Interventions in the House of Commons
 
 
 
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View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
BQ (QC)
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
2019-06-04 13:39 [p.28490]
Mr. Speaker, it is time to take a look at the Liberals' record. There are two and a half weeks left in this Parliament. The budget implementation bill that is before us today is the government's last. Anything not contained in that bill will have to wait until after the election. Budget 2019 is consistent with this government's approach of saying one thing and doing the opposite.
First, let us talk about this so-called green government. Since the last election, bitumen extraction in Alberta has skyrocketed. We are talking about an increase of 25%. That is no small thing. Extraction grew even faster than under Stephen Harper. In fact, production has grown so much that it has exceeded transport capacity.
Today, the Liberals and the Conservatives would have us believe that there is a pipeline problem, but that is not the case. There is an overproduction problem, which is not the same thing. To limit overproduction, the government is proposing to support new investments in the oil sands with accelerated capital cost allowance. A total of $2.7 billion in taxpayers' money will be wasted on this tax expenditure.
In one year alone, the government announced $19 billion in new oil investments. The oil industry certainly got the message. If you look at production estimates, it is clear that the industry wants to maintain the level of growth it has seen the past four years. This will result in more overproduction and cause prices to continue their downturn. This is meant to make us believe that more pipelines are inevitable and that we have no choice but to export and pollute more.
The direct consequence of this government's policies is that energy east will be forced back on us. The Liberal government is working to keep us in the 20th century, bogged down in the tar sands.
Mr. Alain Rayes: Where do you get your gas?
Mr. Gabriel Ste-Marie: Mr. Speaker, at my daughter's school there is a big banner saying “zero tolerance for bullying”. The previous Conservative member who spoke accused the Liberals of bullying, and now the member for Victoriaville is hurling epithets and questions at me. There should be zero tolerance for bullying here too. We have a right to speak without being interrupted.
To get back to what I was saying, that is not what we need in Quebec. We have already started to go green. GHG emissions per capita are two and a half times lower in Quebec than in the rest of Canada. A policy for the 21st century is to make polluting expensive and avoiding pollution profitable.
I can already hear the Liberals saying that they created the carbon tax, so let us talk about it. The government imposes a tax, then gives the money back to those who paid it. It is a circle that does not result in any real transfer of wealth from polluters to the good guys. It does not make it profitable to go green. It will not result in a true green shift. It does not entitle anyone to make green speeches. It is merely an image, just like the government has been since it was elected: an image, no more, no less, but definitely no more.
Let us move on. In the lead-up to the budget, the Bloc québécois reached out to Quebeckers, and what we consistently heard was that their main priorities are health and education. There is nothing about that in the budget. Health transfers have been capped at 3% for two years, and yet, health costs in Quebec have risen by 5.2%. You do not need a Nobel prize in mathematics to see that there is a problem. The healthcare system is stretched to its limit, and wait times are getting longer. Something has to give, and everyone knows it.
Everything I have just said about the healthcare system also applies to education. Teachers are as burnt out as nurses. It is the same problem, except that, in this case, transfers were capped at 3% 15 years ago. Health and education are Quebeckers’ two main priorities. There is nothing about that in Bill C-97. The government decided to gradually move away from Quebecker’s priorities. That is abundantly clear in Bill C-97.
Now, let us look at the measures the government has taken to stimulate the economy. Its primary measure involves infrastructure. In and of itself, that is a good thing, but the methods used are another story. By multiplying specific programs, each one with very strict criteria, Ottawa has ruined everything. Federal requirements have caused a tug of war with Quebec and will paralyze the entire process. The result is striking: the money is starting to trickle down just before the election. We had to wait a long time. In the first two years of its term, the government spent $100 per Quebecker and $700 for each Canadian outside Quebec.
We know the federal government is building precious little infrastructure. It owns barely 2% of all public infrastructure, while the provinces and municipalities own 98%. Through federal transfers, the government is financing infrastructure that does not belong to it, that is not within its jurisdiction and that it does not have the means to prioritize intelligently. The government had good intentions, but the whole undertaking has been a monumental failure on the ground.
