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View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2019-06-04 12:52 [p.28483]
Mr. Speaker, again, not to sound narcissistic, but if we are going to talk, there should be people here to listen.
We are here today to debate the government's bill, which would implement the main measures of the budget. Budgets are highly technical and theoretical, but this gives us a chance to really dig deep.
My first observation is about the budget, as introduced by the minister, election promises and the format of the bill, which is 370 pages long and covers many topics that have nothing to do with the budget. This is called an omnibus bill.
I will remind members that four years ago, back in 2015, the Liberals made a promise. During the election campaign, they made several promises to Canadians in order to get elected. These promises were scrapped, however. The fourth paragraph on page 30 of their election platform states the following:
We will not resort to legislative tricks to avoid scrutiny.
[The former prime minister] has used prorogation to avoid difficult political circumstances. We will not.
[The former prime minister] has also used omnibus bills to prevent Parliament from properly reviewing and debating his proposals.
This is exactly what we are debating today. Today we are debating an omnibus bill into which the government inserted measures that have nothing to do with the budget. Four years ago, the Liberals promised not to do this, but they did it anyway.
Must I remind the House that, at around the same time last year, we were all here studying the previous budget implementation bill? The government had slipped in a dozen or so pages of legal provisions to allow companies facing prosecution for corruption, among other charges, to sign separate agreements. These provisions were not properly debated by parliamentarians. The Senate asked the minister to testify, but he refused.
That is what gave rise to the SNC-Lavalin scandal. Last year's bill included a process to allow for separate trials or agreements. That led to the director of public prosecutions' decision to proceed to trial on September 4. Ten days later, the former attorney general agreed to this proposal, and that is when partisan politics seeped into the legal process. That is what later led the former attorney general and the former president of the Treasury Board to be booted out of the Liberal caucus for having stood up and told Canadians the truth.
I am talking about this sad episode in Canadian democracy precisely because what we have before us today is a government that was elected under false promises, a government that promised the moon and sought to be pure as the driven snow but, in the end, did not keep its promises. That is essentially it. We have an omnibus bill.
Now let us talk about what is really going on with this bill, the government's budget implementation bill. What is the deal with this budget? Once again, we must not forget that the Liberals got themselves elected on the basis of budget promises they most certainly did not keep. The last paragraph on page 76 of the Liberal Party platform mentions the planning framework, the budgeting framework. It says right there in black and white:
With the Liberal plan, the federal government will have a modest short-term deficit of less than $10 billion in each of the next two fiscal years....
The platform also stated that the deficit would decline in the third year and that Canada would return to a balanced budget in 2019-20.
That was the promise that got the Liberals elected. Their bold but not-so-brilliant idea was to make a solemn pledge to run small deficits and eliminate the deficit entirely in 2019-20. That deadline has arrived, and what happened? Those modest deficits ballooned into three big deficits in excess of $70 billion. This is 2019-20, the year they were supposed to get rid of the deficit, but instead, this year's deficit is $19.8 billion.
Twice now I have asked the Minister of Tourism and the Liberal member for Surrey-Centre, if I remember correctly, to tell me the amount of this year’s deficit. They can never come up with the simple and yet very serious figure of $19.8 billion. How can we trust these people who get elected by promising, hand on heart, that they will generate only small deficits and zero deficit in 2019, when they generated three large deficits plus a huge one on the year they were meant to deliver a zero deficit?
What the Liberals fail to understand is that a deficit is a bill that our children and grandchildren will have to pay. A deficit today is a tax tomorrow. It will have to be paid sooner or later. Why did this happen? Because we are living beyond our means.
I would like to remind the House that, historically speaking, deficits are permitted under special conditions. You will remember that we ran deficits during the war. We had to defeat the Nazi menace. We will soon be celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Normandy landings on June 6. It was not until Prime Minister Louis Saint-Laurent that fiscal balance was restored, and I am not just saying that because I happen to represent the riding of Louis-Saint-Laurent.
It was in the early 1970s, under the Liberal government led by Pierre Elliott Trudeau, the current Prime Minister’s father, that we began running deficits in times of prosperity.
