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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-06-03 13:44 [p.28399]
Madam Speaker, I listened very closely to the member opposite. I cannot help but think of the word hypocrisy. During the time of Stephen Harper, his government invested tens of millions of dollars annually in print or news magazines.
On the one hand, former Prime Minister Harper and his government recognized that they needed to support news magazines. Now that member has made it very clear that this is a bad idea, a dumb idea. I do not know if she represents the entire Conservative caucus when she says that. Stephen Harper recognized it.
It seems to me that the Conservative Party is even going further to the right, getting closer to the Doug Ford mentality with respect to policy. Is the position of the member opposite the same as the Conservative Party and Doug Ford?
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-06-03 16:46 [p.28431]
Mr. Speaker, what comes to my mind is the fact that when Stephen Harper was prime minister, tens of millions of dollars were given out to newsmagazines every year, and it was the government that decided which magazines and news reporters would receive the money.
What is happening here is far more arm's-length than the principles Stephen Harper used, so I wonder if the very same principles that the member opposite was using would have applied for Stephen Harper.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-04-29 13:28 [p.27093]
Mr. Speaker, as we can see, in the current official opposition there really is no change from Stephen Harper. All the Conservatives focus their attention on is personal attacks, consistently through the years, whether the leader of the Liberal Party was the Prime Minister of Canada or the leader of the Liberal Party was the leader of the third party inside the House.
As the opposition continues to persist in that, this government and this Prime Minister will continue to focus on Canada's middle class and those aspiring to be a part of it by developing solid social policies that will benefit Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
While I am speaking about policy, do members know that it has been 365 days since the Leader of the Opposition promised to come up with the Conservative plan on the environment? Where is that elusive Conservative plan on the environment? Could the member opposite enlighten Canadians and tell us where the Conservatives are when it comes to the environment?
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-04-29 13:58 [p.27097]
Mr. Speaker, in speech after speech, we have heard members of the New Democratic Party say that they will spend unlimited amounts of money. It is as if they will just click their heels, magic will appear and everyone will given a house and things of that nature.
My question is related the NDP's campaign in the last election. Its former leader said that it would have a balanced budget. Going forward, is the current NDP leadership committed to a balanced budget or does it understand what we have understood for many years, that we need to invest in Canada, our economy and our people?
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-04-29 16:44 [p.27131]
Madam Speaker, I disagree with the member opposite in many ways. This government placed great emphasis and priority on investing in Manitoba. My colleague made reference to Churchill. We talk about misplaced priorities. The greatest resource we have is indigenous children. In the last two decades, the peak of the worst was when there were thousands of children in care, and the provincial NDP government did nothing. We had a child care crisis for years under NDP rule, which chose to do nothing to try to fix the system. It did not want to assist in any fashion.
Could the member comment on that misplaced priority of the NDP government when contrasted to what we have been able to accomplish in the last few years, with hundreds of millions of dollars going to northern Manitoba and all regions dealing with indigenous issues?
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-04-29 17:53 [p.27141]
Mr. Speaker, it is always a pleasure to add some thoughts to the debate. It has been interesting. I am convinced there is no one better at distorting reality than the collective minds of the New Democrats. The member for Timmins—James Bay tried to contrast some of the things he said to reality. There is a fairly wide gap, so I would like to try to close that gap and take down some of the nonsensical rhetoric that comes almost on a daily basis from my New Democratic friends.
If we listen to the speeches from New Democrats, we would be of the opinion that all Canadians once they are born will be given a house. They never have to worry about the health care system. They will not have to worry about the environment because there will not be economic development that will affect the environment in any fashion whatsoever. It is truly amazing to listen to what they say and how wonderful it would be.
We might go back to the wilderness days, with no concrete, no asphalt or no real living conditions that we see as normal in modern society. When we add up all of the expenses, we would find over and above what we currently spend, not $1 billion or $2 billion of additional expenses, it would be billions and billions getting closer to half a trillion dollars in new expenses. That is what we would be talking about.
Put that in the context of the last federal election. When NDP members were knocking on doors, what did they say? They said that they were going to have a balanced budget. To get a snapshot of it, we should listen to what the member for Churchill—Keewatinook Aski had to say earlier today. She tried to give the impression that the government was doing absolutely nothing in regard to northern Manitoba, nothing with respect to indigenous people. We can look at the hundreds of millions of dollars invested over the last few years under this administration. I would challenge members to find any previous government that has ever invested the type of financial resources this government has in the last three years. That commitment is there, it is real and it is tangible.
The government understands the importance of establishing a healthier relationship with indigenous people. We have made that a top priority. However, we need to listen to what the member for Churchill—Keewatinook Aski is talking about, even though her riding is probably receiving more federal assistance in different areas than any other riding in the country. This government, by working with people on the ground, has been able to accomplish so much, including potentially the saving of Churchill as a community with our investments. The provincial government completely surrendered it.
We have taken many different actions on a wide variety of social policies. The only thing that is consistent with the New Democrats is that they vote against them. They continue to say that we are never doing enough, that we have to spend billions more. However, they have voted against many of the measures we have taken.
We can talk about pharmacare. It was not an issue of great debate when I was sitting in opposition. When the NDP was the official opposition in the House of Commons, how often did it raise the issue of pharmacare? It was not raising this issue in any way. It was not until this government, in particular the Prime Minister, started to talk about pharmacare that the NDP started to panic. It did not want the Liberals to get any sort of credit for such a progressive measure. The New Democrats then started to talk about how important it was, and they have been talking about it considerably ever since the Prime Minister and the Government of Canada, specifically the standing committee, raised the issue.
It should be no surprise. We have a government that continuously tells its members to go into the constituencies, listen to what Canadians have to say and bring it back to Ottawa. It wants the ideas that are coming from our communities, in all regions, brought back to Ottawa.
Hopefully I am not unveiling a caucus secret, but I can tell members that pharmacare is an important issue in all regions of this country, as virtually every Liberal member of Parliament continues to raise that particular issue. This is not a New Democratic Party issue. I would suggest that it is not even a Liberal Party issue. This is an issue that Canadians have been bringing forward to this government, and this government has been responding to it. For the first time in 40 years, four decades, we finally have a government that is responding to what Canadians see as something of great value, a national pharmacare program. In three years, this government has done more toward a national pharmacare program than the previous series of governments in the last 30 years or 40 years.
