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Results: 1 - 15 of 217
View Robert Sopuck Profile
Mr. Speaker, I enjoyed working with my friend on biosphere reserve issues, but I disagree with pretty much everything he says. I find the NDP strangely hilarious. On one hand, it tries to defend the steel industry in Hamilton and talks about how important those jobs are, yet it works like crazy to stop pipelines that are made of steel.
I used to have a lot of time for the old NDP and members like Ed Schreyer, the party of the working person and so on. This new NDP is finished when it comes to dealing with the working person. The only party that cares about working people in this country is the Conservative Party.
Today's poll showed what working people have to say. They do not want to pay a carbon tax. The Conservative environmental plan to be released tomorrow will be a groundbreaking plan.
The member talked about electrifying this country. This country will be electrified when that man in that chair is the Prime Minister of this country.
I have two questions for my friend. One, how high does he want the carbon tax to go? I notice that he did not give a number. Two, given that the NDP rails away against the oil and gas industry all the time, will he put his money where his mouth is and recommend every union pension fund and the Canada pension plan divest themselves completely of every single oil and gas investment?
View Larry Maguire Profile
View Larry Maguire Profile
2019-06-18 13:09 [p.29291]
Mr. Speaker, I thought all along that the member for Winnipeg North just liked to debate so he could hear himself. However, I digress.
I am pleased to speak today to the Conservative Party of Canada's opposition motion on the topic of climate change and the environment. I will be sharing my time with the member for Perth—Wellington.
I want to say that only the Liberal government could talk about the environment for four years, break its promise to meet the Paris accord on climate change and end up taxing Canadians to cover up its incompetence, overspending and environmental management.
As I get into my presentation, for those who know me and my background, I have always strived to put forward ideas and solutions to the many issues facing my constituency and our nation. While I am not as good as giving one-liners or the pithy comments of social media that seem to attract the most attention, in my own way I have tried to reach out and build consensus to get things done.
Today, I want to apply that attitude to the larger issue of the environment, conservation and climate change. Like many members in the chamber, I represent a constituency that is geographically large. All across Westman, farms and communities dot the prairie landscape, as they have for many generations. Almost half of the people I represent live outside the city of Brandon in the 20-plus municipalities located in the riding.
These are some of the most hard-working, down to earth and determined people we will meet anywhere in this great country of ours. Living in rural Canada has its unique challenges. With those challenges also comes a way of life like none other. Our connection to the land, air and water is strong, because our livelihoods quite literally depend on it.
As someone who farmed for most of my life, I firmly believe that if we take care of the land, it will take care of us. My father raised my brother and me on those words, and I have lived by them. I want to immediately dispel any notion that farmers or rural folks who oppose the carbon tax do not care about the environment. They do care. They care about it immensely. They just have a serious issue about being forced to pay a new tax imposed on provinces that will disproportionately impact rural people.
Let us put ourselves in their boots for a moment. Many families must drive long distances to get to work. Many seniors have to drive into Brandon to go to either the doctor or the optician. Parents have to drive their kids to various towns for sports or choir practice.
Let us never forget students at Brandon University and Assiniboine Community College who still live on the farm or in their rural community and make the daily commute to the city to attend classes. These are not optional things that people can just decide not to do or do less. There are no subways or bus routes for their purposes. Trust me; if people did not have to drive in our blustery winters, they would not.
From the very beginning, I believe the government has mishandled the rollout of the carbon tax.
First and foremost, many Canadians, particularly many of the people I represent, have trepidations about the federal government's priorities at the best of times. Saying the federal government is about to impose a new tax but not to worry because people will not feel the pinch, while at the same time it will combat climate change, is not the best way to get buy-in from those who have skepticism.
Second, when we tried in vain to get the financial data out of the Minister of Finance, it was so heavily blacked out that it was meaningless.
Third, when the Province of Manitoba put forward a plan that would have reduced carbon emissions, the federal government rejected it. Officials were told that no matter how many tonnes of CO2 their plan would reduce, it had to include a $50 a tonne carbon tax.
My province tried to work in good faith with the federal government and was told to go pound sand. No wonder it has decided to launch its own court case. If that is the way federalism now works in this country, it is not hard to understand why premiers are concerned about the Liberal government's other initiatives, such as Bill C-48 and Bill C-69.
It also troubles me that, in Canadian politics, the litmus test on one's commitment to the environment is now centred on supporting a $50 a tonne carbon tax. While that may be the case in some circles, I can assure MPs that everyday Canadians do not use this lens when talking with their family and friends. It is not that my Conservative colleagues or people who oppose the carbon tax do not care about the changing climate; it is that we do not believe the carbon tax is the best way of addressing it.
