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Results: 1 - 15 of 421
View Andrew Scheer Profile
Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is under investigation for granting a $900-million contract to an organization to which he has personal ties.
Did the Prime Minister officially recuse himself from the decision-making process to give a contract to a friend, yes or no?
View Andrew Scheer Profile
Mr. Speaker, when the Prime Minister was under investigation for the SNC-Lavalin scandal, he refused to give the Ethics Commissioner all the evidence that was asked for. He also prevented nine people from providing their full testimony.
I have a simple yes-or-no question. Will the Prime Minister commit today to waiving all privileges and confidences so that the Ethics Commissioner can do a full and proper investigation?
View Andrew Scheer Profile
Actually, Mr. Speaker, it is the Prime Minister who said something that was not true. When he was under investigation the last time, he refused to waive full and complete privileges and confidences, preventing not only the former attorney general but also people within the PMO from being able to fully participate in the investigation. That is his modus operandi when it comes to a scandal investigation: He does everything he can to prevent the full truth from coming out.
I have a simple yes-or-no question. Will he waive all cabinet confidences and privileges this time?
View Andrew Scheer Profile
Mr. Speaker, it was an unprecedented step because it was an unprecedented thing that the Prime Minister did. No other prime minister has tried to personally intervene in a criminal court proceeding, so pardon me for not giving him a gold star for handing over some documents to the Ethics Commissioner. We know that he will not waive full cabinet confidences and privileges, as he has refused to do so.
The Prime Minister claims that several organizations were considered to manage the grant program that WE Charity eventually got. Could the Prime Minister name the other organizations that were considered?
View Andrew Scheer Profile
Mr. Speaker, this charity has received many sole-source contracts from the Prime Minister, some for millions of dollars. In the last few years, the real estate holdings that WE has accumulated have gone from $11.9 million to $43.7 million. That is 43 million dollars' worth of real estate holdings.
Could the Prime Minister inform the House whether any of the money that was allocated to this charity went to purchase real estate holdings?
View Andrew Scheer Profile
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege that arises out of the exchange from earlier today. This is the first opportunity I have had to raise it, since that period just ended.
I would like to draw your attention to the Prime Minister's answer to my question about the Ethics Commissioner and the co-operation that his office will or will not be providing. His answer says, “in the last situation, we did the unprecedented step of waiving cabinet confidentiality and of waiving solicitor-client confidentiality in the situation so that the Ethics Commissioner could fully investigate the matter at hand.” This is in reference to the SNC-Lavalin scandal and the subject of the “Trudeau II Report”.
Mr. Speaker, I draw your attention to the words “fully investigate the matter at hand” to show why I believe we have a case of the Prime Minister deliberately misleading the House. The Ethics Commissioner, in his report, mentioned three things I would like to read. I hope that you will find there is a prima facie case of an attempt to deliberately mislead the House.
The first quote is as follows:
In the present examination, I have gathered sufficient factual information to properly determine the matter on its merits. Because of my inability to access all Cabinet confidences related to the matter I must, however, report that I was unable to fully discharge the investigatory duties conferred upon me by the Act.
The second quote states:
Because of the decisions to deny our Office further access to Cabinet confidences, witnesses were constrained in their ability to provide all evidence. I was, therefore, prevented from looking over the entire body of evidence to determine its relevance to my examination. Decisions that affect my jurisdiction under the Act, by setting parameters on my ability to receive evidence, should be made transparently and democratically by Parliament, not by the very same public office holders who are subject to the regime I administer.
The third quote states:
During this examination, nine witnesses informed our Office that they had information they believed to be relevant, but that could not be disclosed because, according to them, this information would reveal a confidence of the Queen's Privy Council and would fall outside the scope of Order in Council 2019-0105.
I believe this case speaks for itself. The Prime Minister earlier today said that in the last scandal he was involved with, he fully co-operated with the Ethics Commissioner. I have just read three quotes that are directly from the Ethics Commissioner himself that fully contradict that.
One of the tests that must be met in order for the Speaker to find there is a case of an attempt to deliberately mislead the House and a breach of privilege is that the member who makes the statement must know it to be false. This report is entitled “Trudeau II Report”. There is no doubt that the Prime Minister knows about its findings. It was the subject of multiple exchanges in question period before the last election.
I leave it to you, Mr. Speaker, to find a prima facie case of misleading the House.
View Andrew Scheer Profile
Mr. Speaker, so much of what the finance minister just said is not true. I do not have enough time to enumerate it all, because we only have a few minutes for questions and comments.
The government was wrong. It was wrong to leave our borders open for longer. It was wrong when it said it was going to have enhanced screening at airports, and it was slow to fix the gaps in its own programs. So many Canadians have been let down by the government. It has refused to fix the wage subsidy. It has refused to remove the back-to-work penalty for people who want to take available shifts, and it has refused to implement the back-to-work bonus that Conservatives have proposed to help people fill available shifts and help local businesses get back on their feet.
The government has also refused to fund the Auditor General so that she can keep track of this massive amount of new spending and historic levels of deficits and debt. All she wanted was about $10 million to make sure she could go through the programs, but the minister did find $15 million kicking around for the Deputy Prime Minister's political office.