We understand the importance of a senior living on a fixed income in a community who wants to have the medications required to have a healthier lifestyle. Unfortunately, what happens far too often is that, because of the costs of food and shelter, some of the costs of pharmaceuticals are too prohibitive, so prescribed medications are put at a lower priority and that senior is not taking that medication. That is at a huge cost to society, because quite often many of these individuals end up in our health care system, such as hospitals and other facilities. They visit doctors' offices and are told, “Here is your medication. Take this medication and you will be healthier.” Unfortunately, many of these individuals are not able to take it because of the issue of affordability. Because it is an issue of affordability, it is an issue individuals have brought forward.
It is not just citizens. I have met with labour councils, unions and other stakeholders to talk about the benefits of pharmacare. This is not about one individual or political party. I believe that it is, in good part, because this government has been so good at progressive policy changes that we have finally seen a real opportunity to make a change. That is the reason why we are getting a lot more lobbying today from the pharmaceutical industry. The NDP members are saying that these big pharmaceutical companies and stakeholders are lobbying twice as much today as they were before. Because we are looking at making major changes, of course they are going to be lobbying. There is no surprise there.
This government is reflecting on what it is that Canadians want us to be doing. That is what we have seen in our budgets and in our planning virtually from day one, when we had a standing committee made up of all political parties, and I understand there was a unanimous report moving us forward on this issue. However, if we listen to the New Democrats, we would think that, were it not for them, this would not be debated. Nothing could be further from the truth.
This is being debated because Canadians want it debated. They want to see a government that is going to move on this plan. I believe the government will move forward on this issue, because we have demonstrated that in very tangible ways, whether it is the creation of buying groups, or the creation of a commitment in the last budget that will see billions of dollars being saved on the purchasing of health care, or a final report that will be coming out in a couple of months. Those are the types of things that have been happening.
Let us move on to this distortion of reality. The Conservatives like to pile in on this issue as well. We are talking about the environment. The New Democrats say they care about the environment. What is interesting is that when we talked about the price on pollution today, for the first time I think the poorest answer I have ever received with respect to that was from the leader of the New Democratic Party.
I am beginning to think that the NDP might be somewhat waffling on a price on pollution. I hope that the New Democrats will give more concrete responses as to what their position is on a price on pollution.
Here we have a national program that other institutions and stakeholders decide to participate in. What is the program? The federal government says that we want to reduce emissions. We are putting aside a pot of money, and we are looking for the private sector, non-profits and governments to come forward to have access to a portion of that money, whether it is municipalities, universities or even the private sector, which has a role to play. There were 50-plus applications received, and yes, Loblaws was one of them. Loblaws committed to invest $48 million to make changes in terms of its refrigeration, of which the federal government would contribute 25%.
In exchange for that, I would note two things. One is that once that investment is done, it will be the equivalent of 50,000 vehicles being taken off the road. To me, that is a good thing. I suspect that most environmentalists would agree that this is a good thing, but not the New Democrats, because they would rather twist and turn to try to make it seem as if this is some sort of elitist policy. That is absolute hogwash.
That is just one aspect of it. In Canada, we have some of the most proactive companies on the green file of any companies in the world. A company in Mississauga, for example, is one of the companies that is going to be providing that modernized refrigeration. It is going to have access to that $48 million, and that is going to employ many Canadians as a direct result.
The New Democrats will mock that. Who cares about those jobs? Whether they are union or not, who cares? They want to focus on that $12 million and the so-called fridge. At the end of the day, this $48-million project, which is the equivalent of taking the emissions of 50,000 cars annually off the road through this technology, would in fact have an impact on jobs. More important, it will advance the technology that is so badly needed to improve the conditions of refrigeration into the future. That is what I would suggest is forward thinking, something that has been lacking among New Democrats in recent years.
The New Democrats have caught on to what the Conservatives love doing. They would rather focus their attention on attacking the government. It does not matter what the Government of Canada actually does. It does not matter what kind of policies we bring in. They want to try to personalize it. They want to ramp it up. They want to twist reality.
When he talked about the policy I just enunciated, the member from Timmins—James Bay said that we are going to give $12 million to some rich dude who is living in the United States. That is how he has encapsulated that whole story. I suspect that if I were to have an intelligent discussion with the member from James Bay at a local university here in Ottawa, a vast majority of those students who participated would recognize that this is a smart thing to be doing by providing incentives to companies, governments and non-profit agencies that are going to move us forward on the issue of climate change.
I would have thought the NDP would recognize that and be supportive of it. The Conservatives do not surprise me on the issue. After all, let us remember, I think it has been 365 days and we are still waiting for a Conservative plan.
I think we will find that many Conservatives actually like the Liberal plan, even some of the former policy individuals in the Harper government like the idea of a price on pollution. In fact, I believe the original idea in North America can ultimately be rooted in the Province of Alberta. It had the idea of a price on pollution and then implemented it.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-04-29 18:09 [p.27142]
Mr. Speaker, if they gave me leave to finish all of my comments, I would not mind having as many heckles. However, I suspect they will not give me the leave. It would take a great deal of time to go over the many different initiatives. Maybe that is something I should do.
Let us think about the last three and a half years and the types of things the government has been able to accomplish. There is a list. It starts off with the tax increase on Canada's wealthiest 1%. When we listen to the member for Timmins—James Bay, he says that the Government of Canada and the Prime Minister are all corrupted by the 1%. We put a tax on Canada's wealthiest 1%, something the member for Timmins—James Bay and his New Democratic colleagues voted against. Maybe they are the ones who have been corrupted by the ultimate wealthy, because they voted in that fashion.
What about the tax decrease?
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-04-29 18:11 [p.27143]
Mr. Speaker, I would never pass judgment on any member's constituents. I will say that much.
Having said that, there are so many initiatives, and hopefully I will have the time to go through a good portion of them here.
I made reference already to the tax on Canada's wealthiest 1%. One of the most important pieces happened right at the beginning of the mandate. This was the tax decrease for Canada's middle class. We have put hundreds of millions of dollars, which is a lot of money, into the pockets of Canadians, increasing their disposable income.
That is one of the reasons that over 900,000 jobs have been created since the government was put into office, which has put money into the pockets of Canada's middle class. That is the group who deserves the credit for moving our economy along and growing it. By investing in Canada's middle class, we are investing in a much healthier and stronger Canada.
I will mention quickly that we have improved tax fairness, income sprinkling and passive income rules. We cut the small business tax rate from 12% to 9%. We have invested close to $1 billion in two budgets to go after tax evaders. We enhanced the working income tax benefit by an additional $500 million per year starting in 2019.
We introduced the Canada child benefit program, enhanced the guaranteed income supplement and moved the age for OAS from 67 to 65. We also enhanced the summer student program. In my riding, this more than doubled summer student employment in the program.
We have invested in infrastructure, providing billions of dollars to it, which is historical.
