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View Pierre-Luc Dusseault Profile
NDP (QC)
View Pierre-Luc Dusseault Profile
2018-04-17 10:34 [p.18399]
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.
He touched very briefly on the Prime Minister's desperate attempt to justify his trip and claim that, according to his lawyers, he did not violate section 12, which mentions airplanes. The English and French versions actually say two different things. The English version uses the word “aircraft”, I think, and the French one uses the word “avion”, which means airplane. Obviously, he went with the version that suited him when he justified his trip and the use of a private helicopter on the grounds that a helicopter is not an airplane. He went with the French version, claiming that, when the two versions differ, the one that makes the most sense or best captures the legislative intent takes precedence.
He is trying to convince Canadians that, when he was planning the trip, he read section 12 of the Conflict of Interest Act before agreeing to go on the trip, saw the words “aircraft” and “avion”, and decided to go with the French version and accept the trip on the grounds that he was complying with section 12. That is an act of true desperation.
What are my colleague's thoughts on that?
View Tom Kmiec Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2018-04-17 10:35 [p.18399]
Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague, who belongs to another party but sometimes sits with me on the Standing Committee on Finance. He is perfectly correct. The word in question appears on page 55 of the English version, which is the only one I have here, since I left the French version at my office. He is correct that the French says “avion” and the English says “aircraft”. The Prime Minister should have known that there is a difference. It seems he asked his own lawyers to say it was all right because the act did not contain the word “helicopter”. He thinks that he can take the Aga Khan's helicopter on a private vacation with his family and accept a gift from the Aga Khan, who has business dealings with the Canadian government. It is utterly preposterous for the Prime Minister to instruct his own lawyers to advance that argument. Indeed, the Ethics Commissioner's report mentions that very defence, namely that the act does not mention the word “helicopter”, so it was all right for him to accept. This shows that the Prime Minister has a total lack of judgment.
View Bruce Stanton Profile
CPC (ON)
View Bruce Stanton Profile
2018-03-29 12:32

Question No. 1484--
Mr. Kevin Waugh:
With regard to the exchange of gifts between the Prime Minister and the Aga Khan, since November 4, 2015: (a) what are the details of all gifts, both given and received, including (i) date of exchange, (ii) recipient, (iii) description, (iv) estimated value; and (b) for each gift which the Prime Minister gave to the Aga Khan, how much was charged to the taxpayer?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1485--
Mr. Kevin Waugh:
With regard to the sale of at least ten CRJ-900 regional jets from Bombardier to the Islamic Republic of Iran and government support for these transactions: (a) what is the name of the corporate entity that has entered into an agreement with Bombardier to purchase these planes; (b) is the agreement referred to in (a) for the purchase or lease of these planes; (c) is the government loaning money in order to facilitate this transaction and, if so, to whom; (d) if the answer to (c) is affirmative, what is the total amount of money being provided by the government to facilitate this transaction; (e) if the answer to (c) is affirmative, what steps, if any, have been taken to guarantee this government financing; (f) if the answer to (c) is affirmative, what steps, if any, have been taken to ensure the proper end use of these planes; and (g) did the loosening of sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran in 2016 by the government allow for this transaction and, if so, how?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1486--
Mr. Kevin Waugh:
With regard to expenditures on signing bonuses (ledger code 50632), since November 4, 2015, broken down by department and agency: (a) what is the total amount, broken down by month; (b) how many individuals received such a bonus, broken down by month; (c) what is the range of bonuses paid out; and (d) what criteria are used to determine whether or not an employee receives a signing bonus?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1487--
Mr. Kevin Waugh:
With regard to expenditures on Government Travel Service Booking Fees, since November 4, 2015: what is the total amount spent on such booking fees, broken down by department and agency?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1488--
Mr. David Anderson:
With regard to concerns about human rights: what are the details, including dates, of all occasions when the Prime Minister has raised human rights with the following governments (i) China, (ii) Iran, (iii) Russia?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1489--
Mrs. Cathy McLeod:
With regard to the 2017 British Columbia wildfires: what are the details, including findings, of any economic assessment which the government has done in relation to the impact of the wildfires?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1490--
Mr. Peter Kent:
With regard to the Trudeau Report: (a) what does the government consider to be the report’s “recommendations”; and (b) what specific action has the government taken to implement each recommendation in (a)?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1491--
Mr. Gérard Deltell:
With regard to the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, the Canada Revenue Agency and an agreement in principle they signed on September 23, 2017: when does the government anticipate that the Treasury Board Secretariat will ratify the agreement?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1492--
Mr. Dean Allison:
With regard to invoices the government has sent out related to the participation of Ministers, including the Prime Minister, in by-election campaigns: what are the details of all invoices that the government has sent to the Liberal Party of Canada, a local riding association, or a by-election campaign, since January 1, 2016, including (i) date of invoice, (ii) amount, (iii) recipient, (iv) description of goods or services, (v) date payment was received?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1493--
Mr. Robert Sopuck:
With regard to the government’s decision to cancel the National Wetland Conservation Fund: (a) what is the official reason for cancelling the program; and (b) did any organizations formally request that the fund be cancelled and, if so, what are the details including (i) name of organization, (ii) date request was made?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1494--
Mr. Harold Albrecht:
With regard to the Lester B. Pearson Building, since November 4, 2015: (a) on what dates were employees sent home due to a lack of heating, cooling, or other workplace environment issues; (b) for each date in (a), what was the issue which caused employees to be sent home; (c) approximately how many employees were sent home on each date in (a); and (d) what percentage of employees whose normal workplace is the Lester B. Pearson Building does each number in (c) represent?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1495--
Mr. Tom Lukiwski:
With regard to the Globe and Mail report on February 6, 2018, that China Communications Construction Co. (CCCC) was blacklisted in a foreign country for allegedly bribing government officials: is the government aware of any Canadian government officials who have been offered bribes by CCCC and, if so, what are the details?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1496--
Mr. Tom Lukiwski:
With regard to meetings between the government and officials in the Communist Party of China or the Government of the People’s Republic of China, since November 4, 2015: what are the details of all meetings, including (i) date, (ii) location, (iii) list of attendees, (iv) topics or agenda items?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1497--
Ms. Monique Pauzé:
