Interventions in the House of Commons
 
 
 
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-05-29 22:00 [p.11607]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to say good evening to the minister and thank him for being here with us.
I will be asking questions in quick succession, and I would like the answers to follow suit. It will all be fine. It will last 15 minutes, and then it will all be over.
What does the minister think of the Davie shipyard's new administration since 2013? Also, is he confident that the Asterix supply ship for Project Resolve will be ready in time?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-05-29 22:01 [p.11607]
Mr. Chair, the minister says they are doing great work. Does that mean he has a good opinion of the administration of the Davie shipyard?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-05-29 22:02 [p.11607]
Mr. Chair, I understand the lack of capacity, even if I do not believe him. The minister cannot tell us exactly who told him about the lack of capacity for official reasons and strategic reasons, etc. What I would like to know is whether it was an employee of his political cabinet who told him about the lack of capacity, or was it the DND staff, who are not political?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-05-29 22:02 [p.11607]
Mr. Chair, I made a mistake. I was talking about the lack of capacity with regard to fighter jets in our actual air fleet. I should have clarified that point.
I will ask my question again. Exactly when was the minister informed of the lack of capacity in the air fleet and who informed him? Was it an employee of his political cabinet or a DND staff member?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-05-29 22:03 [p.11607]
Mr. Chair, when the minister was made aware of the lack of capacity in the Canadian air fleet, did that information come from an employee of his political cabinet or a DND staff member?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-05-29 22:04 [p.11607]
Mr. Chair, on what date did the minister inform the Minister of Public Services and Procurement that his fleet's needs were so urgent that he would be going ahead with untendered military procurement?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-05-29 22:04 [p.11607]
Mr. Chair, the Minister of Public Services and Procurement is responsible for administering the Government Contracts Regulations, which apply to government procurement.
Did the minister have a discussion with the Minister of Public Services and Procurement regarding the Government Contracts Regulations for the potential acquisition of 18 Super Hornet jets?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-05-29 22:05 [p.11608]
Mr. Chair, did the minister's staff and the staff of the Minister of Public Services and Procurement communicate at a meeting, or by telephone, email, mail, or courier with respect to the valid exceptions to the process set out in the Government Contracts Regulations?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-05-29 22:06 [p.11608]
Mr. Chair, I would like to know whether his department informed the minister that procurement must be carried out in accordance with the government's procurement policies, especially when there is no call for tender?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-05-29 22:07 [p.11608]
Mr. Chair, the next question absolutely requires an answer. Otherwise, we will know that the minister has not done his homework.
Which exception to the Government Contracts Regulations does the lack of capacity put forward by the government fall under?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-05-29 22:07 [p.11608]
Mr. Chair, fortunately, the deputy minister responsible for procurement answered my question. The government referred to subsection 3(1)(g) of the Government Contract Regulations:
...a contract whose purpose is, for operational reasons, to fulfil an interim requirement for defence supplies or services or to ensure defence logistical capabilities on an interim basis, and any related contract.
This is the subsection used by the government to proceed without a call for tenders, unless it does not really want to proceed without a call for tenders, or unless it does not really want to buy interim aircraft.
If the government does want to proceed, my next is question is as follows: did Public Services and Procurement approach the present minister's department in order to obtain a letter with respect to the exception under subsection 3(1)(g) for the purchase of a fleet of aircraft without a call for tenders?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-05-29 22:09 [p.11608]
Mr. Chair, did the minister's department write a letter to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement explaining why it was necessary to proceed without a bidding process?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-05-29 22:10 [p.11609]
Mr. Chair, this is very important. The Minister of Public Services and Procurement has a legal obligation to request that the reason why the government is not holding a bidding process for the Super Hornet fighter jets be written in black and white, even if it is just in a simple letter.
Did the Minister of Public Services contact the defence minister's office? If not, did the defence minister intend to move forward diligently and honourably on his own initiative by providing his partner department, Public Services and Procurement Canada, with the necessary explanations that would ensure that the two departments properly comply with the Government Contracts Regulations? It is a law after all. I am not the one saying it. It is the law.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-05-29 22:12 [p.11609]
Mr. Chair, the Liberals discussed the needs of the Canadian Armed Forces' air fleet among themselves. If letters have not yet been exchanged between the two offices, it is basically because they have not gotten very far in the process to potentially acquire 18 Super Hornet fighter jets without tender. They basically have done nothing to date.
I am asking the minister where the Liberals are in terms of the work that has been done between the two departments. This has to happen at some point. It is not me that is saying it. It is the law. The two departments have to work together. It is the law.
If they are not at that point yet, when will they be?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-05-29 22:13 [p.11609]
Mr. Chair, okay, that is too bad. In 2012, Mr. Ferguson, the Auditor General, said that Public Services would have to request a letter from National Defence, but that went nowhere because they did not do anything. We all know what is going to happen. They will not go forward with this. That is why they have done nothing. The law does not even matter, because they have done and will do absolutely nothing.
I would like to know if the Seaspan and Irving shipyards can satisfy military needs under the national marine strategy.
Does the minister think that these two shipyards can meet the needs set out in the marine strategy?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-05-29 22:15 [p.11609]
Mr. Chair, there is an excellent table in the report by the Senate Standing Committee on National Security and Defence. It shows that, beginning in 2005, when the Conservatives came to power, the percentage of GDP allocated to the armed forces started to go up. During the economic crisis, it started going down, unfortunately. If only the economic crisis had not happened. However, in 2015-16 and 2016-17, it kept going down: 0.92% and 0.88%.
Will the percentage of GDP allocated to military spending start going back up in 2017-18?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-05-19 12:03 [p.11479]
Madam Speaker, since the Liberal government took office, the people of Beauport—Limoilou have been plagued with tax hikes, the cancellation of tax credits for family activities, extra payroll taxes, and new taxes on various consumer goods.
Yesterday, the Liberal government confirmed that it will be imposing a carbon tax on all the provinces. By 2022, gas prices at the pump will increase by 12¢, which is really going to drive up the cost of groceries.
Will the Liberals put a stop to this situation before it escalates any further, or is this just the beginning?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-05-18 10:55 [p.11394]
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech and the work that he does on this issue.
I missed the better part of his speech, so he may have already gone over this, but beyond the monetary investment that the Liberal government should be making in this area, what else can it do to proactively help those suffering from autism spectrum disorder? I imagine that there is something more tangible than monetary investments that the government should be providing. I wonder if the hon. member could elaborate on that.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-05-17 15:06 [p.11317]
Mr. Speaker, for the past year, the Prime Minister has refused to acknowledge his responsibility in the Phoenix fiasco.
The Prime Minister laid off 250 compensation experts between February and April 2016 as he was launching the Phoenix pay system. This means that the Liberals are responsible not only for launching the system on February 24, 2016, but also for cutting the number of experts, which has caused delays and compensation errors.
Will the Liberals stop deflecting blame and finally take responsibility?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-05-11 12:28 [p.11065]
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.
Out of the $120 billion promised and planned by his government after the election, how much, to date, has been taken out of the treasury to be invested in infrastructure? To my knowledge, it is almost nothing.
How is the infrastructure bank going to make sure that the $120 billion promised for infrastructure is distributed to the various projects as quickly as possible?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-05-08 14:43 [p.10889]
Mr. Speaker, I would like the minister to answer my question.
Ministerial responsibility is a long-standing political convention in our political system. Ministers are honour-bound to uphold such conventions, or else resign.