I made reference to trade as a very important issue. We have trade agreements, whether the European Union, Ukraine, the World Trade Organization, countries in Asia and Latin America, the United States and Mexico.
I also talked a lot about pharmacare. What about the health care accord and the Canada pension plan agreements?
There is also our national housing strategy and immigration changes related to wait times. We ordered a public inquiry into murdered and missing indigenous women. This is not to mention the many different wonderful gender initiatives.
With this budget, equalization is up by $3.3 billion. There are also the health transfers and social transfers. The rate of interest for student loans has gone down.
There is so much good that the government has done in the last three and a half years that I look forward to the election in October. I believe that Canadians are going to see the value of what this government has done and will allow us to return for another four years.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-04-29 18:15 [p.27143]
Mr. Speaker, I would suggest that we take a holistic approach. Through tax breaks, we are giving money to millions of Canadians. We are giving millions of families money with respect to the enhanced Canada child benefit.
When we take a holistic approach to governance, we have to recognize, at least in part, that the private sector and other government agencies and non-profit agencies should also have a way to contribute to the betterment of society, by using the public purse to make enhancements. This will ensure that we are moving forward in a very progressive fashion. This is a positive thing, and it is progressive.
The Conservatives and the NDP members want to concentrate their efforts on Loblaws. Maybe they do not want government to work with the private sector. Maybe that is exactly what they are trying to say. If that is what they are trying to say, then they should say it. They should say that they do not want the Government of Canada to work with the private sector or provide any incentives.
The particular program mentioned is supporting not only the private sector but non-profits and governments as well, all with the goal of reducing emissions. That is exactly what is happening with this government.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-04-29 18:19 [p.27144]
Mr. Speaker, there is just too much there for me to be able to respond. I am going to pick up on what the member started off with, the refrigerator issue, which is an issue I believe NDP members are trying to exploit, because they believe that it is going to be a vote-getter. Does the NDP support the government using public resources to access additional funds to move us forward on the road to reducing emissions? If the answer to that is yes, then that 25% contribution by the federal government is exceptionally effective, because it is going to take away the emissions of 50,000 vehicles on an annual basis.
When I talk about the private sector or the company, which happens to be Loblaws, we need to remember that Loblaws is not the only company. It is just the one the Conservative-NDP unholy alliance wants to focus on. There are civic governments, non-profits and others that have participated in the same program. Over 50 applicants were approved. The question the NDP and its friends in the Conservative Party need to answer is whether they believe that the private sector should be subsidized in any fashion.
The Conservatives say no. What does the NDP say? I must say to the Conservatives that I wish Harper did not believe that. However, let us wait and see. Maybe that is their new policy. They just made it very clear that the Government of Canada should not. I wonder what would have happened to GM, Chrysler and many other companies with that sort of attitude.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-04-29 18:23 [p.27144]
Mr. Speaker, in the days I sat in the far corner over there in the third party, the leader of the Liberal Party indicated that we needed more proactive disclosure. We had to get the Conservatives and the New Democrats to support that.
Proactive disclosure means sharing with Canadians how we are spending tax dollars. Whether it was when the Prime Minister was the leader of the third party or today, the he has consistently ensured more transparency and accountability through legislation and very tangible, positive actions.
We can contrast that with the very closed-door attitude of the Conservatives. We had to force the Conservative Party by law to make changes to ensure there would be more transparency for taxpayers. I am not surprised the Conservative leader would have a think tank of sorts on how to manipulate the next federal election. However, I will leave that issue until I have a bit more knowledge of the content of it.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-04-01 16:06 [p.26526]
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to respond to three questions of privilege that were raised in the week of March 18.
I will begin with the question of privilege raised by the hon. member for New Westminster—Burnaby on March 18 with respect to answers given by the Minister of Justice and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice during question period on February 7 and 8, 2019.
In his speech, the hon. opposition member argued that on the aforementioned days, the minister and the parliamentary secretary stated that neither the Prime Minister nor his office exerted any pressure on the former attorney general with regard to deferred prosecution agreements, and that since the media reported a different version of the facts afterward, the minister and parliamentary secretary had misled the House.
On January 31, 2008, Speaker Milliken ruled on a similar question of privilege. The matter was raised following the release of information that contradicted the statement given in the House earlier by the then minister of national defence on the Afghan detainee policy. He said, “...any dispute regarding the accuracy...of a minister’s response to an oral question is a matter of debate....”
This statement, which was also quoted in the NDP House leader's intervention, is echoed in House of Commons Procedure and Practice, third edition, which states on page 516:
In most instances, when a point of order or a question of privilege has been raised in regard to a response to an oral question, the Speaker has ruled that the matter is a disagreement among Members over the facts surrounding the issue. As such, these matters are more a question of debate and do not constitute a breach of the rules or of privilege.
Furthermore, I would like to refer you to your predecessor's ruling of April 29, 2015. That ruling, which can be found on page 13198 of Debates, was about the appropriateness of the then minister of defence's response to a question pertaining to Canada's military involvement against Daesh. The former Speaker said:
...as your Speaker, I must take all members at their word. To do otherwise, to take it upon myself to assess the truthfulness or accuracy of Members' statements is not a role which has been conferred on me, nor that the House has indicated that it would somehow wish the Chair to assume, with all of its implications.
In the same decision, the former Speaker reminded the members of the following conditions for breach of privilege with regard to the misleading statements:
...first, the statement needs to be misleading. Second, the member making the statement has to know that the statement was incorrect when it was made. Finally, it needs to be proven that the member intended to mislead the House by making the statement.
As previously cited in the April 29, 2015, decision, the Speaker “must take all members at their word.”
Finally, I would like to remind the House that in the ruling dated April 16, 2002, Speaker Milliken, while speaking about the broader concepts of freedom of speech and the presumption of truthfulness, said the following:
If we do not preserve the tradition of accepting the word of a fellow member, which is a fundamental principle of our parliamentary system, then freedom of speech, both inside and outside the House, is imperilled.
As such, I respectfully submit that this is a question of debate and as such does not constitute a prima facie question of privilege.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-03-22 10:42 [p.26466]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to emphasize that matters of privilege are intended to be short interventions that provide facts about an alleged breach. I do not believe the member opposite has brought anything new to the table. Questions of privilege are not meant to be used as a tool to monopolize the House's time or to obstruct debate.
I would ask that we reflect on what has taken place over the last 45 minutes and maybe apply the rule accordingly.