Tomorrow, our leader will outline the vision and present an alternative to what is being imposed by the current federal government. Due to the already challenging political discourse on this issue, I can only imagine the over-the-top language being drafted now in response. I want to urge the Liberals to hold off on issuing their canned response before the speech has even been given. The Liberals have been waiting ever so patiently, so I fully expect that they will be paying close attention. I want the government to recognize that there are more ways to deal with climate change than applying a tax on the fuel that families put in their minivans.
I want the Liberals to recognize that applying a carbon tax on the energy used to drive farmers' grain only adds further cost to the industry that is already facing challenging commodity prices and markets that slam shut. I want them to start listening to farmers who have ideas that can reduce and sequester carbon without applying a new tax. The agricultural industry has made great strides in environmental management that benefit society, virtually by its own innovation at its own cost. There are proven models out there that have had tangible and meaningful results.
I have always been a proponent, as examples, of implementing an alternative land use services program and the expansion of wetland restoration programs. For those who have not listened to the member for Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa, I can assure them his message about eating more beef and how it is good for the environment is grounded in empirical science.
Over the years as a farm leader, an MLA and now an MP, I have dealt with many issues that impact our environment. Back home, people do not apply a litmus test to determine our commitment to an issue. We focus on bringing people together to work on solutions. Perhaps one day those values will rub off on all of us in this chamber when we must wade through our differences.
I want to give just one example from which we can learn. Manitoba has been prone to floods for as long as history has been recorded. Being at the bottom of the basin, we have had to deal with spring runoff and localized flooding that has impacted communities for generations. It was a Progressive Conservative premier, Duff Roblin, who implemented a series of public works projects that protected communities in the Assiniboine and Red River basins, and particularly impacted the flooding that would have occurred in the city of Winnipeg in 1997. Since then, there have been significant enhancements to flood protection up and down the Souris, Red and Assiniboine rivers. I want to say that this issue in Manitoba is non-partisan.
Our previous federal Conservative and provincial NDP governments both invested in projects that protected the city of Brandon and the towns of Melita, Reston, Souris, Deloraine, Elkhorn and Wawanesa. We also expanded the Red River Floodway, which was completed under budget.
It was after the most recent flood that many people in the Assiniboine River basin decided that we needed to work together. Under the leadership of Allan Preston and Wanda McFadyen, they spearheaded an initiative that brought the governments of Saskatchewan, Manitoba and North Dakota under one organization, alongside municipalities, farmers and conservation districts. We all live within the same watershed, and we had to stop working in silos.
We know a one-size-fits-all approach to water management does not work, and that is why a one-size-fits-all approach will not work with a carbon tax. That is why it was so frustrating to see how the federal government tossed aside the climate change plan put forward by Manitoba. Without a change in attitude, more and more Canadians will look at the rigid position taken by some in the government and tune out. We also know that climate change is a global problem that requires global solutions. The current approach does not reflect that reality.
I firmly believe that Canada is well positioned to provide these solutions. Tomorrow we will start outlining our alternative to the carbon tax and begin the conversation on what will replace it. I encourage my Liberal colleagues, particularly those who represent rural areas, to join me in supporting this motion. I ask them to please stand up for their constituents, repeal the carbon tax and replace it with a real environmental plan.
View Larry Maguire Profile
View Larry Maguire Profile
2019-06-18 13:20 [p.29292]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for her very pertinent question. However, coming from a government that has missed its Paris target by 79 megatonnes, it is not sound management.
We also know the tax package the Liberal government has come up with has fallen very short. The Parliamentary Budget Officer was very clear about the decrease that would be required in greenhouse gas emissions in order for Canada to meet the Paris climate target. He also said we would need a tax of about $102 a tonne to meet that target, versus the $50 a tonne the government is talking about today.
Therefore, the current government does not have a real plan for environmental management; rather, it has a tax plan, and that tax plan has failed, which I thank my colleague for pointing out. It has failed in all the provinces in which the government said people would be better off with the tax than without it. The best thing to do is leave the money in people's pockets, so they can make environmental management changes in their own operations, as the agricultural industry has done over the past 50 or 100 years.
