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Results: 1 - 15 of 106
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2020-02-20 10:10 [p.1288]
Mr. Speaker, I rise to respond to the intervention made by the member for Red Deer—Mountain View concerning the government's response to Question No. 50. This is a rather simple and straightforward matter.
Question No. 50 states, in part, “With regard to contracts granted by any department, agency, Crown corporation, or other government entity, since January 1, 2017, to the Pembina Institute”.
The government's response to Question No. 50 states:
Natural Resources Canada, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, the Canada Energy Regulator and the Northern Pipeline Agency have not granted any contracts to the Pembina Institute since January 1, 2017.
The question concerns contracts, not grants, made to the institute in question. There is a clear difference between a contract and a grant.
The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat's guide on grants, contributions and other transfer payments clearly sets out the differences between contracts and transfer payments, which include grants.
The guide states:
A procurement contract is used to obtain goods or services. It is an agreement between a federal government contracting authority and an outside party to purchase goods, provide a service or lease rental property.
A transfer...arrangement [which includes grants] is used to transfer monies or make in-kind contributions from the federal government to individuals, organizations or other levels of government...to further government policy and the department's objectives.
In conclusion, Question No. 50 asked about contracts, not grants. The difference is obvious. The government has responded accurately—
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
We have a point of order, but we cannot have a point of order on a point of order. I will let the hon. member continue and then we will come back after. It is bordering on debate, and I do have some questions but I will let the hon. member finish.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2020-02-20 10:13 [p.1288]
Mr. Speaker, to continue, I submit that if my hon. colleague had asked a slightly different question, he would have received a different answer. Therefore, in no way has the government deliberately misled the House in its response to Question No. 50. It should now be clear to the House that this matter does not constitute a question of privilege.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
We will take that under advisement. That will help us come back to the House with a ruling on the point of privilege that was made by the hon. member for Red Deer—Mountain View. There are no other points of order.
View Earl Dreeshen Profile
CPC (AB)
View Earl Dreeshen Profile
2020-02-20 15:13 [p.1333]
Mr. Speaker, I want to comment on something the parliamentary secretary to the government House leader said this morning in response to the question of privilege I raised yesterday on the misleading response from the Minister of Natural Resources to my written Question No. 50.
The parliamentary secretary should know that when one is in a hole one should stop digging. I say that because his intervention only added to the records of this House more misleading and conflicting information. It caused more confusion and cast more doubt, if that is even possible, on the integrity of the government he supports to give straight-up, honest answers to inquiries from members of this House.
The parliamentary secretary argued that the funds that were paid to Pembina Institute were grants and not contracts, and since my question asked about contracts, the government was accurate in stating that it had not granted any contracts to Pembina Institute since January 1, 2017.
Mr. Speaker, if you follow the references I cited in my submission yesterday, and I have no idea why the parliamentary secretary did not do that, you will note that the items I referred to yesterday were paid for by Natural Resources Canada to the Pembina Institute and they all had contract dates, contract period start dates, contract period end dates and contract values. For example, the item with reference number C-2019-2020-Q2-00393 is listed as:
Procurement Identification Number: 3000696225 Vendor Name: PEMBINA INSTITUTE Contract Date: 2019-09-19 Economic Object Code: 341 Description of work: Communications research services Contract Period Start Date: 2019-09-19 Contract Period End Date or Delivery Date: 2019-12-13 Contract Value: $33,900.00
The payment for communications research services is not a grant. It is a service.
All of the items I referenced yesterday are listed in the same way. They do not just look like contracts or smell like contracts or sound like contracts, they are reported as contracts.
As I said yesterday, I am prepared to move the appropriate motion and I am now prepared to amend the motion to also refer the misleading statements of the parliamentary secretary to the government House leader to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.
View Earl Dreeshen Profile
CPC (AB)
View Earl Dreeshen Profile
2020-02-19 15:46 [p.1260]
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege regarding a deliberately misleading statement presented to the House by the Minister of Natural Resources.
I asked the minister, on December 5, 2019, if his department had granted any contracts to the Pembina Institute since January 1, 2017. This request was made through written Question No. 50.
The minister's answer was:
Natural Resources Canada, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, the Canada Energy Regulator, and the Northern Pipeline Agency have not granted any contracts to the Pembina Institute since January 1, 2017.
If you look on line, Mr. Speaker, at the government's proactive disclosure report available through the open government portal, it lists eight contracts, all awarded by the Department of Natural Resources, and all awarded to the Pembina Institute since January 1, 2017.