With regard to the application of the OECD’s International VAT/GST Guidelines, which outline that value-added taxes are to be added in the jurisdiction of the residence of the customer using foreign Internet service providers, such as Netflix: (a) does Canada adhere to these guidelines and the mechanisms that ensure the effective collection of VAT/GST on cross-border supplies of services and intangibles; (b) if the answer to (a) is affirmative, what measures outlined in these guidelines does Canada intend to adopt, and when; (c) in the correspondence between Netflix and the Canada Revenue Agency, the Department of Finance and the Department of Canadian Heritage, since October 19, 2015, how many times did the application of these measures come up, especially with regard to charging Netflix GST and HST; (d) what are the details of the correspondence in (c), including emails, from the Canada Revenue Agency and the Department of Finance?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1498--
Mr. Cabriel Ste-Marie:
With regard to federal spending in Quebec ridings for each fiscal year since 2010-11, inclusively: what are the specifics of all grants, contributions, and loans to all organizations, groups, businesses or municipalities, broken down by (i) constituency, (ii) name of recipient, (iii) municipality in which the recipient is located, (iv) date the funding was received, (v) amount received, (vi) granting department or agency, (vii) program under which the grant, contribution or loan was allocated, (viii) nature or purpose?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1499--
Mrs. Shannon Stubbs:
With regard to expenditures related to the legal proceedings of Heyder et al v. Attorney General of Canada and Beattie v. Attorney General of Canada: (a) what expenses have been incurred to date, including an itemized breakdown of the expenses, with salary and benefit costs for staff time related to the following court cases (i) Heyder et al v. Attorney General of Canada, (ii) Beattie v. Attorney General of Canada; and (b) what is the total for (a)(i) and (a)(ii)?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1500--
Mr. John Nater:
With regard to the agreement announced by the government in September 2016, related to the export of beef to China: (a) what are the terms of the agreement; and (b) is the text of the agreement available to the public and to Canadian beef producers and, if so, what is the website location of the agreement?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1501--
Mr. Bev Shipley:
With regard to expenditures paid out so far, and in relation to the government’s delegation to Davos in January 2018: (a) what are the details of all expenditures, including travel related expenditures, to date and broken down by (i) amount, (ii) vendor, (iii) date, (iv) description of goods or services; (b) what is the total amount for all of the expenditures in (a); and (c) what is the total estimated value of invoices related to Davos which have yet to be received or paid out?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1502--
Mr. Bev Shipley:
With regard to expenditures related to legal proceedings involving veterans and veterans’ groups, since January 1, 2016: (a) what is the total amount of expenditures incurred to date, broken down by case; (b) what are the expenditures in (a), broken down by type and line item; and (c) how are the expenditures in (a) consistent with the commitment on page 49 of the Liberal Party election platform that “will ensure that no veteran has to fight the government for the support and compensation they have earned”?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1503--
Mr. Bev Shipley:
With regard to the leaking of information from Cabinet meetings or Cabinet committee meetings, since November 4, 2015: (a) how many instances of leaked information is the government aware of; (b) how many individuals have been, or are, under investigation for leaking such information; and (c) have any ministers been investigated for leaking such information and, if so, which ones?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1504--
Mr. Bev Shipley:
With regard to expenditures on executive search, headhunting, recruiting, or other similar types of firms, since January 1, 2017: what are the details of all such expenditures, including (i) date, (ii) amount, (iii) number and titles of positions filled related to the expenditure, (iv) file number, (v) vendor?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1505--
Mr. Alexander Nuttall:
With regard to loans and repayable contributions issued by the government during the 2016 calendar year: (a) what are the details, including (i) amount, (ii) date, (iii) recipient, (iv) purpose; and (b) for each loan and repayable contribution in (a), how much has been repaid to the government, as of February 8, 2018?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1506--
Mr. Kelly McCauley:
With regard to VoxPop Labs and business conducted for the government, since November 4, 2015: (a) how many projects are currently underway with VoxPop Labs; (b) how many projects have been completed with VoxPop Labs; (c) what are the details of the projects that have been undertaken, broken down by (i) title, (ii) cost, (iii) region targeted, (iv) number of text group; and (d) of the projects in (c), what were the results of each project?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1507--
Mr. Kelly McCauley:
With regard to the Prime Minister’s YouTube channel since, November 4, 2015: (a) how many full-time equivalents manage the channel; (b) what are the titles and corresponding pay scales of the full-time equivalents who manage the channel; (c) how much has been spent on overtime pay for the full-time equivalents who manage the channel; (d) how much has been spent on developing content for the channel, and how much is earmarked to be spent for the remainder of the 2017-18 fiscal year; (e) how much has been spent on promoting content for the channel, and how much is earmarked to be spent for the remainder of the 2017-18 fiscal year; (f) is there a cross-platform promotion plan to share content from the channel to other digital media platforms; (g) are the costs associated with (f) included in the YouTube budget, or do they fall within the budget of the other platforms; (h) what are the digital media platforms used to promote or share the Prime Minister’s YouTube content; (i) what is the monthly expenditure on the channel, broken down by month; and (j) what is the annual expenditure on the channel, broken down by year?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1508--
Mr. Robert Kitchen:
With regard to the usage of the government’s fleet of Challenger and Airbus aircraft during the 2017 calendar year: what are the details of each flight, including (i) date, (ii) origin, (iii) destination, (iv) time of takeoff, (v) time of landing, (vi) names and titles of passengers, excluding security staff, (vii) type of aircraft?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1509--
Mr. Dane Lloyd:
With regard to expenditures on “bots”, algorithms, or other technology related to controlling or spreading messages on social media, since November 4, 2015: what are the details of all related expenditures, including for each expenditure the (i) date, (ii) vendor, (iii) amount, (iv) details of social media accounts, including format and handle or username, (v) purpose or objective of the bot or algorithm?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1510--
Mrs. Sylvie Boucher:
With regard to the acquisition of land by the government, since November 4, 2015: what are the details of each acquisition, including for each the (i) landowner or entity the land was acquired from, (ii) amount paid, (iii) size and description of the land, (iv) location, (v) date, (vi) reason for acquisition?
Response
(Return tabled)
8530-421-100 Answer to question Q-1510 o ...8530-421-74 Answer to question Q-1484 on ...8530-421-75 Answer to question Q-1485 on ...8530-421-76 Answer to question Q-1486 on ...8530-421-77 Answer to question Q-1487 on ...8530-421-78 Answer to question Q-1488 on ...8530-421-79 Answer to question Q-1489 on ...8530-421-80 Answer to question Q-1490 on ...8530-421-81 Answer to question Q-1491 on ...8530-421-82 Answer to question Q-1492 on ...8530-421-83 Answer to question Q-1493 on ...