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-03-22 10:48 [p.26467]
Mr. Speaker, what I indicated was that the Conservative Party members were behaving like children the other day. I suspect people who were watching would have seen the chanting, the slamming, the yelling and the screaming coming from the Conservative benches. They might have agreed, but—
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-03-19 10:14 [p.26110]
Mr. Speaker, the people of Montreal were waiting for many years to see the replacement of the Champlain Bridge. Stephen Harper and the Conservative government failed the people of Montreal and thereby the people of Quebec, and in fact all Canadians, on many fronts. This is a good example of how the Harper government could not get the job done. With this government, we have seen historic investments in infrastructure in every region of our country. The Champlain Bridge is a good example.
The Conservatives, once again, have taken this day to attempt to bump debate on government legislation, Bill C-92, which is critically important legislation. In my own riding of Winnipeg North, hundreds of children are in foster care. This is about reconciliation, and the Conservatives continue to want to filibuster on what is important legislation that needs to be debated.
Why does the member opposite feel that the Conservative Party is entitled to deny Canadians good, solid legislation and debate while it tries to play politics on the issue of SNC-Lavalin, when his own leader and that party have met with SNC-Lavalin? He did not make reference to that either.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-03-19 10:43 [p.26114]
Mr. Speaker, if my friend does not understand the relevance, there is a very strong direct connection as to why we are debating this issue today. If the member had been listening to the Conservative speakers, he would understand that it has been nothing but criticism toward the government with respect to SNC, and I am very clearly demonstrating that the official opposition, from virtually day one, has been consistently critical of the personalities within the Government of Canada. That is completely relevant to what we are talking about, and I would hope that the points of order, whether the previous ones or any in the future, will not be deducted from my time, because at the end of the day I do have a number of concerns that I think are critically important for members to be aware of.
This is one of the tactics that the Conservatives are using that I believe are not in the best interests of Canadians. When we talk about the manipulation that is being used by the Conservative Party, let me highlight it with respect to SNC. Conservatives talk about the justice committee, which I am going to get to. I am going to get to that, because that is all part of the tactics that the Conservative Party is using.
When we think of SNC and the Champlain Bridge, which is actually in the report, we need to realize that it was the former Conservative government that arrived at that agreement. It was the former Conservative government that initially got into the agreement with respect to the Champlain Bridge, yet now Conservative members are trying to give Canadians the impression that the Government of Canada has a special relationship with SNC and that is the reason that there is this agreement with regard to the Champlain Bridge. That is not true.
Yes, members of the government, including the Prime Minister's Office, have had dealings with SNC. That is not new. We all know that. We also know that the leader of the New Democratic Party and other New Democratic MPs also met with SNC. We also know that the leader of the Conservative Party has also met with SNC, as have many others.
The member across the way said that the leader of the official opposition met with SNC to tell him to take a hike. What about the 9,000 jobs and the pensions and those who are receiving money? Did the leader of the official opposition really tell SNC to take a hike?
I think Canadians should be concerned that in the past Stephen Harper said “yes” to SNC and started the agreement, and now the leader of the official opposition has told SNC to take a hike, along with the 9,000 affiliated jobs. I think that maybe the justice committee should meet with the leader of the official opposition. Did he really take SNC to take a hike? I find that interesting.
We know that it is really important to invest in Canadian infrastructure. We have seen significant commitments by this government, historical commitments to invest in Canada's infrastructure, whether it is bridges in Quebec or water treatment in other jurisdictions. Even in Winnipeg North, we have seen significant dollars invested. Last summer I was walking down McGregor by Selkirk Avenue, where there is a lot of road reconstruction. We recognize the value of infrastructure dollars.
Companies in all regions of our country participate. I believe that SNC has jobs in the province of Manitoba. Once all is said and done, the people of Montreal will benefit from the Champlain Bridge through the support for SNC and other stakeholders. They have been waiting for it for many years. We now finally have a government that is seeing it through, even though, as I pointed out, Stephen Harper initiated it with SNC.
In addressing this motion, members opposite spent a great deal of time talking about the current situation with SNC and the Government of Canada. As we saw yesterday, the opposition members are solely focused on trying to prevent the government from being able to do the many other things that we could be doing, as they want to focus on SNC.
Some of the allegations that are made in the House are of considerable concern. Members talk a tough line on things such as the rule of law and make allegations against this government in terms of the independence of the judiciary. They need to reflect on the reality, because when I sat in opposition, I saw the Stephen Harper government introduce legislation that Conservatives knew full well was in contradiction of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but that did not prevent them from doing that.
What about the attempt by Stephen Harper to put into place a Supreme Court judge, Mr. Nadon? He had his knuckles rapped in commentary from legal opinions across the country that said he was interfering in the process.
There is an interesting quote in regard to that issue by John Ibbitson, who is the biographer of Stephen Harper. He described the “nadir” incident of the former prime minister by saying: “Not only—”
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-03-19 10:52 [p.26115]
Mr. Speaker, it shows the sensitivity of the Conservatives when they have to reflect on their past performances inside the House. In this debate, the two previous Conservative speakers talked about SNC and serious allegations. Now when I challenge them on those allegations, we find that they are very uncomfortable, and justifiably so, because if we compare Stephen Harper and his administration on the issue of judicial independence to this government, it is ultimately night and day, with Harper being the darker side. A vast majority of individuals would recognize that. We only need to look at some of the appointments that were made or attempted under that administration.
I want to provide some thoughts in regard to the standing committees. It was not that long ago when there was a memo sent out by the Conservatives at the time. They wanted to deliberately obstruct committees. That is something that has not changed with the Conservative Party. If we want to get into the details of what is taking place here in Ottawa, I would summarize it by saying that the official opposition is continuing to follow the memo that was issued many years ago to deliberately obstruct committees.
Standing committees can contribute in a very valuable way to the proceedings of this House, and so can the proceedings that take place in this chamber. Preventing debates, such as debate on Bill C-92, is a disservice to Canadians. The Conservative opposition needs to get back on track and start thinking and acting on what is in the best interest of Canadians, as opposed to the best interest of the Conservative Party of Canada.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-03-18 17:15 [p.26084]
Madam Speaker, few inside the House are better at political rhetoric than the member opposite who just delivered his comments. He tries to give so many false impressions.
If the member wants to talk about who the Prime Minister and the government have been standing up for in this process, while respecting the law throughout, it is in fact the thousands of workers, the individuals who are receiving pensions and are still working.
Since the very beginning, we have seen the unholy alliance of the NDP and Conservatives bring their political attacks on the Prime Minister personally and on other ministers. Consistently they do that. Now the member opposite is once again ramping up the rhetoric, when in fact there is a process being followed.
Does the member not recognize the independent office of the Ethics Commissioner, which is looking into the matter? Why does the member not wait to see what it has to say, as opposed to continuing to ramp up something that is nowhere nearly as big a story as he has created in his imagination?
