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Results: 1 - 15 of 93
View Erin Weir Profile
CCF (SK)
View Erin Weir Profile
2019-08-21 13:31
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I'd like to thank you and all members of this committee for giving independent MPs an opportunity to participate in today's meeting.
One of the things I've really appreciated about being an independent MP is the opportunity to take a more dispassionate look at the issues. That's what I've tried to do in all the committee hearings on SNC-Lavalin.
I'd like to say a few words about my reading of the Ethics Commissioner's report and some of the topics that I think might be worth pursuing if this committee decides to hear from the Ethics Commissioner and perhaps other witnesses.
The commissioner's key conclusion is that there was a violation of section 9 of the Conflict of Interest Act, which says that public office holders should not:
seek to influence a decision of another person so as to further the public office holder’s private interests or those of the public office holder’s relatives or friends or to improperly further another person’s private interests.
I don't think anyone is alleging that the Prime Minister sought to further the private interests of his family, his friends or himself. I also don't think there's any doubt that many, if not most, public policy decisions will either further or detract from the private interests of various companies and individuals. The key conclusion from the Ethics Commissioner is that the Prime Minister improperly tried to further another person's private interests.
That finding hinges critically on an interpretation of what is “improper”. I think it would be well worth this committee's time to dig into that with the Ethics Commissioner. We've heard a lot about findings of fact but really this conclusion comes down to an interpretation of one word in the Conflict of Interest Act, which is something that I think could be open to challenge and certainly could be open to further exploration.
It's a little bit unclear to me whether the Ethics Commissioner believes the Prime Minister is guilty of any kind of conflict of interest in the classic definition of that term. It does seem clear that the Ethics Commissioner believes that the Prime Minister is guilty of improperly furthering another person's private interests but there's already been some debate about how that language should be interpreted and what's improper. I would suggest that as an appropriate focus for this committee's work.
View Jacques Gourde Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I, too, would like to talk about the report, and I will keep it short. The title of the report alone gives me the chills: the “Trudeau II Report”. The number II means it’s the second report in the same session about the fact that the Prime Minister broke the law. In the case at hand, he violated section 9 of the Conflict of Interest Act. Here is what that section stipulates:
No public office holder shall use his or her position as a public office holder to seek to influence a decision of another person so as to further the public office holder’s private interests or those of the public office holder’s relatives or friends or to improperly [I repeat, improperly] further another person’s private interests.
In paragraph 282 of this very detailed report, Commissioner Mario Dion specifies that “the authority of the Prime Minister and his office was used to circumvent, undermine and ultimately attempt to discredit the decision of the Director of Public Prosecutions as well as the authority of Ms. Wilson-Raybould as the Crown’s chief law officer.”
That is a scandal in itself. One has to wonder, with an election around the corner, whether Canadians deserve a prime minister who breaks the laws of his own country. This is scathing.
I hope that in the next few minutes, my colleagues across the way will have the moral conscience to permit us to invite the commissioner to come testify. He’s willing to do it. We have other questions to ask, and there is more to come on this story. We’d like to shed some light on that and learn the whole truth. Canadians deserve to know the truth before the election on October 21.
In the democracy in which we live, it’s very troubling for all Canadians to see that an individual in a high-level position like the Prime Minister’s doesn’t seem to understand the separation of executive, legislative and judiciary powers.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Steven MacKinnon Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Steven MacKinnon Profile
2019-08-21 13:54
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
We all appreciate the efforts of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner and his office, as well as their support to members and Parliament. As far as this report is concerned, the Prime Minister has thanked the commissioner and accepted his report. This matter has been thoroughly studied. As we all heard, the justice committee heard from 10 witnesses for a total of 13 hours of testimony over five weeks.
In addition, we now have this detailed report from the commissioner. It represents months of work for him, and it’s 63 pages long. The Prime Minister has stated unequivocally that he was only trying to protect the jobs of thousands of Canadian workers the whole time. I would think all workers and all Canadians would expect that if their jobs were in jeopardy.