The money is not flowing. The federal criteria are too rigid and do not meet communities' needs. During the last election campaign, the Liberals promised to transfer blocks of infrastructure funding. They promised to mind their own business and do their job. That is yet another broken promise, and Quebec is paying the price.
As I said, my leader and I have been travelling around a lot listening to Quebeckers. People do not realize how future-focused Quebec is. Quebeckers are creative and innovative. Yesterday's tinkerers are now developing video games, designing new aircraft and working on artificial intelligence. Year after year, Quebec accounts for between 40% and 45% of Canada's tech exports, even though its share of Canada's economy is only half that much.
In metropolitan areas across Quebec, there are at least 5,000 technology startups. I think of it as Silicon Valley North. What is in Bill C-97 for technology? Is it an aerospace policy? No. Is it patient capital to let our technology start-ups develop here in Canada rather than being bought out by U.S. web giants? It is not that either.
However, there is some venture capital to help out the rest of Canada. That is how it is in all areas. When Quebec succeeds, Ottawa is not there. Take supply management, for example. Our regional agriculture lends itself well to local distribution. That is the future. Instead of helping, the government is hurting agriculture. It has signed three trade agreements with three breaches, and not a single penny has been paid to farmers.
We scoured Bill C-97 for the compensation, but it is not there. Our producers were taken for a ride. They will get nothing before the election. That is also the case for Davie. Does Bill C-97 announce a review of its horrible naval strategy? The answer is obviously no.
The same goes for the fight against tax havens. These loopholes allow banks and multi-millionaires to get out of paying taxes. The government needs to act fast, but instead, it has legalized three new tax havens. In my private member's bill, I proposed a working solution to close the loopholes, but, of course, all the Liberals but one voted it down. Like the sheriff of Nottingham, they would rather defend fat cats than low-income workers. The Conservatives also voted against my bill, but at least they were being true to type. Unlike the Liberals, they do not try to dress up as Robin Hood.
View Murray Rankin Profile
NDP (BC)
View Murray Rankin Profile
2019-05-14 20:27 [p.27812]
Madam Chair, I will not ask again in the interests of time.
I want to go to another important matter facing Canada, and that is the implications of Quebec's Bill 21, a government initiative that would ban newly hired public servants, including teachers, police officers, lawyers and judges from wearing religious symbols at work. Quebec will be the first jurisdiction in North America to do that.
According to the Prime Minister, this would legitimize religious discrimination. However, according to the Premier of Quebec, trainee teachers who wanted to wear religious clothing should choose a different career. We have something called the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but it seems that the Quebec government has chosen to invoke the notwithstanding clause to override freedom of expression and freedom of religion.
I very clearly would like to ask the Minister of Justice this. How does he intend to address this initiative when it comes before courts?
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Chair, it would be a pleasure. As the Prime Minister has stated, we are the party of the charter and we will defend individual rights at every stage.
With respect to the particular process that is now going on in Quebec, it is within the purview of the national assembly in Quebec to go through the legislative hearing stage. That is where it is at. Therefore, we do not yet know what the final parameters of the bill will be, if and when it passes into law. When that happens, we will make a decision at that stage with respect to how we will react. The Prime Minister has enunciated the principles in which we believe. As the Minister of Justice and as a Quebecker, I am watching that process carefully. I am following it.
We will be prepared to act when we have a final product, but for the time being it is in the hands of the national assembly. It is its jurisdiction. There is a robust debate going on within Quebec by Quebeckers on that very issue.
View Murray Rankin Profile
NDP (BC)
View Murray Rankin Profile
2019-05-14 20:29 [p.27812]
Madam Chair, in an answer to a question I posed in this place to the minister on December 6, 2018, he told me that academic writing had pointed out, in particular an article by Lorraine Weinrib, that “it ought to be used only as a last resort and after the courts had struck down a piece of legislation.”