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-03-18 17:35 [p.26087]
Mr. Speaker, I often will stand in my place and talk about what a wonderful privilege it is to speak to a particular issue when we talk about legislation, whether it is government business, private members' business, resolutions or motions of the day. Today, I am feeling a bit different. I am feeling somewhat discouraged because I know what we were supposed to be talking about today and how critically important that debate was supposed to be for all Canadians but in particular indigenous people and literally hundreds of children who live in Winnipeg North who are in foster care.
To get an appreciation of it, the province of Manitoba has well over 10,000 children in foster care. A vast majority of them are of indigenous heritage. For me, this was very important legislation. It was providing hope for communities across the country. In fact, during the break, I had a wonderful discussion with Sharon Redsky about the potential of the legislation we were supposed to be debating today.
However, the Conservatives, and what I refer to as the unholy alliance between the Conservatives and the New Democrats, have decided to change the channel. They do not want to talk about reconciliation and the importance of that legislation. They knew it was on the Order Paper today. Instead, they want to continue the debate on an issue that has been debated extensively. What did the opposition do in order to bring forward this debate? They did not really give it too much thought. They brought forward concurrence in a report.
Even when I was in opposition, and I was in opposition for many years, that was a give-me. The Conservatives went through all these different possibilities. They looked at the kind of a report they could bring in today to try to throw the government off track. The opposition members chose a report that was brought in back in June, not 2018 but 2017. That report has been sitting, collecting dust and that is the report they have chosen. They could have chosen from many reports, but that is the one they wanted to zero in on in order to try to frustrate the government so we would not be able to talk about what was important to Canadians.
This is not the first time the opposition has done that. The opposition continuously looks at ways to do two things: to attack the persons of this cabinet and individuals within this government on a personal level more often than not it seems; and come up with ways in which they can filibuster or try to frustrate the government so we cannot implement the type of good things on the agenda we made to Canadians back in 2015. Today is an excellent example of that.
I will get right to the point on that debate shortly. However, let me assure those individuals who are following the debate or watching what is taking place and the behaviour of the unholy alliance between the New Democrats and the Conservatives, that as much as they want to focus inside the gutter in many ways, we will continue to be focused on Canadians from coast to coast to coast in ensuring we are bringing forward progressive legislation and budget bills and plans that are in the best interest of Canadians. We know it is in the best interest of Canadians because we are working with Canadians day in and day out. In fact, we have a Prime Minister who has ensured that we there is a higher level of transparency and accountability, second to no other especially compared to Stephen Harper. There is a lot of irony there.
The Conservatives talk about the importance of the rule of law and the charter. I remember the attempt by Stephen Harper to get Mr. Nadon into the Supreme Court when I was in opposition. Recently, when I was posting something on Facebook, I saw something that had been posted regarding 101 Harper scandals. If members want to get a sense of the violations against the independence of our court system and the government of the day, they should look at Stephen Harper's performance.
I believe that absolutely nothing has gone wrong here. The Prime Minister and his government have done their jobs. I want to assure members that no matter what sorts of frustrations the opposition works together to come up with to prevent this government from presenting good legislation and positive budgetary measures, we will continue to represent, argue and debate what we believe is important to everyday Canadians who are trying to make it: Canada's middle class, those who are trying to be a part of it, and those who are in need, all of whom are priority one for this government.
We will not be sidetracked by an opposition that has one focus alone. That is why its members reach back to June 2017, when the item we are debating right now was brought forward. I hope later today that my colleagues across the way will reflect on what we could have been debating. I made reference to the 11,000 children in my home province of Manitoba. There are thousands of children all over our country who need to see the progressive legislation in Bill C-92 pass. I hope we will have a better chance of opposition members working together to ensure that this legislation is able to pass, even though they want to maintain their focus on attacks on the government.
I have been in opposition. I can appreciate that in opposition, they want to look at ways to hold the government accountable, and there could be some merit in that.
I listened to a lot of the debate. I would like to go over some of the things I picked up from the committee meetings. Some of the comments I heard were interesting, in particular those of Mr. Wernick. He was Canada's top civil servant. There was no one higher than Mr. Wernick within the Canadian civil service. The Conservatives have implied that this is scary. However, they should realize that this professional civil servant worked with Stephen Harper too. It was not one political party. This is an individual who committed his life for over 30 years to serving Canadians.
Mr. Wernick came to committee and made a presentation. When he looked at the matter as a whole, this was his conclusion. He stated:
It is my conclusion and my assertion, based on all the information I have, that there was no inappropriate pressure on the Minister of Justice in this matter.
It was interesting to listen to the former minister of justice with respect to two questions that really caught my interest.
The member for Edmonton Centre posed a question to the former attorney general:
did the Prime Minister...ever direct you to enter into a remediation agreement with SNC-Lavalin?
The former minister was very clear: “No.”
If Canadians listened to the Conservatives and the New Democrats, they would think that the Prime Minister was in her office every day of the year telling her to interject. However, she used her own very simple word to a very simple question, “No.”
The leader of the Green Party posed a question to the former attorney general:
do you believe that...the pressure...contravened the Criminal Code?
What did she respond? The former minister said, “I don't believe that.”
It is pretty straightforward stuff.
There are many quotes from those committee meetings. I would encourage members to do a little research on some of those quotes. What I believe they will find is that nothing has taken place that could not be defended in any sort of public meeting.
I would welcome members opposite in Winnipeg North. If they are so bold, and they feel they are so righteous on this particular issue, I would love to host any one of them in the riding of Winnipeg North to deal with this issue.
Every Saturday I go to a local restaurant. Some days I get 30-plus people coming to see me at that restaurant, and I have had maybe two, possibly three, talk about this issue, and one of them was actually very favourable. The other one expressed concerns. He expressed concerns, and I said that it sounded like he might be listening to what the official opposition was talking about and that maybe he was on an email list or something of that nature. He kind of laughed about it. He has come back since, and we have changed topics.
I give the Conservatives credit for being good in opposition. They are very good in opposition, and I wish them many more years in opposition.
At the end of the day, if members join me at that local restaurant, they will find that what people are talking about is immigration, the economy, and all sorts of other personal matters. People are not talking about SNC-Lavalin, at least not at that local restaurant. I might have had maybe 10 or 12 verifiable emails coming from my riding of Winnipeg North on the issue. If I compare that to other agenda items, what people want us to be debating in this House is what is important to Canadians.
The Prime Minister stood in his place today and said that over 900,000 jobs have been created by working with Canadians in all regions of our country. I will compare our efforts to former prime minister Stephen Harper's any day of the week.
