Interventions in the House of Commons
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View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bardish Chagger Profile
2019-05-28 15:18 [p.28150]
Mr. Speaker, in relation to the consideration of Government Business No. 30, I move:
That the debate not be further adjourned.
View Candice Bergen Profile
View Candice Bergen Profile
2019-05-28 15:20 [p.28150]
Mr. Speaker, I am really disappointed. We have had such a short amount of time to debate this motion, and it is very disappointing to see a motion like this to extend the hours. Even though we have already indicated that we have some understanding of it, some of the other parts of the motion are disturbing. We have not had solid answers to some of our questions. It is disappointing to see this debate being shut down.
I would therefore like to ask the hon. government House leader if she could please assure us that she will adopt our amendments and, as we only have two supply days left as Conservatives, that she would allow those supply days to continue into the evening sitting. I think that would be fair and reasonable, and it would show that there would be some co-operation, as opposed to just giving us a very short day and not allowing the opposition to do our job, which is to hold the government to account.
I understand that the hon. government House leader is ramming this through, but could she give us assurances that she will not shorten our ability to hold the Liberals to account?
View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bardish Chagger Profile
2019-05-28 15:21 [p.28151]
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opposition House leader's acknowledging the importance of extending hours so that we can discuss important legislation that actually benefits the lives of Canadians. Most of the motion is exactly, word for word, the motion that has been submitted in previous parliaments. Within the extension of hours motion, members who will not be running again will be provided time to make a speech, because it is important that they do so.
When it comes to the opposition days the member is referring to, within the Standing Orders, a portion of those days can be allotted to Wednesdays and Fridays. My intention will always be to provide them on longer days. As long as we can advance government legislation, I will ensure that we are able to find a collaborative way forward. If that is not the desire of the opposition, then I am restricted to limited tools and limited days to provide those days. I encourage the opposition House leader, as well as her colleagues, to let us know how much time is needed so that bills such as Bill C-81 can be returned to the Senate. There is no reason we cannot have that finished today so that it can receive royal assent.
View Peter Julian Profile
View Peter Julian Profile
2019-05-28 15:22 [p.28151]
Mr. Speaker, I am saddened by this. As I mentioned in the speech I was not even able to complete on this motion that strips the opposition of any of the rights and tools we use to hold the government to account, previous times this had been raised four weeks prior to our adjourning, the Liberals and Conservatives, combined, skipped over 200 opportunities to speak on behalf of their constituents.
In other words, there was a speaking order. When it came to the Liberals, they simply had nobody standing up at all to speak on behalf of their constituents, on behalf of Canadians. We have always been in favour of working hard, but the NDP historically has been the only party that actually shows up to work during these midnight sessions.
Last time, there were 200 times the Conservatives or Liberals did not show up for their speaking spots. The New Democrats did not miss a single speaking spot. Every single time we were assigned the ability to speak, we spoke out on behalf of our constituents.
Given the precedent, can the government House leader assure us that the Liberals will actually show up to work this time?
View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bardish Chagger Profile
2019-05-28 15:24 [p.28151]
Yes, Mr. Speaker, we will not be debating this motion after today, but I have good news for the NDP House leader. He actually gets to continue his speech, so he will receive 20 minutes like any other member would. He will also be entitled to his 10-minute question and answer period. I know that my parliamentary secretary is looking forward to asking him at least one or two great questions. I do not want him to be misled in believing that he would not have that opportunity. That opportunity will be provided to him.
What I do know is that we have debated this motion. It is a motion that has been seen in this chamber before. It is important that we get to government legislation that would benefit and impact, for the better, the lives of Canadians.
When it comes to the member's reference to members speaking up for their constituents, of course all members of Parliament want to speak on behalf of their constituents. That is what we were elected to do. We will always be part of the debate, but sometimes what happens, especially when it comes to the NDP on legislation such as the CUSMA, which we will see coming forward at some point, is that the New Democrats will not want to see it advance, so they will want to keep talking about it. For the government to see it advance, we share our time with members of the NDP so that every single one of its members is able to speak.
The New Democrats could choose to allow legislation to be called to a vote so that we could advance to the next stage and see more legislation advance so that we are benefiting more Canadians. Unfortunately, the New Democrats have taken a page from the Conservatives' handbook. Rather than actually serve Canadians, they would rather play partisan politics.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
Mr. Speaker, the current government has shown a great deal of disrespect for the opposition. In particular, we see the regular scheduling of opposition days on Wednesdays, when, because we have caucus meetings in the morning, we have very little time to actually debate the proposals coming from the opposition. A simple, reasonable aspect of this motion would have been to allow those opposition day debates to continue into evening sittings so that even if they tried to schedule an opposition day for us to have something like two hours of debate, at least we would be able to take advantage of the evenings as well, given that the evenings would be available for government orders. The Liberals do not have the minimal respect for the opposition to allow that to happen either.
It is clear, and has been clear for the last three and a half years, that the current government does not believe in the role of the opposition. It simply wants an audience. Will the government House leader see some reason here, recognize the important role the opposition plays in our democracy, and allow the extension of hours to be available for opposition days as well as for government orders?
View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bardish Chagger Profile
2019-05-28 15:26 [p.28151]
Mr. Speaker, I have had to say this to a Conservative member in the past. The Conservatives do not speak for me as an individual. I am on the record, not only in this House but outside this chamber, talking about the importance of our democracy and the role the official opposition plays, as well as the third party and independent members within the chamber, including the members of the Green Party. I recognize that all members are elected to represent their constituents, and I have said that in this chamber as well as outside the chamber. The member, frankly, should apologize for putting words in my mouth, because that is totally untrue and is not a fair representation of my position.
The Conservatives have never let the facts get in the way, so let me share some facts. In the last Parliament, 11 opposition days were provided on Wednesdays, and five were provided on Fridays, out of 88 opposition days. In this Parliament, there have so far been 79 opposition days. To prove that the member has totally misled Canadians, none of them have been on Wednesdays, and two have been on Fridays. Those are the numbers, and the member should check them out.
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
2019-05-28 15:28 [p.28152]
Mr. Speaker, we just had a vote in this place, which is the first step on the road to ratifying the new NAFTA. The NDP has rightly expressed some real concerns about the nature of that deal, as we have expressed concerns about a number of other trade deals the Liberals and Conservatives together have negotiated over the span of a number of governments. The reason that is relevant to this debate about extending the sitting hours is that the government, once again, seems to be in a major rush to make a big mistake, which is to ratify this agreement prior to the issues with the agreement being resolved in neighbouring countries.
We do not actually know what the final agreement is going to look like, yet simply because the Vice-President of the United States is coming on Thursday, the government is in a hurry to ratify, just as it was in a hurry to ratify CETA, even though we know that Britain is still working out whether it is going to be part of the European Union. Canada was ratifying CETA long before Europe and long before it resolved whether one of our major trading partners was even going to be part of that block. This insane rush to get ink on deals, without any regard for the real content, has been a problem for Canadians, who have lost employment to these kinds of deals over the last decades. I am not prepared to support a motion that is going to help the Liberals ram through ratification of a deal we do not even know the details of.
While the reasons the New Democrats have opposed some of these measures in the past stand, we have a particular reason this time to be opposed to longer sitting hours, and that is because the government is trying to create an opportunity, with the Conservatives being complicit in ramming this through Parliament, invoking a special kind of closure that only works when two parties agree to it, to make a big mistake faster, and that is something I simply do not support.
I want to know why the government is concerned about extending sitting hours to accomplish something that would rush a deal, the details of which we do not even know. I would like to hear what the House leader has to say about that, frankly.
View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bardish Chagger Profile
2019-05-28 15:30 [p.28152]
First, Mr. Speaker, our question and answer session right now is with regard to the extension of hours so that we can sit longer and have more time for debate.
What the member has just confirmed is that there is no trade deal the NDP will ever support. New Democrats do not seem to understand that Canada is a trading nation. Canada has 36 million people. We have a huge land mass, but we are very small when it comes to the number of people. Our companies have not only great solutions for Canadians, they have great solutions for the whole world.
When it comes to the CETA legislation, that legislation has actually helped small businesses expand into international markets and has created jobs in my riding of Waterloo, has—
View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bardish Chagger Profile
2019-05-28 15:31 [p.28152]
Mr. Speaker, the member for Avalon was getting excited, because companies in his riding have also benefited from this trade deal. Members from different parts of the country, especially from the east coast, have had challenging times when it comes to the economy. When we sign deals that allow those businesses to grow through innovation and trade, and they create jobs at home, members get excited, as they should. I would hope that the member for Elmwood—Transcona would take some time to learn about the companies in his riding that are benefiting from that trade deal. If they are not, we should definitely connect them with the Trade Commissioner Service so that they can continue to create more jobs, as Canadians have been doing from coast to coast to coast. Over a million jobs have been created by Canadians for Canadians since our government took office. These trade deals are working.
View Dan Albas Profile
Mr. Speaker, the government House leader obviously has a lot on her plate. I can see why the minister got quite angry at one of the previous Conservative speakers, because the government has not been in control of its own agenda. It has constantly found ways to stall legislation. It constantly has mismanaged the House's schedule. Unfortunately, we are at a point where, before we even hit June, the government is seeking to extend the sitting hours.
The Conservative House leader has made a very reasonable request of the government, because the House leader for the Liberal government has asked to extend sitting hours early, before we are even in June. It is very important for the government to show respect not just for this House but for Parliament, and when a reasonable request is made, we would hope that the government would be reasonable and allow our voices to be heard on our own opposition motions.
Will the House leader offer extended sitting hours for opposition days?
View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bardish Chagger Profile
2019-05-28 15:33 [p.28152]
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member's comments. I will say that we have endeavoured to manage the House's time by working collaboratively with opposition parties. There are examples of where we were able to succeed, and there were opportunities which, unfortunately, the opposition did not want to take us up on, but that is the opposition's prerogative.
I have the utmost respect for this chamber. I have the utmost respect for all members of Parliament and all responsibilities within the chamber. Any good government should have a strong opposition. It is important that a government be held to account, but it is also important that we debate legislation and be able to call legislation to a vote.
I agree that we do need a lot more regard and respect in this chamber. I know there have been many times and many occasions where it was not felt that such regard and respect were in this chamber. I recall budget day not too long ago. Canadians from coast to coast to coast sent emails to my office about the fact that because the opposition members were so busy banging on their desks, they could not hear the Minister of Finance deliver a budget that was going to benefit them. Mr. Speaker, you were not able to get any order in this chamber because of the lack of regard and respect, which is unfortunate.
When it comes to regard and respect, it is a two-way street. I will do my best to respect all roles. I will do my best to find better ways forward. The extension of sitting hours is another way to ensure that members can speak to legislation to advance the concerns of their constituents.
View Elizabeth May Profile
View Elizabeth May Profile
2019-05-28 15:34 [p.28153]
Mr. Speaker, in dealing with this process, I would like to ask the hon. government House leader this. This is the eighth year in which I have had the honour to serve the constituents of Saanich—Gulf Islands. We had only one June in that period when we did not sit until midnight. It was June 2016. Oh, that glorious month of June 2016.
