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View Marilène Gill Profile
BQ (QC)
View Marilène Gill Profile
2020-02-28 12:21 [p.1751]
Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague from Portage—Lisgar for the speech she gave earlier.
I would like to reiterate from the outset that the government has a minority, which means quite frankly, clearly and objectively that it does not have the support of the House that it might like to have. That should be reflected in the way it works with the opposition.
I would also invite the House to revisit the mandate letter of the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons. The first thing he is asked to do would seem like a priority. He is asked to:
Lead the House Leadership team to bring a collaborative and effective approach to the minority Parliament, placing a priority on transparency and communicating with Canadians on the work of their Parliament.
I would like to make a few remarks about what has been asked of the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons. To that end, I will be sharing my time with my colleague from Saint-Jean.
The first requirement in the Prime Minister's mandate letter to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons is leadership. I remind members that leadership involves leading people. To lead people, you need a place, an objective and a destination. That is the first thing. Of course, a minority government's first step should be to collaborate, as was mentioned earlier.
Beyond having a place and an objective, beyond collaborating and listening, leadership involves inspiring those around you. You need to be a source of inspiration, an influence, and I would even say a model, an example. A leader is a positive person whom people trust and want to follow through the battle. Trust is also an important component of leadership.
Naturally, all of this remains an essential condition to what is referred to in the mandate letter as a collaborative approach. Collaboration cannot be done alone, of course. We collaborate with the people around us, which means opening a space or sharing a common space with others. For this to happen, you have to reach out to others. You cannot stay in your own corner of the House of Commons. You have to listen to others.
When we listen to what other people are telling us on, say, an opposition day, we can make connections. Connecting can mean taking risks, but taking those risks and listening to others is one of the only ways to build relationships with them and earn their trust. That is the only way collaboration can happen.
I am sure everyone expects me to talk about the effective approach. We want leadership, we want to collaborate, we want to be effective. Effectiveness requires respect above all, respect and walking the talk. On many occasions, I have read and heard, here in the House and elsewhere, that the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons wants to collaborate and do every single thing in his mandate letter.
Why hold an opposition day on a Friday, then? I think that shows a lack of respect and a failure to walk the talk. In no way does it support collaboration or consistency. Trust, respect, collaboration and leadership have to be consistent too. People cannot say and do something one day and the opposite the next.
There are two things that are extremely important to me as a parliamentarian who answers to her constituents. The whole issue of transparency matters to me. I want my constituents to be able to know what is going on in the House. There are multiple discourses, from the government in power and from the opposition. The government cannot muzzle the House or claim that a single version of the facts is the only one that should be heard.
This is about transparency. We need to let the whole discourse unfold, because this is a debate. It is not an affirmation or a diktat. It is a debate. This is a space for ideological diversity, a space for establishing the various measures that must be put in place. That is why it is important for the whole discourse to be heard. It is not up to the government to decide what is going to happen.
A debate is a dialectical exchange. The goal is not to see who is right and make everyone else shut up. No, that is not the goal. Dialectics involves taking one idea and a contradictory or contrasting idea in order to arrive at something different. Naturally, the goal of every member of the House is to work for their constituents and find the best compromises. Compromises are also part of a debate.
As an MP, I said that I was concerned about transparency because I believe in our obligation to be accountable. I believe that we need to be accountable and that we are responsible for the decisions we make in the House. Canadians and Quebeckers need to be aware of what is happening in the House and they must have access to all speeches. That way they can make up their own minds and take action. Ultimately, we are working for them.
Communication is important to ensure that people are aware of what is happening in the House. The debates in the House reveal the hidden side of some subjects. We want to give voters all the information they need to make up their own minds and judge for themselves what to do. That is the very essence of democracy, the conditions necessary to exercising democracy. Opposition days are extremely valuable to voters and are part of this broad definition.
I will close by simply reminding members of the mandate letter of the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, which reads as follows:
Lead the House Leadership team to bring a collaborative and effective approach to the minority Parliament, placing a priority on transparency and communicating with Canadians on the work of their Parliament.
I would like to ask the government House leader two rhetorical questions to give all members something to think about. By doing this, namely holding opposition days on Friday, does he think that he is fulfilling the responsibilities he was given in his mandate letter with respect to leadership, a collaborative and effective approach, transparency and communication? I have an answer for him. In my opinion, today, it is the opposition that acted as a House leader.
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