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Results: 1 - 60 of 2574
View David Christopherson Profile
NDP (ON)
View David Christopherson Profile
2015-06-19 11:17 [p.15344]
Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's Office has used its power to protect entitled senators—heck, it even orchestrated a cover-up for them—and throughout, Conservatives have defended corruption instead of defending the public dime. Now senators who abuse taxpayers' trust can simply pay the money back and avoid any consequences. It is no wonder that Canadians are ready for change and looking for new management.
If Conservatives would not allow a thief to simply pay back the money and avoid any consequences, why is he allowing senators to do just that?
View Paul Calandra Profile
CPC (ON)
View Paul Calandra Profile
2015-06-19 11:18 [p.15344]
Mr. Speaker, when I first got here in 2008, the member for Medicine Hat was asking of the Liberal Party—
View Paul Calandra Profile
CPC (ON)
View Paul Calandra Profile
2015-06-19 11:18 [p.15344]
Now, Mr. Speaker, here it is on the last day of this session, and the member for Medicine Hat is still asking—
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
View Mathieu Ravignat Profile
NDP (QC)
View Mathieu Ravignat Profile
2015-06-19 11:33 [p.15347]
Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister can say that the Senate expenses scandal has nothing to do with him, but he cannot deny that he is the one who appointed Duffy, Wallin, Brazeau and the others.
He also made Housakos Speaker of the Senate, and it was his office that tried to cover up the Duffy expenses scandal. People are tired of these vague answers, and they are ready for real change.
Will the Conservatives stop defending the Senate's corruption?
View Paul Calandra Profile
CPC (ON)
View Paul Calandra Profile
2015-06-19 11:33 [p.15347]
Mr. Speaker, as you know, we do no such thing. It was the Senate that invited the Auditor General in to review senators' expenses, and we expect them to co-operate in that process.
At the same time, the report of the House administration found that there are 68 members of the NDP caucus who owe three times as much as the Auditor General identified with respect to the Senate. It is $2.7 million, and as of July 1, the NDP members will be forced to repay by having their wages garnished instead of doing the right thing and repaying it on their own. It is a shame. They should have done the right thing on their own.
View Mathieu Ravignat Profile
NDP (QC)
View Mathieu Ravignat Profile
2015-06-19 11:34 [p.15347]
Mr. Speaker, senators charged Canadian taxpayers for rounds of golf, fishing trips and their spouses' personal travel to organize a Valentine's Day ball.
People are sick and tired of these privileges being granted to the governing party's cronies. They want this archaic and undemocratic institution to be abolished. It is time to chart a new course.
Why are the Conservatives so determined to maintain the status quo?
View Paul Calandra Profile
CPC (ON)
View Paul Calandra Profile
2015-06-19 11:35 [p.15347]
Mr. Speaker, we have put on the table some significant reforms to the Senate, and now it is, of course, up to the Council of the Federation to look at.
However, I want to quote something: “Can you confirm where these employees will be working? The employment forms indicate that they all live in the Montreal area but they will be working in the Ottawa office? Will they be in a set office [ in Montreal or Ottawa]?”
The response from the leadership of the NDP: they will work “In Ottawa”.
The problem with that is they worked in Montreal in an illegal partisan office, and they should repay the $2.7 million they owe taxpayers.
View Murray Rankin Profile
NDP (BC)
View Murray Rankin Profile
2015-06-19 11:35 [p.15348]
Mr. Speaker, every time Canadians turn on their TV, it seems the waste and the unethical spending just gets worse. Either they see news stories about Conservative appointees using public funds like their own personal piggy bank, or they see their money being wasted on government advertising: $750 million of their money, public funds, on nakedly partisan propaganda.
Canadians have had enough. They are ready for change. How can the minister stand here time and time again and defend this misspending? Why will he not take responsibility and end this grotesque waste?
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
2015-06-19 11:36 [p.15348]
Mr. Speaker, I take responsibility for informing parents that under the Prime Minister's enhanced universal child care benefit, they will be eligible for $2,000 for each child under age six and $720 for kids age six through 17. I have been working hard to promote this benefit so that all Canadian parents sign up for it. One hundred per cent of families with kids under 18 are eligible, regardless of income or the way they raise their kids.
I even made an inspiring YouTube video to inform parents of it, which has been very successful. I thank members from all sides of the House for promoting it.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
View Peter Julian Profile
2015-06-19 11:37 [p.15348]
Mr. Speaker, it is so sad. This is a party that came to Ottawa claiming that it would do things differently, and then the Conservatives went to work for themselves, just like the old corrupt Liberals. They are making an embarrassing mockery of question period, of course. Conservatives are tired, out of touch, and under criminal investigation.
Canadians are sick of the Senate scandals. They are sick of the wasteful spending. They are sick of the entitlements of the government, and Canadians stand ready for change, so why will Conservatives not get on board with the NDP leader's practical plan to bring real change to Ottawa?
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
2015-06-19 11:37 [p.15348]
Mr. Speaker, the NDP leader will take real change out of the pockets of Canadians. With his proposed tax increases, he will raise the price of gasoline, raise the price of electricity, and raise the costs on businesses. That is what a carbon tax would do.