In any case, I do not recall a single other time when the motion to extend the sitting hours has been put through with time allocation on the debate to go to extended sitting hours. I do not have any recollection of any other time when we have had this process that we are experiencing today. We have never actually started extended sitting hours before the month of June, to my recollection.
I wonder if the government House leader can explain what has gone wrong in the process. What we know to expect from government at the point when we are about to rise for the summer is that things get jammed up and we sit until midnight. I am wondering how it happened this time that we have time allocation on the motion to sit until midnight.
View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bardish Chagger Profile
2019-05-28 15:36 [p.28153]
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that the leader of the Green Party actually has a seat that is now closer to you so that she can hear a lot of what is taking place here. I know she stood up on numerous occasions referencing Standing Orders because it gets so loud in this chamber.
I am not going to speculate as to what is taking place but it has definitely been a challenge advancing important legislation. I know it has been a challenge on multiple occasions but I will endeavour to keep an open door policy so that we can find a way forward.
I do appreciate the member rising and sharing some of her history within this chamber. I am not sure that I remember it the same way. I was not a sitting member, but as an observer of the House, I know that the former Conservative House leader, Peter Van Loan, was notorious for using these tools. I recognize that sometimes there are challenging times. I have tried to take a different approach, but when that approach does not work, I seem to mimic some of his actions. It seems that the Conservatives are quite appreciative of that. That is why it is important that we extend these hours.
I will just say really quickly that the leader of the Green Party on occasion has not been able to speak to legislation but she shares a really important perspective and represents many Canadians. I have always tried to extend some time to ensure that she can get her comments on the record. She was the only member of her caucus but now it has doubled, which is amazing. We hope to still keep hearing from her because she does excellent work and represents really important concerns and comments on behalf of Canadians. We need to hear more of that.
View Mark Strahl Profile
View Mark Strahl Profile
2019-05-28 15:37 [p.28153]
Mr. Speaker, the member just referenced the record, if we want to call it that, of Peter Van Loan with regard to time allocation or closure. The Liberals campaigned against it. Their platform stated how differently they were going to govern and how they would never use time allocation or closure. This is the sixth time they have used closure, which means that nothing else happens and the debate is over. It is the most draconian method of time allocation.
The Liberals have invoked time allocation and limited debate 59 times. The member can talk about how she wants to hear from the leader of the Green Party or how she wants a better House of Commons for all of us, but for most of this Parliament, she is the one who has been cutting off debate. With 18 days left, now she is going to keep an open mind about the future and how she will operate in the future.
I want to correct the record. The member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan made some excellent points about cutting short the supply days, and the government House leader very indignantly told us that she had never scheduled an opposition day on a Wednesday in the entire time of this Parliament. In the last six opposition days alone, three of them were on a Wednesday and one on a Friday: Wednesday, March 20; Wednesday, May 1; Wednesday, May 15 and Friday, April 5. That is just in the last period.
Maybe the member will get up and apologize for breaking her campaign promise to Canadians and for misleading the House on the last number of opposition days.
View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bardish Chagger Profile
2019-05-28 15:39 [p.28153]
Mr. Speaker, when our Prime Minister says that in Canada diversity is our strength, he is not only talking about the shells we occupy but he is also talking about the diversity of opinions, regions and experiences, and the list goes in. There is definitely a diversity of interpretations right here, because what we said in the campaign was that we were against the improper use of omnibus legislation and the improper use of time allocation.
Under the previous government there was no desire to consult and ask. We were told how many days would be given, and that was it. If we did not comply with the hon. Peter Van Loan, then he would use his tools. I have tried to ask how much time is needed for debate. Sometimes I have received answers and sometimes I have not. Members can see clearly that there are times we receive answers and there are times we do not.
When it comes to Bill C-81, I publicly state that we have received amendments from the Senate. The minister has now stated that we will be accepting all those amendments. There is no reason we should have to use time allocation, yet we are not getting commitment from the official opposition that it will let that legislation go.
The legislation has been scrutinized. It has been to committee, returned to this chamber and been through all stages in the Senate. It has come with amendments, which we have accepted, yet the Conservatives will not let that legislation go. Therefore, there is no way for us to get that legislation to a vote if I do not use those tools.
The members opposite need to take partial responsibility and understand why those tools are being used. We could advance, and if they do not want to, it is their prerogative and the choice they are making. However, I will ensure that the government advances the mandate that Canadians gave us. When it comes to Bill C-81, we are talking about a more accessible Canada. Who could be against that?
View Alistair MacGregor Profile
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that the government House leader likes to talk about her government's mandate, but I would like to remind her that her government was elected by a plurality. In fact, she would do well to remember that 61% of Canadians voted for MPs who sit on this side of the House. We have rights, as opposition members, to hold the government to account and to identify legislation when it has problems. This motion is in effect going to strip away our rights to hold the government to account, so I have big problems with that.
It is quite obvious that these extended sitting hours are because the government is rushing headlong into trying to get the ratification agreement for the new NAFTA put through before we recess for the summer. What is the government going to do if Democrats in the United States delay ratification in Congress or stop it all together? What is the government's position going to be in that eventuality? I do not think it has thought that eventuality through, and I would like an explanation from the government House leader of what the government is going to do if that scenario plays out.
View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bardish Chagger Profile
2019-05-28 15:42 [p.28154]
Mr. Speaker, first of all, it is important to note that the NDP House leader stated that we are giving too much of our time to NDP members and that they have had to speak so much to represent their constituents. Now another NDP member is reminding me that the NDP received a plurality of votes and should be able to represent its constituents.
I have said from day one that all members of Parliament should be able to represent their constituents. It is important that we are able to have meaningful debate so that we can listen to what Canadians are saying.
When it comes to improving legislation, the government, under the Prime Minister, has accepted more amendments than any government before it, because we want to ensure that we advance good legislation that works. In addition, not only have we accepted amendments through the committee process within the House of Commons, but we have accepted amendments from the Senate. We recognize that when the Senate scrutinizes legislation, it can benefit more Canadians.
We are seeing results because parliamentarians are being empowered to do the work they are here to do. We have increased resources to committees because we know it is important that they be able to scrutinize legislation and bring in witnesses.
When it comes to the NAFTA or CUSMA legislation the member is referring to, this question and answer period is not necessarily for that legislation. I encourage him to talk to the Minister of Foreign Affairs on this.
I can also let him know that we have considered all eventualities. The minister has been quite clear that since the steel tariffs have now been lifted, we will be introducing legislation. Today's ways and means motion has provided a way for us to do that.
We have already said that we will be closely watching what the United States and Mexico are doing, because this is a deal that impacts all three countries and we are looking for a win-win-win. However, it is really important that the NDP understands that Canada is a trading nation and it is okay to support trade deals.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-05-28 15:44 [p.28154]
Mr. Speaker, my question relates to the number of sitting days. We have 19 days left, and it is really important to recognize that Canadians have an expectation that governments work consistently from the day they are elected up until the next election. There is an expectation that when the House is sitting, we continue to move forward on positive public policy.
Could the member provide her thoughts with respect to how important it is that we work hard right to the very end? If that means we have to sit additional hours that last into the evening, as previous governments have also done, members on the government side of the House are prepared to do so.
View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bardish Chagger Profile
2019-05-28 15:45 [p.28154]
Mr. Speaker, I want to commend the member for Winnipeg North for his excellent work within the chamber and in his riding. He works really hard to ensure that the voices of his constituents are heard, and he has spoken to many pieces of legislation. He is quite informed, as he spends time reading legislation; he recognizes the history of a lot of the bills we are putting forward and how Canadians can benefit from them.
I believe we need to work really hard all the way to the end. I know Canadians work really hard day in, day out, and there is no reason we cannot do the same.
I recognize that extended hours are quite straining, not only for members of Parliament but also for our teams, as well as for the pages and the administration that helps the House of Commons function. I thank them for their great work.
At the end of the month, we will be returning to our ridings to speak directly with Canadians so that we can ensure they are being represented. There are really important pieces of legislation that need to be advanced, and if we can find a better way to advance them and in less time, then it would be great for us to do so.
I can promise members that my door is open, and I look forward to hearing from the opposition. If its members have better ideas regarding how to get out of here earlier, I welcome any constructive feedback.
View Celina Caesar-Chavannes Profile
Ind. (ON)
View Celina Caesar-Chavannes Profile
2019-05-28 15:46 [p.28155]
Mr. Speaker, I want to pick up where the hon. government House leader left off with respect to the resources used when we extend the hours in this place. I note the pages, the staff and others have to be here for that particular period of time.
There are a couple of pieces of legislation that I know concern constituents in Whitby. I have received emails about them. One is Bill C-81. During debate earlier today, we heard an assurance that this piece of legislation will be passed.
If we are going to be extending House hours and using more resources, I would like reassurance from the government House leader that the pieces of legislation that are important to Canadians, which we have been sent here to debate and discuss, are going to be passed in a timely manner before the House rises.
View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bardish Chagger Profile
2019-05-28 15:47 [p.28155]
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that the member for Whitby is hearing from constituents when it comes to Bill C-81 and other pieces of legislation. We will be debating that legislation tonight and we will have extended hours. If the member has not had an opportunity to speak to that legislation, I look forward to working with her to ensure that she is provided the opportunity to represent the voices of her constituents.
I want to see Bill C-81 receive royal assent. This is an important week when it comes to persons with disabilities. It is the third year that we have celebrated National AccessAbility Week, and I know there are good people on the Hill who came to see the Minister of Accessibility speak to this legislation.
I want to see it advance, and when it comes to other pieces of legislation, if I cannot find a way forward through working with the opposition parties to be able to advance that legislation, I will use the limited tools I have available. Every time I use those tools, I can assure members that I use them with regret. I do hope we are able to find a better way forward.
View Candice Bergen Profile
View Candice Bergen Profile
2019-05-28 15:48 [p.28155]
Mr. Speaker, what we really are seeing is a scandal-ridden government that is in its final days and has mismanaged the House entirely. Bill C-81 is another example: The government's response to the Senate amendments only came to us on a Thursday before we rose for the one-week break. We came back after the constituency break, and we have not had a chance as caucus to look at the government's response. What did the government members do at the last minute? They brought the legislation here today.
This is an important piece of legislation, and the government has done virtually nothing to help persons with disabilities. In fact, it has done everything it can to hurt them. We all remember what the government has done to people with diabetes, and we know what it has done to individuals who were working at Library and Archives. This is the problem with mismanagement.
I know that my hon. colleague, the government House leader, is well staffed, and maybe this is why we are getting short opposition days. She is maybe experiencing Wednesdays differently from the way we experience Wednesdays. However, of the last six opposition days, three were on a Wednesday and one was on a Friday: Wednesday, March 20 was an opposition day; Wednesday, May 1 was an opposition day; Wednesday, May 15 was an opposition day, as was Friday, April 5.
I would like the member to correct the record and admit that she has consistently given the opposition short days so that we cannot do the job we need to do, which is holding the Liberals to account.
