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View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bardish Chagger Profile
2019-05-28 15:18 [p.28150]
Mr. Speaker, in relation to the consideration of Government Business No. 30, I move:
That the debate not be further adjourned.
View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
View Candice Bergen Profile
2019-05-28 15:20 [p.28150]
Mr. Speaker, I am really disappointed. We have had such a short amount of time to debate this motion, and it is very disappointing to see a motion like this to extend the hours. Even though we have already indicated that we have some understanding of it, some of the other parts of the motion are disturbing. We have not had solid answers to some of our questions. It is disappointing to see this debate being shut down.
I would therefore like to ask the hon. government House leader if she could please assure us that she will adopt our amendments and, as we only have two supply days left as Conservatives, that she would allow those supply days to continue into the evening sitting. I think that would be fair and reasonable, and it would show that there would be some co-operation, as opposed to just giving us a very short day and not allowing the opposition to do our job, which is to hold the government to account.
I understand that the hon. government House leader is ramming this through, but could she give us assurances that she will not shorten our ability to hold the Liberals to account?
View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bardish Chagger Profile
2019-05-28 15:21 [p.28151]
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opposition House leader's acknowledging the importance of extending hours so that we can discuss important legislation that actually benefits the lives of Canadians. Most of the motion is exactly, word for word, the motion that has been submitted in previous parliaments. Within the extension of hours motion, members who will not be running again will be provided time to make a speech, because it is important that they do so.
When it comes to the opposition days the member is referring to, within the Standing Orders, a portion of those days can be allotted to Wednesdays and Fridays. My intention will always be to provide them on longer days. As long as we can advance government legislation, I will ensure that we are able to find a collaborative way forward. If that is not the desire of the opposition, then I am restricted to limited tools and limited days to provide those days. I encourage the opposition House leader, as well as her colleagues, to let us know how much time is needed so that bills such as Bill C-81 can be returned to the Senate. There is no reason we cannot have that finished today so that it can receive royal assent.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
View Peter Julian Profile
2019-05-28 15:22 [p.28151]
Mr. Speaker, I am saddened by this. As I mentioned in the speech I was not even able to complete on this motion that strips the opposition of any of the rights and tools we use to hold the government to account, previous times this had been raised four weeks prior to our adjourning, the Liberals and Conservatives, combined, skipped over 200 opportunities to speak on behalf of their constituents.
In other words, there was a speaking order. When it came to the Liberals, they simply had nobody standing up at all to speak on behalf of their constituents, on behalf of Canadians. We have always been in favour of working hard, but the NDP historically has been the only party that actually shows up to work during these midnight sessions.
Last time, there were 200 times the Conservatives or Liberals did not show up for their speaking spots. The New Democrats did not miss a single speaking spot. Every single time we were assigned the ability to speak, we spoke out on behalf of our constituents.
Given the precedent, can the government House leader assure us that the Liberals will actually show up to work this time?
View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bardish Chagger Profile
2019-05-28 15:24 [p.28151]
Yes, Mr. Speaker, we will not be debating this motion after today, but I have good news for the NDP House leader. He actually gets to continue his speech, so he will receive 20 minutes like any other member would. He will also be entitled to his 10-minute question and answer period. I know that my parliamentary secretary is looking forward to asking him at least one or two great questions. I do not want him to be misled in believing that he would not have that opportunity. That opportunity will be provided to him.
What I do know is that we have debated this motion. It is a motion that has been seen in this chamber before. It is important that we get to government legislation that would benefit and impact, for the better, the lives of Canadians.
When it comes to the member's reference to members speaking up for their constituents, of course all members of Parliament want to speak on behalf of their constituents. That is what we were elected to do. We will always be part of the debate, but sometimes what happens, especially when it comes to the NDP on legislation such as the CUSMA, which we will see coming forward at some point, is that the New Democrats will not want to see it advance, so they will want to keep talking about it. For the government to see it advance, we share our time with members of the NDP so that every single one of its members is able to speak.
The New Democrats could choose to allow legislation to be called to a vote so that we could advance to the next stage and see more legislation advance so that we are benefiting more Canadians. Unfortunately, the New Democrats have taken a page from the Conservatives' handbook. Rather than actually serve Canadians, they would rather play partisan politics.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Speaker, the current government has shown a great deal of disrespect for the opposition. In particular, we see the regular scheduling of opposition days on Wednesdays, when, because we have caucus meetings in the morning, we have very little time to actually debate the proposals coming from the opposition. A simple, reasonable aspect of this motion would have been to allow those opposition day debates to continue into evening sittings so that even if they tried to schedule an opposition day for us to have something like two hours of debate, at least we would be able to take advantage of the evenings as well, given that the evenings would be available for government orders. The Liberals do not have the minimal respect for the opposition to allow that to happen either.
