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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-10-26 10:49 [p.22914]
Madam Speaker, it is always an honour to rise to speak in the House.
I would like to say hello to the people of Beauport—Limoilou who are watching us now on CPAC or watching a rebroadcast on Facebook or Twitter.
Without further delay, I would like to address the previous speaker's comments. I find it interesting that he said their objective was to prevent foreign influence from third parties.
The bill will pass, since the Liberals have a majority. However, one problem I have with the bill is that it will allow more than 1.5 million Canadians who have been living outside of Canada for more than five years to vote in general elections, even if they have been outside Canada for 10 or 15 years.
These people have a privilege that even Canadians who have never left the country do not even have. The Liberals will let them randomly choose which riding they want to vote in. This is a massive privilege.
If I were living in the United States for 10 years and saw that the vote was really close in a certain riding, thanks to the new amendments made to the bill, I could decide to vote for the Liberal Party in order to ensure that a Liberal member gets elected. That seems like a very dangerous measure to me. It will give a lot of power to people who have been living abroad for a very long time. That still does not make them foreigners, since they are Canadian citizens.
For those watching us, I want to note that we are talking about Bill C-76 to modernize the Canada Elections Act.
This is an extremely important issue because it is the Canada Elections Act that sets the guidelines for our elections in our democracy. These elections determine the party that will form the next government of Canada.
I am sure that the people of Beauport—Limoilou watching us right now can hardly believe the Liberal government when it says that it wants to improve democracy or Canada's electoral system or allow a lot of people to exercise their right to vote. The Liberals' record on different elements of democracy has been deplorable the past three years.
Two years ago when the House was debating the issue, I was a member of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates. The Liberals introduced a parliamentary reform that included some rather surprising elements. They wanted to weaken the opposition, thereby weakening roughly 10 million Canadians who voted for the opposition parties, including the Conservative Party, the New Democratic Party, and the Green Party.
They wanted to cut speaking times in the House, which is completely ridiculous. I have said it many times before and I will say it again. An MP currently has the right to speak for 20 minutes. Most of the time, each MP speaks for 10 minutes. Through the reform, the Liberals wanted to cut speaking times from 20 minutes to 10 minutes at all times. The 20-minute speaking slot would no longer exist.
I have a book at home that I love called The Confederation Debates. It features speeches by Papineau, Doyon, George-Étienne Cartier, John A. MacDonald, Louis-Hippolyte La Fontaine, among many others that I could name. These great MPs would speak for four, five, six, seven or eight hours without stopping, long into the night.
With their parliamentary reforms, the Liberals wanted to reduce MPs' speaking time to 10 minutes. They wanted to take away our right to speak for 20 minutes. All this was intended to minimize the opposition's speaking time, to stifle debate on various issues.
What they did yesterday was even worse. It was a clear-cut example of their attitude towards parliamentary democracy. They imposed time allocation. In layman's terms, they placed a gag order on a debate on the modernization of the Canada Elections Act. No example could more blatantly demonstrate their ultimate intent, which is to ram the bill through as fast as possible. It is really a shame. They want to ram this down our throats.
There is also what they did in 2015 and 2016 with their practice of cash for access.
When big-time lobbyists want to meet with a minister or the Prime Minister to discuss an issue, they just have to register and pay $1,500, or $1,575 now, for the opportunity to influence them.
These are not get-togethers with ordinary constituents. These are get-togethers arranged for the express purpose of giving prominent lobbyists access to top government officials and enabling them to influence decisions.
Here is a great example. The Minister of Finance attended a get-together with Port of Halifax officials and people closely connected to the Port of Halifax. No other Liberal Party MP was there. That is a blatant conflict of interest and cash for access.
If Canadians have a hard time trusting the Liberals when they say they introduced this bill because they want to enfranchise people or improve democracy and civic engagement, it is also because of all of the promises the Liberals have broken since their election in 2015.
Elections and electoral platforms form the foundations of Canadian democracy. Each party's political platform contains election promises. Personally, I prefer to call them commitments. The Liberals made some big promises. They said they would run small $10-billion deficits for the first two years and then reduce the deficits. Year after year, however, as they are in their third year of a four-year mandate, they have been running deficits that are much worse: $30 billion, $20 billion and, this year, $19 billion, although their plan projected a $6-billion deficit.
They broke that promise, but worse still, they broke their promise to return to a balanced budget. As my colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent has put it so well often enough, this is the first time we are seeing structural deficits outside wartime or a major recession. What is worse, this is the first time a government has had no plan to return to a balanced budget. It defies reason. The Parliamentary Budget Officer, an institution created by the Right Hon. Stephen Harper, said again recently that it is unbelievable to see a government not taking affairs of the state more seriously.
Meanwhile, with respect to infrastructure, the Liberals said they were introducing the largest infrastructure program in Canadian history—everything is always historic with them—worth $187 billion. What is the total amount spent to date? They have spent, at most, $7 billion on a few projects here and there, although this was supposed to be a pan-Canadian, structured and large-scale program.
The Liberals also broke their promise to reform the electoral system. They wanted a preferential balloting system because, according to analyses, surveys and their strategists, it would have benefited them. I did not support that promise, but it is probably why so many Canadians voted for the Liberals.