View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bardish Chagger Profile
2019-05-28 15:50 [p.28155]
Mr. Speaker, the opposition House leader definitely experiences things very differently. When it comes to Bill C-81, I encourage her to talk to people from the communities that are going to benefit from that legislation. I know there are people on Parliament Hill right now who just heard her comments. She seems to be a little confused as to what she is referring to. This is historic legislation, and the amendments that came from the Senate were probably given. It is true that the Conservatives never would have accepted amendments from the Senate. The difference is that we accept them quite often, because we know they improve legislation.
Where the Conservatives would have said no really quickly, we actually pondered the legislation. When it comes to Bill C-81, people seem to know that the Conservatives support the legislation but will not let it come to a vote, because the Conservatives will put partisan politics ahead of Canadians every single time.
View Peter Julian Profile
View Peter Julian Profile
2019-05-28 16:33 [p.28157]
Mr. Speaker, I would again like to say hello to the deaf community, the people who have been here all day listening to the debates. We welcome them.
I would love to be able to say that we will be sitting to midnight until the third week of June because the Liberals have suddenly realized that they actually have to put into action the democratic reforms they promised back in 2015, that they actually have to have proportional representation, as the Prime Minister said in 2015 when indicating that that election would be last one under first past the post. If the government were saying, “Gosh, we forgot that promise and want to come back to sit until midnight” we would be overjoyed. We would be saying it was great.
If the Liberals said that we have to sit to midnight until June 21 because they suddenly realized there is an affordable-housing crisis in this country and that there are literally hundreds of thousands of families who are struggling to keep a roof over their heads, tens of thousands of families out on the streets, and the government wants to resolve it and build housing now and put a roof over everybody's heads, the New Democrats would be overjoyed to sit until midnight. That would the case if the government said so, but it has not.
If the Liberals said about pharmacare, “Gosh, there are millions of Canadians who cannot afford their medication and are struggling to take the medication their doctors have prescribed to them, so we are going to keep a promise and bring pharmacare in now,” we in the NDP would say, “Yes, absolutely, we are prepared to sit to midnight until June 21 to bring in pharmacare.”
None of those things are on the docket. There is some important legislation, all of which could have been improved if the Liberals actually listened. All of it could have been improved if the Liberals accepted amendments from the opposition.
We were just talking about the accessibility act earlier today. The disability community put forward very strong recommendations for changes and amendments, as did the NDP, the member for Windsor—Tecumseh in particular, all of which were ignored and left on the table. The government has simply refused to improve any of the legislation before the House and is refusing to take any of the actions it committed to back in 2015.
I mentioned democratic reform just a few moments ago. We remember the solemn promise at the time that it would be the last election under first past the post. If so, we would now be dealing with an election in which every vote would count, and coming out of that election we would have a parliament that was actually representative of Canadians' views. My colleague from Cowichan—Malahat—Langford mentioned earlier today in the House that 62% of Canadians did not even vote for the current government, and yet the government has 100% of the power. That is why the government can impose its closure motion, and now this motion that strips the opposition of all of its rights.
For what reason is the government doing that when it has failed on so many counts?
I cannot even begin to talk about the whole issue of the climate emergency. The NDP offered a very substantive motion just two weeks ago. In offering that motion, the member for Burnaby South was very eloquent. There was a whole series of measures that needed to be taken. It was a climate emergency. It needed to be done and accomplished immediately, and those measures were set out very carefully by the NDP. The government voted against it. Then the Liberals brought forward a climate emergency motion that is basically a narrative of what Canadians know to be true, but does not in any way address the fundamental problems that Canada will be facing if we do not contend with climate change.
I mentioned in the House a couple of weeks ago what we have seen in just our lifetime in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. The month of August used to be a time of sunny skies and blue skies, but for the last few years has been choked with smoke from the hundreds of wildfires that erupt on Vancouver Island and in the interior of British Columbia.
In the last three years, elderly people have had to stay indoors. I was with a youth group just two weeks ago. Its members talked about how some people in their 18, 19, 20-year age group were forced to wear gas masks because of the intensity of the smoke. They talked about the inability of people to even go outside. That is happening in our lifetime.
This is why we offered the climate emergency motion, which was substantive and would have changed the way the government acts. It stated that instead of building pipelines, the government needed to invest immediately in renewable energy, yet the Liberal government voted against it. It voted against all those aspects. It wants to go ahead full bore on a pipeline that British Columbians do not want and that will accelerate climate change. The government postures and says that it will and put a price on carbon, but all the large emitters are exempt.
Coming back to the motion, it is the posturing that is the most disturbing about all of this. The government is saying that we need to sit until midnight right through until June 21. There are some valid pieces of legislation that we are happy to facilitate through. However, for the most part, the government wants to work hard on making the government look good as opposed to doing the right thing. That is the fundamental problem.
I guess that is the difference between the NDP caucus and the direction the Liberal government has taken. We offered a substantive motion on climate emergency that would force the government to act and seek to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Instead, the government voted that down and offered something that was simply a statement of the situation as all Canadians know it to be.
Canadians know we are in a climate emergency, because they have seen first-hand the record level of floods. They have seen first-hand the forest fires that have choked various parts of the country, including my region of New Westminster—Burnaby in the Lower Mainland. People now have to stay indoors for much of the best part of the year. The summer months, which used to be glorious in my region, are now fraught with almost killer air quality. It is not an easy situation at all for people with health problems to go out and deal with that smoke.
Last August, we saw the killer heatwave that killed dozens of people in Montreal and southern Quebec. The Toronto Star did what I thought was an important article on the number of heat-related deaths that would have occurred in southern Ontario. Because statistics are kept differently, it is quite possible the death toll was very high in southern Ontario as well. The reality is very clear. There is a need to act on the climate emergency.
I spoke earlier about the housing crisis we were living through. The government needs to act. The housing crisis is striking many regions of the country.
I have spoken before about Heather, who is struggling to find affordable housing for her family. Hers is just one of the many families that are finding it almost impossible to keep a roof over their heads. We are in a crisis when it comes to affordable housing and the government should be acting.
When we talk about pharmacare, it is indeed a crisis. I have spoken many times about Jim, who is right outside the Chateau Laurier, begging for money so he can get the $580 a month he needs for the medication that keeps him alive for his family. The government does not see that as an emergency either.
That is the fundamental difference. The government is rushing through a motion that binds the opposition. It takes away the opposition's rights and the ability to hold the government to account. The government has offered a couple of substantive pieces of legislation, which would have been supported by all members of the House anyway. However, for the most part, the emergency of ensuring we have medication for all in the country, the emergency of ensuring people have a roof over their head, the emergency that comes with climate change and the emergency that comes from the appalling state of indigenous communities not being supported by the government are all left aside.
The government is saying that we are going to sit until midnight for the government's sake, not for the sake of Canadians. Canadians will be able to judge the Liberals on October 21.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-05-28 16:43 [p.28158]
Mr. Speaker, there are many aspects of the member's speech both now and prior to question period to which I take exception. One is with respect to responsibility even for opposition members. I am going to get the opportunity to expand on that.
Could my colleague across the way give the NDP's perspective as to what it believes its responsibility is in supporting legislation and getting it through in a timely fashion?. Is there any responsibility from his or his party's perspective to assist in the passing of government legislation? Does he feel there is any obligation there at all?
View Peter Julian Profile
View Peter Julian Profile
2019-05-28 16:44 [p.28158]
Mr. Speaker, our role in the House has always been to take our responsibility seriously and to make legislation better. That has been our role historically since the very foundation of our movement.
As the member well knows, the NDP has made a difference in a whole range of areas. The NDP was the first party in the House to raise the issues of pensions and unemployment insurance. Tommy Douglas, our founding leader, brought medicare to Canadians.
Our role is to push the government to be better. What I have found frustrating over the last four years is the government's refusal to be better when we offer amendments to legislation. Many amendments to improve legislation have been thoughtfully provided by the NDP, most often because we have listened carefully to witnesses who have come to committee at report stage. We incorporate their ideas into making legislation better. Each time over the last four years, the Liberal government, acting like the Conservative government before it, has refused to entertain amendments from the opposition.
That does not make government better. That does not make legislation better. That puts us right back in the realm of dark partisan politics, which is unfortunate. Canadians do not want to see that. Canadians want to see better legislation, legislation that is improved, and parties working together. We have not seen that from the Liberal government and that is a direct contradiction to what the Prime Minister promised.
View Colin Carrie Profile
View Colin Carrie Profile
2019-05-28 16:46 [p.28158]
Mr. Speaker, my colleague has been here quite some time. We were both elected in 2004.
He quite rightly pointed out some important pieces of legislation. I have a feeling of frustration on this side of the House because the role of opposition is to work to make legislation better, but also to have time to debate it. This is all about that. We can go back and forth.
During our mandate, 97 bills received royal assent. With the present Liberal government, something like 60 bills have received royal assent. It has been the worst functioning government since the 1930s.
There is some really important legislation and we are now stuck with only a few days left in the House to get them put forward and debated properly.
Even with the increased time for sitting, does my colleague think we have enough time left to properly debate these bills? Does he think Canadians are starting to pay attention? The Liberal government is obsessed with selfies and its image, but it is not doing the work that Canadians expect it to do? Could my colleague please comment on that?
View Peter Julian Profile
View Peter Julian Profile
2019-05-28 16:47 [p.28158]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to wish my colleague a happy anniversary. June 28 will be his 15th year in the House. I have often enjoyed our differences and sometimes our similarities when speaking to issues.
However, he is right on the account that the government is such a pale imitation of what it purported to be back in 2015. I remember, as all Canadians do, the government and the Prime Minister talking about a new era in Canadian politics. They said that there would be collaboration on the floor of the House of Commons, that there would be democratic reform, that there would be housing for people dealing with housing issues, that there would be pharmacare and that the government would attack climate change. Instead it is giving all the big emitters a get out of jail free card when it comes to climate change emissions. The government made all kinds of commitments that it has sadly failed to meet.
The most egregious is the refusal to work with the opposition. Every member of the NDP caucus takes his or her work seriously. In every case, when a bill has come before the House, the NDP has offered very thoughtful amendments to improve legislation. I could give a 14-hour filibuster on all the improvements suggested by NDP members. We did the work, gave it to the government and recommended it be incorporated in legislation. Witnesses agreed. The said to take the NDP amendments to make the legislation better so it would do what it purported to do. After four years, it has been a complete and abject failure. The government refuses opposition amendments; it is just what it does.
The Conservative government before it did the same thing. A dozen times legislation was rejected by the courts because the Conservatives refused the NDP amendments. Now we have bad legislation pushed through like a bulldozer by the Liberals again, without taking the amendments that would have made that legislation more sound, better and actually do what it purported it would do. It is sad.
It is a sad commentary on the government. However, as I mentioned before, on October 21, Canadians will judge it on that record.
View Alistair MacGregor Profile
Mr. Speaker, I also find it a bit rich when we hear the Liberals talking about the opposition delaying bills. I will provide a concrete example.
When the House was debating Bill C-69, our colleague from Edmonton Strathcona, who worked so diligently at committee on that bill, proposed many amendments seeking to bring that environmental review legislation in line with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. These amendments were moved at committee only days after the Liberals had voted in favour of Bill C-262.
It is wrong for us to be accused of holding up the legislation. We were doing the hard work of listening to witnesses at committee and bringing forward amendments to make the bill more in line with indigenous rights, for which the government had already signalled its support.