...Show all topics
View Charlie Angus Profile
NDP (ON)
View Charlie Angus Profile
2018-02-06 11:03 [p.16800]
Mr. Speaker, I am honoured, as always, to rise in this House to represent the people of Timmins—James Bay and to speak to this very serious issue: the unprecedented situation of a sitting Prime Minister having been found guilty on numerous counts of breaching the Conflict of Interest Act.
I am going to be speaking to the issue of conflict of interest today. I understand why the official opposition brought this motion forward. I have some problems with it, and I am going to talk about them. However, I find it very frustrating that we have a Prime Minister who shows his contempt for Parliament by not bothering to show up to answer questions. I believe that we are in a dangerous position across the world of moving into post-democratic politics. Our Prime Minister is a great example of that. If he does push-ups in the Bronx, it will make international news. I do not mind that he makes international news, but he does have an obligation to come to the House to answer questions.
We were told at the ethics committee that the Prime Minister should not come to the committee to explain being found guilty by the Ethics Commissioner, because the proper place is in the House of Commons. I agreed with that. That was fair. However, members may have noticed that the Prime Minister showed up when Parliament returned, answered a few questions, and then sat down and refused to answer the leader of the official opposition. That is disrespect for this House. I am not here to take the position of leader of the opposition, but this is about respect for the House.
On the first Wednesday, the Wednesday the Prime Minister told us would be the day he answers all manner of questions, he skipped town to do a television town hall. He had a month and a half to do television town halls, but he skipped Ottawa. To me, this is a serious issue.
On the issue of the Prime Minister being found guilty of breaching the Conflict of Interest Act, the New Democrats differ somewhat from the Conservatives. To me, the fact that he went off to billionaire's island with a family friend showed a major breach of judgment. We are not dealing with a criminal act; we are dealing with a breach of judgment. The question of the judgment of this Prime Minister is his extremely close relationship with the 1%, the insiders.
The government always talks about the middle class and how it is here to do everything for the middle class, but if we look at the growing conflict of interest issues around the Prime Minister, it is about the government's failure to even understand what the middle class is.
I have often said that I think the Prime Minister and I grew up in a different middle class. My father joined the middle class when he was in his forties. He had to quit school as a teenager, as did my mom, to go work. It was not until my dad was in his forties that he was able to go back to school, get an education, and eventually become a professor of economics.
The middle class was built not just through hard work but by a whole social and economic structure that made it possible for kids from working class backgrounds who got an education to move beyond. We are seeing that the notion of the middle class is disappearing year after year with growing levels of student debt and growing precariousness of work.
We have a Prime Minister who decided to go off to billionaire's island to hang out with the Aga Khan, his friend, who is lobbying the Government of Canada. That is a problem. Liberals do not seem to think it is a problem. As the ultimate insider party in the country, they are saying that they are their friends. However, the reason we have laws is so friends who are powerful cannot call up the Prime Minister and make changes. The law should apply to everyone. This Prime Minister does not seem to think it applies to him.
In the case of the breach of the Conflict of Interest Act, he broke it on numerous points. He should have known that it was a conflict of interest to accept a gift from someone that powerful who was lobbying the government. The government's response was very disturbing.
Section 12 of the Conflict of Interest Act, on travel, states:
No minister of the Crown, minister of state or parliamentary secretary, no member of his or her family and no ministerial adviser or ministerial staff shall accept travel on non-commercial chartered or private aircraft for any purpose unless required in his or her capacity as a public office holder or in exceptional circumstances or with the prior approval of the Commissioner.
The Prime Minister decided to go on the Aga Khan's private helicopter to get to his private island. In his defence, the Prime Minister said that there was a difference in the language used in the French act and the English one. The French used the more specific term “avions” and not “aircraft”. The Prime Minister felt that this specifically exempted helicopters, which was a ridiculous response. It showed not only a lack of judgment but showed someone who would go to the extent of saying that it did not specifically say “helicopters“ to find a way to slip through the rules and abuse the act.
I have not agreed with many of Madam Dawson's decisions over the course of many years. However, she said that the Prime Minister's position would be to create a legal absurdity and a complete abuse of the act.
I am going to say quickly that I have a problem with the Conservative motion to pay back travel, because when the Prime Minister travels, there are enormous costs. There are issues of security if a prime minister wants to take a vacation anywhere. When Stephen Harper went to see a Boston Red Sox game, there was an enormous cost to the taxpayer. However, the Prime Minister does not get to travel on public aircraft. If the Prime Minister is going anywhere, there are going to be costs. We accepted it for Stephen Harper. People were asking how much money was spent for him to go to a ball game. He was the prime minister. He was not able to take cheap WestJet flights. There were going to be costs.
Therefore, I have a question about the propriety of the House ordering the Prime Minister to pay it back for his bad judgment.
That being said, the problem with our Conflict of Interest Act is that the commissioner does not have the power or ability to render the appropriate penalty. Should the Prime Minister pay a penalty from his personal money for this abuse of the act? Certainly. I think it behooves us within this House to say that we need to overhaul the Conflict of Interest Act to make sure that we do not have sitting prime ministers or cabinet ministers abusing the act and that the commissioner has the power to levy financial fines to force compliance, because if the Prime Minister believes he is above the law, it sends a very disturbing message to his cabinet.
On the issue of overall conflict of interest and the Prime Minister, I am seeing a disturbing pattern emerging. It emerged right after the election. I was so impressed with his talk during the campaign of creating a new, open, and transparent notion of parliamentary accountability. He seemed to follow through with his letters of commission to each of his ministers that talked about the need to have a higher standard. It was not just about the legal obligation but about being seen meeting that legal obligation. I was thinking that here was a Prime Minister who would be willing to do stuff differently, and for a moment, the sun was shining on accountability in Ottawa, but then our Prime Minister decided to go for cash for access.
To me, it is the most grotty thing possible for a sitting prime minister to make himself available to be lobbied for cash. He said that they were not lobbying. Who would pay $1,500 a pop to sit at a private CEO's condo if not to get the ear of the Prime Minister? Was it because they thought he was a funny guy and just wanted to hang out with him?