View Larry Maguire Profile
View Larry Maguire Profile
2019-06-18 13:22 [p.29293]
Mr. Speaker, I acknowledge the fact that we have the ability to be a leader in the world with respect to the management of our climate. As a Conservative member who is sitting on the Arctic climate change committee, I am very aware of the changes that are taking place in that part of the world, and in all areas. The member mentioned Sweden and Norway. From my experience in those two countries, I know that because the Gulf Stream goes right up the coast of Norway, its average temperatures in the winter are 0°C to -6°C. This winter, we hit -50°C six times in Manitoba. There is a difference in the temperatures and in the climates we have to deal with in these areas.
The whole process of the Paris accord is something the government has adopted. We voted in favour of it. The levels the present government is targeting are those the Conservative government brought forward. Certainly, at the time we brought them in, they were obtainable targets. However, the government has missed the mark by a mile, and is still adding a tax on people that is not going to benefit them.
View Candice Bergen Profile
View Candice Bergen Profile
2019-06-04 11:54 [p.28476]
Mr. Speaker, we currently have a very late night vote scheduled for this evening at 11:25 p.m. I know we are all planning on being back here for that vote, but I would like to propose a motion that I have circulated to the other parties, because I think we actually could move the voting to right after Oral Questions. It would probably better organize the business of the day. We sent it earlier.
I would like to propose that notwithstanding any standing or special order or usual practice of the House in relation to the business of the House today, the deferred recorded division on the opposition motion standing in the name of the member for Louis-Saint-Laurent, currently scheduled for tonight at 11:25 p.m. be deferred anew to immediately following the time provided for Oral Questions later this day; and that at the conclusion of the consideration of the report stage of Bill C-97 an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 19, 2019 and other measures, or statements by members not seeking—
Some hon. members: No.
View Robert Sopuck Profile
Mr. Speaker, one of the things that is very bad about Liberal environmental policy is that they never do any math. Nobody does any math or numbers, and they throw around words like “pollution” without even understanding what pollution is. Sulphur dioxide is pollution. It is a compound that our industry has largely gotten rid of in this country. Carbon dioxide, on the other hand, and there can be too much of a good thing, for sure, is the first element of the photosynthetic equation, which is without a doubt the most important equation on earth.
The member's comments about the efficacy of alternate energy I found quite amusing, because the Liberals never quantify the effects of their so-called clean energy. For example, I am looking at a paper from the American Bird Conservancy, which wrote, “We estimate that hundreds of thousands of birds and bats die every year when they accidentally collide with turbine blades”. Having said that, the current government has allowed the wind energy industry complete exemption from the Species at Risk Act.
He talked about mass transit and that Canadians should use it more. Well, I have to point out to him that in my 60,000 square kilometre constituency, there is no mass transit. The Liberals are completely leaving rural Canadians behind. Why do the Liberals care so little about the people in rural Canada, who put a roof over their heads and food on the their plates?
View Candice Bergen Profile
View Candice Bergen Profile
2019-04-05 10:07 [p.26725]
That, given the recent allegations of political interference against the Prime Minister and given that Canadians reject the Prime Minister’s excuse for his actions as simply routine government business, the House call on the government to show respect for the rule of law and immediately:
(a) comply with the letter and spirit of all court orders and requests in relation to the trial of Vice-Admiral Mark Norman;
(b) provide Vice-Admiral Mark Norman’s defence with all records relating to his prosecution, including but not limited to, memos, letters, emails, PIN-to-PIN messages, SMS messages, and handwritten notes, including records that exist on personal electronic devices;
(c) require all current and former Cabinet ministers and their respective political staff and employees of the Privy Council Office since November 2015 to sign an affidavit affirming that no evidence or records related to the prosecution of Vice-Admiral Mark Norman have been destroyed, and that they have personally complied with all relevant court orders; and
(d) indemnify Vice-Admiral Mark Norman and provide legal assistance within 30 days of the adoption of this motion for any invoices that are in arrears, and within 30 days of the invoice date for any subsequent invoices.
She said: Madam Speaker, before I begin I want to advise you that I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Durham.
This year has been a very troubling one for the rule of law in Canada. Of course the entire country is now familiar, and disgusted, with the disturbing case of the Prime Minister's political interference in the very serious corruption prosecution of SNC-Lavalin. Shockingly, this is not the only case that we know of.
Highly respected and regarded Vice-Admiral Mark Norman is under criminal prosecution for alleged leaks of cabinet documents, and was suspended from his role as the number two officer in Canada's military. This prosecution appears to have been politically motivated and Conservatives have said this since the beginning, but it is not just Conservatives who have this concern.