For my friend from New Westminster—Burnaby, that is just another example of where we have tried our best. We listened to those witnesses at committee. Time and again we tried to insert those amendments that were directly attributable to concrete evidence heard at committee only to see it fail both at the committee stage and when the bill was reported to the House.
Could my colleague comment a bit further on our efforts through this 42nd Parliament to improve those bills that have been backed up by solid witness testimony every step of the way?
View Peter Julian Profile
View Peter Julian Profile
2019-05-28 16:52 [p.28159]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Cowichan—Malahat—Langford for his terrific work in the House of Commons. This is his first term, but we would not know it from the depth of the work he has done and the substance he has offered on the floor of the House of Commons. One would think he is a member of Parliament who has been re-elected numerous times. I thank him for his terrific work.
He is absolutely right when he says that with respect to any area in any bill, the NDP members have offered honest and thoughtful suggestions to improve a bill and make it do what the title purports it would do. Often, the government puts forward legislation and when we look at the title, we think it is going to make a big difference, but when we read the bill, it is, sadly, a real letdown because the legislation does not back up the intent of the title. Over this particular four-year period, the job of New Democrats has been to improve legislation through the hundreds, if not thousands, of amendments we have brought forward for each bill, each one of them thoughtfully considered and carefully drafted, always with the support of witnesses, experts and Canadians who believe that the legislation should be better as well. However, these amendments have been systematically rejected over four years.
The member for Burnaby South understands and if he is elected prime minister on October 21, we will see a different approach in the House of Commons. We are going to encourage amendments from opposition members and actually consider their merits. That is going to be a sea change in Canadian politics, I think a welcome one, because it will make for better legislation and better government in this country.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-05-28 16:54 [p.28159]
Mr. Speaker, before I get under way with my comments, I want to reflect on the previous speaker's comments and address many aspects of them during my speech.
If we look at what has transpired over the last number of years, we have seen a great deal of change in committees. I sat in opposition when Stephen Harper was the prime minister, and I understand very clearly that when he was the prime minister, opposition members' amendments were never passed at committee. It just did not happen, unless one were a government member. Opposition members did not have their amendments passed during the time I was here under a majority Stephen Harper government.
However, to try to give the impression that this government has behaved in the same fashion is just wrong, because it is just not true. This government, on multiple pieces of legislation, has not only approached standing committees in a different fashion from the previous Stephen Harper government, but also, members will find that the current government has accepted numerous amendments to our legislation, whether they be from New Democrats, Conservatives or even the Green Party. That is something we did not witness under Stephen Harper, but something that we have seen here.
Also, in response to the opposition's effort to claim there has been no change, we can just look at the parliamentary secretaries. When I had sat on the procedure and House affairs committee, the Conservative parliamentary secretary was there and led the committee. As the parliamentary secretary related in regard to that particular committee today, I do not even attend that committee.
There is a substantial difference between this Prime Minister and Stephen Harper. There is a lot more transparency and accountability with this Prime Minister than the former prime minister on a number of different fronts.
However, for those who might be following, we are having this debate because the government has decided, as previous governments have done in the past, including Stephen Harper's, that as we get into June, there will at times be a need to have extended sitting hours. There is nothing new in that. As I said, Stephen Harper did so, and prime ministers before him have also done so. We have extended hours because, like Canadians, we believe that we should continue to work every day that we sit, and if we have to put in extra hours to pass more legislation, why not?
It is interesting listening to the Conservatives talk about last-minute legislation. What do they expect? We are now at the end of May. Do they just want the government to shut the doors and stop debate on all legislation? Maybe the NDP and Conservatives would like to operate that way, but we as a government are committed to working hard for Canadians every day, and members will see that with the different types of initiatives we have taken, whether it be legislative action, budget actions or just trying to build consensus.
Today is an excellent example, because we saw a lot of games being played by the opposition parties. They ask why we bring in time allocation or closure, and they challenge us, especially me when I stand to talk about the benefits of using time allocation. However, so that those listening can understand what is actually taking place, they need to recognize that there is legislation the government has introduced that the NDP will never, ever support, unless we delete the entire bill by way of an amendment. That is an absolute guarantee: there is legislation the NDP will never, ever support.
The trade agreement is a good example. We have had a number of trade agreements from this government, and every time, the NDP members vote against them. If it were up to them, agreements would never be allowed to go to a vote. Equally, there is legislation here that we have introduced that the Conservatives would never, ever support and have voted against. They will go out of their way to prevent the legislation from passing.
We could have the Conservatives saying no to legislation, with the NDP, the Greens and the government saying yes, but if the Conservatives wanted to, they could prevent the legislation from passing. All they have to do is to speak to the legislation, propose an amendment and speak endlessly. We had a good example of that today.
We are talking about disabilities and Bill C-81. What are the principles of the bill? The main principles are inherent dignity, equality, opportunity, barrier-free government, autonomy, inclusive design and meaningful involvement. This is legislation that every member in the chamber, I believe, will vote in favour of. No one is going to dispute it.
Then we had the first Conservative speaking to the legislation, the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, who spoke for 95 minutes—
An hon. member: Hear, hear!
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux: And the Conservatives say hear, hear, Mr. Speaker.
I am not new to a political chamber. I have been doing this for close to 30 years. I know what a filibuster is. The Conservative Party of Canada did not want to pass that legislation this morning, and that is really what the debate was about. The member stood because his party did not want to see that legislation pass this morning.
We know that the House has the potential to pass things through—
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-05-28 17:02 [p.28160]
Mr. Speaker, we had a very good example this morning with the member across the way.
Contrast that to another example where we had legislation which members of the New Democratic Party recognized that they actually liked. I think it was Bill C-37. I could be wrong on that but if members did a quick check of Hansard, they would be able to find out when members of the NDP supported time allocation. They wanted us to pass that legislation. They recognized the value and importance of that legislation. That is not the only time they did that. The NDP members on a couple of occasions have recognized that they like the legislation and want it to pass and have therefore supported our bringing in time allocation.
What we know is that all parties in this House actually support the concept of time allocation, if it is deemed necessary. Even when I sat in opposition, Peter Van Loan would bring in time allocation, and I remember standing in my place and supporting it, because if one is not getting the support and co-operation from opposition parties in particular and from the government at times, one may need to use time allocation. A lot depends on what is happening in the opposition benches.
I know the government House leader continues to want to work with opposition members. If the government House leader asks how many speakers a party would like to put forward on something or how quickly might we be able to get a piece of legislation through, it is not some sort of trap for the opposition parties. It is to allow for more debate on issues which the opposition members would like to have more debate on.
There are bills that are relatively non-controversial, like Bill C-81, which is historical legislation. I am not going to say that members should not be debating the bill, but based on my 30 years of parliamentary experience, when the will is there to see a bill pass, it passes really quickly as opposed to there being a filibuster. Maybe it would have been better to allow Bill C-81 to actually pass today. I would argue that would have been the right thing to do.
I listened very closely to the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan across the way. All he would say is that it will pass in due time and before the next election it will be passed. He indicated his support for it on behalf of the Conservative Party. The member is playing a game and he knows it. If the Conservative Party really wanted to, that bill could have passed and we could have been debating something else right now. We needed to get an indication to help facilitate debate inside the House.
There are many issues that I would like to debate and, in good part, I have been fortunate to have been afforded the opportunity to do that. The NDP House leader talked about an issue which I am very passionate about: pharmacare. That is not an NDP issue, although the NDP tries to claim it as one. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is an issue today because we have a Prime Minister who is committed to ensuring that we expand our health care system. That is the reason the NDP is talking about it today. It was years ago, when we first came in as government, through a standing committee that the idea started to really flourish.
I participate in a caucus and I have many discussions with my colleagues. We understand the value of it. We understand that we have to work with many different stakeholders. Then the NDP members catch wind of it and all of a sudden they say that they to get out in front of the Liberals on it. That is balderdash.
The NDP does not get credit for something of this nature. If anyone should get the credit, it is Canadians. It is Canadians who have been communicating, whether through the Prime Minister or through members of our caucus, about the importance of pharmacare. That is the reason we have prioritized it. We are looking forward to the report we will be getting toward the end of June.
NDP members talk about housing as if they are leading the file. Who are they kidding? I enjoy listening to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development. He is one of the most able-minded individuals I know, and he understands the issues of housing in Canada.
In the last federal election, the commitment the NDP made with regard to housing pales in comparison to what this government has put into place. I find it somewhat humorous that the NDP has attempted to stake claim to an area in which this government has moved forward.
From day one, whether in regard to budgetary measures or legislative measures, this government and the Prime Minister have been focused on Canada's middle class. Let us talk about our first piece of legislation. Bill C-2 provided a tax cut to Canada's middle class. Hundreds of millions of dollars are going into the pockets of Canadians. At the same time, the legislation allowed for a special increase in tax for Canada's wealthiest 1%. By the way, the Conservatives and the NDP voted against that.
That was a legislative measure. In our very first budget, we committed to a tax-free Canada child benefit program. Again, this is putting hundreds of millions of dollars into the pockets of almost nine out of 10 families, although I could not tell members the actual percentage. That initiative literally lifted hundreds of thousands of children out of poverty, and the Conservatives and NDP voted against it.
That is why I say that from day one, this government, whether through budgetary measures or legislative measures, has been very active at ensuring we continue to move forward. However, in virtually every initiative we have undertaken, and Bill C-81 is more of an exception, opposition parties have fought us.
Let us recall the last federal budget. Before I comment on some of the content of it, do members remember the day of the federal budget? It was not a good day for parliamentarians. The Minister of Finance wanted to address the House and Canada. All sorts of stakeholders were waiting to hear about the budget. Do members remember the behaviour of members of the official opposition? They were yelling and slamming their desks. They did not want the Minister of Finance to be heard. In my 30 years of parliamentary experience, I had never witnessed that sort of inappropriate behaviour coming from the official opposition. It was embarrassing.
The Conservatives are very focused on trying to discredit the person of the Prime Minister. We can hear it in their speeches. It is the personal attacks, whether directed at the Prime Minister or the Minister of Finance. That is fine. It is the Stephen Harper type of politics, with more and more of Doug Ford's style getting into their caucus and in their policies. It is scary stuff.
One member opposite said that he is going to join our caucus. I believe that could happen sometime soon. If I were to speculate on the Conservative leadership at the end of the year or in 2020, I am thinking it could be Doug Ford, Jason Kenney, maybe the opposition House leader, and I do not know who else.
The bottom line is the Conservatives are so focused on character assassination instead of being a constructive opposition party. That is okay, because as they focus on that negativity, we will continue to focus on Canadians. The results are really showing in a tangible way.
I made reference to the hundreds of thousands of children, and there are also hundreds of thousands of seniors who have been lifted out of poverty as a direct result of this government's actions. In the last three and a half years, we have seen one million new jobs created by working with Canadians. We have seen incredible investments in infrastructure. In the last budget alone, there is a commitment to municipalities. In Winnipeg, I believe it is about 35 million additional dollars. If members were to drive around some of our streets, they would get a better appreciation of why that is such an important investment.