Chinese billionaires met with the Prime Minister. When he was confronted, the Prime Minister said that they were talking about the middle class. I guess I grew up in a different middle class. Can members imagine for a minute that Chinese billionaires came over to Canada, paid $1,500 a pop to talk to the Prime Minister at a private function, and were worried about folks who are just getting by? I do not think so. The idea that the Prime Minister would use his office to collect those funds for the Liberal Party to me set a disturbing pattern, and it is a pattern that has been repeated.
We saw the issue of the KPMG fraud scheme. KPMG, which has received millions of dollars in federal contracts, set up a scheme so that powerful Canadians did not have to pay their share.
I think of a single mom I dealt with in my riding over Christmas who was not able to pay for her kids' Christmas presents, because every year, CRA cuts her off, because it claims that she has to prove once again that she actually has children. We were calling and calling. There was a seven-week period CRA had to go through, because it had to do due diligence, as it has done three times in three years, to prove that this single mother actually has children, and she was not able to buy Christmas presents. We see the CRA's willingness to go after any ordinary Canadian who owes it money. It shows no mercy. However, when the rich insiders who were caught in the KPMG scandal were found out, CRA offered them immediate amnesty. That is not standing up for the middle class. That is standing up for the 1%.
What did the Prime Minister do after this scandal? He appointed a senior KPMG representative to be the treasurer of Liberal Party finances. To me, that sends a very disturbing message. It shows contempt for taxpayers who work hard and pay their bills. The Prime Minister looked at that KPMG scandal and said, “This is a great guy. I like how these guys are operating. Let us get them to handle Liberal Party finances.” That is a very disturbing tone.
We saw it repeated for Samuel Bronfman, who is the good, close friend of the Prime Minister and a key Liberal fundraiser. Mr. Bronfman was named in the paradise papers, an international scandal in terms of the uber rich not paying their share while they turn around and tell Canadians that they do not have services.
We can make comparisons to understand how this plays out. This past week, the Prime Minister looked a Princess Patricia's veteran in the face, Brock Blaszczyk, a man who lost his leg serving his country, and told him that veterans are asking for more than what the government is willing to give. These are people who were willing to give their lives and their health in service to the nation who came back and have been ripped off on their basic pensions. The Prime Minister can look a veteran in the eye and say that he is asking for more than Canada is willing to give.
The Prime Minister's personal friend, Samuel Bronfman, was then named in the paradise papers for a business scheme he had been involved in. The Prime Minister said that there was absolutely no issue, because the Liberals had been assured that Samuel Bronfman followed all the rules. It is completely inappropriate for a sitting prime minister to interpose himself in a question of a tax case, or potential tax fraud, and tell Canadians that there is nothing to be seen here. Why? It is because Samuel Bronfman is not only a personal friend but raised $250,000 in two hours for the Liberal Party. He is a very powerful person.
We brought in the Accountability Act when the last Liberal government fell to try to close these kinds of loopholes so that powerful insiders who raise money for the party and hang out with the Prime Minister on billionaire's island do not get this kind of access. This brings us back to the Aga Khan. The Aga Khan was lobbying the government for money, and the Prime Minister received a gift. The Liberal Party does not seem to understand that there is a problem with that.
We will go to the next issue. There is a very disturbing pattern of conflict of interest emerging in a government that says it is there for the little guy and the middle class, but time and again, it is looking after the uber rich.
We can talk about the privatized pension king of Canada, who is the finance minister. He is a man who told investors about the enormous opportunities in getting rid of defined pension plans, a man whose company was involved in the largest pension meltdowns in Canadian history: Nortel, Stelco, and now the Sears pension windup. We have a finance minister who is unwilling to do anything to end this kind of corporate pension theft. Well, it would certainly affect the bottom line of his family business.
He brought in pension legislation. In fact, the very first thing he did was bring in pension legislation, and that legislation, Bill C-27, will make it easier to go after other defined pension plans. However, the Prime Minister did not think there was a potential conflict of interest.
Again, I guess the Prime Minister and I grew up in a different middle class. The people I know, who save so hard to get a basic pension, see what is happening to the Sears workers and say, “That could be me.”
Younger people, who see that they will never have a pension, are asking where this government is in dealing with the pension crisis. Well, the government is making sure that the privatized pension king of Canada, who is the finance minister, who is driving the agenda on pensions, is not going to be in a position to be pulled from the file. The government is going to do nothing to help Sears workers, and it is continuing to push ahead with Bill C-27, which is a direct attack on defined pensions.
Over the years in Parliament, I have seen many politicians telling Canadians that they are going to give them a better deal. Sometimes it is like the crocodile saying, “Trust me. Let's go on a picnic down by the riverside. I have your best interest at heart”. However, when one puts in the Samuel Bronfmans, the top people from KPMG, and the privatized pension king in this country to deal with the issue of pensions, one cannot be saying that one has Canadians' interests at heart.
This goes back to the importance of the motion to have the Prime Minister found guilty of using his position in getting a benefit from a billionaire to vacation on a billionaire's island. Again, I will not say that this is an illegal act. To me, this was an astounding lack of judgment. It is within the purview of Parliament to insist that the Prime Minister meet a level of accountability, which he has not done because he has left Parliament and he has not answered these questions.
However, to be clear, I have a problem with the Conservatives' argument that he should pay back the cost of the trip, because wherever the Prime Minister goes, there will be enormous costs associated with the issue of security. However, there does need to be the ability under the ethics act to deal with financial monetary penalties for the abuse of office, and for the failure to live up to the standard. The Prime Minister has set the bar very low for the rest of his cabinet. We need to be working across party lines to ensure that these loopholes in the Conflict of Interest Act are shut down and that the Prime Minister is held accountable so that he can restore the trust of Canadians on this fundamental issue.
On the overall issue of conflict of interest, as New Democrats we will continue to hold the government to account. We are not afraid to congratulate it if we believe it is doing something good. We do not have to be oppositional on everything. However, to see the government time and time again favour the interests of the 1% and the insiders while paying lip service to people who are falling behind is simply not acceptable.
We will continue to address these issues and the need to deal with the toxic nature of big money's influence in political life, which is as important now as it was when we had to bring in the Federal Accountability Act back in 2006. I remember at that time we had the corrupt Liberal government up on charges. We had such abuse with lobbyists and insiders. The line back then was “It's who you know in the PMO”.
