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View Ruby Sahota Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ruby Sahota Profile
2019-06-19 16:32 [p.29406]
Madam Speaker, it is my honour to rise to table a petition signed by 502 citizens and residents of Canada
The petitioners call upon the government to take further measures to deter fraud marriages. Some of the measures include stopping renewal of work and residency permits of the accused in fraud marriages until criminal cases are brought to justice in India. Others include action by CBSA in cases where accused are criminally charged in India for fraud marriages, among various others.
View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)

Question No. 2477--
Mr. Brad Trost:
With regard to the Investments to Combat the Criminal Use of Firearms (ICCUF): (a) what has been the total cumulative federal actual spending on ICCUF since its inception; (b) what are the total number of firearm prosecutions initiated; and (c) what are the total number of successful firearm prosecutions?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2480--
Mr. Brad Trost:
With regard to the total number of serving RCMP officers in each province for each year since 2001: (a) how many were charged with a criminal offence that were (i) violent, (ii) non-violent; (b) how many were convicted of these crimes that were (i) violent, (ii) non-violent; (c) of those charged with these crimes, how many remained on active duty, broken down by crimes that were (i) violent, (ii) non-violent; and (d) how many lost their jobs as a result of these criminal charges that were (i) violent, (ii) non-violent?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2485--
Mr. Ben Lobb:
With regard to corrections to government websites since January 1, 2016: (a) how many corrections have been made to erroneous, incorrect, or false information placed on government websites; and (b) what are the details of each correction, including the (i) website address, (ii) information which had to be corrected, (iii) corrected information?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2486--
Mr. Ben Lobb:
With regard to Access to Information Requests received since January 1, 2016, broken down by department, agency, Crown corporation, or other government entity: (a) how many requests required extensions in excess of (i) 180 days, (ii) one year, (iii) two years; (b) in how many cases was the information released in the time period noted in the original extension letter sent to the requestor; (c) in how many cases did the government fail to provide the documents in the time period set out in the original extension letter sent to the requestor; and (d) what is the longest extension for requests currently being processed, broken down by each department, agency, Crown corporation, or other government entity?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2487--
Mr. Bob Zimmer:
With regard to concerns raised by the Privacy Commissioner of Canada about information shared on Facebook: (a) what specific safeguards does each department and agency have in place to ensure that information individuals share with government entities on Facebook is not exploited; (b) does any government department or agency collect information obtained through Facebook, including on interactions individuals have with the government on Facebook and, if so, what are the details, including (i) type of information collected, (ii) number of individuals who have had information collected since January 1, 2016; and (c) what specific action, if any, has each department or agency taken to safeguard information since the concerns were raised by the Commissioner?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2488--
Mr. Scott Reid:
With regard to the establishment of the Canadian Drug Agency proposed in Budget 2019: (a) where is the Canadian Drug Agency, or the transition office set up to create the Agency, located; (b) will the Agency be a stand-alone Agency or a division of Health Canada; (c) how many employees or full-time equivalents are currently assigned to the Agency or the establishment of the Agency; (d) which government official is responsible for overseeing the creation of the Agency; and (e) what are the details of all consultations the government has conducted in relation to the Agency, including (i) name of organization, individual, or provincial government consulted, (ii) date, (iii) type of consultation, (iv) results of consultation?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2489--
Mr. Dave Van Kesteren:
With regard to materials prepared for Ministers between January 1, 2019, and May 1, 2019: 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. 2490--
Mr. Dave Van Kesteren:
With regard to materials prepared for Ministerial exempt staff members between January 1, 2019, and May 1, 2019: for every briefing document or docket prepared, what is the (i) date, (ii) title or subject matter, (iii) recipient, (iv) department’s internal tracking number?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2491--
Mr. Arnold Viersen:
With regard to the government’s sale of assets over $1,000 since January 1, 2016: (a) what were the assets sold, specifying (i) the asset sale price, (ii) the name of the purchaser, (iii) whether multiple bids were received, (iv) for what amount the asset was purchased by the government, (v) the reason for the sale; (b) was a third party used for the sale and, if so, (i) what is the name of the third party, (ii) was this contract tendered or not; (c) in the case where a third party was used, how much was the third party paid for their services; (d) for the government’s sale of stocks, (i) how much of the stock was sold, (ii) how much does the government still hold; (e) for sale of privately held companies in which the government held a position, (i) does the government still hold a position in the company, (ii) did the government have a market assessment done before the sale and, if so, by whom, (iii) what was the difference in the amount the government projected from the sale and the actual amount received; (f) how much income did the asset bring in during the year prior to its sale; and (g) how much was spent marketing the sale of each asset?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2492--
Mr. Deepak Obhrai:
With regard to each expenditure contained in each budget or budget implementation bill since fiscal year 2016-17, inclusively: (a) has the Department of Finance done an economic impact analysis of the expenditure; (b) if the answer to (a) is affirmative, what is the date, name and file number of any record which constitutes part of that analysis; (c) has the Department of Finance relied on any economic impact analysis of any organization outside government on the expenditure or not; (d) if the answer to (c) is affirmative, (i) which organizations analysed the measure, (ii) what is the date, name and file number of any record obtained from that organization which constitutes part of that analysis; and (e) what were the findings of each analysis in (b) and (d), broken down by expenditure?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2493--
Mr. Deepak Obhrai:
With regard to government advertising since January 1, 2016: (a) how much has been spent on billboards, advertising and other information campaigns, broken down by (i) date released, (ii) cost, (iii) topic, (iv) whether any analysis of the effectiveness of the advertising campaign was carried out and, if so, the details of that analysis, (v) medium, including publication or media outlet and type of media used, (vi) purpose, (vii) duration of campaign (including those that are ongoing), (viii) targeted audience, (ix) estimated audience; and (b) what are the details of all records of related correspondence regarding the aforementioned billboards, advertising and other information campaigns broken down by (i) relevant file numbers, (ii) correspondence or file type, (iii) subject, (iv) date, (v) purpose, (vi) origin, (vii) intended destination, (viii) other officials copied or involved?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2494--
Mr. Scott Reid:
With regard to penitentiary farms, and agriculture and agri-food employment operations of CORCAN: (a) in what agriculture and agri-food employment operations are offenders at the Joyceville and Collins Bay Institutions presently engaged, and in what numbers, broken down by location; (b) in what agriculture and agri-food employment operations are offenders at the Joyceville and Collins Bay Institutions planned to engage in 2019 and 2020 respectively, and in what numbers, broken down by location; (c) are offenders at the Joyceville and Collins Bay Institutions engaged, or will they be engaged, in agriculture and agri-food employment operations, at any time, off of Correctional Service of Canada premises and, if so, to what extent, at what locations, by whom are those locations managed, in what numbers, and for what purposes, listed by location; (d) does Correctional Service of Canada or CORCAN have any contracts or relationships, with respect to labour provided through agriculture and agri-food employment operations at the Joyceville and Collins Bay Institutions, with Feihe International or Feihe Canada Royal Milk and, if so, when were they engaged, for what purpose, for what length of time, under what conditions, for what locations, and how will offenders at the Joyceville and Collins Bay Institutions be involved and to what extent, broken down by contract or relationship; (e) does the Correctional Service of Canada or CORCAN have any supply agreements, with respect to products generated by agriculture and agri-food employment operations at the Joyceville and Collins Bay Institutions, with Feihe International or Feihe Canada Royal Milk and, if so, when were they engaged, for what purpose, for what length of time, under what conditions, for what locations, and how will offenders at the Joyceville and Collins Bay Institutions be involved and to what extent, broken down by agreement; (f) of the $4.3 million allocated over five years in Budget 2018 for agriculture and agri-food employment operations at penitentiary farms, how much has been spent, at what locations, and for what purposes, broken down by fiscal year; and (g) what funds have been spent from Correctional Service of Canada's capital budget on infrastructure, equipment, and improvements to penitentiary farm and agriculture and agri-food employment facilities at the Joyceville and Collins Bay Institutions, at what locations, and for what purposes, broken down by fiscal year since 2015?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2495--
Mr. Scott Reid:
