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View Rodger Cuzner Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Rodger Cuzner Profile
2015-06-19 11:40 [p.15348]
Mr. Speaker, today marks the end of National Public Service Week. Most Canadians understand that we need a strong public service, one to protect our food and water, to keep our transportation system safe, and to provide services for our elderly, our veterans, and the unemployed.
However, one of the legacies of the pathetic current government will be the profound disrespect it has shown for our public servants. I ask the government, in its dying days, for a deathbed conversion. Will the Conservatives finally respect the work our public servants do, respect their rights, and bargain in good faith?
View Mark Eyking Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Mark Eyking Profile
2015-06-19 11:54 [p.15351]
Mr. Speaker, it is now the end of June and here is another year lost in infrastructure for Cape Breton. Whether it is road works on the north side of New Waterford, police and firemen structures, waste water treatment and development of Sydney Harbour, or fresh drinking water for northern Cape Breton, everything is on hold again.
Are the Conservatives so arrogant that they actually think they can fool Canadians into voting for them by making a series of desperate, phony, last-minute announcements on infrastructure just before the election?
View Scott Armstrong Profile
CPC (NS)
Mr. Speaker, our plan will help 100% of Canadians with children by expanding the universal child care benefit and implementing the family tax cut. Conversely, the Liberal Party's plan is to take away the universal child care benefit and the family tax cut.
The Liberal leader wrote his plan on the back of a napkin. He does not know the devastating consequences that it would have for Canadian families with children. The Liberal leader just is not ready to become prime minister of Canada.
View Gerald Keddy Profile
CPC (NS)
View Gerald Keddy Profile
2015-06-19 11:59 [p.15352]
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for his question. Of course, I will not thank him for the last part of it, which I frankly disagree with.
It is worth noting that it was our government that reopened the food fishery in Newfoundland in 2007. We did that based on the precautionary principle.
Certainly the minister is looking at all options to make sure that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have the opportunity to get their cod fish for the winter.
View Megan Leslie Profile
NDP (NS)
View Megan Leslie Profile
2015-06-18 14:17 [p.15290]
Mr. Speaker, today Pope Francis issued a wake-up call. Climate change is a threat, and the world's poorest people will suffer the most. This is not just an environmental issue; it is a moral issue. Canada must cut emissions and ensure that less-developed countries have the financing they need to tackle climate change. Only the NDP has a plan to tackle climate change and put a price on carbon.
Did the Prime Minister's short 10 minutes with the Pope make it obvious that nobody believes the current government's talking points?
View Megan Leslie Profile
NDP (NS)
View Megan Leslie Profile
2015-06-18 14:19 [p.15290]
Mr. Speaker, all members of the House are condemning General Lawson's unacceptable remarks. However, just condemning these remarks is not enough for the countless victims of sexual assault and harassment in the Canadian Armed Forces. A change in culture is absolutely necessary.
When will this government show some leadership and ensure that Justice Deschamps' recommendations are implemented immediately?
View Megan Leslie Profile
NDP (NS)
View Megan Leslie Profile
2015-06-18 14:20 [p.15290]
Mr. Speaker, the facts are well known, and women across Canada live the reality of gender-based violence every single day. However, indigenous women face the starkest reality. They are more than three times more likely to be victims of violence and seven times more likely to be murdered.
In order to end this violence, we need to come to grips with the factors that cause it. Why is the government refusing to listen to indigenous women who are calling for an inquiry to do just that?
View Peter MacKay Profile
CPC (NS)
View Peter MacKay Profile
2015-06-18 14:28 [p.15291]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question.
The reality is that in fact a full 70% of the cases that are litigated in the country involving the federal government are won by the federal government, and 85% of those cases originate outside of the federal government.
With respect to their constitutionality, we have very talented people at the Department of Justice. I have full confidence in their assessments. We never bring bills before the House that do not meet that constitutional charter test.
View Peter MacKay Profile
CPC (NS)
View Peter MacKay Profile
2015-06-18 14:30 [p.15292]
Mr. Speaker, my question for the hon. lady is this. What does she have against facts and what does she have against keeping Canadians safe?
We have passed some 30 justice bills in the life of this Parliament and since we have taken office designed specifically to keep Canadians safe and to ensure that Canadians can have confidence in their justice system and security forces. Every step of the way, my hon. friend and her colleagues have chosen to oppose those efforts.
View Peter MacKay Profile
CPC (NS)
View Peter MacKay Profile
2015-06-18 14:39 [p.15293]
Mr. Speaker, as the hon. gentleman will know, the Canadian Human Rights Act and several of its provincial counterparts, as well as the Criminal Code itself already recognize that discrimination on the basis of transsexualism, gender identity or expression is a form of sex discrimination. Section 718 of the Criminal Code specifically provides a non-exhaustive list of aggravating factors used to increase sentences, which includes sex, sexual orientation and/or any other similar factors.
Therefore, sufficient protection exists, as it should. I respect what the hon. member is attempting to do, but the reality is that the protections are there now.
View Peter MacKay Profile
CPC (NS)
View Peter MacKay Profile
2015-06-18 14:48 [p.15295]
Mr. Speaker, like my friend from Calgary, I have spoken to many victims and heard their concerns. It is why we have passed over 30 justice bills in this place, including the victims bill of rights. Our proposed bill would help ensure that the worst of the worst offenders, those who kill police officers, prison guards, who kill during a sexual assault, kidnapping or act of terrorism face severe consequences, including the potential of imprisonment for life without parole.
Only this Conservative government can be counted on to give victims a voice and to protect our families and communities from violent criminals.
To you, Mr. Speaker, and all of my colleagues, I say goodbye, Godspeed, and enjoy the summer.
View Peter MacKay Profile
CPC (NS)
View Peter MacKay Profile
2015-06-18 16:04 [p.15307]
moved that Bill C-53, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
View Mark Eyking Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Mark Eyking Profile
2015-06-18 18:04 [p.15322]
Mr. Speaker, I am glad to rise today to speak on Bill C-661, introduced by the member for Joliette.
I must first state that the Conservatives were speaking about how much they were supporting agriculture, but what we have seen over the last few months is pretty bad.
Two things that they have done are pretty bad. First, we have seen members from that party speaking against supply management, which is one of the pillars for agriculture in this country. Second, there are big cuts in the budget to business risk management, the tools that farmers need when they have bad years. That has been cut by hundreds of millions of dollars. It is very disappointing to see the Conservative government do that.