Does the minister still agree with that? If so, will he be intervening for a declaration that the use of the notwithstanding clause is premature at this stage?
View Fayçal El-Khoury Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Fayçal El-Khoury Profile
2019-04-30 12:04 [p.27160]
Mr. Speaker, for the fourth time in as many years, I am delighted to be commenting on the budget tabled by my colleague, the hon. member for Toronto Centre, the Minister of Finance of Canada.
Four years ago, he presented Canadians with a plan to kick-start our economy. As everyone knows, government budget planning is a process that starts with a clear vision of who we want to be as a country, a vision of the future based on precise economic forecasts. The hon. Minister of Finance has done a terrific job over the last few years.
The financial results for the last fiscal year show how well our economy is doing. These results are due to the robust labour market, increased tax revenues and higher corporate profits. They are the direct outcome of the budget initiatives and investments that our government has carried out since taking office.
Thanks to our previous budgets and careful, responsible fiscal management, Canada now has the most vigorous economy in the G7. Better still, our previous budgets lifted 300,000 Canadian children out of poverty, reduced the unemployment rate to a 40-year low, created 900,000 new jobs, and are enhancing the employability of women, indigenous people and newcomers, as noted in the prestigious English magazine, The Economist.
In addition to maintaining the downward trajectory of Canada's debt-to-GDP ratio, the latest budget takes Canadians' concerns into account and addresses each and every one of them. As the next phase in the government's strategic plan, it includes new investments that will maintain our economic growth, support workers, create new jobs, help workers adapt to new technology, better prepare young people and graduates for good jobs, support seniors who want to remain in the workforce, and improve seniors' income security.
There are two main measures in the budget that support first-time home buyers. The first concerns the registered retirement savings plan, or RRSP, and the home buyers' plan, more commonly known as the HBP. The budget increases the RRSP withdrawal limit to $35,000 from $25,000 to buy a first home.
The second measure is new and very attractive for members of the middle class with maximum household income of $120,000. It gives them the opportunity to finance a portion of their home with a mortage from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, or CMHC. This measure will let new buyers lower their monthly payments with a lower mortgage and make their dream of owning a home come true.
I am convinced and pleased that many Canadian families and many residents of Laval—Les Îles will benefit from these new measures.
There are other measures in the budget that will have a positive impact on our economy and the environment.
For instance, Infrastructure Canada has allocated $3.9 billion to Quebec for over 5,100 projects, including several major projects that will benefit my constituents in Laval.
Indeed, our government has already invested $23.7 million in 26 projects undertaken by the Société de transport de Laval, or STL, as part of the public transit infrastructure fund. With those investments, STL can purchase and replace buses and continue its studies on the electrification of its network. These investments are having a direct impact on the residents of Laval—Les Îles, as they are improving their daily commutes.
People who take the subway at Montmorency, De la Concorde and Cartier stations in Laval will also see some changes, since our government has invested over $215 million for the purchase of 153 new subway cars. This investment will give residents of Laval—Les Îles who go into Montreal for business or pleasure a more reliable, more efficient transit system so they can avoid gridlock.
The Réseau Express Métropolitain, or REM, light rail will terminate in Sainte-Dorothée, in Laval, in 2021, two years from now. The REM will significantly improve public transit in the greater Montreal area. The Canada Infrastructure Bank is providing $1.28 billion to support this ambitious project.
This new budget gives Canada an array of significant, encouraging projects that respect the environment and give Canadians confidence. With an eye on climate change, our government also developed a brand new measure for those who cannot use public transit and want to decrease their greenhouse gas emissions. Our 2019 budget includes a federal incentive of up to $5,000 for the purchase of an electric vehicle. Thanks to our government's investments and the City of Laval's network of charging stations for electric vehicles, the transition from gas vehicles to electric vehicles will be much easier. With this type of initiative our government continues to encourage the transition to a much greener society.
Once again, our government is fulfilling its mandate. It is carrying out the mandate given by Canadians in 2015 when they chose a government with a vision for the future and, above all, a vision that benefits everyone.