He then proposes, along with the Liberal leader, that they would bring in a new $1,000 payroll tax to fund a new pension scheme. Every working-class person would be forced pay it, and so would the small businesses that employ them. Canadians are not going to accept having the change stripped from their pockets. They are going to vote in favour of lower taxes.
View Irene Mathyssen Profile
NDP (ON)
View Irene Mathyssen Profile
2015-06-18 14:32 [p.15292]
Mr. Speaker, last night the magnitude of the scandal in the Senate tripled. The RCMP will now be investigating all 30 senators who have spending irregularities. The police just are not buying into the so-called appeal scheme the Prime Minister's hand-picked speaker devised to get him and his friends off the hook. It is taking its own look at the evidence.
Could the Prime Minister explain why it is the police, and not him, that has been left to clean up the Senate mess?
View Paul Calandra Profile
CPC (ON)
View Paul Calandra Profile
2015-06-18 14:33 [p.15292]
Mr. Speaker, it is my understanding that these cases are not under investigation. However, I would like to read something for the members from a House administration report. It states:
Can you confirm where these employees will be working? The employment forms indicate that they all live in the Montreal area but they will be working in the Ottawa office?
The response from the leadership of the NDP was that they would be working in Ottawa. The problem with that statement is that it was false and made liars out of 68 members of the NDP caucus.
I have to believe that there are some members in the NDP caucus who do not want to go into the summer break owing their constituents thousands of dollars, and I hope—
View Irene Mathyssen Profile
NDP (ON)
View Irene Mathyssen Profile
2015-06-18 14:34 [p.15292]
Mr. Speaker, it is just not acceptable for that member to be making things up. He should hang his head in shame.
As well, here is a government that ran on a triple E Senate. Remember that? The only thing that has tripled under the Conservatives' watch is the number of senators under police investigation. Canadians are tired of the daily barrage of waste and scandal from the other chamber. They want answers.
Why did the Prime Minister allow senators to hide from accountability by devising their own get out jail free card?
View Paul Calandra Profile
CPC (ON)
View Paul Calandra Profile
2015-06-18 14:35 [p.15293]
Again, Mr. Speaker, the facts are in black and white from the office of the Leader of the Opposition. The NDP said that these people would be working in Ottawa. They actually worked in an illegal, partisan office in Montreal.
Now I have to believe that not all 68 members of the NDP want to go into the summer break owing $2.7 million to their constituents. I hope there are a few of them who will at least do the right thing and pay back the money they owe constituents, immediately.
View Alexandre Boulerice Profile
NDP (QC)
Mr. Speaker, bring it on, anytime.
The Prime Minister's Office is embroiled and involved in the scandals surrounding Senator Mike Duffy. Yesterday, an RCMP expert explained how the PMO arranged to repay Senator Duffy's $90,000 in expenses. It was a scheme, a scam, a ploy to try to cover up an affair that the government was determined to hide from Canadians, and taxpayers are disgusted with it.
The Prime Minister appointed Duffy, Brazeau, Wallin and 56 other senators. How can they think that all of these shenanigans could go on under his nose without his knowledge? Is that the rule—
View Paul Calandra Profile
CPC (ON)
View Paul Calandra Profile
2015-06-18 14:36 [p.15293]
Mr. Speaker, bring it on? Bring on the fact that the party across the aisle owes taxpayers $2.7 million. As of July 1, the taxpayer will be bringing it on by garnishing their wages and ensuring we get the money back. What the NDP members could have done is the right thing and paid it back on their own.
I will tell the members what $2.7 million means. It means a church in my riding, the Lemonville United Church, could have gotten an elevator for seniors. It means thousands of disadvantaged kids could have gone to summer camp. It means thousands of hours of English as a second language.
Instead, those members used it for partisan purposes against the rules. The should pay it back.
View Alexandre Boulerice Profile
NDP (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I am quite confident that the taxpayer will trust an honest government, an NDP government. That is real change, and it is coming.
Ten years ago, the Prime Minister told everyone that he would clean House in Ottawa after the Liberal scandal, but now he is even worse than the Liberals. He said he would reform the Senate—he talked about a triple-E Senate. The only thing that has tripled in the last 10 years is the number of senators being investigated by the RCMP.
Why did the Prime Minister appoint corrupt individuals? Why is he defending the status quo? Why is he defending this waste of public funds? He has some explaining to do.
View Paul Calandra Profile
CPC (ON)
View Paul Calandra Profile
2015-06-18 14:38 [p.15293]
Mr. Speaker, that member owes the taxpayer $122,000, and refuses to pay it back. Now it is probably because he does not have enough cheques in his chequebook, because has been writing cheques to Québec solidaire. However, he has a problem. Now that there is another Québec separatist party, the Bloc Québécois, he does not know to whom he will write his cheques. Will it be Québec solidaire or the Bloc Québécois?
What the member can do is write one cheque to the Receiver General of Canada for $122,000, and do the right thing.