From the outset, the Liberal government has repeatedly said that all that is required to end the crisis of confidence is an apology. This political approach is not in keeping with the convention we have in the House.
Why is the minister hanging on to his position, when it is obvious to all Canadians that he should resign immediately?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-05-08 15:31 [p.10900]
Mr. Speaker, during his speech, the member suggested that members from this side of the House had only put up examples coming from anonymous sources. That is not true. We spoke about retired Lieutenant-General William Carr, who said that the defence minister's search for recognition was a national embarrassment. We also spoke of retired Major Catherine Campbell, who has also spoken on the subject, and she is quite disappointed.
The member also said the same thing when the MP for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles gave his speech. He accused us of talking against the service of the minister. That is not the case. We are arguing that the minister has falsely exaggerated his role during Operation Medusa in Afghanistan. We are not talking about his honourable service to our country, but to his false exaggeration of being the architect of Operation Medusa.
When will the member correct his statement?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-05-08 16:04 [p.10904]
Mr. Speaker, I will begin by simply saying that the Minister of National Defence must resign, not only because of numbers or political decisions, but because of ministerial responsibility, a very important constitutional convention in this country. Since he does not want to follow that convention, we need to use an opposition day today to call for his resignation, which is coming soon. By the end of my speech, members will understand why.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the men and women who serve their country in the Canadian Armed Forces for the hard work they do every day, as demonstrated recently when they took quick action to help address the flooding in many regions of Quebec and Ontario.
I would also like to thank the members of the 6th Field Artillery Regiment, with whom I had the honour of serving our country, for the dedication they have shown since the regiment was created to the homeland and in every conflict.
Like my other opposition colleagues, today, I want to talk about our motion, which reads as follows:
That the House has lost confidence in the Minister of National Defence's ability to carry out his responsibilities on behalf of the government since, on multiple occasions the Minister misrepresented his military service and provided misleading information to the House.
This is really very serious. It all began with earlier issues, which I will talk about shortly. First, I want to explain a little about what has brought us to this opposition day, namely Operation Medusa, which took place in Afghanistan in 2006.
The minister’s political career began recently, in 2015. Before the November 2015 election, he was still in the Canadian Armed Forces. In a speech in New Delhi, India, for the second time in his political career, he stated that he was the main architect of Operation Medusa. This was not an inadvertent error, since he had made the same false statement, the same exaggeration, previously, during the 2015 election campaign, in an interview with a journalist.
Operation Medusa was one of the most important operations conducted by the Canadian Armed Forces in Afghanistan. It has contributed to our national pride, since it was a success, according to a majority of analysts.
Since making that false statement, the minister has been severely criticized for this lie by the media, the opposition, and numerous active or retired members of the Canadian Armed Forces. Today, my colleagues have clearly shown this by referring to a number of retired members of the military who are disappointed and stunned by this minister’s conduct.
What is unfortunate, but what reinforces our position on this opposition day, is that the Minister of National Defence is setting a trend in terms of how he performs his ministerial duties.
Right at the beginning of his term as minister, in December 2015, when the newly elected government decided to end our CF-18 campaign in Iraq, the Minister of National Defence held talks with certain members of the Iraqi government. When the minister returned to Canada, we asked him several times whether he had actually heard any comments about the withdrawal of our CF-18s in Iraq, and he said that was not the case. However, thanks to the good work done by journalists, we recently learned that, on the contrary, the Iraqi government had informed the minister on numerous occasions of its concerns regarding the withdrawal of the CF-18s. That is the first point on which the Minister of National Defence misled us.
The second example of the trend that the minister is setting relates to Kuwait. We have armed forces personnel in Kuwait, and, since October 5, 2014, they have received tax relief that was put in place by the Conservative government, as is often the case for other missions.
Responding to questions on the Order Paper, the Minister of National Defence acknowledged that the Conservative government had in fact put that tax relief in place. In spite of the minister’s clear statements saying that members of the military deployed in Kuwait were entitled to tax relief offered by the previous Conservative government, he kept saying, several months later, falsely, that those soldiers were deployed without receiving tax relief from the Conservative government. Why did he change his mind? Did his parliamentary assistants not bother to tell him that he had signed a paper saying that in the House? That is probably what happened, and that is another example of incompetence.
The third thing that further highlights the minister’s pattern of misleading conduct toward Canadians and the House is our fighter fleet’s lack of capacity. There is no such thing. The commander of the air force, Lieutenant-General Michael Hood, said when he appeared before the Standing Committee on National Defence, as my colleague from Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles who sits on that committee and was there can attest, that there was no lack of capacity when it comes to Canada’s fighter fleet.
I have given three flagrant examples that show that the minister has misled the House of Commons, the parliamentarians who must vote for or against the government’s decisions. His pattern seems quite obvious to me, and that brings me to the second part of my speech.
I want to come back to the convention of ministerial responsibility. If there is one fantastic thing bequeathed to us by mother England, and its fantastic mother of parliament, Westminster, it is ministerial responsibility, which rests, first and foremost, on the honour of a man or woman, the honour of serving and of acknowledging that, when the time comes, he or she must resign from his position or her position.
I have to say that Canada has an interesting history when it comes to ministerial responsibility. I am going to give all the examples of ministers who have resigned, since 1867, for reasons ranging from the trivial to the most serious.
I thought that the change in the political culture that had taken place since the 1950s should have meant that very few ministers had resigned recently. We treat politicians as we treat products of mass consumption: we toss them out when they are no longer good. Contrary to what I thought, until this millennium, ministers have had the courage to resign for much more trivial reasons than we are currently discussing in the case of the Minister of National Defence.
Mr. Galt, one of the founders of the nation, resigned in 1867 because he no longer had the support and confidence of his cabinet colleagues, who held his policy responsible for the collapse of the Commercial Bank of Canada.
In 1878, Mr. Vail, defence minister, resigned because he had violated ministerial directives by being a shareholder of a company that had received government printing and advertising contracts.
In 1907, the minister of railways and canals, Mr. Emmerson, resigned because he had been accused of going to a Montreal hotel with a person of ill repute. Is that not unbelievable?
In 1965, the secretary of state of Canada, Mr. Lamontagne, resigned because he had been accused by the opposition, not by a court, of being involved in the scandal relating to a bankruptcy close to the prime minister.
Mr. Dupuis, a minister without portfolio, resigned in 1965 after exerting undue influence in the matter of a race track in Saint-Luc.
In 1986, the minister of regional industrial expansion, Mr. Stevens, resigned because he was being investigated in relation to conflict of interest allegations, which is much more serious.
In 2002, the solicitor general of Canada, currently Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food, resigned because he was being investigated in relation to conflict of interest allegations.
In 2005, the present member for Humber River—Black Creek resigned in the midst of allegations of improprieties.
Last, in 2010, minister of state Helena Guergis resigned because she was being investigated regarding allegations relating to her conduct.
As we can see, for various reasons, trivial or otherwise, ministers have followed a very important convention in our country, a constitutional convention that requires a man or woman who holds office as a minister of Canada to resign when the members of the House question their confidence in him or her. Here, it is not only us; it is the entire Canadian Forces that are questioning their confidence in the minister. He should simply resign.
