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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-10-17 16:32 [p.22548]
Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my very hon. colleague from Cariboo—Prince George, in northern B.C.
As usual, I want to say hello to the people of Beauport—Limoilou who are watching us live on CPAC. I know that many of them do watch us, because they tell me so when I go door to door. They tell me that they watched me the week before. I want to say hello to all of them.
Today's debate is a very important one, since we are talking about harassment and discrimination in the workplace. Some may be surprised to hear me say this, and I am no expert, but it seems to me that the Canada Labour Code does not apply to employees who work in MPs' offices on Parliament Hill. This means that the code would not apply to me or my employees. This is rather surprising, in 2018.
I want to quickly touch on last week, which I spent in my riding. You will see why. I hosted two economic round tables. The first round table was for the Beauport business network, which I created a year and a half ago. There are some 50 business owners in this network, who get together once a month to talk about business-related issues and priorities in the riding. On Friday morning, I also held a round table called “Conservatives are listening to Quebecers”. This round table was attended by social, community and business stakeholders, among others.
Yesterday I asked the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour a question. After all, we are talking about workplaces here, with Bill C-65. I asked her if she was aware that we are in a crisis at the moment, especially in Quebec City, but all over Canada, because of the labour shortage. She made a mockery of it, saying that it was proof that the government has created so many jobs in Canada that businesses can no longer find workers. While that may be true from an objective, Socratic and rational standpoint, she is ignoring a real crisis situation that we are in.
I want to say one last thing before I get to the bill. At the two round tables I hosted, every time I visit businesses in my riding, in all my discussions with constituents and in all the correspondence I receive every day, to which I reply in writing every time, people mention the labour shortage. Some businesses have had to shut down in Beauport—Limoilou and others are scaling back operations, so I think it is very sad and upsetting that the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour would make a mockery of my question. The people of Quebec City were not happy to see that on Twitter and Facebook.
Today we are talking about an important bill, the act to amend the Canada Labour Code regarding harassment and violence, the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act and the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1. It is clear that Conservatives, New Democrats, Liberals and all Canadians in general support the Liberal government's recently introduced bill. That is certainly not something I say every day, but when it is true, it must be acknowledged. With this important bill, even employees on Parliament Hill will benefit from guidelines and protection to keep them safe from sexual harassment, psychological harassment and every kind of discriminatory behaviour in the workplace.
I can say that this affects us all. It could also affect our family, a cousin, a brother or sister and, in my case, it affects my children. My daughter Victoria is four years old and my son Winston is a year and a half. My daughter started kindergarten a few months ago. It is the first time she has attended school. We definitely do not want her to experience discrimination or harassment. It will inevitably happen because good and evil are part of life, and harassment and discrimination will always exist. That is why it is important to have laws that govern, try to control, eliminate or at least reduce this as much as possible in our society.
I would like to tell you that I have directly experienced discrimination and psychological harassment, but not sexual harassment, thank God. When I was in grade six, I moved from New Brunswick to Quebec. I can see my colleague laughing because he knows that I grew up in New Brunswick. I am from Quebec, but I grew up in New Brunswick. I moved to Quebec when I was in grade six. Children can be very brutal because they lack empathy and an understanding of the context in which they find themselves.
Kids are often oblivious to the harm they inflict on others. I got beaten up at recess every day for a year, so this is a subject I am not unfamiliar with. In my case, the situation made me stronger. Unfortunately, in other cases, it has ruined lives. What we want to avoid is situations where harassment and discrimination destroy lives. It is terrible to see a life completely destroyed after such an incident.
I want to reiterate that, setting politics aside and speaking from a human perspective, all members and all Canadians should support this bill. However, that does not mean there is no need to propose certain amendments, which I will discuss shortly.
The bill is meant to strengthen the workplace safety framework on Parliament Hill. When I think of all the young Canadians who work on the Hill, it makes me even more motivated to support this bill. The people working on the Hill are often young Canadians in their twenties who are full of hope, ambition and energy. They love politics, and they love Canada. They are proud to work for a minister, the Prime Minister, a shadow cabinet member or an MP. These young people arrive in Parliament full of energy and enthusiasm.
There is no denying that, throughout our country's history, members and ministers have behaved inappropriately or committed inappropriate acts, including sexual harassment, psychological harassment and discrimination.
