Interventions in the House of Commons
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View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bardish Chagger Profile
2019-06-17 12:04 [p.29163]
That, in relation to Bill C-83, An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and another Act, not more than five further hours shall be allotted to the consideration of the Senate amendments stage of the said bill; and
That, at the expiry of the five hours provided for the consideration of the Senate amendments to the said bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and in turn, every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment.
View Bruce Stanton Profile
View Bruce Stanton Profile
2019-06-17 12:05 [p.29164]
Pursuant to Standing Order 67.1, there will be a 30-minute question period. I ask hon. members who wish to participate in the 30 minutes to rise so I can get an indication of how many want to speak.
As is the usual case, I ask hon. members to keep their interventions to approximately one minute. That will allow all members who wish to speak the opportunity to do so. Members can be recognized more than once. I remind hon. members that most of the question time in the 30 minutes is reserved for opposition members. However, members from the government side are certainly welcome to participate as well.
We will begin now with questions. The hon. member for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo.
View Cathy McLeod Profile
Mr. Speaker, in 2015, the government said that it would do things differently, that it would respect Parliament and would move away from motions that did not allow appropriate time for debate.
I want to point out something very unique and interesting about this bill. It took you, Mr. Speaker, approximately 11 minutes to read the amendments to the bill. Within four minutes of debate, the government gave notice of a motion of closure. Not many speakers had the opportunity to debate the bill before that.
How is this consistent with the promises the minister made in 2015 to do things differently?
View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
View Ralph Goodale Profile
2019-06-17 12:07 [p.29164]
Mr. Speaker, we have arrived at the stage of debate where there is now an opportunity for the House to respond to the work that was done in relation to this legislation by the Senate. In other words, the bill has had a thorough debate in the House. It has passed through all the stages in the House. It has had extensive committee hearings. It has gone to the Senate and has been reviewed there. The Senate has considered the legislation, made a number of amendments and sent the bill back to the House with those amendments.
The point is that this is a very advanced stage of debate. We are not beginning with the bill in its raw form; we are beginning with the bill at a very advanced stage. Therefore, members have had extensive opportunity to debate, consider and in fact make amendments.
The point of contention between the House and the Senate is the independent review process that was crafted by the House. Therefore, we are defending the position that was taken by the House on the very important question of how there could be proper review and oversight of the correctional system.
View Peter Julian Profile
View Peter Julian Profile
2019-06-17 12:08 [p.29164]
Mr. Speaker, I am so saddened, as I think most Canadians are, that every day the Liberals continue to repudiate all the commitments they made back in 2015 to work with members of the House of Commons, to stop omnibus legislation and to stop the abuse of the use of closure.
As the House knows, the government has gone far beyond the previous government's abuse of closure by bringing in a new “gag” closure that allows only 20 minutes of discussion after it is moved and only one member of the government gets to speak. Members of the opposition do not get to ask questions, make comments or anything of that nature. It shows how toxic the government has become with respect to trying to move legislation through the House and get it improved so the legislation does what it purports to do.
In the case of Bill C-83, the NDP offered dozens of amendments, because the bill has been largely criticized by the Elizabeth Fry Societies and many other intervenors. We brought forward the witness testimony and said it would improve the bill. The government refused all of that.
Is that not the reason why the government is ramming it through today, because it is a controversial bill that has been much criticized and the government refused to listen to all the witnesses and members of the opposition who tried to make improvements?
View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
View Ralph Goodale Profile
2019-06-17 12:10 [p.29164]
Mr. Speaker, with the greatest respect, I have to disagree with the hon. gentleman.
First, he was critical of omnibus legislation. This is not omnibus legislation. It is legislation pertaining specifically to the correctional service and is focused upon one piece of legislation, not a number of different bills.
Second, he was concerned about what he called a “gag” order or the closure procedure. This is not a closure procedure. This is time allocation, which is qualitatively different from what he was criticizing.
Third, I would point out that amendments to the legislation have been welcomed and accepted from all parties in the House and indeed by the Senate as well.
Therefore, this is not a peremptory approach. There has been a huge amount of debate and a lot of input. That input has been weighed very carefully and a great deal of it has been accepted.
View Arnold Viersen Profile
View Arnold Viersen Profile
2019-06-17 12:11 [p.29164]
Mr. Speaker, this morning proves that the Liberals will do anything and say anything to get elected. In the last election, they promised they were not going to use closure motions as often as we had in the last parliament. They are also saying that they are not going to raise taxes after the next election, even though their spending is way out of control.
There has only been four minutes of debate on this bill prior to this closure motion being moved. Does the minister think that is appropriate?
View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
View Ralph Goodale Profile
2019-06-17 12:12 [p.29165]
Mr. Speaker, there have been many hours and days of debate in consideration of the legislation through all the stages in the House of Commons and in the Senate. We are now at the point of responding to the Senate's recommendations. It is not as if the debate was just beginning today or four minutes ago. In fact, the motion that was moved by the House leader provided for five more hours of debate on the specific question of how the House would respond to the recommendations made by the Senate.
This is not a closure motion, it is time allocation and it follows the full length of parliamentary procedure through both the House of Commons and the Senate, where many worthy suggestions have been made, a lot of very well-informed debate has taken place and many amendments have been accepted. We are now into the final stages of that discussion where it is appropriate for the House to take a decision and to vote.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-06-17 12:13 [p.29165]
Mr. Speaker, there seems to be a great deal of concern in regard to the process of things. We have seen member after member stand up on a wide variety of pieces of legislation. Even when I was in opposition, at times we need to use this tool in order to advance legislation. We could see opposition members debating things indefinitely, unless either the tool of time allocation is used or the opposition is prepared to allow the debate to come to an end.