In speaking on this bill, I will be basing my remarks on my personal experience as a farmer and on the importance of maintaining family businesses. In the context of this bill, the main objective is to treat siblings like any other family members by exempting them from the anti-tax avoidance measures by amending the Income Tax Act. We are supporting that.
The reality is that even if farmers have the opportunity to give part of their farm value to their children or grandchildren without income tax consequences under the Income Tax Act of Canada, they still need to maintain sufficient investment income to ensure a healthy retirement. This is also necessary if a farmer wants to provide for their other children who are not actively involved in the operation, and the same goes for fishing families on the east coast, the west coast, and in central Canada.
Even though Canadian agriculture has changed so much, the family business is the cornerstone of the industry. Canada's agri-food sector accounts for 7% of Canada's GDP and over two million jobs. That is one job in eight. While primary agriculture accounts for a small share of the total economy, about 2%, it is at the heart of the agriculture and agri-food system and has grown over 1.5% per year since 1997.
Agriculture and fishing have drastically changed, and we need to make sure that legislation governing these industries is able to keep up with the rapid pace. In 1991, there were 280,000 farms in Canada. In 2011, that number had fallen to 206,000. However, the average size of Canadian farms has grown tremendously, from an average of 200 acres to 800 acres. In that same time period, the average age of a Canadian farm operator has risen quite dramatically, going from 48 years of age to 54. It varies across the country, but that is the average.
Urbanization, an aging population, globalization of the economy, and consolidation throughout the agri-food chain have brought fundamental structural changes at the farm level. More specifically, the need to develop new markets and to comply with consumer demands has required an adaptation of production structure and practices within the agriculture sector. Although this adaptation creates new opportunities, it poses many challenges to our young farmers and fishers.
Over the next decade, we are going to be seeing a lot of these family businesses being passed down from one generation to the next. Given the extremely harsh economic context, this bill being debated today is crucial to helping ease those transfers to other family members. Between 1991 and 2011, the number of farmers under the age of 55 fell 42%, from 265,000 to 150,000. In that time, the number of older operators increased, as I said before.
Quite simply, the Canadian farming and fishing population is aging. That does not mean there are not a lot of young people who want to get into it, but the road map there is very difficult. There are now fewer and fewer young people to replace these retiring farmers and fishers. This situation is worrisome, as young farmers guarantee the future of agriculture and play a key role in rural economic development. Many other activities in rural communities depend on the agricultural sector, including fishing, milling, hardware, processing products, and even transporting. Many of the people we see driving down the highways every day are people involved in the whole agri-food sector.
The federal government has an important obligation to improve its programs and policies to keep young farmers in the industry. By supporting the bill, we are trying to ensure that the Income Tax Act does not discourage the best-qualified person in the family from taking over the business because of tax implications.
Agriculture is more and more capital intensive. Producers have to invest in buildings, machinery, and other equipment to become more efficient and to satisfy consumer demand for low produce prices. We also see many times that in many farming operations it is not just for maintaining prices but is for food safety.
I have been travelling across the country visiting farms over the last year. It is amazing how modern these farms are, how they have HAACP in place and cleanliness and tracking of everything they are doing on the farm. This all costs money.
Market conditions also contribute to increasing the value of assets, such as land and quotas. This can cause some challenges for young farmers, as the rise in asset values are not always covered by sufficient income. It is one of the lowest returns when we look at the amount of capital spent on a farm. Many times these young farmers are operating an enterprise to put food on the table with a fairly low return.
Some agriculture sectors are doing a little better, especially with supply management, which the Liberals brought in many years ago and which we are going to stand behind 150%.
Thanks to the supply management policy governing agriculture production in Canada, farmers enjoy an environment of stable and predictable milk prices and poultry prices with the formula they have in place. The supply-managed industries collectively generate $25 billion in GDP, $5 billion in tax revenues, and over 300,000 jobs. That is just in supply management alone.
Despite these favourable conditions, under this system intergenerational transfer is difficult. When there is a need to plan for succession, numerous cases have been reported of farmers not being able to find the right arrangement to meet the expectations of the exiting farmers or of the new entrants.
I think if there was a return, a lot of people would probably think it was a good occupation and an interesting occupation and would be inclined to pursue it.
The best way to keep young farmers in the industry is to make it profitable. Farming is a lifestyle, not just an occupation, but at the end of the day, farmers still need to make money. We do not expect our health professionals and many other people in our society to work for free, and we cannot expect the producers of our food to do so either. Young farmers are not going to invest millions of dollars in something if they do not know if it is going to produce a return. Supply management provides that to them and gives them stability. As I mentioned before, business risk management is very important.
I think we can all agree that there seems to be a growing disconnect between the general population and agriculture.
Young farmers also know perfectly well that agriculture faces numerous challenges related to the increasing cost of products, as I mentioned before, reduced margins, trade and marketing issues, et cetera.
I commend groups such as the Canadian Young Farmers' Forum and the Canadian 4-H Council for their efforts to educate, energize, and empower the next generation of Canadian farmers and agriculture leaders. However, these groups need a comprehensive federal policy targeting young or new farmers to make it feasible.
That is not to say that this shift in the agricultural sector should diminish the importance of maintaining smaller operations. There are also many small successful farms, and the government should be doing more to help those operations as well. Small operations as well as big ones can contribute and can work together.
I am very much in favour of the motion. It would be another tool in the tool box to help farmers get through. For those farmers who work so hard and put so much into their farms, many of them 60 and 70 years old, the only return they can get will be through the implementation of this bill.
This is the last half a minute of what is probably my last speech in the House. I am glad I am doing it on agriculture. I am a farmer from Cape Breton, and our family has a farming business.
I would like to thank all my colleagues, and I wish them well through the summer and in their future endeavours. I thank all the staff here who have done so much for us and have kept the place going, the staff in our whip's office, who keep us here all the time, and of course, my colleagues here tonight who stayed with us for the last shift.
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, for this opportunity.
View Scott Armstrong Profile
CPC (NS)
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak on how our Conservative government's national shipbuilding procurement strategy is creating literally thousands of high-paying jobs for Nova Scotians.