During preliminary court proceedings in an Ottawa courthouse just a few blocks from here, very serious allegations of political interference in this prosecution have been made. Honestly, we should not be surprised. The Prime Minister said publicly, and before the RCMP even completed its investigation, that it looked like this would be “before the courts”.
How in the world would the Prime Minister have known that? As the SNC-Lavalin mess has exposed, the Prime Minister and his government have an obsessive, unhealthy and seemingly corrupt fascination with meddling in criminal prosecutions.
How did this all happen in the first place? Sadly, just like the SNC-Lavalin affair, it all comes down to “Who do you know in the PMO?” Back in November 2015, right after the last election, the Liberals were drunk on power and arrogance, and had one of the first cabinet meetings of the Liberal government. Former Treasury Board president Scott Brison took the unprecedented step of trying to stop or delay the contract with Davie shipyard for a much-needed interim supply ship for the Royal Canadian Navy.
Why would he do that? What was behind that? Scott Brison and other Liberals from the Liberal caucus were looking out for well-connected interests from their own neck of the woods in Atlantic Canada. They wanted the contract changed.
Then there was a leak about it all from someone to CBC reporter James Cudmore, the same James Cudmore who, really interestingly, became employed in the defence minister's office just weeks after this big military scoop. Wow, what a coincidence. The Liberals got very angry and decided that they needed to blame someone.
We have seen the news in recent weeks, recent days in fact, about other government leaks. It is really interesting how these government leaks happen and the result of the government leaks, the response from the Liberal government, depending on what the leak is about, who leaked it and whether it helps or hurts them.
As part of the recent Liberal smear campaign against the former attorney general, we saw that it did not matter whose reputation the Liberals were going to tarnish when they were trying to tarnish her reputation. In fact, we saw, and it was very disturbing and disrespectful to see, the government leaks about applicants to the Supreme Court of Canada.
There has to be an investigation into how in the world leaks, misinformation and such a disrespectful campaign was allowed to happen against Chief Justice Glenn Joyal of the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench, a highly respected individual, not only in Manitoba but across the country. As for the leaks around him, which were not true and which were disrespectful, the government is just saying, “That leak? Oh well, it happened. We'll make sure it never happens again.” However, there is no investigation from the current Attorney General.
Let us compare that to another leak. The National Post just ran a story about a PCO leak inquiring into finding the brave soul inside the government who let Canadians know about the $10.5-million deal cut with convicted terrorist Omar Khadr. That one has the government upset. That was something it wanted to hide. It did not come straight from its offices, apparently. That one, the government is going to get to the bottom of.
We can see how differently the government treats what it calls “leaks”, leaks that come from it and leaks that it thinks come from someone else. It would appear that whistle-blowers who blow the whistle on Liberals must be punished, if we read between the lines of what the government is doing.
The leak concerning the supply ship was also investigated. That investigation turned up six separate leaks from the cabinet committee meeting where the issue was discussed, and some 73 people having knowledge of the details of Scott Brison's meddling, yet it was Mark Norman who was charged under the Criminal Code.
Do members know what happened just before those charges were laid and a 30-plus year respected veteran officer of the Canadian Forces was suspended—
View Candice Bergen Profile
View Candice Bergen Profile
2019-04-05 10:14 [p.26726]
Madam Speaker, maybe that member should have warned his Prime Minister about interfering in a criminal prosecution when he sustained a campaign against the former attorney general to try to get her to interfere in a criminal proceeding. Maybe he should have put a little attention to that.
Let me get back to what happened just before the charges were laid against Vice-Admiral Mark Norman.
The chief of the defence staff had a meeting and a nice dinner with the Prime Minister's top staff, Katie Telford and Gerald Butts. There they were having a nice dinner, chatting about the criminal charges and planning.
We all know from the SNC-Lavalin scandal that PMO chit-chat about criminal prosecutions is pretty well par for the course in the Liberal PMO. Oddly, the chief of the defence staff seemed to have no notes about the advanced sneak peek he was giving Katie and Gerry. Maybe the Prime Minister's Office kept notes.
Mark Norman is trying to get those notes. He had to subpoena records in the possession of the Prime Minister, Katie Telford, Gerald Butts, Michael Wernick and former PMO issues management director Zita Astravas. It remains to be seen whether he gets them. Sadly, Mark Norman is being forced to fight to get access to his own records. Now, more than two years after being suspended from the Canadian Armed Forces, Vice-Admiral Norman is struggling to get the material he needs to mount his own defence.
