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View Scott Reid Profile
CPC (ON)
Okay. The motion is simply:
That the Commissioner of Canada Elections appear before the Procedure and House Affairs Committee to discuss the illegal contributions made by SNC-Lavalin to the Liberal Party of Canada and his decision to issue a compliance agreement.
View Chris Bittle Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you so much.
There has been a troubling pattern over the last little while at this committee. First, we had the Clerk of the House of Commons here, and the Conservatives brought down their whip to question his integrity without any evidence. They did this even though the Clerk had reached out to the House leader's office directly to ask if he could proceed, but there was no response and his integrity was questioned.
Then the Chief Electoral Officer came. I know we may disagree on certain points of policy, and I know we have disagreed with the Conservatives about recommendations that have been made. I haven't been on this committee since the start, but we have had an incredible working relationship with the Chief Electoral Officer. I didn't think it would be possible for any member to stand up and question his integrity. Well, that happened last week as well when the honourable member from Carleton gleefully called him a “Liberal lapdog”. I think I got it wrong last time, and he corrected me, and he was gleeful in that correction. Then they brought someone else in to do this, and I hope the members who are typically here wouldn't engage in this, but they questioned his integrity even though he had no involvement. The law says he has no involvement and there's no evidence that he did, but there was a gleeful willingness to question his integrity
Then in the next hour there were valid concerns about the way in which David Johnston was appointed. We heard it from Mr. Christopherson, and we heard it from the Conservative Party last time, and there was disagreement as to that. I would have thought that David Johnston would have been one of the individuals in this country whose integrity could not be questioned, based on his work, yet we had the Conservative Party question his integrity. He had to defend his own integrity, inviting his detractors to look at his lifetime of work. All of this was done without any evidence, without any provocation. Now, once again, Conservative Party wishes to call in another public official to question their integrity without any evidence.
I don't know if they appreciate the irony of doing this, of calling in an independent prosecutor to question their decision. I've used this term before, “the Nobel Prize for irony”. I don't know if that's a thing but it seems you're in the running. You criticize the government for contemplating asking a question about the direction of a prosecution and a deferred prosecution agreement, and you had that out there for a couple of months. “How dare you?” they said. We heard this for two months and no laws were broken, as stated by the witnesses. “How dare you even think about asking such a question?”
Now we wish to call an investigator, an independent investigator-prosecutor from the office of the director of public prosecutions, and question this person about their decision. It boggles the mind and it is unbelievable how desperate the Conservative Party is to have SNC discussed that they are willing to go back on everything they have said over the last couple of months in order to achieve that goal.
At the end of the day, my understanding is that the justice committee is still going through its estimates process, that the commissioner of Canada elections is still under their jurisdiction in terms of the estimates process, and that there will be an opportunity....
I don't think I'll be supporting the motion at the end of the day anyway, but I'd like to clear it up just so we have a really truthful motion. I'd like to propose an amendment so that the motion reads:
That the Commissioner of Elections Canada appear before the Committee to discuss the illegal contributions made by SNC-Lavalin to the Liberal Party of Canada and the Conservative Party of Canada and his decision to issue a compliance agreement to SNC-Lavalin and Pierre Poilievre.
View Scott Reid Profile
CPC (ON)
Does anybody know the answer to that question? The compliance agreement with Pierre or with his campaign suggests it was to his riding association as opposed to the Conservative Party itself—unless this was in the context of his being the minister at the time. I'm just trying figure out what.... You can understand my concern for precision. I don't want put down a factually incorrect statement in a motion. If you can figure that out—I just don't have the information in front of me—then we could.... I see what you want to do. I want to make sure it's correct, and then we could probably vote in favour of it.
Chris, Stephanie looked this up on the CBC's website. It says here—and I'm quoting from the relevant news story—“The Conservative Party of Canada netted far less as a result of the scheme. The party received $3,137, while various Conservative Party riding associations and candidates were given $5,050.” Are we sure this is in the context of the...? Yes, it is. Sorry, I'm just seeing this now, $83,534 to the Liberal Party, various Liberal associations....