Even when it comes to the rule of law and the charter, this is the party that brought in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. We are the ones who brought the Constitution home to Canada. We do not need lessons from an opposition party that, when it was in government, tried to put in a Supreme Court judge, which ultimately had to be taken away because of the prime minister's interference, in good part.
Seriously, do we need to take lessons from a previous government that had such a lack of respect for our charter that it often brought in legislation that violated the charter? When the Supreme Court made decisions, the Conservatives were found lacking in bringing in the legislation required to make amendments that were necessary. Some of the first legislation we had to bring in as a government was because of the Conservatives' unwillingness to respect the decisions of our Supreme Court.
At the end of the day, the Conservatives and their unholy alliance with the NDP will stand up and talk about SNC. However, I believe one of their biggest motivating reasons is that they have nothing else they really want to talk about.
If we look at the last three and a half years, we see a government that has consistently delivered from coast to coast to coast on a wide range of ideas, plans and programs that have assisted in the generation of well over 900,000 jobs, lifted thousands of children out of poverty, lifted thousands of seniors out of poverty and provided hope for many who did not have hope before. It has implemented a national housing strategy that is going to make a difference not only today but into the future. It has implemented an infrastructure program that is going to build stronger and healthier infrastructure across Canada. These are the types of things this government has been doing for the last three and a half years.
The NDP and the Conservatives realize that, and that is one of the reasons that today it is SNC, but they will always come up with something personal. We see that in their questions. We see that in their actions, as opposed to debating good, solid legislation. This is just one example.
At the end of the day, I believe that if the NDP and Conservatives—
An hon. member: The unholy alliance.
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux: Yes, the unholy alliance. Members are catching on across the way. It takes a little while, but if we repeat it every so often, it will sink in. However, that alliance needs to recognize that there are many opportunities they can actually be engaged in.
I look forward to the budget tomorrow. I suspect that Canadians are going to see a lot of good stuff in that budget. I would suggest that those members focus on the budget. It matters to Canadians.
With my 20-plus years of opposition experience, I will give them free advice. Give some time and focus on the budget. Give some time and focus on the legislation. Even opposition members can get credit if they start focusing on Canadians and what people really want to see happening. We can share some of that credit. If things are going well, there is nothing wrong with talking about good ideas going into the next election. They do not have to take the old Stephen Harper approach to election campaigns. They can get out of the gutter.
There is a better way of communicating to Canadians a positive message that will continue to provide hope where there is often no hope, a message that the national government really does care and that we can in fact work with other jurisdictions in Canada and make a difference. There are examples of that. As opposed to debating what they want to debate today, why not talk about the agreement between the Canada pension plan and the different provinces? Why not talk about the price on pollution and how Canadians are going to benefit from that? Why do the Conservatives not share in the importance of many of the different policy announcements?
The government House leader, the proud member for Waterloo, consistently talks about the positive things we are able to do. I will bet that her constituents appreciate it when we actually work with Canadians, bring back their ideas and incorporate those thoughts into debate, whether it is in this beautiful chamber or in our committee rooms.
I ran out of time. I was hoping to speak about committees.
At this time, I move:
That the debate be now adjourned.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-02-25 12:25 [p.25716]
Mr. Speaker, I truly believe there was no inappropriate pressure.
Having said that, for six years, whether it was Stephen Harper or the current leader of the Conservative Party, the Conservatives have had one item on their agenda, and that is to personally attack members of this government and take a course that is not in the best interests of Canadians. While this government remains focused—
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-02-25 12:25 [p.25716]
Mr. Speaker, because the Conservative Party says that it is corruption does not make it corruption. The Conservatives say that about everything related to this government. It is important to recognize that this government continues to operate in the best interests of Canadians, with a focus on jobs and good, solid social programs. That is the reality. We know no inappropriate pressure was put on the former justice minister. We have heard that from numerous sources. It is only the opposition.
The Leader of the Opposition referred to rich, corrupt, powerful corporation. Why will he not tell us what he talked about when he met with that company? He does not want to share that with us. What others members of the Conservative caucus met with SNC-Lavalin also?
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-02-25 13:36 [p.25726]
Mr. Speaker, when I look at an overview of the entire issue, one of the things that comes across my mind is that we had some good representation at the last justice committee. I suspect the member opposite was there. There was a fairly clear indication from Mr. Wernick that it would appear that there was no undue influence or pressure. I wonder if my friend could provide his thoughts in regard to the standing committee and the scope that it has.
We have had other Conservative members and New Democrats calling into question just how important the standing committee really is, somewhat marginalizing its importance, and that is unfortunate. The member himself understands the importance of standing committees, so I wonder if he could talk about the standing committee and at the same time about the Ethics Commissioner and if he truly believes that it is impartial and apolitical.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-02-25 13:51 [p.25728]
Mr. Speaker, I can tell the member that I am going to stand up for jobs in Calgary, as I will for Winnipeg and as I will for jobs in Montreal, unlike the Conservative Party that wants to pick and choose areas and cause division. These remediation agreements are nothing new to the western world. The U.K. and the U.S.A. have them.
At the end of the day, nothing wrong has been done. I am convinced of it. Just because the Conservatives are working with the New Democrats does not mean that something wrong has actually occurred. They have been targeting personal attacks and so forth from virtually day one when they acquired the opposition benches. There is a responsibility of all members of Parliament to look at their constituents and that means there are some victims here too that need to be referred to. What about the individuals who work for SNC-Lavalin?
We want corporate responsibility and accountability and we will ensure that happens, but we are going to protect jobs, too, no matter what region of this country they happen to be in. Does the member not feel that she has an obligation to jobs not only in Calgary but in all parts of Canada?
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-02-25 15:15 [p.25743]
Mr. Speaker, it is always a pleasure to rise and address the chamber.
I will move specifically to a couple of quotes, because I think they are really important in terms of the context of what has been taking place over the last few weeks.
I would ultimately argue that what we have before us is in fact an opposition that has become united. It is not the first time that the NDP and the Conservatives have decided to join forces to see what they can do. This is not necessarily about a policy issue per se, but rather about pointing fingers and character assassination, particularly focusing attention on the Prime Minister. This is something we have witnessed on a number of occasions when the NDP and the Conservative Party have come together.
We treat all issues with the utmost importance, and I am hoping that I will be able to provide a little clarity on this. What we see on the other side is that any issue becomes a major issue, especially if members opposite can smear the government to attempt to make it look bad and take attention away from what the government is actually doing.