Here is the irony of ironies. Gerald Butts, who has resigned from the Prime Minister's Office in the midst of the SNC-Lavalin affair, seems to have full access to all of his records. We have just seen that with emails, texts and very meticulous notes he took, which seem to have been written verbatim and make it appear he may have taped the conversations. He has access to all of it. He is not even working for the PMO anymore, but he has full access to all of it, none of it redacted. Is that not interesting? Gerry Butts, the Prime Minister's best friend, has complete access to his papers for his testimony to the justice committee. However, what about Vice-Admiral Mark Norman? No, there is nothing there. When he did get a 60-page document it was all redacted.
We know why Gerry Butts went to testify. Another interesting fact is that all of these individuals at the PMO have lawyered up with different law firms. In fact, the Prime Minister's communications director defended all of this by invoking a reference to Treasury Board rules. By the way, all of these lawyers are paid for by the taxpayers.
Treasury Board rules do allow for public servants to have access to outside legal advice in respect of work-related issues. However, who has been denied support under the same Treasury Board rules? Vice-Admiral Mark Norman. All of this boggles the mind. Who gets access to documents? PMO buddies and staff who quit in disgrace. Who does not get access to documents? Well-respected veterans from our military, who have served the country with distinction and are being used as scapegoats by the Prime Minister and his office. It is shameful to watch
Canada is a democracy. A corner of our democracy is the rule of law, yet the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister's Office treat criminal prosecutions like a play thing. In one case, the Prime Minister is sandbagging, charging and denying a fair trial to an honourable man all because of political convenience and because he thinks he might have put himself in the way of the interests of a well-connected Liberal-friendly company.
In the other case, we have the Prime Minister sneaking a new get-out-of-jail provision into an omnibus budget bill, then directing the organized badgering, bothering and harassing of the former attorney general and finally firing her. He has put in place someone, yet it all remains to been seen, to do his dirty work for him. We have yet to see what is going to happen and what the current Attorney General is going to do with this DPA for SNC-Lavalin. If it does get a DPA, it is clear that the former attorney general was fired so the current Attorney General would do exactly what the Prime Minister asked for. That is unconscionable. That is what corruption is.
This is all horrible to watch. It is clear that there was a plan to move heaven and earth to protect the interests of well-connected, Liberal-friendly companies. What sort of country do we live in where a powerful Prime Minister, backed up by a powerful backroom of political operatives, can just decide to mobilize the power of the state, the police, the prosecutor, name it, to help friends and punish enemies? That is not Canada. The Conservatives will have none of it.
View Candice Bergen Profile
View Candice Bergen Profile
2019-04-05 10:21 [p.26727]
Madam Speaker, this all began where there was political interference, and it was on the floor of the House when the Prime Minister said that we would see because this would go to court. Before the investigation had even been completed, the Prime Minister showed that clearly he had information and he foresaw that this would go to trial.
As well, we are seeing so much information not being given to Vice-Admiral Norman. I think the concern is that we see a lot of the pattern on this, whether it is the code names or information in documents not being given to the vice-admiral's defence, a pattern which we have seen in previous governments, such as with Kathleen Wynne in Ontario.
If the government has nothing to hide, it could support this motion. There is nothing in here. We are just asking that he has a fair trial and that he gets the documents. We are really concerned about emails and texts being deleted. The Liberals have not answered that and not been clear on it.
If my hon. colleague is not concerned, the Liberals will support our motion.
View Candice Bergen Profile
View Candice Bergen Profile
2019-04-05 10:23 [p.26727]
Madam Speaker, my colleague is very right. There is a real concern that the separation of the executive, the legislative and the judiciary is not being respected with the Liberal government. There have been numerous examples. The two we are discussing have taken over and the country is consumed with them. This is clear evidence of political interference in criminal prosecutions by the Liberal government.
This is not just a matter of the members of the government knowing people and people knowing them so they are just going to meddle a bit in criminal prosecutions. If we do not have strong foundations and strong pillars in our democracy, one of those being that political interference is not allowed in criminal prosecutions, then everything else is a sham.
It is like a house. If a house is built on sand, it will collapse as soon as the storms and trials come. If Canada is built on a type of government where political interference is allowed, everything else, including the rule of law, democracy, our elections, our criminal prosecution and our financial systems, everything we do is all built on a sham. If the actual evidence is that individuals well connected to the powerful politicians can get what they want, it is a sham.
That is why this is so important. We need to get to the bottom of the SNC-Lavalin scandal. The problem is that under this Prime Minister, he is not allowing it to happen. He is shutting down every investigation.