With regard to Parks Canada water level management: (a) on the last occasion in June, July, or August 2018, for which data is available when a 12 inch stop log was removed from the Bobs Lake Dam, (i) what was the maximum water level increase (in centimetres) measured at Beveridge Dam, Lower Rideau Lake, and Poonamalie Locks, respectively, (ii) what was the period of time before the maximum water level increase was registered at Beveridge Dam, Lower Rideau Lake, and Poonamalie Locks, respectively; (b) what are the water levels on Christie Lake, in 5 centimetre increments, from 154.5 metres to 156 metres above mean sea level (MAMSL) in relation to the rates of water flow, in cubic meters per second (CMPS), leaving Christie Lake at Jordan’s Bridge (at the east end of Christie lake); (c) what are the water flow rates on Christie Lake, in Cubic Metres per Second, leaving the Bobs Lake dam, less the out flow rates at Jordan’s Bridge, in 0.5 CMPS increments, in relation to the rate of water level rise, expressed in Millimetres per Hour; (d) how will the new Bobs Lake Dam be managed to mitigate upstream and downstream flooding and the potential resultant environmental and property damage; (e) what have been the daily water levels, from January 1, 2000 to the present date, for each of (i) Bobs Lake, (ii) Christie Lake, (iii) Beveridge Dam, (iv) Lower Rideau Lake; (f) what have been the daily maximum water flow rates, in cubic meters per second, for each of (i) Bobs Lake, (ii) Christie Lake, (iii) Beveridge Dam?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2496--
Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:
With regard to government contracts awarded to IBM since January 1, 2016: (a) how many sole-sourced contracts have been awarded to IBM; (b) what are the descriptions of these contracts; (c) what are the dollar amounts for these contracts; and (d) what are the dates and duration of each contract?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2497--
Mr. Michael Barrett:
With regard to the government’s claim that it’s Senator selection process is “non-partisan”: how does it reconcile this claim with the Globe and Mail story which stated that “The Prime Minister’s Office acknowledges that it uses a partisan database called Liberalist to conduct background checks on prospective senators before appointing them to sit as independents”?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2498--
Mr. Blake Richards:
With regard to partnerships signed between the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and Huawei since January 1, 2016: (a) what are the details of each partnership including (i) date signed, (ii) duration of partnership, (iii) terms, (iv) amount of federal financial contribution; and (b) does the Prime Minister’s National Security Advisor approve of these partnerships?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2499--
Mr. Blake Richards:
With regard to the approximately 103,000 non-citizens who were found to be on the National Register of Electors illegally: (a) how many voted in the 42nd General Election, held in 2015; (b) how many voted in each of the 338 electoral districts in the 42nd General Election; (c) how many voted in any federal by-election held since October 20, 2015; and (d) what is the breakdown of (c), by each riding where a by-election has been held?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2500--
Ms. Candice Bergen:
With regard to government commitments and the 271 commitments which, according to the Mandate Tracker, the current government has failed to complete as of May 3, 2019: (a) what is the government’s excuse or rationale for not accomplishing each of the 271 commitments not listed as completed or met, broken down by individual commitment; and (b) of the 271 commitments which have not been completed, which ones does the government anticipate completing prior to October 2019?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2501--
Mr. Scott Reid:
With respect to the West Block of Parliament: (a) is West Block subject to the Ontario Fire Code and the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, is the building subject to regular fire safety inspections, and on what dates have fire safety inspections taken place since January 2017; (b) is West Block subject to any other form of fire or safety codes or acts and, if so, what are those codes or acts, and what is the extent to which West Block is subject to each; (c) does West Block, as a whole, comply with the Ontario Fire Code and, if so, on what date was this certified; (d) is each space within West Block in compliance with the Ontario Fire Code and, if so, on what date was this certified, broken down by room or space, as applicable; (e) has each of West Block’s stairwells and exits been inspected for compliance with the Ontario Fire Code or the Fire Protection and Prevention Act and, if so, what were the details of instances where concerns, instructions, or conditions were expressed or imposed for compliance purposes; (f) is West Block, or any space or part thereof, subject to or in receipt of any exemptions or waivers to the Ontario Fire Code or the Fire Protection and Prevention Act and, if so, what are the details for each instance the location, room, or space, the subject of the exemption or waiver, the authorizing section of the Fire Code or Fire Protection and Prevention Act, the reason for the exemption or waiver, the date of application for the exemption or waiver, the date the exemption or waiver was granted, by whom the exemption or waiver was granted, any instructions or conditions that accompanied the exemption or waiver and, if applicable, the date on which the exemption or waiver expired, will expire, or was revoked; (g) has West Block, or any space or part thereof, since January 2017, had a request for an exemption or waiver denied and, if so, identify for each instance the location, room, or space, the subject of the request for exemption or waiver, the applicable section of the Fire Code or Fire Protection and Prevention Act under which the request was denied, the reason for the denial, the date requested, the date the exemption or waiver was denied, by whom it was denied, and any instructions or conditions that accompanied it; (h) what spaces in West Block have been identified as being potentially hazardous due to a likelihood of congestion in the event of a fire, evacuation, or other emergency, identifying in each instance the space, the identified hazard, the reason, and any amelioration actions or procedures that have been adopted; (i) have any complaints or concerns been received respecting West Block’s doorways, exits, stairwells, or exit, emergency, or traffic flow signage and, if so, identify in each instance the nature and details of the complaint or concern, the date on which it was received, the institutional or professional affiliation of the source of the complaint or concern, and any actions taken to ameliorate it; (j) respecting installed exit signage, which consists of overhead or high, wall-mounted rectangular signs featuring a white human figure on a green background, what requirements, guidelines, or standards governed and informed the selection, design, placement, and function of this exit signage; and (k) respecting installed exit signage, what are the reasons for using the white-on-green signage, versus red, text-based signage or other types of signage?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2502--
Mr. Don Davies:
With regard to federal government investrnents in housing, for each of the fiscal year since 2015-16: (a) what was the total amount of federal funding spent on housing in the city of Vancouver; (b) what was the total amount of federal funding spent on housing in the federal riding of Vancouver Kingsway; (c) how much funding was allocated to each of the following programs and initiatives in the city of Vancouver (i) the Rental Construction Financing initiative, (ii) Proposal Development Funding, (iii) lnvestment in Affordable Housing, (iv) Affordable Housing Innovation Fund, (v) Non-profit On-Reserve Funding, (vi) Prepayment, (vii) Reno & Retrofit CMHC, (viii) Renovation Programs On Reserve, (ix) Retrofit On-Reserve and Seed Funding; (d) how much funding was allocated to each of the following programs and initiatives in the federal riding of Vancouver Kingsway (i) the Rental Construction Financing initiative, (ii) Proposal Development Funding, (iii) lnvestment in Affordable Housing, (iv) Affordable Housing Innovation Fund, (v) Non-profit On-Reserve Funding, (vi) Prepayment, (vii) Reno & Retrofit CMHC, (viii) Renovation Programs On Reserve, (ix) Retrofit On-Reserve and Seed Funding; (e) how much federal funding was allocated to housing subsidies in the city of Vancouver for (i) Non-Profit On-Reserve Housing, (ii) Co­operative Housing, (iii) Urban Native Housing, (iv) Non-Profit Housing, (v) Index Linked, (vi) Mortgage Co­operatives, (vii) Rent Geared to Income, (viii) and Federal Community Housing Initiative; (f) how much federal funding was allocated to housing subsidies in the federal riding of Vancouver Kingsway for (i) Non­Profit On-Reserve Housing, (ii) Co-operative Housing, (iii) Urban Native Housing, (iv) Non-Profit Housing, (v) Index Linked, (vi) Mortgage Co-operatives, (vii) Rent Geared to Income, (viii) and Federal Community Housing Initiative; (g) what was the total amount of federal housing funding distributed as grants in the city of Vancouver; (h) what was the total amount of federal housing funding distributed as grants in the federal riding of Vancouver Kingsway; (i) what was the total amount of federal housing funding distributed as loans in the city of Vancouver; (j) what was the total amount of federal housing funding distributed as loans in the federal riding of Vancouver Kingsway?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2503--
Mr. Don Davies:
What is the total amount of federal government funding for each fiscal year from 2015-16 to 2019-20 allocated within the constituency of Vancouver Kingsway, broken down by (i) department or agency, (ii) initiative, (iii) amount?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2504--
Mr. Dan Albas:
With regard to the Allowance for people aged 60 to 64 program: (a) how many people receive this allowance each year; (b) how many people apply; (c) how many request are approved; (d) for the request that are denied, what are the three most common reasons invoked; (e) how many people are deemed ineligible, and what are the three most common reasons; (f) what was the total budget to deliver the program, broken down for the last five years; (g) what was actually spent in the last five years, broken down by province and territory; (h) how many full-time equivalent and part-time equivalent work directly on the program; (i) how much does the program cost to administer; (j) how is the program marketed; (k) what were the advertising costs and how much was budgeted and spent in the last five years; (l) has the government reviewed this program and, if so, what was found; and (m) for the reviews in (l), are there reports of reviews available online and, if so, where?