When we learn the truth about all of the issues that concern us, and if he did not in fact lie to Canadians, he will be able to return.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-05-08 16:15 [p.10906]
Mr. Speaker, the member is simply trying to create a diversion. In my speech and during this opposition day, what is important is talking about a minister. Like all his predecessors, the minister should follow the constitutional convention of ministerial responsibility, and, most importantly, honour it. Right at the outset, in December 2015, the Prime Minister told the House that he was not like Mr. Harper and he had a cabinet government. A cabinet government takes responsibility, and when a minister is in the wrong, he resigns.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-05-08 16:17 [p.10906]
Mr. Speaker, that is an interesting theory. I hope it doesn't, but if it holds true, the minister must be having a difficult time. That being said, there is no law requiring that he agree to his Prime Minister's request that he not step down.
On the other hand, he ought to respect and apply a constitutional convention endorsed for centuries in our British parliamentary system and resign when faced with a loss of confidence brought on by his actions.
Personally, I detest conspiracy theories. That said, I hope that this is not the case here.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-05-08 16:18 [p.10906]
Mr. Speaker, in 1848, the issue was responsible government. I am talking about ministerial responsibility, which is a convention pertaining to a minister who is at fault. This has absolutely nothing to do with the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister can keep placing his trust in him, that goes without saying. However, the minister must realize, on his own, as a man or woman of honesty and dignity, that no one is listening to him anymore.
The defence report that has just been released paints the picture of a terrible Conservative government, even though that was not the case at all. The Canada First defence strategy meant $20 billion more for National Defence. Who is going to believe that report now, dear colleagues? No one. That is the reality. That is why the minister has to resign. He is compromising the work of all of his colleagues, mainly that of the Prime Minister. If the Prime Minister has not shown him the door in a few weeks' time, the situation will fester and the government will begin to rot from within.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-05-05 11:54 [p.10832]
Madam Speaker, the Liberal government has set up a task force to ponder the trials and tribulations of the Phoenix pay system.
After a year, this is too little too late, and public servants themselves are the ones saying so. Contrary to what the Liberal government and the parliamentary secretary are claiming, there are still some public servants across this country who have not been paid for six months, including the Drouin family in Montreal. There has been absolutely no progress, and some very desperate cases remain outstanding.
When will this government take urgent action to fix the problem once and for all?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-05-02 14:38 [p.10651]
Mr. Speaker, Ubique Quo Fas et Gloria Ducunt.
“Whither right and glory lead” is the motto of the 6th Field Artillery Regiment, where I had the honour of completing my formal military service. Non-commissioned members like myself follow orders not because we fear officers, but because these orders ensure the protection of the federation and the honour of our homeland.
The Minister of National Defence has breached that trust. Since his moral authority is gone, will he do the right thing and step down?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-04-13 11:42 [p.10510]
Mr. Speaker, the military see the truth. They see it on their paycheque at the end of the month.
On April 6, the hon. member for Gatineau told me that I would get evidence of the capability gap that was cited as the reason for procuring the 18 Super Hornet jets without a bidding process. He told me that the Department of National Defence would provide me with that information.
However, on Tuesday, in committee, the Liberals voted twice against the Conservative motion calling on the Minister of National Defence to come present that evidence.
The Liberals keep saying that this capability gap exists. Why are two ministers responsible for this file unable to prove it and unable to illustrate their point in writing in a letter?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-04-13 14:01 [p.10532]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to take the floor today. I want to congratulate the hon. member for Beloeil—Chambly on his very fine speech. His bilingualism is second to none. There is no question that he honours the forefathers of the two founding peoples of Canada.
My colleague from Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan has quite clearly explained the matter that I am addressing today. He has provided a good history of the last three weeks, laying out each successive question of privilege. I do not intend to repeat that exercise. Although I plan to speak to the importance of a question of privilege in my introduction, my main intention is to analyze the discussion paper on House reforms, while remaining grounded in the subject at hand.
For three weeks I have been awaiting the opportunity to address my colleagues in the House on the debate before us, whether on the issue of privilege or the reforms debated in the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. Although some members are trying to differentiate the debates and separate their elements, they constitute a whole. Whether we are dealing with the question of privilege or the Liberal government's proposed reforms, which are meant to modernise Parliament, the issue remains the same, namely the inalienable rights of parliamentarians, and indirectly, every Canadian’s right to representation.
Over the last three weeks, I have tried to speak before the committee by getting my name on the list. I did not succeed. I also tried to speak in the House last Friday. I was here to take part in the debate, like my colleagues on the other side. I am happy to be able to speak at last, and perhaps bring a French Canadian perspective to this debate.
Many of my colleagues on this side of the House have tried to demonstrate that questions of privilege are of critical importance to members of the House of Commons as well as to the members of Westminster-style parliaments worldwide.
Questions of privilege have been centuries in the making. I think it was my hon. colleague from Yorkton—Melville who aptly explained how, centuries ago in England, kings attempted certain manoeuvres to prevent the lords or members of the bourgeoisie, who were elected members or senators at the time, lords of the upper chamber, from entering the House to vote in due course on a given bill.
Over the centuries, the respective English chambers acquired certain means of protection, the most important of which pertained to the issue of privilege which we are debating today.
The foremost purpose of the question of privilege is to ensure that access to this democratic precinct is never impaired by any particular situation, the behaviour of an individual, or laws or changes to House procedures and affairs. It is no small matter to say that the question of privilege took centuries to adequately protect.
Two weeks ago, two of my Conservative colleagues were unable to vote because they were delayed by a bus which had itself been delayed by the vehicles transporting our right honourable Prime Minister. The privilege of these two members here today to represent and speak on behalf of their constituents has, in effect, been breached, as has the privilege of all members. Every member of Parliament represents approximately 100,000 citizens.
This is a very serious issue for all members of the House, simply because of what could happen. Let us turn the tables. Imagine that this was a confidence vote and that some 30 or 40 Liberal members were unable to reach the House. The government could fall and an election could be called.
That is why we must ensure that access to the House is never restricted in any way. That is extremely important. That is why we should not hesitate to debate this for as long as we must. The breach of a parliamentary privilege could have disastrous consequences. This is a very serious matter.
The Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, directly or indirectly, willingly or not, is trying to manage this debate on the question of privilege. Last Friday, I was here when he tried to manage the debate and call into question the pertinence of debating a question of privilege in the House. He also tried to do something like that today, in my humble analysis of the situation, context, and dynamics in the House. We can see that this is a habit of our Liberal government colleagues and the parliamentary secretary. It is the Liberal habit of wanting to manage, control, dominate, and supervise the elected members of this very honourable democratic chamber.
It would be useful to read the definition of the word “manage”. To manage means to administer. To administer what? According to the dictionary I am reading from, to manage means to administer the interests and affairs of another.
Only I can manage my interests in the House. I read the definition of the word “manage” so that we can refer to it when we read the discussion paper presented by the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons entitled Modernization of the Standing Orders of the House of Commons. I invite you to go to page 2, where it states:
Therefore, the themes of the proposed reforms are three-fold in addressing the aforementioned issues. They include: (1) the management of the House and its sittings; (2) management of debate; and (3) management of committees.
Management is the act of managing. I can hardly believe that none of the professionals in the government ever told the House leader not to put those words in the paper. Those words, along with several other words, do not belong there. I will talk about that later.
It is not up to the government to manage the House. The government manages affairs of state. It manages Canada. Fine. The government's job is to manage the interests of Canadians, not the House of Commons. Nevertheless, that is what it says here in the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons's paper on reforming the Standing Orders of the House of Commons.
The Canadian Constitution is my bible; I refer to it constantly, though I like the Bible too. If we look at the part about legislative powers, it talks about privileges. The word “privileges” is in the Canadian Constitution, right there in the British North America Act of 1867, but there is no mention of the word “manage” in the part about the House of Commons.