Can the finance minister tell the House exactly what the $15 million that he gave the Deputy Prime Minister will be going to?
View Andrew Scheer Profile
Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Carleton, one of the great, hard-working finance shadow ministers who the minister referenced, who are doing so much good work to try to help fix the gaps in the government's programs.
The finance minister has just painted an extremely dire picture of Canada's finances, but what we did not hear was any kind of a plan to support the reopening of our economy and to get Canadians back to work.
Coming out of the pandemic, every single country on the planet will be desperately competing for the same opportunities and the same investments, so where is the Prime Minister's plan to set us apart? The United Kingdom has a plan. France, Germany, South Korea and Japan all have plans. In fact, every single country in the G7 has a plan.
The government is borrowing $343 billion this year. However, the Prime Minister has no plan to help Canadians return to work. He has no plan to guide our economic recovery. He has no plan to stimulate growth or attract business investment to create the conditions for job growth.
The government is borrowing $343 billion this year. This year, for the first time ever, the net federal debt will reach over one trillion dollars. In fact, it is borrowing so much money that the Bank of Canada has to create it out of thin air. The Bank of Canada is purchasing 5 billion dollars' worth of government debt every single week.
The Prime Minister has absolutely no plan to help Canadians return to work, no plan for our economic recovery and no plan to stimulate growth, attract business investment or create the conditions for job growth.
I know this might come as a shock to a Liberal prime minister, but spending billions of dollars does not create economic growth, and handing it out to Liberal insiders certainly will not restart our economy. More Liberal tax hikes and more red tape will not restart our economy.
If we want to be competitive, we must unlock the power of the private sector, help Canadians get back to work, support small businesses, lower taxes, eliminate red tape and put Canada back on the map as an attractive place to do business.
The biggest misconception right now about the economy is that if we simply lift the restrictions and provinces reopen, our economy will come roaring back to life. The reality is that it will take leadership, big ideas and a lot of hard work. However, the Prime Minister's track record proves that he cannot be trusted to lead Canada's recovery. His sky-high taxes, wasteful spending and massive deficits put Canada in an incredibly weak position before the pandemic began.
While a responsible government would have saved while times were good and paid down debt, as our previous Conservative government did, the Liberals added $87 billion in new debt during its first four years of power. As a result, Canada is the only G7 country to have lost its AAA credit rating and has one of the highest debt levels in the AA category.
Before the pandemic, Canada's unemployment rate was higher than that of all other G7 countries except France and Italy, whose socialist policies the Prime Minister was trying to emulate. Now Canada has surpassed them and has the highest unemployment rate in the G7. In fact, we have among the highest unemployment rates in the OECD, falling fourth right behind Greece. This is should be a major wake-up call for the government.
There is no doubt that Canadians are struggling. The last few months have been very difficult. Millions of people lost their jobs. More than 100,000 Canadians became ill. Thousands died. Businesses shut down and many will never reopen. Canadians are watching in horror as their savings disappear.
Despite all of this, as provinces gradually reopen, Canadians are hopeful and optimistic about their futures. They want to work. Businesses want to reopen to welcome back staff and customers. They are determined to rebuild and are coming up with innovative ways to offer services as provinces.
Now, I do not know why the Prime Minister always feels the need to talk down Canada. Canadians are an endlessly enterprising people. Perhaps it is a product of our immigrant society where people have left the familiarity of home for a shot at a better life on the other side of the world, and then work hard to achieve it. Perhaps it is the inspiration that we take from indigenous peoples, resilient men and women who built Canada's first communities in some of the harshest conditions imaginable. Perhaps it is our belief in freedom, limited government and the power of the free market. Regardless of the reason, Canadians have proven time and time again that through hard work, innovation and perseverance, we can accomplish anything.
Canada's economic recovery will be driven by Canadians. Governments do not create jobs, and we cannot borrow our way to prosperity. True success comes from investing in people, but the only people the Liberals are interested in investing in are the wealthy elites. While regular Canadians continue to struggle, the Prime Minister is passing buckets of money around the highest levels of corporate Canada. It started in the last Parliament when the Liberals developed their superclusters program, handing out billions and billions of dollars to corporate entities and wealthy institutions. They gave $50 million to Mastercard and $12 million to Loblaws. They gave $35 billion to the Canada Infrastructure Bank, which protects wealthy investors and puts all the risk on the backs of taxpayers. How many projects has that new Infrastructure Bank actually completed? Zero. The Bank of Canada, as I said earlier, is printing money.
Now, the finance minister just bragged about the low cost of servicing that debt. Well, there is a reason why. It is because the Bank of Canada is purchasing government debt on the secondary bond market. It is creating money out of thin air, and who gets that money first? It is the wealthy investors who have already purchased government debt in the past. This is the epitome of trickle-down economics. It's throwing money around at the highest levels of corporate Canada while raising taxes on hard-working Canadians. In the middle of a pandemic and all of the economic difficulties it has caused, they raised the carbon tax and are raising payroll taxes and excise taxes. Meanwhile, there is no help for energy workers. They have refused to fix their flawed programs.