It was unfortunate for the Canadian economy. Indeed, fast forward 50 years and the son of the prime minister who ran deficits in times of growth is doing exactly the same thing, running four huge deficits in a period of rapid global economic expansion.
I truly have a great deal of respect and esteem for the Minister of Finance, as I do for all those who run for election and offer their services to Canadians and who, proud of their personal experience, wish to put it to good use. The Minister of Finance had a stellar career on Bay Street. We might even call him a Bay Street baron for having administered his family’s fortune so well. When he was head of the family company, Morneau Shepell, he never ran deficits.
When he was in the private sector, the Minister of Finance never ran a deficit, but since he moved to the public sector, since he has been using taxpayer money, since he has been using money that belongs to Canadian workers, he has been running back-to-back deficits.
How many have there been? There have been one, two, three, four budgets, and there have been one, two, three, four deficits. Four out of four, that is the grand slam of mismanaged public funds, while, in the private sector, he was a model money manager, an example to be followed.
To say the least, he is now neither a model or an example to be followed. Generating deficits during periods of economic growth is the ultimate heresy. No serious economist will tell you that this is a good time to generate a deficit. Quite the contrary, when the economic cycle picks up, it is time to put money aside.
They were very lucky. When they were elected, they took over the G7 country with the best economic track record. When we were in power, we were so intent on serious and rigorous management that we were the first G7 country to recover from the great crisis of 2008-12. That was thanks to the informed and rigorous management of the late Hon. Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, and Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper. These people inherited the best economic situation among the G7 nations, as well as a $2.5 billion budget surplus, which will not be the case in five months if Canadians choose us to form the next government.
Worse still, in the past four years, they have taken advantage of the sensational global economic growth and, of course, the economic strength of the United States, which has been experiencing growth for several years. What did they do with it? They made a huge mess of things, and the monstrous deficits they have been running these past four years will be handed down to our children and grandchildren to pay in the future.
That is why we are strongly opposed to this bill, which flies in the face of two election promises: to do away with omnibus bills, and to only run small deficits before balancing the budget in 2019.
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2019-05-15 14:35 [p.27831]
Yes, Mr. Speaker, let us talk about respect for the judicial process in this case. Twice the Prime Minister said that Vice-Admiral Norman would end up in court, even before charges were brought. That was the first mistake.
The second was that the Prime Minister's Office withheld as much information as possible until a court ordered it to disclose this information, which was needed for the accused to make full answer and defence. That is political interference.
Will the Liberal government and its Prime Minister do what all Canadians want and issue a genuine, formal apology to Vice-Admiral Norman?
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2019-05-15 14:36 [p.27831]
Mr. Speaker, one of the most comical things the Prime Minister ever said was that he did not need a political lieutenant because he is a general. What a general, indeed.
Let us talk about a real soldier, an honourable soldier: Vice-Admiral Norman. Unlike some, he is devoted to his career. Unlike some, this is a man who commands respect.
Could the Prime Minister act like a statesman and apologize?
Could he try bringing Canadians together instead of playing general?
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2019-04-12 11:21 [p.27047]
Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party has been unable to manage a crisis for two months now. Oddly, their leader, the Prime Minister, came up with a surprising idea. He decided to sue the leader of the official opposition. The Leader of the Opposition has not budged an inch. He has even repeated his statement word for word and published it again. We are now awaiting the lawsuit.
Will the Prime Minister do what he said, or was it all hot air, as usual?
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2019-04-12 11:22 [p.27047]
Mr. Speaker, what is unacceptable is a Prime Minister who shows contempt for Canadians by saying one thing and doing the opposite.
Let us not forget that The Globe and Mail broke the SNC-Lavalin scandal two months ago and the day after, the Prime Minister said that it was completely false. Since then, four people have resigned. The other thing the Prime Minister said was that he had never been informed of the dangers of political influence in this matter. That is what he maintained up until two weeks ago when, here, in the House, he acknowledged that he was informed of those dangers on September 17.
Will the Prime Minister follow through on his threat to sue? If yes, when will he do so?