Many of the young victims were surely brilliant, highly motivated and ambitious individuals. Perhaps they were even future Liberal, Conservative or NDP prime ministers, although unfortunately for them, that will never happen now. These were young people who were here for the right reasons, who were not cynical. A lot of young people in Canada are saying they have no use for politics, and that is unfortunate. Those young people should read books on Canadian history to understand what we are doing here today. Some young people have had the courage to get over their cynicism and come to this place, only to become victims of sexual or psychological harassment or discrimination. Careers have been destroyed in some cases, along with their hope and love for Canada. I find that appalling and very upsetting.
This bill sets out to fill a legal void. I would like to remind everyone that Parliament Hill was the only place where Canada Labour Code provisions on harassment and discrimination did not apply. There was a legal void, and it is important to acknowledge that that void played a part in destroying young Canadians who came here full of energy to help build a strong and thriving country on both national and international stages. Everyone wants a workplace that contributes to their quality of life, one where safety is important. Employees perform better in such workplaces.
Most of the Conservatives' amendments were accepted. We successfully introduced an amendment to prevent political interference during harassment investigations. The Conservatives played an active role in bringing the bill to this stage. We successfully introduced an amendment to ensure strict timelines for investigations into incidents of harassment. We proposed mandatory sexual harassment training, training that all MPs received. We proposed a mandatory review of the bill after five years because it needs to be reviewed at regular intervals, as my colleague said.
In closing, since this is Small Business Week, I want to say three cheers for business people. I thank the people of Beauport—Limoilou for the work they do every day. I think they are wonderful, and I look forward to seeing them when I go door to door.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-04-03 16:34 [p.10079]
Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague gave a very good speech. I would first like to make a comment, and then I have a question for him.
Page 2 of the document tabled by the minister regarding the modernization of the Standing Orders of the House of Commons talks about ways “to empower Members...to increase their influence in the legislative process.” What needs to be done is simple: just close the Prime Minister's Office, which was created by former Prime Minister Trudeau, and put an end to party discipline. That would be fantastic. It is not complicated. Those are the two things that prevent members from doing their work and representing their constituents properly.
We have heard about electronic voting. I came here to safeguard the honour of this institution, as much as possible and as much as I can as a private citizen. The idea that someone could vote while sitting at their desk and simply pushing a button seems completely dishonourable to me. Plus, if that were to be done from our constituency offices, I see all kinds of terrible scenarios potentially playing out. Imagine if a staffer were to vote instead of the member.
Does my colleague not find dishonourable this effort to ensure that one day members are no longer required to stand up before Canadians to vote?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-09-22 13:26 [p.4971]
Mr. Speaker, I, too, believe that I am the voice of the people of Atlantic Canada, where I lived between the ages of two and 11. Acadia is still very much a part of me, and that is why I absolutely had to speak about it today.
Right in the middle of summer, the Prime Minister arrogantly and unabashedly announced that he intended to change the historic process for appointing Supreme Court justices that has been in place since 1875.
More than any other, this government announcement has has made me dislike the political party that currently governs our great country. Yes, like many Canadians, I am outraged by such actions and attitudes that show the true arrogance of this government.
I am saddened by this unsettling desire, so brazenly expressed by the Prime Minister, to radically alter our constitutional customs, the very customs that have informed government policy for so long in Canada.
If this Liberal government decides to change the constitutional convention for choosing Supreme Court justices without first obtaining the consent of all parliamentarians in the House, it will be going too far. Therefore, and I am choosing my words carefully, this government's actions in the past few months make me fear the worst for the federal unity of this great country.
The Prime Minister is not just interfering in provincial jurisdictions whenever he feels like it, but also interfering in his own areas of jurisdiction by planning to make sweeping changes without even consulting the opposition parties or the public. This is nothing short of anti-democratic. There are other examples of this.
First, the Prime Minister plans to change Canada's nearly 150-year-old voting system without holding a referendum to do so. It is no secret that he and his acolytes are doing this for partisan reasons and to protect their political interests as well.
Then, this same Prime Minister shamelessly suggested just this morning that he wanted to put an end to a 141-year-old constitutional convention. I am talking about the constitutional convention whereby a Prime Minister selects and appoints a judge to the Supreme Court when a seat becomes vacant while ensuring that the new appointee comes from a region similar to that of the person who occupied the vacant seat.