We also have a guide by the Honourable Anne McLellan. She spoke with all the former attorneys general. Her guide helps clarify the relationships between—
View Steven MacKinnon Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Steven MacKinnon Profile
2019-08-21 13:56
I will start over. We also have a guide by the Honourable Anne McLellan. She spoke with all the former attorneys general. Her guide helps clarify the relationships between attorneys general and their colleagues in cabinet. The Prime Minister has already pledged to all Canadians that he will act on Ms. McLellan’s recommendations.
The combined processes of the justice committee and the commissioner, which took many hours, months and pages to complete, were detailed and thorough. It’s obvious to me, after hearing my honourable colleagues speak, that the opposition’s real objective is simply to play politics.
We're all thankful for the work of the commissioner's office in support of all members of the House at all times. The commissioner's report is quite detailed and Canadians have had a good opportunity to familiarize themselves with the content. The Prime Minister has thanked the commissioner and accepted the report.
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
Mr. Steve MacKinnon: Though he disagrees with the conclusions, especially when so many jobs were at stake—which is no laughing matter—he has already announced that steps will be taken to ensure that no government goes through a similar situation in the future.
This government, as any government, should take seriously the responsibility of standing up for jobs and growing the economy. It's the responsibility of any Prime Minister to stand up for people's jobs. In fact, it's the responsibility of all members of Parliament. People whose jobs are on the line should expect no less of their elected representatives.
View Steven MacKinnon Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Steven MacKinnon Profile
2019-08-21 13:58
No.
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
Mr. Steven MacKinnon: Nor is that a point of order, Mr. Chair.
View Steven MacKinnon Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Steven MacKinnon Profile
2019-08-21 13:59
That member, with his rich experience in Canada's private sector, we'll have to look at his views with some skepticism too.
It's the responsibility of any Prime Minister to stand up for people's jobs and livelihoods across the country, and that should also be the job of all members of Parliament while upholding, of course, at all times, the rule of law.
View Steven MacKinnon Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Steven MacKinnon Profile
2019-08-21 14:00
Mr. Chairman, where I come from, we listen to folks and then get to speak and have a healthy exchange.
I've now been interrupted three times by things that were not points of order. I hope the committee will indulge in hearing the rest of our statement.
View Steven MacKinnon Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Steven MacKinnon Profile
2019-08-21 14:01
Thank you.
I appreciate your chairmanship today, Mr. Chair.
The Prime Minister's objective throughout, as he stated, was to protect thousands of jobs in Canada, all the while ensuring the integrity and independence of the justice system. As has been confirmed on multiple occasions, no direction was ever given to the former attorney general.
Also, former attorney general Anne McLellan has authored a report after speaking with all former attorneys general, as well as constitutional scholars, and has offered recommendations, including a process and a set of principles to guide the relationship between the Attorney General and the government. Both the Prime Minister and the Attorney General have already stated that they will be looking at how to best implement those recommendations, such as the protocol on interactions with the Attorney General and better education for all parliamentarians on defining the role.
The matter before us today has been studied quite extensively. The justice committee heard over 13 hours of comprehensive testimony from 10 different witnesses over a five-week span, and we now have a very thorough 63-page report by the commissioner.
The opposition's claim to simply want the facts is contradicted by the fact that what they seek is found in the commissioner's report. It is already public, on top of the 13 hours of testimony that I just referenced, so the only conclusion that I and members of this committee can come to is that the opposition seeks to prolong this process for political reasons and partisan games.
It is for that reason, Mr. Chair, that we will be opposing this motion.
View Erin Weir Profile
CCF (SK)
View Erin Weir Profile
2019-08-21 15:12
Thanks very much.
Since we seem to have entered a bit of a broader discussion of the SNC-Lavalin case, I just want to make the point that I think it would have been far preferable had there been a more robust investigation and prosecution of the specific executives involved in alleged wrongdoing, rather than being left in this scenario of prosecuting the company as a whole, which inevitably will have negative consequences for people who had no involvement at all in the wrongdoing.
