Interventions in the House of Commons
 
 
 
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2019-04-10 17:21 [p.26955]
Mr. Speaker, I must say that in this case, I also appreciated the speech made by my colleague from Sherbrooke. I agree with him, much to the chagrin of my colleague from Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook.
As the member for Sherbrooke said, this budget is dragging up broken promises, such as the promise to return to a balanced budget this year, which is rather unbelievable. It does not even include a timeline for balancing the budget. This is a first in our country's history.
The government is budgeting $41 billion to deflect attention from its mistakes, including its bungled foreign and domestic policy. Once again, the budget favours the major interest groups, as the member for Sherbrooke pointed out. We saw more evidence of this today, when the government gave Loblaws $12 million for refrigerators. It is absolutely ridiculous.
Does my colleague from Sherbrooke agree that this budget shows a lack of respect for Quebeckers?
In 2015, the member for Papineau, the Prime Minister, told a New York newspaper that Canada was postnational. This is an outright affront to Quebeckers, whose historical and political reality is very much alive and well.
There are also no measures in this bill to address the Quebec premier's concerns about the cost of the arrival of a huge number of illegal refugees. I know he does not like that term, but Quebec wants to be reimbursed for some of those costs. There is also nothing in the budget about a single tax return or the Quebec Bridge, and there is nothing to address the discriminatory measure wherein larger cities will get more money for sustainable mobility infrastructure than smaller ones like Quebec City.
Does my colleague agree that the 2019 budget implementation bill once again shows the government's lack of respect for all our fellow Quebeckers?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-11-01 11:34 [p.23119]
Madam Speaker, I thank the member for Louis-Hébert for his speech.
At the beginning of his speech he talked about historic investments in infrastructure. Sadly, it is historic in theory only, since we have seen just $9.3 billion of the $187 billion announced a few years ago.
Between 2010 and 2015, the Conservative government not only released the $80 billion from our economic action plan, but we also spent it in real time. Many observers even talked about how effective the plan was, since the money was getting out. I just wanted to set the record straight.
I would also like to ask my hon. colleague when the government plans to balance the budget. He did not mention that in his speech. One of the Liberal government's key promises in 2015 was to balance the budget by 2020. Promises must be kept if we want to reduce cynicism among Canadians instead of fuelling it. This is important to our democracy, and yet, it is clear that the government has shelved this promise and that it has absolutely no intention of keeping it.
When will the government balance the budget?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-04-19 16:30 [p.18572]
Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to speak today. As a Conservative MP, nothing is more important to me than tradition. As tradition would have it, I would like to acknowledge all those who are watching me and those I meet at the community centres, at all the organized events in my riding, or when I go door to door. As always, I am very happy to represent my constituents in the House of Commons.
I would like to wish a good National Volunteer Week to everyone in Beauport, the people of Limoilou, Giffard, Sainte-Odile, and all around the riding. In Beauport, there are more than 2,500 volunteers. It is the Quebec City neighbourhood with the highest number of volunteers. That makes me very proud. Without volunteers, our social costs would be much higher. I commend all those who put their heart and soul into helping their neighbours and so many others.
I would quickly like to go back to some comments made by the Liberal member for Markham—Thornhill. She boasted that the Liberal government is open and transparent. I would like to remind her that our esteemed Prime Minister's trip to the Aga Khan's island was not all that transparent. The commissioner had to examine and report on this trip, in short, do an investigation, to get to the bottom of things. First of all, I think it is outrageous for a sitting prime minister to go south. He should have stayed in Canada as most Canadians do.
Furthermore, the Liberals' tax reform for small and medium-sized businesses was not all that transparent. The objective was to increase the tax rate for all small and medium-sized businesses and to create jobs in Canada, through the back door, by increasing corporate and small business taxes through changes in how dividends and other various financial vehicles are treated.
Then, there were all of the Minister of Finance's dealings. He hid some funds generated by his family firm, Morneau Shepell. We discovered that he hid these funds in a numbered company in Alberta.