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2019-04-05 11:22 [p.26737]
Madam Speaker, yesterday Liberal Party henchmen leaked information to the media about the former attorney general's so-called conditions for returning to the Liberal caucus, including assurances that her decision on SNC-Lavalin would stand. Yesterday at 10:30 p.m., CBC set the record straight, reporting that the condition was discussed while she was still a minister. That changes everything. This morning, analyst Jonathan Trudeau commented that the Liberals messed up their attempt to spin the story to make the former attorney general look bad.
Why is the government being so gutless?
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2019-04-05 11:23 [p.26737]
Madam Speaker, there is a double standard here. Certain individuals were allowed to testify before the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights twice, but the former attorney general was allowed to testify only once.
Yes, the Prime Minister let the former attorney general talk about certain things, but only regarding a limited time period. With respect to certain delicate situations in particular, the former attorney general was not allowed to speak her truth or talk about how she experienced certain facts.
Why will the government still not allow the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics to do its work and really get to the bottom of this Liberal scandal involving SNC-Lavalin?
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2019-04-04 14:43 [p.26688]
Mr. Speaker, all parents teach their children that they must always tell the truth or else sooner or later they will get tangled up in their lies. That is exactly what has happened to the Prime Minister over the past eight months.
For eight months, the Prime Minister has not told Canadians the truth. In February, he said that no one had expressed concerns about interference in the SNC-Lavalin case. Then yesterday he finally acknowledged that the former attorney general had shared her concerns with him on September 17.
When will the Prime Minister stand up and tell Canadians the truth?
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2019-04-04 14:44 [p.26688]
Mr. Speaker, that is why greenhouse gas emissions were reduced by 2.2% under our government. That is the Conservative track record, and we are very proud of it. Respecting institutions mainly involves preventing partisan politics from interfering in the judicial process. That is exactly what these people did in the SNC-Lavalin case. The Conservatives need to be re-elected. Why? Because the Liberals are inserting partisan politics into the justice system.
When will the Prime Minister stand up and tell Canadians the truth?
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2019-04-02 14:33 [p.26587]
Mr. Speaker, like all Canadians, La Presse wants to get to the bottom of the infamous Liberal SNC-Lavalin scandal. The newspaper requested documents from the Privy Council. The department is supposed to provide that kind of information within 30 days of receiving the request, but in this case, it is going to take 240 days, which just happens to be four weeks after the election. Canadians will not have all the information they need to make their choice.
Why are the Liberals still hiding important information about the Liberal SNC-Lavalin scandal?
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2019-04-02 14:34 [p.26587]
Mr. Speaker, that was not really my question, but since she wants to talk about the committee, let's talk about it. This morning, at the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, the members asked to invite 10 people to come testify, including the former attorney general and the Prime Minister. Unfortunately, once again, the Liberals, under the yoke of their leader, decided to prevent Liberals from talking. She is still a Liberal MP, as far as I know.
Will the government finally allow Canadians to have access to all the information?
Why does the Prime Minister keep hiding the truth from Canadians?
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2019-03-20 14:51 [p.26179]
Mr. Speaker, for a year and a half now, the Liberals and the Prime Minister have being going on, practically with tears in their eyes, about how they are protecting the 9,000 SNC-Lavalin jobs. The cat is now out of the bag, after the president and CEO of SNC-Lavalin told the Canadian Press that he never mentioned protecting the 9,000 jobs. This is the complete opposite of what the Prime Minister has been saying for the past month and a half.
Now that we know that the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics will investigate the Liberal SNC-Lavalin scandal, will the Prime Minister agree to testify and tell his version of the story?
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2019-03-20 14:52 [p.26179]
Mr. Speaker, when The Globe and Mail broke the story on the Liberal SNC-Lavalin scandal, the Prime Minister said it was false.
What has happened since then? The former attorney general lost her job. The former president of the Treasury Board lost her job, and now a Liberal MP has left the Liberal caucus. One woman, two women, three women have left. That is the record of a Prime Minister who claims to be a feminist.
Since the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics will be meeting to examine the SNC-Lavalin scandal, will the Prime Minister agree to give his side of the story?
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2019-02-28 22:27 [p.25988]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to say that I will be sharing my time with my hon. colleague, the member for Lakeland.