Of course, the Fathers of Confederation never planned, anticipated, or intended for the government or members to manage the House. On the contrary, emphasis is put on the question of privilege.
Let us look at what is happening with the government's proposed changes, which are in fact at the heart of the current debate, although we are now debating the subamendment to the question of privilege relating to issue of privilege. As I said, I will not get into the entire back story, as my colleague from Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan explained it all so very well.
In fact, the debate is on the opposition members' current frustration with a disingenuous attempt by the Liberal government and especially the Prime Minister to substantially and significantly reduce the right to speak, the right to vote, and the right of all hon. members to act as they see fit in the House. It is hard to see what the government hopes to achieve exactly. I do not wish to impugn their motives. I will leave it to everyone to come up with their own interpretation. However, one thing is clear, the government's discursive arguments are deeply flawed.
Many things bother me about the discussion paper on reforming the Standing Orders. On page one, we read that Parliament “should respond to demands of greater accountability, transparency and relevance.” The Fathers of Confederation, constitutional conventions, and parliamentary conventions have never been concerned with relevance. The only thing that is very much relevant to all members and all Canadians is the election that is now held every four years under the new law. The only thing that is very much relevant is the result of the election which then translates into the division of political powers in the House of Commons. The only matter of relevance in the House is the representation of citizens and the representation of the different interests and different political forces in Canadian society.
In the second paragraph, we read that the impetus of the reforms is “to balance the desire of the minority's right to be heard with the majority's duty to pass its legislative agenda.” That is incredible. For a political minority to be heard is more than just a desire; it is a right. I was shocked to read such a thing in a text produced by the Canadian government. Is this an essay by a student at Cégep or is it a government document? It is really hard to tell.
In the third paragraph, we read that debates need to be more effective so that they are reasonable in length. Good heavens. Today I will be speaking for 20 minutes, although most of the time, I have only 10 minutes to speak. That is already unreasonable, because that is not a long time.
In my office I have a book called Canada's Founding Debates. Our predecessors in the House used to speak for two, three, four, or five hours. They would talk all night. Now we speak for 10 or 20 minutes, and we are being told that it is unreasonable. I was shocked to read those things in a government document.
The document also indicates that it is time “to re-evaluate the role of members and examine ways to increase their influence in the legislative process.” It is not easy to move forward with these kinds of reforms. In that regard, I have two very simple solutions I would like propose to the government, and I say this in all seriousness.
I have two very simple solutions to propose to the government, and I am confident that they will have the support of the House. I, for one, would champion this my entire life. If the Liberals really want to return true legislative authority to all members of the House of Commons, two things need to happen. First of all, the Prime Minister's Office needs to go. It has only been around since the 1970s anyway. Before that time, many prime ministers were both prime minister and minister of foreign affairs. They were able to pull that off without the benefit of the PMO's 700 employees. I know what I am talking about, because I myself was an intern at the PMO, which has about 200 political staffers and 500 public servants.
Then, we need to put an end to party discipline. It does not exist in England, and that is the real Westminster parliamentary system. The concept of a majority and minority is actually an illusion. In a real Westminster parliamentary system where there is a majority and a minority, the majority is constantly changing, at every moment and for every vote. That is how it is in England.
A real prime minister, in the British parliamentary system, must have the pride, conviction, and strength to convince all members of the House of Commons to take his side. In England, David Cameron has lost I do not know how many votes. Sometimes 80 of his Conservative colleagues do not vote the same way he does, but he wins the vote anyway because some democratic liberals and members of the workers' party vote with him. That is the strength of a real parliamentary majority. It is always changing.
To give power back to members, all we need to do is close the Prime Minister's Office and put and end to party discipline. If he were to do so, the Prime Minister would be acting with incredible audacity and remembered for thousands of years to come.
On page 4, the government says that the reforms will provide a greater degree of flexibility, which will “calm the acrimonious proceedings leading up to the summer and winter adjournments.”
Once again, when a person knows how liberal constitutionalism works in a Westminster parliamentary system, acrimony is welcome. Our founding fathers wanted political acrimony. The United States uses a system of checks and balances because they have a strict, airtight division of power. Here the division of power is not strict or airtight. You know that better than I do, Mr. Speaker, since you have served in this great chamber for many years.
Acrimony provides checks and balances in the House. What is more, works written by political scientists Baker, Morton, and Knopff, from the University of Calgary, and Manfredi, from McGill University in Montreal, teach us that there is acrimony among the three powers, or in other words the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. That acrimony is what allows us to come up with the best solutions for Canadians following a strong and vigorous debate.
I want to emphasize that the government's reforms, which are at the root of the question of privilege we are talking about today, and which are the subject of two more questions of privilege, would take away our rights as opposition MPs. If the Liberals really want to give members more legislative power, all they have to do is get rid of the PMO, which would be great, and put an end to party discipline.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-04-13 14:23 [p.10534]
Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her question.
I am glad she mentioned electronic voting. Although it might be the smallest proposed change in the discussion paper, I am strongly opposed to electronic voting. I am extremely proud to have to be present in the House. It is not a matter of personal pride. In fact, it is about acknowledging my 100,000 constituents. That is what the Westminster model is all about. That is why in England, the House still reflects the 18th-century House of Commons. It is a good thing.
I do not want us to be like the U.S. congress where there are big television screens, endless voting, and negotiations between representatives where one representative asks another to change their vote in exchange for the other representative's vote another time. No, we must rise with honour, acknowledge the person saying our name and that of our riding, and do so before all Canadians. It is important. Electronic voting promotes disengagement.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-04-13 14:25 [p.10535]
Mr. Speaker, I completely concur with my colleague's analysis.
Not only is what he just said true, but, moreover, the government does not understand its role in the House of Commons. This document is peppered with words that should not be there. We see words that do not reflect the expectation, according to the Constitution and the British North America Act, for the House of Commons. The duty of the government is to manage the state and Canadians. We have to wonder about that too.
The role of the government is to manage the affairs of the state, not to manage the House of Commons. This document was written by a student.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-04-13 14:27 [p.10535]
Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, what I see in this discussion paper is an attempt to slowly but surely lead Canada toward a republican system. We would no longer have a Westminster system, but rather an executive that does whatever it wants, that is not accountable to anyone, and that is not responsible for its actions. That is why I do not like republics. I like the Westminster system, where the government is held to account every day.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-04-13 14:29 [p.10535]
Mr. Speaker, what the Liberals want is to make sure that Canadians have less of a voice in the House. Since the constitutional revolution of 1982, led by Pierre Elliott Trudeau, the Liberal Party has been trying to do away with the Westminster system. The Liberal Party's ultimate goal is to bring a republican system to Canada. I will never stand for that. We blocked this reform paper before it went to committee to ensure that these proposals will never be passed.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-04-10 14:52 [p.10378]
Mr. Speaker, since Phoenix was introduced in February 2016, public servants from across the country and their families have been going through some very difficult times.
Last week the Minister of Public Services and Procurement shockingly stated that she cannot reverse the decisions made by her deputy minister, specifically the decision regarding the $5 million in bonuses granted to department officials.
Considering statements like that, we might as well not have ministers.
When will this government finally start governing, show some leadership, and reverse the decision to grant bonuses to officials involved with Phoenix?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-04-07 11:56 [p.10327]
Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government can no longer hide behind its senior officials when it comes to the Phoenix pay system fiasco. The Prime Minister himself repeated on several occasions that he wanted to solve the problems with the system as quickly as possible.
On behalf of all the families who have been adversely affected by the problems with the system, I am asking the Prime Minister to immediately cancel the bonuses for the officials involved with Phoenix.