Response
(Return tabled)
8555-421-2477 Investments to Combat the ...8555-421-2480 Serving RCMP officers8555-421-2485 Corrections to government ...8555-421-2486 Access to Information Requests8555-421-2487 Concerns raised by the Pri ...8555-421-2488 Establishment of the Canad ...8555-421-2489 Materials prepared for min ...8555-421-2490 Materials prepared for min ...8555-421-2491 Sale of assets8555-421-2492 Expenditure contained in e ...8555-421-2493 Government advertising
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View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2019-06-19 22:56 [p.29453]
Mr. Speaker, I will be proposing an amendment at the end of my speech. Please let me know when I have one minute remaining.
I would like to share with the House a few important quotes.
First, I will go over the topic I just raised in my question to the hon. member for Yellowhead. In Canada, administrative segregation is a scourge. It has been overused for many years and was an issue well before the current government came to power.
During the previous Parliament, two of our colleagues, the member for Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke, who was the critic, and the former member for Alfred-Pellan, Rosane Doré Lefebvre, who was the deputy critic, asked many questions about the inquest into the tragic circumstances surrounding Ashley Smith's death. I invite all parliamentarians who wish to speak about that case to read that file.
It is horrifying to see that this teenager, this child, was killed. The findings of the inquest attest to the negligence and abuse in the prison system. The Correctional Service of Canada has to take responsibility for its role in this tragedy.
It is all the more troubling when we consider that members of her family, namely her mother and her sister, if I remember correctly, came to testify before the Senate committee. Senator Pate, who was doing amazing work on this file long before being appointed to the Senate, had invited them to testify. In their testimony, the family members said they were disappointed and furious with the Prime Minister and the Minister of Public Safety, who were supposed to make improvements to ensure that the circumstances surrounding Ashley's death never happened again. They invoked her name and her memory to justify their approach, but in the end this approach will not help resolve the situation at all.
Since the Liberals took office, two courts and the Supreme Court have granted extensions and the government has requested a stay because the legislation before us has not yet passed. The courts found what we have known for a long time, namely that excessive use of administrative segregation is unconstitutional.
That pronouncement is deeply disturbing. We know of numerous cases of abuse. Incidentally, those cases of abuse are not exclusive to federal institutions. However, given our jurisdiction and the limited time we have left, we cannot delve into the many troubling cases that worry us, including the one that happened recently in Ontario.
It is important to bear in mind that the remedy the government is proposing is no remedy at all. In fact, it is quite the contrary. The reason so many stakeholders, and in certain cases, the loved ones of victims of the abusive use of solitary confinement, have deplored this is that all we have is a rebrand. It is solitary confinement under a different name.
As is unfortunately too often the case with the government, we have to propose amendments and make changes to bills, pointing out there are a few things that might be better. Experts agree that the courts will continue to find this practice, even if under a different name like structured intervention units, to be unconstitutional. I will come back to this with some quotes I pulled up earlier, which I want to share with the House.
Bill C-83 was one of the first bills that came before our committee and was opposed by all the witnesses. Rarely had I seen this until quite recently, although there have been a few since then. I am sure Liberal members could pull out a couple of quotes to say that corrections officers think this would be an okay approach. However, the witnesses were opposed to this approach, because a variety of things were not in place that needed to be.
One of the Senate's proposed amendments is to require judicial approval for an inmate to be held in solitary confinement. This is nothing new. Justice Louise Arbour conducted an inquiry into riots at an institution in Saskatchewan. She noted that the overuse of segregation has an impact on inmates.
Judges sometimes impose sentences of imprisonment as part of their duties and authority. However, when segregation is overused, this means that institutions, their managers and, ultimately, the Correctional Service of Canada are altering the judge's decision. They are modifying the sentence handed down by the judge. This was Justice Arbour's argument, which is why she advocated for the use of judicial supervision.
What is particularly troubling to me is that I proposed an amendment, now Senator Pate has proposed an amendment and these amendments are being rejected by the government. My understanding, after hearing the parliamentary secretary's speech earlier tonight, is that it would cause an increased workload on provincial courts. Ultimately, the sad and tragic thing about that argument is that the only reason it would cause an increased workload is because of the abusive use of solitary confinement as so many individuals are being subjected to the practice when they should not necessarily be.
Focusing on women offenders in particular, I presented an amendment at committee to end the practice completely in women's institutions. Why? The figures demonstrate two things. One is that the number of women in solitary confinement is infinitesimal. The practice is not necessary for maintaining security in our institutions, which is obviously the primary reason it is used most of the time. The second is quite simply that pregnant women, women with mental health problems and indigenous women are the women most often negatively affected by the abusive use of solitary confinement. There is certainly an argument to be made about that, but at the very least, it should be with judicial oversight.
In fact, the argument might also be made that Senator Pate's amendment goes too far. I do not think so, which, as I said, leads us to support the amendment, but there are other routes as well. I proposed an amendment that sought a longer period of 15 days before judicial oversight would be required. It is certainly a much longer and wider threshold than what Senator Pate is proposing. That was also rejected.
The fact of the matter is that the issue we are facing here is quite contradictory. I want to go back to another issue that was raised by the parliamentary secretary about the burden we would be putting on provinces. The parliamentary secretary mentioned the burden on provincial mental health hospitals and institutions. That is one of reasons I wanted the Senate amendments. Members will forgive me for not recalling the exact amendment, but this was being proposed.
We look at the same Public Safety department, through the work of my provincial colleague in Queen's Park, Jennifer French. It has fought the Ontario government for years over the fact that it has contracts with Public Safety Canada to detain, in some cases with dubious human rights parameters, immigrants who have sometimes not even committed crimes and have uncertain legal status in our country. When that is the purview of the federal government, these individuals are treated very poorly.
I do not have the title with me, but I would be happy to share with them a great report in the Toronto Star two years ago, if I am not mistaken, on some of these individuals. One individual, for example, in the U.S. was apparently accused of stealing a DVD, but was never found guilty in court. He came to Canada, was working through the process for permanent residency and due to a variety of issues, he is now being detained in a provincial prison under poor circumstances, without the proper accountability that a normal detention process would have. Even though that is the responsibility of the federal government, there are issues like overcrowding and such, and that is through subcontracting that the federal government does with the provinces.
Why am I talking about a completely different case? I am simply trying to demonstrate the government's hypocrisy.
The government has no qualms about working with the provinces. In some cases, it even forces them to implement legislation and various mechanisms related to our legal and correctional systems. Now, the government wants to use the provinces as an argument to continue violating inmates' rights.
As promised, I will share some quotes. I want to share two of them with the House.