We are sitting until midnight this evening for an emergency debate because Canada is caught in a very serious constitutional crisis. Never before in recent history has a barely three-week-old scandal caused such turmoil in federal politics.
It started with the resignation of a high-ranking government minister and of the Prime Minister's principal adviser, and it is becoming increasingly clear that what happened was completely disrespectful and inappropriate in an esteemed parliamentary democracy like Canada. Unfortunately, the Prime Minister of Canada, the Prime Minister of all Canadians, literally jumped with both hands and feet into partisan political interference in a legal proceeding on a criminal matter. We are here this evening to speak out against these actions that are sure to offend anyone who believes in Canadian democracy.
What Canadians heard yesterday was not just a powerful testimony but a real political and judicial atomic bomb. The former attorney general of Canada lost her job barely a month and a half ago after being subject to four months of relentless, sustained and inappropriate pressure from the highest officials in the Canadian government, namely, the Prime Minister, the Minister of Finance, Canada's top civil servant and others. What happened is completely unacceptable. The former attorney general gave solid, straightforward, detailed and powerful testimony. I wish the best of luck to anyone who tries to contradict the specific details of her statements. Anyone who knows their history will remember John Dean. That is what this situation reminds me of. I will talk about him a little later.
Yesterday, the former attorney general, who lost her job for standing up for her principles, said that she was the target of consistent and sustained pressure. In her opinion, the government wanted to politically interfere with the office of the attorney general in the exercise of its power. She said that she was the victim of inappropriate attempts to obtain a remediation agreement and the victim of thinly veiled threats.
That was not some poor victim saying that; it was the former attorney general, the person responsible for this country's seals and the integrity of two legal systems. In a democracy like ours, words like those have serious consequences, all the more so because they were said by people who inappropriately and constantly pressured her for four months.
She said those people protested her decision not to proceed. She said no, her decision was made. Enough was enough and they had to stop.
Well, they did not stop.
She went on to say that various top-ranking individuals pressured her to take partisan political considerations into account.
The legal process must encompass everything but partisan politics. She began receiving thinly veiled threats relating to matters that had nothing at all to do with the public interest.
She was told that SNC-Lavalin would be moving six months before the election, that SNC-Lavalin was holding a board meeting, that a decision had to be made, that if the right decision was made, open letters would be released across Canada, that everything would be fine, that there could be informal contact if necessary.
To make things even more scandalous, Canada's highest-ranking public servant, the Clerk of the Privy Council, the country's top civil servant, spoke directly with the former attorney general, urging her to act and warning her that, one way or another, the Prime Minister of Canada would find a solution.
This is outrageous.
The most senior public servant made veiled threats against the former attorney general of Canada. That is indecent. I want to say this from my seat, right here in the House of Commons. Mr. Wernick has impugned the reputation of the senior public service. His part in this matter is appalling.
The Liberals claim to be looking out for the workers but the truth is that the only job they care about is the Prime Minister's. The truth was revealed in one of the heavy-handed interactions with the former attorney general. The Prime Minister's senior adviser, Mr. Bouchard, told the former attorney general that they had to get re-elected. That is the horrible Liberal ugliness in all its wretched glory. All those people want is to be re-elected. They should be ashamed.
There was not just one meeting. A few days ago, I proudly stated how outrageous it was that the former attorney general had been pressured on three occasions. Now we learn that it was 10 times and that there were dozens of emails. There were 10 meetings and 10 telephone conversations where she was pressured. She also received dozens of emails from some very competent people. She nevertheless continued to uphold the law.
What happened? She was pressured hundreds of times by 11 people including the Prime Minister of Canada, the Minister of Finance, the top public servant in Canada, the chiefs of staff of all these fine people and their political advisers. These are all pretty smart people. If getting pounced on by the Prime Minister of Canada, the country's top public servant and the finance minister does not amount to inappropriate pressure, I do not know what does.