I started off talking about the historical legislation of Bill C-81. We have indigenous legislation that is before the House on language and foster care. These are critically important issues. It is historic legislation. These are two pieces of legislation that we still need to pass. That is why I am here standing in my place saying that we still have 19 days to go. Unlike the Conservatives and the New Democrats, we are prepared to work until the very last day. We are prepared to work late. We have a legislative agenda and we are committed to passing that legislation. We know that this government works for Canadians in every region of our country every day.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
Mr. Speaker, with all due respect, my friend's comments were even more ridiculous than usual.
When the government insists on debasing our institutions through its corruption, we will hold it to account, whether it is budget day or any other day. That is exactly what we did and what we will continue to do. Canadians expect us to defend the integrity of their institutions, whatever the issue of the day is.
I want to respond to some of the things the member said about Bill C-81. I think he should know better than to present misleading information about what actually took place with this bill.
The government waited until very late in the life of this Parliament to bring this bill forward. It rejected multiple opposition amendments at committee that would have strengthened this bill. The government therefore sent a flawed bill to the Senate, which necessitated amendments to be proposed by the Senate, which meant that after amendments were proposed, the bill would have to come back to the House.
Still, when the bill came back to the House, the government did not bring the bill forward at the earliest opportunity. It could have been brought forward last week. The government could have used Standing Order 53 to try to expedite it. I suspect there would have been interest in doing that from this side of the House.
However, to expedite the debate beginning, because the debate has to take place, the government chose, after all these mistakes, to bring this bill forward for the first time this morning. Absolutely, the opposition is prepared to debate and highlight the areas in which the government has fallen short, and ultimately to support the bill's passage. That is a certainty.
The member accused me of filibustering, but I think he knows that if I was trying to filibuster something, I would still be talking on it right now. I gave a speech. I delivered important points about the government's failures on the bill. Why is the government so upset? It did not want the bill to be criticized.
We support the bill but there are things that the stakeholder community believes needed to be included in it that were not included. The importance of the topic is precisely why these points have to be made. If it was not an important topic, we would not need to talk about it. However, given the critical importance of the topic, we needed to talk about it.
Could the member tell us why the government failed to bring forward this bill yesterday or last week? Why did it fail to bring forward the bill at the earliest opportunity it could?
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-05-28 17:16 [p.28162]
Mr. Speaker, I have been a parliamentarian for almost 30 years. Most of those years were in opposition. I can tell the member that I know how to recognize a filibuster when I see a filibuster.
At the end of the day, the member will have to reconcile within his House leadership team why the Conservative Party chose not to pass Bill C-81 this morning. To try to imply that there are endless members who want to speak to it or that it was necessary to prolong the process, I would welcome a debate where we could both go into a community and have that endless debate. I feel very comfortable with the experience I have. He would have to justify it within his own House leadership.
For me, personally, I look at the behaviour of the official opposition. Let us keep in mind that the official opposition, on several occasions, has become tired of sitting and has attempted to adjourn the House. The opposition will cause the bells to ring to prevent debating bills or will attempt to adjourn for the day. They would adjourn debate on other pieces of legislation. These are all tools that are used to prevent legislation from passing.
I will give the Conservatives this much. They are very good at being the opposition and I hope they are going to stay in opposition for many years to come.
View Guy Caron Profile
Mr. Speaker, I would like to read a quote from a debate that occurred in the House not too long ago.
It is a government that since it acquired a majority has had a different attitude in the House of Commons. It is one where it feels it does not need to consult with people, that it can just walk over some very basic democratic principles. It is one that does not understand the need for diligence. It is one that does not understand the need for working with people or working with members of Parliament. In dealing with important legislation...the government has failed on so many counts.
The government, by once again relying on a time allocation motion to get its agenda passed, speaks of incompetence. It speaks of a genuine lack of respect for parliamentary procedure and ultimately for Canadians. It continues to try to prevent members of Parliament from being engaged and representing their constituents on the floor of the House of Commons.
Who said that? The member for Winnipeg North. He said it on June 3, 2015, when his party was in opposition, shortly before the election. Regardless of what he says now, it is clear that he is talking out of both sides of his mouth, saying one thing when he is in opposition and the opposite when he is in government.
That is not all. They did the same thing with omnibus budget bills. When the government was in opposition, in June 2015, it promised to do things differently from the Conservatives.
I am sorry if I take the member's comments with a grain of salt, but, time and again in this House, the member has completely contradicted what he called for when he was an opposition member.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-05-28 17:19 [p.28163]
Mr. Speaker, the NDP research bureau needs to be a little more transparent and accountable for the information it is providing to the member. What it is not telling the member is that, when I sat in opposition, on several occasions I said that at times there is a need to use time allocation. That is when I was in opposition. I said that because I witnessed the opposition, which happened to be the official opposition at the time, behaving in such a fashion that the legislation would never pass, just like New Democrats today. In the last four years, they have supported time allocation. They supported time allocation when they wanted legislation passed.
The government has a lot of priority legislation. Some of that legislation New Democrats do not want to pass, some of that legislation the Conservatives do not want to pass, and if the opposition buckles down on its position, then the legislation will not pass unless time allocation is brought in. That is the reason time allocation is a useful tool to use at times. I have said it on this side of the House, and I said it when I was in opposition. There is no change.
View Linda Lapointe Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Linda Lapointe Profile
2019-05-28 17:20 [p.28163]
Mr. Speaker, I have a question for my hon. colleague, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons.
Could he tell me how many bills were passed in the 42nd Parliament? I would also like to know how many bills are currently being studied in committee and how many are in the Senate.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-05-28 17:21 [p.28163]
Mr. Speaker, that is a very good question. We have seen dozens of pieces of legislation pass through the House. We have three bills currently in committee and a dozen bills in the Senate. There are a number of substantial pieces of legislation. I referenced a couple of them myself that will have a profoundly positive impact in my own riding of Winnipeg North. I am speaking particularly of the foster care legislation and the indigenous languages legislation.
When we look at the total legislative package of this government and take a holistic approach, we have done a fabulous job of bringing forward legislation that is very progressive in its nature, complemented by a budget that supports the legislation. Overall, we have seen the benefits by looking at factors such as reducing poverty, a million jobs and so forth.
View Colin Carrie Profile
View Colin Carrie Profile
2019-05-28 17:22 [p.28163]
Mr. Speaker, my colleague pointed out that there are legitimate tools the government needs to use in order to pass legislation. He has talked about time allocation, extending the hours and things like this, but the frustration on the opposition side is that, if we count them, there are 20 bills the government wants to move forward and there are only 20 days remaining.
He brought up the example this morning of Bill C-81 regarding accessibility, saying there has been some obstruction on this side. I was in the House earlier today and would have liked an opportunity to speak to the bill. As many people in the House know, I have a son who has been diagnosed on the spectrum, and it is a very important bill. Sixty amendments were put forward at committee, and the government chose to include only three. Our job is to make it a better bill, and if we can do that, all of us win. I commend the government for bringing this legislation forward, because it is important legislation, and I will be supporting it. If it is not a perfect bill, it is a start, and we can move forward with that.
There are 20 days remaining, and there are 20 bills. Does my colleague really think there is enough time to properly debate these 20 bills in the next 20 days? Does he not think the government should have had better organizational skills to get these important bills passed?
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-05-28 17:23 [p.28163]
Mr. Speaker, I suspect that if members were to review Hansard, they would find that legislation can pass very fast in the House. It can pass from second reading to committee stage to third reading virtually in one day, if it is deemed to be supported by both sides of the House through unanimous consent.
I am very sensitive to the Bill C-81 issue. If every member of the House were to speak for one minute, that would be 338 minutes. In terms of speaking, it is just not practical. That is the reason why we have caucuses and why we go to committee. There are plenty of opportunities.
I believe that those who want to get engaged could bring it to their House leadership, and even the independents are always afforded the opportunity if they go through the House leadership teams. It does not mean they have to go through the House leadership teams, but if it is something important, that is one of the things I would recommend. However, it is not compulsory. Everyone has the opportunity to stand and address the House when the floor is vacant.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2019-05-28 17:25 [p.28163]
Mr. Speaker, it is always an honour to rise in the House. I would like to begin by saying that I will be sharing my time with my colleague from Mégantic—L'Érable.
I would also like to acknowledge the many residents of Beauport—Limoilou who are watching this afternoon's proceedings as usual. I would like to thank them for a wonderful riding week last week. I met with several hundred of my constituents, many of whom attended the 17th Beauport business network breakfast. The network is doing very well. We will soon be holding a local press conference to announce that the network is going to have its own independent board of directors. That will give Beauport's business people a strong voice for dialogue with their elected representatives. Back home, I often joke that I am getting my own opposition up and running.
All joking aside, following the three “Alupa à l'écoute” public consultations that I held, I want to tell those watching us today that I will hold a press conference in a few weeks to announce the public policy that I am going to introduce with my leader when we form the government in October. This policy will help seniors return to the labour market, if they so wish, and alleviate the labour shortage.
This evening we are debating the motion moved barely 24 hours ago by the government, which would have us sit until midnight every evening from Monday to Thursday, starting next Monday. The government feels compelled to make up for its complacency over the past few months. It was caught up in several scandals that made the headlines, such as the SNC-Lavalin scandal. It is waking up and realizing that time is passing and it only has 20 days to complete its legislative agenda. There is a sense of panic. Above all, when the session comes to an end, they do not want to be known as the government with the poor legislative track record.
I would like to quickly talk about the government's bills. My colleague from Rivière-des-Mille-Îles talked about the number of bills the government has passed so far. This time three and a half years ago, in the final weeks of the Conservative term under Mr. Harper, we had more than 82 bills that received royal assent, and five or six other bills on the Order Paper. So far, the Liberals have passed only 48 government bills that have received royal assent, and 17 are still on the agenda. They do not have very many bills on their legislative record.
For three and a half years we have heard their grand patriotic speeches and all the rhetoric that entails. During the election campaign, their slogan was “Real change”, but with so few bills on their legislative record, their slogan rings hollow. What is more, their bills are flawed. Every time their bills are referred to committee, the government has to propose dozens of amendments through its own members, something that is rarely done for government bills.
Next, let us talk about electoral partisanship. The Liberals made big promises to minority groups in Canada. Three and a half years ago, the Prime Minister boasted about wanting to advance reconciliation with indigenous peoples. However, the Liberals waited until just a month before the end of the 42nd Parliament to introduce Bill C-91, an act respecting indigenous languages, in the House. Even though the Liberals are always saying that the government's most important relationship is the one it has with first nations, they waited over three and a half years before introducing a government bill on the protection of indigenous languages. I would like to remind members that there are over 77 indigenous languages in Canada. Once again, we see that the Liberals are in a rush and stressed out. They want to placate all of the interest groups that believe in them before October.
What about the leadership of the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons? From the start, three and a half years ago, she said that her approach was the exact opposite of the previous government's, which she claimed was harmful. Nevertheless, she forced sixty-some time allocation motions on us. When it came to reforming the rules and procedures, she wanted to significantly reduce the opposition's power.