View Barry Devolin Profile
CPC (ON)

Question No. 1273--
Ms. Rathika Sitsabaiesan:
With regard to the government’s role in promoting consensual, healthy sexual relationships, as well as sound reproductive health: (a) what steps is the government undertaking in this regard; (b) what budget allocations has the government made in this regard; (c) what steps is the government taking to ensure that quality sexual and reproductive health services, including abortion services, are accessible and available for all; (d) will the government impose penalties on provinces failing to ensure the availability of individuals’ right to access safe abortion services without discrimination; (e) what steps is the government taking to ensure that all individuals are able to access sexual and reproductive health services and information, free from all barriers, including timely and systematic referral in the event of conscientious objection on moral or religious grounds; (f) what steps is the government taking to ensure that conscientious objection exemptions are well-defined in scope and well-regulated in use; and (g) how is the government working with provinces to improve the accessibility and availability of abortion services in Canadian hospitals and in rural or remote areas?
Response
Hon. Rona Ambrose (Minister of Health, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, in response to parts (a) and (b), the Public Health Agency of Canada supports a wide range of actions related to the prevention and control of sexually transmitted infections, which can be considered to be one element of healthy sexual relationships. Further information is available at: http://www.healthycanadians.gc.ca/healthy-living-vie-saine/sexual-sexuelle/index-eng.php.
The agency works collaboratively with provinces and territories to monitor data through its national surveillance network and update guidance and recommendations on prevention, diagnosis, treatment and management of sexually transmitted diseases. More details can be found at: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/std-mts/index-eng.php. In addition, the Government of Canada's family violence initiative and the children's programs administered through funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada contribute to resilience, positive parenting and healthy relationships.
The level of precision to answer (b) is not available from agency financial systems.
Parts (c) to (h), the primary responsibility to organize and ensure the delivery of health services to Canadians, including sexual and reproductive health services, belongs to the provinces and territories. The provinces and territories are also responsible to ensure that these services are reasonably accessible to their residents.
View LaVar Payne Profile
CPC (AB)
View LaVar Payne Profile
2015-06-15 11:05 [p.15037]
Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour for me to rise today in support of my colleague, the hon. member for Souris—Moose Mountain, and his motion that we are debating today.
I think as Canadians we are really very lucky. We have freedom of expression enshrined in our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and nobody can take that away from each individual Canadian. It grants us the right to speak our mind, the right to discuss issues that we believe are important not only to our constituents, but to Canadians right across this vast, beautiful land we call home.
I believe it is our duty as federal legislators, as federal representatives here in the House of Commons of the Parliament of Canada, to speak out and to speak according to our conscience. This is especially pressing on abortion and end-of-life issues. I find it concerning and highly irritating when I hear somebody suggest that we cannot as federal legislators discuss an issue that is in the federal jurisdiction as it is not politically correct, or that it will offend some segments of society.
Well, it will be no surprise to anybody that I have been a defender of the rights of the unborn and I believe that we must be able to debate this issue freely. I supported previous motions to that effect, and will support any future motions that come before this House. I constantly receive correspondence and phone calls from constituents who are firmly in favour of defending the right to life, and as it is my duty as their federal representative here to represent their interests in Parliament, I am reinforced in my belief that this is the right thing to do.
Another issue that has dominated the national spotlight is that of end-of-life matters. The Supreme Court recently struck down parts of legislation which made assisted suicide illegal in Canada. I know that our government is carefully crafting a legislative response to this decision, and I pray that the drafters will take into consideration the value of human life when they are making the decisions on what this legislation will look like. Because the end-of-life issue is so pertinent right now, my words will focus mostly on this.
To start, I want to say that I receive many comments from constituents, whether they be spoken, by email or regular mail, by phone or by fax. Most of them urge us to choose a strong, well thought out palliative end-of-life care strategy over the legalization of assisted suicide matters. I support this view, and I believe that every life must be protected.
I think we in this country have one of the best medical care systems in the world. It has its problems, but overall we are very blessed to have the best doctors and some of the best medical science out there available for our use. I believe that we can develop a palliative care regime that cares for our citizens until the end of their natural lives.
I believe that when it comes to matters of conscience such as these, it is critical that the democratically elected members of this House be allowed to vote according to their beliefs and to vote on how the majority of their constituents would have them vote. I realize that support for some issues can be different from community to community, province to province, and in our case, electoral district to electoral district.
It is very unfortunate that certain political parties represented in this House today have basically eliminated the ability of their members to decide how they wish to vote based on conscience issues. When it comes to matters of conscience, in an open, transparent, and democratic society such as ours, it is unthinkable that somebody would tell another that on deeply personal moral issues, one has to vote the way the party leadership tells members to vote, or else. Or else could be suspending said person from the caucus, or simply putting them in the penalty box so to speak.
How can we as legislators in a modern democracy believe that this is somehow all right, that this is the way of doing business? How can we, in our quest to cater to what we think is prevailing public opinion, seek to silence democratically elected members of this place on the very important moral issues of conscience? I find this to be absurd.
An opposition member recently said that they consider all votes to be matters of conscience. As I understand it, that is what the member said. Well, I wish that would be reflected when it came time to vote. These votes would not be whipped and these people would not be basically ordered how to vote by their party leadership. We need to all take a collective breath and consider exactly what we will no doubt have to consider sometime in the near future.
End-of-life issues are a very emotional subject matter and tend to evoke strong emotions. I understand this and I am willing to bet there are members from every party here today who have reservations about legalizing physician-assisted suicide.