This week hundreds of prospective employees lined up at an Irving shipyards job fair in Dartmouth, looking for someone to say yes when they applied for a job.
This opportunity was provided to them by our Conservative government's investments at Irving. However, if the Liberals and the NDP have their way, these investments will stop and those thousands of jobs would disappear. High taxes lead to job cuts.
Our Conservative government will never let that happen. We will continue to focus on jobs, long-term prosperity, and economic growth.
Good luck to the people applying at Irving. Many more jobs are coming.
View Peter MacKay Profile
CPC (NS)
View Peter MacKay Profile
2015-06-17 15:04 [p.15210]
Mr. Speaker, the member has been an outspoken advocate on this issue for many years.
Impaired drivers pose a significant risk to Canadians. It is the number one criminal cause of death in Canada.
To make offenders more accountable for their crimes, we have introduced legislation to increase mandatory minimum penalties for many transportation offences, including impaired driving involving bodily harm or death. This would also increase efficiency for police officers to investigate impaired driving and for the prosecution to go forward with these serious cases.
I encourage all members of this House to support this important bill, which targets the scourge of impaired driving that is causing carnage on Canadian highways.
View Peter MacKay Profile
CPC (NS)
View Peter MacKay Profile
2015-06-16 10:04 [p.15115]
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-73, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (offences in relation to conveyances) and the Criminal Records Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts.
View Megan Leslie Profile
NDP (NS)
View Megan Leslie Profile
2015-06-16 14:18 [p.15153]
Mr. Speaker, after 10 years under the Conservatives, middle-class families are working harder than ever, but they are struggling to make ends meet.
Our economy is suffering. The GDP has seen its biggest drop in six years. Our exports have fallen for the second straight quarter. BMO is forecasting the slowest economic growth outside of a recession in 30 years.
Does the Prime Minister believe that his economic plan is working, yes or no?
View Megan Leslie Profile
NDP (NS)
View Megan Leslie Profile
2015-06-16 14:19 [p.15153]
Mr. Speaker, successive governments have watched while hundreds of thousands of good manufacturing jobs have disappeared. Now, manufacturing slipped again in April, the third drop in four months.
With smart investments and a government that cares, we can help build a thriving sector. The NDP has proposed things like an innovation tax credit to boost investment in R and D and ensure that companies that are developing the advanced products and jobs for the future get the support that they need.
Why do Conservatives not have a plan to help our manufacturing sector and create jobs?
View Megan Leslie Profile
NDP (NS)
View Megan Leslie Profile
2015-06-16 14:20 [p.15153]
Mr. Speaker, either the Conservatives do not have a plan or their plan is not working.
Over the first quarter of this year, GDP shrank, business investment is down, exports are down, and job growth is stalling. Under the Conservatives, middle-class families are working harder but they are falling further behind. Meanwhile, Conservatives are giving billion dollar handouts to the wealthy few.
New Democrats know that a strong economy equals a strong middle class. Will the Conservatives scrap their handouts to the wealthy and instead invest in middle-class families and child care?
View Peter MacKay Profile
CPC (NS)
View Peter MacKay Profile
2015-06-16 14:34 [p.15156]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague very much for her question.
We are very proud to introduce bills before Parliament to protect Canadians. We are especially proud of our efforts to protect victims in Canada. That is always a priority for our government.
We will continue to work even harder until the very last day of this Parliament. I encourage all of my colleagues to do the same.
View Peter MacKay Profile
CPC (NS)
View Peter MacKay Profile
2015-06-16 14:35 [p.15156]
Mr. Speaker, as I just said to the member's colleague, we have presented legislation throughout the life of this Parliament, presenting bills to protect victims, a victims bill of rights, cyber legislation under the justice department, bills that were presented to protect children from sexual predators, and now legislation that is designed specifically to protect Canadians from the carnage that occurs on our highways because of impaired drivers.
We intend to work until the very last day of Parliament. That is what Canadians expect. I encourage the hon. member to do the same thing.
View Peter MacKay Profile
CPC (NS)
View Peter MacKay Profile
2015-06-16 14:36 [p.15156]
Mr. Speaker, I would simply ask the hon. member this. Does he just want to go back to his constituency early? Does he not want to work on the legislation that is currently before the House?
We intend to continue to work, whether it is presenting legislation, whether it is working in committees, whether it is showing up here to discuss the issues that matter. For us, what matters is protecting Canadians, their security, their economic security, working to protect and advance the rights of victims, ensuring that Canadians are feeling safe in their homes, that their incomes are protected, that they are paying less tax. We are building a better Canada. Show up for work.
View Peter MacKay Profile
CPC (NS)
View Peter MacKay Profile
2015-06-16 14:40 [p.15157]
Mr. Speaker, again, we are very proud of what we have presented in this session. We have continued to work hard every day for Canadians.
We have had many bills with respect to public safety and justice that are aimed specifically at protecting Canadians' interests, and we will continue to do so. The members opposite may work hard to prevent those measures coming before Parliament, but we are going to continue to work.
The hon. member may be anxious to get out of here. He is going to have a hard time getting a job at Yuk Yuk's the way he has been acting.
View Peter MacKay Profile
CPC (NS)
View Peter MacKay Profile
2015-06-16 15:06 [p.15162]
Mr. Speaker, we intended to launch a consultation process in Canada. We made that promise.
This is a very important issue, an issue that touches lives in communities across this great country. We intend to have a very inclusive consultation. We expect to say more about this in the very near future.
I thank the hon. member for his interest in this important issue.
View Mark Eyking Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Mark Eyking Profile
2015-06-16 17:55 [p.15178]
Mr. Speaker, the member for Cape Breton—Canso and I are very close. We sit with each other and live with each other, but when I stood, I was called by his name and I would appreciate it if it were changed.
View Mark Eyking Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Mark Eyking Profile
2015-06-15 12:24 [p.15044]
Mr. Speaker, in the hon. member's speech he mentioned that he represents a lot of farmers in his area. As a farmer and as the agriculture critic, I will focus on what the Conservatives have done wrong with agriculture and what they are still doing wrong with it.
We know what happened with the grain shipping problem. Farmers lost billions of dollars out west because of that. They had a good crop, and the prices were good.
However, my concern and my questions are on business risk management. Under the Conservatives' watch, millions of dollars have been cut from business risk management. Let us hope it does not happen, but what will happen if we have a drought this year and prices are low and yields are down?