When will the Liberals finally take responsibility for implementing a pay system that was not ready? When will they apologize to taxpayers and the families affected by this decision made in February 2016?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-04-06 16:39 [p.10295]
Mr. Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak this afternoon. I am pleased that you are the one in the chair right now.
I am rising today to share some of my thoughts and, of course, those of Her Majesty's official opposition on Bill C-25, An act to amend the Canada Business Corporations Act, the Canada Cooperatives Act, the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act, and the Competition Act.
It is important to begin by saying that this bill targets some 270,000 federally incorporated companies, which are, for the most part, small and medium-sized businesses that do not sell shares and to which the changes will not apply.
It is important to remember that the amendments proposed in Bill C-25 are the result of a legislative review that was conducted by a House of Commons committee in 2010, two Parliaments ago. Consultations were then held by our government and Industry Canada in 2014.
Like the majority of my colleagues who have spoken to Bill C-25, I think it is commendable and fantastic in many ways that the current government was open enough to use old legislation from the Conservatives' 2015 budget to develop Bill C-25.
However, what my opposition colleagues and I find a little unfortunate is the lack of substance in the bill we have before us at the current stage and, in fact, the lack of substance we see all too often in the current government's bills. I would even say the lack of bills, quite simply. No more than 50 bills have been tabled by the Liberal government since October 19, 2015. The minority government of the Right Hon. Stephen Harper had tabled three times as much legislation by 2007.
Certainly, the bills lack substance. In addition, there is a lack of real change. I will come back to the bill after this aside. The Liberals campaign slogan was “real change”. We can certainly change the things we say. That is obviously what the Liberals have done. However, Canadians expect legislative change, and that is not what we are seeing currently.
The Liberal government is missing several opportunities to do a good job in the House and bring in concrete measures for Canadian society, to address problems affecting workers, seniors, the unemployed, and corporate boards. This is how I am getting back to the bill.
We are delighted that the Liberal government is using legislation that the previous Conservative government worked very hard on. However, in committee, we brought forward two main amendments that, it appears, do not suit the opposition, or rather the government. Excuse me. I misspoke. I saw the future and called the government the official opposition. That will be two and a half years from now.
During the committee stage of Bill C-25, the Conservatives proposed amendments that would have strengthened the bill. First, we proposed to define the word “diversity”, which is an integral part of the bill.
It is one of the key components of the bill since the other side of the House wants to impose diversity, which is still undefined, within various federally regulated corporate boards and institutions.
The amendment we wanted to bring forward would define the word correctly. The need for this was also raised by a number of the witnesses who appeared before the committee. The official opposition critic responsible for this issue and several of my Conservative colleagues met with these witnesses.
The second amendment would require a review of the diversity policy in three years.
There is a reason why the Liberal government did not accept this amendment, which would define the word “diversity”. One of the things this government most often does is present sweeping concepts that they do not want to define. In this case, it is diversity. In another case, it is the 1%. For the next two and a half years I will repeat that the 1% does not exist. We are one of the world’s fairest societies, one of the societies where wealth redistribution is unparalleled in the history of mankind. I really find it incredible. I had the chance to go to university and I can say that any professor or academic would tell you that there is no such thing as the 1%.
I would like to give a parallel example that will explain why imposing diversity could have consequences that are not necessarily what the government intends. I will go out on a limb: I assume that by diversity, they mean cultural minorities of all kinds. Today it is rather fashionable to identify all kinds of minorities, when what really counts is protecting the political minority, first and foremost. I will give an example of some of the consequences that sometimes result from a desire found only in rhetoric. When the Liberals talk about a gender-balanced cabinet, I see rather significant consequences. It is not in law, thank God, but if by misfortune the next government decides to continue with that, this would then become a convention. We would have a sort of parliamentary convention to have a gender-balanced cabinet.
According to the Liberals, having a convention saying that cabinet must be gender balanced means that women will forever hold half the power in the cabinet that forms the government. From another perspective, this also means that from now on, women will never be the majority in cabinet. Is that not a bit ironic to think that for centuries, cabinet was composed mostly of men, and now, with this convention we end up never seeing a cabinet composed mostly of women?
I believe this is a first consequence of this rather dangerous convention, based on misconceptions, dangerous social interpretations, and political capital, which, furthermore, in a way endangers—to put it bluntly—the possibility of having the best cabinet possible. I am sure that my colleague from Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, across the way, would make a wonderful minister. I was with him on the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates. He is incredible, clever and has an outstanding mind. However, because of gender parity, he will probably never be as close to me on the seating plan as he could be. We will never get the best by relying on sweeping misconceptions.
Creating such misconceptions of social reality that can be interpreted differently can have consequences. We therefore need to define the word “diversity” to ensure that this bill will not have negative consequences on corporate administration.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-04-06 16:52 [p.10296]
Mr. Speaker, obviously, liberalism and the capitalist system result in these kinds of problems. A good government must always ensure that wealth is redistributed in the best interests of all Canadians.
That said, if I were told that 30% of Canadians were a lot richer than others, I would say we are starting to have a problem. However, the concept of the 1% leads to dangerous political battles, since it makes Canadians cynical.
Canadians live in one of the wealthiest countries in the world, one of the only countries where anyone, even the poorest of the poor, can do their best and succeed, since there is the crown government. Canada presents all sorts of opportunities. We need to stop talking to Canadians as though they were pathetic children. Quite the contrary, we need to show them that this great country is there for them and for their future. We especially have to stop coming up with sweeping concepts that create cynicism day after day in society.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-04-06 16:53 [p.10296]
All I can say, Mr. Speaker, is that I profoundly believe that the bonuses that were automatically given to the CEOs were outrageous. Twenty-four hours before people in Quebec and most political figures started to be outraged, I had already put on Twitter that it was dishonourable, dishonourable, and dishonourable.
To answer the hon. member's question more specifically, I would say that is one of the reasons I support the member for Beauce for the leadership. He just basically stands against any subsidies. He specifically said in his platform that he would strike subsidies against companies. However, I often say to my friend the member for Beauce that we still have to be cognizant of the fact that some regions in Canada need subsidies—for example, the Atlantic provinces—to make sure that we increase and support economic development there. Sometimes we have to be straight with our ideas, but we must always acknowledge the needs and the realities of the different regions.
The bonuses for the CEO are outrageous, and we should all hopefully be against that.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-04-06 18:47 [p.10307]
Mr. Speaker, somebody needs to get the situation at Public Services and Procurement Canada under control yesterday. Just look at the outrageous bonuses paid to executives involved with the Phoenix fiasco in various capacities.
I wish my colleague from Miramichi—Grand Lake were still here so I could tell him that the fact is, the Minister of Public Services and Procurement launched the Phoenix pay system on February 24, 2016. All of the access to information requests and all of the questions that we put on the House of Commons Order Paper leave no room for doubt, and the member for Gatineau knows it.
We initiated the Phoenix project as any responsible government would have done. We realized the previous pay system was outdated and had to be changed. However, we were not the ones who implemented it. Again, all of the access to information requests show that expert reports to the minister of the day said the system was not ready.
This evening, I want to talk about the Super Hornets, which the government plans to acquire very soon. My colleague from Edmonton West spoke about the advisability of procuring these aircraft and how long it would take. I would like to address another aspect of the problem.
The Government Contracts Regulations must apply to the Department of Public Services and Procurement because, in the end, that department's minister must give the go-ahead to the department that wants to enter into procurement contracts. The reason we have a framework for government procurement, the Government Contracts Regulations, is to prevent questionable acquisitions of this magnitude.
