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Results: 1 - 60 of 2281
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 Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2015-06-18 10:27 [p.15259]
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present three petitions, all of which are from constituents within Saanich—Gulf Islands.
The first petition calls for an aggressive climate strategy. The petitioners have set out the goals that were once accepted in a piece of legislation passed under the name of my colleague, the member for Thunder Bay—Superior North, calling for a reduction by 2050 of 80% of carbon dioxide levels below those of 1990.
View Dan Harris Profile
NDP (ON)
View Dan Harris Profile
2015-06-17 16:45 [p.15224]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to present two petitions. The first one is on fighting climate change. Petitioners say that climate change is an urgent national and international issue, and they call on the government to immediately pass Bill C-224, the climate change accountability act.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2015-06-17 16:48 [p.15224]
Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions from people in my riding.
One petition deals with the requirement to have a climate strategy. The petitioners refer back to the targets and timelines that were included in the bill that was passed in this place, Bill C-31, sponsored by the hon. member for Thunder Bay—Superior North.
View Barry Devolin Profile
CPC (ON)

Question No. 1259--
Mr. Rodger Cuzner:
With regard to Veterans Affairs Canada: (a) how many veterans have been hired at Veterans Affairs Canada since 2009; (b) how many of these were medically released members of the Canadian Forces hired in priority through the Public Service Commission; (c) what percentage of all hires at Veterans Affairs Canada since 2009 have been veterans (including medically released veterans); and (d) what specific efforts are being made by the department to increase the number, and percentage, of veterans working within Veterans Affairs Canada?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1260--
Mr. John Weston:
With regard to government funding in the riding of West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, for each fiscal year since 2007-2008 inclusively: (a) what are the details of all grants, contributions, and loans to any organization, body, or group, broken down by (i) name of the recipient, (ii) municipality of the recipient, (iii) date on which the funding was received, (iv) amount received, (v) department or agency providing the funding, (vi) program under which the grant, contribution, or loan was made, (vii) nature or purpose; and (b) for each grant, contribution and loan identified in (a), was a press release issued to announce it and, if so, what is the (i) date, (ii) headline of the press release?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1262--
Mr. Andrew Cash:
With regard to International Experience Canada, for the year 2014: (a) with which countries did Canada have an agreement; (b) what were the reciprocal quotas; (c) how many Canadians travelled to each country under the auspices of the agreement; (d) how many youths from each country travelled to Canada under the auspices of the agreement, broken down by (i) working holiday, (ii) young professionals, (iii) international cooperative work placements; (e) how many Canadian employers employed foreign youth in the young professionals stream; (f) how many Canadian employers employed foreign youth in the international cooperative work placements stream; (g) when will the government be finished its detailed labour market assessment of the program and will the assessment be made public; (h) how many Canadian employers have been subject to investigations for compliance; (i) how many Canadian employers have been found to be in non-compliance as a result of an investigation, broken down by type of issue; (j) how many Canadian employers have had to take remedial actions in order to be considered compliant as a result of an investigation; (k) how many Canadian employers have been subject to penalties as a result of an investigation; (l) how does Citizenship and Immigration Canada define reciprocal with respect to its goal to make the program more reciprocal; and (m) what is the Department’s target for reciprocity?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1263--
Mr. Andrew Cash:
With regard to the International Mobility Program: (a) how many applications were received for work permits in 2014 and in 2015 year-to-date, (i) in total, (ii) broken down by month; (b) how many applications for work permits were approved in 2014 and 2015 year-to-date, (i) in total, (ii) broken down by month; (c) how many employers using the International Mobility Program have been subject to an investigation for compliance from in 2014 and 2015 inclusively, broken down by (i) month, (ii) province; (d) how many investigations have revealed non-compliance by employers, broken down by (i) month, (ii) issues identified, (iii) industry of the employer; (e) how many employers have had to take steps to be considered compliant following an investigation, broken down by (i) month, (ii) type of action required, (iii) industry of the employer; (f) how many employers have received penalties for non-compliance as a result of an investigation, broken down by (i) month, (ii) type of penalty, (iii) industry of the employer; (g) how many investigations have involved an on-site visit, broken down by month; and (h) how many Citizenship and Immigration staff are currently assigned to conduct investigations for compliance?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1264--
Ms. Jinny Jogindera Sims:
With regard to Employment and Social Development Canada and the Social Security Tribunal: (a) how many appeals are currently waiting to be heard at the Income Security Section (ISS), in total and broken down by (i) Canada Pension Plan (CPP) retirement pensions and survivors benefits, (ii) Canada Pension Plan Disability benefits (CPPD), (iii) Old Age Security (OAS); (b) how many appeals have been heard by the ISS in 2015, in total and broken down by (i) CPP retirement pensions and survivors benefits, (ii) CPPD benefits, (iii) OAS; (c) how many appeals heard by the ISS were allowed in 2015, in total and broken down by (i) CPP retirement pensions and survivors benefits, (ii) CPPD benefits, (iii) OAS; (d) how many appeals heard by the ISS were dismissed in 2015, in total and broken down by (i) CPP retirement pensions and survivors benefits, (ii) CPPD benefits, (iii) OAS; (e) how many appeals to the ISS were summarily dismissed in 2015, in total and broken down by (i) CPP retirement pensions and survivors benefits, (ii) CPPD benefits, (iii) OAS; (f) how many appeals at the ISS have been heard in person in 2015, broken down by (i) appeals allowed, (ii) appeals dismissed; (g) how many appeals at the ISS have been heard by teleconference in 2015, broken down by (i) appeals allowed, (ii) appeals dismissed; (h) how many appeals at the ISS have been heard by videoconference in 2015, broken down by (i) appeals allowed, (ii) appeals dismissed; (i) how many appeals at the ISS have been heard in writing in 2015, broken down by (i) appeals allowed, (ii) appeals dismissed; (j) how many members hired in the Employment Insurance Section (EIS) are currently assigned to the ISS; (k) how many income security appeals are currently waiting to be heard by the Appeal Division (AD), in total and broken down by (i) CPP retirement pensions and survivors benefits, (ii) CPPD benefits, (iii) OAS; (l) how many income security appeals have been heard by the AD in 2015, in total and broken down by (i) CPP retirement pensions and survivors benefits, (ii) CPPD benefits, (iii) OAS; (m) how many income security appeals heard by the AD were allowed in 2015, in total and broken down by (i) CPP retirement pensions and survivors benefits, (ii) CPPD benefits, (iii) OAS; (n) how many income security appeals heard by the AD were dismissed in 2015, in total and broken down by (i) CPP retirement pensions and survivors benefits, (ii) CPPD benefits, (iii) OAS; (o) how many income security appeals to the AD were summarily dismissed in 2015, in total and broken down by (i) CPP retirement pensions and survivors benefits, (ii) CPPD benefits, (iii) OAS; (p) how many income security appeals at the AD have been heard in person in 2015, broken down by (i) appeals allowed, (ii) appeals dismissed; (q) how many income security appeals at the AD have been heard in by videoconference in 2015, broken down by (i) appeals allowed, (ii) appeals dismissed; (r) how many income security appeals at the AD have been heard by teleconference in 2015, broken down by (i) appeals allowed, (ii) appeals dismissed; (s) how many income security appeals at the AD have been heard in writing in 2015, broken down by (i) appeals allowed, (ii) appeals dismissed; (t) how many appeals are currently waiting to be heard at the Employment Insurance Section (EIS); (u) how many appeals have been heard by the EIS in 2015, in total and broken down by month; (v) how many appeals heard by the EIS were allowed in 2015; (w)how many appeals heard by the EIS were dismissed in 2015; (x) how many appeals to the EIS were summarily dismissed in 2015; (y) how many appeals at the EIS have been heard in person 2015, broken down by (i) appeals allowed, (ii) appeals dismissed; (z) how many appeals at the EIS have been heard by videoconference in 2015, broken down by (i) appeals allowed, (ii) appeals dismissed; (aa) how many appeals at the EIS have been heard by teleconference in 2015, broken down by (i) appeals allowed, (ii) appeals dismissed; (bb) how many appeals at the EIS have been heard in writing in 2015, broken down by (i) appeals allowed, (ii) appeals dismissed; (cc) how many EI appeals are currently waiting to be heard by the AD; (dd) how many EI appeals have been heard by the AD in 2015; (ee) how many EI appeals heard by the AD were allowed in 2015; (ff) how many EI appeals heard by the AD were dismissed in 2015; (gg) how many EI appeals to the AD were summarily dismissed in 2015; (hh) how many EI appeals at the AD have been heard in person in 2015, broken down by (i) appeals allowed, (ii) appeals dismissed; (ii) how many EI appeals at the AD have been heard by videoconference in 2015, broken down by (i) appeals allowed, (ii) appeals dismissed; (jj) how many EI appeals at the AD have been heard by teleconference in 2015, broken down by (i) appeals allowed, (ii) appeals dismissed; (kk) how many EI appeals at the AD have been heard in writing in 2015, broken down by (i) appeals allowed, (ii) appeals dismissed; (ll) how many legacy appeals are currently waiting to be heard at the ISS; (mm) how many legacy appeals are currently waiting to be heard at the EIS; (nn) how many legacy income security appeals are currently waiting to be heard at the AD; (oo) how many legacy EI appeals are currently waiting to be heard at the AD; (pp) how many requests has the Tribunal received for an expedited hearing due to terminal illness in 2015, broken down by (i) month, (ii) requests granted, (iii) requests not granted; (qq) how many requests has the Tribunal received for an expedited hearing due to financial hardship in 2015, broken down by (i) month, (ii) section, (iii) requests granted, (iv) requests not granted; (rr) when will performance standards for the Tribunal be put in place; (ss) how many casefiles have been reviewed by the special unit created within the department to review backlogged social security appeals; (tt) how many settlements have been offered; (uu) how many settlements have been accepted; (vv) for 2014 and 2015, what is the average amount of time for the Department to reach a decision on an application for Canada Pension Plan Disability benefits, broken down by month; and (ww) for 2014 and 2015, what is the average amount of time for the Department to reach a decision on a reconsideration of an application for Canada Pension Plan Disability benefits, broken down by month?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1267--
Mr. Frank Valeriote:
With regard to materials prepared for past or current ministers or their staff from January 28, 2015, to present: for every briefing document or docket prepared, what is the (i) date, (ii) title or subject matter, (iii) department’s internal tracking number?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1268--
Mr. Frank Valeriote:
With regard to materials prepared for Deputy Heads or their staff from January 30, 2015, to the present: for every briefing document or docket prepared, what is (i) the date, (ii) the title or the subject matter of the document, (iii) the department's internal tracking number?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1269--
Mr. Frank Valeriote:
With regard to contracts under $10 000 granted by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario since January 28, 2015: what are the (a) vendors' names; (b) contracts' reference numbers; (c) dates of the contracts; (d) descriptions of the services provided; (e) delivery dates; (f) original contracts' values; and (g) final contracts' values, if different from the original contracts' values?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1270--
Mr. Frank Valeriote:
With regard to government procurement: what are the details of all contracts for the provision of research or speechwriting services to Ministers since December 4, 2014, (a) providing for each such contract (i) the start and end dates, (ii) contracting parties, (iii) file number, (iv) nature or description of the work; and (b) providing, in the case of a contract for speechwriting, the (i) date, (ii) location, (iii) audience or event at which the speech was, or was intended to be, delivered?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1271--
Mr. François Choquette:
With regard to government spending in the constituency of Drummond, in the past four fiscal years, what was government spending, broken down by (i) year, (ii) program?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1272--
Ms. Rathika Sitsabaiesan:
With regard to the government’s commitment to address child, early and forced marriages, and sexual violence: (a) what programming approaches is the government supporting; (b) what percentage of funding will be or has been directed towards (i) reproductive health care, (ii) family planning; (c) how much funding has the government committed to provide in order to address sexual violence; (d) which organizations and other partners will the government take on when establishing this programming; and (e) will any of the partners identified in (d) be former co-sponsors of the 2014 Human Rights Council resolution on violence against women, if not, why not?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1274--
Ms. Rathika Sitsabaiesan:
With regard to government funding for the constituency of Scarborough—Rouge River for each fiscal year since 2007-2008 inclusively: (a) what are the details of all grants, contributions and loans to any organization, body or group, broken down by (i) the name of the recipient, (ii) the municipality in which the recipient is located, (iii) the date on which funding was received, (iv) the amount received, (v) the department or agency providing the funding, (vi) the program under which the grant, contribution or loan was made, (vii) the nature or purpose; and (b) for each grant, contribution and loan identified in (a), was a press release issued to announce it and, if so, what is the (i) date, (ii) headline of the press release?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1275--
Ms. Christine Moore:
With regard to government funding for the constituency of Abitibi—Témiscamingue for each fiscal year since 2007-2008 inclusively: (a) what are the details of all grants, contributions and loans to any organization, body or group, broken down by (i) the name of the recipient, (ii) the municipality in which the recipient is located, (iii) the date on which funding was received, (iv) the amount received, (v) the department or agency providing the funding, (vi) the program under which the grant, contribution or loan was made, (vii) the nature or purpose; and (b) for each grant, contribution and loan identified in (a), was a press release issued to announce it and, if so, what is the (i) date, (ii) headline of the press release?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1277--
Hon. Geoff Regan:
With regard to materials prepared for past or current ministers or their staff from April 1, 2009, to March 31, 2011: for every briefing document or docket prepared, what is the (i) date, (ii) title or subject matter, (iii) department’s internal tracking number?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1278--
Hon. Geoff Regan:
With regard to materials prepared for past or current ministers or their staff from April 1, 2007, to March 31, 2009: for every briefing document or docket prepared, what is the (i) date, (ii) title or subject matter, (iii) department’s internal tracking number?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1280--
Hon. Carolyn Bennett:
With regard to contracts under $10 000 granted by Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada since February 2, 2015: what are the (a) vendors' names; (b) contracts' reference numbers; (c) dates of the contracts; (d) descriptions of the services provided; (e) delivery dates; (f) original contracts' values; and (g) final contracts' values, if different from the original contracts' values?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1281--
Hon. Carolyn Bennett:
With regard to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Aboriginal Affairs: what are the file numbers, dates, and titles of all briefing notes, dockets, dossiers, reports, or other documents of any kind which were used to compile or inform the statistics concerning missing and murdered indignous women which were referred to, referenced, or cited by the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs during his meeting with First Nation leaders in Calgary, Alberta, on or about Friday, March 20, 2015?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1282--
Hon. Carolyn Bennett:
With regard to materials prepared for past or current parliamentary secretaries or their staff from January 28, 2015, to present: for every briefing document or docket prepared, what is the (i) date, (ii) title or subject matter, (iii) department’s internal tracking number?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1285--
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia:
With regard to materials prepared for past or current assistant deputy ministers or their staff from January 30, 2015, to the present: for every briefing document or docket prepared, what is (i) the date, (ii) the title or the subject matter, (iii) the department's internal tracking number?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1287--
Mr. Rodger Cuzner:
With regard to materials prepared for past or current ministers or their staff from April 1, 2009, to March 31, 2011: for every briefing document or docket prepared, what is the (i) date, (ii) title or subject matter, (iii) department’s internal tracking number?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1289--
Hon. Geoff Regan:
With regard to contracts under $10 000 granted by Industry Canada since January 28, 2015: what are the (a) vendors' names; (b) contracts' reference numbers; (c) dates of the contracts; (d) descriptions of the services provided; (e) delivery dates; (f) original contracts' values; and (g) final contracts' values, if different from the original contracts' values?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1293--
Mr. Don Davies:
With regard to the federal executive vehicle fleet, broken down by year since 2012: (a) what was the total number of vehicles in the fleet; (b) what was the (i) total cost of procuring vehicles for the fleet, (ii) total cost of the fleet as a whole; (c) what was the total cost of salaries for drivers, including ministerial exempt staff and federal public servants whose primary responsibility consists of driving vehicles in the fleet; (d) what are the models, years and manufacturers of each vehicle in the fleet; and (e) what are the names and positions of each authorized user of a vehicle in the fleet?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1295--
Mr. Mathieu Ravignat:
With regard to federal financial investments since 2011, how much was provided by (a) Canada Economic Development and, in particular, by (i) the Building Canada Fund, (ii) the gas tax fund, (iii) the Small Communities Fund; (b) Employment and Social Development; (c) Canadian Heritage; and (d) Industry Canada?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1299--
Mr. Ryan Cleary:
With regard to government funding for the constituency of St John's South—Mount Pearl for each fiscal year since 2007-2008 inclusively: (a) what are the details of all grants, contributions and loans to any organization, body or group, broken down by (i) the name of the recipient, (ii) the municipality in which the recipient is located, (iii) the date on which funding was received, (iv) the amount received, (v) the department or agency providing the funding, (vi) the program under which the grant, contribution or loan was made, (vii) the nature or purpose; and (b) for each grant, contribution and loan identified in (a), was a press release issued to announce it and, if so, what is the (i) date, (ii) headline of the press release?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1301--
Hon. Ralph Goodale:
With regard to federal support for provincial-territorial-municipal infrastructure, for each of fiscal year 2014-2015 and the current fiscal year to date: for each of the Community Improvement Fund, the New Building Canada Fund’s (NBCF) National Infrastructure Component, the NBCF’s Provincial Territorial Infrastructure Component, the P3 Canada Fund, the Building Canada Fund (BCF) Major Infrastructure Component, and the BCF Communities Component, (a) how much has been spent; (b) how many projects were under construction in each province and territory; (c) how many projects received funding in each province and territory; and (d) how much of each province and territory’s allocation remained unspent?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1302--
Hon. Ralph Goodale:
With regard to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Agroforestry Development Centre in Indian Head, Saskatchewan: (a) since 2012, what steps have been taken by the government to dispose of the facility; (b) what is the current status of the facility; (c) is there any on-going relationship between the government and Help International or Rodney Sidloski; (d) what is the status of negotiations for transfer of the facility; (e) are there any negotiations underway with any First Nations for the transfer of the facility, including with Carry-the-Kettle First Nation, (f) will any research be undertaken at the facility this year; (g) will any trees from the facility be distributed this year; and (h) and are the seedlings growing in its fields being maintained, and if so, by whom?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1305--
Ms. Élaine Michaud:
With regard to government funding in the riding of Portneuf–Jacques-Cartier since 2011-2012 inclusively, what are the details of all grants, contributions, and loans to any organization, body, or group, broken down by (i) name of the recipient, (ii) municipality of the recipient, (iii) date on which the funding was received, (iv) amount received, (v) department or agency providing the funding, (vi) program under which the grant, contribution, or loan was made, (vii) nature or purpose?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1307--
Ms. Nycole Turmel:
With regard to government grants and contributions in the federal riding of Hull-Aylmer from fiscal year 2011-2012 to the current fiscal year: (a) what are the details of all grants, contributions and loans to any eligible organization, body or group, broken down by (i) name of the recipient, (ii) date on which the funding was received (iii) amount received (iv) federal department or agency providing the funding (v) program under which the funding was provided (vi) detailed rationale for the funding; and (b) for each grant, contribution and loan identified in (a), was a press release issued to announce it and, if so, what is the (i) date, (ii) headline, (iii) file number of the press release?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1309--
Ms. Rosane Doré Lefebvre:
With regard to Government of Canada expenditures in the riding of Alfred-Pellan: (a) what were the expenditures over the last ten years with respect to (i) the environment, (ii) transit, (iii) public safety, (iii) seniors, (iii) youth, (iv) citizenship and immigration, (v) status of women, (vi) health, (vii) culture, (viii) public works, (ix) social development, (x) housing, (xi) national defence, (xii) assistance for workers such as employment insurance, (xiii) pensions; and (b) which businesses in the riding of Alfred–Pellan were awarded procurement contracts from the federal government, (ii) what was the value of these contracts, (iii) what was the length of these contracts, (iv) which department or agency issued these contracts?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1310--
Ms. Rosane Doré Lefebvre:
With respect to government grants and contributions allocated within the riding of Alfred-Pellan from fiscal year 2011-2012 to the present: what is the total amount allocated, broken down by (i) amount, (ii) individual recipient?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1313--
Mr. Rick Norlock:
With regard to government funding in the riding of Northumberland—Quinte West, for each fiscal year since 2007-2008 inclusively: (a) what are the details of all grants, contributions, and loans to any organization, body, or group, broken down by (i) name of the recipient, (ii) municipality of the recipient, (iii) date on which the funding was received, (iv) amount received, (v) department or agency providing the funding, (vi) program under which the grant, contribution, or loan was made, (vii) nature or purpose; and (b) for each grant, contribution and loan identified in (a), was a press release issued to announce it and, if so, what is the (i) date, (ii) headline of the press release?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1314--
Ms. Nycole Turmel:
With regard to the employees of the government and all federal public agencies: (a) in the National Capital Region, (i) what was the total number of jobs from fiscal year 2011–2012 to the current fiscal year, broken down by year, (ii) what was the number of temporary jobs from fiscal year 2011–2012 to the current fiscal year, broken down by year, (iii) what was the number of jobs filled by employment agencies from fiscal year 2011–2012 to the current fiscal year, broken down by year; and (b) at the national level, (i) what was the total number of jobs from fiscal year 2011–2012 to the current fiscal year, broken down by year, (ii) what was the number of temporary jobs from fiscal year 2011–2012 to the current fiscal year, broken down by year, (iii) what was the number of jobs filled by employment agencies from fiscal year 2011–2012 to the current fiscal year, broken down by year?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1316--
Hon. Stéphane Dion:
With regard to contracts under $10 000 granted by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans since February 5, 2015: what are the (a) vendors' names; (b) contracts' reference numbers; (c) dates of the contracts; (d) descriptions of the services provided; (e) delivery dates; (f) original contracts' values; and (g) final contracts' values, if different from the original contracts' values?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1320--
Mr. Rodger Cuzner:
With regard to materials prepared for past or current parliamentary secretaries or their staff from April 1, 2009, to March 31, 2011: for every briefing document or docket prepared, what is the (i) date, (ii) title or subject matter, (iii) department’s internal tracking number?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1321--
Ms. Niki Ashton:
With regard to government funding for the constituency of Churchill for each fiscal year since 2007-2008 inclusively: (a) what are the details of all grants, contributions and loans to any organization, body or group, broken down by (i) the name of the recipient, (ii) the municipality in which the recipient is located, (iii) the date on which funding was received, (iv) the amount received, (v) the department or agency providing the funding, (vi) the program under which the grant, contribution or loan was made, (vii) the nature or purpose; and (b) for each grant, contribution and loan identified in (a), was a press release issued to announce it and, if so, what is the (i) date, (ii) headline of the press release?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1322--
Hon. John McKay:
With regard to the government's Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS): (a) by what percentage of 2005 levels are federal departments and agencies currently committed to reducing their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2020; (b) as of the most recent year on record, by what percentage have federal departments and agencies reduced their emissions compared to 2005 levels; (c) what were the total, government-wide greenhouse gas emissions for the federal government in the most recent year on record; (d) how much of the government's overall GHG emissions are actually subject to the targets set under the FSDS' Green Government Operations Initiative; (e) why has the federal government not released a FSDS progress report since 2013; and (f) when will the government release its next FSDS progress report?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1323--
Hon. John McKay:
With regard to lapsed spending by Environment Canada, Parks Canada and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency: (a) how much has each department and agency lapsed in each of fiscal years 2006-2007 to 2014-2015 inclusive, broken down on a program-by-program basis; and (b) what are the answers to (a), provided in digital .csv format?
Response
(Return tabled)
8555-412-1259 Veterans recruited by Vete ...8555-412-1260 Government funding8555-412-1262 International Experience Canada8555-412-1263 International Mobility Program8555-412-1264 Social Security Tribunal8555-412-1267 Materials for ministers8555-412-1268 Materials for Deputy Heads8555-412-1269 Government contracts8555-412-1270 Government procurement8555-412-1271 Government funding8555-412-1272 Forced marriages and sexua ... ...Show all topics
View Joe Comartin Profile
NDP (ON)

Question No. 1261--
Mr. Andrew Cash:
With regard to individuals detained under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act: (a) broken down by province and by gender, how many individuals were detained in the years (i) 2011, (ii) 2012, (iii) 2013, (iv) 2014; (b) what was the cost of detaining the individuals in (a) for the years (i) 2011, (ii) 2012, (iii) 2013, (iv) 2014; (c) broken down by province, how many of the individuals in (a) were under the age of six in the years (i) 2011, (ii) 2012, (iii) 2013, (iv) 2014; (d) broken down by province, how many of the individuals in (a) were between the ages of six and nine in the years (i) 2011, (ii) 2012, (iii) 2013, (iv) 2014; (e) broken down by province, how many of the individuals in (a) were between the ages of ten and 12 in the years (i) 2011, (ii) 2012, (iii) 2013, (iv) 2014; (f) broken down by province, how many of the individuals in (a) were between the ages of 13 and 17 in the years (i) 2011, (ii) 2012, (iii) 2013, (iv) 2014; (g) broken down by province, what is the average duration of stay in detention; (h) of those who were in detention between January 2011 and January 2015 how many individuals have remained in detention longer than (i) one year, (ii) two years, (iii) three years, (iv) four years, (v) five years; and (i) as of the most recent information, how many individuals are detained in cells with (i) one other person, (ii) two other persons, (iii) three other persons, (iv) four or more other persons?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1276--
Ms. Christine Moore:
With regard to contracts under $10,000 awarded by Health Canada since April 1, 2014: what is (i) the name of the supplier, (ii) the contract reference number, (iii) the contract date, (iv) the description of services provided, (v) the delivery date, (vi) the original contract amount, (vii) the final contract amount, if different from the original amount?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1283--
Hon. Carolyn Bennett:
With regard to contracts under $10 000 granted by Public Works and Government Services Canada since February 5, 2015: what are the (a) vendors' names; (b) contracts' reference numbers; (c) dates of the contracts; (d) descriptions of the services provided; (e) delivery dates; (f) original contracts' values; and (g) final contracts' values, if different from the original contracts' values?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1284--
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia:
With regard to contracts under $10 000 granted by Justice Canada since January 29, 2015: what are the (a) vendors' names; (b) contracts' reference numbers; (c) dates of the contracts; (d) descriptions of the services provided; (e) delivery dates; (f) original contracts' values; and (g) final contracts' values, if different from the original contracts' values?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1286--
Hon. Irwin Cotler:
With regard to designated countries of origin (DCO): (a) what is the process for removing a country from the DCO list; (b) does the government conduct regular reviews of countries on the DCO list to ensure that they continue to meet the criteria for designation; (c )if the government does not conduct regular reviews of countries on the DCO list to ensure that they continue to meet the criteria for designation, (i) how is a review triggered, (ii) who decides whether to conduct a review, (iii) based on what factors is the decision to conduct a review made; (d) since the inception of the DCO list, has the government conducted any reviews of countries on the list to ensure that they continue to meet the criteria for designation; (e) for each review in (d), (i) what was the country, (ii) when did the review begin, (iii) when did the review end, (iv) how was the review triggered, (v) who decided to conduct the review, (vi) who conducted the review, (vii) what documents were consulted, (viii) what groups or individuals were consulted, (ix) what ministers or ministers’ offices were involved in the review, (x) what was the nature of any ministerial involvement, (xi) what was the outcome, (xii) based on what factors was the outcome determined; (f) based on what factors does the government decide whether to remove a country from the DCO list; (g) in what ways does the government monitor the human rights situation in countries on the DCO list to ensure that the countries continue to meet the criteria for designation; (h) who does the monitoring in (g); (i) what weight is given to the situation of minority groups in countries on the DCO list when evaluating whether the countries continue to meet the criteria for designation; (j) what weight is given to the situation of political dissidents in countries on the DCO list when evaluating whether the countries continue to meet the criteria for designation; (k) what type or extent of change in the human rights situation in a country on the DCO list would trigger a review of whether the country continues to meet the criteria for designation; (l) what type or extent of change in the situation of one or more minority groups in a country on the DCO list would trigger a review of whether the country continues to meet the criteria for designation; (m) what type or extent of change in the situation of political dissidents in a country on the DCO list would trigger a review of whether the country continues to meet the criteria for designation; (n) what type or extent of change in the human rights situation in a country on the DCO list would lead to the removal of the country from the list; (o) what type or extent of change in the situation of one or more minority groups in a country on the DCO list would lead to the removal of the country from the list; (p) what type or extent of change in the situation of political dissidents in a country on the DCO list would lead to the removal of the country from the list; (q) in what ways does the government discourage refugee claims from countries on the DCO list; (r) since the inception of the list, how much money has the government spent outside Canada to discourage refugee claims from countries on the DCO list, broken down by year and country where the money was spent; (s) since the inception of the list, how much money has the government spent within Canada to discourage refugee claims from countries on the DCO list, broken down by year, province or territory where the money was spent, and DCO country in question; (t) since the inception of the list, how much money has the government spent on advertising outside Canada to discourage refugee claims from countries on the DCO list, broken down by year and country where the money was spent; (u) since the inception of the list, how much money has the government spent on advertising within Canada to discourage refugee claims from countries on the DCO list, broken down by year, province or territory where the money was spent, and DCO country in question; (v) what evaluations has the government conducted of the advertising in (t) and (u); (w) for each evaluation in (v), (i) when did it begin, (ii) when was it completed, (iii) who conducted it, (iv) what were its objectives, (v) what were its outcomes, (vi) how much did it cost; (x) for each year since the inception of the list, how many refugee claims have been made by claimants from countries on the DCO list, broken down by country of origin; (y) for each year since the inception of the list, broken down by country of origin, how many of the claims in (x) were (i) accepted, (ii) rejected, (iii) abandoned, (iv) withdrawn; (z) for each year since the inception of the list, broken down by country of origin, how many of the failed claimants in (y) sought a review of their claim in Federal Court;(aa)for each year since the inception of the list, broken down by country of origin, how many of the claimants in (z) were removed from Canada while their claim remained pending in Federal Court; (bb) for each year since the inception of the list, broken down by country of origin, how many of the claimants in (z) left Canada while their claim remained pending in Federal Court; (cc) for each year since the inception of the list, broken down by country of origin, how many refugee claimants from countries on the DCO list have been deported; (dd) has the government monitored the situation of any failed refugee claimants from countries on the DCO list after they returned to their countries of origin; (ee) broken down by DCO country, how many failed claimants have been the objects of the monitoring in (dd); (ff) broken down by DCO country, regarding the monitoring of each failed claimant in (ee), (i) when did it begin, (ii) when did it end, (iii) who did it, (iv) what was its objective, (v) what was its outcome; (gg) broken down by year and country of origin, how many refugee claims by claimants from countries on the DCO list were accepted by the Federal Court after having been denied by the Immigration and Refugee Board; (hh) broken down by year and country of origin, how many of the claims in (gg) were accepted by the Federal Court after the claimant had left Canada; (ii) broken down by country of origin, how many of the claimants in (hh) now reside in Canada; (jj) what evaluations has the government conducted of the DCO system; (kk) for each evaluation in (jj), (i) when did it begin, (ii) when was it completed, (iii) who conducted it, (iv) what were its objectives, (v) what were its outcomes, (vi) how much did it cost; (ll) since the inception of the DCO list, what groups and individuals has the government consulted about the impact of the DCO list; (mm) for each consultation in (ll), (i) when did it occur, (ii) how did it occur, (iii) what recommendations were made to the government, (iv) what recommendations were implemented by the government?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1290--