View Larry Maguire Profile
View Larry Maguire Profile
2019-03-20 17:08 [p.26200]
Madam Speaker, before I begin to lay out my arguments as to why I support this opposition motion, I want to say how disappointed I am with the Liberal MPs on the justice committee who shut down the investigation into the alleged political interference with the former attorney general. The Liberal majority on the justice committee shut down its own justice committee to cover up the truth, which is truly undemocratic, if not illegal.
As extraordinary as the former attorney general's testimony was, we cannot forget that the Prime Minister is using his power and his office to ensure that we do not hear the rest of the story. It is unfathomable that the Prime Minister will not permit the former attorney general to answer direct questions regarding meetings and interactions after he removed her from her portfolio that she herself acknowledged were relevant.
If there was one day to walk into this chamber and check our political allegiances at the door, it should be today. The basis of my speech today is to convince Liberal MPs that they should vote in favour of calling on the Prime Minister to waive full solicitor-client privilege and all cabinet confidences to allow the member for Vancouver Granville to tell the rest of the story. We must get to the bottom of the alleged political interference that was put on the former attorney general by the Prime Minister himself and other Liberal government officials, as determined from the provided testimony. Anything else would be a grave injustice to the rule of law and to the democratic principles we were elected to uphold.
I know that constituents have been calling my Liberal colleagues. I know constituents have been calling our members as well. I know that our Liberal colleagues' constituents have been calling, emailing and speaking to them about this serious allegation of political interference.
When was the last time major news networks broadcast a parliamentary committee from start to finish? When was the last time millions of Canadians read the transcript or followed a committee meeting as closely as this one that took place mere weeks ago? For those who thought this was an inside Queensway story or a story being listened to only by Ottawa insiders, I have news for them. This is not an academic lesson or a political science lecture. This is reality. People are watching. People are paying attention, and people want answers. They do not want the Liberal or Conservative biases. They just want the facts.
If MPs do not stand up today and vote in favour of this motion, I do not know if Canadians will ever get to the full, unaltered truth. Maybe that cover-up is truly what the Liberals want, to turn a blind eye to the truth.
I know that if Liberal MPs vote in favour of this motion and the former attorney general is allowed to speak, this could very well put many Liberal members in jeopardy come October. However, if we are only here to make sure that we are re-elected rather than to seek the truth and defend and demand justice, even when it makes us uncomfortable, I would argue that it is time to hang up our coats and call it a day. The strength of one's convictions should allow each and every member in this House to set aside partisanship, even if just this one time, to stand and be counted when it matters most.
We were not elected to protect those in powerful positions. Our job is not to sweep injustice under the rug as if it were only a nuisance. We were elected to defend the very pillars of our democracy, the rule of law, and to always put the interests of Canadians first.
In politics, there are tough choices. Today is one of those gut-check moments when a little introspection would do us all a little good. I want all Liberal MPs to think about how they would vote if this alleged inappropriate pressure was placed on an attorney general under a Conservative or New Democratic government. We all know the answer to that question. We all know that the argument that “it wasn't illegal” is contemptible and downright disingenuous. If there is a bar in determining what is right and what is wrong, then this is a sad day in our democracy.
The reason this issue has been on the front page of every newspaper and in every newscast is that this is not a member of the opposition making these charges. It is the former attorney general, a current Liberal MP, who is willing to put everything on the line.
In all my years of politics, I have never witnessed anything so stunning as the testimony of the former attorney general at the justice committee. There are a million reasons the government and the Prime Minister would prefer that she not tell the rest of the story.
However, I cannot for the life of me think of a single reason, other than to speak the truth, for her to want to come back to the justice committee and ensure that we know exactly what transpired. I will let that sink in for a moment.
The former attorney general knew full well that there were obvious challenges when she previously testified, but she put all that aside. She has faced relentless attacks from some who wish she would just go away. Some have even gone as far as smearing her or attacking her motives. There are some who could care less about the truth and are only worried about their own political survival. Throughout all this, she has risen above these most difficult and trying circumstances.
This is why I am appealing to my Liberal colleagues to vote in favour of this motion. The former attorney general was willing to speak the truth and let the chips fall where they may. I implore her fellow Liberal colleagues to show the same audacity. They should join their fellow Liberal colleagues who have spoken out.