We want to stand before Canadians and ask questions and bring to light the reason why debates will go until midnight. The reason is that the Liberals were unable to properly complete their legislative agenda and move forward as they should have.
View Luc Berthold Profile
View Luc Berthold Profile
2019-05-28 19:33 [p.28181]
Madam Speaker, moving a motion to extend the sitting hours of the House is not a great way to close out the last session of the 42nd Parliament of Canada. We are not opposed to working late every evening. We want to work and make progress on files.
Once again, we take issue with the means the government is using to get all members to work a little harder because the session is ending and these are the last days of this Parliament. The other items in the motion do not concern the extension of sitting hours. We take issue with the government's approach, which prevents the opposition from doing its job properly. It is handcuffing the opposition and moving the government's agenda along as quickly as possible, not based on what parliamentarians may have to say, but on what the government wants.
This is not new to us, given how the government has handled the legislative process throughout its mandate. The government has been unable to advance a decent legislative agenda. I am the opposition agriculture and agri-food critic. I spoke to my predecessors, and we have been waiting for the Minister of Agriculture to introduce a bill to improve the lives of Canadian farmers since my appointment two years ago.
When I look at all the agriculture documents and bills this government has introduced since it was elected in 2015, it is clear to me that the government has achieved nothing. Absolutely no legislation was proposed to improve the lives of Canadian farmers.
However, numerous bills were introduced. Now, the government is saying that the situation is urgent and that we must move quickly and pass this legislation. A number of bills were not passed by the government, and now time is of the essence.
Of all of the bills that were not passed, some never even moved forward. We have, for example, Bill C-5, introduced on February 5, 2016; Bill C-12, introduced on March 24, 2016; Bill C-27, introduced on October 19, 2016; Bill C-28, introduced on October 21, 2016; Bill C-32, introduced on November 15, 2016; and Bill C-33, introduced on November 24, 2016. The Liberals have had four years to move these bills forward.
All of a sudden, the government claims that these bills need to be passed urgently. After the vote this evening we will debate Bill C-81, which was introduced on June 20, 2018. It has been nearly a year. We are being told that this bill is urgent and must absolutely be passed, but the government was unable to bring it forward earlier.
If this is so urgent, why did the government not bring up this bill more regularly in the House? Why did we not talk about it on a regular basis? All of a sudden, we need to pass it quickly because the Liberals have realized that they are going to run out of time. The government was unable to manage the House. It was unable to give parliamentarians an opportunity to do their work and to speak about important bills. The Liberals have realized at the last minute that they have forgotten this and that. There is an election coming up in the fall and now parliamentarians have to do the work to pass this or that bill.
The government chose to impose late sittings on the House for 18 days while also moving a time allocation motion, which means that we will not even have the chance to talk about it for long. If we refer to the Standing Orders, the government could have extended sitting hours for the last 10 days of the session, as provided for in our normal parliamentary calendar. That is what it could have done, and it would have been entirely doable.
I would like to talk about one of the Standing Orders. Even though the standing order that governs the extension of sitting hours in June has been in effect since 1982, it is not used every year. In some cases, special orders were proposed and adopted instead, usually by unanimous consent.
Parliamentarians are here to represent the people in their ridings. According to the Standing Orders, anyone who wants to change the rules to move things along has to seek the unanimous consent of the House.
Unfortunately, this government does not really seem to care about unanimous consent. It does not really seem to care what the opposition thinks or has to say even though, just like MPs on government benches, we represent all the people of our ridings. The least the government could do, out of respect for Canadian voters, is respect people in opposition. We have a role to play.
Unfortunately, our role is not to agree all the time and say the government is doing a good job. On the contrary, our role is to try to point out its failings so it can improve. Basically, the opposition's role is to make the government better by pointing out its mistakes and bad decisions so the government can reflect on that and find better solutions for all Canadians. However, the government does not seem willing to take that into account.
On top of that, there are two opposition days left. I mentioned the negative effects of the motion. The government is proposing to extend the hours in the House, but what it failed to mention is that it is going to deny the opposition the opportunity to have two full opposition days to address situations that are very troubling to Canadians.
For instance, during a normal opposition day during which we might hear from a number of stakeholders, we could have talked about the canola crisis, which is affecting thousands of canola producers across Canada. This crisis, which involves China, is costing Canadian canola producers billions of dollars. For all members who have canola farmers among their constituents, it would have been an opportunity to express the concerns of their fellow citizens and farmers in their regions. Perhaps we could have convinced the government to take action, such as filing a complaint through the World Trade Organization to condemn China's actions or appointing an ambassador, for example. As peculiar as it may seem, Canada currently has no representative in China to speak with Chinese authorities.
We could have had such a debate here in the House.
The one thing that the members across the aisle seem to have forgotten is that members of the House are not the government. The government is the ministers, the cabinet members. In this chamber, people have the right to speak their minds in the hope of swaying the government.
It is true that the government is formed by the party with the most members elected to the House, but it is also up to backbench members of the ruling party to try to persuade their government and speak for the people they represent, such as the farmers in their ridings. Sadly, the members on that side of the House seem to be divorced from reality. They seem to be blind to the government's desire to crush Parliament, to crush the MPs who are trying to do a good job of representing the constituents of every riding. I think that is a real shame.
We have absolutely nothing against extending the sitting hours of the House, but if it is intended to cover up the government's mistakes and its inability to properly organize the work of the House, then I think that is disgraceful.
The government is using this kind of motion to not only make us work more, which, as I mentioned, we agree with, but also deprive us of our last remaining tools, like the voting marathons everyone remembers. We held those voting marathons to make the government realize it cannot do whatever it wants in the House of Commons. The House of Commons is not the tool of the government. This motion to extend the sitting hours also prevents us from using that tool, which was a powerful means for us to send the government a message.
After making such grand promises of transparency and openness, this government has failed spectacularly to deliver. Sadly, its latest motion on the rules of the House just proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that it has no respect for the work of the House. It saddens me to see a government ending its term on such a sour note.
View Linda Lapointe Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Linda Lapointe Profile
2019-05-28 19:43 [p.28183]
Mr. Speaker, I always listen very carefully to my colleague from Mégantic—L'Érable.
He spoke about unanimous consent a little earlier, but I do not really agree with him. He said that we do not have to agree, and so I agree that I do not agree with him.
He spoke about extended sitting hours. Is he aware that, in the 41st Parliament, the previous government, which was a Conservative government, adopted a motion to extend sitting hours on three occasions? We had extended hours from June 11 to 21, 2012, from May 22 to June 19, 2013, and from May 27 to June 20, 2014. Could my hon. colleague from the Conservative Party explain why the Conservatives used this measure at the time?
View Luc Berthold Profile
View Luc Berthold Profile
2019-05-28 19:44 [p.28183]
Mr. Speaker, as I already stated very clearly, we have nothing against extending the sitting hours of the House in order to do more work and improve the lives of Canadians.
The problem is that the government wants to extend sitting hours because it was incapable of properly managing the work of the House. That is the problem.
I must also say that on those three occasions, we never limited the duration of opposition days. That never happened. They should perhaps take a closer look and go over things a little more.
We also did not prevent opposition members from using the tools they need to have their voices heard. They are not just extending hours, they are suppressing the opposition's right to speak. That is what my colleague should realize when she looks at the analyses, instead of simply reading the lines she is provided.
We respect the work of Parliament.
View Robert Aubin Profile
View Robert Aubin Profile
2019-05-28 19:45 [p.28183]
Mr. Speaker, while I have the utmost respect for what my colleague from Mégantic—L'Érable has to say, I cannot help but smile as I watch the Liberals and Conservatives bickering over procedure, when both parties are beating the record for time allocation and extension of sitting hours.
However, I agree with the hon. member on some aspects, including the Liberal government's inability to advance a proper legislative agenda.
My question for the hon. member has more to do with political acumen. Normally, this is part of the process in the House. It usually covers the last two sitting weeks of the House, during which it is possible to extend the sitting hours to try to get through as many bills as possible. The government is proposing twice as much time. The word “propose” is a euphemism. The government is imposing twice as many weeks.
Does the hon. member for Mégantic—L'Érable really believe that the Liberals need twice as much time to advance a rather light legislative agenda, or does he think they want to end the Parliamentary session two weeks early?
View Luc Berthold Profile
View Luc Berthold Profile
2019-05-28 19:46 [p.28183]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Trois-Rivières. I appreciate that he agreed with me on some points.
I also understand that, unfortunately, in this type of debate, we will never know whether the NDP would use time allocation because it will never form government. I can understand, then, why he is a bit jealous of our exchanges.
My colleague from Trois-Rivières does seem to have a knack for guessing the government's intentions. Listening to the Prime Minister answer questions day after day, it becomes clear just how much he is looking forward to a vacation. He seems tired of answering questions. He must be tired of hearing the questions, but we never get answers.
Every day and every week since January, the opposition parties have been scoring points while the Liberals have been losing them. We are winning every week in the House. I think the Liberals are looking forward to a vacation. Personally, I am looking forward to October 21, when we can give them an extended vacation.
View Linda Lapointe Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Linda Lapointe Profile
2019-05-28 19:48 [p.28183]
Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to speak this evening. I am always proud to speak on behalf of my constituents in Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, whom I am proud to represent.
I would like to tell my colleagues who are here this evening that I am proud to represent Rivière-des-Mille-Îles and also Deux-Montagnes, Saint-Eustache, Boisbriand and Rosemère. We have been dealing with flooding again this year, but we are working hard for our fellow citizens.
View Linda Lapointe Profile
Lib. (QC)
Today I am debating Motion No. 30, which is very important. This motion is about how the House will operate from now until we adjourn for the summer. This is important because it will allow us to make progress on files that are important to Canadians, including the people of Rivière-des-Mille-Îles. These issues are the reason Canadians elected us.
Motion No. 30 will enable the House to act on the excellent work our committees have already done. I want to emphasize that this work is not carried out solely by committee members from this side of the House. This work is carried out by all parties and all individuals on committees so that proposed legislation can come back to the House and be voted on before we rise for the summer. This is very important.
There has been a lot of talk during today's debate about how the government's legislative measures have reflected only what the government wanted to do. My participation in committee activities and the work I have been able to accomplish there have taught me that, most of the time, committee members work well together. They collaborate, they set partisanship aside to some degree and, more often than not, they are able to compromise. At least, that was the case in the committees I belonged to.
I had the opportunity to sit on the Standing Committee on International Trade for two and a half years. We always agreed with members from across the aisle on free trade agreements, whether with Europe or Asia or NAFTA 2.0, on which we worked very hard. There is only one party we never agree with when it comes to such deals.
I was also a member of the Standing Committee on Official Languages for two and a half years. It is a non-partisan committee whose goal is to ensure that official language minority communities are properly represented. I can assure the House that there was no partisanship. In my new role as deputy whip, I am now a member of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, where there is a little more partisanship. Let us speak plainly.
If we do not adopt this motion, if we do not extend the sitting hours of the House, we will end up in a situation where all the work we have done will basically be lost before the fall election. That is why it is so important that we adopt Motion No. 30.
I want to highlight some of the important work done by the committees. I want to point out that during the 2015 election, the Liberal Party, of which I am a proud member, promised to strengthen parliamentary committees. We promised to have more respect for the fundamental role that parliamentarians play on committees in order to hold the government to account.