Mr. Don Davies:
With regard to hydrocarbon spills in Canada’s waters by commercial entities: (a) how many spills of oil, gas, petrochemical products or fossil fuels have been reported in Canada’s oceans, rivers, lakes or other waterways, broken down by year since 2006; and (b) for each reported spill in (a), identify (i) the product spilled, (ii) the volume of the spill, (iii) the location of the spill, (iv) the name of the commercial entity associated with the spill?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1291--
Mr. Don Davies:
With regard to government-supported, rental housing in Canada: (a) how many new units were built using federal funding from the Investment in Affordable Housing bilateral agreements, since 2006, broken down by (i) unit size, (ii) province, (iii) year; (b) how many new units were built using federal funding from the National Homelessness Initiative, since 2006, broken down by (i) province, (ii) year; (c) how many new units were built using federal funding under the auspices of any other program, since 2006, broken down by (i) unit size, (ii) year; (d) how many Proposal Development Funding loans were granted by the Canadian Housing and Mortgage Corporation, since 2006, broken down by (i) province, (iii) year; and (e) how many Seed Funding grants were granted by the Canadian Housing and Mortgage Corporation, broken down by (i) value under $10,000, (ii) value over $10,000?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1292--
Mr. Don Davies:
With regard to the Live-in Caregiver and Caregiver programs, broken down by year, from 2010 to 2014: (a) how many applications were received by Citizenship and Immigration Canada; (b) how many applications for Live-in Caregiver and Caregiver visas were approved; (c) how many Canadian residents with Live-in Caregiver or Caregiver visas applied for permanent residency; (d) how many permanent residency applications by Live-in Caregiver or Caregiver visa-holders were approved; (e) what are the top three source countries for live-in caregivers in Canada; and (f) how many residents with Live-in Caregiver visas applied to sponsor their spouses or children, broken down by (i) raw numbers, (ii) percentage of the total?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1294--
Mr. Nathan Cullen:
With respect to the Canada Border Services Agency’s decision to close the border crossing between Stewart, British Columbia and Hyder, Alaska for eight hours per day, effective April 1, 2015: (a) what is the cost of keeping the border crossing open 24 hours per day; (b) what is the expected savings from this decision; (c) how many entries and exits have occurred at this border entry since April 1, 2005; and (d) what consultations were undertaken by the Canada Border Services Agency with the District of Stewart in advance of this decision being taken?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1298--
Mr. Mathieu Ravignat:
With regard to the investments made in forestry companies in the riding of Pontiac since 2011, (a) how many projects received funding through federal programs such as Canada Economic Development; and (b) of the projects identified in (a), what is the total amount of these investments, broken down by company?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1300--
Hon. Ralph Goodale:
With regard to the following telephone services (i) Service Canada’s (SC) “1-800 O Canada”, (ii) SC’s “Canada Pension Plan (CPP)”, (iii) SC’s “Employer Contact Centre”, SC’s “Employment Insurance (EI)”, (iv) SC’s “Old Age Security (OAS)”, (v) SC’s Passports”, (vi) Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) “Individual income tax and trust enquiries”, (vii) CRA’s “Business enquiries”, (viii) CRA’s “Canada Child Tax Benefit enquiries”, (ix) CRA’s “Goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) credit enquiries” for the previous fiscal year and the current fiscal year to date: (a) what are the service standards and performance indicators; (b) how many calls met the service standards and performance indicators; (c) how many did not meet the service standards and performance indicators; (d) how many calls went through; (e) how many calls did not go through; (f) how does the government monitor for cases such as in (e); (g) what is the accuracy of the monitoring identified in (f); and (h) how long was the average caller on hold?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1303--
Ms. Élaine Michaud:
With regard to government funding, provided by the Department of the Environment, in the riding of Portneuf–Jacques-Cartier since 2011-2012 inclusively, what are the details of all grants, contributions, and loans to any organization, body, or group, broken down by (i) name of the recipient, (ii) municipality of the recipient, (iii) date on which the funding was received, (iv) amount received, (v) department or agency providing the funding, (vi) program under which the grant, contribution, or loan was made, (vii) nature or purpose?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1304--
Ms. Élaine Michaud:
With regard to government funding granted by the Department of Employment and Social Development, including the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, in the constituency of Portneuf–Jacques-Cartier since 2011-2012 inclusively, what are the details of all grants, contributions and loans to any organization, body or group, broken down by (i) the name of the recipient, (ii) the municipality of the recipient, (iii) the date on which the funding was received, (iv) the amount received, (v) the department or agency providing the funding, (vi) the program under which the grant, contribution, or loan was made, and (vii) the nature or purpose?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1306--
Ms. Élaine Michaud:
With regard to government funding granted by the Department of Infrastructure, including the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, in the constituency of Portneuf–Jacques-Cartier since 2011-2012 inclusively, what are the details of all grants, contributions and loans to any organization, body or group, broken down by (i) the name of the recipient, (ii) the municipality of the recipient, (iii) the date on which the funding was received, (iv) the amount received, (v) the department or agency providing the funding, (vi) the program under which the grant, contribution, or loan was made, and (vii) the nature or purpose?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1308--
Ms. Nycole Turmel:
With regard to Infrastructure Canada, from fiscal year 2011-2012 up to and including the current fiscal year, broken down by fiscal year, what was the total amount allocated, including direct investment from the Government of Canada, in (a) the City of Gatineau, broken down by (i) the name of the recipient, (ii) the amount allocated to the recipient, (iii) the program under which the amount was allocated; (b) the federal constituency of Hull–Aylmer (i) the name of the recipient, (ii) the amount allocated to the recipient, (iii) the program under which the amount was allocated; and (c) the administrative region of Outaouais (i) the name of the recipient, (ii) the amount allocated to the recipient, (iii) the program under which the amount was allocated?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1311--
Ms. Rosane Doré Lefebvre:
With regard to the advisory council created by the government in 2012 mandated to promote women on the boards of public and private corporations: (a) in total, how many individuals are on this advisory council, broken down by (i) gender, (ii) name, (iii) position; (b) when did the meetings take place; (c) what were the subjects discussed by this council; (d) what is the expected date for this council’s report; (e) what was discussed during this council’s meetings with respect to (i) pay equity, (ii) the representation of women on the boards of public and private corporations; and (f) can the government table the minutes of this advisory council’s meetings?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1312--
Ms. Rosane Doré Lefebvre:
With regard to the Canada Post service reductions announced in December 2013: (a) what are the planned locations for community mailboxes in Laval; (b) how many employees were assigned to Laval before the elimination of home delivery was announced; (c) how many Canada Post employees will be required following the mailbox transition; (d) what was the volume of mail sent in the last ten years (i) from Laval to another destination, (ii) to Laval; (e) how many complaints have been received concerning (i) the transition from home delivery to community mailboxes, (ii) the location of community mailboxes in Laval; (f) how many complaints resulted in (i) an opened file, ii) a change of location of these community mailboxes; (g) what steps are being taken to look after the needs of (i) persons with mobility impairments, (ii) seniors; (h) will current post offices still be active following the transition to community mailboxes; (i) what recourse will be available to residents affected by the location of mailboxes they consider to be dangerous or harmful; (j) what recourse was or continues to be available to residents affected by the installation of a community mailbox over the last 30 years, excluding the current transition; and (k) how many customer service employees at Canada Post, broken down by language of service, are assigned to complaints concerning the installation of community mailboxes from (i) across Canada, (ii) Quebec, (iii) Laval, (iv) the residents of Alfred-Pellan?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1317--
Hon. Stéphane Dion:
With regard to contracts under $10 000 granted by Canadian Heritage since January 30, 2015: what are the (a) vendors' names; (b) contracts' reference numbers; (c) dates of the contracts; (d) descriptions of the services provided; (e) delivery dates; (f) original contracts' values; and (g) final contracts' values, if different from the original contracts' values?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1318--
Hon. Stéphane Dion:
With regard to contracts under $10 000 granted by Natural Resources Canada since February 5, 2015: what are the (a) vendors' names; (b) contracts' reference numbers; (c) dates of the contracts; (d) descriptions of the services provided; (e) delivery dates; (f) original contracts' values; and (g) final contracts' values, if different from the original contracts' values?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1319--
Mr. Jack Harris:
With regard to the United Nations Chiefs of Defence Conference of March 26-27, 2015, at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, and the absence of Chief of Defence Staff of the Canadian Armed Forces, General Thomas Lawson, from the Conference: (a) what was the reason for General Lawson’s absence; (b) which members of the Canadian Armed Forces and the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development were present at the Conference; and (c) what measures were taken to communicate Canada’s priorities and concerns with regard to international peacekeeping to those present at the Conference?
Response
(Return tabled)
8555-412-1261 Detainees8555-412-1276 Government contracts8555-412-1283 Government contracts8555-412-1284 Government contracts8555-412-1286 Designated countries of origin8555-412-1290 Fuel spills8555-412-1291 Affordable housing8555-412-1292 Live-in caregivers8555-412-1294 Canada Border Service Agency8555-412-1298 Government investments8555-412-1300 Telephone services ...Show all topics
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
View Peter Julian Profile
2015-06-16 14:21 [p.15154]
Mr. Speaker, it is not only the middle class that has suffered.
After 10 years under the Conservatives, there has been a decline in transparency and democracy. A report by over 200 organizations across the country confirms what we have been condemning for some time: the Conservatives’ muzzling of scientists, their intimidation of groups who disagree with their agenda and the elimination of the mandatory census that has hampered our ability to develop evidence-based policies.
Why is the Prime Minister so opposed to democracy, transparency and facts?
View Steven Blaney Profile
CPC (QC)
View Steven Blaney Profile
2015-06-16 14:22 [p.15154]
Mr. Speaker, the fact is that the organization to which the opposition member refers supports a terrorist group. It is not a free and democratic Canada they want. We will stand up as a government to defend rights and freedoms.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
View Peter Julian Profile
2015-06-16 14:22 [p.15154]
Mr. Speaker, here is one example of transparency. The Prime Minister should actually answer questions in question period. He has the worst attendance in modern history. How the Conservatives muzzle and silence anyone who disagrees with them is shocking—
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
View Peter Julian Profile
2015-06-16 14:23 [p.15154]
They are very sensitive, Mr. Speaker, as they go down in the polls.
Conservatives muzzle and silence anyone who disagrees with them. The shocking new report from a coalition of more than 200 organizations documents abuses of parliamentary rules, intimidation of public servants, and attacks on organizations that criticize the government.
Conservatives promised openness and accountability. What happened? Why has the Prime Minister broken all his promises to be open, transparent and democratic? Why is he—
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
View Steven Blaney Profile
CPC (QC)
View Steven Blaney Profile
2015-06-16 14:23 [p.15154]
Mr. Speaker, the group in question is defending IRFAN-Canada, a listed terrorist organization in Canada. We will not take lessons from this organization nor from the opposition. Why are the NDP and the Liberals siding with terrorist organizations and organizations that are supporting them?
We will stand up for democracy and for the right of Canadians. We will stand up for them and protect Canadians.
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, a report released today entitled “Dismantling Democracy: Stifling debate and dissent in Canada” outlines the shameful record of the Conservatives over the past 10 years. It is more evidence that Ottawa is indeed broken.
Today our leader introduced a comprehensive plan that focuses on a more transparent government, giving Canadians a voice in Ottawa, open and fair elections, evidence-based policy, and better service for all Canadians.
How is it that the current Conservative government that came to power promising more transparency has become the least transparent government in Canada's history?
View Dan Albas Profile
CPC (BC)
View Dan Albas Profile
2015-06-16 14:41 [p.15157]
Mr. Speaker, it is a bit rich to hear the Liberal leader and Liberals talk about fair and open government while he continues to fight against greater transparency and accountability for first nations and unions in Canada. It was our Conservative government, I will remind the member, that cleaned up the mess left by the Liberals in their sponsorship scandal.
The Liberals have opposed every effort we have made to bring accountability and transparency to Ottawa. It is hypocrisy on that side of the House.
View Matthew Kellway Profile
NDP (ON)
View Matthew Kellway Profile
2015-06-11 10:16 [p.14927]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition today in support of my climate change accountability act. It is a petition I presented in this House many times before, reflecting the concerns of Canadians with the failure of the government to address climate change, reflecting the concerns of Canadians with actions of the government, such as the cancellation of the ecoENERGY retrofit program, and with the ongoing subsidization of the oil and gas industry.
The petitioners are calling upon the Government of Canada to support my climate change accountability act, a law that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions and hold the government accountable.
View Bruce Stanton Profile
CPC (ON)

Question No. 1153--
Ms. Françoise Boivin:
With regard to Edgar Schmidt v. The Attorney General of Canada, as of March 31, 2015: (a) how many hours have public servants devoted to this legal challenge; (b) how much money has the government spent on the challenge; and (c) what resources has the government employed with respect to the challenge and how much money has been allocated to each of these resources?
Response
Hon. Peter MacKay (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, to the extent that the information that has been requested is protected by solicitor-client privilege or litigation privilege, the federal crown asserts that privilege and, in the following case, has waived that privilege only to the extent of revealing the total legal costs.
The total legal cost is approximately $175,021.30.

Question No. 1158--
Ms. Elizabeth May:
With regard to the government’s actions to combat climate change: (a) what is the progress on the development and implementation of regulations on the oil and gas industry according to the sector-by-sector regulatory approach to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that is listed on the government’s www.climatechange.gc.ca website; (b) when does the government expect to introduce regulations on the oil and gas industry; (c) what factors are being considered by the government to develop regulations on the oil and gas industry; (d) what stakeholders are being consulted by the government to develop regulations on the oil and gas industry; (e) how many meetings with oil and gas industry stakeholders has the government held since it first began developing the regulations; (f) including the cost of consultation meetings, staff, and any other expenses not mentioned above, what has been the total cumulative cost to date of developing the oil and gas regulation policy; (g) will the government meet the Conference of Parties' (COP) 21 process deadlines outlined in decisions 1/CP.19 and 1/CP.20 to submit its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) “well in advance” of the twenty-first session of the COP; and (h) why was the government not ready to submit its INDCs by the first quarter of 2015, the decisions suggested deadline?
Response
Hon. Leona Aglukkaq (Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), through its sector-by-sector regulatory approach, the Government of Canada is working to ensure that it achieves results for Canadians and the environment. This approach will result in real emission reductions, while maintaining Canada’s economic competitiveness and supporting job creation opportunities for Canadians.
With respect to the oil and gas sector, as announced on May 15, 2015, Canada intends to bring forward regulations aligned with recently proposed actions in the U.S. to reduce the potent greenhouse gas methane from the oil and gas sector. Actions in this area lead to significant reductions in emissions while ensuring Canadian companies remain competitive.