This motion would encourage that the parties represented here today allow their members to vote freely according to their personal beliefs, according to what their conscience is telling them.
It is like the old Pinocchio jingle, “always let your conscience be your guide”. That is kind of a gentle way of urging my colleagues here today to carefully consider the motion that is in front of them.
I know that we will have some emotional debates here regarding other major issues of conscience.
Motion No. 312 by the member for Kitchener Centre supported the establishment of a parliamentary committee to study when life begins. I was incredibly proud to stand up and support that motion.
However, I am left asking myself how my constituents would want me to vote. Some upcoming questions that we will have to deal with in this place will be questions of conscience. They will also be relevant to what my constituents would have me do as their chosen voice in this place. I think I have always done my best to vote with their best intentions at heart.
Motion No. 312 and others that may have come before the House in the last several Parliaments seek to deal with a very delicate issue. Many people may not realize that there are no laws regulating the right to an abortion in Canada either. Through his motion, the member for Kitchener Centre was essentially trying to get us to start discussing some sort of direction that we as federal legislators should take on this important issue.
It is matters such as the one that Motion No. 312 was trying to deal with that the motion we are discussing today would cover.
Let us face reality here. Simply having no law is something I find unfortunate in a modern democracy. This is something of an issue that I and many of my colleagues here today probably have a problem with. Regardless of where one stands on end-of-life issues, I am sure everyone in the House would agree that we absolutely must have a written law on the books that would regulate it one way or another. Are we to expect that we should simply have no laws covering end-of-life issues? By going down that path we would be opening up a major can of worms, so to speak.
I do not believe that pretending there is no issue here is the right course of action. We cannot allow ourselves to get into the same situation, and that is why the government is working on the next steps. Doing nothing is not an option. It is our responsibility as federal legislators to craft laws that will protect vulnerable people in our society. We lose a certain amount of institutional credibility by simply turning a blind eye to these very important issues of conscience.
On the Carter case which recently struck down this country's law on assisted suicide, we must tread very lightly as federal legislators. My personal view I have already mentioned, but I believe that this is one of the great moral issues of conscience that our generation is dealing with. The value of human life must not be put in jeopardy by emotional quick decisions. It is important that we take a thoughtful and careful look at how we as a society are going to deal with these important matters. That is why it is so critical to look at the facts and ensure that we are not rushing into any decisions.
Doing nothing is simply not acceptable. Again, our responsibility as federal legislators is to legislate when it comes to the issues affecting the lives of human beings. We are truly blessed with a very important mandate. It is our responsibility to keep Canadians safe from harm. We must also do our utmost to protect the unborn as well as those who are coming to the end of their natural lives. Let us choose to support and comfort those who are nearing the end with everything in our power. Let us look at making changes and improving on our palliative care models so that they are always the absolute best and the most compassionate possible.
We can work together to deliver this with other levels of government and with stakeholder groups. Let us work together to recognize that the value of life is greater than any of our emotional choices as we humans are often compelled to make. This is a critical issue for our attention. I wholeheartedly support this motion, which speaks to the freedom we elected members should have when voting on issues of conscience. I urge all members of the House to vote in favour of the motion.
View Ed Komarnicki Profile
CPC (SK)
View Ed Komarnicki Profile
2015-06-15 11:24 [p.15040]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Medicine Hat for his strong personal views, and also the member for Chatham-Kent—Essex, who delicately diced and danced around what is and is not a matter of conscience.
In the previous hour of debate, the member for Louis-Saint-Laurent ended her speech by saying that she believed her NDP colleagues should support the motion. I appreciate that, but she trivializes the debate by saying that in the end, all of us are already free.
She said that the motion could just as easily read, “That in the opinion of the House, all members of Parliament should be allowed to vote freely on all matters of beauty”. What nonsense. I would like to see how her and her colleagues would view a free vote on matters that are truly matters of conscience, namely matters relating to life, more particularly to the termination of life at any time from the point of conception to the point of natural death. She said, “What therefore is the legal definition of a matter of conscience?” She said, “The problem is the abstract notion of conscience”.
Let me address that. Conscience, as a concept, is referred to in the recent Carter case, and intervenors were talking about that. On page 132, the court stated:
In our view, nothing in the declaration of invalidity which we propose to issue would compel physicians to provide assistance in dying. [...] However, we note—as did Beetz J. in addressing the topic of physician participation in abortion in R. v. Morgentaler—that a physician's decision to participate in assisted dying is a matter of conscience and, in some cases, of religious belief.... In making this observation, we do not wish to pre-empt the legislative and regulatory response to this judgment. Rather, we underline that the Charter rights of patients and physicians will need to be reconciled.
That is precisely the point when it comes to matters of the charter. Charter rights have to be balanced and reconciled. No one right is absolute.
In the Morgentaler case, the court made reference that the freedom of conscience is guaranteed in section 2 of the charter. Wilson B., on page 165, stated:
It should [also] be noted, however, that an emphasis on individual conscience and individual judgment [also] lies at the heart of our democratic political tradition. The ability of each citizen to make free and informed decisions is the absolute prerequisite for the legitimacy, acceptability, and efficacy of our system of self-government.