I wonder if my colleague can provide his thoughts on the matter that time allocation is a tool that is necessary at times, that we have seen New Democrats and Conservatives support time allocation, and that this is not outside the norm.
View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
View Ralph Goodale Profile
2019-06-17 12:14 [p.29165]
Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary is quite right. There are occasions when such procedures are perfectly appropriate, and that is especially the case when we are into the final days of a Parliament. We all know what the parliamentary calendar is, and it is important for key measures to be approved by Parliament while the time remains for that work to get done.
I would point out that the matters at issue in this legislation are also before a number of courts in this country where the courts have set a deadline. They have indicated that Parliament has an obligation to take certain decisions one way or the other, to make up their minds and vote, so that certain situations pertaining in the correctional system can be corrected. If Parliament is not able to take those decisions in a timely way, that could in fact throw the system into chaos. Therefore, because of the court proceedings, it is also important for Parliament to be timely in bringing this legislation to a conclusion.
View Kevin Sorenson Profile
Mr. Speaker, unfortunately here we go again. We see time allocation being moved by the current government. The Liberals have been lax throughout this Parliament. They are coming down to the last few days of Parliament and we see this modus operandi of the government to start pushing debates and halting debate to get this legislation through regardless.
Again, it is not simply that the Liberals are invoking this measure; this is the measure they said they would not be invoking. This is the measure on which the current Prime Minister stood and said it is the kind of thing that Canadians lose confidence in a government on, and that the Liberals would not do this kind of thing. It is exactly what we have seen more and more, especially in the last few weeks.
The parliamentary secretary said that this prevents a filibuster by the government, and debate and debate and debate. We have had four minutes at this stage to even talk about this. Canadians expect that when issues like this come through, good healthy debate takes place here and it has not. Neither has consultation. I have a penitentiary in my riding. Not only is it the well-being and safety of offenders that Canadians question, but also of the guards and the correctional officers.
There are two points. We have legislation that needs to be debated and we have another promise broken by the current government as to time allocation.
View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
View Ralph Goodale Profile
2019-06-17 12:17 [p.29165]
Mr. Speaker, I am glad the hon. gentleman brought up the issue of consultation because, as always, we try our very best to consult with all of those who have a stake in the decisions that are made with respect to our public safety systems in this country.
A couple of months ago, I had the opportunity to attend the triennial meeting of the major union that represents correctional officers who work at the various institutions across this country, including the one in the hon. gentleman's riding. That national meeting of the union was held in Calgary. It was very well attended by correctional officers all over the country. We had the opportunity to discuss this specific legislation. It was clear from that discussion that the union representatives were anxious to see legislation of this nature proceed because it is needed for the safety of the officers, the inmates and the other members of the public who attend from time to time within the correctional system. Indeed, that consultation has taken place.
View Alistair MacGregor Profile
Mr. Speaker, with respect to the minister, I do understand the difference between a closure motion and time allocation. I realize that the government is allocating time for this.
The major issue, though, is the fact that on Friday Bill C-83 had proceeded with only four minutes of debate when the government House leader rose in the House to give notice that time allocation was going to be moved. I understand that this bill is at a relatively advanced stage, however, it is tradition that this House, the people's House, the representatives of each of these ridings get to have the time to carefully consider what the other place has done.
When I put what the government's actions are with respect to Bill C-83 within the context of what it did on Thursday with all of the other government bills, I think the pretense of any respect for Parliament has completely evaporated. Right now, the government is quite obvious. It has a week left, it has a checklist, and is it going to use its majority to simply ram through every piece of legislation, no matter what members of the opposition might have to say on it, despite the fact that on this side of the House, our parties, collectively, represent roughly 60% of the Canadian populace.
View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
View Ralph Goodale Profile
2019-06-17 12:19 [p.29166]
Mr. Speaker, once the discussion about time allocation has concluded, members will have five additional hours of debate to consider this stage, which is on top of all of the stages in the Senate, which was on top of all of the previous stages in the House of Commons.
There has been extensive opportunity to examine the details of this legislation. In particular, the portions of the legislation that are subject to the advice and recommendations coming from the Senate are the portions of the legislation which this House and the committee examined in detail, and made extensive changes and improvements to during the course of the parliamentary committee's work.
It is not as if this is a new subject that suddenly has been sprung upon the House of Commons or upon the public safety and national security committee of the House. The House examined this in detail, and in fact renovated these provisions in detail. It was the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health, who was not in that role at that time but who was a member of the public safety committee who moved those extensive amendments, which were then debated in the House and adopted in detail by the House.
There has been very careful, conscientious attention given to this issue by members of the House of Commons.
View James Bezan Profile
View James Bezan Profile
2019-06-17 12:21 [p.29166]
Mr. Speaker, here we go again. It is over 100 times now that the government has used closure or has limited the amount of debate we can have any time on these bills.
This stands in stark contrast to what the minister used to say when he was in the third party. The member for Winnipeg North used to stand and holler every time there was a closure motion or anything to limit the debate we were having on any motions before the House.
We only had four minutes on Friday to start the debate on the amendments that were proposed by the Senate. I still have to go back and talk to my UCCO members who work at Stony Mountain Institution in my riding to ensure that the health and safety provisions that are in the bill are going to be properly enforced and how that is going to occur. They still have those questions.
However, because the Liberals are stifling debate here in the House, I will not have the time to go and consult, and discuss this with UCCO members and with penitentiary staff on how this will impact our riding and how it is going to impact the care and incarceration of those who are currently serving sentences.
There are still so many questions out there. The hypocrisy that we are seeing from the Liberals continues to amaze all of us, because when they were in the third party, they used to scream and holler at the top of their lungs every time the previous government tried to do this.
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