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Results: 1 - 15 of 23984
View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
The hon. member for Elmwood—Transcona has six minutes left for his speech.
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
2021-03-26 10:02 [p.5343]
Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to join the House again to complete my remarks on Bill C-19. The last day we were debating the bill, I spoke to some of the content of the legislation with respect to what it proposed and some of the areas for improvement that I hoped could be addressed at committee.
I expressed then, and I will express it again now, my desire to see the bill proceed quickly to committee. While it is important for a number of reasons, it is no secret to anybody in the House that this is a minority Parliament, and things can sometimes move quickly in minority Parliaments. We could end up with an election and it is important we be ready for that should it come.
However, I also emphasized, and I want to emphasize again, the extent to which it really is incumbent upon all members of Parliament at this time to work to avoid an election. As a member of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, who participated in the study on what a pandemic election might look like, we heard very clearly that there were a lot of risks, and they are not just public health risks.
There is a real risk of disenfranchising people and having Canadians who want to vote either decide that they should not because it is too much of a risk to their personal health or they might face other barriers that do not have anything to do with an immediate risk to their personal health but present barriers nevertheless. That might be around transportation options to get to polling stations and other kinds of challenges that people have faced as a result of the pandemic.
What is important to bear in mind is that when all of us were elected in the 2019, the pandemic was not on our minds. Nobody saw this coming. However, we were each elected with a responsibility to be leaders in our community and to speak for our community. For as much as there have been disagreements on many things, and rightly so, and I think that is what people would expect in Parliament, there has been, and ought to continue to be, an overriding sense of responsibility to work together.
There is obviously a really important leadership role for government in that, to continue to have an open posture to consult opposition parties. I, frankly, think it did a better job of that during the early days of the pandemic and it issued in better policy. As the government apparently gets more interested in an election, we see some signs of that here and there in the things the Liberals say, both about Parliament and in the way they have behaved in Parliament, as well as some opposition parties.
We also see it in what the Prime Minister has been saying to his national executive and even in some of the speculation about the date announced for the budget, which is later than many people expected. It happens to coincide nicely with the timing of a pre-summer election should the Prime Minister desire it. There are a lot coincidences happening, and that is the most charitable way to put it.
It would be a mistake for the country to have an election at this time. Different COVID variants are popping up different in parts of the country. We just saw the experience in Newfoundland and Labrador where an election took much longer to complete than anybody expected because the nature of the pandemic changed mid-election and the date was pushed back many times
It is disconcerting that the Prime Minister continually refuses to say that he will not unilaterally call an election. He can make that commitment. If we end up in an election, at least let it be because things actually fell apart in the House of Commons. However, the Prime Minister continues to retain his ability and will not pledge not to use it to go to the Governor General and cause an election.
Parliament has already demonstrated that spirit of collaboration. The fact is that we are having a budget in April 2021, but did not have one for the entire year of 2020. The estimates, which are owed to the House under the Standing Orders, were significantly delayed. This is a sign that Parliament has been willing to accommodate the government and recognize the extraordinary nature of the times we are in.
Parliament has shown a lot of flexibility. It has not always been easy and it has not always been a fun process getting there. It has had its fair share of criticisms from people on all sides, which is fair enough. It is a Parliament and that will happen. The point is this. If we look at the outcomes, we have been able to get enough good outcomes for people to ensure that financial distress and bankruptcy was not the overriding narrative of the pandemic for most Canadians. There are other things we can and should be doing and the place to have that debate is in Parliament.
We were all elected to bring those views to the table and to do our best work to advance solutions on behalf of Canadians. I do not see a reason why that work needs to end. I would be reassured greatly if the Prime Minister were willing to say that much himself and refuse to call an election unilaterally. I will believe it when I see it. In the meantime—
View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
Unfortunately, the hon. member's time is up. I am sure he will be able to add to that during questions and comments.
Questions and comments, the hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2021-03-26 10:08 [p.5344]
Madam Speaker, as the parliamentary secretary ultimately responsible for reaching out and trying to pass this legislation through, I want to extend my hand to anyone who has input and would like me to take any form of action in support of passing the legislation. I have been committed to doing this for quite a while now.
I agree with the member for Elmwood—Transcona that in a minority situation we need to be ready and should be ready. Where I disagree is with the member's assessment of today's Parliament. All we need to do is look at the destructive force we witnessed yesterday from the opposition parties in trying to force standing committees to do certain things.
My question for the member is this. Would he also acknowledge that Elections Canada does have a mandate to be ready, and it will be ready? Hopefully, this Parliament will be able to help facilitate a healthier, safer election, whenever that might be.