First of all, I want to go to the Ontario Court of Appeal ruling granting the second extension, in April. Certainly my colleagues who are lawyers will not appreciate me selectively quoting. It is always a dubious and dangerous game, but I will do so for the sake of expediency. The court said this:
Extensive evidence is put forward outlining the legislative process, the steps necessary to implement the Bill [Bill C-83]including cost, staff training, infrastructure, public consultations.... But this court remains where we were when the first extension was argued: we have virtually nothing to indicate that the constitutional breach identified by the application judge is being or will be addressed in the future.
It is pretty clear from that quote and that extension, and not even the initial judgment ruling that the practice was unconstitutional, that this is an issue the bill will not resolve.
I sort of opened the door to this at the beginning, and I did not quite finish that thought, but I did want to come back to it, because I just mentioned the second extension.
Bill C-56 was tabled in 2017, the first attempt by the government to deal with this, because it was, after all, part of not one minister's but two ministers' mandate letters, the minister of justice and the Minister of Public Safety. As I said, it was a debate that began in the previous Parliament and even before through a variety of public inquiries and the like.
Finally, we get to Bill C-83, which was tabled late last year. Here we are now, at the eleventh hour, having it rammed through, because the government, quite frankly, did not do its proper homework. It is problematic, because here we have the Liberals asking for extensions and having to go now, in the last few weeks, to the Supreme Court, of all places, to get an additional extension. The thing is that the witnesses at committee were not consulted. No one was consulted except the officials in the minister's office, and they all came to committee to tell us that.
I would like someone to explain to me how this could be an issue when the Prime Minister included it in his 2015 mandate letters for the ministers responsible. A bill was introduced in 2017, and two decisions by two different courts, the B.C. Supreme Court and the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, were handed down in late 2017 and early 2018. Then Bill C-83 was introduced in late 2018. Then not one, not two, but three applications were filed for an extension to implement what the courts had requested.
That is interesting. I have a great deal of respect for my colleague from Oakville North—Burlington. Earlier, when she asked the member for Yellowhead a question, she stated that it might be more beneficial for correctional officers if we were to pass the bill so as not to have to impose the will of the courts upon them.
Personally, to defend human rights and prevent people from dying in our prisons due to excessive use of administrative segregation, I would like the courts' restrictions and terms to be imposed. Of course, that is what we wanted to see in the legislation.
On a similar note, I would like to come back to the UN rules concerning segregation, which are known as the Nelson Mandela rules.
They cover a number of factors: the number of consecutive days in administrative segregation, the number of consecutive hours in administrative segregation and the number of hours spent outside the cell. Viewers might see that last point as problematic, but when inmates are outside their cells, they are not frolicking in wildflower meadows. I hope my colleagues will forgive my humorous tone when talking about such a serious issue. All that means is outside the cell used for administrative segregation. The rules also mention the importance of meaningful human contact.
Now I would like to read the quote I read a small part of when I asked the parliamentary secretary a question.
Dr. Adelina Iftene is a law professor at Dalhousie University. I will read the full quote and I ask for colleagues' indulgence. She said:
The government claims that these units don’t fall under the definition of solitary confinement because the amount of time prisoners would be alone in their cells is 20 hours versus 22 hours. While that falls within UN standards, the amount of time prisoners would have meaningful contact with other human beings–-two hours per day--does not. The UN standards state that meaningful contact of two hours or less per day is also considered solitary confinement. The government simply cannot argue that its proposed regime is not segregation. Passing a bill that does not include a cap on segregation time and judicial oversight will lead to another unconstitutional challenge.... Refusal to pass the bill with amendments would be a sign of bad faith, disregard for taxpayers’ money and for the rule of law. It is disheartening to see such resistance to upholding human rights at home by a country that champions human rights abroad.
That drives home the point that the window dressing may have changed, but the store still carries the same goods. Please forgive my use of such a light-hearted expression. The system is the same, and it still has harsh and sometimes fatal consequences for people.
Some people argue that there are public safety reasons for this and that some of these inmates have committed horrible crimes and deserve to be punished. However, by far most of the people subjected to excessive use of administrative segregation struggle with mental health problems. That is a problem because these people are not getting the care they need for either their own rehabilitation or to ensure public safety objectives are achieved and they stop posing a threat to communities and society. Excessive use is at odds with our mental health and rehabilitation goals, and that is bad for public safety. I would encourage anyone who says this measure will improve public safety to think again because there is a situation here we really need to address.
I have a lot more that I would like to say, but my time is running out. As members can see, this problem has been around for years. Many stakeholders gave inspiring testimony, despite the sombre issue and our discouragement with regard to the government's proposals and inaction. What is more, what the Senate has been doing when it comes to some of the bills that were democratically passed by the House is deplorable. I am thinking of the bill introduced by my colleague from James Bay and the one introduced by our former colleague from Edmonton, Rona Ambrose, on sexual assault. That being said, Senator Pate has done extraordinary work. She has experience in the field. She used to work at the Elizabeth Fry Society. She knows what she is talking about, much more than anyone in the House. I tip my hat to her for the amendments that she managed to get adopted in the Senate. I support them.
Accordingly, I move, seconded by the hon. member for Jonquière:
That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following: “the amendments made by the Senate to Bill C-83, An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and the Abolition of Early Parole Act, be now read a second time and concurred in.”
View Luc Thériault Profile
BQ (QC)
View Luc Thériault Profile
2019-06-17 14:00 [p.29175]
Mr. Speaker, the Liberals' immigration policy is a complete failure.
After four years, hundreds of irregular migrants are still crossing the border into Quebec every day. No progress has been made at Roxham Road or in Ottawa on the processing of applications, and the Canada-U.S. safe third country agreement is still in force.
Our farmers are still concerned that they will lose their crops because their temporary foreign workers are not arriving in time. Applications have been stalled for months in Ottawa, and every summer the federal government seems somehow surprised when the problem comes up again.
Ottawa still wants to force Quebec to accept more refugees while it is deporting the Haitian refugees we want to keep. Ottawa is still opposed to requiring newcomers to demonstrate a sufficient knowledge of French before they can become Quebeckers.
The Liberals' record shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that Quebec should handle its own immigration without Ottawa's involvement.
View Nick Whalen Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Nick Whalen Profile
2019-06-17 15:35 [p.29192]
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour today to present, in both official languages, the 25th report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, entitled “Adapting Canada's Immigration Policies to Today's Realities”. Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.
I would also like to thank the member for Don Valley West, the parliamentary secretary, for his work chairing this committee to help develop this report; and all the members, including the vice-chairs from the Conservative Party and the NDP, who travelled to Tanzania and Uganda in order to obtain witness testimony for this comprehensive report.
View Michelle Rempel Profile
CPC (AB)
View Michelle Rempel Profile
2019-06-17 15:36 [p.29192]
Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives find this response to be wholly inadequate. We have appended a supplementary report, given the government's failures to manage a fair, orderly and compassionate immigration system during the course of this Parliament.
View Jenny Kwan Profile
NDP (BC)
View Jenny Kwan Profile
2019-06-13 14:57 [p.29066]
Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister likes to denounce the Ford government's anti-refugee sentiments, yet, shockingly, when it comes to changes to the asylum system, as we saw in the omnibus budget bill, the Liberals took a page out of the Conservative playbook for political gain.
Now the Prime Minister is in a spat with Doug Ford over legal aid funding. The collateral damage is women fleeing gender-based violence and LGBTQ2-plus members faced with persecution. That means no representation at refugee hearings, detention reviews and deportation orders. This will put lives at risk.
Will the Prime Minister stop the deportations until the legal aid crisis is resolved?
View Maryam Monsef Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I assure my colleague and every Canadian that our government is working hard to end gender-based violence at home and all over the world. Why? Because it is unthinkable that this is a reality in Canada. It is costing our economy over $12 billion a year.
We have invested in Canada's first gender-based violence strategy to support the most vulnerable women and LGBTQ2 individuals in the country. We have increased investments to women's organizations.
My hon. colleagues in the NDP and the Conservative Party voted against this.
View Jenny Kwan Profile
NDP (BC)
View Jenny Kwan Profile
2019-06-13 15:15 [p.29070]
Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I believe my parliamentary privilege has been breached today.
