner. Then again, in January, the Prime Minister went back to India. He took almost 20 MPs and ministers to go on his taxpayer family vacation and photo op extravaganza. This is one of the top issues that we are dealing with here, yet the agriculture minister was not among that massive entourage that went with the Prime Minister on that trip.
Then we talk about the grain backlog, which is another huge issue for our agriculture sector. The agriculture minister said it is not really a very serious issue when our producers cannot get their products to market. The transportation minister said that he is “satisfied” with what CN and CP are doing. Is he serious? At one point, sometimes only 6% of the railcars, the grain cars, that were ordered were actually being delivered. This tells me that when it comes to agriculture and rural economy, the Liberal government is more than happy to sacrifice our rural Canadians for their antics.
We need a Prime Minister who is going to take our global relations and our trading partnerships seriously. Canadian agriculture depends on it.
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