I am sure you are aware, Mr. Speaker, of the ruling of Speaker Jerome on December 6, 1978. Speaker Jerome found a prima facie question of privilege after the member for Northumberland—Durham was assured by the solicitor general that as a matter of policy, the RCMP did not intercept the private mail of anyone.
In testimony before the McDonald commission, the former commissioner of the RCMP stated that they did indeed intercept mail on a very restricted basis and that the practice was not one which had been concealed from ministers. The member claimed that this statement clearly conflicted with the information he had received from the then solicitor general some years earlier.
The response by the Minister of Natural Resources to my written question claimed that no contracts had been granted to the Pembina Institute since January 1, 2017. That same minister then provided conflicting information online, as I stated earlier.
Another example of a prima facie case involving conflicting information provided by a minister can be found at pages 8581-2 of the Debates of February 1, 2002. The Speaker was concerned that despite the fact that the minister of national defence stated that he had no intention of misleading the House, contradictory statements were made by the minister and the records were left with two different versions of events.
On March 9, 2011, the Speaker considered a matter where it was alleged that the minister of international cooperation made misleading statements in committee and the House. The Speaker noted that a standing committee had made material available that could be measured against other material, including statements in the House, and answers to oral and written questions. He said that the statements made by the minister had, at the very least, caused confusion. He then decided to allow the member to propose his motion to the House referring to recent precedent and mindful of a ruling by Speaker Jerome to the effect that in case of doubt on a question, the Speaker should leave it to the House to decide.
I point out that this is not a simple matter of the government just deciding not to give an answer to a written question, but a matter of a minister deciding to deliberately deny an answer by providing the wrong answer to the House while at the same time exposing this deception by providing the real answer elsewhere.
On December 16, 1980, at page 5797 of Hansard, the Speaker ruled:
While it is correct to say that the government is not required by our rules to answer written or oral questions, it would be bold to suggest that no circumstances could ever exist for a prima facie question of privilege to be made where there was a deliberate attempt to deny answers to an hon. member....
Before I conclude my remarks, I want to touch on the question of privilege raised by the member for Timmins—James Bay yesterday, because it is relevant to my question of privilege. The member argued that the information he received from the Minister of Justice regarding the legal costs of fighting indigenous children at the Human Rights Tribunal was misleading and that the minister should be held in contempt of the House.
The member brought to the attention of the Speaker other information provided by the minister to another source that was significantly different from the answer he received through his written question.
The member also asked the Speaker to apply the test used by Speakers laid out on page 85 of House of Commons Procedure and Practice, which clearly states:
...when it is alleged that a Member is in contempt for deliberately misleading the House: one, it must be proven that the statement was misleading; two, it must be established that the Member making the statement knew at the time that the statement was incorrect; and three, that in making the statement, the Member intended to mislead the House....
I want to go on record as supporting the hon. member's question of privilege and let him know that I share his frustration with a government that consistently displays a dismissive attitude toward Parliament and its members, a course that ought to be corrected in the early days of this Parliament. One way to do that is to allow this matter to be considered by the members of the House.
I ask you, Mr. Speaker, to measure the content of the answer given by the Minister of Natural Resources to my written question against the information the same minister provided in his proactive report. If this gives you any doubt or causes you confusion, then I urge you to leave it to the House to decide, as Speakers Milliken, Jerome and many others have done in the past under these circumstances.
When you are ready to allow this matter to be put to the House, Mr. Speaker, I will be prepared to move the appropriate motion.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Charlie Angus Profile
NDP (ON)
View Charlie Angus Profile
2020-02-18 10:23 [p.1120]
Mr. Speaker, I do not know if I have had the opportunity to do so, but I would like to congratulate you on your excellent position as my neighbour and as Speaker of the House.
As we are talking about the relationship between first nation people, I rise on a question of privilege pursuant to Standing Order 48, to state that I believe my parliamentary privilege was violated by the Minister of Justice and his staff.
It is my belief that the minister and his staff misled the House on a fundamental issue, which is the legal cost of fighting indigenous children at the Human Rights Tribunal and in federal court. I consequently believe that, because they have provided this misinformation, the minister should be held in contempt of Parliament.