Whether or not members of the committee believe the figure of 9,000 jobs, I don't think anyone would dispute that going after the company as a whole is going to have negative consequences for a lot of people who are totally blameless in this thing. I do think one of the key take-aways from the SNC-Lavalin controversy is that we should have much more effective prosecution of the individual corporate executives who are involved in wrongdoing, rather than relying on the legal fiction of corporate personhood to prosecute whole enterprises.
Thank you.
View Guy Caron Profile
NDP (QC)
Thank you.
The motion is as follows:
That, pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development undertake a study of the implications of the OECD monitoring of the SNC-Lavalin affair on the perception of Canada abroad, in order to determine whether this monitoring exercise could have an impact on Canada's reputation and whether, in the long term, Canada's diplomatic relations with its partners may be affected; and, that the Committee report its findings to the House.
I'll justify the motion.
In the wake of the SNC-Lavalin affair, the OECD Working Group on Bribery has stated that it plans to actively monitor Canada's implementation of the OECD anti-bribery provisions in this case. The case is ongoing, given that the OECD will continue to monitor the situation whether SNC-Lavalin faces legal action or whether a remediation agreement is reached between the two parties.
In my opinion, this is a troubling situation that should be monitored by the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, simply because the situation is a first for the OECD Working Group on Bribery. The chair, Drago Kos, has already been interviewed a number of times by the Canadian media on the issue. While the outcome of the monitoring is unknown, the fact remains that it will affect the perception of Canada abroad.
The committee should hold at least one meeting on the subject to learn about the OECD's view of the issue, particularly the view of the OECD Working Group on Bribery, and to prepare the government for the potential implications of this type of public monitoring by an organization of which Canada is a founding member.
I wouldn't characterize the Canadian government's response as inappropriate, but it was quite weak. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs simply said that Canada was one of the founding countries of the OECD Working Group on Bribery, but he didn't necessarily speak about the ramifications of the monitoring.
As a committee, we must forge ahead and complete this work by the end of the session and before the upcoming election. The OECD group will continue its work after the upcoming election campaign. We must prepare the next Parliament for this situation, which isn't necessarily good for Canada.
We should vote in favour of the motion so that the committee can undertake a study of the implications of this monitoring by the OECD Working Group on Bribery.
View Steven Blaney Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Mr. Caron has introduced an extremely worthwhile motion. I have here an excerpt from a Chilean newspaper, La Tercera. A headline in the newspaper states “Trudeau intenta defenderse en el caso que derribó su imagen en Canadá.”
I speak basic Spanish. However, I can see that, even in Chile, people are concerned that Mr. Trudeau's actions will destroy Canada's reputation. The country is at the far end of the southern hemisphere, and Canada is in the news, but not for the right reasons.
People often said that Canada was back. However, this time, the issue concerns everything that we don't want for Canada. In the SNC-Lavalin affair, the reputation of the engineering firm was at stake. Now the issue is more serious. Canada's reputation is at stake.
I support this motion because we must study the issue here in the committee to ensure that the Canadian government takes action to prevent damage to Canada's reputation.
View Frank Baylis Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Chair, I just want to reflect on what was said here.
The OECD produces a report. It has an annual global anti-corruption and integrity forum that produces a report every year. They do a very in-depth study on this. To Mr. O'Toole's point that they don't have the resources and we have more, I would seriously question him on that. They just produced a report, a 224-page report, laying out.... How many companies did they look at? There were 890 companies, of which 695 got deferred prosecution agreement settlements. His position that we have more resources or that we know more than they do holds no water whatsoever. Out of those 890 companies that were looked at, three of them were Canadian.
Yes, it is important that we keep Canadians' reputation clean, but for me, if there have been 890 and three of them are Canadian, I'm not so worried about it. I don't think we need to do this. I'd let the OECD do its job. I think it's doing that very well.
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