My question on deportation and legal aid funding was clearly directed to the Minister of Public Safety, who is responsible for CBSA. However, the Minister for Women and Gender Equality answered the question. I hope you will find it appropriate to invite the Minister of Public Safety to respond to my question.
View Christine Moore Profile
NDP (QC)
View Christine Moore Profile
2019-06-05 18:03 [p.28607]
Mr. Speaker, I would first like to clarify something about the motion. Although the federal government does have jurisdictional powers over certain aspects of heath care, including that of ensuring that all Canadians have equal access to health care services, the actual implementation of health services is a provincial responsibility.
The federal government provides health transfers to the provinces, but it is up to the provinces and the provinces alone to decide how to use those funds. Managing all health services falls under the exclusive jurisdiction of the provinces. This motion is aimed at improving the delivery of health services. It therefore interferes directly in a provincial jurisdiction. The member himself even admitted it. Strategies and communications technologies pertain to health care management, so this motion extends beyond the federal government's general jurisdiction. Only the provinces can deliver health care directly to Canadians and are able to develop the strategies needed to change health care management.
The NDP recognizes the importance of respecting provincial jurisdiction, especially in Quebec. That is why we adopted the Sherbrooke declaration, which acknowledges Canada's asymmetry and affirms Quebec's right to opt out with compensation. The member's motion directly interferes in an area under provincial jurisdiction.
Let me say that the timing of this motion is peculiar. When the member answered my question, he said that he did not choose when to present his motion, but the fact is, he most certainly did have a choice. He could have chosen to present any number of measures over the past four years.
For example, I myself presented a number of bills and motions that I believed merited the attention of the House even though I was well aware they would not be debated. Unfortunately, members have only one chance to introduce a bill of their own, and that is if they are lucky. The member presented the motion a month ago knowing full well it would probably never be voted on. This motion would have to go to committee, but that will never happen.
If the member truly wanted to improve the health outcomes of rural Canadians, which, I recognize, is a very important issue, he could have chosen measures that do not overstep federal jurisdiction. For example, he could have asked that federal health transfers be increased by the amount requested by the provinces. The Quebec health minister has said that the federal government must stop meddling in provincial jurisdictions and that it start by increasing our health transfers.
Lack of money is one of the biggest obstacles to the implementation of different technologies that could help rural Canadians. Hospitals are already accumulating deficits because they pay nurses a lot of overtime due to the shortage of staff and staff burnout. Unfortunately, the increase in health transfers is not enough to meet provincial needs. That is one thing that the member could have requested and that would have fallen within federal jurisdiction.
With respect to the labour shortage, there is another useful measure that falls within federal jurisdiction: improving the immigration process and the recruitment of foreign professionals. I have often been told by hospital administrators that they had found a very interesting candidate, a specialist from abroad. The specialist was interested in the position but was discouraged by the process and chose to settle in another country where procedures are much less complex. The process is expensive and very complicated. Also, immigration services do not exist in rural regions.
A hospital board that wants to recruit abroad does not even have access to services in its region where it can get help and support and find out the most effective way of handling the process. If the board wants access to those services, it has to manage by telephone, by Internet or by talking to agents who do not really understand all the ins and outs of the process. It is extremely complex. The member could have asked for immigration services to be set up in rural areas. That would also have helped in terms of recruitment.
To help improve care and services in rural areas, the member could have done something about travel. Patients often have to travel long distances, which gets expensive. That is difficult from a financial perspective.
In order to be entitled to the medical expense tax credit, which can include travel expenses, a person must be making a certain income. If that person did not pay any taxes, he or she is not entitled to the tax credit. In the end, we are not helping those who would benefit the most from this help, those who cannot afford to pay for travel expenses.
There are quite a few concrete measures that the member could have chosen instead of moving a motion calling for a committee study that will never be done. That is why the motion does not sit well with me. I can see that the member is genuinely concerned about health care in rural areas, but I am having a hard time understanding why he chose such an ineffectual way to address the issue. It is most unfortunate, especially considering he has been an MP for four years. Some of us have been here longer, but the member has been in the House of Commons for four years. He could have sought advice. He knows enough about how things work that he should have realized this was not the best way to proceed.
If the member is really interested in what has been going on with new technologies, he could have asked the research service for help. All MPs have access to the services of the Library of Parliament for conducting research. For instance, the member could have asked the Library of Parliament to perform an exhaustive search for different strategies that have been used in various regions across Canada or around the world to improve services in rural areas. That would have generated plenty of fascinating reading material for him.
When new technologies become established, scientific, medical or nursing journals often publish articles highlighting their positive impact. The data on the methodology are already available and accessible to anyone who is interested.
Once again, I understand the member's desire to improve health care services in rural areas, but I do not think that we should be trying to make improvements by interfering in provincial jurisdictions.
I suggested a number of ways to find a much more effective solution for our rural areas. These methods fall within federal jurisdiction.
I strongly urge my colleague to talk to his colleagues and to listen to Quebec's minister of health and social services. She has suggested that the current government stop interfering in provincial jurisdiction over health care and immediately increase federal transfers to the provinces so that they can implement the measures that are already on the table but cannot be implemented because of a lack of money and commitment from the federal government.
View Pierre-Luc Dusseault Profile
NDP (QC)
View Pierre-Luc Dusseault Profile
2019-06-05 21:16 [p.28634]
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise today on behalf of my caucus. I am sure that other members will have a chance to do the same, but I am deeply honoured to be taking part in the third reading debate on Bill C-97.
This bill has already been heavily scrutinized here in the House and at the Standing Committee on Finance, and its sheer size has provoked much debate. The bill is more than 400 pages long. It is yet another omnibus bill. Its content has also sparked debate. I would be remiss not to mention the content of the bill, as well as everything that the government left out. I am going to focus on the aspects of the bill that we consider most problematic, as well as the things that were completely left out of this last-chance budget.
It is 2019, and this is the government's last opportunity to deliver on its mandate and vision for the country. It is already June 2019. The latest budget was tabled in March, and this bill seeks to realize the vision outlined in budget 2019. This is the Liberal government's last bill, its last chance to turn its ideas and its vision for the nation into reality. It goes without saying that everything that was left out, everything that still has to be done and everything the Government of Canada is leaving unfinished will have to wait until later.
We will have to take the word of the Prime Minister, who, during the next election campaign, will try to convince Canadians that he will have time in the next four years to do what he did not have time to do in the past four years. We know full well that many promises have been broken over the past few years. Some were much bigger than others. Take electoral reform. Many Canadians remember quite clearly that this was a solemn promise. The Prime Minister repeated it almost daily during the election campaign. Nearly a year and a half later, he did not hesitate to break that promise, brushing it aside by saying that he changed his mind, that it was not a good idea after all, and that he would not be moving forward with electoral reform. This is a government that broke some of its signature promises, such as returning to a balanced budget. I know that my Conservative colleagues like to bring that up quite a bit.
Clearly, this government, which is nearing the end of its term, is suffering from a lack of credibility in terms of its campaign promises, and it will soon try to convince Canadians that it needs another term to complete what it did not have time to do in this last budget. Canadians are not stupid. They know what this Prime Minister's word is worth, because they have had four years to see him at work, to listen to him and to see what he had to offer Canadians. The people of Sherbrooke, Quebec and Canada will realize that his word is unfortunately not worth very much. This is the kind of thing that fuels cynicism among Canadians, and among my constituents back home in Sherbrooke. I often hear people say they are disappointed by politics and politicians. I am trying to get them interested in politics again, but when a government like this one, formed by the Liberal Party of Canada, breaks so many promises so shamelessly, it fuels cynicism about politics. That is why people will be so wary of any of the campaign promises made by the Prime Minister of Canada, and with good reason. We have to give them some credit. They will be right to doubt him, because the Prime Minister has broken so many of his promises during this last term.