That commitment, included in the mandate letter of the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, means that parliamentary committees are freer and better equipped to study legislation. Among the many changes that were made, committee chairs are now freely elected by the committee members. They are not appointed by the government. Voting is now done by secret ballot to allow members to vote freely for their selection for chair.
Now parliamentary secretaries also sit on committees, but as non-voting members. They can contribute to the discussions if necessary. They are present, enabling them to stay abreast of the committee's work. Since they do not have the right to vote, no one can accuse cabinet of interfering in the work of the committees. The standing orders that made these changes official were passed in June 2017. I believe, and I think most members would agree, that committees can now act more openly, more transparently and more freely.
I would like to briefly go over some of the major bills currently before Parliament that might not be voted on and passed by the end of the session if this motion is not adopted.
I will start with Bill C-92, an act respecting first nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families. This bill sets out the legislative framework and the principles needed to guide work among first nations, Inuit and Métis nations, provincial and territorial partners, and the Government of Canada to achieve truly meaningful reform in child and family services.
The purpose of this bill is twofold. First, it affirms the rights and jurisdiction of indigenous peoples in relation to child and family services. Second, it sets out principles applicable, on a national level, to the provision of child and family services in relation to indigenous children, such as the best interests of the child, cultural continuity and substantive equality.
Bill C-92 is a milestone piece of legislation that would have significant impacts on the lives of indigenous youth, their families and their communities. It is an important step in advancing meaningful reconciliation and in implementing the vital recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
The second example that I would like to give is, in my opinion, the most important bill for Canadians, and that is Bill C-97, budget implementation act, 2019, no. 1. This bill will affect Canadians across the country. It seeks to respond to Canadians' most pressing needs. For example, buying a house or condo is probably the most important investment most Canadians will make in their lifetimes. However, many Canadians are not able to enter the market. That is why, through budget 2019 and with Bill C-97, the government will build on Canada's national housing strategy and take action to improve the affordability of housing, especially for first-time homebuyers.
Our government also wants to make sure that Canada's seniors have more money in their pockets when they retire. That is why, with Bill C-97, the government is proposing to enhance the guaranteed income supplement earnings exemption by providing a full or partial exemption on up to $15,000 and extending it to self-employment income.
This proposal was very well received by seniors in my riding. We have a labour shortage and we have seniors with incredible expertise. If seniors are able to work one day a week because of this measure, so much the better. Our society as a whole will reap the benefits. These seniors will pass on their knowledge to everyone around them and will have the opportunity to work if they so desire. It is a way for them to meet people, network and maintain friendships.
This is a very important measure for me. It will put more money in the pockets of eligible seniors who work. I want to reiterate that this measure was very well received by seniors in Rivière-des-Mille-Îles.
Another measure concerns electric vehicles. We want to electrify transportation. The $5,000 federal subsidy has made a huge difference in my riding. The Quebec government already gives an $8,000 subsidy, and when you add the $5,000 from the federal government, it is incredible. That will considerably reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
All of that can be found in Bill C-97. It is absolutely crucial that we pass Motion No. 30 today so we have enough time to pass all this fantastic legislation. It is worth reiterating that this budget implementation bill is entirely consistent with the current government's agenda, which differs significantly from the previous government's agenda. We are steering Canada in a direction that will truly reduce inequality. We always talk about the middle class, but we have created one million jobs and have lifted 300,000 children out of poverty, not to mention the adults. We are the ones who have reduced inequality. We have the strongest economy, and the unemployment rate is at its lowest in over 40 years.
The previous government had very little interest in this important societal objective, namely reducing inequality in this country. On the contrary, during the Harper decade, inequality in Canada actually increased. The two examples of bills to be implemented, and also of budget items, will help us go even further.
These are two bills among others that we would like to pass before adjourning. For all these reasons, it is truly important that we pass the motion now to let us sit longer and ensure that we complete the work entrusted to us by Canadians.
I would also like to take a few minutes to speak about the amendments to the motion that were moved yesterday. I know that there has been a lot of discussion about the amount of time spent on government business compared to that spent on opposition motions and days. This is not about who gets what; the goal is to ensure that we can place more items on the agenda. That is why it is important to ensure that we sit longer into the evenings so we can do more.
The items I am talking about are the ones that all members from all parties in the House collaborated on in committee. This is why I personally cannot support the amendment. I do not think the amendment is particularly positive, because it does not address what we need to do, which is to examine more bills. Instead, it would proportionally increase the time available to each political party, which unfortunately reflects the partisan nature of this debate.
View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bardish Chagger Profile
2019-05-27 12:07 [p.28029]
That, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House, commencing upon the adoption of this Order and concluding on Friday, June 21, 2019:
(a) on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, the ordinary hour of daily adjournment shall be 12:00 a.m., except that it shall be 10:00 p.m. on a day when a debate, pursuant to Standing Order 52 or 53.1, is to take place;
(b) subject to paragraph (e), when a recorded division is requested in respect of a debatable motion, including any division arising as a consequence of the application of Standing Order 61(2) or Standing Order 78, but not including any division in relation to the Business of Supply or arising as a consequence of an order made pursuant to Standing Order 57, (i) before 2:00 p.m. on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, it shall stand deferred until the conclusion of Oral Questions at that day’s sitting, or (ii) after 2:00 p.m. on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, or at any time on a Friday, it shall stand deferred until the conclusion of Oral Questions at the next sitting day that is not a Friday, provided that, if a recorded division on the previous question is deferred and the motion is subsequently adopted, the recorded division on the original question shall not be deferred;
(c) notwithstanding Standing Order 45(6) and paragraph (b) of this Order, no recorded division in relation to any government order requested after 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 20, 2019, or at any time on Friday, June 21, 2019, shall be deferred;
(d) the time provided for Government Orders shall not be extended pursuant to Standing Order 45(7.1) or Standing Order 67.1(2);
(e) when a recorded division, which would have ordinarily been deemed deferred to immediately before the time provided for Private Members’ Business on a Wednesday governed by this Order, is requested, the said division is deemed to have been deferred until the conclusion of Oral Questions on the same Wednesday;
(f) any recorded division which, at the time of the adoption of this Order, stands deferred to immediately before the time provided for Private Members’ Business on the Wednesday immediately following the adoption of this Order shall be deemed to stand deferred to the conclusion of Oral Questions on the same Wednesday;
(g) a recorded division requested in respect of a motion to concur in a government bill at the report stage pursuant to Standing Order 76.1(9), where the bill has neither been amended nor debated at the report stage, shall be deferred in the manner prescribed by paragraph (b);
(h) for greater certainty, this Order shall not limit the application of Standing Order 45(7);
(i) when one or several deferred recorded divisions occur on a bill at report stage, a motion, “That the Bill be now read a third time and do pass”, may be made in the same sitting;
(j) no dilatory motion may be proposed after 6:30 p.m., except by a Minister of the Crown;
(k) notwithstanding Standing Orders 81(16)(b) and (c) and 81(18)(c), proceedings on any opposition motion shall conclude no later than 5:30 p.m. on the sitting day that is designated for that purpose, except on a Monday when they shall conclude at 6:30 p.m. or on a Friday when they shall conclude at 1:30 p.m.;
(l) during consideration of the estimates on the last allotted day, pursuant to Standing Order 81(18), when the Speaker interrupts the proceedings for the purpose of putting forthwith all questions necessary to dispose of the estimates, (i) all remaining motions to concur in the Votes for which a notice of opposition was filed shall be deemed to have been moved and seconded, the question deemed put and recorded divisions deemed requested, (ii) the Speaker shall have the power to combine the said motions for voting purposes, provided that, in exercising this power, the Speaker will be guided by the same principles and practices used at report stage;
(m) when debate on a motion for the concurrence in a report from a standing, standing joint or special committee is adjourned or interrupted, the debate shall again be considered on a day designated by the government, after consultation with the House Leaders of the other parties, but in any case not later than the 31st sitting day after the interruption; and
(n) Members not seeking re-election to the 43rd Parliament may be permitted to make statements, on Tuesday, June 4, and Wednesday, June 5, 2019, at the expiry of the time provided for Private Members’ Business for not more than three hours, and that, for the duration of the statements, (i) no member shall speak for longer than ten minutes and the speeches not be subject to a question and comment period, (ii) after three hours or when no Member rises to speak, whichever comes first, the House shall return to Government Orders.
She said: Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to Motion No. 30, which allows for the extension of the sitting hours of the House until we rise for the summer adjournment.
There is a clear and recent precedent for this extension of hours to give the House more time to do its important work. It occurred last year at this time and also the year before that. As well, in the previous Parliament, the hours of the House were extended in June 2014.
Four years ago, our government came forward with an ambitious mandate that promised real change. Under the leadership of our Prime Minister, our government has introduced legislation that has improved the lives of Canadians from coast to coast to coast. However, we have more work to do.
So far in this Parliament, the House has passed 82 government bills, and 65 of those have received royal assent. The facts are clear. This Parliament has been productive. We have a strong record of accomplishment. It is a long list, so I will cite just a few of our accomplishments.
Bill C-2 made good on our promise to lower taxes on middle-class Canadians by increasing taxes on the wealthiest 1% of Canadians. There are nine million Canadians who have benefited from this middle-class tax cut. This tax cut has been good for Canadians and their families. It has been good for the economy and good for Canada, and its results have been better than advertised. On our side, we are proud of this legislation. We have always said that we were on the side of hard-working, middle-class Canadians, and this legislation is proof of exactly that.
As well, thanks to our budgetary legislation, low-income families with children are better off today. We introduced the biggest social policy innovation in more than a generation through the creation of the tax-free Canada child benefit. The CCB puts cash into the pockets of nine out of 10 families and has lifted nearly 300,000 Canadian children out of poverty.
Early in this Parliament, in response to the Supreme Court of Canada, we passed medical assistance in dying legislation, which carefully balanced the rights of those seeking medical assistance in dying while ensuring protection of the most vulnerable in our society.
Also of note, we repealed the previous government's law that allowed citizenship to be revoked from dual citizens. We also restored the rights of Canadians abroad to vote in Canadian elections.
We added gender identity as a prohibited ground for discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act. Also, passing Bill C-65 has helped make workplaces in federally regulated industries and on Parliament Hill free from harassment and sexual violence.
We promised to give the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer the powers, resources and independence to properly do its job. We delivered on that commitment through legislation, and the PBO now rigorously examines the country's finances in an independent and non-partisan manner.
Through Bill C-45, we ended the failed approach to cannabis by legalizing it and strictly regulating and restricting access to cannabis, as part of our plan to keep cannabis out of the hands of youth and profits out of the pockets of organized crime. Along with that, Bill C-46 has strengthened laws to deter and punish people who drive while impaired, both from alcohol and/or drugs.
These are just some examples of the work we have accomplished on behalf of Canadians.
We are now heading into the final weeks of this session of Parliament, and there is more work to do. Four years ago, Canadians sent us here with a responsibility to work hard on their behalf, to discuss important matters of public policy, to debate legislation and to vote on that legislation.