This struck Canadians as fundamentally wrong, because most Canadians never get the opportunity to call in. Most Canadians never get their cases fixed, except when they go through the system, and that is the way it is supposed to be for the lobbyists and the insiders. There has to be a system. It has to be accountable. It has to be transparent so that the people know why and how decisions are being made. However, with the current government, there is too much of a slip back to the bad old days of insiders and friends.
This is an instructive motion. Hopefully, the Prime Minister will listen to it, and I think the Prime Minister does need to tell Canadians that he will make some manner of restitution to show that he understands the seriousness of having been found guilty on numerous counts of breaching the Conflict of Interest Act.
View Jacques Gourde Profile
CPC (QC)
View Jacques Gourde Profile
2018-02-06 12:37 [p.16813]
Madam Speaker, as a member of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, it is a privilege for me to take part in this debate. As my colleagues know, I am a tireless crusader when it comes to shedding light on the unethical behaviour of the Prime Minister and his ministers and the free passes they give themselves. This latest scandal, in a long line of many, simply proves once again that the old Liberal culture is alive and well within the party. I would remind the House that, if the member for Papineau had not become leader of the Liberal Party, the Aga Khan certainly would not have invited him, so as to strengthen his ties with a potential future influential leader of Canada. Indeed, I myself have never been invited by the Aga Khan, nor have most of my colleagues in the House.
It beggars belief to see this self-important dandy expecting us to foot the bill for his whims and those of his family while Canadians are working hard and paying taxes. These expenses are unjustifiable. A taxpayer-funded illegal trip does not fall within his duties as a statesman.
This whole thing started when the Prime Minister contacted the Aga Khan's daughter in mid-July 2016 to ask whether his family could spend their Christmas holidays in Bells Cay. The Prime Minister's Office confirmed with the Privy Council Office in early November 2016 that the Prime Minister's family would be staying in Bells Cay from December 26, 2016 to January 4, 2017. The Prime Minister said that the only way to get to the island from Nassau was by private helicopter. He and his family travelled that way during their trip to Bells Cay in December 2014. Surprise. Now, it appears there was a third trip.
For a March 2016 trip taken by the Prime Minister's wife, who was joined by her friend and their children, she contacted the Aga Khan's daughter in mid-February 2016 to discuss the possibility of staying on the island with her children in the months that followed. The Aga Khan's daughter told Mrs. Grégoire that they would be welcome to say on the island. On February 27, 2016, Mrs. Grégoire sent an email to her assistant in the Prime Minister's Office, as well as to the staff in Bells Cay about her trip to the island with a friend and their children, in order to ask that she arrange the helicopter ride to Bells Cay with the island's staff.
It is nevertheless exceptional to see that there was an invitation to travel. I did not misspeak when I called the Prime Minister self-important, since he believes he is exceptional. When the former ethics commissioner appeared before the committee on which I sit on January 10, I asked Ms. Dawson to explain to us why the circumstances of the Prime Minister's family's trip were deemed “exceptional” and why it should be paid by Canadian taxpayers. I wondered if that was the position argued by the Prime Minister's legal counsel. I will quote Ms. Dawson, who said:
As I indicated in the report, Mr. Trudeau said that all of his trips were exceptional. In a way, they are always exceptional, because there is always a lot of security involved and all that. My point here is that you cannot use the argument that all travel is exceptional to claim that the holidays in question were exceptional. The circumstances were known, it was well planned, they had taken the helicopter before...
On page 61 of her report, Ms. Dawson also notes the following:
There was nothing unusual, unforeseen or unavoidable about this trip. [The Prime Minister] was well aware, given his previous stay on the island in 2014, that private transportation was needed to reach the Aga Khan's private island. While it may have been typical for guests of the Aga Khan to use his helicopter to reach the island, [the Prime Minister] knew that travel by helicopter was not the only means of transportation to the island. Members of his family had previously travelled to the island on a seaplane chartered by the Aga Khan from a company in the Bahamas.
Therefore when [the Prime Minister] and his family were planning their stay at the Aga Khan's island during the summer and fall of 2016, it would have been possible for the Prime Minister and his family to have considered and arranged alternative means of transportation to the island, including by chartering their own aircraft. Any alternative arrangements would have been less convenient and more expensive than the helicopter, but, given the prohibition set out in section 12, other alternatives should have been pursued.
For these reasons, I cannot conclude that there were exceptional circumstances in this case.
On page 56 of the report, the commissioner wrote that preparations for the trip had started much earlier:
As well, in the case of the December 2016 trip, plans were initiated for the trip in the summer of 2016 and firmed up by the fall, and the travel itinerary for [the Prime Minister] and his family was being organized weeks in advance by [the Prime Minister's] ministerial staff and the RCMP.
It is clear from the evidence that there were other options available to transport the [Prime Minister's] family to Bells Cay. The RCMP, when first advised of the Prime Minister’s trip to the private island, began considering various travel options to reach the island, including by boat or by chartering a private aircraft. When the RCMP became aware that the Aga Khan’s helicopter would be available as an option, it was considered by the RCMP to be the best option, taking into account that it was direct and easy. The RCMP considered the helicopter to be secure given that it had frequently been used by other dignitaries travelling to the island.
Although it is understandable from a security and efficiency perspective why the Prime Minister and his family accepted the travel aboard the Aga Khan’s private helicopter to reach Bells Cay, I am of the view that the circumstances surrounding the acceptance of the private air travel were not exceptional.
I would like to come back to the March 2016 trip to Bells Cay. On page 58 of the report, the former commissioner writes:
The March 2016 trip taken by [the Prime Minister’s] family was obviously not required in relation to [the Prime Minister’s] official duties…As in the case of the December 2016 trip, [the Prime Minister] did not seek my prior approval in relation to this trip.
Like the December 2016 trip, there was nothing so unusual, unforeseen or unavoidable about the March 2016 trip that a finding of exceptional circumstances would be warranted.
...
For the reasons stated above, I find that [the Prime Minister] contravened section 12 of the Act when he and his family accepted travel on the Aga Khan’s helicopter in December 2016 and when his family accepted travel on the non-commercial chartered aircraft arranged by the Aga Khan in March 2016.
I would also like to read Ms. Dawson's observation:
In 2015, the Prime Minister issued a guidance document for ministers and ministerial exempt staff, entitled Open and Accountable Government. That document provides that Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries must not accept travel on “non-commercial chartered or private aircraft for any purpose except in exceptional circumstances, and only with the prior approval of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner and public disclosure of the use of such aircraft. Any hospitality accepted must strictly adhere to the requirements of the Conflict of Interest Act.”