This is a last-chance budget. Today we are debating the government's budgetary policy, its execution and its implementation. That is why, on our side of the House, we will ultimately have to vote against it. We will be forced to vote against Bill C-97 at third reading because it does not meet Canadians' needs. Clearly, on many issues, the government has not responded to the concrete problems Canadians are facing, and it is not about to do so over the next few months.
We will be voting against this budget, and we hope that many members will do so as well. We need to send the government a clear message. Its fiscal policy has not worked so far, and the rich are getting richer. We saw this recently. I will give just one example, that of KPMG. The accounting firm and its clients once again reached an out-of-court settlement after they were caught avoiding taxes using a scheme that was dubious and questionable, to say the least. It was certainly questioned by the Canada Revenue Agency.
The Canada Revenue Agency recently made a proposal to these clients. They were told to pay their taxes and the matter would be closed. They could move on once they paid their debt to society.
These people had a minimum of $300,000. For every file that KPMG opened, the client had to pay the firm at least $300,000 to put the scheme in place. In addition, the firm would take a cut of the tax savings that their clients realized with the Isle of Man scheme.
The scheme was revealed to the general public, so I will not repeat all the details. We know that the clients moved money abroad to a place with low taxes. They managed to avoid paying taxes by using all kinds of strategies, such as shell companies and fake directors. In its agreements with clients, this accounting firm demanded a cut of the tax savings. That is not something to be taken lightly. The firm promised tax savings and took a percentage off the top. This week, these clients signed a settlement with officials of the Canada Revenue Agency. With this settlement, they can put the matter behind them, close the books, pay the taxes, say goodbye and carry on as if nothing happened.
That is the message the Government of Canada decided to send all Canadians today. It conflicts with the standard messaging that the government and the Minister of National Revenue has been delivering up to now, about how the net is tightening, how tax cheats will pay, and how there never has been and never will be an amnesty. The Canada Revenue Agency and the minister even sent out photos showing people in handcuffs back when the KPMG scandal broke. She said that tax cheats would pay for their actions and that criminals would be put behind bars.
Today she is sending a different message. People who could afford to spend $300,000 on a scheme, plus a percentage of the money they saved on taxes, can afford to pay lawyers to get them off the hook with just a slap on the wrist.
Understandably, most Canadians, including most of the people of Sherbrooke, find that frustrating. They see rich people who can afford to pay the accounting firm and who have the means to defend themselves in court against charges relating to these borderline schemes getting off with a slap on the wrist, and my constituents find that frustrating in the extreme. I know my colleagues are frustrated too, but, unfortunately, the government decided to do nothing. Rather than do something, the government decided to follow in the Conservatives' footsteps and give preferential treatment to people who can afford to pay accounting firms, tax experts and lawyers to defend them against these charges and emerge virtually unscathed. Sure, they will pay the taxes they owe. It is the least they can do, but the government is signalling that they can keep doing this. The worst-case scenario is that they will end up in the Tax Court of Canada like the family from Vancouver and end up signing a settlement to close the books.
This sends the message that, under the current government, it is acceptable to engage in tax evasion and shady schemes. The government is turning a blind eye to all of that. That is the sort of behaviour that is perpetuated by the implementation of this budget and the government's budgetary fiscal policy.
We heard some powerful, compelling testimony in committee. The witnesses spoke to many parts of the bill, which is 400 pages long. This bill affects many laws and makes significant changes to many sectors of our economy. However, some provisions have nothing to do with the economy, but the government threw them all into the budget implementation bill anyway. It is therefore difficult for parliamentarians to speak to the bill as a whole.
We will soon have to vote on this 400-page bill. It will be a single vote, even though the bill makes many changes to many different laws. Earlier today, we voted on the amendments to this bill at report stage. We therefore had the opportunity to speak to many parts of the bill. At third reading, there will be just a single vote either for or against the bill as a whole. When the Liberal Party was on this side of the House, it spoke out against this practice. The Liberals criticized omnibus bills at every opportunity, because omnibus bills do not allow parliamentarians to vote on each measure or group of measures.
Since we have to cast a single vote on the bill as a whole, we need to consider the pros and cons of the bill. Today, it is clear that the cons outweigh the pros. Although we recognize that the bill contains some good measures, we have no choice but to vote against this budgetary policy.
The government has tried to make up for its blunders on several issues by presenting amendments in committee or at report stage. Earlier today, we debated the amendments that the government had proposed, with a royal recommendation, to change the bill. The government had to backpedal to fix things, particularly as regards the housing act.
The section on the housing act fell well short of what Canadians and housing experts had expected. The experts said that the right to housing is a fundamental human right, something the government refused to acknowledge in the first draft of the bill. It had to fix that, just like it had to fix other parts of the bill.
In committee, we tried to get the government to see reason on certain issues. We wanted it to provide a list pertaining to student loans as quickly as possible. In the bill, the government proposes starting to charge interest on student loans after six months. We tried to persuade it to just make student loans interest-free. It is not right to ask former students to pay interest on loans they took out to train for a career.
In committee we learned that this interest brought $700 million annually into the coffers of the consolidated revenue fund of Canada. That money funds the government's priorities when it could stay in the pockets of young people who just completed their studies and are entering the workforce. Those young people have to save money to get into the real estate market and invest in our economy in various ways. The government is currently taking $700 million out of the pockets of young workers who are fresh out of school, and putting that money in the consolidated revenue fund.
The government is giving former students a six-month relief period when it could have gone further by permanently eliminating interest on student loans and stopping government funding by students. The government rejected this proposal.
As far as worker health and safety is concerned, representatives from the Canadian Labour Congress told us in committee that the flexibilities of the Hazardous Products Act benefited industry to the detriment of the health of the workers who are exposed to these products in the short or long term. They could have accidents with these hazardous products. The government is easing the rules to give the chemical products industry a free pass, which jeopardizes the health and safety of Canadian workers. In committee, the government once again sided with industry and the major lobbies in this country to ensure that their profits keep going up every year.
Furthermore, a large number of witnesses spoke out against the changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Bill C-97 is, quite simply, anti-refugee. It creates two classes of refugees: those who enter Canada regularly and those who enter irregularly. The government is creating two parallel systems that it claims complement each other or are nearly identical.
The government could have simply turned to the Immigration and Refugee Board, which does a very good job and which needs more resources. Unfortunately, it decided to create two classes of refugees. One refugee even testified in committee that if the government's heartless bill had been in force, he might not be in Canada right now because he would have been sent back to his country, where he is in danger. Numerous experts called this a bad idea. That is why we are compelled to oppose the bill.
Now let's talk about pensions, which were not protected and which continue to be at the bottom of the order of creditor priority in the event of bankruptcy or insolvency. They could have had the courage to respond to the concerns heard at consultations. Most people said that the order of creditor priority had to be changed. The government decided to ignore all the experts' recommendations.
That was also the case for stock options. The economic update indicated that the government would address this situation, which is clearly problematic because it benefits the wealthy. It even says so in the budget document, but they decided to ignore the issue. In this budget, which is its last chance, the government decided to do nothing and wait until after the election to solve the problem, even though we know this government will be gone in October 2019.
The Liberals gave in to the pharmaceutical lobby on pharmacare. They gave them more time to rake in the biggest profits of the corporate world at the expense of taxpayers. They were given a free pass. The government is asking Canadians to trust it even though it broke many promises. It says that it will keep this one and that we must trust it, even if it has been saying so for 25 years.
As for oil companies, the Liberals continue to subsidize the fossil fuel industry to the tune of billions of dollars every year. This budget would have been a good opportunity to put an end to that.
Also, household debt continues to rise. Canadians are within $200 of insolvency each and every month, and the government is doing nothing to fix that.
Furthermore, the media bailout has been the talk of Parliament Hill and elsewhere. The media just want tax fairness. Of course, they also need some assistance to meet certain challenges, but above all, they need tax fairness. The government needs to put an end to the double standard that is giving web giants a free ride when it comes to taxes. They are exempted from paying income tax and sales tax, and are raking in billions of dollars in ad revenues, while our local and national media can barely make ends meet and take in sufficient ad revenues.