Basically, we have a long list of items proving that the government is not all that open and transparent. This list also includes the amendments and changes the Liberals made to the Access to Information Act. The commissioner stated very clearly in black and white that they are going to impede access to information. On top of that, the Liberals refused to give access to information from the Prime Minister's Office, as they promised during the election campaign.
I would still like to talk about the bill brought forward by the member for Beauce, for whom I have a great deal of respect. He is a man of courage and principle. This bill is consistent with his principles. He does not care to see subsidies, handouts, being given to large corporations. With this bill, however, he does not oppose the idea of giving money to businesses to help them out. He said something very simple: the technology partnerships Canada program spent about $3.3 billion. For 200 businesses, that represents $700 million in loans and 45% of cases. The member for Beauce does not oppose those loans; he is simply asking the government to tell us whether those companies have paid back the $700 million, which breaks down into different amounts, for example $800,000, $300,000, or $2 million. If some companies have not paid back those loans, then we can simply tell Canadians that they were actually subsidies, not loans.
I want to get back to what I said during my earlier question. When I was a student at Laval University, I remember naively telling my professor that I would go to Parliament to talk about philosophy, the Constitution, and the great debates of our time. He told me that there would be debates on these types of issues, yes, but fundamentally, what was at the heart of England's 13th century parliamentary system was accountability, namely what was happening with the money.
There is a reason why we spend two months talking about the budget. It is very important. The budget is at the heart of the parliamentary system. I sometimes find it a little annoying. I wonder if we could talk about Constitutional issues, Quebec's distinct society, the courts, politics, and other issues. However, much to my chagrin, we spend most of our time talking about money. There is a valid reason for this: every one of us here represents about 100,000 people, most of whom pay taxes. All of the government's programs, initiatives, and public policies, good or bad, are dynamic and rely on public funds.
In England in the 13th century, bourgeois capitalists went to see the king to tell him that all his warmongering was getting a little expensive. They asked him to create a place where they could talk to him or his representative and find out what he was doing with their money. That was the precise moment in the course of human history when liberal democracy made its first appearance.
Another example of the importance of knowing what is being done with people's money is the American Revolution. This is complicated and could fill many books, but essentially, the American Revolution happened because England was not interested in taxation with representation. The Americans said they had had enough. If taxes on tea—hence, the Tea Party—were going up, they wanted to know what was being done with their money. The only way the Americans could find out what the British were doing with the money was through elected representation of the colonies in the British Parliament. However, the king, in his arrogance, and his British governing council told the colonies to keep quiet and pay their taxes to His Majesty like they were supposed to. Thus ensued the American Revolution.
Such major historical examples demonstrate how accountability is at the very heart of the parliamentary system and liberal democracy, which guarantees the protection of individual rights and freedoms so dear to our Liberals in this place.
Now, this is what I do not understand. The opposition members, whether they belong to the NDP, the Conservative Party, or the Quebec caucus, introduce sensible and fairly simple bills. Why will the government not just admit it and thank them? Not only is it the purpose of Parliament to inform Canadians about what is being done with their money, but the government itself should know what is happening.
The government could use half of the unpaid $700 million to more quickly implement its much-touted social housing program or pharmacare 2020. However, between $400 million and $700 million has not been paid back to the federal government. Thus, it is completely unacceptable and illogical for the Liberals to tell us that this is not a laudable or justifiable bill.
When I came to Parliament, I had the opportunity to work on the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates, a very complex committee. It was a bit overwhelming, but I took it very seriously and I did all the reading. That committee just keeps voting on credits for months because it approves all the spending. When I was there, the President of the Treasury Board attended our meetings three times to explain the changes he wanted to make to the main estimates. These were disastrous changes that sought to take away the power of opposition MPs to examine spending vote by vote for over two months. He wanted to cut that time down to about two weeks. It was an attempt on the part of the Liberals to gradually undermine the work and transparency of this democratic institution.