Would you be open to a bit of an amendment to your amendment, Chris? No. Do you mind if I...?
View Chris Bittle Profile
Lib. (ON)
I don't agree to this as a friendly amendment. We believe that the hypocrisy of this should be pointed out. That's why the motion should include.... I believe that if we say “Liberal Party of Canada” and “Conservative Party of Canada,” we've included riding associations and whatnot. I think that's—
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2019-05-07 12:23
We'll have a recorded vote on the amendment.
(Amendment agreed to: yeas 9; nays 0)
The Chair: Now we'll have the vote on the motion as amended.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2019-05-07 12:24
We have a recorded vote on the motion as amended.
(Motion as amended negatived: nays 5; yeas 4)
The Chair: Carrying on committee business, I'll go to Mr. Caron, but I'm wondering if I could get the permission of the committee to use Thursday's meeting to give instructions to the researcher on our parallel chamber report.
Mr. Reid.
View Scott Reid Profile
CPC (ON)
In that case, I would like to introduce the following motion: that the Commissioner of Canada Elections appear before the procedure and House affairs committee to discuss the illegal contributions made by SNC-Lavalin to the Liberal Party of Canada and his decision to issue a deferred prosecution agreement or whatever it's called.
A voice: A compliance agreement.
Mr. Scott Reid: Yes, a compliance agreement.
Michael Fenrick
View Michael Fenrick Profile
Michael Fenrick
2018-10-30 11:06
Thank you.
Honourable members of the committee and Mr. Chair, it is a privilege to be able to speak with you today. I want to thank you for the opportunity for the Liberal Party of Canada to be heard on these important issues.
My name is Michael Fenrick, and as I was introduced before, I serve as the legal and constitutional adviser to the national board of directors. That's a volunteer position. I'm also a riding chair for the riding in my home community of Parkdale—High Park, so I also have the experience of working for the party and volunteering for the party at a local level.
Both from serving on our party's board and from working closely with grassroots volunteers, I know the party takes the protection of personal information extremely seriously. I also know how the responsible use of data can significantly increase participation and engagement in our political process.
Today, I hope to speak to you about both of those priorities, and I look forward to answering your questions.
First, I want to outline our most fundamental commitment on these matters. The Liberal Party of Canada works very hard both during and between elections to engage as many Canadians as possible in our democratic process. Protecting their personal information is a priority for the party in all of its interactions and operations.
As part of that commitment, the Liberal Party of Canada has a clear and strict privacy policy in place, which is posted on all of the party's national websites, and it can always be publicly viewed at liberal.ca/privacy. The highest level of security is implemented for all data and records that are maintained by the party. The party does not sell any personal information. At all times the Liberal Party of Canada fully complies with all Elections Canada rules and regulations for political engagement and campaign activities as required by our campaign partners, who do the same.
Why does all of this matter? Because secure and accurate data is very important to how modern political parties operate and engage with Canadians. Like all Canadian political parties, the Liberal Party uses data to engage with voters. Understanding the interests and the priorities of Canadians helps us to speak to the issues that matter most to them and in turn mobilizes democratic participation in our country.
The importance of this objective truly can't be overstated. Political parties are not commercial businesses. We are not-for-profit voluntary associations defined in the Canada Elections Act as organizations whose fundamental purpose is to participate in public affairs by endorsing candidates for election. Our interests are very different from those of private sector entities to which federal privacy legislation applies. We promote candidates to Canadians. We're informed in part by information about eligible voters and in accordance with accepted privacy practices and safeguards, and we safeguard the information that Canadians entrust us with.