What I suspect, and I am confident in saying that my party colleagues agree, is that the exceptions in the regulations were rigged by the Liberal Party because it often mentions the exception contained in subsection 3(1)(g), which allows a contract to fulfill an interim requirement for defence supplies. I would like the record to show that this is not simply a legal void that the Liberal Party can use to contravene the Government Contracts Regulations.
For greater clarity, if the Minister of Public Services and Procurement approved the future purchase of the Super Hornets without a tender, she must have a letter from the Department of National Defence stating, in black and white, why an exception is being made to proceed without a tender. There are four possible reasons for the exception: state of war, an emergency, a gap, and so forth. In this case, the Liberals are saying that there is a capability gap. I do not believe it, and my party does not either. Where is the proof?
Can the parliamentary secretary show us a document from the Department of National Defence, signed by the minister, that proves there is a capability gap?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-04-06 18:54 [p.10308]
Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary mentioned an honest political disagreement between the two of us. That is indeed the case, but that is not what I am talking about.
I would point out that Denmark was able to complete an open, transparent competition in 11 months.
I am speaking to the parliamentary secretary, and it is not up to the Department of National Defence to answer me. My question is this. The rules surrounding government contracts demand that the Minister of Public Services and Procurement play a role. Any department can say that it wants this or that, for any given reason. It is too easy. Public Services and Procurement and the Government Contracts Regulations necessitate, require, and demand that the minister of public services receive a letter that explains why there is an exception, why the need is exceptional. I assume that, for the Liberals, the exception here is the capability gap. Personally, I do not think the capability gap exists—
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-04-05 15:06 [p.10205]
Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister should be ashamed of the decisions being made by his Minister of Public Services and Procurement. Thanks to the good work done by the member for Edmonton West, we now know that the public servants who worked on Phoenix, either directly or indirectly, received bonuses totalling $5 million and $14,000 per employee.
How could the Prime Minister possibly want to grant bonuses? Did he not in fact want to set an example for Bombardier executives?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-04-04 16:59 [p.10163]
Madam Speaker, can my colleague tell me how many billions of dollars out of the $80 billion provided for infrastructure will be invested this year?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-04-04 17:10 [p.10164]
Madam Speaker, I would like to ask the member for Bourassa the same question I asked his Liberal friend from Richmond Hill: of the $80 billion in infrastructure spending pledged in the 2016 budget, how many billions of dollars have actually flowed since then, including in this budget?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-04-04 17:15 [p.10165]
Madam Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak here today. I will be sharing my time with my colleague from South Surrey—White Rock. I am starting to learn the names of all the ridings.
It is a great honour and a great privilege to rise in the House today, because it is my birthday. I am 31 years old, and this is probably the best gift I have ever received in my life, namely, to be able to deliver a speech in this democratic chamber on my birthday.
My colleagues likely knew what I was getting at when I asked my friends from Richmond Hill and Bourassa how much of the $80 billion allocated for infrastructure would be invested this year. The reason I asked the question is that, in fact, of the $80 billion that was supposed to be invested in infrastructure as announced by this Liberal government in 2016, almost nothing has been invested. In my mind, then, budget 2017 is a vote-seeking sham, and that will be more or less the subject of my speech today.
In fact, this budget is a false budget, a chimera. According to the dictionary, a chimera is defined as a thing that is hoped for or wished for but in fact is illusory or impossible to achieve. This budget is nothing more than an ideological agenda. It is filled with endless meaningless rhetoric. For instance, on page 11, it talks about keeping Canada’s promise of progress. That is rather interesting. I do not really understand exactly what that means. It talks about innovation on nearly every page, and it also talks about a feminist budget and a green budget.
Today, in rather exceptional fashion, my colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent said that even though they called it a feminist budget and a green budget, the Liberals nonetheless eliminated the public transit tax credit in their budget. He also rightly pointed out that 60% of the people who claim this credit are women, in particular elderly women. Thus, the Liberals are not walking the talk.
In terms of procurement, no significant investments have been made. Nothing has been said about balancing the budget. In fact, there are reports that we will be in a deficit position until 2051, which is shocking considering that Canadian families cannot be in the red at year's end.
Expenditures for National Defence alone are deplorable. Just in budget 2016, the Liberals deferred $3.7 billion in spending until 2020-21. This $3.7 billion was included in our Canada first program, which was inspired by the Conservative Party of Canada's plan, under the leadership of the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, to bring Canada out of the decades of darkness of the Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin governments in the 1990s, and to revitalize the army, ensure that military infrastructure returns to good working condition, and to make significant acquisitions to meet all military needs. Instead of getting back on track, the Liberals announced in the 2017 budget the deferral of $8.4 billion in spending to 2035-36.
As I mentioned at the beginning, almost nothing has been spent on infrastructure to date. I suspect that the Liberals will invest the entire $80 billion in 2019 so that there will be construction cranes right across the country. We are going to be tripping over cranes and Canadians will think that this government is incredible.
The Liberals also broke their promise. They said that they would run a small deficit of $10 billion when they are actually running a deficit of about $30 billion a year. What is more, they have no plan to balance the budget, and they did not lower taxes for small and medium-sized businesses as promised during the 2015 election campaign.
Budget 2017 also significantly raises taxes.
When we, the Conservatives, had the opportunity and honour to govern the country, we were the advocates and defenders of taxpayers. We lowered taxes in many ways, first by decreasing the GST from 7% to 5%. We then created the universal child care benefit, the children's fitness tax credit, the children's arts tax credit, and the post-secondary education and textbook tax credit. We instituted income splitting for families, which the Liberals unfortunately did away with. We did all of that with the exceptional result of making taxes lower for Canadian families than they had been since the 1960s. That means that, under our government, after 10 years under a Conservative government, Canadian families were paying about $7,000 less in taxes a year than they were prior to 2004. That is not to mention the fact that we created 1.2 million jobs in 10 years, with the best employment rate of all OECD countries.
Unlike us, the Liberals are raising taxes for families, small businesses, and children. In budget 2016, they already increased taxes on gas and heating, increased taxes on Canadians' savings accounts, increased payroll taxes for businesses, and cancelled many of the tax cuts that I mentioned earlier.
Canadians, thinking it was going to stop there, were very saddened last month to see that the tax increases would actually start all over again. The government is going to tax public transit users by eliminating the public transit tax credit, Uber and ride-sharing, beer and wine, which basically comes down to introducing a weekend tax, as my colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent so aptly put it. Donated medicine will be taxed, as will childcare, and small business owners will be saddled with an increase in payroll taxes. Oil and gas companies will be taxed, and so will tourism. In short, this is a disgrace.
I am an elected official from Quebec City, from Beauport—Limoilou. We can see that there is nothing in this budget for Quebec City, which is as surprising as it is appalling; there is nothing there for the Port of Québec, which needs $60 million to attract private investment and launch the Beauport 2020 project. There is nothing for the Institut nordique du Québec for political, social and anthropological research on northern Canada, research that remains very important. There is nothing for the National Optics Institute, a technology innovator in the heart of the Parc technologique du Québec. There is nothing for the Quebec Bridge, which was supposed to be dealt with before June 30, 2016. Finally, there is nothing about the SRB, the bus rapid transit system and there is nothing about the third link.