Ms. Dawson also said:
The rule as expressed in the Prime Minister’s document requires that the public office holder must always consult with the Commissioner prior to accepting travel, when claiming exceptional circumstances. In this case, the Prime Minister did not follow his own rule.
She goes on to say:
As mentioned above, section 12 of the Act arose out of a concern over a series of instances where ministers accepted travel on private aircraft. The seeking of prior approval in such cases brings the matter to my Office’s attention. This approval has been sought by other public office holders and would normally be favourably met where practical reasons support such a prior approval....As well, seeking prior approval enables my Office to look at the situation more broadly and to consider whether other provisions of the Act should also be considered.
Here in the House, it is our duty to abide by the Conflict of Interest Act. Everyone must abide by it, even the Prime Minister himself. In light of the damning report of former ethics commissioner Dawson, we can unequivocally say that the Prime Minister deliberately tried to be exempt from a federal law.
View Rachael Harder Profile
CPC (AB)
View Rachael Harder Profile
2018-02-06 17:04 [p.16854]
Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister took taxpayers' money to the tune of $200,000 to be exact. He took this money and used it in order to help pay for his illegal vacation to a Caribbean island. Today, believe it or not, we are debating whether or not the Prime Minister should now accept responsibility for his illegal conduct and pay back the money that he stole from Canadians. It seems ridiculous, does it not? We are spending an entire day debating whether or not the leader of our country should function with integrity, accept responsibility for his illegitimate actions, and pay back money that he wrongfully took from Canadians. How has it come to this?
In 2016, the Prime Minister accepted an illegal gift of an all expenses paid vacation to a private tropical island from the Aga Khan, who I might add, is someone who receives millions of dollars in government grants and contributions from the government. I should also mention that he is a registered lobbyist.
The Prime Minister was caught and the Ethics Commissioner conducted an investigation. For the first time in Canadian history, a Prime Minister was found guilty of having broken the Conflict of Interest Act, not once but four times. He is guilty of accepting gifts that could influence decision-making. He is guilty of not recusing himself from discussions that could further private interests. He is guilty of failing to arrange his private affairs to avoid the situation. He is guilty of accepting travel on a non-commercial aircraft. To date, the Prime Minister has refused to accept full responsibility for his actions. I acknowledge that he offered a half-hearted verbal apology, but to make amends, the $200,000 that he wrongfully took from taxpayers in this country to help cover the cost of his vacation must be paid back if he is truly sorry.
If the Prime Minister had simply followed the very clear rules set out in the Conflict of Interest Act, taxpayers would not have been stuck with the bill to begin with. Not once did we see even a hint of entitlement in the former prime minister. Stephen Harper paid back the Canadian taxpayer every single month for the food bill that was incurred at 24 Sussex, something that he did not need to do, but he chose to do because of his level of integrity. Stephen Harper paid for his family's child care costs out of his own pocket, again something he did not need to do, but he chose to do it because he felt that it was the right thing to do. Stephen Harper took his winter vacations at his family home in Calgary, which he paid for with his money, and his summer vacation at the Prime Minister's residence in Harrington Lake, which meant the lowest price possible for taxpayers. This is true leadership.
Today, MPs will choose to stand with the Canadian public or against the Canadian public. They will choose to support and condone the Prime Minister's unethical behaviour, which reeks of elitism and entitlement, or they will choose to support Canadians who expect their hard-earned tax dollars to go toward paying for things like infrastructure and services that they have invested in.
Will the Liberal MPs obediently do what the Prime Minister has demanded of them and defend his inexcusable actions, or will they stand up today for Canadian taxpayers and agree that the money does in fact need to be paid back? I am sure their constituents will take note of the decisions made today when it comes time to vote.
It has become increasingly obvious that the Prime Minister believes that there is one set of rules for him and there is one set of rules for everyone else. It was the Liberal Prime Minister who put his signature on a document called the “Open and Accountable Government” guide for public office holders. In this guide the Prime Minister instructs:
Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries must not accept sponsored travel, i.e. travel whose costs are not wholly paid from the Consolidated Revenue Fund, or by the individual personally, or his or her political party, or an inter-parliamentary association or friendship group recognized by the House of Commons. This includes all travel on non-commercial chartered or private aircraft for any purpose except in exceptional circumstances....
It must have been a really exceptional circumstance to take that private vacation to the Caribbean. He continues:
...and only with the prior approval of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner and public disclosure of the use of such aircraft.
Mr. Speaker, I kid you not, these are the words of the Prime Minister himself. These are his instructions to his members on that side of the House. Does he live up to them? No.
The Prime Minister ignored his very own requirements. He took a private helicopter to a private Caribbean island, on which he took a private all-expense paid vacation. Did he check with the Ethics Commissioner? No. Did he disclose it to the public? No. Could it be deemed an exceptional circumstance? No. He got caught.
If the Prime Minister cannot follow his own guidebook, can we reasonably expect him to follow the laws of Canada? Can we reasonably expect him to lead our country well, to create rules and regulations, and policies and initiatives that will serve everyday Canadians day in, day out? Can we count on him for that? No.
According to the Ethics Commissioner, she does question his integrity and whether he is ready and able to do the job.
I would imagine this is fairly frustrating for the Liberal cabinet ministers, who watch as their boss tells them to do one thing but then goes off and does another thing on his own. The Prime Minister's chief of staff and his principal secretary repaid $65,000 they had claimed for moving expenses that were deemed to be inappropriate. They paid it back.
The former minister of health paid back $3,700 to taxpayers when it was discovered she was using the limousine services of a Liberal Party supporter instead of taking a taxi. Why does the Prime Minister have no problem forcing his staff and the ministers to pay back questionable expenses, but exempts himself from the same level of expectation?
When the Prime Minister was first called to account, he declared that the individual taking him on the all-expenses paid trip, the Aga Khan, was a close family friend and therefore it should be totally acceptable. Not a problem, right? However, when the Ethics Commissioner did the necessary research, when she investigated further, she concluded that the Aga Khan could not in any way be deemed a family friend because the Prime Minister had not spoken with him in 30 years. I sincerely feel bad for the Prime Minister if this is, in fact, what he deems a close friendship.
