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Results: 1 - 30 of 464
View Todd Doherty Profile
CPC (BC)
View Todd Doherty Profile
2019-06-04 13:23 [p.28487]
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to address some of the failings of the Liberal government over the last four years and reflect upon just how disastrous it has been.
The heckling continues over there. The Liberals never miss an opportunity to get some good heckling in. Our colleagues across the way are chirping loud and doing all they can to throw us off. However, it will not work. I have been chirped at by the best and they definitely are not the best.
I rise today to talk to Bill C-97, the budget implementation act. Essentially, it is an extension of the government's attempt to cover up what could be actually the biggest affront to our democracy in our country's history. It has attempted to cover up potentially the biggest corruption at the highest levels of our government, and that is the SNC-Lavalin case. That is what we are seeing here today. I bring us back to that again because I feel I have to. The gallery is packed. I know Canadians from coast to coast to coast knew this speaker was coming up.
I would be remiss if I did not remind Canadians from all across our country that it was day 10 of the 2015 election when the then member of Papineau committed to Canadians that under his government, he would let the debate reign. He said that he would not resort to parliamentary tricks such as omnibus bills or closure of debate. He also told Canadians around that same time that he would balance the budget in 2019. Those are three giant “oops”, perhaps disingenuous comments. I do not think he has lived up to any of them at this point.
As of today, the government has invoked closure over 70 times. Why? Because the government does not like what it is hearing. If the Liberals do not like what the opposition is saying and they do not want Canadians to hear the truth, they invoke closure. This means we cannot debate really important legislation. They limit the amount of time for debate on that legislation. The BIA, Bill C-97, is just one of them. Does that sound like letting the debate reign? It does not.
It is interesting that whenever things go sideways for the Prime Minister, a couple of things happen. We see him even less in the House or something always happens to change the channel. That is what we have today.
Bill C-97 is really just a cover-up budget. We have talked about that. It just goes in line with more and more of the government's kinds of wacky ways, where it says it will spend money and perhaps it doles it out. However, the money is not really going to things that Canadians need the most.
We see $600 million in an election year being given to the media, a media that is supposed to be impartial. That is a $600 million bailout.
We also know that in the previous budget, approximately $500 million was given to the Asian Infrastructure Bank. That $500 million is not being spent in Canada for one piece of an infrastructure.
I rose to talk about a few things. One of the things that is really disappointing for me is this. When the Liberals came to power in 2015, a lot of promises were made, and this one hits home for us. I have brought this up time and again in the House. The Liberals said that they would put an end to the softwood lumber dispute.
I think it was in 2016 that the Prime Minister stood in the House and told Canadians that he was going to have a deal done within 100 days. He had a new BFF, the Minister of International Trade Diversification said. Both were just giddy. They were going to get this deal done and put an end to the softwood lumber irritant once and for all, yet last week, we found out from the Senate Liberal leader that the Prime Minister had other priorities ahead of softwood lumber.
Over 140 communities and over 140,000 jobs are tied to forestry in my province of British Columbia. Forestry is a cornerstone industry in my province, yet it was not a priority for the Prime Minister in renegotiating his NAFTA deal.
What we are seeing with the Liberal government is that rural Canadians are just not its focus.
Last week I also met with some real estate folks and some Canadian homebuilder folks. They told me that the Liberal government's B-20 stress test and the shared equity program, which is geared toward trying to get Canadians into homes, is actually hurting that industry. The real estate industry is saying that the B-20 stress test, which was geared more for Toronto and Vancouver markets but is all across the country, impacts rural Canadians negatively .
Almost $15 billion has been kept out of that industry, meaning that it is harder for Canadians to get into the home ownership they strive for. It is a step into the middle class. People put money toward something they own rather than putting it into something that someone else owns. The government's failed B-20 policy and the shared equity program is hurting Canadians. It is another example of how Canadians are worse off with the Liberal government.