No one is asking any member of Parliament to rip up their Liberal membership or bolt from caucus. I am not asking that they defect or endorse Conservative principles either. This has nothing to do with ideology or even the next election. All I am asking is for members to give their Liberal colleague and former attorney general the chance to be able to tell the full story. I am asking them to let her provide the necessary testimony for the ethics committee to do its job.
For those who think the former attorney general needs to leave her caucus, I remind them that she did not suddenly wake up and decide she was no longer a Liberal. She is a proud Liberal, and the fact that she wants to run again this October is a testament to her principles.
We must rise to the occasion and put aside our political fidelities. Let us call on the government to waive full solicitor-client privilege and all cabinet confidences and let the former attorney general finish her testimony.
View Candice Bergen Profile
View Candice Bergen Profile
2019-02-20 15:27 [p.25561]
Mr. Speaker, in light of the fact that the former attorney general indicated that she abstained from this vote because she believes she has a personal interest in the result of this vote, I would look to you for guidance. I think both the Prime Minister and the current Attorney General, who is making decisions regarding client-solicitor privilege and whether it should be waived—
An hon. member: Debate.
Hon. Candice Bergen: Could the member please not yell? Could I please have some respect? I know the Liberals do not like it when strong women speak.
Mr. Speaker, we would like to get some guidance from you as to whether the Prime Minister's vote and the vote of the current Attorney General should be waived, because they really should have abstained from this. If they do not, there are other measures we can take, which include going to the Ethics Commissioner. However, I think it would be cleaner, and probably a little wiser, if they would just abstain from this vote.
View Ted Falk Profile
View Ted Falk Profile
2019-02-05 12:36 [p.25261]
Mr. Speaker, it is shameful that the parliamentary secretary is using our public service employees as political pawns, fearmongering them into thinking their jobs are at stake. What is at stake is the opportunity for Quebeckers' lives to be made more simple, to make things easier. I am wondering what the parliamentary secretary has against Quebeckers, or is this just another Justin Trudeau mistake?
View Ted Falk Profile
View Ted Falk Profile
2018-11-19 13:09 [p.23517]
Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member from the NDP for so wonderfully pointing out our Conservative track record when it came to the use of deficit budgets.
We started our term in government with a small surplus. We used deficit budgeting strategically when the world was experiencing a global recession, which insulated us from feeling the effects that the rest of the world and our G7 partners experienced during that recession. We worked towards a balanced budget and left a small surplus to this Liberal government when it came to power. It has since squandered it, and my NDP colleague has so rightly pointed out that they have been spending money in all the wrong places.
Can the member tell us where the Liberals should be spending the money and when they will balance the budget?
View Larry Maguire Profile
View Larry Maguire Profile
2018-11-19 18:00 [p.23566]
Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with my colleague, the member for Calgary Rocky Ridge.
Mr. Speaker, $2,066,210.05 is the amount of money every hour the Liberal government spends more than it collects. That means every day the Liberals are adding $49.5 million to Canada's debt. No Canadian voted for this debt.
Not even the most partisan Liberals thought that their government was going to do this to the nation's finances. Across Canada, Liberal candidates said that their numbers were rock solid. They said that they had a fiscal plan and that voters could trust them. Nothing could have been further from reality.
I remember participating in a debate where I questioned the validity of these proposed Liberal deficits and I was told that the Liberals had financial gurus who worked on their election platform. They knew exactly what they were doing and that their short-term deficits were not only needed, but they were good for the nation. Now we know the exact consequences of their ill-thought-out fiscal plans: a lot of red ink and debt service charges that will continue to rise for the foreseeable future.
Back in 2015, the Liberals walked into a balanced budget, a growing economy and record low interest rates. Not only did the Liberals break the bank in their first couple of years in office, they also raised taxes and drove us deeper into debt while doing it. The amount of $17,937 is the share of the national debt for every living, breathing Canadian, and that is just the federal debt. This does not include provincial, municipal, personal and household debt.
There is something fundamentally wrong when the Minister of Finance, the individual in charge of the nation's money, is unable to tell the House of Commons when he plans on balancing the budget. Some could argue that he does not know. Some could say that he is refusing to say. Some could even say that he is holding us in great suspense and is planning the grand reveal in the days ahead. Regardless of the endless speculation, I would argue that he does not care. His actions reveal that he may actually believe that the budget will balance itself.
Politicians need to be reminded on a constant basis that money does not grow on trees; it does not magically appear out of thin air and budgets do not balance themselves. There has been little evidence to suggest that the Liberal government has any intention of ever getting the nation's finances under control. From what has been reported, the Liberals' cabinet committee in charge of finding efficiencies has come up empty. The Liberals have almost nothing to show for their efforts. They have no plan to return to a balanced budget.