My questions are these: how much did his party cut from business risk management, and why would the Conservatives make those cuts when farmers need that support when they go through hard times? How are the farmers in his riding and across Canada going to deal with it when they go through that dip and lose money and find that business risk management will not be there for them because the Conservatives have cut over $200 million from it?
I want to know exactly how much was cut and what is going to happen to the member's farmers if they have a drought this year and try to get business risk management.
View Scott Brison Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Scott Brison Profile
2015-06-15 14:42 [p.15065]
Mr. Speaker, for Canadian students, the search for summer jobs is even tougher this year. There are more students looking for work and there are fewer jobs for them. Layoffs in the retail sector have hit young Canadians particularly hard. Students need summer work to pay for school and they need the work experience. However, the Conservatives have slashed the number of jobs created by the Canada summer jobs program by more than half.
When will the government reverse these cuts? When will the Conservatives do more to help young Canadians who are struggling to find work?
View Scott Brison Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Scott Brison Profile
2015-06-15 15:09 [p.15070]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to seek consent for the following motion: that the House (a) express its deep concern over the contents of the Information Commissioner's affidavit, filed June 3, 2015, which demonstrates that the government exerted pressure on civil servants to break the law by destroying records which were subject to the right of access guaranteed by subsection 4(1) of the Access to Information Act; (b) share the concern of—
Some hon. members: No.
View Scott Armstrong Profile
CPC (NS)
Mr. Speaker, our government is making sure that Canadians are considered first for available jobs. The temporary foreign worker program is there to offer employers an alternative only when those employers cannot find qualified Canadians to fill a job. The program is designed to offer a last and limited resort for employers. Those are not empty words. Our government stands by that statement and stands by that policy.
Last year we overhauled the temporary foreign worker program to make sure jobs went to Canadians first. Jobs have to go to Canadians before employers can hire people from abroad. That is a message that we send strongly to employers from coast to coast to coast. We have put stringent rules in place so that employers would have to follow this policy.
For example, before turning to the program, employers must advertise a job for at least four consecutive weeks through various channels. They must tell us how many Canadians applied for the job and how many they interviewed, and then they must explain why those they interviewed were not hired. They have to explain to the government how those interviewees were not qualified for that position.
These rules are strictly enforced. We are serious about helping Canadians find and keep work. That is why we spoke to our stakeholders in the airline industry. As the hon. member stated, it is not acceptable to reject Canadian pilots for a job just because they are not trained on a specific type of plane. The employer should provide that training if necessary. That is an accepted industry standard. We are holding airlines accountable to that standard.
How are we doing this? Our government has put additional measures in place for airlines as of July 1, 2014, almost one year ago. Before an airline can hire a foreign pilot, it must go through a rigorous process that ensures hiring a non-Canadian is the only option that the airline has. It must meet the minimum advertising requirements for high-wage occupations and it must adhere to specific criteria around job postings.
For example, the maximum number of flight hours it can include as required experience is 4,000 hours for a first officer and 5,000 hours for a captain. The employer must also have a long-term transition plan to move away from hiring foreign workers and toward hiring more Canadian pilots in the future. The Department of Employment and Social Development Canada must approve this transition plan to ensure that employer is making every effort to hire Canadians first.
I want to emphasize that we are taking strong action to keep Canadians employed. The changes we have made over the past year clearly show this commitment. Canadian jobs must go to Canadians first.
View Scott Armstrong Profile
CPC (NS)
Mr. Speaker, our government believes that Canadians should be considered first for all Canadian jobs. Last year we took decisive action to overhaul the temporary foreign worker program to make sure this principle applied across all industries, including Canadian airlines. Those new rules are giving Canadian pilots a fair shake at available jobs.
Under the temporary foreign worker program, we are strictly enforcing the reforms that we introduced last year. The penalties if a company violates this are quite severe. Employers must justify the need to hire foreign workers under every single circumstance. I assure the members of the House that the government is strictly enforcing these rules.
The temporary foreign worker program always puts Canadians first. It is intended to be used as a last and limited resort for employers when no qualified Canadian is available for the job.
View Megan Leslie Profile
NDP (NS)
View Megan Leslie Profile
2015-06-12 11:21 [p.15009]
Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has to tell us what he thinks about the Senate scandal, because rather than apologizing, senators are continuing to defend the indefensible. Senators are going to decide for themselves, in secret, whether their personal expenses for fishing trips or golf games are legitimate.
Does the Prime Minister agree with this secretive process in the Senate?
View Megan Leslie Profile
NDP (NS)
View Megan Leslie Profile
2015-06-12 11:22 [p.15009]
Mr. Speaker, Loblaws has announced that it is going to stop production of products containing microbeads, which are bad for the environment.
This excellent decision reminds us that it is urgent that the government take action to eliminate microbeads. The NDP moved a motion that was adopted unanimously by the House, but the Conservative government has not taken any action since then.
When will the government finally take action?
View Megan Leslie Profile
NDP (NS)
View Megan Leslie Profile
2015-06-12 11:23 [p.15009]
Mr. Speaker, it is really not that complicated. The House unanimously passed a motion calling for Canada to move to eliminate microbeads. There are 40,000 Canadians who have signed petitions to get rid of them, and now Loblaws is taking microbeads out of all of its personal care products. There is a lot of momentum to get this done. This Conservative has failed to take any action at all.
When will the government do what Canadians want and what other countries have already done? When will it take the first steps toward banning microbeads?
View Megan Leslie Profile
NDP (NS)
View Megan Leslie Profile
2015-06-12 12:34 [p.15026]
Mr. Speaker, I am standing in the House to speak out firmly against this bill.
My intention was to discuss it through two lenses. The first is the lens of unintended consequences, because when we present legislation, we need to think about what the consequences will be. Sometimes there are unintended consequences, and there are a lot in this bill. The second lens I want to apply is what we would do if we actually wanted to stop forced marriages. What kind of legislation or policy could we bring forward if we were really serious about putting an end to underage marriages in Canada? I will talk about those two things, because the NDP is very serious about bringing forward legislation and policy that can put an end to underage marriage and put an end to forced marriages.
First though, I want to tackle the issue of the title. We heard a little bit of a back and forth between my colleague from Northwest Territories and the parliamentary secretary about the title.