I will bring us to a couple of years ago. The Prime Minister, the Minister of Veterans Affairs and the Minister of National Defence all have it down pat. They can put their hands on their hearts and say that they really care, yet it is the same Prime Minister who told veterans that they were asking for too much.
Yesterday was a very important day, because we saw the closure of the missing and murdered indigenous women and girls commission and we saw its report. The government knew that this day was coming, but did it put any money in the 2019 budget for that? There is nothing.
The Liberals like to say that Canadians are better off than they were under our previous Conservative administration, but it is actually the opposite. Canadians are worse off since the Liberal government took over. Eighty-one per cent of middle-income Canadians are seeing higher taxes since the Liberal government came to power. The average income increase for middle income families is $840. The government's higher pension plan premiums could eventually cost Canadians up to $2,200 per household. The Liberals cancelled the family tax cut of up to $2,000 per household. They cancelled the arts and fitness tax credit of up to $225 per child. They cancelled the education and textbook tax credits of up to $560 per student. The government's higher employment insurance premiums are up $85 per worker. The Liberal carbon tax could cost up to $1,000 per household and be as high as $5,000 in the future.
The Prime Minister called small businesses tax cheats. The government's intrusive tax measures for small businesses will raise taxes on thousands of family businesses across Canada.
The list goes on and on. Bill C-97 is just the capping of a scandal-ridden administration, and to that, I say, good riddance.
View Michel Boudrias Profile
BQ (QC)
View Michel Boudrias Profile
2019-05-17 12:04 [p.28009]
Mr. Speaker, that is just a sham and a gong show.
I want to move on to something else. Vice-Admiral Norman is the victim of both the Conservatives' pettiness and the Liberal government's incompetence. The Conservatives hid the fact that they mandated Admiral Norman to talk to Davie about the Asterix so that they could continue their partisan attacks at his expense—and at the expense of Davie, in particular. The Liberals are no better. They referred this matter to the RCMP, as if it were no big deal, without checking and validating the facts, which is what led to this shameful investigation. The entire Canadian establishment is now implicated.
Will the government launch a public inquiry to get to the bottom of the situation regarding Admiral Norman and the contracts—
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, as the member knows, the RCMP conducts its own investigations.
The decision to collect evidence and to go see the Public Prosecution Service was made completely independently from the government. The PPSC is another institution that is completely independent from government.
If the opposition members had any relevant information, they should have given it to the RCMP long before this.
View Lisa Raitt Profile
CPC (ON)
View Lisa Raitt Profile
2019-05-14 17:58 [p.27789]
Mr. Chair, at the end of a press conference with respect to the staying of charges with respect to Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, counsel actually said the following, which I would like to read if I may:
There are lots of questions that need to be asked and answered about this whole process the last couple of years. And I think some people who have been involved in this need to reflect on what happened and why it happened and their role in it.
Would the minister agree that it is appropriate for him to order a commission of inquiry within his department pursuant to the Inquiries Act?
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Chair, I have received a breakdown of how the justice department dealt with the third party orders for documents. I am satisfied, and the court appeared to be satisfied, that we met our obligations in that regard.
View Tracey Ramsey Profile
NDP (ON)
View Tracey Ramsey Profile
2019-05-14 18:26 [p.27794]
Mr. Chair, will the Liberal government call for an independent public inquiry into the SNC-Lavalin allegations that the PMO interfered politically in the case, yes or no?
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Chair, I will reiterate what the director of public prosecutions has said. She felt no interference from any members of the government or political parties in the course of this affair. I point to the testimony provided by my predecessor to the committee. She said that she felt nobody broke the law.
View Tracey Ramsey Profile
NDP (ON)
View Tracey Ramsey Profile
2019-05-14 18:26 [p.27794]
Mr. Chair, that did not answer my question.
Will the Liberal government call for an independent public inquiry into the SNC-Lavalin allegations that the PMO politically interfered, yes or no?