Using data to help engage voters isn't a bad thing; it's quite the opposite. It helps to ensure that political parties are in tune with what matters to the electorate and that more of us are involved in elections. For as long as there have been free and democratic elections, successful candidates have worked to build detailed lists of their supporters, to understand their priorities and return to them with an ask to help out at the polls.
Knowing what interests have motivated voters and who supports our party helps us deliver relevant information and policy positions to Canadians. For example, we know that more and more people, and especially young people, are seeking out news and information online. For parties to be relevant, we need to have a strong online presence and interact with Canadians through the mediums and on the platforms they are using. That's why in recent years innovative engagement on social media, online advertising and email communications has become increasingly important to our operations.
Where do we get the information we have about voters? Like the other registered political parties, we receive an electronic copy of the list of electors from Elections Canada each year. Under the Canada Elections Act, registered parties are authorized to use the lists to communicate with electors, including for the purposes of soliciting contributions and recruiting party members, in our case registered Liberals.
For all parties, using personal information contained in the list of electors in an unauthorized manner is a criminal offence under the act. It is punishable by a fine and up to two years of imprisonment. We take our obligations in this regard very seriously.
In addition, we work hard to identify, engage and mobilize potential supporters with phone calls, outreach events, door knocking, digital advertising, emails, petitions and more. Often we keep track of information about the issues that matter most to our supporters and to Canadians, and the information they express about whether they intend to vote for us. This information is recorded if it is volunteered by the individual voter and is used to inform the party's outreach efforts and political strategies at election time.
On occasion, limited types of data are purchased by the party to help us reach out and connect with more supporters and Canadians. For example, in the past we have purchased widely available phone book-type information or Canada Post address validation lists.
While we use social media to boost voter turnout, identify supporters through issues-based petitions and ask for fundraising support, the Liberal Party of Canada does not have access to specific Facebook accounts beyond those of our own social media channels.
Our party's primary voter-contact database is a system called Liberalist. Certain individuals, including MPs, riding association executives, candidates and campaign managers may request access to Liberalist. They can view the voter information for electors in their ridings.
Account holders are assigned certain levels of access based on our internal rules and policy, and must provide their name, email address, phone numbers, riding name and address. All account holders on Liberalist must agree to be bound by a Liberalist user agreement, which sets out the terms and conditions for using the system. A copy of that, I understand, is with the clerk.
Users must only use the data for the purpose of communication on behalf of the party with voters, donors and registered Liberals. They agree that they will not keep a copy of any of the data and will not share it with anyone else.
Michael Fenrick
View Michael Fenrick Profile
Michael Fenrick
2018-10-30 11:17
Yes.
I will take one moment to wrap up.
The Liberal Party of Canada also has a strict privacy policy in place. A copy has also been filed with the clerk of this committee. We think it is a best-in-class privacy policy for protecting the personal information of Canadians.
We hope this committee will seriously entertain submissions of the Liberal Party of Canada about the importance of political engagement as a guiding factor when considering these important issues.
Thank you.
View Kelly McCauley Profile
CPC (AB)
Welcome, everyone.
Ms. Nagy, I wanted to explore a bit more about the compliance or the issues you ran into. Could you tell me a bit more of your thoughts about the interparty collusion that happened in the last election?
Angela Nagy
View Angela Nagy Profile
Angela Nagy
2018-06-07 17:02
The main concern I have is that there was no endorsement of the memorandum of understanding by any official party, the members of the party in advance of the vote that saw Gary Adams nominated as our candidate. A commitment was made to the members at the nomination meeting that this concept of partnership and co-operation would be undertaken only with the consent of the Green Party of Canada.
Ultimately, after several months of negotiation and discussion, it was determined and agreed to by all parties that there would be no formal endorsement of any other candidate or any other party, but that continued to happen regardless of that agreement and commitment undertaken by all parties. Ultimately, that led to voters being confused, misled about what had happened and what was going on. They were led to believe there was a partnership between the Green Party of Canada and the Liberal Party when there was not.