With regard to (b), as the regulations are still being developed, it would be premature to comment further.
With regard to (c), the Government of Canada is focused on an approach for GHG regulations that will reduce emissions while continuing to create jobs and that will encourage the growth of the Canadian economy. Because of the integration of the Canadian and American energy sectors, action in this area would be aligned with the proposed actions in the United States to ensure Canadian companies remain competitive within the North American marketplace.
With regard to (d), Environment Canada has engaged other governments and met with representatives of oil and gas industry associations, and oil and gas and related industry companies. Environment Canada will continue to engage with stakeholders and work co-operatively with provinces and territories to reduce GHG emissions from the oil and gas sector.
With regard to (e), since October 2011, representatives from Environment Canada have met with or had teleconference calls with industry stakeholders approximately 80 times to discuss aspects of the development of GHG regulations for the oil and gas sector.
With regard to (f), Environment Canada has no database that records project-specific staff time costs. Based on readily available information, Environment Canada’s estimated total cumulative costs to date of developing the oil and gas regulation policy is approximately $638,000. This does not include salary costs for the full-time EC staff.
With regard to (g), the answer is yes, the Government of Canada announced its intended nationally determined contributions, INDCs, on May 15, 2015.
With regard to (h), Canada submitted its contribution well in advance of COP 21 as agreed to in the negotiations. The first quarter of 2015 was not a deadline.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2015-05-28 10:12 [p.14261]
Mr. Speaker, I rise to present a petition today from residents of Saanich—Gulf Islands who are concerned about accountability within the overseas development assistance budget and the activities of what used to be CIDA but what is now part of DFATD.
The Official Development Assistance Accountability Act was passed in 2008 and requires that development assistance contribute to poverty reduction and take into account the perspectives of the poor to be consistent with international human rights.
The petitioners are calling for these criteria to become the fundamental principles of our ODA budgets and operations and that the minister responsible for development assistance and the Minister of Foreign Affairs once again be of parallel status.
View Hedy Fry Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Hedy Fry Profile
2015-05-26 16:03 [p.14190]
Mr. Speaker, I rise to support this motion because it gets to the heart of how good public policy is made and how the public is informed of new information that can help them to live healthier lives and to have safer lives.
Muzzling scientists does not allow that information to get out to the public. However, I can understand why the government wishes to do muzzle them. I can understand why the government does not want scientists to speak out, does not want an informed public, does not want an informed Parliament. It is because it allows Conservatives to freely pursue ideological public policy-making as opposed to evidence-based public policy-making.
It also allows the government to not be held accountable for what it does, because no knows if evidence is coming forward and no one knows what the scientists have said, so no one can actually hold Conservatives accountable for what they may be doing right or wrong. They cannot be judged in terms of the public policy. Only after the fact, when the harm has been done, can one draw attention to bad public policy, but the evidence in other countries is that new public policy is emerging all the time based on good science and good evidence.
However, it is not only about the muzzling of the scientists. When scientists cannot talk to the media or even peer groups about their findings, that information is not disseminated broadly. As a result, other scientists who are working on different projects and are looking for that piece of science to help them to fit into the jigsaw puzzle that may click for them cannot move forward in what they are doing.
Science is shared globally today. Canada has moved forward and become a really important country because of our sharing of information through centres of excellence. They were this country's initiative, and now other countries in the world are following the centres of excellence, where people share their information openly, so it is about the muzzling, but it is also about the lack of the ability for science to move forward in this country.
When 800 scientists from over 32 countries wrote a letter to the Prime Minister asking him to stop muzzling science and to use science and evidence-based information to make good public policy, it was significant, because scientists by and large are not people who seek the limelight. They like to talk to their peer groups. They like to get information out to the public in a very non-self-centred manner. For them to stand up and speak out loudly speaks worlds about how much damage is being done by the government's position on science.
When we have the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada saying that half of federal scientists report being aware of actual cases in which the health and safety of Canadians or environmental sustainability has been compromised because of political interference with their scientific work and when we have nearly half being aware of actual cases in which their department or agency suppressed information, leading to incomplete, inaccurate, or misleading impressions by the public, by industry, by the media, and/or by government officials, we are talking about a very dangerous precedent.
The government seems to distrust or mistrust scientists. It seems to want to ignore evidence. We know that many of the public policies that come out of the government come out of ideological decision-making. Conservatives decide what they want to do, and then they shut everybody down so that no one can say what they are going to do is wrong or does not have any kind of evidence base.
In regard to health and public safety, the government is treading on very dangerous ground, and I will give some examples in a few minutes.
Let us talk about basic data and the shutting down of data—not just scientists, but basic data in this country.
Under other governments prior to the current one, Statistics Canada was world renowned for having the best data. People followed Statistics Canada data to get the information they needed. After the government shut down the long form census, the chief statistician, Munir Sheikh, said that the quality of the data now being collected by the national household survey is destined to deteriorate to the point that it becomes “a piece of garbage”.
Response rates went from 94% in the 2006 long form mandatory census to 68% in the 2011 national household survey. Now we are not able to get data about how people are faring, about the quality of their lives, about jobs, about anything. Businesses and everyone needed data, but the government shut it down.
Let me give some examples about health and safety in which ideology is being used instead of evidence. That concerns me a great deal. I am going to talk about Insite Vancouver.
Insite Vancouver was a project by the University of British Columbia. It was a well-regulated, well-thought-out project. It had 24 peer reviews internationally, and those 24 peer-reviewed studies supported all of the evidence. They looked at the process and how it was done and said this was an excellent piece of work.
The fatal overdose rate in the Downtown Eastside decreased by 35%. I am talking about evidence now, not just the data gathered. Overdose deaths decreased by 35 % after the opening of Insite. Clients began to connect with addiction treatment. These were high-risk people who did not want to talk to health care providers or did not want to seek help. Suddenly a 25-bed unit had to be built above it to take in the people who wanted to detox. It showed that the likelihood of stopping injection drug use was very high.
The facility opened, and it was associated with a 30% increase in detoxification. It also reduced public disorder by 50%. Then the Supreme Court had to step in. The provincial government, scientists, and all of the health care facilities in British Columbia had to take the federal government to court, because when it shut down Insite, lives were put at risk. People who were going to go into detox were no longer able to do so. There was also an increase in the rate of hepatitis C and AIDS in epidemic proportions in that particular part of Vancouver, the Downtown Eastside.
The Supreme Court stepped in and ruled that, in fact, the right to life, liberty, and security of the person would be infringed if Insite was shut down.
What was even more disconcerting was when the hearings of HESA, the all-party parliamentary committee on health, came about and the minister was asked why he would do this, he said there was no evidence or scientific proof, even though I just laid out all of the data and scientific peer reviews that said Insite was worthwhile.
What also happened was that when the Chief Public Health Officer was asked what he thought of that particular project and the 24 peer reviews, he actually said that they were sound. He said that the methodology was sound, that the results were sound, that it was a scientifically sound result, but he could not answer questions because he was muzzled.
I heard one of my colleagues in the Conservative Party say earlier on that there was a rally and only a fistful of people turned up. I think that people are afraid of losing their jobs. They are scared of the government. This is a terrible situation we are in.
We also heard some misinformation coming from the secretary of state. He said that Canada had spent no money on research and development. In 1993, Canada was seventh in the G7 in terms of public research and development. By the year 2000, because of money spent by the Liberal government purely on public research and development, we were number one in the G7. Today we are not just back to being number seven in the G7; we are 16th in OECD countries. This is how fast this country has fallen into disrepute.
I could on about advisers and scientists within Health Canada advising cutting salt levels in half by mandating that. They have talked about how they have looked at levels of sugar and levels of trans fats, but the government refuses to listen to their own scientists, their own scientific advisers. We hear from inspectors and scientists who look at the amount of E. coli in beef currently and say that the public is in danger, yet the government will not listen. Instead it denigrates the science and information and personally attacks people, and scientists are afraid.
I am glad to see that they are standing up. I support unmuzzling scientists. I support the idea that Canada should get back to spending the right amount of money on research and development and stop ideological decision-making, because people's health and safety are being compromised by the government and its attitude.
View Scott Brison Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Scott Brison Profile
2015-05-14 10:27 [p.13913]
Mr. Speaker, it is good to see the Minister of Finance in the House of Commons answering questions. In the past, this was something that ministers of finance did on a regular basis, because they were accountable to Parliament. They felt that participating in question period and responding to questions was absolutely part of their job. We hope that this participation in the House of Commons and accountability to Parliament becomes more of a regular occurrence for the current minister, who has only participated in seven question periods in 2015.
My question to the minister is on the budget implementation act, which contains Nixonian changes to ATIP legislation to try to cover up the information that Canadians deserve about the long gun registry. It would also change the Copyright Act and actually bring in new parliamentary security. However, with all these things that have nothing to do with the economy, why is the minister not focused on providing Canadians with a plan for jobs and growth at a time when the Canadian economy has flatlined?
View Élaine Michaud Profile
NDP (QC)
Mr. Speaker, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
The latest budget implementation bill is, not surprisingly, another omnibus bill. This one is 150 pages long and amends dozens of acts, most of which have nothing to do with the budget. Unfortunately, that should come as no surprise. The Conservatives have gotten into this habit and have tried to make it the norm for Parliament. They have gotten us used to disdain—even outright disgust—for the basic principles of parliamentary democracy. Frankly, this is one of the biggest disappointments of my first mandate.
Since being elected as a majority government, the Conservatives have done everything in their power to sidestep their transparency and accountability obligations. They are the government, but they seem to have forgotten that the MPs, including Conservative backbenchers and opposition MPs, are responsible for overseeing and studying bills. Unfortunately, the Conservatives have repeatedly used omnibus bills as a tactic to avoid the oversight that is meant to be carried out by all of the other parliamentarians in the House as well as all Canadians.
With this clearly undemocratic process, the Conservatives are trying to rush through hundreds of legislative amendments that have nothing to do with the budget, without any study. In the case of the most recent budget, which was tabled on April 21, 2015, on one of the rare work days of our current Minister of Finance, the Conservatives saw an opportunity to launch their election campaign. For the Conservatives, it was not an opportunity to help people who really need help and middle-class Canadian families. It was an opportunity to give presents to their wealthy friends instead of helping those most in need.
Despite the warnings of the Parliamentary Budget Officer, many opposition MPs and various experts, the Conservatives are moving forward with their ill-advised income splitting regime, which will obviously help just 15% of the richest Canadian families and not those who really need help. The income splitting together with the increase in the TFSA contribution limit, which will rise to $10,000, will mean a decrease of billions of dollars in the public coffers in future years.
That money could be used to implement social programs to help families; people living in poverty; single mothers, who the Conservatives claim to want to help; more traditional couples; and so on. However, the government prefers to work on getting re-elected. According to this government, it is not the problem of today's elected officials. Rather, it is the problem of the Prime Minister's granddaughter and future generations. Quite frankly, that is one of the worst things I have heard in the House or anywhere else.
In any case, that is what the current Minister of Finance and this Conservative government think. They are washing their hands of it and will leave it up to our children, grandchildren and future generations to fix all the problems they are creating now. Frankly, that is an irresponsible attitude that I do not understand, especially from people who boast about being extraordinarily strong fiscal managers. Time and time again we have seen that this is not the case.
The Conservatives would have us believe that this is their reputation, but Canadians can see right through it. They know very well that this is not the case. In fact, more and more recent studies name provincial New Democrat governments as the best managers of public funds. In 2015 we will have the opportunity to show Canadians that we will also be the best federal managers of public funds.
To get back to the budget that was just tabled, even the measures that appear to be universal will have very few positive effects on Canadian families. The universal child care benefit is the best example of that. The Conservatives announced a $60 increase with much fanfare. Canadian families will now receive $160 to help them with child care costs. At first glance that may seem like a lot, but with the Conservatives, the devil is in the details and you have to dig a little deeper.
The first thing the Conservatives refuse to tell Canadian families is that this universal child care benefit will be considered taxable income. It is therefore another tax that the Conservative government is imposing on Canadians, regardless of their income.
That tax will be imposed on families regardless of their income. The advice that financial experts are giving Canadian families is to not spend that money on child care but to keep at least half of it to cover any unpleasant surprises they may get when they file their income tax return next year. How does the government think it is really going to help families when they have to put some of the money it gives them aside to cover the cost of this new tax? Frankly, that is ridiculous.
The Conservatives do not seem to understand that $160 per month does not even come close to covering child care costs across the country. I would like to quote a few statistics from 2012 that I obtained from the Childcare Resource and Research Unit. Unfortunately, things have not improved since then. In Nova Scotia, parents who manage to find a day care space for their child—because not all of them can—pay an average of $825 a month. In British Columbia, parents pay an average of $1,047 a month, and in Ontario they pay $1,152 a month. In Toronto, more specifically, child care costs can be up to $1,676 a month. I do not know who the Conservatives think they are going to help with $160 a month. That amount is absolutely ridiculous when we look at the actual financial constraints faced by families who simply want to earn a living and make sure that their children are receiving the best care possible. I really do not know where the government's head is at, offering families such a ridiculously low amount, especially given that they have to save part of it to pay their taxes the following year.
Ms. Ève Péclet: In the sand.
Ms. Élaine Michaud: Mr. Speaker, indeed, as my colleague from La Pointe-de-l'Île pointed out, the Conservatives probably have their heads in the sand.
I would like to talk about another deplorable effect that the budget will have. Actually, in this case it is more of a failure to have an effect. Increasing the universal child care benefit will not create new day care spaces. For parents who have already been lucky enough to secure a spot for their child in a day care centre or in private child care, that is not a problem. They may get a minimal amount of assistance. However, the Conservatives' plan does not address the difficult situation of all the other parents who have nowhere to take their child when they go to work. The NDP has proposed a plan that the Conservatives continue to ignore, for some unknown reason. Contrary to the Conservative propaganda, the NDP does not want to eliminate this benefit. We obviously want parents to have access to what little money they can get. In addition, the NDP has a plan to create $15-a-day child care spaces. Thus, we are offering real choice to parents. In addition to receiving the universal child care benefit, they will have access to affordable day care.
This program already exists in Quebec. The NDP program could bolster the existing program with federal moneys. The results of this program have been extraordinary. I will quote Ann Decter, the spokesperson for the YWCA:
Between 1996, when low-cost child care was introduced in Quebec, and 2008, a total of 69,700 additional mothers joined the workforce;...the number of single mothers on social assistance was reduced by more than half...; relative poverty rates for single parent families headed by women declined from 36% to 22%...; and the GDP rose $5.1 billion...
These are real, tangible effects that will benefit everyone in Canada, not just families. That is the kind of measure we want to see in the budget. We are nonetheless pleased that the Conservatives have finally seen the light after many years and have decided to establish a tax credit for small and medium-sized businesses. That is an NDP idea. They have finally seen the light. We also support the tax credit for home renovation, another of our wishes, along with the measures to assist veterans included in the budget implementation bill. I do not understand why they are there; it is a subject that deserves a proper debate in the House, but we do support these measures, no matter what.
However, because the Conservatives have decided to play political games and include these measures in an omnibus bill, we cannot support it. We must oppose it. It is clearly undemocratic and it does not help the vast majority of Canadian families.
View Matthew Kellway Profile
NDP (ON)
View Matthew Kellway Profile
2015-05-12 10:09 [p.13758]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition today with respect to the climate change accountability act. The signatories to this petition are expressing their concerns with respect to the inaction of our federal government to address climate change in light of the impact of climate change on the day-to-day lives of Canadians. They are expressing their concerns about the billions of dollars in public money given to the oil and gas industry in the form of subsidies.
The petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to support the NDP's climate change accountability act, a law that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions and hold the government accountable.
View Andrew Scheer Profile
CPC (SK)

Question No. 1121--
Mr. Matthew Kellway:
Mr. Kellway (Beaches—East York) — With regard to the Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) ethical procurement of apparel: (a) what are the details of information collected by PWGSC from suppliers and industry associations on their current practices concerning ethical manufacturers and sources of supply in the Request for Information on Ethical Sourcing of Apparel (E60PR-140001/A), published October 30, 2014, broken down by (i) company name, (ii) company’s answers provided for each questions; (b) what information has the Federal Task Force (FTF), which was established by PWGSC, to undertake research on the ethical sourcing of apparel in other jurisdictions as well as the practices of apparel suppliers in Canada with offshore production collected since the FTF was established; (c) which individuals make up the FTF, including (i) their qualifications, (ii) the decision-making process behind each of their appointments; (d) what companies or stakeholders has the FTF consulted; (e) what information has the FTF shared with the public on current sourcing policies; (f) according to the FTF, what constitutes an ethical supplier and what criteria or standards are used to evaluate whether a supplier can be considered ethical; (g) what options has the FTF put forward to buy clothing from ethical suppliers and enhance PWGSC’s procurement practices with regard to ethical sourcing of apparel; (h) what companies does the Department plan to consult regarding the options outlined in (g); (i) how does PWGSC plan to measure the effectiveness of their procurement practices with regard to ethical sourcing of apparel going forward; and (j) what is the estimated cost of establishing the FTF?
Response
Hon. Diane Finley (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a) (i) (ii), in processing parliamentary returns, the government applies the principles set out in the Access to Information Act. As a result, this information cannot be released on the grounds that it constitutes third party information.
With regard to (b), the mandate of the task force, which is an ad hoc working group, is to consult with suppliers and industry associations about their practices, and analyze ethical procurement approaches of other government organizations as well as prevailing international standards. The working group has collected information in the following areas: metrics on PWGSC apparel contracts; international conventions, principles, standards and guidelines related to corporate social responsibility and ethical sourcing; related Government of Canada initiatives; practices of other jurisdictions within Canada and abroad; and supplier practices and experiences in relation to corporate social responsibility and ethical sourcing. It is important to note that currently, almost 90% of garments purchased by PWGSC are for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Department of National Defence, and 98% of those garments are made in Canada.
With regard to (c) (i) (ii), the working group is composed of PWGSC procurement and procurement policy officials as well as a consultant contracted to coordinate and help conduct research. The group is led by the senior director, consumer and commercial products directorate and the senior director from the acquisition program’s policy directorate. Members of the group have experience and expertise in the areas of apparel procurement and policy development.
With regard to (d), the working group collected information from various apparel companies, industry representatives, non-governmental organizations and other levels of government.
With regard to (e), effective April 1, 2014, an origin of work provision clause, country only, is included in all solicitations for apparel. In August 2014, PWGSC began posting the manufacturer’s country of origin on its Buy and Sell website.On November 29, 2013, PWGSC published on Buyandsell.gc.ca the national goods and services procurement strategy for clothing and textiles: https://buyandsell.gc.ca/procurement-data/tender-notice/PW-13-00541965. All PWGSC procurement policies are available online through the PWGSC Internet site: http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/app-acq/dpa-ppd-eng.html.
With regard to (f) to (i), the findings of the working group are currently being reviewed. PWGSC will consult with industry stakeholders on any proposed procurement practice revisions.
With regard to (j), the working group is funded from within existing reference levels and largely using resources simultaneously working on other related files. As a result, the precise costs associated only with the group’s activities cannot be estimated.

Question No. 1125--
Mr. Sean Casey:
With regard to the application of the Access to Information Act and the Open Government portal: (a) what are the privacy, confidentiality, and security standards which must be met before government data can be released in an open format; (b) what are the basic quality checks which must be performed before government data can be released in an open format; (c) what are the release criteria and global standards for open data which must be met before government data can be released in an open format; (d) what are the dates, titles, and file numbers of all directives, memoranda, regulations, instructions, or any other documents in which the conditions in (a) through (c) are set forth or promulgated; (e) what are the titles or descriptions of data sets which have been either refused for release under the Access to Information Act, or rejected for proactive disclosure through the Open Government portal, at any time since January 1, 2011, for failure to satisfy any of the conditions described in (a) through (c), specifying in each instance the reason for the refusal or rejection, as the case may be; and (f) which of the conditions described in (a) through (c) have been used, at any time since January 1, 2011, by way of justifying the refusal, in response to a request under the Access to Information Act, to release data sets or other information in electronic form, specifying in each instance (i) the body to which the request was made, (ii) the reason for the refusal, (iii) the file number of the request, (iv) the subject matter of the request?
Response
Hon. Tony Clement (President of the Treasury Board, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, data sets released in open format must adhere to the Privacy Act, the Treasury Board policy on privacy protection, the Treasury Board directive on privacy practices, the Treasury Board standard on security organization and administration, and the Treasury Board directive on open government.
The links to the above-noted documents are found as follows: Privacy Act: http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/p-21/; policy on privacy protection: www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pol/doc-eng.aspx?id=12510; directive on privacy practices: www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pol/doc-eng.aspx?id=18309; standard on security organization and administration: www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pol/doc-eng.aspx?id=12333; and directive on open government: www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pol/doc-eng.aspx?id=28108.
When federal departments proactively release data sets, a review for compliance with the Access to Information Act is not required unless a formal access to information request is made. However, before posting, data sets must be verified against a defined set of legal, security and policy requirements to ensure they do not contain sensitive information, such as identifiable personal information.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to outline our position on Bill C-51 at the third reading stage of this debate.
We see areas of the bill which are important for the public safety of Canadians and we see areas of the bill where the government has gone much too far with respect to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and a fair balance with civil liberties and freedom of expression versus public safety and national security.
If Parliament were allowed to function the way it should, the bill could have come out of committee a much better one. There were four amendments at committee, three of which were along the lines of the Liberal Party's proposals, and I will get to those in a moment. However, there other amendments were direly needed, and we will propose those in our forthcoming our platform for the perceived election this fall.
Legislation similar to Bill C-51 is required and is in evidence in virtually every country with which Canada is allied or has shared values. Countering the growing threat of foreign and domestic terrorism is a reality that must be confronted by the modern state. In saying that, it must be confronted in a joint way by countries around the world as well.
However, in combatting that threat, it is important for any government to ensure that the steps taken to combat it do not propose a different threat to its citizens. That is partly what the debate was about with the NDP remarks as well, and I recognize that.
The Liberal Party supports provisions of Bill C-51 and has made that position clear from the outset.
We have also maintained there are provisions of Bill C-51 that are excessive and would, in our opinion, represent an intrusion by the state security agencies into the lives of Canadians, which are far too severe.
First, let me make note of those who have participated in a very public campaign and who are strongly opposed to Bill C-51. I think people who pay attention to their emails, and I have tried to respond to them all, have to recognize that we get thousands of letters, emails and phone calls from people across the country who are opposed to Bill C-51. Some of them, of course, do not know the amendments that have been made. I have asked them that question when I talked with them recently and they still think the bill is just as it originally was, and that is fine. However, I want to thank them for participation.
Even though we may be somewhat on opposite sides of the arguments, I am one who firmly believes that a demonstration of activism of opposing or supporting legislation is a good thing and it is important in a healthy democracy.
Here is one of the most important amendments made to the bill, because there are too many of those who are opposed to Bill C-51. Obviously some people, for political purposes, are saying that we should throw the bill out, to heck with security. Some continue to say that there have been no changes made to the bill. Yes, there have been.
One of the most egregious sections of the bill, under the interpretation section, states, “For greater certainty, it does not include advocacy, protest, dissent and artistic expression”. A lot of letters of concern were related to that.
What do we consider a lawful protest? I was also concerned, as a former activist in the farm movement. Everything we do in a demonstration, whether it is shutting down a highway with tractors or blocking a road in a union protest or demonstration, is not exactly lawful. We were concerned about that, as were other parties, and we moved an amendment to take the word “lawful” out, and that passed. That gives some certainty, or at least some satisfaction, to those who were opposed to that clause in the bill.
A lot of people have been writing us letters are saying that this is a new secret police. No, it is not. There is an infringement on liberties that go overboard, but this is not a new secret police. Therefore, an amendment was moved by the government, due to the concerns it and others had expressed, to clarify that. It reads, “For greater certainty, nothing in subsection (1) confers on the Service any law enforcement power”.
There was a narrowing of the no-fly list and on how information could be shared. Those were the two other amendments.
For those who been demonstrating and strongly opposing Bill C-51, congratulations, they did make some gains. Some of the amendments they asked for are in fact in the bill. To not recognize that would be wrong. I support all those amendments. I only wish the government would have gone further in some of the other areas that we would liked to have seen addressed in the bill, but it failed to do that.
When we look at the witnesses who came before committee, I would have liked there to have been a longer hearing process with greater time for each witness, and the government failed to allow that. We did hear from 46 to 48 witnesses. However, if people, both on the government side and the New Democrats, were really listening to the witnesses, none of those witnesses said that they wanted the bill as it was, and very few of them said that the bill should be thrown out. They wanted it balanced. Witnesses and Canadians believe, and I certainly believe, that it is possible for this chamber, the House of Commons, to find the balance, to do what needs to be done on the security side and balance it to ensure that the civil liberties and freedom of expression, and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms are enhanced and protected as well. That did not happen.
The New Democrats, just in their remarks, can be as pure as they like, but the fact is that even those who were opposed to the bill, also suggested that we needed to take measures on the national security side.
What do we do as parliamentarians when security agencies and police forces, both within Canada and around the world, say that to us that there needs to be additional measures taken to enhance the national security of Canadians? Do we ignore them, as the New Democrats do? I do not think we can. We have a responsibility in that regard. The government failed in its responsibility to make amendments to be absolutely sure that those powers did not go too far.
The government has absolutely failed in the past in not utilizing the already existing laws in section 110. It failed to use those authorities when, as the minister said, there were somewhere around 80 individuals who the government knew had violated Canadian law. What were they doing, and what are they still doing out there on the street, when the government already has some authority within the law to detain and arrest them?
My point is that witnesses asked for better balance. That did not happen, and that responsibility rests with no one else. I meant what I said earlier. The government is too far on the security side. For the Prime Minister to take the attitude, which he has taken with the promotion of this bill from the beginning, and to foster the fear that there is a terrorist under every rock is absolutely the wrong approach.
Fear will divide Canadians and pit them against each other. Yes, Canadians need to be watchful and ensure that there are no problems that could lead to terrorism or to individuals getting involved in terrorist activities. However, to use the fear factor is not the proper way to go.
The NDP, on the other hand, has taken the approach of saying “be very afraid of civil liberties”. People should not worry about national security. They should be afraid of their civil liberties. Both those parties have gone to extremes at both ends. Ours is, at least, a balanced position and would work if, under the Conservative regime, Parliament were allowed to exercise its rights, allow amendments, real debate and changes to legislation, as this place should work.
We do have an advantage, because there is an election, likely on October 19. Those measures that we were unsuccessful in getting through committee will be in our election platform. Canadians will have the opportunity at that time to decide if they want sunset clauses that would make the bill cease to exist in certain areas after three years, a mandatory statutory review after three years that would look at the good, the bad, and the ugly in the legislation, and national oversight of all of our security agencies, as all our Five Eyes partners do, by parliamentarians. I will come to that in a moment. We will have those measures in our election platform.
Early in the debate about Bill C-51, my colleague, the member for Mount Royal and I joined four former prime ministers, including three Liberal prime ministers, and others to issue an open letter underscoring two fundamental responsibilities of government to ensure the safety of Canadians. These are:
—protecting Canada from terrorist attacks; and ensuring that initiatives in this regard are consistent with the rule of law and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and, particularly, are subject to comprehensive oversight, review and accountability mechanisms.
However, in the course of committee hearings, when we proposed amendments to those three essential areas, they were either ruled out of order or rejected.
In that letter, the former prime ministers said:
The four of us most certainly know the enormity of the responsibility of keeping Canada safe, something always front of mind for a prime minister.
They went on to talk about oversight more than anything else. That letter was signed by prime ministers, former attorney generals, ministers of justice, retired Supreme Court justices, and so on.
They know the need for accountability. They know that proper oversight actually protects the government and ministers from agencies that may go astray. I am disappointed that the government failed to recognize that fact.
When we listened to the responses of the minister and the parliamentary secretary at committee when we brought those issues up, it was as if they do not trust their own members. Every other country around the world thinks that parliamentarians are capable of doing those responsible tasks. Why is the Conservative government so opposed, especially when its own current Minister of Justice, you, Mr. Speaker, and its own Minister of State for Finance, along with myself and some others, sat on the committee and recommended just that, a parliamentary oversight committee of all security agencies, based on a study that we did in the U.K., the United States and Australia? Why has the Minister of Justice changed his mind? He was one of the key promoters on that committee, and now for some reason he no longer believes in what he calls partisan oversight. It does not have to be partisan. It is really just in the last eight years under the current Prime Minister that this place has become a place of almost hate, fear and partisanship to no end, rather than looking at what good we can do for Canadians as a whole, and how to build legislation for Canadians as a whole. That is one of the sad realities of this particular Parliament.
The issue of oversight of our security intelligence agencies has long had the support of the Liberal Party. In the wake of 9/11 and the first anti-terrorism legislation, it was a Liberal government, with the support of the members of the government and the NDP, that brought forward Bill C-81, legislation to create a committee of parliamentarians who would provide that oversight.
What did the current committee hear from witnesses with respect to that at the hearings which just concluded? Hugh Segal, a former Conservative senator and chair of the special anti-terrorism committee of the Senate, said:
Accountability on the part of our security services to the whole of Parliament is not needless red tape or excessive bureaucracy. In fact, it is the democratic countervail to the kind of red tape and bureaucracy which might unwittingly lose sight of the security mission appropriate to a parliamentary democracy, where laws and constitutional protections such as the presumption of innocence and due process must protect all citizens without regard to ethnicity or national origin.
Ron Atkey, a former Conservative MP and first chair of SIRC said:
I have been both a parliamentarian and a watchdog, a professional watchdog. The answer to whether Parliament or a specialized agency should have the power to review our security agencies is easy for me. Canadians should have both. Under our system of government, Parliament is the ultimate watchdog and is directly accountable to the people. The party having the most number of seats at each general election usually is called on to form the government, but Parliament itself remains the watchdog.
As I said earlier, the Minister of Justice and the government as a whole rejected that particular proposal.
Let me conclude by saying that there is no question there is a lot of debate around this bill in the community, which is a good thing. As I said, I welcome that debate with those who have different views and are willing to express them. There have been some minor amendments proposed, I think some that would take the word “lawful” out, et cetera, which would go some distance to satisfying that expressed concern over an infringement on civil liberties.
I still believe there are some problems relative to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and at some point in time the court may in fact rule on that. Regarding those measures that the government failed to accept and put in the bill, such as oversight, sunset clauses and mandatory statutory review at the end of three years, the Liberal Party will put those measures in our election platform and Canadians can decide at that point in time.
We need a balance between national security and civil liberties. Parliament should be able to find and exercise that balance. The government failed to allow that to happen.