It is clear the Prime Minister has tried very hard to cover his illegal actions, but the fact is this. He has been found guilty, guilty of accepting a gift he should have said no to; guilty of meeting with the Aga Khan, who has received millions of dollars from the Canadian government, and could have undue influence on the PM's decision; guilty of failing to arrange his private affairs to avoid this opportunity; and guilty of accepting travel on a non-commercial aircraft.
Now that the Ethics Commissioner has reached the conclusion that the Prime Minister's trip was illegal, he needs to pay the $200,000 back that was expensed to Canadians. If the trip was illegal, then so were the expenses billed to taxpayers.
The situation before the House today is not about $200,000 being paid back, though the money should be. It absolutely should be. Today's dialogue is about so much more. It is about the integrity of a man who has been entrusted with the responsibility of leading a nation. It is about a man who chose to break that trust for the sake of selfish gain. It is about a man who, though found guilty, refuses to take responsibility for his actions. It is about a man who is able to say that he is sorry with his lips, because words are cheap, but when it comes to actually making amends for his actions and returning the money to the Canadian public, he says no.
This debate today did not need to take place. It was avoidable. The Prime Minister knew better than to accept this illegal gift that clearly put him in a conflict of interest. Sadly, the Prime Minister's inability to live up to his own standards means that for the first time in Canadian history, Canada's head of state has now been found guilty of breaking the Conflict of Interest Act.
The Prime Minister seems to think taxpayers should pay for his boyish dream of being a jet-setting celebrity, but he could not be more wrong. On behalf of Canadians, we call on the Prime Minister to function with integrity, show leadership, accept responsibility, and to make restitution. We call on the Prime Minister to pay it back.
View Luc Berthold Profile
CPC (QC)
View Luc Berthold Profile
2017-10-18 19:16 [p.14245]
Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise in the House this evening to talk about a question period from last May.
It was a question period for the history books. During that question period, we had occasion to ask the same question 17 times, 18 if you include the last question that I had the opportunity to ask the Prime Minister.
Let me provide some context. It is important to know that the Prime Minister is the first sitting prime minister to be scrutinized by the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner for his actions. He is being scrutinized, as hon. members will recall, for taking his family on vacation to the Aga Khan's private island.
That question period was memorable because we asked the Prime Minister the same question 18 times. The question was simple: how many times did he meet with the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner? The same question was repeated 18 times during one question period, but not once did the Prime Minister see fit to answer it.
To sum up the response I got from him at the time, the Prime Minister told us repeatedly that he was very pleased to work with the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner and answer all of her questions. All we wanted to know was how many times he had been required to answer questions from the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner. However, despite being asked the same simple question 18 times, not once was the Prime Minister able to answer.
He behaved the same way he did during question period today, when we asked him another question about ethics. We wanted to know how long he had known that the Minister of Finance had not put his family fortune in a blind trust. Today, the Prime Minister used the same technique as he did on May 5. It was not that he could not answer the question, but that he would not. I was very disappointed because I had some friends visiting me here in Ottawa who came to watch question period and listen to the back and forth between the political parties. They expected that a question asked by this side would be answered by that side.
Again today, the Prime Minister avoided the question seven or eight times, if not more, and he failed to address our concerns. It is no wonder Canadians are feeling cynical about what goes on in the House of Commons.
The Prime Minister thought it would be a good idea for him to take all of the questions from the opposition every Wednesday. That is an excellent initiative. The only problem with the Prime Minister's decision is that he is supposed to actually answer all the questions, and not simply say whatever he wants any time a member asks a question. That is what happened again today, and that is what happened back in May when the Prime Minister failed to answer a simple question on 18 separate occasions, the question being how many times he had met with the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner.
I hope the parliamentary secretary will finally be able to answer that question this evening, once and for all. How many times did the Prime Minister meet with the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner?
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2017-10-18 19:20 [p.14246]
Mr. Speaker, I wish I had more time to expand on the remarks of my colleague and friend from across the way.
I can somewhat recall the incident back in May. I know there was at least one and possibly even a couple of opportunities where the official opposition had been offered the opportunity to ask question after question of the Prime Minister. When I think of those days back, there was a lot of discussion about many different topics. It is unfortunate that the Conservatives would ask the question once, hear the answer and because they do not like the answer, they ask it again and again. It is not like we are not answering the question. They might not like the answer they are receiving, so they persist on asking the very same question. They might tweak it a bit here or there, or something of that nature.
It is important that we put this into perspective, so let me give a different perspective for the member to hopefully appreciate.
All 338 members of Parliament are obligated to meet with or have discussions with the Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, including me and the member across the way. Individual members of Parliament will correspond with that office. They might be in communication in different ways. I suspect it is a very busy office, not only because of the Liberals but because of the Conservatives and New Democrats as well. On any given week or month, MPs are advancing issues or the commissioner might be looking into an MP. It is not just the government of the day. This one happens to be the Prime Minister as has been the case of others members on all sides of the House.
The member is saying, “We want this.” Yesterday, those members were saying that they wanted everything the Minister of Finance ever provided to the commissioner. Before they wanted to know everything about the Prime Minister. Where does the questioning stop? It could be endless. Why does the opposition not say let us skip the commissioner and get everything possible tabled in the House so Canadians can go through every document of the 338 representatives?
We have faith in the Ethics Commissioner. That is her job. Mary Dawson has done a good job of ensuring there is a sense of independence. We know the Conservative Party does not like it when this government does positive things for Canada's middle class. When we increased the taxes on Canada's wealthiest, what did the Conservatives do? They got mad and voted against it. When we gave a tax break to Canada's middle class, what did the Conservatives do? They got mad and voted against it. It was the same over the last number of weeks with respect to the issue of tax fairness. The Conservatives do not want tax fairness, so they continuously yell and scream from their seats, saying that they do not like it.
Therefore, why would we have confidence and trust in the Conservatives calling for something when we have an independent officer who has the confidence of at least the government of the day, and I would like to think of all members?
View Luc Berthold Profile
CPC (QC)
View Luc Berthold Profile
2017-10-18 19:24 [p.14246]
Mr. Speaker, if the Liberals have faith in the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, why will the Prime Minister not meet with her? Why will the Prime Minister not tell us how many times he has met with her?
I will now be able to say that we asked this question 19 times. It was 18 before, but this makes 19 times now that the government has refused to tell us how many times the Prime Minister met with the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner.