The title of this bill is the zero tolerance for barbaric cultural practices act. I have a big problem with this title. The parliamentary secretary stood here, wrung her hands, implored us to think of the children, and asked if this was not a barbaric cultural practice. We all agree that these are terrible practices. However, when we have this kind of provocative title it is not about working together to eliminate this kind of behaviour or these practices. What this title does is fuel racist stereotypes. It creates xenophobia toward very particular groups in Canada. We are targeting particular groups with this title.
I think about the other barbaric cultural practices happening in this country. Why are the Conservatives not standing up against other barbaric cultural practices? I happen to think it is a barbaric cultural practice that a woman who is raped and becomes pregnant is forced to carry that baby to term because she cannot access abortion services in this country. I happen to think it is a barbaric cultural practice, yet I do not see the Conservatives standing up and fighting for that.
I happen to think it is a barbaric cultural practice to force a woman to bring a baby to term if she does not want to have that baby, but we do not see the Conservatives crusading to change the fact that only 16% of hospitals in Canada offer abortion services. They are not champions on the lack of access to abortion services in Canada.
I think it is a barbaric cultural act that we have created a culture that puts such shame on women. It shames them to the point that they will do anything to terminate a pregnancy without having to tell someone, like throwing themselves down the stairs, taking drugs to self-abort, and using coat hangers. I happen to think this is a barbaric cultural practice, yet I hear silence in the House about putting an end to that.
In Prince Edward Island, a woman took medication to induce an abortion and had a complication. She went to the ER. She was bleeding. She did not know if she was bleeding to death. She had no idea. She waited for five hours in the ER. When someone actually came in to talk to her about what was going on, the attending health care provider told her that he was not comfortable treating her and that she should go to Halifax. Halifax is not down the street. Halifax is 300 kilometres away. I happen to think it is a barbaric cultural practice to have left that woman in that ER for five hours, not knowing about the health or the state of her fetus, not knowing about her own health, and not knowing if she was going to bleed to death and then having the doctor say that he was not comfortable treating her.
I happen to think that was a barbaric cultural practice, yet I do not see the Conservatives standing up to enforce the Canada Health Act to ensure that we have equal access to health services across this country. Come to think of it, I do not see any of the Liberals standing up to talk about this either. It is a Liberal government in P.E.I. There are three Liberal MPs here in the House of Commons, and we have a whole lot of silence when it comes to standing up for women's rights and their ability to access abortion services.
Moving on, let us get back to unintended consequences.
If we are serious about putting an end to these practices, then let us look at how we do it. Let us draft some legislation and think about what the consequences are, both intended and unintended. Unfortunately, there are a lot of unintended consequences here.
We have heard several of my colleagues talk about these unintended consequences. I think they are really serious. I think they are so serious that we cannot support the bill.
There is something as simple as the definition of polygamy. There is no real definition of polygamy here. We might think we all know what polygamy is, so what is the big deal? Well, it is a big deal. We are playing with people's lives here. We need a definition.
We heard testimony at committee about what would happen if there was a legally sanctioned marriage and one that was not legally sanctioned. For example, a person is married, the partners split up, and the person gets into a common-law relationship. If that first relationship has not been legally terminated and that person is in a new common-law relationship, is that polygamy? We do not know. What may be perceived as a small detail could have serious consequences for all kinds of people in Canada who might not know that they are in a polygamous relationship.
However, this is a small detail that I can maybe even wrap my head around, but there are other unintended consequences that are beyond the pale.
If we are trying to help marginalized and disadvantaged women, then we cannot put them in situations where they are so fearful that they cannot come forward. We heard tons of expert testimony about this. It is actually shocking when we look at the transcripts from committee how passionate some of these witnesses were about the fact that this legislation would drive those women deeper underground. If we want to help these women and children, we cannot have them be fearful that they will be deported.
Imagine if this deportation happened. It would not be just for the big bad guy we are always talking about, the one who is forcing a little girl into marriage. I heard the minister talk about forced rape for the rest of her life. If that little girl does not know she can get protection from our government, why would she come forward? If there are laws that say that everyone involved in a polygamous marriage will be deported, that will include that little girl. How does it help that little girl to send her to another country where there are no protections, where there probably are not even opportunities for her to go to school?
How about we put an end to that kind of barbaric cultural practice? Imagine sending a little girl out of the country when all she wants is protection. That is an unintended consequence I cannot get past. The legislation before us is full of these unintended consequences.
I will skip to how we can work together. We had some really good testimony at committee about how we need to have institutional support for these victims. We can have that kind of support without alienating and harming the women who are involved in forced marriage and gender-based violence. We need to have those institutional supports for them.
UNICEF talks a lot about the fact that if we are going to protect children from human trafficking, we have to recognize the failures in the system that allow those women and children to be trafficked. We have to recognize that they often come from low-income families without access to community support, without access to settlement services, and without access to people in the community they can turn to about their situation to ask for help.
If we were serious, we could get together, sit down, scrap Bill S-7, and start over. We would come to the table and talk about what would help these women and children and what kinds of supports we could give them. I do not think deporting them is exactly what we had in mind when we thought we wanted to put an end polygamy, underage marriage, and forced marriage in this country. I do not think that is the right solution. I think if we took our partisan hats off for a minute, many of us would come to that conclusion.
View Megan Leslie Profile
NDP (NS)
View Megan Leslie Profile
2015-06-12 12:46 [p.15028]
Mr. Speaker, it was not painful for me to give that speech at all. It might have been painful for the minister to hear it, because I was speaking the truth, and that probably hurt a little.
The NDP is really clear. It supports a minimum age for marriage. Full stop, period.
I know I cannot ask him a question back, but if he gets another chance to stand, I would ask him to answer this question. How does deporting a woman or a girl who is in a forced marriage protect her? It is beyond any kind of comprehension to think that this is what would help women. If we were going to help women, we would have an opportunity for them to exit that marriage, not for us to kick them out of the country. I would love for him to answer that.
View Megan Leslie Profile
NDP (NS)
View Megan Leslie Profile
2015-06-12 12:47 [p.15028]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague very much for her question. She underscored the double-talk aspect.