It is clear, and has been clear for the last three and a half years, that the current government does not believe in the role of the opposition. It simply wants an audience. Will the government House leader see some reason here, recognize the important role the opposition plays in our democracy, and allow the extension of hours to be available for opposition days as well as for government orders?
View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bardish Chagger Profile
2019-05-28 15:26 [p.28151]
Mr. Speaker, I have had to say this to a Conservative member in the past. The Conservatives do not speak for me as an individual. I am on the record, not only in this House but outside this chamber, talking about the importance of our democracy and the role the official opposition plays, as well as the third party and independent members within the chamber, including the members of the Green Party. I recognize that all members are elected to represent their constituents, and I have said that in this chamber as well as outside the chamber. The member, frankly, should apologize for putting words in my mouth, because that is totally untrue and is not a fair representation of my position.
The Conservatives have never let the facts get in the way, so let me share some facts. In the last Parliament, 11 opposition days were provided on Wednesdays, and five were provided on Fridays, out of 88 opposition days. In this Parliament, there have so far been 79 opposition days. To prove that the member has totally misled Canadians, none of them have been on Wednesdays, and two have been on Fridays. Those are the numbers, and the member should check them out.
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
2019-05-28 15:28 [p.28152]
Mr. Speaker, we just had a vote in this place, which is the first step on the road to ratifying the new NAFTA. The NDP has rightly expressed some real concerns about the nature of that deal, as we have expressed concerns about a number of other trade deals the Liberals and Conservatives together have negotiated over the span of a number of governments. The reason that is relevant to this debate about extending the sitting hours is that the government, once again, seems to be in a major rush to make a big mistake, which is to ratify this agreement prior to the issues with the agreement being resolved in neighbouring countries.
We do not actually know what the final agreement is going to look like, yet simply because the Vice-President of the United States is coming on Thursday, the government is in a hurry to ratify, just as it was in a hurry to ratify CETA, even though we know that Britain is still working out whether it is going to be part of the European Union. Canada was ratifying CETA long before Europe and long before it resolved whether one of our major trading partners was even going to be part of that block. This insane rush to get ink on deals, without any regard for the real content, has been a problem for Canadians, who have lost employment to these kinds of deals over the last decades. I am not prepared to support a motion that is going to help the Liberals ram through ratification of a deal we do not even know the details of.
While the reasons the New Democrats have opposed some of these measures in the past stand, we have a particular reason this time to be opposed to longer sitting hours, and that is because the government is trying to create an opportunity, with the Conservatives being complicit in ramming this through Parliament, invoking a special kind of closure that only works when two parties agree to it, to make a big mistake faster, and that is something I simply do not support.
I want to know why the government is concerned about extending sitting hours to accomplish something that would rush a deal, the details of which we do not even know. I would like to hear what the House leader has to say about that, frankly.
View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bardish Chagger Profile
2019-05-28 15:30 [p.28152]
First, Mr. Speaker, our question and answer session right now is with regard to the extension of hours so that we can sit longer and have more time for debate.
What the member has just confirmed is that there is no trade deal the NDP will ever support. New Democrats do not seem to understand that Canada is a trading nation. Canada has 36 million people. We have a huge land mass, but we are very small when it comes to the number of people. Our companies have not only great solutions for Canadians, they have great solutions for the whole world.
When it comes to the CETA legislation, that legislation has actually helped small businesses expand into international markets and has created jobs in my riding of Waterloo, has—
View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bardish Chagger Profile
2019-05-28 15:31 [p.28152]
Mr. Speaker, the member for Avalon was getting excited, because companies in his riding have also benefited from this trade deal. Members from different parts of the country, especially from the east coast, have had challenging times when it comes to the economy. When we sign deals that allow those businesses to grow through innovation and trade, and they create jobs at home, members get excited, as they should. I would hope that the member for Elmwood—Transcona would take some time to learn about the companies in his riding that are benefiting from that trade deal. If they are not, we should definitely connect them with the Trade Commissioner Service so that they can continue to create more jobs, as Canadians have been doing from coast to coast to coast. Over a million jobs have been created by Canadians for Canadians since our government took office. These trade deals are working.
View Dan Albas Profile
CPC (BC)
Mr. Speaker, the government House leader obviously has a lot on her plate. I can see why the minister got quite angry at one of the previous Conservative speakers, because the government has not been in control of its own agenda. It has constantly found ways to stall legislation. It constantly has mismanaged the House's schedule. Unfortunately, we are at a point where, before we even hit June, the government is seeking to extend the sitting hours.