The purpose of this constitutional convention is to guarantee that the decisions rendered by the highest court in the country reflect the regional differences in our federation. Must I remind the political party before me that Canada has five distinct regions and that those regions are legally recognized?
The fact is that Jean Chrétien's Liberal government passed a law that provides for and gives each of the regions of Canada a quasi-constitutional right of veto. Accordingly, the Atlantic provinces, and their region as a whole, do have a say when it comes to the Constitution Act of 1982.
What is more, the British North America Act guarantees the Atlantic provinces fair and effective representation in the House of Commons. For example, New Brunswick is guaranteed 10 seats. The same is true in the Senate, where it is guaranteed just as many seats. Under the same convention, each of the Atlantic provinces holds at least one seat on the Council of Ministers.
How can our friends opposite justify threatening, out of the blue, to reduce to nil the Atlantic provinces' presence in the highest court of the country? If the government moves forward with this new approach, will it do the same to Quebec, the national stronghold of French Canadians? That does not make any sense.
I invite the government to think about this: can the Supreme Court of Canada really render fair and informed decisions on cases affecting the Atlantic provinces without any representation from that region?
Justice for Atlantic Canadians means treating them as equals. It seems the Liberals could not care less about the regions even though every one of them includes distinct communities that want Supreme Court decisions to reflect their values, goals and ideas about the world.
For the Prime Minister to suggest, if only in passing, we defy the convention whereby one seat on the Supreme Court of Canada's bench is reserved for Atlantic Canada is offensive to many legal experts and associations, including Janet Fuhrer, a past president of the Canadian Bar Association, and Ann Whiteway Brown, president of the New Brunswick branch of the Canadian Bar Association.
Echoing this sentiment are the Law Society of New Brunswick, the Atlantic Provinces Trial Lawyers Association, and the Société nationale de l'Acadie, which advocates on behalf of Acadians worldwide.
Disregarding this constitutional convention is tantamount to stripping four out of ten provinces of their voice in the highest court in the land.
Must I also remind members that the Atlantic provinces have a large pool of extremely qualified legal professionals who come from every region and background and who are perfectly bilingual? More importantly, these are candidates who have a vast knowledge of the Atlantic provinces' legal systems and issues. Is there anyone in this House, or elsewhere, who would dispute that?
Even more importantly, there are a few significant constitutional cases on the horizon that could have major repercussions on the Atlantic provinces. Consider, for example, the case referred to the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal regarding the elimination of protected Acadian ridings. Hearings on this are currently under way.
Is the Prime Minister really thinking about having judges from other regions rule on a case that deals with how Acadians are represented, when Acadians have been fighting for their survival on this continent for generations?
Is that really what our friends across the aisle want? Do the Liberals from Atlantic Canada really want to muzzle New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, two founding provinces of this great country?
The change that the Prime Minister wants to make to how judges are lawfully appointed to the Supreme Court is essentially a total and complete reversal of this country's established constitutional practices. How shameful and how arrogant.
It would seem the son is following in his father's footsteps. Do hon. members not see what is happening? Just like his father before him, the Prime Minister wants to alter the constitutional order of our country.
Fear not, however, because we in the Conservative Party are not buying it. We not only see what this Prime Minister is doing, but we also see know full well that behind this change in convention is a much greater ideological design.
There is an underlying desire to profoundly change Canadian constitutional arrangements and replace them with a post-materialist world view that is a departure from our constitutional traditions.
In this world view, the main objective is to eliminate from our government institutions, in this case the Supreme Court, the historical and traditional community characteristics that have defined Canada since day one by replacing them with individual and associational characteristics.
In other words, the Prime Minister obviously wants to eliminate the political predominance of certain constituencies in the Canadian constitutional order, at the Supreme Court in particular. He wants to promote a new political predominance, that of associational groups that bring together individuals who share individual rights rather than constituent rights.
Although that may be commendable in some ways, it is a major change because the Prime Minister is ensuring that the very essence of political representativeness and the concept of diversity within the judiciary is changed. The Prime Minister wants a representativeness based on a concept of individual diversity and fragmented by idiosyncratic characteristics.
In light of this potential change, Canadians across the country, including those from Atlantic Canada, must protest and call on the Prime Minister to answer for this. The Prime Minister cannot act unilaterally in this case and must involve all the players concerned.
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