What we have here in the House is legislation that proposes to put an end to barbaric practices. What about the fact that if someone is an aboriginal women, she is more likely to be murdered than someone who looks like me. I do not think that is justice. I do not think that is the kind of Canada we intended to create. However, we are there. Why are we not taking action? There was a truth and reconciliation commission. The report said clearly that it was cultural genocide that was attempted in residential schools. How is it that we do not see any action? There were 94 recommendations, and we have not heard a peep.
If we want to talk about hypocrisy, it is pretty easy. Just come into the House and listen to what the Conservatives have to say about some groups but not others. They are certainly leaving the first nations communities out in the cold.
View Robert Chisholm Profile
NDP (NS)
View Robert Chisholm Profile
2015-06-11 10:09 [p.14926]
Mr. Speaker, I have a petition signed by 100 or so people from Dartmouth and surrounding communities. The petition is with respect to defined benefits pension plans, and it calls on the government to ensure that employers live up to the promises made in the defined benefits plans and that it recognizes that pensions are deferred promises and deferred wages and that they are extremely important for the future of our communities. It calls on the government to improve retirement security, because 62% of Canadian workers are without workplace pensions and the Canada pension plan should be expanded.
View Geoff Regan Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Geoff Regan Profile
2015-06-11 10:12 [p.14926]
Mr. Speaker, I am rising to present three petitions.
In the first one, the petitioners call on the government to work with community partners to create and execute an anti-poverty plan based on human rights. This plan should focus on issues like income security, housing, health, food security, employment, and early childhood education and care. These concerned citizens recognize the need to establish goals to tackle poverty over the long term.
View Geoff Regan Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Geoff Regan Profile
2015-06-11 10:13 [p.14927]
Mr. Speaker, the second petition calls on the government to pass legislation that bans all flavouring from tobacco products because of the attractiveness of the product to Canadian youth. Flavoured tobacco products are especially marketed to youth because they are easy to use and promote addiction at an early age. The petitioners recognize the need to pass legislation in order to protect our youth from the harmful effects of smoking.
View Geoff Regan Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Geoff Regan Profile
2015-06-11 10:13 [p.14927]
Mr. Speaker, the third petition calls on the government to place a moratorium on cuts to Canada Post services. Under recent announcements by Canada Post, 6,000 employees will lose their jobs and millions of households will lose home delivery. The petition calls for Canada Post to give its customers a chance to have real input into the modernization process.
View Scott Brison Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Scott Brison Profile
2015-06-11 14:03 [p.14959]
Mr. Speaker, I rise to honour Gordon Hansford and the Annapolis Valley tartan.
Thirty years ago the Kingscot pipe band was discussing which tartan to wear, and thought the valley ought to have one of its own. Two of its members then went to work: Mr. Hansford came up with the design, and it was woven by the late Joyce Pickwell. The Annapolis Valley is known for its beautiful landscape, and the tartan captures it perfectly. As Mr. Hansford's poem says:
There's the green of the trees and the crops, the farmers love to grow, The blue is for the mountains, North and South,And the silver for the two rivers, that flow down to the sea,The red depicts the blood, that's been shed to keep us free.
Today marks the one year anniversary of the tartan's official registration with the Scottish Register of Tartans. I call on this House to recognize the great work of Gordon Hansford and the late Joyce Pickwell, as well as clan Donald Canada for its part in getting the Annapolis Valley tartan recognized.
Congratulations to all and thanks.
View Megan Leslie Profile
NDP (NS)
View Megan Leslie Profile
2015-06-11 14:18 [p.14962]
Mr. Speaker, Canadians have the right to know what the Prime Minister knew about the Senate expense scandal. Instead, the Prime Minister is extending his trip to Europe.
Canadians are sick of seeing their tax dollars wasted. Are we to believe that the Prime Minister would rather defend the status quo in the Senate than answer Canadians’ questions?
View Megan Leslie Profile
NDP (NS)
View Megan Leslie Profile
2015-06-11 14:19 [p.14962]
Mr. Speaker, every time we learn more about Conservative corruption in the Senate, the Prime Minister suddenly finds urgent business to do on another continent. When this scandal first broke, he had urgent business in Peru. When the RCMP released the documents about the cover-up, suddenly he had to rush off to Europe.
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
View Megan Leslie Profile
NDP (NS)
View Megan Leslie Profile
2015-06-11 14:20 [p.14962]
Mr. Speaker, when the RCMP released documents about the cover-up, suddenly the Prime Minister had to rush off to Europe.
Now we have a devastating report about corruption in the Senate, and the Prime Minister once again is not answering questions. Why is it that whenever there is a scandal, the Prime Minister hops on a plane?
View Megan Leslie Profile
NDP (NS)
View Megan Leslie Profile
2015-06-11 14:21 [p.14962]
Mr. Speaker, Canadians really marvel at how the member evades questions. Make no mistake, accountability is coming for the Conservatives.
While the Prime Minister's parliamentary secretary keeps trying to distract us with make-believe, we are asking questions about real abuse of trust and public money being misspent, and the Prime Minister will not answer a single question.
After promising change, why have the Conservatives now given up on doing anything to clean up the culture of corruption, waste, and entitlement in the Senate?
View Mark Eyking Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Mark Eyking Profile
2015-06-10 14:07 [p.14866]
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the Canadian Cancer Society's Relay for Life that was held in my riding over the weekend. This was the 13th year it has been held in Cape Breton.
Relay for Life brings Canadians together from across this great country to join in the fight against cancer. It is an opportunity for communities to celebrate survivors and remember loved ones lost to the disease, all while raising funds. The relay is the largest cancer fundraiser in Canada with more than 500 communities taking part each year. In Sydney, Saturday night, I participated with 350 participants, 100 volunteers and 95 survivors, all helping raise $60,000. Throughout Cape Breton over the last week, there were four fundraisers raising $170,000.
It was great to be joined Saturday night by former MLA Gordie Gosse who has been courageously battling cancer over the last year.
Congratulations to all volunteers and all those who came out to show their support. I invite everyone in this House to visit the site cancer.ca to find a relay happening in their area and join the fight against this illness that affects all of us.
View Gerald Keddy Profile
CPC (NS)
View Gerald Keddy Profile
2015-06-10 14:50 [p.14874]
Mr. Speaker, that question is absolute nonsense. Our government has always had zero tolerance for tax evasion.
Let the numbers and the record speak for themselves. From 2006 to March 31, 2014, CRA audited over 8,600 international tax cases, identified over $5.6 billion in additional taxes, taxes that are being collected.