This should be even more so in Parliament where members vote on matters of conscience. On page 176, she refers to a previous Supreme Court case and the comments of Justice Dickson, where he stated:
Attempts to compel belief or practice denied the reality of individual conscience and dishonoured the God that had planted it in His creatures. It is from these antecedents that the concepts of freedoms of religion and freedom of conscience became associated, to form, as they do in s. 2(a) of our Charter, the single integrated concept of “freedom of conscience and religion”.
Dickson went on to say:
What unites enunciated freedoms in the American First Amendment, s. 2(a) of the Charter and in the provision of other human rights documents in which they are associated is the notion of the centrality of individual conscience and the inappropriateness of governmental intervention to compel or to constrain its manifestation.
On page 177, he says:
The values that underline our political and philosophic traditions demand that every individual be free to hold and to manifest whatever beliefs and opinions his or her conscience dictates, provided inter alia only that such manifestations do not injure his or her neighbours or their parallel rights to hold and manifest beliefs and opinions of their own.
This right must not injure one's neighbour, which could include the unborn. That is precisely the point when it comes to matters of the charter. Charter rights have to be balanced and reconciled. No one right is absolute.
The member for Kings—Hants and the member for Kingston and the Islands talked about all kinds of things except real matters of conscience. Why is that? Why have they not come to the defence of their Liberal leader, the member for Papineau? Could it be because their leader's position is indefensible? In an open letter from seven former Liberal members of Parliament, they stated:
We, the undersigned [...] are concerned about your [recent] pronouncement that people who hold a particular view on a given moral issue, as a matter of conscience, cannot be Liberal candidates for the position of M.P. unless they agree to park their consciences at the entrance to the House of Commons and vote directly opposite to their fundamental beliefs, as directed by you.
This is clearly in reference to the Liberal leader's position that what is commonly referred to as “pro-choice candidates” could only be nominated, or, if elected, would have to vote as the leader directed.
In my view, the actions of the Liberal leader, the member for Papineau, are indefensible. Either one believes in the charter or one does not. His edict violates the charter without the use of the notwithstanding clause and strikes at the heart of this motion, and indeed at the heart of the charter.
Can anyone imagine that the leader of the Liberal Party would sacrifice a right or protection of the charter to be able to enforce his personal views on a particular subject matter? How very wrong that is.
View David Christopherson Profile
NDP (ON)
View David Christopherson Profile
2015-06-12 11:18 [p.15008]
Mr. Speaker, in February 2013, the Prime Minister rose in this House and declared “...all senators conform to the residency requirements”.
That is not what the Auditor General found in his devastating report on Senate corruption. He found that five of the nine senators whose cases are now referred to the RCMP were not actually residents of the provinces they were appointed to represent.
Did the Prime Minister at least ask any of these senators whether they were eligible to sit in the Senate, before he appointed them?
View Paul Calandra Profile
CPC (ON)
View Paul Calandra Profile
2015-06-12 11:19 [p.15008]
Mr. Speaker, as I have said on a number of occasions, the rules with respect to appointing senators have been clear for almost 150 years.
At the same time, it is worth highlighting that in 2013 when we were starting to eliminate direct voter subsidies, taxpayer subsidies for political parties, the New Democrats were in the middle of a scam to still get voter subsidies. Unfortunately, they did that by breaking the rules of this House. They cheated in order to help their political party. That is against the rules. That is not why taxpayers send us money. The New Democrats owe $2.7 million, and they might as well do the right thing and just pay it back.
View David Christopherson Profile
NDP (ON)
View David Christopherson Profile
2015-06-12 11:20 [p.15008]
Mr. Speaker, that is more nonsense from that member.
Clearly, the Prime Minister never even tried to confirm that his appointees were actually eligible. No wonder the senators think they can get away with anything, and the secrecy continues. When asked about its new appeals process, the Senate replied “...we do not disclose information about legal contracts”. The entire process will be shrouded in secrecy. This is accountability, Conservative style.
Do the Conservatives agree that a secretive internal board is the right place to dispute the evidence-based findings of our Auditor General?
View Paul Calandra Profile
CPC (ON)
View Paul Calandra Profile
2015-06-12 11:20 [p.15008]
Mr. Speaker, as members know, it was the Senate that invited the Auditor General in to review its expenses, and it is the Senate that should respond to that report. We expect that the senators will abide by the recommendations.
At the same time, we know it is very public that the New Democrats owe the Canadian taxpayers $2.7 million for illegal offices. That is three times as much as has been identified by the Auditor General with respect to the senators' expenses. However, unlike some of the senators, the New Democrats are refusing to pay back the $2.7 million they owe. The member for Hochelaga owes—
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 Paul Calandra Profile
CPC (ON)
View Paul Calandra Profile
2015-06-12 11:21 [p.15009]
Mr. Speaker, that is absolutely not correct, and the member knows that is not correct.
The Senate has invited in former justice Ian Binnie, and we support that process. Again, it was the Senate that invited in the Auditor General to review its expenses in the first place.
At the same time, Canadians do not differentiate. When parliamentarians owe them money, they want it back. That is why it is important that the 68 members of the NDP caucus who have been identified as owing $2.7 million to the Canadian people ought to pay it back. It is very clear that they need to pay back the money they owe.