There is then a string of broken promises, but electoral reform was a fundamental promise and the Liberals reneged on it. It would have made changes to the Election Act and to how Canadians choose their government. That clearly shows once again that Canadians cannot trust the Liberals when they say they will reform the Election Act in order to strengthen democracy in Canada.
Let us now get back to the matter at hand, Bill C-76, which makes major fundamental changes that I find deplorable.
First, Bill C-76 would allow the Chief Electoral Officer to authorize the use of the voter information card as a piece of identification for voting. As one of my Conservative colleagues said recently, whether we like it or not, voter cards show up all over, even in recycling boxes. Sometimes voter cards are found sticking out of community mailboxes.
There are all kinds of ways that an individual can get hold of a voter card and go to the polling station with it. It is not that difficult. This Liberal bill enables that individual to vote, although there is no way of knowing if they are that person, unless they are asked to provide identification—and that is not even the biggest problem.
It does not happen often, thank goodness, but when I go to the CHUL in Quebec City—which is the hospital where I am registered—not only do I have to provide the doctor's requisition for blood work, but I also have to show a piece of ID and my hospital card.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-10-22 17:44 [p.22735]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to clear something up.
I think the way the Liberals and Canadians use the word “radicalization” is dangerous. Let me explain why. It is a way to deny an important reality. One hundred and ninety Canadians have travelled overseas to commit acts of terrorism and contribute to a political movement.
Let us not forget that there are concrete ideologies based on arguments that can seem rational and objective to some. They want to create an Islamic state, and there is a political will to achieve that goal.
Some of those 190 Canadians went there not because they were reckless, had a troubled soul, or had been radicalized or brainwashed. We need to acknowledge that, on the contrary, some of them were fully conscious of what they were doing and knew exactly what they were going to be doing there. Their actions were objective and rational. They wanted to be part of a political movement that is probably anti-capitalist, anti-liberal democracy, and even anti-Christian.
My colleague from Winnipeg North needs to realize that some Canadians went there not because they were crazy, mentally ill or radicalized, but for rational reasons, because they were against our political system.
What does he have to say to that?
How would he suggest that we deal with these individuals?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-10-22 18:01 [p.22737]
Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to speak this evening. I want to acknowledge the people of Beauport—Limoilou watching us in real time or watching a rebroadcast on Twitter or Facebook.
Dear citizens, this evening we are debating a very important motion on a topic that is very sensitive for all Canadians given that we are talking about other Canadians. We are talking about Canadian combatants who have joined the Islamic State since 2013. More than 190 Canadians have made the solemn decision to join the ranks of the Islamic State, sometimes unwittingly, sometimes fully consciously. We condemn their decision to go overseas to join Daesh, better known as the Islamic State, which shrank in size considerably following the western coalition attacks. The group is located primarily in Syria and Iraq, in the Middle East.
These 190 Canadians decided to go overseas to join the Islamic State, which fights western countries and their values, including liberal democracy and gender equality. These are values that are dear to Canadian parliamentary democracy.
Today, the member for Winnipeg North and a number of his Liberal colleagues stated that these 190 Canadians were radicalized on the Internet, by reading literature or by ISIS propagandists on social networks. The Liberals are telling us that we should help Canadians who went to fight against Canada's military members and liberal democracy. Who knows. Perhaps they went to fight in order to one day destroy Canada's political system because they espouse different views. Every time, the Liberals tell us that we need to take pity on them and hold their hands because they were radicalized.
Today, we have moved our motion to address the following reality. Some of them were radicalized. However, I would venture that the vast majority of Canadians who went overseas to join Daesh did so of their own volition and for reasons that are rational, objective and politically motivated and that they believe are good reasons. They did not do so because they were alienated or radicalized. They perhaps want to destroy liberal democracy and gender equality around the world. They had several reasons for joining ISIS. They are not necessarily crazy or alienated.
How are we going to deal with those Canadians who return to Canada? I am not talking about those who left because they were suffering from mental illness or alienation, but rather those who went to the areas where ISIS attacks and counterattacks were taking place, and went of their own free will, to fight Canadian soldiers and soldiers of our allied military partners.
Today the Liberals are saying that the Conservatives are inventing numbers. Journalist Manon Cornellier, a director with the parliamentary press gallery, is highly regarded in the journalism community. She is very professional. In her article in Le Devoir this morning, she writes:
Some 190 Canadians are active in overseas terrorist groups such as Islamic State, also known as Daesh, mostly in Syria and Iraq. About 60 have returned to Canada, but only four have faced charges to date.
A professional journalist, employed by a highly respected newspaper that has been around for decades in Canada, must check her sources and facts before publishing any articles. Ms. Cornellier is reporting exactly the same figures as the official opposition. These are concrete numbers: 190 Canadians left; 60 of those terrorists, who have deliberately committed horrific crimes like raping women and killing children, have returned to Canada; four of them have faced criminal charges; and no one knows where the other 56 are.