We are also improving access to mentorship, and resources for apprenticeships and the start-up of new innovative businesses. We are advocating tolerance and inclusion to make Canada, our beautiful country, a model for all countries.
Under the leadership of the right hon. Prime Minister, our government's vision is hopeful and forward looking. It is embodied in budget measures such as those in the 2019 budget. These measures are reassuring to me and to a great number of Canadians.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for giving me the floor. I want to say that I am extremely proud to be working on behalf of the people of Laval—Les Îles and to be part of a government that considers all Canadian citizens.
View Karine Trudel Profile
NDP (QC)
View Karine Trudel Profile
2019-04-30 13:35 [p.27173]
Mr. Speaker, I am fortunate to rise today in the House to speak to the 2019 budget. This is not just the 2019 budget, because the story of this budget is also the story of the 2016, 2017 and 2018 budgets. It is the disappointing story of a government that failed four times to meet the expectations and needs of Quebec's regions, including my region of Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean.
Instead, the government constantly makes decisions that benefit the wealthy and the Liberals' friends, who often have access to the Prime Minister's Office. Not everyone is that fortunate. This leads me to the current budget. The government has once again missed its chance to solve several problems affecting the people of my riding of Jonquière, which I have represented for more than four years.
I have risen dozen of times in the House to ask the government about supply management, hoping to ensure that dairy farmers are not used as a bargaining chip in trade negotiations and to demand compensation for farmers who are sacrificed. After three extremely harmful agreements and years of pressure, in this budget, the government only announced funds for dairy farmers, but gave no details or deadlines. The uncertainty continues.
It is outrageous that this government has used its time in office to undermine supply management and now refuses to fix it. It needs to act now, before all our farms go bankrupt, gutting our rural communities and jeopardizing our food sovereignty in the process. While reading this budget, I certainly expected more from a government led by a Prime Minister who came to my region in person to make promises he never really intended to keep.
Do my colleagues know that the second-largest employer in my riding, with over 1,000 workers and a $40-million payroll, is the Jonquière tax centre? This is money that the federal government injects directly into the regional economy every year, so it is vital to ensure not only that these workers keep their jobs, but that the centre's future is secure.
I can assure the House that I will continue to defend these good jobs and make sure they are not taken away. Unlike some people, I will not pander for votes with unrealistic proposals that actually harm our region.
In this budget, the government announced an investment of $34 million over five years to create new jobs processing personal tax returns. That aligns perfectly with the mission of the Jonquière Tax Centre. I am going to keep working hard to make sure Jonquière gets its fair share.
In 2016, I was one of the most vocal MPs drawing attention to the importance of doing something about the expiration of the Canada-U.S. softwood lumber agreement. Together with workers and the industry, we urged the government to leverage its strong relationship with the Obama administration to resolve the issue. The government was unable to do so. On countless occasions, we called on the government to implement a proper plan B to support forestry jobs and our businesses. Our regional competitiveness is at stake.
In Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean alone, over 10,000 jobs hang in the balance, but the Liberals keep failing at every turn. Time after time, the government has offered up excuses. Thousands of workers protested in the streets, but the government has never managed to grasp the full impact of U.S. countervailing duties on regions such as Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean.
What does budget 2019 do to protect workers in the likely event that the conflict grinds on for years? There have been a few initiatives here, a few funding announcements there, but nowhere near enough to make anyone forget that the government seems powerless to resolve an issue that has been dragging on for almost three years.
The government never misses an opportunity to boast about its approach to infrastructure, but after four years in office and four budgets, most communities have not even seen any benefits from it, since the government chose to delay the investments, as always. I am wondering what good it does to make promises or allocate money in budgets if the communities cannot use that money immediately. Did the Prime Minister not say that he wanted to take advantage of low interest rates?