View Jack Harris Profile
NDP (NL)
View Jack Harris Profile
2015-06-12 11:33 [p.15011]
Mr. Speaker, the Senate is a bastion of entitlement, yet the Conservatives have thrown up their hands and given up. The change is not only possible, it is absolutely necessary. Senators have invented a secret process for disputing the Auditor General's findings, and days after the Senate Speaker promised a new age of openness, he has gone to court to block the release of a potentially embarrassing internal report on residency.
Did anyone in the Prime Minister's office speak to anyone in the Senate about this latest attempt to cover up an embarrassing Senate report?
View Paul Calandra Profile
CPC (ON)
View Paul Calandra Profile
2015-06-12 11:34 [p.15011]
Mr. Speaker, I have already answered that. As members know, it was the Senate that invited the Auditor General to review its expenses, and we expect senators to assist in the process.
At the same time, this member could help us out by turning around and looking at his colleagues and asking the 68 of them who owe taxpayers $2.7 million to repay that money to the taxpayers. It is absolutely unacceptable that the NDP owes Canadian taxpayers $2.7 million for illegal partisan offices and are refusing to pay it back. They ought to do the right thing and pay back the taxpayers.
View Jack Harris Profile
NDP (NL)
View Jack Harris Profile
2015-06-12 11:34 [p.15011]
Mr. Speaker, after promising to bring change to the Senate, the parliamentary secretary now clearly thinks it is not a priority. That is not acceptable to Canadians. When asked about the use of public funds to attend his brother-in-law's funeral, one senator replied that he brought “the dignity of the office”. The Auditor General is calling for transformational change, yet the Senate refuses even to confirm how much it is paying arbitrator Ian Binnie.
Why have the Conservatives abandoned their principles and refused to demand accountability from the Senate?
View Paul Calandra Profile
CPC (ON)
View Paul Calandra Profile
2015-06-12 11:35 [p.15011]
Mr. Speaker, it is just the opposite. The Senate invited in the Auditor General to review their expenses. A report has been tabled, and we expect the Senate to work with the Auditor General to implement the recommendations of that report, but what is also on the table is the fact of finding that 68 members of that caucus owe $2.7 million to the people of Canada, and they refuse to pay it back.
The member for Louis-Hébert owes $31,888 and refuses to pay it back. The member for Gatineau owes $24,498 and refuses to pay it back. The member for Hochelaga owes $24,000—
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
View Rosane Doré Lefebvre Profile
NDP (QC)
View Rosane Doré Lefebvre Profile
2015-06-12 11:35 [p.15011]
Mr. Speaker, we still do not know if the Prime Minister looked into where senators reside before appointing them.
Senators' extravagant expenses are downright shameful. They treated themselves to fishing trips, personal trips for themselves and their spouses, rounds of golf and tickets to hockey games, all on the taxpayer's dime and with impunity. It is high time we got rid of this archaic institution. Most Quebeckers no longer want it.
Will the Conservatives finally stop defending the status quo?
View Paul Calandra Profile
CPC (ON)
View Paul Calandra Profile
2015-06-12 11:36 [p.15012]
Mr. Speaker, it is just the opposite. At the same time as the Auditor General was revealing the expenses of senators, there was a report issued with respect to members of Parliament. What that report found was that 68 members of Parliament owed $2.7 million to the taxpayer. All of those 68 members happen to be sitting in the NDP caucus.
At a time when we were bringing in accountability to the House of Commons, they were finding a way to cheat and rip off the Canadian taxpayer and are now refusing to pay it back. They should pay back the $2.7 million they owe Canadians. It is the right thing to do, and they ought to do it.
View Rosane Doré Lefebvre Profile
NDP (QC)
View Rosane Doré Lefebvre Profile
2015-06-12 11:37 [p.15012]
Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is still defending the indefensible.
Worse still, rather than apologize for their unacceptable behaviour, Liberal senators and those who were appointed by the Prime Minister are rubbing salt in the wound. Now they want to to be their own judge and jury behind closed doors. Seriously, what a lot of nerve.
Why is the Prime Minister allowing these internal, secret, backroom games? Why is he not getting on board with the NDP's proposal to eliminate all of these secret House and Senate committees and give the people the transparency they deserve once and for all?
View Paul Calandra Profile
CPC (ON)
View Paul Calandra Profile
2015-06-12 11:37 [p.15012]
Mr. Speaker, I will not defend anybody who deliberately misuses taxpayer dollars. I certainly will not get up in the chamber and defend that. That is why I think like Canadians think. I do not differentiate. Whether it is a senator or a member of Parliament, if they deliberately misuse taxpayer dollars, they ought to pay it back.
New Democrats owe three times as much as the Auditor General has identified in the Senate. They owe $2.7 million. The Leader of the Opposition owes $400,000 to the taxpayers of Canada, and he refuses to pay it back. He ought to do the right thing and pay it back.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
View Peter Julian Profile
2015-06-12 11:38 [p.15012]
Mr. Speaker, as the scandals in the Senate have exploded, the Conservatives have taken to hiding the Prime Minister. Instead of answering questions, they bring on the very sad theatrics of the member for Oak Ridges—Markham. We remember that he tearfully apologized to the House for his antics. He promised to change his ways, and then he broke his promise. Every time he speaks, he loses more support for Conservatives. This morning, Conservatives hit historical lows. Keep up the good work.