What is more, the Liberals wanted to make major changes that would cut our speaking time in the House of Commons. For heaven's sake. At the time of Confederation, our forefathers sometimes talked for six or seven hours. Now, 20 minutes is too long. For example, today, I have 10 minutes to speak. The Liberals wanted to cut our time down from 20 minutes to 10 minutes. This government never stops trying to cut the opposition's speaking time, and that is not to mention the $7 billion that have still not been allocated.
In short, the bill introduced by the member for Beauce is a laudable bill that goes to the very heart of the principle underlying liberal democracy and the British parliamentary system, that of knowing where taxpayers' money is going.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-11-06 16:50 [p.15024]
Mr. Speaker, one of the key promises the Liberals made in 2015, before they were in government, was to invest $120 billion in infrastructure. The Conservative Party supported the idea from the get-go; indeed, it ran the largest infrastructure program in Canada when Mr. Lebel headed the infrastructure department. This program had planned investments totalling $80 billion, which was unprecedented in Canada.
That said, what I find interesting is that, today, two years after the election, very rarely do we hear about a specific project benefiting from the $120 billion that have supposedly been invested since 2015.
I wonder if my colleague is able to name a single project in a single province that has benefited from this $120-billion investment in infrastructure.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-09-18 15:56 [p.13169]
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to see you in the chair again, guiding our democratic exchanges in the House.
I began my speech before question period. Having used up six minutes, I now have four left. In the first part of my speech, I explored the notion of borders from various perspectives: security, trafficking, trade, and the need for some to commute between various countries, in our case Canada and the United States.
As a certain philosopher whose name escapes me once said, borders guarantee a country's sovereignty. It can then be said that they guarantee our Canadian democracy, because in order to be enforced, rights must rest upon institutional foundations, foundations that can only be guaranteed within the borders of a sovereign state that has institutions such as the House of Commons, for instance.
The purpose of Bill C-21, which the Minister of Public Safety introduced on June 15, 2016, in this House, is to amend the Customs Act. Let me remind my colleagues that the whole content of this bill comes from the beyond the border action plan, introduced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2011. The general aim of that plan was to address any emerging threats to the Canada-U.S. border; to promote trade, which makes for continuous economic growth and job creation; to have an integrated cross-border law enforcement; and to establish critical infrastructure for cybersecurity, a need that keeps growing over the years as new technologies become more important in our daily lives and our institutions.
In my view, this bill was put forward in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The Americans wanted to address the concerns of their fellow citizens about security in North America, which is quite natural. In fact, the goal is still the same. As good partners, we not only wanted to address the concerns of Canadians regarding their security, but we also wanted to be good economic, military, and social partners with the United States. We still want that today. Therefore, we began discussions about border security in good faith and with an open mind.
That being said, it was imperative for us, Canadians, to ensure the continuity of trade flow. That is what is difficult to maintain with this type of bill. As my colleague from Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, our critic on this file, mentioned, this bill is intended to finally respond to the threat of terrorism. However, how can we achieve this while ensuring the continued free flow of goods?
We believe the government has accepted the main points we presented in 2011, which is quite interesting. However, this government still has many questions to answer about this bill. Will there be new infrastructure costs related to carrying out the inspection of outgoing people or goods? What measures have been put in place by this government to protect privacy and ensure that the collection of any new entry and exit data is carried out in a secure manner? How will this bill affect those people who enter Canada at unofficial entry points, as we saw this summer in Manitoba and Quebec? Finally, how is this issue reflected in our trade negotiations with the United States at this time, and will all Canadians benefit from these changes?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-06-08 19:22 [p.12351]
Mr. Speaker, certainly my constituents feel that the Liberals have been given enough blank cheques already.
Again, the member over there spoke about respect, that we took too many days to speak about a question of privilege, which is terrible to say. The Liberals say they respect us, but they say we should just sign on to a bill that would create new ministries that they do not want to tell us about yet. They want us to vote on the bill, but they do not want to tell us exactly what is going on. This is how much respect they have for us. This is how much respect they have had for us for two years now, which is why we came to that situation in March, April, and May, and that is why we are sitting until midnight tonight.
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