The needs are great in ridings like Jonquière, whether in the city of Jonquière, Larouche, Laterrière, Saint-Honoré, Saint-David-de-Falardeau, Saint-Fulgence, Sainte-Rose-du-Nord, Saint-Ambroise, Bégin, Saint-Charles-de-Bourget, Saint-Nazaire, Labrecque or Lamarche. Unfortunately, people will remember budget 2019 as the Liberals' last budget, the budget that did little to help provide infrastructure for our rural municipalities.
The Prime Minister needs to stop playing fast and loose with the regions. Since 2017, I have been calling on the government to do something about the icebreaker file, to no avail. Two years later, the ships of companies like Rio Tinto and Resolute Forest Products are still getting stuck in the ice sometimes. That is happening because the government has not freed up any funding to renew the Coast Guard's icebreaker fleet, which is responsible for keeping the Saguenay River open. It unacceptable that the region is being temporarily cut off from shipping.
The government mismanaged this file and missed its chance to bring in a coherent, properly funded strategy to resolve the problem once and for all. This further illustrates the Prime Minister's lack of interest in rural communities.
How are the regions going to succeed in fighting climate change? That is the type of question we were hoping would be answered in the budget of a self-proclaimed green government. We all agree that the fight against climate change has to be a priority, but it also has to be well thought out so that all regions, including Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, benefit from the jobs created in the green economy. After four years and four budgets, there is nothing to show for all the government's promises to the regions. It is impossible to develop a unifying strategy unless the regions are invited to join the discussion and be part of the solution in the fight against climate change. That is my priority, but clearly the government feels otherwise.
After being disappointed by four consecutive budgets, the region is going to think that the Liberal government has met very few expectations during its term, even though it had promised the moon. This government is constantly in reaction mode instead of being a true proactive leader. This lack of vision prevents innovative measures from promoting economic development in the regions, like Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, which is a shame. The people of this region deserve better.
The Liberals have tried to shift to the left in recent elections by stealing many ideas from the NDP. Unfortunately, they forgot to steal our values, like fighting for social justice, equality and the most vulnerable citizens. These values require policies and budgets that invest in human beings and not just multi-billion dollar corporations.
By investing in people, we can move society forward and continue to grow our regions and our communities. The Liberals cannot see that. Canadians and workers should know that they can always count on the NDP to be on their side.
View François Choquette Profile
NDP (QC)
View François Choquette Profile
2019-04-11 16:27 [p.27022]
Mr. Speaker, I am glad my hon. colleague talked about the importance of working together and working with the regions.
In the Drummond region, people are asking questions about the supply management compensation program. They want details and, most of all, they want all dairy farmers to be compensated. The last time, it was a total disaster.
Something else that is very important for Drummond is the Village Québécois d'Antan, a regional tourist attraction that is very important to Drummond's socio-economic vitality. This heritage gem needs renovations and a number of buildings need to be rebuilt. The Village Québécois d'Antan requested emergency financial assistance from the government, but the government has been dragging its feet.
Will the Liberal government commit to providing the Village Québécois d'Antan with emergency financial assistance?
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 Pierre-Luc Dusseault Profile
NDP (QC)
View Pierre-Luc Dusseault Profile
2019-04-10 17:23 [p.26955]
Mr. Speaker, the short answer is yes, absolutely.
The federal government quite simply ignored some very specific demands from the Government of Quebec. The member mentioned a few files. This clearly shows that the Prime Minister could care less about Quebec's requests, even though he had a private meeting with the new premier. That is nothing new. The Prime Minister is not going to start acting differently because Quebec has a new government. He has always had very little respect for Quebec and the demands of Quebeckers, unlike the NDP, which recognizes the Quebec nation, its autonomy and its ability to make decisions in its best interests in areas under its jurisdiction.