View Gerald Keddy Profile
CPC (NS)
View Gerald Keddy Profile
2015-06-10 14:51 [p.14874]
Mr. Speaker, CRA and our government expect all Canadians and all corporations to pay their fair share of Canadian tax.
What the hon. member is talking about is again sheer nonsense. We have more international auditors. We have a greater effort to catch tax evaders, not just individuals but companies as well, who are using offshore shelters to protect themselves from paying Canadian tax.
We expect everyone to pay their fair share of tax and we intend to ensure that happens.
View Mark Eyking Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Mark Eyking Profile
2015-06-10 15:12 [p.14878]
Mr. Speaker, the member for Welland made a statement on supply management and about the Liberals which was not true. Could he retract those comments that he made today in the House?
View Peter MacKay Profile
CPC (NS)
View Peter MacKay Profile
2015-06-10 15:13 [p.14878]
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-69, An Act to amend the Criminal Code in response to the Supreme Court of Canada decision in R. v. Nur.
View Rodger Cuzner Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Rodger Cuzner Profile
2015-06-10 15:45 [p.14883]
Mr. Speaker, I, too, have a lot of respect for my colleague, the Minister of State for Finance. In holding that lofty position with the government, I am sure he is pretty good with math. I know math is hard. We saw that in the Alberta election. I will ask him to help me and in turn help Canadians with this one.
When public servants are making $60,000 a year and, let us say, they miss three or four days of work, those jobs are not filled. No replacements come in. Those days are paid for as part of their salary, yet the government has come up with the number, $900 million in saving, by stealing back sick time from the public servants.
How do we not have any additional costs on those sick days, but still put together what I and I think most Canadians think is a phony revenue line in the budget of $900 million. Could he help us through that math?
View Peter MacKay Profile
CPC (NS)
View Peter MacKay Profile
2015-06-09 10:04 [p.14781]
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-68, An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act, the Privacy Act and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act.
View Megan Leslie Profile
NDP (NS)
View Megan Leslie Profile
2015-06-09 14:17 [p.14807]
Mr. Speaker, trying to cover up Senate scandals has become routine for the Prime Minister's Office: watering down an internal Senate report and a $90,000 cheque for Senator Duffy. The Auditor General's report on the Senate scandal is even more distressing.
Was the Prime Minister's Office in contact with the senators before the report was released?
View Megan Leslie Profile
NDP (NS)
View Megan Leslie Profile
2015-06-09 14:18 [p.14807]
Mr. Speaker, that member and that government refuse to come clean with Canadians about whether the Prime Minister's Office was in touch with any senators before this report was tabled.
Why are Conservatives so afraid to tell the truth? Could it be because eight of the senators who are named in the report were appointed by the Prime Minister? Or could it be because the Prime Minister's hand-picked Senate Speaker was also named in the report? Or maybe it could be because Senate leaders named in the audit still have their very own appeals process?
The Conservatives have a history of cover-ups. Are they now working with Conservative senators to do damage control?
View Megan Leslie Profile
NDP (NS)
View Megan Leslie Profile
2015-06-09 14:19 [p.14808]
Mr. Speaker, Canadians deserve better than a scandal-plagued self-policing Senate and that member's embarrassing non-answers. The Auditor General is calling for transformative change and independent Senate oversight.
After coming here to reform the Senate, now the Conservatives are defending the status quo and Senate corruption. Do they agree with the Senate Speaker that those senators “should be thanked by the population” for their actions, or do they agree with us and the Auditor General that transformative change is needed now?
View Robert Chisholm Profile
NDP (NS)
View Robert Chisholm Profile
2015-06-09 14:46 [p.14812]
Mr. Speaker, as the economy stumbles, EI claims are increasing. Unfortunately, after Liberal and Conservative cuts to the program, access to EI benefits is at a record low. Fewer than four in 10 unemployed Canadians receive any benefits at all, yet the Conservatives are raiding the EI surpluses to give tax handouts to the wealthy, while the Liberals want to raid the fund for corporate tax cuts.
When will the Liberals and the Conservatives learn to get their hands off the money meant for unemployed Canadians?
View Scott Brison Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Scott Brison Profile
2015-06-09 16:28 [p.14827]
Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives have added over $120 billion to the national debt. They inherited the best fiscal situation of any incoming government in the history of Canada, a $13-billion surplus. They actually spent through that and, through a combination of their tax and fiscal policy, put Canada into deficit even before the global financial crisis in the fall of 2008, and then went on to rack up record levels of national debt in Canada, including the largest deficits in Canadian history.
That is the fact on the Conservative's shoddy record of fiscal mismanagement.
I am rising today to speak to the government's budget bill, C-59. For years, the Conservatives have crossed the line in what is acceptable in a functioning democracy as a government in terms of respect for Parliament. It is not only how they have now normalized the use of massive omnibus bills, they regularly shut down debate in the House, they prorogue Parliament multiple times, they use committees as branch plants of minister's offices, but this legislation would go further than we have ever seen before. This legislation contains something so egregious it is shocking, even for the Conservative government.
The government, in this legislation, is actually trying to end an OPP investigation into the illegal destruction of documents. It would do this by retroactively making acts which were illegal at the time legal. It would effectively stop an OPP, or police, investigation into the RCMP, the very people we rely upon to uphold the law. The government has refused to say who in the government, whether it was the Minister of Public Safety, ordered the RCMP to break the law. With Bill C-59, Canadians may never find out.
Imagine retroactively making what was illegal at the time legal and allowing for the destruction of evidence associated with the wrongdoing. This is absolutely shocking.
I want to be clear. I believe the RCMP was given no choice by the government. It was given its marching orders. The legislation in this budget bill is actually being used by the Conservative government to try to cover up its crime.
In April 2012, the Ending the Long-gun Registry Act came into force. It called for the destruction of certain records in the long gun registry. However, it was flawed in that it made no mention of the Access to Information Act. That omission meant that the records could not be destroyed until after any pre-existing access to information cases were closed.
In April 2012, the Information Commissioner wrote to the Minister of Public Safety, in his role as the head of the RCMP, and reminded him of this legal commitment. On May 2, 2012, the public safety minister acknowledged the commissioner's letter and promised that the RCMP would abide by the access to information law in this matter.