View Parm Gill Profile
CPC (ON)
View Parm Gill Profile
2015-05-01 12:01 [p.13333]
Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Minister of International Trade, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the treaty entitled “United Nations Convention on Transparency in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration”, done at Port Louis on March 17.
An explanatory memorandum is included in this treaty.
View Élaine Michaud Profile
NDP (QC)
Mr. Chair, I would like to thank the minister for his comments. Tonight's take note debate is important. It is the first step in finding out what Canada can do to help Ukraine.
Unfortunately, we have already seen that Parliament and Canadians were misled with regard to the mission in Iraq and Syria. I would like to know what measures the minister is going to take to ensure that parliamentarians and Canadians are properly informed of our soldiers' activities during the new deployment of troops that was announced recently. I would also like to know how we are going to be informed of what progress is being made and whether the objectives of the deployment are being met.
I simply want to know how the minister plans to keep us abreast of any developments.
View Jason Kenney Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jason Kenney Profile
2015-04-29 21:06 [p.13238]
Mr. Chair, with regard to Canada's mission against the genocidal terrorist organization known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, we are likely being more transparent than any other country. We are posting reports of all Canadian Forces air strikes in that area on my department's website. Every two weeks, Canadian Forces officers provide public updates or briefings on the situation there.
I am quite prepared to provide similar information regarding the training mission for our Ukranian partners. It will be a very open mission. It is not a secret. We provide similar training programs in countries all over the world. The Canadian Forces specialize in these programs. This is not a closed mission. It is transparent. I will be pleased to share information about the progress of our training mission in Ukraine with the House and the general public.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
View Peter Julian Profile
2015-04-21 14:15 [p.12831]
Mr. Speaker, yesterday in question period the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister did again what Canadians find reprehensible. He ran away from serious questions.
Just a few months ago Canadians were outraged by this member's refusal to answer clear questions from the Leader of the Opposition about Canada's mission in Iraq. He eventually gave a theatrical and tearful apology. However, yesterday, in response to clear questions from New Democrats about Senate residency requirements for a senator who campaigned for him in the last election, he went back to his cynical old tricks. So much for his full apology and the tears he shed in the House.
The lack of respect Conservatives have shown the House is at a new low. Canadians deserve better, and they can trust that an NDP government will answer questions in question period, will give Parliament the respect it deserves, and will fix the damage the Conservatives have done. Respect for Parliament is only an election away, and that is good news for Canadians.
View Charlie Angus Profile
NDP (ON)
View Charlie Angus Profile
2015-04-01 14:39 [p.12651]
Mr. Speaker, what day is this? Oh yes, it is April Fool's Day. Most of us face it once a year, but for others it is every time they get up to explain the inexplicable, in their defence of the corruption in the Senate.
Now let us move from this culture of corruption to the culture of secrecy. Yesterday, the President of the Treasury Board tried to blow up the Information Commissioner's report by claiming he has released a record number of documents. The commissioner does not buy it. Here is what she said about him: “The volume of pages disclosed...is not a sign of a transparent government”, particularly this government.
When will the minister stop with the phony statistics and explain the culture of secrecy that has developed under his watch?
View Tony Clement Profile
CPC (ON)
View Tony Clement Profile
2015-04-01 14:39 [p.12651]
Mr. Speaker, I am dealing with facts; he is dealing with rhetoric. The facts of the matter are that there has been an increase of disposal of access to information requests in the affirmative by 36% over the term of our government. That is our record, six million pages. He may dismiss that, but we are the most open and transparent government in the history of this country, and we are darn proud of it.
View Ève Péclet Profile
NDP (QC)
View Ève Péclet Profile
2015-04-01 14:40 [p.12651]
Mr. Speaker, in fact, what the minister refuses to say is that responses to information requests are of poor quality and very late.
The Information Commissioner was clear: “Although the Act was intended to shine a light on government decisions, it has become a shield against transparency and has encouraged a culture of delay.”
In 2006, the Conservatives promised Canadians more transparency and a reform of the act.
Is the minister not ashamed of breaking his own promises and maintaining a culture of delay?
View Tony Clement Profile
CPC (ON)
View Tony Clement Profile
2015-04-01 14:40 [p.12651]
Mr. Speaker, our record is clear.
In 2013-14, our government processed nearly 59,000 access to information requests, which represents a 9% increase over the previous year and a 36% increase over the previous two years.
Our record is clear. We are proud of having a government that has made processing access to information requests a priority.
View Joe Comartin Profile
NDP (ON)
View Joe Comartin Profile
2015-04-01 18:58 [p.12682]
The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at second reading stage of Bill C-613 under private members' business.
View Joe Comartin Profile
NDP (ON)
View Joe Comartin Profile
2015-04-01 19:06 [p.12683]
I declare the motion defeated.
Order, I wish to inform the House that because of the delay, there will be no private members' business hour today.
Accordingly, the orders are postponed to later sittings.
View Andrew Scheer Profile
CPC (SK)
View Andrew Scheer Profile
2015-03-31 10:04 [p.12571]
I have the honour to lay upon the table, pursuant to subsection 39(1) of the Access to Information Act, a special report to Parliament entitled “Striking the Right Balance for Transparency”.
This report is permanently referred to the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics.
View Matthew Kellway Profile
NDP (ON)
View Matthew Kellway Profile
2015-03-31 12:04 [p.12583]
Mr. Speaker, on this day, the deadline for Canada to submit its climate action plan in advance of the Conference of the Parties in December of this year, I am pleased to present a petition with respect to the climate change accountability act.
The signatories to this petition are concerned about the inaction of the federal government to address climate change and the impacts of climate change on their day-to-day lives.
They call on the federal government to support the NDP's climate change accountability act, a law that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions and hold the government accountable.
View Ève Péclet Profile
NDP (QC)
View Ève Péclet Profile
2015-03-31 14:37 [p.12611]
Mr. Speaker, the Information Commissioner's report confirms what the NDP has been saying for years: the access to information system is outdated and ineffective.
The Conservatives campaigned on transparency and accountability. However, once in power, they voted against the NDP's Bill C-567, which would have given the commissioner the tools needed to expose government corruption.
Will the Conservatives finally listen to the commissioner and the NDP and strengthen the Access to Information Act?
View Tony Clement Profile
CPC (ON)
View Tony Clement Profile
2015-03-31 14:37 [p.12611]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the Information Commissioner for her report. We are currently studying her recommendations.
I can also say that the Federal Accountability Act of 2006 broadened the scope of the Access to Information Act so that it applies to more than 200 institutions. In 2013-14, our government processed almost 59,000 access to information requests, which represents a 9% increase.
View Charlie Angus Profile
NDP (ON)
View Charlie Angus Profile
2015-03-31 14:38 [p.12611]
Mr. Speaker, the Information Commissioner's report is a damning indictment of the government's culture of secrecy. No wonder the President of the Treasury Board is starving her of her basic funds.
The Information Commissioner has warned that under the government the Access to Information Act has become “a shield against transparency” and encourages “a culture delay”. She has outlined a pattern of interference, obstruction and secrecy.
Remember back in 2006 when the Prime Minister said that he was going to open the doors, that he was going to bring accountability and that he was going to end the culture of secrecy? What happened to the Prime Minister that he fell so far off the rails to get such a dismal grade on accountability?
View Tony Clement Profile
CPC (ON)
View Tony Clement Profile
2015-03-31 14:38 [p.12612]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to provide the hon. member with actual information. Since 2006, we have released more completed access to information requests than the Trudeau, Turner, Mulroney, Campbell, Chrétien and Martin governments combined.
View Murray Rankin Profile
NDP (BC)
View Murray Rankin Profile
2015-03-31 17:35 [p.12635]
Mr. Speaker, it is hard to say a lot in six minutes on an area as important as access to information, but let me do my best.
Today, was a historic day. After two hard years of deliberation, our Information Commissioner, Madame Legault, brought forth a whole variety of recommendations to improve the Access to Information Act. I say that in the context of the debate on Bill C-613 that is before us, because this bill would not go nearly as far as even a tiny way toward what the commissioner said is necessary to fix our broken open government system.
A bill that would have gone much further than that was introduced by my hon. friend, the member for Winnipeg North, under the title Bill C-567, which I had—
Mr. Pat Martin: Centre
Mr. Murray Rankin: Mr. Speaker, I should say the member for Winnipeg Centre. I stand corrected.
I had the pleasure of speaking on that bill, and I found that it was a fascinating bill because it would have addressed the changes required to the access to information regime in a very specific way. What it did was call for the changes that the government had suggested when it was seeking a mandate from the Canadian public. The wisdom of the bill was to limit itself to just those changes that the government said were required to fix the act. Only one of six was implemented, as I recall.
This bill before us today would do a couple of things. First, it would require the minutes of the meetings of the Board of Internal Economy to be opened by default. That is an interesting concept. Interestingly, though, retired clerk Mr. Rob Walsh says that it is entirely unnecessary. There was no need for a bill to address that because it can be done, as in all committees, by making its procedures open if it wishes to do so. The second amendment was to change the purpose clause of the Access to Information Act, something that I note the commissioner herself thought was unwise.
I commend to the House Professor Sean Holman, a professor at Mount Royal University in Calgary, who wrote an article about the so-called transparency act before us. Its title is revealing. It is “Are the Liberals Fooling Everyone Again?” That says quite a bit about this issue. It has, as he says, some laudable ideas, but when pressed about the concept that somehow government information would be “open by default”, which the hon. member for Papineau referred to in his remarks, Professor Holman said that the member for Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor said that people would still have to file access to information requests to get government records. That does not suggest that big a change.
The notion that the government would be required to provide detailed rather than brief explanations on why it was opposed to the disclosure of information would, in my judgment, would simply be a speed bump along the way to withholding information. Frankly, it would just require people to push a computer button and have the regular bumf as to why this particular exception does not work.
The real guts of what is required is to fix the exemptions in the statute, which are outrageously out of date in the context of our 21st century economy. This came in before we even had computers. The exemption is where the action is. This bill is entirely silent on it. I commend to the House the excellent recommendations found in the long-awaited report by the Information Commissioner today, which will show us the road map to really provide open government in Canada. It is not this bill, I am afraid to say. Though laudable in some respects, it does not even go a tiny distance to doing what is required, which is the root-and-branch work, the hard work that she has suggested needs to be done in her report.
With that said, I do not wish to suggest that there are not some things that are important. The thing that this bill would do, which I commend, is what my hon. friend from Winnipeg tried to do with his bill, giving a power that every commissioner across the country has, which is to order disclosure and make binding orders on the government. That is something that has been sought for decades.
The Access to Information Act, after all, is three decades old. It has never had the ability to enable the commissioner to do anything more than simply recommend disclosure. It is full of sound and fury, signifying nothing, whereas in the provinces an order by the information commissioner is binding on the government, subject only to judicial review. That is the law. One shall disclose what the commissioner orders.
Finally, the bill, and I give credit where credit is due, would do that. It is a long-standing policy of the NDP and something which most critics have said is needed, and I commend the member for Papineau for doing that. It would also require a legislative review, which of course we think is eclipsed by the excellent work on the commissioner's part today.
In conclusion, I do not know whether amending the Parliament of Canada Act with respect to the Board of Internal Economy's disclosure provisions is necessary. The retired clerk says no, but why not? It is okay. The order-making power is good, absolutely. As to changing the purpose clause, the commissioner does not think that is a good idea and neither do I in particular, but the idea of ordering disclosure is a long-overdue improvement to the legislation.
Would that the bill went far enough to give Canada the open government that the government of the day here has promised us and which it has failed to deliver on ever since the so-called and much lamented Accountability Act was first brought forward.
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to be here to talk about this very important private member's bill. It is one we have looked at before. We are now into our second hour, and the mover of the bill will be up shortly to address some of the questions being raised here.
I want to start by directly answering one of the comments made about the fact that it does not go far enough. It almost seemed that the Conservatives wanted to have a little more proactivity involved in the sense of what we are doing here with the Liberal Party of Canada, when in fact, we were the ones who brought forward far greater measures on proactive disclosure than this House has ever seen. Yet some members, including the one who just spoke, seemed to think that we were in a position of dragging people in, kicking and screaming, on proactive disclosure, which Canadians demanded and now have. We are all doing it now.
The person behind that is the person bringing forward this bill, so the theme continues. We think this is a substantial step in making this House far more accountable and far more transparent than it ever has been.
I want to go back to what happened earlier today, when the report came out from Suzanne Legault, the Information Commissioner. She brought forward the concept, which we recognize, of “open by default”. Canadians watching this, from coast to coast to coast, might assume that it is happening already, but it is not. We have run into problems on committee.
Many journalists I have talked to talk about the redaction of information that is out there that is really unnecessary and how the power of this particular office needs to be restored. Right now, I would even go so far as to say that it has become an empty shell, by way of title only.
Let me bring forward some of the messages the Information Commissioner brought forward today. She talked about recommendations. She had 85 recommendations, which is substantial. She said that the recommendations would address ways to modernize the act “[t]o deal with current realities and the expectations of Canadians”, some not being fulfilled when it comes to transparency, plus we are now in the digital age, which I will talk about in just a moment; “[t]o simplify the administration and the application of the Act by focussing only on the interests that legitimately require protection”, and I mentioned redaction earlier; “[t]o increase timeliness in the processing of access requests”, which is long overdue; “[t]o permanently resolve recurring issues; [t]o align the Act with the most progressive and strongest laws in Canada and abroad; and [t]o maximize disclosure in line with a culture of openness 'by default'”.
In light of the developments, the commissioner recommended modernizing the Access to Information Act. These are some of the major highlights:
extending coverage to all branches of government;
improving procedures for making access requests;
setting tighter timelines;
maximizing disclosure;
strengthening oversight;
disclosing more information proactively;
adding consequences for non-compliance; and,
ensuring periodic review of the Act.
That brings us to where we are now on Bill C-613, brought forward by the hon. member for Papineau. There are several measures we talked about, messages we want to put out there to Canadians about what this bill will provide. Transparency is another goal in what we call open parliament. Obviously, this is a step in the right direction. It is a private member's bill. Beyond this, more legislation will follow so that we can follow through on an open parliament concept.
With its enormous power and responsibility, it is simply not acceptable in modern society for the Board of Internal Economy to meet in secret. Canadians deserve greater accountability. We have been saying this now for the past little while, and we continue to say this. The Board of Internal Economy provides a very specific function and a vital function in the heart of our democracy. It is certainly a vital operation within this House of Commons. We have seen it all over the news lately, for reasons I will not get into.
As secretive as it may be, in some cases we can understand why, when it comes to personal information, but for all the issues it deals with, there is no really grand or true reason it should be secret.
The transparency act would raise the bar on openness and transparency in government by significantly strengthening Canada's access to information laws, as was pointed out earlier. Again, that is open by default.
Canadians deserve a strong access to information regime that ensures true transparency and accountability.
The Access to Information Act has not changed in any significant way since it was passed and now it is time to act. We are proud to say that the member for Papineau, the leader of our party, has decided to act on this with his private member's bill, Bill C-613.
Let me go back to the Board of Internal Economy and the reform that is being proposed with the bill. The transparency act makes the House of Commons Board of Internal Economy open by default. Today MPs are making decisions about the regulations that govern their own spending with insufficient public scrutiny. Public scrutiny is the concept we have been using here for quite some time. It is bandied about within the media, not only the media here on the Hill but media throughout the country. That is why it is very important to make sure that this secretive committee is far more open than it used to be, to have this in the public realm. Discussions there are secret by law. It is time to change that law. By bringing openness to the board's conversations we could better serve Canadians. They have demanded more accountability and they would get more accountability upon passage of the bill.