Conversely, in the last 10 years, the Conservative government, under the fantastic leadership of the Right Hon. Stephen Harper, invested almost $1 billion for the Quebec City region alone: in Gilmour Hill, in community infrastructure, in the Port of Québec, in l'Anse au Foulon and in the Ross Gaudreault terminal. A number of investments were made then, to be sure.
In closing, I would like to say that the government should focus on what will really give Canadians a vision and help them 100 years from now by balancing the budget, eliminating the deficit by the end of the year, and paying off the debt. How can we be one of the richest countries in the world and still have so much debt? We need to cut Canadians' taxes, not raise them.
If the economy were going well, MPs could take care of the important things, the things that help us all get along. We could talk about the Constitution, community, and Canadians' rights, but because of this government, we keep talking about the economy when we should be talking about other issues.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-04-04 17:26 [p.10166]
Madam Speaker, any academic could tell us that the whole concept of the 1% is false. This is incredible. It is demagoguery.
We did not vote against a tax cut. We voted against a fake tax cut. It was nothing but a vote-seeking ploy, just like this budget and the whole Liberal agenda.
When I go door to door every week, I listen to Canadians. I would like to know if my colleague ever does that, ever listens to Canadians. He wants to take away our right to speak in the House now. They have been doing this for two months now.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-04-04 17:28 [p.10166]
Madam Speaker, I fully agree with my colleague. It is an appalling sham.
The Liberals had told Canadians that they would run a deficit to invest in infrastructure. By the way, we, the Conservatives, had created the largest infrastructure program in Canadian history, worth $120 billion. The Liberals told Canadians that they would run a deficit of only $10 billion, when it is now $28.5 billion.
They also said that it was to invest in infrastructure, but two years after their election, almost zero dollars have been invested in infrastructure. It is a vote-seeking sham. They want to dole out the money in 2019.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-04-04 17:29 [p.10166]
Madam Speaker, I remain very proud of the benefit we created because it was reasonable. Yes, it was taxed, but that was so that people would be responsible. I am very proud of it.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-04-04 17:30 [p.10167]
Madam Speaker, it was universal. We knew how to do the calculations, and we knew how to index it. The Liberals, though, have not been able to get the math right. They will have to spend another $4 billion on an ill-conceived benefit.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-04-03 16:34 [p.10073]
Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague gave a very good speech. I would first like to make a comment, and then I have a question for him.
Page 2 of the document tabled by the minister regarding the modernization of the Standing Orders of the House of Commons talks about ways “to empower Members...to increase their influence in the legislative process.” What needs to be done is simple: just close the Prime Minister's Office, which was created by former Prime Minister Trudeau, and put an end to party discipline. That would be fantastic. It is not complicated. Those are the two things that prevent members from doing their work and representing their constituents properly.
We have heard about electronic voting. I came here to safeguard the honour of this institution, as much as possible and as much as I can as a private citizen. The idea that someone could vote while sitting at their desk and simply pushing a button seems completely dishonourable to me. Plus, if that were to be done from our constituency offices, I see all kinds of terrible scenarios potentially playing out. Imagine if a staffer were to vote instead of the member.
Does my colleague not find dishonourable this effort to ensure that one day members are no longer required to stand up before Canadians to vote?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-03-22 14:06 [p.9889]
Mr. Speaker, this year, 2017, all Canadians from coast to coast to coast will be emphatically united in proudly celebrating the 150th anniversary of our great Confederation. That is why, in the first weeks of my term in Beauport—Limoilou, it was my goal to make sure we organized unique festivities for all to enjoy.
Together with Limoilou en Vrac and Société d'art et d'histoire de Beauport, I am very proud to announce today that there will be two distinct celebrations of Canada's 150 anniversary this summer in my riding. One will be held in Limoilou and the other in Vieux-Beauport. Combining historic celebrations and family activities, each event promises to be exciting. We expect that more than 10,000 people from Beauport—Limoilou will attend.
In closing, I want to point out that the purpose of these festivities is to celebrate Canada, its strength, courage, dynamism, and tenacity, but especially the extraordinary people who live and work here day after day.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-03-22 14:48 [p.9897]
Mr. Speaker, it is not just a question of role and money. It is a question of principle and honour, and the government has none.
A prime minister must adhere to three guiding principles: he must show humility, show restraint, and manage finances carefully.
When will this Prime Minister finally act with honour, lead by example, and stop wasting Canadians' money?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-02-21 14:47 [p.9158]
Mr. Speaker, this week marks one year since the minister introduced the Phoenix pay system despite a number of reports advising against it. That decision has had some harsh repercussions for thousands of Canadians.
I have some examples to share. Mr. Little is a federal correctional officer who has not been paid for months and is in danger of losing everything. Ms. Leclerc wrote to tell me that she is under enormous stress. She has been serving the Canadian government for 35 years, but she is still missing whole chunks of her pay and other things she needs to retire with dignity.
There are thousands of cases like these. Does the minister regret the decision she made last February 24?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-02-21 14:49 [p.9159]
Mr. Speaker, in this story, the government is not the victim, it is the accomplice of the Phoenix fiasco.
The opposition, the media, and public servants do not believe the Liberal government's story. It is refusing to take responsibility, and it is hiding behind excuses that nobody buys. The software should have been phased in to ensure that everyone was prepared to implement it properly. That was clear from the Gartner report commissioned by Treasury Board, whose minister is here.
On behalf of all Canadians, I am asking the minister to apologize for the bad decision she made last February 24.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-02-16 11:27 [p.9018]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Longueuil—Saint-Hubert for his speech. I have enormous respect for him.
He is entirely right. Every democratic state, especially liberal democracies, must exercise great vigilance toward all hateful or radicalizing trends, but also toward all political agendas of any religion whatsoever.
All the same, I would like to ask him a question. For him, what exactly is Islamophobia? Does he not think that in the Liberal motion it would have been appropriate to clearly define what Islamophobia is, as such?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-02-15 15:02 [p.8970]
Mr. Speaker, my riding is home to 200 public servants who work for the Canada Revenue Agency. These public servants work very hard for Canadians and their families, and, as one can well imagine, they have bills to pay. For the past year, the Phoenix fiasco has been hitting them hard. They cannot even get basic updates about their cases. What are they doing now? They are coming to my riding office to get help that the government should be giving them but is not.
When will the minister at the very least admit that she made a mistake in February 2016 when she gave the system the green light despite advice to the contrary?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-02-10 11:48 [p.8791]
Mr. Speaker, there is clearly a political controversy surrounding the procurement of the Super Hornet fighter jets.
At the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates yesterday, the Liberals refused to hold an emergency debate, even though that committee's mandate is to examine procurement contracts. The goal is to ensure that everything is done by the book and that Canada's Government Contracts Regulations are followed.
Will the Liberal government allow our committee to do its job on these important matters and will it respect the parliamentary process?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-02-10 11:50 [p.8792]
Mr. Speaker, let us talk a little about Phoenix. The parliamentary secretary and his minister have been providing very poor leadership.
First, the minister never admitted that she made a mistake by implementing the Phoenix pay system in February 2016.
Second, she is not taking responsibility for the situation. Instead, she is sending the deputy minister to all of the press conferences.
Third, since the fiasco began, the minister has been trying to minimize the seriousness of the crisis, which is affecting thousands of Canadian families.
When will the minister show some political courage in this matter?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-02-10 12:50 [p.8801]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to take part in the debate on Bill C-31, an act to implement the free trade agreement between Canada and Ukraine.
I want to take a moment to talk about the history of humanity, which will hopefully yield some insight into the notion of free trade. What is trade, essentially? According to the Canadian Oxford, a well-respected dictionary, trade is the exchange of goods between peoples.