Once again, we see that this government's hallmark is avoiding the question. When we ask how many meetings took place, the answer should not be about taxes or other such things. We expect the response to be a number, such as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 or zero.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2017-10-18 19:25 [p.14246]
Mr. Speaker, what it all boils down to from my perspective is whether the member has confidence in the commissioner. Does he have confidence in Mary Dawson doing what she has been charged to do?
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2017-10-18 19:26 [p.14246]
We do, Mr. Speaker, and the member said that he does too. I am glad to hear that. We should respect the process in place to deal with the types of issues the opposition has been raising. Therefore, if one has confidence in it, as the member across the way said he does, then let us accept the process and move on to talk about the issues Canadians want us to talk about.
What is more important than serving Canada's middle class and those aspiring to be a part of it, and all of those individuals who will benefit from fantastic program enhancements, whether the guaranteed income supplement, the Canada child benefit program, or the CPP enhancement over the coming years, not to mention all of those other issues? This is what Canadians want us to be talking about.
View Michelle Rempel Profile
CPC (AB)
View Michelle Rempel Profile
2017-09-27 19:47 [p.13659]
Mr. Speaker, the question I am asking tonight has to do with the Prime Minister's vacation that he took, I believe last Christmas, which now is subject to an investigation by the federal Ethics Commissioner, related to his use of private aircraft.
The questions I raised, though, were more to get a sense of where his head space was at in this. I will try to make it relevant to the people in my community.
Alberta is going through a really hard time right now. There are many people out of work in Calgary, and many things have happened in the last two years that have essentially been a kick while they are down. We have seen a carbon tax put in place. We have seen punitive policies from the federal government on the energy sector, such as changing the rules for an environmental assessment midstream.
They are very political decisions, essentially designed to shutdown the energy sector. There are municipal property tax increases, changes in the wage floor in Alberta, and now the small business tax increase. Many people in my community are saying the government is taking a lot from them, but the Prime Minister was taking a vacation. I wanted to know why the Prime Minister thought it was okay to do this, and to give him a chance to explain to my constituents how he thought this was right.
The response that I got was nowhere close to satisfactory. If the Prime Minister was going to take those sorts of actions, he should be able to explain them, and he did not do that. When I told a friend about this situation, he said, “Wow, that's a real super-Gucci vacation that the guy took”, and I agreed with him. It is a bit out of character.
The Prime Minister has asked Canadians to make many sacrifices, and they have not gotten much to show for it. He is kind of saying, “Do as I say, not as I do”, with the Caribbean vacation thing. I am trying to make this very serious.
I know the Prime Minister's parliamentary secretary will be responding to this question. Could the parliamentary secretary tell me how he feels about this? I know he also represents a large number of constituents.
Does he feel like he can stand up in this place, and defend the Prime Minister's actions with regard to this vacation, especially in the context of the small business tax? The data is showing the federal debt is increasing, our GDP is not growing, and people are not getting more jobs.
What is it like for the parliamentary secretary to have to defend a Prime Minister who is under investigation by the Ethics Commissioner, will not answer questions about it, and frankly, took a very expensive and high profile, super-Gucci vacation on the taxpayer's dime?
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2017-09-27 19:51 [p.13659]
Mr. Speaker, I am somewhat disappointed that the member across the way tries to portray something that is just not true.
Alberta is a province that has gone through a great deal over the last couple of years. This is a government with a very compassionate heart. It has not only expressed its desire to see the province of Alberta move forward but has invested tremendous amounts, hundreds of millions of dollars, through infrastructure. As a government, we are actually seeing pipelines being approved. Both of these examples are things Stephen Harper was not able to achieve.
The member across the way is trying to paint a picture of a bleak future for the province of Alberta. We believe that Alberta is a critical component of Canada's future prosperity and the prosperity of our middle class and those aspiring to be part of Canada's middle class.
This government has worked very hard, day in and day out. The member wants to defend giving tax breaks to the wealthiest Canadians while not supporting tax breaks for Canada's middle class or the other wonderful initiatives this government has undertaken to ensure that we have a growing and healthier middle class. The middle class and those striving to be a part of it are in fact building our country. Thousands of jobs have been created under this administration, and many are in Alberta.
We recognize that there is so much more we can do, and we will continue to move forward. To try to give the false impression that we have a Prime Minister who is not listening to the province of Alberta or any other Canadian is just wrong.
Regarding the question that actually brought us to this point today, I think it is fair to say, as the Prime Minister has said in his answers previously, that this was a personal family vacation with a friend he has known for a very long time. The Prime Minister will answer any questions the commissioner has.
Our government's top priority is to make smart and responsible investments to strengthen the middle class, grow the economy, and prepare Canadians for the economy of tomorrow. Over the past year, our government has put in place a plan to grow the economy in a way that works for the middle class and those working hard to join it. This is a government that has clearly demonstrated, even in the member's own backyard, that there is so much more that we are going to do. To try to give the impression that this government has done anything less than what the Conservative government did in 10 years is just wrong. We have a done a great deal for Albertans, and we will continue to do that.
We recognize the importance of all provinces and territories in our great nation. We will continue to build the economy. We have seen hundreds of thousands of jobs generated under this government in just two years.
We are not giving up on the province of Alberta. Many of the Conservative MPs might have chosen to do that, but rest assured, we are a government that cares deeply about the economy, our middle class, and those who are striving very hard. The policies members will see from this government will clearly demonstrate support for the types of initiatives that are going to make a real difference for all Canadians.
View Michelle Rempel Profile
CPC (AB)
View Michelle Rempel Profile
2017-09-27 19:55 [p.13660]
Mr. Speaker, I think a lot of Albertans who would listen to that and listen to the question I asked would wonder how the member opposite can justify the Prime Minister's lavish vacation, and the Ethics Commissioner's investigation, with this massive word salad of spin, which is blatantly false and does not apply to them. Albertans are not fooled, and that was just a foolish response. It was not even respectful.
My colleague opposite has been a parliamentarian for a long time. He has done a lot of work in the House. His daughter is running for a senior position in the Manitoba legislature.
How does the member live with himself when he has to stand up and defend the Prime Minister's lavish vacation, when the Prime Minister will not defend it himself in the House, given all of the tax increases the Liberals have put in place, and especially given the constituents he represents? Very simply, how can the member opposite defend the Prime Minister taking a lavish Caribbean vacation, which he is now under an ethics investigation for?
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