Earlier speakers talked about it not going far enough, but we think this is a very substantial step.
We just spoke about access to information. The report came out today so let me expand on that and relate it to Bill C-613.
Achieving more open government makes sense for Canada. Governments around the world that embrace this concept have demonstrated new ways to reduce costs, spark entrepreneurial initiatives and help the public and private sectors to better serve citizens. A country's access to information system is the heart of open government.
We were in committee and spoke to the commissioner at that time. She talked about examples around the world and how it was a low-cost mechanism, very open, very accountable and very efficient in many ways. The problem she cited was that the office here was not given the resources to bring it up to an international standard that was acceptable, not just acceptable in the eyes of other countries and what they are doing administratively, but acceptable to all Canadians across the country who expect open government from us. Several of the measures we have taken earlier show that and this particular bill is that substantial step.
The information commissioner said:
Real improvement in the access system will only come from modernizing the act—a long-overdue step that is crucial to advancing the cause of transparency and accountability in Canada.
Therefore, it is not just from those of us who are supporting the bill, but it is also from the commissioner herself who is mirroring these comments about why it is so necessary to make these changes so that we can be open by default.
We are open to amendments, suggestions and improvements on the bill. We look forward to that in time.
The other thing the information commissioner spoke about, and she spoke very well, is the efficiency of the system and the cost. She told us that she did not want the cost of the system to rise. That is why we use the $5 fee in the bill, to talk about that and how it is refundable after someone does not get the information in a specific period of time.
When we were in committee, the Conservatives talked about having another tier of fees for private individuals. In the case of businesses where they wanted certain information from the government and it was not coming quickly enough, they said that maybe we should charge them more. If I had a small business, I do not think I would have liked to hear that. I do not know if they thought that through fully, but if we think about it, if we are going to start escalating two-tier costs and also in talking about privacy they want more redaction within this, who is it really serving in this particular case? Now we have legislation, an act that is servicing the government by putting on the false show of saying that we are open by default when in fact that is not the case in practice. There are two things here, the costs are down but if something is going to be redacted, in this particular legislation it should be justified to the hilt. It should be justified to the point that we are open by default. Therefore, it is not up to the government to just say that something is politically insensitive, so it will redact that part of the information and therefore Canadians cannot see it.
This may not come as a big surprise to many people in the House, but I do support this piece of legislation. I urge all members in the House to support it because this is a very significant step toward open government, open by default, as certainly was put forward by the information commissioner today.
View John Carmichael Profile
CPC (ON)
View John Carmichael Profile
2015-03-31 17:48 [p.12638]
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to voice my concerns about Bill C-613, an act to amend the Parliament of Canada Act and the Access to Information Act, on transparency. I would like to focus specifically on the part of the bill that deals with the Access to Information Act.
As members know, this part of the bill proposes to change some of the wording in the “Purpose” section of the act to state that:
(a) government information must be made openly available to the public and accessible in machine readable formats;
(b) necessary exceptions to the right of access should be rare, limited and specific; and
(c) decisions on the disclosure of government information should be reviewed and enforced independently of government.
These amendments may seem to be only a few words on the page but their effect on the access to information system, and the infrastructure and resources set up to administer it, are far-reaching and costly.
Further, we object to the bill because these changes that it proposes are not necessary in light of existing practices under the act. In fact, they would overburden the administration of Canada's access to information regime. Indeed, they would lead to increased cost pressures and delays in responding to information requesters.
The bill would also give the Information Commissioner order-making powers under the act. Once again, this is unnecessary. The Information Commissioner already has the strong mandate needed to investigate and resolve disputes concerning access to information requests.
However, while we do not support this bill, let there be no mistake about this government's commitment to transparency, accountability and getting government information into the hands of Canadians. Indeed, Canadians are accessing more government information now than ever before, and the government is more open and transparent today than it has ever been. We understand that government information and data can enhance the transparency and accountability of our public institutions, and spur economic activity. We are committed to strengthening and modernizing our access to information and privacy program. We have already accomplished a great deal in this respect.
We have created online tools. These include a dedicated website that allows users to make and pay for access to information and privacy requests online. This website provides better service to information requesters by making it simpler and more convenient to request government records. It started as a pilot project in April 2012, but its use has expanded to include 21 government organizations.
We have also posted summaries of completed access to information and privacy requests online on our open data portal. More than 100 government organizations are currently doing this. Canadians can search out completed requests on our open data portal at data.gc.ca. In fact, in 2012-13, we provided Canadians with more government information than ever before, nearly six million pages. We have also posted three million pages of archived government records online.
We are committed to modernizing our access to information and privacy program, and we are taking concrete action in compliance with the acts as they are.
Another important part of the government's commitment to transparency is the work we have been doing on open data, including the creation of the open data portal, which I just mentioned. As members know, open data is a growing worldwide phenomenon. Open data is about making raw data available in machine-readable formats to citizens, governments, and not-for-profit and private sector organizations. It has the potential to spur innovation, and drive social, political and economic change here in Canada and around the world.
In fact, the U.S. global management consulting firm McKinsey and Company estimates open data could unlock trillions of dollars in the global economy. However, the full potential of open data will be realized only when it is available to as many people as possible.
That is why we are making it as easy as possible for people to find, access and reuse government data. One way we have done is through our open data portal at data.gc.ca. This portal is a one-stop shop for nearly 200,000 data sets from over 40 government departments that can be downloaded free of charge by anyone in Canada or around the world. A key feature of this portal is the open government licence, which gives users unrestricted use of government data and information.
We are also supporting open data by putting as much government data as possible into the hands of users. Let me give an example.
We are working on an initiative called open data Canada, a collaborative project with provincial and territorial governments, to create a seamless pan-Canadian open data community. When this is in place, Canadians from across the country will be able to search for and have unrestricted access to data from multiple governments. We are working hard to leverage open data as a public asset.
By making more and better data available, we will have a pan-Canadian platform for better decision making in business, research and social programs in the day-to-day lives of Canadians.
Our objective is to get government data into the hands of inventive users. One way we are doing this is by tapping into the creativity of Canadians. We have just concluded public consultations during which we heard from Canadians on how we could do even more. The result of these consultations will be Canada's second action plan on open government. This plan will be released in the fall and will build on the steps we have already taken to improve transparency and accountability, steps like ATIP Online, the Open Government Licence and Open Data portal.
Let me add that Canada has been at the forefront of the international open government movement.
In April 2012, we announced our membership in the global Open Government Partnership. As part of this, we pledged to support and promote open government both in Canada and around the world. Since then, more than 60 countries have signed on to Open Government Partnership, with each country committing to promote transparency, empower its citizens and harness new technologies to strengthen governance.
I should also mention that Canada is the co-chair of the Open Government Partnership working group on open data, with over 30 countries and 75 civil society organizations represented.
In closing, open government is something our government is firmly committed to, in all its aspects. A strong, modern access to information system is part of our commitment.
Our goals are to improve the transparency and accountability of government organizations and strengthen Canadian democracy and spur economic innovation.
While these are our noble goals, I question the motives of the Liberal leader on transparency, and here is why. First, he and his party are committed to repealing the First Nations Financial Accountability Act. Second, he accepted speaking fees from unions and then voted against the union financial transparency legislation. Third, he committed to running open and transparent nomination contests and turned his back on that.
With these points in mind, I would ask hon. members to see Bill C-613 for what it is, an unnecessary and costly waste of taxpayer money.
View Mathieu Ravignat Profile
NDP (QC)
View Mathieu Ravignat Profile
2015-03-31 17:58 [p.12639]
Mr. Speaker, the speech of my hon. colleague who just preceded me is a good example as to how the Conservatives have kind of convinced themselves that they are still the champions of transparency and accountability in this country. The reality is that they are not.
If they were listening, they would be hearing from the hundreds, if not thousands, if not millions of Canadians who are concerned with the secrecy and lack of accountability of the government. As the Treasury Board critic for the official opposition, I hear from a lot of Canadians who are worried that the democratic institutions of this country are being eroded by the need of a government to remain secret, to do things behind closed doors or in camera. In fact, the use of in camera meetings in committee is a great visible example of the government's commitment to transparency. I can imagine Canadians turning on their televisions at home, tuning into a committee that is dealing with a subject that is important to them, and seeing a blank screen. That is a great symbol of the approach the government has to open government.
The reality is that it did start with quite a broad vision of what an open government can be. The problem is that it got whittled down and whittled down, and whittled down again, as the government got used to power. It went from open government, to open data, to an open website. The committee studied that website and experts were not impressed. They were not impressed with the quality of information available on the website, the website's searchability, or its format.
The Conservative government must recognize that delays under the ATIP system, the number of complaints, and the level of public frustration have reached unacceptable levels. In wilfully abandoning the ATIP system through degradation and delay, the Conservatives have broken their own electoral promises. The Conservatives' growing blanket of secrecy endangers the very foundations of our parliamentary democracy.
I would like to remind Canadians that the Conservatives voted against Bill C-567, but I ask them to at least consider supporting Bill C-613, which is really just a weaker version of the NDP's bill, instead of voting another time against their electoral promises. Let me remind the House of those promises.
In 2006, the Conservatives promised to give the information commissioner the power to order the release of information, to expand the coverage of the act to all crown corporations, officers of Parliament, foundations and organizations that spend taxpayers' money or perform public functions, to subject the exclusion of cabinet confidences to review by the information commissioner. I would like to add that the government has used a record number of cabinet confidentiality excuses to totally bar information from Canadians, blacking it out. It is used in increasing ways and it is worrying.
The Conservatives further promised to provide a general public interest override for all exemptions so that the public interest is put before the secrecy of the government. They are beautiful words, but that is all they are. They further promised to ensure that all exemptions from the disclosure of government information are justified only on the basis of the harm or injury that would result from disclosure, not blanket exemption rules which is in fact the practice that is going on today.
Let us also remind ourselves of the Liberals' record on transparency. In 1994, the then justice minister Allan Rock pledged to strengthen the federal Access to Information Act, but it was not until early 2001 that then prime minister Jean Chrétien set up a government task force to examine the flaws. The Liberal access committee task force was just a delay tactic, as the federal government failed to act on the task force report. In fact, in late 2001, the Liberal government instead proposed new so-called anti-terrorism laws to keep more information secret from the public.
At their February 2014 convention, the Liberals passed a motion to promote “A more effective Access-to-Information regime with stronger safeguards against political interference”, but this bill does little to fulfill that motion.
By recommending that the Board of Internal Economy consider conducting internal exploratory consultations to help increase transparency, the Conservative-dominated PROC report essentially advocated the status quo on the Board of Internal Economy.
In their supplementary opinion, the Liberals recognized that transparency can be enhanced by mandating that the Board of Internal Economy hold its meetings in public and that these meetings would only go in camera if the board was discussing matters related to “security, employment, staff relations, or tenders, or...if unanimous consent of all members of the Board present...is obtained”. This exact phrase, which is also found in clause 1 of Bill C-613, provides the government of the day with huge elbow room and a grey area to act and to keep things silent from Canadians.
The Liberals are also silent on the issue of replacing the Board of Internal Economy with independent oversight. Let me remind the House of a motion passed by the NDP, with unanimous consent, on June 18, 2013. It sets out our vision for transparency and accountability by the government and at the Board of Internal Economy:
That, notwithstanding any Standing or Special Order or usual practice of the House: in order to bring full transparency and accountability to House of Commons spending, the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs be instructed to:
(i) conduct open and public hearings with a view to replace the Board of Internal Economy with an independent oversight body;
Now that is transparency.
(ii) invite the Auditor General, the Clerk and the Chief Financial Officer of the House of Commons to participate fully in these hearings;
(iii) study the practices of provincial and territorial legislatures, as well as other jurisdictions and Westminster-style Parliaments in order to compare and contrast their administrative oversight;
(iv) propose modifications to the Parliament of Canada Act, the Financial Administration Act, the Auditor General Act and any other acts as deemed necessary;
(v) propose any necessary modifications to the administrative policies and practices of the House of Commons;
(vi) examine the subject-matter of the motions, standing in the name of other members of Parliament;
(vii) report its findings to the House no later than December 2, 2013, in order to have any proposed changes approved.
That is a reasonable and transparent vision of government. That is what we are proposing as the official opposition.
Unfortunately, Liberals react only when they are caught, and when they do react, they respond with half measures and convenient grey areas in their legislative proposals to safeguard their discretionary elbow room, which they use abundantly to restrict access when they are in power.
On this side of the House, that is, at this end of the opposition benches, in line with the Auditor General's recommendations and in the spirit of the NDP June 18, 2013 motion, which was passed in the House unanimously, we propose meaningful changes to POCA that entrench independent oversight of Parliament's expenditures and operations and that make accountability to all Canadians, not just MPs, a priority.
We need the other parties to commit to pushing for a fully transparent and accountable system, the backbone of good governance, which is so lacking today and so necessary to restore the credibility of our parliamentary institutions and political system. We propose that we stress, however, that even with the best possible reform of the ATI Act and the BOIE, changing the rules will never be sufficient if the people in power aspire to thwart the system. Integrity should be at the heart of governance. Integrity cannot be legislative, and integrity is a missing element in past federal Liberal and Conservative governments.
View Justin Trudeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Justin Trudeau Profile
2015-03-31 18:07 [p.12641]
Mr. Speaker, I have listened to today's debate on my private member's bill, Bill C-613, the transparency act, with great interest.
The member for Don Valley West actually spoke quite eloquently, using all the right words about what open data and open government actually mean, which is all the more disconcerting, given that it means that the government is acting not out of ignorance but actually wilfully to have the most secretive, opaque government Canada has ever known.
I believe the conversation we have had today in this House has been a timely one, and I hope Canadians are all the more convinced now that adopting the bill is a wise and necessary step for this House.
The purpose of the transparency act is to make important changes to how Canadians stay informed about what their government is doing. The measures outlined in this bill guarantee a government whose information is automatically accessible
The members have already shown that they are ready to take up the challenge.
The Liberal Party was the first party to opt for proactive disclosure of parliamentarians' expenses, and I was pleased to see the members of the other parties follow our example. However, there is more work to be done.
It is not acceptable any more that decisions about the regulation of MPs' spending are made behind closed doors, entirely in secret, far from the light of public scrutiny. That is not the way things ought to be done in 2015. Instead, the House of Commons' Board of Internal Economy must be made open by default.
The challenge that the NDP members have not quite understood or highlighted in their speaking points is that the Board of Internal Economy is not a regular House committee. It is one that, by oath, must remain secret on a wide range of things. Regardless if we have unanimous consent at the BOIE to overturn that secrecy, it cannot, without possibly facing sanctions for having broken the Parliament of Canada Act. That is why a legislated change is needed to open the BOIE.
Canadians should know more about what their elected representatives are doing and how the rules are made that govern spending. Some things would remain confidential, such as personal matters or contractual dealings, but overall, reform of the Board of Internal Economy is well overdue.
We also cannot expect Canadians to be satisfied with the current access to information system, which is now outdated. It is a complicated and confusing system that often delivers results that are far from satisfactory. This is not surprising, considering that it has not undergone any significant changes in over 20 years.
We need a new approach, a system that allows Canadians to understand what we do here in Ottawa, as well as a system that takes into account the technological advances that have completely reshaped the information landscape and data sharing.