The motion to allow for the extension of sitting hours of the House is timely, and clearly it is necessary. We have an important legislative agenda before us, and we are determined to work hard to make even more progress.
Passage of this motion would give all members exactly what they often ask for: more time for debate. I know every member wants to deliver for their communities and this motion will help with exactly that. We have much to accomplish in the coming weeks and we have the opportunity to add time to get more done.
I would like to highlight a few of the bills that our government will seek to advance.
I will start with Bill C-97, which would implement budget 2017. This budget implementation act is about making sure that all Canadians feel the benefits of a growing economy. That means helping more Canadians find an affordable home, and get training so that they have the skills necessary to obtain good, well-paying jobs. It is also about making it easier for seniors to retire with confidence.
Another important bill is Bill C-92, which would affirm and recognize the rights of first nations, Inuit and Métis children and families. The bill would require all providers of indigenous child and family services to adhere to certain principles, namely the best interests of the child, family unity and cultural continuity. This co-drafted legislation would transfer the jurisdiction of child and family services delivery to indigenous communities. This is historic legislation that is long overdue.
We have another important opportunity for us as parliamentarians, which is to pass Bill C-93, the act that deals with pardons as they relate to simple possession of cannabis. As I mentioned, last year we upheld our commitment to legalize, strictly regulate and restrict access to cannabis. It is time to give people who were convicted of simple possession a straightforward way to clear their names. We know it is mostly young people from the poorest of communities who have been targeted and hence are being left behind. This bill would create an expedited pardon process, with no application fee or waiting period, for people convicted only of simple possession of cannabis. Canadians who have held criminal records in the past for simple possession of cannabis should be able to meaningfully participate in their communities, get good and stable jobs and become the contributing members of our society that they endeavour to be.
Meanwhile, there is another important bill before the House that we believe needs progress. Bill C-88 is an act to amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act. This legislation only impacts the Northwest Territories, and its territorial government is asking us to act. This legislation protects Canada's natural environment, respects the rights of indigenous people and supports a strong natural resources sector. This bill will move the country ahead with a process that promotes reconciliation with indigenous peoples and creates certainty for investments in the Mackenzie Valley and the Arctic.
Earlier this month, our government introduced Bill C-98, an act to amend the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act and the Canada Border Services Agency Act. This bill would create civilian oversight of the Canada Border Services Agency. It would provide citizens with an independent review body to address complaints about the CBSA, just as they now have complaint mechanisms in place for the RCMP. Let me remind members that it was our government that brought forward Bill C-22 that established the national security intelligence committee of parliamentarians, which has tabled its first annual report to Parliament. We are committed to ensuring that our country's border services are worthy of the trust of Canadians, and Bill C-98 is a significant step towards strengthening that accountability.
We have taken a new approach. We, as a government, have consulted with Canadians when it comes to our legislation. We have seen committees call witnesses and suggest amendments that often times improve legislation, and we, as a government, have accepted those changes. We were able to accomplish this work because we gave the committees more resources and we encouraged Liberal members to do their work.
Likewise, currently there are two bills that have returned to the House with amendments from the Senate. I look forward to members turning their attention to these bills as well. One of those bills is Bill C-81, an act to ensure a barrier-free Canada. Our goal is to make accessibility both a reality and a priority across federal jurisdictions so that all people, regardless of their abilities or disabilities, can participate and be included in society as contributing members. Bill C-81 would help us to reach that goal by taking a proactive approach to getting ahead of systemic discrimination. The purpose of this bill is to make Canada barrier free, starting in areas under federal jurisdiction. This bill, if passed by Parliament, will represent the most significant legislation for the rights of persons with disabilities in over 30 years, and for once it will focus on their abilities.
The other bill we have received from the Senate is Bill C-58, which would make the first significant reforms to the Access to Information Act since it was enacted in 1982. With this bill, our government is raising the bar on openness and transparency by revitalizing access to information. The bill would give more power to the Information Commissioner and would provide for proactive disclosure of information.
There are also a number of other bills before the Senate. We have respect for the upper chamber. It is becoming less partisan thanks to the changes our Prime Minister has made to the appointment process, and we respect the work that senators do in reviewing legislation as a complementary chamber.
Already the Senate has proposed amendments to many bills, and the House has in many instances agreed with many of those changes. As we look toward the final few weeks, it is wise to give the House greater flexibility, and that is exactly why supporting this motion makes sense. This extension motion will help to provide the House with the time it needs to consider these matters.
There are now just 20 days left in the parliamentary calendar before the summer adjournment, and I would like to thank all MPs and their teams for their contributions to the House over the past four years. Members in the House have advanced legislation that has had a greater impact for the betterment of Canadians. That is why over 800,000 Canadians are better off today than they were three years ago when we took office.
We saw that with the lowering of the small business tax rate to 9%, small businesses have been able to grow through innovation and trade. We see that Canadians have created over one million jobs, the majority of which are full-time, good-paying jobs that Canadians deserve. These are jobs that were created by Canadians for Canadians.
That is why I would also like to stress that while it is necessary for us to have honest and vibrant deliberations on the motion, Canadians are looking for us all to work collaboratively and constructively in their best interests. That is exactly why extending the hours will provide the opportunity for more members to be part of the debates that represent the voices of their constituents in this place, so that we continue to advance good legislation that benefits even more Canadians.
It has been great to do the work that we have been doing, but we look forward to doing even more.
View Candice Bergen Profile
View Candice Bergen Profile
2019-05-27 12:19 [p.28032]
Mr. Speaker, I have a number of questions, although I understand in some ways why the government is extending hours. I know we did it as well when we were in government. However, what I have noticed is that the government is consistently endeavouring to take away the tools that the opposition has to hold it to account. I have noticed in the motion that there are some tools that the Liberals are trying to limit and take away, which I have concerns with.
I would like to ask specifically about supply days. We do not have our supply day allotted as yet, but I am hoping that the member will not give us yet another short day. Supply days are very important for the opposition. We only have two of them left before the next election, and the government has said in the motion that it will not be giving our supply days that extended period to be able to take them into the evening. We already know that we will not have the benefit of being able to have a truly full day with the extended hours.
I am wondering if the government House leader could assure me, and I would very much appreciate it being in good faith, that the two supply days we have left will be generous days, not short days like a Wednesday or a Friday.
View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bardish Chagger Profile
2019-05-27 12:21 [p.28032]
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the understanding of the opposition House leader that it is important to extend the hours in the House so that we can have more debate, and I would take that as a signal that perhaps she will be encouraging her colleagues in the Conservative Party to support the motion.
When it comes to opposition days, I have been in this role of government House leader now for almost three years, and the Conservatives and New Democrats know very well that they have on numerous occasions, the majority of times, had longer days. With some of the tactics that the opposition members have chosen to deploy, they have been receiving shortened days because we are not able to advance government legislation, and that will always be the priority.
The point I would like to make, as the opposition leader has alluded to, is that in this place we have long days and short days, but when it comes to the work that Canadians are doing, every day is a long day. Canadians work very hard every single day, and there is no reason that we cannot do the same in this place.
View Peter Julian Profile
View Peter Julian Profile
2019-05-27 12:22 [p.28032]
Mr. Speaker, on that last point, a few years ago we actually took statistics on the evening sessions in the month June. New Democrats, because we come from a very hard-working background and the people who sent us here are hard-working as well, did not miss a single speaking spot, a single shift, to speak on behalf of our constituents. As members will recall, the Liberals and Conservatives between them missed over 200 spots in that same period, which means that over 200 times that a Conservative or Liberal was called to speak in those midnight sessions, not a single Liberal or Conservative member actually got up to speak. We are no strangers to working hard, and we expect the Liberals to actually show up this time and speak on behalf of their constituents, albeit that has not been their record.
My question for my colleague is quite simple. The mandate letter from the Prime Minister suggested two important things: that parliamentarians must have the freedom to do their most important job, which is to represent their constituents and hold the government to account; and that they work with opposition House leaders to examine ways to make the House of Commons more family friendly for members of Parliament.
However, the motion before us would strip away the tools that opposition members have to keep the government accountable. Why is the government House leader repudiating her mandate letter?
View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bardish Chagger Profile
2019-05-27 12:24 [p.28032]
Mr. Speaker, first of all, on the point regarding debating legislation, as a government, we advance legislation that we have been mandated to do by Canadians. These are platform commitments that we committed to deliver. Canadians elected us as government and we would like to advance that legislation.
What often happens is that opposition members feel they do not have enough time to speak. Therefore, yes, on multiple occasions I have asked colleagues to perhaps shorten their speeches, just as my speech was shorter than 20 minutes today, so that other people could utilize that time. Yes, on occasion, we have shared our time with the NDP as well as Conservative members. We have shared our time with the leader of the Green Party, as well as independent members, to ensure that they also have an opportunity to speak on behalf of their constituents.
Something we learn early in life is that sharing is caring. It important to ensure that people who want to speak on legislation are able to. It is unfortunate that the NDP does not recognize the importance of allowing and sharing our time so that more members will be able to share on behalf of their constituents and so that we can continue delivering the results we have seen.
View Celina Caesar-Chavannes Profile
Ind. (ON)
View Celina Caesar-Chavannes Profile
2019-05-27 12:25 [p.28033]
Mr. Speaker, there are two pieces of legislation the member mentioned that are particularly important to the most vulnerable individuals in our community, and thus I do not mind extending the hours. She mentioned Bill C-81, which would identify, remove and prevent accessibility barriers and level the playing field especially for those with various disabilities. She also mentioned Bill C-93, the expedited record suspension, and, of course, we know that when it comes to simple possession of cannabis it negatively impacts indigenous individuals and people of colour disproportionally.
If we extend the hours, what is the likelihood we will get these pieces of legislation passed before the House rises?
View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bardish Chagger Profile
2019-05-27 12:26 [p.28033]
Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Whitby for that question, especially when it comes to actually dealing with pieces of legislation that are going to impact people's lives for the better.
I would like to assure the member that I will use every tool necessary to ensure that we advance this legislation. However, it would be great if opposition members would share the time needed for debate on those pieces of legislation so that we can ensure that everyone who wants to speak on it is able to. There is definitely a difference between members of Parliament standing up and speaking on behalf of their constituents and members of Parliament speaking to advance their party's line. Unfortunately, when we are advancing the party's narrative, we take away from the work we are doing in our constituencies.
I would agree that Bill C-81 is historic legislation. It has gone to the Senate and we have seen it return with amendments. The minister has considered those amendments, because they would improve the legislation. Therefore, there is no reason that we cannot see this proposed legislation move along quickly. Members will see that the government wants to see it move quickly, and Canadians will be able to see who will block that legislation from happening. Also, when it comes to Bill C-83, once again, we would like to see this proposed legislation move along quickly, and Canadians will also be able to see clearly who blocks that from happening.
It is clear that the government wants to advance legislation that works for Canadians, but the opposition would rather get in the way of government's advancing legislation at the expense of Canadians, and that is really unfortunate.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-05-27 12:27 [p.28033]
Mr. Speaker, the minister made reference to there being 20 sitting days left. Could she provide her thoughts regarding these 20 important days that Canadians expect we will work on while we are here in Ottawa?
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