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
2021-03-26 10:10 [p.5344]
Madam Speaker, on the first point about what happened yesterday, if we examine the list of Liberal private members' bills and motions, what we often see is a long list of mandated studies for committees. This is not a new thing and it has been a frustration to many. I invite the parliamentary secretary to look at the Private Members' Business of many of his own members. What he will see are instructions to committees from the House. I find it weird that he would have a principled objection to that. Perhaps the Liberals should have a discussion in their House leader's office or at their caucus more appropriately about the nature of Private Members' Business their members ought to put forward.
On the second point about Elections Canada being ready, we certainly heard at committee during the study on pandemic elections that Elections Canada would do everything it can to run its—
View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
I know there may be two questions, but there is only one minute for a response.
Questions and comments, the member for Sarnia—Lambton.
View Marilyn Gladu Profile
CPC (ON)
View Marilyn Gladu Profile
2021-03-26 10:11 [p.5344]
Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his work on the procedures committee, which studied the recommendations from the Chief Electoral Officer. I wonder if he could comment briefly on what he thinks of the government tabling this legislation before that committee has had time to make its recommendations.
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
2021-03-26 10:11 [p.5344]
Madam Speaker, I have a bit of a different take on that one. In my my, it was important that the government table legislation before Christmas. I thought it was important that the bill proceed in a spirit of collaboration and that MPs from different parties needed to know what was in the mind of the government with respect to its initial proposal. Otherwise, it would have tabled it at the last minute and the criticism would have been that it had sat on these changes and nobody had time to give input. It was better that it put its best foot forward earlier so there was some time over the break to think about what it had proposed.
It is unfortunate it took so long to get to the debate on Bill C-19. There are a lot of reasons for that. I acknowledge that it was not just because of the government that this happened. It was been better to have a longer conversation with more information rather than less and that—
View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
Order. The hon. member for Berthier—Maskinongé.
View Yves Perron Profile
BQ (QC)
View Yves Perron Profile
2021-03-26 10:13 [p.5344]
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.
The bill provides for a three-day polling period. However, the Bloc Québécois thinks that two days, Saturday and Sunday, would have been sufficient. As for mail-in voting, that will occur over a very long period, and under the bill, ballots can even be received until the day after polling day, which would delay the announcement of the results and could create uncertainty. All of these things create a risk of electoral abuse, and so I would like to know what the member thinks about that.
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
2021-03-26 10:13 [p.5344]
Madam Speaker, I think the biggest risk of uncertainty regarding the election results comes from politicians who say that people should be uncertain about them.
In many countries, the official election results are not known until one or even two weeks after the election, and that is not the end of the world.
We could take the necessary measures to ensure the security of the ballots while they are being counted, which would give a bit more time after voting day. However, that is something that would have to be more thoroughly debated in committee, which is why I want this bill to be sent to committee as quickly as possible.
View Rachel Blaney Profile
NDP (BC)
Madam Speaker, what concerns does the member have around this legislation being passed in a timely manner so if the Liberals do call an early election, it is a fair one?
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
2021-03-26 10:14 [p.5345]
Madam Speaker, one of the things that Canadians need to know about this bill is that there is a clause that says its provisions will not come into effect until 90 days after the bill passes through Parliament, which includes the other place not just the House of Commons.
If anybody is thinking about having an election before the summer, it may well be too late already under these rules. I do think the proposed legislation, and particularly after some improvement in committee, will make for a much better election, both from the point of view of public health but also from the point of view of ensuring that people who want to cast their ballots have their voices heard, that their votes count and that they get them in the ballot box.
It is really important that these modifications are made in case we have an election. It is already probably too late for an election that would occur before the summer. I would like to hear the Prime Minister commit to not calling an election before the summer.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2021-03-26 10:15 [p.5345]
Madam Speaker, my hon. colleague, the member for Elmwood—Transcona, is a real warrior on interesting issues such as the convention for moving from a House to an election.
I really want to ask him about one of the missing pieces, which I was surprised was missing, and that is the physicality and the COVID risk of collecting the signatures. Usually our volunteers go out to collect those signatures, as we have to have 100 signatures on paper. I know from provincial colleagues that this was a problem in the pandemic. Could the member comment on that?
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
2021-03-26 10:16 [p.5345]
Madam Speaker, this is a really critical issue. The committee should be taking this up as one of its priorities for the legislation.
People in the House will know that I am not a wallflower when it comes to criticizing the government. However, if we look back to Bill C-76, it was a very combative way to change the Elections Act. The approach so far seems to be different, and that is important. It creates the space for the committee to do good work on this and other issues to get some changes on which we can all agree, and then proceed on that basis.
I remain optimistic in respect to this legislation that we should be able to find a path forward and get good rules in place to protect both public health and democracy in the case that we do have an election. The best option is to not have an election right now. It is not a good time.
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