That is the reality within certain parties in the House that think they are always right and want to impose their ideas on the rest of the country. Other parties, like the NDP, recognize Quebec's specificity and the fact that it needs to be recognized not only in words but also through actions. It is important to be open to requests from Quebec and to listen carefully to Quebeckers. What we are seeing these days is 40 or so phantom MPs of the Liberal Party. No one really knows where they are or what they are doing. Any time Quebec asks for something, they seem to disappear. They are invisible, they have nothing to say, they are gone. Maybe that is symptomatic of being a member from Quebec who does nothing for Quebec.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
2019-03-20 15:23 [p.26185]
Mr. Speaker, I will begin by saying that I will split my time with the member for Lethbridge.
Today I rise on a motion to get to the truth in the SNC-Lavalin scandal. Here is a quick recap of how we got here.
A year ago, the Prime Minister had his finance minister introduce a budget amending the Criminal Code to allow powerful corporations accused of fraud, bribery and other forms of corruption to get the charges shelved by signing something called a deferred prosecution agreement. We were all wondering where this was coming from and who was advocating for such special deals. We found out in February of this year, when The Globe and Mail reported that the former attorney general faced interference, veiled threats, pressure, hounding and other inappropriate pressure from the Prime Minister and those around him to offer such a deal to SNC-Lavalin.
SNC-Lavalin is a company facing over $100 million in fraud and bribery charges. Among the charges are that the company bought prostitutes for the former Libyan dictator, Moammar Gadhafi, and that it bribed him and his officials to defraud among the poorest people in the world of hundreds of millions of dollars.
The Prime Minister was acting in a manner that was highly unusual. To take direct interest in a criminal trial of any kind would be strange on any day, but to try to defend alleged corporate criminals who engaged in malfeasance on this scale was particularly unusual. Of course, the Prime Minister said he did nothing wrong, that the story was false and that his attorney general was behind him all the way. The next day, she resigned. The Prime Minister dismissed her, saying that he was disappointed and surprised. We found out later, during her testimony, that he should not have been either. The reality is that she told him that she was worried about the level of interference by his office.
That brings me to numerous unanswered questions we now need to pursue. First, the Prime Minister said that she never raised any concerns with him at all and that if she was worried about the 20 times his office and his officials contacted her about this criminal prosecution, why did she not say something? It turns out she did.
Yes, she did, despite the heckling against her, again, by Liberal members across the way. Shame on them for heckling a fellow Liberal member. That is shameful.
On September 17, she asked the Prime Minister, “Are you interfering...with my role as the Attorney General?”, because if he was, she said, “I would strongly advise against it.” The Prime Minister was stating a falsehood when he said otherwise.
Then he said that it was all about jobs. If this powerful, Liberal-linked corporation did not get its charges shelved, 9,000 jobs would vanish into thin air. When his top adviser, Gerald Butts, appeared before committee, the Green Party leader asked him if he had any evidence that 9,000 jobs would disappear. His answer was that he had nothing specific. That was after two hours of testimony during which he claimed that he was tied in knots about all the families who would lose their jobs.
Then we asked Michael Wernick, the Clerk of the Privy Council, who had been involved in all the meetings and proceedings leading up to this interference, what reports he had to prove that 9,000 jobs would vanish. He said that he had nothing in particular. All of this aroused suspicion that the jobs claim was a bunch of nonsense, a suspicion that is supported by a lot of evidence.
Let me lay out that evidence. First, the company has the five biggest construction projects in Canada now, worth $52 billion. I want to offer a bit of a hint about how construction jobs work, for our friends across the way. They have to be done where the construction projects are. For example, in Ottawa, SNC-Lavalin has been retained to build the north-south mass-transit project, a $600-million project. It will lay track from near downtown Ottawa all the way out to deep in the south end of the city.
Rail cannot be built in Beijing or London, England and be dropped from a helicopter onto the nation's capital. It has to be built in the city. The same is true with all construction projects SNC-Lavalin is doing in the country.
The second claim the government makes regarding jobs is that if the company is convicted, then it will lose all access to federal contracts. We now know that is not true. The public procurement minister is already making revisions to the procurement policy allowing corporate criminals to continue to bid if they get an exemption. SNC-Lavalin already earned such an exemption, or at least was granted one, early in the days of the Liberal government. In fact, it was one of the very first acts the Liberal government rushed to take.