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Chair, I will repeat what I said before. My predecessor said, in front of the committee, that she felt nobody broke the law. The director of public prosecutions is on the record as saying that she did not feel any political interference or pressure.
View Tracey Ramsey Profile
NDP (ON)
View Tracey Ramsey Profile
2019-05-14 18:27 [p.27794]
Mr. Chair, that still does not answer my question. I will try once more.
Will the Liberal government, now, call for an independent public inquiry into the SNC-Lavalin allegations, yes or no?
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Chair, I will remind the member that an independent officer of Parliament, the Ethics Commissioner, is undertaking an independent inquiry into the matter.
View Tracey Ramsey Profile
NDP (ON)
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Chair, as I have stated a number of times in the House, and as others in the government have stated, we respect the institutions of Parliament and parliamentary officers, including the Ethics Commissioner, who is undertaking an inquiry into this particular matter.
View Tracey Ramsey Profile
NDP (ON)
View Tracey Ramsey Profile
2019-05-14 18:28 [p.27794]
Mr. Chair, Canadians deserve an answer. Does the minister think Canadians deserve the truth and deserve an independent public inquiry, yes or no?
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Chair, all members on all sides of the House want Canadians to have the truth, and all members on all sides of the House are endeavouring to ensure Canadians have the truth. The Ethics Commissioner will play a role in this matter. The justice committee has played a role in this matter, and other participants have made statements in this matter.
View Tracey Ramsey Profile
NDP (ON)
View Tracey Ramsey Profile
2019-05-14 18:29 [p.27794]
Mr. Chair, the minister seems to be having difficulty understanding the idea of a yes or no answer, so I will ask my question again.
Does the minister think that Canadians deserve a public inquiry, yes or no?
View Tracey Ramsey Profile
NDP (ON)
View Tracey Ramsey Profile
2019-05-14 18:29 [p.27794]
Mr. Chair, no public inquiry is under way. The Ethics Commissioner's work is limited and it is not an independent public inquiry.
I will ask my question once again. Will the Liberal government call for an independent public inquiry into the SNC-Lavalin allegations that the PMO interfered politically, yes or no?
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Chair, as I have repeated a number of times, Canadians obviously deserve the truth. My predecessor has stated in her testimony before the justice committee that she did not feel that anyone broke the law. The director of public prosecutions has said that she felt no political interference.
View Lisa Raitt Profile
CPC (ON)
View Lisa Raitt Profile
2019-05-14 19:26 [p.27803]
The issue, Mr. Chair, is not whether the judge was to make the decision. We all know that at the end of the day she did not, because of the amount of delay that the current government allowed for.
What we do know as well from these trial dates and these hearings is that there were even problems with how they gamed the system in terms of the kinds of words that would trigger disclosure of documents.
It was revealed in the trial that access-to-information requests in 2017 returned no results. In the entire Mark Norman case, when meetings were going on day after day and information and surveillance was going on, there were no results in all of the Department of National Defence, and guess why. It was because a witness came forward and asked for protection from his own government so that his name would not be disclosed after he told Canadians that code names were used in order to ensure that there would be no response in the documents.
Why does the minister not think that this is something that needs to be looked into further?
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Chair, once again I will not comment about the various back-and-forth details about the case. That was managed by the director of public prosecutions and the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, independently of the Government of Canada. Both the director of public prosecutions, on at least two occasions, as well as the prosecutor in question have stated that.
The Department of Justice had a role to play in the production of documents. As I said, 144,000 documents were identified as being potentially relevant. That number had to be assessed and analyzed, and it was boiled down to 8,000. Ultimately, those documents were in the process to go to a judge to be evaluated for privilege and that sort of thing. The Department of Justice has fulfilled its obligations in this case.
View Lisa Raitt Profile
CPC (ON)
View Lisa Raitt Profile
2019-05-14 19:28 [p.27803]
To recap, Mr. Chair, we have now heard that the Crown prosecutor was talking to legal counsel in the Privy Council Office. We have heard that they were asking for updates on who has been identified as potential witnesses. We now know that ATIPs were being deliberately avoided.