New Democrats believe we can and must bring change to the Senate. Why do Conservatives lack the political will to scrap the Senate, and why will they not listen to Canadians?
View Paul Calandra Profile
CPC (ON)
View Paul Calandra Profile
2015-06-12 11:39 [p.15012]
Mr. Speaker, Canadians have turned their backs on that party for 16 straight elections. They have never, ever been given the confidence of Canadians to sit on this side of the House. I am very proud of the fact that Canadians have given us the confidence to sit on this side of the House, and I will continue to work every day to do that.
This is a member who admits that he actually owes money, $189,000. He is refusing to pay it back. He might think that is funny; Canadians do not. They want the money back. Pay them $189,000.
View John Rafferty Profile
NDP (ON)
View John Rafferty Profile
2015-06-11 14:16 [p.14962]
Mr. Speaker, Canadians have had a good look at the depths of Conservative and Liberal entitlement thanks to the Auditor General, and they are not impressed with what they see.
In the wake of the report on senators' expenses, instead of calling for the transformational change that is needed in the Senate, the old-school parties are defending the status quo. Just like the Liberals and Conservatives joined together to pass Bill C-51 in the House, they have teamed up in the Senate to block independent oversight and to rig the expense arbitration process. Why? It is so senators can keep policing themselves.
It is unacceptable. Canadians want real change. New Democrats know that change is not only possible, it is necessary. Canadians can trust the NDP to fix the damage done by the Conservatives, to end the culture of entitlement of the old-school parties, and to bring real change to Ottawa. On October 19, that is exactly what we will do.
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 Paul Calandra Profile
CPC (ON)
View Paul Calandra Profile
2015-06-11 14:19 [p.14962]
Mr. Speaker, as you know, it was the Senate that invited the Auditor General in. He has tabled his report, and of course, we expect the Senate to listen to those recommendations and implement them.
As we all know, the status quo in the Senate is not acceptable. That is why we have fought to bring openness and transparency into the Senate. The Supreme Court, in its wisdom, has suggested that we need the unanimous support of the provinces to move forward with any reform. We anxiously await that.
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 Paul Calandra Profile
CPC (ON)
View Paul Calandra Profile
2015-06-11 14:20 [p.14962]
Mr. Speaker, that question just highlights that it is not only the Liberals who are incapable of ever governing this country again and that their leader is in over his head; it is the entire NDP caucus.
It is called a G7, where the world's most powerful nations come together to talk about the economy, come together to talk about security. Our Prime Minister was there leading the G7 with respect to improving the economy and fighting ISIL terrorism. We are proud of that, and we will continue to do that job on behalf of Canadians.
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 Paul Calandra Profile
CPC (ON)
View Paul Calandra Profile
2015-06-11 14:21 [p.14962]
Mr. Speaker, as I just said, obviously the status quo in the Senate is unacceptable. That is why the Auditor General came in and examined the expenses. He submitted a report, and the Senate is taking action on that.
As I said yesterday, Canadians do not differentiate. When parliamentarians abuse their money deliberately, they want some recourse. There are 68 members of that caucus who owe three times as much as the Auditor General identified in the Senate report. It is absolutely inappropriate. Starting with their leader, who owes $400,000, they should repay the money they owe Canadians.
View Irene Mathyssen Profile
NDP (ON)
View Irene Mathyssen Profile
2015-06-11 14:29 [p.14964]
Mr. Speaker, unlike the government's tales of fanciful make-believe, this week the Auditor General reported on real misspending, senators routinely travelling for personal business and billing taxpayers.
In one case, the Auditor General found a senator's spouse spent over $10,000 on her own personal business, and the senator charged that to the public, too.
How can the members stand here and continue to defend this behaviour? It just defies logic.
View Paul Calandra Profile
CPC (ON)
View Paul Calandra Profile
2015-06-11 14:30 [p.14964]
Mr. Speaker, the absolute gall of that member, sitting in that caucus, asking that question.
We have said right from the beginning that parliamentarians who deliberately misspend taxpayer dollars ought to do the first thing and pay it back. If it is deliberate, the courts will take action and they will suffer the consequences.
There are 68 members of that caucus who have spend three times as much as the Auditor General found in the Senate. They owe the taxpayer $2.7 million. Their own leader, who hatched this scheme, owes the taxpayers $400,000 and is refusing to pay it back.
View Irene Mathyssen Profile
NDP (ON)
View Irene Mathyssen Profile
2015-06-11 14:31 [p.14964]
Mr. Speaker, it is more and more fantasy.
Just like the offending senators, Conservatives are completely unrepentant. Conservatives promised to bring accountability and change, but instead they delivered expense claims to meet their tailors and bills for their fishing trips. Senators named in the report for their dubious claims actually set up an appeals process to dispute the Auditor General's findings.
After promising to bring change to the Senate, how can that member stand here and defend the status quo?