There has been no meaningful debate from the Liberal government, which leads us to our Conservative opposition day motion. We are arguing its merits at this very moment. It is telling that we even have to put forward a motion such as this one. Surely to goodness the first thing the Minister of Finance should be concerned about is balancing the budget. The mere fact that every single day the Liberal government is borrowing millions of dollars with zero plan to ever pay it back should be a signal that it is time for a new government.
The government's own survey found that Canadians believe it is wrong to continue to rack up massive deficits and add billions to the debt. In that same survey, which the government commissioned, it said that over 60% of Canadians want to make reducing the deficit a priority. I can assure the Minister of Finance that those numbers are accurate. I would even go so far as to argue that in my constituency of Brandon—Souris those numbers would even be higher.
Across this country, everyday taxpayers are fed up with governments everywhere that do not live within their means. They know that when interest rates rise, and they will, it will be a serious blow to their pocketbooks. The Minister of Finance has had ample opportunity to inform Canadians of his plan to stop adding billions of dollars of debt, but at every turn, he has twisted himself into a pretzel. The minister is a very accomplished, educated, successful individual, so I know full well that he understands the question. In many respects, I have a bit of sympathy for him. He must feel absurd as he bobs and weaves while evading this question.
The word “balance” truly seems to be the hardest word. I know my colleagues across the way are a little leery of the whole conversation as it reminds the entire nation that the budget is supposed to be balanced next year. In the last election there was no ambiguity in the Liberals' election platform about the numbers. It said that in 2019 they “will balance the budget”. It did not say that the Liberals will try to balance the budget. It did not say that they will strive to balance the budget. It said that they will balance budget. Not only did they break that promise to Canadians, but they have failed to provide a plan to stop adding billions of dollars to our debt.
What makes this all so somewhat comical if it were not so serious a topic, is that right under the promise of balancing the budget the Liberals' platform said that they “will raise the bar on fiscal transparency”. All those following this debate will know that the Minister of Finance is anything but transparent when it comes to his handling of the nation's finances. We only need to go on YouTube to see the countless times the minister has sidestepped questions about his deficit numbers. If we were to keep scrolling past the videos of him calling Canadians tax cheats or the videos about his ethics investigations, we would find countless exchanges of the minister doing his best to avoid saying anything decipherable.
That is what brings us to this debate today. On Wednesday, in the Liberals' fall economic statement, I implore the Minister of Finance to reveal to Canadians his plans to balance the budget. The Liberals were not given a blank cheque. They were not given the mandate to run massive deficits as far as the eye can see. Future generations should not be on the hook for the Liberals' reckless spending. Everyone knows that today's deficits are tomorrow's taxes. Canadians know it is wrong to leave their kids with an unpaid credit card bill, but that is exactly what the Liberal government is doing. It is nothing short of intergenerational theft.
The deficit is now almost $20 billion, more than three times what he promised. Instead of balancing the budget next year as the Prime Minister said he would, Finance Canada says we will now have 25 more years of deficits at this rate. Interest on the national debt is expected to grow by two-thirds, to $37 billion a year. That is just the interest. That is almost as much as we spend on health care transfers. Instead of keeping their money for gas, groceries and other family essentials, Canadians will pay more to bankers and bond holders to fund the growing interest on the Liberals' spiralling debt.
That is why Conservatives are calling on the government to announce in its fall economic update the year in which the budget will finally be balanced. While every family or business out there has to balance their budget, it is mind-blowing that the Minister of Finance and the Prime Minister think they have no obligation to do so. The only thing I know for sure is that it will not be by next year as promised.
There has to be at least some Liberal MPs who see the lunacy of the actions of the finance minister when it comes to avoiding the question of a “balanced budget”. They must agree that their own government has fallen short in terms of financial transparency. People's patience is wearing thin and this charade must come to an end.
That is exactly why we are forcing a vote of the House of Commons on this issue. I want every Liberal MP to have a chance to join us. It is never too late to ask for a little common sense from the government. I want them to join us in stopping the raid on future generations. I want them to join us in eliminating out of control deficits and get Canada's fiscal house back in order. At the very minimum, I would ask them to support this motion.
Canadians deserve answers. Liberal parliamentarians deserve answers. At the end of the day, if we can at least agree that having a plan to balance the budget is needed, it is a meaningful step in the right direction. I urge all Liberal MPs to support this motion and demand better from their own finance minister.
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