This is a bad budget bill. The government missed out on its last opportunity to show some courage and make the right choices.
I can assure the House that Canadians will not give the Liberals another term, since they merely spew empty rhetoric and make lofty promises, and have not honoured their commitments over the past four years. Canadians will turn to an alternate serious and credible solution, like the NDP, so we can finally fix the problems facing our society in 2019.
View Larry Maguire Profile
CPC (MB)
View Larry Maguire Profile
2019-06-05 22:31 [p.28644]
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague, the member for Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, for sharing the block of time we have here this evening. It will allow me to zero in on one issue. He said that there are many that I might speak about, but I am going to zero in on one this evening.
In the Liberal's budget implementation bill, the government snuck in a major change to Canada's refugee laws. In fact, the Liberals did not even want to send division 16 to our immigration committee for review. Luckily, our former Liberal chair, who I believe is very much opposed to his own government's changes, was able to get it referred to our committee.
I want to set the stage for why the proposed changes are too little and too late. There is a good chance that they will be deemed not compliant with the Singh Supreme Court decision from the 1980s.
Since the between-ports border crossers started to enter in the numbers we have seen in these past couple of years, the Liberals have literally done nothing to close the loophole in the safe third country agreement with the United States. While there are MPs in this House who want to scrap the agreement in its entirety, our public servants, who are in constant contact with their American counterparts, still firmly believe that the United States is upholding the spirit of the agreement.
What we do not know is if the Liberal government has tried to renegotiate the agreement. Trying to get a straight answer out of the immigration minister is harder than getting the finance minister to tell us when the budget will be balanced.
I also understand that division 16 caused great consternation in the Liberal caucus. This was a major pivot from their previous stance that we could not do anything because of obligations and international law. Somehow this change, which came out of nowhere, seems to have been given the green light by the justice department.
The proposed Liberal changes have been panned by virtually every immigration professional in Canada and are not likely to withstand any sort of court challenge. We have asked for the government's charter review of the legislation, and it has yet to provide it. What the government did provide was a very high-level response that said it was compliant.
Multiple witnesses testified at our immigration committee and said that these changes might even add to the administrative backlog and the burden on the refugee system by directing people through the pre-risk removal assessment process. This change also raised concerns that the pre-risk removal assessment process would be conducted by departmental officials rather than by the independent and quasi-judicial Immigration and Refugee Board.
After ignoring concerns about how the Liberals reacted to the influx of people walking across the border to claim asylum, they took almost two and a half years to introduce legislation. In fact, they stuck it into the budget implementation bill, and our immigration, refugee and citizenship committee was not even permitted to amend it. The Liberals pushed it through and tried to limit any political fallout. It sounds just like how the Liberals presented the deferred prosecution agreements issue in the SNC-Lavalin affair.
To add to the confusion, there are conflicting media reports as to whether the Liberals have reached out to the Americans to amend the safe third country agreement. According to the CBSA, they have had fruitful discussions with their American counterparts, but neither the Minister of Border Security nor the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship have told us if they want to amend the safe third country agreement.
Moreover, the Auditor General just gave the Liberals a failing grade on how they have handled Canada's refugee system. The Auditor General was clear that the government “did not process asylum claims in an efficient and timely manner.”
The audit revealed that the Liberals did not adequately respond to the influx of border crossers from the United States, and the Auditor General uncovered serious inefficiencies, which are contributing to significant delays.
Due to these delays in processing claims, there has been an increase in total costs for all levels of government for such things as housing, social assistance and health care. This report confirmed that the Liberals were incredibly slow to react. They should have responded immediately, rather than delay for two years.
The Auditor General conducted this review because of “the rising number of asylum claims that is testing the ability of Canada's refugee determination system to process claims in a timely manner.”
According to the report, if the Liberals do not improve the system, the backlog and wait times will continue to grow. They are projecting that if the number of new asylum claimants remains steady at around 50,000 per year, the wait time for a decision will increase to five years by 2024, which is more than double the current wait time. It goes without saying that these delays are costing taxpayers millions of dollars and putting tremendous strain on the resources of our provinces and municipalities.
In the report, it was determined that roughly 65% of all asylum hearings are being postponed at least once before a decision is made. This means that individuals seeking a decision from the Immigration and Refugee Board are facing increasing wait times to determine if their claim is valid or they will be issued a deportation order.
The Liberals have only themselves to blame. The Auditor General was clear when he stated the postponements “were due to administrative issues within the government's control.”
The Auditor General also brought to light that while the government records the identity documents of those seeking asylum claims, some were indecipherable and could not be read.
Furthermore, the Auditor General took a sample of the asylum claims and reported the government failed to check for criminality or to determine the identity of 400 individuals. He concluded that neither CBSA nor the immigration department tracked whether criminal record checks were always completed.
There is a vacuum of leadership at the very top that is now permeating throughout the entire government. If the Liberals cannot properly manage our immigration and refugee system, it is time for a new government. They should stop blaming others and take responsibility. They have had years to make the necessary changes to improve efficiencies, and now the entire system is backlogged for years to come.
If the Liberals think their proposed changes in the budget implementation act are a step in the right direction, they should listen to the litany of people who are speaking out and saying it will only create more confusion. What we would have liked to have seen is a clear commitment to fix this situation once and for all.
It was just last year that I wrote to the Parliamentary Budget Officer to request a full financial analysis of border crossers into Canada. The request stemmed from the lack of financial information provided by the Liberal government.
Since January 2017, over 40,000 border crossers have been intercepted by the RCMP in Manitoba, Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia. The PBO revealed that the border crossers cost taxpayers $340 million in 2017-18, $368 million this year, and if similar numbers come across next year, it will cost another $396 million. It is projected to cost at least $1.1 billion in just these three fiscal years, while costs will only continue to go up as the wait times for processing through the Immigration and Refugee Board have ballooned.
These numbers are just the federal government's expenses, and they exclude the hundreds of millions of dollars in costs being borne by provincial and municipal governments for housing and for welfare payments.
The numbers in the report are quite staggering. If the Liberals do nothing to either close the loophole in the safe third country agreement or deter border crossers, we can expect that the overall price tag will only continue to grow.
The PBO outlined in his report that the average cost per asylum claim will grow from $14,321 to $16,666 by 2019-20 as the backlog continues to grow.
The reason for this increased cost is that while asylum claimants are in the country waiting for their refugee hearing, they are eligible for various government services. Moreover, as asylum claimants are denied by the Immigration and Refugee Board, the individual can appeal that decision, which could end up costing $33,738 by the time the appeal is done.
The PBO also revealed that only 18% of border crossers have had their refugee board hearing, and out of the failed claimants, only a fraction have been removed from the country.
Because of this influx, there has been significant pressure on resources for all organizations involved in this process, which has led to delays in the processing of these claims.
To wrap up, not only do I oppose division 16, but I also want the Liberals to immediately get to work to renegotiate the safe third country agreement. Then and only then will we be able to restore confidence in our refugee system and stop ill-thought-out changes of the kind we find in this budget implementation act.
View Terry Duguid Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Terry Duguid Profile
2019-06-05 22:44 [p.28646]
Mr. Speaker, there are two things that I think the hon. member and I agree on. One is that Manitoba is the friendliest province in the entire confederation and the second is that we are friendly to immigration.
I would ask the hon. member to reflect on the immigration and refugee policy of the previous government. He will recall the snitch line to report barbaric practices. He will recall health cuts to refugees. He will recall the parents and grandparents program being called a “burden” by the previous government. It took two years to reunite spouses. We have that down to one year.
If the hon. member reflects on the record of the previous government, which he was part of, does he support the measures that were introduced by the previous government, and does he agree that what we have done on this side of the House is an improvement?
View Ted Falk Profile
CPC (MB)
View Ted Falk Profile
2019-06-05 23:14 [p.28650]
Mr. Speaker, I can assure members that my presentation will not be as loud or as exuberant as the previous one. That may be a very welcome reprieve for the members and many others watching TV this evening. I also want to say that I am going to be splitting my time with the NDP member for Beloeil—Chambly. I am going to do that for them.
