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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-05-28 17:02 [p.28160]
Mr. Speaker, we had a very good example this morning with the member across the way.
Contrast that to another example where we had legislation which members of the New Democratic Party recognized that they actually liked. I think it was Bill C-37. I could be wrong on that but if members did a quick check of Hansard, they would be able to find out when members of the NDP supported time allocation. They wanted us to pass that legislation. They recognized the value and importance of that legislation. That is not the only time they did that. The NDP members on a couple of occasions have recognized that they like the legislation and want it to pass and have therefore supported our bringing in time allocation.
What we know is that all parties in this House actually support the concept of time allocation, if it is deemed necessary. Even when I sat in opposition, Peter Van Loan would bring in time allocation, and I remember standing in my place and supporting it, because if one is not getting the support and co-operation from opposition parties in particular and from the government at times, one may need to use time allocation. A lot depends on what is happening in the opposition benches.
I know the government House leader continues to want to work with opposition members. If the government House leader asks how many speakers a party would like to put forward on something or how quickly might we be able to get a piece of legislation through, it is not some sort of trap for the opposition parties. It is to allow for more debate on issues which the opposition members would like to have more debate on.
There are bills that are relatively non-controversial, like Bill C-81, which is historical legislation. I am not going to say that members should not be debating the bill, but based on my 30 years of parliamentary experience, when the will is there to see a bill pass, it passes really quickly as opposed to there being a filibuster. Maybe it would have been better to allow Bill C-81 to actually pass today. I would argue that would have been the right thing to do.
I listened very closely to the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan across the way. All he would say is that it will pass in due time and before the next election it will be passed. He indicated his support for it on behalf of the Conservative Party. The member is playing a game and he knows it. If the Conservative Party really wanted to, that bill could have passed and we could have been debating something else right now. We needed to get an indication to help facilitate debate inside the House.
There are many issues that I would like to debate and, in good part, I have been fortunate to have been afforded the opportunity to do that. The NDP House leader talked about an issue which I am very passionate about: pharmacare. That is not an NDP issue, although the NDP tries to claim it as one. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is an issue today because we have a Prime Minister who is committed to ensuring that we expand our health care system. That is the reason the NDP is talking about it today. It was years ago, when we first came in as government, through a standing committee that the idea started to really flourish.
I participate in a caucus and I have many discussions with my colleagues. We understand the value of it. We understand that we have to work with many different stakeholders. Then the NDP members catch wind of it and all of a sudden they say that they to get out in front of the Liberals on it. That is balderdash.
The NDP does not get credit for something of this nature. If anyone should get the credit, it is Canadians. It is Canadians who have been communicating, whether through the Prime Minister or through members of our caucus, about the importance of pharmacare. That is the reason we have prioritized it. We are looking forward to the report we will be getting toward the end of June.
NDP members talk about housing as if they are leading the file. Who are they kidding? I enjoy listening to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development. He is one of the most able-minded individuals I know, and he understands the issues of housing in Canada.
In the last federal election, the commitment the NDP made with regard to housing pales in comparison to what this government has put into place. I find it somewhat humorous that the NDP has attempted to stake claim to an area in which this government has moved forward.
From day one, whether in regard to budgetary measures or legislative measures, this government and the Prime Minister have been focused on Canada's middle class. Let us talk about our first piece of legislation. Bill C-2 provided a tax cut to Canada's middle class. Hundreds of millions of dollars are going into the pockets of Canadians. At the same time, the legislation allowed for a special increase in tax for Canada's wealthiest 1%. By the way, the Conservatives and the NDP voted against that.
That was a legislative measure. In our very first budget, we committed to a tax-free Canada child benefit program. Again, this is putting hundreds of millions of dollars into the pockets of almost nine out of 10 families, although I could not tell members the actual percentage. That initiative literally lifted hundreds of thousands of children out of poverty, and the Conservatives and NDP voted against it.
That is why I say that from day one, this government, whether through budgetary measures or legislative measures, has been very active at ensuring we continue to move forward. However, in virtually every initiative we have undertaken, and Bill C-81 is more of an exception, opposition parties have fought us.
Let us recall the last federal budget. Before I comment on some of the content of it, do members remember the day of the federal budget? It was not a good day for parliamentarians. The Minister of Finance wanted to address the House and Canada. All sorts of stakeholders were waiting to hear about the budget. Do members remember the behaviour of members of the official opposition? They were yelling and slamming their desks. They did not want the Minister of Finance to be heard. In my 30 years of parliamentary experience, I had never witnessed that sort of inappropriate behaviour coming from the official opposition. It was embarrassing.
The Conservatives are very focused on trying to discredit the person of the Prime Minister. We can hear it in their speeches. It is the personal attacks, whether directed at the Prime Minister or the Minister of Finance. That is fine. It is the Stephen Harper type of politics, with more and more of Doug Ford's style getting into their caucus and in their policies. It is scary stuff.
One member opposite said that he is going to join our caucus. I believe that could happen sometime soon. If I were to speculate on the Conservative leadership at the end of the year or in 2020, I am thinking it could be Doug Ford, Jason Kenney, maybe the opposition House leader, and I do not know who else.
The bottom line is the Conservatives are so focused on character assassination instead of being a constructive opposition party. That is okay, because as they focus on that negativity, we will continue to focus on Canadians. The results are really showing in a tangible way.
I made reference to the hundreds of thousands of children, and there are also hundreds of thousands of seniors who have been lifted out of poverty as a direct result of this government's actions. In the last three and a half years, we have seen one million new jobs created by working with Canadians. We have seen incredible investments in infrastructure. In the last budget alone, there is a commitment to municipalities. In Winnipeg, I believe it is about 35 million additional dollars. If members were to drive around some of our streets, they would get a better appreciation of why that is such an important investment.
I started off talking about the historical legislation of Bill C-81. We have indigenous legislation that is before the House on language and foster care. These are critically important issues. It is historic legislation. These are two pieces of legislation that we still need to pass. That is why I am here standing in my place saying that we still have 19 days to go. Unlike the Conservatives and the New Democrats, we are prepared to work until the very last day. We are prepared to work late. We have a legislative agenda and we are committed to passing that legislation. We know that this government works for Canadians in every region of our country every day.
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