This bill would update the Access to Information system in four ways.
First, it would make all government information and data open by default and easily accessible.
Second, it would require that accessing information cost no more than the initial $5.00 fee.
Third, this bill would expand and strengthen the Information Commissioner's mandate, giving him or her the power to enforce access to information laws. Once the government opens up, we want it to remain open. This was actually a Conservative promise during the 2006 election campaign.
Fourth, this bill provides for a mandatory review of our access to information system within 90 days of this bill receiving royal assent and every five years thereafter.
I put forth the transparency act in good faith with my colleagues here, who I hope share the spirit with which this bill was introduced. That is, that we are all striving to make a better government for Canadians.
I believe more openness and transparency, along with strengthened information laws, will lend more accountability to this place. It is important to Canadians and to the continued health of our democracy.
In the spirit of openness and transparency, I will be hosting, in 20 minutes, an information session at 6:30 p.m. in East Block Room 362, where I will be glad to take any and all questions from my colleagues on these important improvements to transparency.
Tomorrow, I am hopeful members will join me in voting Bill C-613 through to committee stage.
View Bruce Stanton Profile
CPC (ON)
View Bruce Stanton Profile
2015-03-31 18:12 [p.12642]
The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
Some hon. members: No.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton): All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.
Some hon. members: Yea.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton): All those opposed will please say nay.
Some hon. members: Nay.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton): In my opinion the nays have it.
And five or more members having risen:
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton): Pursuant to Standing Order 93, the recorded division stands deferred until Wednesday, April 1, immediately before the time provided for private members' business.
View Paul Dewar Profile
NDP (ON)
View Paul Dewar Profile
2015-03-26 11:09 [p.12349]
Mr. Speaker, it is indicative of the government to come to the game late and then react instead of act. What I mean by that is when I went to the government back in June and said that we needed to be seized with this and I offered some contacts of people to get in touch with, it was not interested. It was not interested in reaching across the aisle.
I will give the former minister of foreign affairs credit because he did ask me and my colleague from the Liberal Party to go and do an assessment on the ground. The problem was our assessment and what we heard and what the government did were two different things. No one asked us to send in air strikes. The government could not even tell the truth about how we ended up in the air strikes. It made it sound as if it was asked to do it. We offered it, and of course the Americans said sure. Why would they not? This is how misdirected and reckless the policy of the government is.
I will finish with this. If we oppose the government in its direction, it is viewed as if we do not care. I would have thought we were passed that point. We saw that when we debated Afghanistan. Clearly, that is in the DNA of the government. It cannot reach across the aisle. It cannot have a debate without going for the jugular. It undermines this debate and also undermines the institution of Parliament. We should be able to bring our ideas forward and say what we think about it. It is insulting and demeaning for the government to then say that because our ideas differ from its that we somehow do not care. Canadians deserve a lot better.
View Joyce Murray Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Joyce Murray Profile
2015-03-26 11:11 [p.12349]
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to the government's motion to extend and expand Canada's mission in Iraq. Liberal Party members do not support this motion to seek Parliament's consent for an unfocused and potentially unending mission because it is not in the Canadian interest.
ISIL poses a real and serious threat to security around the world and in Canada. We recognize that. Liberals believe that Canada must be part of the international effort against ISIL. As one of 60 nations participating in the coalition against this ideological extremist and terrorist scourge, Canada must play a constructive role. We must make the best contribution we can, one that serves our national interest.
The mission proposed by the Prime Minister does not measure up. It has an unclear legal basis, unclear mission objectives and an open-ended scope. Overwhelmingly, it fails the national interest test.
Why else do Liberals oppose the Prime Minister's present motion? Let us discuss this.
Last fall, Liberals did support the government's plan to send special forces into Iraq to help behind the lines, training, advising and assisting Iraqi forces. We believe that ISIL will be stopped when local Iraqi forces can fight successfully against the ISIL rampage, can protect local people and their villages, can succeed in capturing and holding lost territory, and can commit to respecting minority rights. We want to help them to do those things.
However, the Liberals did not support the Prime Minister's October motion to go to war in Iraq, because he failed to offer a clear objective for his combat plan. He failed to outline a responsible plan to achieve it. He failed to make the case that a bombing role was the best contribution Canadians could make. Regrettably, the motion before us has similar deficits.
Earlier this week, the Liberal Party leader's speech in the House reminded Parliament of four core principles Liberals set out for the October combat mission in Iraq, and they still stand today. The first principle is that Canada has a role to play in confronting humanitarian crises in the world. That is an important Canadian value. Over many decades, Canadian governments have generously contributed help, military and non-military alike, in human emergencies abroad.
We opened our country's doors to the oppressed. We welcomed refugees to come, to rebuild their lives here, and those refugees have helped build Canada. Refugees from Vietnam, Uganda, Cambodia, Somalia, Nicaragua, from every corner of the world, have come to Canada and made our country better. This current motion contains no new ideas, no new funds, no new proposals to help alleviate the catastrophic humanitarian crisis in the region.
Under the second principle, when our government considers deploying our men and women in uniform, there must be a clear mission and a clear role for Canada. The October motion did not respect that principle and the motion that was moved today is just as vague about Canada's mission and role. In October, the Liberals expressed grave concern that lack of clear objectives masked the Prime Minister's real intentions, namely involving Canada in a longer, deeper combat engagement.
The motion moved today validates that concern. The Prime Minster is saying that the objective is to weaken the Islamic State, whereas the Minister of National Defence is saying that it is to defeat and completely eliminate the group. Those are two very different mandates.
Once again, the new motion on the combat mission does not set out any clear objectives or any plan as to when or how Canada will extricate itself from the multi-party conflict affecting this complex region, which is mired in deep-rooted divisions, tension and hate.
On the contrary, section (a) of the motion gives the government exceedingly vague and broad latitude to conduct this war. It reads that this House:
(a) continues to support the Government's decision to contribute Canadian military assets to the fight against ISIL, and terrorists aligned with ISIL, including air strike capability with authorisation to conduct air strikes in Iraq and Syria;
That is a pretty open-ended permission slip, and both the Minister of National Defence and the Minister of Foreign Affairs appear eager to use to it. They explicitly compared this new mission to Afghanistan, stating that “we're in this for the longer term”. In Afghanistan, the longer term meant a decade; the longest war in Canadian history.
When asked who takes over should ISIL be cleared from Syria, the Minister of National Defence told Evan Solomon on Power & Politics that he does not know how this is going to end.
No clear objective is not good enough. Without objectives, clarity, or boundaries in the motion, Canada's war on ISIL in Syria could well result in Syrian President Bashar al-Assad consolidating his grip on power. This president oppressed and terrorized his own people. In just four years, he bombed, gassed, and killed more than 130,000 of his own citizens, the vast majority of them civilians, and almost a quarter of the victims were women and children. Enabling Mr. al-Assad is not in Canadians' interest.
The third Liberal principle is that the case for deploying our forces must be made openly and transparently, based on clear, reliable, and dispassionately presented facts.
The current Conservative government has not been transparent and open on this mission, not with parliamentarians nor with the Canadian people. The Conservatives refused to provide cost estimates to Canadians until shamed into it by the Parliamentary Budget Officer. They refused to provide critics with briefings until yesterday, while troops were first deployed last September.
It is facts not fantasy that underpin the moral value of honesty. Honesty in turn earns trust. We cannot trust the current government, which has been dishonest to Canadians. At every opportunity, ministers promote the myth of stable increasing funding for defence, the myth of investment in state-of-the-art equipment. The fact is that the Conservatives have been cutting the budget for the last four years, they reduced the defence share of funding to 1% of GDP, the lowest in 70 years, and they failed to replace our rusting military planes, ships, trucks, tanks, and rifles.
The Minister of National Defence himself was caught in a string of falsehoods, misrepresenting a photo of a religious ceremony to promote his war rhetoric, making false claims about the NDP's past record on combat mission votes, and concocting false statistics on former Liberal government defence spending—statistics that are on public record.
Much more serious is the fact that our military was sent into ground combat operations in Iraq despite the Prime Minister's repeated, explicit assurances that this would not happen. Canadians were assured by government and by the generals that the special forces would not accompany troops to the front lines, they would not do what is called “close combat advising”, and they would not engage in combat. However, in fact, they did and they are.
In January we learned that, since last November, the mission had “evolved”. Canadian troops are active on the front lines. They regularly engage in direct combat activities. Unlike our closest allies whose advisors stay behind the wire, we are needlessly risking our soldiers' lives. Tragically, Sargent Andrew Joseph Doiron lost his life in this combat zone.
Now the government gives false reasons for participating in the Syria bombing mission. The Conservatives claim Canada has been asked because only Canada has precision-guided smart bombs to assist the United States. That is false. Even Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have these munitions and use them very effectively in the region, according to the chair of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Dempsey.
Voting yes now to a longer, deeper war for Canada, led by a dishonest government we cannot trust, is simply not in Canadians' interest.
Our final principle is that Canada's role must reflect the broad scope of Canadian capabilities, so we help how best we can.
Given the Conservatives' massive defence cuts, the Liberals are concerned about asking our Canadian Armed Forces to do more. The Conference of Defence Associations Institute reported that the forces' current international deployments “mask a considerable decline in their capabilities and readiness”. Today's soldiers injured in the Afghanistan war are still waiting to receive timely professional mental health care. How unacceptable.
What are Canada's capabilities? How can Canada play a constructive role in this very challenged region? What roles reflect Canadian values and our national interest? What do Liberals support?
Canada can do better. Canada can act on the values it was known for throughout the world. These are values like working constructively with others, helping the less fortunate, doing more than our fair share, and being honest.
I will talk about three areas that the Liberals support. First, Canada can work constructively with coalition allies to accelerate the training and capabilities of more Iraqi soldiers. According to Major-General Michael Hood, 69 special forces members currently work with Americans to provide strategic and tactical advice to security forces in the Iraqi army. To date, they have conducted 42 training courses with 650 peshmerga soldiers.
Canada has a clear expertise in helping to train Iraqi forces to fight and stop ISIL. Surely there is a need for more trainers. Canada supplied more than 1,000 fine trainers in its final years in Afghanistan. Surely Canada can do more now in Iraq. We can, and must, do it away from the front lines.
This is an area in which we differ from our NDP colleagues, who have been all over the map about military missions, sometimes talking about potentially being supportive of strategic airlifts or military use to bring supplies. Today, we heard that the NDP is not interested in any military involvement at all, while we, the Liberals, have respect for our Canadian Armed Forces members. We know that they can play an essential role here.
Second, Canada could lead a well-funded and well-planned international humanitarian aid intervention to help people in need in the Levant region. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, has said that there are now 3.8 million Syrian refugees registered and 12 million displaced persons who need help within Syria itself. That is not including the millions of other displaced persons and refugees from Iraq.
Last month, the High Commissioner launched an appeal to gather $3.7 billion in humanitarian aid for 2015 alone. He said that the need for humanitarian aid in Syria is growing much more rapidly than the contributions from the international community. He encouraged donor countries to give a lot more aid to support refugees and host communities. This refugee crisis is threatening the stability and security of the region. Neighbouring countries, such as Lebanon and Jordan, have been destabilized. Turkey is feeding and housing millions of refugees.
What is in Canada's best interest? We must do more to help vulnerable refugee families, because it is a Canadian value and so that these families' soldiers can confidently fight ISIL.
Third, Canada should expand our country's target for Syrian refugee settlement. Let us give more victims of war an opportunity to start a new life in Canada. The Conservative government's promises have been weak, and its delivery has been even weaker.
Here is an example of past Canadian governments' generosity. In just 1979 and 1980, 50,000 Vietnamese refugees settled in Canada.
These immigrants, known as boat people, were both urban and rural dwellers. They did not speak English or French, by and large, they had no Canadian relatives, and they arrived during an economic downturn in Canada. This made integrating into Canada and achieving economic independence a difficult struggle. Today, these Vietnamese Canadians are recognized for their successes, their strong communities, and their tremendous contributions to Canada. We should keep the figure of 50,000 over two years in mind.
In contrast, the Conservative government has been miserly in its treatment of Syrian refugees. Originally targeting only 1,300 refugees over 18 months, the government resettled less than half by its target date of last December. At opposition members' urging, the government recently increased its pledge to 10,000 refugees in three years, but refugee aid groups are skeptical of this pledge because much of the funding must be raised by sponsoring families and private organizations, not provided by government. It is not a Canadian value to do less than our fair share. Canadians believe in helping more, and that is in the Canadian interest.
Finally, of the four commitments in the government motion, Liberals enthusiastically endorse only the last, which I will quote:
Accordingly, this House:...
(d) offers its resolute and wholehearted support to the brave men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces who stand on guard for all of us.
The Liberal Party respects and recognizes the professionalism, courage and dedication of all those who serve our country. We have never hesitated to deploy our extremely competent Canadian Armed Forces to combat zones when doing so was very clearly in the best interest of Canada and Canadians. In each of those cases, the best interest of the nation was very clear.
A mission designed to uphold Canada's interest must have transparent objectives, a responsible plan to achieve them, and a plan to exit the theatre of war. That is missing from this motion and from this proposed combat mission.
Liberals encourage the government, as quickly and as responsibly as possible, to shift Canada's role in Iraq, shift it not into a bombing role in Syria but back to a non-combat mission, focused on expanded Iraqi troop training, humanitarian aid leadership, and a far more generous and warm-hearted welcome to this war's refugees. That is the Canadian way.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2015-03-26 15:24 [p.12385]
Mr. Speaker, that is the essence of what I believe many Canadians are quite concerned about. It is that there has not been a clear game plan put on the table. There has been a lack of transparency from the Prime Minister's Office, which we should all be concerned about.
What I would like to do is bring home a few points on what the Liberal Party of Canada is actually saying. Canada has a clear interest in training Iraqi forces to fight and destroy ISIL. We can and should do this training away from the front lines, as our allies have been doing.
Canada should participate in a well-funded and well-planned international humanitarian aid effort. The refugee crisis alone threatens the region's security and is overwhelming neighbouring countries. Here at home we should expand our refugee targets and give more victims of war the opportunity to start a new life here in Canada. There are many things we can do. We will have to wait and see how the debate continues.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2015-03-26 19:18 [p.12416]
Mr. Speaker, I think we need to be very clear on the point that voting against this resolution does not mean supporting ISIL. The government tries to give the impression that there is no other option and no other choice and that those who do not vote for this motion are supporting ISIL.
I have news for the government. We in the Liberal Party and, I believe, Canadians as a whole do not support ISIL. Their barbaric, revolting actions that they take against humanity are abhorrent and should be acted on, where we can.
The issue is the manner in which the government seems to want to bring Canada more and more into a situation without any clarity, end game, or anything of that nature. The Prime Minister's Office, the Minister of National Defence, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs have not been transparent and open with Canadians on this mission.
I have a question for the member. We have a wonderful Kurdish community that I met with just last weekend. Its members have thoughts in terms of their role. What does this member believe their role could be and how Canada might be able to enhance the Kurds' role?
View Jinny Jogindera Sims Profile
NDP (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure to rise today to present two petitions.
The first is a petition with respect to the inaction of our federal government to address climate change and the impacts of climate change on the day-to-day lives of Canadians. The federal government withdrew from Kyoto. It cancelled the home retrofit program, which helped cut emissions and the energy bills of families. It failed to deliver the public transit strategy to get cars off the road.
The petitioners feel that the NDP is the only party with a plan to protect the environment and grow the economy.
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