It is my pleasure to speak to the budget implementation act today. I can best describe this budget implementation act and the budget as a distraction from Liberal scandals and failures. I want to set the stage a bit before we talk more about that.
Back in 1975, when I began my work career, I was a 15-year-old boy. I got a job working at Steinbach Toyota, and my job was to wash cars. I worked for a gentleman by the name of Henry Kliewer. He taught me how to wash cars. He developed in me an appreciation for clean vehicles and he taught me all about detailing. He was a fussy guy and he was absolutely careful and particular about everything he did.
We were walking through his shop one day in the back of the dealership. We were coming up to the showroom part of the building when I noticed a penny on the ground. I was going to give it a bit of a kick with my foot. He saw what I was going to do and he picked it up and said, “This is one penny I am never going to have to work for.” He said, “I want to tell you something. I look after the nickels and the dimes, and the dollars look after themselves.” I have never forgotten that. That was in 1975 when I was making $1.95 an hour and he was concerned about nickels and dimes.
I can extrapolate that to today. What a privilege it is to stand in this House and talk about the finances of the country of Canada. It is an extreme privilege, and it is humbling, but today requires us to look at the millions of dollars because what we are talking about is the billions. If we are good stewards of the millions of dollars that we are entrusted with as members of Parliament, then the billions will probably look after themselves.
Let us talk about some of these millions of dollars that we have not been looking after very carefully.
The current Liberal government under this Prime Minister has given Canadian taxpayer dollars to the Clinton Foundation. It has given money to Hamas. It has gotten India to invest $250 million here in Canada, but only after we have turned around and invested $750 million in India. If we do the math, that does not quite add up.
We have had a crisis with illegal migrants at our southern border with the United States. That crisis cost us roughly $200 million in 2017 and $400 million in 2018. In 2019, it was another $600 million. It has cost us $1.1 billion already because we have mismanaged our borders and allowed illegal migrants to come into this country, and we have been footing the bill. In addition to that, municipalities and provinces have also had to pick up additional expenses. That number is again projected to grow to another almost $2 billion this coming year.
Let us then look at the Trans Mountain expansion pipeline. Kinder Morgan owned the Trans Mountain pipeline. It had it on the books for $600 million. It invested another $1.2 billion on working toward constructing a second pipeline, known as the Trans Mountain expansion. The current government turned around and bought the existing pipeline plus the investment that had been made in the proposed pipeline for $4.5 billion, using Canadian taxpayer dollars.
Kinder Morgan had $1.8 billion invested in that project. The Liberal government turned around and gave it $4.5 billion for its $1.8 billion. Kinder Morgan had to realize a capital gain of $2.7 billion. That was Canadian taxpayer dollars that left this country, left our resource sector here in Canada and were sent down to wealthy Texas investors in Kinder Morgan, which owned the Trans Mountain pipeline.
We have not been managing our millions of dollars very well. We have given $2.7 billion of Canadian taxpayer money to American investors. In addition to that, Canada could have received a further investment from Kinder Morgan of close to $10 billion in the actual construction of the Trans Mountain expansion. That money will also now have to come from Canadian taxpayers.
We have not been managing our millions of dollars very well under the Liberal government and under the current Prime Minister. It has been a failure, and Canadian taxpayers are going to be the ones left on the hook.
We have paid convicted terrorists $10.5 million. We have paid millions of dollars to Bombardier in Quebec. We have bought rusted-out CF-18s from Australia to bolster up our defence forces and our defence fleet of aircraft. That is money we will not recover.
Now we are looking at a budget implementation act that would implement the budget that the government has presented to the House, which is not balanced. The Liberals are projecting a $20-billion shortfall again.
I worked in the credit union system for 30 years. For 17 of those years, I was the president and chairman of Manitoba's largest credit union. One thing I know is that when times are good, money is set aside because rainy days are coming.
We were promised sunny days. The sunny days are gone. I think they left on the first day after the election. We have some rainy days on the horizon. The time to invest money and to set money aside was when the sun was shining. I saw that over and over again in my experience and involvement in the credit union system. People who wisely put money aside when times were good were the people who were successful with their finances at the end of the day.
Members of the Liberal caucus stand up in this place and tout the good results they are having from a financial perspective in the Canadian economy. They tell us about all the jobs they have created and how the economy is booming. It is actually not booming as much as they say it is. They tell us it is booming, and yet they have not been salting away money and reducing our debt to build up our inventory of cash so that we can weather the storms that may someday come.
The time to do that is when times are good, and the Liberals would like Canadians to believe that times are good. If times are good, why do we still have a deficit budget? We need to have a balanced budget. The Prime Minister promised in 2015 that by 2019 we would have a balanced budget. We do not have a balanced budget.
The budget that has been presented this year was supposed to be an election-type budget, with lots of good news. There is $41 billion of new spending in this budget over the next five years. It was meant to be a bit of a hit budget, a budget that people could get excited about. With all the scandals and failures of the current government, it hardly got any airplay when it was announced. The $41 billion of additional spending in the next five years is not enough to distract the Canadian taxpayer from the failures and scandals of the current government.
View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2019-06-05 23:29 [p.28651]
Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Provencher for sharing his time with me. The NDP and the Conservative Party often disagree, but we have been able to work well together in true parliamentary spirit.
I have five key points to make. Obviously, there could be more, since we are talking about an omnibus bill, but I will focus on five points that I believe should raised in today's budget debate.
The first is that the oil industry subsidies are being maintained, despite the government's promise to get rid of them. These subsidies are still in place. Budget 2019 is a missed opportunity to do something to fight climate change and provide additional revenue in order to truly invest in green energy, the energy of the future.
The second aspect I would like to address is another missed opportunity, and that is the fact that the government is not requiring web giants like Netflix to collect sales tax. That is important, and it shows a major lack of political will. Just look at Quebec. With the stroke of a pen, Quebec managed to do what the current government has not done in four years. We are seeing the consequences today, with massive layoffs at TVA. We know that our cultural industry is suffering the effects of this unfair situation, which would be so easy to fix. Contrary to popular belief, it is not a new tax. It is just a matter of applying existing taxes and the law consistently, as they apply to businesses here.
Third, I would like to talk about the fact that this is an omnibus bill. The issue of immigration and refugees comes up in this bill. A budget bill is creating a situation that is unfair and discriminatory towards refugees. Omnibus bills were criticized under the previous Conservative government, which is precisely why the Liberals promised not to use this kind of problematic tactic. As the member for Sherbrooke pointed out earlier in his speech, this matter was raised several times at the Standing Committee on Finance. Stakeholders and civil society representatives had to appear before the finance committee to share their concerns regarding legislative changes that will affect refugees. It is completely absurd that this issue appears in an omnibus budget bill. It is completely unacceptable.
Speaking of missed opportunities, my fourth point is about employment insurance, the 50 weeks, and people with serious illnesses who cannot get their fair share of EI and so are unable to return to work, despite having gone through a terrible ordeal while dealing with a very serious illness. We have been fighting for this for quite some time. Just think of people like Marie-Hélène Dubé and everyone fighting for the same cause. We in the NDP will continue to support them. This is another one of this government's missed opportunities.
I addressed my last point when I talked about the amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Despite the government's repeated promises, it introduced a number of omnibus bills. Some of them were even longer than the ones introduced by the previous government. That is a broken promise that violates our rights as parliamentarians.
In closing, I would like to present an amendment:
That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following:
“the House decline to give third reading to C-97, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 19, 2019 and other measures, because it:
(a) gives more to big business than to Canadians;
(b) does not establish a universal pharmacare plan;
(c) does not solve the current housing crisis;
(d) maintains subsidies to oil companies;
(e) makes major changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act that are unfair and fail to meet the standards of the process established by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada;
(f) is an omnibus bill that is contrary to this government's promises; and
(g) limits the Members' ability to vote separately on the various divisions of the Bill.”
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