In December of 2015, the company, which had been banned from federal bidding after being charged with fraud and bribery, was then given an exception by the government so it could continue bidding, and it plans to do exactly the same thing even if a conviction occurs. In other words, if the government is just worried about protecting bidding opportunities for federal projects, it can do that without preventing the trial from going ahead. Therefore, that is fallacious excuse is as well.
Back in September, it was said that the Prime Minister told the former attorney general that if she did not immediately shelve the charges into SNC-Lavalin's corruption, the company would move its headquarters to London, England. He made that claim twice in that meeting. The Clerk of the Privy Council also made that claim in that meeting. The chief of staff to the finance minister would go to staff members of the former attorney general and say the same thing. Ben Chin said that the announcement of the move of the headquarters could happen within days and that it needed to be prevented because there was a Quebec election going on.
That seemed mighty suspicious, because a little research on doctor Google would prove that moving the SNC headquarters is impossible. A $1.5-billion loan agreement between the company and the Quebec pension plan requires that the headquarters stay there until the year 2024, another half-decade. The company just signed a 20-year lease on its headquarters there, and is in the process of spending millions of dollars to renovate specifically for the purpose of accommodating its 2,000 employees in that city. It is not only contractually impossible, it is physically unbelievable that the company would leave.
If people do not take any of that as sufficient enough proof, today the CEO of SNC-Lavalin made clear that was not going to happen. In fact, he was asked where this came from. He said that he did not know how people got ideas like that in their heads. Only the Prime Minister knows how that idea came into his head. Today he denied ever making the headquarters claim.
When one does not tell the truth, the problem is that it becomes very difficult to keep track of one's story. Unfortunately for him, we have him on tape, claiming that SNC would leave Canada altogether if it was convicted of fraud and bribery. He said it in his famous non-apology press conference, where he repeated that false claim that he had earlier said to the former attorney general. Therefore, we know he was going around stating that falsehood.
It is bad enough that the Prime Minister of Canada faces allegations of interfering with a criminal prosecution to get charges set aside. However, this scandal reaches a whole new level of criminal culpability if the Prime Minister or anyone around him deliberately stated a falsehood to a law officer in order to shelve criminal charges. It is an offence under section 139 of the Criminal Code to obstruct, pervert or defeat the course of justice. Lying to a law officer to get her to set aside charges would obstruct, pervert and defeat the course of justice.
It is possible that during her testimony, the former attorney general did not realize that this falsehood had been stated to her and that it was not true. However, these are the questions we need answered. That is why we need to end the cover-up, let the former attorney general complete her testimony and proceed with an investigation at the ethics committee.
View Louis Plamondon Profile
BQ (QC)
Mr. Speaker, as a new member, I forgot about that.
In the budget presented by the Minister of Finance, there is no mention of what Quebec wanted. The three main items that the Legault government had raised were Montreal's blue line, Quebec City's streetcars and a contract for the Davie shipyard. None of those are in the budget.
We had also hoped that web giants would be taxed just like Bell and Vidéotron. This will be a big disappointment for Quebec.
View Bill Morneau Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Morneau Profile
2019-03-19 18:04 [p.26169]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to start by thanking the member for his comments about decorum in the House. That is very important.
We certainly continue to work with the Government of Quebec. We have spoken with its representatives several times to ensure that we are collaborating on implementing our approach and our infrastructure investments, which will improve the situation in Quebec. That is important.
We will be collaborating on other issues, such as our pharmacare system. We will continue to work with the Government of Quebec to make things better for the people of Quebec. That is very important.
View Steven Blaney Profile
CPC (QC)
Madam Speaker, I want to congratulate my colleague for his rigorous analysis of an important bill. He does exceptional work in the House and I am very proud that he is standing up in particular for the interests of Bagotville military personnel, especially those in the air force.
I would like to ask my colleague a very simple question.
Could this bill have been better drafted so as to better serve Quebeckers in the military?
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