What is outrageous is that this happened so often in the Prime Minister's Office. If we had a real head of state as prime minister, and not a partisan leader, he would have put an end to those conversations immediately, indicating that they were in the Prime Minister's Office and not in the office of the leader of the Liberal Party, and that everyone must act correctly. However, that is not what the Prime Minister said. On the contrary, he added a partisan layer. He went on to say that he is the member for Papineau and that a provincial election was coming up in Quebec. The Prime Minister interfered, in a partisan manner, directly in the judicial process and in a criminal case. That is why we are calling for him to resign. What he did was unacceptable. He has disgraced the highest public office in this country.
I hear the Liberals saying they want to protect jobs, but there is a procedure for doing so, and they did not follow it. There are steps to follow and consultations and conversations to be had at the right time. Once the decision is taken, it is too late. Still, they continued to apply political pressure after the decision was taken. That is even worse. The decision was taken on September 4, and that is when the pressure began and it lasted until December.
I often hear people say that we have to think about the jobs. No one here wants people to lose their job. However, neither does anyone, not in Quebec or Canada, want these jobs to be protected illegally. There is a way of doing things, but the Liberal Party did their own thing.
When we talk about jobs I, am reminded of my time at the National Assembly of Quebec nine years ago. I was leader of the Action démocratique at the time. Along with colleagues like the late Sylvie Roy, current Minister Bonnardel, current Minister Caire, Marc Picard, Janvier Grondin, and others, we were the first to call for an inquiry into the construction industry. Some very high-ranking people called me to tell me to be careful because there were jobs at play and companies could go bankrupt over what I was calling for. However, we stood our ground because it is more important to do the right thing than to engage in partisan politics. Sadly, this government chose the latter.
That is why this evening we are strongly condemning the Prime Minister's partisan actions as he interfered in the judicial process and in a criminal case just to get re-elected.
Shame on them.
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2019-02-28 22:39 [p.25990]
Mr. Speaker, the Liberals' hypocrisy has reared its ugly head.
First, I want to say that we are asking the RCMP to investigate so that we can get to the bottom of this matter. Then—
Mr. Francis Drouin: Politicians do not run the police.
Mr. Gérard Deltell: Running the police and asking a police officer to investigate is the Liberals' idea of this—
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2019-02-28 22:39 [p.25990]
Mr. Speaker, if I were a Liberal member and I only had the opportunity to rise once every three months, I would find that unfortunate too, and I would make the most of it when I did get a chance to speak.
For the past three weeks, the Conservatives and the NDP have been repeatedly asking for 10, 12 or 15 people to testify and give their side of the story. Every time, the Liberals, with their legendary hypocrisy, said that it was out of the question because it was a witch hunt. Now that they are in trouble, they are saying that it might not be a bad idea.
This morning, I heard the member for Shawinigan, an influential minister, say the most outrageous thing. He said that the last thing the government wanted was political interference. Unfortunately, there has been political interference for the past six months, political interference on the part of the Liberals.
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2019-02-28 22:41 [p.25990]
Mr. Speaker, I very much appreciate the comment, the speech and the science referenced by my colleague, who has a lot of expertise in this area and is helping Canadians better understand the situation.
This is indeed a constitutional crisis. It is unbelievable and unprecedented that the Prime Minister became personally involved, using partisan politics in its purest form, in the judicial process of a criminal case. There is a way to resolve this under the law, and the Liberals did not do that. They dragged their feet.
At the end of the day, it is important to respect the choices of people who have access to all the evidence and who, in their heart of hearts, without any partisanship, in an objective and neutral manner, assess a situation that must be subsequently approved by the attorney general. That is what happened in this case, and once the decision was taken, Liberal partisanship reared its ugly head and made the situation even worse.
If by some misfortune people lose their jobs, they should talk to the people from the Liberal Party who dragged their feet and did this all wrong. The law must be obeyed and jobs must be protected, but without flouting the law.
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2019-02-27 14:53 [p.25858]
Mr. Speaker, in less than an hour, the former attorney general will be testifying before the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. Unfortunately, she will not be able to speak her full truth because the Prime Minister will not let her. We are not the ones saying this. It is the former attorney general herself who said it.
However, the Prime Minister can reassure Canadians by answering a very simple question here in the House.
Did anyone in the PMO or in a minister's office contact SNC-Lavalin representatives to assure them that they would not have to go to trial, yes or no?