The Conservative House leader has made a very reasonable request of the government, because the House leader for the Liberal government has asked to extend sitting hours early, before we are even in June. It is very important for the government to show respect not just for this House but for Parliament, and when a reasonable request is made, we would hope that the government would be reasonable and allow our voices to be heard on our own opposition motions.
Will the House leader offer extended sitting hours for opposition days?
View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bardish Chagger Profile
2019-05-28 15:33 [p.28152]
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member's comments. I will say that we have endeavoured to manage the House's time by working collaboratively with opposition parties. There are examples of where we were able to succeed, and there were opportunities which, unfortunately, the opposition did not want to take us up on, but that is the opposition's prerogative.
I have the utmost respect for this chamber. I have the utmost respect for all members of Parliament and all responsibilities within the chamber. Any good government should have a strong opposition. It is important that a government be held to account, but it is also important that we debate legislation and be able to call legislation to a vote.
I agree that we do need a lot more regard and respect in this chamber. I know there have been many times and many occasions where it was not felt that such regard and respect were in this chamber. I recall budget day not too long ago. Canadians from coast to coast to coast sent emails to my office about the fact that because the opposition members were so busy banging on their desks, they could not hear the Minister of Finance deliver a budget that was going to benefit them. Mr. Speaker, you were not able to get any order in this chamber because of the lack of regard and respect, which is unfortunate.
When it comes to regard and respect, it is a two-way street. I will do my best to respect all roles. I will do my best to find better ways forward. The extension of sitting hours is another way to ensure that members can speak to legislation to advance the concerns of their constituents.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2019-05-28 15:34 [p.28153]
Mr. Speaker, in dealing with this process, I would like to ask the hon. government House leader this. This is the eighth year in which I have had the honour to serve the constituents of Saanich—Gulf Islands. We had only one June in that period when we did not sit until midnight. It was June 2016. Oh, that glorious month of June 2016.
In any case, I do not recall a single other time when the motion to extend the sitting hours has been put through with time allocation on the debate to go to extended sitting hours. I do not have any recollection of any other time when we have had this process that we are experiencing today. We have never actually started extended sitting hours before the month of June, to my recollection.
I wonder if the government House leader can explain what has gone wrong in the process. What we know to expect from government at the point when we are about to rise for the summer is that things get jammed up and we sit until midnight. I am wondering how it happened this time that we have time allocation on the motion to sit until midnight.
View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bardish Chagger Profile
2019-05-28 15:36 [p.28153]
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that the leader of the Green Party actually has a seat that is now closer to you so that she can hear a lot of what is taking place here. I know she stood up on numerous occasions referencing Standing Orders because it gets so loud in this chamber.
I am not going to speculate as to what is taking place but it has definitely been a challenge advancing important legislation. I know it has been a challenge on multiple occasions but I will endeavour to keep an open door policy so that we can find a way forward.
I do appreciate the member rising and sharing some of her history within this chamber. I am not sure that I remember it the same way. I was not a sitting member, but as an observer of the House, I know that the former Conservative House leader, Peter Van Loan, was notorious for using these tools. I recognize that sometimes there are challenging times. I have tried to take a different approach, but when that approach does not work, I seem to mimic some of his actions. It seems that the Conservatives are quite appreciative of that. That is why it is important that we extend these hours.
I will just say really quickly that the leader of the Green Party on occasion has not been able to speak to legislation but she shares a really important perspective and represents many Canadians. I have always tried to extend some time to ensure that she can get her comments on the record. She was the only member of her caucus but now it has doubled, which is amazing. We hope to still keep hearing from her because she does excellent work and represents really important concerns and comments on behalf of Canadians. We need to hear more of that.
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
View Mark Strahl Profile
2019-05-28 15:37 [p.28153]
Mr. Speaker, the member just referenced the record, if we want to call it that, of Peter Van Loan with regard to time allocation or closure. The Liberals campaigned against it. Their platform stated how differently they were going to govern and how they would never use time allocation or closure. This is the sixth time they have used closure, which means that nothing else happens and the debate is over. It is the most draconian method of time allocation.
The Liberals have invoked time allocation and limited debate 59 times. The member can talk about how she wants to hear from the leader of the Green Party or how she wants a better House of Commons for all of us, but for most of this Parliament, she is the one who has been cutting off debate. With 18 days left, now she is going to keep an open mind about the future and how she will operate in the future.
I want to correct the record. The member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan made some excellent points about cutting short the supply days, and the government House leader very indignantly told us that she had never scheduled an opposition day on a Wednesday in the entire time of this Parliament. In the last six opposition days alone, three of them were on a Wednesday and one on a Friday: Wednesday, March 20; Wednesday, May 1; Wednesday, May 15 and Friday, April 5. That is just in the last period.
Maybe the member will get up and apologize for breaking her campaign promise to Canadians and for misleading the House on the last number of opposition days.
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