The finance minister talked about the need for speed. Well, we all agreed back in March that the government had to act quickly, and we were told that if Parliament passed these measures, they would be fixed as time went on. I note the date, July 8, and that they have still not fixed the flaws in the wage subsidy, and there are still thousands and thousands of people who have lost their jobs because of the gaps in that program. They have refused to make any adjustments to the rental subsidies that require businesses to have lost 70% of their revenue before they qualify, and, of course, they have refused to take away the barrier to people returning back to work by adopting the back-to-work bonus the Conservatives have proposed. We cannot forget that in the middle of this pandemic, the Prime Minister has let so many Canadians fall behind.
The Conservatives have been proposing constructive solutions to help Canadians all along through this pandemic. Our goal is to help workers and local businesses get back up and running as quickly as possible.
It is very disappointing that the Prime Minister did not use today's fiscal snapshot to offer the back-to-work bonus. Our Conservative plan can make the Canada emergency response benefit more flexible and more generous, to allow workers to earn more as businesses gradually open.
Helping Canadians transition back to work is vital to our recovery. A good job helps Canadians succeed. It helps their families succeed. It helps build our communities and ultimately makes our country strong.
Under the Prime Minister, Canada and Canadians are losing out. We are falling behind. We are falling behind every other nation in the G7. That is unacceptable. Canadians deserve a government that stands up for their interests. They deserve better than what they just got today.
View Andrew Scheer Profile
Madam Chair, I am not surprised that the member has a selective memory when it comes to the last few months. It seems like he is stuck in March. He is stuck at about March 22, when everybody realized that we were in an unprecedented situation and we all agreed that we would come back to Parliament to give the government the tools it needed to help Canadians.
What did his party do with that opportunity? Before members of Parliament even gathered in the chamber, before we had even figured out how to stay two metres apart, the government wrote itself a massive power grab, trying to eliminate the role of Parliament. In the middle of a pandemic when people were losing their jobs and losing loved ones, the first thought of members of his party was how they could benefit politically from it. Then, when we pointed out time and again the gaps that people were falling through, in the wage subsidy, in the CERB and the penalty for going back to work, and in the rental subsidy, the Liberals have refused to make any of those changes, leaving thousands of Canadians behind.
That is the legacy the government will take into the next election and I have no doubt that Canadians will not reward the Liberals for their slowness, their poor decisions and their inaction.
View Andrew Scheer Profile
Madam Chair, first, the Conservatives support the idea of eliminating the barrier for people who want to return to work. The Bloc Québécois paid the Conservatives a nice compliment by stealing our idea. That does not bother me. It is a nice compliment. It was our party that proposed giving Canadians incentives to return to work. It was our finance critic who suggested it. It came about because of the hard work of our Conservative team, which put forward ideas to improve the Liberal government's disastrous programs.
If the Bloc Québécois has seen the light and supports our position, that is a good thing.
View Andrew Scheer Profile
Madam Chair, I would like to indicate that I am sharing my time with the hon. member for Richmond—Arthabaska.
The government would have us believe that it is doing its best during this difficult time, yet despite calling for a team Canada approach in the early days of this pandemic, the government has ignored many of the reasonable, common-sense proposals that the opposition has put forward to make the programs better and to ensure that Canadians do not fall through the cracks. Unfortunately, the government has let people down from the beginning of the health crisis, and this continues, even though the economic effects of the lockdown have caused so much hardship and misery to Canadians.
For example, when other countries were closing down their borders, the government refused to do so, which allowed more people who had the virus to enter the country, obviously leading to more Canadians acquiring it. As the pandemic continued, the government was slow to act, giving PPE away to other countries and dumping stockpiles here at home just months before the coronavirus hit Canada.
As I mentioned, we have proposed common-sense solutions to help more Canadians during this crisis, and the government has refused to act. We are now on the last sitting day of the House before the summer break.
On April 20, we first raised, with the Minister of Finance, an issue relating to companies that have acquired the assets of another company. They are unable to show a significant enough loss to qualify for the wage subsidy. As a result, thousands of Canadians across the country are losing their jobs.
We proposed a solution to the government. Actually, the Minister of Finance's officials came up with a solution: applying an existing provision under the Excise Tax Act to the wage subsidy.
I have a very simple question. Will the government make this change to allow more Canadians to keep their jobs?
View Andrew Scheer Profile
Madam Chair, will the government make the change to the wage subsidy program to allow companies that have acquired another company to receive the subsidy so we can keep more Canadians working, yes or no?
View Andrew Scheer Profile
Madam Chair, the Liberals still cannot answer a yes-or-no question.
The government has racked up unprecedented debt in the last few months. Before the coronavirus hit, the Bank of Canada had approximately $120 billion on its asset sheet. It now has over $500 billion. In other words, it has purchased almost 400 billion dollars' worth of additional debt.
Could the minister tell Canadians where the Bank of Canada got the money to buy that debt?
View Andrew Scheer Profile
Madam Chair, the Bank of Canada is buying up to $5 billion a week in bonds. Where is the Bank of Canada getting the money to buy those bonds?
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