Now we move on to another one. Also heard in testimony during that hearing in December was the fact that federal government lawyers, who would be these ministers' lawyers, inappropriately intervened in the defence's access to witnesses and in giving witnesses bad information.
Does the minister think that this is enough of a problem to warrant an investigation?
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Chair, the comment was taken completely out of context. I have no way of commenting on it, nor should I.
The prosecution service and counsel on each side are going to undertake to defend their clients as best they can in the ordinary course of proceedings, requesting documents, defending against those requests, etc.
The role of the Department of Justice, as I have made clear, was in the production of third-party document requests. We set up a process in response to the defence counsel, in particular, in that case. We set up a process that was fair and took into account the quantity and complexity of the documentation as well as the fact that there would be solicitor-client cabinet confidence and litigation privilege attached to a number of those documents.
View Lisa Raitt Profile
CPC (ON)
View Lisa Raitt Profile
2019-05-14 19:29 [p.27804]
Mr. Chair, the government's documents collection was atrocious. It was to the point that the minister should know that the chief of the defence staff, although he learned in December that code names were used to avoid the production of documents, did not check in on it until the third week of January. Nobody in that four-week period of time thought to go back and actually do a further search. I think that is something else that needs to be investigated.
As well, as we tuned into hearings between January 29 and February 1, even more information came out, most importantly the fact that one of the lawyers who would be working for this minister, a lawyer in bed with the Department of National Defence, was alleged to have given advice to a former assistant to the Minister of National Defence with respect to what she needed to disclose in her search. She said she had two phones, a government-issued Blackberry and a personal iPhone. However, she took the advice of the Department of National Defence and did not search her personal emails and did not know whether her Blackberry messages were included in the search.
There was not a sufficient search. It was advised by a lawyer from the Department of Justice. Does the minister think that is enough to warrant an inquiry?
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Chair, again, I am not going to comment on the veracity of any allegations that are made or the sources they came from. What I can say is that the process we envisaged and used in the justice department included email, personal devices and that sort of thing for those potentially relevant documents.
View Lisa Raitt Profile
CPC (ON)
View Lisa Raitt Profile
2019-05-14 19:32 [p.27804]
Mr. Chair, I assure members that Vice-Admiral Norman, with his gigantic legal bill, which is now going to be paid by the taxpayers of Canada, does not thank the government for the shoddy work it conducted throughout this entire process, which caused so much pain and so much cost, either because it maliciously wanted to ensure that these documents did not come forward or because it was simply inept. Either of those two reasons means that there should be an inquiry in that department by this minister by his own hand.
I will ask the minister again. Will he be conducting a real inquiry, one that is written on paper, not an oral version, so that Canadians can get to the bottom of exactly what happened in this case?
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Chair, I was referring to a briefing earlier on, and I want to correct the record, as it is being misconstrued in this regard.
As I have said a number of times, this was an extraordinarily complex set of third-party documents that was requested, a large number, many of which would be covered by different kinds of privilege. We set up a process that would work, and we did a great deal of work within six months. We did better than in many private litigation cases that can go on for years.
I am quite happy with the performance of the Department of Justice in this matter. It put together a process that was fair and a process that worked, and indeed, the judge complimented us at the end of the case.
View Lisa Raitt Profile
CPC (ON)
View Lisa Raitt Profile
2019-05-14 19:35 [p.27804]
Mr. Chair, that was not the question. My question specifically at the very beginning was whether the minister would order an independent inquiry through his powers under the Inquiries Act. His response was that he already received a report. That is not a report.
Would the minister like to exactly clarify for us, so we can get to the nuts and bolts of it, what kind of report has been issued? Was it verbal? Is it real? If it is real, can we have a copy of it so we can understand and the Canadian public can finally understand what happened in this case?
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