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2019-02-27 14:55 [p.25858]
Mr. Speaker, the best way to protect our institutions is to let everyone state the facts clearly. Unfortunately, the Prime Minister denied the former attorney general of Canada that freedom to speak. She herself acknowledged that she will not be able to speak her full truth.
I will ask my very simple question again. Did anyone in the PMO or in a minister's office contact SNC-Lavalin representatives to assure them there would be no criminal trial, yes or no?
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2019-02-26 14:49 [p.25804]
Mr. Speaker, at the beginning of the year, when the Prime Minister fired the former attorney general of Canada, she wrote a letter that spoke volumes. She wrote that it was vital to maintain a separation between the criminal justice system and politics. However, that is the exact problem at the heart of the Liberal scandal that has been rattling our country for the past three weeks.
We know that, on September 4, the director of public prosecutions said that she would be moving forward with the case against SNC-Lavalin.
I have a perfectly simple question. Did cabinet discuss this matter, yes or no?
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2019-02-26 14:50 [p.25804]
Mr. Speaker, following the decision of the director of public prosecutions, there were three separate attempts to pressure the former attorney general. That pressure did not come from mere lackeys.
First it was the Prime Minister, then his principal secretary, and finally Canada's top public servant. Those three individuals, the most powerful people in the Canadian government, put direct pressure on the former attorney general. The question is very simple, since we still have not had an answer.
Was this matter discussed at cabinet, yes or no?
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2019-02-25 12:47 [p.25719]
Mr. Speaker, again, I am very pleased to congratulate the hon. parliamentary secretary for the quality of his French and all the effort he puts in. I really appreciate it.
I am sure that the parliamentary secretary wants to get the whole truth, as do we. For this to happen, the key figures in the Liberal SNC-Lavalin scandal must be able to testify.
The member will agree that the Liberals initially refused to allow the former attorney general to testify. The Liberals finally reconsidered in response to public pressure, and it is very likely that the former attorney general will appear tomorrow.
On Thursday, the committee heard from Canada's top public servant, the Clerk of the Privy Council. His testimony shed a new light on the Liberal SNC-Lavalin scandal. We learned that the minute the director of public prosecutions informed SNC-Lavalin of her decision on September 4, SNC-Lavalin started lobbying the government.
The Prime Minister and the former attorney general met on September 17, and the Prime Minister's principal secretary and the former attorney general met on December 5. On December 19, Canada's top public servant called the former attorney general directly. These three events were an attempt to exert pressure regarding the Liberal SNC-Lavalin scandal.
After the former attorney general was pressured by the Prime Minister, the Prime Minister's principal secretary and the top-ranking public servant, probably the three most powerful people in the Canadian government, would the best way to get to the bottom of this story not be for the Prime Minister himself to appear before a parliamentary committee to clearly explain to Canadians what happened?
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2019-02-25 14:54 [p.25739]
Mr. Speaker, that was interesting and all, but it had absolutely nothing to do with the question.
The issue is this: last week, Canada's top bureaucrat testified that the Liberal scandal was never ever discussed in cabinet. That is what the top bureaucrat said last week, but two weeks ago, the Minister of National Revenue said on the radio that it had indeed been discussed in cabinet, and three weeks ago, when the scandal broke, the Prime Minister said nobody could talk about it because of cabinet confidence.
Which government member is telling the truth?
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2019-02-25 14:55 [p.25739]
Mr. Speaker, it is true that just a few days ago, Liberal MPs described getting the former attorney general to testify at parliamentary committee as a witch hunt, a fishing expedition and a distraction.
However, if the minister and the Liberal government are so open to hearing from everyone at committee, will they allow the Prime Minister to have his say?
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2019-02-25 17:57 [p.25764]
Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to participate in this debate, even though, as a Canadian, I would have preferred if this sad story had never happened.
What we want to know is how much political interference, by the Prime Minister or the PMO, occurred in a criminal case.
One of the cornerstones of our democracy is the separation between politics and justice. There has to be a wall between the two. However, unfortunately, there has obviously been political interference in a criminal case.