View Paul Calandra Profile
CPC (ON)
View Paul Calandra Profile
2015-06-11 14:31 [p.14964]
Mr. Speaker, Canadians do not think it is fanciful to want their $2.7 million back from the NDP. They work very hard for the money they send here, and they want the 68 members of that caucus to send it back.
It is not a fantasy that the member for Compton—Stanstead owes $142,000. The NDP needs to look at itself, look at Canadians and just pay back the $2.7 million that it owes, and do it now.
View Ève Péclet Profile
NDP (QC)
View Ève Péclet Profile
2015-06-11 14:32 [p.14964]
Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister, their leader, promised loud and clear that he would clean up the Senate. It was even part of his campaign platform. However, the reality is that today the Senate is still the same corrupt institution.
Fourteen of the senators who the Auditor General found were involved in illegal spending are now refusing to pay back the money that they spent playing golf and attending hockey games, money that belongs to Canadians. That is not all. They are even going to challenge the Auditor General's recommendations.
Does the Prime Minister agree with the senators who are refusing to pay back their expenses or does he accept the Auditor General's recommendations?
View Paul Calandra Profile
CPC (ON)
View Paul Calandra Profile
2015-06-11 14:33 [p.14965]
Mr. Speaker, as we said, it was the Senate that invited in the Auditor General to examine their expenses. He has tabled a report. As we have said all along, we expect that the senators will work with the Auditor General.
At the same time as the Auditor General found 30 senators who have some dilemmas with their expenses, the House has found that some 68 members of Parliament have problems with their expenses. All 68 of them happen to be NDP members of Parliament. The member who asked the question owes the taxpayers of her riding over $27,000, and she is refusing to pay it back.
View Ève Péclet Profile
NDP (QC)
View Ève Péclet Profile
2015-06-11 14:33 [p.14965]
Mr. Speaker, come on. It is as though the Prime Minister were allowing a minister whose department was investigated by the Auditor General to dispute the recommendations and refuse to implement them. That does not make any sense and it would never be acceptable.
However, the Conservatives do not seem to have a problem with senators appointed by the Prime Minister unscrupulously charging Canadians for their personal travel.
Will the Prime Minister finally set up an independent oversight body—
View Paul Calandra Profile
CPC (ON)
View Paul Calandra Profile
2015-06-11 14:34 [p.14965]
Mr. Speaker, that is a member who on August 22 submitted forms to the House of Commons suggesting that she was going to hire somebody to work out of an office in Ottawa. On September 22, the member confirmed again that this office would be in Ottawa, against the rules of the House, against the wishes of taxpayers. The member then funnelled money out of her constituency to an illegal office in Montreal, along with 67 other members of that party. They should do the right thing and pay back the $2.7 million that they owe taxpayers.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
View Peter Julian Profile
2015-06-11 14:35 [p.14965]
Mr. Speaker, there have been some excellent questions, but the answers have been ridiculous. That is quite clear.
Members will recall that the Prime Minister promised to put an end to corruption and clean up the Senate. He clearly did not keep his promise. According to the Auditor General's report, the Senate is more than dysfunctional, and the problem of illegal expenses is widespread. Canadians are wondering what happened to the Conservatives' promises.
Why do the Conservatives no longer believe in change?
View Paul Calandra Profile
CPC (ON)
View Paul Calandra Profile
2015-06-11 14:35 [p.14965]
Mr. Speaker, that is curious coming from that member because we were both on a panel not long ago and he was asked how he would pay back the $170,000 he owed the taxpayers. The member said, “No no no. Well, first off, Peter, those figures, they go for the previous [person] in the office”, mainly the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley. The member admitted there was a debt and said that it was the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley's debt.
We know the New Democrats tried to rip taxpayers off by only paying back 10% of the debt. They should pay back the $2.7 million they owe.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
View Peter Julian Profile
2015-06-11 14:36 [p.14965]
Here is another fairytale, Mr. Speaker. Once upon a time the Conservatives came to Ottawa and promised so much before they broke all of those promises. They promised to stand up for everyday Canadians to end entitlements, and to fight against waste and corruption. They were going to clean up this place, and a big part of that was making changes to the Senate. Remember the triple-E Senate? That was then and this is now.
Now the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister is reduced to arguing that changing the Senate just is not possible. What has changed? Why did these Conservatives give up all that they stood for? Why have they failed—
View Paul Calandra Profile
CPC (ON)
View Paul Calandra Profile
2015-06-11 14:37 [p.14965]
Mr. Speaker, that gentleman just called the words that I quoted “another fairytale”. Unfortunately for him they are his words. These are the things that he said while he was throwing the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley under the bus. He admitted that there was $189,000 debt, but it was not his, it was the previous occupant of the House leader's office. It was the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley's debt.
There is one taxpayer. You owe them $2.7 million. Pay it back.
View Thomas Mulcair Profile
NDP (QC)
View Thomas Mulcair Profile
2015-06-10 14:21 [p.14868]
Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General has referred nine more senators to the RCMP. There are 34 senators with illegal expenses, with 13 charged, under investigation or on trial for fraud, many appointed by the current Prime Minister: six Conservatives, seven Liberals.
The Prime Minister used to rail against this type of ingrained institutional corruption. What has happened to the Prime Minister's principles?
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