We have had a lot of talk this week about the importance of the rule of law. I find this issue especially pertinent when we are talking about the actions of the justice department and the Attorney General, who apparently believe they are above Parliament when it comes to their obligation to respond to Order Paper questions on fundamental questions of fact, not opinions on facts. If you will indulge me, Mr. Speaker, I will present the facts of this case as succinctly as possible.
On December 9, 2019, I gave notice pursuant to Standing Order 39 of a written question seeking information regarding the legal fees for the hours and the associated costs the government has incurred due to legal proceedings related to Human Rights Tribunal cases against first nation children between 2007 and 2019. The Department of Justice provided a written response to this question in late January 2020 stating, “Based upon the hours recorded, the total amount of legal costs incurred amounts to approximately $5,261,009.14, as of December 9, 2019.”
As a stand-alone figure, the idea that the federal government would have spent $5.2 million fighting the rights of the most vulnerable children in this country is shocking. However, it has come to my attention that these numbers are extremely misleading. I have brought this forward because evidence contrary to the justice official's came out last week when I was representing Canada in Washington, so this is my first opportunity to address this.
Ms. Cindy Blackstock, who has been involved in this case from the beginning, has tabled documents she has received through multiple ATIPs from the justice department about the costs incurred between 2007 and 2017. The number Ms. Blackstock has provided, through the justice department's own documents, is $9.4 million spent fighting indigenous children in court.
APTN has analyzed the numbers and has come up with a slightly more conservative figure of $8.3 million as of 2017, but that is still substantially higher than what the Minister of Justice stated the department has spent up until now. This does not include any of the costs incurred after 2017.
I will remind the Speaker that when the government was found guilty of reckless discrimination against first nation children in 2016, the Prime Minister made a solemn vow that he would respect the rulings of the Human Rights Tribunal. He said he would address this and would not fight this.
However, there have been nine non-compliance orders, as well as a battle in federal court attempting to quash the ruling and deny the rights of children who are in the broken child welfare system. It is clear the numbers we have up to 2017 from the Minister of Justice's office are higher than $8.3 million and higher than the false $5.2 million he provided through the Order Paper.
How can the House make sense of these contradictory numbers? We are not talking about opinions. The issue goes to the heart of the Prime Minister's promise on reconciliation to create a new relationship based on trust. It must also be based on the trust of parliamentarians, when they use tools like the Order Paper question to get factual responses so they can do their jobs.
This ongoing legal battle against first nation children has had a corrosive effect on the Prime Minister's brand and it would appear to me that it cannot be explained away as a matter of opinion attempting to downplay the numbers.
Page 111 of Erskine May: A treatise on the law, privileges, proceedings and the usage of Parliament explicitly states that misleading the House can be considered an issue of contempt. It states, “The Commons may treat the making of a deliberately misleading statement as a contempt.”
Similarly, page 82 of House of Commons Procedure and Practice quotes the United Kingdom Joint Committee on Parliamentary Privilege in listing various types of contempt, which includes “deliberately attempting to mislead the House or a committee (by way of statement, evidence or petition)”.
We know being wrong is not a matter of privilege, but misleading the House is. That is why various Speakers, your predecessors, have used the test laid out in page 85 of House of Commons Procedure and Practice. It states:
...the following elements have to be established when it is alleged that a Member is in contempt for deliberately misleading the House: one, it must be proven that the statement was misleading; two, it must be established that the Member making the statement knew at the time that the statement was incorrect; and three, that in making the statement, the Member intended to mislead the House.
I believe these tests can be met in this case.
First, if we review the criteria that I have just read, the statement given to me was misleading because there exists in the public domain, in the documents of the Minister of Justice, conflicting information regarding these documents. The minister only provided me with the costs of the hours recorded, but not with the associated legal fees.
Second, the minister knew that his statement was misleading since the ministry with which he is charged provided different information to Ms. Cindy Blackstock, yet his signature on the document was tabled in the House.
Third, the minister intended to mislead the House since he intentionally avoided answering parts of the question that would provide clarity, a point made clear by the fact that the minister omitted to mention all additional legal fees and only provided the cost of hours.
This is not about being wrong; this is about the fundamental question of the obligation of the government to speak truthfully in this chamber.
I note that previous Speakers have ruled that in the event of contradictory information, the matter can be brought to the House to be dealt with.
For example, the Speaker, on March 3, 2014, stated:
...the fact remains that the House continues to be seized of completely contradictory statements. This is a difficult position in which to leave members, who must be able to depend on the integrity of the information with which they are provided to perform their parliamentary duties.