If we were to take a look at what the government is doing and accomplishing, we would find that no matter what the region of the country, there is a sense of hope, a sense that there is a stronger, more willing national government that is making a difference with respect to increasing the strength of our economy and better serving Canada's middle class, those aspiring to be a part of it and those who are working hard in our communities. I take a great sense of pride in what we have been able to accomplish.
Over the last while, we have not heard opposition members talking about policy issues related to Canada's economy or its social programming. This is because we are doing a fairly decent job and are having a very real impact on the lives of Canadians in every region of our country.
Let us move to the motion that has been brought forward today by the Conservative Party. Once again, I would suggest that Conservatives want, as much as possible, to make personal attacks against personalities within the government.
The Conservatives say that we do not have a responsibility to communicate with ministers, and in this particular case with the Attorney General. I take exception to that.
I have listened to the debate on this issue for a number of days. I have heard many questions and answers. I am very much concerned. Obviously, there is a bit of a different standard coming from the Conservative Party. In fairness to the New Democrats, they have never been in government, so we are not able to pass judgment over what they would have been doing in government.
However, I can tell members that considerable lobbying took place when Stephen Harper was the Prime Minister. There is no way that Conservative members can convince me that the Prime Minister's Office at the time did not have discussions and meetings with numerous cabinet ministers. I would suggest that we all have a responsibility to communicate what we believe are important issues to our constituents, and indeed to all Canadians.
That is one thing that I think we are missing out on. An interesting question was asked today by the Bloc, which expressed concerns with respect to the employees of SNC. We have not heard that argument. In fact, to a certain degree, the member for Timmins—James Bay, who sits in the front benches of the NDP Party, in essence said on the issue of SNC employees, “Who Cares?” To him, if SNC goes broke and no longer exists, others will pick up the slack for it. That is the type of mentality that at least some members within the New Democratic Party have on this very important issue.
There is a broader issue at hand here. Yes, there are things that occurred with SNC, and we as a government are very much concerned about the corruption allegations that have taken place in Libya. We understand and believe that there needs to be a sense of accountability. However, we also need to be aware of the 9,000-plus people who are employed by them here in Canada. There is a worldwide recognition for the company which has 40,000-plus jobs.
This is not something new. One would think, if one listened to the unholy alliance between the NDP and the Conservatives, that it is only the Liberals who are being lobbied by SNC. That is not true. Both the Conservative leader himself and the New Democratic leader, Jagmeet Singh, have had representations made by and been lobbied by SNC. Many members of the opposition benches have met and been lobbied by SNC equally, as have government or Liberal members of the caucus. That is nothing new. We are lobbied all the time. That is why we have independent mechanisms put in place to ensure there is a sense of transparency and accountability when it comes to lobbying.
The Prime Minister has done absolutely nothing wrong. I do not care how many times the Conservatives tell the members of the media and their constituents something different and try to spread what I believe is misinformation. Just because the opposition members, the unholy alliance between the NDP and the Conservatives, have said that the Prime Minister has done something wrong does not mean that it is true. That is what I believe is the case here.
That brings me to a couple of quotes. Unlike the opposition members, we recognize the value of our standing committees and the fine work they do, as well as the Ethics Commissioner and his independence.
The other day Mr. Wernick appeared before the standing committee and made a presentation. Before I comment on that, allow me to share this with those Canadians who might be participating and following this debate in any way.
Mr. Wernick was a top civil servant working under Stephen Harper. I believe he possibly worked at the Department of Indian Affairs as a deputy minister. I do not know all of the details. What I do know is that he is an incredible, well-recognized, apolitical, independent civil servant who has been working at the high end, not only under this government but also under the Conservative government. It is really important for us to recognize that.
When Mr. Wernick came to committee, this is what he said specifically about the allegations we are hearing from the Conservatives and the NDP unholy alliance. He stated, “It is my conclusion and my assertion, based on all the information I have, that there was no inappropriate pressure on the Minister of Justice in this matter.” This is not someone who is partisan saying this, but Canada's top civil servant, someone who has made incredible contributions over different administrations to ensuring that we have the world-class civil service we have today. He stated, “based on all the information I have, that there was no inappropriate pressure on the Minister of Justice in this matter.”
I thought that another interesting quote from the same committee meeting was when Mr. Wernick said it was “entirely her call to make”, referring to the former Minister of Justice. She was the decider. I believe the Prime Minister has been consistent with respect to that from day one.
From day one, I believe that the Prime Minister has been very transparent and accountable on this issue. The Conservatives and the NDP, in an unholy alliance, believe that they can score some political points based on an article that appeared in The Globe and Mail. That article was referenced at the committee. They continue to push.
What is interesting is that the NDP, on the one hand, said that they believe that the Ethics Commissioner should be involved. They were the ones who encouraged the Ethics Commissioner to be involved, yet if we listen to what they are saying today, they say that the Ethics Commissioner is not going to be able to do the job. Now they say that they want more to be done. They want a public inquiry on the issue. Where was that confidence when they initially said that we should have the Ethics Commissioner engaged?
The Conservatives and the NDP are talking about standing committees. I can tell colleagues that as a government, this Prime Minister in particular has made a solemn commitment to our standing committees.
I was there when the Conservatives and Stephen Harper took ownership of all the standing committees. I was at PROC when the parliamentary secretary would be there dictating what would take place that day at committee. I was there when Stephen Harper would not allow any amendments, outside of government amendments, to pass.
We have seen a Prime Minister who has marginalized the role of parliamentary secretaries on standing committees. We have seen a Prime Minister who has committed additional funds to our standing committees. We have seen a Prime Minister and a Liberal caucus, on all those points, support independent standing committees. When I say that, I am referring to opposition amendments that have passed. Many opposition members have had the opportunity to pass amendments at standing committees.
If we contrast Stephen Harper with our current Prime Minister, they are like night and day in terms of transparency and accountability when it comes to Canada's standing committees.
Now we have a standing committee that is actually looking into this issue. The former attorney general is going to be appearing. I could be wrong, but my understanding is that it was one of the Liberal members who put in the formal request for the former attorney general to come before the committee.
At the end of the day, the Conservatives and the New Democrats are coming together to say how badly we need to make the standing committees more independent, when the record of the Conservative Party was abysmal at best. We finally have a government that is committed to openness, transparency and accountability at our standing committees and inside this chamber.
The opposition believes that the standing committee is still not enough, even though, in many ways, such as financially and in terms of independence, we have supported it. It is where our chief civil servant was able to give a presentation.
When I listened to question period today and the interpretations of what took place at the standing committee, they were cherry-picking. I cannot blame them for cherry-picking, I guess, because I too am cherry-picking. I am cherry-picking what I believe Mr. Wernick made very clear to every committee member. Every member of this House is aware of exactly what it is Mr. Wernick indicated.