Let us review the facts. In 2015, criminal charges of corruption were brought against a large corporation in Montreal regarding its dealings in Libya. Unfortunately, this same company was found guilty of corruption less than a year ago in the case involving the McGill University Health Centre, or MUHC, in Montreal.
Then, on June 21, the government passed omnibus Bill C-74. At the very end of the bill, there is a measure concerning remediation agreements that has absolutely nothing to do with the budget.
Over seven or eight pages, the government clearly defined a process to allow a company that is facing serious international prosecution, as is the case here, to sign an agreement with the government. If, by chance, this were ever to happen, the bill explains the procedure.
I want to remind members that subsection 715.32(3) explicitly states that “the prosecutor must not consider the national economic interest”. The prosecutor is the Government of Canada.
This omnibus bill passed with clauses regarding agreements, as defined earlier, that have absolutely nothing to do with the budget. This happened on June 21.
In similar cases, the director of public prosecutions could look into the matter, make a decision and inform the respondent. This is exactly what happened. On September 4, the director of public prosecutions informed the company in question that she would be moving forward and that an agreement was not possible. There we go.
Nearly three weeks ago, The Globe and Mail reported that strong pressure on the former attorney general allegedly led her to quit her job, a very prestigious position in our parliamentary system if ever there was one.
What happened?
On September 17, the Prime Minister of Canada contacted the former attorney general to discuss this case. On December 5, the Prime Minister of Canada's principal secretary contacted the former attorney general to discuss this case. On December 19, Canada's top public servant, the most powerful man in the public service of Canada, the Clerk of the Privy Council, picked up the telephone and directly contacted the former attorney general. On January 14, the former attorney general was relieved of her duties by the Prime Minister. Those are the facts.
We now want to find out just how much undue pressure was applied to influence the former attorney general.
I should mention that last week, The Globe and Mail, the newspaper that broke the story that has been tarnishing the government's image and consequently Canada's image abroad for the past three weeks, published another story claiming that the former attorney general told cabinet that she had been subjected to undue pressure.
Was she subjected to undue pressure, yes or no?
Last week, Canada's top public servant clearly stated three times that, yes, there had been pressure, but that it was not undue pressure.
Of course it was not undue pressure. It was just pressure from the Prime Minister, his principal secretary and Canada's top public servant.
One, two, three people pressured the former attorney general about a specific matter, and that was not undue pressure? Clearly, there was undue pressure on Canada's former attorney general.
Canada's highest-ranking public servant testified that, yes, there was pressure, but it was not undue pressure. With all due respect to that important figure in our political hierarchy, I have something to say to him. If the question is whether the pressure was undue, I would rather hear the person who was pressured, not the party applying the pressure, say whether it was undue or not, whether it was appropriate or not. In this particular case, the end result was the former attorney general's departure, since she was relieved of her duties.
As I said, The Globe and Mail exposed the whole affair three weeks ago. What happened then? The government and the Prime Minister have treated us to a comedy of errors ever since. The Prime Minister changed his story at least five times over the first few days. He contradicted himself at least five times. He started off by saying that no one could comment on the matter due to cabinet confidence. Canada's highest-ranking public servant contradicted the Prime Minister last week when he said it was never discussed in cabinet.
The Prime Minister clearly stated that the continued presence of the former attorney general in cabinet spoke for itself. Fifteen hours later, she quit cabinet for good. It does not get much clearer than that. That is what happened.
A few days later, a teary-eyed Prime Minister apologized for not being quick enough to condemn the bad people who had attacked the former attorney general. An hour later, here in the House, she said she was eager to speak her truth.
I was here in my seat. The Prime Minister was 10 or 12 feet away from me. I can say one thing. If looks could kill, it would not have been pretty. He was not happy when the member said she was looking forward to sharing her version of events.
From the start, we have wanted everyone to testify, from the former attorney general to the Prime Minister's chief adviser or the Prime Minister himself. Initially, when we asked for that, government members called it a witch hunt and a distraction. Eventually, they realized it was the right thing to do. The country's top civil servant and the former attorney general can testify. That is a win.
We need the whole truth to come out. That is why, in this motion moved by the leader of the official opposition for the good of Canada, we are calling on the Prime Minister, the one who ignited this scandal, to give his side of the story.