What we are asking for is perfectly reasonable and normal in a country governed by the rule of law like Canada. We are asking the government to bring forward a plan within 45 days for determining the whereabouts of the 56 terrorists, both known and unknown, and others who may be coming, finding out what they are doing, and making sure that in the days, weeks or months to come, they are formally charged for what they did. Many of them did what they did for objective, political reasons. They were on a kind of campaign or crusade that went against Canadian and international law.
I will continue quoting from Ms. Cornellier article's in Le Devoir:
Daesh meets the definition of a terrorist organization, and its actions meet the definition of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Under the international law that Canada helped formulate, a country can prosecute anyone who committed such crimes and is physically present on its territory, regardless of where the acts were committed. Furthermore, Canada passed its own universal jurisdiction law in 2000 after ratifying the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. It used that law in 2005 to prosecute Désiré Munyaneza for crimes against humanity for his role in the Rwandan genocide.
This is not a first. She also writes:
According to Kyle Matthews, executive director of the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies, Canada must not allow Canadian fighters to return to Canada or be repatriated without holding them responsible for the atrocities they helped perpetrate. They must be prosecuted to deter others from committing such crimes.
In other words, Ms. Cornellier and the executive director of the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies are saying exactly what we, Her Majesty's loyal opposition, are saying: these crimes must be punished by the courts.
Here is one final excellent quote from her article that shines a light on what we are saying today:
Investigations and the gathering of admissible evidence are indeed difficult, but the government is responsible for finding a solution. It must devise a legal process that operates in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice and overcomes the unique constraints that interfere with punishing these crimes. Without that, there can be no justice, and barbaric acts will continue to go unpunished.
That was written by Manon Cornellier, who is with a rather left-wing paper, Le Devoir, and is a director of the Parliamentary Press Gallery here in Ottawa.
That was not the Conservatives talking. It was a professional journalist who provided the same figures we did and who, like us, says that these 190 Canadians who participated in attacks in Syria or Iraq with ISIS committed barbaric acts. She is saying that the government must absolutely bring these people to justice when they return to Canada, that it is a matter of fundamental principles and Canadian history.
I would like to read the motion we moved today and that the Liberals have agreed to support. That said, they have decided to support our motion on a number of occasions and then failed to produce any meaningful action. The motion reads as follows:
That the House support the sentiments expressed by Nadia Murad, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, who in her book entitled The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity, and My Fight Against the Islamic State, stated: “I dream about one day bringing all the militants to justice, not just the leaders like Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi but all the guards and slave owners, every man who pulled a trigger and pushed my brothers’ bodies into their mass grave, every fighter who tried to brainwash young boys into hating their mothers for being Yazidi, every Iraqi who welcomed the terrorists into their cities and helped them, thinking to themselves, Finally we can be rid of those nonbelievers. They should all be put on trial before the entire world, like the Nazi leaders after World War II, and not given the chance to hide.”; and call on the government to: (a) refrain from repeating the past mistakes of paying terrorists with taxpayers’ dollars or trying to reintegrate returning terrorists back into Canadian society; and (b) table within 45 days after the adoption of this motion a plan to immediately bring to justice anyone who has fought as an ISIS terrorist or participated in any terrorist activity, including those who are in Canada or have Canadian citizenship.
That is the motion that we moved this morning and that we will soon be voting on.
Starting next week, if possible, we want the Liberal government to focus on bringing perpetrators of genocide and terrorist acts to justice and ensuring that courts have access to evidence gathered against suspected terrorists.
We want the Liberal government to keep Canadians safe from those who are suspected of committing acts of terrorism and to take special measures, like our previous Conservative government did in the wake of the terrorist attacks that took place here on Parliament Hill and nearby in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. We responded by bringing forward Bill C-51.
We want the Liberals to encourage greater use of the tools to place conditions on those suspected of committing terrorist acts or genocide, as we did with Bill C-51.
We want the Liberals to institute processes for bringing perpetrators of atrocities to justice, since the current process is too slow, fails victims and prevents them from going home.
Lastly, we want the Liberals to support initiatives like those proposed by Premier Doug Ford, to ensure that terrorists returning to Canada are restricted from taking advantage of Canada's generous social programs as part of their reintegration.
In my riding, every weekend, whether I am at a spaghetti dinner or going door to door, my constituents ask me how it is possible that the Liberal government's primary goal continues to be helping people who are not yet citizens or helping Canadians who have fought against our own soldiers.
In Canada, above all we should help Canadians who are struggling to make ends meet or to find employment, as well as those having a hard time joining the workforce because of disability or other reasons.
We hope that beyond their support for our motion, the Liberals will come up with a real plan to address the problem of returning Islamic combatants, those Canadians who sadly decided to fight our values and our country.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-11-24 11:50 [p.15587]
Madam Speaker, my colleague was not talking about the fight against ISIS. He was talking about how this government is treating our serving military members. Its treatment of them is callous. It is turning its back on our veterans and even now threatening to cut the monthly allowance for injured soldiers.
The Liberals are proposing a state-funded program for radicalized terrorists, but they are not even providing a similar level of service to law-abiding Canadian citizens.
Why should terrorists who fought against our country be entitled to free reintegration services even as the Liberals abandon our own veterans and serving military members?
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