As I said earlier, Mr. Wernick said that the Prime Minister told the former attorney general that the decision to intervene in the case was hers alone, and the Prime Minister indicated that it was entirely her call to make, that she was the decider.
As Mr. Wernick indicated, “It is my conclusion and my assertion, based on all the information I have, that there was no inappropriate pressure on the Minister of Justice in this matter.”
Since I have had the opportunity, as others have had the opportunity, to formulate opinions on the matter at hand, I feel very confident that there was not any inappropriate pressure. Hearing it from the top civil servant means a great deal to me. It reassures me. I hope it reassures Canadians.
It will not stop the opposition. I was in opposition for over 20 years. I can appreciate the potential of a good story. If a good story is there, and members think they have something to push to the nth degree, they should go nuts. However, maybe they should provide a little more than what they have actually provided to date.
Let us look at the questions the opposition members have been asking day in and day out. They are not providing anything new to the story, from what I can see, that ultimately justifies the type of discussions we are having here today. I do not say that lightly.
When I go back home every weekend, I like to get a sense of what is important to the constituents I represent. It is issues like jobs, health care and our environment people are genuinely concerned about. Those are the issues we should be talking about.
The Minister of Finance has announced that we have a federal budget coming up. I have some thoughts on what I would like to see in the budget. These are the types of issues that are affecting everyday Canadians in all our regions.
It really makes me wonder about the commitment of the opposition. The bottom line is that it is hard to tell the difference between the Leader of the Opposition, who many would call Stephen Harper with a smile, and Stephen Harper.
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux: Mr. Speaker, he could be behind the curtain, possibly.
I would argue that we should listen to how the Leader of the Opposition started his speech. He is referring to SNC-Lavalin and the issue of corruption and the rich, the powerful and the mighty, and so forth. He is trying to make it look as if SNC-Lavalin is meeting and conspiring with the government.
Members of cabinet, members of the Liberal caucus and members on this side did, in fact, meet with SNC-Lavalin, but so did the Leader of the Opposition. So did the Leader of the New Democratic Party and so did many others on the opposition benches. What disappoints me is that the opposition members do not seem to care about some of the potential victims, the thousands of employees who are working for SNC-Lavalin.
There is an opportunity, or there was an opportunity, and I do not know if that opportunity has passed. Canada, like the U.S. and the United Kingdom, has the opportunity to ensure that there is corporate responsibility and accountability while protecting our workers. I sure wish the opposition parties would do their job in looking after those jobs, too.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-02-25 15:37 [p.25746]
Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister did not tell the AG what to do. That is the simple reality. What are members going to say next time? Are they going to ask whether the Prime Minister talked to this minister or tell another minister to do something specific? I understand the difference when it is the AG, but the bottom line is that there is a responsibility for the Prime Minister, and he has fulfilled his responsibility.
The members opposite seem to feel that jobs in SNC-Lavalin do not matter. A Conservative member tried to say that SNC-Lavalin jobs are not all that important or are more important to this government than jobs in Calgary. I have news for the Conservatives. It does not matter where the jobs are, this government does care about jobs. We also want to ensure that there is a high level of accountability for corporations that behave inappropriately. That can be done with the legislation currently in place, legislation the U.S. and the United Kingdom have.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-02-25 15:41 [p.25746]
Mr. Speaker, the remediation agreement regime that was passed in the House is actually in place in other countries. This is not foreign to the western world. In fact, if New Democrats truly cared about jobs and the potential impact on thousands of people, who happen to be in Montreal in this particular situation, they would be changing their line of attack. They would not have the member for Timmins—James Bay asking who cares if SNC-Lavalin's actions are found to be criminal, because the jobs will just go somewhere else. That is the mentality of the New Democratic Party.
We can still ensure there is justice and accountability when a corporation does something inappropriate. This government does not support the criminal activities of corporations. That is why there is the potential for remediation agreements. That is why the U.S.A. has them and that is why the United Kingdom has them and that is why Canada has them now. However, it does not mean that we forget about some of the potential victims, those being the workers and many others.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-02-25 15:43 [p.25746]
Mr. Speaker, there are many other issues we should be debating, I would ultimately argue. We just had this debate a few days ago, yet it is back because the unholy alliance of the Conservatives and the New Democrats does not want to talk about what is happening in our economy. Those members do not want to talk about the progressive social policies that this administration is putting through.
When we talk about jobs, over 800,000 jobs have been created by working with Canadians in all regions of our country. When we talk about supporting families, the Canada child benefit provided millions of dollars, with $9 million going into my own riding every month in Winnipeg North, and what about helping out the poorest of all seniors with the GIS increases? As well, let us talk about Canada's infrastructure.
There is so much that this government has been able to do in three and a half years. It might take another mandate for us to be able to complete all the goals and aspirations we have.
We recognize that yes, this is a political year, and the opposition knows full well that we have done a relatively good job. As opposed to talking about those real issues, it wants to focus on negative politics.
Someone told me yesterday that the Conservatives are the Republicans of the north. It is all about character assassination. They are more interested in trying to make politics look like a bad thing, but politics is a wonderful thing. We can really make a difference. This government demonstrates that day in, day out.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-02-19 11:15 [p.25483]
Madam Speaker, through a question, my colleague talked about the Ethics Commissioner. The Ethics Commissioner is an independent officer of Parliament. I wonder if the member could explain the difference between the ethics officer, for example, and a standing committee. A standing committee might have a very strong partisan element. Could he expand on his thoughts on the two?
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-02-19 12:15 [p.25492]
Mr. Speaker, we all know that SNC had met with and lobbied both sides of the House. We had posed the question earlier to the leader of the official opposition with respect to the Conservatives' position on remediation agreements. I wonder if my colleague would share with the House if he or the leader of the New Democratic Party met with this organization. Also, could he give his party's position on remediation agreements?
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-02-19 12:44 [p.25495]
Mr. Speaker, just to continue on from my colleague's comments, right now we have the Ethics Commissioner's involvement. The Prime Minister has been most welcoming in terms of wanting to provide that insurance. We have been very open and transparent in saying that this is a fine thing to be happening. We also have a standing committee that is taking a look into the issue.
I wonder if my colleague could provide his thoughts, particularly with respect to the Ethics Commissioner, which is an independent body. Both in Canada and abroad, many of our parliamentary institutions, such as the Ethics Commissioner, have been recognized as being apolitical. It may therefore be one of the more appropriate venues to provide comfort to Canadians, as both my colleague and I believe that the Prime Minister has done absolutely nothing wrong on this file.
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