Today I heard the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons say at least 10 times that the Liberals have confidence in the work of parliamentary committees, that they respect the committees. Let them prove it. The best way to shed light on this is to allow the key players in this affair, unfortunate as it may be, to give their version of the facts. So far we have only heard the version of Canada's top public servant, the Clerk of the Privy Council. God knows that that testimony was spectacular to say the least, given all the revelations there have been. He talked about the famous phone call that he himself had with the former attorney general during which he said there was no pressure and that he simply reminded the attorney general of the significance of her decision. There was nothing wrong with that. It is just the most senior public servant in Canada.
A few days earlier, the Prime Minister's principal adviser had set everything in motion. That is not a problem in the least. It is totally normal. Not to mention that, on September 17, the Prime Minister had a conversation with the former attorney general.
Canadians want the truth—the whole truth. The best way to get the truth is to allow the Prime Minister to testify in parliamentary committee.
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2019-02-25 18:08 [p.25765]
Madam Speaker, I would like to once again compliment my hon. colleague on his French.
First, I never said that it was illegal or inappropriate for the top official in Canada to call the former attorney general. I simply said that he pressured her. Now, I would like to remind members of what it says on page 534 of the government's omnibus bill. Subsection 175.32(3) reads as follows:
...the prosecutor must not consider the national economic interest...
It is written in black and white. What happened, in the end? The company was notified of the decision of the director of public prosecutions on September 4. Political pressure was brought to bear after that. If the Liberals did not like that decision, all they had to do was take action beforehand. They did not abide by their own law and, to make matters worse, they did not respect the integrity of the director of public prosecutions.
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2019-02-25 18:11 [p.25766]
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his contribution to this debate.
Indeed, it was an omnibus budget implementation bill. This provision had absolutely nothing to do with the budget. The member is quite right. If the Liberal government was so proud of standing up for jobs, as it claims today, it would have been proud to say so, but that was not at all the case.
I will not quote subsection 175.32(3) of the bill again, since I have already done so three times this week, but I will quote the fourth paragraph of page 30 of the Liberal election platform, which deals with prorogation and omnibus bills:
We will not resort to legislative tricks to avoid scrutiny.
The Liberals also said they would not use omnibus bills, yet that is exactly what they did. Not only have they broken their election promises, but they also mocked Canadians' intelligence, trying to make them believe that they could do anything. That is not the case. If they want Canadians to get the truth, they will vote in favour of our motion and allow the Prime Minister to appear before the parliamentary committee.
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2019-02-21 14:42 [p.25632]
Mr. Speaker, it has been exactly two weeks since The Globe and Mail revealed this new Liberal scandal. In the past two weeks, what have we seen? We have seen this government get into a comedy of errors, a minister slam the door on cabinet, and the Prime Minister's principal secretary step down.
Today, another layer was added to this Liberal scandal. We found out that the former attorney general told cabinet that she was pressured inappropriately. That is known as obstruction of justice.
Why is the government tolerating that?
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2019-02-21 14:43 [p.25632]
Mr. Speaker, Canadians want to have confidence in their institutions, but the problem is that the Liberal government is attacking our institutions by interfering in a matter before the courts. That is not right.
According to today's Globe and Mail, the former attorney general says she was subjected to improper pressure. That is obstruction of justice.
How can the government tolerate that? It is unacceptable.
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2019-02-19 12:59 [p.25497]
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague, the NDP parliamentary leader and member for Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques.
The NDP parliamentary leader's comments were very interesting and pertinent. As he said so well, in recent days we were in our ridings and we found that our constituents were increasingly pressing for answers.
In the beginning, when the story broke, people had some questions. However, since late last week, Canadians have been asking for specific, clear answers.
I would like to hear the NDP leader's thoughts on the statement made last week by the Prime Minister. First, he said that the fact that the former attorney general was still in cabinet showed that everything was fine. Then, the next day, she resigned. At that point, the Prime Minister personally attacked the credibility of the former attorney general. Then he attacked former minister Scott Brison. That came out of nowhere.
Could he comment on that?
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