Angela Nagy
View Angela Nagy Profile
Angela Nagy
2018-06-07 17:04
What may have been unintentional—and I agree—we both sought clarification from Elections Canada....
I raised several times that I believed we were contravening sections of the act, and I was disappointed when the feedback from Elections Canada was that the concept of using these signs was so interesting and they said you can use the signs. The fact that $700 or $800 was spent on 100 signs may have been an unintentional mistake that did not mean to contravene the Elections Act. This misinformation campaign to make it look like there was a partnership between the Green Party and the Liberal Party was 100% intentional and had been planned—
View Kelly McCauley Profile
CPC (AB)
Okay.
Do you think the issue needs to be addressed better by Elections Canada, or the act strengthened on this matter?
Angela Nagy
View Angela Nagy Profile
Angela Nagy
2018-06-07 17:05
I was really excited to see clause 323 proposing to amend section 481 of the Canada Elections Act around misleading publications. That essentially refers to any form of communication that could mislead voters and that contains false statements. There were numerous false statements and numerous documents, including the use of the Green Party signs, that were strategically used to confuse and mislead voters.
Angela Nagy
View Angela Nagy Profile
Angela Nagy
2018-06-07 17:05
I don't. I actually believe that upon further investigation, it could be found that voters were misled.
What I understand from the letter I received from the commissioner of Canada elections was that a complaint regarding a violation of paragraph 482(b) would be difficult to prove, because it would require some form of an inquiry or a survey of voters to determine if voters indeed were confused about what was going on.
I believe that Elections Canada should investigate that further and determine if voters were confused. I have evidence, and I have witnesses who have raised concerns with me that they believed there was a partnership, and that influenced how they voted.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
Okay. Thank you. To me, that didn't really explain why the Prime Minister didn't simply choose to follow the rules rather than making a legislative change.
At any rate, I'd like to ask you about the June 19 fundraising event the Liberal Party held that featured the Prime Minister speaking. It was after promising to abide by the rules of Bill C-50 and be open to the media. Can you explain why, even after that, the Liberal Party staff restricted media access? I know of at least a couple of instances where it happened. The Ottawa bureau chief of the Huffington Post, Althia Raj, and Joan Bryden from the Canadian Press were being denied access, or restricted access. Can you explain why, once the media was allowed inside, they were cordoned off in one particular area and not allowed to mingle with the guests? Can you explain why a Montreal reporter with the Canadian Press was told to leave?
Minister, I don't understand why you're bothering to put rules in place when it's quite clear that the Liberal Party is simply going to break them.
View Karina Gould Profile
Lib. (ON)
Well, first of all, I'm the Minister of Democratic Institutions, here on behalf of the Government of Canada. While I'm a Liberal member of Parliament, I'm not here on behalf of the Liberal Party of Canada. Those questions would be better posed to the Liberal Party itself.
However, with regard to the media, it's important to note that we didn't choose to legislate media's access because I believe fundamentally that the democratic institutions of the government should not be legislating the media, but their having the information will provide them more access to be able to pose those questions, to scrutinize, and to hold public office holders to account.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
View Sean Casey Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Sean Casey Profile
2016-10-05 12:05
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Colleagues, I want to start by asking each of you with a device in front of you to please Google “2015 Liberal Party platform”. If you do that, right at the very top you'll see the PDF with the Liberal Party platform.
Once you have that, I would ask you to go to page 34. You'll see, in red, “Canada Post”, and then, in bold print, “We will save home mail delivery.”
Welcome to Charlottetown, folks, the birthplace of Confederation and a riding where 100% of the people do not have home mail delivery. Charlottetown became a riding where 100% of the people do not have home mail delivery six days after the Liberals won the election. During those six days, there was a full-out effort by Canada Post to pop up these community mailboxes. They popped up like dandelions all over the place. People were working overtime to ensure that it would happen.