Accordingly, in keeping with the precedent cited earlier in which Speaker Milliken indicated that the matter merited “...further consideration by an appropriate committee, if only to clear the air”.
I believe that the same situation exists today and that the remedy should therefore be the same.
The fact that the Canadian government even spent a cent fighting the most vulnerable of its own citizens in court to deny them their indigenous rights and human rights is callous and shameful. However, the fact the government misled the House and provided incomplete or inaccurate information regarding the amount of money that it has wasted on such reprehensible actions is unacceptable. I asked the government to answer these fundamental questions. We need to know that the government will respond with true and accurate figures to an Order Paper question about how much money was spent at the Human Rights Tribunal.
That is in accordance with page 63 of Erskine May's Treatise on the Law, Privileges, Proceedings and Usage of Parliament, which states that “...it is of paramount importance that ministers give accurate and truthful information to Parliament, correcting any inadvertent error at the earliest opportunity.”
Also, I am demanding that the Minister of Justice explain to this House and the Canadian public why the information that was provided in response to the Order Paper question differs so much from the information that was provided to Ms. Cindy Blackstock through multiple ATIP requests in his own department. The Canadian people have a right to know.
I will wrap up here. In conclusion, this matters because what we are dealing with are the lives of children. It mattered to Kanina Sue Turtle, Tammy Keeash, Tina Fontaine, Amy Owen, Courtney Scott, Devon Freeman, Chantell Fox, Jolynn Winter, Jenera Roundsky, Azraya Ackabee-Kokopenace, and all the other children who have been broken in this system that failed them. Parliament needs to know that these children were loved. We had an obligation to do better.
The Parliament of Canada called on the government and the justice minister on December 11, 2019, just after we learned the horrific details of the death of Devon Freeman, to end his legal battle against the children. He has ignored the rule of Parliament. He has ignored the obligations under the Order Paper question. I ask you to address this.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
I will take this question of privilege under advisement.
I will hear very briefly from the hon. member for Perth—Wellington, for 30 seconds or less. I do not want this to turn into a debate.
View John Nater Profile
CPC (ON)
View John Nater Profile
2020-02-18 10:33 [p.1122]
Mr. Speaker, in the interests of time, the opposition would like to reserve its right to return to the House, if needed, to address this question of privilege.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Speaker, Canadians were horrified to see the Prime Minister grinning, hugging and bowing during his interaction with the Iranian foreign minister, providing the regime a major propaganda victory and revictimizing families whose loved ones it killed.
Could the Prime Minister update the House as to whether this servile display led to any concrete progress on compensation for flight 752 victims' families or on a proper independent investigation?
View Robert Oliphant Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Robert Oliphant Profile
2020-02-18 14:41 [p.1158]
Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister was very clear and very firm with the Iranian foreign minister. He made a promise to families in Canada that we will do everything we can to make sure that they get full disclosure, accountability, transparency and justice.
Equally, in Munich the Minister of Foreign Affairs and our allies sent a strong message that Iran—
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
View Robert Oliphant Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Robert Oliphant Profile
2020-02-18 14:41 [p.1158]
Mr. Speaker, our Prime Minister has taken every opportunity and was extremely clear and always firm with Iranian officials, the Iranian prime minister and the foreign minister. He made a promise to families in Canada that we will do everything in our power to make sure they get closure, accountability, transparency and justice.
View James Bezan Profile
CPC (MB)
Mr. Speaker, when former prime minister Stephen Harper met with Vladimir Putin, he said, “get out of Ukraine.” Now that is real leadership. The Iranian community and the families of the victims of flight 752 deserve that kind of leadership. Instead they had the insulting spectacle of the Prime Minister glad-handing, back-slapping and of course bowing to the Iranian foreign minister and chief propagandist.
Will the Prime Minister apologize to the families and the Iranian community for this blatant disrespect? Will he say sorry for once again embarrassing Canada on the world stage?
View Robert Oliphant Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Robert Oliphant Profile
2020-02-18 14:42 [p.1159]
Mr. Speaker, now more than ever as families grieve, as families try to make sense of this situation, it is important for us to be united in the House and in Canada and for Canadians to stand in the wake of this terrible tragedy.
I would ask my colleagues on all sides of the House to avoid trying to score political points on this very important and deeply personal issue to many Canadians. We have brought together Canadians and international partners to hold Iran to account. We will do that and we expect members to help us with it.
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