That is an interesting first take on what free trade is. When two individuals meet to trade something, no matter the period in history, whether they barter or anything else, they exchange one commodity for another. That is trade.
I consulted the dictionary again to look up the meaning of free trade. It says that free trade is a theory, an economic doctrine whereby exchanges are free from obstacles and international transactions are free from protectionist intervention.
The free trade doctrine was formulated in the eighth century. It was also discussed by physiocrats such as David Hume and Adam Smith and in the writings of Mr. Ricardo and John Stuart Mill, where it is explored in greater detail. To those authors, the freedom of nations to trade is founded on the international division of labour, where each nation specializes in the production for which its aptitudes are greatest and where production is most cost effective. This theory underscores the positive effects of competition, which allows consumers to get products of the best quality at the lowest price.
Here is what we know about free trade. Theorists apply this concept more to international relations, but I would like to apply it to any form of trade without restrictions, whether at a national, international, or community level, or between two individuals. My colleagues will understand my logic.
I asked myself what we, human beings, have been doing for thousands of years, if not trading freely. If we look back at the Neolithic age, it seems to me that any men who ever met would know right away that they were going to trade products.
Even this spontaneous trade between tribes or individuals involved a certain degree of expertise, similar to the definition used by philosophers which states that free trade seeks to divide work sectors between different countries based on their skills and expertise, as well as their resources, of course. I am sure we can all agree that Canada will never have much expertise in growing bananas, for example, because we do not have the right climate to do so.
It seems to me that free trade has always happened. That is my argument. Being an evolutionist, I believe that we have been trading freely for millions of years. Long before we had countries and borders, humans traded with one another. In short, free trade is definitely not a modern or post-modern construct.
Nevertheless, I went and had a look at protectionism. The definition in the Canadian Oxford Dictionary is this: the theory or practice of protecting domestic industries. Trade tariffs are imposed in order to protect the local economy from foreign competition.
That is exactly what we are worried about right now, for example, with the hon. President of the United States, Mr. Trump, who is talking about potentially imposing tariffs and thus moving forward with a form of protectionism.
Protectionism has always been around. The Conservative Party of Canada was once in favour of protectionism. It depends on which way the wind is blowing. It is a matter of historical and political circumstance.
That being said, for the past 30 years, the Conservative Party has been the ultimate champion of free trade. I think that is a good thing because, as I demonstrated earlier, free trade has always existed from a philosophical perspective.
However, protectionism can be dangerous when it is fully applied because then the market is controlled by the government. In its milder form, this state is referred to as socialism, and in its more extreme form, it is referred to as communism.
The implementation of any type of trade system that is not free trade takes us in a rather dangerous direction. What is the best way to control populations? As I already mentioned, people have been trading with each other for millions of years. When governments were formed and kingdoms established, they quickly discovered that the best way of controlling people was to control the trade they were doing with each other.
What I am trying to say is that free trade has always existed, it is part of the very ontology of humanity, and we therefore should not be afraid of it; quite the contrary, we should celebrate free trade as a form of absolute liberty and an inalienable human right.
To come back to the bill, it is absolutely impossible to oppose, because it implements the free trade agreement between Ukraine and Canada. In fact, just a few years ago and under our government, Canada signed 45 free trade deals, for instance with Peru, South Korea, and the European Union. I could go on and on, but I cannot remember all the countries off the top of my head.
Furthermore, under the incredible leadership of the Right Hon. Brian Mulroney, we also created the largest free trade platform in the history of humanity, namely, NAFTA, an agreement between Canada, the United States, and Mexico.
We believe that the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement is certainly a very positive way for us to show support for that great country, which is home to Kiev, the cradle of Russian civilization. That probably explains the tension between Russia and Ukraine, and that is why our support for Ukraine is so important. After all, history is such that Ukraine is now an independent country.
Let us explore why it is good for us to trade with Ukraine. I will speak from a monetary perspective, never mind international relations. Ukraine's GDP, its purchasing power, is $339.2 billion U.S. annually. The per capita GDP is a little more bleak at $7,900 U.S. That is why Ukrainians are certainly going to benefit from our free trade agreement with them. We are certainly going to contribute to increasing GDP to the benefit of every inhabitant of Ukraine, which will be excellent for them, their families, and their quality of life.
The population of Ukraine is 45.2 million, which is 10 million more than Canada's. By all accounts, we have similar population profiles. Their exports and imports account for 82% of the GDP, at the exchange rate.
Finally, Ukraine is a large exporting country like Canada and that may be because it is a bread basket nation, just like Canada is. Ukraine has always supplied wheat, oats, and other grains to the Soviet Union, or modern-day Russia, and to many other countries in the European Union, I imagine.
Ukraine is Canada's 75th-largest merchandise trading partner out of 200 countries in the world. That is not bad, but I imagine that it could reach 50th or 40th place with this agreement, which will also help increase its per capita GDP. That was Ukraine's profile.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
I have a very interesting document here that gets into the nuts and bolts of what trade with Ukraine would look like on a day-to-day basis. Bilateral trade between Canada and Ukraine averaged $289 million from 2011 to 2015. That should go up by 19% once this agreement comes into force. Once the agreement is in force, Canada and Ukraine will immediately eliminate tariffs on 99.9% of their imports. That is sure to be good for Canadian and Ukrainian exporters and consumers.
Oh my goodness, here is something interesting. Canada's GDP will rise by $29.2 million. That is not peanuts. Similarly, Ukraine's GDP will go up by $18.6 million. The really wonderful thing is that, in terms of international relations, this free trade agreement with Ukraine will bring that country into the fold of our great federation. Canada has more international agreements, whether commercial or military, than any other country. It is as simple as that. Any country that wants to feel even a little bit at ease at the UN wants Canada as a friend.
Not only will Ukraine be more comfortable in terms of its international relations and its relationship with neighbouring Russia, but it will also not be losing out either. We are going to increase our GDP by only $10 million more than Ukraine, which will see its GDP increase by $18.6 million. That is a fairly balanced relationship.
Once again, this shows how Canada is, without question, one of the greatest trading nations in the world, since this agreement is more beneficial to us than the other party. We always come out on top. Even NAFTA was a winning situation for us.
The value of Canadian exports to Ukraine will increase by $41.2 million a year. The expected gains for Canada will vary and will come from the export of pork, machinery, and equipment. That is great news for Quebec, which is the largest exporter of pork in the world. It exports a lot of pork to China, but now it will also be able to export it to Ukraine.
Manufactured goods, vehicles, parts, and chemicals will also be exported. This agreement will therefore also be good for the auto sector in southern Ontario, a region that has been struggling since the 2007-08 crisis. What is more, in the past five years, there has been a significant drop in the number of manufacturing jobs in Canada. This free trade agreement will definitely help increase the number of jobs in that sector.
It is important to remember that the Conservative government is behind this free trade agreement. All the Liberal government is doing is making the implementation agreement official from a legislative standpoint. The Conservative government is the one that initiated and negotiated the agreement with the Ukrainian government at the time.
Since I am running out of time, I will say that we fully support this free trade agreement. To end this Friday on a positive note, for once, I can say that I am proud of this government, which made a good decision regarding this free trade agreement.
Let us now see what it will do to stand up to the superpower to the south, where rising protectionist sentiments threaten our economy. As I said in my earlier philosophical musings, protectionism is incompatible with the absolute freedom of each and every being on this wonderful planet.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to speak today. I look forward to doing it again.
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