At the end of this process that you're presently engaged in, you'll be making recommendations to government. Given what you are reading on page 34, we're not talking about “whether” to save home mail delivery but “how”. It's for you to decide how home mail delivery will be saved.
When you do, I would ask that you bear in mind what the situation was in this country on October 19, not six days later, because if you decide that we're frozen as of the date of the moratorium six days after the election, you will have validated a defiant, arrogant action on the part of Canada Post that betrayed the voters in this riding, 84% of whom voted for parties that were in favour of saving home mail delivery.
Section 22 of the Canada Post Corporation Act and of course the charter make some allowances for government to provide direction to Canada Post. True, as a crown corporation, there is some degree of separation. But whether it be through legislation, through policy, or through a face-to-face meeting between the minister and senior officials of Canada Post, I would ask that you include in your recommendations something that ensures that this does not happen again—ensures that Canada Post is not allowed to thumb its nose at the government as it did in the six days following the election.
Thank you for listening. Thank you for coming to Charlottetown. Good luck with your deliberations. Enjoy your time in our fair city.
View Francis Scarpaleggia Profile
Lib. (QC)
I would like to say that, in the Liberal Party, you are not even required to be a member in order to vote for the party leader.
Harold Jansen
View Harold Jansen Profile
Harold Jansen
2016-08-22 19:14
There was a paper done and published in 2002 by Antoine Bilodeau, who looked at, I believe, the 1997 federal election and found that the Liberals would have benefited. I'm going to now rain all over the work that Professor McCormick and I did. The danger whenever you're projecting backwards is that we're using how people voted and assuming that they would have voted the same way had the alternative vote been in place. For example, in southern Alberta where I live, in the constituency of Lethbridge, it has been Conservative. It was Canadian Alliance, Reform, as far back as anyone can remember. So Liberals, New Democrats, and Green Party supporters have to face some choices about, would you vote.... That's the problem. If I look at how people say they're going to vote in a survey, I'm trying to project what's going to happen.
The hope with the alternative vote and the reason I think the Liberals would seem to do well under it—and there have been other people who have done similar kinds of analyses—is that they are a lot of other parties' second choices. That's the key. The hope, the argument that's been made in favour of the alternative vote, is that it's going to encourage parties to reach out to supporters of other parties and say, “Okay, I understand you're supporting them, but here's what we have common”, to try to seek commonality rather than to polarize.
The evidence that I have seen is that in Alberta and Manitoba, that didn't really happen. I spent countless weeks digging through archives looking at campaign material. I found one campaign thing where somebody was explicitly appealing for second choices. You just didn't see a lot of evidence of that.
View Ruby Sahota Profile
Lib. (ON)
It's fascinating. I don't think we've heard that perspective before. You've just opened my eyes. You're right, it's very hard to look back at previous elections, because we've been told, well, had this last election happened with the AV model, this would have happened. But so many other people may not have felt coerced into voting for one party over another because maybe they're not strategically voting in that case.
Do you think that an AV model would always favour the Liberal Party, or under certain circumstances in other places that have used it, does one party tend to always win?
Harold Jansen
View Harold Jansen Profile
Harold Jansen
2016-08-22 19:53
Professor Lijphart published a very influential paper in which he looked at policy outcomes. He found basically no difference. They get at things differently, but it's not as if the economy performs better. So the strong majority government doesn't necessarily give you better public policy. G. Bingham Powell wrote a book in which he actually found that countries that elected representatives under PR tended to hew to what the median voter wanted. The median voter has a special place in democratic theory. With the median voter, where half of the voters are on one side and half the voters on the other, that position should win any majority vote. He found that the policies put out by PR governments tended to hew better to that than any other system. I will note, though, that he did find that there was one exception under first past the post systems, and that was Canada, actually did surprisingly well under first past the post. But that, I would argue, has to do with the sad situation we have, in which the Liberal Party has tended to be dominant historically and has been in the centre. That's a weird, freaky Canadian thing.
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
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