This is the point at which the Conservative government could have gone back to Parliament to fix the legislation. It could have respected the law and our democratic institutions and sought Parliament's permission. Instead, somebody in the Conservative government ordered the RCMP to destroy the records and, as such, break the law. In October 2012, the RCMP did just that, destroying the records.
The Information Commissioner conducted an investigation and concluded that the RCMP destroyed the records knowing they were the subject of a request under the Access to Information Act. That is against the law.
In late March of this year, she referred the matter to the Attorney General. How did the government react? Instead of immediately referring the matter to an outside police organization for action, the reaction of the Conservatives was to cover up the crime.
The Conservatives' solution was this legislation, a budget bill. Imagine a budget bill being used to effectively and retroactively change the law to make the crime legal, erasing any liability for the people involved. The government has since referred the matter to the Ontario Provincial Police for an independent investigation into the matter. However, it will be hard for it to investigate when this law one past erases all liability for everyone involved and permits the government to effectively oversee the destruction of evidence of previous wrongdoing. Canadians deserve to know what happened and who broke the law.
At committee, I introduced amendments to allow the OPP's investigation to continue. My amendments would have delayed the elimination of liability and stopped the destruction of evidence. Records would have been protected from destruction “if there are reasonable grounds to believe that they could afford evidence of an act or omission that constitutes an offence under an Act of Parliament.”. These amendments were not about trying to save the long gun registry, they were about protecting only those records that provided evidence of an illegal act. The Conservatives quietly voted against the amendments and downplayed the whole affair. In their words, Bill C-59 simply closes a bureaucratic loophole.
I agree with the Information Commissioner when she says, “Bill C-59 is not an attempt to close a loophole; but rather it is an attempt to create a black hole”. The Information Commissioner has recently gone to the Federal Court to file a preservation order to stop the Conservative government from destroying evidence of wrongdoing. Members should let that sink in for a moment and think of the seriousness of what is going on here. An officer of Parliament has gone to court to stop the government from trying to cover up an illegal act.
I would like to go from this abuse of power and blatant corruption by the Conservative government in this budget implementation act to discussing some other measures in the bill that should also be considered offensive in terms of a functioning democracy.
There are measures in the bill which are almost certainly unconstitutional, such as Division 20, which is connected to the government's sick leave and disability programs. The government is using these measures to play politics and to deliberately pick a fight with the unions in the lead-up to an election. The Conservatives are circumventing the collective bargaining process in an attempt to unilaterally impose their will on government workers. They are trying to pretend that workers do not have legal rights. The government's behaviour is poisoning the well and will make it harder for future governments to achieve labour agreements and peace with labour unions in Canada.
We have also heard some very serious concerns about Division 3, which includes measures to extend privilege to patent or trade-mark agents and their clients. In the words of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, it “raises complex issues and would have significant implications not only for the patent and trade-marks system, but also for the legal profession, other professions, and for the administration of justice.”
The government is using omnibus legislation to bundle together hundreds of unrelated measures into a single bill. Many of these changes have nothing to do with the budget and do not belong in a budget bill. However, the Conservatives do not care about respecting Parliament. Instead of introducing proper legislation that allows for meaningful input from the public, the Conservatives combine an overwhelming amount of unrelated changes in legislation into a single bill. They do this in order to limit debate and scrutiny, and ram the changes through Parliament.
There are some measures in the bill which are actually related to the budget, such as the increase to the TFSA limits and income splitting, two measures that are disproportionately good for the wealthy but do not do enough for the middle class.
The Liberal plan for the middle class would cut the taxes for middle-class families. The Liberal plan for the middle class would introduce a new Canada child benefit that would provide middle-class families in Canada making $90,000 per year with two children a real break. They would get $2,500 more than they are getting from the Conservatives right now. Families making $45,000 per year with two children would be $4,000 better off than they are right now. Single parents would benefit from the Liberal leader's plan for a Canada child benefit. We would do more for the families that need the help the most. We would be able to afford to do that by doing a little less for the families that do not need the help. We do it in the context of respecting Parliament and the laws that govern our country. That is what a Liberal government would do to restore fairness and respect for the rule of law to our country.
View Scott Brison Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Scott Brison Profile
2015-06-09 16:39 [p.14829]
Mr. Speaker, I would gladly take some time to provide the hon. member with a technical briefing of the Liberal plan for fairness, and I will help her somewhat because I am a generous person. The reality is a family making $45,000 per year with two children would be $4,000 better off every year over the Conservative plan with the Canada child benefit. That is huge.
In fact, some commentators have actually referred to this Liberal Canada child benefit as the closest thing we have seen to a guaranteed annual income for children. In fact, it would start at $6,400 per child, which is actually more generous than the Canada 2000 campaign has called for. One of the authors of our plan is Sherri Torjman who is at the Caledon Institute of Social Policy. We worked with Sherri Torjman. She is a member of my leader's economic advisory council. We have worked with some of the most progressive minds in Canadian social and economic policy to design a plan that is really good for middle-class families and those Canadians working hard to join the middle class.
We are very proud of our plan, and I think Canadians will see that it is a fair plan and it is a good plan for growth as well.
View Scott Brison Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Scott Brison Profile
2015-06-09 16:42 [p.14829]
Mr. Speaker, I am not speaking just as a legislator. As a citizen, I find this disillusioning. The Conservatives have created sort of a new normal when it comes to these things, where the media in fact are not being as rigorous as they ought to be on this. It is a government that, effectively through an abuse of power, is changing a law retroactively to make legal that which was illegal at the time and destroying information and data, contrary to an officer of Parliament saying they should not be doing that.
I say this for all members of the House, regardless of party, and members of the governing party who sit in this House. Our role individually and collectively as members of Parliament is to scrutinize the activity of government even if we happen to be of the same party. The idea that the current government has created the sense that members of its caucus, whether at committee or in the House, have to basically follow marching orders and cannot question what a government is doing is fundamentally wrong.
I have been here long enough to remember when committees actually were not branch plants of ministers' offices, when committees actually rendered reports that were unanimous and sometimes disagreed with the governing party. I can tell members that a Liberal government would respect Parliament and we would see committees actually used for what they were intended, and that is to scrutinize legislation, to develop good public policy ideas and to work hard as legislators, untethered from the PMO and from ministers' offices to do their jobs on behalf of Canadians and to hold the government to account.
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